Why I love my wife so much.

During my Near Death Experience (NDE), I was immersed in glowing, colorful fireworks and opened my eyes to the cold, grey hospital room, with my wife sitting in a chair.  I wanted to tell her everything I was seeing and how much I loved her, but she wasn’t looking at me and I couldn’t move or speak. I couldn’t get her attention!  I finally gave up and went back to the color.  Then I remembered the letter I wrote my wife’s dad about fighting cancer, and built my army of white blood cells. I managed to escape death. I know opening my eyes and seeing my wife, wanting to tell her one last time how much I loved her, probably saved my life.

The love of my wife saved my life!!!

Uncle Jim’s Eulogy

“Uncle Jim” was the nickname we used for my mom’s friend who was like a father to me.  Uncle Jim was family to us.  He was the closest thing my daughters had to a grandfather, as my father and father-in-law had already passed on. My girls and I loved visiting him and enjoying his property.  We played in the creek, caught fish and frogs and butterflies and bugs. One magical moment with the girls was seeing thousands of fireflies flickering in the valley at night.  An amazing sight if you have never seen it before.

I loved riding the ATV clearing the trails with the chainsaw, mowing the grass with the tractor, and helping him with whatever he needed help with.  My father taught me how to shoot many years ago, but Uncle Jim taught me how to hunt and how to clean turkey and deer and for that I am eternally grateful.

Some other stories with Uncle Jim that have lessons yet to be written…
The plough – finding hidden treasure
The truck slide – at least you tried
The tierod – plans can change
The ATV slide – don’t stop until you find a solution
Roofing the two roofs – hard work pays off
The insulation – like pins and needles
The cistern overflow – work is easier with friends
Mowing the fields – enjoying the fruits of your labor
The windmill fix – learn how things work
Minnie swimming – don’t be afraid
The clay pigeons – ready, aim, fire!
The possum – always be ready
The bird and squirrel – mistakes happen
The squirrel we ate – try new things
The catfish cakes – try a bite, you might like it
The button buck and momma deer – learning
The 9 pointer – luck

And of course, the one that got away. And the shooting star!

I especially enjoyed relaxing around the campfire with him after a long day.  I learned a great lesson from Uncle Jim about taking time to achieve your goals.  The title of that lesson three and a half years ago seems so fitting now, “Someday… you’ll be dead!”  You see, Uncle Jim and I had a special arrangement. If he died before me, he would give me a sign from Heaven, and I would do the same if I died before him.   Today was Jim’s day and he gave me his sign.  Don’t forget, I have the same arrangement with you.

I will always love him like a father and he will always love me like a son, and that Love never ends!


Easter’s meaning this year

This year Easter means to me that it is never too late to be forgiven. Even the man to Jesus’s right was saved at the end.

Creator God of Love, forgive us for judging others, we do not know other’s struggles and intents of their hearts as only you could know. Forgive us for not respecting people, lifestyles, and beliefs different from our own, we should all strive to Love one another as brothers and sisters and eliminate Hate from this world. We are all sinners and we ask for Your Forgiveness.

Even if you don’t believe that prayers work, please share a kind message of Love today with a stranger. Or simply pray that Love conquers Hate.

Namaste my brothers and sisters!


The heartbreaking decision between Life and Death

Doggie Heaven just got the best, sweetest, friendliest, most lovable dog in the whole world. Minnie was always a happy dog and brought so much love and joy into our family. She never barked and loved everybody and everybody loved her. [Ok, maybe she barked 20-30 times, but that’s pretty good for being a one year old puppy.]

She didn’t know or care about personal space with people or other dogs, she just wanted to be your friend. She would lean up against everyone she met – wanting some love – and if she knew you were a dog person, she would slide down to your feet, and roll over hoping for a belly rub. She loved to nudge her nose under your hand to get you to pet her. She just wanted to sniff and play with every dog she met, whether they wanted to or not. She loved chasing and running with our neighbor dogs Gabby and Gertie.

She peed on the carpet maybe 3-4 times at most before being potty trained at 8 weeks. She went to her kennel for the first time at 10 weeks without even a whimper! When smells of food filled the air, especially popcorn, she was never a mooch, she just waited patiently to clean up any “crumbs”! 😉

My 3 girls loved to put her Kong up their shirt because they wanted Minnie to tickle them as she tried to get it out. I could make her wag her tail just by looking at her with a smile. After I worked a hard day outside in the heat, she loved to lick my sweaty face and head. She fetched tennis balls but wasn’t obsessed. She would play keep away with a stick, and the girls would chase her and eventually would get her to stay long enough for them to grab it from her.

It’s so sad she was still a puppy. It’s not like losing an old dog that had lived a full dog’s life, but like losing a life way too young. We are all devastated with grief as we loved that dog with all of our hearts. The girls cried themselves to sleep, especially our biggest dog lover. And they cried when they woke up. We cried lots of tears, not from bumps, hurt feelings, or being scared, but our first tears together from heart-breaking sorrow. My wife and I haven’t cried this much since our dads died. We just watched Marley and Me last weekend not knowing we would be living the ending just a week or two later, but in a way it helped prepare the girls for what was to come. Minnie’s tragedy has brought us closer as a family.

For our local friends and neighbors, it’s probably best not to bring up the subject for awhile. We may consider another dog someday, maybe next year, but none will every be able to compare to Minnie. Hug your loved ones tight every day and every night and tell them you love them. {Please don’t say you’re sorry, just say some prayers.}

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
:-( . . . 😐 … … … :-) . . .

[That was the eulogy I started writing last August, the day we didn’t think Minnie would come home after we had left her overnight at the vet, partially paralyzed. Let me explain…]

We had a big scare last summer after surgery on her leg to remove extra cartilage (OCD). She was recovering great, but after 4 weeks she started limping then quickly had trouble walking and by the next day she couldn’t walk at all. We thought it was related to the leg surgery, but appeared not to be related as both her back legs and back half were partial paralyzed and she seemed to be in a lot of pain. (I saw her lean so far forward, her back legs came off the ground and she was doing a “handstand” on her front paws.) She also groaned more and coughed more.

It took a while, but eventually our vet suspected myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease that affects the signal from the nerves to the muscles. The initial higher dose of prednisone seemed to restore some normal walking and even running, much to our delight since she hadn’t ran in months. But she would still showed signs of partial paralysis. As we reduced the dose, the symptoms got much worse until the point where she constantly needed help walking with the sling again. She could only “walk” 3-5 feet at a time. Her back legs were more like crawling. She also wasn’t always finishing her food. [We’re talking about a puppy that could scarf down a heaping cup of food in less than 20 seconds!!!] We increased the dose of pred again and finally saw a little relief after 5-6 days. She had short periods of normalcy.

We were finally able to start the medicine for myasthenia and within 30 minutes, Minnie was completely back to normal! The neighbors were shocked, along with us, by the miraculous recovery. She was on the pills for about 2 months and then she was fine without them. Myasthenia gravis (MG) can spontaneously go away, and Minnie was great for 6 months.

I’m glad we didn’t lose her in one day and had time to do all the things we had planned to do but hadn’t done yet. We painted her nails like we always talked about [but never really, ya know… PLANNED!?!], we casted her front paws in heart shaped concrete filled with gems, we got the family picture with the WHOLE family!

But last week we learned MG can spontaneously reappear. And this time the pills did not work, prednisone didn’t work. She was vomiting every day. And each day her coughing, gagging, and choking got worse, and eventually she had a very difficult time just breathing. She had developed megaesophagus and pnuemonia.

So this morning, after the vet put the IV in her arm and brought her back to the exam room, she had her labored breathing. But after I pick her up and held her in my lap loving her, a calm sense of peace came over her… and me. She was breathing fine. The vet gave the injection and she slowly slipped away as I kissed her and told her how much I loved her. We all love her so much!


If You Want To Be Rich…

… volunteer! Volunteer to coach soccer, corral ten 7 year olds on a field and get them to work together.

Volunteer to teach a subject to kids. Chess for instance. You can always learn more by teaching, you learn what you didn’t learn the first time! And don’t just teach kids a subject, teach them how to learn.

Volunteer at Hospice, helping those who are dying and their loved ones can be the greatest gift of your time. Your reward will be eternal! And you will be forever happy! I am so happy and I am so rich!