Tag Archives: New attitudes

Can You Do Vacation Wrong?

Three weeks ago I was excited to get out of the Minnesota cold and head for my first trip to Florida and its warmer weather.

My husband and I spent a wonderful week together in Florida meeting new people and seeing new sights and then we came home.

Over the years I read  a lot about the benefits of taking a vacation. Most recently I read an article on on stress management by Elizabeth Scott, M.S. The title of her article was “The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health.”

She sited seven benefits of vacations:

1. Vacations promote creativity

2. Vacations Stave Off Burnout

3. Vacations Can Keep You Healthy

4. Vacations Promote Overall Wellbeing

5. Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds

6. Vacations Can Help You With Job Performance

7. Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways

Elizabeth states “The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.”

Since returning home from vacation I have felt exhausted, uncreative, unproductive, stressed out, and generally apathetic about my job. I can’t help but think that I did my vacation wrong.


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Toes Up In My Recliner

I love Saturday mornings. The thought of not having to rush out the door to work and sitting toes up in my recliner with my cup of coffee.  The pace of Saturdays are different around here. It’s okay to just relax.

This morning I need to head into work to finish up some projects and write-up some car deals before I leave town but that’s okay the countdown to some vacation is in sight. I won’t have everything done before I leave but the important things will be accomplished.

I woke up early this morning and enjoyed it. There wasn’t a sense of dread with doing the same old thing day after day. I tackled the pile of mail that has accumulated all week-long on my kitchen table. I started on the laundry that needs to be done before we leave.  It doesn’t seem like a chore today. Last evening doing dishes even seemed pleasant. 

Attitude and anticipation combined can be a powerful motivator. Whether my husband and I are planning a home improvement project or vacation our attitudes are at their best.  We’re positive and we are motivated to get things done. There were things that we did this past week that needed to be done for a while and it’s nice to have a sense of completion and accomplishment before we leave. 

The anticipation of completed projects and vacations is exciting.  Thinking and dreaming of what the completed project will look like or the things you will do on vacation takes my mind to places it doesn’t normally go.  I dare to imagine.

It’s difficult to not set yourself up for disappointment by imagining beyond what you can afford or obtain in the time given. It’s important to place your expectations high enough to imagine the possibilities to set some goals that will stretch you a little bit like learning something new for a project or doing something you’ve never done before on vacation.

This week is an opportunity to fine tune my attitude. To capture the same attitude and anticipation upon my return for my work and family life that I have before leaving would be a welcome improvement. 

I’m not going to wait for the storms to pass but will dance in the rain daily appreciating every day and person for the gift that they are in my life.


Posted by on February 19, 2011 in New Challenges, Reflections, Vacations


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Tinkering Fathers…Growing Old Gracefully

Last evening my husband and I were working late and had to make a quick trip over to a neighboring town to the body shop.  My parents live near Grey Eagle so I called them and asked them to join us for a quick supper at the local bar.  It was Taco Night. 

While we were eating my dad asked if we had time to stop at his office on Main Street just two doors down from the bar he wanted to show us what he had worked on there.  My husband said he wouldn’t be able to but I could since we drove separate vehicles.  I could tell Dad was excited about his latest project so immediately after we finished eating, we paid for our dinners and walked over to the office, Dean headed back to work to meet a customer at our shop.

When we arrived I followed Dad back to one of the offices near the back of the building.  He has a desk with a laptop computer in the room.  As I looked around the room I noticed a piano keyboard, a tripod for a camera on the counter and a piece of paper with the words Happy Birthday Elise printed on it.  I thought who is Elise?  Then Dad explained that Elise is one of the girls in his confirmation class that he teaches at church. 

Dad started tinkering with his laptop to show me what he has worked on.  He pulled up a file on his laptop and opened it.  It was a Claymation animation file.  Dad has taught himself how to do animation on his computer at age 74, almost 75.  His reason for learning is to make his confirmation class more interesting for the students.  The Happy Birthday Elise paper is his present project and first attempt at animation. 

He has learned how to write the words a quarter-inch at a time, take a photo of each step and convert it into animation so it looks like Happy Birthday Elise is being written all by itself on his computer screen.  He told me that the finished project at this point in time is 172 frames for the animation to write Happy Birthday Elise.  Elise has a birthday coming up and the week of her birthday he would like to start class with the animation on the screen wishing her a Happy Birthday.

