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Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom Isn't Free

Image courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery.

Today, Americans are honoring the thousands of men and women from all walks of life who have given their lives to protect and defend our freedoms. Their families have made great sacrifices and deserve our thanks, too. These brave Americans and their families have made it possible for us to have the freedom of religion and assembly and the right to due process and to keep and bear arms for over 200 years. In fact, it is these heroes protecting our freedom of speech that enables knuckleheaded bloggers, such as myself, to do what we do on the internet regularly. On a day when we say "thank you," those words just don't seem like enough.

I have always had great respect for our military personnel. In fact, as a teenager I sometimes thought about joining the military. However, when I turned 18 and registered with Selective Service, I was told that even though I had registered, I would never have to serve because of the muscular dystrophy that I suffered from. I accepted that because I knew there was nothing I could do to change it.

When the first Gulf War began in 1991, I was attending the University of Tennessee. I remember returning home after a night of studying at the library to learn that we had began bombing Iraq. In class the next day, several of the guys I had got to know that semester were strangely absent. They never missed class. That's when it hit me - they were in the reserves and got called up the night before. The sad thing was that several of them never returned. They had given all. For a few years that ate at me because I felt like I had not done my part. Those guys had given all fighting for my freedom and I was at home going to college. It didn't seem right, but I couldn't do anything about.

Currently, there are tens of thousands of American "sheepdogs" in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the terrorist "wolves" who seek to maim and kill Americans and others who love freedom. Other "sheepdogs", such as myself, are keeping a watchful eye on the "wolves" here at home who seek to diminish our liberties and "fundamentally transform" our country. Sometimes I wonder which pack of wolves is the most dangerous - the ones on the battlefield or the ones here at home.

On July 4th, 2009, I rolled out this blog as a way of combating the "wolves" here at home. Today, Memorial Day 2010, I am pleased to announce the Official Roll-out of www.TheSecondChanceSheepdog.com, my brand new website. I dedicate it to the memory of the thousands of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us and defend our freedoms. Let us never take those freedoms for granted or forget to honor and thank the brave men and women who protect them.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 U.S. Transplant Games - Update #1



For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope a future.
                                                         Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Starting today and going through July 23rd, I will be posting updates here about my training and fundraising for the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games in Madison, WI. Then, starting July 30th, I will post daily updates from The Games.

The picture above is from the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh, PA. Jack (left) and Ruth (right) are my donor (Kent's) mom and dad who made the trip, too. The Pittsburgh Games were my first and I wanted to win gold so, so badly for them, but it wasn't to be. Jim and I bowled a 818 in the doubles, finishing 4th, and I only managed a 341, only 11th, in the singles. However, we learned from it and are determined to do much better this go around.

Lately, my bowling and fundraising has been a struggle. In January, February, and March, my per game average was in the mid-160s. April was 146 and May was 136. Fundraising had not been any easier. When I first put the fundraising page up in April, I was blessed with $750 of my $1500 goal in two weeks. However, I had not received another penny in over a month. I was beginning to get frustrated and honestly was beginning to question going on the trip. Then ...... yesterday rolled around.

Earlier in the week I had been praying and asking the Lord to provide funds and to get rid of my "bowling demons." I even went so far as to wash my bowling towel and wrist support glove in an effort to rid myself of them mentally. Yesterday, Jim and I bowled a 984 in practice which would have won gold in our age group in the doubles in Pittsburgh by 100 pins !! I bowled a 497, averaging 166, which would have placed me 5th in the singles competition in 2008 !! My target is a 500-550, but I had not broken 140 in a single game in weeks. The 497 was my best day in three months. After three frames I told Jim, "I'm back !!" Jim bowled a 487 which would have placed him .......... 5th in the singles in 2008, also. Coincidence ?? I don't think so. We needed a confidence booster and we got it. But the story doesn't end there.

After getting home, I checked my e-mail and noticed one titled "Congratulations !! You've met your fundraising goal !!" I thought, "Do what ??" An anonymous donor had donated the remaining $750 needed to help me reach my goal of $1500 !! Another coincidence ?? No. I don't think so. I don't believe in coincidences. Yesterday morning, both of my prayer needs were answered. Now I can relax and concentrate on being consistent bowling. The financial need is met. However, other Team Tennessee athletes have not yet met their goals. Therefore, if you still would like to contribute, please do so on my site (here). I plan to give any funds contributed on my page that I do not need to my other teammates. Guess you could call it my version of "Pay it Forward."

Lastly, if the anonymous donor is out there reading this blog, I have only one thing to say - "Thank You !!" Furthermore, if someone reading this does not believe in the power of prayer, I urge you to give it a try by first asking Jesus into your heart. As the scripture above says, He has great plans for you. Give Him a chance to show you. He doesn't promise life will be easy, but He does promise to never leave you. I have been blessed tremendously, but sometimes He still has to remind me of His great plan just like He did yesterday.

P.S. Please check back on Monday, May 31st, Memorial Day. It will be a special day here on The Second Chance Sheepdog as I make a special announcement. See ya then. May God Bless you all.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bride, 22, now planning her wedding instead of funeral

I received an e-mail from a friend yesterday containing a link to a story titled, Bionic Heart Keeps Bride, 22, Alive, which appeared on NBC's Today Show. It's about a young woman, Ally Smith, sick with heart disease who's fiancee asked her to marry him after she got deathly ill. He simply wouldn't go away. She needs a heart transplant, but thanks to an artificial heart pump implanted in Ally to buy her time, they are now planning their wedding instead of preparing for her funeral.

Please read the entire story. It's one of those that doesn't come around too often that makes you feel really good. I'm hoping and praying Ally gets her "second chance" through the gift of a heart transplant and that the couple has many, happy, quality years together. In this age of few people keeping commitments, it's good to see two 20-somethings living up to their's.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Astonishing pictures

Most everyone has heard about the havoc caused by the erupting volcano in Iceland. However, few have seen how truly amazing the eruption has been. It seems every time man thinks he is in control due to technology, science, or a new medical breakthrough, God reminds us that's not the case. These pictures on Boston.com more than make my point.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mr. Bredesen, why do you hate us SOOOO much ??

On May 18, 2010, Phil Bredesen vetoed legislation passed by both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly that would have changed state law and allowed Tennessee's 270,000 carry permit holders to take their lawfully owned and carried firearms into establishments that serve alcohol. This is the second time in two years Bredesen has pulled this stunt and infringed upon law-abiding Tennesseans right to defend themselves. This after he received the NRA's endorsement in his 2006 re-election campaign because he promised to support this legislation. Either he has the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and forgot or he lied. I suspect it is the latter. But then, he is a Democrap, so I shouldn't be surprised.

His reason for the veto was because many, many, many years ago in a NRA safety course, he was taught that "guns and alcohol don't mix." Well, at least he remembers that. However, he obviously doesn't have a clue what that phrase actually means. Like most Progressives, he just throws words around and spins them into whatever meaning serves his purpose at the time. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to explain it's meaning to him. "Guns and alcohol don't mix" means that the person drinking does not handle and / or carry a firearm. It does not mean that if you are carrying a firearm, you should not be around people who are drinking. Furthermore, the carry law he vetoed establishes stiff penalties for anyone drinking and carrying a firearm, as it should.

Let me give you a few fictitious, but possible, scenarios as we try to follow Bredesen's Progressive thinking :
  • A single mom takes her two young children out for dinner at O'Charleys. She has a carry permit and usually carries in order to defend herself and her children in the event of a mugging or assault. They go to O'Charleys, but due to Bredesen's veto she either has to leave her gun at home or leave it in the car when they arrive. If she leaves it at home, she has no way of defending her family. If she takes it with her and then leaves it in the car, she risks it being stolen. Then, law enforcement has another problem - a thief on the street with a stolen gun. She chooses to take her gun with her and leave it in the car. O'Charleys is busy so she has to park a distance from the building. When returning to her car from the restaurant, she and her children are forced into a van by two men before she opens her car door. She is brutally raped and then killed in front of her children. Good thinking on that veto Mr. Bredesen. She could have prevented this if she had not had to leave her gun in the car.
  • A man leaves Nashville for Chattanooga on a two-day business trip. He's a carry permit holder who usually carries his gun when on the road alone. However, the hotel he's staying at in Chattanooga has a bar. Due to Bredesen's veto, he can either leave his gun at home, which means he's unarmed on the road, or he can take his gun with him and leave it in his car when he arrives at his hotel. Once again, his firearm is at risk of being stolen and being on the street in the hands of a criminal. He chooses to leave his gun at home against his better judgment. Halfway to Chattanooga, after dark, he has a blowout. He pulls over and begins changing the tire. Moments later, a man stops "to help." Unfortunately, he's a prison escapee who robs and murders the businessman. If the man had his firearm, this attack could have been stopped quickly. Mr. Bredesen, how will you explain this to this man's widow ??
  • Myself and friends go to The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville for a concert. I'm the designated driver, will not be drinking, and have a carry permit. Due to Bredesen's veto, I can either leave my gun at home rendering me unable to defend myself and my buddies in the event of an assault, or I can leave it in my vehicle and run the risk of it being stolen. I choose to take my gun with me but leave it in my vehicle. My vehicle is broken into and the gun stolen. Now, Metro Police has a gun on the street in the hands of a criminal. The thief robs a convenient mart shooting and killing the clerk. Once again, thanks Mr. Bredesen.
Now, before a liberal anti-gunner says, "Are you just sooo scared that you have to have a gun all the time ??" Nope. Let me ask you this - do you get in a car without putting a seatbelt on ?? In my opinion, putting on a seatbelt and carrying a gun are the same. They are both safety measures taken so that we are prepared in the event of an "emergency." You don't put a seatbelt on when you know you're gonna be in an accident. You don't carry a gun when you know your gonna be mugged. You never know. So, you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It's that simple.

Mr. Bredesen has said that he supports the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately for him, actions speak much, much louder than words. So, I ask again - Mr. Bredesen, why do you hate gun owners so much ??
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Obama making a joke out of the Supreme Court

First it was Sotomayor, now it's Elena Kagan (pictured right). Obama has nominated his second Supreme Court Justice since taking office, and this one's as bad, if not worse, than the first one.

Some of Kagan's views do not protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. For instance, consider the following :

  1. On the 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms - First, while with the Clinton Administration, she personally drafted an executive order to ban the importation of semi-automatic firearms. Second, while a Supreme Court clerk she said gun registration and licensing did not violate the 2nd Amendment.  Third, during her Solicitor General confirmation hearings, she said the 2nd Amendment does not provide "unlimited protection against governmental regulation." Hmmm. What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" does she not understand ??
  2. On the 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech - Kagan argued against the SCOTUS' opinion in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. She believes that Congress can forbid corporations from engaging in political speech that advocates the election of or defeat of candidates for elected office. Nope. Sorry. Wrong again Elena.
  3. On the 5th Amendment Right to Due Process and 6th Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial - Kagan supports detaining Americans indefinitely if they are suspected of supporting a terrorist organization.
These views show either a lack of understanding or a lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution or both. Maybe even a total disregard for it. Either way, she like Sotomayor, is unfit to be a Supreme Court Justice. Please call or e-mail your U.S. Senator (contact info here) and tell them to vote NO on Kagan's nomination.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You need to be watching .......

...... Glenn Beck's show. Yeah, I know some say he's a nut-case, but he's the only "news guy" doing what the media is suppose to be doing. Plus, the ones calling him a nut are usually the ones he's calling out. When the country's founders wrote The Constitution and included "freedom of the press," their rational for doing so was so the press would hold the Federal Government accountable. Is the press as a whole fulfilling that role right now ?? The answer is no.

Consider this. Do you remember how the media and Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Joe Biden and others, cried "foul" over alleged corruption in the Bush Administration over Bush and Cheney's connection with Big Oil and Halliburton ?? They raised holy "you know what" again and again and again. Glenn Beck has been laying out the connections, cronyism, and corruption in Obama's administration for the last several months. Most recently, he has dealt with it concerning Cap and Trade and called the series "Crime Inc." If you have not been watching, you would be shocked at what you have missed. The things laid out on the Obama Administration makes Bush / Cheney look like Boy Scouts. The question is, as Beck often points out - where is CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. ?? Why aren't they reporting this information ?? Why did they cry "foul" with Bush / Cheney but give Obama a pass ?? Right is right and wrong is wrong. It doesn't matter whether the administration is Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Even more interesting is that the Democrats who wanted Bush and Cheney's head on a platter (i.e. Pelosi, Reid, Biden) are now right in the middle of the "foul play." Apparently now it's o.k. Hypocrites.

Glenn Beck's show airs at 5 PM EDT / 4 PM CDT Monday - Friday on The Fox News Channel. Start watching because you will not get the information he's sharing anywhere else. If you're not home at that time, DVR / VCR it everyday and watch it at your convenience. Just make sure to watch it. For more info and to catch up on Crime Inc. and other things you may have missed visit the following websites :
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Support the Home Team, Part 3 - Adam Futrell for Tennessee House District 57

Adam Futrell is a lawyer and small business owner with traditional conservative values at the core of his life and political philosophy. Born and raised in Western Kentucky, he attended public schools there through college. After graduating with history and political science degrees from Murray State University, he came to Middle Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt Law School.

After law school, Adam stayed in Middle Tennessee, practicing in one of the largest and most well-respected law firms in the state. Focusing on utility regulatory and real estate law, Adam gained valuable experience working within the Tennessee legal system to get the best possible results for his clients, which included utilities and other businesses of all types and sizes.

After practicing in a large law firm for a few years, Adam decided to pursue a personal dream of being a small business owner by starting his own law firm in Mount Juliet in 2008. Adam’s hard work and dedication to his clients has brought a gratifying level of success to his business, and he loves going to work every day representing real people with real problems.

Adam has spent years promoting conservative thought in the legal and business community, and his commitment to conservative activism through the Federalist Society, NRA, Republican Party, and the Tea-Party movement now continues in the race for the open 57th District Tennessee House of Representatives seat.

Adam is committed to serving honorably and advancing the following principles:
  • Ignite job growth with tax cuts and less government spending
  • Reform education through choice and accountability
  • Reflect traditional Tennessee values: Life, Gun Rights, Freedom of Religion
  • Make Tennessee the least illegal-immigrant friendly state in the US
For more information, check out www.futrell2010.com or call 615-745-9253 anytime.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Support the Home Team, Part 2 - Robert Fields for Tennessee House District 57

As a long-time resident of Wilson county, I understand the needs and concerns of all District 57 citizens. I have seen our county progress from the sleepy tract of land east of Nashville to suburbia and its fast-paced lifestyle. In order to continue that pattern of growth, District 57 needs someone with business experience, leadership skills, the ability to work bi-partisan and with a vision for the future. I possess those qualities along with others needed to serve you in the Tennessee Legislature.

Being the only retiree in the GOP primary, I am able to devote 100% of my time representing YOU. Living on a fixed pension has equipped me with the knowledge of the budgeting process; if you do not have it, you cannot spend it. I also learned that lesson in business, where I prepared and managed multi-million dollar budgets for a Fortune 500 company. I have the proven experience necessary to face budget and revenue shortfalls. Being retired afforded my wife and I the opportunity to relocate to wherever we desired. After checking locations from the east coast to the west coast, we decided there is no better place than Tennessee; it was our choice to remain here. With a few eliminations in our tax laws, i.e., Hall Tax on Investments and Interest , our state could become a haven for numerous other retirees. We offer all things that retirees are seeking. The repeal of the Hall Tax will be a priority with me. The revenues generated by an influx of retirees would offset any revenue shortfall created by the elimination of the Hall tax.

