Can I slow down the aging process to ease my way into becoming elderly? Join me on this journey.

My week in a few pictures-part one

 

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Do you take many pictures with your cellphone?  I do.  I have thousands and I like looking at them.  I'm reminded everyday of how much God has blessed me.  

My first picture on the left is from my breakfast this morning.  Poached eggs and plain toast with strawberries without sugar.  It's one of my favorite breakfasts.  I'll see if I can find a picture of another favorite breakfast.  

I finally got tired of asking friends "what did you say" and "can you say that again?"  So as part of my recent medical experiences I went to the audiologist at my Ear, Nose and Throat practice and got my hearing tested and got some pretty decent hearing aids.  I had to pick out the type, of course.  But along with that, I picked out a color.

Next to that is a picture I found of my mom and dad taken after they were married.  In my study, there are several boxes of photos that I inherited from my mom.  I'm going through them carefully, trying to identify people and time periods.


As a lifelong Republican, here's why I voted for Elissa Slotkin for Congress

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Back in the middle 1960s, my cousin and I started one of the first Teenage Republican clubs in the country.  My family was Republican.  I was a leader at Delta College of the college Republicans and my conservatism got real traction when Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964.

 My mentor during that time was a thinking conservative member of the Michigan Legislature.  My political leanings went through a period of dormancy when I became a member of the news media.

Fast forward to the election that just happened.  My allegiances have changed.  I wanted to vote for the defeated incumbent Mike Bishop, but couldn't in good conscience.  He seemed to care more for the rich and the famous than for the common people and for those in need.  Bishop appeared to avoid voters in my area which is centered on Michigan's capital city.  He had no accessibility.

Being retired and depending on my pension and social security, he seemed to give lip service to the worries and concerns of senior citizens.  I found a sentence or two on campaign mailings where he stated his desires in a very general way.  But there was not much more.  I also depend on Medicare which I've paid into all my working life.  Republicans have touted how they wanted to reduce these benefits.  Bishop seemed to be silent.

Then I saw Slotkin's television commercials.  She seemed to be a real person with a real family and an understanding of how government works.  I was impressed enough to vote for her.

Did I get any of those around me to vote for her?  You bet.  

She won.  Will she be a communicator with the people she represents?  I hope so.

 


Getting a "fine needle biopsy" of my thyroid on a Wednesday afternoon

Me in a hospital gown.
My wife Gladys got this shot while I was waiting for the MSU doctor to do the fine needle biopsy of my thyroid.

Before poking me more than 10 times in my thyroid which has a goiter the size of an orange, the Michigan State University doctor took some time to talk about thyroid cancer and how the odds were that I didn't have it.  However, he did say that if I tested positive, then it would be pretty treatable.

It was all part of my fine needle biopsy that was taken after tests showed a soft tissue mass on the back of my tongue.  It was found in the process of various tests that the goiter on my thyroid was the size of an orange and that my thyroid had dropped down into my chest from my neck.

I found that the biopsy was pretty easy, compared to the biopsy of my tongue more than two weeks ago where a sample was taken in the operating room with me under a general anesthetic.  The doctor used a variety of syringes to take samples directly from my thyroid.  The cells have been shipped to a pathologist in New York.  Results should be back by a week from this past Wednesday.

Any after effects from the biopsy?  My neck and throat are sore.  No pain, but some soreness.

For me, the threat of cancer has had a cleansing effect.  I quickly clarified my values and what I want to do with the rest of my life.  The list is short, but would center around my relationship with God, with my wife and with the rest of my family.   I could come up with a "bucket list" real quick.  

I pray a whole lot more.  I'm not sure if God had to put on extra staff to hear my prayers.  I'm praying for a wider group of people, including those who we deliver Meals on Wheels today.

I'm writing this for myself.  Doing that helps me to sort out my reaction to a whole bunch of health stuff that happened this past year.  I don't think I'll stop.  I don't think I can.

 


Will incivility and hate end when President Trump leaves office?

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Nolan Finley used to be an editor for the Detroit News.  He's now a columnist.  He's been able to observe our culture from a variety of perspectives and he see's the division and polarization taking place in this country.  What about it?  Will it end when Trump leaves office?  

Finley says no in his column today. Why because we truly hate anybody who differs from us in how to approach and solve our societal problems.

Are you a conservative or a liberal and do you have friends or relatives who snarl when they talk to you?  Or have they ended your relationship.  I have friends who tolerate my views.  Why?  Because they like my wife and they know that we come as part of a package deal.  

Is Finley right?  Do we really hate each other in this political climate?

Will it end when Trump leaves office?  His column is worth printing and talking about around the water cooler or at the bar or even at church.


What I've learned so far in my tongue biopsy experience yesterday

  1. Me.
    Me yesterday at Sparrow Hospital's pre-op.

My doctor told my wife Gladys yesterday after the biopsy procedure on the back of my tongue that on first glance there appeared to be no malignancy.  But, of course, we are awaiting for the official pathology report on the tissue she obtained.  

So what was it like for me, a 72-year-old guy to experience this?  After waking up from a full-night's sleep, several things hit me face to face, so to speak.  The list would have to include:

  1. My acknowledgment of the importance of prayer.  Lots of people were praying for me and I know they continue to do so.  I have to ask the question if God heard all those prayers and changed the nature of the growth on the back of my tongue.  I realize that God is not like a roulette wheel where the prayers of people make it land on a better spot.  But, I know that God hears those prayers and responds to them.
  2. The importance of family surrounding me as I was fraught with fear about having a malignancy on my tongue which I use for everything.  My wife, my son and daughter and my daughter-in-law with their two kids were there.  I know that my son-in-law would have been there too if it wasn't for having his kids in school and having to teach a class.  I got strength from knowing that my family was there showing love that really touched my heart in a major way.
  3. Having trust in my doctor, a newly-minted ear, nose and throat specialist, who has a background in treating diseases of the tongue.  Online, I looked at her academic and practice background.  I was seriously impressed and so was my wife.  I trusted her completely.
  4. Picking the right hospital:  Sparrow Hospital in Lansing was amazing.  I felt cared for as an individual.  This allowed me to have confidence in them and what they said.  Both my kids were born there and my elderly mother died there.  

As I recover from this in the next couple of days, I have lots to be thankful for.  I know that it's not over with yet.  I still have a carotid artery that's blocked 100 percent and a case of glaucoma that's been going up and down.

But, I feel today a new perseverance from God that will carry me through whatever lies ahead.  Have you listened to Matt Redmond's worship song 10,000 Reasons?  I feel that I've been given more than twice that amount of blessings to praise him for.  Seriously.  And, I've gotten some help from Him to not forget that.

More to come.

 

 


I'm not making this up about having a growth on my tongue that needs to be biopsied and a goiter the size of an apple

My tongue doctor
Meet my ear, nose and throat surgeon on the right  


My wife said it looked kinky when my ear, nose and throat doctor stuck about a twelve inch video cable up my nose and ran it down to my throat.  It was a follow-up on the findings from a CAT scan and angiogram of my brain that I had last week.

Those tests were ordered after it was found that I have a blockage in my two carotid arteries, one is 100 percent blocked and the other, it was found, was 20 percent.  As part of this, the imaging tests showed that I had a growth on the base of my tongue and in the neighborhood of that I had a goiter the size of an apple.  

After talking about any throat symptoms I had, she pulled out the cable with a small video monitor on the end.  It felt like a long worm crawling down the inside front of my face.  It wasn't painful, but it felt weird, even though it brought some tears to my eyes.

Next step is surgery and getting the okay for a biopsy of the troubled part of my tongue.  Because of my plugged carotids, I need to get my vascular doctor to okay my staying off blood thinners for a week and I have to get my primary care doctor to give his okay.

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I've got a bunch of stuff in my head.

 

In the past year, I was smiling that I was content with my vision problems brought on by glaucoma and by a cornea that had to be transplanted.

What does all this mean?  I'm not sure.  Some of it could be just a normal part of aging with all this happening on a compressed schedule.

My prayer life has stepped up in the past two weeks for sure.  I'm counting on God hearing those prayers for peace and for healing in all this.  I know that he's there and I'm constantly reminding myself that he will be my shield.

What do you do when you've been bombarded with a bucketful of curve balls.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, I talk to him and ask him for peace.  How's that working?  My Apple watch shows my Beats Per Minute right now being high as I write this.

My friend Ken and I recently read Philip Yancey's book Disappointment With God where he gets into Job and how he reacted to a whole bunch of really nasty stuff in his life.  I pray that I can learn from his reaction.

In the past two days, I've found myself looking at people's tongues more and more.  And I've looked at YouTube videos of surgeries where biopsies of the tongue are taken.

I am counting on being able to sense His presence as my ailment list gets longer.


Doctor says having a fully blocked carotid artery should not be problematic in my day-to-day living

Weighing myself on Monday
I'm watching my weight closely

Yesterday, we met with my vascular doctor who shared the results of my recent CAT scan and angiogram of my head and its attendant arteries.  I have one that's fully blocked and the official reading on the other is 20 percent.  

Because of the fully blocked carotid, I'm not a candidate for a surgical fix.  It was explained to me that I might end up with great blood flow but at the price of a stroke.  There, apparently, is overwhelming evidence that would be the outcome.

So, my future lies with keeping the 20 percent from growing.  Because of alternate pathways for the blood flow, I can live with the partially clogged carotid.  I have to take the blood thinner Plavix and stay healthy.

What happens if the partially closed artery becomes more blocked.  His answer wasn't clear.  I don't have to worry about that today.

Tomorrow, a specialist looks at the soft tissue mass in my larynx that was discovered during the CAT scan.  What is it?  I have no idea.  Right now, I'm late for a walk through our back forty.


Breakfast this morning--two poached eggs--was brought to me today by my wife and Amazon

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Do you like poached eggs?  I do.  However, very seldom do I vary my breakfast from my usual oatmeal with fruit on the top.  Our old egg poacher was showing its age and we needed a new one.  We went to where America shops--Amazon and we found this one.  My poached eggs this morning were superb along with two pieces of dry, light toast.


Every morning I say "good morning" to my kids and grandkids and I pray for them individually

Family collage
This collage hangs in the hallway to our condo. I see our whole family all the time.

My routine is pretty much the same everyday.  I get up put eyedrops in both eyes, grab a cup of coffee and stake out my side of the couch with my iPad Pro.  As I walk down our hallway, I pass a photo collage that my wife Gladys put together.  It's composed of pictures taken at this past summer's family vacation on Lake Michigan.  

As I come out of our bathroom, I mentally say "good morning" to everybody and I do the same at bedtime.  In the morning, I say it to myself because I don't want my semi-sleeping wife to think I asked her a question.

I also pray for their day that God would protect each of them, including their hearts which is their command center for how they deal with life.

There are many other family pictures in our condo, but the collage is the spark that gets me thanking God for my family.

 


How should I react to the new finding of a soft tissue mass in my larynx?

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My son is now drinking the beer that I would drink. Now that I'm taking the blood thinner Plavix I can't drinking any kind of alcohol.

 

I had just entered a video call where four of us--my son-Justin Thorp; my son-in-law Adam Jones and close friend Ken Alexander spend a half hour or so talking about our daily lives and then praying together.

With the video camera on, my cellphone rang.  I noticed it was my primary care physician and I was hoping for news about a CT scan and angiogram of my carotid arteries that I had taken the day before.  It was partially.  

There was no news about my plugged carotids--one is a hundred percent and the other 50--but there was an early finding about a soft tissue mass found in my larynx.  I spent the next several hours trying to figure out what that means or could mean.

Consider it was a Friday afternoon.  I wanted more information, but I couldn't get through to a doctor.  I talked to a snippy nurse who said she couldn't give that information over the phone and that the doctor wasn't available and I talked to a medical assistant who said the doctor had left by that time.  So I was left to my own devices with the web.



I checked Google for information about cancer of the larynx.  I matched some of the symptoms, but my daughter told me to be careful about going down rabbit holes that web information creates.

So here I am with apparent carotid artery disease and a lump of unknown composition in my larynx that could leave me talking like the cop on Chicago PD who talks like he has rocks in his mouth.  

How am I taking all this?

It depends on the time you ask.  I'm anxious and I am frustrated and I'm praying all the time.  It's an ongoing conversation with God asking for his healing and for his leading and thanking him for everything that he's given me like my family.

I'm now more liable to write down the names of people who ask me to pray for them and more liable to pray for them in the middle of the night when I get up to pee.

I know God's there and he is listening to me and watching out for me.  Am I nervous about this?  You bet.



 


I'm still processing what the vascular surgeon told me about my clogged carotid arteries

Me sitting against a tree next to the Detroit River.
Sitting against a tree last Sunday on the Detroit River.

I felt like I was just tasered yesterday when the vascular surgeon told me there's nothing they could do for my clogged arteries in my neck, one is fully blocked and the other is less than 50 percent, he said.  My wife Gladys was sitting next to me in the exam room when he told me that my hope for getting blood to my brain and to my eyes would be centered around a blood thinner that could probably clean out our kitchen sink.

A CLARIFICATION: The doctor pointed out that with the right carotid being less than 50 percent blocked that the Plavix blood thinner that he prescribed can be effective.  There are apparently other sources of blood supply to the brain too.  It's serious, but not dire.

Since learning that I have clogged carotids, I had been researching surgeries to unclog them.  YouTube is filled with all kinds of video showing the amazing procedure where the carotid is cut open and the blockage is tweezed out.  But, the doctor said that experience has shown that when one of the arteries is blocked 100 percent that the risks are too high.  Strokes and death can easily be the result.

One last hope is an imaging test that can determine whether there's even a trickle of blood through the artery that's completely blocked.  He said, the odds are against that happening.

So, what are my thoughts about this as I celebrate one whole week of being 72 years old?  The words bucket list come to mind.  Going forward, I need to be extra picky about what I do and think.  At various points in my life, I felt more freedom to ignore doing certain things.  And, right now, I'm carefully going through my list of what's important to me and what's not.

Let me emphasize that no one has said I'm on the verge of needing to cut the grass of my cemetery plot and no one has said I'm in imminent danger of having a stroke or a heart attack.  But, I know the realities of what I'm dealing with as I move forward in my glaucoma and cornea journey.

As I'm moving ahead with all this and as I watch episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond for the umpteenth time, I'm trying to pay attention to what's important to me.

Christian songwriter and singer Matt Redmond has a song 10,000 Reasons.  It's about giving praise and thanks to God at all stages of life from birth to old age and to death.  I know that I've surpassed 10,000 reasons by many times.  My wife, my kids, their spouses and my grandkids.  My memory bank is filled with reasons.  

God has blessed me greatly and I know it, even though I might not always show it.  The Bible is always in my pocket and I open it throughout the day.  Today, I'm asking for His help in giving my anxiety to him.  I want him to carry it and I know he will.  It's a promise that I'm betting my life on.

"May your will be done Lord."  

 


Founders Backwood Bastard from Grand Rapids should be the "state beer" of Michigan

Drinking Founders Backwoods Bastard with my son
Do you recognize the guy on the label of the beer my son and I are drinking?

 I first drank a glass of Founders Backwoods Bastard at Horrocks in Lansing.  My son and I had gone there as part of a tradition he and I started at Thanksgiving time when he and his family visited from out of state.  Since then I've gone there with my son-in-law several times.

Drinking Backward Bastard changed my beer tastes forever.  With it, I became familiar with barrel-aged beer where beer is left to meld with tastes of scotch and other tastes.

Fast Forwarding to this past weekend when I turned 72 and when my whole family came to celebrate our daughter and son-in-law, as part of a birthday gift, bought a four pack which is about the same cost as filling your gas tank on a SUV.

While sitting on our couch after a trip to the Jazz Festival in Downtown Detroit, we pulled out two bottles from my birthday gift.  It was a grand taste and a fitting way to start year number 73.

I'd recommend Backwoods Bastard to beer lovers.


On my seventy-second birthday, two clogged carotid arteries and 12 family members coming to celebrate

A doctor's office selfie.
Getting the news yesterday about my two plugged carotid arteries.

As we get ready to celebrate my birthday today with the whole family, our two kids, their spouses and six grandkids-one is pre-born-I realize I have a whole lot to be thankful for.  May God help me to remember that always.  

While getting my problem right eye checked by one of my retina specialists for some vision challenges, this young doctor from Egypt suggested that I have my carotid arteries checked out as a possible source of the trouble.  I noticed that on our most recent trip to visit our son and family in St. Louis that looking ahead my vision would fuzz out and the fuzz would go away when I moved my head.

Well, I got a doppler on Wednesday afternoon and by the time I got home and peed, I got a call that they found a blockage.  I was told the doctor needed to see me first thing yesterday.

He told me that the preliminary read of the doppler test showed that I had a 100 percent blockage in one carotid and 50 percent in the other.  Dr. El from LOEyecare in Lansing could have saved my life my urging me to get the test and making the referral.  I was sobered by how this went undetected until this one ophthalmologist suggested the test.  Next steps include seeing a vascular surgeon.

Throughout my right eye challenges, my wife has been alongside me.  She's been to a whole bunch of appointments and exams and to each of my 10 eye surgeries.  I know that she's reflecting the love that she receives through her faith in Jesus Christ.  Her love for me is undeniable and I praise God for it.

Then there's my family.  Our two kids and us has grown to a group of twelve.  They are all coming to our condo to celebrate my birthday and to praise a God who watches over us all, including those of us with transplanted corneas and plugged carotids.

I'm looking forward to it all.  It takes on a special meaning with this new realization of how fragile life can be.

Thank-you God for loving me.


Getting ready for a visit from four of our grandkids

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We were in the middle of his driveway on a mountainside in western Bosnia when we tried out our diet Coke and Mentos rocket.  My then five year-old grandson and I wanted to see how high we could make the pop go.  It exploded and up to the second level of their house.  That was fun.  He enjoyed it and so did I.

This weekend, he and his siblings--one is pre-born--are coming to our house for a hot air balloon festival just down the road from us in Holt.  No balloon rides this time.  But, I'm searching for things to do with a now eight-year-old with an inquisitive mind.  

I have a paperback book filled with science experiments for his age group.  There are some possibilities.  I've looked at personal drones.  Most have a price tag that would rival a good used car and, I think, you need a permit to use them.

What still has the interest of him and his five-year-old sister is making K-cups.  Even though the temperature is still hot, they like making their own hot chocolate from a Keurig cup.  

There's always skydiving.  That will probably have to wait til he's older.

What do you do with your grandkids?


There's a possible new piece to my adventure with my right eye

Dr. El checks the angiogram of my right eye.
Checking on my vision with Dr. El at LO Eyecare in Lansing.

It's happened before while driving in the car where I can be focusing on what's ahead and my vision momentarily fuzzes out on me.  When we drove to St. Louis two weeks ago to visit our son and family I noticed it big time.  The fuzz would disappear whenever I moved my head.  To be extra careful, Gladys drove most of the way there and all the way back home.

I described this to my glaucoma surgeon during a regularly scheduled appointment when we returned.  She suggested that I get my retina checked by our practice's specialist, Dr. El.  Retina was fine, but he suggested that I get my carotid artery check for a blockage that potentially could interfere with my vision.

This follows my cornea transplant almost three months ago at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

How do I feel about this?

Scared!  A little.  And grateful, all at the same time.  If I do have a plaque buildup in this artery that runs from the neck to my head and supplies blood to my eyes and optic nerve, a piece could break-off and I could crossover into stroke land.

Next steps are doppler like tests that take images of the carotid artery.  

This week I read the story about Jesus walking on the water and how Peter stepped out of the boat to go to Jesus.  He got distracted by the waves.  He hollered out to Jesus to save him.  If you hear loud shouts coming from my way, it's me calling for His help.  

I just don't want to get distracted to the point where I take my eyes off him.


Our almost ten year old Honda Civic got 42 miles to the gallon on our road trip to St. Louis

Our Honda Civic
It has a few nicks and scratches on it, but our Honda Civic is still running like the day we got it.

 

Buying our Honda Civic almost ten years ago from Capital Honda in Okemos was probably one of the best post retirement purchasing decisions we've made.  On our recent road trip to visit two of our grandkids in St. Louis, Missouri, we got 42 miles to the gallon.  I need to be clear that we didn't do anything special to get that mileage.  There's no magic mileage potions that we put in the gas tank, no special adjustments or parts that we added.  

From the time we purchased it, we've never missed an oil change and we've followed pretty closely to the suggested maintenance.  It's never not started or left us stranded.  It's never been towed.  I'm happy to say that it just keeps on running.

Our 37-year-old son in law has a Honda that he got in college.  It's odometer has rolled over at least three times.  Can we do that with ours?  I'm counting on it.

 

 


Figuring out my life while drinking Schnickelfritz with my son at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis

Me and my son.
My son and I last Sunday night at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis

 

While talking with my son Justin at a beer hall--Urban Chestnut--in St. Louis, the realization hit me with a big sledge hammer that I have a whole lot of reasons to be real thankful.  I knew that before, but as we sat at the bar drinking Schnickelfritz, I realized that in a couple of weeks I'll turn 72.

To me that means that I have to bring a little more order to my life and to the time I have remaining.  Looking at local obituaries, I see more and more baby-boomers dying in their early seventies.  I have genetic family longevity going for me, but I still know that in ten years I will have birthday number 82.

What does this mean?

I need to bring a little more order and intention to my life and make sure I do what I want to get done.  Does that mean I'm going to make a bucket list?

Maybe.  If I think of my life as a blueberry pie, then I have to let go of some of the tasty morsels with a really flaky crust.  I have to just push them over the side and right into the garbage disposal.  Can anybody relate?

Will I ever give a TED talk?  Nah.  Don't see it.  Will I ever own a self-driving Tesla?  I don't see it.  Maybe I'll ride in one someday.  Will I ever run in a marathon?  It won't happen anymore.

What about my father?  Go to the search engine on this blog and put in the search terms, my father and you'll get the story.  It's time to let go.  He's long dead and I know that I'll never find out more than I know now.  My identity is really tied up with this one.

Over the years, I've thought about and did everything I can to establish that fifty percent of who I am and never got much beyond my name and that my dad was a real "scoundrel."  It's time to declare the search over.  As an antidote to the desire to learn more in this area, maybe, I'll get a tattoo that says "Remember Who You Are!"

It's from a sermon by a pastor where we went to church for several years.  He said those who believe in Jesus have a new father, one who won't abandon me and I have a new identity.  When he said that I had trouble buying it.  The time has come for me to open up that dad door.

What about other stuff?  Yeah, there's more of the world I'd love to see with my wife.  I want to be able to do at least a hundred sit-ups.  I want a heart that's more thankful to God for how much I've been blessed.  It's so easy, at times, to forget or to push it into the background.

How will I develop this priority list for the rest of my life?  I'll probably write more about it in the very near future.  That's my way of sorting things out in my life.  

Why am I doing this publicly on a blog?  I bet there are a whole lot of baby boomers in a similar situation.  Maybe this will help and maybe it won't.  Take what you can use and discard the rest.

I enjoy drinking beer with my son and, also, my son-in-law, Adam Jones.


Here's what my new cornea transplant looks like from the front

My cornea transplant.
While ordering a new lens for my glasses and my right eye, I got to see my cornea transplant done in May. It's the silver moon-looking spot in my eyeball.

 

After lunch today, I pick-up a new lens for my glasses and the right eye.  It's all part of the continued healing of my right eye after a cornea transplant at the University of Michigan in May.  I was told that my vision could change again within the next few months, but I was encouraged to get an updated lens for my glasses.

The challenge has been seeing detail and that has affected reading and seeing while driving.  This should help, I am told.  Improvement in my vision has been a game of inches, kind of like football where the game is just to move the ball downfield.

While taking a measurement of my pupil at Lenscrafters, they took a picture of my repaired eye and it showed pretty clearly my new cornea.  

My admiration for ophthalmologists has only grown over the past several years.  The U of M's Dr. Bradford Tannen is the latest.  He did the transplant where a layer was taken from a donor eye and grafted onto mine and I was awake and it was done outpatient.  This is the latest on my vision journey.


Here's why I've been thinking of the day that my daughter Krista was born

My daughter and her youngest son.
Krista, our daughter, and her youngest son, Jacob Wesley.

I remember vividly the day that Gladys told me over the phone that she was pregnant with our first child.  Driving home that afternoon, the smile on my face was so big that I had to look high.  And I remember every detail of her birth on March 17, 1982.  

Her birth taught me what real excitement was.  I had no siblings and I was raised by a single mom and up to that point, I may have held a baby for no more than 30 seconds.  Then Krista came and I couldn't get enough of holding my daughter and just looking at her.  I quickly got into changing diapers and giving baths.  When she was awake, I would talk to her non-stop about everything.

Then, she married Adam and we got his call that our first grandchild was on the verge of being born.  We aimed for the hospital in Carmel, Indiana and we were welcomed into the grandparents waiting room where Gladys and I drank French press coffee and then Adam came and got us and we saw our first grandchild Xavier.  That was eight years ago.

Now the news; Krista called us a short time back and told us that number four was coming along sometime in March.  Wow and wow.  What started as just Gladys and me is now twelve counting our pre-born grandchild.  

It's a big cliche, but each one has their own unique personality.  Our son Justin and his wife Lauren have a son and a daughter.

I wish God had a section of the Bible for grandparents on how to effectively plug into your grandchild's life.  There's a lot to share in a "here's what I learned" fashion for each of them.

Maybe I should write it down.  It could be a gift for each one, a little piece of me.

And for grandfathers who have taken a pass on developing a relationship with their progeny, I would encourage them to stop and take a deep breath and rethink their position.

I know one grandpa who wrote off his grandkids and it was the kids who lost.  And the grandpa was a big-time loser too.

Thank-you God.  "Guide me as I continue on as the patriarch of this side of our family."


Why do candidates for our state legislature hold voters in such low regard?

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We moved to our condo a little more than a year ago and I am still not sure who is running for state representative from our area.  I'm registered to vote, but I'm not sure I will.

How do you decide who to vote for?  Do you wait till you walk into the voting booth and go by the sound of someone's name?  I think an incumbent county commissioner, Sarah Anthony, is running for state rep.  I saw one sign for her while driving down a main drag in our community.

It's not Sarah Anthony who is running for state rep in the Holt Mason area.  I went to the Lansing City Pulse that has a thumbnail sketch of each candidate in the Lansing area.  The Democratic candidate for state rep is Kara Hope another incumbent member of the Ingham County Commission.  Check out her campaign website.

It shouldn't be this hard to find the candidate in your area.  What role does the local political parties play in informing and educating people about their candidates?

The website for the Republican candidate Leon Clark can be viewed here.  I should have guessed that his domain name would be Leon for Michigan.  

Going to Google and searching her name, I found her website.  It says nothing about boundaries of the district that she's running for and her stand on the issues is filled with platitudes.  Hey, these issues are multi-layered and are important.  What about roads?  It is acknowledged that our state has the worst roads in the country.  Driving in our state is like driving through Haiti after the earthquake.

I see no signs of her going door-to-door and I see none of her literature anyplace.  I just saw the lone sign.

How do I decide who to vote for?  There's no daily paper to check.  The candidates are no where to be found.  Do we want them in office, if they have such a low profile?

Am I missing something?