Christmas ornaments for military moms – updated as of 12/16

6 Comments

A group of West Point moms decided to do an ornament exchange this Christmas season. For a few months now, a special West Point moms facebook page has featured photos of ornaments received. Pangs of envy have pulsed through me as I observe the thought-fulness and creativity shared among friends. Mostly though, seeing pictures of the new foofaraw for the holidays is a blessing.  When I consider that many of these moms haven’t met each other in person, I’m deeply moved. These women simply share an unbreakable bond of being a military mom, specifically of the West Point/Army variety.

My intention is to update this post regularly and include as many of the ornament ideas as possible. Feel free to share this with your family and friends as a subtle hint that YOU want some new pretties for your tree. If you are a military parent, YOU deserve it! WE gotta represent!

I’m very fond of this one featured above, I just would need to change the last name so it’s my 2LT.

If you are a military mom, here’s an example of what one West Point mom did for another.

A WP mom created a collage of the ornaments she received from her Secret Elf.

A WP mom created a collage of the ornaments she received from her Secret Elf.

Foundations guardian angel of the military figurine from EnescoThen there’s this one a West Point mom ordered. The Guardian Angel of the Military is quite lovely!

Check out this onePersonalized Christmas Ornaments - American Flag Star - 11089

Another awesome one from Cafe Press, my cadet has worn that hat! Brings back a lot of memories…

This weekend, a group of West Point moms received a personalized ornament created by Megan at Pages. Here is the site. She has all kind of custom ones, but knows which ones made for the West Point moms. She also has custom military event paper that she will customize further for your Cadet and Year.

An adorable glass cadet ornament would look so pretty sparkling next to the lights on my tree. Here’s the link. (Update, crud, it’s sold out but you DIY folks might be able to replicate).

Although this one is made in Taiwan, it’s still lovely. Seriously, it won’t be the only non-US made ornament on your tree. For reals. Anyway, it’s embroidered which is different! Here’s the info

Continuing on the glass ornament theme, you might like these especially because of the unique way they are designed. The main image is on the INSIDE! The image is put on a clear backing which is almost invisible at first glance. The image is then placed inside the ornament and the outside is decorated with polka dots or other images.This gives the ornament a multi-dimensional look that really pops! The finishing touch is the addition of multi layers of korker ribbon to coordinate with your ornament choices.Click here for the talented lady’s website on etsy.

Floating American Flag Ornament - Personalized - Small

I thought Longaberger only made pretty baskets, I was wrong. I apologize! Check this out and note the special offer. Save $10! Veteran’s Day is Sunday, November 11th and these beautiful handcrafted ornaments are the perfect gift to honor our service men and women and you’ll receive them in time for Veteran’s Day! A perfect holiday gift at a perfect price — only $20 each! Available in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Select a branch of service in the drop down menu to see each Ornament. A portion of the proceeds from each American Valor Ornament sold will go to the Longaberger Military Cares Program. You’ll also have the opportunity to make an additional donation to Military Cares at checkout. Longaberger’s Military Cares program combines the efforts of employees, sales field and customers to support America’s military troops and their families through numerous charitable programs and contributions. Click here for the deets. 
Offer good from 12 Noon EDT through 11:50 p.m. EDT (9 a.m. – 8:59 p.m. PDT) Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Price valid with online order only. Price does not include tax or shipping and handling.

Another WP mom didn’t wait for a Christmas tree to find a place for this ornament. How many of us have proudly displayed something like this in our homes year-round. Awaiting order info from a Secret Elf.

And when West Point moms get to-gether, it’s going to be a good time! There is an end-less supply of pride (the good kind) and stories!

We usually have our tiaras dis-cretely hidden but every now and then we gotta flash the bling. Such a fun bunch of ladies!

Check out this site for ordering info for this ornament because it’s pretty wonderful! American Hero ornaments deserve a significant place on our trees.

Once a West Point mom, always a WP mom. I have great admiration for the women standing alongside their cadets and Soldiers. There is an immensely talented WP mom who makes her own miniature watercolor paintings as ornaments. The ornaments are $18 each which includes S&H; contact at jacruick@yahoo.com to order!

A little watercolor painting as an ornament, what a treasure!

Elegant and lovely!

As the West Point ornament exchange 2012 winds down, I still learned of some great ideas.

Beautiful colors and detail

Beautiful colors and detail

This cross ornament can be found here.

My Soldier jumped out of airplane this week, maybe I need one of these?

My Soldier jumped out of airplane this week, maybe I need one of these?

If you have a military person in aviation, a West Point mom dis-covered this perfect gift for the tree! Click here for the link. Mine will be jumping out of helicopter soon so this might get on my shopping list.

And then there’s this one. I’m super excited to give this to my favorite Soldier and Scrabble buddy. This is a common Army exclamation. The creator of these ornaments appreciates the military and in an upcoming post I’m going to offer a give-away thanks to her generosity! You can find Lilly on facebook or on her etsy site. She can do any up to 9 letter word, btw.

If you are an Army person, you know what Hooah means! I can’t explain it, it’s a word and a feeling!

This is my ornament positioned right by a picture of the Hubs and I on our honeymoon in Spain.

This is my ornament positioned right by a picture of the Hubs and I on our honeymoon in Spain.

Please send me your pictures and links and I’ll post them here. Go Army!

The party guest I invited

4 Comments

Some of the decorations outside

Over 100 people came to my middle OS’s college send-off party.

It was a beautiful celebration and I just revelled in God’s goodness as I looked at the crowd.

I recall my high school graduation party and it was nothing like this one.

Mine had a keg of beer, Michael Jackson music and I remember my tube top falling down unexpectedly. Someone had yanked on it and whoops, there it fell right by the kitchen door leading out to the backyard.

I nearly died of embarrassment but shrugged it off because bursting into tears is just plain gauche for a burgeoning French major.

Possibly one of the sweetest sights at Aaron’s party is this one. People pausing to pray for my son. Such a tender moment, thank you precious family and friends.

Aaron’s bash was nothing of the sort…No booze, (none necessary) folk music, Christian fellowship and everyone remained fully clothed to my knowledge. 😉

Among the treasured guests were our current church family, close personal friends, extended family, pastors, friends from our old churches, some of Aaron’s former teachers and classmates that were in choir and drama together.

Our pastor spoke a beautiful prayer just before dinner which was a gift in itself.

We ate Chicago style hot dogs from Sonic, Chicago style pizza from Rosati’s and filled in with healthy food like cranberry quinoa salad, lentils and jasmine rice, marinated mozzarella, watermelon juleps and other lovely treats.

All the hard work paid off seeing the faces of people who obviously loved my olive shoot and felt cared for by him as well. Afterward, I told Aaron it was like a wedding but no wife and no sex. He wasn’t sure how to respond but appreciated the sentiment and just chalked it up to another one of Mom’s awkward sayings of which he has quite a collection.

Oh yes, knit Chicago style hot dogs and knit Chicago style pizza slices!

But in the back of my mind throughout the preparations and during the actual party, when I allowed myself to think,

I remembered that a year ago on this same day marked my grandma’s last full day on earth.

That is a very hard thing to process when one is getting ready for a party, I assure you. Myriad emotions wafted in and out.

I loved her so much, she was so dear to me.

She profoundly loved my babies.

How had I even survived this year without her?

Step right up and get your picture taken with Aaron in front of the Sears Tower!

It was a Chicago theme celebration since our ministry-minded OS is going to Moody Bible Institute in the heart of the Windy City. As many of you who have been reading my blog have noticed, I built a Sears Tower (I refuse to call it Willis Tower) in my family room.

Each guest got a picture with Aaron in front of our own homemade indoor skyscraper and I chuckled to see small lines of families getting ready for their turn in front of the impressive structure.

And in my own way, unbeknownst to most people, I secretly invited my grandma to the party.

She had to be a part of the night and oh how Grandma loved to party. The poor woman couldn’t cook worth a darn but she was an enthusiastic and memorable party guest. Young and old alike loved it when Grace was coming over. She had a way of getting a party started as many will attest.

My orange hair freckle face OS and his great grandma. She made everyone smile.

And that’s what I did.

I took her to the party.

It was hard to do but I wore her Chicago Cubs shirt to my OS’s celebration.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t especially flattering or that it slightly clashed with my skirt, I wanted my grandma there with me.

I also wore her high school necklace which rarely leaves me. And I ate some hot dogs. Grandma ate like a bird but loved hot dogs.

