Monday, April 30, 2012

Charity Never Faileth!

The past few months have been a whirlwind for me. Don't get me wrong, life has been great, but there have been so many changes and so much to do! During all of this change, one thing that I have had to "sacrifice" has been my position on several committees within my community. For the past few years I have served on the Midway Boosters Committee as well as the Swiss Days Committee.  With a heavy heart, I had to resign from Boosters, but have been able to maintain my seat as Swiss Days Chair in charge of Advertising and PR.

Aside from these committees, I have had numerous opportunities to serve my neighbors and fellow citizens through my church, but again, I haven't been here much so aside from a donated cake to a funeral or a casserole to a sick neighbor here and there, I have felt like I have not had the opportunity to serve as I would like.

As I watch each passenger board my planes each day, I work hard to smile and make each one feel special from the moment they step onto my plane. I don't know their reasons for flying. Yes, many are flying for fun to an exotic vacation or to visit family members or dear friends. But others are traveling for sad attend a funeral for a loved one or to sit with a dying parent, child, grandchild...whatever the reason, it's my job to provide them with a pleasant experience on the plane. I have actually been thanked for smiling at them!! This shows me how simple it is to serve. Sometimes all we need to do is express our gratitude or extend a sincere compliment to ease somebody's's simple!

My daughter lives just 4 houses away from me. She has 3 beautiful young children and is a single mom who is completely devoted to those children. She also has her own set of health issues and just the other day (I was away on a 4 day trip) she had to go to the ER for chest pains (She has heart issues). Without hesitation, my neighbor not only drove her to the hospital, but stayed with her until after 4:00 AM! She was gracious and unselfish as she made my daughter feel loved and cared for. Her selfless service was far reaching...she doesn't even realize how much she served me! I was able to complete my trip and be rest assured that Aja was with someone who loved her and cared for her in my absense.

I truly believe that we all came to this earth to be tested, tried, strengthened and to grow. I believe that we came here to become the very best person that we can be and yes, we will have failures and road blocks along the way. I also believe that we are all children of God and one of our missions in life is to gather together our "brothers and sisters" and to take care of each  other. If we don't serve our fellow man and try to take care of each other, then we have been cheated out of blessings and opportunities for us to grow.

When we strive to help someone else we often take upon ourselves the burdens and even chaos in their lives. It's just part of it! I have shed tears with mothers who have had to bury their children. I've watched as a loving wife has fought for the freedom of her imprisioned husband whom she believes has been wrongly accused of a crime. I've watched children who are scared and confused because they are too young to understand why mommy isn't able to take care of them. I think you get the point...

Many years ago, 30 to be exact, I was pregnant with my second child. During this pregnancy, I miscarried a twin and was able to carry the other precious baby to a healthy delivery. But the pregnancy was very endangered and I was put to bed. Now, this would have been fine if I didn't have a precocious 2 year old running around. I struggled with any help offered to me. For some silly reason, I had a very difficult time allowing anyone to help me outside of my familly but the ladies from my church really stepped up. They were "lovingly" insistent and for days on end, these sweet young mothers would come and take my sweet little child to their home for the day. She loved it! She would come home bathed, fed and happy! This was a HUGE burden lifted from my shoulders. They also ensured that I had hot meals brought in every night for my little family.

There was one incident that has stood out in my mind for all of these years and it taught me a great that I have never forgotten. I was told that a meal would be brought in this particular night and that several ladies would be bringing different parts of the meal to my home. Sure enough, the doorbell rang. A lovely, piping hot main dish was delivered. Next a beautiful dessert was dropped off. Then, my doorbell rang one more time. As I opened the door, I saw a woman whom I had never before seen. She lived in a trailer park adjacent to our little subdivision. She looked disheveled, exhausted and totally beat down. She handed me a brown paper bag and with a sweet smile said, "Here's your salad, I hope you feel better." Somewhat confused, I thanked her and shut the door. I opened the bag and found a brand new head of iceberg lettuce still in the wrapper and an unopened bottle of Ranch Dressing along with a receipt showing that it had been purchased just moments before delivery to my house. I couldn't believe it and was actually offended that such a lack of care went into this "salad"...I sent thank you notes to the first two ladies, but, I'm ashamed to say, I did not send one to the "salad lady".

As the years went on and as I matured and grew, I often reflected back on that story. And then one day, it hit me...I felt like someone took a hammer and hit me over the head with a strong reprimand spoke to my heart saying, "It was the best that she could do. You didn't know her circumstances and shame on you for not being more grateful. You need to learn to be a gracious receiver!"

How selfish could I possibly have been?? This woman was a single mother and lived in poverty. I didn't know her and she didn't know me. She'd been given the opportunity to participate in a charitable act and she accepted the opportunity. She was down on her luck, BUT, she still found a way to serve me! She took a few moments out of her life to purchase a head of lettuce and a bottle of dressing with her very limited funds for my family which enabled us to put together a delicious salad. She did the best she could. By me not being a gracious receiver, I lost out.

I had judged this woman! Her service was not up to my standards! How dare she?...How dare I???

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to go back and thank this sweet woman. I never had the opportunity to look her in the eye and thank her for her charitable contribution. But know this, I now see the true act of charity and she taught me a great lesson that has followed me for 30 years.

Charity is unselfish, kind, loving and perfect! My "standards" of charity go out the window when somebody serves with a pure heart and pure love. It then becomes my responsibility to accept their kindness and generosity with the same pure heart and pure love with which it was offered. I learned to become a gracious receiver. I learned that it was more for this woman than for me! I learned that life is about sharing and loving and taking care of others. God bless this sweet woman...

I will always be thankful for this lesson that was taught to me. I still struggle with receiving "charity" from others but my perspective has changed and I watch as others derive so much joy from doing simple acts of kindness for me or my family members. I pray that we may all open our hearts and go forward with an eye for opportunities to serve. Maybe it's just a simple "thank you" to the pimple faced kid who bags our's simple, really.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Many of you are aware that I have a son who is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict. His name is Tyler and he is an amazing young man. Here's an update:

First of all, let me start by saying that I couldn't be more proud of him right now! He has overcome obstacles that I'm not even sure I could have overcome. He has fought hard for his sobriety and is honored to call himself clean after almost 8 long years of fighting a hideous heroin addiction. He is a remarkable young man and I love him with all of my heart! Now, having said that, he still has a ways to go and he reminds us all that everyday is a new day and a day to start the healing process over again.

I LOVE that! "Today is a new day and a day to start the healing process over again..."

What a lesson for us all...We all have battles that we are fighting. We all have challenges and we all have temptations. Maybe we are all addicts in one way or another. Are we addicted to food, a certain diet soda; something tangible or maybe it's bigger than that...are we addicted to an intangible like jealousy, pain or even anger? Do we even know what it is we are addicted to? I have taken a few months of quiet reflection and really tried to take inventory of my life. I have realized that I, like my son, have much to heal over. Now don't get me wrong...I am a very blessed woman and I have had a very charmed life in many ways, but I have also experienced pain and consternation, doubts and fears.

When I first started back to work after 7 glorious years of NOT working, I was thrown into a tailspin (no pun intented!) I was in intense training for 4 weeks away from my loved ones, I was sent to Portland and lived in a crash pad, never flew but had to be there, and then I made the decision to transfer to Minneapolis and struggle with a very challenging commute. I joke with my hubs and ask him, "Aren't these supposed to be my Golden Years??"

I was miserable for the first few months of flying...I LOVE the job, but my circumstances were out of balance with my life. I was literally just existing and I completely forgot to LIVE. Then it became easier to accept my miserable circumstances as the norm...I was a mess and didn't even realize it.

On December 16, 2011, I was injured on a flight and had to take a month and a half off work to try to heal with intensive Physical Therapy. My back is still not 100%, but I know what I need to do and it's a work in progress...anyway...that injury turned out to be a gigantic blessing in my life. I had the precious gift of "TIME" dropped right in my lap. At first I was a fish out of water. But I took that time to evaluate the direction my life was taking and I hated what I was seeing. Again, I loved my job (still do) but hated the circumstances. I came to realize that my transfer request to Salt Lake City was not going to happen any time soon so I had only 3 choices: Go back to Portland and be miserable, Quit , or Transfer to another base where I would fly and NOT be on Reserve (where I'm at their beckon call...ugh...)

I took the challenge and put in my transfer request to Minneapolis. I returned to work (in Portland) on January 27th, and received a call that very morning telling me that my transfer request had been granted and could I be there IMMEDIATELY????  YES, YES, YES!!

I am a very happy camper. I love my new base. I hold a line, which in the airline industy equates to freedom! I know in advance what my trips are and they are all commutable from SLC. I fly in to "Minny", start my trip that day, finish my trip and fly home the day I finish. In the 3 months that I have been based there, I have only had to pay for a hotel once...I had an early morning report time so I flew in the night before...hubs went with me...$50 out the door! What a HUGE blessing.

So I realized that I allowed myself to become a victim of circumstance. When I took that leap of faith, my life changed drastically and I was/am thrilled with the new circumstances I have. I still have my transfer request in for SLC, but in the meantime, I'm doing great.

Now, back to Ty...

He came over to the house the other day (I was off flying) and he talked with my hubs. He told him that he was going away for 30 days and that it was OK. Apparently, his probation officer petitioned the court to release him from his probation and allow him to pay a $500. fine and be done with all of this. His P.O. has seen the mighty change in this sweet boy's heart. He sees firsthand that he attends either AA or NA meetings every night, he has held a good paying job for over 6 months, he is attending college at his own expense and he has passed every single drug test and alcohol test administered to him. He is rehabilitating back into society very nicely and is becoming the responsible young man that he should have been many years ago. In his P.O's mind, he had paid his debt to society and is a true success story...NOT SO FAST...

The judge said "NO"...he decided that Tyler needs to go to jail for 30 days to "pay his debt to society for a charge he had one year ago!!" Are you kidding me????

In my humble opinion, this contradicts exactly what the "system" says they are trying to achieve. BUT, my sweet boy is O.K. with this. He told my hubs that he felt like maybe there is someone in there that needs his help and that maybe even, he will meet someone who will help him! He quit 2 more addictions recently, chewing (yuck) and smoking and has struggled with temptations to start up again. He looks as his 30 day stint in the joint as a 30 day rehab for his smoking/chewing addiction because he won't be able to do it inside. He has made plans to read, work out and try to find someone whom he can inspire to clean up their lives and attend meetings like he does.

I am in tears as I write this because the change in this sweet boy has been a true miracle! He is taking accountability for his actions of a year ago and he is demonstrating responsibility. He has paid ahead on his bills and he talked to his boss who assured him that he would have his job waiting when he got back and that they would sorely miss him! He has a HUGE support system with his friends who are all in active recovery. They are all supportive and encouraging to him and have promised to write to him and they will be there for him when he gets back...

Blessing?? Maybe...probably....I know that my son is on his road to recovery. I will continue to pray for him and even for the judge that he will soften his heart...but whatever happens, I want it to be the right thing for Ty.

"Let go and Let God". That's a big AA thing...I  never really got it until that my son has "Let go and Let God"...I'm one proud Mama...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I'm Back...

I have sorely neglected this poor little ole' blog and I am SO sorry!

As I have considered posting after all of these lost months, I have suffered from a bit of...guilt! Seriously...I feel like I have abandoned an old friend when they needed me the most. It's weird.
It's time now to move forward, let go of the guilt and start sharing my thoughts and feelings with whomever cares enough to read them. I have a lot on my mind...

I have successfully transferred to Minneapolis (MSP), but still live in Utah. I hate the commute, which is challenging at best, but I can truly say that I LOVE my job! I love my trips, I love that I hold a line, which in the airline industry equates to freedom, of sorts...I have great pilots and overall, it has been the best move I have made since starting on this journey just over 10 months ago.

One thing I have observed in MSP is that I have yet to fly with a pilot who is older than me! In fact, most of them are young enough to be my sons (and in a few cases, daughters). I even had one First Officer who was 23! Really?!? AND, he was a GREAT pilot! I felt confident and safe in his capable hands. My age has never been so apparent in my life. Don't get me wrong, I am fine with my age and I am very open about it. I just turned 56 and I am happy with my life and all that I have encountered and endured. But flying with all of these young guys has just really brought it all to the surface.
I saw a quote the other day on Pinterest that said something like this:

"Never worry about growing older. Some people never have the chance."
So true...

It has been just over 7 months since I lost my daddy. I miss him everyday. As much as I miss him, I am thankful that he is out of his misery and I know that he is free from the bondage of his sickly body. He left a great legacy for us and I was extremely blessed to have had him for 55 years. He will never be forgotten. Through this "loss", I have really seen the importance of cherishing each moment we share with those we love. "Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friends..." (I had to add a little Beatles)...BUT, Sir Paul McCartney was absolutely right when he wrote that iconic lyric. I have worked hard to savor life's moments which is oft times a challenge at best!

I have noticed that so many people in the world have lost focus on what's truly important and they tend to focus on what they don't have or seem to have lost, instead of focusing on what they DO have and CAN have if they change their perspective. (Whew...THAT was a long sentence...) I too have fallen into that dirty little trap at times. As life has flowed on, it has become glaringly apparent that no one is immune from trials, sorrows, hardships and pain. It comes in all forms and all sizes. What I find interesting, is that through the darkest moments of my life have come the greatest blessings and opportunities. Life is about learning and growing at all times. When we become stagnant, we start to die. A person without goals is empty.

Well, enough of that...Here's what I'm working towards:

1. Trying to stay focused on my job. Do the best I can at it and be prepared for my recurrent training coming up in June.

2. Be more "service" oriented. Since I'm not home as much as I'd like, I am trying to find ways to serve those I come in contact with everyday.

3. Pay off my American Express card. I am forcing myself to not drop as many trips so that I can make a little extra and pay that sucker off within 3 months.

4. Finding joy in every situation.

5. Trusting in the Lord more than I ever thought I needed to. He has been utterly amazing and blessed me with more tender mercies than I can ever be worty of.

That's just a small sampling of what I want to achieve this year. I am truly grateful for all that has come my way. I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, precious grandchildren and a wonderful mother, brothers and sister + all of their families. Life is short. Life is precious and I don't want to regret any of it.

So, I'm back. I apologize to my patient, humble blog. Thank you for waiting for me and not giving up on me. All of my old posts are still here and new posts are waitingpatiently to be written. And to those few of my followers, I hope you will find me again and please know that I have missed all of you!