VIP Tour

I have been fortunate to have VIP tours of Johnson Space Center. On these tours I’ve seen the Space Station Control Room, Shuttle Control Room and the Historic Apollo Control Room.

I’ve been inside the Space Station Modules which are used to train astronauts. I’ve been inside the Space Shuttle trainer. I’ve gotten up close to the Robotic Arm trainers and the Lunar Rovers.

I’ve meet Pilot for lunch on site and attended various space events where I had the opportunity to speak with astronauts, flight directors, and mission control specialists.


It’s like having a backstage pass!

One way cool day Pilot and I explored the inside of the Space Shuttle trainer. Just like real astronauts when the shuttle still flew.

The most I’ll-never-get-to-do-this-again moment? Besides sitting in the Commander’s seat? Sitting in the um, how should I put this? Necessary room.

It’s much more complicated than it looks!


So how did I get access to all these great off-limits places?

Was it because of who I am? No.

Because I sneaked in? No.

Because I’m so irresistible? Hardly.

I was able to experience all this fantastic space stuff because of who I know. Pilot.

Same holds true with each of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Dude, we know the King! God’s one and only son!

Talk about a backstage pass …

Because of that relationship we’re allowed access to all the REALLY cool space stuff. On that day Jesus will take us by the hand and lead us on our very own VIP tour of Heaven.

Just think of it.

We’ll stand before the throne of God. Walk on streets of gold. Have our own mansion with our name on it right down the street from where God lives. We will have eternity to praise and worship our Redeemer. The lion will lay down with the lamb. There will be no more night. No more pain. No more tears. We won’t need to lock any doors.

We’ll be able to ask all those questions we’ve wanted to ask the saints who went before us. But I’m thinking that when we’re in Heaven those questions won’t be all that important to us anymore. Who knows?

Going on a VIP tour with Jesus tops sitting in the Shuttle trainer any day. Amen?


In celebration of Pie’s birthday I have included the recipe for his annual celebratory dinner. Sweet and Sour Meatloaf. If you make it let me know what you think. It’s gluten-free, so no worries.


Every year for I don’t know how long I have made this Sweet and Sour Meatloaf for Pie’s birthday dinner. Since being diagnosed as gluten-intolerant I adapted the recipe and removed the gluten.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 C crushed gluten-free saltine-type crackers (I use Schar table crackers, or if you can’t find any g-f crackers, crush up either Corn or Rice Chex. They work just as well.)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten

Combine all ingredients, shape into loaf, and place in greased baking dish.


  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1 C sugar

Mix well and pour over meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Baste frequently.


Are there any special foods you have for your birthday celebrations?

This song’s for Pie. Happy Birthday!

I wish you well.



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Endeavour Flyover

Endeavour lifts off from Launch Pad 39A

Courtesy NASA photo

You know those times when a flood of emotions crash down on you all at once? Pride. Sadness. Happiness. Deflation. You feel like cheering the victories, but have tears for the loss.

Bittersweet, some call it.

Well, Thursday, September 20, 2012, was one of those days for me.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, riding atop NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, flew over our house, a little after 7 AM.  It had taken off at sunrise from Ellington Field while Pilot and I packed the car for our trip to Dallas/Ft. Worth, for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. When we heard the incredible deep-throated rumble of the aircraft, we looked up.

As the 747 took one last flyover Johnson Space Center, it hooked a left, and flew directly over our house. Then headed west, to Los Angeles, where it will be on permanent display.

I’m not going to get into the politics of shutting down the shuttle program, or the issue of not awarding Houston with a retired shuttle. That’s for others to debate.

I will say this, however, I am extremely proud of all the hard work countless people in our country did to keep that shuttle flying from its conception, to retirement. I am also extremely proud of all the countless people who keep the International Space Station in the air. Plus, those who are working toward building our next space vehicle.

Our son, Pie, is a third-generation space worker. Pilot worked with the shuttle program at Kennedy

Space Center in Florida, and as a Mission Control Specialist for the ISS at Johnson Space Center. Pilot’s father worked in the launch control center during the Apollo missions.

Proud heritage.

Mixed emotions.

Sad day.

On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced, from Rice University in Houston, that the United States would land men on the moon. “We choose to go to the moon… and do other things, not because they are easy.  But because they are hard.”

I wish you well.



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