Posts tagged Oregon

The Wild Side of Gold

Gold BeachMy bike trip has taken me back to the edge of the ocean. It’s nice being able to see the waves crashing in over the rocks. It keeps my mind off the grueling 59 mile ride from Bandon, Oregon to Gold Beach, Oregon. The only thing my body wants to do is rest, but I know lying in bed will only intensify those aches.

After I get checked into my hotel, another Motel 6, gotta love the Motel 6, I decide a long, hot shower would do my body a bigger favor than a long nap. I’m amazed at how much this simple shower revived me. I was raring to go.

I head to the main shopping district of this fine town. Most people in this town seem to be very active and the businesses reflect this, as many businesses sell outdoor and athletic stuff. I find a few souvenir shops that I browsed through, and a couple of art galleries, but mostly it’s shops that don’t interest me much, that is until I see a sign in a storefront window that says “Clamming Supplies”.

I remember my failure at crabbing, but clamming had to be easier. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the clams if I found any since I was staying in a hotel, but it was something I had wanted to try. I went inside and inquired about how one went about clamming. I was given some great instructions, and was sold the minimal gear needed, a rake and a basket. After paying for my supplies and my day fishing license I headed outside.

The store owner was so kind, pointing me in the right direction for the best clamming. So there I was walking towards the miles of open beaches, hoping for a new adventure. I felt like I was walking on the wild side. Yes, I realize clamming isn’t much of a wild thing to do, but when you live inland all your life, digging in the sand to find delectable clams seemed a bit wild to me.
I reach the beach and discover only a few others walking on my “wild side”. Clamming in the middle of the week seemed to be the right time for finding a good spot; fewer people, lots more clams. I pick a spot and start digging around as instructed. I was told this method should provide me some nice little neck clams. It’s not long before I strike gold.

I continued digging until my basket held my quota. I looked at my gold mine and wondered, “Now what?” I look down the beach and see a middle-aged man and woman being a little more aggressive with their clamming. They were obviously after other kinds than the little necks because their gear was much different than mine.

I walked over to them and introduced myself. The woman smiled with delight as she said, “Ah, you’re the woman riding across the country on her bike. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
We babbled on, me telling them why I was on such a ride, and they talking about life in Gold Beach. I finally explained that I was staying in a hotel and wouldn’t really be able to fix the clams I had dug up. I told them the only reason I went clamming today was because I had wanted to experience what it was like to clam, but now I didn’t know what to do with them. Could I simply throw them back in the ocean? Did they want them? I didn’t want to kill the little critters because of some stupid act on my part of not knowing if they can survive being thrown back into the ocean after being dug up.

Well, the woman smiled and said they’d be happy to take them off my hands since they had not gotten any little necks that day. I handed over my basket and rake, and told them to keep it all because now that I had tried clamming, I didn’t need that stuff anymore. I explained I was done “walking on the wild side” of nature.

The woman started crying. I thought, “My God, what have I done?” I soon found out that this couple not only was living a bit on the wild side, but they were also living on the edge of poverty. Both of them had had decent, good paying jobs a few years ago, but when the economy took its downward turn both had been laid off. Unemployment ran out, good paying jobs still weren’t available so on their days off from work – she worked as a maid at a local hotel and he worked as a cashier at a local convenience store – they came down here hoping to get their quota of clams. She explained that if they were able to get enough food from the ocean, then they spent a lot less on groceries which allowed them the funds to pay their rent.

I could barely hold back my tears seeing this couple working so hard at trying to make ends meet, but I silently applauded them for not giving up, for taking what jobs were available, and finding a way to help make those ends meet. I said a quick prayer for them that God would reward them with a much bigger basket of gold. I thanked God for letting me walk a bit on the wild side, and for giving me the chance to turn my wild side day of clamming into gold for two of His people.

I returned to my hotel feeling pretty darn good. I not only experienced something I had never done before, but I was shown that a little hard work can be quite rewarding for those who try. That night I prayed for that couple again, and for all those living on that edge of poverty. Many of them don’t have the opportunities that this couple had in finding delectable foods like clams, but some aren’t as diligent either about finding work or ways to make ends meet as this couple was doing.

I felt myself starting to judge those who don’t try as hard, so I knew that it was time to simply thank God for all that He had given me, and to get some rest so that I could make my way to California. I was 39 miles away from the California border. Oregon has been a great state to me, and offered me so many opportunities to walk the wild side of life. Life was good.

And in my real world I think about all those clients we serve daily at the Marian House Soup Kitchen. Many are families like the one I depicted in my virtual life, hanging on by a thread. Sometimes the only way they keep from being homeless is to eat their one meal at the Soup Kitchen.

I remember serving a meal at the Soup Kitchen just a couple of months after I started working for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. I was astounded by the number of families that came through the line. It was quite a shock to my “rose colored” mind. I went home that night and thanked God for the home I live in, the job I have, and my supportive and loving family.
And I thank God for all those who work and volunteer at the Marian House Soup Kitchen. You will never find them judging any of our dinner guests. All are treated with dignity and grace, and the only time a guest is treated differently is when they have disrespected the staff, volunteers, or other guests. Staff and volunteers make each meal feel as much like home as they can for our clients. It is a well-run machine serving over 600 meals a day.

So as you look for a little gold in your life, and if that gold happens to be found on the wild side of life, remember to thank God for all the blessings He’s bestowed on you. And as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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A Purpose in Life

Our-prime-purpose-in-this-life-is-to-help-othersIt’s been an exciting 24 miles of salt filled air, but one can’t see the ocean from this stretch of the highway. In fact, one can’t see much at all because you’re busy watching all the traffic around you. It’s a beautiful section of highway, flanked by trees on both sides, but because it’s only a two-lane, one must be attentive to all those vehicles.

I find myself thinking “Where are they going?” I soon find that many are heading to Bullards Beach State Park near Bandon, Oregon; the same place I’m staying at. It sits inland enough to be protected from the strong ocean breezes, but it’s near the Coquille River, so many of those entering the park have boats.

I will be doing some crabbing, and I don’t mean complaining. Having never crabbed before, I was a bit hesitant to try, but I was told that it’s quite easy. They have a special dock where one can chat with others making it easy to pick up pointers from the pros.

I rented a yurt, a domed tent structured by a wood frame with a wood floor. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected. The yurts were quite close together, but it was clean and there was a bed so I was a happy camper.

I did a lot of hiking while staying at this park. I went to the historic Coquille River Lighthouse then ventured down the 4 ½ miles of open beach. The sand felt good squishing up between my toes. Having lived inland my entire life, I realize why so many people are drawn to our coastal states. The ocean is mesmerizing, and there are so many different things one can find along the beach. I was like a little kid seeing something for the first time.

My crabbing ended up being a bust, but I was fine with that. I had more fun watching the pros haul in those delectable crustaceans. It made me realize how diverse we all are especially when one ventures out of their comfort zone.

It also made me realize how important each individual is on this fine earth. There isn’t a one of us without a purpose. I know we all have days when we feel bogged down by the humdrum of our lives, but each task we do each day is of value to someone.

So I spent the rest of that day touring this area, and taking note of all the different tasks that were being performed by all the people I came in contact with. It was truly breath-taking, to see just how widespread God made all of us, yet we are all so very much alike; mind boggling to say the least. God is truly the master of all things.

And in my real world, I am coming off our busiest time of the year. It’s during this time that our number of donations and number of clients seen doubles, maybe even triples. And each person who works for Catholic Charities, each person who volunteers, each person needing assistance, each person who donates, plays a critical part in the success of Catholic Charities. There isn’t one job or one person that is more important than the other.

I remember, while living in Aspen, watching this mobile parts distributor pull up to a mechanics shop. I could only assume he was there to present to the mechanic the different products he had that could make the mechanic’s job easier. As I passed the truck, I heard a couple of young guys comment what a “loser job” that parts distributor had. I was appalled. I thought, “Just where do you think that mechanic gets the tools he needs to fix your cars?” And I must confess that when I was much younger, I would occasionally think that certain jobs were below me.

I’m so grateful that I’ve come to a point in my life where I know each of us has a purpose in life. Sometimes that purpose can be highly rewarding, and other times one is totally unaware of what their purpose in life has done for someone. I think those times are the most special to God because we are doing things just because, and not for any kind of recognition.

I see this time and time again here at Catholic Charities. We have so many great volunteers who come each week because they believe in what we do. And I hope they know that Catholic Charities couldn’t do what we do without them. Kudos to all of you who volunteer not only here, but all around the world. God is smiling down on you for your efforts.

And don’t forget to recognize your own purpose in life. It took me a while to realize that one of my purposes in life is to write. I ignored this for years, but have now embraced my writing skills. I have completed my first book, and am now working on the second in a series of books about this epic virtual bike trip I’m on. And as I wait for these books to be published, I’ll continue doing what I do for I know that each task I perform each day is a small piece in God’s perfect plan.

So in this fast pace of life we live in, take some time to appreciate the diversity of tasks being performed around you each day by a diverse group of people. Look for the value in each person to include yourself, and thank God for He is the master of all things. God bless and as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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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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To Have It All

My first thought when entering Florence, Oregon, is that this is a small community that seems to have it all. You have the Pacific Ocean to the west, pined hills to the east, and sand dunes smack dab in the middle of it all. And the businesses here seem to be just as diverse.

I found a nice quilt shop right off the highway and, of course, I just had to do a little shopping. It’s not as if I don’t have enough fabric, but to be able to say that I bought a piece of fabric in every state is just mind blowing to me. I thought “I just have to have it all” much like this town has. I found some unique finds and the help was oh so friendly. It just made me want to stay, but as usual, my stay here would be short.

I spent the day doing a lot of window shopping, ate at a fabulous seafood restaurant, and got back to the RV park I was staying at in time for the community dance the park was having. Not being a dancer, I opted to sit and watch the retired community members show me what they could do; so many could really cut a rug. It made me a bit jealous that I had never had the confidence to just get out there and learn. I guess I was just too independent most of my life to let go and stop leading, something most men don’t like, but I certainly had fun watching these senior couples as they spun around the dance floor. It seemed to me, at times, that they weren’t two people dancing, but one body floating across the floor. Harmony and synchronicity was prevalent in that amphitheater, and those seniors made me feel like I had all that I needed right there.

But as with so many things in life, the dance ended, and it was time for me to head to bed. I had a long day ahead of me, and I was bound and determined that I was going to make it to California before the year’s end. I was grateful for all the wonderful people I had met, the awesome sights this place has, and the time I was able to spend in this fine community. I’ve often said on this ride of mine, how wonderful God is to have blessed us with so many things. I prayed that night that we all would start seeing this world as God had intended us to see it. I know that God is not happy with the divisions we’ve created on earth, and although I’m only one person and incapable of ridding this world of those divisions, I knew that I could be making small changes with those divisions as I traveled my way through each state. After all, even small changes are an improvement over what we currently have. I ended my prayers thanking God for all the gifts He gives to us each and every day, and promised Him that I would try to recognize something new, some gift of His, with every town I’ll be staying in. And if I could help one person in each town that I go through, I would feel like this trip had a purpose greater than being able to say I traveled through every state in the United States. I fell asleep feeling so close to God. I knew that I truly did have it all right then.

