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Monday, August 15, 2011

Home

This morning was the first in nine weeks where I didn't get ready to ride my bike, work on a house or complete an adventure with my FCBA family. Its weird to have already spent more time on the computer and watching TV in the last twenty-four hours than I have for the last nine weeks. Its strange to be home, alone, with no cause for random shouting, no one to tease or be teased by (at least till my parents get home) and no reason to get on my bike other if I want a workout. Its kind of sad to know that the FCBA 2011 family has gone their separate ways for now and that is will be awhile before I will get to enjoy such amazing community again. This trip and the time I spent with everyone was a different experience than what I have at home. Sure I have family and friends who are wonderful and so much fun to be around but it isn't the same. So I must take time to adjust to being here at home, just like I did to being with my FCBA family.

I am not sure what adventures are to come because of this cross country adventure I have just had. I am also not sure yet how this trip has changed me but I know that I am changed. The trip was hard at times, there were days I didn't want to get back on my bike or sleep on the floor; and times I wanted to just have a moment to myself somewhere familiar. But now that I am home I am starting to realize how special this summer was. Its rare to have a chance to put "real life" on hold and just enjoy being...being with others, serving and living simply, slowly. And not to mention seeing so much of the country. I will write more about that as I have a chance to pray and process this trip.

Before the trip I wrote out ten expectations  I had for the trip. That seems so long ago but I will respond to them in Blue below. 

1. I am going to have an amazing time and make lots of new friends. True, so many good stories and so many amazing people that I cried when it was time to come home. I will miss them dearly.
2. I will use my "granny gear" at least once...True, definitely used in crossing the Cascades and Rockies!
3. At some point I will wish I didn't have to ride anymore but will be really glad I did. True, there were a few days I wished to never see my bike again. There were days I felt like I could no longer sit on my seat or pedal but usually I made it. And it wasn't long after getting off the bike for the day I realized I could ride again. I didn't ride the whole distance four days, twice because I hitchhiked for various reasons, once because I was sick and once because my IT ban was so sore I could barely peddle. And I missed five ride days, once because I was sick, once because I was sore and three because I got hit by a car. But I wish I could have ridden every mile.
4. I will meet and serve some amazing families at our build days. True the build days in Craig, CO, Bloomington, IL and Manassas, VA were my favorite! We met so many amazing people along that way!!!
5. I will have the first ten verses of Ephesians memorized. Trueish, I had a little competition with one of the other riders and I won a smoothie because I did have the verses memorized. However, I didn't keep up on repeating them so I have forgotten a them a little. But not for long...
6. I will have lots of great conversations and hopefully a farkle tournament. Half true, so many great conversations and wonderful friendships developed over this trip. There was however, no farkle tournament but a few games played.
7. I will return to Pittsburgh after this trip and not move from the area. Not sure yet. I will remain in Pittsburgh at least until my brother Steve's wedding in October and then I am not sure, maybe I will stay and maybe I won't...
8. I will eat more spaghetti than any other time in my life. False, I am not sure, we had several meal of lasagna, pulled pork and hamburgers. I don't think I got tired of eating anything.  I did eat more peanut butter per day than ever before and I still love it!
9. I will have at few encounters with animals. False, I saw some animals but other than a super friendly lab, no animal "encountered" me. 
10. That God is going to bless my socks off more than I can imagine and He will receive all the glory! True and to what extent is still being determined. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Washington, D.C. or Bust

I hadn't realized how long it has been since I have blogged but its been awhile. I haven't had much computer access and things have been a little busy. We are currently in Cumberland, MD with two ride days left. This adventure comes to a close on Sunday :( and I don't think I am quite ready to go home yet.

These last ten days have been pretty exciting. We had two work days, three 95 mile+ days, and traversed 4 states. Apparently, Ohio is the best of them but I am not sure that is true... I also had the chance to see some of my friends who live along the route which was a lot of fun. I am getting sad realizing that this adventure has almost come to an end. I love the group of riders that has shared this adventure with me. I think these are some of the most amazing and quirky people I have ever met. I am going to miss them and its going to be weird to return to "real" life.

This last week had been pretty trying because on Tuesday's ride while entering Wheeling, WV I was hit by a car. I am fine just a little bruised and disappointed. The driver cut me off to make a right turn, taking out the front of my bike, knocking me to the ground. They didn't stop but other drivers did. Thankfully, no one else was hurt and I walked away.This accident has not allowed me to ride my bike the last few days and I may only get to ride into D.C. depending on how sore I continue to be. I am super disappointed by this but thankfully that the crash was not worse. And my bike made it through just fine!

I am wondering how God is at work in all of this and how He will use this accident, this trip and the relationships developed on this adventure for His glory both now and in the future. I have been super blessed by this trip and getting to meet some of the coolest people who I would have normally never had the opportunity to meet. So I am thinking there will be much processing post FCBA 2011 to discern what is next for me. So while this adventure is almost coming to an end; the good news is another adventure is waiting!

More details, pictures and updates to come when I return to Pittsburgh. Thanks for your support and prayers!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Land of Lincoln

This weeks adventures find us in Illinois! I have now seen most of my share of corn and soybeans but I know there is more to come! Last Saturday we had a building project and it was really amazing. Its amazing what helping hands and some supplies can do in a day. In just a day the family we worked with had new windows, a front porch with new steps, lots of painted trim, and a new front door. There is still much to be done but we were able to bring a family much closer to having a house they could call a home. I had such a good time painting with the family's youngest son. Its was heart warming to watch him become so proud of his own work on him home. It seems simple (because it is) to help for day but it got me thinking about how often at home I might miss helping because I am too busy. One thing about this trip is that it slows life down so much that I can start see places and spaces in my life that need adjusting or refocusing.

I have also been getting  some good time to think. I was so engaged in a conversation with myself the other day I thought I missed a turn, when there was none. I have decided at least for the time being to return to  Pittsburgh to work and getting involved in some ministry opportunites for a time. I am curious to see how this trip will impact the future but for now, I am focused on finishing. We have two weeks left and I can't believe how fast it has gone. I am really going to miss this, well that is everything but smelling as badly as I do after rides...I am so thankful for this adventure and I look forward to coming to a better understanding of how God is using it in my life for His glory!