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By that I mean live your life to it's fullest, take time to enjoy what is really important in life you never know when your time will be up. Enjoy the simple things in life, laugh often and love completely with no strings attached. In the past six months we have lost two family members, and just recently we have learned two more have been diagnosed with cancer. One with prostate cancer, I feel optimistic about a cure for this. But the other is of an unknown origin at this point, and they fear it may have already spread to several vital organs. Some of you may have noticed I have drifted more from nature photos to family photos. This would because as a family we have have gathered around each other more for strength during this time. I hope we are also learning how important family is and learning, we are truely one and not just random individuals attached by genitics. As for myself I know I hug those I have always loved a little tighter and never leave them with out assuring them I love them unconditionally now and forever. 
Some of you may have noticed, or maybe not. But yes the digit under my name has changed today once again, it now states 63. Myself I perfer to think of it as having reached my 21st year for the third time. I know I probably look it, but I don't feel it and those who know me well will tell you I surely don't act it. I was asked tonight how some one my age can seem so young, I guess I never realized I did. Sitting here tonight thinking about it, I think the answer would be to never lose your thirst for life, learning and above all fun! You see I've never been an overly competitive kind of guy, I like playing sports. But could care less whether I win or loose, and to be honest I dont care much for people with a must win attitude. But break out the squirt guns or water balloons and I'm there ready to soak or get soaked. I love splashing in the water with my grandsons, grandnephews and nieces, searching the beaches on the river for shells etc. All the while explaining to them what I know about nature and how to survive with it and in it. I have always been told I am a hard worker and a reliable person, that I learned from my father. But I also own a shirt with my favorite saying " Growing older is mandatory, Growing up is optional!" I guess that would describe me to a tee. With any amount of luck I'll never grow up surrounded by my family, friends and their children laughing and enjoying the beauty of life. That's just the way I want it to be! :)
Most of our area rivers have been above flood stage since spring. Now that they are all back in their banks the levels are falling fast, almost to the low end of the stage for them. It's August and the Mississippi should be running around 8 or 9 feet instead in a matter of just three weeks we have dropped to 6 feet. Not by any means desperately low, but I find it strange so soon after the flood.
The flood water has pulled back so my work at the Red Cross is winding down now. I have spent most of the last two weeks or so working out of the office. So I'm looking forward to getting outside and catching up with my yard work and spending some time catching up with my extended family. Hope to get out shooting some pictures soon :)
I will be in and out over the next couple of weeks I guess. The flooding here on the Mississippi River, Iowa River, Wapsi River and the Rock River is causing people to be forced from their homes again. So I will be out with the Red Cross, doing what we can to help ease the crisis. So far the levees and dikes in the area are holding for the most part, but with all the rain we have had they are saturated. What we need more then anything right now is a period of dry weather with gentle breezes to dry us out some.
   Shortly after midnight on April 9th 2014 a piece of our heart stopped beating, and our hearts are broken. Joan and I left home to take a two week road trip from Iowa to Arizona. We arrived at our friends house in Phoenix on Monday evening as planned. Early Tuesday morning I recieved a call from one of my wife's sisters to inform me that Sarah one of Joan's younger sisters had taken a fall and the outlook was grim. Our friends Dick and Kaye did all they could to help us get ready to rush to the Saint Louis area a 24 hour drive from Phoenix. Sadly en-route we received the news that she had lost her finale battle and had slipped from this earth taking with her a small piece of all of our hearts and a slightly larger piece of mine.
  On July 5th 1975 Joan and I were married and some where along the line I fell in love with her mother and three sisters also. It was as if they were a package deal, there is no way you can love one without loving them all. Sarah's life was tragic and triumphant she struggled with and overcame the demons in her life. She was a mother, a loving aunt and a nurse
 Sarah, over the years we shared so many tears as you struggled with your demons but just as many times we laughed and enjoyed the good times we shared together. I will forever miss your smile your uncontrollable laugh, and I will always love you.
  
Be back in two weeks :)
Driving from Iowa to Arizona and back, stopping here and there on the way.
Normal snow fall here for the season is 36" so far we have had 42.6" and more is on it's way Saturday. The worst part is it's been coming two or three inches at a time, no wonder I feel like all I've done since mid December is move snow. Enough with the snow already!

According to the news unless you are over 40, you've never experienced cold like this. Well lucky me that means I've gotten to do it twice! 

Carry On Now :)


Oh lucky me the polar Vortic is back, that means this will be the thrid time I get to be unbelievably cold! Just something about clearing snow with a minus 20 wind chill factor, that makes you feel alive! :)

My wife and I must have done something right raising our sons. Seems our oldest son and his wife have found some young children who missed Christmas.  They live with their mom and grandmother, who together manage to stay afloat. But this year grandma has been hospitalized and Christmas was just not going to happen. Well according to my son they are very sweet kids and having no Christmas for them is just not going to happen! It may be late and it may not be a big one, but it is going to happen and It Is going to happen tonight! So Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus! Sometimes he wears his old combat boots and has a dog tag on his key chain but he has love in his heart and very pround parents.
My wife and I must have done something right raising our sons. Seems our oldest son has found some young children who missed Christmas.  They live with their mom and grandmother, who together manage to stay afloat. But this year grandma has been hospitalized and Christmas was just not going to happen. Well according to my son they are very sweet kids and having no Christmas for them is not going to happen! It may be late and it may not be a big one, but it is going to happen and It Is going to happen tonight! So Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus! Sometimes he wears his old combat boots and has a dog tag on his key chain but he has love in his heart and very pround parents.
Wishing every one a Happy and Safe New Year
Had a great day with the family. Nothing matches the joy of small children on Christmas morning
Wishing All a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to come!
Wishing All a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to come!
Arrived home this afternoon from the Red Cross tornado relief in Washington IL. Judging by the devastation I saw, I am surprised the death toll was as low as it was. Entire homes have disappeared completely, I fear had this tornado hit at night instead of midday the number of deaths would have been horrendously high. The photos I have posted of what I saw are not just the worst I saw, but the norm for a large part of Washington Illinois. Street after street is nothing but the twisted shambles of what was once home to many of the residents. 
I will be leaving Monday morning with the Red Cross for East Peoria Illinois. A hand full of us are going down to relieve those who are already there helping with the disaster recovery from the string of tornandos that went through last Sunday in Washington, Pekin and East Peoria IL. 
As the holidays approach us.  Lets all open our hearts and donate to the charity of your choice and help the people of the Philippine's. 
I'm back from the Colorado floods. I don't have many pictures, as I spent most of my time working in the warehouse loading trucks and driving supplies to other distribution sites for emergency relief supplies. Now on to spoiling that new grandson of our's :)
Waiting final confirmation, but was contacted tonight about going to Colorado witrh the Red Cross.  I will probably be leaving late Wednesday night or early thursday morning. Not sure If I'll have computer access or not.