Sunday, September 30, 2012

Workplace Advice

Here are a few more pieces of workplace advice:

  • Arrive a little early. Stay a little late.
  • Never make excuses.
  • Don't interrupt people.
  • Choose not to attend every argument to which you are invited.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Never borrow or lend money to workmates.
  • Eliminate "can't" from your vocabulary.
  • Return phone calls, texts, and e-mails within 24 hours.
  • Confirm appointments.
  • Never disclose confidences.
  • Stay out of office politics.
  • Avoid office romances.
  • Say "Please," "thank you," and "pardon me" often.
  • Use your best manners at meals.
  • Don't take things, even little things, from work. It's stealing.
  • Be especially kind to people beneath you in the company's pecking order. Notice them and speak to them.
  • Smile a lot.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One of Those Days

Did you ever have one of "those" days? One when you "zigged" when the world around you was "zagging"? One when you looked at what was happening and said, "How could this be happening - again?" One when you felt like you were at the end of your rope, or possibly that there was no rope?

Chances are someone is listening to me right now who is feeling this kind of frustration and despair. If so, I've got good news for you.

You are a creature of great worth. Your life has real meaning. Most of the things that are frustrating and discouraging you today will not matter a year from now. Life will move on. Somehow you will survive, and the problems of today will fade into the background.

So breathe deeply. Relax. Let the tension drain out your fingers and toes. This is going to be a good day after all.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Have you ever had surgery? If so, did they put you to sleep?

Surgery is a simulation of death. We fear surgery for the same reasons we fear death. We fear losing consciousness, losing control, not waking up.

Notice the people who are on gurneys being pushed to surgery. Their heads are erect, off the pillow. No matter what they say, they are frightened. They fear that they are being pushed to their death – feet first.

Sometimes when I am with people prior to surgery, I get them to pray the old childhood prayer: "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

Somehow it helps.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Keep Your Job

Here are a few pieces of wisdom that might help you keep your job:

  • Know when to e-mail and when to talk to people in person. Err on the side of personal communication.
  • Never shop, do personal correspondence, or apply for another job on the company's computer.
  • Never forward non-work-related e-mails.
  • Use gender-neutral words in all of your written communication.
  • When your boss drops by for a visit, put everything aside and be attentive.
  • Know the names and faces of your company's top executives.
  • If you don't know something, don't expose your ignorance by saying something. Stay quiet.
  • Do what you say you will do. And do it right - the first time.
  • When people praise your performance, don't minimize. Just smile and say, "Thank you."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The standard railroad track is four feet, eight-and-one-half inches wide. Where do you suppose the railroads got such a strange measurement?

The first rail lines were built by the same people who built the tramways which preceded the railroads. And the trams were built with the same tools used for wagon transportation.

And why did wagon transportation use a four foot, eight-and-one-half inch wide spacing? Because the imperial Roman army used war chariots which had wheels that same width.

And why did the Romans use this measure? Because this is the average width of the rear end of the two horses which pulled an imperial chariot.

Isn't it amazing how many of our contemporary decisions are based on old, poorly-thought-out assumptions?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini was a famous twentieth-century escape artist. He claimed he could quickly free himself from any confining enclosure.

A group of people offered Houdini a challenge. They locked him up in a rural jail cell and challenged him to escape.

Once in the cell, Houdini removed a strong but flexible piece of metal from under his belt. Using the piece of metal he worked hard for 90 minutes to free himself, with no positive results. Frustrated, he labored another 90 minutes, with no success. By now he was soaked in sweat. Totally exhausted, Houdini fell against the door. To his utter surprise, the door opened. It was never locked - except in his mind.

There are some barriers in life that strain and stress cannot remove. Try believing that all the doors in life you will need to open will open for you.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Here are some gems that will help you at work:

When you're asked to do something that you don't know how to do, nod confidently, leave calmly, and go immediately to someone who knows how to do it.

The three most important parts of your job description are attitude, attitude, and attitude.

New bosses mean new rules. Adjust to the new rules and play by them.

Be prepared for meetings, and show up on time.

Prioritize your work by the 80/20 rule: do the 20% that gives you 80% of the results first.

When you are sick, stay home. But, if possible, don't get sick on Mondays or Fridays. Supervisors will be suspicious.

Learn the important skill of asking the right question. If you can ask the right question, you can help your group find the right answers.

Listen to people. It's the highest form of flattery.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mentally Healthy

How mentally healthy are you?

Here are seven characteristics of mentally healthy people:

  • They have a positive view of themselves.
  • They see value in all people as human beings regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or status.
  • They enjoy helping other people.
  • They have a realistic perception of the world.
  • They have a sense of humor. They are able to deal with paradox and complexity.
  • And they have a unifying, well-thought-out philosophy of life that defines their purpose for living.

How mentally healthy are you?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


If you are out of work or are looking for another job, here are some things to consider before a job interview:

Study the company's website, and, if possible, its annual report. Familiarize yourself with the company's mission, strategies, and goals. Be able to explain persuasively why you want to work there and why you would be an asset to the company.

Treat your resume as your first job assignment. Use it to put your best foot forward.

Keep samples of your work, letters from satisfied customers, positive performance appraisals, and letters of recommendation. Submit them with your resume.

Dress carefully. Smile. Look the interviewer in the eye. Be enthusiastic, confident, and upbeat. Do not say anything negative about anyone or anything.

Finally, be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. But, be careful what you say about your weaknesses.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Do you remember the scene in the movie, "Gladiator," when Maximus, the slave-general, stood before his men and called out, "What we do today echoes in eternity"?

Does that sound a bit grandiose? Is it possible that something we do in a moment of time could have an effect on all time? If we believed that, it would make a big difference today in what we did, and how we did it, wouldn't it?

Well, believe it or not, the things we do and say can have a ripple effect on the people around us. And what we do and say can affect what they do and say. In this way, what we do today can echo in eternity.

When I was a boy, a teacher said something to me that changed what I have told people for over 50 years. What she said to me then still echoes in eternity.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I like these quotes:

"Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences." Robert Louis Stevenson

"There are two ways to look at life: as if nothing is a miracle, and as if everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

"An empty head is not empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head." Eric Hoffer

"I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mohandas Gandhi

"There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you can enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it." Bertrand Russell

"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil." Hannah Arendt

"Better to shun the bait than to struggle in the snare." John Dryden

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Neighbor

Lately I have been remembering the days in 2008 when Hurricane Ike blew through the Houston area. Most Houstonians left town, but pastors are like ship captains: we have to be the last people off the ship. If a general evacuation has not been ordered and any of our flock are still in town, we have to stay.

Those were tough days. I rediscovered that without electricity, America is like a third world country. I also relearned how many modern conveniences we take for granted: ice cubes, warm shower water, air conditioning, refrigeration, the internet.

But many good things happened as a result of Ike. I discovered neighbors I had never known. Because we had a common enemy, the storm, strangers instantly bonded and helped one another. We cooked together, shared our meager resources, and told one another secrets -- like where to find gasoline and ice.

In some ways I was disappointed when the electricity came back on. Normalcy quickly made us forget to be grateful for simple blessings and what it means to be a good neighbor.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apollo 13

In 1990, two days into the Apollo 13 voyage to the moon, a tragedy occurred. The vehicle's primary oxygen tank exploded. Suddenly, carbon monoxide was building and usable oxygen was escaping. It was a life-or-death situation.

The three-person crew moved into the lunar module, the all-terrain vehicle they planned to use during the moon landing. The only problem was that it was only built for two persons.

Quickly the engineers at NASA and the astronauts in the spacecraft began collaborating on how to fix the problem. The astronauts raided small parts from many parts of the ship, added packing material, stuck it all together with some ever-useful duct tape, and managed to rig up an air filter good enough to get them safely home.

Many of the seemingly insurmountable problems we have can be resolved with some old-fashioned teamwork. All we need is commitment, creativity, and collaboration.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recent Ruminations

Here are a few recent ruminations:

  • Isn't it strange that we will watch people on our televisions who we would never invite into our homes
  • The only thing worse than not being married and wishing you were is being married and wishing you weren't.
  • Most politicians are buying something and selling something: they are buying votes and selling governmental services. The trick to getting elected is figuring out the right combination of interest groups with which to barter. Virtually everyone in America is part of several interest groups.
  • The best definition for "intimacy" is "into you see me."
  • There are three stages of friendship: seeing each other's virtues, seeing each other's faults, and two people seeing each other as they are and becoming friends.

Now a word from the pastor in me:

Live in such a way that when you die the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It is time for someone to say a good word for procrastination.

Our world is full of deadlines, late fees, demands for instant gratification. Computers trade millions of stock shares through high-speed programs every minute all over the world. Twenty-four hour news channels, blogs, and tweets constantly bombard us with information. Fifty-nine percent of Americans, including many professionals, are paid on an hourly basis, and so many feel like they can't afford to take a day off or to have a vacation. A quarter of Americans dine at fast food restaurants every day. Wasting time is considered a social sin.

But is it wise to be so obsessed with speed? Isn't there something to be said for wasting time, dithering, savoring, waiting? Don't we make better decisions when we think about it rather than making snap judgments? Isn't creativity dependent on the brain having enough slack time for bursts of insight to be generated?

What if Sam Houston had succumbed to the pressure on him to engage Santa Anna prematurely? Flavius Maximus, the Roman General, earned the nickname "the Delayer" because he chose to bide his time when Hannibal's army invaded. And he was victorious because of it.

Obviously it makes no sense to delay tackling issues that will grow worse if ignored, but most things can wait awhile.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You Know

A retail store owner kept a parrot near the front door. A man, accompanied by his homely wife, walked into the store one day. The parrot said to them, "Hey, you!"

The man replied, "What is it?"

The parrot exclaimed, "Your wife is ugly!"

The store owner immediately took the bird to a back room, slapped him, plucked out some of his feathers, and put him in a closet. Two weeks later, the owner, thinking the bird had learned his lesson, put him back by the front door.

And would you believe it? That same day, the man and his homely wife walked in the store. Again the parrot said, "Hey, you!" Again the man responded, "What is it?"

This time, the bird looked at the woman, hesitated, and said, "You know."

I love that story.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Anger is on the increase in our society. One of the reasons is that people want what they want, when they want it. And they feel entitled to it.

So when someone slows them down, or cuts them off, or when something goes wrong, their response is rage.

Dig below these outbursts of anger and what do you have? Self-centeredness. People are thinking only of themselves, their needs, desires, and schedules.

Somehow, we have to learn that the people around us are just like us. They have feelings, needs, longings, aspirations, schedules. If we could see them as human beings, rather than interruptions, perhaps we could learn to overcome our anger. Who knows, maybe we could learn to be considerate.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Punishment Enough

There is an old A.A. saying that I like: "Being them is punishment enough."

The saying is relevant when someone does something to you, and they seem to get away with it.

You have a choice: You can harbor ill will toward them, or you can forgive.

Ill will morphs from anger, to resentment, to bitterness. Bitterness poisons one's soul. It binds us, sours us, sickens us, paralyzes us, and imprisons us.

Forgiveness is a bitter alternative. Forgiveness doesn't mean they get away with it. It just means we turn their punishment over to the one who is called "the higher power" in A.A.

One punishment they will get for sure is that they will have to be them. Being them is punishment enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life Cycle

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations since the beginning of recorded history has been about 200 years. Our republic, founded in 1776, has survived longer than most.

According to the historian, Arnold Toynbee, all the great nations of history have passed through the same eight-part life cycle:

  • from bondage to spiritual faith
  • from spiritual faith to great courage
  • from courage to liberty
  • from liberty to abundance
  • from abundance to complacency
  • from complacency to apathy
  • from apathy to dependence
  • from dependence back to bondage

If Toynbee is correct, where is America in this sequence?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Have you noticed how people today use the word perfect?

The photographer snaps a picture of you and says, "Perfect." But when you look at the picture, it's anything but perfect.

You purchase a soft drink at a service station and present the cashier with the correct change. The cashier says, "Perfect."

You try on a dress at the department store, and the sales agent says, "Perfect."

It makes you wonder, doesn't it? No matter how you look at it, the word perfect overstates the case, stretches the truth, and amounts to an exaggeration.

I love to hear people tell me that what I am saying, doing, looking like is perfect. But in my heart of hearts, I know that I miss the mark. Like everyone else, I am imperfect.

Oh, that we fought undeserved praise as much as we do unfair criticism.

Monday, September 10, 2012


As a general rule, religious stereotypes are untrue and uncharitable. Here are a few of them:

  • Jews are smart, rich, and greedy.
  • Muslims are violent Jihadists and terrorists.
  • Mormons hate gays and practice polygamy.
  • Catholics worship statues, and their priests are child molesters.
  • Evangelical Christians believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

Please try not to believe, or to use, broad, sweeping generalizations about people and religious groups of which you have little understanding. Most of these stereotypes are not true.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ads Vs. Obituaries

I read the newspaper every day. Lately, I have been noticing the difference in the content of advertisements and obituaries.

Ads are about having great hair, teeth, sex, bodies. They are about eating good food, drinking good beverages, living in good houses, driving good cars. Advertisements are shallow, tensile, and hedonistic.

Obituaries are very different. They include none of these surface items. They contain realities like birth, character, achievements, relationships, and death. Obituaries are about who a person was and why their life had meaning.

Isn't it odd that most newspapers readers pay attention to ads and bypass obituaries?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

People's Favor

One of my favorite political stories dates back to Marvin Griffin's gubernatorial campaign in Georgia about 1958. Governor Griffin's strategy was to have huge barbecues on Election Day all over the state. He figured that if people ate his barbecue, they would vote for him.

The barbecues drew huge crowds, but when the votes were counted, his opponent, Carl Sanders, won.

A reporter asked Governor Griffin what happened. His response was classic: "They ate old Marvin's barbecue, but they voted for Carl."

The lesson is: You can't buy people's favor.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Here are a few more quotable quotes:

Joseph Epstein wrote, "We do not choose our parents. We did not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how to live."

Rudolf Dreikurs observed, "A great many people fall in love with a person who offers the least possibility of a harmonious union."

John Gardner wrote, "Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

Jack Gibbs said, "Self-confidence is the result of successfully surviving risk."

Garrison Keillor said, "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye - and deny it."

And I like this one. Sir Winston Churchill said, "I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs see us as equals."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Two Horses

I loved going to the Houston Rodeo when I was a boy.

I will never forget the fellow who came in near the end of the Grand Parade, riding around the ring with each of his feet on the back of a different white stallion. The band was playing "The Eyes of Texas;" he had a U.S. flag in one boot and a Texas flag in the other boot; and he was waving a ten-gallon hat.

I thought to myself, Wouldn't it be great to do that and to have everyone clap and shout for you?

As he rode by one section of stands, two little boys leaned over the rail: one waved a red nylon jacket, and the other stuck two fingers in his mouth and gave a shrill whistle. Instantly, both horses bucked and ran east and west. They hauled the rider off in an ambulance.

I learned a serious lesson that day: It is dangerous to ride two horses at the same time. We have to decide.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Swiss Goats

The Swiss say that in the mountains there are steep pathways where there is only room for one traveler. They say that often two goats, going in opposite directions, meet on these paths. When this happens the goats have a choice: they can butt heads, causing at least one, and perhaps both, to fall off a cliff; or one can kneel down and let the other step over.

It is sad to say but Swiss goats are smarter than people. Inevitably, one goat kneels and allows the other to pass over his body. We humans don't do that. We will lower our heads and collide with others even if it means our own destruction.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pacific Salmon

Do you know about the life cycle of the Pacific salmon? It is hatched in a little inland brook. As it grows, it begins to make its way into streams, then rivers, and finally into the Pacific Ocean. There it enjoys a wonderful life roaming the broad, powerful waves.

But for some unknown reason, one day a timer goes off in the salmon's head, and it makes its way from the ocean, to the river, to the stream, to the brook where it had been hatched. And there it dies.

They call it a homing instinct. The same instinct in the Pacific salmon exists in thousands of other creatures: pigeons, Monarch butterflies, geese, and the caribou, to mention a few.

And the same instincts are in each of us. The Good Book says it this way: "The creator has put eternity in our hearts."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quotable Quotes

Here are more quotable quotes.

John Gardner wrote, "We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems."

Mark Twain quipped, "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you do not want, desire what you do not like, and do what you had rather not do."

There is a Chinese proverb, "The leaving of something brings the true appreciation of it."

The French scientist-priest, Teilhard de Chardin observed, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

The writer William Somerset Maugham said, "People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise."

And Henry Kissinger was right when he said, "Ninety percent of politicians give the other ten percent a bad name."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Which Dog Will You Feed?

I love this quote from the Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw.

"A Native American elder once described his own inner struggle in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most."

Mr. Shaw was right. Inside each of us there is good and evil. They compete for control of our lives, and which one wins is determined by what we choose to think about, nurture, and obey.

So which dog will you choose to feed today?

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Many of us feel guilty about some of the bad decisions we have made. We did wrong, and we have suffered a banquet of consequences.

But has it ever occurred to you that if you had made other choices, they might not have worked out perfectly either?

Life is not mechanical. It is not about making all the right choices and living happily ever after.

No matter who we are, how great we are, we are going to make some bad choices. The good news is that there is a merciful supreme being who loves us and who uses even our worst mistakes for good in our lives and in the lives of others.

Besides, even when we make mistakes, life is not over. There are still choices to be made, and those choices will be woven into the fabric of our life's story.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Perhaps the two greatest words of wisdom I ever heard were uttered by philosophers.

