I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Loving Memory of Master Sgt. John R McInnis, Jr.

The military has always been a part of my life. My father, whose wisdom I still rely on and who lives in Brandon, was a Naval aviator. He has many friends who made the Navy their life- long way of life. I understand, to some extent "military" families. 
But, for the first time in my life, I really watched war movies ALL weekend.
As I watched these movies, I absorbed the horror of it all and was struck by the true sacrifice these men and women gave for our country and its people.Whether treading water for days on end, or storming the beaches of Normandy or being involved in hand to hand combat, it's amazing what these people endured.
How could you NOT be grateful to them?
 If you've never taken a few hours and watched true heroism as portrayed in these OLD movies, take the time today. If you don't have time to watch, then just look around at everything you have...
those heroes are why you are able to live in the best country in the world. I've been told that the movies aren't the same as the reality...very probably true, but it's the closest to reality that I can get.
In honor of Memorial Day,
I'd like to remember my husband's father and his remarkable life and death story.
 John R. McInnis, Jr. was a native of Jefferson Davis county Mississippi. He was one of 7 children and grew up in the Clem community. The Clem community is just a little speck of a place in one of the smallest counties in the state, but it's typical of the "homes" of so many of the men and women who fought the wars in WWII and Korea. Johnny, as he was called, was All Army in basketball and football (imagine that!)
He entered the service July 17, 1941 and served in the European Theater with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was briefly a POW and was wounded in the Italian Campaign. He returned to the states in 1944. In 1948 he volunteered for parachute duty and was stationed in Japan until his unit was called to Korea in July of 1950. (My husband, John III, was one year old at the time and he and his mother were in Japan with Johnny celebrating John III's first birthday. John III and his mom returned to the US shortly after Johnny was called into action.)
  (Johnny, John III and mother, Anna pictured above right in Japan. John R McInnis Sr is pictured top left.)
It was believed that "Johnny was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. The division was the first American one to do battle in the Korean War after North Korea launched a general attack across the border on June 25, 1950" (incidentally MY first birthday.)
Johnny's  unit was one of the first to paratroop into enemy territory.
 "Information received reveals that his battalion was stationed in an area where a battle occurred between the Americans and Koreans between July 7 and 10. Later reports say that virtually all of that unit was killed." (Government officials believe he died in the Cho Nui battle on July 11, 1950.)
Johnny was declared MIA on July 10, 1950.
Now here's the kicker to this story...after all the years of heartache and the uncertainty that the family endured, on October 30, 1981, they received notice that Johnny's remains, his helmet and dog-tag had been found by a South Korean policeman. (Also part of a wallet, comb and lighter and other assorted items.)
The grave was reportedly shallow as if the body had been buried hurriedly.

Pictured below are local villagers and Chi Kapchong,
 chairman of the non-profit non-political U.N. Korean War Allies Association
who led in a silent prayer for the fallen soldier.
(This act of kindness was very much appreciated by the family, as you can imagine.)
A member of the Associated Press learned of the find and the news surfaced before anyone had time to contact us. John III learned of the discovery of the remains by way of a phone call from his Aunt Jean Booth who had heard the news on WDAM television in Hattiesburg.We were in close contact with Congressman Sonny Montgomery's office for the next two months.
After the remains were flown to Hawaii, there was positive identification of Johnny.
The remains were flown home in February with a military honor guard which stood guard 24/7 until the service at the Phalti Baptist Church and burial in the church cemetery. A rifle salute was followed by Taps and according to military tradition, the American flag that covered the coffin was given to John III., who was 31 at the time, the same age as Johnny was when he was killed.  
Below is pictured Johnny with his one year old son, John III.
I always initial documents with AMc rather than just AM...wonder why?
It's in honor of the last name McInnis....not just any ole name...but one of honor and sacrifice.
 Master Sgt. John R McInnis's, Jr. life and loss of  his own life ensured his family's name would be remembered with honor and respect.

In memory of all those who gave all they could,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Copper Kettles

When my son was a toddler, he would not go to bed without being rocked. As we rocked away the hours (literally), he always had two special song requests. One he called, Copper Kettles (aka: My Favorite Things by Julie Andrews) and It's Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog. To this day, whenever I hear either of those artists belting out those songs, I smile. I must have rocked a million miles.

Today was rainy and I was alone sitting in the den when I caught myself looking at various things in the room and smiling. (What a life! I suppose you are thinking.) But for the past few weeks I've been in a blue funk and stopping to "smell the roses" has always helped me return to a sunnier disposition. Certain "things" in my home are my favorites. I thought I'd share some of them with you.

My eye was caught by the light coming through the front window and cascading through my collection of paperweights.
My first paperweight was given to me by Mother...I keep it separate from the others.
Then there is my grandfather's marble collection...
My Mother's Day present (above) was a huge surprise. We had a glass piece like this in the shop and it sold before I remembered to buy it for myself...I was so disappointed, but my son and his wife remembered and when they spotted another one, they bought it for me.
My silver baby utensil collection and my salt spoons.
My mother in law's hand carved wooden crochet hooks in my pine needle pitcher.
Part of my pine needle basket collection...so pretty.
All things blue and bird-ie.
My two new mugs made by my lovely friend, Michelle Leach (Michelle Leach Art) who BTW is moving to Alabama this summer AND SHE IS ABOUT TO HAVE A SWEET BABY BOY!! Notice she carved Mississippi with a heart and GuGu (what my grandchildren call me) and Ryan's name (grandson). We have coffee every morning together in our new cups...also BTW she and her husband, Buster are moving to help plant a church...I feel like I am losing the daughter I never had.
A tiny tea pot...I love all things TINY!
Sweet old books....
Tiny china doll of my grandmother's in a cradle carved by my daddy when he was a boy.
Grandchildren, Ryan and Gracie....
Beautiful old embroidery...one of a pair.
My mother's secretary...
Grandson's award...
Then moving outdoors...my rainchain...a retirement gift from my friend Libby.
Maybe I will even have time to sit on the porch and enjoy it shortly.

Nothing fancy, or costly...just some of my favorite things from some of my favorite people.
 Things that tie me to the ones I love.
It's not easy being green you know,

Do You Dance for the Right Audience?

I am still trying to "wrap my head around" (trite, overused phrase) the fact that this week marks the end of a 31 year career. I've been whining about this for a while. Everyone who knows me well, knows that I WANT this, yet, it's disconcerting. Maybe because all is not right with my little world or maybe it's normal to feel this way or maybe it's because change is indeed, difficult.
I am re-reading a book by Jean Fleming, Between Walden and the Whirlwind. It was a gift from former assistant pastor and longtime friend, Steve Hill. I first read it during an especially difficult whirlwind time in my family's life. It's interesting to see the items I highlighted in pink. They are just as needed now as they were then.
Fleming's premise is that while we spend many of our days trying to organize and simplify, what we really need  to do is FOCUS. And by FOCUS, I don't mean focusing on ourself or our many activities, but rather we should focus on our Audience. Audience meaning our Director....God.

She gives a wonderful example of while a ballet company dances for an audience, they actually dance for their director...their true audience. Because he was the one whom they loved, feared and wanted to please even more than the public audience. Should we do less before God?

I have spent the greater part of my almost 63 years trying to please others. And I found out a secret that I wish to impart to you. Pssttt....It hasn't worked!!! People are fickle. They are working out their own agenda...and surprise (!), it is usually focused on themselves...NOT YOU! No matter how hard you dance, they want a different step, new music, better lightling and costumes....Folks, we are dancing for the wrong audience.
Ecclesiastes 12:8-"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!" NIV (or if you like King James, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity.") Now, I know this type language is a real turn off to some, but this quote was quite a blockbuster to me (I knew it but I didn't practice it.) "When we determine our audience, we determine our reward. If we play our life to men, we receive the kinds of rewards men give; if we focus on pleasing our Father in Heaven we receive the kinds of rewards God gives," says Fleming.
Here on this earth, all these years,  I have been given all sorts of chances. Now I've been given one of retiring from the work I considered "important" all this time. All of a sudden a thought formed in my mind. I had always wanted to have a little shop, sell my art and such...but is that what God has in mind for me? Maybe so, maybe not. The constant advertising, showing my stuff online, talking about how to do things...it's exhausting. Why? I think I know...it's been done for an audience....a wide audience. BUT IS IT THE RIGHT AUDIENCE?
Heaven knows I understand the rewards of good advertising...look at Coke and McDonald's but, have I focused the advertising of my "art" on pleasing man for a buck or on God for the good I could do...should do? (I need an extra income...retirement for teachers who don't have all their years invested in the public schools is NOT lucrative.) But I think my focus has been skewed.
As I walk (limp) on my journey (as to what God has intended for me), I will share what I learn but for a different reason...Fleming says, "Decisive living requires the selective burning of bridges." "To live with firm direction requires deliberate choices." I will practice focusing on THE Director and how He wants me to dance, until it becomes a way of life, even at this stage in my living and on the stage HE has provided.

Until later,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Popcorn Pillow

A quick update on my duck egg blue popcorn crochet pillow! (Now that's an introductory sentence!)
If you remember several posts ago, I was in turmoil over bringing in the duck egg blue of the foyer into the living room. The great hunt for satisfactory sofa pillows ended and then I decided I needed another blue texture and hit on the idea of crocheting a popcorn pillow.
I've noticed quite a lot of these pillows on Etsy lately, so I jumped right in. Of course, that means buying the correct color of yarn. (I am on a "use up all the supplies you have before you buy anymore kick" and this was against my self imposed rule...however...so I finally found the shade at Hobby Lobby and began.
It adds just enough texture to the loveseat.
I thought about crocheting a second one, but decided against it...
"stop the madness"....as they say.
Now this post wasn't really important, but I had mentioned the popcorn pillow,
and I certainly didn't want to leave you without a happy ending.
Hope you had a productive Saturday.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Haven't Zinnia In A While!

Today began uneventfully....made my way to work at my little shop, Dwellings, around 8:45 this morning. Helped son and daughter in law unload their purchases made on the Longest Yard Sale...from Meridian, MS to Michigan. (They only made it into Alabama.) My friend, Libby, stopped by the shop and much to my delight we sneaked away to Hattiesburg for some light shopping. Made a few purchases and late this afternoon I finished a small project I had started earlier this week.
At Trees 'n Trends in Hattiesburg, I found some wonderfully priced zinnias. I needed a summer wreath and since I already had the wreath and the black and white ribbon, all I purchased was four bunches of flowers for $4. The wreath had a birds nest left on from its previous incarnation.
Now, I don't know if you can stand this next part of the porch re-do...because I think you will be sooooo jealous of my SteinMart finds. I had painted the rockers black and was just ready to re-paint when "what to my wondering eyes should appear"? But the cutest outdoor pillows I have ever encountered!
                                               I told you! Aren't they absolutely wonderful?!
Now, somehow I felt something was missing. There is a large space above the ferns between the two rockers. What to do? What to do? (Picture light bulb going off in head and me snapping my fingers!) Sister Leslie had made me a really cute "M" for Mother's Day. Perfect! Tape on a dowel and insert it into the fern and viola!! Problem solved in a very cute way! (Thanks, Little Sister.)
                                                I am a happy camper! And so to celebrate, I am
joining Beverly's Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound...please, join us there for all things PINK!