Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Can See For Miles And Miles

Well, I just got back yesterday from what I'm calling the triangle tour of Wisconsin (and Minnesota) and wanted to give a synopsis of some of my thoughts, encounters and experiences.

As I was driving northward toward Minocqua, I had the radio on (LOUDLY) and, like most road trips, I had lots of think-time. Oddly enough, the thought that kept coming back to me was how lucky I was.

  • How lucky I was to have the job I have, which allows me to be part of a statewide association and enables me to travel to plan the goals for that group. My boss (and many of my colleagues) have served on this WI Land Information Association Board of Directors in the past, so he knows the value of being engaged in the decision making and planning of the group. 
  • How lucky I am to have my wife who has stood next to me for 25 years, encouraging me to push myself, insuring that things happen in my absence and cheering me on.
  • How fortunate I am that our kids turned out to be great young adults with compassionate hearts, and a desire for education and social justice. I don't know what we did right, but they're both on a good track.
  • How blessed I am by my extended families in Minnesota and New York. Doing the same things we're doing. Getting up every day, going to work, bettering themselves, and raising great kids.
  • How good it is to have great friends and a church family that is second to none. 
And every time I turned the radio off to get some quiet, these thoughts came back to me. Sometimes we get so caught up in what's next that we forget to savor what we have and have had. I encourage you to reflect on what you have rather than focusing on what you want. It pays dividends, repeatedly.

During my travels, I was reminded how rural Wisconsin is. I sometimes drove for hundreds of miles and saw nothing but agricultural fields. Living in the largest urban area of the state, and travelling to the north woods to recreate, I often overlook the rest which makes the state so great - farms and country living. 

At my meet the author events, I really enjoyed talking to folks about their BWCA experiences. People who have been there all have "that story" that is so relate-able to the rest of us that also have. And unlike some of the other library events I've been at, people bought books! Attendance was sparse at the events, but the people that came all bought multiple books. I know as well as anyone that it isn't all about the money, but that sure helps. I am also quite grateful that both libraries provided financial stipends to help offset some of my travel costs. Again, not necessary, but a nice perk.
Over the course of pushing Dirty Shirt at these events, my presentation has gotten more and more comfortable. Saturday's event I was much more relaxed and at ease than Friday, where I struggled with some jangly nerves, but overall, both were successful. I have to say, I'm going to be a little sad when the promotion of this book is done. I will miss it.

In the midst of all the driving and book pushing I got to pick my favorite girl up from College. Sarah and I went out to dinner at Noodles and Company after I picked her up at her dorm room. I always treasure this one-on-one time with her. I get caught up with what she's going through with her classes and her friends and just enjoy laughing with her.

And finally, the two of us stayed at my sister's house on Friday night. It was so nice talking to her about our plans for our post kids-at-home experience. She is always a gracious host and I love her.

We all have much to be grateful for if we look hard enough.

Blogging off...

1 comment:

Jo Balistreri said...

Jim, I savored your words, reflected along with you, and am grateful that you are able and willing to share your thoughts on saying thank you. I am blessed with....

Beautiful post.

Jo