I found myself in Umatilla, Oregon while playing the role of Executive Director of the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce. No really…I found myself, because when I crash landed in this small city early this spring, I was completely lost. Many of you have been a part of my journey and know that I was really struggling. But today, just a few days from my last day at the chamber, I am no longer lost. I am no longer tired. I no longer struggle to smile. I truly found myself along the banks of the might Columbia River in Umatilla, Oregon and the people I met along the way helped to make me whole again. I will be forever in your debt. The only payment I can offer is to keep you tucked safely in my heart and count you all as friends.
For the friends who enjoy seeing where my travels take me I would like to tell you about this six month stop along the roadside of my life and give you some insight to how special some of the people of Umatilla really are and how, during this season of my life, they played such a big part in the healing of my broken heart. I will never forget how they all took me in and made me one of there own. At the risk of leaving someone out I would like to tell my other friends a little bit about the amazing people of Umatilla and how they affected your friend Lori’s life.
First and foremost I have to thank Ken of Cruising With Ken. Ken, thank you for your friendship and teaching me a new way to look at life. The days we spent in the early morning hours in my garage, hammering out your amazing vision, will forever be some of the most special memories I carry with me about Umatilla. You have been such a great professional mentor and I always felt as if I were getting a crash course in Ken University, thank you for that. Your heart for people is inspiring and I could not be more proud to call you my friend. I am looking forward to what comes next as your vision continues to become reality. #CWKandKenUniversity
Roak….Roak…I cannot not smile when I think of your friendship and the pure heart you have for Umatilla. If there was an ‘I Love Umatilla’ award you would win hands down! Counting money, time at the marina, sanding tables, working Landing Days, the dunk tank, Muppet tickets, the Blue Moon Beer Garden, The Path of Almost Totality Tailgate Party, horseshoes, and of course horse racing….such great memories…oh and Bayliners. With my brother hours away in Elgin, you took on that big brother role for me and I really appreciate all your insight and your friendship during my time here. #bigbroroaktololo
Nanci! Nanci…you are such an inspiration to me. You are a firecracker and I see great things in your future. I love your passion for people, and I am so happy that we became friends. We knew from the beginning we were just meant to know each other. Thank you for always being there when I needed someone to talk with. I would pick you to be part of my team over and over again, you bring so much to the table and will continue to bring value and passion to anything you set your mind to. #Iwantnancionmyteam
Then there is Craig…Craig for President! Craig, every single time we visited I completely enjoyed myself. It’s a good thing we didn’t go to middle school together because I think we would have always been in trouble for giggling. Thank you for being a great president. I always felt like you genuinely cared about any concerns I had in regard to the chamber and I appreciated your professionalism and your humor….but mostly I appreciated the videos!! The videos were the best. #craigforlatenighttv
My friend Tina…I don’t know that I know anyone that works as hard or has as much energy as you my friend. I know that you are teaching so many of your kids to have an incredible work ethic and Umatilla is so lucky to have you. I know that I have been so blessed by your friendship and I cherish my memories of our shenanigans…dancing, laughing, crying at sad movies and giggling at Landing Days after parties. You are a joy… an absolute joy to be around and you give so selflessly to so many in your life. I am so happy you are my friend. #everyonesmom
Dave…Dave your heart for Umatilla and the people who call it home is such an inspiration. This community is so fortunate to have had your family so actively involved for the past 25 years, you have given so much of your time and resources and it inspires me. I have thouroughly enjoyed our friendship. You were always, always, always such a pleasure to visit with. Thank you for making me feel like I was a part of the Umatilla family right from the start. #Umatillasrockstar
Jeff, I am so glad you became part of our board giving you and I a chance to become friends. Being able to talk about our spiritual similarities was always such a joy. Thank you for the prayers I know you sent up on my behalf. They were much appreciated. I look forward to our continued friendship and I look forward to getting together with you and Ashley in Portland in the future. #siblingsinChrist
Russ I am so proud of the work you are doing for Umatilla. It has been such a pleasure to work alongside you on the different projects we have tackled…I think we could have a Lori and Russ TV show…what do you think?? We might be wise if we put some of our humor on film instead of us being so serious. The horseshoe game might have been TV material…maybe not…how about the beer garden humor?? Yeah, that would be a best seller if it was a book! Russ, seriously, I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming your friend and I know you and Dianna will continue to be a part of my world. Keep up the good work. #biggerthanlife
Salud, my dear sweet friend Salud. You are such a delight to be around. Your smile is infectious and I don’t think anyone can be in a bad mood if you are near. You absolutely light up a room with the pure joy that radiates from you. I am so glad we spent time together on Landing Days, the Tailgate Party, Paint Night, my party….you are so much fun to be around. I’d like to bottle your pure positive energy and be able to take you with me everywhere, but I will settle on just being your friend. Thanks for always making me smile and making me feel loved. #youlighttheworldsalud
Selena…When I think of you my dear friend I just want to wrap you in my arms and tell you how proud I am of you. You are such an inspiration to me. You are an overcomer, and you are making such a difference in the world already! You constantly make me think with each passionate Facebook post you post and make me proud that I am your friend. Keep fighting the good fight, but don’t forget to take care of you as well. Thank you for walking into my life and becoming my friend. I will be keeping an eye on you and cheering for every single accomplishment you reach. #shesgotheart
My buddy Matt…you my friend are so much fun to spend time with and to work beside. You were such a great part of Landing Days and the Tailgate Party and you have definitely made your way into my heart. I am so glad that you stumbled into Umatilla and have made it your home. I know we will continue to run into each other over the years as you decided who you are going to become. You will do great and might things in your life and Umatilla will forever be a thread in the fabric of your life. I wish you all the best in the future and I sincerely thank you for your friendship, and all the laughs we’ve shared…it has been so fun to get to know you. #mattforOregongovernor
Raelynn…I am so excited that you are becoming a part of Umatilla and will be such a welcoming place for people of the city as well as those passing through. You will be so many peoples first and sometimes only impression of Umatilla; you are perfect for the role. I want to thank you for your friendship. From the moment we first met I knew we shared something special. I am looking forward to stopping in at your place each time I pass through Umatilla. Thank you for being you and for being my friend…even when I ask you to watch…three??? was it three dogs? You were so wonderful, thanks for helping me with that situation. I wish you all the best in your business venture. See you soon. #ourwelcomer
Toni, my dear funny friend Toni…I think one of my favorite memories of the eclipse is driving through the middle of town in the middle of the street with you as you video taped our traffic jam…..So fun and so funny. Thank you Toni for becoming my friend. I know this is not goodbye for us and we will continue to be friends for years to come. You and Roak and the love you have for each other is such an inspiration to me. I am so glad I have been able to witness the special bond the two of you have. It makes me know there is always hope for my future. #roakslove
Amber…we got too busy!! I feel like it has been forever since I’ve seen you. I cannot tell you how much your friendship means to me. We just hit it off in an instant and became fast friends. I look forward to going fishing with you next spring and sitting around your firepit in the evening. Thanks so much for helping me out on the tailgate party, your food was phenomenal. Let’s get together before I leave…maybe do lunch. Please tell Rich I really enjoyed our visit during the Tailgate Party….it was really good for me to relive some of the good times I had in my youth. #bestsmokehouseinthecountry
Jackie…girlfriend you are amazing. I have had so much fun getting to know you and I know our friendship just scraped the surface of both of us. We did not spend near enough time together, but I always enjoyed your snappy wit and how much you loved to be annoyed by me. LOL. You really do have a special place in my heart. Thank you for always being exactly who you are. I will miss you. So glad you are my friend. 🙂 #youdontscaremeLOL:)
Melissa we were always like two ships going in opposite directions because we were both busy busy, but I did really enjoy the few times we got to spend some time together. You do such great work for Umatilla and I’m not sure it would survive without you. Your work is so valuable and I appreciate all the hard work you put into those areas that had to do with me. So glad you are in charge….just don’t tell Russ I said that. 🙂 #thefoundation
Jason…You and I did not get a chance to get to know each other very well, but I do want you to know how much I appreciated all you hard work and how willing you and your crew were to make sure you took care of everything I needed during our events. I am glad you were a part of what we were doing and I know you will do great things in your new role with the city. I wish you the best of luck. #Umatillaleader
Dianna….This cannot be goodbye!!! We were just getting to know each other and we have so much fun together. You and Russ seem to always be in the same place I am just a day or two away.. We need to work on getting our traveling schedules in sync. I have missed you so much since our last outing and I plan on tracking you down before I leave so we can giggle and laugh at things only we would think are funny. LOL. Your friendship is so special to me and I look forward to our next adventures. #Diannarocks!
Cindy..It was such a pleasure to get to know you and I look forward to keeping up with all your remodeling projects on Facebook. I really appreciate your point of view on life. Even though we did not get to spend a lot of time together, we did have a good time going to Pilot Rock. I am sure that our paths will cross again in the future. Thank you for being a part of the board and welcoming me so kindly and making me feel so welcome from day one. #remodelerextraordinare
Kelly…your determination to make Landing Days a success was so cool. I know you are very passionate about this event and it just would not have been the same without you. You brought so much of yourself to making sure this was a successful event and I really enjoyed working with you. Next years event will be bigger and better I am sure. Thank you for all you do for Umatilla, it is very much appreciated. Glad we became friends. See you next Landing Days. #kingoflandingdays
Kirsten….my sweet little Kirsten. You my dear are a rock star! You worked so tirelessly beside all of us and we were all so proud of you. Thanks for always keeping me smiling and being such a huge help for me in my office. There are great and mighty things in store for you young lady. Always find me. I am one of your biggest fans and I am just thrilled that you and I got to become friends. You are always welcome to be a part of whatever it is I am doing. You are a great worker and a great person. I’m very proud to know you and I love your sweet heart. #superteen
Debbie I know we did not get to know each other near enough, but I truly loved your sweet nature and really enjoyed the few visits we had. Thank you for inviting our crazy Landing Days group into your home, it was such a great bonding experience for us. I really appreciate you coming to my party and I look forward to our visits in the future. #craigsdebbie
Betty…I have more than one Betty in my life and each one brings me so much happiness. Thank you for always being happy to see me whenever I walked into your office. You never made me feel as if I was being a bother….even when I was being a bother. I enjoyed getting to know you more at my party and I am really looking forward to helping you in your side business of train robbing….who would imagine we would have that in common. LOL…Looking forward to fun times ahead. #bettybear
Heidi…I know you have made such a difference in the lives of so many of the kids in Umatilla and I am glad I have been able to get to know you. Thank you for taking on the task of becoming a board member. It is appreciated by the entire board and I know you will help make the Umatilla Chamber successful in the future. Thank you for giving so much of yourself for this great community. #overseer
Tamara…we were just getting started. I wish you luck in Umatilla, I know you already know it is a great little town. Handle it with care. You have such a great opportunity to make such a huge difference here and I know you will do your best to make sure that happens. I know we will continue to see each other at different events across the state and I know we will have a great time whenever we get together. See you around for sure. #Umatillaproud
How fitting….Amazing Grace just started playing on my tablet…so cool. The ultimate song about being lost and being found. Love it!! So cool that it came on when I was writing an article about being lost and being found. #Godisgood
So, my friends, these are my friends. If you ever make it to Umatilla know that you travel through a place where I found peace, love, healing and friends, a whole great group of wonderful friends.
As for where I am heading next…only time will tell, but I’m sure you all know that you will see me on Facebook and Instagram. In the immediate future I am heading back to Beaverton to live with my fabulous friend Betty Trombatore. I am going to embrace my inner Portlander and see where life takes me as I become a full-time traveler….I’m not sure I can really say that since I will be living in Beaverton when my wheels aren’t spinning, but for now I’m claiming that title.
Thank you for reading this and if you are my friend please know that you have touched my life and have played a part in making me who I am and I am forever thankful to what you have brought to my life. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” I have found safety throughout my life as my counselors have been many. Thank you friends. I am truly blessed by each one of you.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times…….