From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Work is a Good Thing

Once again I am posting this entry, because right now I am ill, and hard work is not a possibility for coping with life.  I miss the ranch in Texas, even while loving life in Germany.  The thing is being ill robs a person of so much enjoyment of life in general...  To all of you who are facing such a difficulty in life my prayers and thoughts go out to you, as do my wishes for a quick recovery.

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. I have done just that for the past five years here at the ranch, and it has been deeply satisfying.  I wrote the following blog back in 2010, and I thought I would post it again as I prepare to leave for a while this place I love so dearly.  I have so much of myself invested here, and I wish to share again some of my thoughts when my husband's absence to war began so long ago.

In the interest of seeking that state of peaceful productivity, 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 8 inches of rain running through the ranch.

I love a 20 ton backhoe, I want one for my very own really badly.  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 with rich soil 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, under my hand, 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, like the flock of birds,  from my consciousness.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The First Chapter of My Book, Second Half

“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. 

I Love Soft White Rabbits With Floppy Ears

We have sweet little rabbits at the ranch, I enjoy so much going to the pen, picking one up and petting one of these gentle little creatures!

I will be giving some away in order to cut down of the 
work required at the ranch in our absence.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Watched the Sun Rise This Morning

At first I watched from the back porch, there was a heavy mist, and it was awhile before I thought I could photograph the pasture.  I now wish I had captured the fog lying heavy over the land.  I will be up early and ready in the morning to do that.

But Chance didn't mind the fog, and raced down to the horse pen where he always follows Randy when he is home.  I can't mention Randy's name too much, or Chance starts whining and lays in such a pitiful way with his head down on his paws.  I know in those moments just how he feels.  Randy makes everything so much fun.  It is such a sorrowful look he gets on his face when he thinks of missing Randy.

Click to see the rest of the morning's images.  Blogger tells me in order to load my blog quickly, my posts must have page breaks.

Chapter 1

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.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Now For the Second Half of the Introduction to My Book

"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. 

Her husband had achieved the rank of colonel when he was selected to command the 2nd Brigade.  His being educated at West Point, and the Army War College, was not the only reason she had known she would always be second place in his life when she had married him, just a few months before.  It was not only that his formal education had been in these bastions of military tradition and the teaching of the art and science of war.  It was his childhood, or rather, lack of childhood and parenting, that fostered his love and loyalty to the Army.  Where his biological parents had failed in every way to meet the needs of his childhood, he found stability and structure in the Army.  Beginning with first The Boy Scouts, and then JROTC in high school, he had found strong men of deep character to mentor him, and had developed direction for his life.  

The appointment to The Academy had offered him the chance of a destiny beyond the emotional and physical deficiencies and need he had known growing up in Louisiana.  Even more than that, his education had provided him with identity and purpose in his life.  He owed, in his mind, the United States Army in the way that a son owed his parents.   As he served, he had found in the Army the only security and reliability that did not fail him as two previous marriages, along with the neglected and abused childhood had.  Today, that relationship had revealed itself as fallible as all the others of his life had been, and a wound much like that of seeing for the first time weakness in a beloved parent, struck him.  However, being the man he was, the shell shock of the day’s events would only last momentarily.  The survival techniques, he had first learned as he hid in the closet of the war zone of his childhood home, and which the Army had hewn to professional levels, would rise up in him and in his mind a defense plan would be formulated.

That would not happen in the car as they drove to the hotel, because being the man of honor and dedication he was, his first reaction was to ruthlessly self examine.   He assumed his superior to be the leader that a two star general  should be, and he would continue for several months, to steadfastly believe him to be.  As he detailed to his wife the hour and a half long tirade leveled at him by MG Tim Harold, her mind turned over each sentence as he spoke it.  At first, she assumed that her husband’s take on the whole dressing down, had to be correct, because he was the one with twenty five years of dedicated service.  After he had continued to relate that he had obviously failed horribly in leadership for several minutes, as revealed by the general’s words, her mind began whispering, “wait a minute here.”   This made no sense to her, she thought, “I was at every Battle Assembly for the last year, I know the atmosphere, and I know from the Soldiers themselves, too much of their very positive thoughts.”  

While her FRG office was far down the hall, and she seldom had time to leave
t, Soldiers often drifted in and out on business, or just to chat.  The unit had not experienced an individual dedicated to this volunteer position, which she had assumed, and they seemed sincerely to appreciate her efforts.  The position had proved full of duties that required not only every hour of the Battle Assembly weekends, but several additional hours every week.  Still even at the far end of the hall, absorbed in her own work, she had developed a strong sense of the “command climate” of the unit.  

Their relationship had developed rapidly.  He had found in her a truly listening ear, and his basic trusting nature, which had left him vulnerable so many times in life, had at last found a citadel for his most guarded and tightly held thoughts.  He had spent many hours in their expression to her.  Beyond that, she had the benefit of the “pillow talk” of the man she so admired.  His personal concern for each member of his unit, and for Soldiers serving everywhere, were often his last words of the evening to her before those three that she held sweetest, as he drifted into the deep sleep of one possessed of a guiltless conscious.

At times, it was hard for her to know in her mind whether she loved him more, or admired him more.  Certainly, as she listened, it became more and more obvious that something about this entire incident was not quite right.  Also, events of the previous few months began to knit themselves together in the background of her sub-conscious.  She stopped him mid-sentence and told him so, and his eyes, which she had always found to appear so deeply searching when he looked at her, moved quickly back and forth.  As he intently stared at her, she knew his mind searched hers for the hope of validity in her assertion.   In this action, she found yet again deep admiration for this confident, highly intelligent, and accomplished man, who so faithfully served, that he would consider that the allegations leveled at him might contain merit.  As admiration swept over her, in equal measure love surged in her heart, and the two emotions struggled for their balanced places in her mind.  Perhaps she did admire him even more than she loved him, her heart answered quickly; she loved him more.

Friday, July 25, 2014

They Never Did Let Me Talk

The summer before McKenna, (she is the one holding the baby goat,) went to Kindergarten, she was very nervous about going to school.  She just knew she was not going to be successful.  She had spent time playing and visiting at the ranch and when it was time to go home for the start of school, she burst out sobbing, begging to stay at the ranch.  I told her she would have to go to school if she stayed with me too, and told her how much she would enjoy it once school started.  I told how good she was going to do, and that in a week I would call her, and she would have all kinds of wonderful stories to tell me of how she loved school.  She snubbed and finally stopped crying, got in the truck with her dad and headed home.

In about a week after school had started, I gave her a call.  When I asked her how it was going she proclaimed, "I don't see the point, I've been going a whole week, and I can't write yet, I can't read yet, and they never let ME talk."

I suppressed laughing out loud, and told her just give it time, Nana had trouble when she was in school too with not getting to talk enough.  When the year finished she had made excellent grades, and I was talking to her about how she learned to read, and learned to write so well, and asking wasn't she proud of herself.   She replied, "Well they never did let me talk!" 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Am Writing a Novel

I am writing a novel, I wanted to share the introduction here, and perhaps the first chapter.  This is the first half of the introduction.  The book is loosely based on a collection of experiences and stories I have heard from Soldiers over the years.  Being based in actual experiences, the book writes itself, I just change details, names, and of course, strive to protect the innocent... for the guilty I have no compassion...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Some Landscape Photography I Am Proud Of

Of course I appreciate those with wildflowers most!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Do We Still Have the Moral Courage

Do we still have the moral courage and resolve
to do what is necessary to retain our liberty?

The world is so full of threat that sooner or later,
 we will have to make that decision.

Joy Most Desires to Live in the Heart of a Child!

This is my grand-daughter Gabby.

She wants to learn ballet, so she found a video and is teaching herself!

She was born to two Soldiers, and she is very confident and self sufficient!

She is constantly building, making, doing, creating, and loving!

She loves to write too!  She wrote five poems yesterday that are spectacular!

