Friday, October 9, 2009


disclaimer #1: I feel some rambling brewing. I've got a lot rushing through my brain and little time to make sense of it all...equaling a messy post that's entirely too lengthy. Hope you're comfy.
disclaimer #2: This post is not open for debate. You believe what you believe, and have every right to do do I. I've decided I don't blog to educate, change opinions, open minds, etc. If you don't like what I write, go get your own blog. All rude, ugly, nasty, etc. comments will be trashed, flushed, promptly sent into oblivion. Normally I don't moderate comments, but even I have my limits. In addition, I will find sheer pleasure in doing away with anonymous comments. If you don't have the guts to stand behind your nastiness, you don't deserve the privilege of being heard.

I found this little gem on one of my favorite blogs called
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit...

No surprise it spoke directly to my soul. (And not just because the three colors used are my favorites.) No, it spoke to me because that's exactly how I feel. A person can speak their mind passionately while also treasuring peace, kindness, and compassion. Thanks
Em, you know I think you're a rock star!

Along this line of thought, my favorite Dr.Seuss quote: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(From The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost)

I've always found this poem intriguing. While the poem is often used to teach and preach the wonders of nonconformity, I see something else. Frost writes he will tell the tale at some point in the future. At this point, it's impossible to know if the sigh will be a peaceful kind associated with "the good ol days", the sigh of exhaustion, or even possibly the sigh of regret.

And what about "the difference"?
It's still too soon to know if the difference will be for better or worse.

I can't say that the Captain and I have always taken the road less traveled, but we've frequented that route more than once or twice. At this point, 16 years and 3 months into our lifetime together, I am telling this with a "sigh". It is a sigh of peace mingled with exhaustion, but zero regret. And, it has most certainly "made all the difference".

It wasn't love at first sight, more like love at second week. But, the day I met him, I believed we would become the very best of friends. I was right. We were engaged within 4 weeks....he only waited that long to propose so people wouldn't doubt our sanity. Funny, huh? Pretty safe to say we were taking our own road from the very beginning.

Friday I waved goodbye to my hero. Do you think he is leaving his family for the deserts of Iraq because he is a warmonger, because he likes to fight, or because he believes the ways of his country are superior to the ways of others? Wrong, wrong, wrong. If that's what you think, you couldn't be more wrong.

He is leaving because it's his duty. He is leaving because the United States Army paid for the Captain to attend medical school. Our family has a debt to pay. Before med school, he went to Chiropractic school. We owned a practice for a while and quickly learned some tough life lessons. In a nutshell, we lost everything....except each other, our integrity, and our families. After more prayer and fasting than I ever imagined, it was clear that med school was next on our road. This man heals, it's what he does. (If you could hear the tone of respect and appreciation in the voices of his patients and coworkers, you'd understand.) There was really only one way to make it happen---an Army scholarship. So, in 2000, that was the road we took.

It became our choice because we didn't have many other options from which to choose. He had the grades, the MCAT scores, and knocked the interview outta the park. But truth be told, because of where we lived, our options were limited. Had he been a female and/or an ethnicity other than Caucasian, our choices would have been numerous. Well, that's what he was told by the head of admissions. Along with, if you wait just one year, we can accept you. Meaning: we've already accepted all the white males we can this year, you're a little late this year because we have to meet some numbers, which I can't say anything else about or I'll be in trouble. (Some of you may not want to hear that, but truth is matters little whether you like the way it sounds or not.)

There was a time when that truth didn't sit well with me. That truth and I were not friends. Now I know that I've been blessed with too much good, too much beauty and kindness in my life to be bitter. Our road has made me laugh, cry, smile, cuss like a sailor, wail, and the list goes on. But Friday, as I waved goodbye to my hero I was proud. Not all pride is arrogant or haughty. I felt proud just to know this man. And as I looked into those beautiful blue eyes, I couldn't have been more thankful for the road we have traveled together.

The Captain knows I've felt for a very long time that our men and women should just come home already. He knows I felt this way loooooong before it affected our family so directly. The people our soldiers are putting their lives on the line for...those people have been fighting since time began, and they will be fighting when time ends. Their oceans of differences are just too vast. Maybe in the beginning they wanted change, but I don't think they want that now. Because now they see more clearly that change, peace and freedom, those things are costly. It would be lovely wouldn't it? If freedom and peace could just be handed to us, wrapped up all neat and tidy in a pretty little box. Peace can't always be delivered that way. We can pray, hope, and hold hands singing "We Are the World" until the end of this earth...but people continue to make their own choices. And reality is that peace sometimes requires work and sacrifice. Sadly, work and sacrifice are sometimes a far cry from neat and tidy. (If you've ever grieved you know what I mean.) The irony of peace is that you often have to walk through hell to get there.
I don't really see the Iraqi and Afghan governments ready to take that walk. I saw them more willing when very little was asked of them. If they aren't willing to fix their corrupt governments, and fight the Taliban so they can live more peacefully...just let them be. Reality is often a tough pill to swallow. We are not the saviors of this world! Let them do their thing, and we can get back to the business of our own country. Because goodness knows we have plenty of our own corruption, education issues, oppression, and domestic violence to face right here at home! I'm pretty much over the whole "we want you here, but we don't, but we do" mentality. I'd like us to try and clean up our own back yard before addressing everyone else's.

