Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It's Christmas Morning - 12:54 a.m.
The turkey is in the oven - check out the recipe in this free Holiday Recipe cook book by Sue Gregg. The young men are over at Josiahs. Nolan stayed up to be able to be the first to say, "Merry Christmas". Mike is putting THIS together in the little boy's room. That allowed them to stay up and be a part of the festivities...but the thought is they'll fall asleep watching....soon?
BTW, this is Stacia's Christmas AND Birthday present and it fell within our budget. I found it online cheaper than what I was finding around town and had it shipped to Walmart for pick up - free shipping. We wanted to get it NOW so that she can enjoy it before all our things are packed up. LOL
Christmas is here...but Mom, here are a few shots for you and Dad from Christmas Eve/Day.
We got ahold of Mike's family today. They are also excited at all the news from our older children this week....and at the possibilities of grandchildren driving down to CA for a weekend. LOL
We went to see the Christmas Lights on the Concho. Mike would like to go back and walk it with the Nikon and the tri-pod....I didn't bother taking photos with the point and shoot. LOL
T-shirts for all
We opened Christmas Stockings....WE did NOT fill them - the kids did fill them. LOL
Yikes - look at those teeth
Alas, Bre loves them. ::snort:: I'm wondering what tomorrow will look like if 12 stockings made this much mess. LOL
I've been informed that "Gram's Cinnamon Rolls" are our traditional Christmas breakfast. Um....I'd forgotten. That means it's after 1:40 a.m. and I need to be up baking to have hot rolls by 8 a.m.
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it t ickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its rea lly all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weig ht of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
©Copyright December 7, 2000 by Michael Marks
*Internet circulated copies of "A Different Christmas Poem" are often credited to LTC Jeff Giles, SC USN...but the International War Veteran's Poetry Archive lists this poem as written in 2000 by Michael Marks. The IWVPA titles the poem as I did above, you may click on the IWVPA link to hear the above soldier recite the poem. Regardless, the poem is "authentic."
Author’s Note: In loving appreciation of the countless Americans who have, and continue to serve in the Armed Forces and those who gave their life for their country. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten. We look forward to the day you come home. God bless and keep you always, and God Bless America.
A Soldier’s Christmas was the first in this series of patriotic writings, drafted on Pearl Harbor Day 2000 when in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election our nation saw the right of US Armed
Forces personnel openly questioned and debated. I felt it unconscionable that at the onset of the
Christmas season, those serving to defend our nation would hear anything but our love and support. It is our challenge to stand for their rights at home while they stand for our lives and safety overseas. This poem went out and quickly spread around the world in emails, letters, and magazines. I received letters from Marines in Bosnia, soldiers in Okinawa, from a submariner who xeroxed a copy for everyone on his sub. Moms wrote, dads, brothers and sisters. I have saved and cherish every letter and set out to continue writing throughout the year.