Renee Weatherbee
Writer

Renee's Ramblings


 

INTRODUCTION:  This section is dedicated to my personal ramblings – it can be about anything, from a favorite product or service, to an opinion I feel strongly about, to a personal essay, to an attempt at adding humor to my otherwise boring day.  Whatever posted here will be highly personal and is my feeble attempt at exposing myself to the world as a writer, something that doesn't come easy for me.  I welcome any comments from anyone who takes the time to read my ramblings and will respond back to you (unless you are being overly offensive, in which case, I’ll just ignore you.)  I don’t know if you’d consider this a blog – blogs are written by people who have a particular expertise in some subject – I have no expertise in anything.  Thus, my ramblings…

Any products or services mentioned here are my own personal opinion.  I am not currently being reimbursed or endorsed by any company for mention of their product or service (however, it’s not out of the question for this starving artist writer – oh, that’s right – I’m not starving, I’m living off my husband’s income).  Any personal essays or opinions on this site are my own and I am fortunate to live in a country where I have the right to write about anything I so choose.  You have a right to read it, or not.  Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back often!


APRIL 10, 2012 - DUE TO A FAMILY EMERGENCY SITUATION,I AM UNABLE TO POST ANY NEW RAMBLINGS.  PLEASE CHECK BACK IN A FEW DAYS.  THANK YOU FOR VISITING MY WEBSITE. 


Posted:  March 29, 2012

 

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello!

Due to getting ready for moving back to South Dakota and getting back into the routine of actually working for a living, I won't be posting my silly little blog on this site until at least April 12th.  After that, please check on Tuesday and Friday mornings for new ramblings posted.

My last weekend in Virginia was awesome!  First, Al's son Jim Weatherbee, came down from New York City to spend a few days.  Between Jim and his dad, I don't know who is the better cook.  Friday night, Jim treated us to rib eye steaks seasoned with his own garlic butter concoction and I think it did beat out the whiskey marinated steak I love from The Lodge in Deadwood, but I'm going to have to have to go to Deadwood soon, to confirm that. Sunday afternoon, Al made baked tilopia topped with some of Jim's garlic butter concoction and it was good! (almost as good as the walleye you get from South Dakota...but not quite).  Jim outdid himself again Sunday night making us a meat loaf that is way too fancy and delicious to be called a loaf, stuffed with pepperoni, pork, beef, cheddar crackers, onions and a few secrets and mashed taters for a side.  It was beyond delicious - the best meat loaf I've ever tasted.  I was one lucky lady to be getting all this home cooking.  Thanks, guys!  And thanks again, Jim, for the book - its a great read.  That was very thoughtful of you!

Sunday at church, Pastor Garry called Al and I to the front and invited some of the members to come and lay hands on us while he and the rest of the congregation offered us up blessings for finding a new church home and safe travels.  It was bittersweet to say good bye, but I'll never forget any of these people.    

Friday, we will be heading back across half of the country again and you know something interesting will happen, so watch for a recap of our trip home.  It may or may not be funny.

Personally, I will be RVing it for 3-4 months while we wait for the renter in our house to vacate when the lease is up.  Living in the RV out to make for some interesting ramblings...Al is loving this - I can already hear him chuckling...he had to live in the motorhome for nearly 2 years while working in Virginia and Oklahoma.  For me, I'll look at it as an adventure and besides, I'll be in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota - that is all that matters...so what if I can't fit in the shower anymore because I gained 18 pounds when we quit smoking...I best find me a large sponge. 

To our Virginia friends - We will miss you and you will always have a place to stay in Rapid City, South Dakota, gateway city to the Black Hills, 16 miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  See ya soon!

To our South Dakota friends and family - We have missed you lots and we've become a spontaneous huggers, thanks to all the loving folks at Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church, so here we come!!!!

HAVE A HAPPY EASTER EVERY ONE!  GOD BLESS YOU!

 


Posted:  March 22, 2012

The Skinney

The following story was written for a writing contest.  I don’t think I even submitted it, but you had to pick a song from their list and incorporate the theme of that song and the lingo of that era into the story, which in this case was the 70s.  The song I chose was Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett.

I happened to come of age during the women’s lib movement.  I’m sure it’s hard for my daughters to imagine a world where the wives waited on their husbands every need, where the wives stayed home for the sole purpose of catering to the man and the children’s needs.  I had the view back in the 70s and 80s that women should work outside the home.  Soon after having children, I changed my beliefs on that, but by then it was nearly impossible to live on one person’s income in South Dakota, so I continued to work, sending my children to day care, wishing I could afford to stay home and raise them.  The majority of my working life was about paying bills, mainly health insurance for the whole family, not about working toward any specific goals to satisfy any personal career objectives.  While I did enjoy working most of the time and the friends I made along the way, I always longed to be at home taking care of my beautiful daughters.  My time with them went so fast. 

Writing this story brought back my youthful memories of feeling free and looking forward to a wide-open future, back when I looked up to people like Gloria Steinem.  It’s funny how you grow and change through decades of life experience.  Somewhere along the way, Mother Teresa became more the type of woman I admire.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story below:

 

Song:  Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

THE SKINNEY

 “Hi.  I’ll be home this weekend and was wondering if we can go to dinner Friday night?”

“For sure, Foxy Mama .  Why so formal?  We’re engaged.  You sound freaked out.  Everything okay?”

“I’m fine.  My mind’s heavy with finals in two weeks.”

“Baby, don’t be so bummed out.  You’re one smart chick.  It’ll be cool.”

“Sure.  Well, I best go study some more.  Catch ya Friday?”

“Is that all you have to say?”

“Until Friday.”

“I love you?”

“Later, Kevin.”

“Later, Babe.  Love you.”

A wave of nausea hit Kevin hard in the stomach, as he hung up the phone.  Christine had been distant for three months.  He did everything he could to pull her back in and show her how much he loved her.  He paid triple price to get her into the first night’s showing of Star Wars last weekend, a movie she was dying to see.  She didn’t even comment after the show.  Having scored the best pot in town, he lit up a joint and passed it to her.  She waved him off, unusual for her.  “This is some good shit, Sweetie.  Don’t you want to loosen up.  You’ve been working too hard.”  She used to love making out while she was stoned.  He didn’t even bother driving to their special spot, an abandoned farm where nobody bothered them.  

Still living with his dad so he could save money for a down-payment on a house, as they were getting hitched next summer, he was looking forward to making her his woman permanently.  She was in her final year at Cal State and would come home on long weekends and summers.  They’d been dating since their senior year and last Christmas he got down on his knee in front of her family and proposed. 

Kevin was becoming a master woodworker as an apprentice at Steve’s Custom Cabinets, learning all the tricks to producing beautiful wood pieces.  Steve was planning on retiring in two years and wanted Kevin to buy out his business.  Kevin loved working with his hands, the smell of fresh sawdust and the satisfaction of completing a project.  Steve never gave him any crap about his shoulder length hair, as long as he tied it back when working with the machinery. 

Friday, he put on his best bell bottom jeans, black denim shirt and leather vest.  He tied his black hair back with a leather strap and trimmed up his mustache.  The silver and turquoise peace sign medallion Christine gave him for his birthday stood out against the black shirt.  He was taking Christine to Lake Tahoe to dine at The Lodge, hoping that would put her in the mood.  It had been over a month since they’d made love.  

Seeing her coming out the door with her straight, flowing, blonde hair glowing in the sunlight, choked him up.  She was wearing tight bell bottom jeans and a sheer, sexy, ivory blouse that gathered at the waist.  The low neckline gave him a view of a little cleavage.  She was hot and he was proud to show her off tonight.

Driving away in his ‘72 green Datson, headed toward the mountains, Kevin reached for her hand.  It was icy.  So was she -- she didn’t even squeeze him back when he rubbed her fingers.  She was silent the whole trip. 

After their steaks arrived, she began to talk.  “Kevin, I have some news.  You’re not going to dig it.”

“Yeah.  What is it, Honey?”

“Here’s the skinney.  I’m moving to New York City.”

“What?  Really?  No way.  I, I mean for how long?” 

“I took a job at the New York Times.  It’s in the mailroom, but it’s a start.”

“You went to college to work in a mailroom.  Don’t be a bunny.”

“It’s a foot in the door.  You knew my dream has always been to work for a big newspaper.”

“The Reno Times is pretty big.  You never said anything about wanting to live in New York.”

“Professor Sanderson wrote a rad recommendation for me.  I had an interview last week and I accepted the offer.”

“What about us?  I’ve been saving for two years on a down payment for a house and by next summer, we should have our own pad.”

“Uhhh-um.  That’s the other thing.  I don’t want to be your wife, Kevin.  I don’t want to be anybody’s wife.  I want to focus on my career.  The world is wide open and it’s changing so fast and I want to write about it.  I want to be a successful career woman.”

“I’ve always wanted to hole up in Mexico sucking down margaritas all day long, but you don’t see me breaking up with you to do it?”

“I’m sorry, Kevin.  I love you, but you’d hate New York City.  Besides I don’t want to be tied down right now.  I have to be free to go after all those things my mother couldn’t.  All she ever did was take care of Dad and me.  She gave up a position at the Boston Philharmonic to get married.  She doesn’t complain, but I catch her day dreaming all the time.  She likes to dig out her scrapbook and show me all her music ribbons and awards.  She gave up her dream.  I’m not going to.”

“I’m not asking you to, Christine.  Why can’t you aspire to becoming the Editor of our paper?  That would be a hell of an accomplishment.”

“I want to see if I can make it on my own in the Big Apple, Kev.”

“There’s nothing more to say, is there?  Except adios.”

“I guess not.  I’m sorry.”

“Huh, if you get lonley and need to find me, I’ll be somewhere south of the border.  May the Force be with you.”  Kevin threw a twenty on the table and stormed off leaving Christine sitting there.  If she was so freaking independent, she could find her own way home.

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Posted:  March 19, 2012

 

Favorite Snack:  Strawberry Smoothie Frozen Yogurt Bar by Weight Watchers

 

After a doctor abruptly advised that I drop some weight after a recent injured back episode, with the enthusiasm that only a beached whale could muster, I reluctantly joined Weight Watchers Online.  The doc had no sympathy to give when I told him I’d gained eighteen pounds right after we quit smoking on January 1.  He did not utter one word of congratulations.  He did recommend that I completely stop drinking diet sodas and start making myself like coffee.  I followed his orders slightly – I went from drinking 4-6 diet sodas a day to only having one.  The bitter taste of coffee is not something I’m going to start enjoying at this latter stage of my life.  I’ve made it this far without it - I think I can pass on it for the rest of my days.

The first week, I dutifully kept track of my Weight Watchers Points Plus and lost five pounds.  I gave up chocolate for Lent, something I normally eat daily, so that probably helped also.  I began forcing myself to eat some healthier foods and rediscovered that some of them I really liked.  I also found that I was eating way more food than I normally do and eating more often throughout the day in order to get to my assigned points for the day.

My best discovery, however, was Strawberry Smoothie Frozen Yogurt Bars made by Weight Watchers.  I’ve never liked the taste and texture of regular yogurt, but my husband bought these for me to try.  

From the first bite, I immediately felt the refreshing sensation of eating a strawberry pop cycle in the hot sun on the front stoop as a child and my insides lit up.  With each consecutive bite, I fell more in love with the sweet, creamy texture, and the cold strawberries reminded me of the ones my mom used to pile on top of short cake doused in whip cream.  I couldn’t believe that a food that only had 60 calories and 1gram of fat could taste so decadent, rich and fattening!    I doubled checked the calories and nutrition facts.  This delicious treat was also supplying me with 15% of my daily Vitamin C and 8% of my daily Calcium requirements.  For two points, I quickly indulged in another one.

