What a difference a year makes…

Another year comes to a close and it feels like it happened at warp speed. 2013 is about over. I reflect back at all the changes and shake my head.

A year ago I was living in San Francisco with 6 roommate’s that I graduated from Virgin America with. They ranged in age from 21-25, I called them “my kids” and in return they lovingly referred to me as “Mama G”

We were on reserve (basically on call) totally broke, living in a 2 bedroom apartment with no heat. We shared an understanding of life as flight attendants, with 3:00 AM wake up calls and a 2 hour notice to get dolled up and ready to report. Prepared to leave on a 2-4 day trip. Greeting hundreds of people over the course the day with a smile and kind word. Serving drinks and meals whether working in coach or first class. It’s a service job and one that is mostly thankless, yet rewarding in many ways.
I spent my first Christmas away from family. I was in Dallas walking in the snow with a crew member to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the only place that was open. And welcomed in the New Year on a transcontinental flight. It was a year filled with hardships, good times, love, laughter and memory making.
In March 2013, I decided to hang up my wings and head back home. It was a decision made after a lot of prayer and soul-searching, but ultimately the right one.

I am now working for a wonderful Periodontist 4 days a week, no more 3AM wakeup calls for this gal! I know my schedule and how much money to expect on each paycheck.
I live by myself, surrounded with the comforts of my home. Which has both air conditioning and heat ūüôā
I am close to my family, friends and church.
I am content.

What will 2014 hold? I will wait with wonder at what God has in store, grateful for each day.
I plan to write more often… as it feeds my soul on some level. I hope to travel as it feeds my soul on every level ūüôā
I hope to love and be loved and to be used however God see’s fit.
I pray that the New Year will bring immeasurable happiness, health, love and inner peace to all.
God Bless!

Catfish…Why Lie?

Wow okay… Catfish? Really?
I watched the TV show about people making up fake profiles and pretending to be someone they are not. Good Lord it could be a man posing as a woman, like in the Manti Te’o story or a middle-aged married woman posing as a hot single twenty something. Completely false identities, not even remotely close to who or what they are. Deceiving, lying and conning people who go online to find friendship or love. Who does that? Apparently plenty of people. Getting some sick fulfillment out of convincing someone else to believe they are building a relationship with the person of their dreams. When the reality couldn’t be further from it.
We have people in our society that are willing to lie and have a “make-believe relationship” rather than be honest with themselves and the person on the other end of the computer and take a chance at a genuine connection based on who they really are. On top of that they seem to have little to no regard for the pain they inflict the other party involved. To be that desperate on both sides, one willing to make up nonstop ridiculous excuses as to why they can’t meet in person, and the other willing to continue an online relationship with someone they have never laid eyes on. YIKES, pretty scary.

Sadly, even if it’s not to the extreme of “Catfish” too many of us are not direct and forth coming about who we are or what we want.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if everyone were simply honest and upfront?
I just don’t get it, at some point the truth is going to come out so why not be honest from the beginning. I believe that you should say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s not complicated or shouldn’t be anyway. But, my goodness the opposite seems to be the norm more often than not.

It’s one thing to want to present yourself in a good light, and of course we’re not going to lead with our flaws or point out our short comings right off the bat. That’s not what I’m talking about. I talking about trying to hide who you really are. Because guess what…actions speak louder than words. We can only hide behind a false front for so long. And once, our actions and words don’t line up there are going to be issues. That’s where trust begins to get lost and relationships start to fracture.

Whether it’s in the work place or in our personal lives, let’s start being more authentic and real. That’s my Oprah moment for today, hehee

Not so quick this time…

One of great perks of working as a flight attendant is that at most airports there is a special security line for “Known Crew Members”
It is a line where all we have to do is show our “known crew card” along with our passport and airline ID to the TSA agent in charge and breeze right through. It takes all of 20 seconds.

Even if there is not a “known crew line” line available… as flight attendents we have this whole process down to a science and can get our laptops coats, purses, shoes, jewelry and various other items in the plastic plastic bucket in record time.
While it takes what seems like hours for the typical traveling public to ready themselves in preperation for loading their luggage onto the conveyer belt, placing their personal items, shoes etc in the bucket and making it through the X-ray machine. I often think to myself…really people? It’s not that complicated, why now do you figure out that wearing enough jewerly to make Mr. T proud might not have been the best choice?
Or possibly selecting the lace up espadrille wedge shoes wasn’t the wisest decision. You get my point right?

