INTRODUCTION: This section is dedicated to my personal ramblings – it can be about anything, from a favorite product or service, to an opinion I feel strongly about, to a personal essay, to an attempt at adding humor to my otherwise boring day. Whatever posted here will be highly personal and is my feeble attempt at exposing myself to the world as a writer, something that doesn't come easy for me. I welcome any comments from anyone who takes the time to read my ramblings and will respond back to you (unless you are being overly offensive, in which case, I’ll just ignore you.) I don’t know if you’d consider this a blog – blogs are written by people who have a particular expertise in some subject – I have no expertise in anything. Thus, my ramblings…
Any products or services mentioned here are my own personal opinion. I am not currently being reimbursed or endorsed by any company for mention of their product or service (however, it’s not out of the question for this starving artist writer. Any personal essays or opinions on this site are my own and I am fortunate to live in a country where I have the right to write about anything I so choose. You have a right to read it, or not. Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back often!
Posted: October 26, 2015
Most of us carry around a tremendous amount of hurt, anger and despair about situations that have happened to us that were beyond our control. We all have been victims of other people inflicting pain on us in some form. We’ve all been treated unfairly. All the bad things that have happened to us are designed to break us, bring us down, and keep us from appreciating our lives. Sometimes the person who damaged us did it on purpose. Sometimes they didn’t know that their actions were causing irreparable harm. The most important lesson we can all learn is to let go and forgive them. Holding on and being unable to forgive only gives power to the action and/or person who inflicted the injury. It holds us back from living a life full of peace and genuine happiness.
We are all guilty of causing harm to others, whether on purpose or unknowingly. We have all made mistakes that cause injury to our own selves that we knew deep down were wrong, but we did it anyway, causing us to feel guilty. We have all failed to reach out and do something for others that we knew we should have.
Sometimes, we carry around that guilt and it weighs us down, blocking us from truly enjoying the life, God, our Creator, has given us. The most important lesson I’ve learned in this life is to let go and forgive others, but not only that, but carrying it further and forgiving myself. I just finally learned that I just have to confess the wrong I’ve committed just once to my Father in Heaven. Then I need to accept that he has forgiven me. If he can forgive me, why would I hold on to the guilt and shame of my mistakes and not forgive myself?
Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. We will all remember the worst, most traumatic things that have happened in our lives, but by releasing forgiveness from our being we become free to be our better selves. None of us are perfect and we have to forgive ourselves when we mess up. At the same time, we have to remember that our fellow human beings are flawed, too. All we can do is forgive others, forgive ourselves and try to do the best we can and grow in the process. The more we practice forgiveness, the more our lives will improve. I know this without a doubt. If Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness, then we have a duty to forgive others and ourselves, as well.
Following is a poem I wrote about forgiving myself and accepting God’s love. It received an All Time Best Recognized Poetry Award on FanStory.com.
Rainbow Land of Forgiveness
In the land at the end of the rainbow
Rugged rocks, jagged edges, barren ground
With the gulls, solitary hike, moving slow
Alienation, true meaning I found.
With the misty morning dew making me slide,
Sat down and thought, “I am not alone.”
My soul became bare, nothing to hide –
Looked to heaven, “For life, what have I shown?”
Not always was I kind, generous or fair
When asked to assist, sometimes turned away
Mistakes too many to cite, didn’t care,
Facing God, my judgment, what would I say?
Then out came the light, sky brilliant and clear
Pulse slowing down, filled with silence, serene
Feeling His presence, a slight breeze, He’s near
Knowing forgiveness is there, proof unseen.
