Tag Archives: faith

LOOK FOR THE RAINBOW

WhenStormsMoveIn

Life is full of storms—some are small and others are large, but God is with you through all of them. Stay strong, keep your faith, and look for His rainbow. It will come!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum    Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1                              Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

HTCardEveryone

Wishing everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and many blessings!

It is aTimeinLife to give thanks. Enjoy food, family, and friends!

COULD NOT ASK FOR MORE

Like the majority of authors, I am grateful when I receive an honest review from a reader—good or bad. Naturally, I hope readers enjoy the story and give good reviews, but more importantly, I’m glad they take their valuable time to read something I’ve written.

One of my readers went way beyond just reading my first book, If Tigers Were Angels, and she didn’t even give a written review. What this seventy-years-young reader did touched my heart in a very special way.

It started when a young woman sent my book to her aunt in Arizona. Her aunt was so moved by the story that she handcrafted two butterflies from stone and sent them to me—very special gifts! I have both butterflies on display in my office and look at them each day before I start writing. The joy they bring is beyond all words.

ButterflyCarving2

This beautiful lady is now a Tiger soaring the heavens, but her special gifts to me serve as a daily reminder of the kindness she sent my way. She blessed me by reading my story and lifted my spirits when she sent two special carvings to show her appreciation. What more could an author ask for?!?

Take time to notice the little things in your life and you may start looking at things differently—just as I do.

May All Your Tigers Be Angels!

Twit Tiger

Tom Tatum – Author of Faith-based Novels

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor 

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

WHERE IS HEAVEN?

Out of the mouths of children…WhereIsHeaven2

What do you think? Is Billy correct?

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Blog: http://www.aTimeinLife.wordpress.com

1000 Year Storm – #SCStrong

#SCSTRONG #2015Flood

The beauty of nature is normally breathtaking, but when Mother Nature unleashes her awesome power in a storm, the results are devastating. Never have I seen such destruction caused by water alone, and it is not over. Flood waters from upstate will raise the already-high levels of waterways in the low country causing additional flooding for the remainder of the week.

May God bless the thousands who have lost property and priceless possessions, but more importantly, may He hold those who perished in the palm of His hand and give comfort to their families and friends. Bless all those who are helping other during this crisis and in the days to come. Amen!

Please lift up all the people of South Carolina in your prayers. We are #SCSTRONG—we are proud—with God’s help, we will rebuild!

PrayForSC

Please click the “Back Button” on your browser after viewing the following YouTube video of some of the damage the 1000 Year Storm caused in South Carolina over the weekend, so you can share your comments and prayers.

The scenes are heartbreaking to say the least, but they only represent a small portion of the full damage experienced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CuzC3cez3o

May God bless you for caring!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

BE THE CANDLE

You can make a difference… if you’re willing to try.

BeTheCandle

Are you willing?

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

AND THE EDITOR SAID…

I received the following comment from the editor who worked on my manuscript ON GREEN DIAMONDS: PURSUING A DREAM. The editor did not have to send the comments to me, nor did he/she receive additional compensation for doing so. Yes, the editor also made some helpful suggestions that enhanced the story, which were incorporated into the published novel. Nice to work with someone who appreciates the content of a story and is willing to share their thoughts! Feeling blessed!

++++++

Editor

“The manuscript was a joy to read and it warmed the heart. The straightforward way of telling the story was great, and it was pretty much on point—some stories go into tangents, but this one never does, so the narrative felt solid throughout. It was well written and easy to read, qualities which are always a plus. Thank you for sharing this story. I enjoyed it very much. All the best!”

++++++

ON GREEN DIAMONDS FRONT

Unfortunately, due to my publisher’s internal policies, I cannot reveal the name of the editor who shared the comments without getting him/her reprimanded. However, the manuscript is now a published novel and is available for purchase from the majority of online bookstores. Get a copy and see if the editor got it right. The book comes in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.

As always, I thank you for your support—enjoy the story. Please don’t forget to share your honest comments!

Blessings,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

MY OOOPS MOMENT

I had the unexpected honor to serve as an usher at the funeral of a friend on Tuesday September 8, 2015. Another gentleman ushered with me, but neither of us knew exactly what we were supposed to do. Do you sense a problem on the horizon?!?

Aisle

A nice lady told us there were three reserved sections up front and we needed to ask each person, “Are you with the family, SS class, or tennis group?” We asked and then directed people to the proper reserved section. That turned out to be the easy part of our duties, except for the looks people gave us when we asked the question. The church started filling rapidly, but there were enough seats available.

The family would be entering the sanctuary shortly. That’s when the pastor told me he wanted the ushers to light the candles on the altar and the one by the pulpit. I asked the other usher if he wanted to do it, but he declined. Therefore, yours truly had to do it. Sounds simple, right?

First, I had to find the official candle-lighter-stick thingy—done. Oh, but what about the butane lighter needed to light the candle lighter? Frantic search ensued and I finally found the lighter and lit the candle lighter. Now, all I had to do was walk down the aisle and light three candles. Easy, right? Did I mention that I’m a gray-haired-old man who wears bifocals? Hmmm, the plot suddenly thickens!

Candles

I started walking down the “ten-mile” long aisle toward the altar and the flame kept trying to go out. I paused to keep the flame glowing—many times, I paused! I finally got to the altar, bowed my head in prayer, and then lit the two candles with no problem. I turn toward the tall candle by the pulpit, and guess what? I couldn’t see the candlewick. The last person who extinguished the candle had pressed the wick flat. Great!!! This is going to be fun, I thought. At last, the candle started burning—that’s one small feat for a “professional” acolyte, but one giant leap for a gray-haired-old man. Old man then sighs at the sight of the flame flickering away. Success!

All I had left to do to complete my “extremely complicated” lighting task was return to the altar, bow in prayer, turn around, and walk back down the “ten-mile” aisle beyond the sight of two-hundred people. Easy, right?!? Well, not exactly! Here’s when the ooops moment occurred.

Remember those bifocals I wear. Well, they make walking down steps “be like” tough at times—this was one of those times! I turned, took three steps away from the altar, but thought I had to take four. At least that’s what it looked like. The line in my bifocals was hiding the all-important first step. My foot went down expecting to find the hardwood floor of the level platform, but what it found was nothing but air—an entire step-high distance of air!

Steps

Picture an old man walking proudly along and suddenly missing the first of three steps. What followed was an acrobatic, less than graceful attempt to maintain my balance while holding the lighted candle lighter in front of two-hundred people. Arms and legs went flying in four different directions.

After flying through the air for what seemed like several minutes, I somehow missed two steps completely and landed upright on both feet; I think the Lord definitely reached out His loving hands and kept me from falling spread-eagle on the floor. Thank goodness He did! I bowed to the crowd as if nothing had happened and said, “Ooops!” as two-hundred peopled laughed and clapped at my awkward, but successful gymnastic display.

Do you know how loud two-hundred people laughing and clapping in a quiet sanctuary can be? Take my word for it; it’s deafening!!! Thank goodness, the family members were not in the sanctuary at the time of my “ooops” moment. The ungraceful fall was bad enough, but the comments I heard during the reception… well, I’ll leave them to your imagination.

Into each life a little fall will come, and it will usually happen when you least expect it!

The point of this embarrassing personal experience is to show that the Lord is always there for us—in our big moments, as well as the little moments in our lives. When we place our fears in His hands, He puts His arms around us and helps us land on our feet when we fall. Have faith and trust in HIM; He will keep you upright on your path.

Be blessed…

Proverbs 24-16 (NIV)

… for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Ezekiel 3:24 (NIV)

Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me…

Psalms 134:2 (NIV)

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

TEAM – A FOUR-LETTER WORD

TEAM – a simple four-letter word a child can say without getting into trouble—no matter how young they are. In fact, the sooner a child understands the importance of the TEAM concept, the better. The old cliché “all for one and one for all” might be a bit trite, but when it comes to TEAM, it’s an absolute requirement for success! Otherwise the team fades into a blur…

TeamBlurred

Every person (player) on a team has God-given talents and they should use those talents to the best of their ability to help contribute to the overall outcome of the team. Adults should teach youth to play as a team—to win as a team—to lose as a team. If a child’s talents vaults him/her to shining-star status, that’s great for the player and the team, but the child should remain true to the team concept.

Unfortunately, being a good team player is not always easy for our youth—thoughts of “self” takes control of the mind sometimes. The following personal experience is a perfect example of the importance of each individual’s contribution to the team.

Throughout my youth, I thought I was a good team player. I played on baseball teams for many years; I was confident that I knew the team concept very well. Sometimes I was a shining-star and sometimes I was the goat, but I always supported my teammates and the team above self. However, when I participated in a Leadership/Team-Building exercise as a teenager, the results were most humbling. I allowed “self” to cloud my judgment.

THE EXERCISE

I was involved in an exercise on a team consisting of six guys seated at a round table. For this particular task, the instructor gave each person a puzzle consisting of ten pieces. The object was for all six members of the team to assemble their individual puzzles as fast as possible. The one condition given to us was there could be no talking among team players, but all players could use gestures.

The clock started and I completed my ten-piece puzzle very quickly. I sat there wondering why the other players were having such a hard time completing the simple task. Each of them had all but one of their pieces in place. I shrugged my shoulders at them in a gesture of “come on guys—what’s wrong with you people? Time is running out!” They all began pointing at my completed puzzle, raised their index finger, and then pointed back toward themselves. Remember—no talking allowed.

TeamPuzzle

Several minutes passed, and their gestures became a bit more animated. A few more minutes passed and the instructor asked me if I was finished.

“Sir, yes, Sir!” I replied

“Are you sure about that, Mr. Tatum?”

Yes, I was sure; the puzzle was right in front of me. Was the instructor blind? I replied, “Sir, yes, Sir! It was simple task, Sir! I don’t know why the other guys are having so much trouble with this, Sir.”

“Mr. Tatum, why do you think the other team members are pointing at your puzzle?”

“Sir, I guess they are in awe of how fast I completed my puzzle, Sir.”

The instructor then said, “Guys, Mr. Tatum’s performance caused all of you to be captured by the enemy. All of you are now prisoners of war. Your team failed the test and the future looks grim! Mr. Tatum failed to use his God-given talents to help the team.”

“Sir, what? What did I do, Sir? Sir, I completed my puzzle! I did my part, Sir!”

The instructor then proceeded to explain to the class the results of my actions, or lack thereof. I felt as though lightning had struck the foundation of my perception of the TEAM concept. I was devastated—my poor judgement and performance caused our team to fail. I failed the team!

As it turned out, my puzzle had five pieces that were necessary for the others to complete their puzzles. They each had one piece that would fit perfectly into my puzzle if we exchanged one piece. The only way to complete the six puzzles was for me to exchange one piece with each of them.

TeamPuzzlePcs

The instructor came to me after class and said, “I know you’re feeling down on yourself, but don’t. You were “setup” to fail, which actually made the exercise a successful learning experience. It didn’t matter which one of you had the ‘key’ puzzle. Any of the other five would most likely have failed also. I’ve given this exercise to hundreds of people and they have all failed.

“Before the exercise started, I told the others you had one piece of their puzzle and they had one of yours. Their task was to convince you to exchange your piece for their “bad” piece. They all failed to do that, which accomplished the second objective of the exercise—failure of each individual. Had all of you completed the puzzles, there would be no lessons-learned.

“Remember my instruction to all of you—no talking, but gestures were acceptable. I didn’t place any restrictions on the type of gestures that were acceptable. Nor did I say the team players couldn’t ask me questions. Had each team member simply asked me if they could walk around the table and exchange their “bad” piece with you, all puzzles could have been completed. You were on the hot seat today by design, but the other five will have their turn there tomorrow. Rest well tonight, son. You did exactly what I expected you to do.”

The first lesson-learned was simply being part of a team is not enough. It takes much more than that. Each member must give their best and work for the good of the team in order for the team to be successful. When one player doesn’t support the others, the entire team will likely fail.

The second lesson-learned was a good team leader looks after all team members by anticipating their needs and making sure they have all the tools necessary to complete the task at hand. Help those who are struggling is a must. You should always believe in yourself and your abilities. However, when you start thinking that you are the shining-star and your teammates are useless, your mind closes to the needs of others. Your God-given gifts no longer serve the team—you become selfish.

The third lesson-learned was to be open-minded—think outside the box and do not impose unnecessary restrictions on yourself or the team. Examine each situation and consider ALL alternatives available to complete the task. Do not limit the possibilities that can lead to success.

I failed on all counts, but I learned those three valuable lessons in the process. Since that day, I have always given my best to support the team and all my teammates. Although the team may still fail, it won’t be because I failed to give one-hundred percent of my best. Self-imposed failure is not an option!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

1 Corinthians 12:17-20 (NIV)

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

THROUGH THE EYES OF MY HEART

During my teen and young adult years, my mind sometimes ignored things my eyes saw. Back then, my little corner of the world was the most important thing to me, and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for anything else. As the years continued to pass, I managed to grow in wisdom and now see similar things, but in a different way—through the eyes of my heart.

EyesBW

You see, there was a time in life when I thought my family was at the center of the universe. I was living in a “me-me-me” world of selfishness, like many folks tend to do at times. I thought I was a good person, but there were times when I complained about insignificant things in life like:

  • being uncomfortable while sleeping in my own bed on a cold-winter’s night… then I saw a homeless man sleeping on a park bench wearing tattered clothes and no shoes
  • wearing glasses to restore my vision to 20/20… then I saw a blind man who was wearing a smile upon his face while whistling a cheerful tune as he walked by
  • my old aching legs… then I saw a man who had no legs, yet he was laughing while playing catch in the yard with his son
  • forgetting little, insignificant things… then I spoke to a friend who no longer remembers my name or the good times we once shared

I could continue my list of shallow complaints, but I’m sure you get the point. There are folks around us who are less fortunate than many of us, yet they are not complaining.

As I reflect on my poor-pitiful-me complaints, I have deep regrets for missing the opportunities I had to help others. A simple smile, kind gesture, or just saying hello could have made a small difference in someone’s day. I now see the plight of others with my heart and my mind understands how fortunate I am. I have so many blessings to be thankful for—far too numerous to count. Though some may seem small, each is a gift from God, and definitely much more than I deserve. I am truly blessed!

Now, I pray—Lord, I am grateful for the many gifts You have bestowed upon me. I ask that You give me the strength, courage, and desire to extend a helping hand to others who are in need while asking nothing of them in return. Help me to be a better person, and allow me to shine Your light upon others. For no matter the hurdles I encounter along my path, cheerfully supporting others I see on my journey is one of the greatest blessings I could ever receive. Amen.

HelpingHand

Acts 20:35 (NIV)

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

John 3:17 (NIV)

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

FINDING THE OPEN GATE

I have a five-foot-tall wooden fence around the perimeter of my backyard, which has a gate beside the house. I had been working in the yard one day and decided to take a lunch break. As I was eating, I noticed a strange dog in the backyard. Obviously, I had accidently left the gate open.

BackyardSpring

The poor dog started running back and forth along the rear fence. As he reached each fence on the side of the yard, he leaped trying to jump over. Each attempt failed and the dog crashed into the wooden slats, then ran in the opposite direction to try again. The hurdles were simply too high, and the dog lacked the strength and knowledge to find its way to out.

I went to the open gate and began whistling and calling for the dog to come my way—the only way to find paradise. The dog would look my way, but feared me; I was not his master, so he continued trying to get out using his own methods. The dog ignored all my offers to help. I had to find other means to convince the dog I was simply trying to help him find the answer to his problem—I meant no him harm.

Gate

I walked slowly toward the dog, talking softly as I approached. As I got near, the dog ran to the front fence and repeated its efforts, achieving the same results. He ran right past the open gate and crashed into the fence each time. Although the gate was wide open, the dog failed to seize the opportunity I had graciously provided. A simple fence, combined with the lack of faith and trust in me was all that prevented the dog from reaching its goal—freedom. Well, after much coaxing and showing the way, the dog finally saw the light and ran out through the open gate.

This situation made me think about how we often view God the same way as the dog viewed me. For whatever reason, we sometimes act like that poor little dog. God calls us and shows us the way to find the path in our spiritual journey. His messages are very clear, yet we seem to ignore or not understand what He wants us to do in life. We keep trying to do things our way even though we keep crashing into the fence.

Fortunately, God never gives up on us and keeps calling for us to follow Him. He has a plan for each of us if we would only listen. Unfortunately, our fear and free will to make choices also causes us to be stubborn at times—just like the dog. PrayingHandsWhen we learn to take our fences (life-hurdles) to God in prayer, He will listen and show us the way—in His own time. If we have faith and place our trust in God and start following Him, He will lead us to and through the “open gates” in life.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

John 14:5-7 (NIV)

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

++++

To learn what happened to one man when God called him to follow, read my story “If Tigers Were Angels: With God, All Things Are Possible” available on Amazon or by contacting me at IfTigersWereAngels@gmail.com

 

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels