Friday, June 25, 2010

Standing with ACUs, Stiletto Shoes and Pretty Pink Tutus

Last night we had a family celebration -- the 'unofficial' ending of 'Joe's contract with the National Guard.   The official release is still a few days away, and that day is only a few days from marking the 'Joe's 5 year anniversary of when they began dating. Throughout this time, he was training for deployment, deployed after a week of marriage, spent his first year of marriage in the war zone, came home for 3 weeks then off for another 2 years for the unaccompanied orders as a predeployment trainer, then back home for the past 15 months with his regular NG unit. Has it been only 5 years?

Being an insider to the daily occurrences of the past 5 years, I've developed a new level of appreciation for our military and their families.  The sacrifices these families make to protect our country, our freedoms, our safety ... it's beyond anything I can put into words.  Some families have paid the ultimate sacrifice. And I could never even begin to repay them or even thank them for their loved ones' service. 

We do not know the exact next step for the 'Joe's. We do not know where their post will be. We do not know what 'Joe's mission will be. But we do know that we stand with ACUs, Stiletto Shoes, and Pretty Pink Tutus . The 'Joe's are just one family who are living for something much larger than themselves. Granddad and I stand with not only them, but with all of our military families.

When I'm out & about, and see someone in a military uniform, I try my best to shake their hand & thank them for their service to our country.  God put many troops in my path when 'Joe was deployed.  Once I was grocery shopping & met a young recruiter.  He & I chatted for a little bit, and he told me that he really wanted to go back on a deployment.  He had been in the war-zone for 2 deployments, but wanted to go back with all his heart.  I told him that I was shopping for 'Joe's care-package, so the young recruiter glanced in my basket to see what his fellow serviceman was in store for.  Then, he put his arm around my shoulders & said "You did good, Mom. I can tell you that this is exactly what he needs over there."  I then explained that I always send extra for 'Joe to give to his buddies, and his reply was "On behalf of those young men, thank you for thinking of them. Unfortunately some of our troops don't have families to look out for them, so just know that it is appreciated." 

I never saw this young recruiter after that, but his words have always stayed with me. Granddad & I simply cannot fathom that some of our military go without support when they are in the middle of protecting our country and our freedom.  As a Mother & a Granny, my heart hurts for these troops. 

As you think of our troops, please also remember their families.  Mrs 'Joe & Lucy are as much our heroes as 'Joe.  Sacrifices are made by the entire family of those who serve & protect our country.   

Please remember all of our military & their families in your prayers.  They voluntarily serve our country.  A simple act of kindness goes a long way to them. 

May God bless our military & our home-front heroes.   


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Breaking Tradition...Happy Father's Day, Honey!

June 1986 was the first Father's Day card I bought for my husband. Our daughter was 4 months old, and I was so excited to pick him out the perfect cards -- one from baby-girl to her Daddy and one from a loving wife to her husband. That year the tradition began and lasted ....... well, until this year.

I felt the somewhat uncontrollable urge at Wal Mart or Target to grab a card for my wonderful husband.
I know that it's 'just a card' that really doesn't even come close to expressing my respect, thankfulness and love for the Daddy of my grown daughter and Granddad of little Lucy. 
But still ... it's been tradition for the past 24 years! 
Okay, it's time for me to get over it. Either go out and buy a card or continue this blog post.

Well, here's a few reasons why words just cannot describe how thankful 
I am for my husband, my daughter's Daddy, my granddaughter's Granddad:

Proud new Daddy ....

  Always having a great time together!

Time sure flew by fast.

The proud Granddad!

The bond is strong between Lucy and her Granddad.


Then and now ... 
Happy Father's Day, Honey ~~~ I love you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Generation Thing ...

I am so blessed to share a special relationship with my granddaughter Lucy Michaela. I know how cliche that sounds, and I know that many people will be rolling their eyes. So, let me give a little background on a couple of reasons why this relationship is special to me.

For the first 7 years of my life, my parents and I lived with my Granny and my Mother's youngest sister. With my Mother and Daddy both working, I stayed with my Granny. She and I had a special relationship. Through many years, she taught me that relationships are the most important aspect of life. It didn't matter how much or how little we had in material things, but what mattered was our relationship to each other. Some of my best memories are of sitting on her back porch in the swing and listening to her tell stories of her childhood, raising her family, and our home town. We would work side-by-side in her garden (green beans, potatoes, corn...), water her many flower beds, or sit and just watch the birds and listen to God's creation. Many good childhood memories.

Although our daughter didn't have the same childhood experience as I had, she has a special relationship with her Grandma (my Mother). Spring breaks, Christmas breaks, summer weeks, long weekends ... time for Grandma's and Grandpa's house! The first time she stayed with her grandparents, she was only a couple of weeks old. Granddad and I traveled for a few days on job interviews that would eventually send us out of state. But, even though several hours separated us, the relationship actually grew very strong. Grandma kept up with the middle school/high school fashion trends, the makeup (age-appropriate), and Barnes & Noble (and their coffee too). Even to this day, the relationship bond between Grandma and her granddaughter is very strong. (Grandma even drove an hour and a half, through morning rush hour traffic, to the hospital when I called to let them know that Lucy Michaela was going to make her appearance that day! Grandpa couldn't come, but we were so glad that Grandma did.)

So now, this brings me to Lucy and her Granny. For one, granddaughter Lucy is named in honor of my Granny Lucy. This has meant a great deal to me and my Mother. My daughter was my Granny's first great-granddaughter, and to have my Granny's first great-great-granddaughter named for her is an honor. My Granny was a hands-on person -- she was active in all of her grandkids lives. She showed us all (her children and her grandchildren) just how important relationships are in a family. And this is what I want to show my daughter and my granddaughter. I never want to be too busy that I can't take time for my family. And although the 'Joes will be moving to a military post, Granddad & I want our relationship with them to grow stronger just like our daughter's relationship with her G'Ma and G'Pa.

Relationships take time to build, nurture and maintain. Although we all find ourselves with many other responsibilities, our relationships with family (and friends) are very important to pass down to our future generations. How will they learn if we don't show them?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Social Media: My New Respect

Facebook ... Twitter ... blogs ... CaringBridge ... emails ...
I'm learning with each passing day that social media may not be such the enemy that I had prematurely thought. The past week has given me some new respect for this main-stay in my life. Here's some of what I've come to realize that I can do:

~~~ Review headlines from sites of my choosing

~~~ Engage in real-time 'conversations' with my friends at any given time

~~~ Share pictures of my family through albums/wall photos and don't have to worry about acid-free paper/albums

~~~ Pray for friends who are hurting

~~~ Enjoy doing something new

~~~ Connect with people whom I've lost touch with over the years

~~~ Touch people's hearts by listening to theirs

These are just a few ways that I have new respect for the social media that has crept upon me. I want to challenge myself in this media aspect to utilize social networking as a means to connect and share with others. My 'community' grows smaller everyday as I expand my acceptance and participation in our world of social media.

I joke with Granddad that my desired career is to be a hermit. But that's not what God put us on this Earth for. We need to fellowship and build relationships with others so that we can collectively and individually worship Him. We weep with them who weep; and rejoice with them that do rejoice. And Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also. God can work in the social media realm ... it's just up to us to allow Him to use it in whatever way He sees fit.