After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.
Another son had died.
In a foreign, far away place.
He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.
And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.
VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!
I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!
I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.
What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?
What has happened to our America?
I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…
My heart was heavy for them.
But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?
My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.
We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.
He was escorted home, finally.
It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)
It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.
He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.
Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.
We always wondered what the full story was.
Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.
Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.
Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However, the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.
A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.
Not just one lesson, but many:
That war was cruel.
Kids were still dying to this day.
That we should be there to support families, help where needed, invite a military family over for the holidays.
(You know, just be a good human.)
That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.
And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom. Many picking up rifles to enter war as children.
that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.
A HUGE price.
So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.
He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.
His ultimate sacrifice recognized.
Our family, once again, was left with distant memories. Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.
People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.
It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.
The news crews were there to capture it all.
The flag-draped coffin.
The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.
The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.
COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.
Tragically, for this other family on the plane…
that didn’t happen.
There wasn’t much, if any, shown.
My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.
And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.
What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?
Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?
He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.
(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)
No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.
He wanted to show his loyalty.
He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.
Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.
If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…
I could NOT have sat there silently!
I KNOW that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.
I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.
I KNOW I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.
AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America, that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!
Find a military family to reach out to.
Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…your community.
Invite someone over for the holidays. Say a prayer for others.
Show some thankfulness.
Bridge the gap(s).
Teach your kids.
Show honor and respect.
I know my Uncle Terry would have,
if he could.
Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 on Feb. 4th.
For Terry’s military documented story:
I LOVE Easter and all the spring colors.
I bought a lot of Easter decor this year; probably more than I’ve ever purchased before.
My mother painted this little chick many decades ago, and I decided to use all the wild violets in the yard as a backdrop. I’ve never seen this many. It looks like faint, purple blankets laying all over the yard.I’ve been playing with flatlays on Instagram.
I just thought these bunny plates were so cute and vibrant!
Did anyone else decorate?
Are you having a big Easter dinner with family?
What yummy things do you cook/bake?
Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.
So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉
This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?
Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.
And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ). I couldn’t sleep at all!!
That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was coincidence.)
She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.
Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉
Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!!
She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂
Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.
As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.
She’s always been more quiet. She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.
One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”
Morgan never really gave us any trouble.
She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.
She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.
She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA
Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.
Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.
Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.
She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )
One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.
Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.
Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.
She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.
Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.
Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂
I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)
But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.
Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.
And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂
Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.♥
The Wrong Place at the Right Time
My Dad entered the Marine Corps as a young kid from a small town in Indiana.
Boot camp was in California.
He was one of three brothers who went into the Marine Corps.
On leave, one weekend, he and some other Marines went looking for a church service and ended up in the wrong church.
Wrong, because he was looking for The Church of God based out of Anderson, Indiana, and the church he visited that day was a totally different denomination, The Church of God out of Cleveland.
Now, you may not think that is a big deal, but those two denominations are WORLDS APART and you would quickly know upon entering the doors.
A person might even be a little overwhelmed by it all; especially, back in the 1960s.
But, Dad saw a cute girl singing in the choir and ended up coming back. 😉
My Grandma then felt sorry for the young Marines (so far from home) and invited them over for lunch after church.
And, the story unfolds….
Two Kids Got Married
They were married April 13, on a Friday.
They’ve always joked about it being Friday the 13th….the reference being bad luck. (for all my overseas friends/blog followers. 🙂 )
Mom wasn’t even finished with high school yet.
Mom’s brother Donnie was the best man and her sister Mary, the Maid of honor.
Mom’s colors were turquoise with yellow accents. And dad wore a sharp, white tux he had made, to perfect proportions, in Okinawa. (Interestingly, where my brother is now deployed as a Colonel with the Marine Corps.)
Dad said he had been paneling the reception area the day before the wedding. 🙂
And another little tidbit Mom has always shared…her organ player got upset about being put behind some drapes and ruined the music on this day. HA
Then they headed back to Indiana where my Mom met her in-laws. She would always relay the story of how she was so nervous; a timid, young girl meeting an entire family at the airport for the first time, and on her honeymoon none the less!
Life Moves On
Dad was still in the Corps and Mom was now pregnant with me, the first child. She was carrying me while Dad was on board ship during the Cuban Crisis. Mom said she was so worried as she watched the news and heard talk of America possibly going to war with Russia. It was a very serious threat at the time.
Later, Dad returned to do some construction work and then became a policeman. He attended college, at night, majoring in criminal justice to earn an AA degree.
Mom would go back to finish her GED and then become a stay at home mom. Later on, she attended night classes for secretarial work where she worked for a temporary agency from time to time. (I remember her taking notes, in shorthand, during church. Does anyone remember that? I always thought it looked so cool!)
Later, in 1966, my little brother would be born (the Col) and we would move back to Indiana in 1974 where dad had been raised. (He being the outdoorsman from a small town…yeah, he was SO OVER California by then.)
There’s so much more to the story….
To be continued..
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to MOM AND DAD!
I had some leftover milk chocolate and at the last-minute, like 10 PM last night, decided I wanted to make a fudge ♥ (for my hubby) for Valentine’s Day. So, I experimented with my Easy, Ten Minute Microwave Fudge Recipe and came up with a quick way to make a valentine heart in about 20 minutes! (including chilling it. 🙂 )
I was happy it tasted good and that it turned out looking so cute.
Not that he will care that it looks cute…but I DO!
The easiness (and cuteness 😉 ) demanded I take some quick pics and share. (Hence, the dark, grainy photos. 😦 (sorry) and…
because you still have some time to make one, for your lovey.
It’s THAT FAST!!
1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of milk chocolate morsels
1/4 Cup of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
A dash of salt
A dash of vanilla extract
*chopped nuts optional
And… you will need a cookie cutter OR just cut it out by hand with a knife.
Combine all the ingredients and microwave till everything is melted well.
Pour into a liberally greased, small glass bowl.
Chill in the freezer until firm. It firms up quick, I tell ya!
Use a wet knife to cut around the edge to loosen the chocolate. You may have to carefully turn, then run warm water over the bottom of the bowl to loosen the chocolate, as well.
Place on a firm cutting service and cut out the chocolate.
Then, consume the extra chocolatey scraps. 🙂
I decided to leave the fudge in the cookie cutter ’cause AGAIN, I thought it looked cute!
And, I found a few strawberries, so I garnished…I feel so professional, ha!
You also could write a note on your plate using dry erase marker or red icing.
Here’s some ideas: Twenty Creative Way to Leave Love Notes
So Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone out there in blog land!♥♥
I know some of you just don’t like this holiday. I get it. BUT, you can still show some love to a family member, someone who’s been there for you, a dear neighbor or even a stranger…just think how it will make their day!! So, LOOK around.
It might even be a divine appointment; be open to it!
Tell me what your plans are below. And come back and comment if you’ve shared some love in a unique way or had a special encounter; I’m dying to hear!
♥♥ Written In honor of my boo…whose always been there through all my health issues and MORE!
♥♥And my kids…my you’ve grown up way too fast!
When my husband and I started dating, we enjoyed leaving love notes for each other in creative and clever ways. Later on, I tried to do the same with my two kids. And, I sure got a kick out of seeing them doing the same for us, each other, and now their spouses.
But, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to surprise someone with a kind note. We have left notes for all sorts of reasons…a job promotion, a Geography Bee winning, a note of encouragement or note noticing your kid helped another person…the skies the limit!
Here, I snuck out after the snow stopped to leave notes for my hubby to find before he left for work the following day. 🙂
OK, so here’s the list of things we actually did throughout the years, or ideas I came up with.
THE KEY IS… USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!
♥Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes♥
Hide notes in lunch boxes, books, backpacks or under and behind items for someone to find when they clean the house.
Sneak out at night and write a sweet message on their car with shoe polish paint.
Leave a note under their favorite coffee cup or hygiene item they use every morning.
Use dry erase marker to write a love note, positive thought or verse on their bathroom mirror.
Print out a sign and tape it to a wall where they’ll see it when they open their door or behind a door they will close. (i.e. bathroom door)
Find your kids’ homework agenda and leave a congratulatory, encouraging, or fun message on a particular day. (i.e. a tryout days, their first week of school, a birthday, a milestone.)
Kiss the back of a card’s envelope with lipstick on and print S.W.A.K. (Sealed With A Kiss)
Leave a note on the rear view mirror or in their car seat.
Write a note on the toilet paper using a Sharpie. 🙂 HA
Slide a creatively designed note under their door at night, so they see it first thing in the morning.
Use dry erase marker or permanent Sharpie to write on a coffee mug or favorite glass.
Make a unique plate to be used for special occasions ONLY. (i.e. “You’re So Smart”, “You Did IT!” “Congratulations!” “We’re Proud of You!”)
Tuck a note in a pant pocket, coat pocket or glove.
Leave a note inside their glasses case.
Leave a note on top of a stack of clothes you’ve folded.
Leave a card or note under the car windshield wipers while they’re at work.
Leave a note taped to the remote or TV.
Tape a note to their favorite food item that they use every day. (i.e. creamer, cereal or coffee can.)
Place a note under their pillow or pinned to a favorite blanket.
Tape a note to their car keys.
Leave a note in their suitcase as they leave for camp or a business trip.
Lastly, of course, you can always just send an e-mail or text. 😉
JUST HAVE FUN WITH IT!