From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, March 28, 2011

Great Resource

National Military Family Association Community Toolkit - "This toolkit suggests easily-achievable action items and useful resources to guide anyone who wants to support military families, but doesn’t know where to start. Identify yourself in one of the communities below and read about ideas and resources that can start conversations and stimulate action." What a great resource!

Fighting Depression and Other Demons

My husband has been "in-country"  for three weeks now, but I still haven't gotten to see him.  Leaving the Army after 30 years of service is even more complicated a process than entering the Army it seems.  I can't leave the responsibilities of the ranch to go to Georgia to be with him, and it feels as though I've never needed him more.  There are so many challenges, I couldn't hope to name them all, when a loved one is deployed.  You have to experience it to fully appreciate what it means to a family.   Just being without my husband has been the greatest struggle of my life, and been the background for each day I have lived in his absence.  Currently the greatest challenge is health issues, the exact nature of which has yet to be determined, they are looming and awaiting tests for an exact diagnosis.  I find myself  after two years of my husband being deployed, at the end of my personal resources, and the one in need.  I am not used to the role of being the one in need, in life my role has always been the one of ministering  to others.  As in most reversals of roles that people go through, it is disconcerting, at the least, and in moments when just a "mite" of  additional stress is added, completely overwhelming.  I feel as though I am on the very edge of a deep cavern at times.  I told my husband I know what Soldiers who experience PTSD feel like inside sometimes, even though I have never been to war.  Holding within mself the fear of the one I love more than life itself being wounded or dying in a war zone, has been for me the most difficult place I have ever been, and I have been some tough places.

Watching the show Army Wives last night, (I have only lately began watching the show,) I thought how good it was for the country to have the opportunity to see just a pale glimpse of what service to this country really entails.  Far more revealing is the show on the same channel, "Coming Home."  Real families and service members share their home comings as their loved ones return from long absences to foreign countries.  They have selflessly been standing against those persons who have determined to destroy the way of life that our own country, and many others countries and peoples of the world wish to live in.   These individuals explicitly do not believe in the right to personal freedom for any person.  

As freedoms have come to the two countries where the fight has been concentrated, and so much has been given, people in the surrounding countries have seen the possibility that they too can have the way of life these men and women who are serving represent.  As the Middle East comes alive with the cries of people demanding the personal freedom and opportunity to shape their own destiny, more of our sons and daughters will be called, and the call will be answered.  

Training, information, and resources will be given to both the individual volunteering to serve our country, and to those family members, who in wisdom, will tap what the Army or other branch of service will offer them as well.  Then these families will begin a journey, or as it may be, many journeys down the road of deployment.  In volunteering, and pledging to give up their lives, if that is the cost, the price of freedom will continue to extracted from those serving, and those who love them, for freedom continues to demand this cost.  The rest of the citizens of this country, and many citizens of other countries, will reap the benefits of the sacrifices of those who in the greatest act of valor and honor an individual can perform, pledge their lives to serve in the United States Military.  To those fools who believe that every enemy can be tamed by diplomacy, fairness, aide, and such, I make no argument.  Any person who looks at humankind and believes that anything short of God's return will end conflict requiring this kind of sacrifice, does not possess the intelligence or reasoning to process reality.  However,  the protection of their right to protest  military engagement of the enemies of our country, will continue to be protected by those who serve.   Families, for that is where every person who serves comes from, will continue to endure and in some cases, even be empowered by the sacrifices required of them.  Other families will dissolve under the weight of service.  

Just as Soldiers come from families, when their service is done, they will return to families.  Some will come home with no apparent physical changes to their bodies, and some of those will later develop debilitating illness, having suffered exposure to a toxin somewhere in service to our country.   Some will come home changed by wounds that eventually will heal physically without changing the course of their lives.  Of course some will come home having suffered wounds that  forever change them  physically and they will have to rebuild their lives.  Some will come home in coffins, having given their last true measure of devotion.  None will come home without being profoundly changed forever within their hearts and minds by "the rockets red glare, and the bombs bursting in air."  Some will be haunted and oppressed by experiences and loses too extensive for expression by any human language.  

I feel a personal obligation to each service member, and to their families, and I will spend the rest of my life endeavoring to repay my obligation.  Both my husband and I have made the commitment to use our own blessings and personal resources to support all those we can, in any way we can, in the light of the knowledge that only as brave men and women continue to serve, will our nation and those values which we hold sacred continue to stand.     

There is now within me a clear distinction which was not there at the beginning of my own period of sacrifice.  I have come to the knowledge that within the numbers of those who serve, there are as one would expect within any given number of people, those without honor.  There are those who serve purely for personal gain.  Since military service does not by comparison to civilian service, pay as well, or offer as much opportunity, those who serve for their own gain have a single identifying characteristic, they desire power.  As I watch men and women serve, there is a far greater fear than what the enemy can do to a Soldier for me.  I have personally observed, and been affected by, individuals within the ranks who blatantly disregard the rules governing military service.  Recently I have personally observed members of the units within the Army whose job it is to "police" the following of the rules, bend, and in some cases, break the rules themselves.  Nothing should be more troubling to those serving, and to the rest of us.  We must be able to trust in the integrity of the system.  It is time that the hiding of facts, the turning of the blind eye, and any other breaking of the rules be abandoned. 

There has been a long standing excuse by leadership that some things be covered in order to avoid tarnishing the image of the military.  I see through that completely.  Never is it in the best interest of the Army, or any other branch of service, to hide wrong doing.  It only creates an atmosphere of mistrust, enables wrong doing, and makes a joke of the pledges of honor made by those willing to serve.   It also creates a threat which is far greater than that of the enemy, against those who serve.  As the wife of a Soldier, I cannot understand lack of  response by the highest levels of authority when anyone makes accusation of wrong doing.  There should be a rush to investigate all reports which constitute abuse of power by those in charge.  The investigation should only be carried out by impartial and honorable men and women, I am not certain at this point that the Army should continue to administer it's own justice.

The Army spends huge amounts in researching what problems exist within the system, spends more coming up with plans, programs, rules and regulations to guard against "fraud, waste, and abuse."  All of those endeavors are only as legitimate as those administering them.  The system by which the Army investigates wrong doing is flawed.  An IG investigation is, and I am quoting the Army, "a tool of the commander."  What if the commander is the problem?

Not only is that piece of the process flawed, false accusations can be made either up or down a chain of command, without accountability by those making false statements.   Once accusations are made, there are  no time constraints for investigation or resolution.  I have personally observed, and in some cases, still hold the written evidence of disregard of UCMJ law.   It is completely deliberate and schemed disregard of those laws governing the military, and wrong doers are protected, and the innocent abused.  That disregard renders UCMJ worthless.

In the head quarters of the 95th Division of  the United States Army Reserves, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, an individual so corrupt and powerful that he could, kept a wall populated with pictures of individuals whose careers he bragged of destroying.  I am not the only person with knowledge of this, many know, it was done publicly.  While my husband was deployed I asked myself almost daily, why is it that this can happen?  Why are there numerous good persons, who detest the fact that this exists, knowledgeable concerning this, and possessed of moral courage to stand against it, and yet it prevails?  I have come to discover I can write this, post it publicly, and not worry about any consequences, or ever having anyone ask a single question concerning why the wife of colonel, with 30 years of service, who is an honor graduate of West Point and the Army War College, would dare to make such an accusation.  During my husband's deployment, my greatest fear and anxiety was the enemy within.  I am going to keep revealing things I know in an effort to affect change.  If military service to this country is going to continue requiring our sons and daughters, I believe all those in charge of even one Soldier, all those with the power to effect a single life, should be held accountable for every action.  Additionally, the higher the rank of the person, who allowed on their watch, the disregard of justice and rule, the more expedient should be their removal.  I believe the existing law governing agencies, and their leadership, should be closely examined for abuse of power and other inconsistencies.  

There are so many other pursuits I would rather engage in.  Every person is possessed of only a limited amount of energy and resources with which to meet each day.  I talk to so many who know of abuses, and it is such a huge and powerful avenue, with so many on it, that sometimes the oppressed never consider taking up the cry for justice.  That is a shame, but in order to facilitate sleeping at night, as my husband returns from deployment and retires after 30 years, I cannot take the more beckoning and peaceful road.  I long to.  Nevertheless,  war and battle weary, I will take up my own weapons once again, and continue to do all I can concerning wrong doing.  Every family who gives their sons and daughters should be able to expect this from someone, and if I am the only one to speak out against this, I will be one. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Call From a Soldier

I have a dear friend, I have been humbled and honored to hear the story of his service in the United States Army.  Courage, sacrifice,  and patriotism is defined in what this man and his family have given.  Several weeks ago he had to go for medical testing to verify a neck injury sustained when the vehicle he was riding in hit an IED and rolled.  The wait for those types of exams is always long.  My friend told me of a young Soldier who sat waiting beside him.  He reported that the young man was in obvious distress, his NCO called his cell phone demanding that he get back to the unit.  Those manning the desk in the waiting area made disparaging remarks suggesting the two men were trying to put something over on the Army, and get something they didn't deserve...  

My friend participated in 455 combat missions during two tours in Iraq.  Vehicles he was riding in were hit seven times by IEDs.  The Army has completely lost the record of his second deployment.  All that remains is the pictures he made to prove he ever served that second tour.  He bears the burden of proving his PTSD and TBI from the roll over and sustained mortar and rocket attacks.

How can this be?  He was required to contact those Soldiers who had been riding with him in the vehicle that day when it rolled.  He had to ask them to make "sworn statements" of the IED and roll over.  They of course, were under no obligation to oblige him.  He found that three of them were dead, having later sustained fatal casualties.  One Soldier with whom he had been very close, hung up on him when he called the first time, stating, "I don't want to talk about that."  He suffers from PTSD, and lost his family due to his military service, and his ex-wife used his PTSD diagnosis to deny him visitation rights to his daughters.  Of course he still must provide child support. 

