Posts Tagged ‘Reunion’

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Silver Mariner Award

August 19, 2016

silver-mariner-awardThe Chief was nominated by one of his bosses from the class of ’91, for the Silver Mariner Award for 25 years of sailing. He has been selected to receive the award at the upcoming reunion and Homecoming weekend. Unfortunately, the Chief cannot get relieved to come home and I will be unable to go without him. I am so proud of him for sticking with this crazy life, even with its challenges and pressures. He is my rock and hero.

The purpose of the Silver Mariner Award is to recognize those alumni and graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and its Cadet Corps who have fulfilled the principal goal of the Academy to prepare mariners for a career at sea in the Merchant Marine or in the Armed Forces of the U.S. Recipients must be licensed and sailed as a Master, Chief Engineer or First Class Pilot. They must have sailed for at least 25 years in an unlimited license capacity with a minimum of one voyage necessary to complete a successful year. Five years of active military duty afloat time may satisfy five years of the Master’s or First Class Pilot’s Award and five years of licensed deck officer time may satisfy five years of the First Class Pilot’s Award. To receive the Military Silver Mariner Award, one must have served on active duty for 25 years in one of the U.S. Armed Services (including NOAA) and achieved the rank of O-6 (Captain/Colonel).

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Doing Something New!

September 24, 2014

Normally the Chief takes a car to the airport and he picks up a car from the airport to come home. Without giving away too much, he normally sails on the opposite coast. In 1997 I sailed with him for about 7 days when he was assigned to a Gulf Coast ship. In 1998 I drove to the major shipyard in our state to spend a day or two with him while the ship was being overhauled for new owners. But since then I have not been able to visit the ship or sail with him–either not convenient to our schedule, not on the same coast, or an emergency comes up. That happens more often than not with children.

So his ship is now on the same coast and doing what is called “tramping”. In other words, they are picking up cargo runs for anyone and everyone rather than having a dedicated intra-company cargo run. this means he could be anywhere at any time. As luck would have it, he was coming into a nearby port (by nearby I mean within 4 hours of home) right around crew switch out. But this kind of tramping could mean delays and detours with no real way of knowing where and when he would arrive. With the children and their schedules it was looking like if they arrived early I would once again miss the opportunity and he would have to get himself to the airport to pick up a rental car and drive himself home. So I was crossing my fingers for the delay.

I got my wish! I asked my father and my father-in-law to go with me… my FIL is 70+ years old and his health isn’t the best. This could be the last realistic opportunity for him to do something like this. I wanted my father to go because really until you’ve been up close and personal with the guts of a ship you have no idea what mariners do for a living.

I gave daily updates on the Chief’s position. At first my father was a little confused about the schedule, etc., and actually did back out of going at first (“unless you need me to ride shotgun” to which I replied “my FIL is planning on going so it is okay”). Then as the Chief got closer the arrival time was narrowing–it could have been just a drive 3+ hours, meet him at the terminal, and turn around with no time for a tour, etc., but I still wanted to pick him up so I’d make the trip either way, understanding if the fathers wanted to back out. My FIL offered his car. Then I get a text from my father, “We can take your mother’s car… it is only a year old and it has the EZ-pass.” Wait. “We”? Sunday morning I get a text from the Chief saying to get to the terminal sooner rather than later because their departure was bumped up 3 hours. This allowed me to tell him our plans–dropping the girls off at church and trusting someone would take pity on them and bring them back to the house, driving to my home town to pick up the fathers (BTW, my dad is coming and we’re driving my mom’s car), and getting on the road by 10:30 and eating in the car. The Chief appreciated the update because my father had been taken off the security list! ACK!

At first my dad didn’t let me drive but we did switch out when we potty stopped. We hit a 10 mile back up due to a tractor-trailer on its side. Could have been worse because we were expecting to hit several sporting events traffic. So we arrived probably an hour later than expected but still with plenty of time to take a tour after the Chief came and collected us with his official TWIC card.

The 3rd engineer was given the task of giving us the tour while the Chief went and took care of paperwork, waiting for his relief to get there. And he was cutting it close–they were concerned we were going to be put ashore and would have to leave without him and the exchange was going to have to take place downriver and we’d have no idea where. Whew–the guy arrived about an hour before we were warned the gangway was being removed in 20 minutes. “Um, have you told the Chief that because we’re here to pick him up?” IMG_3592

Whoops... had to remove the company logo! But thumbs up on the engine. :)

Whoops… had to remove the company logo! But thumbs up on the engine. 🙂

My FIL ate up all the technical stuff. For me and my dad, we just smiled and nodded. The 3rd was in his element explaining everything to us, in our hardhats and hearing protection. My dad asked about all the work benches crammed in every available corner and the machine shop. “I see all these work benches. Is there that much to do or is it just for convenience?” “Oh there is that much to do. My job is to take this one apart and then the next and then the next and by the time I’m done with the third it is time to work on the first one again. We’re in a state of constant maintenance and repair.” Now, Dad, you know why the Chief is the way he is and how he ticks. It was good for my dad to see.

It was such a relief to have the Chief with us. I drove home, hitting some traffic and being stunned at the food prices at the highway rest stop. the girls had a great afternoon with friends from church and then waiting patiently for us the rest of the day (both were asleep by the time we got home).

This was such a huge thing for me… I do NOT like to travel to new places without at least 5 different maps and building in at least 2 hours for traffic, etc. We didn’t even have an exact place for the terminal–we were totally winging it! I had no problem driving to the shipyard back in 1998 by myself but the older I get, the less I like to take chances. Either that or I was just young and stupid. But we did it. I did it. I got to pick him up right off the ship and I can’t stop grinning.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 15, 2013
The Chief arrived home vis Santa's sled at midnight Thursday/Friday.

The Chief arrived home via Santa’s sled at midnight Thursday/Friday.

Santa's List is now online! Guess who's names are not on the list? Yup, the Chief and BIL.

Santa’s List is now online! Guess whose names are not on the list? Yup, the Chief and BIL. We met Santa on the Candlelight Tour–the Chief’s first time going with me. BIL brought his girlfriend along.

Science Fair time--only included here because the BIL helped her at first and now the Chief is home to help her finish it.

Science Fair time–only included here because the BIL helped her at first and now the Chief is home to help her finish it.

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Personal: What Example Do We Set?

April 22, 2013

My thoughts here are for my edification. I have definite opinions that are, for lack of better terms, of a conservative bent and will most likely offend on some level readers of this blog. My intent is not to offend. Nor is it to open up to debate my personal beliefs. If my beliefs cannot be respected, please do not continue reading this post and come back on another day.

I just spent a weekend with my mother visiting my alma mater. It had been 17 years since she had been back; 21 years since our first spring trip to the campus to interview for scholarships. The reunion itself is for another post and might be an interesting follow-up to one of my most shared posts and Pinterest repins (My 20 Year High School Reunion).

We were able to visit with the congregation that took me in while I was a student. For the most part, everyone is still there. One of the founding families moved for job opportunities. Most of the children I was a babysitter and nanny for are finished with college and some are married with children themselves. But the men and women who opened their homes and welcomed me as an adult remembered me and welcomed me “home.” I have visited over the years and had brought T1 &T2 with me but I admit it has been a few years.

One phrase that got me thinking about this post was “We just haven’t had another college student like you.”

I have been thinking about T1 & T2 and their college futures. I’ve been reading several articles pinned on Pinterest by JenontheEdge. T1 only recently had an epiphany about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and T2 has known for years (yes, years) what she wants to be. For T1 now comes finding out where she wants to go. She’s been to teen events that have recruiters from the Christian colleges and the allure is there. I have opinions about a Christian college education and I share them with her. They are not my mother’s.

My mother had a missionary uncle who went to a Christian college. He wrote a thesis as to why we shouldn’t send our children to such institutions of higher learning. My mother subscribed to this and held fast to it as she (and I) got a lot of pressure from the other parents about sending me to a Christian college. This weekend she asked why I never asked to go to one of the Christian colleges. While I was aware of the huge price tag and knew it was out of our means, I was at a crossroads in my faith and I knew myself well enough that if my participation in religious activities was mandated, I would have rebelled. At that time I was the only family member attending services with my mother. I wanted to know why I believed, what I believed–was I only going for her or did I believe it truly myself? Mandatory chapel every morning was going to do nothing to help me find those answers.

But that was me. And I knew myself. I also know others where Christian colleges solidified their faiths and they had faith-affirming experiences and I would say they probably have stronger faith than I do today. But I know others who were going to a Christian college to get an “MRS.” and they are divorced and rarely darken the doorstep of a church today.

So what would I tell T1 & T2 if they asked to go to a Christian college? The first question I would ask is, “Why do you want to go?” Certainly if my children mentioned anything about being sheltered or protected from the world I’d have to say “Then you will never be salt to the world.” If they say they want to look deeper into their faith out of a questioning, I would say a good local congregation could help you find that and might provide a more balanced view. If they were to say to help find a Godly mate, I’d have to point out that I found their father at church, not school. I have talked to T1 that now that she knows what she wants to study she now needs to find the schools that offer the best program. I’m not an expert but I don’t know of a Christian college that has a particularly strong engineering school (I am only thinking of the ones that still use “Christian” in their description–I haven’t looked at Perdue or Pepperdine, both of which started as Christian schools but have distanced themselves from their roots). We have a young friend who is thriving at a Christian school and started in their nursing program–I’d have to ask T1 if there aren’t just as good or better nursing programs right here in our state.

Bottom line is I’m not opposed to it if both the reasons and my daughter’s faith were sound. Now is the time for research and looking at the different disciplines of engineering to help her make her choice.

T2 is a little different. Our big thing is helping her decide whether an associate degree or a more marketable 4-year degree is in her best interest. Her interests could send her to my alma mater. And I know her spiritual growth will be well looked after.

But do I? I was not the only member of my congregation to attend my alma mater at the time nor since. But I was the only one who went faithfully. Why? What was the difference?

One of the members said to me that the first time they saw the family of a college student was the weekend he graduated–he had been there four years and they had never come to church. Surely his parents had visited him Parents’ Weekend or Oktoberfest. Graduation weekend is the first time they show up at church?

The church is in a quandary about why our young people are leaving, why we’re not meeting their needs and they’re seeking elsewhere. I would pose this theory: perhaps when we drop our 18 year-olds off at school without making the effort of finding a congregation for them to worship at we send this message: church is not important, especially not while you’re sowing your wild oats and “finding yourself.”

My mother and I attended evening services in a little VFW hall during freshman orientation weekend. Information was exchanged–like where my dorm was, when freshmen reported back, etc., and they gave me phone numbers and times for services. I was greeted as an adult–something I didn’t get in my home congregation. But I guess subconsciously even though the choice was mine, even though I wanted to know if I was merely just believing for my mother’s sake, the impression was going to church is important.

Maybe that’s the difference. Maybe that is the example. Even though we push them out of the nest we can’t just assume they will make good decisions right of the bat. I live in a college town now and I have to say, not a single out-of-town college student has sought us out, nor have their families (and the college will not allow us to establish a club without it being student driven). But maybe it is simpler. The difference could also be that I myself was searching and I wanted answers.

Sometimes they won’t have the opportunity to attend a congregation of the same faith (the Chief did not have a congregation meeting anywhere near the academy, and he too went through a little rebellion of sorts) but that might make them appreciate finding a congregation after schooling. I think that was the case for the Chief (and I was there *bonus*).

No matter where T1 & T2 go to school I will make the effort to show going to church matters. I won’t make it an ultimatum–it is their choice–but I will help to make the connections that may turn into lifelong relationships and a “home away from home.” When I think of reunions at my alma mater it is always more about seeing my “family.”

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