If You Must Fly… Please Be Smart

The Coronavirus is still causing havoc in people’s lives and there are a lot of demands on what people can and cannot do once they go out in public.

Many States are relaxing restrictions on “Stay at home” policies in a hope to get their economy rolling again including getting their citizens back to work.

Some Counties are feeling so much pressure from their struggling business communities that they are jumping out in front of their State Governors’ recommendations.

People are getting stir crazy, small businesses are on the brink of collapse and local governments are losing a lot of tax revenue.

In the eagerness to attempt some semblance of normalcy, the airlines are really struggling. They are in a no win situation when it comes to new demands, yet their logic confuses me on a couple of fronts.

We are now into the second week of mandatory face coverage on airplanes. You cannot board a flight without one. This makes sense to me and probably is a couple of months late in coming.

The latest challenges come with regard to social distancing. The new standard we have all embraced is to stay six feet apart from each other to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

The airlines are currently asking passengers to not huddle in groups when boarding and keep separation between themselves and fellow passengers at the gate and on the jet bridge.

This is a tremendous help to ease people’s anxiety during the boarding process.

We are also recommending that passengers scan their own boarding passes which promotes some much needed comic relief.

It is fun to observe how differently people act to this request. Some are so conditioned they cannot help but try to hand you their pass, even when the Gate Agent motions toward the scanner.

Others stretch out as far as they can so as not get too close. They are bending over in an effort to stay six feet away from the scanner.

Once they get on the plane things change drastically. If the aircraft has less than 30 passengers they can be accommodated with proper spacing. Anymore than that, social distancing goes out the window.

packed flight

On larger airplanes with six or nine seats in a row, it is easier by simply eliminating the middle seat. The distance between seats A and C are not quite six feet, but it is at least a sizable gap between you and your neighbor.

On smaller regional planes that accommodate 65 to 75 passengers, social distancing becomes impossible at more than half capacity.

With seating tighter these days, when you add people’s newest phobia to the mix, tensions will escalate. People’s paranoia is heightened, as well.

I had one woman the other day ask that the woman next to her be removed because she coughed. For all I knew it could have been an allergic reaction to her cheap perfume.

Sadly that type of reaction from people is becoming too common. People are paranoid because no one knows who is sick and who is not.

A great friend of mine just went off on Facebook about the lack of spacing on his CLT to DFW flight. His DFW to TUS wasn’t much better.

I agree with his point that social distancing is out the window once you board a flight. American Airlines’ current policy is to block the back row and the first row.

People do need to be aware of this in order to make their own decision on whether to fly or not.

Airports have been a ghost town since March, but passenger loads have been increasing the past two weeks.

Seems to me we are all getting a bit complacent about the possibility of contracting COVID19.

People are antsy and are now flying to vacation spots. Two weeks ago the majority were flying to see family members, most of whom were sick.

God calls us all to be good stewards in all that we do. That includes deciding if you want to fly or not.

If you do decide to fly, be aware that you will be closer to sitting on your neighbors’ lap than getting appropriate spacing.

Beware also that the newest trend (started by Frontier) is to charge you a $39 premium to get an open seat alongside your seat.

If you are flying internationally, please confirm first whether you will be allowed into the Country.

Long lines formed at the Polish-Ukranian border Saturday hours before a ban on foreigners entering Poland took effect.Credit…Wojtek Jargilo/EPA, via Shutterstock

True story: Tonight we had a passenger flying to Toronto to get married in the morning. Because he is not a resident of Canada and he doesn’t work in Canada he is considered a “non-essential traveler.” Now he is stuck in CLT with a return flight to where he came from. Because he was getting married he no longer has a place to stay safely.

True story II: Another passenger was going to Toronto to buy a truck with plans to drive it back. This is not essential so he, too, has a return trip home in the morning.

BE SURE where you are going and find out the possible restrictions.

stop blaming

I highly recommend to anyone flying these days that may have an issue with their experience to please contact the airlines.

Complaining to your Flight Crews, Gate Agents, and airport personnel is simply shooting the messenger. We have no more information than passengers.

I hope this post helps you understand what you may walk into when flying.

Please. Please. Please be safe and be smart about what you are exposing yourself to when flying.

COVID19 Is Real

Are you being safe in the height of this Coronavirus pandemic? Are you staying home?
I know a lot of us are getting antsy to get out of our homes and back to normalcy, but we need to remain diligent.

