A Day in the Life of Someone Dealing with Parkinson’s Disease

Today, January 21, 2023, I am thankful to be alive; and, blessed to have experienced a lot of what life has to offer.   Now I have started a new journey (and challenge) as I play the cards life has dealt.    Fortunately there is medicine that has made the challenge a lot easier.

I have read, as the disease progresses, that more medicine will be needed.  I get the feeling that my neurologist is reluctant to accept everything written about Parkinson’s disease (PD) from undocumented comments online.  Fair enough, I am taking what I read online—especially the comments without a source—for what it’s worth.

The Azalea Test

I had azaleas on either side of my home.  One of those bushes was near the charcoal pit.  When the ashes cooled, I dumped those ashes on the nearby azalea bush.  As time went on, the bush with the ashes was much greener than the bush without the ashes.  Hence, the Azalea Test.

It is 4:22 in the afternoon, I took my third and last dose for the day of P D medication at 3:45—and I’m feeling good.  I wasn’t feeling as good as the next to last dose began to wear off. It appears that the medication affects mood.

I was diagnosed October 13, 2022 and I have found getting the right dosage is tricky; but. If you get it right, you can lead a pretty normal life……..for now.  I suppose it works until it doesn’t work.

James Richard


Thin Soil

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

I must say I was operating on some pretty thin soil when my 11-year old son was diagnosed with cancer. The parable that Jesus told about the sower and the soils (Matthew 13: 1-9), is about how some of the ground had “no deepness of earth.”  You don’t know how deep your soil is until you are truly tested.

People sometimes talk about how their faith was tested by a catastrophic event. This is something I have in common with many people.  I found that the foundation of my faith was so shaken that I was faced with starting over and rebuilding from the beginning.   Like a broken arm that will likely never break in the same place again; in my case, this rebuilding process resulted in an even stronger belief system.

When I began to process the fact that my child was diagnosed with cancer, the first thought that came to mind was, “How could God allow such a thing to happen to a child?”  In my anger, I questioned God.

I now believe that God does not cause these things to happen; yet, I have read the bible from cover to cover and haven’t found an adequate answer to this question as to why bad things happen to good people.   Actually, I’m really not sure I know the meaning of this life.  At one point in my life, all I really had to go on was what little faith I could muster.  I believe now there is a place in God’s heart for people like me who at times find themselves planted in thin soil.

The picture posted in my blog has real meaning, which I will explain in my upcoming blog. A letter and picture received from a kindred spirit, who experienced the loss of an 18 month old son and 39 year old husband; and, what she wrote, that helped the most.

James Richard

Growing Faith in Thin Soil

As I said, the picture of Cathedral Spires posted in my blog has real meaning.   A letter and picture received from Muriel, a kindred spirit, who experienced the loss of an 18 month old son and 39 year old husband, sent this picture of trees going out of bare rock.  Muriel wrote about a seed falling in a small crevice; and, over time growing in to a tree.  This forest in the picture she sent grew from virtually little or no soil.  Muriel’s message was that God can grow faith and provide healing no matter how thin the soil.

Muriel was many years my elder, who lived in Wyoming, a world apart from the small east Texas town where I grew up. It would seem as if we had little in common.  Muriel was responding to a devotional I wrote that was published by Upper Room.  Actually, the piece had tones of anger, confusion and loss-more so than a devotional.  Upper Room had the insight to publish the piece.

When you combine what I wrote with Muriel’s wisdom and life experience, there is a sense of closure that happened. So, while it seemed we had little in common, the one thing we did have in common made her a kindred spirit–and taught me how to grow faith from thin soil.

James Richard


Ryan looks to be maybe 18 months old. In a sweet, but matter of fact tone, his mother described the tube that ran from the child’s brain to his abdomen.  She told my son, Trae, how the cancer had filled the infant’s brain stem to the point of clogging it, making the tube necessary to preserve the child’s life.

As Trae conversed with Ryan’s mother, also in a matter of fact tone, I excused myself and headed back to the room–quietly and secretly reduced to a depressive and angry state.   I thought to myself, “How these people maintain their composure and jovial frame of mind is beyond me.”

Trae will turn 13 in August. The doctors say–although the odds are not so good–he has a fighting chance.  In a “matter of fact tone, “I tell those who ask, that the bone cancer–after knee replacement surgery and chemotherapy–still occupies his right arm and left hip.

The doctor attempts to talk with Trae about treatment options; but, is frequently interrupted by Trae with pictures of himself and members of the Crossroads band of East Texas. The band never had a better supporter than Trae and likewise for Trae as well.  The band members, their wives and the band’s many supporters have given countless hours of their time organizing and performing at benefits to help with medical costs.

Adversity can show you different sides of people. On the freeway we jockey for position to compete with the next motorist for a second or two off our arrival time.  But in this  case, the atmosphere is much different.  People facing (or who have faced) a similar challenge take time from their busy pace to stop and ask how you are doing.

There are no boundaries of division here–except for those who are well, and those who are struggling to live. But those who are well wish the division were not there; and many, dedicate much of their time doing things to help.

You see, life sometimes involves coping.



James Richard

What is Friendship?

Friendship can mean different things to different people.

Friendship to me is having someone that you can talk to and share feelings with–someone you can talk to about anything.

Whether it is a husband, a wife, your Mom or Dad, or you.

Without friendship people cannot care,

And feel for each other like they do.

James Richard III “Trae”




One Not Two

When I wander through the ancient village,

I see one not two.

For though I know we must part,

I know you will always be in my heart.

Because when you leave me I feel your presence,

Not one but two in my heart.


James Richard III “Trae”

Written to his mother from his hospital bed, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas, 1996.

To Daniel

DF and Dad Snowboarding

Life is a gift, an adventure, an awakening. Going beyond the boundaries imposed by fear and insecurity, to truly love and respect oneself, is a level of existence few achieve.

Life will lead us all, the question is: “How many will follow with total trust and self-confidence in the ability of one’s own self to meet the unknown with amazement and wonder.”

There are many measures of success; but, I submit the following:

Think something beautiful and share the thought with someone—even if in doing so you run the risk of being misunderstood.

Have faith in the inherent ability of most people to love you, even though they don’t always understand you—and love others, even when they do and say things you don’t understand.

Never fall into the trap of seeking approval. Your existence is not predicated upon the approval of others; and, there will be those who never give you validation.

Treat your friendships as your most valuable possessions. Perhaps the ability to have, make and keep friends is your best measure of success.

Love,                                                                                                                                                            Dad


Commentary:                                                                                                                                 Many of us baby boomers are getting to that age when a person tends to reflect on the past.  Age can be a “wake up call.”   You begin to take inventory on your life; and, ask yourself, “have I left anything unsaid.” What parting advice would you leave to your children?  To Daniel is mine.



Life Is Like An Onion

John Steinbeck wrote: “Life is like an onion, we peel off a layer at a time, and sometimes we weep.”

The world is strewn with casualties of relationships gone bad.   Much of the time self-esteem suffers.  I read about an announcement in a church bulletin that went something like this:  There will be a meeting of the Low Self Esteem Club in the Family Life Center Saturday at 5 P.M., PLEASE USE THE REAR ENTRANCE.

I have a friend who says: “all I ever do is handle excess baggage.”  Being a baggage handler is an important task; and, you never know the difference that might make in another’s life.

So, life is like an onion; however, the way we choose to react– as we peel off a layer at a time—determines how much we get out of life—and more importantly—how much we are able to give of ourselves to others. Maybe handling a little excess baggage won’t hurt you—and it might help someone else.  Don’t loose your joy over yesterday.

God Bless

James Richard

Deep Blue

The sky is a different shade of blue.

The wind whispers of you.

My world is broken in two.

All I see is a deep blue.

You once were by my side,

Over so many miles we did ride.

Now the world takes on a different hue.

All I see is a deep blue.

There will come a day when we will be,

together again running free.

With a body and a spirit made anew.

Until then all I’ll see is a deep blue.


James Richard


Life’s A Tempest

Life’s a tempest, I believe,

We’re lost on a troubled sea.

Don’t lose your joy over yesterday,

For only a while we will be.


Bound to another like shoes on your feet,

Does that make life complete?

Joy and Freedom come from deep within,

So learn to love yourself my friend.


You build your life on someone’s affection

And your world comes tumbling down,

You’ve lost your way, you have no direction,

Until your true self can be found.


Life’s a tempest, I believe,

We’re lost on a troubled sea,

Don’t lose your joy over yesterday,

For only a while we will be.


James Richard

July, 2007