Friday, February 21, 2020

Another Good Book


Nerves of Steel: How I Followed My Dreams, Earned My Wings and Faced My Greatest Challenge
By Captain Tammie Jo Shults

I must have found this book on sale for the Kindle in December and I just got around to reading it this month. Over the past couple years I really been drawn to memoirs/autobiographies, and I found this one very rewarding.

The book started out with Captain Shults piloting an airliner in MAJOR distress, but very little detail was given. Then the story went back to when Tammie Jo Shults was a little girl and first thought she wanted to be a pilot. I am not sure what caught my attention about this book or what I expected from the story, but I was not prepared for all of the back story of Tammie Jo growing up being told girls could not be pilots, her battles to get into flight school with the military, her struggles with chauvinism (actually, just plain hatred) and then FINALLY back to the emergency on the plane. It was not until the last 15-20% of the book that I realized I had read the headlines about this flight on April 17, 2018 (fair warning: this link will tell you about the incident but will also be a bit of a spoiler if you want to read the book). Looking at the cover, it makes sense that the book would be about her life and not just the incident, and in the end, I was drawn in by the story of her life, her struggles (with bullies and chauvinism), how her Christian faith helped her make it through without giving up and the incredible value of a good marriage.

I have mentioned chauvinism twice (three times, now!) because it was a recurring battle for her not only in the military (being one of the early female military aviators) but also when she took a job with Southwest Airlines. She shared about the depression she went through with the false accusations leveled against her on the job (that could have ended her career), but her faith and positive attitude (she went on the assumption that her problems were due to a few "bad apples" and not company policy) brought her through. What a fascinating and ENCOURAGING life story.

If you are into flying, there are plenty of stories you will enjoy. I would think it would be encouraging to women who have experienced bullies and discrimination as well a reminder to Christians that who we are is who God says we are, not who people say we are and we are not just the job we work. I gave the book 5 stars and recommend it as a good read!

Friday, January 31, 2020

A New Activity?

I do not really remember how I ran across this book a couple weeks ago. I think I was on my phone browsing books at the library when I ran across it.


I checked out the book from the library and it sat in my home office for a couple weeks while I kept meaning to look through it. Finally I knew I would have to renew or return it, so I looked through it. I am a biker and not a hiker, but I love being outdoors and some of these trails really caught my attention. My first inclination was to copy the info for a few of these hikes, but the more I looked through it, I knew there was too much good stuff to copy. I knew I had some Amazon purchase points accumulated so I checked and, sure enough, I could get this book for "free" by redeeming points. 

As I was looking through this book last night, I remembered an email I had received a few weeks before from AllTrails.

I looked up a couple of the trails from the book on the AllTrails website and found even more helpful information, as well as discovered the AllTrails app would allow GPS use on the trail. An annual subscription came with a 30 day money-back guarantee, so I thought I would check this out, too.

On a related-but-side-note, I read a couple books on sabbath rest this last year and have been thinking about being more intentional with my day off (Friday). My days off have been out of the office, but not very intentional. I almost always have a longer-than-usual quiet time with the Lord on Fridays, but after that I mix doing "nothing" (aka piddle farting around accomplishing nothing), some home chores, doing a little church work, doing a computer job when one comes up and maybe a planned activity (reading, biking, taking dogs to the dog park, etc). Short version: I have decided to be more intentional in saying "no" to work-related activities, no teaching prep and choosing an activity that refreshes me (biking, geocaching, dog walking, etc).

With all of this in mind, the hiking/trails really interested me. I was not sure how it would go given my knee issues, but as I mentioned, I love being outside and in nature, so I thought I'd give it a try. Today I picked a relatively short hike (just under 3 miles) close to home: The Cedar Brake Trail in the Cedar Ridge Preserve about 20 minutes from home. Of course I had to take the dogs with me.


We had a GREAT time today and it seems like I picked a good hike to start with (nice scenery, all in the woods, somewhat rugged trails with a few hills). It also appears the uneven terrain was easier on both my knee and my back (muscle aches on longer walks due to being so out of shape).

I've already picked another couple hikes for us to try. We'll have to see how it goes with the dogs and hot weather (how much water I can carry), but we've got a couple months before hot weather rolls in. Today was very enjoyable and a MUCH needed refreshing, so I guess we're gonna try to more trails in the coming weeks.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

12 of 12 September 2019

12 of 12 - I got the idea from somebody else and modified it. My 12 of 12 is 12 pictures for each of the 12 months of the year (I print a 12 picture collage each month). It is really fun in January to look back over the previous year.