It has been since March 23rd that States officially started implementing “Stay at home” orders.

stay-at-home-orders-png-1586214161

That’s 37 days for; California, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Some living in New York City will tell you they have been home for 47 days or more.

As of April 20, there are 42 States asking their citizens to not go out in public unless they absolutely have to. There are a handful of other States were they are utilizing the directive in only a portion their territories.

Now a number of States are looking to reopen as early as May 1st due to public pressure on Governors to get their economies rolling again.

essential+no+clock

With all of that said, there are a number of businesses deemed “essential” that may have been better suited to shut down for a period of time.

One of those is the Airline industry. International flights have been basically shut down but not domestic flights. At the current rate, airlines are losing $60 to $100 million per day.

I love working and appreciate the fact that I still can. I love helping people and many passengers are trying to get home to help ailing parents or loved ones. I just hope and pray that the airlines don’t crash and burn into bankruptcy in the process.

Many of the airlines are applying now for the stimulus money the Federal Government is offering. The sad reality is that some of them won’t survive even with the money Uncle Sam gives them.

Some financial experts say it will take at least a year and a half for the travel industry to get back to normal. I hope and pray we see an immediate pick up as States start to reopen next week.

At Piedmont Airlines in Charlotte, NC we have seen a very large drop off of passengers on flights. Current payloads are averaging about 1,600 passengers per day.

Charlotte-Douglas International is ranked as the tenth busiest airport in the United States. In peak travel seasons we board nearly 24,000 passengers every day. That is about 700 flights every day. We’re busy.

96174-1-hartsfield-jackson-atlanta-international-airport

By comparison, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International is ranked the busiest airport in the world. With 2,600 flights per day they are down to 1,200. They have an estimated 104 million people come through their airport every year. That’s hard to imagine.

Even with 1,600 passengers a day coming through our airport that is still a lot of exposure to potential contamination. Boarding only five to ten passengers on a flight, I am still interacting with 20 to 40 passengers each day.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated that 25 to 50 percent of cases may be asymptomatic. If that is true I may be exposed to a couple dozen contaminated people that are not showing symptoms. This does not include my coworkers.

The cruel reality is that I may be symptomatic and not realize it. That is true for any of us.
Stay Safe Logo
This is a real concern. How many are you exposing yourself too.

Airline workers are purposely placing themselves in harms way to insure people can get home to check on loved ones. If you do not have to fly right now, please stay home.

Some States are now adopting a wear masks in public ordinance to help the continued mitigation of the virus.

The airlines are trying to follow suit. This is a good thing.

As employees we have been asking for masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes for weeks. Due to the worldwide demand the airlines have not been able to provide them until this past week. Note: Alcohol wipes are still not being delivered.

Because of the demand people are making their own masks.

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One local woman has been making masks in her living room in exchange for a donation to the Humane Society. She heard our need and provided us a couple dozen masks. Thanks Ila.

A friend of mine posted the reality of this pandemic and how it can decimate families.

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This is real folks.

Please be smart. Be careful. Be safe.

Give Him A Call

It has now been 24 days since North Carolina issued their “Stay at home” order that has quarantined more than 10 million people. (Stay at home orders by State)

My wife and I have been honoring that order even though we live just over the border in South Carolina.

Our church in North Carolina has been streaming every Sunday for four weeks now.  I thank God for their service. It has been a technical challenge for the Pastors and the Worship Team, but they have been dedicated including Easter Sunday.

communion SCCC

Communion Service at home. (Click on image and advance to see how the elements were administered)

Some would say we are attending the Church of the Living Room. Some of our friends may be going to St. Mattress of the Springs or Bedside Baptist.

Is it real? Yes… different, but this is our new reality.

It has been weird not being able to fellowship with our friends at Steele Creek Church of Charlotte. Being as relational as I am, I miss it.

Some folks are keeping their home groups intact by meeting on Zoom. Some are doing bible studies by way of video conferencing. That’s impressive.

Our home group hasn’t met since mid-March. I miss them.

isolationThis is a weird time. It is easy to become so isolated that you forget there are other people out there.

Our friends become characters on TV like; Hotch from Criminal Minds and the Reagan family on Blue Bloods.

Our perspective of the world is blurry. Our sense of reality is not real. It feels like we are living in a bubble.

