The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Happy New Year 2020!

Wow, 2020.  Seems so futuristic.

Sealab 2020 (1972)

When I was a kid in the 1970’s 2020 seemed so far away with it’s underwater cities and moon bases.  Here it is and we don’t live underwater or on the moon.  Instead we’ve expanded to living in tents on sidewalks or under freeway overpasses.

But I’m not going to turn this into social commentary.  I am, however, going to take a look at the past 10 years and how much things have changed for my family.  Way back in 2010 I was building my second airplane with the help of my kids.  I did the majority of the work but they did help on many components.

We were attending church at Central Valley Presbyterian where I was a deacon.  Also, Cristy had to make an emergency trip back home to the Philippines because her father passed away. That’s how the decade began.

In 2011 I sold our pop-up tent trailer in which I had taken the family on several camping trips.  The most memorable of which was Zion Canyon National Park.  I also flew the Rans S6 to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Airventure.  My oldest graduated high school.

In 2012 we took a family trip to Maui.  Yep, all of us, mother-in-law included.  However, my daughter had broken her ankle just prior to the trip… and then came down with a cold!  She didn’t get to have much fun in Hawaii, poor thing.  But she made up for that later.

In 2013 life was pretty much on auto-pilot.  Going to work, going home.  Home-schooling our daughter was coming to an as we put her in a private school so she could get some socialization and a real-live high school diploma.  Two kittens named Jovie and Truffles showed up in my son’s pockets one day when he came home.  Truffles still lives with us.  Jovie moved on shortly after he came to live with us.  Cristy and I also took a trip to Oregon to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

   

In 2014 I was beginning to explore full-time RV living.  I started coming up with a plan to travel from property to property for my employer to do network work.  However 2015 would put an end to those dreams, temporarily.

2015 was a harbinger of change for our lives.  Our daughter graduated from high school and we changed churches.

2015 was also when I had an accident in my airplane.  I landed up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and took the landing gear off.  Hey, it could happen to anybody!  Unfortunately, it happened to me.  We got a big insurance settlement and everything was good.  I was putting the airplane up for sale anyway.  It was at this point Cristy and I were seriously looking at RV’s so I was looking for a more portable form of aviation.  I found it in the form of powered paragliding.

2016 was a gut punch.  I was told that my entire department would be laid off that year.  Also my son was going through some extreme behaviors.  It seemed like my life was about to hit rock bottom.  SEEMED.  We started putting my son in group homes which he kept getting kicked out of due to his behaviors.  But 2016 was the year God truly moved in our lives.  He found a home that was able to really work with my son.  And He found me a job.  This is when I started working at San Joaquin General Hospital.  To celebrate my getting a job we took a family road trip to SoCal.  I also got a Ham radio license so I could legally use a Ham radio on my powered-paraglider.

 

In 2017 life started getting somewhat better for us.  My son was living in a home only 5 miles from where I worked.  My daughter was getting very involved in church and starting college.  Cristy and I also celebrated our 30th anniversary in Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Angela finished the Spartan Race

By 2017 I had sold my powered paraglider and had bought my powered parachute.  Cristy and I had also started walking more, trying to get in shape.

2018 was another year that brought a lot of change.  Mostly in me.  Through walking and intermittent fasting I was able to lose about 50 lbs.

This is me just prior to losing weight…

And this is what I looked like post weight loss…

2019 was a sad year.  We lost my sister Sheila to cancer.  We lost my wife’s cousin Jaime to kidney disease.  I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.

2019 was a happy year because we became part of a small group at our new church.  We received a lot of support from them and they came along side us in prayer many times.  The doctors were able to remove all of the melanoma.  I also sold my powered parachute and began flying rental airplanes.  I got back into regular airplanes after a young man from my old church took me for a ride to pay me back for all those times I took him for rides when he was learning to fly.  Now we fly together whenever we can.

2019 ended with my son being removed from a bad living situation in the group home he was in.  He now lives back in town with us, which, he has been asking for quite some time.  My daughter also bought a poodle this year.

It’s been a tumultuous decade.  We’ve covered a lot of territory in the last 10 years.  Who knows where we’ll be 10 years from now.  Not sure but I sure like where we are now.  I wouldn’t trade a second of the last 10 years for anything.  I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and Providence countless times.  I see God’s love in those around me every day.  I don’t expect that to change much.  I’ll keep doing what I can to reflect God’s love to those around me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to Hardin – Day 3

Travel Day

We began our travel day late, around 10am.  Cristy made her shake for breakfast, I usually skip breakfast but had a pea protein shake to make sure I had a clear head for the day’s drive (and little did I know I would need it).  We took a walk around the small RV park, and then made preparations to leave.  I dumped our tanks, filled the fresh tank just a little to make sure we had enough water to run the toilet and wash our hands while traveling that day.

I was in our space a little crooked and it’s not a good idea to hook up our Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch when crooked.  Ideally the trailer and tow vehicle should be completely lined up.  So I hitched up to the trailer but didn’t attach the weight distribution chains.  We pulled out to the front of the RV park and made sure the truck and trailer were straight.  I took this opportunity to show Cristy how the chains were connected.  These aren’t the safety chains you see with all trailer hitches.  The weight distribution chains pull on the bottom of the hitch while the trailer tongue pushes on the top of the hitch thus transferring some of the hitch weight from the rear wheels of the truck to the front.

Image result for andersen weight distribution hitch

We got the chains connected and properly tensioned and then hit the road.  It was a nice easy travel day.  In the distance I notice some towering cumulus clouds.  I remarked to Cristy, “Hey look, weather!”  But didn’t think any more about it.  We stopped at a rest stop about half way through our 4 hour travel day.  I made a PB&J sandwich while Cristy made her protein style lettuce-wrapped turkey sandwich.

We hit the highway again and enjoyed a very nice drive.  There was no wind and a lot of the trip was level or downhill so my gas mileage was great!  As we started getting closer to our destination I noticed the clouds had not moved and were getting bigger.  Finally as we were coming down the last grade into Needles, CA, I could see that Mohave Valley, our intended destination was right on the edge of a DARK column of rain.  Hmmm…..

I told Cristy we might be setting up in the rain but we continued on.  We followed the GPS to the road that would take us over the river and to the RV park.  As I was getting reading to turn on the road a fire engine pulled in and blocked the road.  Just beyond I could see a torrent of water washing over the road.  Okay.  Can’t go that way.  I pulled into a gas station and tanked up and checked my GPS.  There was another route so we tried to take that.

It was a small two-lane twisty road where I had to drive across a small muddy stream of water.  Hmmm…  We kept going.  I finally turned onto the road that would take us to the RV park.  A small black Hyundai passed us and then just over the hill had come to a complete stop.  Luckily I was going slow.  He had stopped in front of another stream of water washing over the road.  His wife had gotten out and taken her shoes off and was walking across the stream to see how deep it was.  It got just past her ankles but she said the mud on the road beneath her feet was really slippery.  Two other cars had stopped, one on this side and another on the far side.

Well great.  In my mind this was strike two.  I didn’t want to go for strike three.  YER OUT!  With lightning striking in the distance followed by thunder after a count of three, I had Cristy walk back up the hill and watch for cars.  I backed the trailer up the hill about 70 yards or so and then onto a hard sandy shoulder.  I got the trailer as close as I could to the bushes on the right side and pulled a tight U-turn.  The right wheels came off the road surface onto the shoulder slightly but I was able to make the turn.  Cristy jumped into the truck and we headed back down the way we came.  Sorry I don’t have any pictures of this but we were a little busy.

I pulled into a gravel lot and checked my phone for nearby RV parks.   We saw one not to far off the freeway called Desert View RV Park and headed for it.  It was just starting to sprinkle as we pulled into the park.  I paid and we were directed to our spot.  I was so grateful to be anywhere.  Our 4 hour travel day had turned into a 6 hour travel day but we were “home” safe.  And the park was a much better one than I had reserved.  Praise God for His traveling mercies and His providence!

Mission Flying Update #1

 

I received an email from my brother in the faith, Daniel Jones, who is a missionary in Mexico.  Here is his email:

Hello brother Scott,

Well, I finally broke the ice and made the trips this week to the Sierras to do the Bible studies, in your Rans! It behaved very well and I am super pleased with it. I only had one problem yesterday when it stopped charging but I think that it’s just a loose wire someplace that we will try and track down tomorrow.
So, it’s now taken me to 5 different communities that I can only get to by plane. (Unless I want to spend an average of 17 hours to 1..which I don’t)
Here is a video that I just posted.
God bless you and thanks for the prayers and a great plane!
Daniel

And this is the video Daniel sent:

 

I can’t tell you what good it does my heart to see my airplane being the hands, feet, and WINGS of Christ in the mission field  I have no doubt that Daniel will put it to good use.  If I can boast in anything it’s in helping further the work of Jesus Christ.

Click here to learn more about Rancho Maranatha and their mission.

Missionary Aviation

So if you’ve read this blog for very long… all three of you… you know that I’m an avid pilot, builder, and lover of all things aviation.  You’ll also know that I love Christ above all.  That’s why I was thrilled to receive an email from my brother in Christ, Daniel Jones, who is with a missionary organization in Mexico called Rancho Maranatha.  He wrote to tell me that my plane had finally arrived at it’s new home!  Here is a link to their newsletter:  https://mailchi.mp/8e66f1a95d42/the-new-plane-is-here

Here is a video of my (their new) plane arriving!

 

 

Take Nothing For Granted

I went to my sisters memorial service yesterday. I learned a couple of things.  First is life is fleetingly short.  We can look back at all that we’ve accomplished, all we have yet to do and there is just never enough time.  The second thing is that we tend to take our loved ones for granted.  I always just figured that my sisters would always be out there… somewhere.  Living and enjoying their life.  But I took them all for granted and their lives moved on and in some cases, ended.  No one calls me, I call no one, we all just go through life with tunnel vision, interested in our own little happenings.  We have no clue what’s going on in our extended family…

I’m breaking that cycle.

Malignant No More!

Got the good news today that the report came back from my melanoma surgery and they got it all!  I can’t tell you what a relief this is.  Well, yes I can.  I literally cried when I read the results.  Then I praised God for carrying me through this.  Then I finally cried and was able to truly mourn losing my sister to cancer.

It takes me a while to process things.  My brains seems to work on things at a subconscious level.  When I have problems at work that I can’t figure out.  I go do something else for a while and stop thinking about it.  Later, the solution suddenly comes to me.  My emotions seem to work the same way.   When something happens that would normally cause deep emotions, mine just turn off.  I can completely ignore them for days, weeks, or even months.  I can continue to function in the most dire of circumstances.

But then one day…  It all comes back to me and just releases.  Today was one of those days.  God has complete lifted these emotional burdens from me.  I can think and feel again.  I can look at God’s gifts in this moment and be grateful.  And in just one day I have these things to be grateful to God for:

  • Another year of life.
  • The wonderful brownie my daughter baked me and the amazingly sweet birthday card she gave me.  Her talent, and just plain ol’ her!  I love her.
  • Being able to have a quiet lunch with my wife.
  • My wife.  A woman who helps me, supports me, prays for me, and selflessly loves me.  I love her.
  • My son.  Just because I love him.
  • A job that, even though it didn’t go the way I wanted it to today, still supports me and my family, coworkers that care and support me, and a boss that largely stays out of my hair. 🙂
  • Another chance tomorrow!

Life is wonderful but God is wonderfuller!

Cut It Out

Well the day I’ve been dreading has finally come… and gone.  Praise God!  Recently my dermatologist discovered and removed a questionable mole.  It was sent to the lab and the results returned… malignant melanoma.  Unfortunately the dermatologist did not remove all the cancerous tissue.  So I had to go to a surgeon to remove a wider section of skin to make sure they got everything.  Today was that day.

I was incredibly nervous the past few days.  I showed up thinking it would only take 15 minutes or so.  It ended up taking close to an hour.  The surgeon was VERY thorough, explaining everything that he was doing, and taking MUCH skin off. This to make sure that they had very clear margins around the affected area.  Much of the time was taken up by him closing up the area he had removed.

But I’m happy to say it’s over now.  Now I wait for the lab results to come in.  I’ll go back in two weeks to have some of the stitches removed and we’ll also review the lab results.  I’m praying for clear margins!  I’m also happy to say that God has held me up through all this.  I’ve talked to a lot of people have have had plenty of moles removed, including some with melanoma and they all say it’s no big deal.  But it was a big deal to me, and God held me up through the entire process.

Public Service Announcement:  If you’re a person with a lot of moles like me, please have them checked out.