Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winning Words 12/31/09
“Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring out the false, ring in the true.” (Tennyson) When I was a boy, it was the custom to have a New Year’s Eve Watch Service to ring in the new year. Just before midnight the pastor would begin to pray. As he was praying the factory whistles would start to sound, and he’d stop and say, “Amen, Happy New Year.” What’s in your memory bank? ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: On New Year's Eve our family was invited to join in at another family's home. The evening was spent with the adults and children playing "rob your neighbor", where small wrapped gifts were given to all the players; then the winner of a round could "rob" the gift from someone else at the table. There was fun and laughter, and just before midnight, everyone was given a glass of egg nog to toast in the new year. Splendid memories. FROM JACK: I've never heard of that game, but I've heard of egg nog and fun and laughter.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: New Year's Eve was a Swedish night for us. We went to the Brissman's house and had smorgasbord and then at midnight we had herring....Chester would go shoot off his gun at that time also. It was a farm so it wasn't a dangerous thing to do. My Dad was German but was facile with languages and could speak a number of them....a little bit of Swedish, "Kom lilla flicka o kyssna mig" He was a rascal from head to toe!!! He also had a couple of was from a western sheriff who was a political friend (the sheriff of Lincoln, Neb.)....I still have that one. I don't have any bullets and don't want any. If someone broke into my house, I would have to hit them with my sledgehammer....Happy New Year. FROM JACK: Do you member the sayin, "He got the last laugh?" Well, you gave me a "last laugh" on Dec 31, with you sledgehammer comment.

FROM MOLINER CF: ...And I always thought it was my ears ringing! FROM JACK: True! MORE FROM CF: Remembering. My folks used to dress me up in diaper and a sash with the new year imprinted on it. Dad would put on a white robe and wear a beard. I got pretty embarrassing by the time I was eighteen.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: We were in Switzerland celebrating New Years with a family in the apartment couple floors above us. They had a couple of kids, we had our daughter. They attached one of those play airplanes on a string to the ceiling. The airplane went round and round. Everyone was pleased and excited the airplane was actually functioning. "See, see!!!!!" we said to Brenda while pointing to the plane. "See, see!!!!!" she said while pointing to the airplane. Those were her first words, New Years, 1984. It was a very, very exciting New Years party, having that little tiny conversation with her. FROM JACK: What a great remembrance; be sure to share it with her. MORE FROM SH: Our daughter had an enrichment seminar at her company "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High" - book by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler. Here are some quotes from the book "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often" - Winston Churchill prefacing the chapter "Change Your Life - How to Turn Ideas into Habits". I chuckled at "They had lived together for so many years that they mistook their arguments for conversation" - some woman named Marjorie Kellogg.

May all of your crucial conversations be fruitful this year, 2010, leading to more peace
everywhere in this world!!!! We are thankful for you all and the tremendous impact you
have made on our family!!!!!

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Ringing in 1955 in New Orleans with the great jazz on Bourbon Street when Bourbon Street was respectable, 1959 at the Yacht Club in Nassau, and since then family celebrations with lots of extended families at home or with neighbors. FROM JACK: Bourbon Street was respectable? What does that word mean? In 1955, I was experiencing my first Wisconsin winter, living alone and seeing more snow that I had ever seen before.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: That describes quite a bell that can do all that. I like it and I like Tennyson FROM JACK: I like the Salvation Army bells, too.

FROM L IN ILLINOIS: Watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve from a tiny room at my Godparents' house as a little kid because they always had the NYE party for "the group." And, many years later, I will still run home tonite in time to catch Dick Clark & the ball drop in Times Square...

FROM GUSTIE MN: I have wonderful memories of when I was a kid. My parents and my friend’s parents always went with their friends to a party. Marilyn, Carol, and I would always be together at the Howe house. We always had a “play”. Carol was the littlest, so she was the New Year—Marilyn was always the narrator, and I (because I was blond with longer hair) was always the “Old Year”. It was quite the production!

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: My memory is that at midnight my dad and brother went to the church (we lived down the block) and rang the bell. FROM JACK: That's right. Church bells used to ring, too...and people would bang on cooking pans with wooden spoons.

FROM PRCH ON CAPE COD: We were in California visiting Tiffany's family. This year, and two years ago when we were there, Tiffany's brother and I did a 5k run on a military base which began at 11:45 p.m. It's called the "Year to Year Run" as it begins in one and ends in the next. If one's not going to be in worship, then running with 250 others isn't too bad. FROM JACK: What a great way.... to "run" in the New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winning Words 12/30/09
“The drama of life begins with a wail and ends with a sigh.” (Minna Thomas Antrim) Here’s another good quote from Minna. I like Ecclesiastes 3, where the writer says, “For everything there’s a time---to be born and to die.” Cartoon figures often appear at this time of the year showing that truth---the old bearded man with a scythe, and the happy baby with a banner announcing a new year. It’s time for an end & a beginning! ;-) Jack

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: I have chosen not to wish my friends that the New Year bring them blessings, but rather, to encourage them to take note of the many, many blessings each of us has bestowed upon us already. You are one of such blessings for me. FROM JACK: Thank you.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Reminds one of the seven stages of life....
FROM JACK: Are you referring to the Talmud?--Seven times in one verse did the author of Ecclesiastes make use of the word vanity, in allusion to the seven stages of human life.
The first commences in the first year of human existence, when the infant lies like a king on a soft couch, with numerous attendants about him, all ready to serve him, and eager to testify their love and attachment by kisses and embraces.
The second commences about the age of two or three years, when the darling child is permitted to crawl on the ground, and, like an unclean animal, delights in dirt and filth.
Then at the age of ten, the thoughtless boy, without reflecting on the past or caring for the future, jumps and skips about like a young kid on the enameled green, contented to enjoy the present moment.
The fourth stage begins about the age of twenty, when the young man, full of vanity and pride, begins to set off his person by dress; and, like a young unbroken horse, prances and gallops about in search of a wife.
Then comes the matrimonial state, when the poor man, like a patient ass, is obliged, however reluctantly, to toil and labor for a living.
Behold him now in the parental state, when surrounded by helpless children craving his support and looking to him for bread. He is as bold, as vigilant, and as fawning, too, as the faithful dog; guarding his little flock, and snatching at everything that comes in his way, in order to provide for his offspring.
At last comes the final stage, when the decrepit old man, like the unwieldy though most sagacious elephant, becomes grave, sedate, and distrustful. He then begins to hang down his head towards the ground, as if surveying the place where all his vast schemes must terminate, and where ambition and vanity are finally humbled to the dust. MORE FROM JS: Actually, I was thinking of my good friend Wm. Shakespeare!!!
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

FROM L IN ILLINOIS: Not just a new year, but a new decade. Here's to 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winning Words 12/29/09
“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” (Eric Butterworth) We have gone through most of 2009. Where has the time gone? I like Jim Croce’s song, Time In A Bottle, where one line goes: “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do.” As the days dwindle down, let’s reflect on some “growing experiences” that have happened to us this year. ;-) Jack

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: For years now, being one who asked for, even despite seemingly uninterest around me, asked for these ELCA Bible studies, I was shocked at the Assembly decision in the summer. Now, even though the Assembly decision carries, just because of the way people still are going about, really don't fully know if I and others are growing or not. The potential is big but to actually see any minds change seem slow to come. FROM JACK: I think that the growing happens when the concept takes on flesh and blood. In the abstract, opinions are pre-judged.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: It seems to me that Butterworth has it right; we can grow as we go, letting our experiences give us a new perspective or fresh outlook. Spending more time with young people this past year has given me insight that improved my attitude. Young people often provide a refreshing alternate view of what's going on around us. FROM JACK: For me, it's been meeting and talking with people who express ideas and concepts that cause me to break out of my cocoon. MORE FROM RI: Conceptual thinking is cheap and can cover wide territory quickly. Often, trying a conceptual approach that strays from the conventional gets criticized, but ends with a creative solution.

FROM AJ IN MICHIGAN: Great thought to end the old year and start the new year. Thanks, Jack for all the words of wisdom throughout the year. They really help.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: I haven't heard the song, but I enjoy the plant in my backyard. Sometimes it has as many as eight blooms. Beautiful creation of God. FROM JACK: You can Google the song. It's worth listening to. Croce died at an early age...."there never seems to be enought time." No flowers here in Michigan, except for the Christmas amaryllis which is starting to grow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winning Words 12/28/09
“A million tiny decisions, her decisions and so many others, too—could alter her path, and with that, the future.” (From New Moon by Stephenie Meyer) Think back over 2009 (and your lifetime) and see how tiny decisions have affected where you are today. It is truly amazing as I look back and remember situations, choices and people who have made a difference in my life. ;-) Jack

FROM DRDA IN NEBRASKA: Thanks for the difference you have made! FROM JACK: It's a circle, isn't it?

FROM MY SON: Thank you for my gift. FROM DAD: This is the gift that keeps on giving. Do you remember the game, Pass It On?

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I had this old accordion from 50 years ago, took lessons long ago. Had it all packed up to give to Purple Heart. My daughter, when she heard of the plan, advised me to keep it--maybe for her children. Our church is trying to sing more gospel. Developing a new interest in gospel and blues. The accordion is sort of an improbable instrument but I actually found a teaching DVD--some guy is trying to help people play blues on an accordion. A bunch of tiny decisions but maybe the "music will get into me and alter the future for me and people around me--even if it's just much greater appreciation for people who sing the blues and gospel. How hard is it do you think? FROM JACK: In my first congregation we had a man who could play the accordian (self-taught), and it was fun to have him accompany small-group singing.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: My husband Bill used to counsel our sons, and other young people by saying: "At first you can choose between a good choice and a bad choice. Once you've made a bad choice, you usually have to choose between the best of two bad choices, and it goes downhill from there..." A lot of truth in that! FROM JACK: You remember. I hope that they do, too. Good advice.

FROM SA IN VEGAS: How fortunate am I !?! To have the light of Christ revealed in a loving family....the best gift of all. Ha! How do I respond to the blessings...when they are limitless!

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: A great idea for end-of-the-year contemplation.

FROM ID IN MICHIGAN: The most successful decisions were spontaneous..))).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winning Words 12/24/09
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” (Buddha) Many Christians will be participating in candlelight services tonight. The faith that is ours probably has been given to us by a caring friend or relative. Be thankful today for such a gift. I hope that you have had the opportunity to pass your faith on to someone else as a gift from you. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Your light continues to glow as you brighten every day with your WW. Thanks for all you do to enlarge the lives of others, and the special friendship you have shown our family. We'll be thinking of you as our candles glow tonight.

FROM EA IN MICHIGAN: A most telling " word for the day" The light from the candles can lead us along the graying and darkening life path. Mine from the illumination of the Chanukah candles and yours from the Christmas candles. Hopefully the combined light will lead us all to peace in the coming year. FROM JACK: I was wondering if anyone would notice the irony of using a quote from Buddha to connect up with Christmas.

FOLLOW-UP FROM RI: thanks to you Hiroko benefits from both spiritual sources.

FROM BBC: Fantastic sentiment; thank you so much!

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Buddha looked at and noticed something inspiring, and then you made the observation more public and now many of us are now looking and noticing too. How neat we all have candles in our cultures and we're all more able to appreciate this attribute of them and being united in our appreciation we can appreciate each other more and feel closer. Thanks for WW again.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: Thank you for an entertaining and enlightening year of WW! FROM JACK: It was my pleasure.

FROM RS IN MICHIGAN: YOU have been a gift to me all year thank you for my daily pick me up. FROM JACK: Thanks for the nice "present." I appreciate your friendship.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winning Words 12/23/09
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” (Churchill) I went to a breakfast honoring volunteers recently, and this quote was printed on the program. The sub-title for the day was, “Building Healthy Community Connections.” It is when we give that we receive…and make the world a better place for all. ;-) Jack

FROM DRGF IN MICHIGAN: Excellent! FROM JACK: When I was in elementary school, the grading system went like this: (E) Excellent, (VG) Very Good, (G) Good, (P) Poor. I once got a P, but that's another story.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: I may be wrong but my observation of the world is that it is divided between "Net Givers" and "Net Takers" this I mean that some people give a lot more than they take and others take a lot more than they give. We don't seem to have too many people in the middle on that issue. Reminds me of the story of the Fuzzies that came out back in the 70s. Great story.... FROM JACK: If you mean Piper's " Little Fuzzy," it does present an interesting take on the values of honesty and sincerity. BTW, as an author of childrens books, have you written any for children on the subject of Christmas?

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: I particularly like these words this morning. FROM JACK: I know that you've tried to do that.

FROM GK IN MICHIGAN: I “love” that saying by Churchill and try to live by its meaning. FROM JACK: The world is better, because of people like you.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: He's usual FROM JACK: He also said: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."

FROM MOLINER AE: Your winning words are a blessing daily. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winning Words 12/22/09
“The bird of paradise lights only on the hand that does not grasp.” (John Berry) This beautiful bird, a cousin of the crow, is rumored to have come directly from heaven. The thought being that God blesses those who are not greedy. Have you ever heard Little Jimmy Dickens sing about the bird of paradise? Google it! ;-) Jack

MORE FROM JACK: If you Google Little Jimmy Dickens singing, here are the lyrics.
Little Jimmy Dickens

One fine day as I was a-walkin' down the street
Spied a beggar man with rags upon his feet
Took a penny from my pocket
In his tin cup I did drop it
I heard him say as I made my retreat

"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose"
"May an elephant caress you with his toes"
"May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose"
"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose"

The laundry man is really on his toes
Found a hundred-dollar bill among my clothes
When he called me I came a-runnin'
Gave him back his dime for phonin'
I heard him sayin' as I turned to go

I was way behind one day to catch the train
Taxi driver said "We'll make it just the same"
The speed cop made it with us
And as he wrote out the ticket
I stood by politely a-waitin' for my change

FROM RI IN BOSTON: My wife's older sister had a pet bird, a trusting little creature about the size of a sparrow, and it was charming to watch it peek out of her sweater pocket, or fly to her shoulder. The bird would also light on her hand and sometimes snuggle inside her blouse. Such trust was well deserved. This sister-in-law, despite many hardships, has always been totally loving, caring, and giving. As far as I'm
concerned she has wings of her own, one of God's angels to those around her. FROM JACK: Sometimes God's angels have wings, and sometimes they don't.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Just went on your blog to see what people may have wrote and read the rest of what you wrote here--this is a hilarious song!!!!! Thanks!!!!! Day is startin out just great!!!!! May an elephant caress you with his toes?!!!! Just hilarious someone thought of those lyrics. FROM JACK: You just never know what you'll get when you open WWs.

FROM JN IN MICHIGAN: Thanks to you for your Winning Words. The quotes and your comments are thought-provoking, inspirational, funny, and clever, sometimes all of those, and I look forward to opening them first. I am also thankful that I do not have to read them at the time of day when you send them! FROM JACK: Thank you for your response. I was hoping that someone "read" to my least a portion of it.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: I did hear him person at the Grand Ole Oprey in Nashville...about three years ago. I get around. FROM JACK: I've heard him in person, too. Another of his songs that I like is, "Sleepin' at the foot of the bed."

Did you ever sleep at the foot of the bed When the weather was whizzin' cold
When wind was whistlin' around the house And the moon was yeller as gold?

You give your good warm mattress up To Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Fred
Too many kinfolks on a bad night And you went to the foot of the bed.

I could always wait till the old folks ate And eat the leavin's with grace
The teacher could keep me after school I'd still have a smile on my face.

I could wear the big boys' wornout clothes Or let sister have my sled
But it always did get my nanny goat To sleep at the foot of the bed.

It was fine enough when kinfolks come And the kid brought brand new games
You could see how fat all the old folks was And learn all the babies' names.

Had biscuits and custard and chicken pie We all got Sunday fed
But I know darn well when my time come I was headed for the foot of the bed.

They say some folks don't know what it is Havin' company all over the place
To wrestle for cover on a winter night With a big foot settin' in your face.

Or cold toenails a scratchin' your back And the footboard scrubbin' your head
I'll tell the world you ain't lost a thing Never sleepin' at the foot of the bed.

I've done it over and over again In this land of the brave and the free
And in this all fired battle of life It's left its mark on me.

For I'm always a strugglin' around at the foot Instead of forgin' ahead
And I don't think it's caused from a doggone thing But sleepin' at the foot of the bed...

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Oh my goodness....Little Jimmy Dickens. Twice a year we took Gary's mom and Aunt Sauce down to Nashville, Indiana, (yes Nashville..Indiana) to the Little Opry to see Bobby Bare, Little Jimmy Dickens or one of their other favorite country singers! I will tell you, it wasn't our favorite trip, but we were good children and took them each year. One of the favorites was Little Jimmy Dickens. Have you seen any of these good fellows in concert? They are definitely men of God and talk about the blessings they have
received in each concert. I'm sure they were not perfect, who is, except maybe the Bird of Paradise, but it was something to hear them talk about their beliefs. Gary's aunt's favorite was Bobby Bare, who Gary and I must have seen three or four times. One of his hits was "Drop Kick me Jesus, Through the Goal Posts of Life". Google that one! :-) FROM JACK: I don't have to Google it; I know it.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: This is a lovely thought! Thank you for taking the time to send these little gems. FROM JACK: The pleasure is mine.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: You mean, "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up your nose, May you always have a runner in your hose"? etc.? Funny one! It seems prosperity is a bit hard to come by, no matter what...but having traveled through most of the world, we are of all creatures, MOST blessed!!!! Right now times are pretty tight for most, even in USA. FROM JACK: So, you know that song, too? I could have guessed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winning Words 12/21/09
“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else’s life.” (Margaret Cho) Margaret usually tells jokes with sarcastic wit, but this quote shows her serious side. Why not try to think of some small way in which you can be a “secret” Santa to someone…and maybe even change their life. ;-) Jack

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: What's interesting to me about Santa Claus is that he knows every person, whether they've been naughty or nice and so forth. And he is barely detectable, coming out of nowhere to give a gift with all that knowing and then disappearing again with nary a trace. It's a wonderful act, just having that story in our culture. I personally like the Goodfellows gift-giving we do in our church, giving gifts anonymously
to children who are on family assistance. FROM JACK: When a young child, I had an aunt who would place little "fun" gifts under the Christmas tree for me and my sister and label them: "From Santa Claus." Later on, we figured out that they were from my aunt. We carry on the tradition.

FROM L IN ILLINOIS: Margaret Cho is not only a hoot, she is right. I try to do lots of little things every day for others-- I had (have) excellent examples in both my dear parents. Merry Christmas FROM JACK: Much of my appreciation for her comedy comes from reading about her background.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: This I will keep in mind and do my best to implement. Often with some small, barely detectable, but meaningful words. FROM JACK:
It's not always easy to do a small good deed in secret, but I will keep on trying.

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: It is really fun to be a "secret Santa", too! I hope you have lots of fun this Christmas-tide! FROM JACK: Ho, Ho, Ho!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winning Words 12/18/09
“Old age and sickness bring out the essential characteristics of a person.” (Felix Frankfurter) Oops! He was my age when he got sick and died. But, essentially, he was a fine U.S. Supreme Court justice, known to advocate judicial restraint. He suggested many bright young lawyers (known as Felix’s Happy Hot Dogs) to FDR. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Disregarding any character issues, I fit into that "old age and sickness" category...I'm old and I'm sick of it. FROM JACK: So that's your essential character? MORE FROM RI: Hey, I said to disregard that. MORE FROM JACK:
Promise Yourself-

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: human beings take a long time to ripen. then we die. what's with that? FROM JACK: Ecclesiastes 3....For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be
born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: My word! Was he 101 when he died???

FROM MOLINER CROC: VERY GOOD ADVICE IN THIS EMAIL. I ALWAYS ENJOY WHAT U SEND US. WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE U DOING GETTING UP @ 4 OR 5 A.M. TO SEND OUT YOUR " WINNING WORDS "? I CAN WAIT `TIL LATER IN THE DAY. NO NEED ON MY ACCOUNT TO SEND THEM THAT EARLY. WE GO TO BED LATE & THEREFORE GET UP LATE. GUESS WE`RE JUST PLAIN LAZY. FROM JACK: I've always been an early riser. BTW, I meant to send this to you. I read an article on happiness, and it said that the happiest people are old Republican men. Have you found that to be true? Just call me, Grumpy.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Actually, seems to me that we learn something about ourselves when we are old and sick and it is a great opportunity one more time to pray to be able to change our bothersome essential characteristics. Interested in dementia and Alzheimers right now and it is interesting that people evidently can go through a mean stage and then come through to a more peaceful stage. Trying to understand but don't think there is such a thing that "none of it is really us" but that all of us have mean, cranky, sour dispositions in us but we all, God willing, can all come through to more peace too. Just hope my own crankiness isn't my final essential characteristic and that's all at the end!!!!! FROM JACK: I just read today that the happiest people live in Louisiana. As I remember, Michigan came in 49th.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: welcome to the Club....

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Mother always said that you are as young as you feel, and Mother and Dad belonged to a club called young at heart. They were blessed to be married almost 73 years- three weeks shy of that date.
FROM JACK: I remember the first time I saw a couple celebrate their 50th. They seemed really old.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winning Words 12/17/09
“To be uncertain is uncomfortable, but to be certain is ridiculous.” (Chinese Proverb) Most of what we do is because we are uncomfortable. I want to know more than I do now; I want to get out of the rut; I want to find answers…only to discover that more answers lead to more questions; and that the more you know, the less you know. Be careful of those who know it all. ;-) Jack

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Thank You as always for your encouragement. I like today's message; Wisdom and humility are acquired as we pass through life. Just now I am reflecting on harrowing of the process of obtaining wisdom and humility can be at times. Good thing I was naive when I started this 'journey' otherwise I might have reconsidered and turned back. FROM JACK: Sometimes we learn best when we are naive.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Sometimes I've been made more comfortable by respected others who tell me they are also uncertain about the answer to a certain question and sometimes I have been made more comfortable when there is a passage of scripture or a respected someone whose answer to a certain question affirms my own thinking about the question or it's probably more precise to say that my thinking has been molded to find meaning together with theirs. Sometimes I feel that I've even been certain but your last sentence in these WW causes me to be careful of myself in case there is a tendency to know it all and cause other people to have to be more careful with me and less comfortable with me. FROM JACK: I like what Jesus said: "Whoever humbles himself as a a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

FROM DP IN MINNESOTA: Yah, the Chinese are smart! That's a good one, and today I have time to answer one of your timeless quotations! So, that is why I am so uncomfortable all the time! In days gone by I could always ask my husband any and all questions---not that he had all the answers, but he would hear me out--and that in itself would ease most uncertainties. So, I suppose I did the same for him. (not rocket science, as they say.) FROM JACK: I'm comfortable with that.

FROM PRCH ON CAPE COD: use this when preaching doubting Thomas! FROM JACK: Hey, that's a good idea.

FROM OD IN NC: I like this one a lot.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: i can appreciate these winning words. love, from one who spends her life on the "libran scale"

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: Isn't that the truth? How many people do you run into that think they know it all?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Who was it that said, "You begin to mature when you realize that you don't know it all"?

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: RIGHT! The more we know, the more we realize what we don't know...goes back to the saying, "So many books, so little time..."! Good thought on this one! Thanks. FROM JACK: I can't remember hearing that saying before. Thanks for adding it to the blog.

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN: A great message! Maybe this is why I felt so out of sorts while on jury duty these past four and a half weeks. It was a real challenge being in the presence of those committed to certainty. FROM JACK: Isn't it frustrating...wanting to be certain, but always having questions? Life!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winning Words 12/16/09
“Failure is success if we learn from it.” (Malcolm Forbes) Thomas Edison had more failed inventions than successful ones, but failure helped him become a better inventor. Babe Ruth once held two records…1) He hit the most home runs…and 2) He struck out more than anyone else. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: I think the word you want is "struck" but then Ruth also stuck out a lot! (Due to his eating and drinking habits). FROM JACK: Picky, picky. Because of your sharp eye, I went back and changed it.

FROM SF IN MICHIGAN: Abe Lincoln had a long string of "failures" before he became president...a true lesson in persistence! FROM JACK: And maybe that's what made him great. People seem to react negatively toward anyone that comes across as perfect.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: That's an accurate quote. I once got a D- grade on a Term Paper and it shook me up. From then on I made sure I was prepared, and devoted the proper time to writing about something. It improved my writing and my interest in others' writing. FROM JACK: A D- does capture one's attention; an F, even more so. Sometimes I think a teacher uses a grade to "wake up" an under-preforming student.

FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA: Are you talking about Babe Ruth’s belly? FROM JACK: You shouldn't make fun of old people and their mistakes.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: In today's social climate where people seem to get such joy from people failing, especially morally, I think "stuck out" are actually the correct words. Probably in some other climate we would concentrate more on the things people are trying to do with their skills and talents and less on their personalities and social failures. I sort of hope we're all learning to stop enjoying our culture so much and clean ourselves up. FROM JACK: In Babe's case, he got into trouble off the field, too.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: How interesting about Babe Ruth,,,a bridge expert in his book on winning bridge, said if you don't go down on 1/4th of your bids, you are not bidding enough! Something to think about! FROM JACK: I'm thinking.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: how true that is. At our age we just move on now matter what is happening, don.t your think? FROM JACK: You got me to think....Can I remember my first failure? When did I first start keeping track? You're right...Just move on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winning Words 12/15/09
“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.” (Coach K) Black or White Rules protect people from having to make Gray Decisions. Some folks are comfortable with that, but I think that we grow when we have to make decisions that cause us to consider options. I’d like to know the context of Krzyzewski’s quote. Could it concern basketball, or maybe religion? ;-) Jack

FROM DRPL IN MICHIGAN: you always amaze me!

FROM AP IN MICHIGAN: Good morning. Long ago my life lesson was that most of Life's decisions lie in the gray range. The black and white parts are easy(er). FROM JACK: I enjoy challenging people to explore the gray...and some of them don't like that. They want a black or white answer.

FROM PRBG IN MICHIGAN: Didn’t know Coach K had such wisdom about life within him! FROM JACK: He's had to work with a variety of young people to mold them into a team.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: This WW is really making me ponder this morning. God wants us to say "yes" to Him, to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we make black and white decisions, when we make gray decisions, is the qualitative difference in our own security, actually thinking about ourselves instead of our "yes" to God, our love for our neighbor, the main issue that rises to the top priority? Security, striving in a wrong way for security can keep people apart and make everyone even more anxious and insecure. FROM JACK: Some say that everything we do is for selfish reasons. Gray question: Is that true?

FROM WJM IN MICHIGAN: A greater truth has not been said! Thanks Jack for this word & all your Winning words.

FROM S IN MICHIGAN: Ive always thought the same thing, makes you think FROM JACK: WWs is usually designed to cause brain action.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: You need to have blacks & whites but you need to live in the gray. Living in the b & w isn't living; it's just existing. FROM JACK: That's just the way God answers prayer: YES, NO and MAYBE.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: Wow! I really like this one, Jack! Those who live w/addiction become rigid in their rule making and adherence as a coping defense. Unfortunately, their rigidity usually doesn't give them the control and stability they seek--for every rigid rulemaker, there's usually a pathological rulebreaker nearby!! I will definitely make use of this quote in the future. FROM JACK: The quote seems to fit in several cases.

FROM MOLINER JT: I believe it applies to "life" in general.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winning Words 12/14/09
“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” (J.K. Rowling) Maybe JKR’s Harry Potter books are successful, because they read the mind of the young and challenge it. Sometimes the older crowd forgets what it was like before they became old. It’s another instance of the value of trying to crawl inside of the person with whom you wish to communicate. ;-) Jack

FROM JH IN OHIO: love this! FROM JACK: It's the teacher in you.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: The aged are mistaken if they underestimate the potential of youth. However, the experience gained through aging leads the elderly to make judgments from some of the profligate things they see. It's significant that the most flagrant youth usually are the most visible...the really talented and seriously committed young people are often reserved and less noticed. FROM JACK: That seems to be part of the process. I've seen it in every generation. So, I'm optimistic about the future. MORE FROM RI: Your response to SG in Tampa was a good one.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: That is definitely the advantage of having so many grandchildren. They keep you young and up to date and on your toes. FROM JACK: I've found out that it's a two-way street, and I'd like to have it continue that way.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: Thanks for the Rowling quote.. I sometimes hear myself as I talk to the grandkids and know why they tune out our generation. We do have to crawl inside another if we hope to have true relationship. (Three grandsons) stayed overnight Saturday. The two younger boys were watching their American Ninja movie downstairs. (The 13-yr-old) wanted to watch the Pistons. He talked nonstop for four hours. It was great. I know which players he likes, what coach is good, etc. I also heard of his loss of respect
for Tiger Woods, his thought that abortion is taking of a life, and that love isn't shown by the giving of expensive gifts but by spending time with and enjoying the one you love. It was a great evening. FROM JACK: Maybe you should print this out and put it in your book of memories.

FROM A PRE-SCHOOL TEACHER IN ILLINOIS: ask a pre-schooler about anything. you will be schooled in basic creative logic. i learn something new each day and carry that knowledge to my next problem solving situation! FROM JACK: A good teacher learns, too. MORE FROM ML: with gratitude and enthusiasm!

FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA: Today’s WW was a rerun. FROM JACK: Prove it. MORE FROM DMF: I did. Did you even read the WW (and look at the date) of the message I forwarded? The quote is the same, but the date and commentary are different. MORE FROM JACK: It must be a good quote (and worth repeating) if you can remember it from two and a half years ago. You are good. MORE FROM DMF: It just shows that I read them even if I don’t respond with a pithy comment each time.

FROM DREM IN MICHIGAN: My son Isaac (who just turned 8 last week) and I have been reading the Harry Potter series together over the past year. We're on Book 4 right now - it really takes me back to being a kid again and Isaac loves the stories! I'm not sure if I want him to watch the movies (I hear they are a bit 'dark') but we are really enjoying the bonding time.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I LOVED the Harry Potter books (AND the movies!) What an imagination she has ...awesome! FROM JACK: Just a kid at heart, I guess.

FROM ME IN CALIFORNIA: In general I agree, but there are some things for which age and experience are difficult to substitute. It is a concern that I have for some corners and upper reaches of our current administration. I hope I am wrong. FROM JACK: The quote simply says the "aged" at times underestimate the "youth." Your comment, while well taken, goes in a different direction. There are times when the youth underestimate the value of age and experience. If you and I sat down and just looked at the quote and my comment, I would be surprised if we were not in agreement.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winning Words 12/11/09
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others remains and is immortal.” (Albert Pike) The Japanese social activist Kagawa was so moved by the poverty of people that he would literally give the shirt off his back to a poor person. He’d be given a new shirt, and he would give that away. He’s remembered as a reformer, but I remember him most, because he cared for the poor. ;-) Jack

FROM GF IN MICHIGAN: Good one! FROM JACK: Action beats words.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Nothing that we say or do is immortal....that is a deception under which some folks choose to live FROM JACK: Take it up with Albert.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Your Japanese example was a model for others. My wife would send her mother gifts of food, clothes, and pottery, but when she went home to visit, the items would be gone. Asked about it, her mother said, "oh I gave it to so-and-so who needed it more than I did." FROM JACK: Somehow, I'm not surprised. There are people like that, and your wife is one of them.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Wow. These WW are my favorite--everything done should be reflected upon to probe our intentions in light of them.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: great ww's, especially in this time of conspicuous giving. FROM JACK: To give away your only shirt to someone who has none, is conspicuous.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: LOVE this one Jack. I also like the saying, “Work is what you do for a living. Giving is what you do for a life.” Your saying also exemplifies this holy season of giving…to and for others. Another saying comes to mind: “Actions speak louder than words.” FROM JACK: Thanks for adding to the list of WINNING WORDS. Your saying also exemplifies this holy season of giving…to and for others. Another saying
comes to mind: “Actions speak louder than words.”

CWR IN B'MORE RESPONDS THRU HIS MAILBOX: In this Season in which "giving" and "consuming " often co-mingle, here (in the "WInning Words" below) is an extreme, yet tantalizingly noteworthy, reminder that gratitude includes the ability to share. We are so thankful for what we have and receive, that we are innately compelled to generously share, especially with those not as materially lucky as are we. This holiday can be one in which, especially now, we focus on our blessings, rather than upon our sorrows, for the good surrounding us , in the end, is what sustains us and keeps us whole, even when storm clouds hover.

FROM HAWKEYE GS: I wrote Seek The Holy Lamb several months ago. Today, it was sung in our church - lots of tears. The music is from a Celtic ballad, Green the Whole Year 'Round. Google the tune. FROM JACK: That's a beautiful tune. If you send "your" lyrics, I'll blog them. FROM GS:
SEEK THE HOLY LAMB Words by George Seaberg Music by Shay Healy
1. As I grew the sun would shine in all the whole day thru. Mother sang a lull-a-bye to brighten a sunny day.
I had hope to be kept whole to chase away any blue, the one that please’d my heart the most would be the Holy Lamb.
Seek the Holy Lamb, Seek the Holy Lamb, when I have doubts and can’t find my way, I seek the Holy Lamb.
2. When married life and children came and things got in the way, I take my time to pray to you, be guided by you today. For I know when-ever I look for you you are easy to be found, as you come to me ‘neath my fav’rite place to seek the Holy Lamb.
Seek the Holy Lamb, Seek the Holy Lamb, when I have doubts, can’t find my way, I seek the Holy Lamb.
3. But the fam’lys grown and the days grow short and the au-tumn winds, they blow, and the children turn to newer things as we sit at home alone. Mem-ries of other days come tum-bling from the past to re-mind us, like the sea-sons do, that life goes by so fast.
4. The win-ter lays her fin-gers cold on dark and lone-ly nights, but Christ-mas, it will soon be here to ush-er in Your Light. And when morn-ing breaks and the bells ring out, it is such a joy-ous sound to hear them ech-o in my heart to know the Holy Lamb.
Seek the Holy Lamb, seek the Holy Lamb, when I have doubts, can’t find my way, I seek the Holy Lamb.
Seek the Holy Lamb, seek the Holy Lamb, when I have doubts, can’t find my way, I seek the Holy Lamb.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I heard him speak at an American Baptist Convention, and also attended his Bible study at another Convention. Such a humble man...I always remember his quote :"I read that Jesus went about doing good. It bothers me that I am so easily content to just go about"...When you know the scope of his "doing good" it floors you that he probably meant what he said! He was an icon of the Faith!! FROM JACK: WOW! And I was impressed just reading about him in a book.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winning Words 12/10/09
“Man is the most intelligent of the animals—and the most silly.” (Diogenes) This is from a book which puts the words of Diogenes in the language of children, using a dog named, Diogenes. The real Diogenes was a Cynic, a school of philosophers who rejected conventional living; one even lived in a bathtub on the streets. Cynicism is a word that means, dog-like. A dog named, Diogenes. Isn’t that silly? ;-) Jack

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Dog-like? My wiener dog, Harriet, is happy, outgoing, loving, and delightful to be around. My neighbor’s dog, he’s the cynic. FROM JACK: Evidently generalizations don't work for dogs...or people.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: ...and the most fickle, and the most disloyal, and the most inconsistent, and the most demanding, and the most wasteful, and... FROM JACK: Ooooh, it sounds like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: It's it amazing what we feel our children need to get exposed to? Since the narrative in this book is told through a dog, I am assuming this book is aimed a young children?? (Or maybe someone thought I could make a little profit.) FROM JACK: "..could make a profit," is an example of the Cynic philosophy. How many children (and adults, for that matter) would sit down and read a book about the philosophy of Diogenes? But, if it were told through the mouth of a dog...that would make it interesting. Even the Bible stories are sometimes told to children through cartoon characters. A once-popular cartoon show, Davey and Goliath, told moralistic lessons, using a boy and his "talking" dog.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I know some VERY smart dogs...and some really dumb people. FROM JACK: And vice versa. MORE FROM OJ: And, my grandchildren love to watch Veggies Tales.....

FROM DRPL IN MICHIGAN: You're silly!!! But..that's what makes you such a treasure! FROM JACK: Which definition did you mean? Weak in intellect, lacking common sense, happy, pitiable, feeble?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Roger Boraas had a dog named Diogenes. Is that silly? FROM JACK: As I recall, Roger was a philosopher/theologian, so I'm not surprised.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winning Words 12/9/09
“Discourse on virtue and they pass you by in droves. Whistle and dance the shimmy and you’ve got yourself an audience.” (Diogenes) I’d like to read his quote in the original Greek. I wonder if they really danced the shimmy in Athens, 2400 years ago. But, evidently it was then, as it is now. People are more interested in being entertained than they are in being enlightened. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: One of the potentially great modern resources of "enlightenment", television, is overwhelmingly utilized just for "entertainment", and in my judgment most of it is shallow entertainment. Paraphrasing the words of another Man of virtue from 2000 years ago, "we know not what we do." FROM JACK: There are so many areas where eschew enlightenment for amusement.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Johnny Carson, in the 70’s said, “People will pay a lot more to be entertained than educated.” Carson was one of the first multimillion dollar TV hosts 1962-1987 FROM JACK: That's more than the typical teacher made at that time.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: A major problem on TV and in the newspapers/magazines seems to be "discoursing on virtue" but it feels like it is with malicious intent. I'm so sick of hearing about Kwame and how they evidently listen in on all of his conversations with people that, after a while, I don't even like virtue any more--least not the virtue in our society. Maybe, in order to really have discourse about virtue, you simply can't enjoy in any way the falling away from it. You can't mess the message up with whistling and dancing
the shimmy.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: That's true of the Church as well. FROM JACK: Been there; done that!

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Interesting quote...Diogenes and the shimmy? Highly unlikely, but the truth remains the same, doesn't it. Sadly, it remains true today! FROM JACK: We used to have a car that would shimmy every so often. It would begin to shake as we drove along, and we'd have to take to a mechanic to have it fixed.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Interesting quote...Diogenes and the shimmy? Highly unlikely, but the truth remains the same, doesn't it. Sadly, it remains true today!

FROM AM IN MICHIGAN: Too bad. Last Saturday we heard a discussion of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Lessons from our youth, but good reminders of that which is most important in life. FROM JACK: There are still those who will stop to learn about virtue. Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winning Words 12/8/09
“What if you only get five minutes with God? God is a very busy God. You can ask anything you want.” (Mitch Albom-“Have a Little Faith”) That’s an interesting question. What would you do with that five minutes? The “safe” answer might seem to be: “I would listen.” But if you really had a chance to ask God anything, anything at all, what would it be? I’ve read Albom’s book, and I liked it. ;-) Jack

FROM JACK: I might ask God if he revealed himself to people in a form other than Jesus. I might also ask if he revealed himself as God to all of his creation, and how was that done? I believe that God would be patient with my questions.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Why don't the Cubs ever win the World Series??? FROM JACK: I remember someone asking, "Can God make something so heavy that he can't lift it?" The Cubs winning the World Series is a question like that.

FROM MKH: That is huge I am not sure what I would ask? I would probably just be in awe? Like that song “Standing in your presence where would my heart fall would I sing alleluia or to my knees would I fall?” Something like that? I Can Only Imagine FROM JACK: I know. It seems presumptious for us to ask, but real teachers don't mind when learners dare to ask questions. People wer always questioning Jesus, and he was patient with them.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I understand that racism is not God's will. Classicism is not God's will. Ethnicism is not God's will. Sexism is not God's will. Ageism is not God's will. It is the Lord's Table and not the Lutheran table. But I still have a question (so many, many people believe this, people whom I respect) is it God's will that marriage be only between a man and a woman? But I guess I have even a further question than this to ask God, "Is it important for all of our salvation to be in agreement on this question, God, are we safe from Your judgment if we always continue on as we seem to be continuing on, with all this division? Or should we be still striving to reach some greater understanding of Your Will in our communal lives?" FROM JACK: You only have five minutes.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I'd probably thank Him for forgiving me each and every day. I have always wondered why the first disciples were chosen and how. Oh, I would have ask Him many questions I have about the Bible and if I was walking the right path. Simple, I know, but I have wondered and do wonder each day if I am on the right path. FROM JACK: He might respond, "Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid."

FROM DS IN SAN DIEGO: I'll really have to cut down my list of questions if I only get 5 minutes. Of course, what is "5 minutes" in God's terms???? FROM JACK: God doesn't own, or need, a stop watch.

FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA: I think I would ask questions relating to why bad things happen to good people and why certain things happened to me in my life. I too read Mitch's new book and also liked it. FROM JACK: One of the gifts of heaven will be revelation.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: this is a tough one. i have been thinking about it all day. i'd probably offer her a bowl of soup and then...still don't know what my question would be. life is such a gift. how does one approach the giver? it's that mystery thing. do we mess with it? love everything mitch albom writes. he's got a good head.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I'd ask for his healing touch for my loved the Bible Jesus healed ALL who came to him, so we are told! What a blessing that would be! FROM JACK: "Ask, and you shall receive." In a sense God always answers requests, similar to the way parents respond....YES; NO; LET'S WAIT AND SEE....The answer is always given in love and with a knowledge that is beyond the child's.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winning Words 12/7/09
“How we remember, what we remember, and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality.” (Christina Baldwin) Christina conducts writing workshops called, “Storycatching.” Is there a particular date or incident that stands out in your life and has a story attached to it? That date and story could tell something about your individuality. Dec 6, is such a date for me. ;-) Jack

MORE FROM JACK: On Saturday, Dec 6, I went to the bank in Moline, Ill, and purchased a bond for $18.75. I never cashed it. In fact, it's still hanging on my office wall. It causes me to Remember Pearl Harbor.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Glad I went onto your blog and read your "More from Jack" entry. It helps me to crawl into your skin and understand better today even what it must have felt like to have our country invaded back then. Now it's these drones in Afghanistan/Pakistan that bother me. What kind of a world are we making where war can be like that? What kind of remembering and personal maps of individuality are we creating among the children that God created? Thanks for WW today FROM JACK: Today is tomorrow's memory.

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: But it's Dec SEVENTH! FROM JACK: Yes, I know. Look at MORE FROM JACK above.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: There are some unusual aspects to remembering. The dates of conventional holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. are easy, but I can't remember dates of some of other salient events in my life. For instance, I remember the day I got married but not the day that I made up my mind and proposed. I know the day I retired but not the day that I took my first job. However, while I don't remember the date that I first met you Jack, I do remember the moment, and there's a long satisfying story of what followed. FROM JACK: To remember the event and not the date is more important to remember the date. Many memories associated with the you and your family. I could write a least a BIG LITTLE book. Do you remember them?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's funny how we remember events in our lives so much more vividly as we age. And, we also become better looking, a lot smarter and so much nicer in our remembering. I have a lot of stories and incidents I remember now...I try to just remember the good times and forget and forgive the bad. Each one is part of our map though but I am directionally challenged. Just ask my family!

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: I love Christina's books - reading the one on journaling a third time now… FROM JACK: When you read a book for the third time, if must be good.

FROM MF IN MICHIGAN: Sometimes I'm discouraged by how much I can't remember, people say it's all a part of getting older. My wife and I practice repeating things over and over to help us remember things, we believe two brains are better than one. FROM JACK: Maybe that's why a spouse is sometimes referred to as a help-mate.
FROM LP IN MICHIGAN: Funny, Chris and I were talking about this recently. May my memory be good today! MORE FROM LP: My memory held and I passed my oral defense. I wonder what I'll remember of that Dec 7 years from now. FROM JACK: Congratulations! When will you be called, Doctor?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Winning Words 12/4/09
“A man does not have to be an angel in order to be a saint.” (Schweitzer) If the beloved and respected Albert said it, it must be true. Before applying it to “the Tiger situation,” or to other people, go over in your mind: What is a saint? What is an angel? Google might help, but Google doesn’t have all the answers. I’d like to hear what you think and how you feel. ;-) Jack

FROM SG IN MICHIGAN: Boy, you're up early. I never noticed what time you send these until today -- when I'm up early, too. Go back to bed! FROM JACK: Do you remember the saying, "Early to bed, early to rise etc?"

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: An angel is a messenger of of the Elohim. A saint is one who has been sanctified by the blood of Christ. Of course, a saint is not an angel....we are made "a little less than the angels"....but crowned with honor and glory. I think the Littlest Angel is the one I want to be most like. FROM JACK: Thank you, professor! Now, go back to dancing on the head of a pin.

FROM LK IN OHIO: Tiger excels at golf. In what else? Perhaps lots? FROM JACK: There's more to most of us than meets the eye. MORE FROM LK: God's eye is what matters. Neither Tiger, nor I, nor anyone, can seek
privacy from God. FROM JACK: God is omniscient!

FROM BP IN FLORIDA: I think it is absurd to apply either one to Tiger. The adoration has always been misplaced because of his foul mouth and temperment. If a man hits a thousand home runs but lacks character what does he really have................ The sad thing is we have such a void of heros today, whether in sports or politics. What does the Bible say about it being easier to pass through the eye of a needle etc. I missed Bible study this week so I'll have to study up. I think there are a number of heros in there. Yes I know, also a number of flawed people. Thank goodness I am perfect which of course YOU can attest to. FROM JACK: Let's see....If we take all the foul-mouthed and tempermental players off the golf courses, there'd be no need to holler, FORE! BTW, I remember once seeing a church, called, St. Robert's.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Thinking of angels, I remember the one in the Bible who, I think it was Jacob, struggled with and got his hip out of joint or something. Thinking of angels, don't think of inner struggle. Thinking of saints, do think of inner struggle. All those martyr saints were humans too so it must have been a struggle to forgive as they were being tortured to death. I believe Tiger might be going through an inner struggle, maybe for quite a while before it stuck out, it must be really tough to have to go through it in the public eye. Of course though all of us with our inner struggles eventually seem to be public about them--that's the help we get, nothing is hidden from God. Least that's what seems to me--so far.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: This was today's devotional, and one that might apply to the more significant issue of our "hero" regardless of our status as angel or saint. As we remove another man-made god from the Parthenon [Tiger Woods] let us remember how silly we have been to place him there in the fist place. How easy it is to project credibility for quality of another sort [impervious strength of character] from the apparent skill of a
relatively insignificant one [golf]. How many more times will we make this error? Talk about "false gods" and golden calves! The only place infidelity, sloth, deceit, thievery, and the like seem to be acceptable is within our government! You'd think the people would expect more from them than Tiger woods and sports figures. "Wake up" was and still remains the post profound cry of the prophets! We should pay attention to it!!!!!!!!!!
Luke 1:68-79 (NRSV) FROM JACK: I threw Tiger into my response as a distraction. The quote was about angels and saints. Are they one and the same?

