Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Winning Words 8/31/10
“Buy land! Nobody’s making it anymore.” (Will Rogers) I read in a recent article, “Don’t buy real estate.” What is one to do? Perhaps this quote by Chuck Palahniuk is a good warning: “The things you own wind up owning you.” A lot of people are finding the truth of this statement in their own situation. Some years ago I learned the words,“laissez faire.” Whatever you do, think it through. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Buying land is still a good idea...if you acquire it for your recreation and pleasure...not to get rich. Some years ago we had an 80 acre farm out in nowhere, and spending a few days camping there was the best rejuvenation from the urban stress machine. The payback now from real estate investment isn't going to be what it was during the inflationary 60's and 70's. That "Don't Buy Real Estate" article was written by someone interested only in a making a "fast buck". FROM JACK: The best advice from today's WWs is: "Don't let the things you own wind up owning you."

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: What a dilemma we are in these days with homes and real estate values dropping. I feel fortunate that we are in the midst of a refinance….a friend got as low as 3.67….we have been quoted 3.97 and 4.1/fixed for 10 years. It’s time do whatever we can to salvage our home and property investments. Appraisals are devastating. Thanks for the timely thought. FROM JACK: When I was growing up, we always rented the places where we lived. Since it was during the Great Depression, my parents didn't worry about housing values...only what the cost of the rent would be and if there was enough money to pay it. Each generation seems to have its own set of worries.

FROM MOLINER CF: It's not what you own, it's what you've sown. FROM JACK: The value of what we own has flown! Jesus said: "Lay not up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven where bad stuff can't get at it."

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Because of job changes, we had always lived in rentals up until 1998 when we finally bought our house. I notice that, whenever anyone comes to see us, I say right away "Hello. Glad to see you. We have a lot of fixing-up work to do here but make yourself at home." Once the explanation is out of the way, we all relax and have a good time. We own a bunch of work, things always seem to be falling apart and needing repair. Suppose when we get to our assisted-living/nursing home, we won't have to say our explanation any more. Someone else will have the work again. But actually we do have some fun on our property and maybe it's our trying to be good stewards of it that is somehow remarked on in heaven. FROM JACK: Henry Ford II, was asked about an indiscretion in his life. His response: "Never complain; never explain." Someone else had words about complain/explain taped to his office wall. Out with the explanations...The people who care don't matter, and the people who matter don't care.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We were thinking about getting a cottage near here...on Lake Huron or an inland lake close by. However, as you say, the cottage would end up owning us and we certainly don't want that to happen. So, we have decided to rent one each year for a month or two. It is the prefect solution. And I believe as the American Indians believe, we never really "own" the land...we just borrow it (and have to pay a lot of taxes)!!! FROM JACK: I like that comment about the Indians and their view of land. Even the cowboys had an opinion about land, and they put it into a song..."Don't fence me in."

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: at the end of the day, all we really need is a piece of land 7 by 4 by 6 feet deep! kind of depressing but true! blessings FROM JACK: With rise in popularity of cremation, that amount of land is not needed. In fact, the ashes might create more land.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Winning Words 8/30/10
“Focus on the things you can control.” (Morris Massey) This is from a business training video, “Dancing With the Bogeyman,” produced by MM. I passed a mother and her child on the sidewalk once. The little boy whispered to his mom: “Is that the bogeyman?” There really are bogeymans. Sometimes they appear in news headlines, or simply in our mind. Don’t let the negative things scare you.. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Focusing on things we can control is such fundamental advice, yet we often stray into things that we can't control or, worse yet, concerning ourselves with things that aren't happening and may never happen. Too many times my mind is overtaken with "what if this" or "what if that" and it consumes too much energy. Today I'm going to avoid that "dance" and focus instead on getting things done FROM JACK: Our yard really needs some water. Do you think that doing an Indian Rain Dance will produce results? MORE FROM RI: It will produce one result...it will stir up some dust. FROM JACK: Was the Rain Dance an Indian Prayer? AND MORE FROM RI: I would consider it to be a kinetic prayer.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: This is a bit of advice Gary and I have continually given to our kids..."If you have no control over a person or a situation, control yourself." FROM JACK: That's the kind of advice that they will pass on to their children, too.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: No, but they are a challenge. FROM JACK: Dancing is a challenge for me, especially if it's with a bogey(woman).

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: ...did you have your Clerical Collar on ? FROM JACK: No, but the sidewalk was narrow, and he was small, and I was much larger, and it was twilight. Although it's true that some people see someone in a clerical collar as a bogeyman.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: To each his or her own, but definitely used the brain that God gave you and don't necessarily go with the crowd. I remember Miss Garst in an English Lit class saying that if you see a beautiful bird and want to stand and watch it, do it, regardless of what other people think. FROM JACK: Maybe, by your standing there and watching, others, out of curiosity, might begin to watch and then appreciate.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Winning Words 8/27/10
“Sometimes old things need to go away. That way we have room for the new things that come into our lives.” (Randy Milholland) RM is a web cartoonist. He’s probably too edgy for the newspapers’ typical funny pages. Maybe this quote is really about life and death. Or, maybe it’s about our reluctance to change. As I look back, I’m glad for the changes that I’ve seen…at least most of them. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: I think "change" is like everything else....it needs to be evaluated. We need to ask the question, "Is this a good thing or a not so good thing?" I enjoy change but not change for change's sake. I voted against the merger in 1988. As I look back I think it was a wise vote. The new church has not worked. It has never really become a church. It is still a group of parts flying off in different directions. FROM JACK: You will notice that I began my comment with the word, SOMETIMES. Of course change, just for change's sake, is not what I advocate. But I do believe that to hang on to the old, just because it's old, is not good, either. BTW, I did vote for the merger, and I'm glad that I did. It's not perfect, but neither are you or I. At least, not me.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: After our dog died, our cat (who had been extremely quiet and in the background) came forward, watching in the window for us to come home, greeting us at the door, asking for treats when we're busy at the computer. About 1 1/2 years after our mom died, a new woman came into dad's life. She helped him sort out life as he had to do then, in a very caring and good way. Life and death changes seems like are our greatest gifts from God. FROM JACK: Those are good examples of what I was trying to say. A former senator, Everett Dirkson (GOP) was criticized by some members of his party for changing his vote on a certain issue. His response: "Those who don't change are either dead or in an insane asylum."

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN: Your quote and comment are certainly food for my meditation today. FROM JACK: We change our clothes once in a while; what's wrong with changing our mind once in a while, too?

FROM PRDC IN KANSAS: Did you realize that describes cancer? Those old cells forget to die off and go away. They stay there and grow. AND how! To live we need to 'die' daily Have I heard that somewhere else? FROM JACK: That's an interesting thought. I've read that some cancer patients deal with the chemo process by visualizing two warring armies in battle with each other, with the "good guys" winning.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: As one of those "old things" and getting older everyday....I have a problem with this quote. LOL But, I do understand getting rid old: old hurts, old prejudices, old sins, old things which keep us from being renewed each day. FROM JACK: As I was saying...It's about change. There are times when hanging on the old is not a good thing. Especially, if "the old" leaves no room for "the new." I do not want to live on this earth forever and ever and ever and ever.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Thank goodness for some change. It would be a very boring life otherwise. It is indeed true that some changes are easier to live with than some. FROM JACK: Memory is a great gift. By it, we can hang on the good stuff, without having to live through some of the not-so-good stuff. I'm reminded of the lines by Robert Louis Stevenson: " The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings."

FROM MOLINER CF: I'm a pack rat, so I just make room for the new. Sometimes it takes a little juggling but why would you want to get rid of something you value? FROM JACK: What makes something valuable? Most of the "stuff" we've accumulated through the years will be tossed when we die, or saved by another pack rat.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winning Words 8/26/10
“Who knows where an idea comes from. Our inspiration. Why do we imagine what we imagine.” (Chuck Palahniuk) I’m in the midst of reading one of the books written by Chuck, and came across this quote. People sometimes ask me where I get my ideas. I wonder about that, too. Our body is truly amazing, but especially the brain. Think of what it must do just to process what I have written. Overload! ;-) Jack

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Chuck wonders where he gets his ideas? You wonder where you get your ideas too? We wonder where you get your ideas. But I wonder most of all where you get your desire to "connect." That the brain can generate this "connection" with other brains completely outside itself. And today's WW asking about the mysterious source. Even not knowing exactly the answers still connecting through the questions. Just amazing. FROM JACK: There are so many exciting things to learn....and so little time. BTW, On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was declared in effect. Willingness to change is important for countries, as well as for individualities. Now, where did that idea come from?

FROM R&MA IN MICHIGAN: Keep it up Jack - we love it all. Thanks We look forward to your winning words every day. They are truly inspiring! FROM JACK: At the last minute I deleted what I had planned to send. "Something" told me to substitute what I eventually sent. How does that happen?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: An idea is just a seed in the mind waiting to germinate. And the idea is an off-shoot of something seen or imagined. How truly magnificent is our amazing God Who create the perfectly formulated cells. FROM JACK: I remember the story of a little boy who was playing on a beach with a pail. He filled the pail with water and came running to his mother. "Look, mommie! I've got the ocean in my pail." That's the way it is with our knowledge about God.

FROM MOLINER CF: Ideas are only part of the solution. Action completes the cycle. FROM JACK: The brain creates the ideas and causes the action. Who's responsible?

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: You're a thinker. I think when we exercise our brain, like everything else, it works with acuity. I'll bet there are millions of people who never stopped to think where an idea came from...how it evolved, what makes us tick: I suppose our upbringing and environment would answer for a lot of that! I know I'm a lot better in "thinking outside the box" doing crossword puzzles than I used to be! :-) FROM JACK: Our Detroit Free Press now carries three crossword puzzles and do them most of the time. The "younger" generation think that the clues and how they relate to the answers is wierd. Wierd is an interesting word.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Winning Words 8/25/10
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is tying its shoes.” (Mark Twain) The speed of the internet makes it possible for lies to travel even faster than that. The point, as I see it, is not the speed of the lie, but, rather, how quickly some people are prone to see something as the truth without making a further investigation. Where is M.T. when we need him to put this thought into his kind of words? ;-) Jack

FROM YOOPER BOB: Your word for today reminds me of the pastor who had a gossiper in the congregation. He called the woman in and asked her to bring a pillow filled with feathers. He took the pillow, slit it with a knife, shook it out the window into a strong wind, and asked her to go out and pick them up. She replied it was impossible. He then lectured her on her gossip and half truths that spread quickly but could not be corrected. Yep, sounds like the internet. FROM JACK: Isn't it amazing what can be done with the internet and modern technology. Yesterday I was reading about a farmboy whose father wouldn't let him plant corn, because the rows weren't straight enough for the dad. Now the boy is grown and has his own farm. With his new John Deere planter and it's technology the corn rows can be within a half inch of perfection. "Good enough, Dad?"
MORE FROM BOB: Last fall I used that technology to chisel plow a strip 34 ft. wide. All I needed to do was turn the tractor around at the end of the field. Everything else directed itself. It is so clever that if you are going around bends, such as at a field by a river, you simply need to flip the switch the first path telling the computer to follow the route I stear, from then on it will follow the same curvitures and plow the entire field correctly.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: "how quickly" grabbed me. How quickly we move in today's world seems like it grows in us a superficiality of relationships. New fads are constantly opportunities for us and we are so busy often we don't do a deeper investigation. But, at the same time, I sense a counter-culture of hope and longing and yearning to really use these opportunities and get to know each other. Some one who is travelling around pretty fast can, in my opinion, if they are deeply authentic and centered in their faith, dispel a lot of the lies which are seeking to do damage to His creation in the world. I think the challenge is to deal with the authenticity more than the speed or slowness. Maybe this is a theory of spiritual relativity or something. FROM JACK: Looking back and looking ahead can sometimes be escapism...an unwillingness to deal with the the problems of the present. It's not always so, but we need to be on guard. "Fear" can cause us to look for safety..in the past or in the future.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: “I pity the fool that believes without investigating.” Mr. T. Oh, sorry wrong Mr. T. FROM JACK: More advice from Mr. T: "You're going through college, and you're going to be faced with a lot of things. You're going to face adversity, the main thing is don't quit. For many people it's easy to quit, but don't. That's what separates the winners from the losers, what separates the all-stars from the also-rans." I have a grandson who's going to be a college freshman. I should let him kmow what Mr. T said.

FROM AS IN MICHIGAN: very good and sooo true in these perplexing times! FROM JACK: Perplexing is an interesting and appropriate word.

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: how true this is!! FROM JACK: And it came within an hour from MN to MI.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Remember the phrase: Be careful what you do & say, you may be the only Bible somebody reads.... FROM JACK: Do remember the Sunday School song:

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
There's a Father up above, looking down in tender love,
So be careful little eyes, what you see.

Be careful little ears what you hear
Be careful little mouth what you say...
Be careful little hands, what you touch...
Be careful little feet, where you go...

FROM MOLINER CF: Today, M.T. would probably put it, " A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its Flip-Flops." FROM JACK: I don't know about that. Flip-flops can be put on pretty fast.

FROM ME IN CALIFORNIA: I always like the MT winning words. He and Norman Rockwell are 2 Americans that, from my perspective, shared a similar sense of humor and ability to capture the essence of the most wholesome and down to earth aspects of both American life and thought.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Hitler said, "The Bigger the lie, the more it is believed..." I guess that has been proven, also. Good quote: We are all too gullible! I try to verify through truthorfiction.com., or snopes before I pass on something too fantastic, but sometimes I am "snookered"...again! FROM JACK: Instead of being gullible, I'd rather say that the average person wants to believe what's being told to him/her.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Winning Words 8/24/10
“The goal is to become blackboards for God to write upon.” (Henrik Ibsen) I like the imagery of these words. They’re from Ibsen’s drama, Brand. Brand sees himself as being on a mission from God. In a sense, our coming into this world is a mission. We each have a personal opportunity to accomplish something. To be a “blackboard for God” can be such a one. Thankfully, God also provides erasers. ;-) Jack

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: This word is excellent! Sometimes I think that I might use up my 'eraser', but God is always faithful even when I am not (i really like Him). FROM JACK: God has an unlimited supply of erasers. "Ask, and you shall receive."

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: This word is excellent in my opinion too. Last night in VBS we studied the story about Tabitha. How there is that one feminine pronoun for disciple in the New Testament. It's awesome to think and believe that God is still writing, that He, so to speak, uses the permanent/temporaryness of blackboards (us) to get His historical message across to His Church, to the world. Just hope all of us can read as well as Tabitha and Peter did. FROM JACK: I think it's interesting that the name, Tabitha, is similar to the word, tabula, which means
, a smoothed tablet, like a mind in its earliest state, before it has been drawn on by other people or life's circumstances. I should look up, Tabitha, to see the derivation of the name.

FROM LK IN OHIO: Have a good day......whatever one's view of God, I think this is worth pondering. FROM JACK: I'm pondering......Does the fact that we are all individuals mean that there are as many views of God as there are people? Maybe it underscores the truth that G-d is infinite.

FROM YOOPER BOB: Excellent quote and energizer for the day. FROM JACK: Speaking of "imagery," I'll never forget your challenging sermon: "We should all be artificial inseminators for God."

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: My friend and I just saw an excellent presentation of Henrik Ibsen's play THE DOLL HOUSE. He was ahead of his time, in presenting a viewpoint sympathetic to women's rights! The Doll House wife (Time:1890) leaves her husband and 3 young children at the end of the play, in order to "find" herself and develop into a full-fledged human being, rather than to stay in an unsatisfying marriage, and be the proper, shallow-minded, beautiful "nightingale" bird of a wife, she was expected to be. I could identify with leaving the marriage, but not my children!! I can only imagine what a furor that play caused in the late 1800's! I was pleasantly surprised to see this Christian quote by him! How thankful I am to be a 20th-21st century woman in America. How blessed we are!!! Hopefully our blackboards have some meaningful writing on them that may reflect in favor of Christ! FROM JACK: Sometimes grandchildren can't believe what was considered "acceptable" in the days when I was growing up. To read about it in history books or to see it in a play is one thing, but to hear it "first-hand" is another. "I can't believe it, grandpa!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winning Words 8/23/10
“Help us to do the things we should, to be to others kind and good.” (Rebecca Weston, 1890) A WWs friend says that he sings a little song each morning when he wakes up. Today’s quote is one line from that song. I’ll post the rest on the blog for those who are interested. It’s really a prayer set to music. The first verse is one of giving thanks. The second asks for help in becoming a better person. ;-) Jack

Father, we thank thee for the night, and for the pleasant morning light;
for rest and food and loving care, and all that makes the world so fair.

Help us to do the things we should, to be to others kind and good;
in all we do, in work or play, to grow more loving every day.

FROM CS IN WISCONSIN: What wonderful memories this quote brought up today for me. My mother taught the prayer to me and hundreds of other Sunday School kids while she was Sunday School Superintendent. It was a part of our opening worship time each Sunday morning. I doubt she knew who Rebecca Weston was, but maybe this was something she learned at church as she grew up. My mom was born in 1908. Thanks for some wonderful memories today! FROM JACK: There are so many good things that were learned in Sunday School. Besides this little song, I also learned the 23rd Psalm when I was in Kindergarten. For being able to recite it from memory, I was given a prize...a necktie. A "great" gift for a 5-yr-old. But a better gift was putting that psalm into my memory bank.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Ah yes. My sister and I sang that in the nursery and kindergarten dept. of the Lutheran church in our neighborhood in Moline. "in all we do, in all we say, to grow like Jesus every day...".Pretty basic theology, isn't it? :-) A pleasant memory! Words set to music stay with us forever, it seems. FROM JACK: From Kindergarten until now....SEE, there is a forever!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Winning Words 8/20/10
“The less you know, the more you believe.” (Bono) One problem with sayings like this is that they can’t be applied to all situations. However Bono’s quote can be applied to some situations. I’m sure that we’ve all heard people give opinions when it’s obvious that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Maybe it’s just the way I am, but I don’t feel like being argumentative in those situations. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: I learned from (my debate professor) that you don't come to a debate with just verbosity....you better know what you are talking about. That is why I rarely entered the "debates" on the synod floor....they were mostly hot air. I don't think I ever heard anything on the synod floor that even resembled a real debate. We were hearing mainly "our gut reactions" which usually were of the lowest level possible. FROM JACK: Isn't there a difference between a debate and a discussion?

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Enjoyed your WW this morning again for the zillioneth time. Also am reflecting upon your own WW at the end too. They are making me connect to an issue I am getting more and more passionate about. About three weeks, sitting by Betty's bedside as she was actively dying, with her two
sisters, we for some strange reason (perhaps because we were talking about everything under the sun) got to talking about homosexuality. Both stated their belief that homosexual attraction and behavior is unnatural, abnormal, sort of an anomaly in creation (that last part is my words), they only said unnatural, abnormal, wrong even. They related to me that they know homosexuals and don't like the whole issue flaunted in their
faces. However, it turned out that they don't like all the homosexuals on the TV, in the movies, in the newspapers with their pride marches, etc., etc., etc. and that they don't even talk about sexuality with their homosexual friends and acquaintances. Actually, those are often the kinds of conversations one gets into at 11:30, 12:00 at night when things get really quiet and also inhibitions are loosened I guess. I belong to a group at the Presbyterian Church here in town, where homosexuality is not thought of in that way at all, in fact the people, heterosexual and homosexual are trying to forge ahead and regard the relationships we all want as God-given and with every possibility of being natural, normal, healthy, right even. The crux of the matter is that, in the past I would--in the search for peace--not let people know what I was thinking but actually now because I see how unaccepting people are of the whole homosexuals that they know, I am trying to stick my neck out and say what I think without at the same time getting into an argument. Maybe what I say one time isn't accepted at the time but later on, down the road, all our thinking will be changed and a more whole and healed and God-pleasing faith community will be formed. This is a touchy WW and I know a lot of us struggle with how to talk to each other and actually learn so we actually know more and not less and believe more truthfully and less dishonestly. Thanks again for enabling so many to express themselves on things which also are touchy and we just want peace and love all over. FROM JACK: You said a mouthful and have given us something to "chew on" today. Some might think it seems incongruous that sitting in the midst of the dying experience and a discussion of homosexuality are put together. Perhaps it's just the reality of the "life" experience. Thanks for sharing this.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: not that life is a competition, but...a debate with such a person is pretty much a lose-lose situation. FROM JACK: I'm uncomforable around someone who's looking for a "gotcha" retort.

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: It's difficult to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person... FROM JACK: It's especially true if the unarmed person is a "half-wit." Or, if either of us sees the other as a "nit-wit."

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: Thank you - when someone is so certain of his view I just listen. No arguments from me either. FROM JACK: I don't mind if people express their opinions. The "opinionated" are the ones who turn me off.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: ......interesting. It's the old Faith/Inductive Reasoning argument. Kierkegaard settled it with his "leap of faith" conclusion wherein he suggested that it's wise to take reason as far as it will go and when you reach a chasm "leap over it". That, the leap, is faith. I think that knowledge and reason are companions.....faith is the glue. FROM JACK: I'll take your word for it....and Soren's, too.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Or the more you know the less you know you don't know-or something like that. FROM JACK: Good thought! You're putting a positive spin on Bono's words.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: The less you know, the more you believe? A nebulous saying at best. I can't grasp what he might have meant, although probably in the case of faith, those who make a real critical study of the Scriptures find many contradictions, and reasons for doubt. They would have to work harder to have simple faith of the child that is held up to us as ideal...I have certainly had my times of wrestling! He seems to be
saying that the less knowledge, the more believable something is...?! AGHHHHHHHHH! FROM JACK: Read again my commentary on Bobo's words. For example, there are people who form religious beliefs without bothering to study the background of their sources (the Bible, for example). There are people who express strong opinions about what this country stands for, without studying history.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Winning Words 8/19/10
“You can’t do everything at once, but you can do something at once.” (Calvin Coolidge) President Coolidge was sometimes referred to as “Silent Cal,” because he didn’t offer many opinions. However, today’s words were well spoken by him. There may be some times when we have so many things on our “to-do-list” that we are overwhelmed. Cal says to start by doing one thing. ;-) Jack

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Excellent. FROM JACK: If the shoe fits......

FROM MOLINER CF: Some of the people can do everything at once some of the time and all of the people can do some things all at once all of the time, but not all of the people can do everything at once all of the time, Abe Sundquist FROM JACK: Sunny's answer is convoluted.

FROM LP IN MICHIGAN: A good idea for today. It's amazing how much piles up on the to-do list when you're out of the office, even for a few days. Thanks FROM JACK: It even piles up on the desk of retirees.

FROM PRFM IN WISCONSIN: I have a host of e-mails but I'm going to respond one by one, starting with this one, because Coolidge was right! FROM JACK: "Win them, win them, one by one!" Do you remember that song?

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Great WW for those of us who are habitually procrastinators. Thanks!!!!! I've got a thing in mind to do tonight yet.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Good thought: like "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"...just tackle ONE thing at once! I read a good quote yesterday, which said, "One of the gifts of getting older is that we get to keep all the ages we've been." It was quoted by Carol Kuykekndall in Daily Guideposts, but was not original with her. (I guess anonymous...) All of our ages have special blessings, even old age!! :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winning Words 8/18/10
“The thing you have to be prepared for is that other people don’t always dream your dream.” (Linda Ronstadt) A friend of my son’s used to keep a poster of Linda in his room when he was in high school. LR has recorded many songs, including, “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” The kind of dreaming we do is not always done at night. No matter what age you might be, don’t stop dreaming. ;-) Jack

FROM NL IN INDIANA: Amen to that: FROM JACK: Coming up with ideas (dreaming) is a characteristic that I see in you.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN: -Linda Ronstadt’s mother was from the Flint area. I think my mom knew of her through the Junior League of Flint. I liked her music. FROM JACK: I decided to look it up. Her mother, Ruthmary Copeman, was indeed from the Flint area. Her grandfather was an inventor with nearly 700 patents, including an early version of the microwave oven. Did you have a poster of Linda in your room? MORE FROM MV: I remember the name Copeman. No poster for me-not even any albums. I did like her voice and music though.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: "We fly forgotten as a dream Dies at the opening day" FROM JACK: That Isaac Watts was a great hymn writer. I have a book where I record some of my dreams so I don't forget them. Recently I dreamed that as I stepped into the pulpit to preach I found that someone had removed my notes.
MORE FROM JS: That actually happened to me....fortunately, I rarely ever looked at them so I was ok....but it was unnerving to realize that they were gone. It turned out that the person giving the Temple Talk that day for Stewardship had taken them when he was done....along with his own notes.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: My son formed a friendship with a young man when they were in the same dorm at the university. He was a music major, has written several compositions, and won some prizes too. Later he decided to get into Information Technology and was employed for quite a few years in that field, and earning well. One day he decided he wanted to be an artist, quit work, and on his own got involved painting ... essentially self taught. Fulfilling a dream he paints full time now and his work is impressive. FROM JACK: I like John Lennon's song, Imagine, in which one lines goes: "You may say that I'm a dreamer..." This world needs more dreamers.

FROM MOLINER CF: Daydreams are more interesting than night dreams because you can control them. (Yeah, I'm a control freak!) FROM JACK: Congratulations! I'm not able to control all of my dreams, day or night...just some of them.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I just want to be able to dream the vision God wants to put into my heart and head. When other people have different ideas often I get confused and full of doubts and frankly that unprepares me to act in doing things that would really be good to do. It's not always easy to distinguish what's wise in other people and myself and for not putting up walls between us and God's dreaming in us. FROM JACK: I'm wondering.... Does God dream?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: The older you get, that's all you can do! And some of it's realistic..... FROM JACK: Do you dream during your afternoon nap? And how about during the Sunday sermon?

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: AMEN, brother. Never give up dreaming! How fortunate to be living in AMERICA, where dreams can often be implemented. In our old age, we probably have more time to "dream", but less physical acuity to implement them...nevertheless, you have to have a dream.... FROM JACK: "Stone walls do not a prison make." Dreams allow one to fly over the walls of life's prisons.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winning Words 8/17/10
“Justice is when you get what you deserve. Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve.” (Sent by MO) MO was stopped for speeding. The police officer gave her a warning, and she saw that as an act of Grace. I wonder. Do officers give more warnings to females than to males? It’s a good thing that God’s Grace doesn’t apply to gender…or so I think. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJS: And God is Just, Merciful and Gracious FROM JACK: But do you think that God treats females with more grace than males?

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: I’ve had two warnings from State Police and one from a city cop. But it was long ago. FROM JACK: Were any of them female officers?

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: One of my friends is struggling with shop-lifting. She is a sweet-looking short grandmotherly type woman. I think she has received grace upon grace with this problem. Our Pastor's words last Sunday are apt for either grace or punishment "What did you learn from this, son?" spoken by his father over the years. He must have learned enough to want to become a Pastor. FROM JACK: It's like in school. Some are learners, and some are not. The lessons are out there every day.

FROM MOLINER CF: Depends upon whether it is a male or female officer. FROM JACK: Do you remember when you got your first traffic ticket?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Well stated by MO Why aren't you sure about grace? FROM JACK: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" Romans 11:34 I'm leaving GRACE up to him/her.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: My husband had no doubt that females were the "warning' tickets winners!! Ha!

FROM IE IN MICHIGAN: In my opinion-MERCY-is when you get more than you deserve..GRACE-is appreciating & thankful for what you've got... FROM JACK: You're right! Because a recognition of Mercy and Grace are in the mind of the one who receives them. If one is not aware of them, what is the meaning of them. Can there be a gift without a receiver? Just wondering....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Winning Words 8/16/10
“You can get better, or you can get bitter.” (Rob who is an ex-con) Rob is in a Bible study group with a friend of mine. After Rob’s stay in prison and a suicide attempt, he became a Christian and went on to become a minister. He is now the director of a Rescue Mission. An unfortunate event in life can become like a fork in the road. As Rob said, “It can make you bitter or better.” Do you know what I mean? ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Rob's statement is so succinct but says a lot. I give financial support to a Rescue Mission here, but it's the people who are working on the spot who are due respect. Somehow we never think about the backgrounds from which they come, and how they have overcome personal desperation. FROM JACK: The "bitter" ones often make the headlines, while the "better" ones have another goal in mind. Ultimately, life is a matter of the choices we make.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Unfortunate events happen in so many of our lives. When a person can finally, guided through by Jesus and His people, embrace the crap which makes us who we truthfully are, seems like it is exactly part and parcel with these unfortunate events that we can be of greater service to God with our own very precisely unique gifts and talents. It's amazing when other people can also accept the unfortunate events in our lives and not pity or look down on us because of them. FROM JACK: Life is one event after another. Whether they are fortunate or unfortunate depends, in large part, on how we respond to them.

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: As I move further and further into my '50s, I find myself surrounded by family members and friends who are experiencing mid-life crises. They are looking at their children who have not accomplished what their parents wanted, looking at their lives and wondering why their relationships are not what they thought they would be, and beginning to address why things have or have not happened. I am so thankful that, despite my unemployment situation, that God has blessed me with a support structure that I feed upon, rely upon, and cherish. It is this network that makes me strong and keeps me going and teaches me more each day. It, by the way, is surprising that some people whom one would think are more grounded are those who are less grounded. At the same time, it is such a blessing and joy to be around those who are strong and can help carry you through. FROM JACK: I've always believed that the way to a "better" life is to have a good value system. It allows you to put things into perspective and to know what's really important. You've got your head screwed on straight, as the saying goes.

FROM MOLINER CF: Bitter is the bad taste in the mouth of life. FROM JACK: As the "new" generation might say: "Sweet!"

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: Yes I know what you mean... FROM JACK: It's easier to be bitter than it is to be better.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I know what you mean. Take the correct fork and use it the correct way. Amen FROM JACK: Sometimes you go to a fancy dinner, and there are too many forks. Life can be like that.

FROM GUSTIE MN: Interesting—a couple of weeks ago Huckabee had a fellow that was a minister now in a huge church, but he had been in jail for murder. He really turned his life around. FROM JACK: That's what conversion is....turning your life around.

FROM HAWKEYE GS: I MADE THE LIST!! FROM JACK: Yep! It was your friend and your Bible study group. And he's not the only "miracle baby" either, is he?

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Fortunatly, not by personal experience. By the way, have you read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson? He is the son of a Lutheran minister from Minnesota who went to Africa and who established schools and hospitals. I have just begun the book and so far it is quite interesting. FROM JACK: Yes, I've heard good things about the book. I don't want to be picky, but I think that what makes the story even more interesting is that Greg went to Pakistan and Afghanistan, dangerous places to be for the kind of work he was doing.

FROM PRFM IN WISCONSIN: Take the 'i' out of bitter and add an 'e' for effort and things are better!

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: This is so strange: My husband once preached a sermon titled, "BETTER OR BITTER?!" What a difference one little vowel can make! A positive attitude certainly helps to promote healing...but most of us have not had to deal with such severe stresses as this prison buddy. How wonderful that he found "In everything God is working for Good to those who love him". I have found He can bring good out of very bad situations, eventually, if we hang on, and keep the faith!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Winning Words 8/13/10
“Believing means never having to explain, why.” (Gary Gutting) I saw these words in an article in the NY Times. Gutting is a professor at Notre Dame and says that many people don’t want to explore their faith. A seminary teacher once told us: “You can’t find God at the end of a logical syllogism.” It’s nice to know that you have faith, but it’s better to know why you have faith. ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN MICHIGAN: I think one finds God at the "beginning" of a syllogism FROM JACK: Let me know when you've got him cornered. MORE FROM RG: I spend too much time trying to get out of my own corners. Anyway, when something gets cornered, it's usually unpleasant soon after! I doubt "cornering" God is
much different. Finding God is much different.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: My pastor says that "A man with a revelation (personal experience with God) is never at a disadvantage with someone with a theology". FROM: A personal revelation is a theology. Theology means a "reasoning about God." Theology is not a bad word, but just a way of describing how we think about God. Revelation means that we have caught a personal glimpse of God.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Your WW today have struck a strong note with me. I believe the most necessary thing for us to do to evangelize is to probe our faith and learn how to express things to other people, particularly our "meetings" with Jesus. All those stories in the Bible where Jesus and another person encountered and then when the people shared the encounter with others are what I think we can and still need to be about today. But, often I've found in todays scientific and rationalistic milieau people aren't receptive to each others stories. Even people come into our churches and try to tell us their stories but we don't receive them well, they say things like they've found they "can only come in so far" or "we're not friendly" or whatever they didn't find with us but I think the problem is really with valuing and treasuring our stories with each other so that we do find a sense of belonging and affirmation. Even the early Corinthian church where the new slaves and the elite eating all the food by themselves, did those people really honor and respect each other's encounters with Jesus? This is why I think there is so much church hopping now-a-days--people are searching for a place where their stories are at least acknowledged and where others find the stories useful. This is why I believe churches should strive to be inclusive--let everyone in and help and hear each other to "tell their own story" about their encounter with Jesus and this especially is why our stories cannot be private and not for others too. Often I think I've heard far more telling of stories about encounters with God at the AA meeting downstairs and also far more appreciation and acceptance and growth of faith than in the sanctuary upstairs, a lot of us religious people don't want to explain our faith, we think it's not so important in this culture, in this day and age. Sometimes people like to think we live in a Christian culture so they don't have to be so different as Christians and do any telling at all. Maybe we also think people will laugh at us or something, I don't know how we got so private. Well, I've gone on a toot here but this is something that I'm passionate about. FROM JACK: Well, your toooooooot is a long one, but I hope th blog readers take the time to read it, because you have some interesting and relevant comments. MORE FROM SH: And I think we need to work harder on being really welcoming and receptive to hearing other people's stories of their encounters with Jesus. Whole groups of people are often excluded from our faith communities because we do not open ourselves up to the Truth in other peoples' lives.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: I agree with you....I believe but it is important to me to know why ....and to be able to pass that along to others... FROM JACK: Do you remember the child's game, "Pass It On" and how the message got garbled as it was passed around the circle from one person to another? That can sometimes happen when the "faith" is passed on. Thanks for the Holy Spirit who "calls, gathers and enlightens..."

FROM PRDC IN KANSAS: Did you pick up the comment by Peter Marty in the latest LUTHERAN? The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. FROM JACK: Yes, I read it, and I agree. I also read recently: "Never confuse the faith with the supposedly faithful."

FROM SG IN TAMPA: To me faith is a great gift and some people refuse the gift. FROM JACK: It's the gift that keeps on giving, because faith is a growing experience.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: When you eat out do you have faith in the chef? FROM JACK: I had an uncle who would never eat in a restaurant without first going in and inspecting the kitchen. If they refused his request, he wouldn't eat there. I have some of his characteristics, but not that one.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Faith is a wonderful thing...we don't have to justify believing...just have faith. Amen! FROM JACK: I'm not writing about justifying, but rather being confident enough so as not to be afraid of exploring.

FROM MOLINER CF: Help me with this. It seems to me that the two philosophies are contradictory. What am I missing/ (No smart remarks) FROM JACK: Since you asked, here's my opinion. If someone says that they have "faith," it's OK to ask them, "What do you mean by that?" It's not meant to be argumentative, but rather informative. Your faith may, or may not, be the same as mine. That doesn't mean that either is right. In order to understand one another, we need to explore what the other is saying. Communication. A problem, as I see it, is that many people say that they have faith, but haven't examined what they mean by "faith."

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: It's a good thing I don't have to find God at the end of a logical syllogism. I don't even know what one is! But, I know Who God is and, best of all, God knows me! FROM JACK: Karl Barth was once asked to explain his faith. He responded: "Jesus loves me, this I know." You're in good company.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: BELIEVING= what you base your life on! I would guess there are times when you DO have to explain why you believe. No one can argue with the experiences you have, even if they do not share that particular faith or belief. We all work our way through doubts and fears, and eventually come out stronger for the struggle...Doesn't the Bible tell us, "Always be ready to give a reason for your faith"? St.
Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." AHA!~ FROM JACK: Edgar Guest, from Detroit, wrote a poem: "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Winning Words 8/12/10
“I used to believe that anything was better than nothing. Now I know that sometimes nothing is better.” (Glenda Jackson) When I first read these words, I was compelled to look at the background. Movie star Glenda came from the English working class and is known for being outspoken. Life has not always been easy for her, but she has made some pretty good adjustments. Good advice! ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: A perfect example of this quote relates to the development of vacant land. Driving along most of our roads is testimony to that. FROM JACK: Thanks for the good observation. The city of Detroit is considering removing dilapidated structures and returning the property to farmland. It's another kind of urban renewal.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I just watched a DVD "Urban Farmer" about people in New York City planting urban gardens to help the local citizens have the communities they can live in better. People in all the major cities seem to be doing this kind of thing. I'm just concerned that the grass-roots of the people have the most say and urban farming doesn't get co-opted by monied interests. People with money aren't always better at doing things than people with limited resources but who have a much better and more democratic and empowering vision. What is needed is the right kind of friends with money, the kind who don't actually love money more than people. And also God's creation. FROM JACK: Well, you and your friends are doing something about the situation by developing a garden next to your suburban church and giving the food to the needy. GOOD!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We all know and remember: it's the little things in life which make us the happiest. It is very true! True moments of utter happiness come from the things we cannot buy. So sometimes nothing is better! Nothing money can buy anyway. I'm sure your bloggers will come up with many many things which are considered "nothing" but simply pure happiness. FROM JACK: What is nothing? I guess that a nothing is a something, too.

FROM MOLINER CF: I was sad that I had no friends until I met a man who had no money. FROM JACK: Yes, it's clever. The reality: People without friends, without money, without health, without hope, without anything make me sad. There's an old hymn with a line that goes: "Without money, without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy." I had an uncle who used to refer to it as The Depression Hymn.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Does she mean to say, "just anything" is not better than nothing? I suppose so, and that would probably be true, but usually something IS better than nothing, in my humble opinion. But what do I know??! FROM JACK: The bloggers have made some interesting comments which have caused me to think in new directions. However, I still hold to the idea that nothing would be better than some things.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Winning Words 8/11/10
“People come into your life and people go, but it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart, and if you’re lucky enough, a plane ride away.” (Michael Patrick King) “People come, and people go,” is a realistic statement and poignant at the same time. When you truly love someone they never ever leave the heart. The mind may go to other things, but not the heart. Is that true? ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: The heart has such vast capacity if one chooses to take advantage of it. If you don't access the items in the mind they gradually disappear, but what you put in your heart remains there and can be retrieved anytime. Though my mother and father are long gone from this life, I continue to connect with them daily in my heart. FROM JACK: It's strange, but I can picture in my mind right now, the grave site where my parents are buried. Even better, I can picture "them" at various times in my life. MORE FROM RI: I have the same perception, usually thinking of them not as deteriorating there, but sleeping.


FROM FOXY ROXY: Absolutely true. Love that statement.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Absolutely!!! But I'm lucky enough to have them a car ride away! True blessings!

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: Oh my --- that one almost made me weep. It's so true. FROM JACK: I remember hearing this song in a Charlie Chaplin movie....
Smile though your heart is aching;
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you.

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.

That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Yes, and for those a plane ride away, it is a blessing to be a former airline employee.

FROM MOLINER CF: The heart is an organ that plays the world's most beautiful love songs.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Absolutely!

FROM MOLINER JT: I do a lot of reflecting these days. What is in the heart is so important. FROM JACK: Yes, a time for reflection can cause us to count our blessings.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: As I've noted before, those of us given long lives, bear the losses. By our age, we may have more dear ones in our hearts that on Earth! Of course I am thankful that my children (so far) survive me! I think your winning words today are very true. FROM JACK: Here's a poem by Annie Johnson Flint that I like.

God has not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives thro’;
God has not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

God has not promised
We shall not know
Toil and temptation,
Trouble and woe;
He has not told us
We shall not bear
Many a burden,
Many a care.

But God has promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.

FROM STARRY KNIGHT IN CALIFORNIA:Lucky enough, mine truely are just a plane ride away! On Wisconsin!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winning Words 8/10/10
“Friends are God’s way of smoothing out the bumps on the road of life.” (Unknown) This quote and yesterday’s are from a book of sayings for seniors that was given to me by a friend last week. I’ve had fun paging through it and checking off sayings that make me smile and make me think. Today might be a good time to think about those people and those things that help smooth out the bumps in life. ;-) Jack

FROM MK IN MICHIGAN: Sometimes I find Friends are the bumps in the road. FROM JACK: I hadn't thought of it that way, but friends do sometimes cause us to rethink the road we are traveling. I've read that good leaders don't always want YES(people) surrounding them.

FROM R&MA IN MICHIGAN: Amen. Thanks Jack! FROM JACK: Smoooooth!

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: i am blessed to have a colorful group of friends. they each have a characteristic that strengthens what i lack. together we are a strong whole. FROM JACK: It's no wonder that you like rainbows. You and your friends are "The Rainbow Connection."

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: What WOULD we do without good friends? Our H.S. gang (used to be the "21", now down to 12) still keeps in close touch, although we are scattered all over the U.S. My bridge friends, my golf friends, my church friends, my FAMILY friends!!!! Hurray for friends that do ease the bumps of life! And by now most of us have had quite a few bumps and chuck holes to deal with! FROM JACK: ....and your e-mail friends, too. ....and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus!"

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Thanks for sending. I don't see much negativity there...only reasonable judgment.
FROM JACK: Beauty (and negativity) is in the eye of the beholder.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: This is so true. I can't imagine how one would get through life without them! FROM JACK: I like the song: That's What Friends Are For.

FROM MOLINER CF: Sometimes good friends act as speed-bumps as well. They have saved me from a headlong plunge more than once. FROM JACK: Speed bumps are sometimes am aggravation. So are speed signs and speed cops, but they're for our benefit. Such is life.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: I love this one….my friends are the spice of my life. They make me laugh, share their lives with me and make my life worth living. God has blessed me with an abundance of friends who are always taking care of me. I am truly thankful for you, dear friend, and for all of my friends! FROM JACK: Just as there are difference kinds of spices, there are also different kinds of friends. See if you can identify a certain friend with a certain spice.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Love all my friends! "Make you friends but keep the old, one is Silver and the other is Gold". I learned the song in Girl Scouts. I have some oldie but goodie friends and some new friends....all are precious. FROM JACK: Friendship, friendship, what a perfect blendship. Do you know the rest of that song?

FROM DS IN MICHIGAN: What would we do without family and friends? FROM JACK: Thanks to YouTube and "went" and relistened to one of my favorite Bacharach songs, "That's What Friends Are for," sung by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. GREAT!

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: You are one of those who can smooth out lifes bumps. Thanks for all you do

Monday, August 09, 2010

Winning Words 8/9/10
“Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we are born.” (Albert Einstein) One of my favorite radio programs when I was growing up was, “I Love a Mystery.” I continue to be interested in mysteries and puzzles. I’m still working on the mystery of life and why things happen as they do. The radio drama had an answer at the end. I expect that life will be like that, too. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I think that if Einstein felt that way, who am I to disregard his advice. Many great minds have pondered the mystery of life, and expressed their opinions, but the mystery has never been solved and determined "case closed." FROM JACK: In this e-mail response, I started to list the "mysteries" I came across while reading the newspaper this morning. But, I want to start the week out on a positive note, so I've decided to re-write my e-mail to you and not disclose my list.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: This reminds me of a really Christmasy WW. Doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that, if we have a mystery that is really dogging us in our lives, eventually God will reveal a solution, even if it's just the windstorm blowing around Job or something. Seems like this is a very spiritual WW, especially since Great Mystery is capitalized and it's really cool, a relief even, to know our scientists think like this. FROM JACK: I like that part of Handel's "Messiah" where the bass sings: "Behold, I tell you a mystery," a quote from 1 Corinthians 15:51,52.

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: Another thing that you say that I could not agree more with. One of my grandsons says to me "Don't say, isn't that interesting? one more time!" FROM JACK: What an interesting comment from your grandson!

FROM PRGC IN SANDIEGO: Like you I am a curious child re the Great Mystery. Maybe the end of each of our lives will be a huge revelation. And that might not be so. It could be a partial revelation. Been doing some reading on this subject plus a bit of writing. A thick cloud seems to hang over an answer. FROM JACK: It's like Hjalmar said: "You can't unscrew the inscrutable."

FROM MOLINER CF: Sometimes I envy fatalists. They don't worry about stuff like this. FROM JACK: Do you mean that you're not curious about the things that go on around you?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I'm also curious about what is around the corner. I believe most of us are. It's a matter of what you think is around the corner.....happiness, discovery, joy or does one expect doom and gloom. I prefer to look at the Great Mystery as one of brightness and light and eternal joy. FROM JACK: I like this Bible verse: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Someday the mystery shall be revealed.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I read the huge bio. of Albert Einstein, which was interesting, to say the least...he was a unique individual!! I guess if we believe the verse, "then you shall know, even as you are known", we will
have some answers. As Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, "You've got some 'splaining to do! (God)!" FROM JACK: I wonder language God will use. What if he (she) talks like Ricky? MORE FROM MO: I've thought that many times, and so often when I'm teaching Sunday School, wish for a few details: You just have to take educated guesses about motives, missing insights, etc. etc.! I love your quote from your professor: You can't unscrew the inscrutable...that is a gem!!!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Winning Words 8/6/10
“Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.” (Shakespeare) These words are from the play, All’s Well that Ends Well, and were written over 400 years ago. Times may change, but truth does not. This particular quote is listed among the top five from Shakespeare’s works. Do you think that you can name the other four? BTW, my computer says that I’ve used this quote before. I can’t remember. ;-) Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GS: Circumstances change in 400 years, but people's behavior doesn't. FROM JACK: But truth remains the same, or does it? As Pilate asked, "What is truth?"

FROM MF IN MICHIGAN: I can not name the other four, without researching it. Often your WW's compel me to look into and ponder. You do your job well. FROM JACK: My source says: a) Friendship is constant; b) Love is blind; c) We know not what we are; d) Cowards die many times. Each one of them could be on my list of Winning Words...and Shakespeare has many more. Thanks for your constant friendship.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Thanks for jogging my memory so early in the morning. Thanks for all of the WW, too. The only one that pops into my mind is "to thine self be true." Even though I was an English major and teacher in the past, I haven't been reading the classics lately, An outstanding memory was seeing Macbeth at Elsinore, the setting for the drama, outside of Copenhagen with Richard Burton and Claire Bloom in l954. Right now my light reading includes Florida writer Carl Hiaasen(a favorite isTourist Season) and also Three Cups of Tea. FROM JACK: See the blog for the "four," but I think that your choice should be on the list. We have the Stratford Theatre in Ontario (across the river) where WS lovers can regularly enjoy his plays.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Just got back from Shipshewana with three of my friends. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast and one of the hostesses was an Amish woman by the name of Miriam. Most of this quote would pertain to the Amish and Mennonites; I'm not so sure of the "trust a few" part. (As for the Shakespeare quotes..."Out, out damned spot" would be a good one. FROM JACK: Shipshewana is a favorite spot to visit, although we've never stayed overnight. I like to watch the auctions. Did WS have a dog named, Spot?

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: "to be or not to be...that is the question." "a rose by any other name would smell so sweet." FROM JACK: I like yours better than what the top ones listed.

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well! I think this is one of the best-known quotes. It goes well with "Dust you are and to dust you will return" from the Bible. Neither is as well-known as "To be or not to be." I wonder if half the populace knows the difference between biblical and Shakespearean quotes!
FROM JACK: To know the source is good. To know the quote is better. To know the meaning is best.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I haven';t seen the Shakespeare quote before, but I am a fairly new reader...about a year now, isn't? This quote seems very Biblical! You can imagine Jesus teaching such truths... FROM JACK: I can imagine that Jesus taught many things that are not recorded in the Bible. See John 21:25.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Winning Words 8/5/10
“Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, gotta go through it.” (Rosen & Oxenbury) I think that this quote is from the book, Going on a Bear Hunt. It was sent to me by someone who was faced with a problem and learned to handle it by reading this childrens book. We can sometimes find help with “our situations” by looking in some unusual places. Who would think that a book about a bear hunt would be one? ;-) Jack

FROM SL IN MICHIGAN: Over the last six weeks since my Dad's death we have said this to my Mom. She gets upset with herself when she has sad times. I have told her over and over again "Mom you just have to trudge through this". She took some masters classes many years ago in grief recovery and learned there the same thing. It is life, isn't it? The good and the bad! We just have to go through it. I find children's books some of the best examples of that. The Selfish Giant, The Tale of Three Trees, Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect, three examples of great lessons for all of us. You continue to inspire me each day. Thank you! FROM JACK: I like the book, "Tough Times Never Last; Tough People Do." Everyone deals with the death of a loved one in their own way. You in your's, and your mom in her's...but we can help one another, and that's what's important.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Today's quote really appeals to me this morning. FROM JACK: Working on puzzles is a challenge for me. Sometimes life is a puzzle.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: "i'm not afraid!?!?!?!?!?" FROM JACK: Fear comes in a variety of packages. MORE FROM ML: and we just have to go through it.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: This one certainly applies to my recent surgery. It's an interesting journey and I'm learning a lot about myself. FROM JACK: Yes, we are complex individuals, in more ways than one.

FROM PRCH ON CAPE COD: It’s a great book… had so much fun reading that one to our girls… (taking a break in the middle of the day/morning to go clamming at low tide- so not bear hunting for me but Quahog hunting) FROM JACK: You could write new book: "Going on a Quahog Hunt," or "Questing for Quahogs."

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: My wife used this story every year she taught elementary school. i can recite most of it from memory. FROM JACK: If you can recite it from memory, you shouldn't have any trouble going over, going under, or going through "situations."

FROM MOLINER CF: Ever heard of an end run? FROM JACK: You're right. Another solution is to "go around it." I've used that trick on occasion.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: We'll be getting this book for our Mustard Seed Library. Thanks for telling us about it and for all the reviews here on your blog. Pastor David gave us a quote some old lady told her religion professor: "My God is so high, you can't get over Him. He's so low, you can't get under Him. He's so wide, you can get round Him. You must come in, by and thru the Lamb." Great to know the message can come to children in their language too, as well as old ladies.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: A friend sent me a little whimsical book "When You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow", by Cooper Edens, when Bill was dying of Brain cancer, and I was taking care of him at home. Just pure whimsy, but I loved that book, and it made me smile. It ended with, "If There is no happy ending,Make one out of cookie dough!" Help from unusual books, again. FROM JACK: Poignant!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Winning Words 8/4/10
“It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say, and say the opposite.” (Sam Levenson) Levenson was a former teacher who became a comedian and writer. A lot of his humor was based on experiences that he had while teaching in the classroom. He grew up in a large Jewish immigrant family which provided other experiences for his humor. Do you remember him? ;-) Jack

FROM MI ATTORNEY: I remember him well; he was a favorite of my parents. He was like a Jewish Bill Cosby, drawing his humor from his own experiences. FROM JACK: I liked the way he chuckled when he told his stories.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: What program was Sam Levenson on? There were years in my life that I watched very little TV. FROM JACK: Sam Levenson was a originally a Spanish teacher. He as an author, he wrote the best-seller
Sex and the Single Child (1969), In One Era And Out The Other (1973), You Can Say That Again, Sam! (1975), and Everything But Money (1966). Levenson appeared frequently in the "Borscht Belt" hotels of the Catskill Mountains. He was on TV from the mid-50s through the 70s.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: I sure do….my father laughed so much when reading his books that I read them when he was finished. Thanks for a warm remembrance again today.

FROM JB IN WISCONSIN: I do remember him. I really liked his humor.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I've been fortunate in having quite a few Jewish acquaintances and they all seem to have a great sense of humor. In fact, much of their humor revolves around their own Jewish characteristics. One Jewish humorist that I remember (in addition to Levenson) was Harry Golden, who also published a Jewish newspaper. FROM JACK: Harry Golden is a longtime favorite of mine. Here's one of his stories that first got my interest.
By Harry Golden, from the book “Only in America”, copyright 1944
I have a rule against registering complaints in a restaurant; because I know that there are a least four billion suns in the Milky Way – which is only one galaxy. Many of these suns are thousands of times larger than our own, and vast millions of them have whole planetary systems, including literally billions of satellites, and all of this revolves at the rate of about a million miles an hour, like a hue oval pinwheel. Our own sun and its
planets, which includes the earth, are on the edge of this wheel. This is only our own small corner of the universe, so why do not these billions of revolving and rotating suns and planets collide? The answer is, the space is so unbelievably vast that if we reduced the suns and the planets in correct mathematical proportion with relation to the distances between them, each sun would be a speck of dust, two, three, and four thousand miles away from its nearest neighbor. And, mind you, this is only the Milky Way – our own small corner – our own galaxy. How many galaxies are there? Billions. Billions of galaxies spaced at about one million light-years apart (one light-year is about six trillion miles). Within the range of our biggest telescopes there are at least one hundred million separate galaxies such as our own Milky Way, and that is not all, by any means. The scientists have found that the further you go out into space with the telescopes the thicker the galaxies become, and there are billions of billions as yet uncovered to the scientist’s camera and the astrophysicist’s calculations.
When you think of all this, it’s silly to worry whether the waitress brought you string beans instead of limas.

FROM INDY GENIE: I noticed in the blog that you like "Lord of the Dance" We sang "Borning Cry" in church last ....that's another of my favorites and appropriate for these winning words. I just can't seem to EVER get through it without crying!.... doesn't stop me from trying ..I just take a deep breath and keep plugging along..pretty funny:) FROM JACK: I don't know if it's the words, the music, or both---but I feel the same way as you do.


"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell."

"When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
to whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk 'till rising sun."
In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise."

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold."

FROM MOLINER CF: "Two for the Money" w/ Ed McMahon (1957) FROM JACK: Two for the SHOW!

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: At one time, we had all of Sam Levenson's books. Simply LOVED him. We always remembered his hilarious telling of when his poor family had company for a meal, and the motto was FHB (Family hold back.) His mother told the kids NOT to eat any chicken, as meat was scarce, so they dutifully refused the chicken, tho their mouths were salivating for a piece, and then their mother announced, "Now, all of you who refused to eat the chicken, will NOT have dessert." Ha. Back when Children were seen and not heard, and ate after the adults did... Then, he observed, when he grew up, the times had changed, and children were the focal point, and THEY were served the choice food before the adults. He was SO funny! Thanks for the reminder. and Good advice: Makes perfect sense, if you can do it. I can think of something stupid alright, but exchanging it for the wise remark is the trick!! FROM JACK: In my book I'd tell the this story. In our home the cookie jar was always kept on top of the frige. When no one was looking I would reach up and carefully remove the top. I'd take a cookie, replace the top, and no one would be the wiser. One day I
reached in for a cookie and....SNAP! My father had put a mousetrap in there. When the snap was heard, howls of laughter came from the other room.

FROM AM IN MICHIGAN: Yes. Growing up in NYC, we were well acquainted with Jewish humorists. NYC had 44% Jewish population in the forties. FROM JACK: Most of the good comedians that I remember were Jewish. The same with the song writers. Do you know why?

FROM BM IN MICHIGAN: Yes, I'm OLD enough to remember him. I liked his humor then, but I wonder if it would be too bland today.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Winning Words 8/3/10
“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate drops to zero.” (Chuck Palahniuk) I guess that this is what you’d call, a truism. Some people avoid talking about death, because they consider it to be morbid. The writer of Ecclesiastes (chapter 3) puts in the proper perspective: “There’s a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time mourn, and a time to dance.” ;-) Jack

FROM DRLP IN MICHIGAN: That is a principle of survival analysis in statistics... if you live long enough then will eventually happen. Interestingly, since the event of interest in such an analysis is not necessarily death, there are clever models about competing risks and cures. FROM JACK: It sounds as though you know something about stats. The idea of infinity has always intrigued me. MORE FROM DRLP: Though morbid, I found it interesting that death can sometimes be seen as a competing risk.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Thy will be done. That's why we have to do our best every day.We've all lived long enough to know what can and does happen so quickly, or sometimes slowly. FROM JACK: I've said before that I like Jim Croce's song, "Time in a Bottle." I appreciate lyrics that make you think.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: We see a birth coming soon...and we are aware there's a dark apparition somewhere moving up from behind...but for the moment we are "dancing". We realize at any moment the circumstances could shuffle. FROM JACK: One of my favorite new hymns is The Lord of the Dance.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I prefer to think of a number line (can it be also a timeline?) as you can never get in to a point where there is completely nothing and you can never get completely out to a point where there is nothing, there is always something the closer and closer in you get and there is always something the farther and farther out you get. What's a zero? FROM JACK: The concept of zero fascinates me, too.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: The older we get, the more face to face we come. FROM JACK: The obits keep appearing daily in the newspaper.

FROM MOLINER CF: Just loved your positive and invigorating WW today. Just what I needed. This will surely bring me back day after day. FROM JACK: I hope you bring your dancing shoes.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I think as we age, death becomes more a natural fact of life, and not so fearful, as our bodies age. I always hate to see someone die in youth or the prime of life, even tho Jesus has "prepared a place"...I think we all want a chance to live on this earth for our allotted time! At least in the U.S. where life is enjoyable! I ran across a saying by Sir Winston Churchill which I think has a lot of truth, and is
worth passing on..."A Lie gets half way around the World, before the Truth has a chance to get his pants on".
:- ) Good one! FROM JACK: I wonder if "the prime of life" is a different time for different people. What is it that makes something "prime?" I like your Churchill quote. It has a lotta truth. MORE FROM MO: I think of the prime of life as being when you are healthy, working successfully at a profession, and having everything to live for, and life is cut short. It is a bit nebulous, isn't it? I'm so grateful that I lived to raise my own children. I
think we all believe no one can love them like their parents!

FROM BP IN FLORIDA: This is very appropriate today as my niece's mother in law passed away today. I will send her this with other things I had planned.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Winning Words 8/2/10
“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” (Chuck Palahniuk) I accidently came across some quotes by this guy last week. He grew up in a trailer park and was raised by his grandparents. He worked in a homeless shelter and was also a hospice escort. He belonged to The Cacophony Society. His writing is the result of who he was. So are we. ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I may be the combined effort of everybody around me, but I am a special one-of-a-kind unique individual to the One who made me. FROM JACK: I was expecting someone to give an answer like that, and I'm not surprised that it was you. MORE FROM JUDY: I'm not surprised you weren't surprised.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: That quote is an interesting concept that we generally fail to consider. From the day we come into this world we are affected by so many persons around us. For me most of the influences were positive...I'm thankful that there were less negatives. Quite a few individuals stand out as the primary contributors in my life, and while I can't thank every one of them personally, I am deeply grateful for the guidance they gave me. FROM JACK: That is true. I also think back to a reading of H's autobiography. Is there such a thing as being even more true?

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: So you were a Tabula Rasa at birth! FROM JACK: The nurture versus nature debate goes on and on and on. After reading about Palahniuk, I can see why he writes as he does. I see why he comes down on the nurture side. Whether he believes it or not, I believe that he was born with a soul.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Jack these are really deep words borne out of a life not so often lived. Thank You for sharing FROM JACK: One of the reasons for sending out WWs is to get people to explore ideas, using the mind.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: I've only read a couple of his novels. They are great, very realistic and very creepy. FROM JACK: "Creepy" is an interesting word. Perhaps the negative connotation of the word goes back to "the snake" in Genesis, a creepy thing associated with evil. I might be inclined to read his popular book, "Fight Club," or "Postcards from the Future." MORE FROM BBC: I just looked at Chuck's bio, interesting guy. The book I was remembering is called Lullaby. I don't know if I would recommend it though I enjoyed it a great deal. FROM JACK: His Cacophony Society tells something about him, too. Here's something else about him. He stopped being a hospice escort when he got attached to one of the patients and that patient died. That's not creepy; it shows his senstive side.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I also believe each person is original, what I think are the combined efforts are to "see", we and others often don't see ourselves truthfully, we constantly need help from others and we constantly need to help others so that the truth of the originality inside shines out throughout the community. And finally the community can be glad for all the different stories of us living our lives together. There's always someone, out there, waiting to come in who can relate to any one of us as we are and have
been in the part we are playing in God's Kingdom which is not like anyone else's part but still intimately connected. That's my opinion anyway. FROM JACK: Chuck might have a problem with your view, but at least the two of you could have an interesting discussion.

FROM CWR VISITING IN MICHIGAN: ...."reared", not "raised" FROM JACK: Now, I'll have to go and check out the difference between the two words. While I'm at it, I'll compare two others: nurtured and bred. (PAUSE) "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." MORE FROM CWR: ...when I was living in Charleston, South Carolina, I had an apartment in an old Civil War era house near the Battery, from which the Rebels fired on
Ft. Sumpter. The house was owned by Elmina Eason, an older English Professor from the College of Charleston. At the end of the day I would sit on the front porch and have a cocktail with old Miss Eason.
One evening when we were talking about our heritage, I said to her that I "was born and RAISED in Baltimore, Maryland." She bristled and said "Reared , it's Reared". "Flowers, vegetables are Raised, crops are Raised .....people are Reared"", as are "cattle" Reared. I guess that I just believed her. I really admired her. She integrated her English class at the College of Charleston. This was 1962, when RACISM was the Religion of the South and Miss Eason said "no" and invited "Negroes" to enroll in her English class at the College. She was a little old white skinned, white haired lady who was born in Charleston, but taught college in New York, her whole career, but when she returned "home" to Charleston to retire, she was invited by the College of Charleston to teach an English Class. She agreed, but only if the class was open to racial integretion. The College agreed and so she held the first racially integrated clas in Charleston, South Carolina. That's why I
believe it's "Reared".

FROM MOLINER CF: So it goes that the self-made man is the work of a rank amatuer. FROM JACK: I guess that our reaction to others is part of the combination, too.

FROM HAWKEYE GS: did you ever watch "You Are What You Were When"? It's about how the decade you grew up in influenced your life. FROM JACK: Your response encouraged me to "look it up." I found that it was a business training video by Morris Massey...which encouraged me to look up other stuff about him. One of his presentations that intrigued me was, "Dancing with the Bogeyman," a 3-step way of dealing with our fears. BTW, the three major development times in life, according to Massey, are ages birth to 7 (like sponges, especially learning from parents); 8 to 13 (copying people and trying on new ideas, like trying on clothes); and 13 to 21 (when we are influenced by peers and the media).

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Modern science has proven the truth of CP's statement. FROM JACK: So, you still read Popular Science magazines? I suppose you read Popular Mechanics, too. Who has made the most impact on your life...if there is one person? MORE FROM CJL: I suppose two women - My mother, Edith and my wife, Ilene. I still live with them.

I think it was Will Rogers who said, "I am a part of every man I've ever met" ? Or was it Mark Twain/ Anyway, a lot of truth in this sentiment. I'd shop on the internet for accuracy, but I have to run to play golf in my Monday night league!!

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: Is there a book or a magazine article or something about/by this Chuck Palahniuk? (The name sounds like an Inuit name). This quote is a "tickler" that makes me want to read more. FROM JACK: The local library has some of his books.