And in my real world, I’m sad to say that Catholic Charities deals with many who do not have it all. Some have nothing but the clothes they are wearing. It’s sad to see, especially at these holiday times. But I know that the staff at Catholic Charities does all they can to help each client with whatever their needs are.
It makes me appreciate the things I have. I may not be rich in wealth, but I’m certainly rich in love. Like those senior couples I spoke about in my virtual world who shared their lives with each other for years, and their love was overwhelming. It’s the love of my family and friends that has gotten me through many a hard time. A friend of mine just spoke on Facebook about how she was thanked by a friend of hers for a small act of kindness she did for that person. And several years ago, while I was visiting my uncle in San Francisco, we were stunned when the car ahead of us had paid our Golden Gate Bridge fee. They didn’t know us and we didn’t know them. Sometimes it’s those little unknown things that we do that makes a person feel like they have it all. So as we enter these holiday times, let’s all try to help someone through some random act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t even have to cost you anything, it simply needs to be something that makes that person feel like they count in this world. And imagine the grin on God’s face if we all do one small deed. God bless you all, Happy Thanksgiving, and let’s keep going the distance.

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Giving Thanks

My travels have taken me south to Yachats, Oregon, a small coastal city in Lincoln County, Oregon.  After getting myself checked in at the hotel I was staying at, I did a little snooping around.  I discovered that this town was voted one of the “Ten Coolest Small Towns of the US” in 2007.  I could see why it received this accolade as the town sits right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean with a forested hillside surrounding it.  It’s beauty takes your breath away.

I also discovered quite the history here; a history not so becoming of the beauty this area holds.  This region has been inhabited for at least 1,500 years with radiocarbon tests being done on the remains of a pit house that showed it dated back to 570 AD.  The town was built on sea shell middens and numerous graves from past inhabitants.  That sort of freaked me out knowing that I could be walking on someone’s remains.  And it shocked me that when these skeletons were found when Highway 101 was being built along with other buildings, they were simply bulldozed into the fill dirt. 

And this total disregard for the early inhabitants of this area continued.  Native American tribes were forcibly moved to a reservation 80 miles north of where they had called home and where they were able to provide for their families.  No longer were they hunters and gatherers.  Now they had to make a living planting crops and many crops planted near the ocean failed causing many deaths by starvation.  My blood was boiling thinking about how arrogant the white man was.  It was if they thought this world belonged totally to them and that they could do anything they wanted to get what they wanted.  And even though these tribes were finally allowed access to the Yachats River Valley where they were able to grow potatoes, oats, wheat, and corn, and allowed to hunt again, in 1875 they were once again forced to move because of the white man’s desire to homestead where they were living.

But that’s history and this area is simply beautiful.  I knew I couldn’t change the history of this area, but I could make sure that I not only treated this area with respect since it is a gift from God, but that I also treat everyone I meet with respect.  And this town seemed to have that same mindset, for each July 4th the Yachats la de da Parade is held and anyone in the town can participate.  I saw photos of this parade and it boasts entries from the Yachats Umbrella Drill Team to belly dancers, to the fire department to the Oregon Central Coast PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  It seemed to me that this town has learned God’s lesson that we are all His children.  And with all the activities this town has year-round, it shows that they are all thankful for the blessings God bestows on them.

I visited the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  I also went to the Little Log Church and Museum, the North Fork of the Yachats Bridge, and the Gerdemann Botanical Preserve.  All in all, my stay in Yachats was enjoyable if not memorable.  I thanked God as I left Yachats for giving me the chance to be a part of their fine community even if it was only for a day.

And in my real life, as I prepare for the holidays, I am thankful that God has brought my sister and brother-in-law back to Colorado Springs.  Having them close to us again has brought such joy to both my mother and me.  I’m thankful for my entire family both immediate and extended since they all play such key roles in my life.  Without them, I would not be who I am today.  I’m thankful that we live in these United States where we can agree to disagree and still love each other.  And I’m thankful for the job I have at Catholic Charities for it was here where I learned just how sheltered I had been for so many years, and how I had been ignoring God’s prompts to be a steward for Him. 

I knew there were poor in Colorado Springs and in the world, but did I really see them?  I did not.  In fact, prior to working here, I did everything to avoid the poor and downhearted.  Every time I heard the word “Stewardship”, I cringed, yetI felt God tugging at me to become a steward of His word.  But I fought Him for years.  Then finally one day, after being laid off from my previous job, I found myself working for Catholic Charities.  God had managed to put me smack dab in the middle of His stewardship and I love it.  He won; thankfully He won.

