I often spent time with my grandparents when I was small. When
I was three years old, my grandparents took me along on their weekly shopping
trip to “Sears & Roebuck”. While there, I was allowed to choose new
sneakers. I chose a pair of plaid sneakers. They were the most beautiful shoes
I had ever seen; I had plans to learn to tie them. I was a very determined, independent kid.
When we got home, my grandmother laced up my new sneakers. I
took my Lambchop doll and went into the sun room. Settling into a chair, I set
out to learn to tie my new shoes. It was just afternoon, so the room was bright
I tried the bunny ear method, and the round-the-loop method.
I worked and worked, tying and untying many knots. I was determined; I did not
give up. By dark, I could tie my shoes all by myself! I was very proud as Lambchop and I went into the kitchen for supper, showing off my
beautifully tied plaid sneakers!
For the next seven years I tied the shoes of my older
brother, younger sister, and all of my friends. I was ten years old when I finally insisted my older brother
learn to tie his own shoes. I taught him and my younger sister at the same time.
There comes a time that you need to take care of your own business, whether it is tying up your own loose ends or taking out the knots.
Albert Honig has been a bee-keeper his entire life. The art
and life of beekeeping was passed down to him through generations. He has been
able to make a modest living from this way of life.
Now an octogenarian, Albert reflects on his life and the
things both in it and absent from it. In particular, he considers a never
reconciled relationship with a woman, Claire. Haunted by her death during a
long ago burglary, Albert tries to piece together what happened. The only way for Albert to make peace with his loss and his
past is to come to terms with the secrets within these memories. I think it is human nature to want to make sense of things in our past, whether or not we could have controlled them. Closure sometimes allows us to move on, even if it doesn't offer peace. Sometimes answers are all we have left even if they do not give us what we seek. This is a very
moving novel in its power of love and redemption.
On Memorial Day I always honour our fallen military heroes, and I
always include SSGT James Michael Ray. Some have asked who he is to me,
personally. This is his story and why he matters to me.
I was in ROTC. I take our military, patriotism, honour, and my
duty to God and country very seriously. I feel devotion to all who serve,
presently and in the past. I enjoy freedom because of their military service.
I have two Vietnam POW/MIA bracelets for the same man. I
originally got a bracelet for SSGT James M. Ray from a Vietnam veteran’s
organization. After many years, I felt the need to search to find out who he
The Internet was not an option at the time, so I wrote letters to
many veterans’ organizations. When I finally found his family, I corresponded
with his stepmother. She sent me a bracelet made by the family. She also told
me who he was to his family, and to his loved ones.
James Michael Ray was born November 10, 1949. He lived in Woonsocket, Rhode
Island at the time of his voluntary entrance to the United States Army. He
joined the Army at age 17, after being told by the Marines that he was too
young to join at age 16.
SSGT Ray was captured by the Viet Cong on March 18, 1968 during
military intelligence maneuvers. His country of capture is listed as Cambodia, after an ambush included a rocket-propelled grenade
that landed near the position of his unit. He was subsequently held
in several jungle prison camps. It is believed that at one point he tried to
escape, but was re-captured only to be tortured and eventually starved.
Records prove that prisoners were kept in chains most of the
time. At night they were locked in underground pits. They were often moved to
various prison camps throughout the jungle. Malaria and dysentery were common
and deadly illnesses. At capture, Private Ray was believed to be about 165 lbs.
At his last sighting, it is believed he was about 95 lbs.
While no concrete date is known for SSGT Ray’s death, it is officially
listed as November 30, 1969. When a prisoner became ill or died, he was taken
away and no details were given. Vietnamese records released in 1973 list SSGT
James Michael Ray as having died in captivity, probably in 1969. He was last
seen by a fellow soldier who knew him, and had been held with him at that time.
Nearly forty years passed before the family
decided to honour their loved one in a memorial place. They felt it was time to
accept the government findings and official reports that he would not be found.
Family members and fellow soldiers who served with SSGT James M. Ray gathered
around a white stone marker bearing his name in Arlington National Cemetery on
September 7, 2007, for a final memorial service. His burial site is Section
MK, Site 83, Arlington National Cemetery. He
was honoured with a 21 gun salute. An American memorial flag was presented to
As of 2013, at least 1,648 Americans are still
unaccounted for in Vietnam, including SSGT James Michael Ray. We still search
for answers and peace for them as well as their loved ones.
It was a bright clear day, just three years ago. There wasn’t
a cloud in the sky. I had come home from running errands. I went in the house
and put my things away.
Within five minutes, it was black outside and the wind had
kicked up. The trees were shaking and bending, while the windows rattled. Maggie
ran to her favourite spot by the bay window; she loves to watch storms. Suddenly
the rain was pouring from what seemed to be several directions. I was stunned!
There was no report of bad weather on the radio.
As the winds howled, I went to look out of the bay window to
see what was happening. Just as I looked out, our pine tree literally broke in
half with a very loud cracking sound. The entire top half of the tree was now lying
on its side. A soaking wet squirrel was running from the tree. He seemed to
have a broken tail.
It wasn’t over yet. Lightning was flashing. Thunder roared. The wind was
deafening. I heard strange cracking and creaking noises. The wind whipped trees
as it continued breaking or uprooting them!
I went to look out the back door and watched as our neighbour’s tree fell onto our fence, taking out the entire western side of our yard.
Out fence, garden and trees were destroyed. Other panels of fence, on the
eastern side of the yard were left hanging in open sections.
Then, just as it began, it was over. The storm was gone. I
went out to look around. It was silent, not a single sound. As I then took
pictures, I began to hear distant sirens. Power lines were down; trees were broken and scattered throughout the neighbourhood.
Initially, we were told it was a micro-burst. We are in the
direct path of many of these. They come from the west, on a direct path down
the route through our area toward Lake Michigan. After further investigation of
the wind speeds and damage, it was decided to be in fact a tornado that did not
actually touch down.
It is important to be aware of the possibility that these
can happen at any time. Be prepared. Stay alert. Have a plan. We were fortunate;
it could have been worse. It was certainly bad enough.
Monsoor was awarded "The Congressional Medal Of Honor", for giving his life in Iraq. He jumped on a live hand grenade, covering it with his body, saving the lives of a large group of Navy Seals. During Mike Monsoor's funeral at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, the six pallbearers removed the rosewood casket from the hearse. They lined up on each side of Mike Monsoor's casket, along with his family members, friends, fellow sailors and well-wishers. The column of people continued from the hearse, all the way to the grave site. What the group didn't know at the time was that every Navy Seal (45 to be exact) that Mike Monsoor saved that day was scattered through-out this column of people. As the pallbearers carried the rosewood casket down the column of people to the grave side, the column would collapse, forming a group of people that followed behind. Every time the casket passed a Navy Seal, he would remove his Gold Trident pin from his uniform. He would slap it down hard onto the casket, causing the Gold Trident pin to embed itself into the top of the wooden casket. The Navy Seal would then step back from the casket and salute! The trident pin is what one is awarded upon completion of the Navy Seals program. Following basic training, Seal Qualification Training is 15 more weeks of training. It is necessary to continue improving basic skills and to learn new tactics and techniques required for an assignment to a Navy Seal platoon. After successful completion, trainees are given their Naval Enlisted Code and are awarded The Navy Seal Trident Pin. It was said that each of the 45 slaps could be heard across The Cemetery. by the time the rosewood casket reached the grave site, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from The 45 Trident Pins that lined the top!
This was an appropriate memorial and tribute to a true Warrior Hero.
each day inside the cocoon of luxury that was her comfortable life.
through her windows was always acceptable and satisfying. Keeping
her rose-coloured glass clean, she chose to see what she wanted. She would
not be bothered with unpleasant, “disturbing” things outside.
as she wore her blinders, she could lead a charmed life.
This is the long awaited and much anticipated novel from talented author Beth Hoffman. Filled with life, love, and nature, it is more than
worth the wait.
Teddi Overman grows up in rural Kentucky. Early in life she
develops a gift for restoring old furniture. When an elderly antique dealer
notices her work for sale at the roadside, he gives her his business card. As
soon as she graduates, she follows her dream to find this man. He offers her work
in the big city of Charleston, becoming her mentor and friend. She eventually
opens her own business, surrounded by wonderful people who befriend and support her. However, Teddi is tormented by the mysterious disappearance
of her brother, Josh. Many years ago he followed his own dream, leaving life on
the farm to be one with the natural
world. His extraordinary gift was a spiritual connection with both wildlife and
nature. He felt at home only in the wilds
of their native Kentucky. Yet no one knows if he survived.
Times changed; first their father passes away, and later
their mother suddenly passes away. The family farm must be dealt with. Josh’s long
disappearance has brought up new questions. Teddi must go back home to Kentucky
to make peace with her past and resolve the family estate.
Some people know who they are from an early age, and follow
that path without question. Both Teddi and Josh knew who they were, though
their paths were in different directions. Love and respect held them together
even when apart. They understood each other and their place in life.
Beth Hoffman understands, as well. Her writing of human
bonds is moving, real, and genuine. She writes of the human/animal bond with great
emotion, intuition, and a deep, even profound understanding. She is a very
special, gifted author and person.
I read this book straight through, needing to know the whole story. Then I read the
book again. This is one of my very favourite novels. I know I will read it again, in the
future. It is beautifully written and deeply felt. Do not miss this book, or
"Comfort Dogs" go to areas where assistance is needed.
These dogs are headed for tornado ravaged Oklahoma.
They help give therapeutic comfort to victims of illness or tragedy by relieving stress and offering positivity.
Their comfort has proven to be welcome and healing.
Pet Partners is a non profit organization, one of many who offer therapy animals to those in need of comfort. Both animals and handlers are trained in a variety of therapy capacities and situations. They are also used in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, & other situations.
Inspired by his exposure to death and the possibility of
saving lives from the loss of life, Dr. Nuño shares his experiences. Personal
experiences have had major impact on his professional career and personal
In one story, Dr. Nuño shares how his sister stopped
breathing and had no pulse, while in flight from California to Paris. He was
able to bring her back from the brink of death. Earlier in his life, he had
successfully given his father CPR, while on a visit to Mexico.
Yet later, in another personal story, he is unable to revive
his own daughter, as she loses her battle with Anorexia Nervosa. In life and
death situations, he was able to be there for loved ones, including the final
moments of his daughter, and both of his parents.
These personal experiences have made his mission to educate
and help people understand the necessity of care, love, and life. Dr. Nuño
served in the military during the Gulf War, Walter Reed Medical Center, in
Washington, DC, and as the Chief of Cardiac surgery in Los Angeles, CA.
Donald McCaig writes with much experience about sheep dogs. He
has worked these intelligent and hardworking dogs for almost three decades.
Working his renowned dog trainers, he has learned much about dogs and training.
Here he explains all that goes into the herding trials, imparting hard earned wisdom.
In this current book, Donald takes us with him and his beloved
dogs, Luke and June, to the World Sheepdog Trials in Wales. In great detail, he
shares his respect and love for his dogs and what they do. The bonds are clear
We are also taken on Donald McCaig’s journey through his
many years of training and learning. We are able to meet the many dogs who
shared his life and taught him along the way as he trained them.
The book is a fascinating look at “the Olympics of sheepdog
trials” and the special ones involved in it. It also is a very intimate
portrait of the mutual love and respect between dogs and people.
As a person who has a special love of sheepdogs, I
especially enjoyed this book. In fact, I have read and recommend all of Donald
McCaig’s books. I only wish I could see his dogs run the trials.
It is a sad truth that Americans live with, which ultimately affects us all. Detroit is only one of many areas of the United States hit by this problem. Bill was in manufacturing for 35 years before losing his job, and having to re-invent himself for employment. He went into trucking to contribute, to help move the economy. Bill took these photos from his truck. This is not a negative post on Detroit, it is a cry for her and her sister cities. I post this for awareness of this reality, and for those who lost their jobs to it.
Spirits high, car windows open, summer mingled with music from the radio
as the teenagers hurried to the graduation party.
Changing lanes quickly they lost control of the vehicle, as it hit a hedge row and rolled five times before landing upside down in a driveway.
Sirens screamed and lights flashed, while people gathered to
observe the outcome of the accident. Paramedics used "The Jaws of Life" to safely cut the teens out of the mangled
car, telling them it was a "miracle they were alive".
Looking up at the old church by the driveway, they all knew it was
One woman’s journey to her authentic
self, and the dog on wheels who led the way
By Barbara Techel
is the story of a dachshund named Frankie. Frankie was a special dog. Suffering
from Intervertebral Disc Disease, she lived in a wheelchair for dogs. This can
be a problem in dachshunds, basset hounds, and Corgis, but in other breeds, as
well. IVDD affects the disc and vertebrae of the spine, causing sensitivity, pain,
immobility and even incontinence as the disease progresses.
learned to live in a wheelchair, as her owner learned about living by seeing
life through her little dog’s eyes. Together, they learned and grew on their
journey. Never giving up, Frankie put things into perspective with her
acceptance and will to make the most of every situation. Barbara learned from
each situation that Frankie encountered, not only about Frankie but about
Techel is open and forthright in her writing. She shares Frankie’s struggles
and her inspiration to others with dogs that have disabilities. Barbara also
shares her own personal struggles, including how Frankie’s courage has inspired her in
her own life.
is a beautiful story of the closeness between a woman and her dog. It is a
testament of their journey together, and their separate journeys within. This
is a very special and inspiring story of how love can triumph in even difficult
One long hot summer, young Sadie and her friend play a prank
on a neighborhood girl. It was just a harmless prank, all in fun, to pass the
lazy days of a youthful summer. However, shortly thereafter, the little girl
goes missing from a backyard cookout, and is never seen again.
Two decades pass, and Sadie is living her life is the same
area of her youth. She has a good marriage, and two sons. Life is good, until a
boy from her old neighborhood returns.
Suddenly everything changes, as untold secrets come to
light, and long-unresolved mysteries are solved. Karen Brown tells an unnerving
story of youthful pranks and their possible lasting repercussions.
She has settled into her forever home with us. She loves to patrol her big back yard, and has found her voice. She will occasionally give a brief bark of warning to squirrels. Once she barked at people walking too close to the fence at night. When she comes inside, she finds her resting spot and likes to sleep upside down, like this.
She has gotten accustomed to her cat sisters, who are still trying to figure her out. They are all working it out, and realizing we are family. "The Dog" is here to stay.
Stella is now healthy, having successfully gone through heartworm treatment while under the care of Sheltie Rescue. She is now on the necessary medicines that prevent this horrible parasite. We waited for her to be released, having fallen in love with her. We knew she was our dog, and we are her family. She was definitely worth the wait. Stella is a sweet, smart, very gentle dog...and very much loved.