Navy Day: My Grandpa

In 1922, the observation of Navy Day began. Not to be confused with the anniversary of the Navy (which is October 13), Navy Day is a day of recognition for the United States Navy.

Rich in Navy History: My Family

My family tree is blessed with many a veteran in it, among several who served in the United States Navy.

  • Andrew, who served aboard the USS Mississippi, USS Carlisle and ISS Hopewell during WWII
  • William (Bill), who served 9 years
  • Lester, who served for 4 years
  • Lois, who served as a Naval Secretary

Keep in mind. All FOUR of these individuals are siblings to the next person

My Grandpa, Navy Man and Hardworker

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My Grandfather enlisted into the  United States Navy around the age of 18. After serving in aboard three different Naval ships, he would work in the tiring demanding field of steel work for 38 years without taking one sick day.

I can with a big smile say that I still have my Grandpa. I have never met anyone else with his dedication to a job done well and correctly. He still tends a small garden, and walks about 3 to 5 miles a day- at age 85.

I would love to hear about some of the Navy Veterans in your family. 

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Furbaby Friday: How Texas changed my way of Thinking

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It was May 2010 when this dog, Named Texas, would change my way of thinking.

Growing up a Dog Lover

I grew up being a dog lover. I had my first dog, Snoopy, at the age of 5.

But it wasn’t my first thought to ask “is he/she fixed”.

Puppies just came and went. Sure, I knew where they came from.. and how expensive they were to raise. It simply wasn’t a question that I asked, though.

Even after getting my first dog as an adult, I didn’t think about the idea of having him fixed. He was a boy dog. I didn’t have to worry about him having puppies.

Then Came Texas

May of 2010, a call came to me at work. They were asking to place an advertisement for free Chocolate lab puppies. My sons were at that time looking for a new fur companion, so I called the number and found myself some days later driving up way deep into the depths of an unpaved road in the mountains.. what we call “a hollar”.

I looked at a small fenced in area filled with not 2 or 3 babies, but 5 babies and their mom. The mom looked weary and malnourished.

I left that day with three chocolate labs bounding around in the back of my jeep. And a heart so heavy from what I saw, I choked down tears even in the midst of puppy kisses.

At home that night, I began to research about the health benefits of spaying and neutering, as well as the over abundance of dogs and cats in our shelters due to the lack of smart pet management. Of the estimated 6 to 8 MILLION pets that enter American animal shelters each year, 1/2 are euthanized (source: dogid ) .

Don’t get me wrong. I love puppies and kittens. I could look at pictures of them all the day long. But one litter is probably enough, if you really want to take on that responsibility.

Love your furry babies, and get them spayed/neutered. 

 

Happy Pumpkin Day

According to various sources, today (October 26th) is National Pumpkin Day (The Nibble; National Day Calendar)

Decorating them

I didn’t grow up carving pumpkins. I honestly cannot remember actually ever buying a pumpkin until well after I moved away from home.

In 2012, I painted my very first pumpkin. Since then, I’ve done a wax drip design and in 2015 made my first carved pumpkin (I attempted to do Garfield. Not very good)

pumpkins

Lord being willing, I plan to try my hand at carving a Peanuts themed pumpkin this coming weekend (I promise to share pictures of that adventure.)

Eating them

I admit. I am not one of those people who go pumpkin spice crazy.

I have been a long time consumer of pumpkin seeds. I love them simply roasted with a bit of salt.

But pumpkin itself?

I’ve only found one store-bought pumpkin pie that I can tolerate.

Here are a few pumpkin-based recipes to try, if you are orange gourd obsessed:

Pumpkin Muffins

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

One Pot Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

I haven’t tried any of these recipes (YET). I may try my hand at one or two of these over the weekend as well.

How will you celebrate National Pumpkin day? Decorate one? Eat one? 

I am from

This is something I wrote in July 2014. 

I am from

I am from Ireland and Germany and America. 

I am from an old trailer on the steep hill not far from the church.

I am from Lottie and William and Jenetta and Sawyer. 

I am from raising hens for eggs and a garden for food.

I am from playing in the chestnut tree, wood pile, on the old celler and around my papaws cars. 

I am from a 2 am wedding in May of 1977.

I am from having Christmas in too many places.

I am from learning  piano from my Daddy and Aunt, and shape notes from Kathleen Phipps. 

