Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone! Wait, what?! How is Thanksgiving already? Oh, well. I guess it was bound to come. And it's my favorite holiday so. . yeah. ;) I was thinking back on our past thanksgivings and there is just so much to be thankful for! Two years ago our thanksgiving was so different. . .so I thought I'd write a quick post comparing the two. God's been so good to us this year (well, He is every year :) ) and I am so grateful for all He's blessed us with!

Thanksgiving Day 2013
The smells of Thanksgiving wafted through the house. The turkey had just been carved by Dad and I was pouring the punch and making sure the food had all been set on the table. The pies were cooling on the stove and the whipped cream had been stuck in the freezer so it would stay cold until it was time for dessert. The playlist of instrumental hymns was playing softly, providing a peaceful background as well as adding to the festiveness of the day.
On the surface, everything appeared normal. The smiles, the laughter, they were all there. But this year, something was different.
My eyes wandered over to the living room where Dad sat talking to the family we had invited over from church. He seemed normal, but this year the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes and the tiredness was still there.
A few minutes later mom said we were ready to eat and dad called everyone to the table. Once we were all seated, he took the Bible off the shelf and read some verses out of 1st Thessalonians chapter 5. Yes, thanksgiving seemed to be the same, but this year it was so, so different.
This year, the nagging fact that it might be the last time Dad was there with us added a more sober feeling.
You see, Dad had been diagnosed with a fast growing cancer and at that time, the doctors had no idea where the cancer had started. With the information we had, it seemed very probable that it might be Dad’s last thanksgiving.
Yet, we still had so much to be thankful for. Dad and mom were home after their trip to Seattle and we were together again. There was also the very special gift we had been given just the week before when the doctors decided to wait to start radiation. The way it was set up, he would not have to start until after thanksgiving and there would be whole week with no treatment during Christmas. We were going to treasure every last important day with dad because we knew it might be the last.
This year, I was thankful that he was still able to be with us, that he was still able to sit and the head of the table and join in our conversation. This year was special because Dad was there and we were all so thankful for that!

Thanksgiving day 2015
I am surrounded by family as the delicious smells swirl throughout the house. I know many of my siblings will refuse to eat much for breakfast because they want to eat all they can for the midday meal. I’m helping with the cooking so I get to sample it all. *smiles*
God has given me so many gifts this past year. I know many of you have heard them before, but I’d like to take the time to list two of them hear.
First, this year we as a family were able to go on a vacation to the west coast. My mom asked me later what my favorite part of our time was. My answer? The time in the car driving together. Now don’t get me wrong, the family and friends we were able to see and meet was also a HUGE highlight of our trip, but more than all that I just loved traveling together. The games we played, the silly songs and stories we made up, all that was so special.
Second, this year I was able to meet two very dear friends in person. This was very special to me because I had appreciated their friendship so much over the past year or so and being able to actually meet them in person was amazing!
And, of course I'm thankful for books! Just had to add that because without books. . .yeah. Life would be quite boring without them. ;)
God has given me so many blessings this year and I have so much to be thankful for. If I tried to list them all I’m sure they would fill quite a few pages. But at the top of those pages would be what I am most grateful for. My salvation through Jesus Christ. I mean, guys, who else can say that they have an everlasting hope? A hope that transcend even death? Only those of us who have been saved through the blood that was shed on the cross can say that! And that is a gift that we should be thanking our Saviour for every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.
So, anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day as you gather with your family or friends and remember some of the blessings of the past year. Remember, God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good! Even when it may not seem like it, He is! And we have so much to give thanks for!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! :)

And what would thanksgiving be without music?! I found this awesome medley with three of my favorite "Thanksgiving" hymns! I LOVE this time of year! :D :D

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

I wrote up this quick post based on an actual experience I had this past week. I know it's short, but. . .it said what I wanted to say. :)

I walked into the museum and walked straight to the gift shop, already knowing exactly what I wanted to buy. It wasn’t my first time there and I had been planning the trip for a while.
The man behind the counter smiled at me and asked if he can help with anything.  I point to the item I need and since I’m getting it personalized, he hands me the form I need to fill out.
As I’m filling in the information we get to talking, and because of an earlier reference, he asks if "my David" is in the air force.
I smile and shake my head and he nods and says he was just curious. Then, in an almost faraway tone of voice, he mentions that he still has his dog tags from when he served.
That captured my attention and I glanced up from my writing. “Were you in the service?”
He nods. “Yes, I served in Vietnam.”
Paper and pen completely forgotten, I ask what division of the armed forces he served in.
“I was in the air force, served there for four years.” His tone is very matter of fact.
“Were you in Vietnam?” I ask.
He shakes head and smiles almost sadly. “No, but I was in Korea while we were fighting in Vietnam.”
“My grandpa was in that war,” I smile and shrug. “He won’t talk about it at all.”
The man nods and I can tell he understand why. “It definitely wasn’t one of the best wars we were involved in.”
“Yeah, I’ve read a little about it for research. A lot of what I’ve read says the same thing; nearly every man who came out of Vietnam alive knew at least one person who hadn’t.”
He nods, “yeah, that'd be about right.”
I go back to filling out the information and then hand him the forms. He takes them and assures me they’ll call me just as soon as the items I ordered were ready.
I leave the museum and think about the conversation. Just how many veterans have had to come back from a war and had to fit back into life at home?
After seeing the horror of war, how many men have come back to the states feeling as though they are a completely different person then they were when they left? They fought for us. They sacrificed for us, but do we show them that we are grateful? Do we appreciate their sacrifice? We should, because they have been willing to sacrifice their lives for us.
Veterans day is a day set aside for us to honor those who have served in any branch of the service, at any time, in any way. Today, let’s make an effort to thank those who have served our country and protected our freedoms. Because honestly, if it wasn’t for the soldier, our constitution, our way of life, and the freedoms we enjoy would be nothing. It’s the soldier who protects them all. It is the soldier who puts his line on the life for us. 
To all those who have served in any branch of the armed forces in any way, thank you for your sacrifice and service!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

WWII Battle!!!!!

So . . . this past weekend dad took 4 of my siblings and I down to El Dorado, Kansas for an event that I had been waiting MONTHS for. I literally had been counting down the weeks, days and hours until the event hosted by the WWII research center. . . the WWII battle reenactment!!! To say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement!! 
I'm sure that by now you all know of my fascination with WWII, so you can probably imagine how I was feeling. :) 
Anyway, it exceeded all of my expectations! I was not excepting it to be so real! The guns, the grenades, the soldiers etc. I mean, when the German commander speaks German throughout the battle? 
Yeah, that's just awesome! :) 
After the battle was over, some of the "Germans" were giving rides in the motorcycle, so Kezzy and Caleb took a ride in that. And then. . . we were able to shoot a WWII machine gun. Which was so totally awesome! Later on I realized that since I had shot a German machine gun I was technically shooting at the American allies. 
Oh well. :P 
After that I ended up talking to one of the German soldiers for a while. I asked a ton of questions and he showed me all the equipment the soldiers carried, let me feel the weight of the different weapons, explained their different uses, etc. It was so amazing! Plus he reminded me a lot of one of my characters. So I felt like I was talking to a character that had come to life, which of course got me inspired to write more. ;) 
So. . .I did remember to take some pictures! And I recorded about six minutes of the battle for you guys. :) (Well, it was for my mom too. . . ;) 

The German soldiers advancing onto the field. 
Getting into position. . .

One of the Germans threw some sort of smoke grenade or something of the sort. :P I don't know exactly what it was., but it
was awesome!
Allied soldier. . .
The battle
The German side. 
The battle is over and the German's are being rounded up by the allies. 
The German prisoners. 
This tent was carried on the soldiers's back, rolled up and fastened above his blanket. 
Typical German literature every German soldier carried
Benjamin shooting the machine gun. . .
Kezzy shooting it. . .
And. . .me. It was pretty awesome, but a lot heavier then I had expected! :) It was weird because it was so loud during the battle, but when you sat behind it, it seemed a lot quieter.
The other two siblings who went along took turns as well, but one of the pictures came out really bad and another sibling asked that I not post it. 
Okay, now the part you've all been waiting for. . . the recording! :D Enjoy!! You can view it: Here (Since blogger won't let me upload it 'cause the file is to large.) 
Well, that was my Saturday. :) I hope you guys all had an amazing weekend as well! I've thought about doing a post with random facts about WWII that I learned at the reenactment. Would that be something you all would like to see? It was nothing super outstanding, but I did learn a lot of things I didn't know before. :) 
Let me know!:D