Anyway, the other day as I approached the TSA agent at the known crew station, there was another agent waiting with what looked like a flat round cotton wipe. She said it was an added procaution used on a random basis. No problem, so he wiped my hands and then placed the cotton wipe into a test machine of some sort. DING DING DING…
Sorry Mam, but we are going to have to take a look through your luggage. Apparently, something on my hands warranted a full security search.

They throughly inspected my luggage as well as my purse. Then stated that they needed to do a pat down as well. So I removed my trench coat to help expedite the process. The male agent said that he needed to call a female agent to do the pat down. When she arrived she said Mam will you follow me this way? I replied, can’t you just pat me down here? Ummm, that would be NO, we need to go into a special little security room? What? Really? Is that really necessary?

Well let me assure you, the answer was yes! They called it a “pat down” but in reality she ran her hands over and under every inch of my body! She had to feel inside the entire waistband of my pants. Have me life up the legs of my pants, take off and test my shoes…well I can tell you that it is safe to say outside of a strip search, it could not have been more through. I haven’t been touched that much since my divorce, heheee
So after running her hands through my hair and asking me a couple quick questions I was cleared to gather my belongings and make my way to the gate to join the rest of my crew.

The only thing that they were able to decipher is that my Chanel body lotion had simular chemical components to some minerals found in certain bomb making materials. Wow nice to know. They said sometimes expensive lotions can register a false result. Good to know, I can assure you that from now on when I fly..its the only the cheap stuff for me.
My son who works for Chanel does not need to know this, as I absolutely love when he spoils me with such luxurious treats.

Our safety while flying is the highest priority so the pat down, feel up was just a necessary procaution, but that TSA agent knows all my secrets padded bra and spanx to boot ūüôā

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

Working as a flight attendant you see all kinds of people, some make you simply want to shake your head and say…really??
Yesterday was one of those times.
While standing in the center of the airplane I was greeting the passengers as they came on board. I see a man, I’m guessing mid-twenties. He is wearing what appears to be pajama’s, he is carrying a baby blanket, large animal shaped pillow and a very well-worn stuffed animal.
I figured that his young son or daughter must be following behind and he was carrying the childs things like many parents do, minus the pajamas of course.
Well much to my surprise, there was no child. That’s right he is what is considered an “Adult Baby”. He proceeded to get out his pacifier and curl up in a near fetal position in his seat.
What is our world coming to? Adult baby’s come on.

When I approached him to ask what he would like to drink, he took his binky out of his mouth and handed me his “sippy cup” and said apple juice please. Are you sure I can’t offer you some formula or spoon feed you some Gerber strained carrots, how about a lullaby? Okay, that’s just what I wanted to say, hehee

One week I have an army soldier returning from serving our Country and now on the other end of the spectrum a grown ass man in pajamas wanting to be a baby.
Someone dim the cabin lights and say nighty night, this flight attendant is done.

Welcome Home…

When I got called into work the day before Thanksgiving and scheduled to work a 12 hour day, I was…well anything but thankful. I wanted to be home and not on an airplane.

I was working the lead position and it had been a long very busy day. On the last leg/flight of the day I was greeting our guests with a smile as they boarded the plane. On walked a soldier in uniform, he said hello as he approached¬†and I said hello back and then followed up with “thank you for your service.” He said “oh Mam, it’s my pleasure.” He appeared to be in his late twenties and looked so handsome wearing his army fatigues. I noticed that he was seated in the back of the plane in a window seat, and made a mental note of it as I greeted the rest of our guests.

All day the first class cabin had been full, I had not had a single first class seat open  on any of my flights. Once everyone was on board I realized that I actually did have an open seat open and knew immediately what I wanted to do.
Before I closed the cockpit door I mentioned to the captain that I had seen a soldier get on and that he was seated in the rear of the aircraft. I informed him that I had one open seat in first class and wondered if he would mind if I offered it to him? The captain said “absolutely Gina, that is a great idea.”

So I made my way to the back of the plane and leaned over the aisle to the soldier and said, pardon me, but as a way to thank you for your service to our country, I’d like to offer you a seat upgrade. His mouth opened but he didn’t speak for a few seconds and then said “really are you sure”? I said of course, if you would¬†gather your belongings and follow me.
As we made our way towards the front of the cabin, there was a seat available in our “main cabin select” which is an upgrade from economy, he said “wow how nice, where should I put my things?” I said well that isn’t the seat I was thinking about. ¬†He replied “oh, I thought you said upgrade”? I smiled at him and said come right this way and directed him to the first class seat.

