UFO Fest – Unidentified Familiar Objects

ImageAs I make my way towards the west coast with my goal of getting to Lincoln City before Halloween, I decide to take a break from my travels and got myself a room at the Best Western Vineyard Inn in McMinnville, Oregon.  It was a nice hotel and my stay there wasn’t anything to write home to mother about, but the town itself was fun to be in as this town is a place where UFO sightings have occurred.  It has the second largest UFO festival in the nation, second only to Roswell, New Mexico.

As I made my way through this fine town I discover it’s rich in restaurants, so much so that Bon Appetit magazine rated it one of the nation’s foodiest towns.  I find the Bon Appetit article in a store and read up on the restaurants they highlighted.  Thistles is one of them so I head there hoping they had a menu posted in their window.  I was in luck, there it was in bold print, but what I noticed was it was a lot of foo foo foods and I was hungry for something a little more familiar to me.  I pressed on hoping that I’d come across something that piqued my interest.

I stumbled upon a street full of various restaurants.  Ah, just the thing I was looking for.  So many restaurants to choose from, but again I was looking for familiar foods that were recognizable.  I didn’t need something smothered in wine sauce, or some sort of sea urchin that looks like some space alien.  And then there it was, Nick’s Italian Café.  As I perused the menu I saw so many familiar items from pizza, to lasagna, to soups.  MMM, my mouth was watering, but it was only 10:00 a.m. so I still had time to kill before they opened for lunch.

My wanderings take me to a familiar place, a quilt store, Verna’s Sewing Center to be exact.  Of course, being the quilter I am, I needed to go in and see what fine things this store had to offer.  The first thing I see is a sign with huge letters on it – U F O – and in smaller print it says Un-Finished Opportunities.  It was a sign talking about a quilt day to bring in unfinished quilts and other handmade items and be given the venue to get them completed.  I had to laugh that this town embraced this whole UFO thing, but thinking about all those U F O items I had stored away in my parent’s crawl space made me realize that a venue like this could be beneficial to all we crafters out there.

As I strolled around the store I saw many familiar looking fabrics, but did find a few that I had never seen before.  Thankfully I was able to resist buying any, left the store thanking the store owner for her hospitality then headed back towards Nick’s Italian Café.

On my way there I started thinking about all those familiar things in life that keeps me grounded.  I so love fall with the colors in the trees, smell of the fallen leaves, briskness in the air.  My mind soars off into high school football games, sitting on cold bleachers sipping hot chocolate and rooting for the home team.  I discover that so many of my familiar thoughts revolve around family.  I’m grateful to have been raised in such a wonderful family, but a part of me knows that I’ve probably missed a whole bunch of unidentified familiar objects because my own life issues placed blinders on my eyes preventing me from seeing those familiar things.

I get to Nick’s and am warmed by the brick ovens used to bake the homemade pizzas.  And even though I’m there right as they open, the place is already packed with families and friends.  As I’m seated in a corner, something I was happy about as it kept me out of the main flow of things yet allowed me ample room to view all those around me, I look around and realize that even though I don’t know a soul there it all looks so familiar.

These are people like any other people from any other town eating lunch with co-workers, with their BFFs, with their aging parents, and with their kids.  It’s a warming sight one that will live with me forever and ever.

When my food is delivered to my table I bow my head and thank God for the wonderful food before me, for the people around me, and for all those friends and family who are miles away.  I’m overwhelmed with the power of God right then and there as I realize that although this is one giant earth we all live on, it’s small in God’s eyes.  We are all His children and we should all be familiar to each other.  And although I find tears welling up in my eyes as I think about how glorious our Savior is, I find myself happy to be a part of this great world we live in.

I know that God is beside me always and will continue to watch over me as I make my way to the west coast.  The very thought of finally seeing the Pacific Ocean is exhilarating and gives me the drive to push on.

And in my real life I think about how UFO’s played a huge part in my sister’s life.  Kathy graduated from high school in 1970.  At the time she was asked by our guidance counselor what she wanted to become.  Her desire back then was to work for our space program investigating UFO sightings.  The counselor, an elderly nun, had no idea what my sister was talking about and steered her towards teaching.

My sister went on to college getting her master’s degree in teaching and taught in 3 different states for over 30 years.  She was a good teacher, a diligent teacher, a teacher who managed to change a few students’ lives, but she never had the passion of those teachers who live and breathe their profession.

She retired from teaching a few years ago and is now sort of mentoring our niece, Emily, who is in her last year of college to become a teacher.  Emily has the passion needed to be a great teacher.  She asked Kathy recently if she loved teaching.  Kathy had to admit to Emily that teaching had never been her passion, that what she really had wanted to do all her life was to investigate UFO’s.  Kathy shared this with me recently and I thought “Gosh, for 40 years this familiar sister of mine was doing a job she liked, but wasn’t passionate about.  How sad.”  Then I realized I had done the same thing.

After graduating from high school I went directly into the business world and excelled at being an administrative assistant for several companies.  I loved the work and was happy when something I had worked on actually helped whatever company progress forward.

