Today Is One Year

Happy 1st AnniversaryI couldn’t help but notice. Whenever I shared stories about “my” troops, people would suddenly feel connected to them too. Some would ask how about ways they could get involved. If I was talking to someone in the military, the stories touched their heart. So I decided to start blogging to see if I could help these good things happen more often.

It’s now one year later and I’m humbled and honored by the response of my amazing readers. I’m thrilled that many have been inspired to take action. Here are just a few examples:

-Thanks to readers, an Air Force family got help from Peyton Manning in a special way after the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. Folks reached out, shared their story, sent supportive messages…the family felt comforted even before they knew Peyton would get involved.

-Wendy from the blog The Monday Box (care packages of home-baked love) was inspired to create some “desert-safe” recipes specially taste-tested to survive the rigors of shipping to a combat zone. Now she’s a valued resource for those wanting to send “home baked love” to the troops (or any bakers wanting travel-friendly recipes.)

-Dayna is a Veteran who is spending her civilian life having as many travel adventures as possible (35 countries and counting) She shares them on her blog Where In The World Is Dayna. Reading a post here made Dayna remember how much letters and care packages meant to her when she was deployed. So she adopted two soldiers.

-Another reader is a caregiver to a family member. Her situation is isolating and challenging. This reader was inspired to adopt some soldiers and use her love of writing to lift others up. She wound up lifting her own spirits as well.

-Natalie from the blog Mother Goose, was inspired to “do more.” So she turned her volunteer work, hand-making Blue Star Family banners, into a charity. She hopes to help more of these families connect and feel supported in their communities. She knows how important this is because she has two sons in the Navy.

-Many readers have told me they were sending coffee through Cup of Joe or adopting troops through Soldiers’ Angels or Adopt A U.S. Soldier or participating with the other charities listed in the Ways To Make A Difference page.

Then there are the comments and emails. I appreciate every note and the emails have been especially moving. Civilians have shared what volunteering has meant to them. Troops and families have said they feel like they have a voice here and how much it means to know that they are not alone. I should know by now to have tissues ready when I open my blog inbox.

Thanks and…

Thank you for coming here. For caring and for every kindness shared. Thank you for all you do. I’m also grateful for my “advisors,” both civilian and military who I bug with questions, bounce ideas, and receive invaluable feedback from (often on very short notice.) And thanks to all the wonderful and experienced bloggers who have encouraged and taught me along the way.

After my initial “hello” post, I wrote about the random event that started this journey. It’s called A Sailor Wrecks My Indifference. One year later, the last line in that post has taken on even more meaning.

© Gina left the mall, 2013


30 thoughts on “Today Is One Year

  1. The ripples spread far and wide Gina. I can guarantee you that for every person you hear from there are many, many more who have been inspired to get involved. You stated one of the problems in your first blog post… most of us do not live in military areas or come in contact with troops in our daily lives. They’re “out there” until someone pulls them right into our world.

    You and Sofia keep up the good work.

  2. You are an inspiration for anyone who reads here Gina. Everyone feels like they could and should do something but will not take the extra step. You not only took a step, you spawned an action. Through your example those deployed so far away feel closer to home and not so isolated or forgotten. People will notice that and want to be a part. Leaders are needed to bring about big change. You are a leader in the best way. Keep changing the world Gina. One year is a great anniversary because you have begun something fantastic.

    • Joe, thank you for this wonderful comment. I am touched and feel very humbled that the examples I share could have such effects. I will do my best always to make the differences I can. Together, that is how we change the world 🙂

  3. Gina, congratulations on reaching your first blogiversary. Count me on your list of those who have grown through exposure to your writing. You’ve given me a whole new perspective on the men and women who have devoted their time, energy and, sadly, sometimes their lives to military service. Looking forward to another exciting year of being your reader and friend here in cyberspace.

    • NP,
      Thank you! And thank you for this beautiful note. The more understanding, empathy, and kindness we have for each other, the stronger we all are. Thank you for opening your heart to a new perspective. Thank you also for helping me learn how to be a blogger. I’m grateful for your support and the things I’ve learned from your example on Blog Catalog. I’m happy to be your reader and friend here ins cyberspace too!

  4. Happy anniversary, Gina. You’ve done such wonderful things over the past year. As someone with a husband who’s been with the Army for over 20 years, I appreciate it. Here’s to many more years to come!

    • Thank you Janene! The past year has been so rewarding. I had no idea it would be this wonderful 🙂 And I thank you and your family for your service. As you can see from reading here, many others share my gratitude as well.

  5. Gina, Congratulations on your 1st of many Anniversaries! Your generous and kind nature has not only helped many soldiers and families, but you have inspired more people than you will ever realize to take action and support our troops. We truly cherish you and Sofia.

  6. Gina, you exemplify the famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Through your example others can learn and choose to take action. I am learning and trying to make my small contribution. Sometimes its just a matter of being told what is possible. Thank you! Happy blogiversary! I am awed at how much you have done and how many lives you have touched in the past year! Until our dreamed of, prayed for outbreak of peace occurs….we will continue to be thankful for the brave men and women who choose defending our country as their career and their families who support their patriotism.

    • Wendy,
      Thank you for these kind words, I’m really very touched. Especially since you are one of my inspiring examples! The fact that you found your own way to serve, uniquely giving of your time and talents to create the “desert-safe” recipes (and the taste-test it must pass) is generous and beautiful. And yes, we will all dream, hope and pray for that outbreak of world peace. Until that day, our troops and families should know that they do not stand alone. Thank you for helping them know this (with a little sugar, and a lot of love.)

  7. Definitely an inspiring blog, so many of the ‘good’ ones seem to come and go, but its nice to know that the ones that have the ability to touch people like yours does has staying power.

  8. I just wanted to say a quick thank you all all our service men and women everywhere!!! I’d love to send cute cards and letters I’m working on it. I think about you guys over there a lot and about the sacrifices y’all make everyday. Anyway when anyone gets a min please send me their address so I can send happy pick me up letters. God bless Rachael N. Payne

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