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I AM

ADVENTURE

COURAGE

PEACE

THE EPISCOPAL VETERANS FELLOWSHIP

CREATE YOUR STORY with ELIZABETH DECKER

Brandy Carpenter, Robert Goodacre, Dwight A. Gray, Tony Hathaway, Frank Hutchison, William Livingood,  David Peters, Bill Smith, and Lynn Smith-Henry

I Am (Hypervigilance)

I am returning to a civilized world

I no longer recognize.

Eight years go

to the night we toasted our brothers

beneath a mortar streaked sky –

too tired to run for shelter, too comforted

in the fire of a makeshift grill, too much

feeling as if the others should be here.

I am in a safe community of strangers

each one known by the chirp

of a car alarm, the slam of a door.

In the absence of danger we’re creating

our own fear.

I am trying

to wring stories out of a dry brain,

some by folks not here to tell them.

I am over the desire to look

for what’s falling from the sky,

but I am wondering if I shouldn’t be.

D.A. Gray, 2016

Adventure (Getting Back Up)

Before I’ve even taken a step
the legs become rubber.

It seems like hours, standing
atop Elk Mountain waiting

for the strength to come back.
Light begins to shape the prairie,

granite rock emerges,
as do bison grazing in a field

of Indian paintbrush.
Nearby, a lizard scampers out
on the ledge. My eyes still

focusing, I’m reduced
to hearing its soft feet clambering,

to forgetting ever falling. For a second
I can walk anywhere.

Dwight A. Gray

Courage

Dear Liberty and Future Adopted Children,

Courage, easier said than done.

To be courageous is to be different.

To be courageous is to stand firm in your beliefs but also be able to grow and not be scared to reshape your beliefs.

To be courageous, you must stand up for those who can’t.

To be courageous, you must love unconditionally, knowing great pain may come with such freeness of love given.

To be courageous, you must dance to the beat of your drum–not everyone else’s.

To be courageous, you must befriend others.

To be courageous, you must be comfortable with the philosophy,
SEE ONE, DO ONE, TEACH ONE.

To be courageous, you must learn to admit to your mistakes no matter how painful the consequences may be.

To be courageous, you must push past what you perceive is your potential to actually unlock your destiny.

To be courageous, be yourself–first and always. Make your own path. Be your own persona. Be YOU.

Love, Mom

Brandy Carpenter

Courage (Recovery)

To my younger self: At this point
you’re still standing at the edge
of a sinkhole that’s been slowly
swallowing the ground, that’s become
the landfill for what won’t burn. You,

if you repeat this pattern,

will have your first drink
in a few more hours. You may think
you can escape. It will take years
to realize, no matter how much
trash you toss in this sunken place,
it will never fill. You can see

the trash of past lives,

truck parts, scrap metal,
all starting to rust, all which will still
be here at the end of this bender
and every one that follows.

Dwight A. Gray

COURAGE is at the core and heart, spirit and soul of every part of my being.
As a child I had to overcome fear and develop physical courage to stand up to bullies.
In college I developed mental courage to challenge ideas that were not right.
In my 33 year military career I learned to combine physical and mental courage with moral and spiritual courage.
As a commander I had to show other my faith in people and my beliefs and core values in my decisions and actions when it would have been easier to follow the crowd.
Our life journey is finding who we really are at our core–we grow most when we show physical, mental, moral and spiritual courage–and they all make a real difference.

Bill Smith

Peace (Finding it Amid Chaos)
On the cold tile floor, too stiff for crossing
legs, I’m counting, inhaling, pulling
the room in and waiting for the discomfort
to fade.
Six seconds since the last stray thought.

The first thought was money, the second
a sharp word I hadn’t heard in years.
Memory burns like a fire on the horizon.

Peace comes when I push the air,
and every negative thought, out.
Emptiness. I’m learning to let them pass,
the sirens at the traffic light,
last night’s argument, things
I can not change–all passing through.

Dwight A. Gray

Peace

We have seen good times
We have seen bad
We have seen wartime
At times we are glad

The Peace that we desire
I wore on my boots
To remind me of their sacrifice
To remind me of why I serve

These brave soldiers sought Peace
Stared evil in the eyes
Put us before themselves
The enemy took their life

I hope that their sacrifice
Will one day bring peace
For now I honor their gift
To an undeserving person like me.

Brandy Carpenter


episcopal-veterans-fellowship


The EVF Facebook Feed
2 days ago
The Front Porch

We're thankful for how the Front Porch has helped veterans tell their story over the years.

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4 days ago
Timeline Photos

Daily Encouraging plaque

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4 days ago
Timeline Photos

Encouraging Plaque of the Day:

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6 days ago
Timeline Photos

Plaque of the Day!

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6 days ago
Code VI Coffee

We're excited to announce that Code VI Coffee is now available!! 50% of profits from your purchases go directly to Code VI Veteran Integration to assist and support Veterans + Families in healing ... See more

Code VI Coffee is live NOW!! Go to www.codevicoffee.com or click the "Shop Now" button on our FB page to buy coffee and support the growth & healing of Veterans & Families! (50% of our profits ... See more

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1 week ago
Timeline Photos

We are thankful for the EVF folks who furnished this chapel. The altar was a gift from St. Christopher's in Killeen. Thanks for making this a place of peace in the midst of the VA hospital.

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1 week ago
Timeline Photos

We give thanks for Air Force veteran Christian Hawley who brought this project to life! Thanks to all who helped. It's amazing to see in person.

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1 week ago
Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in South Carolina

Yesterday, at the principal Sunday Eucharist of Saint James' Episcopal Church, Warrenton, Jeffrey Neal Stevenson became the newest member of the Hospitallers of Saint Martin (HoSM). HoSM is a sister ... See more

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1 week ago
Jeffery Stevenson - Order of The Hospitallers of St. Martin

We are so happy to announce our newest member of our new monastic Christian Community for veterans ministry, Brother Jeff!! Check us out here: http://episcopalveteransfellowship.org/the-hospitallers/

Seminarian Jeffery Stevenson takes his vows as a brother of the Order of The Hospitallers of St. Martin, A New Monastic Christian Community for Veterans Mini...

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1 week ago
I Am Waters Foundation

Beautiful

"So many times I felt overlooked by society and forgotten, but when I was given a meal and cool I Am Waters, I knew I hadn't been forgotten."
Stephen, Veteran
Dallas LIFE

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