From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Borrowed from some Marines

This communication arrived for me some time ago, it moved me profoundly. I am typing from my air-conditioned, comfortable, home... My husband and men and women like him from across the country are wearing 50 pounds of Kevlor in unbelievable heat, as our son said when we told him Randy was being deployed, "well Dad, you gotta do what you gotta do." So now I will share the thoughts of the brave men and women of Baker Company... and as they say, "one picture is worth a thousand words...."
Bed a little lumpy....
Toss and turn any...
Wish the heat was higher...
Maybe the a/c wasn't on...
Had to go to the john...
Need a drink of water...?? ?
Scroll down

Yes.. It is like that!
Count your blessings, pray for them,
Talk to your Creator and the next time when...the other car cuts you off
and you must hit the brakes, or you have to park a little further from
Walmart than you want to be,or you're served slightly warm food at
the restaurant,or you're sitting and cursing the traffic in front of
you,or the shower runs out of hot water,
Think of them... Protecting your freedom!

To all the men and women doing "what you gotta do" this Memorial Day, thank you for your service, we are, because of you....,


The proud warriors of Baker Company wanted to do something to pay tribute to our fallen comrades. So since we are part of the only Marine Infantry Battalion left in Iraq the one way that we could think of doing that is By taking a picture of Baker Company saying the way we feel. It would be awesome if you could find a way to share this with our fellow countrymen. I was wondering if there was any way to get this into your papers to let the world know that 'WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN' and are proud to serve our country.' Semper Fi! 1stSgt Dave Jobe
The attached photo was forwarded from one of the las t U.S. Marine companies in Iraq . They would like to have it passed to as many people as possible, to let the folks back home know that they remember why they're there and that they remember those who've been lost.

Friday, May 22, 2009

When your heart is troubled...

No matter how difficult the life situation, all I have to do at Soldier's Heart is go outside and be still... there is a beautiful Bible verse that says, "Be still and know that I am God." The birds here offer a constant concert to the Lord, they sing of his love, power, and amazing grace. We live in a corridor that goes from the top of the planet to the bottom, birds as well as butterflies travel this space, and many live here. It is amazing to me how tame wild birds become. Cardinals always follow me to the back pasture to feed the horses, they are waiting rather impatiently for theirs. They fuss and chatter, always wanting their free meal. They love the bird baths, the feeders, and the bird houses, and sing of their joy constantly.

It would take too long in this writing to name all the species, in fact I have no idea how many there are. I do know there are rare birds here. That is why Soldiers Heart is such a great "birding place," and a place to listen to the bird's message that God still loves all who call this planet home, and his peace and assurance of a perfect plan in place to restore a peace that no one will disturb again is at work here, and we will war no more. Young men and women will not be needed, nor 50 year old men and women, anymore to bear the burdens of war.

Soldiers who come here often find it difficult at first to "be still." There are aspects of war that wound the soul, numb the heart, and cause the mind to doubt God is still on the throne, but He is. So many are very young, warriors are at their best concerning the skills needed to engage and defeat the enemy, when they are young, strong, and fearless. What 18 year old doesn't view himself as 10 foot tall and bullet proof? A tour overseas can reverse all of that for a young Soldier, and in fact inflict near fatal, and sadly, sometimes fatal wounds that cannot be seen with the human eye. My husband and I have worked with young men and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, not in a formal way, not because it is an appointed job by the military, but because Soldiers we sometimes do not even know reach out, it is more like cry out... We do not have the answers to the unseen videos replaying in their mind's eye, but tender words of gratitude from a nation, assurance that we know and understand the horrors they have seen, and most importantly refer them to professionals, (the Army really does have tremendous resources for Soldiers if they just know how to reach out, or when they can't themselves have those who love them and help them to access these resources.
We know also that some one's son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, father, mother... has to stand in the gap for the freedom that the greatest country in the world offers, because the world has enemies in the cause of freedom. There are those who would eradicate democracy from our world, and those who champion it. Memorial Day is coming this weekend. Please don't let it just be another "free day" from school and work, but let it be a "freedom day." Let it be a day when you contact every Soldier or Soldier's Family that you know to say, "thank you, is there anything we can do for you and yours?" For truly, these young men and women of courage are making sacrifices... and when they return from theatre, it is hard for them to "be still," because of the vigilance they had to cultivate in order to stay alive and well.

Come and see the birds at Soldier's heart, especially if you are a Soldier or the member of a Soldier's Family. The stay is free to you, Randy and I owe you as well, and we wish to offer you a place to "be still and know." The birds are beautiful here. I have even seen two bald eagles, I know, I know, I thought I had been out in the sun too long too... I will tell that story soon, it is a wonderful story, and talks of "soaring on wings like eagles..."

Have a beautiful day, hug and kiss a Soldier for me please, mine is far away and I long to give him kisses and hugs, and if anything troubles you, watch the birds.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Right before Randy deployed, my 15 year old step son tragically lost his mother, and he came to live with us. He has the same "lion" heart of his father, his mother possessed it as well. His intelligence inspires awe in me sometimes. He has a beautiful sister hard at work on full ride scholarship studying to be a museum curator. They are both remarkable young people.

