Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009...

Well, the house is clean and as decorated as it will be for this year...

The food for Christmas Eve is cooking. The food for Christmas Breakfast and Lunch is in the refrigerator... I will put the casseroles together tonight and have them ready for tomorrow.

Most of the wrapping is done ... wonder if I could just put the stuff for the stockings in without wrapping them this year? Maybe that will be the NEW tradition. We have 13 stockings at our house since we celebrate Christmas at Breakfast :)... I love it!

I just had a chance to AOL IM with my Warrior. Makes me so happy and so sad. He has to go on a "walk" as he calls it tomorrow. So, if you understand what I mean by that - please pray for him and the others that are "walking"... as you are celebrating Christmas with your family. We are so proud of him and the others who willingly serve so that we can continue to be free! But goodness - how we miss him. Always. But especially at Christmas. Once again so thankful for the technology that lets us have contact. Cannot even imagine how much harder it would be without it.

So, for now, let me close with this Video. I hope you will take the time to listen and watch it all.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


27 years ago, Hal and I moved to Decatur Alabama. He had just graduated from seminary, and we had a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. (Our baby came the next summer.) This was the first "full-time" church. We were young... and away from home.

One of the scriptures that I have seen God fulfill in our lives is the promise from Mark 10:29-30
"29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands..."

So, enter the scene of our lives - Henry and Shirley Workman. We had left our family - for ministry - and they became family to us. They took us as their own and loved our children as if they were their own grand-children. I am talking literally here.

i.e. They offered for us to come and swim in their pool - and they were serious. When I did not take them up on the offer immediately, Shirley would call me, to personally invite me to come and bring my babies. Henry gave Hal the key to their house and told us that anything they had was ours too. He meant it. Shirley would call when there was something going on with the young couples at the church and offer to babysit my kiddos so that this young mom could go too.

Our little ones had to come out to "big church" at the age of three. I was in the choir - so after a few weeks of a break from choir and sitting with me, Shirley was the one who told me to go back to the choir and let them sit with her. For all three children. That is just the way she was.

They bought our children gifts - probably way too many - but they would just tell us that they did not have any grandchildren yet - so they would take ours. And on... and on... and on I could go with examples. Seven years worth...

Shirley had cancer when we first met. She had been given 6 months to live. God healed her and her 6 months lasted 27 years. This past week, she met her Savior face to face.

It has been a few years since I have seen her or talked to her. We do not get back to Decatur very often. But I have a storehouse of memories. And heaven is a little sweeter...

So, Henry - thank you for sharing your life and all that you had with us. You will never know this side of heaven how much it meant to us then... and how much it still means to us now. Sweet, sweet memories.

Also thanks to Robert, Tony and Jeff - for sharing your parents and your home and your lives with us. Even though we do not see you often - our lives are richer because of the Workmans...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Different Christmas Poem...

(This is my Warrior - currently serving)

I received this poem today in an email... and I wanted to share it with you all. Please remember our soldiers who are out there this Christmas season... serving us all.... protecting us... and by choice I might add.

And remember their families as well. It is a sacrifice. Trust me.

Once again - I proclaim that freedom is not free.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,

But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,

"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light

Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,

That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"

Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,

Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,

To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."
" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,

Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,

"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,

For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN

30th Naval Construction Regiment

OIC, Logistics Cell One

Al Taqqadum, Iraq