America

July 4th: a day to celebrate the USA, freedom, patriots, and heroes who gave their lives; our history, our heritage.

I love America! I grew up in a patriotic household. My mother’s birthday is July 4th, and she couldn’t be happier sharing her birthday with America. Both of my grandfathers were in the military. I have eight great uncles–all brothers to my special Grandmom Koechig (she was the only girl of nine kids!)–and almost all were involved in the military. I have an ancestor…not sure if it is Uncle Archie or Cousin Archie… who fought in WWI and died from the yellow mustard gas. One of my Grandmom’s brothers was a decorated war hero of WWII–he ended up marrying a German girl whose father was a high-ranking Nazi official, but whose mother was sympathetic to the Americans. Because of his success in WWII, he was a consultant and strategist in the Vietnam War. My Uncle Herb is a Vietnam vet, my own dad was drafted a few short months before the war ended and thankfully never had to go over. We have some reason to believe that we are also related to Stonewall Jackson of the Civil War…but I don’t know for sure!

All that to say…I love this country and I love the history of the real people who sacrificed to make it what it is today. In honor of this past Independence Day weekend, I am reading a book entitled “America” (A Modern Library Original). It is simply a collection of classic writings that “help define the nation,” and I’m including some of my favorite quotes from it here. Don’t worry about borders or health insurance or the economy for a few minutes, and enjoy a glimpse of what made America great. God Bless America.

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From the Mayflower Compact (p. 3):

“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony…covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body…for our better ordering, and preservation.”

“On the Death of Benjamin Franklin” by Philip Freneau:

“When monarchs tumble to the ground,

Successors easily are found;

But, matchless Franklin! what a few

Can hope to rival such as you.”

I love how Theodore Roosevelt described the end of the American Wilderness:

“By the close of 1883 the last buffalo herd was destroyed. The beaver were trapped out of all the streams…the flood of the incoming whites had risen over the land; tongues of settlement reached from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. The frontier had come to an end; it had vanished.”

From Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau:

“This government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the America people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”

“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? We should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law (only), so much as for the right.

“…men serve the state…as machines, with their bodies. Others…serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the Devil…A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also…and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.”

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Now a few of just my favorite general patriotic quotes:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

(Thomas Jefferson)

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.

(Abraham Lincoln)

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

(Ronald Reagan)

God Bless America–Land that I love! 

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Our whole family at our Fourth of July/Mom’s Birthday picnic! 🙂

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Books, Blogs, and Busy-ness

Hi again! Remember me? I used to post on here once a week…or at least once every other week…would you believe once a month? OK, me either. But it’s March 31st, a beautiful Tuesday night, and I’m sitting up in my bed watching my demon cat chase her own tail. Might as well blog, right?? 🙂

I actually do have more to blog about than just my crazy cat. (And she really IS crazy…why can’t my animals be cuddly and cute like my mom’s?So first of all, some excuses REASONS why I haven’t blogged much this month…

*Kali’s Birthday!!* March 11th she turned four! After a busy week at school (the last week before our spring break), we celebrated with both sides of the family on Saturday, March 14th. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work…Abe and I were happy we got through our first birthday party! I’ll include pictures of the party at the end–we had a princess theme with all her cousins dressing up, and Nana as her “Fairy Godmother.” I used some ideas off of Pinterest and made up my own to fit our family, too!

The week after Kali’s party we enjoyed a whole week of Spring Break. I had grand plans of blogging that week…somehow, it didn’t happen. Somehow, most of my list for that week didn’t happen! But hey, life happens, and that’s OK. A favorite time of mine over spring break was each morning. Kali normally wakes up around the time Abe leaves for work, so over that week when I didn’t have to go to school he would just come and set her in bed with me. I tried to make a rule that we couldn’t get up before the sun did. (The sun gets up earlier than I thought!) She would lay there and cuddle with me and try to get me to wake up soon after Abe left, and I was amused every morning at her tactics! One morning I tried to convince her that we should “sleep in” today…she just looked at me a minute, and then said, “But I want to sleep out today!” Somehow spending a day with her makes it not so hard to get out of bed in the morning. 🙂

And finally, the week after our glorious spring break was competition week for our highschool. (Read: run-around-like-crazy-week; opposite-of-spring-break-week!) With long practices and a long day on Friday, it seemed like all the housework I got done over the break just disappeared and my to-do list multiplied! Thankfully I had a Saturday at home to get caught up and this week has been much slower and easier to stay on top of things. There’s something about having a clean house for a couple of days straight that can lift your spirits!

