Holding the flashlight

I recently heard a speaker say this, “I hated holding the flashlight for my Dad.”

The speaker continued on with his perspective of this simple little task. He told how as a little boy his Dad always asked him to hold the flashlight while working on various tasks that needed just a little more light.  Fixing a blown fuse, a broken light fixture, switch, or something on the old Plymouth. What he remembers the most was when, (not if) the beam of light drifted from the work area, his Dad would snort which alerted this young man to pull the flashlight back into position. He hated doing this.

I remember these days as well.

As a youngster in the mid-1960s & ’70s, I held the flashlight and did many other simple tasks for my Dad.

I carried and fetched tools, pulled weeds, dug holes, filled holes, used a sickle, swept the shop floor, wire brushed the spots Dad welded, stuck welding rods in the holder (I was always scared I would get shocked), siphoned gasoline, sanded the wood & metal projects, washed the cars, washed engine parts in gasoline, hauled fuel oil for the furnace, scrapped paint, held pieces of metal and wood as my Dad cut them, welded nailed or glued them together, washed his truck, scrubbed the tires, planted potatoes (eyes up) and pulled the electrical wire through conduit. These are just a few of the little tasks that I did with my Dad as a child and young adult. Often as I did these and many other tedious tasks, my Dad stood watching and coaching me on how to do them right.

Back then I was not always happy doing that stuff.

Today, I appreciate that I got to do them for a couple of big reasons:

  1. I learned by watching my Dad. I learned to do electrical work, welding, gardening, plumbing, woodworking, and lots more stuff.  I learned a lot.  Today I can do all of these things myself. Not only has this saved me lots of money as I raised my own family,  I also enjoy doing these things.
  2. I learned patience, attention to detail and doing things right.  Dad was a stickler to doing it right the first time. No cutting corners or doing anything just to get it done. Do it right, or don’t do it is what I learned from my Dad.

When my girls were home I had them hold the flashlight for me. I snorted at them just a little bit when the beam of light fell away from the work area and they pulled the flashlight back into place.  I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from my Dad.

Who is holding your flashlight and are they learning from you?

Happy Fathers Day Dad. I love you and treasure the days of holding the flashlight.

Why is your burden too much to bear?

Awesome!!  We complain about the cross we bear but don’t  realize

it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can’t.

Whatever your cross, whatever your  pain,
there will always be sunshine, after the rain.

Perhaps you may stumble,  perhaps even fall;
But God’s always ready, to answer your call.

He knows every  heartache, sees every tear,
a word from His lips, can calm every fear.

Your sorrows  may linger, throughout the night,
But suddenly vanish dawn’s early light.

The Savior is waiting, somewhere  above,
to give you His grace, and send you  His love.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

And you question   God -why me?
Always look at the bigger picture.
A day without the Lord – Is a day wasted.
God is going to shift things around for you today
and let things work in your favor.

I got this message from an email to me. I can not find the original source, so here is Thanks to whoever created it.

A good view

I rode down I-40 into Winston-Salem this morning. Not much different than most mornings, except for the view and the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head.

Most mornings I ride into a beautiful sunrise, today was not much different. I love riding into the sunrise. I generally will say out loud, “Thank you for this day God – please help me to make the most of it for you and for me.” Of course, at 70 miles per hour, the only one who hears me say this is myself, and hopefully God.

This morning the view was a little different, my wife (affectionately called Bum) was driving her car just in front of me.

It’s not a long trip from Advance to Winston-Salem, maybe 15 minutes. But driving into the sunrise with Bum driving in front of me made my mind wander differently than most mornings.

My mind drifted from the normal “what am I going to do today” to “My life”. It was a great ride.

I smiled as I thought about all that I have that makes my life good. The relationship I have with Bum and all of the things we have done together.

As I came upon the split where Bum goes to the left and I go to the right, my mind was all over the future that we have together. The plans that we have for ourselves, our family and the people in our life.

I sped up a little before I hit the split so I could wave at Bum. I know, go ahead and yell at me, but it was important for me to wave at my wife and see her smile as we hit the split.

This was a better ride into the work day than any other day.

Thanks Babe.


I want to feel pretty today

It’s has been well over a year, but today I happily put on a tie.

I looked thru the rack of 50+ ties for at least 30 seconds before I found the right one.

I polished my shoes and made sure my pants have a nice crease in them.

I looked twice in the mirror to make sure my hair was somewhat neat.

I checked my finger nails to see if they needed a quick trim or clean up.

I grabbed a nice Retro-51 pen and checked to see if it still writes.

I slid a few extra business cards into my wallet.

