When the Sky’s Not the Limit

10 03 2011

Team Amy NASA, waving our bracelets in the air in front of Launch Pad 39A. Photo by Brian Drilling, NASA engineer and tour guide extraordinaire!

Lots of great guesses yesterday as to where I was — and many of them buzzed the tower.

Indeed, we spent the day at NASA — the Kennedy Space Center. But it was far from just a day. It was extraordinary in every way.

Had I dreamed up and then choreographed the perfect day, I couldn’t have done any better than this.

We were NASA guests on a VIP tour — a tour so rare that several of the NASA employees who went along for the ride had never had this opportunity in their two decades of employment with the KSC. Wow.

And the way it happened. So effortless. Pure magic and pixie dust.

A few weeks back, Laura Scott from the KSC found my blog and subscribed. It was a series of coincidences — I call them “God-incidences” — all happening in perfect sequence, that brought us to yesterday.

Laura is a long-time member of Better Investing, the company where my writing career began two decades ago and where I still work as a contract writer/editor. My coworkers and the members of Better Investing are like family to me. Someone posted my recent diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer on a listserv. Laura saw it.

She and members of her team at the KSC posted a beautiful, uplifting comment to my blog. I was thrilled. So thrilled that I incorporated the message and a beautiful out-of-this-world picture into my next blog post. (See post, 2/9/2011.)

Laura and I started chatting online and felt a mutual connection. “I’ll be just a little south of you in early March,” I told her. “Maybe we could drive up to the KSC. I’d love to meet you.”

One thing led to another and my story, my blog, made its way up the flagpole of NASA communications. I was invited to tour the KSC as a VIP. We’d have our own special bus. A 12-seater. I was welcome to invite guests.

It all came together like clockwork. I invited my sisters, of course, and then it hit me. I have two friends, Helene and Bert Rabinowitz, who winter in the West Palm area. And, my close friend from college, Lisa Stark Watson, her husband, Greg, and son, Zachary, live near Ft. Lauderdale. I extended the invitation. Everyone was able to rearrange schedules and drive up on the morning of March 9. Synchronicity.

What we were going to have the opportunity to see had already knocked the wind out of me. The Space Station Processing Facility. The Orbiter Processing Facility, where we stood beneath the Shuttle Atlantis. The Vehicle Assembly Building, where we viewed the Shuttle Endeavor and where the latest Transformers movie — due out this summer — was filmed. Shuttle Launch Pad 39A, where Apollo 11 blasted off for the Moon more than four decades ago, and from which the Discovery Shuttle had launched mere days before. A tour led by Debra Kral of NASA, whose knowledge and enthusiasm was not only fascinating, but mind-blowing.

But then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did.

A couple of days before our tour, I got word that the Shuttle Discovery had been scheduled to land March 9. The date had been in flux; Discovery was originally supposed to land a few days earlier.

I couldn’t believe it. Not only would we have the privilege of seeing the most complex, miraculous inner workings of the KSC and the entire, decades-long space program, but we were going to see history in the making — the final landing of the Shuttle Discovery.

The weather was perfect as we turned our eyes skyward, waiting for the Sonic Boom, and then the emergence of the Discovery. There it was, high above the clouds, gently gliding toward Planet Earth like a pure white dove.

Sometimes, no matter how big your imagination, how far-reaching, there are things that happen in this world that come together with such precision, such perfect timing, that they can only be explained as God’s fingerprint, part of His amazing handiwork. Moments when you know to the depth of your soul that the sky is not the limit.

Yesterday was filled with those moments.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson




24 responses

10 03 2011
Debbie Loumakis

I want to see lots of photos!!

10 03 2011
Amy Rauch Neilson

Wayyyy more photos to come, I promise! Technologically challenging when I’m on the road. Will do when I get home!

10 03 2011
Kristi Rugh Kahl

How awesome! I’m sooo happy for you and the memories you made this past week will always be with you. Your journey truly is God’s plan and though you will climb tough hills, you will be rewarded with days like yesterday. Thanks for sharing with us…………..

10 03 2011

So glad the landing was delayed

10 03 2011
Nancy Wilson

It’s so amazing to see how God’s plans are so much better than we could ever plan as puny little humans. It sounds like AMAZING would be the perfect word for your experience.

10 03 2011

AWWWWESOME! I can think of nothing less than AWWWWESOME!

10 03 2011
Roni Kinsella

Wow. God’s perfect plan yet again….Incredible!

10 03 2011

I’m praying for you!

10 03 2011
Sharon L-S

It’s amazing at KSC. What an awesome experience you had. Goes to show no matter where we live it really is a small world (hope you got to DisneyWorld too). No matter where we travel we meet people from places we have lived or belong to same organizations etc. I too wait for you to post some more pictures.
Hugs & prayers
a sister Better Investing member

10 03 2011
lucy (meau's friend)

AIN”T GOD GOOD?? shur ‘nuf!

10 03 2011

How amazing and universe connecting! So glad for your wonderful experience!

10 03 2011


10 03 2011

If anyone deserves this, it’s you. Thank you for sharing this through your eyes!

10 03 2011
Deborah Ann Peters

What an amazing experience for you. As I watched the final landing of Discovery on TV, you were THERE in person. WOW!!!!!!!!!

10 03 2011

Amy, this comment is from Nate. I just read him your blog entry.
“I was so excited when my mom asked if I wanted to hear this. Your experience was COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally, totally, totally amazing! I so badly wish I had been there too. I can’t wait to see some pictures! I want to come visit you when you get back! I love you, Nate!!!”

10 03 2011

You’re constantly bringing tears to the eyes. But don’t stop. I love hearing about your personal God-incidences. TY Lord.

10 03 2011

OMG…that is so awesome!!!! Witnessing history in the making. wow.

10 03 2011
Jan Braun

Wow Amy! What an opportunity! So Awesome! You are an amazing person to network that into happening! Look forward to the pictures. Say hello to your sisters for me.

11 03 2011
Beth Johnson

Wow. Just Wow.

I am a Space Geek, majoring in astrophysics, and hoping to get into the astronaut program a few years down the road. I am so incredibly envious… and incredibly HAPPY for you. Words cannot express.

Please get better, Amy. You are a very blessed person, and we need to keep you around for our own sakes. 😉


12 03 2011

That was truly a blessing to have that opportunity. So glad our good friends at KSC – Cheryl Zimmerman, Joyce Tipton and Laura Scott were able to arrange a special day for you to experience. GOD Bless You….

12 03 2011
Sharon L-S

Hope your vacation is going well. I just sent your name and blog address to the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority at the University of Georgia. My niece sent me info on their 23rd Think Pink Diamond Challenge softball tournament for the fight against breast cancer. Hopefully they will sign up for your blog.

Hugs and prayers

12 03 2011
Sarah Zowada

Hi Amy, I met you ar Pamela Raetz’s wedding shower. I told you about my daughter-in-law(love) Bonnie. Here is her blog info:
http://myverypresenthelp.blogspot.com You may want to go back to read the older posts. (If and when you have time!)

What a wonderful experience you have had at KSC! God is good, indeed!!!!
Sarah Zowada, friend of Linda Raetz

13 03 2011
Marsha McAuley

How exciting Amy! Sounds like you are having lots of fun. Enjoy.

16 03 2011
Lynn Collard

Awesome! What a unique and amazing experience! I love your term “God-incidences!” So blessed I am to live vicariously through this experience you had…was always a dream of mine to be a teacher in Space! I watch NASA TV often and follow many satellites. Thanks for sharing!

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