The Six Things I’m Packing This Year?

Do you have a particular way you pack your suitcase? 

Do you pre-plan what you’re going to take weeks in advance or, PW, do you fly by the seat of pants?

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Me? I’m a plan-ahead packer.  I check the weather for my upcoming destination (usually ten days in advance), gather my 2-oz bottles and mentally begin deciding which outfits I want to take.  I’m sure it drives my husband crazy.  After all, he does travel on a weekly basis, and half of his stuff is already in a bag.

 While it may be easy for our pilots to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice, we PW’s many of us may not be so adventurous. But this year I want to flip the switch. I want to say, “Where are going and what do I need to pack?” when my husband invites me with him on a trip. It won’t be easy to do this, but I think it will grow me and our marriage as well.

My packing list for 2019

For the New Year, my goal is to pack items that will get me out of my comfort zone. When 2019 comes to a close, I hope that I will have grown and matured into an accomplished traveler God intended me to be. And I learned to pack without overthinking my choices. 

I’m choosing this new way of traveling because last year was a challenging, yet encouraging year for me. I finally found my writing voice. (I still need that extra voice of from editor, but I’ve found my own to share with others.)

Whether we realize it or not, all of us are approaching a new year with new arrivals in our lives.

That means we might need to pack a little differently going forward. For me,  I’m going to make sure I have the following with me whenever I had out on a journey.

 1.The idea that  I don’t have to conquer “everything” at once. Jeff and I have entered the Empty Nest season of life…  Do I have to have it all figure out immediately? No!  I had one PW tell me to relish in the spontaneity, have no agenda and think of ourselves as newlyweds. It’s a process, and it takes time to adjust.

2. To not immediately say no to new opportunities just because I don’t know the outcome. I want to be flexible and dare to try something different. When Jeff says we’re going someplace warm, I’m going to have my swimsuit ready, even though I don’t feel pretty enough.

3. To not overthink past failures and regrets.  In the past, I often compared myself to other women and believed that I wasn’t a good mom. Many times I wouldn’t speak up as a wife and admit to needing help or wanting my own joy. This year, I’m letting that go and promising myself to be more vocal of my needs rather than stuffing them in a bag.

4. To be true to me.  If I had a one-word mantra for the new year, I immediately said, “My voice.” In 2018 I found my voice in so many different ways, and I want to continue strengthening in 2019.

5. To not get so wrapped up in the jacket of discouragement. Instead of wrapping myself in defeat, I want to wear the coat of encouragement that reminds me I’m doing what is best for my child. Yes, my son is at boarding school. Having him attend this school will be awesome for him in so many areas of his teenage life. I want the best for my son. I want him to excel and shine into what God has for him. 

6. Find a sense of adventure and be willing to take risks. My girls told me over the holidays that I needed to revisit that girl.  They encouraged me to take that trip to Paris, go out on date nights and be bold in voicing what I want. They both unanimously said, “Its time, Mom, its time!”

6 things i will pack 2019

 

 

A new bag for 2019 

So my fellow PW’s, when you pull out your suitcase to a new destination, pick out the things that will bring you boldness, the willingness to be flexible and spontaneous and adventurous.  More importantly, the one outfit that makes you, you!

 

 

 

How will you pack for 2019? What goals do you hope to accomplish, or what word will guide as your travel through the year? Leave a comment; I’d love to hear what it is!

Happy New Year!

Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

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How to Discover Your Next Steps When You’re Re-routed.

 

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If I had a dollar whenever someone asked me where Jeff was flying to, I’d be one wealthy woman!  The majority of the time I tell people, “I have no idea. His route changes all the time because of weather, late arrivals or they need him to fly a different trip then was scheduled. There’s no set route.” ( Go here to read more PW questions I get asked.)

As much as we like predictability in life, we know that life is anything but predictable. There are always constant changes and re-routes thrown our way.

So, my PW girlfriend let me ask you… Do you fly the same route? Do you have a specific itinerary for your day, your week, or even the next five years?

I know, I know. You must be thinking – Wait, you’re kidding, right?

I feel as if I always have to shift my routing from one place to another. Whether, it’s five minutes, a week or the next five years, I’m always thinking and praying about what’s next.

