Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Gratitude Campaign

Sunny - Hi 68 Lo 49 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 60 Lo 41 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Rain - Hi 49 Lo 39 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Kind and Generous, Natalie Merchant

I have had Kind and Generous as the Sunday Song previously. It is a beautifully written song with a lovely melody. Natalie's voice is like no other.

I have Ophelia- but really need to get Tigerlily, her first solo album. I have it... on cassette... Tigerlily has the song Wonder... which I may have to play next week... The song is great, but what really gets to me is the music video that goes with it...


It's been a few weeks since I last posted an entry on my blog. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very nice. Michael and I had a houseful of family and Michael's cooking was superb.

We are now in the throws of the hustle and bustle of Christmas. We did our "Power Shopping" trip last Sunday-- so we are finished... I have 90% of the inside of house decorated and unfortunately have not started on Christmas cards... I make them by hand and send out about 70 cards... so, I'm a tad panicky about that., I have to wrap all the gifts too... and then get all the out of town gifts mailed by hopefully next Friday. I love to gift wrap as much as I enjoy making cards. So... I have a busy couple of weeks... like everyone else. So, that brings me to my point. Be sure to take time out and ENJOY the season. It is a wonderful time of year. Michael and I had a great time last Sunday shopping. Smile and thank the sales help... as we get closer to the 24th... they will look more and more haggard and "pinata-ized" (just made up that word). Trust me... if you smile and hum while shopping... you will enjoy yourself... take it from someone that absolutely hates crowds (and in recent years, started getting a little weirded out in large crowds)... your time will be much more enjoyable... look... you know you are going to deal with long lines and kids that don't know how to make change, parking issues, bad weather, and folks that have some serious bah humbug attitude... Remember the reason for the season... remember why you are out and about... spread some Christmas cheer and smile...

Today, we are going to the matinee production of A Christmas Carol at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. It is a wonderful annual production of that classic story. I have seen it once before and simply loved it. This will be Michael's first time- but he actually asked to see it... His favorite Christmas movie is Scrooge starring Alastair Sim and by far in my humble opinion the best depiction of Charles Dickens most humbug character.

A few weeks ago, I was traveling on business and was attempting to make a connecting flight in Philadelphia... My flight from Cincinnati arrived late, so I was making the mad dash to my next gate. As I was weaving in and out of the clusters of people, I saw a soldier standing at the counter of a gate. I continued walking, but then slowed down and retraced my footsteps and went up to the soldier- looked at the attendant to allow me to interrupt and clasped the soldiers hand and thanked him... As I recall... I said... "thank you so much!" Then the craziest thing... he thanked me! Wha??? I left that counter smiling and feeling stupid.... was that the best I could come up with?... Here is this guy... just coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan or Germany or somewhere that wasn't home.... and this was the best I could do.... I'm so goofy. We continued on, my manager a couple paces behind me... walking down the corridor another soldier... I stopped in front of him.... reached out with both my hands and held his hand in mine... His hand was cold and rough... He looked lost. I looked him in the eye and said the same words to him. "Thank you so much!" He held on to my hand and said, "Ma'am. That was nice. Thank you." He thanked me! Again... crazy... thanking me! He called me ma'am... I am officially old enough to be called ma'am... ugh. We continued walking towards our gate and my boss said... "How do you do that? Walk up to strangers and do that?" I stopped and looked at him- smiled--- I distinctly remember thinking, I need to smile... Rob says I can be scary and intimidating if I don't smile... I apparently have some sort of look I give, so I smiled and said, "Feeling weird and awkward for 10 seconds is the least I can do compared to the sacrifice these guys have made." Oh, when we got to our gate, our flight had been canceled. So I am particularly happy that I did stop and thank those young men. Had I not, I would have thought about that for the next 7 hours as I waited for my flight. Instead, I had the pleasure of sitting in the airport for 7 hours........ reading a book, having a complimentary lunch and dinner on United as well as a couple of complimentary cocktails on my company and the realization that life is all about perspective. It was good day.

Then by coincidence by boy Kyle sent me a link to The Gratitude Campaign. This is the coolest thing yet. It doesn't cost a dime and anyone can do it. Watch the video - be sure to stop Natalie before playing this. Join the campaign.

If you are seen thanking active duty or veteran or police officer or fireman... it makes it easier for the next person to do it... give it a shot... your Holidays will be that much more meaningful...

Who can forget this commercial from Budweiser? I dare you not to cry.

One other thing... I have received an email a few times-- it suggests you send some cards to "any soldier" at Walter Reed Hospital. Although this is a great suggestion, unfortunately, this year you will be wasting your time and postage. I had been doing this for the past few years and last year I had 6 of the 10 cards I sent returned to me... In February, I received a postcard from Major General George Weightman stating for security reasons they could no longer accept mail, care packages or donations sent to "Any Wounded Soldier". Although this is unfortunate, there is still time to show appreciation... go to my sidebar and click on the "Support Our Troops" button. There you will find organizations where you can show your support and appreciation. Remember there will be a lot of men and women in harms way Christmas. Don't forget them.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

To learn more about this campaign visit: The Gratitude Campaign

Have a great week everyone!


BBH said...

Well, you finally did it! This definitely brought tears to my eyes. I often think about the men and women that are putting their lives on the line for us. I haven't had the "guts" to say anything until now. You can bet that the next time I see one of our protectors in public, I will acknowledge him/her. Thanks Cath for showing us how easy it is and how much of an impact it makes!

Anonymous said...

Another way to support our wounded veterans is to make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project (

HerkEng said...

One of the most meaningful experiences of my life happened just about how you described it. I was on my way home from my fourth deployment and this time I was on an airliner (I did not like not flying my plane home...but oh well) I was not with a large group but was sent home on an emergency so I was alone. My first stop back in the States was JFK with a 7 hour layover...I was trying to take a bit of a nap when an old lady came by and tapped me on the shoulder and when I glanced up there was this grandmother looking lady (you know…they classic type that you always see when you think of a grandmother) and she just stood there smiling. :) I said...yes Ma'am? Can I help you?...she said, They have about stopped saying it but I refuse to... So, thank you. :) I just about started crying :) I said, Ma'am, you have no idea how good that sounds. Thank you so much for your support and then she just walked away. I think of that wonderful woman every day and pray for her well being.

Brian said...


I saw 10,000 Maniacs in concert at the Night Flight Café on River Street in Savannah Georgia in 1982 or 83 when they were still doing clubs. Merchant was great, but had weird stage presence. I was hooked from that day. Still wish the band would have stayed together.

I thank God I was not on duty this Christmas. I can’t tell you how many times I missed Christmas with my family from being deployed (I missed it two years ago). The boys are all grown and we have a grandchild on the way. But I did miss a lot. They grow so fast.

Enjoy your children while you can folks, before you know it they are gown. All the more reason to pray for our troops and for an end to the conflict (we’ll call it a war when Congress accepts responsibility for their silence).