I trimmed my beard and mustache again, even though I did it last night as well.

I made sure my shirt was tucked in neatly and that my belt was hooked into all the loops correctly.

No, I don’t have an interview.

No, I’m not going to a wedding.

No funeral today.

I just wanted to look pretty. Looking good makes you feel good.

And, I feel freakin Great!



Never Judge anyone

A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call ASAP, changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block.

He found the boy’s father going and coming in the hall waiting for the doctor. Once seeing him, the dad yelled:
“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have a sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said:
“I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital and I came the fastest I could after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Bible “From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy, “Thank God! Your son is saved!”

And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any question, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was in the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

NEVER JUDGE ANYONE because you never know how their life is and as to what is happening or what they’re going through.

I got this story from a friend on Facebook.  It may not be true, but it is worthy of thought. I wish he had told me the source.

Why I’m unbelievably Fantastic every day

My Positive Attitude

This guy nailed it for me.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home a relationship.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

TLB – So I play off My Positive Attitude

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our Attitudes.

Thanks to my good friend Charles R. Swindoll, American Writer & Clergyman, (b.1934) for sharing this with me.

In order to maintain my positive attitude every day, I wake up and say this to myself every morning, “I am unbelievably fantastic, hovering near ecstasy. Right now it’s not chemically induced.”

I have My Positive Attitude statement do you have yours?

Come up with your own positive statement for the mornings and say it to yourself every day.

How are you doing today?

I asked a friend this morning how she was doing.

She replied, “I am unbelievably fantastic”, with an attitude in her voice that told me she was being honest about how she wants the day to go.

Of course, I jokingly responded with, “Good to see you put drugs in your oatmeal this morning.”

But honestly a part of me wondered, am I rubbing off on others? Or was she just saying what I say every day, before I got the chance to say it.

Either way – I am glad she is doing unbelievably fantastic.

We all need to be, despite the stuff.

Why me Lord?

Why Me Lord?

I regularly ask myself: “Why me Lord?”

For months now, I have asked myself this question nearly every day.  In fact, I even I started wondering it out loud and even praying for an answer, asking: ”What did I do to become so blessed?”

Why am I the lucky one?  Why is my life so fabulous and easy?  Why do I have such a great family? Why am I so healthy.  Why do I have enough of the materialistic stuff to make my life comfortable and enjoyable?

Why have I been chosen to be so blessed? Why me Lord?

I still don’t know all the answers, but I get messages every now and then that I am now trying to pay attention to.

The messages seem to be a guidance to something new.  Something different, important and relevant.

I got another message this past December 2010.  Here’s what happened:

It was a normal 5:30 pm end to another chaotic workday downtown.  As I headed down the ramp from Broad Street to I-40 West, traffic snarled and nearly stopped. Snorting to myself about the delay, I crept down the ramp and saw that there was a car stopped right smack at the end of the ramp.  I snorted again, I wanted to get home, dang it!  Traffic was real heavy as I am sure everyone had the same plans I had – get home.  No one would cut anyone any slack, so there was no merging going on here today, especially as everyone tried to get around the stalled car.

In less than a minute I was next in line to scoot past the disabled car.  I was pushing the clutch in, hurriedly yanking the gearshift down into 2nd just as I pulled up alongside the disabled car.  My mind processed “Finally, Yeah!,” just as I looked out my passenger side window and saw a lady crying her eyes out in the disabled car.  Years or maybe months before I would have yanked the car into the next gear and kept going, but today, I pressed the clutch in, down shifted and twisted the steering wheel to the right to stop in front of the disabled car.

I jumped out of my car and walked back to the disabled car, very aware that all of the other drivers were ticked off at me because I was now an additional delay for them as lots of them slowed even more to see what I was going to do. Lots of people were looking at me with disdain and scowling faces as if I were their newest big pain of the day.  The repeated piercing looks were very real and somewhat hurtful.

As I walked toward her, I could see and hear the hysterical crying.  She appeared to be falling apart as she sat in the immobile car, knuckles white as she grasped the steering wheel, her entire body shaking, gasping for air, her head jerking up and down and her face red with pain and terror.

I walked up to her car, tapped gently on the glass and beckoned for her to wind down the window, thinking she would press a button, but instead, she started actually “winding” it down.  I quickly viewed the car and saw it to be an old, damaged and apparently worn out car, full of “stuff” scattered about the seats and floorboard.

I leaned closer to her and in the calmest voice I could use, yet be heard over the roar of cars flying past us, said, “It looks like your car does not love you today. Let’s see what we can do to get you out of here. My name is Teddy, what is your name?”

Still sobbing uncontrollably, she responded, “I’m Pam.  I just had my car worked on and it cost me all the money I had in the bank, and now it’s broke again.  My son is very sick and in the hospital.  He is going into surgery in an hour and I need to get there with his stuff before they take him to the operating room.  My cell phone does not work and I don’t even know who I would call.” The tears streamed down her face as she spoke.

Keeping calm I said, “Well, we can’t worry about your broken car right now, let’s figure out what to do to get you over to the hospital.  Maybe what we should do is call the police and tell them your car is blocking traffic and I’ll drive you over to the hospital while we call a tow truck.” Crying maybe just a little bit less, she said, “Will you do this for me?” “Yes Pam, I want to do this for you.”

I decided that since traffic was really messed up, I would call 911 and ask them what to do.  Again, in a calm and direct voice I told Pam to get her stuff and head to my car, which she started doing.  I helped her carry a few of the bags of things she had for her son as I dialed and then talked with a 911 operator. Almost on cue a City Police car came over the hill, flipped on its blue lights and pulled up behind Pam’s car.  Letting the 911 operator know that the City Cop was here, she hung up.  I walked back toward the cop and quickly told him what was happening.  Pam’s hysteria had slipped aside and she appeared much calmer now that the police officer was here to help her.

He had another plan.  ”My dad is in the hospital and that is where I am heading right now.  I’ll take her there.”  So, in a few quick movements we moved Pam’s bags over to the cop’s car for plan B.

The cop asked Pam to drift her car down the hill and onto a section of grass alongside the road so that she would not be blocking traffic anymore and so that he would not have to call an emergency wrecker (i.e. lots of $$) to move it; a better idea from someone with more traffic-chaos experience.

As Pam, now much calmer, headed back to the police car, I said good-bye and good luck.  She stopped, turned and nearly blocking traffic again, gave me a big hug, saying, “Thank you for stopping.  No one else wanted to stop, let alone get out and help me in any way.  You did and you stayed calm while all the cars flew by.  I really appreciate your help.”  I wished her well and told her I would pray that her son’s surgery went well.

I got in my car and drove off.  The total time involved with Pam and her problems had to be less than 10 minutes.  But in that 10 minutes I again faced my unrelenting question, “Why me Lord?”

Here was a lady who has an old junker car, is out of money, worried about her sick child, no idea how to solve her current problem and no one willing to help her.

It seems like such a simple issue now, but at that moment Pam’s problems all piled up to become so overwhelming to cause her to melt down on the highway.

As I drove away, I’m not sure exactly why, but I started to tear up myself.  Let me honest here, I actually cried out loud in my car as I continued to ask, “Why me Lord?”

Again – Why am I the lucky one?  Why is my life is so fabulous and easy?  Why do I have such a great family?  Why am I so healthy.  Why do I have enough of the materialistic stuff to make my life comfortable and enjoyable?  Why do I have a good job and make good money?

Why have I been chosen to be so blessed?  Why me Lord?

I may have an answer, or at least part of the answer.

“I have so that I can give.”

And, I think the giving I am supposed to do is not in the typical way of donating a little money here and there, or doing a little volunteer work when it fits my schedule.  This is important, but I think it’s not enough for me.

No, I think the giving I am supposed to be doing is going to be at another level.

So, I have taken a leap of faith, far bolder than I have ever done before. I quit my job to find out exactly what it is I am supposed to do to fulfill my new role of Giving Back.  I have decided that making lots of money is not what’s important to me any longer.  My bills need to be paid and getting some of what I want is somewhat important, but helping individuals directly is what I need to be doing.  I am on a quest to find a new role where I do this every day.

It’s my quest, no one else needs to be on it with me.  However, I wonder, who else is as blessed as I am and asks the same question I do every morning, “Why me Lord?”

If you are blessed in any way, have you asked yourself the question – “Why me Lord?

Do believe you have so that you can give?

Great Billy Graham Story

I am not a Billy Graham fanatic – however this is a pretty good story.

Billy Graham is now 86 years old with Parkinson’s disease.

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their
favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles
with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, “We don’t
expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.” So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the
rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert
Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time
magazine as the Man of the Century.

Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor
came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he
came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find
his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so
he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it Then he looked in the
seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who
you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket.
Don’t worry about it.”

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle
punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned
around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking
under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t
worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m
sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What
I don’t know is where I’m going.'”

Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s
a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are
telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a
bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this
luncheon and one more occasion.

You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be
buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately
remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this:

I not only know who I am .. I also know where I’m going.”