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Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

PAYING TRIBUTE TO MY HEROES.

Annually I write something about the brave, selfless women and men who enlisted, or were drafted into, the military and then served their time for us. For us to be who we want to be, here in this country of diversity. For us who have done nothing to protect our shores from invasion or attack.

I write these articles because it is what I am able to do to show, not only how much I appreciate their time, service, their dedication and sacrifice, but also to remind others to show respect. Reminding my fellow Americans to do something that makes a Vet's life a little better or easier. Remind us all to say the thank you that might stay inside our head when seeing a Veteran going about their everyday life. Maybe go ahead and buy that cup of coffee or lunch or dinner, if you have the means to do so. Maybe just walk a few steps out of your way and extend your hand. A smile and mouthing the words "thank you" from a distance, yeah, that works, too.

I think about how much these Vets have given us and how honored they all say they were to be part of their military arm and how much better their branch is than the other branches and I am humbled. Always humbled. 

Do you understand that they have given themselves, body and soul, to our government for the service years? Do you know that once a soldier, sailor, marine, coast guard or air force, ALWAYS being that? It is a life long membership. They deserve to never be in need again. They deserve medical care, the best available, for life. They deserve to never go hungry or homeless. We, American citizenry, have to do better. 

Maybe President-Elect Trump will be able to make strides in this area. Maybe he will do what we've mostly wanted and mostly failed to provide. I pray for that.

So my friends, my enemies and you strangers out there...please take some time today and beyond to  do what you personally can do to show respect, gratitude and honor to the women and men who have served you so proudly and so honorably. We cannot hope to actually equal what they've given us.

May this day find all Veterans a show of support and gratitude for all you have given and continue to contribute to America, our country owes you so much more than we are giving. I hope this continues to get better as we focus on your needs.

Submitted with my highest respect and most humble gratitude,
Jo

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Over~Day 2 of President-elect Trump

The election is over. The decision of America is in. Well, the decision of the populous was Hillary, by 300,000 votes, but the electoral, the legal decision is Donald J. Trump by a large margin. Looking at the map, it's very, very red with blue tiny accents. Done deal. It does again open the door to how we make the electoral college really reflect the voters choice. Or possibly amending the constitution to dissolve this antiquated method of vote counting. It won't be the first time in recent history that much talk persists and likely little action will follow. We are a slow country to change anything constitutionally connected. That's a good thing, I believe.

As a pantsuit supporter I was dismayed and maybe more shocked to see all the Red. I was not happy. I was, and remain, concerned about our national security and our image around the world. The future is never obvious, even when we think it is, but in this case, it's just a blur. 

Will President Trump be the man who spoke so perfectly giving his acceptance speech? Will he be the focused and dedicated man the office requires? Will he see that working with Congress is not always easy, but necessary? Will he understand being President isn't a Dictatorship? Will he use those great negotiating skills he's bragged about to get things done or will he try to bully his way through? Will the almost humble man who met with President Obama today, be our new President?

So many more questions. No answers. Only time will tell.

I want him to do well. I want him to govern with dignity, which I now have seen he can show. I want him to lead this country forward not backward. I want better healthcare for all. I want college that's affordable to all who work hard and want it. I want a strong military and I want great support from our generals from whom Trump can learn. I want our country to be safe for immigrants, for LGBT, for blacks, for hispanics and for everyone! I pray this man will embrace these things and do all he is capable of to achieve these goals. I also want financial balance. I believe he can achieve this, if he applies himself. I hope he does.

So I am convinced today, as I am supporting with all my power of prayer, our new President, that his need to succeed and his need to be the best, he will be a good and maybe even a great, the greatest President we've ever had. In his own mind, if not the world. I'm hoping it's the world, though.

Praying for the USA...join me?

Jo


MY FAVORITE VETERAN 2016

Hi Baby Boy,

Yep still. Never gonna change. I gave you life and you are always going to be my baby boy. I couldn't be prouder to say so. You are a man most mothers would never stop talking about, lucky for you I am just such a mom. I'm sure my friends all think you probably have a halo, you don't, but it's okay if they think you do.

This day is always so very special for me for so many reasons and this year as the past two years, I am a bit weepy remembering how much Grama talked about you and worried about you while you were serving. Remembering the trip she and I made to watch you graduate on this very day in 1970. Orlando felt so far away until we arrived and saw that taller, older, so mature young man walk toward us, unrecognized by us, I will add here. When you smiled and we knew you, it was awe inspiring. Unbelievable. Our mutual pride had to be visible. That kid we had sent off two months earlier was indeed a man. I can still see you sitting with us over lunch and pressing the crease in your uniform pants as you spoke. 

A man well on his way to becoming a motivated and capable man of honor.

Today, I am so thankful your time in service wasn't more traumatic than it was. And it was traumatic enough. Your time was filled also with some exciting travel and experiences that you would likely never have had, otherwise. Who gets to hang out in Japan for a year? Who gets to visit Hawaii on the government's dime? I'm grateful you had some good experiences and even more grateful that your "Gulf" time wasn't worse. 

I am so proud of you today and I am still so thankful that you served your country with such honor. I love you.

The Navy part of your history is such a huge part of your today and I can't thank them or you enough.

Walk tall and walk proudly, my handsome son, with all the gratitude I possess.  I am truly a proud Navy Mom.

😍

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Momma's 2nd Angelversary

Two years ago, I said goodnight to Momma as she headed down the hall to bed. I told her I loved her and I'd see her in the morning. She replied in kind. Our final goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.

I, nor she, had any idea.

For two years I've wondered how do I do this? Who am I now? It's all about me.

It used to be all about her.
And then...
My life changed beyond my wildest imagination since that night.  We've lost our teen-aged furbabies. Sadie at 13 passed three months after Momma. Jake at 15 passed 8 months later.

  • JAKE

SADIE

We moved from Michigan to Florida and then moved again 11 months later.


We adopted an adorable little guy from the Humane Society, Miggy a few days after Jake died.
 MIGGY
Miggy & Me

So many changes and so much adjustment. Roomy and I are strong. We are happily settled now and this retirement community is our home. Likely, our last home. The friends we have here are snowbirds, for the most part, but we have one friend from the sub and a couple from our street that stay year round with us. Good friends are a treasure.

Going to bed tonight will be sad. No question. I will stay up past 2, which is when she passed in my arms and next to my heart. I seldom go to bed before 1:30, which is when I retired that night, but not tonight and not very often since.

One thing I now know to be true. All the firsts of the first year of grief are unbelievably difficult.  The second year those days are even more difficult because life did go on without her. Life changed and the good days outnumbered the weeping days, but "those" days are reminders of the finality of it all. Realism sets in. It really is like this now. It will always be like this now. She lives in my heart now. She lives in the choices I make. The life I choose. The love I share. She lives in all those things, all those things she taught me or showed me. I am my mother's daughter is so many ways.
Momma & I

As long as I am walking this earth, I will miss her every day. I hope soon to miss her with more giggles and fewer tears.

The greatest of love breeds the greatest of grief.

Jo

Friday, September 2, 2016

It's All About Respect

The football player, not standing or the Olympic athlete not putting her hand to her heart during the playing of the National Anthem is a topic of discussion for several reasons.

1) People judge other people by their own standards.

2) People are raised in different environments with different moral codes and different standards of conduct.

3) The Flag is a symbol. The Anthem is a symbol. Not everyone views either as sacred. Not every American feels patriotism is measurable and certainly not by your conduct around these two symbols. Some feel your conduct is paramount. Most feel it strongly on either side.

Thinking it all comes down to respect. More than freedom, more than propriety, even more than tradition, respect.

Don't you notice in our country that respect is evaporating? Once respect was given to all until or unless they caused it to be withdrawn. 

It was taught to us as children that respect was given to elders, people in authority and all uniformed personnel. It included police, teachers, ministers of all faiths, neighbors, parents, family, veterans, active service personnel and pretty much to everyone who had not dishonored that respect. Do you remember those days? Those talks from your parents or grandparents? Do you remember being told to address people as Mr., Mrs, Miss or ma'am or sir?

Do you remember, "Do unto others...?"
Were you taught, "Please, thank you and may I?"
How about, "Excuse me?"
Did you ever hear, "Do not interrupt, wait until ___ is done talking, please?"

Simple manners. Simple respect.

Now all I hear is that respect is earned! It's not a gift given freely. It's what you receive when you give it. 

Really?  Because if I can only give it to those from whom I have received it, how does it start?

The Flag has a code. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do.
You can find it here:

It states among it's list that one's hand should cover one's heart during the raising or lowering of the flag. This is what was happening at the Olympics as the Anthem was being played and the hand over the heart is appropriate. Many people don't know this. They should.

Second on my subject list is the standing for the National Anthem.
No question in my mind here. It is to be done, if physically possible. Not only standing, but standing straight and tall and respectfully, with your hand over your heart. 

That one is my opinion. 

Here is the code:

Okay so those are the codes. These codes are meant to unify our actions and create respectful conduct towards our country and all the freedoms we enjoy. The freedoms, which are not and never have been free. They are freedoms that many have fought to preserve and many have died to protect. Our codes simply give us a way to share respect for that.

Now...why all the outrage when someone doesn't follow a code in a public forum? Because they are, in some way, representing the very country they are disrespecting. 

Yes, failure to know and follow the codes is disrespectful. It shows a lack of understanding about the country in which we thrive, or struggle. We get it very wrong sometimes and we get it very right sometimes. We are a work in progress and we will progress, these United States.

You want to protest? That's great, but find another way. Sitting through the anthem or not placing your hand over your heart is only making you look disrespectful. It's not helping your cause. Better yet, get off your ass and DO something to affect change.

And to those who think these symbols are just symbols and not deserving of a salute or any special treatment, I say research the National Anthem. Find out where the words Francis Scott Key wrote came from. 

You can find this here:


The symbol is the flag and the anthem is the flag's symbol. That flag IS much more than a hunk of cloth clipped to a pole. It is American pride and American respect.

I pray that one day soon we will all wake up and realize that respect is only to be given without conditions. It is to be withdrawn when one presents themselves are undeserving by actions and words of hate and evil.

It'a a hallmark of humanity to respect each other and our countries. It does make a difference. Hearing people say that they don't pledge allegiance to anything is disheartening to an old woman like me. This country has been kind to me. I have no other country to run to if this one throws me out, yet, I have no desire to find one. I am home. I am a proud American and that flag will always command my respect and my allegiance.

and this...
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStrong/?pnref=story

Ready to hear your take on this very hot topic...ready?

Go....

Jo






Friday, July 15, 2016

A Month in Michigan

We've been in Michigan a month visiting family and friends.  It's been a great vacation, weather-wise and in almost every aspect. The campground is awesome. Friends have been made with each new camper who has moved in near us and the privacy is nice. We're both really happy with this purchase and this campground. Holiday Shores personnel have been most helpful in absolutely every way possible. Five stars for them!!

We've had at least one day each week with no "dates" to allow for laundry and other errands as well as just enjoying the campground and campers. That has worked out well.

We have spent time with all of our family members except my beloved sister, who is expected this evening. They were out of state for a while, but are home and ready to socialize again!  It'll be a good evening with them, no doubt.

We've seen many of our old friends and had some quality time with them with a couple more planned before we leave. Each one a treasure for their own reasons and a reason to return each year.

Being here this long has reminded us how much we love Florida. How not living IN drama of family relationships is just easier. Our life is drama free in Florida. It's really just us and friends. We still communicate with family and we still love each and every one of them, it's just that we aren't in the mix of any spats or squabbles. It's good to be loved without drama.

Retirement for us has been a real mixed bag. We have lost Momma, Sadie and Jake, the pampered furbabies, we sold our beautiful home and bought another beautiful home which we sold eight months later and have now settled in our manufactured home in a senior development, (read trailer in a trailer park) where our neighbors are mostly just like us. They are mostly in Florida with children in some other state or the west coast side of Florida. We have Friends there. Good people. Like we had here, just newer friends we are still learning about. We are happy, relatively carefree and Miggy, the new furbaby, keeps us grounded. Sometimes literally because he has separation anxiety and can only be left alone in his own house, it appears, without spazzing out. Good neighbor babysitters make an occasional day trip, possible. They come over and take him for walks and then return him to his safe place, which is our bedroom.

As we make preparations for heading to Nashville on our way back home, we are patting ourselves on the back for having the nerve to pack it all up, sell it or junk it and simply start over at ages 66 and 77. It wasn't easy, but it has been the absolute right thing for these two old hippies. Life is good in Ormond Beach and visiting the old hometown for a month in summer is has been perfection, almost.

Reservations for July 1 through July 31, 2017 have already been made!  Well be back, Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Jo

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Year two without Momma on a special day that was all about her. Her birthday in October and this day will always be difficult, but get through them, I will.

I remember all the years of cleaning up my little ones and heading to Grandma's for a few hours. Never considered not going. It was HER day. I would declare the day before or even the day after, as MY day. It worked because I was a daughter first. I remember with great warmth and so much love, the last several Mother's Days with her at our house for the week-end. My brother and sister-in-law drove from Indiana or Illinois for a few hours with her and my sister came for a while to celebrate our mom. She would sit and enjoy the day, outside, if possible, while we waited on her and visited with each other and her. Sometimes the kids would drop by, sometimes not. It was always Saturday Mother's Day because of brother's having to travel. Then Sunday, it would be Momma, me and Mike unless one of the boys came by, which they sometimes did. Mike pampered us both so we shared the Sunday Mother's Day.

Being a daughter was mostly just pleasure. Mostly just enjoying being there for her as she always was for me. Sometimes it was difficult to know what to do and when to step back because I wanted to help her stay independent and healthy and sometimes she just wanted to sit. I realize now, that wasn't a bad thing. We should all get to choose and if sitting is the choice, so be it. Long life isn't always such a good thing.

Moving to Florida means Mother's Day is a day of Roomy and I finding something to do that brings me peace. The ocean. This year we are in Michigan getting our little trailer set up for a monthly visit next month and once a year after. One son is at the KY Derby! One worked late nights a couple times this past week so he's likely busy making up for two evenings he wasn't home. So it's Roomy, Miggy, Cody (sons dog who is at the Derby) and me. No ocean.

So I'm sitting here with Miggy curled onto my leg, Roomy and Cody on the patio,sipping my coffee after delivered breakfast from Nick's has been shared. I'm thinking of my 47 years of motherhood and my 64 years of daughterhood. I have such a wonderful "book" of memories from both. I have these responsible adult children that I love beyond measure and you know what? My life is good. This day is tough but also very uplifting.

The quiet, the peace that now fills my days is something I used to dream of. It's a reality now and to my core, my soul, I am such a happy human that I hardly believe it myself some days.

The losses are so real today. The heartache so strong. The tears have already found release a couple of times, but at the heart of it, the blessings win. The smile returns. My heart knows peace.

Thinking of Momma, the kids, the grand babies...all with smiles and too much love. Blessings each and every one.  Happy Mother's Day to us all.

Jo