Equipping For Success

Baggage

Most of us are acquainted with the guidelines for travel on board commercial jetliners. One specific rule I want to address is “BAGGAGE.”

We deem baggage as necessary pieces of equipment for travel, packed with everything to ensure comfort for the journey. Although there is much wisdom in being prepared, sometimes we just carry too much “STUFF”!

During the boarding process, there are set public announcements made by the Flight Attendant that declare ,”ladies and gentlemen, please be aware that all carry on items must be of the size and shape to fit securely underneath the seat in front of you, or in the overhead bins provided.” It continues, “if you have any carry on items that can not be placed in either location, please notify your Flight Attendants, we will be happy to check them for you.” Those announcements still resonate with me, because, the proper stowage of luggage was one of the greatest challenges of this procedure.

The reason for this is that, most passengers did not understand the safety issue involved if a crucial evacuation took place. Each traveler must have a clear pathway to escape impending danger in the event of an emergency without any restrictions, hinderances, barriers, or blockages to transition to another level of security.

You may be the person at the window seat who has properly stowed your luggage, but your fellow traveler seated on the aisle has not complied! Your expedient departure from the aircraft will be restricted by that obstruction. Ask yourself, “what would be my response?” It would be incumbent upon you/or them to remove that barrier so you can get out! If nothing is done, you are STUCK!

I previously mentioned that our travel equipment must include essential items. Let’s be honest, there is some “STUFF” we don’t really need.

Whenever I embarked on a road trip, cruise or a flight, I would typically overpack! This sometimes caused me to incur an excess baggage fee. That would result in money that I could have spent elsewhere!

When we are filled (overpacked) with an excess of worry, insecurity, doubt, fear, unforgiveness and yes, I’m going to go there, non essential people, just like the unsecured luggage, these issues will keep us from moving, more precisely, having a clear path to destiny. There is a price to pay for for being weighed down with obstructions. We lose focus, our health is affected, we lose hope and most of all the route to destiny becomes a little foggy.

We carry up-ON ourselves these burdens not realizing that we have an escape route. Obstacles are a normal part of life, but rest assured, they are necessary. On our journey remember, “the PATH to the prize is more valuable that the prize itself.”

If I may quote Henry Ford, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” When you encounter those frightful things, listen to the comforting words of the Apostle Paul:

I Corinthians 10:13 , “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more that you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way of escape so that you can endure.”

Life Stories

My Testimony

It was the year of 1995. A muggy summer day wrapped around the city like a heavy blanket. During that time, a great number of women in Atlanta, had been murdered or sexually assaulted. I never feared, but tried to be aware of my surroundings at all times. God was my best friend, even though I had not received Christ in my life as of yet. Even though I had no family near me, I possessed an indescribable faith, which assured me that my son and I would always be taken care of.

After a long work week, I settled into a very deep sleep that night and began to dream, or to see a vision. I have always been terribly afraid of snakes and the dream (vision) was one that showed me a snake crawling between my sheets as I slept. I immediately jumped up and started looking for this serpent who had violated my peace. Then I asked myself, what will I do when I find it? I settled back on my pillow and closed my eyes, that’s when I heard a sweet voice speak to my spirit, “if you don’t give your life to Christ, you will die.” I cried out to God to save me. I shared this with a very close friend, who had been a Christian for quite some time and she prayed with me to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior. This vision was given to me three years before the enemy assaulted my life. 

My son Emmett, was 14 years old when we lived in College Park, Georgia, a suburb twenty minutes south of Atlanta. This was a middle-classed area full of hardworking folks, and we knew most of the people on our street. Emmett was quite a sociable young man, and always looked for an opportunity to gather on the street with the neighborhood kids. I was a single Mother and very selective in who I granted access into his impressionable life.

There was a single mother that lived next to us, who had a son named Wayne. She worked three jobs, and needless to say, was never at home. This gave Wayne a lot of time to get into trouble. He often threw parties during the day, when he and about twenty attendees should have been in school. Of course, I reported this to the local high school where they were enrolled and the principal politely told me, “this guy is trouble” and you need to stay as far away from him as you can. 

One day a group of teenagers were brandishing guns in the middle of the street in front of our house. I immediately called Emmett inside just seconds before they started discharging those weapons into the air. I called the police and they came to get a report detailing descriptions of the perpetrators and the type of vehicle they were driving. From my understanding, some of them were taken into police headquarters for questioning.

That hot summer day I referred to in the beginning, turned into a hot muggy evening. Emmett and I had just finished watching the news and the first five stories were about the violence against women that resounded all over the state. It was about 11:30 p.m. when I said to Emmett, “we must pray for safety”. After we prayed, he went across the hall to his room and I proceeded downstairs. As I reached the foyer the doorbell rang. I turned toward the door and peered through the peephole but could only see the top of someone’s head. I shouted, “who is it,” A young man answered, Is Wayne here!!?? I responded, “Wayne lives next door.” He answered- “I think you are lying!!!!” Before I could respond, the sound of gunfire rang out and I felt a persistent pressure in my left side. My brain took a while to figure out what had just occurred. I grabbed my side and realized; I’d been shot! There was no pain, for the nerves had been severed. I yelled to Emmett to call 911 and get in the closet because I didn’t know if he was going to try to enter the house and harm my son. Emmett instructed me to pray!!!

Emmett called my best friend who lived about three minutes from us. She later told me that she had plans to get in the shower around that time and every time she headed toward the bathroom, she would think of something else she had to accomplish. If she had been in the shower, she never would have heard the telephone ring. She arrived ten minutes before the EMTs and was holding me in her arms and pleading with God to save my life.

I was taken to the best trauma center in the country (Grady Hospital). The wound was from a twelve-gauge shotgun which was fired at point blank range. You see, I never opened the door, but the young man placed the barrel of the gun on the other side of the door and fired. The miracle was that the bullet was one inch from my femoral artery. It entered just below my pelvic area and exited through my hip. There was very little bleeding and no bone was damaged. 

The detective handling the case later told me that Wayne was the target and not me. He had some altercations with some other people who weren’t too fond of him. The plan was to harm Wayne’s mother but the person responsible for carrying out this attack was inebriated and went to the wrong house.

The process of healing was slow, that’s when I experienced the most pain. The nerves started to regenerate by webbing together the next day!    Psalm 139:14- “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” I discontinued my pain medications because I could tell I was becoming addicted and could not function. I asked the doctor to just give me some Tylenol and that was all I needed.

I thank God that He has used this ordeal to bless many. After the recovery period, my Pastor sent me to minister at the Youth Detention in South Atlanta, and the young men received Christ by witnessing the power of God in my life. I know now that this experience was for a reason, His plan and purpose.

Rose Gibbs-Miller

Rose and Son

Sojourning

Reflections

Every experienced traveler must have a time to rest and reflect on how they have progressed along the way. Each encounter is documented as a stepping stone to achieve destiny. So today, I wish to give you some inside information, that inspired me to begin writing this blog in the first place.

I was born in Belhaven, a VERY tiny fishing town in the state of North Carolina. My childhood memories were about a beautiful place where I encountered magnificent splendor at every twist and turn. We lived near an inlet called “Pamlico Sound,” and when night time fell, everything was so still, the ebbing of the tide could be heard everywhere. The grass was green and lush in summertime, and the ever present smell of the ocean was pure and clean. Stars sparkled with such brilliance, that they extinguished the light of even the largest diamond. Frequent rainstorms replenished the earth with with an array of colorful flowers and provided the best vegetables for our family, that my father harvested in our backyard garden.

There was a bridge that connected Belhaven to the other side of the “Pamlico Sound”, and my family very seldom ventured too far from the outskirts of that bridge. However, there was a burning desire within me to know the world beyond that boundary.

One day my father purchased a volume of Shakespeare from a yard sale and placed them conveniently beside the night table in my bedroom. Maybe he sensed the spirit of adventure in me, when I sat out early one Saturday morning, to find the end of the rainbow. Little did he know that would be the beginning of a journey that has never ceased.

My Paternal Grandmother would read the Bible to me every night and it dawned on me that some of the same places mentioned in Shakespeare, were also mentioned in the bible. Immediately, I developed a love for God and marveled at the teachings of Jesus and how much he loved me. Strangely ,this reinforced my inclination to travel the world.

Fast forward to the year of 1974, when my airline career began. Each interaction with people of ALL NATIONALITIES, presented an opportunity for encouragement and sincere love, even if there was a language barrier.

God used my job as a tool (calling), to be a light for HIS love, mercy and grace, all over the world!

My mentor Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Your job is what you are paid to do, your work is what you are called to do.”

THIS BLOG IS A WORK OF GOD THAT COMPARES ALL THE OCCURENCES OF AIR TRAVEL TO WHAT WE CONFRONT IN LIFE.

It is based on principles of the word of God, so look deeply into each posting, even if a scripture is not written. (Principle is defined as a fundamental truth that serves as a foundation for a belief).

It’s been quite a journey from that tiny town, but remember “journey is the essence of destiny.”

Everyone’s journey is different, but we must ALL allow the process of time, for it is divine preparation to fulfil the Master’s plan.

Remain on this journey with me and share some thoughts about your process, together we are sure to make an impact on the world.

Embracing Change

Reroute

I can remember many times during my airline career as a Flight Attendant, being sent to an unintended destination due to severe storms or some type of aircraft mechanical problem.

A ten hour work day would quickly become sixteen hours on duty! Then came the most dreaded assignment relayed to crew members from Flight Crew Scheduling- “You have been rerouted to another city.” Our expectations were shattered, especially if we had plans for enjoying a great escape to a favored metropolitan destination.

For example, my flight crew was prepared to land in a more desirable city, but realizing we had to accept the alternate assignment, led us to seize this opportunity by utilizing some hidden treasures in ourselves that had never been exposed. Some by products that came into view were patience, creativity, gratitude and determination.

We used our tools of annual training to navigate the challenges of those changes that necessitated employing a different operation. Highly effective interpersonal skills were very important to help passengers deal with missed flights, lost baggage, etc. We had the opportunity to apply the knowledge we had accumulated from our experiences throughout our tenure of service.

The entire process of a reroute demanded that we adapted to each stage using a different approach. The adaptation process would consist of downgrading or upgrading to a different aircraft, which in some instances an aircraft no one had ever even set foot in. Additionally, we’d switch airport terminals/gates sporadically, two to three times within a matter of minutes, or just sat on the tarmac with passengers for six hours or more.

I’ve come to understand that in my life’s journey, humans adapt to almost anything, but what became essentially clear, is that everything in life must change – often times for a greater purpose.

Changes are REROUTES in our journey to help us discover and rediscover, our strengths, frailties, and capabilities. This is why we must embrace change and grasp the notion that we are transformed by how we adapt. In most circumstances, our minds must be retrained to center on how each experience qualifies us to be productive at any stage of our lives.

Author, Pastor and motivational speaker John Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”

You and I can choose to embrace change and not neglect its true value. If the seasons of our lives do not encounter change, we could not appreciate the blessings in each season as an opportunity to impact the world, with our mission, assigned by God.

Adapting To Change

Jet Stream

If you are a weather groupie like me, you are extremely fascinated by changes in weather patterns and how they cause us to tailor our everyday lives.

The phenomenon responsible for these changes is referred to as the “JET STREAM.”

Let’s define this phrase before we move on. Simply put, Jet Streams are bands of strong wind that generally blow from opposite directions all across the earth. They impact weather, air travel and many other things that take place in our atmosphere.

Aviators must calculate flight plans that require adjusting fuel, airspeed and altitude regulated by the intensity and position of the Jet Stream. These calculations will often result in early/late arrival to the intended destination, avoidance of severe turbulence, alternate routes, or in some instances, a flight diversion. (landing in an unintended destination)

When we are faced with Jet streams of life, it is imperative to redesign our course. One thing is certain, Jet streams will always be with us-around the globe and in our souls!

Think about how you will adapt when you encounter strong winds of life blowing from one day to the next day or even from one minute to the next minute.

Jesus told His disciples of the Jet Streams they would encounter in the world. He charted their paths by giving them tools to help them adapt-truth, joy and peace. These would help them navigate successfully around the issues that challenged them.

In the last verse of John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Take one day at a time, to determine in prayer the adjustments you need to construct, to continue on this journey.

Jet streams of life will propel us or slow us down or send us in another direction altogether. We have the capability given to us by faith in God which allows the fine tuning of our destination!