THE HUNDRED

The following is from the novel, IF TIGERS WERE ANGELS, as Ben, protagonist, has to deal with the realities of life.

*****

…I sat drowning in my sorrow thinking poor little me. Then a story my father once told me when I was a young boy came to mind. It’s a story about a father teaching his son a lesson. It’s titled “The Hundred” and he even gave me a copy of the story.

The Hundred

Son, pretend you have a quarter in your right pocket and a hundred dollar bill in your left.

I tell you to give the money to me so I can keep it safe for you, but instead of obeying me, you go outside to play and have a good time.

You’re busy running, jumping and tumbling with your friends. You’re foot loose and fancy free, without a care in the world.

In fact, you’re on top of the world because you have a hundred dollar bill and a quarter in your pockets. It’s the exact amount of money you need to go buy yourself that fancy new toy you’ve been dreaming about for so long. You’ve been saving a quarter a week for years and tomorrow will be the best day of your life. You’re going to the store to buy that toy and make your dream come true.

Then, you come back inside after a long day playing in the yard and reach into your right pocket, but the quarter isn’t there. You think, no big deal, so I lost a quarter. You think, I can get another quarter easily in another week and then I will buy the toy.

You reach into your left pocket and find that the hundred dollar bill isn’t there either. Now you panic. You run into the yard searching everywhere for that hundred dollar bill because it means so much to you.

You search for hours because you know you can’t easily replace a hundred dollars. Now, you can’t go buy the toy you’ve been saving for all this time. You realize that it will be many years before you‘ll have that much money again.

You ask yourself why you didn’t give your money to Dad to keep it safe. You kick yourself and you hit rock bottom. Your life, as you know it, is over. You can’t get any lower than you are at that moment.

You now have two choices. Put your big boy pants on and find a way to earn another hundred and a quarter as fast as you can, or sit there crying about it like a baby for the rest of your life.

What are you going to do?”

“But Dad, there’s a third choice. You can just give me another hundred dollar bill and a quarter and I can still go buy my toy.”

The dad looked down at his son, slid his glasses to the end of his nose, and replied, “Wrong! Good try little buddy, but that’s not one of your choices. I’ll give you an “A” for your thought process, but I won’t replace your hundred dollars for disobeying me. You must learn that there are no bailouts in life. You have to suck it up and move on or cry about it the rest of your life. Those are your only choices!”

At the time he told me the story, I replied, “If I was that little boy, I’d suck it up and move forward. I’m not gonna cry about it for the rest of my life.” It was years later that my father told me that the little boy in “The Hundred” was actually him. He had written it so he would always remember that his decisions had consequences. He never told me what he did, but I think I know the answer.

My father was right back then and I learned my lesson from that little story. If I ever mess up, I know there are no bailouts in life. Well, I messed up and lost my hundred when I lost my Grace. Now, I have to put my big boy pants on and move forward because I’m not going to cry about it for the rest of my life.

At that moment, I decided I had to start rebuilding my life. I’d hit bottom and was going to start looking forward to better times ahead. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew it couldn’t get any worse. Once you lose what’s near and dear to you, nothing else matters. You’re willing to try anything at that point and the risks are diminished by the magnitude of your new goal. I was ready to start living again and was determined to keep moving forward. I have many things to do before I stop to rest.

I got up the next morning with a renewed spirit, a new sense of worth, and the desire to make myself be the best person I could be. The chains of my anchors had been broken and I would start becoming the new me. I had faced the lions in the den and had been victorious, and nothing was going to stop me. I feared no evil and thanked God for guiding me through the valley of the shadow of death. I looked behind me and now saw two sets of footprints. I was walking on my own two feet and God was walking beside me, holding my hand.

*****

“The Hundred” presents a life lesson for many people in the world today who need to understand and accept the concept that their actions do have consequences. There will not always be someone around to bail you out in life.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

 

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EACH DAY CHALLENGE

Days—they come and go. There are times in life when we get into a rut with our daily-mundane routines that our existence seems to have no value. Each new day seems no different from the one before. We appear to be “zombies” who are unaware of our surroundings.

It doesn’t have to be that way…

If you find yourself in this type of humdrum existence, I challenge you to embrace an opportunity that will not only change your life, but will enhance each day for others around you. Do as many as you can each day and your rut in life will be a thing of the past. You will feel alive, and at the same time, you will brighten the day for others.

EACH DAY

Each day gives you opportunities to do these simple things…

… be the reason someone smiles.

… tell someone you love them.

… smile at a total stranger.

… say a prayer for someone.

… help someone in need.

… give someone a moment of your time

… listen to someone who needs to talk.

… rest so you can do it again tomorrow.

The question is, will you? I hope you will.

Enjoy EACH DAY and bless you as you take the challenge. You will not regret your decision to be a light unto others and it won’t cost you a thing.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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BASEBALL ISN’T JUST A GAME

With the Little League World Series #LLWS in full swing, the hopes and dreams of young players, coaches, parents, grandparents, and friends are on a roller-coaster ride of emotions—enjoy every minute of the journey because…

Baseball isn’t just a game. It is life being played out on a field… a field of dreams… on diamonds of green, where players pursuing their dreams try to be the best they can be on the grandest stage of all. Where men become boys and boys become men, all speaking one universal language without uttering a single word.

The coach rubs an arm, touches his nose, grabs an ear, and rubs his belt buckle, sending a secret code to the players. The steely-eyed master in the dugout has issued the silent command for all to follow. The nine players on the field know the code, and the play is on. They all understand what to do and have faith each will do his job. Individual parts functioning like a well-oiled machine… working together in harmony for the good of one thing—the team.

The pitcher stands on the mound, receives the sign, and starts his windup. What follows is like poetry in motion. To the fans, with their fingers crossed, it is action suspended in time, all waiting patiently to see what happens next.

It is a game and life coexisting in time, teaching life lessons that will be remembered by all who dare stand on the green diamonds. The lessons that will help build the character necessary to handle life’s hurdles in the future.

Let the game begin!

Excerpt from my novel,

ON GREEN DIAMONDS: Pursuing a Dream

Tatum – Author – 2018

Take a “Look Inside” at the Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

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SMALL ADJUSTMENT CHANGED MY GAME

I’ve heard that life without a little bit of humor and a dash of fantasy can be boring! Sometimes we must dare to explore the outer fringes of reality in order to find enjoyment with things we do. With that in mind, please proceed with caution.

I actually made a resolution this year, which is something I don’t normally do. It wasn’t anything noble such as saving the whales or helping bring peace in the world. It was simply for me to find a way to experience some success playing a game I love—used to love is probably more appropriate in recent years.

You see, I’ve been playing golf for about fifty years, which amounts to over five thousand rounds chasing a little white ball around in the great outdoors. I started each round with the goal of scoring par (72) or lower. I think I have succeeded two times in my life, which gives a paltry success rate of 0.04%. Obviously, that’s not very good. In fact, it’s downright disgusting, frustrating, and borders on a level of insanity no one should endure.

Why would anyone want to continue doing something when the odds of failure are a whopping 99.96% that they will? Crazy, right? I certainly wouldn’t gamble in a Vegas casino with those odds. Heck, I probably wouldn’t try to walk across a street if the odds were 99.96% that I wouldn’t reach the other side safely.

Therefore, I reached a time in life when I had to do something to improve my less than 1% success rate with golf or quit playing. I decided it was time for me to get some help for my depressingly horrible golf game because I didn’t want to quit.

No, I didn’t seek advice from a psychiatrist, although that would probably be a good idea too. I simply presented my problem to a local golfing guru, Slice Woods. After spending ten minutes watching me hit a few shots, Slice told me all I needed to do was make one small adjustment—anyone can do it, he said. Really?

I was doubtful at first, but I did as Slice suggested. I even joined a local league and my results have been amazing! I now score 72 or lower every time I play. That’s almost a 100% success rate! Unbelievable, right? I wish I had made this small change fifty years ago. I’m so excited that I’m considering trying to qualify for the senior tour next year. What? Seriously?!?

So, what small change did Slice suggest I make? He said it was time for me to start using the one-hand-three-finger grip. At first, I thought he had lost his mind. I couldn’t image how that would help me. I had serious reservations about Slice’s abilities as an instructor until he showed me exactly how easy it was to do.

I admit, on my first dozen or so attempts, the ball still had a mind of its own and didn’t go exactly in the direction I was aiming. I was discouraged, but Slice encouraged me to keep trying. After several more attempts, the one-hand-three-finger grip actually started working perfectly—I even hit a pin.

Yay! I had discovered, with Slice’s help of course, a secret method for scoring well in golf—just about every time! It’s great being able to enjoy the fruits of my new grip!

The great part about this simple change is I only had to sacrifice a few things. I no longer walk around in the clean-fresh air on neatly trimmed grass, chase tiny-white balls around in the snake-infested woods, or look at scenery like this:

Because of my one-hand-three-finger grip, I now have the pleasure of walking around indoors on hardwood floors. The ball returns to me automatically and there are no beautiful landscapes to distract me from my game. In addition, I get to play on the same fairway the entire round. How cool is that?

This is now my new view for the entire match:

In order to help make my transition go a little smoother, I actually use a bowling ball that looks just like a golf ball, only it’s much larger—much, much larger and weighs 15 pounds!

My game is now awesome! Oh, what crazy things frustrated golfers will do to score a smooth 72! I even use a golf scorecard to record my bowling scores and that makes me feel a whole lot better about my golf game.

The best part comes when I’m sitting around the table after a match talking to the guys. I can’t help but chuckle to myself. They actually think their bowling scores of 260 or higher are good, but I know better. My score is usually 72 or lower, and they have no idea how happy it makes me. I proudly yell, “I shot a 72 today! Yay!”

I can’t wait to tell my golfing buddies about scoring 72 or lower just about every time I play. They are going to be so jealous! Unfortunately, there are two huge downsides—I can’t tell them what game or where I’ve been playing. Now, that’s a bummer of gigantic proportions! Oops! I think I just told them.

Oh, there’s another bonus because of my grip change. Unlike golf, bowling allows me to play every day of the year—rain, shine, sleet, snow, and even at night! Who needs all that good-fresh air and the beautiful sights of the great outdoors to enjoy life when you can do it in a bowling alley where the weather is always perfect? Right? Right? I can’t hear you!

If you think about it, there really are some similarities between golfing and bowling:

Both have pins that are your targets

Both are best played down the middle

Both require controlled hooks and slices

Both are played using spherical balls

Both have birdies: eagles in golf and turkeys in bowling

Both require good hand eye coordination

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you know I’m joking about all this. Please forgive me if my little golf-bowling juxtaposition offended any avid bowlers out there. That was certainly not my intent. Although I’m not worth a flying-zip-a-dee-doo-dah at golf or bowling, I simply prefer playing golf to bowling and no other sport allowed me to make the juxtaposition effectively.

Yes, I know bowling a 72 is a horrible score, but it’s certainly a great score for a duffer in golf. If you enjoy bowling over golf, that’s super! Bowling is also a great sport that requires lots of skill and concentration.

I have also found that people bowling in the lane next to me don’t appreciate me yelling, “FORE!” when my ball jumps the gutter into their lane, which happens often. I’m not sure if they’re getting mad at me for yelling fore or because I occasionally knock down a couple of their pins. Hey, I’m trying my best.

On a serious note, use your spare time doing things that make you happy, even if you have to use a juxtaposition to do so. Life is too short to do otherwise!

Enjoy your game no matter what it is, and remember, you can always juxtapose it when your game goes south.

Looking forward to seeing you at the bowling alley—I mean the golf course.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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DAD’S MESSAGE TO ME 38 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH

With Father’s Day 2018 approaching, it is natural for many of us to think about our dads. Some of us only have cherished memories of days long gone, and others are blessed to still have the opportunity to visit and/or talk to their dads on earth.

I happen to fall into the category of having fond memories of my dad from long, long ago, so I want to share a true story about a message I received last week—thirty-eight years after his death in 1980.

Before I share the story, I have a simple question. Do you believe in God-winks—those surreal situations where you experience something akin to divine intervention?

Some folks tend to brush-off such situations as mere coincidences, but if you’re a person of faith, you probably understand how special God-winks can be. I certainly do because I’ve experienced them—many times in recent years. I feel sure some of you have also had such experiences

For those who do not believe in God or God-winks, please keep reading before your close your mind completely to the possibility that God-winks may be far more than mere happenstances.

+++++ The Story +++++

I was twenty-seven when my father had his first heart attack and could no longer work—he was forty-nine. Unable to exert himself physically, he started tinkering with lightweight metal sheeting—copper, tin, etc. in his workshop.

After Dad’s fourth heart attack in 1980, God called him home to the big workshop in the sky. Dad was fifty-four-years young.

I struggled to understand why God called Dad home at such a young age. Dad had so much more goodness to give others. I prayed many times for God to help me understand, but all I received was silence. I soon became frustrated—one might even say angry, which severely challenged my faith. The big unanswered “WHY?” question clouded my sense of being for many years.

A few months after Dad’s funeral, my mother asked me to get rid of things in Dad’s workshop. The task proved to be more emotionally difficult than I could have ever imagined. Still in a state of numbness from Dad’s passing, I packed items in a few boxes and gave some to family and friends.

I kept a few of Dad’s tools only to have them stolen in 2005 when some “kindhearted soul” stole my truck with Dad’s tools on-board. Those tools held many memories, and every time I used one, I thought of Dad and smiled.

Now, fast-forward to 2011—the year I felt the “call” to write my first novel, If Tigers Were Angels: With God All Things Are Possible. Trust me when I say, I had never in my life had any desire to write a manuscript, let alone publish a book. However, “something” kept prodding me to write the story. I tried to ignore this strange “calling” only to find myself involuntarily pounding away on the keyboard one evening. The rest is history as new ideas kept popping into my head and I couldn’t stop writing, even though I had no idea where the story was going—something was leading my thoughts from one chapter to the next.

The result of this mysterious joint effort produced a story about a middle-aged man who received messages from God through an unlikely source—a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. If you care to get a better understanding of the story, please go to the Amazon.com “Look inside” feature about the book.

In the last chapter of my novel, I describe an actual encounter I had with a real Tiger Swallowtail when I suffered writer’s block in the middle of writing the story. It was one of the most surreal moments in my life to that point. The book’s cover photo is the actual Tiger that appeared that day. My experience is one I hope I never forget.

In late May 2018, I started cleaning out my garage. A task long overdue, but in the process, I found a box marked Dad’s Stuff. The box had remained closed since 1980 and I had no idea what was inside. I hesitated to open the box for fear of revisiting some sad times. However, I felt compelled to open it—pushed, as if some force was urging me to break the seal.

The first item I saw in the box was a copper figure of a Tiger Swallowtail perched on a leaf (see photo). My eyes quickly swelled with moisture as I thought of Dad having made the Tiger. I wondered if Dad had received messages from a Tiger after his heart attacks. Could it be that the “call” I sensed to write my novel came from Dad? Could Dad have made the Tiger to convey a special message to me thirty-eight years later? Could Dad’s copper Tiger be a “God-wink” moment for me?

The naysayers of the world will likely say it was a silly coincidence and I’m a fool to think otherwise, but I believe that’s wrong. I have no doubts it was a special moment of divine intervention and ranks as the most surreal moment in my life. I’m feeling blessed to have discovered Dad’s special gift and understand his message of inspiration.

My only regret is it took me so long to find Dad’s gift that was literally right under my nose for years. After struggling for thirty-eight years to understand the answer to my “Why?” question about Dad’s early departure, I am finally at peace. I sincerely believe God used Dad’s copper Tiger as a messenger to tell me who guided me through the writing of my novel—it was Dad. It’s nice to know you’re still watching over me. Thank you for your guidance, wisdom, caring, and love!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and to all who are blessed to wear the title—FATHER.

+++++ The End +++++

If you have been kind enough to follow my blog, aTimeinLife, I am truly thankful for your support. I hope you have found the blog’s content inspirational, motivational, and heartwarming—maybe even interesting. If you’re not following my blog, I invite you to signup—it’s free!

Blessings to all…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR FREEDOM

Freedom is not free and many have paid the ultimate price securing and defending a nation. May we never forget their sacrifices to support a cause far greater than themselves—a nation. Let the Stars and Stripes continue to wave in their honor.

May they rest in peace and dwell in God’s house of many mansions.

Memorial Day 2018

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!

In his attempts to improve the impractical light bulb designs previously developed by others, Thomas Edison was successful in finding several hundred more ways that didn’t work. However, he learned something from each “successful” failure. Edison believed in himself and felt he would eventually find the solution, so he kept trying.

Finally, the day came when a bright light within a tube of glass would change the world—Edison’s dream to make a commercially viable light bulb became a reality.

We should be thankful Edison kept trying—look how far we’ve come since his successful “bright” day.

May we all strive to be like Edison…

Never, Ever Give Up!

I came.

I tried.

I failed.

I tried again—and I failed.

Again, I tried.

I failed again.

I tried a 100 more times.

I failed a 100 more times.

I tried once more.

I finally succeeded!

If you believe in yourself,

Never, Ever Give Up!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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