Wednesday, November 28, 2007



My book is now available thru the publishers website. I got an email from the publisher telling me it was now available for purchase.

The url for ordering is:

I got the email as we were driving to Florida for the funeral of the kids dad.

The family is telling us that Tammy is not allowed to attend. The family says there is a list of people allowed to attend. The kids boyfriends are not allowed (according to the contact.) S's daughter, his granddaughter, is supposedly not on the list. It is such a travesty. They have completely ignored what R would have wanted. They are using his funeral to hurt the family members they don't like.

What a bunch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Welcome to the avalanche

As inconceivable as it seems, the boulders just keep coming down the mountain. Last night we were out with some old friends. One or more of them commented on our "bad" year. We put a humorous spin on it and said, "But we are out of relatives to kill." For the uninformed, we have had six family deaths since March.

This afternoon, we were in the sitting room. I was working on some grading for my classes at school, and was about to show Nick some pictures Sierra wanted him to see, that were on my computer. The phone rings, and it is the kids grandfather's number. He is calling to tell us that the kids Dad, Tammy's ex, has committed suicide.

These kids have been through so much. They got very close to my parents. Dad's death was a monumental loss to them .. Then Tammy's dad dies .. Then my grandmother .. Then my great aunt .. Then our next door neighbor .. Then Tammy's grandmother .. Then another of my great aunts .. and now this ....
It feels like being buried under an avalanche.
They are reeling from the blows.
I was thinking of them, and counselling them, and loving them, and talking to them, and praying for them .. and I wrote (which I do)
Easy .. That ain’t me

I suppose
In light of it all
No one would be shocked
Some would even nod
And say it was expected

It isn’t as if life
Gave me a break
At all this year

It would almost be easy
But it wouldn’t be me

Surrounded by the dark
Though the light fights
It seems the darkness
Will not be denied
It will have its day

The losses
Have been colossal
Depending on the person
There have been dads
And grandfathers,
And grandmothers,
And great grandmothers,
And great aunts,
And even a neighbor
That have walked
Into that great unknown

And each journey
Has taken our hearts
And our spirits
And lain open our souls
And robbed us of strength

I suppose
In light of it all
No one would be shocked
Some would even nod
And say it was expected

It would almost be easy
To give up
But it wouldn’t be me

It amazes me
How much we lean
On these pillars
In our lives

As I look around me
There are plenty of new gaps
But still, there are pillars
And I can still lean
And then I see
There are those
Leaning on me

It would almost be easy
To falter
To fall
But, it wouldn’t be me

Cause, easy
That just ain’t me

For the kids ...
November 25, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks (How else would a Thanksgiving Day blog start ?)

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect over the past year and give thanks for things that have happened. It would be easy to just look at the last eight months and wish we could erase it all, for the most part. Tammy and I were counting, and death has crossed our path closely seven times in that time period. We both lost our fathers and our grandmothers. I have lost two great aunts, and we lost our next door neighbor. How simple it would be to take a giant eraser and begin rubbing away those months.

However, in that same year long time frame, there have been shining moments as well.

In December, we welcomed Abigail Kennedy to our small but growing list of grandchildren.

In June, we welcomed the six week early arrival of Cloe Danielle.

In August, we began the publishing process to have my own baby, "Journey Into Darkness." It is scheduled to arrive by the end of November or the first of December.

Add to that, that on any given day, I can call or find any of my seven children (yes, I do claim them all.) Every day I am surrounded by the love of those around me. Everyday, the tall redhead finds ways to show me how much she loves me and gives me room to fall more deeply in love with her.

You can keep that day eraser away from my year. I'll take the hard with the pleasant. I'll keep the sorrow stored neatly beside the joy. I will be thankful, for while I did lose a few this year, I had the joy of knowing them for many years.

I am thankful today, as I try to be every day. I am thankful for the things left to me. I am thankful that I can feel the loss and can tell the difference. I am thankful that we are adding to family and making new friends, even in the midst of our losses. I am thankful for so many positive changes in my life. I am thankful to God for His Love, His Grace, and His Mercy.

I am thankful for you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

on again, off again, and a poem

When Dad died in March this year, it started a cascade of bad news. For those not following the blog, let me give you the readers digest versions. Dad dies in March. Three weeks and five day later, Tammy's father dies. Two days later, my grandmother dies. A week later, one of my great aunts dies. As we are returning from the funeral of the great aunt, we find out that our next door neighbor died.

Then there was a brief respite.

Fast forward to October. Tammy's grandmother dies. Two weeks later (Sunday) my Mom calls me to tell me that the last remaining (I think) of my great aunts has died. So, you can see that it has been a very tough year, by any standards.

One of the things that changed when Dad died was one of my favorite holiday traditions. Every year on Christmas Eve, we would all gather at Mom and Dad's to celebrate, eat a holiday meal, and exchange gifts. The usual crowd would range between 45 and 55 participants. We would be together for about six hours. There would be no fighting, arguing, exchanging harsh words, or anything like that. It was six hours of peace and happiness with 50 or so of your closest relatives.

Mom decided that she didn't want to have the family gathering at the house this year, because it would be very hard for her, since Dad was gone. They had been together for 56 years. We all respected her wishes.

Then, last week, Mom informs me that she is going to have a Christmas dinner at her house for the family, but no gift exchange. Too which I responded, "Cool."

Yesterday, as I was driving home from church, I started thinking about Christmases of the past and thought about how this Christmas Dinner would be without Dad. I was in bed last night, when I had to get up and spit out my heart. Here is what came out:

He is here

I look in his chair and he isn’t there
But he’s here

I look at the counter where he would often sit

and he isn’t there
But he is here

I glance to the head of the table where he often ate

and he isn’t there
But he is here

He isn’t in the chair by the computer
But he is here

He isn’t on the phone talking to Germany
But he is here

All of the places I used to see him, he is not there
But he is here

He is here in this ones eye
He is here in that ones story
He is there in that laugh
He is over there in that tear

Everywhere I look are fleeting glimpses of him

He is there
And there
And there
And even over there

Someone told me that Dad would never be gone

as long as I was alive
And I agree

But more than me
There are five more, daughters and a son
That he lives within

There are sons in laws and daughters in laws

that keep him here
There are grandchildren that carry him as well

There is Mom
Doing what Mom does
And holding him close
Because he is here

He is here in every memory
That brings a smile or a tear
And sometimes both

He is not here (arms out)
But he is here (arms in)


Saturday, November 10, 2007

new boy

I was online this morning and in the Louisville chatroom. There was a guy, Tim, trying to give away some dogs. One of the dogs was a 9 month old purebred boxer. I was on that. I checked with Tammy to make sure she was okay with it. She was and excited to boot.

We drove to Louisville and picked up Dusty. He loves the kids and the other dogs. It seems like a good fit.

Pics below

the new boy, Dusty, and Rocky

Friday, November 02, 2007

Something I wrote for a friend

Grand Parenthood

How do you let go
Of someone you love so much
How do you let someone else
Make the life shaping decisions
You know are right
While you watch from the side

Ah, now you know
The curse of the grandparent

All of your parenthood
You have readily accepted
The importance of your role
In raising a proper child
All of your parenthood
You tried to instill the right life value
You tried to tell them enough
You tried to make them independent

Suddenly, all the lessons come home
Did I tell them this
Did I tell them that
Did I give them enough

This life
This oh so precious life
Held in your arms
Forever held in your heart
So reluctantly placed in the arms
Of two inexperienced children

You try
In every moment shared
To give just a little more
To share one more parent tip
To extend the protection
To augment the care

Here it is
Small and fragile
Precious and loved
Being strapped into a car seat
In the back seat of a car
That is going to drive away

Did I do enough
Do they know enough
(As if any of us knew enough)
Do they have enough

You watched them break their toys
You saw their irresponsibility
You silently pray
Those days are far behind
You know
Babies will grow you

You wonder
You hope
You love
You worry
You fret
You trust
You simply must

Welcome to the Grand time
Of Parenthood
Welcome to Grand Parenthood