+Wednesday, December 07, 2005+
I just realized today how long it's been since I last posted. I usually try to post about once a week, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way!!

I had a very nice Thanksgiving with my parents - we went skiing on what little snow we have (last winter we were wishing the snow to go away, and I think they must've put that wish on layaway to give us this year...) and my mom and I got a little Christmas shopping done. I think it's the first time ever in my entire life that I actually shopped on Black Friday, but since we were in a small ski town where most people go to ski and not shop, it wasn't too bad. All I ended up getting anyway was a nice polo shirt for Matt that he won't be able to wear for another 2 and a half months, and regardless of how enjoyable the holiday was, I still felt empty: I woke up Friday after Thanksgiving thinking to myself, One down, two to go. Is it just me or has 2005 taken its precious time coming to an end?!?

Monday will be mine and Matt's 3 year anniversary (and also the one year anniversary of Matt's proposal!), our third year of which we've hardly been able to spend together, but as I wrote to him in a recent letter, I love him just as much as ever! I don't remember where I first heard the quote "distance is to love like wind is to fire. It extinguishes the weak and kindles the great," but for the last 11 months it has continually rang true. I don't know about absence making the heart grow fonder, but I certainly don't love him any less! Now our conversations seem more lively than they ever have during this deployment - I feel closer to him like all these miles that have been separating us are closing in. This is really almost over and it's really okay for me to start exhaling - they've shipped home most of the unit's trucks already and soon all the guys'll be moving into tents to make room for the relieving units coming in. It's not time to break out the champagne and rejoice with cries of "We did it!" just yet, but it's close - so close that I've starting working on the elaborate "Welcome Home" banner I have planned (I do think it'll take about 2 months to complete this monster). I'm still finding it a little hard to believe that in just a month he'll have been gone for a year!

For Christmas I decided to whip up a batch of some peanut butter cookies (Matt adores peanut butter - when he was home he'd be content to sit on the couch with a jar of Jiffy and a spoon). I haven't really sent him food since he's been in Afghanistan. Toward the beginning when he was still in Ft. Sill, he asked me to ship him his running shoes and as a nice gesture I thought I'd bake him some cookies to throw in the package as well. I'm a terrible cook, so partly I've avoided sending baked goodies to save us both the trouble (me of having to cook it and him of having to eat it), plus between my mom and his, I know he's been well taken care of in the snacky food department. Back when Matt was at Ft. Sill and I decided to send him cookies, I was a "cookie shipping virgin." I had never, before that point in my life, mailed food or had any reason to. Naturally I'll use that as an excuse for what happened, but mostly I suppose it could be summed up pure and simple to a temporary loss of common sense (referred to by many as a "blonde moment"). I put the cookies on a paper plate and wrapped them up with aluminum foil. As you can imagine, the cookies arrived dried out and scattered all over the box (and yes, even in the shoes I shipped with the cookies). Matt, bless his heart, still ate them as did his roommates who told him that I was the worst cook ever (can't blame them!).

I felt really bad about the Ft. Sill incident and haven't sent Matt many homemade cookies because of it (that and the mortifying thought of his roommates eating cookies that had been in Matt's dirty running shoes). Of course it would be asinine to think I'd made the same mistake twice, but I think all parties involved - myself, Matt, and the other soldiers in his unit who might try to partake in another man's cookies - are grateful for my minimal baking - I really am THAT bad (seriously. I burn hamburger helper). One might wonder how I've managed to survive 11 months without Matt to cook for me with my apparently awful skills, but that's another story for another time. However, I felt horrible sending Matt for Christmas the same old package I always send him, so I thought I'd take a chance and spice it up a little with some peanut butter cookies (the Ready-to-Bake kind that are already in little squares and all you have to do is lay them on the cookie sheet - anything more and I might have burnt down the house). This time I sealed them tightly in zip lock baggies and then put the baggies in tupperware - I only pray they make it to Afghanistan tasting as good as they did last night (not all of them would fit in the tupperware so I ate a couple for myself). Some things can't be helped, but it would be nice if I could send Matt some good cookies!

I don't really have much to update on - my life as of late has been devoted to school with finals right around the corner, so nothing too exciting has been going on for me! I thought I'd end the post with this letter that was read a couple days ago on the AM news radio station I listen to at work (I have a big Sean Hannity crush...crap, I mean I'm a fan...LOL) and this was read by the local news personality:

Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq?" Another mother asked a chief of police, "Why did my son have to die in this city as one of your police officers?" Yet another asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Vietnam?" and another asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?" Yet another asked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"

Another mother asked President Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on a battlefield in France?" Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?" and another mother asked President Washington, "WHy did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"

Long, long ago a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"

The answer to all these are simple - that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom.

-Gilbert Edwards


wishing matt was here @ 1:05 PM+
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