All rights to Good Sunday Morning reserved. John C. McGinn is the writer and owner of all rights. No part of these entries  may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the writer.

True Moments

    Are any of you long distance riders? If you are, you know of what I speak when saying that a full day in the saddle can cleanse your mind. Oh, I can ride down to Pine Mountain via one route, run the ridge, and return via another route, without stopping, and have a temporary cleansing, but it's not a cleansing that is experienced when you ride consistent 750 mile days for 10 days. (was that a run on sentence?)
    Cheryl and I just spent 7 days running the proposed WinShape Ride For The Family route, but we were in the SUV. When the first "ground exposure" to the route is made, it's important to be able to make notes, seek acceptable refueling stops where 60 or so vehicles can fill up and the riders can empty efficiently. Porta Potties are a necessity most of the time, as stations just don't count on that many bikes stopping at one time. Truck stops are usually the best bet. They have lots of space and at least two sets of rest room facilities.
    The point is: such a vehicle run is not relaxing. It's work, though work for the future relaxing of Ride For The Family riders. If plans go as expected, the riders will be able to relax and enjoy the ride and have no idea that something went wrong along the way. That is a successful ride.
    When the legendary (at least in our minds) Out West Riders take to the road, we cover from 500 to 750 miles per day for ten days---well, unless we are doing an Iron Butt ride when we do 1,000 miles in 24 hours without stopping to sleep, or 1500 miles in 36 hours with a 4 hour sleep stop, or if we are coming home from Colorado and stop once to sleep on a rest stop concrete table for 30 minutes.
    On rides such as these, one has time to think about how life is unfolding. At gas stops, riders can share thoughts, but not for long as we must be "on the road again." Usually, at night, riders are able to talk at length---unless you are crossing the Continental Divide at midnight heading towards the next motel.  If you are not leading the ride, you just focus on safety and follow the bike in front of you. When asked where you guys are headed, one of our riders said: "I have no idea, I'm just following that orange bike." Ah, life can regain much focus on such a venture.
    For this rider, the Out West Tours are relaxing. Oh, by the time Booger Bottom is reached at the end of the ride, I'm physically tired, but that is quickly replaced by the rush of the experiences of the previous 10 days. True, most sights were seen in passing, but still, we were there for a few seconds!
    Early this morning, while washing pots and pans from last nights' dinner, I had another refocusing experience that hopefully you are familiar with. I had been up for a couple of hours, checking emails, the news, and Facebook. (can you believe the direction our elected officials are taking the USA, or can you believe that the Hawks have made no trades to improve the team, and how about the possibility of Chick-fil-A having a larger part in the future national football championships?) The sun was beginning to shed its' morning light in Booger Bottom, and our glass windows above the kitchen sink revealed the wild azalea bushes--25 feet tall--, the dogwoods, the wild magnolias, the empty bird feeders--note to self. 
    Yesterday, when I stepped into Southwest Christian Hospice to visit a wonderful preacher/teacher, the director stopped me to deliver a CD left there when Cheryl's dad was in residence. Well, it was a Gaither Gospel series CD, so naturally, she though it was mine. My friend had already slipped into unconsciousness, but I was able to talk with his wife, two of his sons, a grandson and others. He was ready, willing, and able to move on and meet Jesus face to face. It's hard to understand why one who had a glowing countenance in his ministry and who ministered to so many for so long would suffer so much in later life and not be taken up in the bat of an eye, but God has a plan.
    Any way, I put the CD into the player. This one features the Gaither Homecoming choir singing the old hymns of the church. Not much Southern Gospel music that I so dearly love, just the old hymns of the church---the hymns that I grew up with. 
    If you've never experienced this, prayerfully you will before you "cross over" to the other side. The songs are playing, the morning sun is brightening the woods, my "dish pan hands" are being refreshed, and suddenly I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit flooding from within my soul. God has blessed some with the ability to write lyrics, some with the ability to write music, some to play music, some to sing music, and many to listen and appreciate the end product. We all have "triggers" that initiate the soul. Music is mine. Oh, what joy springs forth when the Holy Spirit makes Himself know. Suddenly, there is a presence around me that reconnects my soul with what is important in life. 
    There are those who will say: "well you can keep that presence with you 100% of the time. You spend more time in His word, you pray more, you give to others and sacrifice self." True, but not realistic in my life. I'm just thankful for those moments. 
    Be a blessing to someone today.      

Father's Day

    It's quite a responsibility that we father's carry. Most, even in today's society, are expected to carry the financial responsibility for the family. Father's are expected to be "head of the household" without being overbearing, expected to be the spiritual leader of the family, but not preach too often, expected to instruct with a soft voice and continue to do so after thousands of perceived failures and never raise that voice, to plan the vacations, but with the help of the entire family while trying to satisfy everyone, to make holidays special when advancing age has taken some luster from his own life, to consider the wants/needs of family over his own. Get the idea? Fathers are to sacrifice for the family and smile while doing so.
    I only had one earthly father, one mother. Cheryl and I have two children and now two grandchildren. My family grew up poor in a monetary sense, but that was normal in our part of the country. I gained much wisdom by growing up that way. I always thought that if I could provide more financially for our children, they would have a leg up on life. Maturity says that is a misconception. It's what one does with what one has that matters.
    I saw a father faithfully work to provide the financial needs of his family. I saw a father worry about the future of his family. I also witnessed a father who found joy in growing things, and counted heavily on his Heavenly Father. I saw a father who never spent more than he made, who would "make do" until he could afford the thing that he needed. I like to say that he did the best he could with what he had.
    My father never was big on the excessive use of words. Some might not agree, but that is a trait that carries on in my life. I have been guilty of wrongly believing that living life was a better instructor than talking about life. Words of instruction can carry great value to young minds. I still believe that actions are better than words--they last longer.
    My father was not demonstrative in showing love or speaking of love. I tried to improve on that with our children. Admittedly, Cheryl is better than I in that department.
    Some things that my father lived and taught by his actions: "A good name is to be more desired than great riches, Favor is better than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all. The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. " Proverbs 22: 1-6
    My father was good at what he did. I tried to improve upon his methods and expand horizons through the things that I learned. Our children will try to improve on our ways. If our children have learned that My heavenly father is first in life, that I try to live a life that pleases Him, then I have succeeded and they have worthy goals to strive for. All the other icing is just that--icing. Nice to have, but icing.
    Happy Father's Day men. Hope you get some riding time in today!
    Be a blessing to someone today.

Similar, Different, but with The Same Message

    Do you notice all the different makes and models of motorcycles on the roads today? Even after you get past the makes of bikes, each make offers a number of models. If a rider wants a bike for a particular purpose, it is out there. Mountain bikes, trail bikes, enduro bikes, dual sport bikes, scooters, crotch rockets, highway bikes, touring bikes, cafe' racers----the list goes on and on.
    Each bike is made for a particular purpose. Each bike can be modified to better suit the riders' height, weight and riding skills. I have not researched this, but I understand that, from the factory,  the shocks on most bikes are set up to optimally carry a 150 pound person through a "normal" series of circumstances. Most of us don't fit into that weight category, yet most of us don't modify the suspension system of our bikes. How smart are we to seek more power, yet not modify our suspension set up, breaking capabilities, or our riding skills?
    As many aftermarket companies' marketing departments say: "make it fit your personality. Make it yours." We all want our bike(s) to be an extension of our personalities.
    The Moo Cow Bikers verify with every ride that the make/model of motorcycle does not make the ride. It's the fellowship experienced during the ride that makes the ride. From the beginning, we have encouraged all makes and models into our group. With all due respect to HOG members, GWRRA members, and all others, it's not the make of bike you ride. It's who you ride with. The people make the ride, not the machines. And yes, we do enjoy looking at all the bikes.
    If these machines have two, three, or four wheels, if they operate properly, if the operator makes them perform as designed, we are happy campers. By choice, our Moo Cow Biker group enjoys the "it's the journey" part of the popular slogan. We like to laugh with (not at) each other, cry with each other, spread the good news of riding with others, spread the Good News with others, see new places, meet new people, eat at new restaurants, follow new road captains, accept the challenge of new roads, watch our new Website come together so we can share more with others, entice others to form Moo Cow Biker clubs......the list goes on and on. Much to the delight of many, we have already had three overnight rides this year, with more to come. We solidify relationships more and more with these overnight rides. We are getting there.
    I'm reading in Psalms now. Those who are born again know that God does not want us to fear. David certainly had many opportunities to fear. The wild animals he dealt with while shepherding, Saul, Goliath, armies, his own son, his own sinfulness; yet David did not fear. Psalm 27: 1-3 " The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident."
    David said it another way in Psalm 23: 1. :The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    We can say things many different ways. We can ride many different makes and models of motorcycle. The importance comes from the message, not from the make and model. The message that we deliver to those whom we come in contact with, even those who see us passing on the road, those who see us eating in a restaurant, refueling, conversing with each other, observing God's beautiful creation: the message should be of one of love for each other, for others, for love of God, for no fear of what God has in mind for us, of joy in experiencing God's blessings to us each day.
    Be a blessing to someone today.