Tag Archive | prayer

Hug Someone with Your Prayers

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I saw this on Facebook a few minutes ago and just loved the sentiment of it.   It is one of the wonderful posts from Smoky Mtn. Christian Village that a family member posted.

Hugs are such wonderful things.  They tell the person being hugged that they are loved and cared about.  But what about all those family members and friends in our lives who we truly care about and love?  How can we hug them?   We can give them what I call “virtual hugs”.  Many years ago, I worked in a shelter for young boys aged 11-17, from troubled backgrounds who were brought to us until they were transferred to other homes. There stories were all different but all very sad, to say the least.   Of course we could not have physical contact with them so no hugs.  One night I was sitting with two 12 years olds (yes really!) who were on suicide watch.  How heartbreaking!  These boys felt so unloved and could have used a lot of hugs, so I taught them how to give themselves hugs.  Put your right hand on your left shoulder, your left hand on your right shoulder, and squeeze tight!   I told them that it was a virtual hug from me, but more importantly it was a real hug from themselves. The message it hopefully gave was that they are special, they are important and they are loved!

Many times I will still use that method when talking or writing with someone from afar and it usually gets them to smile, at least for a few minutes, and hopefully plants a seed in them that they are loved and cared about when life seems to be throwing unhappy things their way.

As this little cartoon above portrays, there is another wonderful way to hug from afar, a more important way, if you will.   Prayer!   What a wonderful feeling it is when we know others are praying for us; that they think we are worthwhile enough for someone to pray for.  I remember when I had my knee surgery last spring and people from far and wide, including fellow bloggers on 5 continents were praying for me!  Wow!   Can you imagine how loved I felt and how far that took me in my recovery?

Hug your friends, family and acquaintances and even strangers today with your prayers! Be sure to let them know you are praying for them.  You just may turn someone’s day around and give them smiles for a time instead of tears or worry.

Praying for all of you today because I care about you!

Sunny morning on the patio with God

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Life begins each morning …

Each morning is the open door to a new world –

new vistas, new aims new tryings

author, Leigh Mitchell Hodges

Today, Friday, was a beautifully sunny, breezy and cool day here in Wisconsin. I spent an enjoyably lazy morning on my patio, spending time with the Lord, reading His word and in some devotionals, all the while enjoying a light breakfast  and my morning coffee.  I was also enjoying the fruits of yesterday’s labors — beautiful new flowers and herbs on my patio along with my table and some relaxing chairs (see pictures above).  I’m already for summer enjoyment and look forward to spending much time relaxing out there.

Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Morning is such a wonderful time to spend in prayer and devotions.  There is something great about starting out the day with the Lord that just sets the tone for the rest of the day.  I admit I don’t do this every day, but I am working on doing a better job at putting Him first in my life and starting out each and every day with Him.

Song of Solomon 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, …

I love being surrounded by God’s beautiful creations even if it is just on my tiny patio.  The beauty of the flowers, the mixture of scents of blooming flowers, herbs like basil, lemon thyme (mmm!)and chocolate mint, (yes really!), and the sounds of the birds singing just brighten my day and put a smile on my face.  Praise God for all his creations!  If you zoom in on the photo below, you can get a better look at the chocolate mint. Any ideas on how I can use it as it grows?  I was intrigued by it but haven’t checked on its uses yet.   That should be fun!

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I’ve also placed a few flags in some of the pots in honor and remembrance of those who we remember on this Memorial Day weekend; those brave men and women who have fought for our freedom in many wars throughout the years (should I say centuries?) and have now gone on to eternity.  God bless each and every one of them.  May they rest in peace!

260637844_god_bless_them_all_xlargesource of picture unknown or I would give the proper credit.

This has been a rather rambling group of rambling thoughts.  Some days are like that, aren’t they?  Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend friends and family, and thank God for all the beauty around us and for those who we remember who fought for the freedoms we have in this country.   Be safe!  Love to all!

The Snail Made It!

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By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
Charles Spurgeon

Lately, the word perseverance has crept into my life from various sources like Bible readings, etc.  I decided to do a bit of a word study since there is obviously a good reason for the Lord to have that word popping up over and over. I searched my Bible first, of course and then on the internet.   As I was looking at the word on the internet–its definition,quotes, etc., I came immediately upon the quote above from Charles Spurgeon about the snail and that is where I got the title of my post from.  The quote made me smile because I can relate with that snail!  That is exactly how I feel at times when I want to accomplish something, like a very slow-moving snail, wondering if I will ever succeed at whatever it might be that I am trying to do.

So what is perseverance?  The dictionary gives two definitions.  The first, the secular definition, is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.  The second definition it calls the Christian definition.  “Persistence in remaining in a state of grace until death”.    The actress Julie Andrews simply defines it this way:  “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th!”    That makes sense to me!  There are a very large number of quotes from different folks regarding perseverance, too many to share here but you might find it fun to Google them.

I thought about why the Lord has me thinking so much about perseverance of late and the first thing that came to my mind was my recovery and rehab from knee surgery.  He is reminding me and encouraging me in what I need to do for my surgery  to have had the very best, most successful outcome.  Persevere!  Keep working every day at the exercises and walking–especially practicing walking correctly, not stiff-legged like I did before.  There are times when it would be easy to tell myself I am too tired or it hurts too much today and any number of other excuses I know I could come up with.  After all, I am the master at finding excuses to put off until tomorrow what I should do today!  I’ve joked at times that my parents misnamed me–my middle name is Marie but it should have been procrastinator!   🙂  The Lord knows that all too well I am sure, so He is going to keep reminding me often I am sure!

As I searched through the Bible I found several verses that talk about perseverance and along with it in some cases, patience.  I feel like the two words go together.  One of the best examples of perseverance and patience together we can find in the book of Job.  Everyone is familiar with the phrase “the patience of Job”.  In James 5:11 NIV it says 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    Somewhere else  I read another explanation of perseverance that states it is endurance produced by trials and tribulations when we exercise faith.  I would say that Job fits that definition most definitely.  He suffered through many things but he never gave up.  His faith in God kept him going; he had an inordinate amount of patience as well as perseverance!

Another who comes to mind is the Apostle Paul, who also suffered many, many trials and tribulations in his life, yet he wrote in his letter to the Romans the following:

Romans 5: 3-5  New International Version (NIV)

Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There are many other examples in the Bible of course but Job and Paul really stand out to me and grab my attention.  If they can go through all the things they suffered and still persevere then why should it be so difficult for me or any of us to do the same?

Along with perseverance and patience, we must include prayer.  In Ephesians 6:18 it says “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— “.  In my NKJV bible there was a note that said simply that without prayer, all the armor in the world would be of no use.  Perseverance and patience in prayer are essential.

I could go on and on with all the references I found about perseverance, patience, prayer and self-control as well, but I won’t at this time. One of the important things I gained from my short study  is that a person who exercises perseverance will not easily fall into discouragement or be tempted to quit.    The secret of perseverance?  View all circumstances as coming from the hand of our loving Father who is in control of everything in our lives.   I find it very encouraging that God is always in control and that He will help me to persevere in the things I do.   If the snail could make it to the ark, then I should be able to carry out my goals as well.

Oh and I just had to add in this little quote I found by an unknown source that I thought was kind of funny really.  The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.

Have a wonderful day filled with all of God’s blessings my friends!  Thanks for taking time to read my post today!  You are all a blessing to me.

 

When life gives you scraps…..

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 just make quilts!  or another version of the quote is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  I’m sure we all could come up with a lot of similar positive quotes to encourage someone when life brings its trials and tribulations.   Because I like quilting, I have, of course, managed to collect a lot of scraps from previous quilts and small and large pieces of fabric that I’ve collected through fabric swaps years ago and fabric that has caught my eye that “I might use it someday” and so my mind always thinks of making quilts out of the scraps of life that come my way.

Now thinking about making them and actually making them, or finishing them is another whole story.  So, just as I have collected fabric scraps, I have collected many UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) in various stages of construction.   The picture above was one of those UFO’s until tonight when I finally finished it!  Yay!!!

As I finished sewing the binding on the quilt this evening, I got to thinking about how the unfinished projects in our lives can relate to the unfinished business in our lives –those trials and tribulations that happen to everyone.   How do we deal with them?  Or an even more obvious question perhaps, DO we deal with them or do we set them aside like the fabric scraps and the unfinished objects and tell ourselves we will deal with those things at a later date?

Some trials are not so bad and we can usually manage to resolve them easily; but what about the more difficult ones?  I don’t believe I am alone when I say that I am one of those people who will often set those problems aside to deal with later. How easy it is to tell myself that I just don’t have the desire, the time, the energy to deal with that now.  Not a good idea!  The longer we put off dealing with problems, the more they can grow into other problems in our lives.  The issues keep adding up and eventually we can find ourselves in a lot of distress–depression probably, or even physical ailments caused by stress.  I know this has been true throughout my life.   Just as I accumulated UFOs and just gave up on trying to complete the projects,  I allowed my trials and tribulations to accumulate also and “gave up”, so to speak,   for a while.

So what to do to change that habit, to deal with the things that trouble me?  Take them to God in prayer.  Stop ignoring Him or thinking He was ignoring me and didn’t care.  There are many verses in the Bible that remind us  that He does care and He wants to help us to deal with things.     One of them I found when I got into His word is:  Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

He wants us to ask Him, to come to Him with our problems.  He wants to help us pick up the pieces of our lives.  When I finally began to get closer to Him, spending more time in His word, in prayer, in closer fellowship with Him, changes began to happen.   I was better able to deal with those problems I had hidden away, some of which were not as much of an issue that I told myself they were.   I stopped giving up.   I look at the quilt I finished tonight and a couple of other small projects that I finished in the past couple of days as a message to myself that yes I CAN deal with the things I stored away and that I have dealt with many and begun to deal with others.   Praise the Lord, I have my life back!

One of my granddaughters suggested a while ago that it might be fun for me to share some of the quilts I have made on my blog, so you just may see some more pictures shared soon.  There is another little mini-quilt that I will share that I was reminded of as I wrote this post tonight.   “Picking up the Pieces”     I made 4 of these little quilts for me and my 3 sisters several years ago because it reminded me something my sisters tease me about from our childhood–how I would try to convince them to let me slack off on doing dishes if I had something better to do.

dishesquiltI’ll wash, you dry and little sister can pick up the pieces.

 

Organizing a jumbled brain..impossible?

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Confusion surrounds me.  A jumble of thoughts on so many things I think I want to blog about.  But the words get away before I can write them.   A lot of ideas and notes in my journal but what do they mean?  My goodness, do I sound like a crazy woman who is losing her mind?  Wow I hope not.  Rather I hope my brain is just on overload.  So many things on my mind like impending knee replacement surgery, desires and plans to move by the end of the year and how to accomplish that, as well as my weight loss issues and so many different things I think about in regards to my walk with the Lord and what God is trying to teach me with the repetitious messages that keep coming my way via Bible reading and studies, reading other blogs, sermons and just everyday things that cross my path.

First things first.  I know that taking all of these issues to God in prayer has to be my first priority.  I know so well that He is a willing guide for all of us if we just ask.   Spending more time in His word and in prayer and just being quiet and listening for His wise answers will be the most important thing I can do. I know He loves me and His plans for me are the best.

As for my impending surgery, though there is the very normal fear of being under an anesthetic and having a major surgical procedure, I know that God is the great physician and the outcome is in His hands.  I actually look forward to having this procedure done.  Once I have recovered, I will be able to do so much more!  I will be able to walk more than a thousand feet without pain, be on my feet for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time before having to sit down and will be able to straighten my leg.  I consider myself fortunate to be able to improve my life in this way.  there are so many less fortunate than me. 

My move?  Well that will happen in God’s perfect timing if it is in His plan for me.  He knows best and I rest in that assurance.

All of the other jumbled up thoughts l have will, I pray, begin to make sense in good time and I can again begin to make sense in my blog posts.  Loving God gives me strength;  Mark 12:30.NIV  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.   Leaning on God I will not be tired.   Isaiah 40:31 NIV but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I hope I have not completely bored you with this and have not proven myself to just be a crazy woman!  😀 Thanks for listening dear friends.

Knee-time NOT Me-time!

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Today a few of us got together once again for Bible study, after a four week hiatus due to holidays and then bad weather and illnesses.  It was so great to be back together and we missed the ladies who were unable to attend for various reasons.  We have been discussing the book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss,  The Lies Women Believe. We previously had discussed emotions and depression and the circumstances in our lives that we blame for or may cause our periods of depression and continued that discussion today. 

I plan to write more about that at another time; however I did want to share a quote that one of the ladies in our group shared with us today.  I don’t know who to credit for this quote but felt it is such a wonderfully simple, yet important, piece of advice to remember when we may be having a bad day, feeling depressed, downhearted, sadness, etc.  

WHEN LIFE GETS TOO HARD TO STAND—-KNEEL!    Kneel in prayer to the Lord; take your troubles to Him.   He wants to hear us; wants to hear about those thorns in our flesh  and help us with them.  He takes joy in listening to us talk about the good things and the not so good things in our lives.   He loves all of His children and delights in us when we are sharing our lives with Him.   

Can it possibly ever be any simpler than that?   Is there any piece of advice that is easier to remember?      Instead of wishing for some ME-time when things are not going well for us, let’s just try out some KNEE-time!  

Wishing everyone a wonderful day and evening filled with all the blessings the Lord has for you!

1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Life begins each morning…

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Life begins each morning….Each morning is the open door to a new world-new vistas, new aims, new tryings.  Leigh Mitchell Hodges

While writing in my journal this morning during my devotions I once again noticed a quote at the bottom of one of the pages I was writing on, the above quote beginning Life begins each morning..  Though I was writing about something very different, making notes for a couple of future blog posts, this quote caught my attention and I just felt I needed to share it. 

I don’t know about you, but quite often I awake in the morning thinking that it is “just another day”, nothing particularly spectacular or meaningful will happen in my day–just another humdrum day.   Somehow if I mistakenly start out with that thought, I can say it will probably be the case of how my day goes. 

The better way to start my day and something I did this morning after noticing this quote, is to decide that today I will take that to the Lord and pray for his guidance today and every day to open my eyes to the new things he will teach me today, to reach out for new things or to make goals for my day and do my very best to meet those goals.  I have to be careful there because I know I have the habit of setting too many goals of things I wish to accomplish that do not get completed because of other things that may come up or because I have under-estimated the time each goal will take to complete.  And if I am to be honest, quite often it is procrastination that gets in the way of completing my goals for the day. That is when I set myself up for failure!  Am I the only one who does that?

In Psalm 32:8 God says I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.    Today I will keep that close to me and lean on God to guide me through my day so that I may accomplish what He wishes to do today, let Him guide me in setting my priorities for the day.  One day at a time – Tomorrow I will do my best to follow the same plan of letting the Lord guide my day as another new day begins.  

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24

 

Praise and Thanksgiving

This verse appeared in a Thanksgiving email request for prayers for church family and extended family and my first thought as i read it was that feels like a blog post formulating in my mind!  So yes, I am stepping away from my usual role of procrastinator and writing what i am feeling while the thoughts are fresh.

I will indeed praise and thank Him forever for the way He loves all of us and watches over us.  How lovely it is to have a heavenly Father who is always there even when we think he isn’t!

Just as recently as last evening, I felt his presence as I spoke a few words in church, thanking God for the ways He has worked in my life.  (I have those words ready to post for Thanksgiving Day so you will be able to read them as well.)  I feel His presence even at this moment as I spoke with my daughter who is having surgery this afternoon.  I know He will be watching over her and giving the surgeons the wisdom to know exactly what she needs to make her feel better.  I feel his presence in every part of my life as he continues to bless my life with new blessings daily, placing people in my life who are good Christians and a blessing to me.  I know he is also watching over a friend who is  traveling halfway around the world to take care of some personal business matters.  He will orchestrate every part of that for the best outcome and I praise Him for it.

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As the previous verse, Psalm 52:8 says, I will always trust in His unfailing love for me; for all of us.  What a wonderful Father and a Wonderful God we serve!  He knows the plans he has for us and His timing is so perfect.  Patience! That’s the hard part for me and, I dare say, for most, if not all, of us.  I tend to get impatient when things don’t work the way I want them to and as quickly as I want them to.  As a friend of mine always says–I am a WIP   — Work In Progress!  God is not finished with me yet!   I will fumble along through life, trying to be patient but failing at that many times I am sure but God holds the patience in his hands and will never give up on me.

I will just end this with the words of a song we sing in church often:

Some thank the Lord for friends and home
For mercies sure and sweet
But I would praise Him for his grace
In prayer I would repeat

Refrain:
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free

Some thank Him for the flow’rs that grow
Some for the stars that shine
My heart is filled with joy and praise
Because I know He’s mine

I trust in Him from day to day
I prove His saving grace
I’ll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation – Thank You

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“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”-Ephesians 6:11
I received the following article, written in 2000, from my brother-in-law, a retired Marine and I felt I should share it, just as he did.  Having been a young adult during this time in history, I well remember the lack of gratitude the veterans of the Vietnam war received when they came home, scorned by many unnecessarily.  It makes me happy that we as a country are finally recognizing and thanking these veterans and those who gave their lives as well in that tragic war.  To all those veterans, and veterans of ALL wars and military actions, as well as currently active military,  I thank you.
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____________
Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of nine books.
He wrote this article:
 Heroes of the Vietnam Generation

 Those of you who served in Vietnam (and others who didn’t and want to understand) will find this an interesting read.
Heroes of the Vietnam Generation

July/August 2000

 The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called ’60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

Chris Matthews of “Hardball” is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startlingly condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the “D-Day Generation” to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the “Woodstock Generation.” And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film Saving Private Ryan, was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.

