20 years ago today

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“As you go about your lives today, please take a moment with me to remember those six individuals who were simply doing the same 20 years ago and were taken too soon: John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen A. Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado, and Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was pregnant when she died.”- National September 11 Memorial & Museum President & CEO Joe Daniels

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first time the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorist. Six people were killed in that attack including a woman who was seven months pregnant. Those six people are remembered on the north side of the north pool at the National September 11 Memorial. Next to Monica Rodriguez Smith’s name it reads “and her unborn child”. Just think today that unborn child would be a 20-year-old man or woman. There are at least 12 times on the Memorial that after a woman’s name it reads “and her unborn child.” Think those babies would be 11-year-old tweens.

On February 26 1993, Bruce would be doing something in the basement and I would turn on the television to watch the 12 o’clock news. Towards the end of the report they would announce that a bomb had gone off at the WTC. I would yell down the stairs “A bomb went off at the World Trade Center.” Bruce would bound up the stairs and stand it front of the television and state in true firefighter fashion “I can’t believe it! I missed the big one.” No actually you didn’t 🙂

Let us not forget that many who got out of the Twin Towers safely twenty years ago today would be killed on September 11, 2001. As we say a prayer for the families who lost loved ones twenty years ago today, may we also say a prayer for those that got out safely that day but wouldn’t on September 11. And may we remember those who have gotten out twice but live with guilt and memories of things they would prefer to forget.

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ~Mary Jean Iron

Extravagant Love

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Today when I went to visit my mom, the receptionist at her assisted living facility wished me “Happy Valentine’s Day”. I wished her the same and she commented “We should get rid of all these holidays. There should only be Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.” I was about to comment when another woman commented “And 4th of July. We need to celebrate 4th of July because that means it is summer.” I am thinking okay but 4th of July is important because it is the birth of our nation not because it is summer. The receptionist then states ” All these holidays – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day are just made up. It isn’t fair to people who don’t have a spouse or parents or…” For a moment I was going to tell her the history of Valentine’s Day and then realized that isn’t what she needed to hear. From past conversations, I know the receptionist is a widow (and she knows I am) so instead I said “It is difficult when you walk in stores around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day and see all the cards you don’t need to buy. I think they should have a selection of cards entitled “this stinks!!”. She smiled 🙂

Today is the two month anniversary of the Newtown shootings. It is strange but on Dec 14 when it happened I thought oh no the two month anniversary will be on Valentine’s Day. How sad. My prayer for those families has been that they will not doubt that their children knew they were loved and that they will know they are loved by their Heavenly Father.

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end…We don’t yet see things clearly. We are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he know us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is Love.”

between Lincoln and Valentine’s Day

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My birthday is between Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. It is February 13. To be honest, I don’t think my husband actually ever knew the date of my birthday. He did know it was the day before Valentine’s Day. And if he started hearing commercials for Valentine’s Day he knew my birthday was coming. He was very thoughtful about purchasing gifts and cards – a little last-minute but thoughtful none the less.  One year he had been paying bills before he signed my birthday card and  absentmindedly signed my card  “love your hubby, Bruce Van Hine” I laughed when I read it and asked him “do I have so many husbands that you have to clarify which one.” I still have that card.

A Lincoln story: When I was a kindergarten aide, the students had a coloring page of a young Abe Lincoln staying in front of a log cabin. One of the boys colored Lincoln’s clothes to resemble camouflage. It was difficult to keep a straight face when I collected his paper.

 A Valentine’s Day memory; On the first Valentine’s Day after September 11, Bruce’s firehouse, Squad 41, sent me one dozen red roses. They actually send them to all 6 widows from their firehouse. It was an amazing gesture. I cried and also chuckled. You see those are the only roses I ever received on a Valentine’s Day. I always told Bruce “don’t buy me roses on Valentine’s Day.They are too expensive and we can’t afford it. Buy me flowers any day but Valentine’s Day.” And he did buy me flowers on other days and I am grateful 🙂


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After a week spent caring for my three grand nieces, I am heading home. My original flight was early (7:55am). Of course in today’s world that means being at the airport 1 1/2 hours before departure. So that makes a 6:30 am arrival time. Then add to that travel time to airport which from my nephew’s home to the airport is 1 1/4 hours and then add snow and you see where this is going. I had to get up early, really early. And true to form I woke up before I needed to because I am always nervous about not hearing the alarm. Of course in this case even if I had overslept, someone was there to wake me up. Anyway I woke up at 3:30am and checked my flight to find it cancelled. There was a moment of panic because what do you do when they cancel your flight? Wait!! Check your reservation. Oh good they rescheduled me at 11:15am. Okay that will work. Send emails and text to daughters, sister and friend to inform them of change and go back to bed. Well, not exactly. My nephew has National Guard duty so my ride to the airport is either now or the shuttle.

All that said to say I am at the airport very early. The good news is months ago when United and Continental Airlines merged I received a one time pass for the United Club. Yes!! So I am sitting in the United Club with free internet, an outlet to charge my phone and computer, and free food. The United Club has all these windows so you can watch the planes arrive and depart. For the last 45 minutes I have watched a plane get “de iced”. I have checked my email and Facebook and glanced up and watched the plane continue to be de iced. It is interesting to watch the green trunk with a telescopic arm pull along side of the plane and sprays this “cloud” over the plane’s wings and body. The chemicals leave an orange residue and the plane looks the way your fingers look after you have eaten cheese doodles. That makes me smile. Of course the people in the plane are probably not smiling. They are so close yet so far from their destination. Their gate is right here but they can’t get to it. It is easy for me to smile about the “cheese doodle” plane because I am not on that plane. Ah! As I sit in my comfy chair with my internet connection and coffee it is easy to smile. I hope as the day goes on and I am on the plane and we aren’t moving I can remember cheese doodles. I guess the lesson of the day is attitude and perspective. Oh my!!!