Veterans Day Tribute to an Unsung Hero

My father was the kindest, most gentle man I’ve ever known. He was also the bravest—but I didn’t realize how brave he wf587c-soldiersas until a few years before he passed away.

I had known Dad was in the Army, but other than that, little was said of his service. In our home, we didn’t discuss the war or my Dad’s role in it.

It wasn’t until I got married that I learned my father was an Army Ranger. That information was passed to me from my father-in-law. Any time my F-I-L meets another vet he asks about his service.

My F-I-L explained that as a Ranger, my dad was a true hero. But I never knew that. My father lived with his military service tucked away into a distant compartment in his mind.

Stories were never shared, photos were never shown. He may have been a hero, but he didn’t want to be. He didn’t want the world to descend into the chaos of the 1940s, but when the time came, Dad enlisted to serve his country.

Dad never offered any information about his service—not until a cold, gray morning in267fd-veterans

December of 1996. I was staying with my parents, caring for my mother as she died. One morning as I sat at the breakfast table sipping coffee, my father trudged in and sat. His eyes held pain, but it wasn’t just at the imminent passing of his wife.

Dad started having nightmares about his WWII service the week my mother died. He told me he was one of the few survivors of a battle on Anzio Beach in Italy. The day after the battle had subsided and the smoke had cleared, my father walked the beach leading donkeys. He spend I-don’t-know-how-many hours putting the bodies of dead soldiers on the donkeys and bringing them to an area where they could be shipped home to the states.

We sat together and cried at the horror he lived through. “All my friends were killed.” He told me.

Yet my father, that truly gentle soul, persevered and did his duty. He was a hero, even though he didn’t want to be.

When I think of Veteran’s Day and all those who served our country, my Dad is first in my thoughts. He’s one of the finest men I’ve ever known. I’m grateful for his service to our country and for the gentle, loving way he raised me.

God bless America, and God bless the men and women of the armed services who guard our freedom.

Grace toward others . . .

As we move into November, and then continue toward the holidays, let’s take a moment to ponder how we react to those we brush past during these hectic days. 
 
We’re all busy. 
 
We’ve all got somewhere to go. 
 
We’ve all got something to do. 
 
Yet in hustle of our lives we need to pause. We need to look into the harried faces of those rushing past, and we should smile and extend grace. 
 
It may be just the blessing they need. 
 
Be blessed, friends! Enjoy the pleasures of the season. And give yourself a break too. 

Life is hard. Be kind.

Life is hard. 

You don’t know what others are experiencing.

Many years ago, I worked in a large office. A couple of ladies there always made birthday cakes for co-worker’s birthdays. It was their thing, and they enjoyed sharing their creations. 

One woman, I’ll call her Alice, worked alongside us. She loved the birthday celebrations. She was always first in line to snatch a piece of cake. But Alice was not always pleasant. She was often short tempered and a bit confrontational. And she was a know-it-all. 

After several months of celebrating one birthday after another, her big day was approaching.

I overheard the cake ladies saying they weren’t going to make her a cake. “Wouldn’t that put her in her place?”

Alice was a prickly person who rubbed others the wrong way. I’m not even sure she realized it. She reminded everyone that her birthday was the next day and left work with a big grin, probably imagining the birthday cake she expected to receive. 

The thought of her being humiliated and disappointed sat on my shoulders like a sheet of heavy, wet canvas. I was not one of the cake ladies. I didn’t really have the time nor the inclination to make a cake. But I did.  

Life is hard.

I don’t know what forces combined to make Alice the person she was. But she didn’t deserve to be treated in such callous manner. So I made her birthday cake. That day I was the recipient of several eye rolls from co-workers. Perhaps they thought I was a chump. 

But life is hard. 

Maybe Alice had been hurt once too many times. Maybe she invented a big, tough persona to protect herself. Or maybe she was just a selfish, mean person. I don’t know. 

All I know is that I didn’t want to see someone be singled out and hurt. I didn’t want to witness a heart being broken.  

Maybe I was a chump. But I still believe you should give someone the benefit of the doubt, err on the side of kindness. Even if you’re wrong, you’ve done the right thing. 

Life is hard. Be kind anyway. 

Eight ground rules for achieving your dreams

Do you have a dream? A goal?

Is there a desire that has burned in your heart for years? 

Or has a new vision popped into your mind?

Here’s the secret to staying motived so you meet your goal:

Don’t wait until
you accomplish your goal to
be proud of yourself.

 Be proud of yourself every
time you endeavor to reach your dream. 

 
Be proud of every step you take to meet
your goal.
 
Here are eight ground
rules for achieving your dreams:
  1. Know that creativity is a process,
    not a product.
  2. Get started. Don’t
    quit.
  3. Recall the delight you
    experienced in claiming that big dream.
  4. Be brave. Pursue your
    dream despite the fear you may fail.
  5. Understand that failure doesn’t mean it’s
    the end. It means try again, harder!
  6. Establish
    discipline:

    • Be clear about
      your vision.
    • Be clear about
      what’s at stake.
  7. Be Content:
    • Contentment is
      being thankful for what you have.
    • Contentment must
      be learned, and you can learn it.
  8. The success is in the
    obedience.
I wish you all the success in the world, but mostly I wish you joy in your journey because at least one person will be impacted by your diligence, YOU!

I know, it’s hard to forgive, but . . .

Have you forgiven? I have. 

It’s not easy. 

I was badly wounded by people I loved and trusted. It nearly destroyed me.

I realized to move forward, I must forgive. But then I became a serial forgiver, having to forgive over and again the same ones who hurt me so badly. 

I’d forgive, then the feelings of hurt, rejection, and shame would return. And so would my bitterness. Those people were no longer in my life and were a thousand miles away, but every once in a while the pain would pop up as fresh as the first sting of betrayal.

So I’d forgive. Again.

It’s not easy.

It took me over a decade to come to grips with the pain of betrayal and rejection. 

It’s not easy.

I chose to embrace this thought, “When we forgive it doesn’t mean the pain never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.”

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer has control over our emotions. 

If you’ve been wounded, I hope you can forgive. Forgiveness gives you a sense of power that allows you to face the pain and move beyond it. 

Forgiveness gives you freedom, and that freedom opens a door. 

Forgive. 

It’s not easy. 

But forgive anyway.

Slow down, and breath . . .

Like most modern gals, I’ve got stuff to accomplish and a to-do list that goes on and on. So, every day I get up and get to work.

That’s good, right?

Red tree

Maybe not.

One of my biggest flaws is that I fly through the hours, the days, the weeks, and the months intent of getting stuff done.

The past two weeks I’ve been watching the changes in my maple tree. It’s something I look forward to every year. Each morning I check out the rich color that seems to change hour by hour. When my tree is at its most blazing beauty, my kitchen glows orange.

Because of my yearly tree ritual, I’ve slowed down this week—just a bit—and sat, sipping morning coffee, absorbing the magic of autumn’s changing wardrobe.

And Psalm 90:12 popped into my mind: Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

I’m going to try to slow down a bit, to be mindful of time flashing by. That’s a good idea, especially at this time of year because we know you’ll blink, and it will be 2015.

Be blessed, friends! Slow down. Enjoy.