“You’ll shoot your eye out…..”

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. Sure putting up the tree and most of the lights not working is pain in the nect, putting up lights outside is a hassle, and don’t get me started on going shopping especially the day after Thanksgiving.
However, once the tree is up, the lights are lit, presents are bought, its ALL WORTH IT. True evidence that nothing worthwhile comes easy.
This year, it seems like Christmas is coming as fast. Stephanie and I both said it seems like Thanksgiving was yesterday. The down side to this is that it will be over as fast as it came.
One thing that I do, every year without fail, is watch my 2 favorite Christmas movies; A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. Without watching these at least 4 or 5 times, it doesnt really seem like its Christmas (As of this post I’ve seen both three times since Thanksgiving).
A Christmas Story really hits home to me. In the movie, Ralphie wanted a BB gun more than any other present. After all of the presents were opened, he had no gun to speak of. Sitting on the couch with his parents, he was asked if he got everything he wanted and of course, he said no. Then his dad pointed out one package behind the desk that got overlooked. It was the exact gift that he wanted. Of course, as expected, he shot himself in the eye with it.
My greatest Christmas memory was when I got my first computer, a Commodore 64. I had asked for one for months and it was of course the hot gift to get that year. As usual, me and Chris woke up as early as possible and went through the gifts like a hot knife through butter, but no computer. That was ok, disappointing but ok.
Later that morning, I was asked the same thing as Ralphie, “Did I get everything I wanted?” Of course I said no but then my mom asked me to get something out of the back room. There on top of the washing machine was the gift I had wanted, the computer. Dad had bought the demo from Toys R Us the day before on his way home.
Then it didnt mean as much to me as it does to me now. All I knew is that I got the present that I wanted. Nothing else mattered.
Today, it matters. Because my parents got me that very first computer, now I work on a pc all day at work and most of the night once I get home. In our house, Steph and I have 2 laptops, and 3 desktop pc’s. I can take a pc apart and put it back together just about in my sleep and all of my friends and family know who to call when they have a pc problem.
Now I see my parents doing the same things for Blake and Emily that they did for me and my brother. Last year dad helped my brother build Blake’s monster golf cart and this year he is helping him build Emily’s condominium playhouse. I know without a doubt, when the time comes that Stephanie and I have kids, both of my parents will go out of their way to do the same. Of course, Stephanie and I will go out of our way to give our kids the gifts that they want also. After all, we will just be living up to the examples set by our parents and no one will be able to say anything or stop us just like we can’t stop our parents.

Go ahead, try to stop them. “I TRIPLE DOG DARE YA!!”

Dear God,
Thank You for Christmas. Thank You for sending Your Son. Through all of the hustle and bustle, help me to never lose sight of what Christmas is all about. Help me to always remember Christmas is not about what you get at Christmas, its about what you give to others as Your Son gave His all to us. Thank you for parents who sacrificed so much so that I could be where I am today. Help me to be an example to our future children, our friends and our family, like the example my parents set and continue to raise the bar for.

Merry Christmas,


“Show us what’s behind, Curtain number 3!”

I used to love to watch game shows. There was Wheel of Fortune, Card Sharks, Press Your Luck, Name that Tune, and one of my favorites, Jeopardy. (When I was young, the questions were a LOT easier….). One game show that was a little before my time was Lets Make a Deal. Players woud be given a choice between several boxes, curtains, or other items. Of the choices, one would be a huge prize, another an ok prize, and finally a goat or some other ridiculous choice. Most of the time, you would have the choice to take your prize and trade it for one of the other previous choices.

Sometimes it worked out for the better but most of the time it did not.

Still, the players had a choice.

I have been faced with a lot of difficult choices lately and I didnt make a good choice on a few of them.

This past weekend, I went up to Dalton, GA for the CSE Tournament. Its been crazy getting ready for this and I knew that I would be working my tail off. Saturday night, after working like mad all day, Stephanie called me several times wanting to know when I was going to go to the hotel. Almost like clockwork, something came up after almost every call that kept me at the ball field until almost midnight. I could have said its not worth it and went to the room, but I kept on trying to do it all myself. I ran myself like mad when I should have taken her hint and chosen to go back to the room but instead, I made a bad choice and got to the room late.

She was there wanting to surprise me.

Bad choice on my part.

Sure we spent all day Sunday together at the ball park for a while then we went and got her Christmas present afterwards. It was a great day but nothing like Saturday night could have been if I had made a better choice.

Now I am faced with another choice. At her insistance, (4 am blessing out because I havent been to the dr. in I could not tell you how long), today I broke down and went to the doctor.

It was not a good experience to say the least.

Almost everything that could be wrong with me basically is. Sugar is high, chloresteral is high, blood pressure isnt great, etc. etc., etc. The doctor when reading my test results actually said (and this is a direct quote) “Oh crap!”

I have never liked going to the doctor because of the way they make you feel afterwards but at that point in my life, I don’t think a doctor has ever made me feel worse.

So now I have a choice. I can choose Curtain #1 and follow what he has told me I HAVE to do and pray to God almighty that I can get my health in order, or I can choose Curtain #2 and ignore him and continue to do what I have been doing, that didnt work, and the results, well, it doesnt take a NASA scientists to figure out what high blood sugar and high chloresteral will result in.

I think Stephanie and I choose Curtain #1……

Dear God,
Its been a while I know. I also know You didn’t move, I did. Help me to see that You are there. You are the one who pushed Stephanie and gave her the courage to stand up to me and demand that I see a Dr. If it were not for that, I would never know how my health is right now. As bad as I hated going, thank you for giving me the courage to go to the doctor.



Golf balls…..small white balls struck by a club in an attempt to get the ball inside a hole hundreds of yards away. A game many in my industry play several times weekly. I myself have only been to a driving range and hit balls once. That was enough for me.
This weekend, I heard a simple story about “Golf Balls” that really hit home…..

The Professor and the Jar By Author Unknown
A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The Professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the space between the grains of sand.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else -the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. “Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

I didn’t write that story but it hit home close enough that I wanted to put it here as a reminder to myself. I take life for granted. I work entirely too much and when I am not at work, I am working at home, cutting the grass, cleaning up the basement, etc.
Everytime I turned around, Steph, in her loving way, would remind me not to miss the golf balls. It drove me crazy. Not because she was nagging, which she wasn’t, but because she was right. I paid more attention to email this weekend than I did to her. In a sense, I put so much sand in the jar, I had no room for my golf ball.

Right now, a lot of people close to me are in a valley. A valley a lot darker than the one Steph and I just came through with her job. My uncle who has been an incredible Christian influence and role model for me my entire life, is in Florida right now at a cancer specialist. My mom #2, (steph’s mom) is waiting test results today for cancer. Both of them are very special to me and both of them I know will come through this with flying colors, yet both I know are scared and both I know are putting their trust in God to get them through this. Their situations made ours seem so trivial and non important.

I am not a person of strong faith. The events in my life that I come through with God’s help are soon forgotten in times of crisis. That is why I believe God puts us through trials, to depend on Him and to grow our faith. He really came through for Steph and I. Now she has a job that will carry us through her classes and she can find the job He has for her. That “valley” not only helped to grow my faith, but also helped to remind me of how many times there were only one set of “footprints…..that God was carrying me through the storm.”

Dear God,
Once again, you have shown me that you are there. You provided Steph with a job and now may have opened up another door. You brought my dad through his tests. You provided Derrick’s family with a job and insurance that they needed just in time. How soon I forget that you are there. Help me to know that you are there for those close to me who need you the most right now. Be with them and lift them up, like you have for me so many times.

Oh and God, if Shelia TRYS to sing another Third Day song…….well, You know what to do…..


“God, I just need a little help….”

I love working in my garage. I have a better than average collection of tools even though you can never have enough. There are saws, wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, etc. in my workshop and being a fixer by nature, I enjoy using them.
This week, I was presented with my once a year challenge of putting brakes on my truck. I have replaced these several times with almost no trouble what so ever so I didnt think that this would be a challenge at all. I would be done with this right after dinner.

How wrong I was.

I took off the left wheel and removed the brakes. The first side was almost impossible to get off and twice as hard to get back on. It was so tight that the wheel would not even spin. Huge red flag there is a problem. Never the less, I moved on to the right side, removed the tire and then the problems really began.

The right side brakes wouldnt budge. After several feeble attempts, I called my dad for help. He told me how to free up the brakes but they still did not come off easily.
Once I had them off, I thought this is going to be the downhill slide. It should be easy from here.

Again, how wrong I was.

The right side wasnt even close. I tried many times and it was like the brakes were too big. The problem was right there in front of me but I was too focused on finding the easy quick fix that I didnt even try to find out what the problem was. I fussed, even cussed a little bit, slammed my head against the fender, smashed all 10 of my fingers, stomped my feet, walked away and back again with no success. The brakes were not going on and daylight was long gone. I was working on the side of my truck near the wall so I had a shortage of workspace and shortage of light.

I walked away. I went upstairs and calmed down, got some water and just gathered my thoughts. There had to be a reason this wasnt working. So I went back and looked at how the brakes work and what was different.

I found out that the problem was a frozen guide that wouldnt allow the brakes to move. Once I found this, I knew that this was the problem with the other side also. I called my boss, told him I would not be in the next day and planned on looking for these parts.

Not a single parts house in the Atlanta area had what I needed to repair my brakes. Frustration level went up another notch. So I made plans to take the existing parts in to work, put them in the vice and use that to help remove the existing pins.

The next morning, today, I get in to work, check on things out as far as my job goes and walk back into the shop to use the vice. No luck, the vice that went into the spot on the workbench where there were 4 empty bolt holes and a shadow of where the vice used to be, was gone. Frustration level up another notch probably two.

I went back to my desk, put my head in my hands and said the words, “God, I just need a little help.” I called around town and found a parts house that could order them and have the parts I needed tomorrow. Problem solved I thought.

About this time, one of the techs that works for me pulled up. He had brought me some chemicals to hopefully free up the existing pins. Thirty minutes, two pipe wrenches and a torch later, he had both pins out of the brackets. God had sent me a little help. What is ironic is that He LITERALLY sent me a little help. Manny, the tech who helped me out, is our shortest technician. He is a good Christian man and he and I have had a lot of conversations about our faith. God sent him, a “little helper”, to give me a little help this morning. Once I realized this, I cracked up and had to journal this.

Moral of the story, be careful what you pray for. You might get what you prayed for LITERALLY!!!!

Dear God,
Once again, I have tried to do things my way thinking that I can do or fix anything. You have brought me down to earth again and showed me that I can’t do it all. Everyone needs help from time to time and life would be so much better if we just stopped, relaxed and turned our problems over to you. Help me to remember this when the next “brake job” comes up.