Memorial Day – 2020

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Honoring those who have died in service to the United States of America is a bittersweet moment for me. I desire to honor those men and women who have placed their lives on the line for me and the country I call home.

I have two dear men, in particular, who fit that category…my Daddy and my husband, Kenneth. Both of these men died from war-inflicted wounds of contamination: my father, Ralph D, Ross – Post WWII Manhattan Project radiation, Kenneth – Agent Orange/Vietnam War. The two most special men in my life have left their earthly home….gone from my earthly life. Yet, both are with me in my heart. I loved them both dearly.

Kenneth C. Gill
US Army 101st Airborne Infantry
Served 1967 – 1970
Vietnam 4/1968 – 4/1969
born – Salem, IL 1947 – died – Lufkin, TX 2018

June 7, 2018: He served in the Vietnam War 1968-1969 with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He returned to the states and completed his service with the 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. He was exposed to Agent Orange throughout that year marching through rice paddies and areas that once had been wooded areas, defoliated with AO.

Kenneth in Mason, Texas with one of his favorite characters from a book!
The author of “Old Yeller,” Fred Gipson, was from Mason.
The city library has a statue of the dog and the boy Travis.
Inside the library is a mini-museum featuring Fred Gipson.

In January, 2018, we found out he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is one of the cancers connected with Agent Orange. We believe he had had it for some time due to symptoms we better understood after the fact.

Kenneth was a wonderful husband of 25 years. I was truly blessed. Thank You, Lord. As I walk these days without Kenneth, I still am filled with love for this man whom You loaned to me. I am grateful, Lord, every day. You are the One I walk with today.

Ralph D Ross
US Navy Physician
World War II – Pacific
1942 – 1945, then continuing on til his death in the US Navy
born – Sterling, KS 1913 – died – Bethesda, MD 1960

September 18, 1960: My father’s life vanished in his prime – 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters (12, 10, 7). The Navy was so special to him, so much so that he did not intend to retire at the 20-year mark!  He served in WWII in the Pacific Theater as surgeon, infection control medical officer, doctor, user of Penicillin in its early days to cure Syphillis.  From 1946-1951, he became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project, serving as a Radiological Safety Officer, while he continued to practice medicine in the Navy.  He was on Bikini Island for Operations Crossroads in 1946, then on Eniwetok for Operations Greenhouse in 1951.  By early 1960, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer…a death sentence then. It can be connected with radiation poisoning. Daddy was the best. I still miss him so!

My parents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor, to say the least! (The photo above was taken on a Memorial Day weekend, as told by the flag. I had a friend of a blogging friend take it while she was there. Thanks.)

Mama became a Gold Star Widow; we became Gold Star children. “They are the Gold Star children, war’s innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love.  All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been.”  **

Eleanor Malcotte Ross
born – Chicago, IL 1914 – died – Portland, TX 2013

January 30, 2013: My mother was an unsung war hero, too, although she did not die from war-related causes!  Not only was she a Navy officer’s wife, but worked during the war for the Naval Supply Depot, keeping the Navy-at-war in food and other supplies. She was a special woman! Lots of fun too!

Buried with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

Father, thank You for these very special people in my life. They have meant so much to me over the span of my lifetime. I am so grateful for the love I have known from each one of them. They loved me, each in their own special way. I honor the service they offered to this country. Thank You for bringing Daddy and Kenneth home from wars so that Daddy could be my father and Kenneth could be my husband. I am sorry they each died from contamination of war-related agents. I am so sorry for that…for my loss as well. I also honor the many more who died from their service to the United States of America. Please protect those many more service men and women who continue to be in harm’s way around the world, Lord. Hold those who have served but are dealing with the effects of war. Some are wanting to get ‘back-to-normal,’ others are dealing with homelessness, and others are medically or psychologically traumatized. Please care for them all, Father God. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photograph: Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day, Flags In @ https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/160520_abc_vod_orig_memorialday_presidents_mix_16x9_992.jpg

All other photographs are my own. Please ask permission to use.

** Quoted in We Were Soldiers Once…and Young by Lt. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Sisters in Christ Jesus

I spend one morning each week with 5-8 women. We all attend the same church as we worship the Lord. We have been meeting weekly for about 9 months now. We are women of all ages, from 30s to 70s. Some have young families. Some are grandparents. Some live near family. Some live far apart from their parents, children, grandchildren. We live in East Texas. Some are from here. Some are from places far away, such as California, Montana, New Mexico, Louisiana. Our backgrounds are so different. Our arrival to Christianity is unique to each. Some came to Jesus as children, others as adults. Our walk with the Lord is also so different.

Yet, we are the body of Christ…all Christians, all sisters in the Lord.

…so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5

I am amazed at the beauty that God is in our midst. He is faithful to draw us near to Him, the One Who created us, Who loves us so.

Each week, we gather around a table where we sip coffee, tea, juice. We eat muffins, fruit, nuts, other tasty treats which our hostess graciously lays out for us.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13

One by one, we begin sharing our pray needs, concerns, praises. We each have a journal where we write down what each of our sisters need so as to jar the memory as we pray throughout the week. When the first one wraps up her words, one of us steps up to pray for her in this moment. Outloud. In sweet surrender to the Lord. Laying her at the foot of the Cross.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

We continue around the table, sharing, praying. Sometimes guidance is given. All is in love.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

Recently, I shared my heart through God’s prompting. I did not plan this as I am often rather quiet, sharing just things of the surface. But not this particular Monday. No, the women got to know me quite a bit more through words that dug deeply, to the very core of my being. Words that opened up long-ago wounds…wounds that I thought had been healed years ago. As one woman shared in a word-picture: it is healed over, but there is scar tissue all around. By that, there is still pain at times. I cried and cried for it was like it was all right at the top. These precious sisters did not know this history about me. They wept with me and loved me. They prayed for me, loving me through their words to our God, the Listener of our humble and humbling prayers.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Each week brings different and similar prayer requests. Each week, there may be all 8 of us, or maybe only 2, 3 or 4 of us. It does not matter for we desire to pray for one another. We have grown to know one another over these months as we barely did when we began. One of the ladies drew us together for the purpose of prayer and fellowship. She chose people of various ages, various stages of life and spiritual walks. I believe God picked us each and let her know just who He desired to have around this table.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the Spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11

We open our homes, our hearts, our minds, and souls. Some of us may be more open one week, and others at other times, but we share each week, as best we can.

We want to grow in the Lord as we pray.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

When hard things are going on in a life of a sister, we want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with her. We want to wrap her in the Word, in our love which comes from God, our Source. We want to be attentive to her needs.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

We want to share with one another what God is teaching us, whether it be through exhortation, a Scripture, arms wrapped around, a prayer lifted up.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8

All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Oswald Chambers

As we seek to honor the Lord, we watch the words of our mouth, that they be without gossip or slander so as to not revile His Word. As we desire to glorify His Name, we show one another the love that is His.

Praise You, LORD. You are Mighty God, the Holy One of Israel. You are the Creator of all to Whom I humbly bow. You have given me life in Christ. You have brought me by Your side and into Your Kingdom. You, O God, are my God. You have dealt with me graciously. You have given me these precious sisters of whom I love and respect. They have come alongside of me to be honest, open, sweet and prayerful. They allow me to be this one whom You wove in my mother’s womb, this one whom I am still learning about at this age for I became a new creature only 27 years ago. I am young in You, my LORD. Whatever time I have remaining in this life on earth, teach me, O LORD, teach me. Through these women, I learn. Through Your Word, I learn. Through life, I learn. Teach me for I want to know You, LORD. In the precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photo/Graphic: Sisters in Christ, Forever – https://simplysharingandserving.weebly.com

Heart Graphic: http://www.fbcvan.org/womens-ministry/

Graphics: Romans 12:5 – https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures/the-book-of-romans

Graphic: Romans 12:13 – https://whateveryoudodowell.wordpress.com

Graphic: Romans 12:12 – https://abbashousetexas.com/2018/04/03/romans-12-prayer-for-refugees/

Graphic: Romans 12:10 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:15 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:11 – https://brightandclean.tumblr.com/post/48796377488/romans-1211

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:1-2 – https://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/praying_paul/pwp.pl?047

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:4-5 – http://www.triciagoyer.com/one-body-romans/

Graphic: Dove/Holy Spirit/Gifts – https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2012/10/are-miraculous-spiritual-gifts-for.html

Photo/Graphic: Flowers in Jar/”Like flowers…” – sanibelsoaps.com

Memorial Day — 2016

Memorial Day carries so much emotion for me.

My father served in World War II as a Navy doctor in the Pacific.   He continued his service to this country, not only as a physician, but as a Radiological Safety Officer in the post-war Manhattan Project where he was exposed a number of times to radiation in 1946/Operation Crossroads at Bikini Island and in 1951/Operation Greenhouse at Eniwetok Island.  When he was 46 years old, he died of Pancreatic cancer, a cancer known to stem from radiation exposure.  I was 12.  My sisters were 10 and 7.  We lost our father.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  I am proud of my father.  Our mother raised us alone with grief on her heart.  In 2013, she passed away. We had the honor of burying her with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

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My husband served in the Army, 101st Airborne, Combat Infantry Soldier, in the Viet Nam War.  We, as a country, did not treat the soldiers of that war well upon their return.  I am grateful that there is respect shown for them now, but we should have acknowledged all that they did for us back then.  I am sorry to all of you Viet Nam veterans who might be reading this.  Instead of recognizing you as a soldier who was obeying orders, we looked to the overall picture of the war that seemed fruitless and was killing so many of you.  May I apologize for our mistakes and the dishonor we showed you.  I am so sorry. 

I love you, Kenneth, and respect you so very much…for all you did then and for the husband you are to me now.  I praise God for you. 

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Memorial Day is:

  • a day (and there ought to be 364 more days a year for this) to remember the many men and women who have worn a uniform of the United States Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard over this country’s history.
  • a day to remember why they wore those uniforms — to protect the United States of America and her citizens.
  • a day to remember that many have died in the face of an enemy during battle, protecting the people and the freedoms that come with living in this country.  Their blood was shed as they obeyed their commanding officers.
  • a day to remember that there are many, this very day, who are wearing one of these uniforms and are in harm’s way…this very day!  

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Look at the vast number of graves just in this one scene at Arlington.   On Arlington National Cemetery’s website, words there cause me to reflect: “Laying our Nation’s veterans and their eligible family members to rest with honor and respect, while treating their loved ones with dignity and compassion, is the cornerstone of Arlington National Cemetery’s mission.”
Whether we agree with or against things that are happening in this country, by this country, this is our country.  May we stand proud of the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, our National Anthem.  As we stand with our hand over our heart, may we be proud of these men and women in uniform for they are standing in obedience to the orders they receive from their commanders.  They are sent off to battle, some of which we may agree with with and some we may not.  They are doing in the name of the United States of America.

Father, we know that You are in control of this whole world.  You know what is happening right here in the USA.  Father, we pray that Your protection be around these soldiers who are fighting in harm’s way.  Please care for each and every one of them.  I thank You for the parents You gave me, for the husband I have today.  I am so very blessed.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
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Permission

 

please

“Mommy, please let me go to Suzie’s house to spend the night.”

“Daddy, can I have this toy?”

“Mr. Jones, I would like your permission to go on the field trip.”

How often have you heard questions such as these?  How often have you, yourself, asked such questions?  We ask permission throughout life.  We are taught early to ask for permission rather than just assume that the world is ours…at least we are blessed if we have been taught so.

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Many people today do not think that asking permission needs to be done.  Many believe that they can have or take what they believe is rightfully theirs, no matter what that may be.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.  Hebrew 6:1-3

ἐπιτρέπω

epitrepō

to turn over (transfer), i.e. allow:—give leave (liberty, license), let, permit, suffer

And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.  Acts 28:16

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  Matthew 19:8

To another He said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Luke 9:59

But our God has taught us through His Word that receiving permission to do something, to have something, to say something, is very important.

Jesus prayed:

And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Luke 11:2

and

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.  Matthew 26:42

Through our LORD, we learn that asking the Father for permission is the way we are to come to Him.  Our gratefulness and love is in the asking, in the humility, in the respect, and in the love we show to the One to Whom we ask.  A child asking for permission to do something is showing respect to the parents.  A student asking the teacher if they may share something with the class is done out of respect and courtesy to the teacher and to the class.  A caregiver asking her mother if she is ready to allow her to change the bed sheets or a diaper is coming from a place of respect and love.

God’s will is what we should seek, want to seek, for He reigns over all.  This is His world and we are His creations.  To walk in His will, we must seek His will and walk in His way.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

One of the definitions of “allow” is to suffer.  Surely, I do not want to ask permission to suffer?  Yet, times bring hardships and trials.  God knows just what we need to grow in Christian maturity.  Suffering may be a part of what I need.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.  Romans 5:1-5

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Father, guide me, correct me in all that I am, in all that I do.  I desire to be obedient to You and to all who have authority over me.  Father, may I walk in faith as You call me in Your Name.  Show me Your way in all things.  Jesus taught and still teaches today.  He shows, by example, the ways You called Him and now You call me.  Thank You, LORD.  May I walk in the way I should go.  In the Name of Christ, my Savior, I pray.  Amen.  

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Scrabble “Please:” http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/04/03/please/

“Asking Permission” graphic:  http://lebarronpark.yisd.net/MediaGallery/tabid/1135/AlbumID/2447-143/Default.aspx

Hebrews 4:16 graphic:  http://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/image/e/11359/t/hebrews-416

 

 

Rolling

images.duckduckgo.com

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.  Psalm 37:5-6

גָּלַל

galal

to roll

roll away

roll down

roll together

=

commit

rolling down

Playing with a ball brings to mind rolling.  Lying at the top of a grassy knoll brings a delightful roll down the hill on one’s side.  Playing marbles is about rolling.  Using an exercise ball calls for a rolling action of the body upon the ball, whether standing up against it or lying atop of it.  We roll.

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Commit, in the verse above, is about rolling our cares off from ourselves and onto God.  We are to…

commit

trust

remove from ourselves

throw off, give, cast off a burden

 

Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,…   Proverbs 16:3 YLT

“Roll upon Jehovah thy way,”… i.e., commit all my concerns to God.

And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.  Joshua 5:9

Jesus tells us, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Matthew 6:25

…casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

All of our cares, those anxious moments, those tender ones whom we love so…give them all to Him.  Our job is just that.

Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah.  Judges 11:11

Jephthah gave all his concerns to the LORD and trusted Him with the outcome for in verse 7, Jephthah asks, “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?”  He had reason for concern.

Naomi said to Ruth, “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”  Ruth 3:18

In His time, God will roll away the reproach, bring forth righteousness and honor due to the one who is rolling away his cares onto the LORD.  Just because God takes on our cares does not mean that we should stand far off, be afraid that these cares, concerns will be back in our own hands.

Yes, I do take them back all on my own, but God usually does not give them back.  I tend to roll them over to Him time and time again, because I take them back time and time again.

BUT…I am to stay near to God…

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  James 4:8

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  James 4:10

Father God, You want me to roll my burdens to You, to “roll upon Jevovah thy ways.”  I want to.  I do.  I forget and take them back.  I am sorry.  I am learning.  I wish that I were a child and still rolling down those green hills with laughter bubbling out of my mouth and heart, never thinking once, let alone twice, about cares and concerns.  I was a kid having fun “without a care in the world.”  I want to roll down those green, lush hills, but I can no longer do that physically.   You know that of me.  But you also know that I can lighten my load by giving it to You.  Teach me Your ways, O LORD.  I want to learn to roll, to commit my burdens to the One Who can do something about them.  I want to quit pretending that I can do things better than You.  I want to lay down my pretenses of strength and allow You to be my Strength.  I want to roll everything onto Your back for You can carry these loads.  I cannot.  Then when I finally let them go, Father, I can heart-fully roll down those green hills once again with the lightness and laughter of long ago when I did not even know “burdens.”  O Father, I can be the child I miss so, sometimes.  I can be Your child and run, walk, roll, and stay close because You love me so.  I am Yours, Father.  I pray these words in the Name of Your Son, my Brother.  Amen. 

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Rolling Ball Clipart:  http://imgarcade.com/1/rolling-ball-clipart/

Children rolling down hill:  https://beingwoven27.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/290a7-rollingdown.jpg

Photo of little girl in red:  http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/parenting/4254193/Lee-Price-tries-the-50-things-every-kid-should-do-before-they-are-11.html

He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

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(I am blessed to be a guest devotional writer today over at Granola Bar Devotional.)

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I would cry out, “How long, O Lord? How long” as I would leave the nursing home where my mother spent the last five years of her life. Due to a terrible fall and surgery, Mama would never be able to fully walk again. Previously, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations. Diabetes turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98. Then in her last year of life, she got an extremely painful, odd cancer.

I loved my Mama dearly and she loved her family. I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life where I watched and lived her life daily so also watched the hard side to aging.

Mama was one of those 1940s gals who went to work for the war effort. She married a Navy doctor. She owned a dress shop. She raised three daughters alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer. We were only 12, 10, and 7. She had her hands full raising us in the 1960s and 70s, but she did. She loved us through the hard places, never giving up on any of us. She took care of herself. She was just an amazing lady.

As her body and mind deteriorated in her aged years, I saw my proud, strong mother become dependent, confused, in pain. Mama could be so afraid over something imaginary, be so angry or jealous with those who cared for her; her blood sugar would drop so low that she required hand-feeding, or the pain of the cancer would be intense. Anguish built up in me. I would hold on, quietly praying for Him to calm us both. As I left her in the care of others, I would cry out to God, “How long, O LORD?” Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and now do) miss her terribly, but watching her go through so much for so long, I just wondered if God had forgotten her.

He had not. God never left either of us. The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands. He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi. God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through beautiful avenues. He drew me into His arms of peace, of hope, of gentleness. I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

Memory Verse:
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
– Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)

Prayer Prompt:
“Father God, I rejoice and sing to You. You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly….”

Originally published @ @ Granola Bar Devotional…

This post has been linked up through Granola Bar Devotional FaceBook as well @ https://www.facebook.com/GBDevotional

Gratitude Each Day…Every Day

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:12-13

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Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day…

commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

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Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

When I was a girl, we wore the poppies on our dress or blouse, men in the buttonhole of their shirt or suit jacket.  The graves were marked with a paper poppy also.  People sold them on the street corners on November 11.

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Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, while the United States chose All Veterans Day (later shortened to ‘Veterans Day‘) to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts. “Armistice Day” remains the name of the holiday in France, Belgium, and New Zealand.

No matter what this day is called, it is in honor of all of the military veterans (and their families).

I thank you.  Those three words do not tell you just what you mean to me.

You have joined our Armed Services to uphold this country’s freedom and honor.  You are a hero to me, no matter what job the military gave you to do or which war you fought or whether you even fought in a war.  You are my hero because you are a veteran of the United States Armed Services.  I am forever grateful.

My heart is heavy with such thoughts of war upon war, men and women giving their lives, bodies and minds may be less than whole after conflicts, the return home to find that the world looks different after serving in combat.  BUT…I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, are doing, and will be doing.

And I also thank the families, the wives, the children of all of those who served and are serving right now.  You have sacrificed much and I thank you.

Can I tell you that “I love you?”  I do.

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I understand.  My Daddy was a career Navy doctor who took doctoring seriously as he served in the Pacific theater in World War II.  He became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project as the United States continued to test atomic and hydrogen bombs (Daddy served @ Bikini and Eniwetok Islands.)  He became Chief of Medicine and later a physician for the Surgeon General and Secretary of the Navy when they traveled.  He wrote curricula for the internship and residency programs for new Navy doctors.  There is so much more to my father’s military history, yet much will never be known by me as he died of Pancreatic cancer when I was twelve.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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My mother served alongside Daddy, but on the home front.  She worked for the Naval Supply Depot in San Diego and Los Angeles, California, during WWII.  She served as a Navy doctor’s wife at the various bases we lived.  She was the President of the Navy Doctor’s Wives Club in San Diego.  Mama was proud to be in the Navy with her mate.  She never remarried, raising us three girls alone after Daddy died, and lived to be 98.  The Navy and the friends she made were lifelong.  Mama is now buried with Daddy at Arlington.

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I am a proud daughter of them both and am honored to have them buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who served in combat with the United States Army, 101st Airborne, 1968-69.  I am blessed to have this man by my side now although I was not married to him at the time he served.

Near Los Alamos, NM


I stand proud of my heritage and my husband.

And I stand proud of each and every Veteran in this country.  

Thank You.

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Veterans Day poster @ http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp

“In Flanders Field”: http://highgate-rsl.org.au/remembrance_day.html