This has been an AMAZING year of travel and adventure – 13 countries and over 40 cities–as well as the beginning of a special new relationship. My theme for this year was “Rebuilding Relationships,” and although I have been away from home much of the year, I have also had the blessing of reconnecting with many old friends all over the world as well as meeting many new ones through my travel and my speaking. The best of all was meeting Frank Cona in February on the church steps (is that not prophetic?). We have had many lovely shared memories in the few months we have been dating, so I am very grateful for this new addition to my life.
In January I went with my travel buddy, Nancy Cobb, to FIJI, where we attended the lovely wedding of my niece, Katie Munkres, on the beach on one of the three stunning islands we visited. We snorkeled, kayaked, visited several native villages, swam in the cave where “Blue Lagoon” was filmed, and partied and partied!
In March Gretchen, Randy, Owen and Simon came from Portland for a week for Spring Break. The boys loved the pool and the beach, and we had three fun days at Disneyworld. Later in the month Frank invited me on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, a delightful time of shopping, eating, swimming with the stingrays, and dancing the night away!
In April Nancy and I traveled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman for two weeks. Dubai is almost beyond imagination – from the tallest building in the world (see Spider Woman on the photo collage;-), a several-story indoor ski slope INSIDE the shopping mall, internet access even in the restrooms on the beach, vending machines where you could buy gold bars, to the most amazing modern architecture I have ever seen. Abu Dhabi is the oil center and a more serious member of the Emirates, while the country of Oman, while scenic, was like going back in time to another world, i.e., it is the death penalty to have any liquor in the entire country! We rode camels, took wild rides in jeeps across the sand dunes, traveled scary dirt roads over the mountain cliffs and deep canyons, stayed in a tent in a desert camp as well as an almost “erector set” like box room on the side of a mountain, and even visited a Bedouin home.
Later in the month Frank took me on a 4 day trip to Las Vegas where we stayed at the gorgeous Bellagio and saw three Cirque de Soleil shows, including the new Michael Jackson “One.” Then in May he surprised me with a trip to Puerto Rico for my birthday where again we shopped, ate, and explored. (Unfortunately, I have gained 10 pounds since we started dating! 😉 June brought the national Society for Human Resource Management conference in Orlando where I have spoken since 1997 and then the National Speakers Association convention in San Diego where we also visited my aunt and the Johnstons, longtime friends.
In July I was the opening keynote speaker for the Human Capital Forum CEO conference in Guatemala City. In the audience were three executives from the largest church in Latin America, Casa de Dios, and afterwards, they invited me to speak that evening to 10,000 people, a mountain top experience! (You can see the picture of me on four HUGE jumbo-trons.) While in Guatemala, we took a trip to Antigua and also to a huge outdoor market. Of course, I had to buy an extra bag for all my treasures! At the end of the month, Garrett, Ashley, Gavin and Kinsey came from Seattle with friends for a fun week on the beach.
In August, I accompanied my 91 year old aunt Joan along with Frank to Bali, Indonesia, to see the gorgeous new resort my cousin, Warren, had just opened on the beach in Denpasar. We visited temples, took a trip to see the Komodo dragons, white-water rafted, and shopped and shopped. Frank and I also flew to Singapore for 4 days where I spoke to the Asia Speakers Association. We stayed with new friends in a lovely home, and several friends showed off their island, including a boat tour, dinner on the beach, and the orchid gardens.
I spent Labor Day week in Portland with Erin and Gretchen and family. We rafted down the river, went to the beach, and played. I attended Guideposts’ Board meetings in Dana Point, CA, at the end of the month and then flew to Denver for a really fun reunion with my Gamma Phi Beta sisters from KU and on to Grand Junction, CO, to visit my brother, Bruce, and sister, Beth.
November will find me speaking in Hawaii twice and then on to keynote the Human Capital Forum CEO conferences in Bogota, Colombia, and Santiago, Chile. Erin and I are planning to spend Christmas in Colorado with family.
Garrett continues to do exceedingly well with Microsoft in Seattle. Ashley and Kinsey, 13, are enjoying riding and have a new horse named Rally. Gavin just turned 16 so has his first job AND a driver’s license. Gretchen is enjoying working at a boutique in Portland while the boys are in school, and Randy is continuing his graphics and web design work. Owen, 9, and Simon, 7, are into soccer, baseball, Legos, Mine Craft, and learning camps. Erin is loving her new home and new kitty, Cricket, while still working for True Collaborative Fashion where they rep several lines made in the US. She travels all over the country showing their beautiful, fun lines of women’s clothing.
Professionally, I have been blessed to speak to many wonderful clients this year, and I am working on a new video demo tape as well as a new website. On the personal side, my heart has ached for the suffering and loss of some of my dearest friends, so while I am overcome with gratitude for the BLESSING of my life and all the experiences I have been privileged to share, I am struck by the fragility of life and the gift of EVERY DAY. May this year be filled with peace, love and joy for each one of you. How grateful I am to have you all in my life!
“In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another.”