LETTER TO LITTER BUGS
Posted: October 21 2015
Dear Litter Bug,
Shame on you! Is nothing sacred to you? I feel sorry for you, because it’s obvious you have no joy and appreciation of nature. I feel sorry for you, because you obviously live a self-centered life. If you can’t care enough about the world around you to not contribute to the ugliness and negativity of the world, by flinging your trash all over the place, then you must have a sad existence. If you don’t have the patience to wait until you get to a gas station or a park or your own home, where trash bins are provided, then do you have the patience for anything? I can’t imagine that you believe in a Higher Power, because if you did, you wouldn’t trash the land gifted to us from our Creator. It’s clear that you don’t respect public or private property. I don’t even think you can be from South Dakota, because if you were, you would appreciate that we don’t do that here. We respect the land and our neighbors. I don’t understand how you can be in this area and not want to preserve the majestic beauty of it. Look around you. The world is about more than just your immediate desire to rid yourself of the garbage you’ve accumulated. What you are doing is callous. It sends a message that you don’t care about anything. What a miserable life you must lead. You may think that throwing out a little trash is harmless. It is a senseless act that defies this precious land. While I am certain, my pleas won’t matter to you, I am begging you to not litter up this place I love with all my heart. If you don’t love it as much, maybe you should go elsewhere.
Driving along the highway, I peal out my anger
Feel the need to stone those who fling their trash
I’d like to pounce upon their prideless, callous souls
That allow plastic, paper, and repulsive rubbish
To pile up like it’s some kind of finished fortune
What idiots steal away the beauty of this land?
Rita Renee Weatherbee
POSTED: October 14, 2015
There probably should be a support group for people like me, but I spend between a half hour and two hours a day on Pinterest, usually at night before I sleep. On the surface, that appears to be a colossal time waster, but I discover new aps and new ideas almost daily – some of them even help me save time and money. I’ve tried some of the recipes so that’s a benefit. I find inspiration and read stories about heroes and successful people. I find writing prompts and ideas for practicing my writing skills. I figure, if I’m learning something, it’s not a waste of time.
So for now, I think I’m okay. If you come to my house one day and find my eyes permanently glued to my cell phone and I don’t acknowledge your presence, then maybe you should have me committed.
In the meantime, here is a list of a few useful things I’ve gleaned from Pinterest or some silly things I am doing with my time on this ap.
- I discovered cozi.com by reading someone’s posting about time saving techniques. I just started using it today, but I can see how it’s going to save me a great deal of time doing that dreaded grocery shopping chore I loathe so much. What I was doing up until today, was hand writing my lists for each store I planned to shop, putting the lists in separate envelopes (along with the coupons I clipped) and burying it inside my purse until Monday, my glorious shopping day, and I mean that in a sarcastic way. Come shopping day, I’d have to dig out my lists with corresponding coupons and then I’d have to dig out a pen that works and begin crossing off the items. By this time, after being in my purse for five days, the lists would be all crumpled and messy. If you saw the inside of my purse, you’d know what I’m talking about! But with cozi.com, I just create a list on my computer for each store, then click a line and type my item in and include a note if I’m using a coupon. (The paper coupons will be safely stored and sorted by store in my billfold until I need them.) If you sign up for m.cozi.com on your mobile phone, then the lists you create on your computer can automatically be used on your phone. So now when I shop, I’ll be able to pull up each list on my phone, by store, and by just clicking the box for each item I put in the cart, it crosses that item off the list. I can see this saving me at least a good fifteen minutes for each stop, as I’m always spending time digging for my hand written lists, digging for a pen, then eyeballing and searching the list for the next item to hunt down. Having all this right on my phone will be a breeze. You can also use cozi.com for a scheduling calendar, for a journal, for organizing recipes and corresponding shopping lists, etc. It’s free to sign up – I’m sure there’s a catch somewhere, but so far, all I see is that they try to get you to purchase their cozi Gold ap and also, there is advertising on the site. I have Evernote on my phone, but cozi.com appears to be more user friendly for the things I need.
- I found a great sight to search for, clip and print coupons for my dreaded shopping day. I use coupons.com, but there are many others. While far from an extreme coupon clipper, I saved $682.52 in a six week period of time by taking the time to search for coupons. Granted, the first two shopping trips I probably over-purchased, because winter is looming and that blizzard where we were snowbound for three days and had only pickles and popcorn left to eat in the house, is fresh in my mind. So I wanted to make sure that we can survive any snowstorm or any other disaster. Also, the savings I quoted isn’t just for groceries - it also includes clothing (I saved a ton of money buying summer clothes this fall). I’ll be styling come next summer, but I have not much to wear for now…haha! Anyway, while I spend a couple hours a week putting my shopping lists together, the savings in dollars make it worth it. If not for Pinterest, I probably wouldn’t have started doing this. Of course, now that the cupboards are stocked, my spending will drop considerably.
- From Pinterest, I have found tips on how to save money each week by using a chart that shows how much to sock away and how it should build up throughout the year. There are several different ones, and they work great, but it does take discipline. We almost had enough saved for our Christmas shopping, but then used it for a family emergency, but at least we didn’t have to rob a bank.
- I spend several hours a week reading postings on Pinterest about the craft of writing and I’m just positive one day, it will help me earn a paycheck. Ha! Ha! You can find stuff on there for any profession, there are a lot of job coaching type sites and you can even find posts to help you figure out the best profession for your personality type…are there any other INFPs out there – according to Briggs and Stratton, I am suited to be a writer…(just a little more encouragement that I’m on the right path.)
- I waste time doing silly things with my boards on Pinterest. I have a LOVE board that I have pinned over 10,500 items too – from romantic love pins, to family love, puppy and animal love, symbols of love, love poems, love quotes, God’s love, etc. It’s my cute little way of spreading love across the world. Who knows, maybe one day it will inspire someone or save someone. It gives me joy to post to my LOVE board. Speaking of joy, I have a JOY board where I pin posts that have the word JOY in them – it’s in honor of my friend Cheryl, who brings joy to me as a friend and whose middle name is Joy. I have a favorite color board (turquoise and yellow) and I get inspiration just by looking at my fav colors. I have a board for each year my daughters were born – I like it because it helps me to remember those most precious years when they were little. I get ideas for home decorating and I find craft items for my sister, Carrie, to try – (she’s crafty, I’m not.) I have numerous other boards about people, history, sacred buffalo, etc.
Maybe by reading this, you are inspired to find ways to save money, spread the love, learn about yourself and others, and find some hobbies that give you an outlet from this crazy world – whatever helps you find your passion for life. Writing this helped me fulfill my goal of writing for at least one hour a day. I found an awesome pin teaching me how to set goals…oh my goodness, there is something wrong with me. I can’t stop.
If you use Pinterest, I’d LOVE to hear what great finds and discoveries you have made there.
DOWN WITH FALL
Posted: October 10, 2015
I hate fall! For me, it is the most abysmal time of the year. I'm learning to embrace it and accept things as they are - not rail against things not under my control. Why waste valuable time trying to complain away what is? I'm training my brain not to dread the gloomy, cooler days of autumn. I need an attitude adjustment. I need to look for reasons to appreciate this season. I can’t let fall get me down.
I must block thoughts of the past summer, my favorite time of year. I need to block thoughts of the impending winter and not to listen to the buzz killers who predict frigid cold and record snows. I can’t waste today dreading the future. I can’t live depressed longing for sweet summer days past. So, I’m setting my mind to focus on the good qualities of the current season.
Today, as I was driving down a street lined with trees garmented in leaves of multiple shades of gold with splashes of orange sprinkled throughout, I marveled at the warm, bold colors against the sapphire sky. I discerned that the fallen painted leaves on the ground made the uncovered grass around it stand out like a field of emeralds. I watched as a lone golden leaf spiraled down to the ground joining others piled there and it brought back treasured childhood memories.
I remembered how good it felt as a child to rake fall leaves into a huge pile hearing and feeling them crunch beneath my feet. I remember the sheer joy of leaping into a gigantic pile of them and watching my sister and brother and the neighborhood kids dive into them, too. We would bury each other in leaves and the musty smell of decomposing yard waste would fill your nostrils. I remember innocent laughter and grabbing armfuls of leaves and tossing them at each other.