So now that you’re caught up on my busy month of March, which is totally interesting, I really wanted to write today about a book I’m reading that has been a huge encouragement to me. You should look it up! It’s a biography of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India. It’s kind of old I think–I found it at a thrift store sale over spring break. (I paid 25 cents for it!) I like looking for old biographies now. I am and have always been a big reader–I love any and all books! And libraries! (And Abe thinks I’m crazy…if you know Abe, you know he would rather be practically anywhere besides a library!) But as I’ve gotten older I’ve run out of interesting things to read, as well as the time to read them. I’m in a stage right now where all biographies interest me. I’ve read a million and one novels and almost as many mysteries (those have typically been my favorite genre)–but now I LOVE reading true stories about people’s lives. It’s so interesting!! Do you like to read? Do you have any favorite biographies? I can give you a list of biographies that I’ve enjoyed or are on my list to read! My current book on Amy Carmichael was first printed in America in 1979, but was written earlier by Frank Houghton.

It’s written in an older English style, but here are a few of my favorite quotes/poems/statements:

“What though I stand with the winners, Or perish with those that fall? Only the cowards are sinners, Fighting the fight is all.” 

“When God does favor any action, it runs, it flies. All things concur to give it a perfection.”

One of my favorite poems, not sure if she wrote this one or just liked it:

“Many crowd the Savior’s Kingdom, Few receive His Cross.

Many seek His consolation, Few will suffer loss.

Many will confess His wisdom, Few embrace His shame.

Many, should He smile upon them, Will His praise proclaim;

Then, if for a while He leaves them, They desert His name.

But the souls who love Him truly, whether for woe or bliss,

These will count their truest heart’s blood, Not their own, but His.” 

Her story is an incredible one–a single lady who followed God’s winding, full-of-surprises plan for her life, and saved hundreds of children in India in the early 1900s. Her book  is inspiring, with lots of thought-provoking quotes and poems. It’s been said that “you will continue being the same person you are except for the books you read and the people you meet.” Has there ever been a book that changed your life? I can think of a few that have made me think differently about my life and how I am living it! Would love to hear about any books that you would recommend, too! 🙂

Well Tuesday night is just about done. We made it to Wednesday! Hope your April 1st is a beautiful start to a new month!

❤ Flossie

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A new Snow White dress from GGmom!

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Kitchen all set up and decorated 🙂

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Kali and her cousins admiring her new Princess bike, complete with a seat for her baby dolls 🙂

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Birthday girl spot next to the presents

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the pretty roses cake that she picked out 🙂

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My Pinterest-inspired birthday wreath. Regular bows with sticky paper on the back, some star garland, and the birthday girl’s initial–I think for each birthday I will just change the inital (A for Abe, etc.) and keep it up for their birthday week! 🙂

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Blowing out the candles

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Our chalkboard 🙂 (It still says this…)

25 Years of Wishes…and Prayers

MAKE A WISH

Yesterday, I turned 25. I don’t feel too different…yet! Over the past week or so I was thinking of making a list of my top 25 Bible verses, quotes, pictures, or memories for my birthday post. But with a full time job, keeping a house running, a three-year-old occupied and dinner on the table, my life right now is not very conducive to coming up with lists of 25 of anything! (Unless it’s a to-do list…)

So I thought we could talk about wishes. Do you have any wishes? A bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list…but randomly I’ll find myself thinking “I wish” this or that.

I have seen two shooting stars so far in my life. I know lots of people who haven’t seen any, so I feel “lucky” to have seen two. One was just randomly when I was driving my car at night while in college. My first thought was cool! My second thought was it’s silly to make wishes, everyone knows it’s not for real but my third thought was well just for the fun of it, I wish… and I made a wish that night that I could continue eating ice cream like I did then for the rest of my life and never get fat. (Seriously. Anyway everyone knows they don’t come true right??) 🙂
The second one I was sitting on a bench by a fountain on the front campus of my university, with my boyfriend at the time, and we both saw the same one. Romantic, right?? Yeah well we didn’t get married. We just weren’t right for each other and we both knew it. But I made a wish that night too–I knew I probably wouldn’t marry that guy I was sitting with, so I just wished that I would be happily married someday to someone.

Do you make a wish when you blow out candles on your birthday cake? I can still picture my family’s small living room on cold February nights, year after year, lights dimmed, people crowded, and a big pink and white Valentines cake with flickering candles sitting in front of me. My big extended family would sing at the top of their lungs, off-key, “Happy Birthday” to me, and of course when the song ended, everyone would be laughing or clapping and calling out for me to make a wish. For someone who doesn’t believe in wishes coming true, I sure have made a lot of wishes! 😉

So at 11:11 or birthdays or shooting stars I maybe will make a wish for the fun of it, but there is something better than a wish that I believe in, and I hope you do too. I believe in prayer. I can trace who I am today, and all the blessings I have, back to someone’s prayers. My Poppop Koechig used to tell us all the story many times about how it was through his mother’s prayers that he married a Christian girl (my Grandmom) instead of the Catholic girl he was dating. Prayer saved my dad’s life when he was in a serious car accident in his teens. Prayer kept my family’s finances going–through five kids, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian School payments. And now, God has answered our prayers for college funds, and four out of the five kids in our family either are, or will be in the next year or two, graduating college debt-free. (Our youngest sibling, Jacob, leaves for his first year of college this fall!)

In my own personal life, I love looking back and seeing all the prayers that God answered–whether I realized it at the time or not. I know that I owe who I am right now to my own mom, who has prayed for me since before I was born. She has even fasted for certain “bigger” concerns in my life, and God answered her prayers. To this day, if I really really need something, I call up mom and ask her to pray for it. I am incredibly thankful for that heritage and hope to pass it on to Kali and any other kids I have!
And it is amazing to see the answered prayers in Abe’s life. Someday maybe I will be able to share some of his story with you, but it gives me chills sometimes to think about Abe’s life before I knew him, and all the prayers his mother prayed for him, that possibly kept him alive, and made it possible for me to marry him. I’m thankful for a godly mother-in-law who didn’t give up on her son, or her faith in God.

I wish I could give you a snapshot of what I envision in my mind when I think of prayer. It is my dad–at the crack of dawn, driving his old station wagon into crime-ridden downtown Chester, sitting in the car outside his plant, opening up the old wrinkled Bible and praying through the aged, creased, single piece of notebook paper with his prayer list scribbled in his own writing on it. It is my mom–in her robe, sitting in the living room easy chair with the lamp on next to her, reading her Bible and praying until we woke up to get ready for school and she went in the kitchen to make our lunches. It is my Grandmom–gathering everyone into one room at her house every time we came over so that she could pray for our “needy family”. It is teens in our youth group, kneeling in their classrooms and fasting for the upcoming revival meetings. Check out http://youthablaze.us/ to see what God is doing in this fiery group. I hope you have a picture in your mind of what prayer looks like. Has it changed your life? The most important prayer that you could ever pray is the prayer to let Jesus into your life.  I hope that you have done that already!

Do you make wishes? Have they come true? I’ll be praying for you, whoever you are reading this blog. I hope on your birthday you say wishes and enjoy seeing movies of wishes come true…but if you ever find yourself in a place where the fairy-tale ends, and the wishes are just blown away in the wind like the dandelion seeds, I pray that it will lead you to find the One who really wants to give you your hearts desire…and He is as close as a whispered prayer!

Flossie ❤

P.S. I had a wonderful birthday–got to sleep in due to a delay because of ice, bake cookies with Kali, and then spend a quiet evening at home. Abe continued a new tradition he started last year…my favorite store is White House Black Market (http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/) but it’s a little pricey for me! Last year on my birthday he went and picked out a dress from there and got shoes to match it. This year, sure enough, I woke up on Tuesday morning to a beautiful White House Black Market box with an even more beautiful dress in it, and and elegant matching bracelet and sweater! He definitely spoiled me…hope he knows this is an expensive pattern to follow!

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