THANK THEM for a freedom we should never take for granted…

“I have read that…  If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million other people in the world.  If you can attend worship services at church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed then three billion people in the world.”  Kay Warren

That quote helps to express why I’ve said for years that if you cut me I bleed red, white and blue.  Today as I live in a foreign land with significantly less freedoms than the one I call home, that quote is even more true.

I simply love America!  ~No I’m not proud of every part of our history, but oh how I believe in our vision:  We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness!

I’m an American because my ancestors heard that vision from across the ocean, because they could imagine it, because they could feel it, because it felt like the very best possible gift they could give it to their children and grandchildren, because they took a giant leap of faith and left everything to move to the land of the free.

Inspired by Syrian Refugees: The Greatest Gift You Can Give ~ Listen

Yesterday I was visiting with a woman whose husband and daughter had recently returned from a mission trip where they were helping Syrian refugees.

The refugees were primarily middle class families that left everything behind (homes, jobs, family, treasured keepsakes, toys…) and fled for their lives.

With no income and winter coming their physical needs are astronomical!

Syrian refugee crisisSo both the husband and daughter were shocked when they discovered that the biggest need these people shared was not physical….

Willing To Exchange Our Lives For YOUR Freedom

“A Veteran, whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to and including his or her own life.”  Unknown

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day.  In honor of the men and women that have written a blank check for their lives in exchange for our freedom I asked several friends to help us understand their choice…  Adonis Phillips, Joseph Pullen, David Groce and LaDine Roth Cravotta are Veterans, Cathy Herring is a mother of a Veteran.

Will you stand next to our veterans?

Today is October 11, 2012.  In one month our nation will celebrate Veterans Day in honor of those who have sacrificed precious time with their families, their physical safety and often their mental well-being, and so we can live in a free country.

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Over the past several weeks I have had many unexpected conversations with mothers of returning veterans, with spouses of returning veterans, and with people who provide services to veterans.  In every case they have emphasized the enormous struggles these men and women are facing:  

Broken? You Can’t Have an Omelet Without First Breaking the Eggs

Oliver TveitMy Grandfather was a WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran and although his nature was to accept whatever life handed him and to move on, the memories of the brokenness and devastation that the war created left a shadow of questions that haunted him.

Broken Egg

For years he did his best to cope, while raising a large family and tending to a farm.  When his youngest grandchildren started asking about the war he found some healing by sharing stories with family and fellow veterans, but the questions themselves remained.

In 2004, 60 years after the battle he accompanied a number of veterans back to those battlefields. Considering the devastation of the homes, the cities and the lives that were directly impacted by the battles, grandpa was not sure what kind of a welcome they would receive.  Much to his surprise, everywhere they went they were treated as heroes!