Tuesday Tea 29~ Memorial Day Account from Afghanistan

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Tuesday Tea 29~ Memorial Day Account from Afghanistan


Welcome new readers and old for Tuesday Tea! I hope you will have time to sit for a visit and a nice cup of tea.  I’m enjoying a quiet afternoon…the beauty of a lovely bouquet of flowers from Dear Hubby, and the sweetness of a hot cup of Tazo tea.  

If you would like to link up your tea post..please join me right here. :o) If you have family members overseas, feel free to link up their page or a post here too so we can be praying for them.

DSC07506-2000 Rebekah’s freshly cut zinnia’s from her flower garden…

I didn’t get to visit all of you who linked up last week and I’m very regretful about that. However, I was sick right up until the grandkids arrived. But I will certainly visit today and link up to all these great tea parties! Do drop by for a lovely visit around bloggy land! You will see the most gorgeous teas ever put on by a dozen ladies!


Some of the passages from my book, Power Prayers for Mothers, have really encouraged me today. It’s hard not to worry when your children are in such extremely difficult circumstances and there is so little you can do for them


Memorial day certainly brings with it a lot of thoughts and prayers for our men and women overseas. I wanted to share this email from my son yesterday, but it was a very busy day and it couldn’t be worked out.  


Our family made two trips to the airport yesterday! I woke at 5:30am to send Jacob, my 18 yr.old off to San Diego for a National Speech and Debate tournament. (No word yet about his application to the Texas Army National Guard.)  Then Tim, my husband, took our DIL and grandkids to the airport a few hours later, to help her get home to Seattle and our son, Andrew who had to go home early for work. 


Every day finds our children farther and farther from home! The need for prayer is obvious I’m sure.  Afghanistan is the farthest from home that any of my children have been.  My thoughts are often out there in that desert..praying for Matthew’s safety…praying for wisdom…strength…courage…endurance. He needs all of that and more! All of those guys do!  (Thanks Millicent for this wonderful book!)

DSC07511-2000 Flowers from Dear Hubby

I know many of you are going through the same thing. It’s yet another ‘stage’ in the life of mothers. Do send me your family member’s names..or just link up their photos if you have posted about them as part of our tea party. :o)

Matthew Amanda and the kids Matthew, Amanda, Nikolai, Brennan, and Colin (in December)

How grateful, I’m sure, we all are to our service men and women! They make our world a much safer place to live for so many..not just Americans but for families of many countries.   It’s the right thing to do. The strong need to be willing to stand up for those who are defenseless. 

Here’s a letter that my son sent me describing what daily life in Afghanistan is like for our military folks. Perhaps this will help you as you pray for them this week. :o) It’s not a pretty story..but very accurate. As a mom, it makes me cry. That’s all I can say about that. But I’m more proud of our guys and girls than ever! 

It is Memorial day, so though this might not be the most pleasant reading for a tea time..it is important, I think, that we do so. It’s the least we can do for them.   At the bottom of this post, I will give you some ideas for more ways to help. :o)

IMAG0384 Here’s Matthew’s account of daily life in the Marines in Afghanistan…

Sitting here, thinking of what to write, it came to me suddenly that most of you don't really know what Afghanistan is like (and God willing, never will). I think I can help you get an idea, though.
However, here where I'm at, in southern Helmand Province, the effect is not the wonderful magic that one feels coming from forested mountains and wide rivers; this is a more terrible, miserable magic; djinn sorcery at its blackest. Even without the Taliban and drugrunners burying 100 pound home-made explosive death-traps in the roads and footpaths, the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who serve combat tours in Helmand province have a myriad of other opposing factors to face in order to make it day-to-day

Normal deployment woes such as separation from loved ones and no time off (7 to 14 months of pure stress, constant, 24/7, no weekends,lol) notwithstanding, we who serve here have a myriad of different difficulties to deal with.
Many are not direct obstacles by themselves, but together in a package they serve to lower morale, make life miserable, and grind away at one's motivation with every hour that passes

being funny   Matthew...a little stir crazy..and posing for a ‘funny’ photo. 

Factor these into the daily equation: being in a camp that you can walk the circumference of in less than four minutes, and you have a jail - no change of scenery. The food comes twice a day, sometimes once, and is in very small amounts - no seconds allowed.

The water, on lucky occasion, is lukewarm, if you drink it at night. However, during the day it reaches 85 to 90 degrees, and it becomes miserable to drink. Bathing is rationed, once per week if you're lucky, due to water rationing.

The generators that would be used to run AC in at least a couple of tents suddenly show their age, and stand no chance against the driving dust and sand that sweeps across the camp, and they soon die, leaving you victim to the 120 + degree heat of the "Dasht" (afghan word for Desert).

As a result, sleeping becomes a desperate attempt to pass out before the temperature reaches 105 and heads to 120 degrees - after that, you're pouring too much sweat to sleep, as it drips in your eyes and you have to wipe it out.
Work is done at night if you're not patrolling, as lack of AC means much of your equipment will overheat and burn itself out (including laptops, radios, etc.) without some sort of coolant, so sleeping moves to the daylight hours, in shifts.
IMAG0408 Still smiling in spite of the misery…That’s my boy!

If you get to sleep by 6:30 am, it will be around 85-90 degrees in the tent, which is manageable. However, by noon, the temperature can easily have risen to 115 to 125 in the tent, and your body forces itself out of slumber, and you awake covered in sweat, dust, and flies.
I tried to walk from my sleep tent to my work tent (20 feet) in bare feet and have blisters on both soles – that's the level of heat we deal with here.

We pass time listlessly when work is slow, trying to move around as little as is possible, sitting in the shade, attempting to keep our bodies cooled down. The only movement you're likely to hear is the slap of a Marine trying to off a pesky fly, gnat, or mosquito as it lands on his head, arms, legs, nose, or eyelid, trying to feed off the salt-laden sweat.

By early evening, the bugs have arrived in full force, coming from the nearby canal in the village outside camp to feed on trash and sweaty bodies. The slapping and swatting increases in volume until finally the whole camp resembles a troop of medieval monks performing self-flagellation for their sins. When in camp, you carry a fly swatter around as much as your weapon itself.
Sand storms and dust devils roam the desert at random, covering every exposed surface of anything, including us, in a thick,suffocating film of dust. Waking up always means blowing your nose to remove the dirt clods that have accumulated in your nostrils, making it nearly impossible to breathe freely. My pillow is so stiff with sweat that the dust adheres to it like glue, making it a stinking, nasty head-rest that must constantly be turned over to find a dry side.

This is our life.
We would like to come home soon, but in spite of all, we are US Servicemen and women with the pride that comes with that, and we will complete our time, do our jobs, to the best of our ability, until it's time to go home. I love all y'all! Corporal(Cpl) Matt Rodgers, USMC krogers
Yes…my heart aches reading this…how I wish I could spare him and his friends some of this misery..or do something to help. How can we help you ask? Well..you already did. You left so many sweet heartfelt comments. I printed them all and sent them to Matthew. I don’t think he has them yet..but he will get them soon.
Our family is packing a box of packaged food, photos, and letters from us. If you would like to send a letter..just email me and I’ll include it or send it later.
Krogers has a fund raising campaign going on to raise funds for the USO which they say send things to our service people overseas. You can read about it HERE. 
I know this wasn’t the most pleasant tea time reading…but war, Afghanistan, and military life are not exactly pleasant. Just for today, I wanted you and I to reflect outside of our ‘comfort zone’ for the sake of those who are serving in our place.
Let’s pray…write…send boxes..send money… 
DSC07509-2000 Matthew..at age 18..just graduated from boot camp… seven years ago! This photo sits on our piano
This Memorial day…while we are remembering those who have served and fought for us in the past…

Let’s not forget those who are serving and fighting..and dying..NOW. They need us.
They need to know we don’t look down on them regardless of our political affiliations, faith, or ethnicity. They need to know we haven’t forgotten them..that we are Proud of them! 

We are, after all Americans, and this is part of who we are as a country and what we do.Enjoy your tea of course…but let’s do just a little more today… :o) You are such wonderful women and I so appreciate your generous hearts!
Linking with these wonderful tea parties or visiting their tea posts. Thanks for joining!
Lady Katherine's Tea Time Tuesday
The Plumed Pen's  Tea for Two
Rose Chintz Tea Time Tuesday
Kathy’s A Delightsome Life: A Return to Loveliness
Amy of Tea Girl in a Coffee World 
Tracie at Fishtail Cottage
new signature 


Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Donna,
He's a very brave lad, your son! Two of my guys are over seas as well but for completely different reasons. One, at a Math conference, and the other, playing with a band.

Your flowers are just so bright and beautiful. You've shared a lovely tea today; thank you.

Prayer is a powerful tool and the most powerful form of communication on earth. I will pray for your son. The Lord bless him!


Donna said...

Thanks so much Sandi! I'll be praying for your kids too. Whether it's work, school, or ministry..when our kids are far from home..we worry a bit..and pray a lot! :o)

Breathing In Grace said...

Praying for Matthew...and his family....and his Mom and Dad. Like we talked about...this is certainly no place for a woman. So proud of our military!!

meg said...

We'll keep Matthew in our prayers, along with his unit. I so wish they will all come home soon. :( I won't spoil your lovely tea with politics, though. Just hugs to you all-

GlorV1 said...

I agree with everyone about prayer being powerful. Prayer does help me when times are hard. Your son is a brave soul who is taking care of us all. I will pray for him. Wonderful post on your son. Enjoy your tea Donna, rest your weary bones.::hugs::

Debby said...

I do know how you feel. Your son is a great writer. Mine never told us anything that he did. He was an intelligence officier. It was so hard as I have said before. Many prayers and (((((HUGS)))) for all of you.

Unknown said...

what a touching post. I am new to your blog but grateful to have found this. I linked up a sweet treat and invite you to my tea link up on Tuesday for this great post. Wonderful to have tea with you today!

Trudy said...

Matthew, I go to church with your family. I would like to thank you for sharing your story with your family and therefore with us. I never realized all that you men go through and the extreme conditions you have to live under. Thank you so much for your sacrifice. I will keep you and the other soldiers in my prayers. I will pray for your safety as well as just the ability to make it day to day and stay sane. I will pray that you will get more food and water and be more comfortable than you are. I will also keep your precious family in my prayers. Stay safe and cling to God during this time He is your Rock. Trudy Callan

Needled Mom said...

My heart breaks reading this post, Donna, but it makes me even more appreciative of all that our servicemen and women and their families do for our freedoms. Thank you for your sacrifices and please know that I continue to keep Matthew in my prayers.

Kathy said...

That is quite a humbling letter. My son-in-law is scheduled to go there soon - had no idea things were that rough for them -God bless them. Thanks, this will help me to pray for him/them more and to organized packages for him too - always a blessing to share tea with you - actually still recovering from when I was sick and know what you mean - I didn't get to link up with all the tea parties last week -
but, working on it! It has been a blessing blogging and meeting fellow believers to share our hearts and prayers!
God Bless,

Lorraine said...

Sending you and Matthew prayers and hugs..all our boys are doing such a wonderful job out there in such extremely difficult circumstances that Matthew describes..lets just hope this war will end soon and they will be back home again and helped out with post war memories

Amy said...

Lovely flowers! Thank you for sharing on the military. We used to be better about sending care packages when a close relative was deployed, but lately we haven't done a thing. So I really appreciate reading all of this so we can do something to support them. Blessings.

Wanda Lee said...

Dear Donna,

Thanks for the update and the sharing of your son's poignant letter! Our prayers continue to be with them all!

The floral freshness of your Tuesday tea-scape this week was so pretty!

Thanks for joining us for this week's TTTT and also for my 84th, 'Tuesday Tea For Two'. ~ We always love having you join us.

Cheers and hugs from Wanda Lee

P.S. ~ I shall try to partake with your teas earlier next week; I find that with the running of our bed and breakfast, (and also not having been at all well as of late); I'm not sure I will have the energy to do so as early as I would prefer. Yet God will, I'll try!

Maria Killam said...

Donna, wow I read the whole letter from your son, that is quite something. I can't imagine living in that kind of 'uncomfortable' and only SHOWERING ONCE A WEEK! Come on!!
Hope he comes home soon!!

Donna said...

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and words. It seemed the right time to chat about this. I know we all want our boys to be home but until then we must not forget them. :O)


ilovetrolleys said...

I will keep your Matthew in my prayers. Thank you for sharing his letter. My son-in-law is there, Army Special Forces as a medic. My daughter was Intell Analyst and is now out. They met while parachuting onto the drop zone in Airborne school:)

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

Donna, Maria was over a few days ago and she told me about this post. Hugs to you mama. Your family is in my prayers and for your sweet son to come home safe.

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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