Category Archives: encouragement

Who’s YOUR 12th MAN?

 

I’m not a football fan.  A  Midwest transplant to the  Seattle area, I gradually acclimated to the rains, but not the Seahawks. They never sparked my interest.

Until lately.

It wasn’t the Super Bowl Win! that changed my mind.

It was the  #12.

I saw it everywhere and assumed it was a favorite player’s number. Ya’ know, some guy who made millions of dollars for running past the line at the end of the field while still clutching the football in his hands? 

I never heard a name associated with the #12,

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I  just saw the #12 flags.

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Empty buildings and

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business buildings,

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boldly fly the flag.

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You see the flag at downtown Seattle intersections

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and upscale restaurants.

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People walk the talk.

I finally had to ask someone, “What IS #12?”

I think I was the last person in Seattle in on the secret.

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The #12 symbolizes undying loyalty, but not the fans’ loyalty.

EVERY FAN is the 12th MAN.

The   #12 personifies the Seattle Seahawks’  loyalty to their fans. They know they put 11 men on the field, but they never play alone. 

It’s the first time I’ve noticed a professional team publically testify it isn’t all about them. After all, if the fans didn’t buy the tickets and sports paraphernalia, they wouldn’t have a paycheck.

The Seahawk’s loyalty to their fans results in crazy loyalty to the team.

I mean loud and crazy loyalty. Louder than a Boeing 747 and Guinness Book of World Records kinda’ crazy. Seriously, I thought my six kids were loud, but the Seahawks fans are the loudest in history, and have a record to prove it.  Let’s just say that at a record of 137.6 decibels, they’re only 12.4 decibels away from shattering ear drums.  Ears can be damaged at 90 decibels.

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(click on this box to bring you to the Seahawk’s Website)

The inspiration of the 12th MAN made me a quiet Seahawks fan.  I probably won’t watch all the games, I probably won’t buy a jersey,  but they sparked admiration in my heart.

The Seahawks understand more than football, they understand life.  We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone; personal talents and opportunities aren’t the only contributors to any success.

We all need people in our lives that give unconditional love and devotion.  We need people to appreciate our gifts, yet correct our mistakes without breaking our spirits.  We need someone to wear our colors, to proudly associate with our name, and to speak highly of us through the highs and the lows.  After all, the true fans are the ones that are devoted even when the team loses.

In honor of the SEAHAWKS the SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS and the 12th MAN, I asked Seattle area authors, who also happen to be avid loud and crazy Seahawks fans, Who is your 12th MAN?”

(To read more about each author, click on their name.)

Lynnette Bonner,  “The readers who post reviews, and come back for more of my stories each time I release one. They encourage me so much. My critique group has been wonderful and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them, but I look at them more as coaches and fellow players.”

Lesley Ann McDaniel, “My critique group, and the other members of Northwest Christian Writers Association who understand and encourage me.”

Diana Savage, “For 30 years my critique group has provided "12th woman" support for me and for my writing. During that time the various members who’ve come and gone have prayed me through crises while teaching me the finer points of clear, concise, and excruciatingly correct writing that touches readers’ emotions and honors God. If I ever win a Super Bowl for writers, my critique group will be the driving force behind my touchscreen success.”

Gigi Murfitt,  “My 12th man is my fellow NCWA members, my critique groups I have been part of, and my friends and family who pray with me and encourage me to write. My friend Cheryl is my biggest cheerleader. She really helped me edit both books. When I think of 12, I think of the disciples and how they sacrificed, supported and encouraged Jesus along the way. What a model for our twelfth man.”

Marilyn Gray, “12th man and their love and support has been so inspirational! The stories of all the Seahawk players and how they have overcome so many obstacles touched my heart! Why not me? Why not now? I want to live like that 24 hours, 7 days a week!”

Kathleen Freeman, “So many on my team! Without the efforts of many, my writing would be mediocre at best.”"

Judy Bodmer, “My 12th man is first, husband, who has encouraged me from the first to follow my dream, then my writing teacher Bette Hagman who took me to writing conferences, critiqued my first attempts, and said I had a gift, and last, my writing group. I wouldn’t quit a long time ago if it weren’t for people like Peggy King Anderson, Janet Lee Carey, Dawn Knight, Katherine Grace Bond, Roberta Kehle, Thorn Ford, just to name a few.”

Dennis Brooke, “My wife, Laurie, is my first 12th. Fellow writers James Rubart, Mick Silva, Kathleen Freeman, Loree Cameron, and Austin Boyd have also been big parts of my game. Not to mention many other NCWA members.”

My 12th MAN?  My husband, Scott, is my first fan, whether he supports me as a mother or a writer, he convinces me this world is a better place because I am in it.  Sometimes, I actually believe him.

My kids, who have filled my heart with their presence and their love notes through the years, “You are the best mommy in the whole world.”

As a blogger who’s been attached to her keyboard for over five years, my readers are also a huge part of that team.  I am so grateful for anyone who takes time out of their day to read what’s on my heart. 

In your life, who is your 12th MAN?

 

Kari’s Smile Lives On

This is the final post in tribute to my high school classmate and friend, Kari, who died of brain cancer in 2000.  It isn’t her complete life story, she was impacted by many friends and relatives she cherished. It’s a small view into her world through my experiences, which at times are fuzzy with time and grief.


To catch up first read:

And I Almost Killed Her Once
(a glance back to our high school life)

The Lord’s Plan Unfolds
(how our paths intersected years later
when she moved to my parents’ hometown)

The Beginning of the End
(Kari’s final year of treatment and life)

The Dreaded and Inevitable End
(goodbye to Kari was hello to grief)

 

Losing a friend at the young age of 36 was one of the hardest things I’ve lived through. For at least six months, I cried every day.  I’d never lost anybody close to me and I had no idea grief could become a part of your personality. I viewed life through grief-colored glasses.

During this time of emotional fog, a friend visited.  She sat on my couch with a cup of coffee, tucked her feet under her, and chatted to catch up.  I loved this friend, but she hadn’t read or answered my emails about Kari and was out of touch with my life.  I didn’t want to relive the pain to catch her up. Her words bounced around the room and for the first time in our relationship, I felt disconnected from her. My grief was a chasm between us.

After about 30 minutes, I excused myself, went into the back yard and called a close friend, Kirsti.  I sobbed about how hard it was to talk to people who didn’t know the story and didn’t understand how my life had stopped.

“I just can’t get over Kari,” I cried.

“Mindy, you don’t have to,”  she said.  She gave me permission to grieve and removed the burden that something was wrong with me. I also came away from that conversation understanding that if my visitor didn’t know or understand my grief, and that was OK, too. She was still a good friend.  I walked back into the living room and finished our visit.  The  coping skills I learned through that conversation with Kirsti have carried  me for 14 years, and I have shared her wisdom to others frozen with grief.

I actually remember the first day I didn’t cry for Kari.  It was at least six months after the funeral.  I was cleaning  the house and thoughts of her came, but not the tears. I cherished a few good memories, then continued cleaning.  Eventually, I went an entire week without crying, then a month.  I never stopped grieving,  I learned to live with my grief.

The year after Kari’s funeral, I tried to stay in touch with her kids through phone calls, email, and letters.  Then, they moved.  I had a baby. Email addresses changed. Two of her kids  graduated and moved out on their own.  I moved. Her family moved again.  My family of eight moved to Washington. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Then I moved one final time. My cancer came back.  

When I joined Facebook and starting “finding” people, I was thrilled to touch base with Kari’s daughter, Holly.  I was even more thrilled to learn she was very happily married with adorable kids and lived in Washington – one hour away.

The first time we met up, our relationship took up where Kari’s and mine left off.  It was a natural friendship we both felt.  We caught up on the missing years.  Her love story was so much like her parents’, it astounded me.  Love at first sight and married within a few months. She had her mother’s exuberant personality and the ability to light up a room with her smile. Our relationship filled a gap we’d both felt for years.

