Monday, December 24, 2012

A Tribute To Our Dear Janet Who Was Killed In An Automobile Accident On Christmas Eve 10 Years Ago, 2002

Janet's tribute

The Dash
I read of a reverend who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard,
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile?
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash,
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Janet Lynn Johnson

April 22, 1969 December 24, 2002

Everyone knows about the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Sadly Christmas Eve ten years ago, 2002 we learned first hand just how quickly a loved one can be taken from you.

Christmas Eve will be ten years since our beautiful Janet was taken from us due to a tragic automobile accident. In honor of her life we would like to tell you a little bit about how she spent her dash in words and pictures.

Joan and I started dating in 1999 so I only got to know Janet about three years but in that time I realized what a great girl she was. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, granddaughter, great granddaughter, niece, and a great friend to so many. But most of all she was a great Mother to the biggest joy in life, her son Christopher. You will see that
in the pictures of them together.

As most of you know the Good Lord looked out for me and led me to meet my beautiful wife Joan. Well lo and behold on Christmas Eve. 2002 her beautiful daughter Janet, her son Christopher and Christopher's father Chris were going up to Apopka, Florida to spend Christmas Eve with the other grandparents, Marion & Clifton and coming back Christmas morning to spend Christmas with us. They stopped by our house to pick up some gifts. Janet who loved Christmas was so excited and happy. As she was leaving, she said bye Mom and Joe, I love You, Merry Christmas, she gave us a big hug and a kiss and about one hour later she was dead due to a tragic accident on the Florida Turnpike.

The holidays are clearly some of the roughest times we can go through after losing people we love so much. The ways we deal with them are as individual as we are. In Joan's case the next Christmas after Janet's death I said to her, I don't know how you do it, although I can't read your heart and mind you seem to be able to handle this time of the year very well. You seem to have the same enthusiasm for Christmas as you always have. She said Joe I still have you, I have another daughter, I have a grandson, I have other family and friends that I love very much and I can't let my loss cause me to drag everyone's Christmas spirit down.She then said that Janet would be very upset with her if she let that happen, as she loved Christmas and would want everything associated with it and would want us all to celebrate it has we always had.

Holidays can be sad, but think about the person you are mourning and ask yourself how would they feel if you did not allow yourself to go on and continue to celebrate Christmas the same way you did when they were alive. I bet you that they would want you to enjoy family, and friends and the joy of the season as you did when they were here.

Janet we miss you so much and we love you dearly but in your honor we are going to celebrate just as if you were still with us, because we know that is what you would want us to do.

I know this is the message you have for us:


Keep my memories with you, for memories never die. I will be there with you, when you look across the sky. I will be there in the clouds, in the birds that fill the air, in the beauty of a fragrant rose, you will find my memory there-. You will feel me in the tenderness of a tiny baby's touch, you will hear me if you listen in the twilight's gentle hush. When your heart is heavy and you feel you are alone, just reach down deep inside you for your heart is now my home. I will always be with you, I will never go away, for I will live in your heart forever and a day.

You have two beautiful nephews that were born after you were gone, Carter & Griffin and I just know that you would have loved them dearly and been the best Aunt ever.
                                             Mom, Dad. Janet & Barb

                                          Beautiful Mom, beautiful daughter
                                                     On the run way modeling
                                                   10th grade 1984
                                          With her Dad new born 1969
                                              1st grade 1975
                                                 With sisiter Barb
                                                Christmas 1975
                                             With her sister at ground zero in New York
                                          With her Mom Joan 2 1/2 weeks old
                                          Her first Christmas
                                              Two days old 

                                          Janet loved her family so much, her Mom, her Sister,
                                          Her Aunt's and Uncle's, her grandmother, but the
                                          absolute love of her life was her son Christopher
                                          she cherished the times she spent with Christopher.


                                         These were a couple of the last pictures taken of Janet,
                                         A get together at her Aunt Joan's and Uncle Russell's
                                         about a week before the tragic accident. Janet with her
                                         Mom and Aunt Debbie, and with her Mom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Thoughts And Reflections Of All The Things I Have To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

In today's world people just seem to be busier than I can ever remember. Thanksgiving has always been one my favorite holidays. I hope this Thanksgiving we can all slow down long enough to be thankful for all God's blessings. Sometimes we need to be reminded that family and friends will not be with us forever. Blessings come in many forms, I would like to share a few with you.
Family is what Thanksgiving is all about. Be thankful for all members of your family. Family doesn't have to be perfect in order to be thankful for them. Joan and I just celebrated our 11 TH anniversary. I got married more than fifty years ago but about three years went by after Bubba passed away before Joan and I got married. Bubba and I were married 39 years so I have offically been married for 50 years now.

