I have lived in Harvest, Alabama, for approximately ten years, so I call it home.
Harvest is a rural unincorporated community in Madison County and is located near Huntsville. Harvest has a population of a little over 5,000 people.
I started bicycling a couple of months ago and I love it. I enjoy the challenge of rough terrain and flying down steep hills. However, there are a few drawbacks.
For women, frequent bike riding massively increases your risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). I discovered this fact the hard way. After doing a some internet research, I learned how to lower that risk. Thank goodness for that, because UTIs are annoying and uncomfortable.
Another thing I learned the hard way, saddle sores are actually blisters that develop in the crotch area. Saddle sore sounds rather innocuous and does not adequately portray the amount of pain and discomfort this ailment can cause.
Yesterday, I went to Harvest Nature Preserve for some off-road bike riding. The trail starts out as gravel and then turns into dirt as you enter the woods. Since there is a lake and a few creeks in the area, there are also several wooden bridges.
I was in the woods and going down a hill with a sharp curve at the bottom. Unfortunately, I was going to fast when I tried to turn. My bike started to slide a bit and I slammed into a tree, which caused me to fall off the bike and land partially on a thorn bush and partially in a mud puddle.
I ended up with numerous small cuts on my hands, arms, and legs. I also have several small bruises on my legs and one massive bruise that is 4 inches in diameter.
To top it off, when I got home I discovered a tick on my calf muscle. Mom helped me get the tick off and then we flushed it down the toilet.
All in all, I had a blast yesterday and plan to do it again. I still enjoy bicycling, in spite of my injuries, sores, and infections. Maybe I am crazy, but I think biking is a ton of fun.
I completed my fifth charity race today. The race was called “Out Run Hunger.” It raised money for House of Harvest, which is a food pantry in Harvest, Alabama.
At the end of a race, I always feel like I am about to puke. However, there is something about crossing that finish line and hearing people congratulate me for completing the race. It motivates me to workout more, so I can improve my time. It also makes me excited for the next race.
This is how my race schedule has gone so far:
The parable of the sower and the seed is found in Matthew 13:1-23. It is about a sower who went out to spread seeds. In the parable the seeds represent the word of God.
Some of the seeds fell on the path and was eaten by the birds. When someone hears the word and doesn’t understand it, the word is snatched away from them.
Some of the seeds fell on rocky ground. The plants grew, but without soil the roots were weak and the plants died. Sometimes people hear the word and accept it. However, they have no roots, so when times are hard they fall away from the word.
Other seeds fell among thrones which destroyed the plants as they tried to grow. People that hear the word, but are more concerned with the priorities of the world are lost to the worries of the world.
Lastly, some seeds fell on good soil and they produced a harvest. The good soil represents people that hear the word, understand it, and follow the teaches of it. They bear good fruit and live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
One thing I have noticed in my life and in the lives of others, is we are not destined to remain in one of those locations. We can change how we receive the word of God.
If you lack understanding, spend time studying the Bible.
If you lack a good root system, spend time with other disciples and get involved with a church that prioritizes the making of disciples, so your root system can grow stronger.
If you tend to prioritize the worries of the world above your spiritual life, then spend time considering what is truly important to you and how your priorities effect your life.
If you are the good soil, don’t get comfortable. Continue to spend time studying the Bible, so you can continue to grow and produce more fruit.
In this section of scripture, we read about how Jesus healed a woman that suffered for twelve years with a discharge of blood, restored a girl to life, healed two blind men, healed a man unable to speak, taught in the synagogues, and proclaimed the gospel. We also learn Jesus felt compassion for the crowds, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
The section ends with Jesus saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (ESV)
There is so much suffering in the world, it’s easy for me to get discouraged and feel like I can never make a difference. However, I can do my best to help those in my sphere of influence and pray for God to send help to those I will never encounter.
I can’t bring peace to the world, but I can promote peace in my home.
I can’t stop the destruction of our planet, but I can change my behavior to promote cleanliness and responsible consumption.
I can’t feed all the hungry people in the world, but I can help my local food bank.
I can’t talk to everyone I encounter and ask them what they need, but I can hold the door open, give a complement, or do other acts of kindness that will brighten their day.
To sum it up: I can’t do everything, but I can do something.