Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another, Young Soldier

uncle-terry-recent

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!

The article describing the incident here.  

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.

vietnam-wall

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.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

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.

terry

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.

Teach about the cost of freedom flag poster.

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.

Most importantly,

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.

terry-in-high-school

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

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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.

hoffman-kids-older

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.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


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.

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgiving poster.



For Terry’s military documented story:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

The United States Marine Corps

 

 

A Simpler Life: The Amish Could Teach Us Some Things

Sometimes I think it would be better to live like the Amish.

It just seems like a simpler way of life.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I realize they work hard.

Extremely hard!

It’s VERY EVIDENT by the immaculate farms they keep.

There are times I tell my husband I’m going to get rid of all our technology and become Amish.

I just think that kind of simple living could be a blessing we are missing.


Now, if you knew more about me you would find I really have enjoyed learning all about website development, graphic design, videography, film editing, you name it.

And, my brain is swimming most days; it’s all been a huge learning curve for me.

(I knew nothing of jargon like: SEO, widgets, affiliate marketing, meta tags, web hosting…)

The last few years have been like learning a foreign language. 

But teaching myself kind of made me feel proud… learning all this in my 50s. 😉

I’ve always been a lover of learning and believe in being a student of multiple subjects.

A lifelong learner I will always be. 👩🏼‍🎓

I just feel God blessed us with a thinking mind and great opportunities, so we shouldn’t squander it, and should always be looking to broaden our knowledge by learning something new.

Now, I know I could easily get wrapped up in trying to learn one more thing about my phone, website design, you name it…

I also feel it could be harmful, if not careful.


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel we should totally absolve technology or refuse to buy the latest gadget,

I just feel there’s a fine,

VERY FINE, balance as with everything in life.

For instance, my husband and I have noticed, especially while eating out, that a lot of families are just not communicating anymore.

They’re all on their phones throughout their entire mealtime even when it’s obvious it’s a special occasion like Mother’s Day or a birthday.

It’s like face-to-face conversation is nil.

I don’t know, maybe they feel awkward or easily bored and need entertained by a device.

But isn’t there always something to be learned from another person?

At least I feel that way.

Often, we’ve  discussed how sad it is that families no longer sit and talk with each other, at length. What happened to long talks by the fireside or singing Christmas carols around the piano?

Many times, we would visit with our in-laws, go out to an early dinner (they liked eating early😉) and then we’d head back to their house where we’d sit for five or six hours just talking.

Even as the hour approached 11, 12 PM, knowing we still had an hour’s drive home, we still really never regretted it, one bit.

Talking.

Just talking.

And, almost always, we would end up praying for different family members that weren’t even there at the time.

Not long ago, my daughter (who now lives out-of-state) traveled back here to our home. After we had all traveled together to visit with other family, she shared she had never heard a particular story that had just been shared.

During the drive home she acted surprised, and her exact words were,

“I didn’t know that!”

And later I thought, you know, she would have TOTALLY missed out on that information had she been on her phone or maybe that person would’ve never shared their story had they felt everyone seemed more interested in their phones.

Possibly, our family history would’ve been missed for all generations to come.

I feel like I became more aware of the influence of technology on our relationships about two years ago. Family had traveled in for the holidays, and as I looked around the room I noticed just about everyone was on their phones.

Both old and young alike. 😒

And I began thinking, you know, there are elderly people in the room and they just may not be here next year. I mean, one never knows, right? Or, maybe that person is  younger, but they’ve had some major struggles, and their health isn’t that good.

I also thought, what does that say about us if we travel to come visit family, yet can’t even sit long enough to talk face-to-face with each other. When that might be the only few hours we’re all together?

We either have to leave to go and find something “fun” to do, turn on the TV, or pick up our phones.

No one can even sit still any longer!

By taking the time to be present, I just think there are many wonderful lessons to be learned, values to be passed down, wisdom to glean, and like I said, family history will be lost if we don’t pass it along to the younger generations.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I really enjoy people and like hearing their life stories.

Heck, a person might just learn patience. And that life is not all about them.

Imagine that! (said in a sarcastic tone)


I had to quit work eight years ago, because my health was so unpredictable and failing fast.

“Life” couldn’t be planned any longer, and I had spent many a weekend, sometimes months at a time, feeling like a prisoner in my home.

