Last night we attended a dinner celebrating the 244th birthday of the United States Marine Corps and honoring our veterans.
The gentleman on the left in this photo is Don Bowen, a Marine veteran. He and his wife, Toni, invited us to attend. Don and Toni are the realtors who had our house built. They lived in it for the first 6 years before we bought it. I have a special spot in my heart for this couple.
The birthday cake was cut by the oldest Marine present (91) and served by the youngest one (42). I thought that was a nice tradition.
All branches of the service were recognized with a toast to their service to our country. Bob served in the army when we first were married.
That opportunity to live in Germany while Bob served in the military got our marriage off to a wonderful start. I was stripped from my comfort zones: family, friends, language, culture, job… and placed in a “strange land” where I needed to rely on my husband, my inner core, my faith, and my ability to learn and adapt.
I landed a job (by God’s Grace) teaching first graders on the army base – it was mid-year, February – so it really was a God-thing!! And we became life-long friends with the Schallers, whose chalet we shared. Ah memories!
On this Veterans Day, I think back to those years of service and I remember all who sacrificed for our freedom. I live in gratitude – forever thankful for all who served and who are serving in our military today.
In a perfect world, we would need no armies. We would just love one another, and we’d all live in peace. Ah, I long for that day. But, I’m afraid it won’t come til Heaven. Nevertheless, I will strive for that peace in my life.
Today our Ennis Arts Association had a guest speaker, Kathy Coontz, who represents the Federation, Quilts of Valor, in our state of Montana. Kathy is such an inspiration!! I love her quilts and her enthusiasm.
Can you see what a delight she is?
The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a nation-wide service effort that delivers quilts to service members and veterans. Its mission is to cover service men and women and veterans touched by our war(s) with comforting and healing hugs in the form of beautiful, warm, red, white and blue quilts.
Kathy told us the recipients do not have to have served in a “declared war.” Regardless of the conflict or the branch of service, the rank or the job (Clerk Typist Specialist 4 – behind a desk in Germany in 1961-2 was my husband’s job), we owe them a thank you for their service to our country. The quilts are stitched with love, prayers, gratitude, and healing thoughts. It’s the quilters’ way of saying, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor.”
In their brochure explaining the program, QOV quoted one recipient, a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan from ’05 to ’07.
Spc. JMcK, US Army, wrote,
“As silly as it might sound for a soldier with over three years in Iraq and Afghanistan to say, that blanket became a true item of comfort and peace for the road ahead.”
If you know a U.S. service man or woman or a veteran who might appreciate a Quilt of Valor, you can log on to http://www.QOVF.org and fill out an application. You also can discover on that site how to donate to the cause, join the organization, or designate a gift for a specific QOVF group or particular state.
It was a wonderful presentation. I wish more people in our Madison Valley had been there to hear Kathy’s message.
Do you have a Quilts Of Valor organization near you? Or do you know of a veteran who’d benefit? Think about it! There’s nothing like a warm blanket hug! My daughter DeDe sent me a blanket hug for Christmas last year. I love it!!
My blog, “Loving One Another” is all about how to love, encourage, and inspire one another. Cristian Mihai of “The Art of Blogging” says we need to be able to express in 6 words or less why we blog and what we blog about.
I answered his query saying, “I spread love and inspiration daily.” That’s six words.
I augmented my answer by adding, “I plan to inspire, inform, entertain, and encourage.”
If we want to shine, to inspire and encourage others, to be unconditional, effective lovers, are there some tips we need to keep in mind?
Yes, I believe there are habits that lovers of people, lovers of animals, lovers of nature and of God, need to develop. I think they include these SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LOVERS:
1. Listening with Intent
Effective lovers perk up their ears and really hear the voices, the sounds, the cries and laughter, the heart of everything around them.
2. Seeing non-judgmentally
Effective lovers look for the best in others. They see what they’re looking for. They see the person, animal or object as the Creator intended them/it to be. They imagine perfection, wholeness, beauty. They bring out the love that’s embedded in what they see.
3. Feeling with Compassion& Empathy
Effective lovers feel what others are feeling. They are compassionate and empathetic … not sympathetic. They don’t look at someone or something and say, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you/it.” They try to put themselves in the others’ shoes. They look for solutions. They offer real help. They fertilize the dying bush or bring the parched animal a drink.
4. Reaching Out
Effective lovers extend a helping hand without being asked. Their “feelers” are out looking for ways to help. They have a servant’s heart.
5. Taking Time
A habit effective lovers develop is the act of taking time for others. Whether it is visiting a friend who’s sick, caring for a pet while its owner is away, watering a garden, going to a nursing home, building a birdhouse or helping to complete a project, the effective lover is ever ready.
Knowing your own power is limited, knowing we’re all imperfect mortals who need divine guidance, effective lovers pray for others, pray for world peace, pray for endangered species and help in times of disasters and seemingly insurmountable struggles. Effective lovers reach for help beyond themselves.
We know our own limitations, and we know our own weaknesses. We know we do not always exhibit the kindness, patience and gentleness that effective lovers need. So, we ask for divine guidance and help from the One who strengthens us.
Effective lovers have staying power. They are tenacious. They are in it for the long haul. They are not quick to let go. Instead, they continue to love through thick and thin.
Like this beautiful spider web that is covered with snow, but hanging on for dear life as the wind howls outside my sanctuary, this web has a job to do. It will capture any insects that survive the storm … it will provide food for the spider that created it. It hangs on and fulfills its given purpose.
Being an Effective Lover involves listening, seeing, feeling, reaching, taking time, praying, and being tenacious… and it’s worth all that effort because you know:
“What you bring into the lives of others comes back into your own.”
Do you agree with these 7 habits or qualities for “Effective Lovers”? Do you have others you might add?