Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Annual Turkey Day Post

Image
So here we are again. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Every year, I post what I am thankful for. The list really hasn't changed, so I am going to try a different format this year. Lately I have been writing some notes on a book project I want to write for my children. The book is tentatively titled, Things Daddy Has Learned. One of the things I am thankful for is knowledge, and each day I learn something new.

However, I have learned a lot, and I thought I would pontificate a bit on what I have learned right here on my blog. Enjoy!
As often as you can, watch the sun rise and set.Relish the first sip of coffee in the morning. Close your eyes, sip, and feel it go through your body.People will always disappoint you. Even if they don't mean to.Cherish the small things. Celebrate them.You don't have to be perfect. You just have be you.Say what you mean and mean what you say. When necessary, use words.Do what you love, and get paid for it.Listen to the birds chirping. They…

Updating the blogosphere

Wow. I haven't posted in quite awhile. Not like me. Much has been happening. Here is the proverbial rundown:
Tracy and I have separated. It was a mutual decision, albeit an unhappy one. We both believe it's for the best. Not sure what else to say, other than that it has been a long time coming.I have moved into my own place. The bachelor pad is getting settled nicely. Room for me and my kids, plus Lilly and Sunshine. It is an adjustment, but it has been nice.I have a publisher in Oklahoma that is very interested in my novel. It is far from finished, so I am trying to ease back into writing mode. Gotta finish the dang thing either way. Nevertheless, it is an awesome feeling to have received my very first publishing contract.Midlands Tech teaching is going great. I will be teaching again in the Spring and I am very excited about that. Now I have no date for the Christmas party. May take my daughters.The Freelance writing is slow going, but going. I have picked up another local pu…

Don't Stop the Music

Image
My first introduction to "Contemporary Christian Music" came in 1982 by way of two duos, "Farrell and Farrell" and "DeGarmo and Key." I liked the Farrells, and I liked D&K too, but I didn't love them. D&K did have some cutting edge, blatantly Jesus-centered music. It wasn't until 1988 at Heritage USA that I saw what all the fuss was about. When DeGarmo and Key took the stage, they rocked, and I mean the totally rocked. Then Dana Key showed that he was clearly the brains and balls of this duo. He spoke and I hung on every word. I was hooked on D&K after that.

That summer, my pal Jay and I followed D&K like a couple of groupies. We followed them from SC to Atlanta Fest 88, where they rocked the house big time. Then to Augusta, GA, and even though it was a smaller crowd, they held nothing back.

What I really loved about DeGarmo and Key wasn't just their Memphis style blues and rock & roll sound. They were genuine ambassadors o…

There Is No Spoon

Image
You may remember that line from The Matrix. These words are also carved into the wall above the urinal at the "satellite office." I do not know why. It is an eye-opening moment for Neo when the young lad teaches him a lesson in reality. In order for Neo to be able to bend the spoon with his mind, he had to first accept the reality that there is no spoon.

I had an eye-opening moment yesterday. For years I have been living in  disappointment because I had this image of what life and family should be like, and, twice now, that image has failed to be lived up to. I have always looked for the magic in life. For example, I have wondered if I have ever been "in love" before. In my mind, there was no "magic" in my relationships. There was love, but it had to be worked at; it didn't just happen magically.

Growing up in a broken family, I used to daydream about having a "normal" family like all of my friends had. A father AND a mother. Not just mother…

A Time to Rant (not gonna be pretty)

Image
Dear reader,

I am not here to offend, ridicule, or offer shallow opinion. Well, maybe two out of the three.

Some things are happening around me. I don't like them. Not at all. May I share?

1) This whole BP/Oil spill/Obama/Barton thing has got me a little uptight. For all we know, the spill was on purpose. How can a major petroleum company with major safety protocols in place "accidentally" spill tons of oil? I am not a conspiracy theorist, but you have to admit, this stinks. Then Joe Barton of the GOP apologizes to BP for us holding them accountable. Who elects these idiots, really? Are we being PUNK'd? Is that it?

2) South Carolina politics has gone too far. Hey, bad press is still press, right? NOT! Jake Knotts, if you won't retire, at least let us give you a beatdown. It is long overdue, Mr., "I'm proud to be a redneck." You know what really chaps my hindquarters? People like Senator Kneck, errr...Knotts, claim to be Christians also. Do you moro…

Forty-something

Image
I have been facing some realities lately. I am a "forty-something." I have good days and bad days. Most of the time, I feel great. I feel like the world is yet mine to conquer. Then I got a phone call from an old high school friend the other day. It went something like this:

Me: Hey, man! How long has it been?

Him: Ummm...about 25 years.

Me: No way.

Him: Yeah, that's about right.

Me: That is not possible!