There have been times in my life when I looked back at my Dad and thought that he was never around when I was growing up and that he was always working, too busy.  I suppose feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another.  It wasn’t about him it was more about me.  I don’t know what I thought he should have done and hadn’t, but it wasn’t a fair evaluation of the situation.  Dad’s project last night brought back many memories of growing up and special things that Dad did that I had forgotten about.

My brother was in Boy Scouts growing up and each year they had the annual Pine Wood Derby.  No one else had a chance of winning if my Dad and brother were in the race.  Dad and my brother worked for months on the pine car.  They were constantly working on the weight distribution and the contours of the car for the least amount of friction through the air as it traveled down the track.  It was a big event at our home for each of my three brothers.

Science fairs were also a big deal at our home.  Mom and Dad would both get into the project with which ever one of us six kids had a science project to work on that year.  One project that they helped my brother build was an apparatus that would test the effects of alcohol on a task.  The task was to move a handle with an eye hook on the end around a wire that looked like a roller coaster path.  If you touched the eye hook to the wire as you went through the course it would light up a bulb.  They had measurements along the course to keep track of how far you made it through the course.  It was a hard course but not impossible. 

Next they started consuming glasses of wine, one each hour, Mom and Dad, not my brother.  It was his job to record the results of their paths through the course.  They did several runs of the course without alcohol and then tested once each hour after their consumption began.  They did this for several hours one evening while we were watching a movie on TV.   My brother received a blue ribbon for the project but it was truly a family affair. 

One of the observations that I have made in the past few years as I was approaching the age 50 and beyond is that there are two ways to grow old.  One is to sit and think of all that might have been and feel sorry for yourself about all the things that you perceive to have been failures in your life.  It is easy to sit home and not be involved in the lives of others.  Waiting at home for them to come to you. 

 The second way to grow old is to do it gracefully.  Don’t resign from life as you retire but embrace it.  Don’t be afraid to learn new things and interact with other people.  My Dad at age 74 isn’t afraid of junior high and high school students.  He wants to take part in life. If that means learning something new to interact with young people he delves head on into it. 

I’m a long way off from retiring and maybe financially I may never be able to but I know from my Dad’s example that I will never retire from life, maybe my current job, but not my life.


Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Family, Inspiration, Life Happens


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Word for the Year…Persevere

Last evening I was checking out some new links for photography blogs.  I came across a blog called Shutter Sisters. I was amazed at how much content is on that one site.  It’s not only pictures but poetry, projects, and instruction.  It’s not just for photographers, I found it genuinely inspiring. 

One of the projects that they talk about on their website is the one word project.  It involves choosing a word, in their case to take pictures that prove their word, in life. 

“The first of the month always marks the One Word Project here at Shutter Sisters. It all began a few years back with inspiration from the awesome Ali Edwards and her One Little Word and since then we’ve dared to dream, wish, share, nurture and play. We’ve turned our lenses toward beauty, motion and gratitude. It’s been nothing short of inspiring!

As Ali has said, “One Little Word can make a big impact on your life” and we know it to be true.

There is no time like today to find a word that will help define the year ahead for you. Have you considered what YOUR word will be this year?”

I don’t know if I will take part in the One Word Project or not but it got me thinking.  What would my word for the year be?  After much thinking last evening and then again this morning I came up with the word persevere. 

Merriam-Webster defines persevere as: intransitive verb: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.

MSN Encarta dictionary defines persevere as: persist determinedly,  to persist steadily in an action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite problems or difficulties

There were many different definitions that I looked at but I liked these two the best for the following reasons.  In Merriam-Webster’s definition I liked the portion of the definition that said “or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement”

 In a time when everything we hear on the news or from our neighbors is discouraging in regards to the economy and general outlook it’s hard not to be discouraged but its important to get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other and do our jobs whatever they may be in spite of what others are saying. 

In the MSN Encarta definition the portion where it says to “persist determinedly” really spoke to me as an attitude issue in perseverence.  I not only need to persist in what I do but do it with determination and purpose. 

So in this new year I choose persevere.  What’s your word for 2011?


Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Blogging, Inspiration, Photography, Reflections


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The Right Attitude

Attitude Indicator-Image credit

Monday morning again.  Where did the weekend go and how did Monday morning get here so quickly?   I’m struck with extreme sluggishness after a weekend of busyness.  Too much of a sugar high after an evening of Halloween treats and an overall desire to climb back into my bed and pull the covers up over my head in perfect denial of a job waiting for me this morning.   Its going to take a great deal of attention on my part today to my attitude to be effective at work.

In flying, its all about the right attitude.    Flying by attitude means visually establishing the airplane’s attitude with reference to the natural horizon.  There are four components in attitude flying:  pitch, bank, power, and trim.  Each of these four components are important for the pilot to maintain his or her position relative to the horizon.  If the nose of the plane is too high or low relative to the horizon a pitch change is made using the elevator.  The desired bank angle relative to the horizon is achieved by using the ailerons for turning.  There are times when power needs to be added for more thrust or power needs to be removed for the desired attitude.  Lastly, the trim is used to relieve  all possible controls pressures after you have reached your desired attitude to help you maintain your attitude.

Today at work I will have to use my “pitch” control at work to keep me “up” at work and not depressed about having to be there because I am too tired from a weekend of too much UP TIME and not enough DOWN TIME , as in rest.

I will have to use my “bank” control to keep me from wandering from my appointed tasks at hand and keep me in level flight towards my goals for the day.  No sidetracked trips  to check emails or how my blog is doing today. 

“Power” will definitely need to be added today to keep my plane flying at the desired attitude of some forward motion in all that I do.

And once I am at the desired attitude at work some fine tuning will be required by adding some “trim” to my attitude.  How am I relating to others today?  I hope not crabby and cranky for they certainly don’t deserve it from me.  They are not the cause of my overall exhausted state.  So time to “Buck Up” as some would put it and find my best attitude for today.

The primary rule of attitude flying is:

The same rule can easily be applied in every job situation.  Have a great day at work!  I will, if I remember to start with the right attitude.

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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Flight training, Reflections


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My Load is Lighter…over 400 magazines to be exact

I love magazines.  I love to read them cover to cover.  Some of my favorites are home improvement magazines, cooking magazines, and especially flying magazines.  I love to keep them and go back and look at the pictures for various home improvement projects that I thought some day I would like to do.  The problem was getting out of hand.  I bought those handy storage containers for storing magazines.  I thought if they were kept neatly it was okay to keep them all.  They were taking up space in closets and shelves in just about every room in my house and some in the attic and garage.

One of the websites I frequent often is a home management system called  Each month she has a goal to work on in your home to make it a more enjoyable place to live.  This month the goal is to get rid of paper clutter.  She says living in clutter robs you of your peace. 

One reference she made when she made this statement was that we all love to stay in a nice clean motel/hotel.  What is it about it that we like?  It is the fact that it is uncluttered.  That’s what I want in my home.  Uncluttered and peaceful.  I am not a hoarder like the new TV reality shows but I do have areas in my home that have been taken over by my magazines and fabric that I use for sewing. 

Tuesday morning my grandson Jack and I loaded up the truck of my car and drove to the local recycling center and dropped them off.  Oh how I was tempted when I saw the cover of several magazines and wanted to keep just this one copy or maybe two as I was putting them into the recycling bin.

Then I found myself looking at what others had put in for recycling and realized that their magazines were different from the ones I was bringing and started to pick them up and read.  I put them back and thought of my goal of a clean, peaceful, and uncluttered home.  Bringing magazines home with me did not fit into my goal.  It’s a good thing I had Jack to keep me moving. 

The next thing on my list as far as paper clutter is all of my household records.  I love office supplies so I have found ways to keep just about everything paper for our household.  If I go in my attic I could find a box that contains receipts for what I paid for fuel oil for our first home.  We haven’t lived there since 1992.  It would be interesting trivia to read but I don’t think I need them anymore. 

My goal is to work on paring down all this paper for 15 minutes a day.  That I can handle.  I’ve already begun to tackle the mail each day as it comes into the home.  I stand next to the paper shredder, recycling and trash and sort immediately.  With four adults in our home we get a lot of mail. 

I’m feeling better already about my home and the spaces that I have cleared of clutter.  Sorry Tyler that the magazines had to go,  I know your love of magazines,  but the peace is worth it.  I will always read magazines just not keep them as long as I have in the past and pass them along to others to share.

I’ll let you know of my progress at the end of the month.

 My new idea of an uncluttered, calm, and peaceful life!


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I walked out on my computer on Friday and went to England and Australia for a change.

I knew this past weekend was going to be a busy one so on Friday afternoon as I headed off to the races I made a decision to have a computer free weekend.  I had a lot to accomplish and the lure of my keyboard would make my schedule tight if I was spending too much time on it instead the tasks I needed to accomplish.  It was amazing what I was able to accomplish over the weekend without my computer.  I’m not on my computer constantly but since I started my blog in January there has been a definite increase in my time spent on my computer.

Friday evening while I was at the races with my husband I thought “He has internet on his phone, I could just check my email and blog on that.”  “NO” , I told myself , ” This is a computer free weekend and that includes the phone!  No cheating.”  So I put down his phone and picked up the book I had brought with to read in between races and when I wasn’t doing that I visited with people at the track.

Saturday morning when I got up I got my coffee and headed straight for the computer.  “Not so fast, remember no computer this weekend.”  I changed my course and headed into the bathroom for my shower to get ready for the day.  But before I left the bathroom.  I cleaned it.  One thing done off my list.

Now for the second thing on my list.  That required a lot of time in the kitchen.  Sunday was my nephew’s graduation party and I promised my sister-in-law that I would make a double batch of my chicken salad that our family likes for the party.  I spent two hours in the kitchen preparing all the stuff for the salad and getting the various parts in the refrigerator so all I would have to do is mix it all together on Sunday before we headed to the party.  While I was in the kitchen I took a few minutes between different parts of the salad preparation and threw in a few loads of laundry which was my third thing on my list.

All around me I was surrounded by computers calling my name.  My husband was on his laptop in the livingroom.  My son was also on his laptop in the livingroom.  My daughter was in the sun porch on her computer working on homework for an online computer class and then when I went in the bedroom to put laundry away there was my computer sitting all alone in the corner just waiting for me.  Back to my list. 

My reward for not working on the computer this weekend was some time spent in a good book after a few things were off my list like my number 1 priority, the salad.  So I picked up my book “All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot” and my coffee and headed outside to my porch to read my book and watch it rain.  How relaxing and I started my vacation in the English countryside as depicted my James Herriot.  This was the fourth thing on my list and by far my favorite. 

Next it was off to my sister-in-laws to cut up fruit for the party for three hours which was task number 5.  We worked and talked together for three hours.  I hadn’t spent that much time visiting with her since our kids were young and played together on our beach when they were young.  Back then we had time for iced tea down by the lake while the kids played in the sand and swam.  Now all of our kids are grown and graduated except her youngest, a trailer five years behind the one who just graduated.  We live just 6 miles apart.  When did life get so busy?

When I got home around five I looked around the house and everyone was still busy on their computers and mine was still sitting in the corner in the bedroom looking forlorn.   I resisted the temptation and instead headed down into the basement where we are finishing a family room and my sewing room.  I had plenty of painting to keep me busy. I put the movie “Australia” in the DVD and took out my painting supplies and started painting the family room, then my sewing room and finally the walls as you go down the steps to the basement.  Six hours later and sore arms and legs,  I had a lot of painting done but the job is not quite finished.  I think I have another 3-4 hours to complete the task before I can start on the window trim and baseboard before we install it.  At least task number 6 was six hours closer to being done than it was before this weekend started.

Sunday morning I was up earlier for task number 7 which was to make some mixed nut bars for the graduation party before church and to put the finishing touches on the salad.  Off to church by 9:20 and sitting in church it was time for task number 8 but not at the time I had planned for it.  Task number 8 was to fit in a nap sometime this weekend.  I just didn’t plan on falling asleep in church and having my daughter keep elbowing me to keep me awake.  I wasn’t quite the restful nap I had desired.  So much for task 8, it was attempted but not completed satisfactorily.

