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Bike the Boros: Staten Island

Bike the Boros: Staten Island
First ride event of the 2016 season
April 17, 2016

The primary motivating cycling goal for this year was for me to ride in the 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 1. The 5 Boro is a 40 mile ride that winds through all five boroughs of New York City. That was going to be my kickoff event for the cycling season. Unfortunately, I missed registration. I was a bit bummed, but there was still the opportunity to volunteer for the ride which meant I would still get some mileage in.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I got an email about the approaching registration deadline for the Bike the Boros: Staten Island ride, with 35 and 50 mile routes around Staten Island. It sounded like a great replacement event for the one I missed even though it’s two weeks earlier than I was planning and my cycling training has almost been non-existent.

This is an event journal for my first cycling event of the 2016 season.

7:00-9:00 am

Today is the day. I got up, got prepped and got out.

The ferry ride to Staten Island was uneventful and now I’m just waiting for the day to unfold and see how I handle the 35 mile route.


Made it to registration before they closed down at 9:30. Hit the road at 9:40.


Rest area 1 @ 12miles Already exceeded my expectations!! I was ready to exit the route by mile 3. Staten Island is hilly! Who knew?!?!?

I am super proud of myself for pushing through the hills and making it to the first rest stop. Making it to the first rest stop usually means you can make it to the second. And once you make it to the second rest stop you’re pretty much done. #crossingmyfingers

My mapping software is off by about 8 miles. It looks like it didn’t catch all of the mileage of the first leg of my route.


Second rest stop @ mile 24. Made it. I was seriously looking for the exit 4 miles back. This hill was literally the last straw. Then I looked at my route sheet and saw that I was only 4 miles away from the rest stop. I sat on a retaining wall for a while catching my breath and gathering my strength to tackle this steep hill. Ended up walking my bike up the hill. Then got back on. It’s important to always get back on.

The downhill on the other side of this hill was a mix of reward and terror, like: a lil’ bit of “Oh yay! Downhill!” with a lot of “Oh shit! This is treacherous!” It was a steep, winding downhill road with no shoulder to speak of, two-way traffic with a lot of pot holes, a couple of stop signs peppering the decline and a couple of hairpin sharp turns coming off the hill thrown in for good measure. Not for the faint of heart. But who knew that was coming?


Finish line!


I did it.

Pretty much from the beginning of this ride, I was ready to give up. Even before the ride. I had to talk myself into showing up. I didn’t prep the night before as I should have. Prepping in the morning delayed my departure, so much so that I thought I would miss registration and riding with any group of riders. Getting to the start line required a forty minute subway ride, a mile and half of cycling and a half hour ferry ride.

The commitment is certainly in the start. Perhaps that’s why starting is so hard. So I am most proud that I started. By starting and not giving up when the course proved to be harder than I expected, I achieved my first goal of the ride: making it to the first rest stop. Achieving that first goal propelled me to achieving the ultimate goal for the day: finishing the course.

At no point before I started, did I plan on or expect that I would finish the 35 miles I signed up for. Even at the first rest stop, I was telling myself I could stop at 20 miles and I would be okay with that. I was about to throw my hat in when I saw the crazy hill. When I looked at my cue sheet I realized I was only four of miles away from the second rest stop. I knew I could do four more miles. The rest stops are where cyclists are able to get off their bikes, use the restroom, refill on water, eat (usually fresh fruit, bagels, and granola; sometimes PBJ sandwiches and other goodies; or bagged lunches). And of course, take a breather. The rest stops are crucial for all the refueling you need. When you get back on, you’re better than fresh – you have the second wind that isn’t hindered by heart palpitations and your movement is more fluid from the prior “warm-up” round(s).

As I got up from my breather at the bottom of that hill I was ready to call a taxi from, I knew if I made the second rest stop, I could finish the course. I didn’t see the end until I was close to it. Focusing on the step in front of me is what got me through the whole challenge. I think this is true for most things in life.

“I rode the Staten Island Half Century” Not quite half, but I’m keeping the t-shirt!




Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal – so I cooked for myself instead of going to Chipotle for a chicken burrito! A lot of veggies, some baked chicken and bit of guacamole. 😉 #lightsout





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“Your blessing is going to suck!”

“Your blessing is going to suck!”

No one really tells you that, but people may be thinking that when they tell you to “be careful what you ask for”.

I think I over-estimated my readiness.

For years, I’ve lived with the presumption that every day of my life is preparation for the days to come. I thought I was ready for tomorrow. I would’ve sworn that I was ready for the next stage. Eager to begin my next chapter. However, in certain ways my readiness has become a torturous idea holding me back. Standing ready for everything to come has kept me in a constant state of anticipation for all that I don’t yet have – but desire to receive. The good – preparation –  has morphed into a negative focus on my lack.

I used to see my preparation and readiness as blessings. Now I see that all I ever really needed was (and will ever need is) a willingness to move when God’s Spirit tells me to do so.

Moses wasn’t ready… to speak. He tried to talk God out of his assignment to tell Pharaoh to let his people go. Gideon wasn’t ready… to hear God; he tested the Lord repeatedly before agreeing to obey His instructions in order to bring down the walls of Jericho. Esther wasn’t ready…, but she believed she had been positioned for such a time as she found herself in – as the wife of a king she was able to influence in order to help her people. Jesus wasn’t ready…, but He was willing to fulfill His Father’s purpose for His life, so He delivered His Spirit into His Father’s care.

Readiness, as we view it, may be the lie. God doesn’t need us to be ready in order to use us or bless us. He simply needs us to be willing. Willing to trust Him. Willing to obey Him. Willing to believe that His purpose for our lives is much greater than what we’ve been preparing ourselves for. Willing to appreciate that everyone is one person with a divine assignment and we all need to be willing to allow God to use us as a domino effect to bless countless others.

Blessings only suck when you take your eyes and focus off of the One who instructs, guides and blesses you.

Then Jesus went back to his followers and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “You men could not stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak.”

Then Jesus went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this painful thing to be taken from me, and if I must do it, I pray that what you want will be done.”~ Matthew 26:40-42, NCV

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My husband is not my soul mate.

Shawnda’s response to “My Husband is Not My Soul Mate”

July 24, 2013 at 6:12 am

My response to this blog is pretty much a post, so I am reblogging it with my response. I welcome your thoughts and comments as well.

Thanks for sharing your heart in this post. I am single and in my late 30′s. I have wanted to be married for the last ten years. I dated throughout my 20′s and I have always seen a husband in my future. I too had the lists of characteristics I wanted in my spouse. I will also say that I’ve been celibate since the age of 18 – a one night stand was the last time my spirit allowed me to rebel sexually. I share all this because I believe that God has had a very real and direct guidance and correction in my life. He was present and active in every choice I have made. His guidance and influence are especially visible when I look back on my life. There are many things that I wanted and many things that I chose throughout my 20′s that were not part of God’s plan for my life. How do I know that? Because none of it worked out in my life. Many things fell mid-flight. The men, once so eager to talk to me or impress me simply disappeared. All this BEFORE I committed myself to God and His instructions for life. My committed walk with God began about 8yrs ago. In my covenant relationship with my Father God, I have learned to ask Him to use me according to His will, to conform me according to His character and nature and to change my heart to desire the things He desires to give me in life.

In all these years, only one man has able to reach my heart and sear my soul. One man. Even when I had the illusion of choosing from many others, far more practical choices; even when I thought I didn’t want this man because of His seemingly loose way of walking out his faith, my thoughts and my focus return to him. I am convinced that he is my husband and I am convinced that God has been working on us both for many years to prepare us for the full glory, honor and work that is a covenant marriage with Jesus in the center, guided and enriched by God’s Holy Spirit. We have both made many choices over the years that have seemingly put a huge gulf between us, but God with His mercy and planning always show us how connected we are in the smallest of instances and the slightest of events.

I share this because I think you’re giving yourself far too much credit. Yes, we have free will. But I truly believe that God’s biggest pleasure with each of us comes when we CHOOSE to yield/surrender/give our full lives back to Him. When we allow Him control of our lives, He is better able to mold us more fully into His image. I am because HE IS. Apart from God, my choices are nothing and they amount to very little in life. But with God, my choices are everything and life is a true wonder of daily miracles. The daily choice I take responsibility for is surrendering to God everything that is me, so that He will fill me with more of Himself. As you may already know, there are many days when surrender is not a thought in my mind or is stubbornly resisted – those days, I don’t want to be merciful, loving, or generous. However, after a while of wallowing in my own darkness, I return yet again broken and surrendered to His light and His will for me to love others as He loves me.

Thus the point of my post, if your primary focus is only to commit to loving your husband every day, what happens on the days when you are without the strength to do so? Is it only on those days that you seek God and ask for His strength to love your man as He originally intended?

It’s unfortunate that your parents burst your bubble/belief about God’s deep concern and attention to every detail of your life. His word does say that He takes an active interest in our lives. And our marriages are a reflection of our relationship with Him. You are not as in control as you think you are, but you can remain blind to all that our Father is blessing you with and growing you for.

Lord, you have examined me and know all about me.

You know when I sit down and when I get up.

You know my thoughts before I think them.

You know where I go and where I lie down.

You know everything I do.

Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it.

You are all around me — in front and in back — and have put your hand on me.

Your knowledge is amazing to me; it is more than I can understand.   

Psalm 139:1-6

Be blessed, sister. May you and your husband and your marriage be conduits of God’s grace, mercy and love always.

Related posts:

He is my husband...

Husband, do you love me?

Wife, do you respect me?

Sacrifice, Submission, Surrender

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If you can’t move your mountain…

During a conversation with a friend recently, she mentioned how difficult it was to move the mountains in her life.

My response: “if you can’t move your mountain, beautify it.”

It was an automatic response. We both laughed. And we both pondered it. I’m still pondering….

I’ve learned that heavy lifting of any sort – especially whole life make-overs, overhauls or re-designs – takes some training. And perhaps plenty of planning about how to go about the training. In short: preparation is required before anyone can conquer and move a mountain in their life.

Basically, we need to get to know the mountain we’re trying to move. That getting-to-know period may take much longer than anticipated (read: years). So while you’re living with that mountain in your life, plant a tree or a garden you can enjoy until you build the muscle required to get that mountain out of your way.

Today’s lesson: The size and difficulty of a challenge changes according to the perspective you gain from preparation and experience.