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Are you willing to fail to succeed?

If it means failing a few times before you succeed are you in? I have written today’s question six different ways so far and the opening few lines have given me a really struggle. But I want to ask this question today and as much as it’s fighting back I think it’s a good one.

How many shots does a marksman take perfecting his aim?

How many miles does a marathoner log before getting to the starting line?

How many unfinished books are saved on millions of computers that are really good?

How many times does a gold medal ice skater fall?

If you knew you would hit the bulls eye, finish the race, make the Times Best Seller list or take home the gold would your day be different today?


Take the shot.

Put on your shoes.

Finish the book.

Reach for the gold.


What Can I Get Started For You Today?

Don’t you just love it when someone offers to fix you a cup of coffee? I’m not sure if she’s been instructed to greet customers by asking what she can get started for them or if that is just her way but it is so inviting without being pushy. It says “I see you and am ready to do my part to help you get exactly what you want this morning.” And then she waits for the creativity that each person desires in a cup or maybe from the pastry case. There is no telling what a person may be in the mood for even if they are regular customers with a predictable routine. They just might change it up on her and go totally rouge.  When she listens it’s for the details, caff, de-caf, non fat, soy, mocha, cappuccino, latte….the possible combinations are as varied and endless as the parade of people coming in and out of the door from “can’t see” in the morning to “shouldn’t be drinking caffeine” late at night.

Then there’s the hand off. She’s marked the code on the side of a cup and the next person in the process is responsible for taking action based on the what they have received. This is where the whole process hangs in the balance. Missing a notation or thinking they know what it is without really seeing it can result in not only wasted product and delay but the possibility of loosing the trust of the customer. After all, how hard is it to get a cup of coffee right?
You’d be surprised.
Everyday we are faced with hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to customize our little piece of the world. From what you choose to wear or not wear in the morning to what time you crawl into bed at night it’s just one decision after another. The person attempting to fill your cup to your specifications has decisions to make as well. Decisions that affect you. Deciding to show up for work…deciding to pay attention to your request…deciding to take a break instead of filling your order…deciding to thank you for coming in and wishing you a good day as they hand off your creative moment. Each of those decisions impacting in some way your day. After all, you made the decision to stop for that personally crafted cup of whatever. You could have just made it yourself at home and not allowed those people the opportunity to have impact on your day. But you did.
Everyday, in some way, you put yourself at the mercy of the decisions of others and, here’s the scary part, they put themselves at the mercy of the decisions you make.  When she asks what she can start for you there is the very real expectation that in a just a few minutes the well thought out process of ordering a cup of coffee with actually produce just the desired result, that all the components will fall into place and without giving it much, if any thought, on your part you will walk out with just such a delightful customized product made just the way you want it. And when you walk out the world is waiting. They are waiting for you. Waiting for your next creative direction. Waiting for you to take the hand off and produce just what was ordered. Waiting for you to decided to show up and fulfill your role.
Everyday you are handed an empty cup. What you decided to fill it with is entirely up to you. But there are those who are waiting to take your order, to get something started for you, to encourage you along your way.
What can I get started for you today?

Did you get the books?

Today I checked a friend’s Facebook page expecting to ask her if the books I sent had arrived. She lost her library last year in the tornadoes that ripped through Joplin. The past 8 months have been incredibly challenging for her. The lost of her home, the uncertainty and the hope just the past few weeks as things really started to come together. She mentioned in passing how excited she was that someone had given her a couple of books from her favorite series that were lost. I asked her which ones she was still missing and ordered them on Amazon. They were supposed to start being delivered on Monday. Monday was also the day she was going to orientation for her new job after spending the past week moving into her new duplex.

You probably know where this is going. Linda Roberts passed away Monday at her orientation.


Joplin Family Worship Center
Linda M. Roberts (Seevers) was a grief counselor who volunteered many hours at JFWC this past summer to help victims of the May 22 tornado. She surprised us all on Monday when she moved to heaven at her first day of employment during orientation. She had earned an M.Ed. on counseling from Evangel University and an M.Div. from AGTS, both in Springfield. Linda had a vocation to help others from Messenger College students to abused women and children. Affected herself by the tornado she had to move in a FEMA trailor, and was working hard to recover financially. Because of these struggles she had no life insurance. Her daughter and family, Joy and David Parkman, too, was affected by the tornado, losing both jobs from St. Johns Hospital and Home Depot.(both buildings were destroyed) Her son, Tommy lives in Kansas City and made several trips to help restore Joplin this past summer. This whole family are clearly servants of God and are in need of our help to be a good steward of their mother’s body. SO, In Leiu of flowers, the family has set up a memorial fund to cover the cost. The memorial/burial is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, based on their ability to pay the funeral home. JFWC has set up a memorial fund for those who desire to help this family. If you would like to help you can use the paypal on our website. Just mark it Memorial Fund and 100% will go to the cost of the funeral. Thank you, for reading. If you can’t give please offer a prayer up for this precious family. Blessings to all of you! (from Linda’s Facebook page)


Life is far shorter than we think. It’s more fragile and precious than we acknowledge moment to moment. In the past four months many I love have lost someone with no warning. One moment they were here and the next they were gone. I faced the very real possibility myself only weeks ago.

I am so glad I sent Linda the books. I know she didn’t get to enjoy them but she knew they were coming. She knew someone she had never met in person saw her heart and did something about it.

Maybe it’s not books in your life. Maybe it’s something else. And just maybe, like me, you’re supposed to be the one sending them out. Maybe it’s a card or flowers or a phone call. Maybe it’s just a simple post on Facebook.

But what if the thing you are really sending out is hope? and love? and joy? Put a stamp on it. Take the time. Be deliberate.

Send the books.


Is there another word for…



Just wondering…

When was the last time you had your eyes checked?

The past week I have been reading a book that has given me new insight and hopefully new “out-sight” as well. I read a lot. Most of my life I have wondered about people who don’t read or who read very little. There seems to be a major shift in the whole area of reading over the past 10 years or so. The advent of electronic media has bolstered distribution and made both writing and reading much more convenient. Just the fact that you are able to read what I’ve written this morning at your leisure on whatever device you selected is a luxury writers and readers have never had to the extent we do now.

But for all our reading and knowledge and insight I wonder if we have forgotten how to really see the world around us and the people in our little part of that ever-changing familiar.

If I were to ask you what color the car parked in front of your neighbor’s house this morning is would you know? If I were to ask you the make of  the car you parked next to at work or school this morning, would you know?

Can you tell me how tall your regular mailman is? Age? Male or female? What time is the delivery? Would you know if it was late?

One of the most challenging parts of eye-witness accounts is how much they can vary from person to person and how much point of view changes details remembered. Even more skewing than point of view is the focus or lack of focus the observer has on what is going on around them.

I wear corrective lenses. Sometimes that takes the form of glasses. Other times contact lenses correct my vision. But at my stage in life either solution is sufficient for all my vision needs. If I am wearing my glasses I have to take them off to read. If I am wearing my contacts I have to put on reading glasses to read. Short-sighted or far-sighted. Interesting terms.

So my question today is:

How’s your vision? Are you seeing things clearly? Do you need to put on glasses to see what’s right in front of your face? Or do you need to take them off? Have you stopped looking at the world around you?

Have you stopped looking at the hearts of the people around you because you think you already see them? When was the last time you really looked someone in the eyes? Really saw the woman at church who never speaks to anyone? Looked at the face of the man on the street corner? Saw the hurt or loneliness or forgiveness or fear in the eyes in the mirror?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to have your eyes checked. Do you need an appointment?


Are you in the big game?

For anyone who isn’t a football fan, there are two major games being played this afternoon. A grand total of four teams, 212 men plus the coaches and support staff, will take to the fields to contest their championships. The field of contest has a long history. The extension of training for actual battle played out with, hopefully, less lethal  resolution.

I’m sure it comes as no big surprise to you that I won’t be playing this afternoon. Nope. Not for the 49er’s, who are the nearest team to me. Not for the Giants or New England or whoever the fourth team is. I don’t have a spot on the starting line up. I don’t even have a jersey with my name across the back.

I won’t even be freezing in the cold and rainy seats watching the game in person. I will be home, warm and dry and comfy on my own couch watching the game in hi-def and possibly wearing my favorite pjs.

Professional sports exist because of spectators. Advertising and licensing, stadiums and concessions, broadcasters and retired athletes, all count on the people off the field to not only watch but put money into the whole system. Without the fans a major chunk of the American economy goes away.

So my question today is:

Are you in the game or in the stands? One of the pitchers for the San Francisco Giants  is holding out on his contract because they offered him $40,000,000 for two years of throwing the ball. He wants $44,000,000. They aren’t paying the guy in the cheap seats to show up. They’re charging him.

If you aren’t the starting pitcher or the MVP quarterback in your life you’re just a spectator. One of my relatives commented recently that his life was boring.

Time to get off the couch and get into the game? Because whether you suit up or not, there is a game today.

Is it worth waiting for?

Today I was listening to some women discuss a class and how many people were still on the wait list after a parent called and got verbally abusive because their kid hadn’t gotten in the class yet.

It got me thinking about the times I have been on a wait list for a class or a conference or even just waiting for a table at a restaurant. Looking for a cute little picture to illustrate waiting took me on a Wild Goose chase that brought me here:

 Transplant Waiting list candidates as of

today 8:08pm

All 112,794

Kidney     90,621

Pancreas   1,318

Kidney/Pancreas  2,128

Liver        16,082

Intestine      275

Heart           3,125

Lung      1,678

Heart/Lung    61

(All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs)

I don’t know about you but waiting for what I want is not nearly as pressing in light of those waiting for what they need. So next time you find yourself waiting consider if it’s really worth waiting for. Do you really need it or is it just something you would like?

And knowing that someone is waiting, have you filled out your donor card? Have you notified your next of kin about your desires? If not, what are you waiting for?

Got any fish?

One of my favorite people is hitting

a mile marker this week and

she has come up with an

absolutely inspired way of

celebrating the difference

she can and has made

in the world

by being here.

So today I’m asking you…

Do you have any “fish” you can send her way?


Who Wants A Beer?

This was making the rounds yesterday and I thought I would share it here in case it hadn’t made it to your computer screen yet.


The Tax System Explained in Beer

By admin | Published: JANUARY 12, 2012
Suppose that every day,
ten men go out for beer and
the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…



The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a  higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.  –   Professor of Economics.

What season are you in?

My boots are gathering dust. My toes are not strappy sandal ready and if one more weather person comments on what “a beautiful sunny day” we’re going to have I may start emailing tv stations.


We are in deep trouble. Our rain for this winter is at 25% and there is no snow in the mountains. California is dry and that means fire. Last year Texas suffered the longest driest summer on record. They haven’t recovered yet.

I personally need the rain. I need it to clear the air so I can breathe easier. I need the down time when staying inside being still and listening to the rain fall brings hope and refreshing. I need winter when the remains of last years harvest are cleared away and the new crops are waiting to be planted. I need the rhythm of the seasons to be reliable if not predictable.

My seasons are scrambled. It’s almost the middle of January and I have my office window open. The sky says “May or June” but my little boxes with all the things to do today insists it’s not. So what do you do when you miss a season?

There are many times I think large portions of my education both formally and socially were entirely missed growing up. Jumping from fall to spring without winter to recover. This year is my Jubilee year according to the Jewish tradition and this is supposed to be a year of great celebration. The harvest is not only plentiful but sufficient to carry over from the year of harvest through the year of celebration and through the year of planting before the next harvest. I look around and question my harvest. I question the seasons of drought and fire. I question the floods and the blizzards. I question the hurricanes and tornadoes that have battered my heart and my harvest.

Life has often been held up to the cycle of seasons with winter being the end. By that calendar it is July. The sky is clear and the fields are still wide open. But the land is so dry.

What season are you in?

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