Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November just flew right by... Christmas is right around the corner!

“Children see magic because they look for it.”
Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

I know that it’s been awhile since I updated my blog but it’s for good reason... I’ve been SUPER busy with cheering my soccer star and her awesome team to an undefeated season , the Got Your Back Network, speaking at the Kiwanis, and sending children of the fallen off to Dallas for Snowball Express. 

After the San Diego Color Run Grant, Krystina and I decided to sign up for a few more runs to honor our fallen and their families.  We will be running the Race at the Base and the Irvine Color Run during the next few months.  Krystina absolutely loved being a part of honoring the children, I loved doing this with her and supporting my passion at the same time. 

Then came Veterans Day weekend... one of my favorite weekends of the year because I get to celebrate so many in my life that have served our country. 
On November 10 I set up a booth for the Got Your Back Network at the Los Angeles Veteran’s Appreciation Festival.  Community Awareness is so important for a nonprofit- being able to wrap a community around a group of people such as the families of the fallen provides additional resources to help them in their journey.  Then on the 11th, Veteran’s Day, I was honored to be in the Murrieta Veteran’s Day Parade.  I show up early to parades and events because I LOVE meeting people.  That parade served to be no different, I met 2 World War II Veteran’s as well as many other Korea and Vietnam Veterans.  Talking to these men and women about their service and their life is always touching.  Speaking to wives who supported their service members through Vietnam, no technology just letters on occasion, then stood by them when they returned was inspiring.  I told one of them that we were spoiled now with email, Skype and the ease of communication... her response “No, sweetheart you are simply blessed.”  Thank you ma’am.  At the end of the parade I went over to visit the Field of Honor.  Words cannot express the feelings and emotions I felt standing there looking over thousands of flags honoring our men and women in uniform.  I walked through the flags for awhile, reading the names of the men and women with humbled appreciation.  Just as I was about to leave I saw a group of flags off the to the left, I wanted to see what made these ones different.  One step onto the grass and you could feel the difference, these flags were to honor the San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino County’s fallen service members.  I walked each of the 6 rows, read the names and said a silent prayer and thank you... I knew many of their wives and children.  Then I happened across a name that brought me to tears, 1st LT Jared Landaker from Big Bear City.  Jared, a classmate of mine was killed in Iraq February of 2007 but seeing his name gave me one more reminder of why I was there.  Simple thank you’s never feel like enough in the presence of true superhero’s. 

On November 22, Thanksgiving, I was able to take a few moments in the morning to give thanks with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim.  Speaking about what I am thankful and my passion to help families of our fallen was a great way to start the morning.   I also got the opportunity to meet a veteran who has been married to “His beautiful and lovely bride” for 71 years!  I loved listen to his introduction as you could still feel the love between them.  Then home to make my Grandmother’s ham and spend a day with some of the people that I am most thankful for, My Grandmother, daughter and husband and mother in law.

On the 29th I was asked to model in a fashion show for Studio Channel Islands.  All of the outfits were made my local artists.  I  had a great time with former Miss California 2012 Dedria Brunett and Miss California Global Nations, Katherine Cooksey (who also planned the event).  Getting to meet the artists after the show was very fun, all of the outfits had their own story as did the artist.  I must admit one of my favorites was an outfit made entirely out of recycled plastic bags!!

I wrapped up the month of November with admittedly one of my favorite events, also one that I have been wanting to be part of for the past 4 years!  Snowball Express is an organization that takes almost 2000 children of the fallen from all over the world to one location for 4 days of fun!  The past several years this event has been in Dallas and provided more memories that I can even imagine.  I was able to be part of the LAX send off this year with my friends Kylynn and Salina.  We got to LAX at 5am to help decorate and get ready to greet the Snowball families from Southern California.  I don’t think I was prepared for the overwhelming excitement and love that this event produces.  Seeing many families that I know and getting to know some new ones was worth every moment of anticipation the past year.  I had the honor of crowning every young lady in attendance, talking to Santa, connecting with more moms and creating new relationships!  Then it came time for the families to board the VERY SPECIAL American Airlines flight – it’s a very amazing secret what is on this plane that is chartered ONLY for the families of Snowball Express.  When the families were all aboard, the volunteers and ground crew went out to the flight line with flags and smiles... it was POURING rain.  We waved and gave the plane a very proper sendoff to their next destination and off to work I went.

I am thankful for those in my life that help me along the way between watching Krystina, helping me keep my life organized and supporting me.  Up next... December 8 Soccer playoffs,  the Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade and Kiwanis’ Christmas shopping with an underprivileged child; December 15th will be Wreaths Across America laying wreaths at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery; December 16th delivering toys for the Child Abuse Prevention Center and December 19th is the Got Your Back Network’s Family holiday party.

Pictures to follow....

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