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Still wordless, after all these years

June 7th, 2013

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I often try to think of something to write on these pages and every time it seems that I have already said everything that I can. I do have thoughts and memories but so few of them come with words.

On this past Memorial Day, I was thinking about my cousin who died in Vietnam. A few years after that traumatic event I picked up Natalie at school and we stopped to see the traveling Vietnam Memorial wall. That’s when I took the photo above.

I never asked what she was thinking at that moment. Allen had been gone five years when she was born, but I’m sure that she felt some connection. After all, she would later celebrate the 100-year accomplishments of Bob Hope. And when Anthony Berger suddenly passed at 44, she remarked how that was far too young. And when we heard the news–which happened to be three days before her 33rd birthday–that Peter Boyle was no longer with us, she observed that it was hard to believe that he was gone. Yes, ironies can be intriguing.

Although I would like to take credit for passing some of my writing aptitude on to her, she took what little she was given and ran with it. Her willingness to express her thoughts and feelings far exceeded anything that I ever wrote. And this is no exception.

Yes, I have many thoughts and memories, but the feeling that always comes to the front is the pride I feel when I read the wonderful words so many of you share. Thank you all, so very much!–Nattie’s Daddy

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

December 15th, 2012

(art by Cousin Mark Webb)

29 years and holding…forever.

Happy Birthday, Annabelle Rose!

July 14th, 2012


Nattie’s little girl is 12 years old, five-foot tall, and almost as beautiful as her angel mom.

She is also an Honor Roll student who enjoys reading and journaling.

Oh, dear…

(Photo by Grandma Mary)

Five years and counting…

June 7th, 2012

This is where I feel compelled—even obligated—to write wisdom and inspiration. But each year I come up empty. So, again, I can only thank each of you for your wisdom and inspiration, love and support. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel when I read your recollections of times spent with Natalie Rose, and your tributes to her memory.

I thank God for all of the memories. Some are heartbreaking, but many are quite good.

Proud to be Natie’s Daddy.

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

December 15th, 2011

I can’t think of many words that haven’t been said already. But it doesn’t seem possible that this is the fifth year we’ve had to celebrate your birthday without you. Or that it was 38 years ago tonight that we welcomed you into the world. And the nurse handed you, to your mother and asked us, “What’s her name?”

And the next day I sat in the hospital room, held you and watched some guy they called “Juice” set a new NFL season rushing record.

That was a much happier time. Or more innocent. Maybe ignorance truly is bliss.

But we know you no longer feel the pains of the body you left behind. And you probably saw Wes move the family so Jonathan and Anna could attend better schools. They seem to be thriving, making new friends, and growing like Hoosier corn in the summertime.

That makes us all happy.

We love you, and will miss you terribly…until we meet again.

Daddy

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2009

snow deck
…to all of you from Natalie’s family. Thank you for all you have done to welcome us into your hearts. Just as you did for our Nattie.
May all your kindness be returned a hundredfold. God bless!
’til we meet again…{{{{{Y’all!}}}}}

Is that all there is?

December 17th, 2009

(Originally published on Thursday, June 21, 2007)
Thank you (have I said that before?) for continuing to visit NattieRoseWrites.com. I had no intention, I can assure you, of becoming a blogger when—less than a month ago—I posted my first update in my daughter’s stead.
Many of you have thanked me for continuing to post. Surely you have noticed that I lack a certain quality that made this site so popular and its author so well loved. I ain’t Nattie…OK? (Insert smile, here.)
Sometimes, we parents tend to think of our children as extensions of ourselves. Although we know better, we expect them to adopt our friends, adapt our logic, to assess their situations and make their decisions in the same ways we would. This, however, is rarely, if ever, the case.
Our offspring are the products of their genes and environments, not ours. My Natalie did not get her sweet optimistic spirit from me.
But Natalie isn’t blogging anymore. And, now, the updating is done. Although we will continue to grieve indefinitely, we have said our goodbyes. her “Hobbit House” is empty, her accounts closed, her books donated to her church and her library.
Jonathan and Anna miss their Mom, to be sure, but they now live with their dad and look forward to their birthdays in July.
All we have left are memories, a few photographs…and her written words. All I have left to say is a polar opposite to what you have come to expect to read, here.
I know that Nat is having the time of her life, but all I want to talk about is how unhappy I am. I feel sorry for myself—to say nothing of her mom, her kids, her extended family and all her friends—because the world just isn’t the same without her.
Because many people still visit daily, I don’t intend to remove this blog anytime soon. Fortunately, I am a minority investor in the box that serves the site, and the domain is registered for a few more years.
But I also know that those readers will soon fade away if new material is not added frequently, so I had an idea…
Thanks to Heather, Joanne and Cynthia from W@H, and the internet “Wayback Machine,” I have the posts published on the original “Nattie Writes,” dating back to mid-2003.
I also have some things she wrote in the years before blogging became such an important part of her life and yours.
If you would like me to periodically post this material—some of it previously published, and some of it not—let me know. Otherwise, I cannot imagine that you would be interested in anything more that I could add.
Thanks for caring! (((((Y’all!)))))

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Happy 36th birthday, Natalie

December 15th, 2009

Happy Birthday

A Card from a Lifelong Friend

December 14th, 2009

(Originally published on Monday, June 18, 2007)
I owe a debt of gratitude to each of you for your good wishes and wonderful comments in Nattie’s memory. I also received the following by “snail mail,” and now pass it along to you, her friends worldwide. (Thanks to Joy; credit to Hallmark)—Nattie’s Daddy

A rose may lose its bloom,
But still the fragrance lingers long.
A bird may fly away,
yet we can still recall its song.

So when someone who is loved departs
to join the Lord above,
They’ll live and laugh and be with us
in memories of love.

“Your days of mourning will come to an end.”—Isaiah 60:20 (MLT)

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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

December 11th, 2009

(Originally published on Friday, June 15, 2007)
The sky was clear, the sun was bright and the grass was dusty. A small group of Carters, Wootens and Yorks gathered this morning to say our ceremonial goodbyes to Nattie’s earthly remains. Her grandmother Julia read the following words:

We know this small urn holds no “ordinary” ashes, darling. They’re all we have left of your beautiful life, and we’ve come to place them where we knew you’d want them most of all—near your beloved Grandma and Grandpa Wooten.
And, no, that isn’t all we have left—we have beautiful memories of your valiant spirit, your wonderful testimony of faith and trust in God, and your radiant triumph over all the pain life brought you.
The word “beautiful” has been used with purpose—that is how we will always remember you—our beautiful little girl…our Natalie Rose.
Rest in peace, darling; we’ll see you “in the morning.”

Then we took some pictures, exchanged a few more words and tearful hugs, and went our separate ways. Angel and Karla are helping Mary clean out the “hobbit house” apartment.
Four weeks ago today, Natalie phoned to tell me she was sick. What happened?—Nattie’s Daddy

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