"A little sister time is good for the soul." ~ Unknown
Before Dad and Mom passed away, our family would get together for their birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers' Days and Fathers' Days, as well as Christmases. We continue the Christmas Day gatherings with our growing and expanding family, but the other events ceased once Dad and Mom were gone.
Last year, my youngest sister was diagnosed with lymphoma. Needless to say it was a trying time for her with tests, treatments, and days of feeling lousy. As her birthday approached, I felt convicted that we should do something special. As the oldest, I contacted my younger sister to find out if she was available that day. Yes! And so it began.
Clearly we're not getting any younger. All our children are grown. It seemed like a good time to start a new tradition. We decided we'd meet for lunch at least for our birthdays, and occasionally in between, for sister time, now dubbed "Sisters Lunch."
For the first gathering last November we planned to meet at a fine dining restaurant. But due to a storm the night before, its power was out. So we came up with Plan B.
In April, we planned another Sisters Lunch. It was no ones's birthday. They chose April 17, 2018, Income Tax Day. We decided to meet at that same fine dining restaurant. Closed, again. New flooring was being installed that day. Seriously? We came up with Plan B.
In June for my birthday, they decided, "let's try it again!" This time, we called ahead. Third time was a charm. It was a lovely summer day, and an enjoyable time dining on the patio. Our journey to finally get there has generated some laughs.
Tomorrow we're planning another Sisters Lunch for my younger sister's birthday.
I'm looking forward to it, and I do believe it is good for the soul. I can't help thinking Mom and Dad are smiling down on us.
"Thus, this memorial is for those who have died, and for us to remember them."
~Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Wall
Recently (8/16/18 - 8/19/18), The Wall That Heals made its way to Warren, Ohio, near where we live. It is the 375' replica of The Wall in Washington, DC. On Friday we spent much of the morning there. Feelings of solemness and reverence were evident as folks visited and paid respects.
As we looked at the Hometown Heroes, we found ourselves very conscious of ages - most only 18 - 21. My husband recognized names of some of his high school classmates' brothers. Then we slowly strolled by the 140 panels bearing 58,318 names. I looked for the name of one guy from my high school class. I never spotted his name. Later in the Mobile Education Center, I found his name and location on the wall in the alphabetical directory. He was a Marine Corporal. Later when I saw his name on Panel 31W, I choked up. I knew him. We'd graduated only 2 years and 8 months before he died. He lived 21 years, 7 months, and 3 days.
Many thoughts ran through my mind. With my heart touched so much with the one person I knew casually from long ago, I imagined the emotions that parents, spouses, sweethearts, family, friends, and veterans feel when they find the names of loved ones or buddies. I also found myself thinking back to that period of time when this young Marine died. Although I have no idea what I was doing on that particular day, I know I was living safely in the United States. Quite a contrast to what was happening on the other side of the globe so far away.
If The Wall That Heals comes to a community near you, go. On the website (www.VVMF.org) you can find the schedule for The Wall That Heals, along with a wealth of information. And commit to let Veterans and Active Service members know you appreciate their service to defend the freedoms we have in the USA. The Wall and The Wall That Heals help us remember that freedom isn't free, and that many have served and given their lives for the rest of us.
"Make time to celebrate your achievements no matter how big or small." ~Unknown
This special edition post is to celebrate two events I want to share with you.
~Today only at www.keysforkids.org you can read and listen to "Hurting Hearts," a devotional story I wrote. On their Home Page, click "Keys for Kids Daily Devotional." Or you can click right here. (Please note: This will always take you to the Daily Devotional, but today is the only day you can read this story there.) If you look around, you'll find Keys for Kids is also available by mail, email, and app. There are many offerings for kids and parents. "Hurting Hearts" is the first of five devotional pieces Keys for Kids has accepted from me, so far, for publication. Some others are in the editorial process right now. I'll give you a heads up when more are scheduled.
~Today is also my One Year Blogiversary! (Throw confetti.) This is post #26. When I started the website and blog last year, my goal was to write a post every other week. Half of 52 = 26. Sometimes it didn't happen every other week, and sometimes more than every other week. I have learned a lot, thanks to Megan and time. I'm still learning. This year I've written about what I've observed around me, and shared thoughts. I've tried to keep it light, fun, and relatively concise. Sometimes the process was smooth, and sometimes there were glitches. In the year ahead, I'm excited for how things will unfold. So, stay turned.
P.S. Cardinal Update: The babies grew fast. Two fledged on Friday (8/17/18). I named them Lou (St. Louis Cardinals) and Ari (Arizona Cardinals). One egg never hatched, so I named it RIP.
"When a cardinal appears in your yard, it's a visitor from heaven."
~old folklore saying
After owls and other feathered friends this year ("Our Wild Kingdom" post on 5/14/18), we've noticed more cardinals than usual in our neighborhood. Who doesn't like those bright red birds? Seven states designated cardinals as their state bird - Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Recently we've seen cardinals around the two Boston Ferns hanging on our front porch or perched on the chimes between them. We never thought much about it as I'd put pencils and sticks in to keep birds from building nests.
One evening late in July, a storm brewed. Before the wind got too wicked I took the flag down, unhooked the two chimes, and quickly plopped the ferns between the Adirondack chairs before running inside.
After the storm passed, but rain expected through the night, I set the ferns on the cement walk to get watered. "Oh my!" One had a small nest and two eggs. When did this happen? We carefully hung it back on the hook.
Cornell University's website says it takes 3-9 days for cardinals to build nests. We hadn't noticed nest building activity. Apparently when I watered lately, I'd simply stuck the spout of the watering can in the side of the basket hanging on the hook.
The next morning when "Mama Bird" was away, we carefully took the fern down to water it without interfering with the nest. Now there were three eggs!
Hatching has now occurred, and both Mama and Papa are busy feeding. I've seen little baby beaks raised high. I'm excited to see the little ones as they grow.
It's interesting that as I searched for cardinal quotes I found several that mentioned angels or visitors from heaven. It gave me pause. The two sets of chimes on our porch were gifts from friends after our mothers passed away. The first one for my mom has a wooden pendant with "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure" engraved on it. Someone shared when the chimes sing that it's Mom. When my mother-in-law passed, other friends gave us the second chimes. When the wind blows, we do think of moms. Now the cardinals make us even more aware.
Hi everyone! I'm your guest blogger for this week! The first one actually! My name is Megan Bockelman and Lynda asked me to write on her blog this week about the mission trip I went on with our church last week (see previous blog post for details). The technical difficulties last week, not being able to post to Facebook, would usually have been delegated to me. But since I was on the mission trip Lynda didn't want to bother me about it. So here I am! First off, you should know that I'm the behind the scenes tech person for this website and blog! I think Lynda has mentioned me before in an earlier post. 😊 I handle all the back-end work, updating the site, and answering all of Lynda's questions! It's nice to finally talk to you all directly!
I have attended our church since I was a baby and I became a member when I was in about 7th or 8th grade through our confirmation class. (Lynda was my spiritual mentor!) I have been attending our youth group since about the same time, but I aged out last year when I graduated from high school. Since then, I've continued my work with the church and the youth group as a sound and technology person during worship times and gatherings. In addition, I now serve as an adult leader on field trips, mission trips, and also during regularly scheduled youth fellowship. This past trip was my 4th mission trip with our church and it was just as amazing as always. It was really interesting to view things from the perspective of an adult leader rather than a youth participant though. It's so amazing to see how God is working in these students' lives and in the lives of the Team Effort leaders.
Our youth worked on two different sites, just one mobile home apart. The first site added a smaller deck extension onto an existing deck while the second site (where I worked primarily) built a deck attached to the side of the owner's mobile home. There had been a group at our site during the previous week, so each of our groups built the floor, ceiling, railings, and stairs off of the foundations that were built the week before. It was fun and challenging work at times, especially considering the fact that we had to battle the rain almost every day we were there!
I was able to see the youth working together on building porches at our two sites, even during the rain most of the time! It was great watching how patient and loving they were with one another, even when things got difficult or time consuming. In addition, I got to see them at free time enjoying each other, playing together, talking, as well as pouring their heart out during worship at chapel. I love seeing the youth experience the same things that I did for many years, and how a trip like this can really provide a spiritual rejuvenation in their walks! I hope I am able to serve the youth group for many more years and continue to watch the youth of our church grow! 😊
Here is a link showing the youth of our church talking about the trip! Also included at the end of the video is the PowerPoint presentation that was made with pictures from the trip.
The original post this morning did not make it to FB... possibly "operator error," but in my experience there have also been glitches. That being said, I hope you'll take a look at the original posted earlier today.
"Take me where love is needed." ~Unknown
Sunday afternoon (yesterday) fifteen youth and seven adults from our church headed out for a week on the 2018 Youth Mission Trip. Each one sported this year's "official" shirt printed with the goal and inspiration. On the front it simply said, "Go. Serve. Love." The back quoted Galatians 5:13 - "Use your freedom to serve one another in love." (NLT) Their destination was near Altoona, Pennsylvania where they will be God's hands and feet. Next Sunday will be devoted to sharing their experiences and how God used them, along with a slide show of their week. The details will be specific to this trip and their experiences, but some things tend to be the same each year for the kids who go. I've seen Youth Mission trips:
~create a lasting and often strong sense of community among the youth, as well as with the adults who have come alongside them. Everything they do, they do together - traveling, working, eating, playing, staying up late, waking up tired, etc.
~help kids see beyond their own world. They may have never before experienced the real way others may live - below the poverty level, in a small town, in an inner-city, on a reservation, etc.
~take kids out of their comfort zones to learn new things. They may need to work on building projects, painting, playing with young children, conducting VBS, serving meals, handing out food to homeless people - to name just a few.
~reveal possibilities and passions. Kids find out they are capable of things they've never done before, and confidence grows.
~help kids to anchor their faith and move forward in their walk with God.
Yesterday as kids arrived with their luggage and "stuff," their enthusiasm was the evidence they were eager to "Go. Serve. Love."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you!" ~George M. Cohan
VBS is over, and it was a great time for all the kids and volunteers at Rolling River Rampage. The grandkids had a good time with Papa and Grandma Lynda playing games inside and outside, swimming at a neighbor's pool, going out for lunch, and let us not forget the ice cream stops. Yum! They went back home to get ready for their next big thing, and we've had some time to rest up and catch a few naps. I often say there's a reason parents are young.
And before we knew it, it was the 4th of July. I have a dear friend who often said summer was half over when we got to July 4th. I preferred savoring the rest of July and much of August before heading back to the classroom and a new group of students. Sure, there were years I spent part of the summer taking classes or workshops, preparing for curriculum changes, and developing materials for my students and classroom. Even so, summer meant slowing down, recharging, vacationing, and enjoying a more relaxed schedule.
But getting back to the 4th of July... This year was pretty quiet for us. We did grill hot dogs, our typical All-American 4th of July fare, but opted for an inside picnic because of the heat and high humidity. Later in the evening, we settled down to watch Yankee Doodle Dandy. For me it's comparable to watching It's a Wonderful Life at Christmas time. I love the story. I love the music. I love the feeling of patriotism. And I love James Cagney's portrayal of George M. Cohan in the 1942 film. We have "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Over There," and "You're a Grand Old Flag" in our heads for days... sometimes even bursting into song. It reminds me of learning "You're a Grand Old Flag" in elementary school. Do children still learn those good old patriotic songs? And there are some modern songs, too. Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" stirs up much patriotic pride.
May your summer days linger with making many memories.
I'm taking the day off. It's VBS this week and grandkids are here for the week.
See you next time!
"What you believe about the future holds immense promise and adventure."
I'm still amazed how musings, ideas, or inspirations come to me for writing topics, whether it's this blog, a story, a devotional, or any writing project. Friday morning I still had nothing for today's post. But I hadn't panicked yet. And then... as I made breakfast, my sweetie was listening to something on the iPad in the living room. My ears heard bits and pieces that sounded interesting, but I wasn't really listening.
Then he showed up in the kitchen, tablet in hand. "This is great! You have to listen." So during breakfast we listened to Dr. Rick Rigsby give a 2006 commencement address at the California State University Maritime Academy. Dr. Rigsby spoke about Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout, and the wisdom his father instilled through his words and how he lived. Truly powerful inspiration shared for those heading out in the world.
"Sweetie" said one of our granddaughters, who will be a high school senior this fall and focused on being an RN, shared it on social media. Then my thinking went to the two "Class of 2018" granddaughters who will be heading off to college in August. One will be following a path to be a veterinarian; the other pursuing a film and media career. What an exciting time in all three of their lives, and so focused on their next steps in life's adventure.
It reminded me of back in my olden days when a girls' career choices were perceived as more limited than today's vast opportunities. It seems back then that many of my friends and I bought in to the idea that a girl could choose to be a teacher, a nurse, a secretary, or get married. (There were exceptions like Susan M. who headed to New York, Broadway, and eventually California.) Hindsight proves that thinking was wrong. Clearly it was just a sign of those times. However I know being an elementary teacher was the right career for me.
So for our granddaughters and all graduates out there, hearty congratulations as your future with promise and adventure opens up to you!