There are many American soldiers scattered throughout the world who would like nothing more than a piece of home, whether that be much needed gear, bed linens, their favorite snack or just a few kind words in a short letter from a stranger.
Sending a care package from home to a complete stranger might not be your first thought when seeking self-development, but these small acts of charity (the more accurate translation of the word commonly referred to as “love” found in 1 Corinthians 13 in many newer versions of the Bible) help to take our mind off our own daily issues and to be thankful for the small things in life we take for granted.
Finding a soldier is easier than you might think. Shipping is not expensive and they are only a few basic guidelines you need to follow. The website Any Soldier makes it easy to put a smile on the face of a hardworking soldier.
It was March 26th, 2003. Army Sergeant Brian Horn, one of 1,000 soldiers, parachuted into enemy territory in Northern Iraq. Five months later, Brian Horn was able to call his parents. Marty and Sue Horn had been sending their son an average of six care packages per week. So when Brian asked his parents to send more, “my wife and I thought he was kidding!” Marty Horn told me. “But Brian said, ‘no — its for the soldiers that don’t get any.’”
Both Marty and Sue Horn had spent their careers in the Military, so they immediately understood what Brian was saying. Millions of men and women serving overseas never receive any mail. Besides often lacking basic necessities, these men and women have to cope with the harsh conditions of serving overseas without signs of support from friends and family back home.
Any Soldier is a website that lets you find a soldier to send letters or packages to. Some are better off than others but all of them are missing something or another from home. Some of them would like nothing better than a letter.
Why would you want to do this? You may want to consider this act a reminder to be thankful for what you might take for granted, or to remember others before you start to worry about trivial matters in your life. Keep in mind this action is in no way a political statement. Whether or not you believe in the reason the government put those soldiers in various places around the world has nothing to do with the individual Americans that are far from home.
Maybe their store is always running out of soap or they can’t get their favorite gum or candy where they are. Maybe they are in short supply of socks or proper boots or need sheets. Maybe they are bored and just want a new video game to take their mind off more serious things in their off time. If you are a die-hard gamer you can understand this plight. The items and reasons are endlessly varied.
There are thousands of names to choose from and usually it is best to choose someone that is newly listed because they don’t have as many people sending them packages. Each soldier will state how many people they have contact with on a regular basis and separate them into male and female. I chose a female soldier because I figured I’d have a better grasp of what she would want or need.
If you want to help, do what you can, even if it is just a letter. I’ve read time and time again letters are much appreciated. This would also be a good project for a classroom or church. A soldier could be chosen that has an appropriate amount of contacts (say one for each student or one per classroom). A list could be made public of all their wants and needs. Small donations could be asked for the shipping and packaging supplies. Boxes could be sent off as they become full and the money is raised for shipping.
You can click on a link on the solider info page that will tell you what the shipping rules are. Also you will need to read the details about shipping. Basically you only pay for shipping to a few points around the United States, so you might want to pick someone that has a zip code close by to keep your shipping costs to a minimum. The average sized box shouldn’t cost more than 10 dollars or so to ship.
For security reasons you have to request an email containing the soldier’s address, and can only ask for a few at a time. They are usually prompt in emailing you the information, just be patient and check your junk mail. Also, before sending additional packages, check back and see if there is a notice that the address has changed. Usually it doesn’t because units move together, but if the individual is a floater of sorts or if a unit embeds itself into bigger units then there may be an address change.
If you decide to send anything, just follow the rules. Depending on where you send something the rules may change. Often you cannot send pork products, fresh vegetables, or money and I’m pretty sure you can never send anything overly violent or sexual, even if they don’t know any better or do know and ask. You are still responsible for what you send in the mail.
Although you may ship to a specific soldier, in spirit the packages can be given to anyone who might need what’s inside, but only if you write a specific line in the shipping address. If you want, you may write “ATTENTION: ANY SOLDIER” (in all capitals to adhere to U.S.P.S. guidelines) below the soldier’s name. This will help ensure that your package will be given to someone else who can appreciate your effort and not end up a “Return to Sender” waste of time and money.
I’ve had arguments with a few postal workers about the use of the line “ATTENTION: ANY SOLDIER” even though there is a name above it. This particular line without a name is not acceptable, but the official rule as I understand it, is that it is fine as long as there is a name above it. Try telling that to some of the postal workers and you’ll end up in an argument and won’t get anything sent.
There is however a simple solution to this. After writing the line, cross it off with a single pen stroke. Then there is no argument because if you are given a hard time by a well-meaning but misguided employee you can say: “Yes I know, so I crossed it off.” A scowl might be thrown your way but they can’t do anything about it. The addition of this simple line in the address helps the soldier understand the meaning of the package.
The rule of thumb for shipping is, if the box is shaken and you can hear stuff move around you haven’t stuffed enough peanuts in. I hold the box closed and give it a gentle and then rougher shake. Once I get the box so there’s no more sounds of shifting, I then pack a few extra in, squeeze it shut and tape it up very well. The reason I do this is because peanuts do settle a bit in shipment.
Put as many layers of sealed plastic as you can between things. If you send something such as soap and candy in the same box, wrap them up individually in several layers of small unscented trash bags or sandwich bags or even larger food storage bags. (These kind of bags can be reused and might come in handy.) I can ensure you, the candy will taste like soap after being locked up in a box for a good deal of time, even if they are both in their own package. This also helps if something comes out of its package and leaks. Even if it makes it way out of its own plastic bag, it won’t get on everything else. Whatever you do, never send anything like soda or aerosol cans like shaving cream or bug spray. Buy squirt bottles instead. It’s a good idea to tape removable lids in place.
Oh and don’t expect a reply. They are busy doing a dangerous job. It is usually easier to give them an email, but even then, sometimes they just don’t have time or don’t have access to a computer on a regular basis. Some of them don’t have access to reliable electricity!
The best way to keep up with what is going on with them is to check back on the website, as they have to check in every 50 or so days so the owners of Any Soldier know they are still available to take packages and letters. Some of them seem to give weekly updates with lots of pictures. Others aren’t so social or wordy and just let you know they received your packages and they are thankful and give an update on things such as “no more books we have a library now!” or “we still need socks and shampoo.”
Check out the Any Soldier website and become familiar with it. Click on some names and read what these soldiers have to say. Pick one, check the shipping rules for their particular address, and put a smile on the face of a hard working soldier!
1 Corinthians 13:11-13
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
From Ted Talks on YouTube: “Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”
This video starts out mild enough, but be prepared to be moved by the powerful emotion. For those who have had a stroke, you may want to share this video with those who you feel “just don’t get it” when you have tried to explain to them what is happening to you.
You might be asking: What does having a stroke have to do with the question “Who Am I?”
A simple question, but if you have been searching you know there is no simplistic answer that can fit into one sentence. Jill illustrates her experience, her unexpected jolt from her ordinary routine of daily life, in such a beautiful way that you cannot help but question your reality from yet another perspective.
It is my personal opinion that you are not learning about the world around you unless you are provoked into even more questions. Wisdom is found along the path, not in the destination.
The position of the husband in the home and his related responsibilities are quite clearly defined in principle in Ephesians 5:22, 28-31. “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church; and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wife as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it . . . So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church . . . For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh”.
It is impossible to completely deal with the responsibilities of the husband in such a short article. I am going to ask you to make some notations of scriptures and then read them at a later time. Let us start with some scriptures that deal with the husband as head of the house. Genesis 3:16, says in part “her desire shall be to man”. Then Eph. 5:23, “husband is head of the wife”; then I Tim. 2:11-12, “She shall have no dominion over a man”. Now don’t stop at these verses and think that the only responsibility of the husband is to be HEAD of the house. By the way, head does not mean master as in a master-slave relationship, nor does it mean a relationship like a general to a private in the army. It is more like a partnership where one is the leader, guide, director. Now consider this. Can you think of any decision that a husband should make WITHOUT consulting or considering his wife and her wishes? I cannot!
Now let us consider some other responsibilities. The husband is to love his wife above all other human beings. Consider Eph. 5:25 and 28; and Col. 3:19. These passages teach that the husband is to be considerate and tender. The verses in Ephesians 5 teach that the husband is to cherish his wife. This means that she is to be treated with tenderness and affection. This would mean that since love must be fed, there is to be a warm demonstrative love relationship. The husband has the responsibility of not only demonstrating his love and concern, but telling her. He should not sit in such self-absorption that he does not talk with her and communicate with her socially, mentally, verbally and physically. The husband will demonstrate his love for his wife in other ways, rather than just at the time of sexual relationship. If this is the only time that affection and consideration is shown, then a wife will get the idea that all a husband is interested in is her body and that she is merely a sex object.
I Peter 3:7, teaches that the husband is to honor his wife. She gave up her name to take yours. Honor means that you should show her respect and this involves courtesy, consideration and emotional support. Be sure that as her husband that you do not hold her up to ridicule in public by the cutting remarks that you make. She wears YOUR name and is to viewed as part of your body. She is not perfect and you are aware of this. Do not expect perfection, but as Ephesians 4:32 teaches, “forbear one another”. This means to be gentle toward her. Control of temper, abstaining from physical violence and restraining a sharp tongue that makes one feel so inferior – are ways by which you can exhibit forbearance.
Paul presents another responsibility of husbands in I Timothy 5:8 – “But if any provide not for his own, especially for those of his own household, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel”. Marriage is a financial venture and the husband has a responsibility to finance or support or provide for his family. This is talking about money. As a husband, your earnings are not your own but belong to your wife as well and your children.
Another responsibility of the husband is to be active in the area of the discipline and rearing of the children. When the Apostle Paul was giving the qualifications for elders and deacons, he included this statement that is certainly applicable to all men: I Timothy 3:3-5, and he speaks of ruling your own house. Now this discipline should be with love. Many times discipline is administered without love. The Book says in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath”, and again in Colossians 3:21, “Fathers provoke not your children to anger lest they be discouraged”. The husband therefore does not leave all the discipline up to his wife, but shares in the molding and direction of your children. It is not a proper division of responsibility to say that as the husband I will provide the living and the wife is to take care of the house and children. The husband has duties even after his days work is done by which lie is earning a living to support his family.
The Christian father should set an example for his family as he earns a living, directs the household with concern for each member, and as he fulfills his role as head of the house. He should see to their spiritual development by the life he lives and the direction in which he leads his family.
Your wife is a part of your body – you are a part of each other. For this reason Paul said, “Love your wife”. He didn’t say, if you want to. As you love her, you love yourself and are fulfilling the role that the Lord wanted you to have.
According to newadvent.org, it is the only Breviary hymn retained by the Protestant Episcopal Church, a translation being given in the Prayer Book (Ordering of Priests). There are about sixty English versions.
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o’erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
(King James Version)
1A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
2The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
3A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
4By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
5Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
7The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
8He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
9He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
10Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
11He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
12The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
13The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
14The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
15Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
16He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
17Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
18For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
19That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
20Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
21That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
22Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
23For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
24Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
25Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
26Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
27If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
28Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
29Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
“Jai Ho” (Hindi: जय हो) (English: Be victorious)
Rabbi Haim David Zukerwar: “Spiritual Structure of Reality”
When we try to apprehend our essence, to come to our Self, we perceive that thought dilutes before the question “who am I?” This happens because our inner Self is in itself “part” of the essence of the whole of reality. In the same way as water held in a container melts and unifies with the sea when it is returned to the ocean, each soul is an immanent part of the Infinite Essence.
2008 July 14
Watch the video here.
May 25th is the “annual Star Wars fan holiday”. It was originally pushed by fans to begin on May 25, 2007, the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars film.