As I have written many times, my hubby is a retired Navy man.  He served for almost 21 years and it was a great part of our life together.  I stood by and watched him re-enlist many times and each time I felt such pride well up in me.  There is just something about watching someone raise their hand and promise to protect and defend you.  It is a remarkable thing to experience.

Yesterday hubby and I drove over to Atlanta, GA.   We spent the night there in anticipation of seeing our son-in-law re-enlist in the Navy.  He had the opportunity to do this at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA.

This morning we gathered at the aquarium to witness this ceremony.  He was going to re-enlist underwater.  His family gathered together as well as several of his peers who came up from the Navy Dive school.

The entire experience was remarkable.  The facility is the best aquarium I have seen, and I have visited many aquariums.  This is a beautiful place to visit.  If you are ever in the area, go, you won’t be disappointed.

We were given instructions as to the time of the ceremony and at the appointed time we went to a viewing area to see the divers swim into view.  We waved to our son-in-law and took pictures, it was all very exciting.   Then the divers made their way to the area where the re-enlistment ceremony was to take place.

We went into this gallery area that overlooked a large tank filled with fish and sharks and sting rays.  The view was breath-taking.  Then in the distance we saw the divers appear.  This moment took my breath away.  You could see the bubbles from the divers and then you saw these men swimming towards you.  What spoke to me the most is that these men do this for a living.  They do this for this country.  My heart swelled with pride in seeing them in this tank.  These are the heroes of our country.  They protect us on land and in the sea, literally.   Tears fell down my face as I saw these young men having a great time.  The contrast of seeing these men among the fish in that tank.  It was all lit up and you could see everything going on in there, but, these men do this when there is no lit tank and the fish are not used to seeing people in their domain.  They have a dangerous job and they do it willingly.

After a staff member introduced the divers to those assembled in this gallery, our son-in-law took his place along with one of his commanding officers.  They stood at attention and because they were equipped with audio equipment we sat and watched as our son-in-law raised his hand and swore an oath to protect and defend this country.   He did this willingly and without hesitation.  I watched as my daughter, who has been to many of these ceremonies in her life,  beamed with pride as she watched her husband repeat the same words she heard her father say.   We cheered and applauded as he concluded his oath and then stood with pride and tears as a staff member sang our National Anthem.

The day was one that will be etched in my memories.  I am a flag-waving person.  I love my country, but today, I was reminded once more how deep that pride of our country and our military is in me.

For those who have never heard the words of re-enlistment here it is.  Men and women freely and proudly speak these words daily.

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlisted):

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

Congratulations dear son-in-law, thank you for your service that you give so freely.  Thank you for allowing us to share in this special day.

Thank you for stopping by my blog,  Cathi (DAF)


4th of July…

As I  have gone through my Facebook page several times today, I have read all the wishes for a Happy 4th of July.  I have read blogs talking about this wonderful country and there is a part of me that wants to stand up today, hoist a flag and cheer for our beloved country.  I am certain I would only be one of several million today to feel that way.

Three things I have read today have made a deep impression in my heart.  One was a statement by a dear friend on Facebook.  It simply said, “Why are there no knock-knock jokes about America?  Because Freedom rings.”  I knew he would come up with something so humorous but simply stated, true.

Another was a video posted by  good friend who is currently serving our country in the U.S. Navy.  It was a Navy video of the navy’s version of fireworksIt is a great video for me, being a retired navy wife.

The third post that truly spoke to me today was from a fellow blogger,  athingirl.com.  Here is her post today.

Today there will be picnics everywhere.  Families will be together.  Friends will gather to celebrate.  Fireworks, sparklers, poppers will burst forth in bright lights.  Patriotic songs will be heard and tears of gratitude will be shed.

Today I am doing ordinary things.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Walking the dog.  Nothing spectacular, nothing special.  But, I am thrilled about this.  I am thrilled because I CAN do the ordinary on an extraordinary day.  I can have a normal day because of those who risk their lives, who suffer separation from loved ones, who go without so I can be ordinary.

I am proud of my country.  I am a flag-waver.  I am like this 365 days a year, I confess.  But, because of the bravery of a handful of men in the beginning of a new country I can be like I am.  Those men who signed that Declaration so many years ago, standing firm in the face of grave danger and imprisonment, admitting that they were the ones who were determined to start this country, I can be ordinary.

To those who are fighting today to keep me free, thank you.  To those who served while there was no major battles, but still did dangerous things, I am proud to have been a small part of keeping the home fires burning.

Yes, today is a day of celebration, I hope you enjoy each moment of this day.  I also hope that tomorrow you continue to remember what a great country we live in.  DAF

I am a flag-waver…

You know how you have friends on Facebook that are friends only because you know them and have spent some time with them, but are more acquaintances than friends?  These are the people you schedule to only read when you want to read.  I have my Facebook page divided into sections, from people we met while dear hubby was serving this country, to people who we know from San Diego, to people we know here in the low-country, and then of course, there are family members.

Today someone who fits into the division of those from San Diego posted not to wish him a happy 4th of July because every country in the world has a 4th of July.  This is a true statement.  I could not argue that point.  He went on to comment on the sad state of affairs in this country.  I read and went on.  But, I also returned to this comment.  I had to.  I could not ignore it like I ignore most of their comments.  I could not pass it off as youthfulness, as inexperience.

This is what I wrote back: “That is true that every country has a 4th of July…. BUT…. not every country declared their independence on this day.  Yes, we can celebrate Independence Day, or we can celebrate America’s Birthday….  Anyway you say it, it is July 4th our birthday celebration, our declaration of Independence Day… it is a time to honor our beginnings, to remember the privilege of living in this country.  You do not realize the joy, the honor of living here until you have lived in other countries.  Then you know that you know that  you know what our flag stands for.  What our country is.  So, I proudly say to you Happy 4th of July and know that although this day is the same day throughout the world, Happy 4th of July is something only we, as Americans, can say to one another, and say it with joy and celebration.”

You see, I am a chronic flag waver.  I confess that.  I openly own that I love my country.  I try to impress upon those in this country who are not flag wavers, the privilege of being one.    It is part of my make up.  I cannot help myself.  I cry like a baby when I hear our national anthem.  I cry at parades.  I will cry tonight when I see fireworks.  My heart is full on this day.  This is a day when I do not pay attention to the current state of affairs.  I think of our beginnings.  I think of our military who has given and continues to give so freely so that we may fly our flags on this day.

When we were getting ready to be stationed overseas for three years, someone told hubby and I that when we returned we would never look at  America the same way.  That is all they said.  I didn’t understand the comment.  I did not know what they meant.

We lived overseas for three years.  Each year, on this day, I was so very homesick.  We had the flag, we had our hot dogs and hamburgers.  We even had potato salad and baked beans.  We had the trappings of this day.   But, we were on foreign soil.  Yes, it was beautiful soil, but it was not our land.

Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ said it best, “There is no place like home.”    There is no place like home.  So, on this day, I wish my fellow countrymen, Happy 4th of July!

I thank you for stopping by today and end with a quote, ” Where liberty dwells, there is my country”.  ~Benjamin Franklin


Happy Birthday to my country

The fireworks are already beginning here.  I was leaving the market and putting groceries in my car when I heard a whoosh and the sky exploded with bright colors.  After retrieving my skin from which I had jumped out of, I smiled.

We lived in a county for several years that did not allow fireworks.  They were illegal for good reason since it was basically a desert and firestorms are not fun.  This county allows fireworks, there are stands selling them on each block and in each parking lot.  I love seeing the sky light up in celebration. 

In 1976, my dear hubby and I were sent overseas for his military duty.  It was the bicentennial of our country.  A part of me was saddened that we would not be here to celebrate this wonderful birth date of our country.  We were in Japan.  On July 3rd of 1976 a typhoon hugged the coast and it poured.  I had never experienced a typhoon at that point.  The base was having a celebration with USO concerts and there was a big flea market with local vendors.  There was also a big parade planned.  We lived about 15 minutes from the base and so we planned on attending all of the festivities. 

The fourth arrived and it was cold.  I literally wore my winter coat on the 4th of July.  I will never forget standing, watching the parade.  Winter coat on, and water up to my ankles and still coming down.  It was wonderful.  It was America, it was home. 

We attended some of the concerts until we were so wet we couldn’t stand it any more and then we went home.  Obviously, with the rain and the wind, the fireworks were cancelled for that night.  But, somehow, it didn’t matter.  We had gathered with other people, all a bit homesick and we made a celebration. 

A couple weeks later the fireworks were set off.  They were the most incredible fireworks I have ever seen.  This country of Japan did all they could to gift the residents of the base with a celebration worthy of a bicentennial birthday.  There was a firework birthday cake with candles on it.  There was a statue of liberty in fireworks, there were red, white and blue fireworks galore.  The show lasted for over an hour.  The Navy band played every patriotic song ever written.  It was memorable. 

Before my hubby and I left for our tour of duty overseas, someone told us that our feeling about our country would change.  That is all they said.  I didn’t understand at that time what they meant.  I began to understand on our first fourth of July celebration there.  It was a stirring in our hearts that occurred. We love the country of Japan. It is part of our hearts.  We miss so much about it.  Living there, though, made us realize the deep, unwavering love we have for our America. We became flag wavers there.  We love our red, white, and blue.  I sob when I hear our national anthem.  I do the same when I hear any other song depicting our country.  So, today, I want to say, “Thank you” to our Lord for giving us this land.  A “Thank you” to our founding fathers, they braved so much to create the foundation of this country.  They gave us the right to disagree with one another on issues, and the right to say what we believe and think.  We are a blessed country and I, for one, am so grateful for it.   Happy Birthday America. 

Thanks for stopping by, DAF


Under the quiet

A few days ago I posted a picture of the pond in my back yard.  The caption for the picture was from Psalm 23.  I would like to share a bit of background for the scripture, if you don’t mind.

