Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Confirming Experience

Michael & Vasca's Four Sons...
L to R...Patrick #3, Scott #4, Jeffrey #2 and Steven #1

Last week most blogs concentrated on thankfulness...after all, Thanksgiving is a time when most of us give much thought to what we are thankful for. God knows we have more than enough...most have enough blessings to cover a multitude of those who have few.

M and I have always been thankful for so much; but now that the designated 'day of thanks' is past we've more thankfulness than ever before. Why is that? It's very simple...really!

Last Thursday, for the first time in more than eight years...we had our entire family together. The last time was our fiftieth wedding anniversary ~ two months prior to our departure for a year in China which became more than two years. At that time our youngest grandchild was four years old...our oldest was twenty-two. This time together they are twelve to thirty.

Three have graduated from college, three are in college w/one of those graduating next month, four in junior high and high school w/one of those graduating in May and off to college. Our family is in God's hands; all are in good health and thankfully working...great blessings.

Thursday was a celebration that greatly impacted the two of us; we believe it impacted our entire family as well. Words won't do justice to the joys of the day...of course there are pictures galore. It was like 'celebrities w/the paparazzi' 'cause the cameras and flashes were popping all over the place.

We know we love each other...we know we are loved...but that day? God blest all twenty of us with an exponential confirmation of that love.

This quote from Ann Landers is worth thinking about...
"If you have a good name, if you are right more often than you are wrong, if your children respect you, if your grandchildren are glad to see you, if your friends can count on you and you can count on them in time of trouble, if you can face your God and say 'I have done my best,' then you are a success."

Oh My! "I have done my best...Thank You, Father."

I remain...Balanced and Unafraid...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I wonder if narrow mindedness causes anger? What do you think? Charles Kettering said, "People are very open minded about new things ~ as long as they're exactly like the old ones."

Okay...we have several political parties in the news...all day, every day. Am I so ingrained in 'my favorite' that I won't listen/hear another side? I hope that I can be open-minded, just in case my favorite and I are off course. I don't want to fall in the you?

Sadly, narrow mindedness isn't limited to politics; it's possibly even more prevalent in our churches. Oops...really? Oh, I think so. I imagine you've heard that travel broadens ones horizons? In our case it did just that...M and I are Spirit-led which has led us around the world and back. Two Oklahoma kids married and dreamed of living in M's hometown forever but God had a plan...unknown to us but we were co-operative.

He placed us in Greece where we lived w/a Greek couple & their daughter; He put us in Ethiopia w/Coptic Christians in the household; He put us in Germany where we lived with a German couple; He put us in Wisconsin in what is called 'The Holy Land'...the only non-Catholics for miles and miles; last but not least He put us in China where we lived among millions of Chinese atheists. In other words, we've been around the block a few times and have been involved in a myriad of cultures...each different than the other. Each culture worships in a manner different that ours...each society is totally different than ours.

So, we have a different outlook than many of our associates here in this place. Okay, so travel broadens one's horizons; I believe it's true. Not that there's anything wrong with living and remaining in one place your entire that case it's important to study others, their way of life and come to some understanding of what others are about.

There's a Chinese proverb, "The broad minded see the truth in different religions; the narrow minded see only the differences."

If I see only what I want to see I could miss something of utmost importance to my soul; to my way of thinking about others. Whether it be political or religious. Haven't you heard, there are two things you don't discuss...religion and politics? Why do you suppose that is? Because we lose our cool when someone/anyone disagrees with our views and beliefs? Oh, come on now...surely we're more adult than that...we're better people than that? Are we? Am I? Each of us knows the answer...and if we're honest it's probably an answer we'd rather not hear.

I don't believe our Father is pleased w/many of our emotional outbursts...I mean the anger one feels when another crosses our line or steps on our toes...ouch. Here's something to think about...if someone were to pay you 10 cents for every kind word you ever spoke and collect 5 cents for every unkind word would you be rich or poor?

Okay, one last thought; I don't want to be so narrow-minded that I can see through a keyhole with both eyes. In order to see more clearly, I've worked at broadening my attitude for quite some time and you know, I'm a better person and I am sooooo much happier walking w/God 24/7...what an experience. If you've not tried it ~ give it a'll make your head spin!!!

balanced and unafraid......

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accepting a Dare...

Like most of the world...I have a cell phone. To Michael's chagrin I don't keep it at hand; too much of the time it's on silent. But wait, there's hope...I'm practicing keeping it nearby just in case he calls. His personal ring tone is "I Just Called to Say I Love You"...why else would he call? The ring tone for others is "Who Are You, Who, Who Are You"? You really wanna' know???

Funny, everytime anyone other than M calls, I think about...okay, who am I...really...who? Will the real me stand up? Am I what God wants me to be, what He knows I can be? Honestly, much of the time the answer would be, "No, no I'm not really measuring up to His expectations". I am not doing my best. Why is that? I wonder and then my ornery conscience kicks up its heels...ooh.

Oprah Winfrey says, "Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

That's a good thought, Oprah...good thought. Step by step, this moment...the next moment...on and on...keep movin' This is not a cakewalk...the apostle Paul calls it a race and oh my, I am basically not even a walker, much less a runner. I've difficulty making my body do anything but fall all over the place...24/7. Fell flat on my face entering a hotel last weekend...but guess what? God must've put some rubber in my mold...more bounce to the ounce...I'm a bouncer!

Something happened to me recently; can't put a finger on it but it's pretty neat. I have a new, greater awareness of others and what I can contribute to their lives while also contributing to my spiritual growth/maturity. You think His Spirit has something to do w/this? Yeah!

Making a difference is important, right? This world seems so harsh at times and oh, how we can hurt each other...surely we've something better to do than beating others up. I can contribute to the happiness of others w/simple thoughtfulness, kind words, a myriad of ways...I can do that...I can.

"I have begun a crusade in my life, to dare to be my best"...Wm. Danforth.

Who am I??? I really know...I am one of God's Daring Crusaders...

Balanced and Unafraid...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Veteran

Tomorrow, Nov. 11th, is Veteran's some it may not others? It stirs a mixture of emotions. I know, because I live with one of those precious vets...and he's my hero!

My heart was touched in the grocery store last week by someone I'd not seen before...a high school employee. One checker knows that we've lived in China, etc. but Friday she asked me what my husband retired from and I told her, the Army. Oh...he retired as a Colonel w/32 years of service. The sacker was apparently taking all that in because as he pushed the cart to our car, he said "Your husband really retired as a Colonel?" I replied that he had. He asked questions about M's military career, etc...very nice. When he finished loading the groceries he said, "Please tell your husband 'Thank You' for me...thank him for his service." That touched touched Michael.

It's good to be touched and think back...reflecting. Those were good years that took the six of us all over the! However, we paid a price; there were difficult years...there were heartbreaking years. Twice we lived on post and our military neighbors seemed to have duties on base, spending off-duty time at home...w/their families. I confess to envy 'cause M was always away...sometimes we hadn't a clue where or when he'd be back...ssshhh...secret. The periods 'at home' were wonderful times; the year-long periods 'away from home' were like forever and ever.

Before cell phones/computers meant snail mail and keeping tabs on the best friend. Michael had two combat tours plus a hardship tour in Eritrea (Ethiopia) that was similar to a combat tour...very dangerous. I might write about that on a later post. I mentioned mail? M and I wrote each other every single day...and sometimes even more! When my mother dropped by she usually found me writing M and she'd ask what in the world we found to write about every day??? Reaching out and touching, Mother...a God Work

Viet Nam? Oh...M went very there early on; not many knew 'beans' about the country, much less what was going on. M was presented to the King of Greece because he was the first to be called from Greece to Viet Nam...could've, would've passed on that distinctive honor! From Greece to 'Nam...what a switch. We spent Christmas in our empty Greek home, waiting to be shipped to the U.S. for M's 30 day leave before going to Nam. I believe I cried for over 45 days...sobbing's more like it.

One of our worst days was driving M to the airport; one more battlefront...thankfully our four boys were in school so he and I drove it alone. When we pulled up in front of the terminal I said, "I can't do this...I just can't"...he agreed and we kissed a kiss that would last until one year was like 'dumping him out' as he opened the door, picked up his bag and walked off...that was it and I still cry remembering. least...he made it back...he made it home.

Oh, how we missed him..."Missing someone gets easier every day because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will." That was one of my survival techniques for the many long separations...I divided time into segments that were regularly adjusted...closer and closer until, thank God, we were physically one again!

My heart breaks for all those who didn't make it...for all those who have returned from Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam...bodies ravaged, mental pictures that won't go away...for all those who are returning to those far-off places again and again. My heart breaks/aches for all the wives, children, families who wait and wait and wait and wait.

There is so much one could write about our veterans...not enough words or space. But it's important for us to remember thank them & their families for their service & sacrifices...and to remember that freedom is not free!

Elmer Davis reminds us...

Thanks to my hero & all veterans I have the opportunity to be
Balanced and unafraid....