Catholic Charities is truly a steward of God’s word.  We strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity.  Race, color, religion does not matter at Catholic Charities.  We are here to help those in need in whatever way our funding allows us to help.  Through sound leadership, the staff at Catholic Charities has been able to help many people go from a desperate state of life to a comfortable state.  We pride ourselves on giving a hand up and not a hand out.

So as we move towards Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, take some time to think about what you are thankful for, how much you have, and maybe how much you can give to the community that you live in.  And don’t be like I was for all those years, fighting God about stewardship.  Stewardship is quite rewarding and you’ll find that you have that much more to be thankful about by simply being a steward of God.  God bless you all, happy Thanksgiving, and let’s continue to go the distance.

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A Little Fish in the Big Sea

My mind and body are in overdrive since dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln City, Oregon.  I found myself riding harder, yet I was still taking in the beauty of this fine state.  My route, for this leg of the trip, takes me right down the Pacific coastline.  I find myself stopping frequently just to watch those waves crash against the rocks.  It’s an awesome sight, but it makes me realize just how powerful these waters are and how small I am compared to those mighty waves.  At one stop I can hardly believe my eyes; right off the shoreline I see several whales, and my heart does a flip flop as I take in the beauty and almost ballerina-like movements these giant mammals display.  I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven for seeing these creatures of God was awe inspiring.

I finally make it to Newport, Oregon, and get checked into the Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn.  It’s a nice hotel, not far from the shoreline.  I was told about the whale watching that I could participate in, and I was excited to tell them that God had already given me that opportunity.  The staff was pleased then told me about several other things I might opt to partake in such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Newport’s Yaquina Lighthouse.  I was told their goal, at this hotel, was to make my stay there as memorable as possible.  I had to ask “Is this because I’m the crazy lady riding across this country?”  The clerk smiled and said “Well, sort of, but truly, we try to make each guest feel special.”  I assured them that they had succeeded, and that I’d be telling all my friends about this place.

I took my bags to my room, knowing that my biking gear had been safely stored away in the hotel’s storage area.  I found myself tired and needing a nap.  I opened my window, and was immediately graced with a cool ocean breeze that lulled my tired body to sleep.  I dreamed that I was out on the ocean, and a whale had come up to my boat and allowed me to touch it.  I felt one with the ocean, one with the whale, and one with the world.  Then a wave crashed in over the side of my boat almost pushing me over the side.  Fear struck me, and I jolted awake.  I lay there for a moment thinking about that dream and wondering if there was any meaning to it.  I decided that maybe God was telling me that all things on earth are good, but that one needs to stay in the protection of His hands; after all, we are all just a little fish in the big sea.  And being a little fish in that big sea isn’t a bad thing, it just means you can’t throw caution to the wind and think that you are shielded from all evil.

I shook off the dream, although it continued to haunt me some, and took those recommended tours of the aquarium and lighthouse.  Both were spectacular and delivered everything that one finds in their advertisements.  I saw incredible fish and sea creatures, and the lighthouse was amazing.  It brought back fond memories of a trip my sister, brother-in-law, and I took to California several years ago where we saw a lighthouse just north of San Francisco with our uncle who lives in San Rafael.  It was such a fun trip, being able to see something you never see when you’ve lived inland all your life.  And to have had that time with our uncle, well, it was priceless.  My uncle is unable to take such trips now, so having those memories of that trip is something I hold near and dear to my heart.

That evening I ate at the Chowder Bowl, a fabulous restaurant with a superb seafood menu.  And upon my return to the hotel, I decided that this town was just too nice to leave after not even a full day.  I paid for another night at the hotel and was able to scope out the town the next day.  I had another fabulous meal at the Saffron Salmon, and knew when I went to bed that night that God had graced me with this wonderful experience. 

