The Perfect Excuse

The other day I received an important request:  I’m doing those ‘open when’ cards for a friend who is deploying. I have one for open when you are sick and I want to put a funny please excuse soldier today “mom” style sick note in there… But I’m not a mom and I’ve never written one before. Please help.

Of course I am happy to use my powers for good! If you are currently deployed or love someone who is and you need a mom-note, feel free to fill in the blanks on this one.

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

Please excuse _____________________ from _______________ today as he or she has a stomachache.  Although _____________ is not my child, I am a mom and therefore imbued with the unalienable, unquestionable, and formidable power to write this note.

If you have any doubts, I invite you to consult your own mother who will not only guide you through this “teachable moment,” but ensure that you do so without a smirk on your face, running with scissors, or worse—running with scissors while smirking.

If ___________is feeling better, he or she will be in tomorrow.



excuse note

More excuses lead to 3 soldiers

In a rash moment of non-clarity, I decided to give up chocolate for Lent. I have come to realize that I love chocolate very much and that this was a mistake. So I devised a brilliant plan to excuse myself from this situation and I posted it on Facebook. In all honesty, I was kidding. But I got some very thoughtful responses, caring prayers, a little guilt, and three new soldiers to write to. This was my brilliant plan:

Attn fellow Catholics: I gave up chocolate for Lent and I regret it. So, if you “forgot” to give up something for Lent and are feeling guilty, I am now willing to sublet my sacrifice. It’s a win-win-win. YOU get a discount on time served/suffering till Easter. I get to resume a daily habit that’s up there with breathing air as a mandatory activity for me, and God still gets to balance the books on a promise kept. If you’re interested in being a team on our mutual salvation, let me know.

What I learned is that a few of my friends have given up “giving something up” and instead do kind deeds. One person even recommended writing to soldiers. I told her that I couldn’t count something I already do as Lenten activity, but I would be happy to write to any soldiers she needed help with. She sent me three.

So now I have the perfect excuse to start buying chocolate again—to send to these troops in Afghanistan.

© Gina left the mall, 2014

23 thoughts on “The Perfect Excuse

  1. I am not Catholic, but my college roommate (from long ago) and a dear friend to this day is. I have vivid memories of the year she gave up chocolate for lent and it wasn’t pretty! We were pealing her off chocolate shop windows by the end of lent! 🙂 Serious question, Gina: How do you keep up with all of the letters you write? I had just three soldiers I was writing to (from Cup of Joe) and when life got crazy and I didn’t write back to them for a couple of weeks, they must have thought I wasn’t writing anymore. I feel terrible. How DO you do it?!

    • I highly recommend never giving up chocolate. I keep eating other sweet things just to try to take the edge off. I will most likely LOSE weight when I start eating chocolate again.

      As for keeping up… I do different things depending how much time I have. If I don’t have time to adopt (a big commitment) then I’ll help someone support people that they have. Like these 3 new soldiers I am writing to. When I do COJ, I only do a few at a time.

      Of course, everyone’s life gets crazy busy sometimes. I loved doing this blog weekly but things are more hectic right now (plus my daughter has so much homework) that I’m blogging every other week for a while. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t do everything I wanted. But I’ve learned to be glad about what I CAN do and to ask for help when I need it (lol…that was a long learning curve)

      • I am totally new to this, Gina, so I need a bit of guidance.When you have a COJ penpal, you write and they write back. Then how long is resonable before you respond? I don’t want them to think I am not interested but I can’t always get back to them immediately and I don’t know what else to write about if I have just written a day or two before. What is the “norm” for you?

        • Well, when I first hear back, I try to respond within 24 hrs. After that, I try to get back to the person within a day or two. It also depends on the person. If someone likes to write once a week, then that becomes the rhythm.

          If you need ideas about what to write, you could always ask your soldier questions. Ask them about their pets, the one place in the world they’d love to go to on vacation or live? Favorite story about siblings or kids. I once asked someone if they ever broke a bone and got quite a story….lol. Or you could always share news/current events about something you love. Just a few (hopefully helpful) thoughts.

  2. I’m really diggin this one Gina. Since I am Catholic, but forgot about lent(Oops!! Shame on me, 10 our father’s and 15 hale marry’s), this made me realize that I have been slacking. It also made me realize that there is a way to partake in lent without guving something up!! As always, an amazing read, very intuitive, and very informative! Your constant and unwavering dedication to all of us continues to show. Through your actions of letters, post cards, care packages, COJ, and this amazing and purely addictive blog!!! Keep it up. Seriously, DO NOT STOP!! Drive on, push forward, fight too and through the objective, and Charlie Mike!!

    • Roach, there are many words I could use to describe you, but “slacker” isn’t one of them! I’m happy that you like this post! And grateful for your amazing insights whenever I have questions about other posts. It is soldiers like you that inspire me to keep going in my efforts both through the mail and in my little corner of the blogosphere. Thank you always for your encouragement and, of course, for your service!!!

  3. Gina,
    Hi it’s Paula….glad you got the hats! You better send the chocolate soon to the soldiers as it will be starting to warm up there and all they will get is a chocolate blob!
    Paula K.

    • Paula,
      Thank you again for the beautiful hand-made hat! Sofia was amazed that someone who only knows her from this blog would do such a thoughtful and wonderful thing for her. (she feel famous…lol) And yes, I am well aware that “chocolate season” is November to April so I will hurry. But thank you for the “blob” alert!!

  4. I know your pain!! I too gave up chocolate for lent but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t realize it was such a vice for me! (Actually,I discovered that it is my only vice). So I had to quickly think of something else and I decided to “transfer the points” over to giving up road rage (which my kids tell me is starting to become a problem). Sadly I have learned that this is a sacrifice for me. In all the years that I have known you I didn’t know that you liked chocolate that much. Learn something new everyday. Proud of you! Love you! Laura

    • Laura, I like how we both seem to have inherited the “flexibility” “Transfer”… “sublet”…these are great ideas! And I had no clue that someone as sweet and kind, who is devoted to helping puppies (and other creatures) as yourself was developing road rage! We DO learn something new every And I’m glad you made the transfer. We need more calm on the roads. Proud of you too! Love, G

  5. “In a rash moment of non-clarity”-absolutely love that. I think my whole life has consisted of moments like that. Gina, everything you do for your troops is wonderful, even if it sometimes involves circular reasoning.

    • Lol…I think I’ve had a few more of those moments since I wrote this, hence my late reply. However, I’m glad to know that I’m not alone! And yes, sometimes the way to arrive at a good place is through an indirect route.

  6. Gina, it was great to see you back on my site. It has been so long – I hope everything was okay?
    Also, I can not forget – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! ❤

    • Thank you for the kind words & wishes! And Happy Mother’s Day to the amazing women in your world. I had lot going on but happy to say that things have calmed down. Hope to have more time to devote to all things blog—including reading wonderful ones like yours 🙂

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