December 7, 2008 – 5th Floor: Tis the Season

poinsettia Saturday evening Gladys and I came out of Sam’s Club after shopping for the luncheon and there were snow flurries. Sunday morning the ground was covered with a light coating of sparkly white stuff. The first snow is always so pretty. Robin and Sylvia met us at Gladys’ and off we headed for Bethesda. With the sun out, the roads were clear for the drive over to the hospital.

Thankfully, the ward was pretty quiet this visit. We like it quiet… it means the patients are few.

smoothie makersDeb was away so she left us with her Super Secret Smoothie Recipe. We recruited Bob as Smoothie Maker and Sylvia volunteered to be his assistant. I had forgotten to take the frozen strawberries out of the freezer and put them in the cooler that morning before we left, so we decided to use the fruit salad to make them with.

It was really kind of funny because everywhere I looked that morning before we left Gladys’ house, there were Post-It notes that said “Cool Whip”.  She was making sure she didn’t forget it for the Snicker’s Cake.  So what does Janie do?  Forgets the strawberries. And yes, they were on my list… but at least we didn’t get lost – ‘cause we were following Bob.

Sylvia made sure the smoothies passed the taste test and since there were none leftover and a few people came back for seconds, we knew they were good.

We are so grateful for the Vitamix blender that Operation Santa @ the Hospitals and the Marine Corps Family Foundation donated to us last January. It has certainly had a workout with the eight luncheons we’ve held this year.

niftie giftiesBayside Quilters had given us some homemade Christmas stockings, perfect size and very charming, that we used as the gift bags this time to go along with our usual handouts – t-shirts, afghans and quilts. We had the ladies Arbonne goodies in the stockings, too. Some very special troop supporters, Susan, Marilyn, Chris, and Penny, sent us Christmas cards. Chris and Penny included Dunkin Donut gift cards so we included those with the encouragement notes from our loyal note writers.


Two Marines received a cowboy Marine hat and a Marine ball cap given to us by Marine Corps League Detachment 439.  Even though there were five of us at the luncheon itself, there were, as always, so many supporters behind the scenes who helped make the day possible.

A special thanks to Marty, Penny, WA State Operation Thank You, and the Marine Corps League Detachment and their members for their generous gifts that will enable us to continue our luncheons into 2009. I always print out a list of the supporters for each particular luncheon and tape it to the doorway so the patients, staff, and families can see how much support they have from all over the country.

Boxwood centerpieceSylvia made a gorgeous boxwood centerpiece for the table and then left it in the day room for all to enjoy.

Gladys brought a beautiful poinsettia that we left as well.

The Snickers cake she made and the Christmas cookies from Jean’s granddaughter’s Junior Honor Society were a hit, the lasagna and the Italian Wedding soup was great, and all the leftovers were left in the pantry.

One of the special touches for this luncheon was a sweet message sent by an Army National Guard wife whose husband is an OIF III vet. With her permission, I am including it here.

Susans card 3







She signed it in red to match the ribbon. Susan wrote the poem and made the cards. There were enough for everyone who came in and some of the doctors and physical therapists took extras with them to give to their patients.

Special things – the centerpiece, the stockings, the poinsettia, the hats, the gift cards, the notes and cards, the afghans, t-shirts, quilts, the scented lotions for the moms and wives.

A friend of mine used to say “Love is in the details.”

I think there was a whole lotta love at Bethesda Sunday.

As the holidays approach, please keep our deployed and wounded troops in your thoughts and prayers. Their families, too. Please remember the Fallen and their families as well.

Let them know you care. A short note, a card, a MotoMail, an email, or a quick phone call will go a long way in making their day a little brighter. It’s the time of year family is especially missed, when someone is far from home, or when there is an empty chair at the table…

People have said to me, “I don’t know what to say.”

Just say, “I’m thinking of you today.”

Happy Holidays and All the Best to You in the New Year.

I’m thinking of you today.

Love and Hugs,




Marine Oms-Bethsda Luncheon Crew December 2008