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Welcome Home Soldier

Charles H Meldahl

Charles H Meldahl

When I was about 12 or 13 (which would have been around 1985), my brother, who was active Army, sent me a bracelet for my birthday. At the time, I didn’t quite understand the significance of it, but I wore it every day. As I got older, I started doing research and found that Charles H. Meldahl went missing on October 20, 1968, and was considered MIA. Every day I wore the bracelet with his name on it. I wore the bracelet until it was no longer shiny red. I wore it until probably 2000, and then one day, couldn’t find it anymore. Until today. As I was unpacking boxes that have been boxed up for a decade or more, cleaning out my garage in hopes to regain my sanity AND to start preparing to move, it was tucked away with some fire service mementos.

So, I came into the office to find out the status of SSG Meldahl. Cue tears. His remains were recovered February 14, 1995 and identified March 18, 2001. I only wish I’d known that his remains had been returned on 6/6/2001  because just a few weeks later, I was actually in Washington D.C. and could have left his bracelet at the Wall.  There’s very little left to say, except welcome home soldier – thank you for your service. You and your fellow soldiers will never be forgotten. May you, and your comrades, rest in peace.

I’ve included the details about SSG Meldhal below. His entire team has since been found and their remains identified and returned.

IMG_8726

MELDAHL, CHARLES HOWARD
Remains Identified 06/06/2001
Name: Charles Howard Meldahl
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: 243rd Assault Helicopter Company, 10th Combat Aviation Battalion
Date of Birth: 15 July 1948 (Denver CO)
Home City of Record: Monroe WA
Date of Loss: 20 October 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 122945N 1090753E (BP890830)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH47
Refno: 1306
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles E. Deitsch; Henry C. Knight; Jerry G.
Bridges; Ronald V. Stanton (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 2001.


REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: On October 20, 1968, CW3 Deitsch, aircraft commander; WO1 Knight,
pilot; SP5 Meldahl, crewchief; SP4 Bridges, flight engineer; and SP4
Stanton, door gunner, departed Dong Ba Thien Airfield, South Vietnam, in a
CH47A helicopter (serial #66-19053) on a resupply mission to Ban Me Thuot,
South Vietnam.
The CH47 “Chinook” helicopter was one of the workhorses of the Army’s air
fleet. As a cargo lift, the Chinook could carry up to 28,000 pounds on its
external cargo hook, and is credited with the recovery of 11,500 disabled
aircraft worth more than $3 billion. As troop carrier, the aircraft could be
fitted with 24 litters for medical evacuation, or carry 33-44 troops in
addition to the crew. On one occasion, a Chinook evacuated 147 refugees and
their possessions on a single flight. The Chinook could be outfitted for
bombing missions, dropping tear gas or napalm in locations fixed wing
aircraft could not reach. The big bird could carry a large cargo of
supplies.
Deitsch radioed at 0700 hours on October 20 that his aircraft was over the
Ninh Hoa Valley. That was the last anyone heard of the CH47. At about 0800
hours, it was determined that the helicopter was overdue.
An intensive search effort was made, but no wreckage was ever found of the
CH47, and search efforts were concluded on October 28. Villagers were later
canvassed throughout the Ninh Ho Valley, and literature was distributed
asking about the crash of the Chinook, but no new information was ever
discovered.
=======================
Subject: SSG Jerry Glen Bridges
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 01:02:07 EDT
From: JJffdvs@aol.com
Between 1984 and 1994,Vietnamese residents and refugees offered information
and material evidence potentially linked with the crash. In 1994, the crash
site was located and in 1995, during the 33rd Joint Field Activity, the site
was excavated, yielding additional information. In October 2000, the
investigation was completed and it determined that all members of the crew
went down with the helicopter and did not survive the crash. SSG Jerry Glen
Bridges remains have since been returned home. On June 10,2001 SSG Jerry
Glen Bridges was finally layed to rest where he belongs in Giles County
Memory Gardens. Home at last.

=========================
Subject: Deitsch, Charles
Date: Wednesday, 6 June 2001
From AndrewsSat@aol.com
Charles Deitsch r4emains will be returned to the family on 6/20/01 and all
of the crew was also identified through DNA.

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I’m Bringing Sexy Back

Okay, so the title sounded better in my head, but if you come to think about it, there is something sexy (romantic, sentimental, caring – insert the adjective of your liking depending on who you’re writing) about finding a handwritten note in the mail, sitting on the dresser, taped to the mirror, or on the kitchen table by someone you care about. Heck you don’t even have to buy a fancy card. Case in point:

My grandparents and parents. In Mexico. At night.

