Monday, April 30, 2012

Winning Words 4/30/12
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” (Joseph Campbell) I saw a list of phobias that people have…530 of them. One that is mentioned often these days is xenophobia. Sometimes, as we understand our fears, we find that there’s no bogeyman. I’ve found some treasure situations when I’ve faced up to my fears. How about you? Have you discovered positives when the negatives have been removed? ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: There are certainly things which make good sense to fear, or maybe better phrased as, to respect. But Campbell is on the mark here --- as usual. David Whyte has a wonderful poem titled: The Faces At Braga. In the poem he describes "the fierce figure above the door" which is intended to scare away evil, and yet seems to scare away the good people too! One of his other great lines is, "if only we knew what the Carver knew; how the flaws in the wood lead His chisel to the very core, we would smile too, and not..." to fear or hide, or cover our flaws ---but instead to celebrate them! ....for the Lord is with me. And, think of all that comes with that! ////FROM JACK: How did you come upon this interesting poem? As I read it, I came upon these interesting words...
If only our own faces
would allow the invisible carver's hand
to bring the deep grain of love to the surface.
If only we knew
as the carver knew, how the flaws
in the wood led his searching chisel to the very core,
we would smile, too
and not need faces immobilized
by fear and the weight of things undone.
////RG AGAIN: I became familiar with David Whyte in the early 90's. He has several wonderful poems, and books of poetry (The Well of Grief, also by David Whyte, addresses the "avoided cave" experience that you highlight in today's WWs: "those who will not slip beneath the still surface...will never know the cool, clear water..., nor see the coins shimmering thrown by those who wished for something else"). Moral: one must immerse oneself in the experience, even if it appears detestable or unpleasant, to know of the richness and refreshment it offers. While others merely give the experience lip service, or throw their coins into a " wishing well", those who are truly alive throw themselves!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We had a saying when I was in school..."Stranger Danger". It was meant to keep kids from being harmed and going with someone who was out to harm them. Strangely, most harm isn't done by strangers, but by people we know. It's human nature to be fearful...even of caves and strangers. Thankfully, we have the knowledge one day this will all pass away and we will no longer have to face any fears...real or imaginary.////FROM JACK: In an earlier time, these words were written: "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2) It's unfortunate that our fears prevent us from having interesting encounters. My wife's grandmother would always provide sandwiches and cold water to the hobos who hopped off of the freight trains that passed her house. She took the words of Hebrews literally. Times change.////MORE FROM OHJ: My dad never turned anyone away. We always had someone at dinner or overnight. He only saw the good in people and it worked for him. We never had any problems with anyone he helped. And, as I have said before, my parents took in a lot of kids who had nowhere to go.

FROM KKG IN MICHIGAN: "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is a wonderful book about finding treasure where we least expect it. The quote reminds me of the book. I rarely comment but try to read your Winning Words every day. They are always very thought provoking. Thank you. ////FROM JACK: After your response, I went "treasure hunting" and looked up a synopsis of The Alchemist. Thanks for giving me the clue.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: No.////FROM JACK: Well, I guess you can't win 'em all, but you can keep on trying.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I'm dealing with a cave I fear to enter currently. It's a cave where I need to learn new skills and abilities, gain new knowledge and confidence. The trouble is--the person who is in line to teach me is practically an expert and sometimes now I think he's forgotten what it was like to need to learn. It's a little hairy and frustrating for both of us but with God's help hope we can both be wiser about each others' abilities and be more tolerant of each others' weaknesses and also hope that we get to that there treasure of success in learning where we'll both feel a lot of satisfaction and even more self-confidence and confidence in each other. And we'll get our project done for the good of the community!!!!!!////FROM JACK: I guess you have to enter the cave, if you're going to find the treasure.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: In "A Father's Book of Wisdom" (Jack Brown) he says "The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about." I suppose in the case of xenophobia it would be amended "To FEAR something you know nothing about..." Good quote, as usual. I'm not a fearful person as a rule, but can remember overcoming my trepidation about handling reptiles in Mr. Arnold's biology class at MHS, and also the big constrictor brought to my kindergarten class. I'm thankful to be a curious person, and usually willing to try the unknown experience! Like taking the balloon ride for my 65th, and bungee jumping on the 70th., and riding the BIGGEST, FASTEST, roller-coaster at 6 Flags, at the urging of my 8th graders on our year end field trip, at 60, the year I retired from teaching full time...Bring it on! HA! OOOPS!!!////FROM JACK: George H W Bush celebrated his 85th birthday making a parachute jump. You could do that...or make a bungee jump.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: That's the principle of the v\battery... negative attracts positive. Let there be light!////FROM JACK: When God said, "Let there be light," I wonder what size of battery he was intending to use?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Winning Words 4/27/12
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” (Nelson Henderson) Henderson’s words are about trees, but they’re not about trees. Winning Words began this week with thoughts about caring for generations to come. I appreciate the legacy that has been left to you and me. When I need reasons to do things to protect the environment, I look at my children and g-children. ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: With the constant bombardment of "green" planet issues in front of our eyes and ears through media display, it seems that less and less attention is given to the kind of green world we will be leaving those future generations! What good does it do to have gained a green world, and to have concurrently lost our soul? In anticipation of comments regarding doing both: consider how much attention is on the latter. I fear our "green" is the pearl and the world is the swine. If we are going to give something to future generations, let us become the healthy fig tree that bears much good fruit in its due season, and whose shade will provide further benefit to those who are drawn to it. For the fruit will give life, but the shade only comfort.////FROM JACK: Recently I came across this quote: "The love of money causes many pains." I'm reminded of King Midas...and Howard Hughes. BTW, I do appreciate your thoughtful comments.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I agree with Henderson. Acting on his idea bodes well for the future. Moreover, I have literally planted trees that others are now sitting under. Your comments added to Henderson's WW are also cogent. Our children and grandchildren are the best reasons for caring for the environment.////FROM JACK: We have a large tree in our front yard that was once a seedling rescued by Mary. She has discovered another seedling growing among the hibiscus. Eventually the front yard will have another large tree for someone to sit under.

FROM SL IN TEXAS: Each and every day you inspire me! I love the way you think; I only wish more people would think as you do! We do have such abundance and it is our responsibility to care for everything so there are resources for the future! Keep challenging us. Be well and keep on doing what you do so beautifully!
////FROM JACK: Some days when I push "send," I wonder if anyone ever pushes "read." Thanks for pushing "reply."

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Wow. I like this one very much.////FROM JACK: FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Wow. I like this one very much.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Aren't you proud to be one of "The Greatest Generation?" I think the real awareness of passing on a better world started with us. We're going to be a hard act to follow. The Baby Boomers are showing all of the signs that they care, too.////FROM JACK: I appreciate being part of the generation that has been named great, but sometimes I wonder if it is so great. Recently I read a quote by Golda Meir to a visiting diplomat. "Don't be so humble. You are not that great." I think that greatness is shown by humility.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Nice one; thank you so much!////FROM JACK: I think that I shall never see a response as lovely as a tree. But, thanks for your words.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: As Helen Keller once said:"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do." And she walked her talk! We can all do something to make our little corner a better place for the next generation! I just planted a lilac bush, which will probably not bloom for 7 years yet...but someone will enjoy it! Good WW!////FROM JACK: The Power of One is a poem by an unknown author.
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start each prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what's true
One life can make the difference
You see, it's up to you!!

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Was it Luther who, when asked what he'd do if today were his last day answered, "I'd plant a tree?" ////FROM JACK: You were paying attention when we were studying the Reformation.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Winning Words 4/26/12
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” (Marie Curie) I read that tattoo parlors are finding that literary “inks” are quite popular and that many of them come from Alice in Wonderland. One of the often quoted Alice lines is: “Curiouser and curiouser.” Sometimes it seems that the “wonderland” we live in is “C & C.” People with great minds inspire me. Who are those who inspire you? ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: I would agree with your comments. It seems that curiosity is the key ingredient. I don't think it much matters whether it is focused on the person or the idea, because one will quite often lead to the other ---- because that's what "being curious" does. It seeks out the gold that is interwoven in the commonality of our first glance!////FROM JACK: Many inventions came about because of curious people.

FROM HONEST JOHN: People who lead good and loving mother for one.////FROM JACK: Your response caused me to think of my own mother in a similar way.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Honest and true faithful people. Hard to find.////FROM JACK: Yes, but I've already talked to a few this morning. The honest and faithful are out there. And, I thank God for them.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Faithful Jesus followers inspire me.////FROM JACK: I believe that God allows people to come into our lives for a reason. I read that in the Bible. I see that in life.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I can't remember the exact quote, but it went something like:"Small minds gossip about people, Ordinary minds talk events and Great minds discuss ideas." Maybe Creative minds think up programs to inspire and entertain??! I am thankful to have at least average intelligence, and my "right" mind in my old age, but do stand in awe of so many great minds who have invented, discovered, and inspired, over the years. Too numerous to mention, but we are blessed by their contributions!! We all have our gifts, and "place"...////FROM JACK: Your quote (in a different form) is sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. Perhaps you could have it made into a tattoo.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: People that I meet every day in just plain living experiences are very inspiring and interesting to me. They range from the woman who cuts my hair, the man who sold me the iphone for 99 cents, the man who pressure washes the house, my neighbors who take care of each other, Pop who was 102 last week and is back to riding his bicycle around the block, all of my family and their friends, people in my OLLI classes, my teachers who are all volunteers, our new priest who is from Chicago and who is very understanding and who gets right to the point, old time friends who just drop by, etc.////FROM JACK: I'm glad to know that Pop is still riding his bike, or is it trike? I'm sure that he's an inspiration to younger folks, like you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Winning Words 4/25/12
“The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.” (Solomon Short) The War of 1812 inspired our National Anthem. T’s “Overture” is often played during the July 4th fireworks. But I did not know that Tchaikovsky was inspired by the “other” War of 1812 that was being fought in his homeland as the Russians were defending against the armies of Napoleon. We don’t always know what we think we know. ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: There's a lot I think I know I don't. I do however, love Tchaikovsky!////FROM JACK: I like so much of his work...The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Capriccio Italien, Swan Lake, Marche Slav. In fact, I'm going to YouTube right now and listen to Capriccio Italien.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: How true. I bought an iphone yesterday at ATT@T yesterday for 99 cents, and now I have a lot more to learn. I am still working on my nook. My philosophy is that if everyone else can learn how, I can, too. That is how I learned the computer. Last night at the birthday party for Mark, my nine year old grandson here in Tampa, he received some kind of electronic game in a Lamborghenia box which looked pretty impressive. The children were asking me what kind of games I played. I told them we played outside most of the time with a few games of cards and Monopoly thrown in.////FROM JACK: I'm reminded of the song, "The old gray mare ain't what she used to be."

FROM BLAZING OAKS: How interesting..I did not know there was a Russian War of 1812! In general I agree with the person who opines "There are no real winners in a war"...When will we ever learn? (As the folk song goes). T.'s music however has brought enjoyment to many millions, which is a good thing! The present generation has experienced more peace, freedom, leisure time, education, medicine advances and travel than any other in history. Our children have been blessed...I dare to be an Optimist!////FROM JACK: It's good to look forward to tomorrow, but not to depend upon it. Sydney J. Harris would sometimes write a column which he titled..."Things I learned while looking up other things."

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: I love it – the quote – the music and the news that it was written for something I never knew about. Thanks for the inspiration.////FROM JACK: Did you notice that the quote is attributed to Solomon Short? I think that Solomon Short is the creation of author David Gerrold. Another Solomon quote: "Mixing religion with politics is like mixing alcohol with gasoline. The result is dangerously flammable and tastes terrible."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Why did you think there was a back and forth between the Russian and the French National Anthems? I often used that as a music/art project when I was teaching so the kids would listen to the story of the music.////FROM JACK: Some people (a lot of people) know more than I do. It was interesting to hear how you taught children...and what you taught them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Winning Words 4/24/12
“Imagination is more important that knowledge.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office) I once read of a company that posted a sign by every employee’s work station. It read, “What if…?” I have those words posted by my computer. Imagine: What if…you could change one thing in history? What if…you could ask God one question? What if…you could have great wisdom or great wealth? Imagination changes things. ;-) Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN: I have trouble with the term "more" ...imagination & knowledge are both important.////FROM JACK: Evidently Albert didn't have that trouble. Kierkegaard wrote his famous book, "Either/Or." You should write one titled, "Both/And."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We also felt it was very important to help our children and grandchildren grow and develop and wonderful imagination. It was so fun to have imaginary friends and games and cookies., etc etc etc. Kimberly's imaginary friend's name was Annie. One day, Gary's friend brought his wife over. Her name was Annie. Annie and Frank were moving to Florida. Kimberly was about 4. When Annie and Frank left that evening, so did Annie...Kimberly's imaginary friend. When I asked her why she didn't talk about Annie anymore, Kimberly said..."She moved to Florida". Andy's friend's name was Brian. But he had a fireman doll who was Brian. I wrote down many a imaginary story while they dictated it to me. What fun!!!////FROM JACK: I like the way that Peter, Paul and Mary tell the story of little Jackie's imaginary friend, Puff the Magic Dragon.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: What could ask anyone one question? With so many pastors supplying at our church and so much change where us lay people are trying to "step up to the plate", worship, Bible study, prayer evening, helping people get their physical needs met, i.e., food pantry and giving them Meijers cards, I've been trying to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of our ministries. Imagining that our work is trying to impart knowledge or material things upon people, to me, is of lesser usefulness than imaginatively seeking to help people see that God's image is already on their hearts and we're with them while they uncover their faith. Imagination does change things in a way that knowledge cannot touch. My opinion.////FROM JACK: I was at a service Sunday afternoon where 9 laypeople were consecrated as Deacons to assist in carrying out the ministry of the Church, either as assistants to pastors or to give service to congregations without a pastor.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: I suppose half the pleasure from what we consider a good life comes from our "dreams"...all those things we imagine we'll do, even if we never follow through and achieve them. Your question about "what if" takes me back to pre-teens when some of my friends and I would imagine, "what if you had just one wish for anything, what would you wish for?" My choice was wishing that any wish I wished would come true. Talk about greedy!////FROM JACK: I wished for the same thing, but like a lot of wishes, it didn't come true. But when I grew older and wiser, I learned how wishes could become reality.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: "Thanks to imagination, we don't have to be who we were, or do exactly what we did yesterday. We can change ourselves, and, this, the future." Edward Grinnen. At first glance Einstein's quote seems far-out, but how would anything come to fruition, if it was not first imagined? It sure served Ms. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, well! Creative people in any field of endeavor must first begin with imagination, right? What if... Good question!////FROM JACK: Sermons, teaching plans, business plans and parenting all begin with imagination. BTW, I like the Beatles' song, "Imagine."

FROM JACK: My son sent me this link which seems to relate to today's Winning Words.

FROM DR J IN OHIO: always have liked this quote... I think I'll put a WHAT IF sign next to my computer too! and maybe another that says WHY NOT?////FROM JACK: I also have this sign: "Get Tough...Get off your Duff!"

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: J Lennon said it beautifully.////FROM JACK: I imagine that he did.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: almost everyday i ask the children to ponder... love the word ponder. it meshes the cognitive with the imaginative realm. so many ingenious...genius insights are shared. i know where the next great minds are. i'm surrounded by them. imagination is the springboard of the future!////FROM JACK: It might be interesting to ask the children some "What if..." questions and see where those minds go with the situations. Or have them ask you some "What if..." situations.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Winning Words 12/23/12
“Why should I care about future generations? What have they done for me?" (Groucho Marx) Comedian Groucho’s words often had a hidden meaning. That’s why I chose this quote for the day after Earth Day. The “future generation” has come to appreciate his off-beat humor. They can also pay homage where his ashes are interred. The marker simply says, GROUCHO, and has the Star of David. ;-) Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN: Christ will save his church from the Extremists. God will not save our nation from the crazies out there. We can't let them win.////FROM JACK: Groucho was "crazy" and entertaining. There are others who are "crazy" and scary. They would be entertaining, except that they are leading some to believe that they are "sane."

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: It would seem a significant point, when considering our relationship with one another, that those of us called by the Grace of God to Christian Faith are a part of the Body of Christ. One part of the body needs another part of the body to be well, if the whole body is to be well. Seemingly, as humans on Earth, a similar rationale would apply. As the whole of the universe is one system, certainly beyond the capacity of mere mortals to alter, we all exist as a part of that system. Yet, no matter how much we think we can "save" the world, this Earthly system will end at the last moment of Time, as we refer to it. Thus, as the parable would note, let us tend to the vineyard that brings forth everlasting fruit. ////FROM JACK: Many people are making reservations to be in Peru on December 21, because the Mayan Calendar says that's the day when the world will end. The Bible, however, indicates that "no one knows the day nor the hour," so I'm not planning a trip to Peru. ////RG RESPONSE: It is amazing, as you rightly noted in your response to Honest John, how crazy the state-of-affairs is, and that it would be entertaining except for the idea that insanity has been modified to appear as sane!

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: Lol!!////FROM JACK: LOL? That's what I do when I watch a Marx Brothers movie.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: HA! Groucho was fast with a quip, with that wry or sarcastic twist...I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's quote,"The ultimate test of a moral society is what kind of world it leaves to its children"...we all become concerned for our grandchildren's world, but so far inventive minds have managed to find solutions for our crowded and aging planet. I pray this will continue!!////FROM JACK: Great! That's the way to put a positive spin on a situation that many see as negative. "You Bet Your Life" and the lives your children and g-children and g-g-children (etc) on that.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: "Say the magic word and the duck will come down and give you a hundred dollars."////FROM JACK: "You Bet Your Life" was a funny show, and you can still see some episodes on YouTube. Groucho had grown a real moustache at that point in his life.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Actually, the way I see it, we're all a future generation for people in the past--if we try to live our lives well, then those of them who lived well will not have the chain broken and I sincerely hope our future generations carry on even further. Actually, maybe for any of us who aren't living well, the past generations and the future generations will conspire together to turn even us towards a better path. I was most interested in the tidbit of information that the Star of David is on Groucho's marker. Your blog is ALWAYS worth reading!!!////FROM JACK: Thanks for noticing the Star. I try to meaning to Winning Words beyond that which is obvious. I think that it's interesting that so many comedians have Jewish roots.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Winning Words 4/20/12
“A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.” (Jose Bergamin) I met someone new this week…Jose Bergamin. He was a 19th century Spanish essayist who spent a lifetime trying to reconcile religion and politics. Today’s quote is an example of his thinking. Sparky Anderson never stepped on the 3rd base chalkline. Do you have any superstitions, religious or otherwise? ;-) Jack

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: I think this is better described as a "fantasy" rather than a superstition. The fantasy is that one knows the Truth in its completeness. The superstition is the behavioral enactment of the fantasy. It is right to say that the more I know the more I learn of how much more I don't know. Hence, we do need to seek and find so that we don't get caught up in what we think "we know". ////FROM JACK: I wonder how Jose would respond to that, if he were living. I think that there is wide divide between fantasy and superstition, but what do I know?

FROM HONEST JOHN: Celms said to "Ask questions about questions."////FROM JACK: Some people become frustrated when I do that...when they are looking for "answers."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I have no superstitions. I'm not sure he is correct about a belief which leaves no place for doubt though. There is no doubt in my mind of my belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.////FROM JACK: Mark 9:24 has always been a verse that has intrigued me. "I believe. Help my unbelief." It sort of relates to belief/doubt in today's quote.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: In past years they might have been-don't walk under a ladder, don't put your hat on the bed, and be careful on Friday the thirteenth. But after so many years you learn to just enjoy each day and to get on with life.////FROM JACK: Did anything bad happen to you a week ago?

FROM MY ATTORNEY: I shutter when someone opens an umbrella indoors. Acquired from my mother, of blessed memory!!!///FROM JACK: I've read that some Jewish people have a custom of spitting 3 times when they hear something exceptionally bad or good. Have you ever done that?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I'm not the least but superstitious. (OOPS, I just said "not". Now what's going to happen?) ////FROM JACK: People knock wood three times to ward off punishment. It is said that evil spirits are afraid of the sound of three knocks on wood.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA: i get superstitious around people who are superstitious...////FROM JACK: If you think it's bad luck to be around superstitious people, here's what I read that you should do..."If you are a Christian you should get some symbol that makes you feel secure, like your holy cross or rosary."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Winning Words 4/19/12
“Never let the demands of tomorrow interfere with the pleasure and excitement of today.” (Meredith Willson) M.W. is probably best known for his play/movie, “The Music Man.” I know most of the dialog. He also wrote: “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.” Willson lived at a hectic pace. Did you know that he once was a member of Sousa’s band? …and that he and I are both from Iowa? ;-) Jack

FROM RS IN MICHIGAN: Is that “I O Way”? or “I O wah”? This is my all time FAVORITE movie. ////FROM JACK: Is it Dess Moines or Dee Moine? Is it babe Ruth or baby Ruth?////R RESPONSE: Hah! My mom’s name was also Ruth, and when I was little my family called me Candy Bar as in Baby Ruth!.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Great Winning Words! I loved the Music Man! All of us kids had to learn to play an instrument. I played the clarinet. I didn't know he was in Sousa's seems like that would be a wonderfully fun band!////FROM JACK: Every weekday morning at 7:15, Detroit radio station WRCJ plays a Sousa march, calling it the Sousa alarm. When our children were growing up they would march around the house each morning using yardsticks as drum major batons, pretending to lead the Sousa band.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: As the Good Book says, "Sufficient unto the day are the concerns thereof..." We have to train ourselves to LIVE IN THE MOMENT! Many blessings to savor each hour of the day!////FROM JACK: Or, as the saying goes, "Carpe Diem!" Horace is the sorace of these words.

FROM TS IN MICHIGAN: my daughter lexi liked this this morn, she was on her way to an early show of Music Man that she is performing in today and this weekend////FROM JACK: Is she Marian, the librarian?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Meredith was cool. He wrote one song and changed the words and meter and ended up with two in "The Music Man." "76 Trombones" and "Goodnight my Someone."////FROM JACK: Yes, you can do many things with music. "When the Saints Go Marching In" can be either a fight song for the New Orleans football team, or a funeral march.

FROM KANSAS KONRAD: Didn't know you were from Iowa. What does that explain?////FROM JACK: How about this? Four of us who became Augustana pastors in 1954 were all born in Des Moines within days of each other. God had a plan!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: I didn't know that you are from Iowa.////FROM JACK: Yep! Born in Des Moines, moved to Oskaloosa, back to D M, and then to Moline, Illinois.

FROM LF IN BONITA SPRINGS: Meridith Willson (note the two ll's) grew up in Mason City and two of my aunts were went through school with him. Mason City is the actual River City in the Music Man. I spent many
summers there on my uncle's farm.////FROM JACK: Now, I seem to remember that 2nd (l) in Willson. I drove through Mason City once and recall seeing signs indicating that it was the home of the Music Man. What did you aunts remember about him?////MORE FROM BS: My aunts did not talk about Meridith Willson very much but I remember at one family reunion they said that they did not like him very much. I think they said he was a sort pain in the neck. But he had a brother who they did think was OK. It was probably just elementary school stuff.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: My mother-in-law, 92 years old, living in Bayard, Iowa, an hour by car from Des Moines, says--in all her 92 years--she has never seen weather like Bayard had all winter and now has all spring. I told her "Aren't you glad you have lived long enough to see this miraculous weather?!!!!!" She isn't so sure. Says it's not normal. It seems to go with your WW. Not to worry about tomorrow, just enjoy the pleasures of today.////FROM JACK: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Did you know that this quote is from Dudley Warner and not Mark Twain?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Winning Words 4/18/12
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” (Saint Augustine) In the 1960s The Smothers Brothers were a popular music/comedy duo. Tommy would often say to Dick, “Mom always liked you best.” Most parents try to be fair is showing love to their children. There are exceptions, but there is no exception when it comes to God. “Grace” (undeserved love) means that love is not based on favoritism. ;-) Jack

FROM RS IN MICHIGAN: Thank God, because I could possibly be his favorite 90% of the time, but the other 10%?....uh oh! You will continue our winning words forever, won’t you? It always starts my day off with a smile. ////FROM JACK: I'm reminded of the Jimmy Durante song, "You gotta start off each day with a song...Now isn't it better to go through life with a smile and a song Than walking around with a face 11 miles long?" Smile at someone today, even if it's yourself.

FROM MY FLORIST: I have always loved St. Augustine he really seemed to help make the transition to God being within the reach of every man.////FROM JACK: Maybe it's more than you wanted to know...The Spanish explorer Menendez first sighted land in the "new world" on 8/28/1565 and called the place, St. Augustine, because it was the feast day of St. Augustine. It's considered to be the first European settlement in the United States.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It is truly Grace to have God love us so much. We have much for which to be thankful! I am so glad we aren't judged by human standards but by God's Grace.////FROM JACK: Here's something for you to think about today. "Is God's judgment fair?"

FROM SAINT JAMES: Isn't that awesome? What a God we serve!////FROM JACK: I like the word, awe. It causes me to picture myself standing there with my mouth wide open. That's how I feel, having been given the opportunity to be a servant of God.

FROM RG IN ARIZONA: If you can believe this, I have difficulty buying in to what I am told about Grace. I think Grace is actually an example of God's favor upon each of us. When God looks upon one with favor, Grace abounds. It seems evident also that the variety of God's favor upon different people is notable throughout the bible, as well as today. One might even suggest that (sometimes) they, as obeying servants of God, actually deserved such favor, i.e., Abraham, Moses, Mary, John, etc.. Now Mercy, that's another thing. I think that is certainly undeserved. I thank God for both!!!!////FROM JACK: Grace is a hard concept for this world to comprehend. It doesn't seem get something that we don't deserve. The teachings of Jesus are hard for many to comprehend, because they go against so many of our instincts. That's why God is God.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Thanks to Saint Augustine and now you for reminding us of this. It gives me pleasure as much of the time as I can, and all of the time as God makes it possible for me, to believe this for myself and I struggle some of the time to remember and constantly have to incline my ear all the time to God to faithfully believe this for everybody else--including some very unlikely people as myself. ////FROM JACK: Martin Luther had the same feelings, so you're in good company.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: Ooohhh! That is so beautiful! I love that! Thanks for sharing.////FROM JACK: "Jesus loves me. this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: The term grace is an interesting one. I always think of grace as something that we receive when receiving the sacraments. At least, it helps tremendously. As a parent and a grandparent and as an only child, I feel very strongly about being fair and not having any favorites. Life is very interesting these days preparing for a wedding, a First Communion, and a Confirmation. That is what is keeping me busy these days with the 18 grandchildren. ////FROM JACK: You have received grace upon grace upon grace etc. by way of your children and grandchildren. See John 1:16.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Winning Words 4/17/12
“Shake it off, and get back in there.” (Mike Wallace) M.W., who died last week, was once interviewing Sen, Max Cleland, a multiple amputee, and they began to talk about being depressed and how to deal with it. Mike told of his own battle with depression. “I try to shake it off and get back in there.” I’m reminded of the song: “When my chin is on the ground, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.” ;-) Jack

FROM SAINT JAMES: Is that from the song "That's Life"? I think the lyrics go like this...
"Each time I find myself
Flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get
Back in the race!"
Sound familiar?////FROM JACK: The line I quoted is from the song, "Pick Yourself Up." It's interesting that Frank Sinatra recorded both songs--different, but with the same message--Shake it off, and get back in there.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: And still another Sinatra hit. along the same idea.////FROM JACK: Yes, this is one of my favorites, too.

Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant

But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time you're getting' low
'stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant

When troubles call, and your back's to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam

but he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time you're feelin' bad
'stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam

All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon
They're just bound to go pop

Oops there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's a great idea but a lot harder than it sounds.////FROM JACK: What I like about the quote is that it's from someone who's "been there and done that," and who's discussing it with someone who's "been there and done that." I think that we can learn from them.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Mike Wallace was a personal favorite. I love guts! His son, Chris (Fox News anchor), interviewed him. It aired Sunday -- he was a loving & jovial father. Didn't know he lost his 38-yr-old son... ////FROM JACK: Sunday's 60 Minutes special showed an interview with Mike and his grandson. "I regret that I didn't spend more time with my family. My job came first."

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: 'hell' what choice do you can walk through life with shoulders drooped and eyes staring at the ground or you can, as the old song goes..."if you're walkin' through Hell just keep on 'goin and the Devil will never know you're there." Cheers////FROM JACK: People who've really been depressed are entitled to say that it's "hell." M.W. knew what he was talking about.////MORE FROM B'MORE: I agree totally ....... and "hell" has lots of cubicles of which one is certainly depression, other physical and mental abhorrent situations have rooms as well.......cheers.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: The 60 Minutes special on Mike Wallace was impressive. I hadn't known he suffered from depression. He credits his wife with helping the most to shake it off and get back up again. (I liked that!) The songs on your blog are great as to this message! Music is such an inspiration..even the pop songs! Like "You gotta accent-uate the positive, Elim-inate the negative, Latch-on to the affirmative, and don''t mess with Mr.In-between! You gotta spread JOY out to the max-i-mum, Bring gloom down to the min-i-mum....Ha! Put on a happy face!////FROM JACK: I liked the part where it said that he was a graduate of the Univ of Michigan and that there is a Wallace House on campus for journalists to gather.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Winning Words 4/16/12
“You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him up to a heavy load.” (Paul Bear Bryant) James Watt came up with the word, horsepower, to measure the power of his steam engine, compared with that of a horse. Last week I saw a Corvette being measured on a dyno…582 horses! I’ve met some people who’ve shown strength, beyond measure, in facing problems. Have you, too? ;-) Jack

FROM PH IN MICHIGAN: Thanks for your daily words. I really liked this one. The whole Leukemia thing made church work look easy.////FROM JACK: You are one strong horse! But, of course, the load was pulled with others who were yoked up with you to make a team. In your mind, you know who they are. All of us can be thankful when we have others to help us pull the load.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: In Minnesota we have Moosepower. A farmer in northern Minnesota raised an abandoned moose calf with his horses and trained it for lumber removal and other hauling tasks. Given the 2000 pounds of robust muscle and the splayed hooves, he says it's the best work animal he has. The moose disappears during the rut for a couple of weeks, but he always comes back.////FROM JACK: Thanks for sending the picture to validate your story.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's amazing to see super human strength. By that I mean, faith-strength, brain-strength, caring strength, and just plain old love-strength. I see it every time my daughter has a struggle with home-schooling, my daughter-in-law struggles to potty-train her daughter, Joshua, who's 13 today, struggles with life's decisions (saving for a car or buying a dirt bike), a friend's struggle with cancer, and on and on. All of us have all the strength with need from our Lord and Shepherd who watches over us...if we have the strength to believe.////FROM JACK: Heavy loads are not necessarily the same for everyone, are they? ////RESPONSE FROM JUDY: Not at all....compared to a lot of folks I know, ours are little bundles.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Good WW's! You really don't know how strong you can be, until the going gets rough and tough. I was given the strength to keep Bill at home while he was dying from of an inoperable, malignant brain tumor. (With a supportive family team, of course.) God did and does provide. Father Leo Patalinghug (The cooking priest) says, "Every outcome of every challenge should reveal how God supplies the grace to make it through the seemingly impossible". In our old age, we come to know this...In our Bible Study we are using the book "What's So Amazing About Grace" which I'm reading for the second time. Great Book by P.Yancy!////FROM JACK: Grace is one of my favorite words. Do you remember this Sunday School song?
I'm so glad, I'm so glad Jesus rescued me.
I'm so glad, I'm so glad Jesus set me free.
I'm so glad, I'm so glad Jesus rescued me.
I'm so glad, I'm so glad Jesus set me free.

FROM JB IN WISCONSIN: Whoa! That Corvette must go a little too fast for comfort.////FROM JACK: I've driven one just like it, but I only used a few horses. The speed limit was 45 MPH where I drove it. I confess that I may have gotten a little faster than that.

FROM DS IN CALIFORNIA: Here's an interesting one I heard this morning.... "Prettiest horse in the glue factory". Had never heard that one before.////FROM JACK: I'm wondering about the context. Were you meeting with a group of retirees?

FROM MD IN MICHIGAN: I love this Winning Words! Indeed, sometimes, you just have to try things out and see how it turns out.////FROM JACK: I like Matthew 11:28, where Jesus says: "Come unto me, all you who are heavy-laden (burdened), and I will give you rest."

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: It's hard to measure someone else's strength. Only they know how hard they are pulling..////FROM JACK: Before my "trigger finger" surgery the nurse measured my grip with a hand dynamometer. Have you ever played the carnival game...Swing the hammer, hit the bell, and win a prize? With your "muskles," you probably impressed the girls.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Winning Words 4/13/12
“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.” (Thomas Jefferson) Today is Jefferson’s birthday. He compiled a book, “The Life and Morals of Jesus” by taking a razor and cutting and pasting selected verses from the Gospels and eliminating what he didn’t agree with. I guess we do something similar in our reading and in our listening. T.J. was right about living your religion. ;-) Jack

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: Happy birthday, Tom! & thanks for everything!!!////FROM JACK: I didn't know that you were on a first name basis with Jeff. BTW, did you know... that he could write Latin with one hand while writing Greek with the other? ...that he invented the coat hanger? ...that he died on the 4th of July? ...that he named his youngest daughter, Elizabeth?

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Back in the day when Jerry and I took a foray into the Unitarian-Universalist Church, I bought Thomas Jefferson's book. As I recall, Jefferson tried to take out all the scriptures telling about miracles. Met a lot of good people there who were very socially conscious about working to make this world a better more fair place. Particularly liked Emerson.////FROM JACK: Your memory is pretty good. While Jefferson was a religious person, he firmly believed in the separation of church and state.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Actions speak louder than words.////FROM JACK: Tim Tebow put it this way: "I think the greatest way to share the Gospel is by acting it." You Floridians are on the same page.

FROM PASTY PAT: How fascinating! I had never heard the 'cutting and pasting' (literally) story about Jefferson before.////FROM JACK: I remember my pastor telling about a seminary classmate of his who cut out those passages of the Bible that he didn't agree with. He was called "the student with the Holey Bible." I don't think he made it to ordination.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: There's an exhibit in Washington D.C. right now on Jefferson's Bible. We took a walk through. Very nice!////FROM JACK: Then you were able to see his personal declaration of independence. Belief is in the mind of the believer.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: How very true! All the religious studying of the world won't help if you don't talk the talk and walk the walk. Don't we all "Cut and Paste" life in general the way we want it to be?////FROM JACK: Today, we call it "putting a spin on something," which means: "to twist a report or story to one's advantage; to interpret an event to make it seem favorable or beneficial to oneself or one's cause."////RESPONSE FROM THE OUTHOUSE: Those are definitely modern sayings, but pertain to the same thing. I believe a lot of people do that with the Bible. It's so easy to take a verse out and not read the whole chapter. It's like putting a whole new spin on the verse. I believe the Bible is God's written word given as the ultimate way of life and after-life. It's not to be taken lightly or as a "wonderful story". But that's my spin.

FROM SAINT JAMES: If everyone focused on living their religion to the best of their ability instead of feeding their egos, the world would be a better place.////FROM JACK: This reminds me of an old song from the 50s, sung by Perry Como: "And, if everyone lit just one little candle, What a bright world this would be."

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA: T J must have been quite a unique man in many ways. a real father of our nation. ////FROM JACK: I read about Traits of a Good Father. Among them open-minded...challenges his kids...allows kids to make mistakes...teaches lessons. I guess Jefferson was a good father of our nation.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: T.Jefferson was certainly a well-read and creative person. I read about him at great length a few years ago, and was amazed at the wide variety of things that he was interested in, and all the things that he invented. I loved his Monticello estate, when I toured it! I think you are right, in that we are pretty selective in our Bible and Inspirational reading! Some things we'll never know until we get "there", and as you said once before, "You can't unscrew the inscrutable!" I like that!////FROM JACK: In 6th grade I participated in a play, and the lady who directed it gave us each a new (just released) Jefferson nickle with Monticello on the back of it.

FROM MY FLORIST: What I have always liked about Thomas Jefferson were his flaws. All too often we forget that good can exist inside of everyone although I would never consider him an evil man he had his share of flaws and yet he had his share of greatness. Much like Oscar Shindler his path and his place in history was filled with contradictions. One of them a slave owner and the other a Nazi war profiteer and yet both great humanitarians who struggled with their conflicting realities. It is my belief that every person is carried by the currents of life to the place they occupy and yet they can choose to chart a more challenging course. Even more so for those who make the decision to stand against their own position. Often they are conflicted and yet the try to embrace what they know is the right thing to do. Sometimes they fall short – sometimes they are obstructed by the currents of life from reaching their true objective and yet they find a way to make a difference.////FROM JACK: I've always liked these words and have tried to live by them: "There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it hardly behooves any of us To talk about the rest of us." (Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion Kansas Record, 1849 - 1925)

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: well said Mr J.////FROM JACK: He also said: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: I am, in general, a fan of Thomas Jefferson. Like all of us he had his pluses and a few minuses. I do like this quote and would razor cut and paste this into my repertoire of spiritual thought.////FROM JACK: Many of our thoughts and opinions are the result of being in a certain place at a certain time. That's why "context" is so important when examining words and actions. That works for the Bible as well as for your life and mine...and Jefferson's, too.////RESPONSE FROM THE BEACH: Agreed. Many of us, including the political pundits, sometimes like to ignore.

FROM CWR IN B'MORE: He did the same thing with the Bible and hence "The Jefferson Bible"....and we do the same thing, although we don't formally transcribe it.////FROM JACK: He was a "religious" person without subscribing to the typical religiosity of his day. I know of people like that in our own time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Winning Words 4/12/12
“Fool’s names, like their faces, are always seen in public places.” (Old Proverb) On a page of my “Believe It or Not” calendar I read that the famous Brown University was named for Nicholas Brown, because be paid $5000 to have the school named after him. He was the highest bidder. I was intrigued to read further about him and his generosity. His funeral eulogy read: “He was compassionate and a faithful friend.” ;-) Jack

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: Jack, is this anything like the bible verse about the Pharisees only praying in the temple and street corners. It says that when you fast, put on your good clothes, go about your daily routine and pray to your Lord on your knees behind a closed door. In my job I do my best behind the scenes trying to make others look good. It has always seemed odd to me, those that want to have their name on something that is not really theirs.....I guess money can buy just about anything....but not respect or love. Have you heard the story about the dash....the little line in between the year you were born and the year you die? Here's a link to it. Thanks for starting my day with this thoughtful reflection.////FROM JACK: In Martin Luther's explanation of the commandment, "You shall not bear false witness," he writes that we are to explain our neighbor's actions in the kindest way." Those commandments are sometimes tough to follow.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: I find your quote and comments today intriguing on several levels....I look forward to your winning words every morning. I'll also be "googling" Nicholas Brown as I know nothing of him and that is where Kyle is pursuing his PhD in Physics-"God wink" that you chose this topic today....////FROM JACK: I'm always intrigued by messages within the message...a "God-wink." My first impression about N.B. was a negative one, and then I read "the rest of the story."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: We have an amphitheater on the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa where all of the big name entertainers perform. It used to be the Ford Amphitheater, but the new name is 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater.That is a mouthful to say. Money determined that, too. Also our hockey arena which used to be the Ice Palace was changed to the St. Pete Times Forum because they were the high bidders. The problem was that it is in the middle of downtown Tampa and many people would go to St. Pete looking for it. The St. Pete Times, after more than 100 years , changed its name to the Tampa Bay Times which makes it a lot easier to find. It is definitely all about money.////FROM JACK: Tropicana Field always makes me think of orange juice, so I guess the sports' naming investment pays off.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Well, $5,000.00 wouldn't do it today, would it? But whose to say who is a fool?! As Garrison Keillor once observed, "God writes comedy, but sometimes has a slow audience..." ////FROM JACK: Esau foolishly sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (lentil stew).

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Francesco University was no fool and look at the schools that are named after him! Thousands. And it didn't cost him a nickle.////FROM JACK: I've never heard of Francesco University, nor have I heard of Francesco.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Reminds me of "Ford Field", "Comerica Park", and just about every ball park, hockey rink, football arena or soccer field in the world. Some people feel they are not important unless their names are in lights. If anyone deserved a big sign across Detroit, it should be "Ilitch".////FROM JACK: Ilitch already has the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl which is played in Ford Field.

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Your story about Nicholas Brown reminds me of the one about John Harvard, the "founder" of Harvard University. He was not actually the founder, but a significant benefactor at the time the school got started. Much later a life-size bronze statue of John Harvard was placed in front of University Hall. There were no images of John Harvard available and no one actually knew what he looked like, so the figure was just created out of imagination. Each year the student orientation guides tell the novel story to new students coming on campus.////FROM JACK: I wonder how much Elihu Yale had to pay in order to have the university named for him?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Winning Words 4/11/12
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” (Dr. Seuss) In my reading last week I came across a chapter that asked, “How do you respond to the threat of climate change?” Nothing you do will stop it entirely. So… do you do nothing? Or do you do something to make things better for future generations? Is it a moral responsibility to practice conservation? ;-) Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I think it is a moral responsibility to at least care about the earth and all the other people living on the earth. What I struggle with is is it then also a moral responsibility to live sacrificially? And how does a person go about living sacrificially sufficient to being obedient to God's Will as He is taking care of ALL the people on the earth. It's extremely difficult to make lifestyle changes in communities where there is so much material abundance/blessings? and to analyze the situation when there is so much avoidance.////FROM JACK: Life is made up of daily choices. I read recently of a man who sits in stoic silence day and night believing that in this way he best serves his God. Using the mind that God has given us, we each have to choose what it is that seems right. In Sunday School we used to sing this little song:
Jesus bids us shine
With a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle
Burning in the night.
In this world of darkness
So let us shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: A friend who owns local coffee shops, and smokes, made a good point. She is an avid recycler @ home, and wonders why businesses that create huge amounts of waste (like hers) r not required to recycle. Also, she laments the high mercury content in our local air... smoking is minor by comparison. I worry about the new mercury lightbulbs which gov't has somehow "legislated."////FROM JACK: It's often hard to "practice what we preach." Inconsistencies have a way of creeping into our life. I remember when we used to play with mercury in our chemistry labs. We'd coat coins with the substance to make them slippery.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: We didn't call is conservation, but our generations was taught not to waste and not to litter. Les and I were on the Mall in Washington, D.C. the day after one of the first Earth Days and the entire place as trashed with litter everywhere. We have days down here in Florida where volunteers clean up the Gulf and beaches because people haven't been taught to care about others.////FROM JACK: During WW 2 we were "forced" to recycle. To motivate people to do things voluntarily doesn't produce the same results. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Good old Dr. Seuss; He got his points across with humor and rhyme: Bill sometimes used his stories in sermons, especially THE SNEETCHES. I did a seminar program on The Gospel according to Dr. Seuss, using videos of his stories, and Gospel parables, with discussion groups. I dressed as "The Cat In The Hat" Ha! Fun to do. My children are avid recyclers, and most of the g.children are too, much more conscientious than I, but I am a bear about littering on the highway or our parks and streets. I once turned in the license plate of a van in front of me, which let a bunch of fast food debris fly out their windows onto the shoulder of the road. I wonder if anyone followed up on that ?! I guess with our ingeniousness in dealing with world problems, there will be a solution for all the tons of debris that modern civilization produces. We can do our miniscule part...////FROM JACK: The importance of one! Dr. Frank Laubach used the phrase, "Each one teach one," to combat illiteracy when he was doing missionary work in the Philippines.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, do without" A Sampler one of my friend's wife made. Good advice.////FROM JACK: We used to repair many more things in the olden days. I recall having the shoemaker nail a round leather patch over a hole in the sole of my shoe.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN: Yes I think it is a moral responsibility but it appears that others do not agree. ////FROM JACK: The sense of morality is not the same in everyone's mind.

FROM DR J IN OHIO: one of my favorite Seuss quotes for sure!////FROM JACK: How about this one? “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

FROM CZB IN COLORADO: Love this quote! Posted it to my fb page on his birthday. He was very wise. ////FROM JACK: Theodor's mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, often soothed her children to sleep by "chanting" rhymes remembered from her youth. Ted credited his mother with both his ability and desire to create the rhymes for which he became so well known.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winning Words 4/10/12
“God Bless You” (Author Unknown) The other day I happened to look at a dollar bill that I’d received in change. On it, someone had printed, “God Bless You.” I wondered who had done that, and why…and why had I gotten it? “God bless you,” in religious practice, means that you want the best for someone. I meant to save that bill, but I can’t find it. Maybe it’s for the best that it’s back in circulation. ;-) Jack

FROM HY YO SILVER: You as well!////FROM JACK: Maybe that dollar bill will come to you.

FROM JL IN MICHIGAN: You always pass the blessings forward anyway. Nice when someone has a tangible piece who doesn't know you.////FROM JACK: Do you remember the kids' game, Pass It On? Adults can play it, too.

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN: Amen to that!!////FROM JACK: I guess that means that you agree.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: I think what it is trying to say is "God bless you. Pass it on."////FROM JACK: A lot of people get excited about having "In God We Trust" on our money. I got excited to see a hand-printed personal message.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: A good example of "paying it forward."////FROM JACK: It certainly caused me to do a double-take.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: How interesting! Like a random act of kindness...I just read a quote from Jeff Bridges (Oscar winning Actor) on God's blessings: "When you truly commit your life, you start receiving more blessings than you could imagine." True for most of us, if we can really understand what TRULY COMMIT means!?! Bill used to comment, "Most of us are Christian, more or less, now and then...which perhaps is more true! blessings to YOU!////FROM JACK: I'm still wondering who it was that did that random act?

FROM HS IN ILLINOIS: I once knew a layman at St. John's Lutheran Church, Winter Park, Florida, now deceased, who used to distribute bills with that phrase written on it. Maybe some of his bills are still circulating. He would be pleased to know that.////FROM JACK: Your story has inspired me to do that with one of my bills and put it into circulation. I think that I'll do it on a twenty.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Winning Words 4/9/12
“Is it worthy?” (My mother-in-law) I had picked out a different quote for today, but on 2nd thought, it wasn’t worthy. My wife’s mother was a choir director and was careful in choosing anthems. They had to be “worthy” to be sung in church. In this world it seems that “anything goes” is the accepted standard. In a choice between Good, Better, Best and Worst, let’s strive this week to make worthy choices. ;-) Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON: Thanks for that worthy quote. Your mother-in-law had it right. There is so much in the world of music, literature, theater, design, and the world in general that begs justification of its worthiness or merit. The Lord's Prayer includes an apt invocation about it..."deliver us from evil."////FROM JACK: We all need reminders to keep us from doing or saying something "stupid." Normally, I don't use the word, stupid, but it seems to fit in this case.////MORE FROM BOSTON: Haven't I read a passage in the Bible somewhere, telling us to never say anyone is "stupid"? (I've not taken the time to go back and look for it.)////FROM JACK: Perhaps you are thinking of the words of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire." But the Book of Proverbs (12:1) has this verse: "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: Jack….perfect quote for today! Time is so precious. More and more I find myself evaluating what is the best use of my time. Also, in my writing, I believe the editing process is so important…I weed out the words that are not worthy…..less is more when it comes to words.////FROM JACK: Those of us who are in the "word" business can understand the difference between worthy and unworthy. The problem is one one of putting it into practice. BTW, I guess we're all in the "word" business in one way or another. ////MORE FROM JE: We are all in the “word” business in one way or another. That’s why my mom’s gold rule: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” is important. It’s easier to repeat than to follow.
Thank you for making me think about these things.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Funny you should pick that word for today. We sang the anthem "Worthy is the Lamb" complete with trumpets and organ at 4 services yesterday--and it was very Worthy!////FROM JACK: That's one of my worthy Handel favorites....deeply moving.////GUSTIE RESPONSE: The more I thought about it--we did not do the Handel version--it was a rip roaring one complete with Timpani and brass and I believe it was by Alan Pote. I will look it up.

FROM NO IN MICHIGAN: I agree with your wife’s mother! I love today’s message. I also wanted to invite you to our annual Music Sunday (May 20) this year. I keep thinking about you when making preparations for one of our special selections that day: A Place in the Choir. It was the music video that you sent me recently that inspired me to use this song on Music Sunday. Our version will be a whole lot of fun. We will have about ten singers ranging from ages 6 to 60! Of course, the entire service will be made up of special music including instrumentalists (also ranging from ages 6 to 60), Sunday School Chorus and Bell Choir, and Adult Choir. I’ve been working on it for weeks already and we are all looking forward to it.////FROM JACK: For what it's worth....You are a worthy successor to your mother who was an outstanding organist, choir director and "picker outer" of church music.

FROM MEDD-O-LANE: God gave us the brain to think what a meaning of a word is, the eye lids to not see, the lips to not speak and hands to cover the ears to not hear anothers' judgement of what worthyness means. How about this statement being worthy of a normal person?////FROM JACK: Only God is omniscient. Our own judgments are subject to his "override," or "affirmation." How's that for a brainy response?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: A worthy mantra.////FROM JACK: I seem to remember something similar that you sent..."Would you put it in your sample case?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: The word worthy is a mighty strong word. You can be a lot of things in life, but being labeled worthy is something. Now-a-days, the "anything goes" syndrome has brought morals down to an "unworthy level". We must remain worthy!////FROM JACK: Worthy is a humbling word, too.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I wonder how many mothers-in-law would be quoted respectfully by their sons-in-law?! :-) Endearing! I hope my daughters-in-law might do the same, when all is said and done!
You changed you WW: I just read a "worthy" quote on that: "If you don't like something, change it. It you can't change it, change the way you think about it." Seems a worthy thought...////FROM JACK: Nobody asked what quote it was that I "dumped," thinking that it was unworthy. I'm glad for that.

FROM WATERFORD ANNE: Good idea. In my reading of Psalm 131 one asks if what we have done is worthwhile.////FROM JACK: I looked it up. You're right!

FROM RB IN MICHIGAN: 2 Thess. 1:11 was also on my daily calendar! Very inspirational.////FROM JACK: God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith." (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

FROM INDY GENIE: Sounds good...I'm in!FROM INDY GENIE: Sounds good...I'm in!////FROM JACK: That sounds good. No, that's the best. BTW, the Easter Bunny again found the Lillstrom basket with the wilted purple ribbon and left it for me...filled with candy.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Winning Words 4/6/12
“No gain without pain.” (Exercise Motto) I debated within myself as to whether to use this quote on Good Friday. But when it’s applied to the theology of the Cross, it seems to make sense. In the hymn, “O Sacred Head,” there’s this line: “Thy grief and bitter passion were all for sinner’s gain.” No pain. No gain. In this life, there are people who make sacrifices for those they love. I know some of them. Do you? ;-) Jack

FROM DEACON ROBERT: So appropriate! May the peace of the Lord be with you as we look to the cross on this Good Friday. Amen////FROM JACK: The bad becomes the good.

FROM MY LAWYER: Enjoy the weekend and all the symbols it represents. It's evident that you get the message! ////FROM JACK: I have learned to see meaning in the symbols of various religions. Ancora imparo!

FROM LK SOMEWHERE ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN: I wish you a very GOOD FRIDAY (it IS that, a free gift, we may accept, yet need not make it so), and blessed EASTER. Glad you saw the TIGS win the opener. I watched on ESPN (on board the Holland America RYNDAM, somewhere 14,500 ft. above the ocean floor, between Bermuda and France. WW's remain a staple of our existence. Much appreciation!////FROM JACK: I know of some who have observed Good Friday by walking where Jesus walked, but I don't know of a friend, except you, who has observed it where Jesus walked...on the water.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: I like the analogy to Easter. Sadly as far as exercise goes lately, I have subscribed to "No Pain…no pain…."////FROM JACK: Maybe you should read the book, "Good Debt. Bad Debt" and apply the premise to your exercise program.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: The words are perfect for today! It's so hard to believe Jesus died a horrible death on the cross just for us today. It is awful, wonderful and aweful! God's richest Good Great Friday. Thankfully, there is a wonderful awesome Resurrection Sunday right around the corner! God is good all the time! ////FROM JACK: The fact that Easter follows Good Friday is part of the reason why I try to practice optimistic thinking.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN: Yes, I do, Jack! I know many... Most of those I know have never received any special recognition, no glory, no limelight for their efforts on behalf of others... To the outside world, their efforts seem effortless. But to those who know them, we know they sacrificed... May the sacrifice of our blessed Savior be all gain for you, Jack!////FROM JACK: The one who truly sacrifices does it for another, not for self. That's the beauty of it in a world that is too often...selfish.

FROM YOOPER FLICKA: I HAVE JUST BEEN IN A LENTEN STUDY......6 CLASSES......AND THIS REALLY FITS FOR ""TODAY""".////FROM JACK: Whether it's classes, Winning Words or clothing, it's great day when it "fits."

FROM BLAZING OAKS: There are many who give sacrificial service to friends and relatives, and are an inspiration for us to do more! Sitting in the Tenebrae Maundy Thursday service last night, made me think again, of those closest to Jesus who didn't realize that Easter was just around the corner. What horror, confusion and grief they must have experienced!! Even tho the Cubs lost (again!) in the ninth inning (again!) on opening day, we DO have the blessing of celebrating the Easter with its wonderful message. Everything in perspective... ////FROM JACK: Just as the Cubs' chance of winning the World Series again is a symbol of hope for their fans, more so is Easter the ultimate symbol of hope for eternal life.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: And I am playing clarinet with that very song--the choir is doing it--tonight at Tenabrae Services.////FROM JACK: Tenebrae has always been a meaningful service for me, and the hymn, O Sacred Head, seems to go with it.

FROM MW IN MICHIGAN: Our dear Aunt Claire Wilson died suddenly last Sunday, a month to the day her husband, Harold, died. Claire made so many sacrifices and would always say" this is the Lord's will". A more selfless and loving person we have never known. Have a blessed Easter.////FROM JACK: Our memory of certain people challenge us to live after their example. That's whay some people wear bracelets which read: W.W.J.D.?

FROM CJL IN OHIO: Thankfully, the gain was for us!////FROM JACK: His pain. Our gain.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Winning Words 4/5/12
“You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” (Joe DiMaggio) It’s like a birthday party in Detroit today, because the Tigers open the baseball season. One of my church members used to close down his office and take all of the employees to opening day. He invited me, too. That was fun. Did you ever get to go to a home opener? ;-) Jack

FROM MY ATTORNEY: I have been to quite a few, including one when the weather was so cold (in the 30's) I left after the second inning --- as did most of the fans. Today should be great. And, this year's Tigers have a lot of promise and high expectations. I'll be watching it on TV, with a bowl of popcorn!////FROM JACK: Daughter Jeanne will be at the game, while we'll be in front of the TV. Ball Park hot dogs and Stadium brats will be on the grill outside. We also have a supply of peanuts and Cracker Jack, but no popcorn.

FROM DR. J: Are you going to opening day?////FROM JACK: I shoulda gone to "Opening Day" yesterday in Toledo when Paws, Muddy and Muddonna were in the same park. Today's opener will be in front of the TV.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Never had that opportunity. I have some friends who never miss it though. ////FROM JACK: It's fun. The game is incidental. I always buy peanuts from the Methodists at the corner of Elizabeth and Witherell.

FROM TRIHARDER: Inevitably, there will be a movie on tv today, probably Turner Movie Channel, "It Happens Every Spring". Loved that movie. But, it was replaced by Field of Dreams. Lots of great baseball movies will be on tv today and tomorrow.////FROM JACK: I have a "Is this Heaven?" mug by my computer. Other baseball movies that I like are "The Natural" "The Rookie" "Bull Durham" and "A League of Their Own."

FROM HY YO SILVER: Yes sir! Day off for me today of course. I'm heading downtown now. ////FROM JACK: Who's your Tiger?

FROM FLOWER POWER: Yes, there is new grass on the field and with it all the hopes of spring and for a new season. It is as if we get a clean slate everyone has a new chance to start with the hope that the new season brings. One or two good hits and you’re batting average looks pretty good. From my early twenties on I have missed about ten opening days and those were when my kids were younger. However when I started taking them out of school for Opening Day I became very popular with their friends. My kids would ask me “what did you tell the school” thinking I had spin a lie to cover our tracks. But when I said “I told them the truth” they had a hard time believing me. Yet I never had a teacher or school administrator give me a hard time when I said “I am taking them to a ball game.”////FROM JACK: They could form a quartet and sing: "Take us out to the ball us some peanuts and Cracker Jack. We don't care if we ever get back."

FROM COACH CC: Yep! It is the year of the "Tiger." Having grown up in a small mining town that of a St. Louis Farm Club and starting point of Stan Musial's pro career, I have two teams to follow. The last time the two played in the series, the Tigers were the best team, but lost. Last year the Rangers were the best team and lost. This year I think the Tigers are special and, if they play the Cardinals - the best team will win. One depressing day in 1982 in Coldwater, MI, I was walking off the field after a two strike, no balls, two out home run had just beaten us, after we had score 6 runs in the top of the inning and a 90 year fan sitting on a box called me over and said, "coach the best team doesn't always win."////FROM JACK: I remember that Stan the Man was from Donora and started out as a pitcher. I've always been impressed that the MLB logo features his image....I, too, have had those experiences where the "best" team hasn't won. But, it's just a game!

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: No, but Rick and I are planning to go the Tigers/Twins game on May 17th! ////FROM JACK: There will be "an angel in the outfield" cheering for her Twins. There's nothing like baseball!

FROM HS IN ILLINOIS: your blog today revives a precious memory for me. In 1956 the old Illinois Conference met in Detroit for the annual convention. As I was walking into the church Walt Tillberg grabbed me and said, "Skillrud, come with me." When I asked where we were going he replied that I would see in time. Would you believe we ended up at Tigers Stadium and watched the ball game. He said that I would have plenty of time to go to church conventions and that one should take time out once in a while for a ball game. What a character he was!////FROM JACK: As you know, Tillberg was my pastor, and he once took me to Chicago and I saw my first major league ballgame as his guest. We were both Cubs fans. His ministry inspired me to become a pastor. We were once walking along, and he farted. Up until that time, I never knew that ministers did that sort of thing.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: Not that I remember, but we have had fun going to the spring training games here in Tampa. Clearwater, Dunedin, and Sarasota. By the way, the Frozen Four is in Tampa this weekend beginning tonight with one team from Michigan, which the computer says is from Big Rapids.////FROM JACK: The Tigers do their training in Lakeland, as you probably know. BTW, Big Rapids is a small town north of Grand Rapids. Ferris is one of Michigan's state universities, and the students are excited that their team is one of the Four!

FROM BLAZING OAKS: The Cubbies open today, too, against Washington, in Chicago! Whoo, Whoo!! Hoping our new Pres. of Baseball operations, Theo Epstein, will make the difference as he did for the Boston Red Sox: 103 years and counting...:-) I've never attended a baseball opening day... Maybe I should put that on my bucket list! I'm sure it is a Festive Occasion, filled with hope and hilarity! Glad you could have that experience! Easter Sunday is also "on deck" this week, with its festive celebration of hope with family and friends. Thankful that God is in the resurrection business!!////FROM JACK: With regard to baseball and Easter, former ballplayer, Wes Westrum said: "Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand."

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA: i have never been to an opener but i was at the last game the MN Twins played in their old, Bloomington, MN, outdoor stadium before they moved indoors to the Metro Dome.////FROM JACK: I thought that the Dome was originally named for Hubert Humphrey. When did they start calling it the Metro Dome...and why?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Winning Words 4/4/12
“To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible, because it seems so.” (Sir Walter Scott) Back in the days when the funnies were really funny, I liked The Timid Soul, whose wimpy star was named Caspar Milquetoast. When asked by the census taker if he’s the head of the household, The Timid Soul glances at his wife before answering. Any timid soul should read, The Power of Positive Thinking. ;-) Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I've heard of Caspar Milquetoast but I have never read the funnies. I miss the funny funnies....most of them aren't funny at all. There aren't too many, if any, Milquetoasts in the family. I'm pretty positive on that point. ////FROM JACK: Can you think of other comics where the name of the strip describes the character? Blondie, for example. Smilin' Jack is another.

FROM YOOPER FLICKER: THANK YOU, JACK...I NEEDED THAT THIS A.M........////FROM JACK: ...or, as your Finnish neighbors often say, "SISU!"

FROM HONEST JOHN: Why not read something Christian like the NT?////FROM JACK: That's a good idea! How about the words of Jesus, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth?"////JOHN RESPONDS: Just move down a bit and read about those who suffer for righteousness sake....positive thinking is an aspect of the Christian faith....The Power of Positive Thinking is a distortion of it because it pushes positivism over the Theology of the Cross....////FROM JACK: I benefit from reading the Bible, and I benefit from reading a variety of other books.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Quite a bit of stuff I do I'm timidly shaking inside but do them anyway. Go on gut instincts and resist hesitating. But am really timid about getting a mountain to go into the sea, that still seems quite impossible to me. Whatever did Jesus mean?!!!!!////FROM JACK: The parables of Jesus were not meant to give us overt answers, but to cause us to search for the hidden answers.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Ah yes! That book helped me so much as a young wife and mother. I had to learn to sing SOLOS , b/cuz my twin had moved clear out to the state of Washington. I gained so much confidence by memorizing Dr. Peale's adages!! Casper Milquetoast...that used to be a household name: What fun to remember! We all came off pretty confident and self-sufficient, in comparison! :-)////FROM JACK: Another Caspar-type was Wally Cox, as Mr. Peepers. I don't think that anyone called you a "shrinking violet." When did you last hear that expression?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Timid backwards is dim it. Odd.////FROM JACK: Chester, spelled backwards, is Retsehc, Odd.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Winning Words 4/3/12
“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” (Joe Vitale) I recently read this about goal-setting. It involves establishing specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted goals (S.M.A.R.T.). A friend of mine is in training to compete in an Ironman Triathlon. He’s excited about it. That’s never been on my “to-do list.” Goals are good for us, but we must be S.M.A.R.T. when we set them. ;-) Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: At St. Mark's here in Tampa there is an organization called SMARTS for St. Mark's Active Retired Trend Setters. The do day trips, cruises, and other things like cards and pool.'////FROM JACK: Our bus line is called SMART...Southeast Michigan Area Rapid Transit. Acronyms are fun.

FROM PASTY PAT: Oh my --- as is so often the case with WWs, this one is perfect timing! I'm toying with a new goal but am still in the stage of 'scares me a lot' as well as excites me a lot. And I have to decide whether its realistic (do I have the necessary skills) or am I just a coward.////FROM JACK: A hymn by Dallin Oaks:
It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.
////PASTY'S RESPONSE: Thank you, thank you --- that's exactly the reminder I needed! I'll let you know as pieces come together.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I sent this on to my kids and grandson, who all lead in various ways, and printed it out to keep in mind! Achievable might be the key word, although Larry Page (founder of Google) says "It is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition." Another viewpoint.... Thanks for your Wise Words...another WW!////FROM JACK: Jeremiah 1:7 was chosen to be our seminary class verse. We went into the ordained ministry with that in mind. The whole Jeremiah book is worth reading when we wonder about God's activity in our life.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I set a goal each could be as simple as finishing a scrapbook page or as hard as tackling the basement storage room. It keeps me active and up and moving. That's something that is sometimes every hard for me. It is fun to set the goal but the hard part is making sure it's done before the day is over. Tonight, we are teaching Scouting songs to a group of leaders. Should be fun! Lots of goals this week but no thoughts of running any marathons. LOL////FROM JACK: I still remember the "campfire songs" that someone bothered to teach us at the YMCA Camp Hauberg.

FROM DR. J: like it!////FROM JACK: A typical response from a goal setter and acheiver.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Winning Words 4/2/12
“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” (Hans Christian Andersen) Today is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. I like his story about “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The Germans call stories like this, “Wonder Tales.” That seems appropriate as we think of God’s involvement in our life. Who, but God, could have come up with the (wonder-full) twists and turns of your life and mine? ;-) Jack

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN: This is a wonderful one. God’s blessings are upon us, it doesn’t seem that I have to look far to see his work in my life.////FROM JACK: We see what we want to see. I once read of a man who was lying in a gutter. He looked up and saw stars.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON: Don't exactly know why I appreciate today's WW so much, there's a mysterious attraction and maybe partly because remembering all the favorite old fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. His imagination struck a chord in so many of us. No wonder he thought of a WW for everyone like this one. Thanks for passing it on.////FROM JACK: To me, H.C.A. looks like Danny Kaye.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: OH! He just missed being an "April Fool"~! His wonderful stories are still relevant today. I just shared the book "The Ugly Duckling" with my great-grands. Timeless truths in many of his fairy tales. Danny Kaye portrayed him in the film Hans Christian Anderson, didn't he? If we allow God's hand into our real life Fairy tales, It indeed is wonder-full. An apt phrase! Kudos to you AND HCA!////FROM JACK: The movie, released 60 years ago, and starring Danny Kaye, was a fabricated biography about the great Dane. ...a fairy tale about the teller of fairy tales. Ironic! A favorite of mine.

FROM SAINT JAMES: You know, I played the Emperor in elementary school...////FROM JACK: Now, how was that done without disrupting the whole school?