Last weekend my speaking assignments took me to Lynchburg, Virginia, to speak at Liberty University. Our flight left at noon so we were afforded half a day to work in the office before catching our US Air out of DFW. With nine minutes to spare after going through security, we stood at the gate of another flight filled with one more surprise.
I love the anticipation of whom I might sit next to whenever traveling across this nation. Rarely is it someone who is disengaged, and always there is a story to tell. People are walking treasures and each valued. You just have to see where the gold vein is and begin to sift.
After some casual conversation while the plane was taking flight, I tested the waters to see if my fellow passenger was going to be approachable. “Hey! Where are you headed today—home or work?” The southern gentleman said, “Work.”
Easing my way to the next level of conversation I asked, “So, what do you do with your life?” He told me his name was Jeff Kriet and he was a master pro bass fisherman. When I engage with people I race through the memory files of my mind to find some commonality. This one was easy.
I asked, “Do you know my friend, Matt Pangrac?” My travel companion turned his head quickly to me and said, “Matt is my friend, too. We just went deep sea fishing together last week.” The rest is history as I launched out into the deep with more as I listened and asked questions for two hours straight. Matt, a great fisherman, too, who has always loved the bass world, is now the top journalist for this sport. Matt’s family and ours are dear friends from when we lived in the Midwest. I remember thinking I live one degree from the whole world.
For two hours we talked, and I listened to fish tales that will make for good illustrations and word pictures in the days to come. The amazing education I received in that flight told me about a world I had not known but now found intriguing–the skill of casting; discovering deep fishing holes; bait; and boats. Hearing about the best of times on the lakes and the worst of times in the storms left me wanting to know more. In an upcoming blog I will write more about my new friend, Jeff Kriet.
Landing in Charlotte, N.C. for a connecting flight and being demoted from a jet to a prop plane was eventful too. If you have ever gone through the airport in Charlotte, you know how spread out the airport is. Our choice was an electric shuttle since our connecting flight was a close one in time but a distant one to our next gate. Again, always a story as I met a new friend who immediately opened her heart to me. We exchanged information as she went one direction in the nation and I the other.
The Liberty University conference was sponsored and created by an alumni organization called, “the Blush Network,” directed by Autumn Miles. The college gals were engaged in the great speakers and musical guests who had come to remind them they were “Appointed.”
With nearly 24 hours on the clock now since leaving the big D of Texas, I stood waiting in the green room to take my place on stage. While waiting for my turn with the microphone and platform, my husband, Tony, received a text, saying I had just been quoted by a top executive of a large corporation at their convention of 5,000 and on live stream. What a gift to be multi-tasking, speaking at two events while standing nestled in the mountains of Virginia. I loved the surprise and was truly humbled by the honor.
The winds in Virginia were fierce as the east coast experienced a Nor’easter and Connecticut shut down due to 34 inches of wet snow. The effects of that storm had tossed around our small prop plane as we landed that weekend, and my prayer was this would not be what we faced went we lifted off shortly after speaking and signing books. While taking the electric shuttle to our departing gate in Charlotte’s connecting hub, I met yet another new friend who immediately began to talk about her life and then asked if she could pray for me. Both of us clearly could see our common bond in just a few seconds as we shared our faith. In less than 34 hours we were moving through a large revolving door back in Dallas, retrieving our luggage and heading for home.
What a life! I am loaded to the gills with new McTales.
When you choose to look past the horizon… the sky is the limit!