Monday, February 14, 2011

Season of Love Finale: Sacrificial Love

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Today I have a very special post for you, but first I wanted to again thank everyone who participated (either by blogging, being interviewed, doing giveaways, reading posts, or entering giveaways) in the "Season of Love Blog Party!" We had a lot of wonderful guests and visitors, and I think it's safe to say that the party was a huge success!

At the bottom of this post you will find a Mr. Linky listing of all the blogs participating in the party that are doing a special Valentine's Day post. Winners will be announced on those separate blogs, so be sure to check them out!

And the winner on this blog of a copy of Surrender the Night by MaryLu Tyndall is:

Apple Blossom!

Congratulations! Be sure to check your inbox for my e-mail!

And now, for today's post about sacrificial love...

As those who have been following my blog for a while know, Mondays are special days here at "Seasons of Humility." I have a weekly feature called Mondays for the Military (which doesn't always happen every week, but it still happens often!). Today I want to combine my respect and admiration for the military with this last day of the Valentine's progressive blog party.

I recently received a forwarded message from a pen pal I met through the Cup of Joe for a Joe program, a First Lieutenant in the Air Force over in Iraq right now. The message was from his Brigadier General, Anthony J. Rock. I'd like to share some of it here with you. (I was given the OK to share this.) But just to warn you--I cried the first time I read it!

Many back home who have not had the calling or chance to serve don't understand why we do what we do. To help them get it, I like to tell them there are three kinds of people in this world: Sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. The wolves would attack the sheep while they graze and the sheepdog's only mission is to make sure the wolves are held at bay. Now the sheep don't want to acknowledge the presence of or even know about the sheepdog, they just want to keep their heads down while they graze the very green and tasty grass. They presume they will be safe from the wolves and some would even tell you the wolves don't exist or they mean us no harm. We, as sheepdogs, know better because we have seen what happens when the flock goes unguarded.

We lost 2977 lives on 11 Sep 01 in the opening salvo of a new kind of war and we have lost 4436 sheepdog lives in Iraq alone since then. We are SHEEPDOG NATION and we will stand strong to protect our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and strangers alike--all those back home who rely on us, even if they don't know we are out here for them. Orwell got it right when he said, "Citizens sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do ill will on their behalf." This weekend is the perfect example. Over 100,000 sheep will gather in a big round building in Dallas to watch the green and gold team smash heads against the black and gold team on the very green grass. They can only do so confident in their security because of you. So, when you someday meet one of the sheep who thanks you for your protection, and you will, you will very modestly mumble, "you're welcome, it's just what we do..." But you know there is more to it than that.

This is a historic year. Our presence in Iraq will change from a massive military footprint focused on combat and combat support to a very lean effort focused on Security Cooperation, largely training, exercises and military sales that will enable Iraq's ability to conduct its own internal security and external defense operations. It represents our lasting commitment to a strategic partnership for the future. Iraq is still going through the turbulent transition to a democratic system and that is simultaneously unsettling and threatening to some and an exciting new opportunity for others. Much of what we do now is not "ill will" but rather good will. We are executing the Building Partner Capacity strategy that is a part of the new operational environment. With that said, we are warriors at heart and are ready to act in defense of our brother warriors here with us and citizens back home alike. So my message is, stay strong, stay ready for combat and stay focused. Take care of yourselves and take care of your wingmen. Execute with the professionalism, dedication and excellence that is our trademark. Never forget that the role you have taken on as a sheepdog comes with awesome responsibility, exceptional personal satisfaction, and all too often little thanks. That's OK, we don't do it for the recognition anyway.

To our newest members, welcome aboard and get ready to rage. For the rest of you, thanks for what you do every day. As always I hope this message finds those you love back home safe and warm. I ask you tell them one thing for me, "Brig Gen Rock says thanks to you as family members for your sacrifice during the absence of your sheepdog. Your sacrifice is much greater than ours and it is often forgotten, but Brig Gen Rock knows and appreciates it." I am proud to be a small part of your team. While I acknowledge the passing of the first month I refuse to count the days, I prefer to make every day count. I know you will make them count with me.

Oh, I'm so grateful for these "sheepdogs" who are sacrificing so much for the country they love! Let's not let these brave heroes and their sacrifices become forgotten. There are ways we can show our love and care for our military men and women.

One way is to pray--which is no small thing! I was recently reminded by a dear friend, KC Frantzen, about an upcoming Wounded Warrior Getaway. (Click HERE to read a previous interview with this wonderful lady about the WWG.) The WWG is from April 28th-May 1st, 2011 in Boerne (near San Antonio), Texas. This is a wonderful opportunity for our wounded heroes to find a respite and a place where they can be cared for.

If you're interested in learning more about this program, or if you think you might want to volunteer, click HERE. We can pray for those wounded warriors and the inspirational people who are making sacrifices for those who sacrificed so much for us.

If you'd like to meet some heroes in the military right now and share a cup of coffee with them (and maybe become pen pals!), you might be interested in checking out the Cup of Joe for a Joe program. I highly recommend it!

There are many ways we can show our military men and women we care. Let's remember their sacrificial love and find a way to show our love to them, as well!

And now, here's a listing of the other blogs participating in the party that are posting today:



(Remember to sign up here if you are one of those bloggers!)

Also, I'm over at The Borrowed Book today talking about devotion to your manuscript (keeping a writing schedule), so if you're interested, I'd love to have you visit!

Again, Happy Valentine's Day!

16 comments:

apple blossom said...

oh, thanks. I received your email and sent my address back. I'm so excited.

Casey said...

Amber, I don't see that linky...but a great post to wrap up the party! :)

Ruth said...

Oh, thanks for the heads up on that Cup of Joe for a Joe program! That is a great idea!

Renee Ann said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful letter, Amber!

KC Frantzen said...

Amber,

Yeah... That cup of joe - you meet the NICEST people there! ;D

Thank you for posting about the Wounded Warrior Getaway. Sheepdogs and their families are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!

Love to you this Valentine's Day!

Joy Tamsin David said...

The cup of joe for a joe sounds like a fantastic program!

Amanda said...

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friend!! Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful message with us here. Such powerful truth explained in the simplest of ways. It was beautiful and, of course, it made me cry, too :)

Congratulations to Apple Blossom on winning this great book! Happy reading :)

Amber, thank you for all the fun this week, girl! You and all the other wonderful ladies here really made Valentine's special - even for us singles ;)

God bless you all!
Amanda

Amber S. said...

Apple Blossom,

You're welcome! :) I hope you enjoy the book when it releases and makes its way to you. ;) Thanks for attending the party!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Casey,

It was strange...Mr. Linky wasn't loading very well this morning...but it looks like you got it to work eventually! ;)

Thank you for your kind words! Your Valentine's Day post was wonderful! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ruth,

You're welcome! :) I first heard about it on Seekerville, and I'm so glad I did! It's a wonderful program!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee Ann,

You're welcome! I was so touched by it, and as I said in the post, it made me cry. :) My mom said I should ask the First Lieutenant if I could share it, and he said it was fine, so here it is! A beautiful message, I think. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

KC,

Hahaha, yes indeed! ;) The very nicest!

I'm more than happy to post about the WWG--and I agree that sheepdogs and their families are wonderful, and I'm so grateful for their sacrifices! :)

Happy Valentine's Day to you, as well!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Joy,

It is! :D I highly recommend buying a cup of joe for a Joe (or two or three)! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Happy Valentine's Day to you, as well, my friend! :D I'm so glad I could share this message here--it's hard not to cry, isn't it?

Thank you for your sweet words, and I'm thrilled you enjoyed the party! It was wonderful to have so many dear friends helping me host this party!! And yes, we can celebrate Valentine's Day in style, even as singles. ;)

Talk to you soon! God bless you, too!

~Amber

Kav said...

Moving post. You have such -- passion -- Amber. It's a gift...and it's contagious! You must be a dynamo in person.

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Your comment means so much to me! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement--I'm so glad God gives us passion and the opportunity to share it with others. :)

I'm not sure if anyone who's met me would really call me a dynamo, but I'd love to live up to that someday. :)

~Amber