Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Seed - Just a Seed

I’ve never been much of a gardener. Actually, I’ve never gardened in my life except when on occasion I have helped a relative with some weeding.

Nevertheless, I’m thankful for gardeners and the stuff they produce.

It all starts with the seed.

Mustard seeds are said to be some of the smallest of seeds, yet produce some of the biggest plants in the garden.

I want to be a seed planter. I write with one thought in mind – planting seeds of hope, encouragement, inspiration into the hearts and minds of my readers.

That is why I am a reader. Reading reveals that occasional nugget of truth which turns into the seed of an idea to mull over for awhile and then perhaps find ways to turn it into some good and wholesome thoughts for myself and others.

I’ve had a few seedlings planted into my life along the way. For those who follow Biblical teachings we all could spout a few hundred seeds of faith, hope and love.

Here are some thoughts that are recent seeds of an idea worth considering.

Seed A:
"I approve of myself." Not boastful, not showy, not self-righteous, but a healthy dose of self-acceptance. Replacing the old and worn negative, down-putting ideas with more lofty thoughts and ideas such as …
-You are worthy.
-You are an acceptable human being.
-You are somebody created in the image of a God who knows you    and loves you more than you could possibly think or know
-You can do so much more than you’ve ever allowed yourself to think and believe.

Seed B:
"I choose." I wrote a blog on this a few weeks ago. I never get far from this principle – our greatest power is the power to choose. We choose what we believe, what we eat, where we work, with whom we enter into relationships. Life is full of choices.

Our greatest power is the power to choose.

Seed C:
"You become what you think about." Earl Nightingale is famous for this exact phrasing of this thought, but many other thought-leaders down through history have espoused the same idea. Christ said it this way: “As a man thinketh, so is he.”

I have a two-part blog written on this one idea just waiting to be posted.

That’s a great seed!

Someone, at some point in time, planted into your mind the very principles you now hold onto. Are they good, and wholesome? Are they honest and true? Are they standing the test of times in your life?

Seeds are small, but look what they become.

-The seed of an acorn turns into a mighty oak.
-The seed of wanting to soar like a bird led to the Wright brothers and ultimately to space exploration.
-The seed of wanting to communicate easily with someone in the next room evolved into the telephone, and so much more.
-The seed to better serve mankind has led many worthy men and women into the life of public service.

-The seed of the principle that “all men are created equal” produced people like Martin Luther King.
-The seed of moveable type ultimately led to this laptop computer on which I lay down these characters, words and phrases.
-The seed of desire to create a world free of disease has led to the creation of countless cures.

Ministries have been founded on the seed of hope, redemption, and salvation.

Organizations offering products and services first begin in the minds and hearts of men and women and then grow to gigantic proportions.

Institutions of higher learning have all come from one person's idea to offer something more by exploring a deeper understanding of academic disciplines.

Good and wholesome causes have come from someone’s idea, someone’s spark of hope for bettering mankind.

Products have come into use because someone saw a need and filled it, but it began as a seed.

Never underestimate the power of one tiny seed, planted into the soil of acceptance and belief, nurtured with a steady hand of accurate thought and intelligence. What might the seed of an idea become?

That is a worthy question.

What might the seed
of an idea become?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sine Cere - Without Wax

Once upon a time in Italy, there were some less-than-honest sculptors who would make mistakes when sculpting and to hide their flaws they would fill their statues with wax, yet pass off their work as the real, unblemished thing. On a hot day the wax would melt and their deceit would be revealed.

The authentic master sculptors of that day would advertise their work as “Sine Cera” – “Without Wax”. In other words, “My Work Is True Blue, with integrity. No Flaws.”

What a way to live: Being an authentic person.

To be a person of value and to offer value I want to be “without wax”, an authentic representation of who I say I am.

What do I say about myself?

Am I an authentic me?

So my question is this. Am I acting in a way that is consistent with the principles I hold?

If I hold myself up to be a man of integrity, when I think that no one is watching, do I act and think like someone of integrity? Am I without wax?

People can tell whether you care or not. Am I acting and responding in a way with other people so that they know without a shadow of a doubt that I care? Does my integrity shine through?

I am a reader.  One book I’ve read recently is called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann. In it they state “The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself." Let’s offer an authentic representation of ourselves to our world.

I like giving gifts, especially good quality stuff that has enduring qualities and lasting value. My chief aim is to offer a true representation of who I say and believe myself to be.



                    Sine Cera

                              Without wax

William Shakespeare says:
“This above all: to thine own self be true;
and it must follow, as the night the day.
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I choose to live each day
without wax -- with authenticity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Glass Half Full

I wrote a “Closing Thought” recently for my weekly blog email group on the subject of “Transitions” and I used the phrase “the glass half-full.” I awoke the next morning with this thought still burning in my mind. What a concept – viewing the glass half-full.

