Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quiet Sunday Afternoon

It's now early evening after a very quiet Sunday afternoon.
I spent the early part of the afternoon watching the Cardinals become the National League team with the best record for the season and securing home field advantage for the Post-Season. I was also keeping track of the American League Cleveland Indians and am pleased to say that they (and my high-school friend's son) are in post-season play, as well!

Chris is out for the day, so I just did a little channel surfing after the game and found Moneyball--a great movie to watch on the final day of the regular season.

I need to get on the bicycle or exercise bike and put in a few miles, but I really don't feel like it. I'm within a half pound of losing 25 pounds, perhaps by Tuesday, Oct. 1. I imagine that I'll put in a few miles before the night is over. I need to keep a little discipline in my schedule. I managed 40 miles in three nights last week. Maybe I can try for a few more miles this week.

In reality, I find the diet discipline to be a lot easier than the exercise disciple. Maybe it has to do with the time commitment to exercise. In addition to more healthful foods, I've managed to cut out the diet sodas. That's just about trying to keep the chemical crap out along with fewer processed foods and less sugar. I know that I should be feeling a lot better--less weight, more exercise, better diet--but I really don't feel much different. It seems that I've always been that way. More sleep/less sleep, caffeine/no caffeine, over-eating/fasting--it never really seems to make much difference in how I feel or my overall energy level. Day to day, I still feel like the same person.

I am thinking more about healthy choices--what I eat, when I eat, etc. I skip exercise as often as I decided to "get'r done" but still think about it when I make the decision to skip--I don't know if that's good or bad, but it is a step in the right direction.

Last week, I wore two shirts that I bought about three and a half years ago. At the time I bought them (at a season end clearance sale) I figured if I lost a few pounds, they'd fit well. Instead I slowly managed to gain about twenty pounds and they hung in my closet (along with several other shirts and slacks that no longer fit) until a few days ago.

Okay--enough of putting off the inevitable exercise. Well, almost enough--first the Sunday call to the folks, then the bike.

Sigh. The life of a fat boy that's trying not to be...

John <><

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Personality Profile

Blogging from my phone again this morning so I expect this to be relatively brief. 

Part of the two day class I took earlier this week included a 3 in 1 assessment that evaluated spiritual gifts, personality traits and how the two worked together.

I'm always amazed at how accurate these little tests are--at least the spiritual gifts surveys. As far as the personality profile goes, I only remember taking one other test many years ago. It seemed to make a fair assessment of me, but I have to say that I'm not a big fan of self-evaluation. I'm not sure that I really like the person that I am. 

Oh, I'm apparently easy enough to get along with and most people think I'm a likable kind of guy. It's just that I find myself tolerating most people rather than really liking them. That doesn't seem like a very good quality for a preacher/pastor kind of guy, does it?

People generally frustrate me. Even though I somehow manage to be at the center of things in a group of people, I'd usually rather be by myself. Again--not the kind of thing you look for in a preacher. 

The spiritual gifts surveys show my strengths as evangelism, leadership, knowledge/wisdom and pastor/teacher. I imagine there could be a good argument made against the knowledge/wisdom part and given my tendency to not like people, the pastor thing also seems a bit out of place. 

I don't have the profile in front of me (I loaned it to a friend that likes that kind of thing) so I can't say exactly what it said about me...and it doesn't really matter. The purpose of the survey is to help in dealing with other people; to give it to a team so that the leader (me, in the training scenario) knows how to deal with the individuals on the team. Something like this would be a great tool for FAA supervisors to have in dealing with the mix of personalities that make up the ATC work force.

I don't know if you can really change your personality profile or not. Are we stuck with those particular traits whether we like them or not? Will I always not like and not trust most people? It seems like it would be a pretty miserable way to live; and yet I'm really not a miserable guy. In fact, most of the time I'm a pretty happy guy.

I'm just glad that I'm not a supervisor or coworker that has to deal with me. I probably wouldn't like myself! 

Sorry for the rant.

John <><

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reuniting...or Not

My high school class is meeting this weekend for our 35th Class Reunion.

