Why I Served


United-States-Navy

Young people join the military for various reasons. I loved my country, but I had ulterior motives for joining the Navy – a free education and the opportunity to travel. Many join the military to take advantage of such benefits. However, once in boot camp I was immediately introduced to the military mindset. I was immersed in a new lifestyle of honor, integrity, and courage. I emerged from an eight-week training cocoon not only proud to have the opportunity serve, but feeling blessed to have the privilege to serve with people of honor. It changed me – forever.

Throughout my first tour my love for this country deepened, and so did my love for my fellow service men and women. I wanted to give back to the country that took a chance on me. I proudly reenlisted several times and celebrated with others who chose to do the same. I served with people who have the highest level of integrity. They were also the kindest, bravest and most loving people I will ever know. There is a certain camaraderie that the military and first responders share. It’s a brotherhood that deepens every day as we inspire, encourage, honor, and love each other. Being a part of the military made me more than I ever could have been otherwise.

Although I chose to retire, I miss military life. I miss serving with incredible men and women who encouraged me to strive for excellence. I may not see them every day, but I will pray for them, and honor them by living the life they taught me.

We can honor our military and remember our dead by living a life of integrity and honor, and by praying for them everyday.

100 Reasons We Love Our Mom


mothersday

I’m reblogging this post from May, 2013. Enjoy.

Most of us rarely consider the influence and impact our families have on us, and in particular, our Mothers. We start to realize that when we have a child or a loved one becomes ill, or they are gone. Our Mom’s impact us more that we really know (or want to admit). We are who we are largely because of our Moms. (For brothers, moms are critically important, but in a different way, but that’s another story.) My sisters and I decided to come up with a list of all the different ways our Mom has impacted us.  We believe most women will identify with these examples and come up with more for their own Mom.

 HERE ARE A FEW OF THE REASONS WE LOVE YOU

  1. She gave birth to me.
  2. She is my sister’s mom.
  3. She loves my Dad.
  4. She always took me to church (whether I wanted to go or not).
  5. And Youth Group.
  6. She made sure I had a nice smile (braces).
  7. She made sure the Weddings were “over the top.”
  8. She was there (holding my hands) at the birth of that first grandchild (and      more).
  9. She loves all her grandchildren and treats them all “fairly”.
  10. She loves her son-in-laws
  11. She taught me to cook.
  12. She taught me manners.
  13. She told me to always act and look like a lady, and wear lipstick.
  14. There’s always a couple of dollars in every note/card she sends.
  15. She loved me even when I was a “pain in the butt” and endured my “teenage drama” years.
  16. She’s got great decorating advice.
  17. She always knew the families before I was allowed to play with the kids.
  18. When you really care about something she will also care about it.
  19. She will always tell you that you look very pretty / nice, etc.
  20. She taught me to always write thank you notes.
  21. She thinks I am creative.
  22. She still spoils us at Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
  23. She taught me to look for a bargain, or buy “on sale”.
  24. She taught us to always take a hot meal to a new neighbor and sick friend.
  25. She taught me how to entertain friends and do it well.
  26. There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal.
  27. It’s ok to have a glass of wine.
  28. She taught me to do laundry, correctly.
  29. She made me change the sheets every week and how to do “hospital”      corners.
  30. She taught me to set a pretty table for holiday meals.
  31. Having a family dinner together (almost) every night is wonderful.
  32. Say Grace.
  33. We always had handmade Easter dresses (they were usually matching).
  34. Our Easter baskets always had a Chocolate Rabbit and at least one toy.
  35. There was always a Hidden treasure in Christmas Stockings.
  36. Always save room for dessert.
  37. Fresh bread is always the best.
  38. A little prayer sure helps.
  39. Spoil your dog.
  40. She’ll send you a postcard when she goes on vacation.
  41. Wash your hands before you eat.
  42. Eat breakfast every day.
  43. Shopping is a sport.
  44. She told us to play nice with the other kids.
  45. Always told me to be nice person (period).
  46. She gave us piano & flute lessons
  47. Swimming and gymnastics lessons too.
  48. Shoes don’t have to match your purse.
  49. Wear clean underwear.
  50. You can do almost anything with a hot-glue gun.
  51. Brush and floss your teeth.
  52. Always take a jacket, and often an umbrella too.
  53. She never forgets a birthday/anniversary or other holiday.
  54. Took me to see grandparents quite often – the trip was across country.
  55. She told me to always keep a few dollars in my pocket for emergencies.
  56. She’s proud of us no matter what.
  57. Be sure to send Christmas cards.
  58. You can never have too many photos.
  59. She always made me try new foods, and made me eat my veggies.
  60. Have a hobby.
  61. Look for the good in everything and everyone.
  62. She passed down Grandma & Great Grandma keepsakes.
  63. She taught me to darn a sock and sew on a button.
  64. She taught me to share, especially ice cream cones and M & Ms.
  65. She always found ways to surprise us.
  66. A sack lunch is great.
  67. Always make the time to have lunch with friends.
  68. We always got a little gift when she returned from trips.
  69. Carry 2 pens, someone might need to borrow one.
  70. Carry lots of Kleenex, someone will need one.
  71. She cooked over an open campfire and can pitch a tent.
  72. She took me to a dermatologist.
  73. She picked great clothes and jewelry.
  74. Be sure to get your hair done, often.
  75. She still remembers my favorite dinner and dessert from childhood and still prepares it better than I do.
  76. Photos of my kids are on her fridge.
  77. Goes overboard when we come to town.
  78. She sends cards for all occasions
  79. Her fudge and pumpkin nut bread are “to die for.”
  80. She always makes my favorite pie.
  81. She always took a picture of us on the first day of school.
  82. She made me do things myself.
  83. Plan a get-away with your spouse at least once a year.
  84. Have a savings account and don’t break into it.
  85. Take care of your skin, even when you are young.
  86. Nurture your friendships; motherhood can be very lonely sometimes.
  87. Vote.
  88. She made sure we always got to see fireworks.
  89. She pumps her own gas
  90. Know what the organization really does before you donate to them.
  91. She sent really great care packages to me when I was stationed over seas.
  92. Don’t complain.
  93. She taught us how to make a decision, there are consequences to everything.
  94. You can have a good time without spending money.
  95. Use sunscreen and chap-stick.
  96. She doesn’t understand my jokes but she still laughs.
  97. She taught me to go above and beyond in my career.
  98. Visit the gravesite of loved ones when you are in town.
  99. She backed me up when I was blamed for something that I swore I didn’t do.
  100. She put up with all my childhood shenanigans and loves to tell everyone about them.

The list could go on and on, but we are stopping at 100.  Life is a constant learning experience. Some of us are fortunate enough to have our Moms with us for most of the ride. We still learn from our Mother and so do our children. We are who we are because of her. How would our lives have been different if our Mom was not a strong, compassionate and loving woman? We’re grateful that we will never know.

Blessings on your day.

Why Mother’s Day Is Hard to Celebrate


sad-young-woman

While millions of women are enjoying a day filled with family and pampering, I experience a flood of mixed emotions. I have two healthy children and I love celebrating every holiday with them. But each year, I remember the babies who aren’t here to celebrate with me. On April 15, 2000, I suffered the first of several miscarriages. I was only three months along when we lost Hailey. Several months later it happened again. My world shattered. I was angry at God and wondered why He only blessed me with one precious little boy. I wallowed in self-pity and I asked questions like, “Am I a bad mom?” and “Am I worthy?” People made the strangest comments to me – like, “God needed more angels,” or “something must have been wrong, it was probably a blessing,” or “at least you have one child.” I mourned for a long time and held on to the thoughts of what might have been.

As God helped me heal I experienced Him in a remarkable way – through the love of women who shared my story. Their circumstances are different, but our stories are the same – we want to be mothers. So we love. We love children in our classes, or our neighborhoods, and in our extended families. We smile and hug others who share the news we wish we could share, while we cry inside. But we still love.

I also learned how worthy I am in God’s eyes. I had opportunities to share God’s love with others, young and old. And through the love of other childless women God taught me He doesn’t require women to actually bear children in order to love and be loved.

For so many women Mother’s Day is a time of sorrow and mourning what will never be. On this Mother’s Day, remember the childless woman you count as a friend. Give her special grace, knowing that she yearns for the unique bond that you share with your child. Offer love to the heartbroken mother who has lost a child. Love is full of healing.

Blessings on your day,

Julie

Change


 change

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A big change happened in my life this past week. I had been praying for months for a resolution to a certain situation. Suddenly that problem was resolved. There was no hint the change was coming, it just happened. Now I am faced with new circumstances and new challenges. The question before me is how to approach those new circumstances and challenges in a way that honors God.

