One guy's thoughts on life, love, faith and his world

Friday, August 3, 2012


Every day we have the opportunity to touch people that we come across in our lives.  Some of these people are in our lives on a daily basis, some we see every now and again while others we may meet once never to see them a second time.

No matter what category these people fall into, we’ve all been given the chance to touch those people and make a difference in their lives.  We’ve also been given the gift of free will so how we decide to affect others is truly our choice.  Rest assured, no matter who we come in contact with, we will make an impression one way or the other – it’s up to us whether that impression is positive or negative.

Prior to a recent trip, I got my shoes shined up nice and spiffy at the airport.  The gentleman’s name that shines shoes at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina is Horace and if you’ve ever flown out of the US Airways terminal at PTI, I’d put down a pretty good wager that you know who I’m talking about. 

Horace makes an hour and a half commute each day to run his business and help support his family.  He is a great person, does a great job with his work and consistently tells me how blessed he feels that I have become a part of his life - whether I get my shoes shined or not.

I can count on one hand how many times Horace has shined my shoes.  The fact of the matter is that I’m the one who is blessed to have him in my life.

I’m blessed because Horace has a certain way of putting things in perspective.  It is so easy to get caught up in what we have to do the next week, the next day, the next hour that we forget to smile.  From personal experience, I can tell you that Horace doesn’t forget to smile. 

As important as it is to do our best to make a positive impression in lives of other people, no matter how long we may know them, it is just as important to realize the times that people have the same effect on us.  Maybe even more importantly, we need to take the time to be grateful for those encounters.

Horace has taught me a lot in the short time that I’ve known him and I believe we can all learn a few things from him.

-          No matter how many miles you’ve gone in your shoes, there is always room for an extra one
-          It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do what you can to put your best foot forward
-          Strive to learn something about those that you meet because you may just learn something about yourself
-          Never forget to smile when you talk to people because smiling always brightens someone’s day

If you are ever flying out of PTI in Greensboro and you need your shoes shined, I know the perfect guy for the job. 

You’ll come to find that as great a job as Horace does shining your shoes he’ll do an even better job at shining your soul.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Silver Linings

It’s the Fourth of July weekend and most people seem to have their own ideas as to what that means.  Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and every other social network out there that connects people, everyone has their own opinion. 

And that’s a good thing because that’s what makes our country great.

It’s been quite obvious lately that our country has had its own set of issues.  Between the housing market, the stock market, the health care market and the local market downtown, there are people that are not happy.  At the same time, that’s not necessarily bad.

It’s not bad because we have the freedom to make that decision whereas many places in this world don’t get the choice to decide what is best for them.  Unfortunately, as a country, we’ve been focusing on the negatives instead of the silver lining. 

I think it’s about time to find the silver lining and make it happen – one person, one hammer and one nail at a time.

Two weeks ago, there were a group of high school kids that went to Cincinnati from my church.  They went there to help make home repairs for those that otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so.  Some teens also had the opportunity to spend time with disadvantaged youth.  By the end of the week, people’s lives were changed for the better.  Talk about a hammer and nail at a time!  That just doesn’t happen in many other places in this world. 

With all that being said, I bring you a brand new (and probably long overdue) Tidbits from T-Bonz why it’s great to be an American on the Fourth of July.

For Americans, we have the right to express our opinions on various social media networks about our likes and dislikes.  Personally, I think it’s about time we focus on the positive.
Our freedom of religion allows us to go to church anytime we want, anywhere we want and pray to Almighty God in any way we want.
Under our Constitution, we can purchase any type of vehicle.  Whether you have a Chevrolet or not, the new tune is catchy…  Hot Dogs, Baseball, Apple Pie and Chevrolet… (You are lying if you aren’t singing it RIGHT NOW).
Ryan believes that in this country, we all have the opportunity to make today a better day than yesterday.  Even if you just smile at someone you don’t know.  Scientifically, it actually takes more facial muscles to smile than frown contrary to popular belief.  The silver lining – it’s a better workout and who doesn’t want to get healthier?
Thanks.  We can and should give thanks to all of those that have defended our freedom.  Past, Present and Future.
 Heroes give us the ability to enjoy Baseball, Beer and Barbeque on the Fourth of July.

A smile, a positive comment to someone, a good post is all it takes.  One person at a time and we can grab that silver lining.

And there’s No Bonz About That.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


My favorite teacher retired recently from the profession that he loved. 

Having grown up in a house where education was of utmost importance - in fact it was what kept the house I grew up in paid for - I have great admiration and respect for all teachers.  That being said, I can count (thanks to teachers) on one hand the special ones that have touched me on a deeper level.  The truth is, we all have those kinds of teachers.

For me, there was Mrs. Ramsey in first grade that helped open up my love for writing.  She helped me enter a school wide story contest where I won my first (and probably last) writing award.  I couldn’t forget Mrs. Kehler, one of my high school teachers who helped me discover what it meant personally to be a leader.  However, this piece isn’t necessarily about them.

The teacher I’m referring to taught me educational skills, but more importantly lifetime skills.  I’ve learned from him what working hard, hustling, getting dirty when necessary, taking responsibility for my actions both good and bad, and always giving my best really means.  He’s taught these things not only to me but to probably thousands of others throughout his career.

I’ve just been blessed enough to have him in my life every day.

At first glance, an outsider looking in could see his teaching methods as unconventional.  While books are used, his primary teaching tools have always been wood, leather and dirt.  He’s taken people time and again, rubbed them the right way with the result shining like a diamond, many times shining on the diamond as well. 

This teacher has never wanted nor asked for any accolades or spotlight on him, although it is well-deserved.  Instead, he would always make it about his students, a true sign of a great teacher.

My favorite teacher has always been proud of the ability of his students on the field, but has always been more concerned how his players have conducted themselves and the legacy they have created off the field.

After 42 years in the game, my favorite teacher has retired from the profession he loves.  I could not be happier for him.  He’s taught me and countless others so much about the game of life through the game of baseball.

Dad – I love you and thanks for everything.  I couldn’t be more proud to be your son.

Me, Dad, Mom and Kyle in Baltimore a few years ago

Monday, May 14, 2012


Everyone has times in their life where things aren’t very clear.  Things get messy, foggy and cloudy.  Similarly, Mother Nature does the same thing and JUSTLIKETHAT, Mother Nature makes a clearing in the clouds with a ray of sunshine and even sometimes a rainbow.  Suddenly, everything is crystal clear – no more clouds, no more rain, just sunny skies.  Even if that moment goes away in an instant, the moment happened, the light is there and it shines.  Maybe it’s for a second, maybe it’s for an entire day.

The important thing is we recognize those moments when they do happen.  Perhaps even more importantly, we realize who we are with when the sun breaks through the clouds whether they are with us physically, in spirit or wish they were there in person with us.  I was blessed to have one of those moments recently where everything became transparent.

Being Catholic, First Communion is a major event because of what we believe as a community of faith.  I made my First Communion when I was in second grade and I’d be lying if I said I remembered a lot of it.  I knew it was important, probably because everyone said it was.  As an adult, I understand now what it means.

My ray of light came because I watched my oldest son take his First Communion and I was with some very important people in my life.  Long story short, seeing the process Emerson went through and realizing who I was with made everything come into focus.  

I couldn’t help but think of the scene in A Few Good Men when Jack Nicholson’s character asks Tom Cruise’s character “Am I clear?” and Cruise answers simple, yet poignantly – “Crystal.”  Emerson’s experience, and my experience through him, made everything crystal clear.  

Looking around, I was with family and friends, some Catholic and some not, but all a family in Christ.  Isn’t that what it’s all about though?  The celebration of love with loved ones gathered at His table?
I saw how meaningful it was to my son and I was reminded how meaningful it is for me.  I can’t help but think that’s what God’s plan is.  He wants us to see His Son in others and what better way to do it than having us see Him in our own everyday life, with our own family.

We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day but even if it was cloudy, His Son shines through the clouds every day.

We just have to look for that Son-shine and we’ll find His rainbow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Have you ever tried to find the face of Jesus in others? I wish I could say that I do normally, but I'd be a liar if I did. It's something that I want to try and be more aware of doing, but many times it gets lost in the day to day activities of life. To put it plainly, it's really unfortunate. The funny thing is no matter what we do Jesus has a way of putting His face right in front of us. It happened to me today and it happened with bubbles.

Recently, I've had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country for my job. I've always tried to take in the beauty of our United States in nature, places and things. Although it's been a fantastic experience to meet other people, at times I've found myself wrapped up in where I've needed to go next instead of taking the time to really see what is passing me by. Has that ever happened to you?

I met an amazing young man today - his name is Trevor. He can't walk on his feet, but he goes from place to place on his own, knowing what he wants and where he needs to be. He can't talk using spoken words either.

Jesus talks through him though.

I introduced myself to him today and using and iPad, he said my name. He also told me he wanted to go outside and blow bubbles, so we did.

Trevor and I went out on his deck and we blew bubbles - big ones, small ones, funny shaped ones, you name it. We played together for maybe fifteen minutes. It was by far the best fifteen minutes of my day, not only because we had fun but because he was the teacher and I was the student. What you can learn is amazing if you listen, whether or not words are involved.

In those fifteen minutes, I saw Jesus not only in Trevor, but in his parents. I saw a calling to make the world a better place, not only today but tomorrow and the days looking ahead. There are some very good lessons to be learned here.

Life can get busy - very busy. But think about what's important. Take time to step back and see Him in others. Even more importantly, take a second to realize when He is talking through others. Sometimes - dare I say many times - it can be difficult to do. However, if we can remember to see His face, we might just be able to see Him in ourselves which brings color to our lives. Color that can radiate full circle to everyone around us.

Just like a bubble.