House Beautiful

You Are What You Give


So we’ll be back to posting the raddest holiday gift guides in a hot minute, but I have to shout from the rooftops about an amazing organization I’ve come to know and love, which has personally touched my family recently – more specifically, my leetle brother Sam who’s stationed in Bahrain for the Coast Guard.

It’s called Operation Warrior Watch, and their aim is to lovingly hand pick and then send care packages to soldiers abroad – from the basic necessities, to little luxuries, to a simple letter. Just some top notch, straight-from-the-heart TLC from the good ol’ US of A.

I’m now one of those people I used to read about – someone whose loved one is shipped off to a far away, strange, strange land you’ve only ever seen on the news or in movies.  And that, mis amigos, is not easy. It’s real hard.  You sit in a state of denial, silently counting down the days when they’re on safe soil again.  It’s surreal. But now… it’s real for me and my family.

So nothing makes me feel better than knowing there’s a group of angels taking care of these people who are taking care of us.  And right now, a care package is being sent off to my dear Sam, thanks to my angel of a friend Paria (below), their West Coast Ambassador.  P-Dawg wrote me a note about OWW and how the organization affected her life, and it was just too cool not to share with y’all.  So here goes:

Eleven years ago, I fell heels over head for a cute football player in my class.  Three years later, he retired his football jersey for fatigues and boots.  His enlistment into the Army changed my life forever.  I stood by him through basic training and two wars.  I had the honor of visiting some of the best Army posts in the country, and was introduced to some of the bravest men and women in (and out of) uniform.  The army wives at every post I visited – Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart and my favorite Fort Hood – welcomed me with open arms and open hearts.  So did the Army community at large.

Five months into my then-soldier’s first deployment to Iraq, I met the incomparable Lori Stewart, President of Toys for Troops (now Operation Warrior Watch).  Lori singlehandedly carried me through “my” first deployment.  Anything I needed was given- no questions asked.  My soldier’s mother was battling cancer and I wanted to ensure that he was spoiled while overseas.  My mission to keep him happy became Lori’s mission.  She calls all of our military men and women her “soldier babies.”  No request is too big for her.

(Packaging the gifts at OWW)

Thanks to my time spent with the military community, I am forever inspired to give back and do more for those who sacrifice EVERYTHING to keep us safe.  Lori introduced me to Angela and Will Page- they “adopted” my soldier and created “soldier brownies” for the first package they sent over to him.  I believe they still keep in contact with my ex.  The military community is a tight-knit one… you never leave or break up with those who carried you through dark days.

As the new West Coast Ambassador for OWW, I’m honored to help spread awareness and garner goods for our boys and girls in uniform on my side of the country.   This holiday season, I hope you join me in giving a little back to those who give us so much.  Know a military member who could use a package? Please send us their info. Have a little extra change in your pocket? Please donate and watch as your paper money transforms the lives of those who have to spend their holiday far away from the comforts of home, family and peace.

Thank you to Karrie and Stephanie, for allowing me to use this platform to spread the message of Operation Warrior Watch.  Thank you to Lori, for constantly taking my breath away.  Thank you to those who serve.  I’d like to make it my mission to shake all of your hands.  Thank you to those who will send in money, prepare a package and or volunteer in some capacity- I believe we should all keep to the theme of Operation Warrior Watch by ‘lookin out for those who are lookin’ out for us.’

Thanks Paria and Lori, and everyone at OWW. Thank you Sam.  Happy Holly-days, everyone 🙂


6 Responses to “You Are What You Give”

  • We are so blessed to take part in the organization and even more thrilled to host the packaging event at my place of employment. Will and I will be baking “soldier brownies” tonight and we do still keep in tough with our adopted soldier. From the picture of the event you’ve posted, it appears as if we work with our hands but in truth, we work with our hearts. Wish I could hug all the soldier babies. We’ll just have to breathe hugs into those care packages! <3

  • Love this Karrie! I too have a brother residing in Afghanistan right now. He’s been there since September with a scheduled return of April. This is his first deployment – I was able to “see” him via Skype over Thanksgiving while I spent the holiday with his wife (my fave little sissy). I will look into this and make a donation. It’s near and dear to my heart this year too

    Thanks for posting!


  • This is an AMAZING organization and loved reading paria’s letter… thanks for telling us about OWW…I’m going to donate now. PS – lots of love and encouragement to sam.

  • Kristin- I forgot you were a military sister too! I’m thinking of your brother and you and your fam 🙂

    And Angela- Thank you so much for all you do. Big, big hug from Cali. Xoxo

  • Tina(Sam and Karries Mom)

    Pray for peace and the safe return of all men and women in the services of our military. Thanks to all who donate so much time and love.

  • Karrie, Thank you so much for this amazing post. Our event was a huge success, and your leetle brother has a package heading his direction, with a personalized note from Paria stuck in there! Man, I put that Paria to work the minute she pulled up in my driveway! We had a blast taking care of those. Tell your brother thanks from this soldier mama!

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