Lessons from a WWII Veteran: Student Response

Last week we were privileged and honored to host Metanoia guest speaker, Clayton Nattier (see photo above), World War II Air Force pilot, purple heart recipient and former POW. Mr. Nattier shared stories of his personal experiences leading his flight team, parachuting into enemy territory and enduring the hardships of life as a POW in a German prison camp. His compelling stories left an impression on Anastasis students. See some of their comments below:
Times are changing. It’s not before long when souls move on and their legacies remain. Thank you so much Clayton for sharing your inspirational story. I’m still amazed that I got to speak with a national treasure such as yourself. Your story showed me the dire importance of Bravery even when fear seems to crown itself, the importance of hope when the lights seem to fade away, and the power of love even when times seem as if they are out to destroy us. I encourage you to keep spreading your story and inspiring souls in this universe. Your story has made an impact on our world and an imprint on my heart.
Even with hardships I saw the amazing faith and positivity. The story that you shared with us is so special and heroic. It’s amazing to think that through trauma God has a plan for all of us. When you told the part of your story when you had to bail from your plane, I was astounded by your true bravery and courage. You have inspired me and I am so lucky to have heard your story. Thank you, Clayton, you are truly a national treasure. 
Thank you for teaching me something that I will never forget. Something that will not just be planted on my heart, but rooted in it. You taught me that when life is hard, God is good. That when life isn’t going how we planned, all we can do is put a smile on our face and believe. Believe that something will change. Believe that God isn’t a dictator or an enemy. He is a Father, our Father. “You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” You have taught me that it’s not just about how you have lived life, it’s about what you 
have learned from it. 
Thank you for serving in a hard war and wanting to do it again. Thank you for being vulnerable and talking about it. Thank you for sharing I learned that it helps to share your story so we can learn from it. Thank you for taking precious time out of your day. You are a great story. 
Clayton is truly an inspiration to this day. He had hope, faith, courage, and bravery in one of the most hardest times in history. Thank you so much Clayton for sharing your incredible story with us today. It is truely an honor to hear and see you to this day still living life to the fullest. Thank you for coming and serving your country.
Not many people will be able to say they have heard a story of a war hero. Today I was lucky enough to listen to Clayton’s story and how he protected our country. The most amazing thing ever to hear is that even though Clayton was a prison or of war, that he lost some great friends, that thousands of people died, he would do it all over again to protect our country. I would like to thank Clayton and all the veterans of World War Two for protecting myself and all the citizens of America. These veterans are treasures of the war that should 
never be forgotten.

Thank you, Mr. Clayton for everything you have done for our nation. I thank you for having served bravely with the love you have fueling your spirit. We are forever grateful to you for protecting our freedom and way of life, as well as protecting our independence. I thank you for that. I thank you for every act of love you have shared, and I thank you, most importantly, for never forgetting who you are.
Clayton was a brave and inspirational man. I loved hearing his story and that if he could change anything he wouldn’t. I loved hearing him talk about how he got to fly the airplanes and how much work that was. I took a lot away from this but something that I will remember for a long time is that he was brave and didn’t give up. Thank you Clayton for speaking to us and serving our country.
Clayton is a national treasure to many people. Not too many people are still alive today from WW II to show the new generation what true courage and bravery is. Thank you Clayton for sharing your story and being a primary source to all of us. My grandpa was a Colonel in the Army and hearing his stories was life changing and every single time I hear a story from experiences from war they all sound different in there own special way. Your faith and joy throughout your experience is inspiring to me to be more faithful and be brave. Thank you.
Clayton, thank you so much for all you have done for me and this country. Your really are a national treasure because there’s not many people left that are similar to you. I loved hearing your personal story and your experience in World War II. My favorite part on what you said was about how even in all that had happened to you, you still had hope. I think you were super brave to go and be apart of the war and you would still do it if you traveled back in time. 
May God bless you.  

Frankenstein Reflections #commentsforkids

Last week, Anastasis students finished reading Frankenstein and visited the Denver Center of Performing Arts to see the play. Below are some of their reflections.

We are all monsters underneath our bright and shiny flesh. When that monster is locked up, we can find love. When he is roaming free, all we know is hate. My monster struggles with hate, fear, and kindness. We can’t control the monster, the monster controls us. That monster is not a creature because of the hate that he contains in its cold hard heart. The monster has a heart, but it is frozen; paralyzed. Our monster knows us better than we do. That monster is the devil. No matter how perfect we may think we are, there is always something hidding, something buried that the devil is telling our hearts.    –Mak

Love can be like a wave, some days you love more than other days. How can we love when we are always the first to judge others by their apperance? I have times where I judge others by their apperance even though, I know it’s not right. I need to be aware and love on others. Why do we make fun of people who are different than us, when really we only see the 10% of them. Instead we should get to know their epic and love on one another. In Frankenstein all the creature ever wanted was to have someone love him. Even though he looked different than what society “normally” sees. “I am what Frankenstein and the world has made me.” (Shelley 73) One drop in the ocean can change the patterns in the water just like, people around us reflect and shape who we are. Lets reach out and put love into action. We all have love, even the creature that Frankenstein created had love, we just need to uncover where it is and release it into the world.    –Maddie 

I scrunch my face in digust because my eyes only latch upon the flesh. When the only thing my eyes have learned to feast upon is the cover of a book I miss out on beautiful story inside. My eyes have decieved me so I view people as monsters yet they are only creatures. They mean no harm. I learned that sometimes we must become blind to hear the heart. I seek beauty yet I act like a beast. I cast out others making them feel unloved, unwanted, and of no purpose. Yet sometimes I have felt as an outcast myself. A longing for contribution dwells within so when we are thrown out of society we become clueless we become consumed by fear. We are made to be in fellowship and we are made to love and be loved. I feel comfort when I am loved so I try contain it to myself. The world constantly tells me that if I’m comfortable there’s no point in leaving that state. I have learned that sometimes the hardest thing to do is love, but when we do… love becomes our hope for change. I must break from what my eyes want me to see. I must not see only from my eyes, but also from my heart.  –Macie

Love is the one gift that God has given us that can never be changed or taken away. Love is forever and hate is brief. All the creature wanted was to love someone, and for someone to love him in return. Our souls are not complete without love. The good news for us is that we are already so filled with love. The love from God will keep our souls healthy and living. “My heart is bad and black because of you Frankenstein, because you killed my only change at love”(The creature). Frankenstein, the play, was a show that I will never forget. It showed that our world cares so much of what others apprencence is that we don’t even look at what their true colors are. Then the more we neglect people the more their colors become duller and duller. Then once we start loving them and showing them what we were meant to do the colors will be reborn. We all need to be more aware of the one’s that feel unloved, the ones feel like an outsider. We were made to spread love in until the day our love becomes our final personal legend. –Angelina

Fear stops me at the surface, revenge is in my blood, pride corrupts me, I crave to be loved, I am Frankenstein, I am the creature. Humans are sinful creatures, some seen as monsters. There is no difference between Victor and his creation. Humans are both of them. I am both of them. When I feel like an outcast I mask my personality to fit in, I feel like a creature amongst the crowd of ‘normal’, so I change myself and become someone else. I drive past the homeless man on the corner of the street or the disabled person that looks different, yet I don’t have context, I don’t know what an amazing human they are and I won’t know because I just pass them. I desperately hate being the outcast, yet I glue them to that position. Why? Is it fear? Is it pride? Fear and pride pull me and I try, I really do try, to stick my heals in the ground and fight against them, but sometimes they succeed in dragging me away. When pride chokes me and slips into my mind I stop, I become someone God didn’t create me to be, I seek revenge against others, not for victory, but for my pride, my ego. ““I did it for science”“No, you did it for pride.”” (Frankenstein Play). We do things not even for accomplishing it, but for pride.  When fear tangles me in it depths I’m lost and I don’t fight back. We all create our own reality though. I do not have to fear, I do not have to seek pride, I do not have to ignore others, yet it’s so easy and “it’s what everyone else does”. I have a chance to take the other path, the path where God frees me. Then, I will look beneath the surface, I do not have to take revenge, I do not have to fear, and I am loved. I seek community, so often it’s there next to me, but my eyes are looking straight ahead. I must look to my side and be at the sides of others.  –Megan

Advent writings by Anastasis Jr. High

Team Fink reflections and writings about Advent


My eyes open yet I see pitch black,
My feet are planted yet my muscles never move.
You are holding my hand yet you never let go.
I tell you, “run” yet your hand squeezes harder.
I am left here in the dark with no hope in sight,
You stay with me even if you could take flight.
Love pushes every boundary I ever set,
Feet planted, eyes blinded,
You shield me from death.
My eyes do not seek you because your touch is the only thing I’ve ever felt.
Love pushes every boundary I ever set.
I crave your hopeful touch yet we never met.

Another day another dawn
Running from dawn to dusk
Is this really the end?
Trying to follow the movies’ trend?
Lonely another dawn, another day
Here I lay, on a stone
Our favorite spot everyday
The tragedy, for you and me
Under the moon I say
I will see you another day

“Love is when two people dress up, put on nice clothes, perfume, and smell each other.”
“Love is when a boy sees a hot girl, goes to talk to her, but he gets all nervous and sweaty.”
“Love is how women bring men to their knees.”
“Love is physical relationship.”
“Love is an abusive relationship.”
“Love is mindless”
“I love you mom”
That really doesn’t sound right. It’s the same word. Does it mean the same thing? Be genuine. Love is a word that’s used improperly more than any other. It should be a word of deep meaning. Instead it’s a simple description. Christmas time is a holiday about love. The roots of it all. The true meaning. Show that love during Christmas.

I provide you with a pinch of laughter when you are feeling down
I give you a smile when all you can do is frown
I am not temporary, but I stay in your heart forever
I bring community
I bind people together
You all have me in your heart somewhere…
Just dig deeper and you will find me there
I am like a fire
I thaw your heart and sustain your glow
Don’t hide me, but let me show
I can be in the dark but light up a room
Remember I am not found in what you consume
Listen to me, I am not here to annoy
Listen to me because I am joy

Here… I am standing here, wondering the worth of my life. I can’t seem to think, my head is a mess and my pants are a little too tight. It’s Christmas Eve, I’m in a store but everything doesn’t just feel that right. One girl, one boy taking things off the racks thinking of it as nothing more than a toy. So let me ask you is this what fills our hearts with joy.

Joy does not simply happen to us, we have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday. Think of day without smiling, laughing, hoping. Without joy we are numb at our hearts. Our minds would be frozen in time. Marianne Williamson says, ” joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good thing really are.” Joy can come from the simplest moments that you would never think of. Joy is not in things, it is in us.

My hands reach out to yours. But the wall between us is not made of breakable glass, but concrete. The wall has words on it. I see Hate and Fear on the wall. I cannot see you anymore. You have faded away. Gun shots. Sharpened knives. I look right and left but it is never-ending. When I look up, I see an eraser. I touch the wall and it crumbles. I see your hands and I hold them until they leave.

Oh my what is this
A wreckage of good bliss?
Not knowing if it’s true or not?
These people don’t seem like they have been taught
Is it my inner corruptedness
Or is it God showing me this
I see riots on the streets
Wondering if we need the navy fleets
I ask God what’s going on?
Without letting another bomb
We don’t know how this started or works
But by using peace we can solve the worst

Why are we always afraid of something? Is that what keeps us from having true peace? What if we had no fear? Is that what keeps us from having true peace? I think in order to have peace we have to have fear. We have to be afraid of something to find the peace in the midst of trouble.

Do not be afraid. Do not have fear. This is peace. Solitude to the soul, serenity in the spirit. This is peace. A calm state; a mysterious, wonderful harmony. Meditation of the mind. Love, joy, and hope through all. This is peace. I stand and the world collapses in front of me. Fear settles in the air and battle is about. I fall, scared, but a light covers my soul. The fear in me escapes, battle ends, and peace wraps me in it’s arms. It is finished. Now there is peace.

Peace is the absence of fear. Serenity, meditation. Our world is run by fear. We are always fearing something. But what if we could always be in peace. Fear is the only thing that we know how to do, but let’s bring peace into our world, let’s flip on that switch.

As I stroll through a snowy forest I look around and see snow trickling down onto the cold frosted ground. I listen to a chilly breeze that makes the snow-capped trees sway, and I hear in the breezy wind God whisper to me and say peace be with my child. I walk and hear the crunch of the half-frozen snow beneath my feet. The truly Serene area that we can find in this world of chaos is truly a time of peace and solitude. I listen one more time and hear nothing but a bird chirp in excitement, I look and see a winter wonderland.

My arms cradle him
This baby boy will free us from sin
He smiles at me so I smile back
Why shall a king be born in a shack
Lying serenely in a box of hay
This baby boy will never stray away
I look at my husband in awe
I see the star the shepherds saw
I give him a hug, a tender embrace
Before King Herod and his men start the chase

As I walk through the darkest valley, I see God everywhere. I see you, God, a light filling a room of darkness. I see you, a drop of water within a fire. I open my heart to you and see you everywhere. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Emmanuel, you are with us in the darkest times.

Do you forget how to pray?
How to be with God all day,
even when you are distracted
by noise, crowd, hurry. Repeat
this word. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Emmanuel.
God is with us. Emmanuel is a reminder
to the world. That no matter
what God is always with us.
In time of fear Emmanuel
In time of noise Emmanuel
In time of crowd Emmanuel
In time of hurry Emmanuel.
Emmanuel God is with us.

God is with us. He came to save us. He came to free us. Make us new and cleanse us. He wraps us in His tender love. Creates a reason to have joy.  Allows us to have peace and is the reason for hope. Emmanuel. While the world spits evil and doom into our life God brings us light through darkness and whispers, “I am with you.”. The one word that will keep us going. The stronghold and beautiful, incredible Christ. He was, is, and forever will be… Emmanuel. Rejoice he is always with us.

Musings from Team Fink

My feet trudged along the dusty path. Every once in a while, it felt like my feet would stop moving in sudden immediacy, and my journey would abruptly stop there. Every step my feet took me, I peered forward hoping to get a scent as to what lay ahead of me, but there lay a deep fog. I managed to see subtle blurs and predict what the fog may hold in store for me, but nothing was certain. At some times I couldn’t identify what was inches from my nose. I’ve walked this path thirteen years, and have revealed new experiences in the new fog, new people, and new places. Everyday I walk this path, unsure of what I may uncover in the fog ahead of me, the fog I like to call the Future. I may not know what is buried in this fog, but I know for certain that I’ll continue to walk into the fog although it may seem scary at times. Yes, I may sprain my ankle or I may have to replace my feet with a wheelchair at times. Every step is a brand new step, even though I may turn my head to see the footprints that I have already made. I believe that while every step may grow a little weaker and I will get older, I will want to stop my steps. The fog ahead of me may finally get into my head, but I look around me. I realize that I am not alone. Friends and family surround me looking deep into the fog just as I do. They give me a shoulder to wrap my arms around, and I do the same. Some may leave and walk into a new cloud of fog, and some’s path may stop there, but some stay right here with me. Sometimes I’ll look deeper in the fog and see a light. A light that somehow whispers through the darkness “Do not be afraid, for I will always be with you. I will walk the path step after step with you.” This light tells me to love how it loves me, to help as it has helped me, and to tell others about this light’s love and glory.  — Katie

A calm, starry night fell upon a small, but wealthy town. A girl with coarse hair and dark eyes sits on the porch of her small family home. “Any minute,” she says to herself. “He will come for me.” Sitting quietly, she gazes at the starry night sky. What felt like hours later for her, a dark, cloaked figure approaches the small girl. “Come,” he says, holding out his hand. She takes the hand of the figure and follows him, knees buckling and heart pounding. Down a steep rocky road they go, into the beyond. As they approached the portal and stepped in, she finds a world much different from what she expected. She was aching with pain. All around her was fire, death, war, hatred. The child exclaims at the figure, “You promised me a world. A world that I would love. A utopia!” She collapses with anger. The figure darkly chuckled and spoke. “A utopia, huh? Didn’t you know your world was a utopia? People loved you, cared for you. You had everything you could ever want. Love. You traded everything you had for another world. The world you had was created as a utopia!” The girl wailed. The figure removed the cloak that covered his face. Underneath the cloth was a tortured, lonely face. “I was just like you,” he started. “I was in the clouds. I was loved, I had anything I could ever want, but I wanted more. A utopia. I gave up all I had just to have more. And guess what I got? Nothing. A greedy one, I was, and you, the same, but you will learn your lesson. Just as I did. You had a utopia, you just did not see it. You were loved!” He screamed at the girl. Then the tortured figure disappeared, leaving the child in the twisted world of hatred.  — Izzy

I see it, coming for me out of the darkness. As it comes towards me time slows, my brain which was until now seemingly dysfunctional, abruptly starts. I move out-of-the-way, behind me where I was standing seconds ago a long black shaft sticks of the thick concrete wall, inches from my face. I start running, my survival instincts take over. Every few seconds I hear methodical thunk noises which I perceive to be arrows. I hear him, the man yelling out in the darkness. “I will break you!” I sprint forward, every bone in my body aching. I find my target in the inky darkness. I jump, lashing out with the last of my strength. As my clenched fist connects with the figure I yell. “I’ve been broken before!”  — Jacob

A string of laughter
A string of laughter vividly bouncing on each and every stone. Flying throw the pink peddle trees. It comes from a little girl in a white dress. She is sitting on a rope swing. With her long black hair in a braid. She sits there laughing at the way the crystal blue water moves in the stream. At the way the purple flower peddles blow away in the wind. A little boy in all black sitting with his white hair all in his face. He comes out of the darkness into the light as the darkness slowly drips of his body as he turns white. laughter flows into his body as life forms the earth. The boy went to go sit with the girl on the swing. When the boy sat the girl turned into a red string. When the boy touched the string the laugh of the girl would fill the air. The boy would then stand up and walk away. When the boy returned to the swing, he wished the girl was still there with him.  Every year the boy would bring back the string, and ever year he would get older. Now as a grown man he lives his life in a small apartment in a small city not to far away from the swing. He live his gray life, boring and simple. Every day after work the man goes to his apartment. That is gray, black, and white with only one red room In the red room is all his art, all his art from his hole life. In every painting, drawing, picture was the girl.  He would always paint her back, he would never painted her face. His son would sometimes come by to say hey. The son would always ask why you can see her face? The man would always say ”you’ll see” on the last day the son father would ever see him again, the son said why can you see her face? the man would say this one more time, but this time it would be different. This time he would say, ” it’s not for you too see.”In the last year of his life he brings his grandson to the little old swing where the girl once sat. He tied the now light pink string to his grandson’s finger and asks him “what do you hear?” The grandson says, ” I hear nothing.” The grandfather smiles. — Hope

Broken, broken is a thing that happens to us
mentally and physically. Well I am not talking about getting cut or broken bones. I am talking about be broken mentally. How we get broken mentally It doesn’t just last 8 weeks like a broken bone. It can last a longer time and it can hurt more than getting physically hurt. We can change that broken thought but we are so caught  up in this human mind-set were we just pout and mope about it. Instead of that we can fix that thought. This broken thought that always try’s to find its way into our head. And most of the time we believe that broken thought. We always can turn to God for help. And if we can overcome that broken thought the gift you had in the beginning is even greater in the end. “Amen”. — Coben

A journey is like an adventure…
My family loves to travel around the world. We enjoy to learn about God and to have excitement in different cities. You might know me a football player, but I also love to hunt. One day I hope to travel to South Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand to hunt and explore the world. I think of traveling to a place to learn about religion or serving others. Music is a big part of culture and religion. My family was in Israel for two weeks experiencing  culture, religion, and most importantly God. One night my dad and I went into old city Jerusalem to listened to different kinds of music. We stayed up way too late. It was a memory I’ll never forget. journey is experiencing exotic places and food. that can be our perspective of journey, but maybe it is having a journey in faith and with God. We can have a journey with Christ in many ways.  Praying, listening to God, and doing what he says are all ways we relate to Him. Going to Israel was a huge change for me because I got to experience the holy land. I got a better perspective of his land, His people, and his love through traveling to this special country. — Josh

😄A String of Laughter😄
One web of emotions. Tangled in my mind. Every day one string of my web is picked out and untangled from it.  After it is gone the spider finds room to spin another string of that emotion and keep it there tangled like headphones after you stuff them in your pocket. After funny story, a fun day with my closest friends, that one string that is so strong it never breaks, so long it never runs out. The one string of the web that the spider lives for. The one string it never has to spin again. What emotion and string it loves the most. The string that keeps you alive and rich in spirit. It’s my string of laughter. — Angelina

Lord of the Flies
Boys some were in this world searching for something that’s inside of them. The hot star with creepers following them though out this world. They call something that lives with them a beast something following their tracks something that has thirst for fear but they don’t know it’s them. The beast tests Them with fear and the head of fear scares Them to the point were the live on savageness the fear picks Them out like Vultures picking Them bit by bit. If lonely they let the beast go. — Mason

Some things are broken, but do all things broken have to be bad? Broken can be beautiful. A picture of broken glass can be amazing and sometimes we just have to go through hard, broken times to see beauty. The oyster got sand in his shell, yet he didn’t sit there, being lazy, having a broken time, but he tried to improve it and it turned into a pearl. I think of broken as an item that is destroyed. Instead it is really something that seems bad at the time, but later can turn into something wonderful. Some days will be broken, but it can make good days even better. So do all things broken have to be bad? Well if your asking me the answer is no, because some of the broken days or items are the most fantastic. Vance Havner once said, “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength.” This is incredible because it proves that broken items are actually giving. Broken can be beautiful. — Megan

We as humans strive for perfection and we always say ” If we could change these couple of things it would be perfect, the world would be different, we could be happy for once”. However we are never fulfilled and or selfish, greedy human nature is always wanting more and putting ourselves ahead. We think if we were the king we would do things right, people say communism could be done right if they were in charge, but power corrupts the soul and is never not abused. Power makes us even more greedy and we crave more and start thinking differently, but for the worse. The lie we tell ourselves, the lie the world tells us, the lies of politicians and the lies of media. What becomes better, what fixes the world will fall apart, from the top of the world, from the mightiest of empires comes destruction and all things will fall. The idea of a perfect world is completely unreachable and will only cause conflict, more fighting, unrest, and what may eventually lead to utter and complete destruction. The nature of man, the sin at our core, cannot allow for perfection. We always crave more than others no matter how holy we may seem. From the days we were born we’ve been crying and craving and being selfish. Our human nature will always want more than others, it will always want to be a step ahead of everybody else. It cannot agree with equality and a world that is completely fair. Evil is in this world and we cannot get rid of it. It’s always there and it will always be urging our sinful human nature on. A perfect world in fact might turn into an even bigger catastrophe than what we started out as and the mightiest societies may fall because of the root of evil within. We cannot bring heaven to earth. The only perfect world is not of this earth and it will always be the only home to holiness and true perfection. We who crave perfection so much are the reason it can’t exist. Mankind is sinful. Mankind cannot create perfection. Things will not get better. I’m sorry to say they will not. We may improve and be strong at times. But we will fall apart and start over again. It won’t improve. The world starts and grows and starts again and grows but every time it falls apart and we get more selfish and corrupted. We may not see it but we are not aware. We say make a change and we don’t do anything. What appears perfect is flawed. In a perfect world do you need equality? Should all things be fair? Are people allowed to be rich? To make a fully perfect world so many things would have to exist in a way that is impossible to create on earth. The world will never be perfect, we will never have Utopia. What we can do to improve the world might not be within government of anything like that but stepping down and making small changes that improve people’s lives. What can we do? The world is sinful and there is a perfect world waiting for us but what we do shouldn’t be fixing the world itself but changing people’s lives and the small things.  — Joseph