Category Archives: Life Lessons

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

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

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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

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Some pictures truly are worth a thousand words, and this one ranks high on the list of those that do.

The unconditional love portrayed in this print (Who Do You Love) by artist, Fred Morgan, warms my heart twice each day. The print hangs on the wall of my bedroom, so I have the pleasure of seeing it first thing every morning and last thing at night.

Every brushstroke radiates kindness, tenderness, and warmth between old and young. The rugged exterior of the man seems to belie the delicate beauty and innocence of the children. Yet, that contrast actually allows the warmth of their hearts to explode from the surface of the canvas in a perfect expression of unconditional love.

You see, I am the grandfather of five and this print serves to remind me how important it is to share the same unconditional love with my grandchildren as this “ole man” is doing—and it works.

I hope the print has this same effect on you. If it does, I encourage you to visit the website below to view more of Mr. Morgan’s paintings. Each print depicts warmth, kindness, and love.

https://www.art.com/gallery/id–a2213/frederick-morgan-posters.htm

Enjoy every moment and have a great day—share some unconditional love!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

PUTTING JESUS BACK WHERE HE BELONGS

A friend sent this to me today and I thought others might enjoy it as much as I do. Out of the mouths of children…

++++

A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country.

Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, “Go into the other room and see if you can put this together.”

After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.

“Oh,” she said, “On the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together.”

So, when we get Jesus back

where He Belongs—

Our country will come together!

(Author Unknown)

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

 

SMALL AND BIG BUT CHALLENGES IN LIFE

Given a choice on the size of our BUT challenges in life, most people would likely choose small because small BUTs don’t usually pose too much of a problem for us. We notice them, but we just keep moving on with life as usual. Such BUTs seem to be more like an irritating pinprick rather than a life-changing event.

However, BIG BUT challenges are very different. Some can be so BIG that they cause us to make life-altering adjustments—they can even pull us down into a deep depression if we are not careful.

I am confident everyone realizes that I’m not referring to the size of derrières. Instead, I’m taking dead-aim at the simple-three-letter word used in the middle of sentences that begin by making you feel wonderful about yourself and then proceed to kick you with a mid-sentence BIG BUT.

It’s amazing how BIG BUT challenges can often crush our hopes and dreams in life if we’re not careful. Trying to rebound from such BIG BUT challenges can be a very difficult task for many of us. Life can be very cruel at times.

Here are two simple (not life threatening) examples illustrating how two individuals handled their BIG BUT challenge.

BIG BUT CHALLENGE #1

John tried out for his high school varsity baseball team when he was a freshman. Up to that point in his life, John had made every team he had ever tried to make. His confidence was running high this time for good reason, so he naturally thought making the varsity team would be no different.

The final-cut day of tryouts arrived. The coach approached John after practice ended and with a solemn expression said, “John, I know you have worked hard during practices and you have a lot of potential, BUT you did not make the varsity team this year. I hope you will work hard and try again next year.”

The first part of the coach’s sentence had John’s heart pounding in anticipation of having made the team. Thoughts of being a starting pitcher on the varsity team danced in his mind. Then, that all-powerful-ego-deflating BIG BUT came swooping down out of nowhere and kicked his dream in the dirt.

John struggled a long time trying to bounce back from the disappointment that followed the coach’s BUT-kick. Unfortunately, he eventually gave up on his dream and never played baseball again. John let his BIG BUT challenge defeat him. 

BIG BUT CHALLENGE #2

Bill Jones, was a cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) in college and dreamed of becoming a pilot when he graduated in 1971. His goal was to serve his country as a fighter pilot. Bill easily passed all of the required written course work and looked forward to the opportunity to earn his wings. He faced one last obstacle in his efforts to continue on the long path of making his dream a reality—pass the physical examination.

After Bill’s examination, the Detachment Commander summoned Bill to his office the following day. Without any hesitation or empathy, the Commander said, “Cadet Jones, you are an outstanding cadet with great credentials and have done well in all your course work, BUT I must inform you that your eyesight does not meet minimum acceptable standards to become a pilot in the United States Air Force. Your application to continue flight training has been denied.”

Bill couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He was in shock realizing his dream of soaring with eagles had been BUT kicked from the sky before he ever even had a chance to spread his wings and soar.

Fortunately, Bill had the mental toughness and character to recover from his BIG BUT challenge and continued his education. He became a successful aerospace engineer and went to work for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. He was instrumental in designing systems that helped land astronauts on the moon. Though Bill couldn’t get off the ground, his efforts helped others soar to new heights.

+++++

I could go on and on giving more examples of BIG BUTs because I have received many of them in my personal life. Most were extremely difficult to process. I reached a point in life where every time someone threw a new BIG BUT my way, I wanted to scream. I viewed the small word, BUT, as a giant killer of dreams!

My personal BIG BUTs in life taught me that I couldn’t let them defeat me the way they did John in his challenge above. I reached a time in life when I started believing I had only two practical options—attempt to do better the next time I tried or move on with my life and start pursuing different dreams. It’s just that simple!

Even though future BIG BUTs may hurt me to the core of my being, I now treat them as nothing more than aggravating detours in life. Either they show me a new path to my original dream or they open my eyes to other opportunities or new dreams that are also worth pursuing.

In summary, the best advice I can share about BIG BUT challenges in life is:

NEVER, EVER LET THE BIG BUTS IN LIFE DEFEAT YOU!

May your BUT challenges in life always be small!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Reflections of a Grandfather

Heartwarming reflections of a time in life…

aTimeinLife

BTandSam2Life is a series of experiences—some good, some bad. We celebrate the good ones and try to learn valuable lessons from the bad—both build our character—both mold us into what we become. I seem to be at a point in my life where more retrospective thoughts invade my mind—triggered by experiences taking place in current times.

As I watch my grandchildren growing up, I sometimes remember similar things I did when I was young. Although we are separated by five decades, I can still relate to many of their experiences. However, with the changes in society I have witnessed through the years, I can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for them. I pray they continue to include God in their lives and keep asking Him to help them live as He would have them do—as modern-day disciples who are willing to share His word with others—as good role models for those who will look up to…

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EVERYONE’S LIFE STORY IS WORTH SHARING

No matter how famous or

unknown we might be,

everyone has a life story worth

sharing. Although yours and mine

may not be as unique or as

interesting as some others, we can

rest assured that our life stories

are equally as  important as all of

 the others because every life story

begins exactly the  same way.

“God created…”

 

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor 

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels