Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 A-Z Reflection: Pioneer Women in Aviation

I survived! My thanks to Arlee Bird and the April Challenge team for another successful year. I am proud to say this was my fourth A-Z. 

As was the case last year, I nearly backed out, and perhaps should have this time. When you live in the desert, April is your best gardening month. I wrote most of my posts the night before and gardened somewhere in between. Each post took 6 to 8 hours to research, write and edit, which meant a few all-nighters, and believe me, I’m getting too old for all-nighters. Talk about brain drain! Although not physically exhausted in body and limb, I sure slept a lot afterward.

Once I made the commitment, I stayed the course and focused on that 'waving raised flag' at the finish line. I have always been motivated by deadlines imposed by others apparently, but not so much when self-imposed. This brings up an interesting discovery about myself as a writer. I am not very self-motivated when writing toward a goal I have personally set. I don't know why. A flaw of mine (yes, I have my share) and one I regret. But I think I need a more tangible goal, one that spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

Accountability to the publishing community, which for me, the A-Z certainly qualifies, has a tangible finish line. Success awaits me! A work-for-hire writing experience is another case in point. I wrote and had a book edited over a four-month deadline once, for the educational market. I had an editor cracking the whip the entire time. Today, I still hear her voice in my head: ”stay focused, don’t go off on tangents.” It has helped me tremendously in writing nonfiction for the A-Z. The jury is still out on whether it has helped my fiction. I need to ponder this some more.

I loved my topic this year, almost as much as last year’s “Inventions by Women.” Why, you may ask, do I write specifically about women? First of all, I enjoy history and learning about the different events that have shaped our culture and world, but to be honest, most history is based on male achievement and told from a male perspective. I knew from college that women did indeed contribute a lot to world history and culture, but you had to sign up for the right history class to discover this, none of which was a required course. This is not to say that male achievement is any less worthy or important!! I could have just as easily written about “Pioneer Men in Aviation” and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

However, given the history of women with low self-esteem (my family included) who felt oppressed as girls (and adults), blocked from their full human potential, and as late bloomers struggled/struggle, I wanted to show that realization of dreams is possible at any age. I wanted to show that others have struggled in their pursuits and made a lasting mark on history. I wanted to inspire and encourage both young and old that they could too. 

My niece Jammie joined the Air Force and achieved her dream to fly at a young age, and has made aviation history as the first female F-22 pilot. We are all so proud of her. Today she is home raising two young children, another great feat in her list of achievements.


2008. First Female F-22 pilot Capt. Jammie Jamieson
with husband Capt. Kevin Jamieson

Despite the craziness of the April Challenge, I am retired from my day job, so trying to garden and write on the fly certainly had their perks. Ten arborvitaes are now in the ground and the vegetable garden is fully planted. I visited a large number of blogs too, but unfortunately, most were ones I knew. There just wasn’t enough time to strike up new blog friendships. I hope that those visiting for the first time will return. I regret not having more time.

Below are some photos of my husband and me in the RV8. I guess you could say we are the latest pioneer aviators on the list. Vince built our plane over a twelve-year period in the garage, and took several months more to paint it. (I take credit for the upholstery). He is the first member in our family to build an airplane. He was inspired to fly by the old “Sky King” TV series in the 1950s. We laugh sometimes, because the geography of our new home and location looks very much like Sky King’s ranch land. Vince never stopped dreaming, even when it meant building a plane himself to bring the dream to realization.  






  

34 comments:

  1. Congratulations Sharon not only completing the challenge but having a most interesting theme. I read it daily and was enthralled by your post. I learned such a lot also. Thank you.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you for your kind remarks Yvonne! Sending a huge hug your way. Your comments were often the first :)

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  2. Lots to cheer here, Sharon :-) Your subjects, all those inspiring women! The hours invested--it all paid off. And your encouragement to others to follow their dreams, no matter the age. All of this was very neat. Congratulations on meeting your goals. And congrats to your niece, too--another inspiring story for sure!

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    1. Thanks Kenda. I so enjoyed the lesson on Haiku at yours!

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  3. I really enjoyed reading all the female pilots and had no idea there were that many that would make up your A to Z. Glad you committed yourself to it.

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    1. Well, it was pretty insane keeping up, but glad I didn't quit. Still catching up at other blogs. Sure enjoyed your comments Birgit! Thanks!

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  4. I think that was a great achievement. I know writing so close to the day a letter must go up is not only hard, but also very stressing. I'm happy this year I succeesed writing all the posts in advance. I'd hope this would give me the time to networke more. As it turned out, it just allowed me to complete the challenge... but I'm happy anyway.
    Beside, I hear that having not enough time for networking is a common complain in the REflection posts, and I suppose that with a 1500+ list of blog - and growing - this won't become easier any time soon.

    I enjoyed your theme, it was a different one :-)

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    1. I'm impressed you wrote all of yours in advance. You can only network so much :)

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  5. Hi Sharon - I didn't participate ... but looked at your posts as they came through - a great theme. So pleased you did it and completed it .. then Jammie - two wonderful achievements for her .. brilliant flying that F22 - then your own family plane - wonderful colours! Cheers and enjoy your trips - Hilary

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    1. Thanks...makes the family proud :) I missed your posts this year, Hilary, but know I'll probably see you next year. All the best!

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  6. You not only survived, but I think your posts were the best I read on the A-Z this year. You had great details and truly inspiring stories of wonderful women! We need more of that - thanks so much! :)

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot to me, more than you know :) Maybe next time you can participate too!

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  7. Six to eight HOURS? Oh my!!! You put some serious work into your challenge. I'm very impressed. You had some amazing posts.

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    1. Thank you! I have to say you had some pretty amazing posts as well. Glad we could share back and forth.

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  8. Sharon, thought lot of you all month, kudos. Thanks for taking the time to lift women up! Very cool about your niece, so amazing.

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    1. Hi Lynn! I'm relieved it's over and happy to have reached my goal. We still need to get together. Let's plan on it soon...okay?

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  9. Such devotion to the cause, pulling an all nighter!! Did you have time for anything else, doesn't sound like it. I am so very impressed with the plane. Do you both fly?

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    1. Thank you. Not my best move putting things off like I did, but happy with the results. No, only Vince flies. At one time I planned to attend ground school and learn how to land a plane. It's not really an option now, since this plane is tandem.

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  10. 6-to-8 hours of research for each post?! Wow. Not surprised, though, since your posts were always so thorough and informative for this challenge! No wonder you were left exhausted...

    And Vince's plan is a real beauty. Glad the years-long effort he put into this dream paid off!

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    1. Hard work and stubborn determination can accomplish a lot if you put your mind to it. Thanks for reading, Heather.

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  11. Congratulations to your niece for her amazing accomplishment. The plane is beautiful. I have a cousin who has built 2 of them with her husband. Can't imagine doing that. It's amazing. Happy weekend.

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    1. Slowly winding up again after a very exhausting A-Z. Thank you for your comment! It seems every family has at least one member who sought to accomplish the unthinkable, and believe me, we had our share of naysayers!!

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  12. I appreciated all the time and effort you took to research and write about these women in aviation. I learned so much and I passed your link on to the pilots in my family with a note, "Don't miss reading these!"

    I didn't miss reading any of your posts from A to Z!

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    1. Lee, I appreciated your visits and kind comments!! As a pilot's wife you understand the incredible impact aviation has had on lives in the past and even today. That sense of adventure keeps us young at heart :) As I write this, I am easily reminded as I hear a plane take off.

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  13. Good on you Sharon. It has been said that hard work is its own reward.

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    1. Hi David. Answering comments late here and slowly bouncing back. All the best to you. Thanks!

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  14. Oh! I'd missed your posts completely, but love your theme! Will go back and look...

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    1. There were so many entries to choose from this year. An impossible feat for sure. Thanks for checking out my posts!

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  15. i like this post, we visit again for more updates , thanks for sharing this article.
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  16. Wow! What a neat pastime - flying airplanes. You are very courageous, also. I have enjoyed reading your blogs. Keep up the good work! www.dianeweidenbenner.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. Nice to meet you Diane!

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  17. Sky King really brings back the memories. I used to watch that show every Saturday morning when I was a kid.

    You really put some admirable effort into your A to Z posts. Congratulations on finishing another one!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi! Thanks for checking out my reflections. Sky King was one of a kind and inspired a lot of kids. The series seems so innocent now, looking back. I wish we could have some of that innocence today. Kids today would probably find it pretty hokey :)

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