Friday, December 30, 2011

Winning Words 12/30/11
“Relax sweetheart; it’s just a bend, not the end.” (In a love letter from God) I once read a Bible translation which has Jesus using the jargon of a typical teen-ager. It could be a turn-on or a turn-off for some people. Can you imagine God using words like those in today’s WWs? What’s the difference between them and “Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid?” ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Sounds like Columbo or Jimmy Cagney or someone in a detective movie. Since it does seem like the devil is busy now-a-days, as always, deceiving, manipulating, lying, cheating and trying to destroy people's reputations and, in general, obstruct God's Will being done, I sort of like the idea of God being a detective and finding out for us who are the bad guys and solving the problem of evil in our world, bringing those bad guys out in the open and to justice. But, as always, each bad person is just a bend; there is always another beyond him/her for another show tomorrow. We might as well relax and enjoy the New Year.////FROM JACK: God can do all kinds of impersonations. Today's WWs reminds me of Humphrey Bogart. But he greatest impersonation of all was becoming a human being.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: The difference has to do with the elegance of the language....we don't always have to be elegant in our use of language but it is nice now and then to ascend from the depths!!!////FROM JACK: In Homiletics class we were taught to connect our sermons up with life. We were also taught that there is a time to be "common" and a time to be "elegant" and to know the difference.

FROM YOOPER FLICKA: YOU JUST KEEP GIVING US THINGS TO REALLY THINK ABOUT....TACK SA MYKET !!!////FROM JACK: The quote seemed appropriate for the end of the year when there have been a variety of bends in the road. But, with God's grace we have been able to navigate them...and it will be so in 2012. May it be a good year for you.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: some God others, She's a bore......take your pick.////FROM JACK: The great unknowable becomes known in a human form at Christmas.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Was Art Arnold your teacher? I liked him. I was teaching speech and coaching debate at Augie while I attended seminary and in my senior year Karl Mattson died. Arnold became the Interim President and I taught the Freshman Homiletics class for him. I would agree that there are times for each of the two....common and elegant. I think the elegant belongs more to hymnody and liturgy and the common to sermons but there can be places for each in all of the above. As you know I tend not to be an "either/or" type of person. I do object, however, to the use of the lowest common denominator on a regular basis....something that too often characterizes present day Christian services. I love the hymns llike "Crown Him With Many Crowns" .....'Crown Him the Lord of Years....The Potentate of Time....Creator of the Rolling Spheres.....Ineffably Sublime"....that is great language. Have a great New Year.////FROM JACK: Yes, AA was my preaching prof, and I learned much from him. I learned a lot during my intern year, too. I agree with you that the use of language form should not be either/or. I also believe that the Church should be a teaching Church. But it shouldn't try to teach calculus to those who are just becoming acquainted with fractions.

FROM GOOD SAM FAM: Same destination; different path.////FROM JACK: I can live with religious diversity, because I don't have all of the answers.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I can imagine God at home with any "jargon", and it is interesting for a change to put his words into present day lingo. Tony Campolo sometimes has entertaining paraphrases of scripture, to make the Bible more palatable to young people. I like the message Bible too, and Psalms Now, and the Gospels NOW, etc. A different phrasing often freshens "old" familiar stories or passages, for me!////FROM JACK: Everything old was once new and different. The King James Bible was thought to be sacrilegious when it first came out. My favorite NT translation is the one by J.B. Phillips

FROM CJL IN OHIO: For one thing, it's understandable....////FROM JACK: I understand your point.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS: My first thought was that it came from Humphrey Bogart. From God, it is even better.////FROM JACK: To me, it sounds more like Bogie, than it does from God. But the thought is definitely God's.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winning Words 12/29/11
“Who would venture upon the journey of life, if compelled to begin at the end?” (Madame de Maintenon) Perhaps you saw the movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In it, Brad Pitt lives backward, beginning life as an old man and aging back to his youth. A reviewer wrote: “The movie is a downer.” Would you like to live backward? ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Actually, in what many times is a segregated society in which people of each age tend to spend most time with each other and feel like they have most in common with each other, I am finding out that I need to try to live backward to the youth of the young people around me in order to genuinely relate to them and to live authentic life in community. It's a lucky person who liked their youth because probably then it's all much easier. Putting "the Curious Case of Benjamin Button" on my Netflix list. Thanks and Happy New Year, some lucky baby will be the New Year famous baby again.////FROM JACK: As I become older, I live backward by realizing that I've been the age of most people with whom I have contact. I know what it's like to be their age, but they don't know what it's like to be mine.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: If we believe in the concept of eternity, the temporal experience of our "time" on earth makes the idea of "living backwards" a very reasonable consideration. How does our lifetime fit into the eternal concept of "always was and always will be"? The concept of Time and the temporal is a very confusing experience when juxtaposed to Eternity's "always was and always will be". They just don't fit! Maybe we do live backwards.////FROM JACK: What if the calendar makers labeled the new ones, "2010?" If, we didn't know any better, would that mean we were living backward? And what if clocks were fixed in such a way that they ran in reverse? What is the real measurement of time? The solar system? In Joshua 10:13, a story mentions that the sun stood still. Even NASA has issued an opinion on that.

FROM MY ATTORNEY VISITING IN FLORIDA: I had to dig deep into my computer to find this hilarious piece; but it was appropriate in response to today's Winning Words. Here it is...IN MY NEXT LIFE by Woody Allen: “In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!”////FROM JACK: I hadn't read that one before, but it fits with WA's kind of humor.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: No, but sometimes I skip to the end of the story to make sure it turns out ok... you may say the Bible tells me that it will. Call me agnostic, but, personally, I'd like a little more proof...////FROM JACK: To those who seek proof, I remember two statements by one of my professors on the subject of being sure of God. 1) "You can't find God at the end of a logical syllogism." 2) "You can't unscrew the inscrutable." That helped me to come to an understanding of faith. Sometimes we come to the point where we simply say, "I don't know, but I believe." Reread the story connected with Mark 9:24. It's OK to be a seeker of truth.

FROM BM IN MICHIGAN: NO! Nothing (except, maybe, good health) beats being with and playing with grandchildren. I’ll keep things earlier in life in my memory bank. Obviously, there are other wonderful things at the top of the list – a loving spouse, family & friends, etc.////FROM JACK: Going backward, I think that it would be difficult to cope with being a peer of my children. Let's just be thankful for the good memories.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: No--I would want to start at the beginning so I could look back on all the fabulous memories!////FROM JACK: I take it that you mean that you'd like to relive those times that given you good memories. I think I've read of some inventors who have tried to develop a time machine that would allow travel into the past. So far, no success. Well have to be satisfied with the gift of memory.////MARLYS CLARIFIES: No--I don't want to re-live it. Just savor my memories.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Easy one for me....NOPE!////FROM JACK: Then you could relive the outhouse experiences, especially in the freezing weather.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: The quick answer is "no". But think of the fun going from weakness to strength and think of the knowledge you would carry. Would you do things differently?...////FROM JACK: In my scenario, living backward would leave behind the memory of the days before. It would be a "true" backward trip. The answer for me is also, NO."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winning Words 12/28/11
“Dreams will get you nowhere; a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.” (Baltasar Gracian) Father Gracian is well known for putting together a collection of 300 pithy maxims, along with his commentary. It was like a 17th century Winning Words which he called, “The Art of Worldly Wisdom.” Today’s WWs may give an indication that he was schooled by some strict Jesuits. ;-) Jack

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Again "both/and" seems more reasonable than "either/or"////FROM JACK: Maybe it's a Jesuit blind spot.

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: I believe it all depends on if you are awake and dreaming or asleep. Asleep you have no control over the dream good or bad but when awake you control the dream or stop it all together. ////FROM JACK: I have a journal in which I record some of my most interesting (and weird) night dreams. General Motors once had someone on staff who was "paid" to come up with new ideas. I'd like that kind of job.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Kick all you want... in this economy some things just ain't gonna happen! ////FROM JACK: But you and I know that sometimes a person needs a kick in the pants to be motivated to do what needs doing. I don't hear that expression anymore.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Then why do most all successful people say, "Follow your dream"?////FROM JACK: I don't know. Why is it that in the movies someone hops into a taxi and says to the cabbie, "Follow that car?"

