Wednesday, February 26, 2014

7 and Counting

It seems like it was just yesterday when my wife and I got the call and headed to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, because a heart had become available for transplant for me. However, last Friday, the 21st, marked 7 years since that day in which I received a "second chance" at life. I'm no less thankful now than I was then, and I continue to marvel at the things the Lord has allowed me to enjoy and accomplish since that day, I know I am blessed more than I deserve, and I don't take it any of it for granted.

"The 30-Minute 1st Gobbler"
During 2013, I did not do as much blogging as I have in past years. I've been too busy with other things. So, I thought I'd take a minute today and give a "Sheepdog Update" and recap 2013. If I had to describe my 2013 in just a couple of words, I'd say it had its "ups and downs."

April 2013 was a fun month for The Sheepdog. I got my first gobbler after many, many years of trying. It was a strange experience. I dubbed it "The 30-Minute 1st Gobbler". It was really a strange deal. I get out of the truck one morning, and while I'm getting geared up, I hear this turkey gobble. When I close the tailgate on the truck, he gobbles again, and this time he's much closer. I rush over into the woods, get setup, hit the mouth call a few times, and just 30 minutes from the time I closed the tailgate, I put the turkey down. You could describe the experience using the line from the GEICO commercials - "so easy a caveman could do it." Considering how long it had taken me to shoot a gobbler, it was the craziest thing I'd ever experienced. It seemed like the dude had a death wish.

Watching the 'Noles beat the Demon Deacons.
Later that month, Mrs. Sheepdog and I made a trip down to Tallahassee, FL to visit some friends for the weekend. While there we went and watched a Florida State Seminoles baseball game. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were in town for a 3-game weekend series, and we attended the Friday night series opener, which Florida State won fairly easily.

While the spring was good to The Sheepdog, the fall wasn't. Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile know that I absolutely love to hunt. In mid-October, just 2 weeks prior to fall turkey season opening and a month prior to muzzleloader deer season opening, I fractured a rib. Without going into all the details, let's just say it was a crazy, one-in-a-million, freak accident. Needless to say, my fall turkey and 2013 deer season were over before they got started. I went out a few times in late December, but the best deer hunting was already over. I found my self being even more thankful for the fact that 2012 was my best deer season ever, in which I shot 5 including my best buck ever.

While I was nursing the bum rib, I watched a lot, and I mean a lot of football. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my Seminoles did. Prior to the season, I really thought this would be more of a rebuilding year for them with so many guys going pro after the 2012 season. I thought the same about my Steelers. The Steelers proved me right, but I was thrilled that the 'Noles proved me wrong.

At the ACC Championship Game.
After Florida State locked up a birth in the ACC Championship, with it looking like they might play for the national championship, we made a road trip to Charlotte, NC for the ACC Championship Game. The rib was feeling better by then, and the weather wasn't too cold. The "Noles spanked Duke, and then won the national championship. We were pumped!

In November, Mrs. Sheepdog and I went to Las Vegas for a few days. The main reason for going was for her to compete in the Las Vegas Rock 'N Roll Marathon. It was her first. She completed the marathon, and then we took some time to enjoy the lights of The Vegas Strip at night. If that's something you haven't done, you need to put it on your bucket list. You won't be disappointed. They're beautiful.

I've now started post-heart transplant year number 8. I don't know what the future holds. Will I have another year, or 2, or 3, or 20? Only the Lord knows. I do know, though, that thankful nor grateful truly express how I feel about the last 7 years I've been given. I know they have all been bonus years. I'm playing overtime, and that's a good thing.

Kent - my heart donor.
I also know I would be remiss in doing what the Lord has called me to do these last 7 years if I didn't encourage EVERYONE to be sure to register as an organ and tissue donor. I am still here, still enjoying life, and still getting to do the things I love because a man named Kent registered. It only takes a few minutes and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home. No matter where you live, just visit the website of Donate Life America by clicking here to learn how to get registered.

One day, you might give someone a "second chance" like Kent did me and 3 others.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Coyote Story **


The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail.  A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.

The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi" and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

Coyote closeup
Coyote closeup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He calls Animal Control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects his dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.

The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged. The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a "coyote awareness program" for residents of the area. The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The State spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training regarding the nature of coyotes. PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $5 million suit against the State.


The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog. The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 hollow point cartridge. Buzzards eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, says a lot about why California is broke and Texas is not.

** - submitted
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Music Monday with a "Bang"

NBC's The Blacklist has become one of my favorite shows. My wife and I started watching it with it's debut, but after a couple of episodes, I didn't think it was very good and probably wouldn't last. Then, James Spader's character, Raymond Reddington a.k.a Red, began to grow on me. The character's confident, sometimes arrogant one-liners, and dry-wit were the hooks that have kept me watching.

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)
Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For those of you that watched last week's episode, you may remember that it ends with Red sitting in the dark in a house with a boombox at this side playing Gordon Lightfoot's hit "Sundown." I found myself laughing, knowing Red was up to something but not sure what. Then, Red's quarry walks in to the room to check on the noise (the music playing), and Red flips on a light revealing a revolver in his hand. In typical Red fashion, he talks some smack, shoots his quarry, flips Lightfoot's "Sundown" back on, and leaves. All while remaining cool as a cucumber. Classic. Hence, the title of today's post.

It gave me the idea to start 2014's Music Mondays with a video of Lightfoot's "Sundown" instead of my usual rock, metal, or Christian music video. However, since the song was released in 1974, 40 years ago, I was concerned I might not be able to find one of good quality. Fortunately, I did.

"Sundown" was a huge hit for Lightfoot. Thus far, it's been his only #1 song on the U.S. charts. As always, the video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here. Enjoy.

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