A Salute to My Favorite Veterans 

In honor of Veterans Day I thought I would talk about a few of the finest men I know.  I am honored to have/had them all in in my life.

I have several uncles that have served our country proudly.  Two however I would like to tell you about, my uncle A and my uncle L.  Both of these men helped shape my life in more ways than one.

When I was younger I belonged to a clogging (an Appalachian form of dance) team.  I along with my brother, mother, and father all danced on this team.  So did my uncle A, aunt and cousin.  We practiced weekly and on most weekends we performed at different festivals.  I loved those days.   Our two families are close thanks to those times.  We also spent many of our “free” weekends at my grandmothers and if we were there you could almost bet my aunt, uncle and cousin were there as well.  In fact most of my childhood memories include them.  I would give anything to have him spin me around the dance floor one more time to one of our old routines.

Now my uncle L is on my dads side.  He has a love for motorcycles and for Jesus.  He is one of the sweetest men I know.  He always has a kind word to share and he makes sure to tells me just how much he loves me every time I see him. When I was younger and still lived at home he, my aunt and their two kids lived less than a mile from me.  Family is everything to him.  And I will never be to old for one of his bear hugs.

I am blessed to have had both of my grandfathers serve our county as well.  Both Papaw W and Papaw L served during World War II.  Papaw W was in the Navy and Papaw L was in the Army.  My Papaw W always had a story to tell and made sure we knew who the greatest hunter/or fisherman was. Later in life he would quiz me on Bible verses or share a passage that he thought was interesting.  My Papaw L was my rock when I was a little girl.  I spent most of my early childhood days at his and mamaw’s house.  Having them as our neighbors made it easy to see them daily.  We would pass the days by working in the garden or playing games of Canasta.  I would ride in the back of his old black Ford pickup truck to the store were he would buy me a soda and candy bar for under a dollar.  Those were the days.  I would love to be able to hear just one more hunting story from Papaw W or to be able to play one more game of Canasta with Papaw L.  I know they both watch over me in all that I do.

I even married into a family that has served our country with pride.  My father-in-law was in the Air Force and my husband was in the Army.  My father-in-law fought in the Vietnam War.  He is the best when it comes to being an all around great guy.  From the first day I met him he welcomed me into his family.  He showed me how to eat chicken wings and helped introduce me to NASCAR. He is the first person people go to when something needs done.  He works with his church making sure all the local kids have food to eat through the back pack program and he is always the first one to offer to help if something comes up.  He would give the shirt of his back if he thought someone needed it. He is also a pretty awesome papaw to our little ones, just ask any of them.  When he says “I love ya girl.” I know he means it.

My husband, my hero, my rock, and my partner.  He fought for our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He always has my back no matter how crazy things get.  He works hard to provide a good life for the kids and me.  He opened his heart up to foster care when many others would have said no.  He makes me happier than I have ever been. He is my shoulder to cry on, my go to guy when I need good laugh, and my stealer of the sheets at night.  My favorite place in the world is in his arms.

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I also have many cousins and friends that have served the Red, White, and Blue proudly.  To all of them I say THANK YOU!!!

The point of this blog is to show that our Veterans are not nameless people or people without faces.  Our veterans are everyday people.  They are someones grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, husband, son, daughter, aunt, mother, or grandmother.  They are real people with real families yet they choose to serve to give us the freedoms we have.  They sacrifice so much to give us opportunities many Americans today take for granted.  Freedom is not free.  It comes with a cost few are willing to pay.

So today, as well as every day, if you see a veteran thank them for their service.  I am honored to be part of a family that has served our country over the years.  To all those that have served or are currently serving I salute you.  Thank you for being you.  And God bless you.

 

Grandparents 

It was Sunday afternoon and I found myself reminiscing of a simpler time.  I find myself thinking back to a time where I had no bills to pay, no worries or no fears.  Back to a time where my weekends were spent with my cousins on my grandparents farm chasing chickens or swimming in the creek (when my parents allowed us) or pretending to be the cast off of the Dukes of Hazzard.   Those were the days

I was blessed in many ways growing up.  One of the greatest blessings by far was having both sets of my grandparents while growing up.  I was also fortunate to have a set of great-grandparents that I had the pleasure of getting to know and love.  Not many people can say that.   This post it in honor of all of my grandparents.  

I will start with my dad’s parents.  My papaw L and Mamaw S.  I can’t think of any week in my childhood that these two were not involved somehow.  They lived up the holler (up the road for you city folk) from us.  My brother and I spend the days with them while my parents worked and after we started school my papaw would pick us up after school until my parents got home.  We spent our days playing games of Canasta, that’s actually how I figured out how to count, or working in the garden, running wild in the open fields and eating gooseberries and rhubarb off the creek bank.  Back then we could ride in the back of papaw’s old black Ford to the store(no seatbelt required) where he would give us a dollar to spend on whatever we liked. Usually I got a can of Dr Pepper and a candy bar and still had a few cents left over.  When we would return we would help him carry the groceries up the steps and into the kitchen were my mamaw patiently waited.  She always made sure to have something on the table for dinner when my parents arrived to pick us up, a few of my favorites: her steak and gravy and her homemade chili.

My papaw L and his old Ford
My baby girls 1st Year pictures. With my mamaw S in the heart

 She gave me a love/hate relationship with scary movies.  She absolutely loved to watch them but hated to watch them alone so I would stay up with her and not sleep for nights after words fearing Freddy really was going to get me.   I find it funny that my children love scary stuff and I can’t bring myself to watch anything scarier than what plays on Disney Junior at Halloween time.  If they only knew what I went through lol.  My papaw was one of a kind.  Strong and brave.  He gave me a love for the outdoors and helped me shot my first gun. I lost them both before I was sixteen.  But our bond will last my lifetime.

Both of my grandfathers served our country in WWII. Papaw L was and Army man while my Papaw W was a Navy man.  To see the way these high paid athletes are disrespecting our flag, our national anthem and country makes me sick. I know both of them would be shaking their heads. They were proud to be Americans and proud to have served their country.  Their love for our freedom has flowed throughout the generations that followed them.  

My papaw W and mamaw B lived about an hour away from us.  We spend our weekends there with our countless cousins on my moms side.  On Saturday nights the men played cards while the lady’s chatted in the living room or watched us kids run around outside. And on Sunday morning mamaw B made sure we all made it to church. My papaw W and mamaw B gave me a love for the Bible early on in life.  Some of my favorite times with papaw were our Bible talkes after I was a young adult.  I remember going camping and fishing on the river.  And with the arrival of spring it meant it was time to dig ramps (kind of like a wild onion) for the annual ramp dinner. My family was not rich but I never weren’t, we were blessed with something much more valuable than money.After my dad’s parents passed away and my moms parents moved to town we spent more time at their house. My mamaw B’s mom, Great Grandma W, moved in with them.  Most of my memories of her come from this time.  Great Grandma W was a firecracker.  She could preach the Word of God and tell the funniest jokes. She and mamaw quilted many blankets and made many Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for us as we grow up.  Their house was had food one the table, you never knew who would stop by to share a meal. 

Papaw W giving my husband some parenting advice

My oldest daughter and son have the privilege of getting to spend time with them often.  My son when he was old enough got to go on the annual hunting trip with my dad, my papaw W, and my uncle. These three men helped shape him into the young man he is today. Those hunting trips are something he will treasure forever. My daughter was my papaw’s football buddy.  Not many families have five generation photos but we were blessed to be able several of them.  My beautiful Great Grandma went to be with Jesus when she was 102.   Just a few years ago I lost my papaw W.  He was at the hunting camp with my dad, son and uncle.  He passed away doing what he loved to do.  My heart still aches. 
Our first 5 generation picture, the day I brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital. Our first stop Mamaw B’s house
My mom, Great Grandma, mamaw, me, Sis and bub. Look how tiny their are ❤️
Mamaw B, me and all of my kiddos ❤️.

A few weeks ago I was able to make a trip make home, while there I made sure to stop by and see me beautiful mamaw B.  That trip she remembered me and we shared some good laughs at my brothers experience, sorry bub. 

Mamaw telling me a story about my brother.

She’s all I have left and I hate being hours away.  I hate that life happens and I can’t just pick up and go let I did when I was younger.  I hate being an adult. How I wish I could turn back time to when I was 14 or 15 and still have them all with me. I am very Thankful to still have her. 

I hope I have made them proud. I hope as they look down from heaven they say, “See that girl right there well that’s my granddaughter.”  I hope I have turned out half a well as they had hoped.  There’s not a day that goes by I don’t smell something or see something that reminds me of at least one of them.  Both of my adopted daughters are named in someway to honor my mamaw S and mamaw B.  My oldest was named in honor of my great grandma W.  I hope that they carry the names given to them with their heads held high knowing just how special they are. I pray they too become strong independent women as those they are named after.  I pray that all my children know just how blessed our family is.  For even though my little loves are too young to remember on their own they will know who their Great grandparents and Great Great Grandma was through the stories I share.  Oh how I miss you all so….

And mamaw B I will be back to see you soon, until then your Baby girl loves you keep those nurses on their toes ❤️
From our beautiful chaos to yours be sure to tell those you love just how much they mean to you.  Cherish the moments for a lifetime. 

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