September 6 - Any time is a good time to visit Buc-ees. A Friday morning outing with James and Amanda. #AnyExcuse  #BuceesIsBest 


September 8 - James helping me with Sunday morning announcements. No crying...just giving me a little stink eye! #JamesMakesADebut  #MeanMuggin' 


September 12 - Well, it's that time again. Quarterly snaking out of the sewer line. #NeverFun #ThisStinks 


 September 12 - Did a ride out with my favorite side of town! #WestSide  #ISupportAPD


September 13 - Time for a new phone. The finalists were refurbished iPhone 8, LG V50 or the Google Pixel 3. Went with the Google Pixel 3 because of the camera reviews and because I will own the phone in 24 months rather than be in a lease. #LikeThePhone  #ImAGoogleGuy 


September 14 - These two always use each other as pillows. #SamsonAndDelilah  #Family 


September 19 - Brooke could not wait for James to model his Alabama onsie. #TheyAreBothCuties  #HappyBaby


September 20 - Not sure what we were out doing...they will accept any excuse to go for a ride. #Adventuring  #ThreeAmigos 


September 21 - Amanda had been texting Brooke about going to a pumpkin patch with James so we posed in front of this display at Krogers and told Amanda we were at a pumpkin patch, too. #GroceryShoppingTogether  #LoveMyWife


September 26 - On the way to Nacogdoches to visit my friend Stan. When passing a Buc-ees on a road trip, one does not pass by without stopping in. #TwiceThisMonth  #SoloTripToBuccees 


September 27 - It's what we do when Stan and I get together. I hit a steel pig at 400 yards with this rifle. #RangeTherapy  #AR15_556 


September 28 - So thankful for my friend Stan. Always a great time getting to hang out with him for a couple days. #TrueFriend  #Blessed

Sunday, November 10, 2019

12 of 12 August 2019

12 of 12 - I got the idea from somebody else and modified it. My 12 of 12 is 12 pictures for each of the 12 months of the year (I print a 12 picture collage each month). It is really fun in January to look back over the previous year.

August 4 - Had such a great time visiting with Craig and his family at end of July - first of August. Since the whole family was home the night before I returned to Texas, seemed like a great time for picture! #ThanksForLettingMeHangWithYourFamily


 August 5 - Last picture with Craig at the airport before heading home. Cannot say how thankful I am for our 30 year friendship. #BestFriendsAlways


 August 15 - James, Amanda and Weenie were hanging out at the house while Amanda was less than 100% with the bum elbow. I came home for lunch so we had some family time just chillin'. #SammyWontLookAtTheCamera  #LunchTimeChillin


August 18 - Took a picture with my wife after church on Sunday simply because she makes me look good just by being in the picture with me! #YoureMyFavorite 


 August 20 - Grayson stopped by the office so we got to hang out for a little bit. He either liked seeing himself on my computer screen as we were taking the picture, or he just makes crazy/cute facea for no reason. #GraysonVisits


August 26 - This is the "Get out of the kitchen" spot the doggies go to when it's time for dinner. They sit there "patiently" waiting for the "OK" to run to their bowels. #ThoseEyes


August 27 - What do you do when the pin holding a little fragment of bone in your elbow starts working its way out causing great pain and loss of mobility? You have surgery, of course. And what more fun way to have surgery than to show up at 5 in the morning and drag (I mean "bring") your family with you at 0'dark hundred? #WeLoveAmanda #AllBetterNow  


 August 27 - I'm either the baby whisperer or I'm so boring a I can put a baby to sleep. #TimeWithPops 


 August 30 - Spurgeon is happy and toasty warm, regulating his body temperature by opening his mouth (called "gaping"). #HappyDragon


 August 30 - Sammy is still not sure what to make of the bearded dragon and the little gecko. We have to watch him so that he does not "investigate aggressively". #AnimalsInTheHouse 


 August 31 - Two of my favorite things...James Levi and Texas! #HappyTexan


August 31 - Can you see the geocache hanging from the tree (wrapped in camo tape)? Trying to get back to geocaching again this year. #seekhim17 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

12 of 12 July 2019

12 of 12 - I got the idea from somebody else and modified it. My 12 of 12 is 12 pictures for each of the 12 months of the year (I print a 12 picture collage each month). It is really fun in January to look back over the previous year.

