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This should be a constantly expanding page containing news and stories about what Lori and I have been doing. The main idea is so that, if any friend of ours wishes to find out what we have 'been up to' lately, they can find out here. I will try my best to update this page about once a month or so.

 

 

February 2009

I have been unemployed since I was laid off from my job as a Software Engineer in April 2003. In my career I specialized in designing the low level software that is used to test and initialize the hardware in a computer when it is first tuned on, getting everything set so that an operating system, for example Windows, can start running. I was unable to find a similar job since it seems that the computer industry as a whole, had moved all of these jobs offshore (the job I was laid off from was moved to India) in order to save money.

Determined to continue my career working with computers, I went back to school and graduated from Heald College with a degree in Network Administration. Even after graduating with a 4.0 grade point average, I was finding it impossible to get any work whatsoever.

In the past few years my speech has been getting harder and harder to understand, and believing this may be the main reason I was having difficulty finding employment, went to see a doctor to find out why. He sent me to get an MRI taken, whose results showed that I had previously suffered from a stroke. He also said that I most definitely would be considered 'disabled' for Social Security purposes, so I applied for Disability benefits. During these years of unemployment, my parents totally supported us by paying for our rent and bills, and getting the disability benefits would finally remove that burden.

 

August 2009

Early this month we adopted a new orange kitten, Winnie, whom Lori had found on top of a metal shed in our back yard meowing very loudly, obviously frightened since he could not find his mother. Winnie was able to get Lori and I to smile during what turned out to be a rather sad and disappointing month, About a week after Winnie joined our family we were greatly disappointed when Social Security had declined my benefits application. About one week after that we were greatly saddened by the loss of Natalie, Lori's retired guide dog, who escaped from our yard and was hit by a car at night.

 

October 2009

This month we adopted one more orange kitten, Charm. Charm cam from a litter of kittens that came from South Carolina along with a house guest of ours. I do not believe that we will ever be able to forget how fun it was to watch two kittens, Winnie and Charm, grow up together almost constantly playing.

 

 

January 2010

We start to attend a church called 'The Rock' regularly on Sundays, and participate in weekly bible study group meetings . We did not realize at that time what a tremendous difference getting closer to God would make in our lives. I do not believe that much of what has happened in our lives since, would have happened without our newly found faith in Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Binder and Binder, a law firm specializing in representing applicants who have applied for Disability Benefits from Social Security, but have been denied, agrees to represent me in my appeal before an administrative law judge, of Social Security's decision to deny me disability benefits. We now feel more confident that appeal will be successful, since Binder and Binder only gets paid when they win an appeal for a client. I believe that they only agree to represent clients that they feel very confident in winning their appeals, my case being among those.

 

April - May 2010

My father informs me that May would be the last month that he would be able to pay for our rent.

Fortunately, the US Census Bureau called and said I had high scores in an exam I had taken for them earlier and they wanted to hire me to work as a census taker (enumerator) for about six weeks. I worked for them during April and May. As a result were able to pay the rent for June.

 

July 2010

We find out that my appeal with Social Security before an administrative law judge will be held on August 25. Since I will be represented by Binder and Binder, we are feeling confident and believe that we may soon be able to finally take care of ourselves financially. We are unable to pay our rent for July and August, but fortunately our landlord is willing to wait until after my appeal with Social Security.

 

August 2010

At long last, the day of my Disability Benefits appeal hearing is rapidly approaching. If the decision is in our favor, we will finally be able to afford to pay for all of our bills, not having to burden anyone else financially. Plus the first benefit payment will be substantial since it will also include my benefits retroactively from the date I first applied for them. We do not want to think of what our lives would be like if the decision does not go our way, we would most likely be homeless.

I remember being very nervous as I was getting ready the morning of the hearing. A few minutes before we had to leave, Lori called me and wanted me to listen to the song playing on the radio (KLOVE). The song was 'What Faith Can Do' by Kutless. The song reminded me that everything was now in God's hands, and therefore if I had faith in Him, then I really had nothing to worry about.

By the time we arrived, my representative, from Binder and Binder, was already meeting with the judge and Social Security officials. When the hearing started, the judge asked me several questions relating to the effects the stroke has had on me. Then my lawyer had me answer several questions that showed how before suffering the stroke, I never had a problem finding employment that paid very well. My last job, for example, paid an annual salary of $85000. My answers also showed that after suffering my stroke, I found it virtually impossible to find employment at any rate of pay. At this point my lawyer asked me why I thought this was so. Before I could answer, the judge had made her decision and immediately stopped the hearing, announcing that she had decided in my favor. At long last we would be able to live a somewhat normal life again, without the stress our financial problems brought.

Whenever I hear the song 'What Faith Can Do', I still now at times get tears of joy, because it reminds me of the hearing day and how Lori and I trusted and had faith that God would take care of things for us.

 

September 2010

Even though we will not start receiving my disability benefits until mid October, we are finally leading a rather peaceful and calm life without he stress that financial problems caused. We cannot stop thanking God for the great things he has done in our lives, especially now when we can finally see 'the light at the end of the tunnel'!

Due mainly to financial problems, the church we have been attending, 'The Rock' held its last worship service, after which it ceased to exist. Lori and I will now have to find a new church to attend. In the nine months that we attended services at The Rock, Lori and I renewed our commitment to God, and were both baptized. We were very sad to see the Rock cease operation. Looking back I think this was mainly for sentimental reasons. Very soon we came to the realization that God must have better plan for us.

 

October 2010

The first Social Security Disability payment, which was rather large because it also contained payments for every month since I first applied for them. We did not do what I believe most others in our situation would do. We did not go on a shopping frenzy spending money frivolously. We first sent our landlord a check to cover the current month's rent plus the months we had missed while we were waiting for the day we could do this. We only made a few big purchases and these were for things that we needed. We bought a new 'memory foam' mattress similar to the Posturpedic (the most comfortable mattress we have ever had), new computer equipment for both of us, and custom insoles from 'Good Feet' for Lori. We also sent $10000 to my father in an attempt to pay him back some of the money head spent over the past years supporting us. I was able to replace the computer I had, which was starting to frequently have hardware problems which at times made it inoperable.

Since Lori is blind, special screen-reading software has to be running in order for her to be able to use it. The computer she had before was several years old and was not powerful enough and did not have the memory necessary for all of the software to run efficiently. Her new computer solved these problems and she has been amazed at how fast and efficiently her computer now runs. We also bought her an embosser, which allows her to print documents in braille. The custom insoles have been worth every cent spent on them relieving her from much pain that she suffered. Previously it was rare for her to go with me when I went shopping because she would not be able to stand for any length of time on store's hard concrete floors. She can now accompany men such trips more frequently.

We had rented the home in Lathrop that we lived in for the past eleven years. Our landlord has been trying to sell the property for at least the previous four or five years. He was unable to sell it I believe because he was asking for more than it was now worth in order to try and recover the investment he had made for it. We were therefore greatly surprised when during the last week of the month we received a registered letter from our landlord containing a '30-day notice to terminate residency'. After getting over the initial shock of this news, we realize that this also had to be part of God's plan for us since had he been able to sell the property at any earlier time, I am not sure what we would have done, since we could not financially afford to move. Besides that, it probably would have been difficult to find a place that would rent to us along with our thirteen cats.

 

 

November 2010

We are busy packing our belongings in boxes to prepare for the move we would soon have to make. We realized had enough money left from the big initial benefits payment, that we believed we should be able to buy a small home, since we would be able to make a substantial down payment. I started trying to find a realtor that could help us accomplish this within the very limited amount of time we had left before we had to move. Unfortunately, I was not having much luck in doing so and the date our landlord had requested we move by was rapidly approaching.

We attended a worship service at 'The Lighthouse Community Church' and felt that this could possibly be the church that God wants us to attend.

 

December 2010

The month started very sadly. Lori's guide dog, Clancy, had become very ill. We followed out veterinarian’s advice to make the hour drive that it would take to bring Clancy to Dublin, where a specialist would be able to perform the exploratory surgery that was required to determine what was ailing him. We delivered Clancy to the clinic and then drove back home to wait for their promised phone call. Soon after we were back home the call cam and Lori answered the phone. The vet who performed the surgery explained that Clancy was suffering from a massive case of cancer that was now in a very advanced stage. He had such a large amount of cancer in his body that any attempt to save him would probably only result in extending Clancy's life by maybe a week or two. The decision was therefore made to do the only humane thing that we believed was possible and have him put to sleep.

I knew that the next few weeks would be very difficult for Lori, since not only has Clancy died unexpectedly at a young age, we also were under pressure to move. I tried to comfort Lori as best as I could. This was a very hard thing to do because for some reason Lori would 'guilt-trip' herself, making herself believe that she could have done something to prevent Clancy's advance cancer, even though the veterinarian pointed out that even if we had noticed anything wrong with Clancy at an earlier time, there still could not be much that could be done. Someone suggested to Lori that she call our pastor and discuss the situation with him. Even though we had only attended one service and a 'Praise and Testimony' event that the church held, Lori made the phone call to Pastor Tim and left him a short message.

The next day Pastor Tim called and talked to Lori for a couple of hours. As a result of their conversation, Lori was able to deal with the situation a lot better, no longer 'guilt-tripping' herself after Pastor Tim had convinced Lori that guilt was not an emotion that comes from God. Pas tor Tim was able to help Lori a great deal, and we therefore figured that we were correct in thinking that the Lighthouse Community Church was where God intended us to go next.

It is now a couple of weeks after the date that our landlord had originally requested that we move by. We still have not moved. We now have everything packed and ready to go, but unfortunately we still did not have a place to move to, and our landlord starting to get impatient. When I answered a knock at the door, it was the realtor our landlord had used to sell the property. Accompanying him was the family that had bought the property, and the realtor wanted to know if they could possibly come in to take a look at the house they had bought. During the time that the property was for sale we refused, with the landlord's permission, to let anyone inside to inspect the home unless they made a prior appointment with us. I told Lori who was at the door, fully expecting her to not want to let them inspect the home since they did not make a prior appointment.

For some reason, Lori instead invited the visitors in to take a look. While the family spent some time looking the property over we began talking to the realtor, who was aware of our situation, mentioning to him that we would be able to make a substantial down payment if we were able to buy a home. He said that he believed he could possibly do something for us and promised to call us back soon with hopefully information about an available property that we could buy.

The next day he called and asked whether we would mind moving to Tracy. We said that we would consider it, and he soon had us look over a home he said that we would be able to buy. Lori and I were both happily amazed, mainly because we previously did not think that even with the doubt payment we would be able to buy a three bedroom house in Tracy. After this things move very quickly, with both of us probably suffering from writer's cramp due to the number of documents we had to sign. Within a week's time we were actually moving into OUR VERY OWN home of our dreams.

The remainder of the year is spent unpacking what feels like an never ending number of boxes. We have a house warming party planned for the middle of January and we are determined to being finished unpacking boxes and be fully moved in by then.

 

January 2011

We finish unpacking boxes and are fully moved before our housewarming party on the 15th. Our house warming party is a success with a number of our friends visiting. We get many comments about our house, all of them being good.

 

May 2011

We have lived in our home for five months now and after long last we finally meet our next door neighbors

 

August 2011

One day I went into backyard and noticed that our cat, Sanders, was lying very still in one of our flowerbeds. Upon closer inspection I find that he had actually died. This was totally unexpected since Sanders was only seven years old.

Less than a week after losing Sanders, Lori noticed that a cat was meowing very loudly across the street. She went to investigate and found a small long-haired kitten was making all of the noise. Lori brought her into the house and gave a friend a call. The friend said that they would be glad to adopt the kitten, saying they would come to get her in a few days. She called back a couple of days later and told us that she found out that the apartment in which she lives in will not allow her to have another cat. By this time we had fallen in love with the kitten and therefore decided that we would take her in. A few days Lori was thinking about how the kitten just appears to be a fluff of fur, and then realized that would be a unique and interesting name. So Fluff-Of-Fur is now our 13th cat, actually 12th since Charm has not been seen for a couple of months. knowin Charm and his curiosity, he probably got into sombody's car or truck and went home with them.

The last few months we have found ourselves running out of money before the month ends. After making our house payment (which takes almost have of what I receive monthly) and paying for our bills and possibly making a student loan payment, we have lately only been left with two or three hundred dollars to live on the entire month.

