Friday, September 28, 2012

Winning Words 9/28/12
“We never really grow up.  We only learn how to act in public.”  (A Paraprosdokian)  How many of you know the word, paraprosdokian, without looking it up?  And yet, it’s something that we use regularly to create humor.  My mother would often refer to my sister and me as “the kids,” when we were adults.  BTW, Why do Americans choose from 2 people to president and from 50 to be Miss America?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM DR ERIC IN MICHIGAN:  I had to look it up  A friend turned me onto comedian Mitch Hedberg a few years ago. Unfortunately drugs got the best of Mitch, but I enjoy listening to his comedy (not very clean though - swears quite a bit). "I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long." —Mitch Hedberg////FROM JACK:  Rodney Dangerfield is another comedian who relied on paraprosdokians.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I do. "The past is the past, unless you still owe for it." was one of my main themes I wrote in my pitch letter to the publisher. "Wherever there is a will, there's an impending death.." is another.////FROM JACK:  As a lyricist, can you think of some songs that are based on the "p" word?

 FROM DOOBIE DOO:  Jack in my case, this is very true especially when I get behind a wheel of a nice car.  My family tell me I'll never grow up. People ask me why I do it and I tell them "because I want to". ////FROM JACK:  In your case, you should have added another adjective..."When I get behind the wheel of a nice,  FAST car...."////DOO:  No I drive my truck that way also..........just ask my grandkids........three weeks ago I was following a new Camaro in a turn and my one grandson said, "Papa that Camaro is going too slow for you isn't it". I told him it's all about being smooth in the turns that allows me to be fast, that that guy in the Camaro has not learned how to drive yet!   That put a smile on their faces!

 FROM KB IN MICHIGAN:  I loved this--especially the part about 50 Miss America's and two presidential candidates.  Thanks for your daily contributions////FROM JACK:  Now that I think of it, I'd rather keep things the way they are.  Can you imagine the political ads connected with 50 candidates for president....and a Miss America pageant with only 2 contestants?

 FROM FLORINDY NORM: amen to that:  i've always been a kid.////FROM JACK:  Kids are always curious and sometimes get into mischief.  Yes, I guess that you're still a kid.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I have to chuckle with your WW today.  In our family we must have really taken off on the "children should be seen and not heard" because we were all very shy in public.  Our parents couldn't believe the teachers in parent-teachers conferences when they would say we were such well-behaved children.  Now that we're all grown up we do all speak more in public as adults but I, for one, am very sensitive to the fact that the tongue can be terribly offensive at times and cause damage to others.  How come the presidents we vote into office all seem to be such good-looking people?  We'll miss you on Monday--best wishes for a very, very good long weekend.////FROM JACK:  My parent-teacher conferences weren't always like your's, but that's another story.  BTW, Lincoln was often derided for being so homely.////SHARON:  Maybe the country could have a President like Lincoln because photography and TV and so forth weren't developed like now.  But it makes me think--are we seeing the real President or a bunch of make-up and other artistry designed to make our Presidents look good in photographs, on TV, and so forth?  In one of my psychology classes, I remember the professor telling us tall, good-looking men had better chances at being employed than others.////JACK:  I've heard that it sometimes works that way with choosing pastors.  I would hope that people would use their brains and not just their eyes.

 FROM HY-YO SILVER:  Yep. That's true and awkwardly realistic.////FROM JACK:  Is the public "face" of a politician an "act?"  In fact, I guess that question applies to all of us.  I would like to think that we all strive to put our best foot forward...but, then, I'm an Optimist.

 FROM PASTY PAT:  Had to look it up.  As often is the case my "learn (at least) one thing new each day" comes early in the morning with WW!////FROM JACK:  Newspaper columnist, Sydney J. Harris, would sometimes write about, "Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things."  That's how I came across "paraprosdokian."  I also like how the word sounds when it's spoken.////PC:  Now I just have to figure out how to casually work it into my next conversation!

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Nope didn't know it.  This reminds me of Peter Pan...he never wanted to grow up.  I don't mind growing up~it's growing out I don't like!////FROM JACK:  There you did it!  You created a paraprosdokian...I think!

 FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  Actually, there are more than two people on the ballot for president. There's a Green Party, Libertarian Party and U.S. Constitution Party on the ballot as well. When I do mock elections at the schools, we put all parties on the ballot; not just the Republican and Democratic candidates. Perhaps if our students/children were advised from a young age that there are more than two parties, the world would understand there are more choices.////FROM JACK:  I read that Italy has 6 major parties and 22 minor ones.  No one party dominates, so the government has to be run by coalitions...which leads to wheeling and dealing.  As far as what's best...You picks your poison, or elixir.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Well, I guess we did have the primaries and a few more to choose from. ////FROM JACK:  Those primaries seemed to divide, rather than unify.  I remember, as a child, going into a store where a large assortment of candy was displayed, and I only had enough money for one choice.  It was frustrating.  Yet, democracy is designed so that choices can be made.////SHIRL:  Actually, I have been happy with three of my choices.  Often, it was the lesser of the evil.  Not that bad, of course.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Politics isn't a beauty or talent contest. And there are a lot more pretty girls than there are good representatives.////FROM JACK:  The 3 "so-called" presidential debates will be sort of a combined talent and beauty show.  You might be interested to know that Donald Trump's Miss Universe Beauty Pageant will be held on Dec 19 in Las Vegas

 FROM SAINT JAMES:  That's a good question...2 vs 50!////FROM JACK:  When I was taking finals, it wasn't the questions that bothered me, it was the answers.

FROM JEFF:  "Paraprosdokian" is a tough word to say, so I usually pause, collect my thoughts, and use another word.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  (Some of us don't know how 2 act in public!)////FROM JACK:  Do you remember when parents would say, "Act your age?"  I wonder how you would be acting today, if you were following their advice?

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  There are a host of paraprosdokians . . . one I like is from Churchill (he liked them) “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they have tried everything else.”   It certainly applies to the House and Senate the last few years.////FROM JACK:  You are surmising that they will get around to doing the right thing.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  Actually, I was always mature. But w/a wicked sense of humor. Gisela is the same way. We apples..////FROM JACK:  You forgot the generation before yours..

 FROM AJ IN MICHIGAN:  This is really great because I always live by the idea that I needed to raise my children to be well-behaved in public.////FROM JACK:  Children usually model the behavior of their parents.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winning Words 9/27/12
“The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.”  (William Hazlitt 1778-1830) W.H. was a philosopher, one who often answers questions by asking questions.  His question plagues me…and perhaps you.  Is self-centeredness human nature?  Is that why we can be casual about social issues, not in our own back yard?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM ANONYMOUS:  Amen! I think that the root cause is lack of hope or vision for your life. If you do not feel significant to society, then you create significance (self centeredness) within yourself.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Our back yards are what frees us from selfishness. Want to know someone without shelter, hungry, thirsty, sick, disillusioned, broken, listen and look in the back yard face-to-face, meet the refugee moving in, then know the world. I think we can be casual about social issues because at some deep level in the psyche we are fearful and insecure about our own shelter, feeling hungry, thirsty, sick, inadequate to our own situations somehow and so we put up a wall between us and the world, seeking some peace and refuge ourselves from the pain of living.////FROM JACK:  I have 3 monkeys by my computer, one with his ears covered by his paws, one with his mouth covered, and one with his eyes covered.  While the saying is, "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil," I can see it as a symbol of shutting out the social issues that are going on around us.

 FROM TRIHARDER IN MICHIGAN:  I'm wondering, Jack, what "millions" he could have been writing about in the early 19th century.////FROM JACK:  I checked, and it appears that the 19th century population of Europe, alone, was 200 million.

FROM SAINT JAMES:  Totally...that is why this world is in the shape it's in...most people only care about themselves.   Aren't you surprised when someone opens a door for you or lets you change lanes?  I opened a door for a lady yesterday and she smiled as if I gave her a ton of money!////FROM JACK:  Someone gave me a magnet to place on the trunk of my car...KINDNESS MATTERS.  It's a reminder to me, as well as to others. 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I truly believe one of the fruits (or consequences, if you prefer) of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the knowledge of the body's instinctive desires and the often contrasting inspirations of the Soul. It seems to me that self-centeredness is one way of expressing this. As Jesus notes," who loses one life will gain it". The "war within" continues... ////FROM JACK:  Is the real basis...Self preservation?

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  WOW I like that one  and he is so right on.////FROM JACK:  This 200 year old quote remains relevant.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I'm not sure we are that casual about social issues.  With all kinds of media, it's hard not to be affected by what is happening around the world, let alone in our own backyards.   I know we listen and care deeply about what's happening.  I would say we feel totally helpless most of the time.  We can send up many prayers, and do, and sometimes add a helping hand with funds.////FROM JACK:  It's not that we are unaware of suffering in the world.  We are just more concerned with lesser pains going on in our own life.

 FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  Hmm, I read this totally different.  The destruction of millions makes me think of our soldiers who are fighting for our freedom. Perhaps it's because I am working with military technical publications. I often let those little things go because I realize they are in danger every day with each action and I want them to stay safe.////FROM JACK:  I see that "millions" is a figurative word, referring to those who are suffering in a far greater way than many of us are.  That includes our troops.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  W. H.  was making a statement, not asking a question. The NIMBY syndrome is human nature and we need to try and overcome it. Not all are plagued with it, but we all have to live with it. Do the best you can and maybe it will "average out."////FROM JACK:  I was the one asking the question.  Both Hazlitt and I were making commentary on the plight of those who are "forgotten."

 FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  “Not in our own back yard” hits a nerve since one of the residents now in my condo complex is a young man who spends the day wandering around tearing at his clothes and talking to himself, sometimes quietly, sometimes in a rage and cursing.  He hangs around the school yard next door and the mothers have started complaining to the principal; one of my neighbors drives her children to school since his behavior upset them when they walked recently. (It upsets me too.) His mother has told people that he has a psychosis and is on medication. The woman who lives next door to them is beside herself because of the constant disturbances.   I would like to know that he is getting the most and best care he can, but not much chance of finding that out.  I called the Macomb County Health Dept this morning to ask if MC has day care for mentally ill people—I hope someone will call me back.  At least his parents would know, if they don’t now.  I found the number to call a couple of weeks ago, but put it off, until your e-mail came this morning.////FROM JACK:  Thank you, thank you for being concerned and for DOING something about it.  Maybe it will take more than one call.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Our world has become so small that we are aware as never before of all the terrible situations people everywhere are going through, but aside from feeling so sorry for them, one often feels so helpless!  And as elderly folks in a very uncertain economy, even our charity has taken a hit...Yes, not being "there" definitely dulls our heart-felt compassion and our concern for minor aches of self or family "here" takes precedence.  I do like to think that we minister to needs in our own back yard, where it is possible to DO SOMETHING!////FROM JACK:  The feeling you have is nothing new.  Hazlitt sensed it over 100 years ago.  So many requests come through the mail.  I sort out some that we support, and the rest go into the recycling bin.  I don't feel guilty, because there is only so much pie to divide, or, so we think.  A friend of mine was married and going to seminary.  Finances were tight.  On Sunday he put a dollar in the offering, but as the usher took the plate, he noticed that he'd put in $20 by mistake.  That was the week's food money.  Should he tell the pastor about his error and try to exchange his dollar for the twenty?  He and his wife decided to "trust in the Lord."  TRUE STORY!  That week they got an unexpected inheritance.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Winning Words 9/26/12
“Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria, if you let it.”  (J.K. Rowling)  Am I a failure, because I’ve never read a Harry Potter book?  Am I a success because I’ve read the Bible completely in a year?  People are quick to assign success/failure to others.  Google, “The Guy in the Glass,” and ponder it.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I am currently reading a book called, "What You Think of Me is None of My Business." What a great title. ////FROM JACK:  Constructive criticism is good for those who are strong enough to take it, and are motivated enough to do something with it.////JON:  I don’t think it is about avoiding criticism, I think it is about being conscious of your choices.
 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We should be true to ourselves, of course, it goes without saying,  But the One who will judge ourselves in the end, is the one to whom we should be praying.////FROM JACK:  God also says, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

 FROM CZB IN COLORADO:  This one really resonates with me. At this stage of life (kids leaving the nest), it's easy to feel like you are not doing or giving enough. Same with my girlfriends.  Thanks! This puts a new perspective on where the guilt is coming from!////FROM JACK:  In the quote, change the word, failure, to success.  In "my" world, I see what you have done as a parent and I commend you.  You're a good one.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I enjoyed your WW this morning and did google "The Guy in the Glass".  Enjoyed that poem very much too.  Actually, I think the guy in the glass bears a lot of responsibility for being able to look himself in the eye in the mirror but I also think all the rest of us bear some responsibility for being supportive as he/she lives life--the words we say, the actions we take can work for or against each others' being able to look ourselves in the eyes in the mirror.  At the least we can pray that any words we say or actions we take which would be against the image of God in another human being will be far less powerful than the good that will overtake the sin.////FROM JACK:  Luther, in his explanation to the commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor," said that we should explain our neighbor's actions in the kindest way.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  I guess I'm a failure. Who's the "Guy in the Glass?"////FROM JACK:  Have you looked in a mirror lately?

 FROM CH ON CAPE COD:  Come the end of the year – I will really be a success – because I’m currently doing the “Through the Bible in a Year” and it looks like I’m going to make it.  J  And  I’ve read (and enjoyed) the Harry Potter books.  J   (and could tell you why theologically the 7th book is infinitely better than the movie)_ ////FROM JACK:  I once got enough copies of  The One Year Living Bible so that each member could be invited to read the Bible in a year.  Many did...and later thanked me for giving them the opportunity.  Is there a Through Harry Potter (Book 7) in a Year?////CH:  Actually – with Harry Potter- I found I experienced some inertia before starting the series and then between books, but once you started a book it was hard to put down… I wish I could say that about some of the OT books – it has taken a lot of discipline.  We’ve been using the monthly magazine/program called “Daily Walk” which offers some commentary and reflections for each days assigned reading and for the most part it has been very helpful.  I think most of the people who started with us in the congregation have fallen far behind, but have nonetheless read more scripture than they would have otherwise.  Tiffany and I have found it very meaningful and enriching.////JACK:  Is the measure of success, the completion, or the reading?  "Little Jack Horner sat in a corner reading his One Year Bible etc."////CH:  Maybe the success is in  the ‘understanding.’  Or maybe it’s in the ‘doing.’ ////JACK: ...or in understanding AND doing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winning Words 9/25/12
“When we’re afraid, it’s because we don’t know enough.  If we understood enough, we would never be afraid.”  (Earl Nightengale)  If you remember Bullwinkle, he would, on occasion, pretend to be Mr. Know-it-all, explaining, for instance, “How to remove a moustache.”  I learned a lot by watching TV with my kids.  What interesting things have you learned by keeping your eyes, ears and mind open?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM GP IN MICHIGAN:  Good Morning.  Read this.  Thought of you.  "When my car won't start, I call on AAA. When my happiness won't start, I call on the other Triple A—Action Alleviates Anxiety."   So can you!////FROM JACK:  So, you're starting your own Winning Words?  Good!  The more positive messages, the better.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  For when I babysit for my 3 1/2 year old Godson, Ephraim, I got some DVD's from Augsburg Fortress for us to watch together. They are called "Holy Moly" and are really different. A week ago we watched the DVD on Jesus' birth. What was really interesting to me is I think they are really a little visual commentary on the scripture. It was really interesting to see how God was portrayed and to see the angel Gabriel struggling to get the message through to Mary and to see her running away, around the house, to get away from Gabriel and then finally she came back and said "Yes". Fascinating to watch and Ephraim liked it too. Watching the whole DVD through, right to the little toddler playing with the Wise Men's gifts, I do think it would help little kids and even us adults get a handle on fear. Old conservative me, though, next babysitting day will see if Ephraim will sit still enough for me to read to him from a children's Bible. I would be afraid if he got all his theology from movies and television.////FROM JACK:  There's nothing wrong with getting theology from DVDs.  The Word of God was first of all, oral, then etched in stone, hand-written on scrolls, and then printed by Gutenberg.  Each was something different from the previous...An interpretation of the same Word.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The problem is we can't always "know enough."////FROM JACK:  Only God is omniscient!

 FROM SON DAVID:  You wouldn’t let us watch Bullwinkle and Rocky.  Only Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.////FROM DAD:  Wrong!  If I let you watch The Three Stooges, I would certainly let you watch a cartoon about a squirrel and a moose.

 FROM SAINT JAMES:  I love Rocky and Bullwinkle!////FROM JACK:  How about Boris Badinoff and Natasha?

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Earl is a favorite of mine, was listening to him yesterday morning. Earl Nightingale is the only artist to receive a gold record for the spoken word. He sold millions of the recording "The Strangest Secret" on 33 rpm vinyl.  He included the story of Acres of Diamonds on it. I still buy recordings from Nightingale- Conant, a real Chicago success story… ////FROM JACK:  Earl was one of the first "radio" motivational speakers.  He himself was motivated by a little booklet, called, THINK.  He went on to say that we become what we think about.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  To keep my mouth shut!////FROM JACK:  I seem to remember that Snuffy Smith would say, "Well, shut my mouth!"

 FROM JM IN VIRGINIA:  Last night Lizzy "made" me sit down for a minute and watch the "How It's Made" program in which they went through the hot dog making process. . . I knew it was going to be bad, but . . . So good argument for keeping our eyes closed once in awhile!////FROM JACK:  I don't know if you're aware of it, but your grandfather had a job as a safety inspector and had to go into a place where hot dogs were made.  Afterward he said, "If you saw how hot dogs were made, you'd never eat one again."  I never saw him eating a hot dog..

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I was never much of a cartoon or comic reader, and I see I missed out on quite a lot!  One of the excellent series on TV was Nat'l. Geographic's on the Universe: Land, Sea, Sky, and all the   wild life therein. Learned so much, and so did my family!!  I still remember vividly the one on Caves...and bat dung up to the waist. Yech!////FROM JACK:  No cartoons or comics?  Worse that being in dung up to the waist!

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  American  Lutheran had a presentation drama by an actor, Frank Runyeon.  He was once a soap opera star and in many tv programs.  He did the book of Mark by himself.  It was a wonderful production.  Have you ever seen him?  The title was "Afraid".  He did a very interesting acting through the whole book of Mark.  We loved it.  But in the end, the question he asked was..."Are you afraid to spread the Gospel?"  It made you really stop and think.  He does many other books of the Bible too and I guess he has a funny presentation about the 3 1/2 days of Christmas.////FROM JACK:  Spreading the Gospel?  I like this poem by Leroy Brownlow.

There's a Gospel according to Matthew; To Mark;
To Luke; and John too.
There's another gospel that many are reading...
The Gospel according to You.

All teachings we find in the Bible
Are facts we know to be true;
You must live them to make them the Gospel...
The Gospel according to You

Many read not the words of the Bible;
I will tell you what some of them do...
They are reading the book you are writing...
The Gospel according to you.

There's Great Power In Gospel Preaching
The Bible teaches that this is true.
But the sermon most likely to influence others
Is The Gospel according to You.

God help us to be faithful to Jesus...
To live all His teachings so true,
So that all may see His Spirit
In the Gospel according to You

You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day;
By things that you do; By things you say.
Others read that gospel, whether faithless or true!
Say! What is the Gospel According To You?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Winning Words 9/24/12
“It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years, that counts.”  Adlai E. Stevenson)  I used to read Curious George books to my grandchildren, and we would laugh together.  The husband-wife authors created George as an antidote for the gloom of WW2.  I did not know that the Man in the Yellow Hat was modeled after Adlai Stevenson.  BTW, I wonder if George is operating that robot on Mars?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM PL IN MICHIGAN:  Remember that famous picture of Adli Stevenson sitting in a chair with his legs crossed and a hole on the sole of his shoe? I wish we had more "holes in shoes"  from our leaders today. ////FROM JACK:  Who among today's leaders would be most likely to have a hole in his/her shoe?

 FROM SS IN MICHIGAN:  You know, this quote is so true. My husband and I have one daughter who is 29 years old now and three children I miscarried and even those just months of life impacted on me forever. I wouldn't have the relationship I now have with God or with my husband or with my living daughter or with my understanding and relationship to scripture and the sacraments and the church if it weren't for the life in the years of those unborn and yet born somehow too babies. They certainly helped remove the gloom of this crazy warring world for me. Thanks again for your WW-early morning sunshine.////FROM JACK:  There are various kinds of wars and gloom.  This world needs more examples of how to let the sunshine in.  The Cowboy Church Sunday School would sing this song:  "So, let the sun shine in, face it with a grin  Smilers never lose and frowners never win  So, let the sun shine in, face it with a grin  Open up your heart and let the sun shine in."

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  I didn’t know about the Adlai Stevenson connection either; interesting. ////FROM JACK:  Illinois has had some politicians who were good role models.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Again I've learned something new already this morning...who knew that the man in the yellow hat was modeled after A.Stevenson??!  I am just beginning to read Curious George to my youngest (21/2) great g.daughter, and chuckle along with her...Fun!  The latest generation of "little ones" put new life in one's years!! My greats range in age from 13-2; new  schedule of baseball and football games, volleyball, etc.////FROM JACK:  I'm going to a grandson's X-Country race this afternoon.  No one, yet, has picked up on the last sentence of today's WWs.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I'm sure George is the one operating that robot on Mars!  It makes a lot of sense!  I didn 't know the Yellow Hat man was after Stevenson.////FROM JACK:  George's curiosity has been getting him into mischief for a long, long time. He's a pretty old monkey by now.

 FROM INDY GENIE:  Perfect for today .. Had a class reunion in Grayslake last weekend. I think reunions make us feel young giving "life to our years!"////FROM JACK:  Did you recognize any of the "old" people?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Winning Words 9/21/12
“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”  (Dr. Seuss)  There are various experiences that cause us to cry.  The death of someone we love is one.  After the crying, there comes a time for putting things into perspective.  We all have an hourglass with a certain amount of sand in it.  The glass is darkened, so we can’t see the sand.  Life goes on as we remember loved ones, and, eventually, we smile.    ;-)  Jack

  FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Your remark that my life is like an hourglass, with the amount of sand obscured within, is an interesting analogy.  Personally I do wonder how much "sand" is left in the "hour" of my life.  The years have been good.  I don't cry because it will be over...I cry because it seems it went so quickly. ////FROM JACK:  Perhaps it's because of my "work," but I've found myself in the middle of many death and life situations.  I've come to see that death is a part of life, and we celebrate the whole experience.  The brain tells us that.  The "heart" looks at it in another way.////RI:  Your first thoughts expressed in today's WW, and your response to my comment about those thoughts, are very illuminating and have opened a new window on life and death for me.

 FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Jack...that's just beautiful!////FROM JACK:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I appreciate your eye for beauty.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Nice...////FROM JACK:  As a songwriter, you know that songs are nice.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I cried because we had two interim Pastors whom I thought could do the job and who wanted the work and the congregation didn't see the same possibilities. Now we have our permanently called Pastor who will be ordained this coming Sunday and, as we get to know her, I'm smiling again. I had grown to love these two interim Pastors and hope to also be able to smile with them as we all find out together that it's not over, life goes on, the future was not cut off but is still rolling on just over the hill, no work is ever in vain, no love is ever lost or forgotten. It all happened and smiles are in order.////FROM JACK:  Yogi Berra, the famous baseball player/manager said, "It ain't over til it's over."  In my experience... given enough time, things will work out.

 FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  very good! I shed (another) tear today but then when I read this I smiled.////FROM JACK:  When I write WWs like the ones for today, certain people are in the back of my included.  "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love."  You know the rest of the hymn.

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  And when sad things happen, it is a good time to read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8--there is indeed a time for everything.////FROM JACK:  It also says that there is a time to laugh.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "When you are sorrowful, look into your heart, and you shall see that you are weeping for that which has been your delight."  (Kahlil Gibran)  So true, and the comfort is that you did HAVE the delight... Again, as Marilyn Charles Karlstrom wrote, "those of us blessed with long years, must bear the losses..." Another truth!  Life  goes on, and there are also many blessings!////FROM JACK:  My mother lived to be 102.  In her later years, she said that the thing she missed the most were her friends. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Winning Words 9/20/12
“You learn a lot about people when you play games with them.”  (Laura Moncur)  I like to play games, and I must admit that I am competitive.  I lose, but I don’t like to lose.  The great young golfer, Rory McIlroy, was leading the 2011 Masters and blew it on the last day.  His mother was “crying her eyes out,” and Rory said, “Mum, it’s only a game of golf.”  I learned a lot about Rory from his response.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Having to be reminded "It's only a game" comes hard when it's the Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons or Lions losing.  It's also hard to imagine the money these guys get playing "only a game".  Wonder what we ourselves would earn if we were paid for our daily tasks.  Someone once broke down how much a woman would get paid for all of her "tasks".   Playing for fun is much more interesting and much more Fun.  Rory has the right attitude.////FROM JACK:  Dwight Eisenhower said: "When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing. I told him I wanted to be a real Major League baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish."  Currently, A-Rod of the Yankees makes $30,000,000 a year, while the President of the United States makes $400,000, plus expenses.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I learn a lot about my husband when he is yelling at the TV on all the sports he watches. I think the games are just games to him but it's the freedom of yelling at everything which is most freeing to him. It finally feels good to see people flub over something which is actually just a game and not really so consequential like real life but still someone else than the viewer making mistakes. I wonder if Rory had any idea someone out there in TV land might have been yelling and how much he was doing for them to have an enjoyable day--winning or not. If the whole thing was about anything else than games, it would be scandalous to see such boisterous and unruly behavior in the audience.////FROM JACK:  I remember being startled once when someone yelled out, "Amen!" while I was preaching.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  My kids always bring up times we play "Catch Phrase" with the timer hot potato you pass around.  We also play some improvisational games I learned from reading "Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madison, no batteries or wretched cash out lay for a game (library book). While my kids are fully American, I still embrace my inner Scotsman.////FROM JACK:  "Improv Wisdom" sounds like a good book.  In our home we sometimes would try to imitate Jonathan Winters when he would pick up an ordinary item and do goofy things with with a a cigar, a telephone, a pencil, a gun, etc.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  He is a cool "kid."////FROM JACK:  My step father used to use the word "cool" when he was pleased with something.  Once when we were in a restaurant, the waitress asked, "How's the food?"  He replied, "Cool!"  Then she said, "Do you want me to warm it up?"

 FROM MJF IN MICHIGAN:  Hey Jack, I liked today's ww's. I also like that kid McIlroy.  I often quote Tom Hanks character, "There's no crying in baseball", and often insert different words for baseball.   As I get older I find myself tearing up very easily, mostly because I'm reminded how fortunate I am for all the blessings in my life.////FROM JACK:  I also like the "no crying" quote from the movie.  The Lou Gehrig farewell speech brought many tears...and so, too, when the little boy said to his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Say it aint so, Joe."

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  I remember my 3 year old grandson when he was being scolded about playing in the hay mow and messing up the hay bale.  He said, "Mom it's only hay."  I often use that philosophy.  It is a good one and sure right out of Rory's hand book.////FROM JACK:  I'm reminded of the book, Games People Play, which is, in part, about the mind games that people play.  There are some adults who take life too seriously.  Of course, there are others who don't take it seriously enough.  I guess you have to be reading from the same page in the rule book.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Some people just like to play. If they win, it's a bonus. Lombardi  HAD to win. There's nothing wrong with that either. It's just the way he was built.////FROM JACK:  When Vince said, "Winning is the only thing," he didn't mean, "Winning is the only thing."  There's the rest of the story.////PFC:  I think he said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."////JACK:  Good thinking!

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  What a great response by Rory . . . one which I must keep in mind, as we play games, most frequently Scrabble, and winning sometimes get in the way of some very important relationships!   Thanks for your word today . . . I will keep it in mind as we ‘play’ as aging adults.////FROM JACK:  Remember...BINGO is only a game

 FROM ED IN ARIZONA:  Reminds me of Tin Cup. Have you seen that movie?////FROM JACK:  No, I haven't seen the movie, although I've heard of it.  Now, because of your nudge, I read a synopsis, and I want to see it.  Our library has it.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Ah, games! Love them, and played all my life, and our whole family (very competitive!) loves games; cards, board, electronic, outdoor, etc. and of course there is the "game of Life" where a sense of humor often saves the day!  Our family has a tradition at Thanksgiving (Brother's family, sister's family and my family) of the annual Turkey Bowl Football game, soon after dinner, players from 4 on up...Many fond and funny memories!////FROM JACK:  My son and I played competitive ping pong and kept a running score on a chalkboard.  After 969 games, I suggested that maybe we had played enough.  The board is still by the table...the score: 18,198 to 18,284.

 FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  And you learnto be cautious when "people play games with you".////FROM JACK:  Games can be fun, depending on the game you play.  I've stopped playing some of them when the fun was gone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Winning Words 9/19/12
“Confidence is 10% hard work and 90% delusion.”  (Tina Fey)  I like the SNL actress, Tina Fey.  She’s funny.  She learned to appreciate humor from her father.  Together they watched The Honeymooners, The Marx Bros., Monty Python and Young Frankenstein.  My kind of stuff!  Today’s WWs show that she knows something about the reality of life.  “All work and no play…” as the saying goes.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  You know what they say,"There's some truth in humor." To admit, even in jest, that 90% of one's world is delusional, makes even more significant the need to seek the Truth. Otherwise, one must consider that one's "hard work" is all for the delusion. How useless is that? I suppose such awareness brings alive the saying, "The Truth hurts." ////FROM JACK:  During my first working experience after high school, a man in the office taught me this saying which has stuck with me. 
"Though man a thinking being is defined, Few use the grand prerogative of mind. How few think justly of the thinking few! How many never think, who think they do!"  (Jane Taylor)////RAY:  I like what Jane Taylor wrote. Who is she, this wise one who writes so well and in rhyme?////JACK:  No wonder it rhymes.  Jane (1783-1824) was an English poet who also wrote the verse, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star."

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Building confidence in someone is like trying to build the Eiffel Tower without the lean.  LOL  I like Tina too.  It's so important to be able to see the humor of this life.  It's easier to get down than up sometimes, but it's worth the effort.  Smile////FROM JACK:  Speaking of building the Eiffel Tower, my mother had a book, "The Specialist," which described how to build a privy.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Sam Goldwyn said it best. "The harder I work, the luckier I get." ////FROM JACK:  He also made good movies with Louie.

 FROM SAINT JAMES:  I like today's WWs, especially the delusion part.  It's amazing how we can make ourselves believe what we want to believe, and also how people buy into the facades people put forth. ////FROM JACK:  False faces are worn on other days, besides Halloween.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Many times I lack confidence. My daughter thinks I am humble but I think I just lack confidence. Your WW today are causing me to ponder and maybe the reality of life that I hold is that, for me, there is that 90% pesky delusion and and what's more I'm very much aware of how much delusion is in me--it sort of hamstrings me. Actually, this WW is not funny except if things get turned up-side down and the 10% hard work confidence and the 90% delusional confidence actually results in success. Then I suppose it is pretty humorous. I hope to experience that some day.////FROM JACK:  I saw a cartoon recently.  A thin woman was looking into a mirror and saw a different image. 

  FROM CWR IN B'MORE:  .......I really like this one.////FROM JACK:  SNL audiences really liked the way Fey did her impression of Palin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winning Words 9/18/12
“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”  (William Makepeace Thackeray)  I wonder how Thackeray got his middle name?  My middle name is Harold, after my father.  Our son’s 2nd name is the city where he was born..Merrill.  A man named, July September, has the middle name of August.  A French orchestra leader has over 30 second names .  Are there some interesting middle names in your family?  What’s yours?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MV IN MICHIGAN:  My middle name is Merrill. As is my son’s middle name. It was my maternal grandfather’s last name. He did not have sons and I wanted to keep the name alive. I also work for Merrill Lynch! I like Merrill!////FROM JACK:  Our son's "Merrill" is a city in north central Wisconsin.  There's also a Merrill in Michigan.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  My middle name, Kay, a really nondescript middle name if I ever heard one--no ancestor, as far as I know, had that middle name, only became interesting to me when my husband decided to use it for our daughter's middle name. We actually use it constantly only except as the initial "K." Wonder how the guy got his last name "September"? Fun WW and interesting author's name with them. I hope his parents had a very long and contented relationship.////FROM JACK:  I wonder if Thackeray was a pacifist?

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  mine is alice.  i like it...whimsical.  i am known as "mary alice the third" by my sister pat.  it is the name on her and mom's baptismal certificate.  those crazy catholic rules!  my daddy called me maya lisa the finn version of mary alice.  i still miss that.////FROM JACK:  Mary...It's a grand old name.  I had never thought of it before, but the Mayans must have been named for the Virgin Mary. ////MARY:  For it was mary...mary...plain as any name can be.  Interesting connection.  Love historic contemplation.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Of course you were named after your father. You couldn't have been named before him.////FROM JACK:  Don't be so sure about that.  Haven't you heard of the song, "I'm My Own Grandpa?"  BTW, Mine is William. Isn't that Great?

 FROM CS IN RICE LAKE:  My middle name is Stella – after my mother.  My mother’s middle name was Olina – her mother’s first name. I gave Susanne my first name and she gave her daughter, Jennifer,  her first name to carry on the tradition. I was supposed to be a boy and would have been called Carl…so I ended up being named for both my parents. ////FROM JACK:  O'Lina sounds Irish, instead of Swedish.

 FROM INDY GENIE: Oldest to youngest sibs middle names: Eugene (dad's name)Karol, Ernest  (mom's uncle), Arloa, Leopold ( grandfather), Alice, Ann, Lea (Sarah Lea wanted to name her Shirley.. Mom said no...compromise :)////FROM JACK:  A pastor was giving a lesson to a group of children on the 23rd Psalm. He noticed that one of the little boys seemed disquieted by the phrase "Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life..."  "What's wrong with that, Johnny?" the pastor asked.  "Well," answered Johnny, "I understand about having goodness and mercy, for God is good. But I'm not sure I'd like Shirley following me around all the time."

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "The most wasted of all days is one without laughter"...E.E.Cummings So true. Laughter is the sound of Heaven!  My twin sister and I were given rhyming middle names" Janet Eileen, and Marilyn Jean...I briefly tried to go by "Jean" in Jr. High, so our first names would be more "twinny", but it was too hard to get my friends and family to make the "change'! My Mother's name was Thelma Ruth, but she always went by Ruth.  Ordinarily not much thought is given about middle names, but "Makepeace" is a bit unusual, Thackeray certainly made no secret of it, usually signing his full three names..////FROM JACK: I've found that many people don't like their middle names.  My sister doesn't like, Ruth.  My grandson doesn't like Forrest.  I'm glad that I wasn't given my father's middle name..Jacobi.

.FROM CJL IN OHIO:  "Johnson" after my maternal grandfather.////FROM JACK:  That's interesting.  If I'd had my mother's maden name for my middle one, it would be, Haubold (pronounced, How Bold), John HowBold Freed.

 FROM CPA BOB IN MICHIGAN:  My middle name is (ordinary) Edward, but the middle name of one of my grandsons is “Legend”, for the basketball super-star, “Larry Byrd”.  Byrd is our son-in-law’s all-time favorite sports figure.////FROM JACK:  I like Legend as a middle name.  Byrd would be OK, too.  How about Magic?

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Very simply Ann.  However, my sister's middle name is Jay.  We used to asked my mom why she named Valerie "Jay but she said she liked the sound of Valerie Jay. Our littlest granddaughter is named Melanie Ann after both grandma's (or "Monnee" as she calls me.  Laughter is such a wonderful blessing!  Everyone should laugh out loud at least once a day.////FROM JACK:  I think that many names are chose, because they sound nice.  The inventor of the Lear jet airplane named his daughter, Chanda...Chanda Lear.////JUDY:  Kimberly went to school with Penny Nichols.

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  Very simple-Marie.  Now if you are talking about first names--Eunice is something else again!////FROM JACK:  Whenever I hear "Eunice," I think of you...and then Carol Burnett.

 FROM JT IN  WISCONSIN:  Answer: Evans. My Dad's first name - Gideon; my Mother's - Clara. My late dear sister was named Clarine Gideonette. (I got the impression she didn't care for that middle name). My Mother's middle name - Justine; which reminds me - remember J.I. Case in Moline? Did the initials stand for Just In?////FROM JACK:  Do you suppose that female members of the Gideon Society are called, Gideonettes?  And, I'd never heard that about the tractor maker, J.I. Case.  Did you know that the J.I. really stood for Jerome about a strange middle name.  I wonder how he got it?

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Jack, my middle name is August, from one of my grandfathers.  I never liked it.  I have always used the ‘A’ in all documents and have signed my name, Frederick A. Marks.   Soon after I arrived on the campus at Carthage, a classmate asked me what the ‘A’ stood for.  I replied ‘Ann’ and very soon I was known as ‘Freddie Ann’ on campus.   I learned my lesson!    Now I use ‘August’! ////FROM JACK:  You have the same middle name as Mr. July September.



Monday, September 17, 2012

Winning Words 9/17/12
“Even the maid has a family.”  (South American Proverb)  Since I discovered this quote a couple of weeks ago I’ve tried to look at those who wait on me as people..with families.  The restaurant server, the cashier, the garbageman….have families.  Recently, in our community, we have been brought to see that our police officers and fire fighters are real human beings.  This world, yours and mine, needs more empathy.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM CB IN MICHIGAN:  One of my most deeply learned lessons I received from my father was and I quote, "You must respect every person.  A person on the corner selling pencils is working to earn an honest living and deserves our respect."  There was a blinded American Indian man who sold newspapers in the building where my dad worked.and on a visit to my dad at work one day, I heard the lesson that stuck with me forever.  I just finished reading a book for my book club, light reading, but a deeply human message.  The book is called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  I think you'd like it.////FROM JACK:  Your response caused me to remember an Asian man who had lost both legs.  He was a cook, and the fire fighters in my hometown "hired" him to be their cook.  They allowed him to live at the fire station and cared for his other needs.  I recall meeting him and seeing him in a wheel chair.  The fire fighters were his family. ////CB:  Thank you -  I love hearing about the human spirit at its best.////JACK:  Isn't it amazing...what's stored in our brain?

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  Have 2 be honest, I am rather shocked by ur statement... yes, maids r people, too!////FROM JACK:  That is exactly the point that I was trying to make today...that maids are people.  Those who "serve" us are often often "over-looked."  That's what's shocking.//// FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  I guess that's wrong with the world... little empathy..   Village Inn closed down for a week to remodel recently. I got home, and realized that I had inadvertently skimped on a tip for our nice and pregnant waitress. I waited till they reopened a week later, then took her the extra money I had neglected to give her the last time I was there.   Most people don't tip the hardworking chambermaid at the hotel, because they don't see her and she won't see them... appalling.   I guess that is why I am depressed and miserable a good part of the time. I worry too much about other people, the sorry state of our country and the world.

 FROM PL IN MICHIGAN:  I really like this one!////FROM JACK:  For me, it was one of those quotes that caused me to try on some moccasins.

FROM BF IN MICHIGAN:  AMEN!////FROM JACK:  More empathy....So be it!

 FROM C&J IN TUCSON:  This quote reminded me of the recent award-winning movie "The Help."  I hope you have seen it because it certainly speaks to this idea.  Also, did you really send this at 2:34 this morning?////FROM JACK:  Yes, "the Help" does tell the story.  I once went to visit a "rich" family.  I noticed a wire going under the dining room table and attached to a button.  I asked about it and was told that the host would summon the maid by pushing the button with his foot.  I guess it was left from a previous owner, because I saw no maid .

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Yes, we can all use more of caring, loving and kindness.  Spread a little today!////FROM JACK:  A friend of mine in Illinois sent me a car magnet which reads: "Kindness Matters."  It's on the trunk, next to the Fire Dept logo.

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  I am reminded of that old joke,   which is worse,  apathy or ignorance?    The fellow replies,  “I don’t know and I don’t care.!////FROM JACK:  So, when people look to you for empathy, you show them apathy?

FROM MOLINER JT:  Amen to that !////FROM JACK:  One who has experienced empathy is usually more inclined to show it to others.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As the Amish proverb says, "Instead of putting others in  their place, put yourself in their place."  Reminds me of the College professor who asked the question on a final exam, "What is the name of the janitor of this bldg?  The students asked if this question really counted, and he assured them it did. they had come to this bldg. several times a week for a whole semester, and he had been on the job every day they came; Had they ever noticed him, or thanked him for keeping their bldg. clean?  Only two in the large class  came up with the answer, but those students never forgot the implied lesson. I'm sorry that I've forgotten which college it was, or the professor's name...But it seemed appropriate to this quote! ////FROM JACK:  I like that Amish wisdom.  BTW, do you remember the name of any custodian when you were at Augie?

 FROM BS NEAR ORLANDO:  I remember as a kid, our neighborhood group went to Friedman's meat market for one of our mother's on a Sat.  and lo and behold, we bumped into our garbage man.  In our excitement to see him we all said in unison,  HI !  Hi !! r GARBAGE MAN.  We were very sincere and full of love for him.  We had no category or level of distinction,  he was our friend and we were delighted to recognize someone we knew.  He however didn't appreciate our spontaneity.  He almost ran to get away from us.  we meant no harm.////FROM JACK:  Since you were a druggist, what it some kids ran after you, calling out, "Hey, Drug Man?"

 FROM CJL IN OHIO:  Very good observation.  We do well to remember it always....////FROM JACK:  As I think back over the people I've seen today, I need to remind myself that each one of them is, or has been, part of a family....the waitress, the bagger, the limping young man, the store manager.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Winning Words 9/14/12
“Don’t take life too seriously.  It ain’t nohow permanent.”  (Walt Kelley)  My all-time favorite comic strip was, “Pogo.”  Pogo was a possum who lived with his friends in the Okefenokee Swamp.  In the 50s, people were wearing I-Go-Pogo buttons, wanting him to be President.  Walt Kelly mixed humor with politics.  He was against Extreme Right, Extreme Left and Extreme Middle.  There’s no fun in politics anymore.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  My favorite Pogo quote: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Refers, of course, to a dispatch from Commander Oliver Hazard Perry on September 10, 1813, just over 199 years ago. The War of 1812 is being celebrated in Canada as one of the early events helping form a Canadian identity.////FROM JACK:  A week ago I went down to the Detroit River and walked the deck of the tall ship, Niagara, which was a replica of the ship that fought in the War of 1812.  I saw its cannons, too.  Looking across the river into Canada, I had a hard time imagining a war being fought in this neighborhood.  Some people in the world today don't have to imagine.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  It's been years since I've read a copy of "Mad Magazine" but there was a cartoon guy in there running for President too. Either Pogo or that guy, I'll vote for either of them.////FROM JACK:  That was Alfred E. Neuman.  It's not easy being the President of our country...such impossible expectations!   Even a cartoon character would be criticized, if elected.

 FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Jack, always enjoy your notes! :-))////FROM JACK:  That might change, if I were elected President.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  Too much @ stake, too much corruption 2 be fun...////FROM JACK:  There's also much opportunity to do much good.  Playing baseball can be a lot of fun when the team works together.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  My favorite line from the  "strip" was; "We have met the enemy and they is us." I still use it occasionally.////FROM JACK:  I could relate to Deacon Mushrat.

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Do you see the Mallard Fillmore strip in The Oakland Press?  Sometimes it's funny, but more often its caustic, and always clever.////FROM JACK:  Doonesbury is more to my liking.  Plugger, Crankshaft and Pickles hit closer to home these days than Zits.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  No fun in politics now because it's become more about power and retaining power and not about the constitution or working in the interest of "We the People."  Bush and Obama have both, in the past, indicated what a hindrance and annoyance the Constitution is. The 535 elected worry far more about retaining power than what is good for constituents.////FROM JACK:  Abe Lincoln said, "You can satisfy some of the people some of the time, but you can't satisfy all of the people all of the time."  In our district, we are fortunate to have a congressman we really tries to work across the aisle for the benefit of his constituents.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There isn't any fun in politics but then again, I don't think there ever was.  Now it's so much worse though because people arent willing to listen to each other and what is right for the nation, they just go with their party.  That's not smart!  We need more "lightness and forgiveness and good thinking" instead of political talk.////FROM JACK:  I think that the political scene has gotten worse, because of the way some TV networks slant the news.  Ooops!  In the past, when there was no TV, radio did the same.  Ooops!  When there was no radio, newspapers did it.  As I said in Winning Words a few days ago, "Deal with it!"

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Pogo, as in "We have met the enemy, and he is us?"... Back in those days, the parties (and the country) weren't so polarized.  The fun sure has left the political arena!!  I didn't remember the extreme right, the extreme left, and extreme middle.  Thanks for the chuckle today!////FROM JACK:  In politics, he particularly went after Senator Joe McCarthy.with a character called, Simple J. Malarky.

FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  Amen!  It is very serious and frustrating these days.  I received a new Urban Word of The Day today…”grass ceiling”  when your poor golf game prevents you from playing with the real players/movers and shakers.  Smile!////FROM JACK:  I read that Condoleezza Rice started playing golf in 2005.  I don't think that she broke the "grass ceiling" at the Augusta National Golf Club because she was such a great golfer.

 FROM CJL IN OHIO:  Won't we all be glad when the 600 million dollars (plus) spent on advertizing is finished.  Think of the help that would give to needy people in this country- to say nothing about our foreign contributions....////FROM JACK:  Just who is it that is motivated by those political ads?  The voters?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Winning Words 9/13/12
“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”  (Forrest Gump)  Another Gumpism that I like is:  “My mama always said, ‘You got to put the past behind you before you can move on.’”  BTW, today is International Chocolate Day, and I plan to eat from the box of Sanders chocolates that I got as a birthday present.  I hope to get a caramel.  What’s your favorite chocolate candy?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  My favorite chocolate is dark bittersweet rich chocolate with a cashew in it. I like to enjoy it with an equally dark coffee.////FROM JACK:  I don't think that one of "yours" is in my box.  It's marked, "Milk Chocolates."////JE:  That’s OK, I’ll share mine with you.////JACK:  I'm counting on it when I see you.

 FROM DR J IN OHIO:  I like caramels too, but also cashew!////FROM JACK:  Gesundheit!////DR J:  Your humor never gets old! Keep it up!!

 FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  I've been living in Philly for so long, I forgot Sanders  (my mother's favorite) even existed!  I have memories about their stores that go way, WAY back!////FROM JACK:  The brand is making a comeback.  Do you have Vernor's in PA?

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  One of my favorite movies and movie actors!!!!! I like a lot of different chocolates but my husband's favorite is chocolate milk balls. Thanks for telling us about this holiday--I'm going to buy some chocolate today, maybe chocolate milk balls if they are at the Majestic Grocery Store and glad we have an excuse now to celebrate!!!!!!////FROM JACK:  I also got a Hershey's candy bar as a birthday present.  That will be my afternoon honor of the day!

 FROM LE IN ARIZONA:  My fav' chocolate candy would have to be malted milk balls. Though, do those count? Cause those don't come in a box of chocolates!  I hope you find your caramel!////FROM JACK:  Yes, I did get that caramel.  I don't see anything round, so, chances are slim for finding a malted milk ball.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Chocolate-covered Marzipan...ummmmm////FROM JACK:  Someone makes chocolate-covered jelly beans, and Starbucks serves chocolate-covered coffee beans, but I've never heard of chocolate-covered Boston baked beans.////RI:   can't respond now...I've got caramel tangled in my teeth!////JACK:  If you eat too much of that stuff, you won't have to worry about teeth.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Save me a Carmel.////FROM JACK:  Too bad!  There was only one.  You should have sent your request earlier.

 FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  First of all, everyone I tell that it's International Chocolate Day is very pleased. :)   Secondly, I'm not sure I can choose.  The Easter Bunny used to bring me a white chocolate bunny so I've always had a special place in my heart for white chocolate. Recently it's been dark chocolate and if you put almonds or hazelnuts with it; yum!  And who can resist a peppermint patty?   I keep a hand-crafted candy dish (made by my son Nick) on my desk so others can come by for a piece of chocolate if they're stressed, hungry or just need a little something. It's amazing the wonderful things chocolate can do to your disposition.////FROM JACK:  I used to keep an old-fashioned gumball machine in my office.  Kids were always begging their parents for pennies, so that they could use it.  Some of the "wise" ones knew that I had a penny-dish on my desk.

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  ALL OF THEM!!!////FROM JACK:  You should dress up and go trick or treating on Halloween.

 FROM SA IN MICHIGAN:  I love Cadbury chocolate with Almond.FROM JACK:  The Easter Bunny always seems to put Cadbury eggs in my basket.  Yes, I still have an Easter basket.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Chocolate gives me zits. Prefer jelly beans but I never figure out how to top  a banana split with them. So I settle for zits once in a while.////FROM JACK:  You could call it a "banana zit split."

 FROM DP IN MINNESOTA:  Any and all dark chocolate!////FROM JACK:  My mother used to wonder how come the package of Nestle chocolate bits was opened and half gone.

 FROM DFL IN OREGON:  Favorite Chocolate? Cherry Center! (Like them all!) Joy and Peace. ////FROM JACK:  Brach's Cherry Cordials, with dark chocolate...they are great!

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  My son and I are all about caramel but the almond toffee things are pretty good too.////FROM JACK:  Then you must like Heath bars?  Did you know that they make Heath bar ice cream?

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Whoa, I didn't know it was such an important day!  I will have to go out and get some chocolate!  My favorite candy is Bit o Honey but i will eat the occasional chocolate.  I don't have a favorite.////FROM JACK:  I also got a bag of Bit-O-Honey candy for my birthday.  Which reminds me... There are two remaining pieces that I need to eat.

 FROM DS IN MICHIGAN:  Plain dark chocolate – Yum   You’re going to eat just one? ;o)////FROM JACK:  I have to save room for the Hershey bar.

 FROM GUSTIE MN:  I'm with you--I like the chocolate covered caramels! ////FROM JACK:  When I was a kid my dad managed an A&P grocery story.  Chocolate covered caramels were then sold in bulk from a large brown cardboard box.  I was able to help myself.  The good old days!

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  MMMMMMMMMM!  White chocolate Lindor Balls from Switzerland. In fact Milk chocolate, Dark Chocolate,  Hazelenut, Mint, etc.etc. Lindor balls too... Not chocolate, but M & M Peanut butter candies are a family favorite here, too. Good thing I just played 18 holes of golf... RUN, Marilyn, RUN! HA!////FROM JACK:  You should have eaten a Life-Saver; then you would have gotten a hole in one.

 FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  Any dark chocolate! Yumm! And happy birthday. We share the same month. Maybe I will get some chocolates.////FROM JACK:  Ben & Jerry's makes a chocolate ice cream cake.
All cakes are made using Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The base of the cake is about a half inch layer of brownie, followed by one layer of ice cream, then a crunchy chocolate cookie crumb layer, and completed by another layer of ice cream. The cake is then decorated with whipped cream icing.

 FROM RF AT GOBLU:  I love any kind of chocolate!! Thanks for informing me that it's International Chocolate Day- now I have a reason to celebrate!////FROM JACK:  Is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on your reading list at the U?

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  Remember the Habernero Peanut Brittle we sent you?  That was probably NOT one of your favorites!////FROM JACK:  I'm used to jalapenos with my nachos, but with peanut brittle, it has to be an acquired taste.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  I love em all as long as its milk chocolate!////FROM JACK:  Milton Hershey would send you a "Kiss" if he were still alive.

 FROM CJL IN OHIO;  What does he mean by never knowing what you're going to get?  Doesn't everyone "punch" one before he/she takes it?////FROM JACK:  I usually can tell by the shape.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

 Winning Words 9/12/12
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”  (Agatha Christie)  Writer’s block was occasionally a problem for Agatha.  ..and also for Charles Schulz ..and Eminem ..and for people who don’t want to go to work.  Even preachers lack inspiration on occasion.  I’ve found that it helps to approach the day’s task with positive thoughts.  Out with the negative!  The brain, like a car, can shift gears and let you move ahead.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM EEC IN MICHIGAN:  I like that car analogy! Did u think that one up?////FROM JACK:  I keep my thinking cap next to the computer and sometimes put it on.

 FROM THE CREATOR OF OUR CHURCH'S STAINED GLASS WINDOWS:  So true!  Many's the time I struggled with 'getting started' on a design project. I finally stopped fretting over it when I realized that the 'pre-getting-started' phase was (for me) really an incubation period; the evolution of a big-picture approach to a complex challenge. I had been associating 'getting started' with the physical 'doing', rather than with harnessing and focusing my intellect and intent.  Someone (Woody Allen?) once said that "80% of success is showing up." ////FROM JACK:  I remember hearing you say that the "idea" for how to design our windows came to you while you were in a plane over the Pacific on your way to Japan.  How ideas happen is fascinating to me.  I "see" it as a spiritual thing.  A hymnwriter put it this way: "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform."////CREATOR:  That's how it happened -- at the culmination of the 'incubation period'. The thing is, we're not always open to God's inspiration - and even when we are, we're not always ready to do the right thing with it. That's where discipline (spiritual and otherwise) comes in!////JACK:  A great story and an affirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Procrastination takes more effort one would think. And it generates a helluva lot more guilt.////FROM JACK:  I seem to procrastinate less when I have fewer things in the to do box.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Wise old Confucius once said, " Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."  Probably true, but not every one has the luxury of choosing what they love to do, and still there are "dry spells" for all of us. Still, Will Rogers said something like, "If you just sit on the tracks, you're going to get run over", which is the other side of it!  God says, "You got into this canoe, keep paddling!" :-)////FROM JACK:  Is it possible to grow into loving the job that you do?  Does the same thing work with a relationship?

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  As an advertising copywriter (when the economy is good enuf to support such frivolity as advertising - ha!), I find that I just have to sit down and get something on paper. Anything. I can always change it later. That gets the creative juices flowing, and, before long, I have completed the task. Magic!////FROM JACK:  I agree.  Start scribbling notes and ideas.  The creative person can begin to make sense out of non sense.  It does seem like magic, doesn't it?

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  This is also a good quote for procrastinators to follow!.  I'm going to type it in large print and take it above my computer, but I'll wait and do it later.////FROM JACK:  I've posted this one by my computer.  GET TOUGH...GET OFF YOUR DUFF!

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It is good to have something to do each day-something fun or something good and helpful. That is a lesson everyone has to learn in retirement after years of working so hard. It is amazing to me how hard the young people these days work.  I guess we did, too, and you  still are.////FROM JACK:  I just talked with my high school senior grandson.  He's got tons of homework tonight.  Sometimes I don't want to relive the high school days.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Amen.////FROM JACK:  Yes, this is a good one for idea people (and song writers) like you.

 FROM AMK TO HER DAD:  Thanks for sharing Winning Words! I have always been a fan of inspirational quotes. They sometimes are what helps to keep me motivated! I can relate to today's winning words.. Sometimes it is hard for me to start an assignment or a project because of the expectations I have of myself and so I keep putting it off until the very last minute instead of just diving in.  It is cool that you are still in touch with Pastor Freed. How is he doing? I remember that he was who baptized me. Don't have any memory of the day I was baptized but I do remember attending some of his children's sermons. I have a strong urge to go to church again and I think I might give it a try this fall at the Lutheran church, just up the hill from our house.  Anyways, have a good day!////FROM JACK:  Something like this makes the day worthwhile for me

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  She was a very smart woman.  Writer's block hits me sometimes and I'm not even a writer.////FROM JACK:  Do you ever have talker's block?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Winning Words 9/11/12
“A penny is a lot of money, if you have not got a penny.”  (Yiddish Proverb)  Many years ago, in the business world, the phrase, “God’s Penny,” was used in reference to a small down payment (even a penny) to seal a deal.  It meant: God is a witness to this!  The word, omnipresent, is sometimes used to define God.  He’s always present.  Can you recall situations in your life to illustrate this?  A penny for your thoughts.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  When that Yiddish proverb first appeared, a penny probably was a lot of money.  Today pennies are litter...they are seen lying around and no one has any interest in stooping to pick them up.  It's no wonder that people are willing to ante up a penny for my thoughts.  I believe God is part of every element of His creation, so it follows that wherever I am, He is always present.////FROM JACK:  God's Penny is "holy!"  It's different from the penny that you describe.  My wife always stoops to pick up a penny lying of the ground.  "Oooooh!  a lucky penny!"

 FROM JAM IN VIRGINIA:  Yet again, something interesting to ponder . . . :-)  We're in the process of buying a house as my husband's new job is here.  Looks like we'll be on the east coast at least until the job market in CO improves.  Meanwhile, lots of pennies for the down payment!  Reminds me of yesterday's WW -- bad things (or difficult things) can be a blessing in disguise.  Our goal is to retire in CO, so we don't really want to be here.  God must have other plans!////FROM JACK:  During the Great Depression, there was an expression:  "He's so poor that he doesn't have two pennies to rub together."  You mention "a blessing in disguise."  I've always liked the old song: "Count your many blessings."

 FROM BF IN MICHIGAN:  Amen!!!////FROM JACK:  Do the 3 exclamation marks stand for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think the message is about how one's perspective needs to be considered in relationship to various circumstances -- as in walking in another's shoes. We must follow the path presented to us, and know that God is with us at each step and turn, regardless of the quantity of "pennies" given us. I am reminded of the Eastern proverb: a man with no food is wise to choose hunger.////FROM JACK:  I find it easier to be reflective when I have sufficient pennies...and food.  I find it difficult to walk in the shoes of those who have no shoes.////RAY:  You are right to note what you can reflect upon, because it can only be based on our own individual experience. Unless we take off our shoes, we cannot walk with those who have none. Unless we welcome Christ in our heart, so it is also impossible to know His walk.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  "See a penny pick it up all he day you'll have good luck...see a penny let it lie stick a needle in your eye."  I understand pennies are supposed to bring good luck but the needle in the eye I don't understand.  Just as we have a hard time understanding God can be everything to everybody.  He's guided my steps many many times, especially when I actually let Him.////FROM JACK:  I've never heard that needle in the eye slogan, but it's like "don't step on a crack, or you'll break your mother's back," saying.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  When my husband and I go to church, we are surrounded by quite a few old people, also going to church. Then when they go into their assisted living or nursing homes, we go there to visit them. For years I was visiting this one who finally was on a ventilator and also a feeding tube. For years. Praying and praying and praying and also lifting up joy when even a small little thing would happen that indicated she was having even some little bit of enjoyment or pleasure. We played Finnish songs on her CD player and also old 1940's music and she would move her legs. I used to be upset that she had to live such a long life. Well, she finally did die--over an Easter weekend, on a Saturday. With all the preaching and worshipping and hearing of the most emotional and spiritually intense scriptures, God seemed to be pounding on me that He is always present and there are things in life that we don't always see and He wants us to experience--not one minute of it is lived in vain. Her whole life absolutely glowed for me. Won't ever put too much stock anymore in ruminating on the "quality of life" and questioning God as I did back then. Pick up every penny, pay attention to every person no matter how insignificant they may seem to be to this world, they are contributing somehow someway to someone's transformations if we can only see it and catch on to it.////FROM JACK:  The table prayer that is so often sung..."Be present at our table, Lord.  Be here and everywhere adored...etc." can seem trite.  But, "Be here, and everywhere adored..." is certainly a prayer that I would like to have answered.  You have seen the answer in an elderly lady's room.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JOHN:  I agree with the sentiment if not the math. In 1965 as a child a penny was useful, I could get three pieces of candy at Missies Drug at the corner. Today pennies alone can buy little. Today it could be: “A dollar is a lot of money, if you have not got a dollar.”  (Federal Reserve Proverb) ////FROM JACK:  One of my favorite quotes from Everett Dirkesen (I have two) was about government spending.  "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."

  FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  O this day 9-11 I am just so thankful so have grown up in the USA. We will only be destroyed from within-both ourselves and our country.////FROM JACK:  God has blessed us beyond our deserving, for which we give humble thanks.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I still stoop to pick up "lucky pennies", b/cause I remember having to pinch them as a young minister's wife, and mother of four. We have a penny collection in our church circle, and at the end of the year, have a couple hundred  dollars to give to a needy cause in the community. Just pennies...!  I just read a mini-bio of Flannery O'Conner in which she says, "It makes a difference in a story whether the writer believes we are made in God's image,  or whether we create God in our own". Gave me pause...!  She was not a prolific author, but  a profound one!  I have felt God's leading in all of the important decisions of my life, the most important being the choice of a lifelong mate!////FROM JACK:  Do you still have that lucky penny you found on the day that you and Bill decided to be married?

 FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Once long ago, I bought a car and financed it with General Motors. I deliberately paid a penny more to see what would happen..Nothing did. No response, and no penny. ////FROM JACK:  During the Great Depression I remember being sent to the bank by my mother to cash an insurance refund check for 3 cents.

 FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  I truly can't remember a situation when He wasn't.////FROM JACK:  God is present, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.



Monday, September 10, 2012

Winning Words 9/10/12
“God writes straight on crooked lines.”  (Folk Wisdom)  Some things just don’t seem to make sense.  “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” for example.  The Bible described the sale of Joseph into slavery and its good outcome, in these words.  “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.”  God has a way of turning bad things into good things, given time and perspective.  Maybe you’ve seen it happen.  I have.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM INDY GENIE:  Yes... I've seen it happen..again and again.////FROM JACK:  The ancient Bible has relevance to what's happening, even today.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think that some of the worst things one has done, and some of the worst done to us, serve as opportunities for equal levels of transcendence into good. I call it "fertilizer". Paul had been using his zeal for justice with a misdirected understanding. God "educated" Paul, and used that same zeal in Paul for good -- of which we are all beneficiaries. Suffering, as a blessing from God, has quite a profitable potential.////FROM JACK:  I remember these words from Paul: "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed."  It's easier that is easier said than lived...when the glory remains yet to be revealed.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Your WW today reminds me of my learning penmanship in elementary school. I subscribe to a newspaper which recently published an article which stated "Regardless of whether they find themselves in a DPS, charter or EAA school, for the vast majority of our young people, attending school has become a form of child abuse. Subjected to relentless testing and the narrow notions of learning, our children are being forced to spend longer hours in an atmosphere governed by punitive practices that care little for them as whole people." This just doesn't make sense. "Why do Bad Things Happen to these Good Kids?" It sounds like there is every attempt to sell these kids into slavery. Usually, when I watch the news or read newspapers, I get more of a perspective that there is something wrong with the kids--too much television, inability to concentrate, speak well, lack of interest in reading, etc., etc., etc. need to test and make sure they are learning, etc., etc., it's interesting to entertain the thought that maybe the kids' perspective and behaviors are positive things that some people are listening to which will, given time and work turn the evil into the good that God wants for these kids and their communities and the world. I like the optimism of this WW folk wisdom.////FROM JACK:  School as child abuse?  I don't think so.  Complaining about the teachers and the homework is nothing new.  In fact, I seem to see far more learning opportunities available now than in the olden days of readin', writin' and 'rithmatic.  I know it's a generalization.  There can always be specific situations which back up your comments.////SHARON:  Still maintain something is wrong when kids are dropping out in droves. The same article said many have the idea the thing is to study and "get out of the community", go where there is more opportunity, etc., but actually the article posits that parents and kids and families might want more to to build up the community, find learning experiences directly related to doing things within the community to enhance life there together. The article called it "place-based education" I believe. Maybe joining the global workforce, going where the jobs are, success in the eyes of the most powerful in our society isn't so appealing to many youth. Do the schools everywhere have a lot of learning opportunities about the history, present and future of their communities? I know I never studied that in school though I did study Iowa and U.S. history. My parents always thought I would "go out into the world" but I think the family structure of many cultures is that the family feels like it is more "on its own" in our society than my parents and I have felt. Probably the nature of oppression. You write from your own good luck and fortunate educational experience I fear.////JACK:  I guess all we can do is write from our own experience.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The biblical story of Joseph has always been among my favorites, because as you said, it illustrates how God transforms suffering into triumph.  Moreover, Joseph remained faithful through all the hardship, realizing he was being guided by God's hand.  We usually fail to take into account that God pulls the strings.////FROM JACK:  You've captured the essence of today's WWs.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Romans 8:28, All things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."  I think one can bring good out of what has been a bad situation to experience. Often it takes awhile to see the "whole pattern".  I have a dear Christian friend, whose son stabbed a man in fight, (did not kill him...) and had to do prison time. While in prison, he became a Christian, and his life did a complete turn-about!  His mother said, "God put Kevin in a place where he could hear Him!"  Patience and 'Faith!~!////FROM JACK:  Now, that's what I was looking for when I asked, "Have you seen God turn bad things into good things?"  Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is more than a Broadway musical.

 FROM AG IN MICHIGAN:  I did a little browsing around your blog and the various entries.  There is a lot of wisdom in all of them, including today's entry.  I sometimes regret that during my school years and first few semesters at a university, I did not work harder and really did not take advantage of the opportunities that were available to me there (in short, I was lazy).  But had I done that, I probably would not have met my wife; I would have had an entirely different life, and that takes care of all my regrets ....////FROM JACK:  I'm reminded of the old saying:  "We grow too old soon and too late smart."  My school experience has some similarities to yours.  But, in some ways, I think that I am better, because of that experience.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Absolutely!  He knows what He's doing even if we don't understand. ////FROM JACK:  There's usually "pain" associated with it.  Does that mean, no pain, no gain?

 FROM MKH IN MICHIGAN:  Were you aware of the situation when you sent this or are you and the Lord just that tight?  You Rock!////FROM JACK:  After coming home at 4:30 am, from my counselling duties as Chaplain, I had to rewrite the Winning Words for the day.  I'm pleased that you noticed.  The tragic death of one of our police officers has been, indeed, a crooked line.

 FROM PL IN MICHIGAN:  When I was growing up, and faced disappointments or sadness over something, my mother would point at me and say, "Paul, you wait and see, something good will come out of this. Sometimes this wasn't what I wanted to hear. In most cases she was right. When I heard you say" G'd writes straight on crooked lines, I remembered my Mother and how wise she was.////FROM JACK:  One of G-d's great gifts is the ability to remember....and by remembering, the teacher's lesson lives on.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Winning Words 9/7/12
“Some of us think that holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it’s letting go.”  (Hermann Hesse)  “The Gambler” was a hit song for Kenny Rodgers…”You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”  This really isn’t about poker; it’s inherent wisdom.  In life, it’s important to know when enough is enough.  Is that something that can be learned, or is it trial and error?  I’m still learning; are you?   ;-)  Jack

 FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  I've printed this out and am putting the copy in one of our When Bad Things Happen to Good People, which remains the book about grieving I found most helpful. We've given a number of copies away over the years.////FROM JACK:  Early in my ministry, I came across a story that has seemed to stick with me.  On the Sunday after a tragic death had happened in a family, the mother and father and children came to church and settled into their usual pew.  A little girl nudged her mother and whispered, "They really do believe, don't they?"  We all struggle with belief.  "I believe, help my unbelief," said the father to Jesus.  I'm thankful for people who help me to believe.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sometimes we hold on with both hands something that needed to be let go.  I know I do.   We do learn by trail and error and hopefully, don't repeat the same thing over and over again. ////FROM JACK:  I guess that's why we need to "pray without ceasing."  As Gilda Radner put it so well, "It's always something."

 FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  Aren't we all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!////FROM JACK:  We never graduate from that educational process, do we?

 FROM SAINT JAMES:  You betcha!////FROM JACK:  It sounds like you've been hanging around Sarah Palin.

 FROM JB IN WISCONSIN:  With the recent passing of our mother we learned that sometimes the kind thing to do for a loved one is to let go.////FROM JACK:  It must have been difficult for the disciples to see Jesus ascend into the clouds, to let go.  But they were comforted by his promise that there will come another time when they will be reunited.

 FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  Is it learning by trial and error?  I'm still learning, too!////FROM JACK:  I think that most of us err on the side of wanting to hang on too long.////EMT:  And that is often only realized after the fact.  You know the old saying "hindsight is 20/20"  

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  It's a gut feeling, as any good poker player knows.////FROM JACK:  My gut doesn't feel so good when I wind up holding the Old Maid too long..

 FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  From my experience a combination of learning, experience and intuition, the latter of which is essentially a combination of your cumulative learning and experience, but something intangibly and hopefully, synergistically more.////FROM JACK:  In other words, life has taught you something.////ME:  I hope so.  Some times I think even that is a rebuttable presumption.  How's that for a fancy legal expression?////JACK:  Now I know why lawyers make BIG bucks....BIG words.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Once had a guy working for me whose motto was "I've learned my new thing for today. Think I'll take the rest of it off."  Ended up being "off" full time.////FROM JACK:  So, instead of holding on to him, you let him go.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Definitely still learning: As Clint Black has said, "The only easy day was yesterday"....Probably "letting go" of our children is difficult, but they have to live their own lives, and most of the time that works out well.  Good WW to ponder!  To hold tight, or  know when "it" is a lost cause... ////FROM JACK:  Some people have had more experience at it than others.  Thomas Dorsey was able to write "Precious Lord, take my hand," because that's the only way he could hold on.

FROM BS IN LONDON:  I always find your WW very helpful and so spot on with living but today's was very thought provoking for me.  The wonderful friend that I live with has Alzheimer's and I'm getting close to " folding "   Daily life is no longer fun but a struggle and I'm not sure how much longer she can remain at home.   Please keep us in your prayers.   What a cruel disease this is!!!!!////FROM JACK: Perhaps this modern translation of the 23rd Psalm can be of help to you.
PSALM 23  (From Psalms/Now by Leslie Brandt)
The Lord is my constant companion.
There is no need that He cannot fulfill.
Whether His course for me points
      to the mountaintops of glorious ecstasy
      or to the valleys of human suffering,
   He is by my side,
   He is ever present with me.
He is close beside me
      when I tread the dark streets of danger,
      and even when I flirt with death itself,
   He will not leave me.
When the pain is severe,
   He is near to comfort.
When the burden is heavy,
   He is there to lean upon.
When depression darkens my soul,
   He touches me with eternal joy.
When I feel empty and alone,
   He fills the aching vacuum with His power.
My security is in His promise
      to be near to me always,
   and in the knowledge
      that He will never let me go.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes (to your question), but in a different way, I guess.  Our friend and neighbor who was in his wheelchair and who had the ramp built for him because he liked to go around the block and to visit everyone, passed away in his sleep.////FROM JACK:  "Changing neighborhoods" means different things in different situations.

 FROM CJL IN OHIO:  Glad to hear you're still learning.  You must be because, at least, of WW. ////FROM JACK:  Right now I'm reading a book that I didn't quite finish when I was in college English as a freshman.  "One Man's Meat"   by E.B. White.  It's really good.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Winning Words 9/6/12
“More and more we are into communications and less and less into communication.”  (Studs Terkel)  He didn’t have a great voice, but Studs really knew how to talk and to write.  My favorite book of his is, Working.  When I lived in the Chicago area, I enjoyed his radio and TV shows.  Studs was a communicator.  IMO, we have too many people talking to our ears and not to our mind.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MV IN MICHIGAN:   I saw the Broadway play “Working”. The music was done by James Taylor and was really good.////FROM JACK:  I wonder how Studs would have described the work that you do, and what music James Taylor would use?  Sunny Skies?////MV:  If he believed “essence precedes existence” and that if you work towards “Sunny Skies” you just might achieve them or at least the clouds might part. Isn’t that the basis of the Optimists? I don’t know if Studs, the media or general consensus really understand what we do. Of course there are sound bites about us but aren’t there in every profession? Isn’t that the way of the world today? Attention spans have shortened as texting, twittering, 60 minute TV shows, 30 second commercials, 30 second news reports have affected our thinking. Ideas don’t grow and expand. We are inundated with these sound bites and our opinions have been formed by them.////JACK:  Even a sermon can be a sound bite.  There's so much more to the story.  Before retirement, I would occasionally spend part of a day with a church member at their "work."  I'd do it anonymously, so that other employees wouldn't know that I was a pastor.  I spent time in an IBM office, where everyone seemed to dress alike.  I spent time next to a doctor as he performed an operation.  Those experiences helped me to better understand the "Working" people in my congregation.  I never got into a brokerage office.

 FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  Or is it that too many people today do not listen to what is being said??????? ////FROM JACK:  If the congregation isn't listening, maybe the pastor needs to re-examine his/her sermon. ////CL:  I believe it even happens in personal 1on 1 conversations.  People are to busy worrying about what they will say rather than listening to what the other person is saying to them.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Maybe that's why nobody listens anymore.////FROM JACK:  That reminds me of the Yogi quote:  "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

 FROM BLAZING OAKS: Studs Terkel was greatly appreciated in our household!  There is certainly a vast assortment of communications available, not sure about the paucity of value to the mind...With the internet, one can learn so much, and such good books on every hand.  We all need to be life-long learners, and try to share what we learn! (You  do this in WW!)////FROM JACK:  I try to share stuff that interests me with people who also might find it to be interesting stuff.  Stud's stuff interested me.

 FROM LINDA P:  I enjoy your daily Winning Words!  It is just like old times when I used to read them in the bulletin every Sunday back at Holy Spirit!////FROM JACK:  That's when you were a teen, and I began my collection of sayings when I was a teen.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  How about it!  My daughter's middle school did the musical, Working…recall it was pretty good.  Studs was a great voice for the ordinary person.////FROM JACK:  There's something about a Chicago person.  Studs was that kind of guy.  So are you and your kids.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I'll second this one!  Changes can be wonderful, but sometimes it can cause a whole different set of problems.  Teachers are upset because kids aren't learning how to spell.   It's all abbreviations and codes now.  The attention span has changed for the worse too.  We have Family night.  TV is off, phones are off, and conversation and interaction is the main point.   It's fun too.////FROM JACK:  I suppose Family Night is postponed when the Tigers or the Red Wings are playing?

 FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  Well, isn't this the truth! I keep telling everyone at work when there are issues: it all boils down to communication.////FROM JACK:  Ronald Reagan was called, The Great Communicator, because he had a way of "connecting" with people.  Since I grew up seeing him in the movies, I always wondered, when he was President, whether he was speaking for real or acting.  I say this, because we always have to try to be "real" in our communications.  Veracity is a good word.