Tag Archives: stonebridge

Through The Looking Glass Using Familiar Stones

“When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  ― Lewis CarrollThrough the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
“I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I, send me.”  Isaiah 8:8
I recently found myself in Papua Indonesia assisting on a project at a Base for Mission Aviation Fellowship.  I felt a lot like Alice in Wonderland when she stepped through the looking glass.  It was exciting, strange and yet vaguely familiar.  The aviation aspect was like an old friend, and the excitement of adapting to working in a foreign land was also not new to me.  Yet, I knew nothing about Indonesia, so I dusted off my skills of observing, listening, smiling, nodding my head and endeavoring to avoid being the ugly American abroad as much as possible.
The Project In The Looking Glass
looking glass The project was both simple and complex.  It was one of those tasks where the actual work was simple data entry into spreadsheets, but the knowledge needed to ensure the data being input was correct, was rather technical.  Even more important:  when to ask for direction .
Basically the task was to assign new addresses to each aircraft part in the base inventory. Nothing, or very little, actually moved physically.  In fact, the inventory is in amazing order.  However,  the aircraft part designations were in a data base used only in this region and the organization is moving to a centralized web based maintenance system for all aircraft in seventeen or so countries.

Continue reading Through The Looking Glass Using Familiar Stones

The Kodiak – See You On The Other Side

“See you on the other side”.   A closing salutation in an e-mail  from a missionary anticipating my arrival in Indonesia.

In the post My Journey Into Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) I mentioned touring

Kodiak
Our First Meeting in Nampa June 2016

their headquarters in Nampa, ID and attending an MAF event at the airport in Wichita.  During both of these occasions I was introduced to the Quest Kodiak airplane being incorporated into their fleet.  Little did I know this particular Kodiak would precede me on an unexpected journey.

The Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800 ft. with 7,500 lbs gross weight was developed specifically for the unique needs of mission aviation. 

Kodiak First Flight
The MAF event in Wichita was a “cold call” for me.  I knew none of the other local  supporters. At the event,  I had a warm conversation with the President and CEO, John Boyd who  queried me about my relationship with aviation in general and MAF specifically.  I gave the short version of my bio to which he responded, in a lovely accent “Nancy you would so enjoy volunteering in the hangar at MAF”.

I knew that would be the case, but in all honesty, Nampa, just outside Boise, ID is not on the way to anywhere and was not, at the time, on my list of places to go this year.  Yet, the desire got stuck in my soul and I got to take a flight in the Kodiak.  I suppose it watered the seed that had been planted many years before.

 At Wichita Eisenhower Airport
The Kodiak Calls
A short time later, I discovered that My mother, her brother and their spouses were going to attend an annual Idaho Rightmeier family picnic in August.  i was invited as well.  I realized I might be able to bundle these two worthy events into one trip. I applied to be an MAF volunteer, was approved to work in the fabrication shop, booked my tickets and headed northwest.
The week at the fabrication shop hit a chord in my soul I was unaware existed.  It hearkened back to the days I spent at the family auto parts, machine shop, salvage yard – except with airplane parts.  Of course Daddy had his EAA Bi-plane project setting in the shop as well, which he worked on as he could, so even that felt familiar.
Being a new kid on the fabrication block, I was eased into various odd projects:
  • putting boxes of shipping records into order
  • sorting airplane parts into their bins and updating their locations on spreadsheets
  • parkerizing and oiling parts for the Kodiak Oleo strut repair kit
  • sanding and oiling boxes for those parts to go in
  • bead blasting parts
  • powder coating custom prop hub tools. (I want one of these machines!)
  • and cutting vinyl to be made into pitot tube covers.
It was energizing!  I also got a second flight in the Kodiak.  This time, we headed for the hills of Idaho and I got to see just how remarkable this airplane is on 12% plus grades and really short take offs and landings.
MAF Advocacy
During the week, one of the shop overseers set me up to visit with the Advocate Wing Coordinator.  It had been suggested to me before to consider being an advocate, but the timing was not right.  Now it was.  Becoming an advocate is a process.  There is training, an interview and even a test in the form of a practice presentation that is recorded and sent in.

On the other hand, the support and materials provided an advocate is  just as professional as every other part of this organization.  I began setting up opportunities to speak right away along with my fellow local wing members.  This was going to be an awesome year.

But wait there is more!
I had just scheduled my first presentation at my local church and had a second one scheduled a week later at a school.  I had begun to make contact for other possible opportunities to speak, but life goes on, so I turned my attention to another need – grocery shopping.  As I was grabbing things off the bread shelf at Walmart, my phone rang.  It was MAF with a request so out of the blue, it took my breath away.
Gasp!
“Hi this is Tim.  We met in Nampa in the break room.  Your name came up in a conversation today.  We need someone to help with the aircraft parts inventory conversion at our base in Indonesia and wonder if you could help”.  (long pause while I process the questions racing through my brain).  Tim goes on to explain what is needed and why my name came up.  I am thinking:
  • passport – check
  • immunizations – check
  • calendar – flexible
After answering a few preliminary questions, I said, “I can’t think of a reason to say no”!  Details needed to be sorted out as to timing, visa and a consultation with  my spouse, but I left Walmart  headed to Sentani, Papua Indonesia.  Gasp! What will husband think? I sent him text.  No Response.  Hummm.  Head spinning, I drove home.  My husband came out of the house grinning from ear to ear.  I knew he was on-board.  So preparations began. I had asked for two things in the timing:
  • First. that the trip not interfere with Thanksgiving.  My family had planned a large gathering this year. and my mother was adamant that David and I BOTH be there.
  • Second, that I be home in time for our 40th Wedding Anniversary December 17.
The Kodiak Leads
kodiak
The Kodiak as she undergoes her transition to Indonesian citizenship at the Sentani MAF Base

I left the day after Thanksgiving and returned at 10 PM the night before our special day.  Three weeks and two days with a lifetime of experiences, including my 64th birthday  (what a neat gift).

During my orientation, as we toured the hangar I was greeted by an old friend: the Kodiak I had first seen during my tour of headquarters in June of 2016 and first flew in Wichita.  The same one I flew in a year later during my volunteer week.  There she was with her new Indonesian name:  PK-MEK, undergoing certification for her mission in her new home.
kodiakThere are several posts centering on this trip.  They fall under the “Flight” category of my Stonebridge.
My time and work in Indonesia pulled from multiple aspects of my life skills. God infused skills.  It is stunning how God does this, if we allow Him access.  Oh the adventures!

A Journey Into Mission Aviation Fellowship

journey

In June of 2016 on a return trip to Kansas from a family gathering in Moscow, ID, we took time to stop at the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Nampa, ID. We have been supporters of MAF for over 25 years, but my journey with this organization goes back much further.

The Paternal Connection

After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this journey goes. In fact, it reaches back to my father. In the process of writing a book about my father’s interaction with short term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled that when daddy became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot. He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and new skills. Daddy was also a really good mechanic. He had an instinct for getting things to work.

It seemed a perfect fit, but was not to be. Before finding out what all was involved, he thought that there might be a way to do short term flying missions, but aviation mission does not have a provision for short term pilots. In addition, he was not:

  • a certified air frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic,
  • nor a certified flight instructor
  • or did he possess a license for instrument flying,

all requirements to serve on the MAF aviation team. Daddy found another way to serve in short term missions but, as a result of our conversations, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted.

Even Earlier

I had heard of the story of Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, Peter Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Ed McCully who were martyred in Ecuador in 1956.  I was just three years old. Their stories are told in many different publications, books and even films. There are links to a few in this BLOG, but a google search will bring up many more. No matter your world view, it is worth your while to become acquainted with both the event that resulted in the death of these fine men, as well as the redemptive aspects of the after stories that continue to unfold, even today. It is remarkable.

A Woman Gets It Going…..

Another aspect of mission avaition’s beginnings is the fact that it was a woman, Betty Greene, who flew the first MAF mission. She had served during WWII in as a Women Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) and opened up regions for MAF to serve particularity in Peru and Indonesia. As a woman pilot, I cannot help but gasp in wonder at her courage, skill and dedication.

The Personal Connect Begins

My personal interaction with MAF took on a more direct line in 1993. It was that August I was privileged to be one of four United State Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical technical experts selected to journey to the country of Madagascar. We were to conduct an assessment of their civil aviation system. I went as the air traffic expert, along with experts in the areas of:

  • airport operations,
  • aircraft airworthiness
  • aircraft operations.

