Friday, August 18, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/18/17
“How you matter is defined by the things that matter to you.”  (John Green)  You can tell a lot about someone by the things they post (or “like”) on Facebook.  There are pet people, selfies, politicos.  John Green, today’s quoter, is a vlogger (a video blogger).  You may define me by my Winning Words, but don’t be too sure.  We’re more complex than the superficial.  The “getting to know you” experience can be “verrrry interesting” (as Arte Johnson would say).    ;-)  Jack

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yep -  I like the lyrics of the song "Getting to know you."  Perhaps if we all took the time to get to know people we would be more tolerant.====JACK:  I find that face to face time, while talking about things in general, is a good "getting to know you" tool.

FROM LBP:  . Beyond programs and activities, what I treasure in a congregation is the community. ====JACK:  You can tell a lot about new church members by asking them what want in a church.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/17/17
“Aim to live so that you don’t look back and think, ‘How happy I was then, if only I’d realized it.’”  (Gretchen Rubin)   A study shows that 18-year olds are the happiest.  An older George Burns sang, “I wish I was 18 again.”  Is that your wish?  When was the happiest time in your life…and what made it so enjoyable?  An app, Happify, shows how to build happiness into your life.  A positive attitude works, and so does exercise and good nutrition.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DMF:  I think it would be fun to be 18 again, as long as I could keep the knowledge I currently have!====JACK:  That would take all the fun out opening a Christmas package when you already know what's inside.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The happiest time of my life was when I was three years old.   What a wonderful to do things and not a responsibility in the world....a much loved time ====JACK:  That's the way it is in the Old Folks' Home, too.  Do what you want to do, and no responsibilities, either!====JOHN:  But, in the Old Folk's Home, there is no loving mother to comfort you when you need that.====JACK:  Do you remember singing, The Old Fol;ks At Home? ...especially the verse: All 'round the little farm I wandered, When I was young 
There many happy days I squandered, Many the songs I sung  When I was playing with my brothers, Happy was I  Oh, take me to my kind old mother, There let me live and die

FROM TARMART REV:  When was the happiest time in your life…and what made it so enjoyable?  Yesterday, because I was here to enjoy it!!====JACK:  One of my favorite Beatles' songs is, Yesterday.  I like it, even though it describes a longing to change a yesterday.  There are times when I've wanted to do that.  However, you yesterday seems to have been a keeper.

FROM MY LAWYER:  Nice memory.  I remember him well; and the song, too.====JACK:  To be able to go back and recall is to be able to go back and relive (sort of).

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Loved the song you included today! Yes High School and College years are special, fun and carefree for the most part., but every age has its perks; The years when I still had my husband were the happiest, and raising four great kids, a satisfaction!  Life goes by on the fast track, as you look back, doesn't it?!====JACK:  I remember being on church youth group hayride.  Patty June had invited two of her friends as guests...two goofy girls who looked alike, acted alike and were the life of the party.

FROM SS:  This year has been my happiest...can't wait to see what next year might bring! Thank you for reminding me what blessings have been in my life so far!====JACK:  You don't need the Happify app when you are already aware of life's blessings.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/16/17
“Some look at things the way they are and ask, why?  I dream of things that are not and ask, why not?”  (Robert Kennedy)  I’ve read plenty of outrage over Charlottesville .  Now, I’m awaiting a plan for remediation.  History records the success of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after WW 2.  MLK Jr’s plan for peaceful marches to call attention to an unjust society worked!  Who can devise a plan to bring harmony to our cacophonous society?  There must be a dreamer out there asking, “Why not…?”    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  lets hope that person arrives soon.   America has gone thru tough times before.  what is different this time is that the one who should be setting a national mood for remediation is really throwing gasoline on the fire.    another good example for remediation was Nelson Mandela who called for unity and reconciliation after spending 26 years in jail. with little or no bitterness.   pray for the nation, Jack.====JACK:  Soon means one thing to us and another to God.  The Israelites complained, while wandering in the wilderness, that God was taking too long to lead them to the Promised Land.  I find comfort in the hymn:  "God is working his purpose out, as year succeeds to year,====PAUL:  good point.   his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.  Isaiah 55: 8 & 9....

FROM TARMART REV:  Well stated . . . dreaming for a solution myself, while staying away from all the backbiting news' app frustrating me to no end!!====JACK:  Even though we might want to "stay away" from the fray, events have a way of sucking us in

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  All I can say is "I hope he/she comes soon"!====JACK:  You sound like one of the Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness.  Just remember...God is working his purpose out.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Perhaps our President could put together a commission to study the matter and have alt-right and antifa members on the committee.  Then the question would be, who would chair the committee?  Would need to be someone with excellent leadership and negotiating skills.  I might suggest Colin Powell.====JACK:  General Powell seems like a good suggestion, but usually leaders come who would have believed that Joseph (with the dreamcoat) would become the leader of the Israelites?====RS:  That's true.  Just need to find someone that can get people to the table.  Would probably have to be someone who they respect.  Maybe two - one from "each side" to show that you can disagree but understand, tolerate and coexist.====JACK:  Rather than seek out those from each side, I would first look for people of "reason, " people who are able to put themselves above the fray.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Something totally unexpected is happening. Americans are doing some real soul searching this morning. It's beyond politics. Each American is deciding for him/herself on which direction to go. I'm beginning to see people galvanizing around the value that Neo Nazies, White Supremacists, KKK, etc. Do not represent American values. We are at a moral crisis in America and the whole world is watching. I believe that as this process continues Americans will be a light among ourselves and continue to be a light for the world. Very Hopeful!====JACK:  I wish that I could share  your hopefulness.  I think that there will be more stirring of the pot before we're ready to sit down together and enjoy the meal.  But, maybe you're right!O
FROM HONEST JOHN:  The USA is just like the Middle East...there are deep seated hates that will not allow themselves to be healed....I think a realignment of parties is likely.    The moderates are as fed up with the left as they are with the right.====JACK:  I doubt that there will be "heaven on earth."  I'm more inclined to think that there will be a "judgment."  As for a realignment of political parties...names may change, but it usually boils down to liberals and conservatives (whatever that means).====PAUL:  S. Sarason, a prolific voice in the Culture of Change once said.." Significant change cannot take place without a crisis."  I believe we are in a moral crisis in the United States.  I believe we will be a better Country on the other end!====JACK:  I guess crisis is nothing new to our country, but it seems new to the generation which is facing it.  As Gloria Gaynor sings: "I (We) Will Survive."

FROM LP:  : )====JACK:  Mona Lisa has an enigmatic smile, but yours is explicit.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Thank you for the reminder that "all things are possible for the one who believes", Jack!  Now, I and many others need to repeat, "I believe; help my unbelief!" and roll up our sleeves at least mentally and verbally to get to work on the possibilities.====JACK:  Just like in the Wizard of Oz...belief makes dreams come true.  The Scarecrow gets a brain, the Lion gets courage, the Tin Man gets a heart and Dorothy and Toto get to go back home.

FROM BB:   Agreed.  Did you happen to read David Brooks’ recent NYT column on “modesty”?  That’s a word one rarely hears these days….====JACK:  I've got to look it up.  I remember the comment when 2-piece bathing suits came out..."Nothing's left to the imagination anymore."  That was then, and now is now.  Is there such a things as modesty anymore?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This seems to be a really dark era in our history, with an unstable, vitriolic leader, and so many discontented, and hateful groups of people roiling any peaceful waters. Hope is in short supply! The son of Robert Kennedy is one of the candidates for Governor in our beleaguered Illinois...I wonder if he has some of his father's wisdom and abilities?!====JACK:  Your Robert has the genes.  That should count for something.  Lincoln came from Illinois, too.

FROM DR JUDY:  Beautifully stated Jack!! I'm waiting too.====JACK:  Do you remember the song, "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee?"  Do you remember your history enough to know how difficult it was for Lee to choose sides at the start of the war?  He could have been a Union general.  Life hinges on the decisions we make.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/15/17
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  (Theodore Roosevelt)  One day, when son David was learning to talk, he pointed to his neck and said, “Something wrongs.”  His mother figured out that he had a sore throat.  Since the death of my wife, I’m often asked, “How are you doing?”  Echoing the words of David, I say, “Something wrongs!”  I’m doing OK. But things are different.  Have you ever had that feeling?   ;-)  Jack

FROM PH:  Every day I awaken alone....grateful for the presence of my beloved 17 year old kitti ====JACK:  I like the Sondheim song...Bein' Alive!  It's got a real beat to it.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It all does get a little easier as time goes by and the children and grandchildren keep u busy====JACK:  "One day at a time..." as the song goes.  Children and g-children can be a blessing, to be sure.

FROM TB IN ILLINOIS:  Yes, I loss my grandmother a few years ago. When I travel back to Tennessee things did not seem the same. Resulting in less frequent trips back. I always remembered her telling me, " be kind to everyone". She would say this in so many different ways.====JACK:  Memory is not like reality, but it's a good thing to have when reality is no longer there.

FROM LG:  Yes, Jack, I have... For about a year after my dad, and then my brother, died, I felt different--sort of disconnected from life on some level. It's tough to describe in words, but I think I have an inkling of how you might feel. My high school best friend just lost her husband to cancer in June. I know my grief experiences don't compare to those of one who's lost a life partner, though. That's a whole different level...   Perhaps the disconnection I felt in grief is a function of the larger desire to connect to the Father, and frustration with my inadequate attempts to do so from within the confines of my earthly abode. I don't know...  Love, hugs and prayers to/for you, Jack====JACK:  I know that many people have walked the same road.  It is comforting to know (as it says in the poem, Footprints), we are not walking alone.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:   some call this "the new normal". i guess it is...====JACK:  Did you mother ever say, "Just because all your friends are jumping off a bridge, would you jump, too?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  You are always in our prayers!  I've always loved Teddy Roosevelt.  He was a hero to me after I read about him in 5th grade.====JACK:  TR was a heroic President to many people.  It seems fitting to have him as part of the Mt. Rushmore Memorial.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Yes,  Teddy had that right, for sure. He also said, "Comparison is the thief of Joy," Which is equally true. We have to be confident in what we have to offer as a person. (Like your Popeye reference in an earlier WW!)  ;We who have lost our beloved mates find that life does go on, but it is never the same; We have a "new normal" to adjust to. Family and friends sure do help! God bless!====JACK:  After having worn a pair of shoes for a long time, it's not easy to break in a new pair.  But the old pair had some "breaking in" days, with the beginning in of a marriage.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yes, and the thoughts and prayers of family and friends helped.  Hope it's that way with you.====JACK:  Letters, cards, e-mails, calls, the funeral home visits and the church worship service were/are a real help.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  When my mother died the worst thing was not being able to call her on the phone or go over and play cards with her or watch sports, (she loved the Tigers and the Pistons).
The Jewish form of grieving is to acknowledge that "something wrongs", by recognizing that a year, four full seasons, are needed to fully grieve and you can't expect to start to find peace until that occurs.  Mary will never leave you, you will never stop missing her. Spend the year remembering her, so you can find a place to carry her forever.====JACK:  She seems to reappear at unexpected times in unexpected places in unexpected ways...and I'm OK with that.

FROM KF:  I know the "different" feeling.  Waking up the next day after someone very close has passed on, your world feels different; and you know it will never feel the way it was. It even looks different, like looking at it through different yes. It's as if "seeing" the loss. : (====JACK:  Yes, there are certain times and certain places where images appear.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i have often wondered where that phrase came from.   and yes, something is wrong.  tomorrow i will do the funeral for my friend who died last week of Alzheimers.  just a few years older than me.  we live in the hope and the promise of the gospel.  take care, old friend.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Good Morning…I, too, have been wondering how you are doing.  As Susanne first said after Dan died…’trying to manage’.  She is still feeling that way some days but moving forward.  I wondered if Mary ever allowed you to help cook or showed you how to make things?  I’ll give you a tip I read many years ago.  The story went that a lady had lost one of her best friends and she wanted to help her friend’s family by cooking or baking for them.  She went to the house, asked to see her cookbooks or recipe cards.  When she found spatters on the pages or cards, that is what she prepared.  She knew her friend had prepared those things for her family.  Hope Mary left some dribbles behind to help you too.  Did Mary also show you how to do laundry?  No mixing whites and darks is my only suggestion, but I bet you already knew that.   I’m sure you miss Mary and your daily conversations and just being ‘together’.  Thinking of you…and caring====JACK:  "We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear...And often for each other flows, the sympathizing tear."

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  While reading today's WW, I was struck by your reference to Mary's death. We didn't know anything about this, and feel saddened with the news.  I resonate with your description of "something seems wrong" when certain people are no longer with us in this world. In my own experience these many years later, I still expect to see the cat come into the room, or we'll visit Mary's dad in Newberry, or my brother will call, and more...  Because they live so strong in my memory, I have to remind myself often that they are no longer with us here.  There is an old song sang by Dionne Warwick: "Extravagant Gestures". It is a song about how one accompanies another to a departure point so (s)he can go on a wonderful trip...while we are left here.  I'm glad for those who are in the presence of God, unencumbered by our physical restrictions; but I am also aware that I still suffer the loss.  I pray for your whole family, all your friends, everyone with whom you engage, and for continuous blessings of God's Grace.  Stay well in God's comfort.====JACK:  There should be a sign:  "Life is FRAGILE!  Handle with care."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Did Mary die?  You did not tell me.  I am so sorry!    I know how it feels that "something wrongs”!====JACK:  Death announcement is not like a birth announcement.  Some news we want to shout out.  Other news tends to be pushed aside, thinking that it might go away.

FROM DM:  I look forward to reading your Winning Words.  Thank  you.====JACK:  ...and I look forward to sending them out to you...and others like you.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  When my mom died, dad spent a year and a half going to the doctor and to a foot reflexologist. I just remember calling all the time (he lived in Iowa) "dad, what did the doctor say?" But the doctor could never find out anything. I think dad benefited more from the foot reflexologist. But after a year and a half, dad didn't have to go to the doctor all the time. Maybe the doctor was helping dad too. "Something wrongs". We care about you, pastor====JACK:  As the song puts it: things are interconnected.
The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

FROM GOPHER LYNN:  You are right…things are not the same   Thanks for the fine message today====JACK:  Unbelievable that two sisters who shared so much when growing, should also share the death/heaven experience at almost the same time.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  This is it one of my favorite quotes. A particularly good one for teachers.
Another favorite is "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will get better, it will not!" Dr. Seuss====JACK:  Have you heard of the CARE organization?  Did you know that it was founded after WW 2 to help fight global poverty?  And, did you know that CARE is an acronym for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe?

FROM JAN:  When my brother passed away 21 years ago, a friend sent me this poem.
Quiet World
The world feels different . . .
            and I wish it would stop a minute
            so people would notice.
The sun still rises and sets,
            as it always has.
People still go about their busy lives,
            making their dent in the world.
The children still play in the park,
            with sounds of laughter everywhere.
But it’s quieter today,
            and no one else is noticing.
There is just one less person
            making his noise today,
And that person meant the world
            to me.
Aydin Akcasu – November 12, 1991
It's just a poem, but it made me feel a little better to know that others understood that "something wrongs" feeling.   You're in my prayers.====JACK:  The fact that you wrote, "21 years ago," means that you haven't forgotten, and that the memory stays with you.  Some just don't forget.  Thanks for "Quiet World."  It's more than "just a poem."====JAN:   As I'm sure you know, losing someone important defines time. "Oh, that was before Al died." Or "That was just after Mary passed away." It doesn't just define time, it defines who we are.

FROM LS:  I cannot say I have felt the exact feeling that you are experiencing.  It feels, through my interpretation of your words,  that you loved deeply with great passion for a beautiful woman.
Perhaps, Now, from this realm we live in she has moved on.  It was her time to move on.  You are here to learn and continue to gain wisdom until it is your time to move on.  When my mom was sick ... I felt something was wrong - I was ok - although things were different.  When she passed I felt all was right.  I was at peace.  No longer was something wrong,  it was all alright.  My purpose in sharing is when I read your words that something feels wrong to you - you are ok - although things are different.  May God bless you by walking beside you as you find comfort.   I hope you are uplifted  by my words to a possibility of understanding.====JACK:  Thanks for your caring.

FROM TARMART REV:  I have not personally for a time . . . but have many close elderly friends of late that I share in their sorrow feeling the same, “Something wrong!====JACK:  I'm sure that in your work as a chaplain you've found yourself in many "something wrongs" situations.  The miracle is that God so often gives us the right words to say.

FROM CR:  I've thought about you and the loss of your wife Mary every time I've opened Jack's Winning Words.  When my sister-in-law lost her husband, a friend gave her a book that was helpful to her.  It was small daily passages and it offered her just enough.  She said she wasn't ready to read books on grief, but she was grieving deeply and this little book helped.  Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman  She gave it to me when I was going through my separation which was not death, but a loss of a loved one, and it was helpful to me then, as well  Thoughts and prayers are with you.====JACK:  Thanks for your caring and for the book suggestion.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/14/17
“All I do is accept people as they are.”  (Joan Rivers)  Who was the star of the comic strip, The Thimble Theater?  You’re right if you said it was Poopdeck Pappy’s son, Popeye!  Popeye had a sense of self-worth:  I like that in a person.  “I yam who I yam!”  Joan R probably liked him, too.  He had no pretentions.  He was a person of values, seeking to protect the good and to defeat the evil.  A tee-shirt reads: WYSIWYG!  “What You See Is What You Get.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  This is quickly becoming a country where we either stand up and be counted or find ourselves in a Nazi sewer.====JACK:  Each day presents a stand up for what's right, or to be silent.  Some situations are more "high profile," bu the daily challenge is still there.====JOHN:  I agree.  And the need to stand up and be counted happens in a variety of venues.   In each case, it is not an easy thing to do.    I have been really nervous about it at many times.    I am not by nature a tough guy.   I have to dig down a bit before I can do what I know from the outset is right.   We have to live in Grace, knowing that we will will fail all too often.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  To each his own====JACK:  I thought that it would be easy to find the source abd context of "to each his own."  Not so!  I came up with Cicero as the source.  Interestingly, we have a restaurant in our area called, "It's a Matter of Taste."

FROM GOPHER LYNN:  This one made me smile====JACK:  "I am who I am,"  were words often quoted by your grandfather.

FROM BOB OUT WEST:  I have been intending to write and thank you for your ‘day after day’
presentations on Winning Words that encourage, enlighten, and bless me each day.  You must put an enormous  amount of time getting these ‘Words’ collected and together.  They are certainly not ‘off the cuff’ bits quickly assembled.  I don’t want another day to go by without acknowledging my gratitude for this use of your pulpit.====JACK:  As a matter of fact, I do search and search for what I think might be the right quote.  Composing the commentary is also challenging...sort of like preparing a sermon.  I purposing limit the length, knowing that today's reader will be more inclined to look at something concise...and something that catches the attention in the first few words.  Thanks for responding.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/11/17
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  (Tiny Buddha)  In the movie, The Jerk, Steve Martin’s adoptive family didn’t have much, but they sang, danced and laughed a lot, because they enjoyed being a family.  Having lived during the Great Depression, I know what “doing without” means.  I don’t look back with regret, because we had that which mattered.  What is it that matters in your life?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  To be without any hope is the road to suicide====JACK:  A young man, a former confirmation student, walked out of my office after a lengthy conversation.  I just knew that I would never see him again.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  YOU matter to me and whole lot of other folks!  have a good weekend, Jack.  btw,  next week i will be co-officiating with David Lose (pronounced with a long oh sound).   i worked with David at Luther Sem some years ago when he was teaching there and i was a part-time campus pastor.  he is a really fine pastor and preacher.    our mutual friend who died had Alzheimers.  his name is Paul Schmit and he had spent his entire career working for the YMCA,  the Mpls Symphony, and St. Olaf College,  mostly doing fund raising.  a real "servant" of the church and the community at large.====JACK:  Your comments remind me of Revelations 14:13...Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them. 

FROM TARMART REV:  "Little encouragements along the way, like Jack's Winning Words!" ====JACK:  I saw that someone had a tattoo..." I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."  If you're interested, you might want to visit Tattoos by Camilla in Willmar.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/10/17
“Life appears to me too short to be spent nursing animosities.”  (Charlotte Bronte)  In Alice in Wonderland, White Rabbit says: “So little time.  So much to do.”  I’m on the same page with him.  So was Jim Croce.  “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do.” Even though you might not want to do it, Bronte suggests that getting rid of animosity is one thing that needs doing before life’s end.  Are there any hatchets that need burying?    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words for today or any day...   peace====JACK:  Instead of the hatchet idiom, I could have used:  kiss and make-up.

FROM TR:  Saving this for a future comment to two sisters-in-law at each other with the one's husband in the middle====JACK:  Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.  Watch your step!

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  EXCELLENT!!====JACK:  Of course, it depends on the context.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  How true.  I recently said "yes" too many times.  I'd love to remain involved in all those activities ie the Somalian Community, the lunch for children in the park, and the ones I already do i.e. the Support Group for Caregivers and Care receivers of Dementia.  the community dementia committees, church quilting. and the Peoples' Church in Bemidji which involves the Native American community.  I had to say I can't to the Somalian and the lunch program.  It was rewarding but all of these activities were cutting into my bridge clubs.  I still stay very busy with the volunteering I do and the card playing with friends.  But too much is too much.
Thanks for the Daily Words.  I love 'em.====JACK:    ====JACK:  Since you're into "cards", you've probably seen this before...· The Ace reminds us that there is only one God.·
The Two represents the two parts of the Bible, Old and New Testaments
The Three represents the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The Four represents the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Five is for the five virgins. There were ten but only five of them were glorified (Mt 25:1-13).
The Six is for the six days it took God to create the Heavens and Earth (Genesis 1).
The Seven is for the day God rested after making His Creation (Genesis 2:3).
The Eight is for the family of Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives -- the eight people      God spared from the flood that destroyed the Earth (Genesis 7:7).
The Nine is for the lepers that Jesus cleansed of leprosy He cleansed ten, but nine never thanked Him (Luke 17:11-19).
The Ten represents the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on tablets made of stone (Exodus 20:1-21).
The Jack is a reminder of Satan, one of God's first angels, but he got kicked out of heaven for his sly and wicked ways and is now the joker of eternal hell (Ezekiel 28:11-19).
The Queen represents Mary, mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
The King stands for Jesus, for he is the King of all kings (Revelation 19:16).
When I count the dots on all the cards, I come up with a total of 365, one for every day of the year.
There are a total of 52 cards in a deck; each is a week - 52 weeks in a year.
The four suits represent the four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter.
Each suit has thirteen cards -- there are exactly thirteen weeks in a quarter.
hen you want to thank God, I just pull out a deck of cards and am reminded of all that we have to be thankful for.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There seems to be no time to even breathe some days but we keep on one step at a time.  Gary and I have never worked so hard on this farm.  We fall into bed at night!  Even though Ethan, who will be 3 on the 24th doesn't consider this a farm because there are no cows, it requires enough work from us.  We haven't even started inside yet.    As for hatchets, I do have one I need to resolve sooner than later.  It's a good thought!====JACK:  Sometimes it's hard to bury those hatchets.  They have a way of popping out of the ground again.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  True indeed! And the days and weeks fly by!! Suddenly you're in your Senior-SENIOR years, and life is unraveling at a record rate!!  WHOOPS!Do it now while you're still erect and breathing, right?! :-)  So many things to do, and so little time; or So many books, So little time!  Our family is throwing a "Last Hurrah Before School Starts" pool party this weekend for all the kids one year to Brian has a lovely big heated pool next door to Dad John who will man the grill. We all contribute specialties. Fortunately we  all get along need to bury hatchets or kiss and make up, thanks be to God!====JACK:  I've seen aprons with the words, "Kiss the cook!"  Have you ever worn one?

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: i once counseled a woman whose husband had cheated on her many times over the years.  she stayed with him for the sake of the kids and for her own financial stability.  i would suggest to C. Bronte that "animosities" of this magnitude are not easily, if ever, forgiven much less resolved.  life is pretty messy for some innocent people.   grace and forgiveness are God-like qualities that we humans try to replicate but not always too easily.  i better stop now as i feel a sermon coming on:):):)====JACK:  I've referred before to these words by C.S. Lewis:  “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

FROM HONEST JOHN:  That is a key...learning to deal with can't just pretend that they aren't there....I remember in high school, a guy in football stepped on my face.   So I punched him in the mouth on the next face masks then.    My animosity was dealt with!   Didn't have to carry a grudge!====JACK:  Sometimes revenge is so sweet that it makes us forget all about those words of Jesus to "love your enemies."  Maybe "tough love" means a stomp in the face once in a while.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Maybe this should be sent to the WH====JACK:  Maybe, first, we need to make sure that our own house is free of hatchets.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/9/17
“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.”  (Malcom Bane)  Sometimes, at the close of worship, our pastor says: “Go in peace.  Remember the poor!”  This week a group of volunteers is providing free medical and dental care in Detroit…no questions asked.  Thousands expected!  Similar church-sponsored missions take place around the world.  I admire those who don’t just stand there.  “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” wrote Edgar Guest.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  St. Paul also remind us the people are converted by the preaching of the Word.  but, yes,  faith without works is also a dead faith.====JACK:  Writing as a preacher, I think that example and caring conversation are probably ahead of preaching when it comes to "conversions."====PAUL:  i think its a both/and:):):)   God can use many venues to bring us to faith. ====JACK:  Take away preaching and both of us would have to look for new work.

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:   I have heard the following attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: "Nobody can accomplish everything, but each of us can do something.". Just tried to google that but so far haven't succeeded.====JACK:  I think that you're right about Eleanor.  Google doesn't know everything.====HT:  operator error is certainly a possibility--I also needed to change gears and terminated the search earlier than I might have.  Just finished reading the new book "We'll Always Have Casablanca." Very interesting--I was one of the Harvard students in the mid-60s watching and cheering Casablanca during every exam period at the Brattle Theatre, a few steps from where Hannelore was living when we met. One of the themes explored from many directions in the book is inspiration.

FROM MIKE'S CUZ:  Thanks for all your daily words of wisdom.====JACK:  I like to pick quotes that interest me and that I think will interest others (like you).

FROM BB:  Your words are always so encouraging.  Thanks!====JACK:  ...and so I call them, Jack's Winning Words!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We do have a lot of caring loving people in this world!!  Even people who serve chaplains for police and firefighters!  That's a caring loving act!!!====JACK:  Been there.  Done  that.  Both fire and police.

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  I see a sermon every day that I read Jack's Winning Words!====JACK:  Some days are better than others...from my point of view.  You can't expect a winner every day.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  I wish someone would provide decent jobs for them, as well.====JACK:  The Detroit Public Schools are beginning to offer an option...regular high school curriculum, or skill training for jobs that are available...building operator...etc.  Not everyone is going from high school to college.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/8/17
“I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme.”  (Gilda Radner)  The happy and sad masks, associated with the theater world, signify what actors and actresses are called on to do…to represent comedy and tragedy.  Gilda Radner did that to the extreme.  She was really funny…while, at the same time, battling the cancer that ultimately took her life.  Some situations in life just don’t make sense.  We ask, “Why?”  Some of the best poems don’t rhyme.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  So true!!====JACK:  It's difficult to find a rhyming word for, chaos.  People living chaotic lives often find this to be true.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  You are so courageous and faith-full, Jack, to use the quotes you have in the wake of Mary's death.  Thank you for you proclamation!====JACK:  As my father-in-law would say:  "I am who I am."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Gilda was SO talented! Taken from this earth too soon, in our view...Contemporary poetry rarely rhymes, but there is something about a cadence and feel, and sound, of the poems that do rhyme, that makes them quotable and memorable. Bill used to love the "homey" poet Edgar Guest. I taught a poetry unit in my Literature classes, and loved the poems of many, both past and present.  Yes we face many situations in life where the poem doesn't "rhyme". Good thought for today. thanks!====JACK:  One of my friends went to school with Gilda in Detroit.  She was funny back then, too.  Edgar Guest was also from Detroit and wrote a poem a day for the Detroit Free Press.  I'm simply a "Roses are red, violets are blue" kind of poet.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/7/17
“I feel related to this country, and yet I don’t know where I fit in.”  (Sam Shepard)  The feeling of not fitting in is painful.  I read of ways to handle that, but I like Edwin Markham’s advice best:  “He drew a circle that shut me out…But love and I had the wit to win.  We drew a circle that took him in.”   There’s a verse in the Bible:  “Don’t be overcome by evil.  Take the offensive.  Overcome evil with good.”  Today’s a day for drawing new circles.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I congratulate you on your daily WINNING WORDS. How many years have you been doing this?  I certainly enjoy reading them.====JACK:  Winning Words began in 1992 when I retired from the "active" ministry and began sending positive quotes occasionally to a small group of friends and family members.  It has evolved into a weekly 5-day mailing of quotes and commentary to over 500 people worldwide.  In reality, it began when I was a teen-ager.  Our pastor would often include witty sayings in the Sunday bulletins.  I would cut out some of them and save them in a cigar box.  The first one that I remember:  "Virtue is learned at mother's knee.  Vice is learned at other joints."  I consider my daily mailings to be a kind of cyber-ministry.  Sometimes I call it Congregation WithOut Walls.

FROM RVB:  Perfect words as we start a week of evening VBS at ODF tonight.  Yesterday's focused sermon was on "Are we volunteers or Missionaries?"  You are making great circles, my friend! ====JACK:  Speaking of circles...You're too young to remember a radio-host, Major Bowes, who used to say, "Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."

FROM MT IN PNNSYLVANIA:  Great message there! Thank you.  This concept is very close to what our technology addresses. It identifies the different circles in which people DO fit (in terms of meaningful and satisfying team contribution), and provides guidance for optimizing those contributions.  News!  Through our work with Pastor Darryl King, we have aligned ten gifts of the Spirit with the ten modes (Roles) of teaming, and we plan to launch the TeamSpirit(R) version of Teamability this fall.  Very exciting, and will be very helpful in addressing many challenges that Christian congregations are facing.  Best regards,====JACK:  Although "Teamability" is directed mainly at the business world, "church" work is probably one of the great example of team work.  When I started out as a new church developer, the slogan for what I (and others like me) were doing, was this: "People are our only business."

FROM ANNE McC:  Where is that verse from?====JACK:  The quote is from Romans 12, where Paul speaks to the Christians (and to us) about forgiveness.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:   *The Hartford Catholic HIGH School* (Archdiocese of Hartford, CT) published this 2-minute video in response to a senator's remark about "*Where is God in all the tragedy in the world?*”   It is an excellent video made in the last few weeks by high school students who don’t say a word.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  LOVE that Markham saying, and hadn't thought of it for ages! As Corrie Ten Boom once wrote "And so I  discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on God's. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself!"   Being a Holocaust survivor, and losing her beloved sister Betsy during internment) she was finally able to encircle the SS guards with love and forgiveness, which she'd not thought possible when first released!====JACK:  C.S. Lewis had it right when he said:  “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

FROM OUTHJOUSE JUDY:  Evil can suck you in so easily.  It's a fight for the strong.  I love the quote about drawing the circle!====JACK:  Speaking of overcoming evil...Somethings we can't do by ourselves.  We need God's help.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  To me, Shepard makes more sense than does Markham.====JACK:  They were writing to different generations of people living in different situations.  If we were preaching as contemporaries of Edwin, the content would be different than it is now...or, at least the presentation.
====JOHN:  Sometimes we have to go on the offensive against evil...just like WWII.....there is no dealing with it...right now seems like one of those times.====JACK:  Sometimes it takes perspective to make sense of a the Great Depression, World War 2, the Civil Rights Movement, a re-examination of "What is religion?"  Having lived through those events, I think that I understand them better now.



Friday, August 04, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/4/17
“All people want is someone to listen.”  (Hugh Elliott)  Do you ever get the feeling at work, in the home, or even at church…”Nobody listens to me!”?  That’s a frustrating feeling.  Reactions can be different.  Some raise their voices; some withdraw; some choose sides.  But the fact is, people want to be heard.  Let’s try to be more sensitive to that today.  BTW, I read this week that the word, listen, and the word, silent, have the same letters.  Think about that.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR J:  Good one ! I'll focus on this today!! I'm in st Thomas USVI.====JACK:  It's nice hearing from you.  You're coming through loud and clear, even though you're 1,974 miles away.

FROM LABOR BOB:  I would add “people want to be heard and understood”.  It is the human condition.====JACK:  That reminds me of the story..."My wife and I had words, only I didn't get a chance to use any."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Not sure if you've seen this one on listening -
====JACK:  No, I haven't seen it.  Very interesting and, at times, very true.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How often do we think of this as we watch our Government work!  There is no such thing as listening or listening for the truth...actual truth.  It would be a miracle if one person in this government even knows the truth! Perhaps if they listened and HEARD.....====JACK:  Sometimes people talk and want only to be heard by those who agree with them.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Interesting tidbit to know about silent and listen! Who sits and figures those things out?!  You really can learn a lot by listening; Hopefully we can all improve our skills on that!====JACK:  Have you ever sung this African song?
Have you ever sung this African song?
Listen, listen, God is calling,
through the Word inviting,
offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy.
Listen, listen, God is calling,
through the Word inviting,
offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy.
1 Jesus gave his mandate:
share the good news
that he came to save us
and set us free. [Refrain]
2 Let none be forgotten
throughout the world.
In the triune name of God
go and baptize. [Refrain]
3 Help us to be faithful,
standing steadfast,
walking in your precepts,
led by your Word. [Refrain]
neno lake Mungu
lakuita wewe,
neno la wokovu, tena jema.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/3/17
“To different minds the same world is a hell and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley)  Is the glass half-empty, or is it half-full?  In reality, it’s a glass with water in it.  It’s the same with the world.  It is  what it is.  Shakespeare said that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.  “This is my Father’s world,” goes the song.   When God is in your life’s picture, it can be heaven.  Leaving God out creates a kind of hell.  So, the choice is up to you and me.  Which shall it be?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  I like to add the variable of "half full/empty of lemons? Or lemonade? " ====JACK:  That's a good thought.  Make sure it's sweetened lemonade.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  for the undecided, it could be purgatory:):)====JACK:  I thought that you didn't believe in that Catholic stuff!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  This world is full of evil.  We get to a point in life where we are facing a wall of pain so terrible we think we can ever survive it!  Gary and I had days, weeks and even months where we thought we could not survive.  But!  God gave us strength to get through baby steps through the moments.  Life is full of sorrows and pain. But we have Heaven waiting for us and an eternity without pain from a loving welcoming place in Heaven!====JACK:  Do you know this song?
"My God and I will go for aye together,
We'll walk and talk just as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
====JUDY:  Yes.  We sang it in choir.  It was one of my and the choirs favorite song to sing! ====JACK:  Some purists have called it "too syrupy!"  I like syrup sometimes, but not every day.
====JUDY:  It a comfort song to me.  I sing it sometimes.  But it is definitely syrupy.  There are some songs that can make me cry and some that make me want to dance!    My family loved to dance.  We had huge parties with 40 or 50 people down our basement or my grandparent's basement.  Most of the people were kids.  We all loved to dance, especially the polka!  We'd fly around the basement!  What fun we had! "Roll out the barrel!!"====JUDY:  You probably have room at your new place to invite family and friends to "roll out the barrel" again.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I hadn't thought of the song, "My God and I" for ages, until I read the blog today. A good one to keep in mind! The quote from Shakespeare is also so relevant when it comes to our living, and judging of Black, White, or Gray??! "Love One Another, as I have Loved you" might be a good place to start!====JACK:  To love as God has loved is easier said than done.  Have you heard the story..."In the Bible it says to love your neighbor, but have you ever met my neighbor?"