What’s the best route for me?

This morning I listened to a podcast, “Girls Night Out,” with Stephanie Wilson.  The guest speaker was Emily P. Freeman, who was sharing how she discovered what the “Next Right Thing” was for her. In other words, what is the next best route for me at this time in my life,  and for the season I’m in?

Listening to Emily, I started to question what my next step was. What do I need to be doing or changing in my life right now? It can be making goals you want to accomplish, losing weight, perusing a career or opening a business. It’s your journey.

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  What’s my direction?

We all find ourselves planning, preparing, and making a check-list for our day-to-day operations. But when life throws us off course and we are to figure out how to bring back focus that’s when Emily said, “Ask yourself what makes sense to me today?”

Thinking about that, I asked myself what makes the most sense for me right now and remembered I needed to take the clothes out of the dryer. ( literally, I was thinking that)

But yet, I still have more significant questions about the bigger things in my life. What makes sense for me to focus not only today but a month from now, six months or even a year from now.

Recently I’ve struggled to figure out what’s next in certain aspects of my life. To be honest, some of them cause my anxiety levels to rise, but at the same time I find myself more courageous as I pursue the things that really matter to me :

1. What to do about my writing journey? I’ve been writing continuously for a year now, and I’ve seen myself evolving and changing the way I think and write. I’ve been more willing to share my struggles and vulnerability that wasn’t there before. Don’t get me wrong I still struggle with opening up my heart. But as I sit down at my computer and search for the words that will bring hope and love to other women I’m compelled to keep moving forward.

2. What can I do to bring hospitality back into my life?  A Book Club, Supper Club, something that allows me to open my heart and doors to a community of women who enjoy reading, eating and sharing the love of God. But being hospitable requires courage to step out, invite others to join me, and let go my control. (which is a whole another  story!).

3. What is the next step in my season of parenting a teenage boy? I often find myself on my knees praying for wisdom and direction. At the moment I’m fearful of where God’s path may be in leading us concerning our son’s next season of life. Letting go and trusting that God knows what is my son’s best thing is hard.

When is all said and done, the heart question I need to be asking is: Am I willing to change my route or am I going to stay grounded in fear?  Sometimes that is a difficult question to ask.

These are the things that have me questioning my current flight path and the possibility of re-routing. I’m having to approach things differently as a woman, a mom, and a wife. For you, it might be something else.

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There are days when turbulent moments/events will happen.  When they do, I remind myself  of one of my favorite go-to verses: “Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” Proverbs 3:6 CEV 

When it comes to offering advice on the best possible route or step someone should take, I’ll admit, I’m no expert. When I question my path, I rely on God to show me. He always makes it clear to me what my next route is.

What will you choose when things change, and you’re to consider when life is re-routed? What will be your next step be?

fullsizeoutput_4b1   Take-off and Landings always, Tiffany

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How I Found my Window Seat of Confidence

How I Found my Window Seat of Confidence

I’m usually not the one who does the travel planning for a trip. I leave that to the experienced travel companion of mine. I just layout where I want to go, the dates we are available and the sights and restaurants I would like to visit. Once I communicate the desired plans to my husband, I can focus on the more important things. Like what to pack! Hey, I have my priorities in check.

A few months ago I took the left seat in planning a trip that was just my daughters and me. It was my youngest daughter’s, Jillian, 21st birthday. She had asked if we could plan a trip to Carmel and Monterey area of California and visit a winery. Once I said yes, I received a detailed list of what my daughter wanted to do and see. With wishlist in hand, it was time for me to get my wheels turning and planning.

My doubtfulness made its arrival

Have you planned something where you have it all mapped from start to finish? Well, I had the arrival of her best friend, Rebecca, to come hours before Jillian was going to get to the house. I envisioned the look of shock as Jillian witnessed her big surprise as she walked into the house.

Unfortunately, that ideal surprise did not play out the way I had hoped. At midnight Rebecca arrived, twelve hours later than expected. I had to adjust a few things to make Rebecca’s arrival a secret and make up an excuse to have Jillian go with me to pick up “a friend” at the airport. Let me just say, Jillian was super surprised! “Mom our family doesn’t do surprises, cause no one can hold a secret” she kept telling me. Little did she know!

