Sunday, July 26, 2009

Biked, well pushed a bike...

Last spring, just as I was really beginning to grasp the reality that I loved being active, I bought a bicycle. I rode a little in my driveway, took it to my sister's neighborhood and rode one day, and yeah, well, that was about it.

I seriously wanted to do more, but because I would surely become road kill if I tried riding it on my road, I just parked it in the garage. Of course after the knee ordeal, I had no idea when I'd feel confident enough to mount the purple machine again.

But yesterday was the day. I have been taking a spin class for months now, and even though I am back in physical therapy and having a really tough time with my knee, I just felt it was time to take it to the outdoors.

So, we did.

Don't worry, we left my nephew ( on the 4-wheeler ), and my niece ( with training wheels ) to go on with their parents for horseback riding, while Greg, Ethan, Kelci, Emma, and myself went on our 3 mile, 2 1/2 hr bike push. You heard me, push, not ride.

So, I hadn't exactly envisioned us pushing our bikes uphill through mud and horse poop in the hot sun, but that is pretty much what we did.

BUT we had a blast.

My Emma, who is just 6 yrs old, did do her share of asking when we would be done, but she wasn't nearly as dramatic as I would have been had my parents tried to make me do a professional mountain biking course on a Hello Kitty 16" 2-wheeler!

Halfway through, Ethan declared he was having fun. Which for my rarely content 8 yr old, that was enough to make my heart leap with joy.

Kelci, my oldest niece, was a real trooper. She would ride her bike ahead, only to park it to come back and help push Emma's through the indescribably yucky muck.

Greg, who just got his bike yesterday morning @ 9, when this ride begin @ 11, carried a very heavy backpack the entire time that he was riding his bike, pushing Emma's bike, or pushing his bike and Emma's bike.

We smiled more than anyone complained, we laughed, we talked, and we got more exercise in those 3 hours than I believe Greg has had in the past 8 years!

I'm so dreading having our cable turned back on...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blessed by an excursion

After a friend of mine said a friend of hers had invited them to go blueberry picking yesterday afternoon, I felt the urge to invite myself, Ethan, and Emma along on the excursion.

So glad I did.

They didn't mind at all, and it gave me a chance to get some good pictures and to get Ethan outside doing something that he can do with his broken arm. Not to mention I've been eating blueberries nonstop since about 4pm yesterday.

I also had time to admire some different scenery, which I really appreciated. I've been rather overwhelmed lately with trying to keep my house up so that it can be viewed by potential buyers almost every single day. So, yesterday while someone was walking around our house and we were out in the midst of such calm beauty, I felt it was a good trade.

Emma was rather content at first picking berries, some ended up in her bucket, and some in her belly. However, it didn't take long for Princess Emma to start expressing her discontent with the heat and asking me if we could begin making our way back towards the shade.

I tried to keep encouraging her to remember the cause of the trip. To get a surplus of these delicious berries to bring home and enjoy for months to come. "You love to eat blueberries, Emma!" But she had moved past sharing the vision of blueberry bliss with her mama, and was now focused on a canopy with picnic tables that would offer her refuge from her nemesis, the sun.

Ethan has been struggling the past few weeks with obeying, and so unfortunately, I wasn't surprised with his choices to NOT quit throwing berries at his friends, to NOT stay close by where we could share his bucket, and to NOT argue or debate the instructions I was giving. I tried to keep calm as I encouraged him to appreciate the adventure and not to ruin it with bad choices.

And so we finally came to rest under that canopy with picnic tables. There we enjoyed some cold water and the children shared a soda pop. A sweet end to a not thoroughly sweet hour of blueberry picking.

Does my story sound at all familiar to you?

Through our daily walks with the Lord, we sometimes desire to experience something different. So the Lord will bless us with a little excursion that He knows will provide us with a surplus of goodies. As we start on this divine adventure, we gaze wide-eyed at all there is to enjoy! However, shortly into the journey, we are faced with the slightest feeling of discomfort, and before we know it, we're asking the Lord to go back to our comfortable little picnic tables in the shade. He tries to encourage us through our brothers and sisters in Christ or through our daily readings, but what we saw so clearly in the beginning is now overshadowed by a small cloud of inconvenience.

We struggle in listening to His instruction. We make poor choices thinking that we know our situation better than He does, and although we may glean a few treasures along the way, we miss out on joy of the experience, and also on the joy of sweet communion with Him along the way.

We come to rest in the shade with our selfish appetites satisfied, but our buckets are quite empty compared to what He had in mind when He made the plans for the adventure.

Does God have you in the midst of a full blueberry patch right now? Can you see the sweet fruit? Or, are you blinded by the sun and drained by it's warmth?

Sometimes I am convinced that I haven't even learned anything from the story of the Israelites.

What would happen if we spent more time obeying God's word, and less time coming up with our own plans? I have a feeling we may enjoy the soda pop at the end a little more if it is shared over conversation of our cheerful attitudes and obedience vs conversation of consequences for our whining and disobedience.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Been a while...words very worthy of reading

If by Amy Carmichael

If I have not compassion on my fellow servant, even as my Lord had pity on me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child's misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve around myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not give a friend "the benefit of the doubt," but put the worst construction instead of the best on what is said or done, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.

If I say, "Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget," as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.