Tag Archives: wounded warriors

Hurting for Home

in honor of all those displaced due to all manner of circumstances

“Roots are best planted in the hearts of people rather than in a place.”
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno (Ma)

(Andrew York, ‘Home’)

Groggy Bye-Bye to 2015

I’ve been wanting to write an appropriate post for the end of 2015. Nothing has come to me. Partly due to the fact of being in the throes of a big cold/flu episode. Partly due to the fact of just not being able to face the blank page. I keep trying to get something written to post before this self-important/imposed deadline, but most of what is started is blithery and blathery…yet the urge is insistent: tie up loose ends!

Where to start? Continue reading

A Walk in the Swamp with Joe

Over these past three years of Thanksgivings, a tradition of sorts has evolved.  It seems our son Joe’s holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. Each Thanksgiving since landing here in South Carolina after our between homes journey, he has flown in to join us at the family feasting table. This fourth year was no different. He spent 10 days with us, kind of a combination re-group after his 2.5 month vacay in the DR and holiday time with the fam. This year we three took our walk in the Swamp the Saturday after Thanksgiving as usual only at a new-to-us spot: Woods Hole. To date, that is hands down our fav Swamp-place. But this post is about last year’s Swamp walk…

The Saturday after Thanksgiving 2014, I took a walk in the swamp with my son.

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

Turns out, he has become more of a walker since his youthful accident a few years back which requires him to keep his ankle supple and stretched.  Because my hubby was in the throes of knee problems, we took our walk without him.  It made for a long-overdue Mother-Son time together.  Yes, we communicate via texting, phoning and e-mailing, but there’s nothing like actually spending physical time with those you are in relationship with.  There may not be much spoken, but just the living, breathing and, in this case, walking presence of another produces a deep communication that can only be transmitted in such a manner.

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Getting into each other’s head and space, without pretense is very freeing.  It also helps me to sort through stuff.

That November, I was blessed to be able to focus on my Musical Non-fiction project, via my Nano Rebellion. It progressed nicely and I was pleased with my output as well as organization of said output.  It also served to re-connect me with myself.  A self that has by circumstances of ‘place’ not been easily allowed to come out and play.

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

The Monday following our Swamp walk I took Joe with me to be a part of my regular Wounded Warrior Horse Therapy volunteer time. I was excited to show him off to the gang as most of those there have family nearby 24/7 – warriors, therapists and volunteers alike. He got along with most everyone as he always seems to do wherever he goes, especially with Jason.  Funny, that, since they remind me of each other. Joe’s interest in the horses wasn’t all that much, but he did like seeing his Ma doing her horse thing anyway.

What happened there was something I didn’t expect. Doing what he always does, talk music with me comparing notes on gigging and crazy audiences; drawing others into our conversation cuz you know, everyone loves music. Between talking up his own bands and the Denver music scene, somehow it came out about my being a working musician, my dad being a pro-jazzman and that that was how he was brought up – surrounded by rehearsing musicians, learning to help set up gear for Ma’s gigs/concerts… No one there knew of my status as a musician prior to moving to South Carolina. I was just one of the horse handlers.  Mostly due to the fact it wasn’t something relevant to horse handling chores or in bonding with the warriors.  And also due in part to my own healing process related to the last months of our between homes experience…But that day, that ordinary Monday during horse handling chores and bonding with the warriors around the picnic table after therapy sessions, my son bridged the real me with the current me.

Lion King Quote

Remember Who You Are – Lion King

Inspiration during a simple Convalescence

Okay.  So I’m laid up a bit from a pesky back muscle spasm. In my mature wisdom, I know it is nothing as incapacitating as what many of my favorite Wounded Warriors have had to endure in a life less than half the length of my own.  But, when one is on a roll with a project that has been working its way to the top of the slush pile of my creative mind, the intrusion of this mini-disability is an aggravation.

In keeping with a term I earned back during my horse rescue days, I choose to ‘Cowgirl Up.’

Yep, being (he)artistic and horsey walk hand in hand in this lady’s life.

I confess to times of grumpiness, but mostly I’ve been reading lots, listening lots and vegging lots.  Never one to run from the creative crock pot of silence, the waiting is invigorating, but the physical stillness is my undoing!

Here then is a sampling of stuff I love, especially when I can’t position myself on my own practice stool and work on my own music.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Giving Voice: NCIS and Homeless Veterans

Yes, I admit, NCIS is my favorite TV show to date.  Quite often this Navy based television series tackles real world military topics.   Indeed, “Shooter” takes a look into the troubling subject of homeless veterans.

Hardly the poster boys and girls for public perception of what it means to be homeless in America, this episode strives to break the stereotypes of homelessness and joblessness.  And while examples given in this article are pulled from the television show, there are countless stories of real vets in real situations clamoring to be heard.

This NCIS episode gives voice to the problem in a way that is easily assimilated into the mindset of our mainstream population; offering entertainment with thought provoking moments written within the scripted dialogue. Continue reading

Meanwhile, back at the barn…

Barn buddies: Joanne & Skipper & Me

Barn buddies: Joanne & Skipper & Me

I figured you guys needed a horse photo fix, so here’s one of us taken the end of May just minutes before tacking up the horses for the 2nd Annual Bethlehem Therapeutic Riding Stables Horse Show.  My, don’t we look fresh and perky?  It’s a far cry from how we all look and feel now during the dog days of this endless South Carolina summer.

I love doing horse therapy.  Today I spent another Southern morning amongst sweaty horses and humans.  All of us out and about focused on the task at hand.  Humans enabling horses to enable Wounded Warriors who in turn enable us all to thank God for this gift of life.  Truly, it is a privilege to be part of such a place.

I came home after four and a half hours of such enabling, drenched.  Soaked to the bone with non-secretive sweat patches emerging over 90% of my clothing.  Not quite a wet T-shirt display, but daringly close to one! Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part two)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

What better way to ease into another set of 2013 Reflections than with luscious references to food?

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

This past year, I resumed my life as a ‘good cooker.’  This family badge of honor, proudly reactivated now that I have a kitchen at my disposal, has provided nourishment to both body and soul.

~ 4/13  The unfolding of my ‘horse gentler’ skills learned during our time of horse rescue being placed within a new context of use.  While making a final pilgrimage to visit Terry’s Mother in Dallas (just a week before she passed away) our ‘nephew’ Jeremy helped with a fundraiser for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ project in nearby Rocky Top Ranch.  Himself a Wounded Warrior, he opened my eyes to this realm of horse therapy for returning veterans and their families.

Shortly thereafter, to my delight, I discovered a local established horse therapy group beginning to implement a Wounded Warriors component into their program offerings.  I immediately contacted them and not only signed on as an active volunteer, but got in on the ground floor as part of the initial group starting the WW program.  In addition, I work regularly with the other students.  While my primary role is in enabling the horse(s) to be their very best while in use during therapy, I enjoy the blessings of working with the various students and their families, other volunteers sharing my passion, the therapists and owners of the stable…

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I'm wearing orange)

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I’m wearing orange)

We all worked hard to put on the First Annual Bethlehem Therapy Horse Show this past November.

Matt's victory salute after his horse show debut

Matt’s victory salute after his horse show debut


Really, really cool.



~  The many loved ones who passed on this year.  Continue reading

NaNo Prep (or getting it together before the Big Event)

Call me crazy, but I’m actually enjoying NaNo Prep this year.  Having one NaNo win under my belt, I’m feeling kinda cocky, I know.  But this year, in addition to doing some household planning and work schedule planning, I’ve done some exciting novel planning, as well as special events planning.  What’s that?  Special events planning?  How does one squeeze in special events during NaNoWriMo where all spare moments are focused on the mammoth task of pounding out 1667 words per day for 30 days?

For one thing, Thanksgiving, the major special event of November, comes at the end of the month and I’ve already determined I’d be done with my 50,000 words by then.  So that means I’m essentially doing NaNo based upon a 27 day month which tallies up to 1852 words per day.  If I get in at least 2000 words a day, I get two days free and clear for a sick day and a special event.

Knowing all of this ahead of time helps me.  And here’s where we get to something that’s been nagging at me since working on this website blog over the summer: I’ve let my inner geek out and she’s begun to take over my mindset!

Notice the emphasis on ‘doing the math’ in my NaNo Prep? Relegating a single day for illness or an unforeseen circumstance and another for a special event?  I know better and yet, my inner geek insists that’s the way to NaNo Prep Peace.  And, get this, for added security my inner geek got herself html text to put that sidebar widget you now see on my Blog Page.

This ‘live’ word count gizmo is directly connected to the NaNoWriMo site.  Not only is it cool looking, but it is a type of motivator for me to show off my word count each time it is entered on the NaNo site.  We Wrimos keep track of each other’s daily word counts, but out here in the infinite space of the internet on my website blog that has so many visitors (picture a wry grin on my face) well, it makes me vulnerable and more committed to producing impressive daily word counts!

Oh yes, and what exactly is that special event day going to be used for during the month of NaNo?

A horse show.  Continue reading