Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/26/19
“It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”  (Tom Brokaw)  Making a difference (creating change), begins with an attitude that change can be done.  What is it that you want to change?  A habit?,,Other people?..The environment?..Your situation?..The world’s values?  Improvement begins with “I”.  It’s tough to affect change if “I” isn’t into making changes, even little ones.  “I think I can” can happen when it becomes, “I know I can.”    ;-)  Jack



Jack’s Winning Words 6/25/19
“We live in an age of mumbo jumbo, and these days no one is more jumbo with his mumbo than…”  (Ether Walker)  Fill in the blank…In your opinion, who is it that is jumbo with his mumbo?  Jesus used 11 words for the Golden Rule.. In the 1940s my home pastor was called, “Twenty Minute Tillberg,” because of his short sermons.  A pastor I knew had an alarm clock in his pulpit set to go off after 15 minutes. I try to limit WWs’ mumbo to 5 lines.  OK?   ;-)  Jack    

Monday, June 24, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/24/10
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it.”  (Lou Holtz)  If you’re a football coach, a school teacher, or even a pastor, you can get your “team” to succeed, simply by getting them to see what they’re capable of doing and to motivate them to do it.  I’ve seen it work in the classroom, in sports, in the pulpit and in business.  The pay for doing it varies.  Holtz gets up to $50,000 per speech.   ;-)  Jack

Friday, June 21, 2019


Jack’s Winning Words 6/21/19
“I never look back.  I look ahead.”  (Milton Hershey)  He never went past 4th grade, but he was smart enough to invent my favorite, the Hershey’s candy bar.  The quality of his product and the well-being of his workers came before profit.  And, he was extremely successful.  On his desk was a sign: “Business is a matter of human service!” Outside of a school that he founded for orphans is a statue of him…“His deeds are his monument.  His life is our inspiration.”   ;-)  Jack

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/20/19
“My mom used to say, ‘No one is worthless, Jonny, they can at least be a good bad example.”  (Jon Hanson)  “Jonny” is a friend of mine, an author, songwriter, commentator on life.  On his own he put together a collection of Jack’s Winning Words…and it was sold on Amazon.  Jon also introduced me to Michelangelo’s words, spoken at age 87, “Ancora imparo,” roughly translated, “I am still learning.”  Whatever our age, we can still be learning   ;-)  Jack


FROM JB IN OLV:  Isn't that the truth!  I have learned many reverse lessons from my extended family:)===JACK:  Hardly a day goes by without having a learning opportunity come my way.

FROM PRPT: Rev. Henry Jones – “You only grow old when you think you’re too old to grow…” ===JACK:  Among my quotes is this one..."If you did not know your age, how old would you be?"  I'd like to think that I'll never be too old to learn.  My grandchildren have become great teachers.  I've learned computer shortcuts from them...and to appreciate some rap, too..===PT:  Keep rappin’ on, Jack!!! ===JACK:  Google---Meet the Texas pastor who's rapping the Gospel | Fox News

.ROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  hope you at least got a cut...===JACK:  No cut expected, nor wanted.  I'm just pleased that someone went to all of the work of putting the book together and having it published.  I just ordered six copies. 

FROM LBP:  How about taking that a little more granular: No experience is worthless, it can at least be a good bad example? Last week I gave a training lecture that was poorly received. I wasn't at the top of my game and my learning objectives didn't seem to align with their learning expectations. Of course "teach me to do your job in 40 minutes" is a ridiculous expectation, but I HATE when that happens. Now the one impression of me that a couple dozen people have is of the woman who gave the terrible lecture. BUT, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking of how to improve our training or how to better assess/refine the desired learning objectives of the groups requesting training. So, it was a bad experience but not a worthless one.===JACK:  Sometimes it works that way with sermons.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  My dad used to say similar words when we talked of someone being terrible, or despicable: "Well he/she can always serve as a horrible example"...learn from it!  
I'll have to ck on that AMazon book; What a friend, to do that!  Every single person enriches the world around them, or is a negative force.  The amazing stories of many who overcome dire circumstances to do good in the world inspire us! I forget who made the comment that "most of the world's greatest work was done by people who didn't feel very well"!  But it is often true. I'm sure we can learn something new until the day we pass on; WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD....:-) ===JACK:  What "new thing" have you learned today?  I watched the plumber fix a leaky faucet. 

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We learn more and more everyday!  Especially how not to be a good bad example!===JACK:  Some people see the President as a good bad example, while "the base" see him as a good good example.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I actually stumbled upon your book on amazon.com a couple of years ago and have it here in our house.  Think I have already read in this book of journal entries of Pope Leo X's that Michelangelo was one of the artists which Pope Leo X was supporting and the Pope felt that these artists and musicians' influence and reputations would go down in history as truly being formidable talents whereas he couldn't speak so much of his own impact on history.  Am only third of the way through but frankly doesn't seem like such an Anti-Christ as one would imagine and now, after having experienced the liturgy and homilies and I believe Christ-centered loving hearts of the Priests at Transfiguration and trying to work through the theological problems described in the book Shared Spiritual Journey:  Lutherans and Catholics Traveling Toward Unity by Wood and Timothy Wengert and also seeing on You-Tube that joint 500 anniversary worship in Lund, Sweden a couple of years ago now, and actually having read somewhere that some Pope and guess the Catholic theologians made a decision that people aren't in an excommunicated state after they die or something, which says something about how they perceive Luther and other reformers with some growing humility and ability to forgive misunderstandings, quarrels, arguments, differences, old hatreds and antagonisms and maybe even more fully realizing our human conditions of being so limited--maybe it can even be conceivable at this point in human history that both Luther and Pope Leo X were good bad examples??????  To me, the challenge of us current Christians is to try to live in some way that we aren't current bad examples and that's actually quite a challenge when some times it seems like our current religious institutions (actually recognizing that pretty nearly every congregation is simply fighting for survival and trying somehow to attract members) seem likely to pander to sort of trivial needs of Christians for entertaining music, light-hearted sermons, sort of some almost new-Ageish theological babble such as a Joel Olsteen provides, and so forth and so forth.  Or worse the black and white theology of the evangelists who try to provide simple answers to all of our moral questions.  I appreciate most the Christians who are genuinely seeking after coming closer to Jesus and truly wanting to be His disciples and placing church growth second in priority--but that's just my opinion and undoubtedly might be more scarey to do because it could be insecure in being able to pay the bills for maintaining the church building.  Anyway, thunk enough.  Enjoyed your WW this morning===JACK:  You always (most ot the time) hit the nail on the head.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/19/19
“Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings.”  (Salvador Dali)  It’s said that people were sometimes more interested in Dali’s eccentricities…his flamboyant way of dressing and acting, his curly moustache.  I continue to be intrigued by his imagination…some call it his surrealism.  My favorite among his works shows Jesus on the cross, as seen from above.  Dali lovers can see the biggest collection of his work in Figueres (Spain), his hometown.   ;-) Jack


