Michael…

I haven’t been on my blog or reading other blogs for about a week now.  I don’t know what has been written about the hurricane and so I have been hesitant to write about it myself.

We had the remnants of the hurricane pass through our area, we were on the western edge, so to us, the storm was no different from a good winter type storm. Some wind, rain and a few small branches laying in the yard.

Our daughter’s family lives in Panama City Beach, had Michael not veered slightly to the east, she would have been in the direct path.   As it was, she did not receive as much damage as expected, for which we are so grateful.

What has prompted me to write is this, although the initial reports were wonderful, like most things in life, when the dust settles and the air is clear things appear that at first glance were overlooked.  Such was the case with family there.   They are still so much farther ahead than  others and they are so thankful and know they are blessed, but they still have some obstacles to overcome.

They have learned a few lessons so far in this process and by default,  I am learning them too. I am so proud of my daughter and son-in-law.  They give.  They give of themselves, their time, their belongings.  I am looking at my home in a fresh way this week.  I am looking at what is in my home in a new way.  This storm has touched my life.   I know there have been other storms, and I am not diminishing those in any way, this one was more personal.  When things are personalized they take on greater meaning.  I have joked in the past that I do like the hurricane seasons because my kids, who are both in hurricane prone areas, come to visit.  Yes, that is wonderful, and I do love those times, but this time the kids did not come home.   They made the intelligent decision to go a bit further west and found safety from the storm and had a few days of sun.

Coming home to what they did, they took nothing for granted.  They have power and cell coverage.  They no longer just turn on a switch and expect the lights to come on.  The lights are a blessing.  Their cell carrier who is usually complained about is now a wonderful treat.  They are sharing their phones with others, so things can be accomplished and loved ones can hear a voice and feel reassured.

It’s the little things that are usually taken for granted that have opened their (and my) eyes to the blessing they are.  The photos do not do justice to the area.  Their neighborhood is being cleared, but the damage is great.  There is a bridge that connects Panama City Beach to Panama City.  My daughter said that the damage on her side of the bridge takes your breath away in the magnitude, but, she said compared to the other side of the bridge they are very fortunate.

I have shared this to encourage whoever is reading to pray for those in the path of Michael.  There are some who are still struggling with the effects of Florence who  were hit once more with this last storm.  As  news stories come and go, we tend to forget those major headlines from a week ago.  The headlines may fade, but the damage does not go away as quickly.

Thank you for stopping by today.  DAF (Cathi)

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Just…WOW!…

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)