You can make a difference with CAL or Catch A Lift, which began in memory of Army Cpl. Chris Coffland, and has gone on to help many veterans since its founding.
After 9/11/01 and every anniversary of September 11th since that horrific day of tremendous loss, a phrase sticks out in my mind:
We Will Never Forget!!!
We say we will remember forever the true sacrifice, day in and day out, of men and women in uniform, whether they be first responders or part of our strong military services.
And yet, is that statement really true, other than the usual times of remembering, Veterans’ Day, the 4th of July, and other red, white, and blue celebrations? Do you and I really remember these souls who serve and their families in our prayers? Do we truly recognize that freedom is not free, and how many grave sacrifices have been made on our behalf? Do we intentionally share our resources in causes related to wounded veterans?
'Shake off any dust that may accumulate from stagnation of purpose.'
Army Cpl. Christopher Coffland (1966-2009)
Our daughter, Leah, is running a 10k in February, and she is showing her support for our veterans by running in honor of the Catch a Lift foundation, founded in memory of Army Cpl. Christopher Coffland (1966-2009).
Founded in memory of Army Cpl. Chris Coffland, Catch A Lift Fund (CAL) enables post 9/11 combat wounded Veterans to regain and maintain their physical and mental health by providing granted gym memberships, fitness programs or in-home gym equipment, anywhere in the United States. If a veteran has an appointed VA certified caregiver, the caregiver is eligible as well.
In addition, CAL’s M.A.P.S. Program ensures success by tracking progress and offers motivation, accountability and peer support through small squads of Veterans who heal together Vet to Vet. CAL Veterans are not only losing weight and moving away from obesity, but also eliminating the need for multiple prescription medications and finding their “new self”. CAL Veterans are thriving, reintegrating, healing and saving each other’s lives through newly established comradery; filling the void left after military service.
Won’t you jump on board and support this important cause?
My friend, Jan, worked directly with three-year old severe special needs children in Fulton County for the past several years. Jan is the one who introduced me to Pete, the Cat, a character she had read about again and again with her students. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes is the début picture book of author Eric Litwin, and the illustrator is James Dean. [pullquote]Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.“ Anonymous[/pullquote]This story pleased and satisfied this little group of preschoolers, regardless of how many times they heard it. [pullquote]A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.” Anonymous [/pullquote]Pete is known for his positive outlook no matter what happened in his day. We could all use a dose of advice from Pete. And sometimes, all we need is a little help from our friends.
While Pete’s circumstances can in no way be compared to the young woman in the following story’s life journey, both are examples of learning how to respond to our circumstances. [pullquote]Life is not always a bed of roses. Thorns help you to appreciate the flower. Hardship helps one appreciate the beauty of life.” Cherlynn Shakespeare[/pullquote]This is a lesson we must work on with our growing children and grandchildren, because as adults, we know, “Life is not always a bed of roses!” Helping our children to see this early on will help them immensely in their future. [pullquote]Smooth sailing do not make skillful sailors.”African Proverb[/pullquote]Not ‘rescuing our children’ when life’s circumstances take an unexpected turn will empower them and strengthen them to go forge ahead amidst disappointment.
Another friend, also named Jan (W.), posted the following story on Facebook recently and we both agreed that when going through a tough time, it is imperative to stop and make a conscious decision about our reaction. To stop and decide: Will I be an egg, a carrot, or coffee?
Thanks for this story, Jan. This is a good lesson for all of us, no matter what stage of life we are in. You’ll see what I mean.
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.[pullquote]I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13[/pullquote]
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. [pullquote] Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6[/pullquote]The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. [pullquote]The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty-stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man.” George Bernard Shaw[/pullquote]
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
May we all be like the COFFEE.
My friend, Cyndi posts daily inspiration on her Facebook page and I want to give a shout-out to her for sharing the one above. Thanks, Cyndi for the way you lift many up, including me!
Thanks to Eric Litwin and James Dean for following their dream and writing
[pullquote]Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” Robert Browning[/pullquote]
I celebrated my thirtieth birthday just two months before I became a first time mother to Leah Suzanne Page. I had been teaching for nearly a decade at Avondale Elementary and was so ready to be a mom! My husband and I had “unexplained infertility” for three years, so this made us even more excited to add a new baby to our family. The transition into motherhood can be tough on anyone. And it is not just the difficulty of the first one’s arrival, it is the continual development of the baby, brothers/sisters who follow that first-born, and of us as a mother. Of course, a child’s needs change and vary with each stage of his or her life. I still recall easily as a new mother sometimes wondering what my “identity” was. Before Leah, I had been an elementary teacher and then a lead teacher for the last four years. I had a lot of responsibility and I loved what I did. Especially as a Lead Teacher for Student Services, a pilot position in DeKalb County, I was able to help kids who really needed extra attention and TLC. When I found myself as a Mommy, one-on-one with this little precious person, I rarely, but on occasion, questioned my ability to handle this job assignment. That may sound odd, but it also may be familiar to you who have had a similar experience as me. I have always loved Carole King, especially her Tapestry album, and Beautiful became my theme song! Click here to hear this song and read the lyrics. Most moms, including myself, will agree that as mothers, there are greater rewards than can even be imagined! Though I am not yet a grandmother, lots of my girlfriends are, and I imagine it would be helpful to look back on the busy season of young motherhood when becoming a Grandma. Now that our two children are grown, college graduates, and both married to their best friends, it is fun to look back and think about a few of the job assignments and roles I have held with Leah and her brother, Walker, for the past two and a half decades:
Infant Stage Mom Assignment: baby cuddler, rocker, changer, a night-feeder, a light sleeper/early riser, and more, available for all shifts, 7 days a week, no vacation unless the ideal substitute has been secured and trip has been well planned out
Toddler Stage Mom Assignment: an athlete in top condition to safeguard busy toddler, quick reflexes, knowledge of first-aid is essential, 15 hour workdays, no coffee/lunch breaks unless child naps, boundless energy and infinite patience, provision of healthy snacks and meals, reads to child daily, begin manners teaching, praying with child, and more
Preschool Stage Mom Assignment: share time with newborn, brother: Donald Walker Page (see above infant stage for tasks needed with Walker, lol), provide books, puzzles, play doh, etc. in a loving, creative, learning environment for preschooler, two hours off five days a week when Mom’s Morning Out is in session and child is well, reads to child daily and more
Ages 6-12 Stage Mom Assignment: good understanding of many sports, chauffeur, willingness to be a scout leader, room mom, love of nature with no objections to mud, spiders, insect collections, pets, and neighbor’s kids, continues to read to child daily/child reads to mom, (see above toddler stage tasks for tasks needed with Walker) and more
Ages 13-18 Stage Mom: provider of money for chores, chaperone, specialist in adolescent psychology (haha), large-quantity cook, ability to recognize when presence is embarrassing child and casually disappear, encourager of independent reading by teen, counselor, (see ages 6-12 stage tasks for tasks needed with Walker) and more
Age 18 and Beyond Stage Mom: provider of more money, clothes, music, wheels, and more, NO advice necessary (unless solicited), and… this stage will last indefinitely <smile>
After going through these humorous, extensive lists, much of which I’ve likely inadvertently left off, I started thinking of a Focus on the Family article that I read early on in my mothering years. The article emphasized four phases of Parenting. Again, now that we have two grown children, I can attest that these phases are very accurate. While they do overlap, if these ideas are applied to the parenting of your children or even considered with your grandchildren, I believe you will find them as helpful as I have found them through the years.
PHASE ONE: COMMANDER: Early Years-In the first years of a child’s life, a parent does everything for him/her. During this phase, the following phrases are used repeatedly: “Yes, because…” or “No, because…”
PHASE TWO: COACH: Pre-teen Years-During this season, household chores are important, along with not only teaching the child about life, but also encouraging their growth from direction to self-direction. Try to help clarify, rather than dictate their choices, asking, “Would you rather do this or that?”
PHASE THREE: COUNSELOR: Teen Years-These are the years when a child can reasonably be expected to understand what is right, just, and fair. The operative phrase from the parent is, “That’s a decision you can make.”
PHASE FOUR: CONSULTANT: Freshman College and Beyond-This phase can truly be the most difficult of all because it involves letting go. The phrase to keep on the tip of our tongues is, “Please let me know if I can help.
You or someone you know may be starting out as a mother or a grandmother. I hope this has given you some good food for thought for wherever you are in your journey.
[pullquote]I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I’ve built my life around you. But time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older too. Oh yes. I’m getting older too.” Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac Landslide[/pullquote]