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Black/White

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

You know the old adage: “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”

I told you about the events of this past Sunday here. I shelved my prepared sermon for a talk from the heart, largely brought on by my bicycle accident. My wife puts it this way: “it is the 2nd accident in 3 months in which I could have lost you.” Well…that sort of puts things into perspective doesn’t it? So two days will now go down in infamy for me:

November 7 when some car decided to play bumper cars with me. I lost. He left the scene without slowing down or stopping. I came out of that one sore and bruised but alive and walking.

February 17 is the other date. (Must be the 7s are a problem). I am the only one who can take “credit” for this one. My mind has still blacked out the how and the why and even some of the where. Maybe that is good. But this one ended up being much more serious an accident and I would say it is by God’s grace that I am doing as well as I am and recovering. It could have been a whole lot worse.

Anyway, I’m planning on preaching last week’s prepared sermon this week. You can see a preview if you would like by going here. I’m not going to repeat it all. What I will repeat is my request for prayer: for continued healing of body, mind, and heart, and for the sermon-its presentation and reception. Thanks.

 

Interrupted

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.

Musings

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Some of you may be wondering where in the world Bill has been? I mean, I was on track with “getting with the program” of regular posts, and keeping you updated on sermons and life. It has been a week since I last posted and I either have a very boring life or something else has happened. Trust me when I say I don’t have a boring life so that can only mean one thing…something else happened. I wish I could say it was something as minor as a computer glitch or time constraint or something small. But I can’t. Perhaps a picture can paint a thousand words:

Last Friday, the 17th, I was 3 miles from home after riding about 15 miles when I hit the pavement. My mind has blacked out what happened. I don’t know if I hit a stone; a manhole cover that was slick on its end or something else. The next thing I knew I was flopping down the hill like a rag doll. My bike is mangled in some way but I have yet to see how badly. My collarbone was broken in four places (surgery done this past Wednesday); I have three broken ribs; multiple contusions on my body and a huge hematoma on the back and right hip that is uncomfortable. I did a face plant as you can tell. The next two pictures will tell that story.

Without the helmet, I would hate to even think of the results. Not only is the outer shell cracked and bent as you can see, the inner shell is also split. I seriously do not understand the silliness of riding without a helmet- bicycle or motorcycle. Male/female vanity doesn’t stop pavement. Who knows what Jo and my family and church family would be dealing with now if I had chosen not to wear the helmet. Years ago I made a decision to never ride with someone who didn’t wear a helmet. No helmet=no ride.

I’m going to write more as the week progresses and I get a little more acclimated to a schedule. In the meantime, would you mind praying for me and I recuperate? Pray for Jo & Tami as they put up with my stubbornness of wanting to do things. Pray for Janna, Jason, and Braden who live 4 hours away. Pray for the church family. And pray for Ryan who is preaching again this weekend in my place.

LIFE

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I had planned on giving you an update of our Day of Service but LIFE has a way of throwing Clayton Kershaw curve balls at you. Yesterday (Monday) I was riding my bike about 2:30 in the afternoon. I had gotten a late start due to thngs at the office. I was a little over 4 miles away from the church building (where I keep my bike) when out of nowhere a speeding early model Ford Escape-like SUV decided to use me as a bumper car. It is so surreal-terrifying; anger for being hit and left; not sure what or if anything is broken; searching for your phone to take a picture then call 911; to watching a hematoma blow up to ungodly proportions on your hip; to spending 6 hours in an ER waiting for X-rays ; to being so sore & knowing tomorrow is going to hurt worse; to gratitude for friends close by & those far away (people you don’t even know) telling your daughters they are praying for their dad; to unlimited thanks to a good, good Father it was not worse-all go through my mind even as I write this.

I am grateful for the outpouring of support I have received. This is one of a cyclist’s worst nightmare (paralysis being the worst) and tears roll down my cheeks as I write this out of gratitude for God’s grace & protection. I do hope they find the perpetrator-not for the purpose of revenge or medical bills help-but so he/she will NEVER do this again. People who leave scenes like this are cowards of the highest order. Did they do it on purpose? Did they hit me then realize it and run? Were they texting or playing with their phone or looking down? Did they realize what they did & run? Are they even aware of what they did? Questions which will probably go unanswered.

I may never know the answers to those questions. It bugs me but I am more concerned now with fellow cyclists who face the same cowardice & recklessness.

In the end, I’d appreciate your prayers for a full & complete recovery. Share the road folks. Cyclists have as much right to be on it as cars do. Stay alert while driving.

TraveloguePictures

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Rather than try to insert these into the post I thought I would just start a new one. Here is the one from the Pirate baseball game at PNC Park. It was a beautiful night for baseball and was even better when the Buccos won 12-1. We left in the 8th inning. Rob said, “If they lose with this lead, I don’t think I want to be here.” I laughed. The man is also wearing my favorite player’s jersey.

ballgame1

When I rode the trail I hit a little burg called Whitesett. I decided to get off the hard-packed trail and get on asphalt. I turned left I came across this log home (a dream of mine & Jo’s only not this big). It was a gorgeous home!

log home1loghome2

Riding on a little further I needed to find a place to stop. (‘Nuff said). I came upon this field in Whitesett built-as you can see-by Pirate Charities. It was a fantastic baseball diamond, well-maintained, and spacious. It also included a really cool picnic pavilion and area. Way to go Pirate charities! Many small communities are left out of adequate facilities due to finances. They made it happen for this community.

Piratecharity

I rode early Saturday morning while in Ohio. I have ridden this route frequently before and have always passed this park/haven. I needed to stop this time and decided to take a picture.

bikehaven

26 miles later I pulled up alongside my other steed (2012 Nissan Frontier). One requires my effort; one requires none at all. Can you guess which is which?

2 steeds

And here…ladies and gents…is the dude. He is a never-stopping whirl of activity. He is also an exceptional young man who takes after his grandpa. (Yeah, I had to say that). He had his summer haircut (a fresh Mohawk) done the day before, but as you can tell it will lay flat. He is not into gel. 🙂

dude's mohawk

Sorry I wasn’t able to include the pictures in the other post. Taking pictures is sort of new to me. I forget to take them because I get wrapped up in what I am doing. Besides, it took Tami (my oldest daughter) to show me how to make this happen. Maybe I will remember how to do it myself next time. (But don’t hold your breath).

Travelogue

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Well…I’m back from my week away. And what a week it was! I really wish I knew how to download a couple of the pictures I took to this blog but my technologically-challenged mind wasn’t able to figure it out. I’ll ask Diana (the secretary) how to do at least get them from my phone to my computer. One small step for mankind… 🙂

We left Sunday afternoon about 1:15 with the plan to spend the night in Ohio with our grandson and his parents. Notice the word: plan. On the way we stopped at a  bike shop to have some maintenance done (which they said I didn’t need because you know nothing goes wrong when the mechanic looks at it). Then we stopped about 1/2 later for something to eat. We were not out of Indiana when we hit stopped traffic. No way out. SIX HOURS OF STOPPED TRAFFIC! A wreck 4-5 miles up the road (which included at least one fatality) at a construction zone changed everything. After about a 6 hour standstill, the traffic started up. I drove until I needed toothpicks to hold my eyes open and we stopped at a hotel.

Monday we arrived in PA shortly after 1:00 and hung out for the rest of the day. My brother, Rob, and his wife, Joy, were fantastic hosts.

Tuesday I visited my dad and his wife in a nursing home where he introduced me as a family friend. (He has dementia). Tuesday night we went to PNC Park to watch the Pirates play. (Insert picture of ballgame here). THEY WON!! I entered my first casino ever to get to the third floor buffet restaurant. I don’t see the thrill of watching a screen. Sorry.

Wednesday I had a chance to ride 20 miles on a trail which goes from West Virginia to Washington, D.C.  I got off the trail and saw a beautiful log home (Insert picture here) and also a picture of a ballpark the Pirate Charities helped build. (Insert picture here). That evening we spent time with one of my other brother’s, Garry, his wife, Debra, and daughter, Lea. She absolutely had us in stitches. Laughter is good for the soul.

Thursday we left for Ohio and when we arrived I had time to ride 23 miles. We took our grandson to Chipotle for supper.

Friday I went to the Powell “Y” and then took Braden to see Captain America: Civil War. Oh Wow!!! It was good.  Afterwards we took him to get his Mohawk. (Insert picture here)

Saturday I rode 26 miles in the morning. (Insert pictures of a stop and my two steeds). Then we watched Braden play baseball except the second game was rained stormed lightning-ed out. I’m taller than all of them so I was in no hurry to be a human lightning rod. We took Janna & Jason out for their 12th anniversary which was Sunday.

Sunday after church we ate at Greek Express, loaded up the bike, then headed home. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for traveling every day. I came to the office Sunday night only to find it 81 degrees in my office. The A/C was not working. Still is not.

Monday I came to the office to work then went for a 23 mile ride. Worked inside the house; cut grass; had a friend over for a cookout, then collapsed.

Tuesday (today) it was back to the old grind. The respite was good, but like most times away…not enough. I missed my fellow staff (Ryan and Diana) and working with our summer intern. I also missed “my” people on Sunday. But if I can be honest I’d say I look forward to the few days here and there I’ll be taking. No Sundays off unless an emergency arises. Ryan has a full plate this summer and I won’t ask him to take on one more thing. (What a good guy I am!).  🙂

There it is. A travelogue with no pictures. Where it says “Insert picture” use your imagination. Maybe some day I can make that a reality. But…don’t hold your breath.

Distraction

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

I’ll be candid: I’ve been distracted. A lot lately. I don’t believe I have ADD but I sure feel like it some days. In fact, I had someone tell me the other day that they wonder if I do. Naaah. I can settle in too easily, read for hours, and study consistently.