I have so many things to be thankful for. I am so thankful that God has seen fit for me to be able to be married to two Angels.

Where or who would we be without family? They are our foundations, our roots. They love us at our best and even more important at our worst.

Thank God for Martha, Jimmy, and Jessica. Thank God for Barbara, Brett, Carter, Griffin, and Christopher, and all the many great times and memories we have had. Thank God for the short time Janet was a part of my life.

Thanksgiving is also a time to give thanks for our friends. Friends are the family we get to choose for ourselves. Just like our families they love us even with our imperfections. They see the best in us when we don't. They show up when we need them even though they don't have to. They celebrate our accomplishments with us. They make us laugh when we are sad. They some times even make us cry, but most of the time they are tears of joy. They're just there, and most of the time that's all we need them to do,

I tell people all the time although I am an only child I have more brothers and sisters than any one I know.

I can't imagine a world without Grandchildren.They are a constant reminder of what is most beautiful about the world. There have been times when I was having a bad day, but a smile, a laugh, a hug, or a I love you Papa makes me forget what ever may have been bothering me. Grandchildren see the world without distorted lenses, they are so innocent.

Spend time with children seven or younger and people over seventy. You can learn a lot from both age groups.

Good health is one of those things we take for granted until we don't have it any more. If you have the ability to walk, talk, sing, and laugh, just remember the people who want to but can't any more.

Today is never guaranteed to us, so if we get it we should be happy about it. Think of all the people young and old that you have loved that didn't make it to this day. Those of us that have made it to this day should think how lucky we are and treat it as such.

As I have reached the ripe old age of 72 and have been doing a review of my life I realize how lucky I have been. Of course there were many times when I didn't think that way, but this is where hindsight is a good thing.

Reflect upon you present blessings of which we all have many, not on your past misfortunes of which we all have some.

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?

We can always find something to be Thankful for, no matter what may be the burden of our wants.

Wow, I just keep thinking of reasons I should be thankful but I will end with this thought.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the special and wonderful people who have entered our lives and make each day more beautiful and meaningful. I hope you have many reasons to be thankful not just on Thanksgiving but every day.

My Thanksgiving prayer for you " The God Of Love And Peace Be With You " Corinthians 13:11.

God Bless You On Thanksgiving And Always

Thanksgiving 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Do We Ask Why So Much

Our little Grandson Griffin's favorite word is Why. You could not count the number of times a day he asks Why.
On my way to Sam's Club this morning I caught myself asking myself Why a few times. LOL
While I was unloading the car when I got home one of our neighbors went by walking her dog. She said I have been checking your BLOG site and nothing new for about a month. I told her I had been so engrossed in the book I am trying to write that I had not even thought of any thing to write about for my BLOG.
Although I mostly ask Why to myself I realize I ask it a lot. So needing to write a BLOG, thought I would write about the word,Why.
Why do drivers on a five lane wide road drive in the far left lane until they are like a city block from their exit cut across all that traffic?
Why do our military veterans, especially those who served their country during combat have to stand in the intersection with signs saying they are homeless and hungry when we send billions of dollars to countries that will never improve and even worse after all that aid most of them still hate us?
Why do dentists fly to third world countries to work on kids teeth, when we have children in Appalachia in our own country that have never been to a dentist?
Why do so many people in Florida buy cars with no turn signals? I assume they don't have any as they never use them.
Why do negative people always want to drag you down to their level?
Why when you go to Sam's Club, Home Depot, Publix, etc. where they have 20 to 25 registers and they are busy have only 4 registers open?
Why would the city of Miami contribute millions of dollars to help build a new stadium for an owner who is a billionaire and for years has traded away enough great players to stock an all star team when he thinks their salaries are getting too high?
Why do people go to church looking like they are going to the beach?
Why do people when a seven year or a three year old kid as they are walking by says Good Morning to them and they don't answer? Then Papa has to tell them well guys, every one is not as nice as you are.
Why do people walk their dogs in their own neighborhood and not pick up their dog s--t?
Why do people take up two parking spots in a crowded shopping center or restaurant?
Why do politicians from both parties stand in front of the TV cameras and ask why does our country have so many people unemployed when they have all stood by and watched the jobs shipped out to foreign countries? Also shipped out to other countries that still hate us.
Why when a man walks into a crowded theatre and kills 12 people and injures many more why do taxpayers have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try him, and then many more hundreds of thousands to house and feed his worthless a-- for years and years?
On that same type of subject why can't we just have a guy like Jerry Sandusky turned loose in a forest some where surrounded by the parents of his victims?
Ok, I could go on and on here, but now I know why Griffin asks so many Why's, just like Papa he wants to know why. LOL

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Tribute To Another Dearly Departed Friend

The Dash Of Life

I read of a man who stood to speak

at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on his tombstone

from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of his birth

and spoke of the second with tears,

but, he said what mattered the most of all

was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

that he spent alive here on earth,

and now only those who loved him know

what that little line was worth.

For it matters, not how much we won, the cars,

the house, the cash,

what matters is how we live and love

and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard,

are there things that you'd like to change?

for you never know how much time is left,

you could be at " dash mid-range "

If we could just slow down enough to consider

what's true and what is real,

and always try to understand

the way folks feel.

And be less quick to anger,

and show appreciation more,

and love the people in our lives

like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,

and more often wear a smile,

remembering that this special dash

might last a little while.

So when your euology is being

read with your life's actions to rehash

would you be pleased with what they say,

about how you spent your dash?

In Loving memory Of

Robert Allen Pippen

" Bob "

April 27, 1935-June 17 2012

On Friday June 22 I attended a Memorial Service

for a long time friend.

This is something I find myself doing a lot more

than I like to but at my age sadly it will continue

to happen as a lot of my friends are as old or

older that me.

The dates on the tombstone will show the date

Bob was born and the date he passed away but

what matters to his family and friends as the poem says was the dash in between.

They showed a beautiful slide tribute to Bob and it was easy to see that he had lived a very fulfilling life up to

ten years ago, then he had a major stroke.

What I took away the most from the video was that after his stroke, due to the loving care of his devoted wife Julie and his family and friends was the fact that Bob was never shut out of their lives. Pictures of him at the bowling lanes, at the golf course, holding his beloved grandson, his dogs and often with a big smile on his face.

God Bless his family and friends for always treating him just the way they always had and staying faithful to him.

My daughter had her major stroke two years after Bob and sadly she has not had the type of support from family and friends that Bob did.

I called her up right after Julie called me and told her about Bob. Over the phone I could tell how sad and hurt she was.

Martha goes back a long way with Bob and Julie. Her and Bubba bowled with Julie for many years and Bob was always there.

Martha actually married them on New Year's Eve 21 years ago.

Martha has a hard time talking but she called me all excited and after a bit of a struggle I was able to determine that she had talked to Julie after I did and she was so excited about that.

I just assumed that Julie had called her. When I got to the church Julie said I talked to Martha and she was excited about that. I said thank you for calling Martha, she oh no Joe she called me. It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eyes that Martha had actually called her.

So Rest In Peace Dear Bob, free from all your struggles of the last ten years. I would almost bet that Bubba was one of the first ones to greet you when you got to Heaven.

Bob and Julie had three great passions, bowling, golf, and bingo.

I don't know where this poem came from but it was on the program and was so appropriate for any one who bowls or has ever bowled.

A Bowler's Prayer

Heavenly Father,

May we always be strong in our purpose of living by the rules of the game.

May we accept the 10 frames of your commandments, not only as a challenge, but as an opportunity to distinguish ourselves in your service.

May we choose for ourselves a lane through life, which is straight and true.

May our grip on ourselves be a firm one.

May we tow the line of all out obligations.

May our approach to life be smooth and steady.

May there be no split between you and me.

O' Lord, whether you strike or spare me, give me the strength like your servant Job, to praise your holy name and when you come O'Lord to check the final score sheet, may it find a winner in this tournament of life, whose praise is as rich so that all of us may share it.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Little Set Back In My Life, But Not To Worry

In 2007 I was experiencing a lot of pain in my back. My Primary Doctor sent me to a Doctor that specialized in pain. After a series of tests, X-Rays, and MRI's they diagnosed me with Spinal Stenosis. He told me that before they would even consider back surgery there is some thing they always try first. They would do what they called an Epidural Injection. He said if need be they could do up to three of them. The first one worked and I was virtually pain free.

He recommended I start going to the fitness center and start exercising. I did join and started slowly and after awhile I was pain free. Things were going great until about November of 2010. Then all of a sudden the back pain reoccurred. I went back to the pain Doctor who helped me the first time. This time after three Epidural Injections the pain was not improving.

They can only do three of those treatments. When the pain was actually getting worse my Primary Doctor recommended I see a back surgeon. I told him I had heard so many horror stories about back surgeries that I would only do that as a last resort. The pain just kept getting worse so I told Joan I think I am at the last resort.

He compared the MRI's from 2007 with new ones he had me go for. He said the reason the Epidural didn't work was because my condition has gotten much worse.

I had the surgery in April 2011 and the pain went away almost instantly. When I went back for my first follow up I told him thank God that excruciating pain was gone but I was having some tingling in my legs from the knees down and that my legs felt weak. He told me that I had under went very evasive surgery and that was probably normal and it should start going away. Said it could take up to a year.

After a few months it was some what better but I told my Primary Doctor I would like another opinion. He sent me to a Neurologist. After a series of tests he told me I had Neuropathy. Neuropathy can present many differing symptoms, including numbness, pain, weakness and loss of balance. It is an abnormal and usually degenerative state of the nervous system or nerves.

At first I didn't want to believe it, I thought it was too much of a coincidence that it started so soon after my back surgery.

Yesterday I went to see my Primary Doctor and after reviewing every thing he said I do have Neuropathy. I said what is the worst case scenario. He said lets start with the best case scenario first which is, lets hope it will be a slow process. He said there is no cure but it can progress very slowly.

So right now so far I can still do almost every thing I always have been able to do, but just have to do it a lot slower. The only thing so far I can't do is like climb up ladders and climbing stairs it takes a lot longer. It does not affect my ability to drive , thank God for that.

The worst part for me is I can't do all the things I used to do with Carter and Griffin. We were at our Hilton Vacation Club for Memorial Day Weekend. They have this great water slide and the last time we were there every time Carter came down I did also. It is a bunch of steps as it is very high so I had to pass this time. I was sitting there watching him, started to have a bit of a pity party and quickly got that out of my head by saying God I am sad I can't do it with him today but I am so thankful that I have done it with him, and I think he will remember that.

After going to my Primary Doctor yesterday when I got up this morning and flipped over my perpetual calendar this was my saying for the day. There is a different saying every day, kind of eerie that this was what came up today:

Teach me, O God, to be patient with myself. As I grow older and discover I cannot do as many things as I used to, help me to accept the changes happening to me. Amen

So now I will be put to the test to see if I can follow all the advice I have been giving all of you. Which is get up each day thank God I am here for another day and make the best of each day.

When I look at my Dear Daughter Martha, my little problem is very miniscule compared to what she has to go through with every day of her life.

I have had and am still having a great life. One of the consolations that Bubba's family and friends always used was that Bubba packed more life into her fifty five years than most people would in seventy five years.

If I every get my book done I think you will see that I have packed more life into my 71 plus years than a lot of people could pack into a hundred years. LOL

So I will still be urging to you live life to the fullest every day and if you find me not doing that give me a big kick in the ass. LOL

A couple of weeks ago I did start using a cane just as security against falling. This is the last time I will refer to it as a cane and you are forbidden to use that word also. It is my walking stick. LOL Remember that it is a walking stick.

If you want to say a little prayer for me that my condition will go slow, please do that but don't spend any time worrying about me, I am doing just fine.

Sending lots of love and best wishes to all of my Dear Family And Friends.

Cherish Each Step You Have In Life. We Are Only Here Just A Short Time. Live, Laugh, Love, And Never Forget Those Who Touch Your Life.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

" If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules "

Have you ever had advice given to you way back when and you didn't heed that advice?

Maybe years later you heard that advice again or remembered and thought, OMG, if I had heeded that advice then it would have saved me so much aggravation and maybe even some heartache.

For me the answer is a big YES, Bubba's passing, Janet's sudden death, and Martha's stroke, made me start remembering some of the advice I had not heeded all those years. I thought if I had listened to some of that advice it could have transformed my life a lot sooner.

I recently read a book called " If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules " by Cherie Carter Scott, PHD. The very first page of the first chapter made me say OMG. This is so true. It starts with a quote from Helen Keller, " Life Is A Succession Of Lessons Which Must Be Lived To Be Understood ".

Cherie writes that life has often been compared to a game were we are never told the rules, nor given instructions about how to play. We simply begin at go to make our way around the board hoping we play it right. We don't know the objective of playing nor what it means to actually win.

These are things we have probably heard or known for a long time but have forgotten along the way.

She writes the rules for being human are not magic, nor do they promise easy steps to serenity. They offer no quick fix, but maybe give you a map to follow as you travel your path to spiritual growth.

She tells her clients and students " Love All The Parts Of Yourself " and if you can't love them, change them, if you can't change them, learn to accept them as they are.

She quotes Eleanor Roosevelt who said no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Learn self esteem instead of dwelling on the things you can't do, focus on the things you can do. It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it.
It ain't a sin to be glad you're alive, A Song By Bruce Springsteen. Your body teaches you pleasure through your five senses. Open your five senses fully and experience the wonder of being alive.
Sight, enjoy a magnificent sunset, Taste, like when you eat a favorite food, Sound, it can come in a glorious sound, Touch, the soft touch of a lover, Smell, like bread baking in the oven.
The lesson of pleasure is to make time and space for it in your life. The old adage of all work and no play making you dull is quite true. You have to pause now and then to indulge your senses.
Pleasure is like the oil that keeps your life running smoothly, without it you most likely break down.
Pure actions like spending time with a beloved friend  bring you into alignment, were as false ones such as spending time with someone who is always in a pessimistic mood, never has any thing good to say, never lets loose, and laughs little can drag you down.
Someone once said I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a man who had no feet. Life is not always fair. Focusing on the unfairness of circumstances keep you comparing yourself to others.
Make yourself a list of things you are good at and make you special to your family and friends. I know people that seem to have every thing and are some of the unhappiest people I know.
Humor and laughter are very important. Sharing a good laugh with others does wonders. The health benefits both mental and physical of humor are well documented, a good laugh can diffuse tension, relieve stress, and release
endorphins into your system which act as a mood elevator. Laughter causes misery to vanish, teaches you to lighten up and take yourself less seriously even in the most serious of situations.
I know several people who have the ability to do this but three people who passed on could do this and always come to my mind  when I am thinking about this subject. My dearly beloved wife Bubba, my dear, dear sister-in-law Barbara, and my brave little niece Nancy Carol.
I have always said if I am ever in that situation I hope I can be half as brave as they were.
Give yourself permission to laugh, You'll be amazed how quickly a crisis can turn into comedy when you invite in humor.
About a week before Bubba passed away she was not feeling well at all. She said I am going to take a shower. She yelled, Joe come here a minute, I jumped up, thought some thing was wrong, ran in the bathroom, she was laughing hysterically, she said look I forgot to take my socks off. Sense of humor right to the end.
Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best. Want, leads to choice which leads to commitment. Should, leads to decisions which leads to sacrifice.
Commitment: Our greatest weakness is in giving up, the most certain way to succeed is always try just one more time.
And when you have reached the top of the mountain, then you shall begin to climb.
To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often, a quote from Winston Churchill.
When you stop comparing what is right here, and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is.
Make a list each day of all that you are grateful for, so that you can stay conscious daily of your blessings. Do this especially when you are feeling as though you have nothing to be grateful for, or spend a few minutes before you go to sleep giving thanks for what you have. Spend time offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than you, so that you can gain perspective.
The richest person is the one who is contented with what he has. We fool ourselves into believing that one day we will. But is any thing ever enough we want " all Set " But is anything ever really enough? Does any one ever really arrive " There " True abundance comes not from amassing but rather from appreciating. No amount of external objects, affection, love, or attention can ever fill an inner void.
The real void can only be filled by looking within.
There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
No one is suggesting that you float through your life completely detached from the past and blend to the future, only that you pause from time to time to be fully rooted in the moment and feel the peace that results.
Spend time with people the age of seven or under and people seventy years plus, at seven children are at total peace, trusting, without preiduce and caring. Most people seventy plus have finally learned what is really important in life.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity. We all realize we have to heal when we have surgery, when we break a bone, etc. We need to realize we have to heal from emotional problems also. You lived with an abusive parent maybe an alcholic, you got a divorce, you lost your spouse who you truly loved, as in Joan's case she lost a daughter, you can heal from all those things also. You have to allow yourself time to heal.But you have to stop dwelling on it all the time. If you can't do it alone don't be ashamed to get help. Just remember the past is just that, the past, you can't change any of it. To move forward you have to let go of the past.
You can either engage in the blame game, make frequent use of the statement, I can't, or you can take control of your life and shape it as you like.
Helen Keller once said, life is either an adventure or nothing at all. What you make out of life is up to you, you can either create a life filled with adventure or you can stay huddled and safe never enjoying the joyful rush of journeying out side of your comfort zone.  I can truthfully say I have had a life of adventure from my child hood days in West Virginia up to my now ripe old age of 71. The moments I have expanded beyond my comfort zone are some of the most precious memories I have.
At the age I am now, an age where I can now reflect back and see what a great rise I have had, My childhood years in a small town in West Virginia when I had almost a Huck Finn life style. Other than losing my Father when I was 12 years old my childhood was full of fun and excitement. We didn't have a lot but we made the best with what we had.
My teenage years during the fabulous 50,S were a blast. Those years and my young adult years in Maryland were wonderful. Friends I made during those years are still some of my best friends to this day. Been in Florida since I was 33 years old, a few very sad times, but again lots of adventures that are still going strong at my ripe old age of 71.
A question I would never ask any one but have been ask a few times is, are you a Christian. My answer is I would like to think I am but a Christian with a lot of flaws. LOL I often ask myself if the way I think and some of the things I do, what would Jesus think and do in these circumstances. My guess is He would think and do a lot different than me. This is when the doubts crop up in my mind if I am a Christian.
When I do a self evaluation I think my number one flaw is that I am not a forgiving person. The two beautiful women I have been lucky enough to have as wife's, my dearly departed Bubba and my dear wife Joan are both like Angels on earth. A lot of their wonderful traits have rubbed off on me and I think have made me a better person. Bubba and Joan were and are very forgiving women and sadly that part has not rubbed off on me.
I am not a very forgiving person. I have always tried to be a good husband, a good son, a good father, etc. and treat every one right but when some one craps on me I have a very hard time forgiving them.
I have read about all the reasons one should forgive, I have prayed about it, talked about it with a couple of Pastors and they prayed with me about it also. Sadly none of it has worked, and I am getting older and crankier it actually is getting worse. I will be 72 September 18, my doctors tell me I am in pretty good health for my age and should be around for awhile yet.
But my thinking right or wrong is that what ever time I have left why spend that time with one way friendships, family that you only hear from when they have a problem, people that can't laugh and have fun, always looking for things to complain about. These type of people depress me and I don't like to be depressed.
I guess what I am trying to say is that even though I am probably as happy and content as I have ever been, having lots of fun, there will always be certain conflicts in our lives, it is how we handle them and move on with our lives that count.
Our time on earth is brief, time passes and things change, we all have choices in which to make our wishes and dreams, and goals become a reality.
I wish I could say all of these words are mine, most of them are but a lot of them are from the book. 
" If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules "


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Is It So Hard To Say I Love You?

What Is Love?
The definition in the dictionary is:
A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, a child, or friend.
The difference between loving someone and being in love with someone is that when you love someone it means you have caring feelings for them. When you're in love with someone it means you still have caring feelings, but you also have feelings as if you're warm inside and you feel like that person is your soul mate.
When Bubba passed away in 1998 I had great support from so many family and friends and I felt loved. Shortly after Bubba passed away it was Easter. I lived next door to Bubba's brother Harry and his wife Maria. On Easter Sunday there was a gathering of family and friends there to celebrate Easter. Here I was among a crowd of people laughing and having fun a very joyful time and I had never felt so alone. I excused myself, went back over to my house and sat there alone and kept thinking what the heck is wrong with me.
Then it hit me, I still have people who love me but I no longer have someone who is in love with me. At that point I was wondering if I would ever have that feeling again.
Lucky for me I met Joan, fell in love with her and again had the feeling that some one was in love with me also.
Growing up with my Mom and Dad and my Aunts and Uncles I always had their support when I needed it. If I was hurt or sick I always felt secure that they would take care of me and protect me. But they never said I love you. You knew they did, they just never said it.
Bubba said it was the same way in her family. Her Mom was a very nice and caring lady, her Dad could be very gruff and she said she never heard her family say I love you either.
It never stopped her from saying it, she would say it all the time. When she would say to me I Love You, I would say dumb things like yea, love you too, not I Love You Too. I would sign her birthday and Christmas cards, Love, Joe, not I love you. One day she asked me why don't you ever say I love you first. She said you always make me say it first. I said well you know I love you and she said I know you do but I sure would like to hear it more often.
In 1984 she had her first heart attack. I had been trying hard to get in the habit of telling her before that happened but when I realized I came close to losing her, from that point on I never had a problem telling her I Love You.
As an adult when I would go back to West Virginia to visit my Aunts and Uncles and cousins they would always reach out to shake hands with me. After that happened a couple of times when they would reach out their hand I would grasp it and pull them in to me and say I love you. After a few times that happened they started saying I love you too.
Men seem to have a hard time telling another man they love them. Two of my closest friends Butch and Jimmy who I always thought as more than just friends, they were my brothers from different Mother's. When we would get a little inebriated at a party we would say to each other I Love You Man. One time we were at a party and I said loud enough for every one to hear, I have not had a drink yet so I want to tell Butch and Jimmy while I am still sober, I Love You.
What defines a good person and a good friend?
A few questions I always ask myself about what makes a good person and a good friend.
Are they as good a friend to me as I am to them?
Am I proud to have them in my life?
Do I feel blessed after spending time with them?
Are they a positive person? Negative people drag you down.
Do you have the same interest as them?
Is it someone can communicate with?
I look for people with a good heart.
A person is special when you carry a soft warm spot in your heart for them.
A special person is someone that after you spend time with them you can't wait until you see them again.
A man is special if he is a good son, a good husband, a good father, and a good friend.
A woman is special if she is a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, and a good friend.
If we are lucky enough to have those type of people in our lives why is it so hard for us to tell them we love them?
As I am a only child I am blessed to have so many brothers and sisters in my life.
A bell is no bell until you ring it,
A song is no song until you sing it,
And love in your heart,
Wasn't put there to stay.
Love isn't love
Until you give it away.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How I Ended Up Becoming A Floridian

Thursday night after I received the phone call that told me my gas station that I owned and operated for 24 years burned down it triggered so many thoughts in my mind it took me forever to get to sleep. Then Friday morning when I went by to view what remained of the station it brought back so many memories and I was thinking if it was not for that Shell station I probably would have never moved to Florida.

I will try to explain. In 1969 when I was living in Maryland the Baltimore Colts advanced to Super Bowl three to play the New York Jets in the Super Bowl.

I had never been to Florida before but my wife and I purchased one of those Super Bowl packages. It included 2 tickets to the game, a flight to Miami on a chartered airplane, a rental car waiting when we landed and a beautiful hotel accommodation on Miami Beach. Incidentally that whole package cost less than it now cost just for tickets to the game. LOL

The afternoon we left Baltimore to fly to Miami it was 23 degrees, the wind chill was about zero. We had an ice storm, the tree limbs and the electrical wires were sagging from the weight of the ice. We slipped and slid all the way to the airport on icy roads. We had a direct flight to Miami and in 2 hours we landed
 in Miami. That was back in the days before the planes taxied up to the terminals, you walked down steps from the plane and walked into the terminal. It was 83 degrees and the sun was shining. I remember thinking this must be what it is like to die and go the Heaven,

Although we had this beautiful hotel room Bubba wanted to spend one night with her brother Harry and his wife Maria in Boca Raton. I was awakened on Saturday morning by a familiar noise, I kept saying what is that noise, Bubba said instead if trying to guess what it is get up and look. I pulled the shade back and looked out the window and the guy next door was mowing his grass in January and we had just left an ice storm. At that moment I said to Bubba I am moving to Florida.

After we got home I became obsessed with moving to Florida. I would go to bed thinking about it, I would wake up thinking about it. I had literature from Chamber of Commerce, from different cities, etc. I sold my station in Maryland and started making trips to Florida to try to fine another business. I made several trips with no luck. Nine months went by and still no luck so I told Bubba I am going to make one more trip and if nothing happens I will come back and look for another business in Maryland or look for a job.

Again another trip with no luck. I got home on a Thursday and on Sunday I was reading the business opportunities in the Baltimore Sun and a head line jumped out at me. It said tired of shoveling snow, if so contact Shell Oil Company and it gave a number in Miami. I called the number and talked to a man for a long time, I told him my background in running a gas station and he asked to me come down for an interview. Long story short that's how I became a Shell Dealer in Florida and was able to make the move down. Next month in May it will be 39 years since I moved here.

As with any business we had our share of problems but overall it was a wonderful 24 years. We acquired a second station in 1984 and ran them both until we sold them in 1997. Bubba and I had this dream for years that we wanted to build a log home. Her health problems kept getting worse and I thought if I try to wait to I am 62 or 65 to retire we may never get to build her dream home. Bubba and I semi-retired in 1993 and Martha and Jimmy took over the day to day running of the business, the house was finished in 1994 so she got to live in it for four years and she loved every moment of it. So I have never regretted retiring early as she at least got to live her dream for a few years.

I never liked the idea of having a job where you went to work and did the same old job every day. Never had to worry about that running a service station, every day was different and at times very challenging.

I ran my station in Maryland for 8 years and 24 in Florida. I have told people over the years I could write a book about those experiences and they have asked why don't you. I always tell them other than people that have been in the service station business no one else would ever believe it. LOL

I still have some friends in the business and with all the turmoil of the high gas prices and the dealers getting a lot of the blame for it it is not a fun business any more. After all those years in the business I can tell you it is not the fault of the private service station owners. The higher the prices go in reality they make less money because after people fill their tanks they don't come into the stations for the other purchases which is where they actually make their money. Also because of the fees the station owners have to pay the credit card companies the higher the credit card charge it costs the dealers more money.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The loveliest of memories

The loveliest of memories

Will never fade away,

Though years may come and go

The joy they brought will stay.

Special times once shared

With loved ones long since gone.

We hold them in our heart's,

Their memories living on.

The loveliest of memories

Mean more than words can say

For when we feel downcast

They will chase all cares away.

I have memories from when I was about four years old. I know this is true because we moved when I was four years old and I still have memories from the house I was born in. I remember my first day of school when I was six years old like it was yesterday. Ask me what I did yesterday and I may have to take a minute or two to think about it. They tell me that is not a good sign. LOL

For most of my life I probably dwelled more on the bad memories than I did the good ones. I guess I have always been a slow learner, it took me until I was in my sixties to finally realize that those bad memories are just that. I finally realized that I can't back up and change any of the things that I perceived as bad. I have written about this before but will mention it again in the hope that maybe others will get the same meaning from it as I did.

One morning years ago Joan had one of those calendars on the counter in the kitchen that gave you the quote for the day. One morning I got up early to go make the coffee. When I pulled off the one from the day before the one for the new day said, for every bad thing that happens to us on the average of 18 to 25 good things happen to us, why do we dwell on the one bad thing rather than the good things.

I remember stepping back and saying out loud, Wow that is just what I do. I said things can be going good for me and I will let one bad thing not only ruin my day but maybe ruin a couple of days. If you asked my Dear Joan about that I am sure you would get a big AMEN. LOL

I decided right then to try and reverse that trend. When some thing upsets me I try to drive it out of my mind and for the most part I do that. I am not saying it is easy but you can do it.

Those of you that read my E-Mails and my BLOG I am sure have noticed that I am big on quotes, especially positive ones. My hope is that maybe one of the quotes will affect them just like the one did for me.

Every one I send I think to myself I can't give this advice if I don't follow it myself so it helps to keep me pumped up also.

I have also written about when you are feeling down get out some old pictures of happy and joyful times, it almost always will help you get out of your funk.

Due to circumstances I am estranged from a few people I loved in my life. I have no bad feelings toward them as a matter of fact I use the same philosophy when I think about them, I only remember the fun and good times I had with them for many years. I do not dwell on the reason we became estranged because that also is one of those things that being upset about it is not going to change it.

One regret I do have is that I wish I had adopted this philosophy much earlier in my life, don't waste time dwelling on the past that you cannot change, point your life toward the future, that you can change for the better.

Love And Happy Easter Wishes To You All.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Follow Up To My January BLOG about Aging Gracefully

In January of this year I wrote on my BLOG about how to grow older gracefully. I came across some excerpts from a book entitled ( A Long Bright Future ) written by a lady named Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology at Stanford University which I found to be very interesting, Thought I would share a few of them with you.

She says happiness is not the domain of the young. In fact quite the contrary. According to research on age and happiness older people tend to be happier than young people.

She writes, with the exception of dementia-related diseases, which by definition have organic roots, mental health generally improves with age. Older people generally focus on the essential, don't sweat the small stuff, and enjoy their freedoms when their children leave the nest. She says the empty nest syndrome is atypical, she says children make parents very happy when they are living somewhere else. LOL

She says ( the paradox of aging ) has to do with our perspectives changing. Simply put the less time we have the more we cherish it. I totally agree with that. Things that used to mean a lot to me no longer do, but the things I really care about I care a lot more about them now. The age group that is the most unhappy, stressed, and prone to depression is the 20 something demographic.

Having a good life is as important as having good genes when it comes to age and wellness. Common sense prevails here, if you smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for decades, you'll pay later, same for drug or alcohol addiction and lack of exercise.

( Aging is inevitable ) how you age is not. We have to learn to deal with aging, death is the only alternative.

Having reached the ripe old age of 71 1/2 I feel I can add a few things to her report. LOL

I believe our back ground and circumstances may have influenced who we are but we are responsible for who we become.

All through our lives we make friends, you lose some and some stay on and never leave your side. Old friends are like old wine,they become better with age. So many of my old friends I consider them like siblings.

Every one wants to be happy, no one wants to be in pain but remember you can't have a rainbow with out the rain.

You can not choose the people around you, but you can choose the people you want to be around.

Life is like a flowing river, full of opportunities. It is up to you whether you stand with a bucket or a spoon.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person

Having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

No matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile..

When your grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.