Category Archives: Life Lessons

THEY GREW EVEN STRONGER

THEY GREW EVEN STRONGER

 

Pause a bit and let me share the tale

Of a journey started long ago.

It was the summer of sixty-six.

She was fifteen—he was seventeen.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

Two young souls came together that day.

Nothing serious—just a few dates.

A few months passed and things seemed to change.

Thoughts for each other began to grow.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

She turned sixteen and he found eighteen.

She agreed to wear his high school ring.

His Block “O” sweater looked great on her,

And he was happy she was his girl.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

He left for college—she was alone.

Folks told her their love would never last.

She should date others they did proclaim.

They said he would find another girl.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

Each week he studied hard, but weekends

Belonged to them—with her by his side.

Spending time together was their choice.

What others proclaimed did not matter.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

His sophomore year led to big decisions.

College was expensive—he needed help.

He signed up—the Air Force paid his way.

A four-year commitment was their price.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

Summer came before his junior year,

And two young souls sat holding hands.

He softly asked, “Will you marry me?”

Without hesitation, she said, “Yes!”

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

September sixty-nine they did wed.

Many years have passed since that big day.

They’ve seen some great times and some sad times,

But their love for each other never wavered.

 

Through it all, they grew even stronger!

 

It was over fifty-years ago,

Folks told her their love would never last,

Well, Babe, I guess we proved all of them wrong.

“With all my love, Happy 50th!”

Yes, through it all, WE have grown much stronger!

To all who have been a part of our wonderful journey, bless you!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

PROMISES

It is not the promises we make that count…

It is the promises we keep that matter most.

Someone is counting on you today. Don’t disappoint them. You can make a difference in their life if you are willing to try!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

ONE ROCK TOO MANY

We can find ourselves in the middle of difficult situations when we least expect it—situations that push us beyond the boundaries of a calm, peaceful existence and challenge the very fiber of our being. When faced with such situations, we learn just how strong or brave we actually are.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to defining brave things done, life gets a bit convoluted. What some people view as an act of bravery others may view as an act of stupidity.

When it comes to acts of bravery, I could tell you the bravest thing I’ve ever done happened the moment I rushed into a burning house and saved a child trapped inside—but that never happened.

I could tell you the bravest thing I’ve ever done happened when I pulled an elderly man from a wrecked vehicle just before his car burst into flames—but that never happened either.

What I’m saying is my journey in life has been mundane to this point, but that’s not all bad. God blessed me with many situations that taught me moral values and helped build my character in ways I didn’t understand until long after they occurred.

You see, brave things are not always about saving someone’s life or going where no man has gone before. Brave things are often about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the face of difficult situations—situations that may be difficult only for them and no one else.

The following true story is a perfect example of performing brave acts:

ONE ROCK TOO MANY

I grew up with a passion for baseball. When I was ten-years old, you would find me playing baseball with neighborhood kids at the nearby vacant lot or in my backyard tossing rocks into the air and hitting them with a stick—any kind of stick became a bat as seen in the photo below.

My stick bat

Sometimes, I would venture across the street and hit rocks from a hill on a corner lot located in front of my house. There were a gazillion rocks there just waiting for me to hit them. I would pick one up, toss it into the air, and whack it down the street while pretending to be a major leaguer smashing the game-winning home run.

I remember picking up a nice-smooth rock one day and hitting it high into the air. I must have pulled it a little too far to the left because when it came down, it went right into the rear glass of a car parked on the street in front of my neighbor’s (Mr. Carr) house. There was a loud crashing noise as the rock shattered the glass into a million pieces. I immediately had a sick feeling in my belly. I knew I was in big, big trouble.

I ran home to tell my mother what happened. I never even thought about lying or trying to get away with what I had done. I owned up to the biggest mistake of my young life. Mama immediately called my dad at work to tell him about the situation. He asked to speak to me and my belly hurt even more.

I told him exactly what I had told Mama—every gut-wrenching detail of my one rock too many. Dad asked if anyone had seen it happen and I told him no. He instructed me to go back to Mr. Carr’s house immediately and tell him what I had done. Then he said the words that almost made my heart stop beating, “I’ll deal with you when I get home from work.”

