The Sorrow Weighs Heavy on Our Hearts

I am currently in MN helping my daughter with my triplet grand babies. It doesn’t matter if I am at home in Ohio, or in another state, the sorrow is the same. It weighs heavy on my heart. One of our brave soldiers from Minnesota was killed in Afghanistan when the enemy attacked his unit. Army Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut was only 23 years old. The news reported the many awards he received.

His commander said,”His positive attitude and eagerness to share lessons learned made him an invaluable member of our Company. There is no way to describe the loss created by his absence.”

His friend and peer, Spc. Connor Higgins looked at Nicholas as the best at what he did. Higgins said,”More importantly, he was a great friend and someone who would always help you out no matter what. He was the kind of NCO that the Army needs more of. He was dedicated to his job and his fellow Soldiers.”

The dedication of our soldiers is overwhelming. Their selfless service needs to be recognized. Our soldiers and their families put their lives on hold for all of us. How can we even begin to say “Thank You.” Such small words for such a big sacrifice.  Please hold Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut’s unit, family, and friends in prayer. Rest in peace faithful servant.

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Love You More Than You Know:Mother’s Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War

Here are pictures of 11 of the 45 troops and their moms from our book, Love You More Than You Know, in an Animoto video. May God bless our troops and bring them safely home.

Love You More Than You Know:Mother’s Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War.

Show Injured Marine You Care!

Imagine being severely injured while on foot patrol, losing both legs above the knees, and sustaining “excruciating damage to the rest of your body.” That’s what happened to Marine Lance Corporal Artem Lazukins in Afghanistan, when he was just 22 years of age. According to Juel Sitner blogging for Soldiers’ Angels, Artem has 20 more months of rehabilitation. “Because of the medical circumstances Artem didn’t get to come home with his Marine unit; and didn’t get the hero’s welcome in Oregon.”  

The long road to recovery can be a lonely journey. Start your New Year by sending a card to this Marine. Let Artem know we are thinking of him and his Mom. Put the motto of Soldier’s Angels into action–May No Soldier Go Unloved.

Send your cards, letters and support to:

Artem Lazukins
c/o S. Crenshaw,
PO Box 242
Canby OR 97013
Permission has been given by S. Crenshaw, a member of Soldiers’ Angels and PRG, to publish the above mailing address.

Derek + Kait = Michael

I know the deep joy of holding a baby. I know the deep sorrow of losing a loved one. I cry at the news of another fallen Marine, Sgt. Derek Wyatt, of Akron. Derek was only twenty-five years old. He was killed while on duty by a sniper in Afghanistan. The next evening his wife, Kait, gave birth to their son, Michael.

The day before Wyatt was deployed to Afghanistan last October, he spent time on a California beach with his pregnant wife, who is a Marine veteran. They picked a name for their child and on the beach they wrote, “Derek + Kait = Michael.”

Derek’s ROTC Marine instructor from high school, Master Sgt. John MacLean, said in an article by the NewsChannel5 Staff, “He didn’t die. He changed jobs. He went from being a Marine here on earth to guarding the gates of Heaven. That’s what Marines do.”

Please hold Kait, baby Michael and their family and friends in prayer.

Janie with grand babies

Ohio Blogging Association’s Cleveland November Blog Swap

Today, I am participating in the Ohio Blogging Association‘s Cleveland November Blog Swap. Bloggers from around the Northeast Ohio area are guest posting on each other’s blogs. My swap guest is Kali Price, from http://finishingfirsts.com. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit www.poiseinparma.com

Hi LYMTYK readers! As Janie said, my name is Kali and I blog over at http://finishingfirsts.com. I work as a certified personal trainer and I spend the rest of my time doing crazy things like running ultra marathons. I blog mostly about running, training and fun fitness things that happen in lovely Cleveland, OH.

I’ve been told the OBA blog swap pairings were random, but I think God definitely had a hand in pairing Janie and me. My boyfriend, Patrick, is a 1st lieutenant in the Army and is currently stationed in Korea until the end of October 2012. He and I met in college and have been together for four years, on and off, but mostly off, until we got back together a year ago when he had returned to the U.S. after serving a year in Afghanistan.

During the “off” time, I started running in April 2009 (a few months before he deployed). I began running primarily for weight loss. After losing a total of 90 lbs. in about 16 months, I kept running because I loved it and loved running races. I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) in May 2010 and my first marathon (26.2 miles) in October of the same year.

The more I ran, the more it became about me and reaching my goals, rather than continuing to lose weight. It started to become my time to think, and though we didn’t speak during his deployment, I thought about Patrick often, especially while I was running. I wondered how he was, if he was safe, what he was doing, if he thought about me too, etc. And apparently he did, since shortly after he was stateside again, we started talking and I was plus one marathon cheerleader.

We’ve spent the most recent portion of our relationship apart — he was stationed at Fort Bragg until the end of September this year and I’ve stayed here in Cleveland. We got to spend much of October together, as he was on leave before heading to Korea. We had the opportunity to take a vacation (where I ran my second marathon. The photo below is after I finished) and spent a lot of time together before he left for another year.

A few days before Patrick left, a soldier, Ashley White- Stumpf, who he knew from the ROTC program in college, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. I only met her once that I actually remember.

The night before Patrick left, I decided I wanted to start a run streak — running at least a mile every single day — for the year he will be gone. I decided I would set aside a dollar each day and dedicate one mile of my run to send to a scholarship fund that was set up for Ashley (there’s more to it, which will be detailed on my blog soon, so keep checking for updates if you’re interested).

Since that day at the end of October, running has become about more than training for races, beating my best times and reaching a goal. It’s become a release, a form of therapy and a way to deal with the things I can’t control — death, deployments, not knowing what will happen in Patrick’s and my future, etc.

I’ve run nearly 200 miles already, including my first 50K ultra marathon (31 miles) and my seventh half marathon. And during every run, I think of Ashley and other service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. I think of others who are serving our country and away from home, keeping us safe and doing such an awesome job. And, of course, I think of Patrick, his service to our country and how I’m proud to say that I’m dating my hero.

Thank you Kali. We are proud of you for supporting your hero! May God bless Patrick,our troops, and their families and bring our soldiers home safely  to those who love them.

Life is Fragile

On July 3, 2011, my daughter had an emergency c-section and my triplet grandchildren were born at 26 weeks 5 days at 2.8 lbs, 2.4 lbs. and 1.11 lbs. After three months in the hospital NICU, our miracle babies came home on Oct.1. I am sleepless helping with the babies but filled with such joy! We celebrate the birth of these grandchildren, their lives, and who they will become.

My new grandson, Oscar Fredrick was born on Oct. 30th. As parents and grandparents we pray and worry and work each day to nurture these fragile new lives until our little ones are grown.

I can’t imagine the deep sorrow of losing a child. My heart cries with the families and friends of the 17 people killed in Kabul by a suicide bomber in the attack on Oct. 29, 2011. A dozen of those who perished were American NATO soldiers.

As I hold my grand babies, I ask you to join me  as we hold the victims and the families of this attack in prayer.

Despite Hurricane Irene Tomb Sentinel Guards Tomb of Unknowns

Since 1937, a Tomb Sentinel from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment has guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 24/7 despite hurricanes and blizzards. The tombs contains remains of unknown soldiers from WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. There have been three female sentinels.

We commend the Tomb Sentinels for their commitment. Their motto is :”Soldiers never die until they are forgotten. Tomb Guards never forget.” We hold our servicemen and women in our hearts. We will  never forget.

Labrador Retriever Didn’t Want to Leave His Master’s Side

Hawkeye, a fallen Navy SEAL’s Labrador retriever didn’t want to leave his master’s side. Fox 8 in Cleveland, Ohio said on the news, “Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, 35, a San Diego resident, was among 30 American troops and 22 fellow SEALs killed when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on August 6.”  Jon’s faithful dog lay by his casket during the funeral this week. A friend of Jon’s will care for Hawkeye.

In Love You More Than You Know, Mary is the author of the story “My Heart and Hank”.  Mary tells how she  took care of her deployed soldier’s dog, Hank. ” The last time my son was on leave, Hank ran up to him and licked him frantically and never left his side. It was obvious there was a bond between them that would never change. No orders, deployments, distance, or even the enemy can ever change the fact that Hank sits and waits until his master comes home.”

Rest in peace Jon. You are home. Our hearts are broken over losing you and 30 American troops. We faithfully pray for the safety of all our troops.

Cousins Gave All- Buried Side by Side

My Mom’s funeral was on July 2nd last month. She was 84 years old. Today, there is a funeral for a local Marine,Sgt. Daniel Patron. There is such sadness in losing this young life.  Daniel was killed at the age of 26, diffusing a road side bomb in Afghanistan.

Daniel’s wife, Cody says in the article by Bob Jones, “There’s just no words to explain how wonderful he is and how much everyone loved him and how much I will always love him.”

The family has suffered with this same sadness before in the loss of Danny’s cousin, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Kessler last August of 2010.  Kevin was also killed in Afghanistan. The cousins will be laid to rest, side by side. We hold Cody and her family in prayer. There’s just no words to express the gratitude for Kevin’s and Daniel’s service to our country. Semper Fidelis

Our Hearts Break at the Loss

We hold in prayer all the families, friends, colleagues,troops,and Navy SEALs that recently lost their loved ones in Afghanistan. The Associated Press stated,” One source says the team was thought to include 22 SEALs, three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan Army troops, a dog and his handler, and a civilian interpreter, plus the helicopter crew.”  We can only cry with you and never forget the sacrifices you made for us.