Thank You, Veterans! Happy Memorial Day

This Memorial Day I pray that our Veterans, our Servicemen and Servicewomen, and their families know how much we truly appreciate their service and sacrifice.  As I re-read the full lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner, and remember that the lyrics come from a poem that was inspired by war, I am grateful to the strong men and women who have fought to preserve our freedom. And I pray that God will wrap his arms around those who are away from their loved ones, or in harm’s way for our sake, so that we may all sleep well at night.  God has blessed America, with you!


The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Smiling Through the Tears: Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was a wonderful day for me because I was with my two beautiful daughters, but it is always bittersweet because my mom wasn’t here to share it with us.  It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 25 years since I’ve been able to wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day.  I still miss her as much as ever, and while I know my mom is smiling down on us all from Heaven, I wish she could have been able to meet her two beautiful granddaughters and her grandson, and that she could have shared that experience with HER mom.

I was devastated when I lost my mom when I was 17.  I always told myself it would be easier if only I’d had more time to say goodbye.  But it was no easier when my dad died five years ago after a long battle with cancer.  I was 37 years old, and for the first time in my life I felt truly alone, feelings which were intensified because I had just gone through my divorce with no family nearby.  In addition to grieving for my dad, I felt a very real shock having lost both of my parents.  A friend who was consoling me pointed out that I was so young to have lost both parents, and she referred to me as an orphan, which really made me think…  if I felt that lost and alone at 37, I could only imagine how orphaned children must feel!

Immediately after having that thought, I felt some of my mom’s and my grandmother’s imparted wisdom and God’s comforting presence kick in, reminding me that while I might feel like an orphan without my parents, as a Child of God, I’m never alone.  I prayed that my fellow orphans would be comforted by knowing that even if their earthly parents aren’t with them, their Heavenly Father will always be there for them.

This Mother’s Day, I pray for orphans, for those who have lost loved ones, and especially for those who have lost children, because holidays are especially tough for those who are struggling with loss.  And I know my mom was smiling through the tears, because even though she only had a short time here on earth, she still managed to give me enough of her wisdom to allow me to seek God for myself.  And I bet that she and Nana had a beautiful view of the festivities.  Thanks, Mom and Nana.  Happy Mother’s Day.  XOXO