The America Of 9/12

I miss the America of 9/12. I would never want another 9/11. Ever! But, I miss the us we were on 9/12.

The stores ran out of flags because they were being flown everywhere.

People were Americans above anything else. It did not matter if we were Republicans or Democrats, upper or lower class, what religion we were or if we had none, younger or older, or what ethnic group we were. All that mattered was that we were Americans first and foremost.

We hugged strangers and lifted up our neighbors regardless of what they wore (Nike was being protested against) or where they ate (Chick-Fil-A was also being picketed) or where they shopped, (Hobby Lobby was at war with our government.) It only mattered that they too were Americans.

I cannot count the number of songs that were quickly written and sung by those who were inspired, even angry, yes definitely angry, about the attack on our land. (“Still In The Fight” by Mike Corrado is still my favorite.) Have you heard any such songs written lately? There are some who are still producing patriotic songs like Mike. Gary Sinise is one that comes to mind.

War was inevitable. And we were willing and able (even eager) to fight for our country! I would not wish war on any country. Nor that anyone would go to fight if it could be avoided. The cost is far too high.

In the last decade roughly 2.5 million service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been 16 Medal of Honor recipients (our nation’s highest award) and over 35,000 Purple Hearts have been awarded to those who have been wounded or died in service to our country in this time frame. These are not awards that are strived for by any of these heroes. But, they do show the level of commitment to defend the safety of our citizens. And I am truly grateful. These numbers show me there are still some who remember.

Yes, I miss the America of 9/12. I miss our country standing together as one nation.


I Wish I Had Known

The older I get the more I wish I had known then what I know now.

I wish I had known when I was a youngster that time would fly by so quickly. I wish I had spent more time savoring each day, each experience, each friendship. And not wishing I was older, more “grownup.”

Those childhood days are gone and I know now that I spent too much time hurrying to the next “thing.” Like most I just wanted to hurry up and jump that next age hurdle. You know, when you’re 10 you wish you were a teenager, at 15 you want to be 16, then 18, then 21. If only I could have told my younger self to slow down and enjoy the moment.

I wish I had known how foolish it was to worry about what others thought. As a youngster my concerns were focused on trying to measure up to those around me, peer pressure. And I never felt as though I had it right. My clothes were made by my mom, (I wish I had appreciated this more) and most of the other girls had the latest styles from the stores. My mom cut my hair, she did her best, because going to a salon wasn’t in the budget. My hem lengths were too long, my hair never looked right and I was so, so skinny. All these things lead to my being ridiculed and teased as the jokes flew my way. And it didn’t help that I was so shy it hurt. In short, I spent way too much time trying to fit in. I wish I could have told my younger self that I was fine just the way I was.

I wish I had known while raising my children that they would grow up way to fast. With the passing of each stage, be it the last bottle, the last diaper or the last sippy cup, I felt the loss of a piece of them. When they entered school, well, that was a trying time for this mom. On that “first day” of kindergarten I could be found dropping them off with a cheery smile stamped on my face. Then, whether it was back at home or at work I would be crying. I don’t mean I was a little teary eyed. I would be shoulder shaking, nose running, makeup smudged all over my face, making unrecognizable utterances and waterworks freely flowing kind of full blown sobbing. This was especially true when my baby, Aaron, started school. After dropping him off I went to work with a stiff upper lip, shoulders squared, and with the utmost confidence that I had this under control. Well, that lasted until the first person said “Good morning.” That was all it took for the dam to burst and off to the races we went as my blubbering was totally out of control. I did always manage to pull myself together before picking them up after their first day of school. I wish I had known just how fast those days would fly by.

I wish I had known how fleeting middle age would be. The kids finishing school, going to work, moving out and getting married. And there it is, the empty nest syndrome. (Dirty words, dirty words!)

