Life Is Short

I was reminded this week how short life really is.  If you have a brother or sister, hug them because they may not always be there for you to hug.  Same goes for your mom or dad or friends or dogs or anyone special in your life.  And like life, this post will be short.

Circle Of Life

So waaaaay back in 2005 my family started attending a new church.  At that church I met a young man named Jordan who was interested in aviation.  His dream was to be a pilot one day.  Like any good pilot I wanted to encourage that dream and so I took him for a ride in my RV-4.  This logbook entry records the occasion.

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Fast forward to this past Wednesday.  I met Jordan out at Oakdale Airport (O27) after work.  Jordan had rented a plane and was ready to give me my airplane ride.  It truly was one of those circle of life moments for me.  Here’s a guy I’d been encouraging for years in his desire to learn to fly, and he actually went and did it.  It was a long journey for him with stops and starts but he saw it through and I have to say I’m quite proud of him!

I’m going to join the same flying club out in Oakdale that he’s a member of and if all goes well with insurance and my biennial flight review, we’ll be flying together a lot more.  It will be a great way for us both to save some money and enjoy flying fellowship with another Christian pilot.

Can a man fly AND love Jesus?  You’d better believe it!

Jordan definitely agrees!

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Jordan

Okay God, I’m Listening!

Just a month or so ago I got a letter stating it was time to renew my aircraft insurance from First Flight Insurance Co.  I dutifully did this because… well… it’s insurance and accidents happen.  Last week I got a letter from them saying that First Flight had elected to stop providing insurance to the Part 103 (Ultralight aircraft) community.  The US Ultralight Association to which I belong said that they are scrambling to find a new insurance carrier but in the mean time, no ultralights would have insurance.  I didn’t think much more about it other than I would just wait and see what USUA came up with as far as insurance companies.

Then, this past Wednesday I get a text out of the blue asking if my P3 Lite Powered Parachute was still for sale.  I was tempted to say no because I’ve been getting sporadic interest in it from an ad I placed on a PPC equipment for sale website.  But they had incorrectly listed my location as Albany NY.  So I was getting calls from guys in New York who would ask lots of questions and then hang up when they found out I was in California.  I had decided not to sell the P3.  I’ve really been enjoying flying it.  But then I got this text asking if my P3 was still for sale.  I first told him that the aircraft is in California and then asked him if he was still interested.  He responded yes.

There ensued a long text exchange (during one of the busiest weeks I have had at work in a long while) between the prospective buyer and I.  I didn’t really believe he was serious until he started asking when he could come pick it out and was cash okay?  So this (Saturday) morning he showed up at 7am, handed me the agreed-upon price in cash, loaded up my powered parachute and drove back to Arizona.

At first I was just kind of amused thinking about how fast these events occurred.  But then I started thinking about it a little deeper with respect to the Providence of God.  The timing is just TOO coincidental.  Since I don’t believe in coincidence or luck, I believe it is God’s Providence.  That within two weeks my aircraft insurance should be cancelled and refunded, by the way, and my aircraft sold… well…  it just feels like this was God’s plan for me.  I have spiritual ears and I’m using them to listen to what He’s trying to tell me.

So… what’s the plan now?  Am I done with aviation?  Nope.  In fact I’m going full circle.  In my aviation career I have rented, owned, built two fixed wing airplanes, sold them, got into parachute aviation, and have now returned to renting fixed wing again.  And really when I think about it, my whole reason for going with the parachutes was to have a way to fly that was very portable.  Renting airplanes in different parts of the country is even more portable.  I don’t need any special place to store an aircraft, don’t need to bring any tools to maintain it, and no maintenance records to track.  I’ll miss owning my own aircraft for the bragging rights if nothing else but in reality this really lifts a burden from me.

I’m going to be contacting a local flying club that a friend is a member of and begin flying with them.  I’ll be flying a Cessna 152, which is essentially the same aircraft I learned to fly in.  It’s a whole circle of life thing.  Looks like I’ll be ending my aviation career as I began it.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Stay tuned for more pictures and video from the next chapter of my aviation story.

Searching The Heart

I wanted to put in a plug for my wife’s blog, Searching The Heart.  She hasn’t updated it in quite a while but that may change very soon.  If you have a special needs child or would like to understand the heart of a mother of a special needs child, then head over to her blog and take a look.  She has a lot of wisdom packed into that blog.  As stated, she will be updating it soon.

Calaveras Big Trees

Well, the day’s plan started out as being a drive up to Cottage Springs to survey the campsite for an upcoming Ham radio event in June.  I wanted to see if the location was suitable to bring our Lance travel trailer.  But those plans soon changed as we drove up into the Sierra Nevada mountains.

We drove north through Escalon to Farmington and turned right on Highway 4.  It was a beautiful spring day with wildflowers everywhere.  We headed up into the foothills and decided to stop for lunch in Murphys.  We decided on Alchemy Cafe.  I had a delicious Ban Mi sandwich and Cristy had a salad with a generous helping of pork bellys on top.  Hey, it worked for us.

After lunch we continued up Highway 4 until we got to the road leading to the campground.  Um…. no dice.  We won’t be checking on that campground today. Probably not for another two months.  So we took a few selfies and moved on.

 

So now we needed a plan “B”.  Since we had passed Calaveras Big Trees State Park on the way up we decided to head over there and do a little hiking.  When we got there we learned that only the visitor’s center and the nearby North Grove was open that day.  We decided to stop in anyway.  We’ve been here several times but we love coming back.  We’re certainly glad we did because as we were deciding what to do a park volunteer came up and asked what we’d like to see.  We told her we’d come hoping we could do some hiking.  She said most of the lower trails were muddy but even though the rest of the park was closed to vehicle traffic we could certainly hike up the road and see as much of the park as we liked.

So that’s exactly what we did.  We hiked up main road that wraps up and around the visitors center.  We came to the top of the hill and stopped at the scenic vista parking area which is just above the grove next to the visitor’s center.  We didn’t see anyone the entire time except for an elderly woman walking her dog at the top of the hill.  We really enjoyed the quiet hike.  We talked about how amazing God is that even in this little area there was so much diversity of plant life and all the animal tracks we saw in the snow.  He spoke all those into existence but lovingly scooped the dirt into His hands with which he made us.  We were taken aback by how even a fallen world can be so beautiful.  We can’t imagine what a restored Earth will look like.

We spent some time admiring the view but since we didn’t bring any water with us we headed back down the hill.  Round trip the hike was only about 4.5 miles but there was plenty of scenery and we got to stretch our legs.

 

Back at the visitor’s center we stopped off in the warming hut and were given free hot chocolate and hot tea.  I opted to make a donation anyway to make sure there was enough hot chocolate, hot cider, and hot tea for others in the future.  We then drove down to Valley Springs and stopped off for a quick snack (it was 4pm by now) because we hadn’t brought any with us.  Cristy needs her afternoon snack!  Then we enjoyed a nice leisurely hour and a half drive home through the backroads of California’s vast Central Valley where we live.  It’s so fun to take my wife on dates even after 31 years.

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Calling On All Saints

If you claim Jesus Christ as your Savior, then I have a favor to ask of you.  My sister Sheila is going to start her second round of chemotherapy tomorrow.  She is battling cancer and is putting up a good fight.  Please join me in praying that God would dumbfound the doctors by healing her Himself.  Pray that His grace will uphold her through the chemo process.  Pray for her comfort and healing.

Thank you.  The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.