Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winning Words 2/29/12
“Good is better than evil, because it’s nicer.” (Al Capp) Al Capp, the cartoonist, is famous for his Li’l Abner comic strip which included Daisy Mae, Moonbeam McSwine, Joe Btfsplk, Marryin’ Sam and Sadie Hawkins. Sadie was that girl who chased after single men on Feb 29, hoping to catch one and marry him. The “funnies” seemed funnier in those days. Today I like “Pearls Before Swine.” ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Al Capp, Walt Kelly, George Lichty, and others from those bygone years were very imaginative. I'll simply say I agree with you, the "funnies" seemed funnier in those days.////FROM JACK: Just as reality shows seem to be popular on TV, so the edgier comics seem to be popular in today's newspaper world.

FROM HONEST JOHN: "PICKLES" is my new favorite....and FRANK AND ERNEST////FROM JACK: You forgot Crankshaft and Plugger, all favorites of the AARP-set.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: The only one I read daily is The Family Circus. I remember my father reading me the funnies before I learned how to read. A long time ago, of course.////FROM JACK: I read them all. I even read a few favorites online, which aren't in our The Fusco Brothers and Duplex. Our "Family Circus" only appears on Sunday.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: In later years we called Clifford "Marryin' Sam" because he had so many weddings at the chapel. Ha!////FROM JACK: Yes, he related to lots of people who were married and buried by him.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Ah, the funnies. Do little kids now grow up having had their dad read them the funnies on a Sunday afternoon. That's one reason I'm such an avid reader. In fact, I used to imagine that dad was somehow cranking those funnies out at his hidden factory overnight because he seemed to know everything back then.////FROM JACK: You might even remember when the funnies were read over the radio on Sundays, for children whose dads didn't read to them. What were some of your favorites?

FROM BM IN MICHIGAN: Do you remember the Sunday morning radio program, “Reading the Funnies”? I would lay on the floor with the funnies & follow along with the reading of them. I hadn’t thought of that memory in, maybe, 60 years or more. ////FROM JACK: Yes, that memory came back to me as well. One comic that I liked was Smokey Stover, because it had a lot of puns. It was very punny.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Al Capp's work was classic but my favorite of all time is Pogo's, "We have met the enemy and they is us."////FROM JACK: That was avant garde, when it went after Senator Joe McCarthy. At the time, it was my favorite. But I thought that you were a Prince Valiant fan.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We loved to read the funnies on Saturday mornings. We all clambered to be the first to get to the newspaper. My favorite: B.C.////FROM JACK: Alley Oop was B.C.'s grandpa.

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: It's good to know someone who still remembers about Sadie Hawkins Day! ////FROM JACK: ...amd someone who can make the transition from those funnies to those of today.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Was your "Pearls before Swine" about not frying your twinkie as a fitness regimen? I don't suppose they are uniform throughout the country...Yes, Al Capp contributed a lot of merriment through his absurd cartoon, Lil Abner, We can't forget Mammy and Pappy Yokum (sp?) ! The Musical Lil Abner was nothin' but Fun! On the serious side, a quote by Rob't. McCracken, the NY minister (1904-1973) fits:"A man can be as truly a saint in a factory as in a monastery, and there is as much need of him in the one as in the other." I think in his time, that was quite a revolutionary thought. More accepted today.
So, let do good, because it IS nicer! :-)////FROM JACK: You see the Pearls that I see. That Twinkies one was funny. We have a Lutheran Monastery in Oxford, Michigan, near to our town.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winning Words 2/28/12
“At age 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” (George Orwell) Have you looked in the mirror lately? “When did I become my mother/father?” Orwell was more than a famous novelist. He was known for making wise commentary on the human condition. George claims that you can tell from the human face whether someone has spent time with positive or negative people. Look in that mirror again! ;-) Jack

FROM IKE AT THE MIC: He was wise.that's the reason I do a radio show..because I have a face made for radio.. ////FROM JACK: Radio is good, in that it allows us to use our imagination. Captain Midnight comes to mind.

FROM TRIHARDER: I would take my face at age 50.////FROM JACK: So, you're not going to follow the example of Joan Rivers?////
MORE TH: I can't raise my right hand and say I won't consider something at some point in time. I'm still 60 going on 16. My face is 60 going on 61.////FROM JACK: A few years ago, who would have believed that a face transplant was possible. Amazing!

FROM RS IN MICHIGAN: OK, fine! I am calling them “laugh lines” then! You’re right though. I think of my Aunt Marilyn when I look in the mirror because she once told me when she looks in the mirror she asks the woman looking back: “Marilyn, are you in there?” Hilarious, and true for me too now.////FROM JACK: Sometimes the regular mirror can look like one of those fun house mirrors. Just laugh.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I have no idea what my face looks like, except it's a lot older than I feel!////FROM JACK: That's better than the other way around.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I don't look much different than I ever did.////FROM JACK: Do you resemble your mother or your father?

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Ah, to have the face of 50 again! HA! What a neat quote! I'd imagine much truth in it! I taught his books ANIMAL FARM, and 1984, to my Advanced Literature 8th graders. I've never forgotten his quote "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" We've seen it over and over in the world. I think we've all learned that a smile is the best face-lift there is. Maybe with Divine Assistance we can at least look pleasant!! OLE!!////FROM JACK: If we got the 50-face, we'd probably want the 30. We are who we are.

FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO: Well it's better to look like your parents than your dog: Parade mag. had an article one time where they claim, with pictures that dog owners actually resembled their dogs. When I look in the mirror I am reminded of all the teeth I have lost. Actually I didn't lose some of them, they are here in an Rx bottle. If I can retrieve all the money I spent on those gold teeth I should come out ahead because the price of gold has . risen substantially.////FROM JACK: If you were to look like a dog, what face would you choose...bulldog, collie, poodle?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winning Words 2/27/12
“It is what it is, but it will become what you make it.” (Sent by Marilyn Oaks) It has long been debated…”What is it that makes us what we are? Nurture or Nature?” The idea is explored in Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest,” and by Darwin. Success in school is often equated with a stable home environment. I should ask a geneticist. Read again the quote for today. What do you think? Can you “make” your life? ;-) Jack.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Actually, a provocative question. Seems to me, if I really try to be honest, that each choice I make is still following, following a God I believe to be loving and Who tells me to trust and do the kinds of acts like in a million Bible stories or sometimes do nothing, take last place, and be patient or else sometimes following a punishing God, who causes me to make a confession somehow to Him or to someone and try to sort things out. Don't believe I "make" my life and believe my home environment just had more to do with teaching me to know God, Who makes my life. I was on loan to my parents and thankful it was them. They were followers too. ////FROM JACK: One of my goals, as I write WWs, is to get readers to think! In your case, I THINK I've done that.

FROM PASTY PAT: Back in the early 70's, when we adopted a one-year old and a newborn, I firmly believed it was mostly 'nurture'. Forty years later, having located and integrated the bio-parents of one of our kids into our family, it appears to be a combination of the two --- but all parties involved are now leaning toward 'nature'!////FROM JACK: I appreciate hearing from one who has experienced both nature and nurture as a first-hand experience.

FROM SAINT JAMES: I don't believe we are total control of our lives, but we are in total control of how we perceive it and what we do to shape what is under our control.////FROM JACK: Sometimes I think that I'm in control, and then something happens to bring me back to reality.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I think each of us comes into this world with certain physical characteristics, and by nurture we can make the most from what nature gave us to start with. The ultimate result of who we become depends on what we put into it. Each of us must decide what we will do with our lives. As I believe you have said to me in the past, "Not to decide is to decide!"////FROM JACK: Much of who we are is determined by which gene pool we swim in...and where we decide to go when we climb out.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: ........both nature and nurture.////FROM JACK: .....and G-d.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: I think this issue addresses the concepts of Freedom and Responsibility --- in their true forms of meaning. Freedom, as different from Liberty; and Responsibility, different from Accountability. We have the "ability to respond" (Response + ability) , and we do so "freely" (Freedom). Much like in the story of Job, he was not always in control of his circumstances, but he was always in control to determine his responses to them. In short, we choose our responses freely. To these we are held accountable. Grace can be considered more the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If you're interested in a great book that highlights the first-hand account of this, read: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. ////FROM JACK: Yes, Viktor has a great story to tell. Part of the humanness of Jesus is that he had the freedom to choose.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Maybe it's the sin nature and God's environment.////FROM JACK: There seem to be a lot of "maybes" in life...or a lot of "whatifs." When Marco Polo got back from his travels and told what he had seen and experienced, people were amazed. He responded, "And you don't know the half of it." The mind of God is a mystery beyond the mind of human beings.

