Incomparable you…

May 29, 2018

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this thought for the day – “Since you are like no other human being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”   (Brenda Ueland)

It’s amazing that so many people spend so much of their time trying to be like someone else, maybe dressing like them or trying to talk or act like them. That is especially true with youth who have yet to really discover and embrace who they arethe unique person that, in fact, fascinates others. Young people just want to “fit in”. What they Gothmay not yet fully understand is that they are fitting in by filling the unique role that they play as the individual that they are. It can be especially hard to understand if the person is what we would call “good looking’, yet insecure about themselves. Julia Roberts, of the movie Pretty Woman, related in a magazine interview how she was an awkward and insecure person as a teen.

Children can be cruel to those who are unique, often making them the targets of scorn or bullying. Sometimes those unique young people find refuge within groups of other outcasts. Sometimes their silent rage plays out in tragic acts of violence as we have seen bully.pngmuch too often lately. Then we see the back-stories of ostracism or bulling that led to the bad decision to strike back with violence. We hear from parents who didn’t see what was going on in their children’s lives. Sometimes we blame then for not stepping in and preventing the tragedy. In fact, it is a societal problem.

As a society, we have not fully embraced diversity and the acceptance of those who are not “like us”. In fact, we have been moving in the opposite direction, towards camps of like-minded people who fear or hate those who are not like them. That divide is very pronounced in our politics today, where the various beliefs predjuicesheld by group members have become “litmus tests” for those seeking their political support. It is sad that our prejudices and fears have now taken on a role of political power and divisiveness.

But, let’s get back to you, or me. We are each unique, incomparable to anyone else. If we accept that, the next step might be to ask yourself how you might share your uniqueness with the world to the betterment of all. You certainly have time and you can devote some of it to help others. You may have unique talents that can be put to work for the benefit of others. Since you are unique, you have a point of view not shared by anyone else in the world. Perhaps the world would benefit from your unique insights, so share them with others. Focus upon being this-is-methe best you that you can be, because the world doesn’t have another you. If you don’t be you, no one else can fill that role.

If you can start out each day happy with who you are and secure in the incomparable contribution that you are about to make in the lives of others, you will end each day with a sense of pride and accomplishment. You can make a difference today just because you are unique and no one else can fill you role. No one else can say, “Hi, how are you?” just like you do. No one else can offer the help that only you can give. No one else can give that great smile that you can give. Be happy. Be you. Have a great day – incomparable you.

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Stop and dream again…

May 21, 2018

In today’s installment of the blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote – “I wanted to be a bus driver when I was a kid…seeing it through the eyes of a little boy.”  (Jim Lehrer)

Jack went onto write about his dreams as a boy and related the fact that this was the 100th anniversary of the Greyhound Bus Line.

Do you recall your creams from your childhood? Do you still have dreams? All too often, when we “grown up” we put away our dreams and focus upon more practical matters. Some even lose the ability to dream about better times or exciting adventures. Like the kids in Peter Pan, we grow up and lose the ability to fly, if only in our minds. How sad is that?

We all need to have dreams, not just goals in life, not just that next promotion or that man daydreamingraise that we work towards; but, those wild and crazy and fun dreams that we had as children. We become excessively serious and boring if we restrain our imaginations and stop dreaming.

So, stop and take the time to dream. Let your mind lose to wander around in the impossible. Reach again for the things that you once dreamed about as a child. Let your imagination explore realms that can only exist in your mind. Break through the constraints of the dreamsreal world and be that person who can fly again.  Be there to make history or witness history being made. Be the bus driver, if only for a few moments.

Stop and dream again…


Looking for a superhero? Find Jesus instead.

May 14, 2018

In a recent post to his blog – Jack’s Winning Words – Jack referenced the time when Mohammed Ali (then called Cassius Clay) made the proclamation “I am the greatest”. I remember that evening and listening to the boxing match between Clay and the Cassius Clayformidable Sonny Liston. Nobody gave the young, brash Clay a chance against the bigger Liston, who had destroyed the former champion Floyd Patterson. When Clay made good on his boast that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” and knocked out Liston, he proclaimed to the world, in the post-fight interview with Howard Cosell that he was ”the greatest of all time”.

These days we are preoccupied with the super heroes that we see on the screen – Ironman, Thor, Wonder Woman, Superman and the Black Panther. We seem to need, and to revel in, the larger than life exploits of these heroes, many of whom have egos to match their super hero status.

In Jesus’ day the people were searching for (waiting for) a super hero (the Messiah) to come and lead them in triumph over their oppressors. Many believed that the Messiah would be a great warrior, possessing supernatural strength and powers. When that Messiah came in the form of a normal and humble man – Jesus – most could not believe that this was the “savior” that had been foretold. They did not see a might warrior riding into battle on a great horse, but a humble and modest man riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Many had heard of the miracles that he had performed, but they were acts of kindness and concern and not the winning of great battles or the vanquishing of foes.

The people then, as many do now, were looking for a superhero and what they got instead was Jesus, a man who could not even save himself and who died on a cross. When confronted by Pilot with the question “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus did not say, “I am the greatest of all time”; but rather answered humbly, “You say so.”  What most in his day did not see or hear about until later was that he rose again after three days and ascended into heaven. What they did not understand was that the foes that he fought on our behalf were sin and death.

Super_heroesSo, if you are looking for amusement, go see the latest super heroes movie or dress up and go to a convention and enjoy yourself; but, if you are looking for the only true super hero of all time to save you, look to Jesus. With Him on your side; there are no foes that can defeat you, not even death. Now that’s a super hero worth following.


Let’s make US bigger…get out and vote…

May 9, 2018

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack uses this quote – “All the people like us are, WE, and everyone else is, THEY.”  (Rudyard Kipling)

Recently, as a people, WE have let the differences that we use to differentiate WE from THEY dominate our conversations and our lives. We have let differences, whether real or perceived, split us into camps and set those camps at war with each other. Along the way, accountabilityWE lost the ability to find compromises; the desire through give and take to find enough common ground to allow for peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence. Instead, we have retreated further and further away from compromise and into heavily armed and fortified positions; our fortifications made up of hate, bigotry and arrogantdistrust and our weapons those of hateful speech and actions.

WE have even let that distrust and hate creep into our religions, where Jesus’ Great Commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” has devolved into “love only those who practice the same religious beliefs as WE do”. WE allow ourselves to distrust and hate Them – those who don’t practice our Christian faith. We become religious bigots and believe that our God is somehow different from the God that THEY pray to, just because they use a different name for Him. We allow the hand of man to get in the way of the hand of God.disagreement2

In reality thee is only US – the busy little creatures walking, riding and flying around on this little, insignificant ball of rock that is floating in the endless universe. If WE screw this up and destroy or home through pollution or wars or hate there is no THEM to blame, only US. If we are to save it for future generations, it will be US who make the changes needed and find the ways to live together in peace and harmony. That process begins when WE, in this camp, decide that WE need to find a way to reach out to THEM and seek compromise and peace. That starts by going back to the commandment predjuicesto love one another.

As with most things, the needed changes start with each of US. We must break away from the positions of hate and distrust that may have led us into one of the camps and start implementing Jesus commandment to love one another as He has lived us. Do not fear what you do not understand. Rather try to see what you can learn from that different point of view. You may never “understand”, but perhaps you can better appreciate the perspective on life from that point of view and find a way to compromise with it in peace and harmony. No good can come out of fear or hate because of the other person’s ethnicity, or color, or sexual preferences, or religion, or anything else that sets them apart. The enrichment of our lives comes from accepting and learning from those differences. We need not embrace their lifestyle to be enriched by it; but we do need tohands-across-the-gap love them and accept them as Jesus loved us. We need to include them in our US.

WE can all make US bigger this year by listening for and voting for those candidates who truly understand the concept of US rather than spouting venomous defenses of their positions against THEM. Both major parties have lots of WE vs THEM candidates. In fact, both parties have developed “litmus tests” for their potential candidates to help them “purify” and strengthen their positions of distrust and hate. Fortunately, there are still rational voices of moderation and compromise to be found. Seek them out and support them, no matter their party affiliation, for they are the only candidates who may be able to coalesce into a big enough US in the political middle to save US all. They will probably not have the strong support of their own parties, since they likely don’t cow-tow to the extreme party lines; but that is a good testament to their ability to do the right things to find compromise and achieve some level of harmony that is currently sadly lacking.

voteThis election season, let us all try to avoid the WE vs. THEM candidates and find the champions of US that are out there. Get out and vote for US.


Be that person…

May 2, 2018

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote – “Every man has three characters – that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.”  (Alphonse Karr)

I have a feeling that if Karr was alive today he might enjoy adding to his thoughts about character with this modern quote by J.W. Stevens – “Be the person your dog thinks you are!”

We are all somewhat conscious of the character that we are trying to portray to the jerkworld. Most of the time we are trying to appear to be normal and maybe even “cool” (or what we think is cool). Very few people set out each day to be perceived by others as being a dork or a jerk or anything negative, yet many achieve those distinctions through their actions and behavior.

I think Stevens advice may be the best of all. I don’t think your dog starts off thinking about you based upon looks or color and any of the other preconceptions that we allow to creep into our evaluations of people. Instead your dog is trying to give you unconditional love and just wants your attention, care and love in return. Your dog misses happy dogyou when you are gone and is happy when you return. He or she just wants to be accepted and welcomed into your “pack” and maybe be given an occasional treat and a pat on the head.

We can’t walk around patting others on the head and handing out treats, but we can greet them with a smile and a friendly hello. We can extend a hand, ask about their well-being and compliment them. In doing so, we become the person that they hoped they might meet today – someone friendly and open and interested in them. Hopefully, that will bring the character that you are exhibiting more in line with the character that you think you are. Few of us think of ourselves as cold, callous or unfriendly.

So set out today to be the person that your dog thinks you are and see if that doesn’t handshakework for you. Start by putting a smile on your face and being conscious that you are smiling. Greet others when you meet them, rather than just looking away. Resolve to take the time to greet and speak to those whom you already know and to make the effort to meet some new people today. See if being perceived as a friendlier and welcoming person doesn’t make you feel better at the end of the day. Perhaps you will even find that your day was more successful, because more people felt good about meeting and interacting with you.

Be that person who makes someone else’s day and it will make your day, too. Maybe then you will be the person that God hoped you would be.


What Maypole do you dance around?

May 1, 2018

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this delightful quote – “Life is like a Maypole.  Life is colorful  Bright  vibrant and always fun   For children and fools.”   (Mason Hartley)

Jack went on to tell about Maypole dancing in May in Scandinavia as a way to celebrate Maypole_Swedenthe end of winter and the arrival of Spring. In a larger sense, it is a metaphor for the celebration of life. As Hartley pointed out, children seem to find fun in life no matter what is going on around them. One can see that in the occasional news stories of children finding a way to play in the midst of war-torn countries. For them life is always fun, bright, colorful and full of things to discover.

Hartley seems to say that, in adulthood, only fools find the same wonder in each day. I would submit that it is not fools who can see the bright, vibrant hope in each day, but rather Christians who wake each morning and thank God for another day. God is our Maypole each day and we should celebrate each day that God has given us with joy and thanksgiving.

When we lose our childhood wonder and the ability to play and “grow up” to be a serious adult, we also lose some or all of our ability to dance around the Maypole. For many that includes losing touch with God. With the growth of the body comes the development of the mind and the rise of our ego. It is from that ego; that springs our need to feel like we are in control of things; and, in that, we lose touch with the God that we innocently accepted as children. We begin to think of each day as ours and not God’s. chasing moneyWe begin to believe that we can control things, manipulate things and decide outcomes to events and not to trust that God is in control. Many may substitute something new in place of the Maypole – success in business with promotions and more money – and dance around those goals in the belief that having more of everything will bring happiness.

It is only when we return to our belief in God that we are free to once again be happy, dance, and celebrate each day. When we finally say to ourselves and to God, “Not my will but thy will be done”, we can regain that childlike wonder at life and find a way to play again and enjoy the life that God has given us. No, we are not fools. Perhaps the fools are those around us who still think that they are in control of things and have lost contact with God.

If God is not at the center of your life, what Maypole are you dancing around? How’s thatgods-hands-2 working out for you? Don’t play the fool; return to the only true thing that you need to center your life around. Dance around God and be happy again, as if you were a child.

Have a wonderful day and find the time to dance.