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/2/17
“There is a precept by which I have lived.  Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.”  (Hannah Arendt)  Even though Arendt died in 1975, it’s interesting to see how her words can fit different situations…personal, work-related and even political.  She was an author whose writings have greatly influenced thinking in America.  Aside from this, Hannah’s is a help as we sometimes try to make sense of the events that happen in our lives.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Hannah Arendt was sagacious in her writings, and spot on at saying such things as this succinctly and well! Can't believe she has been gone for 42 yrs!!  Wise words, and easy to  commit to memory! You take what comes, and deal with it, but keep that expectation for the best! Thanks for this, Jack!====JACK:  As it sometimes happens, influential people aren't always well known by the general public.  Hannah seems to be one of those.  Her quote today is such a simple one, but it can be applied to so many situations, personal and public.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/1/17
“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”  (Dalai Lama)  Years ago, Kukla, Fran and Ollie were TV friends of mine.  I’ve always liked puppets, especially, Ollie.  I also understand that he wasn’t real, because someone was manipulating him.  When we allow others to manipulate us, we let them take away our reality.  God has given each of us freedom to be ourselves, not to be puppets.  It’s an awesome gift…and responsibility.  Use it well!    ;-)  Jack

FROM LS:  You like puppets?  Well I have a destination in Detroit for you.  PuppetArt Museum and Theater at  25 east grand river, Detroit.  Wonderful history and show and ask about the activity of making a puppet of your own after the show. The people that own and run it have a fascinating history of their own.  They are joyfully entertaining.  The experience is uplifting...... and Ollie ( the original puppet) may even be in this museum.====JACK:  Thanks for the heads up.  Detroit is a complex city, with so many interesting places to the Polish Yacht Club, located far from any body of water.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This reminds me of an adage I read: "Don't put the keys to your happiness in someone else's pocket." As Kerry Washington (actress) recently said. "You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that writes the story you were meant to tell." And we all have a story, and faith, to share! Good to remember these words, during this chaotic government situation,  As the Bible says, "And It Came To Pass..."  !!!===JACK:  I've always like the phrase: "And it came to pass," reminding up that we live in a transitory world.  Things come, and they go, the good and bad.  I like the old Gospel song, "This world is not my home, I'm just-a passin' through." 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love puppets.   My sister Jean and I had a great time with them when we were kids.   Then my daughter and I had a puppet show every morning during breakfast.====JACK:  Did you ever use puppets to go along with the stories you wrote for children?====JOHN:  Yes.   I wrote a series of puppet "plays" that we put on fir the children's stories at POG.   The kids seemed to love them.   They were based on puppets that Heather and I had....around biblical themes.   I had fun with them.   Mary Lou was the chief puppeteer...I told the stories.    She was great at it. 

FROM DM IN LIV:  So grateful to you for Winning Words, every single day.====JACK:  It gives me inner peace to write and send out Winning Words...but I also like to be in touch with a wide variety of friends...such as you.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We had peer pressure and bullying.  Manipulating is an adult way to bully.  It's not just adults though because kids manipulate too now that I think about it.  Because I saw my nephew and niece "manipulate my sister in the store, I vowed I wouldn't let that happen to be when I had kids.  When we went to the store I had a rule:  if you ask you don't get but it you don't ask, you may get a special treat.  It really worked for us.  Sometimes they got something.   Sometimes they didn't.  Manipulation is a terrible thing.====JACK:  I don't see anything in the wedding vows about manipulating.  However, there is talk about loving one another as Christ loves us.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  thanks, Jack. I needed this one.====JACK:  Just like with sermons... Some come at the right time for certain people.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/31/17
“Your presence is a present to the world.  You’re unique and one of a kind.  Your life can be what you want it to be.  Take the days just one at a time.”  (Collin McCarty)  These lines are from a book I received this week.  They’re a reminder that each of us is a special creation.  Dr Seuss said, “There’s no one alive who’s Youer than You.”  So…that means that each of us is important in some way in this world.  It remains for each of us to find our niche.    ;-)  Jack

FROM THE DEACON:  You... are blessed to be a blessing to all those who see your light shining!
Psalms 89:15 "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord."  Wishing you a spectacular day in His light,====JACK:  You probably recognize today's quote.  It applies to you, as well.  "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another."  (1 John 1:7)  Do you know the hymn, Stepping In the Light?  The chorus goes like this: "How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,  Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,  How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,Led in paths of light."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  We r all still here for a reason and we certainly have to appreciate each day we have.====JACK:  One of my favorite poems is The Clock of Life.   "The clock of life is wound but once  And no one has the power   To tell just when the hands will stop,  At late or early hour.  
Now is the only time you own;  Live, love, work, and with a will;   Place no faith in tomorrow, for  The clock may then be still."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We are all precious in His sight.  I loved the Dr. Seuss reference because he had such a loving grasp of humankind.  If we could just see ourselves as God sees us and Dr. Seuss imagined us as humans.  Imagine how this world would be!====JACK:  Isn't it an amazing thought...There is no one Youer and You!...only ONE Outhouse Judy in the whole, wide world!

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  I’m so happy you are a presence in my world – what an awesome present!====JACK:  Do you remember the hymn, "Blest Be the Tie."  It reminds me of the bond between our families.  You probably can sing it!
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Love Dr. Suess; He found his niche! :-)  Yes, even identical twins are each unique !  And we each found our way as pastor's wives, teachers, and mothers of 4 unique kids! We had a lot in common! :-) We each make a difference in our little corner of the world. Thankful to still be "of service'  in some way!====JACK:  Yes, twins have a special bond, but Seuss got it right, "There's no one YOUER than YOU, Marilyn!

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I love that you often quote Dr. Seuss since he's one of my favorites.  I have done two sermon series for the Pentecost season(s) on texts from Acts and Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" to encourage congregations to be the church wherever they are during the week.  Blessings on your day!====JACK:  I like the Brother Lawrence book, "The Practice of the Presence of God," in which he describes God being present in the monastery kitchen, among the dirty pots and pans.  God is omnipresent in our lives, isn't he?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/28/17
“It takes a noble person to plant a seed for a tree that will sometime give shade to people he may never meet.”  (Elton Trueblood)  “Tree-hugger” is often used as a derogatory term, but, in reality, it refers to someone who cares about the environment…what it is now and what it will be in the future.  A friend of mine (John Hartig) has devoted his life to preserving a wild life refuge on the Detroit River.  He’s an example to us of that “noble person” in the quote.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  I'm a tree hugger... proud to speak for the trees!====JACK:  Not only for the trees, but for the whole environment.  Someday I'd like to arrange for you to meet John Hartig and to see what he has accomplished.====DR J:  I would enjoy that!====JACK: As it says in the Bible, "Ask, and you shall receive."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Our use of the term "noble" has changed over the years.    In the 15th century the nobles of England wasted the land and killed thousands in a senseless grab for power.    I like the use of it for a "tree hugger."   My Dad was a tree hugger.   He planted all kinds of oaks that are there now....enhancing the environment.====JACK:  Noble can have a variety of meanings.  "Honorable" is the one I like the best.  In that sense, your father, beyond being a tree-hugger, was a noble man.  You seem to have inherited that quality from him.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  proud tree and brick hugger here...====JACK:  Person-hugger, too? ====LIZ:  i try to avoid it, but i love all people.====JACK:  I save the hugs for special occasions.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I would like to meet John someday.====JACK:  It can be arranged.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  What an appropriate message!  My sister Kathy gave Gary a gift of enrolling him in the Arbor Day Foundation.  For $10 they will send you 10 trees.  We plan on rejoining very year to plant trees!====JACK:  That's a great idea...especially if some of them are fruit trees.  The area in which we live used to have many apple orchards...hence, the name Orchard Lake, Old Orchard Trail, Apple Blossom Lane, etc.====JUDY:  This year we ordered oaks and maples.  Next year we will order fruit because we have two apples and a pear tree already!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  at my school we all learn to hug trees first thing. it is one of our three rules. be kind to everything. ====JACK:  Do you ever teach them to hug themselves?====MARY:  yes. another of our three rules. be kind to yourself. 

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  some years ago a Boy Scout, at my request and for his Eagle project, planted 45 pine tree seedlings around our church.  he was supposed to come by weekly to water them as it was a hot, dry summer but he did not.  by the time i realized what was happening,  30 of them had died.  so i got a bucket with a rope and went down to our pond and started watering the remaining 15 like mad!  today they are all big beautiful trees between the church and the two ponds to our south.  i only wish i had been able to save all 45 but 1/3 is better than nothing:):):)   PLH     (i still wonder if that Scout ever got his award???)====JACK:  It's sort of like the people who have been placed under our pastoral care.  They need watering, too.====PAUL:  yes indeed.  also like Luther's comment that when we wash our faces in the morning, that too should remind us of the waters of our baptism.  some good old fashion earthy theology... 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/27/17
“Make kindness your modus operandi and change your world.”  (Annie Lennox)  I like the sound of some phrases, and modus operandi is one.  Translated from Latin, it means, “way of operating.”  We each have “certain” characteristics that set us apart.  I know a folk song with the words, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”  When you’re checking out who are the Christians these days, it would be good to use that measure.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Oh Oh.   A touch of judgmental isn from Jack Freed!   ( btw, I agree with you)====JACK:  They've hijacked "evangelical."  But, I draw the line at Christian.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  Margaret's message to the world has always been this: learn to be kind to one another.  Trump's baseball cap should read,  make America kind again!.====JACK:  A friend of mine hands out magnets to be attached to the back of cars.  They read, "Kindness Matters."  It really does. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Today would be a great day to practice what we preach.  I'm going to ask Gary what he thinks my modus operandi is and my character traits are.  Think he'll tell me the truth?!?====JACK:  I think that Gary will give a kind answer.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true that is!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  ...all you need is love...====JACK:  Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.====MARY:   It's easy

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/26/17
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  (Confucious)   It’s said that, ”beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Mary showed our newborn son to someone and he said, “Aren’t babies homely?”  Some people think that pigs are homely, but one of my favorites on the TV show, Green Acres, was Arnold, the pig.  He was cute…and smart.  The song goes, “All thing bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all.”  God is the ultimate beauty judge.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "With the acceptance of God's love for each of us . . . the weariest and most hardened heart can come alive and flourish with a beauty and grace found beyond any measure!!"====JACK:  Yesterday I gave some money to a woman standing at an intersection with a sign saying that she needed food for her children.  Was that Jesus in disguise?====REV:  . . . the one giving or receiving?!====JACK:  From Matthew 6...the words of Jesus: "So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you...  When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret."====REV:  ...some times though, we are the ones that leave that needy person pondering if we were "Jesus" with skin on. I still am reminded of the lady passing by me at Target some years ago saying, "You remind me of Jesus sitting there." (That was, of course, the last day I ever wore the robe, sandals and prayer shawl out in public.)  0;-))

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Maybe, I am cute.....who knows?====JACK:  If you are mage in the image of God, does that mean that God is cute?====JOHN:  Who would have thought it?====JACK:  Do you remember when Sallman's "Head of Christ" was really popular?  As I recall, it was called, "Beautiful Savior."  What do you think about when you sing the hymn, Beautiful Savior? ====JOHN:  I think of the St Olaf choir .====JACK:  Yes!  I think that they end every concert with it.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  Poor David!  I liked the pig on green acres too..====JACK:  As I recall, there were some episodes depicting Arnold going to school.  Did you ever have any Arnolds in class when you were teaching?====J:  yes… I did have some Arnolds… no pig however!

FROM KG IN MICHIGAN:  I loved the books by James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing. He wrote additional books after the series of five and I believe there was a PBS series about him too.====JACK:  Both Mary and I enjoyed reading those books.  In fact, they're worth reading again.====KG:  I have recently re-read the first one and probably enjoyed it more.  I should start reading the rest of them.  One of the ladies Ron works with named her son after James brother, Tristin.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Isn't it something when people call babies names?  Physically, Kimberly wasn't the most pretty baby but she was beautiful to us.  And that little comment stayed with you all this time!  That's why we must think before we throw out a casual comment.  "God doesn't make junk" was a popular comment and I believe it!  The platypus and the anteater are questionable.====JACK:  At the time, Mary didn't like the comment, but through the years we've gotten lots of laughs, remembering it.  BTW, I think the platypus and the anteater think that their babies are cute.====JUDY:  Those moments are always funny afterward!  You have to laugh.  Someone told me to put Kimberly back in because she wasn't done yet!  I still smile at that one.  Someone else said she looked like a wet rat!  I tease her to this day.     I'm sure those animals love their little ones too.  They are very a good way!

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Interestingly, I've found that most of the homely babies I've seen turn out to be handsome adults.  I am so impressed with how beautiful our children are today.  They have all the advantages of good health care, good nutrition, opportunities for physical exercise in safe environments, etc.  Still, the loveliest of children and adults are those whose spirits are touched by the Spirit. ====JACK:  I thought that it was unusual phat the first baby I baptized was named, Rocky.  It was sort of like baptizing Peter, the Rock.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   The books of Dr. Herriott (sp?) were great reading and sometimes so funny!! We sometimes read them aloud  to family or each other...Do you remember our Science teacher at MHS who tried to tell (and show) us how beautiful rattlesnakes were? In the eye of the beholder...!  Usually  in our society the Pretty and Handsome get preferential treatment, but eventually people learn to look "inside" to judge worth.  Good WW to ponder today!====JACK:  Yes, those were "read aloud" books.  I'd say to Mary: "Hey! listen to this."  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/25/17
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”  (Vince Lombardi)  I think that Coach Lombardi was talking about football players.  Some make better use of their talents than do others.  Biblically the word, talent, describes a kind of money.  The differences between people can sometimes be seen in the way they use their money.  I admire Warren Buffett for encouraging other rich people to be benevolent.  See if  “benevolent” applies to you and your “talents.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: Good words====JACK:  Lombardi seemed to have a knack for saying the right words.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I've seen Warren Buffett interviewed and I admire his honesty and integrity. Some people have a lot of money but don't seem to have good values or honesty about it and aren't good role models. All up and down the scale of blessings, a person can be or see others who are good role models and that reality makes this world a nicer place to live in, in my opinion. Enjoyed your WW. ====JACK:  I once read..."You can tell a lot about a person by reading his/her checkbook entries."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I have his book, and have admired him  for years...yes, our checkbooks show our priorities. At t imes , when I somewhat wistfully mentioned to my husband that  one or another of our friends were on a cruise, or European jaunt, Bill would say, "We all make choices...we tithe to church and the Homeless Food Pantry"...!
And God is good, and made a way for us to spend 3 weeks in beautiful Hawaii, and take a 2 week cruise to and through Alaska, (our retirement gift from the church) and to many mission trips around the world!!  Great Is Thy Faithfulness...!====JACK:  Today, I was singing (to myself) a few bars of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."  It's one of my favorites.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We tell the kids all the time that they are getting their inheritance right now.  What we have we share but I absolutely know we could do better.====JACK:  When my mother would buy something costly, she'd say..."There goes your inheritance."  But, left us memories more precious than jewels.====JUDY:  Your mom and I think alike!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/24/17
“Good Grief!”  (Charlie Brown)  This was a familiar expression in the Peanuts comic strip when Charlie expressed dismay.  A pastor that I knew, Granger Westberg, wrote a best-selling little book, titled, Good Grief, in which he, as a counsellor, explained the steps of grief.  Perhaps you can identify…depression, loneliness, guilt, hostility, resentment.  But there is hope.  Given time and a nurturing of faith, things get better.  More good news!  The book is still in print.    ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP:  Our thoughts and prayers are with you today.====JACK:  Things get better with the words from friends...and their presence, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  Over the weekend, your son, Dave's post popped up on Facebook along with your name (as you. I was able to read his kind tribute to his mother and your wife, Mary. From his post I was then able to read of her fall and eventual passing. My sincere condolences Jack and a promise my prayers and thoughts will be with you at her memorial service a Holy Spirit Lutheran church this morning.  Now you are at the receiving end of all the expressions of love and condolences, prayers, related Scriptures of hope and comfort you have so faithfully shared with others over the countless years of being a pastoral presence in their lives at such at time as this. It caused me to even more appreciate your words this morning as you search out the "good news" in the midst of grief and now the temporary separation of being one in spirit and love all these years you've experienced life together.====JACK:  It feels strange to be on the "receiving" end.  As a pastor, you know that we are frequenting on the "giving" end  I'm thankful to know that people care.

FROM  HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  et cum spirito tuo in these difficult days, Jack... ====JACK:  It's been a while since I took Latin, but I think the quote begins with the words, "Dominus vobiscum" (the Lord be with you), followed by "et cum spirito tuo" (and with your spirit).  Thoughout this experience the Lord has made his presence know through many people and in many ways.  Thank you for being part of that.====HT:  exactly right on the Latin--the tuo being singula
There was an old joke that the Pope's telephone number was Et cum spirit 2 2 oh

FROM DR JUDY:  There are no words... so you remain in my virtual hug, and in my prayers. ====JACK:  Snoopy was known for giving hugs, too.

FROM KS:  I love Charlie Brown….one of my favorite comic books growing up….had every one of his books till a house fire wiped out several of them.  I said “Good Grief” many times during that period.====JACK:  "Rats" is another of Charlie's expression, and it fits this situation, too.

FROM AW IN ILL:  Granger was a good friend of mine and especially Judy"s  family. He is the father of the modern hospital chaplain movement.  at the present time, by daughter Beth, a student at Gettysburg Sem, is in a required program of 11 weeks study and ministry in a  hospital training  program.  It is a very full ...with hardly a moment to yourself    program.====JACK:  It is good when people care enough to stop by and visit the sick and bereaved, but it is also good when people are trained in ways to make the visit even more effective.

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN RICE LAKE:  I know you and your family are surrounded by loved ones and friends today. Please know that there are many others who are not with you in person who are wrapping you in their thoughts and prayers today.  God knows our pain when parting with someone very dear to us, but He also is quietly there holding our hands and hearts as we grieve.
Yes, grief comes in many forms – good, bad or indifferent, but as you said thankfully there is hope.  Hope in the resurrection, hope in our faith, love shared by others and God’s never ending love for all of us.====JACK:  During Communion the worshipers kept singing, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (the words of the thief on the cross).  It was spiritually haunting.  The reassuring words to that request (not part of the hymn) were, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise."  Thanks for your care and support.

FROM JT IN MILWAUKEE:  Yes, Granger Westberg's book is helpful. I learned to know Granger while taking training under his direction at Augstana Hospital in Chicago. Jack - in your good grief time I hope you could share more about Mary. Sorry I never met her; so whatever you wish to share I'd be glad to know more about her life - Christian, for sure.====JACK:  In today's world, you, as a pastor, would probably not date someone from your own congregation.  But, 60 years ago it was a different story.   It was not her desire to become a pastor's wife.  She was a wife in the ordinary sense of the word.  These words from Proverbs 31 were quoted at her funeral..."A good wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her.  She does him good all the days of her life.  She works with willing hands.  She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy.  She opens her mouth with wisdom.  She does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed.  Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/21/17
“It is not so much our friend’s help that helps us, as the confidence of that help.”    (Epicurus)  This may seem strange, but I’ve never seen an episode of “Friends.”  The good news is that I am living a daily episode of being with friends.   In my reading, I came across this from Cicero (63 BCE): “A friend is a second self.”  Think of the word, symbiotic…meaning, two benefitting from being with each other.  Thank God for second selves…and symbiosis!    ;-)  Jack

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/20/17
"Borta bra men hemma bäst"  (Swedish Proverb)  I first saw these words on a library wall at college.  Curiosity led me to a translation:  “Away is good but home is best.”  “Dorothy” gave another…”There’s no place like home!”  We each have our “home” thoughts.  They might be the place where we grew up, the place where family is.  Even baseball has its “home” plate...Home is best!  Songwriters have often used “home” as a theme.  What comes to mind?   ;-)  Jack

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/18/17
“Mary was crying beside the empty tomb when Jesus appeared and said, ‘Mary!’  At first she was puzzled, but then recognized him.  With joy she ran to tell the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.  He is alive!’”  (John 20 paraphrased)  The resurrection and the promise of life beyond death has a miraculous way of turning sadness into gladness.  “Fear not”, said Jesus.  “Where I am, you will be also.”    MARY (ANDERSON) FREED  3/7/1930 – 7/18/2017    Jack

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/18/17
“Too blessed to be stressed.”  (Paul Torn)  Do you think that God plays favorites?  The word “blessed” means to be favored by God.  Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and others claim to be blessed by God.  Are some groups or individuals favored by God over others?  Why are the prayers of some answered and others are not?  Who are we to know the mind of God?  Simply, count your many blessings and know that God loves you.    ;-)  Jack

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/17/17
“Accept life and what it brings, I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things.”  (The Kinks)  Peter Marty wrote recently about the difference between wishing and hoping.  Wishing upon a star is different than placing hope in God.  Hope seems to have a spiritual tone to it.  It’s what sustains us when we’re not ready to give up on God.  The Kinks’ song came out of the writer’s down time.  As I read the lyrics I see more hoping than wishing.  What do you see?    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not yet seen... Hebrews 11:1====JACK:  Someone said to me last week.  "What if heaven is all make believe?"  Have you ever wondered about that?"====SP:  not really.  it seems to be the natural conclusion to our mortal lives.  either we are just dust in the wind (as the rock group Kansas sings it) or we are creations of God and i have a hard time believing that it all just ends meaninglessly at the grave.  as God has provided for all our needs in life,  so too in death.  that is surely a leap of faith statement but one that i willingly and joyfully take.  short answer to a very profound question. ====JACK:  Maybe it's my interest in philosophy which causes me to question beliefs.  I think that questioning leads to a stronger belief...or to ask more questions.  As my old seminary religious philosophy used to say..."You can't unscrew the inscrutable."  When the person asked about heaven and "make believe," it was only out of wonderment, not out of doubt.SP:  i also think that faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin.  still,  if we had all the answers and no uncertainties,  there would be no need for faith.     Fred Buechner says that doubts are the ants in the pants of faith! ====JACK:  I was just wondering if you'd ever had ants in your pants.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Definitely more hope.  Wishing is like asking for something to stop in your lap.  Hoping is knowing God is with you and with sustain you with his grace!

FROM CR:  Thank you!  Just thought you would want to know that with time, love, hope, and faith .... I'm doing very well.  Divorce is nothing I saw coming in what life would bring but it did and I'm here, alive, well and finding better tomorrows.====JACK:  As the old hymn goes..."Be not dismayed whate'er betide, God will take care of you."

FROM TARMART REV:  I do, as well.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/14/17
“When my arms can’t reach people who are close to my heart…I always hug them with my prayers.”  (Snoopy)  A confirmation student once asked me if her dog would go to heaven.  I made the mistake of trying to give a theological answer.  I might better have said, “If dogs have a heaven there’s one thing I know…old Shep has a wonderful home.”  One thing I like about Charlie Brown’s dog is the way he expresses his feeling of happiness…by dancing!    ;-)  Jack 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  it would not be heaven without dogs.  the pope even said so recently. for what that's worth!====JACK:  I saw a couple of Therapy Dogs in the hospital recently.  They were angels!====LIZ;  you won't see therapy cats.====JACK:  Maybe not in hospitals, but I know of some people who have them in their home.====LIZ:  cats are very therapeutic for their owners.
gisela told me cats can shed spontaneously due to stress. it is true. like a porcupine throwing quills or something!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  God bless Snoopy. I do the "Snoopy Dance " when big projects are done. It's been witnessed by many. I am sure they would testify ♡====JACK:  As the years pass, is it more like :slow dancing?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  God knows every little sparrow who falls.  If he cares that much, surely he would take of them always!!====JACK:  It is comforting to know that God is omniscient!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That's what I told my scattered grandkids, "I hug you with prayer every day".! Good  ol' Snoopy!  For some of the elderly, a hug hurts due to sore shoulders, etc. So we clasp hands and say, :Hugs"! In the nursing home I hug very gently when I call on them. But hugs are so affirming, aren't they?!  Prayer is, too, so hope Snoopy and we keep on dancin'. There is usually SOME reason to be happy during a day!====JACK:  One of the associates in my doctor's office is Dr. Hug.

FROM LH IN FH:  This is wonderful.  How is it that I never saw it before???  I always read Peanuts. I’m going to make a screen shot of it and add it to my “quotations” file.====JACK:  There's something new to learn every day, if you keep your eyes and ears open.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/13/17
“Wishing are the dreams we dream when we’re awake.”  (Buddy DeSylva)  The head of a mortgage company said, “We aren’t just doing mortgages, we’re helping people make dreams come true.”  We all have our dreams.  “You have your dream, dear; I have one, too.”  As times change, so do our wishes.  That’s normal.  Yesterday, Jan wrote to me about change…”In 1966 it was going to a hip joint; in 2016, it’s getting a hip joint.”  Do you know of more?  ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Lots of top golfers are here this week and dreaming of wining the John Deere TPC tournament====JACK:  I suppose you've played that course.  If so, how do your scores compare with those of the pros?

FROM TARMART REV:  ...working towards one, even today!!====JACK:  Joseph had dreams, too, and God was able to turn them into reality.

FROM VW MARY:  I was thinking yesterday that I've spent over 50 years acquiring stuff; now, I want and need to get rid of it----JACK:  As I look over at my desk I see lots of stuff that should be organized,  Only 5 days worth, but it's daunting!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/12/17
“Success can be defined in three simple words: And then some."  (Darnell Johnson)  The top people did what was expected, were considerate, kind, helpful, were good friends, and then some.”  (Darnell Johnson)  I looked in on an internet conversation where people were trying to come up with adjectives meaning, “more than expected.”  Someone suggested, “Amazing.”  It must have been a jock who said, “110%”  Another said, “A+.”  The one I liked was, “Prodigious.”    ;-)  Jack

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/11/17
“If you scatter thorns, don’t go barefoot.”  (Italian Proverb)  There’s a book,,,”How to speak Italian when you don’t know Italian.”  If I ever go to Italy I’m taking that book.  A good word to know is Boh (I don’t know) said with a shoulder shrug.  Andiamo (Let’s go) is also the name of a restaurant near where I live.  (Lasagna vito aperto è fantastico!.)  My favorite Italian saying is Ancora Imparo (I’m still learning), spoken by Michelangelo.    ;-)  Jack

FROM COPPER COUNTRY PASTOR:  I’m preaching at Pelkie on Sun.  It’s the story of the generous Sower of the good seed.   thus, I will use your word as a   “no - no”  comparison. ====JACK:  I'm glad that you can use it.  Don't forget to use your "artificial inseminator" illustration, too.

FROM KC:  I'm going to read that book.====JACK:  I suppose you're the only one in the family who needs it.  You can loan the book to me after you're done.

FROM TARMART REV:  The Italians have a thin waffle cookie that appears during the holidays called a Pizzelle. Fran made some to share with the ladies of the church on an occasion and our daughter brought a few up to the church office to share with our Scandinavian secretary. She said that looks like "Krumkake" (she pronounced it as if "krum ka ka" to which our daughter looked puzzled.
In our home we often heard Fran say, "That looks like cucka (poop)." Maria thought secretary was calling Fran's Pizzelles "coon cucka". A laugh enjoyed by all!!====JACK:  It must be a barrel of laughs to be married to an Italian, or is it the other way around?  ...for an Italian to be married to you?  Do you use a lot of hand gestures?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 7/10/17
“This world would be better off if everyone had a front porch.”  (William Martin)  Yesterday I read about a man who honored his mother by starting a neighborhood library.  At the end of his driveway he placed a box called, The Little Free Library.  A sign says, “Take a book.  Leave a book.”  Other places are now doing the same thing.  What a great idea to promote neighborliness and to encourage reading.  What’s it like to live where you live?    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  In Québec City, there is a neighborhood who made great use of a closed school. It was turned into a community center and "a toy library."  People came in and checked out toys just like they did books.  Kids loved it and parents saved tons of money.  The library was started with donations and grants. Everything was very clean and always in working order...big and small.  Stimulated my imagine as you may guess.====JACK:  When opportunity and need and imagination come together, great things can be done.

FROM LS:  Sam Pernick ( he was honored the evening you gave the invocation at the 14th district Democratic dinner a few years ago) the young Democratic Party  leader's father Nat Pernick has one in front of his house in Huntington Woods on Ludlow.  So cool.  Children  in the neighborhood are curious about it.  My grandma had a front porch and often she was preparing beans and visiting with anyone and everyone who had the time to sit with her .    I wish to this day to have a home with a front porch where all those that seek comforting conversation and love could gather. I ask and I receive.  Now, my front porch travels with me wherever I go!  I have enjoyed this moment on your front porch this morning.  Have a good day.   Thank you for being here for the conversation. ====JACK:  We have the front porch.  I'm now working on getting one of those little libraries built and installed in front of our home.====LS:  One day I look forward to sitting with you on your front porch and sharing words of wisdom 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I have seen several of those in Ann Arbor====JACK:  Somehow, I'm not surprised that AA has them.  I hope to get one in our neighborhood.

FROM MY LAWYER:  Raining!!!====JACK:  Right now we need the rain more than a Little Library.  If we want a book we can always go to the big library.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  We are using the old fashioned  red phone boxes (now defunct due to mobile phones ) in villages as libraries.  Take one, leave one.  Great idea!====JACK:  I like the idea of recycling the unused phone boxes.  I'm putting on my thinking cap to see if I can come up with a similar idea.

FROM TARMART REV:  ... one such box is seen in our community, as is another placed in a walk-up fashion, filled with small food items.====JACK:  During the Great Depression my wife's grandmother lived next to the railroad tracks.  Hobos would sometimes jump off the train and appear at her door asking for food.  She never turned them away.====REV:  I'll bet there was a "hobo marking" somewhere that indicated a "welcome sign" of sorts in their language.===JACK:  She didn't mind.  She just saw them as hungry people.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We were just remarking on that on our trip to MI; LOVE those roomy porches like most of us grew up experiencing, and it often led to neighborly conversations. Ours was screened in, so pleasant to sit out there in late afternoon and evenings. In my present neighborhood, many retired folks have chairs on front patios or in front of garages, and sit out and visit, as most homes don't have porches as we knew them.  We have many Little Free Libraries around Springfield and the area, built by boy scouts to earn badges! They are really nice, and seem to be used a lot. Agree with Wm. Martin today!====JACK:  Ours is one of the few front porches in our neighborhood.  Most houses have private patios and decks in the backyard, shielded by shrubbery or fences

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:   SaWe all sort of watch out for each other. I have the same neighbors on both sides as we had when we moved here in1970!====JACK:  That's 47 years ago.  I thought that old people, not kids, moved to Florida.====SHIRL:  We moved here in 1963 from Ann Arbor. Our new home was about a mile from that in 1970.  It was in a wooded area where people used to come to shoot wild boar.  The builder was putting up 30 houses each month. Lots of military and lots of children! What a wonderful life!====JACK:  Life consists of all ages.  Age is just a random number.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  We have one of those libraries in our neighborhood.  There was a big article in the Star/Trib just yesterday about a neighborhood in Edina who are adding “front patios” to their homes to get to know their neighbors better.  Good idea I think.  I am going out to lunch today with my neighbors.  We do it once a month!====JACK:  The thought just occurred to me...Leave a music CD; take a CD.

FROM KF:  When we downsize (working on our house so we can sell), #1 on my list for a new place is a front porch and screened in back porch so we can be outside even more. Rose and I used to count 100 fireflies at night in the summer before we'd go in. Our neighborhood is in transition ... we are one of the few original homeowners .... the 3 other houses on our little block have turned over 12 times in 25 years!  About the "take a book, leave a book", we do that often with our vacation rentals! And participate in Bookstock every year - donating and buying. I have lots of "book friends" at church, too : )    My girls are big readers, too - we're working on Mark (I think he reads so much at work every day it has less recreational appeal for him).====JACK:  We could even have a "Leave a book, take a book" table at church.   Maybe "you" can start one.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  So true. Love this!====JACK:  What book would you leave? ====DONNA:  The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah!  Amazing book about a woman who saved many lives during World War II. Amazing characters.

FROM SUNSHINE:  "neighbors" reminded me of the attached, which I wrote some time ago, ====JACK:  It was fun to read about your "new" neighbors when you moved from the city to Appalachia.  I'll forward it to any Winning Words people who want to read it.

FROM FOXY ROXY:  We have a neighbor who just did this last week as her son requested it. Great idea====JACK:  My question....Have you used it?

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  This is something that is done throughout many Seattle neighborhoods. When I first saw this on a walk with My grandson when he was an infant I was startled that a box with books for the taking were just out in front of someone's house. It made me feel a connection to the community.====JACK:  Have you noticed any difference in the neighborliness in Seattle compare to that where you live in Michigan?====HOWIE:  Where I live now there is a whole new crop of kids running around, I like that. The neighbors are friendly and watch out for all.
In Seattle Laura and Blair live on a similar street. Lots of kids. The neighborhood formed a group and have permission from the city to actually close the street on Friday afternoon for four hours so they can play in the street.  That's unusual.  So, no difference in attitude or caring

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We've run across many of those little Libraries!  We saw several in and around Cadillac this weekend.  I was thinking of starting one out front.  We live in the middle of farm country.  Most of the vehicles traveling down our road are tractors, trailers and other farm equipment. Our neighbors are "front porch" people when they're not in the fields.  They have helped us numerous times with stuck tractors, leveling around the barns, felling dead trees, cutting down brush...many tasks.  We love it!!!====JACK:  Your Little Library could be built in the shape of an outhouse., and big enough to hold a Sears catalog.

FROM CS IN RO:  I have seen these all around Detroit for a few years--great idea!!====JACK:  Have you ever used one?  Here's an idea.  Keep a book in your car.  When you see a box, stop and make an exchange.Have you ever used one?  Here's an idea.  Keep a book in your car.  When you see a box, stop and make an exchange.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  our neighbors are more likely to leave wine in the box... we love them, & they're all well-read, too!====JACK:  You could dig a hole, put the box in the hole and call it "The Little Wine Cellar."