Tag: thanksgiving

day 14: the power

It has not been such a great week for me in the realm of girl power. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth, I’ve had a short fuse, and even though I know better than to lean my ladder on anyone, I lost focus and was severely disappointed.

I have this informal playlist… maybe you do too? … of girl power anthems. I’m way behind the times on music, so most of the things are old. I get my new tunes by watching TV or downloading the free songs from Starbucks. Er, anywho, these are all included…

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I could link the songs, but seriously… you know them.

Anyway, these are a sample of my go-to songs for righteous indignation. You can’t hurt me. You can’t steal my wind. You can’t make me fit in a box. Nah-nah-nah…which eventually turns into wah, wah, wah, because mostly when I am turning to these songs, someone has wounded me (sometimes it’s me), and I need to punch through the hurt and come out whole.

Yeah. What can I say? I am flawed. Deeply.

The problem, of course, is not all the other people; it is my focus on them.

And so today, at the end of a long two days that didn’t ultimately feel so positive, and hours before another long one that is going to be awesome (because we’re beginning to celebrate Randa’s 7th birthday), I want to get back to my center… to the power that I do have. It has nothing to do with proving I am right, or strong, or declaring my needs and that I can meet them all by myself. It;s actually the opposite.

I have the power to approach the King, to tell Him what’s up in my tiny little world, and trust that He will show me what to do.

“Truth is it’s time to stop playing these games
We need a Word for the people’s pain,
So Lord, speak right now, let it fall like rain.We’re desperate, we’re chasing after you…
Take me to the King.
I don’t have much to bring.
My heart is torn in pieces… it’s my offering.”

day 13: what food does

Breakfast like my grandparents liked it… hot tea with milk and sugar, a toasted English muffin with butter in the nooks and crannies…
Lunch with work friends… a rare day out all together to celebrate a birthday, Carolina seafood style: (there was sushi too, just so it wasn’t all fried…)

Dinner was fun too: Rod brought the girls to church/my office and we all stayed and ate pizza with more friends before church started.

I know in many places food is an important necessity turned luxury that is hard to come by. The importance placed on all its connotations is very ‘first world.’ In this world where I live, I am grateful for food that can be shared, the memories it can invoke, and the memories it helps to make.

day 11: yellow ribbons

This a post I made last night that I’d like to preserve:

dad's dog tags

Today in church, after a beautifully sung a Capella national anthem, I turned around and really, really hugged a stranger, a vet, with tears in his eyes and mine. I hugged him for every vet that I can’t thank personally. He was in Vietnam, like my dad. I’m thankful every day for what this country means to us and who defends it… I’m also really proud & grateful that my dad gave me these… That stranger told me later when I ‘met’ him (and apologized in case I was inappropriate:) that when he hears the song, he thinks about his 9 months over there. How dare we ever take it lightly…the flag IS still flying.

I was raised with a sense of patriotism. I was raised in the Midwest by church-going, blue-color-working, military-supporting patriots. My maternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, and to this day, they were some of those most America-loving people I know. Their basement was decorated with photos of presidents (all Republican, save for JFK, a good Irish-Catholic lad ;) ), military tributes, and The Flag. My dad served in Vietnam in the army, and my brother in the National Guard. {And I married into a similar family… my husband served briefly, as did his dad, and his stepdad retired from the Air Force}.

My first real introduction to what it means to support our soldiers was during Desert Storm. I went to a junior high that was all in. Our computer classes spent a lot of time word-processing letters to the troops (thanks to our awesome teacher, Mr. Griffin!) We tied yellow ribbons and talked about current affairs in class, and my friends and I watched CNN (another crush: Charles Jaco on CNN, whose super-hero like coverage during the first night is now reported to be fake. Good grief, I was a weird kid).yellow-ribbon1

Desert Storm took place when I was in eighth grade. My uncle’s brother-in-law (got that?) served there in the Marines, and I wrote to him while he was there. When he came home, we had a party for him at my grandparents house. I remember two things about that night: One is that, of course, I fell in “crush” with him and thought of him each of the eleventy-thousand times I listened to “On My Own” from Les Miserables that summer.

The second and important thing I remember is a conversation between him and my dad. My Dad, a sappy Italian soul, thanked Andy with tears in his eyes. And Andy, a young and respectful Marine, told my Dad, “All these parades and everything should be for you guys.”

Wow, wow, wow.

When 9/11 happened, love for country took on a new meaning. Among many encounters and special memories from that time, I began my first version of blogging, which I dug up tonight on the “way back machine.” That was the only time in my life when the country seemed smaller, more personal, and unified.

Patriotism is a lot more complicated today. Connotations of political and religious affiliations often skew the real meaning of it. The simplicity of it is an attachment, an affection, for one’s country and culture. Let me tell you, from the freedom to worship to Chicago’s skyline to Hollywood movies to the South Carolina shore, there is a whole bunch I love about this country. We can all lament about what it used to be and may never be again, but for everything it has remained, we have our military to thank. And we do… we so do.

day 9: no regrets

ELEVEN years ago today, a single, type-A girl moved in with the love of her life, 13 years older, and his kids, 13 & 15 years younger, respectively.

Somehow we made it through housekeeping, disciplining, 2 more kids, and many, many other differences and lessons.


Tonight, most of those same people will gather at our home, 1000 miles away from where we started, and put ornaments on the tree.

Our love story, our family picture, it is so far from perfect. And the holidays between then and now sure held their shares of ups and downs (just ask us to tell you about 2008, the Christmas decorating day from hell, complete with stomach flu…). I have often asked myself if I have any regrets, and the truth is, yes. I regret the times I was not honest with myself or with others. I regret the people I hurt by not meeting their expectations of me. I regret the time I wasted trying to fix things that I could not control.


But I don’t regret our unconventional, slightly cracked, beautiful family. I would not trade it for any other.