Monday, February 28, 2011

Gaining the world and losing your soul

TobyMac has been one of the most popular and successful artists in contemporary Christian music for a number of years. After beginning his musical career with dcTalk, TobyMac's success continued when he released his first solo album in 2001. Today's Music Monday features his song "Lose My Soul" from his 2007 album Portable Sounds. The song's music video (click here) tells a modern day version of the lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 16:26 - "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul ? Is anything worth more than your soul ?" (New Living Translation). It's a question we should all give some careful thought to.

Enjoy the video.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

The classroom without desks

Back in September 2005, Martha Cothren, a social studies teacher of military history at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks from her classroom. When the first period High School Students entered the room they discovered there were no desks. "Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?" they asked. She replied "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk." They offered suggestions, "Maybe it's our grades." "No," she said. Then they thought, "Is it our behavior?" She told them, "No, it's not even your behavior." And so they came and went ... first period, second period, third period, and so on with still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon, television news crews had begun gathering in Ms. Cothren's classroom, to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her classroom. The final period of the day came, and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren explained, "Throughout the day, no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are usually found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you."

At this point, Ms. Cothren went over and opened her classroom door. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. veterans, all in uniform, walked into the classroom, each one carrying a school desk. These veterans began placing the desks in rows and then walked over to stand along the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place, those kids began to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, "You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it."

By the way, this is a true story. It's authenticity has been verified here by

NOTE: In 2006, the Veterans of Foreign Wars named Martha Cothren as their Teacher of the Year.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Former athlete still alive thanks to heart transplant

Megan Moss, 24, is living proof, like I am, that heart transplants work. In high school, she played basketball, soccer, and volleyball until she suddenly started running out of gas. Her story, on, begins with an initial diagnosis of asthma. However, that diagnosis soon became more sinister as doctors ultimately found that Megan had myocarditis, a virus that attacks the heart.

Heart Transplant Rescues Young Woman tells that Megan's life was fairly normal after the original diagnosis. She even attended college. Then, in November 2009, her heart took a turn for the worse. Doctors told her that she now had heart failure. Her heart function was only 13%, she had no appetite, and couldn't keep food down. Furthermore, her liver and kidneys were failing. She was moved to the top of the transplant list. However, it began to look very bleak for Megan as pneumonia set in and her parents were told she was too sick for a transplant.

Friends and family began to pray. Megan's condition improved and she received the heart transplant she needed. She now works out 30 minutes a day, three times a week and is planning on going back to work soon. Plus, she now encourages people to be organ donors because she knows first hand that organ donation and transplantation works.

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Valentines Day special for recipients and donor families

Valentines heartValentines Day 2011 was special for six families as heart recipients and their donors' families met for the very first time at Baptist Memorial Hospital - Memphis. The story, Heartfelt Thanks : Transplant Recipients Meet Donors' Families, on is heart warming and tells of how the miracle of organ donation helps donor families heal after losing loved ones. For instance :
  • Kathryn Spragins needed a heart transplant due to a genetic defect. She met the mother of her donor, 17-year old Keith Williams Jr., who died after being shot in the head. Kathryn told Keith's mom, "Your Keith is right here."
  • The family of Antonio Williams met with recipient Guy Price for the first time. Antonio died from a stroke but saved Guy's life in the process.
  • Sammy Robinson's hypertension was so severe that he couldn't even receive a pacemaker. His life was saved by Michael Gilmore when Gilmore's life was taken in a shooting. Gilmore would have graduated from college last December.
These stories remind me of the first time I met my donor family in 2007. It was a special time that I will never forget. These families won't forget Valentine's Day 2011, either. These moments create memories that last a lifetime. As a recipient, they make you even more thankful to be alive. For donor families, being able to actually see the person your loved one saved provides healing. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Boy's letter to Santa encourages organ donation

Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, "Merry...Santa Claus is known for bringing gifts of toys, clothes, and other things to children at Christmas. However, a 6-year old Ohio boy's letter to Santa may lead to gifts of another kind - gifts of life. Sherie Hunt's son's Christmas letter to Santa asking for a kidney to save his mother's life has touched the heart's of many. Unfortunately, that precious gift did not come in time. Sherie passed away a couple of weeks ago after suffering from kidney failure caused by Type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. However, it's very likely that her legacy will be one of hope and life for others because of Jesse's love for his mother.

Jesse's letter touched many hearts after it appeared in the newspaper. Samantha Moyer and Bonnie Peck were two of them. The story Kidney Patient's Life Inspires Others from the tells that both Moyer and Peck volunteered to be tested to see if they were possible matches for Sherie Hunt in hopes of being living kidney donors for her. Unfortunately, neither was, but Moyer would like to help someone else. She is highly supportive of organ donation. "There may be another family out there in the same situation," she said.

Now, the concern is for Jessie and how he will cope with growing up without his mother. It's something no child should have to do. However, the good news is that you can keep another child from having to grow up without one of their parents because a life-saving organ match did not become available in time. Just visit the Donate Life America website by clicking here. There, you can find answers to your questions about organ donation. Plus, by clicking on the Commit To Donation button, you can find out how to become an organ and tissue donor in the state where you live. Samantha Moyer and Bonnie Peck have got it right by wanting to help someone in need. Let's all follow their example. 

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Free Health Care

If you can't afford a doctor,
just go to an airport.
There, you can get a free x-ray
and breast exam.
Plus, if you mention Al-Qaeda,
they'll also give you a free colonoscopy.

(A big thank you to my buddy JM for passing this one along.)
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Jack Daniels and Jimmy Carter

On Glenn Beck's February 17, 2011 show, he showed a video of former President Jimmy Carter talking about the Muslim Brotherhood. Beck also expressed his opinion of Carter which was entertaining, to say the least, and rather humorous. Watch it by clicking here.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New heart transplant program in Georgia

Great Seal of the State of GeorgiaResidents of the state of Georgia now have another option when it comes to heart transplants. Recently, Piedmont Heart Institute announced that it was beginning a heart transplant program. Piedmont Heart is waiting on final approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Then, it can begin listing patients for transplant and receive donated organs.

Until now, Georgia has only had three heart transplant centers - Emory Healthcare Center, St. Joseph's Hospital, and and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The new heart transplant center will be a big plus for the people of Georgia who need heart transplants. An article on, Piedmont Heart Institute Launches Transplant Program, states that over the 10-year period between 2000 and 2010 approximately 300 donated hearts from donors within the state went to recipients outside it. The new center will have a number of pluses including :
  • More transplant centers means more competition between them. This will encourage them to more readily access and accept donated organs increasing patients' access.
  • More transplant centers means more transplant teams. For instance, if a center's team is already doing a transplant and another organ becomes available, a team from another center could do that transplant. This would keep the organ within Georgia instead of it going out of state. Once again, it increases access for people needing heart transplants in Georgia.
  • Oftentimes, different centers have different criteria for accepting a patient for transplant. I know from my own personal experience. With more centers, if a patient doesn't meet one center's criteria, they can check with another center within the state to see if they might qualify there.
I think the biggest benefit to Georgia transplant patients is that this new transplant center will make it possible for more of them to stay closer to home for their transplants. They will likely be able to stay with the doctors and nurses they are familiar with. Once again, I know from personal experience how important that is. Transplant physicians, nurses, and their patients spend a lot of time working together towards the ultimate goal of patient survival. It's a big investment in each others lives. You become family. Being able to stay close to home and be treated by people you know and trust makes the transplant experience much easier and less stressful. Personally, I'm happy for the people of Georgia.  

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Girl giving back after mom receives new lungs

Kiersten Cash, a 16-year old high school junior, is thrilled her mom, Lori, is still around. In fact, she's so happy that when she's not competing in dance competitions she's working overtime to save others. Lori Cash had a double-lung transplant over a year ago. She first experienced difficulty breathing, then was placed on a ventilator, and eventually became wheelchair bound before her transplant. reports in Her Mother Saved, Winter Haven Student Now Promotes Organ Donation that Kiersten has been speaking to various groups about the importance of organ donation and recently organized a fundraiser to benefit a lung transplant organization. Kiersten is not much different from most organ recipients and their family members. After having your life spared or seeing a love ones life spared due to an organ transplant, it's just natural to want to give back by helping others in similar circumstances get a second chance, too. In fact, Kiersten is already planning for college and how she can spread the word about organ donation when she gets there. She's a real trooper. We need more like her.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

My Rockin' Heart Transplant Anniversary

Today, I celebrate the fourth anniversary of my heart transplant. It's hard to believe it has been four years. It's went by so fast it seems like it's only been four weeks or four months. After a long, debilitating 11-year battle with heart disease that almost took my life, I have been able to enjoy life again over the last four years. It's not something I take for granted.

Today is also another Music Monday. Today's artist is Skillet and the video is their hit "Hero" from their newest album, Awake (watch here). I first heard Skillet's music a couple of years ago. They are a Christian metal band who's success and popularity is steadily growing. "Hero" honors police officers, firefighters, the military, and others. However, today I am dedicating this song to a special hero and the thousands of others like him. On February 21, 2007, my life was saved because a hero named Kent (pictured below right) chose to be an organ donor when he passed away. When I needed "a hero to save me now," he was the one. I am alive today because of him. I will be forever grateful. The energy of the pyrotechnics and explosions within the "Hero" video show perfectly how excited and grateful I am to still be around.

However, there are over 110,000 Americans on the transplant waiting list today who need heroes, too. Unfortunately, about 19 of them will die today because there's no hero for them. I very easily could have been one of them but for the grace of God and Kent's gift. Ironically, he was waiting on a liver when he passed away saving me and three others. Now that's a hero. You can be a hero, too, by visiting the Donate Life America website by clicking here and then clicking on your state to find out how to sign up to be an organ and tissue donor where you live. Be a hero. Sign up today. 110,000 of your fellow Americans are counting on you.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

In Memory of The Intimidator

Seven time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Dale E...
Seven time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Dale Earnhardt, waits for his chance to load missiles onto an F-15 Eagle aircraft (not shown). Earnhardt was participating in a load crew competition at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Location: LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VIRGINIA (VA) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sunday's Daytona 500 will be the tenth one since the passing of Dale Earnhardt. I still remember first hearing the news on TV that he was gone. I remember yelling "NOOOOOO !!" at the top of my lungs at the TV and not sleeping that night. We, his fans, knew him as a hero - "The Intimidator." His fellow racers and their fans knew him as "Ironhead." They called him stubborn and hard-headed for never giving an inch on the racetrack. His fans thought he was just "determined" for the same reason. However you felt about him, you knew at the track on the weekends, he was a always a force to be reckoned with.

Neither NASCAR nor the Daytona 500 has been the same since the loss of Dale. There is currently no one within NASCAR who garners the respect that he did. There is no one to "coach" the young drivers or go to NASCAR brass when drivers have a concern that needs to be addressed. There's no one that has the following that The Intimidator had and continues to have since his death. I wonder sometimes how the sport would be different if he were still around. For instance, how many of the crazy rule changes, such as the boring Chase format would have been implemented ? How many times would he have "rattled" Kyle Busch's cage to straighten that spoiled brat out ? Would Jimmie Johnson have won five championships in a row, and if not, how many of those would Dale have won instead ? Would Dale Jr. have left DEI ? I think one thing's for certain - NASCAR wouldn't be as boring as it is now. Plus, there would still be someone with some charisma in the sport who understood how important the sport's history is.

I want to dedicate today's Freedom Friday to Dale's memory. Why ? Folks who have followed NASCAR for the last thirty years know that Dale is the perfect example of The American Dream. He grew up poor. His father, Ralph, was a racer, too. If Ralph didn't run good, sometimes the family didn't eat. Dale had one goal in life - to be the best race car driver he could. He wanted to win races and championships. He even dropped out of school to chase his dream. Later in life, he would admit that was the one thing he wished he could change. He worked hard and waited for his opportunity to race. When it came, he made the best of it. He worked hard, struggled at first, and then begin winning. He won NASCAR's Rookie of the Year Award in 1979 and his first Winston Cup Championship in 1980. Over his career, he would win 76 races and six additional championships. However, the one thing he wanted to win more than anything took him 20 years, but he never gave up on it - the Daytona 500.

I remember the first Daytona 500 that was televised live from start to finish in 1979. Richard Petty won after Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison wrecked each other on the last lap, and then got into "The Fight." It put NASCAR on the map and started the sport down the path to success. Dale had a lot to do with that success, too. The connection he had with people was amazing. His work ethic resonated with all. His typical day was getting up before dawn to feed the chickens and other animals on his farm. Then, he went to the race shop to help on the race car. He had a Chevy dealership he owned and ran, too. His love of the outdoors as a hunter and fisherman helped him connect with people, too. If he was still here, I think he would love Austin Dillon's black #3 Realtree sponsored truck driven in the Camping World Truck Series. Folks all over the country felt like Dale was one of them. And, he was. However, even with everything he had going for him, the illusive Daytona 500 victory still drove him. It seemed like something always went wrong in that race. For instance :
  • In 1986, he ran out of gas while leading with only a few laps to go.
  • In 1990, he had a flat tire coming out of turn 4 to take the checkered flag on the last lap.
  • In 1991, he hit a seagull on the backstretch at nearly 200 MPH damaging the car.
  • In 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1999, he finished 2nd.
  • In 1997, he wrecked and flipped his car while racing for the lead late in the race.
Finally, in 1998, the frustration came to an end. He won the Daytona 500 in his 20th attempt. It's a day I'll never, ever forget. I still get tears in my eyes when I see the video (watch it by clicking here). If I learned one thing from Dale, on that day he taught me that you never, ever give up.

I attended many of the races he won at Talladega and at other places, many of them with my dad. Dale once said, "You can't let one bad moment ruin a bunch of good ones." He left us a bunch of good ones. They are the ones I choose to remember instead of that horrible day in 2001. I'm sure Dale wouldn't want it any other way. Dale accomplished a lot going from being a poor, high school dropout to being a champion race car driver and successful businessman worth millions. He showed that hard work and dedication pays off. It seems like many of us have forgotten that nowadays. I imagine that he'll be watching Sunday when another Daytona 500 Champion is crowned. I'll also bet he'll be wearing those mirrored sunglasses and big, sly grin he was famous for while clapping and cheering. After all, racing was what he loved, and The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's Super Bowl. I can see him now. Thanks for the memories, Intimidator.

NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, taken by offic...
Image via David Moran on Flickr

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

L.A. man gets heart transplant after waiting over 2 years

A heart with a white EKG peak superimposed & s...January 10, 2011 (about 6 weeks ago) will be a day Sean Cronkite will never forget. After waiting two and a half years for a life-saving heart transplant, that was the day he got the call that a heart was available for him. According to the story, OC Man Gets Long-Awaited Heart Transplant, on, Sean's wait was lengthened by the fact that he's a big guy standing six foot six inches tall. Therefore, his body would require a heart from another big guy or gal. Otherwise, as Sean described it, it would be "Sort of like putting a Mini Cooper engine in a truck, it's not going to do it." Sean's chances of finding a match were even slimmer than most people due to his size.

Sean needed the heart transplant because he was born with a condition where blood flowed the wrong way in his heart. The surgical repair done earlier in life did not work anymore, so a transplant was his last hope. Sean knew things were different when he woke up the day after his transplant. His EKG was normal for the first time in his life. Plus, he felt a strong heartbeat for the first time ever. Sean said his new heartbeat was so strong that it actually shook him.

I can relate to Sean. I remember what that "shaking" felt like. In fact, for the first few weeks after my transplant, the "shaking" kept me awake some nights. It was kinda spooky. However, looking back I wouldn't have changed anything. The "shaking" told me I now had a good, strong, V-8 engine in my chest. The worn-out, flabby 2-cylinder was gone. Praise the Lord !!

Sean's wait was lengthy for another reason - the shortage of organ and tissue donors in the U.S. If more Americans would sign up to be organ and tissue donors, Sean and others would not have to suffer for so long before getting the transplants they need. Plus, the 19 that die every day because they run out of time waiting would not have to perish. You can help. If you have not signed up to be an organ and tissue donor yet, I want to encourage you to do so. You can sign up or get more information by clicking here to visit the Donate Life America website.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to maintain a healthy level of insanity

  1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down. 
  2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice. 
  3. Everytime someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that. 
  4. Put decaf in the coffee maker at work for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso. 
  5. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for marijuana". 
  6. Skip down the hall, rather than walk and see how many looks you get. 
  7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face. 
  8. Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go". 
  9. Sing along at the opera. 
  10. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you  have a headache. 
  11. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won! I won!" 
  12. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling "run for your lives! They're loose!" 
  13. Tell your children over dinner, "due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are Republicans Pro-Life or Not ??

Photo © by Jeff Dean.The Arizona Capitol - via Jeff Dean via WikipediaIn December and January, myself and many others began "raising cain" (see articles at the end of this post) about the fact that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the State's Legislature had decided to remove funding for organ transplants from the state's Medicaid program. Some members of the Arizona Legislature heard the outcry and began looking for ways to restore the funding. However, it now appears that any hope for restoring the funding is gone.

Republican State Representative John Kavanagh, who happens to be the House Appropriations Committee Chairman, was one of the ones looking into alternatives for restoring the funding. According to the's article Governor Grim Reaper's GOP Death Panel : No Transplant Funds for You !!, Kavanagh previously said that he thought the decision to eliminate the transplant funding may have been made based upon "flawed data." His plan was to have hearings to look at newer data which showed "better patient outcomes." He now says that the additional data shows the previous data "looks solid," so he's not gonna attempt to reinstate the funding. Kavanagh's reasoning - because, according to the statistics, he says, "Almost everybody (the transplant patients) died." Therefore, I have two questions for him :
  1. When did they die ? Was it 5 weeks after transplant, 5 months, 5 years, or 25 years ?
  2. Since we all die eventually whether we are a transplant patient or not, does he believe that NO money should be spent on healthcare ? What's his freakin' point ?
The really interesting part of this whole ordeal is that for years The Republican Party has claimed to be the pro-life party. However, it has been the Democrats in the Arizona Legislature who have introduced a half a dozen transplant funding related bills. One would have provided matching funds from the New Life Foundation to pay for transplants. However, Kavanagh and a fellow Republican, State Senator Andy Biggs who happens to be Chairman of the State Senate Appropriations Committee, have refused to hear them thereby killing the bills. Apparently, Governor Brewer's staff had told him she would not consider any legislation to restore the transplant funding. So, now who's the pro-life party ? It ain't the Elephants.

It's not often I see Democrats doing the right thing, but in this case they are. The negligent actions of Governor Brewer, Rep. Kavanagh, and Sen. Biggs, all Republicans, are a death sentence for Arizonians on Medicaid who need life-saving organ transplants. As I've said before, their actions make me ashamed to have ever called myself a Republican. If this government sanctioned suffering and dying of transplant patients is what The Republican Party considers being "pro-life," then I'm not sure I want anything to do with the party. "Pro-Life" means you believe in the sanctity of all human life, not just when it involves babies or healthy people. Many Republicans in my home state of Tennessee are currently railing against and attempting to nullify ObamaCare (more on that at a later date) without offering any alternatives that will provide a means for the chronically ill and others with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance. This too will lead to unnecessary suffering and dying at the hands of politicians. Republicans need to get their act together. In my opinion, when it comes to the issue of being "pro-life," many of them are nothing but hypocrites, and I am sick of it.
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Celebrating Giving the Gift of Life at Valentine's Day

Recently, a group of families from the Kansas City, MO area gathered at Children's Mercy Hospital for a Valentine's Day celebration. However, they were not just celebrating love. They were celebrating giving - giving the gift of life. The story, which includes some great video, Families Share Stories of Life Saving Transplants, on tells about the event and the speakers. The attendees told of how organ donation has touched their lives. Some of the attendees told of donations between family members. In one instance, a mother and her son were suffering from kidney failure at the same time, and both desperately needed kidney transplants. Two family members volunteered to be living donors for them saving both of their lives. Love - that's what organ and tissue donation is all about.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

A Motley Music Monday for Valentine's Day

When you hear the words "love song," you don't normally think of the band Motley Crue. After hearing today's featured Music Monday song, "Without You," for the first time, it was hard for me to believe that Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, and Mick Mars had actually written and recorded it. "Without You" was released on the band's 1989 Dr. Feelgood album which went to number one. The band also won an American Music Award in 1991 for Favorite Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Album for Dr. Feelgood. It is the only such award of their career.

In the interest of "full disclosure," I must admit that I'm a "Crue Head," a Motley Crue fan from way back. I was never one to engage in the hard-living and wild lifestyle the band is famous for. However, I thoroughly enjoyed their music. In my opinion, Lee, Mars, and Sixx were three of the most talented musicians in rock music in the '80s. Plus, their shows were always a blast with pyrotechnics and Tommy Lee's suspended, rotating drum kits. Furthermore, if you do not like Motley Crue, I want to encourage you to watch this video anyway. If you've never heard of the song before, it will not be what you would expect from these guys. It's a rock / metal ballad that happens to be a love song. I would argue that it's one of the best ballads and love songs of all time. So, give it a listen.

All that being said, today's song has special meaning for me. Shortly after meeting my wife, "Without You" became our song. It still is and always will be. When heart disease had taken it's toll, and I was near the end of the road in 2006, my wife gave me the encouragement to keep going and follow through with the heart transplant. If she hadn't, I wouldn't be here today. Without her, I wouldn't be alive. This Music Monday video is for her. Happy Valentine's Day. Now, crank up the music !!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Presidents and Careers

15 Surprising Previous Careers of Our Presidents
Reprinted with permission of Emma Taylor with
Copyright 2011
To view original article on CareerOverview.comclick here.