An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today’s most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The “best and brightest” of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the “generation gap.” Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.

Those of us who grew up on the other side of the picket line from that era’s counter-culture can’t help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.

In truth, the “Vietnam generation” is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.

Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their fathers’ service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their fathers’ wisdom in attempting to stop Communism’s reach in Southeast Asia. The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they’d served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that “our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.” And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.

Nine million men served in the military during the Vietnam war, three million of whom went to the Vietnam theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots, there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground. Dropped onto the enemy’s terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America’s citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompetently on a tactical level should consider Hanoi’s recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead. Those who believe that it was a “dirty little war” where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought—five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II.

Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America’s young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever-more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man’s having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference or outright hostility.

What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, “not for fame or reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.” Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often contagious élan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesmen of our so-called generation.

Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines.

•••

1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing the pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington. The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon by the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation. Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate.

In the An Hoa Basin southwest of DaNang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well-led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of “bush time” as platoon commanders in the Basin’s tough and unforgiving environs.

The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridge lines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, criss-crossed with trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government-controlled enclaves near DaNang.

In the rifle companies we spent the endless months patrolling ridge lines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one’s pack, which after a few “humps” usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.

We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night.

Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.

We had been told while in training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of “Dying Delta,” as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander was wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoon, was wounded twice. The enlisted troops in the rifle platoons fared no better. Two of my original three squad leaders were killed, the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units—for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle for Hue City or at Dai Do—had it far worse.

When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in Hell and then return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of that hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty with which they moved when coming under enemy fire. Their sudden tenderness when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.

Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more—for each other and for the people they came to help.

It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers’ generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.

I have a new song

A few days ago I was reading Psalm 40 and also Psalm 70 (Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.) which was referenced with Psalm 40.    As I read, I thought about the changes in my life in the past few months as I began depending more and leaning more on God in my life.   Over  the past couple of years I have traveled a very bumpy road of feeling very downhearted, worried about a lot of things, and felt lonely. etc.  I felt like my life was moving in slow motion; time flew by but not my life.   To use an old expression, I just felt like I was “going nowhere in a big hurry!”

I prayed  a few times asking the Lord for help, but then in my silly human condition, I would take back the request; figured I could do it on my own.  NOT!   It doesn’t work that way.

God never gives up on us though.  He is very patient and long-suffering waiting for us to come to him.  He heard my prayers.  He continually put people on my path – people who I was able to relate to and could share with just as they shared with me.  We were (and are) able to be an encouragement to each other.  We shared the good and bad things.  We laughed together and at times, cried together. We celebrated successes and held each other up in the down times.    I had no need to fear things, to feel so alone. God was and is with me with every step I take.

My walk with Him is growing every day as I spend much more time in His word, in prayer, and with Bible studies.  I have started to get more involved with things at my church and I am having fun doing it!

Through this time I have developed a new interest – Blogging!  Yes me, really!  I am still amazed at this!  I never felt I had anything worthwhile to say, was not good enough to write anything of interest to anyone; not wise enough to to really have anything of value to offer.    I’m not yet writing as often as I would like but surprising to me, some of the things I have written have drawn people to respond and/or follow my blog.  This gives me more courage to write and post more often, simple though my words are.  Quite honestly I never thought I would see this happening in my life.  God is full of surprises!!

I noticed at the bottom of the page in my journal where I originally wrote these thoughts a quote that is so fitting.  The author is unknown so I can’t credit it properly but it says “Within each of us, just waiting to blossom, is the wonderful promise of all we can be.”  This is so true!  It  is a wonderful promise indeed! There is so much I am learning and finding out about myself through this process!   I can’t wait to find out what yet awaits me!

Lord I thank you and praise you for pulling me up out of that dark hole and showing me the right path to take to real happiness, for sending me my many “earth angels” to help me on my journey and for allowing me to help them as well at times.   I am so blessed Lord!!