Friday, September 30, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 6/30/16
“I was eleven when I was sixteen…Those were the lovely years.”  (Truman Capote)  Did you have a favorite time in your youth?  I contracted polio at age 16…not a pleasant experience, but, in retrospect, it made all the difference…so the bad became the good.  I still wonder, “What if?”  Iris DeMent sings, “I Think I’ll Just Let the Mystery Be.” (YouTube it!)  I’m sure that others, like Tru, were 11 at age 16…and some who were 16 at age 11.  How about you?    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i never knew you had polio, Jack.  not sure you ever shared that  before now.====JACK:  I only shared it now in order to make a point.  I believe that I became a pastor as a result of it.====PAUL:  that is really interesting.  any regrets?====JACK: long as I look throught the telescope instead of the microscope.  Life is (and has been) good.====PAUL:  some of your one liners, Jack, are actually quite profound:):)====JACK:  I type what comes to mind.  I believe in in-spiration!====PAUL:  and that word comes from spiritus,  the Holy Spiritus at work in our lives?  maybe not always but often!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The choice to go to Augustana was a big one for me.   My Dad wanted me to go to Harvard.    My life would have been completely different if I had done so.   I think I made the fight choice.====JACK:  In today's world, it would be hard to turn down a chance to go to Harvard, in favor of a little religious, liberal arts midwestern college.  That was then; now is now.  How does God fit into the equation?====JOHN:  Interestingly enough, I received the call to ministry at a summer session at  Harvard ....went there on a scholarship that I got while a student at Augustana. ====JACK:  Augie had comparable debate squads at that time, didn't they?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Pablo Picasso said, "It takes a long time to become young."  I'm still working on that.====JACK:  People often say, "If I know then what I know now..."  But. if that were the case, it wouldn't be "youth."  A main part of youth is "not knowing" and making choices accordingly.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  God wants all of our bad days to be turned into good days.  Even the "bad" events in our lives turn into something good or better than we imagined.  Sometimes I feel 120 and sometimes I feel 16!====JACK:  Oftentimes "bad" happens because of our free-will choices, but, in the big picture, free-will is a great gift, so....thanks be to God that he has given us choice.

FROM STARRY KNIGHT:  I think Luke is 14 going on 16, Matthew is 13 going on 15, Ben is 9 going on 1 month, and Rae is 8 and is smart as a 10 year old but very sweet and age appropriate!====JACK:  Can you remember when you were their ages?  the similarities?  the differences?

FROM JT IN MILWAUKEE:  Speaking of ages, daughter Sue is 62 today - the full time Director of Suites at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, and part -time Recreation Therapist at the Lutheran Home, a retirement center in Milwaukee, and a great help for her old 92-year-old Dad.  She is still going strong, thank the Lord.====JACK:  The Bible is so true!  Psalm 127:3  "Children are a gift from the Lord;  they are a reward from him."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I loved my High school and college years, but every age seems to have its perks and highlights. One of my cousins died of Polio and his sister recovered from it, but still had what they called a "drop foot". (She became a  nurse, and married a Dr.!)  My great-grandchildren seem to be much more accomplished in  this technical world than we ever will be. Kids seem to mature faster these days!   One of the perks of old age is to look back and see how situations which seems bad or hard to handle, worked out for good in the long  run!  Never give up Hope; we never know what tomorrow will bring!====JACK:  Jesus said it well in the Sermon on the Mount..."So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."  The coming presidential election will "soon" be something to be studied by historians.

FROM TARMART REV:  Grew up in the sport's world with older men while enjoying the sport of bowling . . .I always enjoyed competing with the older crowd and trying my best to make an accepted place among them. 0;-)  PS- Home now and back in the routine . . . wedding today, church and a new family lunch tomorrow and a funeral Monday . . . time does move rather quickly around home. ====JACK:  I wonder what "younger" eyes are looking at you...and hoping to be accepted?  It has always been that the younger crowd becomes the older crowd as time goes by.====REV:  Think about that often . . . the other day I had a reply posted on my Facebook devotional post that identified herself with her maiden name in which I remember from my first position as a youth pastor in Akron, Ohio. She was adopted and went through a number of years involved with drugs and rebellion against her parents . . . a lot of prayers were going up in her behalf at the time . . . I had seen some of her post in reply earlier, but mistakenly thought it was a parishioner from another church and city where we had pastored on staff . . . she seemingly has now settled into a maturer faithful walk and expressed it that day, thanking my wife and I for our ministry in those earlier years. It certainly brought a smile of appreciation on this old preacher's face.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Jack, I was catching up on mail, and read this.   I never knew that you had polio when you were 16.   That certainly explains how you became so sensitive and reflective.   Keep up the good works – as for me, I guess I was 11 when I was 16, slow to mature, but truly enjoyed my ‘youth.’====JACK:  It's the old saying, "We are who we were."  Usually I'm reluctant to talk about "me", unless there's a point to be made.  In this case, 16 was a life-changing year in my life.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/29/16
“The difficulty in life is the choice.”  (George Moore)  I dislike those eye-exam charts where I’m asked to choose which line is best.  But making choices is a part of life.  Oatmeal or Pop-Tarts?  What’s your major going to be?  Job choice…Spouse choice.  Even Shakespeare referred to it…”To be, or not to be?”  Robert Frost wrote that the choice of “a road” makes all the difference.  Think back on your life and the difference that your choices have made.    ;-)  Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There are so many choices to make in our life, some inconsequential (shall I get vanilla or butter pecan?) while others may be life-threatening.  Better choices are made if we have knowledge that can guide us, and having such knowledge depends on whether we chose to study or goof off when we were in school.  Too often people avoid what they should do and choose what they want to do.  Something you have often stated remains true..."Not to decide is to decide!"  There were times when that may have been best.  The Lord knows I've made my share of wrong choices.  We can still come out ahead if we learn from it.====JACK:  I'd venture to say that you've made many more right choices than wrong, because you tend to "look" before you "leap."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I have had a wonderful life with a lot of prayer, hard work, and lot of good luck.====JACK:  It's called, "The grace of God."

FROM SUEAD:  Jeff Bezos gave me a mantra when I heard a commencement speech he gave at a college graduation...I think it was Princeton.   It is profound for me.  I  remind my grandchildren of this often.  " In the end, we are our choices" is the quote.  Maybe profound is too strong an adjective.....but not for me.====JACK:  You and Jeff are soooo right.  We are our choices!
Through the magic of Google, here's that speech......    "We are What We Choose"
Remarks by Jeff Bezos, as delivered to the Class of 2010  Baccalaureate  May 30, 2010

As a kid, I spent my summers with my grandparents on their ranch in Texas. I helped fix windmills, vaccinate cattle, and do other chores. We also watched soap operas every afternoon, especially "Days of our Lives." My grandparents belonged to a Caravan Club, a group of Airstream trailer owners who travel together around the U.S. and Canada. And every few summers, we'd join the caravan. We'd hitch up the Airstream trailer to my grandfather's car, and off we'd go, in a line with 300 other Airstream adventurers. I loved and worshipped my grandparents and I really looked forward to these trips. On one particular trip, I was about 10 years old. I was rolling around in the big bench seat in the back of the car. My grandfather was driving. And my grandmother had the passenger seat. She smoked throughout these trips, and I hated the smell.

At that age, I'd take any excuse to make estimates and do minor arithmetic. I'd calculate our gas mileage -- figure out useless statistics on things like grocery spending. I'd been hearing an ad campaign about smoking. I can't remember the details, but basically the ad said, every puff of a cigarette takes some number of minutes off of your life: I think it might have been two minutes per puff. At any rate, I decided to do the math for my grandmother. I estimated the number of cigarettes per days, estimated the number of puffs per cigarette and so on. When I was satisfied that I'd come up with a reasonable number, I poked my head into the front of the car, tapped my grandmother on the shoulder, and proudly proclaimed, "At two minutes per puff, you've taken nine years off your life!"