Winning Words 12/28/11
“Dreams will get you nowhere; a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.” (Baltasar Gracian) Father Gracian is well known for putting together a collection of 300 pithy maxims, along with his commentary. It was like a 17th century Winning Words which he called, “The Art of Worldly Wisdom.” Today’s WWs may give an indication that he was schooled by some strict Jesuits. ;-) Jack

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winning Words 12/27/11
“Oh, Wow! Oh, Wow! Oh, Wow!" (Steve Jobs) These were the last words that Steve Jobs spoke before he died. Another inventor, TAE, said, “It’s very beautiful over there.” I Googled “Famous Last Words” to see if I could get a glimpse of heaven. The “words” were interesting, to say the least. But, St. Paul writes in 1 Cor 2:9, that we’re going to have to wait to see the “Oh, Wow1” event for ourselves. ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: This was so interesting!!!! Didn't watch/listen to all the news about Steve Jobs so missed knowing what his last words were. Glad you caught me up because this is the most interesting news of all. It's a Wow experience even to know he got a chance to say Oh, Wow! Three times even!!!!////FROM JACK: I remember seeing a church ad once that had a bold headline which simply read, "WOW!" It got my attention. What comes after that is what's important.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: My dad had lost his voice years and years before he died. But right before he passed, he looked in the four corners of the room, looked at each of us girls and said in his real voice us hadn't heard for years..."I love you, I love you, I love you and I love you" as he pointed to each one us of girls. He had a broad smile on his face! We were laughing and weeping at the same time. But all of us in the room knew he saw angels and his loved ones, including my mom. His face just glowed and then he breathed his last. It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful beginning.////FROM JACK: Oh, Wow! What a wonderful way for your dad to say, "Good-bye!" Good-bye is a contacted form of "God be with you."

FROM CL IN SANTA BARBARA: I started reading Isaacson's book on Jobs over the holidays. From what I know about him, to suggest that what he was describing with his "oh wows" was heaven would fly on the face of John 14:6. I find myself needing to view Steve Jobs like I do Tiger Woods -- separating his accomplishments in his trade (that I view with vast respect and admiration) from his personal life and belief system (that I view with disdain).////FROM JACK: Jesus said to thief on the cross next to him, "Today, you shall be with me in Paradise." And the thief responded, "Oh, Wow!"

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Cool! You have such good ideas-- "Famous Last Words" is a fascinating concept. Going to Google it myself.////FROM JACK: Jesus was a cool guy. Among his famous last words were: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: Keep our eye on the goal! Oh, Wow!////FROM JACK: During a basketball game, one of my teammates lost his sense of direction and shot the ball into the wrong basket, and our opponents won the game, because of that error. Keep your eye on the goal, the right goal!

FROM RJP IN FLORIDA: After my father was revived he looked at us and said don't worry it's OK I've seen the beauty and he then asked for the resident Catholic Nun who came and spoke to him the day before he died. Oh, Wow! ////FROM JACK: There's a song..."Precious Memories."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: my mom's words included..."don't you see the little ones?" i was blessed to be there. teaching moments to the end.////FROM JACK: She lived out the words of Jesus: "Unless you become as a child...." Your mom was a "child" of God.

FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO: He was so special that he had a premonition of his trip to see the Good Lord. So he was special in life, and he was going to be special in the after life. I believe it. When U consider all the inventions he gave mankind to in effect make their lives more meaning full. I wonder if people like Mr Edison, or Mr Maytag, people who helped my mother live an easier life, were treated to the same greeting.////FROM JACK: F. L. Maytag began inventing an manufacturing farm machinery in 1893 in Newton, Iowa. Business was so slow in 1907 that he introduced a wooden-tub washing machine. That became his main product. We use a Maytag washer and dryer today. BTW, the scrub board for washing clothes was invented in 1797 by James King. You probably remember using one of them. We still have one. Some hillbilly music groups use them as a musical instrument.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS: I just finished reading a new book "Crossing the Threshold of Eternity" by Robert L Wise (Guideposts) in which he describes an effective ministry to the dying. I think it is worthwhile reading and wish I had had something like this when I was in parish. He claims there is something like 15 million recorded near death experiences that carry the message you just quoted.////FROM JACK: The more we know, it seems that there is the more there is to discover."

FROM JF IN MICHIGAN: I meant to send you a note last week on this. My Uncle Bernard’s last words were, “Oh, Beulah!” (Beulah had died about 3 years earlier.) I enjoy receiving the Winning Words at my work e-mail address. I have passed some of them along to my employees.////FROM JACK: Oh, Wow! It fits. The word, Beulah (in the Bible) is another name for Israel, a place of peace. It's mentioned in Pilgrim's Progress. I suppose that Beulah was your aunt. There's a Gospel song called, Dwelling in Beulah Land.

FROM GP IN MICHIGAN: A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room he said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know." "You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?" The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing... I know my Master is there
and that is enough."

FROM JO IN MICHIGAN: How intriguing! It's nice to have something better to look forward to, as long as we can get there..////FROM JACK: I like this verse from the Bible. "But as it is written, 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." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Winning Words 12/26/11
“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” (Dr. Seuss) I I’ve had occasion to write to several friends who have had loved ones die during this holiday season. In my mind, the reason for Christmas is that God wanted to show us the way to eternal life. He did so in the life and teachings of Jesus. That’s the reason for the season. Gift giving/returning is fun, but secondary. ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Absolutely! Eternal life is the gift of the Reason for the Season. All else is frosting on the cake!////FROM JACK: We have an expression in our household for something that doesn't measure up to the real thing..."It's just a cookie." Compared to the coming of Jesus, the stuff of Christmas is "just a cookie."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: I couldn't agree more with you.////FROM JACK: It's nice to begin the day by hearing from an agreeable person.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: God's gift fits all. No "exchange receipt" required.


FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO: We watched a session on T.V the other nite about the people in and life in a monastary. Some of the inhabitants said, ( this was on a mountain top ) they were there because they wanted to be closer to Jesus and the Good Lord. And if I understood them, they were anxious to die so they could go to be with the Good Lord. This reminds me of the time I ( used to take Rx out to the Carmalite sisters On Sat. nite or Sunday afternoon or evening ) and one of the sisters was lying in bed and she said she was dieing and she told me that she was anxious to die so that now she could go to be with Jesus. And she showed me a wedding band, she was wedded to Jesus. She wasn't afraid of dieing, she was looking forward to going to be with Jesus. Wow, talk about faith. I often wondered why Father Schneider of St. Therese church wasn't buried with his housekeeper. ( actually soul mate ) I think it was only proper. Incidentally, My wife and I rarely give each other a gift at Christmas.. I usually send a check to the church, and to the Orlando Rescue Mission. That is our gift to each other.////FROM JACK: What a great way to give a gift twice...once to your wife and, secondly, to the Mission.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winning Words
“It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.” (Henry van Dyke) We can learn something new every day. For example---the source of today’s WWs. I’ve heard the saying many times but never connected it with van Dyke. The quote seems relevant at Christmastime, just like another of Henry’s writings, “The Other Wise Man.”---which is worth reading and is relatively short.. I Googled it. ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Enjoying right now the thought that a bit of thinking must have gone into choosing this morning's WW. Thanks to Henry van Dyke, thanks to you, thankful for every gift that comes to us this Christmas holiday, but above it all that God came down to us and was born a tiny little baby, vulnerable in every way and Who has gone through every thing that we go through in this world. Who would have every thunk this possible--but God. Contemplating mystery at the computer,////FROM JACK: I wonder if Henry would have written as he did if he'd had access to a PC....or the Bible writers, for that matter.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Amazing, I never knew that quote could be attributed to anyone. I read "The Other Wise Man". I have read it before but many many years ago in college. I had forgotten it. Thanks for sending this on as it is a wonderful Christmas story. Merry Christmas! ////FROM JACK: Many New Testament sayings are simply quotes from the Old Testament, and the source of some of them is lost in antiquity.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: I wonder if Barney Google ever "googled anything? Have a blessed Christmas. Thanks for having me on WW....////FROM JACK: Googling goes far back with me. I belonged to the Barney Google Fan Club when I was in high school. I also liked the popular Barney Google song...
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.
Barney Google tried to enter paradise.
When Saint Peter saw his face, he said, "Go to the other place".
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winning Words 12/22/11
“All we need is confidence.” (Charlie Brown) I saw this quote in a waiting room magazine and tore it out. I don’t like it when other people do that, but they were good words, and I like Charlie Brown. Early in my ministry I went to a seminar where we talked about the importance of having confidence if we were to expect results from our actions. Pastors? Business people? Anyone? It works. ;-) Jack

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Confidence gives us "staying power." And staying power is what gets things done. ////FROM JACK: When my mother and step-father would come for a visit, he would say, "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." During their stay of 3 days, he'd get the windows washed and do other odd jobs. Then, it was back to Moline.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: Reminds me of something I read somewhere once: "90% of success is showing up."////FROM JACK: Your response reminds me of another word..DEPENDABILITY.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Struggling with your WW because currently experiencing a situation where someone doesn't have confidence in someone else and the person's job is in the balance. Yesterday meditating about failure, today success. There are some things you just do want to see work out for people, for God's Work among us. Like the success of Charlie Brown.////FROM JACK: In the seminar, we were helped to see our strong points and to concentrate on them...instead of negativity. As the old song goes, "So you see it's all up to you You can be better than you are."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Yes it does! We just finished our 37th Christmas Season with LARKS--it really took off when I became confident in what I was doing. ////FROM JACK: Think of how many people have benifitted by that confidence...the singers, the listeners, and you!

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: David seemed to be a good example of that in his early years.////FROM JACK: Goliath found that out, didn't he?

FROM BLAZING OAKS: So True. And as I wrote yesterday, the key to self-confidence is preparation! One of the best gifts we can give our kids is self-esteem and confidence. That makes them winners, and able to lead. As Maria Von Trapp (Julie Andrews) sang in Sound of Music..."I have Confidence in Confidence alone..."! :-) ////FROM JACK: "Yes, we can!" was a slogan that helped Obama win the nomination of his party.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Early in my career a presenter once said to me "It is about attitude not aptitude" It has been my guide for at least the past 50 years////FROM JACK: Another "tude" that I like is fortitude.

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: My husband is appalled. He always gives me a hard time when I might tear out a great recipe from a waiting room magazine! So it was fun for me to point out that I have a respected partner in crime. I agree with the quote. Taking on new challenges, you have to be a little fearless, and the confidence builds with each accomplishment. I was that way about teaching. I've been told A teacher has to be a bit of an actor--acting confident though you might not feel it--"to fake it til you make it" . It helped me a lot.////FROM JACK: I deliberated with myself before doing the deed. My rationale...Who's going to read a month-old Fortune magazine anyway? Situation ethics works that way sometimes.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Remember when we could read words and sayings in a book or magazine and remember them? Now we have to either write them down or tear them out. Like the words though, we all need more confidence.////FROM JACK: Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to blog it, so I don't forget.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winning Words 12/21/11
“There’s no success like failure.” (Bob Dylan) Someone I know has a cat named …Is it Dillon or Dylan? A cat’s nature is to be independent, so I imagine the name is, Dylan. Bob Dylan, the songwriter-singer was popular in the 1960s as one who appealed to people of the counter-culture. He could be right at home today among the “occupiers.” Does he hang out with the failures or the successful? ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Liked your WW today too. Our pastor left to become Chaplain at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia for young people, teens and early twenties. It was such an inspirational move. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out well for him, because the Sanctuary administration moved him into working more with the fundraising when he wanted most of all to Pastor. For some reason now, in our community, our Pastors are more engaged in working with people who pass through the church doors to use the food pantry and to ask for other various assistance and, to a person, the Pastors seem to respond by getting really down and messy and involved. Our last interim Pastor even had a homeless person living with him in the parsonage which was also among the reasons the Pastor had to leave as some people felt he had really breached some boundaries. But I believe that the fact that we have these religious leaders leading the way for us is finally the only thing that makes sense about our Christian walk with Jesus, we've all got to hob-nob with the poor, at least on one level or another, in order to be in any way authentic about responding to what we hear in church, in order to even feel real and not superficial, in order to succeed at what we finally come to believe is important in our lives. Thanks again for your WW. It will be interesting to read your blog again today. ////FROM JACK: You can see that I edited your remarks, but I hope the point you wanted to make is still evident. God keeps a different score sheet on what is success and what is failure.////MORE FROM SS: I believe failure moves us the closest to God, helping us to realize we are utterly and totally dependent on a Higher Power for everything and then we are the most useful to God and He can use us in loving others most authentically without any artificial and superficial blinders as to who they really are too, God's children. We are all beggars and the quicker we find that out the better (in my opinion but it's really, really hard to hold this view in today's American culture, we all need the most compassionate and faithful teachers along the way).

FROM GAP IN MICHIGAN: Even though it's the hardest way to learn and succeed, failure is often the only way. Personally, I don't think the "occupiers" have accomplished much, if anything at all. But, it just points out people like Dylan. I call them one layers. If they would only peel back the rest of the layers, they would see what and where and how and who keeps the workers working. All of those presidents and CEO's have failed at some point but they kept going. Some very good people, some not so good. Layers upon layers....failures and successes.////FROM JACK: I am still trying to figure out the "occupiers." In the 50s, I was trying to figure out the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. With time, it came to me. Everything has to have a beginning. Sometimes we want immediate answers. Life doesn't always provide us with what we want. Success and failure are relative terms.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: This class warfare crap has got to stop! We're all in this together and we had better start acting that way. My dad drew a variation during the Great Depression. Bum sitting on a garbage can. Caption ["If you're so damn smart why ain't you rich?' I still have it.////FROM JACK: The warfare will continue so long as the "haves" ignore the "have nots." Through the years I have been moved by the story of the rich man and Lazarus, as told by Jesus (Luke 16:19-31). I like the song from Fiddler on the Roof..."If I were a rich man..."

FROM BLAZING OAKS: This certainly seems like a contradiction in terms! No one I know feels good about failing...but it does often teach valuable lessons...maybe that puts a more positive focus on failure. Better to fail than to never try!! I like Jane Garton's observation (365 Ways to a Better You). "The key to success is self-confidence, and the key to self-confidence is preparation." Much truth in this!////FROM JACK: One of our human foibles is the tendency to make snap judgments. Success or failure can only be determined with the passage of time. Patience is hard to learn.

FROM MY ATTORNEY: Greetings from Florida. I always loved Bob Dylan's music. He really told some interesting stories with his music. Here's a Dylan song (Gotta Serve Somebody) that you can relate to. Enjoy. ////FROM JACK: A great song, with a great beat and a great message. But, John Lennon didn't think so and wrote a song in response, "Serve Yourself."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winning Words 12/20/11
“Be the buffalo!” (Cherokee Saying) It’s been said that when a storm is approaching, cattle are quick to run away. The Indians observed that the buffalo charges into the storm and gets through it quicker. Donna Brazile takes this lore and applies it to everyday living. When confronted by a tough challenge, why prolong the turmoil? Become the buffalo! There is much that we can learn from the Indians. ;-) Jack

FROM DMF IN MINESOTA: I don’t think Carl Sandburg would agree.////FROM JACK: I had an aunt who knew Carl from his Galesburg days, and he wasn't always an agreeable person.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I think those Cherokees knew what they were talking about. I like that advice. I admire Donna Brazile too, a pragmatic Democrat.////FROM JACK: I like the word, pragmatic. Adding a political name is bound to turn off some...who then miss the point.////MORE FROM BOSTON: You usually put a nice twist on things to evoke deeper thinking.

ROM ILLINOIS LIZ: My psychologist friend says, "It's easier to face a difficult task than it is to ignore it." ////FROM JACK: The Cherokees were psychologists without knowing the word.

FROM ARCHIE IN MICHIGAN: I just finished reading "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom. It's well worth reading if you haven't gotten to it yet.////FROM JACK: Yes, that's a good book. I wonder if the buffalo is capable of faith?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Good advice, Kemo Sabee. I don't think I'd try this with a tornado, however. ////FROM JACK: You're not a buffalo; you're a chicken.////FROM CHESTER: Here's the verse for the Buffalo which appears in WHOOzoo at the Zoo Book Two (Chester wrote the book)
The Buffalo lives on the prairie.
And, boy, is that beast ever hairy.
They like it where they stay,
And will graze there all day,
Unless they decide to be scary.
While they are quite docile,
They’re far from a fossil.
They’ll “stomp” on your feet, so be wary.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Interesting quote. I'm not sure I agree, but then, cattle will run right off the cliff. I wonder if Buffalo turn before the cliff? Hmmmm////FROM JACK: You've got your animals mixed up. The pigs were the ones who ran off the cliff (Mark 5:10-20).

FARM STORY FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Once when I was a little kid, I made the mistake of having a red shirt on in the cattle lot. The bull started charging at me but Dad grabbed me quick and got me out of there. That's what charging buffaloes makes me think of. I don't think I much want to be the buffalo.////FROM JACK: Now, most of the charges that people have experience with are the credit card ones.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: CHARGE!!! "Don't let your rearview mirror be bigger than your windshield"...better to charge forward than to retreat. Yes, be the buffalo. A fun way to approach this thought!////FROM JACK: I remember seeing a buffalo up close in Custer National Park. I made sure that I was close to the car, in case he saw me as a threat and "charged." He continued grazing.

ROM IKE AT THE MIC: I think the saying should be "Be a "SMART BUFFALO" because it has also been said that :Unprepared pioneers are the 1st to get the arrow in their back..////FROM JACK: I've heard of a smart ass, but never a smart buffalo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winning Words 12/19/11
“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life focused on giving of myself, then I was prosperous.” (Wayne Dyer) Dyer was born in Detroit and raised in an orphanage. He advocates self reliance and positive thinking. He preaches what he practiced while growing up. Dyer also thinks that it’s a good idea to emulate Jesus, whether one is a Christian, or not. ;-) Jack

FROM MARCY IN FLORIDA: Wayne Dyer was a counsler at. Mercy High School and taught me drivers ed when I went there.////FROM JACK: Do you remember if he taught you to ask WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) when you were behind someone who didn't immediately GO when the light turned green?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: He talks about God a lot but is not Christian. I have heard Dyer talk and he has many great ideas. I've never heard him say to emulate Jesus but Dyer's speaks of positive thinking.////FROM JACK: In some instances I have difficulty in telling a Christian from a non-Christian. I agree that it is a good thing for anyone to follow the example of Jesus.////FROM JACK:
In some instances I have difficulty in telling a Christian from a non-Christian. I agree that it is a good thing for anyone to follow the example of Jesus.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: "I got plenty of nothing And nothing is plenty for me. I got no car, Got no mule, Got no misery Folks with plenty of plenty They got a lock on the door Afraid somebody's gonna rob them while They're out making more What for?"////FROM JACK: So....Nothin' satisfies you!

FROM JM IN VIRGINIA: He's one of my favorites. Enjoying beautiful Christmas music this morning. ////FROM JACK: Wayne Dyer and Christmas music...Easy Listening!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: life "focused on giving of myself". If a person can see that being self-absorbed or self-centered is unhappy and frustrating, I think we can hear the rest of the Message. What I'm wondering about is what Wayne Dyer thinks is "prosperous." I like Henri Nouwan "Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are ready to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly." Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to emulate Jesus at least is thinking something that brings me, at some level, together with them. Great WW as we all continue to try to give of ourselves this holiday season and not just focus on what we hope to get.////FROM JACK: I see his message as a very positive one. The real gift is giving of oneself. I'm reminded of the words of Christina Rosetti's words in one of our Christmas hymns..." “What can I give him,Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give him— Give my heart.”

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Bill posted on our refrig: "Want what you have, and you'll always have what you want" (I keep coming back to that quote because it helped me many a time!!) ////FROM JACK: Jesus said, "I was sick; I was hungry; I was in prison; I was homeless, and you didn't do anything about it," or words similar to those.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winning Words 12/16/11
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow,” (Sent by JM in Michigan) These words were seen on a sign in a counselor’s waiting room. “Courage” makes me think of the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. I suppose that there are times when many of us identify with him. In the face of our fears…Courage!…Courage! ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Great words. We all face cowardly lion days. Prayer helps me overcome my fears. Sometimes I need courage to keep silent.////FROM JACK: I like the prayer: "Lord, please keep Your arm around my shoulders and Your hand over my mouth. Amen"

"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. " (Mignon McLaughlin)

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I was in Cape Girardeau, MO this weekend for my granddaughter's graduation (Cum Laude with BA and RN degree:-) and The Wizard of Oz was the late night movie in my hotel room on TV. Bert Lahr was such a superb cowardly lion! Funny to have you mention that in WW tonight when I arrived back home....////FROM JACK: I was in Moline when I first saw that movie, and I never tire of it. My favorite character is Toto.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winning Words 12/15/11
“Everybody has a problem, is a problem, or has to live with a problem.” (Sam Shoemaker) I like to do crossword puzzles (not those in the Sunday NY Times). My mind is such that I try to figure out things. My first sermon as a pastor was, “Why Must People Suffer?” I am still puzzled at suffering.” I’m not the only one. Just ask someone around you about suffering, and they’ll probably have a story. ;-) Jack

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: If you want to really suffer, work on the Friday and Saturday NY Times' puzzles.... they are a lot tougher than the Sunday one....////FROM JACK: As for problems, I get bored with the easy ones. The hard ones are frustrating. The "tweeners" are the most satisfying. The "problem" is that too many people are satisfied with being satisfied.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Thankful for your WW again this morning and being able to reflect on them a few minutes. Henri Nouwen also arrived with his meditation and it occurs to me we by necessity must suffer because we have this freedom to decide yes or no in loving God. If we're not deciding no at a period of time, someone else around us is busy deciding no and so we suffer. It helps me here to think of the joy God has when we freely decide to love Him instead of saying no to Him, the suffering is all worth it finally for the joy which is forever. But then again maybe this is too simplistic--it's only coming to me like this because the two e-mails showed up here practically next to each other.////FROM JACK: I don't think that we realize that life is a continual muliple-choice test. "This or that" is before us all the time. I like the challenge in Joshua 24:15, "Choose this day whom you will serve."

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: "Yes, some are married." from a friend, when I forwarded this to him earlier. ////FROM JACK: At first glance, "live with a problem" could be taken to apply to marriage, but, with further thought, I see that it could apply to those who have health issues, financial difficulties...the list could go on. We take so many things for granted.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: My troubling question has been with the concept that "we are born into sin". I never quite grasped the concept. I had to rephrase the language to identify that we are born into limitation and incompleteness; that our sensibilities restrict our full comprehension and experience of God (and likely, even ourselves). So, I think there is a link here with the question of suffering. If one cannot possibly experience the full and complete nature of one's own soul; nor the inheritance of that which is afforded each member of the Body of Christ because one exists in the temporality and sensory restrictions of the world and has no option to amend such an existence, suffering is the most natural and unavoidable consequence. We are born into it! ////FROM JACK: From my point of view...We are born into a world where there exists negative reaction to the perfect will of God, and we are influenced by that, just as we are influenced by other circumstances. We are also born with the opportunity for free will. Some suffering is caused by our own doing, or by the nature of the world. And, there there's that suffering which is puzzling and seems to have no reason. Life goes on.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Right now, my problem is with my computer. It's old and isn't working well or else, the operator has some problems. Not sure which. Suffering can take on many forms some of which we can control and some of which control us. Somedays it is downright hard to get up out of bed. But the hardest of all is watching someone we love suffer. I'm sure there's a reason for it, but it's one of those questions we will only get the answer to when we get to Heaven.////FROM JACK: When we get to Heaven, will be concerned about quizzing God?

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: My mind tells me that God made an opposite of all things and in that way without suffering we would not know all good. Like, there is no thing like cold, it is lack of heat. Suffering is not God made but allows us to understand the bigger picture of faith in what we don't understand.////FROM JACK: That's an interesting way of looking at it. Iris DeMent (you can Google it) sings: "I think I'll just let the mystery be."

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: I always try to be aware that everyone we meet carries some burden. It helps me keep an attitude of kindness. Buddhism has a lot to say about suffering. I picked up a very nice small book several years ago called "Buddhism Without Beliefs (a contemporary guide to awakening)" By Stephen Batchelor just to understand a little more about eastern thought. I think, of course, it is very compatible with Christianity. It does not claim to be a religion.////FROM JACK: Much religious and philosophical thought has been given to the subject of suffering and being kind to those who carry burdens. There is wheat among the chaff, if you know how to sift.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I must have been a bad boy.////FROM JACK: Some people believe that suffering is the penalty for being bad. It ain't necessarily so.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I so appreciate that you share such thoughts and feelings. Suffering is quite puzzling, for sure...////FROM JACK: It certainly puzzled Job in the Old Testament. One verse that I remember: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." (Job 13:15)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winning Words 12/14/11
“All you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust.” (Peter Pan) Peter Pan is J.M. Barrie’s little boy who won’t grow up and lives in Neverland. I find it interesting that Michael Jackson created a “carnival” on his estate and called it, Neverland. But that which intrigues me is…pixie dust. What is it? Magic? Faith, trust and magic? Could “magic” possibly be the power of God in this world? ;-) Jack

FROM JK IN MICHIGAN: Amen. Bless You richly today - sometimes people just intuitively know things but cannot see beyond themselves....////FROM JACK: Could it be that intuition is one of God's languages?

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Perhaps that is what Simon the Magician would say!////FROM JACK: The word, magic, conjures up Ervin Johnson and Colon, Michigan. In reality, magic could be one definition of the work of God..."mysterious and supernatural." Your reference to Simon, the magician, is interesting.

FROM NL IN FLORIDA: Cute!////FROM JACK: I think that this is the first time anyone has reffed to my Winning Words as, cute. But, I take it to imply that you like the quote and its follow up comment.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: well pixie dust and magic are things that you believe in to make it so. god may well have something to do with it. as far as how to use pixie is invisible and keep it in your invisible put a small amount in the palm of your hand, point it toward the direction you want it to go and ever-so-gently blow.////FROM JACK: Children seem to like fairy tales and the idea of "pixie dust." Maybe they're on to something. Didn't Jesus say something like, "You must have the faith of a child....?"

