Motivation 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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For My Girls

Posted January 7, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

On Sunday I wheeled my big rig into a very tight parking lot, backed into door fifteen and returned to the guard shack to check in. A very handsome and well built young man sat behind one of the desks. He obviously worked out on a regular basis.

John looked at my paperwork and said, “That will be $90 to unload your truck and would you like to buy some candy for a dollar?” I followed  his hands as he pointed to the boxes of assorted candy bars that lined the wall next to his desk. I figured he was selling the sweets to earn his way to the Olympics or something but when I asked, he pointed to the photo of two beautiful little girls he’d tacked to the wall above the candy.

“It’s for them.”

“Oh they’re doing a fundraiser?”

“No, I’m doing the fundraiser so I can provide them the life they deserve.”

That got my attention so, much to the man’s surprise, I pulled up a chair and said, “Tell me all about it.”

For the next twenty minutes, I listened as this man described his life over the last four years. His master’s degree had landed him a high level position with a prestigious company in central Florida. He quickly rose to become very successful but then the unthinkable happened. The company was shut down for unscrupulous practices and with no warning, John was out of a job. 

They quickly ran through their savings when he was unable to land another job. He was in the same boat so many Floridians–and Americans–were in at that time… overqualified and unemployed. He had no way to support his wife and two young daughters. But John had his brain. He discovered that most companies were outsourcing their work to third parties so rather than trying hopelessly to get a job with those companies, he went to the third parties.

He landed a job working for a “lumper” company–folks who unload trucks at the big warehouses. Contrary to what you may think, most companies do NOT unload trucks that deliver to their warehouses. It’s outsourced.

With his skills, John quickly rose to managing a team and runs a very tight ship. But, he still could not make enough money to provide the life he wanted for his daughters. But rather than becoming discouraged, he put his brain power to work. He realized that he was dealing with truckers who would sit at his dock for hours. Many of them did not have food and wanted to munch on something. So he went to Sam’s Club, bought candy bars at wholesale and made them available to truck drivers for a buck.

He’s sold enough candy to take his daughters on vacation every year, buy braces for both of them, pay for them to enjoy the activities they had been used to. 

John was a victim of our economy. He could have thrown in the towel. He could have given up. After all, it doesn’t get much worse than what he endured. But John used what he had… his brain. He found a way to make it work. Now, he unashamedly asks drivers “Would you like a candy bar for a dollar?” And John doesn’t bat an eye when telling them it’s to provide the life his daughters should have. 

There is no remorse in John’s eyes. They sparkle and glimmer with satisfaction that in the midst of trial, he figured out a way to provide for his family. He is a gutsy man. He said no to defeat. That’s the American way and thanks to John, the Heartbeat of America is alive and well!

 

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It’s Extremely Important

Posted March 14, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

It will never happen.

It’s impossible.

I’ll always be stuck where I am.

There’s no way out.

You’ve heard these before. Most likely you’ve said those things a time or two as well. We all do.

But each of those declarations is a bit extreme. Okay, they’re a LOT extreme. And, to make matters ever worse, many of us are in the habit of spouting them out when we feel the least bit discouraged by what life throws at us.

Truth is, never isn’t a time frame in any language, impossible is just a word that has no relevance on your circumstance, and no matter where you are, there is a way to get someplace else.

And yet, we’re always saying our dream will never come true, or It’s just not possible to get that job or writing contract. We live in a world of extreme statements, as though we’re either in or out, remembered or forgotten, alive or dead. Well, there’s a whole lot of journey between opposite ends of a road that we’ll surely miss if we concentrate on one end or the other.

I know a man who rode in a bicycle event in central Florida. At the end of the event, someone said, “Wasn’t the view of the space shuttle amazing?!”

The man looked at the other person as if they just climbed out of an alien space ship and said, “What space shuttle?”

Obviously this rider was polarized… thinking only about one extreme, the finish line. I’ve run in many races, and pedaled through countless bicycle events and the finish line was only remarkable once in all those races. By concentrating on the finish line, he missed the most important part of the entire ride… the VIEW!

He zipped right by the space shuttle on launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, completely missed the largest known bald eagle’s nest in the US, and a plethora of alligators, herons, pelicans and other creatures in the Florida wild.

How sad. He’d fallen into the trap of living in the extreme.

It’s a hard habit to break. For that reason, I don’t recommend it. Yes, you read that right. DO NOT TRY TO FIX YOUR PROBLEM! Instead, why not capitalize on it? As long as you’re polarized, why not use it to your advantage?

Instead of saying you’ll NEVER succeed, why not say, “I’ll always succeed, no matter what?” Or rather than declaring things are impossible, why not say, “All things are possible to those who believe.” Or, “I’ll ALWAYS keep moving toward my goal, regardless of the circumstances.”

Positive polarization—or declaring in the extreme—is completely within your control, just like its negative counterpart we’re so quick to blurt out. You’re already doing it, so why not change a word or two and make it work for you?

Go ahead, be extreme! Just do it in a positive way! It’s extreme-ly important that you do that. You’ll feel better, accomplish more and propel yourself toward reaching your goal. And, you’ll have fun along the way. How fun is that?

Do you speak in polarized extremes? Of course you do. What do you say? 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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Your Incredible Resilience

Posted January 8, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As I sit bundled up typing this blog post, most of our country (USA for my foreign friends) is in a deep freeze. Facebook is flashing with reports of 15 foot snow drifts, high temperatures in the negative teens and new recipes cooked up to cope with the cold. 

Mountain woman

Yesterday, I took a long walk in freezing temperatures during the warmest part of the day. The bright shining sun was no match for the fierce northeastern wind as it sliced through my skin. Yet, it was an amazing encounter with old man winter. This is my first winter as an adult I’ve spent somewhere other than subtropical climates. A great adventure.

Most everyone I know is taking the storm in stride. I’m intrigued by the creative ways people are coping with the storm. It proves to me one thing I’ve known for a very long time. Human beings are the most resilient of God’s creation.

Ice Climber

The Creator Himself stirred in a large amount of the stuff when He made you. Your incredible resilience is right there, hardwired into your DNA. All you have to do is call upon it when the need arises. And, it will see you through even the most treacherous storms in life.

 

Haven’t been suddenly faced with a situation you weren’t expecting and had no earthly idea how you were going to get out of it? Sure you have. Remember when, out of nowhere, the solution just popped in your mind? That’s your incredible resilience at work.

My friend, right now–yes at this very instant– you have the ability to get out of any situation, overcome any obstacle and climb any mountain that stands in the way of you living your dream. There will always be challenges. Anytime you set off in a positive direction, you will face adversity but here’s the great thing: YOU ARE INCREDIBLY RESILIENT!

Girl Making Snow Angel

You are strong and powerful. When life’s winter storms hurl winds in your face and the road to your success is covered over by freezing snow drifts, you’ll find a way. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. Unleash your incredible resilience and let it propel you beyond your problems to where you want to be.

When was the last time you used your incredible resilience? Was was the result? Share it here!

 

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Judge Me Not

Posted November 20, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Yesterday I stopped writing in the early afternoon and went for a run. It was a beautiful and crisp sunny day in Appalachia. With the temperature in the upper 50’s, it was perfect running weather. I layered up, laced on my running shoes and headed out for a six mile out and back run. 

Me at Iron Girl Finishing the Race!

Me at Iron Girl Finishing the Race!

I stopped at the midpoint and watched the little children play on the playground for a couple of minutes. Their laughter was contagious as they slid down slides and swung on swings. 

Ahhh… to be young again!

boy running

I was halfway back home when I saw a young runner approaching. He looked to be about sixteen and was really zipping along. As he got closer, I noticed he would not make eye contact with me. I always like to swap howdies with folks and encourage those who are courageous enough to actually head out the door for exercise.

When he was about six feet away, he said, “Go back to your rocking chair granny and get off the sidewalk.”

Normally, would let a statement like that go, but two things lined up at that exact moment:

1) This young man was judging me.

2) I was having an exceptionally good running day.

I whipped around and caught up with him. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Young man, I’d like to talk to you.”

“Stuff it grandma. You’re not a runner.”

“Really?”

“No. You’re not.”

“Are you?”

“Yeah, I am. I run on the track team.”

“Did you notice I’m keeping up with you?”

Girl Crossing the Finish Line

He ran faster. So did I.

“I really want to talk to you, but not now.”

“Oh yeah. Well when then?”

“When you’re 56.”

He stopped, his chest heaving as he sucked in air.

“When I’m 56?”

“That’s right. Because when you’re 56, have 4 fractures in your lumbar spine, have survived incurable cancer and dozens of broken bones, you’ll have the authority to judge me. So, I really, seriously want to talk to you… in about 40 years.”

With that I left him huffing and sprinted away around the curve. Only when I was out of sight of this young whipper snapper did I stop and perform my own air gasping routine.

Goose in Road

What I look like when I run

I realized how quickly he’d judged me. He’d never seen me and had no way of knowing my skill level. And, for a block or two, even this old woman was able to keep up with him. But in the grand scheme of things, did it really matter? I was out exercising, having a wonderful day. I’m happy to waddle down the road for miles and sweat my way back home. I have the heart of a champion. I’m not offended in the least that I have the gait of a penguin?

That young man judge me based on where he thought he was in his life, athleticism and youth. He turned out to be wrong. Call me crazy but I bet he’ll think twice before he tells another gray haired waddler to get off the sidewalk.

What about you? Have you ever been inappropriately judged? Or worse, have you judged someone else? How did you react? Share it here!

 

 

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What Failure is, and Isn’t

Posted August 29, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Illinois State Line

It wasn’t Oregon

I have had such an outpouring of love, friendship, caring, concern and overall well wishes from so many when I released the news yesterday that I’d suffered two serious, ride ending injuries. I am so grateful for all the emails, calls, texts, voicemails and personal visits as I move toward restoration.

Interestingly, I’ve had some individuals try to encourage me in “my time of failure.”  That word took me by surprise because not once did I ever consider that I’d failed. I began pondering that and realized that many of us have a distorted view of failure.

The Road to Freedom hasn’t stopped. In fact, rather than pedaling to where the ministry took place last night, the ministry came to me. I sat with a house full of amazing and courageous women who have lived hard lives and have amazing stories of overcoming and triumphantly taking their lives back.

No failure there, just courage, tenacity, and victory.

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

As I pondered, I discovered what failure is, and what it isn’t. I’d like to share that with you:

What failure is:

1) Never attempting what you would had you followed the leading of your heart.

2) Not daring to dream.

3) Being led by excuses to not live your dream.

 

What failure isn’t:

1) Following your heart and winding up in a different destination.

2) Attempting to live your dream and it doesn’t work out.

3) Giving something your all but not reaching your goal.

 

From the Farm in KY

Thunderstorms began at sunrise

There is a clear difference between failing and being a failure. On any given Sunday, two teams suit up and take to the gridiron. Both want to win and give it their all. Only one team can walk off the field with the win but they all are victorious. Do you realize how many successes it requires for a single player to make it to the NFL? And yet, one team loses.

The recent injuries I sustained that caused me to have to look at Dakota rather than ride him made me keenly aware that many of us have become laser-focused on the outcome rather than the journey. If things don’t turn out exactly the way they planned–and the never will–many will lump that into the failure file.

On my bike, I could plot out a route I would take in any given day. Not once did it turn out the way I planned. But, at the end of the

Planned to vid

Plans to visit my parent’s graves were washed out

day, it had been a gloriously successful one. Never did I consider that day a failure, and yet, there are so many who will. The feedback I’ve received bears witness of that.

Failure is NOT having tried and ended up somewhere other than where you planned. Failure is never having tried and ending up where you were. 

What is YOUR definition of failure? When was the last time you felt like you failed? Share it here!

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Why I Didn’t Stop

Posted July 26, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As you read this, I’m pedaling away from my hometown of Huntsville, AL, westward toward Mississippi. So I’m sure I’ll run into all sorts of people, places and stories. I can hardly wait!

If you have been following my Road to Freedom tour, you know that while climbing a very steep hill, I took a forty foot tumble down to the bottom of a ravine. It took me over an hour and a half to get Dakota and me back up to the top of the ravine. Fortunately, we were not much worse for the trip.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I was going to pack it in and abandon the tour. When I tell them I have no intention of stopping, they marvel at how strong, courageous, and gutsy I am, particularly after hearing of the sprained shoulder and cracked rib I endured.

I’m amazed at this. First of all, I’m not doing this for me. Otherwise, I would probably still be sitting in my recliner chair occasionally glancing at Dakota sitting in the corner of my dining room. Since I’m doing this for women who are suffering from PTSD, how could I not keep going?! Because of a little tumble?

Life is full of uphill climbs with a fully loaded bicycle. Sometimes it rides smoothly, while other times we tumble off the edge. That’s just the way it is. Life wasn’t designed to always be fair. And we weren’t meant to stop living life when we tumble of the edge.

Each of us is bigger than tumbles of the edge. God created us with the ability to climb back up, reload and keep pedaling toward our goal and destination. It’s in all of us. And it’s free. All you have to do is tap into it.

Are you a “don’t quit” type of person or are you a “Ok, that’s it. I get the message. I’ll quit” person? Some of the most incredible successes in life happened to someone just past where they wanted to quit.

Did I want to quit when I broke a rib and couldn’t move my arm for a couple hours? Umm, yes. Heck yes. But did I? No. Am I glad? You betcha! The greatest blessings of my trip came right after I decided I’d keep going!

That will happen to you as well. So, just make a decision now that you will NOT quit. Keep going. Rest if you must but don’t quit. You and the world will be glad you did!

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God Works in Ways We Cannot See

Posted July 17, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
2013 Bicycle Tour 008

Elijah and his wonderful family!

The ride through rural Georgia was everything I dreamed it could be. No rain, lots of sun and breathtaking view. I found an old roadside store that closed down in 1972. Who knows, I could have gone with my parents to that store as a little girl.

About noon, I began feeling the effects of the heat. I couldn’t eat and I was losing way too much fluid. About that same time, the steep hills returned. It was a grueling few hours. As I agonized up one hill, a woman stopped with her 7 y/o daughter and mother-in-law stopped to make sure I was okay. She invited me to her house a mile or so up the road. I gladly accepted. She loaded me up with ice. 

Her daughter, Elliana Joy, was very concerned that since I was out on the road traveling alone, I had Jesus. That settled, she shared her entire collection of stuffed kitty cats with me. 

I headed on down the road, grateful for my oasis in the desert. Elijah Smith

I wanted to make it to Gainsville, GA. It wouldn’t happen. I was crawling up what I am sure was Mount Everest with a front tire that was going flat . The bike is more difficult to steer with panniers and a partly flat tire. A big truck zoomed by and, although he gave me plenty of berth, the wind pushed my front wheel off the road. 

Normally that wouldn’t be a problem except there was a forty foot drop off. Ummm… yeah, Dakota and I took a tumble down the embankment. I lay there for a few minutes just to make certain I was not injured. That’s what you should do. Never hop right up unless you land in a bed of snakes or something.

It took me an hour and a half to unload my gear, cart it back up the ravine, fix my tire and repack my bike. But, as I lay there in the ravine, I knew God is the Lily of the Valley. I prayed and road again. I prayed for a McDonald’s with wifi. 

Silly me.

2013 Bicycle Tour 013I slithered into Gillsville, GA. By the way, in case you ever wondered, there is one convenience store/gas station and a cafe that closes at 2pm. Oh, and Donald. 

The moment I wheeled up, Donald got up from a bench and hobbled by cane to my bike. He is either 86 or 89. He told me both. We talked for a while but I needed to get inside to cool air. When I finally recovered, Donald was still there. Turns out he just hangs out at the store all day. He lives in a trailer behind the store that is devoid of water, plumbing or electricity. 

He allowed me to pitch my tent in his front yard.  While I was setting up camp, he regaled me with stories of his experience as a soldier in the Korean War. I learned that as a person ages, numbers and measurements increase. He told me of the snowflakes that are as big as a hand and mosquitoes that were a foot long. 

This morning as I left, he hugged my neck with his frail hand and said, “I feel like I know’d you all my life.” I think I was as much a blessing to him as he was to me.

During the night I checked my heart rate every time I woke up. Upper 90’s and low 100’s resting rate was a clear sign of severe dehydration. No way I’d

Donald in Gillsville. Isn't he just PRECIOUS?!

Donald in Gillsville. Isn’t he just PRECIOUS?!

recovered over night. I started out but wisely turned around in the grave yard and headed back to the store. I’d need to get a ride somewhere with someone and take a couple days to recover. 

I got several, “no, sorry I’m not going that way” rejections but finally a young man offered to take me into town. It was 15 miles in opposite directions to Gainsville and Commerce. I figured Commerce would be better but he was headed toward Gainsville. He took me into Commerce. As we pulled off the highway, David said he wanted to buy me a hotel room for the night.

He passed the Motel 6 and all the budget hotels and took me to Comfort Inn. When the front desk clerk discovered what was happening, she called housekeeping  my room was ready by 10:00am. They held up the continental breakfast for me as well. I’ll have a wonderful day of rest before heading back out tomorrow.

If you think God isn’t working on your behalf, remember my last 24 hours. It will remind you! 

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Georgia on My Mind!

Posted July 15, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Strangest thing I saw. Family member buried in the front yard.

Strangest thing I saw. Family member buried in the front yard.

After a wonderful send off by my new friends Beth and John in Seneca, SC, I set off to Georgia. It was a tough day in the saddle. For some reason, the adjustment to my granny gear didn’t work when the bike was loaded down with gear so I spend my second day pumping my legs up hill after long hill.

In the rain.

It wasn’t easy but I settled into a rhythmic pedal uphill rhythm I spoke about in my last blog post. I spent over nine hours moving forward, whether by pedal or push.

Finally, I made it to the Georgia border. It was like Heaven! When I stopped to try to video record it, I got so choked up, I had to stop. The victory of  actually making it out of South Carolina was too much for me to be able to hold back tears.

I saw hills and mountains all around me but for some reason, the road for a few miles was relatively flat. I BIKE TOUR 2013 017was able to whiz along at over twenty miles per hour. That made up for a little of the time I spent starting, stopping and pushing. With about three miles to go before civilization, the skies opened up and dumped a deluge.

I finally did what any cyclist would do. I stopped at a house, walked up to the door and asked to pitch my tent. I was losing air in my front tire and there was a big hill coming up. I could go no further.

People wonder what I say when I approach homes. It goes something like this:

“I’m traveling by bicycle and my tire is going flat. By the time I change it, it will be dark. I was wondering if you’d be willing for me to pitch my tent somewhere in your yard. I’m completely self-contained, I’ll be gone by first light and I promise to not leave a trace.”

Inside my tent.

Inside my tent.

Such was my mantra to a young man named Christian. He offered to take me into town to a hotel (for $60 per night) but not only did I not want to spend the money, I couldn’t move any more.

I pitched my tent, hauled my panniers inside. I rolled out my backpacking pad and laid down. I felt too bad to eat. I just needed to lay down. I had US Highway 123 in front of me and a high traffic railroad tracks behind me. I didn’t figure I’d get much sleep but I didn’t care. I was horizontal and that was all that mattered at that moment.

One moment I pondered that fact that it was very busy, then looked at my watch and realized I’d been sleeping for over two hours. I couldn’t cook dinner on my backpacking stove in the rain so throughout the night, I took small bites of a granola bar (Thanks John).

As I write this, it’s mid-morning in Tacoa, GA. I’m at McDonald’s catching up on email and such. I have to make a decision as to which direction to head. That’s a tough one. As far as I figure, I have three choices:

1) Head north, gut it out over the mountains for days.

2) Head west, and still hit mountains.

3) Head southwest and try to skirt around the mountains. I’d still have some steep hills and mountains.

I may stay here another day just to rest up. I’m not sure. I’m going to stay through lunch and then make a decision.

It’s been a hard, rewarding, at times agonizing ride so far but the people I’ve met are amazing and I’ve garnered quite a bit of interest about my mission

Laying exhausted at the end of day 2.

Laying exhausted at the end of day 2.

on the Road to Freedom.

I’ve received such grace from total strangers. It’s been amazing! In fact, one of the McDonald’s workers just approached me and asked if I needed to have a place to stay for the night tonight. He lives with his parents about ten miles from here. Amazing.

Thank you for following me on this journey and for commenting. They give me the courage to go on.

 

 

 

 

 

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