I will share later!

Scary Looking!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Dangerous People

Only a small percentage of the people of the world are completely without a single resource to make a stand against those who would dominate in tyranny over the rest of us.  With the exception of the greatly afflicted, either physically or mentally, all have something to offer in the fight against the violent and corrupt, who constantly endanger everyone in their quest of absolute power. We also have the obligation to stand with the kind of resolve and courage which will subdue and contain these criminals who are the enemies of all of mankind, as well as impact the danger of their influence. 

Too many are lazy and unconcerned about anyone but themselves or their own families. By the grace of God, the geography of their births, the resources of the family they were born in, and or the opportunities of the country of their birth, they live in comfort and ease.  Seldom, if ever, do they even note the news of the persecution, fear, violence, and death that so many in our world live in today.

They throw their hands up and proclaim that there is nothing that any individual can, or even should do, about the plight of others. They loudly proclaim we should mind our own business, and that "those people have been fighting for thousands of years, just let them kill one another off! 

No person because of luck, or God's blessing, deserves liberty and the right to control their own destiny, and benefit along with their families from their labor.  Every person deserves to live in peace and relative safety.  When any individual or group threatens any person, we all are at risk.  Those who abuse power and aggress against others have amonng their numbers those who are never satisfied.  Those too, whose appetites for domination are never sated.   

We must wake up, join forces around the wold and resolve that at every instance of aggression, the WORLD will without hesitation meet that aggression with whatever force is needed to bring it to immediate end.  Further, those found responsible for the aggression, to include those who instigate, will be held accountable.  There are more of us than them when we join forces the world over, there is no reason for the ravages of violence to steal the peace and security of us all.  Sounds simple enough doesn't it... but there are problems...

A Few of My Own Thoughts on Russia

A Tire Swing in Summer!

 I can remember hours of fun in a tire swing when I was a child!

The one at SHR is still a relaxing place to spend time to me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Delight in Finding Google+ Pages Like This!

Look this guy's page up it you value nutrition 
coupled with beautiful culinary art!

Look at

Also look at 

They have good information and yummy stuff!

The presentations of the food are beautiful!

Makes me want to go to my garden 
pick stuff, and gather the eggs!  

Be Still

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

They Get a Bad Rap

As I was working outside one day at the ranch, I saw something I had never seen before, and will probably never in my lifetime see firsthand again. Of course I remember having seen something close on the Discover Channel, but never in person. We have red ear turtles that live in our pond, at first there was one, then gradually he began having friends over and they just moved in permanently... Now we have dozens. When I feed the catfish their morning cat food, (that is a story in and of itself,) they see or hear me coming and dive off the bank and the logs they are sunning on, swimming as fast as turtles can, which contrary to their reputation, (due to gossiping rabbits,) is pretty fast. They love dried cat food, it floats on the top of the water, making it easy for them to eat.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Repeating a Very Important Message Share This Please!

At times I become so discouraged and jaded concerning the leadership of the Army that paranoia takes over completely and I begin to doubt that there is anyone anywhere near the top who can be counted as anything but military mafia heads.  I know that seems a strong and irresponsible statement, but in case you don't fully understand what I am saying, or think I am just another ranting lunatic, I mean in the silent moments of the darkness of night I lay awake praying the most urgent and pressing requests of my heart, that my husband stays safe from the enemy... and I am referring to "the enemy within."  I have found this enemy to be powerful beyond anything I could have imagined even five years ago, and so pervasive that in recent weeks I have considered divorcing the institution known as The United States Army, and pledging my loyalties solely to those honorable men and women, and their families who stand in the gap everyday for me and mine.   

If you serve, have served, or reap the benefits of those who serve, (of course that takes in every citizen in the world, ) I urge you to carefully read this material referenced, and I paste my own comment in response to having read the findings of this study, which I feel is one of the most critically important issues our country, and in fact the world, faces today. It is the credibility of  The United States Military in reference to duty, honor, and country.

While My Hand is In the Cast, More Images of Summer