We’ve shared tears and  laughs. She told stories I hadn’t heard or remembered and I shared stories of high school. Kari was as honest with her kids as she was with me, and often shared her mistakes and regrets.  She never tried to make herself look perfect in their eyes, she was real.

My conversations with Holly remind me of the afternoons Kari and I spent together, baring heart and soul.  One day, Holly and I  were reliving the final days of Kari’s life.

Holly sat in the antique rocking chair that has soothed generations in my family, and started crying.  She finally choked out she’d always worried and wondered about her mom going to Heaven, and if she was ready.  

It was time to tell her the story.

I  confessed I almost killed her Mom driving drunk in high school, then explained how I came to know Christ as my Savior in college and experienced a radical life change.  I relived  meeting Kari in the thrift store in Helena and our subsequent afternoon visits. But, when I repeated the verses Kari and I  discussed about salvation and Heaven, I saw visible relief in Holly.  The same marvel that Kari and I often shared, that the Lord spared me from causing  Kari’s death to be there when she was facing death, wrapped around Holly’s heart. More of God’s purposes had been revealed.

 

BB and Hatfields 358At the park that afternoon, a tears came when I was pushing this little tiger in the swing.  Kari’s grandson was laughing and giggling and probably wondering why the crazy ol’ lady was crying. Tears came because Kari never pushed him in a swing, then tears came because I could. I chose to rejoice for what I gained, not grieve for what I lost.

BB and Hatfields 344This little Princess looks like her mommy and her Gramma.

BB and Hatfields 364This little guy snuggles all worries out of your life.

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Holly and I cherishing a final moment together before she and her family moved out of state. Her friendship has been a comfort and a joy. 

This woman is LOVED!Kari would be so proud children and her grandkids.

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Goodbye, but not forever.

Kari’s smile lives on.

The Dreaded and Inevitable End

 

This is the fourth part of a tribute to my high school classmate and friend, Kari, who died of brain cancer in 2000.  It isn’t her complete life story, she was impacted by many friends and relatives she cherished. It’s a small view into her world through my experiences, which at times are fuzzy with time and grief.
To catch up first read:

And I Almost Killed Her Once
(a glance back to our high school life)

and

The Lord’s Plan Unfolds
(how our paths intersected years later
when she moved to my parents’ hometown)

The Beginning of the End
(Kari’s final year of treatment and life)

Still hoping for a miracle cure for brain cancer, Kari and Tony traveled to Seattle, Washington,  to try their final option available, the Gamma Knife. 

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They enjoyed  picking sand dollars at the Pacific Ocean and cruising in a boat through the Puget Sound. When Kari sent this picture through email,  I printed it on plain paper and tacked it up on my sewing cupboard door, where it’s been ever since. I love that smile.

October 6, 2000, she sent out this email to friends and family members.

Kari's letter

She began going downhill. During a phone call she was telling an animated story about one of her kids in a minor fender bender.  She just stopped talking. At first I thought she’d pulled the phone away from her ear and was talking to someone else in the room, ya’ know how kids always interrupt, but there was no other conversation or sound.

I called her name. Over and over, louder each time, until I was yelling. She finally put the phone to her ear again, and I could hear rustling sounds,  but her mind was blank. When she did speak, she was fuzzy and confused. She couldn’t finish her story and couldn’t answer my questions.  I tried several times, then kindly told her I had to go and told her to hang up the phone. I repeated my instructions until I heard a click on the other end.

Conversations and emails stopped after that. In November her husband called to say hospice was there and invited me out for a final visit. I drove 828 miles with five kids and deep sorrow.

The family was gracious enough to allow me into their personal space by visiting daily in the afternoons.

The hospital bed was in the living room, and Kari was there with a hospice nurse. The kids went to school, came in jumped on the bed for a hug, talked about school, ran off to basketball practice, school activities, and outings with friends. She would ask “How was school?”  or “How are you doing?”  Mostly, she just held tightly to the hand of who was nearest the bed, and said, “I love you.”

