Monday, February 26, 2007

Best Ride In Months and a Fun Time With My Boy

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to take a nice ride on the bike. I had already had five rides in the previous seven days, which is something I have not been able to do in some time, due to weather constraints. The wind wasn't too bad. It was neither too hot nor too cold. Shorts and a cycling jersey were sufficient attire. I took a route that led me on a loop south of town, back up into downtown and then back to my house. It wasn't a particularly long ride, but it was awesome! I rode 39.92 miles in 2 hours and 20 seconds. I haven't been able to maintain that speed over a long distance in a long time. It felt good!

When I got back to the house, I got a shower and changed clothes. Then, I packed up my little boy and his bike and we went to the park. I wound up jogging about a mile and a half chasing him around on his bike. He had fun honking his little bike horn at all the other cyclists, walkers joggers and folks playing in the park. Once he tired of riding his bike, he went and played on all the playground equipment.

After playing at the park, we wnt to Sonic and had, as my wife likes to call it, a frozen dairy confection (ice cream, or in this case we shared a vanilla malt). When asked what he wanted, he told me that he wanted whatever I was having. It really hits me at times like this the responsibility I have to my kids, particularly to my son. He wants to be like me. He wants cycling clothes like mine. He wants to wear matching clothes to church on Sunday. It reminds me to watch what I say and do. He is always watching me. It seems to me there are more than a couple of songs written wbout this very phenomenon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Father/Daughter Banquet

Last night, I had the pleasure of escorting my beautiful little girl to the Father/Daughter Banquet put on by her school. Caitlin was beautiful. Her Mama had made her a very intricate embroidered silk dress and then done her hair up in a gravity-defying do. I dressed up, brought her roses, opened doors for her and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

The meal was nothing to write home about, and neither was the entertainment. Heck, they even had me give a little impromptu speech about my little girl, so you know the entertainment budget was low. But, none of that was the point. The point was spending time with my little girl and making her feel like this was a special evening just for her.

My wife has made the point that little girls grow up and look for men who will treat them like their Daddy did. That puts a little pressure on dads, but it is a good kind of pressure. Just like we should always remember to treat our wives with the same love and respect Christ gave his bride, we should treat our children as individuals worthy of love, respect and attention. I was somewhat saddened when two of the fathers spent the entire evening talking about football and NASCAR and basically ignored their daughters.

My fervent hope is that my kids can look back on their childhood with fondness and want their children to have similar experiences.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Windy Weekend For Ridin'

This past Friday, I had planned to get in a nice long ride before work. When I woke at 4:00 a.m., it was 15 degrees and windy. I rolled over, climbed back in my warm covers and got some more sleep. Saturday morning, it was a little better. It was about 35 degrees and blowin' about 10 mph. I got a 38 mile ride in before the fam was ready for breakfast. I didn't melt my tires with speed, but I got some miles under my belt.

Later that morning, I took my son to the bike store to poke around a bit and then we went to the park (my daughter had spent the night at a friend's and my wife was hosting a ladies' party at the house). We really had a good time. My little boy is a fun kid, particularly when he gets me all to himself.

Sunday morning was another aborted ride. I had slept poorly and decided not to ride then. The previous night's news had said that Sunday afternoon wasn't gonna be too windy, so I pushed my ride back until after church and lunch. The news was wrong. The wind was between 15 and 20 mph with gusts a lot higher than that. By the time I made it home, I was thrashed. My legs were cramping and I was ready to get off the bike. Part of that is the fact that I had ridden two days in a row after a couple of months of not riding more than twice in a week. Part of it was the wind and the hilly route I took. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There's a peace out on the bike that I'm hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

As the weather is warming up a bit, I intend to try and get 3-5 long rides a week to work back up to some long rides. There's a metric century (100 km) ride I plan on making in April. I will also be riding the MS150 (a 2-day, 150 mile fund-raising ride for MS). Of course, I will also be riding in the 2007 Hotter'n Hell 100 in August. I hope to get some other organized rides in between now and then.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Life Ain't Bad

You know, there was a point in our lives where it seemed like nothing could go our way: our daughter was born incredibly premature and both she and Erin nearly died in the process; we lost two babies in miscarriages; my grandmother died; my father was dignosed with and died from melanoma cancer; my uncle died; my good friend, Mark Auer, died; another uncle died; my truck was stolen; our son was born incredibly premature and both he and Erin nearly died in the process; and I basically had a nervous break-down and left my job. We withdrew. We held onto each other and pushed everyone else away. My spiritual life was essentially dead.

Cut to the present: I have a beautiful wife with whom I am desparately in love; we have two beautiful and healthy children; Erin and I each have small businesses that, if not making us wealthy, at least pay the bills; and my spiritual relationship with my Lord, while not what it should be, is much better.

Isn't it funny how, in such a short span of time, things can change so very much. I am not wealthy. Except to my family, I am not terribly important or influential. I hold no patents. I'm not on any boards or councils. But, I am content with my life. Sure, I strive to be more and better. But, where I am now is okay.

God, thank You for the many blessings You've given me. Hold me when I'm weak and use me as an instrument of Your love when someone else is weak.