Socrates said, "Know yourself." Know who you really are. Do not allow denial and self-deception to blind you from the truth about yourself.

Michel de Montaigne took it a little further. He wrote, "Be yourself." It is amazing how many people choose to live someone else's life rather than their own.

To be yourself, and nobody but yourself, in a world that is doing its best, day and night, to conform you to anything and everything but yourself, means to fight a hard battle - and to never stop fighting.

If you cannot be loyal to yourself, what can you be loyal to?

As Shakespeare put it, "This above all: to thine own self be true."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Favorite Quotes

Here are more of my favorite quotes:

One of Ben Franklin's maxims was, "Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship."

Psychiatrist William James wrote, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings may alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

Mahatma Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."

George Will, a political pundit and sports enthusiast, wrote, "Football is a mistake. It combines two of the worst elements of American life: violence and committee meetings."

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

And here is a Native American proverb: "It is easier to be brave at a distance."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


In 1923, a very important meeting was held at the Edgewater Hotel in Chicago. The world's most successful financiers attended the meeting: Charles Schwab, president of a large steel company; Samuel Insull, president of a large utility company; Howard Hopson, president of a large gas company; Arthur Cutten, the world's greatest wheat speculator; Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange; Jesse Livermore, a great Wall Street trader; Leon Fraser, president of an international bank; and Albert Fall, a member of the President's cabinet. It was a powerful group of people.

By 1948, twenty-five years later, each of these men was bankrupt - insolvent, penniless. Two of them went to prison; two committed suicide; one became insane.

Don't be overly impressed by wealthy people. Everything in life is temporary.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Writing on the Wall

Here are some words I have read on the walls of public bathrooms through the years.

"Don't throw cigarette butts in our urinal. We don't use your ashtrays as toilets."

"If pro is the opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress? It is Congress."

Below a sign which read Employees Must Wash Hands were the words, "I waited and waited. No one came, so I washed them myself."

How about this one: "To hell with Coca-Cola. This is the pause that refreshes."

Or this one: "Beer - helping ugly people find partners since 3472 B.C."

Another one read, "Patrons are requested to remain seated throughout the entire performance."

And a sign over the hand blow-dryer: "Push for a word from Congress."

Monday, August 27, 2012


Have you heard about the two friends who took a test one day? After the test was graded, the teacher called the two of them into her office to discuss their grades.

To one of the boys she said, "You missed only one question on the quiz. Congratulations, you made an A-minus."

To the other boy she said, "You missed only one question on the test, and you made an F."

Incensed, the second student exclaimed, "It's not fair. It's unjust. It's criminal. You can't give me an F. Like me, my friend missed one question, and you gave him an A-minus. You have to give me an A-minus."

The teacher explained, "Well, the difference is in the answer you gave to the question you both missed. Your friend answered, 'I don’t know.' You answered, 'I don't know either.'"

Intellectual theft is wrong, whether it is copying homework or cheating on a test.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Favorite Quotes

Here are some of my favorite quotes.

Eric Hopper, the longshoreman philosopher, observed, "The passion to get ahead is born of the fear of being left behind."

Philo of Alexandria wrote, "Be kind, for everyone you meet has a big problem."

The psychiatrist, Alfred Adler, said, "It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

Samuel Johnson, author of the first dictionary, said, "One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes people mistake words and thoughts."

And John Wayne is responsible for this one: "Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

I love Charles Dickens' immortal novel, A Tale of Two Cities. I especially like the closing scene.

The setting is Paris during the French Revolution - an era of confusion and chaos. All the friends of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were rounded up and executed by means of the guillotine.

Sydney Carton was a lawyer who had wasted his life. His client, Charles Darnay, was innocent, but since Carton failed to successfully defend him, Darnay was facing decapitation.

Sydney Carton went to the prison and exchanged clothes with Charles Darnay, thus setting him free.

The One I follow said, "Greater love has no one than this: that a person would lay down his life for a friend."

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Secret

Have you read Rhonda Byrne's best seller, The Secret? The thesis of the book is that our thoughts are magnetic. They send out a frequency into the unknown that attracts like things. If you think about wealth, you get wealth. If you think about sickness, you get sickness.

There is probably much truth in what Ms. Byrne is saying, but truth taken too far is error.

What about all the people who have bad things happen to them? The ones who are shot in war, are maimed in automobile accidents, are born with disabilities? Are they somehow responsible for these problems because of their negative thoughts? I don't think so.

When you read books and hear people talk, listen critically. Not everything people write and say that sounds right can stand the test of logic.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Random Thoughts

Here are a few more of my recent random thoughts:
We become most angry with our children when they are most like us.
Everyone needs to be a skeptic, especially of our skepticism.
Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good to the praise that would deceive them.
When we enable someone, we do them no favors. Enabling is disabling.
In the winter of our discontent, we often forget about the seeds of progress that lie dormant on the cold, hard ground ready for spring.
People seldom do evil so enthusiastically and completely as when they do it for religious causes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


When our sons were young, we took them to a petting zoo. While Jimmy and Jared were playing with the animals, I put a coin in one of the vending machines containing animal food.
No sooner had the grain started falling into my hand than I felt myself being jarred by one of the rams. I tried pushing him away. I tried moving away from him. Still, he stalked me. He wanted the food.
I suggested to one of the handlers that perhaps they were underfeeding the animals.
His response was classic. "Look at them," he said. "Do they look undernourished? They are fat! They are not hungry. They are greedy."
Reminds me of a lot of people I know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Timing is everything.
One day in February when I was a boy, I decided to trim the shrubbery. I labored hard an entire afternoon. When my mother came home from work, I proudly showed her the result of my hard work.
"Look what I did this afternoon, Mother," I said, pointing to the nearly bald shrubbery.
My mother started to cry. "Son," she said, "you pruned the azaleas just before they were about to bloom."
Life is not just about doing the right thing. It is about doing the right thing at the right time. If you do the right thing at the wrong time you create a mess.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Expediency is living as though the ends always justify the means. It is going along to get along.
A Jewish boy named Karl grew up in Germany in the early part of the twentieth century. His family was very religious. They attended synagogue services regularly.
Suddenly the family moved to another German city where there were fewer Jews, and a majority of the affluent, influential town leaders were Lutheran. Suddenly the family started attending the Lutheran Church.
Karl said to his father, "I thought we were Jewish."
"We are," replied his father, "but don't tell anyone. I want people to accept us."
The boy learned from his dad that religion is a matter of expediency.
The boy's full name was Karl Marx, the father of the Communist movement.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Here are some of my recent random thoughts:
If you really want to do something, you'll find a way; if you don't, you'll find an excuse.
If you make a big change on the inside, you will change on the outside; the opposite is not necessarily true.
Be gentle with the young and compassionate with the old; be sympathetic with the weak and tolerant with the strong. Why? Because at some time in your life, you will be each of these.
Experience is what you come to just after you need it.
The price of shallow sex is the loss of capacity for deep love.
We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. Who we are determines how we see others and the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Scrape the Toast

One day, an aunt of mine who was a school teacher was teaching her students about the importance of helping their parents with household chores. Each student was asked to share what they did to help their parents. One student volunteered, "I scrape the toast."
I like that. Someone in his family evidently was in the habit of overcooking the toast, and this child assumed the responsibility for scraping off the burned places.
I hope you have someone in your family or some close friend who covers your errors when you mess up. The Good Book says, Love covers a multitude of mistakes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fine Print

Don't you just hate how advertising is written in a way so as to fool you? If you don't read the fine print carefully, you are led to a false impression, and it takes a magnifying glass to read the advertiser's small print.
  • You know the deal-altering, small-print words I'm talking about:
  • Price subject to change
  • Quantities limited
  • Plus shipping and handling
  • Not all models available
  • Offer invalid after
  • Offer not good in Texas

It's exasperating. Don't be like those advertisers in your dealings with people. Say what you mean and mean what you say. People should never have to guess at what you really mean.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The purpose of tools is to assist the ones who operate them, not to control the operator. Unfortunately, some of us have forgotten that.
For example, do you feel compelled to answer your cell phone every time it rings? Don't you get tired of seeing people answer their phone when you are trying to talk to them? It says to us that anyone who happens to call is more important than we are.
What about e-mail and text messages? Do you feel duty-bound to respond immediately?
Tools are a good thing, but we should use them rather than be used by them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


We live in an era which is stark-raving mad about celebrities. We subscribe to magazines and watch TV programs to learn about them. We overpay for tickets to huge events to be with them.
I've known a few rich and famous persons in my lifetime. Most of them have been amazingly average, gifted in some ways, below average in other ways.
Why don't we focus our interest and attention on the truly remarkable people around us, the ones who make a huge difference in our lives? I'm referring, of course, to our families.
Some of us know more about the personal lives of our favorite movie stars and recording artists than we know about our parents. Why don't you develop a questionnaire and ask your folks some hard, revealing questions? After they recover from the shock, you may learn something.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

