|AREA OF MY LIFE||DIVINE EVENT|
SURVIVED BLOOD CLOTS BECAUSE OF RUNNING: in 2011, I unexpectedly had shortness of breath that went away after five minutes but then my leg "straightened" to where I couldn't bend it. Long story short, I had blood clots (DVT: Deep-Vein Thrombosis) that made their way into my lungs, which is normally the moment it kills you. When I asked about the shortness of breath, doc said my 20 years of cross-country running on non-work time allowed me to absorb the clot. I proved aerobic exercise can literally save your life.
3-YEAR AFROTC SCHOLARSHIP BETTER THAN GETTING AIR FORCE ACADEMY: in 1993, I applied to the Air Force Academy but instead got a 3-year Air Force ROTC scholarship at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). At first, I was disappointed; then in hindsight learned that I was unable to meet the physical fitness requirements of the scholarship until the morning of my second year in college, when the scholarship took effect. This means if I got the Air Force Academy, I would've failed out because I needed to pass the fitness test in my first year. Further, IIT said they would pay for my first year the scholarship didn't, without having to pay them back. So the 3-year scholarship to IIT--a school that paid for the initial year--was the perfect combination to launch me into my Air Force life.
RECEIVING THE HIGHEST STRATIFICATION OF MY CAREER ONLY BECAUSE THE AIR FORCE TRIED TO SEPARATE ME: In 2010, the Air Force informed me there were 77 too-many communications officers they had to let go (me being one of them). Because I had to fill out a form proving why I should be retained, the wing commander stratified me as #2 of 23 majors in his wing. By law, the Air Force can only cut 66% of the total number they want to let go ... and I survived. While that was a blessing, had I not been considered for early separation, my next highest stratification of my career (which would've been my highest) would be #1 of 11 group majors (group being one level lower than a wing).
AN AIR FORCE CYBER CAREER INSTEAD OF PILOT: In 1997, nearing graduation from AFROTC, I prayed not for God's will for my career but only to be a pilot. I got that pilot slot and went to Undergradute Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in 1999. Long story short, after seven sorties in a T-37, I didn't like it. I elected to leave the program and re-train into communications/cyber because dad got me on computers when I was five. My career took off and has lasted 20+ years. Lesson: be careful what you pray for--you just might get something not in God's plan for your life.
DEPARTING HAWAII FIVE HOURS BEFORE 2011 JAPAN TSUNAMI: in March, 2011, I attended the Pacific Air Force's squadron commander's five-day course. When it ended, I had the option to stay the night before flying home to the states or flying out immediately. I chose the former. In doing so, I didn't realize my flight took off from Hawaii just five hours before the tsunami that wrecked the Japanese nuclear power plant reactors and possibly the area I was in.
DISCOVERING CHRISTIAN MOTORCYCLISTS ASSOCIATION (CMA), ON THE ROAD: in 1999, at the first assignment at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, I was on my Honda Magna VF750C at a red light when I was passed by a rider wearing a CMA vest. It caught my attention and I flagged him down, wanting to know how to join. I've been a card-carrying member of the Prayer Team since 1999.
RIDING OVER AN ICY BRIDGE AT 45-DEGREE ANGLE THEN RECOVERING: one January morning in 1999, while riding to Holloman Air Force Base on my Honda Magna, I crossed a bridge where--all of a sudden, I feel like my bike leaned over at a 40-45-degree angle but, instead of falling, recovered upright. I pulled to the left shoulder to compose myself. I couldn't explain how you can slip on ice to a 45-degree lean then return upright. And with cars behind me, I should've been flattened, after.
TAKING SHELTER IN A GUARD SHACK DURING A MAJOR RAINSTORM: in 2000, I was riding home from a bluegrass concert in New Mexico when a sudden thunderstorm showed up and I was parting the seas. I was riding in jeans and a white short-sleeve T-shirt. At first, I thought, "OK--I'm wet" but then it became "OK--I'm cold" (with no windshield) and then it became "now my arms are shaking." I needed to warm up quick. As I scanned the right side of the road, I found an apartment complex with a guard shack. I pulled up to the side of the shack and it just happened to be unlocked with no one in it. When I went in, I saw there was an electric stove, in which I turned all four heating elements to HIGH and warmed up. Once I warmed up, I saddled up in the rain to Walmart, a few miles down the road, and bought a two-piece rainsuit, so I could make it the rest of the way home, which I did.
FINDING AN OPEN GAS STATION AT MIDNIGHT WHILE RUNNING ON FUMES: in 2000--back when I didn't have a cell phone and gas stations closed at dusk--I was riding home to Alamogordo from Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was midnight, I was running on my reserve gas and the gas station I expected to fill up at didn't take credit card. I didn't have enough gas to make it home without one more gas station. I prayed about it and as I got back on a dark, straight road, I rode over a mountaintop where, beyond the horizon, I saw an open gas station, in bright white lights. It was "the best moment of my life" (at the time).
STURGIS 69--NOT ON THE STRIP DURING THE HAILSTORM: in 2009, I rode to Sturgis 69. While the main action was on the "main strip," I planned one day to go outside the town, itself, to visit one of the national landmarks near the day. Turns out that was the day a major hailstorm hit the main strip. Many motorcycles had nowhere to take shelter and were damaged or laid down. I returned to the strip after the storm had passed.
LAID MY HARLEY DOWN TWICE WITH NO DAMAGE: I have a 2006 Harley Fatboy Softail, which I've laid down twice. Turns out both times were on wet grass where the worst thing that happened was grass and mud embedded on the engine block...and I was completely unscathed.
QUICKLY LEARNING THE PIANO BEGINNING AGE 40: In 2014, I bought a Yamaha DGX-650 keyboard with intent to self-learn how to play piano -- it was a big fail. So in 2015, I went on Thumbtack.com and solicited for piano instructors in the Arlington-Alexandria Virginia area. I got three responses: the first two I turned down and the third one was an instructor of 40 years who--after I accepted--learned he played for the first President Bush and his dad wrote the Redskins' fight song: Mr. David Breeskin. What are the odds I get him? And, two years under his wing, he said I'm the quickest learning student he's ever had, as I learned to played the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in five months' time.
INJURY-FREE BULL-RIDING AT AGE 41: In October 2016, I finally rode professional bulls (Click here). In two days time, I had five "go's" and five "throws" from non-beginner bulls. Amazingly, for someone who's never done this in their life, I ran away relatively uninjured (meaning I didn't have to go to the hospital).
STICKING WITH THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR THAT ALL MY COWORKERS RAN FROM: In 1999, I chose the financial advisor that all my fellow lieutenants ran from, for various reasons: USPA & IRA (known as "First Command" today). I "stuck to my guns" with the fees they required to make my financial decisions and, today, I'm on track for a secure financial future. Meanwhile, one of my former roomates who chose USAA because he could make his own financial decisions ended up paying on losses for decisions where he could only blame himself.