It was a two week  assignment.

As we began to ask the questions required in order to complete the assignment, we had the sense that we were not getting the entire picture. So we headed to the airport to ask the folks that used the system for their perspective: the pilots and mechanics. We talked informally with airline and general aviation folks.

Included in this group were some of the MAF pilots who flew to the remotest parts of this island nation, in many cases, in response to life and death situations. It was through this contact that I became acquainted with and supporters of one of the missionary pilot families posted there. With this connection we received regular updates and information of the work done around the world by this organization.

Backstories Continue

In the 1990s, MAF celebrated their 50 year anniversary as an organization. A wonderful book outlining the history of MAF was published and I read it. Wow. Through reading this I received an even wider and deeper view of this work. This included the strong connection with the Cessna Aircraft Company based in Wichita, Kansas.

Then in 2005, the movie “End of the Spear” was released.   It tells the story of Nate Saint and the others who sacrificed their lives while serving in Equador.  Because of my reading the history of MAF, we made a point to see the movie.

I stayed in touch with the pilots we supported. They came to Wichita to visit once. During their visit they put me in touch with an MAF advocate in the area and we got acquainted as well. Pilots love to compare stories, and I am no exception, but when chatting with these folks I listen. Nothing I have ever done in aviation is even worth mentioning next to what these pilots do – and, I might add, with an awesome safety record. These are not bush pilots, these are professional pilots who happen to do a lot of flying in the bush.

Aviation Safety

Because of MAF’s aviation core, it is unavoidably involved with the FAA, particularly the regulatory and certification side. Although I was not a part of the FAA regulatory world, I was drawn to the reality that MAF, from its start gave safety the utmost place in their strategy.

This was made very clear to me as I listened to the the audio version of book, Jungle Pilot. This work is compiled from the letters that Nate Saint wrote from Shell Mara in Equator.  His letters are filled with a passion to serve but always with an eye on mitigating the risk encountered daily.  These were pilots in the military during WWII.   They brought with them the training, skills and instinct for flying in high risk situations, yet doing all they could to manage risk. That core continues in the organization today.

And The Journey Continues….

In all my interactions with MAF, I am moved by the love, humility and professionalism with which they serve.  The mission statement of MAF, countless stories and testimonials on their web site speaks better than this space allows.

As we toured the MAF Headquarters, these connections, and intersections with MAF came flooding back to me. In my Stonebridge, MAF is a part of my faith, family and flight stones. It connects to my past, present and yes, future. On the latter, things have accelerated significantly. To find how how that acceleration landed me in Sentani Indonesia, you will have to read coming posts.

Indonesia

Things I Did Not Know About Indonesia

Indonesia

I recently was given a great gift through the opportunity to serve on a project in the country of Indonesia, specifically the Provence of Papua.  The opportunity came up very fast and aside from a few minor logistical items, most of which were taken care of for me by the sponsoring organization, I was on my way in a matter of a few weeks.

I knew little or nothing about this island nation on the other side of the planet.  I barely knew how to get there.  (head to Australia and stop short….).  As I made preparations to leave, there were many questions, but I knew from past travels there are just a few essentials one needs to have and know in order to go.  The sponsoring organization has many years in this location, so I trusted they would take care of me.

Needful Preparations
On the other hand, I wanted to be prepared so as not to be a burden.  I wanted to arrive as part of the team.  Fortunately, I am married to the consummate researcher.  My husband would rather research anything over almost any other activity in life.  I am not exaggerating….!
So, as I took care of the practical aspects of my departure such as what:
  • clothes to take (hot, humid, tropical)?
  • laundry facilities would there be?
  • medicines to carry with me (malaria and dengue fever – gulp)
  • would access to connectivity be? Computer, iPhone needed?

