It's Here! We Serve Too! 2 A Child's Reunion Book!

April 28, 2009

We finally have it in our hands, and it is everything we had hoped it would be!

It is vibrant in color,  is of good quality ,and we are really proud to offer it to the Military Families whose children serve too!

This book is also good for those civilian children as well, who also have hard times missing parents, or coping with difficult feelings.  I will be writing soon about this past weekend, when we were invited to present a program to children at Warren AFB in Wyoming. We met some wonderful kids there. We learned alot of things. One thing was that even older children, age 12, loved the books. This  confirmed what we had hoped… that the whole family can relate to our simple stories, and that it is a catalyst for family conversations.

I can’t wait to post some pictures of our adventures with books, Homecoming Boxes, and all that went into a wonderful weekend! Right now though, we are celebrating our new release, and are thrilled with the reponses we are getting!

The Tear Bottle: Making Deployment A Time of Growth for Young Children

April 11, 2009

The Tear Bottle is the creation of my friend and partner Paula Johnson. It is a special addition to our Homecoming Box and something that can be used by parents as they deal with the tears that are an expected part of deployment (and life).

Here’s how it works:

The Homecoming Box is a special box a child can use to collect symbols and tokens of things they do while their parent is deployed. These items remind and comfort. Later, things can be taken out and stories told to share with Daddy .Not only does this save some of the little milestones of life, but also is something tangible that child can do, as the family thinks of what would make the best reminder.

Here is where The Tear Bottle comes in. There will be sad times as a parent is deployed. There will be times that a child really wants the parent there. At these times, a child can pick out one of the sparkly “tears”, write a reminder of what brought those tears, and put them in the Homecoming Box. When the parent returns home, and each item is taken out of the box and the event explained, once is awhile the “tears” will come out. After the tears are talked about, they go into the Tear Bottle.

The Tear Bottle becomes a vehicle to heal, by placing the sorrows in their special place. This frees the stories of the Homecoming Box to be those happy times.

Sadness and tears are part of a child’s life. Sometimes in childhood, tears come for reasons as varied as the fact that you did not buy the right kind of Mac and Cheese, to the sorrow that Daddy missed the preschool play. You, as the parent decide what is worthy of the tear bottle. Be sensitive to a child’s point of view, the loss of a favorite teddy or doll may very well be important enough to get a “tear”. Maybe you have a day when a you need a tear for the bottle as well. Use it, change it, adapt it , to work in the ways best for your family.

(complete directions for making the Homecoming Box and the Tear Bottle with your family will soon be on our parent page as a free download)

We Serve Too!2 A Child's Reunion Book: Waiting for this baby's arrival!

April 9, 2009

I was thinking that creating and publishing a book , is a little like waiting for a baby . This is an exaggeration of course, because a baby is so much more life changing and precious than a book, but I thought I would share a little of the agony with you. Paula and I have put a years worth of work into this (actually as a good friend said to us, over 50 years of our experiences are being used here, so maybe it has been 50 years in the making!). From the research that makes it relevant to families travelling this road, to the illustrations which we want to capture and draw little eyes and hearts, we have changed, rearranged, prayed and struggled to make the final book something that will be a treasure to Military Families. These books are a reflection of the life of my military grandkids, yet, not totally. It is also a reflection of other Military Families we have been blessed to talk with, things we have read, and of all of you who live deployment and reunion in realtime. Paula and I never knew the in and outs of a children’s book until we began with We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book. Through that we learned about printing, colors, shipping, credit cards, Google checkout and marketing, and the making of a dog tag. Our new book introduced us to more editing, color concerns, paper differences, the endless variations of things that can hold up a printing. We experinced the ordering of a ball that says “You can’t keep us down ,we bounce back!” We also have now experienced a blessing in the form of our book distributor, Complete Book, as they expertly handle our orders and shipping…and are becoming good friends as well. This list is not complete without mentioning the wonderful gift of the families and children we have met along the way, and our deep desire to offer our best for them. As of this moment, a few of the changes that had to be made, have now pushed back our date of having this baby in our hands, but all for the better, each change has improved the book, and now we just wait, and pray it is safely delivered…welcome to the world, We Serve Too!2 A Child’s Reunion Book!

A Heart of Desire for Reunion, or "Is it the Airport Gramma?"(sigh)

April 3, 2009

Today I picked up my grandchildren at their daycare , with the plan to use the end of this beautiful Colorado day by going to the park. We have been a bit cooped up with cold air and snow, so I knew the kids would love some outdoor unrestrained playtime.

I told them that first, we would be going to the car wash ( a real source of entertainment, especially when the soap sprays onto all the windows and we are in a dark cave in some unknown world!) Secretively I held onto where we were going until the kids started to guess. This game came to an abrupt end , when my 7 year old grandaughter shouts …”I know, we are going to the airport!”

Oh Lord, it was like a punch in the gut, and I felt so bad that I had to tell her that it was not anything that wonderful or exciting today, but just a trip to the park down the street.

Later, since my daughter was recovering from having her wisdom teeth out, we watched a movie. Marley and Me. If you have not seen it, suffice to say, it is sad. If you already had sad started, it was a good way to get tears flowing into a cleansing flood. All this was topped by news that our son, her Daddy, would probably not be coming in May, but possibly June or even July ( she does not yet know this). Our sense of loss tonight was magnified by fatigue. As I held my sobbing little one, my own heart was working on my own losses and blessings.

Tears are so much a part of deployment. Not that it is that way all the time, but the truth is, they are a cleansing of the missing and the loneliness . This photo is our girl, hugging a photo of her Daddy. One day soon, it truly will be the day for the airport. None of us can wait, What a wonderful day that will be!