Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom Is Not Free by Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend (2)

Well, today was a very long, hot day.  I was feeling a little guilty about not going to the cemetary to "plant" flags with the kids.  As it turns out approximately 200 people showed up and our little post got the credit for it!  No guilt now!

I did spend several hours out there signing people up to buy a Wreaths Across America wreath.  It is an evergreen wreath that will be put on their loved ones grave for the Christmas Holiday season.  It is a wonderful program.  I am looking forward to helping with that project also.

Tomorrow will see more "business" on that score but I don't know how much time I can spend there.  Today took a lot out of me.  I know that it took a lot out of one of the elderly men from our post.  He was  having a hard time walking to his car for the drive home.  I hope all goes well tomorrow.

Monday is the big day.  We will be participating in one formal ceremony at the cemetary and a rather informal one at another.  There just doesn't seem to be enough veteran's organizations for all those who want our help to perform these honors.

Well, God Bless America!  Pray for a veteran today.  If you've lost a loved one, even if they weren't a veteran, we'll say a prayer for you, too.  God Bless!

Memorial Day Weekend

Today is my 17th wedding anniversary.  I find it an interesting fact that my parish priest was ordained on the same day.  We got married Memorial Day weekend because we were both in the military stationed near Washington, DC.  The long weekend made it possible for both families to travel and miss little, if any, work days.  It was beautiful that weekend but getting hot, like it is now in Oklahoma (it's been around 90 the last few days). 

Unlike that weekend, I am now part of a Catholic War Veterans post.  This weekend is looking pretty busy.  We only have 28 members right now, and only about 10 are really active.  This weekend we are covering three gates at a local cemetary.  Flag "planting" is going on as I type.  The kids and I did not go to that this morning because two of them had a mysterious fever yesterday and I let them sleep in.  (They seem to be fine this morning).  I will be out there, in our post uniform, for three hours.  I may be out there tomorrow also, if they didn't find enough people to cover the gates.  Monday, I will be participating in two color guards.  Hopefully, the kids will be well for that.  My four year old loves flags. 

It promises to be a very busy weekend.  Hopefully, I will see my husband sometime during it.  If you're reading this, I hope you have a nice day today.  Happy Anniversary!

Oh Well....

Really, I am happy for the person that won the CSN contest.  Just wish had been me.  Congrats to the winner.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shameless plug

My friend, the Mom, is having a give-away on her blog.  If I link her from my blog I get yet another entry, along with my "follower" entry and my comment entry, in the contest for an $80 gift certificate on the CSN website, online "shopping mall".  So, here is the plug go to her blog for contest details and to enter yourself.  Good luck to me (oops, slipped) everyone.  :-)

Ode to BJ

Yesterday was an especially hard day for me and my oldest (aged 15).  He is a wonderful kid with a heart of gold.  I don't think I say thank you enough, hug him enough, or tell him how great he is enough. 

    This guy is definitely not your typical teenager.  He has been my Den Chief for the last three years (Bears, and two years of Webelos) when no other adult in the Pack was willing to be the Den leader, let alone an assistant.  Since according to Boy Scout rules, I, as a leader, could not be with the boys by myself, my brilliant son stepped up to the plate at 13.  For the last two years he has been an 1st grade RE assistant, working for me.  He is wonderful with the kids.  He lead them in singing, praying, and games at the beginning of class.   He has won a prize (honorable mention the first year, a silver, and 3 golds) every year at the district history day fair for the past 5 years.  He has won a bronze twice in the last 3 years at the state contest (one was this year).  He is an altar boy at Church and volunteers readily for special events and last minute fill-ins (it helps that we live 4 blocks from church, but they wouldn't call if he couldn't be relied on).  He is an active member of the High School youth group and always volunteers when they need help.  Just the other day, he helped set up, serve food, and clean up for our Golden Angels group's (over 55 crowd) mother's day 'banquet' hosted by the youth group.  This year he was confirmed under the patronage of St. Florian.  What a proud moment that was for me and the rest of the family.

    He is not typical in that he doesn't throw fits or fight all the time with his parents.  He doesn't get into trouble with the "wrong" crowd.  He doesn't experiment with cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol--he is a type 1 diabetic, so those things would be life threatening anyway.  However, he does get into moody times that can be quite dark.  If he were a "typical" teenager, I'm afraid he might have come to some harm by his own hand.  All he dwells on is what has happened to him that is negative.   The one year he spent in a "Catholic" school he was bullied (by at least 3 guys), made fun of because he was hit in the face with a basketball and cried, ridiculed by one of his teachers on at least one occassion, and finely "talked to" because of the one time he stood up to a bully and punched him (in the arm).  He dwells on the fact that because he is diabetic (type 1--which has absolutely nothing to do with diet or weight) people treat him "like a baby."  At resident Boy Scout camp, the 'cook' would not let him have seconds, he was never allowed soda, except diet, desserts, or ice cream with the rest of the boys.  Typically, he is not allowed sodas when he is out with the scouts or youth group when they stop for snacks.  He is almost always left out when it comes to "treats" of any kind.  It's not as if he, the self-proclaimed history geek, doesn't already feel different.  He really doesn't need the help of the adults or kids around him to make him feel worse.

    Through homeschooling and more outside experiences, I had hoped to give him a more positive outlook and more positive 'self-esteem.'  I apologize to him and to God for my failures in this area.  You see, I have been feeling the financial pressures, the responsibilities of being the bill payer, the housemaid, the caregiver, and the teacher of five kids and becoming a depressed, negative person.  I need to do some "taming" just like a friend of my said on her blog.  Right now I am working hard on changing that negativity.  I plan to streamline the junk in my house.  Get my school reports in ASAP.  Hug on my kids a lot more!  And, tell my teenager how wonderful he is and how proud I am of him at least once a day from now on. 

Know what he did today?  He was an altar boy for a funeral.  He had to go without breakfast (his blood glucose was too high) but didn't complain a bit.  Boy am I proud of that boy who is as tall as the priest, and just as handsome as an fairy tale prince.  He is brave, loving, responsible, strong, and worthy of trust.  I have been truly blest. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pentecost Sunday

Sunday is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, as promised by Our Lord Jesus to the disciples.  A friend of my reminded us on his blog that this is the last chance to fulfill your Easter obligation.  If you're one of those who can't seem to make it every Sunday to Mass (a faithful Catholic is obligated to go every Sunday, btw), you must attend Mass and Confession at the very least, once a year at Eastertide.  Sunday is the last day of the Easter celebration season.   So, if you have not done so, please get yourself to confession and Mass this weekend.

Sunday's Gospel reading:

Gospel  Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,  “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

What a beautiful message, and what a beautiful gift Jesus Christ gave the Church, not only the Holy Spirit, the best thing He gave us, but also the power to forgive our sins in His Name.  To hear "Your sins are forgiven" outloud by one sitting in the place of Christ, can be very liberating. 

For you moms out there that try to keep wiggly ones occupied during Mass, I recommend the's Gospel activities for kids aged 7-14.
Go here:  I've used these for my younger ones.  

God Bless, see you at Mass.