Like most people, I can remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing when I first saw that first plane hit the first tower.
Disbelief, shock, fear, anger, helplessness, compassion… all those things that consumed my very being, overtake me every time I see those images again. Fifteen years and those pictures still leave me feeling shattered. I can not begin to imagine what they do to the survivors, and the loved ones of those who were murdered, and those who gave their lives for their fellow-men and women.
Our country is so divided right now. I guess election year politics will always do that to some degree. But I feel this is so much more than that. It seems to me that tolerance, and political correctness, have taken the place of old-fashioned reason and common sense.
We are still in the middle of a war on terror. Radical…
My husband and I like to watch American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and The Voice. We like to watch ordinary people being discovered for their talents, and have their life forever changed.
I have not been discovered on a big stage in front of millions of people. Never the less, my life has been changed forever. It didn’t change by my once in a life time performance, but by the lifetime of love and guidance of Daddy’s hands and heart.
My dad is a cowboy. He loves the wide open range of yesterday’s life. He loves the blue skies shining down on pastures dotted with cattle and horses. If he was able, that is where he would be today.
He loved his vocation of a cattle rancher and horse trainer. But Dad never put his work above his wife or children. In fact, he blended us into it. We went with him when he rode, moved cows, fed cows, or irrigated. I would ride a horse beside him when he was training a new horse. When he showed horses, we were watching on the side lines.
Dad has given me so much advice and guidance over the years. Most of it was not verbal. Most of it was observed, watching the way he treated people; his family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. I learned from the way he treated, his pets, (who were also his friends, and working companions), and the cattle and horses under his care.
He taught me how to see the beauty in life, no matter where I was at. He taught me how to appreciate the little things, and how to laugh at myself.
If I was hurt, he had sympathy for me, but wouldn’t let me feel self-pity. He would say, and he still does, “It will grow back smarter!’
Dad also encouraged me to dream my own dreams. It is funny how life turns out. I did dream my own dreams, but they seem to have mirrored a lot of his. I love the same kind of life he lived. I think that is because he made my life growing up so full, I couldn’t imagine a better way to live.
I am lucky. God blessed me when he put me in the strong, loving, and kind hands of my father. He is indeed my American Idol. I love you so much Jim Craig!
This has been a hard couple of weeks for me. I lost two friends, and my Grandmother, Nita.
Too much death, too much sorrow; but so many memories, and so much hope. That is pretty much the roller-coaster of emotions I have been on.
The death of a loved one is always hard. When there are so many in such a short amount of time, it makes you realize how very short life is. No one is promised tomorrow, or even the rest of today for that matter. Don’t take any day for granted. Live, love, laugh, give hope, give forgiveness.
All three of the people I recently lost, I believe were examples of that.
Nita married my grandfather, Ed after my grandmother, Odessa died. She became a loving grandmother to me. I loved her so very much. She was always smiling, always gave me hugs, and little gifts. Not big expensive gifts, but the kind that touched your heart. They were crocheted Christmas ornaments, sea shells, poems or stories she found inspirational; those kind of gifts.
She loved my Granddad. She loved his family. She loved me. She loved people, and animals. She loved the ocean. She made my life better.
My Granddad died several years ago at 101 years old. Nita continued to live independently until she lost most of her vision to Macular Degeneration. She has lived the last couple of years in a nursing home.
Even though she didn’t like it there, she always tried to find the positive around her. She would quote her sister and say “We just have to look for the good around us, and take one day at a time.”
Nita’s vision was pretty well gone. Because of that her mobility was very limited as well. Most all of her family had passed away and she was lonely. She talked of her death often the last year. But it was not really in a negative tone. Nita would tell me how much she missed my Granddad, her sister, and others who had passed before her. She would tell me how she couldn’t wait to see them again, and Jesus. She was ready to see Jesus!
Nita was 104. She would laugh and say, “Can you believe that?” Just before we would hang up the phone, she would ask me to pray a special prayer for her. I told her I would. Then she would say, “Sherry, I have lived a wonderful life. I love you all so much, but I am tired. Please pray Jesus will take me home soon.”
I told her I loved her too, and I would pray as she asked.
Jesus heard us.
