Thursday, December 15, 2011

Warm Hands for A Hero

It is that time of year again when everyone gets caught up in the holiday hub- bub and often forgets what else is going on in the world. As I get older I have found that I have less and less patience for the overindulgence and the commercialism and the downright greed of some many who feel that they must buy, buy, buy!! Don't get me wrong, I know that this is good of the economy and I create things to sell, but to buy and to get so caught up in the capitalism of the western world to the exclusion of all else, has gotten to be a bit much for me to stomach.
I love to create gifts for those that I love and to let even strangers know that other's care about their well being. It is the commercialism and the totally over the top excess that really gets to me . In our family we are truly blessed to have family members who are living in other parts of the world who are constantly teaching us about the greater planet and it's people and reminding us of how very very fortunate the rest of us are, even in very tough economic times. There are also far to many here on our own continent who are forgotten and marginalized at this time of year, more often than not.
My Sister in Law, Elise, is currently stationed in the wild west of Afghanistan, serving as the head of Women's Education and Health for the country, for USAID. She will not be with her family, who live in Tanzania, for the holidays. She will be working and spending what little down time she has with the troops- one woman among many men from all walks of live and form every experience set imaginable. We are all so very grateful for the group that keep her safe as she travels out into remote country to villages to meet with elders to encourage and advocate for the needs of the female popultion of the the country. Often she is not allowed to speak directly to any of the women but must speak through a male interpreter and negotiate for the education of the women of the village with the male elders. Her crew keep her safe, watch her back, clear out showers and bathroom facilities so she can shower etc. I have discovered that they are all big fans of Dunkin Donuts coffee so frequently, 4 lbs of freshly ground coffee get sent off to let them know, in an very small way, how much they are appreciated. She has been at this job for almost two years now. She was supposed to have a one year tour but decided that she was not ready to turn over her post so she re-uped for a second tour.

If you are a regular reader of my blog , you may remember reading about one of my other hero's, my brother Peter. Peter is Elise's husband and goodness knows her job in Afghanistan would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support and encouragement of her spouse and her two wonderful girls , my nieces Mali and Kate. You can read more about all that Peter is doing , here.

So as Christmas approaches, both of my Hero's, Elise and Peter, have been very much on my mind. I have gathered the Dunkin Donuts coffee, some favorite dark chocolate treats that Elise is partial to, a double pack of Burt's Bee's Lip Balm and a pair of felted wool and cashmere arm warmer fingerless mitts.

I want to sure that my hero has warm hands, even when she has to up late writing her daily reports!!! I am hoping that this meager little parcel will convey to Elise just how much we are thinking of her, praying for her safety, in total awe of the incredibly important work that she is doing and eagerly awaiting her next adventure when she will be reunited with her family for another tour with USAID. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will be able to come state side during the summer so we can at least share a couple of glasses of wine on the deck before she must hustle off to take on her new duties in Ethiopia.

As you go about your Christmas preparations, please take some time to consider what we can each do to better the lives of other's near and far and perhaps investigate how you might involve your family and friends in sharing a percentage of money spent on stuff and looking into some charitable opportunities that can serve to make huge differences for a family living in a very different place and experiencing very different challenges. There are many ways to get involved with helping the families of our service men and women, a click of the mouse will take you to a slew of options. Some of the organizations that I like to support all year long are Oxfam International and Oxfam America, the Heifer Project and Kiva International.

I wish you all a very thoughtful and Merry Christmas and ask that you be ever mindful of those who work so very hard to make this world a better place for all of us and for those who are struggling desperately to attain a small fragment of security and peace in a very overwhelming and often out of control world!


Lori Anderson said...

I love those so much! Wonderful story.

Jacky said...

Lovely to hear what your family are up to and where they are. What a generous family you have Elizabeth...generous with a most precious commodity, time. Money cant buy it...but your family are so generous to those in need.
Heartwarming..... and I am sure your lovely gift for Elise will convey your love and pride.

Sending Christmas Cheer to you and yours.

Jacky xox

Anna said...

Good post Elizabeth. Peace to you and yours.

Suztats said...

Wonderful post! If we all took a little time to show others we care, our world would be much warmer place. It is gifts from the heart that show our love and caring. Bless you and yours this Christmas Season.


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