Saturday, September 11, 2010

Labor Day Vacation At Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground

On Friday, September 03, 2010, my wife and I packed our motorcycle trailer and headed to Asheville, NC for a vacation that lasted until that following Monday.  The weather was perfect!  And, the traffic was not as congested as we had expected.  In the following body of this blog I will tell you a little about our experience.

First, we chose to use Mapquest to route our traveling experience.  I don't know if you have ever used Mapquest, but as for our experience, it is often a true adventure.  However, the directions were excellent.  We traveled to Taylorsville where we got on Hwy 64 to I-40.  Then it was cruise control until we entered Asheville. 

We stopped at the Cracker Barrel where we met up with Lee Simmons and his girlfriend, Gerry.  At the Cracker Barrel we ordered and quickly got the conversation flowing.  The first topic started with Lee wanting to buy a trailer for his bike.  He joked that his bike was loaded down with camping gear until people that saw him riding in probably thought it was something out of the "Beverly Hillbillies" series.  After the conversation we took time to get some pictures and of course, I got my usual dip of snuff!

From there we traveled to The Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground near Waynesville, NC.  We set up camp and quickly met several travelers.  We talked about where they came from and prior journeys.  One interesting couple we met was from Bristol, TN.  The woman was hillarious, as whe smoked a cigar that was close to three inches around in diameter.  She was a teacher in TN, and was full of laughter.  The evening she smoked the cigar Donna really got to know her and found out they had farming in common.  I sat there and listened, loving the fact that no matter where we travel people are good, and conversation is always pleasant. 

The funniest thing that happened on the trip involved a praying experience.  Let me start by saying it was very cold on Sunday morning.  Normally I get up early and say prayers.  And that morning was no exception.  However, I had to whisper my prayers.  And as I was beginning, I overheard Lee say to Gerry in the next tent, "Oh Lord, He's praying Mary down on us!"  I had so much peace that it was easy to continue.  My journey is always a hoot!  And, God was good to us, protecting us with fun, safety, and no arguments.  I think it had a lot to do with everybody showing respect for each other. 

When the vacation came to an end, Lee and I had become true friends.  We both agreed that this was going to be the first of many vacations we take together.  As the riding season comes to an end, I hope we have one more camping weekend that I can share with you.  Peace Be With You!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Can God Create Something He Cannot Destroy?

When I was seven years old, my brother, Jimmy, would always taunt me with speculative questions that made life confusing.  Once he asked me, "Can God create something He cannot destroy?"  I quickly answered yes.  And he asked what if God changed His mind, isn't he able to do all things?  I was confused and beaten.  I lived that way my whole life, pondering the answer to that question.  If God could create something He cannot destroy, we could be in trouble.  And if He cannot create something He can destroy, He would cease to be God.  I lived my life so afraid of God.  I lived my life thinking God was this mean and scary figure, undeserving of my full trust.  I lived my life thinking what was the use in living. 

My brother and I rarely see eye to eye.  He is highly intelligent.  He is a Christian.  And He has been very blessed by God.  All the while, I lived a life of an underachiever.  I did not appear as a Christian for many years of my life.  And I was never blessed by God.  I always tried to fit in with the view of my siblings, and it never worked.  Mostly because my blessings were postponed by God for much of my life.  And, my blessings were different.  There were no financial blessings, no social blessings, and no genuine peace.  It took me until I truly committed myself to God and His church, through Catholicism to finally find myself and where I belonged.  That is when I finally started receiving some blessings. 

The rest of my family is protestant.  I am the only Catholic in the bunch.  And today I realized why.  It answered the question I had been asked and pondered over my whole life.  Simply said, YES!  God can create something He cannot destroy; it is LOVE!  God can take His love away, but He cannot destroy it! 

I found that love in His forgiveness when my conversion was complete.  And it took a biker chic with a big bunch of incredible friendship to give me the answer.  I almost told her that IQ tests don't mean a thing, because I have been an idiot my whole life.  God has given me a gift that few people get called to.  And, the greatest thing He has created for me is LOVE.  He cannot destroy love.  He can take it away, but He cannot destroy it!  He did create something He cannot destroy in my life!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sound Of Faith Concert

This past weekend I traveled to House Of Worshp in North Wilkesboro, NC for a concert.  A group I had never heard of was playing:  Sound Of Faith.  The church is similar to a "purpose driven church", and is pastored by Rev. Warren Supulski.  Prior to the event I had the opportunity to get to know this pastor and he is for real.  The guy does not come across as a minister when you first meet him.  Actually, my first impression of him was as a man that had inner strength, direction, and confidence, while knowing that life is sometimes hard on people.  As we talked I quickly learned that this man is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and work for his faith.  Needless to say, he quickly became a person I called friend.

The church has the appearance of a restaurant style, equipped with a coffee bar, stage, and lights with special effects.  There were tables where one would expect church pews.  And, there was even a couch and living room furniture.  It wasn't what I expected, but it was definitely new! 

I sat in the back of the church with a large Americana coffee.  I had my usual snuff nearby, and sat there thinking deeply about the stage.  It was smoky, due to the fog machine.  People were chatting and laughing in a low tone.  Just as I got comfortable, the lights dimmed and Sound Of Faith took the stage. 

The band took me into a spiritual zone of bliss.  Lots of their songs were those they wrote and composed.  The musicians could really rock.  And the singer had a voice that could captivate the most distant soul.  I caught myself daydreaming through their songs, walking in their lyrics in my own little world of joy and peace.  I felt like the band "knew" something more than typical Christians and it was captivating. 

They did not suffer through lyrics.  I could see that the band was set free.  I KNEW the blood of Jesus had been applied somewhere.  Most Christians always want more.  But these individuals were content as if they had reached the pinnacle and was now ready to minister and help others find the Father's path for themselves.  I was at peace.  I knew they were kindred spirits.

The concert lasted for hours with only a quick break.  Warren and I talked as the lights turned on, and he said, "I can feel it!"  I knew what he was saying.  Thanks Sound Of Faith for accepting the Father's path for your life!  In the deepest and most sincere welcome, I say "Peace Be With You!"  I know you have had a taste of Jesus and you guys will never be the same!  So, may your eternity with The Father be full of joy and peace.  I loved your concert!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Escape To Rodanthe Beach, NC

It was just what the doctor ordered:  Sunshine, Cool Breeze, Camping, and Ocean.  Donna and I had a great time on our visit to Rodanthe, NC.  PJ and Amanda traveled with us for an 812 mile round-trip motorcycle ride to the island.  We were blessed with a weekend of leisure and relaxation.

When we got there and set up camp, we were first visited by our neighboring camper.  We told her this was our first trip to Rodanthe.  She went back to her camp and quickly returned with a book titled "Nights In Rodanthe".  She asked if we ever saw the movie when it was on the big screen.  Both Donna and I had heard of the movie but never saw it.  The lady gave us the book and said it was a welcome gift from her.  We took turns throughout free time to read the book aloud while the others would sit and listen.

We stayed on the Sound.  However, the beach was a mere three football fields away.  I normally sit in the shade on our outings.  But this time something grabbed me from within my spirit.  I just had to jump in the ocean.  With PJ and Amanda nearby, Donna and I walked into the water.  It was an awesome feeling.  PJ and I got into very deep waters and swam.  The water was cool and strong.  The waves were white and crisp.  The most fun was when a wave took Donna down only for another wave to keep her down.  Then a third wave finished with a climax of Donna falling to her back in four feet of water.  I felt like a child playing, swimming, and laughing. 

In the evenings, we tended to our sunburns and ate hotdogs and hamburgers.  Gathered around the fire pit, the four of us told stories about when we were college age, wild, care free, and in a sense, Renegade.  Some stories I got into I would just as soon have forgotten because it reminded me just how much God was looking after me.  We dreamed of staying at Rodanthe and becoming beach bums.  We talked about retirement and how important it would be to remain lifelong friends.  And, we had the best hamburgers on the island.  People were visiting our campsite commenting on the sweet smell at our site. 

That night, after Amanda, PJ, and Donna went to bed, I sat up by the campfire and thought about my life, my purpose in life as a Counselor, and my relationship with God.  Overall I am pleased with the direction God has given me.  I am very happy with the purpose of helping people with mental illness and maladaptive behaviors.  I am thankful that God decided to love me after I finally made the decision to love Him.  But something interesting happened that night as I was walking to the bathroom.  My dad died in 1983, and I used to dream about him often, until a final dream when he waved goodbye.  Until that time I had never dreamed of my dad.  But as I was walking to the stall, while in the darkness, for a split second, on the ground beside the building I saw my dad standing there watching me.  It shook me, and I never forgot it.  I found out the next day that it was Father's Day weekend. 

As we left the campground I carried with me something I didn't have when I first arrived.  I carried joy, peace, and tranquility.  It was nice to escape to Rodanthe and be a kid for awhile.  I definitely look forward to our next visit there! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

BFC Cookout in Lenoir, NC

Last week Budd Mack invited the High Country Bikers For Christ Chapter to his home for a cookout.  I had not worn my colors for the last couple of months and debated on even attending the event.  It was Thunder Sunday at Mountain Grove Baptist Church.

The morning worship service was more than I expected.  That church welcomed bikers from all walks of life.  The pastor gave a testimony for his sermon that told of his younger days living for a 1% group in Southern California.  It made me see that maybe biker ministry does make a difference; it sure did in his life.  And he now reaches multitudes of people. 

After the sermon, I went outside to get a dip of snuff.  While sitting in the shade, a BFC brother came to me and shared some of his current hardships.  I had the opportunity to get closer to him and learn what a really great guy he is.  We sat there on the curb and poured out our hearts to each other.  Once more, I realized that my BFC colors really do make a difference.

Around an hour later, we landed at Budd's house.  There were brothers from several different chapters standing around and fellowshipping.  It was so easy to get into a conversation.  We really are like a family.  But it took that cookout to remind me why I have a passion for riding today.  I met new friends.  We laughed and for a little while I forgot that I was struggling to fit in with the group.

When I got home I prayed.  My wife and I had a talk.  And I put on my colors.  It felt good.  That night, I got on the BFC International website and joined the forum.  I posted an entry, and it didn't take more than a few hours to get a reply.  Finally, I was back at home.  My brothers are still my brothers, and my life is back to normal.  Now, in the next few months, I plan to ride and visit a few chapters myself.  Hopefully, I will regain strength in my spirit that says Motorcycle Ministry is worth the effort.  Regardless, I know God has given me a great national group to ride with.  We are family in any state we travel.