Monday, August 14, 2017

Randy's Way - Emerald Isle, NC

We have been coming to Emerald Isle, NC for our Summer vacation over the years. We have been staying in the same beach house since 2008 as it is an almost oceanfront property convenient to stores, sights and it is a very short walk to the beach. During our walk to the beach we pass by an area known as Randy's Way.

In the past we have walked by a wheelchair bound Randy and his wife as they were enjoying the sunshine often nodding hello.

Today during a morning rain I was curious so I decided to do some research to find out who Randy is. I Google information that is on the photograph I took and find out that Randy is a retired Marine Major with ALS (diagnosed 1995). From the articles I saw I found out the following:

He started showing signs of his illness in 1994, soon after he returned home from the first Persian Gulf War. After more than a year of medical tests, doctors found he had contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. In brief, ALS is a motor neuron disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, damaging upper and lower motor neurons. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost, robbing its victims of mobility and even breathing. I had a high school friend pass from this disease in 2011 as age 48.

The doctors told Randy's wife Kim it was a direct result of his experience in the Gulf.

"After a thorough investigation, they were able to pinpoint a particular area of exposure," Kim Hebert said. "The men who were over there were 90 percent more likely to get ALS than someone who was not over there."

His wife said Randy was always active and very social. And he has always loved the beach.

Their home is a couple blocks down the street from our rental and the Atlantic Ocean.

Today I got this of Ben as we began our day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Message...

It's been awhile since I wrote anything here but had to share this.

Today I drop my car off for service as Ben and I are taking a road trip to see my Mom in South Carolina next week. After I handed over the keys and discussed the work to be done, I request a shuttle to take me to work. A man brings the shuttle around, nice as can be asking how I am, where I was going...So on the ride to work he asks me if I’m ready for Christmas...

I replied back almost, that I have a couple more things to get as I always wait to the last minute. It's what I do every Christmas... So I asked him if he's set and he said no Christmas shopping for him this year... I paused a bit and I said oh?... And he told me his wife had a liver transplant at Johns Hopkins and she is home recovering and that is my gift this Christmas.

And before I met this gentleman I’m silently moaning about how much a car repair is going to set me back. Yikes! After we reached my office I wanted to hug this guy and say all will be ok but we shook hands and I promised to pray for him and his family. Since I drop Ben off every day at Catholic school and there is our church a hundred yards away I'll do so as well as light a candle.

Since I've been at work today I can't stop thinking of this gentleman and his wife. I went to a quiet place at work and just wept. Two years to the day I lost an Aunt after she had a liver transplant. She never got to go home. I don't know, I just feel for this guy and admire how strong he was as he was telling he his story.

I moan and groan about things like the Redskins losing or a driver cutting me off in traffic. Sometimes making them seem like its a big deal when in reality, it's not. Today's encounter was a reminder for me to just focus on health, happiness and love. Sometimes I lose sight of the real important things and get obsessed over really trivial things. I just hope and pray this gentleman and his family will be okay and can continue to be a strong, loving family.

I guess the lesson I learned today is a simple remember to count your blessings today and every day forward.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Last Day of 4th Grade

The last day of school is exciting for all kids. No more early wake up calls, classwork or homework. Go to sleep late, get up late. Travel, go swimming, go to camp, play with friends. Nice agenda.

A lot of hard work this past year paid off for Ben as you will see in the upcoming photos. It was a great school year. I can't believe Ben will be a 5th grader in September!

Ben was telling me his 4th grade reflections before the last walk

Hallway of endless possibilities when it comes to learning. Every day he learns more.

Ben walking up to the altar to receive his 4th grade Good Samaritan award. This is the highest honor a student can receive at his school. He worked very hard this school year.

Getting a hug from his teacher

Congrats Ben!

Caught this shot before he went back to his classroom

The bell rings and the kids are turned loose for the Summer. Ben's pal Dennis is happy!

Ben with his friends

Paolo, Miguel and Ben before celebratory lunch and basketball outing

Big decision: What to top off their hamburgers with

Paolo is happy with his choice

Reward after a lot of hard work this school year

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ben's First Piano Recital

Ben has been taking piano lessons from Ms. Richa a former teacher of Ben's at his old day care. He has been learning and playing for nine months. On Saturday May 21, 2016 he and eleven other students had their piano recital at Jordan Kitts Music in Fairfax, VA. Each student played three songs including a duet with Ms. Richa.

Ben's songs were Supercalifragilistic, Rolling Along (with Ms. Richa) and Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Ben was nervous at first but I told him it was like a basketball game, once he got started the nerves would go away. And they did as he did an excellent job.

In fact, all the kids involved did a fantastic job and the more Ben learns and plays, the better he will become. Maybe he'll even play Take Me Out To The Ballgame at a Washington Nationals baseball game one day.

The set up

Ben was a little nervous

Assurance from Mommy before the performance

Ben relaxed a bit when his cousin Jacob appeared

Ms. Richa explains the program

Ben in action

Photo by William Workinger

Photo by William Workinger

Photo by William Workinger

Rolling Along duet with Ms. Richa (Photo by William Workinger)

Ben takes a bow after his performance (Photo by William Workinger)

The kids all received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals which was determined by how long you had been taking lessons with Ms. Richa. Ben received a bronze medal. We are very proud of his efforts and dedication and can't wait to see him progress further. Thank you Ms. Richa!

Ben and Ms. Richa after the recital

Aunt Kim provided the flowers

Encore after the medal ceremony

Ben and Jacob with their medals

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cherry Blossoms at Kenwood

A walking photo tour of the cherry blossoms at Kenwood in Bethesda, Maryland. Enjoy their beauty!