FROM JM IN VIRGINIA: I think you have to start with the raw material, then for most, environment carries you along for a while. At some point, the individual has to take over the reigns though! But the nice thing about life is that it's always presenting twists and turns to make it interesting!////FROM JACK: Every day seems to present a fork in the road. Is the decision to go one way or the other equal for everyone? Why do some people make decisions that seem to be wise, while others do not? Is free will the same for everyone? Philosophy has taught me to raise questions which seem to raise other questions. Theology has taught me to believe that there are ultimate answers.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: I think about all of the holocaust survivors; folks who prevailed (usually by faith) to thrive despite incredible odds against them…the Nelson Mandela’s etc. Some rise to the occasion and others collapse at the least provocation….think of all of our star/starlet suicides and overdoses. While I felt I was “given” definite persons and chemistry when I met my babies, I think it truly is the drive/core/soul of the individual that determines the outcome of life..////FROM JACK: I just finished reading an interesting book, "Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates." The last page continues... St Peter says, "Listen, we've only got room for one more today. So whoever of the two of you gives the best answer to the question, What is the meaning of life? gets to come in." And Heidegger says, "To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics." But before the hippo can grunt a word, St Peter says to him, "Today's your lucky day, Hippy." In other words, BBC, the drive/core/soul is "simply" a mystery.////MORE FROM BBC: Great – thanks for sharing. I have been reading an interesting one, “The Tiger”… It is a true story about a single tiger, traditions around veneration of the beast, hunting, poaching, climate change, perestroika etc. in 1980s-1990s Russia. Fascinating in terms of the hunt, the social aspects and a great read especially on snowy days these past winter weeks.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: I think I prefer the words, "It is what it is, but it will become what God wants it to become" I think that is nature at work.////FROM JACK: In that case, I wonder to what extent do we have free will? My core belief is that God has an "over-ride" available. How it works, I don't know, because I don't know the mind of God.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: "It is what it is and that's all what it is"...Popeye the Sailor Man. I always liked that saying. We believe God has the situation in His Hands and we deal with it the way we choose. How we choose to deal with it tells what type of person we are.////FROM JACK: The first Popeye comic strip, called "Thimble Theater" appeared in 1933. It began with Castor Oyl saying, "You there, are you a sailor?" Popeye replies, "Ja' think I'm a cowboy? I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam." Your Popeye reference fits well with the point I was trying to make today.

FROM MOLINER MH: We all make our own "choices". I am reminded of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken". Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Many times our "choices" determine what we make of our life. Thanks for another ww to make us think.////FROM JACK: What I like about Frost's poem is that it encourages us to try new and different things. So much of boredom relates to doing the same thing over and over again. There was a time when I wanted to walk on a certain road. I'll always be thankful for the professor who pointed me in another direction, saying, "Try it, Jack. It will be a great experience for you." And it was!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: We all do make decisions every day. We have to do our best every day, and God will do the rest.////FROM JACK: This reminds me of the Boy Scout Oath: "On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I didn't originate this quote: I read it, thought it had merit, and passed it on. I do feel we can do much more than shrug our shoulders, and be content with "It is what it is..." Maybe it doesn't HAVE to be what it is! I feel we are a complex combination of "Nature and Nuture" but we are capable of changing what IS if it is not palatable. Never, Never, Never give up!! :-)////FROM JACK: Bob Dylan wrote: "There is nothing so stable as change."

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.////FROM JACK: That's what the venture capitalists believe.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: ABSOLUTELY!////FROM JACK: Are you sure about that?////MORE LIZ: Absolutely! Or u can "break" ur life. U may not get everything u wish for, but God gives us free will in order that we'll use it.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC: I believe in the saying:"If it's to's up to me!"..

Friday, February 24, 2012

Winning Words 2/24/12
“The difference between a wise man and a wise guy is plenty.” (Galen Star Ross) I saw a listing of 48 traits of a wise person which included caring, commitment, insight and integrity. I also saw a list of synonyms for a wise guy which included smart alec, smarty-pants and wisenheimer. Barney Fife once said, “I’m a trained noticer.” It doesn’t take long to notice the difference between a wise guy and a wise man. ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Love your WW this morning. Made me chuckle. Haven't seen the word "wisenheimer" in a long, long time and also haven't thought about Barney Fife in a long time either. Mayberry was one of my favorite TV towns. And somehow it remains in my outlook on life and maybe other people's too.////FROM JACK: Don Knotts was good as The Incredible Mister Limpet and also as The Shakiest Gun In The West. I first became acquainted with his humor in No Time For Sergeants.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Oh this is so true. True traits surface faster than a speeding bullet!////FROM JACK: I read that in Speed Dating, most impressions were made in the first three seconds. I wonder long it takes to determine a wise man from a wise guy? How fast is a speeding bullet?////MORE FROM THE OUTHOUSE: I believe the dating impressions statement as usually first impressions are the lasting ones. I think a hurtful word is more damaging than and speeding bullet and can go just as fast!

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Barney Fife was a wise man, after all!////FROM JACK: You noticed that? You are a noticer like he was.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Oh yes, there's WISE and there's "wise", and it doesn't take much maturity to discern the difference between "man" and "guy" ! Hopefully, with age, comes wisdom... Don Knotts was one of the funniest actors ever...That rubber face! Those googly eyes! Reminds me of The Apple Dumpling Gang": a movie I used to show to my Jr. Highs years ago. It probably wouldn't even be funny to kids today. C'est la Vie! ////FROM JACK: I'm reminded of what we'd say as teen-agers to someone who was lipping off. "What are you, wise or otherwise? If you don't shut up, you'll be lengthwise."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Winning Words 2/23/12
“Love is the greatest power, but nobody has yet discovered how to put it into a bomb.” (Ashleigh Brilliant) I have mixed feelings about this one. We live in a world where terrorists seek to intimidate with explosives. What would the world be like if those of us who want people to love one another would be as committed to our cause? Let’s each try to do an unexpected act of love today in an unlikely place. ;-) Jack

FROM RS IN MICHIGAN: I will do that. I love this one.(I love them all, actually!)////FROM JACK: My son, as a teen-ager, used to use "bomb" as a slang expression for, "good." Love is BOMB!

FROM TRIHARDER TONY: lose it and watch the devastation.////FROM JACK: Those who seek to make the world a better place must not give up. They just need to triharder.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: A quote from Tom Hanks, actor/Director seems a good fit here: "Help publicly, Help privately. Help make sense where sense has gone missing. Help Science to solve, and Faith to soothe. Help, and you will abolish apathy---the void that is so quickly filled by ignorance and evil." We must all do whatever we can to scatter love in the little corner of our influence. If we all "Brighten the Corner Where We Are" the world is going to be much brighter than it would have been!! Our "drop in the ocean" counts! ////FROM JACK: Brighten the Corner is one of my favorites from Sunday School days. The singing of it would often be followed by, Jesus Bids Us Shine. I remember another: Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam. All three are about sharing love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winning Words 2/22/12
“50 things you need to give up today.” (Marc & Angel Hack Life) Today marks the start of Lent, and I know of people who will observe the season by giving up certain things, such as sweets. M & A have other suggestions…all junk food, foolish habits, holding a grudge, trying to be perfect, trying to be everything to everyone. We all know of some way to improve our life. Trying it for 40 days is a start. ;-) Jack

FROM MK IN MICHIGAN: So true Jack I have a couple the Holy Spirit put in my heart, I will do my best and if I improve I hope to make the change permanent!!!////FROM JACK: Before there was Lent, Lao-tzu said: "The longest journey begins with the first step." Or as Bill Murray says in the movie, What About Bob? "Baby Steps! It works! All I have to do is take one step at a time, and I can do anything."

FROM DR J IN OHIO: In our house we are giving up spending on things we don't need. So no purchases except for NEEDS food, medicine, etc. We talk about giving the earth a break from all the resources used on stuff we really don't need. We've done this before... we'll see how it goes!////FROM JACK: That wasn't on Marc & Angel's list, but it deserves to be. It's a good and positive suggestion.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: So far, so good. Great WW.////FROM JACK: "One day at a time, sweet Jesus," as the song goes.

FROM MISS PEGGY: I like to "give" during Lent rather than "give up". Thinking we all need more positives in our life. We try to put aside extra money/change and then whatever my boys are able to save is matched by us. At the end of Lent, we write a note and send a check to the SE MI Synod.////FROM JACK: I think that this is a great idea. Children learn from what they see and experience in the home.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN: I like these Jack. Also take on a new habit like reading a scripture verse each day, helping someone special each day. In a way, you are giving up your time to take on a new habit.////FROM JACK: Most of the time the emphasis is on getting rid of bad habits. Yours is the optimistic emphasis on the development of good habits. A good habit is formed by following through on the good idea.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: They say it takes 30 days 2 make or break a habit so Lent is a gr8 way 2 change ur life! ////FROM JACK: Maybe that's why the majority of people don't make New Year's resolutions or don't give up something for Lent. They don't want to get into the habit. (That's out of character for me...TOO negative.) To seek to charge life for the better, whatever the season, is the right way to go.

FROM BP IN NAPLES: NO NO NO, In will not give up winning words for lent. I'll try to be less emotional and more concise in my responses. That is a big sacrifice, in addition to other things I will address in my life. ////FROM JACK: You are who you are. If you were to change the tone of your responses I would think that someone had hacked into your computer.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Like some of your other readers, I try to do more "good" each day: send a card, give a call, give to Gleaners, etc etc. It works for us. Great list though!////FROM JACK: Most of those "do-gooders" can be found doing good beyond the 40 days of Lent.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA: I continue to enjoy and appreciate your Winning Words. I often send them off to friends and family. Thank you for your messages.////FROM JACK: In grade school someone would come up to you and give you a punch on the arm and say, "Pass it on!" Soon everyone would receive a punch. I think that your idea of "passing on" Winning Words is a better thing to do.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I like the idea of adding something during Lent...extra reading time for inspirational literature, extra calls on those who need a boost, extra giving to those in need, (which can involve sacrificing some personal pleasures), etc. I once gave up coffee, which I love, and had a terrible headache for several days. I guess it brought to mind the suffering and sacrifice emphasized at Lent...(!) Giving up sweets and desserts would certainly benefit the waistline as well as help focus on more spiritual things! I like this quote from Roger Ebert's Memoir (the film critic) : "We must try to contribute Joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out." He suffered complications after thyroid cancer surgery and lost the ability to speak.////FROM JACK: Like salt and pepper season our food, the season of Lent has a way of adding flavor to life.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Interesting; I like the concept of giving up something for lent and then taking something on////FROM JACK: In medieval times there seems to have been more of a graphic emphasis of the sacrificial suffering of Jesus. Lent would attempt to emulate that suffering. Giving up eating a Hershey's candy bar doesn't seem like much of an emulation, does it?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: For lent we give up good stuff. We need another version to give up bad stuff. ////FROM JACK: I tried to suggest some of the "bad" in my commentary. Maybe you have more ideas. //// MORE FROM PLAIN FOLKS: Some of the bad stuff we could give up for Lent...Negativism, criticism and voyeurism. Maybe your readers can come up with more.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Regina Brett writes in today's Plain Dealer (Cleveland newspaper) that "Lent's not what you give up; it's how you reach out". She then suggests several ways including "Giving thanks for 40 minutes at the graves of your ancestors for all the sacrifices they made for you" and "Give someone else's religion a chance. Visit a different church, temple or mosque".////FROM JACK: It's good to know that Regina is continuing to write. Although it's not during Lent, our local mosque is having an Open House on May 6, and is inviting the community to attend. Some adults and children and their imam had a part in our community's Thanksgiving Eve worship service.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: It was amazing to see so many people at the noon Mass today and the emphasis was on getting ready for Easter in ways that each has decided is best for him or her. This is a good time of the year to get priorities straight.////FROM JACK: It is truly a time for contemplation when ashes are put on your forehead and you hear the words, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." After that, we long for the message of Easter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winning Words 2/21/12
“We all wear masks, metaphysically speaking.” (Dr. Arthur Neuman) Arthur is one of the characters in the movie, “The Mask.” Mardi Gras people wear masks for fun and to hide their identity. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks. In a sense, we all hide behind a mask. Only our closest associates have some idea of what we’re really like, but that’s OK. Too many people are judged only by their looks. ;-) Jack

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Ben Stein!////FROM JACK: I've never been able to figure out who he really is.

FROM HONEST JOHN: That the Lone Ranger wore a mask makes it totally acceptable....he was my idol as a kid!!! ////FROM JACK: The Lone Ranger also taught me to appreciate Rossini's William Tell Overture.

FROM EEC IN MICHIGAN: That made me think of the Twilight Zone. I especially like that Kick the Can episode. ////FROM JACK: That's a favorite of mine, too, because there's a lot of truth in it.

FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH: Chris and I laugh that Lois Lane cannot recognize Clark Kent as Superman because he's not wearing glasses. When we watched the Green Lantern recently, we laughed because his super-hero form is a green body suit with a little mask over his eyes. But this time it didn't fool the female lead. Perhaps sometimes we see what we want to see.////FROM JACK: Don't you know that Superman and The Green Hornet are fantasy characters? When we hide behind masks, are we fantasy characters, too?////LP RESPONSE: Really? I'm crushed! ;) Maybe it's a fantasy. Maybe it's what we hope is reality. Maybe it's us trying out something new. When I went to London a few years ago I bought a pair of knee high boots. They always seemed too sassy for my personality but I wanted to be someone who could pull it off. I "practiced" that fantasy persona in a place where few folks knew me. I'm now a boots person and this year I added a black pair for those days when brown doesn't work.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: I've long been interested in the masks we wear and why. From whom do we hide? How did we ever conclude that we need to hide in the first place? Vulnerability is an interesting phenomenon, and one that concerns us so intensely that we create the fantasy of safety --- but even behind the mask, we remain vulnerable. It requires no courage to pretend, like an actor, to be something else. The true courage is in being oneself! God bless each one of us as we truly are! ////FROM JACK: There's truth in what you say, but don't forget, masks are also used for fun. Isn't it possible that we put on our masks for fun, because we enjoy keeping people guessing?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Don't forget The Shadow. Interesting how many "Good Guys' hide behind masks. Hmmmm....////FROM JACK: Gamaliel Ratsey was a notorious bandit whose exploits amazed England in the 16th century. He always wore a hobgoblin mask which he made as hideous as possible so as to frighten his victims.////PLAIN FOLKS AGAIN: He surely did that. I wore a mask once... in the Tear Gas Training Shed at Paris Island. We all looked alike, right down to our "skivies."

FROM BLAZING OAKS: This quote is spot-on! We certainly are much more private than our outward persona indicates! Perhaps as we mature, we are more able to drop the mask. (?) On looks: Gore Vidal says:"A Narcissist is someone better-looking than you are." Oops! I love that saying (Which I have framed with appropriate graphics,) "Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused." Or as Dame Edna Everage said:"never Be afraid to laugh at yourself; after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century!" I have lived some very funny "Marilyn" stories that not only regale my friends and family, but keep the mask from being too firmly intrenched! HA!////FROM JACK: That Vidal quote is a good one, and I'm saving it for future use. My favorite Marilyn story is the one about being stopped for speeding in the morning and not being properly dressed.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I can't exactly figure out why, when I was a young woman, I wore that make-up and now that I'm an older woman, have dispensed with make-up altogether. Maybe it's because, the closer I get to the final curtain, the less I want to imagine/pretend I'm different than I really am. Wonder if the undertaker will put make-up on me again. Maybe more confidence has to do with it.////FROM JACK: Depending on what the undertaker does, the viewers will say, "Doesn't she look good?" or "Something's different about her." Oh, well, at that point, it doesn't matter, does it?

FROM PRAW IN ILLINOIS: This was the theme of the class on theatre that I just took in fall.////FROM JACK: I like the happy and sad masks that are used by theater people. Some people are so identified by their roles that they have a hard time being themselves. They call it type-casting.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: Masks are oh-so-fun as long as we know who we are in our heart underneath! ////FROM JACK: Are masks allowed in your pre-school? I seem to recall that someone wrote that it was teaching children something bad. I can't remember what the bad was.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winning Words 2/20/12
“Try not to become a person of success, but a person of value.” (Uncle Albert) In today’s world Abe Lincoln might not be elect--not enough successes--not photogenic. The people I’ve admired in my life have been those who had values. I’ve talked with educators about having a course where basic values would be taught and discussed. Ideally, such a course is taught in the home. Where did you learn? ;-) Jack

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: A Lincoln can only be elected in a crisis.....otherwise we get _____ (fill in the blank). ////FROM JACK: Sometimes it's necessary to step back from a situation in order to appreciate value. Our first inclination is often to applaud success.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: My parents were poor people, scraping out a living with little education but they first of all taught me values. By themselves, I might have lost all my training but it has been the faith community that bolstered and has helped me to have the courage to live the values my parents first of all taught me, which was respect for people no matter what the outside looks like. I'm very thankful to God for my parents and church and for people. Is Uncle Albert your real Uncle Albert?////FROM JACK: I never had an Uncle Albert, but I did have uncles and aunts, parents and a grandmother who taught me values.

FROM ANI IN WB: Our society doesn't value values anymore.We only give lip service to it.////FROM JACK: Every generation has had to work at establishing and living up to "a value system." The 10 Commandments were given as a set of values, and we are still working at living up to them. While present-day society has it's shortcomings, I'm pleased to know, personally, some folks who inspire me with their speaking and living a positive system of right and wrong.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: A kid first learns values @ home. But, as Hillary Clinton said, "It takes a village." ////FROM JACK: Hillary got her title from an African proverb, Ora na azu nwa, "It takes a village to raise a child." That idea, as expressed in the book, was well received. Since I grew up in Moline, my sense of values was shaped, in part, by that experience.

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: I was taught that success is not the opposite value but both should be equal to each other !////FROM JACK: Success is a matter of interpretation. Some of the most "successful" people I've known would not be considered successful, as judged by the world's standard. I suppose the same could be said with regard to the standard of value. On Antiques Road Show a woman brought in a carved rhinoceros horn that she bought for $1 at a flea market. It was appraised for over $350,000.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: My parents were wealthy enough. We never had any want for anything. They focused on providing me an understanding of respect, ethical and moral understanding, and Christian Faith and principles. I learned that success doesn't necessarily mean a contradiction to these values. If Solomon were here maybe we could ask him!////FROM JACK: ...or, read the Book of Proverbs, attributed to Solomon...22:6.

ROM MY ATTORNEY: At home from my mom and dad; and from friends.////FROM JACK: Yes, and we also learn whether or not they have taken root when we have to make ethical decisions.

LG IN MICHIGAN SENT THIS RESPONSE TO MANY OF HER FRIENDS: Wow! I think this is a really great quote from my pal, Pastor Jack!! The world puts a lot of pressure on us to be "successful." And this success is often measured by how well we dress, coif, and smell... by how much stuff we accumulate... by how many credentials we amass or letters we can write after our names... But these are not what I most value. I measure my success at the end of my day by asking myself... Did I love others, especially the unlovely? Did I persevere with grace, if not patience, in the face of personal obstacles, trials, and annoyances? Did I refuse to take offense? Did I resist the powerful urge to promote myself, or to impose my will on others? Did I accept guidance and feedback from others with grace? Did I ask for help? Did I advocate for others, or confront ugliness, in the face of injustice? Did I respect others' boundaries, and respect and protect myself by setting a few of my own? Did I seek forgiveness and promote peace, acceptance, and community? Did I remember to look up? Did I recognize the gifts, blessings, privileges, grace, and miracles I received in my day and give thanks? Did I commune with my God through it all? If I can answer "yes" to most of these questions at the end of my day, then I feel successful...Hope you enjoy this "quote of the day as much as I did!////FROM JACK: I consider yours to be a value-able response, because it gives "body" to the bones of Uncle Albert's words.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I learned to learn at home.////FROM JACK: You and Honest Abe were home schooled.

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: I cannot actually say when or how. The closest I can come to it is from a little book I wrote myself (for my Mother's 90th birthday). This is taken from the Foreword I wrote: "It's been my good fortune to have been born in a simpler time. And to be born in the Midwest, who many consider to be a simpler place! But mostly, I am lucky because of the kind of family I was born into: hardworking, honest and with the tenacity to live through many hard times and be better off for them".////FROM JACK: And you were still learning from her during the last years that she spent in your home.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: Still learning and have a good teacher in spouse, who I copy for both compliment and brownie points.////FROM JACK: All the teachers aren't in school.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I read a quote the other day which I used in S.S. Sunday,: "It is what it is....but it will become what you make it". A little different twist on the old shoulder shrug, "It is what it is"... Paul Simon was an IL politician (Senator) who adhered to high Standards while serving in gov't. and was much respected and appreciated. He retired when he tired of the hassle of constantly having to raise funds to run again! His daughter Sheila Simon is active in IL government, and holds the same high her office, she CUT their allotment of funds, to save IL further expenses. (We're worse than broke!) It is an inspiration, and shows the values taught at home, to begin with. I don't remember the exact quote of Sir Thomas Moore, in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, but it went something like this; "if you let one little drop of your moral values slip through your fingers, you are compromised, and it becomes easier and easier to lose you grip on all you hold dear". Not exact, but you get the idea...He was certainly a man of principle, and lost his head for it! I think the home, church and schools are to be credited for trying to teach good moral values, and acceptable manners, but the home has to support this, which too often does not happen, it seems.////FROM JACK: Illinois is known for some corrupt politicians., but the state has had its share of paragons. Simon was certainly one. Paul Douglas and Everett Dirksen come to mind...not to forget Lincoln.

FROM WATERFORD ANNE: Home by example; church and parochial grade and high school. One of our grandsons has a baseball/academic scholarship to Siena Heights. He was offered a few options including Carthage in Kenosha. He chose Siena Heights. It does not have the best team but he liked the environment. He has not been raised in the Church. I am thrilled that he will have this exposure. I do not preach but I pray. Mac, Tom,our grandson, his father and I had lunch today. We talked about the school. Tom said he would be studying religion. Pastor Freed, it all comes down to the ten commandments. If we could teach, understand and accept these, we would have the basic values. Anyway, I am excited that Tom will be studying religions; ours and others. Your WW fit in with our family lunch.////FROM JACK: In the Bible there's a verse..."Pray without ceasing." It's not about the length of time, it's about not giving up a concern for people, it's about not giving up on God. What an exciting time for you and your family.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winning Words 2/17/12
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice.” (A. Lincoln) Lincoln was often criticized for the use of his pardoning power. Jesus was also criticized for saying to a man, “Your sins are forgiven.” If there were strict justice, there’d be no Little League “Mercy Rule,” and heaven would be empty. Grace is a hard concept, because it doesn’t seem fair. Has grace had a place in your life? ;-) Jack

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: It is important that you say "Strict Justice" because there are some out there who are ruling justice out completely.....left wingers want only "mercy"....right wingers want "order" and if you have to step on justice to get order so be it.....let's go for justice and when the time comes be willing to temper it with mercy.////FROM JACK: I wonder...Is there such a thing as "strict" mercy? I'm one of those "wingers" who like to have some wriggle room.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Lincoln's WW are so true. I have from time-to-time in my life chosen to leave Jesus out of my life and take on the stripes he took on for all of us, take them on to myself, feeling myself to be the necessary person dying for my sins, plunging myself into an abyss so dark it's pathetic. But each time, and God has been faithful in this, He sends His grace and sets me on a right course again, especially through His messengers, and I believe His course of action has brought richer fruit than if He would have done something much less difficult for me to accept but still totally appropriate for my creatureliness. Thanks for inviting all of us readers of your blog to reflect upon this.////FROM JACK: Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about the mistake of "cheap grace." Those who have really experienced the need for grace (to give or receive), know that it is not cheap.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: Grace and Mercy and Justice all differentiate themselves, one from another, at crucial points in the process. When God refrains from obliterating me, as some might rightly say I deserve, His act would veer from Justice to Mercy. In the meantime, I can truly say that I have been flooded with His Grace throughout my existence! If I have to choose, I'll take Mercy. I need Faith that I will not receive the Justice I deserve, and find God's Mercy through the favored Grace afforded me through Jesus' redeeming sacrifice. Passover captures this whole concept indeed!////FROM JACK: One thing I like about G-d is that he is able to differentiate between grace, mercy and justice and apply each at the right circumstance and at the right time. I trust his judgment.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: You can pardon some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't pardon all of the people all of the time. (Abe Lincoln)////FROM JACK: I've read that many of the sayings attributed to Lincoln were never said by him. Your reply is probably one of them.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: I will try to remember, and possibly, mention this at our next Homeowner's Association Board Meeting, where I am the "softie". My ecumenical mantra is that we are Neighbors First and Board Members second. Others seem to prefer a more strict fiduciary responsibility and have a greater appreciation for "slippery slopes". I do understand, but do not see the two as mutually exclusive... in general. However, when it comes to specifics, the twain do not always meet.////FROM JACK: The Parable of the Good Samaritan was Jesus' answer to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" It was asked by the Pharisees (the legalists).

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: If for no other reason than a selfish one-- it makes you feel better to forgive. As I hope others forgive me...////FROM JACK: We are to forgive as God forgives. I wonder. Does God have feelings, or is that only a human condition? Maybe Jesus (God in human form) can help us answer that question. It is recorded that "Jesus wept" when he heard that Lazarus, his friend, had died.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: I hear what AL is saying but I think I prefer the words of Micah 6:8////FROM JACK: I hear what you're saying, but both Abe and Micah raise the same questions: What is justice and what is mercy? Love is the answer. But that raises the question, What is love?

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I like this: JUSTICE is when you get what you deserve. MERCY is when you don't get what you deserve, and GRACE is when you get what you don't deserve. Succinct and true! As Philip Yancy's book asked, "What's so Amazing About Grace?" Everything!////FROM JACK: I "may" have heard this before, but I don't remember when pr where. Thanks for the reminder of a concise definition of the differences between the words.

FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO: I do not want to tell the Good Lord how to do his job, but I don't think he would pardon them as he wouldn't pardon Hitler and his gang of hoodlums., or Asaid in Syria or his father. I am so greatful to the Good Lord that I was born in the U.S.A.Again, Than k You Lord Jesus, Thank U. U R such a wonderful person. I try every day to live up to your stds. Sorry sir, but I will keep trying. Damn damn damn. I really don't think Heaven would be M T , there R too many kind, gentle people who do good deeds that we hear and read about, every day.////FROM JACK: The whole point of grace, as I understand it, is that the population of heaven solely determined by an omniscient God and not by the things we do. (Ephesians 2:8-9) - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winning Words 2/16/12
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.” (Rose Tremain) Yes, I did watch (again) “Groundhog Day” on Feb 2. I’m beginning to feel like I’m Phil Connors. I’ve seen the film so many times, I know most of the lines. “Watch out for that first step. It’s a doozy!” I often wonder what I would do, if I were to live life over again. But, that’s fantasy. We need to make the best use of each new day that is ours. That’s reality! ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Here's a thought that your WW brought to my mind. Your comment, "We need to make the best use of each new day", is significant. Our entire life is not a rehearsal, but one might consider any day in our life a rehearsal for another day ahead. We can learn from the events of any day, and tuck that away in case the situation occurs again, and we'll be prepared to manage better.////FROM JACK: It's surprising how many people are content to live in a fantasy world. Dreaming is nice, but there comes a time when one has to face reality. My feeling is that it's best to do so with an optimistic outlook.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: It's on my all-time top-ten list, and it inspired me to start playing music again. I was a performing musician in high school and college; also taught guitar; but abandoned it after starting my first business (screen-printing, which later morphed into glasswork). Didn't play at all for almost 25 years, but Phil's decision to learn piano 'flipped the switch' for me! Every day we do live the same day, in a way, surrounded by opportunities to 'do right' for ourselves and others.////FROM JACK: The part of the story that many tend to overlook is how frustrating it was for Phil to be caught in the time-warp and not to be able to do anything about it. At least, we can look forward to a new day that is not the same old same old.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Gary's favorite movie. I wouldn't trade anyday for one which has passed. It's always amazing what God has in store for us each day. Today will be a doozy!!////FROM JACK: You'd better watch out for that "doozy" step. It was a cold and slushy puddle of water. After a while, Phil learned to avoid it. Experience can teach us something, if we're willing to learn.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: In a way, each new day is a small chance to live life over again... all we can do is our best. Mistakes were made to be learned from...////FROM JACK: A poem, "The New Leaf" seems to fit.
He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done. "Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher? I've spoiled this one." I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted, And gave him a new one all unspotted. And into his tired heart I cried, "Do better now, my child."
I went to the throne with a trembling heart, the day was done. "Have you a new day for me, dear Master? I've spoiled this one." He took my day, all soiled and blotted, and gave me a new one all unspotted. And into my tired heart he cried, "Do better now, my child."

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Life is like live theater, you do make mistakes but the show goes on and we learn to improvise.////FROM JACK: The only play I was ever in was in 6th Grade, so I can't remember whether or not I improvised...but I do know about improvising in real life.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: Too funny. We just watched that movie with sons, N and A. :) When they figured out it was the same day again and again, that first realization, the smiles on their faces were priceless. ////FROM JACK: It's a time of transition when children and parents can begin to interact on a different level. "Oh, now I get it!"

FROM BLAZING OAKS: For every road taken, there are at least a couple that are not followed, and one does sometimes fantasize about what life would have been, had you chosen a different path (one of my "serious" BF's is a multi-million dollar lawyer in CA, one a psychiatrist in GA,, and my H.S. sweetheart was a Fire Chief. But I prayed very hard about choosing a life mate, and God I'm sure led me to my soul mate. My adult S.S. class discussed this very point last Sunday. Almost all envisioned a different life situation at some point that was different than the road taken!////FROM JACK: It's fun to play the game, "What if...," but there are so many variables that go into the days and years, that if we could see them, we might say, "But for the grace of God." I like Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Winning Words 2/15/12
“Recalculating!” (GPS voice) Has it happened to you? You haven’t followed the GPS directions, and a voice says, “Recalculating.” Wait! Some changes have to be made. Last week a friend and I were talking about the importance of making good decisions. He said, “Sometimes we have to “recalculate,” like the GPS lady says.” Yes, there are times when we may have to revise our life’s direction. ;-) Jack

FROM NORM IN FLORIDA: I tell that to people all the time. Thanks for the YEARS of winning words. I remember when you started that mission.////FROM JACK: I've lost track of the number of years, but I try to keep track of each one of the over 400 who receive the daily Winning Words. You and the others are what keeps me programmed to get up each day at 5 am to fire up the pc.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: .........good one. I do that daily.////FROM JACK: Before or after breakfast?

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: O yeah - I know that one!////FROM JACK: Some people, like you, have pressure jobs where recalculating is always going on.////ANOTHER HS RESPONSE: True. We all have our own pressures. ////FROM JACK: Yes, but look what happens to the balloon when the pressure is removed.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I am always open to "recalculation." That, in itself, is a "plan."////FROM JACK: Some become annoyed at suggestions to recalculate. Others are grateful for help that is offered.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I think there's a moment or two every day in my life that I mentally "recalculate", redirecting myself about things ahead.////FROM JACK: By making choices, we are always recalculating.

FROM PASTY PAT: I could be imagining it, but she sounds distinctly irritated after the 3rd or 4th time. ////FROM JACK: Who wouldn't get irritated when someone ignores suggestions time after time?

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: I got a chuckle out of this one. Two years ago, I 'rescued' my ex-wife from a dangerous living situation (with her son and abusive/sociopathic daughter-in-law), by driving her and her 3 cats from Stockton CA to Philadelphia. (3,206 miles!) Amazingly, it wasn't an unpleasant experience -- and I became quite fond of the 'GPS lady' saying "Recalculating...", because it shaved so many hours off of the travel time!////FROM JACK: It sounds as though you had to do some recalculating, besides that suggested by the GPS voice.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Reminds me of watching politicians, always calculating and recalculating with their GPS set to your wallet (sorry only one cup of coffee so far today). ////FROM JACK: Most of us don't feel comfortable with "calculating" individuals. They don't make very good friends (or political representatives).

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I've recalculated lots of times but, you know, sometimes it's such a relief when someone else recalculates. There are three situations I can think of right away, where some people are making themselves miserable with their decisions and seem to be afraid to recalculate and take a different perspective, do something they've been against all along. Then I recalculate, especially in my prayer life, and try to be more understanding, more compassionate, and somehow, it's a mystery, change does happen and people get to a good destination. So far anyway. I love these WW!!!!!////FROM JACK: When decision choices are not clear, it's always good to have a trusted friend who will offer suggestions.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Without a doubt life is a continual recalculating. I recall the constant recalculating I had to do in 1982 when I was called from the business world to go into full-time Church work.////FROM JACK: The Lord's Prayer helps us as we ask God to assist with our recalculating.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I have a GPS in my car. However, I don't really use it. I never go anywhere without excellent directions from a person. I do not have a "Compass in my Nose" (a book I have) and I continually get lost. The GPS was in use when my husband was driving and it kept sending us down one-way streets, the wrong way. After that, I have never used it again. I'm sure they have the bugs out of the GPS now. That was a long time ago. I use God as my re-calculator. He lets me know when I'm on the wrong path.////FROM JACK: There's a WW2 book/movie called, God Is My Co-Pilot. It sounds as though God is your co-pilot, too.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: My life is a series of “recalculating.” There’s so many issues, situations, etc…that I’m constantly swirling around at work.////FROM JACK: As Gilda Radner would say, "If it ain't one thing, it's another." Life is one recalculation after another...for all of us.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: "Full steam behind!"////FROM JACK: It looks like you need a GPS.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: HA! good one. I do not have GPS, but John and Janis used it constantly while we were touring CA, and we often heard "Recalculating"....It is a universal condition. We'd be pretty "lost" if we couldn't recalculate our decisions, and situations when needed!////FROM JACK: The GPS, another invention that would stun our parents and grandparents. Others...cell phones, ATMs, computers, on and on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Winning Words 2/14/12
“We are most alive when we are in love.” (John Updike) Last week a man asked my wife and I how long we had been married? “Wow, 53 years! What’s your secret? I’ve been married 3 times, and I want to know.” He looked me in the eye. Without thinking, it came out…”I love her very much.” We sign “Love” on our Valentine cards. This time, let’s give some extra thought to what that word means. ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: Heinrich Zimmer is credited with the quote, "The best things in life can't be said." The experience of Love is one of those things. It seems we are left with the attempt to capture the experience in a word, and the word is truly inadequate. We might say that Love leaves us respectfully speechless. ////FROM JACK: I went to school with Albert Zimmer. His father was called Heinny. I wonder if that was the Zimmer you are referring to? Regardless, Hallmark fills in for those who can't say "I love you."

FROM TS IN MICHIGAN: Marriage is love and a commitment, too. Congratulations on your 53 years. My wife and I just celebrated number 43! God bless, and continue to fill you with His love.////FROM JACK: I read recently that no one should get married today without a "pre-nup." To me, that seems to be starting out in a negative direction.

FROM PASTY PAT: A "love"-ly story. Happy Valentine's Day to you both!////FROM JACK: No one has come asking to make a movie about it. Maybe Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw aren't available.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: Nice.////FROM JACK: Lots of nice memories, too; some of which, include you.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: In today's society longevity in marriage is a rarity. Lois and I hear the same comments when the subject comes we have been together 57 years. I don't know what happened but today it seems if you disagree just get divorced and start over. When our youngest daughter was in college she decided it would be cheaper and more fun to live in a house with seven others girls rather than the dorm. Her friends were great kids but they marveled that Diane still lived with her birth parents. The other seven all lived in blended families.////FROM JACK: I think that if both bride and groom believe that their vows are made before God, and if they ask for God's blessing on their marriage...that can be the beginning of 57 years.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I'm so happy you've had those 53 yrs. together. We had 51, and it is never enough!! Maria Edgeworth, Irish author opined, "If we take care of the moments, then the years will take care of themselves." Bill used to say, a love relationship either spirals up, up and up, or goes down, down and down. Commitment and appreciation for each other certainly helps it to spiral in the right direction! I have kept a saying from an old card my "sweetheart" sent to me:
When I first said that I loved you,
there was no way I could know
How the feelings that I had back then
would deepen and would grow----
Now I realize how true love builds
on all that's gone before,
And I know that with each passing year,
I'll love you more and more!
(Emily Matthews)
A precious thought! Up, up, up, and away!!!!!!!!////FROM JACK: For some, a marriage is like a tornado. It spirals furiously; it goes up and down; it meanders; there are periods of calm. BTW, a nice poem!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Winning Words 2/13/12
“We’ve got to hug our kids and make the most of each day, because you never know.” (Jeff Zaslow) Jeff spoke at our Optimist Club less than a month ago…and now he’s gone, the victim of a tragic car accident. The co-writer of “The Last Lecture” has written his last book. You never know! My mother-in-law had a saying, “Here today; gone tomorrow.” Be especially thankful for family and friends today. ;-) Jack .

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: What a wonderful testimony of Jeff having wisdom. It's powerful knowing he lived that way and wanted to pass these WW along to all of us. Before I even get out of bed each morning, I'm praying in thankfulness and for my husband and daughter, family and friends. Jeff's life story only puts another name on my prayer list today, thankfulness for a person I never met but who is a saint.////FROM JACK: A prayer for someone is a kind of spiritual hug.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: oh so true and close to home. i rarely pass up the chance to share love. hugs are plentiful in my world!////FROM JACK: You have the perfect job for hugs. My internist has an associate whose name is Dr. Hug.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: This is a very fitting "Winning Words" today. For Whitney and for Jeff and all those others who will have breathed their last. It's so important to appreciate and love those around you because you don't ever know.////FROM JACK: "You never miss the water til the well runs dry."

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Was your mother in law thinking of you when she said that????////FROM JACK: She made that comment when she heard that her nursing home roommate had died during the night.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: My dear daughter lost her paternal grandmother last year at this time. She is always very good about thinking of others and remembering important days. For some reason last year, she didn't make it to "Bubbe's" with her Valentine, as she had intended. The next day, her dad found his mom still in bed; she was gone. The coroner said she likely had passed on Valentine's Day. I consoled my daughter with the thought that somehow God had not meant for her to go there on that day... there just are not answers for everything, and we have to trust. ////FROM JACK: Making the connection with the day when love is celebrated was a good consolation.

FROM TRI-HARDER: Tragic. He has young children. I remember he and his pregnant wife at Adat Shalom during holiday services. And, yes, hug them every day. I have one in Ecuador and one in Vilnius--about to go to Karachi. I'm having major separation anxiety.////FROM JACK: The Swedes have a proverb, which translates: "To be away is good, but home is best." Many people believe that the ultimate home is the one that is reached after this life is over.

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN: His passing has made me so sad today….////FROM JACK: There's a verse in the Bible which reads: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for their works follow after them." In Jeff's case, part of his great legacy are the works (books) that he authored and are left for us to read.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Jeff's death is so sad. What a loss to society. Why?////FROM JACK: What a gift he has given to society with his writings.
"The clock of life is wound but once And no one has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own; Live, love, work, and with a will;
Place no faith in tomorrow, for The clock may then be still."

FROM BLAZING OAKS: How sad!! I have that book, and the video of the Last Lecture. I think we all feel if we live long enough to raise our own children, that is our greatest blessing. (But then want to see our grandchildren, and now "greats" nurtured, as well!)////FROM JACK: Most of us never know when we are giving "The Last Lecture," or writing the last e-mail. We must always be ready and "Carpe Diem!"

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: I thought of you the other day when I heard of Jeff''s death. I had read his book with Randy Pausch and also "The Girls from Ames." When you feel a connection with him and his family being neighbors it really hits home.////FROM JACK: Although I had only met him one time, he seemed to be the kind of person that I would like to know better.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winning Words 2/10/12
“You can’t argue with a river. It’s going to flow.” (Dean Acheson) When you were a child playing in the rain, did you ever try to build a dam to stop the water running in the street gutter? I never got mine to work. Life presents problems, too. The secret is to turn the negative problem into a positive outcome. A “mountain” may be blocking your way. Climb over it; tunnel thru it; find a way around it, but don’t give up. ;-) Jack

FROM BEC IN MICHIGAN: Reminded me of this saying. Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain. (Author unknown)////FROM JACK: I haven't heard of that one before. Good advice.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: It's interesting--to me anyway--to do this prayer knitting/crochetting things for people. Knitting/crochetting shawls, lap robes, afghans for people a person cares about while at the same time praying for the person and especially the person living in community is a secretive way to turn negative problems into positive outcomes and I think the real success comes from the flowing of time. Whether a person is knitting or not, crochetting or not, praying or not, the river is going to flow and over time the river's flowing will just inevitably change. I've seen it happen!!!!!! and choose to believe the knitting/crochetting/praying had an impact on how the river changed so that it flowed in a constructive way in this world. Sometimes the rain just stops.////FROM JACK: In Tennessee, the TVA harnessed the river in such a way that electrical power was provided. The river still runs, but in a positive way. You are helping to make positive things happen in a negative world.

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Clever.////FROM JACK: Sometimes the "clever" is simply recognizing the obvious that others overlook. We need some clever idea people in Washington who can help turn the negatives into positives.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN: A former minister of mine said something to me that could be a corollary to that: the only way around a problem is through it. ////FROM JACK: We pray in the Lord's Prayer: "Yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley...thou art with me."

FROM PASTOR BOB IN THE U.P.: Reminds me of the question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. Like yourself, I’ve tackled lots of elephants and the formula does work most often!////FROM JACK: Now, that's a descriptive response. Did you try to eat and elephant (or other wild animal) when you were working in Africa?

FROM JG IN MINNESOTA: Thanks, as always, for your Winning Words. Your last sentence today is somethimng we have said for years, but it is a shortened version. :-) "If you can't go over or under, go around" ////FROM JACK: Most of us have faced "impossible" situations. In history, I like the story of Hannibal and how he crossed the Alps using elephants. He found a way.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: You did it again! Your sixth sense is uncanny. ////FROM JACK: With God's help, you'll be getting another one next week.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: There was a small island in the AuSable River where my parents lived. Often us kids would try to block off the little stream so we could make a "swim hole". Of course, the AuSable runs at around 7 miles an hour and we could never get anything to stop the flow. Life is like that. It flows and flows ... sometimes passed the mountains and sometimes right through. We just have to keep paddling.////FROM JACK: The city where I grew up (Moline, Illinois) was on the banks of the Mississippi. The power of the annual flooding was something to behold.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: We are talking about the river Nile in school now. This is our theme song.
The river she is flowing...flowing and flowing...
The river she is flowing... Down to the sea.
Mother carry me, a child I will always be.
Mother carry me down to the sea.
Great experience to hear the interpretation of each child.
Never stop a river. There is a reason it flows!
////FROM JACK: It wonder how the child interpretations would differ from the adult.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I can remember the water gushing and gurgling around my ankles when I stood before the gutter. Had real clean feet! Ha! Maybe when the river is flowing, we have to make up our minds to "go with the flow" least until we can exit the river!////FROM JACK: I remember seeing raw sewage coming out of a large pipe and "going with the flow" into the river. The carp loved to hang around there.

FROM SAINT JAMES IN MICHIGAN: This WW reminds me of the Jim Valvano quote: "Don't Give Up...don't ever give up!" What an inspriational thought from someone who knew he was dying of cancer! Personally, I live by his mantra...some days, it's easier to do that than others, but what a joy it is to be alive and have the privilege to grapple with that concept!////FROM JACK: I remember seeing Valvano as a coach. Talk about enthusiasm...He was like a raging river, running up and down the basketball sidelines. His death came too soon. On his tombstone is written, "Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry."

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Winning Words 2/9/12
“Every man has a good and a bad angel attending him in particular all his life long.” (Robert Burton) When comic strip characters are faced with a moral choice, the artist sometimes draws an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Is that the way it is in real life? From the Adam and Eve story until now, temptations are before us…to do the right, or to do the wrong. How do you make your choice? ;-) Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Fortunately, I believe in my Guardian Angel, and so far life has gone pretty well. ////FROM JACK: To personify good and evil, seems to be helpful to some. God seemed to think that it was a good idea when he walked on earth as Jesus.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: The good and bad angel contrast is one I used to illustrate profligate spending and versus rational saving.////FROM JACK: I should break down and get a copy of your book (Good Debt. Bad Debt) and read about the good and bad angels.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: The artist does well to draw the angel and devil up close to a person's ears because trying to listen to God and disregard the devil's suggestions/advice is about all I know to do. Strange, heard before that the last sense a dying person still usually has is the sense of hearing. Time will tell whether been making good choices or bad choices. Seems like everything always come back in some form to help a person understand whether or not it is God one has been listening to.////FROM JACK: God has a louder voice than the devil, but some people choose to turn the volume down.

FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH: Growing up my dad said to pick some person in your life that you respect. When faced with a decision of right and wrong, consider tellnig that person what you chose. If you would have trouble with that then you are likely making the wrong choice. My dad said he always thought of his grandmother. I bet you didn't know that I used you. :)////FROM JACK: I didn't know that, and I'm humbled and honored.

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: How about ennie, menie, minie and moe? Over the years I have found if I start with the bad I end up with the good!////FROM JACK: That's one of the sayings I learned when I was growing up that I don't use anymore. Times have changed from those days...some of them for the better.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: The angel and devil on the shoulders is a wonderful illustration of good vs the bad. We all have a little of both. Hopefully, the good out-weighs the bad.////FROM JACK: Hopefully the good outweighs the bad, because of the moral training that we've received in our homes.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: The world is full of good and bad choices, and we choose one or the other. Sometimes we decide to do something, thinking it is a good choice, but it turns out to be a bad choice (like attempting to help someone and they end up suing you). Apparently the good and bad that Burton is talking about regards sinful or virtuous choices. When we are tempted we do the right or the wrong depending on the moment...who's watching, what do I get out of it, is it worth the risk, will I feel better afterward, is it just bad judgment or actually illegal? Then we act, and it's entirely our response, perhaps with the image of a haloed angel or a snide devil drifting in our mind. But we act according to our own will, and make the choice based on will we feel better after, or will we live to regret it.////FROM JACK: It's said that once you learn to ride a bicycle you never forget. I'd like to think that to make the right choice between good and evil is like riding that bicycle. I haven't ridden a bike in a long time, but I'm faced with right and wrong choices every day.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Easy. I follow my conscience & can honestly say I never act contrary to what it tells me. ////FROM JACK: That's interesting. It causes me to wonder and a conscience. Evidently everyone's conscience is not the same. Why is that? Are we born with a conscience? Is it something that's learned?

FROM MOLINER JT: Pray--It's the ONLY answer !////FROM JACK: We need to remind ourselves that prayer is letting God know how we feel. It's not meant to try and get God to change his mind. Not my will, but thy will be done.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Winning Words 2/8/12
“What a child doesn’t receive, he can seldom later give.” (P.D. James) I had a pleasant experience on Sunday when 4 little boys came and sat next to me in church. I “listened” to the sermon while we exchanged some pencil drawings. Church-going was never a “pain” for me, because the people there were nice. There are children today who are being shaped by the words and actions of adults they see. ;-) Jack

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: Yes, those K boys are something special.////FROM JACK: One of my joys of going to church is to look around and see the people, young and old. Each one is special in the eyes of God.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I do believe your WW, however your commentary, practically the only time now I've found it too simplistic in all my years of reading your commentary. In our Monday night Bible study, we pore over Sundays and Seasons and especially this past Monday discussed Anne Rice's statement "It is simply impossible for me to belong to this quarrelsome, hostile disputatious and deservedly infamous group." The fact is our churches are full of people who are not nice but God is so nice He is willing to work with us and give us the love we need so that we can constantly be changing into much better people. That's the way I see it any way. ////FROM JACK: It sounds as though Anne Rice got up on the wrong side of the bed on Sunday morning. Generally speaking, people are nice to you when you are nice to them. There are exceptions.

FRIM TAMPA SHIRL: How true those words are. Of course, there is always free will, but it is interesting to observe families and to see how the children grow up - especially at this age in life.////FROM JACK: There is so much that goes into the way a child develops...the parents, the teachers, the friends, reaction to the good and bad that comes as a part of living in this world. I'm glad for a belief that God knows and understands.

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA: Just yesterday evening, we were invited to dinner by a neighbour who had been out in BC visiting descendents and went to a Christmas market. She was astonished when a big bear of a young man rushed over and gave her a hug and said "Madame Guiton! As I've told my girlfriend here, you were the best teacher I ever had and had a big influence on me!" She was his teacher in third grade in another part of Western Canada.////FROM JACK: What a great Christmas present! The best ones aren't found in a box, decorated with ribbons and bows.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: My littlest granddaughter, Melanie,15 months, loves church. We go to the "Squirmer's Service". At the end of the service, when Pastor Becky says, "Go in Peace, thanks be to God," Melanie always says, "All done." I love to watch them in church. You think little ones don't hear, but they do! ////FROM JACK: I liked At Linkletter's book, "Kids Say The Darndest Things." Maybe that's why Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me."

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: It seems very rational to consider that which is unknown, even to one's imagination, is unavailable for sharing with others; i.e., I cannot give you money I do not have; nor can I love in a manner of which I know not.
Just as Faith without works is dead, so it seems the converse holds true as well. How can one bear fruit where there is no plant? The gift of Faith, the gift of being loved, and even the gift of the knowledge of Jesus is provided to us by Grace alone. It is by the good fortune upon us by the Will of God...and not by my thoughtful discourse.
If we fall from God's Grace, we land in His Mercy. We need to show the same type of mercy for the not-so-nice people with whom we might congregate, and who are members of the Body of Christ (Church) by the Will of God, and who fall from our good graces. This seems to be the truer test of the Christian ethic. At least for myself, this is more significant than merely converting them to my way of thinking.
Loving the "unappealing" or the unloveable, brings Love to their experience, and becomes a possibility for them to know and share. Isn't this what Christ did/does?
////FROM JACK: On first thought, I was going to edit your response to fewer words. On second thought, I think that it's good, just the way it is.

FROM WATERFORD JAN: My experiences when attending church as a child were made memorable in a positive way by numerous adults, beginning with my parents who encouraged my attendance (a favor I eventually returned by encouraging them to attend with me). Adult Sunday School teachers, including the young woman who called my new, striped hair ribbon "just like Joseph's coat of many colors"; the Pastor and his wife, whose only children were those in the congregation; welcoming adults; and wonderful joint Vacation Bible Schools with the church across the street; all gave me good memories that I have cherished for well over 70 years.////FROM JACK: Comparing a striped hair ribbon to Joseph's coat is the sign of a creative Sunday School teacher who understood her Bible and the children in her class.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Oh I agree with you. But I'm not sure it follows thru into adulthood.////FROM JACK: I'm happy to realize that some important things I learned in childhood have followed me into adulthood. I'm sure that you can recall in the same way.

FROM S & S IN ILLINOIS: I wish I could have seen that! :)////FROM JACK: With the marvelous mind that God has given you...You can see it...See!

ROM BLAZING OAKS (SHE'S BEEN IN CALIFORNIA FOR A MONTH): Reminds me of the excellent little essay, A Child Learns What He Lives. Bill called attention to it every once in awhile in his sermons. So true....If I can lay my hands on it, I'll send it on.////FROM JACK: I used to rely on an inadequate filing system to bring up stuff from the past. Now, I just use Google.

FROM THE BUGMAN: I used to draw for kids when you were preaching. I still do and feel better about it just knowing you do too.////FROM JACK: ...and look how they turned out. One Sunday my mother was concentrating so hard on the sermon that she didm't notice that I had crawled under the pews...until the congregation started laughing to see me sitting beside the organist.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Winning Words 2/7/12
“If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.” (Zig Zigler) Early on my parents encouraged me to start a savings account with my paper route earnings. I also gave $1 a week to the church. A friend wears a “10-10-80” T-shirt…10% for God; 10% for investment; 80% for self. He says, “Try it; it works!” ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Z.Z. wasn't zzzzzzzzzzzz-ing when he wrote those words. I know a lot of people who have proven that's the way it works in life.////FROM JACK: Zig is a motivational speaker. I wonder it he was able to motivate his listeners to change their priorities?

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I needed to read these WW this morning. Regarding money but right now especially regarding time and not procrastinating. Didn't someone once say "Time is money."? Thanks for these WW too. ////FROM JACK: Yes, I've heard that time is money. I've also heard that some people, who have time to waste, sometimes spend it with people who don't.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Excellent words and ACTIONS to live by. Old age advances with or without engaging proper habits. I called my chapter on retirement savings in, Good Debt, Bad Debt (2007 Penguin 2nd ed), "What if You Live?" People think about dying, more have life insurance than have provisions for a long life. Kudos to you Pastor, parents set the tone. ////FROM JACK: Jon is called "Good Debt" for a reason. His book relates to today"s Winning Words.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN: Thanks Jack for these words. They are used as the foundation for investment planning in our industry. Begin early and invest often!////FROM JACK: Yours is a tough get people to do what's good for them, when they don't necessarily want to do it. It's sort of like my industry.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We were taught it and instilled it into our children. Thanks for sending it along. ////FROM JACK: It reminds me of the words from Proverbs. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: Good 'un - ////FROM JACK: I'm doing what I want to do...Now.

FROM CJL IN OHIO: It's kinda late to start, but a good idea!////FROM JACK: It's never too late to start using a good idea. Remember the thief on the cross?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: If you do the things you need to do when they need doing, the things you want to do end up being the things you need to do.////FROM JACK: That's what I just said.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Winning Words 2/6/12
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” (Willie Nelson) In one of his songs, Willie sings, “I know what I’d change if I went back in time.” He’d probably be more positive in his thinking. Let’s experiment this week with Willie’s philosophy and see what happens. BTW, GP, one of the readers of WWs was in the Air Force with Willie. ;-) Jack

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA: So very true! :-) Have a +++ day.////FROM JACK: There are pluses in being positive.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: Willie Nelson and Air Force are odd images to pair in my mind.////FROM JACK: Most of us have facets to our life that are unknown by the hoi poloi.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Winning Words 2/3/12
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.” (Charles Dickens) I read recently that each of us will be, or will need, a caregiver in our lifetime. A survey shows that 60% say that being a caregiver is extremely rewarding. “I’m just doing what that person would do for me.” I’m sure that most of us can relate stories of seeing that kind of “caring” in action. ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I've been a Stephens Minister over and over and over again and have in every single instance been truly awed by people's response to God and how that in turn ripples throughout the community in more hope and more love and more trust and faithfulness. Nothing, not even old age will ever be that fearful for me again. Thanks for your WW. I didn't know Charles Dickens could write so brightly of the human spirit. ////FROM JACK: The "What ifs..." connected with aging can be a heavy burden.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: The best cure for your blues is to help someone else. ////FROM JACK: Blue is an interesting word. You've suggested a way by which to turn "the blues" into "blue skies."

FROM KB IN MICHIGAN: I always enjoy your message--I especially like this one. Thank You////FROM JACK: I sometimes wonder as I write Winning Words...."Is this good enough?" Thanks for letting me know that for you, today, it was good enough.////MORE FROM KB: I think that on any given day your words lighten someone's burden.////FROM JACK: It's like with Johnny Appleseed. He threw out the seeds and hoped that some apples would result.

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Being a Caregiver is almost always more rewarding than being a care receiver. Yet, I think the latter is perhaps the most difficult....except, of course, when you have the flu!!!////FROM JACK: Being a caregiver is better than saying, "I coulda; I shoulda."

FROM IKE AT THE MIC: Along the same thought is Emerson's poem on Success which ends with: "To know that another human being breathes a bit easier because you have lived-makes you a success" (that poem might be a good prayer for an upcoming Optimist breakfast?}..////FROM JACK: Prayers are meant to express our feelings to G-d. Optimists are not always optimists. Emerson's poem could be an encouragement.
“Success” Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I am most grateful to those who have cared for me or I them during various illnesses and/or recoveries. There is nothing so humbling as caring for someone or being cared for while at their weakest.////FROM JACK: There's nothing wrong with being weak and humble. I once read that "A reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog. It keeps him from brooding about being a dog"

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: I am a caregiver for a friend's mom w/alzheimer's. Thanks to the Exelon patch (highly recommended) & TLC from a gr8 team of caregivers, she is able 2 remain in her home & has the best quality of life possible. This is not my "chosen field," but due to the economy & the desire to help good friends, I realize I am doing God's work & find it rewarding.////FROM JACK: I've found that "choices" other than my own, were often the better choices in my life. What could be better than helping a friend and working to provide some the best quality of life possible? In the end, what really counts?

FROM MOLINER JT: My "caregiver" stories go on forever. I have the worlds GREATEST.////FROM JACK: I remember that the Moline Dispatch printed a story about you and your caregiver. Inspiring

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: Caregiving is truly rewarding. I could write a book on it!////FROM JACK: I remember seeing some of that caregiving at work. "Love is something that you do."

FROM SS IN MICHIGAN: I just got a chance to read your e-mail and it reminded me of the Christmas Story that I relayed at our company Christmas Party on 12-18-11. Each year, the owner of our company asks me to lead the prayer prior to dinner. I always tell a short story about the season prior to the prayer. This year since I had just come back from Norway, so I spoke of a time with my Dad in Norway at Christmas in 1959. Lessons come to us all in so many different ways and at times you least expect it. This one has stuck with me all my life.////FROM JACK: I was just reading Yogi Berra's book, "You Can Observe A Lot By Just Watching." Evidently you were watching 1n 1959.////MORE FROM SS: Thanks. It always amazes me that as I get older I remember more and more of the subtle lessons taught to me by parents, pastors and teachers. You can never tell when your actions will impact someone's life.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Winning Words 2/2/12
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” (Percy Buysshe Shelley) Today I will do my annual Feb 2nd thing…watch the movie, Groundhog Day. It signals to me that spring is just around the corner. Those who know poetry say that Shelley’s words have two messages. The more popular one is that it’s a message of hope. That’s the way I see it. The other is resignation. Life goes on. What’s your vote? ;-) Jack

FROM TRI-HARDER: (5:14 am) I just saw the gathering in PA. It's a mild morning as they await the sunrise. Great movie.////FROM JACK: Question for the day...Why is that some people like "that" movie, and others don't?

FROM MARY AT TREASURE ISLAND, FLORIDA: I vote for hope--////FROM JACK: Treasure Island was one of my favorite "kid" stories. It caused me to imagine. Is hope part of imagination?

FROM ONE OF THE BILLS: Hope for sure! I love Groundhog day, although I wouldn't want to be caught in that cycle!////FROM JACK: Bill Murray wasn't too happy about being caught in that cycle, but, in the end, things turned out OK. Maybe I like the film, because I like happy endings.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN: I have always believed it was a message of hope, although as I get older the resignation thing creeps in. Groundhog Day was my mother’s birthday so it will always have extra meaning for me. I’m reading a book on hope. It is called “Every Day a Friday” by Joel Osteen. It is a great book that helps me get through some of these “resignation” days.////FROM JACK: My book would be "Every Day a Monday," because the week ought to begin with an attitude of hope, rather than resignation. On Mondays, I try to create Winning Words messages with that in mind.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Message of hope.////FROM JACK: It's too early to project a winner, but the polls seem to indicate that "hope" will be the winner.

FROM CS IN WISCONSIN: While watching Groundhog Day, be sure to remember you are walking around Woodstock, IL. The hotel is our Opera House, the house he is staying in belonged to one of my quilting friends, the ice sculptures are done on The Square in the center of town, where he steps off the curb was just about in front of the quilt shop that I worked in for a few years after the movie was filmed. I was working in a lawyers’ office up the street from that spot. Happy Groundhog Day! I think spring is already here with our spring like weather. Life will go on no matter what the groundhogs predict!////FROM JACK: My viewing of the movie won't be the same this year, because I'll be thinking of Woodstock instead of Punxsutawney and looking for you in the background.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: well...i think to be a hopeful person a bit of resignation is required.////FROM JACK: I'm a cockeyed optimist. I suppose you know (and can sing) this song from South Pacific.
When the skies are brighter canary yellow
I forget ev'ry cloud I've ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.

I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we're done and we might as well be dead,
But I'm only a cockeyed optimist
And I can't get it into my head.

I hear the human race
Is fallin' on its face
And hasn't very far to go,
But ev'ry whippoorwill
Is sellin' me a bill,
And tellin' me it just ain't so.

I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I'm stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can't get it out of my heart!
Not this heart..

MORE FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: oh and, i heard tavis smiley use the following words. thought they were worth pondering. "let's turn our hope into usable action!"////FROM JACK: You cause me to think...Is hope and action word? The same for dreams and desires. Is their value dependent on following up?

TRI-HARDER FOLLOW UP: Why do some people like sushi and others don't? Different strokes for different folks.////FROM JACK: Why do I say that I don't like sushi, when I've never tried it?

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: One of my favorite movies!////FROM JACK: I've got it cued up and ready to go. Every February 2 is "Groundhog Day" for me.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Spring is always TOO far behind. Just when some pleasant days come along and Spring seems imminent, bitter weather returns and we must resign ourselves to more waiting. But to answer your question about Shelley's message, I vote for "hope". Shelley died at age 30...too young to be resigned to anything.////FROM JACK: Maybe Spring is an attitude, rather than a season. BTW, How about the early death of Jesus? Hope or resignation?

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: I agree that it is HOPE!///FROM JACK: I've met several people with the name, Hope. Do you remember Hope Lange, the movie and TV actress?

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Unless one views spring as a negative, the message is of hope, not resignation. ////FROM JACK: As with much of life, the point of view depends on where you're standing.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Today was my grandfather's birthday. He was my dad's dad. Unfortunately, he died of pneumonia when my dad was 14. My dad contracted the pneumonia and in order or my grandmother to keep him alive, the doctor cut a hole in his back for drainage and so my grandmother could breathe air into his one remaining lung. When us kids were little, my dad told us the scar from from being shot by an Indian arrow. We of course, believed him. It still makes me laugh. Anyway, Happy Groundhog Day...Gary's favorite movie. We watch it over and over and over and over and over....... Spring is coming!!!////FROM JACK: I've never heard of mouth to back resuscitation before. I can see that kids would be impressed with the arrow story.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I HATE groundhogs and shoot them regularly. I live in an acre and across the street from 40 brush ND tree covered acres. Guess where the choose to dig. Not 10 feet from my house, tunneling under the brick patio, when then caves in. This has been going on for years. I have at least 20 notches in my holster. Don't tell me about groundhogs!. If he pokes his head out today, he gets shot.////FROM JACK: I know that you're just kiddin' around.

FROM PH VACATIONING IN MESA: i vote for hope. always...////FROM JACK: Is "hope" a word that says, "I am sure," or does it mean, "I hope so?"

FROM PRDL IN OREGON: I vote for HOPE! Thanks for the continued inspiration. ////FROM JACK: Hope wins ... as always!

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: HOPE! Along with the knowledge that I'm not in control.////FROM JACK: Another vote for Hope. The majority of those who read WWs are not hope-less.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Winning Words 2/1/12
“Our country must be strong enough to solve problems, and that means we must learn how to work together again.” (“Gabby” Giffords) “Gabby” recently resigned from Congress to focus on recovering from the horrific assassination attempt on her life. Her words today seem to express what many Americans are longing for. Last week I met Jeff Zaslow, the co-author of the book, “Gabby.” ;-) Jack

FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: Again? When have we ever worked together before? Maybe during wars but virtually at no other time....////FROM JACK: I've learned to co-operate with people in order to accomplish the greater good. We don't have to be "on the same page" with someone in order to solve problems.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I'm convinced many, many people, of all political parties, don't want to see us as a country of haves and havenots. Maybe we all need to be humble and know we don't always see far enough ahead from whatever actions we are taking today, but especially only that the actions we are taking today need to be well-intentioned and as honest and forthright as possible. Inspiring WW again today. Thanks////FROM JACK: I think of the Biblical story of the rich man and Lazarus. It seems to be replaying today.

FROM TRI-HARDER: I'm infatuated with that brave woman.////FROM JACK: I have friends in the district that she has represented. They say that she is all that she seems to be...and more.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: She is much to be admired. It's a rare person who puts themselves second and country first. We do need to work together and put aside "parties" and save this country!////FROM JACK: There are heroes and there are sheroes. Gabby is one of the sheroes.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Let's do that. We can call ourselves "Repiblicrats." But then there would be an argument that we should call ourselves "Demublicans."////FROM JACK: Better yet...Let's call ourselves, AMERICANS.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA: It does make one wonder how THE PLAN works when good people like Gabby Giffords are removed from a position where she was making a difference in the right way. I hope she is able to return someday.////FROM JACK: Romans 8:28 has always been a comfort to me...and a mystery, too. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."