Monday, May 25, 2015

Pausing to remember on Memorial Day.....after a busy weekend!

Today, on Memorial Day, Ken and I were remembering our dads.  Both served in the Navy during WWII.  We found out late last week, that the local VFW had a program that you could donate a flag in honor of a veteran for their "Field of Remembrance".  We would have loved to do this in honor of my dad, Harry Johnson and Ken's dad, Mervin Rowley.  In addition to our fathers, I have two brothers who served, and also several brother-in-laws who served.  So today, as we drove by that "Field of Remembrance" (which was just covered with flags, wildly whipping around in the strong wind) I reflected on all of these men that stood for freedom for us all.  My dad was profoundly impacted by the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  He knew that it would mark the beginning of the United States fighting in the war.  I don't think that he envisioned having to GO into the service, since he was an older married man with two children.  But, alas, the war was long and the number of men able to serve was low.  And my dad was drafted.  He spent two years away from his wife and two children, using his talents to keep refrigeration units working on naval vessels.  He spent most of his time in Papua, New Guinea.   Ken's dad was just finishing up his college career and entered the navy as an Officer. He was assigned to a Naval Vessel, the USS Beaver. His dad missed the birth of his daughter during that time.  The USS Beaver did recovery work in Japan (after the end of the war) and also in Hong Kong.  I am feeling very grateful today for their sacrifice.

I got a new phone today.  Not that unusual these days. My previous phone was 2 years old and starting to act up a bit.  With a vacation on the horizon, Ken encouraged me to bite the bullet and get a new phone.  When we were talking about how difficult it would be for me IF my old phone had suddenly stopped working, I began to connect with these stories of Memorial Day.  We need to remember that when these men went off to war, they could not call home.  There was no internet for Skype or video chats.  There was no email.  In fact, there was only very, very slow snail mail that often was censored to remove exact locations.  Many times loved ones at home had no idea where their husbands or fathers or brothers or friends were.  Or, sadly, if they were even alive.  Yes, this was a sacrifice indeed.  And even with phones, internet, video chat, and email....... it is for freedom that men and women leave their homes and families.  So, yes, Memorial Day is an important time to pause and remember and be thankful for this country.

We have had a busy few days.  Ken and I and our kids were blessed to be included in the wedding of one of my nieces daughters, Angela (who was from Minnesota but came to Chicago for college and decided to stay). So her family (my sister who is her grandmother, her mom and several aunts and uncles and some of her cousins) were in town for the wedding.  Gwen and Tim graciously invited everyone over to their house for a gathering on Saturday, before the Sunday wedding.  We had a wonderful time catching up and the kids had so much fun playing together.  Since my mom died, we haven't been back to Minnesota, so these kids really didn't remember each other.  The wedding was beautiful - IN SPITE OF THE RAIN!  Since it was pouring, the ceremony was moved inside.  It was such a shame since the setting was beautiful.... a gazebo overlooking a lovely lake.  But didn't I just blog "Happy is the bride that the rain falls on"?  I told Angela that it has been good for Ken and I for
41 years so far!  Angela was a beautiful bride - one of those times when you see someone and say "that is the perfect dress for them"!  And the reception was so much fun.  We all concluded that we MUST GET TOGETHER more often!  Here are a couple of shots from the dance floor..
 This is Gwen, Susie and their cousin Staci (and her husband Aaron behind Gwen) doing a dance that was much to hard for me.....
  But here I am on the dance floor with Gwen and Staci and also Riana.  Ken and I also danced together (no picture....wish there was since this never happens) and then Ken even asked Riana to dance!
It was a long drive home in a downpour rain, but it was so worth it.  It is good to be with family.

So I was thankful for the pause today.  The day to be thankful for our country and all those who have served in the military.  It's interesting to have a weekend filled with family, a wedding and country.  And God is in them all.  The foundation of the family is Jesus.  He is the rock that generations of our families have planted their roots in.  Without that firm, solid would falter.  And God is the author of marriage! What God joins together, no man can separate!  The foundation of the United States is God.  "In God We Trust" is emblazoned on our currency.  So it may seem that families are being attacked and that marriage is a thing of the past, and our country is falling away from God.  But our faith and trust must be in Jesus.  Even when WE have walked away from the concept of family or even our own family - Jesus has not walked away.  When marriages fail, and divorce happens, it is because of people.  Jesus is not the cause.  And even though it looks like the United States has forgotten our heritage... Jesus has not forgotten us.  So we will continue to cry out, remembering 2 Chronicles 7:14.......  "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  

Jesus, thank you for days to pause and reflect.  You are in all things and with us always.  Thank you for all those in the military - past and present.  Pour out your Spirit on all who are serving today.  Make them aware of your presence with them.  Holy Spirit, thank you for family and weddings and time together.  Bless Angela and David as they begin their new life as husband and wife.  Thank you for times of refreshing.  And thank you for music and dancing and fun.  Amen

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