Just the simple things like grocery shopping, or going to a social event, even visiting family wasn’t possible. (Sometimes, that still is difficult for me.)

And I used to think I was really good at nurturing relationships and putting into practice all these things I mentioned above. I always loved talking to and listening to people.

But now I see I could have done even better.

I view things from a TOTALLY different perspective now.

I realize time is too short, life can change in an instant and every moment is precious.

To be present is WAY more important.

Things/activities really can wait.

One should never be too busy.

You really can always say, “NO”….

you don’t have to do everything, ya know?

AND, you can choose to limit things in your life.

If people don’t understand, that’s their problem.

That’s why I referred to the Amish as possibly having the right idea.

Life “can” always be busy, and be assured IT will always try to stress you and just maybe, technology has added to that problem by robbing us of our interpersonal relationships.

In January, my thoughts were validated when I watched an interview with Simon Sinek.

Maybe you’ve seen it.

If you haven’t, you really need to go watch it. He describes how social media has affected us, young people, especially.

But, he also addresses how the mind responds to social media and feeds addictive tendencies in the brain.

The entire video is REALLY interesting!

This video went viral, and was all over the internet including fB, (which is kind of ironic) but I think it became so popular because it really made people stop and think because it resonated TRUTH.

I was like, YES! Someone is clearly describing exactly what I’ve said/felt/observed!

I found his comments both fascinating and quite alarming.

Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU&t=483s


Now, I’m sure there are some Amish kids who would prefer an iPhone over hearing what their chores will be for the upcoming week.

But maybe, just maybe, we would be wise to step back and evaluate just how much time we spend on our phones or other social media for that matter.

Think about how much quality time we truly are giving other people.

By listening to others, there are so many lessons to be learned, values to be passed down, and wisdom to glean.

And by observing someone’s body language and voice inflection, you will better understand where a person is coming from rather than trying to decipher their text.

It makes for a lot less misinterpretation. IT’s A PROVEN FACT!

Most importantly, by being face-to-face it might even make us human beings a little more patient–providing more understanding and compassion for where another person has walked.

A Reflection on Motherhood

I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day!

And I hope you got to soak up all the time you wanted with all your children. 💓 🐣🐥 

I found myself reflecting on motherhood today. _____________________________________________

Both of my kids are presently living out-of-state, as of last week, so I wasn’t with either one of them for Mother’s Day. 😞 But, it’s happened before…so, I go with the flow whether I like it or not.

Sometimes, you just have no other choice. 


My daughter moved away to GA, four years ago, to attend college and then got married to a southern boy. 

And just last week, my son and his newly, graduated wife moved to Ohio where they both are starting new jobs this week. 


Times are a changin’. 

They changed before and now they’re changing again.

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You know, we moms have unspoken goals to raise strong, yet caring, secure people who one day will be able to move away and find their own purpose in life. 

Carrying our kids, physically, so close to our hearts is one thing, and then having put everything we have into our kids (everything) just makes it a little surreal when you finally have to let them go

It’s a good thing and yet a heart-wrenching thing. 

A piece of you is now walking away. 

You’re excited for them, but also feel sad. 

And to complicate things, for many of us, we’re sending kids off during tough menopausal times too!

I’ve often said to friends, in similar phases of life, “What’s up with God timing the leaving of our children when he KNOWS our hormones will all be whacked out? 

Is it some cruel joke?!

POOR TIMING!😝 I’d say!

And don’t even get me started with the parents who are talking about their kids leaving home, but they’re just moving down the street or moving within the state. 

Sorry, but I just don’t see it quite the same way.  

If you’ve always lived close to your children, count yourself a very blessed person!

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Then, to think of all the mothers that went before us…having sacrificed so much.  They did all of this “mothering” without the help of modern conveniences. Sometimes, I can’t even fathom it.

One particular person I think about often, is my grandmother’s sister who was burned severely as a young lady. I remember her eyes buldged and wouldn’t close correctly, watering all the time. Her lips were swollen and turned outward, her face and neck taut with scars, her hands bound up like claws.  Yet, she raised a slew of children in the Arkansas heat and handmade the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen. 

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There’s also the mothers who’ve had to send their kids off to war wondering when they’d see them again. It has to be heart wrenching. 

My mom was one who had to do this.

And my grandmother as well. 

Sadly, she didn’t see her son return.

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So, hug your kids a little tighter. 

Choose your battles wisely deciding to let some things go. 

Send your kids off with your favorite “mom phrase” of encouragement. 😊

And, reflect on all you did right, or at least as best as you could, 🤗

considering what you were dealt with at the moment. 

Now, let GO and by all means, keep praying!🙏💜

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Now for some more reflection….


Me as a young mom in my “scrunchy days”…can you tell it’s the 90s? 🤣

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And then there’s my own mom who married at 17 and had a 10.4 lb baby girl at 18. 



All The nurses were coming in to see “the little girl who had that HUGE baby.”
Poor Mom.

The things we’ve put them through!






Preparing to Live in China (1986)

Teaching English listening and speaking skills in China circa 1986

I was 23 and selling everything I had.

About this time, 31 years ago, I was preparing to live and teach in China. I really didn’t know exactly where, yet, just somewhere in the Mainland.

But, I almost didn’t go.

I got scared.

Midway into the interviewing process, I found out I would be teaching adults.

Most likely it would be professors at a university. Say whaaaaa?!!!

Yeah, I started re-thinking this E N T I R E thing.

A lot of unique things happened up to this point, and I really felt I was to go to China, but then I heard this little tidbit. 🙂

Not only was I going to a third world country, didn’t know a bit of Chinese, nor any Asians, at all, but now felt this was really stretching it for me.

I had just graduated with an elementary education degree and knew nothing of teaching adults. Much less professors…YIKES!

But, I believed God had called me to do this.

That’s part of the fascinating, unfolding story I will probably share later.

So, I had to trust that He knew what he was doing.

I had always believed the saying, “Where He calls, He will equip.”

And now was my time to step out into the deep and

“DO IT AFRAID”.

Let faith be bigger than your fear vignette.

TO BE CONTINUED…
PS Oh, and I might add, my boyfriend at the time had just proposed to me…
but I would be gone for a YEAR!

Read about our long distance courtship here:

 https://thentherestwo.com/2016/10/23/29-years-ago-i-married/

Do it afraid poster

The Newness of Spring


Spring is my FAVORITE time of year.

New.

Everything is new!

After experiencing cold, bleak days with no sunshine nor sign of color.

There’s now visible life!

Spring signals Easter is around the corner…bright colors, cute rabbits, and chicks.

Bringing a resurrection story detailing the ultimate sacrifice for a dark world.

It, too, brings change.

phlox flowers springing up in April

Newness.
HOPE.


Warmth is on its way!

I love how it feels on my face.

Oh, I don’t usually go out to enjoy spring as my allergies and asthma have kept me indoors, since childhood, but I still enjoy it from inside unless I get a rare day where the pollen count drops drastically. (That’s usually if a storm has rolled through like today.)

Thunderstorm in April in Indiana

Some years, I miss catching the bluebells in the woods, but here they are!

Bluebells growing in the woods in Indiana.

Bluebell flowers in the woods of Indiana

And I just got an early birthday present from my sweet hubby.  A larger iPhone…the 7! (I think he was surprised at how poorly I saw things, too…like his messages to me. 😉 )

So, I just had to test it out!

Physically it’s been a really rough couple of weeks, so I bolted out the door like a puppy that had been cooped up all day!
Enjoy the pictures.

Look! Even the weeds look pretty.

 

15clover and wild violets in Indiana

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4buds on a plum treebluebells of Indiana

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Rainy Days

Standing in the creek behind my house with my TOTES on.

RAINY days and Mondays always don’t always get me down.

Didn’t you love the Carpenters?

But, I’m not complaining about the rain as it really helps my dry skin and eyes…ahhhh relief!

This picture was taken back by the creek before all this rain fell. I was testing out my new TOTES.  I walked right through the creek to get some shots. 

However, I thought twice about going out to view the creek today. We have had nothing but downpours like you wouldn’t believe all day, everyday for a week. 

And I’m afraid one slip of the foot, and I’d be swept away. 

The creek is at the back of our acre of land, and normally you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

But I can hear the sound of the rushing water clear up by my house today!

Our county was under a flash flood watch just after one night of downpour.  

OK, now this is the third time I’m hearing hail hit the windows, in the past week, and these strong winds make the house sound like it’s going to implode… constant creaking sounds. 😮

What’s it like in your neck of the woods?