He was so surprised and couldn’t seem to thank me enough as he smiled from ear to ear. He told me that his name was Nick and that he had just returned from Afghanastin that very day. I asked if how long he was going to be home? He stated that he had finished his deployment and was returning home for good. He said that he was still active service, but would be working stateside. I said your family must be so excited to see you Nick and to have you home for Thanksgiving is such a blessing!

Throughout the flight I took extra good care of him and gave him the full first class treatment. He chatted with the woman seated next to him for awhile, watched a movie after eating dinner and then fell to sleep (with a sweet smile still on his face)

When we landed as I made the final announcements over the speaker, I said, if you don’t mind I’d like to publicly welcome back one of our finest soldiers as he returns from serving our country in Afghanastin. I barely finished speaking before the entire plane started clapping. Nick just looked at me and shook his head as if almost embarrassed by the attention.
As he walked towards me, he put out his hand and said “thank you, thank you so much” I said no Nick, “THANK YOU and WELCOME HOME!” How lucky was I to get called in to work and be reminded of what Thanksgiving is really about. God Bless our military!

Axel or Angel?

Early¬†yesterday afternoon I didn’t have much to do so I thought that I’d take a drive down to the beach. The weather wasn’t real warm, but the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing for a change. The beach is only about 15 minutes from my apartment in San Fransisco, so I threw on my¬†jeans and sweatshirt and headed out.

I sat on a towel in the sand reading my Kindle and watching a couple of brave souls paddle out and catch a few waves. After about 45 minutes I decided to take a walk and look for some sand dollars.¬†As¬†I walked along the water the waves were¬†coming in and splashing around my feet while I picked up sea shells. I looked up and saw an older gentleman¬†that appeared to be examining a shell he had found.¬†As I approached I smiled and said hello there. He looked up¬†with a sweet smile and bright blue eyes that matched his baseball cap and jacket, and said well hello to you young lady. Then¬†he held out his hand and showed me the shells he’d been looking at¬†and I showed him mine. He said would you like to take these and add them to your collection? Of course I would, thank you! He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a yellow plastic bag for me to put them in.

I said why aren’t you a handy man to have met? After putting the shells in the bag, I stuck out my hand and said my name is Gina, it’s a pleasure to meet you. What is your name? He said well, I’ll tell you my name but you have to be careful because it can be hard to pronounce. I said I’m pretty good with names why don’t¬†you give me a shot? He replied my name is Axel. I said Axel, why that isn’t a difficult name to pronounce. He said Gina, do me a favor and say my name while holding your tongue¬†with your fingers. I laughed and said OK. As I held my¬†tongue¬†and attempted to say Axel it came out sounding very much like A**hole, hehee¬† He said now you see what I mean? We both laughed and I said well yes I do.

He told me that he was 87 years old and had lived at the beach since 1959. He took out his wallet and showed me pictures of when he was a handsome young motorcycle cop. He laughed and said when he was a cop and would write people tickets, as he drove away he could almost hear them calling him by his name. Awe Axel, you are too funny.

We walked along the beach talking about life and picking up shells. He spoke of his beautiful wife that had passed away almost 8 years ago, he still worn his wedding band. I told him all about my Pop that had died and how terribly my family misses him. He said we were lucky to have had them, I said indeed we were.

The tide had receded¬†a bit, and I could see what looked like some sand dollars, so I walked out to take a closer look. The water was hitting just below my knees. As I was bending over trying picking up some sand dollars a wave came unexpectedly and almost completely knocked me down, I was soaked through and through. But, somehow¬†managed not to fall down and came back up with 2 perfect sand dollars. Axel was shouting from the shore… young lady, young lady, you have to be careful that water can be powerful, you¬†get out!¬†We walked along a little further just chatting away. I was cold and wet and had a long trek back to where I had parked, so I thought it was best to say goodbye.

I shook Axel’s hand and said thank you for the walk, the talk the shells and the bag. And what a pleasure it was to have met him. He said it was very nice to meet you as well Gina, maybe we’ll run¬†into one another again some time. I said that would be lovely, and on that note we turned and went our separate ways.

My jeans felt like they weighed 100 lbs,¬† I was soaked and the bottom of them was covered in sand. I had a smile on my face and in my heart as I turned back around and could just barely see Axel walking along the shore in the distance. What had started off as a bit of a lonely day had been totally turned around by spending time with this sweet old man. I had found more than sand dollars and sea shells to add to my bag…a chance meeting at the beach would be the biggest treasure.

I was texting with my Mom and told her about meeting Axel. She said what special encounter and gift from God. Maybe you were his “Angel unaware” I said I think he might have been mine!

Axel or Angel? Quite possibly a little of both.

When it’s least expected….

Funny how God works, he sometimes uses people in unexpected ways to show you his love. Today was one of those days.
A girl that I went to high school with, but have not seen since, touched me in a very heart-felt, God sent kind of way.
I had posted some pic’s from a recent trip to Europe, that I took with my family on my facebook page. She left a couple of very sweet comments that were appreciated. Since she and I reconnected on FB, we have occasionally exchanged comments and a couple of messages. I have always found her thoughtful and funny.
Then today out of seemingly nowhere came a message that blew me away.
She wrote…
I was thinking about you when I read a passage from a book a few months ago, about the time that you announced that you were going to become a stewardess¬†. It’s about the power of Love, and how focusing on the things we love, are interpreted¬†by God as silent prayers for God to create more things that we love and send them to us, in the form of people and experiences we would feel love for. And when we dwell on people and experiences that hurt us, and that we didn’t enjoy experiencing, we attract more of what will disappoint, anger and frustrate us. The passage that reminded her of me follows:
As a side note, this high school friend is not privy to my past, and yet it she somehow had a sense that this story would be one that I would relate to. Why or what would make her think of me while reading this passage, I don’t know, but found pretty insightful.

“I know a woman who through love alone broke the bars that caged her. She had been left in poverty and faced with rasing her children by herself after twenty years in an abusive marriage.
Despite the extreme hardship she faced, this woman never allowed resentment, anger or any ill feeling to take root inside her. She never talked negatively about her x-husband but instead gave positive thoughts and words about her dream of a new perfect, beautiful husband and her dream of traveling to Europe. Even though she had no money to travel, she applied for and got a passport and bought small items that she would need on her trip to Europe…
Well, she did meet her perfect and beautiful new husband. And after marrying, they moved to her husbands home in Spain over looking the ocean, where she now lives in happiness”
Then she wrote,
Gina, when I think of you, that’s what I see happening for you…¬†great happiness and a beautiful home over looking the sea with a man who adores you. Maybe, you should pack this book in your flight bag and read it on your layovers. I suspect God has planned your rendezvous on one of your next flights. The peace of mind that washes over you is what allows all that you have desired and prayed for to come to you. So, once you meet him, remember that you heard it here first! (wink) J

Wow! The following was my response back to her:
I will go out and buy the book immediately. I could barely read the words that you wrote through my tears, they are still running down my face.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for “seeing me” in her passage. And for envisioning such a beautiful story for my future. My friend may it be from your lips to Gods ear. Nothing would complete my dreams more that to meet the last great love of my life. I have a lot to give and an open heart to receive.

And in return, I wished for her all that would fill her soul with the deepest joy, love and inner peace. That God would cause his face to shine upon her and deliver more than she could ask or even imagine.

Like I said this exchange between us was completely unexpected. I truly believe that the Lord used this old high school friend to speak words of encouragement and hope. I ask him on a daily basis to love me and love someone through me. I try to be open to his leading and act as a conduit of his love, grace and kindness to whomever he might put in my path. Today he used Julia to show me these very things.
I have no idea what God has planned for me, whether it’s a perfect husband that adores me with a house over looking the sea, or something entirely different… What I do know is that, I will wait with amazement and wonder at what his plan will unfold.
Our God is a big God and is good all the time, Let the rendezvous begin…

From Gina to Gia

Previous to my Pop passing away in 2009, I had a trip to Italy that was planned and paid for. I was a bit conflicted about what I should do. After talking to my Mom and family members I decided to go. My sweet Mom who had lost her best friend and true love of 51 years, reminded me of how very proud my Pop was of the fact that I had saved the money over a year and a half and was about to venture out of the Country on my own for a 5 week stay in Italy.
Pop and I had a conversation about what I would do if I found myself in trouble and needed to let him know without alerting anyone else. Who and what Pop? Possible would be kidnappers? He had seen too many movies and was always such a protector. Anyway, he thought it best if we came up with a “code word” a special secret word, that I would use to notify him of impeding doom. If I wrote or said this word he would know that I was in danger and needed him to rescue me.
So, I thought about it and decide that “sunflower” was to be our secret code word. He was sitting in his favorite chair when I came in and told him the word, he repeated it a couple of time as to seal it in his memory, a word that we both hoped would never need to be used. About a week later I said hey Pop, you remember the code word I told you? Ummm, let me think…. I knew right then we were in trouble. How in heavens name was he going to rescue me from lord only knows what catastrophy, if he didn’t remember the code word?
I reminded him that “sunflower” was the code word, and suggfested that maybe the best thing for me to say if in fact I were in danger was simply HELP! We had a good laugh and agreed that yelling HELP, would be our new and improved secret word. It was only a couple weeks later that my beloved Pop passed away from a very rare brain infection. I knew if it was at all possible… my Pop would watch over me throughout my stay in Italy and there would never be a need for me to say sunflower or help.
A couple days before I left on my trip my youngest son Carter sat me down and said Mama, we need to talk. He has always felt as if I walked through life with my guard up and an auora of “do not approach” surrounding me. While I did not want to necessarly agree, I knew in my heart that he wasn’t too far off track.
He said look Mama, you are going to be by yourself in a beautiful country, filled with interesting people. do yourself a favor and go into this vacation with your head held high, making eye contact and saying hello to everyone you walk by. Go to Italy with an open mind and heart, without fear or limitations. Experience all you can, take it in and allow others to see you and all the beauty that is you.
Really?? My 20 year old son, was telling me how to conduct myself and behave in order to make the most of my Italian adventure.
Well, the fact is that Carter has always been wise beyond his years and loves me with every ounce of his being, so I promised him I would do exactally that!
While on the train from Roma to Sorrento, I thought long and hard about our conversation. I closed my eyes and prayed. Lord help me to let go of my fears and the pain of my past. Let me lower my guard and be open to meeting and experiencing everyone and everything that you put in my path. Allow me to take the very best parts of my personality and spirt and put those upfront and on display. Take away the fear of rejection, sadness, shame and pain that I carry around and let me leave it all behind.
In essence, I wanted to take the very best parts of Gina and do away with all the excess crap that did not serve me on any level. So… that’s what I did. And out of “Gina…Gia was born”.
Taking on this new and improved persona was the beginning of a free and more fulfilling way of life.
Wouldn’t we all be better off, if we simply walked away from the burdens we carry, the ones that weigh us down, keep us stagnate and slow our forward moving steps?
It doesn’t have to take a trip out of the Country to do just that. Just a prayer, a heart felt desire and commitment to living our best life. Let your “Gia” out!!
I will share some of Gia’s adventures in upcoming posts. God Bless and have a fantastic day.

Blog? What, me…

Okay here I am,

Suzie had this bright idea that I should write a blog. For some reason she seems to think that what I might have to say is interesting, umm that might be debatable, hehee

 But, who am I to turn down the request of a woman that spends countless hours trying to build her dog colar business and helping some fool (opps delightful man) named BS, I mean BL get his business up and going. Good Lord, she has put in enough time and deserves for her ship to come in, so that she and my Mom can take a much needed and anticipated vacation. My poor Mom, is getting older by the day, please Lord let Suzies ship dock already!

Anyway, I will write about whatever is going on in this new adventure and chapter in my life. I feel beyond blessed and thrilled to be beginning a new career with an absolutely amazing airline, and of all things as a flight attendant!

I love to travel, so getting paid (not much, but paid none the less) to fly is a true bonus. With any luck at all, I might just meet a handsome, ok… at my age decent looking single man on one of my flights. At least I will have the opportuntiy¬†to meet all kinds of new people. The dental office was full of married men, some with the dreaded periodonal¬†desease. Married men and perio¬†mouth men are equally undesirable. So, I am hopefully that by broading¬†my horrizons, I will have better luck.

Early tomorrow morning, I will go on my IOE flight to N.Y. and back the following day. A supervisor will observe everything that I do and give me a final sign off to fly on the reserve schedule beginning Sat morning at 3:00 am. Yep, thats right 3:00 am, this is what being on the bottom of the seniority list will look like for me over the next several months. But, we all have to pay our dues and I am happy to do so.

Training was stressful and brutal, but thanks to the endless prayers of my wonderful family and friends, it is now behind me. Than ks again!!

The Lord opened this door and he will see me through each day as I walk down the path that he has chosen. I never dreamed that this is where I’d be or what I’d be doing, but the Lord of my life has me firmly in his hand and I will follow his leading.

My goal is to live honoring my savior in my thoughts words and actions. I ask him to love me and love others through me everyday. May I be a conduit of his love, kindness and beauty. If just one person on each of my flights can get a glimpse of Jesus through my eyes or smile, kind word or gesture, then I will consider my day a success.

Pray for my safety and for the Lord to have his way in every aspect of my life and I will do the same for you.

Love, Gina