Renee Weatherbee

August 2011 - Renee's Ramblings

Posted:  August 27, 2011


God, Please Deliver this Letter – Aimee Renee Lange Palmer, Heaven

Dear Aimee,

It’s your smile that I miss the most.  That and your deep, gusty laugh.  Looking through all your photos, that friendly smile beams out.  I have pictures of Brittani, Emily and Chloe and when I look at them, I see your smile, your fun-loving spirit and your inner and outer beauty. 

The day you were born, I was so proud that your mom named you after me.  What an honor that was.  At first, you were all blue and purple, but soon, you turned into the cutest little pixie girl I’d ever seen.  As you grew into a toddler, you and Amber became the best of friends and remained so for life.  You had your moments where you fought, you had your times of getting into trouble together, but mostly you were the best of playmates, the best of friends. 

Aimee, I was most proud of you for how you mothered your girls.  You were so sweet with them.  I know you did your best for them.  Sometimes, times were difficult financially and emotionally, but you were a good mom.  You gave them lots of affection and attention.  Your girls will always remember the love you have for them.  Love never dies and I pray that this fact sustains them through whatever path their lives take. 

This will be a tough day for your mom, my sister and best friend, Carrie.  She misses you so much.  I wish I could find a way to ease her pain.  She will be lighting a candle in your honor.  Amber left flowers for you.  I don’t think I need to tell you how much she misses you.  You are on all of our minds – Brad, Angel, Arin, Nick and the rest of your family.  There hasn’t been a day when you weren’t missed since August 27, 2010. 

One year ago today, we suffered the most tragic day of all of our lives.  Somehow, we all made it through and it was a year of questions, searching for signs, praying and grieving.  We missed you so much on Angel and Amber's wedding days.  It wasn't the same without you there celebrating along with us. 

The only comfort we have is knowing that you are in a better place, under God’s wing, protected, in your Heavenly Father’s presence and that one day we will all be together again.  I know you’re keeping an eye on your girls from up there.  I wish they were near so I could hug them like I used to hug you as a little girl.  With God’s grace, I will see you again one day. 


Your Aunt Renee

Posted:  August 24, 2011


Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...Emry Jo Nemec

It’s a girl!  Sugar and spice and everything nice!  Okay, now is it okay to admit that I secretly wanted Angel and Tyler to have a girl?  Sure, when asked my typical response was, “I just want her to have a healthy baby,” but in my heart my wish was for one baby girl to spoil and shop for.  I do have two step-granddaughters, Nancy and Emilee, and they are beautiful and sweet, however, I didn’t get to enjoy them as babies. 

As I held newborn Emry Jo in my arms gazing at her studying her sweet face wondering what she was thinking, I was choked up with memories of holding her mother, Angel, in my arms, and her two aunts, Arin and Amber.  Having three daughters was my greatest gift and joy in my life.  Girls are sometimes difficult due to their petty jealousies and moments of drama, however, there is nothing like having your daughter all dressed up in pink flannel pajamas, climb up into your lap, putting her arms around you and telling you how much she loves you.  It was always “this much” with tiny arms open wide followed by my response, “I love you more than the whole wide world.”

I cry at the thought that Emry and Gunner will both change and grow so much before I get back to see them, for that first six months to a year, their bodies and minds change so rapidly.  My other grandchildren are at the age where, if they don’t see me for six months, they will still remember me.  However, these two newborns will have to get reacquainted with me every time I come for a visit. 

I have always had a true connection to babies loving to rock them all swaddled up in their blankets, loving to plant kisses on their little noses, loving to do goofy things to get them to smile.  I won’t get to hold them while I’m gone, but they will be constantly on my mind and I’ll be running to the phone every time I get a text hoping for a new photo. 

Both new babies have other wonderful grandmas who will cherish them and I’ll be both jealous and happy for them that they get to experience watching them learn to roll over, crawl, wave bye-bye and all the fun stuff in between.  But heed my warning Rhonda and Holly, when I come back for visits, I’ll be smothering them with kisses and hogging all the grandma time I can steal away from you!  In the meantime, I know they’ll be getting lots of love and I thank you for giving them extra love from Grandma Renee for me. 

Virginia Beach Boardwalk - 2008

Sunrise, Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach - 2008

Looking Down Over Virginia Beach from 8th Floor of Hotel - 2008

Restored Village of Yorktown at Riverwalk - 2008

Riverwalk View - Colonial Ship - Yorktown - 2008

Bridge Between Yorktown & Glouster, Fall 2008

(bridge opens up to allow ships thru periodically throughout the day)

Posted:  August 16, 2011 

Virginia, Here We Come!

In spite of all the pleadings and prayers to God, we are off to Virginia.  Do I think God didn’t hear my prayers?  Definitely not!  I have to accept that there is a reason for this move and that it is God’s will.  God has answered all of my prayers in the past, not always to the way I wanted at the time, but always for my best, where when I looked back, I could see His wisdom and was grateful for His Divine Intervention in my life.

Things are falling into place very smoothly for the move, so I have to believe this is what is meant to be.  The perfect renter for our home found us.  She is a single woman without children or pets (not that I have anything against either).  She loves this home and knowing that is a relief.  She’ll care for it like we did.  She is a Captain in the Air Force and will be stationed here for the next three years, the perfect time frame for us, as in three years we hope to be back when Al can take an early retirement.  She’s the first person to call to view the place and considering how things went when we listed the house for sale two different times without any luck, this seems like a God-send.  We feel fortunate our house didn’t sell, because we now have a beautiful home to come back to and live in during retirement.

I am trying to see the positives about living in Virginia.  The biggest and most important one is that Al will be able to spend more time with his son, Jimmy, who lives in New York City.  Al has missed him terribly.  God answered our prayers and healed Jimmy when he had lymphoma three years ago and since then, Al has only gotten to see him twice.   I look forward to getting to know him better, as I’ve only met him once.  He is a fun-loving, articulate, and creative individual who will keep us entertained.  Al will also be able to spend more time with his two sisters and a brother who live in the Eastern United States.  Al has fit right into my family and they all love him.  I hope his family feels the same about me.

While not the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota that we so love, there is beauty to be found in Virginia.  I look forward to driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge again.  This twenty-three mile long bridge runs into the ocean and over to the tip of a peninsula where in just a few short hours, you’ll find yourself in Maryland.  It is surreal to be on this bridge looking out over the endless water stretching out toward the Atlantic Ocean.  I want to learn more about how this bridge was built.  It is mind-boggling to me. 

Virginia Beach, which admittedly isn’t the prime resort area it once was, is still fun to visit.  While most of the buildings along the ocean were built in the 50s and 60s and show their age and wear and tear on the outside (but are renovated inside), the boardwalk that runs along the beach front is awesome.  We had fun renting a tricycle and pedaling up and down the boardwalk.  On one visit, we partook in some Greek dining and witnessed a belly dancing show, which nearly made Al’s eyes pop out of his head. 

The restored village of Yorktown, built along the York River is one of the oldest communities in the nation.  It’s quaint, Victorian architecture and newly built walking trails are worth visiting over and over.  In fact, we hope to rent a house in this area.  It will remind me of living in Pierre, South Dakota, where I spent thirty years living with access to the Missouri River.  There is much to learn about America’s founding history here and I look forward to that.

That’s about all I can think of right now.  Yes, my negatives far outweigh the positives, but I won’t focus on those for now.  I will try to make the best of this temporary relocation and trust that God has a plan for us.  I’ll just have to get a map to locate all the Wal-marts so I can go sit in the parking lot when I need wide-open spaces without giant trees hovering over me.  Oops, was that a negative.  Virginia is for lovers and after losing 60 lbs. Al has shaped up to be quite the lover!  LOL!  Virginia, here we come!

Posted:  August 11, 2011


God Loves Dogs Too

Three years ago, while living in Virginia and feeling homesick, my husband, Al, suggested we get a dog.  We were temporarily living in a motor home awaiting our house to sell back in South Dakota. 

With enthusiasm we drove around looking for dog shelters hoping to find a full-grown dog needing a new home.  We found a place that housed unwanted dogs and had our pick from about thirty excited prospects.   The caretaker came out and quizzed us about our situation and why we wanted to adopt, handing us a packet of paperwork to fill out.  She stated that after the paperwork was filled out, in two to three weeks someone would come to our house to inspect our fence and property to see if it met their specs.  Needless to say, we left and didn’t look back.  Obviously, we didn’t have a fence and our little mini home wasn’t going to meet their criteria. 

Feeling discouraged we headed home, but I suggested we stop and buy a paper to see if there were any puppies for sale.  Luckily, we found an ad selling Golden Retriever pups for an unbelievable $200 a piece.  I couldn’t believe the price as I’d done research on this breed before and hadn’t been able to find pups for under $800.  We called the number and were instructed to hurry if we wanted one as the litter of ten was going fast. 

The reason the dogs were selling so cheaply is that their original owner had passed away and a neighbor was left to disperse the adorable lot.  By the time we arrived, there was a couple ahead of us and just three pups left.  After they picked their favorite, we were left with two six week old pups to choose from.  I picked the more timid of the two figuring he needed extra love.  We watched him get his first shots and then carried him to the truck.  He rode on my lap whimpering all the way back to the motor home.  While he was a full blood Golden Retriever, his coloring was mostly white, a fluffy white ball.  We named him Dakota, after my home state. 

We watched him grow and grow over the next six months.  His huge paws indicated he was going to be a monster.  He was an overgrown baby, afraid to take the steps out of the motor home.  Potty training consisted of me lifting him down to the ground, which soon became a problem as his weight soared.  Getting him back into the motor home was a chore as he’d put his front paws on the steps and just stand there.  No matter how hard you tugged on his leash he wouldn’t jump up, so we would have to get behind him and boost his behind up.  We had to do this many times during the day as puppies pee a lot! 

Walking him became a chore as he’d nearly jerk my arm off with his strength.  One of our neighbors took it upon himself to train him to heel.  Dakota was stubborn and when tired would just sit and not budge, so we enjoyed some comical moments with our neighbor trying to get him to mind.  Eventually, the neighbor won and Dakota succumbed to heeling, but it took months.

Dakota knew by the tone of my voice when he was in trouble and would crouch underneath the table back in the corner where I couldn’t reach him.  He chewed everything in sight, everything but his chew toys.   At night he slept in his large dog kennel, but within months he looked like a sardine packed in there.  In spite of all the trouble of getting him potty trained, we loved him more each day.  Everywhere we went people stopped to pet him and comment on how beautiful he was.  He was just a big scaredy cat – afraid of other dogs, but he loved people to death.  Every time someone came close to him, he’d try to jump up and it took all my strength to hold him back.

Our house didn’t sell, so we decided to move me back to South Dakota.  I took Dakota with me.  By this time, he was six months old and weighed in at one hundred pounds.  Al and I would be living apart indefinitely, but the plan was for me to spend part of my time with him out-of-state and part of my time in South Dakota taking care of the house and yard. 

Dakota and I continued our lives as best we could.  We fenced in a side patio giving him an extra large dog pen to roam around in.  We installed a doggie door from the garage to the pen, but Dakota was afraid of it and wouldn’t use it.  He did fit through when dragged through, but barely.  It was winter and Dakota loved playing in the snow drifts and eating the fresh snow.  He nearly blended in as his coat hadn’t gotten golden red as expected.  At night, I’d bring him in the house and we’d share a bag of popcorn.  He got to be an expert at catching pieces in mid-air.  He was my “big fat baby”.  I would walk him around the neighborhood.  Sometimes I would load him in the car and take him to the dog park, but I literally had to boost him up into the backseat because he was too chicken to jump up there.  This wasn’t an easy task due to his size. 

In the meanwhile, Dakota proceeded to spend time chewing the side of the house, the garage door, rocks, whatever he could find.  I’d buy him toys and he’d devour them to pieces within hours.  Once he swallowed one of Al’s tube socks.  We worried sick about it until the next day when we found the sock on the ground.  Obviously, it had passed through Dakota’s system. 

I often felt guilty that I didn’t walk Dakota enough or that his dog pen didn’t give him enough room to run.  When he was let loose, he’d run out of control and it would take hours to pin him down.  He would just smile at you until you got close and then bolt away from you.  He was a royal pain in the butt sometimes, but he had lots of personality.  When you were talking to him, he’d often sit there and wink at you.  That little gesture got him out of trouble many times, it was just too cute. 

Al got transferred to Oklahoma and our plan was for me to spend winters there and summers at home in South Dakota.  Al moved his motor home into a trailer park.  Unfortunately, the rule was no dogs over 50 lbs.  About this time, we started talking about finding Dakota a home in the country where he’d have room to roam.  We thought it would be nice if he had kids to chase after.  The vet had been warning us that Dakota’s 125 lb. weight was unhealthy.  He wasn’t even full grown yet.  Several times, I told Al I’d put an ad in the paper, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  We both loved Dakota very much, but we were in a situation where we didn’t know what we’d do with him during the time I’d be staying in Oklahoma. 

Al came home for vacation.  Together, we got Dakota ready to go for a walk.  You had to harness him up, because with a regular collar on him, you couldn’t keep him under control.  He did very well walking until he saw kids, then he’d try to bolt from you.  It put a lot of strain on your arm when this 125 lb. dog bolted from you.  My arm was always sore. 

We stepped out of the garage ready for our walk, when a car pulled up at the end of the driveway.  A guy we’d never seen before stuck his head out his car window and said, “If that dog ever has pups, I’ll take one.”  We joked that it wasn’t likely as he was male and fixed, but told the guy he could have Dakota if he wanted.  The man and his wife stepped out of their car and came over to pet him.  Dakota was in heaven, rolling over to offer up his belly to be scratched.  The couple introduced themselves as Jude and Jennifer. We began talking and soon told them of our situation of living apart and having to go back and forth.  We explained that we were going to have to find Dakota a new home eventually.  Jude’s eyes lit up and he told us he might be willing to take him.  He stated that he lived in the country on twelve acres and that his little boys would love to have a dog.  He said he had a Golden Retriever as a boy and hoped to get another one.  We asked them why they were in the neighborhood.  They had never been in this area before and were just going to garage sales.  After our visit, it was decided that the couple would bring their boys, ages two and four, over the next day to meet Dakota and if all went well, maybe they would take him to live in the country. 

That night, Jude left two voice mails on our phone before we got him called back.  He was anxious to have the boys meet Dakota and hoped it would all work out.  The next evening, we opened the door and met the cutest little brown haired, brown eyed boys, Noah and Ezra.  We warned the boys that Dakota was very big.

I thought the deal was over, because upon entering the garage, Noah began to scream as Dakota came toward him.  To our surprise, Dakota instinctively knew to temper his excitement around the little ones, being careful around them.  Before long, Ezra was playing ball with “Makota” and Dakota would fetch it and happily return it.  With me, Dakota always chased the ball, but refused to give it back, making me pry it out of his mouth.  This was amazing to watch. 

The family told us they would love to take Dakota home with them.  As I visited with Jennifer, I told her that I felt like it was Divine Intervention that they showed up at our place the day before.  Jennifer said, “Me too.  I have been praying to God about whether I should have another baby or get a dog.  I think I have my answer.”  We both teared up and hugged each other.  We made arrangements to drive Dakota to his new home the following weekend.  I cried and fretted over whether we were doing the right thing.  I didn’t want to give him up, but we couldn’t have him in Oklahoma with us.  Who was going to dog sit for months at a time?  We knew Dakota would be happier in the country where he could run and play with the boys.  We pictured in our minds the boys growing up with Dakota protecting them.  But still, I felt like a traitor. 

Saturday, we boosted Dakota in the back of the pickup.  Turning to watch him, I could tell he was enjoying the wind blowing through his hair.  I was crying.  He had no idea we were about to desert him.  I talked with Al, stressing over our decision, admitting we didn’t have much choice, but heartbroken just the same. 

We pulled up into a driveway.  There stood a beautiful A-frame home with a covered porch.  Off to the side was a three sided dog shelter and above the shelter hung a carved wooden sign that read, “Dakota”.  At that moment, I knew we’d made the right decision.  Within the couple of days since we’d met Jude and his family, he’d built him a dog shelter, made the sign and put in a dog run.  Dakota saw the boys and bounced all over the back of the truck, still afraid to jump in and out of vehicles.  Al lifted him to the ground.  He gently walked to the boys and began licking their faces.  Soon they were all playing ball, the boys squealing and laughing.  We watched for a while, then hugged Dakota and drove off. 

Driving away, I was sobbing my heart out, but through the blur of tears could see that Dakota didn’t even try to follow us.  He was having too much fun with the boys, not even looking our way.  I cried all the way down the gravel road until I noticed the street sign, Redemption Road.  At once I felt calm and at peace.  How blessed was Dakota – God directed us bring him to Noah and Ezra on Redemption Road.  We had just been lucky enough to be his babysitters for a year. 




Welcome to the World, Gunner Allen Diedrich!

Born August 2, 2011, 7 lbs. 8 oz. to Arin and Brent Diedrich

Dear Gunner,

As far back as a year before you were conceived, I was praying to God to bless your mommy and daddy with your presence.  While I trusted God would answer this prayer, I teased your parents with the baby dance, a dance I claimed would improve their fertility.  When they came to stay with me, I’d pop in the bedroom and dance around or rather gyrate around singing the baby dance song I’d make up as I went. It was silly and annoying, but added humor to the situation for nothing taxes a couple’s nerves more than struggling with trying to follow all the doctor’s orders and taking medications and tests in order to get pregnant.  Each month, when all didn’t align and create you, was a huge disappointment for mom and dad. 

One day at church, I filled out a prayer request card and asked the congregation to pray your parents would get pregnant.  Two months later, I got the best Christmas present ever.  I remember Arin, your mom, handed Angel, your aunt, a card and told her to read it out loud.  Angel began reading what sounded like an announcement that she was pregnant.  I remember thinking, “That is nice that Angel is pregnant with her second child, but I don’t even want to look at Arin right now, because while I was sure she’d be happy for Angel, I was also sure that this announcement would be hard on her.".  Arin had expressed to me some of her mixed feelings of hearing some of her friends were having their first babies.  She felt happy for them and at the same time sad for herself that she couldn’t share the same news. 

Last Christmas Eve, from what seemed like faraway, I heard Arin laughing and saying, “No, Mom, she’s not pregnant, I am!”  I still didn’t get it.  I stood there dumbfounded until it finally sunk in and then I literally started bawling like a sick calf.  I grabbed my husband, your Grandpa Al, and sobbed into his shoulder, very overcome with happiness and overwhelmed with the knowledge that God had finally answered all our prayers.  Arin and Brent were having their first baby, you!

Two weeks later, we were doubly blessed to hear that Angel was indeed pregnant, too (two!)!  I joked around with the pastor at church, telling him he could stop praying now, that not only did the church’s prayers work, but that they produced two babies!  He joked with me that he was going to have to start charging for this service, as the prayers had worked for some other anxious couples, also.

I got to witness your mother’s body growing and changing as she carried you, nurturing you toward your birth day.  I sent up hundreds of prayers of thanksgiving for you and requests for your health.  When your mother started having early contractions nearly two months before your scheduled due date, I prayed even harder and in the end, kept reminding myself that you would be born on the day God intends for you to be born.  When your mom came to stay with me for two weeks before your birth because of doctor’s orders, I was both excited at the prospect of seeing you be born into this world and worried that it would be too soon for your little lungs to be developed. 

Of course, you didn’t come then.  You waited until we were eight hundred miles away out of state in Oklahoma.  Your mom called me around 11:30am to tell me she was going to the hospital.  I calculated that there was no chance we’d make the 800 mile drive before your actual arrival.  Grandpa Al and I decided to drive part way home and looked forward to meeting you the next day. 

I nearly went mad waiting for news of your arrival worrying about your mom and how she was handling the pain and how much longer it would be.  Finally, your daddy called me at 1 o’clock in the morning to tell me you were here and that you were perfect and that your name was Gunner Allen Diedrich.  Seconds later, I received a text with your photo.  He was right.  You were perfect.  Not wrinkly, not red, just laying there all bright eyed and beautiful much like your mother when she was born.  I cried and thanked God.  Finally, I slept for a few hours until we loaded up at 4:00am and headed toward the hospital on the five hundred mile trek to see you. 

Our trip to get to you was almost comical.  First we took the wrong direction out of Kansas City, Missouri and added an extra hour and a half to our travel time.  Then we ran into a detour off I-29 that added another two hours to our trip time.  Then we spent an hour sitting in the car behind a gas station arguing about which would be the fasted route to Pierre, your birth town.  We couldn’t wait to hold you in our arms. 

Finally, we reached Pierre fifteen hours later (five hours longer than the drive should have taken).  I walked into the hospital room to find your daddy holding you all swaddled up in your blankets and talking to you.  You were laying there looking at him and listening like you understood every word he said.  I swooped you up and cooed and awed over you and admired your handsome face.  Then Grandpa Al had his chance.  We spent an hour with you before we had to leave, but it was the best hour of my life.  All that pent up worry and frustration for the past several years just washed away.  I knew you were blessed with parents who loved you more than words can say.  I silently thanked God as I left the room.  Welcome to the world, Gunner Allen Diedrich!

Posted:  August 3, 2011


Praying for Lawson

A friend of mine, Nancy, is expecting her first grandchild, a boy, who’s been named Lawson.  I will never forget her squeals of excitement and the tears of joy in her eyes when she first told me she was going to be a grandmother. 

With the use of today’s advanced technology, it’s been discovered that Lawson will be born with a serious heart defect and other health issues.  His future is uncertain, but he is and will be receiving the best possible care by medical specialists and their hospital teams.   I don’t know many of the details, however, my heart goes out to his parents, Emily and Lance, and my friend, and her husband, Skip.  Already, Lawson is cherished and loved by so many. 

I join many in prayer, praying for this little guy, praying God has blessed him with a fighting spirit and a strong will to beat the odds against him.  I am praying that God will give his parents and grandparents the strength they will need as they stand by Lawson’s side allowing the doctors to do everything they can to make him well.   I am praying that God will use this opportunity to show his healing grace for little Lawson.  I am praying for my friend Nancy, that she will one day get to stand up and applaud as her grandson walks across the stage to receive his high school diploma and that she’ll be there cheering him on in whatever he decides to do with his life and that someday, Lawson will take his grandmother by the hand and lead her out on the dance floor at his wedding.    

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