Some say, especially advertising and marketing gurus, “It’s all about perception.”

We used to ask this question during product development meetings. “What is the perceived value of this product?”


“I perceive you as ___”

          “I perceive my life situation as ___”

                    “I perceive my job as ___.”

Dr. Bernie Siegel, author and noted medical professional, wrote a book a few years ago called Love, Medicine and Miracles. In it he tells the story of a man with an incurable illness. After a visit with his physician, the patient said, “Well, I guess that means I have about 5 or 10 thousand miles left in me.”

What a wonderful and fresh way to look at life.

"Five or ten thousand miles
        left in me…"

What does that mean exactly? I don’t know, and neither did the patient; but you can be assured he was looking at a glass half-full.

Half-full means there is still stuff in the glass. I can sip it slowly and savor it, or I can chug it all at once; but the bottom line is I still have some left. And I’m gonna live it, drink it, savor it, and enjoy every drop.

Half-empty sometimes means “Oh, I better slow down; horde the stuff for another day. Sometimes, “another day” never comes.

I love the thought of a glass half-full. There’s still something more. I am alive. I still breathe. I still live and think and love, and my heart still beats.

Half-full. I love that!

Yep. Give me another swig of life.

Now, where are we gonna go next month and next year?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Have you ever played the trust game?

The game goes like this: the participants all stand in a circle with the chosen one in the middle. The middle person is then asked to trust those in the circle and fall into their arms and allow them to move the trusting one around the circle without allowing him/her to fall down.

What an interesting experience. Some trust willingly. Others stand rigidly in the circle with their body language screaming “I don’t like this. I don’t trust you!”

Trust is earned, one encounter, one incident, one conversation at a time. And once earned, hold onto it for dear life. Guard it, protect it, and cherish it.

How many examples can we name today of individuals or corporations we fully trust?

I suppose we could fill many pages with people who have let us down.

Always guard the
sacred trust
others place in you.

Max Lucado, pastor of a church in San Antonio wrote a book called When God Whispers Your Name. Listen to this story.

“I stand six steps from the bed’s edge. My arms extended. Hands open. Sara, all four years of her, crouches like a playful kitten. She’s going to jump. But she’s not ready. I’m too close.

“Back more, Daddy,” she giggles and commands.

I dramatically comply, confessing admiration for her courage. After two giant steps I stop.

“More?” I ask.

Yes!” Sara squeals, as she bounces gleefully on the bed.

With each step she laughs and claps and motions for more. When I’m on the other side of the canyon, when I’m beyond the reach of mortal man, when I am but a tiny figure on the horizon, she stops me. “There, stop there."

“Are you sure?”

I’m sure,” she shouts.

I extend my arms. Once again she crouches, then springs.

Superman without a cape.

Skydiver without a chute.

Only her heart flies higher than her body. In that airborne instant her only hope is her father. If he proves weak, she’ll fall. If he proves cruel, she’ll crash. If he proves forgetful, she’ll tumble to the hard floor.

But such fear she does not know, for her father she does. She trusts him. Four years under the same roof have convinced her that he is reliable.

He is not superhuman, but he is strong.

          He is not holy, but he is good.

                  He is not brilliant, but he
                 doesn’t have to be to 
                 remember to catch 
                 his child when
                 she jumps.

And so she flies.

And so she soars.

And so he catches her

and the two of them rejoice
at the wedding of her trust
and his faithfulness.

Sara’s older sister, Andrea, was in the room watching and I asked Sara if she would jump to Andrea. Sara refused. I tried to convince her. She wouldn’t budge.

“Why not?” I asked.

I only jump into big arms.”

If we think the arms are weak, we won’t jump.

It’s all about T-R-U-S-T!

I have an investment counselor friend named Riz. I’ve known him for 2 years. I can trust him with my modest investments in a flash of a moment.

He is worthy of trust.

I worked with a man named Jim Tharp for ten years. He was my mentor, my pastor and my friend. He is one of the most integrity-filled men I know. I could trust Jim with my most intimate secrets and with my life.

He is worthy of trust.

I am married to Carolyn. After five years of knowing her, loving her, and experiencing life with her, she is someone that I look forward to seeing after a long and hard day. We talk, we share, we laugh, we trust.

Through it all, we love each other.

She is worthy of trust.

For people in sales, the most difficult part of our jobs is sometimes earning the trust of our potential customers. How do we go about doing that?

Here are some key words to focus on that may help.

  Accurate knowledge
          A smile
            Open body stance
              Direct eye contact

Who do you trust?

If the arms are weak, we won’t jump.
If we fear deceit, we won’t follow.
If we fear betrayal, we won’t trust.

Who do you trust?

Better question:
Are you and I agents of trust?