|What a gorgeous view, eh?|
|This is me teaching the kids about IwaJima
while introducing Mr. Mason a WWII vet.
Perhaps my greatest gratitude should go to this man.
He is always my technical support and go-to guy.
As you can see by the photograph,
he was perfect
at entertaining Caroline.
Here’s the slideshow I made.
I had no idea what I was doing,
so give me grace people.
It was a great way to spend my 39th birthday.
And the day before it. And the two days after it.
We also did a few other things:
- school-wide speech writing contest (the winners gave their speeches today at the assembly and got $20 giftcards to Wal-Mart)
- The Cub Scouts officiated at the flag ceremony
- A student soloist did the Star Spangled Banner
- A mock presidential election (Governor Romney won with 74% of the votes)
- Letters from the kids for Vets at the VA Hospital
- We were supposed to do a donation drive but student council never got it together
- Each student received a white star to write about what they appreciate most in their freedom. They will each tape them on their classroom door banners. (picture above)
- Oh and we have dress up days all week.
Monday – stars and stripes
Tuesday – red white and blue
Wednesday – Dress like your favorite American hero or wear a uniform
Thursday – Denim day (jeans were invented in the US)
Friday – School spirit colors – which happen to be blue and white.
* Oh and an added not for future reference. I asked Bella what she liked best about the assembly and with all attitude she immediately responded with, “I hated it when you cried mom, you embarrassed me in front of all my friends.” Maybe someday she will see that differently and be proud of a mom who is so grateful.
Fred Mason’s introduction
It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to one of our great American heroes. He’s a friend and neighbor to us all. He lives right off 1600 North in Orem. His name is Fred William Mason and I am proud to know him.
Mr. Mason was a corporel in the Marine Corps during WWII. He faught at Iwa Jima. There is a famous photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize of soldiers raising the American Flag at Mount Serabachi on Feb 23, 1945. Mr. Mason know the soldiers in the photo personally.
IwoJima was a volcanic island and no civilians lived there. Its name means Sulphur Island. It was a very important military spot in the Japanese Territory and it was a critical victory for American strategy. If we hadn’t won at IwoJima we probably wouldn’t have been able to drop the Atomic Bombs and the war may not have ended so fast.
The Battle of IwaJima happened from Feb 19 – March 26 1945. Only 216 of the 21,844 Japanese survived and of the 70,000 Americans who faught 6,821 were killed and 19,217 wounded. Many of those soldiers were friends of Mr. Mason. He served in the 5th Marine Division of the 28th Regiment.
Mr. Mason is 86 years old.
He was born in 1926 in Lexington, KY.
He was the fifth child of 9 kids in his family.
His four brothers also served in the military.
Two also served in WWII
Richard fought in the army at Okinowa.
Earl was also in the army and was taken as a Prisoner of War at the March of Batan in the Phillipines.
Glen and Ernie enlisted after the war into the Navy and never had to fight like their older brothers.
He worked on farms from age 8. Sold veggies at the market.
He wasn’t able to attend school but a few years as he was expected to help provide for his family.
Around age 12, his family got indoor plumbing.
At age 14, he started taking the bus and going to church to every Sunday with his sister.
He grew up during The Great Depression. When I asked him what his favorite food was, he said he was always hungry and would eat anything he could get his hands on. He particularly like his momma’s biscuits and gravy, and was always really happy when he would get a little bit of ham in his beans.
He was drafted in 1944 at age 18.
Went from Lexington to Louisville to join the Navy, but there was a Marine recruiter who snagged him and 4 others in line up to fill his quota for the day.
Went to Camp Pendelton in California for Basic Training.
When he was done he boarded a ship and was told 4 days into it that they were on their way to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese.
After the Battle of IwaJima, Mr. Mason reboarded the ship and remembers many soldiers celebrating. He however just wanted to brush his teeth (they had been in the trenches for over a month) and went to the Red Cross to ask for a toothbrush but was told they didn’t have enough to give him one.
Mr Mason was shipped back to Hawaii, where he served 8 months of occupational duty and was discharged in 1946.
After the war he went back to Lexington where he worked at a Wholesale Food Distrubutor. He delivered food to Colonel Sanders of KFC and says he looked exactly like his pictures. In fact, he can’t remember him every changing from before the war.
