The Journey – Week 11

I sat down today to write our son a letter like I do most Saturday mornings. But, today was different.

Our son has been in boot camp for 11 weeks. He has 19 days left. I began to cry as I was writing my letter to him. Why?

I think it is because I realize several things:

One, I miss him terribly.

Two, the young man I sent off to boot camp will be changed into a United States Marine.

Three, we are down to the final days, the home stretch.

It won’t be long before I can wrap my arms around my son, tell him how very proud of him I am, and how very much I love him. This has been the longest amount of time I have ever been away from my son. It has been hard, but it has been so worth it.

The man that will return to me will be full of discipline, honor, courage and commitment. He will be part of a group, that only a few, the elite, have the honor of being, a member of the United States Marine Corps.

We are looking forward to Graduation Day on May 24th. Please remember our son in your prayers as he moves into the finals phases of exams, and certifications to become a Marine. We are excited as a family to join this new family, and begin this new adventure together.

Semper Fi!



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The Journey Begins – Leaving Day

Well, we made it. The day finally came. My son is officially in the hands of the United States Marine Corps.

After spending as much time as possible with him over the last three days, I could tell he was ready to go. Friday night after dinner he became very quiet, and I asked if he was o.k. I could tell his mind was already on Parris Island. I saw him again for dinner Saturday night, and even though we kept the conversation light and upbeat, he was far too quiet.

Then this morning at breakfast he seemed almost himself, like he was finally ready, excited and nervous.

We get to the recruiting station, the other family is already there, with the other recruit from our station. It is interesting to watch the change in him when he is spoken to by a Senior officer in the Corps.

They give us a briefing that went into the do’s and dont’s about basic training, for us not for them. They also gave us his expected graduation date, and instructions for the 13 weeks he will be gone. We then had private family time to say our goodbyes, take pictures, and relax some before the bus came.

Finally, it was time. The bus was an hour late so, it was nice to have the extra time. I promised myself I would not fall apart in front of my son, as other senior staff were present.

I was fine until he was in the bus, and started to pull away, and then the tears began to flow. However, I realized they were not really tears of sadness, but tears of relief.

My son has waited a long time for this, and I was so very happy to see that he was finally on his journey. He was spreading his wings, living his dream, and becoming the man I always knew he could be.

Semper Fi!




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Journey to Boot Camp

At my last writing my son was 16 days from leaving for boot camp. Well, he is still here.

Things were changed, timetables rearranged, and yes, even his MOS changed, AGAIN.

He is now leaving next Sunday! Everything is in order, and we are praying this time that everything goes as planned, and he can be on that bus with his other recruits as scheduled.

His new MOS is Construction/Engineering. I am still happy as long as it is not Infantry.

I will write a longer post next week after he on the bus to let you know what happens next.

Next week will be a very busy time of packing, spending time together, and handling all of the last minute details as they come up.

I think I am finally ready to put him on that bus, and watch him begin this new amazing chapter in his life.

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. My son has appreciated them all, and they mean a great deal to him. He will continue to need them as he progresses through basic.

Semper Fi!


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Inspirational Blog Award

I was given this prestigious award by a good friend. Her name is Jessica Martin aka @red_writinghood at She is smart, witty, and a great friend to have. The fact that Jessica finds my blog inspiring is an honor, because she speaks from the heart at her blog, whether it is about life, weight loss, or her family.  If you have not had a chance to check out her blog, stop by and take a look! You will be glad you did.

inspiringblogawardSo, to give back to the blogging community, receipt of this award comes with the following tasks:

  • Display the award image on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their sites.
  • Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to the post.

7 Things About Me………Do you really want to know? 

  1. I am a very independent woman, with a stubborn streak. I can take care of myself.
  2. I holler at talk to traffic when I am in the car. My son says the other drivers can’t hear me, but I do it anyway.
  3. I am a cat lover, and a Cancer on the astrological charts.
  4. I hate to shop! I know, that is strange for a woman to say. I would rather be cleaning, or cooking, which I hate, than shopping.
  5. I have a thing for earrings, some people own tons of shoes, I own too many pair of earrings!
  6. I read 54 books in 2012. I am an avid reader, as reading is my favorite hobby.
  7. Mexico is my home away from home. I love to travel, and I have often, but my heart always returns to Mexico.

And now, for the 15 blogs that I find inspirational:

The Writer Revived
Live from the 205
Grass Stains
Grasping for Objectivity
Upside Down Education
Moving In…
Caroline Abbott
Living the Life Fantastic
Dre’s Ramblings
A Bubbly Life
3 Girls Mom
Blessed By Him
Monica Wants It
My Life as Lucille
Sex and the Suburb

Now, as you can imagine, this list could have gone on and on. There are so many talented bloggers, it was hard choosing just 15! Please stop and visit these blogs, as I am sure you will find yourself enjoying them as much as I do. Thank you to Jessica once again for this wonderful award. I hope I continue to be as much of an inspiration to you as you are to me.






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Bad News – Good News

Last night my son called and said, “Mom, can you meet for lunch tomorrow, I have something I want to tell you face to face.”

Well, you can imagine that my mind started going crazy with all of the things it could possibly be. I had several people suggest several possible ideas, most of them I dismissed for one reason or another.

To say the least it was a long night. I have been awake since 4 a.m.

At lunch he said, “I have bad news, and I have good news.”

Basically, it basically boils down to this:

I wrote in my last military update post about the fact that my son had chosen Infantry as his MOS (career). After much soul searching, following wisdom of those already in the Corps, and thankfully, listening to his parents, he had a change of heart.

His new MOS is now Communications. However, this was the hard part. We were prepared for his departure at the end of February. I had prepared myself spiritually, and emotionally for that date. Well, since he changed his MOS, the Marine Corps changed his plans.

He leaves in 16 DAYS! 

Talk about tearing my heart out. I cried, and cried.

I have known since the day he signed his enlistment papers in September that his departure date was flexible. However, this does not make it any easier to let go.

I am now preparing myself, my son and my family for his departure.

I am so very thankful for the family vacation we had in Gatlinburg at New Year’s. That time together truly makes his leaving a little easier to bear. It is important to create memories before a loved one in the military deploys, or leaves for service. It helps with the time of separation.

The next 16 days will be very busy, making sure we have everything in place, and everything is stored until he knows where he will be stationed, which won’t be for a while.

Please say a prayer for my family during this time, we need them all.

Semper Fi!






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Reading Goal 2012

Well, I set a goal of 75 books for myself to read last year. How did I do? I came close. I read 54 books! I was making good progress towards finishing my goal, and then I started my new job. I have not read much since then, as I get home too late to read, and I am too tired. However, this is the list of the books I read in 2012:

  1. Ghosts of Varner Creek by Michael Weems
  2. The Hunter by John Lescroart
  3. Death Benefit by Robin Cook
  4. Worth Fighting For by Lisa Swayze
  5. The Rose Garden by Suzanna Kearsley
  6. My Captor, My Love by Leah Matheny
  7. A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer
  8. Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman
  9. The Girl That Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
  10. Constant Hearts by Donna Hatch
  11. The Last Innocent Hour by Barbara Sissel
  12. The Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta
  13. The Trial by Larry Thompson
  14. Stigma by Phillip Hawley Jr.
  15. Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
  16. The Witness by Nora Roberts
  17. Delirious Special Bonus by Daniel Palmer
  18. Delirious by Daniel Palmer
  19. Tanglewood Plantation By Jocelyn Miller
  20. Human Sister by Jim Bainbridge
  21. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  22. Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurtry
  23. Commanche Moon by Larry McMurtry
  24. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  25. Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry
  26. Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark
  27. The Hot Flash Club: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
  28. Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe
  29. The Darcy’s of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow
  30. Between Sisters by Kristen Hannah
  31. Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer
  32. Home Front by Kristin Hannah
  33. Islands by Anne River Siddons
  34. True Colors by Kristin Hannah
  35. Summer of Firefly Memories by Joan Gable
  36. Mountain Woman by Johnny Fowler
  37. Mountain Woman Rides Again by Johnny Fowler
  38. Mountain Woman Bound for Texas by Johnny Fowler
  39. Mountain Woman: Snake River Blizzard by Johnny Fowler
  40. Hardy Texas Ranger: In the Big Thicket by Johnny Fowler
  41. Hardy Texas Ranger: In the Davis Mountains
  42. Hardy Texas Ranger: In Oklahoma Territory
  43. Hardy Texas Ranger: The First Female Texas Ranger
  44. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
  45. Marine Corps Boot Camp Survival Guide by Amber Cabrera
  46. Stay Tuned by Lauren Clark
  47. Love’s Lasting Promise Promise by Donna Oltrogge
  48. A Warrior’s Heart by Donna Oltrogge
  49. Heart of the Hawk by Donna Oltrogge
  50. Spirit Walker by Donna Oltrogge
  51. In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark
  52. Unbridled by Tammy Hinton
  53. Happy Hour by Michele Scott
  54. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jeff Bridges

My Kindle is still overflowing with books to read. I have more than 100 waiting to be read, and over 200 samples of books I would like to check out. So, for 2013 my reading goal will be 50 books since I have a full-time job, and I know my reading time will be limited.

What are you reading this year? What are your reading goals? Have you set one yet? If so, let me know, and let me know what you are reading! I am always on the lookout for a good read.


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Weight Loss – Lessons Learned


Well, it has been a year of challenges. A back injury to begin the year, and then two surgeries, followed by a job loss.

However, I have managed to do well with my weight loss regardless of the challenges. All total I have lost 45 lbs. Now, that has been since I began my weight loss journey. This year I only managed to lose 18 lbs with all of the challenges.

What is important to me is that the weight is coming off and staying off. I am progressively losing weight, each month my weight is lower than the next.

I have discovered many things in the course of my challenges about diet and exercise.

First, sodium content is extremely important to monitor when trying to lose weight. The less the better.

Second, that exercise everyday, not just two to three times a week, is crucial to weight loss. Walking is best everyday, then cardio two to three times a week.

Three, weights are necessary for maintaining muscle strength, and tone while dieting.

Four, fruits and vegetables, especially green vegetables can make a huge difference in your diet routine.

Five, lean protein is a necessity when dieting. It not only helps curb your appetite, but give you energy to exercise.

Six, the importance of whole grain cannot be understated. I start my day everyday with some kind of helping of whole grain. Oatmeal is usually what I prefer.

Seven, and I think the most important is portion control! This, I believe, was the hardest lesson for me. Learning that I could have my favorite foods in smaller portions, and not go hungry was a hard lesson. Also, learning what the proper amount of food the body requires to run, was an eye-opener for me too.

Even though my total weight loss was only 45 lbs, it was the inches lost that made the biggest difference for me. I have lost a total of 25 inches! All of my clothes had to be replaced! Let me tell you, I hate shopping, but losing weight is making that not so much of a chore anymore.

My goal for 2013 is very simple. I want to lose the rest of my weight. I have a 30 year class reunion in 2014, and I want to go. Now, if you have read my previous weight loss stories you know I have avoided them due to my weight gain. I want to go to my 30 year, and walk in there with my head held high, and not feel like I have in the past. That is my goal.

If you are on a weight loss journey, take it one day, one pound at a time. The weight will not come off overnight as it did not go on overnight. A hard but true statement. Keep working at it, you will succeed eventually, if you want it bad enough.

Good Luck!


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Enlistment Update II


Well it is time to catch you up on my son the Poolee.

This is the term the Marine Corps uses to define those that have enlisted but not yet left for basic training. Those that are working to prepare themselves for the next step, what lies ahead.

Since I last updated you, my son has been working two jobs, and going to PT (physical training) 4 times a week. This is necessary so the he will pass the rigid physical fitness exams prior to and during basic training.

All is going well. He has passed all of his exams so far but one, his run time. He continues to improve, but he is finding this to be a challenge.

He has made a major career decision since the last update. I was hoping and praying he would not choose a certain MOS (career field), and unfortunately that is exactly what he did. He choose Infantry, the most dangerous career field he could have possibly chosen. He will forever be on the front lines of any and all conflicts/wars we as a country are involved in.

Infantry Front Line Marines

Now, I had lunch with him a few days ago, and he explained his reasoning behind his career field choice. I understood, but as a mother it does not make accepting his choice any easier.

We are still looking at a ship date of February 2013. It will come sooner than I want it to.

Until then, we have a wonderful Christmas/New Year’s trip away scheduled to spend some quiet, quality time together, as a family before I turn my baby, my son over to the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi


Photo Credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page via photopin cc, Sister72 via photopin cc

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To Shop or Not

We all have our favorite stores, and places we love to shop. Unless you are me, that is. Now, I do not care to shop in regular malls. Ugh! I guess you could say I loathe hate can’t stand to shop, period. The word alone makes my vision blurry and makes me shudder. Ewe.

I shop as a necessity for clothing, and miscellaneous needs for myself or my family. I even hate dislike going to the grocery store! According to the Free Dictionary, to “shop” literally means “to go from store to store in search of merchandise or bargains.” Why people find such enjoyment from this, I will never understand. I am not one of them.

Why get in a car, drive from place to place, fight the crowds, the germs, the noise, the people, and waste the gas, when you have this fabulous thing called the internet right at home?

OMG! Internet shopping is a lifesaver! This amazing invention called internet shopping has been my salvation when it comes to clothes, and Christmas shopping for the last several years. Have you been to a mall at Christmas time lately? No thank you!

Now, the stores I frequently go to on the internet are JCPenney, QVC, HSN, Catherines, and Woman Within. Each store has something unique about their clothes for women I find attractive.

JCPenney’s cost of their clothing, and selection for women, is what attracts me to their store. QVC has this amazing line of clothes called Citiknits. Citiknits is a wash and wear line. You literally wash it, hang it up and wear it. No drying (in the dryer) or ironing required! I love it! HSN has a similar line called Slinkys. It is also a wash and wear line, and has just as good of a selection. Woman Within has a mix of everything; casual, dresses, shorts, and sleepwear. If you are a savy shopper, Walmart has a casual wash and wear line called the George line. It is a functional casual work, and everyday wear line that is well priced and comfortable. George also has a shoe line. I own several pair of the shoes that I wear to work with pants and casual clothes.

If I had to be dragged kicking, and screaming to a land based store to shop, (there is that awful word again) shudder. I would have t0 choose, Goody’s. They always have a great selection and great prices. Next, would have to be Catherines, and then last would be Sears.

What are your favorite online clothing stores? Please share as I am always looking for new places to buy clothes, and new ways to avoid the mall! Hope you enjoyed my internet shopping story.


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Right to Vote

I am going to preface this with the fact that I have never written a political post before today, this is a first.

Sometimes you just want to say……..enough already! Wow. Today has really been a day of everyone on @twitter having their opinion about someone using their right to vote. That is just what it is, a right to choose to vote. This morning John Archibald wrote a piece about why he chose not to vote. You would have thought he had committed a cardinal sin. Here is the link to his article.

Then, (@aldotcom), turns around and posts on @twitter a comment that said, “Can you forgive @JohnArchibald for not voting?” Excuse me?

We have the right in this country to choose not to vote, or to choose to vote. There are those of us that feel that the two-party system is not fair, and it does not work. Also, there are those of us that feel that since our candidate is not on the ballot, we were not given a choice. Therefore, why vote?

If you are among those that voted today, good for you. If you are among those that did not, then you did what you felt you had the right to do. Do not let others bully you into feeling bad about your choice. You had a choice, and you exercised that choice.

I am not going to reveal whether I voted or not. To me, voting is a very personal decision, so much so, that announcing that you voted, to me is comparative to TMI. It is a sacred choice, and one that should not be shared with others, much as the same as your choice of candidate.

So, all of this alienating one another over the choice of voting or not voting is ridiculous. It is simply a choice. Yes, many died to give people this choice. I have served in that same service. However, you must let people have that choice, that is why we call this America: Land of the Free.


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