HONOR FLIGHT FOR VETS – THE UNDER APPRECIATED


Would it be possible for a daughter to be more proud of her father?  I think not.  I am proud to tell you that my father, TSgt. Bill Thoms Sr. (USAF ret.) was among 40 war veterans chosen to make an Honor Flight.  Veterans of WWII, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam war boarded a flight out of Austin, Texas on September 7, 2018, destination Washington DC.  The goal:  giving these under appreciated vets a chance to view, touch, and acknowledge the war memorials erected to serve as a reminder of hard-fought freedom, a service they provided with their blood, sweat, and tears.  Oh, I know that’s a cliche, but do you see the truth in it? Can you imagine what these men and women went through, what they saw, how they felt?  I can’t.  Although I was raised an Air Force brat, all I knew as a child was that Daddy was always gone somewhere across the world.  I was too young to understand the whys and wherefores but I do remember the fear that plagued the hearts of my older brother and I while he was at war.

Dad is a veteran of Korea and Vietnam wars. He offered 22 years of his life to the United States Air Force.  He served his country with an uncommon pride. He was a good leader and teacher who had a heart for the young airman he ‘sarged’ who were away from their families and were decidedly homesick.  He would bring them home on weekends and holidays to ease their angst.

Another thing about Dad, he loves his family.  His grandson Will accompanied him as his required guardian – as if he needed one!  (Even at 87, Dad is amazingly with it.)  It was just as important and moving for the grandson as it was for the grandfather.  How lucky was Will and what an awesome opportunity!  I’d be willing to bet these two share memories that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives.  No doubt, no doubt at all.

Please enjoy the following pictures of this dream-come-true trip made possible by Honor Flight Austin.  It is a privilege for me to share them.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad and Will getting ready to leave.  And no, that’s not a hat on Dad’s head.  Honored to accompany the Vets was Brian Manley, Austin Chief of Police.

dad escort Honor Flight Escort

 

 

 

 

 

dad in the middleLook at these wonderful Vets!  Dad is the 4th one in the second row.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad getting chummy with the President.  The Air Force Monument, and the boys in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

IMG-1367 Air Force Memorial with the Pentagon in the background.  He served them and he served them well.

 thumbnail_IMG-1363              Dad proudly sitting in front of the WWII memorial, Texas pillar.  Too young to serve in that war, but proud nevertheless.

viet nam mem  The Vietnam Memorial Wall.   His opportunity to see it is long past due.  Bless his heart.

thumbnail_IMG-1373 Air Force Monument.  I can imagine Dad just about burst at the seams when he saw this one.  For many years the Air Force was his life.

tomb of the unk solAt the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Dad is the 3rd from the left.

Please note the link I have included.  It is from the Fox 7 news in Austin, Texas.    Really good viewing that shows the Vet’s parade, etc.

http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/honor-flight-brings-40-veterans-to-washington-dc

AND THEN THERE WAS THE WELCOME HOME!

 

 

 

 

 

On the flight back to Austin, our vets received letters from loved ones and friends thanking them for their service.  Lots of love and tears were aboard that flight.  Once they landed in Austin, look out!  Please enjoy the following, it’s well worth the view.

 

 

I understand that all veterans deserve to be recognized.  Each and every one deserves to be saluted for their contribution, their sacrifices.  They deserve to be honored.  And by the way, I do include our men and women in the Middle East even as we speak.  I thank them all for their service.

Bill, Scott,and I, with our spouses, as well as all your grandchildren, want to thank you, Dad, for your service.  I do believe that serving your country was the most extraordinary and accomplished thing you have ever done.

Please pray for peace.  This blog post should convince you that we should pray and pray hard for peace in the world.  We’ve lost too many soldiers and loved ones.  It’s a sad, sad thing.

Eternal Father, we praise you for helping us get through these man-made conflicts that break hearts and destroy humanity.  Thank you, Lord, for these Vets who serve their country.  We ask, Lord, for your compassion and mercy for the days ahead.  We pray for peace!  Amen

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Please note:  Photo cred goes to Tina Lea of HONOR FLIGHT AUSTIN.

 

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Let me tell you about MY day!


Yesterday was quite a day for me. I had a ton of things on my to-do list, not the least of which was a fast trip to Lafayette, a Dr appointment, and having the oil changed in my car. I was only a thousand miles over due for all of it. I had to get serious and get accomplished.
The trip to Laffy was a success. Good news from the cardiologist! In fact, I told him “if this is what normal feels like, I wish I would have gotten a pacemaker years ago!” He smiled. I don’t think he quite understood me. But he’s not on the receiving end of going from 40 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute instantly. The best way I can describe it is being in a drag race. You know. You’re at the starting line and all you can do is idle. Then the green flag drops and somehow you’re in the ride of your life. This is no ordinary cruise. This is what life feels like! I’m so thankful to have that experience, especially since I’m young enough (ok, by my standards) to enjoy it. Ain’t God good?

The appointment behind me, on to lunch. The only reason I even mention it is because I wasn’t a good girl for lunch and maybe a confession is in order. In my mind the success of my doctor’s report meant I deserved to treat myself to grease, cheese, and sugar. How screwed up is that? But I never even considered I could be shooting my own self in the foot.  *sigh*  One day, I’ll learn. I’ll learn to think first. Maybe. Lord, please help me.

On to get my car’s oil changed. And gas. The little computer thing in my vehicle said I could go 48 miles before I ran out of gas which only added to my angst. Then to make matters worse, straight in front of me on this busy street, a little dog was practically skipping in the middle of the road, not a care in the world except for the two boys walking on the side of the road. He kept his eye on them but wouldn’t go to the side they were walking on. Instead he was dodging traffic and finally settled on trotting directly in front of my vehicle as if he thought he couldn’t come to any harm there. I, on the other hand, was breaking into a stress sweat, the worst possible kind according to the commercials on tv. Blowing the horn didn’t make the pup move. I rolled down the window and hollered at the boys. “Is this your dog?” The smallest one looked at me and nodded. The oldest boy just kept his face in his phone. I told them “son, you need to get your dog out of the road. He’s going to get hit or cause an accident.” The oldest boy waved me off and mumbled a few choice words I won’t repeat and something about not wanting to go all the way back home with the dog. The dog trotted to the side of the street with the boys. I drove on to the nearby gas station but I wasn’t happy. I was seriously worried about the unleashed dog and the potential for disaster. And I was fuming about the oldest boy’s attitude. In MY day… oh you know how that goes.

I was still worried after the side trip to the gas station. I had to drive back to the area I last saw the trio because it was right where I needed to go for the oil change. The boys and dog were still there. The dogs was darting everywhere, in and out of traffic, causing drivers to either brake or swerve. I pulled up beside the boys and got out of my car. “Let me have your mom’s phone number and I’ll call her to come get the dog.” The youngest started to say something, the oldest started to swear. He cursed me up one side and down the other. I lost it. An argument ensued. Yes it did. It ended with me getting back in my vehicle and retreating to a far away place in the parking lot so I could calm down. Then it hit me – call the police. So I did. The nice dispatcher listened as I relayed what was going on before very pointedly asking me if I was calling about the dog or the kids. Well, the dog of course. The belligerent kids were their mother’s problem, not mine. But I do have to admit my blood pressure had to be high. The nice lady said she would send a patrol car.
Again, I had to return to the boy’s vicinity (oil change, remember) and I parked where I could see the boys. On my way into the store, the oldest one spotted me and raised his hand, one single digit at attention. You know the one I’m talking about. He saluted me all the way to the store. The only thing I said was I’m sure your mother would be proud. That remark momentarily dropped the middle finger salute.
The store had big commercial windows that made it easy to watch what happened next.   The pup was playing in the grass on the side of the street with the youngest kid. I was happy to see the boy pick up the little thing and walk back in the direction from which he came. The oldest kid saw him leaving and caught up with him and started fussing. The little kid kept walking, apparently in defiance to what he was being told. I was proud. All this time the oldest kid never took his phone away from his face. From his expression, he seemed to be even more annoyed. About one minute later a pick-up truck pulled up behind them and a man got out. It appears heated words were exchanged. Then a police cruiser appeared, lights flashing. I turned away and went about the business of asking for an oil change. To be honest, a store clerk who watched the whole thing go down told me “good luck with that one. He comes in here and steals all the time.”
While waiting for my car to be serviced, I phoned a friend so I could ventilate. That was when I had the thought – what if the cops came into the store and arrested ME for harassing little children? Not that they were little children. The oldest was 17. I knew that because as he was spewing at me, he mentioned that he was no kid, he was 17. Lord have mercy.
The whole incident stayed with me all the way home. I fumed, I prayed, I complained to God about it. Later, I sat in the peaceful seclusion of our back porch and relayed to my husband what happened . He listened and gave me his opinion about juvenile delinquents and cautioned me to never stop anyone on the side of the street ever again. “You don’t know kids these days. One of them could have pulled out a gun and shot you!”

It wasn’t till later I finally calmed down enough to listen to what God had to say about it. Later was too late. I should have consulted Him first. He would have told me to go into the store and buy a leash for the dog, bring it to the boys and make a sorry situation better. I could have taken the high road but I didn’t. I gave into what, quite frankly, turned into a control game. I ‘lost my religion‘, as we say down here in the South. I could have, should have, done something different. I could have, should have, set a good example for the kids. I could have, should have, offered kindness and compassion. The truth is, it turns out I was a Saul before he became Paul.

Lord, I thank you for the lesson but I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t think to do the right thing. I’m sorry I didn’t practice what I preach. Please forgive me and help me do better next time. In time. Not as an afterthought. Bless those boys, Lord and please put someone in their path who can and will lead them into the right direction. And please send a dog guardian angel to take care of the pup.

Love always,
Nancy

molly

Don’t forget to pray for peace, y’all.  Let’s storm heaven with our prayers!

“My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Proverbs 2:1-5

 

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE


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I HAVE BEEN BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

 I love when I wake up in the morning and my first thought is of God and His mercy. It is a very sweet time, in depth, and endearing. It is a moment of love shared, time that I cherish. When I have the presence of mind, I ask forgiveness for my sins. Invariably I run through the list of whatever I feel needs forgiving. Seldom do I have the presence of mind to ask who I need to forgive, although He has brought to my mind a person or two whose injurious actions I have been stubborn about letting go. That part brings me to my knees. Gentle chastisement, I call it. He is famous for that which is sometimes a puzzlement to me. But after all, who am I to think that whether or not I forgive someone who hurt me is such a big deal. Well…He does. But that’s another story.

This morning I woke up with our good God on my mind. Praises on my lips quickly changed to apologies for my many sins. My mind’s eye centered on a time in my life when my behavior was less than acceptable, a time when I was troubled and desperate to find love and acceptance. My heart became heavy and sad due to the grievances of my soul. The familiar feeling of shame settled in and I began my litany of sins reaching far into the past and dredging them up to the present. Then my heart heard the Lord speak. He said something like this:

“Why do you ask forgiveness for the same sins over and over? It’s done. I have forgiven you. Besides, I don’t usually condemn people whose sins are psychologically motivated. You behaved that way for reasons you didn’t know or understand. Now that you do, be free. Let it go. You are forgiven.

Now let’s talk about the present. Tell me why you …..”

And on it went. I want to let you know that a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders this morning. I’ve been barking up the wrong tree for so long. Once I realized that I continued to claim and own my sins of the past, I could accept forgiveness for them. I can’t say I will forget my sinful behavior. That would be wrong because, you see, what I did makes me who I am today. And lucky for me, God took the opportunity to make me a better person. And for that I will be eternally grateful. I am blessed that God can take something bad and use it for the good! How great is that?!

So, good-bye past. Hello freshly forgiven soul. Have a seat and let’s you and me get busy praising our majestic God. He is merciful, and beautiful, and ultimately knows us in the most intimate way. Seek Him with your heart, not your stupid logic. Know that when you confess, He forgives.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Count your blessings and most of all, pray for peace.

 

Let’s talk about commercials for a minute….


armour of God

I can not be the only one who is appalled by the violent, sadistic, sexually exploitive commercials on TV these days. My hubs says they are all bad to him, but I concede there are some entertaining commercials, it’s just that the bad ones generally out weigh the good commercials.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be the one to say this but – what is this world coming to? Now, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box but even I get embarrassed when an R rated commercial or movie trailer shows up between segments of my favorite TV shows. No warning, mind you, just appearing whether you want it or not. For heaven’s sake, my grandchildren could be watching, to say nothing about kids whose parents do not monitor what they watch. Nudity, sexuality, profanity, violence, killing. It’s all there for the open, fresh minds of our little ones.

Oh, and don’t forget access available to adults and children for those so-called Games. Anyone can get them, anyone can play them. The vast majority of which are predominately violent. Kill as many as you can. Be as gruesome as the controls allow. Let yourself become comfortable – no, jaded – by the blood-letting. Is there anything good about them except improving dexterity of the hands and fingers?

And they call it entertainment. Here’s a disclaimer for you: I don’t play games. I’m just not into it. Except xbox. I do play xbox when my baby grands come over. Usually bowling or racing. Nothing bloody, nobody dies. But since I don’t play the kind of games I’ve been talking about, not even on my beloved facebook, the opinion expressed here is my own. And I’m entitled to it so don’t be hating on me.

I do worry about the generations coming up. I know I sound like an old fogy but I feel like I have a valid point. Violence in the world is increased immeasurably. School shootings, mall shootings, kidnapping, rape, murder, home invasions. Oh. My. God. Could it have something to do with what is tattooed on our brains day in and day out by the media? Not only that, but look at the way we jam materialism down the throats of younger generations. We allow a message of ‘you aren’t any good unless you have the biggest house, the most clothes, the coolest whatever.‘ Every person has to have a phone. these days that is a given, and it is not a bad thing. But oh, not just a phone, the latest and best money can buy. Nobody looks you in the eye anymore. It’s the top of the head you’re looking at now. I’ve got a feeling future generations will have much longer thumbs.

And another thing…. We give our kids so much stuff. It seems they loose the value of things. They think they are having fun, but you know what I think? I think they become so distracted by all the toys, electronics, etc. at their beck and call, that they are just not able to focus on ONE thing at a time. Is that good or not so good? I don’t know. But I have seen some toddlers in a situation where there were so many toys and activities they ran from one to the other and couldn’t decide what to pick up next. (And everyone of those toys makes noise. LOTS of noise.) Concentration is affected.

I like electronics. I like progress and new things. I’m happy with how far mankind has come in terms of making our lives easier and more efficient. Really, I am. I am against the path society as a whole has taken in terms of what is acceptable in this day and age. I am against forcing negativity and violence on a vulnerable population. And I am against anything that will add to the currant explosion of ADHD and learning disabled kids, to say nothing of the message that killing, rape, etc is ok behavior.

Take a deep breath. This rant is over. Pray, people, pray.

Let’s talk about Old Ladies


I’ve had a number of people ask me why I chose to write about old ladies although obviously I am not old…um, yeah…right. I chose to write Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club for many reasons. cropped-book-cover.jpg
Below I’ve posted several notable phrases to lead you into understanding my thought processes on the matter. To sum it up for you ~ “Life is a chair of bowlies” ~ Mary Englebreit.
good womanlive your life and forget your agedrop it like it's hotsee yourselfturn back odometerthinking old

AND FINALLY~
older I get

Ya’ll enjoy your life and remember this: in the end

Growing old or aging, it’s a choice we make. So is living a good life, and finding joy wherever you are, in whatever stage of life you are in. Bethany Bertrand (a character who came to life in my book) said “Our bodies may grow old but our souls don’t. They just grow.” The woman’s a genius!

While you are making the most of your life, don’t forget to pray for peace. YOUR prayer is needed!

New Generations


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It has been a great day as long as we overlook the fact that my alarm didn’t go off this morning and I needed to get up at 5 a.m. Yeah. Great, huh. The good part is that I did get to my grandbaby’s house early enough for her mom to get to work on time. This is her mama’s first year of teaching and getting to work on time is very important. You know how that is. I had another errand to run while in the local area. Sheila from Susan’s On Court/Ville Platte, Louisiana, called a few days ago and told me “I guess I need to get some of your books for the shop”. It appears my book has been requested. Yay! Today I was able to deliver a pile of my books to her. Then I stopped to see my friends at the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism to find out which one of them hooked me up with Sheila. Nobody ‘fessed up but I know someone must have! Check out the shop’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susans-on-Court/357737067641648. Sheila has a beautiful shop. Tell her I sent you.

For those of you who have grandchildren, you know there is nothing like it. It’s a love different from the one you experienced with your own children. The first time you lay eyes on your new grandbaby, you find out what real love is. True. And it will take you by surprise because it is breathtaking. Make that breath taking. You loose your breath. Or you forget to breath, something like that. Suddenly, your heart breaks open and it is filled with the strongest, most powerful love you will ever experience. It is impossible to describe. I believe I know the logic behind why it is what it is. Most people are pretty young when their children are born so by the time grandchildren come along, they (now grandparents) have more to give, ie; more experience and less confusion. By the time that new generation takes over, grandparents have already figured out what to do and when to do it. I love that part. It has worked well for me, if you get my drift.

Speaking of oldage, I used to be semi-insulted when young people called me “ma’am”. Now I like it. I even like it if a merchant asks me if I would like a senior citizen discount. Uh, yeah. Saving money, I’ll take that. I rather enjoy the status being a young older person gives me. Most kids (anyone above 8 years of age) think you are smart. The young people who don’t are those who think they know everything and grown ups are clueless. But if you come across a kid who has been raised right, you get the respect you deserve. And I really like that. I live in the southern United States and we take a lot of pride in raising our kids to be polite and respectful. Stand when an adult enters the room, hold the door open, use a napkin and no sass talk. Every good mama knows how to teach manners to her children. But grandparents? Oh yes. Grandparents are forgiving about ‘most everything else except bad manners. Bad manners can make a Granny go ballistic, just let a kid pee in the tub and see what happens. Luckily, grandchildren happily respect their elders. Plus they know Granny can stop a clock with just one little evil eye. An evil eye makes a kid freeze in their tracks. It can silence a room. It can command ships. It looks like this:

Are you scared yet?

Are you scared yet?

But that’s not all. Grandbabies love you like no one else in the whole world can. It is an amazing thing when they go Granny’s house because they want to and they love coming over so much. At Granny’s house, spoilage is applied with gusto. It is an art form that was acquired and nurtured as soon as oldage began to set in. Without a doubt and instinctually, grandbabies know who the beneficiary is. It is pleasing for everyone except the parents who have to take said spoiled babies home.

It’s my life. I live for them and if God says the same, I will enjoy a long life of grandbaby-love. My daughter-in-law said the darling little 2 year old I babysat today had a little present for me in her diaper bag. She helped her mommy color a picture and this is what it looked like:

Grandbaby #5 is on the way!

Grandbaby #5 is on the way!

This new generation…I hope and pray that the world we leave them will be better than it is now. So please pray for peace. Yes, it does count. YOUR prayer may be the one that helps.

Big Deal, I missed #7


And isn’t 7 a lucky number? Oh well, such is life.

This post is NaBloPoMo #8

Have ya’ll seen that Aleve commercial that highlights good-deed-doers(said with respect NOT sarcasm)? I saw it several times today. After about the 6th time, it occurred to me that the message was in line with something I read in the Bible. And so help me, I can’t remember where the scripture was. I thought it was in Luke but I just scoured that book and couldn’t find it. Oh well, God knows what I mean.

Anyway, back to the commercial… Several women were featured for the work they did for the poor. One of them was a single mother for many years. She said that as she was raising her son, sometimes they didn’t have enough. I am assuming she meant enough food. It was for that reason that she organized a food pantry for other people who don’t have enough.

Now, about what I read in the Bible… The passage was about worshiping idols. I had a prayer partner tell me one time, or maybe more, that when we make something more important than our time with God, that is the definition of idolatry. If you work harder on something and put more effort into it, think about it constantly, go out of your way to do/see/eat, etc. than you are worshiping an idol, making the thing you love more important than God is in your life.

So the Aleve commercial jogged my brain and suddenly I saw that these good-deed-doers were actively doing the opposite of worshiping idols. They were taking care of business. They were sharing God’s love. They were a visible sign of what it means to love one another. I mean they went out of their way to do good deeds. It was their love, what they spent the most time doing. Clearly, not worshiping the things of the world, material things. At least that’s the way the commercial presented them if I’m not wrong.

What I’m trying to say in my tongue-tied way is think about what you love, what you spend the most time doing and arranging your life around. If it’s not the Divine Creator, than be careful, you may be worshiping idols. It is a useless, pointless way of life. How smart you are, what you have accomplished, how many books you’ve written, awards won, kudos showered upon you, how well you apply your talents – none of that means a thing if they become your idol. As a modern people, we have forgotten that. Information bombards us from every direction (no wonder our kids are ADD) and our thoughts are removed from what should be first and foremost.

Trust me, I am the last person who should be holier-than-thou. I can be judgmental, bad tempered, self-righteous, etc., etc., etc. I enjoy the pleasures of this world too. I love to write, create art, cater to the grandchildren every time I get a chance. Sometimes the things of this world consume me. Not one of us is perfect. I need to face up to what I am spending most of my time doing and weigh that in with how much time I spend doing His will. Damn little, I suspect.

Today I learned this: It’s not what I do that disappoints God. It’s what I dont do. If I don’t make time for Him and spend all my time doing worldly things, what good am I? It seemed to me that the do-gooders on the Aleve commercial had a peace about them. I’ve met people like that before and it seems they all do. In fact, I have a brother who is a do-gooder and he has that same peace about him. All of those people don’t seem like they would worry about a bad book review in the big pile of good ones, or waiting in line to purchase the latest technological toy, or the must-have new boots, dress, career. What matters is doing what does put a smile on God’s face. That is putting the worship and praise where it belongs. It can be as simple as loving one another.

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And don’t forget to pray for peace.