Farewell, Charlie Brown--50 years of flights and stories

"When I was little, I wondered how an airplane could fly if it couldn’t breathe,” said Yunike Hermanus.

Hermanus was talking about the Cessna 185 with the affectionate name of “Charlie Brown” that has served indigenous Kalimantan, Indonesia, communities for almost 50 years and 23,000 hours of flight time.

It is one of two Cessna 185s that have retired after nearly 100 total years of service in Indonesia, according to officials with Mission Aviation Fellowship.

For the rest of the story that I wrote for General Aviation News, follow this link. https://generalaviationnews.com/2017/10/17/well-done-faithful-servants/




Their stories, my stories

I could hardly breathe, listening to Yunike’s story.

Our kids were playing marbles in the dirt road outside of her Borneo home. The electricity had been off in my friend’s neighborhood for hours. The stifling air added to her story, the heaviness of the moment turning into sweat running down my face. Yunike Hermanus, my Indonesian friend, was telling a part in her life story I’d never before heard.

She was dying on that day almost 20 years ago, in a remote Borneo village where she and her husband worked, unconscious from her sickness. Someone took her on a boat to a village with a dirt airstrip that villagers had carved out of the jungle by hand years beforehand. A small Cessna 185 plane picked her up and took her to a hospital—where she spent three months recovering.

“I don’t know if I’d be alive today if that airplane hadn’t taken me,” she said, then leaned closer to me, studying my face. “I told you all this before, right?”

I shook my head.

The rest of this story can be found at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' blog.



Starting Here

So, how do I start the first blog of a brand new site?

That quote is hanging on the wall of a room in which I’m staying right now. I say it that way because even explaining the physical location where I am and why I’m there would take up an entire post.  Our family has had a lot of transition in the last couple of years, for a lot of reasons. We moved, we evacuated, we moved again, then we had a hospital stay for our son and an emergency trip to Singapore, then we moved to another temporary place because of some urgent flying needs, and we’ll move back home to Palangkaraya in a couple of weeks. 

Most of those moves and places were surprises. All had their struggles. I found support, encouragement and strength in each one. I also changed and grew and deepened somewhere in all the packing, uprooting, crying, making of mistakes, praying, learning, exploring, friend-making. I hope to share some of those stories on this blog over the next months.

I think back to the “Home is where the Army sends you” that hung on many of the walls of my friends’ houses, growing up. The word “home” has always been a bit of a moving target for me. And yet, it's something I'm intent on creating.

All I can really say now is that I’m here.

And my heart? Where is it? Here, too.  In a vulnerable place, realizing how fragile life can be. Here, sometimes in an anxious place, carrying big fears and little ones, holding questions, at times up too late at night wondering things. Here, often in a brave place, as I continue to dig my heels down into this Borneo soil. Wanting so much for it to be home, to really live next to my neighbors in their “here” places. Desiring to use what makes me feel so vulnerable as a point of connection to others in vulnerable places.

As far as my book dream goes, I'm here--vulnerable, anxious, brave. Vulnerable, any time I write words down to carry everything that’s in my heart. Vulnerable as I wait for news of publication of my first novel…that may never come. Anxious, wondering if I’m good enough yet at this, wondering if I’ll ever be. And brave…as I keep learning and keep writing (and rewriting and rewriting).

I have my dreams, my goals, my ideas of how I want my book to go, how I want relationships to be, how I hope my kids will grow, how I want to take a nap later today (and hope the power doesn’t go out so that it’s not stifling hot to do so). In my hopeful moments, I can see it in my head, the pieces all somehow forming something cohesive eventually, though I don’t yet know what that picture will be. 

But then there’s the blank page…or the blank screen…or the heavy heart…and I wonder where to even start.

So today, I start here. In this good and important place, where I am, ready for the surprise of inciting events and plot and…life that happens next.