Spiders?!?! Uhm, Hard Pass.

Yesterday morning, we couldn’t figure out why Goldie was going to behind the loveseat before we finished our morning coffee. What was she doing? Couldn’t figure it out.

Might have figured it out this morning. The Babe left for the VFW Post 2503 for bookwork then a funeral with the Honor Guard. I finished my coffee, then see this creature you see in the header photo. What in the holy heck?

First, I’m so grateful it wasn’t the gigantic WOLF SPIDER I saw on the patio earlier this summer. He had a backpack and everything. This guy isn’t as scary, but I don’t care for spiders at all. Snakes, reptiles, mice, all in my firm “NO” categories. I don’t think they are necessary in the world, but I’m sure God had a plan in there somewhere. Sure, certain creatures eat them, but couldn’t they as easily eat corn or a nice potato now and then?

I worked on another two blocks today for Kayla’s quilt. It feels so good to feel the fabric in my hands again, to prep the pieces, glue them down, and apply the pieces to the blocks. I’ll work on sewing them down with embroidery stitches this week. I’m eager to see what it all looks like, but we have a long way to go.

We’re checking the Facebook feed to see how our friends with Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, and 50 Mile March are doing as they left the steps of the Capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska at 5 p.m. It’s now 7 p.m., and they may be close to their first break. They walk all night, and should arrive at the end by 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. It is grueling. Each participant has $2500 they pledge to raise, and there were about 60 participants this year. They trained, tested, qualified, and met since February of this year to get to this day. Their goal this year is $200,000, to share among Veterans aid groups, G4, MVF, and a Veterans Suicide Prevention group. There is time to donate if you’re inclined. Google 50 Mile March and follow the instructions.

Another note about grief:

I saw this today in my daily meditation book. Ironic after losing my friend in the past couple weeks, I would come across this one today:

“Death is the Mother of Beauty.”

Death and birth are natural occurrences. We cannot wish it away or protest it out of existence. Dealing with our sadness on top of that at times makes the whole thing seem impossible. How can we get through it?

We have to work through our grief as individuals. No two people grieve in the same way. We certainly can’t judge some else’s grieving. We can share what works for us. We can offer to have coffee, lunch, any number of ways to meet up. We can listen. We can give hugs. Too man people are uncomfortable with the silences we fall into when we don’t know what to say. We don’t have to say much. Often, just being present or simply available is the best thing to do.

It’s hard work, all growth is. We can remember our loved on is no longer tied to the pain they had; we can be glad we had the time we did with our loved one; we can be grateful and grief stricken at the same time. We will find our way through, with a little help from our friends. Hugs, to those who need it.

Thank you for reading today. Here’s hoping you have a good evening, and know we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Retirement, Boring?

Whoever thought retirement is boring, and you watched The Price is Right nonstop, just doesn’t know what ours is like. We love hanging with the grandkids and they aren’t the biggest time we spend in a week anymore. They are busy with friends and school, and we are, too.

I’ve mentioned before the Babe is Quartermaster for the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. It takes a lot of his time. He is also Honor Guard Captain. He may attend 5 funerals in a week or less. I’m proud he is so involved.

Then, there are the Veterans groups and causes we support. Today, Moving Veterans Forward, had an official ribbon cutting ceremony. Ron Hernandez, an Army Veteran and all around good person, has an organization who supports Veterans as they transition from homelessness to living in an apartment. He has used furniture, household goods, and all the things a person needs to have while establishing their home. Our Post helps collect such items, and we deliver to the warehouse as needed.

The Auxiliary ladies worked the food line and helped people enjoy the afternoon. The Mayor of Papillion was present, congressional representative Don Bacon, and many folks from the Chamber of Commerce to Ron’s volunteers. He is tireless. He is mission driven. His motto is, “I wouldn’t leave you alone on the Battlefield, and I’m sure not leaving you alone at home.” He lives this every day.

I admire the time he makes in his life for his passion. He credits his wife Kim with “letting him do these things.” I’m so honored to know these people. We’ll work more together the rest of the year. We are all better off in a community that cares so much for its veterans. He is always thinking of new ways to help Veterans restore order to their lives. He lives in their reality. No bureaucracy, no red tape, and the encouragement of their peers is the order of the day. Such good things happen.

It’s been a very long day, and tomorrow will be more of the same. Baseball game for Gavin, meeting my cousin’s grandbaby, our new vet’s open house, and the evening with Billy McGuigan. What could be better? Rock of Ages closes tomorrow night. It should be a great night. More on that later.

Have a good evening. Let’s see each other tomorrow! Stay safe out there. And I’m saying an extra prayer tonight for my friend, Ron Hernandez. He does so much good for people. We need more like him. Like Ron, be generous. Be kind. Be driven.

Abraham Lincoln Said:

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”

What’s your definition of success? Some believe a fancy car, home, and designer clothes are the ticket. As many definitions of success exist as to the number of people who populate the earth. Fame, money, or fame and money are all fleeting. Sometimes the people we know are also fleeting as our fame or wealth diminish. Was it really what we wanted? Not now.

Nothing guarantees we will be winners or succeed. We need to be true to who we are and what we believe, and we are bound to shine whatever light we have in every nook and cranny of darkness ahead. Speaking our own truths and being who we really are is important; we also need to project our light into the universe out from us. It could be just what someone else out there needs to hear.

Giving of ourselves beyond ourselves is the ultimate in giving. And being a giver is to be successful. Of course, we need to be givers to be good citizens, humans, Christians, and fulfill what God created us for.

I am a volunteer with the VFW, Moving Veterans Forward, Guitars for Vets, 50 Mile Walk, and other organizations. I believe in their purpose, which is to serve our veterans. We send young people to training to fight and we expect them to just fit into life when they come home like they never left, saw the things they’ve seen, or done the things they’ve done. Founder of Moving Veterans Forward, Ron Hernandez, has said, “I wouldn’t leave you on the battlefield and I won’t leave you alone when you get home.”

I am inspired by the generosity I see from these organizations. It also inspires me to see the good they do. It’s what we’re supposed to do for each other. Care. Tend. Lend a hand. What could be more Christian or American than that? It’s the best of what there is on earth. More about our volunteer work later.

I hope you have a warm rest of the weekend, enjoy the big game tomorrow, and know we’ll see each other tomorrow. Thank you.

Gearing Up for Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I’m sitting with Moving Veterans Forward Ron Hernandez at a Holiday Market at the VFW Post 2503. Ron will be offering quilts which are made and donated by supporters all over the area. I will be representing Guitars for Vets, selling the guitar pick earrings I had made with their logo on them. They are $10 a pair, or 2 pairs for $15, which is a Holiday Market Special.

I am also representing myself, as Author Kathy Raabe, and Jewell Publishing LLC. I am offering copies of the Nebraska Writers Guild 5th Anthology. It contains stories, poetry, and single chapters of upcoming novels. Mine is a chapter of my upcoming novel. As a Holiday Market Special, the autographed books will be offered for $15. Stop by and visit with us, in Omaha, Nebraska, VFW Post 2503, 90th & Military Road. We’ll be open from 9 – 3 p.m. Get your Christmas Shopping done in one stop!

If you would like to purchase a book directly from me, PM me on Messenger, or email me kathy@kathyraabe.com, and I’ll get you my Paypal information. Let me know if you’d like it autographed, and I’ll happily oblige! Via mail the books will be $15 + $5 handling, totaling $20. An Anthology offers the perfect gift for the reader on your list. Hope to see you or hear from you soon.

As I finish gathering my goods for tomorrow, I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow. We are supposed to have wintry weather overnight, it will be the first time for our area. Just allow extra time, and you’ll be safe along the way. Sunday will be the day to work on decorating the tree now that it’s assembled and lit. I wrapped and mailed the gifts for our little grandchildren in Colorado. Word of caution: if you have an odd sized large box, it’s about another $20 more to mail. My time was running out, so rather than re-box everything, I paid extra. It’s for the kids. They’re who Christmas is for.

See you tomorrow!

WOW! It’s Wednesday Already!

I remember my doctor (A General Practitioner) when I was pregnant with my daughter, 1978. Life was busy with a husband who came home every day for lunch, a second grader, and a little guy who was nearly three and too smart for everything. I commented, “The time is just going so fast!” He told me, “The older you get, the faster it goes!”

Did he jinx me? Ever since that conversation, time goes faster every year. I often think of him and that conversation. He was a nice man, in addition to being a kind, good doctor. My Grandmother approved of him; when she and Grandpa had the Sundries Store on 24 & F in South Omaha, he was a cab driver to pay his way through medical school. He married into the Flynn family from our parish, and Grandma knew the Flynn’s quite well. How neat, but that’s how it was back in the day. My dad and his two brothers delivered prescriptions for people who were too ill to come get them. Everyone knew who my dad was. It was kind of neat, yet at the same time, it wasn’t. I was afraid to do anything wrong, because I thought he would know about it before I got home. My brothers did not have that fear. Must have been because I was a girl, and good old Catholic guilt made me overly cautious.

I spent almost all of today up at the VFW Post, helping get the raffles and information displays set just right. We’re in great shape for the celebration tomorrow, and I’ll have some wonderful photos. Some, I cannot share until after our program tomorrow night. I am truly in awe at how generous people are.

And about this time tomorrow night we will have served a whole bunch of spaghetti, sauce, and all the trimmings. We want to be sure our Veterans are told what they mean to all of us, and that we remember to tell them more than just once a year how important they are.

I like to see the stories and photos some of our members post on Facebook about their time in the service. The photos are of much younger men and much more innocent than they are now. We are all much less innocent than we were many years ago, and these folks lost their innocence abruptly. They stood for something bigger than themselves and for the good of our great nation. I commend them all. Thank God for our Veterans.

It is much later than it should be, and I need to stop for now. Thank a Veteran when you see one tomorrow. Thank you for reading today, and know I appreciate your time. Take care, and see you tomorrow. Be safe.

Submission Guidelines

I’m getting ready to do a thing. I mentioned earlier the Voices from the Plains Anthology by the Nebraska Writers Guild is accepting submissions for their Fifth Volumes from now until September 11, 2021. I decided to submit the first chapter of my novel this year. I’m excited and almost dreading it at the same time. Why? It’s kind of like being naked at 90th & Dodge Streets at rush hour. On the sidewalk, not in your car. And at the same time, I’m not nervous. Whatever happens will happen, I can guarantee it. It’ll be ok.

The story about my first seeing an anthology happened about three years ago. The Babe and I were driving back from Colorado and stopped at a roadside building. It was an old abandoned Burger King from the look of the building. We really appreciated the nice lady who tended the store. There were books, and of course, I had to look

I’ve always liked getting books out on our travels. I have one about the big fire at Yellowstone National Park in 1988, and I have one about the life of Walt Disney. Both fascinated me. I believe Disney would be disappointed with the amount of money people have to pay to enter each part; I don’t think over $100 per day was in his initial plan.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Among this little former bookstore turned rest stop offerings was a volume of the Anthology published by the Nebraska Writers Guild. It was that book that led me to joining the guild, connecting with people, and getting started on this journey. I love how it started since I deeply believe God gives you nudges throughout life. This was a huge nudge, and I investigated all about writing. Well, not everything. But you get my drift. It’s free to submit poetry, essays, short stories, etc.

I plan to check the chapter a few times with Pro Writing Aid and on my own. I will submit it by September 1, or sooner, if I feel it’s ready. Then we wait. I’m super excited about the process. The book will publish around Deember 1. I’ll keep you in the loop!

