Memorial Day 2015

Middle TN Veterans Cemetery

Middle TN Veterans Cemetery, May 24, 2015

Growing up as the daughter of a career US Army Officer…military holidays were marked with much pomp and circumstance. Depending on the event there would be parades, ceremonies, wreath laying, reading of names, the playing of taps, demonstrations by the soldiers, flyovers, military band concerts, etc. We always were immersed in the true meaning of the holiday. I thought everyone lived that way.

As an adult living in the civilian world, I find that it’s easy for us to “forget” why we have this long weekend. We are bombarded with retail sales events, as the unofficial start to summer – people head to the beach or the lake, there are many outdoor family gatherings and BBQ’s. We need to be intentional about remembering and honoring the reason for this extra day off.

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring those who died for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America. I hope each and every American will pause and reflect on this at some point today. And be grateful.

My husband and I drove out to the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery yesterday. It’s a beautiful, serene setting in the rolling hills of TN. We happened to arrive while a Memorial Day Ceremony was happening at the main buildings. We drove through the cemetery in peace and quiet, marveling at the beauty of the American flags adorning each and every grave. The main thoroughfare had larger flags waving in the breeze. It was a beautiful, yet somber sight. Families were visiting individual graves. Some of those graves are fresh. The reason for the holiday was abundantly clear. Some gave all. Some didn’t come home.

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It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.   ~ General George S. Patton

May God Bless America!

YOLO!

-Jan

New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

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New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day 2014…honoring the intent of the holiday…

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the US Armed Forces men and women who have died in service of the United States of America. The holiday, celebrated on the last Monday of May, was originally called Decoration Day and began after the Civil War to commemorate they Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war. This has since been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.

Today, in honor of Memorial Day, my husband (US Army veteran) and I visited the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. It is a beautiful cemetery, surrounded by the rolling hills of middle TN. There were many people visiting graves, driving through the cemetery, walking through the graves, even a group holding a memorial service by the grave of their loved one. It was a touching visit.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. ~General George S. Patton

Happy Memorial Day and may God continue to bless the United States of America and those who serve to keep us free!

Yolo!

-Jan

May 20th = International Clinical Trials’ Day…who knew?

ilindja001p1I’m a nurse…I work in clinical research and I had no idea today was such an important day in this industry. A little bit of reading and I have learned quite a bit.

While the recorded history of clinical research goes all the way back to Biblical times (Book of Daniel); James Lind, MD, is credited as the first physician to have documented a controlled clinical trial of the modern era. While working as a surgeon on a ship, he was appalled by the high mortality of scurvy amongst the sailors. His description of the trial covers all the essential elements of a controlled clinical trial.

Lind describes“”On the 20th of May 1747, I selected twelve patients in the scurvy, on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them. They all in general had putrid gums, the spots and lassitude, with weakness of the knees. They lay together in one place, being a proper apartment for the sick in the fore-hold; and had one diet common to all, viz. water gruel sweetened with sugar in the morning; fresh mutton-broth often times for dinner; at other times light puddings, boiled biscuit with sugar, etc., and for supper, barley and raisins, rice and currants, sago and wine or the like. Two were ordered each a quart of cyder a day. Two others took twenty-five drops of elixir vitriol three times a day … Two others took two spoonfuls of vinegar three times a day … Two of the worst patients were put on a course of sea-water … Two others had each two oranges and one lemon given them every day … The two remaining patients, took … an electary recommended by a hospital surgeon … The consequence was, that the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them, being at the end of six days fit for duty … The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and … was appointed to attend the rest of the sick. Next to the oranges, I thought the cyder had the best effects …” (Dr James Lind’s “Treatise on Scurvy” published in Edinburgh in 1753)

Fascinating!

Have you ever thought about how new medicines are developed? New medical devices? New treatments?

You guessed it…clinical trials! While this video has a European approval focus…the concept in the USA is the same (in fact often we are working on a trial that has already received approval in Europe but is still in the trial process in the US)…with the final USA approval being with the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration.

Have you participated in a clinical trial? I’d love to hear your story!

~Jan

Resources:

http://www.acrpnet.org/MainMenuCategory/Membership/International-Clinical-Trials-Day.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149409/

http://www.fda.gov/default.htm

 

Mother’s Day…

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Mom & I with our buddy Jack!

It’s Mother’s Day afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a beautiful day already: mother/daughter night at the ballet last week, church today, brunch at our favorite after-church-breakfast spot (free box of candy for all Mom’s – too bad I’m not eating sugar…my office will benefit tomorrow!), sweet texts from family & friends near and far, phone call with MIL, a tear-jerking, heart tugging, loving email from my son who is traveling and plans for dinner cooked by hubby, daughter & SIL! My life is full of love indeed.

I’m so very grateful for my mother, who among many other things, raised me to love God; to be kind towards others & treat others as I would want them to treat me; to be a woman of integrity; to serve others; and she instilled in me her love of travel, big cities and sandy beaches! I hope that when I grow up I can be a small measure of the woman my mother is! I love you Mom!!

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming Mother’s Day a national celebration in the United States, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes.

  • “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning
  • “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” ~Robert Brault
  • “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” ~Lionel Kauffman
  • “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” ~Irish Proverb
  • “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland
  • “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~Chinese Proverb
  • “A Mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
  • “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.” ~Lisa Alther
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I am a mother only because God chose to give me the blessing of raising two beautiful children. I truly believe that is my main purpose in this dance called life. I am learning as I enter this next phase of motherhood…as my children are grown and living out their life’s purpose…that while the role of being their mother changes…the love I have for them only deepens. I can only imagine the love my mother feels for me and my siblings. Wow!

Blessings to all the Mom’s out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

YOLO,

Jan

 

 

Tomorrow…

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Tomorrow…the beginning of a brand new year. You can be anyone you want. Accomplish anything you want. I thought I’d share some thoughts from my own reflection, studying, reading, and planning to guide you:

  • The best day of your life is the day you decide your life is your own. No one to lean on, rely on or blame.
  • Life is about the choices you make. Choose wisely.
  • Live your life on purpose.
  • The gift of life is yours, it is an amazing journey, make the best of it.
  • Every single day matters.
  • Love always.
  • Be authentic.
  • Life is now.
  • You are the hero of your own story.
  • Keep your word.
  • Give back.
  • Be grateful.
  • Live passionately.
  • Mentor someone.
  • Forgive.
  • Be present.
  • Don’t “go” through life, GROW through life!

Begin your new book…tomorrow. It just so happens that THIS tomorrow falls as the FIRST day of the NEW YEAR!

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Have a safe and happy celebration wherever you may be.

Make it a good year!! And remember…

YOLO!

~Jan

#30DOT Project Complete…New Awareness

 

20131201-124722.jpgOn this first day of December, I am spending time reflecting on the #30DOT (30 Days of Thankful) project I engaged in during the month of November. With the Thanksgiving Holiday in November, a time when we Americans typically spend time expressing gratitude for our blessings, it lends itself to the perfect time for a thanks”giving” project.

My Facebook feed had several people engaging in a similar project and more than a handful of naysayers. Without giving attention to the negativity I continued on my path. It is said it takes at least 21 days to create a habit. I can’t imagine anything bad coming from a habit of thankfulness and gratitude. Some days I chose to post my thanksgivings to Facebook and Twitter and other days they were private.

What I DID notice…was a definite increased awareness of the goodness and beauty in my life. I found myself, with this increased awareness, thinking positive thoughts much more frequently. And when the “turkey’s” in my life threatened to pull me down…and yes…I have some in my life, I simply found a moment of awareness and realization that even the negative serves to confirm that I am ALIVE! And then…BAM!! I was hit with thanks”giving” and gratitude once again.

I am thankful I challenged myself with this project. I am thankful I grew during this project. If you’ve never done a similar project I challenge you to try it. Living a life of gratitude and thanksgiving forces me to focus on the positive and that can only be a good thing.

YOLO! -Jan

God Bless America

England cannot definitively determine a date of origin. It is simply too long ago.

China struggles with the same problem. It was developed long before history was seriously documented.

But we are extremely fortunate to know EXACTLY when our land truly became a country…July 4, 1776

~George Will

Happy Birthday, America!! I’m proud to be an American!!

YOLO!

Jan

If you want something…

“If you want something, go get it. Period.”

I absolutely love this video clip. Don’t let anyone steal your dreams.

In honor of Father’s Day – I’m sharing this clip of this wonderful advice given by a father to his young son.

We had an amazing Father’s Day here! First church, then lunch with our son, a wonderful phone call to my Dad, followed by dinner with our son, daughter and her fiancee. Our children claim they did NOT collaborate on gifts for their Dad; yet the gifts were perfect compliments to each other. An amazing coincidence? Or children who actually KNOW their dad? I choose to believe the latter. No matter what, the house was filled with smiles, laughter and love.

Richard has always been a dreamer and has followed his dreams without regret. I hope our children have learned the ability to do the same. Life is to short to do anything less. Enjoy.

YOLO!

Jan

 

Out with the old…in with the new.

Out with the old. In with the new.

We are in Virginia visiting with family for the New Year’s holiday. We have much to be thankful for and to look forward to in the new year…

  • family
  • love and laughter
  • relationships
  • health
  • new beginnings
  • radiation treatment “graduation”
  • 1st year anniversary of sobriety
  • our daughter’s engagement (yay!)
  • new babies (yes, plural) on the way
  • friends
  • did I mention family?

My heart is full and overflowing! May we all be blessed in this new year and embrace the opportunities that lie before us.

Happy New Year!!

Yolo!

Jan

(photo taken from facebook – unknown originator for credit)