Homes of Heroes

What’s your weekend looking like?

Memories of picnics, camping trips, an extra day off from school or work and even retail sales mark many a Memorial Day.

This year, working means no special plans for my hubby and me, but I’m grateful just the same.

Late to the parade, as usual, only in my “adulting” years did I learn the reason we celebrate here in the good ‘ole USA.

And just in case you don’t know or it’s a hazy fog, it’s a day for remembering people who died in America’s armed forces.

Following are some fun/interesting facts about the federal holiday I’ve compiled with the help of online searches:

  • NOT the same as Veteran’s Day where the country honors ALL the men and women who have served in various branches of the military.
  • Observed on the last Monday of May.
  • This tradition started after the Civil War (1861-1865).
  • The original name was Decoration Day.
  • On May 11, 1950, the name was changed to Memorial Day.
  • In 1971 declared a holiday by the 37th POTUS (President of the United States).
  • Red Poppies are the official flower.
  • Known as the unofficial start of the summer season.

A friend I know is having a fundraiser for a worthy cause, but other ways to commemorate this special day?

  1. Decorate a veteran’s grave with red poppies and/or a flag.
  2. Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff.
  3. Thank a veteran (My hubby and his brothers).
  4. Hit the road!

In addition to working, I’ll also be remembering those who lie in graves to keep us free because they were brave.

Though it still feels funny to say, “Happy Memorial Day” I wish you one anyway.

Tri-Bond

What do two major league sports teams, traffic signs, and two local churches have in common?

MERGING.

Yup.

The sun was barely peeking over the horizon this morning when I clicked on the television to a SPORTS ALERT! on a cable news channel. Considered a breaking story, it interrupted an important business segment.

According to the sports reporter, “record rainfall during the excavation phase” has caused a premier architecture firm to state a one-year delay in the opening of a much-anticipated stadium.

This fact could keep one of the two So-Cal teams in LA LA LAND–who will be sharing the colossal arena–from rebranding their team, including their uniforms.

Hmmm.

This got me thinking further about an unexpected announcement our pastor only very recently made to our vagabond congregation at the beginning of a worship service.

In a strange twist, we will be combining our church (that has been in search of a building for over five years…) with another local body of believers (with a beautiful structure) whose pastor is retiring after many decades of faithful service.

This is the first CHURCH MERGE my hubby and I will be a part of.

Still reeling from the exciting news–on the drive home, we had an interesting conversation.

“I’ve known of too many church splits. But a church merge? It’s a great thing, right?” I said.

“But it feels the same.” He said.

He glanced over.

After a few seconds of puzzling out his odd answer-

“You mean the hurt feelings, the grieving, and people leaving because they can’t bear the change?” I said.

He nodded.

Meetings with people from both sides of a river that currently separates us found many flinging nervous and good-natured bantering about the Capulets and Montagues as well as the Brady Bunch.

This morning during prayer and more ruminating on this barely weeks away from sharing “four walls” with new brothers and sisters in Christ, I wondered if rules of the road could offer any insight.

Over the course of hurrying to and fro from one errand to the next on the highways in our region, close calls, accidents, and even deaths have happened for failures to properly enter the flow of traffic.

A Google search whisked me to the Washington State Department of Licensing Driver Guide.

This is how I (and prolly many others, too!) feel right now:

Enter drivingtests.org and the section about traffic signs:

“Traffic signs tell you about traffic rules, hazards, where you are, how to get where you are going and where services are located.”

A whole page is dedicated to yielding and right of way!

“You must be alert to what is going on around you–many collisions occur because drivers do not pay enough attention to their driving.”

Further:

“You can avoid distracted driving by remembering the ‘5 D’s’.

  • Dangerous.
  • Deceptive.
  • Destructive.
  • Disabling.
  • Deadly.”

Did you know that merge signs are considered common traffic warning signs?

Not me!

“These signs are usually yellow [such a happy color!] with black lettering or symbols and most are diamond shaped. These signs warn you to slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary. They warn you of sharp curves, special situations, speed zones or hazards ahead.”

No one can tell how the sharing of a massive NFL Football stadium will go for the Chargers and Rams.

And driving my car here and there and everywhere demands vigilance and attention to details. I pray others are doing the same.

A look into God’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth found me culling trustworthy truths from Romans chapter 12 to help me as I do my part to ensure a smooth-as-possible-in-light-of-all-the-others-on-this-path transition:

“Therefore I (the apostle Paul) urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy to:

  1. As living sacrifices offer true and proper worship and be faithful in prayer.
  2. As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone/live in harmony.
  3. Humbly serve/yield when necessary.
  4. Be devoted to one another in sincere love.
  5. Be joyful in hope!”

“Hope is the confident expectation of something better tomorrow.” -Dr. James MacDonald

 

 

 

 

A Secret Hope

Photo courtesy of Pixaby/Public Domain

So.

After reading inspiring blogs, thought-provoking quotes, and perusing funny memes, I’m still at the how to put together something special for all the I have a mother, am a mother or mother-to-bes?

Lacking close maternal bonds for all of my life, it’s tough to know what to say.

BUT

I have a mother, am a mother and know several mothers-to-be.

To get the bouquet of words assembled let’s start with some lavender:

According to Google, Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.

Those orange, purple, and yellow tulips look nice:

Did you know that parenting is a benefit to longevity?

A www.techtimes.com article called Parents Live Longer Than Childless People-Why Having Children is Tied to Longevity (Adamson, 2017) listed the top three reasons:

  1. Healthier Behaviors
  2. Support System
  3. Social Interaction

(So, to my favorite blue-eyed son AND my favorite brown-eyed son, thank you for calling your mother this week. You’ve helped to extend my life by…um. Calculating. 60-50=10. 10 divided by two equals five. Five divided…okay, by at least the time it took me to write that paragraph!)

How about pink roses next?

A MOTHER’S DAY PRAYER

For quiet joys and peace of mind                                                                     for all that’s gentle, all that’s kind.                                                             For love and hope to light your way,                                                               a little laughter every day.

Yup. Just about there. Hmmm.

Carnations. You pick the color:

Q. Two mothers and two daughters went out to eat. Everyone ate one burger yet only three burgers were eaten.

How is this possible?

A. They were a grandmother, mother, and daughter.

And now, to finish off with baby’s breath:

Aside from having my own children, the greatest joy of my life is to be called Nana by a grandson and a granddaughter.

“Studies have shown that ALL grandchildren are ‘gifted.'” -Unknown

AND

They are “the promise of tomorrow and the hope of dreams come true…”

So. No matter where you fall on the list, here’s to Mom’s everywhere and the secret hope this word bouquet brought some joy to you.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Good Thing

We bid Tori a “bye-bye birdie” on Tuesday night.

All around the sights and sounds of vibrant a stark contrast to the drab inside my heart, as we prepared for the Memorial Service and “burial at River” I’d requested of my veteran-sailor hubby.

Here, children skipping, jumping, and laughing alongside their parents as they strolled past us on local footpaths.

There, a man stowing gear in a dripping power boat pulled from the water.

“If anyone asks–you’ve got some explaining to do.” My hubby said glancing back at the patrol car behind us as we walked to the end of the dock.

In the nine days devoted to caring for the dove egg orphan, there had been zero mishaps. Or even close calls.

Only minutes before the funeral, I’d held the shell to the outdoor light.

Doubt crept in.

What if she needs more time?

Having extended our commitment to Tori’s survival by six days, over a week past the two Wikipedia deems a normal gestation period–was it wishful thinking?

Here’s where memory fogs…

Just as I knelt to put her back on her shredded-paper-packing material nest she rolled out of my hand.

A reflexive cry, then eyes squeezed tightly shut.

I stood frozen, terrified to open them. Afraid not to.

Yank. Up. Courage.

The shell cracked neatly in half revealed the truth:

She’d already succumbed to the second law of thermodynamics.

Have you ever really noticed the constant juxtapositions of life’s every, every, minute?

Living and dying; laughing and crying; hatching and halting.

Reflecting on the past 9/60 of 4&5/2017, I compiled a list of gains in spite of the loss:

  •  Anticipation. The hope (and faith!) for something more.
  •  Joy! Strangers, though surprised, were happy to offer their opinions about: “Can birds smell?” A debate sparked between my hubby and me. The results were mixed. Google it. Hint: Audobon.org
  • Awe. Participation in God’s creation ignited childlike wonder.
  • Connection:
  1. Our youngest son, living in Fifth-gear-land, actually stopped everything to help me (via cell phone) set up an incubation station and encouraged me to seek answers online on how to care for Tori as a feathered friend.
  2. Like April, the Giraffe, Tori garnered her own fan base including a neighbor and several of my friends and blog followers. One, all the way in Switzerland.
  3. Two friends, a silver, and a gold flew to my side that first day to confirm or deny chances for life. We laughed and wept and prayed as we chatted, got caught up, and discussed ways to also help humans in crisis.
  • A prompt. Life is fragile. Handle with care.
  • Inspiration. If God cares about the birds of the air and not a sparrow (or a dove!) falls without Him seeing, think about what that means about how he feels about us (Check out Psalm 139)!
  • Patience. Something about the not knowing stretched this virtue in me.
  • Outward focus. Nurturing Tori forced me to think about something besides a broken relationship in a close relative’s life and other circumstances I have no control over.
  • Acceptance. Letting go of expectations, disappointments, and regret. There was something reverent and beautiful and transcendent about releasing Tori into the vast waters of the Mighty Columbia.

So. Even though things turned out differently than I had hoped, I’m choosing to focus on the larger events set in motion in the brief time shared with one of God’s smaller creatures.

Bereft now occupies Tori’s corner of our living room and the tears flow fast.

But I know the time and effort invested weren’t wasted.

In fact, I’m beyond grateful for every good thing.