I wanted to re-share these pictures with you today for a few reasons. First, to take a moment and thank the family and friends who have been on this journey with us, who support and pray for us. Who mowed the lawn, hung Christmas lights, and sat with me the first night in the hospital with Jack so I wouldn't be alone. You all have been God's hands and feet to our family and your love and generosity make me cry at the very thought of it. Secondly, I have several dear dear friends that are about to embark on yet another deployment. Even though the miles separate us now, I pray for you daily and can promise I'm a plane flight away should the need arise. You women are my sisters and I love you. And finally, if you know a military family or even see the tell tale haircut while you're out in town take a moment to speak to them. I cannot tell you what it means to them or the families to know that random people care. Whenever my mom is traveling she goes out of her way to pay for a cup of coffee in the Starbucks line at the airport or thank the ones in uniform sitting at the gate and I couldn't be more proud of her. Little acts make big ripples in this community.
And since I know that I have a few military readers out there some old and some new, I thought I'd share with you my top sources for
surviving thriving through a deployment. If you have any others feel free to share the links!
Daddy Dolls: I thought it was weird at first but I can't tell you what a source of comfort these are to my kids.
Daddy Quilts: This is a free service and one that is close to my heart. What a wonderful way to use your quilting talent.
SpeakSake: I did this for Bill when he missed Christmas for the second time in a row. Family, friends, college roommates, people who barely knew him called and left voicemails filled with well wishes, silly songs their kids sang, prayers, stories and so much love. He received it all on a CD and it meant everything to him that holiday.
United Through Reading: My boys loved seeing their daddy on the T.V. Will would touch his face on the screen, run and get the same book out of his toy bin and sit there for the whole story. I can't say enough good things about this program.
K7.net: Bill suggested I put this one on here. It is completely unaffiliated with the military but worked well to our advantage and it was free! You assign your email a phone number (military emails work) and then you can call that number and leave messages night or day. Simply sign into your email and open your mail and listen to your loved ones. This is how he first heard Jack cry in the delivery room :) This is an excellent tool for boat deployments, since skype and calls are very few and far between. Obviously the deployed spouse benefits from hearing the messages but I loved that it made him feel only a phone call away.