How on earth did I become the grandmother? Just yesterday I was the one having babies. Oh, but those grandkids are such a joy to have around. Isn’t it funny how we are able to enjoy our grandkids more than we did our children? (I wouldn’t have thought this was possible.) Do your kids say, “ you never let me get away with that?” Yes, I hear it too. And, they do have a point. But, that’s one of the privileges we’re awarded with when we’re proclaimed a “grandparent.”

I wish I had known that retirement would not be as fun as I thought. I seem to spend more time getting over illnesses. Some say you are paying for your playing. But, I sure don’t remember playing hard enough to wear out the parts I have had replaced. (Hips, knees and spinal fuses have all had to be dealt with.) And I hate the word “rehab.” Aaron calls this torture with consent.

I wish I had known as my children grow older that getting together would be so difficult. Their schedules are focused around their family unit, as it should be. With the traveling restrictions and health issues, time is fleeting.

There it is again. I wish I had slowed down and enjoyed more the light of each day, each season of life. I guess that’s what I’m trying to convey in this message.

Today you’re a youngster and tomorrow you’re the grandparent. Yes, it happens that fast.

No matter where you’re at in this life journey, slow down and enjoy the day. It will be gone before you can blink.

Hey You

Hey you, yes you, stop being so hard on yourself. You can either be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Choose.

Your worst enemy will constantly be judging you. How you look, how you dress, and even who your friends are will become a constant irritation that haunts your every thought.

But, your best friend will accept all the different components that make you who you are: will love how you are not afraid to explore all aspects of your life to learn what attributes, features, and oddities go into making what’s your individual style.

Your worst enemy will be waiting, lurking, just inside your mirror as you hesitantly look at your reflection each morning. Your mind explodes with; “You look ridiculous.” “That doesn’t fit right.” “What did you do to your hair.” and “Go wash your face and start over.”

Uh huh, you know what I’m talking about. You can change that conversation you’re having with yourself. All you have to do is change your mindset. Turn off the negative and turn on the positive.

Your best friend will love that quirky outfit you pulled together this morning; the bold makeup statement you saw in a magazine; and the new hair cut that’s all the rage today.

Be you! You are incredibly unique! Love who you are today! Listen to that voice that is positive not negative. It’s a choice.

Don’t GO through life wishing you were something or someone you’re not.

GROW through life and become the best you that you can be!

Big Brother of Mine


I dreamt of you last night, big brother of mine.

I knew you were still with me, big brother of mine.

You walked beside me through the fog, big brother of mine.

As your arm rested gently on my shoulder, big brother of mine.

I dreamt you were beside me when our parents died, big brother of mine.

Then our little sister came up next to me, big brother of mine.

And you walked with me when she died too, big brother of mine.

You see they’re all with you now, big brother of mine.

Yes, I dreamt of you last night, big brother of mine.

And we talked, just you and me, big brother of mine.

I miss them all so very much, big brother of mine.

One day I too will be with you, big brother of mine…

2007-12-31 18.00.00

July 4, 1776

We celebrate the Fourth of July, our Independence Day, with picnics, parades, speeches, camping by a lake, and fireworks to entertain us. Most of us have no idea, or no longer remember our history lessons, what this day was like in 1776.

The words declaring our independence from Great Britain, written on a piece of parchment paper, was adopted by the Continental Congress. The document was signed on August 2, 1776 by 39 men representing all Colonies, States. No big deal. Done and done, right? Wrong!

Signing this document, literally, was like signing their own, and their families, death sentence. They knew that the British Army would bring down the full wrath of the King. These “United States” did not have the numbers, nor the arms, to defend and defeat against an attack of this magnitude. Wrong again! They had “fight and fire” in their bellies with a determination beyond description to be FREE!

Against all odds, and against all reason, those sheets of parchment paper, that Declaration of Independence told the world that these United States (Colonies) are FREE!

The only importance of the 4th of July in 1776 was to mark the birth of a new nation, these United States of America! The first celebration took place after the public reading of the Declaration of Independence and the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

The coat of arms of the King was taken down, canons boomed, and as a parade took place, the people cheered! They cheered while knowing full well that the army’s of the King would soon bring unspeakable lose. They cheered as a new nation was born! What courage these men and women had!

That is what this day is about. Courage to stand for what is right and rightfully ours, as well as for every other person on this earth, FREEDOM!

John Adams, a signer of this document, wrote to his wife:

“It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

That type of celebration would not take place again until 1788. And, after 12 years of rivers of blood, the deaths and bankruptcies of many who signed that Declaration of Independence, families torn apart, and farms and businesses destroyed, they did cheer once again. And on every 4th of July since, the sky across this nation  of ours is filled with fireworks!

The price has always been, and always will be, very high for freedom everywhere! Remember this, as you go and celebrate these United States of America.

Remember to thank God.

And, thank a veteran!

Memorial Day 2017

This weekend most of you will spend time with friends and family. Perhaps camping out by a lake, or barbecuing in your backyard by the pool, will be how you spend this weekend. And, I hope you appreciate and value the time you have with those around you.

Join me in making this Memorial Day a little different than the others have been. It will always be a day when we remember those who have fought and died in the name of freedom. As well as remembering our friends and family who have gone before us.

One way to honor those who have given their lives in service to our country, is to lift up our nation and her leaders in prayer. Take a few moments out of your morning on Monday to join us in a united prayer at 9:00am CST.

If we don’t hold our leaders up before God, and before other nations, who will? 

It’s up to each of us to honor and respect those who hold office with the responsibility of guiding America. {Especially before other countries.} I’m speaking of all our elected officials. But above all others, I am placing President Trump before you on this Memorial Day.

In my opinion, all the negative conversation is causing our country to in effect be divided. The people of this country spend too much time trying to figure out what reports are true and what is propaganda. Yes, I said PROPAGANDA.

We are essentially watching the character assassination of the President of these United States. The man may not be the one you voted for, but he is OUR PRESIDENT. RESPECT THE OFFICE.

The man is in a learning mode trying to comprehend all that his new title encompasses, and is wading into the role hip deep.  


If you do not even place President Trump before God in your daily prayer life, then you cannot complain, criticism, or bicker about anything he does.

To be clear, I am not condoning every move President Trump makes. And, if he misuses his position, and the power behind the Presidency, then he must be held accountable.

Bottom line ~ Pray for our United States of America and her leaders.

Prayer will help them and it will change you.


My Father


Some people wonder how you can love someone who you cannot see, cannot touch, and cannot be heared. They can’t understand how you can follow teachings from a book that has no up-to-date authorship that can show proof of its claims.

How can you believe, without question, in so-called miracles that took place so long ago?

There are magicians today who can explain away these as trickery.

Who do you imagine you are talking to in that quite place you go to in the mornings and again before bed?

You say you are “led,” but, no one ever hears these discussions. What is the need for “secrecy” if your claims are true?

How can you believe in a place called Heaven, which cannot be verified as to its existence? There is absolutely no rational proof that a Heaven exists, or a Hell for that matter.

With everything going on in this world, there is still a prejudice, a need to persecute, those who believe in something more than we can see, or those who believe differently.  At the least, they belittle those who gather on holy days to celebrate this “thing” they cannot understand.

As for me and my house, we will follow this

-unseen (how can you look at a newborn babe, a sunrise, a flower pushing up through a winters cold ground, and not see His wonder?)

-untouched (how can you not feel His touch when you stand humbly before Him?),

-non-vocal (how can you not hear His voice when He speaks so loudly through the quite?)

-imagined (how can you ignore the ache in your own heart for Him?) “presence” that we call God.

The complex, simple answer to all these questions is FAITH. Through Faith we see, through Faith we hear, through Faith we feel, through Faith we believe, through Faith we are saved.

Father, I thank you for touching my heart, for giving me sight, and for talking to my soul. I praise you! I love you! I thank you!

In Peace There Is Strength

Find peace with your past,

And, you will draw strength from those who made you.

