our bloggers


Heather (Virginia)

I am a mother of five children, one darling daughter and four dashing sons. When I am not wrangling with their schedules, I can be found teaching my 25 piano students, substitute teaching or RUNNING! I am a ten time marathoner with 5 dreamy "Boston" races under my belt. I run for peace. I run for fun. I run to eat. Speaking of eating, I have a passion for chips and guacamole, hummus and CANDY (any kind will do). I love being inspired. Music, nature, words, strangers, friends and a loving Heavenly Father grant me inspiration daily. How grateful I am for it.


Shasta (Texas)

Howdy from the great state of Texas! I am married to my best friend and we are enjoying every day with our 3 silly children. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and not sweating the small (or dirty) stuff! I believe that life is 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you.


Shannon (Oregon)

I write from my home by the sea in Seaside Oregon. I am dedicated to improving the lives of women and children and I love to serve others. I have worked as a domestic/sexual assault crisis worker, trauma recovery specialist and in many other capacities. Currently I follow my passions by writing for BillionClicks.org, FamilyShare.com, spending time with her family, serving at church, running on the beach and being a generally all around positive person.


Rebecca

I grew up in the northwest and am currently settled in Utah with my husband and four sons. I love writing and especially love learning from other people's inspiring examples. I teach preschool and also work at a residential treatment center for teenage girls. I love reaching out to struggling youth. In my spare time I'm trying to teach myself how to crochet. I also enjoys reading, hiking (in perfect weather conditions), and spending time with my family.


Hilary (Utah)

I love anything coconut - especially coconut ice cream! (I felt like I should start with the most important information first!) My husband and I have been married for 21 years and have four beautiful, fun-loving daughters. My favorite thing in the whole world is to be with my family - it doesn't matter if we are working or playing - I just love being together. I am also a scrap-booker, singer, songwriter, wanna-be-cook and dessert lover. We love living in Utah.


Walking to Afghanistan



facebook_1108630995

It is 7079 miles from Oregon to an army base in Afghanistan. I know, because I am walking there.  I belong to a group created by 4 small children and their mother, who are symbolically walking to meet their Dad in Afghanistan.

Jeff is a Captain in the United States Army and the father of 4. He has served 2 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan. I saw Jeff’s first baby before he did. His first child entered the world on a Wednesday, while he was in basic training. Although family notified the Sargent, he chose not to tell Jeff. Jeff found out he was a father on the following Sunday, when he was allowed to go to church and check his email.

young

Shy and quiet teenagers, Jeff and Julie met at a Virginia church dance. They lived over an hour apart and only saw each other at church events. Eventually Julie’s family moved to the west coast, leaving Jeff on the east coast.  When Jeff volunteered to serve a church mission for 2 years, their only communication was through letters.

Jeff’s wife Julie said, “Little would we know that so much of our life together would actually be apart, filled with waiting, always waiting. Right after he got home (from his church mission); we planned our wedding and got married. We were technically engaged for only 2 months but had known each other for 5 years, and known for a while that we wanted to be together forever.  We now have 4 children, ages 9, 7, 5, and 1-years old. …By the time we had two kids, he had spent more time with the guys he went through basic (training with), than we had together.  At this point, we have spent at least half of our marriage apart.”

A father who loves his children is a gift. Jeff loves his children with all his heart. Every moment he is home, they are the center of his focus and he is involved in their lives to the best of his ability. Whether it is by Skype, email or phone, he is always anxious to connect with his family. That is the reason, that in an imperfect world, Julie and her children are perfectly willing to wait as long as it takes for Papa Jeff’s return.

2099_1027785258814_4190_n

So how do you stay positive and happy when your dad, and sweetheart, is stationed so far away? Julie and her children began a project called, “Walk to Afghanistan.” They created a Facebook page. Julie and the kids invited friends and family in their support system to log their miles on the Facebook page. Each week or so, the miles are added up as the kids, friends and family post them on the page, along with love notes to Jeff.

When it began, we all wondered how we would log 7079 miles. It seemed impossible. Every 1 mile ran or walked counted. Every ten minutes of exercise counted as one mile. Here are a few entries from the page:

Gary: 80 minutes swimming this morning outside temp was still only 48 degrees, but once I warmed up or went numb it was perfect… Now if only the walk from the pool to the locker room were warmer… I did love the sun rise over the mountains this morning though.

photo-5-1

Jamie: 45 min spin class-no mile counter….I’m alive!

Erin: Walked half an hour yesterday….it’s a start. Probably 2 miles.

Papa Jeff: 33 miles the last two weeks…and it is starting to get hot! We will be packing up the cross fit equipment soon, so it will be a lot more cardio.

Julie: Thank you to everyone who has kept going….. We are now at 5150 miles! 1929 miles left to go with 3 months left!

Julie began the, “Walk to Afghanistan,” project in an effort to help her children pass the time while their father was gone. She shared, “Little did I realize the impact it would have.  I was thinking more about trying to make sure we all get out and exercise, an incentive or reason to get out and get in shape, a goal to work towards and help the time to pass.  But at this point, that isn’t the part that stands out to me.  At this point the part what has come to mean the most to me is seeing all the support we have out there.  Knowing that others are thinking of us, of him…knowing that during those times where time is dragging on and I am struggling, that we have support from others.  It can be hard to remember that sometimes, but this Walk to Afghanistan project has helped bring that to my attention even more.”

2012-10-10 18.44.57-1

Julie chose a positive way to pass challenging times. Life can be difficult. Our children may have a long distance dads or no dad at all. When life is hard, and we feel alone, remember to be creative and look for positive ways to live each day. Be grateful for the good men in your family’s life. The world is full of good fathers working hard and doing good things. Focus on the good men and create the positive ways to connect with family and friends.

Our little group has almost arrived symbolically in Afghanistan. Perhaps, we will celebrate Fathers Day in Afghanistan. This Father’s Day, thank the good men who are in your children’s lives. Whether they are dad, grandpa, uncle or family friend, focus on the good they do. Many thanks go to the men and women who serve our country. Thank you for protecting and defending out families.

202101_1787026399368_2550630_o

Think….click….be….

…..positively creative and celebrate the good fathers in the world.

 …by Shannon Symonds, Billion Clicks Contributor