Next it we were off to my sister-in-law’s for my nephew’s party.  I worked in the kitchen from one to six o’clock and visited with friends and relatives as they came to fill their plates.  It was the perfect place to be.  Close to the coffee pot and all the food.  The side benefit was I got to see everyone.  Task nine completed.

Now it was time for task ten.  I put on my pajamas when we got home after cleaning up from the party and I was in bed by nine with my book and it was back to England and a decent night’s sleep.  It’s Monday now and my computer doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from my absence and the 33 messages in my email account were still there waiting this morning but this morning I am in a better place for having walked away from my computer on Friday.  I wonder where will I go next weekend?


Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Life Happens, New Challenges


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Water Over the Dam and Decluttering Mind and Soul…

Little Falls Dam


I’ve heard the term more than once in my life, “It’s just water over the dam”.  I’ve never really given it much thought until this morning when I drove by a local dam on the way to an eye appointment and started thinking about the water going over the dam and how it relates to our mind and soul.  

The water over the dam is life experiences traveling over the dam.  They are here one moment and gone the next.  As they go over the dam they can become useful and generate energy in our lives.  For those who hold onto negative life experiences and don’t let go they can cause flooding into other areas of their lives.  I was reminded of this at a family gathering this past weekend. 

The mother of three daughters and one son lived a very simple life in a home that she raised her family.  Her husband and son died years ago and she has been gone for 20 years.  The youngest of the three daughters died nearly five years ago and  yet her mother’s home stands untouched inside since her death.  The two remaining daughters unable to empty it because they can’t decide who should get what in the home.  It seems over time that one daughter received more from her mother in her lifetime than the other so apparently she should be entitled to less.  Instead of making a decision they have let the home’s roof rot and the belongings be destroyed by water and rodents.  Where is the sense in this?  There is nothing in my home that would cause me to sacrifice a family relationship over a material belonging.  

Perhaps it would make more sense if the mother actually had some items of value but she slept in single bed that she moved into her kitchen each fall where there was a space heater.  She would put up plastic to block off the small bedroom and livingroom to conserve energy.  She grew a garden every summer to supply most of her nutritional needs.  She didn’t own a car and most of her furnishings in her home were from the 1940’s and sparse at that.  There are two small bedrooms upstairs that have a few boxes of personal items in them.  She was legally blind and frugal her entire life.  Her bedroom still has the clothes hanging in the closet.  Any items in the home could have been used by someone in need years ago if they had been donated but instead selfishness and pettiness overruled generosity.  

Its time to reassess what is really important in this world and what is worth preserving.  People or material things.  God gave us friends and family to enrich our lives.  People to help us celebrate our achievements and encourage  and support us through our failures and difficult times.  How tragic to sacrifice personal relationships for material things that will deteriorate over time no matter who has possession of them.  Let some water over your dam that has been flooding other areas of your life and move on to a better life.  Less is truly better than more.

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Posted by on May 10, 2010 in Inspiration, Reflections


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Sunday Night Blues Revisited

Sunday Night Blues Revisited

It was about a month ago when I first posted Sunday Night Blues. Tonight is a different kind of Sunday Blue. Today and tonight rather than sitting and thinking about going back to work tomorrow already I started to do some things that I knew would make my walk out of the door tomorrow morning for work much sweeter.

Yesterday after I got home from work around 1pm I started cleaning up “hot spots” in my kitchen. For those of you who don’t know what “hot spots” are in my kitchen they are areas that tend to accumulate miscellaneous stuff that has no place in my kitchen except for the fact that someone placed them there because they were too lazy or tired to put them where they really belong. For example winter coats always end up on the backs of the kitchen chairs because of course they will be worn again sometime this weekend so why put them away now. The other stuff that tends to accumulate in my kitchen is the mail for everyone in the family.

I get mail for my four grown children, my husband and I. The kids come home just about every weekend and pick up their mail but I’ve yet to find a place to keep it where it will be accessible but not out of sight because things like bills need to be paid. I’m working on a basket system for each of them and I try to handle our mail on a daily basis. I’m trying to pay bills as they come in the mail and not wait if possible and get read of junk mail daily. My new resolution for paper is try to touch it only once if possible. File it, pay it, or trash it ASAP so it won’t accumulate or have to be dealt with later.

Last evening I spent putting the second coat of paint on our family room we’ve been working on for about two years. It felt so good to finally get that done. I put the outlet covers and furnace vent covers on after the paint dried. Next I put up some shelves to hold our DVD’s, CD’s and books in the family room so that allowed me to unpack some boxes and bring all the movies to one location in the house. Once there is a place for something in your home and everyone knows where it goes it is so much easier to keep things organized and clean.

Today after church I continued on my progress of finishing things that have been left undone for too long. I dug out some paint for my kitchen and painted a small area that has remained unpainted for the past two years when I had the kitchen floor replaced and took out a pantry and moved the refrigerator to a different wall. The unpainted wall has been the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. It took about 20 minutes to take out the paint and supplies, paint the wall about 8′ by 8′, and touch up a few spots on the kitchen wall. I found a piece of leftover baseboard to install behind the refrigerator on the wall I just painted. That project took all of about 10 minutes to install and complete. Why did I wait so long? Now when I walk into my kitchen each day as I come home from work I am not greeted with an unfinished wall with missing baseboard.

I’ve been doing laundry all day so that will be done tonight. Vacuuming the livingroom and bedroom are next. After that its on to the bathroom for a quick cleaning. Why all the work around the house this weekend? Tomorrow we will have a visitor new to our home, a friend of my daughter. I started thinking this week that we only get one chance at a first impression. My daughter’s friend is no different from any other visitor to our home. Not a celebrity just someone who is coming to our home for the first time. Lately I’ve been thinking that I could do a better job at first impressions and caring for my home and that may just lead to less Sunday Night Blues.


Posted by on February 21, 2010 in New Challenges, Reflections


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Extended Centerline- Where Am I Going?

Redwood Forest - They know where they are going...UP! UP! UP!!!

This morning I was up flying with my CFI trying to polish up a few maneuvers before we schedule my check ride.  As I was taking off I started thinking about the extended centerline of the runway.  When I was learning how to fly, I learned to look down the centerline of the runway, look beyond, find something straight ahead for a reference point.  The purpose is so that when I can no longer see the runway line ahead of me as I lift off the runway there would be a  point ahead that will help me keep aligned to the runway and on course.

I probably should have been more focused on my flying instead of my thoughts because my manuevers weren’t great.  Some days are thinking days for me and I just have to go with them.  In life, I think to get where we want to go we have to have an extended centerline.  We have to have a place ahead of us in time that when we are on a path somewhere and we can’t see exactly where we are, we can look ahead and say, “There is where I want to be and adjust my course to get back on track.” 

Extended center lines can take many forms in life.  For some it is making a to do list each day and strictly adhering to it moving neither to the left or the right and crossing off item after item as the day progresses.  Others set longer term goals without much thinking about time, money or a path to their goals.  It doesn’t matter how or how long it takes to get to their goal or who they have to step over or on as long as they eventually get there.  I like to share my goals, life dreams and plans with others so that I am held accountable if it is truly something I want to carry out. 

Flying for me has been a life dream since I graduated from high school.  I started pursuing it almost 30 years later but it is still something I want to do.  I’m near the end and close to my check ride.  At first I didn’t tell anyone except for my husband that I was learning to fly.  A couple months went by before I told my four kids.  Its been a year and half since I started and now the hard part is being so close to the end and having the friends and family that I shared my dream of flying with asking me, “Are you done yet?” 

They are my extended centerline, the ones who keep me on course, when I have days of flying like today where nothing seemed to go right and I find myself asking “Why am I doing this?”  It would be easier to not push myself to finish up and complete what I started but the certificate in hand will be worth all the hard work, late nights studying, and sleepless nights wondering if I would ever be able to land the plane correctly. 

Do you have someone to encourage you, someone to be your extended centerline.  Life is hard, but having someone to help keep you on course and on the path you intended makes the journey so much sweeter.  I’ve looked around me and starting thinking about others that I could mentor or be their extended centerline.  That someone could be younger or older.  There are always ways to encourage others, you just have to start the flight.

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Posted by on January 18, 2010 in Flight training


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