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DECEMBER 31, 2020

Stroke Part 2

The doctors ran a number of tests on Martha over the period of a very long day. Patty remained at the hospital with her mom, and I stayed home to clean up in preparation for the return home of Patty and her mom.

The news was not good. Patty's mom had experienced a massive stroke and it must have occurred much earlier in the evening before we woke her up. As a result, the doctors informed Patty that it was too late to take any kind of proactive or preventative action against what had happened to her brain.

The doctor shared with Patty the image of the brain scan and indicated that it told the entire story of the severity of the stroke. She shared the image with me at a later time.

Patty remained with her mom for the rest of the day and the night, but by this time it was clear that Martha would not recover from her stroke. As such, we made preparations for Martha to be transferred to hospice care on New Year's Day.


DECEMBER 30, 2020

Stroke Part 1

There's an old saying that says, if you want to see God laugh, just tell him your plans. Well, we know better than to tell him our plans, but we sure weren't expecting what laid ahead for us today either.

We moved Patty's mom (Martha) in with us in October of 2019 due to her failing health. To be honest, we moved her in after a hospital visit that was followed up by several weeks of rehabilitation. At the time, things didn't look so good for her short or long-term prognosis which is why we went ahead and chose to move her in. Very shortly thereafter, she improved dramatically and I feared we may have jumped the gun moving her in with us.

For the past year Martha has had great days, good days, and days that weren't so good. Still, we were all thinking pretty seriously about finding a place for her where she could enjoy more independence. That's until today!

Martha's been enjoying sleeping in more lately (even as late as 11:00 am) but when it got to be around 11:18 today, we started talking about lunch and decided it might be time to wake her. We were able to get her to open her eyes, but she was still relatively unresponsive and in short order we realized she had experienced a stroke.

We called 911 and they sent an ambulance and we followed it to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) where we both stayed and where Patty wound up spending the night.


DECEMBER 29, 2020

Blogging in 2021

Well, I went back to my ideas of two day ago for blogging in 2021 and decided to make a go of it in a very different direction. I updated that post but wanted to also mention it here.

Stay tuned...


DECEMBER 28, 2020

Best Run of 2020

I didn't set out on today's run with any intention of achieving my best performance of the year, but as it turns out that's exactly what happened. It was nowhere near the magnitude of PR's achieved during my peak years, but here in my senior years and at more conservative distances, I'm taking the liberty to give it an Honorable Mention.

And how do I know that will be my best run of the year, considering I've still got three more runs left to go in 2020? That's because I have no intention of pushing a run that hard anytime soon, and certainly not before the New Year.

I'm still doing the run/walk mix, but today I brought the walk side of the equation down to my lowest distance all year. And, at the same time, I still managed a strong pace with which I was well pleased on the run side.

My overall time for the four miles was 36:38 which essentially nets out to a 9:10 per mile pace for both the running and walking portion of the mile. For the entire four miles, my average heart rate was 130 and Max heart rate was 147 with 491 calories burned.

Total distance walked was .35 miles with 3.65 miles run. Breaking that data down further, I walked .05 miles twice in each of the first three miles (once at .4 miles and again at .9 miles) and then I walked .05 miles at only the .4 mile point of the fourth mile and ran the rest of that mile.


DECEMBER 27, 2020

New Year Notes

I had been thinking about some changes to my blog in the upcoming New Year. However, as quickly as I found myself with new ideas, I have since found myself with even newer ideas.

And so, two days after the blog post date above, I'm changing this post and my ideas for blogging in the New Year. There's more to come.

Stay tuned...


DECEMBER 26, 2020

The Day After

Just when we thought Christmas was over, our mail lady showed up with another Christmas package. It was a box lovingly filled with Christmas presents for Patty's mom, Patty, and for me.

Each item was wrapped with extra love and care, as only our daughter Allie could have envisioned them, and each and every item also included a post card with notes from Allie telling us more about what it was and where it was from.

Allie, Josh, and the two grandsons have been in Germany for over a year now. It's been so neat to hear about their adventures and see the pictures from their exciting trips. What a neat way to share in their joy and excitement.

Beyond all of that, it's truly been special to be so kindly blessed on Christmas with some of the nick knacks, historical keepsakes, and food and drink related items that they collected and set aside for us on those fun-filled adventures.

As if all of that wasn't interesting enough, I even found myself reviewing some of the culture in the German newspaper used to protect one of my fragile gifts. Patty and I can't wait to get beyond the pandemic and visit them over in the place they now call home.


DECEMBER 25, 2020

Merry Christmas


DECEMBER 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

The picture above is what I imagine when I think of Christmas Eve. Even though it's a picture of yesteryears long past, the charm and even the romance are indicative of the visions that dance in my head.

Unfortunately, the picture below more clearly depicts the reality of our current Christmas Eve Day and the Christmas Eve to follow. It's highly unusual to see white-caps out on the gulf where we live, but that's just what we're seeing with these gale warnings that were introduced last night and predicted to hang around from 7AM this morning until 7AM Christmas day.

We just finished lashing down garbage bags and bed sheets over the pots and plants outside and are hoping both plants and covers survive the high winds that have already arrived and are predicted to remain as the subfreezing temperatures fall in behind later this evening.

White Caps


DECEMBER 23, 2020

Cold Temps Ahead

Freezing temperatures are ahead! It won't be so cold that boiling water thrown in the air will turn to snow, but it's Florida so no surprise there.

It looks like Christmas Day will fall in the middle of a three day cold snap. We're slated for 30°F on Christmas Eve followed by 27°F and 28°F the following two nights.

Highs will only be in the upper 40's which will provide for a couple of challenging running days. For the past two days it's almost hit 70°F and I've been getting used to running in shorts with nothing more than long sleeves to protect me from the effects of a strong breeze on an otherwise seemingly warm day.

I'm always amazed at the difference these strong ocean breezes can make on an otherwise mild day. I hate to call it wind chill when temps are in the upper 60's, but I guess that's what it is when the winds are up around 15 mph, because it sure does make a difference.

I suppose dripping the water in the house will also be involved since the house is up on stilts with exposed water pipes. They're insulated but I'm not counting on that to avoid more serious problems. I'd rather go ahead and spend a few extra pennies on the water than to take on the headaches associated with a busted water pipe, not to mention a water pipe repair bill.


DECEMBER 22, 2020

Ham Card


DECEMBER 21, 2020

Even More Tweaks

Well, I barely made it 24 hours before I'm tweaking again!

If I'm going to get out in this Florida Winter Weather I might as well make it worth my while. I'm adding a mile to my distance, running a much greater percentage of the distance, and throttling back the pace just a little,

I'm also moving from 3 walks of .05 miles for each mile (= .15 miles) to 2 walks of .10 miles for each mile (= .20 miles.) I'll be running the last walking segment as I've done before since I will finish the activity afterward. This means I will be running 3.30 miles and walking .70 miles over the entire activity.

This should also equip me to bump everything up to run a full 5k race without a lot of extra training. In fact, one of my shorter-term goals may be to convert my walking segments to .05 miles from .10 miles like I've been doing previously. That would put me right about where I want to be with 3.75 miles run and .25 miles walked in each daily activity.

Since that's over half a mile more than a 5K, the extra distance trained each day should net out to additional energy and pace for any race I attend, should I decide to run one.

We'll see...


DECEMBER 20, 2020

More Run Tweaks

Back on December 13, 2020 I approached the topic of Running Tweaks. Well, hardly a week later I want to revisit the topic and consider another Tweak to my regimen.

Back on December 13, I noted that Some of the things I've been reviewing lately include 1) running or walking or both, 2) pace, 3) distance covered, 4) frequency, and 5) recovery. I also noted that a proper blend of those items seems so critical at this point in life.

Well, the ones that constantly stand out in my mind are #1, #3, and #5. After all, I'm already committed to the importance of a strong pace in #2 and to a daily workout in #4 since I'm retired and have the time to commit to that level of frequency.

While I like the 3 mile distance, I'm leaning toward a tweak that includes a 2 mile run followed by a 1 mile walk instead of mixing the two a little at a time. Fore one thing, it provides a mental boost by running a full 2 miles with no slow-downs.

It also provides a mental boost by following that run with a strong walk that still allows me to burn calories but at the kind of pace that provides for a much stronger recovery in preparation for the next day's run.

I'm also thinking that it better prepares me for a smaller step up in my training regimen if I decide to occasionally plug in a 5K race here and there. Even if I don't add a 5K now and then, I still like the overall plan.

Let's see how this works out...


DECEMBER 19, 2020


Back on my November 19, 2020 blog post, I spoke of a GPS problem with my Garmin Vivoactive 3. I was observing something quite worrisome and problematic and wasn't able to really get a handle on the cause.

What I knew was that my GPS was providing faulty readings from time to time, and as much as two or three tenths of a mile off of what it should have been reporting. Especially in the first mile. Equally troublesome was the realtime adjustments it tried to make to remedy its own confusion. It was not unusual to see the watch face dash through numbers putting the reported mileage well ahead of the actual distance I had covered.

It seems my challenge to-date has been centered around a combination of weather related obstacles, man-made obstacles, and even the position of my arm and the watch on my arm. However, I think I've finally come up with a dependable solution and one that has so far proven effective.

Somewhere in the mix of obstacles, the GPS was not maintaining reliable connections with whatever satellite(s) it needed in order to determine and report accurate information. If I was to start the GPS and then the activity with any of those obstacles close by, all bets were off when it came down to reliable reports - realtime or otherwise.

To address the problem(s), I've been able to start out with a 1/10th mile warm-up walk on the dirt road that leads from our house to the street. About half-way out that dirt road I'm out in the open and can activate my GPS in a very dependable and almost spontaneous fashion. Before I reach the street, the activity is ready to be started. When I step up on the street I can activate the activity and begin my run with a level of comfort that the results will be accurate.


DECEMBER 18, 2020


One of the things I truly enjoy is a good movie or documentary. Sometimes I'm looking for an entertaining feature. In other instances I'm on the hunt for a true story, the kind that often inspires and even educates. A true story in the form of a documentary is equally good if it informs and/or inspires me on a topic I find particularly interesting.

Probably the leading indicator for what I consider a great film is one that changes my life in a positive way. Or, one that brings me back to watch it again and again, often because it provides a level of depth that takes me to new places and introduces me to new things each time I watch it.

Because of the value I place on good movies and documentaries, I've added a new section to my menu to make those posts more readily available. And, because I've posted on movies in a past life of my blog, I'll be sharing some of those posts in the initial stages of this new section to my blog. (Addendum: This section removed and reintroduced later.)


DECEMBER 17, 2020

Rest of the Story2

We lost Paul Harvey in 2009 at the ripe old age of 91, but his radio show entitled The Rest of the Story lives on, at least in my mind anyway. There was always a surprise at the end and it was always a strong take-away!

Well, back on December 10th I shared a post entitled Yikes! and am now able to share The Rest of the Story. If you read the post you know I had a busy evening. If you didn't, here's the complete story.

My 91 year old mother-in-law was in the hospital and my wife had been spending the days with her, mostly to get a first-hand report from the doctors after their daily evaluations. I was on the way to pick her up on the evening of Wednesday, December 9, when the excitement started.

I was driving east on highway 98, a two lane blacktop, and in heavy fog. I was not far from the Wakulla river when I saw what I thought might be the shadow of a black bear that was being back-lit from the cars approaching in the other direction. I watched as best I could, with the fog and the lights behind him, util he crossed the road and headed down the shoulder toward the woods.

When I looked back to the road it was too late. I was still driving near the speed limit and only a few feet from several young wild hogs which emerged from the fog and which took a direct hit from my car and rolled beneath me as I passed over them.

In a matter of seconds I considered my situation and decided to press on. After all, I was out in the middle of nowhere, on a pitch-black dark night with what was by now less likely a bear and more likely a wild momma hog coming back to check up on her younger youth. I talked myself out of that confrontation as I began to fear for what had happened to our car.

Sure enough, within a mile or two I received a check coolant warning followed in the next mile or two with an engine overheating warning. I was less than a mile or two from a well lit gas station and barely made the turn in before the car turned off, bells started ringing, and additional warning messages began to appear - mostly related to an overheating engine.

My first thought was to call my wife, share my situation, and encourage her to get comfortable until I arrived. She offered to spend the night at the hospital with her mom, but I knew it had already been a long day for her and assured her I would be there to get her. I hung up but knew she was concerned and praying for me.

I got on the phone with Avis at the Tallahassee airport (the only rental car company open that late) and secured a vehicle to be picked up one way or another. I then found a tow company who arrived in about 30 minutes. I didn't have the heart to ask for a ride because I was pretty confident that his insurance probably didn't cover a rider in the vehicle. When I asked him about the availability of a cab in our small town and that late at night, he assured me there probably wasn't one.

I was quite let down at the prospect, that is until he offered to get me wherever I needed to be. He mentioned he's a full service wrecker company and that came with the basic price, a price that didn't even change for after hours service. Wow!

We dropped off my injured car and drove to his office to swap the wrecker for his pickup truck. He then proceeded to carry me between 20 and 30 miles to the Tallahassee, Florida International Airport. On the way, we were confronted by some very large items strewn all over the road and took a sharp turn into the ditch to avoid them. I felt the truck fish tail as we left the road and was sure we would begin to take a spinning roll as we headed down the steep embankment. I was relieved when we arrived at the bottom, still upright and uninjured.

We finally made it to the airport and I paid my new friend, picked up my rental, and headed over to the hospital to pick up my wife. The immediate crisis was over but there was still the concern about whether or not an overheated engine survived the chaos, not to mention what else might have been damaged and might require repair.

Since we're retired with only one (now damaged) car, I took it upon myself to use the rental to check out the used car inventory at a couple of used car lots just in case our 20+ year old vehicle was not going to survive the event. Fortunately, the vehicle did indeed survive and we're back to life as usual. Only now we've got a new and wacky story to share. I'm grateful to still be here to share it.


DECEMBER 16, 2020


It seems that many have heard of Amateur (Ham) Radio, but few know very much about it. For those whose exposure to the hobby was more than a decade ago, you probably wouldn't recognize it for what it has grown to become in recent years.

Wikipedia estimates there are 3 million ham operators world-wide. And the depth and breadth of the hobby covers an incredibly broad range including UHF, VHF, HF, satellite, packet, AM, FM, sideband, CW (Morse Code), and slow scan TV, not to mention a wealth of bands, newer digital technologies, and plenty to offer to the hardware and antenna theory enthusiasts.

The picture above was taken from a screen-shot of one of the newer digital technologies known as FT8. I never thought I'd see the day where I could transmit a radio signal and review the locations on my computer that were hearing that transmission.

From tonight's strong report from a German station in Antarctica to New Zealand to Singapore and multiple locations in North and South America, FT8 has enabled ham operators to reach out and make contacts using nothing more than very low power and a straight wire antenna.

Digital modes have been particularly beneficial at this low point in the sun spot cycle where the resulting propagation is far less than friendly - even for the likes of stations running high power and upscale antennas on other less effective modes of operation.


DECEMBER 15, 2020


I'm not sure if I'm more stumped by our divided nation or the process in which we reached this level of division. With the Social Media Wars, and those in particular on Twitter, we've been introduced to scenes that seem to paint a very dismal picture of the state of things.

History will likely take a dim view of all that has transpired including efforts to defund the police, ongoing revolution with violence often at its core, the freedom for a citizen to break laws with no fear of consequences, biased reporting and fake news, election fraud, and political correctness run amuck.

Even with all of the aforementioned having taken place, I'm find myself more alarmed by the speed at which it has happened. And now we find ourselves living at a time where the likes of an ill-equipped and completely unqualified Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can campaign and even get elected.

For those who wonder how a Donald Trump could win the presidency back in 2016, I would ask the same thing about a Joe Biden here in 2020. There's a lot of anger out there, and more than a few power grabs at the center of it all. There are a lot of smart people on each side of the aisle, but I fear there are even more useful idiots.


DECEMBER 14, 2020

PHP Code

Back on December 09, 2020 I published a blog post about Website Stats. I didn't think about it at the time, but it's a post that I can, and probably will, expand over time. In fact, I just finished updating it with some new capabilities. I've also added it to the website menu since it's self-updating each time it's accessed and will therefore produce a report of current information each time someone visits that page.

While it was not easy, and while I had to familiarize myself with some new PHP functions in the coding process in order to get it all to work; it was in fact easier than I had anticipated. I thought I was going to have to build some new files, but was able to process the data and report it in realtime without having to store and track any information in additional files.

I really like using PHP to perform calculations, store and track data, and work with simple graphic designs. It's much more sophisticated when combined with a SQL database instead of flat files and when working with complimentary front-end languages such as javascript. Still, you just can't beat PHP for it's all around capabilities. And unlike BASIC (another language with which I still really enjoy working) I particularly appreciate its extended reach when dispensed over the world wide web.

I really enjoyed adding more analytics capabilities yesterday and plan on doing more development as ideas come to mind and time permits.


DECEMBER 13, 2020

Running Tweaks

I really enjoy the process of tweaking my runs. There is so much to be learned with all that my body is trying to teach me as a senior level runner. All that I am studying and learning is such a large part of what makes running new and interesting every day.

Some of the things I've been reviewing lately include 1) running or walking or both, 2) pace, 3) distance covered, 4) frequency, and 5) recovery. A proper blend of those items seems so critical at this point in life.

There's a primary concern that all tweaking be used to improve health and fitness and not aimed toward a bigger and tougher goal, just for the sake of bigger and tougher. There's also the issue of recovery times. If I'm over-extending myself by running too far, too fast, or too often, then insufficient recovery times may present an obstacle to my next run and ultimately 1) frustrate me, 2) hinder my level of performance, or 3) even bring about injuries.

To date, and over a period of thirty years of consistent running, I've only had one running injury. And, that was on a down-hill segment where I had allowed myself to build up too much speed.

The impact of landing too hard caused me to tear the calf muscle on my right leg, and to learn a terribly painful lesson about the combination of too much speed and down-hill running. In addition to that lesson, and an equally painful lesson, was the idea that there would be no running for over two months due to the severity of the tear and as that muscle slowly healed. Running had become an important part of my daily regimen and asking me to stop running was like asking me to stop breathing.

My take-away? Regular and systematic tweaks to a running regimen go a long way toward mitigating the risks associated with over-training and assist in keeping the focus on fitness and good health.


DECEMBER 12, 2020

Deck Lights

I got out late yesterday afternoon and added three strings of twinkle lights across the back of the house. Even though it's the Christmas season, it was not our intention to add them just for the season. We plan to leave them up year round and it's just another added touch toward the romance that I wrote about back on December 2, 2020.

There's something quite magical about being out on the back deck at night with light provided solely by those twinkle lights. They provide a warm glow that makes the back deck and the view of the gulf a more inviting place to slow down and relax.

Next step is to pick up a timer on our next visit to Walmart in order to reduce the effort necessary to ensure they are off during daylight hours. They also tend to double as security lights which is never a bad thing.


DECEMBER 11, 2020

Anniversary 44

Most of the people in my age group, the audience for which I'm best suited to target my posts, don't drive stick shift vehicles anymore - if they ever did. So the analogy I wanted to use probably falls short in that area.

On the other hand, it's my guess that most of us remember vividly that period in life when the 3 speed English Racer (and even the 10 speed follow-up) became available and we put aside our old banana seat bikes and pounced on the newer option with the improved technology.

We quickly learned that first gear involved a lot of pedaling that didn't produce much speed or progress, but was great for up-hill battles. Well, that is the perfect analogy for the way life feels right now. With a hospitalized mother-in-law and a car that went out of commission at the same time (for this one car family) I felt like I was back on an English Racer in first gear on flat ground and pedaling madly without making much progress.

Today is our 44th anniversary and up until yesterday it looked like our plans for celebration were going to have to take a back seat to more urgent needs. But without warning, it seems that everything broke loose and now it looks like our pandemic-sensitive plan is back on once again.

Here's to 44 more!


DECEMBER 10, 2020

Wild Hog

I had a traffic confrontation with a wild animal that resulted in a damaged vehicle, a tow truck, a ride to the rental car desk at the airport, a rental car, an additional traffic confrontation with a road side ditch in order to avoid oversized spilled content from another vehicle, a prayer toward determining if my 20 year old damaged car is worth repairing, and all of that in one evening!

So, how was your evening? :-)


DECEMBER 09, 2020

Web Stats

This page intentionally deleted due to the presence of, and problems associated with, executable code.


DECEMBER 08, 2020


Sometime earlier this year, we rescued a cat from the local animal shelter. The lady at the shelter had already named her Lily and we loved the name, thought it suited her, and so decided to stay with it.

It was clear that the lady had fallen in love with Lily and she certainly teared up when we took Lily home with us. I don't know if I could handle that job either - getting attached to animals and then seeing them find a new home.

We were told that Lily was a feral cat and all evidence certainly points in that direction. She doesn't really like the kind of affection that other cats often enjoy and we've kind of had to get used to that. She will sit with us as long as we're scratching her but he moment we stop, she's off to lay down somewhere or do something else.

Sometimes, if nothing else is going on, she will climb up on my desk and lay on my warm laptop (also shown in the picture.) And, she loves to bring her squeaky mouse to my door for me to toss it and let her chase it.

In fact, better than that, she loves to chase the red light from my laser pointer when I make it dash on the floor and all around the room. Of course, and as you can imagine, that game doesn't last too long. Once she gets tired, she is only too glad to watch the pointer and imagine that she's chasing it.

Her very favorite thing, other than pointing out the need for more cat food in her cat food bowl, is sitting by one of the many sliding glass doors in the house and watching the wildlife outside. It really brings out the feral hunter in her!


DECEMBER 07, 2020

Search Feature 2

In an effort to remain true to form (no pun intended!), I'm bringing another website related post to the blog. This time I'm writing about a new Search Feature that I've introduced to the site.

I had to think long and hard about how I wanted to accomplish this task. I came across some PHP code that was new to me and that helped make the task a lot easier. However, based on my design, providing a search capability still adds a bit of overhead to each post. The good news is that it's still manageable.

I knew I would need a Form to collect the search terms. With that form I was able to provide a search box and search button on top of the right margin to perform the collection.

Next, I would need to pass the search terms to a variable in a PHP program. In order to pull that off, I grabbed the search terms from the form in 'val1' and handed them over to a PHP variable named '$srchstr' using PHP's htmlentities function as follows:

$srchstr = htmlentities($_GET['val1']);

Next, I needed to build my search string and assign it to a PHP variable. In other words, I needed to take the post for any given day and wrap double quotes around it and set a PHP variable equal to that lengthy string of text.

Whenever I'm testing PHP and the screen goes blank, I know I've got a problem. This was the case until I followed the information in the error log and discovered I had double quotes located in my posts that were adding confusion to the PHP program. Note to self: No more double quotes in my posts.

Next, I added a PHP If statement to see if my search terms were located in that lengthy string and, if so, to set a $flag equal to '1' and present a message that the terms were found, providing the specific location where a user might go to read the post that includes those terms.

Finally, at the end of my program I checked to see if $flag = 1 and if it was not, and was instead still equal to '0', then I presented a message to the user that the program was unable to locate the search terms. I also combined all of the lengthy text strings into one file so that everything could be searched in one easy effort. And, I simply add each new post to that file to keep the search function operational on an ongoing basis.


DECEMBER 06, 2020

3 Wise Counselors 3

After our departure from Savannah, Georgia, we found ourselves just west of Atlanta and in the city of Douglasville. It was a reasonable drive from there into the offices of Amoco Fabrics and Fibers where I worked and Patty was recruited for a teaching position with the public school system there in Douglas County.

Wise Counselor Number Three

When looking for a church in that area, a friend suggested we check out First Baptist Church and, in particular, the Sunday School class of Joe Fowler. Shortly thereafter we visited Joe's class and were immediately captivated by Joe's spiritual depth, his wonderful knowledge of and passion for Christ, and his deep and apparent love for everyone around him.

At one point, Joe was the Vice President of the student body at the University of Georgia where he studied law. He later joined a successful law practice there in Douglasville where he ultimately became a partner.

But more importantly to me, Joe was the consummate servant to everyone around him and a wonderful example of Christ to each of us. In fact, at the Wednesday lunch and Bible Study that he hosted at the church, I once heard a fella call Joe his best friend. To that comment, another fella responded, Joe is everyone's best friend! That pretty well sums up the Joe Fowler who I got to know.

It wasn't long before Joe and I were meeting for coffee early on Saturday mornings at the Shoney's there in Douglasville. Joe Fowler was about 5 years my senior, but just like with Joe Strickland and Rick Monroe, there was a lot there for me to learn from Joe and I was hungry for, and quite honored by, the time he made available to me.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christ used Joe Fowler in a powerful and wonderful way to make a significant and lasting difference in my life; and, one for which I will always be grateful.

One of the special memories of my life was having an opportunity to have all three of my aforementioned wise counselors at my daughter's wedding. It was there that I had the opportunity to introduce them to each other and to share with them collectively all that they have meant to me, over the years, as the three wise counselors in my life. Of course, Joe Strickland and Rick already knew each other but it was truly a special moment to pull them aside and have just the three of them together.

We lost Joe Strickland recently, but I'm sure everyone in heaven is rejoicing after a job very well done, and I'm confident they are all still celebrating his welcome home!


DECEMBER 05, 2020

3 Wise Counselors 2

Joe Strickland had a very gifted friend - a young man about my age who also served on the Lay Witness Mission Team led by Joe. This young man was in charge of the Young Life organization there in Savannah and I believe was at one point a leader for Young Life in Georgia.

His gift extended well beyond the Young Life organization as he was a constant presence at high school football games and basically any place where a crowd of young people were gathered. He was known and loved by many of the youth of Savannah.

Wise Counselor Number Two

I met Rick Monroe, who was also a resident of Savannah and owner of Monroe Marketing, on one of the first Lay Witness Missions in which Patty and I participated. Joe Strickland recognized Rick's amazing gift for young people and recruited him and his team to work with the youth on our mission trips.

While we ministered to adults of all ages, Rick and his team of young people were at one moment hosting a competition to see who could stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth and, at the next moment, taking the young people on a heart-felt journey into the deep things of Christ.

Despite being close to the same age, I saw early on that there was much I could learn from Rick and we became good friends. We both had busy lives, but managed to carve out time to meet regularly for breakfast very early on most Saturday mornings.

And, just like with Joe, when Patty and I left town my friendship with Rick, and our working together continued to flourish. As she got older, our daughter, Allie, also started working on Rick's team on some of the Lay Witness Missions. And, when Allie prepared to marry Josh, I suggested that it might be a real special thing to have Rick marry them. In fact, and at our request, Rick became licensed just for the event and turned what too often is an ordinary event into a very special time together.

Speaking of Allie, one year on Christmas morning in the mid 80's, Santa and two of his elves came to visit Allie and Jonathan at our house in Savannah. Actually, it was Rick and two of the teenage young ladies from Young Life and something they had been doing for several years. What a blessing (and an honor) to have Santa visit the kids on Christmas morning!


DECEMBER 04, 2020

3 Wise Counselors

In 1984 we left Albany, Georgia and moved to Savannah, Georgia where I took a job with the Georgia Ports Authority. And with that move, God unfolded His plan for a completely new chapter in our spiritual lives.

We had been part of a small singing group there in Albany that was made up of four couples and known as The Joy Group. Only a few days before we left for Savannah, the group threw us a going away party.

As the party came to an end, one of the men encouraged me to look up a guy named Joe Strickland when we got to Savannah. He told me that Joe was with what was then Nation's Bank, and has since become Bank of America. I took the suggestion seriously and called Joe at the bank when we arrived.

Wise Counselor Number One

Joe invited me to join him for lunch and so I made the trip over to the bank fully expecting to ride with him to one of the local restaurants. To my surprise, Joe took me up to his office where we were presented with an elegant and upscale seafood lunch. Only then did I discover that Joe was president of Bank of America there in Savannah.

While at the bank, Joe pulled out a map of Savannah to point out some of the better areas for purchasing a home. He helped me with a number of other things in our transition to Savannah, and also invited Patty and I to a Bible Study that he and his wife, Janet, hosted in their home.

Joe was ten years my senior and I saw in him a lot of what and who I wanted to become. I asked if I could treat him to lunch the following week and that turned out to be the first of many weekly lunch meetings together. In those meetings, I quickly came to recognize Joe as a mentor and wise counselor in my life.

In addition, Joe invited Patty and I to become members of his Lay Witness Mission Team and we worked together on numerous Lay Witness Mission Weekends in a number of different churches over a number of years. At some point the team also got involved with Emmaus Walks and started several Walk to Emmaus communities in south and east Georgia.

In 1988, Joe and his family left Savannah due to a promotion with the bank. At the very same time, Patty and I left Savannah to take on a new job within a division of Amoco Oil that would relocate us to Atlanta. Despite the geographical differences, we would continue to work together for many years on both Lay Witness Mission Weekends and Walk to Emmaus Weekends, not to mention meeting up at each other's homes and spending delightful weekends together enjoying our wonderfully blessed friendship.


DECEMBER 03, 2020


Yesterday, I dove into something I've been curious about for a very long time. I wanted to see what the internet had to offer for Speedsolving the Rubik's Cube, or Speedcubing as they call it.

Several months ago I pulled out my old cube and worked through solving it as I learned to do when it first came out. I can still solve the first two layers in an intuitive fashion as I have always done, but the last layer was all about (once again) memorizing four rather tricky patterns (or algorithms as they call them) in order to complete the task.

The fastest I've ever solved the cube was just under three and a half minutes. Unfortunately, that's not even a respectable time when it comes to speedcubing. Those who compete can solve it in mere seconds and, most recently, a new record was set in under 4 seconds. I can't even comprehend that.

In my research, I learned three interesting things. First, there are faster ways to solve the cube and in much fewer moves then I've been using. Second, how a person even holds the cube and learns to manipulate it can make a big difference in how fast it is solved. Third and finally, countless hours of practice are required to be able to quickly process which algorithms might apply in a given situation and then be able to execute them efficiently.

When I finally understood how much work lay ahead of me to greatly reduce my time to solve, I quickly and easily decided that the juice just wasn't worth the squeeze. That's geekness (and dedication) to a level in which I have no interest. It is my intention that my geek tendencies will always lean away from any type of specialization and more in a direction toward variety!


DECEMBER 02, 2020


My dear love and soulmate has asked me many times what I like most about life and living down here on the gulf. And, my answer is always the same. I enjoy the variety that life and this location have to offer. And, I particularly enjoy the the romance of it all.

I'm not much of an outdoor sportsman like so many who have a second home in our neighborhood. I enjoy kayaking and casting a line every now and then, but I'm not much interested in boating and all that has to be in place to support a serious fishing or hunting hobby.

This is indeed a sportsman's paradise, but that's honestly not what attracted me to this area. I came here first and foremost for the romance. I came here for the ocean view and for the peace and the quiet that come with a place like this. And, I enjoy each of those every day.

So many here, including my soulmate, spend a great deal of their time outdoor. As for me, doing my outdoor chores or grabbing the mail or a quick glance out the window is all I really need to sustain me in the midst of my otherwise indoor geek life.

What about my passion for daily running, those who know me might ask? Well, truth be told, that did not come about due to anything in my DNA. It's one of several things I have adopted, with great effort and sacrifice, to serve my goals of better health, fitness, better diet, and weight maintenance. Running did indeed become a passion, but it definitely did not start out that way.

Still, at the end of the day this Florida life is about all of those things that work so well together to provide the romance. In fact, we made a conscious choice very early in 2013 to leave a relatively secure situation up in Georgia and take on a risky and adventurous move to Florida. Well, now we're here and grateful to God every day for this beautiful place we call home!

Here's to the romance!


DECEMBER 01, 2020

Cool Runnings

Many years ago, and on a brutally cold and windy day outside of Atlanta, I was slated for a 10 mile training run in preparation for an upcoming half marathon. Get this! The temperature measured on the Fahrenheit scale was exactly the same as the wind speed measured in miles per hour. Now, if you're a math person or a runner, that might have captured your attention and got you to thinking.

You might have asked yourself if there was a common number at which both of those measures could be considered relatively reasonable for a 10 mile training run. Well, based on my own experience, I would prefer to go for the lower number in common just to avoid the wind chill. But, that was not to be the case on this particular day.

The magic number for that day was 17. And, from my perspective, that was probably one of the worst possible numbers that I could have imagined. The temperature was already brutally cold and with the addition of that wind speed, the windchill that resulted was virtually unbearable - even wearing my warmest running gear. I should note that we don't have fancy cold weather running gear down here in the south!

Fast forward to yesterday with a much shorter run in much warmer conditions and I'm still complaining. I live on the Florida panhandle and am used to running with temps at least in the 70's and just enough breeze to make the overall experience enjoyable. However, yesterday was the last day of November and the front edge of a windy cold front was making its way onto the scene.

I'm older, my blood is thinner down here in the deep south, and the weatherman is hitting me with temperatures in the low 50's and wind persisting somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 miles per hour out here on the island. I guess that's better than the wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph we had in the middle of the night, last night!

In my opinion, the tricky thing about cold weather running, and the thing I like least about it, is the heat that builds up on the run and the sweat that arrives and starts to soak all of those layers I'm wearing to protect against the cold winds.

On the hot and humid days of summer down here, and with the unusually cold and blustery days that occasionally sneak in during our short and mostly mind winter season, the washer and dryer tend to get a real workout around here.


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