IMG_1170With just three hours of sleep that night we woke up excited and ready to enjoy our girls trip. When we finally arrived at our destination, got our rental car and googled mapped our way to our little Air B&B, Jillian said, “Mom, you’re the airport travel queen, you’ve got this down!” What? What they didn’t know was that I was sweating, and my stomach was in knots. The fear of having to do this all by myself scared me!

Why?

1. I didn’t have the security of having Jeff with me.
2. I had to google map everything. I know I can do it, but there is something about having a husband that deals with maps on a daily occurrence.
3. Jeff can navigate his way through any airport all I have to do is follow him.

For me, this trip was a life lesson that I will never forget.

Unpacking the courage I’d been looking for

I’m sure at some point in your life you have heard someone say that they had to travel the world to discover themselves. We all have that desire to find out what it is that makes you, you.

Before this trip was in the planning stages, I found myself praying of what would bring me joy, and renew confidence that I’d lost somewhere between raising kids to having adult children — now. What dreams or goals do I want to accomplish for myself?

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Ever had those thoughts?

I know that I’m not the only PW that struggles with longings of joy and looking for that once lost desire to reach a goal. I know that many of us can’t exactly runaway to California in wishes to discover a new found confidence or yearning we have.

I will say this: I learned a few things about myself, including ~

1. I know that I’m capable of planning a trip from point A to point B. Setting some personal goals that I want to do.
2. Navigating is not as hard as I make it out to be. Just gotta write it out.
3. Don’t be fearful of taking the lead when things are not going as planned.
4. Be flexible in the plan. If what you’re hoping for doesn’t happen as expected, try another way.

With all that being said, doing something that was entirely out of my comfort zone made me discover courage that I didn’t think I had.

We all have that within us, what about you?

Whatever it might be my hope and prayer is that we never stop traveling to find those little discoveries that are deep in our hearts and continue to grow in what God has for us.

I challenge you to find something that will make you get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you need to…

Call a friend that you would like to get to know more.
Start that exercise program that you keep telling yourself that you’re going to do.
Plan a little getaway with your husband.

 

If you are thinking about something, do it! Tell me what it is. I’d love to hear about it.

fullsizeoutput_4b1 Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

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The Passengers of my Life

The Passengers of my Life

With my coffee in hand, I sat down at my desk, powered up my laptop, and clicked on Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I noticed that one of my posts from Takeoff and Landings was shared on a PW’s page; I couldn’t help but get a little giddy.

Wow! Someone must have liked what I’d written.

However, within seconds of viewing their post, there were some negative comments that a few people felt compelled to share.  To me, it felt like a dozen people were stating their opinion, but in reality, there were only one or two. Unfortunately, for them, they didn’t agree with my Christian viewpoints as it was related to being a Pilot’s wife.

Needless to say, my day had vastly taken a nose dive and landed hard with tears of negativity and doubt.

Have you ever encountered those types of passengers showing up and choosing to sit right next to you?

Those two “wonderful passengers” (sarcastic tone) grabbed a seat and within minutes became a thorn in my side. They stole my armrest, talked non-stop in my ears and wouldn’t let me have a moments peace. Sadly, it was a long, long, flight for me. That lasted a week!

I flew head-on into a self-pity mode. This wasn’t the first time I’ve boarded a plane only to sit next to those travelers who have caused me to run into the lavatory and cry.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

When we find ourselves wandering with those passages in our lives, that’s when we should look for the Manual of Emotions and process the situation. 

Here are a few examples of rowdy passengers you might want to look for:

Negativity Nancy. She can arrive at a moments notice, reaching for the call button and telling you that you’re not experienced enough or questioning your position to say things. 

Those critical and negative comments hurt. Ultimately I found myself crying in my closet, feeling like I had a failed landing.

Doubter Debbie. She will plague you with questions of why? how? and are you sure? She’ll take the controls and leave you doubting your actions.

Debbie had me in full-speed confusion about sharing my story. She was spewing excuses into my headset about why I shouldn’t be doing what I love to do.

When seated next to these types of passengers, what’s a girl supposed to do?

My Manual of thoughts

When I come across these type of tourists, ones who like to play with my thoughts and emotions, it’s then I have to pull out my Life Operation Manual and figure out the best way to navigate the situation. Here’s what I’ve read and learned:

  • Maintain Control of the feelings that arrive in our thoughts.

I recall reading — “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business …, You believe in your creations…  they deserve to be out in the world.  You create because you have a God-given ability to do so.” (Rachel Hollis Girl, Wash your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are)   Armed with that encouragement, I decided to have a better perspective and outlook!

  • Analyze the problem: what is really causing the problem? It is the cynical passengers’ or something else?
  • Take appropriate Action: by looking for someone to talk to or ask for a hug.
  • Maintain Awareness of our surroundings. Stand firm to your goals and trust God to help you what He has called you accomplish.

This life is not easy peasy. It takes prayer and lots of grace and mercy.  I have a story to share, and maybe, just maybe, one PW or two PW’s might be able to relate and say,”That’s where I am! I really needed to hear that!”

One of my favorite authors said, “Negative thoughts lead to a crisis response-activating us physically but hindering our thinking. Positive thoughts allow us to process a situation accurately and respond in a healthy way”.

Are we going to let those contradictory passengers take over our flight? Or are we going to seek out those that bring us the courage and strength to get back on course?

Who I want to travel with

When I find myself squished tightly between Negativity Nancy and Doubting Debbie, it’s then that I can choose to leave my current seat and search for those passengers who can lift me up instead of tearing me down.

Here are the types of seat-mates I would much rather fly with:

Focus Frances. She can help us get back on track by reminding us that we have value and importance to those around us. “Frances” can focus our vision and help us live our best PW life. Thankfully, I didn’t have to search too hard for my “ Frances.” I reached for the intercom and called out to my wedge of friends to vent while sipping a glass of wine. By doing so, I was able to look out the window and see the blue sky of encouragement.

Goal setting Ginger.   Not only is she there to pull me out of the depths of self-pity, but “Ginger” reminds me of my final destination and helps me re-evaluate what I’m doing.  When I was shot down by someone or something that caused me to reroute my thinking, I had to find the ticket that had my goals written on them, showing me a first-class seat in life.

In those days of flying around in my self-pity cloud of discouragement, I recall a scripture that I highlighted in my bible, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

“What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.” I was allowing those negatives comments to shut down my engine (mind) and stay that way.  I had to ask God to help me find my focus ( the keys) to start back up and fly into what I’m called to do.

I won’t lie to you and say I immediately go to God and ask for help. It takes practice, and I have to practice every day.

As I make my descent and final landing, I’m learning I don’t need the approval of many or even one. I write, look at the flight plan God has put in front of me and fly with that. When I do that, it’s a much smoother journey.

What about you, what sort of passengers in your life have you come in contact with?

Love to hear from you and maybe we can help each other as we carve this PW life. Just leave a comment below.

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fullsizeoutput_4b1Whether you’re seated next to your pilot in the right or left seat of life, we are flying and taking off and landing together. Flying alongside my pilot for over 25 years I have found a sense of courage, discovered independence that I thought I did not have and developed a better understanding that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.  Maybe you want those things too. You have come to the right place.

  Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

Fear of Arrival…

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t-shirt add ons

Have you ever walked into a room feeling apprehensive about what you were wearing?

As I headed into a party the other night where pilots, flight attendants, and other friends, were in attendance, I wasn’t sure I had chosen the right shirt. In fact, I was so nervous I carried my tote bag over my chest to cover it because I didn’t want anyone to see what it said.

What was I wearing that caused me this much panic and anxiety? 

Yes, He’s working

No, I don’t know when he’ll be home.

Yes, we are still married.

No, He’s not imaginary.

While I love the shirt and think it’s highly appropriate for a PW like me, I was uncertain about how people would react to those phases. Thankfully after one cold beer, my t-shirt insecurity flew away.  As I talked with different people throughout the night, people stopped me to ask about my shirt:

  • A group of pilots laughed at the phrase, “He’s not imaginary, and No, I don’t know when he will be home.”
  • When another pilot read my shirt said, “No, he is not imaginary and lets’ keep that way. My schedule can change at a moments notice and heck; I don’t even know where I’m going half the time.” ( actually, our pilots do know where they’re going).
  • Even my PW wedge of friends couldn’t help but laugh cause they personally know the truth each of those phrases conveys.

Despite my earlier unease, I’m glad I wore the shirt to the party – not only because it added some fun to the evening, but it also reminded me of how I always respond to those phrases with others.

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My T-shirt reality

Yes, he is working. I’m not just making it up. His job is to fly those big jets in the sky, which requires him to be away from home a lot. He will wake up at 0 -dark early or finish his day at the wee hours of the morning.  His day is making sure hundreds of passengers arrive at their destinations without any technical difficulty.  He loves the work he does, and I’m proud of him for it!

No, I don’t know when he will be home. I’m not the PW who tracks his location all the time. Instead, I  put on my Superpower PW cape and take on my day!  I run errands, manage everyday household tasks and fill my day doing what I love to do such as writing (my job) and work on staying calm and picking my battles with a teenage boy. 

Jeff’s schedule can change in the blink of an eye. As I’m writing this, Jeff got called out on a three-day trip. He’s scheduled to come back tomorrow. However, that could change like the wind, and he could be home three days later.  So, no, I don’t know when he will be back.   But when he does return, I’ll be happy to see him fly into my arms. As long as he’s been a pilot, I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been happy to see him.

Yes, we are still married.  That’s why Jeff leaves for three or four days. Hahaha! I won’t lie to you, we’ve had turbulence, malfunctions, and miscommunications in our marriage. (you can read about those here).  But over the course of our marriage, we have learned to carry the bag of grace, patience, respect, and more importantly, the oversized bag of love.  I have heard from a few PW’s and their spouses that being a pilot requires some adjustments that are different from flying.

In the book Highest Duty by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger he says, “I can control an airplane and make it do what I want it to do. I can learn all of its component systems and understand how they work in every circumstance. Piloting is well defined, with a process that is predictable and understandable to me. Relationships, on the other hand, are more ambiguous. There’s a good deal of nuance, and it’s not always obvious what the right answer is.”

Let’s be real, girlfriend, we are far from being predictable and understandable! At least I know I’m not!

So, yes, we are still married, I love him more and more each time he lands back into my life.

He is not imaginary.  Because I attend events, parties, and church by myself a lot, there have been occasions where people question whether I really have a husband!  When someone asks me where my husband is,  my brain goes into auto-responder mode:

*He is flying. 

*He’s gone for a few days. 

*He’s on the beach and decided not to take me (just to be sassy!)

I get excited to tell others about my husband and who he flies for. I’m proud of who is, and I talk about him with respect and love.  Trust me, he’s not imaginary… he’s alive and real!

In the end, it was fun to wear my shirt. In doing so, it brought up some great conversations with other wives and even their husbands.

If I made my own PW t-shirt, here are a few statements I’d consider having on it:

Stay steady and calm upon arrival

Altitude and Attitude are essential

Flexibility needed in all areas

I make him happy when he leaves and when he comes home

If you were to make a PW t-shirt what would you have on it? Leave a comment below, love to read what yours would say.

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 Take-off and Landings always, Tiffany

(**You can read more about these on a series I did A Pilot Wife and her shoes)

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What Not to Wear- The Shoe of Comparison

Shoe of Comparison

This morning I made a drastic decision. I took down my full-length mirror! 

Last night I kept hearing a clicking noise in the bathroom, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. First, I thought it was a grasshopper hopping around, then thought maybe it was a mouse.  Or a squirrel trying to find a warm place in my house!

These are the things I think about at 3am in the morning when my pilot is on a trip!   

Do you ever have moments like this?

Later that morning as I got dressed, I heard the sound again and discovered that it only made that sound when the heat came on. Puzzled, I stood there trying to figure out what the heck was going on!

The air vent is located where it will hit the back of our bathroom door where the mirror is.

