Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

beach run 2013

Recently we returned from our Beach Run 2013 trip.  With each trip my admiration grows for those who travel across the country by motorcycle.

Our trip  was amazing.  Our destination this time was Virginia Beach, Atlantic Beach and Myrtle Beach, but it isn’t just about the destination.  It is about the journey.

It rained going through the mountains heading to the coast.  Sunshine through the mountains on the way back.

taking a break - lots of rain in the mountains

taking a break – lots of rain in the mountains

on the return trip we even had a few tunnels - this one was also a huge curve

 return trip we  had sunshine and a few tunnels – this one had a surprise curve inside

Our older cycle with Iowa plates brought about  some interesting conversations.  One guy’s comment still makes me chuckle.  “You aren’t from Iowa are you?”    Or the comment, “How old is that bike?”

In my last blog I mentioned about ‘walking a mile in my shoes‘ and I guess that is why my admiration just keeps getting larger with each trip.  Before we took our first long trip up the North Shore in MN, my thoughts were about how cool it would be and just how much fun it was going to be.  It was all of that, but it was so much more.

With each trip I am getting an education.  I am finding out what I am made of.  Just when I think that I have a great endurance – the winds of OK and TX challenge that.  When I think that a little rain just makes it that much more of an adventure, I come through a torrential  downpour with my contact in my eye but not where it belonged.   I  now have a full face shield.

When we have topped over 450 miles in a day, I then talk with someone who puts in over 500 miles day after day.  Yes, my admiration grows.

My faith also grows.  Leaving the Grand Canyon last year, driving through barren land for miles with nothing – temperatures rising above 100 causing the heat to bounce off the black surface — yes my dependence on God and my trust in Him grew.  (To read about that trip – click here)    The bike just sailed through that barren land and purred through the mountains.

Miles and miles with nothing but the sound of the wind, the purr of the engine, the traffic sounds, an occasional conversation with Curt (we do not have mics) — gives me lots of time to think, pray and sing.

I have come to the conclusion that boredom must be a mind-set because not once have I been bored while  sitting very still on the back of the bike.  My son (Andrew) says that boredom is a symptom of the unmotivated.  Hmmm.

view outside our window at Virginia beach

view outside our window at Virginia beach

3 of the 5 nights at the beaches we had an ocean view -- 2 of those mornings I got up early enough for the sunrise - Gorgeous

3 of the 5 nights at the beaches we had an ocean view — 2 of those mornings I got up early enough for the sunrise – Gorgeous

 

got to enjoy the moon the first night at the ocean

the moon combined with the sound of the ocean – incredible

 

Myrtle beach -God blessed us with an empty lot right next door to our  ocean front view condo - the price was shockingly low - Thanks God!

Myrtle beach – God blessed us with an empty lot right next door to where we were staying.        Thanks God!

 

soaked it all in -- 3 oceans - each one a little bit different but the same ocean.

soaked it all in — 3 oceans – each one a little bit different but still the same ocean.

I have learned much about myself, about the man I married and about the God I serve (with all my heart) while riding on the back of our motorcycle.

To sum it up I have learned that I am a lot tougher than  I think and when it comes to ministry –  there are people, no matter how much they love me, who  still won’t understand the price that is paid.   In thinking about this I realize that God thinks outside the box 🙂 and brings along encouragement in surprising ways.

I have learned that the man I married is so much more than the guy I fell in love with all those years ago.  We are in this life together.  We are a priority to each other.

While riding the motorcycle I have used that time to cultivate  my awareness of the presence of God.  I see Him and His fingerprints all around me.  God’s goodness, His love for me, and His way of working all things out — I grow more and more in AWE of who He is.

til next time

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June 8, 2013 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

48 hours

I don’t know if it is that life seems to be flying at warp speed or hormones are all over the place (thank you perimenopause) or that some how I have shrunk the margins in my life but I am finding myself tired a lot lately.

Margins are necessary spaces  that give me room to breathe.  Just as margins and spaces are needed when writing a letter, margins are needed in life.  It is allowing myself some wiggle room.  Recognizing necessary boundaries is another way to look at it.  What it isn’t is filling up my days with so much activity that exhaustion is a  common result.

