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Saturday, June 30, 2007


Today was a celebration of the life of one of our Fallen Hero's, Spc Michael Balsley, who would have been 24 years old today. It was a beautiful day....lots of friends & family coming together. Some of us had not met him in this life but I now feel I know him well thru those who did. I am honored to have been a part of it.

The day started out as it does this time of year......a bit overcast as the fog had come in.......but it burned off to give all a beautiful day. There was alot of storytelling....rememberances.....lots & lots of food......good music....a balloon release, 24 balloons (1 for each year)....lots of love.....some tears......AND A UH-1 HUEY HELICOPTER! You heard me right.....a helicopter buzzed the yard not once but twice.....IT WAS AWESOME. No pictures yet....Steve took most of the photo's today with his camera so we dropped the film off on the way home......but I will post as soon as we get em back. This was definitely a day worthy of one of OUR HERO'S.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Well I had more cards from new friend from Walnut Creek. I am so thankful I posted that flyer & you looked up at the board when you did. That postage will really help alot too!! Thanks so much.

These are some wonderful cards from Jami.....wish I could take pictures of each card individually so everyone could see all the fabulous cards I'm getting from everyone.

And last but certainly not least these cards came today from Melissa....and she saved me with some much needed envelopes. Thank you so much!!!

I put alot of cards together today too.....these guys are gonna be able to write to alot of people when they get these cards people! It's gonna be awesome.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I did some stamping.....finally

Operation: MOM will have the packing for the troops next weekend on the 7th & I thought it would be a good idea to personally invite all the local recruiters to stop by & say hello.....maybe pack a box or two. I found this sketch (it's a tri-fold) on Maria's site and thought it was perfect for what I needed. Finished em up at 11Pm last nite & Steve is hand delivering 5 of em. We mailed the other 3. Hope they like em & come. Hope you like it too......let me know what you think.

A Bit of Catching up

Well I put cards together & sorted all day yesterday so no blogging for me. I have pretty much (remember I said "pretty much" as I know I still have a couple more here to do) gotten all caught up with the new cards coming in so I wanted to get some pictures posted before I go back to sorting. From what I have been told I still have over 1000 cards coming in for this packing. I'm gonna be busy for sure.

Thanks to Linda.....I had to take 3 shots to get all the cards in there were so many

Thanks to Janis. for her great cards (I do have more yet to photograph too)
These are from Leesa.....thank you so much
Lori sent these....aren't they great?
And these came all the way from TX from Melody....thanks so much
Here is what the total sorted looks like so far.

And last but certainly not least is some products sent by my dear friend Mary....totally awesome.
This is all so welcome.......and I know the troops will definately appreciate it all. Will post any photo's & emails I get here. Keep em coming!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON , June 27, 2007 - Finances are no longer a reason to keep a Marine's family from attending his or her basic training graduation,thanks to the Marine Graduation Foundation. "The men and women who choose to serve our country as a United States Marine endure more in one day of boot camp than most of us will ever experience in a lifetime," John Weant, the foundation's president said."None of (them) should ever have to be alone on the day they can proudly say, 'I am a United States Marine.'" Weant said it's "just not acceptable" for financial circumstances to stand in the way of families traveling to attend the ceremonies. Thanks to the Marine Graduation Foundation, families who want to attend a son or daughter's graduation at Camp Pendleton , Calif. , or Parris Island ,S.C., can request a grant from the Missouri-based organization through an online form. The average grant is $250 and can be awarded to a grandparent, parent or spouse of the recruit, according to the foundation's Web site. The nonprofit organization accepts donations to help fund the grants.Visit the foundation's Web site,, for more information on making tax-deductible donations. "No donation is too small, and with your help, we can make the Emblem Ceremony, as well as the graduation, a proud, memorable day for a man or woman who has chosen to serve our country as a United States Marine,"Weant said on the foundation's Web site. The Marine Graduation Foundation is a new member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad. [Web Version: http://www.defensel newsarticle. aspx?id=46558]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Today is the 1 year anniversary of when the recruiters came & took 'the boy' away. It's a day I know that no one else will remember but me.....even DH thought it was later in the week. I was reading the 360 yahoo blog back from the beginning the other day & wow......what a difference a year makes. 365 days ago I was sobbing in my driveway, shaking my finger at the 2 recruiters who had come to pick up 'the boy' & telling them that they had better bring him back in better shape than he was in at the time or I was suing the lot of em!!! ROFLMAO! Yeah.......wish someone had taken photo's of that. My neighbors were out watching the whole thing....I sure was a sight to see I'm sure.

I would have bet any amount of money at the time he would have been home in less than a way would he make it thru BCT. I am so proud that he proved us wrong. He still has work to do but don't we all? Can't wait to see what this year long as it's not a wife & child.......I think he still needs enough work that he should put that off I'm hoping til his time is over. He can wait 3 years right?

More cards got sorted today. I still have more fronts to make into cards but I think I will get done in time. I do know that more cards are coming. I sure hope I get a total of how many packages we will be sending soon so I can get these cards bagged up. Will have to shoot off an email to our label gal tonite.

Well I'm gonna get back to my cards. If anyone would like to leave a congrats for "The Communicator" formerly known as 'the boy' you can do it in comments & I will forward em along. Have a good evening.

COOL MySpace Comments


Posted in Uncategorized by BlueStarRider on June 26, 2007
Hero from Another EraCredit to: James Bancroft
Charles W. Lindberg died Sunday. Not a common household name. Yet he is a hero from a war past. A Marine, recipient of the Silver Star medal, the last survivor of the Iwo Jima flag raising. Although not of the Marines immortalized by Joe Rosenthal. Mr. Lindberg was one of six who raised the first American flag over Iwo Jima. It is a sad footnote that monthly we are losing hundreds of our heroes from WWII. A generation the likes of which we thought we would never see again. Yet, every time our country has gone to war, we have been proud to say our men and women serving are the best our great nation has. Today is no exception. (read more)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Hope everyone had a great weekend. Ours was pretty nice around here. Friday evening we ran out to drop off some postcards I had made up for the Balsley's & then we went out to Super Joann's so I could pick up a few things (more paper, gel pens, stamps, felt flowers) & then to Wingstop for dinner. After that we ran into WalMart to get some food for Cocoa & I found some cutting mats to use for my Wishblade to make new mats.....they will accommodate 12" long paper. Then headed home for the evening.

Saturday morning I needed to get my lab work done......I was overdue....2 sticks this time. Ouch! I sure hate that. Gotta make sure the meds aren't doing bad things to me. From there we stopped by a house that is down the street from us.....we had noticed a Blue Star Banner in the had 3 stars. We seriously had to shake these peoples hands. We met the most amazing lady......she was a widow & lived alone. She invited us in. Her husband had been Navy......he passed away a couple of years ago....she flies the American Flag every day for him. Her daughter has been in the Navy for 21 now a Commander & will retire in a couple of years. The other 2 stars were for her Grandson & Granddaughter. We spent about an hour & a half there looking at pictures & listening to her stories. Time very well spent & I asked if she minded if we came back. She said yes.....I will take some of my pictures & scrapbooks with me when I return.

Next we stopped at Michael's as I am looking for a runner for my Fiskars cutter but they didn't have what I needed so we grabbed some flag stuff (hats & blow up ball with streamers) to decorate booth for tomorrow''s Drop off Depot. Steve got a couple things he needed too. From there we went to Lowe's looking for a couple of things & found an end table we needed..... it's one with a lamp in it. Steve is very happy as he can sit at that end of the couch & read without glaring light above. Then we stopped at Party America as we were gonna buy some balloons to decorate the booth also but didnt' find what we wanted so came home to get some chores done around the house. Before the stores closed we went to Sears to get some red/white/blue fold up chairs for Sunday also.

Sunday morning we woke up bright & early to get ready to head out to work Operation: Mom's Drop off Depot booth (one of 2 locations). We collected cash donations, sold some products & collected food & hygiene products to send to the troops in our upcoming troop packing. We met some great people........some vets, some parents of servicemembers & just some awesome citizens who love our troops & what they do. Between the 2 locations we collected $1256. which will help with postage & both food & hygiene products to put in the boxes. Still could use more if you wish to help. Check here for what items are needed. Was a long but satisfying day.

On the way home we grabbed some Subway sandwiches to have dinner. We were wiped out for sure. Watched Army Wives & then off to slumberland. Sure wish today would have been a weekend day so Steve wouldn't have had to go to work. They started street work here today so I will be smelling hot tar & hearing all those loud noises all week. How fun.

Hope you had a great weekend & a good week to come. Show the troops some love!!

And we did hear from "The Communicator" but nothing new for him.....he had weekend pass so I prolly didn't want to know.


Please take a few moments to send some love to our guys & don't even have to use a stamp (postage or rubber).

Thank the TroopsAnd Tell Us What You Are Doing to Support the Troops

On June 15th I posted SHOW THE MARINES SOME LOVE & SUPPORT . This is still ongoing & more emails are wanted. Show these Marines how much what they are doing means to you.
Remember, the email address is:
Don't forget their blog, either.


Marines make presence known, win hearts and minds
BAGHDAD — U.S. Marines continued counterinsurgency operations in Haditha Sunday in an effort to win the hearts and minds of Iraqi citizens.
“Showing a presence in the area does a lot more than people would think,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Joseph A. Cervantes, squad leader, 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2. “We mainly do two types of patrols, one being security patrols, which are designed to have a deterrent effect on anything that happens in the area.” Read more...

Special Troops Battalion helps keep area safe for Iraqis

Bridge bypass completed, traffic follows

And these are absolutely required reading as you sure won't see this in the mainstream media anywhere!

Operation Arrowhead Ripper/Michael Yon (you can subcribe to this which I strongly suggest)

Combined security forces help Iraqis during Operation Arrowhead Ripper

Big battle, small news

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Well for those of you who followed up on the CBS News coverage on the orphans found in Baghdad you know that I thought that was good news. Hopefully those who have read enough of my blog also know I'm not pleased with my local newspaper. Well Thursday I scanned the paper & saw that they had an article on the orphans but at the time I didn't have the time to read it until later as I was busy with cards all day & then we had to be at the Street Party our town holds during the summer months. So when I got home I was able to read it.....not a good article. It was not in their online version so today I searched for it & found the same article (by AP reporter, Saad Abdul-Kadir) ......Soldiers find neglected children in orphanage . Well today I sat down & sent off an email to the it is below.......will let you know if I get a response back.

Subject: My 2 cents worth.....

Dear Editor:

I have been disappointed yet again by how The Daily Review has chosen to report the news. I saw both of the reports this last week by CBS News on how our soldiers found those orphans who had been so tragically neglected. So I was pleased when I saw that your paper chose to finally report on some good news coming out of Iraq (24 emaciated children found in orpanage, 21 Jun 07). Boy was I wrong. Yet again your paper chose to print an AP article that could only find the bad in it.......basically calling it a "Photo OP"? I never saw any Iraqi Soldiers in the CBS report but I did see OUR SOLDIERS feeding those children, brushing their teeth & holding them....also showing much emotion. I understand that you feel you need to report the news coming out of Iraq but how about you show some balance. We know that our troops are doing good things over there......alot of good things. Why is it you only choose to report on the death & destruction when you could be reporting on the rebuilding of the country that they are a part of?

Maybe more people would chose to do good things if the media didn't only show that the way to get your 15 minutes of fame is to kill more people than the last guy did.

Here is some other news I didn't read in your paper. I found these 4 items in about 15 minutes.....can you imagine how many things someone who is doing their job could find.

Coalition forces seize multiple weapons caches

3-1 Cav. meets with local youth center leaders

Roadside bombers stopped, explosives seized

After many, many years of subscribing to this paper we are now looking into other options as the only real reason we get it now is to receive the weekly ads that come thru the week as the news is no longer relevant. You hardly report on what goes on in Hayward anymore either unless of course it is about some violent act. I hope you will give what I had to say some thought & give the good guys some equal time.

Thank you,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Card Appreciation from The Troops

First I want to share the postcard I got from Desert Flier about the Father's Day cards they received........

Your care package came in yesterday? Everyone in the Surgical Team and at Charlie Medical say THANK YOU!!! We were floored-they were such fantastic cards and they went like Hotcakes!! Also deeply grateful for the other handmade USA cards-all so beautiful! Debbi-I have been asked many time where such incredible cards have come from....Credit is all yours.

Kindest regards, Carl

And the second one from our new MSgt....
Thank you so much and the cards were a hit. Sorry I didn't reply sooner but all my contacts and e-mail were dumped and I didn't have your e-mail anywhere. You all are making a lot of troops happy and taking their mind off of being over here. Even if it's just for a moment.
I would like to add my personal thank you to all who have participated in this project. I am honored to 'meet' you all. I think this is one of the most rewarding things I personally have ever done & I have been doing volunteer work for over 24 years. These guys/gals really appreciate what we do for them.....and take the time to let us know. They are fighting for our freedom to create our art......have our opinions.......and our beliefs. Say a prayer for each and every one of them tonite plus all their families & friends who miss them terribly & who receive the love you put in your creations.


And thanks to Laura O'Shea & Dottie.........keep em coming gals!!

A Funny to share.....

I ran across this last nite.....Steve & I about busted a gut reading it. Being I have been so busy with getting the cards ready to ship & will not be posting much this weekend I don't think I thought I would post this.......hope you get a big laugh out of it too. Scary part is I believe it to be true.

A Washington, DC, airport ticket agent offers some examples of why our country is in trouble!

01. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)
02. I got a call from a candidate's staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to Explain the length of the flight and the passport information, then she interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa."Her response - click.
03. A senior Vermont Congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!" (OMG)
04. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map." (OMG, again!)
05. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time." (Aghhhh)
06. An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 am got to Chicago at 8:33 am. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.
07. A New York lawmaker called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!" After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it (I was laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.
08. A Senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California, and then take the train to Hawaii?"
09. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."
10. A lady Senator called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, Fl. on a commuter plane. She said, "Yeah, whatever, smarty!"
11. A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"
12. A New Mexico Congress woman called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York ." I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the lady. After some searching, I came back with, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere." The lady retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" The reply? "Whatever! I knew it was a big animal."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cards for the Troops

Here are some of the cards I have gotten the past few days....I'm still sorting thru them all. Thank you Shell, Allison, Pattysue, Pamela.....

Victor is heard from again

Hello Everyone:

Well, I finished my guard duty and have been busy up in the OR. I seem
to have it each month. I saw a couple of little ones in the hospital
and gave them each a bag of goodies. They were pleased.
A ton of GS cookies came in. I go to the Iraqi scout meeting tomorrow
and I'll find out when they will have their next cookie sale. They also
have a humanitarian team that I am going to try to get involved
with...this should help me distribute some of the excess items that I
We have started decorating for the 4th of July with some of the
items sent to us. One of the wards looks like they are going to be some
competition. I think some more decorations are coming in so we will
Other than that, all is as good as it can be here. My children
had a great time in Florida and got back safely. I hope everyone is
enjoying their summer. Take care and God Bless all of you for your

Thank You,


To see photo's use this scout photo's this time.