I am sad for me, but very happy for her. Nita is with Granddad once again. She is looking at loved ones through healed eyes. She is no longer lonely. Jesus is by her side.
And that is where my “hope” lies also. I know and love Jesus as well, and I know I will see this sweet lady again!
My heart, oh how it aches. Another dear friend has left this earth.
This life is so fleeting. When I was young I never thought about time much…except I thought it drug on forever. From the time school started until Christmas break, seemed like years. Now from one Christmas until the next seems like days. Please, my family and friends that I love, and complete strangers out there, if you haven’t asked Jesus into your heart, and asked Him to be Lord of your life, please…..don’t wait any longer. Do it now. Jesus said we are like the grass of the field; here today and gone tomorrow.
That is how it was with Shelly. She was full of life, vibrant, laughing, and loving those around her. Then from out of nowhere she was having severe headaches. She went to the hospital and discovered she had stage IV melanoma cancer. In less than two short weeks God claimed her sweet soul.
Shelly radiated joy. She wore it like a halo. She had bad times in her life, like we all do. But I never once met her anywhere, or under any circumstance, that she didn’t break into that big wide, warm, smile of hers. She was full of hugs. Her eyes sparkled like only those that love life can.
She comes by those characteristics naturally. They were given to her by two of the most special people I’ve ever met….her parents.
Shelly will be missed by so many people. Our hearts are heavy with mourning right now.
Even though God tells us not to mourn, like those who do not know Him, he never tells us not to mourn. Jesus himself cried and mourned for his friend Lazarus, even when he knew he was about to raise him from the dead.
I know Shelly is in a place where there is no more pain or tears. I know she knows Jesus. I know I will see her again. I know, like her dad, Johnny told me, with tears of grief in his eyes, that “We have a good God.”
But my heart still aches. I miss that radiant smile.
My husband Mike used to own a contract wildland fire fighting company called Castle Creek Fire. He had an engine and a water tender and used to work on fires like this one. My daughter and now son-in-law worked along side of him.
The work is dangerous, hard, both physically and mentally, and sometimes, greatly under appreciated.
However, they all loved it. They loved the adrenaline rush, and they loved being able to save property and lives, sometimes at the risk of their own.
Me, I loved it when they came home safe.
Firefighters are a special breed of people. They run into fires when human instinct (definitely mine) is to run from them.
Most people who have ever had fire threaten their homes and community and see up close what firefighters do and what they go through, gain a sense love and appreciation for their selfless acts of courage.
I know from personal experience when the Derby fire burned part of our ranch, and many in our community lost homes and structures, what a God send they were. I don’t know what we all would have done without them. My husband, both sons-in-laws, daughter, and many friends and neighbors were part of that crew.
My husband and daughter no longer fight fire, for which I’m thankful. I do still have two sons-in-laws still active on local rural fire departments.
In fact, Travis, who worked with my husband and daughter is an EMT and Battalion Chief on the Columbus Fire Dept, and is one of the firefighters on this fire.
We were out for a Sunday drive and stopped and took pictures of some of the fire. It was started next to the freeway and quickly crested the hill and is threatening homes in that area. I know they issued an evacuation notice yesterday and am praying it is now under control.
Mike was able to get some amazing photos of jet retardant planes dropping retardant to make an effective fire line. He also got some good shots of helicopters making water drops on hot spots. It was pretty amazing to watch.
I love looking through old pictures. My sister and I don’t really look-alike physically. We are three years apart. Our facial features are different, our personalities are different. Our body types are different. Even as children, she was taller and more slender and I was short and stocky! Unfortunately (for me) it is the same today.
When I started going through pictures of our young years, it occurred to me that our Mother secretly wanted twins! I am only sharing a couple here, but there are ALOT of pictures of us wearing the same outfits.
I didn’t remember us dressing alike so much until the pictures reminded me. When I think back now, I can remember more alike outfits than we have pictures for!
At first I thought that this was odd. When I was talking to my Sis, she laughed and said , “I don’t think Mom really wanted twins! If you remember, she ordered most of our clothes out of Sears and Penney’s catalogues!”
Apparently we either always wanted the same outfit, or they were cheaper by “two’s!”
Anyway, I love that I looked “a little” like my big sister!