I never dreamed I would have to go by myself to tell Mr. Carr that I had broken the glass and then have Daddy “deal” with me later. Fear was having a party in my head and I was the guest of honor. I could sense my life was about to end.

I got to Mr. Carr’s house and started walking up the steps to the front door. There must have been a thousand steps up to that door. At least it took me about that long to make it up to the porch level. In reality, I think there were only five steps up to the front door.

I knocked lightly on the door with hopes no one would hear. Unfortunately, the door opened and a man as large as Goliath stood in the doorway looking down at me. He was every bit of ten feet tall with a ferocious look in his eyes that would make a lion run away with its tail tucked between its legs. I knew my life was definitely about to end; I would never be able to play baseball again.

He opened the storm door slowly and asked me how he could help me. I wanted to tell him to go back into the house, but knowing that was not an option, I pointed to the car out front and started telling the tale of one rock too many. The words came out of my mouth very slowly as I told him what I had done. He said he had heard a loud noise but did not know what it was at the time.

We walked out to the car to see the results of my errant rock. The rear glass was in a million pieces and my rock was sitting on the trunk of the car. The very rock I wished I had never picked up.

The first thing Mr. Carr asked was why I had done that to his new car. I tried to explain that it was an accident and I didn’t mean to do it. I could tell he wanted to put me over his knee and let me have it, but he didn’t do that. It would probably have been better for me if he had.

We talked for a few more minutes but I don’t remember exactly what we discussed. I was too scared at that point. At the end of our verbal exchange, he asked if my parents were home, and if they knew what I had done. I told him Mama was home, but Daddy was still at work. Mr. Carr said he would talk to my dad when he got home.

I then returned to my house. It felt like it took three weeks for Daddy to get home. I was in “death-row” agony for hours. The waiting and waiting was horrible because I could not imagine what was going to happen next.

I saw Daddy pull into the driveway. He walked into the house and I explained everything again. It was not any easier this time. He did not say a word the whole time I was talking—he just nodded his head several times. When I finished my tale of woe, Daddy said he was going to talk to Mr. Carr and told me to stay in the house until he returned.

Dad was gone for what seemed like a month, but when he finally returned, he called me over to him. He said lets go to the backyard. I realized the time for a spanking was at hand. I figured he didn’t want Mama to hear me yelling as the paddle made home-run-contact on my rear end—multiple times!

As we were walking to the backyard, Daddy asked me what I thought my punishment should be. I wanted to tell him that I had already suffered enough and he didn’t need to punish me, but I figured he wouldn’t agree with that suggestion. So, I just said, “I don’t know.”

We walked to the tool shed in our back yard and Daddy picked up a huge bucket. He told me he was very sad that I had broken the glass in the neighbor’s car, but he was very proud of me for being brave enough to tell Mama what I had done. He said I had acted like a mature man by telling the truth in the midst of a very difficult and scary situation for a ten-year-old boy.

Unfortunately, Daddy told me that in spite of my bravery, he still had to punish me for what I had done. My punishment was to pick up every rock in the yard and put them into the big bucket he was holding. When I finished, he wanted to see all of the rocks I had collected.

I did as Dad instructed and then showed him the bucket of rocks. The final phase of my punishment was to bury all of the rocks in the corner of the backyard in a very deep hole that I had to dig.

I never knew what happened between Mr. Carr and Daddy, or what they discussed. I was just glad my “rock” ordeal was over. It was a long time before I ever picked up another rock or hit one with a stick. Thank goodness for me, rocks were actually hard to find because I had removed at least a million of them from the yard.

Yes, I eventually hit rocks again, but I always made sure there was nothing around me that I could break. I did not want to go through this nightmare ever again.

As a ten-year-old boy, I had bravely faced a bad situation and learned a valuable life-lesson that has served me well for many years. I confessed what I had done and accepted full responsibility for my actions. I didn’t try to run away and hide, nor did I try to put the blame on others. I bravely accepted my punishment. In the end, a bad situation yielded very good results.

My dad was obviously a very wise man to handle the situation the way he did. I am sure he was much more upset (mad) with me than he appeared. Fortunately, his method of punishment and the words he said to me left a permanent and lasting impression. Although a spanking would have hurt, the pain would not last as long as the lesson I learned. He was compassionate, yet firm with me. His method of handling the situation and the life-lesson I learned that day served me well in my adult life as I dealt with my own children.

Daddy was a special man of high moral character and I consider myself blessed that he was my dad.

Dad and me

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Blessings to all…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

HEART AND SOUL

There is beauty

to be found in

the masses,

but it does not

compare to the

awesome beauty

we find when we

choose to focus

on the heart and

soul of each

individual we

encounter.

Take time to notice the inner beauty of the individuals you encounter each day and you will be amazed how awesome your corner of the world really is—that includes taking a good look into your heart and soul—you are awesome too!

Have a great day, and may you be blessed each day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

YOUR CHARACTER YOUR LIFE

As an author of novels, I do what authors do—I create characters and try to weave them into an interesting story. The characters for each story come from my past experiences or are created with personalities that fit the needs of each story.

I want you to give some thought about YOU—your character—your role in life. If I was to include you as a character in my next novel, should I make you the protagonist, antagonist or would you be more comfortable with having a minor, supporting role?

You don’t need to tell me your preferences. I just want you to pause and reflect on YOU—your life—the role you are currently playing.

In real life, you are in control of you. You actually get to choose the role you play. I sincerely hope you are happy with your role in life and don’t want to change anything.

If you’re not satisfied, there’s nothing wrong with making adjustments to change the character you play in the future. After all, isn’t the goal in life to be happy while making others feel good about themselves.

Choose the role you play and give it your best. It’s your life story—make it meaningful! Enjoy every moment you have and have no regrets in the end.

Be a blessing to others in all you do!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

DARE TO DREAM

I paused to look at a statue at the entrance to a ballpark located in South Carolina and thought about the thousands of young boys around the world who bravely stand ON GREEN DIAMONDS  and DARE TO DREAM of what might be…

Cast in bronze for all to see,

a young boy dared to dream.

He stood alone on the mound

but learned he was part of a TEAM.

BASEBALL…

It’s more than a game—it’s life

being played out on a field.

A field of dreams—ON GREEN DIAMONDS,

where men become boys and boys become men,

all speaking one universal language without

uttering a single word.

Our dreams in life will only become reality if we have the courage and passion to stay the course and never give up!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

I was attempting to write another short story last week. Unfortunately, my creative juices decided to take leave of my mind, so things weren’t going very well.

In a moment of quite reflection, I asked God if I would ever do anything to help make the world a better place.

Suddenly, as if cued by an invisible force, a photo fell onto the floor from a folder that was resting on the edge of my desk. I picked the photo up and saw that God’s answer to my question was right in front of me. It was a photo of my children and grandchildren.

With a joyful heart, I looked upward and said, “Thank you, Lord! I understand, and I am truly grateful.”

Have you done something to help make the world a better place? If you have, and you know what it was, that’s wonderful! If you’re like me and aren’t sure, ask God. His answer may surprise you.

Be a blessing to others in all you do!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

THEY SAY MY PAIN WILL GO AWAY

 

They say my pain will go away,

but they never knew you at all.

They never felt my heart pound

when you walked into the room.

They never saw the things you

did to help others find their way.

They say my pain will go away,

but I know those are just words.

I will hold you in my heart forever,

and try to make you proud of me.

Blessings to those who have ever lost a loved one. Make them proud of who you become and hold them in your heart forever.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR HELP

Like many folks, you’re very busy. That is certainly understandable. Each day comes and goes as you go about your daily routine with barely enough time to catch your breath. You know the old saying — “so many things to do and so little time to get them done.”

It’s normal that we don’t pause long enough to see it, but someone in your sphere-of-influence needs your help — not every day, but often enough that you could make a difference in his or her life.

Sometimes you just need to pause a moment and take a good look around. I bet you will identify someone who needs your help — your support — your shoulder to lean on. When you do, please prayerfully consider being proactive by doing the following:

Don’t wait to be asked…

offer in advance,

Don’t sit down when needed…

stand tall and serve.

Don’t ignore tears of others…

wipe them with kindness.

Don’t talk if words won’t help…

listen to their silence.

For there may come a time in life

when you are the one who needs

the support of others.

Yes, you can make a big difference in the lives of others if you are willing to try. What are you waiting for — do it!

May your kindness and caring be a blessing to others.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

WORDS NOT SHARED

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had thoughts about someone, but for one reason or other, you didn’t share them. I’m referring to things like thinking someone looked nice, enjoying someone’s company, expressing your feelings about someone, or seeing someone perform a kind gesture for a stranger, etc. — the good things in life.

It’s interesting how WORDS NOT SHARED can alter our relationships with others — even alter our journey through life. Let me explain by sharing this true story.

I received a very kind note from a high-school friend after she finished reading my novels. I told her that her message made me think of a great topic for a post on my blog. She gave me permission to use the message, but asked me not to share her name

To honor her request, I replaced her signature with “A High School Friend,” but left the context of her message intact. Below is a photo of her actual message — I added the title used for this post.

Her entire message touched my heart, but the middle paragraph is what intrigued me — “I always had a “crush” on you… and still do! Ha!”

I had no idea of the “crush” she may have had on me many years ago. Don’t fret, I saw the “Ha!” at the end of the paragraph. However, that just adds an air of mystery to her message — did she or didn’t she actually have a crush on me? Only my high school friend knows the answer to that question.

For the purpose of this post, let’s assume she meant it, and I knew nothing about it. Think how different our lives might be if she had shared her thoughts with me when we were in high school. This is a perfect example of how WORDS NOT SHARED can alter lives for a day — month — year — or for a lifetime.

I’m happy to report that in this particular situation, my friend and I are very happy how things worked out — it’s the way it was meant to be — maybe. Ha!

I’m sure similar types of situations have happened with many of us — I have certainly done it. How often have you thought how nice someone looked, but said nothing — WORDS NOT SHARED. How often have you been proud of what someone did, but said nothing — WORDS NOT SHARED. I could continue with other WORDS NOT SHARED situations, but I’m sure you know exactly what I mean at this point.

Yes, I have been guilty of not sharing good thoughts to others in the past, but I pledge that I’m going to change in the future. From this day forward, if I think something nice about someone, I’m going to say it and will make sure that person is aware of my thoughts. The only time I will withhold my thoughts is when they are not positive about others — I may think it, but my thoughts will be WORDS NOT SHARED.

With that, let me share these farewell thoughts before you go about your day:

If you are still reading to this point, I want you to know that I think you are AWESOME — I wish you a great day!

Now, make it a priority to share your good thoughts about others with them each day. It may be the best thing they hear that day!

Be blessed in all that you do!

A special note to the high school friend who sent me the note:

“Thank you for making me smile…”

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

OLD PHOTOS SPARK MEMORIES OF OUR PAST

Memories of our past are important for they provide gateways that help us understand what we are today. A simple photo from years gone by can spark many memories.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many photos of me from my youth, but the one below brings back many fond memories of the fun I had in this backyard — enough memories to fill the pages of a book.

Yes, I consider myself blessed for having had many wonderful experiences during my childhood. Although those glory days have long since passed, I look forward to watching my youngest of three grandsons play the game I love so much. You know it as baseball. However, baseball is much more than just a game — it’s life being played out on a field…

I was nine-years old when the photo was taken and I had a dream — a dream of playing baseball in the majors. I pursued my dream with passion for many years, hoping to succeed — to be one of the few to beat the odds — to rise above others — to play major league baseball!

Unfortunately, my God given talents did not allow me to attain that lofty dream, or maybe, I just didn’t work hard enough to develop the talents God gave me. Either way, I fell short of my goal. However, my passion for the game lives on — watching my grandsons play the game has brought me joy that replaced my own shortcomings in life. I feel more alive now with every pitch — more alive than in those days long ago — days of experiencing the bitter disappointment of falling short, having to establish new dreams and new goals for my future.

I am grateful that I can now write about my experiences of the past — write about others who now have dreams of their own — dreams that are similar to a nine year old boy growing up in the 50’s and 60’s with the passion to make it happen in the 2010’s and beyond.

My novel, “On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream” was a joy to write because I was sharing my childhood passion with others. The story is fiction, but involves many personal experiences of my past — a young boy’s dreams to do what only a few ever have a chance to do in life. I hope you take the opportunity to read the whole story and have your heartstrings touched by the experiences of “watching” a young boy growing up pursuing his dream.

Maybe the story will even inspire you to spend a few moments reflecting on your own fond memories of long ago. Be grateful for each memory you can recall for they made you who you are today.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels