Bye, I Love You

Every time I leave the airport, I tend to reflect. This time was no different. I think about the number of airports I've driven away from, the number of times that bags have been pulled from the back of the car, the number of curbside kisses and hugs and reminders to "be safe". How many times have I said the words "I love you" amidst the cacophony of sounds of jet engines cycling up, screeching tires, and the smell of various and sundry kinds of exhaust?

Pinning on those wings!

The airports are all different. Some military, some civilian. Some small operations, some are of the huge international variety. I've driven away in sweltering heat, freezing cold with ice and snow covered roads, sometimes when the sun is out, but most of the time it's "0'dark thirty". We change places in the car and I get in the drivers seat, close the door, wave good bye one last time, take a deep breath and drive away. For years I've done this. Different jets and different cities, but the experience has always been universal and included the same things in the same order. 


Leaving the airport this time was the same as it's always been. My handsome half, dressed in his sharp uniform with 4 stripes on the sleeves and the shiny gold wings over the breast pocket, went to work. He loves his job and I do too. It may have it's challenges for both of us, but it's what he's always wanted to do, and what makes him happy, makes me happy. I can't imagine being married to a 9 to 5ver. What would that be like? He spent some time on the management side of the operation for awhile and I got a bit of a taste, but even that job included weird schedules and absences.

The man I married decided he wanted to fly at 6 or 7, actually started to fly at 14 and has been sitting in the front seat gazing out the windscreen ever since. For 47 years he's literally been seeing the world from the best seat in the house. He's explored the spaces from sea level to 51,000 feet and everything in between all over the world, experienced inflight emergencies, flown in every kind of weather imaginable; he even got the news at altitude that I was in labor and managed to make it home in time to experience the birth of our second daughter. 

It's been an amazing ride for me as well. The first time in my life that I ever flew was at barely 17 years old, on August 17, 1974 with him, my 18 year old boyfriend, at the controls. We took a 2 seater airplane on a journey to Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. They had good buffalo burgers at the FBO on Catalina so we flew over and enjoyed a great lunch before flying home. On the way back, he turned the airplane on it's side so that I could get a good view of the boat races that were going on in the ocean below us. 

 I've gotten to do things because of his career that most can't imagine. I sat on the grass between two runways while he did touch and go's in a supersonic jet. I looked up from our back patio while he flew over the house so low that I would have sworn I could count the rivets if he'd only slowed down. LOUD. That was very loud. I stood in the cockpit while the jet did touch and go's. I've flown flight simulators, experienced in-flight vertigo, and I know what his symptoms of hypoxia are after seeing him in an altitude chamber. He made sure I understood the  controls, and the order of business so that if there was ever a need, I could land what we were flying. We've "lived a lot of places, done a lot of things, and collected a lot of stuff". I see a hashtag in there somewhere!

We dated for 4 years before we got married and today, May 27, 2017 marks our 39th wedding anniversary. As has been the case on several anniversaries, he isn't home. But I have high hopes that he'll make it before midnight. 

May 27, 1978

It's been a good life. I wish I could do it over again just for the fun of it!  I'm beyond blessed.

Intreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
For whither though goest,
I will go;
and where though lodgest, 
I will lodge:
Thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried:
The Lord do so to me,
and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.
Ruth 1:16-17 



Because of my husbands job, we've had lots of opportunities to travel over the years. Our children grew up just assuming everyone could walk into the airport, get on an airplane and go somewhere at a moments notice. Chicago for lunch anyone? Just because. The youngest illustrated their view of life quite simply one time while sitting in the car on a rather long drive. We had gone to a state park about two hours from our home for an outdoor adventure. About an hour into the trek, she sighed heavily and remarked, "why didn't we fly?" A simple question. And I had to agree. Anyplace that took more than an hour to get to definitely called for air travel!! Flying wasn't daddy's job, it was just what he did. The same child also claimed that "My daddy doesn't work. He flies." 

Our children learned early on how to prepare for travel, and to do so quickly. No packing a week ahead of time. We never had that kind of notice. They also learned the principal:

 "If you pack it, you carry it. If you can't carry it, you don't take it." 

"Parent" was not synonymous with "pack mule" in our family. They didn't realize what a burden we placed on them until high school when the class trips began and other girls showed up with ENORMOUS suitcases that they had no hope of carrying, and just assumed the boys would do the load bearing for them. I was there to see the shocked looks on their faces, complete with eye rolling. So we raised some attitude problems. Oh well.

But even with our packing savvy, we've still never accomplished what I can only dream about. Handsome and I were preparing for a trip recently, and I was struck with two things. First of all men can get away with very little. They don't even have to take a razor if they don't want to. They can roll out of bed, throw on a semi clean pair of shorts and tshirt, and a baseball cap and look fine. I envy men for that. I'm not a natural beauty, and now that age has entered the equation, it takes a bit more "paint on the barn" to look presentable. If I rolled out of bed and donned the same ensemble as men can pull together, I'd scare small children and embarrass my family. That means I take longer to pull myself together, and I pack more. Not more than I can carry, mind you!

But I've always wanted to be like my dad when it came to travel preparation. I think he was a wannabe truck driver. He loved the sound that just the right tires made on the pavement. Used to say they "sang". The open road intrigued him and he took great pride in tying the canvas water bag onto the front grille of the car in just the right way. 

I don't remember ever drinking from one of these, but I DO remember him pouring water from it over the car radiator cap. We actually traveled through Death Valley more than once with a couple of these tied up front.

Dad talked about "Brownies", and double clutching, and other trucking things. He had an International Harvester pick up at one time and taught me to drive a stick in it. It was quite the man truck. Interesting that he always said he didn't care to travel. But I think he actually meant that he didn't like the kind of travel mom aspired to. She had a little more extravagant taste. Dad was happy camping. He was a simple guy that always wore work boots, blue jeans, a plaid western cut shirt with the pearly snap buttons and short sleeves, and a trucker cap. Always the trucker cap. You know the kind that are plastic mesh in the back and some kind of stiff foam in the front with a logo or slogan? "I'm spending my children's inheritance" or "D**n seagulls!!" complete with a very realistic looking bird dropping on the bill. That was actually my personal favorite. But I digress.....

What really intrigued me about dad when we traveled was the way he packed. It took him a grand total of 5 seconds to shove a pair of clean skivvies in his jeans pocket and he was packed and ready for the road. Needless to say, it drove............. my mom.............. crazy. I can still hear her saying "NOOOooooORRMM!! She was able to turn a single syllable name into three and voice her displeasure in considerably less than the amount of time it took dad to pack! 

I've had to resign myself to never being able to walk out the door without even a purse in hand to go on an adventure. I'll always have to carry a bag of some type with more than one clean pair of skivvies. But I'll always envy my dad's simple approach to travel.  As long as I don't have to carry my gutchies in my pocket!

 Hundreds of thousands of miles on these bags

You who ride on white donkeys, 
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who travel on the road-----
Judges 5:10 

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Pursuits That Last

Sometimes we find ourselves in really unexpected places doing unexpected things and yielding results we never dreamed of. I think powerful lessons come from those times that are worth remembering.

Nearly 3 years ago, I found myself driving along a road that I travel often. It was one of those really odd winter days in my neck of the woods, that was actually fairly warm and incredibly windy! This particular stretch of road was lined with the little brick post war ranch style houses that are so common in many communities. And it's not unusual to find, at the end of the drive ways in front of these houses, some sort of pillar that bears a light or cement swan just to class up the place a little.  The kind of thing that someone erected a long time ago because they were proud of their little home.

As I made my way to my destination, I noticed a ways down the road what looked like a life sized Halloween statue set up next to a brick pillar at the end of one of the driveways.  I found that rather odd because it was a really weird time of year to find ANY kind of decorations out! Maybe the Christmas lights that hang all year round, but this was a big one that would surely have been put away by then. And the wind was really giving this decor a run for it's money. The statue was wearing a long white gown and had long scraggly white hair and it was all billowing straight out behind it. Other than registering the fact that it was a little strange, I didn't give it much more thought. Until I drove by it.

That's when I noticed that it wasn't a piece of decoration at all, but a VERY old lady standing next to this little brick pillar and hanging on for dear life in the wind! It's amazing how quickly things register in our brains. Like the fact that there was a guy working in his yard across the road that was completely ignoring this little old lady. 

Of course I couldn't keep going and just ignore her, so at the first opportunity I turned around and went back all the while hoping that she wouldn't blow away in the meantime! As I walked up to her, I noticed that she didn't look panicked or upset, she just had her face turned into the wind and was holding on to the pillar. I don't know how long she had been standing there, but I imagine she was pretty tired.

I asked her if there was something I could do to help her, and in her feeble little voice, she told me she was trying to fix her light. The wind was so strong that it had blown it over and it was laying on it's side on top of the pillar.

I stood quietly and watched her for a moment while she tried to repair her fallen lamp. The problem was easy to see, but it wasn't my light and she didn't even know me. The light was pretty old and cracked, but I didn't want to just walk in and take over. When I asked her if I could give it a try, she said "Sure" with a little wobble in her voice, and handed me her tools. They consisted of a rusty screw, a stick and a clothes pin. 

Of course my mind blew up. "I need to call the hubs and replace both of these lights for her. But what if her dear departed husband placed these here and merely suggesting that they be replaced would offend her! And how do I know my handsome half would even WANT to be drug into this situation!?!" And as I started to pray, the solution became obvious. I could indeed fix her lamp with just the tools she handed me. It only took the screw placed on the correct side of the fixture to make the lamp stay upright in the wind, but she thought it was important that it be "reinforced" with the other implements, so that's what we did. The stick went behind the lamp, and the clothes pin was attached securely to the rusty screw. I made sure she got back into her house and went on my merry way. 

Most times when I go past that little house I think about her and look to see if our "fix" is holding firm.  It's been nearly 3 years and she's no longer living in that little house. A young family now inhabits the place, and I love to see the evidence of children in the yard. The stick has since disappeared, but the rusty screw and the clothes pin remain intact and the light has remained upright through rain, wind, snow and ice.

The lesson I carry with me is all about what can be done if we're just willing. I asked the Lord what to do, and He not only showed me, but provided completely inadequate tools to accomplish the job. It's in His hands that the work has lasting value. I can't wait to see how long our repairs hold!

Whatever you do,
do your work heartily 
as for the Lord, 
rather than men.

Colossians 3:23


Merry Christmas 10 on 10

On this day, we celebrate the birth of our youngest daughter.  I'm spending the day creating a "meme-nado" on her Facebook page because today she is 372 months old. That's how all the cool young moms count their child's age, so I just thought I'd join in. Happy Birthday Boog!
But today also officially (finally) marks the beginning of the Christmas season at our house. Last week some of our short people were here and one of them was bemoaning the fact that we hadn't set up our Christmas tree yet! 
So, that is what comprised a good part of our day. 

Every year it comes out of the basement smashed and dusty. 

 But with a few fresh candy canes, lights, some ribbon and the tried and true ornaments that we've been dragging around the country for nearly 40 years, it'll look great. It always does!

It's getting there!

The handsome half brought this nativity home from Okinawa 35 years ago and our children have never known a Christmas without it. It has wise men too, but they didn't visit Jesus until quite some time after His birth. So they reside elsewhere right now.......

.....in the room to the east of the nativity. 

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." Matthew 2:1-3

We have another set that is much more kid friendly, but unfortunately, in this set Mary is a single mother. Joseph went missing a few years ago.

It just isn't a proper Christmas tree without Santa on his surf board!

And airplanes. 

Lot's and lot's of airplanes!
This one was given to us by my best friend from high school. She always had a part in setting up our Christmas tree. But since she's Jewish, we called it a Hanukkah bush!

Thanks Cherie!! 
(this is a parenthetical inclusion, and doesn't count as a 10 on 10 picture!)

"All is calm, all is bright...." 
until the horde arrives in a couple of weeks!! 
Can't wait!

For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of your people, Israel.
Luke 2:30-32


Black and White 10 on 10

 It's been quite awhile since I participated in the 10 on 10 project, but today, I'm motivated to take a stab at it. Simply stated, it's 10 pictures from your day on the 10th of the month, emphasizing taking joy in the simple things. What's more simple than black and white photography!!?

This morning brought news of a quake in my homeland. Checked in with the family, and all are ok. 

Face timing with Numero Uno put a smile back on my face. He was showing me his loose tooth. By the end of the day, it was gone!

I love the stuff that is available in grocery stores. Many years ago, my kids got a spoon in a box of Trix Cereal that actually turned colors when it got cold. I kept it and it's created quite a bit of strife at times among the short people because there's only one and all of them want it!! Well, voila!! Look what I found today!

This is all that was left in the box of granola bars.

Texting keeps things fun!

Lunch. A study in opposites? Perhaps. But a perfect combination in my book!

Went to visit Mimi. This is her door hanger.

Can I just say that I LOVE the signs along Main St. in our little town!!? If you can get past the spelling, it's absolutely hilarious!

Numbers 2 and 5 with a special friend playing with the pool toys

Ending the day by face timing the rest of the crew.

It was a good day!

This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Ps 118:24


My First Car

Living in Southern California has always called for your own set of wheels and when I was in high school, drivers ed. was a requirement. One semester in the driving simulators and the car, and one semester of health. The coaches taught all of those classes, and the thing I remember most about health class is how to fold a map. You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you? Coach Pence evidently taught a mean map folding class because that's all I remember of the semester I spent with him at Loara High School. Coach Brown taught driving in a real car on a real street, and Coach Chandler taught the driving simulators, which consisted of putting the film on, turning off the lights, and taking a nap. So, all of that to say that by my 16th birthday, I was all set to drive on my own. And amazingly, my folks let me do just that as soon as I got home with my freshly minted license. 

I drove my parents cars for the first year or so, including the AMC Gremlin my dads business had as a delivery car. But it wasn't long before I decided I needed my own set of wheels. I never minded my folks cars, but having to share was a drag and when Gramma decided she needed a new car, I jumped at the chance to buy hers. It was a great one that I wish I had kept.

Gramma was always a Chevy gal. In fact, I remember she really liked Novas, but the one that I managed to get my hands on was a 1967 Chevelle with real potential! Gramma had 29 grandkids, and she usually had one or more of us with her no matter what she was doing. So the first thing she always did with a new car was to put plastic seat covers on them. You know, like those embossed things that were actually put on like another layer of upholstery? So, the fabric seats underneath were pristine. The first thing I did was rip the plastic off, of course! 

She had also clipped a pole or something in a parking lot, so there was a scrape down the side. No problem. I managed to get the money together to get that fixed, and have it painted at Earl Sheib.

The car went from the stock Granada Gold color to a nice shade of copper brown. Then I added mags and wide tires, and jacked that baby up with air shocks in the rear end. It was sweet!! It had a pretty big engine in it as well. A stock engine in the Chevelle was 350hp. Not that I could tell you how quick it got off the line or anything. Of course not............. But when there was a little water in the nice flat cement gutters, it put up a really good rooster tail! At least......... that's what I was told. Sure. 

I have to tell you that I was kind of a nerdy kid. Never really comfortable in my own skin or confident that I possessed any talent. I was never in the cool group and pretty much marched to my own drummer. I wore glasses, and when photo gray lenses came out I got myself a pair of aviator frames. I had no real sense of style, I just thought they looked passable as both sunglasses and regular glasses. Little did I know that the combination of the car and the glasses made me intimidating. A girl in a college class told me that. So, obviously, I wish I had kept the car.......... AND the glasses!!

Acts 27 KJV

16...... We let her drive...
17.....And so were driven...
20.....All hope that we would be saved was then taken away...

Let not the foot of pride come upon me,
And let not the hand of the wicked
drive me away.
Ps. 36:11


A Precious Pearl

One of the great things about having your own blog is that you can choose what you want to write about. And if someone actually reads it and they don't like it, it's their own fault for tuning in. 

Usually, I tell stories about my childhood and my brothers, or the fun extended family. But I had the most amazing experience in the past  month that I feel compelled to pass on. Here we go.....

The first several years of our marriage, my handsome half was in the military, and his job kept him circumnavigating the globe for weeks at a time. On one of his trips through Japan, he dropped in to Yokota Air Base, and as was his habit, he went off base to do some shopping. Sometimes when he left home, I sent him with a shopping list. That's why our decorating style was "Early American Military Airlift Command." But on this particular trip, he took it in his own hands to look for and pick out a beautiful pair of pearl earrings with which to surprise me. He managed to keep track of them until he finally arrived at home, and it meant so much to me when he told me the story of his time spent being educated by the pearl merchant before picking them out. 

I got a lot of wear out of those earrings for over 35 years. Until about 2 weeks ago. I had been out a good part of the day, and when I was taking my earrings out and getting ready for bed I saw, to my horror, that I still had the stud in my ear, but one pearl had fallen off. Sad, sad, day. I was just heartsick. 

Of course I prayed about it. I can't tell you how many things I've been able to find after asking the Lord to direct me to them. But this was so small, and I had been to so many places. So, my prayer went something like this: "Lord, can you help me find that pearl?  Is that even possible?!?" Yeah. Not one of my prouder moments. I honestly didn't believe it would ever turn up again and they couldn't be replaced, at least not in the same way I had gotten them originally.

A few days later, I picked up a set of 3 pairs of pearl earrings mounted on a piece of cardboard. They were only $4, and even though there was a "little voice" in my head telling me I shouldn't do it....not give up so easily, I went ahead and purchased them. So now I had 3 1/2 pairs of earrings, but only a single earring had a neat story attached.

Well, 2 days ago, my handsome half set a black bag in front of me. And inside was a black box. And inside of that was another black box and it was hinged. See where I'm going?

He had purchased another pair of pearl earrings to replace what I had lost. But his didn't come on a piece of cardboard off the sale rack! I was so humbled that he would do such a sweet thing. So now I had 4 1/2 pairs of earrings and the newest set also had a sweet story attached. 

But the story wasn't over....

On the same day that my husband gave me that beautiful replacement set of pearl earrings, I got a text from a friend. Her home is one of the places I had been the day the pearl went missing. And the only thing in the text was this picture.

This little pearl had survived the vacuum and a family of 5 for 2 weeks. And she found it quite by accident. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew. She had found the pearl I had lost and thought I would never see again. And I immediately thought back to the prayer "Can you even do that? Is that even possible?!?" And I could almost hear the Lord's voice saying "Yeah. I can." And I think there was a tinge of sarcasm there too! The Lord knew where it was all along. And even though I prayed with hardly a hint of faith, He gave it back. I started out with one sweet pair of pearl earrings. Now I had five complete sets.

So. The "moral" of the story? Pray. Plain and simple. Whether you believe He can or not. Pray. Because He hears your voice and knows your heart and just wants to hear from His children. It's not about the amount of faith you bring to the table, it's about a gracious God Who cares about His own and what they're concerned about. He is completely trustworthy.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Matthew 13: 44-46