IfIweretowritealetterusingnospacesitwouldbedifficulttowrite.

I want to live life to the fullest.  Yet in life if I am not careful I  meet myself  coming and going.   My  to-do list can stretch on endlessly.   The demands of the job, others, or demands I put on myself can be mentally exhausting, not to mention unhealthy.   Even fun activities require energy.

My wonderfully smart husband decided that it was time to slow things down and take some time off.   We cleared our schedule and took some much-needed time off for rest.

48 hours to be exact.   After work on Thursday we drove out to the campsite.  Nothing on the agenda for the next 2 days except rest and relaxation.

Going from full speed ahead to coming to a halt was a bit difficult for me.  Then add to it that we were the only camper in the whole park.  Yes, that was just a bit creepy for me.  Not to mention that  it was rainy and cold.    However, Curt put on a movie.  (Yes, we were roughing it.)  The campers heater finally kicked in  and some how I made it til morning.  Everything looks better in the morning.

We have this great deal, my husband and I.

Camping has not always been a good experience for me.  In fact some of the worst times of my life have been while camping.   So, the arrangement we have is that if I will go camping with him then he will be my knight in shining armor and I am queen of the camper/tent.  This particular trip I was mentally exhausted and he was indeed my knight in shining armor.

In addition to watching a couple of movies, I read an entire Louis L’Amour book and did some studying on rest and the importance of proper margins/boundaries in my life.

Chris and Galina came out for supper Friday night.

We played UNO and Galina was on a winning streak.

While Curtis on the other hand liked to collect cards.

As you may notice we don’t sit next to our mate.  The reason for this is that the men in my family like to play cut throat and it is just better for the spouses to not be on the receiving end of that.

Finally Curt did win a game.

What Curtis really  excelled  at Friday night was pie making.

Or was it pie swording?

Um that isn’t a sword, but I did feel like I needed to grab the other one for defensive maneuvers.    Boys will be boys!

On Saturday it was nice enough to sit outside.

Returning to the Merry-go-round of life it is now  up to me.  Will I allow myself to return to  charging full speed ahead or will I install some margins back into my day?  I do believe that God gave us an example to follow when it comes to resting.  Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.”    Taking time to rest is important to over all health both mentally and physically.

48 hours  – yes sometimes you just need to clear your schedule and get away!

til next time

October 21, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

in search of color

It can be easy to let schedules and demands of day-to-day living cause you to miss the beauty of Autumn.

You do not have to look far to see the creativity of our God.  It shows up in all the various changing colors not to mention the different shapes leaves come in.

Isaiah 55:12
“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

The weather is changing.

Each year we try to squeeze in a trip for the sole purpose of seeing the beautiful changing colors of Autumn.  Sometimes, if we wait too long, we miss our opportunity to see the changing colors.   A strong wind or a heavy rain can  quickly cause a tree to lose all its leaves.

Picture perfect weather along with warm temperatures made for a fantastic day to enjoy the beauty of nature.  One of the things I love most about the motorcycle is that it is an opportunity to disengage from the hectic schedules and spend one on one time with my best friend.  This year there has just not been enough of that.  Funny how we can let the demands of life crowd out doing things just for the  joy of doing them.

Nothing  quite compares to going over a grated bridge – the tires sort of vibrate and the water is rushing below you.  It is quite the experience.  This bridge crosses over into Illinois.

Since that day the temperature has dropped and at least for now there will be no cycle riding for me.

I do hope for at least one more warm up before snow.

Meanwhile Autumn is right in my backyard and inside my house!  I love decorating with fall colors.

Nature is alive with beauty.  If you haven’t taken time to notice it , I hope that you set aside some time to do just that.

til next time

October 7, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the rest of the story

The conclusion – or as Paul Harvey used to say –“the rest of the story.”

After taking a few more stops to admire the beauty of the Grand Canyon, we found ourselves on a road appearing to go nowhere and certainly the one less traveled.

It was truly the open road with plenty of solitude.

We had over 400 miles to travel if we were to make it to Steve’s.

We would go for miles and miles and miles without seeing life of any kind.

The roads were very nice – great motorcycle roads but desolate and barren described the land.  There was no shade – probably because no trees could grow there, just plenty of  sun beating down and bouncing off the pavement.  The temperature was rising.  Later we would find out that it got up to 115 degrees.

In Iowa we have deer crossing signs, but here they have Cow crossing signs.

Sure enough there were cows along the edge of the road.

It was only after we had gotten almost to Colorado that we realized that cell phone reception was non-existence in much of that area.   I am sure glad that God is who we depend on and nothing stops that connection.

Another thing we like to do is find unusual places to eat.  This was by far the strangest pizza we had on our trip.  It was fantastic.  Only draw back was the restaurant was big on fresh air, open windows and walls (yes walls) and what we wanted was air conditioning.  It had been a hot ride on the bike!

Finally we cross into Colorado.  The scenery begins to change and we are almost to Steve’s house.

When we arrive we were treated to the best Lobster I have ever eaten.    If that wasn’t enough, Jozie also fixed bacon wrapped filet mignon.  What a feast!  It was great to meet Jozie and Olivia. It had been 25 years since the guys had seen each other.  It was a wonderful reunion! 

The next  morning was our 26th anniversary.  It was also the day we went through the mountains!  We were very grateful that the clutch had been repaired back in Oklahoma.  The bike was made to travel and it took the mountains like they were just baby hills.

Absolutely gorgeous!!!  Surrounded by beauty!!!  What an experience!!

Nebraska — getting closer to home.  We were certainly glad that we did not need gas when we stopped at that station.

Ole’s Big game steak house was well worth the stop.  The food was great and the big game was impressive. 

We also stopped to check out the Pony Express.  Yes this trip was also educational.  After all, I am married to a teacher.

Speaking of educational, this place was a wealth of information.  We live on the Lincoln Highway but it took a trip through Nebraska to learn about the history of that highway.  We could have used more time here.  There was so much to see.

We are almost home.  It has been 10 days, over 3,400 miles on 2 wheels.  We had days that were filled with wonder and beauty.  We had days that were a matter of endurance training.  I learned a lot about myself and drew closer to the one who loves me most.   There is just something about being up close and personal to nature that cultivates an awareness of  God’s presence.     Truly it was a trip of a life time.

As we were pulling into our town I told Curt that I just needed a shower and a night in my own bed and then I would be ready to go again.

I was born to ride.

For part 3 – Grand Canyon – click here

“and now you know the rest of the story.”  Paul Harvey

til next time

September 11, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grand Canyon – living the dream

2 wheels – just God, Curt and me— cruising down the highway — ltd!

Finally we have arrived.  We are less than 20 minutes away from the Grand Canyon.   We are both excited and relieved.   The reality has started to set in.  We really are here. In the morning we will see the Grand Canyon.

We have battled wind, extreme heat, torrential rain, sickness, and yet witnessed first hand God’s deliverance and protection.  There has been mile after mile of beauty, peace, and inspiration.  Truly we are living the dream!

(For Part 2 click here)

One of the things Curt would do every night  is wipe down the bike and look things over.  That night he happened to notice that there was more leakage around our final drive.  This concerned him so he felt he better check the level.  As it turned out he did not have the right tool.   He checked at the local gas station, the maintenance department at the hotel, and with other bikers.  No tool to be found.  No garage to be found.  Now what?

We are 20 minutes away…………… now what?

However, someone told him that there happened to be  a garage right in the Grand Canyon that would work on vehicles.  So we jump on the bike and head to the Grand Canyon.  First stop will be the garage.  He kind of – sort of knows the general direction of the garage.  It soon becomes evident that there are roads going here, there, and everywhere.  It is a huge place.

He decided to pull in and ask directions at the next building we see.  As he is turning into the parking lot I point out the small sign on the back of the building.  GARAGE.  We just happened to drive right to it.  What a way to start our morning.  (Oh and I am a firm believer that things don’t just happen; God is in control and He makes a way.)

It was a very good thing that we had it checked.  The bike was very very low on fluid.  They filled us up and sent us on our way.  How much did that cost us?  Nothing but a hand shake and  a “have a great trip” comment.

Finally, the moment we had been anticipating.

It is breathtaking.   It is all I thought it would be and so much more.

I don’t know what the North Rim is like but I can highly recommend the South Rim.

I bought a picture to frame because I knew my camera just wouldn’t capture the true beauty.  However, my camera does show that we were there 🙂

Absolutely awestruck at the magnitude and beauty of it all.  Much of the trail along the rim is paved.  We did go on some that were a bit more ‘natural’.

There is also a shuttle bus that will take you to points of interest where you can look and then get back on the bus or take the trail to the next point.

We also did go under the Rim. <– You can see the trail.

They warn you to be careful and to remember that going down is much easier than going back up.

Yes, it was everything and more!!  Truly exceeded my expectations!

It was kind of scary as the trail wasn’t as wide –  making the drop offs that much closer.

What a fantastic day we had.  Going under the Rim was the last thing we did.  Probably a good thing because otherwise I would have been tempted to go farther than we did.  As it was, we easily made it back up.

We  took the shuttle bus from the Bright Angel trail back to our bike.  On the way the driver noticed this fella.

On our trip we saw all kinds of wild life – some of it was very up close and personal.  Truly this was not Iowa.

The next morning we took off for Colorado.  I didn’t realize that we would have many opportunities to see the Canyon again as we drove out.

What a wonderful unexpected blessing from God that we were able to enjoy the Grand Canyon that next morning as we began our journey home.

We had over 440 miles to go on this day if we were going to be able to spend the night visiting with a dear ‘old’ friend – who served along side Curt in the Marines.  I knew he really really wanted to get there.  Neither of us realized just how barren Arizona and Utah were going to be.   Not to mention that the temperature was rising!

(the conclusion of our trip will be the next blog)

til next time

September 7, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

living the dream

2 wheels and plenty of highway…….. living the dream……….

Part 2 – click here for Part 1

I thought the wind in Oklahoma was bad but it continued on into Texas.  Day four of a ten-day motorcycle trip finds us on the road by sunrise.  It was a beautiful Sunday morning.  The plan was to stop around 10:30 or so and locate a church.    However, by 8:00 the wind had picked up and was in full force.   I guess that is because there was nothing to stop it.

By 8:45 I am done.   The wind is so loud that I have to yell at Curt to take the next exit.    We pull into a gas station and I inform him that I am done.  I can’t do it anymore.  By this point the tears are flowing and I am angry.   The wind has beaten me.

The original plan was to buy t-shirts at the Grand Canyon.  Well, I was sure we had gone as far as we were going to go so I picked out Texas t-shirts.  After about 10 minutes Curt tells me that there just happens to be a chapel service starting in 5 minutes and we should go.  Sure I would go because I am NOT getting back on that bike!

I must have missed the first 15 minutes.  I was still pretty upset and determined that I was done.  Eventually I began to hear what he was saying.  He preached for 45 more minutes on the Grace of God.   He touched on every avenue of grace.  By the time he was done I was ready to get back on the bike.  Had the wind stopped?  No!  Did my head stop whipping from side to side?  No!  What had happened was that I accepted God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9  “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Texas was a turning point for me.   I can’t quite put into words what it meant to get back on that bike.  Then came New Mexico.  With a new attitude and one more state behind us things were looking up.

Here I am.  I have figured out how to battle the wind and the sun.  When the sun got to beating down on me too much my long sleeved light weight shirt came in handy.  I do kind of look like I could be about to rob a gas station but then you see the tiny flowers on the shirt.  LOL

We had great weather and clearly this was not Iowa anymore…………………………And then………..

the RAIN   Not just any rain.  We thought we were going to miss it.  We saw it raining and lightning  on both sides of us but  straight ahead was clear.  Then the road turned.   (sigh)

It wasn’t just any rain.  It was a downpour.  We just happened to be coming into a town when it let loose.  It came down so hard that the street flooded.   Drenched rat comes to mind.  Yes that is Curt  wringing water out of his shirt.

Finally, it let up enough for us to venture back out in it.  We got rained on a couple more times but nothing to compare to the  street flooding, torrential rain storm of earlier.

However, that evening found Curt running a temperature.   I don’t know if it was something he ate, or the fact that he had been drenched and then chilled earlier that evening, or maybe it was because this was the night to do laundry but he was sick.     He went to bed and I prayed quite a bit.  He needed to be better in the morning as I could not possibly drive that big machine.  Would we be stuck in New Mexico?

Sometime in the night I happened to notice his fever had broken.

It became evident to us that there were forces that were trying to destroy our trip but, in each and every situation God made His presence so obvious.   People were praying for us and we could see the results of those prayers.  With God there is no problem too small or too great.  No matter what we encountered, God was there making a way through it.

The next day we reached Arizona.  We  most definitely did a victory dance!
We were one day away from the Grand Canyon!!

to be continued

til next time

by the way, things don’t just happen –– God is always working things out.

September 3, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 wheels and plenty of highway

10 days, 2 wheels, over 3,400 miles of wonder, beauty, challenges……

Much of the time it was wide open spaces, my husband, God and me. What a perfect combination!

Since we actually had a destination  – maps were helpful.

Curt likes maps.  This made for  free  souvenirs for him at the visitor centers.   Speaking of souvenirs, that is a draw back to taking the bike. Space is limited.

However, I still managed to bring a few things home.  Of course it helped that I threw away a pair of shoes that I had packed.   I needed the space.

We love ‘mom and pop’ motels.  Having been on the bike for quite a bit of the day we would find a quaint motel and then walk to supper.

As long as there was a/c, clean rooms , wi/fi, and hot water it was all good.

Everywhere we went it was the same story.  Very dry!  Green grass?  Not much –  if any.  Rivers were very low.

We did enjoy plenty of opportunities to travel on Route 66.  Here we are driving along side it.  Why we would go 45 maybe 55 when we could go 75 less than 50 yards away?

We were blessed to see some old friends as we passed through Oklahoma.

Due to the heat, we would get up early and be on the road close to sunrise.   The heat and wind would pick up as the day went on.  Hot took on a whole new meaning.

Day 3 –  found us in Oklahoma going up a hill when we lost power.  There just ‘happened‘ to be this extra cement slab on the other side of the shoulder.  We were able to get clearly out of harms way.  Good thing as it was a busy highway.

What to do while we wait for the tow truck?  Pull out our Louis L’Amour books.  Oh look there is even a place for us to sit.

There is an unwritten motorcycle code that states that it is just not acceptable to be on your bike and not stop if another biker is stranded.   That code is alive and well in Oklahoma. 

However, we had no clue what was wrong and so we called AAA.  One of the bikers told us that there was a Yamaha dealership at the exit we had just passed.   Hmmm, coincidence?

It is a busy Saturday morning yet the Yamaha dealership  just happened to agree to work on our bike as soon as the truck got it there.  HappenedCoincidenceNo, it was  God who was so all over this.

The problem was our fuel pump had went out.   The dealership didn’t have a fuel pump for our older model Yamaha.  They could have ordered one, maybe it would be in on Tuesday or Wednesday.  This was after all late Saturday morning.   Ah but what they did have was a fantastic mechanic that was able to do  some ‘southern engineering’ and modify a fuel pump they  had on hand.  (They gave us their business card so that the next time someone works on our bike they can call and talk to them to find out just what they did.)

Then the mechanic took it for a test drive and  he noticed that our clutch was slipping.  We would have no trouble on flat land but he knew we were going up into the mountains, that would be a problem.  Yes we got that taken care of too.  The price?  Very reasonable.  I wish they were located around home.

Being stranded on that road, on that day was truly a blessing from God.  Later there would be plenty of wide open spaces where we didn’t see another car or building for miles and miles and where there wasn’t cell phone reception.  Arizona and Utah have a lot of desolate land.

We were back on the road by around 2:30.   By this time it was hot and windy.  “Oklahoma where the wind goes sweeping through the plains.”   True story!  I was very glad to get to Texas.

Little did I know then that Texas was going to prove to be a turning point.

The wind was brutal.   I have a face shield but not a full face helmet.  The wind would catch underneath and whip my head.  It wasn’t just a gust now and then but it was a wall of wind that just didn’t stop.  I made it that first day in Texas.

But……………..

to be continued

til next time

September 1, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments