Monday, July 16, 2018

So I Prayed



          Walking into my fourth-grade classroom, the teacher announced a pop quiz over the history chapter she assigned for homework, the one I didn’t have time to read, because I had math homework, and science, and spelling words, so . . . I prayed and promised all kinds of things, if only He would help me get through the pop quiz without failing.
          My mom interrogated my baby sister about the pearl necklace she found in her jewelry box.  I was next, so . . . I prayed for forgiveness, not because I was going to confess my guilt since I was the one who played with it when it broke into beads, but because I was going to lie and weasel my way out of a spanking. By some miracle, my baby sister got blamed, no one got spanked, and I still kept my promise to be extra nice to her for a whole week.
          Fast forward a few years.
          I hate thunderstorms, heights, and scary movies.  They give me nightmares, so I pray and He sees me through my fears. Prayer also got me through the years of depression and grief when my first marriage ended and I considered suicide.    
          Every morning, I stood by each student desk in my classroom and prayed for the child who would sit in that chair. I prayed for them as children and for them as students.    
          I prayed every day on my way to work and on my way home for my own children, and especially for my youngest son while he was off being a Marine serving his country.
          I still pray first thing in the morning, and I pray again the moment I lay my head on my pillow at night. 
          Best of all, I prayed for HoneyBunch.  After my divorce, I was prepared to live the rest of my life as a single person. I was grateful for all my blessings, but if there was someone else “out there” for me, maybe He could send him my way. And He did.
          So, yes, I pray.  It is as natural to me as breathing or thinking or being. It gets me through the day.         

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Mother of a United States Soldier




My paternal grandmother saw three of her four sons sign up and go off to fight in World War II.  My maternal grandmother saw all three of her precious sons drafted in the early 1950’s during the Korean War.  Several of my male cousins, including my older brother, served and some died in the Vietnam war.  Those who came home were changed forever, but their parents stood proud, supportive of their sons’ service.
When the draft ended in January of 1973, many mothers (and fathers) rested easy; their sons could choose to serve or not.  Even with that freedom, some of my family, both women and men, have joined the US service and made it their careers.  We are proud of their patriotism and selflessness.
My youngest joined the Marines during his senior year and in June of 1999, just weeks after graduating from high school, he went off to boot camp.
He made a studied decision and though I cried about it, when it came time to drive him to the drop off point, he deserved my respect and loyalty.  He was a grown man and would always have my undying love.
From that day forward, I “had his six.”
He was deployed in 2001, 2003, and 2010, and with each deployment I noticed increased differences in him, so when someone disrespects the flag, trashes this country, and encourages divisiveness, my patriotism comes to the fore.  There are those who do not understand the immense sacrifice our military gives to create and keep this country safe.
For every problem, every injustice, every failing we see in this country, let’s work toward solutions and honor the sacrifice millions have made to ensure the survival of this country.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ode to the Simple Sentence



          The marvelous sentence seems so simple a preschooler can string one together without thinking; yet, it’s amazingly complex in its construction.
          A composite of numerous careful, deliberate, and creative decisions, its basic construction can be taught easily; but only a dedicated wordsmith can transform it into a memorable work of artistry.
          Like any other aspect of language learning, we listen and observe before venturing to imitate and form a sentence.  We learn to speak by speaking; we learn to write a sentence by writing. 
But some writers venture farther; they create.
          Like their fellow artists - musicians and painters -, the writer looks at each single word like a beat on a sheet of music or a stroke of the brush on canvas. Each word is deliberate; every punctuation mark is a nuance filled with meaning.
          What needs to be altered? Cut? Revised? Expanded?
          The writer artfully and courageously choreographs each sentence. Clarity and intention, visual and rhythmic appeal, syntax and grammar rules – all color the canvas for innovation and uniqueness.
          The simple sentence becomes an extraordinary and memorable work of art.