Sunday, June 13, 2010

Semper Fi - Always Faithful

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

I experienced something a week ago Saturday that I've never experienced in person before.

I attended the funeral services for a fallen serviceman. He was the 1,000th claimed by Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I've watched services on TV before and seen photos and reenactments, but never been in attendance myself.

We were just five of hundreds entering the church - a modern building with high ceilings and concrete floors. I've been in this particular church several times before and the noise generated by folks in the building is amplified and rather distracting. As we entered this day you could barely hear shoes touch the floor. Not a whisper, sniff or shuffle. None of the babies there even made the slightest sound. It was beautifully reverent and respectful.

Photo I took from the balcony before I noticed the "no photo's note ate the end of the program.

Even inside it was silent as those in the packed sanctuary just stood quietly facing the flag draped casket of Marine Corporal Jacob Leicht.

My children sat with rapt attention as each of four Marines, an older and a younger brother and a pastor from Cpl Leicht's early years spoke about what a determined, motivated, and Christian man he was, always thinking of others, always doing his best and always faithful.

Tears slipped silently down our cheeks as we all sang the Naval Hymn and then listened to a cello mournfully play the Marine Hymn. I doubt there was a dry eye in the room as a slideshow of Cpl Leicht's life in pictures ended and two bagpipers playing Amazing Grace descended the stairs from the balcony and stopped at the foot of his casket.

We were then honored to stand with members of our church family as the funeral procession drove past. Many had stayed after services that day and waited near the road with American flags in hand to offer their respect and gratitude to this fallen hero and his family from our community. It seemed like every police and sheriff car in the county was there as well as fire trucks from our town and nearby towns and nearly 100 rumbling Patriot Guard cyclists. The procession lasted for 20 minutes.

The view from in front of our church of the beginning of the 20 minute procession.

There were at least 100 riding with the Patriot Guard.

There's no such thing as an ex-Marine.

My son, Zachary, with our flag from home.

We did not personally know Cpl Leicht, his widow, Leslie, or his parents and five siblings, but we had heard of him before. We had been praying with this fellow homeschooling family for his recovery from severe leg and face injuries he received on his first overseas tour in 2007. The Humvee he was driving had gone over two 500 pound IED's buried in that road in Iraq. Thankfully, only one of the bombs exploded and none of the men aboard were killed that day.

Eighteen surgeries and two years later he received his wish to return to the front of battle with his Marine brothers - this time in Afghanistan.

I can say that if this had been my husband or son I would have begged, pleaded and cried for him to take his Purple Heart and the well deserved medical discharge with disability benefits for the rest of his life and live out my "American dream".

But that's not what this true American Hero did.

If you visit the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia you might see this inscription:

"Not for fame or reward, not lured by ambition

or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty."

I believe this is a description of Corporal Leicht.

This young man, that would have been 25 on his birthday on July 4th, had his whole life ahead of him. But instead he begged and pleaded to return to battle - a battle against an enemy on foreign soil that seeks to harm innocents he didn't even know.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm a mother of three married nearly 20 years to my sweetheart and I would willingly take the place of any of these treasures of my heart if giving my life would save theirs. But one of you few blog readers or another American stranger I've never met? I just don't know. Not to mention fighting and quite possibly giving my life to liberate a people and country in which I don't hold citizenship. It's a sacrifice that I believe few really understand.

I'm glad we decided to attend this Memorial Service. It was one of those life moments that forever changes the way you think about something. Cpl Leicht's passing received a lot of attention nationally, probably because he was the 1,000th service-person lost – but as of this post, 18 more mothers, wives, girlfriends, have gotten the news that her hero won't be coming home the way she'd prayed, having given his last full measure of devotion.

Rest in Peace, young solider. Your work is done. We thank you. Semper Fi.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so will God bring with Him those also who sleep in Jesus. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord: that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words. I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Corporal Jacob Carl Leicht

July 4, 1985 - May 27, 2010

Photo credits - Preparing for the processional/salute - Kerrville Daily Times

Zachary in front of church & church sign - Ben Guerrero

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Evil Lurks...

