Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Ahh, Memorial Day.  So much to do so little time!  A "long" weekend designated to so many things.  The kick off of summer, the end of school, graduation parties, camping, going to the lake, boating, fishing, grilling, friends, family, parades, walking, hiking, running, Bolder Boulder, yard projects, home projects, huge sales, shopping, day off work, relaxing, that's what it is all about...OR IS IT????
It seems now more than ever, this is all the Memorial Day weekend has come to mean. 
There is so much more, let me share with you what Memorial Day means to me.

I grew up after Vietnam, before the Gulf wars, in the end of the cold war with Russia.  I remember doing the drills where you hid under your desk and proceed to the bomb shelter because there has been a nuclear attack.  During my child hood, there was peace by fear of global nuclear war.  I remember President Reagan's famous words "Tear Down This Wall."  I remember driving near my grandparents ranch and seeing the military guarding the missile sights, and the fear and comfort those rockets bring.  That was the closest thing to war during my young years.  The first Gulf war would come as I grew older, then 9/11 just months after my first child was born and there has been war since.  I have close friends and family who have lost friends and loved ones as the war has progressed, I have been fortunate, my family and friends who have served have come home.  I may not be as qualified to write about Memorial Day as some others, but let me tell you my memories.

I grew up in Rockford Minnesota.  My first memory of Memorial Day is a cemetery memorial that my dad was speaking at.  I remember the 21 gun salutes, the smell of gunpowder, the flowers the flags, the tears and mourning for the lost local men buried there.  At the end of the ceremony, one of my fondest childhood memories, was the procession to the river for the laying of wreaths and flowers.  The Crow River would be decorated with hundreds of flowers tossed to the water from the historic old bridge and the new bridges.  A small tribute to the fine men and women who gave all serving their countries.  The thought of all those flowers floating away down stream still brings a tear.

My next notable memory of Memorial Day was the annual cleaning of the local cemetery in Leadville by the Boy Scouts.  We would go through, cleaning trash, brush, branches, straightening headstones and doing our best to have the cemetery ready for the the Memorial Day Celebrations.  One thing I learned, there are men from a lot of wars buried in that old cemetery in Leadville.  One can learn alot by listening to those old VFW men who were there guiding our cleanups. 

Leadville, more specifically Camp Hale, was the home to the very unique and famed 10th Mountain Division.  Every year on top of Tennessee Pass, at the gate of Ski Cooper at the10th Mtn Memorial there is a service to honor our fallen soldiers, especially, those of the 10th.  The Lake County High School Band has a tradition of playing for that event.  We would practice marches, old army songs like Ninty Pounds of Ruck Sack they sang in the 10th, Taps, Reveille, and the Dirge for that presentation.  There were years we were rained on, snowed on, lightning, and occasionally sun.  You know, the years of snow storms and a frozen trumpet while trying to play Taps to honor the fallen are probably the most moving.  To see the appreciation of their friends and loved ones, that we cared enough to be there, soaked to the bone, really not sounding that good, because our instruments and music were soaked through and frozen, is something I will never forget.  We would play the Funeral Dirge, for what seemed like an hour, as the procession to the laying of the wreaths in honor of those wonderful men took place.  As I type this twenty years later, I can still see the retired and serving soldiers and airmen who come to help with the ceremonies salute the family members,  and in their best step, march the wreath to its resting place at the foot of the monument. It truly is moving.  It may not seem much to be a member of the band playing for a Memorial, but let me assure you, the time we got to spend with the remaining men of the 10th Mtn Division, hearing their stories, seeing their gratitude for their fallen comrades was unforgettable.  The gratitude they shared with us for participating on their day was heartfelt and worth every second of it all!

A couple years ago, I had the privilege of returning to Leadville and going to two services.  One at the local cemetery honoring all those who have paid the ultimate price, especially a young local Marine who gave his life serving his country.  I was able to go with my my brother GySgt John Baker of the USMC, in his Dress Blues, he is quite a site!(see the picture at the very bottom of this page).  It was an honor I will probably never forget to go to two memorial services with him, and see the gratitude shown him by everyone he ran across, and thanked by the Master of Ceremonies at the 10th Mtn Memorial for representing the Marines at their Memorial.  I am proud to have had the chance to stand next to one of America's finest who returned home safe, to honor those who never came home.

As I sit here tonight reflecting on the Memorial Days of my past, I think of the one today.  I live near an Air Force Base, and there were jets flying over all day today heading to flyovers, reminding me of the real reason of my day off work.  I hope that you took some time to remember those who have served our country with pride and honor, especially those who gave all for God and Country.  I spoke with my daughters about honoring the men who serve, especially those what give their life for the freedoms we enjoy.  I am thankful to my dad for taking us to the memorials he did, and helping to instill in me the appreciation I have for those men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our country.   I home and pray that I can relay this same appreciation to my girls as they grow up, so Memorial Day is more to them than just another fun filled holiday weekend.

Lord, thank you for the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country.  I pray that you would give divine comfort to their family members and friends as we honor them today.  May I  never to forget that the freedom I have was won by the blood of fallen heroes, and that there are many who have lost loved ones for this cause.  Help me to love and honor them for their sacrifice not just today, but every chance I get throughout the year.  Lord, protect the men and women in our military, keep them save as they fight to protect our freedom, and bring them home safe to their loved ones.  Thank you for the country I live in and the rights I have to worship You, In Jesus name, AMEN.   


Monday, February 27, 2012

Are You Thankful for Your Kids Today?

I had a real gut check on Friday.  Actually I still feel a little sick to the stomach as I write this a couple days later.  Too often, it is easy to get busy with life, frustrated with kids, short fused with your spouse and we blame it on life just being to busy.  It becomes so normal that we take for grant it that we have something really special that we need to be thankful for, and our family really is a blessing.   I have 4 beautiful, healthy young daughters and a great wife,and do I really appreciate them as much as I should, and probably more importantly, do I let them know how much I love and appreciate them?  Not just by my words but with my time and actions?

Now that I have you attention, I am going to ask you to ask yourself that question.  Now when this hits, first stop and pray, second find those you love and care about and let them know.

Friday afternoon I walked back into my NAPA store and there was a somber edge to everyone.  One of my co-workers, Kevin and his wife had gone it to the hospital that morning to have their babies.  Full term twins,  They had been in the hospital earlier in the week with labor, and had been sent home, but the time was here and they were going to be parents again.  My store manager came to me at my desk and told me "Kevin and his wife lost both babies, would you pray for them."  My heart nearly stopped.  Even now as I type my eyes are not dry.  Both twins had a heart problem that had gone undetected through all the checks and they were not able to save either of them. Mom is heart broken, taking it really hard, dad is too.  She is ok physically, but I am sure not emotionally.  To make matters more difficult.  Kevin has a really beautiful tattoo on his right forearm of a baby being carried away by angels.  18 months ago, they had another little one.  They lost her too.  I cannot imagine losing one child, let alone three. So I ask you at this moment, stop and say a prayer for them.  
As I am here typing watching my 11 year old eat breakfast, I still remember holding her that first day, and watch them grow up and the same for each of my girls, THEY NEVER GOT THAT OPPORTUNITY. I get to see and love mine every day, THEY NEVER WILL...   I get to spend time with my children, THEY GET TO GO SEE THREE HEADSTONES WHERE THEIR CHILDREN ARE BURIED.  I get to play with my kids, THEY CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THEY WOULD HAVE BECOME. Someday I will have grandchildren and a large family, as of now, THEY NEVER WILL.  I am so blessed... How about you?

So with that I ask you.  Have you thanked God for you family today?  Have you told them you love them? Have you let them know how much you appreciate them and care about them? Don't miss the opportunity.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A New Pet Rabbit

I guess I must be a glutton for punishment.  Would you believe we walked into Petsmart, with the intentions of replacing a dead fish.

The Humane Society knows that kind hearted people who walk into petstore with said intentions, will probably walk out with an extra furry friend, at some point or another.  Especially if they bring little people with them. 

I'm usually good at refusing such temptation, but on this occasion . . .  Well you know the rest of the story.

I was proclaimed "the best Mom in the world," by four beaming faces,   Do you see that smile?! 

Smiles like that make the hassle worthwhile!!  :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kick up Your Feet and Relax on Your New Hammock

Have you ever regretted, not taking advantage of an opportunity? The summer before my ninth grade year,  I went to Hemnosillo, Mexico with my youth group.  On that trip we spent a day at Kino Bay.  A local merchant wandered through with hammocks for sale.  I earned most of my spending money doing a papper route.  Hard work taught me to value my hard earned money, and so I refrained from purchasing at that time.  I've often regretted my decision.

With the purchase of this house, and with its awesome deck and gazebo,  my desire to own a hammock renewed its vigor.   My first thought was to make one, so I found and printed the directions for a woven one like this.  Then I decided it was too complicated.  Next, my attempt to make a cloth one ended in utter failure. 

At that point, I didn't think I'ld ever get a hammock . . .  UNTIL  we found this lovely on end of the season clearance at Ace Hardware.   So the moral of the story, my friend, is PATIENCE PAYS OFF!

You may have to wait a long time,  but "The best things in life are worth waiting for."

Have you ever waited for something for a long time?  I'ld love to hear your story.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hanging Pot Rack -- A Great Space Saver

 This beauty has been on my wishlist for quite some time.  When the time came to choose one, I broused the web and finally found the one I was looking  Depending on what it is sometimes Wally World has the best product.  Their potracks are only sold online,  so don't go looking for one at your nearest store...  because you won't find it there :D  Wouldn't you agree that hanging your pots and pans is the best way to store them and still save space?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Shelves for my Ever Evolving Library

My skilled laborers include my husband and our friend Josh.

Our basement has these nifty ledges around the outside walls.  Perfect for bookshelves. 

This project has been on the books for quite some time. 


I was incredibly excited when my constrution team decided it was time to get to work. 

They did a fantastic job.  Don't you think?

Keep a watch out.  I'll be posting a picture with the shelves filled at some point in the future.