With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. – Psalms 91:16
- my mechanical bent
- and writing
With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. – Psalms 91:16
But still, why not? Indeed….
The story of the nativity would be incomplete without the shepherds “keeping watch over their flocks by night”. They were the first to hear the announcement, beyond the immediate family, that something extraordinary had occurred. A very special baby boy had been born.
I have heard this story for as long as I can remember. As a child we read the Christmas story in our home every Christmas Eve, heard it at church and even reenacted it as a drama to the best of our ability. But who were these men? Why shepherds?
The day before Thanksgiving is the heaviest travel day of the year. This true of all modes of transportation, but none more filled with tension than air travel. During my years in air traffic I worked many of these days. From the inside, it was serious business. I arrived to take my position at the radar in the Los Angeles Center with coffee at hand, my mind focused and with a bit of apprehension for the task at hand. It was fun and awesome at the same time.
Those days were also days of honor, where I could serve the travelers of this nation, even the world, so they could get home to be with family and loved ones. I was aware of what was at stake:
Whatever awaited at the end of each passenger’s voyage, we did our best (really) to not add to the stress of the travel.
Today, I have to admit, I don’t miss the tension and stress. Yet, neither do I regret having served in this way. As I said, it was and honor.
The video above is sent to provide you a moment of peace, respite or even escape, if needed. The Music is from David Cullen – not the one I am married to.
So from Maison Steinbuchel we sent our warmest prayers for a day filled with peace, good food, and fellowship, wherever you may be. For those serving our country in the military, public safety, air traffic or any other civil service, we send our thanks.
If you are serving in some way away from friends and family, please let me know in the comments below. I want to thank you personally. If not, where will you spend your Thanksgiving this year?
We just had the first hard freeze of the season. Although summer ended and autumn officially began September 21, October is the time of year the seasonal change starts to show in my part of the world.
External changes appear as:
The latter triggers some internal changes for me:
All of this in response to a seasonal transition. But what about the broader scope of transitions? In some ways we are always in transition. We:
Most transitions are routine, efficient, even mindless with little risk. However, what about transitions:
This weekend I will be joining my mother, her brother and members of three of the seven branches of my maternal grandfather’s siblings for a family picnic near Boise Idaho. Sometime in the 40s or 50s three of my grandfather’s six siblings moved from Kansas to this area so I only knew them by name. A large reunion of the Rightmeier clan in Kansas in 2005 and the advent of Facebook reinstated relationships geography had eroded.
When my husband and I had an opportunity to visit Varenholtz in 1998, we found a landmark never mentioned in any of the family stories: Schloss (Castle) Varenholz. The castle location was the seat of a family of Knights , under Heinrich the Lion. Built to its current size in 1596 by Simon VI, the son of a staunch Catholic Count, who ruled the region and fiercely resisted the Protestant movements in the area.
When the elder Count died, the care of Simon VI, his son, was left to Phillip of Hessen. Although the Count gave strict orders that his son be educated in the Catholic faith, Phillip did not adhere to this request and Simon was educated as a Lutheran, and later studied “at a reformed school in Strasbourg” where he became a follower of John Calvin (1503 – 1564). It was in this way that Lippe became a mix of Lutheran and Calvinistic influence.
My maternal great great grand-father, Frederic Regetmeier, immigrated to the United States in 1864 at the age of 14. During this period, a long-term drought, along with political and religious unrest made living conditions in Lippe quite desperate. In other words the feudal system was breaking down.
The life they knew was disappearing. Word of the opportunities in America sparked by desperation, drove young Frederic and his brother August to make the voyage. In reality the brothers were stowaways on a ship to New York. It is said they jumped ship in New York harbor and swam ashore.
When I was accepted into the the Federal Aviation’s Administration’s Air Traffic Academy in 1976, I knew I was on the right path. At the same time, I had no idea what I had signed up for. It was daunting in every way.
I remember, after having passed the first phase of academics, challenging in itself, my class of 16 was now headed to the dreaded non-radar labs. “Phase III” of a thirteen phase program known to be a phase in which “50% will not make it”. I don’t mind saying it, I was nervous, partially because I was not aware of the process.
On the first day of labs, the Air Traffic Academy Superintendent passed by our class, first to congratulate us for passing Phase II and then to encourage us as we entered Phase III. However, the superintendent said something that gave me courage. It was something like: “You have been tested and accepted into this program, so we know you have the aptitude to do this job. All you have to do is apply yourself”. I thought, “I can do that”. Ahhh hope. I trusted what the superintendent said and in the process behind all the uncertainty.
At that moment, I knew I would not be distracted, party instead of study, or otherwise drop the ball. I had been told I had it within me to succeed and I determined to give this opportunity my full attention. Still, it was not easy and there were obstecles. For instance, we were not allowed to miss any days or be late for any reason. Not even illness. It was winter in Oklahoma, I was not eating right, nor sleeping well and there was just a bit of stress (sarcasm). Yes, I managed to get the flu.
I have an audio recording of a graded pass/fail lab problem while hosting a fever of 102 degrees. I did not pass, managing to score a whopping thirteen “conflictions* (you were not allowed any to pass a graded problem). But I was there and I finished. Fortunately you were allowed one failed graded problem and still pass the course. It was also a Friday, so I had the weekend to get over the creeping crud. Ultimately, I graduated. I trusted the process.
