Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanks for Giving!

Thank you for supporting me here in Iraq with notes and hopes and prayers, it is greatly appreciated! I have received all the hangers and t-shirts I need, and many other wonderful things. Which is, in part, why I write this list: Things I am thankful for in Iraq:

Support of Family and friends: In so many ways, so many ways, thank you thank you!!!
Hot showers: We hit the 30’s here folks, it is cold!
A/C and Heaters: In America we take them for granted. Here they are often life-savers.
Drive-thru: We don’t have them here, those were the days!

American Military Might: We are separated from would-be terrorists by a few strands of barb-wire, a fence, and some young men in towers with machine guns. And yet, I feel very safe. American military is adept, so agile, so excellent, and trustworthy. What a blessing! Especially abroad. We depend on them completely. We take for granted how much we trust them and the sacrifices they make. It makes me proud to know that they are'nt the bribable kind, they don’t steal from, but rather give to, the country they won over, and they are prepared not to shrink but to give all, and they often do.

Simplicity: American life, so full of meetings and activities and errands and places and regulations…my mind and life are so at ease here. Time for hobbies, study, and repose. Time to hang with people and listen. I really like it. The stranglehold of over-regulation, gone. Political correctness tightrope walking, gone. You can actually talk about family, patriotism, and God without being sued. In fact, you can say and do so many things again here. You don’t have to put your trash in multiple containers. You can light a candle in a building. (If it isn't a weapons depot) Yes, simplicity.

Safe food and water: We got it, the Iraqis don’t. It doesn’t taste that great, but it’s sanitary. For that, I am grateful. And healthy.

My own room: When we got here it was 16 guys in a big room. Some are in tents or containers. But in Kirkuk, we have our own rooms, fewer mortar attacks, easier work (in my opinion) than almost any other base. It’s so nice to have a little space all my own where I control the lights, heat or cool, and sounds. More security for my stuff. A rare blessing over here; your own room.
Internet: What can I say. Though in a small room on a small base, I can reach out and touch friends and relatives, order and send items, get news from home and the whole world. What a gift it is!

God: Numero Uno. We’ve got and done so much in America, again we neglect the fact that God gave it all. Here one is reminded that relying on one’s own strength is fairly futile. Here, protection, survival, even communication is often at God’s will. If the man or nature were to stop the convoys coming in here with food, water, and/or fuel, we would very quickly find ourselves in very desperate circumstances. It feels more here that one needs God, and that His Hand is more stark, obvious. Existence here is a prudent reminder of His reality.

Well, guess I’ve carried on a bit here. A run-down of useful info about me:
I now wear a size S in shirts. Yes, fashions have changed. Medium in a sweat-shirt or coat. For those of you who have sent upper-wear that was larger, take no offense! I am very grateful and more comfortable in larger sizes, plus, it’s Winter and layers are easier. But we all know how pervasive fashion can be.

I have most of the things I need, but Slim-Jims, computer-related materials, books by authors of excellence (classics) etc. Are always welcome. Magazines, less-common videos, or something to make good use of down time with could be fun. Pretty much all basic toiletries are available, so no worries there. We have the same food every week, so just about any bag of munchies or packaged food-stuff will put smiles on faces simply because it’s something different. If nothing else, I can share things with those who might want or need them and make them happy too. And a small size straw hat, well, that would be nice. This "list" is for those who ask, I am already very grateful for all the kind thoughts and packages that I have received.

If there is anything you might like, the old Saddam bills, pics of whatever, I’d be happy to see if I can get some. Funny enough, I am not allowed to send Iraq dirt or rocks or anything that is or ever was alive, plant or animal. Questions about things over here; happy to see what I can do.
Finally, here is a pic to debunk the idea that Ratchet has fangs, but actually is a nice kitty. With Sabre blue eyes, kind of like a vamp... oh, never mind. Oh, and the other pic is what we found at our dining facility. Not bad, eh? Happy Thanksgiving!! Eat well for me!
Ernie

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