A Tradition Based on Love

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
~Lydia Maria Child

There is nothing more I love than getting together with my children and grandchildren. We have a tradition at holidays. As we welcome family from near and far,  we set an extra plate at our table to remind us of our troops unable to be home with their families and friends during the holidays.

Amidst the baking of pumpkin muffins, the mashing of potatoes, and the basting of the turkey, remember not only to count your blessings, but remember those that are serving and protecting us.Thank God for these brave men and women and all the freedoms we have. May God bless our servicemen and woman, our veterans, and our families and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The Little Ring from the Coast Guard Academy

At the Coast Guard Academy, there is a tradition of ordering the ‘little ring’ to be given to the woman in the cadet’s life, whether it is their mother, grandmother, or girlfriend. The little ring is a smaller version of the class ring that cadets can order in their 3rd class year. On one side of a center stone is an eagle with the Coast Guard crest and on the other side is the cadet’s class crest. My brother gave his little ring to our mother, choosing her favorite stone, turquoise.

As I have gotten older, I have realized how much of an impact my brother has had in my life. When I was a child, he was just the older brother that I bugged, tagging along after, getting in his way. I didn’t realize then how much he impacted my thought and decision-making process. My brother once told me, “To be early is on time, to be on time is late, and to be late is to be in deep trouble.” I have never forgotten it and I am early to things as often as I can be.

There are times when I am unsure and confused and I talk to my brother, asking his opinion and advice. My brother, now a Coast Guard Academy graduate is stationed in Alaska with his wife, who is also an Academy graduate. For the past year, I have been dating someone, who happens to be a Coast Guard Academy graduate as well. It is very important to me that my boyfriend and my brother meet.

I am an independent woman, working my way through the beginning of my life, but there are days that I really miss my brother. I can honestly say that if it were not for him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Because of all that, I said yes without any hesitation when my mother offered to let me wear the little ring. Now, I always have something with me to remind me of my brother.

Carol Dooley, my guest columnist is a college student born and raised in the Midwest. She is currently working on a history major with a minor in museum studies. She gives a nod to her Dad for that interest, as he has always been a military history enthusiast.  Family means everything to Carol and she is a stronger person because of the mutual support that exists in her family.

Thank you Carol for sharing your wonderful story. Many blessings to you , your boyfriend, and  your family as you continue on your journey in life.

Dog Cries for Joy

Hank all dressed up for Halloween.

Not only human family members miss our deployed troops. This sweet video shows a dog crying for joy when reunited with its owner, who just returned from a year long deployment. (Look for the sign in the video.)

In Love You More Than You Know, Mary is the author of the story “My Heart and Hank”.  Mary tells how she  took care of her deployed soldier’s dog, Hank. ” The last time my son was on leave, Hank ran up to him and licked him frantically and never left his side. It was obvious there was a bond between them that would never change. No orders, deployments, distance, or even the enemy can ever change the fact that Hank sits and waits until his master comes home.”

What Our Soldiers Do For Us

My friend, Angela told me a story. She attended a funeral last week. The man that passed away had a son that was deployed. This soldier was unable to make it home for his father’s funeral.

The pastor held a cell phone in his hand. He said, “This might seem strange to conduct a prayer service holding a cell phone.” The deployed soldier was on the line and was able to hear his father’s funeral service.  Angela said, “You could hear this young man say amen and follow along with the prayers.”

Because he was deployed and protecting us, this soldier was unable to attend his father’s funeral.  God bless him and his family.  We are blessed by the sacrifices made everyday by our troops and their families.

Pause and Give Tribute at 3 PM Local Time

Please join me in a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. Carmella Laspada, the founder of No Greater Love, asks us all to pause and remember our American heroes. We owe our American way of life to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

The National Moment of Remembrance, initiated by NGL in 1997, and officially established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

Women Left Waiting Review

Jessica from Sugar in My Grits is hosting the Women Left Waiting event and said this about Love You More Than You Know:

I finished the book last night. Loved it! All of the stories were wonderful and being an Army Wife, I still took plenty away from each. There are stories that make you shed tears and moments that will leave you almost breathless.

I highly recommend it to anyone who has someone close to them deployed. I would also like to recommend it to anyone who works with, lives close to, or is just wanting a better understanding of the sacrifice these families are making.

Thank you Jessica for your kind words.

Kim Wilson @ About.com

Kim Wilson, a third generation military wife is the new Military Families Guide at About.com. She is married to MSG George Wilson and “has experienced military life as an active duty and Reserve spouse.” Check out the article that Kim wrote about Love You More Than You Know.

Military Dad First Meeting With Baby Daughter

Homecomings are the best! Imagine meeting your baby for the first time after coming home from a deployment in Afghanistan! Veterans Video Blog by Dan Doyle says, “You’ll see what it means to his family and his neighbors to have him home with them again.” Thank God for this joy! God bless Lieutenant Dan and all of our troops and bring them home safely to those who love them.

Part 2 Love Letters in the Snow: Claire and Fred Martin

My good friend’s brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Claire Martin were killed in a house explosion on February 7, 2011. (Read article.) The devastation also left the Martin’s two pets missing.  Cheryl, their daughter-in-law said, “Claire was crazy for that dog and Fred was crazy about the cat.”

Jake, the family dog was found two hours after the blast. Cheryl took Jake home. He didn’t eat for two weeks and is now always by her side.

Boo, a black declawed house cat has been missing for seven weeks. We can share in a small miracle. Boo has been found alive!  Fur and whiskers are growing back from the blast. It is believed that Boo survived by eating chicken feed from a farm next door. Neighbors continued the search for Boo and finally found her.

Tom Livingston, reported on newsnetfive.com about the reunion of Boo and Jake:

The reunion of the two housemates was very emotional.

“When I brought Boo home in the cat carrier and I took her out and of course Jake is right there by my side, that dog jumped up all of all fours around that room dancing like a little kid at Christmas time, he was just beside himself,” said Cheryl.

We dance too remembering Fred and Claire.