If you do not know me (I mean, really know me) then there is something you need to understand before you read this blog: I value the truth above everything else... except a good laugh. A good laugh will almost always beat the truth as far as I’m concerned. Everything you read on this blog will be true, somewhat true, or something I made up in an effort to get a laugh. Sometimes I will go on a rant that I don’t really mean (or only kind of mean). Sometimes I will mean what I write only to completely change my mind a year, month, or day later. Such is life. By reading this blog you agree not to get offended by anything I write (or, at the very least, you agree not to tell me or anyone else that you are offended). It is worth noting that my employer does not endorse my blog (or even read it, to tell you the truth). The Wife also does not endorse my blog (though she will read it from time to time). I am not paid to write this... it’s just my way of giving back to the community. I have, and will, touch on a wide range of subjects and will give my opinion on these subjects. Again, most of what I say is for laughs but every now and then I will say what I really think and feel (see my views on Westboro Baptist Cult). How will you know when I’m serious and when I’m trying to get a laugh? You’ll know. And if you don’t know, well... maybe this isn’t the best thing for you to be reading. So, sit back, read and enjoy. Leave comments if you want and don’t be afraid to publicly follow me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

40 things about my brother

My brother (let’s call him Kevin, because that’s what my parents named him) turns 40 years old today. So I decided to list 40 things about my brother and things from his life...

1. When I was little (maybe 6?), he dressed me up in his old football uniform (including helmet & pads) and took me out in the backyard to play tackle football (i.e. beat the crap out of me).

2. When I was little (probably still 6), he would let me ride with him as he drove our family station wagon around the backyard and then make me help him cover up the tracks.

3. We would play a game inside that was a 2 player version of pickle. The fireplace was a base and the sofa was a base. One player was the fielder while the other player was the runner. The fielder would toss the tennis ball up in the air and try to catch it and tag out the runner before the runner got to the base. It might not sound like much, but it was fun.

4. I went to stay with him and my sister-in-law for a couple of weeks one summer when they lived outside of Atlanta (back in 1995, maybe?). We went to Braves games (at good ol’ Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium) almost every night. Some of the highlights include a night where we saw Greg Maddux face Oral Hershiser and the nights we got to boo Barry Bonds (back before the world was booing Barry Bonds).

5. He gave me my first beer back in **** when I was *** years old.

6. He was the first child for my parents (and the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents)... making him the Golden Child Who Could Do No Wrong.

7. His footprints are in the concrete under my grandparents (on my Dad’s side of the family) carport. He was the only grandchild to be honored in such a way.

8. He played baseball for James Island High School for 4 years.

9. While playing for JI, his team won a region title (note, it was one title... I won 4 Region Titles, plus 2 Lower State Championships, plus 2 State Championships, but this isn’t about me).

10. He also played basketball for James Island High School.

11. While playing basketball against Wando, He suffered a concussion. There was a video of this (not sure if it still exists) and on this video you hear my Dad (and I think my Mom) talking. Kevin goes down and you hear someone off camera (Mom?) say something (sounds worried) and then you hear my Dad (not at all worried) say “Nah, he’ll be ok”, “He’ll get up”. Then the tape cuts off (because he wasn’t getting up). *****Not to get off subject again, but this reminds me of when I got knocked out during a baseball game at Summerville. It was at night early in the season (which means it was FREEZING) and my Dad was watching the game from his car down the first baseline). From what I hear, after I went down Dad didn’t want to get out of the car (“I can’t help him... I’m not a doctor” is a quote I’ve heard attributed to him). Thank God other people were around besides my Dad when we got knocked down or who knows what would have happened to us!

12. He turned a triple play in an American Legion baseball game.

13. He had a Commodore 64 for his first computer.

14. He had a baseball game for that Commodore 64 that is STILL the best baseball video game I’ve ever played.

15. He was something like 60 for 61 in stolen bases for his baseball career.

16. He was named MVP of the JI baseball team his Junior and Senior years (probably because Coach Hatley was the one counting the votes... I’m just sayin...).

17. He was recruited to play baseball at The Citadel for the great Chal Port.

18. He turned them down.

19. The Citadel went on a couple years later to have the GREATEST SEASON IN SCHOOL (and probably conference) HISTORY! They won the SoCon and made it to the College World Series (and won a game while they were there)!!! WOW!

20. He went to Clemson where he was a student when Danny Ford was forced out. Oh, and he met his future wife while there. Hmm... Wife or memories of the GREATEST SEASON IN SCHOOL HISTORY (at a school that is VERY proud of its history). I mean, he could have been a legend...

(Can you hear me laughing?)

21. True story: A man walks up to me and Dad at the JI baseball game this past Monday night. Shakes my hand and Dad’s hand, jerks his head in my direction and says “Is this the one that turned The Citadel down?” (this is funny to me because, A: Kevin is a lot older than me and B: I’m a lot bigger than him). Dad says “no” and the guy goes on to talk about how Kevin could have started for The Citadel and gone to the College World Series. This made me laugh (see #20).

22. He lived with his future in-laws after college (but before he got married). Interesting fact... I am the only child from our family to not live with my parents or in-laws at any point after I graduated from college. Guess that’s the difference between a Clemson education and a Winthrop education.
23. Part of why I became a Cubs fan is that he was a Cardinals fan.

24. He’s an Army fan because I’m a Navy fan.

25. He was born just a couple of weeks after Apollo 13 came back to Earth.

26. He was born a few days before the Kent State shootings.

27. He was born in between The Beatles breaking up and releasing their last Album.

28. Sonny Liston, Janis Joplin, Vince Lombardi, and Jimi Hendrix all died the year Kevin was born.

29. Alonzo Mourning, Queen Latifah, Vince Vaughn, Andre Agassi, Phil Mickelson, and Chris O’Donnell were all born the same year as Kevin.

30. He belonged to a NASCAR-like Bicycle Racing group in our neighborhood that was impressively run by teenagers (including, I think, Kevin). In all honesty, kids today could use something like that.

31. He turned a double play with me in an American Legion Old-Timers Game (the first and last time we were on the field together).

32. Our parents video taped all (or almost all) of his high school baseball and basketball games. (They video taped NONE of mine... even though by the time I played technology had advanced by light-years from where it was when he played... but I’m not bitter).

33. High School and American Legion baseball were regularly covered by the local media when Kevin played (which led to him being on the news and in the newspaper far more than his younger [but more talented] “little” brother. Again... I’m not bitter).

34. When I was in 8th grade, I remember we went to *********** and ********* where we saw ************** and I’ll never forget ***************************** *************************************************************************
***********************I mean, WOW! And then we **************************** *************************************************************************
*********************************************************. Boy, what a great bachelor party THAT was!

35. Aerosmith is formed the same year Kevin is born.

36. Simon & Garfunkel break-up the year Kevin was born.

37. The first episode of All My Children was broadcast on ABC the year Kevin was born.

38. He is a Miami Dolphins fan (haha... sucker).

39. He went from the business world to education as a way to “give back” to the community (and get summers off).

40. He played against future MLB pitcher Bryce Florie (who I’m sure credits Kevin with helping him catch the eyes of MLB scouts).

There you have it. You now know 40 things about my brother that you probably didn’t know before reading this.

Happy Birthday Kevin!

****Note: Sorry, I had to edit some of the information in this post due to legal reasons.*****

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thoughts while feeding “fish” over at Our Life

My friend KC added “fish” to his blog (Our Life) and I wasted about an hour today feeding them. As if I needed something else to distract me...

Since we last spoke, the Vet has confirmed that Scooby does indeed have a broken toe. The Vet also said if it doesn’t heal, there is a chance they will have to remove the toe. How cool is THAT?! Friends, don’t get me wrong... I don’t want Scooby to be hurt. I don’t want him to lose his toe. But if he does lose his toe, I want to either put it on my key chain or wear it around my neck as a good luck charm. Really, I feel bad for him... but this hasn’t done anything to slow him down. I’ve got to give him credit for that.

As you know, I played in the JSL Golf Tournament this past weekend. I am happy to report that my team did not come in last place. We shot an 81 and I know of at least one team that shot an 87. I will be on the golf course again this Saturday in the Bethany UMC Golf Tournament.

The Steelers had a good draft. The players they drafted included:

Maurkice Pouncey (C/G, Flordia)
Jason Worilds (OLB, Va Tech)
Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SMU)
Thaddeus Gibson (OLB, Ohio State)
Chris Scott (OT, Tennessee)
Crezdon Butler (CB, Clemson)
Stevenson Sylvester (LB, Utah)
Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Ga Tech)
Antonio Brown (WR, Central Michigan)
Doug Worthington (DL, Ohio State)

The Steelers also added seven rookie free agents:

Dorrian Brooks (OG, James Madison)
Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith (S, UTEP)
Kyle Jolly (OT, UNC)
Demetrius Taylor (FB, Va Tech)
Cordarrow Thompson (DT, Va Tech)
Justin Thornton (S, Kansas)
AJ Trump (C/G, Miami)

As mentioned, Crezdon Butler from Clemson was taken by the Steelers (in the 5th round). Other Tigers taken in the draft were CJ Spiller (by the Bills with the #9 pick in the first round), Jacoby Ford (Raiders, 4th round), Ricky Sapp (Eagles, 5th round), Kavell Conner (Colts, 7th round).

The South Carolina Gamecocks had Eric Norwood (Panthers, 4th round) and Clifton Geathers (Browns, 6th round) drafted.

Cleveland Cavs Update: The Cavs lead the Bulls 3-1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Game 5 is tomorrow night in Cleveland.

James Island Trojans Update: JI plays Summerville tonight at 7:00. Go TROJANS!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dog down! Dog down!

Scooby is hurt. For the record, I didn’t do it. He just started limping last night. The Wife thinks he has a broken toe. Whatever it is, he can’t put much weight on his front left paw. So, he should just lie down and stay still... but nope... he’s still following us around the house. I think I’m starting to see something in him. He’s starting to show me some heart. He’s hurt, but he’s trying to walk it off. Anyway, I let him outside this morning and he took off like CJ Spiller returning a kickoff. He was running FAST on only 3 legs. I’ve got to tip my hat to him... he’s not going to let this toe slow him down. The Wife is taking him to the Vet today. If he comes back with his toe cut off (ala Ronnie Lott having his little finger cut off so he wouldn’t have to miss too many games) then I will have to do a 180 on my views of young Scooby. Maybe seeing Maverick go toe to toe with a big rat (and kill it) sparked something in Scooby. Maybe he saw it and thought, “THAT is how I want to be”. What a great role model Maverick is.

Of course, there’s also a chance that Scooby is trying to Curt Schilling this situation and make it look worse than it really is. But I don’t think he’s smart enough to do that.

Congrats to CJ Spiller on being drafted 9th last night. I hate that he went to the Bills, but it is what it is.

My Steelers took Florida Center/Guard, Maurkice Pouncey. He is a Rimington Trophy winner. If there is one thing the Steelers know, it’s how to draft a Center. I hope this guy ends up earning a spot on the list of Steelers greats. The rest of the draft for the Steelers is (as of now... I think) the 20th pick in the 2nd round; the 18th pick in the 3rd round; the 18th pick in the 4th round; the 20th, 24th, & 24th picks in the 5th round; the 19th pick in the 6th round; and the 35th pick in the 7th round.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like to take a minute to wish my niece Leah a very happy birthday! In fact, I’m going to take more than a minute... I’m going to dedicate this blog post to Leah. Today Leah turns eleven (11) years old. Some quick math by me says that means she was born in 1999. Let’s take a look at what went on in 1999 (other than the Prince song “1999” being played all the time).

The Euro was established
King Hussein of Jordan died from cancer
Pluto was still a planet
My sister-in-law Terry turned 29 (she’s 40 now)
I turned 20
Winthrop won its first Big South Championship under Coach Gregg Marshall
I met The Wife
My brother Kevin turned 29
The Roth IRA was introduced by US Senator William V. Roth, Jr.
Columbine High School massacre (12 students, 1 teacher, & both gunmen were killed)
SpongeBob SquarePants made its debut on Nickelodeon
The strongest tornado ever recorded in world history (an F5 tornado) hit Oklahoma
The first female cadet graduated from The Citadel
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in theaters
After 22 years of restoration work (most likely done by the same company that did the work on Ladson Road), Leonardo de Vinci’s The Last Supper was placed back on display in Milan, Italy
Texas Governor George W. Bush announced he will run for President
JFK, Jr. died
Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France
The World population hit the 6 billion people mark
The US turned over complete administration of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian Government
Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia
There was the whole Y2K scare
I got mono and had to drop out of Winthrop for the fall semester
I had to have emergency ear surgery
Leah had hair that would not go down for years (it just stood up)
John Ehrlichman died
Gene Siskel died
Stanley Kubrick died
Joe DiMaggio died
Cal Ripken, Sr. died
Rick Rude died
Owen Hart died
DeForest Kelley died
Pee Wee Reese died
George C. Scott died
Wilt Chamberlain died
Payne Stewart died
Curtis Mayfield died



Uncle Greg

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday to Jeremy and KC! As I mentioned yesterday, Jeremy is an old 32 today and KC is just 11 (years older than Jeremy).

I saw a letter to the editor in the paper here the other day. In it, the woman said that she has lived in Charleston for seven years (good for her). She goes on to talk about how bad the drivers here are and how they don’t respect emergency vehicles. She says that when she pulls over for these vehicles, she is honked at and even given “the finger” by passing motorists. She goes on to say: “Let me add that all of these cars had South Carolina plates”. Well, sweetie, let me point some things out:

1. I have lived in the Charleston area for about 29 of the 31 years of my life. I have seen many emergency vehicles go by me as I and all the other people on the road are pulled over to the side. I have also seen people pull over to the side of the road when cars for a funeral are driving by (at least when it’s safe to do such a thing). I don’t know where you are driving that you don’t see it done...

2. The statement about all cars having SC plates is interesting. It leads me to believe that you are from the north. Of course, that’s always my thought when someone talks about how bad it is down here or how bad the people are. So maybe I’m wrong. Either way, my question would be... So what? You see, people (like you 7 years ago) move to this area all the time. Most of them have cars and most of them register their car in this state. Not all, but most. These people (from places other than here) now drive cars with SC plates on them. So shut up.

I have a simple philosophy that I try to live by: Be happy where you are. The thing I don’t understand is that so many people I hear complaining about this area or this state are people who moved here from somewhere else. These people have already proven they are able to move... so move away. Listen, I’m not against change. I know there are always things that can be done to improve this area or that area... but really, do these people have to complain about everything? My friend Dumpy once told me, “If you bitch about something, it shows you care. If you bitch about everything, you’re just a bitch”. I’m not 100% sure that quote fits in this situation, but I’ve been looking for a place to put it on my blog and so there it is.

Update on my class: I did NOT do my presentation last night. I was NOT happy about this last night... but what can you do... Life goes on. Now I’m going to spend the next couple of days preparing for the JSL Golf Tournament. Wii golf and a bottle of Jack (don’t judge me). :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Update on Chase

As you are aware, I usually post an update on Chase Towne at the end of my posts. The newest update I see from his dad is so good that I felt it should be a seperate post all together. Seeing what Chase and his family have gone through has helped me see why churches are important. It's something that I think we sometimes get wrong. Some people look at a church as where they go to talk to God. But we can talk to God anywhere. So why bother waking up early on a Sunday to attend church? Good question... and that's what keeps (some... alot?) people from attending a church. I believe (right or wrong) that a church is more of a support group of sorts. It's where you develop relationships with other people who believe that Jesus died for our sins and that there is power in prayer. Talk to my friend Chuck and his wife (Christine) and they'll tell you that the only way they've made it through all of this is prayers... their prayers, prayers from friends (old and new), and prayers from people they may never even meet. The world is a tough place... bad things sometimes happen to good people and good things sometimes happen to bad people... Life, as they say, ain't fair. It's good to be part of a group (a church, if you will) that can give you support (and give you the opportunity to give others support). Anyway, that's how I think of it. Now for the update (posted last night by Chuck):

365 days ago Chase was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer. 11 rounds of Chemo, 5 Major Surgeries, 800+ syringes of flush and heprin, a bout with C-Diff, 6 ER Visits, over 100 days in the hospital, over 6500 messages of encouragment, countless meals, 100's of cards and emails, and millions of prayers and we are elated to say Chase is TREATMENT FREE!

What does this mean? Chase has crossed a huge milestone! Chase will have his urine and blood tested in May and will have a full round of scans and bone aspiration in June, If his scans are still clean he will have surgery to remove his Broviac (tube in chest) at the end of June!

Your prayers and support have carried us to a place that we were not sure we would ever see this time last year. Christine and I will meet with the oncologist later this week to get the full report of scans and answer some questions. Chase will go to the nuerosurgeon tomorrow (Tuesday) for a post-op appointment.

The words Thank you are not enough for what all of your prayers and support have meant to our family. But let today's news be proof that they do work and we feel each and every one of them. We will post the details after we meet with the oncologist and neurosugeon. Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Busy times......

There is a lot going on these days. I’ve got my final presentation tonight (then in two weeks I’ll have my final). Tomorrow is, of course, the birthday of two very good friends: Jeremy (32) & KC (Jeremy+11). This Friday night is the gala for the JSL Golf Tournament. Saturday is the JSL Golf Tournament. It’s a pricey tournament ($120/each) but overall a very fun event. Lots of free drinks the night before and at most holes on the course. In golf terms, my teams usually don’t do all that great... but by the end we’re usually having so much fun that we really don’t care. Anyway, that’s this week.

Next Friday is a very big event with my brother being the first child of my parents to enter his 40’s. Of course, he won’t be the first in his house to turn 40 since his wife did that many, many, many months ago. May 1st will see me in another golf tournament (this one is the Bethany UMC Golf Tournament). I’m still holding out hope that my new favorite church will sponsor my team in this tournament. This one doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere of the JSL tournament, but it’s only $40/each so that’s not so bad. And with the right team, it’s still fun.

As I said before, my final is on the first Tuesday in May. Then I will (hopefully) graduate on May 8th. I know it’s the day before Mother’s Day, but I’m inviting all of you to come to it. It’s in the North Charleston Coliseum at 10:00 am. The Wife wants to have a party of some kind for me afterwards (not sure of the details right now... I’ll email you).

So that’s what’s going on in my world... how are things with you?

Monday, April 19, 2010

And still champion of the backyard...

Maverick. Friends, I’ve talked before about my dogs on here once or twice so you should know who Maverick is. For those of you new to my blog (and I’m sure there are thousands everyday), Maverick is my black daschund mix who earned my love about 5 years ago when he went on a mission to rid my backyard of rats. See, we have woods behind our house and I’m sure that somehow leads to us having rats in our backyard. I have no reason to believe they’ve made it into my house, but I’ve seen them in the backyard. I didn’t want to put anything out because I was worried Lucy or Maverick would get into it and it would hurt them. Anyway, over the course of 2005, Maverick was like an assassin in his prime. Over the course of about 6 to 8 months that year he hunted down and killed five (5) rats of various sizes (mostly various medium sizes). I can remember clearly two of these kills:

1. I look out into the backyard and see Lucy standing on the top rail of the deck looking into the yard. There is Maverick shaking the hell out of a rat.

2. In the middle of a thunderstorm, Maverick bolts out of our backdoor and catches and kills a rat. I have to go out in the middle of said thunderstorm to dispose of rat and get Maverick to come back inside.

After 2005, there were no more kills. It wasn’t really his fault. It’s more like the cornerback who intercepts a bunch of passes early in his career only to have QBs never throw his way anymore. My thought was that early on, the rats were living under my deck. After 2005, I figured they moved to under my shed. Still, as I started work on tearing down my deck with my bare hands (and by bare hands I mean my Carhartt covered hands holding a circular saw or hammer or crowbar) I thought it would be best to have Maverick as my wingman. I thought there might be either rats or snakes under there and I knew of everyone in that house, Maverick was the best bet I had at help should something come up. Well, yesterday I was proven right. As I got to the part of the deck that was close to the house, Maverick got locked into something and started running back and forth. I pulled up a few more boards and then went to see what he was looking at (rats aren’t the only thing he’ll kill... lizards are also his sworn enemy). What I saw was a huge freakin’ rat (at least for this area). He was trying to get away, but Maverick was locked on and when Maverick locks... a rat has NO chance. The situation looked a lot like a rundown in baseball with the rat going back and forth in an area too narrow for Maverick to get to it. Who knows how long this would have gone on. Lucy was under a tree in the shade and didn’t look like she would be any help (didn’t shock me... see previous story). This would be a PERFECT chance for Donkey to step up and earn my respect. Maybe a chance for him to get an assist on the kill. I looked for him only to see him drinking water. He even saw the rat before going to get a drink. It’s like he has ADD or something. I couldn’t have pulled Maverick away once he got locked on. Donkey saw it and thought... “boy it’s hot out here, I’m going to go get some water”. So I took a swing at the rat and missed, but it made him adjust his route just enough to bring him up out of this narrow space he was in. He didn’t come up too much, but just enough for Maverick to attack. BOOM... just like that it was OVER! Down goes rat #6. Maverick still has what it takes. (For any of you worried about Maverick having a rat in his mouth... don’t... The Wife cleaned out his mouth as soon as she let him come inside). Here is a pic of the victim. Mary Ruth thought it was “cool”. Honestly, I haven’t seen Maverick this happy in YEARS.
I'm not sure either of these pictures really does this rat justice. He was huge. I thought he would put up a better fight, but Maverick looked like Tyson in his prime. What a great dog he is. Oh, when we went to take a pic of the rat... guess who wanted to get in it. That’s right. Donkey.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Here's the thing...

There is more budget shortage talk in the news again. School districts are trying to figure out how they are going to make it with less money next year. Here’s the thing about taxes, no body enjoys paying them but they are needed. I am of the opinion that taxes could probably be lower if everyone would pay. Of course I could be wrong. And I have no idea how many people in the area do or do not pay their taxes. We could be at 100% right now, but I doubt it. Not to get too far off topic, but I love how one political party in this country has the reputation of being a party for poor people while the other is for rich people. I also love how when the President (who is a member of the party for poor people) entered office, he had a hard time filling some of the cabinet positions because the media kept finding out none of the people nominated had paid their taxes. And it’s not like these people just owed $2,000... they owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anyway, back to the problem facing our schools. It seems that no that long ago how schools were funded was changed. Their funding doesn’t come from property tax, but from sales tax. So, to recap, our schools get their money from sales tax and it looks like they are not getting enough money. Now, as I’m sure you know, this is not something new for this year. Last year was the same way. Which leads me to ask... Why do we have a “tax free” weekend? If the state is in need of money, why do we have a weekend where we say “Nah... don’t need your money today”? Of course, the kicker is that I’m sure it would be political suicide for a politician to do away with this “Tax Holiday” because people would yell and scream and say this politician doesn’t care about poor people. Well that’s just dumb. The amount of savings for the average family over this “Tax Holiday” is minimal compared to the amount of revenue lost by the state. This loss of revenue by the state means that services provided by the state end up getting cut (and cut and cut and cut until they are eventually eliminated). Typically, these services help poor people. So, pay a little now (in sales tax) or pay a lot later (in lost services). That’s how we at I’m just sayin... see it.

As for the problems facing the local school district, some ideas have been kicked around. Some of these ideas include cutting sports and extra-curricular activities. While I of course realize the importance of classroom instruction, I also feel cutting sports and other activities (like band and things like that) would be a grave mistake. These are not just fun things that kids do after school. These are areas where kids learn life long lessons. They learn discipline. They learn how to handle adversity. And let’s face it, many kids would not take the time to walk into a classroom if they didn’t have to have a certain grade to able to play sports. I also would mess with music or art programs because while these might not be seen as “core” classes, they are the classes that help mold a well rounded student. And I of course don’t want to offend my math friends, but why is it I never hear anyone wanting to cut Calculus in a situation like this? I guarandamntee you I learned more on the baseball field at James Island that I’ve used in my life than I did in the two shots I took at Calculus. Honestly, by the time I was in middle school I had already been taught all the math I’d ever need for the job I have now.

Chase Towne Update: From 4/15 - Day 1 of scans done! Chase did a great job, he has become a little pro. He did not cry the first time when they taped him to the table. Amazing! Tomorrow is a big day. Sedation, which means no food after midnight. Please say a prayer for Chase asking for patience, understanding and safety for our Miracle Baby. Thank

Chicago Cubs Update: The Cubs fell to 4-5 yesterday.

James Island Trojans Update: JI lost to Stratford 0-2 Wednesday night. They face Beaufort tonight at home. Congrats to seniors Trey Walters and Joe Boudolf for signing national letters of intent to play college baseball. Trey signed with North Greenville while Joe signed with Southern Wesleyan. Good luck to them. Also, congrats to the Trojans who made the All HIT Team: Austin Weekley, Josh Escoffier, and Robert Moody.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hate what is evil...

I had a GREAT lunch today with my friends Ross, Jenn, KC, and LA (who I had invited but didn’t think was going to come). Oh, my youngest friend Wyatt was also there. I intended to talk about the subject of today’s blog, but we were having such a good time laughing and whatnot that I never got a chance. I think next time I have lunch with friends, I’ll email an agenda of things I’d like to talk about. One thing that was discussed is the fact that KC and I really are going to write a book. It is something we have talked about for almost two years now but my MBA schedule has always gotten in the way. Pretty soon, that will not be an issue.

I’m also thinking about writing a book on my own. A wise man once said “The only book not bought is the book not written”. I’m going to see if I can prove him wrong.

As if that is not enough, I had a GREAT idea for another book that I could co-author with a certain preacher friend of mine (who I won’t name) but SHE (oops!) didn’t seem too excited about this idea. When I have some time, I might pitch the idea again. I think its brilliant (and no, I’m not talking about a book about me... although that would be brilliant too). This idea is more along the lines of a Bible Study type book. But that’s all I’m willing to say about it right now.

As for the post for today...

I think I’ve talked about this on here before, but I want to talk a little more about it. What I’m talking about is the “church” that protests at funerals (mainly military funerals). As you know, I’m not a huge fan of protests... but that’s not the reason I am against this. I can’t help but think of the words in Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
a time to hold ‘em,
a time to fold ‘em.
a time to walk away,
a time to run.

(I think that’s from the Country Music Version of the bible).

Anyway, my point is that a funeral isn’t the time to protest. My other point is that there is a time to hate. I’m not one who usually “hates”. I dislike... but usually don’t hate. I do, however, think it’s healthy to have something you really hate. For me it’s Coastal Carolina University. Other than that, I don’t really hate. Now, I have something else to add to the list. People who do what these people do are bad enough... but the fact that these people do this under the cover of being a “church” disgusts me. First off, I question if this really is a church. It’s made up of about 50 or so people, almost all related to the “pastor”. Just because you call yourself a church, doesn’t make you a church. This group sounds more like a cult than a church. Of course, this cult is protesting because they feel the US is being too nice to gay people (or something like that). I’ll be honest, Homosexuality is a topic that I struggle with. I don’t really agree with it, but I’m not ready to condemn homosexuals. We had a real preacher talk to our Sunday school class about a year or two ago on the subject. I was hoping she would tell me how to feel but all she did was ride the fence. I get that there are strong feelings on both sides. I’m not going to debate the issue of homosexuality. What I AM going to debate is the issue of when and where people should protest.

If this cult protested day and night outside of the Capital Building or the White House, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. If they protested states that allowed same-sex marriages, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But to protest at a funeral just ain’t right. And the signs that these people carry! Don’t even get me started on that. A father of a fallen solider sued this cult for protesting his son’s funeral. He won. Then the ruling got reversed because the court said the protest by the church (their words, not mine) was protected under the First Amendment. As you know, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. Now, anyone over the age of 18 with even half a brain knows that “freedom of speech” doesn’t give you the freedom to say any & everything you want. A prime example is you cannot yell “fire” in a theater (unless, I’m assuming, the theater really is on fire). Freedom, you see, is a tricky thing. With it, I believe, comes responsibility. This cult has proven to me that they are not responsible with the freedom they have been given. What they do is pick on people who are hurting. This cult sits on their high horse and kicks people while they’re down. The fact that they call themselves a church is even worse. Why? Because there are people in this world who are looking for a reason to not believe in Christ. Because this cult goes around calling itself a church, there are people who are going to say “See! That is what Christianity is all about! I knew it! Don’t talk to me about Jesus when these people supposedly follow him”. That might be what I hate the most about this situation. My first thought in all of this has always been to shoot one of the protesters. Note, I didn’t say kill them... just shoot them in the arm or the leg. I go back to something Coach Hatley once told me about coaching (something, he said, Coach Port had passed on to him) and that is you don’t have to punish everyone. Just pick someone and make an example out of them. I think this advice would work in this situation. You don’t have to shoot all of them.... just make an example of one of them. That, at least, is my first thought. So I did what I should do for everything... I turned to the Bible to see what it suggested. As you know, I am a big fan of Paul (the one in the Bible and the one in the Beatles... but here I’m talking about the one in the Bible). There is a verse in Romans that I is on my mind a lot (Romans 12:9). Had I just stuck with that verse, I think I would have been ok. But I kept reading through Romans 21. Here is what it says (with my comments):

9Love must be sincere (no problem). Hate what is evil (CHECK! Boo Coastal Carolina! And someone grab my gun... we’re going protester hunting); cling to what is good (Check! Go Eagles!). 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (ok). Honor one another above yourselves (What? Has this verse always been in here?). 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord (sounds good to me). 12Be joyful in hope (Go Cubs!), patient in affliction (I’m a Cubs fan), faithful in prayer (No problem). 13Share with God's people who are in need (I give). Practice hospitality (ok).

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Hmm... this isn’t really going where I want it to). 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (so at least this cult is wrong too). 16Live in harmony with one another (this isn’t really me). Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited (Haha... wait, he wasn’t kidding?).

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil (crap). Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody (uh oh). 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge (Aw man!), my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." (Now THIS I like) 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So it doesn’t look like my “just shoot one of them” idea is going to work. However, this is a perfect time to again bring up my (not so new anymore) favorite song, Pray for You. I’m sure some of you still haven’t bought this song (like I told you to do), so I will quote some of the lyrics (to give you an idea of what it’s like):

I haven’t been to church since I don’t remember when
Things were goin’ great ‘til they fell apart again
So I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can’t go hatin’ others who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do His job and you just pray for them

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you

I had something else I wanted to talk about today, but I don’t remember what it is now. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Chase Towne Update (all from his dad or mom):

Since the last time we spoke, there have been a few updates on Chase. Here they are now (in order, I think):

From 3/30: Chase is asleep in his bed at home tonight. He will report to the "mountain house" in the morning. The actual surgery is scheduled for 10:50am. After surgery he is scheduled to spend the night in the PICU and then hopefully a few days with his angels in 7B. After dinner tonight unprovoked Olivia announced "I gonna give Chase lots of hugs cause I love him and gonna miss him while he is at the hospital." Please say a prayer for a loving sister, skillful surgeons and God's speed and protection for our miracle baby! Thank You, all of your thoughts, cards, phone calls, and prayers are felt and appreciated!

From 3/31: Chase is safe and resting in the PICU. It was an extremely long day. Of course things were running late at the hospital. The anesthesiologist did not take Chase back until 12:30pm. It was almost 2pm before the actual surgery started and it took the full 4 hours. By the time he was settled in the PICU so we could see him it was 8pm. When we saw him he grinned a big grin. Poor guy has 5 tubes and at least 10 wires coming out of him and has to feel bad but found the courage to grin for his mom and dad. What a fighter! It was a brief visit (20MIN) and then downstairs for a "quick" hour long MRI. Then back up too the PICU and hopefully to finally rest after a long day. Chase handled everything in stride, the surgery went off without complications. The surgeon was able to cut out all of the tumor on the bottom side and most of it on the top side. The top side was near a large vein and had a lot of scar tissue from the chemo. So he was not able to remove all of it b/c of this large vein. They will be able to tell more after the pathology of the tumor is done. God willing all that is left in Chase's skull is DEAD scar tissue. We have been unbelievable blessed so far on this journey so for now we will celebrate that Chase is safe and resting. Hopefully in a few weeks we can all celebrate that there is no "live" growth in Chase's skull. Please keep Chase in your prayers that recovery is speedy and painless as possible. Thank you for the UNBELIEVABLE support of our Miracle Baby.

From 4/1: Post-op stinks! Chase slept for about 5 hours last night. He woke up at 4:30am (Thursday morning) and has been miserable ever since. They have tried more and less of all of his pain meds but nothing seems to take the edge off. About an hour ago (10:30pm Thursday night) they started a new pain med and he is finally sleeping. Hopefully this will be the right "mixture" to get him some relief. Chase got all 5 of the surgical tubes and drains removed today. They think some of his discomfort is some of the drainage fluid may be spinal fluid which would cause headaches. Not to mention he is cut from just above his left ear all the way over to just above the right ear and had a piece of his skull removed, and then reattached. About the only smiles and grins today were when Christine got here this morning and when we let Chase and Olivia "talk" on the phone. Chase got pretty excited for a few minutes when he heard Olivia's voice. As I reread the above it sounds pretty negative, today was definitely a tough day, However when I look to the left and to the right of Chase's bed here in the PICU and see the other patients, We are still blessed. Not to mention Chase is handling all of this pain much, much better than his dad would. Christine and I both would take all of his pain if we could, but I am man enough to admit Chase handles it better than I ever would. Please pray for some relief in pain for our Miracle Baby!

From 4/2: Hey everyone, Christine here. Chase is doing a little better today. He is resting in his own room with no alarms and no whistles!! Thank you, Thank you. They will only check him hourly now, so maybe he will catch up on some much needed rest. He is still on a Dilaudid pump, but hopefully they can wean him down tomorrow. Once he was in his room, he took a long nap and then he wanted to head to the atrium. That was a sign that either he was feeling better or feeling some good pain medicine. He even ate a "Dot Dog" for lunch. (see pic) He was so exhausted that he fell asleep sitting straight up eating his chicken and broccoli. Olivia came to see him this afternoon, but he was a little crabby from his nap. When he would cry Olivia would say " it's ok, Chase, sister's here now." Oh, it makes me want to cry! So sweet. I just want to wish everyone a Happy Easter in case I do not make another comment this weekend. Somehow EVERYTIME I try to make one, the computer malfunctions and it gets erased before I have posted it. I have built up a little anxiety posting comments because it always gets erased and whooooo that makes me very angry! I say computer, Chuck says I'm the problem. Ha Ha. Please be safe and enjoy the weekend. We feel especially grateful this weekend and thank God everyday for all of you. Happy Easter! Love, Christine

From 4/3: Hey, Christine here. Happy Easter to us!! Hopefully the Easter Bunny will be visiting us at HOME! Doctors said he was doing so well, that we could be discharged. Of course it didn't go as smoothly as we wanted. We were actually leaving the hospital and Chase was telling all the nurses’ good-bye and blahhhh...he threw up all over the counter and floor. Ugh! Back in our room we went. Dr. came and felt comfortable enough to let him go, because he wasn't showing any neurological abnormalities. He just said to watch him very closely. He did not move very much when he got home. Hopefully, with a full nights rest, he will be more energetic tomorrow. Olivia was soooooo excited when she found out the Easter Bunny might visit tonight. Of course we will remind her tomorrow what the real meaning of Easter is. Thank you for all the prayers. We are sooo blessed to be home again and all together under the same roof on such a special day. May God Bless all of you. Happy Easter Love, Christine

From 4/5: As they say a picture is worth a 1000 words. The latest pic reflects the last 48hrs at home. The scar on his head goes from just above his left ear in a rainbow shape over to just above his right ear. Chase has not left one of our laps for very long since he has been home. He did help Olivia find Easter eggs yesterday morning, briefly. It is hard to tell what he wants or needs as he can not tell you. The one thing he does communicate is he does not feel well. Olivia continues to take good care of him. She even pushed a stool over to his crib and crawled into bed with him this morning, in a effort to console him when he was crying. It is tough to see him feeling miserable, but I guess we will enjoy the "holding" time for now. Hopefully in a few days he will be running with his sister. Please pray for some relief for our Miracle baby as he battles thru this recovery! Thank you!

From 4/7: Hey everyone, Christine here. Today is a new day. Chase is still very tired, but again the pic speaks 1000 words. He was out playing with the hose which he loves!!! We also got the results from pathology and from what Chuck and I can understand, the tumor they removed from Chase's head was classified as a ganglioneuroma. We are pretty sure that if the chemo works correctly, the neuroblastoma turns into ganlioneuromas which are more benign tumors. The oncologist was very pleased with the results, but said we will know more after his scans next Thurs and Fri. I hope my understanding of all this is correct, because I am ecstatic about the news. I don't want to jump the gun until after scans, but I am one happy Mommy today!!!! Thank you everyone for praying for my baby through all of this. Love you all, Christine

From 4/11: Chase has enjoyed a nice weekend at home. He has just about recuperated from surgery. He still has trouble sleeping thru the night and his stamina is still not 100%. Other than that he is a 20 month old baby boy trying to grow up and fight cancer. We have been praying for strength and we got it. He goes hard following his sister everywhere, including the top of every slide and swing. Chase just had his skull opened up and still has stitches in his head. So Christine and I have been doing a lot running, swinging and sliding, keeping up with both of them to ensure he does not bump his head. This is not a complaint, nothing makes us prouder to see his smile as he comes down the slide. We hace enjoyed the down time, but it is back to business next week. Monday, Chase goes to clinic for a check-up, then he will have scans on Thursday and Friday. Please pray for our Miracle Baby as he starts a busy week of appointments and scans.

From 4/13: Just a quick note to let you know Chase is doing fine. Clinic yesterday went well. Blood counts looked good and incision looked good. Chase will have a full day of scans on Thursday and Friday. Then on Saturday Chase and Olivia are supposed to be in their Uncle and Aunt's (to be) wedding. It will be Monday or Tuesday next week before we get the results from scans. It will be an anxious and busy weekend. Please say a prayer for patience and safety for Chase as he undergoes another round of testing. Thank you for the continued support of our Miracle Baby!

Cleveland Cavs Update: Just great.

Chicago Cubs Update: The Cubs are 4-4 after beating the Brewers today.

Pittsburgh Steelers Update: Big Ben... Oh Big Ben... (as I shake my head).

James Island Trojans Update: The Trojans are 14-4 (3-1) heading into their game tonight vs. Stratford.

Don’t forget to checkout my spin-off blog I thought you might like this. It has funny emails that have been forwarded to me by friends.