My Life Has Changed Forever

It has been over a year since I have posted here. The desire to blog comes and goes. Well, today I have a few things to write about. Life seldom if ever goes the way we think it will go. I had (I hate using that tense) been fully expecting to live out my life with Teresa and Kirk in Chesapeake. I had moved so many times in my life that I had finally said enough, this is where I am going to die. Didn’t work out that way. On April 26th, Teresa died. It was completely unexpected. She had been suffering from a problem with her jaw and her ability to eat, which caused her to lose a lot of weight. Doctors had not been able to figure out exactly what the problem was and how to treat it.

Teresa had finally paid off her mortgage and sold her rental property, so she finally had money after a life of sacrifice for her son Kirk and daughter Dana to spoil herself. And she was doing just that and loving it. Then I got sick with bronchitis for a couple weeks and just when I was getting over it Teresa started to cough and not feel well. We thought she had gotten what I had. But then she started to get weak and ache all over. She was in so much pain she couldn’t move. Then one day she threw up blood. I called 911 and the paramedics arrived. Her blood pressure was extremely low. She was taken to Maryview Hospital.

The initial diagnosis was ulcers in the esophagus. She was given a blood transfusion and other medications. She was told she would have to be on a certain medication for the rest of her life and she had to stop smoking. They were planning to release her in a few days if she improved. Then I received a call that a biopsy that was done on her esophagus showed that she had advanced esophageal cancer. A bone scan was done, and it was determined to be stage 4 of a very aggressive cancer. Teresa decided that she didn’t want to pursue and further treatments.

Teresa came home a few days later on hospice, taking morphine and an anxiety medication. She also had to be on oxygen at all times. I think at that point she basically gave up. She died a few days later. I was the last person to see her alive and the first person to see her dead. She had chosen cremation and did not want to have a service, so that morning was the last time I had with her. She had given her daughter Dana the house she had sacrificed so much to keep. Since I had been renting the upstairs mother-in-law suite for 15 years, I was going to have to move. It also meant that I would have to say goodbye to Kirk. We had been a family for 15 years, longer than any of my previous two marriages had lasted.

So now I am living in an apartment in a lovely apartment complex. There is a pool, weight room, lake, and other amenities very close to me. It is OK. My dog Cali has finally accepted that this is her new home for now. I still am grieving over losing my family. I have cried every day since I think. I know I will always miss Teresa and Kirk. Life will never be the same again. I am 73 years old and am finally starting to get tired of living. There is a quote from the movie ‘The Green Mile’ that pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin from or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.

That is about it for this post. More to follow, I hope.

Christmas Eve Thoughts

Christmas is tomorrow and the New Year not far behind. I thought I would take a few minutes and record my thoughts and musing for posterity. It has been a year of ups and downs, as all years are. I can’t say it has been a particularly good year or a bad year.

I have had health issues that have plagued me. Three cases of diverticulitis that have landed me twice in the ER and once in the hospital. In fact it has been just over a week since I got out of the hospital after having spent 3 1/2 days there for a hole in my colon. I’m on the mend but there will probably be elective surgery next year to remove the offending section of colon that is causing all the problems.

My house search continues. The interest rates are at the highest they have been in 7 years and my stocks have taken a terrible beating in the last couple of months, making it even more difficult to find and buy a house. Did I mention house prices are up considerably too. But I haven’t given up yet although I may end up renting until the economy and my finances improve.

I am still pretty active even though I will be 70 years old in January. But age has finally prevented me from doing some of the the things I used to do, or at least curtailed them somewhat. I still would love to travel but with my health issues, did I mention my heart problems also, I have to temper where and for how long I can travel. But some things, like reading, studying, and photography, have not been affected by my getting older. Good.

But mostly I chose to write this to talk about how my recent hospitalization has made me realize how blessed I am. A big part of my life for the last decade + has been the church I attend and its members. Our church continues to thrive even though our pastor of the last 4 years has resigned to accept a ministry at another church. But church is more that just a beloved pastor. Tonight we are having our Christmas Eve service ‘Into the Light’, and it is going to be the best service ever. We have a lot of new young and very talented members who have become an important part of the church family. We now have a praise group  and a morning modern service featuring our praise group ‘Son Rise’.

While I was in the hospital my church family came to visit. Both the young ones and the older ones came out to see me.  After I got out of the hospital, my church family again came bearing beef stew, biscuits, soup, and offers to shop for me and do whatever they could to help me while I was recovering. They are the blessing I am writing about. That God put such caring, loving people into my life is a blessing beyond anything else I could imagine or want.

So whatever the new year brings, I know that not only my family but my church family will be there to make things better. I couldn’t ask for more. So in a few hours I will be heading to the Christmas Eve service, where I will be one of the narrators of the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus. What a great way to end the year. I am truly blessed.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Seasons Greetings to all. Have a wonderful holiday and a great new year.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

College Football Go ODU!

Last week I went to my first college football game. I have been to high school football games, NFL football games (1), college basketball games, but never a college football game. My brother Jeff called me and invited me to go as he had an extra ticket. So off I went to see my first college football game. The teams that were playing were Old Dominion University (the home team) and visiting North Carolina State. ODU is a Division 1 NCAA team, while NC State is in the Atlantic Coast Conference. So ODU was playing the big boys and as it turned out, they were the big boys that day. Both teams had records of 2-0 and the stadium was packed to capacity and everyone was expecting an awesome game.

The weather was perfect, we had great seats at Foreman field and the atmosphere was electric. The rules for college football are somewhat different than those for the NFL, but for the most part, it was what I expected. There were a few surprises however. There were no turnovers, very unusual, and only two penalties in the entire game. Both teams utilized the no huddle offense, so the game proceeded at a quick pace, which I really appreciated. The ODU Monarch Marching Band was awesome, as were the cheerleaders. Although the final score was NC State 38, ODU 14, it was still a great game and I really enjoyed it. Did I mention ODU has a canon that they shot off twice? My brother warned me about it the first time but the second time I was caught unaware and jumped out of my seat.

Anyway, I took quite a few photos with my Sony a6000 and a 55-210mm telephoto lens. I also captured some video. Some of the photos are below along with a link to the video. I hope you enjoy them. God Bless.

Video of ODU Offense in Action

May Day

It is a rainy May Day here in Chesapeake. Don’t know what I will do with the day yet other than go to the gym. I have a couple of good books to read, one being Holy Fire by R.T. Kendall. I have been pretty busy at Church. Yesterday I went out with our Board Chairperson and her husband to buy a new TV for the Sunday School/Nursery. We ended up with a 42″ Sharp LED model. It was on sale for $399 which was a good deal. We also bought a new blu-ray DVD player to go with it. The equipment we currently have is very old and outdated. Hopefully the kids will enjoy it. The DVD player even allows streaming media so that is a bonus.

Our planned family picnic was cancelled due to lack of interest. Everyone seemed to have something else to do. I was very disappointed. I was really looking forward to seeing my son. We had planned on going to a Norfolk Tides ballgame but the weather put a stop to that. He has told me he will find something soon for us to do together.

The rioting in Baltimore has been very disturbing. Baltimore is not all that far from where we live. There has even been concern of possible protests/rioting in Portsmouth, a stones throw from us, over the recent killings of two black men by the Portsmouth police. Hopefully it will all be resolved peacefully.

I am writing this post on my new laptop, which is turning out to be a nice machine. I am also using it at Church for our PowerPoint presentations as well as my Bible Study class. Now back to my devotions and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of this rainy but beautiful day. I hope everyone has a nice, peaceful, May Day.

God Bless



Spring Update

Winter is over and Spring is here finally. The weather has improved although not as much as I would have liked. On the news front my new tablet arrived from Pandawill. Overall I am very happy with it. It is a good replacement for my defunct Nexus 7. We had the annual Tefft family picnic at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach last Sunday. Most everyone was able to make it.  The weather cooperated and everyone had a good time enjoying the food and catching up with everyone on what was going on in their lives. My son Jason was there and he has grown into a man whom I love very much and am proud of. All my brothers seem to be doing well.

Skip is planting a large garden on a plot near where he lives. Speaking of gardens, our church has committed to supporting some local merchants by letting them set up a farmers market every Saturday on our property. There will be eight or nine vendors who will be selling produce, meats, and crafts. I am really looking forward to it as I plan on being one of their customers. I can always use some farm fresh produce. I also plan to go to the farmers market that is held in Williamsburg every weekend. My brothers Jon and Skip want to go with me as well as my son Jason. It should be a fun outing as I have not been to Williamsburg in a long time.

I have been busy at church especially during Lent and Easter. We had our Maundy Thursday portrayal and our cantata. Both were a great success. This Monday I will be a waiter at the annual Mother Daughter Banquet, a long tradition. That is about it for now. Hope to keep you posted more often. May God bless you and yours. Peace.


Brother Jon Family at picnic My son Jason

It’s 2011

Wow, it is a new year and this is the first post I have written. A lot has happened since my last post Christmas Eve. Again, I am not sure why it has been so long between posts. Maybe I just hate winter.

I have had a birthday, and now I am 62 years old. I am not sure how I feel about that. Mostly I wonder where all the years went. Nothing too significant has happened in the last two months, although we did get another big snow storm.

I had some old color slides from 1971 that I sent off to be converted to digital format. They are photos from when I was stationed at Vint Hill Farms Station while I was in the Army. There are also some slide from when we lived in Corpus Christi, Texas and while our family was visiting my Grandparents in Ripley, New York. They sure did bring back old times.

I have been watching my finances closely lately, as the economy is not well and food prices have been skyrocketing. I did break down and buy a new Buffalo 1TB NAS for my home network as well as a new dual band 802.11n router with gigabit ethernet. I hope to use them to stream video to my LG Blu ray player to watch on my HDTV.

I might go to to a gun show today, although I will probably not buy anything. I just like looking at all the guns and accessories. Well, that is all for now. Peace.

Family in Ripley
Grandpa Bemis, Mom, Chris, Jeff, Me, Jon, Michelle, Cheri

It is Christmas Day

It is Christmas morning once again. The weather service is calling for snow today. This will be the fourth snowfall we have had this Fall and Winter. The last significant snow we had on Christmas Day was a long time ago. My son Jason is coming over as is Teresa’s daughter Dana and her boyfriend Chris. We will be having a Christmas brunch of waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham. Then it will be time to open presents and have a great Christmas.

Last night our church had our annual Christmas Eve communion. I did the slide show with the accompanying lyrics for the hymns as well as being the voice of Jesus and serving communion. There was a large crowd in attendance and the service was lovely. The service always helps to put me in a Christmas mood and reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.

So to all of you out there, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Seasons Greetings, and all that. Be excellent to one another. Live a cut above. Do not succumb to the vices of this world. Be the miracle you seek.

Thanksgiving is past, Christmas is on its way

As usual, a lot has happened since my last post. We had a nice Thanksgiving at Teresa’s daughters house. Dana and her friend Chris fried a turkey and cooked dressing, mashed potato’s, collards, rolls, and pie. Teresa and I brought corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole. The food was great, Dana was on her best behavior, and everyone had a great time.

Teresa, Kirk, and I went to Suffolk to eat at a new diner called Jammin Jerk BBQ. I ordered the jerk chicken over red beans & rice and it was the best meal I have had in a long time. Teresa had coco bread, which is another great dish, and Kirk had brown stew chicken. Everything was delicious! If you live in Hampton Roads, I would highly recommend this place. After lunch we visited St. Luke’s Church and then did a little Christmas shopping at the Christmas Store in Smithfield.

I have been Christmas shopping this month, mostly buying toys for children in programs our church participates in. One is Operation Christmas Child, which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse. The other program is Operation Santa Claus, which is a local charity to give gifts to needy children. I have participated in both these charities for many years.

A Christmas presents to myself, I recently bought a LG Blu-Ray dvd player. This player has built-in Internet access with apps that allow you to download movies, watch YouTube video, view your photos on Picasa, listen to music via Pandora and several other things. You can also stream media from your network connected devices which allows me to view photos and video stored on my hard drive, as well as listen to my iTunes music. The player has a 250G hard drive to which you can download media from your network devices for faster playback. All in all it is a lot of bang for your buck. I also bought a new pocket knife: the Spyderco Delica 4. My old knife was too big and bulky to carry around all day.

My son Jason is looking to sell his house and rent something. He says he is not cut out for home ownership. Can’t say that I blame him as he is single for now. I just hope he can manage to sell his house in this depressed economic climate. That’s it for now.

It Takes an act of Congress

Lately it seems like it takes an act of Congress to get me to update my blog. I am not exactly sure why that is. It is not as though I had nothing going on in my life worth writing about. In fact, there has been a lot happening in my life worth writing about. So I will get right to it.

I guess the biggest thing that has happened lately was my vacation to North Carolina. I spent a week in Boone, North Carolina with my brothers Chris and Jon and my sister-in-law Regina. We spent a week in late August seeing the local sights including the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some of the highlights were white water rafting on the French Broad river and climbing Grandfather Mountain. We also visited the Mast General Store, Linville Falls, parts of Tennessee, a mineral museum, vineyard, and numerous other sites. The weather was great and I had a great time. Lots of video and pictures are available on Flickr and YouTube. You can find them by visiting my web page at The Mind of Tefft

I also went to the Biplanes and Zeppelins show at the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia. Many recreations of WWI biplanes, of both the Allied and Axis forces, were on display. All of the planes were flyable and many of them took to the skies for demonstrations. There were also displays of military hardware and equipment, as well as vendors and food. It was also a great time and yes, there are videos and photos available on Flickr and YouTube.

A lot of other things have been keeping me busy, which may be why I have not updated this blog. I bought a used M1 carbine which I have taken to the range a couple of times. My treasurer duties at church have keep me busy too. I upgraded the OS on my Dell Mini 9 netbook and have had to order a new battery for it as the old one won’t hold a charge any longer. Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the way.

All in all life has been good and I have little to complain about. I hope life has been treating you as well as it has been treating me. That’s it for now. Peace out.