Family, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Happy Easter..

EASTER cross
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

As the sun begins to rise on Easter morning, I think of Easter‘s past…

Growing up, I went to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach. Then home to get ready for church. New outfits for church. Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park. Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family. Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth“.

As the years passed, life seemed to get in the way – no more fancy Easter outfits, no more Easter baskets combined with a feeling of not belonging. Then I was blessed with my daughter, Belinda.  Childhood memories and traditions came back to life starting with Belinda’s first Easter.  Four generations – Grams, Mom, me and Belinda.4 generations Easter

Easter was different.  Easter baskets were filled with toys and games because Belinda didn’t like chocolate – I know SHOCKING, right?  It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house. I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket. I even remember making her Easter outfits and heading to Atlantic City for the traditional Easter parade. That is my cutie in one of those outfits!

B & me Easter

Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together.  The family was smaller – Edythe, Elsie, Grams, Mom, Belinda and I but we were blessed with 4 generations at dinner for several years.

Now, as the miles stretch between us, we each celebrate Easter with our extended family.  Hubby and I will spend the day with friends and hopefully Mom and Sal.  Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy. Our loved ones in heaven will be celebrating together while those of us left behind will struggle with making new traditions.  This is one of my favorite songs…

Blessings from Laura Story:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

I am blessed. I have a loving, supportive family, and a devoted husband. I have a faith that at times is as small as a mustard seed but is enough to get me through the toughest days.  For I know that even the trials are blessings from God. Count your blessings – even those that don’t seem like them. I know that I do.

Share your Easter stories and pictures with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Easter!

Hope Wissel

Thank a Vet

LUT camo

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans.

Today, I want to thank those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  I want to thank the dedicated soldiers at home and deployed across the seas for defending our freedom.  I want to thank the families of these dedicated men and women – see they pay the ultimate price too as they share their loved ones with us.  Life for a military family isn’t easy either so today I honor them too for their service.

My dad served in the Army. He never really talked a lot about it but I do know that he changed his birthdate on his birth certificate so that he could join the Army.  It one of those stories that we always wondered if it was true.  My dad is great for TALL tales….. I never really knew many in the military growing up.

I do remember one year that we had a few soldiers come for a holiday dinner.  Dad picked them up and they spend the whole day with us while they enjoyed a home cooked meal.  Then I would have to fast-forward to my next real encounter with the military – enter my best friend – Steph, her hubby – Bill and their kids – Jen, Sean, Ryan and Shane.  Our families become melded into one during Bill’s deployment during Operation Freedom.  It was my first up close and personal experience of the sacrifices made by our military and their families.

Now, as I wait for the date that my nephew, Jimmy, is sent off to boot camp – I am again faced with the reality of the sacrifices of our military men and women  along with their family.  I also remember the Belinda’s friends of who serve our country – Spena and Rupert.

This day is for you… if you should see someone from the military today, thank them.  Better yet, buy them a cup of coffee or lunch.  What better way to thank them for their selfless service that with a random act of kindness.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#gratitudeformilitary

#Army

#Veteran’s Day