Freedom of wine


“My objection to war was not that I had to kill somebody

or be killed senselessly, that hardly mattered.

What I objected to was to be denied the right to sit in a small room and starve

and drink cheap wine and go crazy in my own way and at my own leisure.”

― Charles BukowskiSouth of No North

Soldiers train to go to war. We mentally prepare ourselves to die. We don’t want to die of course, but we prepare for it. We learn to shoot weapons to defend ourselves. We create wills just in case. We tell our families we love them. And then, we go off to a foreign country and hope things will be alright.

We adjust to the lack of freedom and the demanding work schedules. We cope with the dangers of intermittent rockets or the unknown dangers on a patrol. We learn to deal with the nonstop worry of the sky falling, because sometimes it literally is.

Don’t get me wrong, I never had it that bad. I was what they call a FOBBIT, a Soldier who pretty much stayed on the Forward Operating Base. I was a unique FOBBIT though. I had opportunities to venture off bases from time to time. I went on some patrols with special forces troops, I met village elders, and I experienced a convoy here and there. But, I was never on the front line, in a fire-fight, or face to face with a known enemy. (So I had it relatively easy compared to our hardcore troops. So I am not here to pretend I was more than I was. I am merely sharing my perspective on my experiences to those who may not understand deployments.)

However, as a Soldier who was deployed to three different countries, I saw and experienced some interesting things. And through those years, I realized just how grateful I should be.

I’ve had to sleep in overcrowded tents, a bug infested plywood hut and an cold HUMVEE. I’ve heard the whistle of a rocket overhead and hit the ground not knowing where it would land. I heard gunfire fill the air and not know which way it was going. I’ve walked on a patrol and got a bit uncertain with some locals around us. I’ve seen the dismal conditions people have had to endure. So, there were times of heightened concern, general discomfort, humble gratitude.

Then…there were times where there was nothing. Sometimes days, weeks and months of nothing. Nothing but work and more work. The same old work and the same old clothes and the same old food in the same old places. Being stuck in a small compound is enough to stress you out.

You get stir crazy in a way. You want to drive your own car, wear your own cloths, make your own schedule. But you can’t. You are stuck there. You feel like a prisoner who has to defend freedom, yet ironically, you have very little of your own.

Your life back home continues. Yet, it continues without you. And that is what nags at you. You miss your freedom. You miss your life. The freedom you had taken for granted is now gone. Your freedom is on hold while you try to regain it for someone else.

It is like that saying, you don’t know what you have until its gone. That is true. Because once you are deployed, you realize, you miss the little things. You miss cooking. You long to wear colors. You want to enjoy a glass of wine. But you can’t. You are a Soldier every day, every second and every moment.

This lack of control over the small luxuries hangs over you. Fore example, back home, you may only drink a handful of times a year. Yet, when you are deployed and not “allowed” to drink, you miss it more. You want it more because that freedom was taken from you.

I longed for a drink when I was deployed. It wasn’t that I really drank that much at home, but I enjoyed the option of having one when I desired. I wished I could kick up my heels and enjoy a glass of wine after a hard day. But I couldn’t. So when I read the Charles Bukowski quote above, I laughed. Yes, I definitely missed my right to sit around and drink cheap wine. I missed the option of making myself view the world with a bit of a colorful blur, if even for one night.

So the above photomontage is a blend of some of the items currently on my wine rack. Sometimes, I don’t touch it for months. Other times, I may have a glass or two in one day. The great thing though is, I can now do it at my leisure. And that freedom is something I will always appreciate.


For Sally D’s Phoneography Challenge ~ Photomontage.

To read more about Charles Bukowski, click here.

Say farewell to hate…please

Farewell to the past

Farewell to the present

Farewell to all those things

I don’t want in it.

The world can be ugly

and there is so much greed.

I want to disappear.

I want to go unseen.

I look for signs

of hope and fate.

But it’s hard to see through

the cruelty and hate.

Where is the world

of love and peace?


It could be in us all,

if we lay self-righteousness

at our feet.

Stand with our neighbors.

Stand with them all.

Because united we stand

and divided we fall.


For Writer’s Quote Wednesday’s Challenge ~ Farewell.

A spur of the moment 6-minute post of feeling and a prayer for our world. I won’t give up hope yet. But somedays, it is hard to get through all the ugliness in the world to believe humans can fix their own issues.

The act of life

 “Why do we make gardens? The act seems so extravagant, so illogical. Don’t we have enough hard work in our lives already? Are we looking for more?

Why on earth do we bother?

It takes a kind of courage. You have to learn to cherish. You have to dare, to take the risk, to bother, to care.

To make a garden, you have to be able to love and to see yourself as capable of nurturing.

It takes patience, too. If the garden is to thrive you must commit yourself to it for years, for the creation of a garden takes place over time. Like a child, a garden has needs that have to be met, whether we feel like it or not, day after day.
You have to have confidence. You have to take charge and be responsible. You have to act upon the garden.

And you have to let it act upon you. Because it will act upon you. And will knit you together with the rest of the world. It will not let you stand apart.
The challenge is hard, but it is irresistible. To get dirty, to get involved. To act and be acted upon. That is life. If we stop accepting that challenge, we stop living.”

~Simone Martel, Expectant Gardener ~

Life is never simple and situations are not always yes or no. It is always more complex and layered. Many times, there is a maybe or it depends to consider. Even once all the facts are laid out, it is still rarely a black or white answer or solution. Think of nearly any situation and topic in life, and you will find shades of gray.

Whether the issue is politics, health or gardening, you will find a variety of opinions and view points. With each person believing their view point is in the right, I am amazed that we can make progress. At times, we spend so much time fighting and arguing, that I think we waste time. We are so focused on being right or pointing fingers, that we miss the opportunities to really address the problems. It’s like we can only see black or white, and ignore the all shades of gray.

As I was deciding what to write to accompany my garden photos, I found the above Simone Martel quote on gardening. Her last few lines about life and gardening caught my attention.

“…And you have to let it act upon you. Because it will act upon you. And will knit you together with the rest of the world. It will not let you stand apart. The challenge is hard, but it is irresistible. To get dirty, to get involved. To act and be acted upon. That is life. If we stop accepting that challenge, we stop living.”

It made me think about all the craziness in the world today. It made me think about my own garden. It made me realize, life includes many shades of gray.

Let me explain.

Whenever there is a problem, whatever it may be, it is like a weed in the garden. We have to pluck it out. We have to destroy it. We have to abolish it. We do that and think, problem solved. Then, the weed comes back. And sometimes, with even more force in numbers.

We get frustrated. We want to burn the whole dang garden down and rip out all the plants. We want to start from scratch all over or just give up. This is the world acting upon us. It is life. Sometimes it is good. Other times it is bad, really bad.

Regardless, we cannot stop though. For when we do, like Martel said, we stop living. Life will never be perfect. (I dream and wish it could be though.) No matter what, there will always be weeds. There will always be that one jerk (ore more). There will always be something going wrong.

That doesn’t me we quit gardening/living, and hide from the world’s problems. Our job as humans, is to figure out how to react. How can we make the situation better? How can we help? How do we solve the problems, at least in our part of the world. Those answers are never easy though. And like I said earlier, they are rarely black or white. It is in those shades of gray where we find answers though. It is in those shades of gray where we find compromise.

When we get down on the ground with our trowels, we may discover why and where the weeds come from. If we pluck out the weed and not the root or the conditions causing the weeds to grow, the weeds will come back. Over and over, we will fight the same weeds. Only when we work on the conditions, will we stop the problems.

And like a garden, only when we give it attention, time, love and nutrients, will our gardens grow.

The problem is…not all of know how to garden (or want to learn), especially when it includes shades of gray.


For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black & White




Finding Karma is Not Such a Bitch

Fate, karma, and destiny all have similar meanings to me. Essentially, it is the belief that there is a force bringing you around to where you need to be. So regardless of what paths you chose on your journey in life, you will eventually get to where you need to be, where you belong, assuming you are a good person.

I find this idea intriguing and the longer I live, I find validity in it. Let me explain.

First, no matter what word I use above, they all represent some form of God to me. Fate is God’s path for his people. He designs us from birth: our parents, our abilities, and the location of our birth. Then He creates situations for us to excel in and allows us to meet certain people.

Karma is God’s reaction to people’s choice of those paths. When He sees that we are on the wrong path, I believe He redirects us, offering us another chance to get it right. Some of us chose well. Some of us don’t.

When He sees that we are acting poorly, He provides us opportunities to see the light and be humbled. Again, we can chose to be good or evil. Then sometimes, bad things just happen, not because we are being punished, but because it may be someone else’s path and/or there is a lesson for us to learn.

Destiny, is God’s calling for us. He gives us special talents and lays options at our feet to choose. He speaks to us through our hopes and desires. When we feel compelled to do certain things and are passionate about stuff, those tend to be the things we are good at. This is all a simplistic view on life per say, but it makes sense to me. So it is my story, and I am sticking to it.

When I read the Daily Post’s article on The Red Thread, it seemed in line with this thought. Basically, the Red Thread is the belief that you are destined to be with one person, a soul mate. And through a string of events, you will find them. That made made me think about my life today and the man I am dating.

We grew up in different states and were both married for over 20 years. So the odds of meeting were pretty low. But over the years, our marriages both fell apart. We regrouped and moved on, both on our separate paths. Yet, somehow here we are dating, after a blind date too. After several discussions, we realized there were a lot of interesting facts that tie us together, even before we met.

As an Army Reserve Soldier, I have been to a lot of states. Several years ago, I wound up settling in Georgia for a bit with my then-husband. While in this town, I made friends naturally. I worked. I bought a horse. I tried new activities. Basically, I lived. Funny thing though, many of these activities surrounded this stranger who I seemed destined to meet.

Of course, we would only realize these things after meeting and being together for some time. None of the factors are really big or telling in them self, but when added together, they make us wonder…

  • My previous Army Reserve position was in a town a few hours away from where we both currently live. After meeting, we went to that town to meet a military friend of mine and he was like, “Hey, I used to work in this town for years, and right down the street!” Hhhmm. So did I, but during a different time period.
  • The golf course where he works is the same golf course I took a women’s golf clinic at a few years ago. And oddly, I only took the clinic due to my then-husband’s prompting. Ironically, I wound up liking it though. It is also the same course where my son took some lessons. (There are several other courses in the areas to chose from though.)
  • My neighbors, who I became close friends with, all knew this man and had regular dealings with him. Yet, I never came across him.
  • One of the pastor’s at my church is the son of a religious leader at his temple.
  • We both ran in the same half marathon for a few years, running the same route, and never meeting. (He is faster than me though, lol.)
  • One of his employee’s was the husband of a woman who boarded her horse at the same barn where my horse was moved to.(They are the ones who talked us into the the blind date actually.)
  • For years he has volunteered to help on the military base where I work.
  • I moved to state only because of my then-husband and just decided to stay after my divorce.
  • He moved to the state, and then our specific town, for a job and remained after his divorce.

Alone, none of these facts seem important, much less compelling. However, when combined, it makes us laugh and wonder at the very least. For years, we had been circling each other. Maybe we even passed each other on the street, the course, the race path. It is not a huge town by any means, but it is not that small either. So the ‘small town, everyone-knows-everyone’ factor cannot really apply here. As a matter of fact, the daughter of his close friends graduated in the same class with my son just last year. However, they didn’t even know each other in the class of over 500 students.

No matter how you look at it, the end result is the same. We met each other by both reluctantly accepting a blind date. And that was after our mutual friends asked us both several times over a period of a year. Their relentless requests for us to meet, finally combined with the timing of our lives.

The fact that our blind date went so effortless and we are still together after a year now is really quite unusual. It makes me believe in fairy tales, fate, destiny…karma.

And I think, karma is not such a bitch after all when you trying to be a good person. As a matter of fact, Karma can be a dear friend.


For the Daily Post’s Red Thread.

Note: I started this post in November of 2015 and never finished it. While looking through my drafts, I found it and decided to finish it up. It called to me again for some reason, so here it is. 🙂