I got this from one of my cardmakers & had to share as it could come from any of's long but worth it I think. I hope you agree. I added a prayer I found at the end. TISSUE ALERT!


I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with long neck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride. Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East . That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home. I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq . You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election." I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills. Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts. "It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmmm! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know." My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.

"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it." Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one even appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?

I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking. "Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq , and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military." Professional baby-killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known. Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him." "Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it." I must have been louder than I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied.” then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away. After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."

With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom. As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!" To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

Please pray for God's protection of our troops and HIS wisdom for their commanders. Pass this on to as many as you think will respond. "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior."

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground, air and navy personnel in every area of the middle east. There is nothing attached....This can be very powerful.. Just send this to all the people in your address book. Do not stop this prayer chain, please.... Of all the gifts you could give to anyone in the US Military, be it Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or National Guard, Prayer is the very best one....Amen.


Almighty God, We stand before You asking for Your divine mercy and protection. Embrace with Your invincible armour our loved ones in all branches of the US Military service.
Give them courage and strength against all enemies

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yet another way to help the children

Passed on from ArmyWife

From SA contact LtCol Eric in Mosul:

I am writing to you today because of the sad and destitute situation that the children of Mosul, Iraq find themselves in on a daily basis. After seeing these unfortunate children in the urban battlefield everyday for six months, I can assure you that their difficulties are very real and beyond the power of their parents to fix. These children, in many cases, lack some of the most basic necessities that you and I take for granted and that we would never let our own children go without.

A great deal of media coverage has been devoted to the efforts of our Army today and humanitarian groups to bring comfort items like new backpacks and soccer balls to Iraqi children. This battalion has even aided those initiatives on several occasions and, although I know they enjoyed their toys, I had to watch these same five and six year old children run outside to play with their new soccer balls in the sewage and filth of the city without any shoes. I know that there is no parent among us who would ever let their children play in such an environment at all, much less without attending to their most basic clothing and sanitary needs.

As I am sure you know, this war is not a war of battles won, regiments destroyed, and cities captured. Rather, this is a war fought on the "human terrain" of the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people; a war for the very soul of a nation where single gestures and one time events can be as profound and far reaching as a hundred Gettysburgs or D-Days. If we can just provide shoes for these children we stand poised to win a major victory indeed.

Therefore, I am asking your help in turning this goal into a reality, and play a vital role in bringing comfort to the local Iraqi children and in striking a victory against a cold and murderous insurgency. Given the unique nature the conflict we are embroiled in, sending something as simple as shoes to local children will aid your Soldiers in this fight just as surely as a shipment of bullets or bombs.

I feel I must warn you that these people will probably never know who you are, or recognize the role you played, but I can assure you that little boys and girls like the one pictured in this letter will be profoundly grateful for even the smallest bit of help from you. Please take a moment to clean out a closet or visit a shoe store and do your part for our cause. Any and all donations are welcome. Please send them to:

Operation Good Shoes
HHC, 2-7 Cav
FOB Marez
APO, AE 09334

On behalf of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment and the citizens of Mosul, I thank you for any help you can provide. A single pair of shoes may not win a war, but the difference it will make to the one child who receives them just might help push us in that direction.

Feel free to forward this email to any family, friend, church, classroom, or civic group who might have asked you how they can help a Soldier in Iraq. Rest assured, helping these people helps us Soldiers a great deal.

LtCol Eric


This is a followup on the story about the special needs children in the orphanage that I told you about the other day. I implore you to watch this video especially if you don't understand what we are doing in Iraq. It is a tough story to see but it does have a good ending. I would also like to suggest that you contact CBS news to thank them for such coverage & encourage them to continue to show this side of the war to give it some balance. PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO NO MATTER WHAT ELSE YOU DO TODAY!
Here is the article to go with it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Evening post

Not too much to report today. Trying to get cards sorted so I can get em ready to bag up so they can go off to our troops. Waiting to get a total number of labels they will print off so I know how many boxes we will pack. I have gotten boxes the last couple of days but have been so busy I havent' even opened them yet. Also trying to help get organized for Drop-off Depot's we will be having this weekend so people in the community can make donations to pack up. Called all the local recruiters to get flyers to them & invite em to stop by if they can. Also to come to the packing.

No word today from 'The Communicator'. I'm sure I will hear from him soon as he keeps checking to see if his new debit card has arrived yet. Hopefully tomorrow. I know he must be going crazy without being able to spend money plus I'm sure he has phone bill coming up here soon. I don't want that to not get done or I don't hear from him at all.

Here is a card I was working on to send off but I just didn't feel right about it going to Iraq....even adding the beach ball & coke I guess I will put it away for if "The Communicator" goes to Hawaii! Then maybe I will get some mail from him. LOL!