I remember as a kid bundling up in a sweater, rolling around in the yard, dried leaves and debris sticking to my clothes and wool socks that kept slipping and gathering down around my ankles and bunching up under my heals driving me crazy. I remember when play was done and no doubt the leaves picked up, because that was one of our chores, going back in the house, brushing the leaves off, fingers and toes tingling as they warmed up. I remember being served hot cocoa at the kitchen table and the melting marshmallows creaming on top of my chocolate delight and watching the steam wafting up, fogging my glasses and warming my nose. Sometimes it was hot apple cider. With the apple cider, came the smell of cinnamon, because Mom would boil cinnamon sticks with it making the whole house smell fresh and spicy. I remember the smell of her baked apple pies and the taste of melting ice cream on top of a crispy crust filled with an oozing, gooey concoction of sweetened apples.
As kids, I remember the anticipation of waiting for Halloween and planning the perfect costume in the days when we didn't get store bought outfits, because our mom could sew anything. It was agonizing trying to decide what to be and how to create the desired ghoul or character. We looked forward to getting dressed up and running down the street trying to spook the neighborhood kids, but the best part was knocking on doors and shrieking, “Trick or treat!” I remember the leg aches and cramps after finally getting back home, but it wasn’t enough to stop us from gobbling down handfuls of flavorful candies. I was a chocolate hog. There were negotiations for trading candy, but chocolate and candy corn - that's all I ever wanted. I remember fingering the candy corn, admiring the bright colors of yellow and orange and biting off the white tips, and then licking the sticky from my fingers. I remember the scolding, because candy wrappers were strewn about and feeling too exhausted to pick them up. I remember hoarding and hiding my candied treasures before going to bed for fear my sister or brother would rob me.
Yup – the good ole days. Did I tell you I love fall? I sure do.
A Wise Woman’s Simple Wisdom
Posted: October 1, 2015
Most of us are shocked to realize one day that we are much like our own mothers, in spite of the fact that we fought to be so different from them. As I ponder on the things my mom taught me, it becomes clear what a wise woman she is and how I have adopted much of her philosophy. While she is an avid reader, I’m not talking about being wise in the worldly or scholarly sense, but wise in the area of common sense and knowing how the world operates. There is no doubt she learned from her mom, my grandmother, another wise woman. Both these women, my mother and grandmother, didn’t have an easy life, at times, but they managed to raise respectable children, provide a clean home and hot meals.
Here is a list of some of the things my mom taught me, as simple as they are, that were effective in creating good values in me that I hope I’ve passed on to my own daughters. Believe me, I’m sure there were times when she wondered if anything she taught me was sinking in, but it did.
- Make your bed every morning. This one was a hard lesson to learn. I didn’t start making my bed every day until about ten years ago. Before that, I always thought I didn’t have time to make it before I went to work and when I got home, I often didn’t, because I knew I’d be crawling in it soon. But eventually, it became a habit and I found that it was easier to deal with the chaos of everyday living if I took the three minutes to make my bed right away when I climbed out of it. Mentally, I learned to find comfort in knowing that at the end of the day no matter how bad things seemed, I would have a nice bed to crawl into, without the covers all askew in madness, because as much as I toss and turn throughout the night, I have a total wreck of a bed by morning. There is nothing like pulling back the comforter and top sheet to climb into a bed of smooth, cool sheets. For me, it immediately releases the stress of the day. I truly think that if you continuously crawl into a chaos of a bed every night, the chaos around you becomes magnified. I also have learned that if you make your bed daily, there is less chance that spiders and bugs will crawl into it. That’s all the motivation I need!
- What goes around comes around. I remember my mom saying this to me many times when I went to her to complain about someone who mistreated me or bullied me in school. While I wasn’t a perfect angel and there were times I wasn’t kind and even contributed to some bullying in school, this saying always came back to me and I would know to back off. Or when someone was mean to me, I would find some comfort in knowing that how they treated me would come around and they would get their due justice one day. I knew I didn’t have to seek the justice. Justice would prevail. Even as an adult, this saying often pops into my head when I realize I’m not being fair to someone, and I try to stop doing whatever it is that may cause harm to someone.
- Treat everyone like you want to be treated. The golden rule was the first lesson I remember being taught by my mother, even before ever attending Sunday school. While I’m still a work in progress in this area, I do try to live by this philosophy. It’s hard to imagine a world where everyone did this, because there would be so much less violence and bullying and a lot more cooperation in the work place and at home. But I do believe, as simple as it is, what goes around comes around and that the more you treat people with kindness, the more you receive it back – the more love you send out into the world, the more you get back. The more help you offer to others, the more will come back to you when you need it. That’s how I want to be treated.
- Just do the best you can – that’s all you can do. I remember times when I struggled in school, especially with math concepts, Algebra in particular. This would upset me greatly, because I never really had to struggle much in school, so when I did, I would become panicked and worry and fear God knows what. Or when I had an issue at work, because a particular project was what I thought “above my head” I would remember these wise words from my mother, and that’s exactly what I did. I may not have done a perfect job, but I did the best I could, under the circumstances and I knew that’s all anyone could expect of me. It always turned out, in fact, more often than not, better than I ever imagined. It was the same when it came to mothering my girls. I know I wasn’t perfect in many areas, but I do know I did the best I could at the time for them. All three of my daughters have turned into young women I am proud to call my daughters. Most importantly, they are all three loving and compassionate mothers.
- Family comes first. I was taught this at a very young age. Families stick together. There was a time when I was eleven years old and I was a new kid in school. This boy in my class took it upon himself to pick on me by calling me names and trying to humiliate me in whatever way he could. I don’t know why he singled me out, except that I was shy and meek at the time. He tried with my sister, but she didn’t take much crap and soon stabbed him in the leg with a lead pencil. He backed off her and focused on me. Often, he would follow me home after school and taunt me the whole way. I really don’t remember exactly the things he said to me – I must have blocked them out – I just remember the dread, the humiliation and the pain of it all. This treatment went on for several months – it caused me to fear going to school. I would often cry to my mom about it. She told me things, like “He’ll get bored with it soon,” but he didn’t. Mom talked to the school, without much success. She even went to talk to his parents about it. They owned the local grocery store. Talking to the parents did absolutely no good, in fact, they looked down their nose at my mother. I guess because they had their own business they thought they were better than anyone else. Maybe, because we were new in town, they looked at us as outsiders. I don’t know. All I know is that it seemed so hopeless…until one day, one glorious day, my brother (who was no stranger to picking on me himself, as brothers often do), caught up to us walking toward home, me with the bully sauntering back and forth behind me spewing insults with each step I took. My brother, only a year older than me, jumped off his bike, balled up his fist and clocked the guy right in the nose dropping him to the ground. He jumped on top of him and punched him a few more times warning him to leave me alone. That was the end of the bullying. It was my victory day! Thanks to my brother, who was already fairly popular in school and wasn’t a known trouble-maker. He risked it all, put family first and stood up for his younger sister. I never got picked on again by that kid and years later, as adults, received an apology from him. He still remembered the shiner he got that day and said he still had a mark where the lead pencil went into his leg. While I don’t advocate violence, sometimes a big brother just has to take a stand.
I could go on and on with the wisdom my mother passed down to me, but these are the ones that stuck with me the most and the ones I passed on to my daughters. I just want to thank her, for raising me wasn’t easy, especially when I became a smart-ass, know-it-all teenager, but you did a pretty good job, Mom. Thank you, JoAnn Sell. I love you!
All photographs and posted writings are the property of Renee Weatherbee and cannot be copied or used without permission. If you would like to purchase the rights to use any of these photographs or writings, please feel free to contact me, by clicking on the Contact tab.