Saturday, November 27, 2010

Their Very Own Christmas Tree

Thanks to the Christmas Sale at the Marketplace, we were able to purchase several small Christmas Trees very cheaply.  So Sam and Maya now have their very own Christmas Tree in their room.  There are very proud of their tree as you can see:


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Lights

Every year I have lived in Atlanta, I have put Christmas lights up on our house.  It is something that I look forward to every year and have a friendly competition with a certain Cowboys fan one block away. It is also something that I remember doing with my dad way back when and look am exciting to enjoy doing it with Sam.  This year I was able to bring a few pieces of my dad's old display along with us back from PA to add to our tacky holiday cheer on Thayer Ave and Sam is finally old enough to actually be helpful in putting up the light display!

Sam's job was to place the Toy Soldiers, Candles, and Lamp posts, as well as, test each light string.    No worries, the scene was no where like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  He only had to check about 5-6 strings of lights.  Each time he plugged one in, there was a loud "It works!" Sam took his job very seriously and was very proud of his work.  Every time he finished "his job," Sam was eager for his next one.

The best part of the display was when we had the official unveiling of the lights.  We started at the Barbers house and then walked over to our house for our unveiling.  There was a crowd of about 20 people and Sam got to walk up the stairs, very proudly mind you, in front of the crowd and light the display himself.  Katie said that you could see the rite of passage all over how he was carrying himself up the stairs.  

I am so thankful to be able to share these moments with Sam and have a little fun together.  I am also thankful that Katie "lets" us do the lights our way (tacky is more valuable that pretty).




video

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cycle of Love Pictures



This is the crew before our departure from the Right Stuff Ministries Thrift Store in Leeds, AL.  They were amazing hosts for us allowing us to sleep in the store and feeding us dinner and breakfast.  It was an amazing way to start out the trip.



One of the best view from day one of riding.  We rode through an extremely rural part of Northeast Alabama.  It was a beautiful time of year to be riding through with trees in all different stages of colors.  This was a dam that was along the way and made for a great lunch spot.



One of the less beautiful parts of Northeastern Alabama was the dogs that we encountered.  Several riders had close calls with dogs chasing them and trying to bite them.  Thankfully, no one was actually bitten and we all made it through safely.  Next year everyone will carry dog mace.


Day 2 saw us ride along the Silver Comet Trail in Northwest Georgia.  It is a 61 mile trail and made for some easy riding.  This is us loading up after one of our stops.  We had 4 drivers stationed along the route that provided us with food and water along the way so we did not have to carry everything on our bikes.

  


Since we had riders of different levels on the trip, we decided to meet up at Centennial Park and ride the last two miles together back to South Atlanta.  It was timed perfectly as everyone arrived at the same time.  It was an amazing moment pulling into the park and feeling a great accomplishment.




We finished the ride in the parking lot of the South Atlanta Marketplace and had a great crowd of people waiting for us there.  It was awesome to hear everyone cheering for us as we came down the home stretch.


There were many moments over the two days that were special to me and that I will cherish for a long time.  But my favorite part of the ride was the last five blocks back to our house from the Marketplace along with Sam.  He insisted on riding his bike to the Marketplace and even though my body had nothing left in it, he wanted nothing else but to ride home with Daddy.  Not much would stop me from getting on the bike again after that.  I hope that one day Sam and I will share in some wonderful bicycling adventures together!

Cycle of Love

162.88 miles… 16 hours over 2 days… 15 riders from Leeds, AL to the neighborhood of South Atlanta…4 support drivers…1 masseuse = One Amazing trip!

Words can hardly describe the experience that was the Cycle of Love . When I first wrote you back in August, I had 3 goals: 1) Improve my personal physical condition 2) Grow and deepen the relationships that I have with some wonderful ministry partners 3) Raise money for Pride for Parents. I am happy to say that all three have been accomplished!

Over the past few years, I had sacrificed personal health for being too active in ministry. There was not a lot of balance in my life and it got to the point in August where I was feeling a lot of pain that I knew was related to eating bad and not exercising. I knew that I needed to do something to improve my health or else something bad could happen. This ride has given me the motivation to get back into shape and feel good about myself again. Since August, I have lost over 10 pounds and gone are the pains that I was feeling related to treating my body poorly. There is no way that I would have finished the ride had I not trained and gotten into shape and there is a great sense of accomplishment that I feel having completed the ride.

On a ride like this with so many great people, there are too many stories to share in a short space. Not one of us would have finished this ride alone and I am very grateful for the community that was built on this trip. The conversations that were had and the tremendous feeling of accomplishment we felt together will live on for a lifetime. To borrow a line from Danny, one of the riders: “My body has never felt so bad and my mind so good.” As we rode into Centennial Park to gather before finishing our ride to South Atlanta, I am sure that we could have ridden over the Rocky Mountains together, our minds and togetherness felt that good!

Of course, all of this was done for a purpose beyond myself and those that I was riding with. I participated in this ride in order to raise money for Pride for Parents, a program of FCS Community Economic Development. A goal of $5000 was set to raise so that we could provide toys and gifts for families in South Atlanta at the South Atlanta Marketplace. Thanks to our other riders – Curtis Kester and Ryan Baldassaro, we were able to raise $3000 of that $5000 goal. What an amazing accomplishment! I am so thankful to all of those that gave and contributed to our ride. The knowledge of your support helped push me through some of the hardest points of the trip.

The hardest part of the trip was around mile 130. We were about halfway through day two and you could have easily convinced me to pack it in. Riding 130 miles was no small feat and I could have easily been proud of myself for what I accomplished. My legs were tired, my back hurt, and my bike was not functioning properly. While that decision would have been easy to make and I could have been proud of what I accomplished, I would have missed out on what was easily the best part of the trip, the finish. There is very little that I would trade for the amazing feeling of pulling into the parking lot at the South Atlanta Marketplace and seeing my family and other supporters greet us there.

Just like finishing those last 32 miles, I would like to finish the final part of our financial goal. If you are able, please consider helping Pride for Parents finish those last 32 miles strong. We are tired, our backs hurt, and our bikes are a little broken, but we can push on! We can be proud of the $3000 that we raised for this great cause, but reaching our goal will be even better! I invite you to help us push beyond mile 130 and get to our goal of $5000.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share this experience with you. So many of you have expressed a keen interest in supporting the ride. I am truly indebted to you for allowing me to participate in this life changing experience.

Sincerely (and just a little bit tired),

Jeff Delp

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little More Halloween

Just had to share some more pictures from the weekend that our friend, Andra, took.  She's much, much better at capturing our children on film than we are...







Riding Bike on the Beltline



Since Sam was born I have wanted to get a child trailer for my bike so I could bring Sam and then Maya along on my rides.  However, I never thought the cost of the trailer could be justified for how often we would actually make it to one of the trails outside the city so I never purchased one.  With the 170 bike ride only a few weeks away, I had a need to get my hands on a road bike since my mountain bike was not going to cut it for the trip.  Thanks to a great deal found on Craigslist, I now have a road bike and a child trailer!  It was a great two for one deal.

This past Sunday a group of riders from the Cycle of Love went on our weekend journey to train.  We only had a few hours to ride due to the busy nature of the halloween weekend so we decided to stay close and ride on a new section of the Atlanta Beltline Trail.  The Beltline is going to change the way that we live our lives in Atlanta, even if it is still 15 years from completion (check out the website at www.beltline.org) .

It was awesome to share my first ride on the Beltline Trail with Sam.  I am pretty sure that Sam thought he was cool because he got to hang out with the big boys and their bikes!  He was super excited to go and packed a bag full of books, toys, and snacks to enjoy in the trailer.  We rode for about an hour and then stopped at a playground to let Sam get out for a minute.  He played literally for one minute and wanted to get back in the trailer and continue riding (much to the chagrine of Daddy who wanted a little more of break).   I am very glad that I got to share some of my training with Sam now with the trailer.  I hope that he shares some of my love for biking hen he gets older.

As we were riding the Beltline, we couldn't help but talk about how it would change our lives drastically.  The Beltline will be a 22 mile loop around downtown Atlanta of bike trails, walking trails, parks, and a light rail line.  It passes through the north end of our neighborhood, about 1/2 mile away at most.  When complete, we will be able to bike, walk, or take the train to 95% of the places we go in Atlanta.  Our kids, who will be teenagers when it is complete, will have their Atlanta world opened to them without the use of a car (good thing because I am still holding to the no license before 18 theory for Sam and Maya).   One of my biggest struggles of living in Atlanta is the lack of the urban amenities that I thought I would have when I moved to Atlanta (easy access to walking, biking, and public transit) and the Beltline will go a long way towards changing that.  I can't wait and yesterday was just a tease in terms of what's to come hopefully!

Of course, all the excited of the day was too much for a 3 year old to handle as he fell asleep towards the end of our ride: