We took the girls to church today. :) This was our local church of choice that we hadn't been to in a long while. We have, however, attended church in our hometown since we are there quite a few weekends; sometimes we are there on the weekends more than we are here!Anyway, as I always do when I'm at church, I filled out the prayer request card and put in the offering plate. I recorded my request on there and although the names sometimes change, the request stays the same. I asked for prayer for our adopted soldiers and I list their names. Then, I asked for prayers for the soldiers we know by name and I listed Some Soldier's Mom's son, the name of a soldier she gave me to write because he's lonely at mail call, and the name of my first soldier whose name I received from the letter writing team of Soldiers' Angels.Church went on and then, at the end, the pastor wandered over to our section and announced that he wanted to make a little introduction this morning. He re-introduced my husband and me to the congregation, mentioned that Brian had been recently deployed and that I had submitted a prayer request this week that he wanted to share. I'm sure, not so coincidentally--since God does work in mysterious ways--the pastor is conducting a back-to-school series of lessons. He's outlining the lessons that we, as Christians, should have learned or need reviewed. Today was about allowing God to work in our everday lives, to open our hearts to the possibilities that we could create and do great work if we allow God to work in our everyday lives.He questioned me about my soldiers and the names I'd listed on the card. He said that he was sure that if anyone wanted to become involved in using their talents, that I could direct them to the organization I work with easily enough. He's right. I was surrounded by people following that service and I wrote down Soldiers' Angels web addresses on I don't know how many church programs. One group of women were members of the Quilting Circle at church--imagine the work they could do for wounded soldiers and those whose new babies are "showered" by the Angels. I guess when I considered recruiting new angels I should have considered that a likely place to find them would be in church.
Wow. I can't even paraphrase this wonderful column posted at Townhall.com by Oliver North. I linked to it via a soldier's blog...you'll see he receives a mention in Ollie's piece.It seems Oliver North won't be climbing in any phone booths soon. Hope someone can e-mail this to "Jihad Jane".
Edited: You know, I thought about this all night and although I still will not paraphrase this spot on piece of writing, I will share with you one of my favorite sentiments from the piece:
"Hopefully at some point during your Jihadist journey, you will bump into Sgt. Christopher Missick of the 319th Signal Battalion. While in Iraq, Missick met hundreds of good Americans through his blog, "A Line in the Sand." Home now, he and a fellow veteran are driving around the country -- fueled by conventional gasoline -- to meet some of the patriots -- his "Web of Support" -- who sent letters, packages and prayers. He wants to personally thank them and "meet the heart of America."
That's the kind of support the troops appreciate, not your caravan of craven critics."
He said it better than I ever could. And, although those who disagree will still disagree, it makes me feel better to hear someone who has actually been there point out what is so obvious to those who care to look.
Saturday night already? What did you do all day? Ours flew by, that's for certain. The hubby looked after the girls today while I went to campus for the afternoon. They had an alumni scrapbooking event--a crop--from 9-5. Now, it's Saturday and it's summer so you know I didn't get there until noon, but that still gave me plenty of time to churn out about six pages. Came home, made chicken piccata over angel hair then chocolate chip cookies and tucked the girls in to bed a bit ago. We're planning on going to church tomorrow. First time in a long time, but I'm pretty sure God will be happy to see us. I plan to let the girls wear their new dresses I bought a couple weekends ago...I'll post a shot because I know they will look gorgeous.My friend, Mom, heard from her boy today, all the way from the sandbox. Thank goodness for that! I hope she sleeps like a LOG tonight!Around the horn tonight:--Some freaky, throw back to the Vietnam era appeared on Heartland tonight on Fox News. He's a Vietnam Vet (thank you) who is now an anti-war protestor and claims to be "good friends" with Jane Fonda. What a fruitcake. He wouldn't let the host get a word in edge-wise and what he was saying made no sense and I was really listening. Best line of the night? Host, former Ohio Congressman, John Kasich responds to his guest's assertion that Vietnam Vets know that Jane Fonda's actions during the Vietnam War were to help them. Kasich replied, that the number of Vietnam Vets who feel Fonda was a help to them could "fit in a phone booth". Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Good one!--All four suspects pegged for the botched London bombings are in custody. They claim they were trying to "sow terror" and didn't intend on killing lots of people. Translation: "Um, we meant to do that..." Whatever. Best headline? The Sun's definitely...in bold, capital letters across the front of the tabloid-esque paper--GOT THE BASTARDS. I think that sums it up. --Natalee Holloway is still missing. The hair on the duct tape sent away came back and is not a match. They have drained a pond...nada. They are combing through a landfill...nada. Seems to me if you wanted to be a criminal, Aruba and other places like it would be the perfect place to go. I've never seen a place where you can change your story a million times and NOTHING happens to you...well, unless you're released, much like the two brothers in this case. With sixty-seven miles of coastline, the "smallness" of Aruba becomes much more complex.--The Honeymoon Mystery continues as well. A couple who went on a cruise for their honeymoon but came home without a spouse makes for great news analysis fodder. The latest collection of information is that those in adjoining cabins to the Smith's say that they were awakened in the wee hours of the morning by young men's voices, arguing. Then, the male(s) leave(s) and the departure is followed up by a sound comparable to a couch being heaved overboard and bouncing off the awning & hitting concrete. The awning, incidentally, where blood was found the following morning. All the other news pundits are pontificating so why don't I throw my hat in to the ring...I'm going to say the couple were blazingly drunk as they had been throughout their trip. At some point in the night, they become separated, each with their new "friends" they've met onboard. I think he came to their room only to find her engaged in either a very lovely conversation with a completely innocent male passenger or in a flat-out liaison with someone as equally drunk as she. Given the level of intoxication, she may have been passed out and in the process of being raped or perhaps a willing participant. Words and blows are exchanged and the newly ringed husband is tossed overboard. --Uzbekistan evicts US troops from an air base there. It has served as an important base of operations for missions in Afghanistan. Apparently, the US has inserted itself to make known that the human rights violations occurring in Uzbekistan are unacceptable. Uzbekistan, for its part, isn't interested. Funny how you aren't hearing much about us opposing these things happening UNTIL we are sent packing. Wouldn't want to make it look like the US actually cares. Now, if only Dafur would make it on our list.--Neal Boortz's book on the Fair Tax comes out next week...pick up your copy via Amazon.com today. Can't wait to read this as I'm hoping it is in actuality as good as it sounds in theory.--Discovery Channel is running a cool show on the Titanic tonight. Lots of awesome footage from underwater including areas never seen before now.I think that's enough for one night. Oh! And the postman brought me a pile of flat-rate boxes, labels and customs forms yesterday. Time to hit Sam's, replenish the care package shelves and get to sending!
I've already told you that I am unnaturally enamored of back-to-school time. I live office supplies, especially fresh notebooks, brightly decorated binders and writing utensils. LOVE THEM!!Anyway, Office Max has rolled out their back-to-school ad campaign featuring the "Rubberband Man" and his theme song...he wanders around finding kids enjoying the last days of summer at the beach, skateboarding, selling lemonade, etc. and hands them some school necessities.Love that! Rock on, Rubberband Man!
I call her "Mom" just because it's in her blog title, but she's much too cool (and she looks much too young) to be the stereotypical image of Mom in anyone's mind. :)Just wanted to send a little cyber-support her way today. She's waiting on word from either her son or one of the other young men in his unit...waiting is the hardest part. It's been over 6 days now. And, even though rationally he is in a place with slipshod communication devices and not-the-best living conditions, Moms still need to hear from their boys! So, fingers crossed and all that so Mom gets a call or she hears the "Moo".
An update on a story I've been following and documenting for you here. PFC Tim Hines was laid to rest last week and within 24 hours, the home of his in-laws (where his pregnant wife has been living) was vandalized by arsonists. Twenty American flags were used to set a fire under the fallen PFC's sister-in-law's car.You can read the entire article. I'll nutshell it for you: Two local teenagers (13 and 15) will face felony charges of arson. They live in the same neighborhood and apparently "didn't realize the significance of the flags". Now, I'll pretend that an ENTIRE town turned out for this kid's funeral and these two had NO CLUE because they were probably too busy huffing spray paint in the garage. However, the significance of the flags did not simply lie in the fact that they were someone else's property and that the someone else had buried a fallen soldier the day before...the significance lies in the fact that they are flags of the United States of America. HELLO! It appears significance to these kids is another way to describe felony. In other words, how is this significant to me.The kids apparently admitted their vandalism to their parents. That would be the last thing any child of mine would do...they would have taken their stupid asses to the police and turned themselves in because they would know they would have a better chance in federal custody than they would with their mother, not to mention their father. And, if my children were stupid enough to light the flag on fire, they probably would be stupid enough to tell me, so at that point, ass whoopin's all around and then a free ride to the police station on the end of my shoe.I am in total agreement with the feelings of PFC Hines' unit members and it's a shame that these two boys couldn't have had to explain their idiotic behavior to some of our nation's finest.I thank God every day that my daughter is in a school where the Pledge of Allegiance isn't treated like it is old-fashioned and silly. It's also terrific that my six-year-old knows the proper care of an American flag and thought this story was as awful as any thinking adult who offered a reaction. For her part, Katy Hines is looking ahead to the future and the impending birth of her son, Noah who is due August 6th. I have put the Soldiers' Angels "Operation Top Knot" team on alert and they are fashioning some very special gift for 2-year-old Lily and her soon-to-be-born baby brother. And, my girls and I will be putting together a box as well. If you would like to send a personal letter to Mrs. Hines, I have her mailing address. Even though it is public information and has been printed in the paper, I respect her privacy. I will provide the address through personal e-mail to people I know and trust.
Seems like the in-laws and outlaws down South are clamoring for more--hey, there, South Carolina! Howdy, Florida! Isn't it just like Romper Room or Captain Kangaroo when they looked at the TV and would say "Hi" to specific kids and act like they could see you? Site Meter is a beautiful thing because with IP addresses, I can see you.Pretty busy today...big trip to the post office. I'm going to be taking cookies in there at Christmas this year, I know I will. I'm on a first name basis with no less than three local post offices. My care package addiction can only get worse the closer we get to the holidays. MM is getting a box full of woman's necessities, celeb magazines, sunblock, moisturizing shower gel, and some hand-sanitizing wipes. JG will be getting his Under Armor t-shirt in Army brown. And, two soldiers who are not my adoptees, but aren't getting mail, will receive letters soon. Fun!Not too eventful around our household tonight. I've been spicing up the kitchen with some new gadgets, cookware and a new santoku knife (how much do I love this thing?!). Food Network's Everday Italian is a great show and I love the cookware featured on the set. I've noticed the chef on the show shops at Sur La Table and I am pleased to report that when our nearby mall renovates, we will have one! That and a new Hobby Lobby, Ann Taylor Loft and a few other stores will keep me busy. Giada De Laurentiis' new cookbook is well worth the dough too. The chicken piccata recipe alone is worth the money. Also heard an ad on the radio today about granite countertops that can be placed over existing countertops at a greatly reduced expense compared to removing current counters and installing all new. Hmmm...Next week is the busy one for this group. M1 heads off with her father for a family reunion on the Coast. She'll leave the day after she goes to see the American Idol concert with my mom and be home Sunday night. Cannot WAIT to hear about that one! She's been collecting her change so she can chip in to buy some school supplies for Iraqi kids at the Target back-to-school clearance sale that will happen next month. I'm excited to see her get excited about helping other kids she doesn't even know.Hubby will be headed to a familiar Army base to work...live fire demonstrations and he'll be in the field all week living in a tent. (Wouldn't it be a hoot if I can find someone to watch Mag's and sweet talk the guard into letting me on base overnight?) I asked him what might make it more bearable. He mentioned a Coleman thingie to heat stuff on, but thought it would be too expensive since we aren't campers so we'd probably never use it again.At Target today, I found a small Coleman stove big enough for a skillet, the propane to go with it and a "scout set" of cookware for under $40.00. I also got him some Chunky soup with the pull tops--why didn't anyone think of those before?--and will go shopping for more fun stuff before he heads out early next week. When I showed him these purchases, you would have thought I'd handed him a bag of gold. I didn't think it was a really big deal...just something nice for him so his week would be a little more bearable. I honestly think I saw him get a little verklempt. He kept saying how "nice" it was and that it was already over the top, given all I have already done and especially in light of having to defend his honor yet again...I consider that my duty given my freak magnet brought the situation into his life in the first place. Live and learn.So, it will be the mini-one and me for the better part of the week. I don't plan to go to work at all. I'm not under contract until August 15th...so if I can stay home until then, I'm going to. M2 and I will have to find some fun girl stuff to do--chicken nuggets and tots, anyone?
I loved NYPD Blue. I also was a fan of LA Law. I was young enough to enjoy Doogie Howser, MD. With those gems in your creating crown, the public will forgive a Cop Rock or two. Although I had heard some not-so-favorable advance press about the new FX series, Over There, the television schedule on Wednesday night's at 10:00 is so abyssmal, we decided to give the program a viewing.After twenty minutes of the program, I asked my husband what they could possibly do with the remaining 40 minutes since they had already exhausted every possible stereotype associated with the military. The list is so long, I can't even get it all down...but, there were the females who couldn't do their jobs, African-Americans who smoked pot & only joined because of economics, a Columbia student ridiculed for being so stupid for joining, and a gung-ho young guy, and officers who are either inept, screamers or reticent. The prevailing characteristic was petulance rather than professionalism along with a lovely dash of soliloquies on the meaning of life. It's not to say that there aren't individuals who have these characteristics, but I don't see representations of any of the people I actually know who serve in the military.I didn't notice much in the way of professional soldiers. The reaction I'm hearing in my own household and from those with dogs actually in this fight are "cheesy"; "too Hollywood"; and "inaccurate." The production quality is good. Theme song sucks wind. And the previews for next week look like we're trotting down the road to making claimed abberations appear to be fact. The take way for me is that there apparently isn't any way for an African-American person to be patriotic or to join for any other reason than economics. And, women in uniform are so incapable of doing their duties (can't dig in when you are in sand?) they put the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk. And, of course, the wives left behind are either sluts banging someone else while their husband is away or some other sterotypical bad wife.And, if this is the Army we're supposedly watching, why in the hell were the actors run through boot camp by a Marine??? That's for my brother-in-law...There are any number of military men and women who have been on the front lines who could have given this script a once over and probably would have done so for free to try for a more authentic and accurate tone. We will more than likely watch it again as my husband has an obsessive need to catalog every inaccuracy he can find in shows where the military are involved. This show will more than likely provide ample opportunities if the pilot is any indication.
After joining Soldiers' Angels, I found out there are alot of teams you can join in addition to, or instead of, adopting a soldier. Several of the teams seem to be suited to me, but I'm taking my volunteering incrementally so that I don't find myself too overwhelmed to fulfill my obligations to those I have promised to help.
I signed up to be a member of the Letter Writing Team (LWT). I have requested my recipient's name to arrive each Thursday. My particular team leader is on it, however, an my name arrived this evening. I am so excited!
This, to me, would be extremely easy for ANYONE to do and it would cost you at the least 23-cents per week (postcard) and at the most thirty-seven cents per week (regular letter). It's not a care package or even necessarily an ongoing committment, however, if someone replies, it would be silly not to write them again.
If you think about your own life and consider your daily walk to the mail box...what if it were always empty? Or worse, what if the only mail you received were bills? What if the mail man stood at the top of your street and called out the names of everyone on your street receiving mail and yours was never one of them?
Sure, you can say that your mailbox is full of bills as it is--I can relate--but today I received a letter from a college roommate who was also a bridesmaid at my wedding. I haven't seen her since her own wedding a couple years ago. She's a new mom and had so much to share. Seeing that card amongst the junk mail, bills, and papers brought a big smile to my face.
I can only imagine what that kind of moment would be like if it were 121 degrees and I was hauling around about 70 pounds of extra equipment at any given time. If it were weeks rather than days or hours between the times I spoke with my family or months between the times I felt the touch of a loved one.
You can make a difference in the lives of people who are willing to stand between you and those who seek to do you harm. Most people who happen by here every day or two certainly don't see these brave souls as baby killers, mercenaries or Nazis. You also don't see them as poor saps who are pawns in Bush's war or any of the other asenine descriptions created by people so far removed from reality it's enough to make me lose sight of what's important to me sometimes.
I've said it before (I'll be happy to place the permalinks here since there has been some misrepresentation of what I have actually written in the past, although those responsible for that aren't very good readers/listeners anyhow) NO ONE loves war. No one wants to put their husband, wife, son or daughter on a plane and live with the knowledge every day of what their lives are like. So, supporting a soldier doesn't mean you have to sign off on war.
What it does mean is that you have to support the soldier in his/her mission because it is his/her life during deployment. To do that can be as simple as telling them "Thank you" and that you are praying for them. Period. End of sentence. Anything less is unacceptable and self-serving. It robs them of dignity and it can chip away at the morale of those who may not have their name on my LWT list yet.
Sure, I feel passionately about this. It's important to me. What I feel isn't ugly or angry and it will never ever die, much to some's chagrin. It is the way I live; it is a part of me. I won't have a problem with anyone on that one unless they insist on sticking their face in mine about it at which point I will pinch the end of their pointy nose and remove it from my space.
It's enough for me to know that for one of these soldiers my contact may be a moment during their time away that becomes meaningful for them. They may keep a letter and read it again. They may look at my daughter's drawing and think about their own kids or their siblings or the children they will have someday...or maybe just know that she, in her 6-year-old heart, understands and appreciates their sacrifice more than alot of so-called "intellects" back home do. I'd want someone to do it for my husband, if he were there now, and so I do it. I will continue to do it until there is no longer a need.
You can't say you know unless you actually do. It seems the longer you know people, the more entitled they feel to insert their will or values or perceptions over your own. Although it might make someone feel better to never have to reset their tired paradigm, sometimes it is imperative to wade through the trenches and actually ask what is happening. Then, listen to the answer. It doesn't surprise me that in today's world full of whatever-makes-me-feel-superior, alot of people miss the point because they are too busy listening to themselves talk. The world, the media and your own neighborhood are full of people who presume to know everything about you and your family simply because of the demographic into which you fall and, if you aren't willing to fit in to the cookie cutter, they offer you their sympathy because yet again, you aren't doing as they think you should. My friend, C, and I discuss this all the time. It doesn't hurt that my other friend, B, is always around when I trip over someone's sharp tongue. She never fails to toss out the diagnosis from a counselor I met with while in college that I was "the sanest person" he'd "ever met". In all fairness, I don't know the doctor's family, friends, or the shape the other students who met with him, so it's all relative! But I try to practice the sage advice of crossing the street when I see crazy coming. B says, sometimes crazy gets a little too close for comfort. No kidding.I've been learning quite a bit from the soldiers I've adopted over the past year. Until this past month, I'd never had the female perspective on military service. I have a friend, A, who served during the first Gulf War, but I didn't know her when she was there so although it's still fresh for her, it's harder for me to connect with that time in her life.My newest soldier, MM, wrote a beautiful letter to my family in which she details why she joined the military, the conditions in which she is serving right now as well as what involvement by a stranger like me can mean to someone in her position. She acknowledges her job isn't glamorous, but that she knows she is helping to guarantee freedom--like that required for children to play on the playground. She goes on to say that our letter "brightened" her day and that it is "amazing" what a few kind words can mean, even to a stranger.I remind myself every time I read this letter that these are the types of people worth spending effort, time and even money on. It's too easy to become caught up in the minutia of daily life and to be bogged down with the number of steps left in the journey rather than the miles you've already walked. These are the people with the roll-up-your-sleeves, common sense that this country was founded on and is in such desperate need of again. It's one of the things I respect most in not only my husband, but also those who are the first to respond...whether it be to the needs of a crying child, the alarm from a fire, or the threat of an unseen enemy. MM and those in harm's way are the type of people I want between myself and the warfront. I'm convinced she would have my back in a fight and buy me a beer after...she's just real. No BS, no whining, no angst, no unnecessary flailing...she just is. I like that. I'm learning to focus my talent and energy in her direction rather than to things in my environment that are less worthwhile. Once the looky-loo traffic dies down and we're back to normal here, I will be starting a series of entries focused on the people I recognize as making a difference in the lives of others...some will be old friends, others may be people I've never even met in person, but trust me that I will have their permission to post about them here & then you will have the pleasure of making their cyberspace acquaintance.