Friday, June 4, 2021

Rule 91 and the End of an Era

Rule 91 -

"When you decide to walk away, don't look back."
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS
 Season 18 Finale on CBS May 25th, 2021

The Sheepdog's very first blog post hit the blogosphere on July 4, 2009. Since then, 744 more posts, including this one, have landed here and, as of today, they've been viewed over 318,000 times. Not bad for an amateur.

Back in December 2017, I announced I was retiring this blog (here). Then, 4 months later, I did my best Brett Favre imitation and un-retired it (here). 

During the nearly 12 years the 2nd Chance Sheepdog has prowled the blogosphere, many of you have received my posts via a free email subscription service provided by Feedburner, owned by Google. A few weeks ago, I received notice from Google stating that the email service will end in July as they will cease supporting it. In other words, emails of my posts will no longer go out. 

Over the years of writing this blog, whenever I've had a technical issue, Google customer service and assistance have been nonexistent. Plus, Zemanta, which I relied on, went away a few years ago, and now it's the Feedburner emails' turn, apparently. There's been numerous helpful widgets also go away during the blog's tenure. It's gotten frustrating, but since Blogger is free, Google has no incentive to make it a priority. I get that, and I'm ok with it. It's Google's platform - they can do with it as they wish.

I've considered moving the blog to a different platform, such as Wordpress, but building a blog is a ton of work, and I'm honestly just not interested in doing it a 2nd time. So, with the latest notice from Google, I've come full circle to where I was in December 2017 - it's time to, in accordance with Gibbs' Rule 91, walk away and not look back. No Brett Favre-ing this time. My blogging career is over.

I'm eternally grateful to everyone who has faithfully supported this endeavor by reading, commenting, and providing input during it's lifetime. Some of you are family, some are friends, and some are fellow transplant recipients. Others are people I met through politics and advocacy for organ and tissue donation. 

A few others provided technical support 12 years ago that was vital in taking an idea and turning it into this reality. As I'm sure they'd rather remain anonymous, I'll only mention them by their initials here - AC & EE - thank you! This site never would've existed without you.

There are things in the blog's history that I'm proud of and others that I'm not. If I could do it all over, most of the political posts would have never been written. I wish I'd spent more time writing about organ and tissue donation advocacy than that garbage. I wish the only political posts written would've been ones concerning legislation about organ and tissue donation. Politics as a whole is evil and destroying our country. Hatefulness, fighting, and arguing are at pandemic levels. All any of it does is fan the flames of division, and the political posts I wrote did a lot of fanning. I regret them tremendously.

In fact, in full disclosure - over the last 15 months during the pandemic, I've had a few such posts written and was ready to click "Publish". Only thing missing was a final review and the inclusion of a picture. What I was gonna say in those posts needed to be said. No one else was saying it, but I realized those posts wouldn't change anything or anyone's mind but would just be more "flame-fanning". So, even though I'd spent hours writing them, I deleted them and held my tongue. Perhaps some others out there should try doing the same. Just because you have "free speech" and can say something, it doesn't necessarily mean you should.

I am very proud, however, of my organ and tissue donation advocacy posts. In fact, I know of one person who directly received a life-saving organ transplant due to contacts made through this blog. I hope and pray there have been other lives saved and/or improved, too. However, even if there was only one, the blogging hours were worth it.

Probably, the funnest posts were the Music Mondays. Those brought back a lot of good memories and often helped kickstart my week. I hope my readers enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them.

I'm now 14+ years out from my heart transplant. I'm grateful every day for the additional time I've been given. I'm still doing great, and I think about my donor every day. He will forever be my hero.

If you're not registered as an organ and tissue donor, please do so. Americans are still suffering and dying every day. One day you could be someone's hero, just like Kent (pic - above left) was for me. 

In the short term, I'll post any comments I receive email notification on which follow my comment policy, but this is my last article. As I log out for the last time, I like to remind every one that I've been on Twitter (@2ChanceSheepdog) for a little over 2 years (here). I'd love for you to come follow me there. I've continued my organ and tissue donation advocacy activities and other posts there.

Thanks again everyone for spending some of your valuable time reading my blog these last 12 years. I truly hope you enjoyed it. May God bless you all.

The Second Chance Sheepdog a.k.a. Johnny

Monday, May 3, 2021

Are We Listening, Church?

It's hard to believe, but it's been over 18 months since a Music Monday post has hit this blog. Since I've been hearing today's featured song more and more over the last several months, I felt like today was it's turn. 

I'm in my 50s, have been attending church since 9 months before I was born, and every time I hear this song, it makes me think. In fact, it makes me think a lot about how every day, we "Christians" throw stones at the rest of the world about how it lives and behaves. The truth is that we live in glass houses ourselves, and we desperately need to get them in order before we can effectively share the love of Jesus with others and see the world change. Until WE do, WE are hypocrites.

Casting Crowns, in their 1st appearance here on a Music Monday, deals with this very issue in "Start Right Here". The music video is embedded below and can also be enjoyed here

 This song is truthful, so Church, I gotta ask - are we listening?