Friday, November 29, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/28/13
“Do not wait.  The time will never be just right!”  (Napoleon Hill)  I read of a man in Ohio who set up a tent outside of a Best Buy store last Monday at 5 am, in order to be 1st in line on Black Friday.  Not just today, but every day is a time to decide what’s most important in life.  Thanksgiving is really a time to puts things into perspective.  A friend told me that at their Thanksgiving table, each one stated what they were thankful for.  Her little grand-daughter said, “Brown sugar.”  That’s what thanks-giving means..    ;-)  Jack

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  (Received at 6 am)  hey, have you become an insomniac?  go back to bed.
====JACK:  I slept in today  and didn't get up until 5:01 am, so I missed being first in line at Walmart..

 FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  ...responding to your words this morning - I am thankful for your writings each day to look forward to and to begin my day w a prayer, expressing my grateful appreciation at being granted another day .  Your words present the basis for a moment to reflect and process  what you choose to bring into my life each morning - I enjoy being w you each morning so thank you for doing your work w integrity and passion ====JACK:  Thanksgiving ought to be observed more than once a year.  How about once a day?  Each morning, as I send out Winning Words, I'm thankful for being able to be in computer touch with my friends.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Always thankful for family and friends ====JACK:  ...and the opportunity for you to do ministry in a variety of ways.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The WW make a lot of sense...don't wait, do it!  My wife's attitude is "get to it."   Whether she thinks about baking something, or sewing something, or cleaning out the closets, she doesn't hesitate and it gets done.  I on the other hand have a habit of putting things off...until the weekend, or next week or?  Relating that with the matter of "thanks-giving", I have a story of my personal disappointment.  A few years ago I saw a news item about an accomplished man who had helped me significantly when I was studying at the university.  I realized I should write him, to thank him for the interest he had shown in me, and how it had been so beneficial to my future.  I decided to do it, and someone I knew provided his address at a university in California.  With that I was prepared to write...but I waited.  Just a couple weeks later the man's obituary was published.  Due to my procrastination he never learned how valuable his help had been to me. ====JACK:  In 2 Timothy 4 there's a poignant account of Paul writing to young Timothy.  Paul is in prison (probably in Rome).  He wants Timothy to visit him and bring a cloak (it's cold in the cell) and his scrolls (he wants to read), and, most of all, Timothy himself (Paul is lonesome).  He adds: "Come before winter."  If Timothy delays, he will have to wait until spring when the sailing season resumes.  We don't know if he caught the last ship, or not.  We don't know if he ever made it before Paul died.  But, if he didn't, he probably uttered and reuttered a regret..."If only...." ====RI:  Your comment about Timothy needing to sail before Winter, or be stuck until Spring, takes me back to my travels in Turkey in 1964.  I was in Istanbul the end of September and made plans to go south to visit Ephesus, and to get there required crossing the Sea of Marmara.  I went to the harbor on Monday and booked a ticket on the ferry departing on Tuesday.  Tuesday morning I awoke and looked out of my hotel at rain and heavy winds.  When I got to the ferry landing, waves were blowing up over the docks, and all travel was cancelled.  The sea was wild.  Wednesday the weather calmed down enough that the ferry decided to make the crossing.  I was hesitant but did it.  With the vessels and gear they had in Paul's day, I can imagine the risk of being at sea in foul weather. BTW, Thanks for the text source of Paul writing to Timothy, and your explanation of what was happening then.  While looking into the text myself I found information that Timothy was very dear to Paul, and because Timothy's mother was Jewish while his father was Greek, Paul circumcised Timothy to affirm he was a Jew, and thus preclude Timothy being persecuted by the Jews.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  As I often say, "Hesitation, procrastination, contemplation, more waitin' can not build a nation. Perspective is elective."  One of my favorites is the late Shel Silverstein, "All those should, ought, and musts-- run and hid; from one little did."====JACK:  I've always enjoyed Shel's writings and cartoons, but your reference to him caused me to look further into his life.  "Laughing on the outside and crying on the inside" seems to apply to Shel and his family.  Most of us create a protective around our personal life.====JON:  Oh, BTW, if you read Samuel Smiles (Scottish) you can see a lot of where Napoleon Hill came from.  His books Self Help and Thrift were precursors to many of the more famous American writers.====JACK:  "Smiles" is a good name for someone who's a motivations speaker/writer....

 FROM JM IN MICHIGAN:  It is reportedly Martin Luther who said, "How soon "Not now' becomes never."  Same message as today's quote -- and I need to remember these because I am a huge procrastinator.====JACK:  I have a sign on my wall..."If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done."

 FROM ES IN COLORADO:  I like that little granddaughter. I think I’m thankful for brown sugar too! 
How are things in your neck of the wood, Jack?====JACK:  The thing I liked about that little girl...She was honest about what she was thankful.  Sometimes "the older folks" say what seems to be appropriate.  Of course, when they say, "I'm thankful for my health," I guess that's appropriate, too.  I wouldn't expect them to say, "Brown sugar!"

 FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  It is my life.====JACK:  The twists and turns of life make it both interesting and exciting.  Thanks for being a part of mine.

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  I received a telephone call yesterday from a pastor in Minnesota with whom I worked many years.   Ralph said he was in church on Wednesday evening, and the pastor at St. Andrews in his sermon asked the worshippers to think about a person who has been a significant help to them in life and call them on the phone to thank them on Thanksgiving.   So I received a call yesterday – which was a great gift from this thoughtful pastor.   Ralph did not wait and the time was so right.   I have so much for which to be thankful – especially for so many pastors who carried out the mission of the church so effectively – like a pastor who moved Illinois to Orchard Lake, MI.====JACK:  What a great suggestion by that St. Andrews pastor!  Sometimes people actually do listen  to sermons and follow up on them...more often that not.  I thank God for many people who have influenced me.

 FROM JK IN CALIFORNIA:   for  fun... it's  true...  :)  timing  is  never  perfect ... to  execute!   JuSt  Do  it!!====JACK:  I like "Send In the Clowns," especially the part about "timing."  Timing is so important in many areas of life.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  For me, every day is a "thanks" giving day! WW has helped me delve into myself and I appreciate and value the daily thought-provoking sermonettes. Thank! I'm reading The Christmas Spirit by Joel Osteen. (Picked it up at WalMart) What a good feeling it evokes in me! Thank you John/Jack for the WWs which stimulate my thinking and generates introspection. ( I think I've said this before.) ====JACK:  Many things, days, events, people can cause introspection.  One of the most ancient of proverbs is attributed to Socrates, "Know thyself!"  When you "get a handle" on self, you are on the way toward getting a handle on other things that are happening in your life.====SBP:  And Shakespeare... a father to son..."This above all, to thine own self be true." ====JACK:  In order to be true to yourself, you have to know yourself...and sometimes that "knowing" depends upon what other see and relate back.
====SBP:  This came to mind..."Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man." ====JACK:  I'm impressed.  In what context did you come across The Essay On Man?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/27/13
“I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all the life which it supports, one planet, in our care, irreplaceable, with sustenance and respect for all.”  (Jessica Lamb)  Tomorrow is that day when we usually recount what it is that we’re thankful for.  Try making a list, using the word, T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G, as an acrostic. T could stand for “turkey.”  God is great!  God is good!  We have so many things for which to give thanks.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TS IN MICHIGAN:  Exceptional====JACK:  I wondered how it might be "taken" when I sent it out.  Thanks for being the "first responder."

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Poetically, Thanksgiving says it all as a word, both noun and verb. A personal acrostic: Three (the family God gave me), Humbleness, Action (if we are the body), Nondenominational, Kindness (even where fondness does not exist), Grace, Insight, Virtue (or victory), Incomplete (without giving thanks), Noon (when church is done) Grace (worth repeating).  Thanksgiving has always been a special day for me. I can remember our family (after Dad died) receiving the food baskets from the firemen or the local church folks. How striking it was to be delivering similar help to others in my 20's with my wife and still 40 plus years later. Around here it is Thanksgiving that prepares our hearts for Christmas. We will have around 25 to 30 again this year and if you are near Etna, Ohio you are welcome, we will have family, waitresses, Barista's, friends, soldiers, and who ever we meet today. I prefer Christmas with family but Thanksgiving means fellowship (Baptist code word for eating).  Have a great day Pastor Jack. ====JACK:  What a great family story that you have shared on this Thanksgiving Eve.  Thank you!  Thanks, too, for taking the time to do the acrostic.  Maybe I should sit down and work one out.  A lot of times we give advice, but forget to look in the mirror.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  we learn this pledge at school during the month of april in honor of earth day.  first we say the pledge of allegiance to our flag, then the earth pledge to the globe.  some of the little ones look at us like we are nuts, changing things up like that!...oh, and, i'm thankful for you and your winning words!====JACK:  I think I'll try that pledge with a group of adults to see what their reaction might be.  Stay tooned!

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  And the H stands for Hats Off – hats off to Jack Freed and his daily WW’s.    Much to be thankful for!    EVERYDAY!====JACK:  K is for Kindness that is shown.  Thanks.

 FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  Here's my list:
Time off to spend with my family!
Home, husband and health.
Animals, especially Baxter our dog.
Nancy and Ben, my parents.
Kindness that is shown to myself and others.
Sisters and brothers and my whole family.
God and my faith.
Interest in so many things, the news, my vocation/profession, gardening, films, crafts, art, etc......
Victory for the bond and for the WLC Marching Band.
Involvement in decisions at work and invitations from friends to fun events.
Nieces and nephews and my whole family!!!
Giving -- the ability to be in a position to be able to give to others.
This was a great exercise .... it made think about the many things I am thankful for.
====JE:  Jack, I made an important revision .... can't forget my husband ....Thankfulness abounds,
====JACK:  That's a great list, especially with the revision.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I had nev er seen this pledge, but it is appropriate for this season of the year! Reinforces my recycling intent!---Looks like we will be 43 at the OAKS Celebration, and we will all express thanks for something special to us tomorrow. I'm sure it will run the gamut of T-H-A-N -K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G. We are so blessed! Even tho we have to remember such dear ones in the family no longer clasping hands in the "Thankful Circle" "the others."====JACK:  43?  That's a really, really BIG "the others."   I'm reminded of the old country hymn..."Will the circle be unbroken  By and by, Lord, by and by  There's a better home a-waiting   In the sky, Lord, in the sky  In the sky, Lord, in the sky "  You can sing the part of Mother Maybelle Carter.  Strum the autoharp, if you have one

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Hi, JE stimulated me to also think of a list:
T rust that God always seems to give me
H ope
A ngels--both here on earth among us and in heaven
N ormal days--not terribly exciting but I'm EXTREMELY thankful they're still coming at my age
K indness and mercy
S haring which I always hope to learn to do better and for which I am grateful for others who do
G od who gives faith to JE and me too
I nclusiveness - DIVERSITY is wonderful!!!!
V oice to sing and tell the story of how good God is to us, taking care of us all the time
I nner peace
N ice warm house, coat, gloves, scarf and hugs
G race
and bonn appetite--enjoy your Thanksgiving celebration meal!!!!!
====JACK:  Yours is also an excellent list, including some that I wouldn't have thought of.

 FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  As always thanks for your words of wisdom.  David remains in the care center and is failing, but is resilient and who knows what the future holds.  As we went around the table naming what we are thankful for including family, friends, faith and so on my little grand daughter said, "I'm Thankful for brown sugar!"  It was refreshing and surprising.====JACK:  Brown sugar?  That's why kids are so much fun.  When we went around the table filling in the acrostic, THANKSGIVING, for the letter I, my son used the word, intestines.  Without them, we couldn't enjoy our meal. : 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/26/13
“I believe that having a spiritual life is so important in everybody’s life.”  (Lou Holtz)  Many people these days see themselves as “spiritual” as over against “religious.”  Isn’t it possible to be both…in tune with God…and, at the same time, working with others to do the “Godly” thing?  Coach Holtz has a way of giving pep talks that make his listeners think.  What does it mean for you to have a spiritual/religious life?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Everyone who has life has a spirit; hence, everyone is also spiritual. It's really quite an obvious and unnecessary comment for one to claim that one is "spiritual". It would be equally unnecessary to claim that one is physical. Rather, the valuable comment is to how one engages one's spirituality (which is more likely what he means). Religion (to trace back, to connect with) provides one the opportunity for the re-enactment of the story, or to bring life to it, through the ritual for the purpose of "communing" with the God of one's theology. In Christian theology (Jesus is Lord) I utilize the Lutheran religion in our community. When not with the rest of the congregation, I remain a part of the Body of Christ, in concert with the rest of the Body of Christ. Hence, we don't "go to church", we are the Church. Where we go the Church goes...and so does the Spirit.  Yes, spirituality is important indeed. So, I guess Lou Holtz's comment is really quite an understatement isn't it? ====JACK:  Cutting to the chase...I think Lou is saying that everyone should have a place for God in his/her life.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  "The Spiritual Dimension of Life" was the title of my keynote speech for the recent Michigan Stephen Ministry Network Convention.    It was well received and folks wanted me to publish it.   I am working on polishing it up right now.   If I like the result, I may try to publish it====JACK:  You and Lou seem to be coaches on the same page.  He's been a football coach, and you've been a debate coach.

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm sure there are still many in the making . . . but at my age, I'm missing many of my hero's from yesteryears gone by.====JACK:  You don't have to wait until Thursday to give thanks for them.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  "Religious" connotes church-going, is my interpretation... spiritual is in touch with God.  BTW, I love Lou Holtz! ====JACK:  Ideally, church should be a place where one can be in touch with God, but that is not always the case.  Jesus found it necessary to cleanse the Temple.  The Spirit of God can be in a box, but does not have to be confined to the box.====LIZ:  The spirit of God is everywhere!

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I believe you then can truly enjoy a successful balanced life because you are then able to "walk the talk"====JACK:  When you lose your balance, you're apt to fall...and then all kinds of complications set it...especially when you're on the other side of 50.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I know so many people--both family and friends--for which "religious" seems to be a word which connotes something very limited. Actually, I sense they think of religion only in terms of law and churches only as a place where you are told about the laws and that you should be a lawful people. The word "spiritual" seems to them more something they can grasp as being helpful in their lives--for example one friend told me that for her God "is everywhere"--seems that the God she knows is spiritually everywhere but is not necessarily spiritually in church but she thinks is religiously there and not really drawing her to go be there with Him, maybe because of all of His laws and the crappy people there who are likely to be so judgmental. I have some people who keep putting on my Facebook that the Ten Commandments need to be posted in public buildings and prayer needs to be in schools and God needs to be on our money and so forth and so forth but I believe we need to pay the greatest attention to law/Gospel in our churches and help people to come closer to God in receiving the whole message--the Pastor just doesn't do it through the sermons, somehow every single worshipper has to be a little priest and figure out how to talk to people and be with people so they see we embody that tension of law/Gospel ourselves and have a believable and authentic religion. Help religion to become a positive word for people who think it's just laws and ritual. Thanks--I needed to try to think this through some more today.====JACK:  Sadly, some churches (pastors and people) have misused and misinterpreted "the Spirit."  And, sometimes, "listeners" have missed the message, but God has a way of getting around those obstacles, and that's what "Spirituality" seeks to accomplish.  It's a personal thing...God reaching into the soul of the individual.  I'm comfortable with letting God do his job, while I try my best to do mine.====SHARON:  Enjoyed SBP and your commentary. Just heard from our Pastor's sermon last Sunday, upon the 60th anniversary of our congregation, that it isn't like it used to be--the Pastor at the beginning of the forming of the congregation said his job was to step aside because the people were just flowing in and the main thing was not to put any hindrances to them. Now, we need to go outside and do all kinds of "outreach" and be not only spiritual and religious but busy (Pastor also said some things will succeed, some will fail) but I must say I'm somewhat stuck on not putting any hindrances to people when they come because have seen quite a bit of the revolving door church these last decades. The sermon at the Cathelic church next door this noon was pay attention to the Stations of the Cross and confession and being merciful, not scolding anyone, when people came to Jesus, he never scolded anyone. That makes a lot of sense to me but walking home I reflected upon how much Jesus scolded the synagogue of His day. There is no other option than to put my trust in God and believing the Church will survive no matter how much any one of us don't know what we're doing. It is sort of easier to be a gentle peaceful Christian worshipping in a church where you don't know anything much about the struggles they are going through to stay open. Just saying.  Thanks, especially, your enhanced commentary on the relationship between spirituality and religiousity.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  For me, spiritual and religious do not walk "hand in hand". They are intermingled/blended with religion shaping and reshaping the spiritual....the spiritual evolving and affecting my thoughts, words and deeds. And I'm still churning this WW. Thanks.====JACK:  Theologians have "churned" over this for ages.  I've come to the conclusion that "spirituality" is our one on one relationship with the Spirit (God...Ultimate Being) and religion is when like-minded spiritual people come together to better express their God-relationship.

 FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  What it means for me to have a spiritual/religious life is to live life in a giving,  joyous way as to consider others first. Actually, I’m happiest when I’m helping someone else. I am so thankful this Thanksgiving for the passage of our school district's bond, for my family, faith, friends and for my job. I’m thankful for my job because it allows me, of course to be able to pay my bills, but it also affords me so many opportunities to give of myself in so many ways to others.====JACK:  Yes, we have much for which to be thankful.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  This one confuses me.  How can you lead a religious life and not a spiritual one?====JACK: Jesus said (in the Sermon on the Mount):  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I believe that a spiritual life is essential for any deep meaning to our lives; but some who never seem to introspect, just "go along", day after day, don't even realize what they're missing, at least to outward appearances. I'm sure there are some deeply spiritual people who don't practice "religion" in a church, too.  But a relationship with the Almighty God gives meaning to all of  life, both mountain top and valley experiences.  "Believing is Seeing" as Bill titled one is true!====JACK:  Whether the spiritual relationship with God is "deep" is not dependent upon what "we" do.  The power is the Spirit's power.  "Behold, I tell you a mystery."  Spirituality is mysterious.

 FROM CWR IN MICHIGAN:  I think that contingent upon place of Birth, "Rearing", Cultural and Ethnic enviornment, Education,  and as well as Family practices....that the "idea of God" takes on  many and diverse forms.even within established institutional religious organizations......and is matter how "doctrinal " the influences are. .....and I think that spiritual /religious life Is ALWAYS fluid and ,by nature, transitional....that is, evolving.. Frankly, Doctrinal Rigidity is unfortunate.  Doctrine is a form of intellectual organization, is not only fluid but is also situational. I think that  perhaps one of the greatest advances in Evangelical progression was the invention of the Telephone the typewriter and the eraser.....and that a spiritual/religious life  is the precurser of Evolution.......personal and cultural.   . Cheers!====JACK:  Jack Pearl, an old-time radio comedian, would tell far-fetched stories, and his partner would express skepticism and say, "Vas you dere, Sharlie?"  One of the reasons we call our religious beliefs, "faith," is because we have to rely on what others tell us.  Sharlie vasn't dere.  I'm satisfied with that. 

 FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA:  God seems to keep my head above water.  :Your not too bad at that yourself.====JACK:  I see too many things that happen in life that seem to be more than coincidences.  I believe in the spiritual presence of God...and I find comfort in that.

 FROM KZB IN COLORADO:  Go Lou!!!  Lou said a really funny thing at the pep rally for the national championship - he talked about how he had the chaplain come in to pray for the team, and the chaplain said, "you know Lou, Jesus doesn't care who wins..."  Lou said, "I know father, but his MOTHER does." ====JACK:  Was he the football coach when you were at Notre Dame?  I always liked to see that little guy prancing along the sideline.  He's a great motivational speaker, too.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i think that believing in the spiritual realm is the foundation.  choosing or not choosing a religion in the human realm is the path that one follows to honor spirit.====JACK:  It's hard to believe in something that you can't see.  A sheet was thrown over Casper so that we could see the ghost (spirit).  God threw a sheet (Jesus) over the Spirit in order that we could "see" Him (God).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/25/13
“When you’re tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future.”  (Deepak Chopra)  Futurists are predicting some amazing things…robotic maids, flying cars, healthful food in a pill.  There are “luddites” who react negatively to stuff like that.  I suppose most of us are moderates.  We like some of the past, but accept that the future has a way of becoming the present.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love the past.   I love the present.   I look forward to the future.   Why be one dimensional?====JACK:  You probably like 3-D movies, too.

 FROM TARMART REV:  From the time we are born, cycled in and out of changes . . . .was here before we arrived and will be present still when we say farewell Planet Earth!!!====JACK:  You and I are part of the change.  Here today and gone tomorrow.====REV:  Hopefully able to stop along the way and smell a few roses.====JACK:  This week I hope to smell the turkey as it's cooking.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Well you know, Deepak, the reverse of that is possible too.  I sometimes feel I was a pioneer of the past but am now becoming a prisoner of the future.====JACK:  That's a good thought.  BTW, I've never been a prisoner in jail, except one time....when I was locked up as part of a Muscular Dystrophy fund-raiser.  I didn't get out until people paid my bail with donations.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  The temporal realm certainly brings its challenges to man. Living or attempting to relive the past has no true present or future; but a life of fantasy. In a true sense, the future never occurs because the present is as close as we can get to it. And, the present comes and goes into the past as soon as we experience it. I wonder what eternity must be like --- all three simultaneously?====JACK:  The present immediately becomes the past, and the future never happens.  Or...Is the past, present and future all a fantasy?====RAY:  You have tapped into the issue at hand: the delicate distinctions among our many experiences...How much of what we experience is "true" and how much is "reality"? What is true is true for itself. What is real is by my own determination; but what is real is not necessarily true.====JACK:  Some children have fun playing with their imaginary friends.  Adults can have fantasies, too.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:   A Robotic Cleaning lady would be most welcome at my house today, as I gear up for 41 Thanksgiving guests!!  But of course think of all the aids we have that would have seemed heavenly to housewives 150 yrs. ago, like vacuum sweepers, diswashers, et all. Guess I can't complain.  And the future looks to be awesome with fantastic discoveries and inventions that amaze us! But food in a pill will never taste and smell as delicious, as what we have now. HMMM I an smell that turkey already!! ====JACK:   41 is really a crowd to have around the table.  Jesus only has 13.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  We're a solution comprised of the past as we blend into the present as we are infused into the future as we....As I churn today's WW....lots of aspects to think about....Thanks. ====JACK:   Nobody has asked about "luddite."  I think that it's such an interesting word...with a fascinating story behind it.====SBP:  My assumption was/is that everybody but me had a base of reference. So....I "Googled" the word.....and it is an interesting , meaningful word. Worthy of more conjecture. My grandson and I were discussing the origins of language this weekend. How has it evolved from "grunts" to syntax> WW just stirs up..... ====JACK:  Grandsons are fun...I have 4.  Granddaughters are also good to interact with...2 of them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/22/13
“No matter how tall the mountain, it cannot block out the sun.”  (Chinese Proverb)  Something I enjoy about flying is when the plane breaks through the clouds into bright sunlight.  A friend would often quote, Longfellow’s “Rainy Day” poem.  “The day is cold and dark and dreary…Be still, sad heart!...Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”  Some days may be dark for you and me.  But, rainy days aren’t forever!    ;-)  Jack

RAINY DAY by 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.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY: We have been studying the Psalms recently, and this reminds me of a prevailing theme that portrays the rainy and dark times of what seems to the psalmist as God's forsaking his chosen people. They ask "for how much longer" will Your absence of favor last. I suppose there is always "Son-shine" in heaven; while the things of the world "cloud" our regular access to the warmth of His favor. ====JACK:  The Book of Ecclesiastes says that there's a time for live and to laugh and to cry...for rainy days and sunny days.  It's raining outside today, but tomorrow the sun will shine. ====RAY:  It's usually sunny here! Thankfully!====JACK:  You can't drink sunshine.====RAY:  True; but you can bathe in it!

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Sometimes it seems like some of those big semis on the road block out the sun.   Always glad to get away from them....but soon his cousin is there to do the job.====JACK:  My brother-in-law had a VW hippie bus and would tailgate semis, believing that he'd get better gas mileage that way.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  there is a great children's book entitled, "ming lo moves the mountain".  i think you'd like it!====JACK:  Does it have pictures and big print?

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  Great message! you should present that as invocation at an Optimist Club breakfast meeting...."The world of achievement has always belonged to the optimist".. ====JACK:  I really like the Longfellow poem.  He did good work!

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Always an optimist. It seems there are always breakthroughs.  I am taking two course at OLLI at USF.  One is about DNA-way out of my comfort zone , and the other is about the Civil  War.  The DNA class is held in a new USF School of Medicine in down town Tampa where they teach about robotic medicine.  The Civil War teacher blows my mind with all of his knowledge and presentations.  He is a real Civil War buff and makes everything so interesting with his power pioints and maps.One thing that I have noticed, though,.I am getting to be the oldest in all of my classes, even though I don't feel old.  The rest of the class is now of the Viet Nam era.====JACK:  Civil War buffs only know second-hand information.  Don't worry about being the oldest.  As long as you've got all your marbles, you can still be in the game.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Ah yes, that radiant sun, how it lifts our spirit.  There's so much drama when the darkness of a summer storm passes and bright sunshine suddenly breaks through.  Flying above the clouds as you described is a special experience.  Like Longfellow, the poet Radcliffe Squires saw the beauty above the clouds too: "I see how the cloud bank is really a landscape where sunlight makes rainbows.  I see white valleys whose white streams flow into snow meadows where pearly cattle drift.  I see pale mountains where ghostly eagles fly."  There is so much of wonder all around us that we generally fail to recognize.  It's raining in Boston today...but not forever!====JACK:  What differentiates our planet from others (and makes it habitable) is the rain and the just the right amount.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Another good word to begin my day with!!====JACK:  Did you ever sing this  song?
 Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
Heavenly breezes blow;
Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
Faces all aglow.
Turn, turn from sin and doubting,
Look to God on high,
Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
You and I.
 ====REV:  That and "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!"

 FROM CS IN WISCONSIN:  Think this really applies to me lately.  Had knee replacement surgery on Oct. 28th, with complications.   Thing are getting better, but it takes time.  I’m looking forward to the sunshine after all the cloudy miserable days!!!!====JACK:  Do you remember when people, who weren't feeling well, would say, "I got the miseries!"?  Sorry about your miseries.  "The Doctor" says: "Try reading Longfellow's poem again."

 FROM RP & CP IN FLORIDA:  Thank you. We needed that today.====JACK:  "Look for the Silver Lining" is more than just a good song.

 FROM NORM, THE REALTOR:  Inspired by your post this morning - ====JACK:  A ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds on this day.  Thanks.

 FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA:  YOU ARE SUCH A UPPER FOR ME.====JACK:  A Chinese Proverb and a Longfellow poem and the Holy Spirit of God make "the magic" happen.

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  The winter solstice is in 4 weeks, which means after that the days (daylight) will be getting longer (more sunshine), and then spring is a mere 90 days after that;-) & I have indoor gardening to do with over-wintered plants). My little circle of life!!====JACK:  As the saying goes, "What goes around, comes around."  One of my favorite holidays is Feb 2, when I watch the movie, Groundhog Day and wonder what it would be like to be Phil Connors.  For me, Feb 2, is the day that announces: .Spring is coming!

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Thanks. I needed that today.====JACK:  Thanksgiving is next Thursday.  I like that holiday.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Three of our church family live in the Brightmoor area. They invited us to a community meeting--requested our support as they made a proposal to those gathered. I didn't know what to expect--so many people have moved out and so many empty houses, etc., but the 45 or so people gathered were so upbeat, some living a long time there, some newer like our our three friends, there is a lot of need in that community but with neighborhood people like the ones we met last night, willing to buckle down and support and help all their neighbors to make the community viable long-term--well, it was just very hopeful and sunny. Maybe we'll be able to help somehow too.====JACK:  MLK jr gave a speech of hopefulness, saying, "I've been to the mountaintop, and I've seen the Promised Land."  Some neighborhoods look pretty dismal, but with upbeat residents, like you describe, the sun will shine again.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS: My twin sis  and I used to sing "Look For The Silver Lining" (and try to find the sunny side of life!")  Now a "golden oldie"!  Liked the Longfellow poem, which was new to me. It's been raining for 3 days here in IL after all of our tornadoes (I lost a huge dead tree which took out my electrical lines (and my computer for 3 days...)  but now it is cold enough for snow. Going to Chicago for Chicago Chorale Concert this weekend where it will be even colder!!====JACK:  That's an optimistic song with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Buddy DeSylva.  Judy Garland sang a great version of it

 FROM JR IN ILLINOIS:  I remember a filmstrip I showed in my sixth grade classes about China that quoted a similar proverb: “The mountains can not grow higher, so bit by bit we can make them smaller.” ====JACK:  I recall something similar in describing eternity.  Once every 1000 years a sparrow would come and remove a grain of sand from the mountain.  When the mountain was no more, that was the first year of eternity....or something like that.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/21/13
“Seeing is different from being told.”  (Kenyan Proverb)  A Ben Franklin proverb puts it this way.  “Tell me, and I forget.  Teach me, and I remember.  Involve me, and I learn.”  A friend told me that he learned his “handyman” skills from his father who showed him how to use tools to fix things.  Each of us can probably name a skill that we have because someone let us “do” something as a child.  My dad played catch with me.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM RB IN MICHIGAN:  These words are so timely for my day..  I not only reflect on my dad, but the many men I observed working in things I love to do today.  They involved me in loving others via their God given talents - as you have also done...Thank you,====JACK:  We each could make a list of the people who have made us who we are today.

 FROM DP IN WISCONSIN:  Right-handed or left?====JACK:  Ambidextrous!  Bert Campaneris played all nine positions in a game on Sept. 8, 1965.  His most challenging assignments came in the final two innings. When he took the mound in the eighth he pitched as well as could be expected. On the mound, he pitched ambidextrously, throwing lefty to left-handers, and switched against right-handers. Campy allowed two walks, one hit and one run. Campaneris moved behind the plate in the ninth."

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  I am an excellent painter (as in house) from helping my dad as a kid. I painted all the muntin bars on his windows.====JACK:  I learned how to clean wallpaper and how to remove it.  Does anyone do that anymore?  BTW, I never knew those window dividers were called muntin bars?  vI just knew that I didn't have the patience to paint them.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  .........i see..........====JACK:  Both sight and insight are great gifts.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think we learn in various ways and by various need to narrow it down to one way====JACK:  The point is...wherever and whenever we learn, learning is best done when the teacher involves us in the process.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, think this must really work in handing down an interest in growing plants. You can read a book about it, watch someone else grow them and can sit in a biology class and hear the teacher talk about it but until you get your hands in the soil some and plunk the seed in and then nurture it while it's growing, the experience doesn't seem to get inside and become real until you actually do it. In this regard, people really need the opportunity to make mistakes and see successes and learn--almost like having an original relationship to the plant you're trying to grow. Guess it takes into account that there are a bunch of things that can be different from time-to-time with nature and people.====JACK:  I guess that means..When I open my box of Wheaties I should stop and think of what goes into the making of the product.  It's like we sing in the hymn:  Come, Ye Thankful People, Come..."First the blade and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear." then the harvester, the miller, the baker, the packager, the grocer.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Learn by doing.  Unfortunately, I am a bit like Tom Sawyer and will take any help that I can get.  All of the electronic stuff these days is quite a challenge.====JACK:  My grandson stopped in the other day, and I showed him my new internet modem which needed to be installed.  I hadn't gotten around to reading the instructions. let alone getting it to work.  He sat at the keyboard and within ten minutes he had everything working just fine.

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Cooking, cooking & more cooking. A necessity for feeding 8 people every day!====JACK:  Have you passed on your experience by involving your daughters (and husband) in the cooking and cooking in your kitchen?

 FROM DOCTOR JUDY:  Love this one Jack!! Especially the Ben Franklin proverb.====JACK:  Old Ben was really a talented individual...his kite...his glasses...his proverbs...his printing...etc.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I like Ben's quote, new to me.  Margaret Becker at MHS. chose me for student director my Sr. year. She worked with me, so I was able to direct  our concert choir in a couple of numbers at the Spring Concert in '48. I'm sure that led me to choose Music Ed. as my college major, and I've directed school and church choirs ever since!   I wrote her a letter to tell her  of the influence she'd had in my life. I love getting similar notes from my former students!!  We all owe a debt to many "mentors" in our lives!====JACK:  Some of my confirmation students receive Winning Words.  I enjoy it when one of them will respond by saying, "That's what you taught me in confirmation class."

 FROM DP IN MINNESOTA:  My Mom was always working on a project like sewing clothing, slip covers, draperies, or knitting or crocheting some useful item.  Her practical nature was contagious, and soon I was involved in creating things, with her help of course.  I am so grateful  for her example because all my life I have enjoyed making things for our children, grandchildren, our homes, and now, especially, making quilts for LWR and the needy in our community.====JACK:  There was a time when mothers were called, "homemakers."  When did that go out of style?  Here's the 1st verse of a poem that I like...
HOME by Edgar A. Guest
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.
 ====DP:  You have a gift of always responding with appropriate thoughts !  Thanks !

 FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA:  My dad played catch with me too…..with both arms!====JACK:  A few major leaguers could do that, but not many.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Running busy and late today, Jack . . . "mentoring" . . . state of the art, highest level of general development!!====JACK:  Somebody once said...."I gotta slow down, my feet's movin' too fast!====REV:  I remember one time racing my son when he was in Junior High School, trying to catch him found my head and chest way out in front of my feet to where I had to stop or I would have fallen down . . . my feet couldn't keep up !!

 FROM DB IN MICHIGAN:  my grandfather taught me how to drive a nail and to replace the washers on the sink handles in the bathroom, my grandmother taught me how to sew with a needle and thread, my other grandmother taught me how to knit and how to use a sewing machine, an aunt taught me how to crochet ====JACK:  My grandmother was in her 90s, and I remember seeing her reading her Bible every day, using a magnifying glass.  That impressed me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/20/13
“I’m not a genius.  I’m just a tremendous bundle of energy.”  (R. Buckminster Fuller)  Futurist (and genius) Bucky Fuller was always a non-conformist.  He was expelled from Harvard twice.  He had trouble with geometry, and yet was able to invent the geodesic dome   He coined the word, ephemeralization, meaning: to do more with less.  Unrelated -- Quarterback Joe Theisman said, “A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Genius is currently based on the subjective concepts of what is necessary to test "objectively" and then compare with a standard of "normal" (which is such an impoverished standard for such an evaluation). I would rather use "ephemeralization" as the standard of genius. It is so much more significant!====JACK:  I wonder if a measure of "common sense" should be factored into the determination  of who is a genius...if common sense can be measured.====RAY:  Unfortunately not...because "normal" is as fluid as the sickness of the everyday, and it is determined through the general malaise of the conformed, the politically correct, and the multitude of those who remain asleep (to too much of an extent as critical thinking has seemed to be long past), and this leads to a common sense that has also become something dictated to those who await word as to how and what they are to think and say by those who provide the menu. I particularly love the line, "if you aren't at the table, you're on the menu". That seems to be a good example of common sense.====JACK:  Can a test be the judge of "genius"?  Or is it the maker of the test?  Even Congress can't agree on who should be judges?

 FROM TARMART REV:  You are the genius in coming up with some of the most interesting phrases of thought each morning . . . I look for them everyday during the week!! Be blessed, Jack!!====JACK:  I like what Aristotle said..."There is no great genius without a mixture of madness."====REV:  "The swan glides do smoothly and easily atop the water, while its feet is moving to beat the band underneath to get to its next destination."

 FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I think Fuller once conceived a plan to put a dome over St. Louis, back in the 1960s.====JACK:  Walt Disney, the master-creator, said: "If you can dream it, you can do it."  The optimist is a person who dreams.  Or, going back to BCE, Archimedes said, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."  You learned that in Physics 101, didn't you?

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  I had the unique experience of working with Bucky Fuller during my architectural studies at the university.  He truly was a phenomenal thinker, and seemed to be inexhaustible when talking about exploring ideas of all sorts.  During the period he was working with us at the university, he also gave a couple evening lectures which were open to the public.  They attracted a lot of people who had heard about this "genius".  After speaking from 8 to 10 p.m. Bucky would suggest a time-out ("Perhaps some of you want to call it an evening") and after a contingent of visitors would leave, Bucky would pick up where he left off, and go on speaking for another hour.  The thing is, so much of what he said was fresh thinking, and it captured your attention.  BTW, Hawkeye George is correct...In the late '50's Bucky did elaborate about putting a dome over St. Louis, to manage air quality and climate control.  A group of architectural students at Washington University, at that time working with Bucky, built a scaled-down dome on the university campus to examine the characteristics of such a structure.  St. Louis now has a sizable dome in one of the city parks called the Climatron, a permanent home for a large botanical exhibition.====JACK:  You were indeed privileged to be able to be "touched" a couple of geniuses, Bucky and Yama, to name just a couple.  Of course, they also had the opportunity "to walk with you," as well.====RI:  Both those men were small in stature but giants in creative thinking.=====JACK:  I've read that St. Paul was small in stature, too.  BTW, how tall do you think that Jesus was?===RI:  I've read that Jesus was not tall by today's standards.  Unless you are asking about the Jesus who towers over Rio de Janeiro...that's tall.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  Have read a lot of Bucky over the years and heard him speak at Harper College when I was a kid. A most amazing man.  They just had a retrospective of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art . It was wonderful for me to revisit some of his ideas.  Had no idea he was expelled twice.  That’s kind of funny.  Another of his words, “Dymaxion” – Dynamic – Maximum – Action (I think) ====JACK:  I like manufactured words.  Lake Superior State Univ in Michigan makes a list every year of words that should be removed from use and of others that should be added to the dictionary.  I wonder if dymaxion is now an approved word.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Actually, Norman Einstein was Al's older brother, but his folks could not afford college for him. They sent Al instead. Norm went about his business quietly and is not given credit for his many accomplishments. How to make a football hold air was one of them. That's why Theisman remembers him and thinks him a genius. Read the book "Norm and Me." You will be enlightened, as Thomas Edition would say.====JACK:  I'm positive that you must be thinking of Norman Vincent, Al Peale's grandson.  Dr. Peale would offer prayers for the players before every NY pro football game.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a fascinating man!   Anyone who is Pres. of Mensa ("74-83) has  to be near-genius....His wife of 66 years must have been pretty unflappable!!  They died within 36 hours of one another: He had a heart attack while visiting her, when she was dying  of cancer in the hospital, and pre-deceased her!  Their  daughter Allegra was no slouch either, she was "Honoree of the Year" in 1992 of Dance Guild of America, and Prof. of Dance Dep't. of UCLA, and wrote several books about her dad.  Allegra's husband, Robert won an Academy Award for his documentary on Micheal Angelo.  Seemed to be a brainy bunch on the "Spaceship Earth". I looked up why he was expelled from Harvard :-): 1.) for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe; 2.) for irresponsibility and lack of interest!!   His accomplishments and reputation speak for themselves...I guess he truly "grew up"!====JACK:  If my parents were alive, I could explain my grades at Augustana by telling them about Bucky and his grades at Harvard.  I'm surprised that one of the TV networks didn't make a show, starring the Fuller family and calling it The Brainy Bunch.

FROM RI: IN BOSTON:    The comments from Blazing Oaks regarding the final days of Bucky Fuller and his wife were quite revealing to me.  I never heard about the circumstances surrounding their deaths.  Reflecting on Bucky's occasional comments while we were privileged to be with him, about his wife's support, I feel certain the two of them were very close.  On a couple occasions when he was lecturing publicly, his wife was in the front row, and he identified her to the audience.  He joked that the ideal way to theorize and have the means to explore those theories as necessary, was to marry a woman of wealth.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   The Fullers lost  their older daughter Alexandra at age four (older than Allegra) due to Meningitis, and Bucky  questioned whether it was because of the drafty old house they were living in, in Chicago, and blamed himself for possibly causing her death. It was a dark time for he and  his wife....Allegra named her own daughter Alexandra, after her deceased sister. A lot  of times we have no idea what these "public figures" go through.

 FROM DB IN MICHIGAN:  Buckminsterfullerene: a recently discovered allotrope of carbon, noted for its exquisite shape and design, composed of 60 molecules. The soccer-ball-like structure contains five and six member rings reminiscent of the structure of "geodesic domes" suggested by the late industrial designer Buckminster Fuller.  Great name! --kind of like Flash Gordon!====JACK:  The more I hear about Fuller, the more impressed I am.  Thanks for adding to the lore.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/19/13
“An optimist figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster; it’s more like the cha-cha.”  (Sent by Teri Gianetti)  Did you know that the NY Yankees have danced the cha-cha to excite their fans?  Some good plays could help, too.  But that’s beside the point.  Teri’s quote says that the optimist recognizes that life has its setbacks, but when mixed with a positive outlook, we can be dancing.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  We certainly don't make constant progress in our lives, and not always rapid progress either.  We may move forward, then sometimes find that we've lost ground...temporarily, so it's not a "disaster".  The WW today reminds me of another comment that goes around, perhaps originating from a realist, "suppose the hokey-pokey is what it's all about!"====JACK:  Have you ever danced the Hokey Pokey?====RI:  Yes...and done other assorted silly things!====JACK:  Have you ever tried to do the "silly walk" as depicted by Monty Python?

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Is a typhoon that wipes out most of one's family "a step backward"?   More of a cha chaaaaaaaaaa====JACK:  As it so often happens, it's the sliver in our finger that gets more attention than what's happening on the other side of the globe to someone unknown to us.  That's why there's the need for interpreters.  Our Sunday School children took up a collection for the typhoon victims last Sunday.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  pollyanna and i very much approve of this outlook on life!====JACK:  Why is poor Pollyanna so often depicted in negative terms?  Interestingly, it's usually not by children. ====MARY:  Are some people of the adult persuasion intimidated by true innocence and optimism? ====JACK:  If you have not seen it, you should watch the Twilight Zone episode called, "Kick the Can."  Someone commented to me on Sunday, "Isn't it hard to do children's sermons?"  I answered, "No!  I just try to put myself in the place of the child, and it seems to work out."  That's what preaching is about, too.... Trying to put yourself in the pew as well as in the pulpit.  That's why you're so good at what you do.  You know your audience.====MARY:  "kick the can" is a great episode.  when working with our children, i feel so close to spirit.  just by being together we compose a daily "children's  sermon".  they are my portal to the other/next world.  i am blessed to sit among the audience.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Like.====JACK:  Do you "like" dancing the cha-cha, or is it the forward and backward and forward motion of life?====LIZ:  i do not dance in public. i do not like the setbacks of life, but who does?  i Like the "put it in perspective" of this message.

 FROM TARMART REV:  "cha-cha" or "square" dancing?? (square: “fair, honest genuine”) Remember my old saying? "It was the optimist that invented the airplane, the pessimist that invented the parachute and the realist that flies the plane." ====JACK:  I didn't think that the AGs allowed any kind of dancing, unless dancing on the streets of heaven.

 FROM CK WHEREVER HE IS:  Thanks for the words today Jack! I needed to hear that.====JACK:  Did you ever see the commercial for Mennen's Skin Bracer, where a hand comes out and slaps a man across the face, and he responds, "Thanks, I needed that!"?  I'm one who likes that product...but not the slap across the face.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Isn't it true, that n the Cha-cha, while you are moving forward, your partner is moving backward? We need to dance side-by-side.  Also,as long as the step forward is longer than the step backward, we are making progress.====JACK:  Maybe you can call it the chaaaaa-cha, or the sneeze dance..

 FROM TERI GIANETTI:  Thanks for printing this & I liked your addition!====JACK:  I got a lot of good feedback on that quote.  Thanks for sending it. ====TERI:  By the way, anyone that knows how to really cha-cha, knows there are cooperative "side moves" and no one ever takes all the steps back.  Interesting interpretations.  And, by the way, the cha cha one was not my favorite quote.  My favorite ones are: "Even a piece of paper has two sides."  "Change is the only constant."  My most favorite quote is:   “Out beyond ideas of right thinking and wrong thinking, there is a field.  I'll meet you there." (Rumi)  Responses would probably be really interested!

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I'm either a pragmatist or a fool....or some of both. Set backs provide breathing time...reflection time...planning the next step time.... That sounds "holier than thou"....but it's in the same league (I think,) as "God doesn't shut a door without opening a window." way of keeping mental balance.====JACK:  Every day is decision-making time.  I like the Ella Fitzgerald song, "Undecided."   "First, you say, you do  And then you don't And then you say, you will  And then you won't  You're undecided now  So what are you gonna do?"  Even sitting on the fence is a decision.  I like your suggestion to use "down" time as "reflection" time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/18/13
“I have more zits now than I had as a teenager--stress zits!”  (Tiffani Thiessen)  Have you ever heard of stress zits?  Studies have shown that stress and acne can be related.  Psychologist Lisa Klewicki (3 Minutes a Day) suggests 3 ways to handle stress.  1) Look for the positives.  2) Set and follow priorities.  3) Practice gratitude.  If you’re concerned about stress and how you look, follow Dr. K’s suggestions…starting today.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  ... or you could walk around West Bloomfield singing, "Think Positive" from Willy Wonka!!====JACK:  I don't know that song, but maybe Target and Walmart will let you sing it to the customers as they do their Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  Google tells me that the song starts out...
  You’ve nothing to lose, so why not choose to think positive?
  Whenever my luck is on the blink I think positive.
  Whenever I’m feeling down and out and don’t know what to do,
   I never give way to fear and doubt ‘cause thinking positive sees me through

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  I'm not worried about my zits.  When I was 17 my doctor told me I would outgrow them.  I'm 78 and I'm still waiting, but I'm not worried!====JACK:  For some people...It's once a kid, always a kid.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/15/13
“There is no more lovely and charming relationship than a good marriage.”  (Martin Luther)  Luther said that he found peace when he married Katherine.  Did you know that he helped her escape from a nunnery in a fish barrel?  Theirs was a lively and a happy home.  Most people have some “lively” stories to tell about the home in which they were raised.  Maybe some were charming, depending on who’s telling the story.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  I'm sure many more stories are about to be created in this next month and one-half!!  Happy Holidays forthcoming!!====JACK:  Stories are created every day.  My sister-in-law said to a friend, "Your husband must be a barrel of laughs."  The wife replied, "Yeah..."  You can add the nuance.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I was raised in a lively home. One of my most precious memories is when the old farm house burned down, somehow Dad rented another farm house, people were giving us furniture, etc., and that first night us kids were sleeping on mattresses in one bedroom, mom and dad were on a mattress in their bedroom and they just started laughing and laughing because dad's cowboy boots beside the mattress were sticking up so high. They showed me what character and endurance and fortitude and faith and love were all about. But they weren't always happy and showed me how to get through those times too. ====JACK:  I was unsuccessful in finding the exact quote...but it has to do with staying calm when every thing around you is burning.  Were you in the farmhouse when it started to burn?  Fire can be devastating.

 FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  You're spot-on!====JACK:  A couple of older people that I know use the term, spot-on.  I know what it implies, but I'll have to look up the derivation.  (I looked it up)  Answer:
The phrase 'spot on', meaning 'in exactly the right place, comes to us from India and the snooker-based game of billiards.  The six coloured balls were each placed on their respective 'spots' on the table after having been sunk.  The placement of these coloured balls, unlike the red balls, which were permanently 'sunk' when potted, was critical to the game, so the person re-spotting the coloured balls (other than red, of course) would have to be precisely on the correct spot, or, 'spot on' for the game to be fairly played.  The critical nature originated from the size of the table; 6' x 12', and the tightness of the pockets; 1.5 x ball diameter, unlike today's 'sloppy' 2 x ball diameter

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The liveliness at home while I grew up came from doing what was necessary to put food on the table, clothes on the kids, and pay the rent.  The depression years were tough, so my father took jobs of yard cleaning and gardening, and my mother did laundry and ironing for college students in our town.  It wasn't actually "lovely and charming" as they sacrificed to stay afloat, but they never quarreled about it nor gave any indication of how dire things were.  They prevailed with faith, and by the grace of God the latter years of their 66 years in marriage turned into years of plenty.  My regret is that I didn't do enough to express my thanks to them for the many hardships they had endured over the years.====JACK:  As the saying goes, "We are who we were."  We need to keep that in mind as we examine our life and the life of those around us.  I don't think that any of us have said "thank you" enough to those who have shaped our life.

 FROM CZB:  I think I know why you picked this one today!====JACK:  You noticed?

 FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA:  HOW TRUE!====JACK:  There are times when we recognize this truth more deeply.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  My parents thoroughly enjoyed each other and it rubbed of on us. Don't be afraid to disagree sometimes. Makes for a more lively, loving marriage.====JACK:  To disagree, but not in a disagreeable way.====PFC:  Amen! During our premarital conference with Dean Johnson, he advised us not to use the phrase "You always..." and we never forgot it. He was a neat guy.

 FROM DC IN KANSAS:  I recall some reports about Luther's choice of Katie.  Did I learn it at the Sem?  Luther assisted the nuns "escape," and Luther found partners for all except Katie.  So he stepped up to the challenge.====JACK:  I remember reading that Luther said to her: "I'm old enough to be your father."  I can't remember the context...but it was probably part of a lively discussion between the two of them.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Ours is certainly a happy loving family.  We are deeply grateful for each other and the spouses God has given each of us.  We stick together during the "crisis times" and the ill times and the happy  times.  For this we are most grateful.====JACK:  Is it charming, too?

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Spot on indeed! Bill and I were very different in many ways, but as his mother used to say, "If two people think exactly alike, one of them is not needed!" :-) Together we made a good team in ministry. I remember (brother-in-law) Hal telling of Luther "freeing" the nuns!    Yes, a good marriage is such a blessing!!!====JACK:  I'm sure that your children remember a "lively" household.  Charming?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/14/13
“Let me be a little kinder, Let me be a little blinder, To the faults of those around me.”  (Edgar A. Guest)  EAG was a columnist for the Detroit Free Press and his job was to come up with a poem for every issue.  Most of them were homespun thoughts, not considered great poetry in the academic sense.  Maybe that’s why so many people liked them.  We need to be reminded that kindness would make this a better world.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  guest is recommending stupidity.   I think kindness is being aware of your neighbor's faults but not reminding him of them every second====JACK:  I see that you've decided not to take Edgar's advice.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i have a car magnet that says, "kindness matters".  whenever anyone comments on it i give it to them to display on their car.  i bought several for back-ups.  i'm hoping it will turn into a movement!  (me and arlo!)====JACK:  You gave me one of those magnets.  No one has commented on it...yet, but seeing it on the trunk lid has motivated me to do some "little" acts of kindness.  Thanks!

 FROM TARMART REV:  Brought back a memory of Will Rogers from Oklahoma for some reason . . . probably for him being noted for his colloquialism!  I'm going out today, taking your advice . . . spreading a little kindness!!====JACK:  Just for fun...Keep track of the times today that people show kindness to you.  Will one outperform the other?====REV:  Will do my best to do so and report back tomorrow. 0;-)  PS...Interesting day yesterday as I spoke to a ladies' class of 20 or so at the local Evangelical Free Church about my experiences in reaching out to the community, especially with Wal-Mart and Target in mind. They were just finishing up a series of lessons on witnessing and wanted to look at ways they could put their desire to do so to work for them. Someone had mentioned my name as one to speak to them about it. -- Last evening it was sharing on AA's topic, "Spirituality" with an addiction group at our Woodland Centers that deal with addictions. Usually once or twice a year I'm asked to share. Quite a diversity of expression given yesterday.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I like this. Reminds me of Samuel Johnson's, "While fondness may not always be within our abilities, kindness always is always possible. " (I paraphrase from memory)====JACK:  Acts of kindness will become a "memory" reaction, if we do them often enough.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think maybe when Jesus said that the poor will always be with you, He might have also said that the unkind, the mean-spirited, the self-righteous, the destructive, the manipulator's, etc., will always be with us as well. We can't "change" others, and lines are seemingly drawn that make even influencing others less frequent. So, we can certainly endure to be kind amidst those who choose otherwise. ====JACK:  Jesus probably didn't say that the mean-spirited and self-righteous will always be with us, because he was a positive thinker who could foresee the possibility of redemption in everyone.====RAY:  Proverbs notes how "arguments" with the foolish is foolishness by the one arguing. I'm not sure positive thinking means being blind to foolishness, but loving the fool -- not for one's choice of foolishness (if one did choose it), but for the wisdom to choose Love instead.  Jesus also knows that there are those who will reject or have rejected Him. I don't think He loves them any less; but I think He will let them go their way just the same. After all, we ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil even though we were told we "shall certainly die"... And God didn't stop us! Instead, He loved us enough to send His Son. Many are called; but not all answer wisely. And I can still be positive.====JACK:  All I'm saying is that I believe God never writes anyone off so long as there is sand left in the hour glass.====RAY:  Amen...and I am saying the same. Being kind amidst "reason" to otherwise assumes the sand has run out. So, being kind to the one whose sand has run through the hourglass would be all the more Christian!

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I'm very sensitive to criticism and aware of having so many things wrong with me but always pray to really soak it up that I am forgiven and that it is God who is constantly helping me, through so many others, with this miserable condition and terrible weakness because, at the same time, have become aware that people who are really hard and demanding and critical of themselves have a tendency to lay such heavy burdens on others around them too. Don't want to be blinder, just want to keep on knowing God in myself and others better. Thanks for your WW words today--thought-provoking once again. You never let us down in provoking us to cogitate.====JACK:  Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden and sensitive to criticism, and I will give you rest."  Take your burden to the Lord and LEAVE it there.

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme:I 'm reminded of advice for a good marriage:"Before you get married you should go in with your eyes wide open,once you're married you should spend the rest of your relationship with your eyes 1/2 closed"..====JACK:  ...and all this time I thought you were squinting because of the bright lights in the TV studio.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That is definitely what the whole world needs-more kindness. Les has that book in his collection.  You are very kind to pass along your winning words every day.====JACK:  A favorite of mine is the Bacharach/David song,  "What the Word Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love,"  I think I'll Google YouTube and listen to Dionne Warwick sing it...Now!

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  No one ever had to have anyone explain the meaning of Edgar A. "Bud" Guest's poetry.  They struck a chord in the same way that Winning Words do.====JACK:  I can understand and appreciate that there are nuances to great poetry, but I usually like stuff that rhymes.  I also like the common poetic writings of Carl Sandburg.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As I indicated earlier, I feel Kindness is one of the most important attributes in a  spouse. Certainly makes him/her "wear well" over the years!!  I like the Samuel Johnson quote in your blog (Good Debt John). So true; We can't "LOVE" everyone, but we can be kind!  "God is within: Don't be without!' (David Shouldice)====JACK:  People have had a lot to say about kindness.  Being blind to some of the things that "irk" us can be a good attribute, as well...remembering that we're not always right.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/13/13
“God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things.”  (New reading of Proverbs 25:2)  In seminary biblical studies I learned these words regarding the Old and New Testaments…”The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.”  In other words, God has a way of showing himself in both the Old and the New.  Did it ever occur to you that God might like to play, Hide and Seek?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM RB IN MICHIGAN:  Ah ha!  This is why there is "Gospel" in both the Old and New Testaments...
Always enjoy your take on life via winning words.  What does the "c" stand for? Is there a little christian (c) waiting to come out in all.====JACK:  There's "Law" in both, too.  If Gospel means, good news, does Law mean, bad news?  BTW, the "c" is part of a secret code to determine where my customers are.====RB:  I agree there is law in both, but many will say NT is all Gospel. The contrary of this like many statements is false. This is why the high priests, scribes, and Sadducees had such a hard time understanding Christ (our big C) - no code required :)  By the way didn't you teach me that all we come in contact with are c's = community?  God's blessings on your day.====JACK:  I've learned that it is a never ending quest to bring harmony among all who have their way of interpreting the Bible, or religion in general.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I have often wondered "why" about many things like life-on-earth, suffering, temporal V. Eternity, spatial V. Infinity, Grace and not Grace, temptation, and many more! I know I may never know or understand them; but I wonder about them just the same. Do you suppose God giggles at even our contemplations for that which is hidden and exposed?====JACK:  My mother used to do embroidery.  Her work was beautiful, until you looked at the underside.  That was a mess.  Could it be that God is an embroiderer, too, and when we see life as a "mess," we're simply looking at the underside of God's work?

 FROM TARMART REV:  "In the fullness of time . . . " My mind this morning was taken back because of your posting to the chronological order of years and historical moments highlighted at the new Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills. I would enjoy studying that once again . . . maybe next year.====JACK:  We  continue to search for the hidden "good" in the Holocaust event.====REV:  Yes we do . . . emotionally moved each time I visit the memorial . . . worshipping at Temple Kol Ami those five years and having somewhat of a relationship with Rabbi Conrad will always be a highlight in my life.====JACK:  A Christian congregation worshipping in a Jewish Temple certainly made a statement in our community.  It's too bad that it wasn't able to continue...but life goes on.  Only G-d is forever.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Interesting.  With the recent discovery of 8 billion other "earths," it seems God has more to reveal & we, to discover...====JACK:  One of the lessons taught by diversity is that there are others in the world (universe) besides us.  I try hard to look at others and see them as individuals, like myself.

 FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  No, I never thought of God playing hide and seek, but with Scripture study I am finally seeing how everything in the Old Testament is preparation for the New.  Am studying Revelation this year and unwrapping the symbolism John uses.  (I wonder if he ever thought he'd be writing for such a lightweight as me?)====JACK:  Jesus seemed to identify more with the "lightweights" of society than with those who had all of the answers. Karl Barth, the famous theologian, was asked to explain his belief in God.  He responded, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  Don't become too worked up about the Book of Revelation.  Even those who determined which books should be in the Bible struggled over its inclusion.  It squeaked in.

KNOWN" IN THE NEXT PHASE OF ETERNAL LIFE !====JACK:  There's a lot that is contained in that small word, faith.  Mark Twain tried to be humorous when he said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."  But, when you've had to lean on it, faith ain't so funny.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, it was in a church Bible study with Pastor Schulz, studying in the group the book of Isaiah, that I had a deep faith experience so that started trusting more and more in scripture, growing faith in God and believing that His church carries His Word for us. Ever since then, I've believe that God can come to anyone He chooses as they are reading and studying any part of the Bible He chooses to talk to us through. It's all pertinent to someone's faith journey and when once you find one scripture passage meaningful, seems to me a person starts wondering and looking to see if any other scripture passage says something personal to oneself too. Does God hide himself and keep secrets--I don't believe so, it is our condition that makes us thus so in the relationship. The wonder and miracle to me is that the scientists keep on looking.====JACK:  There's nothing wrong with a God who enjoys playfulness.  In school I recall how satisfying it was to come up with a right answer after studying and studying.  ====SHARON:  Thinking some more about this and actually, I believe God can come to us however we, in our sinful nature, open ourselves up to receiving Him. There must be something God puts in us that makes us all keep at it, since He created us maybe he put questions we have the audacity to think we originated ourselves in us too. Wouldn't that be humorous? Or do we need to think we can think so much ourselves? What makes God delight in us? What makes us delight in God?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/12/13
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”  (Auguste Rodin)  Rodin lived these words of his.  Even though the realism of his sculptures was criticized by the art world of his day, he refused to change his style.  Recently, a casting of The Thinker sold for $15+M.  At a Rodin showing in Detroit, I learned that The Thinker is part of a larger sculpture, where he’s looking down upon people in Hell…and thinking.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It seems that a quote from baseball player Ichiro Suzuki is appropriate here:"People striving for approval from others become phony."  It is sad that so many talented artists have not been appreciated in their lifetimes, nor reaped the financial benefits of their talents; However they remain true to themselves, for their Art's sake!  It boggles my mind that that amount of money is paid for art work (or anything else!). I always think of all the good it could do for hungry and  disadvantaged people!!  But as my husband used to say, "It's not what you'd do with a million, if fortune  should be your lot; It's what you're doing now with the buck and a half you've got!"====JACK:  As with the story of the Widow's Mite...It's not how much you have that's important, but what  you do with what you have.  Or, when the woman washed Jesus' feet with expensive ointment.  The complaint was that this ointment could have been sold and the money used for better things, like helping the poor.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Could we agree that "that is a Hell of a sculpture in downtown Detroit?" I always wondered what was behind that . . . thank you, Jack, for enlightening me this early morning!!====JACK:  Today is Rodin's birthday.  His gift to the world of The Thinker has given us something to think about.

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  is it also true that he was sitting on a toilet??====JACK:  As people age, they tend to think about things like trips to the bathroom.====PH:  my Dad, in his old age, used to say that he spent 1/3 of his time sleeping, 1/3 trying to remember someone's name, and 1/3 of his time looking for the men's room...  this is not nearly as funny as it used to be!====JACK:  I used to think that my dad was old, but now I have become older than he was at the time.  Now, I think that Methuselah (969) was old.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  If you can't play the mandolin, don't criticize the one who can. ====JACK:  There's a mandolin song called, "Losing My Religion," but I'd be afraid to play it.====PFC:  Do you play the mandolin? I took piano lessons when I turned 60 so I am a critic.====JACK:  If you live long enough you might be able to play the piano like Phil Connors in the movie, Groundhog Day..

 FROM ML IN MICHIGAN:  A friend of mine sent me this quote, though I don't know the author.
"Wherever creative love enriches life, the Holy Spirit is present and operating."  She suggested I use it as a lens for certain things that are bothering me.  I like it.  Of course, I suppose, the trick is to recognize creative love.====JACK:   The Holy Spirit works in some mysterious ways which are beyond our understanding.  Hardly a day goes by, except that I recognize the Holy Spirit affecting my life.  And the Holy Spirit is affecting things, whether or not I recognize it...too.  When things bother us, it's good to remember that the Holy Spirit is always at work.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true that is.  When we visited his studio and museum and garden, several years ago, the entire area was conducive to thinking and enjoying.====JACK:  I wonder how many "snubbed" artists of today will gain recognition with the passage of time?  Happy Birthday, Rodin!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/11/13
“There’s not a day goes by when I don’t get up and say thank you to somebody.”  (Rod Stewart)  On this Veterans Day I say Thank You to a friend who never made it back alive from Viet Nam.  It’s good when we can thank people in person for what they have done for us…parents, friends, the unknowns.  Nov. 11 has been designated as a time to show appreciation for those who have given part, if not all, of their life, to help preserve the American way of life.  Words seem hardly adequate.  “Thank you!”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HY YO SILVER:  Thanks for YOUR service, Jack.====JACK:  Some "serve" by standing on the curb and cheering as the heroes pass by.  I'm a curbside flag waver.

 FROM TARMART REV:  I add my “Thank you!” as well. "Thank you!"====JACK:  Up there is Scandinavian country, you should say, "tack så mycket!"====REV:  I'm sure I must agree!! In our Assembly when someone speaks forth like this, we always await the interpretation so the whole body might be edified.
====JACK:  In the ELCA, we Google.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  The military men/women whom I've known who came back from wars have been so changed. Living life before and after a war experience, at least from what I see, changes us in the U.S.A. too. It's not just a "job", it really is sacrificial and ultimately all of us who didn't go have to deal with this sacrificial aspect of protecting our country's freedom. It's true, words are hardly adequate but still we try with "thank you."====JACK:  I personally know of a WW 2 veteran who was a medic and had to treat the wounded and dying as they were brought home on a hospital ship.  He never would talk about it.  "You don't want to know."  He wanted no parades, no honor.  General Sherman gave his "War is Hell" speech just a few miles from where I now live.  Of course, this does not preclude us from saying, Thank You!

 FROM THE CHRISTOPHERS' (3 MINUTES A DAY):  On his farm, Doug Schmidgall created a unique display of appreciation for military veterans. Using a 20-foot-wide disc that he attached to the back of his tractor, he carved out the heartwarming words “Thank You Troops” on a hill near the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport serving Springfield, Illinois.  According to Illinois’ State Journal-Register, the farmer’s grateful message stretched across a hill about seven football fields wide and 100 yards tall.  Schmigdall, who has two sons in the military, says that whenever he sees a veteran he makes a point to shake his or her hand and say thank you.  “They all deserve it,” he affirmed.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  You said it well...Thank you to all veterans & their families.====JACK:  I know that some fly the flag every day.  I put ours out on special occasions, like today.

 FROM BADGER DONNA:  Love this and THANKS Jack.====JACK:  One of the soldiers who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi (Iwo Jima) was from Antigo, Wisconsin.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Passing out thank-yous is a simple gesture that can mean a lot to those you give the favor.  It takes very little effort, and (going back to last week's WW) like Bear Bryant said, "It don't cost nuthin'!"  Regarding our veterans as we do on this day of special recognition for them, we can't say too much in appreciation for their service.  They have given greatly "to help preserve the American way of life", though I'm not convinced the American way of life we are witnessing these days is the same American way of life of the past, that most of us still hang on to.====JACK:  As the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  Thus, the "American Way of life" is in the eye of the beholder.  Each generation has its pluses and minuses.  I tend to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Gary's nephew is in Special Ops, my brother-in-law is in the Army in Grayling and our son-in-law is a Vet.  We are thankful for all of the men and women who have kept us free.  God bless them all! ====JACK:  I wonder if there's a different feeling between those who were "drafted" and those who "enlisted?"  All you served are veterans.  I remember how parents and spouses proudly displayed in their front window a star (blue or gold) for each loved one who was in the military. ====JUDY:  We owned a big field in Harper Woods with a county ditch running along the edge on the other side.  The field is still known today as "Chappel Field".  The field was a major hangout for all the guys in our neighborhood because it was big enough for a baseball field.  Needless to say, it was filled with our friends from school.  We played baseball nearly everyday.  Those boys were welcomed into our family by my parents and we would have a biq picnic all the time.  Well, most of those boys were drafted and some enlisted.  Of those boys, three didn't come back from Vietnam.  It was heartbreaking.  But you couldn't tell who was drafted and who enlisted, because they were all proud to serve.  I think the parents were more upset about the drafted boys though.  We still remember them all. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 11/8/13
“Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side.”  (An old man’s prayer)  A friend of mine used to enjoy taking pictures of old barns.  Some were “leaning” like in the old man’s prayer.  With the passing of time, we, like the old barn, often need some propping up.  In fact, it’s not always a matter of age.  Where do you go when you’re leanin’?  I guess it’s different for each of us.  What are your props?  Prayer is a help for me.  So are friends.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  For me, it's trusting that people (in general) will respond with integrity (which would include a whole page to explicate). I require a lot of "leaning" on Hope in those circumstances. I trust my Faith in God's guiding hand, hoping man will not reject it.  Over the years, I have become more convinced that innocence (not ignorance) is bliss. And, once one's innocence is lost, one cannot go back into the Garden of Eden where bliss reigned supreme. Ignorance is more like pretending that one is innocent of the mess that is all around him/her. (The Christian Pollyanna comes to mind.) This doesn't mean I don't like people; because people are one of my favorite blessings in life. But, I have developed a trust in our weaknesses and our vanity instead of the innocence that hopes for continuous righteousness and perfection. It's not a negative viewpoint; just an honest one that accepts our limitations. Hence, I must lean! I think it is in Psalm 84, last verse, "blessed are those who trust in the Lord". ====JACK:  That Psalm verse could be translated, "Blessed are those who lean on the Lord."  Besides that, a prop for me are the responses (like yours) that I get from those who read Winning Words.

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  i wouldn't say that i was leanin' at the time but  you were certainly a kind of prop for me when i first began my ministry, as was L.T., and a number of others.  its good to think back over our lives as remember those who helped us along the way.====JACK:  We may not be aware of it...but we're always leanin' and in danger of falling on our face, except for our friends and the grace of God..

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Prayer is definitely a help for me. Plus also strongly believing that God answers prayer. When my own congregation seemed not to be transparent (in my eyes), and I felt lonely about the inclusion of openly GLBT people in the Church, God opened the way for me to become a participant of All God's Children in the nearby, within walking distance, Presbyterian Church group where all the people are very comfortable with inclusion and openness. When my own congregation was in the throes of calling a new Pastor and again things were fairly crazy and not open, God opened the way for me to have the sacramental oil of the healing mass in the Catholic Church, again within walking distance. when a person is wisest to keep quiet, to keep the peace and wait on God to work among us, it is my belief that God gives us a place (guess it's the barn behind the house) and people to lean on and, while keeping on hoping and caring and loving, it's awesome to start being a part of what God does do then in the house. Amen ====JACK:  I've learned not to give up on God.  His time and his ways are not always in sync with ours.

 FROM MOLINER MAR:  My "prop" is a walk in the woods behind my house.  A bench out there is a great place to sit and "meditate", or just to sit and let the beauty of the day prop me up.  Old barns are a treasure and take us back to the gentler times of our lives.  (I spent my early years on a farm, so seeing barns props me up.)====JACK:  When I was a kid in Moline, we used to have a "fort" built in the side of a hill in Morgan Park where we'd go to plan our next adventure.  All age groups need their props.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  My three year old granddaughter is my mainstay.  She's able to encourage new vitality from this old body of mine.  It seems Isaiah 11:6 got it right..."a little child shall lead them." ====JACK:  Wouldn't it be a boring life if the generations didn't come and go?  It's sad to say, "Good-bye," but it's refreshing to say, "Hello!"====RI:  Everything around us seems to emulate Nature...constantly renewing itself...whether we like it or not.  I agree it's refreshing to say "Hello" and allow new things a chance.====JACK:  The good-byes are not always so easy.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:   I do my leanin' on the Lord.  He's always there for us.  He's the Rock we use.   (Sorry I have not written back in awhile.  )  I am fighting the good fight of several immune disorders.  And lastly, my 20 year old cousin was in a car accident and was air-lifted to U of M Hospital where he is on life support.====JACK:  The Lord also uses us to help prop others.  The prop-ee can become the prop-er.

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On this theme,I thought you might want to know that that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was purchased by the Hilton Hotel Chain & their plans are to call it the "TILTEN HILTON" ====JACK:  It sounds as though you've been tiltin' a few too many.

 FROM TARMART REV:  In constant conversation and thought with my Creator, friends, inspiring sermons and Bible studies dealing with my area of concern . . . history has proven, my weakest link is sitting all the while reading a lengthy book (shorter articles catch my attention much better).====JACK:  Have your sermons grown progressively shorter in order to capture the listener who have an attention span like yours?

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Don't use a prop as a crutch. The "list" can become permanent. ====JACK:  I've never seen a barn on crutches.====PFC: next time you take me so literally, I am going to assign you to my SPAM box

FROM DFL IN OREGON:  "Winning Words" is a large prop also! Thanks, Jack.====JACK:  I hear that, occasionally, and it makes the 5 am time at the computer worthwhile for me.