Monday, April 27, 2009

Back to baking

Hello to anyone who is still reading this blog since there has been no activity here in months! I have spent the year so far studying and being sick :(. The sick is just the usual flu and cold nonsense that always goes around and I'm feeling fine these days except I smashed a thumb at work really bad Easter Sunday (in the great economy we are currently experiencing, it has been decided that I no longer get the day as a "holiday"). Anyway, things have been busy, I was taking five classes at one time and trying to nurse myself, Randy, and various other family members...ah, what fun!
Now, spring is here and Randy and I want to get back to baking for the people who are really making sacrifices for the lives we all lead: Our soldiers!
Our soldier for this round is a cousin of Kathy, who has been baking on our team since last fall. Following is a letter that John's mother sent to Kathy after she asked for his address so he could be our soldier for this round.

Good Morning K,

Wow… is so good to hear from you and my throat has a huge lump in it with the emotions of the information pertaining to the “Cookie Ladies” and your wanting to include John as a recipient of your endeavors. What can I say other than I’m so appreciative and thankful for you and these caring women. As the mother of a deployed Marine, these acts of kindnesses are comforting and heartwarming to know that so many have not forgotten these young men and women in our armed forces.

John has shared that they are continuing to receive packages in abundance from the mainland. It is such a blessing. They are thrilled to know they are not forgotten. John, at 38 +, is one of the older ones now. He refers to his young Marines and all they do. They are so dedicated to the mission and it is obvious John has a great fondness for them and their wellbeing. He praises their work and their determination to get the job done. He is keenly aware of how he felt at as a young Marine when he was first deployed during Desert Storm in early 1991. John entered the Marines in 1990. He has had a total of 6 deployments during his career. As it stands now, he will have one more deployment before retiring??? This is always subject to change. His unit is currently in Iraq and they could transition to Afghanistan………again this is uncertain at this time. When they deployed in late January of this year, they were to have been in Iraq for about 6 weeks and then transition to Afghanistan. At this writing, they remain in Iraq.

As to the number of men and women that would benefit from these cookies, I am recalling that there are about 45 in his immediate unit. They are always eager to share with each other anything that comes from home especially if it is cookies. John became a Warrant Officer last year and will become a W2 in August. This will be a nice promotion for him and I’m so proud of him.

John has 3 little daughters; Jeny 7 1/2 , Amber 6 ½, and Skylar 3 ½. John’s wife, Amy, and the girls live at the New River Marine Corp Air Station in Jacksonville N.C. He is able to have email contact and also the webcam works for them at times so that they are able see each other. All of this is the direct results of the efforts of the past 5 years. The Iraqi people are able to have amenities they never knew under the previous regime. During John’s first 9 weeks of this current deployment, things have been smooth and rather quiet. I’m sure that you heard we lost 5 soldiers from Fort Carson last week near Mosul. Things kicked up and John assured us that they were very busy but also were safe. Perhaps you received his most recent email. I will check and if your name is not among the addressees I will forward that email to you.

As to John’s favorite flavor, he LOVES vanilla. I have a cookie recipe that he dearly loves…….I got it from Mother years ago. They are ‘edited.'

I took out the cookie recipe because Kathy is planning to make it and after learning that John has plenty of friends there to share with, we want to make sure he gets lots of variety. It looks like there are anywhere from 48 to 250 soldiers passing through there, so we can not send too much. Randy's friend Dan is stationed in a place where he can not currently receive baked goods, so we will probably send all of our boxes to John this round.

I hope everyone who wants to help will go to and sign up with our team, JustAddNuts, to bake for these very deserving men and women. Please show them that we love and support them!

Oh, and on a positive note, I have learned that both Alex and Dustin, our previous soldiers are home and healthy at the moment. I know Alex sent letters and pictures to every one of the bakers he had an address for, but I also talked to his uncle a few weeks ago and learned he was home (for now). I haven't seen Dustin's dad for a while but I did hear he is also home and I believe he is scheduled to be married in May! So, once again, I truly thank everyone who baked and sent care packages. I believe that getting a package from home is a great way to lift the spirits...and when it's full of home-baked goodies...well, what could be better than that???