But then one day, at the job I’m currently at, my boss came to me and said “Do you realize that a God-given talent of yours is going to waste?”  I was shocked wondering what it was he was talking about.  He told me that he’d been reading all my blogs since I started this virtual bike trip and said that my writing style is one of a true author.  He said by not writing a book I was taking that God-given talent and tossing it back in God’s face.  I pondered his words for several weeks, thought about what my sister had told me about her desire to this day of wanting to investigate UFO’s, and I thought about family members of mine who had also taken that familiar path in life and didn’t seem all that fulfilled.  I prayed on this and was amazed when I felt the strong message that said the familiar path in life isn’t always the path God wants us to take.  Sometimes it’s that Unidentified Familiar Object – in my case writing – that is truly the path that God sees me taking.

So a couple of months ago I took the plunge into the world of writing and have started writing a fictional book about this crazy bike trip I’m on.  The main character is much like me, but she has a reporter who tags along for a story for the newspaper he works for.  They run into real life issues, they have to make tough decisions, and they have to face their demons that have haunted them for years.  I find the whole process of writing freeing and invigorating.  I find myself drawn to write even on nights where my administrative job has exhausted me.  I feel the passion, it’s a wonderful feeling.

I wished that I could wave a magic wand and give my sister that chance of investigating UFO’s as I was given the chance to write.  And I wish that magic wand could also help those people that Catholic Charities serves find their true path in life, to find their passion, but I know that there are times God wants us to go through hard times so that we recognize what is truly important in our life.

I’m grateful to my parents and siblings for being there for me, I’m thankful for all the places I’ve worked and people I’ve worked with, I’m thankful for my boss at recognizing and motivating me to take that leap of faith, and I’m most grateful to God knowing He is there beside me, you, and everyone else on this fine earth.  May we all find the passion in our lives, may we find those unidentified familiar objects, and may we all keep going the distance.  God bless.

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33 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    menard said,

    Good for you on taking your writing talents seriously. Writing a book must be so satisfying. Can’t wait for it to be published. If it’s anything like your blogs, it will be excellent reading.

    • 2

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I invite you to invite your friends to check out my blog. I try to write each blog so it makes the reader think about how they are living their life and if there are any changes they’d like to make to make their life better. I know this virtual bike trip I am on certainly has been a positive thing in my life not only for the health side, but also for the spiritual and mental side. And I do believe that we sometimes keep ourselves from doing things God wants us to do just because we don’t think we have enough talent to do it. I have learned to just try something and see where it takes me, much like my virtual bike trip that has shown me so many different places I truly want to go visit now.

  2. 5

    Thanks. I can’t take any credit for creating my blog site as my boss did that, but the stories are mine. Feel free to share my blog with all of your friends. I enjoy researching the places I go to on my virtual bike trip. It’s even more fun to be able to add a lesson or two for people to ponder and possibly make changes in their life. I know my blogs have made me think about things in my own life, and have helped me make some necessary changes in my life. God bless you and all we touch upon every day of our lives.

  3. 6

    I’m happy that my blog has inspired you in some way. Invite your friends to join us as I ride across the United States, virtual though it may be.

  4. 7

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I do hope you continue with me as I ride across the United States. Do know that my ride is a virtual ride, but I research the towns I go to in the virtual world and I’m actually riding those miles on a recumbent bike. It’s been a thrilling experience so far.

  5. 8

    Thanks for enjoying my blog. I hope you do return for future blog posts.

  6. 9

    air max ltd said,

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard
    work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

    • 10

      I have not had any trouble with hackers. My blog is part of my work at Catholic Charities. I’m not sure what our IT department has set-up to prevent hacking so unfortunately, I am unable to give you any advice on preventing hackers from hacking into one’s blog. So sorry that you lost months of hard work. I do know that our system is backed up every night.

  7. 11

    Odell Mugica said,

    It is sad when people just ignore you

    • 12

      It would be great if I had 1000’s of blog fans, but I’m taking each day as a gift from God and thank Him for those fans I do have. It may take a while for my blog to reach 1000’s, and if it’s in God’s plan it will happen. Thanks for your support and Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. 13

    Your blog posts are useful

  9. 18

    Fae Rattigan said,

    Usually I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great article.

    • 19

      I’m happy you enjoyed my blog. I invite you back as I continue my virtual bike trip across the U.S. I’ll continue researching the towns I go through, virtual though it is, and will relate that back to personal things in my life and in the lives of others. Thanks.

  10. 20

    Keenan said,

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  11. 22

    I love this topic because it tackles the authors adventure

    • 23

      I do a lot of research on each town I go to, virtual though it is. I want to make the virtual part of my blog as realistic as I can, and then I try to add in actual stuff that has happened to me in my own life. It’s been eye-opening for myself on so many levels, and I hope that it touches on other’s lives too. Thanks for enjoying my blog.

  12. 24

    It seems to me that this web site doesnt download on a Motorola Droid. Are other folks having the exact same problem? I like this blog and dont want to have to miss it any time Im away from my computer.

    • 25

      So sorry you are having problems downloading to your Droid. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions to resolve this problem. Hopefully someone else will have some information that may help you resolve your download problem. Thanks for enjoying my blog and wanting to come back for more.

  13. 26

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  14. 28

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  15. 29

    purpose said,

    You have got an extremely good layout for the blog, i want it to work with on my site too .

  16. 30

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog is in the very same niche as yours
    and my users would certainly benefit from
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    • 31

      Be my guest. I do research the places I go to, so that information is accurate. The rest of the stuff are just my thoughts and opinions. I hope you continue to come back to see future posts. What is your blogs address. I’d like to check it out.

  17. 32

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