Find peace with your present,

And, you will have strength of character.

Find peace with your family,

And, you will draw strength from each other.

Find peace with who you are,

And, you will have strength from within.

Find peace with the road you’re traveling,

And, you will have strength abundant.

Find peace with your faith,

And, you will have strength through knowledge.

But, never mistake pride for strength.

For if pride becomes your leader, your teacher, your friend,

You will quickly lose all- your present, your future,

Your family, and your friends.

~ Diana Mankin Phelps 2017


With this incredible year coming to an end, as so many have, can we not take the time to look back on our yesterdays-our families yesterdays-our individual yesterdays-our nations yesterdays?


Many of us are watching our families grow and form their own families. Oh, we miss them when they are busy and we are not, or when they move away and we see them only several times a year. At the same time, we find joy and peace in their lives, their happiness, their successes, their adventures. We worry when they worry, and hurt when they hurt. Once a parent always a parent. The yesterdays passed so quickly when our homes were full of little ones, and school, work and church kept us busy. Life was and is good. Cherish your moments, they are fleating and quickly turn into memories.


A young woman asked a question, “With this year almost over what is your greatest accomplishment?” Some said marrying the love of their lives. Others wrote graduating from high school or college. And some answered that the birth of their child was their greatest joy. All unique experiences to each of them and worthy of their proud answers.

I thought about this question all day before I answered. Her accomplishment had been graduating from the University of Arkansas. Education is one of the best ways to end any year. Finally, I found my words to sum up how I will remember this year of yesterdays. I have so many accomplishments, but they are little ones. I looked into the eyes of my children, and I saw the present. I looked into the eyes of my grandchildren, and saw the future. Then I looked into my husbands eyes, and found joy with our memories, and the time we have with each other and our family. So my greatest accomplishment this year, is the love of this life that God has given to me.

Our Nation –

Who knows where our new president will lead us as a nation? But, he is our President and we must embrace that fact. There are a lot of positives that Donald Trump brings into his new role. And yes, there are negatives. There would be negatives with whoever was elected-at least we see his…  Who would have given the man a second thought when he started his campaign? Who would have dreamed he could have walked away as the Republican party nominee? And then, Donald Trump pulled off an unbelievable upset, which stopped the “Clinton Machine” in its tracks, placing him in the White House. He has surprised us every step of the way. Now, we will all watch as he appoints those who are qualified as expert advisors in their fields to guide him-teach him. And we must pray for them all, as we have always done for our leaders.

I hope you will take the time to do this exercise and think about your greatest accomplishments.

Happy New Year!


Season of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving has begun this season of thankfulness. A time when we pause, when we think about our relationships with family and friends, when we evaluate our spiritual life, giving is a priority.

These things are all tied together. Without our spiritual life in order, our relationships with others is superficial and giving is minimal. We are “Scrooge.” We don’t mean to be, and hope that others don’t see that part of us. We probably don’t even see it in ourselves. But, it’s in our hearts because of the void that has taken hold where love once lived.

We must give ourselves away, completely, in order to be able to give to others with a heart that loves. Our hearts should be overflowing with the love of Christ. There should not be room for anything else in our lives to influence our thoughts or actions.

If we want to have love based relationships with others, our spouses, our children, our friends, then we must first have a love based relationship with our Lord and Savior. Not just during this season of thankfulness, but all year, every day, we must keep our hearts in order.

To be able to give with an open heart, to give joyously, we must feel the joy that comes with a heart that’s overflowing with His love. The more we give, of ourselves and of gifts to others, the fuller our hearts and souls become.

Everything is tied together, not just during this season of thankfulness, everyday. We are thankful, so our love of Christ and His love for us overflows into our relationship with others, and our giving is abundant.

Begin with yourself during this season of thankfulness. Give yourself the best gift of all. Allow Jesus Christ to be the focus of your love, your relationships, your giving, and you will be truly thankful.

Gods love is the greatest gift of all.