Brian also has the same tender heart that his father does. I can tell he has taken to heart his father's instructions to take care of me while he is gone. Brian can mimic so many of his father's little nuances. The way he laughs when he is making a joke, the little sayings his father uses to tease me, and keep that positive "Army can do" attitude reining no matter what the circumstances, even during a deployment. For the most part with the support of many good friends here in Sealy and Bellville, churches across the country, my family, Randy's family, one courageous and extraordinary 15 year old, and a great dog, I do well. Working hard is part of the answer, however sometimes I overdo, feel bad physically, and then really slip into wanting Randy right here to comfort and scold me about working too hard... Prayer and Bible study, a part of every day of my life, (having a husband in harms way drives that with even more energy,) is the source of my final triumph over this separation from the "Keeper of My Heart." One other thing has been a great comfort an inspiration to me, there is a country song by Brooks and Dunn, "Cowgirls Don't Cry." The message of this song is that difficulty comes to every life, but giving in to the emotion of the difficulty just isn't productive. When sadness and loneliness, and the realization that time stretches out so far before the completion of our separation, causes a wrench of pain in my heart that even stirs a very real physical pain, the words of that song slowly steal into my thoughts. The Lord uses it to give me courage and resolve to do this well... If you are facing your own difficult times, that song is worth listening to, as many times as you need to. Have a great day, the rose garden awaits my ministrations; come to see us soon. Tomorrow I must begin telling you of the birds of Soldier's Heart, they are so beautiful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Power... is desirable... sometimes

One of the ways to deal with having a husband who is deployed is to work hard, really hard, that passes the time productively, and makes you tired enough at bedtime that you don't think too long... just fall into the deep sleep that comes when you are completely spent. In the interest of seeking that state I rented a large back-hoe, and for a week I have spent 14 hours a day shaping the land and creating spaces that control our tendency to flood during the occasional four hour rain that produces 10 inches of water running through the ranch.

For a girl who can't open a jar of pickles without assistance... the ability to lift all kinds of dirt in a single scoop is power indeed. I can lift bales of hay, move the stock tank, deepen the creek which runs across the pasture, and fill the new raised rose bed in a single scoop. There is such peace in being up as the sun comes up, listening to the birds, (the blue birds are back from where ever they go during the winter,) and watching the flowers begin to wave in the breeze. The new little goslings and baby ducks are anxious to get out of their little coup and explore their world, and the baby turkeys and baby pheasants run after their larger cousins peeping loudly as they try to keep up. They all attempt to follow me as go to the back hoe to begin my work because they have never known a mother having arrived from the hatchery orphans, and assuming since I feed and care for them that despite my unsightly appearance, I must be their mother.  I must shoo them back, and they protest.

Then the large machine rumbles to life, progress begins, and my mind is rested and centered on productive and good things, and the worries of war and white phosphorus, suicide bombers, and the sufferings of humanity for the time are shooed from my consciousness.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Now it is time...

Today it is time to start this blog in earnest. I have begun a journey that so many others have taken before me. Early Saturday morning Randy left for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He will be gone a year with a leave in the middle of that time frame. My entire life I have been an independent woman, always capable of taking care of myself and those I love. I had always been the "care giver," but when I married Randy he was so capable, so energetic, such a stickler for doing things promptly, completely, and to the best of his ability, I slipped into a state of "spoiled woman syndrome," before I knew what happened. It was just so easy to let him do things for me. At first it made me uneasy, made me feel a little guilty, but then... what can I say, I just melted into that warm safe place of not even having to think about so many things, he just took care of them. Planning... oh does that man love a plan, almost as much as he loves the completion of a plan. Of course I have already found that the independent capable part is like riding a bicycle...

But Soldiers Heart will be my solace... The birds, flowers, the horses, Ginger, and of course the work we have begun here. Randy loves it here, finds his own solace here. When we were married his daughter, Rebecca, sang Twila Paris' song, "The Warrior is a Child." The words talk of how even the bravest warrior needs a place of rest, where he can lay down all of stresses of war. Randy has always found that here. We had one weekend recently when everyone was away but the two of us. I watched him as the two of us spent the day working together, feeding the horses, working on the new round pen, eating lunch on the porch. There was such tranquility in his face, such love for this home. I could see him thinking of how he would miss it. I can often see what Randy is thinking of. His eyes reflect his intelligence, and I love watching them when he is deep in thought. Randy has a saying, a mantra that he lived by through his years at West Point, Ranger School, Jungle Survival School, and so many other difficult things, he tells himself, "if the man in front of me can do it, so can I." So I am telling myself of this journey, "if the woman in front of me can do it, so can I." So many women have done this before me, came through stronger for it, and empowered by the experience, with their love between their Soldier and themselves deeper and more meaningful. I don't know if my love can deepen, I am certain no woman has ever loved a man so deeply as I love Randy. I sometimes think about whether I admire him more, or love him more. Today, surely, I cannot decide. The story of my Soldier's life fascinates me, I think it will you too. The life we share, the ideals that govern all he does, and his moral courage no matter what the threat... in a world where seemingly more leave behind the ideals held in the Army's Seven Values every day, all these things are worthy of sharing. Many Soldiers truly live a life "above the common man." So another way I will endure this separation from the love of my life will be to write here, write about Randy, write about other Soldiers that it has been my privilege to come to know, and write about this small ranch that my Soldier loves so dearly.