American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

There’s nothing I love more than seeing flags waving in a summer breeze, military personnel, both past and present, being honored, parades and family gatherings.

American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

“Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but a tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”  Adlai Stevenson

As patriotic, American citizens, we have a deep and abiding love for this great country.  We know America isn’t perfect–but we love it all the same.  How then, can we live every day in such a way that shows our gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy and contribute to our nation’s success?

Everyday Patriotism!

Real patriotism doesn’t mean we have to wait for a holiday or a special event to show our pride in America; it doesn’t require a red, white and blue dress code or fireworks.  Patriotism, in its truest form, should be discernible in our everyday actions…by the way we speak and in the things we do!

  • Study America’s History!

Learning about American history and what made us the strong, independent country that we are should be an ongoing venture.  I was lucky enough to have parents who discussed historical and current events at the dinner table and more often than not, they talked about political leaders with respect, even if they didn’t necessarily agree with their viewpoints.

There are so many amazing books dedicated to celebrating the American spirit and crucial turning points in our world’s history; read them together as a family.  (See some of my favorite picks here.)   My daughter recently introduced me to a new innovative book series by Lauren Tarshis called “I Survived” –about historical stories that are told through the eyes of boys and girls who lived to share their tales.  My two older granddaughter’s were quick to tell me how much they love these books.

I Survived book series

My husband and I recently watched a television program where a young girl shared the history behind the Gettysburg Address  by Abraham Lincoln, then she recited it in its entirety–watching her do this, inspired us to learn it too.  Doing things like this can’t help but make the rich history of the United States become more meaningful!

Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln.

Also, if you want to keep up to date with a brief overview of daily news headlines without all the usual political spin, I like the iPhone App Skimm.

  • Support Your Community!

Our local communities are obviously the most real and important part of America to us as average citizens, so it makes sense that getting involved in our hometowns and neighborhoods is a good place to start when trying to find ways to be active and contributing members of society.  At the very least, we can work to earn a good living to support our families, maintain our homes, and raise responsible children who recognize the many privileges that they are afforded by the cooperative efforts of the their city’s elected leaders and concerned local residents.

I always treasure the opportunity I have to engage in the voting process; attending caucus meetings gives you the opportunity to advocate, lobby and learn more about the candidates up for election and helps you make better decisions on the issues you feel will best support the overall well-being of your community.  In addition to elected officials, showing respect for police officers, firemen and others who put their lives at risk for the sake of their communities is something we should all be happy and willing to do.

Voting is a patriotic privilege.

“My vote is my voice…and the voice of all those who struggled before me so that I may have my voice.”  Lydia C. Obasi

I also found that volunteering and helping out at the schools my children attended was a good way to not only help their teachers, but stay informed about the curriculum being taught and how my husband and I could add to their learning experience.

IMG_6471

  • Work Hard, Serve Others!

Whenever my father would share stories about his parents, he always spoke about them and their tremendous work ethic with the highest regard.  As young immigrants from Norway, they had the utmost appreciation for a land that allowed them the freedoms to establish a family farm and business during the great depression of the 1930’s.  Despite their own meager circumstance at times, they were always quick to lend a helping hand to others in need and offered food and jobs when needed.

Early pioneer farm life.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but we can work to change a small portion of events, and the total of all those acts will be written in the history of that generation.”   Robert Kennedy

My parents also worked hard to provide a wonderful life for our family, while making sure that each of their children had a good education and were self-reliant.  It’s rewarding for me and my husband, as well, to see our hard work pay off as our son and two daughter’s work to achieve their goals and dreams in this great land of opportunity.

  • Above All…Be Kind!

American patriotism, at its best, is understanding that we are a melting pot, so to speak, of many ideas, cultures and concepts…let’s celebrate them by being kind.  Kindness is an expression of caring…even the smallest act or deed done for another person can make a life-changing difference.  The ripple effect of kindness is unity despite diversity, and a genuine desire to share what we have with others while being grateful for the opportunities we have to learn from one another.

When my husband and I first saw the video below about Preston Sharp, a young boy aptly known as “A Pied Piper Of Patriotism” –it reminded us once again, of just how far reaching a simple act of kindness can truly be:             

I hope our American patriotism may be seen as a chance for us to show kindness!

American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

“True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right.”  Brigham Young

May we each live so that we are always a blessing to America!

Please share how you would describe true American patriotism.

 –Mary 

A Blessing Named Elliot…An Adoption Journey!

A Blessing Named Elliot…An Adoption Journey!

As our family celebrated Thanksgiving this past week and expressed gratitude for the many things we have to be grateful for, I couldn’t help but consider the divine intervention in our lives that brought us a very special blessing named Elliot!

A Blessed named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

Elliot born September 28, 2016

“Babies are the beginning of a dream of possibilities!” Eda LeShan 

You might recall my daughter-in-law sharing her struggles with endometriosis in this past journal entry.  For those of you who have expressed love and concern for our family as my son, Jake, and his wife, Whitney, faced the challenges of infertility, I’m so thrilled and indeed humbled to share with you their adoption journey!

Our adoption journey began with trying to conceive for nearly five years without success.  Due to Jake’s career as a dentist in the Army, our road with fertility treatments included doctors and specialists in Oklahoma and Germany.  When our last IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment in 2014 was unsuccessful, without any explanation as to why, we felt adoption was the path for us to take.  It is amazing how right adoption felt as we made this decision together!

A Blessing Named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

“Babies are a link between angels and man!”  Author Unknown 

The process of finding an adoption agency, along with the subsequent paperwork and home studies, is overwhelming; it has its own set of challenges, but we relied on each other’s strengths as we worked through it all together.  The waiting period to be chosen was a difficult time, and the year and a half  it took seemed to have no end in sight, but our primary case-worker always said that when it is meant to be, it will be the right baby that will come into your arms.

A Blessing Named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on!”  Carl Sandberg

When you least expect something–that is when it is bound to happen…..and that is exactly how Elliot came into our lives!  Due to the time difference between Germany and our agency in Utah, we received the surprise of our lives at 2:00 am in a one sentence email with the subject line, “Great News!”  The body of the email read: “Birth mom and her mother want to place baby with you!”

Coincidentally, Whitney’s dad and mom were visiting at the time they received the email that they’d been picked for adoption.  When Jake and Whitney realized that they only had eleven days to prepare and be in Utah, the decision was quickly made to cut her parent’s trip short and book flights back to Utah with them.  They landed in Utah at 8:00 pm the night before Elliot was due to be born.  As they anxiously awaited his arrival the next morning, they spent the last few hours of their time together as just the two of them, baby shopping, going to lunch, and even getting pedicures.  When at last they received the text that their baby had been born, they rushed down the hallway of the hospital and knocked on the nursery door.

Throughout the adoption process, we often wondered if we would feel a connection with the baby right away or if we would feel as though he wasn’t ours, but those worries were quickly dissipated when the nursery door was opened and we saw Elliot for the first time–we instantly knew he was our son; we truly believe that God intended for him to be in our family.  As we drew closer and saw how sweet and small Elliot was at 6 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 inches long, we’ll never forget how surreal and perfect that moment was in our lives!  Elliot stayed in the hospital for three days, and during that time we were able to pray for him and have him receive blessings to ensure his continued good health.  When the pediatrician finally gave us the green light to take him home, we couldn’t have been happier!

A Blessing named Elliot...An Adoption Journey!

“Having a baby is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body!”  Elizabeth Stone 

After Elliot joined our family, we were amazed at the outpouring of love and generosity from family and friends.  It has been remarkable to see the power that a newborn baby has to bring people together!  Each day is an exciting adventure and learning experience, as well as a blessing, now that Elliot is home with us.  We are humbled to be his parents, although the titles of mom and dad are still novel to us.  We want to express our gratitude to all those who helped to bring this joy into our lives.  Our goal is to ensure that Elliot will grow up learning that the Lord loves him and that he also has a birth mother who loves him, and that she made the ultimate sacrifice to place him with a family who will always strive to do everything within their power to ensure his happiness and give him every opportunity to grow and progress in this life!

A Blessing named Ellito...An Adoption Journey!

A Blessing named Elliot...An Adoption Journey!

(Two photos above via Green Apple Photography)

“It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from heaven love us!”  Charles Dickens

In closing, I’d like to say that it is so heart warming to see two wonderful people survive the ups and downs of this journey together, leading them to form stronger bonds of commitment to each other, making their ability to love their new baby, without reservation, so endearing!  There truly is no greater joy than watching your own children become parents!

All our best wishes to you, Jake and Whitney, and precious little Eli!

Have you had any personal experiences with adoption or know someone who has?  Please, please share any insights you might have on this amazing process

–Mary

New Horizons!

New Horizons!

Summer is always a crazy, busy, wonderful time of year spent with family and friends, and for the most part a break from our normal routines.  Now there’s a crisp chill in the air and fall is right around the corner.  I love how each season provides a new horizon and fresh perspective with so many neat things to anticipate and look forward to…

New Horizons!

(A beautiful fall horizon in Midway, Utah)

What I Look Forward To In The Fall!

  • Getting Cozy!  While saying this might indicate pulling out fun flannels shirts and warm afghans, (there will surely be plenty of those too) fall just seems to be the perfect time for more intimate gatherings with family and friends, where you share stories of your rambunctious summer adventures over home-cooked meals and spicy, warm drinks!

Grandma Wilding's warm spice punch.

  Grandma Norma’s Warm Citrus Punch  

1-46 oz. can pineapple juice

1-6 oz. can orange juice

3 cinnamon small sticks or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. whole cloves or 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

5 quarts water   5 cups sugar

Simmer for 1 hour, serve hot!  

♥ So Good! ♥

Ohhio knit blankets.

Speaking of cozy and warm afghans…..wouldn’t it be fun to wrap up in this chunky knit blanket from Ohhio’s Etsy Shop while sipping a warm drink! 

  • A Little Slower Pace!  Each season seems to come with its own set of schedules and “to do” lists, but with summer vacations wrapped up and gardens nearly harvested, it seems we’re more inclined to go for an early evening walk, or grab those books we never got around to reading on the beach.

Good reads!

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman are books I would highly recommend, if you haven’t already read them!

  • A Bedazzled Mother Nature!  No doubt, Mother Nature is gorgeous in all her varied states during each of the four seasons, but she definitely seems to give us a little extra “wow factor” come fall time!  

Fall leaves.

(Fall trees in Park City, Utah)

If your like me and want to bring a little fall foliage indoors, these DIY aged terra cotta pots are the perfect way to display your plants.  They are so simple to make.

aged terre cotta pots.

 You’ll just need to mix one cup of garden lime with one cup of water, stir together well, then using a foam brush, paint the pots with the lime paste mixture.  Let the pots dry good, then sand off some of the lime grit with sand paper around the top edges and bases of the pots and anywhere else you want to give them that aged, weathered look.  There’s really no wrong way to do this, just do whatever looks good to you.  When the pots are done, you can either spray them with a clear matte finish sealer or just them leave as is and let mother nature continue to play her magic on each of your unique, homemade pots! 

Aged terra cotta pots.

Filled with colorful chrysanthemums, I think these pots would be fun on your porch or make a great gift for those with fall birthdays!  

  • A Renewed Zeal To Always Keep Learning!  Fall marks the official “back to school” time of year.  My father, who was a beloved teacher and a dedicated learner, who audited classes at our local university well into his 80’s, instilled in me the desire to always want to be a good student….long after formal education had ended.  My dad often said, “The most valuable lessons learned—are often those taught in the ‘school of life’!”

John Dewey quote on education.

My husband and I have grown children and have become proud grandparents over the last few years; we’re both still working and are enjoying good health, so people often tell us that we’re in the “fall season” of our lives—if that’s the case, it’s all the more reason to really embrace this amazing time of year and the new horizons this stage of life brings!

I’d love to know some of the things you look forward to most as the fall season approaches?

–Mary