Monday, November 25, 2013

Leaves & Laughter

As predicted, Autumn arrived and visited our area in the glorious array of color that only the season of Fall can bring.   God's handiwork in creation is to be admired, as we are treated to golden leaves with touches of orange and red among forest trees and countryside shrubs.  Since we are nearing the end of fall, declared by trees naked of leaves, the landscape now resembles twigs and branches devoid of color and form.  Spring and summer have had their way giving blossoms of color and richness of green to delight our human world in the vision of nature in beauty and smell.

The above photo was taken several years ago at a friend's house while raking an abundance of fall leaves.  Work turned into play, resulting in a fun shot of being engulfed by such a pile!  It's also great to take a walk through such leaves and listen to the crunching sounds beneath your feet.  Aahh!  We all need to take time out to be kids at heart in a much too often serious world.

Laughter is good for the soul.  Scripture says in Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones."   Have you ever sat and listened to the laughter of a child or children??  It is so contagious, you find yourself laughing along with them.  It is a melody of gladness which makes one want to join in the experience of lighthearted moments in the world of a child.  I posted this 20 second sound clip of a baby's laughter just in case you haven't heard an innocent's laughter in a while; I hope it brings you a smile.  You can also hear it at:


If the season of Autumn had sound, I'm sure we'd hear a crescendo in the rise of colors from muted green to sun tipped yellows, blazing orange and heated reds.  If we listened close enough, perhaps we could hear the laughter of leaves playing in the wind or riding the breeze as they float or soar through currents of air in a final act of cycle.  The tree, barren as it looks, continues on with life flowing inwardly, invisible to the human eye, yet ready to produce its wonder of foliage upon the advent of Spring. 

We are treated to the changing season of Fall and only need to drive a short distance before we are in the forested hills surrounding the John Day Valley.  The Tamarack tree is prevalent among the evergreens as they burst forth in their lacy beauty of yellow, which distinguishes them from the ordinary.  You can make a scenic drive from John Day to Baker City, about 80 miles in distance, to enjoy the brilliant autumn splash of the tamarack dotting the forest countryside.
Since I have compiled a number of Autumn photos that I took during the past few years, I chose some to put in a PhotoShow entitled "Autumn Glory" for viewing.  Most were taken in Grant County and around the "neighborhood" in the John Day Valley.  The neighborhood consists of Dayville, Mt. Vernon, John Day and Prairie City, all situated on Highway 26, which continues into the woodland towards Baker City.  This country is also known as "High Desert".... which I've never understood since desert means to me, sand dunes and the odd sagebrush.  It is beautiful country here, often referred to as God's Country.  For those of you who have not traveled to Eastern Oregon, you can catch a glimpse of this part of the country and get an idea of the scenery here.  Since the population count is low, there are definitely more trees than people!
You can also view at this link:

 In closing, I wish you all a BLESSED & HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  Remember to discover humor and along with it, do smile often, laugh hard and delight yourself in the little things in life, such as autumn leaves.

Tune in for my next post on December 9 at The Turn-Up Patch.  Until then, here is a quote from Paulo Coelho:  "When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.  When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Honor

November 11 of each year is a day set aside to honor all American veterans to ensure that they know the deep appreciation of sacrifices made in the noble protection of freedom.  As I began to write this post in salute to our veterans, I realize within myself that I have no idea of the personal experience belonging solely to the veteran.  They are a unique class of men and women who bear the identity of "veteran", which bonds them for life.  Strangers shake hands on the street, in the community, in the market place, greeting each other with respect in the discovery of mutual military service.   Our lives intermingle with these ones who know a sacrifice and a passion for their country that so many of us take for granted.  In my personal life, my husband served as a US Marine; my brother-in-law, a Navy Seal; and my uncle, in the Air Force.

Photo credit to Raymond Malkiewicz

The photo above says so much in respect.  Perhaps he knew the depth of cost and paid the price in the journey of his life in military service, as so many others have.   Perhaps by struggling to stand up from his wheelchair and brace himself for strength, could he acknowledge with his body, a standing salute.  Perhaps a sense of pride for the American flag,  and to the Republic for which it stands, and all the military flags, symbolizing patriotic duty.  Perhaps a remembrance of lost family member in the casualty of war.  As these ones pass before him in military formation, perhaps he speaks a whisper in his heart that says "God be with them".

I am adding a few more photos to this post that I took this morning at the Memorial service in our valley town of John Day, held in honor of those men and women who have served in our country's military.  The first photo is of Robert Riddell, who served in World War II as a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps, as it was known in that day.  He is now 93 years of age and came to acknowledge and show respect for the veteran.

I came across this article written by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, M.M. (Maryknoll Missionaries) USMC, born 1923 - died 2002.   His words say it all......

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?
He is  the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is  the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She (or he)  is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is  the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is  the drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is  the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is  the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is  the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is  the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is  an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is  a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".   

It's the soldier, not the reporter,
Who gave us our freedom of the press.
It's the soldier, not the poet,
Who gave us our freedom of speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who gave us our freedom to demonstrate.
It's the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
....  Who serves others with respect for the flag,
....  And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
....  Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward O'Brien M.M./USMC 

In closing, the following clip is a fitting tribute to our veterans across the land who have tasted a slice of life which only they can understand in bitter/sweet experience.  They are Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard and includes the National Guard, as well.  They have been both warrior and peace keeper in investing of themselves to guard and to insure the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this land of liberty, called America.
 Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) - US Marines;  
Aim High... Fly-Fight-Win - US Air Force
Semper Paratus (Always Ready) - US Coast Guard
Non sibi sed patraiae (Not for Self but Country) - US Navy
This We'll Defend - US Army 
Always Ready, Always There - US National Guard

T H A N K   Y O U !

The video is presented by msouders37 on YouTube and is entitled "This is Still the Land of the Free" and  performed by Tussing Elementary 3rd Grade - 2011 Michael Souders (BMI/CCLI)

You can also view this video at

Join me on November 25, for our next meeting at The Turn-Up Patch.