FROM LBP:  This week the kids found a fledgling cardinal in our yard. We learned that fledgling birds will take 2-5 days to fumble around on the ground until they are able to fly away. But the parents are watching and come care for it. I wonder how to extend Dali’s metaphor to fledglings ===JACK:  I like the saying, "If you can dream it, you can be it."  One of the children you babysat for, dreamed of flying and, eventually, became a pilot.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  That’s a favorite Dali painting of mine too.  I loved the Woody Allen – Paris my Love? Where the character time-travels back to the days of Dali and the impressionists ===JACK:  The impressionists were not on display yesterday, but it was a good visit, just the same.  We had lunch at the Polish Yacht Club afterward

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I am reading an interesting book "The other Alcott"; about the youngest sister May Alcott (Amy in Louisa's book "Little Women") who was an artist, and went to Paris
eventually and mentions her interactions with the impressionists such as Dali, Monet, Degas, and 
especially when her friend Mary Cassatt joined the Impressionist movement in art. Amy always had to deal with her famous writer older sister Louisa Mae Alcott, who was also quite wealthy for a woman of that  day; Most of the impressionists were not well accepted by the Art world in their day!  A good read!===JACK:  My sister recalls that as a youngster, she was always introduced as Jack's sister.  It was a special day when she was living in a community where I was not known, and I was introduced as Nancy's brother

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/18/19
“My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.”  (Benjamin Disraeli)  In most cases I like to be with agreeable people.  I’m not into confrontation…political, religious or ethical.  It’s not that I avoid confrontation, I just enjoy friendly conversation.  What I don’t like is argumentation.  Bantering back and forth agrees with me.  Disraeli might too conservative and erudite for my taste, but I could probably learn something by conversing with him.   ;-)  Jack


FROM ANNE McC:  I don't mind  discussing and arguing.  It is the sarcasm and disrespect that seems to accompany it.  Another Anne Marie story.  I was driving to Irish dance class with Mac, Anne Marie and sister, Catherine.  I asked Anne Marie, about 12 years old, what she would like to do when she grows up.  She answered that she would like to be a lawyer.  I asked why and she answered that she would learn how to argue.  I told her that she was Irish and born to know how to argue.  We all laughed.  My mother and father were farmers from Ireland.  My fathers family owned a pud on the farm that still exists, only bigger.  My father was the oldest boy of three boys; four sisters. He did not want to be a farmer.  He was also a member if the IRA at 14 which may have contributed to his desire to leave   At our family dinners, we always discussed politics and community.  As the children grew, sides were taken.  We did not always agree at the end of the discussion, but we were not mean to one another.  We each knew we were right..  Ha Ha===JACK:  Thanks for the Ha Ha response.  I had an Irish Catholic aunt who would have fit in very well at your dinner table...complete with the accent.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  problem is,  he is no longer with us:):):)===JACK:  If you were invited to a White House dinner would you attend?  ...or, do you only to sit down and talk with those you agree with?===PAUL: i would not go to the Trump White House,  as fun and exciting as that may be.  i just cannot in any way endorse this man.  he is too sick in my opinion.===JACK:  You could go wearing your WWJD? wrist band.  Jesus was accused of associating with "sinners".  You would have an opportunity to say "face to face" all of your repressed animosity! 

Monday, June 17, 2019

JJack’s Winning Words 6/17/19
“I’ve never really taken anything very seriously.  I enjoy life, because I really enjoy making other people enjoy it.”  (Tim Conway)  A company job application asks, “What do you do for fun?”  “Hanging out with Tim Conway,” would have been a good answer for me.  Suggested good responses are: rock climbing, doing puzzles and gardening.  Ping Pong is better than Beer Pong.  What things you enjoy doing?…and who would you choose to “hang out with?”   ;-)  Jack
www.jackswinningwords.blogspot.com to see my blog 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/13/19
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”  (Anne Lamott)  When I first began using a computer I learned that problems could be fixed by “rebooting.”  For me, it means to turn off the machine and start it up again.  People sometimes need to be rebooted.  Have you heard the expression, “Give it a rest?”  The body works better when it’s rested.  The Lord knew what he was doing when he created a day of rest.   ;-) Jack  


FROM SF IN WBT:  Yes. I need to unplug a little every day to personally recharge! That’s the introvert! ===JACK:  When two introverts come together they seem to reboot and become extroverts.  at least, it works with me.

FROM DR J:  So why are you sending out an email at 4:59 AM????? Rest that body! Reboot! ===JACK:  Mailchimp is my new servant.  I've trained that monkey to work for me while I get some extra zzzzs.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  maybe he should have created two days of rest!===JACK:  So, what other commandments do you think need improving? ===PAUL:the first three speak of our relationship with God.  as a culture,  i think we need to revisit these 3 for sure! ===JACK:  Luther tried to do something like that when he wrote, "What does this mean (?)" after each of them.  Maybe you're suggesting a modern day "What does this mean?"  Times change.  Mores change.===PAUL:  Harry Wendt who wrote the Crossways Bible Study series has written a modified Apostle's Creed.  it is just excellent.   if i can find a copy,  i will send you one.===JACK:  I'd like to see his re-write of the commandments.
  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Jack’s Winning Words 6/12/19
“If you see someone without a smile, give ‘em yours.”  (Dolly Parton)  An article in the LA Times says that researchers have found that Americans are significantly less happy than they were in the 1990s.  While the economy has rebounded, life satisfaction has declined.  It gave reasons for the drop and suggestions for helping.  If a friend is having a rough time, do something that shows you care...just listening is good.  Dolly suggests sharing a smile.  ;-)  Jack


FROM NORM'S MILFORD BLOG:  As a society, we have become a bit more introverted and insular. I blame the rise of the smartphone for at least some of that. We have allowed ourselves to be captivated and  captured by a device that steals time away from everything else, including our interactions with other human beings. We may not even notice the frown or sadness on the face of those that we encounter because we are too busy looking at our phones. We certainly don’t take the time to ask what is wrong, and since we can’t Google that, we just move on to the next attention grabber that shows up on our screen.  So, perhaps the first step to all of us getting better and having smiles would be to put  down those smartphones and take a good look at what is going on around us. Step two might be to make sure that we put a smile on our own face. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can share love with others (see the post Start your day with love and the rest will take care of itself). So take a moment, before you set out on your day, to find that love of self and who you are that will put a smile on your face. Many times that may involve taking time for a short prayer of thanks to God for another day. Acknowledging and accepting the love of God each day allows you to also love yourself and then to be ready to share that love with others.===JACK:  It used to be "bow your heads in prayer."  Now, it's ?Bow your heads and look at your SmartPhone."  Look around you today, Norm.  What do you see that's interesting?  As I look outside, it's a beautiful spring morning; the sun is shining; a bird is chirping; a gentle breeze is blowing.  WOW!  I give a smile to the world.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAULl:   blame our "dear leader" for some of this.   he rarely smiles and almost never laughs.  not sign of a mentally healthy person.  of course,  there are a great many other factors too.===JACK:  Just wondering...When the Sunday Prayers suggest that we pray for our leaders, including the president...Do you?  That's a rhetorical question.  I confess that I seldom do.

 FROM BB IN CHGO:  I took the time to read the article referenced and found it really interesting.  I am happy and satisfied with my life; I hope that you can say the same for you and yours.===JACK:  Life is good.  As Louis Armstrong would sing...
When you're smilin'....keep on smilin'  The whole world smiles with you
And when you're laughin'....keep on laughin'  The sun comes shinin' through
But when you're cryin'.... you bring on the rain  So stop your frownin'....be happy again
Cause when you're smilin'....keep on smilin'  The whole world smiles with you

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Good un Jack.===JACK:  Dolly Parton is giving you a smile. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/11/19
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”  (Harper Lee)  To Kill a Mockingbird, as a play, has been on Broadway for about a year, and it’s a hot ticket.  I guess it’s time for the message in Harper Lee’s book to be retold…just like it was time for the Hamilton story to have a new telling.  “Mockingbird” is a reminder that you really don’t understand racism (or other –isms) until you see it with the offended’s eyes.   ;-)  Jack


FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes I belonged to the NAACP in the late 40s and early 50s in Davenport! Then when we moved to Florida we were surprised that they had not enforced the Brown vs education decision of 1954! So all of our children were among the first to be integrated in the schools! ===JACK:  Have the passions of your youth and young adult ages translated into the present time?

FROM NORM'S BLOG:  I’m glad that Harper Lee used the word “consider”; rather than “see”, because it is both literally and figuratively impossible for us to see things from another person’s point of view. We all “see” and interpret the things that we see through the filters of preconditioning, prejudices and prior knowledge. Unless we stop and make the conscious effort to consider what we are seeing differently, we run on autopilot and let those filters direct or thinking about what we are seeing/hearing/experiencing.===JACK:  That happens with regard to our religious views, also.


Monday, June 10, 2019


Jack’s Winning Words 6/10/19
“If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere.”  (Thich Naht Hanh)  Recently I received a book, Life in the Sloth Lane.  This week’s quotes are from that book.  Hanh’s words remind me of slow miracles, like the tortoise beating the hare, or the pace of an inchworm…and how about the Grand Canyon? Archeologists say that it began to be formed about 17 million years ago.     Are there other slow miracles that come to your mind?   ;-)  Jack 


FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  How about the miracle of the birth of a beautifully  formed baby that begins with a tiny egg! ===JACK:  What a great first example!  Weren't you a midwife at some point in your life?     ===BS:  Yes! I  was in the 60's.  My sister was a midwife all her working life.===JACK:  Are people still be trained to be midwifes?===BS:  They are, both men and women.===JACK: ===BS:  They are, both men and women.===JACK:  Are the men called, "midhusbands?"===BS:  Yes, they are.

FROM MY ATTORNEY:  Are you implying that Paul Bunyan didn’t really exist???!!! ===JACK:  There are at least 14 Paul Bunyans living the Detroit metro area.


FROM TAMPA FHIRL:  Everyday seems like that for me! Everything just seems to fall into place===JACK:  You're one of the lucky ones.!

ROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Just waking up is a miracle.  Watching the sunrise, holding a baby, taking a ride through our country can be seen as a plethora. of miracles!===JACK:  Living on a farm, as you do, enables you to live among many miracles===JUDY:  It does.  I have a pet duck, Buddy now.  He a young Mallard and he’s by himself which is very unusual.  He watches me all day.  I’m working on getting him closer and closer.  He sleeps on the dock and I put a little food out for him.  But not a lot of food, just to let him know I care!!  Lol

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i met a radical "Creationist" last winter in AZ who believes the Grand Canyon was formed in a matter of days!  a VERY literal interpretation of Gensis, to say the least!  how do you deal with people like that?===JACK:  When Martin Luther came upon parts of the Bible that were difficult to understand, he'd si,ply tip his hat and move on.  I do the same with "creationists."  It's impossible to argue them into understanding. 


