Joy Archive

Matters of the Heart

Posted January 24, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Those of you who follow me in social media (if you aren’t, why not?), you know that week before last I injured my knee. I slipped in ice while performing my pretrip inspection on my truck at 4am in Alabama. I endured several days of serious pain. It was my clutch knee.

Last Friday night, I took Austin (my brand new Freightliner Cascadia Lightweight truck) in for his very first oil change in Amarillo, Texas. On Sunday afternoon, Austin broke down in the middle of Wild West-and wild wind-Wyoming. God always provides. If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 80 across Wyoming, you know there is nothing there but it just so happened that when my truck broke down, it was at one of very few exits. Literally.  AND, there was one thing at that exit: a TA truck stop.

I coasted down the ramp, to the right into the truck stop (I didn’t stop for the stop sign. Nothing was coming), and into a parking space at the truck stop. I remained there for two days until the folks at my company had Austin towed 100+ miles into Salt Lake City to the Freightliner dealership.

Today is day seven of this adventure and I’m still in a hotel. The week has been a rollercoaster of events. My emotions have run the gammit from patient to furious, positive to hopeless, determined to wanting to chuck it all and pull Dakota (my bicycle) out of storage and take to the open road on him again.

Those who know me know I don’t have family. I can’t go cry on sis’s shoulder, get a hug from dad or have big bro punch someone’s lights out. But, I have you and so many of you have reached out in support. Emails, phone calls, texts, FB posts. The outpouring has been amazing! Thank you, by the way. I wouldn’t have been able to endure this week without you. But even with that, I have to admit there have been moments where I looked out to the surrounding snow capped mountains and felt all alone in a great big world.

Then it hit me. I feel and sense emotion on a very deep level. God gave me that gift so that I can understand what others go through on an experiential level. That way I can help them. He showed me decades ago that I cannot show others the way unless I’ve traveled that road. Remembering that took my attention off my troubles- and my broken down brand new truck- and to those I serve… and those whom I’ve never met who need to be encouraged.

I wanted to quit. I admit it. I wanted to tell the wonderful company I work for and the dealership who built Austin to take their broken down truck and shove it. But one thing stopped me. I’m not a quitter. I wonder how many people have been driven to the brink of their emotional cliff and jumped. I know some. I’m sure you do, too. I also know most of them regretted having made that decision.

I’m writing this in the lobby of the hotel in a nice comfy chair in front of the fireplace with a view of the rocky mountains. The ambiance is wonderful but the main reason I do it is when I’m all alone up in my room, my thoughts turn negative and my positive attitude that keeps me strong begins to crumble. I begin to suffer all alone in the silence of my room.

I know there are thousands of people out there who are doing just that. They don’t tell anyone they are suffering. Their tears are not seen. Their hearts cry at moments when others are not around. Their sad and painful matters of the heart are not shared with anyone. One day, they just disappear… or die a lonely death.

What I’ve been going through this last week has nothing to do with trucks, oil changes, my company or Freightliner. It has everything to do with my purpose to help others overcome… and to become. Someone has to know how they feel. They need to find the way through the emotional quagmire to freedom and then go back to show others the way.

I’m an encourager. I know that. It’s my God-given purpose. The Heartbeat of America blog will continue and I’ll continue to bring you stories from the amazing people I meet. In addition to that, I’m also going to share insights with you on matters of the heart. I’ve been working for a while on a new podcast that will be uplifting, encouraging and hopefully will help you see life’s events in a different light. I’m also considering BlogTalk radio.

I really need your help. You have all been so faithful and supportive both during my Road to Freedom Tour, and with my trucking adventure which I unwittingly termed Road to Freedom 2.0. Little did I know at the time that title would be so profound.

In the weeks and months to come, I will be sharing some deep things of the heart. Those things that pluck at your heart strings. I’ll share hope in the midst of what appears to be hopelessness. I’ll share stories of those who have overcome… stories of triumph, my own and those of others I meet along my journey.

If this resonates with you, I would like to ask you to help me in the following ways:

Please pray that God will lead those who need to hear this message to the blog, the podcast and any other media outlet that opens up.

Please share the blog with others in your social circles and ask them to pray about doing the same.

Please comment on the blog. I will do my best to respond to each comment as my life on the road allows. I utilize a service called LiveFyre to filter out spam from my comments so you’ll have to sign up once and be approved by me to leave comments. It’s not an email capture and sell scam. LifeFyre is my spam filter service. It’s completely safe for you to give your information to.

That would mean so much to me as I ratchet up my blog a notch or two and include matters of the heart. So many of you have asked for this. God is showing me it’s time to do it.

Thank you all for being such faithful supporters during the Road to Freedom Tours. Your encouragement has kept me going forward, helping to heal the wounded, encourage the discouraged and bring the truth of God’s joy to a hurting nation. You honor me.

This blog post is long today but for some reason, I cannot bring myself to apologize for its length. God bless you, my friends.

 

 

 

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Hardee Harrrr Harrrr

Posted February 25, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I recently viewed a video someone had filmed from their car in a school pick up line. They were sitting at a corner where kids walked down the sidewalk in the snow. As the sidewalk intersected with another one at the corner, apparently the snow had become slick ice.

One by one, filmed children as they walked unknowingly into the slide pit and down they went. Books flew out of their hands. Their friends—and the person filming the event—laughed hysterically at the spectacle.

Some of the kids laughed with them. Some were too embarrassed. Still others were bruised and wounded, both physically and emotionally.

Since years ago I took a police officer’s oath to protect and serve, I didn’t find the video particularly funny. I would have gotten out of my car and warned the kids. I would have diverted their foot traffic around the dangerous intersection. That’s the cloth I’m cut from.

But it did get me thinking. Just a couple of days before, I’d been unable to get out of my community to appear on a radio show because of ice and snow. I hoofed it out on foot. Just like these kids, I slipped, slided and flailed my way to my destination.

Fortunately, I never actually fell on the ice but there were several close calls. And at one point, the ground beneath me felt really spongy under the snow. I was hallway to the next driveway before I realized I was actually walking on someone’s shrubbery.

Oops.

I know I looked spastic each time I waved my arms frantically to regain my balance. I also know motorists got a kick out of watching me. I made them laugh. That made me laugh. Suddenly, we were all laughing.

I realized I had a couple of options. I could get upset that I had slipped. That’s no fun at all. It also wasn’t the least bit unique. EVERY person who was brave enough to be out was slipping.

I could get mad at those who were driving by in their cars laughing at my flailing. But I realized it really did look funny and they weren’t laughing at my situation. They were having a spontaneous reaction to something they saw. They reacted to the moment.

Finally, I knew that if I laughed with them, I’d get the benefit. So, I began to laugh at my own clown-like awkward movements, purely for medicinal purposes of course. Guess what? I felt better! I was more alert. I became as bold as a lion as I stared down the ice. And I didn’t even mind walking on top of Widow Jones’ shrubs. Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get my point.

Listen my friend, when calamity hits your life, why not laugh at it? When you’re cruising down the interstate of your own purpose and fall right down on your patootie, lay there and give it a resounding hardeee harrr harrr!

It will do two things:

  1. It will make you feel better. The joy of the Lord is your strength.
  2. It will disarm the calamity and free you up to just get up and move on.

And the great thing? Laughter is available without a prescription!!! You can cook it up inside your own your home and not have to worry about the feds coming in to shut down your lab! It’s free, too!

So, laugh a little. No, strike that. Laugh a LOT! Enjoy life. Don’t take yourself so seriously. I promise you, no one else is. You’ll get through it. And you’ll be healthy, happy and whole.

When was the last time you laughed at yourself? How’d it make you feel? Share it here!

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How I Lost 75 Pounds in Seven Months, Part Three

Posted February 21, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

In part one, I told you I eliminated the most stressful things from my life. In part two, I shared that I got my body in deliberate movement every day. Today I’ll share with you the third and final thing I did to lose seventy-five pounds in seven months.

In order to do that, I have to take you to Kentucky.

I’d passed through Henderson, Kentucky on my way west. As God would have it, I spent several days in the home of a lovely couple. Each morning, Clydean and I would gather around the kitchen counter. I’d drink sweet tea and she would mix up some powders from a can with water and down it.

We’d then set off on all sorts of adventures in Kentucky. And, it was obvious this lady who was older than me had far more energy than I did. I’ve always been a high energy person so I just chalked it up to being fatigued from miles in the saddle.

I week or so later, I found myself not only back in Kentucky for speaking engagements, but I’d suffered a horrible injury on the bike. While climbing the steep Wabash River Bridge coming back into Indiana, I suffered a full thickness tear of the medial collateral ligament in my knee. I wound up on a farm outside Henderson for almost two weeks while recovering.

While there, each morning I observed as my new host, Melody, going through the same ritual Clydean did. While I was drinking Diet Pepsi, Melody mixed powders into a cup with water and chugged it down. She also felt great, had lots of energy and just generally looked healthy.

Every morning, I watched. I’m from the lineage of Doubting Thomas but I could see it (whatever “it” was) working in her. Each morning we’d go through the same routine.

I’d pop the top on my Diet Pepsi while she scooped powder into a plastic cup, added water and drank.

Every time, she’d ask me if I wanted one of her “shakes” and I’d decline. She’d attack her day full of energy and I’d love her and hate her at the same time.

Finally (I know, I’m a bit slow), I began asking questions about what was in this mysterious concoction she and Clydean consumed so religiously. That was when I was introduced to something that has completely changed my life by repairing my body at the molecular level.

Right there, in what I consider the least likely of places—a farm outside Henderson, Kentucky—I met Reliv®.  I began taking it just to see what would happen. I’d already survived a crash down a mountainside, being attacked by a dozen water moccasins and a torn ligament in my knee. Surely I’d survive this formula. Right?

Reliv® completely changed my life. I had more energy. My overall outlook on life significantly improved. Pain that I once had was gone.

Rather than feeling like I was dying a slow death, for the first time in years, I felt vibrant and alive.

I figured it was the placebo effect because NOTHING could be this good. I studied the information about these products and what happens at the molecular level. Fortunately, I’ve been a student of the human body for decades. The Reliv® scientists were spot on.

I was finally getting the proper nutrition my body needed to perform the way God designed it to. For the first time in my life, I was completely in sync with the world. I felt great. My purpose was aligned with my gifts and my body was in fluid motion.

I am a skeptic. I didn’t jump on the gulp-down-a-shake bandwagon Clydean and Melody were riding each morning. They were so gracious, even when I accidently made comments about my doubting the effectiveness of what they were consuming. My thoughts screamed it each time I watched them but I never intended for it to actually come out of my mouth.

I’ve never been so wrong about something in my life. It has made all the difference. In fact, if I were president of the United States, I’d make it mandatory that all homes be filled with the stuff!

Today, I’m loving life, feeling great and am enjoying 75 less pounds than I had a year ago. I know it sounds crazy but I’m so grateful I injured my knee and was laid up on the farm outside Kentucky. That’s where I met Reliv®. 

Because of the difference it has made in my life and since it’s not available in stores, I even became a distributor so I can share it with everyone. Every day as I reflect on where I was a year ago compared to today, I am filled with gratitude that God led me to this life-changing product. I help people be healthy and for those who want extra income, I get to help them become distributors as well. Life is good. Very, very good.

Thank you Clydean and Melody for introducing me to Reliv®. I will never be the same.

Where are you in your journey? Are you satisfied with the way you feel? What obstacles have you faced? Share them here!

Also, if you’d like to explore what Reliv® can do to improve your quality of life, just let me know. You can contact me three ways:

          1) Email me at reba@rebajhoffman.com,

          2) Complete the contact form on my website

          3) Leave me a voicemail right from my website. Just click the “leave voicemail” tab on the right side of the page.

 

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How I Lost 75 Pounds in Seven Months, Part Two

Posted February 20, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

In yesterday’s post, I shared the first thing I did to lose seventy-five pounds: significantly reduced the stress in my life. Eliminating the major stresser and simplifying my life were critical, yet surprisingly easy to accomplish once I set my heart on doing them.

The second thing I did was I set my body in motion. I know what you’re thinking. I set off on a long bicycle ride across the country and you could never do that. I wholeheartedly agree. That’s not the point. The point is I got moving.

Our bodies are divinely designed for motion. Yet, mine was rusting as I plopped into the recliner chair at night for hours without so much as a thought of moving. Just as the railway cars do once they are sentenced to sit in the train cemeteries, I was rotting right where I was.

My joints were freezing up, my muscles were tightening up and I was shriveling up. With each motionless day that passed, my body was growing weaker. It was out of its element.

Personally, I decided to take a long bicycle ride. Most people can’t do that but they can move. They can go for a walk. They can sit on the couch and curl a can of peas. They can move their joints in a pool or hot tub of water.

When I set out on my bike after being away from it for so long, it was painful. I was also in the mountains loaded down with fifty pounds of gear and horribly out of shape. I was so tired by the end of the day, I did what we women do: I cried.

I wouldn’t recommend you do that but I urge you to get moving. Find something you enjoy doing and just do it. I have a friend who loves to garden. Super! Get out there Geneva Green Thumb! I have another friend who loves to go bowling. Outstanding! Get that ball rolling Barbara Bowler!

The point is, get your body moving. You may have been in sedentary for so long, your body doesn’t want to move. You might have to force it a little. I’m not suggesting you injure yourself. In fact, that would be harmful to achieving your goals.

What I am pointing out is that your body will initially work against you. It doesn’t want to move. It’s like the lazy hound dog on a hot summer day that’s been snoozing on the porch for hours. It just doesn’t want to move.

But, just as you have to kick Rover and get him off the porch, you must make yourself move. Deliberate motion in some direction every day will make all the difference in the world.

As soon as my body recovered from the shock of being back in motion, it once again became a well-oiled machine. My metabolism soared and before long, the weight just simply began to drop. Today, I have seventy-five fewer pounds to haul around with me as my body moves.

I can honestly say my body is responding better today than it did when I was twenty. I’ve never felt better. I have more energy, more stamina, and more zest for life than I’ve ever had. And, I’m loving it!

So, get those doggies moving!

How often do you get in motion? Do you engage in deliberate movement every day? Share it here!

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Your Place in This World

Posted February 18, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

One of the questions I’m asked most often is, “How do I find my place in this world?” I’ve asked the question myself. Sometimes I’ve felt like I didn’t belong anywhere because I felt I wasn’t where I should be.

I was out for a walk today and it suddenly hit me. At any given time, our place in the world is right there. It’s where we are, using out gifts to help everyone who crosses our path.

I know what you’re thinking. That place where you are right now isn’t very appealing. You may be unemployed. Homeless. Sick. Tired. Tired of being sick and tired. Hey, I get it.

I’m not talking about your circumstance here as if you are supposed to stay there. Quite the contrary but here’s the thing. You’re there at this precise moment. That’s where you are. That’s your little slice of circumstantial terra firma of planet earth.

Why not make the best of it? Do this:

1)   Look around you to see who needs help, encouragement, lifted up out of the quagmire.

2)   Reach into your bag of gifts and pull out something to bless them. Your spiritual gifts are exactly what they need at this moment.

3)   Reach out to them and bless them. Give them a hand and help pull them up.

You might be wondering when someone is going to come by to bless you. After all, you really need help. The help comes in the giving, not the receiving. You’ll feel a thousand times better almost immediately just by taking your eyes off your circumstance and focusing on the needs of others. Trust me on that one.

Also, the Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive. That’s not an empty platitude that sounds like the noble thing to do. Oh, no! You really DO receive the greater blessing. Your needs will be met in abundance. You’ll have to trust me on that one as well.

Look, if you’re in a rough place right now, you already feel like you’re in the earthquake I experienced last Friday night. You’re shaky and wondering where your place is in this world. Why not try it? I think you’ll be surprised.

I’d like to challenge you—if you’re brave enough—to do this for seven days. If at the end of seven days of consistently reaching out to help others right where you are you don’t feel better and have more of a sense of purpose, contact me and I’ll print a retraction of this blog post, telling the world I was wrong. But I’m not wrong. If you do it, it will change your life and your world. I promise.

Look around you right where you are. What do you see? Who can you help right now? Share it here!

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Just Let Me Work My Puzzle

Posted December 2, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

This past week, I met a homeless lady. I’ll call her Sally. She’s elderly and even indoors she sat bundled up in every ounce of clothing she possessed. She wore a funny knitted hat on her head with pompoms and multiple colored yarns. The fingers of her gloves had long since worn away.

I was intrigued by the fact that she wasn’t begging for money or food. Instead, she sat calmly working crossword puzzles. I couldn’t resist asking her about it.

“Keeps my mind sharp. I ain’t no spring chicken, ya know.”

I asked her how she became homeless. She’d lost her job—a very good one—and at her age, wasn’t able to recover. She lost her home and everything she owned. Sally was making the best of a bad situation.

She spent as much time each day out of the weather by working crossword puzzles in local eateries, libraries and stores.

crossword puzzle
“It’s amazing how people don’t even question me when I sit down at a table with my newspaper and pen. I suppose they figure I belong there if I’m smart enough to work my puzzle.”

Like I did, Sally stayed in that place for hours. But she studied the words, figured out ways to make them fit into the puzzle and stuck it out until every block was filled on the page.

Her tenacity put me to shame. I was humbled by her peace in the midst of a terrible situation in her life. She was definitely making the best of it.

Deep within each of us lies the Sally factor. When things get tough, we can figure out a way to go on, to make the best of an unfortunate life circumstance and be joyful in the midst of personal loss.

 Puzzle Piece

Sally doesn’t have money. Nor does she have a consistent place to lay her head at night. She has no control over a lot of things in her life. But, she has fully embraced those things she does have control over.

She keeps her mind sharp by picking up discarded newspapers and completing the crossword puzzles. She stays warm during the day by finding a table out of the way in a local business. She doesn’t cause trouble and she always greets you with a smile. She has hope, joy and a positive outlook.

Sally is the epidome of the survival instinct that is within all of us. We find a way to go on. To recover from tragedy. To rebuild after things have been torn down. Life is one big puzzle and we all have to figure out how to make the pieces fit. Sally has a head start.


Homeless Young Boy Holding a Sign

I’m so grateful I met Sally. In so many ways, she’s much wealthier than we are. She’s tapped into the riches inside her and used it to survive each day. Sally is an amazing woman and I’m so blessed to have met her.

Have you met someone who is in a bad situation but always makes the best of it? Are you one of those people? Share it here!

 

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The Heartbeat of America is Alive and Well

Posted September 9, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Help Henderson4They lined up as far as the eye could see, the sun over the stadium casting the all-telling shadow over them as they waited. Inside the stadium, volunteers unpacked boxes, set up tables, cooked food. In just moments, lives would change.

For the workers, it seems like not enough time to get things ready. For those who waited outside, the moment would not come soon enough. 

I walked slowly through the crowd with the other workers, praying for and pronouncing blessings on these citizens of Henderson, Kentucky. An elderly man saw my knee brace and said he needed one too. He raised his shorts and showed me scars from surgeries. Had mine fit his enormous leg, I would have given to him. 

Mothers with children asked that we pray that their daddies would be released from jail. They were too young to understand he’d Help Henderson T-shirtcommitted a crime. They just felt the gigantic hole it left in their hearts since daddy left. A lone child stood in the wings listening intently as we prayed for a particular family. As the team walked away, she tugged at Melody’s hand and quietly asked if she could pray for her daddy. He was in jail, too.

Those in need lined up in complete orderly fashion, patiently waiting for their turn at each booth. No pushing. No shoving. Just grateful realization that people in this town understand they have needs and are doing something about it.

Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters walked together, hoping against hope that their lives would improve today. Wide-eyed children took balloons and candy from agency tables as moms filled out applications to receive aid and Help Henderson8other assistance. One end zone was filled with clothing, shoes, books and toys donated and manned by Goodwill Industries.

The other end held a prayer tent, filled with volunteers ready to intercede for the needs of others. Between helping with the event, I walked around observing how this town takes care of its own. Rich, poor, young, old all together in one place working together to make life better. 

As a praise band sang and prayer blasted from the stadium PA system, I knew in no uncertain terms that the heartbeat of America is alive and well. God is still on the throne in Kentucky and hearts are still tender toward Help Henderson6neighbors in need. 

I left there and went to a block party in an underprivileged neighborhood. We cooked hotdogs, hamburgers and offered fun and
fellowship to people who just don’t normally receive and outreached hand… well, except in Henderson. Kids played on inflatable obstacle courses while others looked on, eyes gleaming as they anticipated their turn. 

They were grateful. Joyful. Filled with wonder that total strangers would reach out to them where they live Block Partyand extend the right hand of fellowship. It was a good day Saturday in Western Kentucky. God is very much present on the Ohio River and the heartbeat of America is alive and well. 

There’s a lot of gold in Henderson, Kentucky. It fills the hearts of the kind people here and they can’t rest until they use that prosperity to help their fellow citizens who are in need. Thank you for reminding me how people should act.

 

 

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Your Life in an Hour

Posted August 30, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Helga and me... new budds

Helga and me… new budds

Remember Helga, the German lady I wrote about in my Bride # 497  blog post? I had privilege of seeing her again yesterday. I could tell she was a bit down, and lonely.

I settled into a chair across the table from her as she reached into her memory and began to pull out stories. She recounted nights in Germany when she danced the night away with soldiers who were lucky enough to punch her dance card. 

She also told of walking out of the bomb shelter to find a German and Russian tank about the square off. She ran back into the shelter while a man waved a white flag to let them know there were innocent people inside who meant not harm to either army.

We laughed when she remembered how Russian soldiers who came to her home accidentally flushed potatoes down the toilet, not knowing what it was. They’d blasted it with their machine guns while screaming, “SABOTAGE!!!!”

I’ve never heard these stories on the news. Nor have I read them in a book but they are so vital and full of the realness of what

individuals suffered in World War II.

Helga’s face lit up as she regaled us with story after story of dancers, soldiers and coming to America. She left the big city of Berlin andSoldiers Executing Improvised Explosive Device Sweep in Iraq landed on a farm in the back country outside Nebo, Kentucky. Chickens and horses harassed her on her trips to the outhouse. She was completely out of her element, and yet, love made a way.

Love taught Helga how to live in America. She followed her husband to the hills where he’d been bread, across a wide ocean in a terrible war. She worked hard in a strange, new world and found a way to be happy, content and successful.

Today, Helga lives alone and doesn’t get many visitors. Her daughter-in-law, Clydean, takes food to her every day and sits with her while she eats. Her life and history are so rich with amazing experiences and yet, there is no one there to listen.

So Helga barely took a breath during our hour stay. She forgot about her loneliness. She forgot about her pain. For a brief hour, she was waltzing with a handsome man around the dance floor in her homeland, knowing she’d been lucky enough to grab the greatest catch.

As I hugged her goodbye and rode off, I wondered if I’d be able to tell my life story in an hour. I wondered if anyone would be there to listen when I’m 89. Helga is one of the most wealthy women I’ve ever met. No, her wealth does not reflect in her bank account and she lives in a modest home. Her wealth is in the rich life she’s lived.

WaltzingHelga’s story should be told. The history of the war from the eyes of a child is priceless. The struggles she faced as a young bride in a strange culture are revealing and her zest for life is infectious. I was filled to the brim when I walked out of Helga’s home. In my mind’s eye, I was right there in that bomb shelter with her. I danced the polka with her. I suffered through the outhouse.

I thank God that Helga and my lives have crossed. I’m richly blessed by her life, both the history of her life past, and the fullness of her
presence today. I hope I can have that rich, full life to talk about when I have an hour with someone willing to listen.

God bless you, Helga, dear friend.

If you had an hour to tell your life story, what would you say? 

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Three States, Three Deaths, Three Blessings

Posted August 21, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Yesterday I started in Kentucky. Because the twin bridges over the Ohio River into Indiana is treacherous, my new friends, Danny and Clydean offered to drive me across. I eagerly accepted!

So, as much as I would have like to have pedaled over the state line, I was grateful to have the safety of doors of a pickup truck. After a quick breakfast, they put me off in a beautiful riverfront park in Indiana. 

Before I could get out of the park, three deaths occurred. The first was my front tire. The inner tube died and I had my first full flat tire of the tour. Then my heart rate monitor died, immediately followed by my bike computer that calculates my speed and distance. 

I felt like a blind woman riding a wheelchair on an interstate highway. I patched the tire, fiddled Indiana State Lineunsuccessfully with the computer and didn’t bother to dig out batteries out of the bottom of one of my panniers (saddle bags) for the heart rate monitor. 

The ride west was pleasant through the rest of Indiana. Once I crossed over the bridge spanning the Wabash River, things began to change. 

Google maps said to “take a right toward Country Road 500 N”. What it didn’t tell me was that the road was really a path and was not marked or even named. I missed the turn off and overshot it by 2 miles. I had to ride back to it. No big deal. It was only 90 degrees and I had used half my water supply.

Wabash River Bridge

Wabash River Bridge

I rode and rode through amazing farm land over black tar asphalt rough roads. But it really was amazingly peaceful. I really didn’t notice the heat. But, I had to begin rationing my water because I was still about fifteen miles from the nearest town. And it had been miles since I passed a house.

Suddenly, a building appeared, literally smack dab in the middle of absolutely nowhere. And there was a Coke Machine out front. I’d been out in the sun long enough that I could be hallucinating, but as I approached, I discovered it was real. I deposited my coin and pulled out an icy cold Diet Coke. Just the blessing I needed!

As I rode on, the river bottom farmland gave way to steep hills. I could have done without those Illinois State Linebut I was about to learn hills were the least of my worries. Moments later the pavement turned into soft gravel. Riding a bike fully loaded with gear with my tires is a very tricky maneuver. 

I walked my bike up hills, down hills, through deep gravel and thin gravel. My cell phone had no reception so I could not check my location. I had no idea how far I’d come because I had no odometer. I had to guess. 

I hoped I was still headed toward Norris City but I couldn’t be sure. Once I pushed Dakota to the top of one hill, I saw a house off the road. I wheeled in and struggled through even deeper gravel in the driveway. I leaned my bike up against a tree and approached the house. I knocked on the front door was grateful when a woman finally answered.

Oasis in the DesertShe gave me directions to Norris City and as I turned to leave, she said, “Can I ask you what you’re doing?”

I told her about the Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour and she began to cry… that all familiar tell tale sign she’s fighting fear.

She said, “You’re the Bicycle Lady? I heard about you from a friend and I can’t believe you’re standing on my porch. I’ve been following your blog!”

She went on to tell me her story of spousal abuse and how she had just successfully obtained a restraining order. She had been afraid to answer the door but felt compelled to. She now knew why.

After I prayed with her and said goodbye, I now understood why Google maps directed me down a soft gravel road. I’m so grateful to have met Kayleedean on a soft gravel road in the middle of nowhere, USA.  Blessing number two.

Soft gravel road in Illinois

Soft gravel road in Illinois

With her directions I made it into Norris City, Illinois, a mere 18 miles from my destination for the night. I called my host and she said her daughter was coming to pick me up and would be there in less than a half hour. Blessing number three.

From pushing my bike 10 miles in gravel in the heat of the day, a ride was just what I needed.

Three states: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois. 

Three deaths: my tire, my bike computer and my heart rate monitor

Three blessings: a ride over the the twin bridges, a Coke machine miles from anywhere, meeting Kayleedean… and the bonus blessing of a ride the last 18 miles. 

It just doesn’t get better than the adventurous day I spent on the Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour Across America.

 

 

 

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When You Can’t See His Hand, Trust His Heart

Posted August 17, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Cornfields in KyWhen I made it to Owensboro, KY, I felt out of sorts. Something just didn’t seem right. I was certainly moving into unfamiliar territory. I’m a southern gal and just across the river was a whole new world.

Honestly, I began to wonder if I’d missed God. I desperately wanted something  I was used to. I missed home, which I’m discovering is somewhere in the south.

I almost slipped into a funk. I emailed my prayer/support team telling them something just didn’t seem right. They immediately began to pray for God’s guidance. I spent the day yesterday riding around Owensboro and trying to figure out what my next steps would be.

Last night I conducted a live webinar with great authors Rachel Hauck and Beth Vogt. As we navigated the pre-show sound checks, their voices soothed Kentucky Countrysideme. Calmed my spirit and tethered me to things I know and love.

As I soaked in their love and encouragement and shared my experiences with them, I realized I just couldn’t see God’s hand. Other than that, nothing had changed. As I pondered that truth, an old contemporary Christian song came to mind. They tell how God is to wise to be mistaken. He won’t be unkind. Sometimes I won’t see His plan but when I can’t see His hand, I can trust His heart.

Dr. Martin Luther King said we don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the next step. So really, when I felt something wasn’t right and when I felt like I was in a place I don’t belong, the bottom line is it’s a matter of trust. So I asked myself the question, “Do I trust God?”
The answer is YES! So I took another step and rode onward. When He shows me another step, I’ll take that one. Then another.

Gift from Girls in McDonalds in Henderson KYWhile sitting in McDonald’s using their wifi to post this, two young ladies walked in the door and said, “Are you the the Bicycle Lady?” Ahhh, that familiar question. Thank you, Lord!

They said they saw me riding down the road then saw my bike at McDonald’s and knew they needed to bless me. They handed me a $10 McDonald’s gift card, a bottle of water and piece of paper saying:

“You have been blessed on Purpose. May God use you to bless someone, too.”

Yeah, I can trust His heart! Do you? I sure hope so.

 

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