Yellow Bugs and Other Life Lessons


My last post ( got a few comments.  One of the comments was from one of my favorite friends from my life in Northern California.  Ray Abraham posted a simple comment on my personal Facebook page about the post.

Ray’s impact on this trip, and my life in general, was so much more than getting our bikes ready!  He was one of the primary influences in my motorcycle riding.  I met Ray at church in Northern California.  At one point, Ray hosted a small group in his home along with his lovely wife Kristen.  My wife Julie and I loved this small group.  One evening, Ray showed us his two motorcycles.  I caught a case of “iron lust” looking at his bikes.  Ray was excited when I expressed interest in his bikes and willingly shared the details on them.

Later, Julie gave me a special birthday present when she enrolled us in a motorcycle safety course.  Once we completed the course, we could get our motorcycle endorsement on our driver’s license.  Of course, I shared this with Ray.  He was excited for me and told me to let him know when I got my license.

I still remember the day I left the DMV after successfully getting my motorcycle license and calling Ray.  I believe it was a Thursday.  Ray said to pick him up Saturday morning and he would go with Julie and me to buy the necessary equipment.  We went to the local motorcycle supply place and with Ray’s consultation bought the right safety gear.

Ray also surprised us by showing us an ad he found online.  He said, “I think this may be the perfect bike for you.”  After buying our gear we went to look at it and fell in love with the bike.  Ray facilitated the negotiation and purchase and then drove the bike to our house (since he was quite experienced).  He loaned us a few motorcycle safety videos and told us we shouldn’t ride our bike until we’d seen them all.

Ray and his wife Kristen rode together.  He drove while Kristen enjoyed the scenery.  They took us riding with them many times.  It was so much fun riding in Northern California that Julie and I decided that we needed another bike.  That started another round of traveling with them on the weekends.  Before we rode three bikes together, Ray gave us an excellent safety briefing about traveling in a group.  Whenever we’d stop, Ray would provide feedback (always in a positive, encouraging manner).

We really enjoyed our time on the motorcycles with the Abrahams.  In addition to riding with them, we got a great kick out of the small group they hosted.  It was truly a special time, mostly because Ray and Kristen are very special people!

Somewhere along the way, the Abrahams suggested we watch “Long Way Round” on Netflix.  When we got transferred to Houston, Julie suggested we take our own long road trip.  When I mentioned it to Ray, he was quite enthusiastic and said it’d be great.  He also agreed to keep our bikes for us at his place until we were ready.

As my post stated, our start was delayed a bit.  So, not only did Ray get the motorcycles ready for us, but he kept them for a few months – a true friend indeed!

In addition to the many motorcycle safety lessons, I learned a few life and leadership lessons as well.  They include:

  • The Yellow Bug Syndrome:  At one of our small group meetings, Ray gave us some homework for the week.  He asked us to be on the lookout for any yellow Volkswagen Beetles and to count how many we saw during the week.  It was an odd assignment at first because Ray didn’t tell us the point of the exercise.  At next week’s meeting, Ray asked for a report.  Everyone saw at least one and many of us saw quite a few.  The reason Ray asked us to do this was how quickly we adapted once we had a target to look for.  He said we could use this technique to be on the lookout for ways God was working in our lives.  We could also be on the lookout for many other things (positive impact, nice people, happy stories, etc.).  To this day, I use this technique to be on the lookout for many things – it works!
  • Be prepared to act when your people are ready to learn or do something and help them on their schedule.  Ray was prepared to act when Julie and I went beyond just appreciation of his motorcycles.  Once we got our licenses, he was all in on leading, coaching, and supporting us.
  • Positivity is contagious.  Ray is one of the most positive people I know.  He can always be counted on to share good thoughts, encouragement, and advice in a kind and uplifting manner.  It was powerful for me as a recipient.  I also saw Ray encourage so many other people.
  • Seek out and find a good life partner who complements your skill set.  Ray has that in his wife Kristen.  The two of them are perfect for each other.  They exhibit true commitment to each other.  They shared a lot of marital counsel with many people.  I am most fortunate to have been on the receiving end of their words of wisdom.
  • Give yourself away.  Ray is always willing to share, help, and be there for people in need.  He was famous for his grilling skills in our small group.  He even set up a wonderful afternoon one weekend and taught grilling to our church’s men’s group.  I got hooked on The Big Green Egg by Ray and am so glad I did!

Ray’s understatement on my post in Facebook sums him up.  He was so much more than a motorcycle custodian.  He is an excellent example of what a good husband, father, and friend should be.  He also showed me the power of a good coach. How about you – do you have a good coach in your life?  If not, you should find your own Ray Abraham.  Everyone needs one!  THANKS RAY!