Thursday, October 28, 2010

Winning Words 10/28/10
“All I can tell you is what I think.” (Elena Kagen, during her confirmation hearing) I’ll be gone for a few days for a granddaughter’s confirmation. Confirmation is a time for young people to express what it is that they believe with regard to their religious faith. A teen-ager doesn’t have all of the answers, nor do any of us. We can be thankful if there have been those who have helped us in the thinking process. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: Good morning, Jack! There is one other thing I can tell you besides what I think -- that is, what I believe. FROM JACK: So, you think you believe? Ha! Now, that's something to "think" about. I like what the man said to Jesus: "I believe. Help my unbelief." Thinking and belief go together. It's pretty early in the morning to be philosophical...and theological, too.

FROM SL IN MICHIGAN: You have given us a wonderful variety this week, thank you. I still remember my confirmation; such a special time in my life. You must be proud and happy for your granddaughter. I will be here waiting for my shot of inspiration when you get back! FROM JACK: There are passages in life. In my opinion, confirmation is one of those times. Can you think of others?

FROM TS IN MICHIGAN: I'm reminded that there probably are children who do know all of the answers. Oh, for a childlike faith, although I do realize that this childlike faith keeps being challenged as children grow older. FROM JACK: I've found that children sometimes give me answers that help with my adult questions. "Let the little children come unto me...for such is the Kingdom of God."

FROM MOLINER CF: Teenagers may not have all of the answers, but they are smart enough to ask questions. FROM JACK: Too often they've been told to sit down and shut up. If we would only be smart enough to listen, we might learn something.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: words to live by. happy proud confirmation. i know a young man who is confirming this sunday. his family is so proud. i remember that day for each of my children. it was significant. oh, and i remember my own. significance and proud parents were also involved!
FROM JACK: ....and the beat goes on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winning Words 10/27/10
“Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi) Lombardi has often been misquoted with the words, “Winning is the only thing.” The Lombardi Years have been, for me, football at its best. The Packers really wanted to win “The Ice Bowl,” and if there had been “replays” back then, they might have lost. In life, it’s not a matter of wins and losses, it’s about how you have lived. ;-) Jack

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Say that again, coach! FROM JACK: I can see how these words might be applied to political contests. I've lived long enough to know that it's not over 'til it's over. I've also lived long enough to know that standing up for principles is more important than winning. I've also played enough sports to know that "playing the game" is actually more fun than what happens after the game is or lose. As I said above: "In life, it's not a matter of wins and losses, it's about how you have lived."

FROM HAWKEYE GS: True. Sometimes I feel like I've fallen a little short of living to the fullest. FROM JACK: How about when you played b-ball; was winning the only thing? For me, wanting to win was right up there.

FROM DREM IN MICHIGAN: I think my Spartans really want to win this season. FROM JACK: They've wanted to win every year (Oh, how they've wanted to win!), but it hasn't always worked out. This year might be a championship one in both football and basketball.

FROM SH IN ILLINOIS: Steve was at THE ICE BOWL. FROM JACK: Now THAT is interesting. I hope that he stayed until the end.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: "Live a good life. In the end, it's not the years of life that counts, but the life in the years." A. Lincoln. Recognize this? FROM JACK: Recently, in our church, the pastor was giving the childrens message and asked, "Does anyone know who Abraham was?" One little girl raised her hand and said, "He was the president!"

FROM MOLINER CF: I still run my life on "Lombardi Time." I'd rather wait for the other guy than have him wait for me. FROM JACK: I like what Jerry Kramer said about Lombardi: "He treated all the dogs."

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: When my son John was inducted into the Illinois Football Coaches Hall Of Fame (Champaign, IL) he used that quote in his acceptance speech. He often quoted it to his players, too. Wanting to win is the name of the game: Desire to excel. Lombardi was the epitome of successful coaching! Looks like the Rangers could use some inspiration in this World Series! I can't believe the Giants just beat them that badly! But our focus is to "win' in the game of life, and our faith certainly helps us to be victorious! :-) FROM JACK: The Hall of Fame recognizes more than wins and losses. Football (and baseball) is more than the stat sheet. And it's that way with life, too. What is a winner? That's something to think about today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winning Words 10/26/10
“When you’re older, memories are all you have, so make them good ones.” (Linda Cook) Isn’t it interesting? We’re making tomorrow’s memories today. WOW! Linda is making her memories by helping others make theirs. She volunteers at an assisted living facility by playing cards with the elderly and just chatting with them about what’s happened in their life. I like the “Memory” song from CATS. ;-) Jack

MEMORY by Andrew Lloyd Webber
See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .

Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

A new day has begun

FROM AP IN MICHIGAN: Memories are a very melancholy state of mind, too. FROM JACK: Melancholy is an interesting word. I like it. I remember hearing of a mother singing to her fussy newborn: "Come to me, my melan-colic baby."

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Your devotional reminds me of building up your reward in eternity now as in the example of a retirement account. FROM JACK: ......which reminds me of the biblical admonition: "Lay not up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: my brother johnny uses the phrase, "we're making memories", quite often. it makes me smile. FROM JACK: We probably didn't know it at the time, but when our families interacted years ago in Grayslake, we were making memories. I know that we made them, because I still have them.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Something happens every day that tweaks my memory about things I formerly did easily, which I now have difficulty with. Those memories are precious and have a way of making up for the loss of actually doing them now. There are also wonderful memories of persons who contributed a lot of happiness in my life, heartwarming memories that keep those individuals alive in my mind. There are a lot of old people with incredible stories to tell if we will only listen. FROM JACK: Just think....You are now having the exciting opportunity to be involved in making memories for your new granddaughter.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Wow, memories today. I will try to make some good no...some great ones today! I've already had some laughs with my sister Valerie and we talked about the windstorm coming. She wants to have my house with us inside blown to Grayling to live in her backyard. She have an abundance of irreplaceable memories between us. (I love the words and the melody to Memory from Cats. Just reading them on your blog brought back pardon the pun...memories. FROM JACK: I'll bet that you and your sister made some exciting memories in your younger "kid-days."

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: So appropriate! Was going to let you know about my Mother. She had a stroke on Sunday and will be on Hospice care here at home. We do not anticipate it lasting too long. Keep us in your prayers. FROM JACK: As Ecclesiastes 3 puts it: "There is a time." One of God's great gifts is the ability to remember. Your mom has given you so many fond memories...and I'm sure she would say that you and your family have given her many fond memories, too.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Do you remember: "God gives us memories so we can have roses in December" ? FROM JACK: Yes, I know the saying, and it's a good one. However, I have a florist friend who will provide roses in December....for a price.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Memories...Yes, I love that song: It is hauntingly beautiful! I like the saying today. I was supposed to have the memory of a two day bus trip to historic Galena today and tomorrow, but my trip partner and best friend became ill, and we had to cancel. Good thing we have so many family, friends and trip memories!! I was looking at some photos of the school musicals which I directed years ago, this morning, and it was precious to re-live some of those experiences! :-) One of the boys who played the lead in 3 of my productions, called to tell me that his son was carrying on the tradition by playing the lead in his H.S. musical ALL SHOOK UP this past weekend, so of course I had to go and cheer him on! Yes, memories....Lucky to have such good ones! FROM JACK: You have many deposits in your memory bank through the years, and now they're paying interest.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winning Words 10/25/10
“The fewer the men, the greater the share of honor.” (Shakespeare – Henry V) This has been a rallying cry to outnumbered troops going into battle…1415, 1854, 1944. They fought valiantly, because of inspired leadership. To be at a disadvantage does not mean we have to lose. There are times in life when we have to stick with something, despite the odds. This is also St. Crispin’s Day. ;-) Jack

FROM WB IN MICHIGAN: I thought you'd enjoy knowing that at our household we celebrate October 25th as being Saint Crispin's Day, with the purchase of shoes. Even though, Saint Crispin's Day was removed from the liturgical calendar by Vatican II, I understand that the they are still considered to be Saints. Regardless, in our house the boys always hear how these twin brothers earned their way as cobblers' while they spread
the Gospel. I have always found it to be a great way to work the purchase of winter boots into a reference point of how one can share the Good News, while carrying on a secular vocation. As I understood it they are the patron saint's of tradesmen and so I though them close enough to give my boys a little to think about.

The 25th is also the anniversary of The Battle of Agincourt in 1415, made famous in Shakespeare's Henry the V "The fewer men the greater share of honor . . . This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by . . . That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." So I get two hits with the martyred twin Saints and my favorite play by William. A copy of this play is always somewhere near me, ever since I
first read it sometime in the late 1970's.

If that’s not enough I get to toss in the Crimean War as the Charge of the Light Brigade took place on October 25th in 1854. Now I get to read them Tennyson's poem and with it all the lessons and wonder that it invokes. "Forward the Light Brigade . . ." is also one of my favorites at one time I had it committed to memory however, my memory fails me more and more each day.

Three great lessons, I cannot ask for much more of just one simple date. I especially like the dichotomy of a victory and a defeat and with the twin brothers being both tradesmen and missionaries. Not to mention being exalted as saints and later losing much of their status after Vatican II. These lessons I leave mostly to the future for the boys to find for themselves.

Truly, October 25th is a great day to teach from especially when teaching to my boys. They remind me when the day grows near - - remembering that this is their chance to get new shoes, cleats, boots, slippers and whatever else they can make fit the occasion.

Just thought you might enjoy hearing about one of our family traditions.

FROM LP IN MICHIGAN: And now I've learned something about St. Crispin (and brother). Thanks as always.
FROM JACK: No day is a waste when you have learned something new. Having said that, I'm now going to be on the lookout.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: The air is certainly crisp in Boston today. FROM JACK: How about the toast?

FROM MOLINER CF: I'm sure you are aware of the Marine Corps' recruiting line, "A Few Good Men." FROM JACK: ...and don't forget, SEMPER FI! MORE FROM CF: Remember The Alamo FROM JACK: That, too!

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: Jack….A young colleague of mine died suddenly today…..this quote made me think of him. FROM JACK: I'm sorry to hear that. Not all heroes die in battle. A hero is someone who is admired because of noble qualities. "There is a time to laugh and a time to mourn."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Very good words today. It was interesting to read WB's words also. Thanks for the history! FROM JACK: By reading the blog, you get a chance to see what others are thinking. Friends of mine then become friends of yours.

FROM EA IN MICHIGAN: What is St. Crispin the patron saint of?. FROM JACK: Read the blog response from WB in Michigan.

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: actually, when i am in a battle, i want all the help i can get. the heck with the honor. i just want to go home in one piece! FROM JACK: Life doesn't always work out like that.

FROM AM IN MICHIGAN: I enjoyed all I learned from WW and your blog today. It is time again to pick up Tennyson and Shakespeare. FROM JACK: Winning Words is more than entertainment. We can learn from one another, too.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I do a lot of walking. St. Crispin is, from now on, my most favorite Saint. That was a really interesting entry on your blog. FROM JACK: Mary's grandfather was a shoemaker, making shoes from scratch. He was especially good at making shoes for people with foot problems. He also made violins, sailboats and canoes. He was a rough-edged saint.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS:I'll have to look St. Crispin's day up on the internet. New to me. Baptists don't dwell much on St. days!I hate it that any man or woman has to go into battle in war. Of course we fight many
other battles, often outnumbered, in which as you say, we have to stand for the right, in spite of the odds. I read a quote from one of my much-admired women, Maya Angelou this morning which I like. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."Which has nothing to do with today's quote, but it's a good reminder...Also a funny one: "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?!Debi Disque of Staunton, Indiana. FROM JACK: What do you mean that Baptists aren't much into saints? How about Saint John, the Baptist?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Winning Words 10/22/10
“Never let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do.” (Stephen Pierce—Internet Marketer) No, it’s not another proverb, but it could be. Pierce has been successful at what he does, because he follows his own advice. The proper focus is necessary when taking good photos. It’s also important as we look for direction in our life. “What can I do?” Think about it. Work at it. ;-) Jack

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: I am having difficulty joining with people for a "prayer evening" and also for a devotional Bible study. One woman totalled her car (fortunately she herself wasn't hurt), another woman and her daughter got caught up in appointments and couldn't get to the church on time, a person who is struggling with where to get his shelter and I were the two left who were able to pray together. But, by cell phones, we all in fact did do some praying together and we all take comfort in knowing that, wherever we are, we are kept together in the Holy Spirit. In fact, praying and doing Bible study are the two activities that I firmly believe are united for individuals and corporate bodies because we are never alone when we do them--God Himself is always with us and that makes it a group whatever the heck happens materially and physically and geographically to us. Thanks for these WW and helping us with encouragement. FROM JACK: Where there's a the saying goes.

FROM IE IN MICHIGAN: Great saying!--another version I like to quote is "Never let your education get in the way of your intelligence".. FROM JACK: I've known several intelligent people who didn't have a college degree, let alone a high school diploma. An interesting question: What is intelligence?

FROM SH IN ILLINOIS: My husband, Steve, lives by these words each day. The ALS that is destroying his body certainly has taken many things away from him, but he will tell anyone that he has a full life. Though he has more legitimate excuses than most everyone, he never misses a day of work (from home). While he can no longer express himself through his music and French horn, he writes. He educates people about his disease, meets with state legislators, does public speaking gigs, etc. Eventually, those things will stop, too, but he'll find other ways to serve and use his life. He is my constant reminder to never take a day for granted. I still sometimes fall short of that, but then I am gifted with a new day to do better. If you woke up today, it is a great day filled with opportunities. Do what you can. Do what you love. Because you can. FROM JACK: Your response caused me to go back and reread the quote. Talk about "bones" taking on "flesh and blood." We take so many things casually until casual doesn't do it anymore. Thank God for the heroes in our life...and for the strength that he gives to the heroes.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: I like this WW, I can not do so many things if I dwelled on them I would never do anything. FROM JACK: And just look at the things you have done in your lifetime...son, education, husband, father, author, songwriter, handyman, etc. I like Paul's words: "I can do all things through (Christ) who strengthens me."

FROM MOLINER CF: The Special Olympics is a classic example of this philosophy. FROM JACK: Look at how much good can come out of a good idea. The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago in 1968. Anne McGlone Burke, a physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District, began with the idea for a one-time Olympic-style athletic competition for people with special needs.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's so easy to get caught up with the lack of ability! We must keep plodding along trying hard to do that which we can. And try to do the best with what we can do! FROM JACK: ...and we need to give ourselves a pep-talk once in a while, too.

FROM MW IN ILLINOIS: For the not so smart one from Grayslake, does PLSNTENQ say, please & thank you????? FROM JACK: Who says you're not smart?

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Reminiscent of the saying, "I cannot to everything, but I can do something, etc" And the something I can do, I will do! It is better to do a little, even when the needs are overwhelming, than to do nothing...Most of us would not be in ministry, if we were not 'doers', right?! I like your saying today. FROM JACK: I like this one for the clergy: "Practice what you preach!" I also like the Nike ad: "Just do it!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Winning Words 10/21/10
“Do not forget little kindnesses, and do not remember small faults.” (Chinese Proverb) I know of someone who is very good at writing “Thank You” notes. I only wish that I could do as well. My sister’s license plate reads: PLSNTENQ. She’s into saying those words. For most of us, saying “Thanks” is easier than finding an eraser to get rid of the small faults that mess up our mind. ;-) Jack

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: I've never heard that proverb before, but (happily) I was lucky enough to have learned to live by it a long time ago. FROM JACK: Osmosis is an interesting word and is applicable to more than scientific situations. Somehow, somewhere, you absorbed the essence of the proverb.

FROM MOLINER CF: The world needs faults to help us more appreciate the kindness. FROM JACK: Does this mean that the world needs evil to appreciate the good? If so, "The Garden of Eden" was not perfect until Adam ate the apple.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Great words today! FROM JACK: Thanks for your 3 little words of kindness. You didn't forget.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: And thank you for all of your Winning Words. It is hard to believe that it has been five years since that 60th class reunion. Somehow the days fly by with helping with the grandchildren, fun classes at USF, traveling, and enjoying our beautiful weather. Yes, I know that the fall is a great time in Michigan, but it doesn't last very long. FROM JACK: As the old movie newsreel used to proclaim: "Time Marches On." I could see that from the "reunion pictures CD" sent by Sunny. It's that way for all of us. ...and it has ever been. As to the subject of weather: the snowbirds have started to fly south as the beautiful leaves being to fall. On the other hand, we sent in our check for the annual snowplowing of our driveway, and the serviceman from the furnace company comes tomorrow to see that everything is in order for when the below zero weather arrives.

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: i often quote Ogden Nash: when you are wrong, admit it. and when you are right, forget it! FROM JACK: In a way, I think that Ogden has a better way of putting it.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Please N Tenk You?! I would have to think longer than it takes to pass her car and plate to figure that one out, but it is clever. Fred's wife Judy has taught all of her children (Aaron, Emily and Allison) to write thank you notes...I always get a warm note for birthday gifts, Christmas, etc. It is a very nice thing to do. They are out of the home now, working or at college, but still always do this. I appreciate at
least Email thanks, which my g.daughter Abby does. Good proverb! We were taught in teacher-Ed, "Nothing improves a child's hearing, like a word of praise!" so true, and I've tried to follow that adage. My daughter in law Judy marveled at the self confidence and self esteem, that our kids seemed to have, and she said once, "If Fred was standing there picking his nose, I believe you would say, 'Fred, you pick your nose better than anyone I have ever seen!" Ha! None of my kids are shy...which is a good thing !

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Winning Words 10/20/10
“Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.” (Italian Proverb) There are times when we can do nothing else, except to make the best of a bad situation. As I think back in my life, I can remember “bad” events that turned into “good” ones. Perhaps it’s happened to you. “No pain; no gain,” as the saying goes. I’ve found that a positive attitude and a new vision can work wonders. ;-) Jack

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Not bad. Caught my eye! FROM JACK: I hope it caught your brain, too.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: That quote is hilarious...I love it. Regarding bad events that turned into good things...I'm sure that happened in my life too, if only I had the memory to recall it. FROM JACK: It's either called selective memory or old age.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: IF THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE, WHY NOT WORK TO PUT IT OUT? The proverb is stupid as far as I am concerned....smacks of Stoicism. FROM JACK: You know old Stoic, at heart. The proverb, on the face of it, is about houses, but it can be applied to other situations, as well.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: This is quite poignant for me at the moment. Did you select this one with me in mind? FROM JACK: I'm sorry to hear about your "situation." After a period of time, you will look back and....... Hopefully, you will be able to look back and say, "I'm better because of what happened."

FROM MOLINER CF: I don't think the Italians carried it far enough. Why not have a "Weenie roast" and get some real good out of that fire. Moral: Don't settle for just "one good" out of the bad. How's that for positive thinking? FROM JACK: As the saying goes, "What floats your boat...." I never could understand that saying, but it probably is a good response to your comment.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Rabbi Berel Wein, Friday October 8, 2010, in his weekly parsha "The true test of spiritual leadership is what happens after one's dreaded disappointments have proven to have been accurate." Maybe the question is do we want some portion of a burned-up house to live in or do we want to build again on the old foundation? Does the concrete foundation ever burn up? There's quite a lot about houses I don't know about. Or about Stoicism either. FROM JACK: Some buildings aren't worth saving, but it's not the same with least in God's mind. You can Google "stoicism" and decide if you are a Stoic.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's hilarious. I would think someone would call the fire department at the very least. But yes, many times, if not all my "bad events" have turned out for the better. Even the very sad ones...losing my parents, etc. Sad for me but much better for them. FROM JACK: Our understanding would be better, if we could see the really and truly broad picture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Winning Words 10/19/10
“The friends of my friends are my friends.” (French Proverb) Recently, I heard someone raise the question, “How many close friends do you have?” Why not ask that of someone today. “What is meant by a friend, and a close friend?” I do know that I’d be inclined to like someone who is liked by a friend of mine. ;-) Jack

FROM NL IN INDIANA/FLORIDA: Good morning Jack: Boy you're up early too: I guess great minds have a tough time sleeping when they wake up, too much going on. FROM JACK: I've always been an early riser. When I was an young teen, I would get up in the dark and walk 3 + miles to the local dairy where I would hop on the milk truck and ride the route with the driver until he came to our house. I'd get off, eat a quick breakfast, and then go to school.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I have a close friend who introduced me years ago to her friends. We have made some strong friends with her "old friends". Interestingly enough, my "close friend" was quite jealous. We have worked it all out over the years and it has worked out nicely for all of us. Close friends are the ones who love us through thick and thin and don't "disappear" when times get tough. FROM JACK: I like the Bible verse (Proverbs 18:24): "One who would have friends must show himself/herself friendly; and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother/sister."

FROM MOLINER CF: There are six degrees of separation between you and anyone else in the world. Within a chain of six friendships, you know everybody. you probably know Obama within no more than four friendships. FROM JACK: You're right. I'm on a first name basis with my congressman, and he's on a first name basis with Barak.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: You had a strange youth, Jack. I'm just sitting here chuckling and chuckling. To be frank, don't ever think I would ask a person how many close friends they have. They might say I'm the only one and then I would have to be totally responsible for them or something. But a homeless man who attends faithfully all our Bible studies and worships did volunteer last night as we were studying that he has two or three very close friends and of which our Pastor is his very closest friend now. Always enjoy WW and also all your comments and reading your blog--it is a bright spot in the day. FROM JACK: I enjoy sending out Winning Words to my internet friends. Most I know personally, and the others are friends of my friends.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Absolutely! FROM JACK: My friends are an eclectic mix, so if you like eclecticism, they might be for you.

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: It's funny that you chose that quote today...I have always believed that one can only have a few friends in life, but I must debunk that theory. There have been so many people who have reached out to me during my unemployment that I am truly overwhelmed. I guess if one defines a friend as someone who shows concern, empathy, and attempts to help, I have quite a few of them. FROM JACK: You have determined who are your friends. Like beauty, a friend is in the eye of the beholder. Empathy is different than sympathy and is the mark of a real friend.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: This reminds me of the book, "A Year In Provence"...written with humor about the friends, and friends of friends that they met living in Provence, France, and the friends and friends of friends, who "dropped in" for a few days while traveling in France! Endless company! Probably usually true that if the person was a friend of your good friend, there would be some kind of kinship or connection on your part. I'm pretty gregarious, but also a private person when it comes to deep sharing. Again, probably describes most of us...The French people were very friendly to Jan and I when we traveled there, and we didn't know the language... FROM JACK: I enjoyed the book, even though I've never been to France. My daughter spent a college term living in Provence and went back there with her family for a visit.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winning Words 10/18/10
“I don’t want the cheese, I just want to get out of the trap.” (Spanish Proverb) Not everyone wants to win the lottery; they just want to find some meaning in their life. Come to think about it, that’s better (and more realistic) than “buying the ticket.” Maybe today’s the day to begin making a list on how to improve your life. Maybe’s tomorrow’s the day to start working on it. Nope! Today’s that day. ;-) Jack

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: funny that you mention the lottery. i was born on 10/20/55 and will be turning 55. i've been telling people that i feel there is something significant about the numbers. their reply, more than not, is that i should play the lottery. i never have played so i don't think i will. oh...i also tell everyone that i'm going to be
a perfect 10. there's not much response to that. go figure! FROM JACK: If you've got a buck to waste, go play the lottery, but don't hold your breath. You and Bo...two 10s equal twenty, the day of your birth. MORE FROM ML: should i know bo? FROM JACK: You never saw the movie, TEN?

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I think our problem often is that we do want "the cheese" but then when we find what we've gotten into, we wish we could "get out of the trap." As an example, the many people who over-extended themselves buying houses and now are in foreclosure. With reference to improving our life...the best things in life aren't things. FROM JACK: My father once worked in a butcher shop, and he would sometimes bring home Limburger cheese. What a foul smell! Sometimes the cheeses we get are a lot like that. MORE FROM RI: My German father loved Limburger cheese...said the stronger the smell, the better the taste.

FROM MOLINER CF: If you had done it yesterday, you could move on today. Do it yesterday! FROM JACK: Spoken like a real boss.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I don't want the cheese; I am deeply grateful for what I have. (Tomorrow though I might need a little bread?) FROM JACK: You already have the Bread of Life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winning Words 10/15/10
“When you pray, move your feet.” (African Proverb) I have a little book of modern prayers called, “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?” Prayer is not only, words. Prayer has to do with our day to day actions, especially as they mirror our devotion to God. If we say that we love God, it will show in the life we lead. ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: So very true. Actions speak louder than words. If you want to know a follower of Jesus, look at their lives. FROM JACK: Yes, there are those we know, who by their actions, are running with Jesus. Look and admire, but don't look too closely. We sometimes have trouble keeping up with him.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: Wonderful! Love this, Jack! FROM JACK: You're walkin' the walk in what you do.

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: AS WE KNOW:"we are His hands and feet" FROM JACK: I'm reminded of the poem, "God has no hands, but our hands, " said to have been written by St Teresa of Avila.
God has no hands but our hands to do his work today;
God has no feet but our feet to lead others in his way;
God has no voice but our voice to tell others how he died;
and, God has no help but our help to lead them to his side."

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Actions definitely speak louder than words. Setting a good example is what really matters. FROM JACK: As one who was (is) a teacher, what specific suggestions would you give to those in the teaching profession today?

FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA: Modern prayers? Wasn’t it written in the 60’s? FROM JACK: Compared to prayers of the Middle-Ages, they're modern.

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: those prayers can be too modern. that little book (a fav of mine too) came out in the mid sixties as i recall. we are both getting old. FROM JACK: You're the second one from Minnesota who has disparaged my use of "modern." Modern is in the eye of the beholder.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: .......there's meditation and then there's prayer, but not in that
order.... FROM JACK: Hmmmmm. Should you meditate (think) before praying or think (ponder) after praying?

FROM MOLINER CF: Sometimes I think God has got a carrot on a stick. FROM JACK: ...or sometimes, does he just use the stick?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Do you remember this: What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear a word you say! FROM JACK: Now that you mention it, I do!

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I remember the book "Are You Running With Me, Jesus" from years ago! Can't bring the author's name up now, but both Hal and Bill used the book, I know. I think we all admire and respect those who put hands and feet to their prayers...Bill's mother coined a phrase about one of Bill's cousins, who was very devout, but couldn't seem to find time to help her ailing mother and dad, or those around her in need. She said, "Sonia is so heavenly minded that she is no earthly good!" I never forgot it! FROM JACK: The author is Malcolm Boyd. My son questions my use of "modern" when referring to the prayers. How can they be modern, if they were written in the 60s? Picky, picky!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Winning Words 1014/10
“Charity looks at the need, not the cause.” (German Proverb) I think most would have no problem defining, charity, but one definition we might overlook is: “leniency in judging others.” For example, “Be charitable.” As he leaves the ballpark, grandson John often puts some money in the begging man’s cup, with no judgment. ;-) Jack

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Amen! Thanks and Amen again!!! People need a hand up not a handout. FROM JACK: You're right. However, I think that the word, handout, has a negative connotation. Sometimes it's necessary to just give something to one who is in need. Having said that, I've noticed that there are some people (who are not needy) who continually look for handouts. Such is life.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: It's an admirable trait in a young person, to recognize the plight of others in need and voluntarily come to their aid. At Boston's busy intersections we often find men with their signboards seeking help during these hard times. I know people have various reasons to not give them a dime, but I always admire some who roll down the window and hand them a buck. For myself, two thoughts come to mind: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me" and "There but for the grace of God go I." FROM JACK: In most instances we are to set an example for our children (and grandchildren). In this instance, my grandson sets an example for me.

FROM LK IN OHIO: I judge, and then immediately forgive, putting money in the cup, too, thinking that it could as well be me, were it not for God's grace. FROM JACK: We take so many things for granted...our health, our family and friends, and the money in our pocket.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: john's been taught well. FROM JACK: I wonder if it's a "kid" thing. some times we just do something because we feel like it.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: You certainly have to bear that proverb in mind when you serve the homeless...just help, don't judge the cause of their dilemma. Many times, of course, poor judgement enters in, but just as often outward circumstances play a big part. So many sad stories!! FROM JACK: Our Lutheran Church used to have a program where a pastor would be "dumped" on Skid Row in Chicago, dressed in ragged clothes, with no money and no I.D. He'd have to live on the streets for a week or more. I never had that experience, but if I had, I think that I would be less judgmental and more compassionate. How about a program like that for those who espouse ideas about dealing with poverty?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Winning Words 10/13/10
De cuerdo y loco todos tenemos un poco. We're all a little crazy in one way or another. (Spanish Proverb) Yesterday, a friend asked, “When are you going to have a Spanish Proverb?” Today’s that day. I had many to choose from, but I like the one above. The word “crazy” can mean insane or impractical. It can also mean wonderful (Crazy, man!) I think that all of my friends are crazy in one way or another. ;-) Jack

MORE FROM JACK: When I think of CRAZY, I think of.....
1. Steve Martin, a wild and crazy guy
2. Patsy Cline, singiug, "Crazy"
3. The Krazy Kat cartoon
Can you think of any others?

FROM MK IN MICHIGAN: Especially the Friend who asked about the Spanish Proverb! CRAZY WOMAN!!! We love her anyway!!! My Spanish, yikes I know loco and poco! FROM JACK: Ask, and you will receive, even if it is loco.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: This is so fitting today because all of the Chilean miners are being released today, one each 45 minutes, and they are crazy happy that they survived this incredible ordeal. FROM JACK: We celebrate today. But as Scarlett said in Gone With the Wind, "Tomorrow is another day," and new jobs will have to be found for the miners. That can be done, too.

FROM IE IN MICHIGAN: The english version that I like is: "I don't mind if people call me CRAZY, but I resent if people call me STUPID, because crazy is temporary but STUPID is forever... FROM JACK: Even Einstein was labeled "stupid" when he was a youth. STUPID is one word I don't like. It's a label, and it is possible to grow out of labels.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: once, when trying to understand my own craziness, read a book by some famous psychologist (wish I could remember his name) but the gist of it was that craziness has very germain practical uses and underlying truthfulness in its thought processes and reasoning. Upon reflection and putting the pieces back together again, I figured that's a pretty astute way to integrate it all. We're all a little sane--even the craziest of us--in one way or another too. I especially like the words "un poco" FROM JACK: With a bit of editing of Edward Hoch's words, we read: "There's so much sanity in the worst of us, and so much craziness in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us."

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: i love the word "loco". i have a t-shirt that reads, "thjnk global-act loco". it's such a passionate word! FROM JACK: I thjnk you meant, think, or am I just loco?

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Nice change of pace FROM JACK: Muchas gracias!

FROM SH IN ILLINOIS: I think we all need to embrace our individual craziness! Sometimes that's what keeps us sane! FROM JACK: The individual craziness of some people is what makes them wonderful.

FROM MOLINER CF: I wonder if they call it a locomotive because it has a one track mind. FROM JACK: Some one probably called him, "loco," when the little engine said, "I think I can, I think I can....I know I can."

FROM ED IN ARIZONA: reminds me of a Jimmy Buffett quote.....although everything reminds
me of a buffett quote... :-) "If we weren't all crazy we would go insane!" from the song "Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes" - Jimmy Buffett FROM JACK:
Your comment caused me to go back and review the Buffett video and to read the lyrics. It certainly makes the point of today's quote. Was that you I saw jumping up and down in the crowd...acting crazy? Thanks for making a good connection.

FROM RG IN MICHIGAN/ARIZONA: si, mi tambien! FROM JACK: So, you agree? Do you talk like that in Michigan, or is it only in Arizona?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Hooray! FROM JACK: People from Michigan believe that people from Ohio are crazy, especially during the football season.

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: what!? i am not crazy! maybe a little nuts, but not crazy... FROM JACK: In the movie, What About Bob?, both Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus were crazy, in different ways. Which one do you identify with?

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Those words take a little more time for thought. FROM JACK: The particular arrangement of words has a way of making us think...and that's good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Winning Words 10/12/10

“Whoever walks toward God one step, God runs toward him two.” (Jewish Proverb) This is really picturesque language. Even in our prayers, God is one step ahead of us. He knows our needs, even before we bring them to him. There may be times when you can’t find the right words. It doesn’t matter…God knows! ;-) Jack

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Thank You Again! Another gem in WW. On the way to work this morning I was listening to a song that has these lyrics: "You are not a god created by human hands" I have heard this song literally thousands of times but today it struck me to pause and
consider the implications. I am so thankful that God cannot be described, predicted, measured, whatever - that He is so far beyond my circumstances I cannot comprehend it. I really feel God is saying to me today - "Trust me, I am God". For me this revelation brought peace and confidence that everything going on today is within His hands (boundaries). There is nothing that He cannot handle on my behalf. FROM JACK: Sometimes a sing can trigger all kinds of thoughts. It works that way for me, too.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: Thank goodness ... or I should say 'thank God'! FROM JACK: In reality, they mean the same thing. God has nicknames,, Gosh, Holy Cow, etc....and Jesus, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: What a wonderful picture! I will think about this one for a long long time! FROM JACK: Isn't the mind a wonderful it enables us to create and recreate images. God is good.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: God knows our needs: so true. I like this adage. It reminds me of the saying, "If you and God are no longer close, who moved?!" FROM JACK: Whether God is close or not does not depend on our perception. "He sticketh closer than a brother (or sister)."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Winning Words 10/11/10
“Things never go so well that one should have no fear, and never so ill that one should have no hope.” (Turkish Proverb) Recently I bought a little book of inspiration which contains proverbs from various ethnic backgrounds. I’ll be sharing some of them this week. I like the one for today, because it encourages us to not give up hope, even though we are confronted by many fears. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Leave it to you to just pick up the positive part of the message....the first part says that "fear" is legitimate ....if you are too rosy, you won't see the lion lurking in the shadows... FROM JACK: Fear is fear. Whether fear is warranted or not, depends on how the future unfolds. Whether hope is a positive or a negative depends upon its base. Hope, because of what? The Optimist Club, of which I am a member, has a creed which begins: "Promise yourself that nothing can disturb your peace of mind (and further) look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true."

FROM PRRW IN OREGON: Thanks Jack for your giving faithfully, week after week, inspirational quotes. I appreciate them very much and look forward to receiving them. FROM JACK: I'm wondering....When you were doing missionary work in Africa, what were some of the fears and hopes that you experienced?

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Your quote today is perfect for me. Really speaks to my situation. FROM JACK: One of the surprising things about Winning Words is how they "hit home" in unexpected ways.

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: This one would get a "Like" on Facebook! FROM JACK: The first time I heard of facebook was when a pastor mentioned it in her sermon as a way of connecting with people. I signed up and then forgot my password....and haven't used it since. Maybe I shouldn't have given up after that first failure.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Anna at the assisted living arrived for worship distraught and crying. She had fallen right before and was upset evidently not feeling like she had been helped. I was trying to comfort her and silently lifting up prayers when our pastor came over to comfort her too and gently told her there would be a better day. Now ain't that the truth!!!!! I believe those simple words restored hope in all of us gathered there, but especially in Anna. We don't have to be complicated. FROM JACK: When our fears get the better of us, a little TLC can turn things around. Be thankful for caring friends.

FROM INDY GENIE: i can't believe i'm saying this but fear can be our helper......without it, we (I) might never know the power of hope, positive thinking and inner peace. FROM JACK: The lines of the Christmas Carol seem contemporary as I look at your comment. "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight."

FROM MOLINER CF: I'm sure he hears them. I'm not sure if he heeds them. But, then, they seem to survive. FROM JACK: Are you talking about our prayers?

FROM GP IN MICHIGAN: We have seen some troubling times recently. My job, my Brides' job, my families' jobs, health, wealth and faith, our country and our world have all seen some better times. We all have been tested day in and day out. I ask myself " Do we really have troubles that can not be overcome?" I guess I have to say, Hang in there Gary, Hang in there family, Hang in there world! FROM JACK: I like the words of the old spiritual, "We shall overcome..." We hang in there, because "deep in our heart, we do believe...we shall overcome some day."

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: This Turkish proverb is a good one to think on...In our country at least, it is true that most can have hope, even in despairing circumstances. I think of women in Asian and Arab countries, where I think hope would be a scarce commodity. Even in Eastern Europe. Our American Baptist Women just had a three year project of raising money and doing ministry for those involved in Human trafficking, and those stories would break your heart. The children, especially are so damaged, it is hard to have hope that they will ever have a semblance of a normal life. But we HOPE and PRAY!! We must! FROM JACK: I wonder if people who have never known hope can find it possible to hope? Part of the work of spreading the Gospel is to bring hope to the hope-less, even to explain what hope is. I have never been one to try and "scare" people into the faith.

FROM AFRICAN MISSIONARY PRRW: Probably my greatest fear was the time Taa Washi, the leader of the Hadza asked for baptism “right away”. I asked the Makumira Lutheran Seminary to help me on this one,
remembering the Neuen Dettelsau German mission in their work in New Guinea who were working with a similar group as the Hadza had their rules about time limits required before new converts could be baptized. I asked Taa Washi to wait until his whole group was ready, and I would baptize them all together. He died very suddenly and I fear I was remiss in my duty as a pastor to Him. I’m sure the Lord will take my error into
consideration as he deals with Taa Washi. The greatest hope I believe was when I was the pastor of the Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church in Nairobi. We had an old church building which really should have been
condemned. It was dangerous to walk on some sections of the floor that threatened to collapse under you weight. The Lutheran World Federation had given a grant of $35,000 to build a new church some years before, but that amount was totally inadequate to build a new structure. We had an elder’s meeting and they asked me for what I thought we should do,- try and build immediately? At that time it seemed each month the cost to build was increasing at a phenomenal rate. I had prayed about it a lot and felt led to say: “let’s build now!” One of my most astute elders came down hard on me, and told me, in effect, I was insane! But I had the hope that I had been led by the Lord, so I didn’t retreat. The rest of the elders put their vote with mine and we let the contract. I went back over the list of mission agencies involved with us, and each quarter I sent out a bulletin with pictures of the on-going development of the building. The groups all responded with several additional grants, and the church which cost over ¼ of a million dollars to build was completed debt free.
FROM JACK: To show how naive I am, I thought that a great fear of yours would be when you faced a fierce animal in the jungle. We (meaning, I) have so much to learn.

FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO: I would think in a land where they chop off a hand for stealing this message would really come in handy. FROM JACK: I wonder if the fear of getting your hand chopped off deters stealing. What is it that promotes the your opinion?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Winning Words 10/8/10
“Patience is also a form of action.” (Auguste Rodin) French sculptor, Rodin, is one of my favorite artists. I purchased a small medallion of his work, “The Thinker,” at the DIA. It’s attached to my computer as a reminder of the importance of being a thinker. Rodin also tells me that being patient is not a waste of time. His art was criticized during his lifetime, but now, with the passing of time, it’s widely acclaimed. ;-) Jack

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: I have had the good fortune of visiting the Rodin museum in Paris and THE Thinker is amazing. It is out surrounded by a beautiful rose garden. Being patient is hard. We want things's an attitude we need to squelch. Being patient is a virtue. FROM JACK: A few years ago I attended a Rodin exhibit at the DIA. I was surprised to see that "The Thinker" was a small part of a larger sculpture depicting a man looking down upon "Hades" (as I recall) and contemplating it.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Some years ago another "artist" created signs determined to keep our mind functional ... they exhorted THIMK. FROM JACK: Yes, I like that one, but the person I admire is the one who came up with the original THINK sign for the desks of IBM employees.

MORE FROM JACK: Before I was a pastor I worked in an office where a man taught me this quote.
Though man a thinking being is defined, Few use the grand perogative of mind.
How few think justly of the thinking few; How many never think, who think they do.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: His sculpture is awesome to me too. I seem to recall reading somewhere, maybe at one of the exhibits of his work, that he tried to "bring out the essence of what was in the material he was sculpting" For an artist to let the materials he/she is working on "speak" to him/her is an extraordinary relationship and one of humility and service that is also a model for me as I work with materials and with people. His WW today that you are passing on are very, very wise. FROM JACK: I like the Biblical image that we are like clay in the hands of the potter.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: His studio in Paris is one of my favorites. It is small with his work and with his workplace- plus great chocolate eclairs. One summer we lived in an apartment on Boulevard Louis Pasteur and could walk there easily. FROM JACK: Have you made a list of all the famous places you've visited? It would be a long one, I'm sure.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Ah, many times I remind myself of those very words. I'm not a person who lacks patience...waiting in line doesn't bother me, long lines of traffic don't faze me, but a person who gets upset with those kinds of things does bother me. Does that make sense? I seem to obtain more patience as I age also. Today I begin the first day of my 61st year. Wow. Thank you God! FROM JACK: Just reverse those numbers, and you'll be as young as you feel.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Interesting comment. You'd think Patience would be a force of "non-action"! Anyway, it is a virtue. I have become more patient as I aged. I used to want everything done "right now!" Rodin had done some imaginative and impressive sculptures. I have seen some of his original work...larger than life! FROM JACK: "O Lord, give me patience, and do it right now." Some of our prayers are like that.

FROM PRDR IN MICHIGAN: Probably because I’m absorbed in this Sunday’s gospel, I think we best polish the dull with gratitude. Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Gratitude makes things
right. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial
lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I’m that’s more than you can use on your blog, but you can “take what is useful and leave the rest” as they say in the 12 step communities. This is from Melody Beattie’s little book, Gratitude: Affirming the Good Things in Life, published by Hazelden. FROM JACK: Yes, that's a BIG sermon for the LITTLE blog, but it's worth sending out, especially after I read it a second time. Someone has to affirm the good things in life to counteract the negative (which gets the "press')

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Winning Words 10/7/10
“If you can’t see the bright side of life, polish the dull.” (Unknown) Do you remember Joe Btfsplk? He was the guy, dressed in black, in the Li’l Abner comic strip who always walked around with a cloud over his head. Life wasn’t so bright for Joe. It’s one thing to say, “Polish the dull.” But, how? Do you have some advice to give on the subject? What has worked for you? I’d like to share it on the blog. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I've found that getting a different outlook on things around you can help give a better perspective on your personal situation. When something has my mind locked up I take a long walk, and do it in unfamiliar surroundings. The fresh settings stimulate me to thinking about what I see, and considering other circumstances than my personal world. Just getting moving and breathing fresh air in all likelihood benefits me
too. I suggest abandoning the car and taking a walk. FROM JACK: Suggestion #1 is a stimulating one.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: make a habit of complimenting people, especially those who least expect it. FROM JACK: Suggestion #2 is from one who habitually polishes dull stuff in the world.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Since you ask, this dullard finds the most hope in striving to listen, particularly to scripture but also to all the loving, peacemaking, constructive shining light that seems to come from all around. Sometimes, I wonder if this could happen in the most dire of situations--Nazi Germany, prison, places where famine is, places of extreme poverty. Hope even there in those places too. We all are connected and perhaps that is the bright spot and leads of to give however we can to people all over who are suffering. FROM JACK: Suggestion #3 reminds us to LISTEN to what's going on around us with all of our senses.

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Remember that 'polishing the dull' teaches you perseverance. Being faithful with what you have also establishes your faith in God and yourself. Jesus said "Blessed is he who has not seen but still believes". Remember that even this concept is echoed in fiction; Aladdin had to reach out and polish
the lamp to get his wishes. FROM JACK: Suggestion #4 says to reach out an polish something that appears dull. Aladdin may appear.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: To take one day at a time and to enjoy that day. FROM JACK: Coming in at #5, is "enjoy the day" and don't look too far ahead. I read on the internet today that Tampa is one of the top places for people to stressed about their housing. Michigan was further down the list.

FROM MOLINER CF: illigitimi non carborundum FROM JACK: I'll bet you had that posted on your office wall. #6 is, to patient with other people who don't have that virtue.

FROM MOLINER JT: As the Hymn says. " Take it to the Lord in prayer" FROM JACK: Prayer is #7. It's especially helpful when it seems like you are continually wearing dark glasses.

FROM CJP IN WISCONSIN: I always say to myself-there is someone out there that has it much worse than me.
My mom Edith always said "Count your Blessings". It's true we must try to be thankful and keep a positive
attitude. FROM JACK: For your suggestion, #8, two songs come to mind..."Count Your Many Blessing, Name Them One By One" and "Look On The Sunny Side."

FROM PRFM IN WISCONSIN: Sit outside on a sunny day! FROM JACK: #9 sounds like a good idea, and today was one of those days. Even
Joe Btfsplk would have liked it.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: Like the adage "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"~ Not always easy to do, but positive attitude, and "can-do" grit are often the key. And the knowledge that God has said he can bring good out of every situation."We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose"...Romans:8:28 So we tend to believe that some good can come out of adverse circumstances. I'm sure that many times, this requires "faith-full eyes"!

FROM PRDR IN MICHIGAN: Probably because I’m absorbed in this Sunday’s gospel, I think we best polish the dull with gratitude. Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Gratitude makes things
right. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial
lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I’m that’s more than you can use on your blog, but you can “take what is useful and leave the rest” as they say in the 12 step communities. This is from Melody Beattie’s little book, Gratitude: Affirming the Good Things in Life, published by Hazelden. FROM JACK: Yes, that's a BIG sermon for the LITTLE blog, but it's worth sending out, especially after I read it a second time. Someone has to affirm the good things in life to counteract the negative (which gets the "press')

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Work harder & smarter. FROM JACK: Your response reminds me of The Karate Kid movie, where the instructor got the boy to polish his car...and by doing that, he became better at karate.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Winning Words 10/6/10
“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” (Thomas Edison) I once visited Edison’s laboratory building in West Orange, New Jersey. It’s nothing like the labs of today. As I recall, it seemed like a place where common, ordinary, overall-people would feel at home. What kinds of people have you worked with during your career? ;-) Jack

REALLY REALLY SMART GUYS WHO NEVER HAD ANY TYPE OF DEGREES. IQ OFF THE CHART. FROM JACK: If I have to choose between objectivity and subjectivity, I lean toward the latter, but both are important.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: When I was at the university, Joe the janitor in our studio building (always in overalls) was a plain, down-to-earth guy, but always pleasant and helpful. He liked classical music and had his little radio playing the classics while he took coffee breaks. He also liked talking about literature and art as it motivated him. One day the dean of our college informed us he and his wife had spent the previous evening attending the Metropolitan Opera that was on tour in our city. The dean told us how surprised and impressed he was at the formal event, because sitting three rows down in front of him was Joe the janitor, dressed to the nines for the performance. That's just how versatile he was. As they can't judge a book by its cover.
FROM JACK: What a great story (and example). It reminds me of the quote by MLK, Jr: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or
Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

FROM MF IN MICHIGAN: I have worked with doctors and lawyers, nurses and teachers, firefighters and police. I felt at home with those that were humble, despite their title. FROM JACK: ...and a pastor, too.

FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA: I worked with dead people when I worked at a funeral home. FROM JACK: I'm told that some people do that, even while not working at a funeral home.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: Interesting, Jack. I sometimes get "surprising looks" from Police and Fire Chiefs, Senators, State Reps and even Clergy whom when I meet them (if I have met them in the past) I will greet them by their first name rather than their Title. It certainly is not that I don't respect them...I respect their position...and often the person. It is rather, that I find too many people get hung-up on the titles and that
builds egos which results in a wall to climb over. I'm not real tall. I don't build nor climb walls well. I enjoy down to earth common folk....... FROM JACK: I once knew a pastor who never called any of his members by their first name. It was always, Mr (Smith) or Mrs (Jones) or Miss (So and So). In my experience, it's been a judgment call. In reverse, it's interesting.... I'll go with what comforts the individual.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: My mom wanted so much for my dad (an Iowa farmer) to wear jeans instead of overalls. When my husband was going to start graduate school at Stanford, I urged him to get some nice slacks to wear to class. What did we see when we arrived at the campus but a bunch of students wearing overalls!!! That was in 1969. Dad did eventually get out of overalls and wore nothing but jeans, whatever he wore seems like it had to be denim, a great sturdy and working fabric. Edison and he might have gotten along very well. FROM JACK: I'm reminded of Hans Christian Andersen's story: "The Emperor's New Clothes."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: I totally agree with the friends statement. By the way—you have a great replica of Thomas Edison’s lab right in Greenfield Village. FROM JACK: I've heard that Edison and Firestone and Ford were great friends and went camping together. Yes, Greenfield Village is one of the gems of the area. The new River Walk along the Detroit River is almost complete, from downtown all the way to Belle Isle. It is outstanding. Did you ever visit the Pewabic Pottery location? Another gem.


Blame it all on my roots
I showed up in boots
And ruined your black tie affair
The last one to know
The last one to show
I was the last one
You thought you'd see there
And I saw the surprise
And the fear in his eyes
When I took his glass of champagne
And I toasted you
Said, honey, we may be through
But you'll never hear me complain

'Cause I've got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And I'll be okay
I'm not big on social graces
Think I'll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I've got friends in low places

FROM JACK: Yep, I remember that song...Friends in Low Places...and it speaks to the point.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Being a pastor and being so involved with people all your life, I'm sure you know a lot of head-nodders...and different ways of communication with your nod. FROM JACK: I've even seen a few nod off during my preaching...and be awakened by a wife's poke in the ribs. You see some interesting things from that perch.

MORE FROM JUDY: I worked in an International Department at a bank and nearly everyone there was from a different country...Greece, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Ireland, England, Turkey, to name a few. The one I had the hardest time understanding was from...England...a Mr. George Battersby. I worked in the Legal Department of the same bank and handled government levies and garnishments. I dealt with reprecessors, government officials, presidents of companies, lawyers (9) and law enforcement. And I worked on a playground where I met many wonderful kids. I also worked as a church secretary where a met, as you
can imagine...every kind of person. 've met all kind of people and I can say I've learned something from nearly everyone including patience.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: Friends from all over the world and from all regions of our country have made life very interesting and challenging. Edison's laboratory in Fort Myers seems to be the same as in Michigan. Think how smart both Edison and Ford were to spend their winters in Florida so many years ago. FROM JACK: I've been to that Florida lab; I believe that it has been replicated here at Greenfield Village. BTW, I read in the paper today that a long, cold winter is predicted for Michigan by the Farmer's Almanac. If I were smart....

FROM PRFM IN WISCONSIN: The toughest group I worked with was one summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of College . . . I worked for Carlson Roofing . . . we worked on re-roofing flat roofed factories, most of them foundries. They had a design including a cupola, which let out the heat from the factory where they were casting engines etc . . . We worked with heated pitch, which was used to hold down the roofing material. It was real tough work, and most of the workers made that work their career . . . I was a flunky,
who hoisted the hot pitch up to the roof with a pulley system, or worked on the roof carrying the buckets of pitch to the 'roofers.' Tough guys, very hot work, every third word was a cuss word, but pay was good for a college student trying to make enough in the summer to stay in school. I guess I made $1.25 an hour, which helped a lot when tuition, room and board at Carthage was about $650 a year! FROM JACK: I remember those overall days, too. We are what we were.

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: I'll bet it was interesting to tour that Lab ...What an inventive genius Edison was! We had a man whom Bill had befriended, come to our church in overalls and work boots, and he never came back. He told Bill the people were friendly to him, but he was an overall person, and our people were not, and he felt out of place. So much for inclusion. He came into the church office and visited with Bill from time to
time, and apparently felt comfortable with him. Bill used to wear overalls to school during the depression, and his mother would cry that she didn't have dress pants and shirts to put on her boys...I don't think it damaged his psyche in any permanent way. :-) Most of us were not dressed too spiffy during the depression, actually ... FROM JACK: In this case, Bill's most effective preaching was in the office. BTW, Recently, I saw my granddaughter wearing aspiffy new pair of faded jeans with holes already in them. MORE FROM MO:
I know! I'm glad that our School system bans jeans with holes in them...they are sent home to change if they wear them to school. How can they think these are cool? Ha!~They probably are, in cold weather!:-) But of course they see the celebrities in these tattered pants, and think that is hip! Oh well, the Lord looks on the heart!! FROM JACK: In your younger days you probably wore what was in style, in spite of what the old fogies said.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Winning Words 10/5/10
“A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view.” (Wilma Askinas) I don’t know much about Wilma. Was she that woman, married to Fred Flintstone? No…she was a famous athlete and author who died in 2007. Her book, “Splice of Life,” gives insight into human character. Today’s quote is one of those insights. A friend is one who knows us and still likes us. ;-) Jack

FROM PL IN MICHIGAN: That's funny! Did you see the panel discussion on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour"? The topic was "Should Americans fear Islam?" She actually had people on both sides of the issue and an audience who participated. FROM JACK: No, I didn't happen to see it. I like what FDR once said: "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself." Part of the educator's role is take away the "bogey man." Christiane is one of my favorite newspersons. I don't think that many people know that she was born in Iran. I found it interesting to go to an Open House at the mosque in our community.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: There's also a variation that goes 'A friend is someone who knows you very well, and likes you anyway!' But no matter how you say rings true. FROM JACK: Who is a friend? Both you and Wilma have given a start on the answer to that question. More on that....?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: My best friends have stood by me through divorce, marriage, births, deaths, aging (although some of them are old now while I remain 29), problems, trails, and just life in general. Besides my family, they are my true joy! Thank you dear friends and thank you God! FROM JACK: I have a habit of calling some people "friends of mine," when they are really "acquaintances." There's a difference.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Today's Henri Nouwen meditation connected in my mind with your WW about all of us people seeing inside another and being friends. "When the two disciples recognised Jesus as he broke the bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished from their sight" (Luke 24:31). The recognition and the disappearance of Jesus are one and the same event. Why? Because the disciples recognised that their Lord
Jesus, the Christ, now lives in them ... that they have become Christ-bearers. Therefore, Jesus no longer sits across the table from them as the stranger, the guest, the friend with whom they can speak and from whom they can receive good counsel. He has become one with them. He has given them his own Spirit of Love. Their companion on the journey has become the companion of their souls. They are alive, yet it is no longer them, but Christ living in them (see Galatians 2:20)."

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I have a longtime friend from my youth with whom I have little in common. We think so differently about things, and our personal interests are unmatched. He lives some distance away yet we talk frequently and have continued to stay in touch over all the years. We know almost everything about each other but still take pleasure in sharing when we talk or visit. The thread that binds us together seems to be thin but it is very strong. I know I am far better for having him in my life and I hope I have contributed something to him. FROM JACK: I remember a song...."Friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship. When other friendships are forgot, ours will still be hot."

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: We have maintained a friendship, Jack, in spite of you getting to know me. I think that speaks highly of your kindness, forgiveness, and character. FROM JACK: By your writing and your songs, I can see right through least dimly. "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood." (1 Cor 13:12) A face to face meeting for us may happen sometime.

FROM YOOPER NK: SO TRUE !!!!! YES, especially as you get older and forget or whatever. FROM JACK: Has da snow started to fly up dere? Does it get as deep as in da olden days?

FROM PRJM IN MICHIGAN: Was she Wilma Rudolph? FROM JACK: Wrong Wilma, again, but still a good choice. The first American woman ever to win three gold medals in the Olympics, Wilma Rudolph overcame major obstacles to make her mark in the record books and in life. Rudolph contracted severe polio as a child. By age 16, she was an All-State basketball player and a bronze medalist in the 1956 Olympics. She attended Tennessee State University on a track scholarship, and returned for the 1960 Olympics - and Olympic glory, winning gold medals in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 4 x 100 meter relay. She set world records in all three events. She was named United Press Athlete of the Year (1960), the AP Woman Athlete of the Year (1960, 1961) and received the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete (1961). She has been inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame and named one of five sports stars selected as America's Greatest Women Athletes by the Women's Sports Foundation, she is in the Black Sports Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Rudolph gave women's track a strong boost in America. Since her competition days, she has written a best-selling autobiography, Wilma, and created the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to train young athletes

FROM MOLINER CF: Acquaintances are a dime a dozen. Friendships are priceless. FROM JACK: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver,and the other gold." (This is one of the first songs a Brownie Scout learns to sing at ceremonies)

FROM MO IN ILLINOIS: ...And who was it that said if you have five real friends throughout life, that is, close friends, you are more fortunate than most. Most of our friendships tend to be more shallow than "bosom buddies". That's my perspective, anyway. I feel fortunate to have had my share of deep friendships. They are a blessing, and the quote is true about that! FROM JACK: Maybe we should grade them on a scale of 1 to 10. On second thought....Nah!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: A very big difference. Acquaintances are sometimes mere head-nodders as I call them. You nod to them as they come in and out of your life, but there is no relationship. Good comment. FROM JACK: Head-nodders....I like it. Nodding can mean, Hello...or, Yes, or No...or, My, my...or more?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Winning Words 10/4/10
“You can trust the Lord too little, but you can never trust Him too much.” (Unknown) I can’t find the source of these words, but I can imagine they’re from someone who’s found himself/herself at “their wit’s end.” It reminds me of the man who asked Jesus to heal his son. “I believe; help my unbelief.” There can be those times in life where we have no other place to turn to, except to the Lord. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: With all our personal faults we resist facing the Lord, but with all our problems we're sunk without going to the Lord. (Come to me, all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest...Matthew 11:28) FROM JACK: I've preached on that subject before. You must have been there....or experienced it firsthand.

FROM SG IN TAMPA: And our guardian angel is always there with a little nudge in the right direction, too. FROM JACK: Is there such a one as a guardian angel?

FROM JM IN VIRGINIA: The sermon yesterday at church was about faith (the mustard seed). Normally, I think of faith as an independent idea - you know, you either have it or you don't, it's weak or strong. The pastor yesterday talked about faith in terms of a relationship with God. A little analytical twist in my mind, but an interesting way of thinking about it. FROM JACK: A nuclear scientist at the Argonne Lab in the Chicago area used to drop his kids off in the church parking lot and wait for them until Sunday School was over. One day the pastor came out and talked with him about faith. At the end of the conversation, the pastor said, "You know, at this church you don't have to leave your brains in the car when you come inside." I knew both of the these individuals. The scientist went on to change careers and became a pastor...and a bishop.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Actually, seems the times are more like hourly. My mind can be filled with so much negativity that the solution is only ceaseless praying, asking God to give me His perspective and commandments on how to think, do, feel. THANK GOD there is that one hour a week on Sunday where we all gather and confess and eat and get strengthened for the rest of the week. I would hate to see what would happen if it were not for that. FROM JACK: "Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer...." You know the rest of the words, don't you?
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief, My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare, By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: this reminds me of the statement that "i have neven known anyone who was hurt by giving too much but i am sure i have know someone who was hurt by giving too little." FROM JACK: The deacons in a congregation that I served came up to me with a problem. One of the members was a tither (and plus), but he had many major bills in the community that went unpaid. "Pastor, can you talk to him about this?" MORE FROM PH: sounds like Tom Petters or Bernie Madoff. VERY generous with churches and
charities but not too good about paying those they legitimately owed money to!!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Good words...I wish I could take credit for them. I trust the's myself I don't. FROM JACK: In Sunday School we used to sing...."Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Winning Words 10/1/10
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.” (African Proverb) This month Holy Spirit Church in West Bloomfield, MI, will be celebrating it’s 40th birthday. Stories will be told of what has been accomplished during those four decades. But the real story is in the mind of God. Whether it’s with a church or with an individual, the true tale is to be told by God. ;-) Jack

FROM PO IN MICHIGAN: A different 'slant' indeed! FROM JACK: Life becomes more interesting when you begin to look at things from a different perspective.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: How true, Jack! Our window into the world is limited to tiny holes permitting a little light to enter into our eyes, to the length of our arms and hands to touch, to tiny little bones that can detect and dance to the tune of nearby sound, to 2 little holes and 1 larger one that enable scents and tastes to enter us--and every single bit of input is filtered through our own perceptual sieves. So very, very little do we know of THE story! I take great comfort in knowing that I don't have the whole picture, and don't need to see all of it... I only need to know the One who does... FROM JACK: We need to keep that thought in mind when we look at each person who comes before us. It's so easy fpr us to make superficial judgments.

FROM CH IN MASSACHUSETTS: This is really cool - a neat perspective. I will say AMEN to your commentary. Case in point: Someone had written a history of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, and it basically went like this "Pastor #1 was here x number of years, and did this building addition; pastor #2 was here x number of years and did this building addition; pastor #3 etc. We had been there 3 or 4 years (are now beginning our 5th) and the history had never been updated to mention that we had arrived. I joked and
said, "We're not on the radar screen because we haven't done a building addition!) Seriously, I challenged people, why is this the lens through which we define our history; what would it look like if we defined it through benevolence giving? Or through attendance in Bible study? Or through vicars, or through members sent off to seminary, OR, OR, OR... people fed through the food pantry - or maybe God's perspective doesn't involve numbers at all... thought provoking... FROM JACK: Until we begin to see the Church (not a necessarily a congregation) for what it is supposed to be and what is it's mission, the picture will out of focus. There are plenty of examples in the writings of the prophets and in the words of Jesus to help us understand this and to be about the business of doing something.

FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Thinking about people in the Bible, the widow with two mites, the woman at the well, the eunuch, I always wonder if these people in our churches now are being fully respected for their stories. Or are many people feeling overlooked for their contributions and more or less resigned to just waiting for God Who knows everything. FROM JACK: Jesus emphasized that even "the least" has an important place in the Kingdom...the little child...the lost sheep...the Prodigal Son...the thief on the cross. The Last Judgment will not necessarily be what we expect it to be.

FROM ML IN ILLINOIS: have you read "the cowardly lion" from the "wicked"? it's an interesting, sometimes dark tale of the plight of the hunted. FROM JACK: I haven't read it, but it sounds like it fits with what today's WWs are trying to say.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Amen and Amen FROM JACK: I suppose that means that you agree twice. And, I'll add another AMEN!

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: a great quote. when we were in Tanzania last time, a Masai man told he how he hunted lions in the old days (the animals are more protected now) he simply ran after it ALL day long until the lion was too tired to run any more. i am not making this up. the man was chasing the lion and not the other way around. amazing... FROM JACK: The lion probably wonders, "Why is that strange looking animal chasing me? Why doesn't he leave me alone? What does he want?

FROM JM IN VIRGINIA: Christ Lutheran (in Federal Way, WA, where my dad was the founding pastor) is also celebrating its 40th in October. If I lived a little closer I'd probably make the trip. FROM JACK: I was there at the time of his retirement. He was a good and faithful servant.