Heard from recipients of the Father's Day cards too but will post tomorrow....I got another post card to scan in. Nite all.

Goodbye Video

Found a Military Mom group today that I joined & someone had put this video together. I thought it was worth sharing....hope you do too.

Another way to help the troops........

I had heard about this but just ran across it today.....Operation AC

Monday, June 18, 2007


I am noticing that I am not getting many outclicks on the links I put here or on the blogs I have listed on the right column. I would hope you would at least give some of these sites a chance or read some of the articles that I link to. If you don't like em then let me know and maybe I can reevaluate what I put here but please at least give em a chance.



I know I want to report the good news but sometimes the good news will be a little rough. Here is a perfect example of why our troops need to be there & we MUST support them for doing their jobs. It's about time the media is reporting something positive that our troops are doing.


Weekend Update

I'm sure there are some out there who are wondering why I haven't spoken about "The Communicator" formerly known as 'the boy' (he's been Phased UP). Our thought about that is that if we call him such he may just do it! As I reported before he had finally received orders (not actually in hand tho) about his permanent duty station. He was to report to MO. Well when he got his wallet stolen they also got his military ID so he was unable to travel without that. In the time it took to replace the ID it seems that his orders were lost also (not by him). I guess because of that he lost his spot in MO. He had signed up to be assigned to Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) for 1 of 3 locations (Korea which he gets a bonus, Germany & Hawaii)....he would kind of be like "Radar" in MASH......3 guesses where MOM would like him to go. ALOHA! These spots would most likely keep him from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan for some time to come. Prayer request inserted here! We do not want him going to Germany at this time due to that widow he met online....she's not a good thing in this mother's opinion. Most likely he will be in GA til after the 4th now.

We had a very nice weekend here. Stayed home Friday evening..............talked to "The Communicator" for quite a while which hadn't happened of late......that was very, very nice. Saturday morning we headed out to the local flea market. Steve found a couple of things tho not what he was specifically looking for. I found a new Flamingo to add to my collection......isn't he cute? After that we headed home to clean up as we were invited to dinner with The Balsley's. That was a great evening.....good food, good friends........who could ask for more?

Sunday morning I let Steve sleep in (Cocoa did too). When he woke I gave him his card (made him cry this time).
"The Communicator" called at a respectable time for a change too. I then took Steve to brunch at one of our favorite spots for breakfast, Cafe Vasiliki. Unfortunately our server left a bit to be desired which we have never had happen there....thankfully others picked up her slack. My Spanish Omelet was great as always tho it wasn't as hot at it should have been being she left it sit for about 5 min. Steve had a special for Father's Day......Cajun Crab Cakes done in an Egg Benedict style with a Cajun Hollandaise sauce. He requested & got scrambled eggs as his grandmother made him eat poached eggs way to much & he now can not stand them. From there we stopped at Walgreens to get me some batteries for my 1 get 1 free time (CRV3, CR2 or 123, their brand which are awesome). Then to Home Depot which didn't have what we needed & then to Target were we got this CD he wanted, A Song for My Father, which is exclusive to Target & has songs by the offspring of , among others, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carlos Santana to name a few. Found a few other goodies & left. After that we stopped at The Balsley's to get something that they want Steve to personalize for Michael......after a bit of a visit we headed home.
BBQ'd some chicken, watched a little TV (ARMY WIVES nite ya know), have I mentioned how much we like this show?, & then to bed. A very good weekend here. Hope everyone had a good one.


In my travels around the internet I found this wonderful Army Mom who's son made a little request of her (those kids can get us to do just about anything can't they?). He wanted some beanie babies to give out to the children in Iraq! So she started a little project she calls Toys for Troops. Check out her blog to see what you can do to help. Toys for Troops
Might I suggest that everyone do this.....I do.
Local Army Mom Unhappy With Media Coverage About War In Iraq

Here are a couple about the same family......thought it was a great thing the paper did allowing the soldier to do this column too.
Hope and a cell phone: Ironwood mom relies on both with daughters in Iraq

Young soldier helps keep the network running

One of the guys who got some cards from us (packages too) was on the USS Boxer which returned to US soil on May is an article on their homecoming.
Home sweet homecoming: Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group completes nine-month deployment

And I never thought I would ever be reading anything like this let alone sharing it but it sure hits home......I hope you read it. (This is gonna freak out DH & DS more than when I said I was gonna leave "THE PARTY"....seriously!)
What is it about Winning America does not understand?

About Victor

I have had a few people ask "Who is Victor" so I thought maybe others might be curious too. Victor received a package from Operation Mom & got a card from one of my cardmaker helpers. He wrote her to thank her......I suggested she email him back. Correspondence continued & she shared those emails with me. I was so excited about the things he was doing that I contacted him to get on his list & see what I could do to help. This weekend I asked him to provide a little bio for me to it is:

Let me tell you a little about us.

We are with the 28th Combat Support Hospital . I am a surgical technician and I work in the Operating Room. The other members of my section are other enlisted surgical technicians. The actual OR consists of techs, OR nurses, surgeons and anesthetists. We are all one big family and are from all parts of the country ( US ). We are stationed at the Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad , Iraq which is in the Green Zone. If you have ever watched Baghdad ER (HBO Special), that is where we are and that is what we do. We see all types of casualties from soldiers to insurgents. Sometimes civilians (to include children) are injured and are brought here. Injuries are from both war to car accidents to everyday type accidents you see in the states. We've been pretty busy lately but we are good at what we do and take our duties and responsibilities seriously. The hospital is a fixed facility (building) which is a nice change from the first time I was here. Back then we did surgery in tents. Food and support facilities are also a lot better/present than compared to my tour in the start of the war in 2003. The living conditions are much better as well (beds are more comfortable than cots). I'm even able to call my wife with no problem. About myself? I am a soldier and surgical technologist. I assist in surgical procedures and prepare the OR for surgeries. I can scrub in all surgical specialties but Neuro is my specialty. I also assemble surgical sets, sterilize instruments, take care of medical equipment and order/pick-up/stock surgical supplies. Periodically, we pull different guard duties and details. As a NCO, I also take care of the soldiers under me and assist them with their needs and training. I have been in the army 14 yrs and have deployed 5 times (2 Iraq , 1 Kuwait (before 9/11), 1 Singapore , 1 Wake Island, 1 Christmas Island ). I have also done 2 30 day trauma rotations (6 days a week, 16 hrs a day) in Level 1 Trauma centers (Ben Taub Houston Texas and Kings County Brooklyn, NY). I have been stationed in Washington , DC ; Schofield Barracks, HI;
Ft Campbell, KY and San Antonio , TX . I am originally from Bakersfield ,CA . My wife is also in the army with 16 years under her belt. She is currently a recruiter in San Antonio (but originally a surgical tech too). We have 5 children with the last one born on 04 Jan 07. This was my 3rd consecutive child born while I am/was deployed. My family is very strong and is handling my absence very well, but I do miss them all a lot. I've been very active in giving toys to children (both patients and kids I see in the Green Zone).

Thank You,

Friday, June 15, 2007


I ran across this in my travels this evening & knew I had to share it.....

Roundtable with Col. Simcock, Commander USMC RCT-6 Posted By Grim
We spoke with Col Simcock of Regimental Combat Team 6 on the same day as the bombing in Samarra. While the conversation was overtaken by events, it was one of the best we've had. The transcript is here.

RCT-6 has a blog, by the way.

After the jump, how Anbar is succeeding... how we need fewer heavy weapons and armor than ever... and how the Colonel wants you to support our Marines. The short form? He wants email.
I trust you folks can provide some email.
(read more)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I think they look pretty good for their age don't you think? Check out the party info here



Yesterday was the funeral for Sgt. Andrew J. Higgins who as I mentioned last week was killed in Iraq on June 5th. I was honored to attend to say goodbye to this HERO & to thank his family for his service to our country. This was definately a service fitting a HERO. If you would like to read more about this here is the link to the local news coverage here. To leave your condolances for the family you may do so here. Please continue to remember them in your prayers along with all our beloved Gold Star Families.


In case you did not is FLAG DAY. Tho not an official Federal Holiday it is still celebrated in our household. Here is some futher information .....Wikipedia & The National Flag Day Foundation . I hope Old Glory is flying at your house!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


This will be my good news for the day.....tho it comes with a tissue alert. GOD BLESS AMERICAN & THOSE WHO SERVE HER.

From a Chaplain in Iraq .

"I recently attended a showing of "Superman 3" here at
LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorioum we use for
movies as well as memorial services and other large
gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood
and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began
before the main feature. All was going as planned until
about three-quarters of the way through the National
Anthem the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000
18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would
be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and
everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course,
that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the
first place.

Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention,
eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers
continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the
same point, the music stopped. What would you expect
to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter as
everyone sat down and expected the movie to start.

Here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier
stood at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then
a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of
a thousand Soldiers

'And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er
the land of the free and the home of the brave?'

It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in
Iraq . I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving
you here.

============ ========

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins on 5/14/07.

Update on 'The Boy'

He called us last nite. Whoever ripped him off got everything......his debit card, military ID & his Star card (a military charge card). Guess he spent a good amount of time at Darby Hall trying to get it all squared away. I had to call bank to get the debit card cancelled.....hopefully he got a power of attorney done up as he promised he was doing. CO lost his paperwork so they have to go thru outprocessing he can't leave without an ID. He said they lost paperwork for those classes too so he may have to redo those last two ....AGAIN. He's hoping he will get out of there by Friday now. Sounds fun doesn't it?

I ordered some prints last nite so I'm really hoping to get some scrapping done....I'm so far behind. Clarks had one of their 3¢ print sales so I ordered 81 prints.......that should keep me busy. 'The boy' still isn't sending any photo's........said he bought a disposable last weekend to get the pictures I have been asking for. Thank goodness we went there or I would have nothing of the base.