How are you surviving your quarantine? How are you spending your time? Who are you connecting with?

time with GodEven my time with God has dwindled. You would think that since we are sequestered to our homes that we would spend more time with Him, but it is really easy to fall into the traps of the enemy through distractions like Netflix and games on social media or our phones.

A friend of mine put it beautifully in her blog entitled Call Waiting. A graceful reminder that God is always available through prayer.

My prayer today is that we all find time with God. He is not punishing us with this plague. He really just wants to spend time with us.

Give Him a call.

give Him a call with text

Reach Out And Post Somebody

What are you doing to stay connected?

The Coronavirus has forced us all into isolation, but there are some great ways to connect through social media.

We are living in a time of quarantine yet the world seems so much smaller. Everyday people are reaching out looking to play games, have some fun, and give a perspective from their windows.

Gaming

board_games_online_1Did you know that the World Health Organization is encouraging people to play video games amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Here is an article from Parade.com titled The 22 Best Online Games to Play With Friends During the Coronavirus Outbreak. You may have some of your own that you can recommend in the comments.

Fun Interaction

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I have received invites from friends to do everything from photo challenges to online trivia contests.

There are suddenly a ton of quizzes to challenge you or you can list the Top 10 celebrities you have met.

What are you doing for fun these days?

Your point of view

One of my favorite activities that has come out of our captivity is how neighbors are connecting by singing out their windows.

Others are posting photos to share their view from a window.

Music

I love music and it has been a wonderful distraction from our “Stay at home” lives.

Everything from recitals to benefit concerts are being used to help lift the spirits of all of us.

Food

donutA lot of people find comfort in food.

Other than pictures of their pets, I think most of us post more photos of our food than anything else. This is a pre-COVID19 phenomenon that will probably out last all of us.

I am guilty of this and it drives my wife nuts. I’ve shared everything from my banana bread, chicken enchilada and peanut butter & jelly sandwich recipes to donuts.

Connecting

Online meeting places like Zoom and GoToMeeting are getting very popular for gatherings other than work.

One of my friends is participating in a bible study using these platforms. Some men’s groups gather for fellowship through their laptops.

There’s no wrong way

Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family. For example, before the quarantine I was meeting regularly with my nephew through Skype. He was stationed in Japan.

We are designed for fellowship

God created us for fellowship. God created Adam because He wanted to share the world with him.

Do not let COVID19 isolate you more than it already has. Reach out to someone… Family… Friends… A church…

Who are you connecting with?

together

Empty Parking Lots

Easter Sunday is here and we are all in our homes… alone…due to the Coronavirus. Or so we feel.

empty lotOur church parking lots are empty, but remember, so is Jesus’ tomb.

Easter reminds us that He is alive and because He is alive, He is with us every minute of every day.

To help you with that reminder, here are a few songs that I find helpful to renew my spirit. Listen to my Easter Playlist or find your own mix. Just don’t let the enemy tell you no one cares that you are home alone. That is a lie. We are all here together… in Spirit and in His Truth.

empty-tomb

Today is the most important day for a Christian. It is because He rose from the dead that we believe. Otherwise we are just another religion.

If you are not a believer that Jesus died for you and that he rose from the dead, please consider reading the Book of John.  Here is a good summary in two parts (Chapter 1-12 and Chapter 13-21). If nothing else, remember that he loves you and always will.

These songs are not listed in any particular order. Enjoy these individually or listen to them on my Easter Playlist.  Note: If interested, check out my Music Playlist for other great Praise & Worship music.

The Lord’s Prayer performed by Andrea Bocelli

 

Forever performed by Kari Jobe

 

We’re You There performed by Michael W. Smith

 

Glorious Day performed by Casting Crowns

 

Because He Lives performed by Alabama

 

He Is Alive performed by Third Day

 

It Is Well performed by Kristene DiMarco

 

What A Friend We Have In Jesus performed by Larry Ford

 

All My Hope performed by Crowder

 

Jesus Paid It All performed by Newsboys

 

Thank you Jesus for sacrificing Your life on the cross, delivering us and by doing so insuring we are never alone.

How Can We Serve Right Now?

In these trying days where we are locked in our homes due to “Stay At Home” orders, a lot of us are frustrated and dealing with depression because we cannot get outside.

Cabin Fever is real and it will drive you nuts if you let it get the best of you.