as well as,

  • Paying bills
  • stocking the pantry ahead
  • and scheduling BLOG and Facebook posts through the end of the year.
 We also took time to do our annual legacy file review:  wills, power of attorneys and monthly budget procedures.  We do this every year and this trip seemed a prudent time to get it done.
Useful Indonesia Information
In the midst of this, Hubby was glued to his computer looking up facts, information and curious tidbits about my destination.  At the moment, these bits of information were the last thing on my mind, but I have come to learn after 40 years of marriage, that however out of time, his research comes in handy – eventually.
Here are some things I did not know about this fourth populous nation of the earth:
  • It is the largest island nation on earth with over 13,000 islands forming the archipelago.  Most are uninhabited.  By the way, most island nations are the tops of volcanoes, both dead and alive, and the remains of ocean floors pushed up from volcanic activity.  Earthquakes and tremors were normal.
  • It’s land mass is 1/5th of the United States, however, when overlay-ed the USA, it stretches on the diagonal from Oregon to Florida.
  • The Republic of Indonesia is also the Spice Islands.  Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Star anise, turmeric to name a few, have been sought after and traded for since ships and caravans found their way from Europe.  Remember the brand of spices your mother used to buy:  Spice Islands!
  • They drive on the left side of the road, right hand drive.  This goes back to the Dutch Colonial days when they also drove on the “other” side of the road.  The Dutch changed in the early 1900’s but Indonesia remained Right hand drive to conform with much of their region including Australia and Southeast Asia.  I had to resurrect my London days of “Look right” before crossing roads to avoid angry beeps from the herds of scooters!
  • The Sumatra and Java Coffee I drink at Starbucks come from Indonesia.
A Personal Connection

My father-in-law was stationed at Morotai on the Island of Maluku during WWII.  He flew P-38 reconnaissance at the end of the war and was all over the Pacific Theater in his career.  It was not until this trip that his time in Morotai came alive.  I did not visit there – it would have been like visiting Idaho while in Kansas, but still I am the one family member to get this close.

A Small Part of Indonesia
My exposure to Indonesia was very limited given its size.  The airport at Jakarta on the Island of Java and Sentani-Jayapura on the Indonesian side of the Island of Papua. I discovered the huge part this region played in the Pacific aspects of WWII.  I read several books during my trip (25 hours in the air each way gives one a lot of uninterrupted reading time).
While there, I was loaned a copy of Lost in Shangri-la by  Mitchell Zuckoff .  While telling the remarkable story of the discovery of the lost Dani tribe, it also provided a wealth of information on the role this strategic spot played during this time, the region’s history and the history of its people.
  • The Sentani Airport was built by the Japanese, then taken over by the US and allied forces.
  • General MacArthur was headquartered there and today remains an Indonesian military compound that contain artifacts of his time there.
  • There are virtually no roads to the interior of this island.  Wamena, is the world’s largest city is supplied only by aviation.
  • There are over 800 languages on the island of Papua alone.  The national language, Bahasa Indonesian, was adopted in the 1930s.   Its’ written form came into being over the previous 100 or so years during the Dutch colonial days.  In 1945 it was adopted as the national language in the constitution.  Most Indonesians are fluent in one or more of the other languages and speak a different language in the home.
Learning How Much There Is to Learn
All of this served as a humble reminder of how self-centric we are naturally.  I felt the sting, more than once, of my own ignorance of such a significant region as I learned more and more about the context in which my service would take place.  Yet, I did not scratch the surface of this remarkable place:  Bali, Kalimatran, Sumatra, Java, and much much more.
In the coming weeks, I will be sharing aspects of faith, family, and flight which  converged  into this unexpected assignment.   As we identify, build, shore-up and realize the stones in our unique Stonebridge of life, the history, back-story and context serve to add color, depth, hue, shades and over-all meaning to what appears on the surface.  Here’s to digging deep in 2018.
Name one event or experience that helped define your Stonebridge in 2017?  Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!  I love hearing from you!

What Wreaths and Frames Add To Your Life

Bridges become frames for looking at the world around us. – Bruce Jackson
 Special seasons and events, like the approaching holidays, bring out equally special decor.  Floral arrangements, seasonal colors and items that represent memories of past celebrations are displayed. They are combined with updated items that are more than simple visual beauty.  They serve to pull special times from the past into this new celebration.
Two familiar forms support various vignettes:  the wreath and the frame.  Over the past few years they have become somewhat interchangeable in application.  But before demonstrating what I am referring to, lets explore the roots of these two forms.
Frames , Wreaths and Smiling Etrucstians
The word wreath comes from Middle English wrethe and from Old English writha, band.  Wreaths have a long and distinguished history, going back to the ancient  Etruscan 
civilization in Southern Europe.  I learned about this people when visiting the Vatican Museum in 1985.  One comment about this civilization that was borne out in the  artifacts is that:   “these must have been a happy peoples, as most representations show them smiling.” My husband and I got a giggle out of that as we looked over the various paintings and statues of these “smiling Etruscans”.
Wreaths came to be used as crowns representing various levels of honor, rank or even rule.  When placed on the final resting place of a loved one, it represents devotion for a life that has passed from this earth.  Today we use wreaths as decoration but in many cases represent an eternal presence in our celebrations.
Frames Function

Continue reading What Wreaths and Frames Add To Your Life

Imagine – The Value in Leftovers

 

I enjoy re-doing and re-making things.  I always have.  Using leftovers, taking what is on hand and making something useful again:

Things that began life as one thing are “up-cycled” into a new life.  So where did this tendency come from?
The Why
For me, some came out of necessity.  Using and reusing was a way of life in the world I grew up in.
  • Dad, an auto salvage operator took old cars apart.  They were scrapped out for usable parts and metal.   Some parts were refurbished and resold, others just reused as is on another vehicle.
  • Clothes were re-done and handed down.  If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).leftovers
  • Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds (no pesticides were used!).
Today, it is called being “green” by recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing.  For us it was being practical and frugal.  We were not poor, we just conserved cash for what only cash could buy avoiding the waste of things and time.  In my small town there was retail, but not the Walmart kind of retail.  Many things had to be acquired through mail order catalogs or we made the occasional shopping trip to “the city”.
The DNA
In addition, there was my grand-parents farm where nothing was wasted.  Even what did go into the trash was used as fuel for the stove.  Paper, bits of wood and anything that would burn would make it into the incinerator.  Along with some of the methods used by my parents, my grand-parent’s cows, pigs and chickens ate, in addition to their regular feed, vegetable and fruit scraps.  The dogs and barn cats  were glad recipients of meat scraps and bones (after they were boiled for broth, of course).  Bailing wire was the all purpose duct-tape for farm machinery (until a proper repair could be made).  Well, you get the idea.
New Is Good Too!
At the same time, I do not consider myself “cheap”.  I enjoy nice new things.  I have some of the finest Irish China, French and German crystal and German flatware there is.  We only use it a few times a year and I do not feel one bit guilty about it.  None-the-less, that thing in me that is profoundly satisfied when an old object is remade and given new life is undeniable.  Aside from the practical aspects, there is actually a deeper root to all of this.
Divine Leftovers
It is found in the two stories of multiplying loaves and fishes as told in the Gospels*.  In both cases after the multiplication had occurred and everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus had the leftovers gathered up and collected.  Why would the Son of God who had just multiplied food do that?  To show off?  Not really in his nature.  To give a sign to the disciples of God’s ability to provide?  Perhaps.  The answer is in the text:  Jesus said:  “Gather up that which remains so that nothing is lost.”  Jesus did not want to waste the leftovers!  Wow, what a concept.  God, who created everything, does not waste, even leftover bread and fish.

Continue reading Imagine – The Value in Leftovers

Flaps – A Cullen Cat at Maison Steinbuchel

A man is like a cat; chase him and he will run – sit still and ignore him and he’ll come purring at your feet. – Helen Rowland

We are cat people.  This was not always the case with me.  Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs.  The attachment fell far short of what I know today.  This had to do with the fact that:

  • We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm;
  • Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached;

If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.

Married To A Cat Person

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.

Aviation Cats

cat

The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fifth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder.  They are gone now, but Flaps, now six-teen years old, remains.

We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats.

Continue reading Flaps – A Cullen Cat at Maison Steinbuchel

picnic

A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

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.

This picnic gathering has me thinking about this branch of my family tree’s German roots.  It centers around a small village in the northern District of Lippe Germany:   Varenholtz.

A Castle

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.

Regetmeir to Rightmeier

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.

Continue reading A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

“I Can Do that” – Words To Succeed By

To Succeed – “I can think. I can sleep. I can move. I can ride my bike. I can dream.” Bill Walton

succeedWhen 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.

The Process – “I Can Do that”

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.

Succeed By Showing Up and Staying the Course

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.

“I Can Do That”

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!)

Process  – A Personal Growth Plan

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!