July 2 - Spurgeon hanging out in his cave. Didn't know it at the time, but he was getting ready for brumation. #SleepyDragon

July 3 - At Light Up Arlington with my love. Good concerts and GREAT fireworks. It was a little warm but not bad for a Texas summer night. #4thOfJulyFireworks  #DateNight #BuceesTwins  

July 3 - Friends were out of town and I was taking care of their dogs. The dogs had been a little "restless" in the kitchen earlier in the week, so I put a camera in the kitchen so I could check on them when I wasn't there. While we were at Light Up Arlington, I checked in and saw this. #SomebodyGotBored 

July 9 - Sammy got a haircut today! #LookingSpiffy #WhosAHandsomeBoy 

July 12 - Took Spurgeon out with me for some back porch time. He seemed to enjoy himself until he thought he saw a bird then he jumped down into the yard. #SpurgeonSunningHimself 

July 16 - Revision 52 to Administrative Pastor job description. Page 37, Section 4: Additional Office Equipment Repair. Line item 3: Office Safe. #IDoALittleOfEverything

July 17 - So thankful/excited to get the church truck back up and running. Over the years people have helped me keep it running by replacing the fuel pump, helping me repair the tailgate equipment, weld the mufflers and this month, replace the clutch. #MyFavoriteWorkTool 

July 27 - Out running some errands on a Friday afternoon. Of course the puppies wanted to go with me. #LowesLetsThePuppiesComeInWithMe 

July 28 - Amanda sent me this picture of Delilah loving on James. #WeCallItTheLoveTongueCauseItsSoFullOfLove 

July 28 -  Hanging out with my favorite little guy, dressed up all cute in his dinosaur hoodie. #WeLoveUsSomeJamesLevi

July 30 - It's been 3 years since I got to hang out with my best friend and roommate from college, Craig.  Got to spend almost a week together and it was great. We kicked it off at MOD Pizza. #ThankfulForLifeLongFriends

July 31 - We rented some bikes at Michigan State University and rode about 18 miles along the Grand River on the Lansing Trails. #IWillSpareYouThePictureOfCraigOnABikeWearningNoShirt

Sunday, July 07, 2019

12 of 12 June 2019

12 of 12 - I got the idea from somebody else and modified it. My 12 of 12 is 12 pictures for each of the 12 months of the year (I print a 12 picture collage each month). It is really fun in January to look back over the previous year.

June 2 - Kids had us over for lunch after church. This is a "family picture" as "food pictures" are always better when there is still food on the plates! #SteakAndPotatoes 

June 7 - This is the wreath ceremony to remember Cpl. Joey Cushman's End of Watch 18 years ago on this day. One of the opportunities I have been given as a member of ACAPP and regular around West Station is to officiate several of these ceremonies.  #ACAPP #ISupportAPD #PrayForThePolice

June 10 - Me hanging out with my best bud. #SelfieWithSammy

June 13 - Delilah loves everybody. I'm not sure if she really "loves" Spurgeon and although she is highly curious, I think she means him no harm. #PosedWithADragon

June 14 - This guy right here, Randy Martin, is gonna have a HUGE crown in heaven. He agreed to let me help him put a new clutch in the church truck to save the church money. 25 hours later and the truck has a new clutch, new clutch master cylinder...and the transmission is back in place!
#WhoNeedsACarLiftOrTransmissionJack

June 15 - Sammy is still a little too "curious" to be comfortable with him around Spurgeon. My hand and foot were just out of camera shot. #NoNotAPlayToySammy

June 15 - Brooke in her element. #QueenB

June 16 - Celebrating Father's Day with family. This was my Father's Day wish...a (complete) family portrait (well, minus a gecko and, as was pointed out, a tank full of fish). Brooke says this looks like #WeBoughtAZoo

June 16 - Canaan's first Father's Day (as seen on James' outfit). Amanda also bought him a grill, utensils and rubs to go with it. #HesAGoodDad

June 16 - Went Sunday night to visit my parents and spend some time with Dad on Father's Day. Dad is 85 years old and I'm so thankful that he is still around to spend time with. #LoveMyDadLots

June 17 - Brooke and me at The Tipsy Oak restaurant. Brooke wanted to go here for their poutine.  We were supposed to go for our anniversary on June 12 (26 years this year!), but some work-related issues kinda ruined the mood for the evening. But...on Monday, June 17, the mood was GREAT when Brooke found out she has been hired by MISD as secretary to the principal at James Coble Middle School. #LetsCelebrate  #Thankful

June 23 - I love this picture on so many levels. First of all, it was NOT staged. If I had to guess, I would say Sammy was there first (because left to himself he would just pout and walk away when his chair was taken), then Weenie (Paris) and lastly Delilah because Delilah wants to be friends with everybody. But I also love the look on their faces...nobody looks particularly thrilled to be sharing the chair. Their faces are so expressive! #DoggieCousins #WennieIsActuallyTheGrandDogButWeCallThemCousins