Monday, August 15, 2016



It has been quite a while since I lasted posted anything to this blog.  It is partly because of my fall on 8/9/10 and partly because of Hurricane Sandy, but mostly because writing is hard work and having lost the momentum it was just easy not to be motivated and restart. However, if I take the time to think about it the “itch” has continued to surfaced from time to time over the last 6 years and has become all but impossible to ignore recently.  Because I’m interpreting the events of last Tuesday, August 9, 2016, to be more than a very big coincidence I decided to restart the blog with “this” story about the last couple months.
If you don’t know this already, my wife and I do a good bit of sailing. We got hooked on sailing with an old Hobiecat 16 almost 20 years ago. Since than, being on the water and under sail has been a big part of our lives. On 8/9/2010 I made a small mistake, one that came very close to being the end of me,, and one that everyone, including me, thought was the end of our sailing days. After my fall, hospitalization, more than a few surgeries, many hours of PT/OT and countless prayers I was able to transition back –over time- into a normal, with some small modification, life.  
On October 29, 2012 hurricane Sandy came ashore on the NJ coast. We live at ground 0, right where the eye of the storm made landfall on the mainland. Houses all around us were devastated. We lost both our cars to the flood and had 18" of water in the ground floor of our house. Watermarks on the outside of the house show that the flood waters peaked between 3 and 4' on the outside of our house. Somehow, with Gods great help, the storm damage, insurance company snafu’s, repair work, car replacements and the associated overwhelming financial needs all eventually worked out. In order to stay afloat financially couple times we sold off just about everything that we could. It’s remarkable what you can sell of Craigslist.  I even tried a couple of times to sell the sailboat to fill the obvious huge $ gap between what was coming in and what was going out. But regardless of how low I was willing to go on the price we were prevented, somehow, from doing so. Eventually, when the time was right, like “the birds of the air”, all the needs became met.  Life returned to a new normal.
This past winter a false spring in March gave me the chance to get an early start of prepping the boat and an early launch, and then winter returned. The ready and waiting sailboat rode out the late cold and snowstorms floating at her dock. After the thaw I began making plans for an extended sail, and then one of our three daughters needed her mom’s help with a new and first baby. It was a delight to be delayed for grandchild #10.
My bride finished up Nanny duty in the first week of June. She was well worn out and needed a week or so to refresh her batteries from seven or eight weeks of spending three – five days each week in NYC.
As she rested up we began making plans to cast off on the high tide June 11 or 12.  We were dead set on getting out for a couple weeks.
           * All the while I occasionally felt the nudge to return to writing. I didn't pay attention*
On June 10, 2016, walking out the front door to check the mail, I twisted my ankle and broke a bone in my left foot. My right arm is very well plated and screwed together and my right elbow frozen, remnants of the 8/9/10 fall so I cannot use crutches. In order to give me some mobility the doctor put me in a walking boot. "This should take 6 weeks or so to heal." He said.  I set my sights on a new "cast off" date. HA!
At my first follow up visit with the Ortho Doc. 2 weeks later. Fast healing, all is good, I’m making plans to sail. So I get sloppy about always wearing the boot.
Second follow up, not so good. Instead of great progress the X-ray shows regress. The break looks bigger, to us, than it did on the first x-ray.
Now I get very serious with the boot.
Thursday morning, 7/26/ 2016 my sister calls. Our dad has had a seizure of some sort and is being taken by ambulance to the emergency room.  We later learn that the seizure was a massive stroke. I have an appointment for my foot with my Orth Doc the same day at 1 pm.
For months I have been trying to plan and to get out for a long sailing trip.  Despite trying my best to pull it off, “something” keeps getting in the way. These somethings are not necessarily bad things; In fact some of them are really good and wonderful things. But that doesn’t change the fact that I no matter how much I plan, we just can’t start the trip. For five weeks I have been kicking myself for turning my ankle and breaking my foot now the thought begins to emerge, “OK, so my foot is to have kept me home for this morning?”  Had I not broken my foot, or had it healed as expected we would have been out to sea, we might have been a hundred miles away. It could have taken us days to get back to help mom and Dad, if I had sailed.

Two more weeks slowly pass we head out to the Ortho Doc’s office for my third visit, now at 7 weeks from breaking my left foot.  The x-ray shows some healing; it is starting to look good again. I am disappointed to hear "Keep the boot on for another couple weeks and make a new appointment".
After leaving the doctors we get a call from our daughter, the new mother, the baby has a virus and has been banned from daycare for a week. Our daughter has some important meetings that no one else can cover. We are happy to help. I'm thinking to myself. “Wow, are we ever going to start this trip?”” But then if my foot wasn't broke we wouldn't have been here for Mom and Dad and now to help with the baby too”, so my foot break is starting to = a good thing. Little did I know.

On August 3rd I mentioned to my wife that "the boot" must be really worn out. I'm having some tenderness in my left calf where the top strap hits my leg. Not that I haven't been exploiting the term walking boot at all.

The visit with the Ortho Doc on Aug. 9th goes well, lots of healing. I am delivered from “the boot”, I am given a small, by comparison, ankle brace. In my mind’s eye I can see the coming Friday high tide and us sailing out the cut for a few days.  Just before we are done with the doctor, my wife mentions my casual complaint about my calf. Very quickly the doctor turns around and stoops down to inspect my left calf. Then he tells us that he wants me to go “right over to the hospital and have an ultrasound, right away”. His expression had quickly turned from satisfaction to obvious concern. He says I could have and he does not want to take any chance. Around the block to the hospital we go. His referral scrip says STAT across the top.
While waiting at the hospital, for what seems a very long time, I hate waiting, I am working hard to not get a bad attitude about the hospital and what, at that moment I am interpreting as, their apparent lack of efficiency.  The truth be told, I have been fighting against a bad attitude with regards to the delays to my plans, sailing in particular for quite some time. “First it’s the foot, now looking for a possible blood clot, will I ever be able to cast off?” Eventually I am called back for my ultrasound after what seems to me a lifetime of waiting, but in reality is not long at all.  While the ultrasound technician does the test I'm watching the monitor thinking that the dark mass in the center of the image are clear veins. In my thoughts I am comparing the ultrasound on my leg with the sonar on my boat and trying to think of something clever to say about it when the test is finished. Technicians normally will not tell a patient what they see or find, leaving the diagnoses up to a doctor, but I hope with a little levity I can get her to tell me how well I am. When she finishes she says "I'm sorry to have to tell you this but you do have a clot. And it's a big one it goes from your groin to behind your knee. I need to take you to emergence right now. Don’t get up. I’m going to get a wheel chair”.   The date is August 9, 2016. Exactly 6 years from the fall that almost killed me.
While lying on the table, having a quiet conversation in my head, I pray " now what". Again the idea of writing returns. It seems an odd answer that at that moment, after just hearing that I have a big blood clot in my left leg that I would think the answer is “to write”. Frankly, I would rather think or hear, go sail.
I mentioned to the technician, then tell the triage nurses at emergence, and then to everyone who comes to check on me in emergence, that I already have a Greenfield filter, a left over from the clot in my leg caused by my fall in 2010.  After a round of blood tests the ER doctor gives me some blood thinner pills, a prescription for more and instructed me to follow up with my own doctor. Then they send me home with instructions to treat my left leg like it is made of glass for the time being.
I learned the next day, from my Doctor that the old Greenfield filter is now, because of its age, quite useless. It should have been removed years ago. Nobody is saying much about how ugly this event could have turned out. Dad's recent stroke had caused us to have already done some research on clots and what they often lead to. 
I don't normally go around trying to ascribe "meaning" to every little thing but this chain of seemingly unrelated events, all lining up for "the good" is hard to overlook. The fact that this all comes to a climax on the    anniversary of my fall is the frosting on the cake. One nurse in emergency, when she heard about the fall six years past said "with your bad luck you should just stay in bed" I told her that I think I must have very good luck, after all I’m still alive. I neglected to mention I don't believe in luck at all.
Dad's recovery has been Amazing. His speech is restored. He has regained the ability to walk and to care for himself, possibly better than before the stroke.  He is being discharged to home on 8/13.
As for that nagging thought about writing; the old saying goes, every journey begins with a single step, in this case with a few typed words.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The needy are Christ's Brothers

Shantytown Clothing Drive Your HELP is needed.

Seven Ocean County Churches have joined forces to help the homeless. Most people think of homelessness as a “big city” problem. Few of us living in Ocean, Monmouth and Atlantic Counties are truly aware of the growing needs of the homeless in our own towns.
Did you know that on any given night, in your town, families are sleeping in their cars? That veterans are hoping to find a warm dry place to spend the night? That the folks you stand in line with at the supermarket or in the Wawa may be homeless. The unmentioned causalities of the financial, employment, mortgage, and housing crisis are those who have run out of options. Along with a place to stay the homeless also needs clothing and food. One out of five Americans go to sleep each night hungry. Over 1% of our population experiences some level of homelessness. In Ocean County alone that equates to 5,750 experiencing some level of homelessness, 38% of these are children! (Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, July 2009)
To help draw attention to this need, participants of all ages, sponsored through local churches will become homeless, for a night. Shantytown, calls awareness and draws attention to the severity of this local need. Shantytown will take place at Manahawkin Lake Park. The event is scheduled to begin Saturday November 19th and end Sunday November 20th.

How YOU can help

Participants will spend the night homeless sleeping in boxes. Please consider giving a night to this need and or help those donating their night to this cause. Donations raised by the Shantytown “homeless” participants will benefit the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

At Shantytown we will be collecting Clothing and Canned Food.
New Clothing, new or gently used * and washed* as well as canned food.

We are requesting that Clothing and Canned Food be collected at your local church or organization and delivered to Shantytown (aka Manahawkin Lake Park, Manahawkin NJ) between 4:30 and 7 PM November 19th. If you need that we can arrange to pick up your collections of donated clothing and food PLEASE email me at to schedule a pickup. Please include your name, church or organization name, contact phone number and the best time to reach you in your email.
Anyone wishing to make financial contribution, small or large, Please also contact me through Email and we can work out the details.

Jesus called “those in need” His brothers and sisters. He said that what we do for His brothers and sisters we do for Him. Matt 25:40.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Sabbith Rest

Here is a thought to lift you a bit.
One persons "storm damage" is another’s daily bread. He cares for mankind in both a global method and in personal at the same moment. Interpreting the ‘climate’ of our individual little world as a small bit of the structure and plan of the Almighty is a key component of entering into His Sabbath rest. (Heb. 4:9-11)

God Speed

Sunday, August 28, 2011

He feeds the birds

Storm Irene, I hate to complement it by calling it a hurricane- no disrespect intended for those who actually dealt with hurricane conditions- was more of a inconvenience then an event. Winds here toped at 33.3. The “storm Surge” amounted to less than an average winter nor’easter (for us) . The worst of the storm we were at high tide and the storm added 3 maybe 4’ to the tide. Little to no serious damage in the few blocks around us. This may have been an economic stimulus action. It sure caused a lot of gas and provision purchasing.

All that being said the shore birds are having a feast. The storm cleaned and washed the meadows of acres of dead vegetation into the bay which are full of food sources for the birds. Brings to mind how the Lord cares for the need of the birds.

Too often when “storms” come along we look at them and cry “why God? “ not thinking that our misfortune, for the moment, is providing blessings to other of his creation. In this case we were troubled for a while by a storm that is feeding the birds.

How awesome is such a God that he cares even for the birds! Consider how he cares and loves each of us!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

where your treasure is

If I bash the President some will cheer others will sneer
If I preach the Rapture many will repose, others will thumb their nose
If I promote conservation some will hug a tree – shout with glee
If I build a faster car the sales line will grow far
Another Gadget- most must have it
A new toy and we are filled with joy

Posta comment about hunger and the Sound of Silence echoes on
I have to wonder we kneel at our alters ignoring the answer in the wind.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

hungry? thirsty?

The other morning I caught part of a TV show with James and Betty Robinson. I have a little history with James Robinson, he spent a week teaching at my alma-mater. Jim was much more full of vinegar back then. Apparently he and I have spent some time in the same rock-tumbler.

Coincidently I am currently reading a book by Brenan Manning “the Ragamuffin Gospel” (Brenan also shared residence in the tumbler. ) The night before I caught Jim and Barbra on TV and saw a vid clip from them about their water well projects I read from Brenan that 1 in 5 Americans go to bed hungry. What a sobering thought! While mainstream America stands in line to purchase the latest 4G gadget there are people, probably within walking distance, who don’t have enough food.

I did a very little research and found

Apparently Brenan’s numbers may be slightly off, BUT not by much.

Here are some of the numbers
• In 2009, 43.6 million people (14.3 percent) were in poverty.
• In 2009, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33 million adults and 17.2 million children
Before your defense systems go into overdrive to explain why this isn’t “my” problem please another look above. “ 17.2 million children” Just to put that number into perspective that is 2 time the entire population of the state of NJ or almost equal to the entire population of the State of New York. Just think about that for a moment. Enough children to populate the entire state of New York are without enough food. AND THIS IS IN AMERICA!

Right now in the land of plenty, (where over 20% of the population is obese *) 40 MILLION Americans are hungry and may go to bed that way. Worse still is that tomorrow looks no better.

That begs the question, What “shall” we do about it?
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matt.25: 37-40

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Regarding Comas

My daughter Jenn came and Had dinner with Katherine and I last night to celebrate my “return from the dead” see blog posts dated 7/11. 1/17 & 8/15.

During the course of the evening our talk naturally returned to those strange days of the come. They talked about what was going on around me and to me from those who medically cared for me and those who love me (sometimes the same people). I spoke of what I recalled and dreamed.

My perceptions of those days/hours and weeks are at times somewhat strange and vastly different from reality (?) but there is cohesiveness between the two. Sometimes it is clear and obvious- sometimes veiled.

I have had the chance since I woke up to talk to others who have lived in that shadow world and all agree that they were aware of the time. The awareness varies but we were aware.

Here is my point. If you are caring for, praying for or holding the hand of someone trapped in “that darkness” be aware, they hear you. They are alone in a place that is very confusing, very lonely and at times-many times—most of the time terrifying. Speak softly to them, they need you now more than you can ever understand.