Friday, June 07, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/7/19
“I like donut holes.  Whether you see the hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself, it doesn’t affect the taste of the donut.”  (Haruki Murakami)  Today is one of my favorite days – Donut Day!  I really, really like Krispy Kremes.  June has many special days…D-Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, the Summer Solstice.  Some “days” that make me smile are, Go Fishing Day, Monkey Around Day, Hug Your Cat Day…and my sister’s (Nancy) birthday.   ;-)  Jack


FROM BB IN CHGO:  When you next visit Chicago, give “Firecakes” a try.  They are even better than Krispy in my opinion and lots of crazy flavors like PB&J and Margarita.  Plain vanilla works for me===JACK:   I'm always willing to try a new donut.  Are you buying?===BB:   Absolutely – for you and your lady!  Perhaps you will come downtown and enjoy the architectural tour – the river boat cruise that shows the landmarks and explains the bridges.  Always an enlightening and interesting review of the history of Chicago===JACK:  Sounds like a winner for the Bucket List.  Her name is Joan.

FROM VW MARY:  Sounds like a good day.  Happy Friday:===JACK:   My mouth is watering already.  Will it be Bosko'a, Tim Horton's or Dunkin"?  (Finally went to Tim Horton's) ===VWM:  I was disappointed when we stopped having donuts for church coffee hour.....JACK:  One way to cure your disappointment is to bring a couple of dozen next Sunday and restart the tradition.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  krispy kremes are the best, but we lost our store here... still in grocery stores, but not the same as hot!===JACK:  You're right!  Store-bought doesn't measure up...just like Whitey's ice cream.  Hand-dipped is the best.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Google says Krispy Kreme began in Winston Salem!===JACK:  The ad says, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette (or is it a Krispy Kreme?) should."===SHIRL:  Kristina kremes started in Tampa! Our girls used to sell them on weekends going door to door to raise money for their school or organization on Saturday mornings! Small world===JACK:  Do you remember the Mello-Creme Donuts in Moline?  Their glazed ones were GREAT!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/6/19
“The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  (Gandhi)  These two words go together…apologize and forgiveness.  Somewhere along life’s road I was taught that that there can be no forgiveness until the perpetrator says, “I’m sorry, forgive me.”  Then the person who’s been harmed has to decide whether or not to forgive.  That’s how it works with God, too…always a willingness to forgive.  The “strong” person will follow that example.   ;-)  Jack


FROM TL IN SCS:  The even stronger person will forgive without those spoken words. Thanks be to God for the strength.===JACK:  Forgiveness seems to go against our natural inclinations.  The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an example of this.  It's sometimes called, the Parable of the Forgiving Father...an illustration of God's forgiveness. 

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The Marshall plan was a wonderful idea for forgiveness!===JACK:  Can you imagine such a plan being suggested (even implemented) in today's political climate>  No wonder the people of the 30s and 40s are called, The Greatest Generation.  ===SHIRL:  I  am watching the Normandy ceremony this morning! If it were not for all of the brave men we would be speaking German or Japanese today! What a different world it would be===JACK:  Unbelievable courage!

FROM SL IN WBT:  Good morning   I believe that forgiveness begins with forgiving ones self.  I learned the meaning of forgiveness when my husband of 32 years divorced me.   I sought the advice of my Rabbi; remembered the teaching of my parents; and recalled an experience where a friend guided me to forgive someone that had hurt my dad professionally, when my husband on Yom Kippur asked me to forgive him?  I told him I had to think about it……. I called him days later and we met….. I told him I forgave him.   It was at that moment I realized that I could not just say the words, I had to practice and truly forgive.  In that process of truly forgiving I became aware that in order to understand forgiveness I needed to forgive myself.   The journey of learning forgiveness has served me to be a peaceful woman, finding joy without the burden of that comes with not forgiving.  Most recently I have had to practice forgiveness again…….. I now know the practice and will continue the hard work that comes with the words …… forgive….Have a good day and thank you for your Winning Words===JACK:  You have captured the thought.  Congratulations!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I wonder if it isn’t God’s forgivingness that brings about our repentance rather than the reverse===JACK:  "Who has known the mind of God."  Forgiveness is simple, but it's also complicated.  In many ways we limp through life trying to mimic the perfection of God.  But he would not ask us to do something that we are incapable of doing.

FROM SF:  Agree. Forgiveness is for yourself. Enables you to move on. It does not, by the way, mean that you forget!===JACK:  Hmmmm!  After He has forgiven, do you suppose that the omnipotent God forget?.  I happen to think that he has a Delete key on his computer===SF:  Hah! I’d like some proof of that delete key! Lol!!===JACK:  God also knows how to "Save."

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  you might also note, Jack, that the very strongest person is the one who forgives even when the perpetrator does NOT ask for forgiveness.  and sometimes its not possible for the perpetrator to ask for forgiveness due to death,  distance, dementia,   or even an unwillingness to do so. ===JACK:  The "trouble" with forgiveness comes when we try to explain it.  You know it when you feel it.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  What about Jesus, Pastor Freed, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do?" and then further on St. Stephen, praying the same thing?  I actually believe I've forgiven a lot of things when I realized someone didn't actually know information and was acting out of ignorance.  They didn't even realize to be able to say they were sorry and suppose others have forgiven me too for same reason.  Suppose that's why we pray for forgiveness for sins of commission and omission.  Anyway, thanks for the Winning Words, I'll probably be reflecting, off and on, on them all day long because I seem to have a Martin Luther complex which leads me to be very sensitive and aware to the deep tendencies to all kinds of sinning in me, including doubt and so forth and constant need for mercy and forgiveness.  Your quote is from Gandhi but the commentary could easily have been in the mind of Martin Luther in his day, just my opinion.===JACK:  You're very perceptive, Sharon.  I guess that the words of Jesus and of Stephen were actually a prayer to God.  (We can ask anything of the Lord.  (What is forgiveness if the "sinner" doesn't know of the "sin"?  ...just wondering.)As for me sounding like Luther, it's how I was trained...as a Lutheran pastor.  We all are who we were.  Who shaped you into who you are...or, in reality, are we continuing to be shaped.  Having come into contact with you certainly caused me to see meaning in the words... the priesthood of all believers.  So there!  You have been ordained as a priest!


FROM SHALOM JAN:  I beg to differ, Jack.  There are many times in our lives when we need to forgive someone who will never apologize for wronging us.  That really is the way of the Lord; "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)  Not to mention, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."===JACK:  Words often get in the way.  That's why some e-mails and some sermons are misunderstood.  Face to face is often the best...but not always.===JAN:  The other piece is, to forgive someone does not mean you will re-enter the same relationship with them you had before, especially if that was an abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationship.  That is what too many people think "forgiveness" means.  And, forgiving, for us humans, rarely means forgetting.===JACK:  I guess you have to have done it or received it to truly understand it, and, even then, it's hard to describe.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:    I grew up with forgive even if there is no “sorry” involved by the one doing the injury. Holding onto anger and vengeance injures the one holding onto the injury and only hurts the one holding on to it.===JACK:  Who benefits most, the forgiver or the forgiven?===JUDY:   Depends on the injury!  But it helps me (the forgiver) the most.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/5/19
“The world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.”  (Horace Walpole)  The Comedy and Tragedy masks associated with theater can also be used to describe today’s world.  I’ve read that “The most shoplifted book in America is the Bible.”  Funny or tragic?  I and many others are distressed by current poverty, the isms, selective healthcare, shootings, brutality.  Thank God for people who are trying to make this a better world.   ;-)  Jack


from st paul in st paul:  good words for today, Jack.  thanks! ===JACK:  Which mask are you wearing today

FROM ANNE McC:  Are they stolen from hotels where people may know the are given by Gideon?  ===JACK:  When I was a patient at St Joe's I noticed that there was no crucifix in my room.  I asked someone about it, and she said that people keep stealing them when they check out.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It’s sad people have to shoplift the Bible.  It should be available free to anyone who wants to read it.  The church fails at that outreach.  But it fantastic they want to read it!  That’s Good News!  ===JACK:  One year at church we gave away Bibles that were divided in such a way that you could read it in a year by reading a section a day.  Another year we made available to anyone who wanted it, the Good News Bible, translated  in today's English, and it was written in book form, so that it read like a regular book.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/4/19
“Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck.”  (Unknown)  I’ve been watching that guy on Jeopardy who’s won lots and lots of money.  Is he lucky or smart?  I’ll bet he doesn’t carry a 4-leaf clover.  When I was a teen I had a nickel with “tails” on both sides, in case I played “heads or tails” with someone.  “When I became an adult, I gave up childish ways” says the Bible…and also, my friends found out about the “lucky” coin.   ;-)  Jack 


 FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  the big winner on Jeopardy is a professional gambler by trade.  notice how he doubles nearly all his bets and he also starts at the bottom of the column, not the top. (the big money is at the bottom)   and he tries to find the daily doubles.  also,  he must have a photographic memory.  and he very seldom guesses.   i wonder if he is going to bankrupt the show!:):):):)   have a good day,  JACK===James is really smart, but last night he wasn't smart (lucky) enough.  The winning streak came to an end, but $2 qnd a half million dollars is nothing to be sneezed at.  (...to be sneezed at...Have you ever heard of (or used) that expression?===PAUL:  i have indeed.   btw,  why did James change his strategy last night?  it cost him in the end.  kind of strange.===JACK:  ===PAUL:  i have indeed.   btw,  why did James change his strategy last night?  it cost him in the end.  kind of strange.===JACK:  His streak of Bad Luck began when he chose a "Double" with his first pick and had no money to double.  He also had the misfortune of being up against a smart cookie...a woman at that!  ===PAUL  watch out for those Chicago librarians!   they will get you every time!:):):)===JACK:  At Bible Camp they should have posted a sign: LOOK OUT FOR THOSE AUGUSTANA LUTHERAN WAITRESSES.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Pretty funny.  We saw the Jeopardy winner on Trevor Noah a few weeks back.  Apparently the strategy is to hit the buzzer first.  I do think he’s quite intelligent.===JACK:  Apparently he practices the buzzer at home.  BTW, did you know that he lives in Naperville?  I wonder if he's a member of Our Savior's Church?

FROM INDY GENIE:  Good one!  (The thought is a young  con-man Jack makes me chuckle:) ===JACK:  Don't tell me that you were always a perfect angel!===GENIE:  Who, me?

FROM CHAIR YOG CAROLYN:  As we embark on the 8 limbs of yoga today - next week we will discuss in depth the Yamas - one of them being non- stealing ( two tailed nickel).  : D  Summer is proving to give opportunities for gardening which I consider a privilege of divine  tender.  Wishing you the best day.===JACK:  Does getting down on your knees count as yoga?  For me, it's the getting up from that position is the hard part.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Good laugh!  The guy on Jeopardy was both informed and strategic.  He played the odds.  You however, were lucky to have a two tailed coin! ===JACK:  Sometimes you make your luck.===JUDY:  That is true.  Actually, I don’t believe in luck.====JACK:  So, you probably have never bought a lottry ticket.  How are you ever going to become a millionaire?

Monday, June 03, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 6/3/19
“We speak of educating children.  Do we know that our children also educate us?”  (Lydia  Sigourney)  Yes, children can be teachers, too.  Sometimes we seem to forget what it’s like to be a child…how to be carefree, and not to worry so much about tomorrow…how to forgive and not hold grudges…how to be creative (Let’s build a fort – Let’s invite the dog to our tea party – Here, let me share this with you).  Has some child been a teacher for you?   ;-)  Jack


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Absolutely!  Their faith is amazing!===JACK:  Maybe it's not in this context, but I like the Bible verse: "A little child shall lead them."

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Good old “King & I” – by your students, you’ll be taught.  As ever, I agree with you; they do educate us often and have much to contribute.  On the other hand, I am not so sure childhood is carefree any more.  Children are exposed to so much now that some of the magic of our youth seems lost on them.  Helicopter parenting and supervision often rob them of the opportunity to figure things out for themselves and engage their boundless imagination.  Gosh I sound pessimistic.===JACK:  Sometimes we need to be realistic, so that sense I agree with you.  But I do think that (as the old songs puts it...) "You (first) gotta accent-u-ate the positive and elim-i-nate the negative."===BB:  When you put the old songs out there I really like it and remember the one you just cited so well.  Lately I’ve been taking pictures of hymns during service that I like so I can enjoy remembering during the week. This weeks was “You are Mine”!===JACK:  We used to sing this one in Sunday School...
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,    And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,    And be closer drawn to Thee.
  Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,    To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,      To Thy precious, bleeding side.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,      To Thy precious, bleeding side.
(I don't know that we thought much about precious bleeding side.)

FROM SUNSHINE:  I have always been uncomfortable with the word "teacher" because I would invariably learn more in the classroom than the so called "students."===JACK:  I guess that since you've been both a student and a teacher (and now a teacher emeritus) you certainly have the credentials for your comments.  I just know that you taught me a lot about design.

FROM ANNE McCl  I think of Anne Marie, about seven years old.  She asked me something and I replied that I did not care.  Anne Marie replied "You do care , Grandma.  You just don't mind."  I loved it and I agreed. (This from the English major Grandma.) I am not delving into commas here.
Anne Marie graduated from U of M in 2014 with highest honors in English.  Working for a start up in Chicago,  I am sure she still teaches without  any tone of condescension.  Perhaps it is because she was born on the feast of St. John the Baptist.  ===JACK:  No wonder she got honors in English.  As for grades, my grandchildren are "smarter" than I was at their age (Maybe even now).

Friday, May 31, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 5/31/19
“All kidding aside, if everyone did Yoga we’d have world peace.”  (Rory Freedman)  I know 4 yoga instructors, and all 4 have told me that yoga exercise is good for the body and that the mind benefits from meditation.  An enlightening college course for me was Oriental Religion which allowed me to compare my beliefs with Asian thought.  A desire for peace was a commonality.  It’s good that world peace does not depend on me doing yoga poses.   ;-)  Jack


FROM VW MARY:  Have been doing a senior senior version of yoga for several years...I don't know about world peace, but it does help with balance..===JACK:  Many churches now host yoga groups.  If I were still in "the business" I'd offer to be present to offer a spiritual thought at the beginning of each session.  I know that some instructors already do that.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  FROM VW MARY:  Have been doing a senior senior version of yoga for several years...I don't know about world peace, but it does help with balance.===JACK:  I did it!  I did it!  That takes care of two fingers on each hand.  Now, what's the next yoga move?..===DR J:  very good grasshopper!  you’ve advanced to chair yoga:  
https://www.verywellfit.com/chair-yoga-poses-3567189
emember, you don’t have to go ALL the way down to touch the floor !===JACK:  I've watched Chair Yoga, and it's not as easy as it sounds,  Crolyn is the leader...and she is good!  As for touching the floor, it's harder for me since I'm taller than you are...but I can still do it.

FROM MAILMAN MIKE:  Jack, you are funny!  I also have difficulty getting into the correct positions on a yoga mat.===JACK:  The part that I do best is...hmmmmmmmm!  My biggest problem is getting up from the mat.

FROM NOVA SCOTIA FISH:  Heard a few days ago that a Zen Master approached a hot dog vendor and said, “make me one with everything. “ The vendor handed him a hot dog with sauerkraut and chilli and all the rest. The customer handed him a $20 and didn’t receive any money back. He complained, but the vendor replied, “change must come from within.”  Not having any expertise in Zen, I don’t know the quality of this.  Hannelore and I are enjoying my 55th reunion at Princeton. 
It includes various lectures by classmates. The next scheduled one is by Marty Seligman on “Science of Happiness: Changing Behavior for Good.”===JACK:  I like that joke---and it's true!  If you were asked to speak as a Princeton grad, what would be your topic?===FISH:  Organization design and management processes at the global level of large business enterprises.  That was also what I described to a pastor from Nova Scotia, who pointed a finger at me and exclaimed “You! You’re the epitome of evil!”  I was amused and felt complimented at being awarded such a high status. I can only guess at his background.===JACK:  I've always considered it to be a Badge of Honor when you referred to me as the Benevolent Dictator.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  seeing you doing Yoga might have the world laughing instead of fighting.  think about it:):):)===JACK:  Maybe I'm a candidate for Senior Yoga.===PAUL:  That would be fun!   I think?!?!===JACK:  SOTV, the church that has everything for everyone, must have Senior Yoga class.===PAUL:  i don't think we have that one but it could be on the drawing board.  (actually,  we did have a group using the building a few years ago for a Yoga class but it was not officially sponsored by the church.  and i am pretty sure it is no longer functioning).   i would like to see a Siesta Class every afternoon about 1:00.===JACK:  ZZZzzzzzz  

FROM BB IN CHGO:  I agree; though yoga is a noble pursuit that seems to benefit many people.
Last winter I finished an interesting book written by a (former) Episcopal pastor called, “Holy Envy”.  The book starts with her departing from her pastoral vocation and teaching “world religion” at the college level.   Rather than make the class a sheer academic endeavor, she attempts to inspire students to visit various houses of worship, meet religious leaders and members and try to understand and appreciate what the various spiritual traditions teach.  They’re looking at the sparks and touchpoints that each faith has which might make others “envious” of their spiritual practice or tradition.  It was an eye opener and an inspiration to me.===JACK:  If I were to teach at any level, I would choose World Religions.  A specific religion would be too limiting for me.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  When I was lots, lots younger, used to try to do yoga on a towel in front of the TV with some woman--I think her name was lilias but memory is foggy on this.  She sure did look peaceful and full of tranquility, me I was just trying to get my knees to touch the floor while in that sitting posture.  Believe I would have done better if I would have watched her and started as a toddler but we didn't have a TV then.  Finding that naps are helpful for peace and tranquility. ===JACK:  I wonder if there's such a thing as "Yoga While Lying in Bed?"

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS"  I do chair-yoga and also acupuncture.  I should be good!   Ha! ===JACK:  Acupuncture?  What does that do?  I have injections in each every 11 weeks, or so.  Does that count as acupuncture?  ===MARLYS:  No—injections don’t count!  Ha!  It can help with any problem.  At the moment she is treating me for a leg problem and also sleep problems.  She worked on allergies this time.  And the needles don’t hurt.  The best part is that I lay still for about 1/2 hour listening to very soothing music.  I really like it.===JACK:  I looked it up....According to the history of acupuncture, acupuncture practice began during the Stone Age when sharp-edged tools and stones were used to puncture and drain abscesses. Acupuncture was first recorded in the ancient Chinese medical text Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.
===MARLYS:  I don’t know why it works, but it does.  I first started going years ago for my asthma problems and my feet.  No problems there anymore.  I still go see my asthma Dr. Once a year and take medication—but that has been cut way down.  I don’t dare stop taking it because I don’t want the asthma to flare up!  Uff Da!===JACK:  Whatever works, works...even psychosomatic. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Does exercising the mind count?===JACK:  ...so, you liked taking tests in school?  Not me!





Thursday, May 30, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 5/30/19
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt.”  (RenĂ© Descartes)  A physicist that I knew would sit in his car while his daughter was in the church’s Sunday School.  I also knew the pastor of that church.  He came out and talked to the man.  


 FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Why do we confuse faith with religion?  I wonder if religion gets into the way of having faith?===JACK:  Faith and religion are two different things (like comparing apples and oranges).  "Religion" is a group or person trying to explain their concept of faith.  By nature, that explanation is imperfect, because, as a professor explained to me, "you can't unscrew the inscrutable!" 

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  had a discussion on my fb page yesterday as to whether a merciful god only allows christians into heaven... i say that is a man-made restriction. i am sharing your blog today. thanks!===JACK:  Jesus repeated common sense..."Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit."  I was very fortunate to have had good teachers.  I'm glad that in college my major was philosophy rather than religion.  It allowed me to see religion/faith in a wider view. ..Referring back to your comment, Heaven and who's there (and not there) are religious concepts and subject to debate with no definitive answer.===LIZ:  i agree... a lot can be lost in translation, as they say

FROM JB IN OLV::  My husband is in a Wednesday morning men's Bible study.  A church member who is a relatively new Christian is teaching it presently.  Evidently, there were several questions about who wrote the creation study....which the teacher responded with...it is in the Bible and that is how it happened!  Who cares who and when it was written!  I don't know how I can teach you anything if you don't already believe it!  I asked Bill if he was giving the guy a hard time...he said actually it wasn't just he that was asking questions.===JACK:  O my! 

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What an interesting story! Like C.S.Lewis, when he [pondered and overcame his doubts, he did a 360 turnabout!! Definitely one's faith gets a bump up, as doubts are  resolved, or set aside, in your faith journey!  We will always need faith to follow Christ; we will not
:"know, as we are known" until we pass over to the "Other Realm"!===JACK:  I'm generally suspicious of those "Bible people" who have all the answers. 

 FROM INDY GENIE:  Good quote...great story.  So...the pastor, who you knew, who went out to the car and talked to the man in the car....was that anyone I know?  Just curious!===JACK:  The pastor who did the inviting was Dr O.V. Anderson, a friend of mine.  The scientist was a friend of mine, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Wonderful words and a very moving story!  Just think, those few words led a man to God!  ===JACK:  Perhaps...to a better understanding of God.

  .  



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 5/29/19
“Press on.  Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”  (Ray Kroc)  I don’t know if they’re the best batteries, but a few days ago I bought some Energizers, partly because of that Bunny ad.  They keep going and going!  A woman came to Jesus asking for him to heal her daughter.  For some reason he refused.  But she persisted, and eventually her request was granted.  Prayer requests aren’t always answered immediately, so follow Ray Kroc’s advice.   ;-)  Jack 


 FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  and it all started with one little hamburger stand in CA, i think it was...===JACK:  I think he bought the name and concept from the McDonald brothers.  It was a small operation...probably more than one "joint."  I suppose you've eaten at McDonald's in other countries.  Is the taste the same?  we ate some of their ice cream cones in Indonesia in 1995.   it was soooo hot and humid outside that anything would have tasted good.   i have heard that they do alter their menus somewhat in places like China, etc.   also, did you know Ray only paid his secretary with stock for several years because they were short on cash.  she retired a multi-millionaire!    not bad work, if you can get it,  as they say.====JACK:  WWs has some interesting responses.  Read this nect one fro Gustir Marlys.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  As an interesting side light—my aunt Nina was Ray Kroc’s personal secretary for many years.===JACK:  WWs reader Paul said that Kroc paid his secretary in stock and that she retired as a millionaire.  Do you know if this is true?===MARLYS:  I do not.  They never had any children but took in several from Wheaton College.  I have a feeling that is where their money went.  She always dressed like a millionaire that is for sure.  They retired to Winewood Springs in Colorado Springs with a bunch of other Covenenters.  They belonged to the church that Warner Solmon (of the painting of Christ fame) belonged to.  They were always very good to me and my cousin too.  ===MORE:  She came from a family of 12 kids.  She was the last—the 9th girl—so they named her Nina!  She got to do all the things the other kids never could.  Interesting.  She was really pretty too


   FROM TAMPA SHIRL: One day at a time!===JACK:  Where did you learn that slogan?  It's a good one. ===SHIRL:   Since I got older I guess! Right now I have many graduations, birthdays, and great grandchildren and many trips! The iPhone is so great to keep everyone posted! Right now a grandson is flying to Hamburg to attend a meeting. Another family is leaving for two weeks in Europe this Sunday! ===JACK:  I wonder if there's a McDonald's in Hamburg, the city where the hamburger is said to have been invented?   

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How very true!  We press on toward whatever goals and prayers needed!===JACK:  Prayer (words) are good, but there are times (like now) when they need legs.  

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Jan (my twin) and I ate at McDonald's in London, Paris, & in Scotland...you always got a great cup of coffee!  Menu similar, but not as extensive as in US.. don't
often frequent MAC'S IN THE U.S. but this saying is true: persistence often beats out Talent in vying for jobs, acting roles, and athletic ability!===JACK:  Kroc was persistent in saying that "quality matters."  And that's true for more than a hamburger.  It;s basically true for your life and mine.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I always enjoy reading your Winning Words.  Today's are especially interesting to me.  Wondering if the reference regarding the woman coming to Jesus, asking him to heal her daughter, is from the story about the Canaanite woman in the Gospel of Matthew?  Actually, somehow I got hold of a whole dissertation written about this story, on amazon.com and, in that dissertation, the student makes a case that the woman was a Jewish proselyte, evidently women pagans could become Jewish proselytes and in the Jewish way of conversion, the person is asked three times in sort of a brusque manner about their sincerity or something, their seriousness and Jesus was doing this very sort of querying publicly in front of his disciples.  It seems that Jesus did heal the daughter but without compelling the Canaanite woman to convert more than she was converted into being Jewish-Christian or something--if I remember the study with any understanding.  Written to a Jewish-Christian community where there was all of this navigation as to what Jewish laws need to be abrogated in order to be a follower of Jesus, the story had a lot of meaning in the old days and evidently was preached on by some preacher in the Pseudo-Clementine times in the Third Century.  In our own times, when there is all of this shuffling about of folks between denominations and so forth and so forth and it almost seems like denominations wondering if the identity is to just be "Christian" or is there any value any more to even having a denominational identity which reflects some serious theological stands on theological issues, to me anyway--this story in the scriptures--where Jesus himself is involved in some sort of "navigating" of the Canaanite woman's religious identity carries volumes of meaning to me.  According to the dissertation anyway, Jesus seems to have been very sympathetic to the total context of this woman's life and, I believe, making it easier for her, not harder, for her to live in her community.  Strange you quoted this kind of quote today, Pastor Freed, never thought there would ever be any occasion for me to share some of my reading and interests on the subject of the Canaanite woman.===JACK:  That's all very interesting, but it all comes down to the question...Why dies God (seemingly) refuse to answer all of our prayers?  That feeling can be very stressful.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Jack’s Winning Words 5/28/19
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  (Dr. Seuss)  There’s no doubt about the last Monday in May.  It’s a day for remembering.  It began as a way to honor those (both blue and gray) who had died in the Civil War.  It has become a time to honor all military veterans…and now all loved ones.  At our community’s observance at the local cemetery, I’m moved as I see people standing by tombstones - remembering.   ;-)  Jack


FROM WALMART REV:  "lest we forget, God sent forth His Son!" 0;-)===JACK:  "Lest we forget" ...(the passage continues)..."that ALL the world.." amd that has a need for interpretation.===REV:  ...didn't I adequately cover that???? 0;-)===JACK:  I guess, as a Lutheran, I was trying to emphasize that ALL are saved by grace, not by our works (or even by our words).===REV:  My first thought centered around a couple of the popular "mega church" and nationally known media leaders declaring "all" are saved and teaching of a literally hell as a place of eternal judgement is no longer "en vogue". ===JACK:  "Saved by grace" means to me that salvation is up to God and (somehow) there will be a judgment where ALL will be dependent on "mercy."  I'll let God deal with the mega churches.  What I'm most concerned about is how God will deal with me.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  we had a very wet and windy day here but there were still a lot of folks who went to the cemetery to remember===JACK:  Memorial Day was a beautiful day in Michigan.  But those who want to remember are not encouraged or discouraged by the weather.  Tears are like raindrops.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  nearly every grave at davenport’s memorial park had flowers on saturday when i went to visit. due to all the rain, the grass was electric green... what a beautiful sight! ===JACK:  There's an Arabian Proverb..."All sunshine makes a desert."   Some people don't like cemeteries.  A walk among the tombstones helps me to remember.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It is a good day.  Good in the sense we remember!  This world is so full of distractions and we sometimes get too involved with ourselves.  We forget the people who enabled us to have this life.  God bless the men and women of the service!===JACK:  Memorial Day is part of a 3-day weekend that allows us to make some choices.  What are we going to do??

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  My childhood memory of Memorial Day is marching with a great band of people with our floral bouquets &  flags, from the Franklin Grove town square to the cemetery, and laying our flowers and flags on a veteran's grave, then hearing "taps" played by my uncle Ted on his trumpet, echoing throughout the cemetery. followed by an address by some orator. Then all the people visited right there at the cemetery, and had lemonade, cookies and ice cream!  We'd already come with my Mom to decorate all the family graves with roses, iris and peonies.  Jan  and I loved Memorial day, and felt so important running to find undecorated soldier's graves, and laying our flowers and flags to thank them for their service!  Franklin Grove was my beloved Grandpa Phillips home town, and where my mom was raised. The cemetery looked so festive decorated with all the fresh flowers and flags! :-)===JACK:  Yesterday my sister and I shared our memories of Memorial Day when we were children.  Peonies was one of them.  Trimming the grass on the gravesite.  Our dog chasing the gophers.  Going to the parade.  The sound of gunfire by the veterans' honor guard, and rushing for the empty shell casings as they fell to the ground...and a picnic afterward.