My parents (on the right) and her parents, Mariann and Milo, on the left. In Mexico. At night.

I’ve been cleaning out my garage. I know, you’re thinking OH HOLY HELL – the world really must be ending. No, I just figured it was time. In doing so, I have found quite a few little treasures. Cards from my Daddy, a letter I’ve never seen from my Mom to me written shortly after I was born (oh yeah, cue about 30 minutes of tears), and a couple little notes from my Granddaddy to my Grandmother (which I’m going to frame). MiloThis one especially made me chuckle written on the back of an envelope:

To the nicest person I know in this world. Thanks for doing all the menial chores. Sorry I missed you this trip but have hopes of connecting with you this week-end. Would advise taking one short course in math or reading or??? as I only ** found $2.29 on the table, and the financial statement said here is $5.00 for your supper. I love you.

The Boss (I hope) – Milo
*****
PS. Note: Added letters to (crossword) puzzle. Ha Ha. Each asterisk denotes one (1) drink.

You have NO idea how much I giggled at reading this note, knowing what an incredibly loving couple my grandparents were, the sense of humor they both had, and that they were each other’s  best friends. I realize now where I get my mad off the cuff math skills from (thanks Bobo) and my sense of humor (my Dad and my Granddaddy).  When I called Tiffany to tell her about the note, the first thing she said was, OH MY GOD you need to frame that!

Milo and Mariann (Bobo)

My Mom’s parents, Milo and Mariann (Bobo)

Then, she sent me a bunch of pins (Pinterest speak for all you non pinners) on saving and archiving old letters and ways to display them.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with anything…I am too right now. SQUIRREL. Oh yeah. I am taking up letter writing again. Even short note writing. Using the …hold on to your seats…the United Postal Service. I want my daughter to be able to read the words that are on my heart, or find little funny notes tucked inside a card, or one day, be cleaning out stuff and find letters I wrote her and remember all the goodness and love she brought into my life. I want my loved ones, my family, my friends to not have to save text messages from me, or forget all the memories we’ve shared, or the happy times. I want my relationships to be less technology and more human. More connected. More memorable. I want my grandkids – in a VERY long time from now – to be able to sit and chuckle at how “cute” their family was. That’s just not going to happen by itself. And it sure isn’t going to happen with Facebook and text messages.

So, I’m challenging you to put down the phone, disconnect from Facebook and Instagram and spend 30 minutes a week (a week, that’s it) and write a few notes to those you love, that you haven’t seen in a while, that did something that just made you smile and drop it in the mail. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll definitely make someone else’s day.

LOVE BIG!
RED

A Spiritual Revolution

Back in October of 2014, my SIC (sister in Christ and fellow junker/squirrel/snorter/wine drinker/ lover of all things western and |SR| related) sent this to me in the middle of the night. I asked if I could share it on the website. Since I have taken the site down and starting fresh, I’m sharing it again. Tiffany has such a tender heart for Christ and when she sends me something in the middle of the night, I know it is because she and Jesus have been up talking about it for some time. She called me this last weekend asking for the link because there was someone she felt who needed to read it. Reading it again, I think there are a number of people, including myself, who needed the reminder. I hope that you find something in her story to soothe your own heart, troubles, and/or pain.

So in one of my odd sleepless nights at 3 am, I was scanning Facebook trying to go back to sleep.  I stumbled across a story titled “Bucket List Baby”, so I read on.  This was a story about a young couple that discovered early on in their pregnancy, first one, that their baby would only develop a tiny brain, if one at all.  This baby will not have a developed skull on the top, basically because it will have no brain.  The baby cannot survive without a brain.  So this couple, with tons of love and faith in the Lord, decided to make a bucket list for their baby.  They traveled all kinds of cute places, taking photos of Mom’s belly, all throughout the pregnancy.  When it was discovered it was a boy, they name him Shane.  So baby Shane went to a Yankee game, a zoo, the beach, and so on.  At beginning of Fall, they painted Mom’s belly as a pumpkin.  The tried to video every time Shane moved in her belly and noted all of his hiccups, and random activity/habits.  I read every posting.  I couldn’t put it away.  Then I realized I was reading at the exact time she was in delivery.  I was being inspired by their faith in God, at the exact moment this woman was delivering a baby, she will only get to hold for a few hours.  The emotion was overwhelming for me.  I was in shock but I wasn’t crying – I was happy for them.  Why I thought?  This Bucket list Baby had over ½ million people following and praying for Baby Shane.  That in alone was astonishing to me – ½ MILLION PEOPLE – PRAYING!  You don’t hear about that on the news!  That is when God’s words started popping in my head – “He created us in the womb” Job 31:15, “He fashioned us in the womb” Psalm 127:3.  “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

I was learning so much more about God while this couple was delivering their baby.  God made a brainless baby a Saint!  He used the “strong heart” (doctors stated Shane had a strong heart) of this baby to fill his parents completely with the Holy Spirit and spread their faith to ½ MILLION PEOPLE!  WOW – these parents were so excited to get to have this baby.  They called Shane a perfect miracle.  Shane lived 4 hours.  He met every member of his family.  He was baptized. He cried.  He died peacefully in his mom’s arms.

Some people would say, “Why did God let his happen?”  “If God was so good, why does he let bad things happen?”

My answer is – Look at this example – God took a brainless baby and reached over ½ Million people in a matter of months.  Through our world of highly educated people, we can’t teach that many people in that short amount of time.  Our brains can’t handle it.  I now truly believe our brains get in the way of our relationship with the Lord.  All we need is a strong heart, full of love. “But now abide faith, hope, love these three; AND the greatest of these is Love!”  When you read Baby Shane’s story, that is the biggest thing you see is LOVE!  They loved each other, they loved their baby, and they loved God most of all.  Yes sad things happen here on earth but we may not always see the big picture of Why.  God will reveal it to us someday – Just keep a strong heart of love!

“And so you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”  Genesis 50:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” Matthew 18:20

This baby Shane could have brought evil through depression, anger, resentment etc BUT God used it for good – to let his light shine through!  Shine through to over ½ million people.  Facebook can be used for evil daily, hourly BUT God used it for good – to share the love of Jesus, to over ½ million people.  You can’t tell me that isn’t church – we were gathered around this couple all over the world praying and thanking God for their faith & showing us the love of the Holy Spirit.  It says two or three gathered in my name – OVER ½ MILLION people were gathered through this journey, in the Lord’s name.

We are in a spiritual revolution.  Church is no longer just 4 walls – really it never was but now because of digital media – people are gathering in His name across religion, denominations, and nationality boundaries.  We can change the world – even a brainless baby named Shane knows that.  Thank you Jesus –

DeColores – Tiffany

Reedemed

I started this post back in July, after standing on the hilltop looking across hundreds and hundreds of acres of west Texas and what truly is God’s country, and since then, got a little derailed, so bear with me as I try to regain my thoughts:

I knew that going into counseling (as a practitioner) one draw-back was forgetting your own self-care, but they failed to mention the same happens as a coach. I spend so much of time lifting others up, helping them realize their potential, the unconditional love God has for them, setting goals, letting go of their past and embracing their future, that I sometimes forget to show myself the same kindness, support, encouragement and Christ-like love.  There have been some struggles this year, professionally and personally, and it seems the deeper you get in your walk with God, the harde14520576_1205542356168713_2965798893489451672_nr the enemy tries to pull you back to places of discourse, discouragement, and darkness. Current situations coupled with reminders of past mistakes, failures, or who you used to be or who you didn’t live up to be are around every corner.

Nothing – at least in my book – can remind you of God’s goodness and promise over your life and how unconditionally loved you are and how he delights in you like standing on a hill overlooking the landscape
untouched by mankind, being able to see to what feels like eternity. It is then that a quiet peace comes over you and there is a gentle whisper in the not so cool summer breeze reminding you to stop fighting a fight that’s already been won, to quit seeking approval, to remember to rejoice in the fact, that no matter what, love abounds just for you and only you just because you are you. As I sit here writing this, one of my most favorite songs comes on and I am brought to my knees in tears with a whole new understanding and calming of my spirit:

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave (https://youtu.be/VzGAYNKDyIU)

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be
Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be
Jesus, I’m not who I used to be
‘Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

I have lived with, and overcome (or God is leading me on the way to be an overcomer), all by the grace of God: disease, depression, domestic abuse, physical violence, death, darkness, debt, and demons (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually). I grew up in a God fearing home, in a church attending community, and attended a private school. You’d think I would have had a little better grasp on God’s unfailing mercy, grace, and unconditional love. Oh hell, not even close. Quite the contrary. Because of things that happened in my life, whether I was at fault or not, I, like many others, suffered from a lack of self-worth, self-love, and completely believed that God didn’t even know I existed. And if he did look down on me, I couldn’t bring myself to make eye-contact with him. It wasn’t until a few years ago, all of that changed.

