Monday, May 28, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY


    Today we observe #Memorial#Day.  For some, today is recognized as a #Federal holiday; a day off from work with pay.  Others associate today as a time to prepare their pools for the summer, time to plan their summer vacation to the beach, time to get their boats and fishing gear ready and time to fire up the grills.  
     For many others, today will be a day for them to grieve, to hang on to the good memories they still have and mourn the loss of their loved ones who served in the US Military.  


     Umbrella in hand and my camera, I visited a local cemetery near my home where my ancestors are buried.  I walked amongst the tombstones in the misting rain with mixed emotions of sadness, gratitude, and admiration.  

    As I walked along the graveyard searching for the tombstones with small flags saturated from the rain I wondered what the soldiers' lives were like growing up.  Were they from a large farming family or were any of them orphaned?   Did they get to finish high school?  Did they leave a sweetheart behind?  So many unanswered questions and a part of history we will not ever know. 

     Visiting the graves of the soldiers, I just didn't take a photo and rush on.  I patiently took my time and lingered for a few moments.  Some more than others because I had to clean off the nameplates on the ground.  (Trees and mother nature hasn't been kind to some).  I took time to read their name, read their birthdates, death dates and then I 'Thanked them' (by name) for their service, for their belief in our nation, for their courage, for their strength to leave their families behind to serve their country, for their integrity, for their never-ending bravery, and for their sacrifice to keep us free.  



     I wondered what it was like for these young men to go away from home to a new a strange environment.  Did their parents approve?  Or how many didn't have a father, just a mother, and siblings?  It had to have been very difficult and I'm sure the color of their skin and their deep, old-Oxford-Dutch dialogue caused them to be center of attention when they first arrived for basic training.  (If you're wondering - the soldiers are all Native American from the Lumbee (North Carolina Tribe.) 


Today, I took time from my way overdue chores, from my manuscript to visit and pay my respects to my ancestors at the family cemetery on Memorial Day.  This is something I used to do with my grandparents when I was a child.  They didn't wait until Memorial Day or any other special holiday, they went when the notion struck.  As I remember, it was at least once a month.  
     This last photo is of my maternal uncle's grave.  I visited his grave last.  I stood on the small brick retaining wall surrounding the family plot and thanked my Uncle for his service to our country.  
     As I drove home, I wondered how many others would visit the graves of our soldiers today?   







     

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Faith to chase Your dream


For we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7


Do you have enough of faith to chase after your dream?  That's a tough question to answer, especially today in a world that thrives and functions on competitiveness.  
 Growing up, I was interested in writing but didn't know how to pursue it.  I remember asking my 12th grade English teacher about pursuing a writing career.  
"You need to attend a college with a good English department," was her only response. I didn't have a clue on how to determine which colleges had good English departments or not.  I spoke with my guidance counselor and expressed my desire to attend a college with a good English department because I wanted to be a writer.  "Pick something else," she shook her head at me sitting in her office.  "You'll starve to death."  I remember how angry I became slamming the door behind me as I stormed out of her office.    
A few years after high school life responsibilities took over and my dreams were put on the back burner.  
For twenty years, my desire to write not once faded nor dwindled.  It became stronger.  While writing my first book, 'A Sister's Love', I accepted it would be my only book and my life as I knew it would return to normal: work, home, church on Sundays, repeat.  But it didn't. I had no warning another book idea would develop from driving down highway US 1 near Sanford, NC after seeing a small log cabin nestled in the trees facing a small man-made lake.  Or on a hot, muggy July morning watching a man walk down I-95 carrying a huge backpack with a small American flag displayed on it.  
Every time my mind reverts to the negative excuses and reasons why I shouldn't write or I'm not a good writer I'm reminded why I love to write.  It's not about gaining fame or money.  I have a deep desire to share my stories with great hope they will someday inspire others to follow their dreams.  
So, what about you?  Do you have faith to pursue your dream?  The first step is acknowledging your dream.  Easy, right?  The second step is to write a plan of action to achieve your dream.  Even if baby steps, it's a walk on faith in the right direction towards your dream. 
 
 

Today is a special day for all those who are serving and have served in the U.S. Military.  Today is Veteran's Day. Today, I want t...