color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I wish you a year full of ordinary miracles...

A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make yourself.

An unexpected phone call from an old friend... or a spouse, son or daughter across the sea.

Green stoplights on your way to work or shop.

I wish you all the little things to rejoice in...

The fastest line at the grocery store.

A good sing along song on the radio.

Your keys right where you look.

A care package waiting inside the wire.

The return of those who been away... from our persons or our hearts.

I wish for each of you happiness and perfection -- little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are special and rare.

I wish each of You -- and everyone -- Peace, Happiness and Joy, Health and Prosperity (however you measure it).

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. So this year, live your life to be unforgettable to someone... to everyone.

And a special Happy New Year to our grandson Thomas -- may the New Year be filled with wonder, learning, laughter and love!

To my sons and daughter (and their spouses), Happy New Year and remember how much you are loved and admired.

To my dear and much-loved siblings (including the out-laws!) -- know that we miss you very much (come visit!!)

To my wonderful, fantastic, amazing Husband: I love you to the moon and back (and then some!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas is for the Children...

Our Little Tom Terrific!!

We have a friend... In addition to being many people's friend, she is a devoted wife, a devoted and loving -- and capable -- mother of two. She is sister, aunt, daughter. She is smart and fun and witty. She's also a milblogger.

She has made it through one deployment of her Guard husband and will endure yet another early in the New Year. She has a heart of gold and a heart full of love... and she and her husband and their two daughters would like very much to add another child to their home!! They would like very much to adopt a beautiful little girl from Ethiopia.

Melinda is my Gunga Din. A better person than I. In this day and age and economic times (and theirs are no different), they still want to open their arms and give all the love they have to a third child.

Well, if you're not familiar with how adoption plans work, they have to front all the money for their adoption expenses before they can get any of it reimbursed. As this wonderful woman tells it,
in a nutshell, we're staring down thousands of dollars in costs and fees, BUT after the adoption is finalized, we will be able to recoup nearly all of that in reimbursement from my husband's employer, our state's adoption subsidy and our federal tax credit. So, we really only need to 'borrow' $5 from 4,000 people to make this happen.
That's the idea behind There is a featured post at their blog as well as a FAQ page and a post that describes - from her heart -- why she is so committed to bringing another child into their lives.

Briefly, they are asking 4,000 of their closest friends (this means you!) to allow them to borrow five of your hard-earned dollars. Sure, if you want to provide more than $5, they aren't going to stop you. However, $5 will be very much appreciated.

Melinda says,

We will be documenting any and all of these $5 loans and, if you wish to be reimbursed, simply supply us with the contact information necessary to return your $5 when our adoption is finalized and our reimbursement money arrives.

Becoming 1 of the 4,000 is easy.

Use snail mail: If you wish to send your $5 via the mail, or if you wish to contact them via mail, the fund raising address is:

Hope's New Home

P.O. Box 1501

Miamisburg, Ohio 45343-1501

Use Pay Pal: Look at the right sidebar of their blog near the top of the screen. You will see a PayPal button that will link you directly to their account for this drive. If you'd rather just send money straight through the Paypal site, the e-mail for our PayPal account is: mostcertainlynot-at-hotmail-dot-com. (Remember, though, if you'd like to be reimbursed you will need to include your contact information.)

So this Christmas Day, remember that Christmas is for children (no matter how big a kid you are!) $5 can help a family buy happiness for themselves and a little girl in Ethiopia. There's no better place to spend $5 of that Christmas stocking cash!!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

To the Men and Women of the United States Armed Forces



December 23, 2008

To the Men and Women of the United States Armed Forces

Laura and I send season's greetings to you and your families during the holidays.

America is blessed to have brave citizens willing to step forward to defend our freedoms and keep us safe from our enemies. For many of you, this holiday season will be spent far from home, and our Nation honors your sacrifice. We remain mindful of your courage, ask God to watch over you, and pray for your safe return.

Your family members serve our country as well. During this time of year, they are a special source of hope and strength to you, and they both deserve and have the thanks and support of our whole Nation. Their selfless dedication sets an example of patriotism for all Americans to follow.

May God bless you and keep you safe, and may God bless America.


Amen. And thnk you, Mr. President.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Sound of Your Voice...

For Doc (see you soon!!)

I have gotten so far behind in my blogging... I promise to catch up this week... and I want to start by letting you know about one of my favorite Christmas charities: the USO.

Last night I watched the special "Trace Adkins: X (Ten) Days" which followed the ten-day USO tour he did for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan earlier this year... it might not have been as flashy as the old Bob "Mr. USO" Hope Holiday specials, but the scene of the fiddle player's son jumping on the plane in Afghanistan where he is serving was as touching a scene as I have seen -- until the Dad had to bid his son farewell. The USO does so much more than provide entertainers to our troops around the world - they provide those great respites at our nation's airports... and lounges at military hospitals & facilities (and clothing, DVDs, food... ) through Operation Enduring Care... they send care packages... and one of the most successful and appreciated programs -- Operation Phone Home which provides calling cards to our troops around the world.

All of us who have (or have had) someone we love deployed know the elation and joy and peace of mind that a simple phone call means... No sweeter words than, "Hey, Ma!" or "Hi, honey!" or a child hearing a father's or mother's voice on Christmas morning from a world away... More than 2 million phone cards have been distributed since the inception of this program in 2003. You can help by donating to USO's Operation Phone Home. Just click this link and give:

$15 buys 45 minutes... $20 = 60 minutes, $40 = 120 minutes -- 2 hours!! $60 = 180 minutes and $100 = 300 minutes. You can give any amount ($15 minimum online). The sound of a loved one's voice -- nothing like it. So if you haven't decided on your Christmas or Hanukkah donation, this should be it. Really. If you're stretched Christmas week, think of tax planning the week after -- your donation is tax deductible!!

and lastly, one of "our guys" is having a very hard time right now... pretty serious... prayers would be greatly appreciated for V...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008



This holiday season, Americans can send soldiers and wounded troops greeting cards — even if they don't know their names.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax attacks, the Pentagon required that mail addressed to "any soldier" be returned to the sender, leaving Americans without a way to send mail to soldiers whose names they didn't know.

But for a second year, an American Red Cross program is allowing the public to send holiday greeting cards that aren't addressed to a particular soldier. The cards will be screened, sorted and distributed to military hospitals and bases nationally and overseas in time for the holidays.


From Tuesday through Dec. 10, the public can send their greeting cards, with adequate postage and a return address, to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, Md. 20791-5456. To speed delivery, mailers should not send care packages, money or any inserts, including glitter.

They can also download cards from the American Red Cross Web site to print out and send to the program's address. This year, a Facebook Web page allows Internet users to post greetings online so the Red Cross can print the messages on cards and distribute them to troops.

HERE is the story from the AP.

(ps if you're wondering about the weird post titles, I'm trying to include as many search terms as possible based on what my site meter says people are using to find this information)


and it seems by blog son Doc has tagged me...

The rules are: Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!

So, the closest book to me is Touching History by Lynn Spencer. (I actually finished this excellent and riveting book some time ago but was just getting ready to send it to a friend...)

"The traffic and radio chatter were normal until they got in the vicinity of New York."

And I know I'm supposed to tag 5 other bloggers, but I don't like to intrude... Most Certainly Not, Trying to Grok, Mrs. G at Mudville Gazette, Dave at ThirdWaveDave and Chuck at From My Position... on the Way. Not that I think they'll respond, but it would be interesting to see what's close at hand...

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to You

Thomas James is the light of our lives! He is still Mr. Miles of Smiles -- happy & smiling all the time for everyone! He is a delightful child and we thank God every day that he is in our lives! Can you be ONE already?? Happy Birthday, Thomas... here's wishing that all your dreams come true!!

Dove Hands-first into the cake like a pro!!

Aunt Mary & Uncle Dan's gift was a BIIGGG hit!!

Uncle Evan knew exactly what to get!!!

Happy Dad, Happy Tom!!

Grammy, Grampy & the Birthday Boy!


Monday, December 01, 2008

2008 SNOWBALL EXPRESS (Christmas is for Children)

Snowball Express started in early 2006 with a simple idea: America should honor and pay tribute to the children of those military fallen heroes who have died while honorably serving since 9/11. In December of 2006, nearly 900 family members from all across America and the world gathered in Southern California for an unforgettable holiday gathering. Kids and widows discovered they weren't alone. And they found they weren't forgotten.

It was a totally volunteer effort which came together in just a few months to create the largest all-expense-paid gathering for the families of our fallen warriors since 9/11.

In 2007, another unique event was planned for the week after Thanksgiving. This time, over 1,100 children and surviving parents attended as guests of Americans, corporations, and service groups who donated their time, money and resources to create another healing event. Nearly 400 family members attended Snowball Express for the first time. See the smiling faces HERE.

American Airlines, Oakley, Quiksilver, Panda Express, Taco Bell, Starwood, Marriott, Best Western, Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, JetBlue Airways, Disneyland and countless other partners and sponsors, combined with thousands of volunteers in Southern California and all across America, contributed and volunteered because it was the right thing to do. Nationally recognized organizations like Ladies Auxiliary VFW, Rotary Clubs, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, Patriot Guard Riders and others stepped forward to donate their resources and gifts. Other local service clubs, churches and schools also donated resources to help the cause.

American Airlines stepped up to be the official airline of Snowball Express, with three aircraft donated for charter purposes. All pilots and flight attendants donated their time to spend the weekend with the families. Other companies from all across America are also helping to show these children and our fallen heroes’ surviving spouses that they’re not forgotten and that America cares.

The 2008 SNOWBALL EXPRESS is happening Dec. 17 and Dec. 18... and I received this request this morning:

We are in need of volunteers at Universal Studios on Wed, Dec 17 from 9:30am-6pm and on Thurs, Dec 18 at Disneyland and CA/Adventure 8am-midnight. Volunteers are assigned around the parks to help families with any assistance they may need, watching toddlers and infants, pushing strollers, riding on rides with older children, etc. Please know that we are unable to cover the expense of the entrance ticket for volunteers but we can offer you a discount price. Universal is $50, Disneyland is $40 and the Park Hooper for Disney and CA Adventure is $53. I have two shifts to cover at Disney (8am-4pm and 4pm-midnight). I need help for both shifts but the late shift is of course harder to fill and a greater need if you are willing. You may want to consider helping for a day or night shift and spend the other half the day enjoying free time around the park. If you decide to assist at the theme parks, please send me your t-shirt size and cell phone number to contact the day of the event if needed.

If this is not an option I have another suggestion. You can join in the Walk of Gratitude on Friday, Dec 19th from 10-11am. We are asking the community to line the street on Convention Way between the Hilton hotel and the Convention Center in Anaheim. Families will walk from their hotels to the Anaheim Convention Center for a private party starting at 11am. We ask that people line the streets around 10am and the families will be escorted to the Convention Center starting around 10:30am. You can bring American flags to wave, cheer, hold handmade signs, etc. Just come out and show your support and honor these families to let them know that we have not forgotten their loved ones and their sacrifice for us and our country. This is the most memorable experience of the entire event for most families and it will be for the community too!!

Please let me know if you would like to get involved. We want to ensure it is an awesome experience and we need the help of many people to make it happen and give them the royal treatment they deserve!!

Thank you again and Happy Holidays!!

Michele Barto
Volunteer Co-Chair
Snowball Express
If being in California to assist in this worthwhile effort is not an option, consider donating to this worthy cause. Any contribution amount is welcome from $1 up. It takes $500 to sponsor a child's trip; $1,500 for a family of three. Tax deductible donations are welcome. To make a donation, please click here.

Also know that corporations can become sponsors!! Organizations can lend their hearts to help mend those of the survivors in small towns and big cities all across America. If you’re an individual, they’ll take your dollars. One or a thousand.

There are no votes in these efforts. No lobbying, no politics.

No Republicans. No Democrats. Only Americans.

These people died as Americans. Let’s step up as Americans and help their families.

Dig deep. Please. They deserve no less.

For information about Snowball Express, please email

To see the smiles and the joy of these children -- it's what Christmas is really all about.

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