“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2017”

October 4th, 2017

While volunteering at Ground Zero in New York City in September 2001, I made a promise to a Marine that I would support our military the best I could from that day forward. Since that point in time I have sent care packages to over 150 service members & their units. None of this would have been possible without your financial support over the years or help writing words of encouragement & gratitude to those serving far away from home.

Our troops have expressed to me over and over again the importance of having their name called at “Mail Call”. It helps them cope with the distance between them & their loved ones and boosts morale. For that reason, I created “Mail Call for Our Heroes” in 2006. My goal is to have each service member have at least one piece of mail to open over the holidays (if not more).

 

WO1 Rachael Washburn O’Brien – Blackhawk Pilot 

Over the years I have been blessed beyond measure to get to know and become friends with some of the soldiers I have supported. This year “Mail Call for Our Heroes” is for two of those soldiers.  Last week I had the honor of attending Rachael’s mobilization ceremony in Oregon, which is when the above photo was taken. Telling her “until next time” was incredibly difficult for me. Her best friend, Erin has been in Afghanistan for a few months now.  Care packages will go to these two service members, as well as the Wounded Warrior hospital in Landstuhl, Germany & a Marine family based in Japan.

If you could once again help me by writing cards & letters, or making cards with your kids; that would be amazing! Please feel free to get your children’s schools, boy/girl scouts & clubs, senior citizens homes, churches, social clubs, and families involved. Having you and your loved ones express your thoughts & appreciation to our service members will make such a difference for them this holiday season. The troops love receiving the cards gathered from across the globe for them!

If you would like to contribute monetarily towards contents of the care packages or postage to ship them; these are the two ways to donate.

PayPal to: supportourheroes@live.com

Or send a check/money order to the address below.  Please keep in mind donations are NOT tax deductible as I do all this out of the kindness of my heart and do not want the hassle of becoming a non-profit.  Please know I cannot possibly send any packages without your donations or cards/letters & I will post photos & videos on social media to provide proof I am doing with your money what I have promised I will do with it.

The deadline for me to receive your cards/letters or donations is Veterans Day, 11 November, 2017. This will give me time to bake, purchase items to go in the care packages (Christmas trees, ornaments, decorations, holiday cheer), and put everything together so I can mail the packages so they arrive to their destinations before Christmas. Donations received after that date will still be sent – just may be after the holidays. (I do all of this between work trips at my full time job as a flight attendant).

The generosity of your time and desire to assist me with this project each year is overwhelming.  Thank you in advance for making “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2017” a success. My goal is to have none of our service members ever feel alone on the battlefield, or when they return home.

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt

PO Box 1494

Mercer Island, WA 98040

“Come As You Are”

August 15th, 2017

    Come As You Are / Only Love Today

 

This week I took control of my own life again. I chose to make decisions that are for my well being. The past couple of months have been a bit challenging for me; and I have done everything possible to stay positive and grateful. Most people see the smile and think everything is okay, (because I do very well at not asking for help unless I absolutely need it) and I am actually very thankful for what each day has to offer.

After all, I am alive and that is a precious gift. I celebrate life for myself and the man I called “my brother from another mother”, Erland Hawkins. For all eternity I will thank him for making me make that promise. 😉

Many of you may or may not know that I had an upper respiratory infection at the beginning of July and was very sick. So much so that I lost consciousness while working a flight home from Anchorage; caused an emergency landing, and I was in the ER for 11 hours. I wish I could tell you I was 100% – but I still have this deep cough that I can’t seem to shake. So I am using the steroid inhaler and drinking lots of water, Quinary, and hot water or soothing tea to try to break the cycle. With the wildfires in Canada, the smoke was very thick in the Seattle area and it also affected me. I didn’t realize until today, the depth of how it affected me psychologically.  (More on that later).

On 18 July 2017 I accidentally tripped over a passenger who had their legs and feet extended into my path and fell. My right foot has not been the same since. That took away my ability to do yoga, walk for any length of time, or hike. The latter was such a huge disappointment for me on my layovers in Juneau, because I wanted desperately to be hiking in Alaska before my flying for the “season” up there ended. It just wasn’t possible.

To add to those two issues; I also found that I was unable to chew on the right side of my mouth. It has taken me a month to get in for oral surgery. I am having a tooth extracted along with the entire root, and a bone graft done in my mouth. This happens on Thursday.

I share all of this with you; solely for informational purposes. I don’t want your pity, attention because I have not been my best, or special concessions.

Today I was able to get into my counselor because I honestly feel like no one can possibly understand what I am dealing with. The topic of conversation had to do with the changes that happen for individuals who go off anti depressant medications. This is me #KeepingItReal. Everything I am experiencing is “normal”. But it doesn’t help to have a “normal” label placed on it for me.

In talking with my Christian counselor, I asked her if God ever gets tired of hearing from me (as tears streamed down my face), because I don’t want to be a burden to Him (or anyone). We talked about how deep God’s love is and how hard that is to fathom because human beings often don’t know how to love that deeply or without conditions.

Something she asked me to do was look inside the “toolbox” I have been filling for several years; to find my ways to fight the lies that have been reinforced by the way people have wounded and hurt me in the past.

One of the things I chose to do was remember there is a difference between connection and connectivity. To always have a list of three people I can contact NO MATTER WHAT.

Circumstances this past year helped me to see some people that had been in my life for long periods of time; were not healthy for me any longer. Removing them from my life was necessary and yet left me with a huge void. Today my counselor said “you are in the midst of the grieving process”. I asked “how I could possibly be grieving individuals that are not a part of my life any longer – because they were toxic to my well being”?

She explained that we all have relationships that leave us with memories. We fight to remember the good – even though there may be “bad” mixed in.  My human nature is to remember the close bonds that are shared – even if someone left me with feelings of abandonment or betrayal. To forgive – even when I don’t know how.

Since I have had such significant losses in my life; it has been hard for me to let people go over the years. But I am a work in progress and I have learned to let go easier. Mostly for self preservation.

Life changes all of us, if we let it. I chose to work with my doctors to go off my anti depressant medication. The weaning off period seemed easy. Being off them fully now (for a month) has me with those feelings of “not wanting to be a burden to anyone”.

One of the other tools in my toolbox is to write how I feel. It is the best way I know to express myself. Which is why I am writing this blog today.

As much as there is darkness in the world, I am still choosing to be my own light source. I called three of my people today. Just to hear their stories and voices. Not to share about what I am processing. Tomorrow I will call three more. Because I am blessed to have those kinds of people in my life and I never want them to think I take them for granted.

What is going on? I don’t like who I am when I look in the mirror. Many things compounded on one another and they caused me to gain weight. I don’t like it. I do not want to accept it. I want to change it. But losing weight doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t matter how great anyone tells me I look. My clothes are tight. I think I look like a tank in photos. It is frustrating because I was so happy with myself, not that long ago.

But life happens. And I am human.

You may or may not know that I had an eating disorder when I was in my 20’s. Today we talked about how I felt so obsessed with wanting to eat healthy that I wasted time thinking about it. Precious time that I could have been doing anything else. And what I did to break that cycle. I cannot fall back into any of those types of behaviors from my past and I am fully aware of them. So I am choosing to break the cycle. One day at a time; by breaking my day into ten minute increments at times. Because sometimes that is all I can handle.

    True Friendships reside deep in the heart

Last week I flew to Atlanta to spend quality time with my dear friend from South Africa, who was visiting the USA. We only had a day together, but my time with her rejuvenated my soul. I literally took notes of her words of wisdom.

What I didn’t know in talking with my friend and didn’t realize until today; was the significance of the cough or why the smoke bothered me so much. I didn’t realize that the anniversary of September 11th was even on my radar. This year it will be different. Because one of the people that I shared that day and it’s memories with; is one of the people that is no longer a part of my life. And there is a void. It is going to be okay. But I have to acknowledge it. I have to work through that, now that I can see it for what it is.

I have changed tremendously over the years. I always thought when I had certain people in my life – they would always be a part of my life. But that all changed when Michael died, and then my parents, and any of my other Heavenly Angels. I was forced to learn to let go and Let God with coping with death. In the past few years I have also learned to “Let Go and Let God” because it was best for all parties involved. Today I was told “no matter the reasons for the losses, they are still losses. There is still a void”.

Funny how the mind works. I have mentored and coached people who have suffered tragedies. And now I am honoring myself by acknowledging how it feels to let go. Yesterday I filled an entire box full of documents that I could have used to take people & companies to court who have wronged me deeply. The financial, emotional, and psychological damage was tremendous. But I chose (once I found the paperwork yesterday) to burn those papers. I will be taking them with me on a road trip and having a nice campfire. One of release and it will be so liberating.

There is no part of me that can control the way other people will act or react. All I can do is be authentic, honest, and live MY LIFE with integrity. I was asked today to list a few things that I do love about myself. Once I did, I was told “this are core values and characteristics”. Those things will not change for me. And when I look in the mirror, I have to look at my soul and not the reflection of my physical body that I am struggling with so much right now.

What I am not struggling with is #Throb. I have been free from the weight of the elephant on my head since 2April 2017. (After six years of daily migraines and migraine symptoms – I am free!!) PRAISE THE LORD!! I still have to do weekly treatments to keep him away.  I fight for my health every single day. I get my strength from faith, our Wounded Warriors who are examples of courage, tenacity, and dignity; and the people who are part of my journey.

If you are reading this – thank you for being one of them. I hope my words from the heart somehow inspire you and help you to know you are never as alone as you feel. I feel so alone sometimes – but somehow, someway, the Universe gives love back to me; right when I need it the most. I call that faith – you call or what works for you.

Huge shout out to @Hands Free Mama for her blog and books, as they truly have helped me to become a better me. Her latest book “Only Love Today” is one I feel every person on the planet can relate to! (The bracelets I am wearing in the top photo of this blog post are from her website).

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt

PO Box 1494

Mercer Island, WA 98040

 

My commitments to 2017

February 15th, 2017

Hello faithful friends and followers!

It has been quite some time since writing a blog post, but here I am.  🙂

Floral Deliveries for Valentines Day

 

In 2016 I had some pretty significant health challenges (eColi that lasted three months, biking accident in Amsterdam messing up my left wrist, a few broken toes from walking into things, hand surgery to remove a cyst, a major car accident in October where I came within inches of dying, and of course still dealing with #Throb.  That proverbial elephant that has sat on my head for nearly six years now.);  which in turn caused me to make some changes in my life.

Truly, life was chaos when I look back on it now.  To make a really long story short, I currentlty have a perfect living situation for me.  I am renting a bedroom/bathroom from a business man who is gone 90% of the time.  The only time I really go upstairs is to cook or clean.  Most of my belongings are in storage, where they will stay until I am able to purchase my own place.  That is a ways down the road though, because with all I shared above; my finances needed some attention.

Thankfully I was able to maneuver through short term disability with the eColi and physical restraints from the bicycling accident in Amsterdam, and didn’t have surgery on my hand until I went on vacation in September.  All of that being said, I am soooooo thankful to be doing the job I was destined to do and loving being a flight attendant for Delta.  It is so weird to say I have been flying for 18 years, it just doesn’t seem THAT long.  Time flies when you are having fun!  (it really does!!  🙂 )

For those of you who don’t know, every year for Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day, I work for a local florist delivering flowers.  This is something I have done most of my adult life, and is also a whole lot of fun for me.  Every year it seems like I have a goal set for myself for a specific dollar amount to earn, to go towards a very specific cause.  This year is no different ~ but I will get back to that in just a few minutes.  🙂

Because last year was so incredibly taxing on me mentally, physically, and financially; the two things I had to cling to were the loving support of my family and friends, and most of all, my faith.  I came in to 2017 with determination to love myself more and to have an attitude of gratitude. They are my mantras for this year, and are helping me to stay focused.  That all being said, I am moving forward with the commitments I made to myself on my birthday.

My commitment to 2017

Keep track of miles flown for one month

#MyYearOfLove

#AttitudeOfGratitude

Go to Peru and see Machu Picchu

Do a Volunteer Vacation

BELIEVE in the impossible

PEACE of mind

Stand firm in my FAITH and knowing TRUTH

Read scripture more often

Positive self talk

Eat healthy and be conscious of what I am consuming and why

Get in daily activity (yoga, walking, hiking, swimming, etc)

Read “Joan of Arc”

Connect with friends more frequently (especially in the Seattle area when I am home)

Make new friends

Dating is a must! Meet my soul mate.  Kiss in the rain.

Get outdoors and take photographs

Chop wood

Journal more

Go kayaking in the arboretum

Go to Glacier National Park

Clean condo once a month

Clean my bedroom once a week (including filing paperwork)

Have fun at work – do work trips with people I know and love and go to places where I have people I love

Send care packages to Rachael when she deploys & to other troops as time and donations permit

*********

Just reading through those notes on my phone and typing them out to you, makes me realize I made a whole lot of goals for myself for the year.  But I am one month into the list and have already accomplished the first one.  haha   As many of you may or may not know, when I first became a flight attendant in 1998, I made a goal to see the Seven Wonders of the World.  Then I found out there were 7 natural and 7 man made.  So instead of it being a one year goal, it ended up being a ten year goal.  What I learned in traveling to those places, was that some of them didn’t seem “all that worthy of being a wonder”.  The journey to each of them is what I learned the most from, because of the experiences along the way.  I started making my own list of places I wanted to see or explore.  Machu Picchu has been high on that list for quite some time.

It thrills me to know that one week from today I will be meeting up with a dear friend of mine, and we will be making our way to Peru on 23February.  During that time I will be going “radio silent” and focusing completely on where we are, what we are doing, and being “present”.  It is not very often that I shut myself completely off from the outside world (because our troops need support or I have outside obligations) …. but this time, this vacation is all about me rejuvenating my own soul.  Nikki and I have been planning this trip for months now, and I am incredibly thankful I was able to work extra work trips in December and January to pay for the trip (Peru is so inexpensive! Nothing like Iceland!  lol).  When I come back state side, I will be going to Southern California to meet the newest member of the Butler family and spend a few days bonding with family.  From there, I have to travel back to Atlanta for a mandatory meeting.  What meeting you ask?  Well you see …

For all of the miracles in the world to occur; I was given an incredible and I do mean INCREDIBLE birthday gift.  Out of over 350 applicants, I WAS CHOSEN to be one of the participants in the Delta Force for Global Good Build with Habitat for Humanity near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in a village called Chulavista.  The mandatory meeting on 8March is for all of us (46 active employees, 2 retirees, 16 AeroMexico employees) to meet and get direction about our trip.  Each of us have to pay $1,000 for our expenses for the trip.  Thank you SO very much to each of you who donated towards this project.  You have no idea how much $5.00 means to me, and how grateful my heart was with beep of my phone telling me I received a PayPal donation.  Thank you to my sister and other family and friends who gave me cash towards the trip.  Which brings me back to working for the florist. My goal was and is to make the remaining balance.   It is with a huge smile that I know I will surpass that goal because of your kindnesses towards me, believing in me, and my own determination to bring my goals to fruition.

It is absolutely crazy to me that I have a week of vacation in February, March, and April of 2017.  We bid for our vacation weeks so far in advance; but I am SO thankful to know I will at least be receiving income during the time that I am away.  All for great causes and reasons.  The reason I am so detailed in explaining my finances is two fold.  One is that I am under constant scrutiny any time I ask for donations.  I am one person who has chosen not to become a non-profit over the years.  I do so much for humanity in my own time; by sending care packages to the troops, volunteering, or helping others.  But the instant I ask for help, it seems some feel they have the right to judge my life choices.

If you ever want to see receipts for how monies are spent that are donated, I can provide them.  If you ever want to see the medical expenses I have on a monthly basis; that I pay out-of-pocket, I will happily provide them (I have not asked anyone for help with my medical bills since moving the Seattle in 2011).  I have absolutely nothing to hide.  Yesterday all Delta employees received a bonus through our hard work, in a Profit Sharing check.  Someone actually asked me why I was asking for donations for the Habitat Build when I knew I had the profit sharing money coming in.  Which is the second reason I am being so detailed.  Every time I get paid, I put money into my donation account to support our troops.  Most people don’t realize that I do things for service members throughout the year – they think I only do it for “Mail Call”.  My profit sharing check is actually paying off the debt I incurred from moving three times and outstanding medical bills. People always tell me “I live vicariously through you” and have asked how they could be a blessing by donating.  I learned to allow them to feel the joy in giving.  We should all have giving hearts; whether it be our time, resources, energy, prayers, or sending positive thoughts someones way.

Monies I received for the volunteer vacation, went directly to my personal bank account, so I could then pay the money for the specific project.  My goals are set.  My plans are in motion … and each day I am blessed because I am letting go more and more of what other people think of me, and focusing more on what God thinks of me.  I am an example and role model to many.  More than anything, I have ethics and morals and am evolving.  My desires are changing ever so slightly.  All I ever used to focus on was care for our troops.  Now I find myself wanting to go and “do” and continuing to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.  Call it “diversifying”.  Which is why I am doing the Habitat Build.  It isn’t just to go to a place I have never been, it is to fill my own cup by helping others.

That is what makes me tick.  Making a positive impact on others.

My hope is you have enjoyed this rather lengthy blog post and you now all feel informed as to what I am up to; and how grateful I am for your support and encouragement (especially last year).  I can never thank you enough for believing in me. Truly, I thank Erland so very much for making me make the promise “celebrate life for both of us, every single day, regardless of circumstances” ~ because there were days last year that those words were what kept me going.  From Heaven to earth, I am blessed with angels all around me. Now, time to run … more floral deliveries to make today, so I can reach my goal.  🙂

Always,

Robin

This photo is from several years ago, but I am posting it in honor of my dear friend, Donna Willock. She gave me this scarf on Valentine’s Day, which was the last work trip she ever had. She died of brain cancer that year. I wear it as a scarf or bandana often, and have it on today. She is another of my Heavenly angels.

PS.  For those of you who do not have my current mailing address, it is:

Robin Schmidt

PO Box 1494

Mercer Island, WA 98040

 

 

 

 

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2016”

September 16th, 2016

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2016″

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Wow, what a year this has been!  Sorry I have not blogged at all, but I have been caught up with life issues and using Facebook and other social media to keep everyone up to date.  With all the changes in my personal life, I am making some changes to this years “Mail Call for Our Heroes”. I do have to apologize that with moving so many times this year, I have not any idea where my photos are from last years care packages – so I am sharing ones from years prior.  Hope you don’t mind.  🙂

Since 2002 I have been ‘adopting’ troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn all over the globe. Our service members have expressed to me, over and over again, the importance of receiving mail and hearing their name called at Mail Call. It helps them to cope with the time away from their loved ones back home & having their name called at Mail Call.  For that reason, to uplift spirits and boost morale over the holidays, “The Sky Angel” is doing my tenth annual “Mail Call for Our Heroes”.

1SGT Miah Washburn recipient of “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2014”

This year “Mail Call for Our Heroes” is for a soldier and his unit that are deployed in Kuwait and the units they support that are deployed “downline”. I also will be sending Christmas decorations and surprises to a Marine EOD family that recently was sent to Japan for the next three years.  Additionally, as I do every year, I will send needed items to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for the staff and our Wounded Warriors in Germany. You will also find me volunteering a bit more often at the SeaTac USO; beginning in late October & through the holidays … so please come look for me, if you are in the airport!

My goals: 1) To raise $$$$ for holiday care packages including Christmas trees with all the decorations, toiletries, homemade treats, clothing for our Wounded Warriors, goodies for our canine heroes, and postage to ship the care packages. 

2)  Collect individual cards, letters, or notes so each service member in each unit or at the hospitals will have a piece of mail to open over the holidays.

Having you and your loved ones express your thoughts to the service members in these units will make such a difference for them this holiday season. Please feel free to get your children’s schools, girl/boy scouts, senior citizens homes, churches, social clubs, and families involved!  The troops love receiving the cards gathered from across the world for them!!

santaarrived

Santa arrived in Kuwait … via “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2013”

Please send donations (checks or money orders need to be payable to Robin Schmidt) to the address below. (Donations are not tax deductible as I do this out of the kindness of my heart and do not want the hassle of becoming a non-profit).  If you would like to make a donation online, you can do so via PayPal to the email address of: supportourheroes@live.com (or clicking on the donate button at the top of http://alwayssupportourheroes.com/what-to-send.html )

The deadline for me to receive any cards or letters to the troops, or cash donations need to be arrived in my mailbox no later than Veteran’s Day (11 November 2016) to ensure they arrive overseas before Christmas.  Any items received after the deadline will still be sent and appreciated (I just cannot guarantee the care packages will arrive before Christmas).

Please take note: This year I will not be accepting any actual items for the care packages, other than the cards or letters made or written.  There will be a baking day at some point in November, to send homemade treats to those deployed.  Since my living situation has changed, I need to take on a new approach. My commitment remains the same as it has since I started this project a decade ago:  to always support our valiant heroes, so none of them ever feel along on the battlefield, or when they return home.

Thank you in advance for making a huge difference through your generous donations and participation in “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2016″. 

Making Christmas Wishes ...

Believing in the magic of Christmas for our valiant heroes!

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt ~ PO Box 16796 ~ Seattle, WA 98116

for Fed Ex or UPS: 4412 California Ave SW #16796, Seattle, WA 98116

My Letter to Santa ~ Christmas 2015

December 1st, 2015

1 December 2015
Dear Santa ~

This is such a busy time of year for you and your elves! Earlier today I took the time to hand write you a letter and am planning on having a passenger deliver it to you at the North Pole on one of my fights. But in case you have someone reading the internet ~ I wanted to send it to you via both methods.

My dad used to tell me when I was little “every time you see the sky pink or red, Mrs. Claus is baking cookies”. That memory from my childhood often crosses my mind as I watch the glow of the sunset from the windows, serving passengers on my flights.

Although I know you have so many boys and girls to grant wishes for, the inner child inside of me; is really needing some Christmas miracles for the full grown adult I am now.

You see, so many people ask what I want for Christmas. But I know the difference between “wants” and “needs”. Before I explain my own needs, I would like to ask you to look after the needs of others. Those suffering from depression ~ please bring them peace of mind. Those battling some form of addiction ~ help them to get the help they need, so they can be healthier and a more active member of society. Those contemplating divorce, help them to have honest, open communication with their spouse. Guide them to do what is best for their children and family unit as a whole. Those who are living in fear of any kind ~ please show them compassion and help them to find ways to laugh during really difficult times.

Help all of humanity to reach out with love and compassion towards others. Stop the hatred. This world needs a whole lot of help right now. So I ask you to work your magical powers to bring sustaining joy that lives in each and every heart, throughout the year. Please help to soften those hearts that are hardened and heal broken relationships between individuals, races, religions, and countries that are in constant battle.

Be with the reindeer and sing joyful songs to our service members far away from home. Bestow miracles to them and their families. Please care for their families that are at home and bring them extra blessings.

You see, Santa, I feel so badly asking for anything at all ~ when there are so many others with needs around the world. But Dad also taught me “if you don’t ask ~ you will never know the answer”.

Last year I asked you for a boyfriend. A man who has a heart of compassion, be my best friend, confidant, cheerleader, lover, and future husband. Someone who would be my perfect match in so many varying ways ~ full of wanderlust, affection, and the desire to touch lives in a positive manner. The man who will be just as equally in love with me as I will be with him, and give me his heart, as I give all the same in return.

During the past year I realized I no longer NEED that man to complete me. It is rather what I WANT. Someone to share my life with on every level ~ and maybe that is why you held off on that special gift for me last year. Now I am asking and believing you are working out the fine details with angels here on earth and in Heaven. After all, I know you have the ability to hear my prayers to God, just like He knows I am writing you this letter.

What I do know is I have been working very hard on making myself a priority this year. I learned the words “boundaries” and “limitations” and actually how to apply them in my life. I also continued to get rid of the people and things that are not good for my overall well being.

You see, I really wanted to be on your “good” list, because my needs are pretty significant. With all the hope of Christmas wishes come true for a child on Christmas morning, I am asking for a new place to live. A place I can afford, in a safe environment, and finally a place I really feel at peace. I haven’t had that in so long ~ I don’t remember what it feels like.

I am also asking for continued improvements with my health. In order to be able to afford a place on my own, I know I need to somehow reduce my out of pocket medical expenses monthly. However as things are today, I need the treatments I am receiving in order to continue working and be able to do the job I love as a flight attendant. Feel free to take Throb away once and for all. That would be the greatest miracle EVER. (well, next to a husband … hehehe)

With moving, I need financial miracles to make it happen. The elves probably already shared with you about the crime in my apartment complex. Without forced entry on any of the break-ins, I just don’t feel safe at all. Yet my faith is probably my greatest ally. I really am not attached to material possessions, unless they have sentimental value. Having my stuff stolen in the storage closet just made me more aware of the crime in my apartment complex and put me more and more on edge.

In order to move, I need help more than just financially. I need physical help to help me emotionally deal with the psychological aspects of looking for a place to live. I also need physical help to pack up my apartment, pay for movers (because of the experience I had moving into this apartment where I am now – I know it is the only way to get the furniture over the balcony). I also need help to unpack and get settled into my new place.

Because of my physical limitations, I know I am asking for a whole lot here. Santa, the stress I am dealing with has been overwhelming to me at times. I often keep it inside and then act like a three year old, having a complete meltdown. Getting so upset that I cry for hours on end, because I don’t know how else to express myself. That is why I chose to write you this letter today. I am asking you to bless me with the miracles of quality time of family and friends this Holiday Season. I want to continue to help your elves, but I just have to rely on you to help take care of my needs, so I can help take care of the needs of others.

You know my financial and physical limitations. Your elves are like God’s angels and they are definitely looking after me.

Thank you for all the help with the care packages for “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2015” and I entrust you to deliver those parcels at exactly the right time, to our valiant heroes overseas. I know our troops really need the morale boost and I did the best I could to share love from various sources with those cards and letters.

Wherever I am, I ask you to help use me as a vessel of love, laughter, and joy to those I encounter ~ throughout the holiday season and every day of the year.

Santa, I know this letter is long, but I really needed to get all of my thoughts out before I hand the written letter to someone to deliver to you at the North Pole. I’ve really been stressed out about not being able to “do more”; but I know my highest priority has to be my own safety. Any gifts I would normally give my family or closest friends will be waiting until I am more on my feet and secure financially. They would want that from me anyway. This year I am simply humbling myself to BE and BELIEVE. I need to be more open to receiving, rather than feeling like I have to do something in order to receive. Or that I have to somehow “perform” in order to be accepted and loved exactly as I am.

As I bring this letter to a close, I am going to add my “wish list” of items I would just like to have. They are absolutely wants and not nearly as important as my safety or security. But in case anyone asks you how they can help me … here goes.

• Quality time with family and friends
• A card or letter from someone expressing how I have impacted their life
• A gift certificate to Linden & Spa in Eureka, CA so Linden can do my hair
• Gift cards to NK Nails in Westwood Village. Hannah & Mary are the best!
• A sharp knife set (mine are really dull)
• To see Christmas Lights in Leavenworth
• A new coffee maker (with auto shut off) – white
• Gift cards for groceries and gas: Fred Meyer, Costco, Rite Aid (for prescriptions), or West Seattle produce for fresh fruits & veggies
• Not to feel guilty or alone this holiday season
• To create positive memories and be a joy to others
• To be a blessing in spite of my own circumstances and honor Erland’s promise he made me make to “celebrate life every single day”. Even during the toughest of days – I still remember to be thankful for this life I have.
Of course, I do want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter from the grown up me. I am doing everything I can to hold on for my ZEN place and keep believing in the absolute miracles of the Christmas Season.

Thank you also, Santa, for helping remind me through writing to you ~ that when I state my wants and needs ~ it helps me to find peace of mind. Thank you also for the blessings of being able to decorate at the USO at SeaTac yesterday. I really felt such a sense of peace while doing so and it helped me to honor my mom’s memory in such a special, beautiful manner. After 19 years of her being gone, yesterday was simply magical. I felt like I could feel the brush of her angel’s wings and see her smile. Thank you for that miracle and for the way the center looked when I finished. I pray it blesses every service member, family member of the military, Veteran, and the USO staff, throughout the Season.

If you can sneak into my mailbox to deliver anything – I will leave you goodies there. With all that is going on, I guess the best way for you to deliver my miracles is vicariously – or send to my address below.

Much gratitude to my dad for teaching me to always believe in the magic of Christmas and for all the angels he celebrates with in Heaven daily. I really feel like such a little kid sometimes … hoping for the impossible, but knowing with faith; anything is possible.

Merry Christmas to you and all your helpers this Holiday Season.

Always,
Robin
“The Sky Angel”

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Robin Schmidt ~ PO Box 16796 ~ Seattle, WA 98116

Fed Ex or UPS:
Robin Schmidt ~ 4412 California Ave SW #16796 ~ Seattle, WA 98116

 

Any elves or earthly angels who want to help via PayPal can send to:

find_robin@hotmail.com

 

 

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2015”

September 24th, 2015

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2015″

Since 2002 I have been ‘adopting’ troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn all over the globe. Our service members have expressed to me, over and over again, the importance of receiving mail and hearing their name called at Mail Call. It helps them to cope with the time away from their loved ones back home & having their name called at Mail Call.  For that reason, to uplift spirits and boost morale over the holidays, “The Sky Angel” is doing my ninth annual “Mail Call for Our Heroes”.

1SGT Miah Washburn recipient of “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2014”

 

This year “Mail Call for Our Heroes” is for four different soldiers and their units, who are currently serving in Kuwait, Japan, Korea.  We still have troops being deployed to Afghanistan although the media states otherwise.  One of my friends is deploying to the Horn of Africa in November and will be receiving packages as well.

My goals: 1) To raise enough $$$$ for holiday care packages including Christmas trees with all the decorations, toiletries, food, homemade treats, clothing for our Wounded Warriors, goodies for our canine heroes, and postage to ship everything collected.  Care packages will also be going to the Wounded Warriors and hospital staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

2) 4,000 individual cards, letters, or notes so each service member in each unit or at the hospitals will have a piece of mail to open over the holidays.

Having you and your loved ones express your thoughts to the service members in these units will make such a difference for them this holiday season. Please feel free to get your children’s schools, girl/boy scouts, senior citizens homes, churches, social clubs, and families involved!  The troops love receiving the cards gathered from across the world for them!!

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Santa arrived in Kuwait … via “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2013”

Please send donations (checks should be payable to Robin Schmidt) to the address below. (Donations are not tax deductible as I do this out of the kindness of my heart and do not want the hassle of becoming a non-profit).  If you would like to make a donation online, you can do so via PayPal to the email address of: supportourheroes@live.com (or clicking on the donate button at the top of http://alwayssupportourheroes.com/what-to-send.html )

The deadline for me to receive any items you want to donate for the care packages themselves; including cards or letters to the troops, contents for packages, or cash donations need to be arrived in my mailbox no later thanVeterans Day (11 November 2015) to ensure they arrive overseas before Christmas.  Any items received after the deadline will still be sent and appreciated.

Every year our troops have been ecstatic with how much I was able to send because of the generosity of everyone who got involved. It was absolutely AMAZING to see how many people came together from the far reaches of earth, to take care of all the units my friends and I supported last year over the holidays and the special treatment we were able to extend to the National Guard unit from Oregon; that was serving in Afghanistan.

Thank you in advance for making a huge difference through your generous donations and participation in “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2015”, so none of our valiant heroes serving ever feel alone on the battlefield, or when they return home.

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt ~ PO Box 16796 ~ Seattle, WA 98116

for Fed Ex or UPS: 4412 California Ave SW #16796, Seattle, WA 98116

September 11, 2001 Remembrance

September 9th, 2015
Kristina & I in Iceland, August 2015

Kristina and I in Iceland, August 2015

This blog was originally written on September 11, 2012.  There have been significant changes in my life since the time of it’s writing.  The most important being my health.  In 2013 I was finally diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); which put me on the proper path to being able to manage the daily migraines that you all have come to know as “Throb”.  (That proverbial elephant that has sat on my head for longer than 4 years now).

~~

As you read below, you will see that every year I do something significant on September 11th and the reasons why.  This year I will once again be doing my FAA recertification (known as CQ) as a gift to myself on this important day in my life.  It will mark the second year anniversary of me returning back to work; after the 28 months of being on disability.

~~

 

Sometimes I wonder why certain things have to happen to certain people.  Rarely have I asked “why me?” because I truly believe beyond any shadow of a doubt, everything happens for a reason.  I know there is a reason my life was spared on September 11, 2001 (and that of my friends).  I know there are reasons I have gone through financial and physical hardships; and I know that God is using me – regardless of my circumstances.

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Since 2002, I have now sent care packages or supported 144 service members and their units; with the help of many of you reading this.  Thank you for your continued support over the years in making a difference for them; but just as importantly – for believing in me as a human being.

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There is nothing in the world more important to me than my faith; and nothing more valuable in life than knowing I have made a difference.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to touch your soul in some way … and may this post fill you with hope that out of darkness comes a magnificent light.

~~

I am living proof.

September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt

PO Box 16796

Seattle, WA 98116

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Field of Flags, Kennesaw, Georgia

Every year since September 11th, 2001, I have done something “special” to commemorate the day.  Sometimes it was volunteering at Habitat, others it was traveling to far away places with dear friends.  This year, as God would have it, I found myself alone, trying to finally grapple with the memories that flooded me unexpectedly.  Many of you may not know my story, but it is one of miracles through tragedy.  And today, I feel the need to share my thoughts, feelings, and emotions, so you will have an opportunity to see who I am, and why I am the way I am.

~~

You see, 11 years ago four of my friends met me in New York City on September 10th, so we could go to Egypt the following day on vacation.  None of the people had met one another, and I was the link for all of us joining together.  Three of us were flight attendants, one worked for Phillips Arena, and the other was/is a firefighter for the city of Orlando. (4 females, one male).   The night of the 10th, I remember it raining, and us not wanting to travel far from the Pan American hotel on Queens Boulevard.  So, we went to a little Italian restaurant, to get to know one another a little better, and make plans for the following day.

~~

We all agreed to wake up at 7am, get ready quickly, and be out the door and on the subway at 8am.  Our first stop would be the Windows of the World, so everyone who had not been to New York City could see the view from “the top”.  From there, we planned to go to Canal street to pick up any last minute items for our trip to Egypt.  Then we would take the subway back to the hotel, finish getting ready, and go to JFK for our flight.  What I am writing now is from my perspective and memories, and may not be exactly the same as my other friends remember.  Emotions and time may have altered things a bit, but I do know that it affected each of us profoundly, and differently.

~~

As I write this, it is as though the event occurred yesterday.  Every single one of us woke up 1/2 an hour late.  So we were rushing to get out the door.  Kristina and I were the last two getting ready in the bathroom, telling everyone to calm down and we would be done shortly.  🙂  I told Janeen to turn on her favorite tv show as a joke, knowing she would be watching CNN.  It wasn’t but just a few minutes when I heard a tone in her voice that I will never forget, which was “Oh my God”.  Not knowing what she was talking about, I went into the room to ask what was wrong.  She pointed at the television and said “a plane just hit the World Trade Center”.  My response was that it was probably a small Cessna, and don’t worry, we would be leaving to head that way soon.  (brains don’t always connect dots immediately).

~~

I do know that Eric and Beth immediately were in the hallway, watching what was happening from the big picture window.  At the time there were not trees to block our view, and I cannot tell you who of my friends actually watched the second plane hit the towers.  But I know at least two or three of them did.  I know I watched it happen on the news.  Immediately my disaster and emergency training went into gear and I called immediately to get us a rental car as an escape route out of town.  We had come from Atlanta, Orlando, and California.

~~

My memories from what happened next, are that all five of us were at that big window; each of us watching in astonishment as the Towers crumbled before our very eyes.  I kept asking if this was some kind of movie that no one told us about and if Arnold Schwartzenager was going to come and save the day.  The sky went from a completely clear sky, to dark in moments.   It was so surreal, that I could not believe what was actually happening before my very eyes.  And yet, deep in my soul, I wanted to go and help.  But I had my four friends to think about, and I knew we needed to get out of dodge.

~~

As moments passed, we realized we would not be able to go anywhere for a while.  Everything was shut down.  I know that at some point one of my friends (I have no idea which one) and I decided to go find a store that was open nearby, to get us food for the day.  All we could find nearby was a Chinese grocery store open.  I remember us buying beer and grapes.  Isn’t that funny?  The little details of what I remember, but I could not tell you anything else that was purchased.

~~
But as we were walking to and from the grocery store, I remember people running from downtown Manhattan (only 3 miles away) covered in ash.  The expressions on their faces was sheer horror.  I remember buses driving past with people hanging out the windows, just to be able to fit as many people in as possible.  They all had that same look of fear and horror in their eyes.  I did not choose to take any pictures that day, except of us in our hotel room.  To this day, I cannot tell you where those pictures are.
~~
After returning from the grocery store, Janeen and I went to get the car from La Guardia airport.  I remember walking onto Queens Blvd and taxis driving by with no people in them.  None of them would stop.  So I literally walked in the middle of the street and stood in front of a cab until it had no choice but to either stop, or run me over.  The driver refused to take us to the airport, telling me “are you insane? The airport is closed and I am not taking you anywhere”.  I told him “you can either take us there, or let me drive the car and I will take us myself.  We will not get out of your vehicle.”  There were a lot of experlative words spoken, but finally he took us.
~~
When we got to Avis (the only rental car agency at the time that was not charging a “drop fee”, the person at the counter proceeded to tell us they were all out of vehicles.  I remember arguing (more swear words) that I had a reservation and he needed to get his manager to the facility or on the phone.  I basically told the manager that I had gotten a reservation hours prior and if he didn’t have a vehicle for us, he could happily give me the keys to his own car.  Ironically, the next thing I knew, there was a mini van for us to drive off the lot.
~~

We made it back to the hotel, to find so many people in the lobby trying to get information and find rooms.  People were standing in line at the pay phone to try to get out.  None of us had computers because we were traveling to Egypt, and cell phone service was sporadic, at best.  We already had five people in our room, so there wasn’t room for more.  That is where we huddled, trying to distract one another by playing cards or anything else we could think of.  I don’t remember much about the hotel after that.

~~

The following morning, once the only bridge out of town was open, we left.  It was still dark outside.  I remember that we had to drive closer to Manhattan in order to get out of town.  I believe it was the Tapanzee bridge or tunnel we had to go through or over.  But what I remember most from that day was the smoke and the smell.  Hard to describe, but one I will never forget.  The ride over the bridge was surreal as well.  We were driving out of the city as the sun came up, and through the smoke we saw a military convoy going the other direction ~ toward downtown.  I knew in an instant we were going to war.  Eric kept saying he wanted to stay, but he felt a sense of responsibility to get us girls back home safely.  I wanted desperately to go and help as well, but I felt so guilty for having put my friends in harms way, that I had to get them back home.  It was difficult because Kristina had come from California and as the day progressed, we learned all flights had been cancelled.  We tried to get her a rental car from various cities, but there were none to be found.

~~

We found ourselves on conference calls through our job as flight attendants, trying to get updates.  I don’t remember much of the drive, other than our only outlet was stopping at the Hershey Factory in Pennsylvania for a distraction.  I know it was an extremely difficult time for each of us, lost in our own thoughts.  Once we arrived in Atlanta, Kristina took the rental vehicle and drove to California by herself.  It was so hard, because we were all so exhausted and I just wanted her to rest a while before the drive.  I would have gone with her.  But I just couldn’t function from the shock and exhaustion.  I don’t know how she made that drive alone, but I know she needed and was committed to getting back to her family.

~~

We all react in our own ways.  Mine was “how can I help?”.  I volunteered at the Operational Control Center, helping to get a hold of our flight crews that were in international destinations, making sure they had transportation to get to a city where they would be able to travel once flights were back in the air.  Many crews had gone to various locations on their own, and we knew that the FAA would only allow particular airports, with the appropriate security, to come back into the USA once flights were lifted.  I was just happy to be helping in some way or another, and talking to people who were all over the globe, wondering what was happening back in America found relief in having that phone connection with us.

~~

Once flights began again, I did “emergency flying” for only a day.  Then everyone figured out I was on my vacation time and told me to go home and rest.  What I did, was go home, pack my suitcase, get my laptop, and get on the first flight to New York City.  ( Every day that I as there, I did a journal as a Word Document on my computer.  The problem was that when I returned, my laptop crashed, and I lost everything that was on my hard drive.  It was just meant to be that certain memories were only to be locked in my mind, and not specifically etched in stone forever  That is why you are getting only what I remember now.)

~~

When I landed, I got a free cab ride from the airport (yes, in NYC!) to the Red Cross and said “I have disaster management training through my job, two hands, a willing heart, and will do anything you want me to do”.  I know I didn’t have a place to stay and that was going to be an issue at some point.  But I really believed God had called me to “COME” and there was no turning back.  He would provide … after all, He had just saved my life.

~~

Initially I had gone to the Red Cross on Amsterdam Avenue.  They tried to give me keys to a van (I had never driven in New York, nor did I know the streets AT ALL) and told me to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up food, to take to Ground Zero for the Respitz Center where all the workers were still looking for survivors.  I laughed and said “I don’t mind doing that, but you need to give me a driver”.  It was so weird, being in the City at that time.  I had stayed with Janeen’s cousin for two nights in Jersey. But that wasn’t working and I needed a place to stay.  I also had found out that I had to go to the Red Cross center in Brooklyn, to get an ID so I could volunteer and go to Ground Zero.

~~

As I walked down the hallway to get my ID, I saw a man in a firefighter shirt, giving someone a massage in one of those chairs.  I asked if he could do that to me.  He told me to come back after getting my ID.  After introducing ourselves to one another, he asked how long I would be in town.  I told him “I don’t really know, because I don’t have a place to stay”.  He literally had spoken to me for three minutes.  He picked up his phone and said “hey Ang, it’s Jimmy.  I’m here with my good friend, Robin, the flight attendant.  She came up to help out my “brothers” and she needs a place to stay.  Sure, we will be there at 8.”.  We both volunteered all day, and he drove me to Jersey to get my luggage.  From there, he took me to an angel on earth.

~~

Angie had/has a one bedroom apartment on Roosevelt Island.  That island had been cut off from society for three entire days, and she was thankful to have someone to talk to.  I was incredibly grateful to have a place to stay, because it meant I could stay ~ which I did for 18 days.  Angie would take no payment, she just kept saying “this is my way of helping”.

~~

I volunteered at the Family Assistance Center and Ground Zero, going between the two.  Until one day on the subway, I overheard a family member say to the person sitting next to them “you know, it was the flight attendants fault.  They were submissive and gave in to the terrorists.”  I began to cry uncontrollably, but didn’t say a word.  When I got to what was referred to as the FAC, I told them that I could not help the families any longer.  It was a conflict of interest for me, and I would better be of service at Ground Zero.  It upset me for a very long time that anyone could think or feel that way about the flight crews who were trained to save lives, and it took years of counseling for me to get over the fact that everyone reacts to things in a different way.

~~

But to be honest, my true colors came out at Ground Zero.  There I served meals to the firefighters, police officers, steel workers, military personnel, OSHA, FBI, and every other agency that was there.  Along with every other volunteer, we tried to encourage those people just get a little bit of rest.  But more than anything, they just wanted to keep looking for survivors.  And in picking up their plates after meals, they began to talk to me about what was going on in their own minds.

~~

I will never forget the stories like a Fire Chief telling me how just a few months prior, they had a camping trip with his “guys” and their kids.  He retold his memories of them all sitting around the fire telling stories, and cried in my arms as he said he could not believe all of those children were going to grow up without their dads.  He just happened to not be on shift that morning. That conversation ended with him telling me “thank you for showing up”.

~~

Someone from the CIA had come in after an entire day at what was known as “the pile”.  He told me that day they had decided to start issuing death certificates because they knew they would not find any more survivors.  The only that had been saved were two or three fire fighters and a woman I think who was named Geraldine, in the very beginning.  He asked me “how do I tell a family member that their loved one is dead, when there is not any DNA or proof”?  I told him the story of my mom dying in a car accident in 1996.  How I never got to see her body or tell her goodbye.  How even though my sister had told me she had identified my mom from a lock of her hair (she was bandaged everywhere), that I personally had previously struggled because I never saw for myself.  I never had any proof.  And for almost a year afterward, I wondered if I would get a phone call from my mom, telling me she was alive and there had been a mistake.  I understood what it was like to not have closure. It is a difficult thing to process.  He also ended his conversation with “thank you for being here … thank you for showing up” as tears flowed from both of us.

~~

Another day at Ground Zero I was talking to a Marine who had been working the “pile” and I said “we are going to war, aren’t we?”.  He replied “yes”.  And in that conversation I made a commitment to him that I would do everything I could to support our troops while they were deployed.

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A chain of events a few months afterward, with me meeting a soldier on a military charter gave me my first opportunity.  Since that point in time, I have “adopted” (written letters, cards, postcards, and sent care packages to 119 service members) through their deployments.

~~

What was the most tragic event next to Pearl Harbor in US history, turned out to be the most life changing and beautiful experience for me.  I have always been one to do things for others and put people before myself.  However, I learned through volunteering in this situation, that my life had a much bigger purpose.  I learned that me “showing up” actually mattered.

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It was life changing for me.  I stayed for 18 days, working the midnight to 8am shift.  Angie would get out of bed, and I would roll in and take it over for a few hours before heading back out again. She became like a second mom to me over the years, with her life coaching, mentoring, and unconditional love.  She has helped me to process my feelings and find new ways to think about life events.  If any of you ever meet her, you will agree that she is truly an earth angel.

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There is much I can say about September 11, 2001 and the months that I went back and forth to volunteer afterward.  But what I want to share the most, is that thousands of people died between New York City, the Pentagon, and on an airplane full of heroes in Pennsylvania.  Many more have died in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I don’t care whether you believe in the war or not, because I care about our troops who are following orders and doing what they can to keep the enemy from striking us on US soil again.  Others have come home with deep wounds that can and cannot be seen.  Honor them, help them any way you can.

~~

Reach out to our firefighters, police officers, first responders, humanitarians, flight crews, and people you would normally take for granted ~ like the people who will save your life when needed on an airplane.  Why?  Because they each made career choices to put themselves in harms way, in order to protect you from harm.

~~

As for me, I have learned that I am truly a humanitarian at heart.  Not only am I willing to travel to the ends of the earth to help those in need, I am my happiest when I am living my life with the purpose of sharing Gods love.  Maybe that is through a kind gesture, or a smile.  Maybe it is simply by me “showing up” when someone is in need.

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Many of you know this has been a difficult 16 months for me, but God is teaching me much in this time with “Throb”.  Some of you have suggested that maybe it was my time in NY that caused this head pain to start.  Who knows?  Only my Creator truly knows … and each day I am getting stronger and I know my purpose is still being fulfilled.  Even if it is by me sharing my experiences, so each of you can learn from them.

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Every day I thank God for the gift of life He has given me … and I know He has tremendous plans.  And although there are times that I feel deep and gut wrenching pain for the lives that have been lost on that day, or my loved ones that have passed through the years; it just shows me how big my heart is.  It is a heart full of love for my fellow man and all humans everywhere.

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No matter who we are, our lives have purpose … I encourage you to find what makes your heart happy … and live your passion.  Today, I ask only one thing of you.  No matter what your religious belief, take time to thank your Creator for the life you have been given.  Allow yourself to look in the mirror and smile at the reflection … knowing you are loved beyond all comprehension.  Take it from someone who has gone through hell and back here on earth, and years of counseling to know …the greatest gift we can give one another, is that of our heart.  After all, if I hadn’t overslept 1/2 hour late, eleven years ago, I wouldn’t be around to tell you what a miracle life is …

~~

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

September 11, 2012

IMG_9982

“What’s with the elephant?”

March 5th, 2015

Where on earth has the time gone?  It seems like it was Veteran’s Day and I had a bunch of ladies over to my apartment to bake cookies for our service members overseas, and the next thing I know; I have found myself in the month of March.  To say I have been busy doesn’t really express what has been going on in my life, and many of you have been asking for an update.  Rather than writing individual emails, I am choosing to write this update on my blog.  This is the perfect forum for me to share how any of you can help with the troops I am supporting, or share what is going on with me personally.  Then again, truth be told – I am a humanitarian to the core – so you may catch me sharing opportunities to volunteer or ways I have found to make an impact on the world, as the opportunities arise.  🙂

 

The reason for this post is to give you all an update on “Throb”.  Some of you have walked this journey with me the past 46 months (can you believe it has almost been four years??) and others have recently come into my life through social media or mutual friends.  For those of you who have told me you have spent countless hours looking for a diagnosis titled “Throb” on the internet ~ I do have to apologize.  You see, I tend to make up words, or have a very descriptive manner in expressing myself.  Let me attempt to make this as short and concise as possible for anyone reading, and hopefully provide you with current information as well.  😉

 

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“Where Throb resides …”

 

On 10 May 2011 I woke up with what I thought was a migraine headache.  The pain literally was that of an elephant sitting on my head.  After a few weeks of various doctors and hospitals; along with a plethora of tests, a friend of mine jokingly referred to the elephant as “Throb”.  And that is the name that took on the form of being a noun and a verb for me.  Many of my close friends and family members have asked me to write a book.  At this point I could probably write several, and many different topics.  But if I ever do write a book, the title will be “Lessons Learned from Throb”.  You see, this pesky elephant has taught me many, many lessons.

 

One is that he is as stubborn as they come.  He is relentless in teaching me what my limitations are, and does not give in to my negotiations.  If he were a real person, I would say he would be a perfect hostage negotiator – because he just doesn’t give in.  As long as I remain aware of his existence, I am not caught off guard by his tactics or the consequences of not listening to the “signs” sooner.  If you have known me for a long period of time, you know this journey with “Throb” has not been an easy one.  When he first arrived into my life, he pulled the carpet right out from under my feet.  Almost every medical professional I went to had no answers, and in their inability to diagnose me, they just wanted to shove prescription drugs down my throat.  Since I am allergic to 98% of prescription medications on the planet – I had to seek alternative practices in order to find any relief from the pain.

 

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Because I could not be by myself for the first 2 1/2 months of having Throb in my life, I stayed with family and friends on the west coast ~  (Again trying to make a long story short here) and ultimately moved back to the area I grew up in Sept 2011.  There is no way I could have predicted that medical professionals would have me in tears and completely worn down over time.  I have sat in offices with prominent physicians, who said “there is no hope for you”, “you will live in this debilitating pain the remainder of your life”, “you are a lost cause” and in sheer frustration asked them if they would want ANYONE to speak to their husband/wife/or child in that manner.  I have refused to pay those doctors for their time and ironically, never received a single bill from some of them.  In my mission to find relief, the one thing that remained steadfast was my faith.  Without it, I really am nothing.  With it, I have endured what I thought was impossible at times, and found myself in the process.

Tigger pillow to comfort me during GunnIMS

Tigger pillow to comfort me during GunnIMS

 

After two full years of no real improvement (other than when I was going to Montreal for treatments), I found a neurologist here in the Seattle area.  She is from the Czech Republic and has a very strong personality.  I will never forget the first time we met.  My attitude sucked because I had “had it” with doctors telling me there was no hope.  I was sick of filling out paperwork with every new doctor, and I absolutely refused to take medications that could have possibly been prescribed.  (Did I mention in the summer of 2011 that I was on 18 different medications in a day?  Or that I felt like a walking zombie?)  But this doctor put me in my place. She asked “do you think crying in my office is going to get you anywhere”?  She insisted that I had not done everything possible to get well.  I was furious.  I had changed my complete way of life in order to get better.  I was volunteering every week like the doctors wanted, in order to keep my mind from sinking into horrible depression.  I completely changed the foods I was consuming.  Yet I wasn’t getting better.  I was just hanging on by a thread.  That thread for me was faith.  Deep inside was a burning desire to prove everyone wrong and go back to work as a flight attendant.  Dr. Murinova diagnosed me with a Traumatic Brain Injury that very first visit.  (from a fall that occurred in 2010 where I hit the back of my head and don’t have any idea how long I was unconscious).  Every other doctor had told me “it can’t have anything to do with that fall”.  But apparently they were wrong, and someone may not have symptoms for 4 months to five years after harming their head.  (No wonder so many of our Veteran’s are not getting the proper care after being involved with IED blasts – something I am a huge advocate for now).

My job as a flight attendant does not define me as an individual; but it is a vessel for me to be the person I believe God intends for me to be.  It provides an outlet for me to make a difference for people on every flight, on my layovers, and in circumstances others may never have the opportunity.  I take none of that for granted.  And oh how I longed to have my identity back, because so much had been taken away from me the day Throb arrived.  With my new neurologists guidance (even though she really did make me soooo mad at that first visit.  hahaha), I was sent to another physician at the University of Washington Center for Pain Relief.  Dr. Heather Tick started doing a treatment called “GunnIMS”.  (see photo above).  You can look up the treatment and testimonials at www.istop.org .  Where I once was only able to have a few needles pushed into my skin, I got to the point I am now, where I basically ask her to do as many as she possibly can.  You see, there is no medication in those needles.

It really is difficult to explain how the procedure works.  It is different than acupuncture, because the needles are much longer. And they are going into muscles all over my body.  The base of my skull where I say “it feels like a butcher knife stuck in the back of my neck”.  In the crook of my shoulder where the bone is (I call it my chicken bone, because of the way it sticks up when I put my arm behind my back) there are muscles underneath.  And those muscles are connected to my shoulder muscles.  And that is where I carry a whole lot of stress.  Sometimes when I see Dr. Tick, we talk about my care packages for the troops, or my progress.  Before I get side tracked, I do want to say that after only four treatments (keep in mind, I had already been out of work for two years) – we started talking about what it would take for me to return to work.  And in September 2013, I beat the odds and returned to the job I love, under the realm of “pain manageable”.

Pretty in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Pretty in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

 

Which means there has not been one single day since May 2011 that I have not had a headache.  Some days are worse than others, today being one of them.  Literally I spent most of my day (and night) laying on my bathroom floor because I was afraid I would not get to the bathroom fast enough.  Plus when the pain is so severe, there is nothing better than a cold, dark, quiet place to rest.  Sure beats being in the hospital with an IV drip that just masks the symptoms.  (I am not discounting the fact that sometimes one has do what needs to be done, in order to get past the pain cycle).  Thankfully I have been able to avoid being rushed to the ER this time around, and am able to rest so that I can get back up and fly again (hopefully sooner, rather than later).

Probably the greatest lessons I have learned from Throb, was to make myself a priority. There are these words that I had to learn the definition “balance” and “boundaries” that I then had to put into action.  I had to learn to be my own project and take care of myself, because no one else is going to do it for me.  Thankfully I have a variety of treatments that help to keep the pain “manageable” so I can continue to do the job I love. (and TRULY, I thank God for that fact in my life!!!)  Unfortunately no one else can control my weight either, and I have to constantly be in check with what I am consuming to make sure none of that is exacerbating my pain.  That being said, I just finished Day 9 of my 21 day detox and cleanse.  Additionally, I have given up coffee and alcohol for Lent.  Not because I am a Catholic, but because I feel it is important to remember the sacrifices that were made for me; and it falls right into alignment with my belief system for Easter.

Many people in the world have “something” they need encouragement with.  Maybe it is the loss of a loved one, job, relationship gone bad, friendship that ended, or they cannot forgive themselves because the people they asked forgiveness from; has shunned them and left them feeling inadequate or unlovable.  My words of advice:  #BeKind .  Live every single day with gratitude, regardless of your circumstances.  Know you make a difference.  #BeIntentional in your words, actions, and time with your Creator.  Spend time outdoors.  Reconnect with the beauty around you.  Whether it is cold and snowy outside, or a beautiful and sunny day.  #HuntForTheGood every single day.  Allow yourself to learn from yourself and others.  Surround yourself with people you want to be like.  #Laugh. # Volunteer. And remember my motto for 2015 to #LoveEveryDay.

I absolutely know I am a walking miracle.  For that I am grateful.  Because I am able to look at my adversities and see my own strength.  Additionally, I am able to ask for help now (where I used to just do everything on my own and people expected me to be able to take care of the world) and accept that I have my own limitations.  Which is why I now ask for help with care packages in a monetary and physical form.  I cannot do it all on my own anymore.  It just got too big (much like the snowball that starts rolling and keeps growing) for me to handle on my own.  And for those of you who have donated or continue to help in ANY WAY, from the bottom of my heart – thank you.

 

USO Five Star Gala; where I was completely surprised by one of my heroes and the Director of the USO!!!

USO Five Star Gala; where I was completely surprised by one of my heroes and the Director of the USO!!!

 

For the service members who have allowed me to be a part of your lives since I started sending care packages so long ago – thank you.  You may not ever realize that I have gained strength through your examples of tenacity, courage, and honor, over the years.  For those of you reading this: whether you have known me my entire life, cheered me along for years, months, or days – thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I am forever thankful for each act of kindness toward me.  Thank you for realizing that I had to learn the word “no” and implement it, in order to take care of myself.  Thank you for loving me exactly as I am and allowing me to touch your lives with my unconditional love.  May you know you are important, you are valued, and you are loved.

 

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

 

PS.  Stay tuned, in the midst of this time of transition and continued healing – I will do my best to write more often and share ways you can help me to change the world.  One smile at a time.  🙂  (and if I didn’t mention it above, please join me in a happy dance when you see me next … I am finally based in Seattle permanently as of Feb 2015.  It only took sixteen  years!!!)  Huge relief and makes my life so much easier!!!  🙂

 

PO Box 16796

Seattle, WA 98116

 

www.alwayssupportourheroes.com

 

 

“Birthday in a Box 2015”

January 22nd, 2015
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Birthday fun for our deployed heroes

Extra, Extra … read all about it!!! Did you know this is my birthday month?  And with my schedule I completely forgot to post this blog about wanting to ask for a very special gift?  Care packages for our deployed heroes, of course!!!

It’s my birthday month … and time for “birthday in a box” for our deployed troops. If you would like to send any party items (like balloons, cups, beads, silly hats, party favors, plates, feather boas, board or card games, etc) that I can include in the contents, that would be fantastic. Also, it goes without saying, but I really need money for postage to send the items donated or I pick up in my travels.

This is something I have enjoyed doing over the years and the troops really love getting cake mixes, candles, and frosting and everything to help them celebrate my birthday with them.  :)    (they also are still needing scarves, hats, and items to stay warm … it is very cold in Afghanistan right now!!)

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Everything needed for a birthday party in a war zone …

“Birthday in a Box” is my way of uplifting our troops morale after the holidays.  Sending toys, games, pillows, twin size sheets, and of course my homemade fudge always warms their hearts and tummies.  This also is sent in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, so cards from your children, local schools, or you, are also welcome.  (As well as any fudge or cookies you want to make!!)

Please send anything you want me to include (and checks for postage) to:

Robin Schmidt

PO Box 16796

Seattle, WA 98116

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with to help make this a success.  I will be shipping to Afghanistan and Kuwait on 3Feb 2014; so I need your donations received no later than 31Jan 2014. (Definitely want to give everyone time to be a part of the fun, while making sure Miah and Brad receive the items in time for Valentine’s Day!!!).

If you want to PayPal money for this, you can do so to:  suppourtourheroes@live.com

(if you need a street address to ship items that you are ordering from a website, please let me know …)

Thanks so much for being a part of something fun to continue in my efforts of never allowing any of our valiant heroes to feel alone on the battlefield, and know they have someone to turn to when they return “home”. 

 

Always,
Robin

“The Sky Angel”

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Rachael’s birthday in a box and Tigger, too; from 2012

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2014”

October 7th, 2014
The Crusaders1

The “Crusaders” – 2013

“Mail Call for Our Heroes”

2014

Since 2002 I have been ‘adopting’ troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn all over the globe. Our service members have expressed to me, over and over again, the importance of receiving mail and hearing their name called at Mail Call. It helps them to cope with the time away from their loved ones back home & having their name called at Mail Call.  For that reason, to uplift spirits and boost morale over the holidays, “The Sky Angel is doing my eighth annual “Mail Call for Our Heroes”.

Miah 2013

Can’t wait to see Miah’s smile when he receives “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2014” and gets to play Santa for the soldiers in his unit 🙂

This year “Mail Call for Our Heroes” is for 1SG Miah Washburn and the other soldiers in the US Army National Guard Unit (Bravo Company, 2-162 IN) from Oregon, who are currently serving in Afghanistan. My goals: 1) To raise enough $$$$ for holiday care packages including Christmas trees with all the decorations, toiletries, food, homemade treats, clothing for our Wounded Warriors, a gift for each member of Miah’s unit, goodies for our canine heroes, and postage to ship everything collected.  Care packages will also be going to various other units I have been supporting, as well as the Combat Surgical Hospital in Afghanistan, along with items for the Wounded Warriors and hospital staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Camp Beuhring Christmas Tree

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Christmas at

Camp

Beuhring

“Mail Call for Our Heroes 2013”

2) 4,000 individual cards, letters, or notes so each service member in each unit or at the hospitals will have a piece of mail to open over the holidays.

Having you and your loved ones express your thoughts to the service members in these units will make such a difference for them this holiday season. Please feel free to get your children’s schools, girl/boy scouts, senior citizens homes, churches, social clubs, and families involved!  The troops love receiving the cards gathered from across the world for them!!

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Santa arrived in Kuwait … via “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2013”

Please send donations (checks should be payable to Robin Schmidt) to the address below. (Donations are not tax deductible as I do this out of the kindness of my heart and do not want the hassle of becoming a non-profit).  If you would like to make a donation online, you can do so via PayPal to the email address of: supportourheroes@live.com (or clicking on the donate button at the top of http://alwayssupportourheroes.com/what-to-send.html )

The deadline for me to receive any items you want to donate for the care packages themselves; including cards or letters to the troops, contents for packages, or cash donations need to be arrived in my mailbox no later than

Veterans Day (11 November 2014) to ensure they arrive overseas before Christmas.  Any items received after the deadline will still be sent and appreciated.

Every year our troops have been ecstatic with how much I was able to send because of the generosity of everyone who got involved. It was absolutely AMAZING to see how many people came together from the far reaches of earth, to take care of all the units my friends and I supported last year over the holidays and the special treatment we were able to extend to “The Crusaders”.

Thank you in advance for making a huge difference through your generous donations and participation in “Mail Call for Our Heroes 2014”, so none of our valiant heroes serving ever feel alone on the battlefield, or when they return home.

Always,

Robin

“The Sky Angel”

Robin Schmidt ~ PO Box 16796 ~ Seattle, WA 98116

for Fed Ex or UPS: 4412 Californian Ave SW #16796, Seattle, WA 98116