As the only honorably discharged veteran in the Republican primary, I know firsthand what it means to defend the liberties and freedoms upon which this democratic republic was founded. I find it appalling when veterans return from serving and protecting our nation cannot find employment. One of my priorities as your representative will be legislation that offers incentives to businesses that hire veterans.

I am the only candidate who attended the recent seminar on the United States Constitution. I stand firmly against; any form of tax legislation, taxpayer funded abortions, and targeted entitlements. As a Christian conservative, it is God's challenge to be a good steward of what HE has provided; I accept the challenge.

So who am I? Robert Fields; 61 years old, father of 2, grandfather of 4. A product of public education and alumnus of South Georgia College and the University of Georgia, I also did additional study at the Bantle Institute of Syracuse University. I am neither a politician nor an attorney, only a concerned citizen who seeks to make a difference. I invite you to visit my website: www.FieldsForThe57th.com for additional information. Vote to hire me on August 5th.

F iscal Responsibility
I mmigration Reform and Control
E conomic Development and Growth
L ow Taxes/Less Government
D efender of our Constitution
S econd Amendment rights
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Support the Home Team, Part 1 - Jason Brockman for Wilson Co. (TN) Commission District 16

Mt. Juliet native Jason Brockman (pictured right) announces his candidacy for Wilson County Commissioner for District 16.

Brockman is an 11 year veteran on the City of Mt. Juliet Police force. He was recognized as the 2006 Officer of the Year receiving the Sgt. Mundy Award by his peers.

The Explore Post program was established under his leadership. In 2008 the Mount Juliet Explore Post was classified as the number one Explorer Post in the state of Tennessee. The Explorer Post is comprised of high school students interested in pursuing a career in the Criminal Justice field.

Brockman organized the Tennessee Law-Enforcement Explorer Association (TLEEA). "This organization was invented to help other Explorer Post communicate important information, help promote/start other explorer post, organize and support a state wide explorer competition, and help support the Boy Scouts of American," stated Brockman. He served as president of the organization for eighteen months.

Brockman assisted with the Citizen Police Academy Alumni program. Under his leadership the program grew from a hand full of enrollees to over 50 volunteers. Another accomplishment includes creating the Field Training Officer program for the Mt. Juliet Police Department. He also helped write the policy and procedures manual for that program. Brockman started the Volunteer Service Award Banquet.

In 2009, Brockman married the former Crystal Johnson of Mt. Juliet. The couple is members of St. Frances Cabrini Church in Lebanon, TN. They have two dogs Bentley and Zoe.

Community service is important to Brockman. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, West Wilson Chamber of Commerce, and American Nursery and Landscape Association. In 1998 he earned his Eagle Scout badge with Troop 150 out of Mt. Juliet. He graduated from Mt. Juliet High School and Garden Center University.

It is time for change in our local government to a more conservative and more proactive instead of reactive government. I also support having more information for the public on commission meetings, committee meetings, and to allow the public more opportunity to speak at county functions.

If elected, I will:

• Vote for innovative fire protection
• Vote for more ambulance service
• Vote for budget reform
• Represent the residents of District 16

Vote Jason Brockman for Wilson County Commissioner for District 16 on August 5th, 2010.

“A New Commissioner for a New Time”

Please visit Jason's website at  www.votebrockman.com

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Special series running this week on The Second Chance Sheepdog

I am running a special series here on the blog this week. I'm calling it "Support the Home Team" and the purpose is to give various candidates an opportunity to get their message out to voters. The candidates had to meet the following criteria before I offered them an opportunity to participate :
  1. They had to be a conservative,
  2. They had to be from Wilson Co. (TN), and
  3. I had to have met and established a rapport with them.
Once I determined which candidates met these three criteria, I sent them the following e-mail on Saturday, April 17, 2010 :
  
The reason I am writing each of you in to offer a Special Invitation. Some of you know that I began a blog, The Second Chance Sheepdog, last summer. I deal with transplant, other health issues, Tennessee politics, U.S. politics, and other things there. My reason for starting it was to get involved and hopefully make a difference. At the Wilson Co. Republican Party Presidential Dinner last week, I was speaking with Adam Futrell about my blog and extended an invitation to him to send me a bio or press release (which I have received) that I would subsequently post on my blog. A few days later  I had the idea to extend the same invitation to each of you and do a series titled "Support the Home Team." Basically, "the Home Team" is each of you. Why ?? Because each of you is a Wilson Countian and a Conservative Republican, as am I, and running for office.

At this point you may be asking, "Johnny, what's the purpose of the invitation ??" Well it's two-fold : 1) Absolutely FREE press for you on the internet that YOU write, and 2) blog promotion for me. It's a win-win for all of us. I have a number of readers in Wilson Co. and the surrounding area so you will be reaching your target voting block. You can basically put whatever you want in the bio / press release you forward to me via e-mail. You can include education, volunteer work, family, interests / hobbies, your stance on important issues, how you propose fixing some of the current problems facing us, etc. However, there are three (3) rules you MUST follow. They are :
  1. You are limited to 500 words. Also, I encourage you to include a digital picture I can include in the post to dress it up a little. 
  2. Absolutely, positively, NO mud-slinging at any of your Republican primary opponents. This is to be about you - not them. This will be strictly enforced. However, if you want to hurl a truckload of it at a particular Democrat or the Donkey party as a whole, that is perfectly permissible. It's always Democrat Season in my book.
  3. Except for Robert since I've already revealed my receipt of one for Adam, please do not contact me and ask if your opponent has submitted an entry. My response will be, "You'll have to wait and find out."
A violation #1 or #2 will result in either your bio / press release being edited by me or not being posted altogether depending on the extent of the infraction. Remember - my blog, my rules. Non-negotiable. Furthermore, the reason I sent this invitation to you is because I feel like I know each of you and each will do a wonderful job in any position of public office you hold. For that same reason, I am not endorsing anyone on the blog at this time. This is simply an opportunity to get your message out. I may extend endorsement(s) later, but I have not decided that definitely. I hope each of you are o.k. with the rules above and will participate. The deadline for submitting your entry is next Saturday, April 24th. I will run the series starting either the following Monday the 26th or the first Monday in May (3rd). Also, I will notify you of the day your bio / press release will run on the blog.
I extended this invitation to several candidates but only four responded. I have listed them with the position they are running for and the date their post will run below :
  • Jason Brockman, Wilson Co. Commission District 16 - Tues., 5/11
  • Robert Fields, TN House of Representatives District 57 - Wed., 5/12
  • Adam Futrell, TN House of Representatives District 57 - Thur., 5/13
  • Joe Kirkpatrick, Governor - Fri., May 14
Each candidate is responsible for the information provided in their post. I have not edited or censored their information in any way. Furthermore, I am not endorsing any of these candidates at his point. This is simply an opportunity for them to get their message out for free. I may offer an endorsement or two later, but I have not decided that at this point.

I hope everyone enjoys this series. It is something different that has not been done on The Second Chance Sheepdog before. I hope it is just a beginning. Enjoy and please offer feedback. I will also include these candidates website and blog links in their posts and in the left side bar of the blog where they will remain through the elections.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Water, water, and more water

By now, most everyone has heard and seen pictures of the flooding and damage in Middle Tennessee from the heavy rains last weekend. Some areas received up to 18 inches of rain. My home was basically unscathed but had a close call. Saturday afternoon around 2 P.M the creek behind my home had overflown and crept to within 3 feet of the back of my home. See pics below :

For more pictures of the flooding around Nashville, please visit the WSMV Channel 4 website.
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