Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25
The effects of encouragement is such a neat thing to watch. Our little dog Dutch gives me a picture perfect example of it every morning. Dutch loves to sleep. I mean, really loves to sleep. And he loves company. So when my husband and I get up and get ready for work, he rouses himself from our room, does a little stretch, runs to our daughter’s door and scratches frantically to be let in. He can’t wait to snuggle up with her next. Only trouble is, he’s all of 7 pounds and her bed is pretty high. Every morning he gets a running start, gets over to her bed, and after assessing the situation, prepares to jump. His first few attempts fall short and he looks over at me. That’s when the magic of encouragement happens. As soon as I tell him, “c’mon, you can do it!” or she pats the bed next to her, he gets a new burst of energy and jumps right up there. Nothing at all changed except his attitude. He started with doubts, then with our encouragement, believed in himself and was able to leap the tall mattress in a single bound.
We all have the power to encourage those around us. It’s sometimes easier to be critical than encouraging, but encouragement is much more effective! On this 4th of July, I’d like to share a few opportunities for encouraging our deployed troops- yes there are still many deployed to Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East (my son included). The days get long and boring for them, and I know they appreciate the contact from home and encouragement that the days will go quickly and they’ll be home with their families soon.
Check out these organizations, that in many ways encourage our troops- those serving now and past.
You can also write letters (to both deployed troops and veterans)
Deliver packages locally to veterans
Make paracord bracelets as a service project
Organize a collection
The USO does so much for our troops. Their programs are valuable for those deployed, those returning, those injured, the fallen, and the families. Some of the ways to help are by donating financially, volunteering with them, or holding an event.
Locally, Vetstock, an organization dedicated to supporting our veteran troops, each year holds a multi day event in Milford and Matamoras, Pennsylania. Proceeds from the event go to Homes for Troops, to benefit disabled veterans. This year it will be held from July 11-13. Check out the jam packed schedule of events below. You can find all the details here.
Schedule of Events
Friday, July 11
10:03am: The Wall of Remembrance opens to the public at the Matamoras Veteran’s Memorial Park.
The wall will be available for viewing at any time until Sunday, July 13 at 4:00pm.
Admission is free of charge.
Saturday, July 12
6:00am: Breakfast will be served until 8am at the American Legion Post #139.
Admission to the breakfast is (tba).
8:46am: Motorcyclists in the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Memorial Ride will depart the Legion; traveling to the Matamoras Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Motorcyclists are required to contact Rich Diaz at [email protected]
8:46am: Bicyclists in the Tour De Force Memorial Ride will depart Action Bikes; traveling to Matamoras Veteran’s Memorial Park
Bicyclists are required to preregister by contacting [email protected].
8:46am: A ceremony will be held to honor fire departments, fire respondents, honor guards, color guards, military organizations and scouting groups.
If any groups are interested in participating in this ceremony, they are required to preregister by contacting [email protected].
If anyone would like to honor friends or family members who lost their lives during the War on Terror on September 11, 2001 and since, they can submit their names at the VIP section at the ceremony for a public recognition.
6:00pm: Vetstock Representatives will be selling raffle tickets for at the Malibu Dude Ranch Rodeo; they will have their own booth and will be hosting two raffles: a 50/50 and a gun raffle.
Admission to the rodeo is $15 for adults/$10 for children ages 5-12.
The gates open at 6pm; raffle winners will be announced at the end of the night.
Winners do not have to be present to claim their prize. For more information about the rodeo, visit www.malibududeranch.com
Sunday, July 13
12:00pm-4:00 or 6:00 pm: The American Legion and Vetstock are hosting a BBQ with live music from Reno The Band and a variety of food and vendors.
Admission to the BBQ is (tba).
4:00pm: A closing ceremony and prayer service will be held at the Wall of Remembrance at the Matamoras Veteran’s Memorial Park.