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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tim's Heart

When we got the news this week it was an absolute shock! We've never had to deal with the death of an employee before and I hope and pray it never happens again. But it brings up a question that many of us have asked before and will probably ask again, "Why do so many good people die young?"
Our company is small in terms of number of employees, only 12, but big on results. We deliver more than 1,000 individual orders to customers all over Southern California every single month and the delivery driver in our company who delivers the most orders every month has always been a humble 50 year old man named Tim. I can't tell you how many compliments I have received about Tim but I know why. Tim is a people person. He makes it a point to know all our customers on a first name basis and give them service beyond their normal expectations. He would always tell me how much he enjoyed his job because of the great people he got to meet and serve. He loved his job, he loved the people he worked with, and he was just about the nicest, sweetest guy you could ever meet.
I remember the one and only time Tim ever came to me with a problem. He was in charge of his delivery vehicle and he took great care of it, but over a two week period he noticed that somehow extra miles were being put on his van. He spoke to his supervisor who denied knowing anything and told him not to worry about it. But Tim knew something was wrong so he showed up in my office the next day with this really grave look on his face. He said he didn't want to speak out of turn or cause a problem for anyone, but somebody was driving his van in the evenings and he thought I should know about it. Turns out he was right, his supervisor was "borrowing" a company vehicle every night because his own car had broken down. The thing that sticks in my mind is how concerned Tim was about possibly getting someone in trouble or worse yet, fired. I promised Tim I would deal with the situation fairly and that nobody would get fired, but I also told him how much I appreciated his honesty and how he had the guts to speak up and do the right thing. I dealt with that situation and nobody got fired (at that time anyway) and we all moved on in life....except for Tim.
Tim got sick a few months ago and had to take time off. We just found out this week that he passed away unexpectedly from a rare heart condition. The doctors aren't sure what was wrong with his heart but to me it is obvious...his heart was just too big!
I don't know why so many good people die young. But maybe if heaven is this truly wonderful place that is totally filled with love and peace and's just God's way of rewarding them early.
Tim....The guy with the huge heart on the far right
If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel,
I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.
~ Van Morrison

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Mother's Courage

Dear Mom,
I'm sorry that I don't call you nearly enough. I could blame it on being busy with work and my wife, kids and grandkids...and that would certainly qualify me as being busy. But even though I don't always call, I never stop thinking about you. Every day things happen that remind me of you and all things you taught me as I was growing up. And every day I'm reminded of the sacrifices you made so I could have what I needed and hopefully turn out right.

Looking back its easy to see that life was really hard for you at times. With Dad being in the Marine Corps, it meant you had to uproot our family every 12 months and move to a new location, find a new place to live, find new schools for your kids, make new friends, etc. That couldn't have been easy. And then they would send Dad overseas for a year or two at a time, leaving you alone to take care of two small kids, a dog and all the bills. Through all of those hard times though, I never remember you complaining, ever, not even once.

In fact, there was one incident when Dad was overseas that pretty much says it all. You got my sister and I dressed up one Sunday morning, in our only nice clothes, so the three of us could go to church. On the way there you saw two young boys fighting on a street corner and pulled the car over immediately. The bigger kid was sitting on top, punching the smaller boy in the face. It was awful but you reacted swiftly, running straight at them and knocking the bigger kid over, yelling at him to stop! Turns out there was a man, sitting in his car at the curb, watching the whole thing. He yells at you to stay out of it. You yell right back, "What's the matter with you? Why didn't you stop them?" I don't remember the exact words but he said something like, "My kid needs to learn how to defend himself", and you got right back in his face and told him he needed to learn how to be a better father!

Seeing you race to defend a complete stranger from harm, made me realize something. Even though Dad wasn't there, we had nothing to fear...because Mom could handle anything!
Maybe the hardest thing you had to handle was when you and Dad moved to San Francisco. I asked you if I could stay behind and live on my own at only 17... and you said yes. You let me leave home at a very young age and I know that must have been really hard on you. I saw your tears as I drove away, but you had the courage to let me go. Maybe you knew then you had done a good job of raising me. I didn't know it then...but I certainly know it now!
Thank you Mom....and Happy Mother's Day!
Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
~ Anonymous


Monday, May 5, 2014

Through A Child's Eyes

Last Wednesday my wife and I got a phone call from our six year old granddaughter. Andie Rose was super excited because she had just lost her second front teeth. It had been hanging on, flopping around for a week, but it finally fell out and she just had to call to tell us about it. I think she was so excited because now she could eat her food easier, show everybody the funny hole in her face and maybe, just maybe, get a dollar from the tooth fairy!
On that same Wednesday, my wife and I had lunch with a friend at Houston's Restaurant in Irvine. It's a really nice restaurant (my wife's favorite) with great food and great service but the first thing our friend mentioned when he arrived was that he had just come from the dentist. He had to endure getting a rod inserted into a tooth to help keep the tooth in place. His mouth was numb so it was hard to talk and even harder to eat and he knew for sure it going to be hurting a lot later on.
I guess I found it ironic. At six years old most of us are excited and happy to lose a tooth but at sixty-six we'll do anything and endure just about any pain to hang on to one of them.
Maybe that's partly because children look at the world differently than adults do. Children see the world with a great deal of wonder and amazement. For them the sky is really blue, the stars are really bright and water from a hose on a hot summer day is better than a brand new car.  I think children see the world as God intended us to see it. They are constantly amazed at what they see and you have to admit His creation is pretty amazing! Most of us forget to take in the beauty of the daily miracles that abound around us. Hummingbirds that appear to be standing still in mid air but then fly at over 100 mph. Cold white snow on top of a mountain in Palm Springs when the desert floor below is over 100 degrees. And the wisdom, grace and beauty of a human being who has managed to live to be over 100 years old.

I'm not saying that we should be happy about a toothache or losing a tooth, but maybe we should be fairly amazed that we even have teeth to begin with. Every moment of every day could be and should be appreciated if we remember that all of it is a blessing, created out of love, by our amazing Creator. One thing's for sure, if we look at the world through a child's looks a lot better!

Andie Rose - Happy to lose a tooth!

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour, if only we will tune in.
~ George Washington Carver