Wednesday, May 4, 2011

4 May 2011

It's been a while since I've updated the blog. I guess in a way it's because there's been nothing really new to tell. Things really have settled down into a routine, but in many ways, I think this has been harder. I know that recently I've been feeling "down" and having a difficult time emotionally.  Perhaps it's a reaction to the end of the adrenaline rush that fueled so many of our actions for so long. Now it just seems like it's going to be a long time until this is all is over. Perhaps it's because I'm just tired of everything being so "hard." For example, the visit forms that are necessary for Nate's sister to visit him seem to have disappeared, so they have to be re-submitted. That's another 4-6 weeks of approval time before we can even plan a visit. Nate wants to take summer classes, but he's been told he can't. I called the college and found out that they offer summer classes and have inmates who take them, so we have to track down why Nate was told he couldn't, and now it may be too late for him to start on time.  I have to keep reminding myself of my own advice...just take one day at a time.

We do have a couple of prayer requests for the next few days: First, Nate will be taking the final exams on Friday for the two classes he took this semester. Pray that he does well! It's been a little tricky to write term papers without access to research materials or a computer. He's been very resourceful. He lets us know what he needs so that we can print & mail Internet articles, and then he writes his papers out longhand and mails them to me so I can type them. It's frustrating at times; last week the packet I mailed him with the research materials he needed was returned to me, unopened. I mailed the exact same package again and it was accepted. I have no idea what the problem was the first time. Since he was running short on time, he called last week while I was home on Easter break and read his paper to me over the phone while I typed it out and sent it in for him.

Speaking of phone calls, if you want to help with any of our expenses, donations toward our phone costs would be appreciated. It costs about $8 for a 20-minute phone call. It took 3 phone calls for Nate to be able to dictate his paper to me last week. If he calls and we have to arrange a better time for him to call, it's $1.86 for the 1-minute phone call. However, I feel that being able to talk to us whenever he needs to is important to keeping Nate's spirits up. We've told him not to worry about the costs -- just call when he needs/wants to talk.

This actually leads to the second prayer request - next week is Nate's birthday. Please pray that he has a good day and he keeps his spirits up! I plan to buy the funniest card I can to send him. If you want to send a card you can email me privately for the address. You'll have to get it in the mail quickly, though! I also was able to put a donation I received toward a package that will hopefully arrive in time for his birthday. I ordered a typewriter for him so that it would help with the papers he has to write for his college classes. (Did you know that they make typewriters out of clear plastic?!)  It took 4 months for him to get approval for the art supplies I sent him for Christmas. At that rate, I should have sent his birthday present last January.

My dad and oldest son were able to visit Nate last weekend. They said they had a good visit, Nate looks and sounds good, and that their Grandpa is a poor Scrabble player. (Sorry, Dad, I couldn't resist that one). I'm hoping to go out for another visit later this summer.

We continue to appreciate the support of our local city council member, Rose Herrera. Her office is sponsoring a showing of the HBO documentary Wartorn: 1861-2010 at San Jose City Hall on Friday, June 3. If you're in the area we'd love to have you join us. Please spread the word! (Just be sure to have anyone who plans to attend RSVP through the email address or phone number provided on the flyer below. Due to seating restrictions, people will be turned away if we exceed the capacity of the chambers). For more information about the documentary itself you can visit HBO's official webpage ( or Facebook fan page (!/wartorn18612010).

Finally, FAVA is officially up and going -- at least to the point that we can now officially accept donations and seek grant money. We have 501(c)3 status through our affiliate, WestCare Foundation. We're working on getting the website up and running and have already been contacted by new families who are seeking support for their situation. You can watch for more information at our website: (

Thank you for praying --
Until next time,


pelcowboys said...

Just wanted to send a "hello" from a high school class in Texas touched by your story. The students I teach feel for your son and your family. We wanted to send our thanks to him for his service and our hope that justice for him and others suffering from PTSD is forthcoming.

Charilyn & Mike said...

Our thanks to your high school class! We hope that awareness of Post Traumatic Stress will help on many levels -- for those in the community to have understanding and appreciation for the ongoing sacrifice of our families -- and for those who will be making decisions to enter the military. We pray that the next generation of service members will be able to get the support they need sooner.

Today is Nate's birthday, so we especially appreciate your support today!

Michael said...

i dont even know where to beging i am sitting here watching wartorn for the first time this was recomened to me by my barber. my name is Sgt Michael Noonan 1st ceb 1st plt cco. i have served 2 tours of iraq and to be honest watching this is tourture.i do this to myself because it is the only way i can cry. i know in many way how your son feels or maybe better said felt seeing i dont know how he feels today. i dont know how i can possibly make you understand howe much i feel for Nathan and your family. i understand what he did was wrong but i feel he was treated unjustly. i am not to sure what i can do to help but i will donate some money just from being deployed i know how important a phone call can be. well i dont know what else to say but i hope to hear how Nathan is dooing because i have put this page in my fav

Charilyn & Mike said...

Michael -
Nate offered to tell his story because he wanted to help his brothers. The fact that you are willing to watch the movie even though it is hard to do is a good start. I hope you can find some other vets that you can talk to. Of all the vets we've talked to, most feel like they're the only one who feels the way they do, when in reality all of you feel the same way. I don't know what part of the country you're in, but if you can find a group like Vets4vets or Vet to Vet it might really help. Thank your barber for us for getting the word out!

Kathi said...

Just saw the documentary Wartorn this past Memorial day weekend, and Nate's story and Charilyn, your words in the story, touched my heart deeply. We have added you all to our prayers. From an Army step-mom.