Saturday, July 28, 2012

30 Years In The Making ...

... and I'm still a work in progress.

This weekend is my 30th high school reunion.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday I was anxiously awaiting my name to be called to walk the aisle in the hot & humid gymnasium to receive my high school diploma from our principal who was retiring with our out-going class.  

But in some ways it seems like several lifetimes ago.

My family & I live several hours away from my hometown, so attending the reunions over the past 30 years has been pretty much impossible to schedule.  Grandad & I attended two of his class reunions (he graduated 2 years before I did), and we've been to one of mine.  I would loved to have gone to this one, but our schedules just couldn't be worked out. 

I haven't seen some of my high school friends since graduation night over 30 years ago.  And some I had kept in touch with (before computers, Internet, Facebook, etc.) for awhile.  But, I do embrace the technology that has allowed for re-acquainting with some high school friendships.  I've enjoyed reconnecting & actually getting to know some of these friends as adults. 

I'm looking forward to seeing pictures from this weekend's 30th on Facebook pages.  Part of me wishes I could have been there as well ... but Granny's had lots of baking, laughter, squeals, hugs & kisses from her precious grandchildren this weekend.  

So, to all my high school classmates of 30 years ago ...  

I hope everyone has a wonderful time this weekend!  "Thank you" to
everyone who worked to put this reunion together.  I hope to come back
for another reunion soon.  I would love to get back in touch with so many
from our graduating class ... and hopefully we can stay in touch through
this "new technology" we have at our fingertips today. 
Each of you & your families are in my prayers as we all continue in the path that God leads us.
God bless the Class of 1982!

Here's a little collage I made today from my digital scrapbooking software -- 
"Granny" throughout the past 30 years.  
God had His plan for me when I was 17 years old ... 
and He still has His plan for me.  
Just as He has for my high school classmates of 30 years ago. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Granny's Awareness ... and Prayer for More Heroes

Our household has been settling in to our new routine.  My days have consisted of being Granny to *both* Lucy & Tag, and the evenings find our grandchildren loving the time they spend with their Grandad.  Lucy was awarded a "you've been such a hero to all of us over the past 5 months, so here is YOUR 'Welcome Home' present" -- a trampoline :)  This little girl has so much fun every opportunity she gets to jump and use her energy.  I don't remember there ever being so much laughter, giggles & bouncing in our house. 

 And Tag is settling in to his new surroundings ... getting re-acquainted with his "full-time" sister and grandparents & home.  There's never a dull moment nor a quiet moment in our house.  And  most times it can be just pure chaos ... which Grandad and I simply love.  

It's been a great week for our family, and we do not want to take our family life for granted.  On Friday the 20th, 'Joe celebrated his "5 Month ALIVE Day" ... it's a common thing for our wounded heroes to mark each month they survived since their injuries.  It seems that when a tragedy strikes, we become more aware of the little things we normally have taken for granted in the past.  Here's a short list of Granny's awareness over the past 5 months:
  • None of us are promised our next breath.  God knows how long each of us will live on this earth ... and He is the only One who knows when we will draw our last breath.  Although we awaken in the morning hours, we have no guarantee that we will see the end of the day.  I endeavor to make my days count for Him & to be a blessing to those around me. 
  • Lucy & I traveled back & forth on a weekly basis to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  We dealt with traffic, construction, weather, congestion, accidents ... and never once were we involved in an accident nor were we pulled over for traffic violations nor did we have any vehicle problems.  God was watching over us as we traveled.
  • God protected our health.  Only 1 week out of the 5 months were Lucy & I sick, and we both were sick the same week ... so no traveling.  That was the only time either of us were sick.  I will admit that during that time I was not taking very good care of myself ... but God sustained our health -- each of us.  Grandad was in his busy season at work & wasn't taking care of his health either ... and was never sick (even when Lucy & I were).  God was taking care of our health for us. 
  • Everyone is home now.  I follow some amazing heroes & their stories through Facebook & blogs.  Each story is different ... each is inspiring ... each brings my awareness to a new level. I'm including some sites that you can find out more about some awesome military heroes at the bottom of this post.  My family is all home together now ... it's our prayer that these families will be home together soon as well.
My New Year's Eve post can only be described as a "God-thing" in light of the events that have taken place in our family since then.  Click here  to see how God was preparing me for what was in my very near future.  
Only HE could have known ... 
only HE could prepare ... 
only He could make me *aware* ...

With every moment Grandad & I share with the 'Joe family ... 
we are aware of what "could have been" ... 
and we are very thankful for "what is".  
This past week has been so amazing having our kids &grandkids home together.  
Each moment creates a new memory that we will hold with us for a lifetime.

Dear Lord, help us to hold on to these fleeting moments & 
not take them for granted.

Now for a very short list of websites if you'd like to be more aware of a few of our military heroes.  Some do not blog, but they have Facebook pages to follow instead.  I can give these out in private emails if you are interested.  

Thank you, my blogging friends,  for your continued prayers for the 'Joe family and our military heroes ... 
you make a difference in each of their lives.

(Click on the bolded names to go directly to their websites)

Staff Sgt Travis Mills is only the 4th quadruple-amputee to survive his severe war injuries.  He is hero to his wife & baby daughter, as well as his dedicated family & friends. 

Navy EOD Tech Taylor Morris is now the 5th quadruple-amputee to survive his severe war injuries.  He is hero to his girlfriend who has never left his side, as well as his dedicated family & friends. 

