Thanksgiving, Dinner, Troops, Family, Miracles & Thanks... part 1

I have a wonderful story to tell you about an amazing store called Smart & Final.  Without asking for anything in return, they offered to provide everything for our Thanksgiving dinner for 25+ US Service Members.  Such a beautiful story needs every detail, so let me first begin with a little bit of history...
Everything starts at the beginning...
Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember my Father always telling me to be thankful and appreciative to/for our Military.  Anywhere we went, he thanked them, he would buy them little things, like a coffee or something of the sort.  My Father passed away when I was 5 years old, but a lot of his loving nature has stayed with me throughout my life. My wish while in Junior High was to join the Marines when I "grew up", but changed my mind due to severe migraines. In High School, I tried to follow my dream again, but I had to drop out of school to care for my mother. There ended my dreams but not my Love.  Throughout the years I volunteered with anything I could that involved supporting our Military.

In 1999 I met this guy, annoying and silly, a story of which I will tell later ;)  I ended up marrying this guy 2 months later, and 1 month later he left on his 1st deployment.  I had no idea what the lifestyle was like. Then I found out 1 month into the deployment that I was 6 weeks pregnant. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! I was alone, pregnant, and with my husband in the middle east, I was a wreck!  I got phone calls from my husband telling me about how lonely it was over there, and how the majority of his friends would get no mail; so I started baking once a week and shipping packages to them. It felt so great to hear about how happy my cookies were making everyone. Then I found Soldier's Angels. I signed up, not for my Husband to receive letters and care packages, but for me to be able to make other Soldiers feel some love as well. Ever since 1999 I have been adopting Service members.  I send letters, care packages, and ship home baked goodies.  I have never sent a care package with enough for one Service member, I always make sure I send enough for the entire unit. It's only right, right?!
That year, as my Husband was overseas I decided that I was going to do what I could so that other Service members didn't feel as lonely as him.  I cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at our little apartment, I adopted Sailors through the USO and had them enjoy a day of relaxation and food.  Ever since that year, we have always cooked and invited any Service members that we know of, that don't have Family out here, for every Holiday.

Last year was the hardest for us, we couldn't even afford a Thanksgiving day dinner for our Family, the paycheck didn't come in on time. We made the best of it, we ate sandwiches, watched TV, and made crafts. We  still enjoyed ourselves but felt bad that we couldn't invite anyone else from the base. That Sunday after Thanksgiving, we received our paycheck, bought turkey on "clearance", invited a few single Military members we know, and had a double reason to say Thanks; we had our Thanksgiving dinner on a Sunday ;)  This year, my husband and I had already spoken about this Thanksgiving.  With us having to move in 45 days and with absolutely no money for 1st month's rent and a deposit, there was no way we were going to be able to host a Thanksgiving dinner for our Military again. 

This is where it gets "mushy!":

The Friday before Thanksgiving week I got a call.  On the other side was an "Angel"!  What? You didn't know they have phones? They do!   I was told that Smart & Final heard what I did for our Troops and wanted to help me!  Little ol' me!!! I was beyond words, She told me that I was going to be receiving help to be able to host our ENTIRE DINNER!!!  She also told me that they were going to provide EVERYTHING I needed, from food to paperwares!!!!  I cried, I was so happy, I couldn't believe it, what a Blessing!!!  She informed me that it would be enough for me to host 25 Service Members.   She was so lucky, see if this had been a face to face meeting, I would have "professionally" jumped over the table and tackled her with a hug, the same would have happened to anyone that would have been at that meeting ;)
Not being able to have a Thanksgiving dinner at our house with our Family would have been a tiny bit sad but we would have been okay, not being able to give some Service members a home cooked Holiday dinner and just some Family company was the only thing we were ALL concerned with.  I am definitely going to post EVERYTHING about that night and leading up to it, but I had to start from the beginning, after all; every Miracle has a beginning right?
This has been such a wonderful experience to show the world how such a large company can make Miracles happen for the tiniest of people ;) 


  1. You can't stop your story there!!!! People want to know what else happened. And what kind of store is Smart & Final anyway? We don't have that here.

  2. LOL!
    I tried in so many ways to fit it all in one post and it was WAY TOO LONG! lol

    Smart & Final is in my opinion a better "club store" than the others out there. They sell regualr and bulk items, no membership fees, no club cards, and they accept coupons, EBT and WIC. I LOVE it there! It's mainly on the west coast.

  3. What a fantastic story. Now Please finish it. I will be signing up to follow you just so I do not miss any of it. That was another question I had to what kind of store is that as there not in Texas or Oklahoma. It is so nice to know we actually do have some Angles left including you and your hubby. Thank you for what you do for them. I am like your Father I Thnak them Policemen and Firemen too.I am also teaching my 3 year old to do the same.

  4. Thank you so much Glenda for such a beautiful comment ;)

    The stores are only in 3 States, California, Nevada and Arizona. Here's to hoping that such a great company shares it's love with the rest of the US ;)

    Thank you for spreading the love ;)

  5. Hello I am a new follower from the Tag back Tuesday blog hop. Great blog you have here. My father was in the army all his life and we had a great community. Really enjoyed looking at your post...keep 'em coming.I'm hopping all day as the snow and ice has me trapped again. What a great excuse to meet new people.Do feel free to drop by and follow me if you'd like.
    Kindest wishes
    Carol from

  6. What a great thing for your family to do and how wonderful that someone stepped up to help. I'm sure the men and women you fed had a wonderful time and appreciated itmore than you'll know!

  7. I can't wait to read how the dinner went. How very awesome that the S&F angels helped you, an angel yourself for providing such great memories for the troops over the years.

  8. What a wonderful story! Can't wait to hear more.

  9. Thank you so much Sondra for the beautiful comment ;)

  10. Wow! what a blessing you are to the Military families. Now Smart & Final also! Keep telling us the story, I will start sending packages etc. when Son is in the Marines.
    ps funny how kids get us involved

  11. Kim & Kim ;)
    Thank you for the comment ;)
    It's always great to hear when people appreciate little things you do, but in my opinion; I don't deserve any credit at all. Smart & Final stepped up to the plate and our Service members do all of the work for our safety ;)

  12. Wow, that is so cool! Thank you so much for sharing... Of course, I'm now waiting for part 2!! :)

    It's an amazing thing to be able to give to help others, like people in the military. It's so rewarding, and I'm so glad you were blessed back when you needed it!

  13. This was indeed a beautiful story and now thanks you to I have tears in my eyes! :-) You and Will are like family to me! Keep doing what you do best! God Bless you!! :)

  14. OMG, thank you so much for such beautiful comments!!!

    I am literally in tears reading them. I never started this post to get credit for myself, I wanted to show everyone what a great thing Smart & Final did for our Troops. I am grateful to everyone ;)

  15. this has to be the most beautiful act of kindness I have read about in a very long time, both from smart & final and from you.

    There are still angels on this earth, I can definitely see that.

  16. Hi,
    I am a new follower of your lovely blog, I found you via Thirsty Thursday.Your Thanksgiving story brought tears to my eyes, you clearly are a lovely caring person and I am so pleased to hear your efforts were supported.
    I would love it for you to visit me and leave me a message to let me know what you think of my blog.
    I am currently running a Secret Santa Giveaway which you are welcome to join, simply add your name to that posting.
    Wishing you a Happy Christmas
    Helen x

  17. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  18. I'm your newest follower from Keepin Company Thursday, and a Navy Mom.
    Blessings for all you do...

  19. beautiful family story,
    thanks for sharing your love and your family.
    stay blessed,
    you rock!
    Sorry for missing....

  20. HI Lily! Thanks for your beautiful comments and birthday wishes on my blog and Facebook. I thought I was following your blog, but I wasn't so I fixed that. :) So glad I came by and had a chance to read that incredible story!!! You are such a blessing to so many and I'm glad to hear your family was blessed as well. I'm now your newest follower here and on your Networked Blogs. :) Follow on my networked blogs too and we'll be totally connected!!!

    Lisa xoxo

  21. Hi, Lily. I absolutely despise the fact that people who risk their lives on a battlefield are not properly compensated. BUT, I love, love, LOVE what you do and can't wait to read the rest of this story. {Stopping by from CB!}

  22. That is just AWESOME>... and I need the REST.. (like a junkie.. lol)Swinging by to let ya know we're featuring you as our blog of the week and co-host on our hop.. "Tag Back Tuesday" tomorrow.. it'll go up at midnight.. (I'm so excited.. Love your blog.. OK.. Navy vet and wife... not very fair..I'm a sucker for Milblogs.. lol)

  23. This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story, I am so glad Smart and Final supported this lovely gesture your family does each year.

  24. Not sure how I found your blog...was on one blog that some one shared a link with me and you guest blogged on and was checking out your blog... This story had me in tear's. As a wife to a former Marine I just want to say Thank you for all that you do!!!!


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