Category Archives: Personal
Mom has many friends. I get lots of calls asking how she is doing. I appreciate that. However, I suppose I need to do a better job of keeping her (and my) friends updated on mom’s condition.
First a recap: A few weeks ago, mom suffered a major stroke. Her left side and her vision were impacted. We spent two weeks at the Coliseum Stroke Rehab Center, but then the Coliseum contacted us and said they felt that their rehab was doing more harm than good. They asked us for the names of three sub-acute rehab centers. We gave them three based on our knowledge and the recommendations of some friends. Pinewood Manor (Hawkinsville), Summer Hill (Perry), and Church Home Care (Perry). After calling all the centers, Church Home Care and Rehab http://churchhomerehab.com/ in Perry had the only opening.
Mom was transferred there on September 11. While our hopes and prayers remain that mom will get at least partially mobile again, to the point that we can bring her home to care for her, we are also trying to be very realistic. Church Home Care is both a sub-acute rehab and a long-term nursing home.
10/03/14 Update: I go and visit mom every day. I leave Hawkinsville as soon as I get off work and go straight to Perry. There I am able to feed her supper each day. Then I visit for an hour or so and make my way back home. Mom is on Pureed food due to swallowing issues related to the stroke. Mom has little to no use of her left side. Her speech is now often slurred as well. Her vision is really bad. If you sit on her right side, she can usually see you. If you get on her left, she has no idea you are even in the room.
Mentally, mom comes and goes. Her short term memory is really bad right now. People can visit, and by the time I get there each day, she has forgotten they came to visit. However, ask her about something from a year ago, and she can tell you more details than I can.
I ask mom daily if she feels good, “Yes, I’ve had a good day.” is her usual answer. Are they treating you good here? “Yes, they are so nice”. Are you happy? “Yes, I’ve had a good day”. How did Therapy go today? “I worked hard today”. Are you getting better, “I think I’m getting a little better each day”. So at least she seems pretty content.
She asks every day about her dog, Fetch. In fact, she asks about Fetch before she asks about me or Vonnie. But that’s okay. I’ve taken Fetch once to see her, I’ve got to do that again soon.
Bottom line is that she is doing okay. She is not yet getting better, but she seems as content as one can expect. Just keep her in your prayers.
Me: I’ve also had many of you ask how I am doing. Well, it’s been tough. I am an only child, so the decisions and bulk of the issues fall to me. But’s that’s okay. I am surrounded by an incredible support group. Vonnie has been by my side (and mom’s side) this entire journey. She has been incredible. My children visit mom and encourage me. My cousin Donna has been incredible. She visits mom often and is always available on a day that I am out of town and can’t visit. She has been such a blessing. My cousin Sherry and my cousins Rebecca and Jake have also been great!
The support from the community and churches (mine and mom’s) has also been overwelming. From email, to cards, to flowers, to visits, to facebook posts, I know you care and I appreciate every one of you.
My philosophy through all of this is this: I am praying for mom’s healing. I am praying as David did when his son was sick. In 2 Samuel 16-22, David prays and asks God to heal. But the boy dies. Then look what happened. (Verses paraphrased and shortened).
20 David got up off the floor. He went into the Lord’s tent and worshiped.
21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he’s dead, you’re up and eating.”
22 David answered: While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he’s dead, why should I go without eating? I can’t bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can’t return to me.
I want God to heal mom, but God knows better than me. He also promised that ALL things work together for good for those that love God and are the called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). So if God does heal mom, then may He get the glory. If God does not heal mom, I will still worship him and give all Glory to God. Whatever happens, it is my prayer that God be glorified. That is our purpose on earth.
So, yeah, it’s tough. It’s the hardest thing I have ever been through. Dad’s death was tough, but it was brief. This is lingering and is tiring. I have new respect for the care-givers of this world. But God is good and I am just going through things that many of you either have or will go through. How people do it without knowing God is in control, I don’t know.
But I am good. Taking one day at a time. Please continue to pray for mom.
I am so excited. The Macon Small Business Development Center did an article on my company. It was featured in their September, 2013 edition. I just got a copy! Check it out! The link above is to a PDF copy of the article, or you can go to:
and click on SEPTEMBER 2013
Months and months ago, I put myself on the list to be considered for Google Glass. Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.
Well, on Friday, I got an email saying I had been selected to participate in their GLASS EXPLORER early adopter program. My Glass arrived on Tuesday! The Google Glass is really awesome. It has the heads up display slightly above my line of site. With just a brisk nod of my head, it comes alive with a computer screen. I can then communicate with it via voice commands. “Okay Glass, Make a call to Vonnie” or “Okay Glass, text Kristen that I will be late for our meeting” or “Okay Glass, give me directions to 94 Commerce Street in Hawkinsville”. I can check email, texts, news alerts, directions. I can take pictures or video. I can look at a sign written in a foreign language and it will automatically translate it for me. I can Google any inquiry – all hands free. Thus far, I REALLY like it. I will post from time to time on this blog to let you know my thoughts on Google Glass. Find out much more about Glass at: http://www.google.com/glass/start/ Also, this is a neat video to give you a feel for it. http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/#video=hif-video
If any of you want to try it, let me know….
Find Big Mail is a great app to use if your GMAIL account is filling up. My personal gmail account is 30 gig in size (I purchase extra space), but I am already using over 17 gig or over 50% of my space. In comes FIND BIG MAIL. Running this program told me… “75.8% of my Gmail space is used by 3.3% of my mail.” WOW! It then labeled the biggest offenders right in GMAIL for me to look at and delete what I could. I had 398 emails over 10mb, 451 emails over 5mb, and 2088 emails over 1mb. After running this program, I was able to delete many large files and got my gmail account to only 13 gig or 35% of my available space. Just a quick tip for you gmail users!
I am on the city council in Hawkinsville, Ga. Hawkinsville is a small city with slightly over 4,000 citizens. We provide garbage and trash pickup for our citizens. Garbage pickup is the household garbage that goes in the outside containers that the city picks up weekly. Trash pickup is the limbs, leaves, and other natural debris that is left on the curb. Garbage is hauled to the landfill in Houston County where we pay them so much per pound to accept our garbage. Trash pickup is carried to our inert landfill. The inert landfill is a 3 to 4 acre plot of land where this debris is dumped. Once it gets enough debris there, we hire a contractor to come and mulch all of the limbs, trees, branches, and leaves into a mulch that the contractor then hauls away. The inert landfill also contains a hole where we dump concrete and asphalt from street and sidewalk repairs. It takes several years to fill up even the smallest holes that we dig – we just don’t have that much concrete that needs to be buried.
We have successfully run our inert landfill in this capacity for many years. It does no harm to our environment and provides a cost effective way for the city to handle the trash pickup for our citizens. Our inert landfill does NOT pollute any groundwater and it does NOT cause the creation of methane gas.
HOWEVER, the state EPD (Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources) is proposing a change to the regulations governing inert landfills. These revisions will cost our citizens and lead to greater illegal dumping by citizens. The regulations will require our little inert landfill to be monitored by professional engineers. The initial cost of meeting these requirements will exceed $150,000 with an annual fee of around $12,000 thereafter.
Now I am all for protecting our environment. And I am all for making sure that people do right. EPD’s argument is that some landfills are violating the rules. Some contractors are burying construction debris and then “lost” the documentation on where and how much they buried. But let’s be reasonable and realistic. Let’s go after the violators rather than punishing those of us that have done it correctly.
Our taxpayers, locally, state-wide, and federally, are paying all that they can. We certainly don’t need more government bureaucracy causing an additional tax burden that serves absolutely no purpose. Fine the offenders. Regulate the private landfills. Waive these regulations for the small municipal governments that have always operated correctly and will continue to operate correctly. Don’t punish all of us for the faults of a few!
The Natural Resources Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed rule change at its August meeting. The public can file written comments with the agency until June 21st! You may file comments to:
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Environmental Protection Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Suite 1152, East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
What is YOUR opinion?
UPDATE: 2/27/13: The EPD did NOT vote in our favor and this rule changed passed the entire board. Rep. Buddy Harden and City Manager Jerry Murkerson both spoke on our behalf but they were not interested in hearing us. However, Rep. Harden has introduced legislation that would exempt cities such as ours. The legislation HAS passed the house and is now in committee. THANK YOU Rep. Harden for your efforts on our behalf…
HB 320, Regulation of Inert Landfills, by Rep. Buddy Harden (R-Cordele), passed the House on Tuesday, February 26, and is now awaiting committee assignment in the Senate. GMA supports this legislation
Elon Musk’s SpaceX did it’s job. The company’s SpaceX capsule successfully docked with the international space station this week. This is HUGE. History was made with the docking of its Dragon capsule to the international space station, the most impressive feat yet in turning routine spaceflight over to the commercial sector.
It marked the first time a business enterprise delivered a supply ship to the space station. Privatization on a massive scale.
I was a huge fan of the Space Shuttle Program. I did a project on it when I was a senior in High School. I went to Cape Canaveral to watch a launch. I spent DAYS in front of the TV when the Challenger exploded. So, I was a little dismayed when I heard the program was ending, but in truth, it is probably for the best. The private sector can do most things immensely better than the public sector. Competition brings costs down and innovation up.
The privatization of this program should show us that we need to explore other ways to get Government out of our way. People like Mr. Musk will always step up to the plate and fill the voids. Of course, the opposite is true also. I personally believe that if our churches and non-profits would truly fulfill their missions, Welfare and possibly even Social Security would not be needed. But when the private fails to do it, government steps in. It is a balancing act. The Government certainly has a role to play, but far too often they step over the limit.
Bob Dole made a huge campaign commitment to state’s rights. And although I totally agreed with him, I knew he could not win an election on this point. Dole was too much of a moderate to win. (personally, I think the same is true of Romney).
Moving power and control away from the federal government back to the states is a good thing. Moving power and control away from the states and back to the local level is even a better thing. Should the Fed & State have some guidelines and requirements? Of course. But the best person to make decisions for me is – well, ME! The best people to make decisions for my community are my friends and neighbors – aka – the community itself.
While the SpaceX accomplishment is historical on so many levels, I think a huge statement being proclaimed is that the private sector can handle areas formerly reserved for the government. Do away with DOE? Yes. Do away with the IRS? Yes (a national sales tax is the answer). Do away with other agencies and regulations? Yes.
This is my blog – this is my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts…….
You go on a mission trip with the proposed purpose of making a difference in someone else’s life. You come back with the profound knowledge that it’s your life that has been changed. My recent mission trip to Kenya proved this to me – again. In 1999, I went with a group to Honduras and that trip resulted just the same. Yes, we did some good, (building homes in Honduras and helping a church to grow in Kenya). But it is the personal changes that a mission trip creates that validates us going.
As I preparing for this trip, I honestly had mixed feelings. The total cost for 14 of us going on this trip was pretty high between airfare, lodging, vehicle rentals, food, and the donations to the church and orphanage while there. I was calculating this cost and thinking – could not that money be spent here in Hawkinsville? Was this a glorified vacation with a “mission” theme so that we could all rationalize the expense in our own minds? I was leaving behind a fellow that I had just met that had not eaten in two days – would not helping him be better than me taking this trip?
But by then, the plans were made, the money was paid, and the tickets were bought. So I went. And I can conclusively say – I am glad I did! I believe the change, the focus, in me has been permanently altered. A mission trip forces you to get out of your day to day life with your day to day perceptions. We see the same thing everyday. We talk the same politics everyday. We see the same needs everyday, and we become oblivious to them all.
Let me tell you of the trip:
We arrived in Kenya, got settled in, and then immediately went to Pastor Shaddrack’s Tea Village Church. This particular Tea Village is owned by one of the tea company plantations. They provide housing (a block house with no running water) to the family for helping to harvest tea. There were several hundred houses in this village. This church is a new church and we were going to help “disciple” the 30-40 members so that the church could grow deeper in it’s knowledge of Christian ideals. Personally, I was assigned to teach a two hour lesson on Prayer.
We also planned on teaching many Bible lessons to the children of the community. The children are the key to getting the adults to show up. On the first day, dozens of children arrived and probably 6 or 7 adults. We taught Bible stories to the children. We played with the children. And we taught our discipleship lessons to the older youth and adults that showed up. Then in the afternoon, we went to help with an orphanage that serviced 54 children. Most all of these children were orphaned due to the Aids epidemic that is in the land. BesAnn, a young 24 year old woman, cares daily for these children providing 3 meals and Bible lessons. She is a remarkable lady. Her only help is from a lady who helps cook and also some help from Pastor Shaddrack and his wife.
Both the tea village and the orphanage screamed poverty. The children had next to nothing. Some had shoes, others did not. Some had decent clothes, others had ragged garments. For the most part, they seemed happy (especially with all of us strange white people there, they kept wanting to see under our shirt sleeves to see if we were really this color everywhere!). We saw poverty, we saw situations that are unthinkable – yet they exist. It changes you. It makes you thankful, grateful, and humble at your life experience compared to theirs. It shows you what the courage, faith, and willingness of one 24 year old can do – it can change lives. Am I changing lives? Am I making a difference? A Mission trip FORCES you to ask yourself these questions.
We even witnessed a miracle We had bought 10 bags of 20 snicker’s bars each. (that’s 200 snickers bars for you mathmatically challenged). We gave out 161 at the tea village. A diabetic team member ate one. That left, to our counting, 38 snickers bars that should be in our bag. There were 54 children at the orphanage + two children visiting from the nearby village. We knew we had nowhere near 56 snickers bars. But someone suggested that we count. So we poured them all out on the floor of the van. And, you guessed it. There were not 55 candy bars. There were not 57 candy bars. There were exactly 56 candy bars. You could not help but think about Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000. All I can say is that God provided and taught us that HE is sufficient and provides for His children!
By the third day of visiting the church and the orphanage, interest in the community had grown. The children were showing off their Burger King crowns (we talked of sexual purity and explained that they were all princes and princesses of THE KING). We told other Bible stories. The children would go home and tell the others in their household. More children came daily. The adult participation grew. On day three, the day I was supposed to teach on Prayer, about 40-50 adults had arrvied. The pastor was excited, but said, “for the most part, these are not people of my church, they are un-churched, please do a lesson on salvation instead of prayer!”. I almost panicked. I had not prepared a lesson on salvation, I had prepared a lesson on Prayer. I was also thinking, “There are 3 full time preachers on this trip – Let them do it!”. But deep down, I knew. I knew that THIS was why I came. I knew that GOD was in control and my job was to obey! (I did grab one preacher to go with me though). So, I began sharing in a small 16 x 20 room, about Christ. About how he changed my life. About how he loves me. About how he loves each one in that room. I shared about God sending his Son to take the penalty for my choice of disobedience. Of God sending His Son so that I could have fellowship with a Just and Holy God. I shared the story of Salvation! In this church, they don’t “walk the saw dust trail” as revivals of years gone by. But many, many did raise their hand to indicate they understood and that they desired and asked Jesus to be Lord of their life. It was an awesome moment in my life that I will never forget.
By the time I finished (probably 20 minutes), another 40 or 50 had arrived. There were over 90 people in that small room. I asked the preacher that came with me, Robert Doughtery, (preacher at Antioch Baptist) to give his version of the salvation story. He did and assuredly more came to know Christ. Well, I thought it was over and I was through – but God had other plans. The pastor then asked us to “Tell them how to grow in Christ…”. So Robert and I each gave a 20 minute lesson on growing in Christ. Then the pastor said, “Question and Answer Time”. And all of this was through an interpretor – what an experience!
The interesting thing was that the questions that they ask are the same questions that we ask. “Do you HAVE to go to church?” “How does one KNOW they are saved?” “Is it a sin to get mad at my favorite football team?” “What about all the different denominations and different religions?”. We answered these and more the best that we could. Probably not 100% correct, but I believe that God honored the effort. Hopefully lives were changed, I know mine was. We TALK of missions. We send MONEY to missions. But it is so life changing to be an actual PART of missions.
At the Nairobi airport, as we prepared to come home, I met a young lady 22 years old. (the same age as my daughter). She was going home to Colorado after spending 4 months in Africa – all by herself. I talked with her for an hour and a half. She was a changed person. Her trip was not a christian mission trip, she was volunteering to teach English. But the trip had changed her as well. I asked her if she knew my Jesus, and she did. So while I did not get to share Christ with her, it was an accomplishment for me that I tried!
I tell you all this not to boast in any way. If any good was done on that trip, it was all God’s doing. Hopefully, I did not get in the way too much. But I tell you this story to encourage you. GO on a mission trip when you get the opportunity. Our own Paul Williams in this community has lead many mission trips through the Methodist Church. Dennis Phillips of the Pulaski-Bleckley Baptist Association leads yearly trips. Speak to your pastor, there ARE opportunities.
You go thinking you might change the world. But it’s YOUR world that gets changed. It’s your perspectives that are altered. It’s your attitude that is modified. It is your pre-conceived notions that get shattered. People around the world all want the same things; to be loved; to be accepted; to survive and even thrive. People attempt to fill those wants with everything imaginable, yet, only God can truly fulfill.
Hopefully all 14 of us will never be the same. Possibly it took traveling half way around the world, attempting to change their lives, that will result in us being willing to change lives back home. When asked, GO. If not asked, then ask your Pastor, and then GO.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Ga Services, the holding company for GA WebServices, GA MediaServices, and GA AppraisalServices has moved! We are now located at 94 Commerce Street in Hawkinsville. (formerly the KidStuff Building). We have more room, a better layout, AND we are supporting our struggling downtown! Come by and visit us!
Hawkinsville lost a fine guy this week. I served with Wilson for several years on the Hawkinsville City Commission. A lot of our progress can be attributed to him. He was an extremely intelligent man that cared about this community. We often differed on the “approach” to a challenge, but we seldom differed on the end goal. Wilson’s approach was full steam ahead, don’t worry about the collateral damage. Sometimes – that was what was needed. That approached was not liked by some and it probably cost him the last election, but at times, it was the approach that got the most accomplished.
Hawkinsville has made great strides in the blighted housing category, and much of that success was due to Wilson. He spearheaded the Opportunity Zone. He would take the time to analyze an issue and would often find a stone that we had not overturned.
Wilson was also the best storyteller. His trip to back from Atlanta in a wrecker is one of the funniest stories I have ever heard. And he could tell a joke as good as any standup I have ever seen.
I watched Wilson put his family first. He was willing to make some tough decisions out of love. He didn’t just take the easy route. His love for his children, his grandchildren and Jane was ever visible and present. He admired and complimented Jane at every mention.
Wilson is the reason that we have the PCCLC (Pulaski County Christian Learning Center). He saw the success of that program in another community and challenged Pulaski County to make it happen here. This may prove to be his best legacy in our town. It is already making a difference in people’s lives.
I will miss Wilson. He was a friend. He challenged me not to accept the status quo. I enjoyed discussing ideas and goals with him. I enjoyed our disagreements, because he never took them personally with me. Yeah, he made me mad sometimes, yeah, we disagreed sometimes – but that what friends do. Iron sharpens iron.
Hawkinsville is a better community because of Wilson. How many of us will be able to say that when our time comes?