I haven't had television service since I moved here three years ago. I've enjoyed not having my time possessed with commercials blaring at me, insisting I need things I have no use for. Anything I've wanted to know was prompted by something I heard on the radio or read in the newspaper. Those would send me to the Internet to get more of the story.
Without a tv, I avoided being dragged through most of the political mudslinging from last year. Nor have I had to endure the "news" of how badly people can treat people, i.e. shootings. I hear about it and pray for those affected, but honestly, I live "lighter" by not getting pounded by news of global interest.
But the other day, I discovered some news that has turned my world upside down. "When did this happen?" I kept asking myself, when I learned this new information.
I last had tuna sometime before I moved here, which would be pre-2014. Not that I dislike tuna- I just haven't thought of it. I purchased this a few weeks ago at Safeway, and didn't pay any attention to the can size. Just threw it into my basket and moved on.
When I pulled it out of my kitchen cabinet, the lighter weight can was noticeable. I took a closer look.
"When did the tuna can go from 6 ounces to 5 ounces? It's so small now, it feels like I'm opening cat food!"
I can't tell you how much this bothers me. Probably because now I realize I paid twice as much for less tuna. More than that, however, is that I missed THIS news- news that really matters.
I need to reconsider my non-tv lifestyle.
Since FLYING is on my mind, I thought I'd share a Life Lesson gained years ago when I was taking flying lessons in the early 1990's.
The flight instructor spent more time on the topic of safety than any other, such as aerodynamics or the FAA regulations. One day he took me up to teach about stalls (when the airplane stops flying and falls out of the sky.) That is, he wanted to teach me how to recover in a stall.
The Cessna in the above photo is very similar to the one I trained in. At about 2000 feet elevation, he had me pull back on the wheel to gain altitude. I was tentative at first, but he insisted, "Harder!"
As the number on the altimeter increased, I cast worried eyes toward the ground- houses and cars were becoming smaller and smaller. Pulling back on the wheel went against every cell in my body that was in support of my living. The plan to intentionally make the plane fall out of the sky was illogical.
"Can I stop pulling now?" I asked nervously.
"Keep at it."
"How will I know when it stalls?"
"You will feel the plane shudder."
"You've got my back on this, right? In case I can't do this?"
"Sure. Just keep pulling back on the wheel."
"What am I supposed to do when it shudders?" I asked as we neared 4000 feet.
"Let go and watch the nose. One of the best things about this plane is it's designed to recover from a stall. The nose is heavier, so in a stall, the tip of the nose will naturally go down. The plane will gain air speed and level out. If you react normally, by pulling back hard, you will increase stall conditions and crash."
I had a few seconds to process this information. "That's a lot to put trust in..." I whispered to myself.
The plane shuddered. I felt it begin to drop.
"Let go," my instructor reminded me.
I complied but everything, I mean EVERYTHING in my mind was insisting I fight this by pulling hard on the wheel. I didn't touch the wheel, but I tried to discretely hold my hands one inch away so I could grab it when I needed to.
"Put your hands down," he suggested.
"You've got this, right?"
However, just as the instructor said, the front of the plane dropped. We picked up air speed and the plane leveled out- without my doing a thing. Then he said to take the wheel, "Let's do that again."
I was amazed. We practiced stalls for the rest of the hour. I was impressed with the plane's ability to recover without my help. And my confidence in the design grew immensely.
That evening, I sat on the porch reflecting on the day's adventure, then began to laugh. "How many times when I've faced a problem, I've been told to 'Let Go and Let God?'" I asked myself.
When something troubles me, I grip even tighter, thinking my controlling the outcome will provide the solution, fix the problem, solve the dilemma- and all will be well. The idea of letting go sounded nice, but how could I do that? Anything I had ever let go of had my claw marks on it.
It came to me that I was designed to recover from a "stall" in life by letting go and letting God work things out. My holding on so tightly is out of fear that things won't go my way. But I can say, when I practice that Life Lesson learned in a plane:
Things rarely go my way when I trust The Designer. They end up better, and I don't have to crash.
Let Go and Let God. It's a good thing.
Last month, students from Joseph Charter School presented a slideshow at the Wallowa County Pilots Association Banquet. At this event pilots and people who love flying began to plan the 2017 Wallowa County Flyin and Pancake Breakfast at Joseph Airport on August 12.
The Flyin is growing into a fundraiser for the North East Oregon Aviation Education Foundation, which financially supports Wallowa County education in aviation that will lead to careers in that industry.
At the banquet, we enjoyed videos of last year's Flyin. But the two students pictured above really made our hearts soar with their presentation. A slideshow of educational activities at the Joseph Charter School, with students machining sheet metal and building drones, brought excitement and smiles from the audience about this new endeavor.
Here are a few photos from the WC Flyin. Mark your calendar: August 12, 2017. I hope to see you there! (Photos below are courtesy of the Wallowa County Flyin.)
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.