Welcome To My New Test Site

I want to welcome all my visitors/followers/readers and prospective clients to my newly renamed website where I’m attempting a collaboration between my blog Kimmy’s Patio and my old writer’s website.

Here I plan to showcase stories, essays and articles that I’ve written around the web and mix it up with product reviews, promote my favorite books and bloggers and help you find what you’re looking for, whether it be the best course for freelancing,to the products that help you live the healthiest life-I want you to find it here.

I need your honest feedback to make this work, so if you see something that needs improvement, or have a question about something, please let me know in the comments. This is a work in progress, so be kind and let’s see if we can help each other succeed. Once I finish my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, expect to see more posts on relevant products and courses that pertain to writing, in addition to posts and my favorite Paleo products like I talk about on the patio. I don’t see why combining these two worlds can’t work out, but if you see a problem with it, please don’t hesitate to point it out.

I’ll also be pointing to images on Pinterest and Instagram to increase my reach and showcase more of my favorite posts and products, as well as tools and tricks of the trades.

Thanks for being here to check me out, wish me luck and help me, help you!

Day 170-This is My Essay Tuesday-I Joined The Military

When I was a senior in high school, I was looking for a way out, I just didn’t know it yet. I thought having a job was enough, at the time. I was the typical teenager, filled with angst, worried about my future- even then, I knew I wanted to help people, which is why I was working in a nursing home. I was part of a program at my school that allowed us to work part-time and go to school too, called vocational health occupations education-VHOE. I wasn’t exactly happy with my home life, and figured I would never be allowed to grow up, as my parents were very overprotective. I usually walked or caught a ride to school, and they drove me to work, which I saw as unfair, since most of my friends were already driving.

Then one day in government class, a recruiter for the military came to speak to our class and a bell went off in my head. Here was my chance! Not only would I be able to help people, I would get to do it away from home…and serve my country, what a win, win! I immediately started the process of figuring out how to get myself into the Navy (I picked that branch because that’s where my dad served) and, because I was a very short woman, my government teacher helped me write all the necessary congressmen to make it happen.

See, at the time, the Navy had a height requirement of five foot and I am four foot nine. So this meant someone had to sign a waiver for me to be allowed to enter. My government teacher showed me an article where a man who was shorter than me got in, and the fight was on! The next thing I knew, my story reached the news, I was on the cover of the local newspaper and even had a radio interview (where I got to meet George Hamilton) explaining how I only wanted to serve my country and they wouldn’t let me in because I was a woman and I was short, yet a man got in who was shorter-it was size and sexual discrimination!  We wrote all the local congressmen,  Jim Wright, Lloyd Benson and the secretary of the Navy pleading for my case.

In the meantime, a recruiter for the Army reached out to me, and said I would only need a one inch waiver to get in, and reluctantly, I went ahead. I figured as long as I was allowed to be in the military, serving my country and helping people, it was still ok. I was disappointed it was not the Navy but my dad reassured me, his feelings weren’t hurt and, having his blessing, I went on with the plan. After discussing what type of job I wanted with the recruiter and the process I would go through to get in, it was decided that I would enlist right out of high school. I think I had two weeks between graduation and enlistment. (If memory serves, I believe the newspaper did a follow-up article showing I did indeed make it into a branch of the military.) Six weeks into my service, unbeknownst to me, my parents received a letter of acceptance from the Navy-I was not made aware of this fact until much later, blissfully otherwise engaged in my Army service, they figured I had fought so hard to get where I was, why upset the apple cart? I was livid when I found out, because what they didn’t realize was that I wouldn’t have lost any stripes or anything by switching branches, and now I was never going to get to go to Italy, one of the destinations my dad was anxious for me to see.

Regardless, I continued fulfilling my enlistment period, which was three years, as I was already done with basic training and AIT (the schooling you get before you go to your permanent party placement) and was set to be stationed in Colorado. I had enlisted as a combat medic, the Army’s version of a nurse in the field, and was set to start fulfilling my dream to serve my country and help people, just like I’d wanted. While on a training exercise in AIT, I had injured my knee, the first of a repeated injury I had over the years, and upon landing in Colorado, was in a half cast- not exactly the way I wanted to start my career, but there it was. Backing up for just a second, let me just say I had been a thorn in the Army’s side for quite a while by this point, first fighting to get in, then in basic, they had to let me skip my first march, because my uniform had to be specially made since I was so small. I didn’t exactly receive special attention, being a woman at a co-ed training station in Alabama, but life was tough for me because of my size, training was difficult…while everyone else was marching, I was running to keep up! My helmet was too big, so when the others were shooting at targets, I was fighting to be able to see, because my helmet kept falling over my eyes ( and the heat and humidity was so bad during the summer, we had to put salt tablets in our water canteens!) Somehow I made it through the grueling 6 week challenges, I even made sharpshooter and got that medal. I was also quite boy crazy and found myself getting quite a lot of attention from the opposite sex, since this was a co-ed training facility.

Luckily, I  had my bff and partner in crime, Teresa. She and I made it through basic training and AIT together before we headed off to different permanent party stations, and I lost track of her. I still miss her to this day, and wonder often how her life turned out. We did everything together, including getting in trouble. Our drill sergeants knew we were a pair, our friendship got us through some crazy times back then. I hated that we were going in different directions, I thought we would be in each other’s life forever. I have tried to find her, but only knowing her maiden name (Smoyer) I have no way of locating her. I made new friends of course when I got to Colorado, but it just wasn’t the same.

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From top left, my gov. teacher, me, my bff Teresa, she, me and her boyfriend Mark off duty

I barely got settled at my new station in Colorado before my unit was deployed to California for a desert training mission. We were part of an assignment sent to help set up a medical dispensary in Ft Irwin, Ca. It is still one of the training centers for the Army today. At the time, however, there was barely anything there, our medical dispensary ( couple of wings of it anyway) a movie theater, snack bar, church, and combat training facility…not much for the guys to do but work, drink and get into trouble! Not sure how long our “mission” (training) was, six weeks I believe, and then it was back to beautiful Ft Carson Co. to finish out my year long tour of duty. During the time I was in the desert, I encountered my second bad experience as a woman in the military. The first had been the night I was being taken by my recruiter to the AFEES station to spend the night before being flown to Alabama for basic training. Both times I was propositioned, and both times ended badly for the men that did it. I was not going to be treated that way, just because I was a woman in the military. They were both reprimanded, the recruiter later lost his job and the officer I encountered in the desert was transferred ( I learned later he ended up at the hospital he wanted to be stationed anyway) but these things happened long after the incidents, mainly because I was scared to speak up each time. My dad told me I was just one of many the recruiter tried to have his way with, and was subsequently relieved of his duty many years later. It was definitely not the way I should have been introduced to the Army as a female, yet the theme was repeated many times throughout my career.

That was just part of the difficulties of being a woman, short or otherwise, in the Army, yet I made it through four and a half years, only getting out after several injuries made it impossible to continue my service. I was honorably discharged with a medical in 1984 and secured a job at my first hospital shortly after. My training was changed after my Colorado service to laboratory technician, due to all of my recurring knee injuries. That sent me back to my favorite place Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. After my training was over there, I was sent to Korea for a yearlong tour of duty and that would have fulfilled my three year commitment, had I not re-enlisted. But that’s a story for another day.

Day 156-This is My Essay Tuesday-Changed My Religion (Group)

Oh my goodness! First, before I start my essay, I have to say I’m shocked and just a little bit proud this morning. I surpassed my writing goal for the day yesterday (1700 words) and wrote a total of 1975 words! Woot! If I can manage that on a work day…

On second thought, I also got up at 5am yesterday, and today I did not. That just means I will have to work harder to get er done today-not everyday will work out perfectly, I’ll just take it one step at a time.

Ok, my idea for Tuesdays was to do an essay from one of my life experiences, kinda like Galina did last year on Hearts Everywhere blog, but not copy what she calls them, which is Life Clubs (now patented, I believe) At first I thought about Group Lessons, since they are things many of us go through, but my own take on them. Now I’m not sure, so I guess I will just write them and see what y’all think.

This is my essay for today-

I was raised in the Catholic religion. My Dad is Catholic and tried to instill the values and beliefs into my brother and I by taking us with him to church, as often as possible. I went through catechism and joined the youth group when I became old enough, and I never saw a problem with it. I loved our church and all that it stood for, and my Dad eventually joined the Knights of Columbus, but not until I was grown and married. I’m proud of him for becoming a Knight of some stature, now that he is in his early 80’s and his health is declining, he doesn’t make the meetings anymore. He does still attend church, even though he doesn’t hear as well.

When I got married, however, I learned that my husband was raised as a strict Southern Baptist. I attended the church of his grandmother, several times, but as a couple, we knew that was not what we wanted. My husband did not want to join the Catholic church either, so we compromised. We became Methodists and found a church we could both feel comfortable in. I won’t go into what we could have done or should have done when it comes to our kids, suffice it to say, they made their own decisions and are finding their own way to this day. In the very beginning, we lived in Haltom City and actually chose a Christian church, where we fell in love with our minister- Mark Fish. When he was called to serve his home church in Tennessee, we and the rest of the congregation missed him terribly, it eventually caused division in the church and we among other people, left and searched for another.

When we moved to Alvarado, some years later, we found a lovely little church lead by a charismatic minister named A.J. We found peace and joy, loved the little 100 year old church and would still be going, had we not moved again. When we made the move six years ago to Groves, down in southeast Texas, we tried several Methodist churches before we found the one that stuck. See, Methodists move their ministers around- they rotate them to other churches in an effort to reach and teach other congregations what the’ve learned about the last. Anyway, we usually find a church, fall in love with the minister, and then he gets moved. That seems to be the pattern and it’s not like we go every Sunday, but we do our best to attend frequently. The point is, we have been comfortable in the Methodist church and we hope to find one here that we both enjoy attending.

Currently, we go to United Methodist of Watauga, or at least I do, most of the time. My husband has not committed fully, and admittedly, I don’t go every Sunday. I enjoy it when I do and I have made a few friends there. Problem is, we are still undecided at the moment, that this is where we want our home church to be. If Cahill, the church in Alvarado, wasn’t so far, it would be a no brainer, but it is, so that’s out.  We will find one eventually, and then I hope we can both feel comfortable and make a commitment we can live with. Until then, I will go where I am now, and I’ll take him when it’s possible. After all, church is just the place you go to fellowship, when really, if you know and love God, he lives in your heart. You can worship Him anywhere. That is our belief, and I’m sure that in time, we will find a new church home.