Remembering our Veterans

Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC

Life as a child was fairly simple for me even with the challenges that came from having three siblings, a mother attending nursing school during the day and then working the graveyard shift, and a father who’s job at times took him out of the country. Our days were in constant motion, all chipping in to do our part and the conversations around the dinner table were mainly those of the day’s activities.

I can’t remember exactly my age when I came to realize my father was an American soldier, a man who fought for his country, a man who mourned for his friends who didn’t return from Korea, and a man that was grateful to God for sparing his life.

Having been born in the mid 1960’s overseas and not moving to the US until the 1970’s, war, soldiers, terror, and world conflict wasn’t in the forefront of our daily living and conversation as it is now. My father, being the modest and private man he is, never spoke of his service or the dark days of the Korean War. Even present day, at the age of 86, my father safe guards the days of war closely, never offering or mentioning the service he gave. The lack of sharing his experiences during those years spent, is evidence enough of the horrific days he must have endured.

It wasn’t but a few years ago during a visit with my parents at my home in Arlington, VA, that we all decided to visit the Korean War  Memorial in Washington, DC. As you can imagine, living in the Metro DC area and having many family members and friends often staying with us, the trips to the memorials are more numerous than I can count. To say the truth, none of the visits to the museums or memorials particularly stand out in my mind except for the one with my father. That evening couldn’t have been more emotionally stirring and poignant.

The day we visited, the mood was partially set by the evening sky, cool air, and earlier rain.
The aged man, the Army war solider that I have the privilege of calling dad, was standing at the feet of replica soldiers lined up in rows of Juniper shrubs as though they were walking through the rice paddies of Korea. The 38 soldiers were made wearing rain ponchos that appear to be blowing in the wind, some covering their equipment. The soldiers guns are either hanging off their shoulders or held firmly by their side. The expressions on their faces saying a thousand words.

We had the memorial on this particular evening almost to ourselves. Tourist season had since passed and the cool and rainy weather wouldn’t be very welcoming to most. It was a perfect evening for us, quiet, mood provoking, and the memorials were dimly lit because of nightfall. I find the war memorials in the evenings to be especially beautiful, they are perfectly lit with night lighting that casts the perfect amount of light on the images and stone walls.

My father, strolled through the Korean Memorial at a snail’s pace, taking it all in row by row and ending up at the Pool of Remembrance where the words are displayed “Freedom is not Free.” As I glanced over at my father, I could see the tears flooding his eyes and eventually spilling over and running down his face. He takes his cotton handkerchief from his pocket, wipes his tears and continues to walk over to the Wall of Remembrance. Here, over 2,400 photographs from the National Archives of the Korean War have been etched into the black granite wall.

I don’t know that I have ever felt more pride for my father than at that moment. My father is a quietly strong and modest man, a man who loves his country, God and family. A man I’m so proud to call dad .

As we all remember Veteran’s Day, please pray for all those that have served our country and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

Mary-Anne

 

 

Embracing the Fall

Celebrating the Seasons of Life.

The color vibrance all around us screams change is coming or change is here. Most of us, if not all of us, embrace the new season with anticipation and all that comes with it. I think it is high time we have the same attitude about the seasons of life! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel excited about our next stage in life as we age? How can we do this? One way I’m trying to embrace my age and feel good about it, is to embrace my days and fill them with actually living them, sometimes that means even in small ways. Creating a bucket list for the seasons is a great way to embrace and ensure you experience the changing seasons and all they offer. I’m working on an “age/stages of life bucket list” that I will share with you in the near future. For now, embrace your season of life and nature’s as well.

Fall foliage on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

Take a hike and enjoy all the vibrance of nature. State parks are all around us, find one close to you. I like to take a flask or thermos of something seasonally yummy… an apple cider, hot chocolate, or mulled wine. Nature only happens like this once a year so go and enjoy!

I love visiting Lowery’s Farm each Fall on the Eastern Shore. Their pumpkin patch is always a treat.

 

 

Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. This can be a fun day for all ages. Plan on going with your family, girlfriends, or grandchildren. Then treat yourself, family and friends with baking some delicious pumpkin bread!

My dad’s Texas Chili recipe is a family favorite. He often adds a hefty dose of venison.

Make Chili or try new fall recipe- My family knows with the first crisp fall air comes chili.

Time to pull out my J. Crew sweater! Temperatures are starting to drop.

Add something of fall color to your wardrobe. I love to throw on a blanket scarf in fall plaids with a chunky sweater and a pair of boots.

Lowery’s Farm is a favorite of mine with their selection of Indian Corn and Gourds.

Decorate your home with Indian corn and gourds or hang an Autumn wreath on your front door.

It’s hard to beat the wonderful Apple Cider Donuts at Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, VA.

Savor the flavors of Autumn. My favorite is apple cider donuts this time of year. You can also bake seasonal inspired goodies such as apple toffee muffins or sip on Autumn inspired tea, coffee, or a latte.

Write Thanksgiving notes and let those you love and appreciate know you are thankful for them.

 

Yes, it’s me!

Everything about Autumn is in the air this morning. Upon rising, I was eager to tie up my running shoes and deeply inhale the cool crispy air of the Chesapeake Bay. What a blessing to be here on this fall morning in the beauty of nature. I’ve decided that today in addition to soaking in all that nature gives me, I will also spend time deliberately listening to God speak. Instead of allowing my mind to race and be full of insecurities and anxieties about creating this blog, I will breathe slowly, be mindful of my goals and intentions, and just quietly listen to the voice I hear and where my heart leads me.

So why would I endeavor into such an adventure to write, and share my thoughts, my inspiration and life with others? And why now? You would have to fully understand my path, my story up to these years I’m living in now. I find myself at times reflecting on the past decade of my life which has shaped me to be incredibly grateful for the now, the health of my family and the blessings and gifts of everyday.

There’s a strong desire inside me to make every day count, to be more, to give more, and to live more. So here I am blogging about living in the middle of my story and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next. I’m determined to live abundantly with intent, purpose, and a dash of adventure!

I hope you will join me and share your thoughts and story during these incredible years and the way you are making them some of the best days of your life.

Live your best life now.
Mary-Anne