It took a physical encounter (thanks to Pastor Duane, my brother from another mother, Shawn, and Dusty) and LITERALLY being thrown (Shawn will say ‘tossed’) to the ground to come face to face with God’s love for me. That jolt that morning quieted everything in my heart, soul, mind and spirit – every bad and ugly word spoken to me or over me and every attack against me (physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise). For the very first time in my life, I heard and felt God’s unconditional, unmerited grace and love for me. Tears flooded my face like a west Texas summer storm floods the parched ground. It was in that very moment that I came to understand what redemption meant. And for the first time ever, I felt whole, complete, restored, admired, rejoiced in, loved, and cherished.

When I share about my faith online, it’s not so people say, “oh look at her, isn’t she cute with her faith and scriptures and quotes.” It’s because I’ve seen the ugly side of life. It’s not pretty. It hurts. The wounds run deep and wide. Often times when I share something, it’s because at 3 a.m. in the morning, I’m laying in bed, wondering just how I’m going to make it through this or that, how am I going to help someone I love who is in need, suffering, hurting, or even just find the energy to face the day. It is then that I’m reminded that these mountains I’m facing are not ones to carry, but to climb over. Ones in which I am to remain faithful, to calm myself and feel His presence, to trust in His timing, to let Him be the protector, the provider, the warrior, and the loving, kind, caring, compassionate father He is. It is those moments I remember that I am restored. I am rejoiced in. I am redeemed. I have been made whole.  It’s not that tough times won’t strike or doubt and worry and everything in between won’t try and take over again, it just means that there is nothing – or no one- that can take who I am in him and to him away from me.

My reminder for you today – whoever you are, wherever you are – is that YOU are rejoiced in – just the way you are. You are perfect. Your laugh, your smile, your tough exterior, your quiet nature, your vivacious spirit. You were made to be you to change the world around you. YOU are loved. There is NOTHING that you have done, survived, said, or witnessed that can change His love for you. When you come to not only realize that, but live in that, I promise you that you find a sense of peace and an overwhelming sense of love like never before. My wish for you today is that you lay down everything that is not from him – if it is not wrapped in promise, peace, joy, and happiness, TOSS. IT. OUT. THE. WINDOW! My hope for you today is that you find and hold on to peace. To joy. To the promise that the best of the rest of your life is ahead of you.

Live, love, and believe BIG.

~Michelle

Get Over Yourself

Since I took the website down, most of my writings have been on Facebook. I’m always humbled when people reach out with their stories, often the inspiration behind my posts.  I hope you enjoy. This is from a 2/13/16 FB post (original link):

I’ve sat back and watched my brothers and their dreams come to fruition with their wives by their sides and I’ve watched my sisters as they go about building their own businesses WHILE they stand in support of their husband’s success and I’ve realized key things about them both.

First, let’s just define success as doing what you do to the best of your ability with purpose and passion.  For some of the men I know, you are always going to be RIGHT where you are,  no matter how hard you work because of the type of women you have in your life.  Now,  I know all women are different and have different spiritual gifts and come with their own history, story, “baggage”, and dreams,  but if you are continually allowing women into your lives who sow doubt, negativity,  discourse, discouragement, drama, nitpicking, disappointment, disdain and who do not embrace your goals,  your dreams,  your desires … you might as well get real comfortable,  real fast, right where you are.  Your success is due partly to the woman you have that will embrace your dream (no matter how crazy or out of the box … or buckin’ chute… it is), and will do everything in their power to help you bring it alive.

The woman in your life should be able – and willing – to pray over, for and with you on a daily basis. They should hav26594da9-1313-482b-a499-aaa1c2e3a502e passions and purpose of their own. You should be able to spend 10 minutes in a room full of people with them and know how they treat others face to face and behind their backs, how they respond to small children,  elderly, and those carrying their own burdens. You should be able to feel inspired,  motivated, and have the desire to want to dig deeper into your own well of being and improve your life and be a better man … not because of guilt or nagging, but because she inspires that in you.  Your success is due in part at being able to work together and separately….or states apart for months. She will do and be who she is and you will know because, while she is independent and successful, there is still room for the two of you to build, grow, and succeed together (and separately).

This may sting a bit,  but men,  get over yourselves, out of your pity parties and quit looking in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons. Quit trying to fill voids,  holes,  or feel like “this is all I deserve” !!! And not to leave you women out of the equation: Ladies, if you don’t have successful, hard working,  purpose filled men in your lives,  it’s time to start evaluating what kind of woman you are striving to be, what you’re allowing into your life and what you desire vs what you deserve!

And I’m now stepping down (carefully because y’all know how graceful I am with steps) off my soap box and headed into fix some breakfast!

Love BIG,
RED