Staff Sgt Christopher Walker is a triple amputee who is learning quickly how to use his new prosthetics.  He is hero to his young daughter and girlfriend, & his dedicated Mom who has been with him daily, as well as his dedicated family & friends.  

Army soldier Josh Wetzel is a double-amputee who has been on a long road of recovery suffering neck injuries as well as hand injuries.  He is hero to his wife, parents, family & friends.

Please remember to pray for our military who sacrifice daily for our country. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday The 13th ... Welcome Home

Friday the 13th always comes with warnings ... 
Watch out!

Well, not in our household ... 

Friday the 13th brought a special delivery for Lucy:

Mommy ... and Daddy ... and Tag came home!!!!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's several thousand words to describe 
Friday the 13th of July 2012 in our household ... 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Different Wednesday

This is a different Wednesday for Lucy & her Granny.  Normally we are either on the road ... going to or coming from Walter Reed ...or Granny is catching up on laundry, house cleaning & grocery shopping if Lucy is with her family ... or we are getting Lucy's suitcase ready for her to spend time with her family ... or we're getting mine & Grandad's suitcase ready for a long weekend at the Navy Lodge.  
For the past 4 1/2 months our weeks have centered around going ... coming ... traffic ... packing ... traveling ... traffic ... construction ... North ... South ... traffic ... 
you can kind of get the picture.

But today is a different Wednesday for Lucy & her Granny.

"This day is a stay at home day, Granny!" 

no going ... no coming ... no traffic ... 
no packing ... no traveling ...  no traffic ... 
no construction ... no North ... no South ... 
no traffic!

Not even to go to McDonald's for a Happy Meal ... 
not even to go to Target or Wal Mart ... 
not even to go to Walter Reed.

Lucy is on a "special countdown" this week:  
Mommy, Daddy and Tag are coming home on Friday!!! 
As in "Daddy is released from Walter Reed outpatient & is now in-processing into his community wounded warrior unit" this week.

The 'Joe family can now live at home ... TOGETHER ... while 'Joe continues his therapy to get back to "pre-explosion" health.  It's still going to be a long road ahead for all of them.  But we hope & pray that this will be the best for their family. 

Of course it's going to bring its own set of issues & challenges for them ... but 'Joe is determined to get back to the field of duty to be with his fellow patriots defending our Constitution & our great country.  We've seen this in so many of our wounded warriors:
they want to rehabilitate --
 get their health back -- 
get back to active duty.  
They are warriors who live, eat & breathe the patriotism of the uniform they wear. 

Throughout our time knowing 'Joe (about 12 years now) and his 6 1/2 years in our family, we've heard numerous times 

"I am my uniform ... I am an American soldier." 

So ...

 God-speed in your full recovery & rehabilitation, American Soldier. 
Our family and our country awaits your return to active duty to defend & protect our country and the Constitution of the United States of America. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day ... Being Aware

Today I took Lucy back to Walter Reed. It's a trip that she & I have made many times since February.  And as I was driving back home ... alone ... I began to reflect on the past several months since Joe's injuries & Independence Day which we celebrate tomorrow.

I thought about our heroes of yesterday & today ... who have given their dreams & freedoms for me to live out my dreams & enjoy my freedoms.  I've always been patriotic, but this year is different.
 I'm actually more "aware" of my independence & freedoms ... 
I'm more aware of "who" has given their hearts to allow me to follow my heart ... 
I'm more aware of Who my ultimate freedom comes from.

As we all go about our Independence Day activities, I encourage everyone to reflect on those who have served our great country ... 
I encourage you to teach the smallest of children to respect & appreciate those have paved the way for our freedoms ... 
I encourage you to pray for those who serve our great country today -- those in service now (our military, first responders, etc), our wounded warriors & their families, and those who await their next set of orders.

I never want to take my freedoms for granted.  Families have paid the ultimate sacrifice for these freedoms, and they continue to sacrifice.  I've seen many heroes paying the sacrifice over the past several months ... 
they are real people 
they have faces
they are patriots
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  Galatians 5:1

I'm more aware today than I was four months ago that it's only through Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom in Him.  I've known this fact for many years ... but I'm more aware of it now. 
His sacrifice flows through my every breath that I breathe through Him
His sacrifice envelops the very core of my existence 
His sacrifice delivers me from bondage to ultimate freedom.

Through Him I have eternal freedom & eternal life ... 
And I will always remember that
Freedom is never free.

Standing on a hillside Where the river meets the sea 
White crosses without number Line the fields of peace 
And each one a silent witness Staring back at me 
Every cross a story Of another place in time 
Where young men thought it worthy To give their life for mine
And for the sake of honor Left their dreams behind 
And for the price they paid I'm forever in their debt
Their memory will not die 'Cause I will not forget 
I will stand and hold my head up high I will dedicate my life 
To the glory of the ones who had to die 
I will live, live what I believe If for no one else but me 
To remember That freedom's never free 

It was on another hillside Outside the city gates 
The battle lines were drawn As soldiers took their place 
The Father watched in silence As a cross was raised 
With freedom drawing closer He took His final breath 
He drank our cup of guilt And took the sting from death 
Heaven's Finest Soldier Clothed in human flesh 
And for the price He paid I'm forever in His debt
The cross will never die 'Cause I will not forget 
I will stand and hold my head up high I will dedicate my life 
To the glory of the One who had to die
I will live, live what I believe If for no one else but me 
I will remember that Freedom's Never Free 
I will walk free I will stay free I will live free I will die free! 

Stand and hold my head up high I will dedicate my life
To the glory of the One who had to die
I will live, live what I believe If for no one else but me
I will remember that Freedom's Never Free