But I have been distracted lately. The result is the blog has taken a back seat. Last Thursday I was able to get out on my bike for the first time this year. Rode 17 miles. Rode again on Friday. Rode 19+ yesterday (Monday). I have to take a break today. I’m not young any more! 🙂

Emonda ALR 5

Distracted from my blog is one thing. Distracted from God is another. This distraction is most often a result of the enemy’s attempt to divide me. This past Sunday I called it “destruction by distraction.”  Life is so much more than FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. It is so much more than what the latest celebrity is doing, wearing (or not wearing). It is more than endless gaming, TV binging or athletic competition. We get so caught up in the trivial we forget the important.

People ask me if I’m on FB and look at me like I’m a two-headed monster when I say, “No.” “Why not?” Simple. I know me. I know my penchant for the trivial sometimes. I know my weakness for reading and reading. I don’t need the distraction frankly. I have enough issues staying focused and on task with the need to go bed early, so I can do my 4:00 wake up, without the further temptation of distraction.

So…don’t look for me on FB or any of the other media junk stuff site. Hopefully you will see me here more often than I have been. Thanks for being a faithful reader.

2000

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Not posts. I’m way past that. (Heading toward 2500)

Miles.

Not driven miles. Ridden miles. During Friday’s ride, I crossed the 2000 mile mark for 2015.

However, that was not my goal. The goal I set on January 1 was 2500. Unless the weather can remain above 30 for the next two months with absolutely no precipitation, it is highly unlikely I will make my original goal.

That’s the thing about goals. My philosophy is what I will call flexible goals. When I set 2500 as my goal for the year, I did not count on getting a later start due to a month long February snowfall.  Well, maybe not month long, but we seemed to get a whole lot of snow that month. Road bike and snow/ice do not mix; nor was I counting on a cranky knee which would take several weeks of riding to make it even road worthy (easy rides of 12-15 miles); nor was I counting on having the rainiest June on record. Several other factors entered in as well. By July I was already a good 100-200 miles behind my norm. So I went into flexible goal mode. I adjusted my thinking and my goal. I lowered my goal to one more realistic-one which would challenge me but also be reachable. Thus the 2000 and the excitement of seeing a goal realized.

Whether a personal goal or, in my case, a professional goal (church), setting goals must never be put in concrete. (IMHO) Goals which are too high can lead to discouragement. Goals too low can lead to “settledness.” The mission (goal) of OVCF is “to connect people to Jesus.” My next three posts will be how we hope to make that a reality (reached goal). I do hope you will tune in and take part.

I inadvertently published this too early. Sorry for the inconvenience. It is now back on schedule.

Sobering

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Many of you know I am a cyclist. I’m a little behind this year in my mileage. By now I am usually approaching 1500-1600. But this year I am at 1100+. Rain has a habit of doing that. Plus knee issues. My goal was 2500 so it is going to take a yeoman’s job to make that happen. But it is what it is.

What is more tragic is what this video is about. I take my life in my hands every time I get on my bike and ride. I NEVER wear headphones because I want to/have to hear what is coming behind me. I have gotten buzzed way too closely by some-some out of meanness, some out of distraction. They both scare me. The onslaught of the cell phone, in particular texting, has made things “hairier” for me in so many ways. I wish I could say I don’t talk on my phone. I won’t text though.

Maybe watching this will give you pause to be a bit more aware. P-L-E-A-S-E!!

I’m leaving early Monday morning for Ohio. I will be back Tuesday sometime with a grandson in tow. I’m not sure if I will be insane, tired, or insanely tired when I take him back next Tuesday. But I’M GOING TO LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Please say a prayer for me & Jo.  🙂

Caught

Monday, May 11th, 2015

“Caught in a rundown” (Baseball term)

“Caught with your hand in the cookie jar”  (Whew! Not me! I never eat chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal scotchies)

“Caught in a lie” (Fits in with what I previously said about cookies)

I got caught today. No not in sin. In this.

Yep, you got it. I decided to go for a ride today. The weatherman predicted it would rain about 1:00. The radar said 2:00. With the film clip in my head I decided to trust the radar.

I was about 9 miles out when little drops began to fall. I decided it was time to head home quicker than I planned. The weather helped make the decision for me, and mine fortuitous. No sooner had I decided to head home than the sky unloaded. My goal was the church building which was about 3 miles. Figured if I made it there Jo could come get me. I made it there as Ryan, our youth pastor, was pulling away. So he turned around and took me home. I still got pretty wet. I have always said, “To start out in the rain is foolish; to get caught is a hazard of the sport.”

Should have heeded my own words.

Sort of like sin. We can be be-bopping along and not have “bad weather” in sight. Then it hits. Sometimes there are darkening skies. Sometimes the wind blows. Then comes the curiosity. The utter disregard for the “signs” of trouble ahead. Then comes the downpour. Fortunately, I had an escape plan. I got a bit wet (okay a lot) but I knew I had a place to get to for safety. I hope you can make the parallel without much help from me.

It has been awhile since I have been caught in the rain. Just when you least expect it…. What kind of escape plan do you have?

Oh…I should have listened to the weatherman. It started raining at 1:00 right on the tick. 🙁