2012/11/10

Happy 237th Birthday, Marines!

Da Goddess @ 01:15

2012/03/08

A Heavy Heart Bids Farewell To Lex

Da Goddess @ 03:52

Neptunus Lex. One day he’s blogging. The next day he’s gone. Sadly, it’s true (links also have links to many other beautiful and heartfelt tributes — have tissues ready).

You’d think after ten years of blogging you’d get used to losing a friend here or there. But death is shocking no matter what and I certainly never imagined this was in the cards for Lex.

Lex was a dear man. The kind to leave a sweet, funny, supportive comment, or send an email when he felt he could offer fresh perspective. Just seeing his name in the old inbox was enough to make me smile.

I was just thinking about him a couple days ago, too. I had a question only he could answer. In fact, I knew he’d already answered it for me once before but I had to ask again. I didn’t get the chance. Yet that’s hardly the worst thing in the world. No, the worst thing is not having the right words to share with his family; to thank them for sharing him with us; to thank them for being his support system and living the military life as he chased his dreams and kept us all safe from the evils that lurk out there.

Lex was a good man. A decent, hardworking, dedicated, devoted man. He believed in love (of family, of country); he believed in freedom (and fought and died for it); he believed in America (all its flaws and all its strengths — of which he was one of this country’s greatest strengths); he believed in lending a hand and sharing a kind word, shared laughter, thoughtfulness, being honorable, and so much more.

He was an excellent writer, too. His stories could draw you in with a single word.

But, mostly, Carroll LeFon (as those outside the blogosphere knew him) was a man who put his heart and soul into everything he did, keeping in mind that the most important reasons for all that hard work could be found at home: his family. “… ‘Married to the best girl I ever met, who also delivered up three wonderful children. Don’t really know how I could be happier, or more blessed,’ he wrote…”

To his family and close friends, my heart goes out to you. You are in my prayers and I am so very grateful to all that you have given us all these years.

Carroll “Neptunus Lex” LeFon — rest in peace. We salute you, my friend.

2011/09/11

Count to 3,000 and Keep Going – Sept 11 Remembered

DaGoddess @ 00:01

The official death tally was given as 2996, but when you consider the number of people who have died since the attacks on America, the number just keeps growing and those lives are just as worthy of remembrance as everyone else.

Our lives have changed. For a moment, we seemed united. Then we started pointing fingers at one another instead of offering embraces to comfort. I’m done pointing fingers and I want to go back to a time when we hugged strangers and took time to get to know neighbors and others. A time when we stopped rushing so quickly toward unimportant busy work and took time to appreciate the laughter of a child or to feel the warmth of someone’s hand in ours. Where we slowed down a bit to marvel that another day had begun and ended without catastrophe and we thanked God or whomever for that. When we took an extra few minutes to linger at the doorway to watch our children sleep or to just peel an apple for them as they colored on a piece of paper.

Stop rushing. Start counting to 3000 and then keep going…as long as you can. In that time, peel an apple or orange or write a note to put in someone’s lunch bag, place a call to a friend or to someone who maybe once was a friend. Reach out and do something different. Do 3000 different somethings that recognize the lives lost, the lives impacted by September 11, 2001.

Be a little less about yourself and a little more about someone else. The rewards are incredible.

I return to “Rhymes & Reasons” by John Denver, as I have every year since that fateful day. It says so much to me.

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter
Of fear that is within you now that seems to never end
And the dreams that have escaped you
And the hope that you’ve forgotten
And you tell me that you need me now
And you want to be my friend

And you wonder where we’re going,
Where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason,
And it’s you who cannot accept, it is here we must begin
To seek the wisdom of the children
And the graceful way of flowers in the wind

For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day
Like the music of the mountains and the colors of the rainbow
They’re a promise of the future and a blessing for today.

‘Tho the cities start to crumble and the towers fall around us
The sun is slowly fading and it’s colder than the sea
It is written from the desert to the mountains they shall lead us
By the hand and by the heart they will comfort you and me
In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free

For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day
And the song that I am singing is a prayer for non-believers
Come and stand beside us, we can find a better way

Act I, I shall go thank a vet.
Act II, I shall plant some seeds that will someday blossom.
Act III, I shall speak the names of the dead with great reverence.
Act IV, I shall tell my family I love them.

And the rest of the acts will happen as they will. I’ll cease counting and let them just become a way of living for me. Today is the perfect day to do that.

2011/07/08

Project Valour-IT Fundraiser

DaGoddess @ 19:41

Until July 14, you can donate to Soldiers’ Angels and help Valour-IT raise money for laptops for wounded troops. This is an extremely important cause. Voice activated laptops allow the wounded to stay in contact with family and friends as they undergo lengthy procedures and recuperation that keeps them, oftentimes, far from home. This technology gives them a little peace of mind, which promotes healing.

I’m not on any team this year other than that of the wounded warriors. So, please, go donate — either to one of the branch teams or to SA Valour-IT in general. It’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

2011/06/01

Fulfilling Our Citizenship to the Fullest

DaGoddess @ 01:04

Here’s a movie everyone should see. It’s called The Way We Get By.

As William Knight, a World War II Army Air Corps and Naval veteran of 32 years and 3 months, says at the beginning of the film, he’s doing his best to fulfill his citizenship to the fullest as he greets heroes at the airport in Maine. He considers himself part of a big family of greeters. What a lovely sentiment!

The other two greeters featured in the film, Joan Gaudet — mother of Aron Gaudet, director — and Jerry Mundy, also have some amazing insights.

It’s an all too common fact in this country that our elderly and our military are often looked at as “forgettable”, or rather, they aren’t even considered by far too many people. This movie is a beautiful reminder that both segments of our population are very special and integral to the core fabric of our nation. Both have served us and it falls upon us now to serve them. It should be our honor to serve them.

Please set aside an hour and a half to watch this. You’ll be glad you did. And please, pass the link along to others.

2011/05/28

Mandatory Viewing – Coming Home

DaGoddess @ 13:44

Coming Home should be watched by everyone. Several episodes are available on Lifetime as well as on Hulu.

Have tissues at the ready.

2011/05/27

Memorial Weekend – Memory Lane

DaGoddess @ 22:05

I was thinking about once again not being back in San Diego with LD, doing our regular Memorial Weekend thing. This is the second year we’re not participating in the dressing of graves out at Ft. Rosecrans and it sits heavy on my heart.

Going through my archives, I found the entry from 2008 and it gave me pause. I was struck by the conversation I had graveside with a total stranger and how we were able to just start talking; how we both felt an overwhelming sense of needing to be there. It’s hard to be here instead of there and not be doing…something. So, since last year, I’ve found a place where I can go to honor America’s military. I’ll be heading down to Boulder City. I hope you are also able to take a moment to pay your respects to those who have and who do serve in our military, including their families.

Have a very safe Memorial weekend and feel free to share your stories in comments or with a link to your post. And if you happen to run across a veteran, please give thanks and/or a hug or handshake. I guarantee you’ll make someone’s day.

2010/12/07

Remembering Pearl Harbor by Helping Others

DaGoddess @ 06:47

Today is a very solemn day. Pearl Harbor was and always be a reminder of what can happen if we aren’t vigilant at all times.

One of the best ways to honor those who have served, who have given their lives for this country is to do something for those who are still living and serving. To that end, please take a moment to consider donating your time and/or money to Cooking With The Troops and help bring nourishing meals to the wounded, perhaps giving some a new career, and helping to strengthen their families. It’s real deal soul food. Feed their bodies and their spirits.

It is especially important that we contribute something during this time of year. Holidays are often very stressful in the best circumstances. Imagine what our military families and our injured troops must endure.

Might I be so bold as to suggest that a donation be made in the name of a loved one in lieu of a big boxed gift? Yes, I do think that’s a gift from the heart that few would turn down.

May we all be so fortunate that we can spare a few dollars to really change the lives of others.

Men and women lost their lives 69 years ago protecting this great nation. Men and women, still today, continue to put their lives on the line to uphold the ideals of Freedom and to keep us safe. Let’s honor them all and share our bounty through Cooking With The Troops.

2010/11/11

Veterans Day

DaGoddess @ 02:03

How do you thank someone you’ve never met? How do you let them know you appreciate their efforts to keep you safe and free?

All I can think is to say, “Thank you!” and to support organizations that help our military and their families. The USO, Soldiers’ Angels, Cooking With The Troops, Tell Them Thanks, Wounded Warrior Project, and many other great service groups out there who share the deep sense of honor and appreciation that we feel. (Some of these groups can be found here.)

In a world where it is increasingly easier for us to shut our doors and turn a deaf ear to the needs of others, it has become even more imperative for us to reach out to the military community and give words of thanks, hugs, buy a vet a cup of coffee, put a smile on a child’s face, say a prayer, plant a flower or tree in someone’s honor, make a donation to an organization, VOLUNTEER with an organization. Do something.

Without our military, our freedom is not guaranteed. Our safety is not guaranteed. Men and women stand at the ready, near to home and far away, always ready to defend us…always ready to defend you, defend your children, your parents, your neighbors, and mine. They make sacrifices so that we remain free.

Go say thank you…some how, some way…you’ll feel something well up within you that you never knew existed.

And it would be remiss if I didn’t remind all that today is the final day of the Soldiers’ Angels Valour-IT fundraiser. A couple dollars donated to providing the wounded with voice-activated laptops while they recover from injuries is a fantastic way to start saying THANK YOU, US MILITARY and FAMILIES!

Special thank yous go out to my father (Navy), my ex-husband, his dad, his uncle and aunt (Marines) and his cousin (Navy and Coast Guard), and to the many friends and their families who have given of themselves. More thanks to the families and organizations with whom I’ve worked over the last several years. Thank you!

Pam also has a list of places offering free or discounted food or services today.

2010/10/29

Michael’s to Host Thank a Soldier Event

DaGoddess @ 17:41

Michael’s, you know…the craft store…is hosting a Thank a Soldier event on November 6, 2010.

The Knack FREE Family Event – Veteran’s Day Thank-A-Soldier Star.

Show your appreciation with a Thank-You Star for a veteran or soldier. While supplies last. Ages 3 and up. Powered by Creatology™

10am-12pm

Check with local stores for more information.

2010/10/28

Project: Valour-IT Fundraiser Begins Now!

DaGoddess @ 04:35

It’s been a couple years since I really got involved with the Valour-IT fundraiser, but as many of you might remember, it is a very special event for me. Had it not been for the kindness of others after my back injury, I would have been isolated and depressed. But someone stepped up with a laptop for me to use and to stay connected with the world. Then came Project: Valour-IT. The fit was perfect.

Imagine not being able to log onto your computer and check your email, read the news, or catch up on the latest photos of your children or other family. You want to, but your hands and arms, for whatever reason, aren’t available to you. Or maybe you can’t see. Good Lord, you can’t see anything or use your arms! Imagine being far away from friends and family and feeling completely isolated while you lie in a hospital bed, scared. For less than $700, a wounded soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine can reconnect with loved ones, erasing the miles and much of the fear that comes with being alone while fighting to recover from severe injuries that have robbed you of your independence.

I felt it then and I feel it now: we can help and we should help. It’s such a small thing for us to do. Matt from Blackfive explains it better than I have:

WHAT IS VALOUR-IT? Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.

During his deployment he kept a blog (an online personal diary, opinion forum, or news analysis site-called a milblog or military weblog when written by a servicemember or about military subjects). Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.

As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss’ fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.

“At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers’ Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can’t wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed.” – Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq) Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss’ father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries, amputations, eye or brain injuries, at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the ‘Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.

Folks, I’ve witnessed several wounded soldiers set up their laptops only to email or Skype their friends and comrades in the war zone to let them know that they are okay. Keeping them in communication with loved ones increases the possibility of a successful recovery exponentially.

THE COMPETITION

In order to fund the thousands of laptops we have distributed and need to distribute, we have an annual competition.

Valour-IT’s online fundraising competition begins today! Let’s see who can raise the most money to help reconnect our wounded warriors with the world!

WHAT: Friendly fundraising competition for Valour-IT.WHEN: October 28th through Veterans Day, November 11th.

WHERE: Based in the blogosphere, spreading everywhere else.

WHY: Because giving wounded warriors with hand and arm injuries access to a computer supports their healing and puts them back in touch with the world.

HOW: Blogger teams will be divided along military branches, with civilians “up for grabs.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You have been a part of our community in one way or another. THANK YOU!

We need you to simply blog and email regularly about Valour-IT and the competition with links to the Team Army donation page. Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT. We’ll be providing media, links, and talking points for your Tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts, etc.

The competition is military branch specific and you’ve been drafted for TEAM ARMY. If you would like to continue receiving emails regarding this competition and Team Army, email me at blackfive-AT-gmail_DOT-com and you’ll be added to a Google Group for TEAM ARMY. If you’d rather be on a team from one of the lesser branches, hit me up and I’ll send you to the appropriate team captain(s).

All future messages will come from: team-army—valour-it-2010@googlegroups.com .

Thanks for all of your support!

ALL THE WAY!

Matt

Matthew Burden
“BlackFive”
Trustee, Soldiers’ Angels

If you can donate a dollar or two, that brings someone in need one step closer to independent communication. It’s such an easy thing to do. So very easy. As easy as clicking on a link such as this one. C’mon, let’s get this thing started!

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