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Archive for the tag “thanks!”

Halloween 2018

I know, I know… Halloween was so last month.

I am sorry.

I was either out of town mentally or physically these last few weeks but I did want to try to squeeze in a Halloween post for friends and family before I get a holiday behind…ahhh….

I mean, get behind one holiday post when another  holiday comes.

I am such a procrastinator.

Anyway, here are fun, happy, sweet pictures of my two little delicate flowers…


How embarrassing.

They seem to be beating up my Halloween decorations.

At first they were both going to be Greek Goddesses. You know how I like a Greek Goddess. But after wearing her’s for 3 days in a row, Dylan decided to make her own outfit by combining a Super Girl top with a Wonder Woman bottom.

Skye, and her goddess self (she is Greek after all), stayed home this year to hand out candy with mom while lil D and I hit the pavements in search of some treats.

Again the neighborhood did not disappoint as far as the decorations.

These people really go all out!

When I was little all we put out was a jack-o-lantern with a candle inside…that never seemed to make it through the night

This house, D and I both thought the Lord of the Rings looking guy was part of the decorations. But the stolic relic moved!
And handed out some candy..


And as the sun began to set, the neighborhood began to come alive with lights and tricks and treats…


One of my fav houses actually had a sign out front “Trick Or Drinks” in which they had a picnic table set up with cold local microbrews..

It was a popular house with the adults!

So since it was at the end of our walk,

…and we were headed home soon I thought I might try a Lowcountry Lager,

prostate be damned! (cool Halloween pun)

I did not go all out decorating at our house this year.


Come on!?

Its football season! My weekends are tied up!

But I did get lots of rav-reviews for one decoration, my fountain of blood.

mawah ha-ha-ha-ha (scary laugh)

So you wanted to know what I was dressed up as?

I know what you are thinking….

This year I dressed up as a parent

…and a 3-headed monster…

mawah ha-ha-ha-ha

No really cool videos this year, but I did reminisce  about one from years gone by as our little D went door to door. And then at the end of the video the little 3 year old divides up her candy booty and organizes it.

She separates it for a special surprise celebration….her marriage.

If you can stomach family videos the end is too cute! But I have to say that.

The video actually starts out at a Halloween 5K I was in, then moves over to our local Texas Roadhouse where the manager had a fondness for our girls ( I do not mean that in a creepy way)

Trick or Treat everyone!

I hope yours was scary and sweet.

That is all for now. I will try to do a better job next month when we highlight our Thanksgiving..

Enjoy your holiday!

Some Fun on the Fourth

I hope all my fellow US’ers reading this post had a great 4th of July holiday.

Its funny, my girls have so much fun saying, “Cinco de Mayo” two months earlier in May. I try to explain to them the two holidays are similar; at least as far as gaining Independence as a nation.

Our church always does a nice job on our 4th holiday t commemorate some importance of our holiday.


“God of our Father’s, whose Almighty hand hath made and preserved our nation, grant that our people may understand what they celebrate of the 4th of July. May they remember how bitterly our Freedom was won, the down payment which was made for it, the installments that have been made since this republic was born, and the price that must be paid for our liberty.

May freedom be seen not as a right to do as we please but the opportunity to do what is right. May it ever be understood that our Liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be something that is not merely stamped upon our coins but expressed in our hearts..

Let us as a nation not be afraid of standing alone for the rights of all since we were born that way, as the only nation on earth that came into being ” for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” We know that we should be true to the Pilgrim’s dream when we are true to the God they worshiped.

To the extent that America honors thee, wilt thou bless America, and keep her true as thou hast kept her free, and make her good as thous hast made her rich. Let us not grow weary in working for the good of all, use us to show forth Your new creation.”

July 3rd, 1947

Peter Marshall, former Chaplain to the US Senate.

Our church service does a good job in reminding us not to take our liberty for granted. And we have been trying instill that into our girls.

So on the 4th, we were each ‘granted’ the opportunity to work 6 hours.


Then I came home and mowed the lawn and cleaned  the pool in my sweat drenched cabana-boy outfit while my girls swam and played in it. I got in just as quick as I could after working in the mid 90’s heat.

They went to take a nap for a while as they had 4th of July party scheduled for late night on that Monday.

They are up and they are ready to party!

They are ready to party!

So I grabbed a lounge chair and an adult refreshing beverage, dug out my old portable speakers, found the Jimmy Buffett channel on YouTube, got real comfortable and mentally went on vacation for the next two hours.


It was like the neighborhood was vacant. No one was there. No one stirred. No cars. It was like everyone was out of town.

Peace and quiet.

Giving me time to I appreciate what our forefathers had accomplished for my generation…..

Ok I fell asleep.

I got fried!

Southern fried

Southern fried

Well a tap on the shoulder reminded me I had a special 4th of July celebration that I promised to our girls, complete with a late night swim under the stars and rockets-red-glare.

So I fired up the grill. I dug out some new grilling recipes I found on the Margaritaville blog that I wanted to try; grilled Mexican corn and jerk-spiced grilled shrimp (how American) 


Then I tried to cool everyone off with my version of a Red, White, and Blue dessert…


So the girls got back in the pool as the 4th Party continued. 

Being cautious, practical parents we do not buy into getting so many fireworks that pop up in grocery stores or parking lot fireworks stands on holidays.

Sparklers are about as daring as we get at this stage of the game…


We let all the bigger fireworks in the hands of the neighborhood pyro-tecnincs as we watch from a ‘comfortable’ distance…


One thing we have found, in these late-night holiday parties, it sure does bring out the ‘Crazies’!


Yes, our girls have a lot to be thankful for. It was a great day!

Let us never forget that Liberty is not free. There have been many deposits made as well as the need for continuing installments.

Which takes me back to another reading at last Sunday’s 4th of July service.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserved us in peace, multiplied and enriched us, and strengthened us; for we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, to proud to pray to God that made us! …”

April 30th 1863

Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation for a National Day Of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer

I think Abraham Lincoln’s message is as important today as it as over 150 years ago. Now, as each night we watch the tragic headlines in the news; and they take prayer out of our schools.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th of July holiday, week and ongoing celebratory month!

Thanks for dropping by!

Skye High!

 Happy End of the Week Everyone! It appears you survived another one.

We were Skye High here last week. We celebrated Skylar’s 5th birthday week. Yes, our littlest girl is getting older.

I hate to say this post doesn’t have as many pics to help commemorate our week-long celebration. I am trying to be more ‘part of the moment’ and less the paparazzi outsider taking the pictures. Being in the moment is so much more fun than trying to capture a moment it seems.

So, yes, Skye is getting older. She just finished her inaugural attempt at basketball with surprisingly good success.

 team photo

Her naturally aggressive tendencies severed her well.

So next she asked to try play T-Ball in the local town rec league.

This will be her first attempt a T-Ball and still trying to work out the kinks…

t ball
Both her an Dylan are working on their throwing and batting. Again, Skylar is all over the place trying to pic up grounders hit her way. So we will see how this progresses.

But they do have the world’s most greatest baseball coach!

giphyWhat do you mean, “Who”?

We celebrated Skylar’s birthday Easter weekend when her Grandparents and the Great Aunt Sue were down with truck loads of birthday presents for both our girls. Again, sorry no great pictures here in 3D from the mounds of unwrapped wrapping paper

…trying to stay in the moment

…and pick up a bit.

We took little 5 year old Skye to her favorite dinner for her birthday. The Outback was her choice this year.. She appeared to have a good time and was all smiles.

Happy Birthday Skylar!

Happy Birthday Skylar!

Including the presentation of the bloomin birthday sundae… skye outback
And the Outback version of the birthday song, sure to make any bloke, or blokette happy!
skye b day song

We had a little bit of a birthday party for her on the weekend then at her favorite place, Skylar Zone!

Flying Skye High!

Flying Skye High!

She enjoys jumping and flying and dodge ball at this Skye-High zone.


Happy Birthday Skye!

Maybe one of her biggest thrills during her birthday week came in the mail from her absolute most favorite celebrity;

a mutual fan of hers it appears and my 300th follower! (Thanks Miss Nina!!) Nina b day gift 001

….Thanks so much for adding to the birthday celebration and helping to make our little Skylar feel special!

 Ms. Nina pointed out that Sprout.com is featuring a Be In The Moment contest for Mom’s. They are running a month-long contest where Mom’s submit candid pictures of themselves “Sharing the moment of being a mom” with their children leading up to Mother’s Day.

It’s a great contest, honoring the most important and deserving person in each of our lives.

Check out the celebration here. Or on Instagram at #MomIsHere and #NoFilter30

I know what you are thinking, and YES, I have put them in touch with Hans On Marketing Company to help ensure their promotion is a success!

So that’s about it from 3D-Land this week. We are moving through the birthday season here. Only two more big ones to go!

Then it’s time for the beach, vacations and running out doors again…

or all three...

or all three at the same time…

Have a great weekend! I’ll try to do better next time!

I need some advice…

Have you ever had one of those moments, those ‘Toys In The Attic’ moments you hear about where somebody finds something really Incredible or valuable, like lost baseball cards, a forgotten valuable painting or heirloom that they never knew they had? Well last night Dylan and I found my gem that I never knew I had.

Last night Dylan and I were looking through the dresser in my bedroom and ran across my old childhood piggy bank. Ah, ‘Elephant’ bank if you really look at it.


I have had this since I can remember. I kept my fancy coins that were given to me back in the day. And so Dylan takes it and opens it up and starts exploring my treasures. Eventually she ran across a broken stainless steel bracelet with a person’s name on it. It was a POW bracelet that I wore as a child during the Vietnam War.

I wore this $2.00 bracelet everyday for about a year. I didn’t know who the POW was on the bracelet but I did wonder what happened to him? Was he Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy? Was he a prisoner? Was he missing? Was he still alive?

So I thought about him, prayed as a 10-year-old knows how to pray, and really always hoped he was alive and doing OK. He was in my thoughts and prayers. But really, so were Little League, school and trips to the beach.

Then the war ended and I never heard his name. I lived in a small town in PA and I watched and I listened but I never heard a word about Mr. Gruters.

Where was that darned Internet when you need it!

And so the war ended and I reluctantly took the bracelet off and put it in my piggy bank, not knowing what else to do.

Can you make out that date?

Can you make out that date?

This POW bracelet stayed in my bank after I left home in my early 20s along with all my coins; silver dollars, Bi-Centennial quarters and dollars and the like. It stayed in that bank as I moved up and down the east coast, through all the dozens of apartments and now houses I moved into as I made my way through life. I couldn’t understand the significance of the bracelet but I felt it represented a ‘Life’ of someone who fought hard for my country. .

Not familiar with the POW Bracelets?

Here is what my Wiki says about them: ” a nickel-plated or copper commemorative bracelet engraved with the name, rank, and loss date of an American serviceman captured or missing during the Vietnam War.

The bracelets were first created in May 1970 [1] with the intention that American POWs in Vietnam not be forgotten. The bracelets sold for $2.50 or $3.00. Those who wore the bracelets vowed to leave them on until the soldier named on the bracelet, or their remains, were returned to America.” And that’s what I did


So with Dylan sitting by my side I Googled the name on the bracelet, after all these years, to see if I could ever find the outcome to this mysterious GI honored on my bracelet. To my surprise the name I was typing, Capt. Guy Gruters, came up in the search before I was even done typing it.

I thought who is this man?

Who was this man?

Is he famous somehow?

You know what? There are lots of pages on the Internet about this great man. This man, whose bracelet I wore, now does motivational speeches based on his captivity and surviving it. His speeches are based around:




Conversion / Finding God in a Prison Camp

Here is a link to my Mr. Gruters and 2 other POW’s appearing on an ABC Memorial Day Tribute to POW’s of the Vietnam War.

Capt. Charlie Plumb, Col. Lee Ellis, Capt. Guy Gruters

There are many pages about him, too numerous to list here. Each one is filled with incredible stories depicting the courage of this man on my bracelet.

I decided to read his Wikipedia page first. To my delight and astonishment I found he was not only alive but thriving!

Here is a brief bio about the name of the man I wore on my bracelet from Wilki:

Guy Gruters was raised in New Jersey where he spent his childhood trapping muskrat, camping, hunting and Scouting (Eagle Scout Rank awarded).

He won acceptance to the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a BS in Engineering Science (Summa Cum Laude, ranked 7th in his graduating class overall, #1 in Engineering Science.) He then went on to Purdue University and completed a Master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering in less than one year.

After Undergraduate Pilot Training and fighter gunnery school, he volunteered for Vietnam and served six years, more than five years of which was as a POW. During his flight operations as a Forward Air Controller in the first 10 months, Guy flew more than 400 combat missions, first for the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

As a copilot of the two-seat F-100F, Gruters was shot down twice. The first shoot down required a parachute water landing less than one mile offshore near the North Vietnamese city of Dong Hoi while under fire from the enemy’s coastal guns in November 1967. North Vietnamese boats were prevented from intercepting the downed pilots by strafing U.S. F-4 fighter-bombers, First Lieutenant Gruters and Captain Charles Neel were rescued by two USAF HH-3E Sea King helicopter crews based 60 miles away while under heavy fire.[1]

Gruters was shot down for the second time on December 20, 1967. He and fellow pilot, Colonel Robert R. Craner were captured and imprisoned in the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) among other camps. Upon their initial incarceration, Gruters and Craner cared for Lance Sijan before Sijan succumbed to wounds and torture in January 1968.[1]    (which is an incredible story itself)

Gruters spent 5 years and 3 months, over 1900 days, as a prisoner of war before his release in 1973.


Guy Gruters’ decorations include more than thirty combat awards, with two Silver Stars, two DFCs, two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the POW Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, 20 Air Medals and other medals.

Guy Gruters’ testimony was instrumental in Lance Sijan receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1976. Guy Gruters’ story was described in the book, “Bury Us Upside Down,”


I had no idea

As a small boy, I had no idea that I was wearing the bracelet of an American Hero and a phenomenal man. Can you imagine, 5 years as a Prisoner Of War? What were you doing 5 years ago? What have you done since? I can’t begin to appreciate the hardships and torture this courageous man had to live with for those five+ years.

Five + years in captivity, where people are being tutored daily? Guy, in his words says, “Facing death was easy. It was facing torture that was the the hardest.”

So how is your day going so far?

Let me take you back to a day in March 1973 when I could have, and should have, been able to take off my POW bracelet. Watch as Guy is greeted by his ‘little’ brother, who Guy claims was, “the kid I beat up all my life and now  (grown and) stronger than I am” (after 5 years of incarcerations) in  a very special reunion with his family:

So this post comes back to a little boy in a small town wearing the bracelet of a very big man that has been rediscovered.

And this little boy is humbled.

This man has more courage than this boy can possibly fathom.

Guy is now a writer and motivational speaker based on his experiences as a POW

Guy is now a writer and motivational speaker based on his experiences as a POW


What a remarkable treasure, the story, the meaning, the role model,the man thought lost for so long Dylan and I found in my old piggy bank.

What a joy to be able to finally put a face and a life with the name on my  little POW bracelet.

What a huge inspiration of courage and strength and faith held in a teeny-tiny bracelet.

Mr. Guy Gruters is the real deal. An American Hero. An American Treasure.

 I feel honored to get a glimpse of this great man’s life through my childhood POW bracelet.

So I need some advice please. What would you do with this bracelet?

And if you say give it back to Mr. Gruters, under what premise of doing so after almost 50 years?

Any ideas?

What kind of Thank You is great enough for Mr.  Gruters; and all the servicemen and women and POW’s out there?

Interested in more real life stories about the adverse life of a POW and the courage of a hero? Check out the many stories captured in Guy’s website.

Courage is fear after you have said your prayers” Capt. Guy Gruters



It’s a miracle!

Yesterday I had my consultative meeting with a Cancer Doctor about my radiology options in getting rid of my cancer. This meeting went even better than we could had expected. It appears I have an option where they implant radioactive ‘seeds’ in my prostate.

While fairly invasive upfront, and by that I mean ‘in the beginning’, the actual procedure is quite in the ‘land-down-under’, the end result should be full use of my prostate for years to come. It doesn’t have to be removed. The cancer will die. I’ll be able to use this mysterious gland for a good long time it appears.

In fact, the doctor said the slow growing cancer doesn’t even need treated at all, at its current size, although he didn’t recommend that option.

We joked. We discussed the procedure and he gave me some more literature to read. The meeting went pretty well in the end.

My attitude has done a 180 since that one week in mid-May. While I still see my moods going from scared to nervous, relieved, hopeful and ambitious, I still remember that one week when my prospects were not so bright.

My doctor had told me I had about a 25% chance of having cancer after my blood tests. Then BOOM! I have cancer after the biopsies. I was set up with CAT scans, DOG scans and Bone scans to see how far the cancer had spread. This was new to me. It HAD to be a mistake. The C word? And I was scared for one dark week. It didn’t matter that it was the bargain-basement type of cancer. I had cancer cells in my body!

I looked at my girls I wanted to see grow up all that week. They were placed in our hands to take care of. How could this be?

I promised two very special birth families WE, a mommy and a daddy, would raise these girls to the best of our ability.  I felt like I had let them down that week.

What about my wife? She does everything she can for these girls and there is still not enough time in the day for her. You mothers know what I mean. The thought of leaving her alone to struggle more was tearful.

And my parents, to outlive their son?

And so I walked out of that dark Cancer ward into the sunshine of the parking lot. I had a bit more bounce in my step than when I walked in. I didn’t even have to schedule the procedure until September! While not cured, this out patient ‘procedure’ can kill this dreaded cancer.

I hopped in my car. Turned the ignition on and headed for the exit.

Some people believe in coincidences and some people believe in miracles. I am beginning to lean more towards miracles.

As I headed towards the exit this song came on:

Click play and join me in my car as I drove home…

I knew this song from a few years past. I remembered it and knew how it went. Some of you who know the intro to the song may know where I am going with this.

The phrase I remembered came to me “Its not my time” instantly.

Followed by the words, “This could be the end of me. And everything I know.”

And as I drove away listening to more of the words I celebrated by turning the song up as loud as I could stand it.

And it’s not my time I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know

But its not my time.

And I thought about the smiling faces of my two little girls.


Did you see Shake, shake, shake like a big wet dog?

Have you read any DYLANism’s?

I’ll be around to enjoy these things, and more, for a good long time I thought. And I am only moderately embarrassed to tell you I came to a stoplight and cried.

And I thought ‘what are the chances’?

What are the chances I hear this song at this time? A song I haven’t heard in years. A hard rock song from 4 years ago being played on an 80’s radio station. A song starting just as I turn on my car, after I kidded around with the nurses in the Cancer center, said good bye to my wife in the parking lot, and fumbled with my keys. The timing was spot on. What are the chances?

The man that sits beside me in church calls these things miracles. God did this for me. It doesn’t matter why.

Some may not believe this. It doesn’t matter. I’m not here to preach. It felt like a joyful, insanely happy (explicative) miracle. I’m going to live a long (explicative) time! It was the perfect (explicative) song at a great time.

“My friend this life we live
It’s not what we have
It’s what we believe in”

If you believe in miracles, or just want to,  play this song. Then hop in the front seat of the car with me as I relive the day. I promise I won’t sing!



Looking back at the beginning of this
And how life was
Just you and me and loving all of our friends
Living life like an ocean
Now the current’s only pulling me down
It’s getting harder to breathe
It won’t be too long and I’ll be going under
Can you save me from this

‘Cause it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know
Ooo but I won’t go

I look ahead to all the plans that we made
And the dreams that we had
I’m in a world that tries to take ’em away
Oh but I’m taking ’em back
Cause all this time I’ve just been too blind to understand
What should matter to me
My friend this life we live
It’s not what we have
It’s what we believe in

And it’s not my time I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know

But it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a will in me
And now I know that
This could be the end of me
And everything I know
Ooo but I won’t go
I won’t go

There might be more than you believe
There might be more than you and me
There might be more than you can see

But it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a fear in me
And it’s not showing
This could be the end of me
And everything I know

But it’s not my time
I’m not going
There’s a will in me
And now it’s gonna show
This could be the end of me
And everything I know

There might be more than you believe
There might be more than you and me
There might be more than you can see

But I won’t go
Oh no I won’t go down

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