In two hours, the Babe and I will go to Nebraska Brewing Company, in LaVista, Nebraska. We will be in the crowd welcoming walkers who walked 50 miles overnight, from Lincoln to Omaha. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness to PTSD, homelessness, and other issues our Veterans deal with on a daily basis. With the terrible events this week in Afghanistan, there is a definite uptick in our Veterans needing help. Triggers are very real for them. They aren’t just drama in a movie. They are real terrors that are triggered and must be dealt with in order to live their lives. They sacrificed for us, and now it’s our turn to sacrifice for them. If you’re in the Omaha area, come on out. Our friends from VFW Post 2503 will be there, too. It’s the least we can do for them.

Meantime, I’m going to edit and re-edit my Chapter. Thank you for reading, I believe by the end of this calendar year great things are going to be happening. Stick around, we’ll go on this journey together. See you tomorrow!

p.s. If you’d like to donate to the 50 Mile Walk benefitting Guitars for Vets and Moving Veterans Forward, go to www.givebutter.com and donate!. At this moment, they have raised their goal, let’s help them go over by a bunch! Thank you, and you’re all the greatest!

Memories on Monday

Today, I’m reflecting on the wonderful weekend we had. I’ve already shared about my reunion; making lots of new Facebook friends from that. Saturday was a day that warmed my heart just full of gratitude, awe, and pride in America.

My husband and I have met and grown to love a lot of the Greatest Generation, and we are so thankful for what they and thousands of others did for our country. The couple pictured in the header picture are our friends, Mary and Marion. They have been together for 22 years, and look out for each other as best friends. They live at a retirement complex near our VFW Post and maintain separate apartments. Their attitude here is “Why get married and ruin our friendship?” I applaud them. We all need a best friend.

Mary called me last week, after reading our article describing a new program through Moving Veterans Forward. We have partnered with MVF since last October, and have donations every month of things they may need to set up a homeless veteran in an apartment of their own. Of course, the Vet needs to abide by certain rules, certain behaviors, etc.

A program Ron Hernandez introduced recently is one which allows foster visits with a Vet and their children can take place at his MVF warehouse, in the Rec Center. He refers to the Rec Center to as “The Fox Hole.” Prior to this, the Vets often had to meet the case worker and kids at Walmart and walk around talking. Ron offers the Fox Hole as a comfortable place, where they may fix a snack and talk, or go out back and fish. It’s a relationship building environment for sure. It is a Court approved meeting place now. We’re collecting snack packs, jello, crackers, etc.

Friends, Mary asked me if they could donate some things that weren’t on the list. It hurt their hearts, thinking of kids having to visit their parent like that. They decided at breakfast that day, “We have to do something.”

This brings tears to my eyes. Marion is 97 years old, a Purple Heart Veteran from the Italian Front, the Battle of Anzio. I don’t know Mary’s age, but they are of the same spirit, the same giving heart. For all these people have experienced in their lives, they still have generous hearts. We should all take a lesson from them. They went to Dollar Tree and picked many comfort snacks for our other friends going through these visits. Below are some donations we made this week, with the help of Marion, Mary, and others.

It is an honor to know them, and a privilege to call them both our friends. They have asked if they may meet Ron Hernandez and thank him for providing the services he does through Moving Veterans Forward. I will make that happen, for sure. Friends, learn all you can from our elders. Learn about our history; and about their lives. Learn about how the world was. And learn about loving selflessly.

Make a new friend today. It may surprise you what you learn! Be kind out there. It will come back to you. I’m off to take Mom to the doctor! Have a beautiful day, thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

Monday – A Day of Rest!

Considering Monday a day of rest is thinking outside the box. Usually Sunday is, by tradition, but my achy, breaky body tells me I need some. Right NOW! No negotiations.

I just assembled tonight’s Keto friendly dinner. It’s Pork Stew, with a pork loin and onions set to cook on low for about six hours. Later, instead of capers, I’m adding a frozen bag of squash and a frozen bag of peas. It’s weird, I don’t care for canned peas, but I love frozen ones. Better color and taste. Results later. I’m going to try and find a keto friendly apple sauce, crisp, or dessert. You remember, Peter Brady, “Porks Chops and Applesauce?”

Our VFW Post 2503 raised nearly $600 yesterday for the 50 Mile March, which will support Guitars for Vets, Nebraska, and Moving Veterans Forward. We were treated to several hours of fantastic music by a great group of Veterans. We’re forming a relationship with them, and I can tell it will be a good one. They’re easy to like, and as mentors for other Vets, I’m sure they are good. Life is supposed to work this way, people helping people. I love seeing plans come together.

What comes the rest of the day? It’s a day for reviewing notes and chapters from my novel. It’s also a day to watch my video classes of Kid Lit Books. My recliner and heating pad will not be far, trust me. And yes, there is a nap going to happen, too. Can’t forget that!

I’m also reading about Nebraska Writers Guild call for submissions for their annual anthology publication. It was a copy of an earlier volume of this publication I purchased driving home from Colorado three years ago that led me to read, learn about the Guild, and to join it. I enrolled in two of their conferences, and haven’t quit since then. It’s be a cool way to become a published author, get my name out there, etc. We’ll definitely keep you posted!

The month is so brand new, shiny and ready for lots of creating. I’m excited just talking about it. The older I become, the easier it is to take new risks. Of course, they’re calculated. I do a lot of homework before jumping in, always remembering I can’t swim. But I can stay afloat with a pool noodle. We can all succeed, even if we need a little assistance. We have to seek it. Yes, it’s work. How can you learn what your purpose is other than to look for it and try new things. I never learned how a woman was to spend her life after raising her family, especially when they scattered to the four winds and live in three different states. Grandparenting is very different than I expected; except for when they were babies. That may be the most fun part, watching them learn things and mastering skills. I hope they realize I have a need to do that, too.

Have a wonderful afternoon. Relax if you need to. Work out if you need to. I’m off to switch laundry, do my 71 squats for Day 2 (have you done yours)? Then it’s to the recliner. Be safe out there. I’ll see you tomorrow.

VFW Post 2503/Car Show/And MORE!

Yes, I played hooky again yesterday. It was a busy day, with taking Mom to the doctor, and then getting her home so I could meet the fine folks from “Guitars for Vets, Omaha.” We met Daniel and David Mike (yes, they are guys with a first name for a last name). David is the Dad, Daniel the son.

It’s often said Omaha is just a big small town. And it’s true. Daniel went to Bellevue East High School, with our daughter- and son-in-law. He detoured via a career in the Military, taking him on four tours of Afghanistan. We know many of the same people, and they feel like familiar long-time friends already. The people we meet by volunteering! It’s enriched our life so much.

The VFW Post, at 90th & Military Road, in Omaha, Nebraska is sponsoring a Car Show on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Registration begins at 8 a.m. sharp! The actual show is free to the public and begins at NOON. We had over 110 cars last fall. We’re hoping to have as many this time. It’ll be perfect, out in the sunshine, people coming and going, raffles, and information for Veterans. There are so many who suffer from PTSD. It can be crippling. We want to raise awareness in the community of all the groups available to Veterans and their families. We will have representatives from:

Moving Veterans Forward

Guitars for Veterans, Omaha

Operation 22 til Freedom

Aside from getting to know these groups, we want to establish relationships and find out how we, as a VFW Post, can help them get their message out to those who need them and their services. Where there is great need, we can offer a hand. It’s what we’re here for. Local support. Veterans helping Veterans. It’s a beautiful thing to witness. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Now, this is my personal blog for today.

#600 Club? Already?

How time flies! Today, this is my official 600th blog post. I’m finally on a roll! Things are coming along with the writing I’m doing. Just wish there were more productive hours in the day, I’m working on that. As we’ve chatted before, Family First, then I split the rest of my time writing/volunteering/reading/learning/etc.

Nearly two years ago, when I started this blog, I never had a clue I’d need to spend so much time learning and reading to become an author. To get the writing every day habit started, I blogged. Most of what I read talked about marketing yourself (hard for an Irish Catholic girl from South Omaha to do) and get your brand out there.

My brand? Well, that’s a tough one. I’m first a survivor of a lot of things. Breast Cancer. An unhappy marriage (first one). A “pioneer” woman in the 80s in I/T (or MIS or coding, or whatever you want to call it). I think my life as the only girl with three brothers toughened me up for working with mostly men, typical of the workers in that era.

Survivor. Wife. Mom. Grandma of 5. Sister, Daughter, Cousin, Loyal Friend. Author. Yes, Author, who always wanted to write a children’s book. After starting there, I have three separate drafts. The first, “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” is about our Grandson Gavin and his life with Roxie, our naughty rescue dog.

The second, “Bonus Grandmas,” is about a little boy confused at the number of women in his life he calls “Grandma.” No one believes he really has that many Grandmas! But he does.

The third, “Grandpa’s Gone,” is a book for families. It recounts my real-life story that changed our extended family and our memories of Christmas Eve. When I was 12 years old, our Grandpa died of a heart attack at 60. On Christmas Eve. Grieving was hard in 1964, people didn’t talk about loss like we can now. This story recalls my memories of the Christmases that followed. And upon hearing a very special song about that very event, I learned we weren’t the only kids who experienced that kind of loss on such an important day.

I also have a novel in progress, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” A young woman marries, leaving home in 1970. The novel follows her through several years of an unfortunate marriage, growing up, and gaining the knowledge and confidence she needs to make the break for freedom.

Yes, we’re very busy here at Raabe Ranch, the home office of Jewell Publishing, LLC. Thank’s for staying with us through 600 posts. More to come! We appreciate your time and are eager to share more with you. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. We will see you tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday

It’s been pretty busy here at Raabe Ranch today. I had a great book talk with Sam Tyler, my coach this morning. I’m feeling a little sad because we agreed to take December “off,” and resume in January 2021. By now, I feel I’ve learned enough of what I didn’t know before that I can proceed on my own, with good guidance from a couple of books certain authors have written to guide other writers in their trade. Changes are hard, and I know we have become friends along the way. That is the best benefit.

I finished with shopping for the VFW Post donation to the homeless vets being served through Moving Veterans Forward. I’ll accompany the founder and CEO, Ron Hernandez, and a couple other people to deliver the goods where they will do the most good. It will be another lesson in the story of life. Some are sad, some are happy. Some show impressive growth, others bear substantial loss.

I mentioned yesterday about facing mortality, as Michael J Fox talks about his retirement from acting after his last couple of years of struggles with health issues. In the past five to ten years, we have lost a bunch of friends and family, mostly from cancer. As I went through my Facebook friends list, deciding on who to invite to like my author page, I am struck by how many of those people were no longer with us. The old-fashioned address book is even worse.

I think of all the people I’ve loved, liked, and had fun with. Fun friends from school, church, groups we’ve belonged to, and friends of friends. It’s a whole unique group of people you collect throughout your life, and if they’ve been with you for a long time, they really become part of you, and you become part of them. Friends, wonderful friends, are worth so much. It’s a pleasure being a part of their lives, just as it’s a pleasure to have them in your life. The world is so much better with them.

Today, start making the most of however much time you have left on this earth. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 95. You can make the most of the rest of your life by starting now. Start today. Be positive. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Always leave home on a pleasant note. You never know how life can change in eight or ten hours. Be free of regrets. It makes a tremendous difference in your life.

Although it is late, I appreciate you reading. Tomorrow’s blog will be later in the day, too. The delivery of goods to homeless shelters for Veterans is going to be quite a story. There, but by the grace of God, go I. See you tomorrow. Stay safe out there.