Monday, May 27, 2013

And Now We Can Feast

 Although it is really important to me that my family recognizes the important meaning of the holiday that we are celebrating before getting on to the free-spirited festivities,
I must admit that a festive little breakfast treat did greet the kiddos this morning.
But, of course, a little sustenance was needed before heading out to the National Cemetery.
After we returned from our time of reflection at the National Cemetery Bishop got to the business of making some homemade ice cream.
After we got the ice cream churning and the drinks chilling
 we shucked the corn, made sure the chips and homemade salsa were ready, and prepared the options for the kebabs (Bishop made the marinades for the beef and chicken, the chicken marinade is his own secret recipe, yum!).
And when dinnertime was approaching Bishop manned the grill for me.
(I love Bishop's willingness to take over grilling duties when Dad is unavailable and I love his companionship in the kitchen!)
Then we got on with the feasting and the family fellowship!
Aaaahhhh, I love moments like these!
As for me and my family, it was a satisfying Memorial Day filled with recognition and respect and feasting and fellowship!
Happy Memorial Day to all
and thank you to all who have served
and have sacrificed -
my family is truly grateful!

Thoughts on Memorial Day

The ice cream is churning away in the ice cream maker, the corn has been shucked, the salsa made, and the beverages are on ice in the vintage Coca-Cola cooler.  But before the celebrating and feasting begin I want to do some remembering and expressing of gratitude.  We celebrate the courage, honor and personal sacrifice of each and every soldier who helped forge our great nation and protects it so that I may continue living this life that I have become accustomed to, this life so full of liberty.  We are so very thankful for all that have come before us and all that are yet to come who will put it all on the line for their country and its citizenry.  We would also like to express our gratitude to the family members of our soldiers.  We are familiar with the sacrifice of the soldiers family with grandparents losing a son and a sister losing a brother.  And because our own children have sacrificed so much time with their father so that he may serve.  We remember.  We are thankful.  And we celebrate your contribution to this great nation.
We began our day with a visit to the National Cemetery, a tradition for our family.

Although we have no personal familial connections with anyone buried at this cemetery we place flowers on the graves of soldiers.
 We seek to pay our respects to all of those who have served our nation by placing, with gratitude-filled hearts, flowers on these graves.
We stroll amongst the headstones drawn to certain ones for untold reasons.  
 We read their headstones and wonder about their lives and their deaths.
This headstone has two men listed, different last names for both, as staff sergeants with a single date of death - what is the story behind their lives and their deaths that lead them to be buried together in a single grave?
Who is buried here, what mission was he on and what did he contribute?
Over and over again we wonder who is buried here and there and over there too and we ponder how difficult it might be for a family to not even know where their loved ones final resting place is.
We praise one for having received the Good Conduct Medal and wonder about the man and his character.
We once again give special regard to each of the five Buffalo soldiers buried in our national cemetery.  We yearn to know their personal stories and can only imagine as we discuss the known deeds of other such soldiers.
Our wanderings and wonderings through the cemetery prompt us to learn more - what is the Signal Corps.?  (We learned that the Signal Corps. manages communications for the armed forces.  It was established in the 1860's.  During the Civil War the Army communicated through visual communications, flags during the day and torches at night; this system was called "wig-wag."  During WWII this Signal Corps. soldier might have worn and operated a backpack radio or he might have taken part in making films to train, indoctrinate and entertain the American and Allied troops).
And we learn that Patrick H. Pentzer earned the Medal of Honor for being "Among the first to enter the enemy's entrenchments, he received the surrender of a Confederate general officer and his headquarters flag."
And we say, "Thank You!"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lifestyle of Living Volumes 16 and 17: All Rolled Up Into One

The past two weeks ( May 12-May 25) have been gloriously fun and full.
It was weeks full of being tourists in our own town with a lengthy visit to Bass Pro.

And weeks of Boy Scouts in which Bishop completed his chess merit badge and received it at a Court of Honor.
And shopping for decorations for that Court of Honor that resulted in a bit of fun.
The weeks involved hanging out with the youth group discussing logical fallacies and examining atheism, watching the Star Trek movies, driving go-carts and playing miniature golf.
And they involved celebrating Pentecost
and enjoying the beauty of May
and the delights of the natural world.
The weeks included movies at the Moxie: The Sapphires and BlancaNieves.
And it included more movies; Maceo's are too numerous to mention and Bishop viewed Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux which led to explorations in to currency conversion.
"50,000 francs is equivalent to how many U.S. dollars?"
and how much is the dollar worth in Bahrain?
It was weeks of endings
End of year choir concert.
and goodbyes
Maceo's choir director will not be returning next year.
and celebrations of friendships.
This led to...
These weeks offered up inspiration.  Bishop found inspiration in the show Face-Off which led to creating of new worlds and species
  which led to a commitment to do a sketch a day for a year

 which, of course, led us to the art store
and then to a lot of sketching.
These weeks involved literature; the completion of The Rangers Apprentice for Bishop and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and even a bit of The Watchman for Maceo.
And a trip to the bookstore to get new reading material - the first Brotherband Chronicles book for Bishop and World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide for Maceo.

These weeks found us learning about muscles, making homemade salsa, and playing games.

The weeks offered us an opportunity to serve
Placing flags on the graves at our National Cemetery for Memorial Day.
and more celebrating of friendships,
including mustached friendships.

These weeks offered up days in the sun
and even more celebrations of friendship.
The Play and Sing His Praises end of year picnic.
These weeks involved podcasts (Maceo has listened to 122 hours of a particular film critiquing podcast over the last several months) and MythBusters and River Monsters and nature shows too numerous to name but the best being Discovery Channel's North America.
And walks, definitely walks.  Walks to the bakery, the grocery store, the art store and downtown

 for deliciousness
Nonna's - YUM!
and a stop at the square.

We end these weeks content.
Content with life's opportunities and fullness,
with its friendships and sunshine.
We end these weeks content with our adventures
and looking forward to those that are yet to come!