Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


Memorial Day Weekend

I LOVE long holiday weekends. I took off work Sunday so I had four whole days to spend with my family. Nothing makes me happier than that.

Friday, Landon and I worked on our garden. Dad built two garden boxes out of cedar so we could have raised garden beds. The great advantage of these is that you don't have to bend down to garden, there are no weeds to worry about, and it has a great drainage system. The downfall is that it is small so space is limited. We picked up some watermelon, kale, carrots, peas, leeks, celery, Italian parsley, oregano, and rosemary. I left a spot for some sweet basil and garlic which the garden store didn't have at the time.

I'm not a gardener, so this year will be a test to see how everything grows. Gardening is something I'd like to do, but my time is always an issue and I'm just not sure I have the knack for it. Dad is building another one and has many other vegetables in the one he built for himself.  I plan to use a trellis to let the peas grow up once they start growing and we are hoping the watermelon will hang down. I'm hopeful that at least my herbs will stay alive and do well. Time will tell. Landon had some fun in the dirt, but didn't stay focused the entire time. He does really enjoying watering the gardens at night though.

Saturday we got up early and got dressed. For the first time ever Landon showed interest in his clothes and picked out a shirt he wanted to wear. He then proceeded to take off the shirt he had on and try to put this one on. No surprise it was his tractor shirt from Papa. He loves being a little farm boy.

Excuse my poor quality cell phone picture

We spent the rest of the day at Noni's house cleaning out the pool! It's a little late this year, but better late than never. It wasn't a particularly hot day, but running around in the sun got the boys hot so Adam started spraying him with the hose to cool them down. This turned into a big game for them. They loved it! What I love most about children is how innocent they are. Everything is fun and silly and they can turn anything into a good time. Once we got it drained it was time to start filling it up. The boys and Katherine were the first ones in this year.

In the deep end with just a little bit of water

By Monday morning the pool was full and last night the pump was turned on. So hopefully this coming weekend will be nice weather and we can finally enjoy the pool. This mama needs a tan!

Sunday, I was off so I was finally able to go to Sunday morning mass. I cannot wait to not be working Sunday's so I can do morning mass again. There is no better feeling than getting up and going to church first thing in the morning. It's always a little hard to get out of bed, but I ALWAYS feel so much better afterwards. Having gone to the Cathedral for so many years we are use to a big church, but the local church in the country is much smaller and very quaint. I actually really like it. What I miss most about the big churches is the music. Nothing compares to a stunning choir and organ. Still, there is something to be said for the community and quaintness in a small town church. After church, I helped my Dad work on cleaning out his garage. I'm on a mission to help him get organized while we live on his property. A month ago we worked on the carport and now that it is all cleaned out and organized we have turned our sights on the garage. We only got one side of his massive garage done, but it was the most intensive side and I think the rest of it will go pretty quickly. There is an unending amount of things to organize on this 45 acre farm, but we are making progress one place at a time.



Since Monday was Memorial Day, Dad invited us to go with him to a small wreath laying ceremony that his troop members were doing at the monument of the men that were killed in action in Vietnam. We decided to go mainly so Adam could take pictures for them. My Dad and the surviving members raised money three years ago to make this monument for all 92 men that were killed. I was barley pregnant with Landon when they had the dedication and it was a beautiful, elaborate ceremony. This was a much smaller ceremony with just a few local members and the first time I had been to the monument in almost three years. This ceremony was almost more touching than the original dedication. A prayer was read and the men laid the wreath. Afterwards, they stood at attention while they played a song in memory of their fallen brothers. I'm not very familiar with country music so I had never heard the song before and maybe that is part of why it was so touching. It was very hard to hold back the tears. As I watched My Dad and other retired military men stand at attention during this song I thought of the one of the readings at Mass this weekend from St. Paul's epistle to the Romans. It read;

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:1-5

I cannot begin to understand how those men feel standing in front of the monument. The names on that monument mean very little to the people that walk by it everyday, but to the group of men standing before it, each careful etching represents friends and comrades; compatriots and heroes; men, fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands. No matter what the circumstances were surrounding their ultimate sacrifice, they all lost their lives protecting us at home. I know that for my Father and many of these surviving servicemen, it is the grace and glory of God that allows them to stand before that monument and salute their fallen brothers.

I am so happy we decided to go to this ceremony. It's amazing how much more you get out of everyday life when you do things that really matter. Going to church and the memorial ceremony were not the most exciting or fun things I could have done this weekend, but they were the most meaningful. We still made plenty of time to play, relax and enjoy the time off, but sometimes doing things that are fun all the time make life less important in a way. Taking a few hours out of the weekend to do things that are serious and meaningful add to our lives in ways that "hanging out" just cannot. I love that Landon thinks everything is fun and exciting at his age, but I hope that as he grows up we can teach him that there are some things in life that are more important and worth a little bit of our time. I definitely want  to start a tradition with Landon of going to a ceremony on Memorial Day so he can understand the importance of this holiday. I hope as he gets older he can understand the sacrifice that so many have made for our country.
Adam also reminded me of a very moving speech given by a very wise man many years go. It reads in part;

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." - Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg

I found this video tribute to the song that was played at the ceremony Monday. It's a very touching tribute to all the fallen servicemen. Although nothing can do justice for their service, it's a good reminder to us all that our freedom comes at a price.

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