It is probably cliche that I am going to write a post about gratitude the week of Thanksgiving. Well get over it, it’s happening.
I have been wanting to write a message of thanks to the outpouring of support my family has received since Tom went overseas, but I just haven’t found the right words to do so. I am still not quite sure if I can express all of my gratitude to those around us as eloquently as I wish too, but I needed to say thanks somehow.
With the holidays coming up, I have been wondering lately how I am going to get through a time where family is the focus without mine present. I just kept focusing on what Tom and I would be missing out on. I mean this is the first time in 5 years he and I will not have been together for the holidays. I selfishly kept wallowing about the fact that my husband left me for the holidays. The feeling of being alone is highlighted exponentially at this time. Then I did something absentmindedly last week that reminded me that even though there are parts that stink about this, we have so much to be thankful for. (And really he didn’t choose to be gone at this time of year, so I needed to get over myself and stop being a Lifetime Christmas Special Movie.)
So Iowa State has an obsession with listserves. There are listserves for everything and everyone. Well this week, I had a Dawson’s Creek moment like when Joey sent a private message to all of campus. Fortunately, mine had positive effects instead of the public embarrassment Joey encountered. I have been sending out emails requesting help with sending Tom and his unit items they need or want. This week I added all the appropriate groups, and pressed send. A few hours later, I get an email from one of my residents saying that she had some letters she hoped that she could give me to send in Tom’s packages. I know that I have talked about Tom and said things during Friley Senate (our hall council meetings), but I was still really confused about the timing of this email. Then I realized what silly thing I did. Instead of sending this request email to the Upper Friley staff, I accidentally sent it to ALL of Upper Friley. Yep, all 630 of them. I then started having several conversations/emails of people wanting to give letters or items. After just a few days, this was the stock I got.
Here are students coming out to give items to people they have never met, just because I sent a very vague email about this dude named Tom. Seriously, I didn’t even mention that Tom was in the service, which apparently prompted many people to talk to their CAs on who Tom was. Double bonus-community builder!
Speechless and humbled. I still am not really sure how to react to all the donations.
Not only am I thankful for the students who have helped donate in this last week because of my slight of hand, but I am extremely appreciative for individuals who have helped over the last few months. Countless people have come and dropped off goodies for me to ship. I don’t even mind that now the post office knows me by name, and that they have to restock their custom forms and flat rate boxes every time I come in! Two other buildings here at ISU did Penny Wars to raise funds for donations and to help cover the cost of postage. Again for people they have never met; although, they did plaster pictures of Tom all over their hall desk. My sister-in-law did a request at the elementary school where she teaches, and has had similar reactions to sponsor Tom’s unit. Kindergartners are giving up their allowance to provide items for these soldiers. Isn’t that seriously the cutest thing?
There is so much bad press out there about the military, and I often feel that we are in our own little world sometimes. I feel that people forget those who are in the military and seriously misunderstand what they are doing for our country. And that sometimes, they just want a bag of Twizzlers to get them through the day (or the cold desert night). But this is the time that I want to say a big sincere thank you for the support that people have shown us in the last few months, even if it is just buying a box of easy mac or coordinating large scale efforts to show support. It reminded me at a time that I needed it that I have so much to be thankful for.
It’s nice to be able to send a little piece of home to Tom and his buddies, so thank you for helping make that happen. I am grateful for it all.
As for the family that I do get to see over the holidays-here is a little sneak peak of a gift I will be giving.
This Birthday Board project was the most in depth that I have attempted to do so far. I had to ask for help from my neighbor, Dick. And it took me a couple weeks to finish it.
You will need:
- A long board
- wooden letters
- wooden circles
- screw eyes
- jewelry circles
- paint pen
- a drill
First I had Dick drill holes into all the wooden circles and the long board. Thanks for the help Neighbs!
Then once this was completed, the painting began. This took me a couple days to complete. I didn’t realize there was so much to paint!
I painted each letter a different color, and I also did 4 of the wooden circles in each color. I used the thumbtacks to help make it easier to paint each item without getting paint all over myself. The wooden circles I painted both sides. Looking back now that it is complete, I could have dipped the circles into paint and covered the screws up completely with paint. That might have gone faster, but would have been a little messier and probably wasted some paint.
On each circle, I wrote someone’s name and the day of their birthday using a paint pen. (I just did the immediate family, so I made a lot of blank circles to accommodate others that this person wants to remember.)
I used some circle hooks that I found in the jewelry section of hobby lobby to fasten all the screw hooks together.
Once all the paint was dry, I glued the wooden letters onto the long board and added the white letters for the months of the year. I used some small foam letters that we had around as stamps.
So there is the final product of the family birthday board. And apparently on the Whitener side, I am the only one without a birthday month buddy.
It will be cool to see this grow as names are added!
Again, thank you for all the love and support as Tom and I go through this adventure!
Now it is time to celebrate the best holiday of the year because it is all about giving thanks, family and food! Gobble till you wobble friends!