Americana: Dirt Road Diary

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Growing up I spent most of my life living on an old dirt road. The road I grew up on did not get paved until I was in my later teens and I do not know how many times I ran up and down that road to see my friends and hang out. We lived in a rural area with eight houses on the road and all my friends and neighbors were within a few years apart from one another. The road we lived on was a cur through for many people heading off to work and coming back from town. It was a good route so people did not have to stop at a four way and turn and head down a real steep hill.

With all that traffic cutting by the house the dirt stayed flying about all the time. Later in my childhood some of the parents got together and put down rock on the dirt road which made it better for fighting off the dust. But man did those rocks hurt when you went over the handlebars of your bike ot missed a jump off about a six feet drop and wiped yourself all over that road. The rocks were brutal and always won against the skin of a child. I cannot count the times I rode up and down that road or ran up and down it. From my house to the bus stop was about two hundred yards dead sprint in the mornings. It seemed like a half mile at the time when I was little. If you got a late start heading towards the bus stop and heard the old bus rumbling down the county road then you best get to running and fast.

Back then the bus drivers would leave you if you were not at the stop and then would stop and get you if you were there when they came back through. My dad wouuld leave for work around 7:15 everyday and you best not be standing there which showed him that you had missed the bus. So on occasion when I did we would run into a tobacco field right beside the dirt road and hide. I am sure he knew we were there and after a few tines he figured out that we were safe either way. Back then the country was safer and kids could be outside playing, standing at the bus stop and hanging outside until it got dark.

I have so many memeories of that dirt road and all the antics we got into. We played football, baseball, basketball, and other sports on that dirt road. We raced bikes, cars, motorcycles and anything with wheels on that road. The neighbors had some big dogs and they would always chase your tail down the road and come to the edge of the yard sounding like a monster ready to tear your leg off and eat it. Most of them werre actually just good old dogs that wanted to bark and act all tough. I seen fights on that road, kissed a=my first girl on that road and probably some other stuff that I do not need to admit too on here (my wife and kids) may read this posting.

For those that never had the pleasure of living in the country and growing up on a dirt road I am sorry for that. Dirt roads teach us life lessons, some good and some bad. Dirt roads make good memories and tough memories. Dirt roads twist and turn, Dirt roads are dusty at times. Dirt roads have holes and can tear a wheel up on your vehicle. Dirt roads go deep into the woods sometimes and you might not know where it leads you. Dirt roads often give you a choice to go one way or another to get somewhere. This is like life as all of these things will happen.

You will encounter potholes, hills, curves, and forks in the road. You will have times when life is muddy and dusty. You will have crashes, trees in the way (obstacles) but no matter what if you take that dirt road and stay the course it will eventually take you to a point where you want to be. Remember earlier I said that the dirt road I grew up on lead to a shortcut that made getting from point A to B easier for people. So just know that a good old dirt road is fine and a great place to live. I now live on a half mile dirt road again and still love to hit the gas on ny jeep or truck and throw some dirt road dust in the air when I am driving to the house. You can drive hard, hit the humps in the road and make more memories on your dirt road diary.

Americana- Off Shore Fishing With Dad

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Growing up and into my late 30’s we always took family vacations to the beach. When we did my dad, brothers and I would take a day trip with a Captained boat to go out and do some off shore fishing. My dad loved to fish and we often would catch the limit on about every fish we got into to. The last trip we took before my dad got where he could barely see and walk was on a boat called the Captain Stacy. We went out of Morehead City, NC into the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean about 25 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

My dad, two brothers and myself went on this trip. After about a three or four hour boat ride out into the Atlantic into 150-300 feet deep water we put our lines in and soon began to catch Dolphin (not flipper folks) but the actual fish called a Dolphin. We then got into some Amberjack which are big and strong and give one hell of a fight to get into the boat. We fished out the limit on both of those so we moved into some deeper water in search of some bigger game fish.

We put anchor down and suddenly things got hot again and we hit a school of Spanish and King Mackerel and hit the individual limit on both of them. I cannot remember I think it was like 5-7 per person and we had a good time tearing them up and getting them on board the boat. Mackerel is a bony fish that doesn’t eat that well so we gave them to the people who show up everyday at the local docks when the boats come in so they could eat them.

The day continued and we found ourselves surrounded by five or six other boats because we were hitting the fish hard and catching them like crazy on every cast. Other than a few that broke the line or fought off we tore them up that day. Late in the day before coming back in for the three hour return trip we hooked into a large shark. My dad fought it first and then one by one we took turns fighting that beast. It breached the water three times to let us get a hint of his size and power but we never could get it close to the boat.

The last time the shark jumped out of the water three hours later as it was still fighting the Captain got a good glimpse of it and determined based on his experience that we had hooked a 8-10 foot long Tiger Shark that likely weighed in the area of 400-600 pounds. He told us we would not get that thing on the boat and it was best to cut it loose and let it go. He also reminded us that it was getting late in the afternoon and we needed to head back before it got dark. The last thing he said was we really don’t want that full grown adult shark close to a 30 foot boat anyways.

It was big enough to pull the boat around and mean. One huge, lean, mean eating machine. So we cut the line and let it go. That shark won the battle that day as he proceeded to wear all of us out. One by one he kicked our butts and sent us packing and we are all healthy and strong men. My dad was older but was still a 6’4 340 pound mans man and the most experienced of us all and it wore him down also. Just as we were cutting the line my brother hooked a good size fish and as he was reeling it in and just as it was coming out of the water it got hit by another Tiger shark.

This one was not as big but was mean and about 6-7 feet long and he was a monster. He bit the 18 inch long fish in half and kicked his tail at us as to say better stay on that boat. As a kid I spent lots of time in the ocean playing, swimming and fishing for two weeks every summer. But that sunny day in July showed me a life lesson that we are humans and are meant to be on a boat and not in that water out there. We may be the ultimate predator on ground, but those big sharks are the rulers of the deep. They can have the deep water and I will stay my big butt right in the shallows where it belongs.

We lost dad in 2009 and man would I love to fight another big shark or just catch a few pond bass with him. One of these days we will fish again. Dad, thanks for the memories growing up at the beach. Thanks for teaching us how to fish, be men of faith and take care of our families like you did for so long. Happy fishing in Heaven dad!

Love, Hugs and Kisses in Heaven!

Faith- What To Do When You Need Patience

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Today as I am trying to pack to go on the yearly summer vacation I find myself needing patience. I am generally laid back and a pretty patient person (exceptions traffic and drive through Windows). I am not sure why but those two things tend to get under my skin especially a drive through if the people in the car with me do not know what they want or keep changing their mind. I get to the point of “just flipping order something”. Patience is required in life as we spend lots of time waiting at the doctor, stores, drive throughs, traffic, restaurants and in my case waiting on a woman (my wife and two daughters). Seems like it takes them forever to make up their mind on clothes and getting dressed.

Then when we go shopping it takes forever to go in the store and grab stuff. That turns into an all day shopping excursion and I have things to do at home. God wants us to be patient and patience in mentioned in his word in both the new and old testament. I have to exercise patience as a public school teacher and coach with teenagers. I have to get better at being patient and the only way I can do that is to work on it hard. Focus on it and ask the Lord for patience and grace in that process. Being patient is kind, loving, friendly, helpful, avoids stress and anxiety. Being patient is what God expects us to be when dealing with our family and friends. Being patient requires us to submit to Gods plan in our lives and live the best we can and “wait”. For me that is the hard part!

James 5: 7-8; Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Psalm 37:39; Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

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Americana- July 4th Fireworks, Family and Friends

My family has been celebrating the fourth of July for many years at a pool party with friends, family and lots of fireworks. My dad loved fireworks and would always drive down to South Carolina or have someone bring some back from the beach to shoot off at the party. He would sit on the diving board at the local pool we were members of and watch us boys (me and my brothers) fire off the fireworks. He took pride in his family, friends and that pool party. The highlight at the end of the night growing up was to see those booming fireworks going off.

Once dad got a bit older and could not set them off himself as I stated we would set them off and he and mom would sit and watch and celebrate. I can see him smiling now as the beautiful colors sparkle and bang in the air. My dad passed away on 2009 and we have continued to make sure this family tradition continues. My nephews have now become the firework setter off leaders. One of them is a fireman so he is the perfect person for the job. If he sets something on fire he can grab a hose and put it out.

I was helping them this time and we were spending some time talking and I looked both of them in the eye and told them that myself and their dads were getting a little older and will not always be here. I asked them to take it and run with it every July 4th. Family, Friends, Fireworks and food are a staple of my families July 4th and I cherish every memory made all of these years. I have been hit by random fireworks, ran from them, nearly got my fingers blown off and all kinds of trouble due to setting them off.

We celebrate a day that signifies life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the greatest country in the world. I am thankful for all of my family, friends and the fireworks and hope you had a great July 4th celebrating our independence. Americana is apple pie, holidays, baseball, fire works, summers at the lake, toys, traveling and so many other things. Enjoy and make your own Americana memories and tell your story. I hope you enjoyed the story of my dad, mom, our family and how important fire works is to us and our family bond.

Faith- Miracles from God

My wife was recently diagnosed with a tear in her hip that was creating lots of pain for her and was making it hard for her to function daily at everyday tasks. We went to the doctor and they did a battery of testing and imaging showed a clear and present tear in her hip. The doctor ordered surgery so we began the process of praying daily and asking for prayer from our friends, family and church. We continued this process and praying in preparation for the surgery and rehabilitation that was expected to last for up to twelve weeks.

We showed up for the surgery and my wife was prepped and went into surgery. We as stated were expecting her to be off her feet for atleast twelve weeks with no weight and endure a lengthy rehabilitation process. The surgeon went in prepared to fix her torn ligaments and to his surprise found absolutely nothing. He cleaned up the area of some arthritic issues and tissue and closed her up. My wife walked out of that hospital almost completely healed. The doctors were astounded at what had taken place and could not explain it.

I looked at him and said, doctor my wife is the recipient of a miracle from God. We have prayed over her numerous times and have had family and friends do the same for weeks. God answered those prayers and healed my wife. Let me take you back a month or so when she was first diagnosed. The young doctor that did the initial work up on her asked if he could pray with her. He told her that prayer was good and maybe God would help her out. Well as you can see that faith from the doctor, my family and my wife gave us the chance to be the recipient of a miracle.

Miracles come in big and small events. Miracles have been taking place since the beginning of time. I myself am a walking miracle as God revealed to me through spirit that I had a heart issue and it saved my life literally. I was a dead man walking just waiting on a ticking time bomb in my chest to explode and kill me. After we got home I had a dream about my wife and her health. A dear friend then called me out of the blue not knowing that my wife was healed and doing great to tell me something that secured my belief in the miracles of God.

She told me that my wifes mom whom passed away in 2014 had come through to her and told her that a miracle had been sent her way and she was completely healed because God was good. She wanted us to know she was watching and that God had taken care of her little girl once again. This is a true event that took place recently in my life. A real miracle as small as it seems grows our faith in God.

Do you believe in Miracles? Have you witnessed a miracle? Is your faith in God strong enough to believe that he can heal you? How can you pursue God and his miracles in your life?

Psalm 77:14; You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.

Life Hacks 101: 10 Ways to Organize and Maintain Life

Today I was looking at ways to reset my organization and get my life back on the track I wanted it to be on. It is easy to get off track at times and if we do we must then do a reset. It is not as simple as hitting a reset button, but it is not complicated either. Below are ten ways you can use to organize, reset and maintain a good life free of stress, anxiety and anger. Try one or all and see how it works for you. You can make your own list and go with that. If you have realized your off track, hit the reset and push forward and live your best life.

1st Corinthians 14:40; But all things should be done decently and in order.

Proverbs 10:4; A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

  1. Develop good habits and build a daily routine. Being on a routine helps you at work, in life, with family and in general. It keeps you on track and helps you maintain a pattern of positivity.
  2. Plan ahead- Avoid last minute decisions, actions and reactions. Planning your day, your week your vacation and other life activity will keep you on track.
  3. Be consistent with life and relationships. Consistency adds to the routine and keeps stress away from your life.
  4. Know yourself- Know who you are and what you are about. Take a good look at the person in the mirror on occasion to reset any inconsistencies you see happening.
  5. Life life with a positive attitude- Life will beat you up, will have ups and downs but the attitude you pursue life with will determine how things go and the consistency you need to be sane, mentally stable and reactionary to these events.
  6. Expect things to go wrong at times. A plan is great and in life we will get off track from those plans. Be on the lookout for these times and adjust your actions and reactions to meet them head on. Do not allow these things to derail your life and patterns.
  7. Seek balance in life. Balancing life, family, work, activity, and all the other obligations require planning, commitment and energy.
  8. Declutter and simplify when possible- If you feel overwhelmed by constantly cleaning things then declutter. Simplify life by living simpler and being smarter with your time and energy. Down size, use basic things, meet your needs and not wants and see how that will declutter and simplify your life.
  9. Automate everything you can- Pay your bills electronically, use delivery services, use the internet and services designed to make life less complicated. Doing this frees up time, stress, reduces anxiety and gives you better organization in life.
  10. Measure your life progress- How are you doing with life, stress, organization, goals, family, friends and commitments. Measure it and hold yourself accountable to a better organized and stress free life.

Americana: Saturday Night Skating

There are not many things that have remined the same since I grew up back in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Most of the classic Americana things I remember have slowly went away as the world had evolved and technology has changed. Sunday afternoon I attended my great nieces birthday party and as I sat there watching the kids skate it took me back to a simpler time when I was a preteen and teenager going to the skating center to see my friends and hang out. Not much has changed as the rental skates still look like the old ones from back in the day. Heck, they might be the old ones from back in the day.

On one side of the skating rink was a video game area with more modern games but to see some old games in there was cool. The only thing missing was a pinball machine. I loved playing pinball machines when I was a kid and do not know how many nickels and dimes I fed into those things to get them to make that classic noise. The skating center had a concession stand that was more modern but it still had soda, popcorn and candy. I saw a kid get a drink and it made me think about the soda bombs we use to make. We would pay for a large drink and go to the fountain machine and make a soda bomb.

A soda bomb was a combination of all types of sugary drinks. My favorite back then was a combination of cherry, regular soda, a splash of orange, a splash of peach and a splash of cheer wine. Cheer wine is a southern thing and if you have never had the pleasure may I suggest you order some online and have it shipped to you. It is a cherry soda that is out of this world good. The floor layout was the same about half the size of a football field and round. They had the numbers 1-6 labeled to play the numbers game where you stand under a number and they roll the giant dice until the last person is standing.

That was one of my favorite games growing up at the skating rink. Then they did the classic slow dance song skate where the love birds go out and skate holding hands to a classic love song from the 1970’s. I remember skating with girls at the rink and having such a crush on them growing up. A few minutes later they did the classic speed skating event where by age the kids line up and skate as fast as they can for one or two laps to see who the best skater is. I was never a fast skater, but always tried to win anyways.

Then the announcer “DJ” says reverse and everyone went the other way and all the disco lights came on and the kids were laughing, having a good time and just being kids. Our kids need more things like this that teach them social skills and get them out from behind a computer or video game. Skating rinks are as Americana as apple pie and drive in movies. Skating rinks are a fun way to spend the afternoon, host a birthday party and just get some relaxing time or one on one. Do not be afraid to play the classic game of how low can you go as the night comes to an end. I never was very good at going low and getting under that pole but it was funny trying.

If your a parent take you kids skating and show them Americana at its finest. If your an adult and looking for a good cheap but fun date them go skating with your significant other. Reunite the sparks for a few hours, feel like a kid again and experience Americana.