I pulled over to take this pic after going up to an appointment for my mom. I call it “Big Sky”.😍
I pulled over to take this pic after going up to an appointment for my mom. I call it “Big Sky”.😍
If anyone knows me well, they know I love Easter!
No I mean I really LOVE Easter!💗
I was thinking about this the other day as we had a few sunny days and all this spring decor had me thinking about Easter and why I liked it so much. 🐥🐇
Well for one, I grew up in southern California where it was always WARM and SUNNY, 😎 so Easter had us buying new, spring clothes with all the beautiful colors.
My mom sewed almost all my clothes and Easter was extra special as we browsed through huge pattern books and admired all the pretty pastel fabrics.
Then, what followed was looking for the accessories: white shoes, purse and little white gloves, with lace.
I loved my little, white gloves so much that I wouldn’t take them off when eating chocolate in Sunday school. 😂
And occasionally I had a “bonnet” or kerchief.
We had so much fun coloring Easter eggs.
And then there were the HUGE, SEE’S Chocolate Easter eggs beautifully decorated with pastel flowers. They were almost the size of an ostrich egg and usually filled with a rich creamy filling. That big ol’ egg would be rationed to last me 2 weeks HA.
Oh, I just loved waking up to big, stuffed Easter baskets, putting on my Easter best, going to church with the family, singing all the special music, smelling the flowers in the air, then enjoying a big Easter spread.
Just lots of really warm memories.
Now, compare that to my first Easter in Indiana.
I was so bummed when I realized my pretty, new sun dress was going to be covered by a winter coat, and it was way too cold ❄️ to even want to take it off for any pictures.😒
Year after year.
Why did we even bother getting new clothes for Easter?🤷🏻♀️
Yep, Easter in the midwest has pretty much always been cold, rainy or overcast. Sometimes it even snows! Just makes you feel all cheery inside when looking forward to spring. (Insert sarcasm) 😒
Then, I grew up and my own kids came along.
I’d try to dress them in cute, little outfits but worried their little legs would freeze off, so I added tights, a sweater,
a parka. 😞
And we still tried to provide an Easter egg hunt…most were INDOORS.
But I mean, who wants to hunt Easter eggs INDOORS? 👎🏼
And guess who else likes little, white gloves?👇🏻
He just had to have a suit.
So, my thoughts going way back to sunny California have always brought fond memories. ☀️
As I reflect, I can say one constant has remained.
That Easter really has NOTHING to do with any of this.
Not weather, not new clothes, or a big yummy meal, not even another “holiday”…
That it’s all really only been about Jesus.
Easter always caused me to reflect on what Christ has done for me, personally.
Rereading the resurrection story and the hours Christ submitted to his father’s will just grips my heart every time. I try to slow down taking in each detail of what really took place.
The torture, the betrayal, the extreme love and sacrifice for all mankind.
Every year of my life, even as a kid, I tried to imagine the scene, and it always moved me to tears.
No matter how I try to contain myself, the tears always flow.
Because I know no one could ever love me that much, nor willingly sacrifice their life for me.
And so it’s not the new clothes, the candy, the sunshine…not even being with family.
It’s about pure love. Unimaginable tenderness for ALL mankind.
You never have to earn this love nor question his love for you.
He came as a baby
to die as a young man.
For you and for me. ❤️
He created us and He wants to see us again with Him someday.
Have you ever been betrayed? Betrayed to the point it will cost you your life? Choices. Today, Maundy Thursday is observed by Christians everywhere…the Thursday before Easter. 🌷It also signifies the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles prior to his betrayal and ultimately his death. Can you imagine loving another so much that you’re willing to die for them including the one that betrayed you? Heavy, heavy choices. Today I pause to reflect on both the turmoil and burden Christ must’ve had in his heart. Life brings many choices… some, very difficult. You just pray you’re hearing correctly. Yesterday, I had to help make such a choice for my mother who could not make the choice for herself. Seeing her cry, being continually scared 💔(esp since her cardiologist stroked her) just put through SO MUCH since October and now yet another, major, choice followed by surgery. I sure hoped and prayed I was doing the right thing on her behalf. AND praying the doctors were right this time. My heart felt like it would burst. Only time will tell if we made the right one. So today, I lean hard on my Lord and reflect on choices and the heavy decisions that Christ would face as he walked this lone road. 💗 Life can be hard, not at all like we expected and yet we still have to believe this is the path God intended us to walk. Ultimately, he is in control and knows beginning to end. It’s our path to walk. Our story. Our testimony. Hard or not. May I make the right choices and may I be found worthy in the end. 🙌
Recently, I decided to leave with my husband on his business trip to Manassas, Virginia. A lot has happened these last 5 months, with mom’s stroke, then my surgeries, just life issues always coming at us, and even though I was fighting pain and trying to walk, I was so over this cold weather and really needed a change of scenery, so we decided to go for it. We hesitated whether to drive or fly but ended up having to drive. (At least I could get out to stretch and could wear a tens unit without TSA thinking I was packing a bomb. 😁)
In my husband’s 30 yrs, he hadn’t been to this particular city and was meeting with a new company. So, we decided that it might be nice to also drive a little further to Virginia Beach, after his meetings, just to check out the area.
We have been part of a ministry, for many years, called Operation Blessing that gives to those in need here and overseas, and had watched some beautiful testimonies through the years on the Christian Network CBN. So, we also thought it’d be interesting to visit the studios as well as see Regent University there. The campus was beautiful with it’s colonial style buildings and brick paved pathways.
Video of the campus here: https://youtu.be/dlHcI_kGA2k
We knew the weather wouldn’t be as warm as we would like but the two full days we had there (in Virginia Beach) still were warmer than at home.
There happened to be a St. Patrick’s Day marathon run (along the boardwalk) that we could view from our balcony, and we also enjoyed some great seafood while there. We even visited our first Trader Joe’s where we picked up a few things. The employees were so helpful there!
The wind was pretty fierce when we first arrived, and we were pelted with sand as we tried walking along the boardwalk. I noticed horses along the beach and felt sorry for them.
When we first arrived, we heard, then felt, the thunderous jets flying overhead from the nearby Oceana Naval Air Station.
This is where fighter jet pilots are trained and boy what a rush it was hearing them fly overhead, one right after another. Since my husband works for the Navy, later on, we decided to go on the base to view some of those jet fighters.
We also viewed many a ship using the ocean like a highway.
Each day there were large cargo ships lined up along the horizon; more than we’ve ever seen on any coast.
On the last night, I managed to catch some magnificent sunsets with the sky continually changing by the minute.
Since the trip came up rather suddenly, we hadn’t realized that major Civil War battle sites were literally 7 minutes from our first hotel in Manassas, VA. Both the first and second battles of Bull Run took place here.
The grounds provided some beautiful views stretching out to the horizon and it was sobering to think how many lives were lost on the very land we were walking. There was a free museum there as well as a self guided driving tour. We got out at one point and walked a few miles down a trail noticing points of interest.
I thought it was interesting that the northerners had a different name for the battle than the southerners.
Wiki: The First Battle of Bull Run (the name used by Union forces), also known as the First Battle of Manassas (the name used by Confederate forces), was fought on July 21, 1861 in Prince William County, Virginia, just north of the city of Manassas and about 25 miles west-southwest of Washington, D.C. It was the first major battle of the American Civil War.”
And it was just sad to think that this war cost some 3,000 Union casualties, as well as 1,750 Confederate deaths.
Later, as we drove away from Manassas, I mentioned to my husband I thought Jamestown might be near. I looked down at the map and realized we were then only 20 minutes away, so we took a slight detour and at last minute, toured the Jamestown settlement. Again, I learned many facts I had not realized before.
Check out our Jamestown video link here:
So, we saw a lot for the short time we were there and our 12.5 looong drive home took us more southerly through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and Smokies. Then, we came home to find our refrigerator had gone out, again, like it had 7 years ago. What a welcome home. 😞
*For more travel videos and pics across the country, check out our YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCB07TgWeL-brVsLv–C7yYA
or see Instagram highlight video “Midwest to VA” : @Thentherestwo
Even if you don’t have that special valentine today, or you are feeling sad and low… I, even a stranger to you, want you to know that someone DOES love you and saw you before the beginning of time. You are important; you were designed to come into this world, you have something to add, and you are still here for this purpose.
Be you…but be kind.
Don’t listen to naysayers.
Happy Valentine’s Day❣️
Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT) – “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
This past fall was some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve had here in Indiana for a few years. I did a lot more driving up through southern Indianapolis, Danville, Mooresville, and Plainfield due to the sad fact my mom had a stroke in October. She is fairly young and went in for a rather routine heart cath and stroked. (The odds were less than 1/2 percent.) All our lives changed that day.
I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it completely. When you see someone go from totally functional, driving, etc.. to needing help with everything and their mind just not all there…well, I still think I’m in shock. It all happened within an hour. It wasn’t a slow degredation, nor something we saw coming and could attempt to prepare ourselves for as we did with my husband’s father. He dealt with Parkinsons. It has just been a lot in such a short time with sudden adjustments.
Not only is mom dealing with a severe stroke, but they also found her heart to only be working at 25%. (According to her doctors, this heart thing could’ve been going on for years.) She had already been dealing with severe, undetermined pain for decades, along with pain from fibromyalgia. So, my poor mom has been through A LOT, and having entered that arena of severe pain, especially these last ten years myself, I am realizing just how REALLY TOUGH my mom truly is!!
