Christmas Angel

Every year our department at work has an Angel tree, every year Shay and I adopt an Angel together. We pick a girl, Shay chooses the clothes, as she had sons and didn’t get to buy cute little girl clothes. I get to buy the toys, she always accuses me of getting things that requires helmets (she’s not wrong), it is a great way to start off the Christmas season.

I tell you this not to brag but as an introduction as to why I feel compelled to do this thing.

I never talk about my childhood pre-adoption, well, from birth to 5 years old was really good, then post adoption was amazing. The years in-between were not great, I honestly do not remember any Christmas from that time period except for one.

I was in the third grade and my elementary school had an assembly, it was the whole school gathered in the cafeteria. No one knew why we were there, but there was an excitement in the air. I will mention this was a low income school, so the parents were not backing what was about to happen.

All of a sudden the doors burst open and we hear hohoho, Santa came in with a bound, followed by firemen. First they gave us all candy canes, then Santa gave us all a present. I had never gotten a Christmas present that I could remember up to that point. 

It was a Crissy doll, she had auburn hair, brown eyes and her hair would grow. She was beautiful and I loved her.

That one kindness never left me, it has stayed with me, the thought that complete strangers wanted to make a whole school full of children feel special is a little overwhelming.

So to this day, I choose a child off of the Angel tree, so they can have a good Christmas and feel special. I tell you all of this in hopes that it will give you insight to how much a little kindness can create a lifetime effect.

If you have the means and the wherewithal I urge to choose your own Angel, you won’t be sorry. You will never know what may happen in the future. That one bit of kindness could change the whole trajectory of a child’s life.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a really Merry Christmas!

Veterans Day 2022

Today is the day we, here in The United States of America, honor our veterans. Those brave men and women who made the decision to put their lives before ours to defend our Constitutional Republic. 

I am so proud to say that our family has had many veterans, starting with the first one that came to these shores in 1773, Thomas Johanne Testerman who served in the Continental Army. 

My two brothers, Jim, Army and Jesse, Navy, served, my nephew Todd continued the family tradition. in the Air Force.

I have many uncles and cousins that served as well, in all branches of service, too many to list, but I am so proud of each and every one of them. 

My father-in-law, (I know, former, but I ignore that as he was an amazing man) Mareno Barsi, was among those brave souls as well, he served with honor in the United States Air Force.

I have so many friends who also served with honor, my bestie and travel partner Shay, Army, along with her husband Rande also Army.

I have many friends who were Marines, well I guess they still are, once a Marine always a Marine. The Army and Air Force are well represented as well, along with the Navy.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of these extraordinary human beings for volunteering to put your lives on the line so we can all enjoy our freedoms here at home.

As we thank you for your service I would like you to know that the gratitude we have for you goes deeper than one day.

It is an ongoing daily thing, as a country we many not show it every day, but it is there, in our hearts and minds.

Without you we would not enjoy freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to worship as we see fit. You are without a doubt the glue that holds us all together, today we salute you and your sacrifices for us.

Jim in his Army Uniform

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