Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oakland Cemetery

Several weeks ago, my two daughters and I had a daddy daughter (s) day and saw some attractions together. One of those was the Oakland Cemetery near downtown Atlanta. All the years I have lived here, I had never taken a tour of the famous cemetery.

When you arrive, you realize this is not just a graveyard where Atlanta’s famous people are buried, but this is the final resting place for people and families from all socioeconomic backgrounds. The oldest graves date back to the mid-1800’s all the way up till today. There was a large section with civil war graves from both union and confederate troops, individual graves as well as entire family plots. Some of the family plots had three generations of the same family. There were also many family mausoleums that held several generations of its descendants. Most had the family name on the outside because they were prominent citizens of the time.

We went into one of the mausoleums and it was all concrete with tiled floor and ornate marble walls and constructed to last for 100’s of years. In the middle/back were the parent’s vaults and around the sides were the children and what was probably even grandchildren. That image has captured my thoughts for the past few weeks. I am guessing this family was wealthy and prominent and wanted their family name to be remembered. The sad truth is no one except for their generational family, remembers who they were. Looking at three generations and the dates on the grave markers makes you realize how temporary this life really is. Here I was in 2023 looking at three or four generations of the same family and I am sure during their life, they probably all thought their life, linage and heritage was important and would be remembered for all time. Unfortunately, life happens and memories fade.

What is my point you ask? Spend the time you have doing true, honest and meaningful things with your life. Teach your children what honor and respect means. Show them by your living example, how to do life. Hug and kiss them every single time you see them and tell them you love them. Make a difference in their life before the good lord calls you home and you have a beginning date and an ending date on your tombstone. KT   

Titles, labels, ego, and pride

Fewer things get in the way of a life well lived more than the desire for titles, labels, ego, and pride.

 I met a guy not long ago and he gave me his business card that didn’t have all the usual titles and fluff as on most business cards. It had two things on it. His name and his phone number. I like that. Simple, clear and no fluff, just here is who I am.

I have talked about this before in other blogs but the two real determining factors in who a person really is, can be found on his/her refrigerator and on the table at their funeral. You never see titles, labels, and awards on a refrigerator. What you see are pictures of the most important people in their life. At a funeral, you never see a picture of the person’s office or sales awards. You don’t see a picture of his/her house or cars. No, you see many of the same pictures that were on their refrigerator before they died.

If you need titles and labels to feel secure in yourself, there is a deeper issue in your heart. The person who doesn’t need any of that, is more free in life and probably has many more friends and lives in peace. They say that Sam Walton (Walmart) even after he became wealthy, still drove the same truck to the same diner for breakfast every morning with his lifelong friends. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) still lives in the same house he has owned for the past 65 years.

There are many more examples of the opposite life choices than the way Sam and Warren lived their life. Ever in doubt, just look at the news on the Tech folks and Hollywood actors and pro athletes. Harmon Born was my mentor. He was a Ford and Lincoln car dealer and at one time, very wealthy. I remember one time when I was young man, he was driving me home after church and I ask him why he drove a Ford instead of a Lincoln. He told me that he never felt comfortable in a Lincoln and drove a Ford because that was where he started.

Being proud is very different than full of pride. Proud is something you hold inside you. Pride is something you show to others. In life choose a path that best portrays the person you want to be and the person you want others to see. KT

George Muller Biography

This year for my birthday in January, my daughters and son in-laws gave me some copies of books George Muller had written well over a 100 years ago. I just finished his biography and once again, I am astonished and humbled by what he accomplished in his life at God’s direction.

George, as a young man was a sinner’s sinner. He did just about every bad thing a person can do, short of going to prison. He lived this way until one day in his late-20’s when God got hold of his heart. Several years later he looked at all the poverty around him in Bristol England and all the homeless orphaned children and felt God leading him to open a children’s home. In 1836 he did just that and over the years, built college style campuses for orphaned children. Before he died in 1898, he had saved 10,000 children from a life on the streets. If you did some quick math over 7 generations, the influence of those 10,000 children would be felt today well into the millions if not tens of millions. It is virtually incalculable how many changed lives will be credited to George Muller because he started what God told him to do in 1836. The George Muller charitable foundation is still in existence today, 125 years after the Lord called him home.

The following is the blog post I wrote nine years ago about the impact George Muller’s story had on my life.

2014 blog post – There was a period of time in my life when we owned four restaurants, and I was so in debt I really could not see my way out of the financial situation. It was fall of the year 1990. Our financial situation had literally brought us to the point of filing for bankruptcy. My attorney and CPA both said that it was the only choice we had because we were out of resources, out of money, and heavily in debt.

It was Thanksgiving that year, and we were at my mom and dad’s house in Virginia for the holiday weekend. My mom was working at the time for the Fredericksburg Bible Institute in Fredericksburg, Virginia. There was a gentleman that had passed away and left his book collection to the Bible Institute. My mom was looking through the collection and saw a very old book by George Muller printed in the 1870s. She wanted to look at the book a little closer and happened to bring it home the weekend we were there.

Listen to me here, God always has a plan for your life if you will just ask him and then trust him.

I was in a bad place financially and knew when we got back home, I had some terribly difficult decisions to make that would decide the financial future of my family. To say I was a little stressed would be an understatement.

So, Elaine, Lanie, Leslie, and I were in Virginia with my parents for that Thanksgiving weekend, and Mom shows me this old book she brought home. I had never heard of George Muller and knew nothing about his life, but I opened that book and was just going to skim a few pages and look it over. When I started reading, I understood the book was his story and also his daily and sometimes weekly memoirs. George Muller was called by God to open children’s homes for the homeless children and provide education for the children. As he tells his story, he didn’t want to do it and in fact, he told God he wasn’t going to do it. Finally, he agreed to do it with one stipulation.

Imagine right here, having a prayer life so strong that it is like having a dialogue or conversation with God. That is the way it was with George Muller.

The stipulation was that he would do his part if God provided all the resources and expenses for the children’s homes. Think of the audacity George Muller had to actually call God on his promise and put God to the test. He told God he would never borrow money for the children’s home and never put any amount on credit. He told God he would literally trust him to provide every dollar because he never wanted to have any individual or banks get the credit instead of God. The book was his periodic diary of how much money they had and what they needed for that day or that week to survive. How much he called on God to provide down to the dollars and cents. Without fail, God did his part in George’s life. By the time George Muller died, he founded children’s homes in England that looked like college campuses. The homes served as an example to a country ravished by poverty of what God could do though one man.

The book literally changed my life.

I went back home and began to imitate what George did; I wrote a daily diary of the debts, payments due, and how much money I needed for that day, that week or that month. My deal with God was that I would tithe every dollar he allowed me to make, and I would always point to him as the source and the reason why we got out of debt and salvaged our financial life without filing for bankruptcy. Long story short, I began to sell hotels and pay back the debts. We did not file for bankruptcy, but rather we chose to pay all the money back. I met with all the creditors and told them my plan; it took us eight years, but we paid it all back. God saved us from financial disaster.

Every situation is different, and every cause is different. It was just the decision that I believed God wanted me to make at that time.

Many years have passed since this period in my life, but even today, I can pick up that diary I wrote during that period, and I cannot read it without crying because it takes me right back to those moments when I didn’t know how we would survive. When I read it, the emotions rise within me, and I know it was God that did it all.

Years later, Mom got the Bible Institute to sell her that book and she gave it to me. I still have that book today in my home office and should our home ever catch fire, after all the ones I love are safely out of the house, I will be going back into the house to get that book. KT

Selling the dream

Selling the dream is a term used for a salesman that wants to show the best aspects of what he is selling. Another term is, pie in the sky. I don’t do either.

I learned something very valuable the first month I sold hotels and I have used this for 32 years. I always start with the bad news and what is wrong with the asset and the problems it presents. I don’t know any other way to present a deal. I refuse to just talk about how great everything when it’s not. Tell them the bad news and if they still want to hear the upside, give that to them as well.

I don’t do because it makes people trust you, but that is what always happens. Buyers are so used to a broker only showing the good parts that it takes them back when a broker tells them the bad without them having to find out on their own. When I meet with a buyer at a hotel it is usually with the hotel general manager. They are programed to show all the good things about their hotel so before we even start, I look at the general manager (in front of the buyer) and tell him to start with the worst rooms and the problem areas. It always stuns the general manager. In real estate the worst things to happen is for a buyer to find the bad aspects and tell you what is wrong.  It makes you look bad, and it never goes well. By telling them the bad news first, it takes that off the table so when he sees the bad rooms, bad roof, bad kitchen etc., it is not as much of a shock as if he found it first.

There are hotel brokers that have made a good living only showing the good things about a hotel but they don’t have many repeat clients because of it. I prefer to have long term clients that trust me because as weird as it may sounds, I would want to know the bad things first if I was the buyer and I prefer to treat people like I would want to be treated. I think I read that somewhere in the good book. KT

You can’t choose the course, you can only run it

We all start out planning the life we want to have, but circumstances get in the way and many times causes us to veer to a different course than what we expected. What I am talking about is the vast majority of things we have no control over. Health, life expectancy, job changes, finances, relationship changes, children and just the very essence of life itself.

Sure, we can say when we are young, “I want to be an attorney or a doctor or a pastor, etc. “but many times life gets in the way of our plans. In my case, I never imagined I would be a hotel broker. I just knew my future was in the restaurant business or working for the airline. Sometimes the course you are given is not at all the course you planned.

What do you do in these situations? You can lay on couch and cry, or you can get up and run the course before you. Courses can change in a moment.  A Couple examples would be an early death of a spouse, a sick child, a business deal gone bad, an injury or any number of other possibilities. Things we have no control over. The point is we like to lay the grandest plans for our life but more times than not, that is not the plan God has for you.  One of the finest men I ever knew was Jack Ward. He was pastor and felt completely called to the job but in his late 40’s he ended up running a hotel brokerage firm where I met him. The guy who founded Holiday Inns was home builder and just decided one day on a lark to build a hotel. Henry Ford had four other jobs (careers) before he started building cars. Most of the largest companies in the world today were not planned, they just evolved from a course change.

Sometimes the new plan feels like it will literally drain the life out of you. Sometimes it is better than our plan but regardless, it is the course set before you that the only choice we have is to run that course. I saw a husband and wife the other day that were my age and they had a down syndrome daughter in her 40’s. I had to wipe a tear away. I am speculating, but when they were a young married couple, they probably had no idea that was going to be their life course.

We like to think we can choose our course, but we can’t. All we can do is determine in our hearts how we will respond to the new course. KT