A few years ago when we were in the process of moving after being in one place for almost 27 years, a feat unknown to many military families, I was pretty exhausted.  We drove across this great country of ours and it gave us time to reconnect as my dear hubby had commuted from one coast to the other for the previous eighteen months.  He would fly out on a Sunday morning and return on Friday evening.  Saturday was given to laundry and catch up and switching out dry cleaning.  Some times he was able to stay in one place for a couple of weeks and then back again to the hectic commute.  We were both tired.

Anyhow, as we were driving through the beautiful state of Arizona heading up the mountains outside of Phoenix, I started to think and pray.  I was complaining to the Lord about my tiredness and lamenting that it would be a long while until I could once more enjoy the red rock of the mountains.  What came into mind was part of Psalm 23, “I will lead you beside still waters and I will restore your soul.”  Just thinking on that made me relax and start to enjoy our adventure.

A week later we found ourselves in our new home.  We got here at night and I knew that there was a pond in the back yard, but given the fact I am almost totally blind in the dark, I did not see it.  The next morning I come down the steps and see out the window a beautiful little pond.  It is as still as anything I had ever seen up to that point.  The water lay in the pond, glistening in the morning sun.  The reeds surrounding the far side of the pond reflected in it.  I smiled to myself and again the verse in Psalm 23 came to mind.  This was my still water.

It took a few days for me to actually approach the pond.  First, there were a mountain of boxes that needed unpacked and then there was the alligators that I had heard about in the low country where we are.  Eventually as I sat in my kitchen looking out back I saw a fish jump.  It jumped across the pond, up, out, down, up, out, down.  It was incredible!  I had never seen jumping fish in a pond.

Taking my dear puppy out on a leash, we approached the edge of the pond.  There were guppies and little crabs and an occasional turtle living in the pond.  The shallow part is teaming with life.  Mud wasps enjoy a perfect environment there.

That is life in pond, outside and occasionally in the pond are ducks, geese, herons and I have seen the occasional hawk come swooping in for a meal of a fish and, unfortunately a duckling.   It is an incredible lesson in nature that I daily get to witness.

A couple of years ago during a thunderstorm we were looking out the window watching the lightning.  There in the yard was a shadow.  The more we looked at the shadow the more we realized it wasn’t just a shadow.  It was an alligator!  We went out to the deck to get a closer look at this majestic creature.  We turned on the porch light and my hubby grabbed a large flashlight so we could get a good look at him.  You would think we would grab a camera, but, no, we didn’t think of that!  There in the yard, was a beautiful alligator about six and half feet long.  I thought I would be panic-stricken and fearful, but instead I was in awe.  He was magnificent.  We stood looking at him for a couple of minutes and then, tired of having lights shining on him, he raised his head and in one felt swoop, flopped himself back into the pond where he swam around for the rest of the night.

Since then, we have not had the privilege of seeing another gator.  We have seen the occasional snake swim across from one side to the other, but nothing as breathtaking as our friend, Al.  (Yes, I tend to name creatures, it makes them more like family)

What I have learned in the process of living near this still pond is that still does not mean stagnant.  Under the quiet and the stillness there can be an abundance of life.  I look to the pond and marvel at the lessons it holds for me.  I am a work in progress.  I have thought most of my adult life that to be productive you have to be rushing.  I am learning that in stillness there can be a lot more going on and it doesn’t take as much energy.

Here are some pictures of my pond and thank you for stopping by, I so appreciate your visits, DAF

Thank you Mr. White

Having read a couple of posts about Memorial Day (which is this weekend), I began to think about this holiday and how it affects me.

Several weeks ago I was blessed reading a post about the Australian/New Zealand Memorial Day celebration.  I cried through the post and was thankful for those brave men who served their country so honorably. Thank you http://raisingthecurtain.net

I am married to a veteran of the military.  We served together for almost 21 years.  Actually, he was the one to deploy and do the difficult things, while my difficulty was in just keeping the home fires burning.  This is not what was brought to mind to me today as I thought about Memorial Day.

As a child our hometown would have Memorial Day services at a local cemetery.  There would be members of the VFW(Veterans of Foreign War) and veterans who were not members of this group.  There would be a ceremony with our flag and a small gun salute to honor those who had fallen in war.  Each year my Dad would walk with my sisters and me to this cemetery.  He would not say much, but was somber while walking.  We would climb the hill by the ceremony site.  He would instruct us to find a place to sit and be still.  We did not have to be told to be quiet, that was a given.  Each year we would find a large tombstone and gently sit upon it, otherwise we could not see what was going on in front of us.

Dear Mr. White gave us a foundation (literally) to start our knowledge of Memorial Day.  He allowed us to see what was going on.  We were able to see those old people reverently carry out the service.  I don’t remember if he was a veteran or even if his name was White, but I know there was a certain tombstone of a gentleman who lent us his marker to view a part of history.

I am thankful for those who have served.  I am grateful to my Dad and my uncles, all who served during the last Great War.  Their numbers are dwindling, with them, their stories.  Soon all that will be left are dusty records in libraries.  This weekend, I think of them all and am grateful for their service and sacrifice.