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I Did It Just For Him!

*Today marks a year since my Dad left for heaven. I wrote this blog on his birthday back in August. He would’ve been 87. It seems fitting to publish it today.

The 15th of August; For as many years as I was old enough to remember we did something to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. This year was a little different in that, this time, he wasn’t here to enjoy it with us. We did, however get together anyway. Monty drove up from Ft.Worth. We had supper at Rib Crib with just about everyone there, minus Cole and his little family, (Calli Softball practice) and Cade.

As we sat at the restaurant the TV’s were tuned to the Olympics. We watched several events including the preliminaries for the women’s 400 meter hurdles. Then it was time for the women’s 100 meter finals. Allison Felix, the USA’s marquis sprinter and most decorated American woman track and field athlete, was the odds-on favorite to win the gold medal. She had a great start, ran her race, and it appeared that she was clearly going to win the gold. But just at the very end of the race the sprinter from the Bahamas did something that was totally unexpected. Rather than just running ‘through’ the finish line she dove forward at just the precise moment….stealing the gold medal from Allison Felix.

You’re probably wondering what in the world this has to do with my Dad. Well, the 100 meter finals and the miraculous finish took me back about 47 years. I was a junior in high school. One of the things I was pretty decent at was running the hurdles. I broke the school records in the high hurdles and low hurdles that had stood since 1929.

It was at the district track meet. I hadn’t been beaten in the highs or low hurdles up to that point in the entire track season. There were several really good competitors but if I’d just run my race I could beat them. I wasn’t the fastest by any means but no one could beat me out of the blocks and I could navigate the hurdles better than most of them. But on this day there was a new guy. First time I’d seen him. We were in the same preliminary heat in the high hurdles…and he beat me. I ran a good race…and he still beat me. We had the two fastest times in the prelims so in the finals we’re lined up in the two middle lanes.

Dad didn’t always get to be at the track meets but he was there that day. I wanted to do my very best for him. I got off to my usual great start but so did the other guy. In fact, for 110 yards there was never a foot or two lead for either of us. It was literally neck-and-neck. We cleared the last hurdle and he had me beat by a foot or two. Ten feet from the finish line, he still had me beat. But I wanted to win this race in the worst possible way……for my Dad. I felt like I’d be letting him down if I didn’t win. But, for all practical purposes this guy’s got me beat. But at the last possible second I did exactly what the gal from the Bahamas did. I dove….with everything that was in me. My right shoulder hit the asphalt track and it took most of the hide off for about 8 inches……but I won the race!

I was glad I’d won the race….but the excitement wasn’t really for me. I was glad to win  because I was determined to do it for him. I don’t think I ever told Dad that I did that just for him. I wanted him to be proud of me. And for me to ‘not’ put out, and give it everything I had would make me feel like I was lettin’ him down. We learned from our folks that whatever you were doing, you give it everything you got! That’s what they did.

But you know,…..all the hundreds of things he ever did for us, he never once had to say, “I did that for you”.

We just knew!

Try these:

VIP’s #10 – Cliff & Charlene Taylor

VIP #8 – Monty Taylor

Labor Day Out on the ‘Ol ‘Lazy J’

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Making Sure That ’16 Is Not Just ‘Another Year’!

I nearly always get excited at the advent of a New Year. The possibilities are really unlimited as to what we might encounter in the 12 months in front of us. And it seems to me as the years go flying by that what’s important to me is to take advantage of the right opportunities and to make it a year of growth, progress and advancement.

Here’s some practical tips to help make sure that 2016 is not ‘just another year’.

  1. Assess ‘Where You Are’
    • Reflect and Refocus – Glance back at 2015 and identify what worked for you….and what didn’t. Learn from those things, don’t dwell on the negative….and move on. (*My first blogs were a series titled, “Reflect & Refocus”. *(Click the highlighted link to get started with #1 then follow the others)
    • Be honest with yourself about ‘where you are’
    • Do a ‘spiritual’ inventory.
      • How’s your prayer life?
      • Are you committed to growing spiritually? *(You’ll only ‘get out’ in proportion to what you ‘put in’)
      • Have you embraced your destiny? *(God’s plan for your life)
      • Are you in the process of ‘finding your place’?
  2. Set Some Goals 
    • People who set goals always accomplish more than those who don’t!
    • Make them clear; Be realistic; Track your goals
    • As believers we should arrive at our goals based on what we believe God has said to us
  3. Get Better at Managing Your Life 
    • Time
      • Monitor your social media time
      • Get in control of your time
      • Learn to say “No”
      • Don’t overcommit
    • Finances
      • Get obedient in your giving
      • Invest as you are able
      • Be sensible with your spending
      • Be careful with debt
    • Resources
      • Are you using ‘what you have’ efficiently
    • Health
      • Do something to benefit your health
        • Exercise
        • Cut back on sugar
        • Drink more water
        • Don’t eat the ‘whole’ pie!! lol
        • Just do something!
    • Work smarter

God has an intricate plan for your life. These are things that will help you in the process of having your greatest year ever!

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“It’s Just Like Riding a Bike!”

I’ve used that phrase more than a few times. In fact I  used the reverse of it just a day or two ago when someone asked me if I played golf. My answer was, “Well, most people wouldn’t call it ‘golf’!’. I then said, “You know, golf’s not like riding a bike”. Which is true for me! The phrase has been used by people for a long time to indicate, “Something that, once learned, is difficult to forget how to do/easy to recall how to do” (* From the Urban dictionary)

Well, I learned to ride a bike at an early age. My dad commandeered a little used bike from someone. The little bike was fine except for the right handlebar, which had been broken about half off. We made ‘er work, though….and I learned to ride it out on the Thurmond Ranch red dirt roads. And true to form, I’ve been able to ride a bike ever since.

I’m a bit of a fitness addict. You can’t tell by lookin’ but it is true. Several years ago I started thinking about biking and how good it’d be for me. I don’t have much left in the ‘knees’ department; a couple of surgeries and half a dozen injuries down through the years. So, I’m thinking the bike would be a good way to get/stay fit. Julie did some great covert research and bought me a really nice hybrid variety bike for Christmas. She did great….I loved the bike and rode it a lot.

I started getting more serious about the biking thing and began to consider a road bike. I mentioned that to a close friend, who is a hardcore IronMan Triathlon competitor. He said, “Don’t buy one….I have one I’ll give you!” And he did….he gave me a really nice, expensive road bike. It‘s a bike with pedals that are designed to ‘clip’ your feet in. (a first for me!) I mean, once you’re clipped in….you’re ‘committed’!! You can ‘unclip’ by moving your foot with an outward motion but it takes a little practice to master it.

My first ride on the bike, clipped-in, went without a hitch. I took every precaution and made it fine. That was late in the fall. Colder weather set in and I brought the bike in a vacant bedroom in the house. When spring rolled around I brought the bike out and prepared for a 35 mile ride. One of my beautiful little granddaughters, Preslie who was about 4 at the time, was staying overnight with us. She’s a cutie! Tons of personality and not afraid to use it! She has a little lisp which just adds to her personality.

Preslie is standing on top of the dog house on the patio….looking over the privacy fence when I mounted the bike. I clipped in, threw my right leg over. Just about the time I was clipping in on the right….the bike ‘locked’ up and I’m down in the driveway! It hurt. Preslie said, “Pa, are you OK?” Disgusted I replied, “Yeah, I’m OK.” I turned the bike upside down and got the tire turning freely. Obviously the chain had been messed up, somehow. So, I’m ready to go again. Same plan…clip in on the left, throw my right leg over and here we go. Only this time I went about 5 feet and it locked up again. Down in the driveway again….this time it really hurt. Rocks poked a gash in my leg and blood was dripping down into my shoe.

Preslie, still watching from the top of the doghouse as encouraging and consoling as she could possibly be said, “ITH OK Pa, you’ll get the hang of it.”

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