Have you ever had on of those weeks where everything just came together? I had the good fortune of spending five days in Pendleton, Oregon, home of Eastern Oregon’s signature event, the Pendleton Round-Up. The Round-Up wasn’t happening at the time, but good old fashioned Pendleton hospitality was alive and well at the Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
As I sat with 450 of my newest friends on Tuesday morning I had time to reflect on the events that had taken place over the course of the last five days. I was amazed at the chance encounters that will no doubt turn into solid, meaningful friendships. Equally amazing was the sense of family I encountered. This group of people, who are all part of the travel industry in one way or another, are all there and held together with a common thread, the love of Oregon. I could have not been more thrilled to be surrounded by hundreds of people who love this great state as much as I do.
The conference itself was one of the best conferences I have ever gone to, but it really was so much more than that. I have been going through some pretty significant life-altering events lately and to take some time to connect with both new and old friends was invaluable at this stage of my journey through life. I learned so much about the way the universe works and God’s role in my life. I’ve realized I am racing through this stage as each day brings completely new experiences, both good and bad; it is as if my life is on fast forward and I don’t know how to slow it down, if I should, or what is coming at the end of this particular road.
It was great to be able to go to the home of one of my very best friends and relive the moments of each day, as she graciously allowed me to sleep over at her house, so I did not have to make the trip back to Elgin each night. We stayed up too late, laughed just as much as we normally do, cried a few tears, talked about how angry life can make us and once again became closer friends. I cannot imagine her not in my life, friends since second grade, she has been the one constant in my life through every single stage….I don’t think I would even know how to do life if it weren’t for her. Of course we talked about ‘Sharing the Laughter’ tour….and I believe we are going to start a podcast soon……stay tuned, it should be entertaining, at least to our other friends that are as crazy as we are and love us no matter what kind of fools we might make of ourselves….so you four friends, you know who you are, be ready with your words of encouragement. I’m still working on the title of the podcast, but I was thinking about ‘Sharing the Laughter, a business podcast that will make you smile.’ …..hmmm, it might still need some work…How about ‘Sharing the Laughter – A Uniquely Oregon experience’…. I like that one better.
Since graduating from EOU last month I have been trying to live exactly how life comes at me….that’s not the right way to say it…as life envelopes me. It has been nice to walk in the right direction, without realizing what the right direction is until it is laid out in front of me…one step at a time.
One of my newest friends recommended a book to me this weekend, The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. A quote from this book sums up the last five days, and the new friendships I am so honored to be a part of: “Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other”.
The photo above is one of my favorites from the weekend. A tribute to Prince by Dan, along with a dance floor full of new friends. The photos below are Susie, Cristie and myself along with Brooks, me, and Liz. Great people that I am looking forward to a lifetime of memories with.
I do want to give a special shout out to Todd Davidson and his team from Travel Oregon. What an amazing group of people. You all put on one heck of a conference. Also, thank you to all of the wonderful people from the town of Pendleton, you are NE Oregon and I am proud to call you my neighbors, as well as my friends.
Be sure to check out my new logo in the middle of the page. I have had this in my mind for months and finally got it created this morning. I am very excited about it. Have a great day, cherish your friendships and love one another.