The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: wounded warriors (Page 1 of 2)

Giving Voice: The Eagle Cried

The Eagle Cried, written and recorded by US Army Major J Billington (Iraqi & Afghanistan vet)

This song was written in honor of the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, who did not receive the hero’s welcome that they deserved when they came home from the fight. This song was written for and performed at the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion Reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama, held on May 15, 2010. To the Vietnam veterans that may find and watch this video, please accept my humble:
“Thank you for your service, and welcome home!” J Billington May 19, 2010

Specialty Feet

Soon after the first two weeks of my convalescence I set up what my sorella-amica Lisa called a ‘sewing sanctuary’ – a working layout that is user friendly for one such as I with ‘Specialty Feet’. I scrunched down the ironing board, placed it in between my desk and sewing machine and scooter around from station to station on my desk chair. Using the desk as my cutting table area, everything is amazingly manageable – at least in context of smaller projects. While I can (and do with blessings from the Doc) clomp happily around from place to place while in the boot, merely standing on my foot for no good reason is a no-no.

sewing sanctuary set up

My sewing sanctuary set up. Yeah, it’s a mess, but it works!


That same aforementioned sorella-amica challenged me to dig out the 2018 Row-by-Row quilt block kit we each purchased while visiting the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum last summer. Well, she didn’t out and out challenge me, but she texted me a photo of her completed block a few days before my surgery saying it was easy-peasy…except that the tiny flying geese border strips were a bit of a pain.
Who could resist that passive challenge? Not me.
Well, I stalled out at the sewing of the second half of those tiny flying geese blocks…ick, Too tedious and yes, tiny.
Tiny Flying Geese Construction

My ‘Specialty Feet’ resting while working on those tiny flying geese!


sewing machine accessory bible book coverNo matter, those circumstances pushed me to ferret out an excellent book I bought recently on specialty feet for the sewing machine and how to use them in various contexts.
(I bet you thought this post was only about my literal foot situation…HA! Fooled you.)
The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible by Wendy Gardiner & Lorna Knight is packed with information and advice on types of needles to use, size of thread, fabric idiosyncrasies and creative exploration of the assorted ‘Specialty Feet’.
This hands-on application on my Bernina is something I’ve dabbled in from time to time but never really got into as it took time away from my regular piecing and quilting projects. Now that I’m stuck at home* flittering between seated diversions**, I figured, why not go through this ‘get the most out of your machine – from using basic feet to mastering specialty feet’ book now?
wounded warriors specialty feetI can’t help but end this post with a slice of perspective…I will get out of the boot, I will resume my vigorous hiking in the mountains when we get back to where there are such places to hike, I will be able to wear sandals with my woman’s feet showing (even though I still maintain feet are pretty ugly under all circumstances!)…but for the many Wounded Warriors among us, their ‘Specialty Feet’ are permanent. Yes, enabling them more normal physical activities, but still composed of foreign materials and requiring new ways of thinking in their everyday usage.
 

“The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:19

 
* not entirely true, I get out and about, just can’t drive myself yet – plus I tire easily!
**I am currently in the middle of season 3 of Call the Midwife (I so love this series, especially as it’s based upon the true-life stories of the main character), season 7 part two of Dr. Who (after a so-so season 6, I am sooooo into The Doctor once again!) I am also going through stacks of reading material – some books by indie-authors, some craft, some contemporary novels, assorted magazines and ‘comfort’ novels I re-read on a regular basis. Then there’s the more business-like stuff I can’t escape because I am supposed to remain more sedentary than active: transferring files to my new computer, reinstalling NOTION sound bundles and the seemingly never ending edits, layout issues, etc for my Swimming with Swans project.

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

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