Cycling

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MS

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

No, I am not writing this post to announce that I have MS. It is an announcement…an announcement of a different kind. It is actually an announcement welding together two parts of my life-one a passion; one a concern.

Anyone who knows me knows of my passion. Hint: take a look at my header. I have a two-headed passion. No, I am not two-headed. 🙂 I am a cyclist and I heavily support 3 Feet Please.

But I also have a concern, made more important because I have some friends who are sufferers. MS or Multiple Sclerosis. Marge is a vital part of OVCF, the church I pastor. Marge is involved in our worship team; her husband, Ray, is the primary “runner” of our soundboard. I have grown to love them both. Marge was diagnosed in 2000 with MS and was told it would be just months before she would be in a nursing home and to get a wheelchair. She refused to then; she still refuses to. She recently changed to a much less stressful job so that should help even more.  Her MS flares up upon occasion which makes it difficult for balance, but other than that no one would know.

Kirby Stogsdill is a well-known individual in our community. I’ve come to know Kirby through my involvement with the community in various ways. His two children graduated from Owen Valley with some of the kids from OVCF. Kirby and his family attend the local Methodist church in town. Super nice guy. I noticed him having trouble walking one day and a few days later I saw his daughter and asked her if her dad was okay. She said, “It is just his MS.” Well, knock me over with a feather. He was diagnosed in 2006 (shortly after I moved here and before I knew him). Every 6 months he receives an infusion (basically chemo he said) to hold his MS at bay.

On September 8th I am molding my passion for cycling and 3 Feet Please with my love for Marge and Kirby and others like them to take part in the MS150 ride in Lebanon, IN. Dave (from 3 Feet Please) and I formed a team…oddly enough 3 Feet Please…to ride in the MS150. He is making the trip from Arizona to do so.  A young lady, Cassie, who is Marge’s daughter, has also signed up to ride with us.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN!  The team has committed $600 and we have already reached that goal. I have committed to raise $300 and am 1/3 there. I would be honored if you would donate to MS in my name. Here’s how you do it. Go to the MS150 site. Go to the Donate tab and type in my name: Bill Grandi. It will show you my name and click on View. Yeah…you get a picture of me and Dave. I’m the good looking one. 🙂 Above the picture is DONATE TO BILL. Click there and follow the directions. And just to be clear: I receive nothing from this except the satisfaction of riding for a good cause. All donations go to MS Research.

Marge says thanks. Kirby says thanks. All the MS folks say thanks. And I say thanks. I’d like to blow the lid off the donation box. (Note: I received permission from both Marge and Kirby to share their story).

Inspiration

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

I had planned on posting this earlier in the day but life happened. Unfortunately, it was not a good interruption. 🙁

I didn’t get to ride yesterday as I had hoped but had a chance to get out this morning. It was sweltering at 6:15 and I questioned the wisdom of riding when I looked out and saw some fog. But then I rationalized it as being fog over land not roads. 🙂 Oh…the joys of justification!  Anyway, I went out. I hated not riding yesterday but figured it was what Jo wanted so…  Plus if I had not ridden today I would have missed some scenes like these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are a bit fuzzy since I took them while I was riding. The first you can see the fog over farmland. The second you can see the fog with the sun peaking through from behind the trees in the distance.  The latter shows you how the sun has burned the fog away maybe less than 1/2 hour later than the second one.

There is something about riding early. The heat index is to be over 100 today plus they are saying a chance of showers around noon. So I chose to switch my schedule around: work on a sermon very early, ride with sweat making its presence known but also be absorbed by my cycling clothes, a shower, then come back to the office. As I said, there is something about riding that early. The sound of very few cars, the birds coming awake, and my (labored) breathing as I climb the hills. And views of God’s wonderful creation waking up.

One final picture: I had to stop for this one because it was to my side. It reminded me of a movie. Can you guess which one? Hint: “If you build it, he will come.”

They used to say “Knee high by the 4th of July.” I think this corn sort of obliterated that saying.  Have a great day!

Direction

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Your viewpoint will often affect what you do. For example here are two pictures from my morning ride today. I got up, showered, dressed then sat down to do my Quiet Time (which involves my New Morning Mercies). Before I started I checked the weather on my phone and it wasn’t supposed to rain until 9:00. That was a change from when i went to bed (supposed to start at 3:00). So I did my Quiet Time, gathered my cycling clothes, came to the office to enter my devotion, then got dressed for a ride. Below are 2 pictures from my ride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one on the left is a cropped selfie looking behind me. The one on the right is looking ahead of me. I rode anyway hoping the weather man (for once) was right.  I was going in the direction of picture #2. Even if he wasn’t right, I knew I could find shelter pretty quickly on my route or if I dared…make a dash for the office. I turned around at the 10 mile mark, rode another mile and a half and saw this:

Yeah, that was rain. Fortunately, it was more south of where I was riding. I’m glad I did not let the appearance of rain stop me from my ride. My blogging friend, Martha, wrote about directions here.  I’m reminded of the Scriptures in several different places:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

It is vitally important that we get our directions for the day from the correct source. I like to start my day in the Word. Today, may the Father be your guide. May His Word be your direction.

Did I get rained on? Well…there was a spit or two (rain not a driver) but it didn’t go any further. When I was done with my 20 miles, the only “wet” was my sweat. Now…time for a nap. 🙂

Refreshment

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

My idea of refreshment and your idea of refreshment could be is probably different. For some it is a sit down in front of the TV. Or maybe it is a lawn chair or hammock and a good book. For others it may be yard sales (can you say gag?). Or maybe it is a quiet evening with your spouse or children or someone you love.

Mine? Well can you spell B.I.C.Y.C.L.E? Yeah…I know. How can that be a refreshment? “That just makes me tired thinking of it.” I respect your wacky haywire feelings.  I really do. I live with someone who shares your thoughts. She would just as soon my bike would turn to be covered in mothballs as to be able to be ridden.

Of course, she and I disagree. Good thing love overcomes HER crazy thinking. You know? I have tried to get her sane but no-o-o-o-o-o-o. I think I am getting an award for being the most patient person when it comes to listening to others’ thoughts about me riding a bike. 🙂

I rode this morning (Tuesday). It has been sweltering…like in the 90s with humidity in the stratosphere. I went to the Y yesterday because I knew I planned to ride today. I rode early this morning because I was heading to our church camp where we had 18 campers and faculty involved in camp and wilderness camp. I left at 6:15 as soon as it was light enough to safely ride so I could back to the office by 8:00 then head home for a shower. About 7 miles into the ride (about 6:45) I took these pictures. I took them while riding so they aren’t the best. And yes, I was on a back road where I saw no traffic. There are some simple pleasures an early morning ride gives. Some refreshment one can miss. I saw this and thought of Lamentations 3:22: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your way of refreshment? What time of the day is your favorite?

VacationThoughts

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

While on vacation this past week, I continued reading and writing. I’d like to share some of what I read:

“Passion is a popular word choice among individuals  expressing strong commitment. The reality is ‘passion’ without action is meaningless…God doesn’t call us to big words. He calls us to big actions that point others to Him.”  (Quote from Godspeed-Ride On! #5)

“That’s why the Christian should not fear death. With Jesus, death is not the end. With Jesus and His crucifixion, death, in fact, is dead!” (Quoted from Godspeed– #6)

“‘All circumstances’ doesn’t leave us much room for interpretation. God knows what He is doing and giving thanks in ‘all’ is a practical, meaningful way of handing things over to Him.” (Godspeed-#7)

Back on May 22 a friend and I went to see a movie called “Godspeed.”  It was a true story of two men who did the RAAM (Race Across America) as a two man team.  You can see more about it here. They came out with a devotional book based on their experience and what God taught them as they trained and as they raced. The quotes here come from Days 5-6-7 of that devotion.

The quotes were meaningful to me. Which one did you like?

 

Dubious

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Some memories are, shall we say, dubious. My post today is in memory of one of those dubious anniversaries-ones that remind you of something you are not so fond of.

One year ago today this happened to me.  The date is today. The day is yesterday. So I guess it depends on how you look at anniversary’s as to how you will see this. Doesn’t matter though. It happened and it began a spiral downward in the health department but it also began a very, very slow process of spiritual awakening and renewal (which actually took on a more earnest effort in February.

I wanted to ride yesterday and today but the weather has not cooperated (nor has my life). I was busy from the time I got up to the time I laid my head on the pillow yesterday. Today, we host Dine with a Doc and then Jo and I are taking off for Sandusky, OH to visit her sister. Things are really improving there and we need to help her get a new washer/dryer (and be there for the delivery) and get her duplex ready for when she comes home.

I wanted to ride past the scene and stop for a moment of gratitude for God’s protection. I realize some will say, “Well, if God protected you why did He allow it to start with?” Fair question and all I can say is, “I don’t know. He could have but chose not to.” But I also don’t think He put His finger on the driver and said, “Hit him!” Some people are either just evil or distracted. I consider His protection because it could have been worse. He missed my spine by two inches. I shiver at what the two possibilities are with that. Yes, I just had surgery in July which was required due to a bone fragment laying on a nerve in my spine, but the reality is I could have been paralyzed with 2 more inches. So, in my case, I relish God’s protection.

The saga is ongoing. I suspect they will never find who did it. I am okay with that. He/she has to live with it. Will I ever be back to the way I was? No. Physically, I now have limitations. Mentally, I sometimes relive it and realize how close I came. Spiritually, it began a good process. It still has not been settled with the insurance company (and who knows when that will be? I refuse to get a lawyer.) So it is before me. Or is that behind me?

No matter how you look at it though, it is a dubious anniversary. One I’m grateful to be celebrating. And I can also say I love Jo more today than I ever have. She’s my “knight” in shining armor. I put her through the wringer this past year and she stood solid as a rock. Cried a bit. Okay…a lot. But she stood strong next to me. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jo’s sister does not have wifi so I may be out of the loop for the next couple of days. I’ll use my phone to approve comments but I despise using it to make comments. Please be patient. And thanks for your prayers.

WrapUp

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

I’m anticipating being back to work by today (Thursday) but just in case, I wanted this post to be ready to go. {Note: I am not at the office. I need to be careful in what I do and where I go}.

It is easy to dismiss my story because well…you have heard it before. But like you, every event in my life makes up my story. I read recently that my life is not an autobiography being written by me, but a biography written by God. There is a scene near the end of Back to the Future 3 where Jennifer opens the paper from the future that said Marty was fired and it was blank. When she asks him about it Doc Brown says, “That’s because your future hasn’t been written yet. Nobody’s has.  Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one…both of you!” I like the concept because the choices I make will affect my future. I do disagree with the premise of the movie quote though because God is the Author of my future and according to Psalm 37:23: “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way.” Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.My story will always include two bike accidents-one where my life and health were almost taken by a cowardly driver (11/7/16) and one where God spared my life (2/17/17) after I did an “endo,” breaking my collarbone, 3 ribs and splitting my helmet in 3 places while doing a face plant and who knows what else.

You have also read two other stories this week. A tragic one by David, the head of 3FeetPlease where he and his family lost their best friend. You also heard from Floyd, who lost a childhood friend to a cycling accident and almost lost his wife. Those are their stories.

You have a story also. Some of it has been written. Every hurt, every scene of agony, every incident of happiness, joy and laughter…all of life makes up your story. Tell it with the realization that your story is not done. There is more coming!

So I close out this Safety Week thanking David and Floyd for their stories. I thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’ll be drawing names at the end of the week to see who wins the bears and also who won one of the two shirts. I’ll be contacting you for your size and physical address so David can send your shirt to you and so I can send you your bear (if you won).

Thanks again for joining me this week. And remember: 3 Feet Please.

 

SafetyWeek

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

I am writing this particular post on Sunday and plan to post it early Sunday afternoon. I think many of you know I will be having surgery Monday morning (10:00 EST) so if you think about it prayers would be appreciated. I trust the doctors and nurses, but also want the Great Physician’s guidance for them and healing for me. Jo and Tami will be waiting so please say a prayer for them as well.

I’m not sure what kind of week I will have. Up to this point in my life, God has granted me the ability to recover quickly from surgery. I’m praying this will be the same. I know there will be restrictions and I have absolutely NO DOUBT Jo will make sure I hold to them-30 days of no cycling (her particular favorite); no lifting more than 10 pounds; and no bending at the waist. I think the latter will be the hardest.