My friend suffers from PTSD, the Army diagnosed him as having this condition, yet they sent him on this mission to provide proof of his service, since somehow they have failed to maintain his record...  I can't think about this too much... I too experience dismay...

He called me today, having received his rating for the PTSD disorder, his frustration was clear.  They advised that if he wished to submit more information, they would reconsider.  He had just fulfilled the list they supplied of what documentation they required.  He made the statement, "I need help."  I spent some time in prayer for him and the needs of his family.  Later I went to my email and found a message from a friend that mentioned that she had a friend who advocated through the VA for Soldiers.  We as a nation may not know how to treat our patriots, but the Living God does.  As I constantly observe, God loves and cares for Soldiers in a special way.  I sent the Soldier my friend's email to encourage him, and sent her a reply asking for the contact information.  I will pass it on to him after I contact the advocate first to tell her what an outstanding Soldier will be contacting her for help with the VA.

The Soldier had told me that as he had waited that day for the medical testing and sat next to the young Soldier he had reached out to him as the two Soldiers manning the desk derided both of them and encouraged him.  When he did so, a single tear had slid down the young man's  cheek.  I don't know the young Soldier's name, but tonight where ever he is, I wish him to know I am thankful for his service, and he has my deep admiration.

To the two Soldiers who were manning the desk that day, you aren't worthy of the uniform... and you don't have the standing in this world to tie the boots of the men you ridiculed that day, and I yearn to have the opportunity to express my contempt for you face to face...   There is only one excuse for your behavior, lack of leadership, for you would have never gone there if you were serving under my husband.  You would have known better, and been sure of the consequences should your behavior be reported.  Ft. Polk, Louisiana is in need of leadership.  I contacted them to report this incident when I heard of it, never heard a word.  Apparently, command at that installation allows such behavior.

To every frustrated Veteran, especially those from the Viet Nam era who are dying daily from the Agent Orange exposure, thank you for your service. 

A Call From A Soldier

I received a call from a Soldier today.
He was struggling and found himself again in dismay.

A sadness swept over me, so many times for these I have made defense,
Sometimes the way we treat our Soldiers just doesn’t make sense.

We ask so much, take so much, then profess great care.
But when it comes down to it, the burden, they have to bear.

We make them wade through paperwork and bureaucracy without end.
We appoint them an advocate, but really for themselves they must fend.

“Jump through this hoop, sign here, and go to that corner and stand.”
So many requirements and so many demands.

Everyone knows that to these valiant warriors we all owe,
How is it then that in the end we become the foe?

When they reach the brink of what they can shoulder,
They tend to give up, walk away, as their resentments begin to smolder.

I wonder often if the system is not of such a design,
As to so discourage a Soldier that they give up in time.

When an enemy stands sinister and dark at the door,
The whole world looks to these men and women and implores.

Leadership with lofty words sends them out,
Their mission, the enemies of freedom to rout.

Of all the debts that the people of a nation share,
Is there one like we owe to these men and women that can compare?

I received a call from a man who used to be a Soldier today,
He was struggling and again found himself in dismay.

Dedicated to Jared Campbell and all those who have so nobly served with him, may this nation always remember and respect what they have given.  March 2011.

Chapter 1, The Second Half, I Have Set My Face Like a Flint

“Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives."   Maya Angelou

There were also many pleasant memories for him of childhood, and skills that he gained from both his parents that would help him to achieve success at all he put his hand to.   They both were possessed of especially productive work ethics, and early on conveyed the principles of this most important life skill  to him.  He buried all the negative elements his parents forced on his childhood, choosing instead to dwell on whatever positive traits such as their work ethics, love of music, and his father’s knowledge of tools and his talent in their use.  He relentlessly gleaned everything good he could find in both of them into his storehouse of information.  So when early into their relationship, the woman who sat beside on the car seat that day, had first began her probing questions about his childhood, he had answered reluctantly at first.  Desiring to preserve only positive remembrances, and not realizing that this strategy at times, crippled his ability to accurately assess situations and people, he wanted to hold back negative facts concerning his parents and their character.  He at first found this digging in his mind that his wife persistently did uncomfortable, but strangely to him, it built between them a relationship like none he had known.  It left him with a new kind of peace as each bit of information was pulled from him, examined by his adult and now experienced and confident mind, as well as her gentle and loving one, and finally pardoned and released.  For so long he had held these thoughts in the confinement of the recesses of this mind to prevent their running rampant in his life and doing damage.  He had not realized that in the light of his personal success and achievement, they no longer held any threat, for he had overcome all of them, and there was no longer any need to imprison them.  Once she had opened the flood gates of the negative memories, he was able to gain insights that would serve him well.  By the time he discussed with his wife that day what the general had said, she had already helped to tear down many of the old walls constructed to hold these threats of his childhood.   This had  exposed him to the harsh reality that sometimes people you looked up to failed miserably, no matter how much you desired them not to.  So on that day as she earnestly advised him that the general’s words were inaccurate, he could evaluate the situation, the general’s words, and those of his new wife, and come to the same conclusion as his wife.  However, he still could not bring himself at that point, to consider that this man he had long admired, could possibly be capable of the corruption he would later uncover.

