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Crutches Faith

Surprise! You will now be a shut-in for several weeks. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200.

Although my feet are not my best feature, I thought it was appropriate to take a picture of my ankle brace next to the geraniums I might not be able to plant as soon as I’d like because of …(dramatic music builds)…an ankle sprain!

Ok, it’s not that dramatic, but it it has been a pain in the, well, ankle, and has dramatically changed my life.

Been there?  Done that?

Until two days ago at 11:30 I was an active,  fit 4o- something year old (47 – Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.) training to be an RPM instructor at my local gym.

RPM = group bicycle spinning class = hard, sweaty challenging fun with a lot of sweating.  Did I already mention the sweating?

RPM!! click pic for source

So, when I suggested to my 16 yr. old son that we jog as we were hiking along a local nature trail, it was no big deal until my son heard me screaming behind him and saw me sitting on the trail yelling incomprehensible things with a “colorful expression” thrown in that no self-respecting devotional blog writer ought to be saying.    sigh…

And just like that, Fit 40-something meets Hobbling Grandma.  sigh again…

I could easily give in to despair…

but I’ve decided to pull myself up by my biking shorts and make the best of it.

Afterall, the Lord of the trails allowed this path to fall before me, or me to fall on it, and though it looks a bit crooked and scary at the outset, I’m trusting that I will end up in a better place than when I started.

Here’s some verses I’m going to lean on while I recover to help me walk a little stronger, faith-wise.  Each says something encouraging about ankles, or paths. 🙂

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”  (Psalm 18:36)

” All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.   Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”  (Hebrews 12:11-13)

click pic for source

Let’s Pray:

Father, you are my coach, my trainer, my instructor, my Lord, and my friend.

Even though I’ve shed a few tears bawled, I thank you for this trial because I know from the Bible that hardships grow us up and teach us to persevere. (James 1:2-4)

Help me to trust in You at all times, even on crutches.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Wanna meet The Coach?  His name is Jesus, and you can lean on him when you’re feeling weak, like a crutch, only better. 🙂  Click the pic below for a quick introduction:

me, 2nd day on crutches

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Bike Ride Across America: Campfire under the Arizona moon

Well, I’ve been biking with my husband more than blogging, lately, so we’ve made it quite a ways down the road since my last post.   In fact, we’ve crossed the border into Arizona and are almost to Tucson, in a little town called Benson.

click pic for Benson, AZ facts from podunk.com

My husband is, anyway.  I’m, actually, 5 miles behind him, which means I’ll just have to pitch a tent and spend the night with the rattlers and scorpions in the desert, till I can catch up in the morning.

That’s because this isn’t a real Bike Ride Across America.  It’s a virtual one where we ride out the miles on country roads around our Midwestern town and log our progress on a map to see where we’d be if we really were riding Rt. 10 from the Atlantic to the Pacific across the south.

Our day’s goal was to ride 50 miles, which Dave achieved, but I had stopped at McDonald’s for a coffee break after the first 10, while Dave rode around some more, which left me 5 miles short at the end of the ride and since we had an appointment to get showered up for, there was no time to make up the miles, which leaves  me out under the stars  while Dave’s in town mingling with the Benson-ites!

I wonder if he’s in one of the taverns singing the “Benson, Arizona Song” with the locals.  It’s a real song.  I found it on Youtube:

Not as much fun as I’m having, I’m sure, since I found THIS friendly group of singers to share a campfire with under a beautiful Arizona moon:

In the real world, it’s nice to have friends, and in the Christian day to day, it’s vital:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!…  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”    ~~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Well, while I’m stranded out here under the stars, why don’t you join me for a bit around the warmth of God’s Word to pray for our friends.  Who knows, maybe one or two of them have fallen down and could use a little help getting back up again…

Stop! Drop! and Pray!

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Father in heaven, thank you for my friends.

Father, “out of [Your] glorious riches, please strengthen [them] with power through [Your] Spirit in their inner [selves]”. (Ephesians 3:16)

Please give [them] a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that [they] may know [You] better. (Ephesians 1:17)

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Do you know the Lord?  If not, click the pic below to be introduced.  He’d love to share His fire with you!

campfire chalk drawing by Helen South**

**click HERE to see source for campfire flames above.

Bike Across America: New Mexico


New Mexico! “Land of Enchantment”.  After a tiring 85 mile ride we finally crossed the border from Texas to  New Mexico!

Click pic for source

(Not really, just pretend.  My husband and I are on a virtual bicycle tour of the southern states.  We ride around our corner of the midwest and log our progress on a google map as if we really were riding through Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and now New Mexico.  We’re hoping to dip our front tires into the Pacific by October.)

When I think of New Mexico I think of the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! Photo by Imran Mansuri, click pic to see more of his lovely photographs

For nine days, colorful balloons of all shapes and sizes fill the blue skies above Albuquerque, NM.

I’ve never been up in a balloon myself but someone said it is SO peaceful up there in the air; no noise, just beauty all around and PEACE. All  problems seem to melt away up in the sky.

Balloon Fiesta! an Imran Mansuri photo. Click pic to see more.

That’s how I want to be, faith-wise.  A Hot Air Balloon!  I want to be just filled with faith.

I want faith that floats!

Stop! Drop! and Pray!


Let’s Pray:

Oh, Father in heaven, thank you for loving me.  You are the “author and perfector of faith”, the Bible says.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Please fill me with faith.

I want Hot Air Balloon faith that lifts me up into your arms where all is peaceful.

And, speaking of “lifting up”…

Psalm 25 encourages me to lift up my soul to you, O Lord.  So, I will lighten my load, by lifting up my soul to you right now.

I know fears  weigh my faith down, Father, so I’m going to toss them out of the basket to You so I can fly higher with You.

I’m afraid of this:____________  and this:_______(fill in the blank. Just spill out your heart to the Lord.  Tell him what scares you, what keeps your faith on the ground instead of “up in the clouds” with him.)

And I’m worried about this:_______ and this:________

You told the disciples, Jesus,  “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” (John 14:27) I want to be filled with Your peace, Jesus.

Thank you, Father, for lightening my load and filling me with your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~~ John 14:27

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~~ 1 Peter 5:6-7

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”  ~~ Psalm 56:3

Do you know the Lord? Click on pic below for quick intro.  God’s like the Balloon Fiesta, only instead of balloons, He accepts people of all colors, shapes, and sizes 🙂

Darth Vader Hot Air Balloon created by Benoît Lambert. See link below to read more about it.

**Darth Vader Balloon story

**Special thanks to Imran Mansuri for allowing me to use his lovely balloon pictures!

**Praying Cat from HERE

On the Road Again…

Well, my hubby and I are back on the road tomorrow early to continue our…(dramatic music)

Ride Across America!

— our virtual tour of the Southern states.  We do the miles in and around our midwestern town and track our progress on a google map.  We started in Florida back in March (pretend) and are now in Texas, where’s we’ve stuck in Van Horn, near the western border,  for almost a week now because my husband has had to work overtime back here in Illinois.

Confused?  Scroll down a few posts to catch up.

Now where was I?

Oh, so we’ll fall leap out of bed at 4 am and be sluggishly eagerly pedaling 30 minutes later down highway 10.

By Saturday, Lord willing and if the tires hold out, we’ll be 80 to 100 miles further down the road, soon to be entering New Mexico on our way to San Diego, CA.

Riding that many miles takes fuel, so we eat a quick breakfast to start out right and snack along the way.

To ride through life, the Christian needs fuel, too.

Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.  ~~ Jeremiah 15:16

A quick read in the morning to start out right (longer when time permits) and snacking on Scripture throughout the day keeps our faith strong.

And we need to talk to and listen to God.  He’s got important things to say, like, “I love you! I love you!  I love you!”  And, “I’m with you!  I’m with you! I’m with you!”

“You’re not alone.”  “We’re in this together.”  “Listen to me, follow me, and share my love with others.”

It’s the day to day pedaling with God that gets us closer and closer to the goal:

LOVE!!!

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.”  ~~ Proverbs 8:35

Stop, Drop, and Pray!

Let’s Pray:

But first, a quick note:

I LOVE to pray God’s words back to Him.

Why?

Because there’s POWER in it.

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore (who IS a Texas woman, by the way, so it’s fitting I should mention her since we’re pretend biking through her state.)

Anyway, Beth Moore said that because both are so powerful, prayer AND God’s Word, when you combine them together, it’s like strapping two sticks of dynamite together.  KABOOM!!!

Though we may not hear it or see it, there’s an explosion in the spiritual realm.

So, let’s get to lightin’ that fuse….

Oh, Father in heaven, thank you for Your Word.  It’s a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my way. (Psalm 119:105)

Your word revives me. (Psalm 119:50)

And I am BLESSED when I follow You and seek You with all my heart. (Psalm 119:2)

Teach me, Father.  Give me understanding.  Direct me in the paths of Your commands, and may I just be delighted to follow your lead. (Psalm 19:33-35)

In Jesus’ name, Amen!!!!

Do you know the Lord, or are you biking solo?  Click on the pic below for a quick introduction.  Come on!  You need your “helmet of salvation” in place as you ride out the rest of your life:

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God." Ephesians 6:17

*****Cute doggie picture from: Cycleicio.us

Bike Across America, Part IV: Stuck in Van Horn

Stuck in Van Horn! We’ve had to park our bikes this week in Illinois (Dave has to work overtime), so, on our virtual

Ride across America!!! (thunder, lightning crash, epic music)

we’re spending a few extra days in the one-road, desert town of Van Horn, TX:

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

Ever been stuck? I’m learning sign language when I’m not biking, and here’s the sign for “stuck

First this...

then this ( from http://www.lifeprint.com)

Looks painful.

It can mean “trapped”, too.

Ever felt stuck or trapped?

Maybe not in a real desert, but sometimes my soul can feel pretty parched and my faith dried up with doubt and worry, like I’m stranded in “a dry and weary land, where no water is.” (Psalm 63)

But there’s ALWAYS God.

And sometimes He speaks to me more in the desert than by a stream.

I hear him more clearly in the heat, than in the shade.

In the dry times, God BECOMES my stream in the desert

Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  ~~ Isaiah 35:6

Glenn Spring Stream Pool, Chihuahuan Desert, click pic for source

O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; ~~ Psalm 63 KJV

I need you every hour...

Let’s Pray: Oh, Father, I need Thee every hour, every minute.  Thank you for loving me and guiding me through hard times, even carrying me when needed.

Oh, Father, when my soul is burning up with anger and frustration, may the “burning sand become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. [ May] gladness and joy…overtake [me], and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:7b, 10

In Jesus’ name, Amen!!

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” ~~ Isaiah 35:1

Feeling stuck?  Click the pic below to meet the great Un-sticker of your soul.

photo credit: Matt Champlin. Click on link below to see more of his awe-inspiring photos of God's awe-inspiring handiwork

Photo above by Matt Champlin ~~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattchamplin/4565531214/in/set-72057594092009327/

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)