 

October 2011

The one thing that we did not expect was the the church that we started attending almost a year ago, 'The Lighthouse Community Church', will close its doors and cease to exist due to financial difficulties. The biggest difference between this and what happened with the Rock last year is that most members of our church have decided to keep attending services at the same familiar location. The New Life Church of Lathrop will be taking over the building Lighthouse was using. After earlier having mixed feelings about this, Lori and I are now excited about what we now believe to be God's intention. I believe it will not seem like anything was lost when the Lighthouse closed its doors. Instead we now have the opportunity to join together with the members of another church, having very similar beliefs, to create a bigger and stronger church. Today we will bee attending New Life churches last service held in Lathrop's community center. We are looking forward to meeting a lot of knew people and developing new friendships. I never cease to be amazed at the ways our Lord works to make things work out well.

We continue being short of funds near the months end. We will be talking to the real estate investers, who recently bought our house loan, to figure out a way to make our payments lower and eventually getting a mortgage from a lender to cover the note. When this happens our payments would be low enough to hopefully eliminate any financial difficulties that we are now experiencing. I have faith that God will lead us in the right direction to make this happen.

 

 

 

November 2011

The loan agreement we signed calls for a baloon payment of $5000 in January. There is no way we will be able to pay that and thereore we could possibly forclose and lose everything we put into it. Therefore our meeting with the investor who bought our loan is very crucial.

When we met we both learned a lot. When he bought our loan he .was told that I was a fully employed software engineer, not on disability, and therefore would have no problem with any upcoming payments. When he realized I was on disabilty, he looked at the loan details, and asked us why we would sign something like that. His partner and son, a novice real estate invester, had bought our loan wihtout realizing all the real details.He knew we were illegally scammed and would therefore not make us pay the baloon payment.

He had me arrange a meeting with us and the real estate agent that sold us our home and the broker he worked for, to see if this can somehow be corrected. After we had the meeting, the broker, after realizing what their agent had done, prommised to try to corrrect this by first selling our home, recovering all money invested in it, and then help us find a more afordable home.

I am not sure where we would be if a novice investor had not bought our loan, with one result being that we met Kathy, the real estate broker who will make things later possible .

 

 

February 2012

Our house goes on sale and we have to give tours of the property Fortunatelly, after only one week we receive acceptable offer and reach an agreeement to sell the house. At this time we figure the sale should close probably in March or April. We should get back all of the money we invested and then get to use it for our next home

 

 

 

March 2012

Spice, the cockatiel we have had for almost fourteen years, becomes sick and dies. We will miss all of the nosises he made, including meowing at the cats and many others. He has been a part of our family for so long and will be gratly missed.

The sale of our house is still on. We now know closing will not be until at least April. The buyer asked for an we gave an extension until then so they could get several things taken care of first.

 

 

 

 

April 2012

Lori was originally scheduled to enter Guide Dog training later this summer to get a new guide. They offered Lori a chance to go in May when they had some cancellations and she accepted.

The buyer of our house has asked for another extension, so the sale of the house wiwll not close at the earliest in May.

 

 

 

May 2012

The buyer of our house has yet again asked for another extension, to take care of some requirements for his loan. We are not worrried that something might be going wrong in our deal. We pray for God to guide us before making any decision and we feel that it is God's will that these extensions are happening, so we are comfortable. We have however told him that this will probably be the last extention that we approve.

 

Lori spent three weekw in guide dog training and she returned home with a yellow labrador guide dog name Mingo He is a very active and playful dog, you can tell that he still has quite a bit of puppy in him.

 

 

June 2012

FluffofFur, the little orange kitten just added to ourfamily several months ago, gets sick and winds up having to be put to sleep. She was sick with feline leukemia, which since it is very contagious, means that most likely all of our cats have probably picked it up. Feline leukemia acts much the same as the aids virus does in humans. After becoming infected with it cats normally can continue normal life for a number of years. Eventually it will make a lot worse any sickness or infection caught in the future, making them weak and unable to fight it. If kept healthy cats with the disease can lead a fairly normal life.

Since all of our cats eat & drink at the same place. and they all share a nuimber of litter boxes. Feline leukemia is contagious and is most easily transfered from one cat to another when they share food and litter boxes. So now we have to assume that all of our cats have cauight the disease

The sale of our home in Tracy finally goes through closing. This means that we will have to leave the home in about a month, so we start serious;ly looking for what will be our future home. We have everything packed. so that is not a problem. We will need to find the place we will move to in a rather short amount of time. We telll the broker helping us, Kathy, that we might be interested in a mobile home, and so our search beegins by looking at several..

 

 

July 2012

This month will probably be the busiest month we have had and will have in our lives. It did not take to long, and we rather quickly found a mobile/modular home in the Oakwood Lake Mobile Home Park in Manteca that we feel we will really like. So we make an offer and finally a counter offer and wind up agreeing to buy it. We are very excited about it. The main thing that we will be very proud about is that we will own our home free and clear, with not payments exceept for the mobile park monthly space rental to pay.

We move into our new home on the 24th of July. Everything gets noved from the Tracy home in one day, thanks mainly to some help we had from our former neighbors.

 

 

September 2012

\We have now lived in our new home for over a month. We have completely fell in love with our new home. It is actually bigger than our house was and we quickly realize that one of the great things about mobile homes is that is hard to find any wasted space ien them. Our new home has three bedrooms, 1500 square ft of space, the ncluded appliances are better than we would have ever expected and we have both a fireplace and a wood-pellet burning stove. And besides the actual house being more than satisfactory, the location makes this for sure the home that we have in a sense, dreamt of veing able to own. Oakwood Lake is very close by, just about across the street, and then if you climb to the top of the levy behing our house, you see the San Joaquin river and we are therefore surrounded by water. Sitting on our front deck you see our palm trees and after a while one will swear that they are actually someplace else and not even close to Manteca.

When we moved, we brought our cats to our new home, taking 2 or 3 at a time over several trips. Unfortunatelly , our black cat, Monster did not make it during these trips. When we were busy moving things,, we think he mave have hid somewhere to avoid all of the activity. The new owners in Tracy, then start ed a complete overhaul of the home and yard. Monster probably went on his own search to find Lori and I and was not seen by our former neighbors for several weeks. When they saw him again they were able to enclose him in a cat carrier and hen called to let us know they had caught him and we could get him. I am not sure I have ever seen a happioer cat than Monster was when he was reunited with us and alll the other cats at our new home.

 

 

 

 

October 2012

We have decided to return to attending New Life church in Lathrop. After being away from there for about a year, we felt right at home when Pastor Troy and others were glad to see us return.

 

December 2012

Wow, it is now finally years end. If one takes a little while to reflect on what we have been through in the pats couple of years one cannot help but be amazied and thank God for all of the many miracles he has created for us. When I think about it I realize that anything can happen as long as one has faith in God! In the past couple of years, even though I have had plenty of opp[ortunities to, I have rarely worried about how things were going to wind up. I have had total faith in God and have done my part, God has taken care of the rest.

 

 

 

January 2013

This month, Lori, along with her field representative from Guide Dogs, came to the conclusion, that Mingo and Lori were not really a good match, and he was returned to Guide Dogs. Among other issues , we felt that Mingo had developed some behavioral problems,whicfh at the time we attroibuted to the stress of our move. It will be a lot later this year, after learning that we have several racoons living under our house, that we realized they had to be a major factor in Mingo's not wanting to go outside.

 

 

 

 

March 2013

 

A number of our cats catch a respiratory problem that has been spreading among cats in our mobile home park. Fortunatelly Lori notices the cats becoming ill and treats them before the illnes gets two serious. Unfortunately, Monster was one of the first to catch it and did a good job hiding from us, when he was not feeling well, as cats tend to do. We were not able to help him before it became serious and eventually claimed his life.

 

 

June 2013

 

Bandit, our oldest cat whom we have had him since we got him as a kitten when we lived in South Carolina, is getting very skinny and has an unendding appetite. He is diagnosed as having a hyper thyroid disease which eventually claims his life. Bandit, also known as 'Bandy Dandy, the tootsie roll, fanny pack kitty' is greatly missed. Things are just not the same now that he is no longer getting into fights with the other cats. He was one cat with which there was no possiible doubt that he greatly loved Lori and I.

 

 

 

November 2013

As usual, we have a full house for Thanksgiving, that thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic dinner that Lori prepared. We had the pleasure of having three guide dogs sppend a couple of days in our house.

 

 

 

 

December 2013

We enjoyed a quiet, yet memorable and enjoyable Christmas. Our friend, Donna, from Rhonert Park, stayed with us for a few days, including Xmas-eve and Xmas. On Christmas Eve we went to New Life church's candelight service, which we found to be very special. Tears dame to our eyes when Donna later told us that it had been the best Christmas she has had in a number of years.

 

February 2014

Our cat Toughy, is alive today because God performed a miracle !

The night of Saturday Feb.. 8th,, Lori and I were in the office, when we heard a strange sounding meow. I got up to investigate and saw that Toughy was shaking ( trembling ) uncontrollably. We took him into our guest room, away from other cats, where we tried to get him calmed down. After a while he seemed to be just about back to normal. We wanted to make sure that he still had an appetite, so we gave him some tuna, which he ate up almost immediately, so we thought he was going to be ok. It seems that he had an alergic reaction to a topical flea treatment we had given him about an hour or so earlier.

As time went on, Toughy's trembling returned and was getting worse. We prayed asking God to perform a miracle and heal him, or if it was Toughy's time to go, to please let him not suffer. We stayed up most of the night, trying to keep him comfortable by sitting by him, and petting and talking to him. A few times it seemed that the end was near, we could barely feel him breath and his eyes would not focus for some time. We were sure he was going to die soon.. At about 4:30 or 5am, Toughy suddenly stood up and started to walk around a bit, though rather unsteadily. We were amazed when he walked into the cat room and used a litter box. As time went on his walking slowly returned to normal.

Now he is back to normal, acting as if nothing had happened. All we can say is : THANK YOU GOD!!!!!!!

April 2014

One of our two 'spare' bedrooms is now occupied, as our nephew, Jacob, is now staying with us. He is seventeen and a senior at Lathrop High .

May 2014

We are very proud of Jacob, as he graduates from high school. He loves animals and would like to persue becommming a Veterinary Technician. Besides relaxing he plans on spending some time this summer finding a school that will help him make this a reality.

June 2014

Another of our cats, Sylvester becomes ill and dies. Ever since FluffOfFur died of Feline Lukemia a couple of years ago, we knew that most likely all of our cats must now also have it. We therefore knew that as time goes on, more of our cats would unfortunatelly die from it. Nevertheless, it does not make it any easier when one passes.

July 2014

It is hard to believe that we have now lived in this home, that we thank God for each day, for two years now. How time has flown by. When looking back at the past few years, it feels that we have only been here a short time. We lived in Tracy a little over a year, but it feels like we lived there longer than we have here.

September 2014

 

Well, summer is now over. The last few months have been like an emotional roller coaster.

After not speaking to each other for a number of years, Lori and her sister, Shelly, have mended their relationship and are close again. One can easily see what a difference God has made to both of their lives.

The last few months have also been probably our most difficult financially. The US Deptartment of Education took a bigger amount than had been agreed upon out of several of my monthly disability payments, for student loans. Things should get back to normal when I get the refund checks, which are taking a lot longer to get than they should.

December 2014

A lot has happened since I last updated this page. I have a tendency to forget about doing this, so once again I have to play catch up. The following are among the hi and/or low lites of the past few months:

We planned on attending Lori and Jacob's family reunion, but we got lost and wound up driving around for a few hours trying to find it. Since it was also Jacob's birthday, it was planned to have a small celebration of it at the reunion. The long and frustrating day came to a good end when his birthday celebration took place that evening at our house instead .

We finally received refund checks from the US Dept. of Education for money they had taken out of my disability payments. They came just days before our power was scheduled to be turned off because of what we owed.

It is sad to say, our good friend, Wayne, is no longer with us. After a life full of struggles, he took his own life in October.

Thanksgiving turned out being much better than we had anticipated. We knew that this was going to be, by far, the biggest Thanksgiving that we had ever hosted. A few days before, our car broke down, and it seemed that we were not going to be ready for it. Thanks to everyone that pitched in, it wound up being a huge success. Thanks again to everyone that helped!

 

 

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