Of course I had to mention all of the above to the Captain one more time before he left. His response? "What we think doesn't really matter does it? I took an oath. I made a promise to fulfill responsibilities. It's my turn to take care of those soldiers who are also fulfilling their responsibilities. The soldiers I will be caring for are trying desperately to help others have a better life. Bad people and unfortunately some very innocent people are hurt in the process. But those soldiers put themselves in danger, trying to help others have peace in their communities. And I'm going to care for our soldiers."

The Captain was right...what we think about how this country ended up over there, what we think about decisions that have been made since 2001, the feelings we have toward the Congress that voted to send us there, feelings we have toward a Congress that now fails to support those who sacrifice life and limb to fulfill duties, feelings I have toward an administration that clearly does not respect those who serve this country...none of it matters, none of what we think or feel matters to the people calling the shots. But, we won't stop thinking and feeling.

And I will stand firm and proud of my hero. He is humble and kind. He is loyal and paying a debt to the Army that funded his med school. He cares about the soldiers who risk their health and even life. I wonder if the attack on our country had happened in 2000, instead of 2001, would we have taken the same road? I'm embarrassed to admit I think I would've been too scared.

*sigh* All I know for certain is that two roads diverged. The one we choose has made all the difference. And I'm ok with that. In fact, I'm more than ok.


Do you know who Denis Mukwege is? He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He deserved the award. So, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Dr. Denis Mukwege. I'm sincerely embarrassed that the President of the United States won this award over you, and I wish he would give it to you. Since we all know that won't happen, I'm giving Dr. Mukwege the Snarky Belle Peace Prize. (Which if you ask me is now worth just as much as the Nobel Peace Prize...minus the cash of course...since the once prestigious award has now been made a complete joke of because for the first time in history it's been given based on aspirations rather than actions.)

Dr. Mukwege heals torn bodies, broken hearts, and shredded souls. He does those things literally, not with eloquent words spoken from a podium while reading a fancy teleprompter. He is actually in the trenches fighting a war against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Did you know (as of fall 2008, according to CBS news) more people have died in that war than Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur combined? Dr. Mukwege is a true advocate for Peace. He doesn't even waste time talking, he just acts. PLEASE learn more about the doctor. (I couldn't get the video to post here.) Truly, you will be doing yourself a great injustice if you don't take time to honor this hero. A champion for bruised and battered women. Thank you Dr. Mukwege, and again I'm sorry you haven't been properly honored. But then, I'm guessing that's not why you do it anyway.


Why Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize:

1.) He is not George Bush...and I'm not sayin' that's a bad thing.

2.) It was strictly political. How does a Peace Prize winner send more troops into Afghanistan? Joke's on you Mr. President. Your award comes with strings attached, and they look very much like the kind that dangle from a puppet.


Little Jill had me laughing with this one...and I laugh so as not to cry, because I'm convinced this world is spinning out of control. I've posted her reaction in its entirety because maybe you wouldn't click on one more link, and then you'd be missing out:

On my trip to Target this morning for diaper rash cream. I heard the news on NPR.

And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to . . .

Barack Obama

To which I responded out loud to no one:
He's done nothing. NOTHING.

They played the audio at the press conference. Audible gasps are heard after the announcement. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought he was undeserving.

Even the expert they were interviewing said "He has done nothing to merit this award"
Apparently, because you're THE OBAMA you get all sorts of accolades you don't deserve.

The expert noted that Europeans LOVE the Obama, but Middle America, not so much.

We all know why. Because in Middle America, you earn your rewards. You don't get International awards because of your "ideas". You have to prove yourself, and that he has not done. Even the expert said it. In fact she said the deadline for the nominations was 12 days after he was elected. 12 DAYS.

She went on to say that it is all about his Vision of Hope and Change, and that he can lead the international community to come together for peace. Let me reiterate. He had done nothing. But he "can" in theory.


So scoot over Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa. What did you guys ever do for Peace?

You could have saved yourselves a lot of work and time by just talking about change.

That is what we want to teach American kids. You don't have to do anything, and you can get a highly prestigious award (or what used to be).

Next up: Obama get's MTV's artist of the year award for singing along in the presidential limo. (question is will Kanye cry foul and take away his moment? hmmmmm)


One little funny to wrap up this rambling post. Yesterday Eight Year Old walked into my room. He had a grin that was ear-to-ear, accompanied by the twinkle in his eye that melts hearts.

Eight Year Old: Hey mommy, I came up with a great idea. A reeeeealy great idea, you won't believe it.

Me: Cool, what is it?

Eight Year Old: I figured out how we can get rich.

Me: That sounds fantastic, tell me. How?

Eight Year Old: So we just get our money and make copies of it. Just start making our own money on the color printer. It's a good printer. That way, we can do whatever we want. We never run out, and if other people need some we can give them some too.

Me: Well, that would be perfect except for one small's illegal.

Eight Year Old: No way.

Me: Ummm, yep. People go to jail for that sort of thing.

Eight Year Old: Well isn't that what the government does? Just make more so they can spend more.

Oh yeahhhh, that's my boy!


Em said...

hahahaha, oh that is so funny. all of it! i'm particularly laughing out loud b/c of the money bit at the end, but i was nodding my head the entire way through. especially the part about the nobel peace prize. when i heard i turned to sean and said, "did you just hear that?" he replied, "yup, it's amazing the power oprah has isn't it?" i laughed b/c it really is one big joke. all of it. i find myself scrunching my nose when i hear about the nobel peace prize being in on it too. i don't claim conspiracy, just all of the sheep following the crowd. i don't know if i really dislike obama in reality. i definitely don't like how everyone is claiming he is the messiah here to solve all of our problems. it just seems like one big lie to put all of our trust in our president. didn't anyone take government in high school? dang, i could have told you in fifth grade that the president doesn't really have that much power. anyway, your husband it amazing. i have so much respect for the men and women in our country who are serving in something they don't agree with. that takes so much humility. i'm honored to have you as a friend and love hearing what you have to say. thanks for always intriguing me:-) did i spell that right? and what is this about bombing the moon? i wish i knew what was going on. i can quote every line in disney's cars though! "no, no, no, no, YES! YES! YES! YES! try RUSTEZE medicated bumper ointment!..."

Sue said...

Your post is right on, Natalie. And not a bit rambling. AND you quoted my favorite poem.

As for the Nobel Peace Prize, I loved Little Jill's take on it, and Jen's was great, too. A sign of the times.

I, too, am tired of our country taking the role of the Great Enabler. Some lessons have to be experienced for learning to occur. Freedoms cannot be handed to people on a silver platter. They have to be willing to fight for them, but first they have to understand that they are worth fighting for. And in order to understand that, the concept has to even be in their paradigm. Such change has to happen over time...internally, not externally.

But what do I know? I am not as the Great Obama, who puts me in mind of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz before he got real. Or maybe I should say, before his subjects and admirers did.


Magic Brush said...

Bless your heart for supporting your husband who is supporting our troops. I'll pray the Lord will keep him safe and keep you sane in his absense. How long is he gone?

As for the Nobel Peace Prize.....I'm thinking I should be able to make money off my ideas. I have a great faux finish brewing up in my head.

Barf is right.

Michelle said...

Loved loved loved this post! Bring it on--it wasn't long enough! :)
Blessings on you and especially the Captain. Ya'll are my heroes.

Snarky Belle said...

Em: You were a smart girl in 5th grade, and you are a smart girl now. Disney movies make me happy!

Sue: The kids and I just watched Wizard of Oz last night!! "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"...awesome quote so fitting for our times, don't ya think? Listened to the cds today. Thank you so much!!! And, the Great Enabler, that's fantastic!

Magic Brush: I award you the SnarkyBelle Creative Prize. I only wish I had some cash to throw your way. Too bad Eight Year Old's idea won't work.

Snarky Belle said...

Thank you sweet Michelle!

Aubrey said...

My mom, herself personally, then that slime ball Obama has. It pisses me off that his false promises overrun all those hands that literally did work. It's the most dumb thing I've ever heard of. ALKSJDFLKJASDFLKJASDLKFJADF.

Snarky Belle said...

Oh Aubrey, I know, I know. In fact, when I heard the news I actually cried. I was just so upset that people like your mom will never be recognized for all their hands and hearts have done to lift others. People like your mom, who have been volunteering and spreading peace long before Obama gave any "call to action". But, that's just how this world works. And thankfully, there are many more like your mother. And they don't do what they do for praises and awards.

Laretha said...

where do i start???

Hero - thank you for the sacrifice you make, for sending your man to heal our soldiers. Thank you to the Captain. There are no words. thank you simply isn't enough.

Nobel Peace Prize - I couldn't have said it better. So true.

Eight year old - and the government is full of crooks - which is why they made it legal for them to make money and illegal for the rest of us! :-) hilarious!!!

Love you!

Jill said...

When I heard the news, in the car, the first thing I thought was . .. I wish I had Snarky's phone number.

Funny huh

When my husband was applying to medical school he considered the military, and I realized that I couldn't handle it. So my hat is off to you.

I think you may be useful here. I've always wanted to do something for the women and families who have a husband/father deployed. Now you can be my insider and tell me what would be most useful. dinners? babysitting? Just post about it someday.

As for 8 year old, that's advanced. Fantastic

Valsy said...

Hate to disappoint you but I am TOTALLY in it for the $1.4 mil. How else do I pay for a trip to GA? :)

Cancer coordinating, home schooling boy, and making homeless lunches all bring in some serious bank... eternally, right?

God bless the Captain.

LOVED your voice mail. I almost cried too.

Dennis and Cherise said...

Thank You! I feel horrible knowing that Dennis returns from Iraq in a few weeks and you just sent yours off. Thank You Captain for your sacrifice! Thank You Natalie and thank your wonderful Children for your sacrifices as well.

I totally agree with the strings and puppet statement...They very much do look like that.

If you need anything (even though I'm half a world away) let me know. I know you have been doing the Army thing for awhile, but I am here if you need to vent while using Army lingo lol. MOS, LES, BAH...ha-ha Love Ya!

SnarkyMama said...

I believe that "path" you and the Captain took then, have always taken and will no doubt continue to take is indeed the one less is called the "high road." (Not much traffic up there now is there...lonely at times, but certainly no traffic jams).

I wondered where you were today when I I know. Glad you were here.

I can't even comment on the pretend Peace Prize...I threw up in my mouth so rather than spew the not so pleasant contents on this page...I shall refrain. Besides, you and I already discussed the same.

Tell 8-year old, Nana said, "Oh what the heck, go ahead...I know a really good lawyer!" :)

Oh and the 4 weeks thing...FYI that did not stop some of us from thinking you had lost your mind! However, "Sigh"...all is well that ends Captain, 4 week romance/engagement...ended up well...very well.

Love my Georgia Peaches...The cream of any crop! :)

janboone said...

I'm grateful that there are good men like The Captain in the ranks of our military. Our family will be praying for him and your family during his deployment. We hope that all will go well for every one of you.

Carly said...

All I know is that I will be praying for two things--1) for you family and the captain, I hope he, and all our other troops come home safely sooner rather than later! and 2) that your eight-year-old sends his theories on the government in a card to the president. He's got Obama's number, and it sounds so much better out of the mouths of babes, you know! I can just picture it "Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on talking about peace. My class at school talks about ending world hunger, and we would like a big trophy too. Only seems fair. I'm writing to ask you to make it legal to make copies of money in my color printer so we have enough. If you can do it billions of times when the government is out of money, why can't my family do it for a few dollars to get me a new bike?"

karen said...

Oh Natalie - I'm glad you're back. God bless the Captain and all of you for your sacrifice. Despite what the media spews out, I think most of us realize what a debt we owe all of you. My nephew got back from Iraq this past summer. I am so grateful to men and women who are as selfless as our Arron, and your Captain. Your family will be in my prayers.

Em said...

Dearest Snarky, what an inspirational post. Your Captain - wow. I'm so very sorry for your seperation, but oh so very thankful for his service, and for all the soldiers just "doing their job."

Captain will get an extra prayer from me. You too.

Thanks so much for the link shout out - honest - that made my day. And you're so correct, that button was made just for your site - great color combo. Great minds and all that :-)

Smiles to you.

Mel said...

As I have said before...I simply love you. I love that you speak your mind and stand up for your thoughts and opinions. I thank you and your husband for your sacrifice, just as I thank every other man, woman and their families who serve our great country.

I cannot repeat what I said when I heard about the Nobel Peace Prize... :)

jen said...

I read the entire post, but all I can think about is your family. We lived this, vicariously, last year, and it is SO hard. But it is better than others have had it. I am glad you have email and skype and cell phones and texting. I am glad that the postal service is generally ok. And I am especially glad you have covenants and beliefs and a God who will watch over you all. It is such a difficult road. But there are millions of us left in this country that still thank that same God for men like the Captain.
And for women like you.
In my thoughts and prayers.

Melanie said...

I am a new follower of Snarky Belle and I am in awe of you. I appreciate everything that you say and I appreciate that you stay true to who you are and what you believe in. I pray for the Captain and your family as he is on his mission. We all thank him for his service to our great Country. As for your 8 yr. old, I had a good laugh out of that and had to go and read it to my husband. A great end to a wonderful post.

Lindsay said...


Fiauna said...

What a great post. And I agree with every part of it. You have a way of articulating things that I can't but really really want to.

I literaly yelled out, "WHAT!?!" when I heard about the prize. All hale THE OBAMA for winning the Nobel Lame Prize.

I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you husband fulfills his duty and serves.

Alaska said...
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