Thursday, February 28, 2013

Winning Words 2/28/13
“I’ve never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.”  (Paul Harvey)  The poster-child of pessimism is said to be the German philosopher, Schopenhauer.  After some searching I did find a statue of him in a Frankfurt park.  It captures his perpetual frown.  Harvey is right.  Pessimists don’t get the recognition that comes to optimists, like MLK, Jr.  “I have a dream!”  Statues are fine…but, more important is why they’ve been created.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM WALMART REV:  One of my favorite lines I use often: "Optimists invented the airplane . . . pessimists invented the parachute . . . realists fly the plane!!"////JACK:  Opportunists use it as a means of transportation.  I remember when people used to buy trip insurance before they took a flight.  I don't hear of many people doing that anymore.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Paul Harvey was a very special man.  We loved to listen to his words and wisdom and kindness too.   He should have a statues but I know he would settle for uplifting and informing us all.////JACK:  I don't know if there's a statue of Paul Harvey, but he's buried in a mausoleum in Forest Home Cemetery, Cook County, Illinois.  Evangelist Billy Sunday is buried in the same cemetery.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Wasn't it Charlie Brown's nemesis, Lucy, who said, "I'm very optimistic about my pessimism!"  Obviously she was working both sides of the street.////JACK:  That sounds like Lucy.  The rock band, Paramore, has a song lyric: "For a pessimist, I'm pretty optimistic."  I think that most of us walk on both sides of the street at one time or another.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  pessimists live longer, according to a new study. but i doubt it.////JACK:  I have a sign posted by my computer, "SAY NO to negative thinking."  You can copy it, if you want to.////LIZ:  i am getting a large & colorful tattoo that says "think before you do anything permanent."////JACK:  I didn't know that you were into "ink."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  PESSIMISTS ARE NOT PLEASANT TO BE AROUND; THEY DRAG YOU DOWN! I JUST FINISHED READING "SEWARD" BY WALTER STAHR, AND AM NOW READING "JEFFERSON - THE ART OF POWER", AND YOU REALIZE THROUGH THESE HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES THAT EVERY ERA HAS HAD ITS CAUSE FOR PESSIMISM AND GREAT UNCERTAINTY,  BUT WE CARRY ON WITH HOPE IN OUR HEARTS!  WHY CONTINUALLY OBSESS OVER THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON??!////JACK:  The dark side is only dark, because it's been deprived of light.  I like the slogan of The Christophers..."It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."  How many times have you sung "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine?"

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  "Pessimists United" is a society that never realized its potential because the membership didn't trust each others judgement.////JACK:  You probably didn't know that actually is a Pessimists United organization.  I sent them your name as a possible candidate for membership.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I am definitely an optimist, and, as I said in my American Dream class yesterday, I prefer to hang out with the young and the young at heart.  No offense intended, but more of the men seemed to be pessimists than the women.  None of us have a statue as far as I know.////JACK:  I suppose that your sampling was pretty small.  I checked some studies and found evidence on both sides of the issue.  The results are inconclusive.  It generally depends on who you hang out with.  "Birds of a feather..."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winning Words 2/27/13
“Too often man handles life as he does the weather.  He whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop.”  (Alfred Polgar)  Life is often like the weather.  “Into each life some snow must fall.”  The local weather forecast is for a BIG snowstorm, but probably not as big as Whittier described in his poem, “Snowbound.”  Snow-bound, or life-bound, what  are some interesting and worthwhile things to do as we while away the time?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JB IN PENNSYLVANIA:  This one hits home.  Time for me to get moving. :) ////JACK:  We each have only so much time in this life.  How much should be allotted to "whiling?"

 FROM WALMART REV:  Great time to catch up on posting, filing and studying by way of the computer and internet . . . electricity off, makes for a whole different attitude and direction!////JACK:  It's amazing that you can use your computer when the electricity is off.  You and God have miraculous powers.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There  was a lot of scurrying around yesterday morning by people getting ready for the BIG snowstorm.  But it was nice to see the beautiful big snowflakes coming down.////JACK:  In the poem, Snowbound, the family made sure that there was plenty wood available to keep a fire in the fireplace.  Their only forecaster was The Farmer's Almanac, which didn't seem as scary as TV and radio.

 FROM MV IN MICHIGAN:  My father used to sing us that song: “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” ////JACK:  Did you know?  That song is based on this poem...
The Rainy Day (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
  And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
  And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
  Some days must be dark and dreary.
 ////MV:  I did not know this. Thank you for letting me know. I forwarded this to other family members. I love the poem.

   FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  I am taking advantage of being temporarily snowed in today.  Our Wed morning Bible Study is cancelled as it is when ever the schools are cancelled.  I will try to finish a special scrapbook that I have been working on.  But I have made a huge pot of soup for tonights Lenten supper!  I wonder if it will fit in my freezer!?  I am NEVER lacking something interesting to do! ////JACK:  WWJD?  Do you think he'd call off the Soup Supper?

FROM MY LAWYER:  Among them, reading your precious emails.////JACK:  Did you mean precocious?

 FROM MY FLORIST:  TIME that is the real currency of life; how you spend your time is critical.  Billable hours, hourly rates, salary’s are paid for ones time, through which fortunes can be built. Not by the one who receives the wage rather by the one who pays it wisely.  I remember a “Twilight Zone” that allowed for an old man to buy years from a young man although all the complications escape me, my 30,000 foot recall was that it turned into a mess for everyone. ////JACK:  The Twilight Zone was one of my favorite TV series, because it caused me to THINK!  BTW, A stanza from Isaac Watts' hymn, "O God, Our Help," is:

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Another of the stanzas may be of interest to you....
Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Your poetry reference brings back old memories...I think it was the first significant poem that I had to read in elementary school, and memorize the first verse.  "The sun that brief December day, rose cheerless over hills of gray, and darkly circled gave at noon a sadder light than waning moon."  (Interesting how some things stick in your mind.)  Since we moved to New England we have witnessed what the poet chose to write about.  Stuck inside during a snowstorm, writing poetry is one thing to do to wile away the time...but another prudent use of the time (though less interesting) would be tackling your income tax reporting.////JACK:  My use of "while" and your use of "wile" caused me to research the grammar..."The phrase meaning to pass time idly is while away. It is older and more logical than wile away. But because the second phrase occurs so frequently, it is now included in many dictionaries."  Wile waiting for the storm to pass, you can while your time in any manner you choose.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It helps for me, as an only  child, to have 18 grandchildren to keep me busy with all of their activities,  It helps,too, to live in a neighborhood where most of us have lived over 40 years and we all know what is going on and who needs help  and when they need help. I have already  told  you about Pop who is102 and who was riding his bike around the block until a few weeks ago.  Just last week another neighbor celebrated her 95th birthday and still works in her yard. Other than helping others,  I walk and swim and travel and go to USF Olli classes (the last class of the American Dream is today), concerts,opera,and plays, museums,etc.  And the Strawberry Festival starts Thursday Plant City.  Life is exciting and wonderful.////JACK:  For our church's Soup Supper tonight (if it's not cancelled because of the snow) someone has signed up to bring Strawberry Soup.  Have you ever heard of that?  BTW, maybe you can buy Pop's 3-wheeler if he's not going to use it anymore.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  You got me again!  Read the whole bloody thing because I got hooked and didn’t know how long it would be.  What a great piece of writing.  Thank you for sharing.  I admit I had to look up Buskins, Couchant and the long town Memphig…….  A fascinating look at life “back then” – having just seen Django unchained the comments about slavery were of interest too.  Thanks for always making me think!////JACK:  The same thing happened to me.  I pulled "Snowbound" from my memory bank and Googled it for a refresher.  I kept reading and reading and reading.  JGW was a great writer.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Life is just a bowl of cherries  So live and laugh at it all////JACK:  And sometimes life is "the pits."  My aunt once made a cherry pie, leaving the cherries unpitted.  "I didn't feel like pitting them, so you can just spit them out, if you want the pie."

 FROM DP IN MINNESOTA:  Make quilts for needy folks, and play "words with friends"////JACK:  I've never made a quilt, nor even sewed on a button...but I've collected money, food and clothing for the needy, and I've played Scrabble, if that"s your word game.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I read a thought this week that seems  to apply here:   "Many events will happen in one second~ enjoy the seconds that give you life; with them you can do many things,  Important or Trivial, Eternal or Perishable, Relevant or Irrelevant  It does not matter, Just  enjoy your seconds, they are unique."  And of course seconds turn into minutes, minutes to hours, etc. and  so a life goes by... Hopefully, we won't miss a second of it!////JACK:  There are 31,556,926 seconds in a year.  Let's see...How many seconds have you lived?

 FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Whiling away the time is not so good for us old folks.  Dave has had a decline and been identified as a "vulnerable adult".  Which results in my being with him 24/7.  That is difficult as I love to quilt, play bridge, facilitate the support group etc etc etc.  Besides getting grocery, going to church, the bank etc etc etc.  so the kids are coming home on Saturday to help plan the best course for David and me.  It is quite overwhelming and very scary.   I know you will pray for us.  And that is comforting.////JACK:  "Life-bound" has taken on a new meaning for you.  I think of the "storm" story about Jesus and his disciples in a boat during fierce winds and big waves.  The disciples were distressed, because Jesus was sleeping.  "Master, why are you sleeping?  Don't you care."  Jesus awoke and stilled the storm.  Sometimes our faith is tested by life's storms.  Be assured.  Jesus is near, and he does care.  You and Dave and your family are in my prayers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winning Words 2/26/13
“Macho does not prove mucho.”  (Zsa Zsa Gabor)  Zsa Zsa’s opinion about “Macho” caused me to look up the word to be sure of its meaning…”Histrionically tough.”  What people come to your mind?  A survey asked, “What is the most macho country?”  Mexico and Italy were at the top.  Do you remember The Village People singing, “Macho Man?”  Do you have an opinion as to what/who is a “Mucho” Man (Woman)?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Actually, ZZ is denying a tautology....she might have said "Macho does not prove to be tough"////JACK:  That tautology stuff doesn't mean much to the hoi poloi.  A lot of the people who try to act tough are putting on an act.  It's often done in the animal world.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  No one really comes to mind.  I'm just having fun singing the song!////JACK:  Bullies are a good example.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Somehow I find combination of words "histrionically tough" to almost laughable -- although the behavior of many macho men is quite the opposite. ////JACK:  From the Latin, histrionicus, meaning an actor.  "It's all an act!"  Have you forgotten the recent political campaign?

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Looked up "histrionically". I always enjoyed The Village People--one looked like a contractor, one an Indian, one a policeman or someone in a uniform, a couple of other sexy-looking men in working class uniforms, they all looked so capable and like they were trying to say the average hard-working "Joe" had something to feel proud about and sing about. But outside of that song, usually--if I meet up with a macho mucho man woman, usually realize what I have to say won't be really given any credibility, because of all the histrionically toughness so any genuine conversation is sort of curtailed. It's really interesting The Village People were able to help the word have a good connotation, in my opinion at least. Another interesting WW.////JACK:  Mucho Gracias!

 FROM WALMART REV:  Macho Man was a former WWE wrestler that was here today and gone tomorrow when no longer an asset to know me, Jack... I'm a Christ-like follower of those types of men and women...have several in my life, including you!////JACK:  You folks in Minnesota recently had a Macho-Man as your Governor.////REV:  You would have to remember 'ol Jesse V.

  FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  George Patton ////JACK:  He had several nicknames: The Old Man, Old Blood and Guts, Bandito.  His mother called him, Georgie!


 FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  ZaZa  was one of my favorites.////JACK:  I liked Eva as Lisa in Green Acres.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  gotta love zsa zsa!////JACK:  You remind me more of Zasu.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Winning Words 2/25/13
“Get the right perspective. When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, ‘He is so big. We can never kill him.’ David looked at the same giant and thought, ‘He is so big. I can't miss.’"  (Russ Johnston)  Are there some problems or issues facing you this week?  I have these words by my computer: “What if….?”  David came up with the slingshot idea.  There’s a “slingshot” in your mind, too.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  The Woodwright's School was a great experience.   The leader has degrees from UNC and Duke, lived in a commune, built and helped to rebuild many of the homes at Willamsburg, has a PBS show that has run for 25 years and is very understanding of old Swedes who are neophytes in his trade.   I loved it.   Am home now working on a project.////JACK:  School is not just for whippersnappers.  Everybody needs a "project."  It's good that you have one.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  Like.////JACK:  Is there a difference between love and like?

 FROM WALMART REV:  Praying I stay with the sling shot fighting the Goliaths and away from the balcony and Bathshebas . . . much better to stay with the song in David's heart than the agony he had at the altar! ////JACK:  In Sunday School we'd sing the song, "Yield not to temptation."  I wonder id David ever went to Sunday School?

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Great perspective!  I love the quote.  We should ponder the words and think about the the extra-large Goliath's in our lives and how we can overcome them.////JACK:  Art was greatly changed when perspective was introduced.  The same can happen with our life.

 ROM SHARIN' SHARON:  For some strange reason I never thought about David thinking that. Actually the trouble is, with a big giant like that, the little rock still could have just bounced off his forehead or something. Actually, I prefer believing that when David fired off his slingshot, it wasn't until the giant started falling over that he realized he had been able to do something amazing--also that David, not any of the soldiers was "chosen" and "used by God" for the job. I like David's act being a little more mysterious and awesome and inspiring for the rest of us to do our acts we are chosen by God for, then the piddly little WW you have for him today.  He is so big. I can't miss? Doesn't seem very real to me.////JACK:  Today's WWs isn't really about David and his slingshot; it's about David and his attitude...and what we can learn from it.  David believed that he could defeat the giant before him (with God's help).  Sometimes we have giants before us in this life.  Our attitude must be..."With God's help, I can overcome the GIANT."

 FFROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Good way to start the week! Encouraging words. Why settle for a slingshot... I'm building a catapult.////JACK:  Why settle for am old-fashioned catapult when you can buy an AK-47?

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  RUSS JOHNSTON (NOT FAMILIAR WITH HIM!) SURE GOT THIS ONE RIGHT! LOVED THE PERSPECTIVE YOU SHARED TODAY IN WW!  HOPE I CAN REMEMBER THIS WHEN SOMETHING INTIMIDATING LOOMS ON THE HORIZON!! ////JACK:  The chaplain at Finlandia Univ in the U.P. (Hancock, MI) used it on the front of a bulletin used for a worship service for the students.  Attitude matters!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Winning Words 2/22/13
“If you want something done right, you have to live in the past.”  (B E K)  Have you ever wished for “do-overs” in life?  Most of us can look back and see how we could have made better decisions.  But, we don’t live in the past.  However, we can learn from the past.  A teacher once wrote on a child’s lesson sheet, “You can do better!”  Monday’s WWs quote said that each day is a new opportunity     ;-)  Jack

 FROM WALMART REV:  An old joke once said that Liberace's mother had a heart attack when someone told him to take his piano and go back to where he started from!////JACK:  Only Geezers remember Liberace.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I wish I had "got the Bible" when I was in my 20's, not my 40's. But thankfully better late than never. But now I'm in such consternation that a lot of 20's and 30's that I know seem to be having some sort of questions too and wonder and hope that, in their 40's, they will be in church too. Difficult as my faith journey has been, still trying to figure out all that can be learned from it and especially hoping to do better so am a servant helping God to build His Kingdom and not drive people away. ////JACK:  Each generation seems to have its own set of problems and opportunities.  Without the passage of time, we don't know if this is good or bad.  Looking back on my own life journey, I'll vote for the good.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Interesting thought.  Most things we attempt in "older" ages have nothing to do with the mistakes we made or the "things" we face today.  There are different types of decisions we face now than we did in the past.  We still make mistakes but not necessarily the sometimes life-changing mistakes we made when we didn't know better.////JACK: Most of the right/wrong decisions we make depend on the value system that we've developed.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Always do your best, and God will do the rest.////JACK:  I have a friend who is not very happy with the present.  The past was better, in his mind, and he longs for the future...the ultimate one.  BTW, the word, luddite, applies to him.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winning Words 2/21/13
“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”  (Edith Sitwell)  People have some strange hobbies.  A 79-yr-old rides roller coasters.  A man gives away $10 each day to some needy person.  Angelina Jolie collects daggers.  Hobbies often tell something about the individual.  A look at the life of Dame Edith can explain her wanting to be alone.  I’ve had hobbies, but none involved silence.  How about you?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  When I get up in the morning, I don't put in my hearing aids until after breakfast, paper and coffee...the silence is golden.////JACK:  I wonder what it was like for Helen Keller?

 FROM WALMART REV:  Silence would not be on list . . . sitting at Wal-Mart working the crowd with a welcoming smile might be in order . . . or would that be work!?////JACK:  I remember waking up one Sunday morning with laryngitis. ////REV:  This myasthenia gravis I carry in my body manifested itself almost five years ago now and caused my tongue to go limp where I could not formulate any words . . . my first impression before any treatment was that my days with any public speaking was doomed. I'm very thankful it was treatable and able to be maintained with medication and finding little discomfort, beside constant fatigue, in regards to any speaking assignments.////JACK:  It might have been Mark Twain who said: "I never trust anyone who makes a living with his mouth."

 FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you!  for this message .... my dad was always challenged by his friend "Meyer, get a hobby, you have no hobbies..."  his hobbies were reading, listening to music and silence.  Who knew he HAD hobbies and these in fact are mine and now because of YOUR MESSAGE I have the answer to those who ask the question of me and challenge me that I do not have hobbies!  Have a beautiful day////JACK:  Winning Words is a wonderful hobby which keeps me in touch with people like you.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  About 10 years ago, a Pastor introduced a group of us to contemplative/centering prayer. Off and on I've tried to develop a discipline of praying like this. Actually, part of the method is to think a mantra word over and over to help get rid of distracting thoughts so you can hear God. The mantra word I used was "silence" but unfortunately haven't been able to stick with the discipline. How has Edith Sitwell been able to stick with her hobby of silence? Reading and listening to music are two long-established hobbies for me too.  Interesting WW again today.////JACK:  Sometimes it's hard to find silence.  Buy ear plugs?  Go into the closet?  Join a Trappist monastery (or a convent)?  Here's a song I like.

THANK YOU LORD (Kurt Kaiser)

Early in the morning
While the world is still,
Before the daylight streaks the sky,
I would know his will.
I commune with him, my Savior,
And listen carefully
And seek the strength I need from him
While praying quietly.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing me.
Thank you, Lord, for knowing who I am.
Thank you, Lord, for seeing me.
It's so easy to get lost these days
In the shuffle and the noise.

Why not try to do this
When you wake up in the night
With problems racing through your mind
And sleep becomes a fight?
Try this simple method,
It soon will gain control
And rest will surely come again
And calm down all your soul.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing me.
Thank you, Lord, for knowing who I am.
Thank you, Lord, for seeing me.
It's so easy to get lost these days
In the shuffle and the noise.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Mostly  I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people and and seeing new things.  It's a wonderful world that we live in.////JACK:  That's a hobby of mine, too.  This morning, as Public Safety Chaplain, I sat in on a couple of briefings.  A learning experience.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We are a family of hobbies:  from pocket knives, to scrapbooking, to marbles and on and on.  But there is nothing quite like turning off the t.v. or radio and just listening to nothing.  Lovely!////JACK:  I wonder how many people have the hobby of collecting pictures and stories of outhouses?  Is there a "Society" for this kind of person?////JUDY:  There is an organized collector's group for outhouses.  It's based out of Canada and they are trying to save the old structures worldwide.

 FROM BM IN MICHIGAN:  As a kid, roughly from age 8 to 14, I was a pretty serious coin & stamp collector.  I still have the collections.  In addition, when I was twelve, I thought about saving newspapers & magazines, which I thought would have some historical significance.  That started in June, 1953, with the headline “Truce Signed”.    This collection has grown to somewhat gigantic proportions, filling file cabinets & boxes.  I still add to it.  You can imagine what Margie has to say about that.////JACK:  I wouldn't be surprised to see you turn up on a TV episode of HOARDERS one of these days.  Have you see the show?////BM:  I have not seen the show, but everything I have, other than a few items, is in “containers” and not in any regular living area of our house.////JACK:  Google:  Hoarding - Buried Alive TLC.

 FROM HR IN MICHIGAN:  More people should seriously consider the hobby of silence, I can think of a few including myself.////JACK:  If that were brought up at one of your meetings, I wonder what the vote would be?

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Defintely  Reading!!  I treasure the time I can spare to sit and read, usually at night. Funny you mentioned Outhouses...Bill's dad had quite a collection of funny and bizarre   Outhouses, and cartoons regarding them...He had them bound into soft-cover books and gave them to business  clients! (Construction business)   As I recall it was quite entertaining! ////JACK:  You might be interested in reading a small article, "The Specialist," which describes someone who knows how to construct outhouses.  The author is Chic Sale.  You can Google it.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  I have a friend who collects signatures of Trolls. She hangs out under bridges and overpasses. While waiting for trolls to pass by, she counts automobiles and has gotten pretty good at identifying cars by the sound. Her favorite automobile sound is the 1967 Ford Mustang convertible. The trolls have begun to accept her and sometimes listen to cars with her. The seen to favor the Volkswagen Microbus, introduced in 1955, and is probably the forerunner of the SUV craze. She is planning to exhibit the troll signatures at the 2020 World's Fair in Greenland. Has 12 signature so far. Since she has taken the vow of silence, it is hard to communicate to the trolls what she wants. She hands them pad and pencil but they generally draw pictures. She is going to exhibit those also.////JACK:  I have some friends who are police officers.  They sometimes give rides to the trolls in their pet-troll cars.

 FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  I do like silence and being alone with my thoughts.  I think this comes from my traveling years and spending hours and days alone in the car.  This is still today my thinking and planning time.////JACK:  Willie Nelson sang..."On the road again Goin' places that I've never been Seein' things that I may never see again And I can't wait to get on the road again."  But what about the "down" times, the periods of silence, when you're alone with your thoughts?  The Gideons put the Bible in hotel rooms for a reason.

 FROM AW IN MICHIGAN:  Silence may be used as an umbrella term to encompass activities that are done routinely during quiet such as reflective thinking, playing a solitaire card game, walking alone, exercising alone without music. Some people find silence difficult to deal with, while others enjoy moderate doses of it. ////JACK:  You're right.  Sometimes, when I'm writing a sermon, I like to have music playing softly in the background.  One CD that I like is, "Mozart For The Mind."  It seems to help.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winning Words 2/20/13
“The only wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.”  (Socrates)  Sgt Schultz was forever saying, “I know nothing.”  We laughed, but it’s true.  There’s so much in the air, the oceans, the earth that we have yet to discover.  Since the time of Socrates, we’ve only scratched the surface.  An oceanographer was asked how much we know the sea.  He had a one-word answer: “Diddly!”  Watch out for those who have all the answers.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JAN:  I had a history teacher in high school that used to say, "The more you know the more you know you don't know ". Guess she was right!////JACK:  An aging Michelangelo scribbled in the margin of one of his sketches, "Ancora Imparo'....(I am still learning)

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Putting this all together.  "diddly" =  " nothing"////JACK:  Diddly is a shortened version of diddly-squat, which is a cleaned-up version of....  Does diddly also apply to our study of the Agnostos Theos?

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  In my opinion wisdom is LEARNING from the mistakes of the past & realizing there is a great deal more we have to learn to become wiser..////JACK:  Recently I referred to the symbol for infinity which is called, the lemniscate.  The lemniscate can also be a symbol of "learning." 

FROM WALMART REV:  I don't know what to say!?////JACK:  "Put a cork in it!"

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I remember after completing my "defense" at my final dissertation meeting, and knowing that the process was finally over, I thought, "I'm finished, and there is so much more I never even got to". That experience actually made the conferred degree quite insignificant to me. I experienced what Jan's teacher used to say. It is humbling for sure...yet, I still think it is crucial for one who has cognitive capacities to exercise and utilize them to their fullest. There are far too many who never seem to engage them in the first place!\////JACK:  One of the quotes that I first committed to memory was:  " 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)

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That is the fun of life= learning new things. I say this as I am about to leave for my OLLI class at USF on the American Dream and what it is these days.////JACK:  I had to look it up...OLLI stands for...Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI)  which offer noncredit courses with no assignments or grades to “seasoned” adults over age 50. The Foundation was established by philanthropist Bernard Osler, who believed that you're never too old to learn.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  the first step toward perfection is acknowledging that you will never be perfect...////JACK:  Seriously, what do you think Jesus meant when he said, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect?"

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I am a fount of useless information but I'm always willing to share it. ////JACK:  Information is information.  Charles Dickens said, " No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else."  Information is like that.

 ROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  How do you know you know nothing if you know nothing?////JACK:  I don't know.

 FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Boy, do I have wisdom.////JACK:  I know that!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winning Words 2/19/13
“I’m forever letting tomorrow’s work slop backwards into today’s.”  (J.A. Spender) Slop is an onomatopoeia word, sounding like its meaning.  Sometimes we spoil today by concentrating too much on tomorrow.  The Sermon on the Mount advises, “Let tomorrow take care of tomorrow.”  This is one in a list of “Bible Verses for Tough Times,” that I came across recently.  “Today is the day I worried about yesterday!”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM WALMART REV:  The old story came back to me about the lazy cowhand that was just hired by the rancher and found in his bunk on Monday morning while the rest of the crew was out working the range...when asked why he was still in the sack, he replied: "Well, I woke up thinking since the day after tomorrow is Wednesday and with the week half over, I might as well wait and start working next Monday!" 0;-0////JACK:  A few pastors are like that when it comes to making "calls."

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  I always found that working ahead opened up more possibilities for the future days.////JACK:  There's something to be said being prepared by working ahead.  I have a sign on my wall: "If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done."

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I've done that before...worrying about yesterday, and all I got out of it was regret. Regret can be a useful experience -- if it helps to keep me from repeating a sloppy act.////JACK:  Last minute work is usually sloppy work.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  One day at a time.  Otherwise there is unnecessary stress, which is not good for anyone.  Some  days are harder than others, as we all know  Some times it is harder to be young at heart, especially when someone is ill and suffering.////JACK:  Sometimes the soup tastes better when it's allowed to simmer.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Definitely on-the-mark quote for me--however I'd like to not think it's "forever". Working to change this tendency to worry about things that probably will never happen--and have plenty of friends who tell me not to worry, including you.////JACK:  The slopping action is sometimes hard to control.  But, if at first you don't succeed...(you know the rest).

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How very true but how very hard to do.  Today is a brand new day and yesterday is a memory.////JACK:  The secret of affecting change...Don't give up!

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ AND HER DAD:  Like.////JACK:  Great minds think a-LIKE!

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Jack liked the term onomatopoeia, I suppose that describes some of the esemplastic words I created when I did Good Debt, Bad Debt.  Such as: Debtabetes, and Consumerati.  Folks instinctively know what they mean.  Sadly I am familiar with slop too.////JACK:  Esemplastic is a new word for me, but I read that it was said to have been invented by the poet Coleridge, 200 years ago.  There's always something old that seems to be new.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Buzzzzzzz! Clank! Pow! (and Slop is a pretty descriptive word!) PRAY, HOPE, DON'T WORRY  advises Saint Padre Pio. Good advice for any day; I like your quote "Today is the Tomorrow we worried about Yesterday" If what we worried about occurs, we've lived it twice, if not, we needn't have agonized ...////JACK:  Onomatopoeia is a fun word to say.  Can you think of any others?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Winning Words 2/18/13
“Good or bad start, each day is an opportunity to make the world a better place for others and for yourself."  (3 Minutes a Day)  Jimmy Durante sang: “You gotta start off each day with a song.”  I start off each day by sending out a positive message to friends.  I also read something uplifting from a book, “3 Minutes a Day.”  It’s not always easy to be positive in a negative world.  Accent the positive; eliminate the negative!    ;-)  Jack

 FROM DR JUDY IN MICHIGAN:  And I'm so appreciative that you do -- start off your day with a positive message to friends. I'm honored to be your friend!!////JACK:  The first response for today...and it's a good way to start a Monday.

(Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen)////JACK:  I'll bet the shoppers are wondering about that basso-profondo  singing coming from the coffee shop.

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

(To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark)

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between
Do you hear me, hmm?

 FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  Your Winning Words helps the rest of us start the day in a positive way! ////JACK:  There's an old saying..."One hand washes the other."  Think of the that as you stand at the sink today.  Life is about helping one another.

 FROM DR IN REMISSION:  Jack - told you before how much I appreciate your daily words - have used them at staff meetings and in bulletins and news letters - have meant most these past 10 months as I've battled cancer into PTL remission - keep good words coming - best usually reflect The Word - gratefully ////JACK:  I'm reminded of the words of Longfellow: "I shot an arrow into the air and where it fell, I knew not where."  Winning Words are sometimes like that.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  ok, devil's advocate here... just how does one eliminate the negative?////JACK:  "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."
(Buddha)   For some people, it's harder than for others.  A lot of it depends on one's circumstances.  It's like with many situations..."I'm gonna try."   Baby steps!

 FROM DAIRY STATE DONNA:  Amen. ;o)////JACK:  Do you mean...    Accent the positive?  Or, eliminate the negative?  Or, both?////DD:  You have to accent the positive since it’s not always possible to eliminate the negative. Right?////JACK:  Just does mess with Mister In-between.

 FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  Besides reading your WW , I read the daily message from "Daily Guideposts--A Spirit-Lifting Devotional"  My Mother's sister, my Aunt Aggie is now 98 and in a nursing home in MN.  She is as mentally alert as my Mother was and  we enjoy the connection of knowing that we are both reading the same message to start the day. That book has been my Christmas gift to her for years. ////JACK:  Guideposts always seems to have some interesting and uplifting stories.  It's good that you can share them with someone older than you.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Makes me think of an article  I read recently about Possum  Trot, TX (pop 600) whose residents were caring for 76 neglected and abused  children through Foster  Care, (later adopted, every one!) and they've been doing this for 16 yrs. What a difference they've made in those tragic lives! Their 24/7 commitment was humbling to this "sometimes" do-gooder!!////JACK:  Sometimes we're surprised when people take the Parable of the Good Samaritan seriously.  Why should that be.  I read this verse somewhere...."O ye of little faith."  Do you remember this hymn verse..."If our love were but more simple,  We should take Him at His word;  And our lives would be all sunshine     In the sweetness of our Lord."

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  In a battery, current flows from negative to positive. life's like that. Shocking discovery.////JACK:  Not that I don't trust you, but going to check this out with a friend who's an electrical engineer, specializing in batteries.

FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  latch on to the affirmative don't mess with Mr in between  I remember that song very well////JACK:  Johnny Mercer also wrote: Autumn Leaves, Moon River, Lazybones, Fools Rush In and many others that you probably know.  Most are "message" songs.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  And it helps a lot to hang around positive people during the day.  Children who are involved and happy can be a very good influence on everyone.////JACK:  When the children "age" into adults, some of us are fortunate to have grandchildren////SHIRL:  .I have just returned from a week in West Palm Beach where I attended a Grandparents' Day for Liam (8) who is my youngest grandchild and for Madeleine, who is 12.  We all had many adventures.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Happiness can be had anyday.  It's attitude and smiles.  Today I spent the day with a mirror and sunshine.  I "made" Tinkerbell with the sunlight shining off of the mirror.  It made a little spot of light on the walls and my granddaughter, Alyssa, just loved it.  We played with Tinkerbell for at least an hour.  Nothing is better than a granddaughter and sunshine....she is my sunshine...straight from God's Hands.////JACK:  I recall using my watch as a reflector and making a dot of light dance over the teacher's head during class, much to the delight of my friends.  I don't think that I was ever caught, but I did go to the principal's office on a couple of occasions for other infractions.

 FROM CS, THE ARTIST:  Thanks for starting my day with a positive note. I often share your "words" with others!////JACK:  Learning to share is a lesson taught at an early age.  You paid attention.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Winning Words 2/15/13
“Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”  (Hubert Humphrey)  Another “H” could be added to Hubert’s name…Humanitarian.  He was an outspoken critic of segregation and an advocate for the “little guy.”  When he was terminally ill in the hospital, he went from room to room cheering up other patients.  I’m glad to have been able to meet him when he was running for President     ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  We have drifted so far to the Right that a moderate is depicted as a leftist in this society...we need to move back a where HHH and others were.////JACK:  I've found that as I reflect ....we've come a long way.  Hubert's losses were a vindication of his compassion.  The walkout of the Dixiecrats...Nixon's shenanigans.  Hopefully, we will continue to inch forward in showing compassion. ////JOHN:  Hubert's losses were because of LBJ's mistakes.  Demanded to acknowledge that if they are to move on.////JACK:  We inherit the sins of those who have preceded us.  Regardless, we move on, and Hubert tried to remain true to his ideals.  My favorite college course was, "American Ideals."  I look banck and see it as a time of mind-shaping.

 FROM TRIHARDER:  Thank you, Jack.  I will pass this on to many of my more conservative friends. ////JACK:  Compassion...Concern...Conservative!  Can the three Co-exist?  The S doesn't seem to relate. ////TH:  I think they can.////JACK:  But, it takes an open mind.

 FROM WALMART REV: of those many good Minnesotans, Jack!! It was a blessing to still have our spouses with us this past Valentine's Day, wasn't it . . . several of my older friends did not have that pleasure this year.////JACK:  HHH was raised in a NoDak town of 600.  His dream of being a college professor moved him to Minnesota.  Circumstances got him into politics, just like circumstances got you to where you are at this point.////REV:  I drive through Waverly, MN most often when we venture out to Minneapolis. The sign reads, "Home of Hubert Humphrey!" Thanks for the updated information as well. ////JACK:  My hometown is Moline, Illinois, although I was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and have spent most of my life in Michigan.  Hubert and Muriel raised their family in Waverly, and he called that place, "The peace of my world."  Where is your peace?  There's an old song, "This world is not my home; I'm justa passin' through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue."////REV:  I think we are listed as neighbors there . . . hopefully sooner that later for me anyway.

 ROM SHARIN' SHARON:  the part which struck me is "Compassion is not weakness." In trying to understand people and why they are in a vulnerable, fragile situation, maybe one part of our being compassionate and doing something useful to help is not to have fear of entering into a thought-pattern where we empathize as vulnerable and fragile as they are, at the moment. Maybe that also has something to do with fear of socialism or politics that seems like socialism. Whatever frees us up from fears is the most helpful. He must have been a very fearless man to have been practically on his deathbed and yet thinking of helping all those other people. I'm inspired by his WW. Thanks for sharing!!!!////JACK:  He was on the political scene during tumultuous times.  The "noise" was so loud that the "quietness" of caring was hard to hear.  With the passing of time, his message was heard.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Socialism has nothing to do at all with compassion or concern...nor does it have anything to do with a republic like ours...nor conservatism for that matter. Yet, the blind and confused speak as though they do! HHH and many more like him, and like those who do like him, can be compassionate and concerned for sure. Just as those who didn't or don't can be compassinate and concerned. Like all that is Good, it comes from God...not our government, and certainly not from our "leaders" (Pharisees). Compassion, concern, and all Good Fruits that are blessings upon us will be shared with others through each one of us ourselves, personally. It is indeed a reflection of one's relationship with Jesus Himself. Why does one look to government? It is not their is yours....and mine! Keep the filth of politics far away from is indeed like "casting pearls before swine". Go and be compassionate by your works; just like Faith, it is dead without it.////JACK:  "Socialist" was one of the labels that Humphrey's critics attached to him, hence his quote.  We often label people in order to demean them.  It goes on, even today.  What is socialism?////RAY:  I would rather ask what is Freedom and what is Liberty? Freedom comes to each one of us by God. As the existentialists would say, it is a "given" of our existence. It is a freedom to respond to one's circumstances. If we recognize that, as our founding fathers did, we too will naturally embrace Liberty for all people. For this reason, the Constitution of our Federated States restricts government reach into a person's life. The more the government has control of one's liberty, the less Liberty one has. In other words, we are free to be idiots and give up our liberty. Socialism, on the other hand, cannot exist with Liberty, because direction is not from oneself, but from those who think they know what is best for everyone. They determine it for you. Of course, they don't live by the same rule of law...because they are the elite who know better. Just like our government that makes separate rules for itself while regulating our lives in accordance with what is best for us. This is not my opinion; this is precisely what is occurring today...right now! Socialism is not for the socialists. It never has been; nor will it ever be.  Freedom is of God and from God. There is no one who can live your life for you -- no matter how well-intentioned (s)he might be. Liberty to live that life is in accordance with the very fundamental premise that God created us "free" with free-will. I still ask why does anyone look to the government for answers to that? ////JACK:  None of us is truly FREE.  Martin Luther wrote a short and interesting treatise..."Christian Liberty."  Thanks to the internet, you can Google it.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  God loves and cherishes each person on Earth, and we need to do the same, including the unfortunate. Delilah, radio host, and mother to 12 children, 8 adopted, some with special needs, said, "I feel the incredible sense  of connection that comes when people share their lives with one another. To me, it's God using us to spread His love."  "Brighten the corner where you are..."  HHH was an icon of servanthood!////JACK:  A. Lincoln said it.  "God must love the common man, he made so many of them."  I suppose that relates to the poor, also.  "Love" is a tricky word.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  True enough statement and good politicking by HHH, but unwrap it; is involuntary philanthropy concern or a paternalistic power grab (ultimately)? There is a huge difference between voluntary dollars spent through Habitat for Humanity, for example, and billions spent on "public housing."  In Columbus (recently-probably still) one side is locating old residents of a public housing project "greedy developers" want to tear down to have on camera to create "rented-Kodak -Emotional-Moments" to stir public opinion, trying to block a project. Meanwhile the other side greases the politicians. All the while Habitat and others with like missions actually help the people. In the end Socialism creates more of what it purports to hate.////JACK:  "God helps them who helps themselves" is a mantra to give excuse for not becoming invloved in other people's problems.  Life doesn't always present a level playing field.  So the debate goes on how to help those in need.  The Parable of the Good Samaritan continues to have. "legs."  Who is my neighbor?////JON:  I don't recall any prior mention of the Bible, today, your WW was from a politician. If you want to proof text from the Bible to support a certain view that is a never ending game. I was commenting on politics and wasteful spending sans scripture.  But I don't mind being the straightman for your Biblical jabs.////JACK:  If someone wants to call compassion and caring for unfortunate people, be it.  But, I don't think that was your intention.  I didn't mean for the Good Samaritan parable to be used as part of an argument, but only to explain what drives me to have a concern for those in need.

FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  "socialism" is continuing to throw fish at the problem... no reason such unprecedented numbers of people should not be able to experience the pride & self-esteem that comes from a job.////JACK:  When I first read the quote, I thought that it concerned "socialism."  Then I reread it, and discovered that it was really about compassion and caring for unfortunate people.  We get sidetracked when we go to a discussion of an -ism.  The question is...What is compassion, and what it caring, and how can we best do that...if we indeed want to?

 FROM DR J AT BGSU:  Hubert is one of my favorites!////JACK:  How many Huberts do you know?

 FROM PH IN ARIZONA:  the great state of Minnesota has produced some fine "liberals"  like  Humphrey, Mondale, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Al Quie, etc.  we are happy to claim them and hope for many more...  we are not sure what to do with Jesse Ventura!////JACK:  Don't forget that staunch liberal, Michele Bachman.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winning Words 2/14/13
“Dogs never lie about love.”  (Jeffrey Masson)  As I was browsing at the Valentine card display, I saw a “Valentine from the dog – I WUF YOU!”  Dogs don’t usually send a card, but they do lick your face, jump up and down and wag their tail.  Someone wrote:  “I was so happy I wished I had a tail.”  Our favorite dog, Tiger, showed his love in so many ways.  We still talk about him and laugh.  Have you had such a dog?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JC IN HONG KONG:  I know that Tiger dog from a video I made for someone's birthday  You remind us that time heals while experience teaches us to dwell on the fonder memories ... after all, all us dogs have had our "daze".  Let's keep wagging our tails in hope for the future.////JACK:  Wagging tails are better than wagging tongues.

 FROM WALMART REV:  Someone once told me...Put your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for 30 minutes....see whose the most happiest to see you when you open the trunk.////JACK:  My first "smile" of the day!

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Yep, we had such a dog...she was just special, and so dear to us that we have never been inclined to get another dog.////JACK:  "Every dog has his day," but some days are more special than others.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Buddy, Taffy and SuSu were the best dogs!  We had others who have left marks on our hearts but they were special.  We don't have dogs anymore...but Granddogs.  Chief, Opie and KoKo.  They are great dogs too.  The joy pets bring into our lives are inmeasurable.  I understand why the lower our blood pressure and enrich our lives.  They love us even when we are unlovable!////JACK:  Sometimes you have to be careful when dogs want to leave a "mark."

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Calvin--got him from the Humane Society when he was just a little puppy. He looked like a big Finnish Spitz. We didn't know he would look like a Finnish Spitz when he was a puppy. Then we thought he was a German Shepherd.  He was one smart dog!!!!!! and knew us so well which was I think what endeared him to us so much. Still miss him and always enjoy remembering him.////JACK:  The Finish Spitz is the National Dog of Finland and was bred to hunt bears.  Did Calvin do any hunting  BTW, his name in Finnish is, Suomenpystykorva.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  we had a black lab, higgins, who smiled.////JACK:  I like a smiling dog, rather than a snarling one.////LIZ:  some people thought she was baring her teeth. a wonderful & gentle dog was higgins... :)

 FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Oh yes--a couple of them.  Remember Noodle?    Carol and Carl just got a new puppy.  The girls just lug her around all the time.  She soon will be too big for that--she is a "Golden Doodle" Mini.  They named her Dolly.////JACK:  Who can forget Noodle and her many appearances on your Christmas cards?  But that was then, and a new family is now building their dog memories.  Hello, Dolly!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  all of our dogs have been quirky and funny.  (apple-tree?)  i must admit though that our little lucy pugglestein has captured our hearts.   we have more time now as empty-nesters to really enjoy the fun of a dog.  our nest is not empty anymore!  btw...again the perfect ww's for today.  mark and i are leaving for a two week trip to ecuador and the rain forest.  we have never been apart for that long.  pray for us!////JACK:  Lucy P. has a quirky name, too.  How did it happen?  Be on the lookout for some interesting dogs while on your trip.

  FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Love the "I was so happy I wished I had a tail!"  quote. That's happy!! :-)  We once had a Beagle, Fritz, who chewed the heels off  of my new alligator pumps.  Money was scarce, with 3 boys needing things, and it was a real loss!! Years later our son brought a  bedraggled stray puppy home from college, which our daughter quickly adopted before we could give him to a "good" home. We had her for 14 yrs. and there are many "Queenie" stories. For months after she died, I would expect her to come bounding down the driveway joyfully welcoming me home from a day of teaching school! One time I even brought 3 cans of  Alpo dog food home from the grocery story, when my mind slipped a cog, and forgot she was gone.... Now I have four grand dogs, and one great-granddog who occasionally visit with the kids! ////JACK:  One of my favorite dog songs is "Old Shep."  Red Foley will sing it for you on YouTube.

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Yes, we had Gretchen, a miniature Schnauzer.    The only problem she had was that her tail had been cut off before Jewel bought her.////JACK:  I had church members who had a pair of Schnauzers.  Bark!  Bark!  Bark!

  FROM MY FLORIST:  Well, you know what dog spells back-words!////JACK:  "In dog we trust," doesn't sound right.

 FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Have one now – they are the best!////JACK:  I know a song, "The Yellow Dog of Texas," or is it yellow rose?////RS:  We have both here - yellow roses and yellow dogs.  The roses are better.  We sent the yellow dogs to California.

  FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Our dog Notley was such a character---------do you remember your first visit to our home on Pinecroft Drive when he knocked over a plant pot with his tail and compost went everywhere?   Happy days!!////JACK:  I remember the name, but I can't place the face.  In my calling, I always appreciated meeting a friendly dog...the sign of friendly people.

 FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN:  No, but we do have a magnificent cat named Marvin who does amazing things.  He is named Marvin because we got him as a rescued cat that was found very skinny from being neglected.  They called him Starvin Marvin.  We kept the name and are daily delighted by him and his seemingly appreciation for being robust and healthy and so well attended!////JACK:  Cats have a brain, and I'm sure that Marvin thinks: "Wow, I've got it good at this place.  Thank you, Lord!"

 FROM BM IN MICHIGAN:  No dog, but we had a cat for 17 years.  The cat mostly ignored us for 17 years!////JACK:  Maybe the cat ignored you, because you couldn't remember its name.

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  There's a reason they are "man's best friend".......there is not another creature which is more loyal, loving and truthful! My other favorite saying : Dogs tails don't lie : )  We really enjoyed watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this week - a journey back getting to see all the dogs we've had in our lives ....... dachsund, beagle, poodle, irish setter, cockapoo, and westie, all of whom stole our hearts for the time we had them (& they all had long, happy lives).  But out of all of them, I'd have to say the terrier breed has been the smartest. You don't have to train them, they train you!////JACK:  Our terrier, Sparky,  would walk 4 miles through the city (by himself) to go to the house of my aunt and uncle who would give anything he wanted...including his own Dairy Queen cone with the curl on top.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Winning Words 2/13/13
“I’m going to a special place when I die, but I want to make sure my life is special while I’m here.”  (Payne Stewart)  I’ll never forget how Payne Stewart died.  His jet was on auto-pilot when the oxygen system failed.  TV followed to the end.  The night before that flight he said to his wife; “I don’t want to leave.  I want to stay home and watch the kids grow.”  Life takes us on unexpected rides.  We always need to be ready.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM WALMART REV:  It seems to me...always having life on auto pilot or traveling the nation's interstate might get us there easier or more quickly, but we miss many significant details and characteristics of the adventure of life.////JACK:  I read recently that California, Florida and Nevada have approved robotic driven cars (with no human in the driver's seat).  I wonder when they will be allowed in Minnesota?

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I heard another amazing sermon yesterday at the church next door. It went something like this: everything was chaos. God pulled order out of the chaos. God is a rational being. This world keeps on being chaotic. It is our job, while we're here, to keep on bringing order out of chaos. Having experienced mental illness, this particular sermon was very special to me and I've been pondering every since having heard it the belief that God is a rational person/being. Yep, Jesus was certainly rational and truthful, I want to be special like him. It's easier aspiring to be rational like Jesus than being rational like God. Guess it was God who wanted to make sure our lives are special while we're here.////JACK:  Theologically speaking, one of the reasons God appeared in the human form of Jesus was to help us better understand the non-understandable.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  This world we dwell in is so magnificent, we don't need to do more than have our eyes open and our ears tuned to have a life that's special.  Of course if we exert ourselves a bit, then life could be more exuberant than we can imagine.////JACK:  I'm reminded of the verse from Robert Louis Stevenson... "The world is full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  More and more, as my time on Earth becomes more and more, I understand a little more the wisdom of following the Spirit's guidance. Fittingly, today we remember that we are of dust and to dust we shall return; the same manner our spirit will return to its origin as well. The world requires its law and the Spirit its Law, and they are indeed worlds apart. Like Payne Stewart we are all torn between the two. I pray we learn to live wisely though the torment of the flight plan which we have been given. ////JACK:  We all have a destination, but the place and the ETA are not yet on the screen.

 FROM TRIHARDER:  That concept always brings me to tears.////JACK:  We never know, do we?  At least Payne left with some good and meaningful last words.////TH:  Hopefully, we all impart meaning and definition to our loved ones and others before we depart.  My children (and friends -- like you) will always know what they mean to me and how much I care for them, whether my last day is today or thirty years from today.  I'm sure that yours do, too.////JACK: Jeff Zaslow spoke to the Optimist Club one morning.  A week later, he was gone.  I can't recall his parting words, but I do remember feeling a sense of loss when I heard of his death.

 FROM PH IN MESA:  wise words indeed.  hope you are doing well today, Jack. each day is a gift, that is for sure.  i recall that death.  what a strange way to die.  a plane crash due to lack of oxygen. remember how the military jets followed it down hoping it would not crash into a populated area.  it just ran out of fuel. ////JACK:  Just like with the human body....we crash when we run out of fuel.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Interesting that these would be the WW for today: I am completely engrossed in the book PROOF OF HEAVEN by Eban Alexander, a nuerosurgeon who has had an astounding Near Death Experience, and has done his best to put it into "earthly" words.  It is truly fascinating, and convincing that there is certainly a spiritual realm of life after we leave these earthly bodies. I recommend reading it!!  He was a skeptic before this occured, of course, being a Scientist of the Brain.  As Soren Kierkegaard once said, "There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true."////JACK:  I believe you!

 FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  AMEN to that////JACK:  As a kid, did you ever yell, "Ready or not, here I come?"

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  creepy...////JACK:  Even creepier....Fighter jets were following the plane, ready to shoot it down if it was in danger of crashing into a populated area...and, creepier still, it was ongoing on TV.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winning Words 2/12/13
“If everything’s a carnival, there’s no carnival left.”  (Victor Hugo)  Many people go to fairs because of the carnival rides.  No Zipper for me; I’m a Ferris Wheel kind of guy.  In many “Catholic” countries the days before Lent are called, “Carnival,”  A man from Tobago said, “Pastor, you don’t want to go there during Carnival.”  V.H. writes that life is more than party-time.  What will you do when the carnival days are over?    ;-)  Jack

 .FROM WALMART REV:  ...sit at Wal-Mart and talk about the "good old carnival days" of course! ////JACK:  Since today is Fat Tuesday, will you be eating  a Paczki?  Or, don't the A of G observe Lent? ////REV:  Unfortunately...we have missed the significance of that and Advent.////JACK:  It's the Spirit that counts, not the season.  In that sense, you have been "keeping" Lent and Advent.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Isn't this really about the conflicts of seeking the pleasures of the flesh as opposed to the fruits of the Spirit? What good does it do to gain the world and lose one's soul? Are not the rituals of Carnival, bachelor parties, finishing the pack of cigarettes before quitting, "fat Tuesday", and the like, all just ways of gorging the flesh prior to its upcoming absence or fasting? We all like to have fun for sure. We need to keep making "The Way" a fun and enlivening experience; for indeed it truly is! ////JACK:  Different "fun" for different people.  "In the beginning" Catholics wanted to remember the suffering and death of Jesus by eating fish.  Traditionally the fish is a symbol of Christ.  The Greek word for fish is ΙΧΘΥΣ, and was used as an acrostic (bit that's another story).  Eating fish, for some, meant not eating meat, or meat products, such as fat.  Lent was meant to be a solemn season, so pre-Lent and post-Lent were seasons of celebration.  Have fun today...whatever your fun might be.  Mine was eating paczki.

FROM JB IN WISCONSIN:  My son and his wife used to live in New Orleans and they used to tell us you don't want to be around at Mardi Gras time.  Even a lot of the locals just stay put in their homes at that time. ////JACK:  There's a phrase that seems to fit..."Too much of a good thing."  The idea of Carnival isn't that bad.  Like with other good Christmas, there can be too much of a good thing.  Moderation is a good word for many circumstances. 

 FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I don't even like the ferris wheel--the Merry Go Round is more my speed! ////JACK:  Even more exciting than a Carnival ride was my first water skiing experience on Balsam Lake

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  I have a carousel horse that I carved. It's in the living room and I can go to the "carnival" whenever I want. Why accept anything  less?  The carnival is over only if you decide to get off the ride.////JACK:  I like the song, "Catch a Painted Pony."  You've already caught yours.  

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  When the "carnival" is over, imagine I'll "keep on keeping on". I once wrote an article for our AB Women's Nat'l. magazine on overcoming FEAR, by telling how my 8th grade students on a Field Trip to 6 Flags near St. Lois, cajoled me into riding on the NINJA, the biggest, best (worst) Rollercoaster there.  I have never been able to stomach (literally) carnival rides....but I DID IT!! Heroine for the day! HA! So why fear what comes after the carnival is gone...? !////JACK:  A lesson was taught at 6 Flags, but after that lesson, more were waiting to be taught in the classroom.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Life itself is a carnival...we get on and off 'rides" all the time.  After carnival days are over I will still be riding but more quietly.////JACK:  For some, life is one big party, but there comes a time when someone says, "The party's over, and we have to do some serious deciding and living.".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winning Words 2/11/13
“That which is not good for the beehive is not good for the bees.”  (Marcus Aurelius)  In 2006, it was noted that a “Mystery Disease” was killing off honey bees.  This was a major problem, because what’s bad for the bees is bad for all of us.  M.A. wrote that to learn about self, we should look at nature.  There’s more than one reason to talk about the birds and the bees.  Nature says, “Take care of this fragile environment.”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Too many idiots out there. In the Tea Party who think that they can treat the beehive with impunity.////JACK:  Perhaps the No-Nothing Party has had a rebirth with a different agenda.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  My favorite gardening book is "The Garden Primer" by Barbara Damrosch. In it she says to be a good gardener, a person needs to think like a plant. To me that means a person should let go of selfishness and control and stop fighting with nature, learn to respect it, really begin to try to understand the plant's needs. Maybe then that same stance can generalize to people and animals too. Great WW again today!!!////JACK:  I remember when boxer Muhammed Ali said, "I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."  He did, too!  I like the idea of trying "think like a plant," or a bee.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think the parable of the talents suggests we are to care for or "invest" all our gifts in all respects...environment included. Actually, the environment seems much more sturdy to me than it could be described as fragile. Look how quickly it recovers from forest fires, volcano eruptions, and even oil spills and tainted ground. God is indeed much more powerful than man can ever pretend to be!////JACK:  Every beginning has an end.  At least, the idea of a Judgment Day indicates that there will come a time when there will be no more chances.  Only "G-d" is uncreated and eternal, or so say the theologians.  Granted that this earth is a very forgiving planet, but does that mean seventy time seven?////RAY:  Not at all. Hence, the parable of the talents that points to our unavoidable stewardship. Given that there is a season for all things, and all things a season, it is crucial that we take proper care of that which we have been given. Whether something is eternal or temporal, it is of no matter with regard to how we care for it; nor does the quality of fragility determine proper care. The system that God has put in place is very sturdy, and nontheless requires respectful treatment as a matter of stewardship. On the other hand, If that which we care for does not respond in kind, then I would say the seventy times seven rule indeed applies.////JACK:  In 1941, Winston Churchill visited Harrow School (where he had attended as a youth) to speak to the students. He stood before the students and said, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."  I think that that attitude should apply to caring for this world.////RAY:  I would agree with one caveat; that we focus on one another with the higher priority.

 FROM WALMART REV:  You have spoken and have said it best . . . you've left me speechless . . . or did I just say something!?////JACK:  The beehive is used by Christians as a symbol, representing the Church, where there are many workers dedicated to the Queen (Christ).

 FROM DR J AT BGSU:  ;-) I teach about this!////JACK:  Some people never learn, or simply choose to reject the teaching.  However, I sense that some minds are beginning to open.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Moody Bible Institute had a documentary on the Life of Bees, relating it to the Christian Faith, many, many years ago. it was fascinating, and I showed to my H.S. S.S. classes for several years  . Your WW today made me think of it again. What a wonder-filled world we live in!  I read in THIS WEEK (Jan 25th) that new data from NASA's Kepler Telescope  suggests that there may be as many as 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the galaxy, dramatically increasing the odds that extraterrestrial life exists.  Kepler recently discovered 461 new planets, bringing a total of 2,740 , since 2009.   One in six stars in the Milky Way has an Earth-sized planet researchers now estimate. Amazing!  The amount of new info.all the time!////JACK:  I have a hard time comprehending 17 billion.  But I don't have a problem believing in a God who can create that many...and more.  One earth is miracle enough for me.

 FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  AMEN to that . we seem to take so many things like that for granted  ////JACK:  Every piece of this earth, large or small, has a reason for its existence...even you and me.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We should take care of ourselves just like we should take care of our environment.  God gave us the bees and our beings, blessed be God!////JACK:  Do you remember the book, The Silent Spring, and the difference that it made?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Winning Words 2/8/13
“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”  (J.K. Rowling)  Peter Larson (age 17) sleeps in a cardboard box in Minnesota, in Nov and Dec, to raise awareness for the homeless and to collect money for shelters.  So far, he’s over $400,000.  Louis Braille lost his sight at age 8, and by age 20 had developed a system for helping the blind to read.  I know some youth that I’m proud of, and you probably do, too.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  I know a lot of youth that are amazing; several that want to cure cancer!  Two children that have already battled cancer. They do text too much, they are too excited at today's snow day, but they are motivated and at the same time know how to have fun.  We can learn a lot from our youth. It seems they put family and friends ahead of work sometimes, but is that all bad.... maybe not.////JACK:  I like this poem which causes me to remember the good ole days.
    How do I know my youth is all spent?
    My get-up-and-go has got up and went!
    But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin
    And think of the places my getup has been!

FROM WALMART REV:  "When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, 'Hosanna to David’s Son!' they were up in arms and took him to task. 'Do you hear what these children are saying?'"  "Jesus said, 'Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, "From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise"?'” ////JACK:  Every age has its youth.  Sometimes people have a hard time visualizing that Jesus was a teenager doing teenage things.///REV:  Maybe a strange thought...I wonder what He would have looked like being our age...He didn't come across as desiring to stick around earth for these later years of our lives!?////JACK:  Look in the mirror!

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Adults in our church are struggling with how to "talk to the teenagers" and "engage with them" in conversation with the Bible. I told one adult how my daughter always really enjoyed the young camp counsellors at camp and would it be that the 20+ would be in our congregation now. Just wondering if our program for the youth was too much "led" by adults and not really "responding" to their concerns and questions enough. In one way, or another, feel that our youth are honest and authentic with us, many of them don't like to "pretend" interest, when I reflect I remember being like that and that helps not to underestimate the youth of today and to hold hope.////JACK:  The old days are in our memory bank.  The young people of today are creating their own memories.  Edgar Guest once wrote:  "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."  We are the sermons that today's young people "see."

 /FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Yesterday, I was sitting in the chair waiting to have my hair "styled" (you get it styled now-a-days, not cut), when one of the young hair stylists said to the other "I wish I was older so I would be wiser."  She wasn't kidding.  She needed help with something in her life which she wasn't willing to share.  But she really needed that wisdom she felt she didn't have yet. That really got me to thinking.  Am I a lot smarter now than I was when I was her age?  I have a lot more life-experiences and have learned from them. But lifes decisions still need a lot of thinking through and a lot more prayer now.////JACK:  "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,  If turnips were swords I'd have one by my side.  If 'ifs' and hands were pots and pans  There would be no need for tinkers hands!"  Regardless of our wishes, we live in the real world with pluses and minuses.  Part of the wisdom of old age comes from the experience that we had in our younger days.  Even the faith that is ours today is because the experiences and the people who have been a part of our growing up years.  And, so it goes!

 FROM A DAD:  Liked your quote from JK Rowling today.////JACK:  I think that it's significant that many young people relate to JKR and Harry Potter.  Some older people are able to feel the pulse of the today's youth.

 FROM DR J ON THE CAMPUS OF BGSU:  I love this quote! Far too many faculty on our campus are quick to point out the shortcomings of our students. However, I am constantly reminded of student passion to make a the world a better place. Youth want their world to be just, filled with opportunity for all, clean, peaceful, and forgiving. I think their wild optimism and newer strategies reflect HOPE and not despair. ////JACK:  The best teachers are also learners.  That goes for pastors, too.

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  We've learned a lot from our daughters! We seriously believe in their higher education as they will most likely be making medical decisions regarding our health us down the road :) ////JACK:  Even more important than their higher education....They're nice, caring and trustworthy.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES...WISH THEY GOT THE COVERAGE THAT THE DECADENT HOLLYWOOD YOUTH GET!////JACK:  Yes.....perhaps, Not!  As it used to be said:  "Fool's names and fool's faces are often seen in public places."

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  i know lots of good kids! ////JACK:   Starting with your own, I'm sure.  I'm proud of mine and my g-children, as well.  One is a real Harry Potter fan.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Winning Words 2/7/13
“If we used our two ears and our one mouth in the same ratio we had them, we would be better off.”  (Gen. David Rodriguez)  Gen. R is awaiting confirmation to be head of the US Africa Command (the next hot-spot for the War on Terror).  He’s seen as a leader who can process opposing views and come to the best conclusion.  He uses two ears and one mouth.  If you’re looking for success, follow his example.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM WALMART REV:  Back in Bible College...someone once said I "was all mouth"...the other day, with very little now, I noticed how big my ears are...maybe my ears have taken on more wisdom over the years...I would like to think so anyway.////JACK:  Our appearance changes over the years.  At a Bible College reunion, classmates might not recognize you, with your bigger ears and smaller mouth.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, this is an extraordinary WW showing the brilliance of how our bodies are designed--being as the two ears seem to be parallel on both sides of the head, and facing "outwards" in two different directions and then the mouth is downward and in the middle (in a position where mediation might exist) and also lower from the brain and maybe in a position where some emotional and rational "distance" from the thing being considered might exist.////JACK:  I've heard that some people have eyes in the back of their head.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  OH YES! THAT IS A SAGACIOUS QUOTE!!  GEN RODRIGUEZ WOULD SEEM TO BE A WISE MAN.  WOULDN'T WE ALL BE BETTER FOR FOLLOWING THIS MANTRA: LISTEN TWICE AS LONG AND HARD AS SPEAKING....AS I READ RECENTLY, "GOSSIP IS LIKE A NASTY VIRUS. IF YOU LEARN TO COVER YOUR MOUTH, YOU WON'T SPREAD THE GERMS". OR MAYBE REFRAINING FROM THE TEMPTATION TO GIVE EVERYONE THE BENEFIT OF YOUR EXCELLENT WISDOM!! ////JACK:  I haven't heard or seen the word, sagacious, in a long time.  I read more about the General in a Newsweek article.  He is human.  BTW, Newsweek now arrives on the computer, since there is no longer a print edition.  Events in Africa will be in the news, and you should be able to relate, because of the time you spent there.

 FROM ILLINOIS LIZ:  hope he uses his hand to carry a big stick...////JACK:  There's so much about Africa that we don't understand.  It was only recently that I learned where Timbuktu was located.  "From here to Timbuktu" is an expression that I've heard since I was a child.  I never bothered to ask, "What does that mean...and where is Timbuktu?"

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Hopefully the rest will shut their mouths and use their ears and let him do his job.////JACK:  The General's confirmation hearing has yet to take place.  I hope that it doesn't become a political tug of war.

 FROM CA IN MICHIGAN:  Thanks again for such a sterling bit of advice. It is one I must practice MORE !////JACK:  One of the songs I enjoy singing (especially at synod gatherings is this traditional song from Tanzania..."Listen, listen, God is calling  through the Word inviting,  offering forgiveness,  comfort and joy."  Sometimes at synod meetings we do more talking than listening and observing.  As a relief, I enjoy stopping by at "your" table.

 FROM MOLINER JT:  One of the best suggestions in years.////JACK:  Do remember this one about misunderstanding God?
When God passed out ears,
I thought He said beers, and I asked for two big ones.
When God passed out noses,
I thought He said roses, and I asked for a big red one.
When God passed out heads,
I thought He said beds, and I asked for a big soft one.
When God passed out looks,
I thought He said books, and I didn't want any.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Very good advice.  One of my new classes this semester is Conversations about the American Dream. The class is very interesting. Most of the students are from Illinois and Ohio, it seems, and they tell their stories very succinctly. Most agree that they have lived the dream.////JACK:  I keep a journal of my most interesting dreams.  Some of them are really weird.  What does that say about me?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Winning Words 2/6/13
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.”  (Jim Carrey)  A story last week said that Bill and Melinda Gates are going to give away most of their fortune instead of passing it down to their children.  Even now, their kids don’t get a cell phone until they’re 13.  “It’s embarrassing,” said one.  BTW, did you have restrictions?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HY YO SILVER: Clever.////JACK:  Kids are kids.  Did your parents ever embarrass you?////HY YO:  Rarely but yes.  My dad wearing knee socks with sandals in shorts. That - I remember!////JACK:  I've read that children often wind up being mirror-images of their parents.  I wonder what you will look like when you're your father's age, walking on the beach?  I can picture it now.

 FROM WALMART REV:  "Couldn't drink, smoke, dance or chew, nor go with girls that do!" ////JACK:  Did anyone ever refer to you as, "Mr. Pure?"////REV:  No...but Legalistic!////JACK:  Restrictions, self-imposed or by others, can tend to lead to "legalism."  But, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Couldn't afford many toys. My favorite toy was cutting paper dolls out of the Montgomery Ward catalogue. Our daughter couldn't have that game 20 years ago--what was it called--that first game all the kids were playing--hand-held, like a video game. We thought it was too expensive. So she made one out of a small cardboard box and played the pretend game on that. One of my very favorite memories of her childhood and, even today, she still has a lot of imagination, dreams and ways she keeps happy.////JACK:  My son couldn't have a toy gun when he was a child, so he found a stick that looked like a gun and used that.  "Bang! Bang!"

 FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Oh, how true that has proven to be for so many 'superstars'!  Interesting comment on the Gates family. They are trying to keep their children 'grounded' -- perhaps going a couple of ticks  past dead-center.  I once read an article on teaching children to respect money and to develop relationships based on interests and trust, rather than on status. One key point: "Never let your children know how rich you really are."  Somehow I think there's just no way that can work for Bill & Melinda!////JACK:  No two families are the same.  Each set of parents has their own "situations" when it comes to raising a child.  Bill and Melinda are trying to do the best they can, under the circumstances.  In a sense, Jim Carrey understands.////MT:  I agree. I think they are doing many good things (for family, and for the world). I just found it ironic how the 'expert advice' of the writer breaks down when anybody in the world can Google your net worth!////JACK:  Does that mean I can Google yours, and you can Google mine?
////MT:  I don't think so. For that kind of attention, one needs to be at the level where the entertainment and/or business media wants to pry into your private life.

 FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  Yes, I was only permitted to read one book a day.   We didn't get a TV until I was 16; that was in the nature of a restriction, but didn't bother me at the time--Crusader Rabbit was what I missed the most (used to see it at my aunt's house) and I think that was only 5 minutes a day.   Our kids had to sit down with me when the weekly TV guide came out and pick their two hours' TV to watch during the week.   I don't recall feeling very restricted in that sense, but our house was very disciplined and if I had gotten out of line very much, which I don't think happened, I am sure I would have gotten paddled.////JACK:  I remember being paddled for breaking restrictions.  The restrictions, I don't remember.  The paddling, I do.  Our children remember their restrictions (which I have forgotten)

.FROM MRS HAPPY TRAILS:  Compared to my husband, I grew up like a free bird. It was during the 2 nd world war. All the adults had lots of other worries and I was left to what ever I please. There was no worry of having too much stuff,  I felt loved by my family and had a great time and still do.////JACK:  How about having parents who allowed you, as a teenager, to backpack alone from country to country?///MRS HT:  I just did it. My Parents where not happy about it , but I took little jobs like cleaning offices at night and child care to earn some money.

 FROM TRIHARDER:  I'd rather be sad and rich than sad and poor.  There are some problems that money will solve.  Can you imagine being homeless or without heat or food this winter in Michigan?  But, I do believe that there are studies that say that rich people do not perceive that they are happier than the self perceptions of people who do not have money.////JACK:  As Loretta Lynn sang in "Coal Miner's Daughter"...."Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter  In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler  We were poor but we had love  That's the one thing that daddy made sure of   He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar."   /////TH:  poor and happy.  Hoodathunket?////JACK:  I remember an expression from Depression Days..."We'll just have to make do."

 FROM WISCONSIN:  I commend those who do put restrictions on their kids.  Our daughter works for a  Wealth Management company.  She won’t allow her two children to have facebook accounts because she has a couple ‘crazy’ clients who get mad at her for not giving them as much money as they want from trust funds set up for them.  She doesn’t want these clients to know anything about her or her family and their whereabouts or activities.  It is a different world that we live in now.  Not all of the wealthy are as well balanced as the Gates are.  As kids we had restrictions to be in our yard by dark or with permission at some neighbor’s home after dark.  We had to let our parents know who we were with, where we were going and what time we’d be home.  My parents never had a curfew for us, but we knew that we had to be home ‘on time’. I wish our grandkids would know what it was like to run free and play with lots of neighbor kids without having to have scheduled play times, but they have survived and are good kids anyway.////JACK:      In "other" days parents worried about diseases that would afflict their children.  With the advent of new vaccines, those worries have been replaced by new ones.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Love Jim Carrey.  He has problems in his life but he was raised Catholic and still believes, even though he still sins...(don't we all).  Our restrictions were simple, do your chores before play, don't go into the county ditch (on the side of our acre of land) and be in before the street lights come on.  I commend the Gates!  It's easy to say "Put your money where you mouth is" but they are trying.  I'm glad we have enough.////JACK:  "Enough" means different things to different people.  I have enough!

 FROM LEE 'N MARIE:  Give to the poor????  What would Jesus do?????????????????????????????? ////JACK:  From the New Testament record, we read that he walked the talk.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  We all had restrictions and are better people for it. My dad got a lot smarter as I grew older!  My most noteworthy restriction was "curfew... and that lasted through high school. I didn't lose any sleep over it.////JACK:  I can't remember having a curfew.  Our children didn't have one, either.  I guess it depends on the situation.

 FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  The 4 children say we had too many.////JACK:  In retrospect, What do you say?  There are some things that I would do differently in parenting.////CL:  Without a doubt there are things we would change.////JACK:  We try to do the best we can.  The best is not always perfect!

FROM PH IN ARIZONA:  warren buffet did the same thing.  gave away billions of $$.  didn't want the $$ to corrupt his kids. buffet still lives in the same simple home in bought in 1956 for something like 14,000 $$.  my wife's nephew, Doug Anderson, is one of two "chief legal counsels" for buffet and knows him very well.  buffet is a truly humble and sincere man.  a lot like Gates too, i suspect.////JACK:  I've met some millionaires in my lifetime, but at the time, I didn't know it.////PH:  that is good,  sounds like they were not too ful of themselves.  humility is great human virtue which i fear we are losing today...   good quote:  people who are too full of themselves often end up with a bad case of indigestion!

 FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  Of course. Here's one: I couldn't ride in the car of a teenage driver until I got my license. The rationale was that as a licensed driver myself I'd know if my friends were bad drivers. ////JACK:  That's one I've never heard of before.  BTW, have you ever gotten a "ticket?"

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Yes - it took a snow day for me to catch up on emails!!  Lots of restrictions in my family growing up - but nothing unusual for that time and place - curfews, expectations of acceptable grades, going to church, respect for parents, and with 6 kids, we didn't have a lot of stuff - what we had we earned, so we never grew up with expectations of being given anything. Worked for 3 of us, the other 3 have always been very needy as adults.......////JACK:  Each person has/her own canoe to paddle.  One of my core beliefs is that God understands each situation.  My sister and I are the same, yet different..

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Winning Words 2/5/13
“Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, or a stranger.”  (Franklin P. Jones)  FPJ was a popular writer who had a knack for mixing thought-provoking ideas with humor…like today’s quote.  Did you get it?  None of us likes to be criticized, but, in truth, constructive evaluation is helpful.  A daily poll gives the President’s approval rating.  What if there was one for you…and me?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM DR PAUL IN MICHIGAN:  Love this!!!!!////JACK:  A "modifier" is one of the parts of grammar that I learned about when I was paying attention to the teacher.  Take away the modifier, "honest," and the quote would be even more true.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Since you and I don't do much anymore, I would assume that our approval ratings are at an all time high.////JACK:  I wonder what kind of an approval rating Amos had when he was doing his thing?  There are some pastors who have a hammer and see every problem situation as a nail.

 FROM WALMART REV:  The downside of that to me in regards to such folk that are constantly being rated for their performance, (political figures to sports figures and referees, etc) . . . they become used to it and it is often put aside as "part of the job" . . . kind of like the preacher being only as good as his last sermon . . . to react to the criticism can become non-motivating as to "why" react to something so subjective and fluid ////JACK:  I'm reminded of the quote attributed to Lincoln:  "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time"  Insert the word, "please," instead of "fool," and you see the problem facing those in "performance-rating" occupations, which includes pastors and the President.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  funny quote!  i would prefer perhaps a monthly approval rating.  the "in the moment passion" griefs would be extinguished.  the real need criticism would not be forgotten.////JACK:  An honest evaluation helps us to do a better job.  Who wouldn't want that?  Of course, you also have to evaluate the source.

 FROM CS IN RICE LAKE:  How much easier it is to find fault with someone else rather than looking at ourselves…guilty as charged!////JACK:  I like the old saying..."When you point your finger at someone, you have 3 fingers pointing back at you."

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, I have had to think this whole issue of criticism through because of someone close to me and also someone more distant from me and their "constructive evaluation" styles that makes me say to myself "I don't want to be in a position of judgment 'teaching' like them" and it's because the "constructive evaluation" doesn't also contain some "affirmation evaluation" too. Probably none of us is so unrelentingly poor at doing something that there is absolutely nothing good to be said about our efforts. That said, I think our President is doing a fine job.////JACK:  Even though an elephant has skin over an inch thick, it is sensitive to the touch of a fly.  There are times when "thick-skinned" people are like that, too.

 FROM JOAN L:  Best yet, John.  I'm going to mention it at a meeting today.  Good for the smile of the day. ////JACK:  Is your smile sardonic, or one of amusement?

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Better the barbs of a friend than the kiss of an enemy…. (from memory)   KJ: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.////JACK:  Proverbs is one of my favorite parts of the Bible (naturally).

 FROM MEDD-O-LANE:  I don't know for sure because I never seem to get Honest criticism ////JACK:  What kind of criticism do you get?

 FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  a flashlight on our lives is uncomfortable and most of us do not like it ////JACK:  A spotlight is even worse.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I imagine if they hand-picked the pollers for the family...I would be way up there.  Now for friends and strangers???  I'm not so sure.  I'll have to ponder that awhile.  Good things to think about though.////JACK:  Some of my best critiques have come from family members.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  None of us likes to be patronized, either!////JACK:  I found that when asked to do an evaluation, it is best to begin by pointing out some good points, and then move to what is not so good, and finally to suggest some ways in which improvement can be made.

FROM HR IN MICHIGAN:  I agree, the better you can process honest criticism the more effective you’ll become  Plus, No one should be subjected to a daily poll, right?  Good leadership is the ability to hear all sides of an issue and make the best decision regardless of its popularity. You can get too distracted by what you think is going to be popular, which is commonly mistaken for a quick but ineffective fix to a problem. ////JACK:  I think back to Harry Truman, when he was running for President.  The polls continued to show that he was losing, but he kept "giving them hell."  Learn from honest criticism and, then, move on doing what you think is right.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Honest or dishonest, criticism is  hard to take! But especially if you are in ministry, you realize shortly that you can't please EVERYONE!  Interesting fact about the elephant; I'll have to remember that!  It's more important to feel right with 'God than with other people. (Tho isn't it nice when you can do both>?!)  If a person is very critical, I always feel they are an unhappy person, wanting to share their misery!  I love the saying, "Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting an uphill battle!"  ////JACK:  Personally, I don't like sugar-coated cereals.  I prefer to put on my own sweetener.

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  I truly believe this; I also believe a compliment here and there on a job well done  can be very motivating.........////JACK:  Note that the modifier for "criticism" is "honest."  I wonder... Are honest criticism and constructive criticism the same?