I have a vivid memory of what happened, and it was not what I expected. I expected to be applauded for my cleverness and arithmetic skills. "Jeff, you're so smart. You had to have made some tricky estimates, figure out the number of minutes in a year and do some division." That's not what happened. Instead, my grandmother burst into tears. I sat in the backseat and did not know what to do. While my grandmother sat crying, my grandfather, who had been driving in silence, pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway. He got out of the car and came around and opened my door and waited for me to follow. Was I in trouble? My grandfather was a highly intelligent, quiet man. He had never said a harsh word to me, and maybe this was to be the first time? Or maybe he would ask that I get back in the car and apologize to my grandmother. I had no experience in this realm with my grandparents and no way to gauge what the consequences might be. We stopped beside the trailer. My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, "Jeff, one day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever."

What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy -- they're given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you're not careful, and if you do, it'll probably be to the detriment of your choices.

This is a group with many gifts. I'm sure one of your gifts is the gift of a smart and capable brain. I'm confident that's the case because admission is competitive and if there weren't some signs that you're clever, the dean of admission wouldn't have let you in.

Your smarts will come in handy because you will travel in a land of marvels. We humans -- plodding as we are -- will astonish ourselves. We'll invent ways to generate clean energy and a lot of it. Atom by atom, we'll assemble tiny machines that will enter cell walls and make repairs. This month comes the extraordinary but also inevitable news that we've synthesized life. In the coming years, we'll not only synthesize it, but we'll engineer it to specifications. I believe you'll even see us understand the human brain. Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Galileo, Newton -- all the curious from the ages would have wanted to be alive most of all right now. As a civilization, we will have so many gifts, just as you as individuals have so many individual gifts as you sit before me.

How will you use these gifts? And will you take pride in your gifts or pride in your choices?

I got the idea to start Amazon 16 years ago. I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year. I'd never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles -- something that simply couldn't exist in the physical world -- was very exciting to me. I had just turned 30 years old, and I'd been married for a year. I told my wife MacKenzie that I wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn't work since most startups don't, and I wasn't sure what would happen after that. MacKenzie (also a Princeton grad and sitting here in the second row) told me I should go for it. As a young boy, I'd been a garage inventor. I'd invented an automatic gate closer out of cement-filled tires, a solar cooker that didn't work very well out of an umbrella and tinfoil, baking-pan alarms to entrap my siblings. I'd always wanted to be an inventor, and she wanted me to follow my passion.

I was working at a financial firm in New York City with a bunch of very smart people, and I had a brilliant boss that I much admired. I went to my boss and told him I wanted to start a company selling books on the Internet. He took me on a long walk in Central Park, listened carefully to me, and finally said, "That sounds like a really good idea, but it would be an even better idea for someone who didn't already have a good job." That logic made some sense to me, and he convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision. Seen in that light, it really was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided I had to give it a shot. I didn't think I'd regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all. After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I'm proud of that choice.

Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life -- the life you author from scratch on your own -- begins.
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it's tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!
====S:  I don't remember how I came upon the speech, but it was just jaw-dropping good to me.  I hope it touched the graduates in the same way.  But how could it??? I am soon to be 83 and they were in the 20's.  "In the end we are our choices" is a quote my grandchildren hear waaaay more than they'd like.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I think if we'd been aware as young people how our decisions would impact our entire life, it would have frightened us considerably!  More luck than sense involved in a lot of those decisions, no doubt. Thankful to have chosen a great mate, (and I did pray a lot about that!) and a profession that was right for me. My twin and I had an opportunity to tour as vocalists with a well-known area dance band the year we graduated from M.H.S.  My dad (who didn't often dictate to us) did not allow us to do this. Probably one of his wiser decisions, which didn't set well with us at the time!  But we both chose mates and careers at Augie which made for a fulfilling life ! :-) No matter how long we live, we'll always have choices! God help us!!====JACK:  Upon reflection, I think people of all ages can be unaware of the importance of their choices.  An example of this can be seen in the reasoning some people use in their voting choice of a candidate.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sometimes we take the wrong road but usually get back on the right one.====JACK:  You probably don't remember the time before paved roads were common, but driving involved choices.  A sign on an unimproved road read: "Choose your rut wisely.  You'll be in it for a while."====JUDY:  We live on 24 mile and Gratiot.  24 mile is not paved all the way and we travel on dirt roads a lot.  Many roads out here are not paved.  We are in a deep rut but God is our guide and we'll eventually be on smooth roads again.  Also, within a mile, there are 6 outhouses, at the least.====JACK:  I didn't know that you lived in the boonies.  Since God is everywhere, I guess that he's there, too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/28/16
“Keep your face always toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”  (Emerson)  The Carter Family used to sing, “Keep on the sunny side of life…It will help us every day, it will brighten all our way.”  An article in Healthy Living reported a study--that a positive outlook is a factor in having improved  physical health, regardless of age, gender and income level.  Maybe Peale was onto something when he wrote about The Power of Positive Thinking.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  One of my favorite sayings: "There's a pony somewhere in the midst of that pile of manure!?"====JACK:  There's good, even in manure.  It's better fertilizer than the manufactured kind.  The City of Milwaukee takes human waste and sells it as fertilizer under the name, Milorganite.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I used to take my kids to see the Gemini Twins.  They sang kid's songs.  They were from Russia and they sang one of the folk songs:  "May there always be sunshine, may there always be good times, may there always be mama may there always be me!  That has stuck in my head since the kids were little.  I was President of the PTA when Kimberly was in elementary school.  We sponsored the Gemini Twins for a concert at the school.  They sold CDs after the concert but I didn't have any money.  Andy searched out the Principal, Miss Winters and begged her for money to buy the CD.  Needless to say, I was very embarrassed!!! I did end up with the CD. ====JACK:  The "sunshine" is in the remembrance of those days and that event!

FROM DMF IN AV:  That is one of my favorite songs!====JACK:  A variation of the song is "Stay on the Sunny Side" with a knock-knock joke between each stanza, like...
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Woo who?
Don't get excited. It's just a joke.
====DMF:  I found a few videos of “Stay on the Sunnyside”, but they were all hand-held videos of people at camp, etc. that couldn’t be heard very easily, but I did get the gist of it.  Did you do that at Camp Augustana?  When I was searching for that song I saw this from Monty Python about taking a positive outlook on life. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it before. I suppose some think it is blasphemous.====JACK:  "Always Look on the Bright Side" and "Keep on the Sunny Side" are two different songs.  I never saw the Life of Brian, but I know of it...and have no problem.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Very good advice.  One day at a time.  It's a beautiful day in Florida.  My rain tree was beginning to turn yellow and red, but now it is green again.  The fall is a beautiful time up north, too.  Enjoy.====JACK:  I suppose you have no problem in Tampa, staying on the sunny side of anything.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Monty Python…perhaps in the Life of Brian movie featured a song, “always look on the bright side of life”….I can hear them whistling now.  Perhaps blasphemous but,they’re all being crucified together in the scene at the end of the film and singing together from the crosses.====JACK:  Monty Python's "Silly Walks" really cracks me up.  I think I'll YouTube it right now.

====DMF:  I found a few videos of “Stay on the Sunnyside”, but they were all hand-held videos of people at camp, etc. that couldn’t be heard very easily, but I did get the gist of it.  Did you do that at Camp Augustana?

When I was searching for that song I saw this from Monty Python about taking a positive outlook on life. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it before. I suppose some think it is blasphemous.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/27/16
“You’ve got to take the bitter with the sour.”  (Sam Goldwyn)  S.G. is famous for malaprops, misusing words.  Maybe it’s not a malaprop in some cases.  You may know of people who have all the bad luck, bitter, followed by sour.  A stranger came up to a friend of mine recently with a tale of woe.  “I just don’t know where to turn.”  On the spur of the moment she gave the number of a pastor she knew.  Both the 1% and the 99% can have bitter and sour lives.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This calls to mind Jim Carrey's (actor) admonition: "I wish every person could experience having enough wealth to go anywhere they ever wanted, do everything the wished to do, buy anything they coveted, in order to know that its not the answer."  Like you say, both the 1% and 99% can have dark, unsatisfying lives. And some never have "enough" to make them happy.  Blessed are those who are happy, and they know it! In spite of how life unfolds...====JACK:  Speaking about money and malaprops...A fool and his money are some party...or, malaprop hymns...Gladly the cross-eyed bear...and O kinky turtle.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...even the ones in between... ====JACK:  Even that person with a tale of woe who came up to my friend had a "sweet" moment when someone listened and responded positively.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/26/16
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”  (B.B. King)  A friend of mine had to care for his young grandchildren, including diaper changes.  He said that it was like riding a bicycle.  Once you have the hang of it, you don’t forget.  No doubt, B.B. was writing about learning music.   A regret of mine is that my parents weren’t more forceful in having me continue piano lessons.  I’d love music more, if I could make my own.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  During the fourth grade in grade school we were given the opportunity of learning to play a musical instrument. Dad had an old cornet around the house and for some reason (probably Dad's) I picked it up to learn how to play it. By Jr High I was ready to drop it, but Dad said I needed to learn "stick-to-it-ism" and was "forced" to play it all the way to High School graduation. Never became any more accomplished with it than to know what valves were to be pressed down in accordance with the notes shown in the music score. I really did not have the heart of it down in my spirit. What I did learn was to read music fairly well and lead the congregational hymns on Sunday as a youth pastor and later often as a pastor myself. Somewhat a bitter/sweet experience, but I always envied those who could play the trumpet with such ease?!====JACK:   Probably more important than trying to learn to play the trumpet was the really important lesson learned..."stick-to-it-ism."  Good dad!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Are you going to watch the "debate" tonight?    It will pit on display America's most dangerous demagogue....the PT Barnum of our generation.    That whole movement is terrifying.   It is led by Trump and his followers are like Hobbes' description....nasty, brutish.......      I fear for our grandchildren.====JACK:  In a "real" like the ones you participated in, did anyone serve as a "fact-checker?"  I suppose it was left to the judges.  To me, the "Presidential Debates" are just a show.  In order to make them effective it depends on the moderator to ask the right questions in the right way and to be ready to ask the right follow ups.  When is someone going to say, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"?

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  It's never too late, Jack (to take piano lessons).====JACK:  That would be true if I were Phil Connors in the movie, Groundhog Day.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Music was a large part of my life.  Each one of us kids had to learn an instrument.  Val plays the accordion, Kathy the flute, Cindy the violin, Rob the sax and me the clarinet.  Gary and I met in the church choir...he was 9 and I was 11.====JACK:  I used to listen to a family group of musicians called The Stonemans.  Pop Stoneman played the autoharp, and each of the kids played different instruments.  Some even danced as they played.  (YouTube)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/23/16
“A reputation of a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.”  (Ernest Bramah)  A TV ad promises a prize of $7000 a week for life.  Just think about what that could do for you.  There’s a modern translation of Proverbs 22:1 which reads, “A good name is more valuable than winning the Publishers Clearing House prize.”  Having and maintaining a good reputation is a “value” worth discussing in the home and in the workplace.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  The old mind picture we have used for many, many years--"There are no U-Hauls seen towed by the hearse to the cemetery!"====JACK:  Even the best reputation is "as filthy rags" before the Final Judgment.  We are saved by grace alone, through faith...not by good deeds or a good reputation.

FROM OJ:  Our family has been completed destroyed by one small incident.  We will get through this but it will take years.  We have great faith in a loving forgiving Lord but reputations may be ruined for generations.====JACK:  David is one example.  Saul who became a Saint is another..

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/22/14
“Dangers to Human Virtue: Business without ethics; Science without humanity; Politics without principles.”  (Gandhi)  A friend recently sent me these Gandhi words saying, “Perhaps you can use these sometime.”  What time is better than now when human virtue is in danger of being compromised?  Sitting, kneeling, standing are being used these days as ways for showing support of a specific cause.  However you might show it, be an advocate for virtue!    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  We need to begin with ourselves.   But, we also need to be heard in the community.====JACK:  I'm reminded of the Edgar A, Guest poem, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."  However, Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there's also a time to speak.  Both/And!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  If all one wants to do is to complain, why not something positive to make this a better world.====JACK:  One of the synonyms for complaining is, carping.  I'm going to look up the derivation of that.  (pause)  It traces back to the Icelandic verb, karpa, meaning to dispute or wrangle.  (pause)  Wrangle goes back to the old High German, ringan, meaning, to struggle.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  perfect for today!====JACK:  Wouldn't it be an interesting change of pace to have business people, scientists and politicians talk about ethics, humanity and principles?

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I have a card on my fridge with a picture of Gandhi and "Seven Deadly Social Sins"; the card is from Sojourners.
"Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Commerce without morality
Pleasure without conscience
Education without character
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice."
I thought you'd like to see the whole thing.  I have appreciated it.
====JACK:  I had that whole list, too, but had to abbreviate it because of space constraints.  I picked the three that I believed related most to today's situation.  Which three would you have chosen? ====JAN:     I think I probably would have chosen those same three of Gandhi quotes.  My favorite, though, is "Worship without sacrifice". In our US culture, we tend to think worship is for gain of some sort.  All about me!  Blessings, Jack!  You send comfort, wisdom and inspiration each weekday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/21/16
“Be brave!  Even if you’re not, pretend to be.”  (Jackson Brown Jr)  I saw this quote beneath a picture of a goldfish wearing a fake shark fin.  Life sometimes puts us in situations where it’s a struggle to be brave.  Last Sunday, I read that music in hospital rooms can lead to a better recovery.  It even benefits surgeons in the O.R.  I like the song, “Precious Lord, take my hand…Through the storm, through the night…Precious Lord, take my hand.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM GS IN SH:    I LOVE it............He held my hand my hand, and still is..........through 9 or 10 months of many operations......thanks====JACK:  I guess when you're flat on your back, you have two choices.  You can close your eyes to the world around you...or you can look up in faith.  May healing continue in you.

FROM DR PH:  Nice. Sittler encouraged that form follows function.====JACK:  I was fortunate to hear Sittler and meet him in person.  Yes, we are what is our reaction to God's grace.  We may not be perfect, but we keep on trying.

FROM KS IN MICHIGAN:  My niece works as a music therapist in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.  and she has some amazing stories that should be shared.====JACK:  A nurse that I know would begin each of her shifts by stopping in at the hospital chapel for a time of prayer.  It would be good if each of us could begin our workday in such a way.====KS:  I sometimes stop in the chapel at St. Joes in Pontiac when visiting family or friends in the hospital….think it is great.

FROM MUSICIAN AP:  Years ago, I heard that song played in a movie and it captured my heart.  It's old-timey, but it's a strong piece of music.====JACK:  I think that it's such a great and moving piece of music, because it was written in response to Thomas Dorsey's real life experience of needing the hand of Jesus.  Was the movie, Selma?====AP:  Oh, I was afraid you would ask. The movie is older than Selma, can't remember the title. Moving piece of music, like Amazing Grace that is still so 'popular' as it comes from such a deep place in a person. Another one is 'Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling' - got me when I heard it in the movie - Trip to Bountiful, with Geraldine Page. I didn't really 'get' the hymn - How Great Thou Art - until I heard Minnesota Lutherans sing it. Wow, did I make a 180 degree shift on that one! We continue to remind ourselves of how powerful music is. Can't see it, can't touch it . . . hmmm, like a few other things in our lives . . . all best thoughts coming your way. ====JACK:  Most hymns have a story behind them.  I've often thought that congregations would appreciate singing hymns if they knew the story behind them...Precious Lord is a perfect example.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN:  Was that from the song The Pretender?====JACK:  I don't know about that, but I do know that I found something interesting when I googled, The Pretender.  Thanks  ====MV:  What did you find?====JACK:  The lyrics fascinate me.   "The Pretender"
Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend
Keep you in the dark
And so it all began

Send in your skeletons
Sing as their bones go marching in... again
The need you buried deep
The secrets that you keep are ever ready
Are you ready?
I'm finished making sense
Done pleading ignorance
That whole defense

Spinning infinity, boy
The wheel is spinning me
It's never-ending, never-ending
Same old story

What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

In time or so I'm told
I'm just another soul for sale... oh, well
The page is out of print
We are not permanent
We're temporary, temporary
Same old story

I'm the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I'm the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I'm what's left, I'm what's right
I'm the enemy
I'm the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend

What if I say I'm not like the others?
(Keep you in the dark)
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
(You know they all... pretend)
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
====MV:  This is not the Jackson Browne Pretender. His starts out, “I’m gonna rent myself a house on the edge of the freeway.====JACK:  I listened to the song as the lyrics scrolled.  GOOD!  We are all pretenders, of a sort.

FROM TARMART REV:  . . . "and lead me on!!"====JACK:  To me, it is a plaintive song.  "Lord, I just can't take it anymore; precious  Lord, take my hand."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  One of my favorites is "Be Still and Know" (I think that's the title) if Amy Grant's song.  It brings me peace. ====JACK:  Another hymn with a similar message is Be Still My Soul, set to music by the famous Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I love that song too and now, thanks to you, it’s playing in my head this gloomy morning.====JACK:  It was a gloomy day, too, when Thomas Dorsey wrote it...but he needed to write it to help chase the gloom away.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Music is a great soother. The most beautiful song   have ever heard was sung at Mass at a church in La Haina Maui.  The song was How Great  Thou Art, and I remember if vividly to this day.====JACK:  On some days I like to listen to Gregorian chants.  In fact, I think that I'll pull up a CD of chants right now.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there's a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your hearts
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your hearts
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
====JACK:  I do recall that this song was a favorite of yours.  It's a good one.

FROM CR IN MICHIGAN:  So many times we need to be brave and every time God is there. ====JACK:  "The Lord is my shepherd" could be translated, "The Lord is my shark fin ."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/20/16
“Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow.”  (B. Franklin)  The Old Farmer’s Almanac began publishing in 1792.  Ben Franklin began his annual almanac in 1732, with similar information…weather forecasts, household hints, puzzles and witty sayings.  In Ben’s writings he emphasized thrift, hard work, saving for a rainy day, moderation and wariness of debt.  Some people still see these as worthy values.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  amen to all of that!====JACK:  It's good to know that you're in my corner with your, AMEN.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Imagine being one of 17 children, having only two years of actual schooling, and by voracious reading and his fertile brain, becoming Pres. of Pa, U.S. Minister to Sweden and then France, Ist. U.S. Postmaster and founding a college that later became the U.of Penn, among all the other things he accomplished. Boggles the mind! Isaacson's bio. of him is a great read! Sure, he had his flaws, but wow! What an eminent leader to our Country at a time when it was just becoming established!  Good advice from him today !====JACK:  Most of us don't realize that he was one of the oldest of the Founding Fathers.  I can imagine that they looked to him as the elder wise man.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Good morning, Jack...and good words. Since I moved to Ben Franklin’s hometown, I've become much more familiar with some of his less-familiar sayings. People in Philly quote him a lot.  This is one I’ve never heard before.   But for now, as old Ben recommends, I'm remembering to celebrate every day, because the party could be over in an instant.  Have a great day today!====JACK:  In your art glass work, have you ever been called upon to do something using a patriotic theme?  I'd like to see what you could come up with.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Certainly do! I wonder where, if any place, in today's curricula Poor Richard's Almanac , has a niche.====JACK:  There's no place for Ben in the curricula for those who believe, that "History is bunk."  It's interesting that Henry Ford, who said that about history, has probably done more than any other private individual to preserve history.

FROM TARMART REV:  Grandpa's weather forecaster for the 120 acre farm early on in Beagle, Kansas, a couple of miles off Plum Creek Road.===JACK:  I read somewhere that The Old Farmer's almanac forecasts are right about 80% of the time.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/19/16
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”  (Lao Tzu)  A Winning Words friend of mine is a geologist who has explored the beginnings of humankind in Africa.  She and her team discovered a fossil of our genus Homo, dating back to 2.8 million years ago.  Time is man’s invention, not God’s.  “Thy will be done” is a comforting petition, because it is without the constraints of the calendar.  The ultimate will of God is always accomplished.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  It will certainly be an ultimate and most revealing day of truth when the scales are taken off our eyes and the whole creative and purposeful  picture is laid out before us by our Creator?! "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard..."====JACK:  Even the blind will "see"...understand.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Augustine sad that time is a creation of God====JACK:  I suppose you could say that God is "timeless," because there is no beginning and no end with him.  Following that line, he created "time" when he created the earth, because there was a "time" when the earth did not exist.  On;y God is "timeless," so there will be an end of "time" for the earth...eventually.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The Oct.2015 Nat'l. Geographic magazine tells of a discovery of an "almost human" cache of bones in a cave (Rising Star) near Johannesburg that are believed to be 2 million yrs. old. It's hard to wrap your mind around homo genus ancestors living that long  ago!!  We think in terms of 100's of years; The concept of timelessness is just difficult for us  who measure minutes, and hours and years! Yet we are told eternity has no time measurement.  Amazing to ponder!!====JACK:  Limitless outer space is another imponderable.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/16/16
“I don’t think God really cares who wins football games, except as winning might influence the character of some person or group.”  (Peyton Manning)  I’ve seen football players make “the sign of the cross” as they go on to the field.  I’m not going to say that’s good or bad, for who am I to know the mind of God?  Prayer is simply conversation with God.  God does care about your cares, so talk to him as with a friend.  “What a Friend we have in Jesus.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Absolutely!====JACK:  God doesn't care who wins English "football" games, either.

FROM TARMART REV:  I remember back in my day at Bible College, grappling with whether to pursue a professional bowler's career or that of being a pastor . . . On more than one occasion, I would say to myself, with this ball I roll down the lane and get a strike, I'll be a professional bowler of if not I'll be a pastor!? I'd hit the pocket of all ten pins very well and sometimes get tapped as we'd call it, leaving a corner pin . . . then I'd say to myself, "How about, two out of three?!====JACK:  Did you ever say "a prayer" before throwing a ball during an important series?  BTW, there's a blog, Bowling for Jesus.  Maybe you could have been a Big Bucks Bowler and a preacher at the same time.  I guess that the Lord had other plans for you.====REV:  I had to stick with the short private prayers as the larger burnt sacrificial offerings took too long to build and drew too much attention. ====JACK:  Did God ever let you bowl a 300 game?===REV:  299 once, 296 another time sanctioned . . . Held a record in Kansas for a time many years ago-- 816, three game series total. Stopped in Sylvan Lanes in Keego Harbor when in WB and bowled a perfect 300 game in open bowling one afternoon.====JACK:  When I was a child I was told that thunder was the sound of people bowling in heaven.  Don't forget to have them put your bowling ball in the casket with you.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  Song of the day!====JACK:  You probably know the words by heart.====PM:  i do!  been singing it all morning.  it is a favorite right up there with "jesus loves me". ====JACK:  Did you know that you can remember the names of the disciples by using words set to the tune of Jesus Loves Me?
Jesus called them one by one  Peter, Andrew, James and John
Next came Philip, Thomas too  Matthew and Bartholomew
James the one they called the less  Simon, also Thaddeus
The twelfth apostle Judas made  Jesus was by him betrayed
Yes, Jesus called them  Yes, Jesus called them
Yes, Jesus called them  And they all followed him

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  It concerns me when a group of players at any level go to the sidelines or center of the field and kneel for prayer. The pressure on some players must be enormous. Coaches should know better.====JACK:  The pressure to take a knee while everybody else is standing for the playing of the National Anthem must be great, too...or maybe not.====PAUL:  I agree..however... one is encouraged by a coach and the other isn't.====JACK:  Sometimes it depends on the venue.  "Jesus" prayers are often accepted and expected in the Bible Belt.  I notice that they are often used for NASCAR races.

FROM KZB IN THE ROCKIES:  But his Mother does!!  😊  Go Irish!!====JACK:  What other school has "Touchdown Jesus" behind its goalposts?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Baseball players, tennis players, basketball players, etc. all have their moments of signing the cross, or pointing to the sky in thanks to (I suppose) God. But P.Manning's insight is "spot on" I think.  Competition often brings out the best in products, but the worst in people!  Knowing God truly cares about what is happening in our lives, helps us to deal with stressful situations more calmly and in a loving way. We...are...blessed! (And occasionally a blessing!) ====JACK:  Does God take special notice of those who make "the sign of the cross", or is it just a useless superstition.  I'll use the words of Pope Francis, spoken on another subject..."Who am I to judge?"====OAKS:  Exactly. If it is meaningful to them, Amen, so be it. We do not have the mind of God, as you say. And even with my knowledge that God love all unconditionally, I've done my share of praying for football games, wrestling meets, vocal contests, etc. :-)====JACK:  For "Cross signers" or other kinds of pray-ers....God always answers prayers with "Yes or No or Maybe next time."

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I wonder if the prayer is for a good game or for safety to play another day.====JACK:  I'd be surprised, but there I go, judging again.  When I make statements like that, daughter Jeanne scolds..."And you're supposed to be a member of the Optimist Club?"====LBP:  Eh. If I were deliberately going to a field to get beat up as my job I might be praying for safety. ====JACK:  I can't see you playing football or becoming a boxer like that girl from Flint who won a gold medal at the recent Olympic games in Rio.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I wonder if God pulled for us against Notre debate???====JACK:  Do you think that God influenced the thinking of the judges?  BTW, did you win?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/15/16
“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.”  (Dan Rather)  Recently I wrote that I often listen to “Mozart For Your Mind” while writing Winning Words.  Now I’ve read an hypothesis that “listening to Mozart makes you smarter.”  Psychologists call it, “The Mozart Effect.”  Music does affect the brain.  Think of the songs that cause glad/sad feelings when you hear them.    ;-)  Jack

FROM CR IN CANADA:  I look forward to your Winning Words every morning.  Thanks for the inspiration!====JACK:  Your response reminds me of his poem by Longfellow...
      I shot an arrow into the air,   It fell to earth, I knew not where;
      For, so swiftly it flew, the sight   Could not follow it in its flight.
      I breathed a song into the air,   It fell to earth, I knew not where;
      For who has sight so keen and strong,   That it can follow the flight of song?
      Long, long afterward, in an oak   I found the arrow, still unbroke;
      And the song, from beginning to end,   I found again in the heart of a friend.
I shoot my Winning Words like 500 arrows into the cyber-air.  I'm glad to know that one of them has landed on your computer screen.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On the topic of music,I have a poem in the American Senior Gazette that I publish that reads:                                    
 Music speaks what can not be expressed  Soothes the mind & gives it rest
 Heals the heart & makes it whole  Flows from heaven to the souL.
====JACK:  "Psychology Today" says that music soothes the soul.  It has therapeutic valve.  So, it's good to sing in the show, to sing while you're driving...or just to hum a tune.

FROM MY LAWYER:  Great!!!  Check this out.  I ain't no kind of snob!
====JACK:  That was GREAT!  I expected to see the Lone Ranger and Silver come riding onto the stage.  As you probably know, the Lone Ranger program was originated in Detroit by radio station WXYZ.The producers chose the William Tell Overture because it was in the public domain, and they didn't have to pay royalties for using it.  Other classical music was used incidentally in the episodes for the same reason.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Uh oh. Am I snob? Guess so.  It's generational, my friend.====JACK:  I am stunned!  ...and to think that I've given you the blog nickname of Hy Yo Silver.  Unbelievable!

FROM TARMART REV:  A "Southern gospel four-part harmony" fan myself . . . of course, I have to sing along occasionally to complete the much needed "5th part"!====JACK:  That probably means, instead of the Lone Ranger, you tuned in to Hee Haw and sang along with the Gospel Quartet (Roy Clark, Buck Owen, Grandpa Jones and Kenny Price) as they closed the show with a 4-part religious rowser.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Hollywood sure knows it.  Hard to imagine movies without music to stir your emotions.  Hallelujah chorus always has been one of my favorites.  Hope y'all are having a fabulous day!====JACK:  Thanks to the invention of YouTube we're to hear and see performances of some of our favorites.  Right now I've finished with Mozart and am listening to some favorite overtures...Offenbach and Rossini,  for example.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  HA! Love it!   As Robin  Williams once said, "Music is God's little reminder that there is something else besides US in the universe; a harmonic connection between all living things, everywhere, even the stars".  Music does soothe the soul and affect the brain, and I am so thankful it has been such a big part of my entire life, beginning with singing "Jesus Loves Me" with my twin as a duet for service in a Lutheran church in Moline when we were pre-school! :-) ====JACK:  While flipping through my CDs, I came across a favorite that I had forgotten about...God, Love and Rock & Roll.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Happy Days Are Here Again makes me sad.====JACK: That song has long been the theme song of the Democrat Party, starting in 1932 with FDR.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA: SiriusXMClassic is on my computer 24/7. Time taken out, of course, for other "tasks". I used to drive my family crazy as a teenager, because I listened to the 400 Hour every morning, They called it "funeral music". I love the classics, most of them, anyway.====JACK:  I'd listen to the 400 Hour, too, and my parents would say, "Can't you get something more peppy on that radio?"  A local Detroit station plays classical during the day and cool jazz at night.  Since we're across the river from Windsor, Canada, we get the benefit of Canadian radio and TV.  Their stations tend to be not so "pop" as the American ones...and fewer ads, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/14/16
“I praise loudly.  I blame softly.”  (Catherine the Great)  Catherine wasn’t called “the Great” because she was good, kind and likeable, but because she was able to bring Russia into the modern world.  In the USA citizens are talking about who’ll be their next leader.  The problem is that many are focusing in on the negatives, rather comparing the positives.  No wonder voters seem to think that neither candidate is any good.  What’s a great leader in your mind?    ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  One who believes that they can make a difference,  a good listener, has a good sense of humor and doesn't  take themselves  too seriously.====JACK:  Churchill comes to mind...and maybe, Thatcher.

FACEBOOK LIZ:  if a "leader" is not honest, they should be in prison.====JACK:  ...then, we'd have no candidates for President.  Jesus said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." ====LIZ:  we have laws for reason. none of us is above the law... not even jesus. he accepted his "punishment," when he wasn't even guilty of a crime!  no, not all politicians are crooks. but those who are should be made to atone for it. do you agree?====JACK:  Do I agree?  (I think I know what you're getting  at.)  That depends.  Not all laws are just laws.  Some laws are unjust and need to be repealed, or be disobeyed.  Having said that, it seems best, for the sake of an ordered society, to live under the law.  In my WWs commentary I tried to say that "we" spend too much time looking for the negatives rather than emphasizing the positives when choosing our leaders.====LIZ:  oh, brother... ====JACK:  I take that to mean that I was being disingenuous.====LIZ:  which laws are ok to break? by whom? who decides whether it's ok to break them?  many laws do need to be repealed, for sure. i am a libertarian, you may recall. we're the small gov't folks.====JACK:  In Michigan it's illegal for a woman to cut her hair without her husband's permission.  Libertarianism is too drastic for me, but I consider it to be a form of free speech.====LIZ:  absolutely. we all own our bodies.  you are a good discusser!

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  And Barack Obama has the best percentage of public support since 2008. Like the song goes.. "You don't know what you've got till it's gone!"====JACK:  Leadership isn't often appreciated until time has passed.  For example. Lincoln and Truman.  "Give time time!" as the saying goes.====PAUL:  It will be very interesting to see what historians will write about Obama. I think it will be quite different than what some people predict.====JACK:  Samuel Butler wrote: "God cannot alter the past, though historians can."  I would venture that most Americans don't realize that they are living during a really significant presidency.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  Regarding today's WW: I listened to this last night and found it interesting.   (Check out this cool episode:  The parenting - politics correlation holds for me. It's integrating to think of others points of view from this perspective too====JACK:  Yes, parenting and politics and a lot of other stuff can be directed by the Hidden Brain. The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

FROM TTARMART REV:  Good point, again this morning, Jack . . . even greater than our candidacies, America's negatives nowadays are broadcast from the Presidency, government officials, the mass media, school rooms, pulpits and even to folk like myself speaking of it today . . . Would be nice hear those positives again from our nation's leadership and media propagating non-bias reporting to the positives of those running . . . maybe some of us could "Amen!" once again what we are hearing.  But, starting with me today, Jack-- Be blessed, basking in God's blessings upon an in your life!! I have plenty as well to be thankful for!!====JACK:  I think that much of our negative thinking is media, last night I decided not to watch the news.  I didn't miss it.  However, that's not the long term solution.  We need to work at being more discerning, to separate the wheat from the chaff, to be careful not to step in the oompah!  (Google Harry Truman oompah)

FROM TRIHARDER:  A few short hours ago, I lost a hero. My nephew, Scott, was a fighter, a champion. He fought that killer disease, cystic fibrosis, his entire life. He fought into his teen age years to become a star baseball player in high school and then go on to play varsity ball in college. He fought his way into law school and, ironically, with severely diminishing lung capacity, he became a fine disability attorney. He fought his way through a double lung transplant to find the love of his life, Courtney, and, despite his body rejecting those new lungs, exchanged wedding vows with her seven short months ago. And within the last week, he heroically fought his way off of a ventilator to verbally express his love to his bride, his family and several friends who came to see him from around the country. And, surrounded by all of that love and renewed sense of optimism he fought his way to the brink of the transplant list for still another set of lungs.  On Sunday, Scott was sucker punched by CF and 48 brave hours later, he could fight no more. Although Scott was robbed of several decades of happiness and fulfillment, the disease cannot steal from us the heroism we watched him display every day of his life. His memory is truly a blessing to Milt, Wendy.====JACK:  Praise LOUDLY, Scott!  Blame LOUDLY, Cystic Fibrosis!  I'm confident that someday there will be a cure.  A friend of mine who died of tuberculosis said, shortly before his death, "I was born thirty years too soon," meaning that "the cure" came too late for him.  The saying, "Born thirty years too soon" was a regular segment of  Out Our Way, a comic strip, popular at that time.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  A person who is good and who inspires others to be good. Also someone to be an effective leader would have to have a great understanding of what is best for everyone. ====JACK:  With today's social media it's hard for any candidate to escape mud-slinging.  The problem is....Too many people accept lies as fact, without doing a deeper search.  I wonder if there will ever be a resurrection of bi-partisanship?

FROM CPA BOB:  There are books on this subject, of course.  So, in a nutshell, one who listens and is able to delegate both responsibility and authority.====JACK:  Yes, that would be nice, but the reality is....  Which reminds me of a church that was looking for a new pastor.  They described the requirements that wanted for the candidate.  The bishop went away from the meeting saying, "What they want is Jesus on roller skates."  I suppose it works similarly when a synagogue describes what it is that they want in a rabbi.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/13/16
“Sometimes, said Pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”  (A.A. Milne)  On TV’s Today Show a guest talked about a link between the brain and the heart with regard to our emotions.  In theory, the two send messages back and forth which affect how we feel.  Positive feelings in the brain can be good for the heart.  Interesting!  We know that stress can affect the heart.  Now, we hear that a good attitude can be good medicine.    ;-)  Jack

FROM JAN F IN MICHIGAN:  “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”  (One of my favorite songs to teach the Cherub Choir – we play kazoos during the chorus.)
====JACK:  I've got to look that one up.  I wonder if there's a YouTube version with kazoos?... PAUSE ...There is, but no kazoos.====JAN F:  The song calls for whistling, but a lot of kids can’t whistle and kazoos are more fun,====JACK:  I saw one version which had an older boy dressed as a doctor, complete with a stethoscope.

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm reminded immediately this morning of that Scripture we think of often, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT).====JACK:  While, "a broken spirit saps a person's strength" is a good translation, I like the one that uses, "dries up the bones."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i love this quote from winnie the pooh.  have you heard that there is a book out about the creation of pooh bear?  i haven't read it, just heard a review.  it's on my "things yet to do" list!====JACK:  I wonder if someone will ever write "The Gospel According to Pooh?"  BTW, have your pre-schoolers ever sung the song mentioned by  JAN F FROM MICHIGAN?  The kazoos would be a good touch.

FROM ED IN HAPPY VALLEY:  sooo true.=====JACK:  I'd show little Zander's picture, if I could get the computer to follow my instructions.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'm behind the times, thinking of that long, long, table in Battlecreek. MI. Never heard of it before, and wonder who provided the food each day for such an endeavor?!!  Love Pooh, as do all my family, and he had so many good "thoughts" like this, as we read his stories aloud!  Positive feelings and outlook surely do affect our health, mental and physical. Good WW to keep in mind every day!!====JACK:  First things first.  The Battle Creek free food was provided by the breakfast food companies that were located there at the time:  Kellogg's, Post and Ralston.  All you could eat...and free...and no one turned away.  Secondly, as a children's song director, have you used "A Joyful Heart Is Good Medicine?"  It might be a good one to teach to your group of senior citizens...and don't forget the kazoos.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Positive feelings relieve the stressful feelings, Positive feelings are strengthening and fortifying. Positive feelings are sometimes difficult to call up, but mental well-being generated by each is incomparable. I feel a sense of dread when I'm prone to negativity. God's presence and peace provide such a sense of security.====JACK:  The Optimist Club, of which I am a member, has a creed which begins..."Promise yourself that nothing can disturb your peace of mind... to look at the sunny side of everything."  You could be a member!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/12/16
“Failure is temporary.  Move quickly beyond it.” (Unknown)  Michael Jordan says that he’s missed over 9.000 shots is his basketball career…“and that’s why I have succeeded.”  No one’s a success 100% of the time.  We are made better by our failures.  The Bible tells the story of Job, a man who had all kinds of bad luck.  His friends told him to curse God and die.  Job responded, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”  And, in the end, God rewarded that trust..    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  and Babe Ruth struck out several thousand times in his career too (as i recall reading about it).====JACK:  Babe struck out about once in every 6 at bats.  He said, "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."  That's why he's an All-Star.

FROM BULLSEYE:  That quote looks very familiar!====JACK:  I generally use what's sent to me.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Just home from Seneca lake (Biggest Finger Lake) in New York. So good to see WW again... can't wait to "catch up" on 12 days worth on the blog! :-)   Comedian Jim Gaffigan notes that "Failing and laughing at our own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent!"  There is nothing final about a mistake, unless you take it as final! We keep trying til we get it right!!====JACK:  "It ain't over til it's over."  Yogi said it best.

FROM TARMART REV:  I must admit, my feelings of failure drove me to reevaluate my pastoral call in my mid-life and in turn gave me a direction and ministry that has been such a feeling of fulfillment and blessing these past 25 years. “Failure is temporary.  Move quickly beyond it.” ====JACK:  I've advised pastoral friends that it's a good idea to re-evaluate their ministry every 3 to 5 years.  "Is this where God wants me to be?"  Doing such a thing helps keep one from getting into a rut which can become deeper and deeper with the passing years.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/9/16
“If you’re not going to tell the truth, then why start talking?”  (Gene Wilder)  There used to be a TV program, To Tell The Truth, where a panel would try to guess which contestants were lying.  In Pinocchio’s day, it was easy.  I remember when “pants on fire” would indicate a liar.  Nowadays it’s more difficult.  Jesus gave some good advice when he said, “Avoid that tree that produces bad apples.”  Be like that old saying… “He’s a man of his word.”    ;-)  Jack  

FROM TRIHARDER:  How's this one?  "Even a bad apple spreads good deeds."====JACK:
Now, I'm thinking..."What does he mean by that?"====TH:  Yes. And I was going to write, "good seeds,"  "Whatever that means."  But it is true.

FROM TARMART REV:  Working on being "a good apple" today, Jack, because of your excellent reminder with your "Winning Words" this early in the morning!====JACK:  I don't know about being a good apple, but as far as I'm concerned, you're a good egg..

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Sounds like good advice for both our presidential candidates. ====JACK:  This is advice for salesmen, too.  I always felt that I was in a form of sales, also.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yeah - always makes me nervous when someone says......"Well, to be honest with you....".     So does that mean if you don't say that you are not being honest?   Wish I could forward this to all politicians.====JACK:  Used Car salesmen used to have a reputation for not telling the truth.  I think that politicians have overtaken them...or close to it.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  At Wm Carr, when I was in third grade (you remember) my dad was in the school minstrel show and sang "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie". One of my fondest memories of grade school. One of my others is a kook who became a minister.====JACK:  That was a great song made popular by the Ink Spots.  Minstrels and names like Ink Spots are remembrances of a past that accepted racism.   "Memory  All alone in the moonlight  I can smile at the old days  I was beautiful then  I remember the time I knew what happiness was  Let the memory live again."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I still watch some of the re-runs of To Tell The Truth.  I find it fascinating how everyone smoked, dressed to the formal side and how fascinating the people were with their truthful stories.====JACK:  I liked that show.  I didn't see that the contestants were lying.  They were just trying to fool the panel.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i so relate to this quote.  i have always stood for the truth as i see it.  i tell it and it is sometimes accepted with grace and sometimes not accepted with much grace.  i don't know how to communicate in any other way.  i try to be kind and only speak the truth out of love, concern, and respect for all involved.  it's a tricky balance.====JACK:  I try to take into account the feelings of the individual.  It's a situational thing.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/8/16
“If you are more fortunate than others, it’s better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”  (Unknown)  Battle Creek, MI was once known as the city with the longest breakfast table.  It stretched several city blocks with room enough for all who wanted to come…and the food was free.  In today’s world we talk more about fences than about long tables with room for all.  Most of us agree that we’d like to have a better world.  WWJD?  I think I know.    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Whoa....Jack!!!!! Great WWD today!!!!====JACK:  These are words for those of us who would separate ourselves from the unfortunate by whatever means necessary.  The word "ex-clusive" comes to mind.  I'm reminded of another word..."in-clusive."====EP:  Yes...and the term that better describes an environment that values diversity is an environment that values inclusivity.  I actually like that better.====JACK:  Would "a fence" make us a gated community?      

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Beautifully should send it to Clinton's campaign as a rebuttal to Trump's Wall.====JACK:  You're the one with the political connections.  But, in reality, "the words" have broader implications than one wall.  They applies to all of us.

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm reminded this morning of that long table Jesus told about in Luke 14:15-24 . . . food was free and the table was long as well, but many begged off attending with one excuse after another . . . the invitation then was extended to the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame, and there was still room for more . . . one more directive was given to include others, even if they had to be dragged to the table (plenty of room for “whosoever will may come)”   . . . then Jesus ended his story by saying not one of those who were invited and declined will taste my dinner. ====JACK:  The parables that Jesus told are nice stories, but they are meant to be applied to our personal situations.  "Who is my neighbor?" is a good example...and "How do I get to heaven?" is another."  Jesus comforted the afflicted, but he also afflicted the comfortable.  Ouch!====REV:  Good point. I was thinking more about "that fence" (that hedge of protection)?! If our neighbors kept sending their children over to our houses to raise, I wondering if a fence might qualify as a deterrent in our front yards...or for sure, a good lock for our front doors.

FROM MY LAWYER:  Today's Winning Words sure sound good; and, in peaceful times, the American Way.  Unfortunately, there are world components that don't agree with our civilization and seek to destroy it.  There are also porous gaps in our borders that permit those components and unlawful drugs to enter our great land unabated by a strategic plan to keep them out.  I think sometimes a tall fence is the answer.  It has certainly helped Israel.  It has reduced suicide bombings there from thousands to handfuls.  I like our Tuesday morning breakfasts and the longer the table, the better.====JACK:  Robert Frost, in his poem Mending Wall wrote: "Before I built a wall, I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was likely to give offence."  God didn't build a wall; he sent a flood.  That's something for all of us to think about. ====ML:  America's a great ark. I'm glad we're surrounded by the oceans. Where's Noah???====JACK:  In the Ark Story, the ones who were saved were those faithful to the Godly way of acting.====ML:  I'm sticking with you!====JACK:  We each have our own interpretation of what is the Godly Way.  I'm not so bold as to say that my interpretation is the only one, or even the right one...but I try.

FROM THE CHALDEAN: Amen my friend.====JACK:  Some churches have an "Amen Corner" where a group of people gather whose job it is to give shouts of "Amen" during the pastor's prayers and sermon as a way of encouraging him/her.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: does Jesus also serve corn flakes?====JACK:  I've heard of a pastor who served Ritz crackers and Coca Cola during a youth group communion believing that's what Jesus would do if he ate supper with people of that age group.====SP:  heresy!!   ( just kidding....)

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Let's start building that table Jack! Love this!!====JACK:  We are building that table whenever we advocate for poor, the homeless, the refugees...whoever is downtrodden.  And I will raise my hand to say that I'm not doing enough or speaking up enough.  The fences are constantly being advocated or being built.  Someone has to say, "Enough!"

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  What a great quote; sorry I missed this yesterday.  Didn’t know about the longest table.  We should put one together in Chicago’s Daley plaza outside of the cook county courthouse!====JACK:  A long table with nothing on it is like the empty promise of a politician trolling for votes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/7/16
“The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.”  (William R. Inge)  Recently a list of the top schools in Michigan was published.  What is it that makes a top school?  Academic performance is usually the criteria.  I don’t know that I went to top-schools as a kid, but I did get a good education, and somehow that included learning a value-system.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if students today were tested on their knowledge of values?    ;-)  Jack    

FROM TARMART REV:  Interesting in deed!! I certainly gained appreciation for America, faith and respect for one another during my earlier formative years of grade school education.====JACK:  We all stood for "the pledge" with no questions raised.  We now live in a time when questioning is a way of life.  Good or bad?====REV:  "Public questioning and demonstrating" is currently a way of life" . . . I am not sure there was no challenging earlier in those days spoken of behind closed doors, as it would seem that to be a norm for any community of individuals being home, church or government.
You can imagine the disappointment, confusion and dismay around the supper table with one of the family members absence because of unhappiness the way family is being run at the moment?! Churches have been split over such and seems our government is in the mix of such presently?! Praise publicly, duke it out in the bedroom or conference room privately for some agreeable solution.
My thought anyway.====JACK:  Even Jesus was crucified for publicly questioning the values and authorities of his day.  Some AG oldsters would roll over in their graves seeing what goes on in the AG of today.

EDUCATOR PAUL:  Wouldn't it be interesting to know that people could agree on the same values? One would think that it would be relatively easy deciding what our Core Democratic Values would be.  That part of our Michigan State Curriculum fostered the greatest amount of controversy from all kinds of groups with all kinds of agendas. At one time, public education's light was to have shared values among our youth. Today, public education is attacked from not teaching any values to teaching values that some strongly object.  Some patents are so fearful of the values taught in our schools that they believe home schooling is the answer.====JACK:  The naming of "values" is an evolving process.  Even the 10 Commandments need a definition, depending on time and circumstances.  A posting of them, without "what does this mean?" becomes icon worship.  Standing or not standing for the National Anthem is understood only after discussing "loyalty" as a value.  Perhaps, then, both sides of the issue are understood.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  values come from family. name one value you learned at school that didn't originate at home...====JACK:  Some values taught in school are contrary to the "values" of some homes that I know of...and vice versa.  Value is simply a word which means, "that which a person considers to be important."  But I think I know what you're getting at.  "A good home carries over into everyday living."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I'm not sure I agree with this statement.  In order to learn values one must know facts.  I think the kids now are not learning either.====JACK:  Values, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.  Even "facts" are not always facts.  So, we are forced to live in a world where there are differences of opinion.

FROM DM IN LIV:  I would love to see that.  Although concerned with what the results may be?====JACK:  The test results often depend on the questions asked.  What one person sees as a value does not always coincide with another person's sense of value.  Value, meaning...what a person sees as be worthwhile.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Sure would!====JACK:  It might be interesting to ask your grandchildren what are the important things (values) in their life today.  

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Education is a lifelong experience.  Good teachers are essential in the school and in the home.  I have confidence in the students today because of my grandchildren and of seeing what their values are as they prepare for their adult lives and vocations.  I am still enjoying learning as the new term begins for OLLI learning in retirement at USF.====JACK:  I'm proud of my grandchildren, too.  If there is true learning, then succeeding generations should be able to build on what has been learned before.  My grandson (Sr at the Univ of Michigan) asked me recently, "How were you ever able to handle learning without a computer?"  In days gone by there was book larnin' and larnin' without readin'.  

  FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Ha?...and all the time I thought it was to make money.====PAUL:  I'm grateful for "The Church" that provided me tuition-free seminary education, and I'm spending my life trying to pay it back.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/6/16
“We are always optimists when it comes to time; we think there will be time to do things with other people.  And time to say things to them.”  (Fredrik Backman)  A pastor preached about the shortness of life and the need to do things before “it’s too late.”  Afterward a young man went home and wrote an overdue letter to his mother.  Later he thanked the pastor, because that was the last letter his mother received.  Is there something you need to do, now?    ;-)  Jack

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Yes! And I did it! Called my friend, Margaret, in Salem, OR. Had a good long talk. We are both "up there". We were co-workers at the elementary schools in Park Forest, IL. A very warm and welcoming chat ensued, Thanks for the prodding!====JACK:  "Too late!"  Sad words.  I like the Jim Croce song, "Time In A Bottle."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  "Something" I need to do now?...for me there's quite a few things!  I know it's time for me to get going, connecting with some people whose friendship or contribution to my life I value.  My thoughts go there regularly but I fail to respond.  Somehow I find time for trivial things instead of realizing the urgency of acting on personal relationships.  It's time to change that...thanks for nudging me.====JACK:  For me, making a list works.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Way too many things to be done and undone.  Better get started. ====JACK:  Grandson Joseph like this sign by my computer:  GET TOUGH...GET OFF YOUR DUFF!

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words, Jack.  thanks.  sometimes i think time is an illusion.  as in "what happened to that week?  or month? or year?  its just disappeared.   carpe diem.  seize the day...JACK:  I've seen this saying: "God doesn't wear a wristwatch."  He probably doesn't have a calendar, either.====SP:  it was always a challenge to explain to confirmands the concept of timelessness because everything we do is governed by time.   from everlasting to everlasting,  Thou art God.====JACK:  Even adults have trouble with that concept.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/2/16
“Sometimes you don’t get closure, you just move on.”  (Unknown)  I researched “decisions” and came across “when to trust Gut Almighty.”  Gut feelings are hard to explain.  There are some psychologists who see them as a brain short-cut, even going so far as to call the “gut” a 2nd brain.  One of my favorite sayings is…”Not to decide is to decide.”  If you’re looking for closure to a situation, I’d suggest first a prayer for guidance…some thought…then the move.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  Clearly, "not to decide is, indeed, to decide." Especially when acceptable (or the least bad) choices disappear. Having said that, I'm usually very slow to commit to an important decision. My x-wife's family motto was (is?) A bad decision is worse than no decision at all." to which I'd respond. "I couldn't disagree more." As I've written to you on several occasions, I quipped, "Never be in a hurry to make a bad decision." or the corollary, " procrastination is a means of avoiding a poor decision."====JACK:  I don't think that I'd like being a judge.  The black and white cases are a snap.  It's the gray one that would get to me, especially when it affects the ongoing life of someone.  The "jury" may make it easier, but not always.  BTW, I like all those comments about decision and indecision.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  this is interesting... i will just move on...====JACK:  Life has a way of sometimes forcing us to be experts with regard to moving on.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I am a "both/and" person...use you head and your heart====JACK:  Soren would be honored.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There are many loose ends in our lives.  But there are things we'll never know.  I wonder about people I've met along life's journey....people I drove to college with, people I worked with and people who have dropped in and out.  I still think of them and keep them in my prayers.====JACK:  The computer has enabled us to reconnect with long ago friends in a way not possible before its invention.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 9/1/16
“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”  (George Orwell)  What children are told what they are, often becomes a kind of mask that they grow into.  “Big boys don’t cry.”  As a child, Marilyn Monroe was never told that she was pretty…which added to her insecurity.  We all wear masks--some provided by our parents--even friends--and some we craft for ourselves.  A certain church urged its members to be the face of Christ to others.  How’s that for a mask?    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Love these words for 9/1; A rather new perspective on "growing"...into the mask we or others create. Good visual exercise, and yes, the face of  Christ would be an accomplishment!!  But none will reach perfection; Yet as coach Lombardi said, "We can never reach perfection, but if we chase it, we might reach Excellence!"  Here's to a loving, caring,enthusiastic, exciting mask!====JACK:  The trouble with a mask is that it hides the real self.  As I quoted earlier this week..."I am what I am." 

FROM TARMART REV:  I certainly like to be my projected face of Christ to others as I find it comforting to many; however, His true Face and Presence was revoked, ridiculed, rebuked and rejected by enough of those in His day that he was despised, crucified on a cross and put to death. Perhaps I am, "wearing His mask and my face is growing to to fit it!?====JACK:  Is it possible that Christ could go around wearing your face as a mask?====REV:  Interesting thought to ponder . . . I'm not sure He would choose the bald head!?

FROM AW IN MICHIGAN:  I really like this one. Thanks.====JACK:  At first I wondered..."What does he like about it?"  Then I thought, "It's simply enough that he likes it."  Thanks!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Never quite thought I was wearing a mask.  That's an interesting idea.====JACK:  We each show ourselves to others, most of the time wearing a mask.  I take mine off when I'm with family and close friends.

FROM JE IN WLSD:  Love this.  We all wear various masks at various times. When we feel comfortable we can shed them and self-disclose.====JACK:  The point of the quote is that masks are sometimes given to us as children.  We often become the mask that is put on us.  Today's question: Who are you?====JE:  I’m a committed public education advocate – who believes all children can learn. I’m a wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, professional communicator whose priorities are faith, family, and friends.====JACK:  Somebody raised you right!

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I'm not comfortable with wearing a mask of Jesus.====JACK:  What I meant by "wearing the mask of Jesus," was to try and do what Jesus would do in treating people, or simply, WWJD.