Big Love started last nite......looks like it's gonna be another good season. We watched that John from Cincinatti that premiered after The Soprano's & weren't impressed......took it off the tivo list. Did anyone else like it? Upcoming this week to watch.......Kathy Griffin, My Life on the D List which is on tonite & season premiere of Rescue Me on Wednesday nite. That will keep us busy enough.

That's it for now.....have a great day.

2Peas Challenge for Tuesday

2Peas Challenge~ When you first started to scrapbook did you ever think it would be such a huge deal in todays world? By the time I started scrapping it was a pretty big deal.....I fought getting sucked into it for a long while as I was a happy stamper at the time. Then I went in to it with the thought that I had all this stamping stuff.....wouldn't need to get anything else to do this. Yeah right. Now I just need more time to do both.....and have a life too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

More cards received for the troops

All these cards are so can't believe how overwhelmed you are all making me. I have to do some work on the cards we picked up yesterday....some are taped to display boards. Will get Steve to help with that project.

I did some Scrapping......

I finally got the MEPS pages for 'the boy' done......hope you like em.

This is my father when he first joined the AirForce.


Being I have been awake for awhile I have had time to look's some interesting reads so far.

Never underestimate the value of a little dirt.

Scouting Is Alive In Iraq

And I found this bloggers write up on Army Wives which says it better than I prolly could.

More TV good news......

Nuts for Jericho campaign works.....Jericho is saved for next season

Isaiah Washington fired from "Grey's Anatomy"


4:39 am & I've been up for about 20 minutes now....guess why? 'The Boy' you say? Ain't no other reason in the world I'd be up this early. He called because his debit card was stolen. YES, AGAIN! This time they got everything tho......military ID included. I don't know what was in his wall locker. I absolutely can not believe how many thieves are in the Army. So my day has started.....of course Steve went back to sleep.......I'm wide awake.

More later........I'm sure there will be.

They're Proud to Serve

This was in our paper today.......
In Iraq, semper fidelis
Despite the public's waning support for the war, Marines' morale remains high.

and then I had this emailed to me & thought it was worth sharing.....
Groups Turning Against al-Qaeda and Joining Forces With Coalition

I never heard from 'the boy' today so not sure where he is tonite.

Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


OK......AFTER 6 SEASONS .......I am pissed off........SERIOUSLY!

Well now off to watch Army Wives............if you haven't seen it, WHY NOT?


It has been a busy weekend but I had to stop to post this before I ran out the door....AREN'T OUR GUYS & GALS AWESOME! Don't you wonder why we don't see this stuff on the evening news or in our daily papers? Why don't you write your editor & ask em.....I did.

Hello Everyone:

I'm sending some more pictures of the cookie sale. They raised $2600(US) that day (4hrs). Not bad. They have a swimming event and some other sport camps coming up. I'll see which I can help out with.I know the children for this council are all from Baghdad from different groups (Sunni and Shite). I am not sure of their economic background. I know they don't have to buy the uniforms you see them in (they are provided by the scouts) and I am sure the program is open to all that are able to come forward (maybe not from the more dangerous parts of Baghdad...yet).

The times did a story on the clean-up I sent pictures of:

Thank You,


Use this link to see photo's....will expire after 90 days.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Fun day today. Steve got woken up by 'the boy' to ask how he got his middle name....he told him he didn't remember (we have problems like that when our sleep is interupted) ...."Can you wake Mom up & ask her?". After 27 years Steve knows better than that so he said he would call later. Even his 'Battle' was in the background saying "Dude, don't wake your mother up".Was no call showing on Caller ID when we got home or message on machine. Of course he acted like nothing was wrong from last nite. Well we will see how long it takes to hear from him.....we dont' know if he is leaving tomorrow or what yet.Started off with my monthly trip over to Stampers Warehouse for 2ND Saturday fun. First off we did a make & take of a 2 page layout (ribbon used for tie & in shirt pocket) for Father's Day. Will show you later when I figure out if I have any pictures I can add to it or if it will be for something in the future. Then Terrece had a make a box......ribbons for the lid. Then we made some cards....masculine themed with ribbon going down the side (are you seeing a theme here yet?)....we colored with Twinkling H2O which I had never used before. Turned out nice.....I may even give one to Steve for Father's Day. LOL! I passed on the flip flop project...decorated with my feet can't tolerate them with no arch support. They also had a huge box of cards (samples & such) for me to take for the troops but we had Cocoa with us in the truck so no room for the box.....will go back tomorrow. I did some shopping (you knew that didn't you?), some stamps I've been wanting, paper, ink & ribbon (it WAS ribbon day ya know) and we took off.From there we went over to Pleasanton to Three Dog Bakery to get Cocoa some goodies & show him around. One of the gals had her little Yorkie with her & Cocoa just didn't do well. So we didn't stay long......maybe better next time.After that it was over the hill to Tracy....hadn't visited Youngplay Memories in a few months & they are taking competitors coupons again. I kept going back & forth on the Bind it All ...40% off would have been nice.....but I talked myself out of it as I can use the one at Stampers Warehouse for free if I buy the wires there so that is what I will do. Got more military paper & supplies as they have a better supply than anyone else here. Found a mini album kit & a few other goodies & I was done. All in all it was a productive day I would say.After we got home we relaxed a bit.......then headed out again to Best Buy & bought the new Big & Rich CD, "Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace".....will let you know what we think when we've listened to it. Tried to buy the new Dew mist smoothie at Cold Stone (made with Mountain Dew Sorbet) but even tho I got an emailed coupon they aren't carrying them yet so we got a pineapple, lemon & orange juice one....that was good. Hope you had a great Saturday too!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blog Candy to check out

Go to Weluvcardstock & post about your favorite SU set & why it's your fav.

From Combat Boots to Rubber Stamps is gonna have 2 winners .....just leave a comment with your summer plans.

Stamping away the Day is giving away some nice goodies just for looking at her very kewl new Stamp room & leaving a comment.......simple!

Make sure you hop on over to Creative Corner....she always has the hardest puzzles (tee hee)but free is free.....go try your luck!

I think that should do you for now......good luck. If I can't win then hopefully it will be you.


Hello Everyone:

It was very hot today, but a large group of us and the scouts did a clean up of the scouting area. We removed a lot of branches and leaves. These kids put in an honest days work. Lunch was provided and there was plenty of water. The boys played some soccer afterward and everyone got to help put a tent together. I think they are going to do a camping trip here soon (on these grounds in the IZ). They should have fun.

After all was done I pulled out some inflatable balls, beanie babies and of course my back pack full of candy. I feel we all did some good work here today. If anyone knows any scouting groups that would like their units badge sent to them, just let me know or send to me.They have been making a board with these patches. These are a great bunch of kids and I hope they stick with scouting.

My family is returning from Florida this weekend from vacation. I can't wait for my wife to send me some pictures.Thanks again everyone for your support. It's great to be an American.

Thank You,


use this link to see photos:
Note: This LINK will expire after 90 days.

Update from this morning

Steve got a call this pregnancy (thank goodness) but he's getting married. Wouldnt' talk to me but said it will be awhile. We don't know if he has actually met her or if this is just online romance. I'm aging rapidly here. Will keep you posted

Starting my day......

Well, 'the boy' woke me this morning with an early phone what else is new huh? I answer & hear that I am going to be a Grandmother........thank goodness I was laying down. He then tells me she is on the phone (3 way call.....not actually there) I must be careful what I say. He's only known her a few weeks so I have lots of questions to ask this time. He is so wanting that many times has he been engaged since he's finished Basic? I've lost count but I do know he has 'loved' at least 3 in the last month or so (and the last 2 are still on his MySpace page). Wants to have the's only ever been his dad & I one else. Steve has a bro & sis....they both have gotten his phone number & addy twice since he's been gone.....he hasn't heard from them. He's never met anyone from my side of the family. He has no family to reach out to. Please pray he doesnt' do something drastic.

Well now on with my day......

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Operation Mom

Meeting tonite.......most everyone had good news. We have 3 son who are back from is getting discharged & coming home. 'The boy' was to go to MO on Wednesday but CO didn't sign off on his orders so date was moved back to the 10th....but he will still be going to Ft. Leonard Wood. Still no other info on what is next as his sponsor still hasn't gotten back to him. He has graduated & no photo's. I was pretty upset about that. Trying to figure out why I keep buying all this Army scrapbook stuff.

Got photo's from Memorial Day in DC with our Gold Star Mom, Diane, & made a slide show to share. If you haven't seen the video of her placing the wreath please scroll down to June is so moving.

Sad news is that we have had another soldier from Hayward killed in Iraq on Tuesday. He was the only child of an only child....this is the end of that line. So very sad. Will post more information as I get it. Please pray for this family.

More cards...

My thanks to Destiny for organizing the congregation of Willamette Christian Church in West Linn, OR to bring cards for the troops during Sunday services. Here is a picture of what they collected thus far..........WONDERFUL!!

Email from Victor in Iraq from June 7th

Hello Everyone:

I know it has been a while since last I wrote. We have been very busy these last couple of weeks. I have guard duty next week, so I also had to catch up on supply so the OR would have more then enough to get by on during my absence. It amazes me how fast we go through supplies. I am so glad I have made many contingency plans and back-up supply areas. It is really cooking down here. By late August it should peak.It's already in the 110's*. Don't worry ... we have plenty of water. Went to the girl scout cookie sale today and helped out. It was great. We sold so many cookies. People were very generous donating to the scouting organization. I would also like to thank all of you for your continued support. I truly do appreciate all the effort everyone has contributed. I was also able to make each of the girl scouts present a goodie bag. These girls were very good and you could tell they enjoyed themselves. I have tons of pictures and will continue to send more. Tomorrow I am going to help with the scout ground clean-up. It too should be a lot of fun. A lot of the boy and girl scouts will be there. I'm going to try to bring my power tools too; they should come in handy. I also won't forget my soccer ball. If I can sign out a vehicle,I'll try to bring some toys too. Don't worry; I'll get lots of pictures. Thanks again everyone for thinking of us soldiers and helping me out with my projects. Stay safe and take care.

Thank You,