Friday, December 30, 2016

Life Observation # 180 . . . Opposing viewpoints

Life Observation # 180 . . . Opposing viewpoints

This year, 2016 is finally winding down and for many of us cannot wait for this one to come to a final close. It has been for many of us a trying, painful, and sad year with so many things happening to us and our families, friends and people all over the world who saw mainly the tragedies this year.  There were not many positive stories or things happening for everyone to feel good about.  The hope for better things in our lives used to be something everyone believed in and looked forward to but it seems many have given up on those attitudes and ideals.  Hopefully the New Year will bring back that feeling of renewed Hope, Abundance, and Gratefulness so lacking right now.

The election is finally over . . . the outcome only time will tell where our country will go from here . . . hopefully to a stronger nation once again.  I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum and it was an interesting exercise to see where everyone’s thought processes were going during the much too long period of the election cycle.  I saw this and thought it expressed what our freedoms are all about in this country.

“Disagreements are inevitable.  There will always be opposing viewpoints and a variety of perspectives on most subjects.  Tastes differ as well as preferences. That is why they make vanilla and chocolate and strawberry ice cream, why they build Fords and Chevys, Chryslers and Cadillacs, Hondas and Toyotas.  That is why our nation has room for Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals - and moderates.  The tension is built into our system.  It is what freedom is all about, including religious freedom.

I am fairly firm in my theological convictions, but that doesn't mean you (or anyone) must agree with me.  All this explains why we must place so much importance on leaving "wobble room" in our relationships.  One's theological persuasion may not bend, but one's involvement with others must.”  Charles R. Swindoll

We all live . . .

so make it happy and meaningful one this year!

I can only hope everyone may look forward to a positive and blessed 2017 and that the New Year brings unseen blessings and great things for you and your families this coming year.

For me, 2016 brought about much change in my life and what I believed in, on so many levels.  Some good and some not so great but through it all I can say I come to this years end a better person, stronger in many of my family ties and some I still need to work on.  I left friends and loved ones in Alaska on my journey which brought with it many changes in my life.  I connected with old friends and met new ones along the way and am thankful that I took the time to be there for family members when they needed me. 

I continue to travel Life’s Highway and look forward to its possibilities.

Have a great New Year everyone, I am truly blessed to have you as friends and family!    


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas - Life Observation # 179

Life Observation # 179 . . . Experiencing difficulties in Life

This has been a tough year for our family but we are Southern strong and look forward to a positive year in 2017. 

When you are experiencing difficulties in life and we all do from time to time I am reminded of this quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

May your holidays be filled with laughter; family; friends, and a positive attitude for all!  God Bless.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

PEACE during this holiday season!!

Pacific Coast Highway Revisited

“And as time goes by
Oh it's funny how time can make you realize
We're running out of it” – Zac Brown Band

It’s been nine months since I left Alaska and started the “recalculation” of my life and what I thought about it at that time.  With any change it starts a process of evaluation in one’s self and in the things within your universe surrounding yourself.
Mt. Hood Oregon

As time has passed by, so have things, people, mental orientations, passions and moments.   Some have devolved and then evolved into something greater.  Originally, I started this blog, “Where’s the Flamingo” to share the experiences as I traveled and also bring with it a slightly humorous effect with Placido Flamingo and his experiences along the road, my road sometimes called Life’s Highway. 
Mt. Washington, British Columbia

But, as I have traveled, a more fulfilling purpose has evolved.  So now it isn’t just the experiences I have seen along the way, it is now more of those experiences that feed the longing of a soul for peace through expression.  I’ve never been one to just focus singularly on things, things get old.  They disintegrate. However, experiences are something that can remain.  We can reach back and pull them forward, as the mind allows, and re-live them over and over again.
Yukon, Canada

Over these years, these experiences have been so rich and full of the living experience.  But sometimes the constant day to day existence of life’s experiences can, at times, dull the pure exhilaration of those initial moments of discovery.  Not unique to me, but the complexity of life can at times, make this happen.  Then, it becomes time to purposefully pull these experiences forward as a reminder of the type of life that doesn’t just happen, but one that we can create.
And so, moving beyond the limitations of a singular focus to bring those previous moments back to life . . . I answer my souls longing to move beyond the immediacy of frustration, pain, misunderstanding or the occasional shallowness of the human judgement to that which is greater . . . the nature of things!
Redwood Forrests, Hwy 1 California

It is said that, “when I was a child I spoke, reasoned, and thought as a child, but when I grew up I put away childish things.”  As this child, I remember adults saying things such as “that person needs to find themselves”; I couldn’t relate as a child and would ponder, “Why does a person need to find themselves when they are right there with their self . . . Ahh . . . how life can teach you many things?  It is also said; travel until you find yourself . . . so here I am . . .
Mountain Lake, Canada

A few months ago, life allowed me to experience California Highway 1 also called the Pacific Coast Highway which meanders along the Coast of California by the ocean or just onshore along the magnificent redwood trees.  It’s twists and turns, elevation changes are much like life in that it is constantly changing bringing with it new surprises, vistas, or tragedy.  Its reputation, of course, supersedes what some would call the unique experience.   In reality cannot be captured properly by a camera or other device, it has to be seen with your own eyes to be understood the great beauty there.  Much like Alaska its beauty is far reaching.  Everywhere one looks you must make multiple stops along the way to take it all in.  It is beyond such, to experience it is to sit on the edge of the great beyond.
McWay Falls, Big Sur California

This picture is worth clicking on . . . beyond the sight of it, what do you feel in the longing of your soul?  We go to the mountains, to the beach . . . we visit sites, we cherish our sights . . . all of these are lovely indeed.  But why do we love it . . . yes it stimulates the senses . . . peace can come with it . . . we can see the water and it is beautiful . . . hear the waves and the waterfall . . . smell the saltiness in the water . . . whether it is sunny outside or not it is the same . . . we can feel the sand and the water . . . sometimes we can even taste it all.
Big Sur, California

But, we become more aware of something else . . . being right there within or so close to this huge mass . . . this mass that covers 3/4ths of the earth . . . the ocean,
Pebble Beach

that gives us balance . . . if you open your soul . . .and become aware of how its longing connects you to what you are experiencing . . . can you feel the power, this magnetism . . . the force that in many ways balances the earth . . . can you feel it inside of yourself . . . even if that level of awareness is not yet developed . . . can you feel inside of yourself where it is supposed to connect . . . and how that connection draws you in to becoming even more connected, through various modes, to what is permanent, solid and real . . . and in becoming aware of that experience . . . we realize what is insignificant.
The Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach California

Can we use that feeling . . . that awareness to assess the other things to which we are connected . . . can we use it to improve the quality of our relations with people, with our environment . . . or most importantly . . . with ourselves . . . what is our very real solid experience and what are we projecting on to ourselves and others?

Is our path to living what we want to live being blocked by something that we are projecting . . . that is also something to work on . . . but, the process has started . . . and can be used.

Driving down the coastline from Oregon can be a soul touching experience, if we are open.  Very few guard rails, no separation between the sides of the cliffs and what is beneath several hundred to a few thousand feet to the water . . . It is hard to sight see without stopping to take it all into your senses.  And as we proceed, just like in life . . . we can get to a point where we at the same level as the clouds and eventually look down upon them . . . much food for thought on the foggy mornings along the drive.
Bixby Bridge, Hwy 1 California

I couldn’t by-pass this little one, and as nature goes, so can we . . . if we allow ourselves to feel and accept our feelings . . . we can evolve and grow into that place of our peace.  There are so many examples that exist along the Pacific Coast Highway.  With all the travails in our lives, what can allow us to find peace?  Compassion for others, reflecting on the value of human life – including our own are what we each search for but few really find.

Ahh . . . what would it be to experience rest like this – whether awake or sleep – the ‘peace be still’ . . . to understand the place of those things that stress us and separate us from peace . . . what is peace?  It doesn’t mean necessarily to be free from pain, regret, heart ache, dissension, loneliness, etc.  In fact, it is more aligned with allowing those feelings to exist, but being able to make peace with them.  We each have to find what our individual peace . . . is but, somehow indeed, that peace is still connected to others through compassion, empathy, understanding, forgiveness, patience . . . and the list goes on.

We can realize how small we actually are compared to the larger dynamic . . . but that requires walking the hard path . . . a friend asked me if my blog was moving more towards a spiritual base?  My reply was . . . if you read a really good book, doesn’t it add to the quality of certain things about you?  

Well, to travel the world in my time upon it and absorb the human experience of others, to experience working in an area with no running water, to see the implications firsthand of someone in an Alaskan remote village turning on a faucet or flushing a toilet the first time inside their house in their seventy years . . . of soul to soul acts of human depravity in wars (most of which are not necessary), to sit in a temple thousands of years old demonstrating human and spiritual devotion, to lend a hand when someone needs it, or receive it regardless of a language or cultural gap, to see such magnificent expressions when people focus on excellence, to learn a tango – not the steps – but the interpreted intention of expressions of the soul seeking comfort . . . well, certain things should change you . . . especially if you are simultaneously seeking to calm your soul and refine your own expressions . . . go below the surface and above the clouds . . . wishing you and myself – PEACE during this holiday season!!


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Life Observation # 178 . . . “Time heals all wounds”

Life Observation # 178 . . .  “Time heals all wounds”

Loss is a process which has to be dealt with and no two people experience it the same way.  It is a unique experience for each of us as we look at things through various lenses and frames of mind.  The loss of someone is often painful and probably for most people more so that we may imagine.  People who say that “time heals all wounds” don’t know what they are talking about.  Time lessens the sting of loss, but the pain never completely goes away.  That doesn’t mean you won’t experience joy and happiness again; you will.  In time, you will begin enjoying the present instead of dwelling on the past.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Life Observation # 177 . . . Attitude

Since I have been on the road and didn’t have my external drive I have gotten out of sequence in my numbering of my Life Observations but now am back on track.

This expresses my thoughts exactly . . . Life Observation # 177 . . . Attitude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church.... a home.  

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  

And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”  Charles R. Swindoll


Thursday, November 24, 2016

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, as I hope it is a great day for you!

Times have been a little depressing lately for many people in the country so I thought it would be great to give you a couple of laughs today.  It will only take a few minutes of your time . . . about the time it takes to have a cup of coffee so take a break and give yourself a little smile and for me every time I hear or see this it gives me a good belly laugh.

There aren't as many classic Thanksgiving episodes of TV shows as there are classic Christmas episodes.  But there are several we remember fondly, including this one. 

It's the "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati that originally aired on October 30, 1978.  Station Manager Carlson tries to come up with a special promotion for the station and, well, you'll see what happens.

WKRP in Cincinnati was a sitcom by Hugh Wilson who was in sales and part time disc jockey for WQXI radio in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I think a lot of the television show was based on the time period he spent in Atlanta.

The show was about the wacky characters and zany antics at a dysfunctional Top-40 station . . . was a wonderful comedy that was funny because it was rooted just enough in reality.  Back in the '70s and early '80s everyone loved WKRP because it was probably like most people’s jobs or home, people trying hard to work through the realities of everyday life.

“Turkeys Away” I think was loosely based on a WQXI promotion at Lenox Square Mall in the late 60’s where several turkeys were dropped from a helicopter over the parking lot close to the old bowling alley in the mall.  My dad who bowled there every week took us to watch the holiday promotion before his tournament started later that afternoon.  It was a combination of funny, disbelief, and horror as the turkeys hit several cars and bounced off the pavement.  It was captured so well in this timeless episode.


“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Another one of my favorites is this long ago event.

Thanksgiving is the anniversary (52nd) of a major event in American history.

This hippie guy tried to do a favor for his friends and got arrested for it.

I’m talking . . . of course . . . about Arlo Guthrie and his true-if-exaggerated tale about the Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.

On Thanksgiving 1965, Arlo Guthrie visited friend Alice Brock and her husband at their home, a church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and did them a favor by taking out their garbage.  The dump was closed that day, so Guthrie and a friend dropped the garbage off a cliff where other locals had previously dropped trash. Guthrie was arrested the following day, and the mark on his record miraculously kept him out of Vietnam by making him ineligible for the draft.

This slice of Americana is timeless in the fact that it is still funny after forty years and the issues during that time are still relevant today.

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without listening to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant (mp3). Regardless of how you observe it, I hope you have a happy one!

Remember, if you want to end wars and stuff, you gotta sing loud!

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.

Enjoy the day, give thanks for our many blessings and do something unexpected for someone you do not know as it makes our world a better place.

Peace everyone and may God Bless!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Veterans Day 2016

Thanks to our military personnel both overseas and at home as there is danger and sacrifice on both fronts.  Thanks to you and your families . . . to those in support of our men and women all over the world.

Take a few moments and remember what principles founded this country . . . “In God We Trust”

We seemed to have moved away from those principles and slowly we are losing focus on what has kept us a great Nation. I am super proud of being an American, but we fail our veterans every day. 

Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.

A remembrance from a little known (American public) time in my life . . . Operation Lam Son 719

"The operation was conceived in doubt and assailed by skepticism, preceded in confusion."
Dr. Henry Kissinger speaking on Operation Lam Son 719 
The following excerpt from Newsweek, 15 March 1971, was more objective than most at the time:

“To the modern American cavalryman of the air, the plunge into Laos has been something like an old-time charge on horseback: admirably heroic, stunningly effective-and terribly costly.  For four weeks now, American helicopter pilots have flown through some of the heaviest flak in the history of the Indochinese war.  One-day alone last week, the Army admitted to losing ten aircraft to the unexpectedly heavy North Vietnamese ground fire, and there were reports from the field that the actual losses had been much worse.  As a result, the customary bravado of the American chopper pilot was beginning to wear a bit thin.  "Two weeks ago," said one gunship skipper, "I couldn't have told you how much time I had left to serve in Vietnam.  Now I know that I've got 66 days to go, and I'm counting every one." Another flier added anxiously: "The roles are reversed over there.  In Vietnam, you have to hunt for the enemy.  But in Laos, man, they hunt for you.”
Despite the risks, it was inevitable that U. S. helicopters should be deeply involved in the Laotian campaign, for more than any other artifact of war, the chopper has become the indelible symbol of the Indochina conflict. Helicopter pilots were among the first Americans killed in the war a decade ago, and, under President Nixon's Vietnamization program, they will probably be among the last to leave.  In the years between, the chopper's mobility and firepower have added a radically new dimension to warfare, and the daring young American pilots have scooped up their Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Crosses and Air Medals by the bushel-along with Purple Hearts.  In the opinion of many military experts, the helicopter has been the difference between a humiliating U. S. defeat in Vietnam and whatever chance remains of attaining some more satisfactory outcome.”

Lam Son 719 - JAN-MARCH 1971
Lam Son 719 was a major operation of the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam, ARVN, into Laos from 30 Jan - 24 Mar 1971.  U.S. provided all of the aviation assets for this operation.  A/101 AHB "Comancheros" were one of the aviation units in this operation, along with being the sole 101st Airborne aviation unit supporting the Special Operations Group in I Corp during the month of February 1971.

The objective of Lam Son 719 was to disrupt an ongoing North Vietnamese Army supply buildup at Tchepone, Laos.  American Helicopter Units supported and provided all transportation of ARVN troops/supplies into and out of Laos during this operation.  The US Helicopter Crewman went against the heaviest anti-aircraft barrage incurred in the War.

The US helicopters that supported Lam Son 719 received fire from rocket propelled grenades, enemy tanks, mortars and small arms fire.  The US helicopters were regularly opposed by NVA 23mm, 37mm, and 57mm anti-aircraft weapons along with .51 caliber machine guns arranged to provide mutually supporting anti-aircraft fire.  The enemy opposition comprised a permanent logistical force of engineers, transportation, and anti-aircraft troops, together with elements of five divisions that included 12 North Vietnamese infantry regiments, a NVA tank regiment, an NVA artillery regiment, and 19 NVA anti-aircraft battalions.

The South Vietnamese government claimed that 13,341 NVA had been killed against 5,000 ARVN KIA/WIA.  American estimates put the ARVN losses at 10,000 which amounted to half of ARVN forces committed to the operation.

The losses to US Helicopter Forces were 65 Helicopter Crewmen KIA, 818 WIA, and 42 MIA.  618 US Helicopters were damaged, including 106 totally destroyed, from 30 Jan - 24 Mar 1971.

All Gave some . . . Some Gave All