Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Chapel

My children's school does a wonderful job honoring veterans as part of their Veterans Day chapel.*  Each grade memorizes and sings the song for one of the branches of the military, there is a ROTC color guard from the local public school, and veterans are invited to speak, one per branch.  The service ends with a slide show of relatives, mostly grandfathers now, who have served in the military at one time or other.   Best of all, the service is packed with family members.  It is one of the most uplifting things I do every year.

This year we had some wonderful messages delivered by the servicemen.  I thought I'd share a little of what we heard: 
  • Unity.  You can't win a war alone, and you need buddies to get you through the big things and the little ones.  And you are always stronger when acting in unison.
  • Be a first responder--look for those opportunities.  The Coast Guard representative told how proud he was to be among the first to answer the call in emergencies like the Haitian relief and Hurricane Katrina.  He gained strength by remembering that he was not only being the hands of the United States, but also the hands for Jesus, when helping people in grave need.  He encouraged the kids (and us!) to be first responders for Christ.
  • "It's another good day above ground."  Ha.  We adults laughed, even though the kids didn't really get it.  But further:  Act consistently and be faithful.
  • Be courageous in little things, and you can learn to be courageous in big things, when you are truly needed.
  • Finally, from our beloved principal, words from the Bible that our country would do well to take to heart:  "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
An excellent service, and a wonderful experience for the kids.  You can tell they truly admire the men and women who come dressed in their uniforms to talk to the kids.  

Note to the upper grades, though:  PLEASE do this with the older kids!  Don't let their love of country and respect for service evaporate as they get older and "wiser."

*Yes, I am a homeschooler, of one of my kids.  The other three attend private school.  This chapel is for the elementary kids at the school.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Changing My Perspective

"Do you have to run your miles this week?" This is my husband asking J, our sixth grader, about PE over dinner.

"No, Dad.  I don't have to.  I get to,"  J says with a wink.  So of course I ask what's up with that.

Turns out, my sons' PE and track coach has a way with words.  When the boys at school complain about [insert unpleasant PE-related activity here], he replies, "No guys, you don't have to--you get to!" 

J is rolling his eyes while he tells me this, but the truth is that he absolutely adores Coach Ross.  So does M.  And I can tell you why--this young man sees his students as his mission field.  Every day he is excited to see those boys, to help them improve, to watch them grow.  Middle school boys.  I don't know how he does it, but I am so grateful that he does!

The funny thing is that Coach Ross is right.  Try it.  The other night I got up from the dinner table.  "I have to do the dishes" became "I get to do the dishes."  And so I thought about the blessings I have--the food my husband ably provides, a lovely home to enjoy a meal in, my sweet kids gathered around the table.  Heck, hot clean water to wash with, and a dishwasher to really get things clean.  My life is full and it just took changing one word to see it even more clearly.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Google Reader

I am so late to discover many, many neat little tools.   Recently I came across Google Reader.  Or rather I started using it.  I had known about it, but it weirds me out a little to use Google for so many things.  Yes, I realize that Blogger is a Google Platform!  Anyway, I made the plunge.

Do you use it?  The idea is that you make a list of blogs on Reader.  Then Google keeps track of them and automatically updates when one of them posts something new.  Love that!  I am always finding neat blogs that I visit once or twice, and then I forget about them.  Now I don't forget.

I'm sure there are other readers out there, but right now Google suits me.  Here are some of my favorite I follow on Google Reader:

One of the best parts of this is that some of these are less frequent posters, like me.  Now whenever one of them posts I can find out, and don't need to remember to visit the URL.  And if you have a good mix on your Reader, then you always have something interesting to read.

You could even--shameless plug here--add my blog to your Reader!  Just add my URL,, to your subscriptions.   And then once in a while you can read something, interesting or not, from me.


I'm not good at consistency with my blog, as you might have noticed.  Last year I tried to blog every day in November about what I was grateful for.  I made it maybe six days.  Not that I'm ungrateful.  Just inconsistent.

But the lovely Three Thinking Mothers are only being grateful once a week this month.  I can do that.  Here goes:

I am grateful that I was given hands to help others and the means to do so.  Wednesday evening my boys and I went downtown to serve dinner at a homeless shelter.  Their Boy Scout troop takes responsibility for this twice a year, but this was my first time going.  Actually, my first time ever working at a shelter.  I'll be back.  The picture is just a few of the lasagnas I plated that night.  I didn't take other pictures, just because I didn't.

Since this is a once-a-week post, let me add:  I'm grateful for a wonderful Boy Scout leader who pours his heart into leading these boys, and for the numerous assistant leaders.  They provide so many opportunities for the boys to camp and do things I'm not crazy about.  We tend not to do those things as a family because the girls and I are, well, girls, and we like warm water and flush toilets.  Plus I love knowing the boys are part of a group of really nice young men.  Thank you, Danny McCranie!

The innumerable blessings that allow me the luxury of providing food for others, the time and transportation to get there, the home I get to go home to while these men sleep on a mattress in a gym, a life that (so far) has not led me into circumstances where I would need a mattress on a gym floor...grateful.  A good way to start the month.

Linking up: