Sunday, May 26, 2013

Poppies, Parades, Tombstones and Thanks.....

Decoration Day was so called in honor of decorating graves of those who died in military service. In 1966 President Johnson declared Waterloo, NY, to be the birthplace of Decoration Day. In 1967, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Memorial Day and in 1971 the day to honor the fallen was changed from May 30 to the last Monday of May, no matter what the date may be. General Logan gave the official proclamation in 1868.

General John Logan was the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. When the general gave the proclamation flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The wearing of red poppies on Memorial Day was started by Ms. Michael. As a matter of fact, the US Post Office issued a 3 cent stamp with Ms. Michael's picture on it, giving credibility to the National Poppy Movement.

In Flander's Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

Today people appreciate the long weekend to begin their summer holiday, yet forget why the holiday was started in the first place. In many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are neglected, ignored and forgotten. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

I was telling Renee on the way home from church today how my mother would take us to the cemetery where we lived and decorate the tombstones. She took us many times in the year but always on Memorial Day. She would say this is a day to honor the fallen. A day to remember.

The wonderful blessing of memory. We can go back in time and remember skipping rocks, building tree-houses, sleeping under the stars. We can remember falling in love and marrying the love of our life and starting our family. We can't re-live it but we can remember it. Only when one loses their memory do they realize how having a memory is one of the blessings of life. Joshua 4 speaks of memory stones. Every stone represented something specific that God had done. The Israelites took time to remember.

Our nation would not enjoy the freedoms it does if not for the ones who served and fought for America's freedom. Today I choose to remember. I choose to honor. I choose to appreciate those who serve. I remember.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

are you still standing when the tornadoes blow your house down?

I spent the evening watching the extended newscasts about the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. People professing their faith in Jesus when behind them their home is leveled. Newscasters repeating what people have said about their faith in God in spite of loss. People helping people, living out the scripture about how we are to treat people. I am not usually blessed by newscasts, tonight I was.

Not every tornado we go through in life is caused by the weather however. I have met many people who have endured tornadoes and are still standing when everything about their life is in ruin. I have met many people who have endured the storms of life and have given up. They walk away from their faith, the church, the Word and it is interesting how it not only effects their walk with Christ, but also their walk in every aspect of life.

I have personally been devestated by a tornado. Everything in my life was uprooted and doomed for the heavy duty machinery to come in and scoop everything for the landfill. I had two choices. I could curse the situation I found myself in OR I could bless God for the new opportunity I had to prove Him faithful, just and merciful.

I learned so many things in the midst of my personal tornado. I learned that I love Him most of all. Although I couldn't see the "why" I could see that I was still in His mind. I learned that people are wicked and make deliberate, destructive choices so I had to learn to pray for my enemies for I have been an enemy at times. I wanted the same mercy. I learned that my mouth could bless or curse. My mouth was speaking what was really in my heart. Yes I learned not to give the tornado any more power in my mind. I learned to control what took residence in my mind and heart. It had to be Jesus and His word, not the tornado. I also learned that when you are "gutted" the wound heals over and the scar tissue remains. The scar tissue doesn't have to hurt. It just has to remain for memory sake. My memory can hold this truth, "If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be?" I learned that people who know you, love you. People who know you, trust you. People who know you still remain the people that go through with you, regardless.

Tornadoes are always destructive. How you rebuild what was destroyed takes much effort, much patience, and a faith that all will be right again. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. That is what I know.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

...another first!

Living so close to Lancaster has been a beautiful thing. Yesterday the ladies group from Calvary in Pottstown did a road trip. It was so much fun! Before Denny left he asked me to get Renee to the Kitchen Kettle Village since it is a place we really enjoy. Well, yesterday was the day! And what fun it was. As well as going to the Kitchen Kettle we took a buggie ride to a working Amish farm. It was delightful. The lady of the house makes baked goods, quilts, jellies, etc. to sell to the tourists. So it becomes a shopping buggy ride!

Rachel was our driver. She has been driving horses since she was 14, she is now 24. What a precious young lady. She explains the Amish way of life and what it is like to live in the Amish community. She was wonderful, informative, and kind! She especially took a liking to Renee. They talked about hair, quilts, and life. What a beautiful opportunity. Renee came away saying, "I wish I could be her friend."

On the way back from the farm, Rachel drove her buggy into another Amish residence and said, "OK this is our drive-through!" Another young lady came to the buggy with a tray of whoopie pies, chocolate chip cookies, kettle corn, and cheddar pop corn! Rootbeers and Lemonades. Oh was it yummy!

< The first store we went into in the Kitchen Kettle was serving some coffee just for us!

Just scraps....

How do they do that? It has always amazed me how people can take something that gets thrown away and make it into something beautiful. In our travels we have seen exhibits of throw aways that are made into creations of beauty on display for those of us who are not "artsy" to walk by and say, "How did they do that!"

Yesterday Renee and I visited a quilt museum in Lancaster that just amazed me. These pictures don't do the quilts justice but at least give an idea. Think about it. Amish women don't shop in the New York garment district for the latest in fabrics. These are considered scraps, just little pieces that are considered throw aways. I wish I had the money to purchase one of these treasures! Just beautiful!


Renee is one of those creative persons! Always thinking of something fun to do. She loves to paint and she loves to dance. I guess that is why she decided to put the two together! It had been a rainy dreary day but that didn't stop her from going outside to create after the rain stopped. It was hard to keep the paper taped to the wet deck but that doesn't stop the creative juices flowing.

At first she asked me for a bucket to put paint in so she could just step into it, then she said, "wait that would take alot of paint that I don't have and it would be wasted after I step into it!" So she decided to simply paint her ballet slippers on her feet. The only problem was after she painted her feet how would she stand up and get to the paper? No way could I carry her there! Let's just say it was probably something I should have video-ed, instead all I could do was laugh. Art sometimes happens when you are just having fun!

All of a sudden a rainbow appeared in the sky and that made for a very precious moment.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de mayo...a happy/sad kind of day!

Today is the day we have been waiting and praying and working for. Here it is and Renee and I are crying. Life is so crazy! We are so excited. We are so tearful. We are elated for daddy, we are depressed for ourselves. How fickle can one get!

Renee came home from dorm-living on Thursday night. Denny and I completed the cleaning out of his VFCC office yesterday. It has been a crazy week, with all kinds of saying good-byes. Getting his students grades submitted. Graduation and the like. It is done. We are happy about that part!

Today was the airport run. I didn't plan to cry. They just came automatically.

One last heavy box!

Two things to Celebrate!

With the departure of Denny upon us, he wanted to celebrate Renee's seventeenth birthday before he left. Renee and I wanted to celebrate daddy so this past Wednesday we went to a Mexican restaurant and surprised Dad with gifts for his new desk. He was really happy!

Renee's birthday gift was too large to take with us to the restaurant so she opened hers at home before we went. Denny got Renee her own luggage and a passport wallet to carry her documents! She has to be ready to come see us at Christmas!