Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Year - A Blank Page

2010 is here! What is it going to be like for you?

I like the beginning of any new year. We get a fresh page on which to write anything we want. We can create, dream, plan and go anywhere we want to go with a clean sheet.

As usual, I first reflect back on the year just closed. I keep meticulous records of our expenses and can tell you to the penny how much we spent on every line item of recurring expenses, as well as for groceries, meals eating out, clothes, dry cleaning, gas for our automobiles and other expenses. I also review my past journals and remember and reflect on the stuff of life that we have experienced in the past. Sometimes I laugh out loud at the situations in which I found myself, but mostly I’m trying to learn from the past and make my future better and more productive.

Questions I usually ask are:
How can I esteem my wife more?
How can I improve my relationships in my family?
How can I improve my relationship with God?
How can I improve my serve with my fellow human beings?
Where can I cut corners in spending?
What new ventures will I pursue?
What goals have I been pursuing that are worthwhile and should still be pursued?
What goals and dreams should I stop pursuing or have become obsolete?
How can I improve my life, my relationships, and my future?

You and I can certainly add to this list of starter questions.

To me, a new year is one big do-over. Remember doing that as a child? Maybe you missed a fly ball hit right into your glove, or you fell down just as you neared the finish line and you cried out “do-over!”

So, let’s do over in 2010. Some quality thinking time alone is a great way to begin this process. Let your imagination run wild, with nothing being off limits. What are your wants, wishes, and wanna-be dreams? What did you nearly accomplish in 2009 that you want to do better at in 2010?

I’m making my list and checking it twice. Join me. It’s a journey that will take you places you might not otherwise see and experience.

Michael Biggs is a speaker, writer, speech coach and vocal soloist. He lives in Edmonds, WA. with his wife Carolyn. His company is called Up-Words, “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time”. Michael’s business experiences include Director of Sales and Director of Marketing for three music publishing companies, Regional Director for Sylvan Learning Centers, and success in sales in retail, insurance and real estate. He is available to speak to your business or organization. Please contact him at 206-349-1888 or email him at

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Candlelight of Love

We attended a Christmas Eve service tonight with about 1200 others in Seattle. At the end of the service we passed the light that originated from the Christ candle. Watching the light spread reminded me of the power of love spreading. I made a renewed commitment to spread the light of love from my heart to others with whom I rub elbows this coming year.

I noticed that as the light was spread throughout the congregation, the room was filled with light so bright that each face glowed with the warmth and brightness of all of those love lights. One small candle with one tiny flame, reaching out and touching other candles brightened each face and each dark corner of that large church.

Light crushes darkness
Light chases gloom.
Light dispels despair.
Light shows the way.
Light replaces fear.
Light welcomes.
Light invites.
I want to do a lot more spreading of the light of love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Memory

When I was a kid, Christmas was a huge event for me. I loved everything about Christmas-the sights, the music, the gifts, the food and especially the family times when my brothers and sisters from out of town would come to our house.

I am one of ten children, and one of the characteristics of a large family is that you have to share almost everything. I especially know all about hand-me-down clothes.

My brother Donny and I even had to share a second-hand bicycle that we were given. It was a heavy, blue 26” Schwinn ladies model with balloon tires. Being the younger sibling, I don’t remember getting to ride this bicycle very much and longed for my own.

When I was nine, I got my very own bicycle. I remember that Christmas especially, for that was a huge gift in my life.

On Christmas Eve I decided to go outside and shoot some fire crackers before heading in for the night. Just as I lit a whole string of fire crackers a truck pulled into our driveway and the head lights aimed my way. My Dad came out of the house to greet the truck, saw me in the back yard and in his stern voice said, ‘Mike, get in the house right now.’

I didn’t know what was up, but I did notice that the truck was from the Easy-Pay Tire store in town. The Easy-Pay Tire Store was the catch-all store in Lewisburg for everything from tires and auto parts to bicycles, toys and footballs.

I knew that truck was bringing something special to our house for Christmas, but for whom I couldn’t guess.

