With Gratitude…


Hi Friends!

It was the perfect opportunity to practice being present, my ‘One Little Word’ for this year. While cruising under brilliant, blue skies, above the puffy, white clouds at 37,000 feet yesterday afternoon, I intentionally tuned out the other passengers, the movie, and my book. I felt completely present as I gazed down at the view from my window seat

As we left the Southwest,

I focused on the rugged mountains and long, winding rivers flowing in ribbons

through the sparse desert landscape.

(I intentionally resisted the urge to grab my camera so many times. Not an easy thing for me!)

Over the Great Plains,

I studied the patchwork of farmlands, stitched with an occasional narrow road,

creating a true American quilt

in the loveliest Autumn colors.


As we approached the Midwest,

sunset saturated the sky with a perfectly blended,

inky palette of

seedless preserves, fired brick, and spiced marmalade.


Moments later, the night sky revealed just one twinkling light below.

Soon more tiny lights shone from small towns,

and before long we admired the

sprawling, sparkling grid of of Chicago’s lights below us.


Three hours spent just being


was such a powerful gift!

There was time to intentionally reflect on

each ‘One Little Word’ from years past, as well…

Breathe (2012), Grace (2013), and Blessings (2014).


From my window seat yesterday,

I counted the blessings of freedom and liberty

as we flew over our land.

I thought about the price of our

freedom and liberty.

I thought about the sacrifice of so many heroes.

Those brave men and women

who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

I thought about the important lessons that I have learned

while volunteering to help our military families.

When one family member is serving in our Armed Forces,

the entire family makes a huge sacrifice

for our freedom.


Today, on Veterans Day, we honor and thank

all of those brave heroes

who have served our country

in the past

and those who serve our country



We are so proud of the brave Army Veterans in our family…

my father-in-law who served in the South Pacific in World War II,

my father who served in Korea,

my uncle who served in Vietnam,

and our cousin who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a Marine.

We honor and thank them for their sacrifice!


I am so grateful for the Veterans who came to visit my classroom

over the years.

Brave servicemen and women who taught us all

about sacrifice ~

time spent away from their families

to keep our families safe.

Heroes, one and all.


We all hope for the day when brave men and women

around the globe

will no longer be sent into harm’s way.


Until that day,

young men and women

will continue to make sacrifices

for our freedom.

Yesterday, seated with us in Row 27,

we met one of the newest members of our military.


 was flying to ‘boot camp’

at Great Lakes Naval Base.

He was so excited

about the next four years of his life.

During ‘boot camp’ he will miss

his 19th birthday celebration,

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with his family and friends.

These are just a few of the small sacrifices that

Hunter and his entire family

are making for our freedom.

With gratitude,

I shook his hand and said,

“Thank you so much for your service.”



As a nation,

we have the opportunity to serve our Veterans,

by providing them with better healthcare benefits,

safe places to live, and more job opportunities.

Each one of us can share our gratitude

by thanking the Veterans we meet

every day!


With much gratitude,

♡ Dawn

                                                             P.S. How do you honor our Veterans throughout the year?


29 thoughts on “With Gratitude…

    • Many thanks, Nicole! There were also tears in my eyes as I wrote. One of the ways that I supported our military families was by making handmade cards for our deployed troops through Operation Write Home, and for hospitalized Veterans through the Semper Fi Family Platoon. (This group of Marine Moms said I was ‘one of them’ even though I am not a parent. I felt so honored!) It’s so nice to know that simple things, like our handmade cards, can make a difference to those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. Thank you so much for stopping to visit today, Nicole! ♡

  1. Wonderful post, Dawn. I ‘never’ forget our veterans because of the loss our family endured. We fly the flag from spring until today when we take it down for the winter otherwise it is a solid sheet of ice. I add my thank you here for the sacrifice all the brave members of our Armed Forces and their families have made on our behalf.

    • Heartfelt hugs, Judy, for the sacrifices made by your family. We do the very same thing, flying our flag on the front porch, from early spring until Veterans Day. Supporting our military families is one of the ways that I have chosen to ‘make a difference’ in my retirement. It’s one of the ways that I honor the Veterans in our family. So glad that you stopped to visit on this wild, windy day in the Midwest! Hope your quilting is going well, Judy! ♡

  2. Dawn,
    Your words and the care that went into writing them was worth more than any photograph images. What a wonderful reminder of just what Veteran’s day is all about. Thank you for reminding us of the sacrifice these brave soldiers and their families go through.

    • Oh, thank you so much, Karen! Sending big hugs for your kind words. Our heroes truly deserve our thanks every day for the sacrifices that they make for us! ♡

  3. Thank you, dearest Dawn, for honoring our veterans in such a meaningful way! I love how you were “present” on your flight home to reflect on such a special day. I too hope one day we will no longer have men and women go into harm’s way. Honoring the whole family of servicemen is so important. Those men and women who take up the slack at home need our help. They deserve our thanks as well. God bless Hunter as he begins a journey that I hope includes peace for mankind.
    I hope you had a lovely visit with your family and that you enjoy being home, dear one. xoxo ♥

    • Martha Ellen, your sweet words are so heartwarming! Being ‘present’ is becoming easier, but it has taken a great deal of practice throughout this year. It has definitely been my most challenging ‘One Little Word’ so far. (I’m already giving much thought to my choice of next year’s word!)

      When I volunteer with the Semper Fi Family Platoon, the mothers of deployed Marines share so much with me. They often remind me that sending your son or daughter off to serve in the military is nothing like sending them off to college! Their words came flooding back to me as we had a long talk with Hunter. Upon arrival at his base, he would get his haircut, pack up his civilian clothes and his phone to mail home, and march right into service to our country. We made a nice connection and we will think of him very often in the coming months. I have already marked his ‘boot camp’ graduation day on our calendar. He is looking forward to seeing snow for the first time, so we promised him lots of snow while he is training in the Midwest! His family will certainly miss him. I can only imagine the pride that they are feeling.

      Our visit with our family was so very special. Watch for some upcoming blog posts highlighting some warm, sunny, desert days! Thank you for always being here, Martha Ellen! Hugs! ♡

  4. This is such a heartfelt and touching post honoring our Veterans, Dawn. Thank you.
    On Sunday, our church held a veterans’ memorial concert. The Chicago Brass Band played, and the “Singing Cop” from 9/11 performed. Magnificent. Each branch of the military’s song was played as members of each branch rose and sang in turn. Photos of our congregation’s family members were shown on a screen; some of whom I know or know their family, others so young, friends of our daughters. It was a fitting tribute and way to thank our veterans. I asked a good friend of mine to come. Marilyn’s husband played for the US Army during WWII and was present when the peace treaty was signed with Japan. Marilyn was a child in Hawaii and witnessed Pearl Harbor, losing 3 family members to shrapnel during the attack.
    How do we honor our Veterans throughout they year? We fly the flag. If I know or am introduced to a veteran, I try to thank them – and I always VOTE.
    Again, Dawn, thank you. Your patchwork quilt from high above brought tears to my eyes. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

    • Oh, Penny! Thank you so much for sharing the details of the Veterans’ Memorial Concert. It was such a powerful way to honor our brave Veterans. I’m sure I would have had tears in my eyes the entire time! I’m so glad that Marilyn was able to be there for this meaningful tribute to her husband and to honor the loss of her dear family members at Pearl Harbor. You were so very thoughtful to include her for this special concert.

      Visiting Pearl Harbor, just two years after September 11th, was one of the most powerful experiences that I have known. We love to attend the Patriotic summer concerts on the college green. It’s always so inspiring when the band plays the songs for each branch of the military, while the Veterans stand in the crowd gathered on the lawn. I always have tears in my eyes!

      Flying the flag, voting and thanking our Veterans are such important acts of patriotism. They are little things that are really BIG things! I always walk up to Veterans and thank them personally! Sometimes I can find them by the insignia on their hat, their car license plate, or in uniform walking through the airport. Recently, we were dancing at a wedding and I spotted a guest in uniform. So, I just had to walk over to thank him for his service. Our simple words of gratitude really matter to those who have sacrificed so much!

      Heartfelt thanks, dear Penny, for being such a special friend of our blog! Stay safe during this wild, windy weather! It’s a perfect day to enjoy a cup of tea and a good book! Hugs!♡

  5. Such beautiful thoughts today, Dawn. Thank you for sharing from your heart and thank YOU for what you do for our military through your special handmade cards! We’ve all been touched in some way by someone who has sacrificed for their country and we must never forget to honor them. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. xo….Karen

    • Special thanks, Karen! We must all do our part in our own special way. Volunteering with military families, and making cards for those deployed or hospitalized are small ways to let our servicemen and women know that we appreciate the sacrifices they are making for all of us. It’s so important to let them know that they are not forgotten. Your heartwarming words are a powerful reminder. Thank you for being such a special part of our blog, Karen! You have been here for 1 1/2 years, since Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes was just a ‘spark’ of an idea! Big hugs! ♡

    • Many thanks, Jodi. I have grown as a card maker, practicing on family and friends, so that my cards will be my BEST work for our servicemen and women and our Veterans. Operation Write Home was a huge inspiration for me as a beginning card maker. Thankfully, with the drawndown of troops, the OWH mission has come to a close. Big hugs, Jodi! Thanks for visiting today!♡

  6. Beautifully written and heartfelt, Dawn. Like you, I wish for the day when service men and women were no longer needed. I ache at the misery they endure and feel shame at the way we seem to fail these young men and women again and again after they come home.

    My father served in India during the second world war (he was British, and acted as a translator.) My Canadian mom was a WREN in the Royal Canadian Navy, so both served but neither in combat.

    When a friend’s son was in Afghanistan for a year, we all rallied and sent regular boxes of socks, books, hard candy and other personally requested items.

    Good for you for staying present during that flight. It’s worth doing, but never easy.

    Thanks for sharing your words. My word this year is connections. Last year it was serendipity. I love your choices and I also really like having a word to focus on each year. xox

    • Many thanks, Alys, for sharing your thoughtful comments. It is truly shameful the way many of our Veterans are treated when they return and as they age!! If only the American people would all take time to let them know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice. Maybe the powers-that-be would take notice and try harder to provide services to our brave Veterans. We must stand up for them!

      What a fascinating family history of service your parents provided!! You must be so proud of them! Our deployed troops really appreciate those care packages! We did the same for our cousin, stationed in Afghanistan. There was always enough in our boxes to share with his buddies. 🙂

      Just before I retired, I heard a story about some Marines, serving in Afghanistan, who never received any mail. Their commander quietly asked if anyone would like to send them cards. At that moment, I knew that one of my ways to ‘make a difference’ during my retirement must be to send handmade cards to our deployed military men and women. So, I began practicing my card making (on my family and friends) while learning about special needs for the harsh military living conditions ~ adhesives that would hold up to the heat in Afghanistan, no glitter that would be detected by night-vision, etc. It has brought me great joy to volunteer, even in such a small way, to show appreciation to those who sacrifice so much for all of us!

      I love your ‘One Little Word’ for this year, Alys! You are doing an amazing job of making connections! Appreciating all of the moments of serendipity in each day is a perfect choice for OLW. It will be interesting to see which words we choose for 2016. I’ve been thinking about it already. My OLW usually chooses me! So, I’m excited to see what it will be!

      Alys, you have been on my mind all week, since your foot surgery. I hope you are beginning to adjust to limited mobility, so that the healing can begin. We have been away, so I am behind in visiting your blog. I promise to come visit very soon! Sending healing hugs, patience, and positive thoughts across the inter webs! Thank you, sweet friend, for being such a special part of our blog! ♡

      • Dawn, I never would have thought about the things you mention before shipping a card (like avoiding glitter, and appropriate glue). You have a good heart. It’s hard to imagine someone serving overseas and not receiving anything from home. So sad.

        My sister works at the VA in Palo Alto as an administrative assistant and timekeeper. She used to work in telephone care and would talk to 600 veterans a month. 99% of the time the calls were great and she enjoyed helping the veterans. But she also had to field suicide calls and those were the worst. They have a protocol in place for alerting a nurse, but the stress for her was awful. It’s a sad reality.

        My hope is always an end to all of these conflicts. But on the heals of the devastating news out of Paris, it seems we need to teach the lesson again and again, that *every* life has value.

        What if everyone on the planet chose “compassion” as their word of the year?

      • Hi, Alys! I learned so much, through Operation Write Home, about sending handmade cards to our deployed troops. Now with the drawdown of troops, our cards are no longer being shipped overseas. There are still so many opportunities to donate handmade cards closer to home. Nursing homes and Veterans’ Homes would welcome donations of cards. The need will always be there.

        Your sister is trying to help so many Veterans. I’m sure that there are so many limitations and that it must be very stressful, for both the Veterans and those serving them. I truly believe that our Veterans should receive the best care, in a timely manner, and have safe places to live. We owe them all such a debt of gratitude! ‘Compassion’ would be a wonderful ‘One Little Word’ for 2016. Sending healing hugs, Alys! So glad that you stopped to visit today! ♡

  7. What a great post! There is a woman in Savannah who organizes care packages and cards for those serving our country. I sent a fleece blanket last year – a small price to pay, but if each one of us gives, what a difference it makes.

    • Many thanks, Jayne! What a lovely way to support our troops. The thought of a fleece blanket in a care package warms my heart on this chilly, November morning! I know the recipients loved it. So true! Just a little help from everyone is all it takes to make a huge impact and show our gratitude for all that our military men and women are doing for us. So happy that you stopped to visit this morning, Jayne! ♡

  8. Dawn, your heartfelt words for our veterans brought tears to our eyes as we read them.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    D. J.

    • Oh, Dad and Mom! Your words truly warm my heart! Thank you both so much for your sacrifice while Dad was in the Army. Dad, we honor you for your brave service in Korea. Mom, you kept the home fires burning, while Dad was away fighting for our freedom and safety. I know how much you both treasured the long letters, from the heart, sent back and forth while you were apart. Those letters, tied with a ribbon, are a very special part of our family history! We hope that one day, families will no longer have to be apart due to military service. Heartfelt thanks and much love. Happy Veterans Day!! ♡♡

  9. Dawn, I hope you don’t mind if I address your Dad and Mom.
    Thank you, dear parents of Dawn, for serving our country and for all the sacrifices each of you made for our country! My Daddy was a Marine during WWII and I am so proud of him and men and women of your generation. You truly are from the Greatest Generation! Thank you for raising such a warm sensitive daughter. I know you realize how special she is! I know you must be enjoying Arizona. We were there last month and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you again for your sacrifices. Martha Ellen ♥

    • So very kind and thoughtful, dear Martha Ellen! They will be so surprised and happy to read your sweet comment. You must be so proud of your brave dad, too. We cannot even know all of the sacrifices that the Veterans and their families made during their years of service. We can only remember them… honor them… and pray for peace in the coming years. Wishing you a great weekend, dearest Martha Ellen! ♡

  10. Got home after two wonderful weeks in Maui. Many moments lived in the present there. Just read your thoughtful tribute to those who serve. Today, each word was made even more meaningful by the horrific events in Paris. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all about those who defend liberty worldwide.

    • Welcome home, Anne! We are enjoying your lovely postcard sharing the beauty of Maui. 🙂 What a perfect place to feel present, as you soak in the beauty of nature with all of your senses. Those who serve worldwide (and their families) sacrifice so much while defending liberty and safety. With gratitude for the work they do every day, year after year… Sending hugs, dear Anne! ♡

  11. Well, late to this one but boy, have I been around the houses to get here. Still, I am here now. I love how you describe seeing all the world below as you flew home. It is how I recall flying. I only ever liked a window seat so I could look out, and down. Frankly, it was the only thing I liked about flying!!! I am beginning to think along the lines of my Grandmother in that if God had intended us to fly He would have given us wings!
    ~~~waving from wildly windy west Wales~~~

    • Good morning, Deb! I so appreciate the great efforts you have made to share your thoughts with us! 🙂 Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Window seats are the very best way to fly!! I feel so blessed now to be experience the colors of the changing seasons from my window seat. Although air travel has changed so much over the years, I am still ever so grateful that those ‘silver birds’ can take me off to visit special people and special places!! I can’t imagine my life without them! Stay safe through the storms, dear Deb! ♡

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