Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saint Theresa's Prayer!

In case you are not aware, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways, meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love.

Remember to make a wish before you read the prayer. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just share this with people and see what happens on the fourth day.

"May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Its Hot, It’s Hot!

Whew! Summer may have officially arrived a few days ago, but here in Indiana it already feels like the dog days of summer. We don’t have air conditioning and have to make do with screens in our windows and fans. It doesn’t bother me so much unless I’ve worked hard outside and need a reprieve. The nights can be stifling as well, but other than that it isn’t too unbearable.

We have a garden too. Of course a lot of folks have been planting gardens this year, titling them “Recession Gardens.” It’s sort of a throw back to WWII when families planted Victory Gardens in their flowerbeds to save money and to “win the war!” I’ve discovered something, I like working in our garden and I’m actually good at it. Whenever I finish with it for the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment. When Dad said it was too hot to work outside today, I felt disappointed.

Mom is still looking for a job. There are job openings at Kroger’s, K-Mart, Fashion Bug and clerical position at a local hospital. As for Dad, that job at the local high school didn’t pan out. However a couple teachers might be retiring this year so we’re in prayer that something might work out.

Our church is doing better and it doesn’t look like it’s going to close. People were just taking for granted God’s hard work and needed a wake up call. I actually, I needed one too. Often enough I forget to pray for my church and the minister, his wife and all the other elders and deacons.

Right now I’m editing my series and am now working on the third book. There’s a lot to add and revise in this one, but not as much as I’ll have to do until I start revising the fourth. I’m finding that information in post-WWII Poland is scarce. Most of the non-fiction books out there deal with the political aspect rather than the every day life of the average Joe, which is what I need.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Anne Frank!

Okay, actually Anne Frank's birthday was two days ago on Friday, June 12. This year she would have been eighty years old. May her story live on forever.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Uncle Allen's Obituary

Sept. 7, 1921 - June 6, 2009

Allen was born in Terre Haute. He was the youngest son of Blanche and Allen Asay Sr. Allen Jr. had two older brothers, Fred and Harold, and a sister, Dorothy. He attended Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, and Wiley High School. He met Alice McCoy at Starke’s Dance School, and they married Dec. 15, 1942.

During World War II Allen served in the anti-aircraft division of Patton’s Third Army. In June of 1944, he was part of the Normandy Invasion. He was D-Day +4 and he fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

For many years Allen was one of the top salesmen at Levin Brothers Wholesale Company. Later he retired from Kryling Flooring of Evansville.

He is survived by five children, Sandra A. Marietta (Ron) of Miami, Fla., Jane Keegan (Gary) of Sun City Center, Fla., Rebecca Sterling (widow) of Nashville, Tenn., Steve Asay (Cathy) of Connersville, and Paul Asay (Sherrie) of Terre Haute; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was an active member of Bible Center Church, and later Maryland Community Church and Maranatha Alliance Church.

Allen was a loving husband and father; he was an example to his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed parades, parks, and taking his family on vacations to Florida. He never missed an opportunity to watch the sunset on the beach. He loved God and his family. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Visitation will be held Saturday, June 13, 2009, at DeBaun Springhill Chapel. 85 E. Springhill Drive, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, with Abe Miller officiating. Interment will be at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 972 will conduct graveside military rites.

Please pray for the whole family tomorrow, especially his wife and kids. Unfortunately Aunt Alice won't be there for the funeral, she is unwell.

Monday, June 8, 2009

When it Rains, It Pours

Ain’t that the truth! To begin with, a few weeks ago my Mom learns that as of Sept 30th, 2009, she will no longer have a job at the local university. It’s difficult not to have hard feelings over this because the reason she was laid-off has nothing to do with financial difficulties; it was over a personal vendetta. Mom was/is so devoted to her work, she gives her all and to see her treated this way more than hurts. There is a silver lining to this though, she’s no longer have to endure their grief. And it’s more than likely that Dad will be working full time at a high school. You know the old saying: when God closes a door, He opens a window.

My Dad’s cousin went in for surgery corroded artery and had a negative reaction to it. She had to be sedated and put on a ventilator. She’s puffy and her blood pressure and potassium levels were hinky but now seem to be improving. Yesterday she opened her eyes, was responsive to her sister and family, and could answer some questions. Any prayers you could offer her would be appreciated. Not only for healing but for peace of mind. She’s kind of a Nervous Nellie when it comes to things like this.

Saturday, June 6th was D-day, you know; the 65th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy and Nazi occupied Europe. That day is always important to us because so many of our relatives served in WWII and were involved with it (particularly our Grandpa). His younger brother Allen went over on D-day plus 3 (June 9, 1944). Anyway, Uncle Allen died on Saturday, at age 87. He was such a sweetheart; he was the type who brightened the whole room just by walking in. Our Grandpa died when we were young, and it wasn’t like Uncle Allen took his place. But he was always kind and supportive of us. He’d patiently answer our questions about WWII, the past, family history and never displayed any jealousy or annoyance whatsoever when we’d bring up our Grandpa or brag on him. He was proud of his older brother and helped fill in a lot of gaps that we had about Grandpa’s military career. Uncle Allen will be missed by all, but he’s so much more content where he is now than where he was. He was in and out of the nursing home for the last year and was completely miserable there. That long with the fact that his sweetheart, Alice, no longer recognized him (she has dementia) broke his heart. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Uncle Allen is completely whole; he was always vocal about his faith in Christ. I can easily imagine him walking down a street of gold, chatting with his older brother and sister, maybe even eating a banana. (He loved bananas.)

And for the last bit of news- I got a call from Mom. The church board members met yesterday after we were dismissed and discussed finances. According to Mom, it was decided that if tithing doesn’t improve, our church will close… BY THE END OF THIS MONTH!!! Not to brag, but we tithe out 10% regularly so our conscience is clean. However, so many others don’t. This really bites. Because of the selfishness of others we all must suffer. Okay, I shouldn’t judge, but it hurts. Spring Creek just celebrated its 20th anniversary a few months ago. Please, please, please pray that God will move on the hearts of the congregation to give. Please, I’m begging you! I don’t know what I’ll do if this church closes; I’ve grown more spiritually here than at any other church I’ve attended. I know God’s Will be done in the end, but sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow.

If you’re interested to learn more about our church, please click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Holocast Wedding Gown

This is a very interesting story.

The Wedding Gown That Made History!

Lilly Friedman doesn't remember the last name of the woman who designed and sewed the wedding gown she wore when she walked down the aisle over 60 years ago. But the grandmother of seven does recall that when she first told her fiancé Ludwig that she had always dreamed of being married in a white gown he realized he had his work cut out for him.

For the tall, lanky 21-year-old who had survived hunger, disease and torture this was a different kind of challenge. How was he ever going to find such a dress in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Person's camp where they felt grateful for the clothes on their backs?

Fate would intervene in the guise of a former German pilot who walked into the food distribution center where Ludwig worked, eager to make a trade for his worthless parachute. In exchange for two pounds of coffee beans and a couple of packs of cigarettes Lilly would have her wedding gown.

For two weeks Miriam the seamstress worked under the curious eyes of her fellow DPs, carefully fashioning the six parachute panels into a simple, long sleeved gown with a rolled collar and a fitted waist that tied in the back with a bow. When the dress was completed she sewed the leftover material into a matching shirt for the groom.

A white wedding gown may have seemed like a frivolous request in the surreal environment of the camps, but for Lilly the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness. Lilly and her siblings were raised in a Torah observant home in the small town of Zarica, Czechoslovakia where her father was a melamed, respected and well liked by the young yeshiva students he taught in nearby Irsheva.

He and his two sons were marked for extermination immediately upon arriving at Auschwitz . For Lilly and her sisters it was only their first stop on their long journey of persecution, which included Plashof, Neustadt, Gross Rosen and finally Bergen Belsen .

Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle on January 27, 1946 to attend Lilly and Ludwig's wedding. The town synagogue, damaged and desecrated, had been lovingly renovated by the DPs with the meager materials available to them. When a Sefer Torah arrived from England they converted an old kitchen cabinet into a makeshift Aron Kodesh.

"My sisters and I lost everything - our parents, our two brothers, our homes. The most important thing was to build a new home." Six months later, Lilly's sister Ilona wore the dress when she married Max Traeger. After that came Cousin Rosie. How many brides wore Lilly's dress? "I stopped counting after 17." With the camps experiencing the highest marriage rate in the world, Lilly's gown was in great demand.

In 1948 when President Harry Truman finally permitted the 100,000 Jews who had been languishing in DP camps since the end of the war to emigrate, the gown accompanied Lilly across the ocean to America . Unable to part with her dress, it lay at the bottom of her bedroom closet for the next 50 years, "not even good enough for a garage sale. I was happy when it found such a good home."

Home was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. When Lily's niece, a volunteer, told museum officials about her aunt's dress, they immediately recognized its historical significance and displayed the gown in a specially designed showcase, guaranteed to preserve it for 500 years.

But Lilly Friedman's dress had one more journey to make. Bergen Belsen , the museum, opened its doors on October 28, 2007. The German government invited Lilly and her sisters to be their guests for the grand opening. They initially declined, but finally traveled to Hanover the following year with their children, their grandchildren and extended families to view the extraordinary exhibit created for the wedding dress made from a parachute.

Lilly's family, who were all familiar with the stories about the wedding in Celle , were eager to visit the synagogue. They found the building had been completely renovated and modernized. But when they pulled aside the handsome curtain they were astounded to find that the Aron Kodesh, made from a kitchen cabinet, had remained untouched as a testament to the profound faith of the survivors. As Lilly stood on the bimah once again she beckoned to her granddaughter, Jackie, to stand beside her where she was once a kallah. "It was an emotional trip. We cried a lot."

Two weeks later, the woman who had once stood trembling before the selective eyes of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele returned home and witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter.

The three Lax sisters - Lilly, Ilona and Eva, who together survived Auschwitz, a forced labor camp, a death march and Bergen Belsen - have remained close and today live within walking distance of each other in Brooklyn. As mere teenagers, they managed to outwit and outlive a monstrous killing machine, then went on to marry, have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were ultimately honored by the country that had earmarked them for extinction.

As young brides, they had stood underneath the chuppah and recited the blessings that their ancestors had been saying for thousands of years. In doing so, they chose to honor the legacy of those who had perished by choosing life.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iraq , Iran and others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.