And in my real world I am sad to say that my boss, my mentor, is leaving Catholic Charities and moving on to other things in life.  He has made a profound difference in my life, and I’m happy that he became a part of my little sea.  I think our lives are like little pools of water, and when we combine them throughout the day it creates a larger body of water.  And when you think about all the people you come in contact with just in one day, imagine all those bodies of water banning together and creating that mighty ocean.  We are all a part of that great body of water, and we all have the ability to make a statement, an impact in that body of water.  Just because we are small in comparison doesn’t mean we aren’t needed to complete God’s work.  So remember that each of us has a place in this ocean of God and it is okay being a little fish in a big sea.  We can’t all be those mighty whales, but we can still be a vital part of this great world we live in.  God bless and may you be mighty no matter what size of fish you are.  And God bless my boss.  I pray that God continues to direct you through the waters of life so that our seas combined become an ocean.   And as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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A Ride Well Worth Taking

Image   Hello from Lincoln City, Oregon, a tourist and retirement community located on the Pacific coastline.  I finally made it to the west coast, and the views in this town are breathtaking and have made the miles I rode well worth it.  I can see why it’s a tourist attraction and why people choose to retire here.  And I must admit after taking more than 3 years to get here I thought about putting down some roots and just staying here, but once again the uncharted road is calling out to me.  So my stay here in Lincoln City will be brief.

After getting my tent set-up at the Devils Lake RV Park, I biked on over to the Pacific Ocean.  Yes, I know I was camped right by this lake, but I wanted to dip my toes into that awesome ocean.  It was an inspirational feeling.  At that very moment in my life had I not already believed in God, I would have to believe in Him now for there is nothing greater than feeling this mighty ocean crash against your legs bathing them in its cool refreshing water.  The salt smell in the air was euphoric.  No way could I say this mighty ocean was not a creation of God.

I sat on the beach for several hours thinking about my life, my journey, and my family.  I felt peace where peace hadn’t been for a while.  I knew that the fatigue of riding these past 2,190 miles had taken its toll on me, but now sitting here seeing the Pacific Ocean made all that fatigue melt away.  I had accomplished something I never had been able to do before.  So many diets I’d been on, so many attempts to make exercise a part of my life and yet each time I found that my lazy side would win.  But here I am, sitting on this beach knowing that I had just made it the first leg of this trip I started over 3 years ago, a trip that was supposed to help me lose the weight that doctor of mine had said made me a candidate for weight reduction surgery.

Okay, so I’m already delving into my real life as I talk about my doctor recommending me for lap band surgery.  I’m sure he meant well with his sage advice, but I know that most of those drastic weight surgeries give one a quick fix, but doesn’t allow the brain to recognize that the body has lost a bunch of weight.  At my age my mind is confused enough I didn’t need to add in quick weight loss to add to the confusion.  Besides I have still managed to shed over 30 pounds.

And I know that this ride has not only helped me lose weight, it’s helped me through a lot of other life issues.  I no longer argue with my mother about the number of beers she’d like to have each day, but rather I simply tell her “this is how many you get.”  It irritates her that I won’t raise my voice giving her the opportunity to argue back and blame me for starting a fight.  When one remains calm with someone who is angry, it’s hard for the angry person to stay angry.

I guess that’s why so many counselors are so calm when they are counseling someone, much like our wonderful Life Connections counselors at Catholic Charities.  These women are such calming forces not only with the clients they see, but with day to day work issues.  I’m blessed to know and be a part of each of their lives.

I’ve had people recently tell me how proud they are of me for staying dedicated to this ride, for caring for my mother, for taking on the whole process of writing a book about this journey I’m on all the while I’m working a full-time job.  And I thank them all for their compliments, but really, isn’t this all just a part of life?  Isn’t this what God wants us to be doing, to not take life for granted, to utilize the talents He’s given us, to be selfless with the way we live our lives?  I don’t see anything I’ve done now or in the past as being any greater or lesser than anyone else on this fine earth.  We all are just one big family of God and if my little blog stories help someone through a difficult time or if it can impart a smile on someone’s face then I feel I’ve accomplished a task given to me by God.  Thank you all so much for following me on my journey as it has all been well worth the effort and as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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