The answer is quite simple, it’s just humans have a tendency to overcomplicate things. We need to remember that everything God does for us is motivated by His great love for us. Knowing this, it’s critical to seek God’s direction when faced with great change. We may be tempted to face new circumstances the same way we faced old challenges, but new circumstances require an in-depth conversation with God, asking Him what we are to do in this new situation.

For me, taking a long walk with God will provide some guidance. I also need to delve into the Scriptures, asking our Lord for direction in this new season of life. Remember, the approach we have taken to old circumstances may not be the way to handle new things. We are creatures of habit and like that which is familiar, but God may be calling us out of our comfort zone. Be open to the new, and experience something new.

While change may be constant, it’s important to remember our God doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8). His every action is based on His great love for us. Therefore, we can face every change knowing it is from God.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Image: google images

The Day that Death Died


empty tomb

 

Two thousand years ago the greatest event in all of history occurred. Christ paid the highest ransom of all and defeated the biggest foe of all  – death. This was an act of pure grace, and was the best gift ever given. But the miracle of Easter is that His grace is a gift that grows bigger when we share it.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 NIV

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We are overcome with your love, so great, that you would make a way for redemption. We praise you and thank you for Easter – the promise of eternal life, with You. Guide our hearts to be fully yours. Let us see the world from your perspective. Speak through our lips so we may share your story. Work through our hands and feet that we may share Your grace with the world. Amen.

Jesus our King!


Jesus_images

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9

As we enter Holy Week, may you experience the power, grace, and humility of our precious Savior.

Heart Lag and Pop-Tarts


Today, I am blessed to have a guest post from my friend, and Director of Missions, at the church I attend. Recently, Teresa led a mission team to Rwanda. This is what she sent to the other travelers upon their return.

 On Returning

By Teresa Sherwood

To Returning Mission Teams:

I’m sure a lot of people have asked you this week if you have jet lag, but has anyone asked you if you are suffering from heart lag? I know for myself, returning from these kinds of mission trips can bring on a few days (or maybe more than a few) of feeling somehow disconnected, as though I don’t quite belong here. Several years ago, I encountered this feeling in a profound way and, in sorting through it, I discovered that it was not only a matter of the heart but a very real spiritual challenge.

It was the year of our first high school mission trip to Mexico. We had spent the week working at an orphanage where the conditions for the children were really deplorable. When we left, we knew that we had only scratched the surface of meeting the needs of these little kids who had laughed and played with us all week. On the last day, we were honored with a fellowship time that included LOTS of songs and prayers and, as a very special treat, we were served Coke and Pop-Tarts. Little 4-year-olds came around and served each of us, making sure we had all eaten before they did. We all understood the value of their gift and we were humbled by it.

I arrived back home last Saturday night and by Monday morning I was on a flight to Vancouver. There, I met up with my husband, Donnie, who had been attending a meeting. Then we embarked on an Alaskan cruise. As I sat at a table overflowing with food, looked out at the beautiful, cool mountains, and made small talk with the well-dressed new friends at my table, I was overcome by the memory of the little faces for which my simple presence had been a blessing. I thought of the children who never had enough to eat, who slept in sweltering dorms, and who lacked clean water. I felt their presence at the table and, rather than anticipating the beautiful five-course meal, I realized that I was thinking of Pop-Tarts. I found myself asking my God why we lived in a world where some had not enough and others had too much. And why was I one who had too much? I looked at the other people at the table and realized that they didn’t feel the presence of these children, and they probably didn’t know how valuable Pop-Tarts can be. I realized at that moment that I had left a part of myself in an orphanage in Mexico and it had been replaced with an abiding sense of the spirit of God’s children.

A few years ago, I left a part of myself in Africa, under a tree. I gave myself away to a little girl in a yellow dress and she gave me a piece of herself that will always be with me. In that moment, I found once again how truly real the love of Jesus Christ is as it passes among His children.

I have never been able to answer the question of why some have not enough while others have too much, but I have found that God is completely present in both want and plenty. I do not believe that God would have us neglect the beauty He has created or fail to enjoy the goodness of the world. But I do believe that He calls us to put it in perspective, to understand that we neither need nor deserve such gifts. We simply thank God for them and then give.

If you are finding that you struggle this week with difficult feelings, I pray that you will explore them, pray about them, and offer them to God. He is probably making a place in your heart for something new, a blessing that will expand your territory.

Thank you for sharing yourselves. You are a blessing.

 “Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness shall be as bright as day.”  Isaiah 58:10

 I don’t know about you, but I will never look at a Pop-Tart the same way again. 

Blessings on your day.