Category Archives: Encouragement

Human Nature Meets a Bad Monday

human hands on notebook computer in coffee shop

Sometimes I write best in coffee shops

Stopped at my favorite coffee shop for a bit of think and write time. Good coffee. Tasty pastries. Great service. No mystery why today, like most days, clutches of lovers, friends, colleagues and contacts cluster most tables, fill most chairs. The mood’s up. Most smile. Chatter burbles like a spring brook. Its bubbles froth into pleasant background easy to enjoy, or ignore, as I choose.

But today cheery grates, incongruous in light of what happened. How can they laugh? I want to rage & revenge, cry & hide, or both. The bad news? Just learned someone shot my good friend, Pastor Tim, yesterday afternoon. The good news? He’ll live—a miracle the medical folks say. The bullet stopped at his skull, providing fuel for life-long teasing about his hard head. read more ...

Share This:

How Propellers Are a Lot Like Life

Airplane at jungle airstrip

Taking off into late afternoon sun can be brutal

Afternoon sun hung low as I prepared for takeoff. Orange brilliance obscured trees at the end of the airstrip. It also hid cliffs beyond, the ones I had to fly between to climb out of the river canyon.

Checklists done? Yep. Engine still sounding good? Yep. Abort point confirmed? Yep. Departure path reviewed? I pictured where the plane’s wheels would leave the ground, how I’d hold that heading until just past the end of the strip, then the slight right turn that would keep me over the water and away from higher ground. The air was clear. No worries. I’d be able to see the cliffs well before they threatened—if everything worked right and I paid attention. read more ...

Share This:

Bare Hands

Yellow crime scene tape

The police tried to secure the crime scene

Three of us arrived at the crime scene right away. The first response team tried to cordon off the area, but didn’t have enough patrolmen. The looky-loos already pressed the perimeter. Yellow tape wouldn’t hold ‘em for long.

“So what’ve you got, Sergeant?” I asked.

“Well, sir, not sure what to make of it.” He looked around both ways, then down. Pushed his hands into pockets, searching for something. Fidgety. Strange. I’d worked with him before. Always direct. Solid. No messing around, but now different. Maybe scared? “Sergeant?” I repeated. read more ...

Share This:

A Unique Substance

City lights seen from mountain

Our lights pollute the night sky, denying us a clear look at the ‘Big Picture’

Get away! Escape! Man-made lights—suburbs, cities, car lots, malls, stadiums, soccer fields and freeways— invade the sky, stealing the ‘Big Picture.’

Run to the country side. Climb the mountains. Search out a dark field. Look up at night sky.

Imagine two things: first, your feet firmly fastened to Earth. Second, turn it over so ground is up, sky is down. Now hanging from the planet, stop looking at a flat, speckled mat. Instead, peer into the deep vault of heaven. Dive into the sea of stars, each a local neighbor. read more ...

Share This:

All The Way In

Neil Armstrong takes man's first step on the Moon

Neil Armstrong takes man’s first step on the Moon

July, early evening in Southern California. The afternoon temperature climbed to the low 80’s in small town Vista. Later, palm leaves rustled in a light breeze while twilight pink and costal clouds approached. But I, along with almost 500 million other people, ignored weather, time, food, and even an upcoming date. A fuzzy black and white image seized our attention.

On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong hopped-stepped down a short ladder fastened to the side of the Lunar Module. He hesitated a moment on a wide, round pad then stepped out to become the first human to walk on the Moon. His crew mate, Buzz Aldrin followed minutes later. They spent almost a day there, rendezvoused with Michael Collins who remained in lunar orbit, then returned to Earth. read more ...

Share This:


airliner engine

Hundreds of rivets connected the gray inlet ring to the white engine cowling in purposeful pattern

I first noticed it riding the airline back to Cleveland. A big turbo-fan engine hung beneath the wing just outside my window. Around its front, a single row of rivets connected the inlet ring to the rest of the engine cowling. Hundreds of of them set in precise formation.Their pattern revealed disciplined purpose, like a single beat keeping time. Other patterns in complex harmonies, reveal themselves only from unique perspectives. Like flying, for example.

Day One

I came to Wooster, Ohio, again. Met Don, again. Met the pert Pacer, again. High winds calmed, as they would again after the next hard blow. I flew the Pacer to Holmes County airport, again. Practiced takeoffs and landings, again. Refueled, again. Don flew back to Wooster, repeating a pattern every airplane owner knows—a first and last flight.  read more ...

Share This:

Open Doors & Launch Windows

Remodeling a front doorway

It started simply enough. Repaint the front door. Flacked varnish revealed bare wood, but closer inspection uncovered serious cracks.

So, no simple mask and paint this time. Instead removed the door and prepared for a major strip and rebuild before painting. And, once the door was off, decided to redo the sidelite styling we never liked. Also should have been simple enough—remove a little siding, shift the window mounting slightly right, recover and paint to match the door’s new finish. Piece of cake. Not exactly. read more ...

Share This:

Shadow Dance of the Eclipses

total lunar eclipse

Eclipses come in two varieties. The first kind comes because our moon is the solar system’s odd duck.

For example, it travels a special orbit. Like ballroom choreography that looks simple until close inspection, the Moon only appears to orbit the Earth. In fact, it orbits the Sun. The Earth, 80 times heaver than the Moon, moves steadily on its course about the Sun. But the Moon weaves rhythmically either side of the Earth’s orbit, first outside farther from the Sun, then in front of the Earth, then inside closer to the Sun, and then trailing the Earth. The two dancers interlock gravity arms and sway in 29-day rhythm. read more ...

Share This:

A Different Kind of Life

Artist visualization of New Horizons probe at Pluto

A few weeks ago the New Horizons probe flew past Pluto. When I was a kid we called it a planet, the ninth planet, the last planet, like the last house on a road leading out of town. Here in Idaho, as you pass town’s last house, you cross farm fields; swaths of corn, wheat, or alfalfa. Then you pass the ranches; open ranges of cattle or horse. Beyond that, wilderness. So, New Horizons leaves hearth and home behind and races towards unknown badlands maybe filled with dragons. Who knows? We don’t. read more ...

Share This: