Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

I don't seem to be able to find the right words today to adequately honor all of the service men and women who have lost their lives in the name of freedom. For as long as I can remember, I have always taken at least a bit of time over the course of the Memorial Day weekend to reflect on the subject of war and the fallen heroes of war. This dedication to remembering was instilled in me by my mother. Her patriotism, I suppose, was a natural result of a long line of military service on her father's side of the family. It was surely also influenced by her days as a Marine wife who raised a small child alone during the years of  WWII.  So, remembering our military heroes is nothing new to me.

Still, this year is different. This year, it is personal. It is personal because last year on July 9, 2009, I stood, along with thousands of others in the hot sun of July in Georgia to pay tribute to our own town's young, fallen hero, Lance Corporal Seth Sharp. Seth, was wounded and died in a surge in Afghanistan on July 7, 2009.  While I was standing there that day, looking around at all of the flags flying and the people watching for the motorcade, I could not help but think of those soldiers who served in Vietnam who did not get a hero's welcome home. I was thankful that most of our country learned a lesson from those days of vile disrespect for our military and  I prayerfully hoped that we would never see such behavior against our servicemen again. I also thought of all the wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, sweethearts, all over the country whose loved ones are serving and how each one of  them could, at any moment, hear the same news that Ric Sharp and his family heard about their Seth.  

As we stood in the scorching sun, occasionally chatting with friends who had just arrived on the scene, different ones of us would get updates on the status of the motorcade: "The plane has arrived in Calhoun,"  "They have left the airport," "They are at the traffic light in Adairsville,"  "They passed under the ladder truck flag," and with each call the voices said, "there are so many people here, it is amazing." And on the calls came, until the motorcade was coming around the curve and over the hill to where we stood at the road leading to our church.  We heard them before they arrived. The Patriot Guard Riders and the thunderous roar of their bikes, vibrated in our feet and sounded as if God, Himself, were roaring in righteous anger at the cruelty of this world toward those of His own. 

So we stood and watched the motorcade move past us. Some in silence with hand over heart; a man in Clan Sutherland attire stood as a statue, 

unmoving with arms to his sides; children watched with eyes big and bright, all silent, all filled with our own thoughts and prayers. Some of us hid behind our cameras and watched through the viewfinders, with tears silently running down our cheeks and off our chins as we tried in futility to capture the moment, for a later time when the family might care to see their beloved being escorted home in such grand circumstance. 

The days that followed would be a wonderful outpouring of love to Seth's family and to the Marines who took turns standing guard over their fallen brother. It was a life changing event in many ways for me. It made real to me, the sacrifice of all who have fallen in the fight for freedom, during the course of our history as a nation, and the sacrifice of their loved ones. It moved me from someone who is a respecter of the military to someone who now sees each soldier, not just my own family members,  as a son, daughter, husband, wife, sister, brother, niece, nephew, cousin and/or dear friend.  

Each one of these precious men and women enters the military for different reasons, but each one who enlists takes the same oath to defend our Constitution, bear true faith and allegiance to it and obey the orders of the President of the United States.  This is an awesome and heavy weight on the shoulders of these young men and women, but they are trained to bear it well and bear it they do, even unto death.  I will never see a soldier again, without thinking of Seth Sharp and realizing that each one of these dedicated servers of our country, is a Seth Sharp to someone out there. May each one come home safely to his or her loved ones and would it not be nice,  if they had to go to war, no more.

I hope my graceful readers have a good Memorial Day and hope you will stop and remember all those who have paid the price for our freedom. 

God bless those who serve and God bless our country.   
Thank you, Lance Corporal Seth Sharp. 

To read more about Seth or to pay your respect to Seth Sharp and his family, you can post a comment on Seth's Marine page on Facebook. His family post there often. 

Marine death

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Rainy Day, Reigning Day

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 

My Fingerprint Friday post is so late today.
It has been a gray, rainy day in Georgia. Yes, it does feel like it's raining all over the world.
My mood has been a bit gray, like the day and I had to reach deeply within to find the Spirit today.
Fortunately, He seems to reach toward me as I reach for Him and together, things improve.

Reign in Me

Come, reign in me, sweet Spirit,
Chase away the darkness that threatens
To separate me from God's lovely light.
Let me rest in the shadow of His
Sheltering wings.
Protect me, shield me
From the weight and evil of this broken world.
I  sing a song of praise to You
For Your eternal goodness and love.
I  lift my voice in gratitude
For your mercy.
My heart sings with joy at
The beauty of Your creation.

Never take Your Spirit, from me,
Dwell within me and 
I will dwell in You.
My heart is overflowing with Your love,
Joyfully, I dance like David,
Your peace removes the clutter of my mind
I wait with patience for You to
Teach me kindness and
Refresh me with your goodness,
My faithfulness grows in Your
Enduring faithfulness to me. 
I see Your fingerprints on 
All of Your creation.
And find that all is well with me. 
copyright 2010 Vicki D. Elish

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and will take time to be refreshed in Him!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Green Anole Lizard

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 

Not long ago a green anole lizard came to visit. He limited his visit to the screened, back porch, where he seemed to be content snacking on a few insects that had found their way onto the porch as well.

He looks so big and ferocious in this photo but he was actually very cute and rather small. Here's another shot:

I love all of God's creatures (okay, not flies or fleas or mosquitoes or ticks or poisonous spiders, but all the rest,) and am particularly fond of green anole lizards

Green anoles always remind me of a very cute boy named Alan, with whom a friendship and bit of a crush developed while on vacation at Ormond Beach, Florida one year with my family. I was thirteen. My friend Pam vacationed with us that year. The lifeguard at the beach was a gorgeous, seventeen year old boy with a deep tan, sun bleached hair and incredible blue eyes. Pam, who was much taller, looked much older and was very bold, decided that he should be our friend and so he was. We invited him to have lunch with us at our cottage and we made him PBJ sandwiches. He was extremely polite, well spoken and he obviously wasn't interested in us in that way, as he treated us like little sisters, so my parents were fond of him as well.

When our vacation came to an end and it was time to leave, Alan came to see us off. We were packed up and ready to head out and he showed up. We always vacationed at the same cottage, during the same two weeks in June, year after year and he assured us that he would be lifeguarding again the next year and would stop by and see us then.  He would not send me away without a gift. He presented to me on his upturned  palm, an incredibly tiny, green anole lizard.  A lizard no more than an inch and a half long.  I named him Alan there and then and I still remember exactly how he felt in my hand and how his tiny eyes and tiny toes looked.  Sadly, I don't remember exactly what became of him. My guess is that we let him go in the garden once we were home...for my mom's sake.

As for Alan, the boy, I never saw him again and don't recall whether or not I was devastated that he was not waiting on the porch of the cottage as promised the next year. My guess is that  my parents had already prepared me for a disappointment. A lot can happen in a year. Apparently, it was not too traumatic for me when he didn't show, because I realize now, that if not for Alan, the lizard, it is likely that I would not even remember the name of Alan, the boy.

I guess in the early 60's, in those still innocent days before "make love, not war" and similar campaigns, Alan, the lizard, actually, held much more fascination for a thirteen year old about to enter high school, than Alan, the Greek god-looking boy.  As it turns out, I don't need a photo or even the appearance of a green anole on my porch, to remember those tiny, dark eyes and those cute, little toes that tickled as they scampered up my arm.  But Alan, the boy, I barely remember him at all.  I remember only what can be deciphered from an old and not so clear, photo of a darkly tanned boy in a lifeguard chair and a really skinny girl, wearing a two piece bathing suit, with a great tan, who is standing below, looking up. If one could move the camera in a bit, it's possible that you might see stars in her eyes.

When we are thirteen, every day is filled with drama. I feel certain that my drama for that day was imagining  I was in love with this older boy and dreaming that someway, somehow, we would live happily ever after. Oh, the fairy tales that teenage hormones write!  I know with some certainty that I must have been deeply in love. Not because I remember it, but because that is the way it is with thirteen year old girls and handsome older boys. That girl in the photo, would not have believed me at all,  if I could have tapped her on the shoulder to tell her this truth:  one day, this deeply dramatic and emotional moment, along with all other such moments of that two weeks, would fade into a fragile memory that would be lost forever, if not for an old photograph and the delightful memory of a tiny, green lizard!

Green anole lizards are my Fingerprint of God today. What's yours?  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

My sweet mom went to be with the Lord on November 11, 2006. I miss her as much today as I did then. She was a good woman and a dedicated mother. She wasn't perfect, none of us are but she was pretty darn close as far as I'm concerned.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes about mothers:

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. - Abraham Lincoln

There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it. - Chinese Proverb

For the hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world. - William Ross Wallace

Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, or kiss the place to make it well? My mother. - Ann Taylor

When you are a mother, you are never alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. - Sophia Loren

Mother, another name for love. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In the Dark

I am an insomniac. I have a very difficult time going to sleep and if I am awakened in the middle of the night, I cannot easily go back to sleep. I cannot go to sleep if anyone in the house is still awake and I am one of those people who cannot sleep if there is any unidentified or irritating noise in the house. You would not believe how many times I have been awakened by or couldn't go to sleep because of, some tick,tick, tock, tock, drip, drip, thunk, thunk, squeak, squeak, rumble, rumble or beep, beep or because the pool pump is making a strange noise, or the air conditioner, heater or refrigerator is sounding very much like it is about to croak.It is useless to ask dear husband to help me identify and hopefully stop, said noise, because he is usually already snoring away or  "can't hear it" or makes up some creative but obviously false source or reason for the noise. So, I have learned to "do it myself" when it comes to identifying and eliminating strange noises in the night.

This morning about 3:30, I was awakened by the beep, beep, beep of the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) signaling me that I had only thirty minutes before the computer would shut off. "The computer is already off," I muttered, as it very slowly dawned on me that the night light was off, there were no numbers showing on the bedside clock and the alarm system was beeping to tell me it had gone to battery power.  It finally sinks into my sleep deprived brain that the power is off.  Ordinarily, this wouldn't bother me but John has to leave for work at 6:30 and has the alarm set for 5:30.  The alarm system is now sounding a bit impatient and Ellie decides it is definitely time for a middle of the night potty trip. So, I crawl out of bed, find my way through the inky blackness to the bathroom, try to switch on the light (duh!) pull up the shade hoping for a hint of light from outside, find only inky darkness there too and manage in the dark to take care of necessities. I grope my way back into the bedroom,  trip over a dog toy (I hope), stumble into the hall where I can see absolutely nothing. I feel for the linen closet door, then the basement door. I open the door into the still darker (if that's possible) pit of the basement stairwell, briefly thinking that perhaps someone has cut off our power supply and stands lurking there to grab me. "I have been reading too much Dean Koontz and watching too many crime shows on TV," I grumble, as I quickly feel for the giant  flashlight, that is also heavy enough to knock someone out cold, if necessary. I grab it from the hook on the wall and with a bit more speed than is necessary, close the basement door, shutting out the serial killer who is by now making his/her way up the stairs. Ellie is following closely in my footsteps with a tap,tap, tap of nails on the hardwood floors. Finally, with the glow of the flashlight, I make my way to the alarm keyboard and punch in the codes to silence the beeping. "At least whoever cut the power lines didn't find the line to the alarm system," I muse. I shine the flashlight out into the darkness half expecting something to go "boo" as I let Ellie out.  I grab the phone, only to remember that it has to have power to work. I search for John's cell phone that I know has the power company's number in it. Find it. Call the power company and hear the computerized voice advising me that there is a power outage in my area and the next available crew will be repairing it. That's a relief--no serial killer. Simply a run of the mill sort of power outage. They expect it to be repaired by 4:30.   Dog is scratching at the door to be let in. I let her in and find the wind up clock that I hate and call "tick tock" for its irritatingly loud tick tock. I wind it up, set the time and alarm, make my way back to the bedroom and  crawl back into bed. John wakes up, stumbles around the bed on his way to the bathroom and says, "The power's off."  "Really," I say, "I didn't know. But not to worry, I have found the tick tock  and set the alarm, I have the flashlight right here for you and just so you know, there is no crazed serial killer lurking in the basement. So, go to the bathroom and go back to sleep. You have to get up in an hour and a half or so." "Huh?" he muttered as he took the flashlight and wandered off to the bathroom. "Why didn't you wake me up?," he asked when he returned.  "I didn't want to bother you. The power should be back on by 4:30."  "Oh you called then?" he asked, yawning. "Of course, dear, go back to sleep."

I lie there listening to the beep, beep of the UPS and the tick tock of the clock knowing that I will not go back to sleep. The power comes on earlier than predicted.  I re-set the alarm clock, throw a towel over the wind up to muffle the hideous tick tock and doze off just as both alarms go off.  I turn off the tick tock, hit the snooze on the alarm clock, tell my sweet husband that he has five minutes or so and then he must get up.  I turn over and finally go to sleep. I didn't hear the alarm go off the second time and barely remember his kiss good-bye. My good, little dogs let me sleep until the late hour of 7:30.

It is now a bit past noon. The house is clean and there's a load of laundry in the washer.  It is a gray, overcast day here in NW Georgia. The perfect kind of day for browsing through old photos, reading old letters or snuggling on the couch with my sweet Ellie dog. Yes, a nap, that is exactly what is in order. Move over Ellie, mama is about to join you.

Hoping you have a lovely Saturday, where ever you may be. Yawn.