Kids Who Played in the Woods

Happy Memorial Day, friends!

I hope that you are having a fun day with family and friends, sunshine and cold drinks!

I had quite a nice surprise: After last week’s shoot here in Ohio, I ended up booking another shoot next week, so I got to stay here with my family for the weekend!

The entire family was together. We swam in the swimming pool, took a beautiful walk in the neighborhood, ate delicious food, and watched a surprisingly enjoyable movie, Forever My Girl.

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But as I was watching my little nieces splash around outside, it made me think about what we are actually honoring today.

Today is a day for gratitude.

We all live such comfortable lives that it’s so easy to forget about the men and women who have given their time – and some, even their lives – to protect our freedom and allow us the peace of mind of living in a country without fear or restriction.

Aside from a few verses in country music songs, the sad truth is that those heroes don’t get the appreciation they deserve.

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And it’s not just the heroes that deserve our praise, but the families and loved ones who live life without their soldier for months or years at a time, when their spouse, or parent, or child is across the world, putting his or her life on the line for you and I.

It is a selfless act of service, and demonstration of courage that actually leaves me speechless, other than two very important words: thank you.

And while we say thank you, we can do more. And frankly, we should be demonstrating that thanks through action, not just words.

How are we living with a sense of gratitude? 

We have such a responsibility, as recipients of this freedom and opportunity. What are we doing about it?

Living from gratitude: how are we spending our free time? How are we paying it forward, or sharing the resources we’ve been blessed with?

In 2017, Netflix users collectively watched 1 billion hours PER WEEK. Per week! Imagine the incredible impact we could have on our world if each person dedicated even just one of those hours to serving the underprivileged. One hour to calling up a friend or making a meal for someone who is grieving or going through a difficult time.

How does our language and actions encourage gratitude in others.

For as much of a blessing and tool for connection that social media and smart phones have provided, we have become a disgustingly narcissistic, tech absorbed nation, who live our lives with our heads down, literally.

How can you and I change that? Really. It’s a hard question. How can we influence the younger generations (and everyone else) to look up, engage with others, and live from gratitude.

Growing up, I went to a Christian summer camp for seven years. And it was one of the most formative experiences of my youth.

But at this camp, there was a motto. It was all over the camp t-shirts. It was sung in songs every morning, and at every camp fire at night. And it was this…

I’m Third.”

God first. Others second. I’m Third. 

And there was even a song. It went,

Yes, I’m Number 3, T-H-I-R-D, Lord I’m Third,
That’s where You want me to be. 
I may be back in the pack, but I’m Heaven-bound for victory. 
And the “Me-First” generation, will be sweeping’ the nation. 
But I’m holding out, for that sweet salvation. 

Anyway.

That is a sure-fire way to live from gratitude. And how counter-cultural it is.

And dare I say it, but if we all were to start living from the “I’m Third” motto, we could start a revolution.

People would stop living from behind their screens, and start loving people. Start living with people – sharing in their trials, being there with encouragement and support, and celebrating the fact that we are alive. And we are free.

That’s living from gratitude. 

Funny, that all it took was an old camp song, sung around a fire to get back to our roots.

Leave it to kids who played in the woods.

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93 thoughts on “Kids Who Played in the Woods

  1. Sadly anxiety can cause me to be closed off and TV is something that calms me down although yes I do watch too much tv. I am quite a lonely person not many friends close to me which makes me sad sometimes I only get to see my best friend once a year or so the fact that my highlight of the week is your postings gives it away 😂😩. I know it’s not a UK day event but days like today, has painful memories of painful loss, I lost my cousin in 2010 in Afghanistan

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Benny. I’m so sorry for your loss. Gosh, that’s so tough. sending so much love. hang in there. you’re a blessing to me x

    2. Your words have stuck with me Benny. And I just want you to know that whenever I see your name come across my notifications, it puts a big smile on my face. I really mean that – you *are* a blessing to me and I am grateful for your friendship 🙂

      1. This is such a lovely message to wake up to 😍 you put that same smile on my face, I really hope to be able to meet you in near future ❤️ would you believe today’s daily reflection is about gratitude 🙈 what are the chances of that 😜😜

      2. Oh wow – that’s amazing! God is always giving us little winks, you know? I’m so glad Benny. Have a great Tuesday xox

      3. you really mean the world to me, you’ve been there since day one of my walk with God, you have been a huge part of my life for over 3 YEARS! it feels like so much longer only you and another best friend have the biggest place in my heart, i literally long for the day i finally meet you! (P.S. I’m literally crying as i type this) x

      4. It’s been such a special 3 years, and I look forward to many more! 🙂

  2. Your post here about putting yourself third reminds me of a homily I once heard from Cardinal Dolan at a Young Adult Mass on joy. Simply put, joy, as Cardinal Dolan laid out, goes like this:
    Jesus
    Others
    Yourself

    1. Thank you so much Brendan! Oh wow that’s awesome! J_O_Y love it so much!! Hugs and love xox

  3. Caralyn
    Thank you, I agree, in fact I’m formulating a post with a similar theme, remembering the created creator relation and with that knowing, living in service to others with Christ’s example and sacrifice allowing all of us to realize our sonship, leaving doubt, anxiety and fear behind

    1. thank you friend, yes! THat’s how we are called to live! Hugs and love xox

  4. Wonderful words of life. Great to mention families of those who serve in the military. I forgot to do that this morning. A big oversight. Thanks, Caralyn.

    1. Thank you so much Ted! Yeah, they really sacrifice so much. They’re heroes too. Hugs and love xox

  5. Kind of sickening that so many hours are spent in front of a movie screen, and that isn’t counting the hours spent on social media. You’re right, we’re not doing too well in the stewardship of time. Certainly something we can each be more intentional about.

    1. You’re right about that. Thanks Linda for sharing your thoughts on this. Hugs and love xox

  6. Another beautiful post, especially for this holiday. Another saying is “JOY”–Jesus first, others second, ourselves last. That is where true joy and contentment comes from.

  7. An attitude of gratitude. Just as the scripture says. Your little niece is a doll. And I’ll bet you’re the cool aunt. 🙂 Glad you’re having time with your family, making memories you get to carry with you. Have a great week!

      1. I was single until my mid thirties before I got married. Up until that point if I made bad choices I had to live with them alone. One day early in my marriage It dawned on me that the decisions I make have consequences for another human being. It is a sobering realization.

      2. yeah that sounds like quite the realization. thanks again for sharing.

      3. no problem. At that point in my life I figured I would never get married. The way my wife and I met is something nobody would ever figure out.

  8. Oh my gracious, 1 billion hours?? I mean I enjoy my shows and movies but that is out of control! So much we can use that time for, and yes we have so, so much to be thankful for!

  9. So glad you are spending more valuable time with your family! I hope the shoot went/is going well!

    This being Fleet Week in Manhattan, we’re seeing a smattering of sailors in their dress whites around town. I managed to thank a couple for their service, which seemed appreciated.

    I recently watched a series on Netflix: Carrier. It follows the crew of the USS Nimitz on deployment in the Middle East. It’s an old series, but you really learn to appreciate just how tough the Navy can be!

    I had one nephew in ROTC in high school, but decided not to go on. Another was in the Nevada National Reserves. The eldest was an engineer on board an Arleigh-Burke class ship based in Japan among other postings. Good boys – excuse me…YOUNG MEN all!

    Walking in Manhattan. You know what it’s like. No one has situational awareness, i.e. stopping in the middle of a crowded sidewalk to look at their phone, stare at something, etc. We visited the observation deck at 30 Rock yesterday, and I was amazed/appalled at how many people ignored the view and were staring at the cell phones! I want to grab them and ask why they’re looking at their phone after paying $69 to see the view around them?!?

    All to your point; no one thinks about others. Just themselves. It’s like aliens have infiltrated the planet by way of a device that we’ve become addicted to. They have us completely under their control!

    That’s enough ranting for now. More later. I’m glad you’re with family, but also wishing you were here!

    1. Thanks Jeff 🙂 oh it’s fleet week! That’s always such a fun and lively time to be there 🙂 I’m sure that made their day. Interesting – I’ll have to check carrier out! Oh wow – Japan! What awesome young men indeed. Oh yes – sadly texting and walking is an art form in nyc. I hope you and Julie are having an awesome time!! Enjoy your last day!!

  10. Standing ovation from me. As someone who grew up with a city park in her backyard, and went to countless summer camps and mission trips, your post is filling me with so much nostalgia. Thank you for the gentle reminder! Also, you taught me something new. I love the “I’m Third” lesson SO MUCH. Thank you for implanting that message into my brain. What a perfect, simple reminder.

    1. Aw Laura Beth, thank you so much! I know! I got a little wispy for my camp days, thinking about it while I was writing. Thanks friend 🙂 have a wonderful week! Hugs and love xox

  11. “People would stop living from behind their screens, and start loving people. Start living with people – sharing in their trials, being there with encouragement and support, and celebrating the fact that we are alive. And we are free.

    That’s living from gratitude.”
    Beautiful! Especially the part about living WITH people– it can be SO hard to find, keep, and cultivate real and authentic relationships. Dear Lord Jesus, help us to trust You– and to truly enjoy those you have put in our lives!