Grandma joined the celebration last night. She would have had a blast even if she had some Alzheimer’s, rarely wore her hearing aids and needed a cane. Heaven is the only thing that stopped her from making an appearance and if my grandma is with Jesus, I completely understand her not wanting to leave the ultimate celebration.

All of us, Nate is even in the picture. And I’m wearing my grandma’s Chicago Cubs t-shirt

As the night drew to a close and August 5th soon approached, more tears fell from my tired eyes.

The one year anniversary of my grandma’s passing had now arrived.

I saw my family’s facebook statuses change and their profile pictures show photos of them with Grandma.

I was not alone in missing her.

And those tears mingled with the tears of joy I experienced toward my treasured OS. I can scarcely take it all in today but all is well.

I miss her.

I love her.

I will miss my boy.

How many people can say they have done the YMCA at their grandma’s 80th birthday party? And how many can say that later on in the night, they danced a conga line through their aunt’s house with that same grandma? I did both and will treasure those times forever!

I love him.

I praise the Lord for all the tears, all the people, all the kindness, all the sadness, all the memories, all the love, truly I am blessed on this most notable day.

These two people were crazy about each other.

PS. In honor of my grandma who loved to party, remember to enter my give-away for a fun party gift! I’ll draw a winner tomorrow! Leave a comment on this page if you want to be entered in.

We are West Point Moms!

4 Comments

I could barely eek out a few words before bursting into tears. We had never met and yet there was a bond between us as soon as she answered the phone. We were West Point moms at opposite ends of the 48 month adventure. The warmth in her voice removed the little resolve I had left to keep it all together. I attempted to ask some factual questions but really all I wanted to know is that she survived. Since she was still able to speak in full sentences, I perceived that as a good sign. 

The Hubs made this graph when 
Nate was a new cadet, it’s so true!

Don’t we all want to find kindred spirits, people who can help us along life’s way? I sure do. In many aspects, the desire to be encouraged and embraced is central to feeling a sense of community. Connection is what I’ve found in being a West Point Mom.

WP moms come in all sizes!

Perhaps mothers with children in traditional universities have a bond. As my middle OS begins college at Moody Bible Institute this fall, it would be nice to meet mothers who have children pursuing ministry. Yet I must be honest, my expectations will be high because West Point moms spoil each other with kindness.

Here are just a few examples of what it’s like to be a WP mom.  

This is the cutest Girl Scout delivery 
boy in El Salvador!

Recently my oldest OS went to see his bonita in El Salvador. She likes Girl Scout cookies and Nate couldn’t possibly go there empty-handed! He had bought her tea and nail polish which truly threatened his “Man Card” but Girl Scout cookies was another must-have item. Well, one quick message on facebook and a WP mom, whom Nate has never met, shipped EIGHT, yes EIGHT boxes to my boy, free of charge.

Girl Scout cookies make girlfriends happy!

Nate was hoping to avoid parking fees at the airport while on vacation in El Sal. A simple message to my WP moms and a grandma of a cadet offered Nate to park his car at her home for the week.

A mom asks for prayers and a swarm of WP moms respond with concern. A mom posts a picture of her cadet on the page and we gush as if it were our own bairn.

There is no paucity of concern or compassion. The Scripture passage found in Romans 12:15 is fitting. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” Though most of us haven’t met in person, we understand each other. We don’t all share the same political convictions or spiritual beliefs, some don’t even use soap nuts(!) but nonetheless we are a sisterhood. We realize our cadets will most likely travel in harm’s way. We get it in ways most don’t. Current events and conflicts in foreign lands impact our children’s future. As our cadets return from Spring Break, many weepy moms lamented about missing their cadet. We reassured them and gathered them into the fold cuz that’s how WP mamas roll. 

This is a common WP mom facial
expression. It’s hard to let go!

Now I’m at the other end of this experience. Nate graduates the end of May. I don’t want it to end but I know my cadet is ready to see where life leads him.  The current trajectory is Georgia, Colorado and then possibly Kuwait.  
  

Even if you’re not a WP mom, you will enjoy this video one of my friends created. One day soon your child will embark on new journeys and it will tug on your heart even if your baby isn’t heading to the United States Military Academy. I’ve watched this video many times and I can’t get through it without shedding a tear. A picture of Nate and I at Ring Weekend is found on 00.53 of this link. What a privilege to be part of this long grey line!

Surgery – when the time is right, whenever that is!

4 Comments

Unfortunately, the adage “expect the unexpected” and the expression “hurry up and wait” are true this morning as Nate’s surgery has been delayed.

He walked into the surgery room, mentally prepared to get his ACL fixed and walked right back out minutes later because of an equipment malfunction.

The night before, the three of us enjoyed dinner at Sushi King followed by ice cream just a few doors down the street. Nate was as ready as he could be for the surgery bright and early in the morning.

But at this point, my OS has been told that the equipment might not even be fixed today. The sterilizer is broken. I think that’s a good reason to postpone things however, my firstie is hungry, thirsty and frustrated, who can blame him?

Yesterday I found myself counting our blessings, taking stock of the goodness which has resulted through this trial. So instead of complaining which is unproductive, I’m going to concentrate on the positive. This is just a partial list and I hope to later include other blessings which have lifted our spirits.

Don”t be jealous, get your own ACL surgery 😉

My van is loaded with treats for Nathan. Cards and gifts from family as well as from people who don’t even know my boy! When Nate said he wanted me to bring him dehydrated apples, I obliged but a mother who doesn’t even know him also wanted to support a member of the military. She dehydrated a bunch of apples for Nate. They look delicious!

Bible Study friends holding a bag of dehydrated apples.
They donated 40 pounds of apples for my OS!
The women in my weekly Bible Study pitched in and bought a box of apples for me to dehydrate for my OS. We’re talking 40 POUNDS of apples! In addition, my Bible Study leader and another WP mom donated bags of apples for my healthy food project. Such bounty! When I popped open the back of the van to give Nate some of the things, his mouth was agape at the amount of apples he now has to enjoy! I felt so proud of my friends and the community of support.

The West Point networks for parents and mothers are extraordinary. Through a parent list-serve and a closed West Point Moms facebook group, I have been encouraged beyond measure. I learned about Mobilegs which is a lightweight crutch alternative. When I contacted the company and told them about Nate’s upcoming surgery, they eagerly offered me a military discount.

Nate trying on his Mobilegs before surgery.

The Mobilegs arrived at his barracks yesterday afternoon.

When we met Nate, he was grinning and carrying them. “I’m actually kinda excited to use them,” Nate remarked to me last night.

During dinner, when the owner of the restaurant learned that Nate was a West Point cadet having surgery the next day, he made him a free special mango sushi roll. Our spirits were high. Truly I’m learning that the little things we can all do for each other are very significant. THANK YOU SUSHI KING!!

Mango, cream cheese, crab sushi roll made
just for Nate – delicious kindness



Another great blessing was Aaron and I drove to West Point and enjoyed a scenic, pleasant trip. We got along 96% of the time and although the last 4% was pretty ugly (we were less than ten miles away from West Point!), our relationship quickly returned to its formerly happy state. 


And as if we hadn’t be given above and beyond what we even imagined, we had a surprise awaiting us. I opened the small closet in Nate’s hospital room and there, tucked in the far corner, I spotted the thing we never expected. A pair of bright red boxer briefs!!! Carefully I pinched the undies with my fingers and wiggled them at Nate! He was, um, speechless! I’m pretty sure an angel had left them there for my boy. It doesn’t get better than that, my friends!

A complimentary pair of undies left for Nate! What great fortune!

And there have been other blessings which I must acknowledge. Right now though I’m completely exhausted and trusting in the Lord’s perfect timing. Please know that your words and thoughtfulness are so meaningful. We’ll keep you posted…

Doing Hard Things – Aaron sharing from his heart

2 Comments

My feet and those of my boy – both of us getting 
ready for the service. I love how our feet 
are touching, I didn’t realize it until now 
when I posted the pic. 
My middle OS Aaron entered the world with great gusto on August 30,1996. Almost exactly 17 years later, on a beautiful summer’s day in the Chicagoland area, that same precious child approached a microphone and through words, gave a final gift to the grandma he loved dearly.
Pretty sure I used that entire box of Kleenex!
My grandma’s memorial service brought forth countless blessings. On every level, from the music selected, the pictures featured, the location of the service to the tender common spirit filling the morning, it was obvious that the Lord had given us a day to reflect and celebrate a remarkable person. 
Aaron was the first family member to speak.This wasn’t his choice and he fretted about the pressure and enormity of the task. Not a lot of teenage guys would relish his position. From the perspective of a great-grandchild, my OS desired to recognize and share a central message about someone we all adored. Prone to migraines, we had been praying against him having one during the service and praise the Lord, he was fine. But think of how many adults cower in front of a microphone, let alone how many grown ups willingly speak at a memorial service about someone they love… Ok, now you have a slight understanding of the pride I had in my OS. 

Aaron spoke from this podium (so did everyone else).
You can see a funny picture of Nathan 

and Grandma in the background. 
We always had so much fun with her.  
My boy had worked so hard on his message. He sought counsel from teachers, asked for prayers, listened to our advice, changed a few words and added others. He considered his outfit, his hair (it really is that important!) and his shoes. But the foremost thing Aaron desired was to fittingly articulate the impact Grandma had on his life and on the lives of all the great grandkids. 
At the beginning of his message, Aaron accidentally omitted the name of his big brother, Nathan when he was recalling all of the great-grandchildren. True to form, Aaron gracefully recovered and it gave us all a moment to chuckle when he humorously, begrudgingly inserted Nathan’s name in the list. 🙂

Grandma and her boys at The Sound of Music.
As a music lover, Aaron equated Grandma’s life to a soundtrack. He told of the time we took her to see The Sound of Music. Grandma seemed less interested in the actual performance but more focused on the time with us as a family. Grandma closed her eyes, still fully awake and hummed away at familiar songs. Aaron recalled how he looked over at her during the musical and observed such joy on her face. My OS said that the soundtrack of Grandma’s life was one with strong notes and crescendoes, beautiful and melodious. It was a moving and fitting analogy.
He continued and the tears in Aaron’s eyes and voice mirrored everyone else’s as we wept during his message. My ever growing pile of Kleenex only increased when Aaron spoke of Jesus and His love for all of us. While we were there to mark Grandma’s passing, we celebrated the depth of happiness she gave to us all. Aaron acknowledged the Source of that love, Christ our Lord. I sat there draped in the arms of my other two OS and the Hubs never more thankful for this family I’ve been given. 
I like to imagine that my grandma is in heaven and that she could see us on August 27, 2011. Since there is no sadness or pain in heaven, in my heart I envision her utterly resplendent and I wonder if tears streamed from her sweet face. Not from sadness or cancer or dementia but from joy. I picture her absolutely overwhelmed being in the presence of the Lord, worshipping Him forever and for this one shining moment, seeing her handsome teenage great grandson confidently speaking of her and standing near her portrait. Oh how that picture in my heart brings me peace. If only everyone could be loved like this on earth and then to have that love exceeded in heaven, I want to live that kind of life now and eternally.   
Thank you Aaron. Thank you Grandma. 
Thanksgiving is mixed with sorrow, tears erupt with little warning and that’s the way I process grief. I realize that it’s going to be like this for a while as I have mourned other loved ones in the past. It is possible to be simultaneously sad, proud, grateful…after all that’s just what happens when you are Aaron’s mom and Grandma’s grand-daughter. 

Doing Hard Things – moving forward

2 Comments

I wrote this post while traveling to Chicago to attend my grandma’s memorial service. I am now back home and reconciling myself to a different life without someone I loved very much…

My feet at my grandma’s service
It’s not that my feet have failed me. It’s not their fault, I can’t blame them. They have moved forward. They will be walking into a church tomorrow and at the appointed time, they will walk up to the podium.Though my heart is breaking, my feet will be sturdy forces even in mid-size heels. My feet will propel me into places I know bring sorrow and there’s nothing I can do about it. They are doing the right thing.
Ok, so the folks in West Virginia might NOT be
moving forward if they are bringing bologna biscuits back!
As we have journeyed from North Carolina, through the voluptuous hills of West Virginia and then through the flatter plains of Ohio, I note that everyone is moving forward. When we arrive in Chicago, it will be apparent EVERYONE is moving forward at breakneck speed. 
The windmills in Ohio moved slowly forward.
They were beautiful.
This week during my water aerobics class (another tribute to my grandma), I considered all the people in the pool. We vary in size, color, age and athleticism. Ashamedly I admit that it’s been a long time since I have really pondered this but as I stood in the water awaiting instruction, I thought to myself, everyone in this pool has lost someone. Everyone in this water knows grief. We have all cried pools of tears. Possibly some are as fresh as mine. 
We are all moving forward in some capacity. Sometimes I look at the ladies in the pool and see wisps of my own grandma. It might be in their carriage or bathing suit styles. I observe their little chicken legs, a charmed feature of my grandma’s and my own feet resist the temptation to run up to them. It would just make them feel awkward and I would cry. Not too many people cry during water aerobics~


