Sunday, December 9, 2012


Everyone who knows me, and knows how I feel about Operation Holiday Stockings is aware that I pursue this project on faith.  I pray for the troops, for their families, and for all of the volunteers of Operation Holiday Stockings.  I pray for all of the wonderful volunteers who are making stockings for us, those who are out collecting goodies for the stockings, and for the folks who help with our postage expenses.  All of this is done on faith, faith in other people, and faith that we all will be given the means to continue with Operation Holiday Stockings. 

Look at the picture above.  Look at the faces of the soldiers as they are picking out a stocking that we sent for their party.  That is why we do this each year.  That is why we will continue to do this.  These men and women are away from their families during the holidays and the least we can do is bring a little bit of cheer in the form of a stocking.  These stockings aren't full of everything they will need, they are full of love and support, and of course prayers for their safety.  The real gift is the stocking because it was made with them in mind.

The past few years we have struggled to get all of the stockings, supplies and postage that we needed to fill the requests from these troops and from their families.  We were to the point of putting units on a wait list until we received everything we needed.  Of course I was praying we would, and we did.  We sent out close to 3000 last year so we figured we might get requests for about 3500.

That didn't happen.  Requests started coming in early this year.  They were coming in from wives, daughter, aunts, sisters and friends.  The requests were coming directly from the troops themselves, asking if we could possibly put them on the list because the morale was so bad.  You all know what I said.  I said yes and the number of stockings needed started climbing up to 2000 by the middle of summer.  I prayed for a miracle, and several miracle happened. 

We were able to have a booth at the Open Aire Market in Sequim, Washington this year.  We had a good time meeting our neighbors and visitors to the Market.  We invited them to sign a little card to put into the stockings and they did.  They picked out the stocking for the note, and we hung it on a tree. 

The next miracle, and this was a big miracle, came through Debbie Colgrove's column at on Sewing.  At the end of August I started getting emails from people who wanted to sew stockings for OHS, a lot of them.  I was puzzled as to where this was coming from.  Finally one lady told me she read about OHS in Debbie's column.  A check of the hits for our website showed it went from 23 on August 26th to 179 afterwards.  We truly can't thank Debbie enough for telling people about us.  The rush was then on.

 We ended up on a newsletter for the machine embrodiery groups
 Knitters started sewing so they could get more to us.
 One nice lady did over 300 stockings for us.
 A group of retired folks got together one weekend and sewed and stuffed stockings for us as a community project.
 Knitters who had never heard of us found out about us through Debbie's column.
 Kids continued to decorate stockings for us.
 The crochet groups also got involved.
And the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H Groups and Schools got involved. 

We had one school in Seattle collect their Halloweeen candy for the troops and donated 600 pounds.  It was a project sorting through all of this, but we are so grateful for the donation.

In additon to the stockings, we had groups send cases of product for the stockings, and we were blessed with donations for postage. 

Stockings were everywhere, some which had previously been stuffed earlier.  Some that needed to be stuffed. 

Over several weekends we logged in all of the wonderful stockings and supplies we received from everyone,
we stuffed them,
packed them up, and shipped them.
In total we have shipped out over 4100 stockings this year.  I just received another request for 400.  I am now praying for another miracle. 



Saturday, December 8, 2012


The Fall Harvest
This past summer has been an incredible journey for me.  I've seen a miracle happen.  I have been busy, that's true, but it's been a good busy.  I am going to try to bring all of you up to date in the next few days but I have pictures scattered everywhere so it's going to take a bit to find them.  As you know, we were part of a community garden this year and the harvest was amazing.  I primarily spend the summer with dear friends and family harvesting and processing food so we are going to be well fed this summer.
Susan and I ordered 50 pounds of Yakima peaches from the Boy Scouts this year and made Peach Salsa and put up a lot of peaches.

Rachel and I canned Blue Lake Green beans from the garden, and made dill pickles from beautiful cucumbers we purchased from Sunny Farms.  They are really, really good.

As Fall started moving in we were still canning green beans and harvesting the tomatoes (which are a Fall crop in the Maritime Northwest).  As you can see, while we were all taking care of harvesting and processing the harvest, stockings for Operation Holiday Stockings started coming in.

I was finding these stockings everywhere, even on the jars of sauerkraut fermenting in the kitchen.

These stockings even ended up in the green beans we were harvesting to take up to the food bank.  In fact, we were able to donate over 300 pounds of these beautiful beans this year. 


The socks showed up on the herbs I dried, like in the pan of parsley.

They started coming in by the boxes and I had to gather them together in baskets to keep them under control.

As you can see, until they were all stuffed, packed and mailed out this year, these stockings were everywhere.  Such a beautiful sight.  A Miracle happened, but more on that later.
In the meantime, the grill masters around here decided that we should have a Grilling Pavillion hooked up to the wood and outdoor storage shed. 

Fortunately, David's thumb was the worse injury.  He managed to mangel it up a bit with the table saw.

We spent a lot of time laughing and sharing this summer.  So many wonderful family members and friends came for visits and to help with the Pavillion.  Big thanks to Jim, Steve, Frank and John for all of the time and help you put into this project for us. 
 We also did the 3rd Annual Tomato Festival and of course will be doing it again next year. 
Well, this is a lot to digest for today so I'll sign off.