There were many more challenges and not a few moments in which I really wanted to walk away. Even after becoming a journeyman controller, there were moments, even days when I wanted to disappear. Invariably, t\someone or something would remind me to trust the process and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Most of the time it was that still small voice inside that said “I will never leave you..” that I have come to recognize as the voice my Father God. Now that I have retired from the life of telling pilots where to go, I have been employing the same “trusting the process” in developing my second wind for this season of life.
Micheal Hyatt was made known to me as a virtual mentor through hearing him interviewed by Dave Ramsey. Micheal’s book, Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World, had just come out and they were discussing the book in the context of the whole entrepreneurial thing. I bought the book and just like those many years ago, I thought, “I can do that”, and so it started. I am still figuring it out as I go, putting one foot in front of the other, learning, studying and trusting the process. This BLOG is one aspect of this new life.
Another aspect is an intentional personal development or a personal growth plan (PGP). One element of my PGP is reading books. Yes, good old fashioned reading. I was inspired to be intentional about this through Mr. Hyatt as well. In both his BLOG and through podcasts he talked about the benefits of consuming a balanced diet of books:
1. Reading makes us better thinkers
2. Reading improves people skills
3. Reading improves our communication skills, including speaking and writing
4. Reading helps us relax
5. Reading keep us young (I am all for that!)
I thought, “I can do that”. So in my annual PGP I set a goal to read or listen to 3 books per month. I endeavored to divide these between fiction and non-fiction with some in an audio format. You can see the list of books completed on my Pinterest 2017 Book reading list. I set aside a minimum of 20 minutes each morning as a part of my quiet time and 20 minutes before bedtime for this activity. Fiction reading is reserved for my evening routine.
Instead of going out and spending money on books I did not know if I wanted to keep on my shelf, I have been giving my local library a serious workout. It has been wonderful. There are a few I ended up purchasing as I wanted to mark them up and keep for future reference, but for the most part the public library has been a great partner in this goal. I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this activity and its benefits.
So once again, by trusting the process, in other words, taking someone’s advice even if you can’t see or understand the rationale, I have found myself in a better place.
*a confliction meant that two aircraft got closer than the required margins allowed. Opps!
Is there some process you have simply taken someone’s word on? How did it work out? Please share it in the comments below!
From the moment we became aware of more than our need for food, water and a warm cuddle from our parents, we have been faced with the awesome and sometimes bothersome privilege we have as humans: making choices.
At first we had a lot of help from our parents and others who influenced our formation in making those choices. Ideally, we were introduced to solid values from which to make choices:
This privilege of making choices by stepping outside of ourselves is one of the many things that sets us apart from the rest of creation. We have free will. It is the part of our soul on which our life and its activities pivot.
“Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.” Jean Genet
This is a continuation of a previous post. Enjoy!
“The day arrived and on September 14, 1969, Daddy became a certified private pilot. He logged 1114.45 hours of flying time over the span of 19 years and one month, almost to the day. His first lesson was at the Phillipsburg, KS airport in a J-3 Cub on October 14, 1962 and his last logged flight was from the Plainville airpark on September 21, 1981. Most of the hours flown were in Aircoupe N3052G. In high school, I was a frequent flyer passengers.
The coupe became Daddy’s transport, companion and therapy; his place to dream and escape. It would be years before I understood the relationship he had with that little plane. The coupe remained at the Plainville Airpark until 1991.
In the late 1960s and into the early 70s, in addition to running his auto parts business, Dad became involved in local government, both as councilman and later as mayor. So as time progressed, the coupe’s time in the air began to dwindle. In the mid to late 70s, economic downturns and health issues, infringed further on Daddy’s ability to spend time in the air. There were rumors that Dad had offers to sell the plane, but he needed to keep her close, even if she had to sit quietly on the ground looking south from her open hangar.
Activity at the airpark came and went. The one major issue: water. The field was well drained and a perfectly fine grass strip but rain, snow, ice and other kinds of moisture hampered consistant use. In fact, there were no all weather airports in all of Rooks County. In 1978 he and several others began to work on a plan to correct this. The vision was modest: simply black top the airpark runway. Plans and proposals were made with rationale far beyond just a few guys with a hobby. As mayor, he could see it as an extension of main street for business, as well as providing access to medical flights, and other emergency needs. Perceptions, costs, and local politics got in the way and plans ended up on the shelf. The time was not yet.
In the meantime, I had left home, married and began a career with the FAA as an air traffic controller. When that career brought me to Wichita, KS in 1988, I decided to finally get my private pilot’s license. I had wanted to do this since I first flew with Daddy, and had even begun training at one point, but the right time had finally arrived.
In a phone conversation with Dad, I asked if the Coupe was flyable. His answer was evasive: “it was flying when I last parked her in the hangar”. I asked how long it had been. “A couple of years”. I asked if I could use it to build the hours I needed to get my license, his response after thinking it over, was “if you can fix it, you can fly it”. I had no idea what was involved. I later discovered it had been 11 years since her last airworthiness check. It was going to be work.
My flight instructor and I flew his plane to Plainville to assess the situation in the fall of 1991. She was in sad shape. It took two more trips with different assortments of mechanics before, on a cold March day in 1992 she departed Plainville Airpark on a ferry permit for her new home in Wichita.
In the meantime, I had continued my flight training and realized the Coupe would not be the plane I would build my flight hours in. The plan had shifted. Daddy was ready to share her with me, and so we took joint ownership. When I was not supervising a shift at the Wichita air traffic tower/TRACON or working on some aspect of my pilot training, I was assisting the team of mechanics bringing N3052G back to an airworthy condition.”
I know, this was more about an airplane than an airport, but one exists for the other! The final installment of this airport story and vision next time.