Him: Yeah it is. It's been awhile since you were blowing on the tuba.

Me: Wow...

Then I saw another lifelong pal today and we were talking about how much fun our 20 year reunion party was, and then it occurred to both of us that number 25 is coming up...soon. Like...next year.

Whoa.

A couple more realities have begun to settle in:
My son is graduating next year.My stepdaughter is graduating next year.My nephew and nice are graduating next year.Most of the people I work with were born AFTER I graduated high school.Most of our customers were born AFTER I graduated high…

Head Spinning...(but in a good way)

Image
So much has happened this week, it is hard to focus. I am trying. Good stuff all around. I sometimes use my blog to not only share things with you, the gentle reader, but I also use it to process life happenings.

1)  Several weeks ago I posted a blog about my realization that teaching is where my heart is. I detailed the realigning of my educational focus and my hot pursuit of my new career goal. Out of the clear blue on Wednesday morning, I get a call from Midlands Technical College about teaching a Computers in Health Science class on Monday and Wednesday nights for the summer. Okay, it's not Creative Writing or English Literature, but it IS a foot in the door, and Adjunct Faculty is going to really look good on my Curriculum Vitae. Thanks to P. Melton for the recommendation and for helping get started earlier than expected on my teaching career.

2) In 1986, I scored a 700 on my SAT. 700. 390 English, 310 Math. Pathetic. Because I was a Music Education Major during my first coll…

Applied Wisdom

Image
This is going to be one of those, "I've been thinking about something lately" posts. I do these from time to time just to download stuff I ponder. I have been thinking a lot about wisdom for the last couple of weeks. Mind you, it is not my own wisdom I have been pondering. Rather, I have been pondering wisdom I have received from others over the years. One pearl was given to me in 1995 by a dear man named Al Bozard. He was my mentor in the ministry when I first started out. I truly loved that man and anything he shared with me, especially pertaining to ministry, I soaked up like a thirsty sponge.

One day he said, "Todd, listen very carefully." I was totally tuned in. "Todd," he said, "no pastor ever came to the end of his life saying he wished he'd spent more time at the office. Whatever you do, never sacrifice your family for your ministry." Out of all the advice I was given by great men like Rev. Bozard, this nugget was one I worked re…

People PMS?

Having grown up in a house full of women, I know all about PMS. This week it seems like EVERYONE has it.  Was going to ask a friend for some help and was met with an unusually "grouchified" reply because technology beat me to the punch. All good. Stuff happens. People have bad days. I know about those too.

This past week my novel was critiqued by my classmates and I received some wonderful feedback. This novel is important to me, and I want it to be great. The feedback helped me toward that goal. So I logged into a forum outside of the class discussion and thanked my classmates for offering some excellent feedback. Apparently I broke some "rule" of the Writer's Workshop by offering my thanks after the fact, according to a classmate who emailed the professor in protest. The typical response to "Thank you," is generally, "You're welcome." This etiquette should apply to Writer's Workshop as well. We call that "good manners" in…

Spring is in the Air! So is pollen!

Spring is a brutal dichotomy for me. On the one hand, nature always looks great during Spring. The colors and blooming flora can be breathtaking at times.

At the same time, Spring also produces pollen, which wreaks utter havoc on those of us cursed with year-round allergies. Not to mention the mess it makes on the cars, porches, and well, just about everything it lands on.

Yet without the pollen, there would be no beautiful flora. Sometimes the things which we see as negative can actually be for the best in the big picture of things. This is a hard lesson to learn, especially for people like me who demand instant gratification. I'm the guy in front of the microwave going, "C'mon, I don't have all minute!" I despise waiting in line for anything, and I get really impatient at traffic lights and four-way stops.

This year, I was unemployed (again) for almost 3 months. Not at all the way I first envisioned 2010 going. Not at all. During those three months, I gained w…

One Lump or Two?

Image
Today is my last official day of unemployment. Tomorrow I officially begin my new duties as Second-in-Command of Jamestown Coffee Co. The process leading up to this day has been full of tests and in depth discussions. I will be working for my best friend in the world, and both of us wanted to be absolutely sure that this would work for both our benefits as well as protect our lifelong friendship.
I believe this is a good move for me. I have retail management experience as well as food service management in my background, and I was good at it. In addition to the day to day operation, I have also been given a voice for creative and operational input. This is something I have never had as a manager. 
And let me be frank, here. I absolutely LOVE coffee. Furthermore, Jamestown Coffee is not just any coffee. James has put a lot of time and energy to procure the very best coffee products out there. There is a lot for me to learn, but I am going to be surrounded by an exemplary team of individu…

Weighing In

Image
This will not be a post about my actual physical weight. I have nothing significant to report yet. Although I just played outside with my dogs for about 30 minutes, and they dropped before I did. Four legs and all!

No, I would like to weigh in on the Health Care Reform that was signed into law today. Everyone has their own personal feelings about it. So do I. I am not going to debate the right-or-wrong of it all here. What I want to do is to publicly rebuke certain citizens of the US of A who have hurled racist, hatemonger assaults at various elected officials, and those religious fruitcakes who are now touting health care reform as the end of times.

Since the day of Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven in the book of Acts, mankind has at various times in history used some major social or political crisis as the catalyst of Christ's return as recorded in the Revelation. In our lifetime, the Jewish holocaust, rock-n-roll music, Roe v. Wade, Walter Mondale's run for President,…

A New Way to Retire...Not Retiring!

Image
I am a sentimental guy; I really am. I have been to retirement parties. It moves me to think that someone has reached a point where they no longer have to work. It is a bittersweet thing to watch. When someone has worked hard to build a career, retiring is a very emotional experience. One of my dearest friends retired from the produce business he had built with his own sweat and sustained for over 40 years. He shared with me how much he had sacrificed regarding quality time with his family. When he retired, it was the end of a long and sometimes painful career. He found many new ways to occupy his time, including spending time with me. In my mind, that is what retirement was supposed to be.

Retirement seems to have a new face these days. Three faces, specifically.

Brett Favre had a celebratory career as the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. His retirement was to have catapulted him into legendary status. It didn't quite work out that way. Not even a year later, he announced tha…

Once more unto the breach...

Image
I seldom look back through my blog anymore. It is neat from time to time to look back at some of the happier memories. Even some of the sad ones are worth remembering. The one theme that I am not happy to revisit is my career changes. It is honestly rather embarrassing. To be sure, each change was an wholehearted attempt to make my family's life better.

The same idealism applies to my recent college endeavors. While I was at Flextronics, I was inspired to get a two year Computer Science degree from Midlands Tech. to help further my career there. When I was laid off due to production cutbacks, it occurred to me that I should be pursuing a Masters degree. What good is a 2 year degree when I already have a 4 year degree? So I applied to the University of Phoenix's MBA program. I felt that a degree like this would catapult my career as well as my earnings.

By the time I reached my second class, I knew that I was out of my league. I am a semi-intelligent person, and I was able to kee…

My first interview....let the games begin!

Image
Through Social Media, I have met some amazing writers, literary agents, and publishers, as well as a number of great people from other backgrounds. It excites me that an average of 5 people a day are following me on Twitter. Social Media has been a wonderful tool in promoting my writing. Last week, I was interviewed by Dorothy Dreyer, who started a blog where she will spotlight aspiring authors. I was very fortunate to be her first victim...er, guest.

You can read the interview here.

Social Media rocks! Everyone needs to get on board. You never know who you might meet.

Earlier this morning, while you were asleep...

Image
Meet my 1997 Chevrolet S-10 pick up truck. The photo was taken a few months ago, when, while on my way to a very important meeting, the tire blew and left me stranded. I missed my appointment, and they wouldn't reschedule.

Earlier this morning, while you were asleep, my truck stranded me on I-20 once again. I was on my way home from a nice visit with James at our "satellite office," and was about 4.5 miles from my exit. Suddenly, the truck just froze. As I watched the speedometer quickly drop from 70 to 50mph and falling, I quickly and safely pulled off.

This was 1:30 in the morning. Attempts to call home failed four times. On the fifth time, my groggy wife answered. Her car has been in the shop all week. The truck was our only vehicle.

Was, that is.

With no solutions and no one awake, I started walking. At once I felt like Bill Bixby as David Banner from The Incredible Hulk TV series from my youth. With my wife's work bag on my shoulder, and with no flashlight, I began …

Sun Day Random Ruminations

Image
Greetings from the booming town of Leesville, SC. On this beautiful Springlike day, I have a few random thoughts that I need to dispose of. Enjoy!
I am sick of the whole Tiger Woods thing. Sick of it. SICK of it. In other words, I am too busy getting on with my own life to indulge the media's Tiger obsession any longer. He screwed up, he apologized; good day and good night.I just don't get NASCAR. It's not my thing. If it's you're thing, then that's cool. They do put on quite a program. I elect not to watch it, however. Don't hate.
I am so ready to get back into the routine of online school. March 1, I am back in. Ordered my books today. I am a big giant sponge ready to soak up all the knowledge!
I love Spring. It is a very beautiful time of year.I hate Spring. My allergies go to DefCon 5.I miss football season.
I hope I get a new job soon. Two interviews this week!I wish my laptop would come home soon.
Jillian Michaels is really hot, but what man could handle h…

Balance and Learning to Roll

Image
The older I get, the more I realize that life is all about balance. I have lived my life by extremes for a long time. I have been extremely left and extremely right. I have been "name it and claim it," and "Thy will be done." I have gone from fired up to fizzled out. To live this way is very draining emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually.

As a believer, I am often frustrated at how God answers prayer or how He seemingly doesn't; at least not the way I wanted. Why do some people live while others die? Why do some have while others have not? Questions like these have befuddled my tiny mind for years. Frankly, they have stressed me out and led me to become very depressed at times.

Furthermore, I have gone through seasons of prosperity as well as seasons of struggle. It would seem that it is not possible to have one without having the other. For months, due to the economy and being laid off, my wife and I have struggled to stay "above water"…

My Valentine's Day Post

Image
For many years, Valentine's Day has been a very unhappy day. When I was a sophomore in high school, my then girlfriend cheated on me with one of my so-called friends.

Valentine's Day 1992 was the worst. I received a phone call in the middle of the night from my sister, who informed me that our estranged father had been killed in a freak auto accident. Long story short, a man had a heart attack at the wheel of his car and plowed right into my father's house where he was asleep in his chair. Both men were killed instantly.

It's now 2010, and I am married with lots of children who I love. I am very fortunate to have a number of wonderful people that call me friend. Surely there is much to celebrate on February 14th, and I do celebrate through the grief, which is like an open wound that will never heal.

The picture was photo shopped by my son Cody. He superimposed my Dad (from my last photo of him) onto the picture so we could have our first generation picture. I am sure Dad …

10 Quirky Things About Me

We all have our little quirks. Some of us have quirks that are quirkier than others. Furthermore, some of us are DEFINED by our quirks. I will share with the reader my most popular and perhaps least well-known quirks. There will not be a quiz at the end.
I absotively, posilutely hate waiting in line for any reason whatsoever.Misspelled words and typos on any marquis or sign make me very angry.People who type in ALL CAPS make me very angry.When I write, I have to have coffee in my Daffy Duck mug. The movie 1408 inspires my creativity. I do not know why.
I only shave when it is absolutely necessary.I am a closet hippie.For the last 14 months, I have had the strangest compulsion to move to Philadelphia.I think Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors of my generation.Seeing The Who on the Superbowl halftime show actually gave me chills. Pete Townshend is such an amazing and insightful songwriter.

Customer Service: The New Oxymoron

When did Customer Service go from being a "serve us" institution to a "can't help/don't care" fiasco? Maybe it is just me, but I can't seem to get anyone to help me anymore. I am speaking as a veteran of the customer service industry. Nearly all of my work experience has something to do with customer service in some shape or form. Read my LinkedIn profile recommendation from Roger Gibson, a former boss. I took giving good customer service personally. Almost to a fault. I made it my business to have happy clients or customers. A lot of people in my organizations didn't like me, because I made them do their jobs. I must be a dying breed. Here is what happened:

In March of 2009, I bought my wife a laptop. Last week, the power supply receptacle on the laptop stopped powering. Now I have a dead laptop. Called Lenovo to get the laptop fixed. In theory, while the unit is under warranty, they send you a UPS box, you ship it to them at their cost, they fix i…

Book Review: Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom

Image
My long time friend Rick has, by example, taught me many things. One of his buzz words is, "Conversation." It is his conviction that conversation is the key to a better understanding of people, places, traditions, and stuff by simply talking through things, and, when possible, do it over coffee.

I am a bit on the shy side. I always have been. Insecurity is my middle name, or at least it should be. What is odd about this is that I have been in sales as well as full time ministry. Why would a shy guy like me seek after positions which required talking to and being around people? Simply put, I had always believed God could take my shyness and use it to help people. I used to believe that God could do absolutely anything. Then I changed. I stopped believing. One disappointment or tragedy after another for the last several years with very little "evidence" that God was helping me has left me barren of faith and hope. It is not a good feeling, I can assure you of that.

My …

Retro Review: The Rocker

Image
Faithful readers of this blog understand the concept of "Retro Review." For those who may have just joined the other two readers, allow me a brief explanation. I usually catch movies when they hit HBO or Showtime, long after they have come and gone on the big screen. If one of these films catches my attention, I will do a review here on the blog. I have recently viewed a film that struck some personal chords (pun intended). That would be The Rocker starring Rainn Wilson of NBC's The Office.

The Rocker is about an eccentric and wacky drummer, Robert "Fish" Fishman (played by Wilson), who, at the beginning of the success of his stereotype 80s rock band, "Vesuvius (cool name by the way)," gets dumped by the band (of which he was the heart and soul) so that a record executive's nephew can replace him. The story really begins 20 years later, where we find Fish working a dull job in Cleveland and Vesuvius has gone on to legendary success.

A series of eve…