Friday, October 17, 2008

Leavin' on a jet plane.........Homeward Bound!

I am able to get on today's R&R flight out of Kuwait. PTL!!! The flight is scheduled to stop in ATL then proceed to DFW. Arrival will be tomorrow, Saturday, around 1300.

Thank you for your prayers.

"For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 117:2

See you soon.

In His Mighty Grip,

Wait in Kuwait

Well, great plans don't always fall into place. I am not sure when I will get out of here. There has been a big surg of R&R troops and they take priority over me so I am stranded here. Maybe I can be home by Sunday with slight chance of Saturday.

The good news is the Major and Master Sgt from the Dallas R&R operations are here for meetings and finished early. It was a wonderful surprise to see these great guys. Just a touch of home! That is a sweet ending to this adventure.

God had been so good and my heart is full as I transition home.

I will keep you posted on my departure.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

I will see you all soon!
In His Mighty Grip,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Coming Home

Dear All,

I'm on my way home! Kuwait today and Dallas Friday!

My heart is so full as I come home.

The Major and Master Sgt from the R&R Dallas Operations are here for meetings and have finished early. We will all travel home together. What a special ending to this amazing journey!

See you soon.
In HIS Mighty Grip,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bittersweet Goodbyes

Dear All,

The days are drawing close to departure and the goodbyes get harder and harder. Mixed with the sadness of saying goodbye there is a deep sense of satisfaction that I have completed the job God ask me to do so many months ago. The tears are full of great joy and blessing that this year has forever placed deep in my heart. The year has not been without pain and sorrow and conflict yet I know in time those things that were hard will only prove to strengthen and grow me as God desires.

The United Through Reading program has been the number one highlight of this year. Being so connected to the moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents of our deployed families has etched in my heart memories that will always be cherished. Their tears and emotions touched me deeply and allowed me to see how important this program has been to our military families. From generals to PFC’s love for our children runs deep and strikes cords deep within that rank cannot hide. Your gift of books has made this possible and down the road will be recognized as one of the factors that made a difference in this war.

Tuesday was my last day at the Special Forces compound. The army side surprised me at the end of the day with a special presentation. Many of the moms and dads came and expressed their appreciation for the program. I was given the traditional army certificate and the Special Forces coin. Their love was warm and so meaningful to me. The Air Force side did the same at the end of the day. The Chaplain thanked me and gave me the unit t-shirt and coin then stepped up to his keyboard and sang to me “We love you with the love of the Lord”. With both groups I tearfully thanked me and feebly expressed my appreciation to them. I pray someday that some of our paths cross again.

Today a young Captain came by and handed me a flag that he had had flown for me on 9/11 and had carried with him on a Half marathon he ran that day. I was so taken back and touched and his words of thanks will always be near and dear my heart. Another young man ask for my email so he could keep in touch. I remember him when he came in through Dallas nearly two years ago on emergency leave. His family was there to pick him up as their older son and this young man’s brother had been killed by an IED here in Iraq. When I talk to this soldier shortly after the center opened and remembered who he was I have prayed for him and his family. He is such a sweet young man and I am so glad to have crossed paths with him. Pray for encouragement and strength for this family.

Last and by no means least, I am standing in the need of prayer myself. I went to space block for my flight out of here only to find out my military travel orders expired in June. I have made all the appropriate calls to the USO higher ups and am totally dependent on God’s providential care and intervention to expedite these orders so I can fly out of here the first of next week.

I love you all dearly and your support has meant the world to me. See you next week.
In His Mighty Grip,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Black Hawk Day

Dear All,

Last week I got to go on a Black Hawk mission. It was absolutely the most fun! I think I would like to stay another year and be a Black Hawk stewardess. What a cool experience! I mean all the sudden you are just going up in the air and hovering over the earth.

It was an amazing opportunity for me to see outside these wires yet not be in harm’s way. I got to see Baghdad, Taji, Warhorse and several other FOB nearby. It was so cool to see the country. There are actually some very beautiful areas here. Oasis area with huge palm trees! There were also area that were just rubble and yet life goes on with children playing in the streets and men and women out farming their land.

The pilot was a friend and he was on his last mission before going home and he was training his replacement. I got to sit right behind the pilots and wear the headsets. That made it really cool as I could hear all they were saying and hear the training and stories. One stop we made was kind of near and dear my heart…Taji….when John Micah was here on his first deployment his unit poured the concrete that extended the helicopter landing area. I took a picture of my boots on the ground there.

I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took.
I will see you soon.
In His Mighty Grip,

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sand Storm

Dear All,

Busy fun days here for me! Though we have more staff now I am still as busy as ever. I am enjoying every minute of these last days here and trying not to miss a thing.

We had a bizarre sand storm last week. Different from any of the others we have had there was no wind. It was more like snow storm. The sky went from clear to brown to yellow to bright red. It was almost eerie. As you would walk outside you would get sand flakes on your clothes. That morning when I got up it was like footprints in the snow.

1200 Sand Storm outside my room...

1300 Sand storm outside my room

1400 Walking out from bunker.... Teresa and I ran some errands that afternoon and had the opportunity to go down into one of Hussein’s big bunkers that are on base. They are all over everywhere, some of which are used by different units but most left vacant. They are refurbishing this particular one for office space for a new unit coming in. It had it’s own air filtering system that would have made it nuclear war proof. All very interesting! From the outside they look like pyramids and they go down as deep as they are tall. I have always thought it would be cool for the USO to have one for a center. I can just see the whole side of it painted with the USO logo.

I have been packing and mailing stuff home as the day to leave is approaching fast. I am hoping Angela gets back from R&R before I leave. I can’t imagine not getting to say goodbye to her. She has been such a joy.

I love you all and will see you soon.
In His Mighty Grip,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Going Postal!!!

Dear All,

I have so much I want to tell you but for right now I will share my heart about my post office experience today. I will write later to tell you about and send pictures of the most incredible sand storm and my Black Hawk ride. As I near the end of my time here, I don’t want to miss a thing and am exhausted but flying high on loving the guys and girls I love so much.

Today was my regular scheduled run to the Post Office to mail UTR. It is probably one of my most laborious tasks that I do. I go with 100+ packages. Each packages content has to be searched and inspected and then sealed up and signed. Once all are inspected we begin the task of weighing and paying. Each custom form has to be stamped on all six pages and then placed in a plastic holder and taped to the package. It is a long process and normally takes at least two hours. I have a standing Wednesday and Saturday morning appointment. They let me come in thirty minutes before they open to try and expedite the process. By the time I am out of there the line behind me is long and as I walk out I keep my head down. No eye contact. THEY ALL HAVE GUNS, YOU KNOW!!!!

Today it hit, as I place each package on the scale to be weighed and processed to go the reality of leaving here hit and the cherished memories of these troops and their families painfully weighed on my heart. Nakeed, Chloe, Jamison, Mia, McQuade, Quentin, Delasia, Sammi, and I could go on forever with the names of the children that these Untied Through Reading packages have been sent to. The stories their dads, moms, aunts and uncles have shared are forever in heart. This has truly been and amazing adventure and leaving is so hard. My heart is torn between being with my precious family and serving here with the troops I have grown to love so deeply. Their faces are forever etched in my heart. Day before yesterday this beautiful Marine, who was stranded here a couple days came in to read to his children. I took him in to get him all set up and as I did I ask how old his children are and he did not respond. I looked up to see this beautiful young Marine, father of five with tears streaming down his face. The only words he could get out were Madam, I just love my family so much.

Another dad yesterday at the SF camp was so excited to share that they were expecting a new baby and he had just found out it will be twins. You always hear about pregnant women glowing, well this young dad was glowing. So Proud!

I must tell you thank you for your support and for supporting this program. The thousands of books you have sent and or money you have sent to USO headquarters in honor of this program is making a huge difference. Our troops and their families are being blessed by you. Never doubt that you don’t have a voice here. I love to tell the troops of all you have done and watch them grin in humility and pride.

I love you and will see you soon.
In His Mighty Grip,