People Lie

Have you noticed all the TV ads offering to help you get hooked up with the perfect spouse? They invite you to contact them in order to review your compatibility matches online. Here is the bait they dangle in front of you: "Aren't you curious about who you are compatible with?"
Here is the problem with those ads: People lie. They lie about their height, weight, age, and education. They lie about their temperament and character. They even lie about whether or not they are married. They call them MBA's…married, but available.
I suppose it's okay to use the matching services, but don't just trust, verify.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Have you ever tried to play baseball? It's not as easy as it looks.
First, you hold a stick. The pitcher stands on a slightly raised mound exactly 60 feet, 6 inches away from you. The pitcher hurls a ball as fast as possible and with as much spin as possible. You have less than a half second to judge the pitch. Will it pass over the plate or not?
If you are lucky enough to hit the ball, there are nine players on the field who are trying their best to put you out.
No wonder even the best hitters fail to get on base most of the time. If you can manage it one-third of the time for a few years, you'll end up in the Hall of Fame.
Like life, baseball is not about perfection. It's about doing your best and making progress.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


As a boy growing up in Cedar Bayou, Texas, we made a trip to Houston twice a year. My mother shopped at the bargain basement of a downtown department store.
The thing I looked forward to about the semi-annual sojourn was riding the escalator. It was like Disneyland for a kid from the country. The stairs moved up automatically, folded into the floor, and reappeared at the bottom. It was like magic.
I observed people carefully on that escalator. There were two kinds of riders: handrail holders and non-handrail holders, cautious people and risk takers. I admired the ones who threw caution to the wind and thoughtlessly rode while eating cookies or carrying on conversations.
I guess there have always been those two kinds of people.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer Job

It was late spring of my sophomore year, and I still didn't have a summer job. Some people passed through my college town offering big wages, so I signed up.
They sent me to a sales school in Nashville, Tennessee, then on to Wilmington, North Carolina where I sold family Bibles door to door.
At the end of the summer, I had made the big payday which had been promised, but the most important things I gained were intangibles. I learned how to endure rejection and humiliation, even having dogs sent to attack me. I learned the importance of persistence, that if you focus on the things you can control and just stay at it, you are likely to be successful. Most importantly, I learned not to take it personally when people said, "No" to me.
I hope you, too, learn these lessons along the way.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I knew a woman years ago who was very dissatisfied in her marriage. She felt misunderstood, unappreciated, and taken for granted by her husband. She was a very angry woman. Frankly, I never expected the marriage to survive.
I saw her again last winter, and guess what? She's still married to the same man.
I asked her, "How's your marriage?"
"Pretty good," she answered.
I probed a little further. "Did he change?"
"Nope," she replied, "he's about the same. I changed. Now I understand him better and love him more."
She went on to explain that her change of attitude was the result of a spiritual awakening.
I've thought about that woman ever since. When her attitude and perspective changed, her relationship with her husband was altered.
Do you know the only person you can change is yourself?

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I was a freshman in college. We were on a basketball road trip. We were supposed to be locked up in the hotel room, resting for a game the next day, but at 2:00 a.m., my roommate and I were out roaming the streets.
Suddenly there were fire alarms. Firemen and fire trucks rushed to a building near our hotel. We went to check it out. We stood across the street and watched the building burn. I had never experienced anything quite like it. The heat was intense. We wanted to cross the street to get a better look at the fire, but we couldn't get any closer. The heat from the burning building drove us back. That's when I gained a respect for fire fighters. Sure they have special equipment, but one of the firemen on the scene died in the fire that night.
When there is a fire and you are trying to escape the building, have some respect for the folks who are coming in to get you and putting out the fire.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Olive Tree

Greece is the rockiest place on the face of the earth. The Greeks say that when God created the world, he had a bunch of rocks left over, so he threw them and made Greece.

The olive oil that grows in Greece is the world's finest. How is it luscious olives grow in such rocky soil? It is because olive trees do not require rich soil. Some people even say that the more distressed the soil, the better the olives.

I wish more people could take a lesson from the olive tree. Rather than complaining, whining, and griping about our circumstances, why don't we learn to flourish where we are planted? After all, isn't it true that difficulties and trials make us stronger and more fruitful?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Prejudice takes many forms. People discriminate on the basis of race, skin color, religion, ethnicity, social status, age and, yes, gender.

I grew up being angry about gender bias. It still makes my blood boil to hear fundamentalists from my religion, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all the rest relegate women to a second-class status.

My reasons for feeling this way are very personal. I was raised by a single mother. She worked hard to make a living for her mother and three children. Can you imagine how livid I was to learn that my mother made less money than her male counterparts simply because she was female? I grew up thinking that right is right, wrong is wrong, and this was wrong!

Prejudice, regardless of what form it takes, is wrong, and we all need to become less and less tolerant of it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Trustworthy Friends

Let me tell you a secret. Many of the people in prominent roles around you are not nearly as confident as they appear to be.

What are we to do when we are nervous and afraid? Whom can we talk to about our doubts and uncertainties? We cannot talk to our competitors, they will come in for the kill. We can't talk to our customers, they will bail on us. We shouldn't tell our problems to the employees, they will lose confidence in us.

Many of the leaders you think have their act together are just faking it. They are swans. They look cool and calm on the outside, but, underneath, they are paddling furiously for survival.

Everyone needs three or four trustworthy friends with whom they can bare their souls, tell everything to. It feels scary at first, but, trust me, you cannot get along without it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What You Think of Me

I have a friend who is fond of saying, "What you think of me is none of my business." In other words, don't try to find out what others think of you and when you do find out, don't let it define you.

That's easier said than done. Each of us has engaged in impression management, whether we admit it or not. Some of us try to appear to be better than we are. Others seek to appear worse, but we care what others think of us.

The problem with impression management is that it is a trap. We end up losing touch with our true selves and we don't even know it. We think we actually are the character we have chosen to play.

Somehow we have to find a way to get to know our true selves and learn to live as authentically as possible. Then we can say with my friend, "What you think of me is none of my business."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jazz Music

Do you like jazz music? Some people say it was the first truly American form of music.

In order to have a jazz band, you have to have two agreements. First, there has to be an agreement about who the lead is. Second, each musician has to have the freedom to improvise.

Every jazz concert is unique, because no one is sure how the music will come out. The band members are not playing off a musical score. They are making it up as they go along, so every presentation is an event which has never happened before and will never happen again.

Jazz music can either be magical or it can be chaotic. The outcome is dependent upon the musical participants following the leader and using their freedom to support the group. So it is with life.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I like the story of the farmer whose mule accidentally fell into an empty abandoned well. The farmer felt sad. He loved the mule, but there was no hope of his being able to pull the creature to safety. He decided to bury the mule alive, filling in the well with dirt.

Well, as the farmer shoveled in the dirt, the old mule shook it off and stepped on it. He kept doing it until he eventually stepped out of the well.

Along the way, you are going to have something bad happen. You are going to feel like you have fallen into a well. There will be people who give up on you. They will throw dirt on top of you, but just shake it off and keep looking higher and moving upward.

Everyone fails or goes through hard times. It is whether or not you have a quality called resiliency that makes the difference in life, in surrender, and survival.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


There was time when I had an answer to every question about God. I felt like I had to have an answer. People expected it of me. I was their pastor. I was supposed to be a fount of wisdom, a tower of knowledge.

I spent countless hours coming up with answers to every conceivable question; including questions no one was asking. After all, they might ask. I had a lust for certainty.

One day it occurred to me that I did not believe all my answers. That's when my carefully constructed answers started falling apart.

In its place, the Almighty One gave me a profound revelation that has brought great peace to my heart: I do not have to have an answer to every question.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland. When he arrived in this country in 1848, he was penniless. His first job was a bobbin boy in a cotton mill making $1.20 per week. By the time he died in 1919, he was one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Someone asked him what he would do if he lost all his wealth. His reply was classic: "If you took away all my money, but left me the people with whom I worked, I could rebuild my empire very quickly."

Carnegie knew that the keys to his success were his compatriots, his partners, his co-laborers. He clearly understood they were the key factors in his success.

Don't try to go it alone. You need people around you who you know you can count on; people you believe in and people who believe in you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Moment, Season or Lifetime

Someone once told me everyone you meet is in your life for a moment, for a season, or for a life time. I think that's right, and you never know which category a person is going to fall into when you meet them.

If they are in your life for a moment, enjoy the moment. If someone is in your life for a season, enjoy the season. Remember, the season is not over until you have learned what you were supposed to learn from the relationship.

Some folks are in your life for the duration. These people are the greatest treasures you possess.

A moment, a season, or a lifetime. People are what count most in life.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wilbur James

Wilbur James used to run a service station in the town where I grew up. People didn't think well of Wilbur. He drank, cussed, didn't go to church, and didn't engage in small talk. The rumor was that he had served time as a young man. Most folks were scared of him.

I always liked Wilbur. He was honest, hard-working, and he was the only one in our town who hired convicts. He believed everyone deserved a second chance, so he hired people who were fresh out of prison or on parole. He worked them hard, managed them carefully, taught them skills, and paid them fairly.

Wilbur was also a faithful husband and a loving father. I think the Almighty liked Wilbur James more than the folks who criticized him.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dizzy Dean

When I was a boy, Dizzy Dean did the commentary for the Baseball Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Old Dizzy was a colorful character and a pretty good sportscaster until about the seventh inning, when he was too drunk to make much sense. Pee Wee Reece took over then.

Dizzy had been one of the greatest pitchers in major league history. He claimed he was the best. "Braggin' ain't braggin' if you can do what you say you can do," he would say.

He got hit in the toe by a line drive during the 1937 All Star Game. Rather than wait for it to heal, he altered his pitch so that his toe would not hurt when he stepped forward on it. He ended up hurting his arm and had to retire from baseball.

Small things make a big difference, don't they?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Favorite Quotes

Here are more of my favorite quotes:

Gore Vidal says the origin of the word politics is: poly meaning many and ticks meaning blood sucking insects.

There is an old Texas Ranger saying that I like: "No one in the wrong can stand up against a fellow who's in the right and keeps on a-comin'."

Mother Teresa observed, "Self-knowledge produces humility."

Will Rogers said, "You may be on the right track, but if you are standing still, you are going to get run over."

Tom Bodell wrote, "The difference between school and life is easy. In school, you're taught a lesson and then you're given a test. In life, you get a test that teaches you a lesson."

Here's a Mexican proverb, "Nothing is ever lost. It just changes owners."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shopping Course

Someone needs to give a driver's education course to folks who use store shopping carts. Some of the worst drivers I've ever seen are in grocery stores. Here are some driving rules I would like to see my grocery store consider:

  • Stay in your lane; don't drive down the center of the aisle
  • Don't pass except in the wide lanes in the front and back of the store
  • Don't park in the aisles and abandon your cart
  • Keep moving forward; don't try to back up while in an aisle
  • Stay away from wheel chairs and carts driven by children
  • Count your items before entering the express lane
  • If you think of something else you needed while you are in the check-out lane, finish checking out, put your groceries in the car, and then reenter the store for the missing things; don't hold up the line
  • If you cause the checker to do a price check, apologize to the people behind you and quietly commit suicide.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Legal Age Limits

Legal age limits are a mystery to me. According to the US Constitution, you have to be 35 years of age to be the President. The age minimum for being a Senator is 30; you can be a member of the House of Representative if you're 25.

You have to be 21 to drink and 18 to smoke. You can't get into an R-rated movie unless you're 17, but you can drive in fourteen states if you are 14 years old. Texas will let you marry with your parents' consent at age 14.

Let me see if I've got this correct: You can get married in Texas three years before you can go to an R-rated movie, seven years before you can drink, and four years before you can smoke.

Does that make any sense to you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ice Cream

If I ran an ice cream shop, I'd post the following rules on the wall:

  • Pay before you are served; it's hard to hold ice cream and pay at the same time
  • Never try to handle more than two cones at one time
  • Don't try to walk and eat ice cream at the same time
  • If you have a beard, spoon your ice cream from a cup
  • Double decker's are twice as good, especially if you mix the flavors, but they are harder to manage
  • Lick, don't bite. Biting will freeze your teeth
  • Start licking on the sides to prevent dripping, then move to the top
  • Once the top is eaten, force the rest of the ice cream into the cone
  • Eat the ice cream impacted cone and try not to eat the paper that came with it
  • Finally, order another ice cream, and repeat the process

Don't you love eating ice cream?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The smartest thing I have ever heard or read spoken by a mere mortal came from the lips of a physically challenged man. Robert is not mentally retarded, but he cannot speak and all his physical movements are difficult. He spends most of his waking hours in a wheel chair that has a special computer attached to it. With great effort Robert can tap out messages via this computer.

Robert was born a healthy child. His physical challenges originated from a swimming pool accident when he was a child.

Robert participates in a very important ministry in our church called, "The Circle of Friends." One night while a person precious to Robert was feeding him supper, she asked him a candid question: "Does it bother you that your body does not work like other people's bodies?"

Robert's answer was brilliant: "My body is not a problem for me. It is a test for other people."

Here is the question you need to answer: When you look at people like Robert do you see a human being? Do you pass the test?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Little Man On It?

We live in a secular society. One can no longer assume that the average person we meet knows the language or symbols of our faith.

A friend of mine went to a mall department store not long ago to purchase a cross necklace for his wife. When he asked the clerk to show him the various options being offered for sale, she responded with a curious question: "Do you want a cross with or without a little man on it?"

The only thing the clerk knew was that some people preferred a crucifix (Catholics) and others like the image of the empty cross (Protestants). The "little man" the clerk was referring to, of course, was Jesus of Nazareth!

There was a time when everyone in America, including people from other religions, knew something about Jesus. That can no longer be assumed.

If you are a person of faith, don't assume people understand about Jesus. They probably do not know about him so it is our privilege and responsibility to tell them.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

You Can't Take it With You

When I was a boy my family and my Sunday school teachers would often remind me that you can't take anything with you to heaven. Even today I hear people saying things like, "There are no pockets in funeral shrouds," or "You'll never see a funeral Hurst pulling a U-Haul," or "You can't take it with you."

You may be surprised to discover that according to the "good book" you take something with you. The last book in the Bible says our "works" follow us! The word "works" refers to all the things we have said, done, and experienced; all the moments for which we have been fully present. The truth is if you were to go to heaven without these "works," it wouldn't really be you there.

If you added up all the moments in your live that you have been fully alive doing good, how much time would it amount to? Five minutes? One hour? Ten hours? No matter how you figure it, you haven't been fully alive, doing good cumulatively for very long. We have slept-walked through most of our life.

If you want to take a lot with you to the other side, wake up and start doing good things.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

You Know It's Hot...

You know it's hot when:

Scalding water comes instantly from both taps.

You break a sweat the instant you walk outside in the morning.

Potatoes cook in the ground, so you just pull them up and add butter.

Farmers feed there chickens ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs.

The cows are giving evaporated milk.

You can brew sun tea indoors.

Your car seat is an oven and your safety belt is a branding iron.

The highway asphalt is liquefying.

The Baptists baptizing by sprinkling, the Pentecostals are giving rain checks, the Methodists are using wet wipes, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to be turned back into water.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Recent Ruminations

Here are some of my recent ruminations:

Worry is the dark room where negatives grow.

Coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous.

A narrow mind is often accompanied by a big mouth.

The best way to have the last word is to apologize.

Train your child in the way he should go, and it ain't a bad idea to go that way yourself.

Remarrying your former spouse is like breaking back into jail.

Whoever invented the term "blended family" should be shot; two families can merge but they don't blend.

You can only be young once but you can be immature forever.

What goes around comes around, usually with interest.

Life is what happens while we are making plans.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Being Actively Present

Now and then I hear someone brag about being a "multi-tasker"- being able to do several different things at one time. I never believe a word of it. Multi-tasking is a myth. What people actually do is switch rapidly from one task to another, with varying degrees of inefficiency.

People's attempt at multi-tasking doesn't impress me. What impresses me is people who are able to be completely present for a person or a task. In our hurried, pressured world it is hard to concentrate ones full attention on what others are saying or to focus on a single task. It is more likely we will be thinking about what we are going to say in response or flit from one project to another, which means we are not present.

I attend a lot of sessions that require my focused attention. Sometimes I go from one session to another. If I am not careful my thought processes will bleed over from one session to the next or I will anticipate the next session. When this happens I am physically present but emotionally absent.

The most important form of self-denial is denying oneself the thoughts and actions that prevent us from being actively present.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Facing Fear

Were you ever afraid of a neighborhood dog? Did you ever hurry by a house because you were intimidated by their beast in the yard?

It happened to me when I was a little boy. One day, I got tired of running. Instead, I picked up a stick and charged my tormentor. Guess what? The dog ran away. He was terrified of me!

There are things just like that dog which we face every day. Like barking dogs, they frighten us. It is only when we stop running and face our fears that we overcome them.

Somewhere along the way I learned a dictum that is true: "Do that which you fear, and your fear will disappear."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Servant Leadership

It's fashionable today to talk about servant leadership. You read about it in business books. You hear about it in leadership seminars.

The problem is most business leaders are using servant-hood as a tactic to help them get ahead. It is more style than substance.

Here is the test for whether you are serious about servant-hood: How do you react when people treat you like a servant?

Real servants don't expect applause, a standing ovation, or a plaque. They don't wait for honors or a promotion. For the most part, servants are ignored, taken for granted, and unappreciated. No one ever thanks them. It is the nature of the office of servant.

Now, are you sure you are interested in servant leadership? Or is it just leadership you want?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ingredient Labels

I have a suggestion. Don't ever read the ingredient labels on the food products you buy at the grocery store. If you read the labels, it will make you sick at your stomach. You can't believe all the chemicals that are in our food; strange sounding, unpronounceable additives. A lot of the ingredients contain the word "acid" and end with "ic". Why can't they be more direct and honest and just say, "There are a lot of fake chemicals in this food that you are better off not knowing about."

Why are these additives needed? To add color, taste, texture. To keep them looking and tasting fresh even though they aren't.

You have two choices: Read the labels and feel sick, or skip the labels. I recommend not reading the labels.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vicious Cycle

Do you realize how much advertising comes into your home? Check out the Sunday newspaper. If you remove the advertising, there is hardly anything left.

Examine the magazines you receive. They contain mostly advertising.

Television is the same. Remove the advertising and a one hour program shrinks to less than forty minutes.

Ads are expensive, too. They cost a lot of money. How can companies afford all these expensive ads? They do this by jacking up the prices of the goods and services we buy. We pay for the ads at the checkout line.

Why don't companies stop advertising and reduce the price? Are they afraid you won't buy their product? They figure you buy it because it is advertised.

So, the vicious cycle goes on.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Safety and Simplicity

Don't you hate those child-proof bottles? They seem more adult-proof than child-proof to me. Manufacturers are putting everything from mouth wash to vitamins in them these days.

I try my best to follow the instructions: "Push down and turn to open," or, "Squeeze sides while turning." It might as well say, "Pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time." I end up trying to bite the plastic lid off or puncture it with a knife.

Sometimes in our effort to make life safe, we complicate it terribly. There is a place for safety, but it needs to be balanced with simplicity.

Friday, July 13, 2012


In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of the requirements of the law is that businesses and other public institutions had to set aside a certain number of parking places for people with physical disabilities.

Well, I know people who keep a handicap placard in their glove compartment and pull it out whenever they can't find a parking place close to the venue they want to attend. If these folks have handicaps, they are mental, not physical.

Evidently, the strategy is to get a doctor to issue a temporary permit because they are doing some form of rehab, and then use the permit permanently.

Whenever you see a fully mobile person parking in a handicap parking space, you have my permission to give them a shame on you look.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


In the early 1500's when Spanish navigators were exploring the coast of what we call the Yucatan Peninsula, they saw well-constructed buildings and went ashore. The native Mayan Indians came out to greet them.

The explorers asked in Spanish what the Indians called themselves. The Mayans had never seen Spaniards before or heard their language. They only spoke their own Mayan tongue.

The Indian replied, "Ci-u-than." In Mayan, it meant, "I don't understand you."

The Spaniards misheard the Mayans. They thought they had answered that the place was called, "Yucatan." Thus, the Yucatan Peninsula, the region of Mexico containing Cancun, got its name.

It makes you wonder how many things we take for granted as being true are based on misunderstandings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I know a man who once held a prestigious office. He retired early because his wife had a massive stroke. He quit his job to stay home and care for her.

I checked on him not long ago. During the conversation, I asked him how his wife was getting along. He said, "You know, I love her now more than I thought I did the day I married her."

What an astounding statement! She spends most of her time in a wheelchair. He bathes her, feeds her, and potties her the way he would for an infant child. She is no longer beautiful or sexy. So how can he love her more now than he thought he did the day he married her?

It's called commitment. It's the deepest form of love.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

R and R

Vacations and time off for rest and re-creation are as important as hard work.

Louis Brandeis, who was a Supreme Court Judge in the early part of the twentieth century, used to say, "I need rest. I find I can do a year's worth of work in eleven months, but not in twelve months."

Think about it. There are breaks taken in every aspect of life. In sports, there are rest periods and time outs. In formal meals, you're brought a sorbet or something else to cleanse the palate before the next course. Religion teaches us about Sabbath rest.

Taking time off for R and R is not laziness. It is essential for good health, sanity, and creativity.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Probe Deeper

When I am called on to do a funeral or memorial service, one of the things I always do is call the family together for a meeting. We plan the service and tell stories about the deceased. Every time I do one of these storytelling sessions, the same thing happens. People in the room who knew the deceased will say, "I didn't know that."

Weeks after the service when I talk to the family about how they are doing and what their take aways from the memorial experience were, they often say a similar thing. "I never realized all the things that father did, or what he meant to people." They had learned things about their loved ones from people who came to show their respect.

If you have a loved one, probe deeper. Get to know them better. Ask questions. One day you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stupid Promises

I have a theory about the people who are serving time in prison. Most of them are there because of vows they made to themselves - vows like:

"I'm not going to be poor anymore," or

"If he messes with me, my wife, my girlfriend, my child, or my friend again, I'm going to kill him."

These are inner vows they made to themselves. No one heard them or were aware of them.

So, when they broke the law, it appeared to outsiders they were doing something inconsistent, while actually they were acting consistently with their inner vows.

Be careful of the stupid promises you make to yourself: "I'll never..." or "Next time I'll...," and if you make a stupid promise to yourself, have the courage to break it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Recent Thoughts

Here are some recent thoughts which have crossed my mind:

  • Belly laughs are an instant vacation
  • Here's a formula to guarantee failure: Try to please everyone
  • Taking a few deep breaths during the day will calm your mind
  • Usually the best prepared person wins
  • The most important sex organ is the mind
  • No one is in charge of your happiness but you
  • If a relationship has to be a secret, you probably shouldn't be in it
  • Your children only have one chance for a happy childhood, so make it memorable

Friday, July 6, 2012

Time Management

Time management instructors often use a jar with a wide mouth as an illustration.

First, they fill up the jar with large rocks and say, "Is it full?" Most people say, "Yes."

Then they add small pebbles. As they shake the jar, the gravel fills up the spaces between the large rocks. They ask again, "Is it full?" "Yes," is the expected answer.

Then they add sand, again shaking the jar so that the particles find their place between the crevices.

Finally, water is added.

"Now, is the jar filled?" the expert asks. "Yes, it is completely filled," comes the reply.

Then the time management instructor makes his real point: "If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in." His point is, do the most important things on your agenda first or you'll never get them done.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Storms of Life

Susan and I once built a house on a fishing lake in central Georgia. We chose the house site carefully, saving as many trees as possible.

Beside the house was a majestic oak tree we particularly loved. One day as we arrived at our lakehouse, we discovered the tree had fallen during a winter storm. We were heart-sick.

But as I examined the tree more carefully, I discovered while it looked healthy on the outside, it was rotten on the inside. The storm had felled a dead tree.

A lot of people are like that tree. They look good to the outside world, but on the inside they are unhealthy, sick, and even dead. It is your core, your inner integrity which matters most in life. It is the only thing that will sustain you during the storms of life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


George Bernard Shaw once wrote these words: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."

Let me put this in another way. When you encounter a barrier which keeps you from the thing you want, it is there to see how much you really want to achieve your dream. If you want to get on the other side of the barrier badly enough, you will find a way over it, around it, or through it.

Marcus Aurelius said, "Nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence for its fulfillment."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Everyone Makes Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter how hard you try, you are going to screw up.

But there are two things you can do - two decisions you can make that will keep your mess up's from messing up your life.

First, do not ever engage in deception. Never try to make things appear to be different from what they are. There is nothing evil about screwing up. But slight of hand is evil.

Second, when you realize you have made a mistake, move quickly to admit it and make amends. This includes asking for forgiveness and forgiving yourself.

These two steps will prevent mistakes from becoming disasters.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Good Conversationalist

I went to a dinner party not long ago. Seated on one side of me was a bore, and on the other side was one of the most interesting conversationalists I've ever been around.

What was the difference between these two dinner guests? The bore talked about himself the whole night - what he owned, where he had gone on his last vacation, all the important people he knew. The brilliant conversationalist wanted to know about me. She kept probing to find out more about me. She seemed to think I was interesting and that I had a fascinating life.

Who do you like to be around? People who talk about themselves or people who seem interested in you?

Now you know how to become a good conversationalist.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Keep Practicing

The difference between a professional and an amateur is that pros make difficult things look easy. It is true in sports, in the arts, and in every profession.

But don't let the professionals fool you. They may have special gifts and aptitudes, but the thing that sets them apart is they practice, practice, practice.

People who want to be a "natural" - someone who has great proficiency but doesn't have to spend time honing their skills - never make it. They always wash out.

If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. And the only way to do it right is to keep practicing.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Random Ideas

Consider these random ideas that have crossed my mind recently:

Anyone who can read and follow directions can learn to cook.

Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're dead and gone.

We all have pain in life, but we don't have to be a source of pain for others.

People will forget your name and face, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

All truth is paradoxical, and when you try to explain it to other people, it sounds contradictory.

Whenever you decide something with an open, honest heart, you inevitably make the right decision.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle interruptions, traffic snarls, and flight delays.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Exit Ramp

Our family still laughs about a former baseball pitcher named Pasquale Perez. The Atlanta Braves carried him on their roster for a couple of years during the 1980's. It was Pasquale's first day to pitch for the Braves.

It was also his Major League debut. He never showed up. He was new to the city and no one showed him how to find the exit ramp nearest the baseball stadium. So he kept going around the Atlanta loop, the way the Griswold family kept circling Paris' Arc of Triumph in the movie, "European Vacation."

Poor Pasquale finally ran out of gas and someone took him to the baseball stadium. He arrived two hours after the game was over.

He reminds me of some people I know. They keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. They repeat the same destructive pattern because they can't seem to find the exit ramp.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Famous Quotes

Here are a few more quotable quotes:

"You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they do." Olin Mills

"The best way to lose a friend is to lend him money." Mark Twain

"He reminds me of the man who murdered both his parents, and then, when sentence was about to be pronounced, pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan." Abraham Lincoln

"People always have two reasons for doing what they do - a good reason and the real reason." J.P. Morgan

"It is not the man who has little, but the man who craves more, that is poor." Seneca

"The reason we are so pleased to find out other people's secret faults is that it distracts public attention from our own." Oscar Wilde

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wish I Had Given More

I once served a church in South Georgia which had a beautiful sanctuary. It was built in the early part of the twentieth century by the efforts and financial contributions of a man named Dr. McKenzie.

Dr. McKenzie came to town as a physician, but soon discovered he could make a better living for his family as a land broker. He became very wealthy, and, as I said earlier, used much of his wealth to build the church.

During the depression Dr. McKenzie suffered financial reversals, and ended up going broke.

Some of Dr. McKenzie's grandchildren were still alive while I was the pastor there. One day one of them told me about a discussion she had with Dr. McKenzie when he was an old man. "Grandaddy, are you sorry you gave so much money to build the church?" she asked. His answer was classic. "Are you kidding!" he exclaimed. "All I have now is what I gave away. I just wish I had given more."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Here are a few more of my recent random thoughts:

The best photographs anyone will ever take of you are your childhood pictures.

We have no one to blame but ourselves for Houston's traffic congestion.

People are always either motivated or defeated by their efficiencies.

Somewhere along the way, we all decide what is most important to us: things or people. We either use people and love things, or we love people and use things.

Choose to be around people who treat the waitress as well as they do the chairperson of the board.

Choose not to live by the maxim, I'll do anything once.

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Major Applewhite

The greatest quarterback in the history of Texas football, as far as I am concerned, was Major Applewhite. Regardless of which university you rooted for, you had to like that kid.

He wasn't very big. He didn't have a strong arm. But he was a great team leader.

As he approached his senior season at the University of Texas, he held every record in the book. Yet most of the year he sat on the bench, while a freshman phenom took his spot in the lineup. He never complained. He never second-guessed his coach. He settled for playing second fiddle. And he coached the young quarterback from the sideline. He said what mattered most was that the team won.

In the last game of his college career, the University of Texas was playing in the Holiday Bowl. The coach put him in the game, and he led the Longhorns to a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

May the spirit of Major Applewhite live in each of you today.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Dream

I had a great dream the other night. Everything in my life had finally worked out. My health, my family, my finances - everything was just perfect. No problems whatsoever. I wanted to stop the dream, put a bow around it, and make it permanent.

Here is the problem: It was a dream. Reality is quite different. In the real world, nothing stays fixed. People and things are forever in flux.

This means if things in your life are going well, great. Enjoy it, because it won't last forever. And if things in your life are going poorly, the good news is the circumstances are going to change. The constant in life is change. The idea that somewhere out there in the future things are going to be permanently Utopian - well, you'll have to wait on heaven for that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Don't you love people who are determined and whose determination drives them to do things others consider impossible?

I love the story about the man who spent the night with a friend. During the night it flooded.

He went out on his friend's front porch and saw an unusual sight. It was a hat flowing with the current, then doing an about face and flowing against the current, then repeating the sequence.

He asked his friend to explain the unusual sight. He said, "Oh, it's only granddad. He said come hell or high water he was going to mow the grass."

Don't you love people like that?

Don't listen to people who tell you your dreams are impossible. You are able to do more than you have ever been able to imagine.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quickly Forgotten

Let me tell you a grim secret: When you are dead and gone, most of the things you said and achieved, or that you considered to be significant, will be quickly forgotten. If there is anything you did which is remembered, it is likely to be something you would have considered as insignificant.

Does the name Clement Moore ring a bell? One hundred and fifty years ago, he was a world famous professor of ancient literature at Columbia University. He produced the first Hebrew Dictionary. But do you know what he is best remembered for? A children's Christmas poem he wrote for his children. It goes like this:

"'Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring,

Not even a mouse…"

Do you know what people will remember about you one day? Simple acts of kindness and generosity.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Someone Else's Script

Here are a few of my recent random thoughts:

Acting on the basis of conventional wisdom guarantees mediocrity.

When people rib you or give you a nickname, it means you finally belong.

Never date a person who is crazier than you are.

Greatness happens when three things come together: character, courage, and circumstances.

Do your best to remove the word impossible from your vocabulary.

You will never fully understand unconditional love until you are a parent.

Many people act out someone else's script in the epic of their life and never realize it.

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Most of us expect the large events of life to bring us happiness and joy. Actually it is the small, everyday aspects of life which bring us happiness.

If you want to increase your joy and contentment, start by opening your senses to the beauty around you. Notice the coming and going of the daily sun, the changes in the seasons. Become aware of the sounds, smells, and sights in nature.

Noticing these common, everyday events will help you feel connected to the earth and increase your sense of the wonder of being alive.

Take a few minute vacations throughout the day. Make a conscious effort to spend this time hearing the people and things around you, feeling gratitude, and meditating on the simple pleasures of life.

If you increase your awareness and appreciation of life, you'll begin to see miracles happening all around you. And it will increase your joy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If You Became Rich

An American businessman was visiting a fishing village in Mexico. He saw a single fisherman dock his tiny boat and carry off several large yellow-fin tuna.

He carried on a brief conversation with the fisherman and discovered he had very little ambition. He was catching only enough fish to survive and using his time to sleep late, play with his children, stroll in the village, and play his guitar.

"Let me help you develop a business plan," advised the American. "If you are willing to fish longer and harder, you can buy a larger boat, then add employees, then buy more boats. Who knows, you might even end up with a cannery. You'd be rich like me then. What would you do with your time if you became rich?"

The fisherman answered, "I'd sleep late, play with my children, stroll in the village, and play my guitar."

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Monday, June 18, 2012


In one of his books, Robert Fulghum tells a remarkable story.

He writes about the natives in the Solomon Islands who have a unique form of tree logging. If a tree is too big to be felled with an ax, the loggers start yelling at it.

Here is how they do it. They gather before daylight and surround the tree. Just as the sun is coming over the horizon, they start yelling at the top of their voices at the tree. They continue this practice every day for thirty days. After that time, it is believed that the tree dies on the inside. Yelling kills the spirit of the tree. Then it is easy to cut down.

There is a lot of truth in the theory of those Solomon Islanders. Yelling does kill people's spirits. When we yell at our spouses, our children, our neighbors, or people who cut us off on the highway, we kill their spirit.

We don't like it when people yell at us. Why would we do it to others?

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Here are a few more random thoughts that have come to me recently:

Nothing is more terrifying than ignorance in action.

There are no extended warranties in life.

There are things we never knew about our loved ones until they are dead.

One in a row is a good start.

Addictions refuse to negotiate with you.

It is impossible to anticipate all the problems you are going to face in life.

The best you can do is to live with confidence that when things go wrong, you will be all right.

Narcissism is like pornography: It is hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.

People say, "Do everything in moderation," but does that include moderation?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let's Be Honest

Let's be honest. Most of us are not good at expressing our deepest feelings.

I heard about a farmer from East Texas who was being examined on the witness stand by a Houston attorney. He had been hauling his favorite mule in a trailer behind his truck when an accident occurred. Initially the farmer had said he was okay, but later complained of a neck injury.

The lawyer pressed him about why he hadn't told the state trouper about his neck injury.

"It's pretty simple," the farmer answered. "My mule was in the ditch moaning, and the state patrolman shot her between the eyes. Then he came to me and asked, "How are you?" I said, "Just fine."

Often what we tell people is not the truth but what we think they want to hear, especially if we fear their anger.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Good Old Days

Now and then I'll hear someone engaging in nostalgia, pining for the good old days when things were less stressful.

The good old days they usually have in mind are the 1950's.

Well, I lived during the 1950's and things were not so great. Yes, life was less complicated, but it wasn't necessarily better.

In the 1950's, there were a lot of bad things in the shadows that have since come to light - racism, sexism, poverty, injustice. People died in the 1950's of diseases which can be cured today. People did not have air conditioning in those days. Can you imagine life in Houston without air conditioning?

Besides, it doesn't do any good to wish for the good old days. That water is long since under the bridge.

Here is a remarkable thought: today is the good old days people will talk about tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Funny Story

Do you want to hear a funny, true story?

A couple was going through a divorce because an online romance was discovered. Both the husband and the wife were carrying on torrid written relationships via the internet using fake names. She called herself, "Sweetie;" he called himself, "Prince of Joy."

They eventually decided to meet up. But there was no happy ending. You see, the person they had been writing to was their own spouse! The new love of their life ended up being their same old spouse.

Now they are both filing for divorce, with each accusing the other of unfaithfulness and betrayal.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. If your marriage is in trouble, chances are someone else will see in your spouse what you no longer see. Rather than divorcing, why don't you rediscover it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life is the Trip

I recall a conversation I had with my Mother when she was about 80 years old.

Because I was greatly impressed with the way she and my step-father were living their lives, I said, "I look forward to being an old man."

Quickly Mother responded, "Why?"

I answered, "Because I think I'll be a cool old man."

"No, son," Mother corrected me. "Don't look forward to being old. Learn to enjoy the age you are now."

Mother was trying to focus my thinking on the importance of living in the present moments rather than waiting for some future time to live.

Life is not some future destination we will reach someday. Life is the trip, all of it, including this moment we are sharing right now. Someone has rightly observed that today is not a dress rehearsal. It is life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dane Squires

Do you ever read the obituaries in the newspaper? What if one day you opened the paper, started reading the obituary section, and found your own death announcement. I'm not talking about reading the obituary of someone else with the same name. I'm talking about literally reading the announcement of your own death.

This is exactly what happened to Dane Squires. By the time he called the funeral home, the funeral was underway. The call arrived just before the body was loaded into a hearse for a one-way trip to the crematorium.

It seems some nameless drifter had been mistakenly identified as Squires after a commuter train accident.

I'll bet this was a sobering experience for Dane Squires. No word yet on whether the Squires family will get a refund from the funeral home, though.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lying is Wrong-Right?

Lying is wrong - right? Not just because your Momma told you so. It is a law written into the universe. All religions forbid lying.

But is lying always wrong?

Consider the lie told by an Italian physician during World War II. As the Gestapo entered the Jewish ghetto, the Gentile doctor gathered as many Jews as possible, 45 in all, into his small hospital. He admitted the Jews as patients, and wrote on their medical charts they were suffering from a made-up disease he called "K Syndrome." When the Nazis came to collect the Jews, he warned them that "K Syndrome" was highly contagious and deadly. He told them to enter the hospital at their own risk.

Afraid of contracting "K syndrome," the Nazis fled and never returned.

Should the good doctor have told the Nazi soldiers the truth?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Believing in Someone

Does the name Vinny Del Negro strike a bell? He played in the NBA for several years.

When Vinny was a high school senior, and Jim Valvano, coach of North Carolina State, was trying to recruit him, Valvano produced a fictitious video of an ACC championship game between the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State.

In the closing seconds of the game, Vinny Del Negro had the ball. The announcer said, "Del Negro puts up a shot. It's good! Del Negro wins the game! North Carolina State wins the ACC Championship!"

Vinny did go to North Carolina State, and four years later that is exactly what happened. There were 10 seconds left in the game. North Caroline State was down by one point, but they had the ball. Coach Valvano called time out.

He looked at De Negro and said, "Do you remember the video when you were a senior in high school?" Del Negro sank the shot, and North Caroline State won the ACC tournament.

Believing in someone is powerful.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


There is an Italian saying which advises us to speak nothing but good of the dead. The same should be said of the living. If we cannot say something good about people, we should say nothing at all.

It is easy to do harm to another person's good name under the guise of virtue. All we have to do is to preface our slander with remarks such as:

  • "I'm no saint myself, but…"
  • "She is really a wonderful person, but…"
  • "Don't tell anyone, but…"

You know my general rule about the word, "but": When you hear it, disregard what was said previously. Instead, when people slander others in our presence, we should object. After all, if they will slander others, they will probably slander us as well.

Friday, June 8, 2012

10,000 Hours

I must be the only person in America who has never watched American Idol on television. I have been a bit put off by the American Idol syndrome. It has led the populous to believe native talent and personality can make us an overnight success, that you can by-pass the hard work, preparation, and sacrifice that success ordinarily calls for.

The American Idol syndrome is an illusion, a mirage, a lie. If you want to be good at something, whether it is hitting a baseball, playing a piano, or doing surgery it takes discipline and lots of practice.

It requires what columnist David Brooks calls the 10,000 hour rule. Mr. Brooks rightly points out that we are not good at a thing until we have practiced for 10,000 hours. It is ok to have a hobby, but you are not going to be good at something unless you are willing to clock in the hours.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, has written a book called "How Will You Measure Your Life."

In it he recounts a story about when he was playing in the final game of a basketball tournament. He discovered that the final game was on Sunday, and he had made a religious promise when he was 16 years old that he would never play a competitive game on Sunday. He talked to his coach and teammates about his moral quandary. They told him that they needed, him and that the extenuating circumstances required a just this once exception to his rule. Christensen held to his conviction and said it was the most important decision of his life.

His final words about the incident still haunt me. He said he learned it is easier to keep your commitments 100% of the time than it is 98% of the time. He is right! And do you know why? Because life is one extenuating circumstance after another.

What commitments do you have that you are unwilling to compromise, ones you will maintain 100% of the time?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Famous Quotes

Here are some of my favorite quotes about being yourself:

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting." E. E. Cummings

"History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies." Alexis de Tocqueville

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Henry David Thoreau

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself." Harvey Fierstein

"What you think of me is none of my business." AA saying

"We are born originals. So why do so many of us die copies?" Edward Young

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost

"Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul." Michel de Montaigne

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One Trip or Two

Several years ago someone asked me to carry a huge load of objects of every size and weight to her car.

As it turned out, she didn't need help with the objects. She was doing an experiment to see if people would make one load and risk dropping something or make two smaller loads and place less stress on their body and the objects being carried.

Well, you can guess what I did. I attempted to make one trip.

I struggled under the load and even dropped one of the objects. Unfortunately this is characteristic of me. I tend to take on more than I can do, thus putting unnecessary stress on my mind, body, and spirit.

If the experiment had included you, would you have made one trip or two. The answer to this question may affect your health and longevity.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Toilet Paper

Here are some of my recent random thoughts:

If you don't transform your pain, you will transmit it.

Life is like a roll of toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

Ninety percent of the fish live in 10% of the water, so if you are not getting any bites, sooner or later it's time to move on.

A sharp tongue can cut your own throat.

The heaviest weight to carry is a grudge.

If you want to make the world a better place improve yourself and help your neighbor.

Some people say "familiarity breeds contempt." Maybe not, but it sure does take the edge off of admiration.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seven Property Laws

I have four grandchildren who are toddlers. I love my grandchildren, but toddlers are the most self-centered creatures in the universe. After observing my grandchildren for some time I am ready to codify the seven property laws for toddlers:

1. If I like it, it's mine.

2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

5. If I am doing something, all the pieces are mine.

6. If it looks just like mine, it's mine.

7. If I think it's mine, it's mine.

Greed and self-centeredness are acceptable for children, but they look ugly on adults. Do you like greedy people? What about selfish, self-centered people? Do you enjoy hanging around them? I doubt it. If none of us like greedy and selfish people, why would we want to be one?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What Wives Hear

Sometimes when men say things to their wives, the wives hear something entirely different.

For example, when a man says, "It's a guy thing," what the wife hears is, "There is no rational explanation for it."

When a husband says, "Can I help with dinner?" his wife hears, "What else needs to be put on the table?"

When a man says, "It would take too long to explain," what he means is, "I have no idea how it works"

When a man says, "Take a break, honey, you are working too hard," this being translated means, "I can't hear the TV because of the vacuum cleaner."

When a man says, "It's a good movie" it means there are guns, fist fights, fast cars, and sexy women.

When a man says, "I have my reasons for what I'm doing," he means "I hope I think of a good reason very soon."

And when a man asks, "What did I do this time?" he means, "What did you catch me doing this time?"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Public School Teacher

Being a public school teacher is a tough job.
 We ask our teachers to correct the students disruptive behavior, watch for signs of abuse, monitor dress, and instill in them a love for learning. They must check their backpacks for weapons and drugs, warn them about sexually transmitted diseases, encourage them about good sportsmanship, and raise their sense of self-esteem. A teacher's  job description includes making sure everyone gets a balanced diet, is checked regularly for head lice, is observed for signs of anti-social behavior, and passes the state exams. Teachers are expected to get along with the administration and faculty, enjoy PTA functions, be respected by students, and communicate with parents. They are to work hard during school hours, grade papers and do lesson plans at home, keep up with continuing education, and live on a salary that qualifies them or food stamps.
  What a job! No wonder they get the summer off!