Thirty minutes later some well-wishers came to our front door to greet Mom and Dad, so while they were distracted, I made a mad dash for the garage. I saw one of mom’s old quilts draped over something that I hadn’t noticed before. I slipped over, raised a corner of the quilt and to my surprise there sat a new bicycle. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.

Well, I couldn’t stay. I was fearful that Mom and Dad would find me, so I dropped the quilt corner and headed back inside, thrilled with my discovery.

Bedtime came, but I was far from sleepy, which was typical for me on Christmas Eve. To make matters worse, I had to share the bedroom with my Dad because we had a houseful of siblings visiting for Christmas. As was typical, Dad went to bed around 8:30 PM. Finally, around 11:00 PM I knew I needed to hit the sack, so off to bed I trudged. I wasn’t sleepy, but knew I would never be allowed to stay up all night, because Santa had to come and I couldn’t see him put our gifts under the tree.

After tossing and turning for two hours, I decided it was time to slip out of bed and see what great Christmas surprises were under our tree and in our living room.

Just as I slipped over the side of my bed, Dad’s voice stopped me. “Get back in bed!”

Dad had a deep, stern voice and no one argued with Dad, so back to bed I crawled. I finally drifted off to sleep -- for a couple of hours. Around 3:00 AM I awakened and decided it was time to try again. I could hear a steady breathing rhythm coming from Dad, so I felt the coast was clear.

I quietly put one leg out from under the covers, then the other, then threw back the covers, trying not to make the bedsprings squeak. I finally made it to my feet, gently opened the bedroom door and headed down the hall to the living room where the Christmas tree was.

There she sat -- a beautiful new ruby red bicycle with front and rear fenders, a two-speed gear shifter and a white seat. It was a 24” bicycle and it was the most beautiful bike in the world.

Of course I received other gifts that Christmas but they were all overshadowed by my new bicycle.

Oh, to be a child again. I hope you find the unexpected, the longed-for, and the wanted and needed gifts this holiday season. And I hope some of them are gifts of relationship, gifts of love, gifts of acceptance, gifts of peace and gifts of contentment.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Greetings

From Michael & Carolyn Biggs
The tree is up, the decorations sparkle,
the lights are glowing, the sights and smells
of the season abound, the wish lists are posted,
and anticipation is everywhere!

Peace on earth
Food for the hungry
Warmth for the cold
Rest for the weary
Safety in your travels
Jobs for the unemployed
Economic recovery for all
Light for those in darkness
Companionship for the lonely
Restoration of relationships
Good health for the suffering
Resolutions for the world’s ills
Peace in every area of your life
Encouragement for the discouraged
Grace to endure our human weaknesses
Generous people to help the less fortunate

The blessing of family
The blessing of faith
The blessing of love
The blessing of hope
The blessing of joy
The blessing of music
The blessing of peace
The blessing of giving
The blessing of sharing
The blessing of friends

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Acres of Diamonds

How would you like to own a diamond mind free and clear? Think of the wealth and prestige something like this would bring to your life. There is a popular classic inspirational book called Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell that talks about this. Here is a brief recap of the story. There was once a poor land owner named Ali Hafed who longed to be rich. He loved diamonds and felt if he could just find a diamond mine, his life would be complete. He was told that diamonds could be found where the mountains give way to streams with a white sandy bottom, so he sold his home, his farm and all of his belongings and went in search of diamonds in the mountains and streams of a far away land.

The man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm led his camel one day to drink from a garden brook, and as the camel put its nose into the shallow water, the new owner noticed a flash of red and blue light from the white sands of the stream. He pulled out a black stone that looked particularly appealing, took it home and placed it on his mantel and forgot about it.

A few days later an old priest visited the new land owner, and upon entering the man’s home he saw the black stone on the mantle he cried out, “Here is a diamond! Has Ali Hafed returned?”

As it turned out, Ali Hafed had owned acres of diamonds all along, yet he overlooked them and went off searching for what he already owned. The moral of the story: “what acres of diamonds do you already possess? What is beneath your feet, what talents do you already possess, what is within you that could become your acres of diamonds?”

Everyone stands in the middle of his own acres of diamonds. All we have to do is open our minds to see the abundance of opportunities before us?

Gemologists tell us that diamonds don’t look like diamonds in their rough state. They take polishing and chipping away the excess to get to the real value in a rock of diamonds. Can you relate to that?

Thirty years ago I was an aspiring writer and speaker with a lot of desire but not a lot of skill. Now, with practice and an investment of time I’ve developed some skills in these crafts. At one time my talents were so rough you would hardly recognize them as budding potentialities, but now, twenty or thirty years later people actually pause to listen and read some stuff that I produce.

One day, a few years ago, after reading Acres of Diamonds, I did some serious reflection as to the acres of diamonds that I might be overlooking in my own life. I decided to explore my work and my life to see if I possessed some acres of diamonds within.

We all own a brain free and clear. Just look at some of the amazing creations that have come from the minds of man: The Pyramids, the Wright brothers’ first flying machine and the first space capsule that landed on the moon sixty or more years later, medicines of all sorts for all kinds of ailments, art and literature, music and drama, structures and sculptors, computers that function at blazing speed, technological inventions in such abundance, and many millions of other beneficial creations. All of this came from the mind of mankind.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “Proceed as though limits to our abilities do not exist.” Some in our world have taken this Jesuit priest’s words to heart. Our abilities are limitless. We are capable of learning dozens of languages, memorizing volumes of encyclopedias, and that is just scratching the surface of our mental capabilities.

Now, how about you? What interests you, today, right now? What are your natural inclinations? What catches your attention when it comes to your life’s work? Have you had a thought about a better way of doing things, even something simple? Are you good with your hands? Are you a people person? Do you like computers? Are there new and innovative computer programs just awaiting your unique touch of creativity?

It all begins with the seed of an idea. Maybe your acres of diamonds are just below the surface of your conscious mind waiting to burst forth. Let’s go digging in our own backyards and see if we can uncover some of our acres of diamonds.

Here is what I’ve discovered in digging around in my own life. My "acres of diamonds" is to find ways to offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration one word at a time. I am happiest when I am in the people business.

The main question I grapple with on a daily basis is “how can I develop my people skills to a higher degree?” How can I better interact with every person with whom I come into contact? I want to find a way to make every person I meet feel important.

What about you? Have you found your acres of diamonds? Spend some time digging around in your own life. Pay attention to where your mind wanders when you have idle time. Notice your thought patterns. You’ll soon tune into ideas and thoughts that may well lead you to your Acres of Diamonds.

(To order a copy of Acres of Diamonds, please visit UP-Words Bookstore. The link is on the right side of this blog and can be found on page 2, upper left corner.)

Michael Biggs is a speaker, writer, speech coach and vocal soloist. He lives in Edmonds, WA. with his wife Carolyn. His company is called Up-Words, “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time”. He is available to speak to your business or organization. Please contact him at 206-349-1888 or email him at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FOCUS, Part Five

Welcome to “Focus” Part Five, the final submission on Focus. In preparation for this series of articles my photographer friend, Larry Curfman, from Centralia, WA provided some fine examples and metaphors to use as analogies.

At the end of our conversation, Larry said something that I wrote down but didn’t give much thought to until later. He said, “You can always come back to the original picture and manipulate the focus or the positioning.”

You can always come back to your business plan, once you have successfully launched some aspects of it, then focus on additional thoughts that compliment your dream and you now have time to pursue. You can continually come back to your original plan, your original focus for launching your enterprise.

I have the idea that someday I will self-publish books, videos and short stories that compliment Up-Words, but I don’t know today the exact look, feel and even the objective of those products. I just know that I want to include them in my inventory. Once I get other aspects of this business going I will then go back to the drawing board and create those products. I don’t have to have them today to do what I want to do in speaking and writing. Yet, my speaking and writing are the seeds for these products in my mind.

Determine what it is that you will focus on just for today.

Michael Biggs is a speaker, writer, speech coach and vocal soloist. He lives in Edmonds, WA. with his wife Carolyn. His company is called Up-Words, “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time”. Michael’s business experiences include Director of Sales and Director of Marketing for three music publishing companies, Regional Director for Sylvan Learning Centers, and success in sales in retail, insurance and real estate. He is available to speak to your business or organization. Please contact him at 206-349-1888 or email him at