A lunch size bag of Doritos, 2 clothespins, the headless body of a Cinderella doll, 18 Frosted Mini-Wheats, 2 chip bag clips, 1 refrigerator magnet, the 2008 city sanitation schedule, 2 orange afternoon chore tags, 1 chore token, 1 quarter, 2 bottle caps, Chore Bonus list, 1 Nutty Bar, 3 Legos, 2 plastic magnetic letters, the state of Maine, 3 Ziploc bags, 2009 Calendar from the insurance company, 1 lavender colored bead, 1 twistie, 1 mini marshmallow, 3 mini muffin wrappers, 4 pieces of broken glass, 1 tie wrap, some cat litter, a metropolis of dust bunnies and what appears to have been a third feline.

This is what you can find lurking behind your refrigerator if you're not careful and accidentally pull it out from the wall.

I know, it's been awhile since I've said anything here. I've done a little blog hopping and found the same to be the case with several of the blogs that I visit. It seems that many of us have been really busy this spring. I'm finding my land legs again and may be able to post a little about what I've been up to.

It doesn't look like this around here anymore, (the colors of the flowers have changed to yellows and reds with some purple) but this is what we enjoyed in April (about the time I left off...)

These were taken at the well known Willow City Loop.
It's quite a drive, but well worth it.

One of these kids REALLY didn't want to pose for photos.

The cover for the next Christie novel...

The very next day we left for eight days in Florida...

Monday, April 5, 2010


Life is perpetually hectic with just a hint of chaos around here. I guess I must like it that way because that's how I keep it. I live from one "event" to the next.

Lately it's been weekend to weekend. Just enough time between events to catch your breath, but not necessarily put everything away...

I do try to clean the table off in between, but it becomes a staging area for the next event.

Here's what it looked like a few days ago on my dining room table...
(it's actually much worse by now... The table is filled and the overflow is in boxes on the floor.)

This is the kind of stuff you start assembling for a Weekend Women's Ministry Retreat taking place in just a few short weekends.

Possibly, the most important thing to take would be the actual study guide you'll use when you want to go to scripture and learn how to become a better wife and partner to your husband.

You must have the right equipment for such a challenging task - and of course, lots and lots of chocolate.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I receive a daily devotional reading by email from the company that produces our homeschool curriculum. They're often very thought provoking, but for the first time this last week I was stirred to post a comment.

The author had been relaying the story of how her teen son had recently not been interested in attending corporate worship on Sunday mornings, saying he could worship God just as easily at home as he could at church - only he'd be able to sleep a little later. She told how she encouraged him to "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy" and be sure he was in church on Sunday as God intended.

So here's what I said:

I agree with the author that corporate worship is important. It's our example all through the bible from the Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to Jesus worshiping "in the Temple on the Sabbath as was His custom." (Luke 4:14) We're also told in scripture that we will continue to worship God on the Sabbath even after He returns and takes us to heaven. (Isa. 66:22, 23)

But like several others that have commented, I want to point you to the real Sabbath Day of Rest - Saturday, not Sunday. Sunday was man's idea, changed by the "authority" of the Roman Church and clearly stated, without apology, in their writings. (Dan. 7:25) (***Edited to add - the word Sunday isn't even mentioned in the bible, but the "first day of the week" is mentioned eight times. Ask any Christian what day of the week Christ was resurrected from the grave. Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:1 & 2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1. Jesus even rested on the Sabbath when He was crucified!)

It's a tradition of man to worship on Sunday - not the God that said He is the same now and forever more. Not the God that said not one "jot or tittle" would be changed in the unchangeable, inerrant law written in stone by His own finger. Not the God that said He came not to change the law, but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17-19) For those that say the Sabbath was given to the Jews, I respectfully disagree. The commandments were given at Sinai, but the Sabbath was given long before that at the end of God's creation week on the seventh day - long before there were Jews. (Gen. 2:1-3)

I once heard a Pastor preach that if anyone could show him ANY verse in scripture that showed where Sabbath observance was changed from the seventh day of the week (Saturday) to the first day of the week (Sunday) he would give them $25,000. That was a safe bet for sure.

I found this that sums it all up much better than I could, including the scriptural references to back it up:

The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts. (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze. 20:12; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32.)
(End of my blog comment)

There's a lot more I would like to say here about what a blessing the Sabbath rest is to me, how I look forward to it every week, how the fellowship and communion with my Creator renews my soul for a new week, how it's my most favorite day of the week, but instead I'll just leave you with two questions and the promise to save the rest for later:

1) Why were we instructed to "Remember the Sabbath day" and not remember to honor our parents, not to kill, steal , swear, covet, or bear false witness etc... Do you think God told us to remember because He knew we'd forget?

2) Some say "that was the old covenant - we're no longer under that, but now we're under the new covenant", but they agree that all of the commandments given in Exodus 20:2-17 still apply (don't have other gods, worship idols, use the Lord's name in vain, dishonor your parents, murder, cheat on your spouse, steal, lie or covet) except, it seems, for commandment #4. Is the day God set aside as blessed and holy optional?

Just some stuff to think about.

Happy Sabbath, friends!

Note: If you're looking for a Church family that seeks for truth in the Word and adheres closer to scripture more than any I've ever heard of, check out

Deuteronomy 5:29, "O that there were such a heart in them that they would hear Me and keep all My commandments always that it might be well for them and their children forever."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If You Had to Choose...

So, I'm trying something different.

Not different for the rest of the blogosphere, just different for me.

I'm going to POLL you.

I promise it won't hurt... I'm not going to ask you what you think of the health-care bill, or how much debt you have (which is probably unrelated) or if you prefer Coke or Pepsi.

What I want to know is, if your 20th Wedding Anniversary we're rapidly approaching, (like in a little over 3 months) and your husband's wallet sounded like it could use a good dose of WD40 every time he opened it, how would you "strive" to celebrate?

I've left you several options over there on the left side... down below the photo of my Beloved and I... If the four of you that regularly comment could choose an answer I'd appreciate it.

And if the rest of you (that never comment) could choose an answer I'd appreciate it too. And hey, I'm even open to your input or other G rated suggestions in the comments section too. (But please know, in the end... no matter how many votes an item or activity receives, we (and by we I mean me) reserve the right to do as we please. (And again, I mean me... sorta.)

Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday?



I don't do "wordless".

I don't even know what that means...

But I'll share a photo of my freaky middle child with you anyway...

Yes... that's pickle juice.

Told you he was freaky.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Burger Joints, Cemetaries and Other Places of Interest Part 2

This is part 2. The first part of this saga is here.

I was just saying how I made everyone come with me to a place that was one of my favorite haunts back when I lived in southern Cal.

"Haunts"... get it?

I crack myself up...

Seriously, the art work is really fabulous. Most of the great stuff is inside, though. Like the giant stained glass of DaVinci's Last Supper and full size replicas of Michelangelo's most famous marble sculptures. And I'm not a rule breaker (usually) and so I don't have photos of that fabulous stuff for you... nor do I have photos of the final resting places of Louis L'Moure, Red Skelton or Michael Jackson. Yes... MJ is there... but he's resting in an area that is chained off.

But it's in this building... and on the second floor in an area behind the Builder's Creed seen below. In fact - I think we parked right under his enormous stained glass windows...

There's even a little wildlife roaming around.

Here are my two adorable nephews at the center of the labyrinth (I think they cheated...)

And here's me and my squeeze with the Glendale hills (and a bunch of dead folks) in the background.

And Shari and her boys - same thing. I promised I wouldn't tell everyone that she sent a photo of her family taken at a cemetery in her Christmas cards this last year. If you see anyone in our family, don't mention it. By the way... She's the only one that's dressed appropriately! It was freezing cold there!

We meant to head over to the Regan Library after our little tour at Forest Lawn, but time got away from us. So we visited Costco with about 3 million and 12 other folks and snapped up a new camera to throw in my purse. (We did pay for it first...) A nice little 10 mp Panasonic with 12X optical zoom and some great features that I'm still learning how to use. (**ETA - this camera is now busted and no longer works. It did not hold up well to dropping about 24 inches to the hardwood floor. We'll see if they can fix it, but I'm not holding my breath... the LCD screen was bleeding black...) Below, my nephew, Matthew, is helping me check it out in the Costco food court after he had his pizza. Brian and I didn't eat there... we went back to In-N-Out...

We had to leave for home on Sunday morning. It was a very short trip for sure.

As we were flying out I shot a few more photos - I thought this was Forest Lawn in Glendale, but soon realize it was the one in Hollywood Hills. (I wish I'd read the new camera manual before I took these and tried out the "aerial photos" mode...)
Here's the Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills.

Makes me want to start singing that John Denver song...

This is Glendale Forest Lawn from the air. (The green part.)

And here is my white knuckled hand gripping the handle in the plane. I really don't know what I thought that handle was going to do for me if our little plane fell out of the sky, but I gripped it nonetheless.

And my sweaty palms... See how they're starting to "prune" a bit...?

It was pretty bouncy up there... not the smooth flight we had going out, but a lot of weather to go around - thunder and snow storms.

Me and Jesus were talking a lot. Not at all because I didn't trust my pilot and have full confidence in his abilities, but because I just needed an extra boost of peace to remember who was holding that plane in the air. And, if He decided the plane needed to land quite abruptly, I had full confidence in where I'd be spending eternity when He returned to wake me.
And this is how cold it was (see how nicely the new camera zooms) in the plane. Yes... for us flatlanders that's -22° F below zero. That's pretty dang cold in an airplane with a pretty thin door...

My pilot was able to finally smooth things out by flying up above the weather. That required him to take us up above 12,500 feet. The only problem with that is you have to wear supplemental oxygen that high. And really, that isn't a problem either, unless your pilot leaves his cannula in the baggage area in the TAIL of the plane. His plan was to put the plane on autopilot and crawl over the seats to get it... But I felt a little weird about him leaving his seat, beings as I was the only one left to land us if we happened to hit another air pocket whanging his head on the ceiling while he was crawling around. However, if I whanged my head while crawling around and knocked myself out, all the better for me.

So I did it. Even with the "fasten seat belt" light blazing, I flicked that bad boy off and dove between the seats to retrieve the oxygen mask and cannula. Well... maybe it was more of a "creep" than dive and I'm pretty sure I was murmuring "oh, Jesus help me" over and over again. But I did it and we climbed to over 23,000 feet where it was a lot more smooth.

See how much happier I am here? Too bad there wasn't anesthesia in that tubing...It was nice to have the XM radio (set on the comedy channel) to distract me some.

We had to land somewhere this side of El Paso to refuel and you know... de-fuel.

I took a minute to call my mom and dad to check in and dad mentioned that he and the kids had been tracking our flight on a website called "flight aware". You just put in the N number or flight number of the plane you want to watch and you can see the altitude and airspeed, where they're going, when to expect them... all kinds of neat information.

So dad says it looks like it's been a pretty exciting flight and notes that he can see where we've kept climbing higher, dodging storms and making some pretty good time and how he's been graphing it all with the kids... I told him we could compare the notes he had with the streaks in my undies when we got home.

We loaded back up, as much as I would have rather called a cab, and hit the air again. This time we kept pretty low to the ground and did what my pilot called a "scud run". For some reason, I don't mind those as much -- even though the time you have for any sort of reaction (or long prayers) is diminished if something goes awry.

We made it home safe and sound and I once again vowed I'd drive next time... just like I did last time. But when it comes right down to it, I'd rather take the plane than the car when possible. I'm all for short trips. Especially if it's a small plane. I know the pilot, the inspector and the guy checking all the mechanics work. I know he hasn't been hittin' the bottle in the pilots lounge and that he really considers himself the co-pilot and God his pilot in command and I'm just a lot more comfortable with that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Burger Joints, Cemetaries and Other Places of Interest

I couldn't let this opportunity pass... After all, I have pictures. Never mind that it's been a little more than three months since I took them...

If you need to review, go back here and read about our unexpected hosting of Thanksgiving dinner and even more unexpected last minute get-away to Southern California. But it's really not necessary.

Anywho... after cleaning up our unexpected, last minute Thanksgiving dinner, we were pretty pooped. I don't know much about flying, but I do know that if your pilot tells you he's "too tired" you should postpone the trip until he's feeling perky again.

We dropped the chitlens off at my parent's house the night before, so we were rarin' to go at 4:30 in the morning on Friday. (Like many others around the country... but we weren't Christmas shopping.)

We were "wheels up" by almost 7 a.m. We flew out over my friends "estate", but it was pretty dark and I didn't get a very good photo.

After the sun was up I got this photo of my pilot. He's pretty cute, huh?

I'm allowed in the cockpit on this plane. Actually... if you wanna get right down to it, I'm the co-pilot on this flight and the go-to person if the pilot in command happens to pass out. I also happen to be the flight attendant if you need a sandwich , some trail mix or a pee pee decanter...

I know, I know... I look so spontaneous here, but really, there are no other flight attendants running around serving drinks and taking photographs. The reality is I used the self timer on the dashboard (I wonder if it's called a dashboard in an airplane... and I have no idea why it's called a dashboard in the car... or on Blogger.) Like how I moved my microphone on my headset so you can see my freshly applied lip gloss? I should have moved it a little lower to hide my newly acquired neck wrinkle. I'd like to tell you that the headset it so tight that it's squeezing my cheeks like an annoying godmother, but really I'm just getting fatter. But don't I look happy? Yeah... stay tuned...

Yup... he's pretty cute.

Coming into L.A. about 6 hours later.
No... I don't have a brown filter on my lens. This is actually pretty clear air... the smog gets blown out of the valley more in the winter.
We had a jam packed schedule for the two and a half days we were there, but our first stop, after picking up our rental car, was the best burger joint in the world.

You gotta love a menu with only four choices.
Well... four choices on the known menu. There's a somewhat secret menu also. It's programmed into the cash registers... so if you order from the secret menu it shows up on your receipt in a not-so-secret way.

This place has organization down to a science. Courtesy too. I made a slight mistake when I ordered (trying to be slick and use the secret menu) and it was a complete and total non-issue. It was all about me and making me happy - no fault to the customer at all. The outstanding employees made me feel like whatever I said was how it was and they fixed my little mistake without complaint, laying the blame or making me feel like it was a trouble to them to do so even during the lunch rush. I gotta tell you, it was refreshing to receive such great customer service. I could go into a huge speech about how I feel about customer service in general these days, but I'll spare you. You're welcome.

In-N-Out has it down. `Nuff said.

Love me a burger joint that puts scripture on their wrappers and bottom of their cups.
On the burger wrapper is Revelation 3:20 - "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me." (New International Version)

The cups have John 3:16 on the bottom - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. " (good old King James Version, or "the real Bible" as one of my old friends puts it. You know... the Bible Jesus used...)

One hamburger "animal style" (hold the tomato), and one "grilled cheese". Brian was dumb struck that the entire meal, including a drink, cost less than $7.

I was pretty sure of his answer, but I checked anyway and I was right. He came out of the bathroom and stood there for awhile. I asked him what he was thinking and he was wondering to himself how he could implement such organization and attention to detail back at work...

Our second stop that day was at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, Art Gallery and Library.

We didn't have time for much, but most of what we had we spent touring the mansion and ran through the rose garden on the way to our tea reservation.

Even Brian enjoyed "tea". They had a very elaborate buffet including caviar, of which I did not partake. (I had extra scones and pastry instead).

This is me and my favorite sister-in-law, Shari, pretending to go in. They were slightly (about a half hour) late calling us for our 3:30 reservation. I left them In-N-Out's number so they can get some customer service tips.

On Saturday, I was able to sing with Shari and her friend at church, (sorry friend... I forgot your name, but it starts with an M and sounds like a common name at first, but it's a little different...) It was a lot of fun making up harmony and singing with Pastor Chuck tickling the ivories in a most spectacular way.

After a quick but delish lunch of enchiladas with Shari and crew back at her house, I took them all to one of my favorite haunts from back when I lived out there.

(to be continued...)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reasons I've Not Been Blogging (this time)

A 10th Birthday

Valentine's Day celebrations

and food... (Do you see the face? Zachary made this for Jacob.)

Spending more time with my babies' daddy rather than on the puter...

New and exciting (marriage changing) bookPlanning a Women's Weekend Retreat centered on the above book...

Homeschooling kids

Field trips

Running around in general

Preparing my broken (NEW) camera to send in for repair (I hope)

Bejeweled Blitz on Face Book... (super bad time-waster...and this isn't my highest score...)

Going out with friends to celebrate aged-ness

Church duties


Co-Op Classes

Winter Olympics...

Muscle spasms actually brought on by the Olympics (OK, OK... it's 'cuz I'd been watching from bed and had to turn my head slightly toward the corner of the room where the TV sits...)

Too much to say and not knowing where to start
Depression from missing opportunities to blog some really cool stuff that's now too far in the resent past to mention.
I've got several things on my mind... just have to find the time to pull it out for you. Pretty soon I'll have some time off (maybe...) and I'll tell you what I've been thinking.

I know... you're on the edge of your seat, right?
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