Writing is cathartic for me and these fingers push words forward which spring from an aching grand-daughter’s heart. My fingers are blessed to tell you about the tender caresses from my OS and the Hubs as I grieve. They have loved me, allowed ME to lean on them and I’m comforted by their gentleness. My middle OS has told me that he is old enough to handle my pain. My oldest bairn at West Point sets aside his own worries and concerns to listen. The orange-haired, freckle face Isaac grants more hugs than usual without getting annoyed. Their Hanes cotton t-shirts have deposited many of my tears, their rugged hands envelope mine reassuringly.
Perhaps I have shared this previously but I did not grow up in a family with an emotionally accessible father. We were well acquainted with his angry side but vulnerability was rarely shown. Until I met the Hubs, I didn’t realize men were capable of sweet and tender feelings. This, along with my total lack of being able to discuss the merits of menstruation (!), have led me to believe that the Lord gave me three sons to heal a woundedness in my heart.
Going forward while Doing Hard Things
In my next post, I will share things I’m learning while Doing Hard Things and some of the dearest moments at my grandma’s service. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday remix – staying pure

3 Comments
I’m a day late on Wednesday remix but the message I’m sharing today is timeless. Love and purity aren’t things bound by time! Come on now!

From April 2009 – when our OS were 12, 14 and 19 years old….
This guy does think about other things besides basketball! 
On a beautiful spring day, my husband and I were going to attend the wedding of a co-worker. While running errands with my orange haired, freckle face OS looked up at the sky and commented, “This is a perfect day to get married.” It was an unexpected but lovely comment from Ike who concerns himself more with perfecting his jump shot than on mushy stuff like love and marriage. While driving with him in the passenger seat, our youngest OS also informed me that he would like a beach wedding. I didn’t know he even thought for a second about such things but my heart burst like the sun that morning.
Aaron makes a covenant with us and the Lord
Then in February, our 14-year-old son participated in a True Love Waits ceremony at our church. My husband and I stood alongside him and slipped the purity ring on his finger. This was our son’s decision, he was not forced or bribed to be a part of this. Aaron had chosen his ring and eagerly anticipated wearing it. Our middle OS went to school the next day and everyone noticed the ring on his finger. When asked about it, Aaron confidently explained the pledge he made to his future bride.  (He still wears it to this day!
We all made a promise to the Lord and each other. 
While meeting his peers at West Point back in 2009, a fellow plebe asked my son to tell him all the things he had done with a girl. 


Without preaching or sounding arrogant, Nate was careful to not speak. He didn’t want to sound hesitant or apologetic with his proceeding answer. My OS recounted to me that he just said nonchalantly,“I’m just chilling on that stuff.” My hunch is this guy doesn’t hear that response too often but according to Nate, he seemed to respect my son’s decision.  

(Fast forward three years and now he’s still holding true to his convictions. Nate is in love with a beautiful young lady, read this post and this one for the sweet story thus far!) 
Nate and Lu…they are so cute together!

During my eight years of working in the field of sexual purity, I heard so many heartbreaking stories. It would be easy to think that there isn’t a single young man with self-control and respect out there. Not true! The Hubs and I are doing our best to raise and prosper three of them! We need to encourage the boys and men in our midst to do as Scripture says in Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”

The beginning of our family started on September 5, 1986.
We never expected the Lord to change our hearts on so many things
and allow us reach for higher standards.
What do these three things have to do with each other? Am I merely writing these words to impress and brag about the precious family the Lord has given me? It’s true I am fiercely proud of my sons but I share this with you to give you parents of daughters a ray of hope too. There are some good guys out there. I share these brief glimpses into my family to tell you parents of sons to esteem the young men in your life and encourage them to prosper in honor and integrity.