In Joliet, it’s finally spring.  Today anyway, but if you’re from the Midwest, you understand THAT!  What happened to April?  I’ve asked myself that week after week, month after month.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like life is moving faster and faster…unless you have a child serving.  Then in a way, the question is twofold: “what happened to xxx month, and how many days until they come home?”  Many of us don’t even know.  We have a ballpark.  A hope. And then another month is gone…and Facetime or Skype is our only connection for sharing stories and time together.

Traveling around and meeting people or meeting WITH people, I hear many stories.  It’s an honor to hold someone’s heart for a while, or a few hours.  You know, when they are telling you their stories with tears in their eyes?  Maybe tears of joy:  my grandchild is born or my son is coming home.  Maybe tears of pride:  my daughter ranked up last week or my child’s PFT score has gone UP UP UP due to hard work.  More often, it is tears of loss:  I miss xxx.  I’m worried for where they are serving.  The conditions are bad where they are. The stories are endless, personal and precious.

Let me share some stories I’ve been blessed with this month:

My son earned a special commendation.  He worked hard. Went above and beyond.  Was recognized for his work with the local community.

My husband sent me beautiful trinkets from another country.  He is deployed and won’t be home any time soon.  He’s missing our children’s milestones and birthday.  We aren’t together for our anniversary again.  I don’t know how I’m going to make ends meet this month, even with separation pay.  It’s hard, having a husband who serves.  And it’s a point of pride:  the man who I love with everything I’ve got is protecting those who need our country’s help.  He’s serving in a way far bigger than himself.  He is leaving a legacy of service and sacrifice and my children are watching daddy with pride.  And some tears.  The days are long, and I’m often overwhelmed.  But today….I received a box from him filled with wonderful little gifts from the country he is serving in.  Today, I can just glance over and feel his love from across the ocean.  I know how he feels when he receives a box of love from home.  It’s a tangible reminder of the string that attaches us.

I wrote a paper.  Would you read it? I’m trying to be a recruiter and I have to tell my story.  It’s being graded so don’t be nice.  (I wasn’t).  I read it, with tears.  In fact, I type this with tears.  This story is from one of the kids we first supported.  He jumped the fence and found us on FB after being connected through another organization.  He had buddies who needed our help too.  And with that simple request, my heart was stolen for this guy.  As he shared his story while deployed, and home, and deployed again, I just loved him more.  We have never met.  I’ve never met his beautiful wife or adorable kids.  But I love them just the same.  He is everything about what we should be doing for our troops:  supporting them when they have no/limited support from home. His wife can’t afford to send boxes.  Her love for him is fierce; their budget is brutal.  It was an honor to help for what will probably be the last time; he will be a recruiter some day soon. He got an A+.  His story is a perfect reflection of what the service does right in helping our young adults grow their world while serving our country.

A deployed unit is being eaten alive.  Can we send sheets and wipes?  A young guardsman was injured.  Can we help his family?  I have a son of a veteran who needs some stairs repaired.  Can we help? Geriann, will you be at a round table for veterans?  MMN, will you collaborate with us to send thousands of cards overseas and stateside to those needing encouragement.  I could spend what is left of April sharing what we have done this month, been asked to do, and what is in the planning stages.  We do important work.  WE.  Even as I’m typing this, IA, TX, HI and FL have popped up on my screen with connection requests or follow up.  The power of MMN is in our stories…because each one represents a loved one. A need we met or tried to me.  A heart we held with everything we had.

Would you like to join our story?

We have already hit last year’s Dec 1 goal for cards sent and collected.  That’s an easy team to join! Just send a card, sign some cards (we buy them if you can’t), or make some handmade cards.  Click here to join the card team!

Or maybe you’d like to help send boxes?  Each box costs about $50 to fill and $20 to send.  Consider approaching scout troops, school classes, civic organizations, churches.  The possibilities are endless for collaboration and donations. Click to help send boxes.   Or you need boxes sent to someone you love.  Click here to request a box

Maybe you have an extra soft spot for our veterans.  We will be expanding our veteran collaboration in the coming weeks and months.  We could use you!!

Or maybe you are like me (before MMN), and can’t imagine doing any public outreach.  Would you be part of our admin team?  We need people who gather lists and help us honor our fallen.  We need people who can help build Amazon affiliate stores to help raise money.  Join our team by emailing

We need people who will SHOP in those stores LOL.  We need people who can donate even $1.00 a month.  We will cross over 16,000 network wide members this month…probably this week.  If everyone gave a $1.00, imagine what we could do!!  Click to join our $1.00 drive. 

My April flew by…and my son is making his way home from a semester abroad, improving his language skills in hopes of serving the people he just spent time with.  I won’t see him for months, but I will be so glad when he is on American soil again.  That’s “home” enough for this mama to breath more easily.  Many of our loved ones are still serving across the ocean.  I hope you decide to have your May be as crazy as my April was! Choose one or more ways to be involved with MMN.