Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve ... A Decade Ago


 






Our daughter ...
Christmas Eve 2005 ...
10 years ago



 



They chose Christmas Eve because Michael would be home ...
then back to training on New Year's Day 2006 ...
and then deployment a week later ...




 

A lot of "life" in this past decade ...
 
2 wars
2 years unaccompanied stateside
many months of training
an explosion
 
and these 2 grandest gifts of all ...
 
 



Happy 10th Anniversary, Jacqueline & Michael ~~~
We love you both ...
 
WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!

 
 




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

There's Always A Song ...

It seems like every Christmas season I latch-on to a song that relates to whatever may be happening in my life at the time. And this year has been no different.
 
With everything that's been happening in my own family & circle of friends this year...
this is the song of the Christmas season for me.

 
 
And perhaps it may just be the song of my online blogging friends as well.
Light of the World  by Lauren Daigle

 
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel
 
 
 
 




Thursday, December 17, 2015

Their New Chapter


 Sunday, December 13th was the first full day of being Retired military for our kids.
February 20, 2016 will mark Michael's 30th birthday and his 4th Military Alive Day.
And yesterday ...
 

 
... his retirement ceremony.
Mount Vernon -- the home of George Washington.
 
So the day began with us loading our SUV with tables, coolers, soft drinks, paper plates, napkins, cups, plastic silverware... even our fire-pit (semi) cleaned out & wrapped in industrial trash bags -- and to travel north.  We hung out at their house and welcomed more & more family who had traveled to share the day. And mid-afternoon, Dan & I were in charge of delivering the two most precious gifts to the ceremony ...
 
 
... these kids
oh my ...
no words
 
 
 





Presentations ... stories ...
even a letter that was read from President George W. Bush






And our girl ... she had recorded a video directed to those who are in command of overseeing the medical care and transitions of wounded warriors.
And she kept the message on the high road to encourage those who support our wounded heroes.
(if you're interested in viewing her video, please let me know)
 
 
 After the ceremony we went back to their house for a reception...
Mission BBQ brought their famous brisket & barbeque along with mac-a-cheese, cornbread, rolls, brownies (all of which was their gift to our kids).  They even brought their own Army catering truck!




Michael's aunt & cousin provided delicious cakes from their family bakery...
  

 
God truly provided a wonderful retirement evening...

 
 
 
 
   
 
A day that came almost 4 years after being wounded ...
Lucy had been 3 years old -- and now she's 7
Tag had been 11 days old -- and now he's almost 4
 
 
 
We never know what the dawning of each new day will bring...
but we do know that God is already in each moment
and He awaits for us to join Him.
 
 
And now
their new chapter begins ...
 
 


Monday, December 14, 2015

December 12th ... The Power of One

Anniversary ... retirement ... championship
 
all three rolled into the same day --- this past Saturday.
 
Saturday marked 2 years since my Daddy's massive heart attack. I still remember that day... I was at lunch with a friend of mine & had my cell phone silenced and in my purse. When we were leaving the restaurant, I was going to text Jacqueline that I was on my way home... and instead saw missed calls & texts from several family members including my Mother.  I immediately called Dan... he wanted to tell me once I got home, but I insisted he tell me what was going on. 
Close to 99% blockage... 
so very thankful to God for the gift of life.
 
Lucy & Daddy on Christmas Day 2 weeks after his heart attack.
 
Saturday also marked the last official date of our son-in-law's active military career.  It's bitter-sweet, but it's going on 4 years since he was WIA.  He had planned on being career-Army, but God has His best plans for their good. This day wasn't planned for the age of 29... but we are so very thankful to God for giving Michael his gift of life on the day that the enemy meant it to end {which was also his 26th birthday}
 
They make an awesome team!
 
And then also on Saturday, our nephew's high school football team won our State AA Championship with a 14-0 record going into the game. Their small community had been hit so hard over the past several years with tragedy after tragedy. So much loss of lives... so much devastation... yet this team's motto was
 
#PO1
They marched onto the field right before the game and took one last kneel in prayer.  These boys kept their testimony throughout the year and we are so very proud of them.  Although we live a few counties over, we all are so very thankful for the gift of life in these boys & in their faith of the
Power of One.
 
Wednesday is Michael's retirement ceremony...
it's going to be an emotional day...
 yet a day that we all are so thankful to God for His gift of life...
 
Sometimes we simply take the gift of life for granted.  But this past Saturday was a reminder in 3 different ways just how the Power of One is truly our life-line.
 
As we delve into these several days before Christmas, may we live & breathe the simple goodness of the gift of life
from the Power of One...
 
The greatest Gift of all
 
 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Goodwill To Men ...

I've pretty much been laying low lately ... absorbing family & life ... praying for the unreal horrific tragedies in our world over the past several weeks.  Honestly, I've asked how much longer will God allow His earth to continue the way it's going?  I've looked back on 2015 and can honestly say that it's been a year of loss ... it began in January with my cousin passing away and it has continued -- some expected, some totally unexpected.  I simply cannot remember any other year that we've experienced such loss as we have this year.

