Saturday, August 22, 2009

A not-so Elegant Stinkhorn; or There's a fungus among us

As I went to our backyard Saturday morning to "pick up the dog doo, hope that it's hard" in preparation for cutting grass, I spied something strange sticking out of the ground just at the base of our steps.

It looked like a carrot growing the wrong way. I touched it and it felt spongy. Figured it was some sort of fungus, and it definitely looked, well, phallic-like.

At the very least, it looked silly.

Or, maybe the backyard was flipping me off.

Anyway, I did what any other normal, adult male with a juvenile mind would do. I called out my wife, Amy, and our kids to have them have a look at it.

This evening, while searching for "carrot orange fungus," I found that the odd thing sticking out of my yard was an Elegant Stinkhorn. Neither Amy nor I had seen anything like it before.

Being that it gave us a bit of a chuckle this morning, thought I'd share it with you.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Everyone's a critic

Neither my wife nor I claim to be musically-inclined. And, our youngest daughter would seem to agree -- at least when it come to my wife's singing! ;)

Just wonder what she would do if I sang!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Doing a little maintenance

For a couple or so months, I've been meaning to update my blogroll (see Links there in the right column) with new blogs I've discovered personally and professionally. So, I've started to do that. And, I will continue to do that periodically.

That's all. Go about your business or feel free to browse my past posts if you're new. Regardless, thank you for the visit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life is precious

My family received sad news this weekend that the daughter of my wife's cousin killed herself this week.

She was married, but no kids; in her mid 40s; and we did know her, though she lived in California. We don't have too many details on the suicide, but the one detail we'll never really get is why.

There is no good reason for suicide. There really always is hope; you just need faith. But, unfortunately, not everyone has faith -- faith in God.

While Debbie is gone in a selfish act, the pain for her husband, her mom and dad, brother and other family and friends remains. While time will soothe the pain, I wonder if it will ever truly heal it. Maybe for my wife and her family (and me), but not really. We'll still have a sad feeling in our hearts for the life that Debbie took. And, for her more immediate family, I can't imagine what they have, are and will go through. I can only pray for them and offer whatever words and actions may try to console them.

I say life is precious because, while Debbie took hers, I read this weekend of a woman who doesn't want to lose her life.*

The 61-year-old was given four to six months to live when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October. She battled cancer before and beat it. This time, she was told it was terminal.

“I am blessed and I feel blessed for every day that I have with family and friends … and sometimes I am mad. I beat it. Why do I have to do it again? Is this the way it is going to end? It is hard when you are told four to six months. You don’t know when it is going to happen.”

Later in the story:

Since her diagnosis, Beverly has planned her funeral, thankful for the time to say goodbye. She has selected photos, chosen music and decided what she will wear at her funeral. She’s bought (her husband) Rick a gift for his January birthday, which she hopes to give to him in person, and she has her grandson’s graduation gift ready for March. Her goal is to make it to her 62nd birthday in April.

“I have had a good life and I am blessed for every single minute that I have had. I am really, truly blessed. Sometimes I don’t think this is fair and I get mad and everything, and then I turn around the next minute and all of my blessings show through.”

Life is so very precious.

Debbie had hers but took it away.

Beverly wants hers, but will lose it.

Be sure you cherish your life, and love those around you.


*Beverly and her husband, both retired, do not have health insurance, survivor benefits, and face funeral expenses. If you wish to help and/or are in Northwest Ohio, there is a fundraising benefit for Beverly (also noted in the story):

Fundraising benefit from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 21 at K.D. Alexander’s Beauty and Relaxation, 7015 Lighthouse Way, Suite 2, Perrysburg. Services available will include chair massages, mini facials, brow wax, hairstyling and haircuts. All donations will go toward Beverly Kanthak’s medical bills and expenses. A 50-50 raffle and silent auction for gift baskets will also take place. To make a donation, call (419) 277-4329.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Growing up, and keeping the faith

For the first time last Sunday, I saw my mom as being old.

She'll turn 74 in another week or so, but was never old until Sunday.