In my ignorance, I asked Kari’s husband why they weren’t all spending more time with her, why they were still going to activities when she could die any moment. He was so gracious to answer my question without offense. “Kari and I decided from the beginning that cancer wouldn’t rule our lives. We wanted the kids to live as normally as possible for as long as possible.” Routine was part of their coping. It was a great decision they’d made together ahead of time and made so much sense.  Kari didn’t want her kids to sit around and watch her die, she wanted them to live.

A fighter, Kari hung on for two weeks after I’d arrived. I  read to her from the Bible, often Romans 5,  or would sing a hymn.  I’d heard that even though people lose their ability to speak, they can still hear and understand.  I chatted randomly and  my voice filled up the empty spaces.

In the very end, we were just silent.  She couldn’t speak and I was speechless.  I would just climb into the bed next to her and we’d lay there.  She’d turn to look at me, staring into my heart, and she’d smile.

When we knew death was hours away, I panicked. I didn’t want to stay and actually see her die, but I didn’t want to leave. I knew I would be driving back for the funeral with a classmate, so made the agonizing decision to leave.

I had driven as far as Valley City, North Dakota, my birthplace, when I received a phone call from Tony. Kari had died.

  Kari's Funeral Brochure

A few days later I drove back to Montana with Janet, another high school classmate. 

Life and death are always circular. 

Kari's Address

The address she gave me when our paths first crossed?  It’s still her address.

 

Kari's grave

She’s buried right across the street in a large cemetery.

I had always thought that our meeting, that divine appointment in the thrift store,  was for Kari. The Lord wanted to bring me back into her life for her death. But, I’ve been a slow student. In her death, Kari taught me how to live. She taught me to forgive and to smile through my pain. She taught me how to fight my own ten year battle with thyroid cancer.

And that smile I love so much? 

It lives on.

To be continued…

Good-Bye, 2013!

This morning my husband admitted  he was thankful to say goodbye to 2013.  He’s the stable one in the family, the glass half-full man who walks steadily by faith through the valleys and the mountaintops. If he’s ready to bid the year good-bye, it really was a hard year. 

In fact, that was part of the reason blogging has been so sporadic for me this year, funerals, illnesses, and other heartaches have interfered with my time, my schedule, and my heart many times.

However, sorrow and joy always mingle together, so we try hard to remember the times of joy, and grow in grace through our sorrows. 

To close out the year, I wanted to share the Top Ten Blogs of 2013 my readers enjoyed. 

10.  My Courage Failed

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A look back to a time of discouragement.  I was flying home to a beloved family, but leaving behind an Innocent Man who had been sentenced to jail.

9.  Ten Things to Look for in The Perfect Man

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A challenge to the unmarried and a reminder to the married.  Can your relationship survive The Bed Pan Test?

8.  I Am An Old, Old Mommy

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As a toddler, my 6th child was confused that other mommies looked more like her big sister than her mommy.

7.  Why I Had Kids Not Dogs

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Tongue-in-cheek reasons why a dog never resided in our home, even though I live in an area where there are more dogs per capita than children.

6.  The Sweet Gospel Message -Vacation Bible School Idea

 

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Sweet ideas for sending a treat and the Gospel home with children who attend Vacation Bible School.

5. The World’s Most Famous Teenager

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(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Frans Dupont, in honor of Anne’s 80th birthday, June, 2009)

What childhood reader didn’t cry through The Diary of Anne Frank?  It was my first exposure to the horrors of World War II.  My husband and I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. It wasn’t a tourist destination, it was a life experience.

4.  I’ve Eaten Rattlesnake

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My 7th grade homeroom teacher was a Vietnam Vet who impacted my life in many ways, including my culinary appetite. This blog post was featured on Freshly Pressed by WordPress, an honor that earned this badge below.

It’s kinda’ like a merit badge for bloggers. It was almost as exciting as eating a pet snake.

3. Best Answers to Big Family Questionable Questions

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This was in follow-up to my #1 blog post, “Things I Would Never Say to a Parent of Two Children.” The comments were so hilarious, I featured my readers in this post.

2. When Gramma Lost her Marbles

Mindy and Gramma Geneva 1993

Laughter and tears are two reactions to unchangeable circumstances. This post was a visit back through my Grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, when I became known to her as only “The Lady with the Kids.”  I was blessed that this post was shared through Facebook support groups all across the world, and I was able to laugh and cry with others as they shared their personal stories.

1. Things I Would Never Say to a Parent with Two Kids

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I wanted to recap what it was like to be the mother of six children, highlighting all the inappropriate comments that were made in front of my children.  I took the opposite of things I heard frequently and wrote a post.  I was astounded at the reaction. To date, I’ve had 43,119 visits to this blog post.

What I’m most grateful for with this post isn’t the number of visitors, it’s what I learned from the reactions to this post.  As beautiful women poured out their hearts in the comment section about their lives, I learned that women in all circumstances have to deal with rude and painful comments from others, just as I have done. 

Above all, I was blessed that women would so openly share their hearts.  Whether they agreed with me or not, they entrusted me with their experiences and their pain.

As I evaluate these top ten posts from 2013, I see the representation of all the things that are dear to me, the Lord Jesus, marriage, mothering, extended family, and my upbringing. And I was reminded of the many joys I experienced through the year.

I was also struck with the encouragement my readers have provided through this year.  Your comments, prayers, and private emails have blessed me and upheld me during the hardest times when each keystroke in telling the story has been a dagger of pain.  Several times I even wondered if I should quit writing, and one of your dear readers would send just the perfect encouragement to help me press on in my calling. I am incredibly thankful for each of you, you are my support, my strength, and my friends.

May this coming year bless you with joy unspeakable and the ability to find joy in all your sorrows.

Happy New Year!

 

Where Does Your Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration is a movement of soul, a force that brings change, strength, creativity, or peace.

Inspiration wakens the tired mom  for the third time during the night with love.

Inspiration strengthens and encourages the cancer patient through treatment.

Inspiration  commutes with the desk jockey to impact business day, after day, after day,  with tenacity and integrity.

Inspiration  discovers, conquers, creates, and invents.

Inspiration survives, endures, embraces, and forgives.

Inspiration  keeps us going

No

     Matter

           What.

Inspiration doesn’t merely breathe, it inhales and savors. It embraces and creates moments, it doesn’t only endure them.

Inspiration draws from the spiritual, mental and physical sources to cope with life’s joys and sorrows. It isn’t only for artists, it fills a simple, ordinary life with artistry.

When inspiration fails, we drudge along life’s obligatory path without passion for the work of our heart and hands.

Life without inspiration is a dark, dreary world, with a colorless rainbow and songless birds. They’re vague images and sounds, instead of touch points to the soul that press you on toward an abundant life.

You don’t live without inspiration, you exist.

Where does inspiration come from?

Family   Nobody loves you like family. It goes without saying that nobody drives you crazy like family, but underneath family drama is often a deep-rooted, comfortable love. Sitting and sipping coffee with my parents and siblings is a ritual that calms my heart and strengthens me anew.

Friends   One of our greatest needs is a secret-keeping friend. You can always find someone to shop with, but rare is a heart and soul friendship where trust allows you to hold nothing back.

Inspiration with person

Fresh Air    More than filling your lungs with scientifically needed oxygen, we need the source, whether you climb a mountain or watch leaves fall.  Stop and smell the roses isn’t just a cool line from a country song. Creation stirs up creativity and hope, even in a small dose.

Fun    I didn’t think being a grown-up would be so hard.  I pictured staying up late and eating my desert first, not paying bills, worrying and working.   Kids have fun, grown-ups remind themselves to have fun.  Play a game.  Swing. Declare a Nerf gun war.  Ride your grocery cart to the car.  (It’s fun!  Just don’t crash.) When laughter loosens your tightly wound rubber bands, the  doors to creativity and hope fly open.

Faith   What’s more inspiring than measuring the Savior’s love by the distance between His nail pierced hands?  He understands family stress, His abandoned Him while He was on the cross.  He understands physical suffering, He was scourged and then crucified.  He understands poverty, He had no place to lay His head. His endurance is more than our inspiration, it’s our strength and salvation.

Are you feeling burdened and overwhelmed by circumstances you can’t change? Are grown-up responsibilities stealing your joy and creativity?

Mindy on beach get inspired

Renew your body, soul and spirit with whatever brings you inspiration. Make your own list.  Set your own goals. Put yourself on your calendar.  Bring little bursts of inspiration into your life daily.  Start embracing, stop enduring.  Life shouldn’t be drudgery.

And while you’re at it, you might as well eat your desert first.

 

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Honoring the Veterans

I love small towns.  Not only do they have that Mayberry feel my metropolis-tired body craves, they often have little surprises, such as thrift stores and historical sites,  nestled in between the cottage-lined streets and the two-block long Main Street. The people I meet feel like they could be my next best friend.  However, they  know I’m nobody’s friend, and give me frank, but kind, stares. 

This summer, Cadott, Wisconsin, population 1,440, was no exception. They claim to be on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the equator, but in July there weren’t any polar breezes.  I was thrilled to discover a Veterans memorial and took as many pictures as I could, until the 95° heat forced me back to the AC in my rental car.

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I love history and I love to honor veterans, so the Wisconsin Veterans Tribute was a great find.

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The House of Heroes and tribute flags in military precision.

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A tank used during the Cold War sitting peacefully on a grassy hill. I remember crouching under desks during elementary school bomb drills, the fear of the Communists sometimes infiltrating our recess play. The American hockey victory over the Soviets was an unforgettable triumph for those who grew up during the Cold War. Our young men trounced them, but no lives lost.  I wish it were always that way.

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This shark-toothed Cobra made me smile. Although war is a frightening, horrific time for American soldiers and civilians, the soldiers don’t allow their sense of humor to be totally demolished.  This reminded me about the messages WWII veterans write on the bombs. 

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An pre-WWII canon, either Japanese or Chinese.

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And because the small town feel had already enveloped my heart and mind, reading the inscriptions on the stones brought tears to my eyes.

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I wondered how the Rollins parents were able to let their five sons go.

Nearly 70  years later the inscription still brings wonder and worship. “The grace of God brought each of them safely home.”

I can only imagine that family reunion.

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Grief and love never subside, as this family recorded.

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I wondered how many prayers went up from this county in Wisconsin to bring these five men home from Midway.

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Grief and joy mingle together between the monuments, honoring soldiers who returned, and those who didn’t.

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Proud of their Greek heritage, more proud to fight as Americans.

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“We would have gone to the wall for you!”  is the inscription from the tenacious Eau Claire Vietnam Veterans.

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Agent Orange, an enemy our soldiers didn’t know they would be facing, with side-effects they couldn’t evade even in peace time.

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We must never forget.

 

 

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My tribute and gratitude to Veterans
and those that love them.

 

 

Read more about Veterans:

 

Making your home sing Mondays      WHWButton#2

God Changed my Name from Queen of @#$%

I was excited to hear  best-selling author, James L. Rubart, speak at the monthly meeting for the Northwest Christian Writers Association. Two years before he spoke about his six year journey to publication and the discouragement of repeated rejections. At that time, he urged  us to keep writing and not give up on our ambitions.  “Step through your fear, out of the shadows, and into the destiny and the light God has planned for you.”

Since then, he’s written and published books faster than I can finish a grocery list. I knew he’d be encouraging. Maybe he’d unlock the secret to getting published.  Maybe he’d shed some light on a marketing plan that couldn’t fail. Maybe he’d give tips on plotting my novel.

  I was ready to learn.

He began talking and I began typing, but it was not what I was expecting to hear.  (The italics are from Rubart’s keynote.)

The thief comes to steal and destroy, he wants to destroy our dreams and our desires.

Our desire reveals our design, our design reveals our destiny.

Do we know our names?
     Child of the King
     Heir to the Kingdom
     The one Christ died for
     Kings and Queens

We have taken on false identities that are not true, that are keeping us back.

From 8th grade I believed the lie,  "You can’t write."

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Are you kidding me? That’s a total lie.

What names have you been called?  Loser? Lazy?

Sticks and Stones

When Rubart  mentioned the names  we were called, tears instantly transported me back to the winter of 1982. Although nearly 50 years old, the wound was still raw. I was thankful I was sitting alone at the back of the room so few would witness my breakdown as I relived the painful memory he’d revived.

I’d entered the locker room to question my PE teacher about the D on my report card, figuring it  was an honest mistake.  It was one of my favorite classes taught by one of my favorite teachers.  I was good at sports and tried to be helpful and friendly during class. I  didn’t even complain when she made us run laps. Besides, it was my senior year and this grade would seriously affect my chance for Salutatorian.

I assumed I’d receive a changed grade, but she unloaded unexpected rage.  Her dirty-blonde Dorothy Hamill hair bobbed around her face, her open mouth gave me a  view usually only her dentist saw. Her tirade  ended with, “You really think you’re something! You  walk around here like you’re the Queen of @#$$%!”

The unleashed fury was so shocking, I could only escape.

I tore down the hallway, into the institutional green bathroom and  locked myself  in a stall. I crouched  on the toilet  seat so she couldn’t see my feet.  She came into the bathroom and called, “Melinda! Melinda!”  But, it was too late. The other name she used  had seared a hole into my heart. I bit my lip hard so she wouldn’t hear me cry or breathe.  When she was gone, I freely sobbed.

It wasn’t only about the grade. I had thought she liked me. I couldn’t begin to imagine what I’d done to deserve the D and her attack.  It wasn’t due to lack of effort or participation on my part.

Her hatred for me cost me my class rank,  my ability to vie for scholarships and my trust for adults. Worse than that, it branded me with a name of shame I wore for decades.

Rubart continued talking.  He told of the girls from India who were named “unwanted”  at birth but had a ceremony in to chose new names.

God is in the business of renaming. He renamed Abram to Abraham.  Sarai to Sarah.

There’s a name God wants to give you.

There’s a name He wants to erase from you.”

The fall after the name-calling incident,  I was a  typical non-Christian college freshman without parental restraint and attended  every party I could find. But I had another desire that couldn’t be quenched, to find spiritual answers to life’s questions. I began attending several Bible studies and reading the Bible daily.

The tug of war over my soul didn’t last long, I became a born-again Christian and experienced a life-change in October. The following week, I mustered up the courage to attend the Campus Crusade meeting advertised on a campus bulletin board.

Afterwards, a young man with the love of Jesus radiating on his face approached with a smile, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, what’s your name?"

My name…my name…my name…it struck boldly and instantly in my mind. I’d been reading the verses in 2 Corinthians  that said faith made you a "new creation in Christ." I decided a new creation needed a new name.

"Hi, I’m Mindy," I said.

As I grew in faith, I realized how profound this action was. 

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Rubart continued, “ Revelation 2:17 says to him who overcomes…I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

God loves to give names. So does the enemy.

Next week  I encourage you to get alone and silent before the Lord, and ask “What would you call me?”

Also go through the list of names you were called by the enemy and release them.  Pray over them and reject them in the Name of Jesus.The Lord is into Names.”

Rubart offered a way to transform the title of shame spewed with spittle and hatred by my high school teacher to a name bestowed in love by my heavenly Father.  I prayed.  Weeks went by.  I continued to pray and ask the Lord for a new name.

One Sunday I sat in the pew warmed by the words of faith  and worship that swirled around.  In prayer, I released burdens to the Lord  I’d carried way too long.

My new name settled around me like a mantle of peace, a covering of love.

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BELOVED

I’m no longer a teenager named in hatred by a teacher for reasons I’ll never discover, I’m a woman loved and named  by Someone who died for me for reasons I’ll never fully comprehend.

The wisdom Rubart shared that evening wasn’t what I’d expected, but it was exactly what I needed.

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In each of his books, Rubart’s characters undergo serious transfomations as they replace lies from the enemy with truths from God’s Word. You’ll be enthralled not only with the fast-paced action, but with the spiritual awakening within your own heart.

James L. Rubart on Pinterest

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