Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

sunshine_through_cloudsI thought I would use the title of my blog to do a little preaching at myself. Though I must admit that wallowing in sorrow at times is much easier. 

I do not need to reiterate how difficult the past three months have been for me. At times it has felt like I was at the bottom of a very deep, dry well; and the only help I got was someone threw me a shovel. That sounds rather dramatic, but there it is. 

As I am writing this, I am in my bedroom with the door closed and the lights off. That in and of itself is nothing rare. But what is rare is that in the living room of our home I am hearing gales of laughter and giggles from a bridal shower. One of my nieces is getting married next week and my daughter, as her maid of honor, is throwing her a shower.  

Laughter, fun, refreshments, hugs, gifts, etc. Everything that stand in stark contrast to how I have felt all summer is just a few yards away from me. Is that wrong? Of course not. Is it wrong that I just now answered a call from a good friend with news that he is getting married? Of course not! I am very happy for all of them.  

Yes life has sorrow and tears, but life also has so much love and happiness. Always look for the silver lining in whatever storm you may find yourself in. So taking another dose of my own medicine….life does go on.  

James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 

So the trials of life will seem very burdensome at times and attempt to squelch our joy. But through it all, we can take comfort that the ultimate joy of Jesus Christ in our lives will produce an unshakeable faith. 

Something that my parents would have, and did tell me over the years. I must always continue to remember and live out the biblical truths that have been passed down to me.

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IMG_1064At 12:57 AM, Friday, October 9, 2015, my dad passed into glory. Three months and two days after mom. Dad’s health was on a steady decline after mom passed away. The hospital labeled it as “Failure to Thrive”. I labeled it as a broken heart.

Over the past three months I had the joy of spending many hours with him. Albeit many of those hours were at the Emergency Room or by his bed in a hospital. Since the technological wonders of this generation do not work in hospitals (maybe for a good reason?) we got to sit and talk. Much of the talk consisted of dad grumbling that he was ready to go home. That was always a good indication that he was feeling better. So we would talk about things important to him, and the topic always centered on his eagerness for the rapture to occur so that he could once again be with mom.

He could not speak of mom without tearing up and telling everyone with a willing ear, what a wonderful woman she was. He showed everyone in the Scan0018hospital, and later at Gosnell, a small black and white photo that he had of mom. It was her graduation picture with a faded inscription on the back speaking of future plans and how much she loved him. He was so proud of mom, the love of his life, and that picture never left his wallet.12079439_498722676962734_22662963006478559_n

As the days wore on, I could hear increasing sadness in his voice, see the loneliness in his eyes, his walk turning to a shuffle and his overall decrease in health. He had been admitted in the hospital several times for pneumonia and falling. Even though we were making sure that he would eat, he was rapidly losing weight. I hired a Health Care Agency to start assisting him at home. All of us were taking turns doing his medications, housework and errands. Yet in spite of all we could do, we all knew we were losing him. One day my brother and his wife showed up at his house and found him lying on his kitchen floor. Living alone was no longer an option for him.

My wife and I found a wonderful assisted living home for him just a few miles from his own home. I talked with him about the necessity of the move. He just simply agreed and went along with everything we suggested. Once living in his new “home” he seemed content but he often told me that it was not his home. That he was tired, missed mom, and was ready to go to his final home.

IMG_1046He lived at the assisted living home for one month, and every day his health and strength continued to decline. On September 27th, Wendy and I brought him to church with us and out to eat lunch. He was very weak and slow but always happy to be with family. The next day, he went into the Emergency Room for what I thought was another case of pneumonia. Every test (and there were many) that they performed indicated nothing physically wrong with him. Though he had no strength and could no longer walk. They admitted him for the night for observation. The next day I went to the hospital and had a meeting with the social worker. She had been following his case since mom’s death, and she told me that the decline in dad’s health was severe and rapid. Failure to Thrive was the diagnosis and she told me he now was at the point of needing Hospice.

Difficult words for all of us to hear, but we all knew she was right. The only difference is that we said he was dying from a broken heart.

Gosnell Hospice Home in Scarborough was mentioned and chosen. The next day we met him by ambulance as they checked him into his private room. I cannot begin to say enough good about Gosnell Home or the loving staff. Everyone we spoke with always had the time to listen and acted like dad was their only patient.

His room was usually flooded with so many faithful family and friends. All very special moments with laughter and tears that I will forever hold very dear to my heartV9595EDE7IMG_1065

From October 2nd to his death on October 9th was without doubt the hardest week of my life. Mom’s death happened so fast that none of us hardly had time to think before it happened. This last week that I spent with dad has bitter sweet memories for me that I will carry to my own grave.

I was there every day before sunrise and left late in the evenings. Outside of stealing a catnap in my van a couple of days, I sat by his bed holding his hand. No longer able to swallow, he ceased eating and drinking and we did all we could do to keep him comfortable. He slept most of the time, but would wake to our touch, offering a small smile and a raspy hi. He told me numerous times how tired he was and that he was ready to go home.

Unable to open his once brilliant blue eyes, speak or move for the past two days, I would take a pillow, lay it on the bed by his head and I would just sit in my wheelchair, resting beside of him while holding his hand and often softly humming to him. Somewhere in his mind I hope he knew how much I loved him and was there for him.

He slipped away in the middle of the night peacefully drawing and exhaling his last breath. A man of great faith that was finally at home with his Savior and reunited with his wife. No longer with a broken heart, but singing praises to his God and King for all eternity.

Both of my parents now deceased, in earthly terms, leaves me an orphan. Yet both of my parents made sure that I would never be an orphan. They left me with the knowledge of my heavenly Father leaving me not an orphan, but a child of a King. That is the legacy that my brothers and I were left. That is the legacy that as parents, I pray that I can pass on to my children.

John 18 says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him”

I am not an orphan. What I am is a son that was blessed with a wonderful earthly father that taught me about my heavenly father. Someday soon, I will see my parents again and be part of God’s family where we will never be separated again.

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inn-sign-640x319My daughter just returned from an amazing three days at Word of Life retreat on Schroon Lake in New York. https://camps.wol.org/ She has now been there several times with our church as one of the youth leaders, and comes back with some amazing stories and incredible blessings.

This latest trip was an exceptional blessing, because one of the guest speakers was Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni has a special meaning for our family because we can relate so well with her life. I remember reading the story of Joni before I was injured and was so impressed with her strength. Then after my own injury, I realized that Joni’s strength was not in herself, but rather in her saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Any strength I thought I had was obliterated the day of my injury. I know from Joni’s story that she often felt like I did. Discouragement, feelings of inadequacy, pain and rollercoaster emotions lurked as an undertow that would pull me under. Yet through it all I smiled. Often not because I wanted to, but because that is what strong people do…right? Wrong.

My smile on the outside is only possible because of my savior on the inside. Even now, 18 years later, I have to rely daily on the strength of Christ. Philippians 4:13 is such a simple Bible verse that children learn, but we as adults should never forget. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Ariel not only heard firsthand Joni’s personal testimony in word and song, but also had the privilege of having her picture taken with Joni and her husband Ken. I think the smile on Ariel’s face pretty much says it all.

Joni has a God honoring ministry of serving people around the world with disabilities. Her ministry, Joni and Friends http://www.joniandfriends.org/, has reached millions of people around the world with help, encouragement and the Good News of Jesus Christ. She has been in her wheelchair for 48 years! I have only been in mine for 18. I pray that I can continue to have a smile on my face that reflects Christ just as hers does.

1Jcgz7dbWhile there, Ariel also got to hear Best Selling Author Joel C. Rosenburg. I am an avid reader of his work and I highly recommend his books to others. http://www.joelrosenberg.com/

And as always, when Ariel comes home from any trip, Wendy and I have the joy of her retelling us stories about her adventures. She never fails to keep us all laughing for days as she remembers one more “Oh! You have got to hear this one!”

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Dad, Mom and meIt has been a long time since I have written anything in my blog. In fact, it has been a long time since I have written anything at all. The past year has been busy with our move back to Maine, getting our new home finished, transferring mounds of paperwork for new doctors, residency, taxes and the list goes on.

The most difficult part has been very personal to me. About three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. She rapidly changed from someone that was going to take care of dad with his dementia, to someone that can no longer feed herself without prompting. For the past year dad has done his best to keep his wife of 55 years at home. He is 82 years old and was quite literally killing himself to be there for mom 24/7.

Family was helping as much as possible, but the Parkinson’s and related dementia got to the point of my parents not longer being safe at home. On April 28, 2015, mom was checked into a Geriatric Psychiatry Ward at a nearby hospital. She was in a constant state of fear, panic and anxiety attacks, unable to walk on her own, falling, and the list goes on. All of this became something that medications did not help and family could not deal with.

Her Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia had completely taken over my mother. There is so much more that could be said, but the simplest way of putting it is a cloak of darkness has fallen over her, and mom is no longer there.

I wrote something very short to possibly let readers see into her world for just a fraction of a second.

Hi mom, it’s Rick.


Mom, it’s Ricky.

…..Oh, hi Arnold….

No mom, I’m Rick.

     Alphy, Could you take my foot out of the basement?

How are you feeling today mom?

….My blanket needs to be fixed….it won’t hold my….the table there is cold

     Ariel is coming?

Not today mom, but dad is sitting right beside of you.

Hi Joan…how are you feeling?

….My father said something

Not your father mom, my father. Your husband Charlie.


It’s okay mom, you are safe in your chair, you won’t fall.

….Louis died

Louis who mom?

     When is the funeral…was in the papers

Who do you mean mom?


What did you have for lunch today mom?

     Ice cream, mashed potatoes….

That sounds good.

….Arnold, I need go bathroom….

I’ll get a nurse mom, be right back.

Joan, it’s Charlie, remember me?

….Louis died

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Better_to_Be_Broken_Updated_CoverHave you ever met a person and wondered what they were really like? They seem nice enough now, but you wonder…were they always the way they act now?

If you have been reading my blogs, perhaps you have wanted to know more about me. Well now is your chance.

For the rest of this day, 1/8/2013, you can get a FREE copy of my book Better to Be Broken. It is a very transparent view of my life and failures. But, the message does not stop there. It is a book of hope and encouragement that I found.

Maybe you need some hope and encouragement in your life right now.

Then Better to Be Broken is the book for you.

FREE today only for Kindle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Huntress/e/B008874896


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Better_to_Be_Broken_Updated_CoverToday only from Amazon, you can get my book Better to Be Broken for the amazing price of FREE.

If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app, you can upload for FREE a book that can offer you hope and encouragement.

So make sure and go to http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Huntress/e/B008874896 and get your FREE Kindle selection of Better to Be Broken.

Remember today only will the book be free so don’t miss out.

I hope you enjoy my book Better to Be Broken and find some encouragement from it in your own life.

Rick Huntress

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We sailed from Civitavecchia, Italy on a beautiful evening. Wendy and I were on our balcony watching the city lights disappear into the night. The only sound was our ship slicing through the water, the light tropical smell of the ocean breeze blowing over us and a beautiful moon above us – one of those perfect moments in life.

We were on our way to Alexandria, Egypt which would take two days of sea travel. We were looking forward to life on the ship and exploring the many activities available. Sleep that night came quickly, and when I woke up in the early dawn, the view I saw from our room was beautiful. We were sailing along the northern coast of Sicily through the Aeolian Islands, and front and center was the still active volcano of Stromboli. Now that was a view worth waking up for! Even though Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, there is still a town of about 500 people that live along its coast.

We were not far now from sailing through the Strait of Messina. This is a narrow channel between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Italy. It connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Ionian Sea and is about two miles wide at its most narrow point. So from the open Deck 12, we had amazing views of both Sicily and Italy.

Today was Sunday and our group had the privilege of hearing Dr. Bob Jones and Dr. Craig Hartman preach. All of us were eager and excited to see the many places that we were now going to visit. Our mode of travel was certainly much different than 2000 years ago for the Apostle Paul. I must admit that I appreciated ours!

After sailing through the Strait of Messina we headed for open sea – just sky and water until we would reach Alexandria, Egypt. Wendy and I started our days early, 5:00 AM, by going to the mall on deck five. Here we would sit in one of the cafes and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and sometimes indulge in one of their many pastry choices. Then we would head back to our room to get ready for the day. The breakfast buffet opened at 6:00 AM every morning and we would show up around 7:00 AM to explore the hundreds of breakfast items available. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that we did not leave hungry. One of our favorites was the amount and variety of fresh fruit available. I love pineapple and it was some of the best. And the fresh squeezed orange juice was perfect. I believe that breakfast foods from every country were available and it was fun to try the many different ones from around the world. I may not have this number exactly right (poor memory at my age), but I think the captain said that 62 countries were represented in the staff. It was a really unique experience to sit and hear the many languages being spoken around us. I of course would talk with anyone who would listen, so we have many new friends now from around planet earth.

The mall opened at 10:00 AM and it was great fun to visit the different stores, shops and sidewalk sales. We also saw an Ice Capades show, used the outdoor track and enjoyed the sunshine, coffee shops, ice cream stations and so much more. Then we had the difficult task of deciding where we wanted to eat lunch. The Windjammer Buffet was always a viable option, or one of the many restaurants on board, or we could go to the dining room. So many choices, so little time! Since we did not want to slight anyone, over the course of the cruise, we tried them all! And then our evening meals were a wonderful delight. The main dining room was spectacular and the service was impeccable. We left feeling like we were the best of friends with our waiters/waitresses and that we were their only customers to wait on.

We went to bed Sunday night with the moon shining brightly all prepared to wake up in Alexandria, Egypt.



Remember to check out Amazon, CBD or your local bookstore to get a copy of my book Better to Be Broken.

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