It has now been 11 months, 1 week, 1 day, 18 hours and 25 minutes since my last cigarette. It will be one liturgical year two weeks from today because two weeks from tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Thanks be to God!
By the power of the Holy Spirit:
I’ve been smoke-free for 6 months, 2 weeks, 3 days and 16:14 hours, I have not smoked the 3,970 cigarettes that I would have, I’ve saved $853.55, and added 1 week, 6 days, and 18:50 to my life expectancy.
My Brothers and Sisters at NATCA are embroiled in an election cycle. In my region, there are 3 candidates for Regional Vice President; I chose to support one of them. One of the other candidates is now making humor with the title of this blog – I think it’s cool – hope you’re reading, Nitro (and Scott) and all of you out there, for that matter. I am somewhat dismayed, but not surprised, at the type of campaign that the Presidential race has become. Many rank and file Members have traded wicked jabs on our bulletin board system. To some this is just their way of passing time; to others these actions will further divide and hurt. On the one hand is the incumbent, John Carr A.K.A. Johnny The Bull. I have known John for 24 years. We were classmates at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. John isn’t perfect and some don’t like his style, saying he’s too abrasive, but he’s brought NATCA sooooooooo far in so little time with his vision and ability to communicate our message to those able to benefit us in spite of their political position. On the other side is Pat Forrey. Pat’s a good guy, been an RVP, wants to “get along” with the worst government agency there is to work for. My wife picked up his campaign mailer the other day and asked me who “the salesman” was; I had long before made my mind up regarding who I planned to support for President of my Union but had a chuckle anyway as I explained the “sitch” to her. I don’t like the tactics of those that divide – especially in time of great conflict with our employer. They have declared war on Air Traffic Controllers. They want to beat us down and break our spirit. They want us to be good little faa robots and say “Yes Sir/No Sir” and speak only when spoken to. They just don’t get it. We are about 15, 000 type A personalities (I think John’s a type AAAAAAAAAAAA). We will ALWAYS find a way to fight back. We will still be around, separating aircraft, when george w. bush and marion blakey are footnotes in history. Thanks for reading.
I’ve been Catholic since Easter and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Did I give up something for Lent? 🙂
Today is Holy Thursday, the day we, as Catholics, remember the beginning of Jesus’ Passion. In the evening, he washed the feet of his disciples and then dined with them in what we call the Last Supper. This evening, we had Mass at my Church and had what Catholics throughout the world had: a ceremony during the Mass where the Pastor washes the feet of the other Priests then twelve others have their feet washed who in turn wash the feet of another twelve. It wash the honor of my wife, Corrie, and I to have our feet washed in the first twelve and then we each washed the feet of another. It sends a powerful message of service to God and Fellow Man. Tonight, Jesus would have gone with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray while his disciples, who were supposed to be guarding, slept. There, during the night, the guards of the High Priest’s council would come with Judas Iscariot to arrest Jesus. He would be questioned, mocked, brutally scourged, denied by his most trusted disciple, St Peter, and then condemned to death on the cross by morning. Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified by the Roman Empire through Pontius Pilate, it’s territorial Governor at the behest of the Jewish High Council. he would be hung on the cross at 9AM, suffer an agonizing death, finally breathing his last by 3PM. Tomorrow I will fast to honor his suffering for me.
I can’t believe how easy this has been! It’s all been a matter of faith from the beginning. I have attempted to quit a number of times; I don’t have the will power to do it. God gave me the strength to do it. I have three weeks left until I complete my “Journey to Rome” as I call it – my entrance into full membership in the Roman Catholic Church. This weekend will be another week of starting the 9:30 Mass and then we’ll be dismissed to the RCIA classroom where we’ll study the day’s scriptures and discuss what they mean to us as well as go over our plans for the coming weeks. Look for more soon!
Tomorrow evening I will surpass two weeks free from cigarettes as well as two weeks into my journey in the Lenten Season as a Candidate in the Roman Catholic Church. Over the last two weeks, I have drawn more strength than I ever could have imagined from God. It just never ceases to amaze me! Here I am, raised in a Christian home with loving, God-fearing parents, kind-hearted, God-fearing siblings and I didn’t realize how far I have yet to travel on my spiritual journey. I initially started this blog to document the specifics of my smoking cessation. I had no idea that God would bless me in so many other ways! My days and nights are filled with Joy; the more that I study the ways of God, as taught by the Catholic Church, the more I WANT to know; my love for God, my wife, and my family grows deeper and stronger with each passing moment. Last night, my wife, mother-in-law and I took Pat, my Sponsor, or Ninang, to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels where Pat and I participated in the Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion. It was celebrated by Cardinal Roger Mahoney for what must have been about a thousand Candidates. It was a fabulous experience and I will never forget it. I guess what all this says is that quitting smoking is easy IF you put your faith where it belongs: in God! Since quitting smoking seems to be old news now, I’ll dedicate the rest of my entries to my Lenten journey as a Candidate in the Catholic Church. God Bless you all and thanks for reading.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. My faith and spirituality has proven to provide more will power that I could have imagined!
I’ve been smoke-free for 5 days and 14:56 hours, I have not smoked the 109 cigarettes that I would have, I’ve saved $23.44, and added 9:05 to my life expectancy.
I just went past my first 24 smoke-free hours! I felt good to go to work and not have to duck outside at the beginning or end of my breaks to have a smoke. I did have intermittent urges, but I focused on the end result: to remain smoke-free for LIFE. Ash Wednesday was very special. Father Charles was the Celebrant at Mass this morning – he always seems to do very moving and meaningful Masses. If you are a smoker, I hope you are prepared to take the next step and kick the habit like I am in the process of doing. Don’t wait for another excuse – just DO IT!