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

Luke 2:19 “but Mary kept all these things in her heart…”

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image from 4catholiceducators.com

In my Bible study this morning, as I was reading through the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, chapter 2, I was struck by verse 19:

“…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” ~Luke 2:19b NLT

And then again by verse 51:

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” ~Luke 2:51b NLT

My role as a mother has changed as my children have grown into adulthood; however, my concerns and love for them has only deepened through the years…if that’s even possible.

I’ve always prayed for and over my children; for their health, well-being and happiness, for them to grow up strong and confident, for them to be righteous, honest, people of integrity, contributing members of society, for them to realize God’s purpose for their lives, for them to lean on their faith in times of difficulty or trouble and to be grateful in the good times, for them to know that I love them unconditionally and so much more.

So much I have stored and pondered in my heart. So much I will continue to store and ponder in my heart.

So much like Mary.

God has instructed us to pray; I believe this “storing and pondering” is prayer. I love that prayer is my touchstone and conversation with God. And one of the most important jobs I have as a mother.

I’m thankful that while my children are grown and discovering all that life has in store for them, I can continue to pray over them…even though it’s no longer at their bedside each night. It’s my gift as their mother.

YOLO!

Jan

Virtual Coffee Date…

One of my favorite things is to have a good cup of coffee and visit with friends & family. It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down (you can’t drink hot coffee quickly) and be present, in the moment, sharing all the good in our lives.

I’d love to have a virtual cup of coffee with you! Venti pumpkin spice latte’s (with an extra shot) are my favorite fall splurge. The cost of one pumpkin spice latte (approx $4.86) will provide 18 MEALS for AT-RISK CHILDREN! Just 27 cents will provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.

Our church – Highland Park Church is sponsoring a Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon on October 17th and 18th. Our goal is to pack 60,000 meals; half of the meals packed are being designated for FREM orphanage in Haiti…8 members of our church visited them last spring and discovered that they currently receive ZERO outside support and they were praying for food. HPC Haiti Relief was born.

Here’s where you come in…we NEED donations to meet our goal of 60,000 meals!

We need donations IMMEDIATELY! 

Will you please meet me for a virtual coffee date and buy me my favorite fall splurge – or two – or even three?! My life, and  most importantly, the lives of the children at FREM, will be enriched and blessed by YOUR generosity!

Donations are easy peasy: go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fthdonate and donate with credit card or pay pal. Scroll down and select “Nashville Pack-a-Thon” as the special purpose to designate the funds.

I’ve already bought YOUR cup of coffee…will you please buy me one?

Haiti Relief Bucket Cover

Blessings to you!

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

Happy Birthday, Florence Nightingale!

As a nurse, Florence Nightingale is a very important part of the history of my profession.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing was born on May 12, 1820. Her most famous contributions came during the Crimean War; by improving sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, she played a major role in reducing the death rate of wounded soldiers from 50% to 2%. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for making her nightly rounds tending to the wounded.

Here’s an interesting video I found on youtube – “Who was Florence Nightingale?”

And then I found this rare recording of the voice of Florence Nightingale.

I am amazed and astounded by the strength of this woman. Lives saved. History changed. Medicine and nursing forever improved.

Happy Birthday, Florence! Your legacy lives on…your lamp is still shining brightly!

-J

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

Thankful…another level…

My husband and I spent the evening with a dear friend who has been battling cancer for 4 years. We talked about things we never dreamed we’d talk about. And yet the house was full of life, unconditional love, happiness and joy. We are not promised another day…he is thankful for each day he wakes up.

That statement alone took my gratitude project this month to a whole new level.

It’s not about the “stuff” I have or don’t have. Life is about the people in my life. It’s about my relationships with those people. It’s about the legacy I leave when my time on earth is done. What do I want people saying about me? Have you ever thought about that?

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Don’t leave important things unsaid. Ever.

YOLO!
Jan

He’s the Birthday Boy…

…and he’s my Dad!

With my Dad on his birthday last year

With my Dad on his birthday last year

Dad…on this day I want to especially thank you for the foundation of strength, wisdom and hope you provide for our family. I’m forever grateful that God chose YOU to be MY dad.

May God bless you richly in this new year of YOU.

I love you,

Jan

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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