Maybe this program isn’t so bad, after all.  I just discovered Weight Watchers has a Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bar for 3 points!  Move over Strawberry Smoothie!

To view a smorgasbord of tasty treats, go to www.weightwatchers.com/icecream.

 

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Posted:  March 15, 2012

 

Knocks My Socks Off – Favorite Poem:  Desiderata

I first saw the following poem in the 1970’s.  At that time, it was popular poster. I think I must have had one on my wall, but I don’t remember for sure.  What I do remember is that when I graduated high school in 1976, I received a graduation card from my dad, with this poem on the front.  I treasured this card for many years, but don’t know where it ended up.  I read and reread it so many times, that I remember it falling apart at the seam.  This poem was a great influence on me as a person and I believe I tried to live my life in this way.  In fact, I am a walking poster for the fifth verse and can attest that love is "as perennial as the grass", at least romantic love.  I did strive to be happy much of my life and believe I have achieved true happiness and contentment, thanks be to God.   It took some time, but I finally did "surrender things of youth" and do some growing up and obtain a little bit of wisdom.   The whole poem is excellent advice on how to live a happy life.  The word Desiderata is Latin and means “desired things.”   What is your favorite poem and why? 

Desiderata

By Max Ehrmann, 1927

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

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The truth is...our broom is standing completely on its own in the center of our kitchen.  See story below for explanation. 


Posted:  March 12, 2012

 

WONDERful Weekend!

Friday Night Fright - Magic or Mystery?

Friday night the moon was full, bright orange and just barely above the horizon when I first noticed it and stood in awe of its beauty.  It had been a long, hard day.  Let’s just say there were some family issues to deal with and leave it at that.  I was looking forward to a night out with our friend and neighbor, Alice.  We had a nice dinner, Al and Alice, enjoyed a few beers. 

Upon arriving home, I was looking forward to bed, but there was a voicemail from my grandson, Baine.  I couldn’t quite understand his garbled words, but caught something about a broom and noted the excitement in his voice.  I called him back.  My daughter, Amber, answered with the same excitement in her voice.  “Mom, you won’t believe this, but we made a broom stand up all by itself!” 

“Ya, right,” was my less than enthusiastic response.

“Seriously, Mom, it has something to do with the planets being aligned, something that only happens every 5,000 years.  Tonight is the night the planets are just right, but people have been making brooms stand by themselves since October.  Whatever it is, it is some kind of strange phenomenon.  Our broom has been standing for over two hours.  Some people think it has to do with the world ending in 2012, but I won’t talk about that.  Anyway, it’s all over Facebook.  People all over are doing it.”

I’ll admit my heart started racing a little bit.  I don’t want to hear about strange phenomenon or about how people think the world is going to end on December 21, 2012.  My personal opinion about anybody on earth alive today or long dead knowing when the world is going to end is that no one here can possibly know, as not even Jesus knew when he was on earth, according to the Bible. 

Amber urged us to try standing our broom up.  My daughter’s prodding can sometimes be merciless, so in order to appease her we began trying to coax the broom into standing up, by holding it between our fingers and slowly letting go.  Several times, it stood on its own for a few seconds, then fell, as we expected.  I reported to her that it didn’t work.  She advised us to keep trying.  We ended our phone conversation. 

Then I heard Al in the other room.  I walked into the kitchen where he was, stopped and stared with my mouth open.  There the broom stood all on its own in the center of the floor.  We took pictures letting the broom free stand there while we watched.  We left it alone and walked back to the living room.  We sat down and did a little research on the Internet. 

Some sites say that this can happen whenever there is a full moon and that this has something to do with the tide.  Some say that this can be done any day of the year and its all a matter of physics and balancing.  I tend to agree with the latter.  Whatever it was, Al started experimenting and soon had a penny balanced (not that impressive to me, I’ve seen it before) and a pen balanced on its cap (a little trickier). 

The broom stood for over thirty minutes, until I was ready for bed.  I walked back to the kitchen, expecting that the broom would fall over, because, typically, my gait and weight can make the fridge rattle when I walk by, so why wouldn’t the broom be forced over by the power of my hips?  It wasn’t bothered a bit by my swooshing in and out and around it to get my drink of water.  I said to Al, “Put that broom to bed, will you?  I don’t want to hear a loud noise when it falls over on its own in the middle of the night.”

Of course, Al made a joke of it. He went and got a pillow off the couch, laid it on the floor in front of the broom, laid the broom down on the pillow.  Then he took a blanket and laid it on top.  (He was putting the broom to bed…just like I told him.)  This is what I have to live with.  LOL!

We pondered some more about the broom.  We don’t have the answers.  My best guess according to what we read is that anyone can do it, that it doesn’t matter what kind of broom you use, that it is all about physics and balance and that it can be done any day of the year, but it sure was fun playing around with, and it was fun to see others follow along and try it for themselves with success.  I welcome any comments to the contrary. 

The next day, Al’s sister, Donna, quizzed us.  She was sure it was a trick photo.  No, Donna, it really works!  Al teased her that she’ll never know, because she doesn’t own a broom. 

 

Saturday – Dunes Discovery

It’s hard to keep us at home on a bright, sunny day.  For me, a day like this means a picture taking day and a day to explore, searching for the perfect place to take scenic photographs.   Saturday morning, we had the urge to get out.  We talked about going north or south.  We decided to head to North Carolina and maybe go as far as the National Seashore down by Naggs Head. 

Unfortunately, my camera battery was completely dead, so we had to take Al’s small digital camera.  It would work in a pinch, but the photos weren’t going to turn out nearly as clear as with my camera.  The temperature was still in the mid forties, but it was early.  We assumed the farther south we went, the warmer it would get.  We took Hwy 168 off of Interstate 64 down by Virginia Beach and we were soon at the border of North Caroline and Virginia.  We had driven over sixty miles and the temperature hadn’t changed much.  The wind was stronger and gustier, but we continued on.

We drove for another half hour, then pulled into a restaurant for lunch.  It was okay, but nothing above the ordinary…nothing to write home about (or to post here.)  We continued our little trek and made it to as far as Nags Head. 

We didn’t have far to go to get to the National Seashore, but the beach area was to our left as we were driving south and the winds were getting stronger.  According to the car navigational map, there was water on both our left and right, even though we couldn’t see it.  We were driving on a very narrow strip of land, which is what the Outerbanks of North Carolina is.  We decided to look for a beach area on our right side, as the sun was more toward the west than the east, hoping we could find a place to block us from the wind a bit. 

We spotted a brown state park sign and pulled in.  It read, “Jockey Ridge State Park.”  We drove up to the visitor center, in awe over the giant mounds of sand surrounding the building.   The first pleasant surprise was that there was no park fee.  What a concept!  I hadn’t experienced that before. 

The gentleman behind the counter, upon finding out this was our first visit, was very helpful and informative.  He invited us to climb up the dunes, which loomed upwards of 90 to 100 feet, in rolling dunes around the center.  First, he directed us into the interactive museum to learn about the site.  We took our tour finding it interesting and helpful.

Shortly into our climb, we visited with a nice couple coming down from what appeared to be the highest ridge.  We asked if you could see the water from up there.  They advised that once we reached the top of the first visible ridge, there was an even taller one behind it.  If we climbed that one, the view would be stunning.   Somehow, we made it to the top of each sand “mountain” – Al barely out of breath, me huffing and puffing.  The couple was right.  The view was breathtaking!  We took some photos, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to capture the true beauty of what we saw. 

We stood on top of that mound of sand wondering how it got so tall and admiring the beauty all around.  We wished we would have brought a kite and our grandkids. We could picture them running through the sand, laughing and rolling around and racing down the dunes.  The biting wind got the best of us, so we braced ourselves and began to descend the mounds.  Even with my ears covered, it was cold, but Al reminded me that this was nothing compared to the icy winds of North and South Dakota winters, where we would soon be. 