After a few minutes of research, I realized that the noise was a result of the air vent hitting the back of the bathroom door where my bathroom mirror hangs.  Apparently, the sticky tape that holds the mirror to the door had become loose so that when the air hit the mirror, it created my mystery noise.

So what did I do? I took the stupid mirror down, sticky tape and all!

Traveling with an over-the-limit bag of doubt

It wasn’t a big deal for me to remove the mirror from the door.  The creepy noise wasn’t the only reason I took it down.

When I look in a mirror, I find faults. 

I don’t always find faults in my reflection; there are days where I like what I see. I feel confident and ready to step into what I have planned for the day.  The majority of the time I don’t even think about flying over to the comparison town of inadequacy.

Lately, though, I’ve found that playing the comparison game weighs heavily upon me, and the doubts and negativity that I pack in my bag becomes too much.  In fact, the last few months I have found myself with my suitcase packed with a wide range of emotions:

1.  Jealousy that “her” house is much more beautiful than mine (which I know is absolute nonsense).

2. Failure, in that “she” takes the time to learn how to set up her husband’s schedule and I don’t (I have no clue on how to do that, and quite frankly, have no desire to).

3.  Not up to par, in that, I’m obviously the PW without an espresso machine (seriously).

Side note: I love my friends. I love their homes. I love their espresso machines.  I love that my friends know how to make their husbands’ schedules work for their families. It’s awesome!  ( It has impressed my husband that I have become knowledgeable in those areas).

Although I have battled these comparison emotions many times before, perhaps my biggest struggle comes on a much deeper level.  You see, I recently gained a few pounds and compared to everyone else I feel like I’m not pretty and nothing fits, while everyone else looks awesome!  Which, if I’m honest, makes me feel unattractive to my husband.

I could go on, but you get the point.

It’s real, girlfriend!

Comparison was not on my radar

The majority of the time I have no desire to play the comparison game. I’m blessed with many things: I have a beautiful home, an awesome husband who regularly reminds me that I’m beautiful and great friends to spend time and delicious lattes with!

So why do I even pack for that trip?

  In  her book,  Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl,” Lysa Terkerust says, “Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someones else’s circumstances, I often remind myself out loud, ” I am not equipped to handle what they have both good and bad.” She goes on to say, “The things for the person I’m comparing myself to are almost never what they seem.”

How many times do you and I tell ourselves “I wish I had what she had?” I know I do.

As I fly into a New Year, my goal is to repack my thoughts of comparison, jealousy, and guilt. They can weigh down my bag and cause me to feel exhausted and weak in my thinking.

I don’t want that for my year, or my life.

I want a bag like yours – or do I?

When I find myself traveling into those mindsets and putting those unfashionable ugly shoes into my bag, I need to remember that God is the one who makes me content.

That’s why I love this verse from the Bible, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” ( Galatians 6:4-5, MSG)

comparrison shoe

When I become jealous of the shoes someone else is wearing ( I.e., her life), maybe I need to remind myself that something is leading me to think that way.

If I  believe that her style is better than mine, that her home is perfectly decorated, I might want to consider that it’s not that I want to take all that away from her. It may be because I have the desire to feel appreciated by others as she is at that moment.

Yet I need to remember that God has a beautiful plan for me.  A life, and a shoe, that is designed just for me to wear and to accomplish things in my own life. Perhaps what I should be doing instead is praying that God helps me find contentment with the basic needs He has provided me.

With that in mind, my goal this year is to try not to compare my shoes to another PW, or anyone, for that matter. I want to walk in the shoes that He has for me and wear them with confidence!

When I do, I can remind myself that I’m not “her.”   Because the truth is, we all have different taste in shoes from functionality to dressing up.  In the end, we find we all have one thing in common- we all put on one shoe at a time.

My prayer for you this week:  Father, help each of us to walk with confidence, strength, and wisdom that we are beautiful.  Help us to remember that You have equipped us with everything that we need to live the life You have given us, from the shoe we wear to the way we decorate our house.  Help us not play the comparison game with other Pilot Wives.  Instead let us remember that compares with You, and to be content with that.

Take-off and Landings Always, Tiff

Love for you to fly over to The Takeoff and Landings Facebook page. Where we can talk and encourage each other while living this life.