But this week has been a different week ...
I had to take Lucy back to her family on Tuesday (instead of Thursday) because of an event yesterday...
their event... all about them.


A little back-story... our son-in-law deployed in late 2011 on his 2nd overseas assignment.  Our grandson was born on February 9, 2012... the Red Cross notified Michael who was in a remote location on assignment.  We celebrated Jacqueline's birthday on February 13th... Michael's upcoming birthday on February 20th.  That morning -- February 20th -- the phone call from his command... the base had come under attack and he was wounded.  Deep leg wounds and a shattered jaw.  They put him on the phone so that he could reassure her that he was in one piece... still talking with shrapnel embedded in his face.  The next morning the casualty department called and asked if she had spoken to him in the past 24 hours -- it had been more like 27 hours... the next 15 seconds were an eternity since he had been in & out of surgeries since being attacked. 
Yes, he was still alive!  In about a week he was stateside at a military hospital a few hours away from us... five months there and then home for rehabilitation & more recovery... not much medical treatment for the next 2 years, then more medical treatment at another military facility a couple of hours away -- their family has base housing but our house is still "home base" (so to speak)...
and now he's just a couple of weeks away from his medical retirement.



Sorry for the long recap, but it's really been a rough few years for them.  
But yesterday was all about them. 
A non-profit organization works closely with a garage that takes totaled or nearly-undriveable vehicles and restores/rebuilds them to better-than-new condition... and then they present a wounded warrior family with the vehicle.  Well... a luncheon and ceremony (all just for them!), then the van was brought out -- complete with a green bow on it AND the kids' seats were filled with brand new toys for them!
Their generosity was incredibly unbelievable!!!
 


And then... just when we think we couldn't shed any more tears... the soccer ball incident.  The mechanics who rebuilt this van got Lucy & Tag to playing around with the soccer ball that they keep in the shop for some down-time activities. The kids loved playing!  So after the presentation, there was not a dry eye in the garage... even the mechanics.  Our 4 kids had been completely blown away with this whole event.  And the mechanics saw how genuine they were... and they gave Lucy & Tag their garage soccer ball as a keepsake... Jacqueline told Lucy that these were the mechanics who rebuilt their new van... and then
Lucy asked if the mechanics could autograph the ball! 
Needless to say ... more tears!


Each person who had a role in this signed their name ... and the kids were attentive to each and every one ... these are the heroes that our grands look up to and will always remember the role they had in the "new" van.
Dan & I are completely speechless with Lucy & her heart... and look at Tag -- he watched every single person sign their soccer ball!  Oh how I want to have the heart of my grandkids!

So here is Granny's reminder in all of this...

One of my favorite Christmas songs is by Casting Crowns -- Christmas Bells Peace on Earth.  This week we have lived out this song...
what the enemy intended for death almost 4 years ago -- God is using for good.
  We are His instruments of peace here on Earth

This video is a little lengthy because Mark Hall explains the meaning behind this arrangement. Please take a few extra minutes to listen to the whole video {he talks at the end of the song too}...
perhaps it will resonate with you as it has with me as we begin this last month of this tough year...
at the same time as we look forward to the coming of the
 Baby of Hope and Peace.
 
  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Peaceful Voice ... Love's Amazing Grace

Sometimes we all simply need a little break from the hectic.
I was in high school when I first heard Gary Morris sing.  I honestly thought that he had the smoothest and clear voice... as if he was sitting in the same room and singing directly to me.

Dan & I saw him probably 20 years ago in concert...
just him and his guitar.
Best concert ever.

And still now some 35 years since I first heard him...
still smoothest voice
still clearest voice

So, if you need a little break...
if you need a little getaway...
take just a few minutes to listen...
 
 
 
 



So much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving
and everyday...
 
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,
dear friends!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

His Perfect Goodness



It seems like AGES since I've been on blogger! I cannot believe we're heading to Thanksgiving next week ... and yet, how is it that every single retailer has had their Christmas displays up since before Halloween?
 
 
Dan & I have been keeping extremely busy with "all" of our kids (we include our grands when we refer to "our kids).  I've normally had a day in between visits either to their house or our house ... cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. ... so not much time to sit down and catch up in my blogging community.
 
 
So many changes coming in the very near future ... and so many reasons to simply breathe in God's goodness. 
 
in all the busy-ness
in all the rush
in all the chaos
 
God's goodness is perfect for each of our lives
 
His goodness to me may be different than His goodness to you ...
but His goodness is still perfect
 
 
I do hope to catch up with my blogger-friends over the next several days ...
but just know that I do think of you and I say a little prayer for you & your family daily.
 
Have a blessed day, my friends!
 
 



Thursday, October 29, 2015

His Autumn Coloring Book

As I made my trek down our driveway today, I became more aware of my surroundings ...
our dirt driveway paved with gravel and fallen leaves engulfed by God's coloring book that He has allowed Dan and me to enjoy for over 15 years.
 






The evidence of God's grace is all around ...
 
in the changing colors
in the fallen leaves
in the unseen wind
 
video
 
 
May your day reflect the goodness of God's grace through His ever-so-vibrant coloring book ...
 
His grace
His creation
His love