Thank you God

Four days ago I had a ninth month anniversary of my stroke. While I find it difficult to feel thankful for having had a stroke, I do thank God for the many blessings I have received during my recovery.
The evening of January 22 I was standing at the sink preparing to shave before bedtime. Suddenly I felt weak. I clutched at the sink for support but simply melted like an ice cream cone, sliding down the front of the vanity to find myself sitting on the floor. Fortunately I did not fall and thus had no secondary injuries. As I sat there, I thought I needed to stand up again so I reached up for the doorknob and pulled. Of course I could do nothing more than that bang the door back-and-forth which caught my wife’s attention She came, immediately recognized symptoms of a stroke, she started asking me the appropriate questions and of course all I could answer was gibberish which caused me to recognize I was having a stroke. She called 911. Ambulance and fire department are just at the bottom of the hill. Within minutes and EMT was at my side, and an ambulance crew was setting up a gurney. Because the hall is too narrow for the gurney they set it up in the dining room. The big male EMT picked up my shoulders, and with the little female EMT carrying my feet they put me on the gurney.
20 minutes later I was delivered to the emergency room of Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, a distance of 40 miles. What saved by life was that my wife and I were at home and awake, and that I was delivered to the hospital in time to get TPA in a timely fashion. This drug dissolves blood clots and has saved hundreds of victims of strokes. Before giving me the drug, they had to confirm that I was having an ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot rather then a bleeder stroke. This was done with the CAT scan using contrast and I was soon given the drug before being transferred into intensive care.
I woke in intensive care not being able to move very much of anything. Soon I was surrounded crews of doctors and nurses who would ask me to kick my feet and to squeeze their hands. I could very weakly kick my right foot and I could give a weak squeeze with my right hand, but it was hours before I can make any significant motion with my right arm or right foot. My left side was paralyzed
In the past nine months, I have had physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy in two rehab facilities and also from home health visits. I’m walking with a cane, have partial use of my left arm and do a reasonable job of speaking. I am now getting occupational therapy and physical therapy from an outpatient clinic.
I thank Godthat in the last nine months I have made as much progress as I have. A stroke is not only physically debilitating but also psychologically devastating. God’s presence and the progress I have made have helped me push the dark shadows of despair aside.
In the meantime I’m very thankful that I can move around independently with a cane and have full use of my right arm and hand, Seated here at my computer, unable to move the fingers of my left hand. That means I can only type hunt and peck and am reduced to using a voice-activated app to put these words on the screen. This limits my writing severely but I’m thankful that at least I have these resources.
If my progress stops at this point, I will be thankful for what recovery I have made and make use of what God’s left me with, but I am expecting that the occupational therapist will get my left arm and hand moving again. I already have some movement of my arm and of my fingers. I have lots of stories left in me and would like to be able to type them into my computer efficiently. I am also expecting the physical therapist to get me walking better, and my fondest wish at this point is that perhaps I might run again someday.
A stroke is called a brain injury, and indeed it is as if somebody hit me on the head with a hammer, but I thank God for the comfort he is giving me, the therapists that I’ve had to work with me and the progress I’ve made. I also think God that 53 years ago He gave me a beautiful bride who is now retired physical therapist. She has not only cared for me but has come out of retirement to encourage me, stretch me and work with the other therapists to help me recover.
Thank you God

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist, engineer and schoolteacher who has taken up writing as a retirement career. Please visit his website at To see a description of his books.
His stroke has temporarily put him on medical leave from serious writing, but during this medical leave he is trying to find a literary agent to market his most recent thriller that was finished just before his stroke. He expects to be back to serious writing soon.

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will gun-control work better than the 18th amendment?

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century there was a serious problem with alcohol abuse here in the US. Most obvious was the fact that some workers would carry their pay envelope to the bar and drink up all of their earnings on payday, leaving no money for food for their families. In some ways, the level of alcohol abuse going on was comparable to our modern problems with gun violence. As a result many progressive groups fought against alcohol just as modern progressive groups are now pushing for gun control.
Thus the 18th amendment was passed in 1920 and quickly ratified by the states. It prohibited the sale or transportation of intoxicating beverages in the United States. The immediate results was an increase in demand for alcoholic beverages. A huge blackmarket developed. Moonshiners produced alcoholic beverages and speakeasies sold them to a public that the demanded alcoholic beverages. As a side effect, organized crime had a big boost including the crime empire of Al Capone.

If we pass legislation prohibiting gun ownership, will we have any better results than what occurred during prohibition? I speculate that all privately owned guns will disappear into hiding places, and that a black market for firearms will be created.
Our Constitution gives individuals a right to own firearms and we have a large number of US citizens who own firearms and use them responsibly for hunting or for self-defense. Those who own and use firearms responsibly likely to continue doing so even if they do have to buy those guns illegally on the black market. The black market will exist totally free of any restraints of regulations, background checks, etc. Those who for any reason cannot legally acquire a firearm today will find it very easy to acquire one from the black market. It will be the criminals and those who do not use firearms responsibly who will benefit. There will be more guns in their hands than today.
I think we learned our lesson back in the 1920s. Laws and regulations alone will not effectively control anything. If we wish to reduce gun violence, we need to raise the level of morality to the point where people take responsibility for their guns and their actions

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Talk to Write

In January I had a stroke.I posted the details in a post titled sick leave. I was fortunate that the stroke was an ischemic stroke meaning that was caused by a blood clot. This meant that I was a candidate for some of the latest drugs that attack blood clots. Nevertheless, I am left with some problems. The stroke was on the right side of my brain so it is the left side of my body that is affected. As of this time, I am walking with a cane and doing pretty well, but I have no function in my left arm or fingers. This means I cannot type unless I use the one finger hunt and peck method.
Because the stroke is on the right side of my brain, my speech center was spared I can form my words pretty well, but facial muscles on the left side of my face and the left side my tongue are affected. I have had a lot of speech therapy and my therapist praises how well I’ve done on my speech. Even so not all words come out clearly.
The hunt and peck method of typing is not suitable for an author so my children gave me a copy of thanks and giving instructions voice recognition computer program for my birthday. The one they bought for me is called the Dragon. I have named my Dragon, Luke, after the doctor Luke of the New Testament who served as a scribe for several of the apostle Paul’s letters. I have been using Luke for most of my writing and for the past several months. This document is being written by Luke. Luke and I make a pretty good team most of the time, but when my speech gets a little bit fuzzy, Luke has trouble understanding what I want to say. For example, when I referred to him as Luke earlier in the paragraph he wrote look for his name. Some of the errors have been hilarious. I’ve learned to scan the line as he writes it, and edit out the obvious blunders.

During my time in rehab centers, I watched several of my therapists dictating their notes onto tablets. Considering the problems I’ve had, I wonder how their notes have come out. One speech therapist admitted to me that she had dictated some notes without looking at the notes to edit them, and when the notes were printed out on paper they were full of profanities.
I started writing the manuscript for my next book using the one finger hunt and peck method and soon learned that that method was not suited for writing much longer than a single sentence. Because I know how to touch type I was able to modify my hunt and peck back method to using my right hand and a knowledge of where some letters are. That’s good for a about a paragraph of material but not much more.
Luke the Dragon is not nearly as good a scribe as Luke the physician, we do pretty well as a team, all things considered. I do have to put a lot of extra work into proofreading and editing. Sometimes I do know you did not even recognize what I dictated to Luke. I probably should keep track of some of the funny things he writes but I have not taken the time yet. In summary, if like me, you find yourself unable to type with both hands, voice recognition software is a viable option to use, but it must be used with care.
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A recent study by the University of Maryland showed that 48% of each political party hates the other party. What is remarkable is that neither party is intentionally promoting political hatred. The percent of members who are engaged in hate is about the same for each party. Elections are how we run our country so why should any of us involve hatred in our elections?

I became an involved in politics in 1964. As a 21-year-old, I did not join a political party nor did I run for office, but I supported candidates I liked. I wore their campaign buttons and are discussed with my friends which candidate I thought was best. Though there were candidates and officeholders who I did not like, I did not hate any of them nor did I hate the people who supported them.

All voters are American citizens. Why should we hate any of them? In the 55 years I have participated in our election of office holders, I have never been aware of such intense hatred as we have seen in recent years. Both parties have good and bad candidates, and both good and bad officeholders have risen from each party. Rather than wasting our energy hating anybody, we should have the attitude that we are going to vote the bad officeholders out of office in the next election.In the last 55 years there have been several presidents and many members of Congress that I have disliked but none are or were bad enough to hate.

If we need to disagree, disagree politely. Put your energy into helping good candidates get nominated for your party, and put your energy into trying to get votes for those good candidates.

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A little vanity can be good

I had a stroke in January. I have been out of rehab for about two months. In rehab, I learned to walk with a quad cane. Once home, I got around the house mostly in my wheelchair but kept practicing with the cane. With my wife’s help, I made a few trips to the outside, such as visits to stores and to church. Eventually I got confident enough with the cane that we left the wheelchair at home and only took the cane.
Now the quad cane is a cane with four little feet on the bottom. While it is very stable, it is a little clumsy, little awkward looking and somewhat ugly.
Now I have a regular straight cane that I made about 30 years ago from a maple sapling with a natural bend in it. Not only does it look better than the black metal quad cane, but having made it I am understandably proud of it.
When my son called me in late May for my birthday, I was proud to tell him that I had been going to church supported only by my straight cane. He was surprised I was not using the quad cane, But I confessed that I thought I looked a little bit better using the straight cane. His response was,” a little bit of vanity isn’t all that bad.” The concept he was conveying is that a little bit of vanity had in someway inspires me to step out and accomplish something a little bit beyond my grasp such as walking with the straight cane.
Perhaps us writers need to exercise our vanity now and then. It is really easy for us to assume nobody will ever publish our work because it’s not good enough. Well perhaps, the only way we will get good enough is to practice writing. We need to keep writing whether we publish the work or not because it is good practice. Then we need to have enough bravery or perhaps vanity to now and then submit one of our works. That is the only way we will ever know if we are good enough to get published.
Keep on writing and submit a piece now and then.
Reynold Conger is an author who maintains a Visit that website and see what he has written and published.
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Sick leave

People tend to think writers are invincible. Some writers are of the same opinion of themselves nothing can stop the writing. Of course, that is not the case. We get sick just like the rest of you.
In January, I thought I was one of the healthiest 75-year-old man around. On a Tuesday afternoon I ran 5 miles as was my custom. That night I started to shave in preparation of going to bed. Without any warning I suddenly felt weak and clutched at the sink for support, but like a melting scoop of ice cream I slumped down to the floor. Fortunately I did not fall because are so many hard surfaces in a bathroom I could easily have injured myself. I reached up to the doorknob hoping I could pull myself up right. In the living room, my wife heard the good racket of the door banging against the wall. She came and asked if I was all right. I tried to respond, but all that came out of my mouth was gibberish. My wife recognized that I was having a stroke. In fact, from my weakness and lack of speech I also recognize that I was having a stroke.
Fortunately the fire station and the barn for the ambulances are both about a mile down the hill from our house. Within minutes, EMTs and an ambulance were at the house. 20 minutes later, I was admitted to the emergency room of a hospital 40 miles away. I spent the next three days in ICU being treated for the stroke. Technically I am cured. The clot the block my artery is dissolved and the damage parts of my brain are being restored, but I am far from being restored to my previous health. I spent the next three months in rehabilitation. I went from being a blob of flesh that could not talk, and had very little strength in arms or legs show a weak body with the left arm that has little or no function and legs that can hold my weight just well enough to allow me to walk with a cane. Speech therapists have also brought my speech back close to normal.
This explains why I have not been able to add any post to my blog in the last four months. I apologize my readers and hope that they put my blog posts back on their theirreading lists. With the help of speech recognition software I am back on the job writing blogs and also writingFiction.
I am the author of several fictional works. Check out for the names of my books and for information about the things I am writing.
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Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah

I wish everyone a merry Christmas and my Jewish friends a belated happy Hanukkah. We all enjoy the presents, the songs and the parties that make up the secular celebration of Christmas. They have become part of our culture even for many people who have no Christian faith. LIkewise there is a secular celebration of Hanukkah that Jews enjoy even those Jews who may have Jewish ancestors, but lack any religious faith.

The secular celebrations of both of these holidays is fun and glamorous. Merchants enjoy a boost in sales at this time of year as we throw parties and buy gifts. I wish that people would look deeper than the surface to the original meanings of both holidays.

Christmas is supposed to be a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. In between the parties we should be finding time to attend church. We should be reading the Christmas story in Luke or in Matthew chapter 2 to our families on Christmas day. We should be praying prayers of thanksgiving that God came down at Christmas to live as man, and be prepared to die for our salvation at Easter.

I hope that Christmas and Easter inspire you to look more closely at your relationship to God and Jesus. We are called to repent of our sins. That means rid ourselves of the bad behavior. We are called to believe that Jesus is our redeemer, our Messiah. who came to save each of us on a personal level. He died for the sins of the world and then rose the third day to demonstrate that we can have life after death. Most of all, I hope you accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. You do this by yielding yourself to Jesus. Let him lead your life. I wish all  people would accept Jesus in this way.

Hanukkah is a celebration of God’s power and love for His people. During the time of the Maccabees,  Greek invaders took over Israel and defiled the temple. Judas Maccabee’s men recaptured Jerusalem. Then they cleansed and rededicated the temple. One of the central figures of temple worship was the menorah, a golden lampstand that was kept constantly burning, but when they lit it during the rededication, they discovered they had only enough olive oil for one day. Yet, the menorah kept burning for 8 days. The only explanation is that God supplied the fuel. God was demonstrating his power and his love for the Jews. By the end of the 8 days, a supply line was established so that the temple would never again run short of oil.

Devout Jews attend services and pray to God in thanks for this miracle, for His love, and for His lovingkindness. They also find time to enjoy the secular joys of the holiday, but as with Christians, these Jews seek to strengthen their relationship with the God of their fathers. My hope is that Jews who have little or no relationship with God will use this holiday to attend services and open a relationship with God. It is also a good time to strengthen what relationship they have.

Jews can learn about the Messiah by reading the Old Testament where prophets foretold about a Messiah, who will come to save His people and be King of Kings. Most Jews are still waiting for his arrival.

Christians and Messianic Jews recognize that this Messiah came during the reign of Herod the Great and is known by the name of Jesus or Emmanuel (God with us). To my Jewish friends who are still waiting for Jesus, may God bless you. At least you remain faithful to the eternal God of the universe, but I wish that you would look into the fact that Jesus, your Messiah has come and wants you to worship Him.

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