Saturday, September 19, 2009

To Everything There is a Season...

Vibrant Leaves on Campus

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,


a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 NIV

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Knitting Helmet Liners - Plan B

I asked Joan if she would give a little run down of what she has been doing in regard to collecting helmet liners for our project. She has taken up the cause with an enthusiasm you just wouldn't believe, and she is producing phenomenal results. I hope what she shares will give you some ideas and motivation as to ways you too can help us meet our Knitted Helmet Liner goal for our Marines and Sailors!


Having been involved with the package project for the Warlords during their deployment to Iraq last year, I was very excited to be informed of this year’s Love and Support from Santa’s Elves project. Last year’s experience was a wonderful adventure of acquiring items (socks being my specialty) and monetary donations. We had a great sense of accomplishment by meeting our goals last year.

I personally received gifts of friendship and lots of fun along the way. Delving full force into the cause was a very healthy diversion in dealing with the concept of our son’s deployment. It made me feel like I was helping in some small way while our Marines were giving of themselves so fully for freedom’s cause.

Now, this year comes the daunting task of acquiring 1,000 hand-knit helmet liners.

Plan A:

Get out the knitting needles, buy some wool and start knitting. The only problem is…I don’t know how to knit!

I have great admiration for those of you out there right now with needles in hand as beginners producing helmet liners. Your confidence and courage is awesome, but I needed to think of another way to help get the job done. This brings me to:

Plan B:

Be Bold, Be Creative and Be Persistent.

Here is a summary of things we have done to reach out and find people to help us with this project. It is my hope that some of these ideas will work for you.

· The obvious - ask friends family, neighbors and coworkers to help. Enlist their help to seek out knitters. Spread the word to everyone you know, send e-mails and hand out the information.

· The not so obvious - I have found ways to work the question “Do you knit or know anyone who knits?” into many conversations, even with people I hardly know. I have found a knitting club at a college campus, one at a local library and volunteers in some unusual places. It never hurts to ask! You may be surprised.

· A broad audience - have an article placed in your local newspaper. After our article appeared (click for link to article), we received phone calls virtually daily for two weeks with offers from individuals and groups to knit. Post the information on public bulletin boards. Ask craft shops if you can leave information at their stores.

· Target audience - groups already established for the purpose of helping others can be wonderful resources. Have announcements placed in church bulletins (very successful recruiting). Contact your local military service organizations such as the American Legion, their Auxiliary, VFW and Marine Corps League.

These groups already have a mission to help the military and are usually very supportive of such projects. One woman from an Auxiliary offered to take our information to her state conference later this week. A Legion member has a friend who is teaching a knitting class. She took the information and is making the helmet liners one of the required lessons in the class.

· Supply resources - I have found that offering wool to knitters encourages them to knit and hopefully knit greater numbers of liners. Early on, I realized that purchasing the wool could be a financial burden or an inconvenience for volunteers.

We started collecting money to purchase wool (over $400 at this point). Also from a tip given by a volunteer knitter, my daughter contacted the Plymouth Yarn Co. in Bristol, PA and received a donation of 40 balls of wool. At this point in the project, I get frequent phone calls from volunteers requesting wool to make more.

· The Domino Effect - one person or contact leads to another. Example: in order to receive the donated wool, the company required us to find one of their customers willing to be a host shop where they could ship the donated wool. The shop owner that I found was very willing to be our host. When I went to pick up the wool, she took the instructions and offered to make copies to hand out to her customers, as well as knitting them herself. She also plans to pass the information onto students that she teaches knitting to at a local art school. There turned out to be a good reason that the yarn company didn’t ship the wool directly to our home.

· Be organized - always carry the information with you (the cards printed from the blog site are great). Keep wool in the trunk of your car. Have a few convenient satellite locations, such as friends and families, where you can leave supplies and arrange drop off points. Network knitters together to help each other (ask someone that finished a liner to help someone having trouble with the instructions). I have found that keeping a notebook with all your contacts, their information and notes on project activity helps to keep track of everything-like having an external memory when mine seems limited. At this time my notebook includes information on 21 contacts, 6 of which are groups.

Think of any possible way to get the word out. There are knitters out there; we just need to find them. You will find that many are excited and willing to help with this project. You will hear many interesting stories from volunteers about their knitting and their life (like the woman who learned how to knit from the Red Cross when she was in high school in order to send items to the troops during World War II). You will have fun and feel good about helping. You will feel the warmth and support of others as you deal with the emotions involved with the deployment of your loved one.

Get involved, spread the word, spread enthusiasm and think positive. Remember, there is always Plan B.

We can do this!

Proud Warlord Mom,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Chocolate... SWEET!

Heaven knows we could use a little chocolate right about now, and FREE CHOCOLATE (click for link) sounds even better. I've signed up to get my free coupon. You can do the same.

I just thought we could all use a little chocolate encouragement to keep us going.

So sign up to get your free chocolate and then get back to work on Love and Support From Santa's Elves... and of course, preparing to see your "boys". Woo!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We Will Not Forget!

They attacked America on September 11, 2001
(Click for video by 
It's a little long but a great reminder 
of the past and how it affects us today. 
More importantly, 
how it affects our Marines and Sailors.)

Our sons and brothers, husbands and fathers 
and the kid down the block now serve 
to protect our nation against the enemies of Liberty.

Pray that America does not forget the forces that seek 
to destroy us, and that we do not forget those 
who give themselves to fight against those forces. 

Pray for God's guidance and wisdom 
for those who have offered their very lives 
in service to us as a nation. 
We owe them a huge debt.

Freedom comes at great cost, 
and that fact is hitting close to home.

Each of us knows someone who carries that torch.
We will not forget.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Drum Roll, Please!

We Have A Winner!

Our congratulations go out to PAT (Grandmother of Chris) who was the first to email me a photo of herself with ten helmet liners which she knit. This makes her the winner of our Helmet Liner Knitting Contest, earning her the Not-So-Big-Grand Prize shown further below! Way to go, Pat! It's been a joy to watch the numbers climb as you got the hang of knitting the liners. 

Pat and her labor of love...

For those who don't know, the liners will be a part of our Love and Support From Santa's Elves packages that we'll be sending to our guys this Christmas while they are deployed (please see left sidebar for details).

Pat has worked so hard to craft these liners with love and a heartfelt concern for the guys. Here is the way she recently described the experience of knitting liners for our Marines and Sailors:

I haven't knit in years and have never used circular needles and I've surprised myself. I usually quilt and didn't think I would enjoy knitting - but I am. I also pray over every liner - asking for God's protection for the Marine who is wearing it, etc. It just makes me feel that I'm doing something for our Marines who I love so much.

Thank you, Pat for leading the way! And thanks to everyone else who is doing so much to make a difference, one liner at a time!

Don't forget to check out Pat's Military Prayer Group Blog. She always has something there to comfort, encourage or help us get our thoughts in line. If you find the need to challenge your perspective as the countdown toward deployment begins, do yourself a favor and check out her blog!

Pat's not-so-big-grand prize 
(a clutch wallet-type thingamajig)
Actually, there is another design that 
she will now be able to choose from as well. 

Meanwhile, I'll have to see if I can think up a new contest...

Get ready for some new competition!