With so many presidents having had a previous career as lawyers and legal professionals (a whopping 24 out of 44) or military leaders before they entered the political realm, it can be easy to forget that others have held a wide range of careers before entering the White House. From working in fields to entertaining audiences at the movies, the variety of careers held by these leaders just goes to show that anyone with the ambition, intelligence and charisma can be President if they set their mind to it– no matter where they started out in life.
  1. Jimmy Carter, Peanut Farmer. Before his years in the White House, this down-to-earth leader worked as a peanut farmer after returning home from a tour of duty in the Navy. It is perhaps this humble profession (though Carter was quite a successful farmer) in connection with his commitment to faith that led him to take such an interest in human rights, peace and diplomacy throughout his presidency.
  2. Ronald Reagan, Actor. With many actors and entertainers stepping into the political arena these days, it is perhaps less shocking that this actor turned a career on the silver screen into eight years in the White House. During his theatrical run, Reagan appeared in over fifty films, was president of the SAG and become a spokesman for GE — a move that helped to jumpstart his interest in politics.
  3. Lyndon Johnson, Teacher. Fresh out of college, a young LBJ found work in education, briefly as a principal and then as a public speaking teacher. His work as a teacher actually formed the basis for his entry into politics, as he moved from teaching to Director of National Youth Administration in Texas, and finally into the House of Representatives. Educational initiatives were always a focus during his presidency.
  4. Herbert Hoover, Engineer. You might already have a connection in your head between President Hoover and engineering because of the famous dam named after him. In his career before the presidency, Hoover worked in mining engineering, and by all accounts was quite successful at it, traveling the world to consult and speak. It was this love of the practice that motivated lawmakers to name the dam after him.
  5. Warren Harding, Newspaper Publisher and Editor. After graduating from college, Harding worked as a teacher and an insurance man before finding a job he truly loved – working as a newspaperman. He purchased a failing periodical, worked hard to turn it around and eventually built it into a fairly successful paper, though perhaps with detriment to his health. The stress of the job caused him exhaustion and nervous fatigue. It was not until after his presidency that he sold the paper, at a profit of over half a million dollars.
  6. Andrew Johnson, Tailor. Apprenticed to a tailor at age 10, Johnson spent most of his early years working in a tailor's shop, learning how to sew and mend clothes. He, in fact, had no formal education and taught himself to read and write and was later tutored by his wife. Later in his career, Johnson's tailor shop became a meeting place for politically-minded men where they would debate the issues of the day.
  7. Abraham Lincoln, Postmaster. Abraham Lincoln held many jobs in his years before the presidency, and while he was ultimately to become a lawyer like many other presidential candidates, he worked as a postmaster for a time under President Andrew Jackson in New Salem, Illinois. It was this job that allowed him to develop the connections with people in the community and surrounding areas. It also improved his education, which was a big help when he finally decided to be an elected official.
  8. John F. Kennedy, Journalist. Much of what most people known about JFK centers around his assassination and short but popular presidency. While some may know of his career in the armed forces, fewer still know of his work as a writer before he entered the political arena. After he returned from service in WWII, Kennedy worked as a journalist, a career he loved and might have stuck with if it had his father not placed so much pressure on him to enter politics.
  9. Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of Columbia University. When people think of former careers for Eisenhower, most remember his work in the armed forces as the U.S. Army Chief of staff and the brains behind D-Day. Yet the military wasn't Eisenhower's only pre-presidential career. After WWII, Eisenhower returned home and became president of Columbia University, a match that wasn't perfect, but motivated Eisenhower to take the job on two separate occasions.
  10. Harry Truman, Men's Clothing Retailer. Harry Truman held many jobs before he became president, working as a clerk, railroad timekeeper and farmer before opening up a haberdashery after returning home from the army. Truman was the only president of the 20th century not to attend college, though his lack of higher education did not hold him back from being president. He may have benefited from some lessons in business, as his clothing store went bankrupt only during the lean years of the 20's.
  11. James Garfield, School Teacher and Minister. Garfield is best remembered, tragically so, for his assassination a mere 200 days after being sworn into office, so many may not know much about his life before the presidency. While Garfield was eventually to find his calling in law and politics, after college be preached at the Franklin Circle Christian Church but disliked it greatly and decided to be a teacher instead. He taught classical languages for a couple of years before taking and passing the Bar Exam.
  12. Chester Arthur, Tax Collector. Arthur, like so many presidents before him, graduated from college with a degree in law. While he was a lawyer by education, that was not always his vocation. During the Civil War, he was the Quartermaster General, and in the post-war period he was appointed tax collector of the Port of New York. During his seven years in this position, he was responsible for collecting a whopping 75% of the US's income from tariffs on imports and exports.
  13. Grover Cleveland, Sheriff. After having a career in law for some time, Cleveland decided to run for the office of Sheriff in Erie County and was elected by a popular vote, his first real foray into politics. While Cleveland felt a need to address rampant corruption during his time in office, he took the job largely for the increase and pay and the free time it would allow him.
  14. Theodore Roosevelt, Rancher. A Rough Rider, war hero and the nation's youngest president, Roosevelt is known as a larger-than-life political figure today. He perhaps honed some of his bravado and Wild West antics in his former career as a rancher. His love of the west and the outdoors no doubt played a role in later legislation he pushed for more National Parks.
  15. Woodrow Wilson, Professor and President of Princeton. Before becoming a politician, Woodrow Wilson was an academic through and through. He graduated from Princeton, University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins, eventually earning himself a PhD and teaching political science at Princeton. A popular professor, he was rapidly promoted to President, a position that gave him the exposure and connections he needed to mount his later political career.
I must say a big thank you to Emma Taylor with for sharing this wonderful article with me and for granting me permission to repost it here on The Second Chance Sheepdog.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cop protects and serves even in death

Skyline of Indianpolis. This photo was also ta...Police officers risk their lives to protect their communities every day. Their mission is "To Protect and Serve." When Indianapolis Police Officer David Moore was killed in the line of duty recently, he went above and beyond the call of duty. recently reported in Officer Moore's Organs Give Hoosier Patients New Life that he saved several lives just hours after three gun shot wounds took his life.

The director of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization said that Officer Moore saved between 8 and 10 lives in Indiana and another state through his heroic donation. The Moore family said that they were comforted by news of Officer Moore's donation. He was a giving person not only in life but also in death. Officer Moore's mother, Sgt. Joanne Moore said, "I can get through today with my son passing because there are other families who are getting a beautiful phone call, and I hope that he saves them." As tragic as Officer Moore's death was, something good came out of it thanks to the miracle of organ transplantation.

We all have an appointment with death at some point in the future, and we all can make a difference, save lives, and help others when that appointment arrives. I encourage you, if you have not already, to sign up to be an organ and tissue donor by visiting the Donate Life America website today by clicking here. Do it today. Be a hero like Officer Moore.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Man receives heart, wife gives blood

The illustration shows the major signs and sym...
Heart Failure symptoms
Sherri and Mark Szep did not have the typical wedding night that newlyweds generally enjoy when they were married 18 years ago. When Mark, 25, spent their wedding night on the bathroom floor of their hotel extremely ill, neither of them had any idea how sick he actually was. They were actually preparing to leave on a cruise the next day, but it turned out Mark was suffering from viral cardiomyopathy and had gained 40 pounds of fluid around his heart by the time Sherri got him to the hospital.

The story, Donated Heart Inspires Hundreds of Blood Donations, on says that the viral cardiomyopathy which afflicted Mark can hit suddenly. A virus attacks the heart causing irreversible, severe damage leading to heart failure.Ten years after Mark contracted the disease, he was out of options. In April 2002, he was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant. After going through a long and difficult surgery, Mark bounced back and is now enjoying his health and additional time with his wife and two sons. Mark's donor was 21-year old Greg Lee, Jr. who passed away after being accidentally hit in the head by a batted softball while playing pitcher.

Sherri and Mark have met Greg's family and shared some very special moments with them. On one occasion, Greg's mom gave Sherri a ring that had been made from Greg's jewelry. Sherri is so thankful for Mark's new lease on life that she gives back. She not only organizes blood drives but donates blood herself. She's organized 41 drives which have led to 964 donations including 17 of her own. Sherri says, "I feel like me giving blood or organizing these blood drives is my way of giving back." She's doing a heck of a job of it, too. Go Sherri !!
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Double the Metal on Music Monday

After showing two patriotic country music videos on The Sheepdog last week, I felt like today's Music Monday needed to crank the volume WAY, WAY up. I feel a need to negate the "twanging" from last week. I guess you could say I'm going back to my roots.

When I was a teenager, metal was huge. It's the music I enjoyed then and still do. Two of the greatest metal bands of that era were Metallica and Cinderella. Today, I'll show one video from both of them (see videos below). Metal Heads, this Music Monday is for you.

The Metallica video is
"Enter Sandman" from the 1991 album Metallica. The Cinderella video is "The Last Mile" from the 1988 album titled Long Cold Winter. Cinderella is probably my favorite metal band and "The Last Mile" is my favorite song of theirs. Both bands featured today are great bands and meant to be played loud. I saw Cinderella in concert in 1988 and they were so loud my ears rang for 3 or 4 days after the concert was over. I've heard Metallica is extremely loud live, also. However, I've never had the opportunity to see them in concert. So, let's crank these up really, really loud on Music Monday and start the week off right. Enjoy (see below).

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

Image Source - Wikipedia.
The 2010 NFL season has been a long, exciting one. After a 4-week pre-season, a 17-week regular season, and a month long postseason, it all culminates tomorrow when a champion will be crowned. The Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking a record breaking seventh Super Bowl trophy and the Green Bay Packers are seeking their fourth. The Game starts at 6:30 PM EST (5:30 PM CST) on FOX. It is one for the ages as two of the most successful franchises in NFL history meet for the NFL title. It should be a great game.

The Green Bay Packers go into the game as a 3-point favorite to beat the Steelers. In my opinion, that doesn't make any sense. The Packers just squeaked into the playoffs as a wild-card and the sixth seed in the NFC. The Steelers, on the other hand, won the AFC North Division and were the 2nd overall seed in the AFC earning a first round bye. I admit that as a Steelers fan I am a bit biased going into the game. Not only am I pulling for the Steelers, but I believe they will win the game. However, my bias is not the reason I believe they will be successful in winning their seventh Lombardi Trophy. The Steelers will win for the following reasons :
  1. Defense - The Steelers ranked second in total defense during the regular season and are currently first in total defense in the postseason. The Packers defense has had a good year, too, ranking in the top five in total defense in both the regular and postseason. However, they're not as good as the Steelers, and the Steelers have wrote the book on the old adage "Defense Wins Championships." They've been doing that for years.
  2. Playmakers - The Steelers have more playmakers on both sides of the ball than the Packers. The offense is stacked with Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, and others. On the defensive side of the ball they have James Harrison, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, and others. The Packers just don't have as many weapons at their disposal.
  3. Experience - The Steelers have "been there and done that." They have far more Super Bowl experience on both sides of the ball than the Packers do. This will be their third Super Bowl appearance in the last six years. They won the two previous. That experience is probably the most important at the quarterback position where "Big Ben" has already played in and won two Super Bowls. He knows what to expect. Aaron Rogers of the Packers doesn't.
  4. "The Intangibles" - The Steelers season has been rocky. In the offseason, Roethlisberger had his off the field "issues" and was originally suspended for six games, nearly the first half of the season. Next thing you know, the NFL reduces it to four games. I felt like at that time that if the Steelers could go 2-2 while Roethlisberger was out, then they had a shot at making a playoff run. They went 3-1. The offense was very slow getting started this year. Early on, they couldn't run the football worth a lick. Mounting injuries to the offensive line didn't help matters any. However, the defense made plays keeping them in games and they found ways to win. Finally, late in the season, the offense started clicking and they finished 12-4, won the division, earned the #2 seed, and the bye week on route to the Super Bowl. Most of the time when a team's offensive line is severely beat up, as the Steelers' was this year, a team is in big trouble and doesn't win games. Coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, though, stuck together and now they are in the Super Bowl. With everything they've dealt with this year, the handwriting is on the wall - it's their year.
As I look at both teams and think about why I think the Steelers will win tomorrow, I do believe it will be a good game. I think it will be back and forth some, but the game will remain close. However, I think the Steelers take control of the game in the second half. Aaron Rogers' lack of Super Bowl experience and only three years under his belt as the Packers starting quarterback will be the difference in the game. I see the game close with the Steelers leading by four or five points late in the fourth quarter. This will put pressure on Rogers as he must drive the Packers down the field and score a touchdown. The Steelers' defense takes advantage of his inexperience and force him into a mistake sealing the game for the Steelers.

I also believe we'll see something in the game that we haven't seen for several years. The last seven Super Bowl MVP's have been either quarterbacks or wide receivers. The last defensive player to win the award was Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Super Bowl XLV MVP will be another safety. However, this time it's the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year - the Steelers' Troy Polamalu.

I'm looking forward to both the game and the pre-game festivities honoring Ronald Reagan. Get those Terrible Towels going !! And before I forget - Steelers .... win this one for The Gipper !!

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