Tag Archive | death

All Gave Some…Some Gave All

Today I join the many in remembering those who served, fought & defended.

Those that are honorable, selfless, and admirable.

Many in my family served in the military and I am very happy to say that they all returned home safely.  From my grandfather and my step-dad, to several uncles and a cousin to my step-brother and a friend… they proudly served to uphold our freedoms and defend our nation so that we can enjoy our lives in the US of A as we have grown accustomed.

Each of their journeys were different; the sentiment the same. None has spoken of their time away very often.  But what little I have gathered over the years leads me to know that defending our freedom is a task that bears great weight.  Sights and sounds stick.  Bonds made unbreakable.  People do incredible things to save the life of another.

HEROES come in many forms.

A player that catches a winning touchdown; A firefighter entering a burning building; a police officer entering a standoff.

But these are the heroes that serve and protect; defend and sacrifice.  The ones that fight for our freedom; the ones that protect us from terrorist attacks; the ones that miss the births of their children and the funerals of their loved ones.   And the ones that never return home.

I take great pride in my country.  I am thankful to have the liberties that I do.  I do not agree with all that the current Administration (or others previously, for that matter) has implemented nor am I an advocate of war.  I do believe that when people are doing wrong they should be stopped.  When we are threatened as a nation I find  it a conflicting comfort knowing that I am blessed to live in a country where we can defend our freedoms; we have individuals who voluntarily FIGHT and DEFEND our rights.  In reality, it’s an awe-inspiring and frightening idea all the same. They are putting their lives on the line for us each and every day.  I’m honored that someone I don’t even know would do that for me. It just gives me chills.

So, today as I honor those who served and remember those that never made it home, I also remember my step-dad, Lynn, on what would have been his 66th birthday.   A husband, a father, a grandpa, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, a hunter, a machine operator.   

A gentle man with a heart of pure gold, who wasn’t afraid to scare the livin’ shit out of ya if you messed with his family.  An honorable man with a smile that brightened everyone’s day.  A veteran.  A hero.

…NEVER forget…

September 11, 2011…10 years later…

TODAY…

As many others have commented and contemplated upon the tragic events that occurred in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I have found myself  thinking of nothing but the same today.  It’s a hard feeling to shake.  The utter shock and disbelief that our country, our FREE country could be subjected to such an outrageous and devastating tragedy still reigns true till this day, 10 years after first hearing the news.  The hows and whys that were muttered by millions replay in my head as I begin to think of what my eyes stared at on the television and ears heard on the radio stations.  I, among others, stood in disbelief as each report broke over the sound waves. The trademark skyline, no longer pictures the World Trade Center… The world changed that day…Everything
just stopped.

For me, not much has changed in 10 years.  The shock and disbelief still linger on, but are intermingled with sadness, anger and pride in the present day.

After watching several documentaries in recent days and reading reports and articles, I am taken right back to that initial moment 10 years ago when the world STOPPED…   Overflowing with emotion, I sit and watch and relive the horrific scenes and emotions.  Still seemingly fresh wounds ever after time has transpired since the actual events occurred.  Here are my thoughts and tidbits about the day’s happenings on September 11, 2001 as well as my thoughts today.

Never Forget

HOW could this happen????

I still find myself asking this question.  How could something so devastating occur…How can so many people have lost their lives without a chance of escaping…How so many individuals gave of their own lives so freely while trying to save those trapped, hurt and afraid.

The fear that took over me, was something I had never experienced previously.  Staring at the images on the television have not gotten any easier.  As I sit here watching all of the coverage today, the chills down my spine and tears down my cheeks are as fresh and real as they were in 2001.  The emotional response that my body endured 10 years ago is still ever-present in today’s thoughts and experiences.  I was fortunate to not have any loved ones directly involved in the attacks or collapses or rescue efforts…yet I was still affected so strongly.  The outpouring of emotions I went through during those initial moments were inexplicable.  We as a Nation, were in shock..disbelief…angered…mourning… No matter where you were or who you were, you stopped what you were doing and watched, listened, cried and prayed…

…Sadness…

The sadness I experienced in 2001 is the much the same as the sadness I experienced today.  The sheer fact that the event occurred and that lives were lost saddens me.  The loss of so many lives saddens me still.  Sadness for many reasons… lives of innocent people were lost that day; lives of children, parents, firefighters, policemen, rescue personnel.  People were minding their own, going about their day-to-day when their world stopped and ended without them even so much as getting the opportunity to say good-bye or defend themselves.  Their lives were taken by sick, tormented individuals.

I think my sadness lies deepest with the families that were torn apart by the ruthless actions the terrorists carried out.  Children losing a parent… Unborn children having lost a parent… Wives losing husbands… Husbands losing wives… Parents losing children… SO many lives ended… THE WORLD JUST STOPPED on 9/11.  Eventually, many of us started to “pick up the pieces” and get our emotions in check, resuming our normal, day-to-day routines.  The families directly effected by that days events would never be the same.  Their normal, day – to – day just got ripped right out from under them.  The healing process is a long and hard road that so many had to embark upon much too soon…

…ANGER…

The fact that a group of individuals could be so ruthless as to carry out the events that occurred, sickens me beyond belief.  I hold such anger that there are such disturbed, evil individuals walking the same planet as me.  Anger that so many lives were lost, loves lost, breaths stopped.

So many lives were changed without warning, without care that I just simply get angry.  There is no further explanation I can provide.  I have such disdain for those whom orchestrated and carried out the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9.11.01.

…Pride…

One nation, indivisible…If ever there was anything good to occur out of these attacks this would be it.  Americans took pride in our country.  We banded together, stood strong and supported each other.  We came together to aid those directly affected by loss or injury.  We took pride in ourselves, in our rescue personnel. Words of encouragement were shared, patriotism abounded immediately.  Flags flying, hymns blaring.  Sadly it took something so tragic to help us exhibit such pride in our nation so freely.  Americans spoke out of their pride.  Americans stood behind each other.  We became ONE NATION in support of all those lives lost and loved.

I take pride in the fact that so many individuals displayed such heroic actions on that day and coming days afterwards.  The individuals aboard the hijacked flight that crashed near Somerset, PA come to mind first when thinking of heroic actions of that day. Their strength and endurance, ambition and selflessness amazed me.  The rescue personnel that so freely risked their lives or gave their lives during the rescue efforts at Ground Zero,  are the epitome of heroes.

TEN years ago….

WHERE I WAS and WHAT I was doing…

Seems like it was centuries ago at times…then again it seems like it was just yesterday.  I was 23 years old.  Had already graduated from college and was enjoying my job at Kennywood.  I was part of a group that worked at the Amusement Park in the offseason, wrapping things up for the current season and getting things situated for the following season.  We did odds and ends such as taking inventory, tagging merchandise, and restocking items.

One seemingly ordinary day, us girls were up in the gift shop in Lost Kennywood doing inventory.  One of my friends was upstairs folding shirts, another counting something else.  I was sitting outside, on a milk crate, counting key chains.  They looked like bouncy balls, were yellow and had the trademark Kennywood arrow on them.  The exact item bares no significance to the days events, I just find it interesting that I can remember those details of something that occurred 10 years ago and I can’t remember if I turned my flat-iron off when I leave for work on a daily basis these days, but that’s neither here nor there.

The radio was blasting…given the time of day, had we been in the warehouse, Howard Stern would have been on.  But I can almost guarantee that since it was just us girls in the gift shop, we probably had B94 on.  My friend, folding shirts upstairs yelled down that something happened in New York…we didn’t think much of it, but as she continued to listen and share and more reports kept coming over the radio, our world just STOPPED.

…TODAY…

Today I am reminded of how lucky I am to be a citizen of this great nation.  Albeit a nation that has seen such horrific tragedy, our nation came together on that day.  We came together in support, strength and prayer.  I continue to keep those whose lives were lost close to my heart, their families in my prayers.  I continue to pray for those who are haunted by their memories of that day. The heroes who risk their lives everyday to keep us safe will forever be honored.

  I am thankful for those who defend our country so that I can maintain the freedoms that make our country the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Our world stopped 10 years ago…we continue on.  Honor those who defend us.  Remember those who died for us.  Cherish those with us.

How were you affected?  Where were you at that very moment???

Relay for Life: Honor & Remember; Love & Belonging

official logo of the American Cancer Society R...

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Today I’ll be spending much of my time at the local Relay for Life stretching long into the night…

Remembering those I have lost to the ugly and scary reality that is cancer.

Honoring those that have fought the good fight and prevailed over the ugly monster.

It’s a bitter-sweet celebration for me…

As I remember my step-dad, 2 uncles, and 3 friends who lost their battle…  I honor an uncle, 2 aunts and 1 friend who are alive and survived.  (You can read a little about some of these lovely people here.)  To read a little more about remembrance, learning and growth check out my post Time + Healing = Acceptance.

Take not one moment in this life for granted.

Tell those you love, you love them often.

Remind those you appreciate, you cherish them often.

Relish in each breath you breathe on this beautiful Earth.

So I leave you with two songs… One a cover of “In My Life” by Dave Matthews and the second, “Fix You” by Coldplay.

In My Life is pretty self-explanatory… it helps me to honor and remember those in my life both in the now and those who are no longer walking alongside me.  I’ve posted this song here several times, but it’s just one that I can’t live without.

The first time I heard Fix You, was at the Relay for Life in 2009 during the remembrance lap.  Completely moving and emotional moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

For any one that has fought and lost their battle to cancer… you are remembered.

For those who are survivors… warriors against the beat… I honor you.

How has cancer affected your life?  Have you lost someone close to you?  Survivor stories?

Related Links

A Book and It’s Influence

Trouble Finding the Words

Happy Anniversary… A year of blogging!

It’s my one year “blog”-iversary today!!! On June 12, 2010 I wrote The Bits ‘N Pieces, which was my very first blog post!  Was it really a year ago already?!?

During these last 12 months Maggie Mae’s Days has seen…

  • 115 Blog posts
  • 7,851 views
  • 30 subscribers
  • 782 comments/pingbacks
While pleased and overwhelmed by those numbers, none of that matters to me in the least.
What matters is all that has changed and how much I’ve grown during that time span.  My blog has helped to fine tune my writing and share my life with all of you.  Writing on my blog helped me deal with and rationalize all the ups and downs and anything and everything in between. Sharing with you has helped me to work through some tough times without anyone holding or passing judgement. I’ve become more confident in sharing my thoughts, views and opinions and have learned to accept compliments and criticisms much more gracefully.
I’ve come to know so many WONDERFULLY AMAZING people through writing this blog; each of whom has  provided support, comfort, smiles and laughter through their own words on their blogs as well as in the words they shared with me personally.  Through comments, personal emails, tweets and Facebook messages I’ve received support and reassurance. I want to thank my blogging friends…I am so blessed to have met you and come to know you through our sharing of words.  There are some that I consider to be true friends even though we’ve never physically met.
You’ve walked with me through the adoption of B-Shane;
you’ve helped me through it all, the tough stuff remembering those gone before me;
you’ve supported me during the loss of my grandma;

Roger Waters

You’ve learned about my love of music, music, music and more music;
You got to see my most favorite things and read through 100 random facts about me;
You’ve watched as I’ve crossed off items on the list , cheered me on through kitchen drama and my return to running, while helping me to refocus when I’ve lost my way.
Through it all I’ve learned that no matter how difficult the days may get, the promise of better days is ever-present; It’s up to me to recognize and acknowledge what I’m presented with and make the best of any and every situation.
Some numbers that DO matter from the last 12 months…
  • Nephew #4 was born only 10 days after I began my blog
  • Nephew #5 will be born exactly 1 month away from today
  • I’ve been to 6 concerts
  • I’ve participated in 5 craft shows
  • Been to 2 weddings
  • My car celebrated it’s 1st birthday
  • I turned 32 and will soon be 33 next month
  • I ran in my first 5k
I really don’t know what made me decide to start this blog since I’ve been writing for as long as I remember.  I don’t know how long I will continue to write on this blog since you just never know what will happen when.  What I do know is, I will continue writing as long as I am able to.  I will continue to write and share with you whenever I can… I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and sharing of myself with you.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed stopping by and that maybe I made you smile, made you laugh or share a tear.  All I ask is that you take a piece of me with you just as I do each and everyday.
I’ve truly enjoyed the journey that Maggie Mae’s Days has taken me on throughout these last 12 months.  Who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing this time NEXT year?!?  I hope that I’ll still be writing and sharing here so that I can look back and reflect just as I have today.  This has been such a rewarding and uplifting experience thus far… I can only imagine the places it will take me and the people I’ll meet in the coming year. Thank you for joining me and coming back for more…
Be sure to check out the hyper-links in case you missed any of those posts!  And if you get a chance, check out my favorite blogging friends!  They’re the BEST of what’s around with out a doubt!
XOXOXO

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens….

These are a few of my favorite things…..

Well, Ok…. Not really BUT….

 I wanted to share with you some of my MOST favorite things in the world!

The little things that make me, well ME!

Outside of the things you’ve learned through my writing… Not the ideas or thoughts I share… Not the songs that inspire topics for discussion… none of that.

The actual THINGS that bring me joy in my everyday life from hobbies to relaxation to at home comforts.  Let me clarify though; I am NOT a materialistic individual as those closest to me can attest to.  I love a good bargain when I find one and hold on to things way past their time.  I find joy in repurposing items.  I know that true happiness does not and cannot truly come from things.  Happiness does come from within and above.  BUT we all have comforts that help us to be the person we are.  The things that bring a smile to your face or warm your heart daily.

Welcome to my world…. Come on in… take a peek!

I love, LOVE, LoVe my middle name… Love the story behind it… Love the reminder it serves as each and every day…  LOVE surrounding myself with things bearing my middle name as well. 🙂 

I’m not necessarily a purse girl… I’m more of a tote bag kinda gal.  You’ll never see me spending big bucks on a Coach Purse… BUT, I have a certain weakness for Vera Bradley and basically all tote bags in general. I have more tote bags than a girl should be allowed to have.  Now I will say, MOST of my Vera bags were purchased in the sale section online.  Can’t pass up a good deal on a bag!  The other bag is brandy new to me 🙂  A parent of one of our students made it… Remember yesterday when I said Mandy and I spent forever in Joanns looking for fabric??? This bag would be why!  Super happy with how it turned out and VERY happy with the prints I chose!

I LOVE to read… Although lately I haven’t read much. I’ve read the Twilight Saga and Harry Potter Series at least 4 times each; pretty sure that qualifies me as a dork, but say what you will, doesn’t bother me much at all!  🙂  Super excited about the Blog Book Club I decided to join… April 1st we begin reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch which just so happens to be one of my absolute favorites as I detailed in A Book & it’s Influence!

I LoVe my crackle glass collection… My Aunt and Uncle were the first to introduce me to through their beautiful collection… My collection is quite small, but I love the bright colors and the distinct shapes of each piece.  The greens and blues are my favorites…

I don’t wear tons of jewelry.  I’m a silver, white gold and maybe someday platinum kinda gal.  These are my most favorite pieces that I wear pretty much everyday.  From the Pandora bracelet to the Silpada earrings to the coolest bangle bracelet made out of a spoon, each has its own special character that I find endearing.  Some pieces also have sentimental value as well.

My first set of real dishes!!!  Aren’t they PRETTY?!?!?!?  I’ve had sets of dishes before, but they were either odds and end, mix and match pieces or cheapo college dorm sets.  I have enough for 8 place settings too!  Now I just need to entertain more!

You all know about my love for making home decor… Here are 3 of my absolute most favorite areas in my home.  Each has at least one thing I made.  The quote in the middle piece is one of my favorites and sums up who I am as a whole pretty well… “The future is something we create.”

Reminders of loved ones that are no longer walking the Earth, but guide, guard and protect from above bring me comfort.  The Serenity prayer is something I say every morning… helping to affirm that somethings I can control and those I cannot should be offered to the One that can.   From the quilt my mom made from my step-dad’s clothes to the picture of my grandma in her younger years, I am reminded daily of their influence in my life and their continued presence in my heart always. 

My home wouldn’t be my home without my music… Just a small sampling of the artists who help me breathe, centering me and bringing me back to where I want and need to be.  From happy to sad to everything in between and more, I find music to be simply astoundingly amazing!

I haven’t always been one to wear make up.  I’ve gone through phases over the years in which I’ve not worn a single ounce of make-up to wearing almost nothing to doodling myself up everyday.  I have to admit, I love my make-up and I love the way make-up makes me feel.  You can change-up the color of your eye-shadow or eyeliner and feel like a completely new person.  Thanks to Mandy, I was introduced to Ulta and all that AMAZING store has to offer.  A girl could think she died and went to heaven upon entering Ulta.  Best to leave your wallet at home and enter with only $20! My MOST favorite product would be Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion in SIN.  A coat of this on my eyelids BEFORE applying shadow and I am good to go ALL day.  No shadow in the creases at all!  Definitely my make-up must have 🙂 

I never realized just how much nail polish I had until Jessica, another of my besties, came for a visit from Washington State last year.  She’s the one who snapped this picture…. Paint my nails much?  ALL the time during the summer… When I’m being crafty, my nails are better left unpainted.

Ok… LAST “things”…. I promise! 

I have soooooooooo much crafty stuff… From papers to stamps to inks to die cutting machines to paint to punches to anything and everything else imaginable.  Finding decorative yet efficiently functional storage has been QUITE the challenge living in a one bedroom apartment.  But, I think I have utilized the space I have quite efficiently while still looking pretty.  🙂   These two pieces are my favorites… They were both bargain finds as well.  They are home to my Cricut and Sizzix, my ink pads, acrylic blocks, paper 8×8 and smaller, punches, scissors, pens, paper cutters and much, much more.  For me they work perfectly!!! 

 

So there you have it… My FAVORITE things.

 What are a few of your favorite things that make home, home and you, you?

There’s NO Place Like Home…

Frank L. Baum sure knew what he was talking about when he penned the phrase, “There’s no place like home” for his character Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I sorta, kinda felt like I was in my own version of Oz today from beginning to end!  Well, actually the end of my work day would be more accurately equated to Kansas than Oz, but I’ll get to that in a minute… I told a couple of friends today that I just felt all kinda out of sorts/ in a disarray today. 

Just  ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.

Woke up not feeling so hot today after a less than par sleep and so began the craziness that was today.  Basically if anything would have or could have happened today, IT DID!  From being short-staffed at work to an unmentionable incident that occurred in the midst of figuring out staff schedules and placements for the day to personal issues to the ensuing storms that blew through our area… it was through and through a BANG UP, wacky day…

Any ways…

 So for as LONG as I can remember, I’ve  HATED thunderstorms.  I mean to the point the used to worry me so incredibly horribly that I would be SICK to my stomach at the sight of a dark cloud, the sounds of the wind picking up or thunder rumbling. Not sure why or when the fear originated as a child, but I quite simply never enjoyed a good storm as some may. 

Here’s THREE of my best weather related stories that explain a little bit of the fear I have for storms, wind, and such.

  1. This one time, at band camp… No SERIOUSLY! This one time at band camp during my freshman year there was a tornado warning ON MY BIRTHDAY.  I remember us all being huddled (well maybe all of us weren’t huddled, but I sure was) in the laundry room of the door we were staying in.  I was a mess.
  2. May 31, 2002… I was working at Kennywood Amusement Park as a games manager as I had for several years… (ok more than several years… like about 8 years.) Had a blast working there, met some of the most amazing people there… Good times for sure!  Until about 7:00 pm on May 31st of that year.  The sky got BLACK above and then it sounded like a train rolling through.  A lot of chaos happened in a very short time… after the storm passed and I opened the stock room door, my mouth about dropped open.  I’m not going to go into all the details, but it was a very sad day for the park.  A life lost, TONS of damage, lots of bad memories for me.  If you’re interested in reading up on the story, here’s a link for one of the local news stations out here and a newspaper article.
  3. The summer before last, I accepted the position I currently hold at work.  My first week  flying solo, after working side by side with one of my best friends who held this position prior to me, tornado warnings began appearing across the tv on the evening of June 17th.  Having just moved into my current 3rd floor apartment I began pacing around and freaking out… Stomach flip-flopping, panicking while on the phone with my friend and my mom.  Decided to go down to the basement with a flashlight, a comforter and two pillows, a radio, my cellphone and a couple of bottles of water.  No one’s down there.  I start freaking out more. Travel back upstairs and lock myself in the bathroom.  I got the phone call…from the best friend… that the school flooded and it was BAD.  Hearing those words snapped me out of it.  Threw on my shoes, grabbed my purse, my flashlight, and my COMFORTER (no.clue.why.) and hopped in my car.  Couldn’t believe my eyes as I began to drive the short 5 minute commute to the school in the pitch black of night, weaving in and out of debris all over the roads.  It was a pretty bad storm… tore a bunch of places around us apart… roads buckled, trees down… Walking into the school and seeing the mess that was left and all that was destroyed brought tears to my eyes instantaneously.  We lost pretty much EVERYTHING on the bottom floor.  Clean-up began, business went on the next day with many modifications to routines.  It was insane.

So THAT’S why I’ve hated storms….  I could go on with a few more, but I get the feeling this post is going to be pretty long already!

Did ya catch my reference earlier?  About the end of my work day being better equated to Kansas over Oz.  Well in true Megan fashion, I was a human tornado all freakin’ day.  ( A term the aforementioned best friend and I use when we are in rare form, ticked off about something or just a big ball of stress.) 

Little did I know we’d have a tornado warning issued today…  “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore”… ya, seriously… A tornado warning that lasted until 5:30 PM.  We had the kids in the basement having a “party in the hall” so as not to scare the littles.  Hail about 2 inches pelted our cars and winds were a blowing during the first round.  A friend of mine in a neighboring town spotted a funnel cloud as she called to warn me of the storms.  Good times were had let me assure you.  Brought the kids back up because it looked as if the worst had passed.  Then we got notice of round two… rounded up the kiddos for another “party in the hall.”  The sky was as black as I saw at Kennywood, luckily for us though, we got tons of rain, lots of hail and yet even more crazy wind but we were all safe and sound.  Property unharmed. My nerves a bit rattled, but overall I managed ok.  Having to buck up and be positive for all the kiddos around was the best possible scenario. 

With age I have learned to deal with a lot of things.  Trying not to let the stress get to me… Again, letting go of the worries.  Seriously, what could I do if a tornado was to touch down?  Not one thing that would PREVENT it from touching down.  All I can do is buck-up!

Unfortunately for folks living in Rillton, they were not quite as lucky having had home sustain serious damage.  A local high school lost part of its roof.  Here’s a little bit from MSNBC. Haven’t turned the news on since I’ve been home because quite frankly this girl can’t take another ounce of stress in this day!

At the end of the day, as I walked in my front door I thought… There’s no place like home… Seriously, there is really NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

On a completely unrelated note… I just wanted to add a little tidbit in remembrance to my pap who passed away 5 years ago today. Quite simply he was a ONE of a KIND guy that was hard to please but had a heart of gold beneath his tough as nails exterior.  He had his own way of doing things and only his way was the right way… there was no telling him otherwise.  Some of the best memories we as a family have of him all revolve around the same thing… his words.  he had his own set of vocabulary that you truly couldn’t appreciate without having know him.  (Verizon=Vehr-i-zon, croissant=croos-ent and Amish=Aim-ish to name a few) He gave me the nickname Meginski for some unknown reason which was later shortened to Ginski and he never said his son and family lived in Michigan, he just called them Sheegans.  He was a rare man, an old soul.  He was probably the only person I know that would turn on a football game or baseball game and turn off the audio because he couldn’t stand the BS’ing of the commentators.  He took us kids to the sportsman’s club to fire our first rifles, teaching us how to hit the target or the clay pigeons.  He made some pretty good kielbasa and some of the best pickles I ever had.  While he was tough, he won over many a persons.  Hardest though on those he loved most…had a funny way of showing it.  Miss ya pap.   

 

Ok, that’s all I promise… If you made it this far… THANK YOU FOR READING!  You guys are the best… Have a fantabulous night my friends

Ever experienced a bad storm situation?  How’d you react?

How do you remember those you love that are no long with you?