Friday, May 30, 2008

Joy Comes in the Morning

At another board I frequent, Ventura County Lutherans, one of the denizens, noting it was rather quiet, asked what people were doing. In a fit of despair I posted this...

Having a nervous breakdown.

Fighting back against the throes of depression.

Wondering what the hell to do with my life.

Trying not to throw up everytime I think about flying.

Trying to count my blessings, holding desperately to the last thread that is the love of Christ and wondering why people like Benny Hinn still roam the earth and why Steven Curtis Chapman's little girl is dead?

Wondering if the USA has gone the way of ancient Israel and is about to feel the wrath of God when He said, "Do as I say or get wiped out."

Wondering how to pay for my daughter's braces, my son's drivers ed, my children's college education.

Wallowing in self-pity when I should be grateful I'm alive, have a roof over my head, food in my belly, a wife who loves me despite of me, children who are smart, compassionate, caring, discerning and saved.

Broken before God as a direct result of my sin, thanking Him daily...hourly sometimes, for His grace and love.

Knowing it will be alright but scared to freakin' death about the "how".

Seeing so many wasted opportunities that were put in my path only to let them pass by due to arrogance, pride, and stupidity.

Unable to grasp the overwhelming love God has for me (us) and yet holding onto that very concept as a lifeline.

Working through life with

Just another day...

It just sort of poured out of me. The next day, here was the response from a wonderful gal, a bit older than me, who goes by Mama Pooh...


One of the things you mentioned I'm able to understand about is a parent not being able to pay for things for their kids that they always assumed would be something they'd pay for.

Don't know if my change in perspective over the years in that area is of any interest, but I'll share it.

I remember when we were in financial straits, being embarrassed that we couldn't afford to pay for either of our teenagers to take driver's ed, since the school decided to start charging for the class (later I learned of a case in central california where the school was taken to court and had to stop charging for the class.)

Since then I've decided it wasn't so bad that they couldn't get their drivers licenses until they were 18, after reading some of the statistics related to drivers under age 18.

And it was definitely character building that they were the only students, as far as we could tell, in their school who weren't able to come up with the money to take the course and get their licenses. Neither of them ever complained about it. They both had part time jobs, and it still wasn't possible.

We couldn't afford to buy our son's high school graduation robe, or a class ring, or grad pictures. I called parents of graduated students to ask to borrow a robe, and it took quite a few calls to find an ok size, since none of the parents wanted their son's robe to be hemmed. That was not a very fun moment for me :-)

We were unable to help our son with college, but a year after our daughter graduated things got better and we were able to help her financially so she could attend 2 and a half hours away (no college in our small town) - it was a great feeling to be able to help. Then things changed in May of her first year, and we had to tell her we couldn't help anymore.

Both of our kids did well on their own anyway, and I'm no longer regretful we were unable to help them - I'm actually glad now that they had the opportunity to find out what they were capable of. It took hard work, grit and endurance, and I know their feeling of accomplishment is sweeter for them that they did it on their own.

Of course, being a mommy, if we went back in time and I had the money, I'd still help them with all that stuff.

God never fails to remind me that others have had it harder and to stop my damn whining.

One of the verses I had this morning helped alot.

Psalm 30:5b - "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Psalm 30:11-12 - "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"

Joy comes in the morning. Don't know how long the night will tarry but I do know that morning always follows night and joy comes in the morning.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Different Kind of Prayer

Most preachers, come election time (or the "silly season" as some refer to it), pray that God will raise up "His" candidate, that God will bless whomever wins, the the winner will be "God's man" in the White House, that God's Will will be done through whomever wins, that the winner will seek God and his ways when running the country. All good stuff there. But my pastor has prayed a different prayer over the last two Sundays.

He's prayed that God will have mercy on us, the United States. That God will not give us what we deserve. That God will spare us as a country.

Different if not a bit pessimistic.

I can't remember a time in the past where we've had so much consternation about a candidate. Even when Bill "Bubba" Clinton ran the first time. And I don't think it has much to do with the color of Obama's skin or the gender of Hillary Clinton or McCain's ability to cross party lines and do deals. I think it has much more to do with what each of these candidates stand for. We're told that Obama is for "change". That Hillary has the "experience". And that McCain can "get things done". So what? In most things, past performance is a good indicator to future performance. I, personally, don't think this country is ready for a president whose name is Barak Hussein Obama and has ties to Islam. Not in the current political and social climate. I don't think the country is ready for a president who thinks and has expressed in the past, that the people she's going to lead are too dumb to do anything on their own and must have her and government help them out. I also don't think this country is ready for a guy who is willing to cross party lines to get things done. In other words, compromise what the party agrees with (a party under whom he's aligned himself with) just to make everyone happy. I think it was Dole who said "consensus yes, compromise no.)

Anyways, be prepared people for some bitter, nasty mudslinging as we approach November. And pray we don't get what we deserve.

As a side note, I've been reading a lot in the Old Testament about how Israel went astray many, many times. Each time they repented, God forgave them with the caveat that they not stray again or worse would happen. And yet, Israel chased after other gods, wanted to be like other countries (ya hear that all those who say we should be like the EU???) and let God down again. And God kept his word. Israel was invaded again and again until only a remnant was left. Is that what's in store for the US? I hope not. I still think we've got the best gig going but my faith in my fellow countryman, my faith in my government is being sorely tested.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Think You've Got It Bad?

My wife came home from dropping off our daughter at her friends house for a birthday party, marched into the bedroom and said, "We have nothing to complain about!" (I'd been fired three days before.)

The father of my daughters friend was just diagnosed with a brain tumor....

For the 5th time.

No surgery this time as the previous 4 didn't work. Doctor's say all he has left is to wait and die.

And I thought I had it bad.


Monday, May 19, 2008

So Long and Thanks for all the Flights

The contents of this post have been deleted by me.

The reason? While writing things down is good therapy for me, the events I wrote about here, the statements I've made here, can and will come back to haunt me. I do not totally trust my former employer to just let this go. So, on some very good advice, I am deleting the contents of this post. The only written documentation of what happened can be found through the NASA ASRS system (anonymous) or the NTSB.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finally....Just a Pilot!

I am no longer in management...of any kind!

I had to take a little trip to Phoenix to the mothership to meet with the Director of Operations (DO), Chief Pilot (CP) and the head of the Air Medical Group (AMG). It was in regards to me filing a process improvement form regarding pressure to take flights. Basically, I upset the apple cart.

Turns out, the AMG head didn't like the fact that a Lead Pilot questioned the fact that his DO questioned him. Apparently, I'm not allowed to do that.

So...AMG Head hauls my butt to PHX, puts me up in a nice hotel, feeds me a meal, pays my mileage to and from SMF all for a 30 minute chat about how I shouldn't use safety reports to get back at my DO and CP and how he can't figure out for the life of him why they'd want me as a Lead Pilot and they have issues with my ability to check weather and how it's not the company's responsibility to make me happy in life.


I didn't use the safety report to get back at my DO. They offered me the position (and I accepted against my better judgement) as there was no one else to do the job. It was a favor to a new employer. I can check weather with the best of them (just ask my crews!) and whoever said it was the company's job to make me happy in life???

When I had a chance to speak I raised my concerns that I had been pressure to force another pilot to take a flight he couldn't legally take, that I was being second-guessed from Phoenix about weather at a mountain airport I have been into more times than anyone in PHX, and that during the interview I was explicitly told, several times, that they wouldn't do that.

Yeah. Like that.

It all fell on deaf ears. The DO looked away. The CP looked down and the AMG Head brushed it off and started in on me again.

I found out what I wanted to know. The AMG Head isn't going to have a lowly Lead Pilot question his buddy the DO.

So I resigned as Lead Pilot. Something I had wanted to do for some time. I told them it had nothing to do with being hauled down to PHX. It had everything to do with not being in any kind of management position. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt thankyouverymuch.

My 2 years are up in October. I am giving this job one more shot. Many of my peers are recommending that I bail ASAP but there are other considerations.

I would love to go to FlighSafety International and teach KA200's to clients. Something I think I'd be good at.

But that entails moving to Southern California, something my wife doesn't want to do and I'm not too particularly interested in either as this is a bad time to sell. (I've crunched the's doable but I lose quit a bit of the equity I've managed to accumulate. My house will be paid off in 12 years. I'd have to start all over with a 30-40 year mortgage. :( ) But it is an option.

We'll see how it goes over the next 5 months...


Friday, May 02, 2008

You're Going Through This...

....whether you like it or not!

That's what I'm hearing these days. A little devotion my wife gave me basically said (and re-inforced throught Sunday's sermon and Wednesday night's Bible Study) "I'm not going to swoop down and rescue you from this. You have to go through it. I'll be right there with you but you have to go through this. No...I won't tell you how it's going to turn out just know that I'm there with you and you have to go through this. You will be uncomfortable. I'm not going to take away any of the pain but you will not be hurt beyond what you can bear. You don't get to know what's on the other side so just look at me and keep going through it."

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you go through trials of any kind..." - James.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cause and Effect

I've been thinking a lot about cause and effect. Especially as it deals with the way God deals with His children. I was a jerk at the USFS. I wasn't a good witness for God at all. I swore, laughed at bad jokes, told some bad jokes; not much very Christian-like. And I got arrogant. And I lost my job.

I flew freight, again, for about a year. It nearly killed me. I was pretty desperate and full of despair. I had "gotten right" with God and was doing okay. Then I got an offer from my current employer and the deal seemed pretty good. There were some things I knew going in that were going to be different. It was a different field of aviation altogether. I kept my mouth shut, my eyes open, asked questions and kept my nose clean. Except I started with the bad language again; the bad jokes. And I rationalized it away. Freedom in Christ, blah, blah, blah. Again, I was no different than everyone else. Even with the influence of other Christians at the base, I was a loser.

And this time, I did the right thing but am getting punished for it anyways. Why? Not so much that I called my bosses handling of the issue into question (I wrote him up for questioning a go/no-go decision), but I think I'm being punished for pissing God off by pissing on the blessing He gave me in the form of this job.

Great schedule; 7 days on, 7 days off. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Good pay, good aircraft, good maintenance.

I knew the job was a going to be different and, against my better judgment, I took a middle-management position as a favor to my new employer. I did the job but kind of begrudgingly. I really want out of the position but there was no one else to take it. And while I did it well, I did it with a lousy attitude.

And my attitude became lousy all over. My job. My dealing with upper management. My dealing with Dispatch. I wasn't arrogant again. I just wasn't drinking the Kool-Aid. I guess I questioned too much instead of "yes sirring" enough. I was hired to do a job and I was doing it but not to the liking of my boss. His style of leadership tends to raise my hackles (and those of others) and I started to push back.

In other words, I didn't follow Paul's admonishment for "slaves to obey their masters". I didn't follow the admonishment to "do all things with a glad heart" because I wasn't working for my boss, I was working for Christ.

And I wasn't doing all that.

Now I'm having to face the consequences of my actions. God has allowed me to go someplace very uncomfortable and I'm finding that God is not going to bail me out. He's going to let me go through this, not alone, He'll be there with me but I feel as a silent partner, not saying anything, just standing behind me, hand on my shoulder, moral support. He's going to let me suffer for my sins and hopefully I will learn. Again.

"I get it."

"Do you?"



"I think so...this time?"

"That's what you said last time, and the time before, and the time before. Let's get it this time okay?"


I haven't really slept for the last 5 days. When I do, my dreams are confusing and anxious. My stomach hurts. I fear I may lose this job and leave my family stranded again. My kids are at the age where they will wonder why Dad can't keep a job? What's wrong with him? Why do we have good years and bad years?

And the one I'm afraid of...

"Why is my dad such a loser?"

I want out of this job. My wife and her friend don't understand. My friend does. My co-workers do. Others do as well but they are not my wife. The brochure was better than the resort. Not all is their fault, I bear partial blame. I am at the point where I don't want to go to work. I'm at the point where I don't even want to fly anymore. This job, combined with flying through severe turbulence a couple months ago, have made me skittish. I'm thinking about going to a simulator school to be an instructor but that would entail moving to SoCal. Something I hadn't wanted to do in the past and my wife really doesn't want to do, but I feel it is something I need to do. Get out of actively flying for a spell.

I need her to understand. I don't know how to tell her. She will get mad. She will yell. She will cry. She will feel let down by me. She will have a lot of baggage from her childhood rise up and dump on her again. I don't want to do that to her; I love her too much to cause her pain and yet I do cause her pain.

I feel as if God isn't going to suddenly make her understand. I feel as if He's going to let me do all the hard work this time...put pressure on me and our marriage. As a test. To see if we truly believe what we say.

I hate life sometimes....