Remembrance, Support, Veterans, WWII

VETERANS DAY 2013

My generation grew up on WWII stories. Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the war, became a movie star by reprising his exploits on the big screen. Our neighbor, Bob Chapman, told how he hid from Nazis in a barn somewhere in Europe. We were fascinated by a helmet, Luger and other memorabilia he brought back from combat.
His son, Bill, my brother, Will, and cousin, Ted, played at war games in which they shot the imaginary enemy and sometimes fell down wounded. But they always rose to fight another day. Looking back I suppose I was the wartime correspondent, filing stories and shooting film of their battles because one of those scenes still plays in my brain as I write this.

Bill & Will

Will and his friends came of age during the days of the draft, just in time for Vietnam. Many of  them spent time in the military. As most of you know, Will didn’t survive his second tour of duty as an Army helicopter pilot.


The reality of war is far removed from little boys’ games. Yet, we need brave men and women to play those roles in the real world. My heart goes out to all the families who’ve lost loved ones to war and to those who have come home wounded in body and spirit.

I don’t know what it’s like to be in combat, but I’ve known a number of the men and women who have either experienced it first hand or have trained vigorously for the eventuality. I have the greatest respect for them all.

We owe these people more than most of us civilians will ever understand. They and their families have made great sacrifices while we have gone happily about our lives.

So today, I want to say thank you to the all the courageous men and women who have put yourselves on the line to ensure that the United States of America remains free and strong.

God bless you and God bless America. 

Here are just a few veterans I’ve been privileged to know.
 

 

 
 

My neighbor Cissy flew Blackhawk Helicopters
 

 
Pat & Paige are still serving our country.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
I’m proud to have known each and every one of you.
I salute you!
 
 
 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. Sam. 22:30
Authenticity, Blogging, courage, Encouragement, Individuality, Support

THE POWER OF THREE

Timmy, Max & Lucy are poster children for competing and comparing at dinnertime.

Anytime I read or hear something three times, I stop and take note, which is one of the reasons my experience at the 2013 Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference was so meaningful.
Arkansas Women Bloggers


Although the offerings and speakers varied, each person, in her own unique way, presented some of the same principles I’ve been hearing at gatherings of writers over the past year. Each AWB speaker confirmed the advice of a previous mentor. Which takes me back my Rule of Three: Pay attention to the truth of a repeated message.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard again and again over past twelve months.

Don’t Compare!    Don’t Compete!     Don’t Compromise!

Wait a minute! If we’re going for the gold or a big scholarship, we’d be foolish not to compare our performance with others seeking the same thing. How can you break a record if you don’t know how you line up with your competition?

It’s a given that no one wants to lose that tennis game or play on a noncompetitive team. But that will happen if we don’t compete. Right?

And anyone who has been in a close relationship knows that compromise is important when family, colleagues or friends disagree. It’s a sign of maturity not to always demand your way. Maybe their way is better.

If Competition, Comparison and Compromise are such important components of our culture and obviously a part of human DNA, why don’t they belong in the world of writing?

Perhaps it’s partly because the creative arts are subjective. They can’t be evaluated by a stopwatch, scoreboard or test key. Even though there are guidelines in writing, we’ve all read things that appeal to us that aren’t the norm. Throw out a topic and take note of how differently individuals approach it.

I’m blessed to be in a critique group that meets once a  month to discuss one another’s writing. For the most part, our group focuses on the positive, but we also challenge each other to do our best work. Otherwise, why meet? It has stretched me at times, but my writing is better for  it. And we’ve formed friendships because our work is done in a spirit of encouragement, not comparison and competition.

Recognizing our natural tendencies to compete and compare is the first step in creating a healthy support group. If we don’t, the Three Cs will separate and reduce us both individually and collectively. As with much of life, these challenges are intertwined, so the answers to them overlap.

Here are just a few of the things I heard at AWB and other gatherings this year that resounded with me. Most can be applied to other facets of our lives, too. 

DON’T COMPARE

It’s Okay to Be Who You Are!

To find my voice, I must Be Relentlessly Authentic.

To be Truly Authentic, I must write from my Own Experiences.

The answer to “Who am I to blog?” is:
I am a Person with Stories.

We’re all on Individual Journeys, but they all involve the same Universal Truths.

Don’t look at numbers, just write what’s on your heart.

Your message Won’t Appeal to everyone, but Your Audience Will Find You.

Authenticity is a Powerful Force.

DON’T COMPETE


I lost track of the number times we were reminded to look for ways to encourage and promote one another at AWBU. In this dog-eat-dog world, it doesn’t come naturally. But when you realize the other person is pulling for you, it’s easier to do the same.

Don’t be a Blog Snob, Promote Others.

         Invite people to Guest Post.

Find blogs that Nourish Your Soul. Read. Comment. Interact.

 DON’T COMPROMISE

It’s so important that I’m going to say it again:

It’s Okay for Us to Be Who We Are!

That involves accepting ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Just find the middle ground. Don’t blast your readers with a daily dose of angst, complaints or too much information.

Be Fearless.

Stop doing what the other guy is doing.

Ask yourself: What is my passion?

What do I know to be true

                                                                                       Curly Girl (Leigh Standley) is my inspiration


Remember that accepting and owning your own individual strengths, weaknesses and experiences makes you unique.

Don’t discount the power of your voice.

There was enough wisdom dispensed at AWBU to fill several posts. The bottom line for me is that I felt empowered by the support and encouragement of the women I met and the speakers I heard that weekend. I’m encouraging my blogging friends to join Arkansas Women Bloggers www.arkansaswomenbloggers.com and to attend the 2014 AWBU with me! 
 
We need each other. We’re more powerful when we band together.


I have to express special appreciation to my friend, Talya Boerner, for prodding me to start a blog, helping me set it up, holding my hand all along the way and for telling me, “You need to join Arkansas Women Bloggers. You need to go to this conference.” 
Talya is the perfect role model for this wonderful organization!

If you haven’t read her blog http://gracegritsgarden.com, I hope you will today.

T, You’re the best! I love you!

And thanks to all my friends who take time to read, like, share and comment on my blog. You are Wonderful!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Cor. 5:11