It was a wonderful day of exploration, seeing another of God’s magnificent creations and spending time with my husband. 

Here is a link to the state park, for more information:

http://www.jockeysridgestatepark.com/

I recommend going when it’s about 70 degrees and there is a slight breeze.  I highly recommend taking along a kite and some kids.  It’s a perfect place for kids to run off steam and with the soft sand all around, it’s not likely they’ll get hurt. 

Below are a couple of photos taken at Jockey’s Ridge. 

 

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Al half-way up the first ridge of Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, NC.



Nature's canvas - wind blown pattern in the sand.



To get a perspective on how high up and long this dune is, those are people standing at the top (little black specks). 


March 8, 2012

 

The Truth Is…

 

It’s pretty hard to tell a lie when you start a sentence with “the truth is.”  I didn’t believe that until I experimented with it myself. I don’t remember where I heard this piece of wisdom from, but it works for me. 

I don’t think I was a great liar, by any means, but I do confess that when the truth might cause me embarrassment or hit a nerve somehow, I have been known to tell a half truth or just enough of the truth that it protected me, but yet, later when I thought about it, I realized that my half truth or tiny bit of the truth could have lead others to be deceived into concluding something other than the truth for themselves.  In other words, my slight tiny white lies caused deceit.  The Encarta Dictionary defines deceit as 1) a dishonest practice; and 2) something done to mislead.  So, therefore, I conclude that deceit is a form of a lie. 

I always knew I was capable of telling many half truths and white lies not only to others, but to myself.  I always knew in my heart when I was doing it.  I never liked that side of myself.  It was serious enough of an issue that about five years ago, when someone pointed this out to me, that starting a sentence with “The truth is…” makes it harder to lie,  I began not only saying this out loud when people asked me what I thought or what I knew, but I began saying it to myself when I internally confronted an issue mainly about myself.  For example, any personal problems about myself that I needed to face I started coming at with “The truth is…”

I will share with you a few of those issues I confronted, as painful as some might be.  But it is very freeing and eye-opening when you are mature enough to do this for yourself. 

The truth is…I am overweight.

Versus what I used to tell myself:

I am a large woman with big bones.  I am not overweight.

I am full-figured.  I am not overweight.

                       

The truth is…I was not a perfect mother, but I did the best I could with the shortcomings I had at the time. 

Versus what I used to tell myself:

I was not a perfect mother, but I did the best I could with what I had.  (see better explanation above.)          

I thought I was good mother.  I gave my kids lots of affection and love.  Well, yes, I did, but, the truth is, I didn’t give them some of the other essential things they needed like a stable, Christian home to grow up in, because I had a stubborn pride that wouldn’t cooperate or compromise.

The truth is…I was stubborn and uncompromising much of the time in some of my relationships.  The truth is I also yelled a lot when I didn’t get my way.

Versus what I used to tell myself:

I am easy going.

The truth is…at home, I was only easy going when I got my way.  When I didn’t, I would often throw tantrums, crying and yelling, in order to get things my way, which most of the time didn’t work, which only caused more strife and mayhem.  The truth is, I was only easy going around friends and associates.  The truth is, I should have given the same respect to my family and been my authentic self, which was easy going, but which got lost in the mess of trying to be right all the time in my home environment.


Ouch!  That hurts!  But it's the truth.  These revelations about myself didn’t come easy, because who wants to admit they acted inappropriately and immaturely during much of their past.   Revelations came years later when the damage was done.  I can’t go back and fix the past and amazingly enough, I think my daughters turned out pretty well, in spite of their mother.  They are all mothers now and I’m sure each of them will strive to be a better mother than I was and I know they will succeed.  I pray they’ll be better wives than I was.  But I’m also certain that they’ll make some mistakes and have regrets.  We all do, and that’s the truth

                       

 

                       



Posted:  March 5, 2012

 

A Soldier’s Calling

(The following poem is one of my latest and one of my favorites.  This poem is to honor all of our soldiers who protect this country by going to foreign lands, risking their very lives and sometimes losing it, for the United States of America and the flag for which it stands.  There are 50 lines to the poem – representing the 50 states.)

 

To this great nation

Established under God

You vowed to protect

Without question

Sometimes without honor

 Seldom in comfort

The oath you swore preceding all

 Including loved ones

Great sacrifices, lonely nights

Dusty trails and danger

Haunted down to your core

By unspeakable acts

Carrying out your mission

Often amidst ungrateful people

Turmoil and destruction surround

You by day entering dreams by night

The only familiar object in sight

The red, white and blue colors

Flying in the hot, contaminated air

Unable to blot out the crackle

Of unfriendly, random gunfire

Bombs exploding senselessly

The bloody violent scenes

A cross you must bear alone

For your country protecting

Your own peoples back home

And those from another culture

Eradicating unknown villains

The loss of fellow soldiers breaking

Your heart, unable to wrap your arms

Around the one who means the most

Separated by colossal seas

And desolate barren grounds

Hours spent longing for your homeland

For the caress of your own bed

Taken from the familiar, lodged

In a strange environment

Doing it out of duty and honor

Expressing thanks to a great nation

Defending the citizens’ rights

Risking life and limb, even unto death

How can anyone express their

Sincere gratitude that you

Surrendered your own world

To defend one nation, one alliance

Honest principles and values

Meshing with your own ethics

A soldier’s calling, never doubting

You would do it all over again

For this, may you forever be blessed.

 

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Posted:  March 1, 2012

 

Updates

New Record Set

According to my web provider stats, February 2012 showed the highest number of visits to my website since beginning in May of 2011, beating out the month of July 2011.  February’s records show 144 unique visitors, 280 visits and 608 page views.  To date, I've had 601 unique visitors, 1,146 visits and 2,713 pages viewed.

 I would like to personally thank all those who take them time to read my blog.  Please don’t be afraid to contact me or sign the guest book, if you have comments or questions.  Thanks friends, family, acquaintances and those I’ve yet to meet!

Smoking Status 

Al and I are both still non-smokers and are on our 60th day today, which is cause for celebration!  We promised that we would do something special to mark the anniversary each month.  We have become such non-smokers, that we forgot to even discuss what we would do for March.  That’s progress!  This was God’s doing, not ours, as he answered our prayers and got us through the tough parts.

I am personally amazed that I don’t even think about cigarettes unless someone brings them up or I tell someone that I quit.  No longings.  No cravings.  I quit several times in the past for up to two years and never got past the frequent cravings stage.  God has to be working on me, that’s the only explanation I can come up with.  I am still taking it one day at a time, but the days have been good.

Baby Lawson

I had posted several times about this little grandson of my friend, Nancy.  He was born with some heart defects and has been going through surgeries and subsequent complications.  He’s been in Intensive Care for weeks and is now being moved to another floor.  It is said that he is wowing the doctors and nurses with his progress!  Thanks be to God!

Aunt Marilyn

Aunt Marilyn is doing great.  She and her husband, Ronnie, just came back from spending some recovery time at their home in Arizona.  God has done an awesome thing in their lives!

The Chubby Christian

My sister, Melinda, reports that she has lost 5 pounds and can’t seem to get past that to lose more.  She does a hard workout every day.  My guess is she is turning fat into muscle.  When I asked her if she’s measuring inches, she said that she and the tape measure got into a fight once and so she won’t go that route.  LOL!  I will soon be joining Melinda in actively trying to lose weight, as I gained 18 pounds since I quit smoking 60 days ago.  When I get back to South Dakota, I will have sidewalks to walk and beautiful hiking trails to explore!  No more dancing in the dark – LOL!

 

(If you enjoyed reading this post, please take a moment to sign the guest book by scrolling to bottom of page or clicking on the Contact Me tab from the Menu. Thanks for reading! I love to hear from my visitors!)

 


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