Fall will bring Soldier Daddy closer every day…

August 14, 2012




The kids have had a wonderful summer that has slipped by awfully fast. We hope that you have tucked away a few sunshiny memories to think on as the fall and winter come. We are looking forward to soldier Daddy coming home, leaving the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and being instead close enough to hug!


As a mother, I can hardly stand the end months of this deployment, just waiting and praying that he will be out of there and equally proud of how he serves this country with every fiber of his being. My grandchildren can hardly wait for the Daddy they miss to be here, really here in person.


We have worked hard to stay connected and close even with all those miles between us. Calls and notes, packages and facebook messages. Soon all that will be replaced with a PCS to Colorado, and we are thrilled!

Paula and I will be going to a local elementary school to bring the We Serve Too! books to kids and teach them about Veterans Day. This will happen of course in November, but we are planning now, since we will be working with more than 500 children. We were told that they did not understand Veterans Day last year, and so we have vowed to change that!

We will be talking to them about books, illustrating ,and  being an author. We will be letting them illustrate a book of their own, and best, we will be telling them of the sacrifices that are made for them each and every day. These children need to know that other children wait for beloved parents to return. They need to understand that all through our history, men and women have chosen to risk everything to keep this country free and our way of life intact. If they do not understand that, how can they ever understand the gift they have been given, and the weight of that gift? If they don’t know that this country is unique and special, how will they find the passion to defend it?  Paula and I are not really just talking about books at all, but about something infinitely more important. We hope the kids will embrace it.

Here is hoping that your last summer days are blessed and restful, and that the excitement of a new school year will carry the little ones into good learning situations!

Memorial Day and a walk that explains a Holiday…

May 25, 2012


The solemn nature of this holiday runs head to head with soft early summer sunshine , backyard cook outs and kids running through the sprinkler. Who wants to spend the day to contemplate the loss of young men and women and the struggles of the families left behind? We collectively as Americans need to because they belong to every one of us.

I recently was standing beside a young woman with a baby in a stroller at an event at Ft. Carson. I talked with her and learned that her husband and best friend had died in Iraq ,only days after she had shared with him that they were about to become parents. My heart ached for her and  for the baby that will never know her Daddy personally. The event sponsored by American Military Family that we were attending was  to support parents Michelle and Dan Benevidez, who were preparing to walk from Colorado to Illinois, to the Middle East Conflicts Wall where the name of their fallen soldier is etched. Their son,  Ssgt. Kennith Mayne  died in Iraq in 2008. They want to bring attention to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and to those who serve now.  I want to share a video with you, no words can express what the video will…it is what Memorial Day is all about.


American Military Family is there for those who serve and their Families. For more information about this group and about the walk of Michelle and Dan Benevidez,  go to :http://www.americanmilitaryfamily.org/


Ft. Carson: We Serve Too!, Tradition, and Homecoming!

June 6, 2010

This weekend Paula and I had the privilege to go to Ft. Carson and donate 500 books to the little ones. We read our stories, asked some questions and got some wonderful hugs! Here are a couple of the people that helped us do that, friends from the West Childcare Development Center on Ft. Carson, as they assemble the books with dogtags to pass out to the children there

After the passing out of the books , we heard of a tradition there are Ft. Carson that we had never heard of before. We were told that if we came back to the post late at night, 300 or more soldiers were coming home from Afghanistan! The tradition is, that as the busloads of soldiers come in the gates, the firetrucks, lights flashing , horns blowing, drench the buses with water, symbolizing the washing off of the dirt of foreign soil and welcoming them back home.

Because this particular homecoming was happening inthe middle of the night, families anxiously awaited their arrival at the event center about a half mile from the gate’s roundabout. The only ones to witness the firetrucks and that part of the celebration, were one little boy and his mother, and these two grandmas!

As we joined the families of our brave service-members, we were struck with the beauty of the welcome. Prayer, the Army song, a reverence for the completed mission and thanks to the families who had endured or lost. Then a joyous reunion of smiles, snapshots, laughter, hugging and tears. What a privilege to be there.

As we left I thanked a young soldier and asked if he would mind if I gave him a hug. I had never gotten to see the homecoming of my own boy, twice from Iraq. He obliged me.

Welcome home each and every one. Thank you, from all of us, for the work you do and have done. May God bless and keep you, and your families!

We Are the Free and Unconquerable People of the United States of America! Teach kids about Pearl Harbor.

December 8, 2009

old radio
Please take a moment to listen to this radio address by Eleanor Roosevelt.
You will hear the words she spoke (click on her name)as the world began to hear about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Children need to hear about the history of our nation. It is our job, to keep the history alive ,to teach children that many have made the utimate sacrifice to secure their freedoms. Listen to the language used, Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledges the emotion of the moment, fear, and tells the nation, that “we the people, are ready for action” and that “we are the free and unconquerable people of the United States of America!” We still are, though there are those who do not know it. They try to convince us that this is no longer true. Teach the children, that honor, bravery and good are displayed in our great military. We need to begin to look at the way we saw our nation then, and the dangerous changes we have made. Bring back that sureness, that we are a nation of people, united, who will not bow to evil.

May our nation continue to be blessed.

September 11th…

September 11, 2009

Every year, it rolls around. We take the horror that we felt that day , look at our hearts again , and remember. I have a flag I fly in my yard. It has a name on it of one of the victims of that horrible act, and a note from a child that says: “you died from terrorists.” We have a war on terror, but terror is a darkness that we cannot fully comprehend. We try and imagine how we can war against it when it is elusive,  and so far reaching, like a grey mist rising in places we do not expect. Terror is a tool used by evil, to control the minds and when possible, the hearts of those who cannot or will not fight. Those who are weak are overcome first, and those who stand strong suffer, sometimes at the hand of the very ones they try to protect. I wonder about this as our son begins another journey across the ocean in this war on terror. I think of the people who so wonderfully show their appreciation to our Military, and those who do not get what it is they do for them. Our brave sons and daughters protect them all. Today on September 11 th, think hard about the sacrifices being made on your behalf. There are sons and daughters who take the worry of parents with them as they go, fathers and mothers leaving little ones to grow, seeing the milestones from far away. Many are impacted by the lives of those we send to protect our homeland. Thank you to each and every one, to soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines, guardsmen, police and firefighters. To wives and parents and children back home. God Bless you all!

Troop Tube Video on Dogs for Wounded Soldiers

September 5, 2009

Troop tube has a video for everyone in the Military Family. I came upon this one on service dogs for wounded vets. The story of how these dogs can help is a good one for children who may be coping with a wounded parent…of course they will want a dog to join their family, so make that adult decision before showing the video to the kids! This is a program well worth exploring if you or a loved one are in this situation.

Paula and I are in the research and development phase of our third book for children. This book will address the experiences of a parent returning home wounded.

To those Families living this, we just want to say thank you for the sacrifices you have made and are making. We also want to offer our prayers for the recovery of your family.

Therapy Dogs Help Wounded Warriors Heal

He's Home!!!!!!

June 25, 2009

Well, we have all been beside ourselves with anticipation and the day finally arrived! Justin came home for his 15 day leave, and his little ones could hardly contain themselves! Papa (my husband ) and I (gramma) took the two grandchildren to the airport for his arrival. On the way we were asked 535 times if we were there yet. I turned to Don asking if he remembered car trips with our small children many years ago, he sort of did , but thought ours had been quieter….no, this sounds pretty familiar to me.

We had planned the big welcome thing with the banner made by Devon Victoria, but as all well laid plans, that did not happen. I had imagined a page out of our second book being true, as we would wait in the terminal with our banner unfurled waiting for him to come through the doorways, but he called and was already in Denver! No time to call and say he had gotten a flight out sooner from Dallas (not that we minded him being home four hours early!)

One part of the book was true for me though, I did cry when I saw him. You don’t really know how much those days of knowing enemies are out there planning the demise of your loved one, strains a persons resources. I, (and I think most military Families) just go on with the day to day…but the relief and joy of actually seeing my son, was more than I could suppress!

So, here we go, 15 days of being together and we will soak in every possible moment. We know he has to go back to the sands of Iraq, but we also see the end in sight…his tour (this time) is almost done. Another chapter of Army life is about to unfold, and like all good Military Families, we have no idea what is coming at us!

Thank you for your prayers for Justin and for our family, we appreciate each and every one!

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!

Long Talks from across the pond, are rare and wonderful!

February 14, 2009

It is 10 p.m. and I just got off the phone with our oldest son who is spending his time these days in Iraq.

We talked about things going on here at home, things he is doing there, things that happened when he was young, things I did when I was young. We talked about why he is where he is, and why he does what he does.

We talked for nearly and unheard of hour!

I am so proud of him, and I am proud of all of those men and women who serve this country day after day , taking care of our nation, while the rest of us go about the daily routines of our lives.

I listen to his thoughts and feelings about life, the decsions he has to make, and though my mothers heart would like things to be safe and easy for him, to him that would be like being in a prison. He loves the changes, the challenges , the way things are never routine. Sure there are routine days, but in the military, something is going to change soon.

I would never ask that this man, who used to be a boy that never let me rest…to live a calm and “normal” life. This son of ours has found what he really loves to do. Not many people really find that, and so I am happy, even though it means I have to live missing him, and knowing in the back of my mind that he is in dangerous situations more times than I could bear, if I knew about it.

We got a certificate in the mail, that thanks us for our son’s service , acknowledging the sacrifices we make as a family. I told him on the phone that it is very nice that they send that, while we sweat it out here at home…he laughed.

Well, I can go to bed content for tonight, having heard his voice, knowing that at least for now, all is right and things are quiet in his neck of the woods. There are moments that the proud heart of a military parent rises in me, and overshadows the other moments when it just feels bad. Tonight is one of those, and I will bask in it as long as I can.

Goodnight … they start a new day as this one ends here at home. Lord watch over him, and his buddies, and thank You for having him call tonight. It was a very special Valentine!

Superbowl Connection

February 2, 2009

Funny how things that seem unrelated create a mind and heart connection as we miss our deployed loved ones. Last week I heard that our military would be treated to pizza and two beers each as they watched the big game. This of course took place in the wee hours of the morning for those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our son was looking forward to this event and had called earlier in the morning (a call we missed….I hate that) but where he sounded upbeat telling us he was going to be watching the game later.

My husband Don and I watched surrounded by others we know at a local restaurant. The camera focused on some of our soldiers watching overseas, and the tears started…they came somewhat unexpectedly, and then I struggled with them again as the color guard brought out the flags of each military branch and Old Glory.

The singing of our National Anthem and the pride I feel as a military mother was, for a moment overwhelming. None of our children were with us during the game. I did wish they could all be home, but that connection of knowing what Justin was watching the same thing at the same time was really comforting.

I think it is maybe because so very few times do I have any idea what he may be doing, or what life is like for him, but this time…for four quarters, we were watching together!

Football is a game I love, my husband is a coach, as is his father. I think it has many parallels to life itself. These teams were well matched and the battle was hard fought, but that brings me to a question: Why, when the goal is money and fame, are they paid better than our military who pay with life and limb to secure our freedom and defend our nation? I really don’t get it.

I don’t understand why men who play are offered more fame than men who work long hours without sleep and endure cold and heat on our behalf? I wonder why our new President wants to cut the military budget by 10 percent and increase the money for global warming in the midst of a war on terror? I watch them report on this warming thing, bundled in coats and shivering into the microphone in front of the white house.

Well, I guess that is enough of my political views….I did enjoy the game, and hope you did too!