It is easy to look inward and focus on ourselves. We don’t always see that by staying home we are serving our families and communities well.

With Holy Week taking place this week we are reminded of the journey Jesus took the final week of His life.

Most of us are wondering what are we going to do for Easter. We can’t go to church. We can’t get together with family for a nice meal. We cannot even hold a neighbor Easter egg hunts.

So what do we do? Jesus reminds us on Holy Thursday how to serve one another with His washing off His Disciples feet. He does this to show us how to serve one another.

So it seems the best way to serve our families and our communities right now is to stay home.

After you wash your wife’s feet this Thursday, don’t forget to wash your hands.

Thanks for serving.

Scripture > John 13:14

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

Illustrated version of John 13:12-18 > https://youtu.be/RRebqmlFumQ

Message > Wash One Another’s Feet, Jonathan Redfearn, Jedmond Parish Church, Newcastle

https://youtu.be/f9umA14qYBI

Key verse > John 13:15

“I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”

Song > Make Me A Servant

Performed by the Maranatha Singers

https://youtu.be/RS8p-TJo1VY

What does the Bible say about foot washing?

https://www.gotquestions.org/foot-washing.html

John 13, John Heitzig, Calvary Albuquerque

https://youtu.be/V27fljCeBtM

The Humble Love of Christ, John MacArthur, Grace To You

https://youtu.be/_wopehI6tTk

Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice for each and every one of us.

It’s A Miracle

Twenty seven years ago today my life was changed forever. At 35 years old, and just six weeks from my 36th birthday, I married Lisa Burrell. To have and to hold.

Neither of us had been married before so this was brand new territory for us both.

The difference was that Lisa had Jesus on her side. I didn’t… yet. She had an eternal mindset. I was just jumping in the pool not knowing how cold the water would be.

Lisa had an amazing journey with God that started just 18 months earlier with an abrupt move from the suburbs of Chicago to the shores of Long Beach, CA.

She knew she was delivered and she knew God had a plan for her new life. It was apparent to Lisa that I would be a part of that plan shortly after I walked into The Reef.

Lisa just started working there a few weeks before and God provided her a hot meal everyday. He was showing her the He was her provider.

I was looking for a set to film an episode of China Beach and had no clue that my life would be changed the moment I saw her.

Three months after our wedding day we decided to move away from Los Angeles and after listing several cities we felt we could live in we settled in Charlotte, NC.

Less than a year later we were on the brink of disaster. Lisa was working and I was floundering. She had a support network with the friends she made at work. I was drifting through odd jobs including selling produce, Christmas trees and bar tending.

Lisa was praying for me every day while I was drinking. I was falling deeper into my demise which manifested into depression and self pity.

We were going to a small church with a handful of charismatics and with Lisa’s prompting, the men invited me to a men’s retreat. I reluctantly agreed.

Looking back it now makes sense why Pastor Geoff wanted to play tennis so much. Lisa was calling him asking him to reach out to me.

Neither one of us knew at the time, but Lisa’s prayers and her diligence in witnessing to me, God was setting me up.

The night before the retreat I was bar tending in a local pub. Lisa was back in California for a conference.

It was February 19, 1993. It was 17 degrees that night and God decided it was time to get my attention.

Most nights I would have kept my coat with all of my personal belongings behind the bar. This night I hung them just inside the back door.

At closing time I could not find my coat since someone took it home with them. It was 2:30 AM and the locksmith told me they could come now for $200 or come in the morning for $40. Even in my inebriated mind that decision was an easy one.

I called my drinking buddy Joe to stay with him. My keys were gone so I couldn’t get into my house. Joe said “Come on” so I walked a couple of blocks to the produce store he lived in.

Joe had a cot and a sleeping bag he used. Nothing more. I settled on the concrete floor in the 17 degree temperatures with no coat, no keys, and no identity since my drivers license was gone too.

God spoke to me at that moment letting me know that He gave me everything. My car. My comfort. My identity. My wife and my life. And He could take it ALL away in an instant.

I went to the retreat later that day. Hung over and humbled.

I have no idea what Peter Lord said in the opening session but I found myself surrendering my life to Christ. From that moment my life has never been the same.

God freed me from myself that day. Freed from drinking and depression. And with Lisa’s help, He saved me.

Now 27 years later I realize that I not only got married but I was given a wife who literally saved my life.

Thank you Jesus and thank you Lisa.