Honor Flight: The Movie & Our Mission

G & I have been loving going to the cheap theater lately. It started off with a couple buy one get one free coupons, and then we got hooked to only paying $5 a piece
to go see a brand new movie. So a couple weeks ago as I was looking up the movie times, I came across a documentary that was being shown as a fundraiser about the Honor Flight organization called Honor Flight — One Last Mission. I actually assumed it was about the Iowa Honor Flight, and since G’s grandpa had gone on one a year or so ago, I thought it would be really cool to see. {It’s actually about the Milwaukee based Honor Flight} There were a limited number of seats available for the 1 time showing, and the webpage literally said there were 2 tickets left. For $7.50 a piece, I decided G & I had to make a mid-week date out of it.

Not knowing what to expect, we scored those final two tickets and I
am so glad we got the opportunity to go! The night of the show the theater was completely packed with people of literally all ages from really young to, of course, veterans. G & I fought over shared a small bucket of popcorn, and I was fortunate enough to sit next to a Korean war veteran, who I talked to after the show.  Before the movie, the team from the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight spoke to the crowd and introduced themselves and the organization. Here is a sneak peek to what we saw that night:

Watching the documentary made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me feel very proud to be an American {yes, I realize how cheesy that sounds….but it’s true}. They showed video clips and pictures from history that literally gave me chills, and they gave a glimpse into what all goes into each and every honor flight. I learned that according to a study done in 2012, WWII veterans are passing away at a rate of 800 a day. In case you aren’t familiar with the Honor Flight organization, the group raises money and takes war veterans to Washington D.C {at no cost to them} to visit the war memorials in our nation’s capital. They literally leave bright and early in the morning, fly to DC, visit the memorials all day, and return later that night to a HUGE “Welcome Home” ceremony at the airport. The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight costs around $80,000 EACH TRIP, and they can take about 100 veterans each time. That means they need a lot of help fundraising to get these WWII veterans to DC before it’s too late, and they can only raise funds to take a couple trips a year.

As I mentioned, G’s grandpa got the opportunity to go on an honor flight out of Fort Dodge before he passed away. My grandpa, also a WWII veteran, passed away in 2008 and never got the opportunity to go on one. I’m not sure if he ever went to see the WWII memorial….I need to remember to ask my dad that sometime…..but my inkling is probably not. Now I want to help raise money so other veterans can have the opportunity to go on this one in a lifetime trip–one last mission. My goal starting out is to raise $800 because that is the amount needed just to send 1 veteran. There are two trips planned out of the Eastern Iowa Airport for 2013 at this time. They would like to schedule a 3rd, but haven’t raised enough money yet.

The Korean War veteran who sat next to me said he’s hoping to go on an Honor Flight, but because of the wait list of people wanting to go, he doesn’t know if he’ll get to. Talking to him made me realize that helping to get these veterans to DC is a small way we can say Thank You to them for fighting for the freedoms we have today. I ordered a copy of the Honor Flight movie, and I’m willing to lend it out {once it arrives} to friends and family who are interested in watching it. I just ask that you consider helping me raise money for the extremely worthy cause.

I have set up an online site where you can donate, if you’re willing to help me with my challenge. Truly an size donation will help me reach my goal, and will not go unappreciated. G & I are also talking about other ways we might be able to raise money for Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, and we will definitely at the airport for the first trip of 2013’s welcome home ceremony next month.

Please consider helping by donating here: Ivory Eastern Iowa Honor Flight Donation Page. Please also help me by spreading the word and passing the site on to anyone you know who might be willing to donate! Thanks so much for taking time to learn more about this meaningful organization and if you ever get the opportunity–please see the Honor Flight documentary. I’m so glad I stumbled upon that showing!

 

Mountains, Memories, and Miss Marlee

It’s a mixed emotions type day for me today. My baby sister {okay, I guess she’s 24} is in a moving truck with her boyfriend headed across the Midwest on their way to Denver, Colorado to start a new job in a new city.  I have mixed emotions because I am SO happy and excited for her, but I’m also sad and of course a little jealous of her new adventure. It also makes me reminisce on my own past, and look forward for her future. I know she has an exciting ride ahead of her and can’t wait to see where this journey leads her! I’m so proud of my sister and know that even though we’ll all miss her and Andrew, this is all just part of God’s plan for them!

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10 years ago, I packed up and drove my little red Jeep out to Colorado, too. I cried the whole 10 hours there {seriously—the whole way}, not sure I was making the right decision. I was headed to Boulder to start my freshman year of college at the University of Colorado. I remember when I got my acceptance letter from Colorado [& I cried for days because I was so happy]. THIS was where I was going to start my adult life and where I was going to go to college. THIS was where I would first be out in the world on my own. At 18, as it turned out, I was too far from home to be happy and I only lasted a year in Boulder before I was ready to come back to be an Iowa Hawkeye. I cried the whole 10 hours home, again, not sure I was making the right decision.

Sometimes I look back and wonder what would have been if I had stayed in Colorado. Who would my friends be today? What would my job be? Where would I live? But when I think about that—I have to also think about what I would have had to give up in order for that to happen, and I realize that for certain, everything happens for a reason.

First, I wouldn’t have gotten to be a part of Zeta Tau Alpha. I joined a sorority so I could meet new people at Iowa, especially since I was a transfer student and didn’t have the experience at Iowa living in the dorms. During rush, I didn’t think Zeta was my first choice–but I sure am glad they saw something in me and asked me to be a part of their organization. Being in ZTA introduced me to some of the most incredible friends I could have ever met. These women touched my life, helped me grow into who I am today, and became family. I know being in a sorority isn’t for everyone, but it was one of the best decisions I made for me, and I am thankful my parents were supportive and helped me be a part of the organization that I am still proud to be active in today.

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Second, had I not followed my heart and moved back, I wouldn’t have ever lived or worked at The Lodge. Who knew it would be such an important part of my life!?  My roommate at The Lodge was a “random roommate” assigned by the office staff. Little did I know that the wild blonde girl in a short jean skirt would take a liking to me, the underage, badly dressed brunette, and become my 3rd sister and a bridesmaid in my wedding years later. I am truly blessed that Katie and I were thrown together like we were and are still such close friends….that wasn’t by chance, but I’m certain by fate.

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And of course….if it hadn’t been for The Lodge and the rowdy group of boys from Fort Dodge with whom I became fast friends, I would have never met my husband and soul mate. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him, and I thank God every day for placing him in my life.

Lastly, had I not moved back from Colorado to graduate from Iowa, I might not have moved to Des Moines after college. And if I hadn’t moved to Des Moines after college, I may not have gotten the opportunity to spend a year and a half living with my sister as an adult, and becoming closer to her than I ever imagined we would. Living with my sister as an adult was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and I don’t know that I’ve ever really told her that. Getting the opportunity to know her as a friend is something I will always cherish, and I hope she looks back on that time fondly as well. When I moved out it was a happy time because I was moving to be in Ohio with G, but it was also sad because I knew that we would probably never get the chance to live together again.

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Now as she moves on with this next chapter in her life, as her older (and wiser) sister, I hope she takes time to experience all of the wonderful things Colorado has to offer. I hope she makes life long new friends, has lots of success in her career, and remembers how much those of us in Iowa miss and love her. I pray she follows her heart and continues to grow in her relationship with her boyfriend. I am so proud to be her sister and will miss her very much. But don’t worry, Mar and Andrew–we will be out to visit very soon!! 🙂

A Relaxing Weekend & Easy Sunday Dinner

It was nice to have a weekend at home with little planned. It seems like we have been go, go, going–so to just be able to relax and catch up at the house was exactly what I needed.

Friday night after work we met up with a couple friends for dinner at Parlor City. If you’ve never been there–they have an extensive beer list with over 50 beers on tap. It’s always fun to try something new, so I asked the bartender if there were any fruity beers {because I’m longing so much for spring!} He recommended Lindemans Framboise Lambic — which was a raspberry beer. Little did I know it was one of the most expensive beers on tap ($7 for a pint) and had the LOWEST alcohol content.  Plus, it was waaaay too sweet for me, but was something different, and wasn’t too bad for having just one. Since it we couldn’t eat meat, I ate Fish & Frips (their version of homemade chips) and G tried their Fish Tacos. Yum, yum!

Saturday we slept in and then decided to go see a movie at the cheap theater because we had a ‘buy one get one free’ coupon. We saw Argo a couple weeks ago and decided to see Life of Pi in 3D. It won best director during the Academy Awards and I’d heard it had awesome visuals. I must say it did NOT disappoint. Even though 3D tends to make me a little dizzy, it didn’t seem to affect me too badly. The movie was over 2 hours long, and while it was a little slow at times, the ocean and animal scenes were absolutely stunning. I usually say it’s better to just wait and rent movies when they come out–but this one I would definitely recommend you go see it in the theater, and in 3D if you have the chance. And, since the tickets at Collins Road are just $4 during the day and $5 at night–I think G & I will start being much better about seeing movies in the theatre.

Today I just worked around the house and ran errands. It was a good, lazy day to get things done and ready for the week. We’re supposed get more snow {WAHHH!} this week, so I decided since it’s March and I’m oh so ready for spring, it was time to decorate for Spring and Easter. I got out all my pastel colors and bought a new Easter egg wreath for the front door at Kohls. Thanks to their Grand Opening weekend sale & $10 in Kohls Cash, I got the wreath for only $6!

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By supper time, I was pretty exhausted and didn’t feel like getting too creative or time consuming with dinner. My dad had sent me several recipes to try, so I actually used parts from two of them to make my own Chicken Mexi-Mac creation. It was really easy, and tasted great. AND it made a lot–so we’ve both got lunch in containers, ready for tomorrow.

Chicken Mexi-Mac

1 box Velveeta shells and cheese (I used HyVee brand “deluxe mac and cheese”)

1 lb chicken

1 1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa

1 green pepper

1/2 onion

1 cup frozen corn (thawed)

Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box. Slice chicken in thin strips and cook in a skillet. Slice green pepper and onion in thin strips and add to the chicken when it is almost cooked. Add corn and salsa and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low. Mix in with mac and cheese and stir well. Add cilantro if desired and salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Mexi-Mac

Perfect warm meal for a Sunday night! Thanks for the recipes, Dad!!