Posts Tagged ‘Heaven

19
Jun
14

Carpe Dogum

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Last week was a week filled with unbelievable highs and lows. I had three very important speeches. One was just me, one with our Chief Excitement Officer (CEO) Ruby Red, and one with our Chief Motivational Hound, Mr. Blue. In the middle of the week Mr. Blue had an oncology appointment to get another chemo treatment. Unfortunately the doctor determined that his blood count was too low and postponed the treatment to the following Monday. Mr. Blue never made it to that appointment.

Determined to fill his prior speaking engagement, Mr. Blue mustered up the strength the very next day to go and share with a group of tremendous seniors at the Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries’ Cumberland Crossings Senior Living Community, sharing pawsome hound wisdom such as Stop Playing Dead and Old Dogs Must Learn New Tricks.

As the senior citizen in the group, in his 90s by human years, Mr. Blue was received with great respect and warmth by this group of seasoned humans. They understood exactly where he was coming from. They were excited about continuing to hear, learn, and think new things, just like Mr. Blue! They spent time petting and talking with my soul dog despite the fact that he was not feeling his best and couldn’t dispense his world-famous kisses.

Growing up, my father, the late, great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me upon crossing each milestone birthday that the current decade was far better than the previous one. And he didn’t just say it, he lived it. This is one of the main reasons that I embrace growing bolder, not older, and wiser with each passing day. After all, the more seasoning you have, the more you can flavor the earth.

Whenever someone would tell my father they had retired he would tell them “Don’t talk so stupid!” His reasoning was that if we are still on this earth, there’s a purpose we are meant to fulfill that goes way above and beyond a life lived solely for leisure.  I watched him on his hospice death bed, so frail from the ravages of cancer, yet scribbling notes for me to send to people and calling for friends to come and read to him. You see, we are all terminal, and if that doesn’t amp up your urgency to live life to the fullest, your spirit is already dead. We ought to go to our graves like prunes: spent, wrinkled, and shriveled.

So as I came down from the high of three amazing speeches, I ended the week with Mr. Blue taking a very pronounced and rapid turn for the worse. Friday night his legs gave out and by Saturday morning his breathing was labored and his awareness gone. And just like my father had done over five years ago, Mr. Blue finished the race strong, right up to the last minute. I held him in my arms for one last kiss, and he dispensed four of his powerful licks as if to say, “Thank you for finishing this with me!” before slipping away.

My father always told me he wanted to pass to Heaven while he was on the stage speaking. While the setting was different—a hospice bed and a cancer-ravaged shell of a body instead of a stage with a physical presence larger than life—what he was doing was not. He shared and enriched the lives of others right up to his last breath. And I am humbled and thankful, and not in the least bit surprised, that his granddog would triumphantly bound onto the other side just as victorious!

Carpe Diem; Carpe Dogum. Drink deeply from the water bowl of life right up until your last pant!

16
Oct
13

you’ll be the same person five years from now….

IMAG3735 (1)

Five years ago today my father triumphantly entered the gates of Heaven.  My mother and sisters and I all were with him when his soul left his body.  As C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” And although my father lived each day as if it was the greatest adventure in the world, it was all because of his commitment to his faith in the absolute saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His real joy came from the fact that he never, ever got over how God could love a wretch like him.

He always told me that I would be the same person five years from now except for the people I met and the books I read. With his return home, I was given the amazing opportunity to test this quote in a way I never had before. I can say with absolute conviction, that I am a completely different person than when I said my final goodbye to my father five years ago.

They say comparison is the thief of joy, so I knew that trying to “fill his shoes” would be an insult to both my earthly and heavenly fathers. I turned to 2 Kings 2 for my direction where Elisha picks up the mantel of ministry of Elijah and prayed for double the blessing; double the spirit of faith, obedience, and courage. I had no idea the transformation that was in store, nor did I have any idea of the ceaseless support of our friends and business colleagues.

Your constant encouragement, referrals, purchases and prayers enable us to donate money to 8 tremendous organizations: Bethesda Mission, Word of Life Ministries, Mennonite Disaster Service, Central Penn College, Lancaster Bible College, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region, Dayspring Christian Academy, and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.

Your constant prayers and support are what built the Charlie “T” Jones Conference Center. It is my prayer and hope that there are countless more interactions and books read in the years to come so that we, too, can leave a tremendous legacy. I smile whenever I walk into this facility because I could just imagine my father calling each of you all day long and holding marathon reading sessions in here.

This plaque allows everyone coming through these doors to know about the adventure upon which they are about to embark. Thank you for continuing to be such an integral part of this tremendous journey. It means more to me and my family and team members than words can say and we could not have carried on this mantle without you. People constantly cry out, “Where have all the great leaders gone?” and I answer with a tremendous shout, “They’re right here in front of me!”

29
Nov
12

Your best year yet begins the day you die

I recently sent a birthday greeting to a high school acquaintance when his name and profile picture came up on my Facebook birthday announcements. I said, “I hope it’s your best year yet!”  The next day I got a message from my classmate’s spouse telling me the individual had died three months earlier “so it was NOT going to be his best year yet.”

Her anger and disgust at my well-intentioned wish was palpable. In today’s world where everyone is linked but few know each other we often need to take a pause before posting our responses. People always ask how my father is. He passed away four years ago but I’m humble enough to know that not everyone in the entire world is aware of this fact, even my “friends” on Facebook.

I guess it all boils down to whether you think that death is the end of it all or the beginning. My guess is that from the title of this blog you know where I stand. And in the greatest of all of life’s mysteries, we will never know until life as we know it ceases. If it is the end of it all and it’s truly “lights out” what’s so bad about that? If it’s the beginning of it all and we have lived our lives to the fullest, isn’t it a time to rejoice?

Whatever you believe, live it large so when the curtain comes down on the stage of your life you can take a magnanimous bow. Be like Frank Sinatra who did it “My Way” or live a life in servitude to something greater than you.

Yesterday I got word that a dear friend of my father’s, a mentor and an amazing author and speaker, died. Zig Ziglar lived a hundred lifetimes during his stay on earth. He touched millions of lives and now he has graduated to Heaven. It was so beautiful to see the comments streaming throughout social media, the phones, blogs, and other means about how he had touched so many lives and the unbridled expressions of joy that he was finally home. His best year was just getting started!

People were rejoicing a life well lived and celebrating the ultimate homecoming, not posting snarky comment about Zig “NOT” having his best year yet. His family, although missing him physically, will rejoice the rest of their years for having had him in their lives until they are reunited. It’s his time to meet his creator, time to be reunited with other brothers and sisters in Christ, time for all the questions of the universe to be answered and the pain of injury, illness, and aging to stop.

Everything I do in life is based on eternal hope in living life as a reflection of the Creator and an eternity spent worshipping Him. The French Jesuit and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said it best: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.” And if you accept this, your death WILL be the beginning of your best year yet that will last for all eternity.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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