As much as I would like to be there, I'll be at work. While this would normally be my day off, I'm working tonight so that I could have the day off last Monday for a class I needed to take at the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have made keeping in touch with classmates from the past easier. I have really enjoyed seeing current pictures and finding out what everybody's been doing over the past decades. Enjoy your time together, my friends.

The Past is a great place to visit from time to time. It is also a poor place to hang out for very long. We can reminisce about the good times, laugh about our younger selves and the silly immature mistakes that we made, and make amends for any poor behaviors. But let's face it--The Past is no place to live.

We now have our own kids (and grandkids) and lives and many of us have a grand amount of experience that is far removed from the small community of Chillicothe IL. I'm sure that sharing those stories and experiences will be a pleasure that I will miss.

Enjoy yourselves, my friends!

John <><

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Changing Seasons

In just under two hours, the sun will slip across the equator marking the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere (20:44 UTC or 3:44pm CDT).

It's a beautiful day in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri: sunny, clear. 70F--a classic kind of day for the first day of fall.

The change of season always makes me want to reflect a little on the passing of time. Maybe it has to do with aging. I hate to say that I'm entering my own fall of life, but there is no denying that Chris and I are definitely moving into a new stage of life as Aaron and Jenny are making there own life in Chicago and Hannah is close to graduating from college and getting on with her own life, as well.

A typical fall day is a pretty good analogy for my life right now: mild summer-like days and cool, comfortable nights--not really feeling old, but no longer young, either.

I'm really looking forward to the coming years. Retirement looms large in the near future and I'm looking at life beyond ATC. I've recently purchased a magic show for elementary school age kids and hope to be doing that along with the magic ministry. I'm taking a two day course in transitional pastoring this week and hope to be able to serve churches that are between pastors. While I am looking forward to not having to "go to work" everyday, I'm really not planning on being idle. I have no idea what ministry roles I might find myself in during the coming months, but I do want to be prepared to step into whatever God has in mind for me.

I've never really felt the calling of a pastor. However, I am willing to fill that role (at least on a temporary basis) should that need arise. In any case, I have a lot to learn about serving others.

I've read a lot of people's comments that indicate that fall is a favorite season for a great many people. I'm not a real fan of fall--mostly because I'm not a real fan of winter and that's what comes next! Oh I like the temps and the lower humidity, but spring offers the same without the coming cold season. I guess I would rather have the spring with the coming summer than the fall and the following winter.

While life has its own cycles, they don't repeat like our annual seasons do. We are left to manage the time and the changes as best as we can and live them out in a way that honors God and serves others.
I don't know what season of life you find yourself in right now. I do hope that you are honoring God and serving others well, according to your own abilities and calling.

Work--when it's time to work (we were created to work with purpose). Rest when it's time to rest (rest was created for us). Serve God always, for He deserves our service.

Happy First Day of Fall!

John <><

Monday, September 16, 2013


Wow! Another week without a post.
Shame on me.

Last Saturday was our first Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers (OCACW) meeting for the 2013-14 year. I need that kind of encouragement to keep writing. I hardly consider blogging (at least the kind of blogging that I do) as real writing, but it's something and I guess that's better than nothing.

Last week was a big week for me. I made a purchase that moves me a little closer to leaving behind the world of air traffic control and on to something else to occupy my time.

I purchased a magic show!

The program is a drug awareness/anti-drug type of show that is designed for elementary age kids. It is well done and delivers a strong message about Drugs, Strangers & other Dangers. I'm looking forward to working on the act and getting to the place that I can start booking the show. If I stay within a few hours of home for a short time, I'll be able to perform on most Thursdays and Fridays during the school year. Monday mornings are also a possibility.

If you are an elementary teacher, counselor or administrator (or are close to one), let me know if you are interested in more info. Part of doing this type of business will also involve promoting myself through media and other promotional means. That's a whole new aspect of the business for me. As a bonus, the the team that sold me the program will also help me get started with bookings and promotion. That was a key part of my decision to go ahead and take the risk.

In other news...
I'm looking forward to a brief presentation at the Tri-county Baptist Association's Annual Meeting this Thursday night. It's a new presentation, but I had the opportunity to share it with the member of our OCACW club on Saturday. I think it went well.

Next week is a the two day class on transitional pastoring--another step towards leaving the ATC gig behind.

I also have a couple of programs (my usual church event type) booked for October. As a side note to booking church programs, I think that booking school shows in the areas where I'm doing church events is something that I'll be working in the coming months.

I'll be flying solo for the first part of the week as Chris and a friend are getting ready to leave for Chicago for a few days. As a matter of fact, since I'm their ride to the airport, I'd better wrap this up and get myself ready to go.

John <><

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Message in Magic

This morning I'm meeting with some old friends that are considering selling off a part of their magic business. So far, almost all of the magic that I do has been for churches or church groups and is to share the Message of Salvation.

I have done a number of high school, junior high and elementary school programs, but as a rule--it's just been church stuff.

This would keep with the Message in Magic, it would just be a different message and it would keep me busy in the school market. To date, I've not really done any kind of marketing and scheduling weekend events has been pretty easy. Scheduling school day events will be a little more challenging, but do-able.

Time to go. I'll report back...if there is anything to report.

John <><

Friday, September 06, 2013

Living the Life

It's been a few days since I managed a short post via cell phone. I don't really like using my cell for blogging, e-mailing, etc. I don't mind reading on my phone, but anything other than a short text is not for me.

Consequently, I've been doing less blogging since I always have my phone handy and seldom bring my laptop. I have an Android clone tablet that is okay, but still works like a large phone for the most part. I have thought about a small Chromebook and think that would probably be my best option for lightweight internet access.

My life is a good one.

Last weekend we went to see Aaron and Jenny in Chicago. Actually we went for the UFC fights is Milwaukee, seeing Aaron and Jenny was a grand bonus. It was a good night and I'm looking forward to our next father-son fight gathering in Las Vegas after Christmas.

Right now, I'm getting more serious about life after retirement from ATC. I've sent in my request for retirement benefits estimate and am looking at options for post retirement life. Some interesting things have come up. I'll keep you posted as things work their way into or out of the possibilities.

One of the things that came up will be beneficial in any case. I managed to get a couple of days off (with the help of co-workers) later this month for a two day training course on transitional pastoring. This will help me to serve churches that are between pastors. Unfortunately, it happen more often that you might think and with sixty churches in our local association, I could stay pretty busy.

I don't really know what post retirement will look like. I've never really worked at doing magic for anything other than churches (although I have done a few things), and I've never worked on marketing my shows or promoted myself for preaching revivals or any other church events like camps, VBS, AWANA or anything else. If that's the direction that I go, I'll have to brush up on the sales skills of the distant past and begin hustling gigs!

As far as work goes, it's still a pretty good gig.
But the face of ATC is changing and I'm one of the old guys. According to a recent Washington Post article, by 2016, the average tenure of an air traffic controller will be just five years. Perhaps it's just time to turn it over to the next generation of controllers.

Today, I'll be catching up on some much needed yard work. Hopefully, that's one thing that I'll be better able to keep up with in retirement. After working a mid, I'll catch up with Chris and others tomorrow at the campground for a weekend of camping and boating.

Did I mention that my life is a good one?

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend.

John <><

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor Day Weekend on the Road

I find myself blogging on the road via my Samsung Galaxy S3. Mostly I'm just bored and uncomfortable as we roll on the highway towards home.

I had a great weekend.

The plans initially were that Aaron's father in law and I were making the trip to see the UFC fights Milwaukee on Saturday night. Somewhere along the way it ended up being a two family outing.

It's always great to visit with the kids and I enjoy going to church with them on Sunday mornings.

We had a wonderful cookout at Jenny's cousin's yesterday. I guess that makes the all day drive a bit easier to take today. I haven't done so well on the road trip as far as diet goes and I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's weigh in.

On the other hand, it is a new month and a fresh start. My Run Keeper activity tracker says that I exercised more times and put on more miles in August than in any previous month. It was still a pretty low amount so I should be able to set new records for September.

I need to get in a bike ride tonight after spending the day sitting in the truck.

I hope that your day is more eventful that mine.

Hug a Union thug.

John <><