Two Are Better by Tim and Debbie Bishop

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If you’re not a cycling enthusiast, if you’re not particularly religious, if you’re not 50 or over…you can still enjoy and benefit greatly from reading Two Are Better.

This is a motivational story of two 52-year-olds who embark on a couple of adventures at once.  The first adventure is marriage – the first for either of them.  God-loving people, they’ve been saving themselves for marriage.  Two Are Better briefly touches on their courtship, the proposal and the wedding.  It’s just enough to encourage readers to get to know the couple and to care about them. Tim has just left a long-term work situation.  Debbie is a literacy specialist in the school system.  They are both active and experienced cyclists, but not – in their own words – in complete fitness mode.

Yet they decide that their honeymoon will be spent doing something they have both wanted to do, but have never done, which is to complete a cross-country cycle trip.

The bulk of the book, then, follows the couple as they learn about each other (nothing like an “open air bathroom break” to bring a couple together quickly). Their first fight isn’t about money or jealousy – it’s about a flat tire while on the road.

Sore bottoms…mechanical failures…potential dog attacks — all aspects contribute to challenges as the two travel from Oregon to Massachusetts.

It’s fascinating to follow Tim and Debbie Bishop and to cheer them on through the above challenges and many others, including 100-degree weather, since the trip was done in the summer so that Debbie could return home in time for the school year.  The couple documented their trip with some beautiful photos, so it’s easier to envision their progress.  Maps showing their route add to the appeal, too.

The Bishops blogged about their trip so that friends and family could follow their adventure.  No doubt this blog planted the seed for the Two Are Better book.  The book is written in an informal manner, with Tim’s comments appearing in black and Debbie’s in a feminine magenta ink, so that both voices are represented.

Two Are Better, by the way, comes from a Bible quotation from Ecclesiastes and the very deeply religious couple takes the quote to heart, determining that indeed their single lives are over and it is much more desirable to be part of a twosome.

This is more than a travel book or story of a romance.  It’s sprinkled with life lessons about how – no matter your age – you can find a fresh start and a reason to go on.  Debbie says: “We tend to become set in our ways as we get older.  Although change may be more difficult, that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t happen.  When we stop changing, we stop growing.”

Cycling through Ticonderoga, New York, Tim observes:  “There are times when you may have difficulty seeing your way through life.  There are times when you simply don’t know what is ahead of you – in fact, more times than we like to think.  There are also times when our circumstances wrest the last vestiges of control from us.  But that does not mean you stop…”

Debbie’s father fell at the airport as he returned from their wedding.  He suffered a head injury and several mini strokes.  The couple took this to heart, feeling that “If you worry about what might happen, you have great difficulty accomplishing, let alone pursuing, any goals and dreams.”  Their philosophy is that we must not put off until it is too late something that is our heart’s desire.

Readers are encouraged to examine their own lives – their hopes and dreams.  What are our priorities? How do we allocate our time?  These and many other questions offer an opportunity for introspective thinking.  The conclusion is that there is plenty of life to be lived after the age of 50.  It’s encouraging to think that it’s never too late to re-invent oneself, with enough determination and inspiration.

A re-cap at trip’s (and book’s) end reveals that Tim suffered a blood clot in his right leg following (but not due to) the trip.  The full recuperation took a year and gave him time not only to plan this book but to hope for another trip one day.

Debbie’s father recovered significantly from his fall.  Tim’s mom, however, passed away, after a long life.

Perhaps Tim sums up the message of the book best: “You only have so long to do what you are called to do.  You don’t know when your window of opportunity will slam shut for good.  So, get at it!”

Good advice. But take time to read this book first.

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