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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Packard Girls

This is my favorite picture of Ariel and me. I would post the picture of us that was just taken last week, but because of technical difficulties it was lost. I got to spend a couple of days with her and her sweetheart and had a wonderful time. It is alwayas so hard to say goodbye. It was a little easier this time, knowing that she now has someone special to care for her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree!


When I was a child, our Christmas trees were always covered with multicolored lights and an eclectic assortment of ornaments. Ornaments had been acquired over many years. Some were hand crafted by us at home or at school. Some were gifts, some had been purchased. I always was fascinated by the variety and everyone who came to our home was drawn to the tree to see what each ornament was or represented. We never had a theme tree. The lights were the big ones, nice and bright. I still have some of those big old lights that I hang with a garland around my front door.

When I was eighteen I had a home of my own. I got my first tree. It was seven feet tall and beautiful. I went to the local import store and bought many different ornaments that struck my fancy. Many of those ornaments are on the tree that we just decorated for this Christmas. Nathanael made a new one in school. It is a snowflake. We decorate the tree as a family, often the day after Thanksgiving. We drink eggnog (those of us who can stand it without rum) and listen to Bing Crosby sing about a White Christmas.
Every year my sisters make an ornament for each of the children. They put their names and the year on them, and they are always special and beautiful. As each of my children have grown and made a home of their own, their ornaments have left with them. Dad and I think maybe we should start a new tradition of giving each other a new special ornament each year so our tree is not bare a few years from now.

I love Christmas. It means eveything good to me. Home, love and family too. I can hardly sleep on Christmas eve and love sharing it with my family. I think each of my chilren carries this on to their homes and loved ones at the holiday season. This makes me happy too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

I am the mother of a soldier. He is currently a recruiter in Arizona. He was excited to be a recruiter because when he was in Kuwait he saw that there were not enough soldiers there to do the job and he wanted to help. I am proud of him and his desire to serve those soldiers, our country and his family in this way.

A Different Christmas Poem


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's lightThen he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.""It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile. Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,The red, white, and blue... an American flag.I can live through the cold and the being alone,Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another,Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..Who stand at the front against any and all,To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.""But isn't there something I can do, at the least,"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,"Just tell us you love us, and never forget. To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,To stand your own watch, no matter how long.For when we come home, either standing or dead,To know you remember we fought and we bled.Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN30th Naval Construction RegimentOIC, Logistics Cell OneAl Taqqadum, Iraq

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Our Daughter Demi


We are blessed to have not one but two daughters. Heavenly Father has given us Demitria Vasilatis, a beautiful, tall, smart twenty year old Packard girl. She is currently at the University of Central Florida, but is transferring to The University of Florida in Gainsville to finish her education to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. We love her very much and she has been a great blessing to our family.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This week we lost our sweet Katie dog. I mean we really lost her. She was almost eighteen years old. We have had her since she was two weeks old and I fed her with a medicine dropper. She had required a lot of care over the last few months. I willingly gave this care, I love her so much. Her hips were very weak and stiff, perhaps painful, though she didn't complain. She had grown incontinent. She was mostly blind and totally deaf. She seemed happy enough. We didn't feel that we should put an end to her life.

Our Katie has loved us very well. What ever we were doing outdoors, she was always there with us, sometimes sitting between us and the weeds we were pulling, but wanting to be as close as she could. When we moved to the home we live in now, she spent hours chasing the squirrels who teased and chattered and waggled their tails at her. She was in doggie heaven. She has been a constant companion for many of our children, who don't remember life without her.

On monday morning, she got up, clean and dry, and ran around the yard with her lovely ears flowing and a beautiful smile on her face. This dog could smile. Later in the afternoon she walked away. She was known and loved by all our neighbors who looked for her with us. We believe she wanted to be alone at the end of her life, perhaps to spare us. Everything this dog did was because it was what she thought we wanted her to do. We are reminded of her constantly and miss her deeply with heavy hearts. We are comforted by the idea that she can now run, pain free, and see and hear as keenly as she once did, and is maybe chasing some spirit squirrels somewhere. We hope to see her again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



Mom said "Everybody do something silly." Not only are they pretty certifiable, but this photo couldn't have been composed any better. It makes Mommy smile that silly smile (all children know that smile) every time I look at it.