Mr. Mason is a hero to me for another reason then his honorable military service, after the war, he taught himself to read. Remember he didn’t have much school growing up.
In 1950 he met Mrs. Mason and they had their first child, a girl named Debi, who is also our neighbor.
Mr. and Mrs. Mason then moved to Indiana so that Mr. Mason could work at a Defense Plant building helicopters. The had two more children. Both boys who still lived in Indiana.
Mr and Mrs Mason moved to Utah 14 years ago.
They have been married for 62 years.
Mr. Mason continues to make a difference for his country by working a Heritage School in Provo. He has worked there mentoring troubled youth for the past 6 years.
Mr. Mason is truly a remarkable person. Tom Brokaw once called his generation the Greatest Generation. I believe they were a great generation and I believe Mr. Mason was one of the greatest.
Please join me and give Mr. Mason and all his friends who fought for our freedom the round of applause they deserve.
Oh and here’s another fun find.
I have a fascination with honey bees.
Remember this old post
when I took my camera into the shower to photograph them?
Good times back in Knoxville.
Today I went outside with my camera
to try and capture something beautiful.
Why not the honeybees across the street?
Fat is a nasty word.
The only time it should be used is in regards to the stuff on the backside of a butchered pig.
Fatback is the only time when fat is a good thing.
And what a good thing it is.
Just ask the green beans.
I’ve been called fat. A lot. It sucks.
After watching this video on facebook yesterday, I was perplexed.
I offered the following on my page as a passive aggressive response to a few people I know who judge “fat people.”
“I hate it when physically in-shape people look down upon those who aren’t. I hate to tell you this, but you’re not superior, especially in regards to the things that matter most: kindness and appreciation for others wherever they are in life is a learned art and maybe you should get off the treadmill long enough to take some lessons. I don’t experience as much prejudice in this department as I used to, but it sure makes my blood boil whenever I encounter it.”
The funniest thing about my above rant is that I got all kinds of people, my friends mind you, apologizing to me for the way that I had been treated. Why did they apologize? Because they think I am fat and that I have reason to be apologized to. Kind of ironic, huh? I never mentioned that I had been treated badly, did I? In fact, I hadn’t had any teasing at all, I only posted the comment in defense of others and in opposition to the people out there looking down on this lady. I’ve actually been feeling pretty good about the way I am looking until yesterday. HA.
Well as you, who read my blog, know I’m on a journey of self-discovery. I’ve learned to love myself and I am still learning to take care of myself. I all too well know the life of this anchor. I know what it is like to be raising 3 young daughters (and she has a full-time job to boot) and to feel the stress and eat too much and exercise too little. I also know what it’s like to get off my butt and count calories. I also know what it’s like to have a propensity to being larger as a child and as an adult.
I also know what it’s like to lose a nephew and to know that in his last week on this earth he was called fat by some mean little girls and that the word F A T may have been racing through his mind in his last breathe. It breaks my heart. Absolutely makes me shed tears. Right now in fact.
Yes, people are fat, but trust me, they know it. You pointing it out to them, or looking down on them, or even apologizing for others’ fat name callers to someone who has recently lost 35 pounds doesn’t really help the situation and it doesn’t really motivate people to be better.
Do you know what motivates people to be better? Loving them wherever they are. Loving them right where they are. Even if it’s at 700 pounds. Anyone who has watched Richard Simmons should know this fact.
Do you know why loving them helps? Because the reason they are fat is that they don’t love themselves enough. Period. Or maybe they have a health condition? Or maybe they are just a husky kid that could eventually be a college football star if they live long enough to pursue that goal? The point being: You don’t know what they are capable of, if all you see is F A T. And you will also never know the beauty of loving people in their weakness if you can’t see past it. You don’t even know what scars are under the fat.
If you can love F A T people then maybe they can learn to love themselves. And if you can love them F A T, maybe they will love you in your weakness.
See how that works? Well, yeah, you do kind of have to admit your own weakness first. Maybe you could start with judging, lack of charity, or complete and total PRIDE?
I had a powerful experience at work last night, using the principles learned in this book. I was substitute teaching a class at the therapeutic boarding school where I work. I gave the kids a reward for every half an hour of hard work. We listened to a song of their choice (with my approval). One boy chose a powerfully emotional song about a girl who wanted to be with her dying boyfriend forever. I loved it. Another boy in the class didn’t. He started to shame the song choice kid. I stopped him and talked with the whole class about “shaming” and talked with them about giving people space to be who they are, even if they are wrong or different. I then turned to the shamer, and told him how much I loved him and admired him and that I would hope other people would give him space to love what he loved. He got teary-eyed. He turned to the other kid and said, “Dude, I am so sorry, I don’t like that song, but it’s cool if you do.”
I’ve been struggling for months.
I couldn’t pin-point what was going on.
I thought it was just part of the grief of losing my nephew,
and it partially was, but it started before we lost Braxton.
I was angry.
I just got angrier.
For months I didn’t want to pray.
I didn’t want to go to church.
I didn’t want to read the scriptures.
I just wanted to stew,
and get angrier about all the unfairness of life.
I spent a night at the cabin with a few friends last week,
and we took the time to have a honest share with one another.
I was floored by the experience.
Just a few moments of humble and honest self-reflection
completely turned me around.
I was able to see a part of me that I already identified long ago.
I was able to see the part of me that went straight
to pride and anger
as to protect myself from the hurt or disappointment.
I was angry because I felt like I could never measure up.
I was angry that people around me didn’t appreciate me.
I was angry because I didn’t want to need God.
I was angry because I was hurt.
I was sad, so I was angry.
My subconscious thinks it’s easier to be angry.
But it’s not.
Pride is destructive.
Anger is a form of pride.
After two seconds of honest reflection,
I immediately felt God telling me it’s o.k.
I am just human doing the best I can.
He wasn’t mad at me.
He was glad that I finally figured it out.
I don’t need to be angry.
I need to be vulnerable
and let God heal.
I most of all needed to re-understand that
I am not alone.
We all need God.
We all need to be told that we are beautiful.
I love this song. It’s an old Whitney Houston number
and was recently redone on Glee.
After hearing it on my i-pod yesterday,
I’ve been searching it out on youtube.
I want to send it to my brother
who recently lost his son Braxton.
(I can’t type that last sentence
without my eyes welling up in tears)
I’ve been through some hard things in my life.
I’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness,
I’ve lived through serious poverty,
I’ve come within a hair from losing my marriage,
I’ve experienced cruel prejudices,
I’ve struggled with my weight,
and I’ve lost people I’ve loved.
But right now nothing hurts more than Braxton.
Even though I didn’t spend as much time
with him as I would have preferred
(due to living in poverty half a world away
in Tennessee for a decade)
I loved that kid.
He was a complex mixture of the best of his mom and dad.
He was so compassionate (mom) and determined (dad).
He was so funny (dad) yet smart (mom).
Ha ha. O.k. he could have gotten both of those from both of his parents.
He had an infectious smile (mom and dad).
He was the life of the party (his aunt ali) 🙂
He was and is such a good kid.
The kind of kid that anyone would be proud to call their own.
We all love and miss him so,
and are left with such a huge hole in our hearts,
as we try to make sense of his passing.
I worry for my brother and his family every day,
and I simultaneously try to soothe my own pain.
Every day I send my brother a little message on facebook
to uplift, inspire, strengthen, and happy-make.
It’s been amazing to me how much that little act has been the best balm for me.
Sometimes I end up searching online for hours for just the right thing,
but for those hours I am finding little gems to my own soul.
Like this song.
What a great reminder to where we need to look.
In all our troubles.
I can honestly say that God is the only way I’ve survived.
And I proudly say that I have done more than survive.
I have flourished under his tutelage.
I love this singer’s journey to her own health.
It really does boil down to the fact
“I can do all things through God whom strengtheneth me.”
I know that if my brother and his family know anything,
it is to look to God for their strength.
They do such an amazing job at it.
I’m so grateful they have their God.
And I am so grateful that they are my constant reminder
to look to Him too.
Did I tell you my new secret obsession?
I want to make Caroline famous.
She deserves to be the modern day Shirley Temple.
She is sooo dang cute.
If we dyed her hair red she could play Rosie.
And if LG lost 80 pounds and grew his hair out he could sooo be Matt Damon.
I guess Abigail will have to play Scarlett Johansen
since I am nowhere near close.
Man, all we need is a zoo.
See it always goes back to Daddy Warbucks.
(We loved the movie by the way,
but beware there is a lot of language)