Last week I was a mess, so far as time management at home goes. It was my first full week at my new job, and with so much of my focus being on learning new things, which I am sure it will be again this week, I just came home and crashed out on my chair after dinner. I really need to get with the program though! This is my new reality – no more Fridays off, which means I need to actually accomplish something in the evenings when I get home. I’m putting a different evening chore into my to-do list on my tablet every day this week, something I would have had to do on Friday. This weekend felt overwhelming trying to get so much done, and honestly, the list didn’t shrink all that much. Big projects all at once don’t fit into a 48-hour weekend with any time leftover for relaxing. We did get a little Christmas decorating done – yes, I am one of “those” people who start decorating before Thanksgiving. Honestly, we usually have all of this done already, by the end of the 1st weekend in November, but we have had quite a bit going on lately, so we are starting the season late! Well, late for us. It will all be done by the end of this week so we can spend next weekend cleaning and getting ready for family coming in from out of town the weekend after that. Without my Friday off to get things ready, there is so much that we need to cram into the time we have available to us. I’m really trying to get it together – thanks for being patient with me.
Verse of the Day
November 11, 2019
Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
What do you smell like today? Is that question too personal? Not to God! Paul says we are warriors returning from conquest with the smell of victory incense permeating our presence. To those who see us and know us, this aroma points them to God and his victory over our wills and his victory for us over death. We are God’s conquest and conquerors. Let’s live surrendered to his will, displaying his grace and victory in our lives.
Armistice Day / Death/Duty Day – It had been a long four years as soldiers fought WWI. On October 17th, 1918 the final Allied push began towards the German border. As the American, British and French armies advanced, the alliance between the Central Powers began to fall apart. Turkey signed an armistice at the end of October, followed on November 3rd by Austria-Hungary. Germany was crumbling from within. The sailors of the High Seas Fleet, when faced with the prospect of returning to sea, mutinied on October 29th. It took a mere few days, and the entire city of Kiel was in their control and revolution spread throughout the country. The Kaiser abdicated on November 9th, slipping across the border into the Netherlands, into exile. A German Republic was declared, and they began to try to reach a peace with the Allies. At long last, early in the morning of November 11th, an armistice was signed in a railroad car that was parked near the front lines near a French forest. The terms of this agreement called for the fighting to stop along the entire Western Front, and it was to begin at exactly 11:00 a.m. that morning. Four years of bloody conflict, and the Great War was at an end. The world celebrated . . . but that’s not all of the story. “…at the front, there was no celebration.” There was an intelligence officer in the American 1st Division, Colonel Thomas Gowenlock, who was on the front on that November morning, and he wrote about his experience a few years later. On that morning of November 11th, Colonel Gowenlock was sitting in his dugout in Le Gros Faux, which was their division headquarters, speaking with a couple of other officers, when someone brought in the message that 1) Hostilities would stop at 11:00 on November 11th, and 2) The Allied troops were not to go beyond the line reached at that hour, on that date, until further orders. He and the other officers looked at each other, letting it sink in that it was over. He looked at his watch, it was 9:00 a.m. There were two hours to go, so he drove to the bank of the Meuse River to see the finish. There was heavy shelling, that was growing steadily worse. It seemed to him that every battery in the world was trying to burn up their guns. At last 11:00 came, but the firing did not stop. The men on both sides had decided to give all they had – their farewell to arms. It was a very natural impulse after the years of war, but also unfortunate and sad that many fell that day, after 11:00 a.m. All over the world, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne and hailing the armistice that marked the end of the war. Sadly though, many soldiers felt this would be temporary, and that they would soon be called upon to resume the war. The night arrived, it was so quiet, it felt unearthly to them, and it began to eat away at their souls. They sat around log fires, the first they had been able to have at the front, trying to convince themselves that the enemy was not watching them from the darkness beyond the light of the fire. They spoke to each other in quiet, nervous tones, sure that the German bombing planes would come and blast them. These soldiers had had long months of intense strain, always on high alert to the threat of daily mortal danger, always thinking in terms of war and the enemy. The sudden release was physical and psychological agony. Some suffered from a total nervous collapse, some began to be hopeful that they could go home soon, to the ones they loved. Some could only think of the little crosses that marked the graves of their fallen comrades, while some just fell into an exhausted sleep. All of them were confused by how their existence as soldiers felt suddenly meaningless. They did not know what would come next, and many hardly cared. They were numbed by the shock of peace, and what they had been through consumed their every thought – both waking and sleeping. They couldn’t reconcile with the present, and they couldn’t conceive of a future. Today we understand what those soldiers were going through to be PTSD, but the world wasn’t aware of this yet, so these poor soldiers who had given so much went home, adrift and left to pick up the pieces of their lives. God bless every single one of those soldiers, past and present, and may their sacrifices never be forgotten or minimalized by time.
Forget-Me-Not Day – This is a day to remember family, friends and loved ones. Many folks use this day to get in touch with people they haven’t seen in a while, those people you don’t want to forget you, of course! Though this day is intended to remember the living, many people also use it to memorialize a loved one who is no longer with us. Some suggestions for celebrating this one would be to maybe send out Forget-Me-Not E-cards to everyone in your address book, send Forget-Me-Not flowers to people (aren’t these out of season right now though?), give Forget Me Not flower seed packets since they are easy to mail, or just give someone a call you haven’t talked to in a long time. Honestly, if you are going to mail out anything, perhaps this is one to plan ahead for next year, and just stick with the e-cards and phone calls for today.
Origami Day – There is an art to folding piece of paper and taking that paper from a flat sheet and turning it into a gorgeous creation merely with creasing folds into it. Europe China and Japan have a history of turning paper into art. In Japan, they have made beautiful designs, such as butterflies, with paper for a very long time. In Europe they folded napkins into beautiful shapes, which were a sign of being a good host or hostess. Origami is used as a beacon of hope, with the tradition of folding a thousand cranes for people who are in the hospital fighting cancer, among other illnesses. Simply by picking up a piece of paper and folding it into something incredible you can make someone else happy, fill them with hope, at least make them smile a little.
Veteran’s Day – Today is Veteran’s Day, and though for many people it has come to mean just a day off from work, this is a day that should be taken seriously and spent showing our appreciation for every single veteran who has ever put on a uniform for our country. Because of these men and women, we are free. Because of them, we can speak for ourselves, choose where and how to worship – or not, and live our lives however we see fit. The toll on our veterans is so high, but many people are unaware of just how high it is. If you have been blessed by personally knowing someone who has served in a foreign war, then perhaps you have been told stories of some of their experiences, but I’m betting you don’t know the inside story, for these are the things they don’t want you to know, but which show them for the truly brave and wonderful people that they are. You may not know how often they lie awake at night wracked with pain from injuries they have suffered during battle. You may not be aware of the horrifying nightmares that wake them when they finally DO fall to sleep. What about their reaction to sudden loud noises? Or the stress they undergo when they are in crowded or loud places? Have you ever thought about the toll that their experiences, and the post-traumatic issues from them, have on their families? When the war is over, or when their time in it is, their battles continue on for the rest of their lives. Life is never “normal” for them again. They may put on a happy face, some can’t no matter how hard they try, but inside they have changed. Some changes are for the better, many are not, but there’s nothing they can do about it. Do you know what though? And this is so important to remember . . . No matter the horror they have gone through, no matter the damage done to their bodies and their minds, they would do it all again. Let that sink in. They would do it all again for YOUR right to live free, for the rights of even those who speak out against them, they would go back to serve this country they love so much, no matter the toll it takes on their lives. Appreciate a Veteran this day, and every day. They have been there for us, let’s be there for them. To all the Veterans in my life – my father, brother, uncles, son, friends and extended “adopted” family . . . Thank you. Thank you for loving our country and our freedoms so much that you sacrificed for us. Thank you seems inadequate, but it is all I have to give. Thank you. These are pictures of my father and my son – I am so proud of both of them!
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Sundae Day – To me this seems like one that would be better celebrated in the summer, but I didn’t set it up. This delicious treat was first enjoyed in 1881, when George Hallauer asked Edward C. Berner, the owner of a soda fountain, to fix up a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce, somewhat like an ice cream soda. This treat grew in popularity but was only sold on Sundays . . . which I assume is where the name got its start.
I have a few things to finish up before I can run out the door. I’m trying to get to the office a bit early, and not running on the edge of late. Even though the temporary office where I’m working this week isn’t more than 5 minutes from my old office, it takes longer to get there because there are several sets of really long traffic lights to get through now. I hate running in at the last second! Have a great day! God bless you and I will try to see you tomorrow.
Celebration list sources: