Thursday, March 4, 2010


How often do we find ourselves in a situation where we are blessed with unsuspected grace

Two weeks ago a friend and I had stopped by the Soldiers' Angels Warehouse  in San Antonio  to drop off several boxes of donationed items requested by deployed Chaplains in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Boxes of toothpaste, tooth brushes, shaving cream, soap, baby wipes, chapstick, high protein snacks, twin sheets to line their sleeping bags, and much, much more had been donated by Penny's From Heaven Foundation team members and volunteers! One email had gone out and it was evident that all we had to do was ask and we received. Unsuspected grace!

The facility is not yet officially open, but I went inside to see if we could have help carrying in the boxes.  Within seconds we had many young active duty soldiers in uniform rushing to help us.  As we opened the back of the Jeep they were greeted unexpectedly by two wagging  therapy dogs, Kelsie and Chase.  I teased and said they were to be shipped to Iraq.  From the looks on their faces, I think some of the soldiers believed me.  But I soon cleared it up and asked if they would like to pet the dogs.  Kelsie was eagerly climbing over the boxes to get to 'her' soldiers, while Chase, with better manners, asked to be invited!  We explained what therapy dogs do for the wounded warriors at BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center) just across the freeway.  The soldiers were intrigued, loved on, and appreciated by our special dogs.

One soldier immediately noticed the Soldiers' Angel yellow patch on Kelsie's vest and asked if Karen wanted one for Chase.  He left and came back and told us they were out, but brought two beautiful gold and black Soldiers' Angels pins to put on the dogs therapy vests.  We were most grateful.  As he handed them to us, he thanked us for all we do for the deployed soldiers.  Another unsuspected grace

Yesterday we returned to drop off yet more boxes of donations and again the soldiers came to the Jeep to get the boxes and the names of the Chaplains receiving the items.  Kelsie and Chase had just visited the Fisher House and were of course with us.  And true to form, they were the main attraction.  We thanked the soldiers for their efforts and they again thanked us for what we do.  And then a moment of unsuspected grace when the soldier who had given the pins to the dogs on the previous visit rushed over with a yellow patch for Chase's vest.  He had remembered.  An unsuspected grace.

We left and got in the car and I asked Karen why it was that I was surprised that he had remembered that Chase didn't have a patch.  Why is it that when someone does something kind we question it, don't understand it, or certainly don't expect it?  Have we gotten that callous?

I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that my passion is with our soldiers.  Yes, we send off boxes of supplies, not nearly enough, but we do the best we can.  We get letters weekly from the troops who receive these things, thanking us - truly thanking us.  I find that hard to digest.  With all they sacrifice and are doing for us and they thank us. When is the last time we said thank you to them?  One soldier wrote "the civilian population that supports the troops does not understand the impact that they have on the troops, due to the fact that some soldiers don't have a  family that writes them, so you become our extended family."  This one statement did it for me, as my passion and responsibility grew deeper.

The deployed veterans ask for little and for them whatever they are sent is an unsuspected grace - from greeting cards handmade by elementary school children, to boxes of 'necessaries,' to homemade cookies...nothing is taken for granted.

Today enjoy these photos of Air Force veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan showing off their greeting cards from the children at Ft. Sam Houston Elementary School and troops digging into boxes from home. 

These gifts mean the world to them.  These are things we take for granted every day.  Much of what we send goes to a unit of 147 men who are on the frontline mobile unit in the field for 28 consecutive days.  They are urgently requesting chunky soup, high protein snacks such as nuts, tuna packs, jerkey, dried fruit, and also lots and lots of baby wipes since bathing is impossible. 

If you would like to contribute funding for these items or the items themselves, please let me know  I can be reached at or  Contributions can be made through our website either by paypal, credit card or checks -

100% of your donation will go to help the soldiers.  So please send out the word to your friends, neighbors, office workers, anyone...that Operation Unsuspected Grace is in full swing!!!

Make a soldier your family.  Soldiers' Angels has soldiers needing adoption.  To adopt a soldier go to - as of this morning there are 906 soldiers waiting to be adopted.  It is easy and it is fun.  Please don't miss out on this experience. Add a soldier to your family.  Your heart will feel good and you will be providing many moments of unsuspected grace.

“No one yet has made a list of places where the extraordinary may happen and where it may not.”
~Mary Oliver~

Mary Oliver

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