We took Lily on her first trip to the zoo during my time off last week. When I asked Julianne what Lily seemed most interested in at the zoo, she replied, "Cheerios." I suppose at 19 months she's still a little young to fully appreciate it. When she saw a lemur, she pointed and said, "kitty cat." So cute. The pictures of Julianne and Lily from my previous post were taken at the zoo as well. Today, you get animals.
This is who I am. No more, no less. I am just a man who understands because of You I'm blessed. No more, no less. words by MercyMe
Just look how He has blessed me.
But beyond the precious gift of this family, He has blessed me far more. Perhaps it's the Easter season. Maybe it's that I have time to sit here and think on this Good Friday evening. He has indeed blessed me far beyond anything I deserve. What I deserve, what we all deserve is hell. Harsh sounding words, but true nonetheless. We have all broken His law and deserve to be separated from Him. But Jesus came. He lived a perfect life. The life we could not live. He willfully gave Himself in our place, paying the debt we could not. My students used to ask me why it was called "Good" Friday if today is the day He died. It was good because it fulfilled God's plan from the foundation of the world. God's wrath has been satisfied and a restored relationship with man has been made possible. Whereas He could have wiped us out, He chose instead a plan of salvation for us through the death of His own Son. Something that is incomprehensible. So for us it is indeed a Good Friday. And Sunday is coming. Had He not risen from the dead, this would all be meaningless. Because He is risen, we have hope. Not a hope based on anything we did or can do, but a hope based entirely on what He has done for us.
I had been considering listing my favorite blogs on my sidebar for some time now. Now that I finally gathered all the approvals, here they are. Here's a bit about each one.
Looking for Lily - Julianne's blog. It started as a way to update family and friends about the progress on the adoption of our daughter. Now that we have Lily home with us, we are able to show how she's growing and tell of our family adventures together. Julianne does a much better job documenting than I do. And she's been getting some great pictures and videos of Lily.
Views from the brook - My long time friend, cycling partner, and brother in the Lord. Going by the alias, Dillo, he writes what's on his heart. And he takes great pictures too!
Restoring the Years - I don't even remember how I found Grafted Branch's blog. I think it was through the Christian Blogosphere blogroll, which I've since removed from my sidebar. A must read for anyone considering homeschooling. We weren't really thinking we'd go that route. Working in public schools, listening to the news, and reading her blog have all made us seriously think of moving in this direction. Great writing regarding family and faith.
Indescribable Life - I found this one through reading the comments on Restoring the Years. If the above blog doesn't persuade you to homeschool, read this one! And even if it did, read this one anyhow. Karly is a stay at home mom and a former public(?) school teacher. Another great read for family and faith stories.
Stinky John Jones - The funny blog title should clue you in. This one is funny. Funny stories of raising a family.
My Photos - Not a blog at all. Just my shameless promotion of my photography.
As you can see, most of the blogs I read are by women. It seems I'm in the minority as a blogging father. If you know of other blogs I might enjoy, especially by like-minded men of the faith, please let me know.
I hope you enjoy visiting some of my favorites. I'd be curious to know what you think. As would they, if you like them!
I finally got out for a photo shoot last Friday night. We started off at the beach to catch the sunset and then hit the pier for some night shots. It was a lot of fun to get out and shoot again. I'm looking forward to more opportunities.
Woooo Hoooo! We did it! 100 Miles. (Acutally it was closer to 104.) The weather was beautiful. (Thanks to everyone that prayed) It started a bit chilly. My hands were numb for the first 45 minutes but it really wasn't bad. We did have a little wind but not like the "scary" winds I dealt with during some of my training rides. Fortunately, the strongest winds were at our back and worked in our favor.
We rode through some gorgeous countryside. I'm so used to city life, I tend to forget California can look like this.
Beautiful California landscape
Since I had never riden a century before, I had no idea if I had trained enough. Well, my training really paid off. I rode extremely well, especially on the climbs. I'm convinced the training dvd's I used with my indoor trainer prepared me for the tough climbs. As I've previously mentioned, the climbs scare me. Not because they can be slow and painful when hammering so hard. Rather, because I still have difficulty getting my feet out of my pedals. My constant fear when climbing is that I'll run out of strength to push the pedals and have to put a foot down. I've fallen twice previously in such situations. I literally look ahead up the hills for places that would be better to fall should I not be able to get out of the pedals quickly enough. So I press on and try to at least make it that far. I won't say the climbing was easy on Saturday, but it wasn't nearly as hard as I anticipated. I did really well. I passed a lot of people on the climbs which surprised me. I kept hearing the voice of Chris Carmichael (the training coach on my dvd) saying, "This is just like climbing." I laughed and 'answered' him saying, "This IS climbing."
Rest Stop #1
It was very special to ride with my friend. I use the word "with" loosely. We often separated and met up at the tops of hills or at the rest stops. Even still, it was a blessing to do this with him. He and I used to ride a lot together. Back in 1988 (yes, you read that right. 20 years ago) we rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles together. Except for portions of 2 of those 8 days, it was a wonderful trip! So riding together once again was very special. Crossing the finish line together was such a joy. And how wonderful it was to have Julianne, Lily, and my sister, Ellen cheering us on at the finish.
Completing this century ride less than a year after my health concerns came to light made this quite a significant accomplishment for me. I am so very blessed to have had the support of my wife through this. When I thought of giving up after coming home scared from a dangerous ride in strong winds back in November, she talked me into not giving up. (Thank you, Sweetie!)
Here are some details from the ride:
Solvang Century 2008
Start time: Approximately 7:00 a.m. Finish time: Just before 6:00 p.m. Actual riding time: 7 hours 30 minutes Distance: 104 miles +/-
Today I facilitated our school's spelling bee. An interesting assignment for someone in charge of the school's mathematics program. But I digress. In addition to being the event's MC, I assigned myself the role of event photographer. A hat I gladly chose. Since I could not post pictures of children without mountains of release forms, I decided to get in close on the awards. You should have seen the smiles of the children that got to hold them at the end (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from grades 1 thru 5). A proud moment for the winners, their teachers, and their parents who came to cheer them on.
With less than a week before the big ride, I thought I'd get in a few miles today on the bike. I intended on doing 31 miles but cut it short at 23 due to the wind. Now that I'm home I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts.
Notes to self regarding bicycling in the wind:
Know that prior to a ride, when you see the tree tops gently swaying in the distance, that means it's a flippin windstorm on the bike!
When the gusts strike, hold on tighter.
Pray to not be scared of a little wind.
Practice getting out of your pedals faster so you can get a foot down when a wind gust decides to send you over.
Pray some more.
DON'T do it.
Did I mention prayer?
Stay on the indoor trainer next time.
Plead with everyone you know to pray for good weather for next week's century ride.