    1. Thanks so much!! I agree! Joining you in that prayer. Amen 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  12. I love the whole “third” concept, but here’s my take on it: after God and doing what’s right, you have to prioritize who’s doing well. If I’m having a total meltdown over something, then I have to prioritize myself over others. If, on the other hand, I’m well rested and my mom needs to go shopping for clothes, then I’m up to the task. I guess what I mean is that my sense of priorities is in flux based upon the present experience. 🙂

    1. Thanks Meg. Yeah it really puts things in the right perspective. Yeah that’s a great way to be! Balance is important! Hugs and love xox

    2. You got a point. Using a missionary as an example- They give themselves to the Father and others.. But they have to take furloughs. Breaks. Or else they’l get burnt-out.
      Shalom!

      1. thank you friend 🙂 you’re so right – breaks are good!

  13. Loved it. My only question is why are you third? Why aren’t you your most important person? It’s not about being selfish. I have learned that it’s about giving yourself the same time, value, importance, and love that you give others.

    1. Thanks! That’s a great question. I think that it means that I’m not putting myself down or being “less” but just thinking of others and making my relationship with God my main priority. Hope that makes sense! Hugs and love xox

      1. 💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛

  14. Hello Miracle Yello. Hope you had fun. Kids do teach us a lot don’t they? My nephew told everyone at school that I would be attending their diversity dance and didn’t tell me. When I dropped him off, he said, “Uncle, you are coming right.” I said, “Uhh…N to the O. I’m not and what are you talking about?” He said, “But I told everyone you were coming. You have to come. Don’t make me look bad.” And I said, “Uhhh…excuse me 6 yr old. I’m an adult. Still, what are you talking about?” Kid told me the time to be there. He wanted me to be there before other parents. The nerve!!! Anywho! I showed up…hmmm…on time. Love that kid. They are the ultimate blessing.

    HEY!!! Would you write something on kids? It’ll be awesome. Also, how is your podcast coming along? What’s it called?

  15. Caralyn, I recently finished a Small Group at church that covered how social media is affecting our culture and how we as Christians need to put it back in its proper place. Craig Groeschel has 2 very good books in the topic: Soul Detox and #Struggles. Statistics show there is a stark decline in empathy linked to the increase in social media. Thank you for speaking out.

    1. How interesting. It’s proper place. Amen! I’ll have to check out those books! Hugs and love xox

  16. Caralyn, THANK YOU for using your time and post to reflect on the veterans and current military of all designations, and thank them. Our day is Nov. 11, Remembrance Day. Our day is no longer a statutory holiday, now it is basically only government employees who have the day off.
    Probably our countries are similar, in that only a small percentage take time to reflect on the fact that every freedom we have in these great countries was paid for with lives of brave women and men, who gave their lives, and the others who were willing to.
    We have our freedom, and keep our freedom because of bravery and willingness of young men and women still going to battle today.

    Thanks again Caralyn. Your awesomeness continues to shine, because the Light of this world, our Creator and Saviour, shines in and through you.
    God Bless.
    Luv, 😀❤️🌹😘🇨🇦

    1. Thank you George. You’re so right – because of their bravery and WILLINGNESS. Oh my gosh, that right there. They CHOSE to selflessly give their service. That is the act of a true hero. I have so much respect and gratitude. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much! Haha yeah it was a pretty gnarly camp 😎 haha Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much! yeah I wanted to add a little twist to the traditional “memorial day” post. hehe Hugs and love xox

      1. Thanks. My own Memorial day twist- I think we should remember those who have given for us…and do what we can to keep/get our freedom. (Or did you already make that point?!) 🙂

  17. Getting away from man-made things, i.e. into the woods and back to nature, is a great way to slow down and hear God. I am third is in harmony with what Jesus said and did. Love upward first, and outward also. In that process you’ll also get yours. I love messages reminding us of simplicity in Christ. As the saying goes, the best things in life…

    1. Amen to that! It’s so good to unplug and plug in to the Vine 🙂 hehe Hugs and love xox

  18. Great idea: “if we all were to start living from the “I’m Third” motto, we could start a revolution.” But how do you get a bunch of selfish people glued to their phones to look up long enough to hear what you’re saying, let alone put it into action? 🤷‍♀️

    1. Yes! Let’s start that revolution. ugh, I know — right? we’ve got to dethrone Apple haha Hugs and love xox

  19. True story: I AM THIRD is our parish’s motto! Our mission! Our pastor, Fr. Larry Richard’s, (google him – international speaker,) speaks to this point ALL. THE. TIME! It’s posted on every mirror in our home, in our cottage, and I have one which I pack with us whenever we travel. And oh yeah, it’s my front license plate on my car. I AM THIRD. It’s a life-changer. Giddy you discovered it too!!

    1. I will definitely google him! I’d love to listen to one of his sermons! No way! Your license plate?!! That’s awesome! Hugs and love xox

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