Saturday, January 31, 2009

Polls Close in Iraq Elections, No Major Violence

US soldiers of the Alfa troop 5-1 Cavalry secure the area with Iraqi police (background) at the entrance of a polling station in the town of Mandali in Diyala province.

BAGHDAD — Iraq's provincial elections have wrapped up without any reports of serious violence.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EST) on Saturday — an hour later than planned — after millions of voters cast ballots for influential regional councils around most of Iraq. There were no reports of major violence.

Iraqi authorities imposed a huge security operation around the country that included traffic bans in major cities and extensive checkpoints and surveillance posts. The U.S. military also was out in force but did not take a direct role in the election security.

Results from the elections are not expected before Tuesday.

Read the entire story here

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Good and the Bad of Our CyberWorld

This will be a two-part Post. I'll work through the negative first, then move quickly on to the positive.

It is my desire to use this medium, to focus on the goodness of people. Primarily my focus is our Soldiers, but I am a of course my children are given some blog-space! Several weeks ago, I posted a story regarding a hero by the name of Spc. Stephen G. Zapasnik. This 19 year old Soldier from Oklahoma died on December 24 in Iraq. A tragic story. I posted a link for anyone who desired to leave a message to the family. Today, I received an e-mail from a total scumbag who went to the website and apparently is contacting people who signed the guestbook; asking for know the routine, "my family is in need of money". Normally, when I receive such an e-mail I immediately notify the Spam Police. This e-mail had this soldier's name in the subject line, so I opened the e-mail. I'm furious. How dare he use this soldier in such a horrid manner. I immediately fired off an e-mail reply, sharing my feelings. He is the lowest of the low, he is whale shit. I want to apologize to any of you who may have signed this guestbook and received this spam. is a good site, one I have visited often. It is nauseating to me, that such cruel people exist. I pray the family of this hero has not been contacted.

OK...I'm done with the negative. Now for the positive. Almost twenty years ago, when my oldest son was a Cub Scout (and I was carrying my baby, John) I met two of the sweetest spirits in the world. We have been good friends ever since. K joined me at an OperationWelcomeHome event a couple weeks ago, and was kind enough to send me the following video. This video captures what it is like for our heroes when they come home! Please pause my PlayList on the right sidebar and enjoy!

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Days All You Can Do Is Wait

Today is one of these days.

I went over the mountain on Tuesday morning, anticipating the arrival of my newest grandgirl. It was a snowy morning and as predicted it turned to sleet later in the day. Marie was relieved when I arrived, everything was now in place. Marie was feeling 'weird', there was a new moon and a storm. The perfect scenario for a baby to be born on her due date. As the afternoon progressed, the 'weird' feeling diminished. Marie called work to see what was going on the OB Floor..turns out all the nurses called out (decided not to go to work) Marie felt she could not leave one nurse on the floor, so my son-in law drove her to work. Before Marie left for work, she commented on how she wished she could be a fly on the wall...witness her mom and her husband hanging out all evening. If I say so myself, I am a good mom-in-law to both of my son-in-laws. I love both of these men, I respect they are my daughter's husband and I respect their homes. It is my desire to always be invited back, so I make certain not to cause trouble...well kinda. (My girls and I can be silly and do goofy malice aforethought, most of the time). I digress... I was able to take a picture of Marie, as she was ready to leave for work. 40 weeks pregnant and she is one of two nurses who shows up. Julie was the other nurse, who needless to say was most concerned she would walk into the nursery and find Marie in labor. Marie assured her since she was already at work, she would deliver her daughter and return to work immediately. Can't leave the floor short-staffed. Well, that was her sense of humor on, she is now two days past her due date and the world is not as funny. In fact, it truly stinks to be my baby girl today as she waits for her baby girl to arrive. I am home once again, waiting for my telephone to ring, so that I can get over the mountain and be with my daughter; as she meets her daughter for the first time! Marie sees the midwife on Friday morning, hopefully we get some good news! The picture is Marie as she is leaving for work on Tuesday, to me she is absolutely stunning.

Marie is not the only one waiting... John was to take his CDC test, but due to the storm the base was closed. He is not certain when it will be rescheduled. Such a disappointment, he has be preparing for this day for months now...he must wait a bit longer.

I pray for both of my children, as they wait for huge moments in their lives.
May Almighty God bless Marie as she waits full of excitement and anxiety for the birth of her baby.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Hero January 28, 2009

This Weeks Post Was Suggested And Written By Cynthia

Sgt James E. Craig
Sgt James E. Craig
27 years old from Hollywood, South Carolina
1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
January 28, 2008
U.S. Army

James, 27, was killed on January 28, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq, along with four other soldiers when the unit encountered an IED, followed by an ambush from a nearby Mosque. It has been a year since James was killed. I miss him each day.

James was on his third deployment to Iraq. There are so many things about James that I admired. He was 'loud' and funny and articulate and sweet - even calling himself 'Sweet Soldier' - and brave and tough. He was a devout Christian and more comfortable with telling people he was than anyone I ever knew - he had a enviable, easy comfort with this faith. It would be so easy to write and write about James, but let me share some portions of his letters - his long and articulate letters.

"...I am very much looking forward to this war being over. However, I fully support everything that is going on over here ever since I saw first hand what the real situation was. Our media doesn't portray the truth of this operation or the necessity to the people here. They need freedom and desperately cry out for someone to help them. ... I know one thing, God wants me here."

"The war here is stating to come to an end. It will be a slow transition period where the responsibility of the battle space is handed over to the growing Iraqi Army. It all depends on the Iraqis if we are able to leave them with it safely."

" is a tale of my wonderful journey where I made memories I will never forget and stood up for something that I believe in...that sweet taste of freedom when the day is done and the knowledge that I have done something to ensure the positive future of my loved ones. And, you should know that it comforts me the most that what I do protects wonderful people like you."

To read more about Sgt James Craig, go here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Random Thoughts

The greater Poolesville area is enjoying its first snowfall of the season! The county schools are closed in the entire region! We are expecting 4-6 inches of snow, with a lovely layer of sleet to follow. Arrgghh! Truly, the downfall of living in this Mid-Atlantic area is the sleet/ice factor! I am a snow lover! Shoveling is so much fun. I do our long driveway, then get out there and help the neighbors as well! A few years ago, I was sledding and fractured my tailbone. Yep...I broke my butt. Since then, I am terrified of falling on my caboose again. T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D! It is a fact that I am a grandmother, but to watch me walk on an icy surface, I instantly become 'Granny'. All of this being said... 'Granny' is packing her bag and driving over the mountain to be with her pregnant daughter. Today is the due date of our Angel! Marie wants to play it safe and have me at her house, just in case this sweet baby decides that a snowstorm is her perfect time for entering the world! It makes sense, since I am the Doula. Perhaps, later this afternoon I will post a 40 week photo of Marie! Please keep my daughter in your prayers, that she has a safe and quick delivery! C'mon, Angel!

The outpouring of prayers for my son, B was overwhelming! I thank each of you for being so very thoughtful and supportive. We are blessed it is a short deployment. Momma just prefers to have her children safely in their homes, on this continent! Please continue to keep B and all of our Service Members who are overseas in your prayers!

John is doing an outstanding job with his blog, AFJoker. Today, he is recognizing several Airman who are opening new chapters in their military careers. Please stop by and add these remarkable heroes to your prayer list!

My 'virtual' SoldierSon, MudPuppy is enjoying some much deserved R&R. If you are need of a morning giggle, stop by and read his blog here. MudPuppy is one of the most creative, down to earth people I have never met! A warning is needed, when I send folks to his blog...if you are easily offended by language, please don't read his words. It is because of him, we have the freedom to I say, let him write what he wants. I am certain, once you visit will want to read him again and again and again...........

In my quest for new blogs, I have happened upon an amazing young woman who is currently in DEP. Her name is Catie and she is waiting to enter Basic for the United States Army. She is blogging her experience and I do encourage a visit to read her words. It always amazes me when I stop to think of how blessed our nation is to have an all volunteer military!

Well, Granny had better pack her tissues in her sleeve and hot water bottle (what I do with it, I have no idea)...ohhhh and I will make certain to wear the earrings which cause my lobes to drop to my shoulder. Do you have the full mental image? Haven't times changed? This Grandmother has a backpack which contains a Laptop, an MP3 player and mini-speakers so that Marie's I-Pod can play in the Birthing Room! John, be careful, Son...any comments from the peanut gallery and I will remind you that I brought you into this world and...well you know the rest of the story!

May Almighty God bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Prayers For My Son

My oldest son, B has deployed.
Please pray for B's safety, and his safe return home!

May Almighty God Bless my son, along with all the sons and daughters who serve our country overseas and stateside.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cry Out!

A few weeks ago, I removed my Christmas PlayList and decided to add a couple of songs to my existing Blog PlayList. I came across a song titled, "Cry Out to Jesus" performed by the group Third Day. The words touched my heart so deeply, I knew immediately this song had to be added to my group of favorite songs.

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

An amazing, young woman by the name of Lizzie Palmer, created a YouTube Video titled,RememberMe. Last summer this awesome tribute to our troops, marked a huge milestone of 25 million views! Believe it or not, this young lady is only 17 years old!

Lizzie Palmer has once again created an amazing gift for our troops, featuring the song, "Cry Out". Please pause my PlayList on the right sidebar and enjoy this touching video. Keep in mind, a young woman with an especially sweet spirit put together this tribute for men and women she has never met...but obviously Lizzie holds tremendous love and respect for each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Precious!

Three years ago today, God blessed the world with my first sweet grandgirl.

This precious child has opened my heart to a new kind of love;
an everlasting love I had never known;
the deep love of your child's child.

Happy Birthday!

Precious, I do love you so!

Friday, January 23, 2009

793, 12 and 1

Each of these numbers have significant meaning today!

As I type this post, there are 793 heroes waiting to be adopted. SoldiersAngels is an organization which makes it simple to adopt a soldier. Your commitment is easy; one letter each week and one package each month. It is such a small gesture, yet it means so much to these brave men and women. There are many soldiers who receive nothing at mail call. Please take a few moments, check out the website and do your small part to show support of our troops! They will be most grateful and trust will smile!

There are 12 Marines who will not be allowed to watch the Super Bowl, even though they will present the colors. According to the several articles I have read today, this is an NFL decison. Come on, Folks...this is wrong. Please read the story here. I have already fired off my e-mail, voicing my displeasure in this decision.

There is 1 new blog, I would like to introduce! My youngest son, my inspiration for this blog has decided to join the blogosphere. AFJoker is John's blog, please stop by and welcome him to our world, offer some ideas of what you would like him to post or simply give him a 'hua'.

Well, there you have it..... 793, 12 and 1!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

WOO-HOO! I received a reply to the letter I wrote earlier today regarding our Armed Forces color guard at the Super Bowl. Here is a snippet of the reply "Since we had not heard about this directly from the military, we contacted our military liaison for the color guard immediately to discuss the issue. After speaking with our military liaison for the color guard, we will host the members of the color guard (12 people) in the stadium. "
The moral of this blog: Good stuff happens, and the cost was merely a few moments of my life and a few moments from a bunch of other bloggers!

You May Have Read This One Before...

A soldier was attending some college courses between assignments. He
had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a
professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in.
He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, 'God, if you are real,
then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give! you exactly 15 minutes.'

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am God. I'm still waiting'.

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the soldier got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.
The soldier went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the soldier and asked, 'What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?' The soldier calmly replied,
'God was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an asshole. So, He sent me.'

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Defense Department Announces Expedited Disability Evaluation System Process For Combat Wounded

The Department of Defense announced today, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a process designed to expedite a service member seriously injured in combat from military to veteran status, by waiving the standard Disability Evaluation System (DES), resulting in receipt of benefits in three to four months, compared to a recovery and standard DES process that would normally take much longer.

