My Story

I grew up in Zuni, Virginia which is between Richmond and Virginia Beach.

It was just a small town, but one where I met my best friend Ann while attending third grade.  We were like two peas in a pod.  We attended the same school, had the same locker and did everything together.  After a hs football game, many would go visit the local Dairy Queen, and you could always count on the two of us being there. With only 100 in my graduating class, our town was obviously pretty small and beside Dairy Queen, we might play pool or go swimming at a friend’s.  We had a great community and had lots of fun growing up, but like many stories, good things usually come to an end!  After graduating from hs, I worked at the same local Dairy Queen as well as a pharmacy while Ann attended nursing school.  Ann was just one week away from graduating (age 25) when she suddenly lost her life.  She was on her way over to pick me up that day and it was a terrible loss.  I realized just how precious life was at that moment.  My dad, the local mortician, made sure Ann looked good for me after the accident, but this didn’t stop the pain.  I questioned myself and whether or not Ann knew how much I cared for her.  Did I let her know?  I’m not sure, but I made the decision moving forward that I would make sure that others knew what I thought of them.  That day changed my life and made me realize not to put off doing things for people. This is one of those defining Check Your Game moments that molded me into the person I am today.

I’ve had some great memories growing up along with some sad ones, but ultimately, I am a better person as I love to encourage and make others feel special. There is nothing like it when I get a call from a friend after they received something unexpected from me, whether it was a goodie bag, something I crocheted or a scrap book.  I just love being creative and making others feel special.  I try to remember everyone, but sometimes I forget!  Here are some examples below:

Today, as many people know, I work for the best boss, Tim McGraw.  I am the Fan Club Administrator and I love it, especially because I have the opportunity to impact others in a positive way.  Whether it’s sending autographs, cd’s or even a signed guitar to a kid who is at the end of his life, I get to use my skills and passion to help acknowledge others and to make them feel loved!

I wanted to share a quick story about Tim and some of the men and women that work for the organization.  I didn’t share this earlier, but I’ve had breast cancer that I beat.  I just got my 9 year checkup and am clear of cancer (December 2020).  I now only have to go to the doctor once a year for a checkup.  Recently, I left the office and went home.  When I leave the office, my desk is all put away.  Pens, paper and notepads are all put away until I arrive the next day.  My desk is so clean and looks as if no one had been working there for a while.  On this one particular day before arriving to the office, I thought about the night I had; it wasn’t good.  I was thinking about a bunch of stuff and was just stressed.  I’m usually the rock at the office for others, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be that same rock the next day.  That morning after arriving to the office, I was getting closer to my desk and realized there were post it notes all over.  As I got up close, I realized that I had messages from Denny and Hobie and Tim and Kelly.  They said they missed me and such!  I felt so special and am so thankful for the great team I work with.  Ever since I was 15 or 16, I’ve seen God’s hand in my life watching over me.  He has never let me down and allowed me to get encouragement at the perfect time.  Even though I think I’ve been wearing God out, he just keeps coming through for me like he did through the encouraging messages from the team!  I am so thankful for that.

To leave everyone on a positive note, I found this book this summer on eBay called “Girlfriends Forever” by Susan Branch.  She is a wonderful author and who reminded me of my high school days and wonderful friends I made.  This book is filled with beautiful recipes and words that help us remember about the times of our past.  I can see now that we didn’t realize how good we had it!  I purchased the books in November (2020) and started writing a personal note inside of each book reminding my high school friends how wonderful they are and how I cherish their friendship.  Even though it’s been 45 years since I graduated from high school, they all have a place in my heart that will remain there forever.  I mailed them this book along with a note in early December, and have had so many wonderful responses.  They all made my heart jump for joy!  Do you realize how lucky I am?

In case you wanted an idea to reconnect to those you care about, find a book or pick up a card and send it.  Especially in the times we live in, we all need encouragement.  Also, if you have a calendar or a journal, take the time and write just one sentence about something positive about your day for the entire year.  When you have those dark days in your life, you’ll be able to look back, read all the many blessings, and realize how wonderful life is!  Merry Christmas.

My Advice

Ann was a big reason why I wanted to make people feel special, but I have to talk about my grandparents who raised me. Every Sunday, we had dinner at noon, usually followed by people visiting that afternoon. We slowed down each Sunday and enjoyed the company from family and friends who dropped by. I learned from them to take the time to build into others. That’s another reason why I take time to invest in people. Why not spend a few minutes reaching out to others, encourage them by sending a card or checking in with them with a call?

I also would say to be positive and volunteer; it will make a difference in others’ lives. I think I said it above, but life is precious. Don’t take things and relationships for granted. All people matter! Someone told me a long time ago that before you go to bed, that if you could look in the mirror and say you did the best you can, then that’s a good day!

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Jennifer says:

I enjoyed your story. The part about looking yourself in the mirror at the end of each day, struck a chord. Many days I feel discouraged lately, wondering if what I did was enough. Being a nurse on the Covid unit is very humbling. I need to remind myself that doing my best is sometimes all I can do. You sound like an amazing woman and I thank you for the reminders of setting our priorities, doing kind acts for others, and slowing down enough to enjoy the people in your life. God bless.

Gary Rogers says:

Rene, I haven’t forgotten the day I met you while I attended Vanderbilt. You were always so nice to me and my friends and you continued to be that person today. You obviously love giving gifts and I remember the gift you gave to a few of us (crocheted blanket that was black and gold) that I think either spelled my name, or said Vandy! Thanks for being such a good woman back then and today. I am so glad to hear that Tim and his group have given you a special place to work in because I know how you can make others feel special. I just wanted you to know that I’m thankful for our friendship from close to 30 years ago and looking forward to staying connected another 30! Love you Rene, and thanks again for all you do for others and who you are as a person! Gary

Thank you for sharing for losing a love one, leaves one grateful, and a soul full of compassion.I lost my Mom and our new baby, when I was five. I also do music, “Everywhere I Go,” pro-life “Another life Worthwhile,” by Jodi LaBelle YouTube Blessings