Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come. ~ Ellen DeGeneres
Thomas was laying in the dirt underneath his antique Willy’s when Jo and I left The Nut Bar. He’s been tinkering with his dream machine, planning on navigating his way through the desert once she’s running.
Twenty miles into our day we pedaled into the town of Hatch, New Mexico. They’re world famous for fire roasted green chilis. I stopped into a cafe and ingested some of the prized peppers atop one monster sized burrito. Jo stays in his wagon, snoozing.
With ease, the road was passing beneath me, the wind on our backs for most of the morning. Jo and I took a rest before crossing over the Rio Grande.
The river was as empty as my water bottle. At a cross roads located between nowhere and somewhere, we were paid an unexpected visit by a Fed Ex delivery driver. The kind man stopped and signaled me to approach his rig, handing me a bottle of water; an angel.
It was fifty five miles to the town of Las Cruces. That’s where we met Lisa, another angel. She is hosting Shoeless Jo and I at her home. After welcoming us in, and giving us the chefs tour of her humble abode, Lisa recommended we head out for dinner.
The local brewery has an outdoor patio that is bustling with locals drowning themselves in a pond of craft beers. I order the green chili stew, Shoeless Jo has the burger patty special. And Lisa picks up the tab. Kindness.
I’m in a constant state of gratitude, my spirits never sinking. The generosity of the folks we encounter is beyond refreshing. My morning ritual as I pedal down the highway is to give thanks for all of the love that is being bestowed upon Jo and I.
When I met Glenn and Miah last week, we were sharing a night at a Warm Showers host house in Superior, Arizona. This couple is also pedaling west to east, touching the ocean on each end.
Miah called me a few moments ago, telling me that they had found a stray pup. They’re about eighty miles east of El Paso, a few days ahead of me. They’re trying to decide how to accommodate their new furry friend. As Miah and I were speaking, Glenn fetched a milk crate, strapped it to his bike, making a place for the four legged hitchhiker. I imagine that this dog will bring a lot of happiness into their lives and the lives of others as they continue along on their journey. How kind of them.
It has been kindness, the generosity of so many people, some whom I’ve never even met, that have made it possible for me to find myself here in the corner of this quaint little coffee shop. I’m in downtown Las Cruces. The faces we cross paths with are friendly; smiles and warm greetings being exchanged with locals. Jo is laying peacefully under my chair resting up for the next leg.
I’ve been told before that “we’re good at what we practice”. Today I’m practicing writing. It’s something that I enjoy doing. This journey from coast to coast is providing me with these once in a lifetime experiences; documenting them for myself, sharing them with you.
I recall a story that I had read in a news print about a poet, Emily Dickinson. What I learned was that long ago, her friends had supported her financially so that she could retreat and pursue her passion of writing. And so she did. But without those people acting out in love, being generous and supportive, she may not have been able to pour her soul out on paper and fulfill her purpose.
It’s my belief that I was divinely inspired to set out on this mission, riding my bicycle cross-country with my best friend, Shoeless Jo; sharing the vision of Operation Elf Box. At the time this dream had come to me I knew that I didn’t have the financial resources to sustain us, in fact, I had about a hundred dollars to my name. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from responding to my calling. I’m choosing to live by Faith.
Five years ago I set out to cheer up a few children at Christmas time, partnering with families in the community who needed a little extra love. I didn’t have any money back then either. That wasn’t important to me. What was important then, and still remains, is pursuing my passions, following my heart, and accepting the missions in life that I’m given.
Since that first year, we have now created a brighter Christmas for over eight thousand children. Looking into the future, I believe that together, we’ll be able to open Operation Elf Box ‘free toy stores” everywhere, depositing love into the lives of thousands and thousands of more children in the years to come.
In her poem titled, “I dwell in Possibility”, Emily had inked these words, and I too, “spread wide my narrow hands, to gather Paradise”.
If you’d like to extend your love, helping Jo and I fulfill our purpose, I’d be forever grateful for your support. With love…