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I always thought of pixies as angels with a sense of humor.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: What would today's general population use to explain the Hand of God in His miraculous effects, if not for fairy dust? In the Old Testament, the enemies feared the God of the chosen people because of the power He displayed against those who moved against His favored people. They hadn't yet invented fairy dust, so they were left with a belief in God with the kind of Faith we need today! And these declarations were by those NOT considered the chosen people! Now that we have become so intelligent and advanced as a civilization, we have become more accustomed to the "magic of fairy dust", illusions, and "magic" in general. Now we can too easily avoid edifying the everyday and constant hand of the Father in all things righteous, Jesus as the Light of our souls, and the presence of the Holy Spirit as our intuitive inner voice. Magic is so much easier to explain!////FROM JACK: We want to see what's behind the curtain. Faith is not always easy.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Yes, great thought for the day. If you have a copy laying around, it’s worth an adult read….there’s a lot there, especially in the character of Captain Cook, a man of letters turned pirate who is tormented by his concern for appearances and the external and his internal drives and desires!////FROM JACK: Peter Pan is among more than a few books that people believe that they've read, but haven't. There's a song that relates..."Dust on the Bible."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: God's grace. maybe.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: My favorite Peter Pan was Mary Martin. For years and years I never knew Peter Pan was a girl! What a shock. Tinkler Bell was my favorite character. I used to think pixie dust was the most wonderful thing! Now my 2 year old granddaughter watches a new Tinkler Bell....just as cute as can be! ////FROM JACK: Some stories never grow old. They're ready to be read by new eyes.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: "Neverland" the place where you are always a child...probably a good name for M.Jackson's carnival world! My Jr Hi principal once said to me, "I think you sprinkle pixie-dust as your students come through your door", because I never had to send kids to him; they were well-behaved for me, even 8th grade boys! In the Bible aren't there reports of magicians doing miraculous things, vying for a following, in competition with Jesus? A good magician is fascinating, and a good faith is magical!////FROM JACK: When I was growing up, I think that someone sprinkled "imp-dust" instead of "pixie-dust" on me. But my "sprinkling" baptism overcame that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winning Words 12/13/11
“Just because you are blind and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.” (Margaret Cho) I like Margaret Cho. Sometimes her comedy is a bit edgy, but I try to look for what’s behind the joke. In the eyes of this world, Margaret wouldn’t be seen as one who is “beautiful.” Her quote asks us to think about what defines beauty. Try to see something that is “unusually” beautiful today. ;-) Jack

FROM JACK: Here's another quote
(W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge, 1943) that seems to apply to what Margaret Cho had to say. "I'm not only my spirit buy my body, and who can decide how much I, my individual self, am conditioned by the accident of my body? Would Byron have been Byron but for his club foot, or Dostoyevsky Dostoyevsky without his epilepsy?"

FROM TG IN MICHIGAN: I'm glad I am getting these from you. Inspiring! "Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you." (~Rashi)////FROM JACK: Welcome to "The List." Thanks, too, for sending the interesting quote.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: she's a funny girl. that is her beauty. there is so much beautiful to see. particularly at this time of year when it is all lit up!////FROM JACK: One of the beautiful things I see at this time of the year is the Salvation Army bell ringer.////MORE FROM MARY: and what a great sound. lots of angels getting wings!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Hilarious really when you think about it. When I first started to read it I thought it was from Helen Keller....but not quite. We are often blind when we look at strangers aren't we? Instantly judging by face or body only! We need to look a second time. We would be so surprised at how beautiful a person really is.////FROM JACK: Isn't it interesting? The brain allows the eyes to see; it also allows the mind to see.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Margaret Cho is a hoot!////FROM JACK: Margaret comes on as though she doesn't care what people think. But, deep down, I think she does. Life hasn't always been easy for her.

FROM S & S IN ILLINOIS: Love that one!////FROM JACK: I'll bet you know of others who would like it, too.

FROM RJP IN FLORIDA: Good one today..... I looked in the mirror, but it didn't work.....Oh well>>>>>>>>> ////FROM JACK: Mirrors only reflect what they see, without making comment. If you want a real answer, ask those who hang around with you.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Yesterday a friend wanted me to accompany her to the Courthouse downtown to sit with her and her family while the judge heard the lawyers in the estate case. My friend said she had had only two hours of sleep, she drives this big van, we were looking for parking for that big van, it was creaking and groaning, then, after the case was heard, she decided she wanted to drive around Detroit. I was a nervous wreck but finally succeeded in getting her to drive home. This morning on my voice mail I just got her message saying she had gone home and right to sleep and slept off and on through the night. For a person who chronically can't sleep (depression?) that was an unusually beautiful voice mail message and especially since at the end she apologized and told me I was right to insist on going home. We are not only spirit but our bodies, how true!!!!!!! We see beauty in each other's brokenness.////FROM JACK: What is it that makes a person? A body? Or a spirit? In this world, we are both. Some people are fixated only on the body.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Interesting spin on the "falling tree in the forest" bromide.////FROM JACK: It was philosopher George Berkeley who posited something like, "If trees are in the forest and no one is there to see them, do they really exist?" That leads to a lot of other interesting thoughts.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I will have to get acquainted with Margaret Cho...a new name for me! Of course the quote is IS in the eye of the beholder, and how differently we often "see" ! Diversity is the Spice of Life: My fat squirrel entertained me this morning before I left for a bridge luncheon, with his bushy tail arched over his back and head to ward off the rain, and he munched away on an ear of corn, sitting on his little chair, at his little table! HA! OLE!////FROM JACK: You wouldn't find Margaret performing in a Baptist church, although you might find an occasional Baptist where she does perform. But, my purpose is to focus on the quote, not the quoter.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winning Words 12/12/11
“When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.” (William Temple) In our home we have a little book in which we list unusual things that have happened in the life of our family. We call it “A Miracle or A Coincidence?” Before recording the incident, we try to decide between M and C. William Cowper wrote a hymn line: “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.” ;-) Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: I call them God-cidents.////FROM JACK: I think that God is more active in our lives than we give him credit for.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Prayers are wonderful tools and we fully believe in them. We've had a lot of miracles in our family. Coincidences we call "God touches". Both are wonderful and both are from God. I love the idea of a book. We will have to start one!////FROM JACK: Wondering...Are prayers supposed to get God to DO something, or to let him know about something, or just to let him know of our trust in him?////OJ: He knows all of that already. It's just our way of personally talking to Him. I think He knows what we need, when we need and how much we need way before we do. That is very comforting. He just loves us and wants to hear from us. That's simple but His love is simple. Simple and grand!////JACK: God has given us Free Will. Do you suppose he ever over-rides the gift?////OJ: Hm.....I guess He can do whatever He wants. To assume He wouldn't would be wrong but to assume He would would be wrong too. Far smarter people than I can't give you an answer so it will have to be one of those questions we ask Him when we get up there. Personally, there are a lot of times I wish He would have stopped free will...raptists, murderers, child abusers, etc etc. And I know I certainly would have benefited from someone stopping my selfish free will. But, when you really stop to think, free will is a true gift.////JACK: Have you ever wondered about the term, "Indian giver?"////OJ: I googled the term. Interesting. We actually gave them land and treaties and then took much of the lands back. But it was interesting to read the different information.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Some Coincidences are Miracles some of the time, some Coincidences are Miracles all of the time but all Miracles are Miracles all of the time. Abe Zukerman////FROM JACK: A miracle is a coincidence in the eye of the beholder, and vice versa.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: He knows all of that already. It's just our way of personally talking to Him. I think He knows what we need, when we need and how much we need way before we do. That is very comforting. He just loves us and wants to hear from us. That's simple but His love is simple. Simple and grand!////FROM JACK: God has given us Free Will. Do you suppose he ever over-rides the gift?

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA: so how many entries are in your book?////FROM JACK: Mary's the keeper of the book. As far as I can remember, there are over a dozen entries.

FROM PRCH ON CAPE COD: Greetings! Coincidence vs. Miracle… or perhaps subtleties in between… I think of times like yesterday when I had the girls helping me put the Christmas lights on the fence. There were some bulbs that had burned out… I asked the girls to find them... (though I already knew where they were) They kindly and enthusiastically went about the task – and that was the point – that I wanted us to do it together. But I wasn’t going to spoil the little “I found one!” moment.s. Perhaps God sometimes is involved in a subtle way – we don’t recognize a miracle; we may think it’s our doing or a coincidence… But God may have set up an opportunity, left a footprint etc. And we are left wondering, miracle? Coincidence? Mystery? Advent blessings////FROM JACK: I think that God sometimes has fun with us, like an ordinary father.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: What an interesting idea...have M's or C's predominated?! We've had a few answers to prayer that involve healing, which we consider miracles. Some folks don't believe in "coincidences"; everything happens for a reason. I think God can use whatever happens to us, in directing our lives, and like you, I don't think we are always aware when God IS at work in our lives. T rust and Obey... It is easier to look back and "see", how God worked, than it is to see the path forward!////FROM JACK: There's nothing wrong with coincidences. Some things are a matter of chance. I would like to believe that God is more involved in our life than we think he is. In the book, a choice is not made between the incidents, and we are left to wonder...M or C?

FROM THE OUTHOUSE: Hm.....I guess He can do whatever He wants. To assume He wouldn't would be wrong but to assume He would would be wrong too. Far smarter people than I can't give you an answer so it will have to be one of those questions we ask Him when we get up there. Personally, there are a lot of times I wish He would have stopped free will...raptists, murderers, child abusers, etc etc. And I know I certainly would have benefited from someone stopping my selfish free will. But, when you really stop to think, free will is a true gift. ////FROM JACK: Have you ever wondered about the term, "Indian giver?"

FROM PRPH IN MINNESOTA: pretty cool. we too have some family stories to tell that are nothing short of amazing. some time when i have more time... ////FROM JACK: "If (we) could put time in a bottle..."

Friday, December 09, 2011

Winning Words 12/9/11
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. (Epictetus) E was a Greek Stoic who lived over 2000 years ago. He believed that fate determines the things that happen to us, but it’s our reaction to them that makes the difference. Could he be the one who first said: “If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade?” I like that idea… a Stoic who was a positive thinker. Any reaction to that? ;-) Jack.

FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: Xeno Vincent Peale lives nearby!!!////FROM JACK: For every action, there's a reaction. I can count on you. I've always been interested in paradox. NVP is a paradox.

FROM SF IN MICHIGAN: I like this one too: 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. YOU are in charge of your Attitude.'////FROM JACK: Certain things become second nature to us. Having the right attitude can be one of those "things."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: mega dittos! :-)////FROM JACK: That must mean that you agree.

ROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Totally agree with his way of thinking. Even a small incident can knock you down if you let it, or can lift you up. It all depends on how you look at the situation. He was right on!////FROM JACK: I continue to be amazed that philosophies expressed so many years ago can be relevant today.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: That is easier said than done. But we all learn how to live that way with our positive outlook on life in general.////FROM JACK: I remember hearing a teacher say, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." Not only does that advice apply to assignments, but also to the thinking process.

FROM SAINT JAMES IN MICHIGAN: It's amazing, but the mind and one's will can take a "bad" thing and turn it into a "good" thing. The mind is extremely powerful, and can make you believe anything you want to. Look at Hitler, Mussolini, and other powerful people and how they convinced themselves of their beliefs... ////FROM JACK: Adolph and Benito aren't the only ones who misread good and bad. Morality is something that we all have to work on.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: This is the fundamental basis of Freedom and Responsibility. We have the free will to choose our responses given our circumstance --- not necessarily the free will to choose our circumstances. Viktor Frankl wrote of this regarding his concentration camp experience. His circumstance of being Jewish, in Germany, during the WWII period, and in a concentration camp was a circumstance beyond his authority of control. He notes his freedom to respond to that circumstance as crucial to his manner of existence in such a circumstance. Christianity seems rooted in a similar way. We have free will (freedom) and as such, choose our responses to one another at every turn. How we choose (works) will certainly identify what it is we truly believe (faith). For Faith without works is dead (phony, pretend). As Jesus said, "If you love me keep my commandments." Adam and Eve were told they were not permitted to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was their circumstance. Additionally, they were free to respond in an opposing manner to this...and they did. We, too, are commanded to love one another in the same manner as Jesus loves us. We are free to respond in an opposing manner as did Adam and Eve -- or we can remain mindful of our given commandment by the One whom we call Christ and choose to act (respond) freely and by willful choice, to love one another as Jesus loves us. Merry Christmas!////FROM JACK: Free Will always seems like a good idea, until you realize that you have to take responsibility for your decisions. Some people miss the point of the Adam & Eve story when they think that it's only a storyaboutf the world's first inhabitants. The story is really a mirror for each of us.

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN: Which brings me to … family is dealing with a lot of sour lemonade right now!!!
////FROM JACK: I quoted Mick Vujicic earlier this week. Through no fault of his own, he had to drink some "sour lemonade." With his mind, he chose to work at turning the bitter into the better. I don't know how he did it, but he did it. Some people really amaze me. Mick isn't the only one. Gloria Gaynor sang: "I will survive." You will, too.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: A Stoic is a positive thinker turned inside out. All of the parts are there, you just need to rearrange them.////FROM JACK: Stoics may not want you to know it, but they have feelings, too. We aren't always who we seem to be.

FROM MOLINER JT: My fate of 13 months ago reminds me of what the Advent and Christmas season is all about. AS Tiny Tim said "God Bless us one and all".////FROM JACK: Those on TV's "Survivor" program have nothing on you. Keep on keeping on.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: .....makes sense to fact, I've made a lot of lemonade.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: My husband was an admirer of another Stoic, Xeno, (Zeno?) who said" The Masses are asses...the few will always rule". There are times when I think Xeno was right! This Stoic was REALLY right. Good to keep in mind, and try to react intelligently and positively. How hard can it be? Ho-Ho-Ho!~!... ////FROM JACK: I think that the political ads are directed toward the masses. The more times changes, the more they remain the same.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Winning Words 12/8/11
“If you have one true friend, you have more than your share.” (Thomas Fuller) I once read that “a friend is one who knows the best and the worst in us and loves us just the same.” I also read that “a friend is someone we can go to at any time and not feel like we’re a nuisance.” Do you have a friend like that? Sometimes it’s just one person, or a small circle of friends. Old Proverb: “To have a friend, be a friend.” ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I have friends who are on the path with me, learning to be authentic and serve the Lord and I am on their paths too. Know that we're all together but I believe the thing that gives us cohesiveness is the Lord and not our limited selves. That even includes my husband--after 47 years of knowing each other, we're still finding out the best and the worst in us and I conclude it has all been God working in us for us to stick with each other like we have. Our marriage is that miracle of water turning into wine. I'm very, very thankful it's like this. Sometimes I know some of us rant and rave on your blog, thanks for putting up with the best and the worst in us too!!!!////FROM JACK: In Sunday School we used to sing: "Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine..." I enjoyed those times.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: Along the same lines, I think it was Ben Franklin who said, "If you want to make a friend, ask a favor." In other words, friends want to help, so give them a chance!////FROM JACK: I have Ben's "Poor Richard's Almanack" in hand, and there's a whole chapter on Friendship. He said: "There are three faithful friends--and old wife, an old dog, and ready money."

FROM IKE AT THE MIC: On that theme my favorite is: "Through life we have friends that come & go, true friends leave footprints on our hearts."////FROM JACK: I have a hard time visualizing "footprints" on the heart, but I can "see" in my mind the face of a friend.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Through the years, fortunately, I have had many friends like that. Some live in other parts of the country now.////FROM JACK: Does a Christmas card list count as a list of friends?

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: I have one friend that has been around for 65 1/2 years, I call her my better half. ////FROM JACK: "More than your share" certainly applies to those of us who have enjoyed marital bliss. Congratulations!

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: I always read Jack's WW and save selected ones. I will save this one. ////FROM JACK: Occasionally I go back and read past WWs. It's surprising how many of them hit home for me. It's sort of like the sermons I've preached.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I am so fortunate to have a wonderful circle of close friends who have been together since high school. Most of us still live here, but with Facebook, the others still remain in the loop.////FROM JACK: Do Facebook posts take the place of sending Christmas cards? This isn't a negative, but just a "thought" as I contemplate writing Christmas notes.////MORE FROM LIZ: My opinion is good friends are glad to hear from you no matter what the medium. For instance, you and I have never even met, yet we're friends! I love technology. And I'm so glad I "met" you!!!

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: A true friend loves you warts and all.Toady.////FROM JACK: You mis-spelled TODAY.

ROM CWR IN B'MORE: I do .....thank you for being a friend.////FROM JACK: As the song goes..."In good times, in bad times, that's what friends are for."

FFROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: After reading your blog tonight, I have come to the conclusion people have many friends and love them dearly. I married my best friend 33 1/2 years ago. I still have childhood friends and church friends from when I was 4 years old. I also have acquaintances who mean a lot to me too. They will mean something special in their own special ways.////FROM JACK: I think that Facebook has a system where you have to "allow" someone to be your friend. In my experience, friends just connect, without this business of "allowing."


FROM CS IN WISCONSIN: I have several close friends that I can share the good, the bad and the ugly with and vice versa, but I’ve been blessed to have one since we started Sunday School together at the age of three. We have been through a lot together! I’ve lost a couple that I still want to call and share with, but cherish their memories too!////FROM JACK: You are a shining example of the proverbial truth that "to have a friend, be a friend." Your smile helps, too.

FROM FOXY ROXY: I like this one. I try hard to follow what it says.////FROM JACK: You do a pretty good job of it, too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Winning Words 12/7/11
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) On Dec 6, 1941, I used my paper route earnings to buy a $25 Defense Savings Bond which still hangs on my wall as a reminder of what happened a day later. I followed the battles of that war, and I’ve stood on the deck of the ship where the war’s peace treaty was signed. Life, too, has its battles. Eventually, there is a peace. ;-) Jack

FROM SAINT JAMES IN MICHIGAN: Without battles, there is no victory!////FROM JACK: "O death, where is thy victory?"

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: During our sing-a-long at both Care Centers we sang at today, I talked about that day--Dec. 7, 1941, when we all sat around our radios listening to Pres. Roosevelt as he told us we had been bombed and were at war. Then we sang God Bless America. They really sang. They are the people that lived it! ////FROM JACK: Tom Brokaw called them, "The Greatest Generatiom." Have you read his book?

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I like this one!////FROM JACK: I like the word, the end of all kinds of battles.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Our generation will never forget this day. The Missouri was a reminder of the end of that battle. I am taking a course on Japanese culture and language this semester, and one of the women in the class had her father who was killed in the Pacific. It is hard to imagine how hard that must be for her. The class is led by a Japanese who married a GI, and it is amazing how many people have traveled there in recent years. Her husband is active in the class, too, and we getting schooled in the thousand cranes. Life is full of battles to be won in many ways.////FROM JACK: I remember, but I would never call my friends, Japs or Nazis. Nor would I call my Muslim friends, terrorists.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: "God's alternative to revenge is not a truce or standoff, or cold war, or isolationism. It's Forgiveness." from Adele Calhoun's book, "Invitations from God..." America ended the Victor, from the war with Japan, but at what cost?!! And it seems, from what we read later, that Roosevelt was alerted to an attack, but did not alert the Pearl Harbor Base in time! We can't change the past, but HOPEFULLY we can LEARN from it, and keep praying for Peace among mankind. Peace seems elusive: Conflict is ever present. We are called to be faithful in our little corner of the world! Never give up!////FROM JACK: I like the poem, "Invictus." I remember seeing a Gold Star flag in the window of a Moline home.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: It was a long march from Corregidor to Mount Suribachi. Each step is a monument to faith and perseverance.////FROM JACK: I wonder how many, young and old, could find those places on a map today?

FROM DC IN MICHIGAN: Here's what I remember. The night of December 5 we went to Lake Lillian, MN, for a district meeting. Wilton Bergstrand's father was the pastor. I always liked to go there because there was a lady who decorated sugar cubes, and I always got one or two. (I was five.) Anyway, when we got back to Hector, we had a flat tire. So my dad said that times were getting worse, and he went to downtown Hector on the 6th and bought 4 tires for our 1935 Pontiac. Then on Monday, the 8th, you could no longer buy any tires. So he was all set until after the war. And we had that Pontiac until 1952, when he bought a 1941 Chevrolet. I learned to drive in that Chevy. The Pontiac moved from Hector to Braddock PA, in June of 1944 and then to Superior, WI, in June of 1948. While in Braddock those tires had to have chains on them to drive up and down the hills in winter. All of this is more than you needed to know, but so it goes.////FROM JACK: You seem to remember a lot more than Pearl Harbor. Your memories trigger the ones that I have of that time.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: .....remembering that war as a youth on the home front, I understand this one, but I unfortunately didn't save my Bond.////FROM JACK: I wonder if the bank would accept my bond, if I turned it in? I understand that the interest has stopped growing on it.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I too needed to hear this today. Last night I heard disappointing news and I hope God will still turn the situation around. Really I hope to be able to see more clearly what He is doing now and how I need to be about being thankful instead of fearful about some people's discerning. Is your bond all yellow and vintage-looking? Or does it still look crisp and new?////FROM JACK: Your response reminds me of the Easter hymn, "The Strife Is O'er." The ultimate battle has been won. BTW, the bond is like new.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Winning Words 12/6/11
“The very things that held you down are going to carry you up.” (Dumbo) These words are from another Hallmark plaque. You remember the Dumbo story, don’t you? Dumbo is made fun of because of his big ears, but he has the last laugh. He becomes a circus star as a flying elephant. We, like Dumbo, can be the best of whatever we are. Negatives can become positives. ;-) Jack

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: So my below average looks, dull wit, and propensity to procrastinate shall ultimately lift me to success?////FROM JACK: "All the monkeys (Dumbos) aren't in the zoo. Everyday you see quite a you see, it's all up to you." You are a perfect example of one who has made the best of what you are. Congratulations!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: We have one car in the family which my husband uses mainly to drive back and forth to work. Anyway, I don't feel any sense of accomplishment from driving a car--the machine sort of intimidates me--I don't know much at all about what is under the hood. Thank God my daughter does enjoy driving and is a good driver however, when they bought their house, they bought it in a "walking neighborhood" where there are plenty of interesting things to do nearby. Detroit is Mo-Town but, maybe, after all is said and done regarding being powered by the car companies, it will eventually end up with a better balance between walkers and drivers. Maybe green walkers, whether by choice or by necessity, are the new pioneers.////FROM JACK: People have walked for many more years than they have driven. In fact, I'll bet that there are far more people in the world that don't drive than there are those who do. You're in the majority of people who are helping to keep the world green.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Dumbo worked for peanuts..////FROM JACK: ...and those that he didn't eat, he packed away in his trunk.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Winning Words 12/5/11
“In life you have a choice: Bitter or Better? Choose better. Forget bitter.” (Mick Vujicic) Last week, in response to the poem, “Don’t Give Up,” I was sent a video about Mick Vujicic, an Australian, born without arms or legs. He’s become an inspiration and a motivator. I’ve used his words today to let us know that we have a choice, regardless of circumstances. A suggestion: Google “Mick Vujicic.” ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Googled. Filled with hope. What an example of faith, wisdom and courage for us Mick Vujicic is. As a person interested in how people choose to clothe themselves, I was interested in his clothing, he looks very straightforward and accepting of himself. Also filled with hope because so many people all around are also accepting--lots of people are choosing better. There is always, no matter what our condition, so much more that binds us together than separates us. Thanks for lifting us up this rainy Monday morning!!!!////FROM JACK: Yes, Vujicic faces a variety of problems associated with his physical being. We take so many things "for granted."

FROM CS IN WISCONSIN: These words are so true even when a person might not realize that he has chosen this path. I was at a cousin’s funeral over the weekend. Dale was a brilliant young man going off to college to be a dentist. Two weeks after his fall semester began he came down with spinal meningitis and encephalitis. His temps spiked up to 108 degrees despite being on ice beds. His brain was never the same and he could never live on his own again. In the beginning he was very frustrated and would walk for hours around the family dining table pleading with God to help him. He’d walk up to family or friend and say, “I am either going to hate you and thrust his fist within inches of your face or I’m going to like you and extend his hand to shake yours.” He never ever struck anyone. At his memorial his nieces and nephews spoke of their gentle giant uncle who taught them so many things about having a strong faith, helping others always, reading the Bible daily, enjoying whatever activity came up, to love the Twins, and he taught all 12 of them a bedtime prayer that he said every night after reading 3 or 4 devotional readings to them. The kids could still remember that prayer and they are now in their 40s and 50s. Dale was 73 years old and had outlived doctors expectations for him. Yes, Dale chose the better and forgot the bitter. Thanks for sharing a very timely quote.////FROM JACK: There are more Micks and Dales out there than we realize, and this world is a better place, because of them. How they can be better, instead of bitter, is amazing to me and an inspiration.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: He is wonderfully inspiring. We watched him on a program once. We always have choices. It's picking the correct one that makes all the difference. Today, we chose to be better.////FROM JACK: As we use the rear-view mirror, we are able to see what a difference our choices have made.

FROM TL IN MICHIGAN: I still enjoy starting the day with one of your quotes. It's surprising how often it relates to a current event in our lives.////FROM JACK: Jimmy Durante used to sing: "You gotta start off each day with a song." I wonder if it's possible to make each day's Winning Words into a song. One of those who's on the WWs' list is a songwriter.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: How inspiring. Thanks.////FROM JACK: It's good to start out the day with something inspiring. Robert Schuller used to talk about how we can turn our "scars into stars." Edgar Guest wrote the poem..."I'd rather see a sermon, than hear one, any day."

FROM CZB IN COLORADO: I heard this guy on NPR he is truly inspiring. One of those guys that makes you wonder why you ever grouse.////FROM JACK: I liked the smile on his face...and his enthusiasm. He must have days when that doesn't happen. After all, he is human.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I wonder if Mick of Crocodile Dundee was named after him.////FROM JACK:
Source: (Australia) a Roman Catholic [19th century on, from Michael]. probably means that both are Catholics, with their birth name being, Michael. Your wondering days are over!

FROM FOXY ROXY: Mick is amazing isn't he!! Have seen him on TV several times.////FROM JACK: What is it that makes a person handicapped?

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Our young people were SO impressed with him at the Baptist Youth National gathering in Colorado two years ago. He is awesome. We have man in our church, Jim Solenberger, who was born with CP. Talks with great effort, and is hard to understand, can't walk, his hands refuse to do what he wants them to do, etc. Yet he earned a master's in Library Science from U. of IL (his devoted mother lived on campus with him) and worked at the State Library for 34 years, retiring in August. Toodles around town in a motorized scooter. My son Fred's boy Aaron James is named after him, and he spent Thanksgiving here with the family. He is such an inspiration. Intelligent mind, but very handicapped body. He chose better!! We are humbled by his courage.////FROM JACK: Some people I know, once had a pastor who had no arms. When he came to dinner at their home, he would eat, using his feet (after putting gloves on them). The kids were fascinated.

Winning Words 12/5/11
“In life you have a choice: Bitter or Better? Choose better. Forget bitter.” (Mick Vujicic) Last week, in response to the poem, “Don’t Give Up,” I was sent a video about Mick Vujicic, an Australian, born without arms or legs. He’s become an inspiration and a motivator. I’ve used his words today to let us know that we have a choice, regardless of circumstances. A suggestion: Google “Mick Vujicic.” ;-) Jack

Friday, December 02, 2011

Winning Words 12/2/11
“Even miracles take a little time.” (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother) I saw this quote on a plaque in the Hallmark store the other day. I don’t know about you, but there are several requests for miracles on my Prayer List that are “old.” That Fairy Godmother needs to remind me that God keeps his own calendar. I’m reminded of the prayer: “Dear Lord, give me patience, and give it to me right now.” ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Actually, you are really consistent. A steady ship in a turbulent ocean. Every morning, before the sun is even up. I feel like God does keep his own calendar and, if we could only see the whole picture, it is a pretty consistently faithful calendar with plenty of rhyme and reason and when I observe one of His servants doing something also that is so consistent, even just that observation helps me to be more patient and wait on God. Thankful for the miracle of your being able to communicate WW each and every work day of the week for an amazingly length of time now and the quotes and commentaries never feel old or at all redundant. Amazing, just amazing.////FROM JACK: Actually, writing and sending WWs is pretty easy, once you get the hang of it. Think of things that we do regularly without processing each step...breathing...walking...typing. Everyday miracles!

FROM RUTHIE IN MICHIGAN: M K gave me a saying that is on my computer monitor base that I see every day. It may have come from you, I’m not sure. It says: The Power of Prayer: I believe that God has three answers to prayer: Yes! Not yet. I have something better in mind.////FROM JACK: Good advice. But isn't waiting a pain? Standing in a checkout line! Idling at a stop light, when there could be a round-about! As a kid, waiting for Christmas! Wondering why prayer requests aren't granted right away!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Patience is truly a gift and waiting for God's gift sometimes is very difficult. I used to wish I had a Fairy Godmother but it's a good thing I never got one. Many times I wished for my brother to disappear when he was a little kid. Miracles are well worth waiting for!////FROM JACK: I think my sister wished for the same thing with regard to her brother.

FROM YOOPER FLICKA: OH YES.....RIGHT NOW !!////FROM JACK: "Antsy" is a word that you don't hear very much any more. We get "antsy" when God delays in answering our prayer...sometimes.

FROM ED IN ARIZONA: Wow what an appropriate quote for the day. Just two minutes ago, I found out that the $$ we needed for our Jan/Feb Ethiopia trip was granted. That's 4 years of proposing to get that $ so I can finish my dissertation. That small miracle sure took its time ;)////FROM JACK: I've found that doors open and close in mysterious ways and at uncertain times. For me, it has worked out for the good. I didn't get to go to Ethiopia, but I did get to got to Detroit.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: I have a lot of patience with people not with any object which has moveable parts or anything electronic that doesn't work. As far as expecting miracles, prayers aren't always answered the way we would like, but they are always answered.////FROM JACK: I've heard of people who've prayed over mechanical and electronic devices and claim that their prayers have been answered. I've seen basketball players cross themselves before shooting a free throw. Who am I to play God and say that such prayers do, or do not, work?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: I have just talked to a tech in India for 20 minutes because my computer had shut down. I didn't pray for it but it is backing. I must admit I didn't have much faith but I did have patience, which is unusual.////FROM JACK: As I sat, cooling my heels yesterday, I repeated this quote.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: This ties in with my S.S. lesson this week: 2 Peter, assuring the believers that just because Christ's return is "not yet" it doesn't mean "never", because to God "a day is as a thousand yrs. and a thousand years as a day" His time is not our time. So Jesus' saying, "I will soon return" is not measured in human time...How hard it is to wait! Some of my prayer requests have long white whiskers by now! But God is faithful...////FROM JACK: Sometimes we give up on God and remove certain concerns from the Prayer List. The Lord's Prayer says, "Thy will (not my will) be done."

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Impatience drives progress.////FROM JACK: Tell that to a teen-ager who wants adult privileges.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Winning Words 12/1/11
“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you’ll miss all you were traveling for.” (Louis L’Amour) Erin, a mountain climber, sent these words which have inspired her. Of course, they aren’t necessarily about mountain trails, or any trails. They are about life. Take time today to observe what’s going on around you. My. Aunt Nell used to tell me, “Keep your eyes peeled.” ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: It's like being in love. It's the "being" that is the true joy, not the "having done it all". I'm keeping my eyes peeled.////FROM JACK: Yes, there are different kinds of trails, and the one marked, "love," is one of them. "Religious faith" is another.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: at school we tell the parents that learning is about the process not the product as they gaze quizzically at the day's work! we also use the phrase, "no worries" to the children and their families. often times it's an exercise in patience!////FROM JACK: Do you ever wonder where your "pre-schoolers" will wind up as they start to walk the trail marked, "Education?" You've probably been in the business long enough to have seen some results.////MARY WRITES ABOUT PRE-SCHOOL ALUMS: i have been privileged to see many grow up in the community. there are dr.s, lawyers, a mining engineer(that would make eugene happy), teachers, musicians, dancers, wonderful mothers and fathers, and a harvard prof! wish i could take the credit, but i will admit, it does take a village i am honored and proud to be part of////FROM JACK: Wouldn't it be neat if some of them would have a Peppermint Pre-School diploma framed and hanging on their office wall?

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: At one time I had all 90+ copies of L'Amour's books.////FROM JACK: Even more than the number of your Peter Drucker books?

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I have a picture of an empty beach chair, overlooking a seascape, with the words from Gandhi, "There is more to Life than increasing its speed." It's a good reminder to savor blessings each day brings! I try to do that, amid a somewhat hectic schedule. As the old saying goes, "Take time to smell the flowers...":-)////FROM JACK: I wonder if Gandhi really said those words, but, more importantly, he really lived them. It's how we live that's the important thing.

FROM JM IN MICHIGAN: "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street", by Dr. Seuss, was inspired by such a directive to be aware, as well. The book was the first prize-winner for the celebrated author.////FROM JACK: Seuss opened the eyes of many children...and adults, too.

FROM WATERFORD ANN: I think about this. Sometimes "too soon old; too late smart". I agree and appreciate the trail more than ever. At the end we step off the trail. I have some Louis L'Amour books of Mac's. Think I will read some.////FROM JACK: Dale Evans wrote the song, "Happy Trails." She and her husband, Roy Rogers, were religious. Here's the "religious" version of the song.
Happy trails to you, it's great to say "hello".
And to share with you the trail we've come to know.
It started on the day that we met Jesus,
He came into our hearts and then he freed us.
For a life that's true, a happy trail to you.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Enjoy each day.////FROM JACK: I read in the newspaper this week that Detroit and Tampa are in the top-ten of the saddest places to live in America. Maybe, but not in my place.

FROM ERIN IN ARIZONA: Thank you for reminding me of that today :-)////FROM JACK: You've walked some interesting trails. In fact, all of us have walked interesting trails, because that's what life is all about.