Spread Your Wings And Fly

Spread Your Wings And Fly
Spread your wings and fly

Friday, November 1, 2013

Church Article

                                                Here’s To The Heroes

     It’s November: a time to give thanks, and also, a time to honor. It is the time of year that we pause to remember and pay tribute to all of our Veterans: Those men and women, who are courageously serving our country, and, those who through the entire history of our nation, have taken up arms to defend our flag, our lives, and our freedom.
 To the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who bear within their souls the incredible burning, the unstoppable--and to some unexplainable--loyalty and devotion to country that they willingly leave their homes, families, and friends, to become our faithful Guardians—I thank you

Our Son
I am a military mom and aunt. Three young men, whom I love with my entire being are serving, or, have served in the military. Our son has been in the Air Force for fifteen years.One of our nephews served, and fought courageously in the Army, and our other nephew serves proudly and selflessly in the Navy. All have served time in Afghanistan and, or, Iraq. All three are my heroes. And all, thank the good Lord are safe. My husband is a veteran, as was his father, uncles, and an ancestor who served in the Civil war. Many of you have served or have a loved one who has, or, is currently serving our country. Again, to each and every one of these courageous souls, I give my undying thanks.

 Our nation was conceived, born, and cut its teeth through war. We fought fearlessly for our independence, we fought to grow, and we fought for freedom; we fought to abolish slavery, and reunite a fractured nation. This perhaps was the most tragic of all the wars—the Civil War. The enemy wasn’t some foreign country, or heartless dictator—no—the battle was fought, brother against brother, father against son, nephew against uncle, cousin against cousin. For each and every one of these brave men and boys, I once again give thanks.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored, He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on.  Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on. I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps. They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps. I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps. His day is marching on”.
(Battle Hymn of the Republic -Words: Ju­lia W. Howe, 1861, alt. This hymn was born dur­ing the Amer­i­can ci­vil war, when Howe vis­it­ed a Un­ion Ar­my camp on the Po­to­mac Riv­er near Wash­ing­ton, D. C. She heard the sol­diers sing­ing the song “John Brown’s Body,” and was tak­en with the strong march­ing beat. She wrote the words the next day.)

From the creation of our nation, there have been wars, and with war, there are heroes. These heroes however do not wear red capes and tights; they do not have super powers. They cannot leap over tall buildings in a single bound, or run faster than a flash of lightening. No, these heroes are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.

During the Civil War many heroes were mere boys, whiskers had not yet sprouted upon their innocent faces, and yet, they fought, and many died.
Two Brothers Met
“Two brothers alike in so many ways, donned uniforms on the same day—one wore blue, the other wore gray. One mother, with a breaking heart, hugged her boys before they did part. She watched, as tears ran down her face, as her two sons walked away. With a final hug, and a shake of the hands, the brothers turned toward separate lands. Visions of glory and honor rang in their heads; each knew they were right, that’s, at least what they said. But war was not glorious, and honor ran red, as the ground became soaked with the blood that was shed. Musket balls flew: cannons explode: as the brothers fought blindly through smoke that billowed. Two brothers met on the battlefield that day--one wore blue, and, the other wore gray”.

Thousand’s upon thousands of people fought and died in the Civil war arguing polarized causes  which had torn our country apart, defending the rights of human beings without rights, and ultimately, aftergreat loss, reuniting our troubled nation. Thousands more have fought in so many wars through out ourhistory, defending our nation and preserving our freedom. Men and women have followed a calling that only they can hear. A calling to leave family and friends; to leave their homes and security; to wear their uniforms with pride, and place themselves in harms way to protect us. As the song says, “All gave some, some gave all”.

“Here's to the heroes, those few who dare.  Heading for glory, living a prayer.Here's to the heroes, who change our lives. Thanks to the heroes, Freedom survives.Here's to the heroes who never rest. They are the chose. We are the blessed.
Here's to the heroes, who aim so high. Here's to the heroes, who do or die.Here's to the heroes, who aim so high. Here's to the heroes, who do or die. Here's to the heroes who do or die”.
(Writers: Don Black & Barry John- sung by: Mario Frangoulis)

Here’s to the heroes, those who marched in ragged clothes, tattered shoes, or bare feet: the boys, men, sons, and brothers. Here’s to the heroes who traveled the oceans, fighting the enemy though fear gripped their hearts. Here’s to the heroes who felt the call within their souls to place themselves in the path of death, so that we may live. Here’s to the heroes, who after terror struck our shores, stood up proudly, courageously, with gritted teeth and clenched fists, and said, “No More!” Here’s to the heroes, who sleep in trenches and grieve for
fallen friends. Here’s to the heroes who sail the oceans, or soar through the skies. Here’s to the heroes whowear the uniform with honor, who protect and serve, but have been spared the horrors of war. Here’s to the hero, whether young or old, male or female, son or daughter. Here’s to the hero who touches his children’sfaces only in his dreams, and yearns for his wife’s embrace. Here’s to the hero whose mother’s heart conflicts with the gun she bears.

To all the heroes, past, present, and those yet to come, I say--from the bottom of my heart-- thank-you.

God bless all of our Veterans,
Sandy Wells

                                          Here’s To The Heroes - A Military Tribute                                                                                                                                                 


Monday, September 30, 2013


                                                            The Word Love

The Word Love When asked to choose a word for a writing assignment, think on it and ultimately write about this word - “Love” was not my first choice. It was not even my choice. My mind was searching for an important word, a fun word, a word of deep meaning. A word with more than one syllable. But, when in frustration, I finally asked God what word He wanted me to write about. This one syllable word flew into my mind. It actually flew into my mind before I had even completed my question. My response was; “Love? Really?
You can’t do better than that?” Then I got smart and stopped arguing. After hours of thinking and sleeping on it, and thinking some more, this is what happened in my brain. I wrote the article below for class, and was encouraged by our instructor, to search out a magazine who would give my article a home, in their February issue. Valentines Day. I need to do this. But first I am sharing it with my church family. We have just experienced the joys and stresses of the Christmas season. What better time to speak of the simple, one syllable, very complicated word - “Love.” Enjoy.

Let me ask you a question. What does the word “love” mean to you? Take a second. What word or words pop into you mind? Romance? Valentines Day? Your loved one’s name? Maybe your favorite flavor ice cream or those boots you found on sale - that you just have to have? Are you perhaps smiling, as you remember your first love, and the flutter in your heart each time your eyes met, or your hands touched? Or, are tears slipping from your eyes, as you ache for the love of your life, who has been taken from your world all too soon?
Love. Such a simple four letter word. One lone syllable. Yet, so complicated. Love of country, love of money, love of family, love for God. This complex four letter word, may in fact, be one of the most essential and also ill-treated words known to man. We as humans crave the love of another, oftentimes going to great lengths to discover and acquire love. Without love in our lives, we feel incomplete, empty and alone. Whether it be the love of our family, a friend’s love, God’s love, or a country to love - our souls cries for it. Our sons and daughters at this moment are sacrificing their very lives - all for love of country.

This complicated, petite word, is an incredibly powerful force. We humans, fall in love, slide out of love, love madly, experience love’s first blush and love’s final breath. We know the thrills of new love - the heartaches, joys, and struggles of continued love - and the incredible sorrow of our true love’s, last breath.
Our hearts become, if possible, all the bigger, and our love magnifies as we
 bring new life into the world. This is pure love. A love for which we would gladly lay down our lives.This love is beyond reasoning and is all -consuming. We are their parents and they are our children. We live in them, and they live through us. There maybe no greater bond of love.

 This amazing, confusing, complicated thing called love, sadly, all too often in today’s throw away society, has become just that; something we desire for the moment, and then, callously toss aside when something, or someone,
 better comes along.
The word love is wielded by some as a cruel weapon, whose soul purpose is to control and abuse, “If you loved me you would…,” leaving the victim, feeling confused and helpless. Marriage vows too often are spoken hastily in love, betrayed in lust, and broken in hate. This is not what love was meant to be.

So in a nutshell, what is love? Love is alive and powerful, with the ability to uplift and encourage. Love lived before the dawn of time. Love spoke and life was created from nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and never fails. Love is commitment and takes faith. Love’s touch has the power to heal a wounded heart and empower the frail soul. A child crawls into a parent’s warm, loving embrace and finds peace and strength when they are hurt. A wife leans into her husband’s strong, loving arms when she is afraid. We can all cry to our loving Father when we feel lost and forlorn.

God’s perfect love, hung suspended between heaven and earth. Betrayed. Beaten. Abused. Forgiving. True love is unconditional. It is forgiving. It is everlasting. For some the word “love” is seldom used - “they know I love them,” and only spoken after a loss. How sad. Love is the greatest gift ever given to us, and the greatest gift we have to give to others. This tiny word is so important, that it stands before both “faith” and “hope.” “Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.” God’s love is perfect, human love is not. Love is absolute, and by no means simple.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget

I felt so guilty this morning. It was 8:52 am, and I stood in my kitchen with a package of Raisin Spice oatmeal in my hand—my favorite kind—when the announcer on the radio asked if we knew what was happening at that very moment in Manhattan. Then he played a snippet of a person’s voice calling out people’s names—people who had lost their lives on 9/11. I had, for the first time in twelve years, forgotten. How could I have allowed that to happen?
I, as most of you, remember exactly where I was standing that morning. I remember Matt Lauer of the “Today Show” (back when I used to watch it) getting a strange look on his face, as he listened to someone giving news feed in his ear. I remember him saying that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. Then…. everything in our lives exploded as not one but two jets careened into the side of the buildings. Then one more crashed into the Pentagon and yet another crashed in a Pennsylvania field. As the Trade Centers collapsed in a plume of black smoke, ash, papers, and human beings, so did our feeling of security within our borders. We had been attacked. Now, twelve years later, victims are still losing their lives as a result of that one-day—firefighters, police, survivors, those who lived close to ground zero—are to this day suffering physically and emotionally. Thousands upon thousands of our brave men and women who serve our country have paid the ultimate price—their very lives—protecting our borders and our freedom. And I forgot. But I remember now, and always will.

Patty Wysong's A2Z Take 2 Writing challenge

The following articles are pieces I wrote for Patty's amazing challenge. Scroll down my sidebar check out her link.

Friday, June 22, 2012

X -"Xtraordinary" Experience

Patty Wysong's A2Z Take 2 writing challenge. It has been an amazing experience participating in this challenge these past months. I can't believe we're up to X already. 

 My husband and I just celebrated our thirty- fourth wedding anniversary this past Sunday, the 17th of June. And being the romantic that he is, Bob, made reservations for us to spend that weekend at Temple Hill Bed and Breakfast in Geneseo, New York. My first response was, “it’s going to cost how much?” My next response upon seeing Temple Hill’s website, and the photos of what can only be called a mansion was, “oh my, do we have to dress up?” You have to understand; I am a born and bred country girl. We live on a farm and have never stayed in a bed and breakfast, let alone one, which looked like a butler, would be greeting us at the door. We did not pack tuxedos and ball gowns however.
Temple Hill Bed and Breakfast

  As soon as we entered the Grand Foyer and were greeted by the owner, my fears of being under dressed were put at ease. Gail, the owner was friendly, gracious, and as down home as my husband and myself. They in fact, are also farmers.

 We felt as if we had stepped back in time, as we were given a tour of the glorious home, which had been Temple Hill University in the 1800’s, and has had only four owners in over 100 years. I had no problem imagining the lady of the house gliding down the spectacular stair case in her floor length gown, or the sound of horses hooves click-clacking up the drive. I could easily imagine neatly dressed servants, scurrying about doing the many chores needed to keep this mansion in pristine condition. And I marveled that we would spend the weekend in this extraordinary home.

One of the 3 friendly cats who welcomed us
 My husband and I spent the weekend being pampered and made to feel like part of the family – family members who did not have to do any chores however. We enjoyed scrumptious home cooked breakfasts complete with homemade strawberry muffins, with fresh strawberries, served on exquisite English china. We sat on the veranda with our morning tea and coffee listening to the birds serenading us. We strolled the grounds and enjoyed the pool. We meandered through the cemetery directly across the road (I love cemeteries) and discovered the Wadsworth Family plot – a prestigious military family who served as far back as the Revolutionary War. We wandered through town and had a picnic by the lake. And when our feet needed a break, we rested in our lovely room. What could be better?
Our lovely room

 My husband and I both agree after our extraordinary experience that we would like to visit more Bed and Breakfasts in the future. We also agreed, and told Gail as much, that our time spent at Temple Hill set the bar very high for other B&B’s, which we may visit in the future. I cannot imagine a better way to have spent our thirty- fourth wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

V - Vignette lives

I have had the incredible opportunity to participate in Patty Wysong's A2Z Take 2 writing challenge these past months. I hope you will check out the other writers as well, simply click on the icon on my sidebar.

I am a self taught, fair to middling artist. I dreamed of, and finally succeeded in learning how to paint sceneries the way the late, Bob Ross, did. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent glued to the television watching this kind, gentle man create mountains, trees, waterfalls, incredible sunsets, shimmering lakes and billowing clouds, all with tools  which looked like something you would paint and spackle a house with . I however cannot complete a painting in an hour like this sweet man, mine take three to four days – depending on how many mistakes I make.

One of my favorite paintings was a winter vignette scene. The entire painting was done in varying shades of blues and soft whites, creating a winter wonderland, complete with a rustic shed, partially frozen pond, and lacy ice tipped trees. What I loved most about this painting was how the scene flowed from center into soft, diffused edges, creating a lovely oval. The diffused edges drew the attention into the center of the painting. The snow, water, rocks and trees came into focus and jumped off the canvas, while the edges of the painting faded, causing an ethereal effect.
Bob Ross' vignette, I gave mine away

 As I began thinking about this form of painting, it brought to mind our lives. We often want people to see clearly the positive aspects of our life. Our accomplishments, our “perfect” families, our lofty goals, our faith. But the less than perfect parts of our lives, those things that do not bring us pride, our mistakes, our “imperfect” families, our secrets, our imperfections, we want to fade into the background. We want them shrouded behind a lovely gauzy veil casting them into an ethereal haze while drawing the positive to the foreground. Our life becomes a vignette.

In some sad cases, with a person with low self-esteem, or a person quick to point fingers, the vignette becomes reversed. All the negatives, all the mistakes, all the imperfections and secrets become central. All attention is on them. While the positives are pushed into the diffused back ground, barely visible even to the person who accomplished them. 

 Our life is not a vignette. Either all good or all negative with the rest hidden behind a delicate haze. Oh, we would love to have a life filled with good times and all positive, no negatives allowed. But just as in nature, one lends life to the other. A majestic mountain cannot achieve such beauty and grandeur without sharp cliffs, craggy rocks, and harsh conditions.
A shimmering lake also has a shoreline of mud and unruly vegetation. The most glorious sunset often lives after the worst storms. The bare branches of a dying tree add a dignified sense of age past to the vibrant green of trees full of youth.

 God’s creation, whether in nature or human lives, is a magnificent masterpiece. We need not shamefully force our negatives behind a shrouded veil, hiding them from sight. We are the person that we are, because of  the less than perfect aspects of our lives. Strength comes through adversity, compassion through pain, faith through times of questioning, and wisdom through mistakes.
In the form of painting, which I have done, the beauty is appreciated only by standing back and seeing the entire scene from a distance. When you stand nose to canvas, inspecting each and every brushstroke or highlight, the eyes see what appear to be flaws.The temptation arises to scrape hours of work from the canvas and start again. It’s usually after working on a particularly difficult painting, that I am able to step back, take my nose away from the canvas, sit peacefully with God, and appreciate the beauty. Flaws and all.
My full canvas painting - flaws and all

 God’s masterpieces are full canvas creations. 
Let’s live full canvas lives.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

U - Unknown Worlds

So, how many of you are Trekkies? I’m not a Trekky, I however, grew up on Star-Trek and the Star Ship Enterprise. Well, let me rephrase that.  I grew up watching Star-Trek and the adventures of the Star Ship Enterprise. Captain James T. Kirk sitting in his captain’s chair, surround by his unique and varied crew, including the always logical, pointy eared Vulcan, Spock - all wearing skin tight shirts, and pants that look like they are expecting the next great inner-galactic flood - setting out on yet another mission – “ To go where no man has gone before.”
They never knew what awaited them just past the second star to the right, or on the surface of a planet from which a distress call has signaled. Will they encounter friend or foe? Will the distress call be valid, or a diabolical scheme to ensnare the Enterprise and all on board? 
 Each week, each 
forty minute episode, (commercials you know), found our crew traveling at warp speed into distant galaxies, exploring unknown worlds, fighting unknown enemies, and at the end of the forty minutes, the Enterprise may be banged up, the crew battered, but they lived to take us with them next week, into even more unknown worlds.

Well, we don’t live on the Star-Ship Enterprise and Captain Kirk, or any of the many other captains, isn’t directing our way. But we travel into unknown worlds on a daily basis. First day of school, entering High School, graduating High School, 
College, First job, Marriage, Pregnancy, Giving Birth, Raising Children, Buying a home, Moving away from home, Watching our children move away, Retirement, Illness, Impending death – Seeking God’s plan in our lives.

God’s Plan? For many of us that is an absurd unknown. After all, we know what our future holds, what our plans are.  We will graduate High School, go on to college and get our degree, while leading an outrageous social life. (Or perhaps the military and serve our country)    
Our Incredible Son
 First day after graduation we land the career of our dreams. We will then meet the perfect person, marry and have 2.3 children. We will live in the perfect neighborhood, and have two cars in the garage. All this leading up to our retirement with a hefty retirement package, which will allow us to travel the world. Sounds like a plan – right? What’s God got to do with it?
 Oh, how God must laugh as He hears us spout our plans. And how disappointed and sad he must be when we completely leave Him out of our life’s plans. Seeking God’s plan in our life may possibly be one of the most mysterious, and confusing unknowns out there. It involves placing our faith in someone other than ourselves, or our degrees, or our work- all tangible, visible things. Seeking God’s plan means placing our faith in what is unseen, and unknown. It involves prayer, patience, faith, wisdom, more patience, trust, and a complete belief in a being we cannot see with our human eyes.

God’s ultimate plan, His big plan is not unknown. He loves us and wants us to have a relationship with Him, to love Him, and to be with Him for eternity in His Kingdom. He loves us so much that He gave His only begotten son that we can live. He gave us His word so we can grow closer to Him, read His word, and know His love. His big plan, for those who seek Him is absolutely known.
  It’s the intricate, everyday life plans that become complicated. Oft times possibly causing us to butt heads with Him, or scratch our heads in confusion as we await clarity as to His plan in our lives. His plans can sometimes come through our most difficult times of pain and healing – times when our questions out number the answers - times of great loss and sorrow. It can also shine through the pure gentle smile of a child.

 His plans often take us out of our comfort zones, and into the unknown zone. His plans can give us butterflies in our stomach and a sense of anticipation like never before, and when we get done butting heads, a joy and peace beyond compare. Okay, there may also a little trepidation as well. After all we are stepping by faith into an unknown world. But we do not step into this world alone.