I am from hand cut paper dolls kept safe in Golden book encyclopedias. 

I am from Momma’s banana pudding, chocolate fudge and Grandpa’s spaghetti.

I am from Kentucky.

I am from Papaw’s red porch swing, the mossy patch under the apple trees and the Haddie Engle bridge. 

I am from quarter candy from Williams market, hamburgers from Druthers and ice pops from the IGA. 

I may not have much, but these things are part of what I am. 

Happy Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day?

Yes, it is a holiday.

What?

Sweetest Day, observed on the third Saturday in October, is:

Sweetest Day is an original American holiday not based on any group’s religious tradition. It’s simply a reminder that a thoughtful word, deed or small gift enriches the life of the recipient as well as the person giving it.

Legend has it that Sweetest Day was established around 1922 by Herbert Birch Kingston, a Cleveland, Ohio, candy company employee who wanted to bring happiness to the lives of those who often were forgotten. Kingston and others distributed candy and small gifts to orphans, people confined to their homes and others to show them that someone cared. (Source: Hallmark)

My Sweetheart

sweetest day 2017

Steve, of courageouschristianfather, and I began to officially date on July 8th, 2017.

Together, we have have:

  • hiked to the tri-state overlook
  • been to Chained Rock
  • been to the Ijams Nature Center
  • been to the World’s Fair Sunsphere
  • been to Cumberland Falls
  • been to the Harrisburg Covered Bridge
  • been to NIBROC, The Sorghum Festival and Court Days
  • prayed together by phone nearly ever night

Happy Sweetest Day, Steve, to one of the sweetest Christ-following men I have had the honor to know. I love you.

Sweeter

How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

(Psalms 119:103, NASB)

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

(John 15:13)

Christ loves each of us, all of us, even on our grumpy-i-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed days, so much that HE gave His very life in our place just to give each of us an opportunity to delight in His Grace.

I won’t say that being a Christian has been easy. It has been everything but that. Time and time again, though, Christ has comforted me through tear-filled nights and blessed me well beyond what I can imagine.

Share some sweetness today. And be sure to thank and Worship the Sweetest of All- Christ Jesus.

Furbaby Friday: Sampson

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Sampson is a very interesting dog. My dad adopted Sampson from a shelter, and right away noticed that Sampson was eager to be taught. So, being a minister, my dad first taught Sampson to bless his food. When my dad feeds Sampson, Dad will say “Sampson, bless”. Sampson will fold one paw over the other and bow his head as if in prayer.

Now, yes, we all know that Sampson is not likely thanking the Lord for his food.

Do your furbabies know any unusual tricks?

 

Finally able to Dance

I can’t precisely pinpoint at what time the dream began. But it was there all the same. The dream of raising a daughter.

Perhaps some of it stemmed from the fact that my relationship with my own mom has been hard. Or maybe it stemmed from my own childhood of being a tomboy who did know how to wear heals, if necessary. 

In 1999, when I learned I was expecting my heart leaped with thoughts that it would happen. I was magnificently blessed with a tiny brown eyed baby boy in early 2000.

2003 rolled around. Ah, I thought. This time it will happen. The 1st ultrasound came, and the technician was unsure. My amazing blue eyed son was the result.

Mind you, I was very happy. And I love my sons beyond forever. 

Then, the miracle of all miracles came. January 2009, I found out I was expecting again. I was cautious to get my hopes up, and decided just to be content with the result.

Early March 2008, I was scheduled for a first ultrasound. The words came. She is a tiny one, but there she is. 

She? Did the doctor really just say that? I was elated.  I called my family that night to let them know I was pregnant, holding in my heart the amazing secret. 

1 week later, I began feeling unwell and asked the ob doctor if they could see me. Having delivered both of my son’s premature, I knew any symptom was important.

I’ve never forgotten that day. I laid on the table as they prepared me for a 2nd ultrasound. The doctor looked concerned, but I focused more on the screen.

There she was. Tiny hands folded, as if in prayer. And I watched as her heart beat for the last time.

The next day, I would undergo a surgery to remove her from my womb. 

Why, I thought. Why did this happen?

There was so much grief that filled my heart, and a sense of being completely lost overwhelmed me.

In Cosmo or other magazines, they don’t tell you how much your relationship will suffer in the loss of a child. I felt entirely abandoned.

People can say some really mean and cold things during grief. 

You never held her at least. Really?

At least you lost her early. Ugh.

The grief and anger crippled me. March would appear on my calendar,  and I would replay it all over again.

2 years turned into 5. And I began to learn that not only did I lose a baby that rainy March day, but I lost my ability to safely bare a child again.


 A simple brick, and a few appointment cards are all remain 8 years later.

January of this year, I was sitting in yet another Sunday morning church service. And the Pastor began to preach on Ecclesiastes. 

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to Dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NASB)

I had wept long enough. I had mourned long enough. I was never going to be able to get back the little girl I lost. I was never going to have the dream of raising a daughter of my own.

So, I began to Dance. I began to think on how much sweeter Heaven is because of that little one. I began to think of how tremendously blessed I am to have my incredible sons. I began to think of her loss differently.

I will never forget her. I will never forget that I did carry her in my womb. I will never forget that she was and is real. 

My El Roi

I am in week 2 of the book Praying the Names of GOd by Ann Spangler (2004). My study this past week was on El Roi.

El Roi

The term El ROI is only used one time in the Bible, Genesis 16:13. However, there are many references to GOD seeing or looking upon the people of the earth.

Feeling Unseen

Since I was in 5th grade, I have struggled with a sense of not being seen. I wasn’t the pretty girl or the smart girl, only the girl with the never quirky sarcastic sense of humor.

Following the falls of life, I even began to struggle with the fact that I didn’t think people could look at me without seeing my physical scars.

It was so bad at one point, that I went 2 years where I would weep every time I looked in a mirror.

What did it matter, though, I thought. I’m nothing of significance. Why should anyone see me?

I began to pull farther and farther away from others and isolated myself from most anyone I could.

HE found me in my desert

December of 2014, I found myself laying face down in the carpet of my new apartment crying.

I was ready to give up. I’ll be honest. I had just come through a divorce, and was struggling with trying to learn a new town and a new job. It was overwhelming. Add to that the fact that I was not on speaking terms with my family and only had my sons on the weekends. Depression was smack in my face.

I got up the next morning, which was a Sunday. I was attending a large local church, where I thought I could simply exist and just be invisible.

I sat in the large sanctuary, filled with people, feeling the most alone that I ever had.

Then.. GOD. During the sermon that morning, the Pastor spoke on 1 Samuel 16:7b

..GOD sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Growing up in church, I know I had to have heard that verse many times before. The HOLY SPIRIT used it that particular December Sunday morning to make me realize that I wasn’t invisible.. that GOD sees me. HE doesn’t just look at my scars or lack of worldly beauty and turn His Holy head. He looks upon my heart, and sees me for me.

Let us see Others

We may not want to admit it, but we do tend to show preference for people based on their appearances. The well dressed woman will get greeted first. The handsome guy will get picked first.

Can we stop today & just try to see others as GOD does? Can we take the time to treat people with the value that GOD does- to see them for more than their outer appearance?

 

Rambling towards 40

Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. ~Michael Landon

40. In just a bit over 6 months, I will resign from my 30s and turn the big 40.

More than the lists of things that I could have or should have done up to this point, I think of those along the way who will never embrace 40. Friends and family whose casket I watch be planted into the ground.

Many people waltzing towards 40 will make a to-do list of things they have always wanted to do. A 40 things by 40 kind of thing.

But what if 40 doesn’t come?

We forget sometimes the fragility of life until we look at another persons life..but rarely look at our own.

I don’t want my life to be a constant procrastination of things that I will do someday. One day, tomorrow will not come for me. Could be tomorrow in fact..we don’t know.

Lord, help me to redeem each day..to remember that adventure and joy and blessings can be found in the gift of each new day You grant me. 

Furbaby Friday: 13th Edition

Friday the 13th

Why does this day terrify people so? In fact, why do we still believe in superstitions.. even in a world filled with Siri and Google?

Joel The Brave is a black cat. Yes, I know what people say about that.

But this little black cat…has been a tremendous blessing to me. I often kid that I should certify him as a therapy animal…but I’m only partly kidding when I say it. Joel the Brave us a therapy animal to me, often trying to calm me when I have major anxiety episodes or even loving on me after a night terror.

Big love to all the black cat furbabies out there today. May we love them all.