Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter from Shelley on 911

Hello family,

Just thought I would share with you what I saw today while traveling from Santa Rosa to Livermore, to Manteca, and back to Santa Rosa:

Today I saw two things that really struck me, first, the amount of American Flags everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Our entire neighborhood had their flags up, almost every freeway overpass had an American flag either standing on a flagpole or hanging down over the overpass for oncoming traffic to see. The more affluent communities, like Danville, San Ramon, and Alamo, had beautiful live red roses intertwined on the overpass railings for the drivers to enjoy, with small flags in between the roses, and a huge flag hanging down in the middle. In Tracy there is a huge cross that is burned into the landscape, it says "Jesus saves", and it had 8 American flags all around it. In Vallejo at the marina, all the boats had their American flag flying at half mast. In Manteca, the city purchased 2,000 (yes I did say 2,000) 8' American flags that were standing 15' apart all the way down main street on both sides, and all the way down the center of town on both sides. The city had installed small flag holders into the sidewalks. Wish I had my camera for that one, it was amazing, talk about small town patriotism, and with the wind gently blowing, it really captured your attention. Amazingly, on one freeway overpass, there was a Priest or minister holding and waving a large American flag with one hand and pointing to Heaven with the other. No joke.

When Kevin was in Afghanistan I started to notice the American flag much more than usual, and of course, it took on a whole new meaning for me. Suddenly I was seeing the flag everywhere I went, having never paid much attention before he was deployed. Now I can't take my eyes off of the flag when I see it. Not only does it remind me what a great country America is, but also how proud we are of Kevin and all the other soldiers out there, and how lucky our family is that Kevin came home safely, unlike many other soldiers who didn't come home alive, may they rest in peace.

Here is the 2nd thing that struck me today. My spiritual self, loves to notice white birds, especially Egrets, and Egrets love to hang out on both sides of Hwy 37 and along my drive to the Benicia bridge while I am driving to visit my parents. The reason a white bird, especially one that is in flight, captures my attention so much is that it makes me think of the Holy Spirit. It makes me think that someday when we all die, we will be free and in flight in heaven, just like birds are here on Earth. When I know someone who has just died, like our friend John Sutherland who died recently at age 62, and I witness a beautiful white bird in flight, it makes me think of that person, and that they are free now. It's kind of hard to explain, but the bird is telling me that the person's spirit is out there and very happy.

So of course, I look high and low for my friends the Egrets, and do I ever see any? No, hardly ever, and if I do see them, there may be one or two, or perhaps on a good day there will be 3 along my drive. But not on this day, Sept 11th, the 10th anniversary of one of our nation's worst tragedies. Today I see literally HUNDREDS of Egrets, many in flight, along Hwy 37, some beautifully gliding right next to my car, and I can tell you that what popped into my mind was the spirit of all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. What an unbelievable sight, reminding me of all whose lives were lost on that tragic day. We have lived in Santa Rosa since 1988, and never until today have I ever seen hundreds of Egrets along my drive. Funny how God reminds me of his Holy Spirit.

Love to all,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My How Time Flies

It’s June, July, August already and only my second post this year! Time to catch up.

Kevin and Natalie are now residents of San Diego where Kevin will be teaching ROTC at the University of San Diego. He and Natalie are within visiting distance again.

Michelle and her beau, Jason King, got engaged! Very romantic -- at our house so we had a front row seat of the whole thing. Very sweet.

Our elected officials have decided to “play Chicken” with the economy over raising the debt ceiling and balancing the national budget. The Japanese women won the World Cup!  More news anchors coming and going. Adios Elliot Spritzer from CNN.

One of the first papers I wrote in my first college English class was an essay on Freedom. 40 years ago I thought freedom wasn’t really free. I believe you have a responsibility to bear in order to be free. Obeying the law, because we are a country of laws, etc., right down to telling the truth and doing the right thing.

That’s pretty much pie in the sky nowadays. I am saturated with news about folks telling lies and twisting stories to avoid discovery or gain in stature somehow, or worse. If more naive people like myself, would believe the responsibility they owe is for the freedom they earn for “playing fair,” this world would be a better place.

I quoted the book “Easy Rider” (and confess that I saw the movie first.) It was an early independent film and is a classic. There are some interesting things about freedom in the book and I encourage you to get a copy and read it. Or you can see the movie online.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

Were it not for Julius Cesar by William Shakespeare I wouldn’t know what the Ides of March was. 

It has been a few months since I added to my blog and I’m long overdue. There have been so many tragedies the first few months of 2011; it’s hard to know where to begin. In January a lunatic shot congress woman Gabriele Giffords in the head at point blank range. In February, the Middle East was smitten with a revolt by people who decided to take matters into their own hands with the help of social media, overthrowing the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt; and still trying in several other Middle Eastern and North African countries as of this writing. Then March 11th Japan endured a 9.0 earthquake, massive Tsunami and multiple nuclear power plant melt downs. This has been Apocalyptic.

Some folks predict the position of the lunar orbit on March 19th will cause more catastrophes. Like we haven’t had enough already?

Looking back to an archived post, I predicted the economic downturn and severe unemployment when I suggested we would all have to figure out how to get along with less but no way did I see these disasters coming. The magnitudes of the crisis in Japan exceeded everyone’s worst-case scenarios.  Our own reactors are built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake. We didn’t foresee a 9.0 and we are in trouble as well if we get one that big. Tsunamis are fairly rare but we have seen two devastating occurrences of these tidal waves in 7 years. 

Even the anti-nuke folks never imagined multiple power plants failing simultaneously which might result in uninhabitable regions of the Japanese island nation for all eternity. Who knows, Japan could become its own solar generator. The events are almost unfathomable. I thought last year’s BP gulf oil spill was the worst catastrophe of the modern era but these events eclipse even that. 

Natural disasters, like other miracles in our lives, are always difficult to understand.