So this documentary filmmaker called and….

A film shoot and readers making a difference…just some of what’s happened since I started this blog a few months ago. As we end one year and begin another, I figured it was a great time to share the good things going on.

The film

They interviewed Rudy Giuliani, General Franklin Hagenbeck, General Spider Marks, Barbara Van Dahlen, veterans of the current wars, the Vietnam War and then called me. Yes. I was surprised too. Director Tom Donahue is making a film about issues facing veterans and the divide between military and civilians. After he read this blog he asked if would speak to him.

I’m camera-shy so this was a semi-terrifying request. But my not secret goal is to help close the divide between military and civilians. What if something I know can help? So I told Tom’s producer that if the men and woman I support could face what they do on my behalf, I guess I could face Tom on their behalf. She assured me he was not scary. She was right. Tom and his crew couldn’t have been nicer. Here’s a pic from the shoot. They have others to interview and the film will take about a year to complete.

Interview with Director Tom Donahue

Interview with Director Tom Donahue

One crazy week

The same week we filmed, I made my radio debut. Sandra Beck, one of the hosts of Military Moms Talk Radio had come across this blog and invited me on the show. I was pretty nervous but Robin Boyd (the host that interviewed me) was very warm and easy-going.  After a few minutes I relaxed more and got into a groove. Below is just my segment minus the ads.

That same week WordPress chose to Freshly Press this blog. Bloggers know that’s a big deal, a wonderful honor and mathematically difficult to achieve. There are millions of new blog posts a day and they pick a handful to feature. The post they choose was:

Coffee And A Serving Of Perspective

Readers in action

So many readers have taken action after reading a post, I’m beyond thrilled and totally floored. From sharing, re-blogging and increasing awareness to sending hundreds of cups of coffee, supportive messages and letters, even adoptions. I thank you all and want to give a special shout out to Dayna of Where In The World Is Dayna.  Her blog is about her travels. She is also a veteran and, after reading a post here, adopted 2 soldiers (one from each adoption charity I’ve written about) and did a post of her own about Cup of Joe. Thank you also to the wonderful Navy family blog Buoyed Up who has helped me spread awareness and has been supportive in many ways.

My favorite reader idea this year

I love this idea because it’s such an easy way to get the community involved. Michelle from Liberty Harley-Davidson/Buell shared how they do Cup of Joe.

“We’ve been doing Cup of Joe for a Joe at our Harley-Davidson dealership for a few years now. It is SO wonderful to get those letters back. I share them online, and hang them up around our customer coffeepot to inspire people to drop something in the Cup of Joe bucket, then we send the coffee in batches”  (Pictures and links in the Ways To Make a Difference page)

A few words about comments

I am so grateful for the many thoughtful comments that have been left here. I do try to respond to all of them. Sometimes I get behind or miss a few. But please know that I appreciate every one. You deepen my understanding and inspire me. Sometimes your words bring me to tears.  But I guess that’s fair because I’ve heard I do that to others at times. Thank you for being open and honest and taking the time to write, even on the tougher topics.

Oh, and if there’s ever a topic you’re hoping I cover or you have a suggestion, you can leave a comment or email me privately here:  gina@ginaleftthemall.com

Proving me wrong

Whether you are civilian or military I would like to thank you for helping to make a difference all the ways you have. Thank you caring, increasing awareness, and helping me get closer to my not secret goal.

When I started Gina left the mall, I wasn’t sure if anyone beyond my boyfriend and immediate family (you know, Readers Without A Choice) would be interested. I am humbled and honored to be proven so wrong. Thank you for making this all wonderfully worthwhile. Happy New Year, and I wish you the best for 2013!  See you back here next year.

© Gina left the mall, 2012

42 thoughts on “So this documentary filmmaker called and….

    • Well, I feel a bit shy having any focus on me but, thank you. I think the recognition that has meant the most to me are the emails and comments I’ve rec’d. I’ve gotten ones from military family members saying things like, “thank you for giving us a voice” and “thank you for helping people understand.” I’ve gotten ones from civilians that say “I never knew” and how they now feel connected. Those are the things that make me feel like a success 🙂

  1. Great for you to get recognition you deserve even though you did NONE of this for any kind of recognition. By the way – you sounded WONDERFUL in the radio show. Eloquent and well spoke and intelligent and entertaining. Very well done!!

  2. Strong work, Gina…congratulations! You look fabulous in your interview photo. Isn’t it cool how blogging connects you with people you might otherwise never meet? You’ve touched so many lives, and I’m especially glad that you’ve touched mine. Happy New Year!

  3. You sounded wonderfull in your interview. I’m happy that someone as articulate as yourself has given a voice to our men and women serving, looking forward to your next post. Keep up the great work.

    • Thank you! I am honored to be a voice on their behalf and grateful for the opportunities to have it heard. Even if those opportunities stress me out 🙂 As I mentioned in the segment, I don’t think most people are uncaring, I think they are simply unaware…just like I used to be. And the good news is, fixing that is totally doable!

  4. Congrats! We started doing Cup of Joe weekly and adopted a soldier thru Soldiers Angels thanks to your blog, trying to keep it going, getting friends and family involved. Thanks for all the caring posts and work you do!

    • Hi Lu, I will send your comment to Tom’s producer so they know you are trying to connect. I hope you understand that I don’t give out anyone’s email. OPSEC/PERSEC is a hard habit to break 🙂

  5. Congratulations! That’s amazing! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award because your blog has inspired me. Thank you! 🙂 Check back at my blog for a badge if you would like to accept. If not, I completely understand that some people have already gotten this and some are just too busy. Thank you for inspiring me anyway!

    • Thank you so much! And I am so very happy that you have been inspired here! Thank you also for the nomination. I will check out the details. It’s a little hard for me because some of these things are involved time-wise. As a single working mom, my schedule is often unkind…and I’m usually jamming just to post:) But either way, my greatest reward is your reaction to this blog!

      • I completely understand. I’m a stay at home mom and have trouble finding time for everything! Keep up the good work!

  6. I am glad to see I am not the only one who thinks your an Awesome Lady for what you do! Keep up the good work and for what you do for our troops and by extension veterans like myself THANK YOU!

  7. I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful compassion. It makes the world a better place. And thank you for doing the scary thing and sharing what you think. That makes it a bit easier for the rest of us to reach out.
    I know this is not in the league of the accolades you have been getting, but this is what I have to work with right now… I nominated you for a Blog Award. The details are on my site. I understand it may not be in keeping with the gist of your blog, but I wanted to let you know you are appreciated!
    Melanie

    • Melanie,
      Your words and nomination are very much in the same league. That would be the league of kindness (real superheroes are found here) where things like support and awareness are championed. I am honored.

      As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a bit difficult for me to participate time-wise. But, as you have guessed, I feel shy talking about me when my blog is about others. You should’ve seen me struggling with this post..lol.

      So… if I can’t work up the inner bravery to accept this, please know that I truly, truly appreciate it.
      Gina

  8. Gina, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and your heart for our military. I have read several of the post since we met at the airport in Sunday. They make me smile and cry at the same time. I look forward to following your posts. As a military mom, those who serve now as well as our veterans are never far from my thoughts. Thank you for your efforts to bring this to the forefront of people’s minds who don’t have a love one serving. We all must join together to support our troops around the world and the families here at home. As a military mom it is people like you who keep us encouraged. Thank you!

    • It was wonderful meeting you at the airport! I was inspired by the way you volunteer your time to take care of other troops and families. I’m happy you got a chance to check out the blog. And even happier with your response to it! 🙂 I hope to speak with you again either over email or when I’m in NC. I would love to hear more about your volunteer work. Please tell your son that I thank him for his service. I am also grateful for all your family does as well!

      • Happy Friday Gina! Would love to talk with you any time, especially when you are in NC again. I am new to this whole blog thing, can you see my email address or do I provide it to you here. This is my second time typing this message…..LOL!!! I will pass along your message to my son. Tomorrow is his birthday and he (we) had hoped he would be home, but it did not work out. He should be home in a couple of weeks 🙂 and I can’t wait to get my arms around my baby. In recognition of his birthday I made a donation to Cup of Joe for a Joe. Thank you for sharing this information with me. I had not heard of this organization before, but I really like what they do for our military. I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate his birthday at the same time bring a smile to the face of a member of our military. Thank you for keeping our military in the front of people’s minds.

      • Next time you are in NC please let me know. I have not quite figured this whole blog thing out, can you see my email address? I will pass along your message to my son. Tomorrow is his birthday and he (we) had hoped he would be home, but it did not work out. He will be home in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get my arms around him. In celebration of his birthday, I made a contribution to Cup of Joe for a Joe. I thought it would be fun way to celebrate my son and all who serve in our military with him. Thank you for sharing that information with me. I had not heard of this organization before but I like what they provide to our troops. Thank you for what you do keeping our military in the front of people’s mind…they are never far from ours. Denise

        • Denise,
          No worries 🙂 When you leave a comment, it can take time to appear. If you’re new, the comment is moderated (which means they email it to me first to okay it) When people have commented a few times, it shows up right away. I try to get to comments quickly but, that’s not always possible 🙂 I never look up email addresses but I can find it in my blog admin. I will look up yours and send you mine. Also, I’ll probably be back in NC in 2 or 3 weeks. I will keep you posted! Gina

  9. I CANNOT believe you personally respond to every comment. Awesome job Gina! You are an inspiration. I’ve been blogging for 7 years and now I feel like a slacker ! HA

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