Archive | July 2010

Bike Across America, Part III: Vanhorn, TX

Welcome!

Quick, put on your helmet, and join my husband and I on our virtual bike tour of Texas as we …. (dramatic music)

Bike Across America!

We left the oasis of Balmorhea by first light to beat the Texas sun. (If you’ve been following this series, you know this is just pretend.  We really left our Midwestern neighborhood and rode the bluffs and valley roads along the Illinois)  Here’s a cell phone pic of our real ride in the early am.

See my husband, Dave riding toward me and the moon still up in the sky to the left? It was a beautiful morning.

But, on our virtual ride along Route 10 in Texas, heading to San Diego, there’s no pretty river in sight, nor shade, for that matter, and,  instead of oaks and maples lining the road, it’s desert brush and sand as far the weary eye can see.

After 38 miles of pedaling, we ride into the one-road town of Van Horn, population 2,435…

Van Horn, TX; population 2435. Click pic for source.

Kind of a humble welcome, considering the eloquent intro in the visitor’s guide:

“The story of Van Horn, Texas, is the story of the frontier…of independence, opportunity, and wide open spaces…”

Not to mention the lovely picture on their website:

Click on the purple letters to join us for a  walk along the main street of Van Horn We’ll be looking for a place to park our bikes, and fill our empty stomachs.

We quickly find  a local sit-down.  It’s cozy and cool as we flip through a traveler’s guide together and sip our cokes.  The guide tells us the mountain in the photo above is “El Capitan” in the Guadalupe Mountain Range, 63 miles to the North.

Here’s an 1899 view of it.  See the carriage, front lower left?

El Capitan, taken by U.S. Geological Survey, 1899. Guadalupe Peak to the right is "the highest point in Texas" according to Wikipedia. Click pic for source and information

and a more modern view:

click pic to see more pics of the area from photographer, Treye Rice

Here’s a map showing the Guadalupe Mountain range and Highway 10, the road we’re virtually traveling:

click pic for source and more info.

And here’s some of the wide open spaces we heard tell of in the travel brochure:

Texas hill country, Treye Rice, click pic for source

Mountains and “wide open spaces”, a nice combination AND a nice reminder of these cool sips of refreshment from God’s Word, perfect verses for the road-weary Christian:

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.”  ~~ Psalm 40:2

Three Mile (left) and Five Mile Mountain (right), near Van Horn, TX. Click pic for source.

“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”  ~~ Isaiah 40:3-4

"All men are like grass..." from Enchanted Rock State Park, TX. Treye Rice, photographer, click pic to see more

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” ~~Isaiah 40:6b-8

Do you know the One who made the mountains?  Click pic below for a quick introduction:

Turkey Peak, another lovely photo by Treye Rice. See below for source.

To see more of Treye Rice’s photos from Texas and other parts of the world, click HERE

Ride Across America II: Balmorhea TX

Balmorhea TX.  Ever heard tell of it? (said with Texas drawl)  Me neither.  But that’s where me and my bike-riding husband are at this point in our virtual…

Ride Across America” (dramatic music)

We do the miles around our midwestern town and plot our progress on a Google map. 🙂

We started in Florida in March (pretend) and, after a 72 mile ride yesterday (real), we’re in Balmorhea,  pronounced: Bal more AY

Balmorhea is a tiny little town.  BUT, Balmorheans can boast of one thing that not many a small town in Texas can lay claim to:

an oasis!

Balmorhea State Park, click pic for source and info

People come from miles around to swim, fish and even scuba dive in the vast watering hole at Balmorhea State Park.  See?

Shade and water — ahhhhh…– refreshing after a long ride.

Why don’tcha sit a spell with me here in the shade of God’s love, and take a long, cool sip of His Word:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” ~~ Psalm 91:1-2

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”  ~~ Psalm 63:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.”  ~~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Do you know the Lord?  Click on the pic below for a quick introduction.  You’ll be glad you dove in:

Picture stolen, er, happily borrowed from:  http://deansmarine.com/jax/

Ride Across America, Part I: Sheffield, TX

So, my husband and I just passed through Sheffield, Texas.

Pecos River Bridge; Sheffield, TX (borrowed from Matthew Lee High on Flickr) Thanks, Matthew! click pic to see more of his pictures and the history he's uncovered about them

Not really.  Just pretend.  It was my husband’s idea.  We’re on an imaginary bike ride across America this summer.

This madness started back in March when we dipped our back tires into the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Jacksonville Beach, FL. "Jax Beach" to the locals. 🙂 Click pic for source

(again, just pretend.  It was really our local midwest park 😦 )

And now we’re in Texas, making our way to San Diego where we’ll dip our front tires into the Pacific!

It ain’t easy on some of our long rides. (100 miles in one day has been our longest)

My hands and wrists start to hurt from gripping the handle bars.  My seat hurts.  My legs start to scream.

But, the funny thing is, at my worst moments, pain/frustration/ discomfort-wise, is when I think my best thoughts.

C.S. Lewis said, “God’s speaks to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain.”  or something like that.

I don’t know if God exactly shouts at me, but He definitely speaks to me when I’m SUF-FER-ING!

Take, for instance, the time I was in the tunnel.

The tunnel under the highway on our favorite bike trail

Before tiny lights were added on one of the sides, it could be pretty scary in the middle.

It would look like this for a bit:

scarey!

We couldn’t really see what was in front of us.

Now it’s a little better, but not much.

But, as we put one foot in front of the other and push forward, things lighten up:

almost there...

until, finally, we reach the light again

on the other side.

In the dark, when I was a little scared, Jesus spoke to me about faith.

“Now faith is…the evidence of things not seen.” ~~ Hebrews 11:1

He reminded me how sometimes, when all I can see is the dark, I think there’s no point in going on.  Nothing will ever be nice again.  Despair.

But, over and over, the Bible assures me, that if I push ahead, things will brighten up.

Ever notice how many good things follow that word “push”?

door knob

doors open to fun and exciting places like malls, hotels, restaurants.

Babies are born.

Push in some quarters, and out comes a soda, or a candy bar.

A favorite summer treat is a push-up:

And when we push ourselves to take the next step of faith, and the next, and the next,

light will come!

So, PUSH!

Push yourself to read your Bible every day.

To pray.

To enjoy a favorite hobby. (God gave us those as nurturing gifts for our souls)

Serve someone.

Pray for someone.

Fast sometimes.

Memorize and meditate on a favorite verse.

Hang around the Christians sometimes. (They help us push on and comfort us in the dark  🙂 )

There’s lots of links to the right that will help you push ahead toward the light, step by step.

P.S. Notice the Pecos Bridge sign above says 15 ft, 5 in.?  God inspired me to see if mayber there wasn’t a 15:5 verse somewhere in the Bible that might fit perfectly with this post.  I thought to look in Romans first, and sure enough:

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (oh, wait, that’s :4)

Here’s :5 — “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement…”

See?  that’s where the hope and encouragement comes from that gives us the faith to push ahead –God and the Scriptures!

In the dark?  Read the Bible!  That’s the bridge that’ll take you safely over the depths of despair, and into the light of day!

Lego of Your Worries…

I saw this Lego sculpture at an art museum recently.  It was so cool I had to snap a pic with my cell phone:

Yellow, by Nathan Sawaya, click the pic to see more on his website

It reminded me of a couple favorite verses:

“..pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.” Lamentations 2:19 NIV

1 Peter 5:7 says it like this:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”

Now, A LOT of stuff fills my heart and most of it wouldn’t make the list of things we’re supposed to be thinking of:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

So, if I know what’s good for me, I’ll pour out the bad to God so He can fill me up with His good.

Let’s give it a try:

Let’s take off our masks and be real with God 🙂

Mask, by Nathan Sawaya. Click pic to see more where this came from

Pray with me:

Oh, Father, thank you for loving me and giving me a Counselor, the Holy Spirit (John 14:6)   Since He’s living inside of me (1 Corinthians 6:19), He’s already intimately acquainted with all that’s on my heart (Psalm 139:1-3), so there’s no point in hiding it.

Here’s what I’ve been anxious about lately _____________….. (Take a deep breath, and fill in the blank.  Just “pour your heart out like water” like in the Lamentations verse above.)

Thank you that I can come to You when I am weary and heavy laden and find rest for my soul. (Matthew 11:28)

Fill me with Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

House Building 101. Legos :)

James May's Lego House

A LEGO house?  Really?  See for yourself.  There’s a Lego cat inside, and slippers, and a big chess board and, and… well, see for yourself:

A lot of exhausting work and Lego-love built this house.  It reminded me of another house.  One that Jesus said everyone ought to build for themselves.  And what are the bricks and foundation made of?  Something much stronger than Lego bricks. 🙂

The House on the Rock, a Wisconsin attraction. Click on pic for source and video

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~~ Matthew 7:24-25

Lego House deconstruction. 😦 Click pic for source

The House on the Rock Prayer: Oh, Father in Heaven, thank you for Your Word, the Bible.  It’s the best blueprint for the best life I can have.

You said in the verses above that a strong life will be built on obedience.  And, it says in James (James 1:22) that hearing the Word isn’t enough.  We have to DO IT.

So, I confess that I haven’t been the best house builder.  By ignoring your Word, I’ve been using Lego bricks that can fall apart easily with the least amount of stress.

Help me to build a stronger house, an “object de art”, a house on the rock, through obedience.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

click pic for source

Here’s some bricks you might want to use to get started.  I found them when I was looking up the James verse in the prayer above:

“My dear brothers [sisters], take note of this:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  (James 1: 19-20)

Busy, busy, busy me

Sorry, Gloriadelia readers, I’ve been BUSY with summer.  Bike riding, chillaxing, family reunioning.  But blogging?  Noooooooo…..

Well, click on “Pike’s Peak” over to the right in the tag cloud to read about last summer’s vacation, and the lessons learned.

Just like the mountains of Colorado, those posts are worth revisiting. 🙂

“When I say I am a Christian..”

What does it mean to be a Christian? I’ve read two inspiring answers to that question recently.  I shared one yesterday (Click HERE to read it)

And heeeeeeerrrrrreeeee’s  #2

I found it when I was looking for a photo to illustrate addiction on THIS post.  Here’s the photo I found:

A flickr photo. Click image for source

I found the pic on Flickr, and, as a bonus, this poem, too, that the photographer had written about himself:

When I say…”I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I am saved.” I’m whispering “I was lost!” That is why I chose this way.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need someone to be my guide.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect, my flaws are all too visible but God believes I’m worth it.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain I have my share of heartaches which is why I seek His name.

When I say…”I am a Christian” I do not wish to judge. I have no authority. I only know I’m loved.” ~~ Bill Wasser, OnlybyGrace

Isn’t that cool?  Do you know that You are loved by Someone who thinks you’re worth it?  Click on the pic below to be introduced:

another flickr photo by "OnlybyGrace" Click the link below to see more in this series.

A New day photo series by “OnlybyGrace”