FROM MOLINER CF: Why all the concern over Tiger Woods? The guy's a cheater. Let's have some compassion for his wife and kids. They are the real victims of his infidelity. FROM JACK: Read the WWs again. The discussion was to center around your view of what is a saint and what is an angel. Tiger was purposely put it there to see if people would be distracted from the basic question. It's not about Tiger or his family, it's about whether you can be a saint without be an angel. MORE FROM CF: In other words, the Tiger Woods thing was irrelevant. So why bring it up? FROM JACK: ...just to bug you!

FROM MF IN MICHIGAN: I refer to many people as Saints, mostly for the way they care for people. I believe an angel is mostly unseen and is there for us even when we may not realize it. I believe that we are touched by both thru out our lives. Tiger? he's just a very good golfer, famous and wealthy for his ability to play the game. FROM JACK: Congratulations! You got the point. WWs today wasn't about Tiger.

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: That's true because there is some good in all of us. FROM JACK: There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it hardly behooves any of us To talk about the rest of us. Edward Wallis Hoch

FROM MOLINER TG: Schweitzer is truly correct in my opinion (He usually is) Tiger is nothing but a liar and a cheat. Too often men with fame and power don’t think a moral \code applies to them or that they are entitled to a little transgression for all the good things they do. An earthly angel tries to do everything “right” in hope of becoming a saint. An earthly saint is one who lives that way instinctively, but sometimes there are moral dilemmas where a choice must be made. The more fame/fortune/power a person has the more this confronts them. Tiger has traveled a conflicting road. My two cents! FROM JACK: For your two cents, you got the point with some good comments.

FROM GUSTIE MN: You don’t really want to hear what I think! He is an athlete and I guess a skirt chaser! He did not take his marriage vows seriously. There is WAY too much of that in our society. It is just another sign that we can not make heroes out of mere mortal men. Our hero that is always there for us is God and his Son Jesus! There—I spoke my piece! FROM JACK: But what do you think about saints and angels? MORE FROM MN: Saints and angels live among us. They guide us on the right path.

FROM SEVANDER IN MINNESOTA: Saints are forgiven sinners who permit God's light to shine through them. FROM JACK: And you didn't mention Tiger, either. You got the message.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: When I think of an angel, my guardian angel comes to mind. Saints can be living and are living among us. FROM JACK: Is your guardian angel human? MORE FROM JACK: My father-in-law used to go to the local hospital in Wisconsin on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day to walk through the halls and greet patients, whether he knew them or not. What a saintly thing to do!

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Dr. Schweitzer is one of my heroes. He brought medicine to the primitive, and music too, hauling an organ to his settlement. Quite a contrast to the jungle drums. He ranks as a saint, according to definition, something many of us could achieve. But we must wait for help from a Higher Power to become an angel. Schweitzer's perception was correct. FROM JACK: And yet there were those who criticized Albert for various reasons. Of course, Jesus was criticized, too MORE FROM RI: Wow, your WW really got some strong reactions today, and a long list of respondees. I was actually late getting to you, and wrote before reading all the comments from your other participants, and from you. In my own response, including Tiger in the conversation never crossed my mind. Your quote about "the good in the worst of us, and the bad in the best of us" was new to me and seems a keen observation.

FROM INDY GENIE: wow....I just had a chance to read the angel/saint blog.....really funny...I laughed out loud at your responses. As for saints and angels......I agree with Schweitzer, although I believe it's true for women too!

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: I like a quote you once had in the bulletin: " Saints are sinners who just keep trying" And my close friend, Ann is now an angel. She died of her frontal lobe dementia, a cruel disease.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Winning Words 12/3/09
“I don’t describe myself as a Christian or religious, but I like to think that how I live my life is honest.” (Iris DeMent) Some people are still searching for what it means to be religious. In one of her songs, Iris sings, “Well, I believe in love, and I live my life accordingly.” That sounds “Christian” to me, especially when reading Luke 10:27. Sometimes we’re religious and don’t even know it. ;-) Jack

FROM PRMD IN MICHIGAN: Amen! Just yesterday, I worried that the emphasis I place on a loving God (rather than the a righteously angry one) is not fully grasping the character of God. But, here you are reminding me that love is at the heart of God. Forgive me for this typecasting, but when you speak, I hear you as an elder, like Simeon, giving the rest of us a glimpse of what God’s plan is. So, thank you for your boldness in encouraging me personally, and thank God for Winning Words, which has brought hope to me so many times! FROM JACK: Here are the lyrics to Iris DeMent's song, "Let the Mystery be." As a sidebar, she grew up in a Pentecostal home, has questioned that style of religious expression, has been told that she won't make it to heaven, and claims to be an agnostic. I like the the song, and you can Google for a u-tube version.

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Some say once you're gone you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour if in sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're comin' back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Some say they're goin' to a place called Glory and I ain't saying it ain't a fact.
But I've heard that I'm on the road to purgatory and I don't like the sound of that.
Well, I believe in love and I live my life accordingly.
But I choose to let the mystery be.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I'm hung up on these WW, going over them again and again, and not reaching any conclusion about their meaning. Most of us describing ourselves wouldn't start with "Christian" or "religious", but ultimately one would come to admit our personal character is built on some such philosophy. So what about living life honestly...does Iris mean honorably, and if so what is driving the will to be honorable? Why would she make a point of rejecting those two descriptive words Christian and religious? Am I missing me out. FROM JACK: Check yesterday's WWs again. I'm not able to crawl in and read the mind of Iris, so I Let the Mystery Be, as her song says. Read my response to MD on the blog.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Last night my pastor was teaching and mentioned that God's principles for living bring blessing into your life regardless of the person's convictions. As part of the created order, His principles (e.g. being honest) seem to operate independently? FROM JACK: That's an interesting thought. God moves in a mysterious way and work through all sorts of people (even us) to work his will. Peace be with you!

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: The fact that it sounds "Christian" to you says a lot. Do we have any need for a Savior any more? Is repentance a thing of the past? "Repent and believe in the gospel" seems to be out of date.....Unfortunately. FROM JACK: When a lawyer questioned Jesus about how to gain eternal life, Jesus responded by saying, "Love your God, love your neighbor, love yourself." To express that love sounds Christian to me.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We seem to take God out of our lives love is's what Jesus called us to do. There's more to the story. At least she knows what the story is if she went to church. Another example of "your okay...I'm okay". I hope eventually she remembers who gave His life out of complete love for her. FROM JACK: Do you remember what was said yesterday about walking in someone else's moccasins? Read today's blog response to MD.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: i'm with iris. i let the mystery be. FROM JACK: Read the lyrics above. MORE FROM ML: love that song and i sing it often. have been humming it all day at school. my dear friend ron, who passed away of aids, found it very comforting. he was raised pentecostal so he could relate to iris's view of damnation. a gay man certainly wasn't going to heaven by his upbringing's teaching. i told him that we would meet wherever god sends us, but, we would certainly be in good company. i choose to let the mystery be. thanks for expanding minds in the name of god.

FROM ME IN CALIFORNIA: This one goes in the keeper file. MORE FROM ME: My goodness. Lots of reactions to WW. Just copied the words to Starry Night. FROM JACK: I like it when I get reactions, rather than "Ho Hum!"

FROM CJL IN OHIO: That's putting the best construction on it. I think there's something to do with the mind that makes a difference. Actions are OK but it's the mind that governs them.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Almost all of my husband and my families fall in this category. I think it is their ideas of the institutional church which puts a blockage to their attendance at public worship. Probably they would say what and why we do what we do is a mystery to them and I know what they do is not yet fully explained to me either. I like that do justice and walk humbly with your God. I think we're at a point in time where the most urgent thing people want and need to is be honest with God and with each other and it all has caused me to think a lot about how to share my faith so all this mystery parts so the real true community of worshippers can be revealed more fully. It doesn't seem to be just in church buildings. FROM JACK: Part of my frustration with being a pastor has been: "How do you reach out to those who have been turned off by the church that has been in their lives in the past.

FROM HAWKEYE GS: Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words. (I believe from St. Francis of Assissi) FROM JACK: Sounds like good advice to me.

FROM INDY GENIE: ain't it the truth! she says that she "lets the mystery be" but in truth she's a theologian of my favorites. FROM JACK: A theologian is one who understands that GOD is a word to describe the indescribable.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Winning Words 12/2/09
“I don’t know what other people are like. I haven’t been able to crawl inside anybody else.” (Iris DeMent) In a way, I like this expression better than “walking for a day in another man’s moccasins.” Both make the point that it’s hard to understand people without being in their situation…and, yet, we express our pedantic judgments to one and all. More on Iris, one of these days. ;-) Jack

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: You bring such a smile to my face each morning, Jack....I so look forward to these Winning Words. Especially when you expand my vocabulary. I looked up the word "pedantic" ~ it applies well to your comment. Enjoy your day; especially the snow flurries predicted for later today. I, personally, am
incredibly anxious for the same FROM JACK: Here's another word for you to look up, if you don't know it already. It's ONOMATOPOEIA. My high school freshman grandson already knows it, but I didn't come to appreciate it until much later in life. Boo, hiss!

FROM PRJS: Weren't you the person who said that "he could read me like a book?" Sounds like a pedantic judgment to me!! FROM JACK: Sometimes I look at the "movie" and get the gist of the story...and your's is an interesting story, to say the least.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Interesting thought. I like the moccasin saying's a nicer image. FROM JACK: The moccasin saying may be a nicer image, but you really can't know someone until you crawl inside. The outside doesn't tell the whole story. Sometimes the word. crawl, is creepy.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I can't say if there is anyone else who ever felt I was so understanding of them and their situation that it felt like I had been able to crawl inside them or were walking in their moccasins figuratively speaking. (However,) it has felt like someone else has been able to authentically genuinely understand what was inside me. But, in my opinion, it all comes from God and not our own abilities. Thanks for today's Winning Words. FROM JACK: Oftentimes, that's the way it works for all of us.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: love iris! she's gritty, honest, brave, poignant, compassionate, concerned, spiritual, and on and such a sweet human package. she is a modern day protest of my sheros. FROM JACK: Thanks for introducing her to me.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: Iris is a unique talent! I heard her from time to time on The Prairie Home Companion. FROM JACK: You can Google her singing, "Let the Mystery Be." I think that you might be able to identify with the lyrics.

FROM MOLINER CF: I don't even understand myself sometimes. How do you expect me to understand you? FROM JACK: I'd just as soon that you wouldn't try to crawl inside.

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: How's a fine line between judging people and reading them... FROM JACK: That's a very perceptive observation. Thanks.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: This is a good word for me today.

FROM L IN ILLINOIS: You've still got me thinking about "Would I trade my problems for anyone else's?".
Surprisingly, there isn't a soul I'd trade with-- guess it's your job to get me thinking. FROM JACK: It's hard to get into the mind of over 300 readers every day. Thanks for your response.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Winning Words 12/1/09
“Twilight again. Another ending. No matter how perfect the day is, it always has to end.” (Stephanie Meyer) The movie, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” sold $150 M in tickets the first week. It is the 4th in a series of vampire based romance stories. For me, I like Twilight Time, the song by The Platters. I also like that part of the day that is called, twilight. It reminds me of when we used to play, Kick the Can! ;-) Jack

MORE FROM JACK: I forgot to add that my all-time favorite TV series is The Twilight Zone, and my favorite episode from the series is, "Kick the Can." You might be able to Google it.

FROM MF IN MICHIGAN: Never cared much for vampire movies, always had a blast playing kick the can.
I always liked when the Tigers played twighlight double headers, one ticket got you both games. FROM JACK: Now, they manage to separate doubleheaders by enough time that you have to buy two tickets. I remember the famour Erni Banks quote: "It's a beautiful day. Let's play two." How many of today's players would say that?

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: "Kick the Can" was my all time favorite game. We used to play it out in Hampton in the summertime. People would be hiding in outhouses, etc. It was pretty rare when the can didn't get kicked..... FROM JACK: That's a first for me....Hiding in the can while playing kick the can.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: Omigosh --- Kick the Can! We played that every evening in Ahmeek. We had to be in the house when the street lights went on. FROM JACK: Now that I think about it, I can't remember the last time I saw any kids playing out under the street light. We used to do it all the time. MORE FROM PO: Even sadder, I hardly ever see kids 'playing' anymore --- they're all in structured activities of ever imaginable sort.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: "Twilight" is a favorite word of mine, and I also like that period of time at the end of a summer day. I'm reminded of Lord Tennyson's lines in Crossing the Bar..."Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark..." the gradually dying light and the tolling of a bell peacefully ending a day. FROM JACK: In life, reference is sometimes made to the twilight years. When might those be?

FROM L IN ILLINOIS: We used to play Kick the Can, too. I knew it was time to run home when the bats started swirling around our big oak tree. FROM JACK: Did you ever worry that a bat might be caught in your hair... or that one might be a vampire bat? No wonder you ran home. MORE FROM L: No, I knew they had radar. My mom thought one was a leaf in the garden one time and picked it up. Needless to say, she dropped it, screamed and ran.

FROM JMC IN MICHIGAN: Oops, New Moon is actually the 2nd book in the series of 4... not that it really matters, but thought you'd like to know. And it probably made so much because of people like me who saw it 3 times in opening week... haha. FROM JACK: So, that's why the movie made so much money...people like you seeing it multiple times.

FROM PRFM IN WISCONSIN: And twilight was beautiful last night with a full moon! Hope you had the clear skies, like we had, to enjoy it!

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: i love V8 Juice. does that mean i have vampire tendencies?? FROM JACK: That depends on whether you're getting it from somebody's neck.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Wasn't kick the can fun? We used to play in the alley, too. Continuing to be nostalgic, I have just returned from a musical salute to Irving Berlin called I Love a Piano. FROM JACK: It's hard to be nostalgic, when you're a teenager.

FROM GUSTIE MN: I’m with you on that one! Ha! FROM JACK: Ask your grandchildren (or even your children) if they ever played Kick the Can.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We played Kick the Can too but we mostly played SPUD. Does anyone remember SPUD??? Not into vampires at all....but I loved Twilight Zone! And the Outer Limits! FROM JACK: To begin, one player is designated as the 'number-giver', and gives a number from 1 to however many players there are to each participant. Sometimes additional numbers are included that are not assigned to any player; these are known as 'ghost numbers'. A variation of this game involves using colors as opposed to numbers. One player is determined to be 'it'. The other players form a circle around 'it.' The 'it' throws the ball straight up into the air. When the ball reaches the apex of flight, the 'it' calls out the number of one of the other players. If there is an owner for that number, they must catch the ball, either in flight or on the rebound. If there is no owner for the number (it was a 'ghost number' or 'ghost color'), it receives a letter and must throw the ball again. MORE FROM OJ: The neighborhood joke number was ALWAYS 4. That tells you that they all had my number...and it was always up. We played mainly in Hazel Park at my Aunt Jean's house. My cousin Ron was my age and his whole baseball team lived on the two streets on either side of him. So all of us kids, mainly boys, would play...and I was always 4. I was young and cute then and had a great time. Our summers were so full of fun, weren't they? Kimberly's two boys love being outside. They are praying for snow...lots of snow. The table grace, said by Noah, 5, was..."Dear God in Heaven, thank you for our food and our family. Please let it snow a lot." In Jesus' name, Amen."

FROM MOLINER CROC: You know Jack, I`m at the age when I`m getting to like everything about a day . Morning , , noon , twilight, & nite time. The fact that I`m able to get up in the morning makes me happy. Not that I`m in bad shape , or anything like that , it`s just that I`m still vertical & able to be up & around.
When you`re in your 80`s & still coherent, able to take care of yourself, etc. makes for a good day.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Ah, yes! The old Kick The Can days...what fun we had playing that! I took Jan out for a twilight tour of Christmas lights tonight, which we thoroughly enjoyed. There are some really elaborate displays in our area!