As he had stood as a five - year- old boy that day in the street, while his mother told him how she could not stand to look at him, because he was so much like his father, and was nothing but contemptible in her sight, his only defense was to willfully forget her words.  She had further pronounced she was taking him to live with his father as soon as she packed his clothes.  Over and over in childhood he would use this skill of forgetting her harsh words, she was after all, his mother.  She would berate him often for her entire life, even as she watched his many significant personal accomplishments, which seemed only to bring out her ire toward him even more.   Often she would verbally attribute his success to unwarranted “luck,” refusing to acknowledge, it was in fact, his own hard work and devotion that resulted in his triumphs.  Whenever he experienced some trial, it seemed she viewed him more favorably for awhile, at least until he overcame it.   Later he was able to realize this favor came from her realization of her own profound failures in life, and her ability to console herself with the notion that in fact, he was fallible too.  For her his accomplishments seemed to only point out how little she ever became, despite her own intelligence and talents, and all she had lost, especially the love of his father, who remained the only man she ever truly desired.  When his father had left, his mother had fought savagely to get him back, but in what the colonel now realized was wisdom, his father had resisted returning to his mother.  The colonel knew his father always loved his mother deeply, but in the fear of what they would do to one another, had the strength to leave.  It would torment his mother for all her days that he became a better man after leaving her.  She would partner with many men for short periods of time as he was growing up, but always find them lacking, and carelessly dispose of them without any regard or thought of their feelings.

His mother had come from her own difficult childhood.  By age nine, she had lost both parents, and two brothers were lost to her in WWII.  At fourteen years of age, she began working in a hosiery factory in Kentucky, but despite her lack of education and sophistication, her beauty and passion afforded her opportunities.   In fact, the squandering of those opportunities, in pursuit of her passions, fueled the resentment and bitterness with which she lived her life from the time of his birth.  He told his wife in one of her sessions in which she relentlessly probed his mind, how his mother had been married to the vice-president of Walters Plumbing Equipment, a huge and successful company.  He explained that his father was an uneducated and illiterate soldier from New Orleans when he met his mother and stole her heart while stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  His mother’s passions had ruled her life, and she had left the wealthy man to whom she was married, and followed his father back to Louisiana, bringing her small daughter with her.  The pregnancy which resulted in his birth, would soon have told the wealthy man of his mother’s infidelity.  The only evidence of the wealth that she had left in order to marry his father that the colonel had ever known of, was the custom made mink coat that his mother wore on special occasions.

The depression and resentment, that was to rule the rest of his mother’s life, came from the fact that, despite her leaving wealth and prestige for the soldier from Louisiana who never learned to read or write, she could not hold him.  The things that had attracted his mother to his father, called to him when they returned to New Orleans to marry, and he would party and drink until all hours of the night, leaving his new wife alone at home with a newborn son.  As soon as the colonel was old enough to be left with his older half sister, his mother began attending the bars along with his father.   Even that could not keep him, and as the realization of this gripped his mother, her own weaknesses led to behaviors that provoked the violence of his father.  The arguments were loud and long, and lacked any reason on either of their parts.  More frequently than not, his mother would pursue the issue, hounding and hounding at his father, until in a fit of rage and alcoholic haze, he would hit her with his fists, doing physical damage.  Even then, sometimes in her resentment, she would continue to provoke his rage purposely; the colonel had never understood this. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Book I am Writing

The following post is part of the first chapter of the book I am writing, I Have Set My Face Like a Flint.  The introduction was posted previously in two parts.  Hope you enjoy.  After the second half of chapter one, I will post part of chapter 12, and fully engage everyone who has ever been a Soldier, and certainly all the adrenaline junkies...

Chapter 1, The First Half, I Have Set My Face Like a Flint

Chapter 1

"There are some among us who live in rooms of experience we can never enter”  John Steinbeck

He stood in the middle of the street, completely immobile, unable for some time to move.  There he struggled to suppress the words from his consciousness that he had just heard from his mother’s mouth.  Whatever small trespass he had committed was a lost thought.   Her words were so cruel, that for the rest of his life he would never recall what he had done that day, or any detail concerning the incident, only her words.   Those words she had shouted would sometimes threaten at the edges of his mind at the most unexpected times, usually when he was relaxing, and especially when he observed young families of soldiers.  He had been innocently playing some childhood game, being the child he was, and so seldom allowed to be.  She had come running from the house in a rage over something he had done or not done, and at the end of her chastisement, she wounded his child’s heart with a wound that would never quite heal.

The weapon with which he combated such assaults of childhood, and still in adulthood utilized whenever threatened, was work.  Always when he worked hard at anything, the demons of his childhood, and more importantly in adulthood, all negative life experiences, were held at bay.  Work had always done that for him; been a rock and a high place of safety from the disregard of his feelings and needs by his warring parents.   He was only five years old when he stood in the street paralyzed that day, but those words would never leave him, and the purity of his child’s heart accepted, somewhere in his subconscious, the words as legitimate.   Years later he would have accepted the raging accusations of  the general as an accurate assessment as well, except that this woman who he had only recently pledged himself to in marriage, sat beside him and said, “wait, that isn’t the way it is.”  Never had he been so grateful for words, and as she talked with him, his mathematician’s mind, and bent toward the scientific method of thought and reasoning, along with his own personal honesty, realized her assessment was true.  

His earliest memories consisted of episodes of violence from his father toward his mother, which were so severe in nature, that eventually his father broke her leg during a fit of alcohol driven rage.   Troubled by nightmares, the colonel often awoke in childhood in the dark in stark terror, without the memory of what the content of his dreams had been.  By sheer self discipline, he was eventually able to shut down the memory of the visions of violence and pain, thus locking them away in a compartment of his mind where ready access was difficult.  Years later as he commanded Soldiers during war, the understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was not difficult for him, even though he never found himself in an actual combat scenario, never had to kill another man, nor watch another he served with be wounded or killed.

No act of neglect or abuse by either of his parents ever turned his love toward them sour.  He would always try to behave, in every act of childhood, in such a way as to provoke neither of his parents to anger.  This strategy would sometimes work, and sometimes not.  He applied himself to every task that was assigned him by either of them, to the very best of his ability.  He and his step-sister, Kathy, would creep carefully and silently about the house, fearful of causing the explosion of either of their parents.  He later went to war as a man completely aware from these experiences of the vigilance required to avoid the deadly IED’s.  

His step-sister seemed in particular to grate at his father’s nerves, and he would often curse at her, and call her a “bitch.”  At first in his efforts to please them both, and avoid negative consequences, he struggled with trying to achieve perfection in every task assigned.  His mother had realized this in him, and dutifully worked to instill the notion that perfection, if sacrificed for productivity, amounted to failure.  Her probable motivation was not one of maternal nurturing, but more that of an employer who was extracting better performance from an employee.  The colonel had many responsibilities in childhood, and was required to serve constantly at the beckoning of both his parents.  Always he would dwell on whatever positive skills and wisdom his mother had imparted to him, making this in his mind the basis of her character, rather than her acts of immorality and the neglectful abuse he experienced from her hand.  This was not always a cognizant thought process, but rather the self-preservation tactic of a highly intelligent mind, and a gentle nature.  This lesson also was the foundational thought process that would result in a phenomenal ability to execute all his plans and goals, whether personal, or those of any employer.

He always adored his mother, and despite all her negative behavior, and the cruelty which she continued to deal to him even in adulthood, he would do so until the day she died.  The same was true of his father.  Anything of positive value concerning his parent’s behavior toward him, remained the only thoughts he actively rehearsed concerning both of them.  The bitter resentment and disdain one would expect from a man who had been raised as he had, were never allowed to take root in his mind in the first place, and therefore he never experienced their torment.  His childhood experiences were not excess baggage, or anything that held him back from accomplishment and a positive outlook on life, and in those moments during and right after his encounter with the general, they would in fact empower him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Notice of Intellectual Property:

All of the words and photos here are the intellectual property of Debra LeCompte and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission, except where the writings and photos are attributed to others, and I do not have the rights to those words or photos and you must contact each individual for their permission for reproduction or distribution.

We Live in Urgent Times

Matthew 13 : 7-8

7.   And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

8.   For nation shall rise against Nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers  places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginning of sorrows.

Those are scary words... to all but those whose love and serve the Lord, and they are words of hope and urgency for us.

Some of the words of instruction that follow are scary too, but for those of us who are just camped out, on maneuvers now, and waiting on the Lord to come and end all sorrow, sickness, death, and separation forever, are urged to have our Warrior Ethos in prime condition...

33.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

34.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey who left his house, and gave authority to his servant, and to every man his work , and commanded he porter to watch.

35.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at mid-night, or at the cockcrowing or in the morning:

36.  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

37.  And what I say unto you I say unto all.  Watch. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Please, Never Ignore the Symptoms of Depression in a Veteran

“A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.”  John Steinbeck

After the attack, I joined with the brave who heard the call,
To protect our country from an enemy determined to cause it to fall.
This duty my mind and heart could completely understand.

Then with my brothers and sisters, I went to a foreign soil.
Together we followed every order, and endured each mission, as on we toiled.
The need for this work I still understand.

I came home, and visions returned of things no man should ever hold in sight.
Always now I must be vigilant and watch for a means of flight.
These things were very difficult for me to understand.

Sometimes my mind begins to falter, and I feel cold fear rise.
I am now someone my family and friends do not recognize.
Of this I have no ability to understand.

Finally, in shame and despair, I went to my commander.
Grasping for words to make this man hear, I could only stammer.
I longed for him to understand.

The expression and tone of the words I received in return,
Have dealt wounds and pain that cause my very soul to burn.
All efforts failed to cause him to understand.

Since this confession, I know, though long I stood strong,
To my beloved band of brothers I will never again belong.
I have slowly and painfully come to understand.

Tonight in the solitude of this lonely room, I’ll make my last stand.
Summon courage and my life lay down, by my own hand.
For no longer do I have the desire to understand.
by Debra LeCompte

When anyone, especially a Veteran, is suffering from depression it is a given that the person may very well not have the ability to help themselves, it is up to us, those who love them, to be there, and know what to do.  I am going to post today the "clinical" description of a person who is suffering from PTSD, and what to do.  Stay tuned... this is important.


It is now clear to me what is wrong with the government... The enemy is growing fungus amungus!

'Zombie ants' may sound like the title of an Ed Wood movie, but, according to National Geographic, they are quite real.
Oddly, there's nothing very zombie-like about the actual ants. It's only when a particular fungus takes over the ant's brain that things get weird.'
I am certain they are using these ants somehow!!!  This is a picture of the "Fire Ant Mounds of Austin County!"  I battle these little monsters everyday!  When I was working in my garden yesterday, I picked up a piece of lumber I was going to use, and before I could blink... they swarmed my hand and bit me 5 or 6 times.  These mounds can get 3-4 feet high and that big around!  Of course this has been all tongue in cheek, but it is really a workable theory... maybe...  It's better than that "drinking the kool-aide" thing I have heard so much!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Was So Busy Raising Small Children, This Bit of History Had Escaped Me

You must tell your own children, otherwise they may not have the history to connect the dots.  There are many young voters and leaders.  This event must not fall into the shadows of history...

Both a Marine and the widow of one of the fallen Marines drove this message home for me.   

Share this web site link with ALL you know, especially the younger folks. 

Profound Wisdom For Any Nation, I am Sure Queen Margrethe is Familiar With Them

Psalms 20 and 21 are two that are not attributed to David.  They also go together, the 20th being attributed as a Psalm of intercession by the people on behalf of the king before battle.  Then in Psalm 21,  is praise for God's granting the victory.  My favorite verses from these two chapters are verses 6, 7, and 8 of chapter 20.

6.  Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

7.  Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.  

8.  They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

I saw this link on my friend Buzzy's facebook.  Nothing is stronger than a God fearing nation, openly lead by God fearing leadership.

I have to agree with this at the risk of sounding prejudice, I have no quarrel with any person choosing their own god, that freedom isn't granted by any nation, it is granted by God in His Holy Wisdom.  However, when it gets down to  the dregs of the barrel, and no one is left but me to sustain the battle, I will fight to the death to maintain that God given freedom for myself , my family, and my country.  I welcome any and all to my country who will respect our laws and our freedoms.  I wish them no harm, only peace and prosperity, I believe in their right to freedom as much as I believe in my own right to freedom.  My family members have crossed the ocean to defend our country and their own rights to freedom, one sustained almost fatal wounds, and I know in my heart he is constantly haunted by his service.  He would give anything to be back in the Army serving still.

The blood of my family is on foreign soil, wounds apparent and not apparent exist, all I ask in return is respect for my freedom, that of my family, and that of my country.  Don't come to be my neighbor unless you respect those God given rights for both myself and you.  Because of what our nation has been through, what it has cost, and what still lies at stake, sometimes I don't trust easily,   That is wisdom, not prejudice.  Wisdom for me, and for you as well, because if you come to my country with right intentions, you are a target of my enemies as well.


I Believe John Steinbeck to be the Greatest Author Ever, Other Than God

But the Hebrew word timshel, 'Thou mayest' that gives a choice.  It might be the most important word in the world.  That says the way is open.  That throws it rght back on a man.  For if 'Thou mayest,' it is also true that 'Thou mayest not.'   John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Just Can't Have a Simple Conversation With This Woman... or Tribute to the United States Marine Corps.

She makes me cry every time...  I'm talking about my friend Jill Marshall.  When I first "friended" her on facebook, it was because she was so intelligent and funny.  I am drawn to people with good minds who aren't afraid to use them.  Then one day I was just scrolling through my facebook home page and I saw a picture of a young woman in a hospital bed, she obviously had suffered severe injuries.  It was Jill's posting, and she was wishing herself Happy Birthday.  I flippantly typed Happy Birthday Jill!  Then the "story" began pouring out.  The picture was of her... she had been the one who almost did not survive in the accident.  By that time, I had known her awhile, and on days when I would really get down, (having a husband you adore, I almost typed worship, but then the Lord tapped me on the shoulder, is not easy,) Jill would a type a message to me, and I could go on.  She always seemed to know exactly what to say, and she seemed so strong.  She almost flaunted that nothing could get her down.   She seemed hard as nails.

She began describing her injuries, seems Jill and I have both practiced the profession of nursing, and she still does.  I also went to paramedic school, the full college program, and as she described the car wreck, being pinned in the car, and the months it took to recover, I knew the physical and emotional agony she had been through.   Professionally, and unfortunately, within my own family, I have witnessed many times the crazy things that can go wrong in the blink of an eye as people move from place to place in cars.  (Here is a good spot for me to say to everyone, when you are driving, drive, don't text, talk on the phone, put your make-up on, or any other silly thing that could cause you to lose your life.  Worse yet, you could wind up taking the life of some innocent person in a moment of distraction.)  Jill was doing none of those things, it was the other guy that was.   As she described what happened, her injuries, her recovery, her dad standing by her bed... I found myself crying.  

When Jill wished herself Happy Birthday, she was celebrating the day God saw fit that she not leave this world yet, she pondered why as she typed.  I immediately replied, advising her, "because one day a husband who was adored by his wife would have to go to the Middle East for two years, and it would be too hard for the wife to do without the words of Jill Marshall.   

I had pictured her in my mind as a large, strong, "farm fed" woman, then I realized from pictures she wasn't that at all.  I didn't puzzle further over what made her seem like a Southern "Steel Magnolia."  I  assumed it was all related to the accident, and what it had taken to not only survive it, but to come back and go on to lead a very productive and giving life.
Little did I know... 

When my husband deployed our family was an Active Duty Reserve Family, meaning my husband was a Reservist and he served once a month at Battle Assemblies, and sometimes in larger segments during the year.  We do not live on or near a military establishment, so the built in support system that is found on a post was non-existent for Brian, Becky, and I.  I didn't know what facebook was, and probably never would have, as my evenings and week-ends when Randy was home were spent playing cards, working in the yard, doing projects, exploring Austin County, laughing and talking,  sitting in church together,  and just enjoying our love and devotion to each other.  My husband and I are rather rare in the fact that we never have disagreements or arguments, we really are "a three fold cord."  I had sort of felt since I met Randy that I really didn't need anyone else.  I know that is flawed thinking, but since meeting Randy, I have experienced a richness in my soul and a level of happiness I have never known in life before, (and I have known so much happiness.)   I have come to realize what excellent goodness God has brought to my life by sending my husband to the Mid-East in defense of this country.  I have always had good friends, now I have even more.  I would not have believed that such meaningful relationships could be developed on the Internet, but I now have a host of friends that I have never laid eyes on in person, but for whom I would do anything within my capability, if they needed help.   As David said of Jonathan, we have "knit our souls."  

 Jill unknowingly sets traps for me, and unfailingly, I hit every one of them.   I fell in one of those traps again when I saw a picture Jill had posted of an old house, I have previously blogged of what that house was, and why the image immediately burned in my brain.  Jill makes photographs with her Blackberry,  what Jill can do with a Blackberry leaves me in awe.  
This is one of her photos of her grand-mother's barn, I have asked her how she makes photos like this with a Blackberry, she always tells me it isn't her, it's the subject.   When she absolutely rocks my heart with a simple description of what happened, goose bumps come on my face and arms, and tears sting at my eyes, she says, "it's just my life..."

For some reason that I have yet to learn, Jill's mother was not in her life, but she had a wonderful grand-mother named Lera, who I have "storied" about in "From the Ranch" previously, and I will do so again.  I discovered Lera when I was, hope this doesn't get repetitive, scrolling my facebook home page and found a person's profile picture which was an old house.  I have always loved old abandoned houses,  but the picture of this one gave me a jolt.  Some images do, and their subjects are so varied, it may be a war photo, the image of a child, and it can be in any medium, but photos are the most difficult for anyone to use artistically, because one only has so much control.  The artistic license is limited, even with Photo Shop.  This is the image I saw:

 I am currently painting this house in oils, I chose this view, but a different season, when some of the flowers that were originally planted by this woman were blooming.  Lear died in 1988, but her love lives on, just like her flowers,  and I know of it because of the words Jill wrote to me about her on face book, and in emails, that made me cry.

Bet you are wondering when the Marine part is coming in.  Let me give this warning, only the strong of heart should continue reading this blog entry...  The next thing that Jill told me of brought me to my knees, and I whispered to God, "no wonder she always knew the right thing to say."  Jill was lucky enough in life to find the love of her life, a young valiant Marine who gave his life for his country in Lebanon in 1983.   I wept, not cried, when she told me the details of her love for this man, of his courage and Marine's heart.

 If you look closely in this high school graduation photo of her husband, you see my friend Jill's perfectly manicured hand, holding that Blackberry as she takes the photo.  That makes it so much more special to me.  She recently went to see her husband's father, and that is where she made the following photos.  It must have meant so much to that "Old Marine," that his daughter-in-law would come and spend time sharing his memories of the son she and he had both loved so deeply.

Then she told me she found love again, and of the happiness that she shared with Chris.  Chris was a Soldier in the United States Army, an Army Ranger to be exact.  He was killed in action in 2008, in the War on Terror.  I remember sinking back in the chair at my desk, I couldn't think of a word to say.  I love words, to me they are the essence of the human connection, whether written, spoken, or signed.  Always, I have words... almost always I have words... Jill not only makes me cry... she leaves me without adequate words.

I wrote a poem after several days without words that I titled "If," and I presented it to my husband as a gift on Valentine's Day, you can find it on my poetry site,  Of course I wept again, this time it lingered for about three days.  Then came the next trap.  The photo at the top of this particular blog, which I offer again for your consideration, as I again caution the reader who might be faint of heart.

I had assumed it was her husband's "dress mess," and we exchanged the following comments on facebook:

·  Awww Debra! That's Dennis' father's blues. He's still alive. Sgt Major Charles F. Cook USMC 1948-1978 USMC (ret)
Yesterday at 6:25pm · LikeUnlike
Jill Marshall ♥♥♥
Yesterday at 6:26pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte I am crying again... what a sacred garment... I am so emotional these days... I just can't believe he is coming home...
Yesterday at 6:28pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte Somewhere inside I had believed God would require of me something I could not bear... and I guess I was right, I could not have borne it... and God doesn't give people things they can't bear.
Yesterday at 6:29pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte And God must have more things for a man as industrious and devoted as Randy to do.
Yesterday at 6:31pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...
Jill Marshall I visited with my husband's father on Sunday and took some really cool pictures. Check out my photo album entitled "A Family of Marines". Dennis' mother was a Marine, too.
Yesterday at 6:32pm · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading...
Debra LeCompte A Family of Marines... did you write about this... Jill... boy, you know Joseph, the guy with the "coat of many colors," was sold into slavery by his brothers...
Yesterday at 6:37pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte He was falsely accused of being inappropriate with his boss's wife and imprisoned...
Yesterday at 6:37pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte I don't think he had as hard a time as you have... and God had something so big He needed him to do... and when he did it... blessings rained down on him...
Yesterday at 6:39pm · LikeUnlike
Jill Marshall Well, Dennis' father bitched the entire time he was in Beirut. He kept saying, "I can't believe they have my ONLY son sitting in a building full of Marines, JUST waiting for something bad to happen. That's too many Marines in one GD place!" It's like his father knew what was coming. Dennis was also killed on his mother's birthday. =(
Yesterday at 6:40pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte Wonder what you are going to get... If the urge ever hits you to buy a lottery ticket... do it... I'm not a gambler, never buy the things... but if the urge hits you... buy it...
Yesterday at 6:40pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...
Debra LeCompte Well, I was wrong on that first post... the man who wore this uniform gave far more than his last full measure of true devotion...
Yesterday at 6:43pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...
Jill Marshall It was three days before they found Dennis amidst all the rubble and his Dad just kept walking around saying," He's dead. My only son is dead. I survived Korea and Viet Nam and they put my only son over there like a sitting duck!" It was sooooo sad.
Yesterday at 6:43pm · LikeUnlike
Debra LeCompte God stopped just short of his soul... took his heart, I am sure...
Yesterday at 6:44pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...
Debra LeCompte Please, tell Dennis' parents for me, thank you for their service, in fact if you could send me a message with their address, I would like to send them a personal thank you, I know their pain remains relentless.
Yesterday at 6:46pm · LikeUnlike
Jill Marshall Dennis' mother passed away in 2001. She is buried beside of Dennis. Dennis was born at MCAS Beaufort and his mother would take him over to Parris Island to watch the recruits drilling. His dad said all he ever wanted to be was a Marine.
2 hours ago · Like

Needless to say, I cried....

 “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference.  
The Marines don’t have that problem.”
Ronald Reagan

Again I found myself without words, so I just made the above quote my contribution to this blog until I began once again to find words.  They are not adequate words... I do not know if there are adequate words.  Certainly, "thank you for your service" does not work.  What do you say to a family who has given so much?  All I could think of after pondering for  several days now are those which are "adequate" words, and a favorite of mine, which were spoken by the greatest Warrior who has ever been, King David, "Oh how the mighty are fallen in the midst of the battle... "  When King Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle, David grieved with the same passion that he fought with.  Another thought comes to me, an admonition ...   America, guard well what has been secured for the use of so many, at such a terrible cost borne by so few.

Because of who my parents are, and I don't  mean by that because they are rich, powerful, or influential, but because of what good people they are, I have always been surrounded by outstanding people.  So I know good people when I encounter them.  Jill Marshall is "good people."   Not only is my friend Jill good people, she is remarkable people.  I have to point out though, I can't have a simple conversation with her without her making me cry... I know you see what I mean by now.   

Jill Marshall:
Debra, I am so touched that you chose to blog about me and my life. People often tell me how strong I am. I don't know if it's strong or bitter.
I loved the blog. There are a few things that should be corrected, though. Dennis was kia in Beirut 23 October 1983, not 1981. Chris was a US Army Ranger and he was killed in 2008, not 2004.
At least I can say I have loved and lost QUALITY men!
I think this is why I haven't had a relationship in the past three years. It's hard to find men of such caliber!
I am starting to think you are a psychic. You mentioned the Christmas morning picture of Dennis in his camo pjs. That WAS Christmas morning in Hawaii, but I didn't tell you that, nor is there anything in the picture that indicates it's Christmas!
You never cease to amaze me!
I love you, friend.

Debra LeCompte:
It was the candles on the porch with this one... so nothing there was involving the "still small voice," but I have had those moments with photos you post. I always know when I am having one. There is a spot in the back of my neck right where my head joins my spine... The goose bumps start there and end when they run out my finger tips... Some of Buzzy's photos do the same thing, but I think that is because I have some connection with his mother. Her twin "boys" are 10 days older than my twin "boys."

"I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart, I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”  John Steinbeck,  East of Eden.