Archive for December, 2012

Visionaries

visionaryGod seems to have blessed me with perfect biking weather. At several stops along the way, I check the weather on my phone and see that it’s raining buckets in northern California and in Washington State. I seem to be in a pocket of nice, sunny weather with cool temps. Praise the Lord.

As I ride into North Bend, Oregon, I see people holding up signs welcoming me. How are they able to know when I’ll arrive? Maybe God is speaking to them, maybe they have ESP, or maybe they have nothing better to do than wait for the crazy lady riding her bike across the United States. Whatever it is, I’m certainly appreciative for their kind welcome.

My hotel is right off the highway and I soon discover that my stay there is for free. I have to ask the clerk, “What gives? I mean I’m just a middle-aged woman riding her bike across the United States. It’s not a big deal.” Well, her comment back to me said it was a big deal.

She said this town had been built by a visionary, Louis Simpson, who saw more than just sawmills. Everyone in this town felt like I was seeing this country for much more than it is. She said most residents have been following my blog since I entered their fine state, and their hope is that I blog about what a fine place this is.

I had to smile thinking “Gosh, have I ever blogged about how bad a place was? Of course I’d be blogging about what a great place North Bend is.” So, being taught to accept the kindness and gifts of others as graciously as I gave gifts, I thanked the hotel staff for their hospitality then headed off to my room to clean up for dinner.

I had been informed that the Mediterranean Café was the place to go. I was excited as it had been a long time since I’d eaten anything even close to Mediterranean food. At this stage of my ride, anything other than a granola bar sounds delicious. But the café and their staff delivered much more than mediocre food and service. I felt like a queen.

And what I saw in this town was a lot of visionaries although they didn’t see themselves that way. I mean, who would think that a Mediterranean restaurant could do so well alongside the seafood delicacies being served at other establishments. There have been church groups and civic associations who battled the debauchery of the lumberjack beginnings of North Bend. And those groups still work their ways to this day, making sure that their schools are first class, and that their town is welcoming to all. It showed in the faces of each person I met. I only wished that my stay there could have been longer, but my schedule only allowed me the one day.

How blessed I was being able to be a part of this community even if only for a partial day. They will forever be close to my heart. My hope is that someday I can come back and spend a little more time here.

And in my real world, I run into visionaries all the time. For example, my brother-in-law is quite the visionary who has helped me immensely with the flow of the books I’m writing. And this comes from a man who doesn’t read a lot, but somehow my first novel has piqued his interest, and he’s given me so many thoughts and ideas of how to approach my next novel. He was also able to take a dream I had come to fruition. My sister, brother-in-law, and myself used to collect Department 56 buildings. I had a dream that we created this whole scene incorporating their buildings with my North Pole series. The dream was very vivid and when I told the two of them about it my sister laughed and said “That would be a lot of work.” Dick stood there quietly contemplating the dream and six months later he had made that dream come true. The village scene was phenomenal.

Then there’s my sister who not only was a visionary for the many students she taught over the years, but she has now progressed into the pet world. She has a true knack for calming down even the most hyper of dogs and demands, in a subtle sort of way, that those dogs obey her. It’s fun to watch her perform her ways with my Irish setter who loves to rule the roost until her aunt with all the rules comes to visit.

And my cousin, Mary, who has reinvented herself so many times and has been successful at every level, recently wrote her own book on employee morale. This book provides a holistic approach for how to improve employee morale, how to deal with work stress, and how to be an effective manager. I’m so very proud of you, Mary, for all the things you have accomplished in life.

And of course, I can’t say enough about the visionaries I work with. Our CEO seems to see things before they even happen. He can stop a situation from growing into a huge mess, and he can take a small event and grow it into something impactful to so many. Our development director has this uncanny way of remembering almost every donor we have, and our donors lover her for it. I can’t seem to remember the names of a donor five minutes after I’ve entered their donation. Kudos to you. Catholic Charities’ communications director is a wizard at what she does. She’s the perfect fit for this agency and has made Catholic Charities known throughout our community. And finally there’s our CFO. His dedication to detail has helped us move seamlessly through the different phases this organization has gone through. Thanks to all of you visionaries for providing a sound place for people to work at and making it a first class place for our clients to get the help they need. And know that these aren’t all the visionaries I work with. There are many others, but it is these people who I work most closely with.

And then there’s our Lord, the ultimate of visionaries. He has given us all so much that I believe we often don’t realize the many gifts He gives us daily. He loved us all enough to die for us. I can’t imagine the thoughts that went through His mind that day in Gethsemane. And yet He still gave up His life to save us all. May we all be appreciative of the life we have, may we continue to be visionaries, and may we continue to go the distance. God bless you all.

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