A Father’s Love

team hoyt

team hoytThis is an incredible story. I use to think I was a pretty good father…

Actually I still do… but if you watch these videos and you’ll see why I titled this post a father’s love.

Allow me to introduce you to Team Hoyt!

If you’ve ever seen or heard other parents speak negatively toward or about their children, it may have made you feel uncomfortable just being nearby.  I know it has had that affect on me. As parents we need to realize that we can either give our kids something to live up to, or something to live down to. Kids are much smarter then we give them credit for and their feelings are very real. They know when you’re treating them with love and respect or disdain and disrespect.

Granted… the Father in these videos has set the bar extremely high. Perhaps higher than any of us could ever even approach. He is a very special man called to do something that most of us are not.

But… I hope that we can all be inspired by him to raise our own bar a little higher. Keep in mind, someday the tables will turn and these little people (our children or grandchildren) that you now have a chance to influence will be larger, smarter and in a position to help you, the way you are in a position to help them now.

What will they remember about you when the tide turns?


Abbey’s Dog and God’s Rep at the Post Office

black dog

I made a BIG MISTAKE when I set up this post. Abbey is NOT the name of the dog owner. Her name is Meredith. Abbey is the name of the Dog. Please forgive me.

Here is the actual email I received. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a good one.

This is one of the kindest things you may ever see. It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

black dog

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could. So she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven.

Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in , so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by..

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


The Power of Friendliness

Here’s another one of my favorite emails. Perhaps you’ve seen it inside your own inbox, but it is a very poignant story and makes a good point about the impact we can have on others, many of which we may not know. Enjoy!

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet away from him.

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he
crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear
in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks.
They really should get lives.”

He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!”

There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles
that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had
never seen him before.

He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have
never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends
and he said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more
I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of
books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really
build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!

He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next
four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.

I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles
would never be a problem.

He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business
on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the
time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it
wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great.

He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.

He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.

Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech.

So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!”

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and
smiled. “Thanks” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began:

“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it
through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings,
maybe a coach… but mostly your friends…

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone
is the best gift you can give them.

I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story
of the first day we met.

He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t
have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved.

My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy
told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.

Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions.

With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.

For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.

Look for God in others.

Life’s Priorities and The Large Mayonnaise Jar

mayonnaise jar


mayonnaise jarWhen things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Cokes.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into
the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with an unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Cokes from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things…
your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the cokes represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The Coke just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Cokes with a friend.’


I Use To Hate Country Music

It’s true. Perhaps it has something to do with my age or my generation, but if you are from my generation you’ll have to admit that today’s country music is not the same as it was many years ago.

I was born in the mid 50’s and grew up idolizing the Beatles, the Dave Clark 5, Herman’s Hermits and well… on and on it goes.

In fact, truth be known, I use to put Beatle records on my Hi Fi Stereo and pretend I was Paul McCartney (my favorite Beatle) and perform for an imaginary audience.

I don’t even remember my first exposure to country music. Perhaps it was from watching the popular television show called “Hee Haw” that featured Buck Owens and the Buckaroos and of course, Roy Clark.

In any case, the music never appealed to me and certainly didn’t compare to the Rock ‘n Roll music that we all cherished in those days.

That steel guitar sound immediately turned me off. I don’t know why, but it did. Perhaps I associated it with what I concluded as an inferior type of music.

Ironically, Country music today is my favorite type of music. In the 70’s my dreams of performing in front of live audiences in a band came true. No… Country music had not yet taken a hold of me.

I played in a top 40 band and I can assure you that country music, if we played any at all, was probably done at the request of someone very special.

Disco music was a favorite of many people back then and that included me. I loved the Bee Gees and the transition they made from their earlier music to the Saturday Night Fever style, as well as most of the other artists who performed disco in those days.

Donna SummerBarry White… ahhh… don’t get me started.

Did I mention I love to dance? And let’s not forget Earth, Wind and Fire! I’m not even sure we can classify their music as disco, but what ever it was, I loved it and still do.

Well, how did I go from a top 40 band and a disco lover to a country music fan?

Here’s what happened. One night while I was watching the annual American Music Awards show on TV, the host was showing up in the audience and randomly asking people who their favorite artist was?

A number of the people said “Garth Brooks.” Well, I knew who he was and I had heard that he put on one heck of a show in concert… and I noticed that these people were about my age and seemed to be at least of average intelligence.

So I got to thinkin’. What am I missing? Perhaps I should give country music another chance and just see if there’s something worth listening to. I knew that the steel guitar was still as annoying as ever to me, but I decided that for the next two weeks, no matter how annoyed I might get, that I would listen only to country music.

Then after the two weeks were up, I would reassess the situation and decide if I had wasted my time or not.

Well, what happened was, as each day past, some of the songs began to grow on me and I started to recognize them, just as I did with other music and/or radio channels. I recall one in particular was by Collin Raye called “Love Me.” It’s a beautiful love song. If you’ve never heard it, try to find a way to listen to that one.

That was when I first started to realize that country music lyrics are the absolute best in any music genre (just my opinion of course).

By the time the two weeks were up, I had a few of my favorite songs playing on that channel, and I’ve never looked back. Yes, I use to hate country music and I still do not like most of the “old” country songs. But things change. I changed and I feel that country music has changed too.

Of course, I still love all of the stuff I always loved, and from time to time there are still a few top 40 songs that I take a liking to… but, my favorite channel now is 93.1 WPOC, Baltimore’s country music channel.

One thing I failed to mention… I am a huge Michael Jackson fan too! Perhaps that has something to do with my love for dancing.