Saturday, December 15, 2012

Say What?

Anybody ever look back and remember some of the things they said when they were teenagers?  I do, and I said some stupid things, made a lot of bold claims, embellished stories and personal experiences to make myself look better.  Several things, it seems, will remain with me for the rest of my life.  I can say with absolute conviction that God does have a sense of humor.  I remember statements like, "California, I'm never going there, I won't ever step foot in that state," or how about this one..."I'm never going to eastern Congo."  Well, you know what happened?  The good Lord, in His infinite wisdom, decided to introduce me to a beautiful California girl, and even though I always maintained that love at first sight didn't exist, I knew I was going to marry Joy before I knew her name.  And I not only stepped foot in California...several times, I also lived there...and I liked it.  I went to Disneyland, thinking it was for sissy girls and little kids..and I liked it, so much that I went again...and I can't wait for the next time!  I not only went to Bunia...but I liked it.  I've also emphatically claimed, for the last 12 years, that I would never become an airline pilot.  I didn't want to be one of those guys that managed a computer and sat there for hours on end, playing angry birds until I had to push the big red "land me" button.  I wanted to fly in the mountains, actually manipulate the flight controls, be in "real" command of my ship, land on the sides of mountains.  You can see where this is going, can't you?

The CRJ200 that I am training in
I think I've finally learned to shut my big mouth.  How does that quote go?  "Better to look stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."  So here I sit, in a hotel room, studying all manner of company publications, pilot manuals, aircraft manuals, the whole nine yards.  Seems that US Airways Express saw something good in the piloting skills I have so far acquired, and invited me to start pilot training with them.  So right after Thanksgiving I began an 8 week process to becoming a real live airline pilot.

The CRJ200
Things haven't always been easy, but I am thoroughly convinced that each experience we have in life is an opportunity to grow as a person and sharpen each other.  Just like each step I've taken in my flying career has stretched and grown me as an aviator, so it is with each step in life, each fork in the road.  I have always loved Robert Frost's saying, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

So, next time you're presented with a fork in the road, take a minute to stop and think about which way you're gonna go.  Take a chance, just might like it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Wow, it's been a while.  I guess life gets busy with a full-time job and two little kids!  I wanted to share a journal with you that I've kept for a while now.  I haven't made any new entries in a long time, but I started it in high school and have kept it until now.  It's basically a notebook full of quotes and sayings that I thought interesting, thought provoking, or meaningful at the time.  Some will make you think, some you will laugh at, and others you will disagree with--I hope you enjoy!

"Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut!"  --Elizabeth Elliot

"One should eat to live, not live to eat."  --Benjamin Franklin

"The end is nothing; the road is all."  --Willa Cather

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

"A child's talent to endure seems to stem from his ignorance of alternatives."

"Never settle for less than your best."

"The easiest person to deceive is oneself."  --Edward George Bulwar-Lytton

"All things change, nothing perishes."  --Ovid

"Live today, for yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come."

"Discretion is the better part of valor."  --Shakespeare

"All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten."

"Without challenge, there's no achievement."

"Champions are not those who never fail, they are those who never quit."

"The deed is all and not the glory."  --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Death smiles at us all...all a man can do is smile back."  --Maximus (from the movie Gladiator)

"The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference."  --Elie Wiesel

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."  --Mark Twain

"Each of us must be the change we want in the world."  --Mahatma Ghandi

"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly."

"Always remember what it feels like to be different."

"Judge people by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin."  --Martin Luther King, Jr.

" easy it is for a heart to turn to stone."  --Mary Morris

"...he that dares not grasp the thorn / should never crave the rose."  --Anne Bronte

"Look into the mirror every day, for if scars of selfishness or pride are in the heart, they will grow into the lines of the face.  Watch carefully."  --Etsu Inagaki

"If the while I think on thee, dear friend, /  all losses are restored, and sorrows end."  --Shakespeare, Sonnet 80

"What's done cannot be undone."  --Shakespeare, Macbeth

"If there is right in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.  If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the home.  If there is harmony in the home, there will be peace in the world."  --Chinese proverb

"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness."  --Leo Tolstoy

"The thing about the impossible is, there is no competition."

"Do the right thing.  It will gratify some, and astonish the rest."  --Mark Twain

"I haven't failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work."  --Albert Einstein

"Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional."

"They gave our Master a crown of thorns; why should we hope for a crown of roses?"

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man."  --Blaise Pascal

"Where God has closed his holy mouth, let us not open ours."  --John Calvin

"Christianity is not a path, but a Person, not rules, but a relationship."

"Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."  --William Carey

"We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners."

"Satan himself cannot stop us or sign our death certificate without the permission of Almighty God."  --Nate Saint

"Knowing what you stand for will limit what you fall for."  --Craig Petersen

"Vision without action is merely a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time.  Vision with action can change the world."  --Joel Arthur Baker

"Jesus himself is our one convincing, permanent miracle."  --Joseph Stowell

"True love is voluntary."  --Paul E. Little

"Suppose God were to decree that tonight all evil would be removed from the universe--who of us would still be here after midnight?"

"The same sun melts the butter and hardens the clay."

"Christian faith goes beyond reason, but not against reason."

"No opinion poll is going to make God go away."

"The Word of God is like a lion.  You don't have to defend a lion.  All you have to do is let the lion loose, and he will surely defend himself."  --Charles Spurgeon

"Miracles are not contrary to nature, only contrary to what we know about nature."

"Christians have endured martyrdom, but can they endure unpopularity?"

"When food falls on the ground, I remedy the situation by picking it up and eating it."

"People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do."

"If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything."  --Mark Twain

"The first step to wisdom is silence, the second is listening."

"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."  --Abraham Lincoln

"Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges, and the infinity in which he is engulfed."  --Blaise Pascal

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  --Jim Elliot

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,  but because of those who don't do anything about it."  -Albert Einstein

"It is the journey that makes the pilgrim."  --Andrew Schmutzer

"Since when does natural man create a religion he cannot abide by?"  --Andrew Schmutzer

"It's alright to be a dumb sheep, when God is your Shepherd."  --Andrew Schmutzer

"Worship is not calling me where I am at, it's stretching me to where I need to be."  --Andrew Schmutzer

"To stand on the sidelines may be the most profound secularism."

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, always remembering what peace there may be in silence."  --Max Ehrma

"Those who are readiest to die for a cause may easily become those who are readiest to kill for it."  C.S. Lewis

"If you are going through hell....keep going."  --Winston Churchill

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."  --Abraham Lincoln

"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost."  --J.R.R. Tolkien

"Never argue with an idiot, he will bring you down to his level, and then beat you with experience."

"I'm out like a blind man in pictionary."

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  --Thomas Edison

"Only two things are infinite:  the universe and human stupidity, and I am unsure about the former."  --Albert Einstein

"Golf is a game who's aim it is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose."  --Winston Churchill

"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is."  --C.S. Lewis

"Sometimes it takes more courage to step back from the precipice than it does to plunge headlong into it."  --Travis Boyette

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page."  --St. Augustine

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by.  And that has made all the difference."  --Robert Frost

Well, that's it for now, hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Foggy Morning

It's 11:30pm, I've been asleep for a grand total of 90 minutes, but I can't ignore the cries.  He's up, and he doesn't really go to sleep again until 5:30am.  I hit the light on the clock and think, "Ok, another 90 minutes of sleep before Kaitlyn gets up...."  But it only seems like minutes until I hear little feet running down the hall.  I lift my head and a pounding hammer somewhere in there rhythmically reminds me this is the second all-nighter I've pulled.

I try to keep a normal routine for Kaitlyn, so I sit her down on the couch, wrap her up like a taco, and turn on Thomas and Friends while I stand under burning water.  Honestly, I can't remember if I washed or not.

Rain falls in a heavy mist, visibility is 1/4 mile at best, then I open the blinds and to my surprise, the weather is much the same outside too.  Eventually a gnawing hunger in my stomach brings me downstairs for some oatmeal and a pot of coffee...yes, a pot.  I stare helplessly into my cup, oblivious to the world around me, and as I begin to regain consciousness, I realize there's something staring back at me.  For some reason, a nerve fires in my brain and I think, "Hey, that would make a cool photo...if only I could remember where the SD card is."

Thankfully, this stage only lasts for a month or so.  I confess this is not my strong suit.  Joy copes much better than I do, after all, she's been up for 4 days straight now.  I marvel at her commitment and ability to maintain a positive attitude...and some sense of coherency.  Until this wears off, I suppose I'll continue finding strange things inside my morning cup of coffee.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Arrival

I'm worn out from lack of sleep, Joy even more so than me, but we press on, hand-in-hand, anticipating the hours and days to come.  I try and remind myself to take a few minutes every now and again and soak it all in--the mood, the people, the atmosphere, the lighting...the experience.  But somehow I'm inescapably caught up in the moment, focused on the task at hand.  Joy is doing phenomenal and this progression is much faster than last time.  During contractions I am driven and 100% focused on my role and supporting Joy.  It's in between that my mind wanders, sometimes to a picturesque lake in the pre-dawn morning fog, two fishing poles, a bucket full of nightcrawlers, father and son.  Other times I play the "what if" games.  I can't help it, I'm a pilot.  What if this doesn't go right?  What if that 1 in a million chance of "xyz" happens?  Where's my emergency checklist?  There's a heavy uneasiness and an equally strong sense of peace when life depends entirely on Him.

Before I even realize it, the last nine months swiftly and methodically come to a close, and a new chapter begins.  I'm frozen, unable to find the words to express the feeling of being a father, a daddy, a mentor, a friend.  For a few seconds, time stands still, and as I hold my little boy for the first time, he opens his eyes and looks into mine...and I can't hold him close enough.  I know he will think his daddy is a superhero and invincible.  Flawless.  If only he knew the truth.  Then I think of my relationship with my dad, and I realize he will love me anyway, in spite of myself, for no reason at all but that I love him the same way.  But isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  "...We love him because He first loved us."

Now the fun part begins.  We can't decide between two names, but as I think more and more about Joshua, that is the kind of man I want him to be.  Immediately you think of words like, "courageous," and "fearless leader."  I think of a man fiercely devoted to his God, quick to listen.  And for the guy in to lay the hammer down!

So, without further adieu,

We are happy to announce the arrival of Joshua Christopher,

                                                 born Wednesday the 18th of January

                                                                                 7 lbs 1 oz

                                                     19.5" long

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A New Found Appreciation

For the last month or so I've wiped countless snotty noses, changed a lot of diapers, dealt with teething, toddler tantrums, and, "I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm crabby, that's mine, hold me, let me go..."  All that to say that I've come to a "deeper" understanding of what all the moms of the world run through on a daily basis.  I've also been there to take Kaitlyn to the park, on walks, share in special moments and achievements, and watch her learn and grow every day.  My hat's off to you...every one of you who have, who are, or will raise children--they're a handful!

We took Kaitlyn to the park again today and her agility and coordination baffle me every time we go.  Sometimes I wonder how she can climb a wall with no problems, but she runs into them when she's walking around the house.  Unfortunately, for her usually terrified parents, she's fearless when it comes to obstacles and heights.  She always goes for the biggest, tallest slide she can find, and she goes down feet first, head first, you name it.  10 foot fireman's poles, ladders, nothing is off limits in her brain.  Today she tried going head first, on her back down the slide.  She had already gone down head first and flew off the end once, so I casually strolled over to the bottom of the slide and asked Kaitlyn as she was setting up for her next stunt, "Hey sweetie, you think that's a real good idea to go down like that?!"  Her reply, "YEAH!!"
Climbing all on her own...with daddy as spotter of course

Well, I figured some things are better learned the hard way and let her do it anyway (to the horror of all grandmas worldwide, I'm sure).  Needless to say, it didn't turn out too well, she flew off the end of the slide and ate a bunch of sand.  But she didn't cry, she just laid there for a minute, collecting her thoughts, and then she looked at me and said, "I not do dat again."  "Good idea, sweetheart."  She picked herself up, climbed the stairs, and went feet first.

Showing some discretion

All by herself

Taking a break on the swing

Friday, January 13, 2012


Just about every day for the last month or so we've been going on long walks in hopes that it might help baby along.  It's something Joy and I have both enjoyed doing together even before we got married, and it's good to get back into it.  I can't really complain about the weather here; for the most part it's been wonderful walking weather, and we usually include a little trip to the playground so Kaitlyn can have a little fun too.  She loves slides, making friends, and anything she can climb.  Here's a quick video of her enjoying the park...

It's Friday the 13th, the "big day," but nothing seems to be happening yet, and we're getting a little impatient to finally meet our little boy, but I suppose he has his own timing and we will just have to wait!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Terrible Two's???

Look at my seashells mommy!
I don't know, maybe Kaitlyn is just the most obedient child ever.  Ok, maybe not the most obedient, but for the most part, I am really enjoying this age--she is so interactive and hilarious!  I love to see her mind go a mile a minute, and it's refreshing sometimes to see the world from her point of view.

Last week we took a day and went to the beach, probably the last time for a while before baby 2 is born and I start work.  We brought some buckets and plastic shovels to play in the sand, and when we arrived Kaitlyn exclaimed, "[Gasp]...I take a HUUUUGE bath!"  We tried our hand at making sand castles, but that didn't last long.  So we spent most of our time collecting seashells and playing in the water.
Kaitlyn telling me the sand is too wet

One of the funnest things about Kaitlyn (at least to me) is that she picks up on things super fast.  You can show her how to do something once and voila, she's got it.  And then she loves to turn around and show me how to do it.  One of the things I told her on the beach was that she should never turn her back on the ocean, and be very careful about the waves.  So every once in a while she would dutifully remind me that I wasn't paying attention..."the waves can hurt you daddy!"

Well, thanks to Kaitlyn, no one drowned, and we found all kinds of neat little shells, and even a whole sand dollar!  We can't wait to go back, although I'm thinking the next time will somehow be a little different!