Hunter Green and Khaki Are My New Favorite Christmas Colors

Today you are in for a  Christmastime treat. I have asked my 18 year-old daughter Mackenzie–known to us fondly as Kenna–for permission to reprint a note she wrote for her Facebook page a few days ago.  Thursday, she will post another holiday musing. (And these two days off will give me time to wrap a few presents!!!) I hope you let her words sink in and leave a comment, if you desire. I’ll be back tomorrow for Weight Loss Wednesday. For now, here is Kenna…..

How many times have you heard the saying, or even said it yourself, “Man, the holidays are brutal!” or on the way to the mall or airport, “Careful, you could get killed, it’s crazy out there!”

I find myself saying this all too often. But do we really think about the meaning of the words as we spew them out of our mouths? I know I don’t.

You see when I was talking to my mother today over a few quick text’s between the dentist and  a trip to Target, she said that she “nearly got killed” on Black Friday but got the digital camera she wanted at less than half the retail price. I showered her with accolades as I tapped away at my full keyboard, “Get it girl!” I thought nothing of these words, until now as I sit here at this crowded mall just a week before Christmas.

Here I am surrounded by men and women of all ages, most sporting their best Christmas colors; vibrant red, Christmas tree green, sparkling silver, and shining gold. But in the midst of this sea of elegant colors, my wandering eyes keep falling to the muted colors of this rainbow. The small checkered patterns of hunter green and khaki.

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You see, over in the corner there is a group of men and women in uniform, and as the “busy people” rush by looking for just the right gift to give to their loved ones, this particular group of people seems calm. This year, as they sit with friends and family, they have  already given the most precious gift ever, the dedication of their lives to protect the freedom of ours.

But here, today in this crazy mall, people keep rushing by them. Not even realizing the gift THEY are receiving this year from these humble people huddled in the corner.

You see, to these brave soldiers, the mall on Christmas Eve is not dangerous, the airport near the holidays is not brutal, and getting up on Black Friday to get that one special item they have been eyeing all year is not at all frightening. Why? Because they really have been through war and back. They have given us Freedom, a life that allows us to enjoy the holidays we love so much. Yet how do we repay them?

We walk right by them without so much as a thanks.

Ever since I was young, I can remember my mother going up to every, (and when I say every, I mean EVERY), man or women in uniform and saying “Thank you for serving our country.” Now, of course when I was younger, it only embarrassed me. However, with the loss of PFC Andrew Nelson, a childhood friend who was killed in Baghdad by an IED on Christmas Day 2006, then my working for a military family while their father was deployed, helping to lighten the load of the mother left behind with five young kids, and having many friends, including one of my very best friends, join the military this past year, I see now why she did it and more importantly, why she still does.

We as Americans take our freedom for granted. We take the people who protect us for granted and we take our country for granted.

This has got to stop in the USA.

So with the New Year approaching, I challenge you: whenever you see someone in uniform at the store, the airport, or out to eat, take the two minutes it will require to go and thank them for what they do for you, for your family and for your country.

It will touch their heart, your heart, and the hearts of those around you.

Well, I am off.

There is a group of people I need to go over to and thank.

And this Christmas season, I want to say a special thanks to my ‘other father’ Staff Sergeant Gabe Morse, my assistant Pastor Yeoman First Class Ron Sischo and new enlistees Jonathon Lounds, Jordan Purchase, Zach Smith, and especially Kyle Williams for being part of the group of men and women who protect this country so I can relax this Christmas season knowing I am safe. And I thank PFC Andrew Nelson for giving the ulimate sacrifice three years ago on Christmas Day.

I  sincerely salute you all.

Humbly and Respectfully Yours,

Mackenzie

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P.S. Congratulations to the winner of yesterday’s giveaway: Kate; timestamp 1:23 pm on December 21st

Email me at karen@proverbs31.org to give me your home address so I can mail you your copy of Homespun Memories For The Heart! Congrats!!!


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  • Thank you for this wonderful post. As a wife of a retired career Air Force veteran and as a mother-in-law of an Army officer, I know how often what they do is taken for granted. This year, we are giving thanks for bringing our son-in-law home safe from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He, my daughter who supports him by faithfully raising their 4 children and never complaining, and others who are serving and have served are my heroes.

  • Thank you so much for reminding us what true sacrifice is. We use so many terms so lightly without ever thinking about their deeper meaning. Thank you for reminding us and thank you for thanking them.

  • Thank you Mackenzie for this beautiful post!

    My brother served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. While he was there it was easy for me to remember to thank our service men & women. Thank you for the reminder that I should always thank them for the sacrifice they make each and everyday.

  • Wow! Thanks Mackenzie for this wonderful post. I will remember to thank our service men and women whenever I see them.

    Karen, you must be so very proud!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Kenz,

    I heart you. Simply amazing. Thanks for reminding us all to take the focus off ourselves and our own drama to remember those whose sacrifice is real, tangible and costly. Can’t wait to see you!

  • Beautifully-written, MacKenzie. I appreciate your boldness and your example. We Americans can be complacent about so many things…may we have a wake-up call this Christmas season. May God light a fire in our hearts that causes us to be holy (different) from those around us. May that difference cause others to see what an amazing God we serve. Merry Merry Christmas.

  • I recently said to a passing solider “Thank you”. I sure wish I had added “…for serving our country.” He kind of looked at me funny like…for opening the door?
    Thank you so much for this much needed reminder. :)

  • Merry CHRISTmas Ehman Family,

    Thank you so much McKenzie for your kind words and thoughts of Andrew and all of our uniformed men and women who serve us all so unselfishly.

    I saw a bumper sticker that said something to the equivalent of “Only two people have ever offered to die for you, Jesus died for your soul and the American Soldier died for your freedom”.

    On the 1st anniversary of Andrews death, we had a candle light vigil on Christmas night in honor of Andrew. There was a reporter there from Newscenter 6 and he asked me how Andrew dying on Christmas day would affect Christmas for us from now on. My answer to him was… “The birth of Jesus Christ is so much more important than death of Andrew, how can you not still celebrate Christmas? Christmas time was one of Andrews favorite time of year, so of course we will always celebrate Jesus’ birthday”. Just imagine the celebration that Andrew gets to be a part of for Jesus’ birthday in Heaven!

    As far as thanking those who are currently serving their Country, and those who have served in the past, we never miss an opportunity to say “THANK YOU”. We must all remember the sacrifices they have made, and even if you have a hard time walking up to a person and saying thank you, you can at least hand them a card that says thank you. If you go to http://www.dearamericanhero.com you can order small thank you cards that are about the size of a business card, and they are free. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to let them know that you truly appreciate them and all that they do.

    We must all continue to pray for all of our troops, and our leaders on capital hill. God bless all of our troops and God bless America!

    Well you guys have a very Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year!

    Love ya guys,

    Al

  • Well said and thank you. During this time of the year and all busy times, we tend to forget those who give the ultimate sacrifice.

    Merry Christmas.

  • Thank you MacKenzie for the wonderful words you said about our service men and women, they do give up so much and without expectly anything in return, they say “It’s just our job” but Andrew gave up so much, the time with his new wife, maybe having children, to further his career, family time, a wonderful life here on earth so we could all have our freedoms. But he gave his all and now is in Heaven with Jesus and that makes me smile. He went to be there on Christmas Day, what a special person to choose to come be with Jesus on his birthday, thank you Lord.
    THANK YOU to all our service men and women and their families, I know how difficult it is to not have them home for the holidays. Thank you Ehman family for your love and support for many years and for remembering Andrew. God Bless and Merry Christmas. Your friend, Tami

  • I am moved to tears, MacKenzie. Thank you for sharing that beautifully written reminder to us. I have never thanked a person in uniform outloud. I am going to challenge myself to do it the next time I see someone. Your mother gave you a wonderful example. That is what touched me the most…realizing what an impact I can make on my children by doing something so “simple” but so, so meaningful.

    Crystal–I loved your story as well. How awesome that you inspired someone on the phone who is usually treated so rudely.

    Nancy

  • You, sweet thing, rock! What an amazing and thought-provoking post. Thank you so much for the reminder. I will think of you each time I thank a service man or woman for keeping those I love safe.

    Have a blessed Christmas.

    Love and Hugs,
    LeAnn

  • Thank you Mackenzie for your wonderful post. What a great reminder to all of us – the sacrafices our service men and women make for the safety of country.

    Wishing you a wonderful and memorable Christmas. I know your family is SO happy to have you home for the holidays. :)

    Blessings & prayers,
    Leah

  • Karen, The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?! What an incredible post by a very talented young lady. You must be proud! I don’t know many service people, but I like others who have posted will now be more thoughtful of saying “Thank You” to the service people I encounter. Holiday Blessings! Brenda

  • Thank you Kenz for this thoughtful and thought provoking post today. I won’t walk by another service man or woman without saying thanks.

    Sweet Blessings dear friend~ We are all missing you but happy you are having fun at home.

  • Awesome post! Thank you for the reminder to “Thank” all of those serving… It always hits home when it’s someone you know that provokes the thinking to thank someone.
    We just had the opportunity to send letters to a friend of mine’s brother who is in Iraq. It was such a morale booster! They need our support! Thanks again!

  • Kenzie – what beautiful writing, and more importantly, what a beautiful heart you expressed. I’m going to be much more mindful of the gift of our military men. Miss you and love you –

  • Nicely stated, MacKenzie. Thank you for sharing your heart about OUR men and women sacrificing many things for US (U.S., too). ‘Thank you’ should be an automatic response when a service man or woman is in our presence. Merry Christmas!

  • Thank you for the reminder. I appreciate the challenge to personally thank those people in uniform that I see. Although I do it at times, I reserve it for the times it’s convenient to do so. I realize after reading your post that these people give of themselves all the time, not just when it’s convenient. And their families give, too. And you are right – anytime I have thanked a service person, it has been a blessing to both of us. The most recent time was when a recruiter called my home asking for my oldest daughter (who was off at college). Once I knew who was calling, I informed him that she as away at school. He sounded so disappointed when he said, “So she’s gone, then.” I then told him about my father and father-in-law, who served in two wars, and thanked him for his service to our country. I told him that it is because of our service men and women that we have so much, and that I try not to take our freedom for granted. There was a moment of silence, and I was not sure he was even still connected, but then he said, “Ma’am, most people I call yell, swear, or hang up on me. I appreciate what you’ve said and will say that we don’t hear it nearly enough.” When I got off the phone, I proceeded to email my friends who are serving or have served. Don’t we all need some words of appreciation now and then?

  • Thank you for the reminder! I will be looking diligently for these special people and an opportunity to say “thank you” this season and throughout the year.