Category Archives: Just a Thought

HAVE YOU UNWRAPPED YOUR GIFT?

 

The filter for one’s
thoughts prior to
speaking is a gift
that far too many
people have not yet
unwrapped.

 

 

Have you unwrapped your gift? I bet you know some folks who have not yet unwrapped their gift.

God bless those who have.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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WHAT DO YOU SEE?

What do you see in your mind’s eye when you pray or talk to yourself during difficult or good times in your life? I bet you see something, even if it’s total darkness—you still see something, but likely do it without thinking about what you see.

I know it’s a crazy question? In reality, it’s an appropriate question for everyone, regardless of their spiritual preferences or lack thereof. Whether you pray and believe in a power greater than yourself, don’t pray because you believe you possess superior intellect over all things, or fall somewhere between the two is a choice you have the right to make. Whatever your situation, you probably do talk to or pray to “something” when facing difficult situations in your life—it’s called thinking. I’m not trying to change or challenge your beliefs at all. I simply want you to consider all possibilities…

It’s probably a question you have never been asked or even considered before now. You’re not alone because most people haven’t. In fact, I may be one of few people on earth asking the question.

Okay, so exactly why am I asking such a question? Well, it’s simple—I enjoy thinking outside-the-box. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer, so don’t be concerned. There will not be a pass-fail test given at the end of this post. I just want you to think about the question based on your personal situation, so please keep reading. It will only take a few minutes, and I promise it will not harm or judge you in any way.

What do you see…,” is a question I ask when I speak to groups. I get some interesting facial expressions and responses cover a broad spectrum ranging from total darkness to detailed images. All answers are interesting, but one that does give me pause is, “I don’t waste time praying to a fictitious character.” I acknowledge the response, but I never push my personal beliefs on anyone. I simply inform, observe, and recognize that everyone has the right to choose how they cope with life. However, that particular response is a suitable topic for a whole different discussion.

Let’s get back to the point of this post. When the shock of my question wears off, the initial responses are typically, “I’ve never thought about it before,” or “I don’t see anything.” When folks think about it for a moment, the answers tend to become a bit more descriptive. To be fair, it is somewhat of an unusual question and not likely to come up in general conversations with friends. Therefore, I invite you to think about the question in private for a few moments. You may be surprised by what you actually do/don’t see or you may start visualizing something in the future. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When I started thinking about the storyline for my first novel, I did a lot of soul searching. When I asked myself the question, I realized I was actually seeing the same thing each time I prayed. It was an image from long ago when I started attending church as a young boy. Although buried deep in my subconscious, the image of a stained-glass window formed a lasting impression on me. This image allows me to feel as though I’m having a private conversation with a friend—albeit a very special and most powerful friend.

So, what exactly do I see when I pray? Well, first I visualize the stained glass window from my youth—an image of Jesus. As I continue praying, I usually see the faces of those for whom I’m praying and revert back to the stained-glass image as I finish my prayer. The image itself is surreal for me and puts my mind at ease. It works very well for me.

Stain Glass Jesus Picture 2x2

Whether you see an image or total darkness as you pray or talk to “whomever,” the important thing is that you do it. You may not receive the things or results you ask for, or even understand the answers. You may even feel as though your prayers are going unanswered, but I believe God hears all our prayers. He will respond in His time, and in His way. He knows what is best for us, so we must be patient.

For those who do not believe in God, He still “hears” your thoughts. I wish you the best in whatever way you cope with life’s difficulties. As I said in the beginning, I will never brow-beat you to do as I do, but I will still pray that you come to know Him someday.

By the way, I see that same stained-glass image when I give thanks everyday for the many blessings I have received.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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THE PERSON IN THE MIRROR

 

When things go wrong for us, we often look around to place the blame on others. It’s human nature to do this, but in reality, others may not have had anything to do with us falling short of our goals. We must look deeper if we are to find the real culprit(s).

It’s usually the last item we are willing to consider, but the one thing that might be preventing us from reaching the level of success we desire in life is often the person we see when we look into a mirror. That’s right—you and me!

So, instead of wasting time looking for reasons to blame others, have a pep-talk with the person in the mirror and then get back on road to success. Identify and work on what caused the less-than-desired results and always, always,

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT

You may never know who they are, but somewhere in this great big world

there is someone who will be uplifted by the light that shines from within you.

Let your light shine brightly and be a blessing to someone who needs you.

Tom Tatum –Author 2017

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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

GIVING THANKS FOR THE LOVE OF MY LIFE

I was fortunate to find the love of my life at a VERY young age and have been blessed for fifty years with my best friend who is also my wife. I’ve watched the splendor of fall each of those years and none compare to the love we share.

loveweshare2

Leaves of many colors danced in harmony
as the cool fall breeze gently kissed each one.
No music, no sound, but it was poetry in motion
reminding me of nights I held you tight and we
continued dancing long after the music was silent.
Two hearts beating like drums kept us swaying
until dawn’s early light. For the love we share is
more beautiful than the splendor of leaves in fall.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL !

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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EVIL DEEDS AND THE PALLBEARER LIST

Have you ever had someone deliberately commit evil deeds that harmed you or someone in your family? I don’t mean petty things that might annoy you from time to time. No, I’m referring to evil deeds that alter your life in a very negative way. If so, you probably experienced some anger that may have even escalated into rage.

So, what should we do when such evil deeds come our way? Should we seek revenge to get even or offer forgiveness and move on? How can we control our rage in a way that prevents us from doing something we may live to regret?

Obviously, there are many options available, but this post highlights one method that falls somewhere in the broad spectrum between seeking revenge and forgiving. It helps control the rage that is a normal reaction to evil deeds. The idea comes from a man I’ll refer to as John. He definitely marches to the beat of a different drum and is not afraid to think outside the box in pursuit of solutions.

I met John many years ago when we were next-door neighbors. He was in his early forties and I was in my late twenties at the time. We spent many hours discussing topics ranging from the weather to hot-button-political events while standing by the wooden fence that separated our backyards. Naturally, we had solutions for all of the world’s problems.

This reminds me of the Tool Time sitcom where characters, Tim and Wilson, had many discussions while standing on opposite sides of a wooden fence.

talkingoverfence

During one of our wisdom-sessions by the fence, I shared some details about a situation one of my relatives had recently experienced as a defendant in a civil suit. I described how the plaintiff’s prosecutor used very underhanded tactics and false-malicious rhetoric about my relative in the closing arguments to sway the jury and ultimately win the case. What made this difficult for me was there was a time in life when I considered said prosecutor to be my friend.

As I listened to the prosecutor grandstanding at my relative’s expense, my anger toward him quickly escalated to rage. I wanted to seek revenge, but my thoughts on how to go about it would only make the situation much worse—for me. To put it mildly, I was in a quandary as to what I should or could do.

As I explained the details of the court case, John maintained a pensive expression, but said nothing. When I finished my monologue, he proceeded to tell me the method he uses to control his rage.

+++++

“Tom, I’m glad you haven’t done anything dramatic yet because I prefer talking to you over the fence and not through the bars of a jail cell. At the same time, I also know how you feel. It’s hard to deal with rage in a calm-peaceful manner, but it’s not impossible. 

“Life is complicated. There are many people willing to do nice things for us and seriously want to help in any way they can. I call them the good folks. We should cherish them. Unfortunately, there are also people who will stab you in the back and rejoice when they harm you. I refer to them as the evil folks. They seem to have no conscience and allow their love of money or other misplaced-evil values to influence their actions. They are willing do anything to win. 

“You and I both believe in a loving God and know what He wants us to do when we face such situations. The prosecutor may also believe in God, but he seems to have succumbed to the earthly ways of evil. The Lord will judge all of us by the things we say and do. 

“Like you, I’ve had people do evil deeds not only to me, but also to members of my family. Rather than trying to get even with them, I realized long ago that the best thing for me to do was to create a list. I call it my Pallbearer List.

“So, what is my Pallbearer List?

pallbearerlist

“Well, it’s simple. When someone does something evil to me or my family, I place their name, date, and what they did on a list. It’s my passive means of holding people accountable for their actions. It helps me control my rage toward them by allowing me to put the person and the evil they did out of my mind, which prevents me from doing something crazy by trying to get even. In essence, they become ‘non-people’ in my life—I still love them, but I no longer like or care to be around them. They simply no longer exist in my little corner of the world. 

“As I said before, the Lord will make final judgement on all of us. There’s no need for me to stoop to their low-evil ways, so I try to take the high road. Besides, God teaches us to love our neighbor, but He doesn’t say we have to like them or the things they do. 

“I can see by your expression that you’re wondering if your name is on my list, and you’re also probably wondering what happens to people who are on the list.

“First of all, you’re not on the list—not yet! 

“Secondly, nothing happens to them, at least not until my death. I don’t hire a ‘hit squad’ to take them out, nor do I perform any hoodoo-voodoo rituals on them. I actually wish them well and even say a prayer on their behalf. Upon my death, each person on my Pallbearer List will receive a personal invitation from me—prewritten of course. The invitation asks each of them to serve as either a pallbearer or honorary pallbearer at my funeral, depending on the nature of the evil deed they committed. The invitation also serves to remind them of their evil deed(s). 

“I look at it this way. It may be the first time some of them ever set foot in a church. I’m simply reminding them of their evil deeds, which also gives each of them a chance to ask for forgiveness and repent before their final day of judgement. It’s my last opportunity to serve God before they place my body beneath the grass. 

“The list also provides a special bonus for me. The most evil of those on the list will serve as pallbearers and carry my casket to the grave. Consider it “poetic justice” with a touch of grace and forgiveness.

casketbw

“I bet you’re also wondering if my Pallbearer List has actually helped me control my rage.

“Absolutely! Had I not found a means to control my anger—my rage, you’d be talking to me through the bars of a jail-cell right now. That simple list has prevented me from doing some ill-advised things over the years. 

“You see, rage is a powerful force that can lead people to commit acts they may regret for the rest of their lives. There are times when getting even is just not worth the consequences.”

+++++

As I stated in the beginning, John thinks outside the box. Sometimes, his unusual ideas actually have merit. Who knows, his Pallbearer List may very well be one of them.

So, are you going to think outside the box and consider using a Pallbearer List or similar method to help you control your anger—your rage? No matter what you do, I hope the method you choose works well because life is much better talking to others while standing beside the fence.

Have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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KNOWLEDGE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND

knowledge

I write inspirational and motivational novels and original quotes because I have thoughts I want to share with others, and I read because I have so much more to learn about life.

Join me and let’s grow our knowledge together!

KNOWLEDGE — It’s your best friend!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels