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Hurricane Irma

 

Hurricane Irma, a Cat 5 Hurricane, blew across the Atlantic Ocean and left a path of devestation as it destroyed small islands, skirted Cuba and then came across Key West and landed in SW Florida. If you go to Youtube there are several videos to be viewed that shows you the raw power of the storm. We had no sooner gotten finished with watching Hurricane Harvey blow into the gulf coast of Texas when Irma came along behind it. The devestation and destruction is hard to fathom. So many people without homes because of flood damage. We had people in SC that experienced a lot of flood waters that damaged their homes as well. We had 10 days warning or maybe longer and a lot of folks heeded the warnings to leave SC ahead of this storm.

Katy and I rode out the tropical forced winds and rain on September 11th which is the anniversary of the World Trade Center towers being demolished by terrorists flying Jets into each building. We lost 3000 American lives on that tragic day. We remember watching the planes hit, the explosions and smoke. We remember watching in horror as people jumped from the towers in a desperate last act to save themselves because they were trapped in a burning building. We could not believe our eyes when one tower came crashing down and then the second one followed it.

Despite all the tragedies it is nice to see how many people, no matter where they are from who came together to help one another. We are thankful for our first responders who put their lives on the line every day of the week to keep us safe from harms way. When tragedy striles they are the first ones on the scene. We owe a debt of gratitude to our public servants who selfishly serve us all.

We are hopeful that while the hurricane season lasts until the end of November that we will not see any more landfalls from any more hurricanes this year. How much devestation can we take as a nation?

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mental preparation

In my last blog post I said the following. “You can be a victim of violent crime unless you make a mental decision to limit your risks and equip yourself accordingly.”

I would like to shed some light on being mentally prepared.

Before you can address the solution to a problem you have to identify the problem.

The problem is quite simple. We live in a fallen world and we live in neighborhoods with both good and bad people. You may not be able to identify who is who until they actually do something to prove that they are good or bad. We cannot live in denial and think that everyone is inherrantly good. There are wolves that live amonst us and they do not share the same logical thought processes that we do. These people do not think the same way we do and they do not care if they hurt others in their activities.

Evil people commit crimes against people and property. They attack you and your neighbors in an effort to gain access to whatever it is they think you have that they want. We live in a world where it is quite common for evil people to commit home invasions. Imagine sitting in your living room with your family and someone kicks down your door, rushes in and sticks a gun in your face demanding your valuables. These evil people have no qualms in resorting to physical violence against your person to get what they want. In short, these are domestic terrorists.

Violent crime can happen to you at your home and while you are out in public. You can be sitting in your vehicle at a traffic light minding your own business and someone could walk up and shove a gun in your face in an effort to take your vehicle. I could go on and on about the many different ways that criminals could possibly victimize you and your family.

I am not illuminating these things in order to make you afraid. I am shining a light on these possibilities so that you can be made aware and begin to formulate a plan on how to actively prevent these things from happening. None of us will be able to completely remove violence or violent crime from our community but we can prepare ourselves for the eventuality of this happening and not be a victim.

The first thing that you need to do is to be aware of your surroundings as much as possible. When you are out in public pay more attention to the people around you and what they are doing. Pay less attention to your personal cell phone or other mobile devices. Pay more attention to who is paying attention to you. When you are walking from a store to your vehicle keep your head on a swivel and look for potential dangers. Have your keys in your hand and be prepared to enter your vehicle, start it and leave. Ask for an escort if it is night time and you do not feel particularly safe.

The most important self defense tool that you have at your disposal is the one that sits between your ears. Use your brain and engage some common sense when you are out and about or at home. Start thinking like a criminal. If I wanted to break into my home where and when would I do it. Do I leave my doors unlocked during the day? At night time is my property poorly lit and surrounded by a lot of darkness? When someone knocks on the door do I just open the door without looking first?

Maybe you should consider installing an alarm system that you can arm and diaarm remotely. Most alarm systems come with wireless communications should your home phone system get disabled. You can get a hand held key fob that has a panic alarm on it. You can think about installing a basic camera system that you can see what is going on outside of your home from the comfort and safety on the inside of your home.

The most powerful thing you can do to keep from being a victim is to practice active avoidance. Do not place yourself in situations or surroundings that places you or your family in danger. Think about scenarios in your head BEFORE you encounter them and know what you will do ahead of time. Being proactive will keep you from having to be reactive in the case of an event. If you avoid placing yourself or your family in a dangerous situation then you will be ahead of the curve.

I understand that not everyone is a security professional. If you think that you are possibly not equipped to understand any of these things reach out to your local police dept or your community watch groups in your neighborhood and start asking questions from those folks who are aware. When you educate yourself about where the dangers are then you can prepare to defend against them. Education is the key and it never ends no matter how much you think you know.

 

 

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Time to drain the swamp

President Trump is asking everyone to forward this email to a minimum of 20 people, and to ask that each of those do likewise.

In three days, most people in the United States will have the message. This is clearly an amazing idea that must be passed around. Stand by for the push back from THE SWAMP

THE TRUMP RULE:
Let’s see if congress understands what people pressure is all about.

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . . $180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . $174,000 FOR LIFE

This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE.

This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . $193,400 FOR LIFE.

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

Here’s where the cuts should be made!

Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

TRUMP, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: “I could end the deficit in five minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election”.

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Trump is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It’s time

 

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AC replaced and Bandit news

I am happy to report that the landlord has replaced the central AC unit and the air compressor outside. Our light bill went down by 45.00 this month. We have the thermostat set on 74 and we are loving it. Speaking of air conditioning, it has been 82 F in my office at work since December when I was forced to move to a different office to make accomodations for a new regional HR person who has yet to show up. I was usually freezing in my old office and would have to put a hoody on. My new office, not so much…. We found out last week that the AC on the roof for our section of the floor is DOA. No wonder we are not getting any air. They are replacing it next Friday just in time for a hot summer that we will probably experience here in SC. We had a very moderate winter (what a joke that was) so we are probably in for a sizzler.

So, yes, I am thankful that we will be nice and cool this summer. After all, fat people hate summer time with all the heat and humidity. I am certainly built for winter and not summer. Speaking of fat people, I have managed to reduce the digits on the scale by 11 pounds. I am still seeing a cardiologist who has managed to use medication to lower my BP. For the first 3 months of this year it was way too high and I was very miserable. My family doctor was prescribing BP meds but they were not doing the job. My next appointment will be on May 12th and hopefully the results of all the tests he has run will give him a clue as to why my BP has been so high. He did say he knows it is not an issue with my kidneys. He said that I could have a thyroid problem that could be causing it. Losing some pounds will go a long way towards reducing the hypertension.

At Coastal Community Church our pastor has been working on a series called the real “F” word. One of those F words is forgiveness. We are called to forgive one another and not hold grudges. People who are the closest to you tend to hurt you the most. They know you better than anyone and they know what buttons to push if we let them. Not only are we supposed to forgive people who spitfully use us or are hateful but we should also forgive people for being human. After all, we are all human and are subject to making stupid mistakes that could hurt someone else.

Oh, did I tell you about Bandit? Bandit is the newest furbaby in our family.

He is so cute. He is a mixture of terrier and chow so he is sort of a Heinz 57 dog. I am hoping that he will be smaller than Willow, our lab. Katy is working with training him to do his business on either the puppy pads in the condo or better yet to go outside to do it. He is only 10 weeks old so he is a bit young yet. I think that we are seeing some small steps towards improvement in that area. Our cat misty loves to roll around and play fight with him and Willow loves to play tug of war with him. We have to remind her to be gentle though since she is 20 times his size right now.

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God’s Not Dead He is surely alive !!

We watched God’s Not Dead He is Surely Alive 2 on Pureflix today.  All I can say is WOW.  Very powerful and compelling movie about a teacher who is pulled into a court room and put on trial for sharing the words of Christ in her history class.  Watch it and share it with the people in the community that God has placed you in on this earth.  You will be glad you did.

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Wheat Belly

I went to visit a cardiologist today after several months of suffering through extremely high blood pressure and generally feeling like crap. It is painfully obvious to me that the primary contributor to my high BP is being morbidly obese.

The cardiologist told me that part of his plan for me is weight management and he told me to buy the book called Wheat Belly.
I am going to buy the book and the cook book and try to educate myself on this diet plan. We will need to learn how to shop differently when we go to the grocery store as well. If we do not have the junk in the house I wont be tempted to eat it.

I have an ultrasound of my belly this Thursday morning which means nothing by mouth from 9 pm Wednesday night until 9 am Thursday morning. Gosh, that should be fun. I will have to suck it up butter cup and just do it. The doctor said if my renal arteries or thyroid were having a problem that could drive my blood pressure up as well so he wants to rule those out.

The doctor is going to call the cardiologist that did my stress test two years ago and use that if possible. They are also going to do an echocardiogram of my heart as well. He looked at the EKG from the ER yesterday and said he did not see anything in those or the chest xray that would indicate cardiac issues.

The doctor is also putting me on Norvast (sp) to help lower my BP. His goal for me is to get it down to 150/90 for now. He told me to stay active but not to push myself at the gym until he has a clearer picture of my cardiac situation.

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Moving towards those golden years

I love the line in the movie Forrest Gump that says. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. Sitting here at the Hollingsworth Cancer Center and waiting on Katy tells me that our chocolate for today is a bit bittersweet. As Katy walks through the process of trying to beat this thing called cancer we both have hope. We have hope that the chom treatments will heal her or at very least slow down any forward progress it might try to make in her body. We fully realize that despite our best efforts and those of medical technology there are no garuntees. I have heard of people who have gone through chemo and radiation and went into remission for many years. I have also hear of people who went into remission to have the cancer come back with a vengenace and they lost the battle.

Katy and I heard of a family friend who lost her battle with cancer this month. Peggy had stage four breast cancer and it spread to her lungs. Katy was able to do a video chat with Peggy back on the 2nd of February and they had reconnected back on 2016 after several years of no communications. That reminds me of the fact that it is very important that we stay connected to our loved ones. Even if the people are family members and we are not that close or maybe they are not our most favorite person. Life is precious and it does not last forever.

Making memories means that we have to move outside of ourselves and share our lives with others. Our future legacy depends on our doing that. As I get older I find myself appreciating peace and quiet and staying to myself. Large crowds of people with lots of noise and activity is not my cup of tea any more. I want to slow down and appreciate life on my own terms.

Over the last couple of years I have been fighting the obesity monster and along with that high blood pressure. As time has progressed it has become increasingly difficult for me to get exercise and I have struggled with eating better. Education is the key and having the motivation to get off my butt and move away from the computer chair is very important to weight loss. I know what to do but have struggled with implementing those changes in my life. I will be going to a cardiologist today so that they can scold me for being so obese and tell me what I already know. Hopefully they can help me manage my blood pressure levels and I can get back to the gym even if it is in small doses. Something has to be better than nothing. I am determined to not give up or give in. I have a lot to live for and I want Katy and I to enjoy our golden years for several years to come.

Wait just a moment…. When ARE the golden years? Maybe we are just looking down the road and see it right on the horizon? We are both in our mid and upper 50’s so maybe we are just middle aged? Only time will tell.

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living in the moment

So, the year 2016 sucked in ways we would have never dreamed of. Who knew that Katy would have to have five surgeries and endure two different rehabs? Three of the surgeries were for a brain tumor and then the discovery of ovarian cancer.

Starting in March of 2016 Katy’s balance got worse and worse and that led to her getting an MRI and discovering that the tumor they had found in 2010 had gotten bigger and required surgery. Fast forward to 2017 and the surgeries are over, rehab is done and Katy is now 70 lbs lighter. Now Katy is facing chemotherapy thanks to the doctors finding a tumor on her right ovary. The tumor is gone, the historectomy has happened and now there are 3 chemo treatments to be had. Two are done and we have one left to go. By the 30th of January 2017 Katy will have had her last chemo treatment. The doctors feel confident that the cancer is gone and she has nothing more to worry about.

In 2015 we started the long and painful process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Katy was not able to work and so we engaged in the mountains of paperwork in hopes of Katy getting disability benefits started. When Katy was no longer able to work and bring funds into the household budget it threw our finances into a tailspin. We survived somehow but it certainly was not fun. We had to learn how to do without a lot of things that we had gotten accustomed to. At the end of September of 2016 Katy was approved for her disability benefits. She received a back payment check which was nice and enabled us to get caught up on our bills and do a couple of other things for each other.

Katy has decided that even if she does get to the point where she can work again she will not be going back to being a special education teacher. Doing that sort of thing is just way too stressful on her now. Katy loves working with ED kids but the severe and moderate kids as well as the baggage that their parents bring to the table is just too much for her to handle.

For now, we are enjoying the fact that Katy has endured the surgeries, rehab and is on the road to recovery. There for a while I was wondering if she was going to make it through 2016 and make it into the new year. We had several scares with the surgeries but we are thankful that she made it through ok.

We have been blessed to have our friends and family members who have supported us the best they could. Our church family was very supportive through it all. I am not sure if we could have done it without the love and support they showed us.

When your loved one goes through something like this you are reminded of your mortality. You are reminded of how precious each moment of life really is. You are reminded of what is important and those things that are really not that important. When you have your health and faith you have everything. Money is important and we do love to have our stuff but when it comes down to it those things are very temporal and insignificant.

Living in the moment is something that we both have to learn how to do. Slowing down and appreciating life more. Focusing on what is important and giving up worrying about those things we have no control over. We cannot cling to those things of the past and we have little to no control over what happens in the future. We have to trust in God to take care of those details. We have faith that God is more than capable of bringing us through the storms of life. We look forward to what the future holds for us.

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Hell has frozen over

Yes, that is right. You read that correctly. It is 29 F in Charleston South Carolina and I can see ice outside of my front door. Hell has certainly frozen over. In the upstate of South Carolina and other geographical locations west and northwest of our location have seen snow. That is ok, we can enjoy this brief winter wonderland today because in less than 7 days it will be 70 degrees again and everything will thaw out. That is what it means to live in the south. If you do not like the weather today, just be patient, it is sure to change and get warmer. How cold is it where you live and what do you do to celebrate it? If you are like us you just throw another log on the fire and wrap up in a blanket and get a cup of coffee and wait it out.

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Merry Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us once again. It seems as if we just finished celebrating it not too long ago. 2016 really zoomed past my family and I and we are hoping for a much better year in 2017. I hope that each of you have a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New year in 2017. Please reach out to friends and family and share the love and Christmas spirit with them. Lets remember that this time of year is tough on a lot of people who have lost loved ones or may be going through a personal struggle of their own.

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