Archive for December, 2019

Houston, We Have A Problem

The weather on Christmas Day was warm and inviting to be outdoors. Grandson Ryan got a drone for Christmas from his parents and he brought it along to Powhatan. He and his cousin had great fun flying it in the large open fields and taking aerial pictures and videos of the farm.  The drone has limited range but it could soar like a bird and sends an alert message to his phone when it is getting out of range. I was impressed and thought the pictures were amazingly good!

Aerial view of the farm
Horse Stables-Powhatan Equestrian Center

Once the drone got out of range and before he could bring it back it went down. After searching, they found it in the driveway. The drone is not easy to see. It is a very lightweight, wire- looking contraption with two red and two black wings. You know you are flying it correctly when you have the red wings away from you going forward and the opposite coming back.

Snaptain Drone

By mid-afternoon Ryan was feeling fairly confidently in his flying skills and offered to take me on a picture taking excursion of the farm. We took the golf cart across the creek to the top of the hill on the other side of the farm to get a good aerial view. He uses a remote to control the drone and gave me his phone to watch the pictures the drone was sending back. It was so cool to see the pictures as they were taken. That thing could almost be addicting! Before we finished, I wanted a picture of us by the golf cart watching it fly.

As he was bringing the drone back into position, it got caught in a wind draft above the trees and moved out of range behind a grove of trees where he couldn’t see it. When he lost visual sight, he couldn’t tell which direction the drone was going. In a panic he started wildly moving his controls. The drone dropped in altitude and then we heard the sick sound of it crashing into the branches on the trees. The drone was stuck on a small branch of a big tree about 60 feet in the air. He tried to get it to move but it appeared to be upside down.

The grove of trees. It was above the big branch that is going horizontally.

“Houston, we have a problem”!

It was a sad ride back to the house on the golf cart as he talked about the what ifs, might nots and should haves. Ryan handled himself very well but he could hardly believe what he had done. Everyone had to go assess the situation.

The girls weren’t any help!

We do not have any equipment that would begin to get that high in the air. Uncle Keith evaluated the situation and felt it could be gotten but said we needed a tree guy. We knew several. Grandpa called his buddy Wray who promised to come to the rescue on Saturday.

Ryan had to go home without his drone.


Wray came with a lift he uses to trim trees and his Big Shot Slingshot. He felt he could probably get it with the slingshot.

He had a weighted pouch on a long rope that he shot over the branch and then was able to shake the branch.

After several tries, the drone tumbled about half way down and rested on another branch. After another couple of tries, the drone tumbled safely to the ground, landing at the base of the tree right side up and unharmed.

Wray flies remote controlled planes so he had a soft heart for Ryan predicament. He said, “Trees are a magnet for drones and planes!” There are wind drafts above and around trees that you can not feel from the ground.

Wray told us a story. One time when he was flying his remote controlled planes. He thought it was a buzzard flying in the area and decided to chase it with his plane. He worked his way up towards the buzzard, circling, when the bird got very agitated. He suddenly realized it was a hawk, not a buzzard and started moving away. The hawk, with one fast swoop, suddenly nose-dived at the plane, hitting it with its beak. Right before his unbelieving eyes, his plane exploded into confetti. Oh, the lessons we learn!

There was one happy boy listening to the whole ordeal on his phone! He wanted to hear what was happening in real time!

Houston to the rescue. Problem solved! All is well that ended well and a good lesson was learned.


This was written when Lauren was just a little tyke. She recently had a birthday and I reminded her about this story. Happy 18th birthday to a sweet, helpful, caring young lady with a servant’s heart.

January 25, 2004

I have decided that precious, sweet, cute, adorable Lauren is basically selfish.  It seems her favorite word is “me” and if that isn’t enough emphasis for a given situation it is “me, me, me, ME!”  Me wants her share of cookies.   Me likes to play with the same toys as her big sister.  Me wiggles into “her” spot on Grandma’s lap even if it is full.  Me wants her book read first.  Me cherishes her share of attention.  Me is afraid she will be left behind.  Me pushes a chair up to the sink to be close beside Grandma while she works.  Me notices herself in pictures.  Me wants to help Grandpa feed Katie, the dog.

I, too, struggle with selfish motivations.  I take good care of my needs, wants, desires and rights.  Step on my turf, take what belongs to me, deny me my privileges, and see how I react!  Sometimes the picture is not too pretty. 

Scripture helps us to evaluate ourselves and teaches us how to develop Christ-like character.

  • Let nothing to done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others.  Philippians 2: 3-4
  • Love does not seek its own way.  I Corinthians 13: 5
  • Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4: 1-3
  • For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  Romans 12:3
  • Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.  Romans 12:10

Since the beginning of time when Eve yielded to the lust of the eye and ate of the fruit in direct disobedience to God, mankind has struggled with the temptation to sin.  The lure of wisdom and longevity snagged Eve even though it sounded like a reasonable and noteworthy aspiration.  But Eve was thinking only of her own wants, desires and rights, and in the process doomed us all to the struggle with sin. 

Paul understood this struggle.  He said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”  Paul also experienced sweet victory.  “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you will be able to bear it.”  I Corinthians 10:12-13

Jude 24-25 offers hope in this passionate benediction:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.  Amen”

What If?

What if God is real?

What if God created the world in six days?

What if Jesus truly is the Messiah?

What if Jesus is the only way to God?

What if the Bible is true, trustworthy and relevant for our time.

What if the Bible is a true narrative of history and God’s work through the ages to bring people into a relationship with Him?

What if God is involved in the world, holds the hearts of the kings in his hand, and controls the rise and fall of nations?

What if living in sin separates us from God?

What if sin can be forgiven?

What if there is a real heaven and a real hell?

What if Jesus really returns again?

What if what happens to you after death depends on whether or not you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior?

What if how you live matters?

What if you do not have a second chance after you have died?

What if eternity last forever and ever and ever and never, never stops?

What if you ponder your life and the lifestyle you are living?

What if?

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