Mom was over an hour away from us; first in the hospital, ICU, then went on to a rehab facility. So, I had a lot of time to drive and think. As I drove (and prayed), I thought of how much my mom would’ve loved these vibrant colors. She LOVES fall. She used to paint, and I thought she would’ve loved painting all this beautiful color!
While on the road, I positioned my camera to catch some of the fall foilage. (You may have already seen some of my IG photos.)
Driving the new I69 from Bloomington, IN up through Martinsville.
AND my YouTube channel: thentherestwo
I’m not a professional by any means but someday maybe my grandkids will see the clips along with everything the grandparents were up to. 😉
As the holidays roll around, I often talk with people and hear about how stressed they are trying to please their family members at this time. It makes me reflect on family dynamics and why people act the way they do, or get so bent out of shape at this time of year. I just heard a lady (while at the hair salon) speaking about how she works SO hard, is super busy, then has to cook a huge meal while off work…yadda, yadda, yadda, BUT this year she was choosing to stay home, just her and hubby, and she thought it sounded glorious. Why is the holiday season SO stressful for us…women, especially?
I believe it’s because some family members have preconceived expectations about how things should go. I hear friends say that their family members don’t understand their hectic life or work schedule, that they always are the one to cook and never get help, they mention they don’t get much time with one side of the family over another, or they ate 3 huge meals in one day just to please everyone. Geeze!
Why can’t people talk with each other and just be honest explaining their reality like grown ups should be able to?
As I grow older, I reflect on these situations and have created a series of posters entitled, “The older I get…” All are observations I’ve had while talking to people or while encountering certain social situations.
So, my own kids are now married. And I refuse to be that parent that pressures them (silent or not) into feeling they have to meet my needs or be somewhere that causes them undue stress. I don’t want to apply that kind of pressure to anyone! I haven’t liked it myself, in the past, and I don’t want it for them. No holiday, or get together is worth that feeling of guilt, or the added stress of trying to please everyone. You can end up resenting family holidays. I mean, even if it doesn’t seem fair at times, I refuse to put that pressure on my family because I’ve seen what that kind of hurt can do to relationships. It causes problems or misunderstanding for years! And I don’t want that! I want my family to visit me because they love me and want to be around me. I don’t want anyone feeling stressed over trying to make an engagement because they fear my disapproval. That’s not love, nor dying to one’s rights, nor is it even enjoyable when they do show up because it’s begrudgingly. Am I right?
I have seen so many family splits over such stupid nonsense.
I know of occasions when my own mother felt she didn’t have an adequate home (not completed due to constant remodeling nor enough beds for everyone), and she would ask if I could house family coming in from out of state. That really never bothered me because I liked hosting them and just being together all in one place was fun to me, and it brought joy to my parents. However, I always felt bad mom worried about many a holiday season. She wanted things to be just perfect, nice and cozy, creating good memories for grandkids she wasn’t able to visit with all that often, and I understood that. But, to be able to just do what you can, and be okay with that, and everyone giving grace to each other and just being thankful to be together…that would be more enjoyable. That’s what truly mattered, still does.
So, you can’t make it one year, or you’re cramped and everyone sleeps on the floor, or you’re not a good cook, so you get takeout, or you can only buy a few gifts…no biggie. It’s really not important and it’s sad people don’t realize that sooner. We really need to let go of OUR wants, OUR expectations, OUR needs, and try to put ourselves in the OTHER person’s shoes.
Not everyone has the same upbringing, not everyone celebrated Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas the way you did. Not everyone understands your traditions, norms, or your family’s customs. And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. We all are unique. We were all raised differently. And that’s okay, too! There is no perfect way to do things. Why do we think everyone should be like us, do like us, sound like us, think like us, celebrate like us or just conform to our ways? The way “we’ve always done it!!”
Life is a mix. A mix of people…ideas, wants, and needs. We all need to just chill and learn to enjoy one another because time is shorter than we even realize, even at this moment.
I’ve seen many a family go through extreme crisis, and I bet they would tell you that just being with their special loved one, doing nothing extraordinary, or having any great plans would be just fine. Letting go of any differences. In fact, I would bet they would be happy to just let go of everything and just be.
Because, being there in the moment with their loved one, would be gift enough. ❤️
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?
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, and 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 with 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.
If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…
I could NOT have sat there silently!
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…the lonely and under appreciated in your community.
Compliment your local worker.
Invite someone over for the holidays.
Say a prayer for others.
Bridge the gap(s).
Teach your kids.
Show some honor and respect.
* For Terry’s documented military story two accounts are listed below:
Link to:The United States Marine Corps
Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 Feb. 4th.💗