"This new policy should allow service members and their families to focus on the essentials of recovery, reintegration, employment and independent living, with the combined assistance from DoD and VA," said Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Michael L. Dominguez. "The policy supports our belief that there must be a distinction for those who incur devastating disabilities in combat."

The expedited process applies to service members whose conditions are designated as "catastrophic" and whose injuries were incurred in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict. A catastrophic injury or illness is a permanent, severely disabling injury, disorder, or disease that compromises the ability to carry out the activities of daily living to such a degree that a service member or veteran requires personal or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed, or requires constant supervision to avoid physical harm to self or others.

Service members who participate in the expedited process will be rated by DoD at a combined rating of 100 percent, and the VA will identify the full range of benefits, compensation and specialty care offered by the VA. Dominguez emphasized that the new process is optional for qualifying service members.

"Service members and their families will be empowered to decide, after counseling on the options and potential concerns and benefits, the most appropriate choice for their situation," said Dominguez. The policy provides special consideration and exception for members who retire under the expedited DES process to reenter the service with a waiver, should they subsequently request reentry to the service after recovery and rehabilitation.

The expedited policy differs from the DES pilot program, currently underway to test a new process design eliminating the duplicative and time consuming elements of the current standard disability processes at DoD and VA. Key features of the DES pilot include one medical examination and a single-sourced disability rating. To date, more than 1,000 service members have participated in the pilot during the last 14 months.

One Last Time

According to the submitter: "The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. 'I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,' she said. 'I think that's what he would have wanted.'"

Submitted By: Todd Heisler

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday Hero 01/21/2009

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Cindy

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor
29 years old from Garden Grove, California
September 29, 2006
U.S. Navy

In April 2008, Michael Monsoor (who had already been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in a May 9, 2006 incident, when he and another SEAL pulled a wounded team member to safety amidst gunfire) was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His funeral, attended, in the words of President Bush, by "nearly every SEAL on the West Coast," was held on October 12, 2006 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. During Monsoor's funeral service, as the casket was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, fellow SEALs lined up in two columns to slap and embed the gold Tridents (a pin awarded for successful completion of SEAL Qualification Training) from their uniforms onto the top of Monsoor's coffin.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor's Summary Of Action.

"The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten." - President George W. Bush

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

Prayer for Our President

O Jesus, in Your Holy Name, I lift up our president to You.

I know that our leader's heart is in Your Hand, so I ask You to guide the head of our nation in the way You would have him go.

Lord, I pray that You would surround our president with wise counsel--men and women of moral integrity who place Your agenda and the good of this great nation above their own and whose motives are for that which is right.

I pray that You would give our leader discernment, understanding, and knowledge so that our country may know stability internally and abroad.

I give You thanks for our president according to Your Word, and thank You for working in and through his leadership so that we might lead peaceable lives in godliness and honesty.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Defense Leaders Host Luncheon for Medal of Honor Heroes

America’s most senior defense leaders honored 43 men who risked their lives with unmatched heroism in service to their country during a luncheon here today.
The men honored had all earned the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, and they will attend the presidential inauguration as honored guests tomorrow. “More than 1,500 Medals of Honor were awarded in the Civil War,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the men. “In the century-and-a-half since, whenever the United States has been forced into action on the battlefield, wherever we have been forced to defend and re-consecrate our values with blood, our men and women in uniform have answered the call.” Since President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation authorizing the award in 1861, there have been 3,448 recipients. Americans have fought and bled from the killing fields of Antietam, to the trenches of France. Their valor has been seen from the beaches of Iwo Jima, to the hills of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, and the streets of Mogadishu. Today, Americans are fighting in a war on terrorism during which five Americans have received the Medal of Honor – all posthumously. “Of the countless stories of bravery that ring through our country’s history, yours are the greatest and most gallant,” Gates said. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised the character of the men being honored. “These heroes have some amazing stories,” Mullen said. “To a man, they would tell you they were just doing their duty. They are as humble as they are brave.” Mullen said the contributions of the Medal of Honor recipients cannot be measured just in acts of heroism, but must include the futures that all enjoy because of their sacrifices. An example was that of the most recent medal recipient, Army Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis, who threw himself on a hand grenade in Iraq to save his fellow soldiers. The men that McGinnis died to save have their tomorrows because of his action, Mullen said. “We are surrounded by people who have given more than they or we could imagine,” he said. “They are not just names on a wall. Each has provided us with far more than inspiring profiles, more than just accounts of incredible courage. They have given us simple things, meaningful things, things too often taken for granted.” Mullen said the heritage that the men in the room, and soldiers like McGinnis represent will continue. “In the decades to come there will likely be more, not just because the horrors of combat demand heroic action, but because we are and always will be surrounded by heroes: special individuals who, in their minds, will only be doing their duty and who will do the right things at the right time,” he said. “It’s the soldier on patrol. The Marine on point. The airman overhead. The sailor on watch. The Coast Guardsman protecting our shores. And out there among them lies the spirit of sacrifice that goes above and beyond the call of duty,” he said. These individuals do not perform these deeds for glory, he said. Rather it’s “because everyday courage and battlefield circumstance will collide,” he said. “We can’t teach this sacrifice, we can’t predict it, but we can – and we must always – honor it.”

By Jim GaramoneAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2009



From the colonist, who rebelled,
to the soldier of today,
My thanks, be to you,
I know not what else to say.

Since the words I do not have,
to give the tribute that is due,
So a simple heartfelt thanks,
sincerely I give to you.

Thanks to our American heroes,
whose devotion is second to none,
Whose courage and braveness alone
caused many battles to be won.

We have beaten the forces of evil
and carried our flag far and wide,
Because of our American Warriors,
our hearts are filled with pride,

Only because of you and the price
you willingly did pay,
Only because of you,
Old Glory still flies today!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

C'mon Angel!

Marie is ready!
The nursery is waiting!

Babies are bits of stardust, blown from the hand of God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Marquis R. Porter, 28, of Brighton, Mass., died Jan. 11 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The incident is under investigation.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Division public affairs office at(910) 450-6575.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
May Almighty God Bless our hero.
May Almighty God bring comfort to this family who loves him so.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nothing Less Than A Miracle

Most of the world has heard the story of US Air Flight 1549 crashing into the Hudson River. The pilot, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III is an Air Force Academy graduate who received his pilot training in the Air Force. It was only by the grace of God, all 155 passengers survived this crash. You can read the entire story here.
May Almighty God Bless all of our heroes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank You, President Bush!

Tonight America watched the farewell speech of President Bush.
One more chapter of American history is closing and a brand new chapter will open next Tuesday.
President Bush is a patriot. In my heart, I believe he is a good man. On September 11th, he was an outstanding leader; and we have not had to endure such a tragedy since. While I do not agree with all of his decisions, I believe this man loves our country. He served our country in a manner which few men have had the privilege.
Historians will one day write of these last eight years.
I pray they are fair.

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Picture This, If You Will.....

Many of you are not familiar with BWI Airport.

I am.

Numerous times I saw my oldest son, B off for deployment at BWI.

Numerous times I welcomed my oldest son, when he returned from serving overseas.

Numerous times I met B when he came home for Christmas or when he came home to meet the newest member of our family.

I have taken my oldest son to BWI, when it is time for him to return to 'his' world.

I saw my youngest off at BWI, the first time he ever boarded an airplane.

I welcomed my baby girl from her honeymoon, at BWI.

I have shed infinite "Mom Tears" at this airport.

Countless times when I fly to visit my son, I depart from BWI.

I welcome soldiers home at BWI when I attend Operation Welcome Homeevents.

Today was a very different experience at BWI.

It was strange, almost bizarre.

Allow me to attempt to paint this picture for you with words. When we attend OWH, we assemble on the lower level, just outside the security/customs doorway. It is an open area, two stories high. There are elevators/stairs which take you to the second story, which has a railing with glass around the perimeter of the upper floor. (I hope I have not lost anyone yet). We line up close together outside this swinging door, waiting for soldiers to return home. We shake their hands, we cry, we make a lot of ruckus.

Today, as we look up to the second floor, we saw soldiers...lots of soldiers...ready to deploy. These soldiers stood up there. Looking down.

Where do you look?

Who do you thank?

What do you do?

May Almighty God Bless Each and Every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.
May He protect those leaving and may he watch over those who have returned home.

Wednesday Hero 01/14/2009

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Cindy

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor
29 years old from Garden Grove, California
September 29, 2006
U.S. Navy

In April 2008, Michael Monsoor (who had already been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in a May 9, 2006 incident, when he and another SEAL pulled a wounded team member to safety amidst gunfire) was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His funeral, attended, in the words of President Bush, by "nearly every SEAL on the West Coast," was held on October 12, 2006 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. During Monsoor's funeral service, as the casket was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, fellow SEALs lined up in two columns to slap and embed the gold Tridents (a pin awarded for successful completion of SEAL Qualification Training) from their uniforms onto the top of Monsoor's coffin.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike A. Monsoor's Summary Of Action.

"The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten." - President George W. Bush

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Monday, January 12, 2009

Warm Prayer For A Cold Place

A soldier with the US Army 6-4 Cavalry looks at Combat Outpost Lowell after an overnight snowfall in eastern Afghanistan.

Lord and Holy Protector,
you called Abraham and Sarah to leave their homeland
and to journey away from their own people.

Yet you kept them safe wherever they went.

Protect our children, our husbands and wives,
our mothers and fathers, and our friends and loved ones
who now must leave to fight in this war.

Walk by their side and calm any fear.

Be their companion and guide their thoughts;
Encircle them with your light, and keep them from harm;
And when their service is ended, lead them safely home again.

For you, O God, are our shelter in every storm
and our refuge in times of danger.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(Diocese of San Jose)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


If I appear to evaporate for a few days, it will be that I am attending the birth of my third grandgirl.

My Marie is due to deliver her sweet angel on January 27th!!! None of us (doctor included) believe the baby will wait that long. Of course, we could all be wrong. As the doctor stated to Marie on Thursday, if she had a crystal ball to predict when babies were born...she'd be a millionaire!

Feel free to take a guess when you think my baby girl will deliver her baby girl!

This photo of Marie (which I feel captures her total radiance) was taken late in November at 30 weeks!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to a beautiful lady, Mom!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Freeze Frame

The human mind simply amazes me.

Somehow it captures certain moments, and we end up with a Freeze Frame. We have the ability to reach and grab certain moments...yet other moments are simply gone.

Perhaps by now if there is one thing you have learned of AirmanMom, it is her love of music. Yep, I probably have a song attached to a gazillion memories. I remember dancing in my folks living room when I was a teen to a song titled, 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool' I remember crying and singing 'You Are My Sunshine' when my oldest daughter was two weeks old (I felt she was growing up too fast)and then again over the telephone when she was in India and had just been hit by a car. I can't help but think of the song 'The Rose' by Bette Midler when I think of my beautiful baby girl, Marie... for she has grown to be an exquisite rose.

I could go on and on with so many vivid moments and the song I have playing along in my head. Instead, I will mention two final songs... I heard each song, in the same Chapel at Lackland AFB. The first song, I hear many people label as lame. Excuse me! Stand during a Church service with a roomful of Airmen..some completing their first week, others graduating and ready to begin a new chapter of their life...then tell me honestly if "I Believe I Can Fly" is a lame song. To this day, this song brings tears to my eyes, as it did that September day in 1999. My Freeze Frame has me standing next to my 17 year old son; in six short weeks he went from being my boy to a confident and proud man. I honestly remember thinking my knees were going to give out. The emotion in the Chapel was so overwhelming. Now let's fast forward to April, 2008...same Chapel at Lackland, youngest son and different song. As the video of the song "Letters From War" played, once again those MomTears reappeared in full gushing manner. The pride of standing next to my, er I mean my son, took my breath away. The honor of being among so many young men and women...some terrified, some many emotions. Each and every one of them proud to be an Airman! Near the end of the video, the entire room filled with cheers..a moment I will carry forever!

I leave you with tidbits of each song:

I Believe I Can Fly

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Letters From War

You are good
And you're brave
what a father that you'll be someday
Make it home
Make it safe
Still she kept writing each day

I Believe I Can Fly

Letters From War

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Gold Star Mom-A Soldiers Angel

Linda Ferrara gives Spc. Stephen Stout a blanket at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on Thursday. Ferrara’s son, Capt. Matthew Ferrara, was killed in Afghanistan in 2007; her trip to Landstuhl, sponsored by the Soldiers' Angels organization, came about after the theft of goods she collected for troops led to a flood of donations. Michael Abrams / S&S

Helping Hands Thursday

As we all know by the extra luggage on our hips and the pine needles our vacuum cleaners keep sucking up, the holiday season is over! Or is it? Remember how good it felt to choose special gifts for special people?

Our Soldiers are those special people who deserve year-round gifts. I'm not suggesting extravagant items...I'm talking about mouthwash, eye drops,q-tips, toothbrushes, foot powder, chewing gum, playing cards, Pringles, cocoa mix packets, wet wipes, air fresheners, sewing kit, Tabasco sauce, cookies(individual packets), AA batteries, chapstix, phone cards, sunscreen, Vaseline...and so on! These are items we pull from a closet on a daily basis and don't think twice about it. Imagine not having that closet or CVS nearby!

Thanks to Mary my Canadian friend, who introduced me to an organization called AngelsNCamouflage. This sweet lady has an American "Adopted" Soldier, who she sends packages to regularly. Mary hosted a Card Shower and received 30 cards which she forwarded onto to her Soldier!

SoldiersAngelsintroduced me to one of my 'adopted' SoldierSons, David. What a good feeling to know that these men and women protecting our freedoms, will actually smile at MailCall!

And last, but certainly not beloved 'virtual' SoldierSonMudPuppy has requested books. Yep, books. He is an avid reader, who enjoys the classics. He will share the books he receives, so you are not giving to just one are making many soldiers happy! Truly, it is the little things which are huge for our members of the Armed Services.

PLEASE feel free to e-mail me, if you have questions.

Your hands ARE helping hands!

May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

In the Washington Post this morning, there is an article about Army Spec. Stephen G. Zapasnik, who was killed in Iraq on Christmas Eve. This young soldier was only 19, the age of my youngest son. He was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery yesterday. The article is here. If you are so moved, please leave your condolences for his family at

When John was in BMT at Lackland, AFB...I happened upon a song titled, "He's My Son" by Mark Shultz. The days I felt scared for him, knowing he was facing such enormous challenges...I would listen to this song over and over and over. It is one of my favorite songs to listen to on my Blog's PlayList (on the right sidebar). The words brought comfort to my anxious heart. I do pray for Stephen's mom to find comfort.

Here are the words to "He's My Son"

I'm down on my knees again tonight
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right
See there is a boy that needs Your help
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired
I'm sure You can understand
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand
And she tries not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow
See, he's not just anyone
He's my son

Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep
I dream of the boy he'd like to be
I try to be strong and see him through
But God who he needs right now is You
Let him grow old
Live life without this fear
What would I be
Living without him here
He's so tired and he's scared
Let him know that You're there

Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him
He's my son

May Almighty God bring comfort to the heart of this Soldier's mother.
May Almighty God Bless each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Wednesday Hero 01/07/2009

Airman Melissa Pyle
Airman Melissa Pyle
U.S. Navy

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Melissa Pyle mans a jet blast deflector station on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the Gulf Of Oman. Theodore Roosevelt and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Keeping Watch

A soldier with the US Army's 6-4 Cavalry watches the hills surrounding Combat Outpost Lowell in eastern Afghanistan January 6, 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

In Their Boots

In Their Boots is a compelling new magazine show about the dramatic impact the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having on us - the people here at home. The show will feature our Iraq and Afghanistan service men and women, and their families, in stories that have universal appeal.
Funded by a grant from the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact fund (IADIF) and produced by Brave New Foundation, IN THEIR BOOTS will be streamed exclusively online.

In Their Boots will be hosted by Jan Bender, a veteran of the war in Iraq who served as a rifleman/combat correspondent in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines from 2004 to 2005.

Every week an episode will be built around a dramatic and emotional IN THEIR BOOTS "Real Story," a non-fiction narrative about how our servicepeople, their families, and their communities have been profoundly changed by the nation's campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then Jan Bender, our host, will interview the participants and lead a discussion that includes experts and service-providers.

Voting Begins on January 5th!

Please take a few moments and cast your vote for the2008 Best Military Blog. If you are not familiar with I promise you a fantastic blogging adventure!

The Weblog Awards are the world's largest blog competition with over 545,000 votes cast in 2007 edition and nearly two million votes cast in all editions since 2003. Polls close Tuesday January 13, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. (EST) and 2:00 p.m. (PST). has introduced me to many excellent blogs! Some are written by family members, others by servicemen and women. You can choose by Military Branch, they also offer the option of Iran or Afghanistan Frontlines. The site is extremely user-friendly, which makes each visit productive! Believe it or not, I hold no stock-options...I'm simply a very satisfied user!

I do encourage you to visit, for there are so many excellent military blogs out there to be read. Each of our Airman, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have a fortunate we are to have access to their words!

May Almighty God bless each one of these brave men and women.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Mind of a Soldier

A couple of indirect thanks are needed for this post.

First of all, MudPuppy, my first "adopted" SoldierSon. As I have mentioned numerous times, I have followed his blog, since I first discovered the blogosphere. He not only is a talented writer... he is a good soldier, he is an outstanding man, he is a son any mother would be blessed to call her own. I lift prayers constantly for Mudpuppy and his mom. In a recent post, MudPuppy spoke of how 'different' it is to phone home. I could not comment, although I wanted to... I simply needed to read and absorb. Hopefully, you will take the time to read MudPuppy's words, those are the words which truly matter.

Now, to Jormengrund who e-mailed an attachment of a video which he felt I could use on my blog. As it turns out, the link he sent held a glitch... following a few e-mails back and forth, I learned the video he suggested, was one I used in the past. Please revisit August, 2008 25 Million Hits. In the process of trying to find what I thought he sent me, I found the following... (I feel so confused, how about you?) that I have taken you over the river and through the woods... we finally arrive at a video which I feel is a "Must-Share". Please pause my playlist on the right sidebar and enjoy!

May Almighty God Bess each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.,,and the families who love them so.

Friday, January 2, 2009

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

DOD identifies GI killed by bomb in Baghdad

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, January 2, 2009

The Defense Department on Tuesday identified a Baumholder, Germany-based soldier killed by a roadside bomb on Sunday in Baghdad’s Sadr City.

Spc. Tony J. Gonzales was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment. He was 20.

Gonzales is the son of Tony and Marlynn Gonzales of Newman, Calif. Family members who spoke with the Modesto Bee newspaper spoke of Gonzales’ patriotism.

"T.J. was always very patriotic and proud of his country. He knew he was going to go to Iraq, but that was OK," his sister Tammy Runzel was quoted as saying. "He was not there regretting it. He knew he was going there from the start, and it was part of his job."

Gonzales enlisted in the Army in 2006 after graduating from Freedom High School in Turlock, Calif., according to the news report. He planned to follow in his father’s footsteps, first into the military and then into a law enforcement career.

Patriotism and duty were among the traits instilled in Gonzales, his father said.

"If you live here, it is your duty to serve your country," his father said. "That is why I went in, and is what my thoughts always were."

He deployed to Iraq on April 6, his 20th birthday. Gonzales had trained as a tank driver, his family said, but spent most of his time in Iraq on foot patrol.

The City of Newman will fly its flags at half-staff in honor of Gonzales until after his funeral services, said Mayor Ed Katen, a friend of the family. Flags at the state Capitol in Sacramento will also be flown at half-staff in his honor, according to news reports.

Memorial services in the Baumholder military community have not yet been announced.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson