Friday, November 28, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/27/14
“You buy one; we give one.  Together, we clothe the world.”  (World Clothes Line)  If, on Black Friday, you’re having trouble finding just the right gift, you might want to Google: World Clothes Line.  I met Mallory Brown (24) recently.  For every item bought from her company, an equivalent (along with a handwritten note) will go to a needy child in a country chosen by the customer.  She’s travelled to Peru, Africa, Asia and Appalachia to deliver clothing.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TARMART REV:  My Black Friday will consist of driving 4 hours to Winona, MN and giving condolences to a grieving family who lost a son, husband and friend to many as the gentleman slid on ice into an oncoming train last Monday. One of my foremost chaplaincy experiences (Railroad Chaplains of America), stepping into grieving lives and depositing hopefully an un-expectant act of  kindness from the railroad companies . . .  a personal visit to a home or two today, a plant to be ordered and delivered to the memorial remembrance on Saturday at a church and my attendance as an representative of the RRCA of Plano, TX. Back home Saturday evening after the 4 hour return trip.====JACK:  "Black" is the symbol of mourning, just as "White" is the morning symbol of Easter.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  there are so many great projects like this going on in our world today.  its encouraging to learn about them.  wonder if anyone has a "master list"?  i am sure it would be quite impressive!  hope  you had a good thanksgiving.  take care.  your old friend in frozen MN. yesterday was the coldest Thanksgiving in MN in 84 years!====JACK:  Mallory got the idea for "clothing the world" while she was backpacking in Laos and had children begging for the clothes she was wearing.  An entrepreneur sees a need and thinks of a way to meet it.  Do you know of anyone like that?

FROM INDY GENIE:  I buy/wear "Toms" shoes. Same idea....I buy one pair to wear and Toms gives one pair to someone who needs shoes. I checked out the World Clothes Line website....pretty cool. I may need a tank top:)====JACK:  Just as you checked out World Clothes Line, I'll have to check out Tom's Shoes, although I'm now into New Balance shoes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/26/14
“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”  (M.F.K. Fisher—Food Writer)  What’s Thanksgiving dinner “really” like at your place?  Is the emphasis on the food or the relationships?  Fisher writes that sharing food “should not be indulged in lightly.”  It’s an ancient sign of civility.  Even writing a check to a food bank can be an intimate human act.  Might this be done this year at the Thanksgiving table?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  Pondering thoughts . . . a couple of years ago my wife and I attended a local Lutheran Church's Thanksgiving Dinner to show our support and gratitude for their outreach effort, wishing I had thought ahead and offered to serve right along with them. Meals are found to be excellent times to share meaningful fellowship and thoughtful reflection. Happy Thanksgiving, Jack!!====JACK:  The offer is often appreciated...and sometimes welcomed.    

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  "Breaking bread" is one of the great all-time rituals of relationship. Every time we take "communion" we re-enact the story of the First Communion (Last Supper) with the Christ, who we acknowledge is in us. There's a relationship worth acknowledgement! There is a wonderful nourishment of both body and soul when we gather together to share meals with one another. Food Banks are great; but we remain one step removed from the experience. We need to share ourselves first-hand at the table and beyond. Thank you Father for the gift of life itself, and for the opportunity to share the bounty of our harvest with others.====JACK:  I once had a church member who would take his children to work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.  They would also volunteer as Salvation Army bell ringers during the holidays. ====RAY:  Yes it is. I think we can become lazy in this regard. It is far to easy to donate money or pay taxes and have a sense that we are serving one another. It has become a sort of "deferred charity". As you noted in your response, it is a much different experience to be charitable first-hand, than it is to write a check. Both are good; but one includes the personal "relationship" that the other misses. Do others want/need our stuff or our love? I think both... Is that what you're writing about?====JACK:  Yes!  Both and...

FROM MK:  With us it’s both, most of the food is tradition, Grandmas, or Aunt Jean’s, or Dads favorite, but food brings us together, for prayer, thanksgiving, and being together.  By Family it such a blessing we are not perfect but my parents did an great job of teaching us respect and acceptance of each other, come to think of it, I think the practice is generations old, we are a tight knit group, Family!====JACK:  I truly feel sorry for those who do not have a positive sense of "family."  The food is just food when not served with memories and with thanksgiving for family and friends.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Nothing intimate about Thanksgiving with's a celebration of calories, cholesterol, and consumption overload.  I regret that we indulge ourselves with too much food, like so many others across the country.  We would be better off doing more chatting and less chewing.  ====JACK:  In my Thanksgiving reflections at last Sunday's Community Thanksgiving Service, I suggested that we each make a list of 100 things that we're thankful for.  You might want to make such a list to "spice" up your "I'm thankful for that pile of dirty laundry.  It means that I have clothes."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  One of my favorite charities to donate to is Lutheran World Relief, as it addresses world hunger as one of it's top priorities.  The fact that 88% of all monies donated goes to the people in need instead of getting eaten up in administrative costs is a plus.====JACK:  There are so many needs...and a limited amount of money.  The choices are hard.  It seems as  though you are choosing wisely.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/25/14
“You got to go through it to get to it.”  (Joel Osteen)  There may be mixed opinions with regard to Osteen as a preacher, but pay attention to the message rather than to the messenger.  We pray to God: “Deliver us from evil,” but there are occasions when the “tough times” of life, the evil times, have made us better, because of them.  God’s promise: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you!”  May this assurance be a comfort to you during difficult days.    ;-)  Jack

     FROM HONEST JOHN:  Of course, there would be no reason for us to pray "Deliver us from evil" if evil were not a threat to undo us....this is contrary to the Self Help plan espoused by Osteen and others.=====JACK:  I read the message to mean...Sometimes we have to go through life's shadows (Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death) until we can fully appreciate the glory of God.  If I had listed the quoter as "unknown" instead of "Osteen" would it have made a difference to you?====JOHN:  It might have...I was reading within the context of his preaching.

FROM TARMART REV:  From my daily post this morning on FB: " God tarries with us on the face of this earth, we are not to become weary, for He knows all about us and He has promised: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” and “When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2 NLT). "Blessed Assurance"!====JACK:  As the old spiritual goes..."I want Jesus to walk with me."

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I like Joel Osteen, and I think I would like him if I knew him personally too. I might attend different services; but that doesn't indicate anything about him -- just me. In the same way, "difficult times" say more about the one experiencing the difficulty than anything else. I know what has been and is difficult for me has seasoned me, matured me, and ripened me. We are all being prepared for something, or we wouldn't even be here. Jesus had His preparation and purpose; we have ours, and Joel Osteen has his. Just like the Resurrection cannot occur until after death, I don't think we can't truly experience the fullness of Life until we have experienced the fullness of death. In the meantime, we prepare for the eternal in the temporal. I don't know if this makes sense, but it seems that so much of everything in Life (and in the Bible) is a paradox.====JACK:  As I expected today, pro and con about Osteen.  It's the message!  Not the messenger.  I had a purpose in mind when I used the quote as I did. 

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  What is your opinion about Joel Osteen?====JACK:  He's an effective preacher.  I have difficulty making a judgment about his beliefs without having the opportunity to meet and talk with him personally.  You, like Osteen, are a media personality, but there is more to both of you than what the microphone says.  I find Osteen to be somewhat fascinating.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  According to Sarah, my daughter, Joel Osteen's message was delivered a few weeks back. And as with her immediate response re "pixie dust" , she said,149"Hope! You gotta have hope/pixie dust!" And I agree that going through tough times (knowing that God is with you) does strengthen me. Not that I want to get much stronger. :)But in any case, knowing that I will not be "forsaken" is comforting.====JACK:  In my preaching, I always tried to give "someone" something to hang on to when they went home from church.  I found that a message like today's quote resonated with many people...people who are walking in "the shadows" and who are looking for something to give them hope.  If someone else is coming just to be entertained....too bad!

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  What's the objection to Osteen as the messenger?====JACK: I'm not in the business of critiquing the messenger. I simply thought that the message was a good one, regardless of who spoke it.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/24/14
“I must think of a new life  And I mustn’t give in.”  (A line from “Cats”)  Each day is a new dawning.  Each morning is a chance for a new beginning.  This thought was acted out and sung in the musical, Cats.  Public TV aired the show last week.  I don’t know about you, but I really like the “Memory” song.  Andrew Lloyd Webber truly has a gift…Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph’s  Dream Coat.  Each one, like Cats, has a message.    ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i am the only person to not have seen cats... sorry i misssed it. ====JACK:  At least check out the YouTube version of "Memory" sung by Betty Buckley.  You also might want to have the lyrics before you, so you can get "the message." 

FROM KANSAN KONRAD:  Two things I can't do: I can't decide to fall a sleep and I can't decide to forget.  But one thing I can do: Give thanks!====JACK:  "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, Thank you, that would suffice."  Meister Eckhart

FROM HCC CHUCK:  His work is a lot like Life.  with each happening or experience there is a message that we often overlook.====JACK:  Life is often in the details.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  We watched that PBS presentation of "Cats", actually the first time we paid much attention to that show during the long run it had in the theaters, except for the music we heard.  "Memory" is a notable song, full of nostalgic reflection, somewhat similar to "Yesterday" by the Beatles.  Looking back emotionally takes courage...churning up all the things we might have missed along the way.  We were young and full of energy and we raced ahead.  Late in life we have the time to dwell on what life was all about.  Nevertheless, I think we should still get up each morning looking forward with hope and a fresh outlook.====JACK:  The words I quoted are from the verse:  Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise.  I must think of a new life, And I mustn't give in.  When the dawn comes Tonight will be a memory too, And a new day will begin."  Time marches on...Day, then Night, then Day, then night, etc.

FROM TARMART REV:  Too much culture for this ol' country/western fan from Kansas!=====JACK:  Do you mean to tell me that you've never seen/heard Jesus Christ, Superstar? ====REV:  Not even . . . read His Book though.====JACK:  When the musical first came our, we showed it as Lenten Service at our church.  Would an AG congregation do that?====REV:  More so in this day and age then when it first came out...not as conservative any drinking seems to have found its way into our circles with more frequency and couples living together outside of wedlock attend with somewhat of a comfort more so nowadays. I did my first dance with my daughter at her wedding a couple of years ago...I guess we have now come of age with most other churches we seemed to have been separate of in years gone by.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I have never seen Cats but I have heard most of the songs.  He is certainly a blessed song writer.  Love most of his music!====JACK:  Our choir once did Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  It was awesome!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i really like the song from chorus line, "what i did for love".  it holds close to my heart for many reasons, but it was popular when joe died of aids.  it became an anthem of sorts to the gay community.  love is love.  love goes on.====JACK:  Love...such a simple word, yet so full of meaning in various ways.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I talked my husband into going see the musical, Cats.  He “endured” the play, but was not happy.  He did like the way the “cats” moved around like cats and really liked the Siamese Cat.  A few days later, he was in Milwaukee checking out of a hotel when he saw several folks with warmup jackets that said “CATS” on the back.  Of course, he talked to them and asked if they were the same group that had been in the Twin Cities?  They were, so he told them he fell in love with the Siamese Cat.  Well, they went to get her.  He said her face was all full of acne as you can imagine from all the make up.  Who but C would have an experience like that???  Ha!====JACK:  He also was one bold enough to do that sort of thing.  A line from the song, Memory: "I remember a time I knew what happiness was  Let the memory live again."

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  funny, i watched some of the Cats too last week.  there are a couple of songs in there that i really like.====JACK:  As with most musicals, there is usually one song that stands out from the rest.  With Cats, it's the song, Memory.   The only other song that I can remember is Grizabella, the Glamour Cat.also, McCavendish (spell?) from Cats.   from the Man Of LaMancha musical i have always loved To Dream The Impossible Dream.  

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Memory indeed a beautiful song. Cats is not one of my favorites, though. Joseph's Dream Coat is my favorite.====JACK:  In terms of causing "discussion", it has to be Jesus Christ, Superstar.  Just lately the question was asked, Was Jesus Christ married to Mary Magdalene, and did they have children?  While questions like these have been raised in seminaries, Superstar, for better or worse, brought them into the public forum.  I, too, liked Joseph's Coat, but it seemed to be more like entertainment. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/21/14
“All you need is faith, trust and a little pixie dust.”  (Peter Pan)  How are fairies able to fly?  Peter Pan gives the answer.  Sometimes faith and trust doesn’t seem to be enough to make our wants come true.  Would some pixie dust help?  God doesn’t rely on “magic” to accomplish his will.  He is omnipotent!  I can relate to the father who wished for Jesus to heal his son.  “I believe; help my unbelief.”  Faith and trust is enough!  Pixie dust is for fairy tales.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Since Faith and Trust exist in the realm of the Spirit, man has to add the fairy dust so that he can actually "see and touch" stuff. Then, it can make "sense" to him in the world of cause and effect and science. Just like the idea that man has the power and authority to change global temperatures...our cars become the new fairy dust!====JACK:  Are you putting G-d in the pixie dust realm, too.====RAY:  Not at all. The "pixie dust" is man's invention (like magic) that provides the illusion or delusion that man is more than he actually is. I'm simply saying that man requires proof. Faith and trust have no proof inherent in them. If so, we could call it "science" and include Faith and Trust in the realm of the sensory (or science). Indeed, the sensory acuities (science) are limited both in Life and extent. What limits are there on Faith or Trust except for those which are imposed by the person? In the same way, G-d can be made to be nonexistent, a silly fairytale, a fable, or very small by anyone who decides to make himself and all his magnificent works of greater significance. Hence, man's belief that fossil fuels use causes warming temperatures and alternative energy uses will cause a cooling effect -- "fossil fuel" is his fairy dust, and he gets to be god. This is what I am saying.====JACK:  Isn't G-d beyond "proof" also.  Isn't that where faith and trust have their reason for being?====RAY:  Precisely! G-d is the author of it all. He exists within the realm of the world AND beyond or outside of it. God is Life itself -- physical AND spirit. My point is that there are those who can't see or envision beyond the sensory -- where Faith exists. There is no faith in what one senses; that is called "knowing" or experience. They trust what they can see and sense...all the rest is a fairytale. They need fairy dust because they have no faith in anything but themselves. This where the deceitful trust in man's capabilities to alter "global temperatures" (and other outrageous ideas) is born.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  To me, faith and trust are things that seem reasonable and even though they are so abstract, feels like I can "get my mind around them". Pixie dust might be the really absurd and unpredictable and outright laughable (sometimes) answers to our prayers that I could have never thought of or "gotten my mind around" in a million years. They are things that happen in this world that only God could have dreamed up and often they seem magical and sort of Christmas like sparkling to me. They make faith and trust very, very livable qualities to keep holding onto with all the hope and expectation that is in me.  This is my 2 cents.====JACK:  We have to be careful not to let our prayers become requests for pixie dust.  In Martin Luther's catechism explanation of the petition, "Thy will be done,"  he writes..."The good and gracious will of God is surely done without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may be done also among us."===SHARON:  I agree with Luther that God doesn't need our prayers and I also agree that we pray that His Will be done among us but don't agree at all that one of the Ten Commandments is that we always pray politically correct prayers, i.e., not asking for pixie dust or something. At our church, our former Pastor instituted intercessionary prayers (prayed from the pews) during worship and, in general it hasn't worked because most people simply don't feel comfortable praying aloud in a group. Ditto, the small prayer group just finally faded away. I believe it might be because the Lutherans have some rules about praying that are inhibiting. Are my prayers "good enough" or something. I think I'll be bold enough to sin boldly and ask for pixie dust this morning.  Cheers====JACK:  I prefer face-to-face meetings over blog discussions.  There's more of a chance for clarification.  What I meant to say previously was that God knows our needs, spoken or not.  It's not necessarily what comes out of the mouth in prayer, but what is in the heart.  On Sundays during "prayer time" I can hear people speaking names.  I am moved by that.  I like this hymn by James Montgomery...
Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,  Unuttered or expressed;
 The motion of a hidden fire  That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,  The falling of a tear
 The upward glancing of an eye,  When none but God is near.
Prayer is the simplest form of speech  That infant lips can try;
 Prayer, the sublimest strains  That reach The Majesty on high.
Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,  The Christian’s native air,
 His watchword at the gates of death;  He enters Heav’n with prayer.
Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,  Returning from his ways,
 While angels in their songs rejoice  And cry, “Behold, he prays!”
The saints in prayer appear as one  In word, in deed, and mind,
 While with the Father and the Son  Sweet fellowship they find.
No prayer is made by man alone  The Holy Spirit pleads,
 And Jesus, on th’eternal throne,  For sinners intercedes.
O Thou by Whom we come to God,  The Life, the Truth, the Way,
 The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:  Lord, teach us how to pray.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It's amazing how much can be accomplished with just a little faith.  Imagine what this world would be like if everyone had just a mustard seed of faith'

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  apparently you've never seen a fairy.====JACK:  Your song for the day is "Young at Heart."


FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Interesting WW and responses today. So here's my non-philosophy-background based---rather pragmatic---uninvited "chiming in." I love/loved Peter Pan and his "pixie dust". However, he was/is a fictional so many that delight/ed us. But in real life and tough times faith and trust sans "pixie dust" are my mainstays. "Not my will, but Thine be done." And prayerful thanks and prayers for strength to deal with His will. I love the "pixie dust" tales. But I also recognize the reality and strength of faith and trust are the foundations of belief (without the pixie dust.)====JACK:  My thoughts, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/20/14
“When you hear music today…think how nifty God was to invent it.”  (Wally Armbruster)  I’m eclectic when it comes to my choice of music…all the way from Bach to Buck Owens.  But my car radio is set to the classical station.  How about you?  I wonder if Jesus ever whistled or sang a song…maybe one that he’d heard in the synagogue?  Many of our best songs have come from Jewish composers…the Gershwins, for example…and Irving Berlin.  Others?    ;-)  Jack

  FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I heard a wonderful discussion on the historical relationship between Catholics and Jews on WDET last week. I would love to listen to it again when I'm not in the car.
At one time, music was another thing that biologists used to distinguish us from animals.  We now know that isn't true anymore. It's getting harder and harder to define those differences, especially after looking at Jane Goodall's work. I wonder if whales prey?====JACK:  Just as it was once thought that Earth was the center of the universe, it is now becoming evident that creation does necessarily center around humans...or, is that a heretical statement?====PAUL:  Complicated issue!!!! 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  My car radio often goes to Siriusly Sinatra.====JACK:  I had an aunt who liked Bing Crosby.  She referred to Sinatra as "Snot-ra."====JOHN:  I love Bing Crosby and Sinatra....both/and often works better for me than either/or.====JACK:  I hate being backed into the corner where I have to choose one, among many...except for, "Choose this day whom you will serve."

FROM PR JAN:  Mendelssohn, whose father was a convert to Christianity; ethnically they were still Jews, of course, just as were Simon Peter and Saul/Paul.====JACK:  My mother-in-law was  the organist/music director of a church with 5 choirs.  One Easter Sunday she wondered whether it was appropriate for a non-Christian to sing, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth."  What do you think? ====JAN:  Since God lives eternally, by whatever name you call on God, your Redeemer liveth.  Yeah.====JACK:  "Redeemer" is an attribute that is not tied to all Godly concepts.  I should do some research to find out if their are others, besides Christianity.====JAN:  That is, Christianity and Judaism.  "I know that my redeemer lives" comes from Job, so we know there, at least, our roots are deep. 

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i'm sure you know.  i can't imagine life without music.  my life is a musical!====JACK:  What's your song for the  may there always be sunshine.  it's share feast open house and we sing it as a thankfulness song each year.====JACK:  Hum a few bars.  I don't think I know it.

FROM TARMART REV:  There's a song in the air!  There's a star in the sky!  There's a mother's deep prayer  and a baby's low cry!  And the star rains its fire  while the beautiful sing,  for the manger of Bethlehem  cradles a King!  Merry Christmas, Jack!!====JACK:  You must be hearing a lot of Christmas music at Target and Walmart.  What's your favorite Thanksgiving song?
====REV:  Thank you Lord for saving my soul, Thank you Lord for making me whole, Thank you Lord for giving to me  Thy great salvation so full and free!====JACK:  I've sung that song before.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  who ever invented the word, nifty?====JACK:  Nifty seems to have originated in the mid-19th century.  Ain't Google nifty?====PAUL:  i used to like Montovani but today is sounds just a little too sappy.  still, it is quite relaxing.  and we all started out with Pat Boone, Elvis, Buddy Holly,  and the Everly Brothers, etc.   and then came the MoTown Sound.    i always liked John Denver,  Neil Diamond, Beatles, Elton John, etc.   and i still love a good hymn like Abide With Me, and Lord Whose Love in Humble Service, and O God our help in ages past, etc.   tons of great music to enjoy.   nifty!!====JACK:  Sounds like a DREAMY music to me.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  eclectic, too. burt bacharach is a fav.====JACK:  I looked up a listing of Bacharach songs, thinking that I would pick out my favorite...I couldn't do it.  I liked them all.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Include,  Harry Chapin who wrote the Cat's  in the Cradle, and many others.  Carole King , ( real name, Carole Klein) You've  Got a Friend,  Locomotion and 100s of hits...Blood Sweet and Tears combined the Jewish style of Klezmer (Jewish Art Music) horns with rock and blues...And 100's more artists, and writers .====JACK:  As the hour glass sand diminishes, I like September Song and Croce's, Time In A Bottle.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Burt Bacharach. Has written 78 top 40 songs.====JACK:  Hal David deserves some of the credit.  Great songs!====CHESTER:  Absolutely. He was Jewish also. Maybe Jesus was a musician. Probably played the saw. (haw.haw)====JACK:  I wonder if Jesus would like (and laugh at) the old TV show, Hee Haw?  Maybe he'd like the songs of the Gospel Quartet featured on the program.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We love Classical music, Christian music especially the old hymns, however we love the new songs too, country, And oldies but goodies!  How wonderful our God is to give us gifts of music!====JACK:  I like, Jesus Loves Me.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Music is a big part of my life, having performed it, taught it and directed it . I too love classical, Big Band era, Chapin and Croce, and so many others, but not much into today's offerings. But my car radio usually has an audio book on it! Have read a lot of good books that way, as I 'commute" to Springfield (1/2 hour), etc. So I guess I don't hear much music on a daily basis!====JACK:  Wisconsin Public Radio used to broadcast at noon, "A Chapter a Day," a reading from a current book.  I remember being "hooked" on Harry Golden's "Only In America" by that program.  Golden became one of my all-time favorite authors.  I even got to meet him in person.

FROM JB IN MICHIGAN:  2 NPR, 2 classical, 2 oldies, 2 country (1 is a small town Canadian country with the local news and hog prices)  I think He must have  whistled and sang - at least to himself - if he had any joy and/or peace in his heart.  My belief in His joy and peace makes me sing and whistle especially when I'm alone or with the grand kids. They only understand the joy and never notice how far off key I might be. We just sing and laugh.====JACK:  I had fun singing "The Freckle Song" (not all the verses) for my grandchildren (and children).  I like George Burns singing, "I Wish I Was Eighteen (or younger) Again."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/19/14
“Except for salvation, God helps those who help themselves.”  (John Catoir)  Fr Catoir wrote this in “3 Minutes A Day,” making the point that if you want a change in your life, prayer is not always the complete answer.  For example, Tom wants a job and prays for God’s help.  But he  makes no effort to find one and wonders why God doesn’t answer his prayer.  Prayer works, but sometimes God says, “Get tough and get off your duff,” or something like that.   ;-)  Jack

 FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  You know the one about the Lottery...right?====JACK:  No, I don't!
 ====PAUL:  Every night before John goes to bed he prays to G'd to grant him his wish of winning the lottery. This goes on for several weeks.  Disgusted after continuing not to win anything..John yells out.."Lord... You know how badly I need that money and I try to be good every day! Why have you not listened?"  A voice answers...  "John. You have to at least buy a ticket!"

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It certainly seems reasonable to assume that if it is God's will for me to "do" something (like work at a certain job) for which I request, it would be incumbent upon myself to have the will to act upon that for which I had just prayed. Faith in Jesus' claim that whatever was ask the Father in Jesus' name, "and believe that we have received it", we shall have it, would require one to act in accordance with the belief in Jesus' claim. Indeed we would expect it! It would be a remarkable way to live...just like the Centurian who had more faith than anyone Jesus had come across in all of Jerusalem.====JACK:  God provides food for the birds, but he doesn't throw food into the nest.  Which reminds me...I should go out and fill the birdfeeder.====RAY:  Don't forget your winter coat!====JACK:  In fact, I wore it yesterday for the first time.  We tied a record for the coldest Nov 18 ever. 

FROM TRIHARDER:  Someone said, at a shiva gathering last night, that if you set up three couples in marriage, you got a free pass into heaven.  Who knew!!!???  (And, by the time you reached heaven, would any of the three couples object?)====JACK:  In my mind, I've thought of people who would make a good couple, but none of them has ever asked my advice.  It seems that most people want to do their own thing, for better or worse.  Have you ever "set" someone up?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Amen brother John.  I thought Mark Twain coined that phrase.  Thanks for schooling me.  Did you watch any of the installation of the archbishop service yesterday or was that only a Chicago story?  My harp teacher played the service and was featured on the news the night before.  she is Chinese.  The Organist/composer German and the cantor Mexican.  The new bishop seems fluent in Spanish and Polish and apparently ministered in the native American community.  Like the Pope, he’s chosen to forego the palatial residence in favor of living in community (at Holy Name rectory) across the street from my el stop.  I like to see these guys living humbly/simply as that’s how I was raised.  When I worshipped at the “born-again” church the pastors lived luxuriously and quoted something like a laborer is worth his toil”,,,that never set right with me.
  Kind of like Christ the King Sunday in the Catholic church which neer set right with me.  He didn’t come as a king…at least not the first time.====JACK:  Many people think the quote is from the Bible, from Ben Franklin.  Actually, it goes back to at least the 17th century.  In fact, the Bible says the opposite...The Lord cares about the helpless.  It seems as tho Pope Francis and the new Chicago Cardinal do, too.  BTW, I have no trouble with Christ the King...especially when I hear the Handel oratorio chorus sing..."King of kings and Lords of lords."====BB:  Ah…love the Handel too. 
As I think about Advent, I think we are oddly waiting together with our Jewish brothers and sisters right now as Christians seem to expect Christ to return in glory and power and I believe that’s what the Jews were thinking 2000 years ago when they dismissed Jesus.  He did not come as the ruler/leader bringing Israel together and rebuilding the physical temple as they expected====JACK:  One of the advantages of living in a community with Jewish people is the opportunity see (and learn) first-hand about some of the roots of Christianity.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  have you ever eaten plumb duff at Christmas time?  my sister in law makes it and it is to die for!====JACK:  No, I haven't eaten Plum Duff.  I haven't eaten Figgy Pudding, either.

FROM TARMART REV:  Yes, Sir...wise words in deed!!====JACK:  When God asks us to do something, we should say, "Yes, Sir (Ma'm)," and do it.  There's a saying: "When you pray, don't give orders to God, just report for duty!"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We most often do have to put hands and feet on our prayers, but there are times when requests or situations are beyond our area of expertise, and we just have to "Let go, and Let God", praying for the desired outcome. (Which may or may not be the outcome God had in mind!)   Nevertheless, Prayer is a powerful force! But as your friend pointed out, we do have to at least "buy the lottery ticket"! :-)  Thankfully, Salvation is safely in His hands.====JACK:  There are times when we can be doing the work of God without even knowing that we're doing it.  I think it's OK to be an anonymous Christian.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That has always been one of my favorite.  Pray like everything depends on God, and work like everything depends on you. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/18/14
“Psst…You’re amazing!”  (From website)  I came across an interesting website,  Their goal is “to inspire at least one person each day.”  And, so, they post various positive messages each day, like the one above.  “We want to focus on what’s good in the world.  We want to focus on the silver lining of the cloud.”  In the early 20th century, before websites, the book, Pollyanna, became a best seller.  Why do you suppose that was?    ;-)  Jack

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Behappy might be a cheerful, uplifting site, but I doubt that I'll check it out because Winning Words is a site that touches all of our characteristics.  I am always amazed at the sources from which you create your daily Words.  I like the variety of  subjects, and thus the variety of reactions, from day to day.  It makes me feel as if my brain is being stimulated in many ways. ====JACK:  I hope that what interests me will interest you.  It's sort of like wondering what to preach about on a Sunday.

 FROM QUILTING CAROL IN WISCONSIN:  I wish you an “amazing” day!  You certainly do share your amazing talents and smiles with many every day!  Thank you for your amazing kindness! ====JACK:  The day has gone well...a little nippy and a dusting of snow, but life is good.  Amazing!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Pollyanna saw the good in everything and was positive no matter her situation.  If we were all like her the world would be lot better place.====JACK:  I wonder how Pollyanna would react to some of today's Reality TV shows?...if she'd still be a Pollyanna?"

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love Reinhold Niebuhr's emphasis upon Original Sin as an antidote to the Pollyanna Liberalism of the early 20th century.    Look to God for goodness and be transformed from the kind of world infested with Hitlerism, Stalinism, Maoism, and ISIS.====JACK:  I wonder how the Niebuhrs would adjust their thinking with regard to today's world situation, politically and theologically.  Wouldn't it be fun to plant them in the middle of Detroit today and see if they would know where they were?====JOHN:  Niebuhr's church is now on Normandy and Woodward.   I'd like to go in there sometime and see if they have any memorabilia from his day.   I think his theology would fit today perfectly.   We have forgotten original sin.   We need to understand its potency in order to deal with the crazy world we have right now.   Then The need for Grace would become so apparent.====JACK:  As the hymn verse goes..."Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou, who changest not, abide with me."  Is G-d the only one (thing) who's immutable?

FROM TARMART REV:  Well, Jack . . . you've reached your goal early this morning of inspiring someone . . . you can go back to bed now!!====JACK:  Once up, I stay up.  When I wake up, I begin the day by quoting to myself the words of this song:  LEAD ME, GUIDE ME, ALONG THE WAY.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  remember that song about 15 years ago?   "don't vorry, be happski!"   mutilated Russian no doubt.====JACK:  When that song was popular, I preached a sermon with that as a title: Don't Worry, Be Happy!  Sort of like the Be(happy)attitudes.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Why thank you! I feel amazing! :-)  Bill had the funeral service for the mother-in-law of the writer of "Don't Worry, Be happy", so met him briefly. Seemed very nice, and down-to-Earth.  I don't suppose Pollyanna would sell well today. I find it hard to find a really good story in a novel, that  isn't on the dark side, anymore!  We'll just have to keep reminding those around us how amazing they are...including you, friend Jack! Good WW to remember!====JACK:  I wonder if anyone came up to Jesus and said, "Psst!  You're amazing?"  How about after he preached the Sermon on the Mount?  Matthew records (7:28), "The crowds were amazed at his teaching."
Substitute any of these synonyms...Astonished, dumbfounded, stupefied, astounded.====OAKS:  I imagine they told him that in "so many words" on Palm Sunday....?!====JACK:  I wonder what Jesus thinks about the words and music of Jesus Christ, Superstar?  Was the Palm Sunday crowd calling Jesus a SUPERSTAR?

FROM SHIRLEY PARKER IN FLORIDA:  For my birthday my daughter, Stacy, gave me a little BE HAPPY box with the message to "Open a card , whenever you need one." Today's card was, "Treasure this day, and treasure yourself. Truly, neither will ever happen again." Do you suppose that box is a spin-off of the website....or vice versa? The quote was by Ray Bradbury.====JACK:  What a great gift idea!  Watch for this "card" to be used as a future Winning Words.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/17/14
“I’ll see you down the road!”  (Circus good-bye)  Did you know that the circus has a chaplain who travels with them?  Fr Jerry Hogan tells how faith is important to performers.  They often ask for prayer before going up on the trapeze, or entering the tiger cage.  The chaplain also provides religious classes for the circus children.  Sometimes we forget that the people who entertain us are real folks…just like you and me…and the person next to you.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  during the WW II soldiers were often heard saying this: "I'll see you up ahead".  sort of the same idea.====JACK:  It's also sort of like the believer who says that they'll meet a loved one in heaven (in the "sweet by and by".====PAUL:  good stuff as always, Jack.  thanks.

FROM EEC IN FHM:  Remember that tightrope walker who walked between the Chicago skyscrapers? He (and his family) had a pastor that travels with them. They interviewed him.====JACK:  I think it was Joel Osteen who shows up for Nik Walenda's special events.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Had no ideas circuses had a chaplain.  Very interesting to me ~ to think they have fears about what looks so effortless to the observer.===JACK:  This information was in a story about Ringling Brothers-Barnum Bailey Circus which is appearing in our area.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  How interesting! AB Ministries has a couple of Race track Chaplains, which is rather similar. Bill was chaplain for the Illinois "Senate for several years; that had its interesting moments....The 92nd General Assemby passed  Senate Resolution #341 expressing sympathy and appreciation for his life, upon his passing, and mailed lovely official document of it to me and all of our children. A very nice thing to do!!  The circus was just in town  at Prairie Capital Convention Center, where my grandson Brian is the Director.  We told Bill, "we'll see you on the other side!"! The Great Mystery!====JACK:  Another of those descriptive "Heaven" songs is "There's a land that is fairer than day and by faith we can see it afar....In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I bet the guy who works with the lions and tigers asks for a prayer.  If he doesn't he should.  I had no idea a chaplain traveled with the circus.  God bless him!====JACK:  As the chaplain for our police department, I pray daily for the safety of our officers as they go out on patrol.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/14/14
“God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.”  (Regina Brett)  Friend Bill gave me Brett’s book, “God Never Blinks,” thinking that I’d enjoy it.  I found today’s quote in Chapter 34.  We get so caught up with the idea of St. Peter opening the gate of heaven, based on a print-out of whether we’ve done more good than bad things is life, that we miss the unbelievable concept of grace.  God just loves us (Period!)    ;-)  Jack 

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  You're right as rain on this. Have a great day in MI!====JACK:  You caused me to look up the expression, "right as rain."  It seems to have originated in the late 19th century.  Rain is "right," because in most cases it is welcomed and necessary for life.  The saying is similar to ones used previously.  "Right as...a line...a magnet...a leg...a trivet...ninepence...nails...a bank." 

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  echos of Martin Luther...====JACK:  "Sola fide.  Sola gratia!" ====PAUL:  and Soli Deo Gloria...====JACK:  Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Amen!====JACK:  I guess that you agree.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Well spoken! Sometimes we tend to complicate things. ====JACK:  K.I.S.S. works for me.

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  Thank goodness for that!====JACK:  "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  His grace is amazing!====JACK:  That reminds me of a song.

FROM JB IN MICHIGAN:  You start each of my days with such thought provoking words and I thank you for that.====JACK:  Thanks for checking in.  I always wonder how Winning Words will relate to the people who receive them.  Even though there are 500 on the list, I have to remind myself that each of that number is an individual person...just like you.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  A background of a variety of "teachings" includes the dire consequences of disobedience/sin. The knowledge that "God just loves us!" is sustaining and spiritually comforting. Not without responsibility, of course, but enfolds me in a mantle of security while treading the bumpy road of life. Thank you.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/13/14
“We will never finish everything on our to-do lists…and that is life.”  (Susan Taylor)  Taylor is the former editor of Essence magazine and says that we spend too much time thinking of what’s wrong in our life and not enough time being grateful for what we have.  If we focus on what we have, instead of dwelling on what we don’t have, we’ll find that life becomes a better journey, no matter how bumpy the road.  #1 on today’s To-Do List …“Be grateful!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Great idea....gratitude certainly sets a tone for each day doesn't it?====JACK:  As a child I learned this song in Sunday School...
Father, we thank thee for the night,
 and for the pleasant morning light;
 for rest and food and loving care,
 and all that makes the day so fair.
 Help us to do the things we should,
 to be to others kind and good;
 in all we do, in work or play,
 to grow more loving every day.   

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i am officiating my son thom's wedding to his beloved bree on thanksgiving, (something i never thought would be on my to-do list).  the theme of the ceremony is intention, attention, love, and gratefulness.====JACK:  That'll be a Thanksgiving that will not soon (if ever) be forgotten.

FROM TARMART REV:  speaking of bumpy roads . . . leaving this morning for Howell, MI . . . wedding there on Saturday . . . a few bumpy spots at first due to the snow storm . . . hoping for smooth sailing thereafter!!====JACK:  Bumpy roads are better than icy roads.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   SO TRUE! AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE, AS BILL USED TO SAY.   REMINDS ME AGAIN OF A QUOTE BY ELIZABETH ELLIOT (MISSIONARY HUSBAND KILLED BY THE ACUA INDIANS YRS. AGO):  "IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT IS GIVEN, RATHER THAN TO COMPLAIN ABOUT WHAT IS NOT GIVEN. ONE OR THE OTHER BECOMES A HABIT FOR LIFE." AMEN!!  LOVED BEING REMINDED OF THE CHILDHOOD SONG IN MICHIZONA RAY'S BLOG!  BROT BACK GOOD MEMORIES!====JACK:  Elizabeth was an exceptional person....It's not easy to give thanks when that is "loved" is taken away.  I have a hard time thinking that Mary was giving thanks on Good Friday evening....but maybe she was.====OAKS:  There are times when giving thanks is not possible at the moment...I doubt even Christ was giving thanks on the cross...especially according to Mark's version: His final words were shouted "My God, my God, why have YOU forsaken me??!"
I've had some of those times, as almost everyone has!

FROM SB IN MICHIGAN:  Many years ago at a meeting of communications professionals, I had the pleasure of dining with Susan Taylor. She was an exceptionally inspirational speaker.====JACK:  It is always interesting when we meet up with interesting people.  I remember having a conversation  with Billy Graham after he gave a talk to the Detroit Economic Club.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  If we finished the list, what would we do tomorrow? ;o) ====JACK:  Haven't you seen the movie, Groundhog Day?  What if there's no tomorrow?  BTW, have you ever read this poem by Edgar Guest?
He was going to be all that a mortal could be. . . Tomorrow
 None should be kinder or braver than he. . . Tomorrow
 A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
 Who’d be glad of a lift and who needed it, too,
 On him he would call to see what he could do. . . Tomorrow
 Each morning he’d stack up the letters he’d write. . . Tomorrow
 And he thought of the friends he would fill with delight. . . Tomorrow
 It was too bad indeed; he was busy each day,
 And hadn’t a minute to stop on his way;
“More time I’ll give to others,” he’d say. . .” Tomorrow
 The greatest of workers this man would have been. . . Tomorrow
 The world would have known him, had he ever seen. . . Tomorrow
 But the fact is he died, and faded from view,
 And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do. . . Tomorrow.
====DONNA:  Wow. Never saw that poem before and Yes, Groundhog Day was great.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We have a large floor Grandfather Clock.  I got it the year Andy was born, 1980.  I would sing the song, "The Grandfather's Clock" to him all the time.  When we were moving he was quite concerned.  When we asked him why he said, "If the grandfather clock stops, you will die mom."  I think the same thing about finishing my to-do list.  I will never finish it because it's not physically possible for me, but that's a good thing!  You always have to have something to look forward to...a Bucket List that will never be finished because nothing will be finished until we get our big Heaven.====JACK:  Since the "end" will come like a thief in the night, there will surely be to-do lists that are unfinished. 

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The poem by Edgar Guest that you quoted in today's WW reminded me of another poem I read some years ago.  It is sad that we often put off simple things that could mean a lot in someone's life until it's too late.  Here's the poem:
Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and I dented it?
I thought you'd kill me, but you didn't.
And remember the time I dragged you to the beach, and you said it would rain, and it did?
I thought you'd say, "I told you so." But you didn't.
Do you remember the time I flirted with all the guys to make you jealous, and you were?
I thought you'd leave me, but you didn't.
Do you remember the time I spilled strawberry pie all over your car rug?
I thought you'd hit me, but you didn't.
And remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was formal and you showed up in jeans?
I thought you'd drop me, but you didn't.
Yes, there were lots of things you didn't do,
But you put up with me, and you loved me, and you protected me.
There were lots of things I wanted to make up to you when you returned from Vietnam.
But you didn't.
====JACK:  The largest funeral I ever conducted was for a young Marine who didn't return alive from Vietnam.  Before he left for the war, I had a chance to sit down with him and his fiancĂ© and have a time for prayer.  That's something I'm glad we did.  His name is on "the wall"...Soren Prip.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Jack,  I am taking a psychology class in college...and the text book has a section on the  "new"  ?  "Positive Psychology"  that is surfacing among the experts.   For a  happier life, the founder of  the movement suggests  that a person does three things:     Give gratitude and associate with people who give gratitude. Before you go to sleep at night,  think of 3 blessings you experienced during the day.    And finally, remember that in life "one door closes and another door opens."   Does this really sound new to you?     Also, the book makes the point that people who have religion test as being happier than those who do not. Seems like I heard that before too. ====JACK: Even Norman Vincent Peale, known for The Power of Positive thinking, borrowed the concept.  Epictetus used it in the first century, and he probably borrowed it from someone, too.  I was a founding member (1972) of the local Optimist Club and still attend weekly meetings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/12/14
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  (Robert Frost) A friend (Norm’s Milford Blog) recently called attention to the “power” of three-word sentences …“Change is good…I was wrong…Never look back…I love you.”  Can you think of others?  I like Frost’s, “Life goes on.”  No matter what has happened, we usually go to bed and wake up the next day.  How about praying to God in the morning… “Make my day!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  That's a good one! How about, "Jesus loves me"; or "Christ in me."; or "Trust in Me."; "Love one another."; or "Thank you God."; ...a useful exercise to find three words that summarize the whole of Life. And there are many more....====JACK:  I like Michigan's slogan...Great Lakes State.  Connecticut's is good, too...Full of Surprises.  Finding 3-word sentences is fun.

FROM LOUGEE:  You "Make My Day" every morning; Thank you!====JACK:  It's interesting--how Harry Callahan's "negative" quote in the movie, Sudden Impact, can be turned into a "positive."  Maybe we need to do more of that with the negativity around us. 

FROM DOCTOR ERIC:  Just do it!====JACK:  You and NIKE are on the same wavelength.

ROM TARMART REV:  "It's still ticking!!" (John Cameron Swayze)====JACK:  If you ever need a pacemaker, be sure it's a TIMEX!

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  Never say never.====JACK:  Yogi uses six words...It ain't over 'til it's over.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  M. Luther's three words would have been grace, faith, word.====JACK:  Another famous Luther quote...Here I stand!====PAUL:  how about: keep on breathing.   or: just calm down.  or: no thank you.  or: take a hike.  or: do your best.====JACK:  You're on a roll.  Maybe next Sunday's sermon title can be a 3-worder.

FROM A CHALDEAN:  Thank you Jack.====JACK:  Oh, now I get it!  3 words.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Can't help myself.  "Just do it!"  Have a nice day. (That would be 4 words)====JACK:  How about...Brats and Beer!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "You're my hero!(heroine) ; "You're an Angel!" Always have Hope; Believe in yourself; Always be kind; Christ is (the) Answer...we could go on for hours, couldn't we? I like the WW today, no matter what, Life Goes On; (And if it doesn't, your worries become moot...!) ====JACK:  Anyone who's ever attended Moline High School knows (and can sing)..."We are Moliners!"

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Can I help?====JACK:  I didn't know that "chew the fat" was a phrase that originated in England.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  till it doesn't... life, that is.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  So many! "Go for it!" "I like that!" "You/We did it!" "How are you?" And the one I find myself using with great regularity, "Thank you, Lord!" A fellow Moliner always encourages us/me to "Enjoy each day!" Another mind churner!====JACK:  Act old later!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How about "Thank you God" and "You're the Best" and our families' favorite:  "Sunday's coming"  well, okay, that's not truly three words, but it's close!====JACK:  Sunday is coming...3 words.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  In my opinion, God can't make your day.  As I understand religion:
God helps those that need help, but YOU need to make your own day by doing your best with the talent that you were given.====JACK:  In my opinion, God is omnipotent!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/11/14
“They had our backs.  Let’s keep the shirt on theirs.”  (Mark Doyle)  One of Chicago’s best-kept-secrets is a t-shirt company called, “Rags of Honor.”  It was started by Mark Doyle and hires only homeless and struggling veterans.  Mark says that the cost of making a t-shirt in Chicago, compared to overseas is about $1.35 higher.  Business is good, because many people support the concept of the company.  Today’s quote is one popular t-shirt message.    ;-)  Jack

  FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  i like it.  have a good one today.   cold and snowy here this morning. ====JACK:  Here, it was a nice warm day, just right for cleaning the gutters, washing windows and raking leaves...thanks to Timesaver Tom and MacArthur Brown.  Tomorrow, a forecasted major drop in the temps.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  & the quality is likely 100 times better.  Like.====JACK:  What I like most is that someone has figured out a way to give jobs to struggling vets.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I like that whole concept.====JACK:  To me, it's amazing how the minds of people can come up with this.====MARLYS:  Wish there were more people like that.  Our homeless veterans need to feel productive.


FROM JB IN MICHIGAN:  I look for things made in the USA, but it gets harder and harder to find them.  Check out the L.L.Bean and Eddie Bauer catalogs - I stopped ordering from them because everything is imported.The cost difference is not enough to justify the hardships caused by the loss of jobs, national pride and frequently quality.====JACK:  I have always chosen to buy cars from American auto companies, knowing that, because of a global economy, some of the parts and assembly might come (and be done) in other parts of the world.  Life's not perfect!====JB:  I bought my John Deere tractor new and it's engine is Japanese.  Life may not be perfect, but it is pretty good. ====JACK:  I grew up in Moline, Illinois, the home of the John Deere Company.  One of their proving ground fields was located a few blocks from our house.  As far as I know, all of the farm implement parts were then made locally.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/10/14
“Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn.”  (Unknown)  Some of you put a smiley face  at the end of your e-mails, and some, depending on the message will put this one .  Both symbols were used after last week’s elections.  The time has now come to move on.  It’s that way with life, too.  I like the song, “Smile,” which ends with the line, “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.”  …It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  :)... so put on a happy face...:)  btw...fact, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.====JACK:  Your song for the day...Put on a happy face.

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN WISCONSIN:  I’m going to share this message with friends and family today!  Have several friends – like me – recovering from a variety of surgeries.  Some will have very long recovery times.  Some friends have lost their spouses recently too and may find it hard to smile every day, but faith and good memories will get them through.  I’m a firm believer that a good joke every day keeps us positive and smiling especially during our long winters.  We might need to hear a lot of good jokes today as the snow storm is upon us and we are in the path of the 12-15” snowfall!  Like the song too – “If you’re happy and you know it”.  How can you not smile through that?  Stay warm and have a smiling day!  :D====JACK:  In one of his movies, Charlie Chaplin walks down the road with this song playing...
Smile, though your heart is aching  Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky  you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow  Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through  for you
Light up your face with gladness  Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying  Smile what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile  If you'll just  Smile

"Smile awhile and give your face a rest' 
raise your hand to the one you love the best,
then shake hands with the one nearby,
and greet them with a smileeeeeeee!"
====JACK:  That's a "smile" song that I haven't heard of.  Sing a few lines....====REV:  How about, "Let it snow! Let it snow!" 12-15 inches.====JACK:  Is that a preciction or a reality?  Keep it up north where it belongs.  
FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  Well, I've got two lovely kids. My husband got a promotion at work.  I'm me. I've started getting my life under control and am going to yoga class again. I will work on my smile and see how the day goes. How about you?====jack:  I'm SMILING ;-)

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Thanks for making me smile.====JACK:  I'll bet you were really smiling last night when the Packers were ahead of the Bears, 42-0 at the half.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  My father sang the “Smile” song frequently and I believe went through life with that philosophy.  Thanks for warming my heart and reminding me of him this morning.
Agree about the elections in that the parties remain polarized and I think within the parties there is still a lack of cohesiveness.  How different from earlier days when the “party line” meant something everyone could understand.  I listened to a lecture/conversation with Bruce Mau (Massive Change) where he talked about that 10 year old project as well as building the Museum of Biodiversity in Panama, his BlackBox storage and other creative endeavors.  Why people like Bruce aren’t running the country (he’s Canadian) stupefies me.  We need visionary leaders who look into the next century, not scrappers who can’t see beyond the next 2 or 4 year term!====JACK:  There are so many SMILE songs.  I smile as I remember some of them.  It makes me grimace when I think how worked up people get about election results....and foot ball scores.  Life goes on.  I'll bet there weren't many smiles on the faces of Bears fans at halftime last night...if they were still watching the game.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   That is more truth than fiction;, for sure! It even makes a difference if you smile answering the phone...much brighter, more pleasant tone. (Even tho I'm not a person who spends a lot of time on the phone, if I can help it...)  I wasn't smiling watching the Bears meltdown in yesterday's rout!!  Your team managed to pull out a victory, so knew you were smiling, big time!  Will have to keep this adage in mind as I prepare for the BIG Thanksgiving Celebration at my house, coming up!!====JACK:  The Lions are football's version of the Cubs, except that it's only been 56 years for the Lions, compared to almost twice that for the Cubs.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My face smiles just reading this message!  The sun is out, the sky is blue and on top of everything, I woke up too!  Thanks be to God!====JACK:  What do you think about pictures of a laughing Jesus?

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Well, on my 7th or 8th birthday in Upper Michigan, they sang the song . to me. "There are smiles that make you happy. There are smiles that make you blue. There are smiles that makes the sunshine the sunshine take away the dew. .......But the smiles that make the sunshine are the smiles that you give to me." I've remembered that song. Smiles are important and heartening to the the giver and the receiver. And . besides, it takes fewer muscles.====JACK:  Amazing...that you can remember that far back in time!  Hey...I can, too.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  I really like this one Jack – maybe it because the Bucks, the Badgers and the PACKERS won this weekend!   I’m not reflecting on last Tuesday.====JACK====Tempus Fugit!  In two years, it will be another season and another election and we'' have a hard time remembering (or caring about) what happened in '14.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  You win some.  Some lose some.  That is the American way when assessing elections.====JACK:  Can you remember a time when you were really energized about an election?  Was it when you were working for Senator Paul Douglas?

Friday, November 07, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/7/14
“I’m happier now, because…”  (Nataly Kogan)  3 Minutes A Day tells about Nataly who founded “Happier, Inc.”  After discovering that chasing the “big happy” wasn’t working, she began to look for the little happys in her life, like making a smilely-faced pancake for her young daughter…the things that brought her joy.  Her Happier website invites people to share their small, tiny, positive moments.  What little thing is there that makes you happy?    ;-)  Jack   
Click this link to see my blog

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Talking with you!!!!!====JACK:  "Good talk" goes back and forth.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  winning words!====JACK:  In order to keep me humble, somebody recently asked to be taken off of the WWs list, calling it, Winning FLUFF.====LIZ:  there's always someone!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I seem to be happiest when somehow--either through interacting with people, or pets, or people writing down their thoughts, or nature, can feel like I'm interacting with God, and feeling God's Love. Have had a lot of small happy moments already today, thanks for your WW and interest in our sharing back at you.====JACK:  My first "happy moment" today was being able to get out of bed today without any aches or pains.  Sometimes we take a thing like that for granted.

FROM TARMART REV:  YOU.====JACK:  It doesn't take much to make some people happy, does it?

FROM HCC CHUCK:  I think I am happiest when I am around HAPPY people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ====JACK:  "Happiness" is more contagious than Ebola, too.

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  My family laughing together. About anything.====JACK:  It's fun to see a sense of humor evolve as the children go older.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Yes, I tell people to do that! Focus on the positive. Many negative things have a positive side -- "it could be worse" "I am grateful because ... "  One woman I know had panic attacks. I wrote affirmations for her to look at when they occurred.====JACK:  Why is it that so many of our greatest comedians are Jewish?

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Almost any little thing.====JACK:  Among the things I remember about your father was his BIG smile and his ready laughter.  He seemed always ready to do things that would make his pastor happy.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  When Angela takes hold of my hand and smiles!====JACK:  Sometimes the little things turn into the big things.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/6/14
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  (Henry David Thoreau)  Recently I referred to Da Vinci as a polymath.  Thoreau was one, too.  It’s hard to describe the polymath.  We might refer to them as nerds.  Can you think of some contemporary nerds?  Thoreau was a strict environmentalist, too.  In today’s world, he’d be a recycler and a composter.  On issues of the environment, most of us “talk the talk.”  Henry David “walked the talk.”    ;-)  Jack  

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  This quote seems to address the true significance between the quantitative (world) and the qualitative (spirit). The two exist together as we engage something; but the spirit exists beyond the end of the something.====JACK:  Like things temporal and things eternal?  Like life and eternal life?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  If what you see is not the Truth or any semblance of the a Truth, then it matters that you have just polluted your brain.====JACK:  You're right, but the problem is that different people have different concepts of what is the truth.  Many of those who went to the polling places on Tuesday thought that they were voting for "the truth."  Did the Truth win or lose?
====JOHN:  I'm not sure if Descartes or Socrates would see political opinions as having to do with the search for Truth.====JACK:  Of course, the concept of Truth is not the same in each person's mind.  Sometimes I can't believe that a person sees something as Truth when I see it as non-Truth. ====JOHN:  Since you don't see any Truth, that must be a reoccurring event====JACK:  Thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

FROM TARMART REV:  Hopefully found that way with my "faith walk" . . .  "a peculiar person, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14) . . . sounds a little nicer that "a nerd", but probably found to be in the same ballpark in expression.====JACK:  Some churches have a literal "faith walk" or prayer lane" where people can meander on a path in an open area, stopping at certain places to meditate or pray.  Do you have such a place for your congregation?   Or, are you thinking of a "faith walk" as it exists in your own mind?  Many nerds or polymaths are not "religious" in the traditional sense.  Does that exclude them from being "faith" people?====REV:  The Word says without faith we cannot please God...I'm thinking without faith, one of godly faith or not, would not be able to ever please themselves. The Catholics and Orthodox seems to capture those stages of meditation with their "statues" as I would call them placed at various places within their altar areas, sanctuaries and grounds. We at one time had similar ideas with our stained glass windows...not so much anymore with our "downsizing philosophy" in "come as you are" and enjoy your experience at church with coffee in hand. My expression of "faith walk" more to my individual walk and expression of faith towards "our Father" in Heaven.====JACK:  One of our local churches has a small park on the church grounds called, A Labyrinth.  A labyrinth usually takes the form of a circle. It is used for walking meditation, reflection, and prayer. A labyrinth is not a maze. Rather, it has a single, circuitous path; there are no dead ends or cul de sacs. You cannot get lost if you trust the path.
There is no one right way to use the labyrinth, except to approach it with an open heart, free of expectation, and to surrender to the path that lies before you. Follow it deliberately, all the way in to the center, and back out again. Don’t rush. Plan to spend 20-30 minutes – or more. It may be helpful to think of the path in as an opportunity to release a burden.  Life is full of stresses and strains, ups and downs, twists and turns. Often it feels like we live in a rat race, and it doesn’t take much for the race to be disrupted: job loss, foreclosure, divorce, illness, death of a loved one, any setback. Then what? A prayer labyrinth offers the opportunity to step away, to both experience and reflect on our lives, come what may, through a healing, life-giving metaphor: not a rat race, but a purposeful journey.  We don’t live our lives in straight lines. The labyrinth reminds us of that and lends us perspective.  Perhaps there's a place for something like this in your community.

FROM AW IN MICHIGAN:  Jack, this one is so good, you may wish to repeat it a few times each year to  help us keep us reminded.  Kind of goes along with the expression: "The meanings of words are  in the minds of people." When I fist heard that one, it really helped my interactions.   Thanks. ====JACK:  Much of what Thoreau did and wrote caused people think and then think some more.  He was a remarkable person.  Thanks for your response.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Reflecting on the previous comment to which I fully subscribe, it seems, to my way of responding to your words, to lead in at least two directions ( and one of which , I'll confess, was generated by some of the responses.)  First, I believe those who "walk the talk" of loving one another, helping each other, etc. do not need to be declared "nerds". They are imbued with doing God's will to the best of their ability....without pontification or labeling.  And, secondly, for the "Da Vinci types" ....there may not be many individuals in the same category as Da Vinci, but there are countless "nerds" dreaming of and sketching such as life on Mars or the moon, the building in Dubai designed to air cool itself sans AC, in the world of electronics, trains running on a magnetic rail system, in the health field, and on and on. And as for the labyrinths, I've seen one. It's thought provoking. I'm one who has to do my meditating walking the labyrinth of living. WW does have a way of stirring thinking. ====JACK:  Most of the nerds that I know are really nice people.  (time out!) I went to check the etymology of "nerd."  It seems to have originated in the 1950s, with no explanation as to how.  It's a quirky word that began as a derogatory term, but has been reclaimed and now most nerds are held in honor, especially when you need one to fix your quirky computer.  A similar word is, geek.  ...but now the geeks have their own little Geek Squad cars.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  In today's world of specialization, you won't find any polymaths. Maybe polymaths within specialized disciplines, but that's not a true polymath according to its Greek origin.====JACK:  Some of the polymaths that I admire are...Copernicus, Michelangelo, Edison, Franklin, Jefferson, Jobs.  Notice that a first name doesn't have to be given in order to identify them.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/5/14
“I’m telling you, that banana pudding, really—it’s life changing.”  (Malcolm Livingston II)
Malcolm is a chef who has recently been named to work at Noma in Denmark, said to be the best restaurant in the world.  How did this come to be?  His inspiration for cooking came from Aunt Alice who would make “goodies” for him and his young friends, and their favorite was banana pudding.  As you think back, who had a life-changing influence on your life?    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Mrs. Ray Honeywell of 1st Methodist, Moline gave me a very positive example of a Pastor's wife while I was in H.S. Very Attractive  and stylish,, warm, led singing, counseled us, wrote children's books.  When it came my turn to be a pastor's wife years later, I was mentored by that memory. Sarah Reed, Sr. Pastor's wife at Elgin where we served as associate pastor, was the other one; participating in every aspect of ministry  with Dr. Willis Reed (Served as Pres. of AB Convention, as Bill did, later) and cared for four children, one of whom had had polio when only 10 days old, (their only girl) and was in a wheelchair. Our only daughter, Sarah is named  after Sarah Reed. Their 3 boys and our 3 boys had some jolly good times; a lively bunch!! :-) One of my son John's favorite pies is banana  cream! Don't know that it is a life-changer for him, however!

FROM HCC CHUCK:  A young Pastor from Augustana Donald F Anderson a member of the last class before moving to Chicago

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/4/14
“There are seven days in a week, and Someday isn’t one of them.”  (Rita Chand)  As humans we have the ability to choose…what to wear…what to eat…how to spend life and with whom.  Each morning begins with choice.  The temptation is to put off doing the hard thing, the one that needs doing.  “Someday I’ll get around to it!”   I once carried a round coin in my pocket, with one word etched on it…TUIT.  It was a reminder to do what needs doing…today.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MW IN ILLINOIS:  One of  Dick's toys that he made, was a round piece of wood the size of a  quarter, on it he printed the word tuit. he would give them to people & of course they had to ask what it was & when he would tell them, everyone had a good laugh over it. They would also ask him to make them some to give away, which he did.====JACK:  Homemade is best...whether it's toys or cooking.  Did you still have one of the TUITs?

FROM TARMART REV:  Gave several away years ago to my youth group, emphasizing the same . . . had forgotten until you brought it back to my memory this morning.====JACK:  Maybe you could get a new supply...and have printed on the reverse side..."Choose, this day, whom you will serve."  Joshua 24:15.  Then hand them out to people you talk to at Target and Walmart.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  YES, I TOO HAD A "ROUND TUIT"....GOOD  REMINDER TODAY! ====JACK:  Are you getting a round tuit, as far as getting your place ready for the move?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  That's a good one, and so true.  Our somedays are here.  We need to make the most of every someday we have!====JACK:  Whether it be today, or Someday, the Bible says, "This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it."====JUDY:  My youngest grandson, Noah and I have a saying together..."It's not Sunday, but Sunday's coming."  Some preacher uses it all the time but I don't remember who it is.  Anyway, Someday or Sunday...the Lord God made them all.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 11/3/14
“With rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow—I still have joy in the midst of these things.”  (Confucius)  This “Confucius say…” quote reminds me of the one by Omar Khayyam… Joy is found in “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou.”  Which leads me to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper… “This bread is my body; this wine is my blood; eat and  drink in remembrance of me.”  What kinds of meals bring you joy?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:   Gathering around The Lord's Table is right up there at the top . . . have found there is always "light and life, help and power" to be experienced at His feet.====JACK: Do the AGs ever use a jug of wine and a loaf of bread for Communion?====REV:  I'lol bet you knew the answer before asking...I tell everyone when this subject comes up, I got in trouble when my wife and I visited a Lutheran Church in Willmar where they do use real wine and I asked for seconds. ====JACK:  I may have told you of the "temperance" church lady who was told that Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana.  "Yes," she responded, "and that's one thing that I don't like about him."

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I absolutely love the flavor of food. I love to eat....but specifically to your cream!!!!====JACK:  Is there a difference between the kinds of food you eat in Arizona compare with those in Michigan?  I love the coneys at Pete's in Pontiac.  It's been there on W. Huron St for almost 100 years.====RAY:  When we are in Michigan, we like to eat the fresh fish as much as we can. I love coney dogs too; the version in AZ is more like a spicy chili dog (beans and all with a wrap of bacon around the hot dog -- it is called a Sonoran Dog). It's good; but not a coney! So when we get back to Michigan, I track down Coney Island restaurants. Down here, the Mexican food dominates. Every different Mexican restaurant seems to have its own unique salsa recipe. All the varieties are fun to try. I like 'em all!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Any kind, especially if I don't have to do the cooking.  It is very good to have my computer working again.  Our 54 year old son-in-law had a stroke and was in the hospital for 18 days.  The good news is that he has had a full recovery and returned to work last week.  Somehow you don't think too much about food when other bigger things are happening in your life. ====JACK:  Medical emergencies will put everything else on hold...even food.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  So many happy memories with family and friends center around good food! My family gatherings are not complete (any Holiday!) without my ham balls in sweet and sour sauce. TRADITON!! As Tevye sings in Fiddler On The blessed we are in America with the abundant and diverse array of food available to most of us. Just presented a program on the book "One Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the worst place on Earth To Be A Woman" wouldn't have to worry about overeating in the Congo! :-( Yet these intrepid survivors still find a way to thank God that they are alive! Humbling to the extreme...====JACK:  One of the staples at our festive meals is Dorothy Weber's 5-Minute Salad...not as exotic as your ham balls, but a lot easier to make, and it tastes good, too.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Watching somebody else eat crow.====JACK:  There'll be plenty of opportunity to see that on Wednesday, after the mid-term election.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  Coney dogs, or anything shared with family or friends.====JACK:  I've introduced my children and grandchildren to the coneys at Pete's in Pontiac, and they love that place.  Your order is on the counter in front of you in less than a minute.  They've timed it.  You've probably had the same experience.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Actually, any meal that I can share with others at the table.  Eating alone is not good!====JACK:  What is a typical English meal that you might share with someone? ====BS:  It might be a roast dinner with any meat that has been roasted in the oven with roast potatoes, vegetables, yorkshire pudding served with gravy and the appropriate sauce. Apple sauce with pork, horse radish with beef, mint sauce with lamb and cranberry with chicken.  Followed by dessert, apple crumble and custard or maybe a trifle or cheesecake accompanied by a nice glass of wine.====JACK:  Mmmmm.  That sounds good.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  What an interesting "thought Provoker"! What came to mind first was these two memories....Homemade bread, warm (from the oven of a wood burning cook stove) lightly buttered and spread with wild strawberry jam. The second was half a pasty warmed on the steam radiator in my classroom! More recently, .....Thanksgiving dinners with the family holding hands in a circle...each expressing a "thanks for"......Interesting!====JACK:  In Moline, at the bottom of the 15th St hill, 5-Point Bakery was located.  I would walk past it every day on my way to Irving School.  On the way home, there would be the smell of fresh-baked bread.  Sometimes I would stop in and buy a loaf for a dime.  It had just came out of the over and was still hot.  Mmmmmmm!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Certainly corn on the cob is also life altering.====JACK:  I suppose, corn on the cob was especially good when it came from the backyard garden you had during your growing up years.====JOHN:  I grew great corn had a 1/2 acre garden

FROM TARMART REV:  Multiply multiplicities of many!!====JACK:  That sound like a lot.