Why surgery? In spite of being told to stop telling my story, I can’t and I won’t. After all it is now my story.  On Monday, November 7, 2016 I was riding my bicycle when I was hit by a cowardly hit-n-run driver. I recovered fairly quickly from that…or so I thought. There were some immediate effects and then some residual effects which showed up later. One of them was the back issue I am now having to have surgery for. It is my understanding the doctor will be going in to shave the disc as well as the bone spurs which appear to be impinging the nerves. Hopefully, 45 minutes or so later, it will be over with and my nerve pain an issue in the past.

My incident with disaster has led me to become involved in and an advocate for 3FeetPlease. I have distributed stickers, shirts, information, and bears to local bike shops in the hopes that Indiana will join other states (like Ohio and Arizona and others) to enact a “3 Feet Law.” To help me out this week I have asked some others for their help. My first guest will be Dave Waechter, who leads the 3FeetPlease organization. I’ve asked him to write something I can post. His story is gut-wrenching. I have also asked someone many of you are familiar with, Floyd, from theregoI to write a post. He has two stories within a story. Dave will post late Monday/early Tuesday and Floyd will post late Tuesday/early Wednesday.

I’m also having a give away. I am randomly giving away this bear from any who comment or respond to any of the posts this week. I have 6 bears to give away so the more you respond, the better chance you have. Also, thanks to Dave’s graciousness, two T-shirts will be given away (one by him and one by me). If you win, I’ll contact you and ask for your size and address and send it to Dave who will mail it to you.

THE BEAR:

THE SHIRT:

All week long. You have a chance to hear some terrific stories. You also have a chance to win a bear for yourself or as a gift (which I just did and hope to have a picture for you).

Meanwhile, your prayers for surgery and recovery will be much appreciated.

Trials

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Like most people, I am not fond of trials. I’ve had my share of them recently and I can honestly say, I’m a little tired of them. I know…I know…mine are not nearly as bad as many. I try really hard to guard against feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity. Sometimes I feel like this back issue is kicking my you-know-what all over the place. The MRI showed a bulge and possibly 2 nerve impingements. I go to a neurosurgeon on Friday, the 30th, for a consultation. Amazing what a car at 60 mph can do! ‘Course I used to tell people I’m alive and walking.  2″ more and one of those might not be a reality.  Anyway…

I read this from New Morning Mercies last Saturday:

Through difficult relationships and circumstances, God works to expose your heart so you will seek the grace that can be found only in Him…The trials in our lives exist not because He has forgotten us, but because He remembers us and is changing us by His grace.

Admittedly, I’m glad He remembers me. 🙂 But honestly?  I sometimes wonder if He could show it another way. You know what I mean?  I don’t mean to sound disrespectful of God and the way He works. Just showing my humanness.  I won’t stop trusting Him, I won’t stop leaning on Him. I won’t stop relying on His grace. I’d just like my memories to be just a tad bit more on the lighter side.  🙂

Explanation

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Explanation or Excuse?

It has been a few days since I last posted a blog. I could say it was dry mind disease. But that would not be true. I have a lot of stuff going around in my head these days. Some good. Some not so good. 🙂  I could say it was “I have been so busy going from this person to that person in ministry.” But that would not be true either (although there has been some of that).

Truth is: I have been sort of preoccupied. After being gone to PA to see my brother & his wife (Rob & Joy) and my elderly father, I have found life not slowing down at all. I played catch up for several days. Throw in two doctor appointments due to the bicycle wrecks; an afternoon spent driving to and from a hospital an hour away; being a husband and a father; an apparent sciatic nerve issue due to the November wreck; and barely finding time for myself, I caught myself chasing my tail.

So with everything going on, the blog took a back seat. Sorry about that. Since the staff is going to lunch soon (and I am paying for the secretary’s since I forgot to honor her on Administrative Professional Day), I want to leave you with a few quotes:

“Discernment- the ability to tell the difference between right, and almost right.”  Given to me by someone after my sermon on discernment. (Quoted by Priscilla Shirer in her Armor of God Bible study. Original quote by Spurgeon).

“I rest assured that I am loved by a holy God. His will for me is always right, good and true.”

“Sinners tend to want to author their own moral codes.”  (Both quotes by Paul David Tripp in New Morning Mercies-May 10)

Just give you something to think about and chew on. Hope you have a great day.