I seldom (never) leave the house without having to go back inside after something. There is something magical about the walk from the front door to the front seat that stimulates memory neurons. However this morning the magic was slow to occur and I was 3 miles down the road when I remembered I forgot.... my cell phone. Luckily I had taken my morning heart medication so the palpitations did not result in cardiac arrest. With hands trembling from immediate with drawl symptoms I continued on my journey to the local café for breakfast. Then images began rushing through my head of fellow diners staring at me doing nothing. With no electronic device to peer into, what would I do until my food arrived? Courage summoned I proceeded to the restaurant.
"Coffee and water please."
With the rest of my order placed I began to glance around at the other patrons. None seemed to be aware of my nakedness. I was about to relax when a clatter from two tables away startled me. It was a cutting crisp bacon too close to the end of your plate so the other end jumped up and clattered back onto the table while you made more noise trying to catch everything that was now in motion kind of clatter.
As I glanced that direction I saw an older gentleman, also, dining alone. Upon his head a WWII veterans cap. My imagination went to a time before I existed. A young soldier saying good bye to his family, perhaps a sweetheart. What unknown dangers and fears had this man endured? Because of sacrifices of this nature we live in a nation that is, for the most part, free.
I wanted to thank him.
I hurried with the remainder of my meal and made my way to the waitresses station next to the kitchen. I explained what I wished to do. She smiled and replied: "We can make this happen." My plan with her now in place, I paid for my meal and his.
I gave her a note I had hand written:
Please allow me the honor of buying your breakfast.
Your service has allowed me to live in a Nation that is free.
With my sincere gratitude.
The waitress was not to let him know who this was from, simply give him the note.
I hesitated, for a moment, in my truck parked across the street. In my rear view mirror I saw our Veteran emerge and you know I believe his shuffled gate was just a bit quicker, his head a bit higher.....and I think mine is too.
Do something for yourself .
This, I believe, is the very best way.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Friday, May 8, 2015
With the help of wonderful family and very good friends, I have arrived at an age that many thought, and with good reason, I would never see. I have, for the most part, lived life on my terms. Bad judgment accounts for what small amount of good judgment I now have. I have tried to rely on myself to handle whatever life has thrown my way. I believed I could find a way over, under or around anything. But I was wrong.
There are times when storms hit us, devastating storms, that are more than we can possibly overcome on our own. Even the best friends and loyal family are at a loss. When pure evil, the 'Roaring Lion', attacks we are helpless on our own. I was beaten, broken and afraid. Never had I been so defeated.
There is however hope for those broken in spirit and heart. Promises from The One who cannot lie.
That is how I live now, one day at a time, trusting.
His time is different from ours, we are impatient. He is steady and sure.
This life, with its trouble, is only temporary.
Be of good courage! Be at peace. Believe Him when He says:
Posted by Marc at 1:40 PM
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Sky’s the Limit
When I used to think of discipline, it brought up feelings of dread, of punishment. I think most will agree those are also their first thoughts. If we look a little deeper into the definitions in Webster’s we find:
Discipline: self-command, self-control, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-restraint, willpower.Notice how many times ‘self’ is used? So discipline then is something that we can have control over, and self control, self discipline is a very good thing. Discipline, I have come to believe, is the master key to what we wish to gain, become, and accomplish with our lives. So what can we do, be, have? Are there limits to our potential?
It was a mostly clear day, just a few scattered clouds in the mid-west sky. Chris had never been to this community before. His job had brought him here, and he had to work on Saturday. As he peered out of his office window he noticed a railroad yard. Chris had always loved trains. Perhaps tomorrow before work, (yes he had to work on Sunday too) he could drive down and check out the rail yards. And that is where I met Chris. It turned out this young man was the embodiment of discipline. Now here is a guy hundreds of miles from home, in a place he would never have been, had his work not taken him there, and he was working weekends. So how do I figure him to be one of the most disciplined people I may ever meet?You see when Chris caught sight of our rail yard that Saturday afternoon he was mere feet from his co-workers, but four hundred feet above the city, traveling at 700 miles an hour in his F/A- 18 Hornet. Just moments before, he had been pulling a little over 7 G’s as he performed as a part of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron-
The Blue Angels!We spent almost an hour together, talking railroad and (whenever I could get him to stop talking about trains) flying.
What type of self-discipline do you suppose it takes to become one of this nation’s most élite pilots? Were there days when he wanted to quit, times that he was afraid, that it all seemed just too hard?My guess is yes. But Major Collins persevered, he did not quit and his self-mastery has taken him to places he would never have gone to meet people he would never have met.
In 2009 the Blue Angels performed before more than 8 million spectators. The discipline Chris has employed, over the years, now pays him dividends beyond what he could have imagined and wonder-filled memories to last a lifetime.But most important of all is who he has become, because of all he was willing to do.
What dreams and goals do you have set for your incredible life story?
WHY do you want to accomplish these things? Once we determine WHY we will find the way.
Will the struggle and effort be worth it?
I only spent an hour with Chris, but I’m certain he would smile and say;
‘Yes sir. The sky’s the limit.’
Major Chris Collins
U.S. Marine Corps
Major Christopher Collins is a native of Darien, Conn., and graduated from Darien High School in 1993. He attended Norwich University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 1997.
Chris was commissioned a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant through the Platoon Leaders Class and reported to Quantico, Va., for The Basic School in July 1997. He reported for aviation indoctrination at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla., in February 1998. Chris completed primary flight training in the T-34C Mentor at NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and transferred to NAS Meridian, Miss., for intermediate flight training. While there, he flew the T-2C Buckeye. Chris was then assigned to NAS Kingsville, Texas, for advanced flight training where he flew the T-45A Goshawk. He completed his flight training in April 2000 and received his wings of gold in May.
In July 2000, Chris reported to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), the "Sharpshooters," at MCAS Miramar, Calif., for training in the F/A-18 Hornet. In September 2001, he joined Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323), the "Death Rattlers." Chris deployed aboard USS Constellation (CV 64) in October 2002, flying combat missions in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. Chris also deployed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flying combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. While serving with VMFA-323, he served as the Logistics Officer, Schedules Writer, Powerline Division Officer, Administrative Officer and the Assistant Aviation Maintenance Officer. While there, the "Death Rattlers" received the 2003 Robert M. Hanson Award as the Marine Corps Aviation Association's Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year.
In October 2005, Chris returned to VMFAT-101 as an F/A-18 instructor pilot. During his tour, Chris was selected to attend the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and graduated in July 2007.
Chris joined the Blue Angels in September 2008, where he served as the Left Wing pilot in 2009. He has accumulated more than 2,800 flight hours and 350 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include three Strike Flight Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat Distinguishing Device, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various personal and unit awards.