I try to make sure we talk, even if only briefly, once a week. She watches the kids often enough, so that usually takes care of it. She was over just the previous Monday, but around 4 p.m. Sunday, I decided to call and talk.

She didn't sound right. A bit slow in her talk and possibly disoriented. I found out she had had a migraine for several days -- she had them when she was younger, but not recently, as far as I know. So, I thought maybe it was the medicine talking.

I paid her a surprise visit (about a 25 minute drive), and didn't feel any better. I left, returned home and later that evening, after talking with her again, my wife and I decided to be "better safe than sorry." So, I convinced her she should go to the ER. My niece (living with her) called 911, and I was on my way back across town to meet the ambulance at the ER.

By 5 a.m. Monday morning, I was back home -- after a CT scan showed some blood around my mom's front right temple, she was transferred to another hospital and admitted. My sister was there too, for most of the early morning.

Right now, she doesn't seem serious, as the doctors think the blood will dissipate, and there shouldn't be any permanent damage. But, she can't be alone so she is staying with us for a couple weeks until the next CT scan to check things out.

But, things like that aren't supposed to happen to my mom. Yes, my dad died nearly three years ago after a long battle with cancer. I never really saw him as old, just sick -- but he never really was sick until towards the end.

So, that's part of my current story.

The other part has to do with timing -- and why things happen when they happen.

I was laid off in August. So, I've been looking for a job, seeking freelance work and other activities. On Monday -- that same Monday when I didn't get to bed until 5 a.m. -- I had a third interview for a really cool and nearly ideal job. From talking with a company representative, it seemed like I was its primary candidate. I was very optimistic.

But, Wednesday, I found out the company was going with someone else.

Think what you want, but there's a "big picture" reason why I didn't get that job now. With four kids, a puppy and now my mom -- sometimes confused and disoriented -- living with us for a couple weeks, there's no way my wife could handle it all if I went back to work soon. She even said that this evening.

So, I'm still at home, continuing with the freelance projects underway and seeking a job.

That's no coincidence. That is God's will.

I have always been a strong believer in God and had faith in his role in my life. But, since my wife became pregnant with our youngest daughter, my faith has grown exponentially.

Another strong example is when Hanson approached me and hired me -- at a salary that enabled my wife to stay at home after our daughter was born.

And, since being laid off by Hanson, there have been enough times, even minute ones, where I can see why I was laid off when I was. The latest with my mom is definitely not minute, but the timing of me being laid off is definitely a clear indication that it is part of God's will.

In many ways, I feel a sense of relief believing that my life really is not in my hands. I still play an active part, and need to do my best. But, ultimately, it's not up to me. Ultimately, it's up to God.

And, I just need to keep the faith.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Growing up?

Last week, as I was spending time with my youngest son (7yo), tucking him into bed, he asked me, "I don't know why I'm asking this, but, what do you like to do?"

I paused and said a few things like playing and spending time with him and his brother and sisters; enjoy running, though haven't done it in a couple years; enjoy reading (though again, haven't done a lot of late, offline), and another thing or two.

The first thing that hit me after I left his room is that, he's thinking about others. Not like being unselfish, but looking at others' perspective, in a way. He probably never thought much before that his mother and I might like to do certain things.

The second thing that hit me is that, I don't do much just because I like to. Of course, I spend time with and play with my kids (though, not as much as I want to, particularly of late). But, that's easy. I love them and they mean the world to me. So, of course, playing with them is something I like to do.

But what else? I really don't have anything new to add (while blogging is something I like, I'm thinking more along the lines of real world, offline activities). And, the things I do like to do -- like running -- I really haven't done all that often.

So, is this part of the stage of life where being a husband, a father and an employee pretty much consume my life?

I'm not complaining, but am wondering that I should start taking more time to do things I like -- particularly playing with my kids.

Oh well, time to go let the pupply out one last time for the night.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How can you tell that sin pays?

Because the devil is in tails, and Jesus wears a robe.


(Okay, I don't believe that, but did say that this weekend while running around with the family. Forget exactly what inspired it, but thought it was cute -- and did get a chuckle from my wife. Of course, I'm taking about the monetary "pay" type, not the eternity kind. For that, Jesus wins hands down.)