Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Story about Love

A Story about Love

Let me tell you a story.

It was a mundane asylum as asylums go.  The room was small, with just enough space for a single bed and wash stand.  The walls were a paint-chipped version of dirty white.  The window was high up, beyond reach with strong bars securely covering the opening.

The occupant was an old man.  Most days, he sat on the edge of his bed and stared blankly at the wall.  His disheveled appearance frightened most people and his filthy garments hung loosely on his gaunt frame.  His now-white hair would win an award for “best bad hair day”, if such an award were given.

“DEMENTED” was the label he bore. 
          Out of his mind
               Of no use to society

Who knows what he once was?
Perhaps there was someone in this world who still loved him. 


But no one came to visit.
And no one sent him birthday cards.

Even today, no one remembers his name.

On the day he died, some words were found penciled on the wall near where he lay.

His version of these words were based on a Jewish songwriter’s poem penned in 1069 and called Hadamut.  These words later became the third verse of the song The Love of God by a Gentile songwriter (Frederick M. Lehman) based on the revision found in the asylum room just described above. 

Here are his words.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

If he was demented at the time he composed these lyrics, we would have to call him a Divine Madman.  Some say he composed these lyrics at a more lucid time in his life. 

What power, grace, and an overwhelming concept of love we see in this portrayal of The God of the Universe.

Thank you, Mr. Anonymous.

Our understanding of God is broader because of you.

Enjoy your moment of reveling in the great love of God.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Words of Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Monday, August 27, 2012

Courage Revisited

Courage Revisited

Love this quote by Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying
“I will try again tomorrow.”

Sometimes I win and sometimes my cheese falls off the cracker. 

Tomorrow is coming.  Tomorrow I get a do-over. 

Not all athletes won a medal in the Olympics.  I imagine that most of those wanna-be Olympians were hitting the gym or the sport of their destiny soon after returning home from London, with hopes and dreams of trying again tomorrow.

In one of the Rocky movies, the main character Rocky Balboa said this:

“Every champion was once a contender 
who refused to give up.”

These “champions” found it within themselves to face their tomorrows and try again. 

Champions were once contenders.

Are you a contender?
Maybe you can be a champion.

Face your fears.
     Learn from every loss.

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”  
(Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind)

Love this Steve Jobs quote. 

“Don't let the noise of others' opinions 
drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage 
to follow your heart and intuition.”

Ah, the courage to follow your own heart and intuition.”

Pretty significant concept. 

So, if you get beat up, dragged through the mud, stomped on, put down, ignored, mishandled, misled, misunderstood, and generally defeated and deflated, just wait until tomorrow.

Become the champion who used to be a contender.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grace Throws a Party

Grace Throws a Party
August 23, 2012

It’s story time.

Once upon a time there was a little girl name Molly.  She was a cutie as little girls go. 

Time passed and she grew.  And so did her beauty. 

Soon the party-life began.  She met some people, tried some new and different things.  And she was a hit. 

People flocked to her.

One man in particular took to her.  He became her guardian, her keeper.  He whisked her far from home to the big city and introduced her around.  Her fame and beauty grew and she was in demand – as a high-class hooker. 

After a few years she developed a cough.  Then a small pimple appeared on her face.  Soon her teeth started to yellow.

One day her keeper came in, kicked her out and left her without anything.

She struggled, living the life on the streets that she had been taught, and barely made two dollars meet in the middle.

When she was all used up she called home.  She called three times, and hung up each time the answering machine clicked on.

Finally, she left a short message.

“Momma.  Daddy.  It’s me – Molly.  Can I come home?  I’m gonna take the midnight bus next Tuesday.  Okay, bye.”

And she hung up. 

She wondered whether she should make the trip.  Maybe they were gone.  Maybe they were ignoring her.  Maybe they were mad at her.

As she made the trip up I-65 the rain fell on a dreary January night.  She road in silence, but her fears and doubts kept her company and whispered – “You have really messed up.  You are a loser.  You are not wanted.  No one will be there.”

As the bus pulled into the station, she took a deep breath and gathered her belongings. 

Down the steps she climbed.

She opened the door to the bus station and looked around.  It was dark inside.  She found a light switch, turned it on and the first thing she saw as a sign.  “Welcome home Baby Girl.”

And then she saw forty brothers, sisters, neighbors, and friends cheering and calling her name.  “Molly.  Molly.”

And out stepped her Daddy, arms wide open, receiving her into his embrace.

She cried.

He cried.

Molly tried to apologize.

“Daddy, I’m so sorry for … “

He stopped her.

“Hush now, Baby Girl.  We’ve got a party to go to, and you are the guest of honor.” 

That, my friend, is a picture of grace throwing a party.  It’s like the story of the prodigal son in the Bible.  (Luke 15:11-32)

Grace throws a party. 

It doesn’t condemn. 
Grace doesn’t ask forty questions before letting you in the gate. 

It simply welcomes you home from your wandering.
Grace throws its arms wide open and says,

“I’m glad you’re home where you belong.”

That is God.

He always looks for you.
He always wants you back home with him.
He always stands ready to receive you.
And He always, always, is ready to throw a party when you come home.

Isn’t it about time for you to come home from your wandering?  There’s a party waiting for you. 

And you’ll be received with open arms.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

PS. My friend. If you know of someone in need of the message of grace and hope contained in this blog, would you be so kind as to pass it along?  Thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lessons from Crayons

Lessons from Crayons

Behold the crayon.  It’s a simple creation.  Even an infant can use it.  And we can create lovely things with crayons. 

A person can learn a lot from a box of crayons. 

Some are sharp, some are dull
The sharp ones are sharp for two reasons. 
First, they’ve never been used, or used only a little.  So they still have their keen point. 

Second, if they have been used, they’ve regained their point because someone took the time to sharpen them.  Kind of like learning, reading a book, or listening to someone with more experience than you.

We can get our point back.  Just because we grow dull doesn’t mean we have to stay dull.  We have legs, a voice and a brain.  We can seek out help.  May we always be willing to get our point back.

Some are vivid colors.  Some are subdued. 
Crayons come in all colors.  We love pretty colors.  And we tend to use the “pretty” colors a lot.  But have you noticed that even the “other” colors get used also?  All crayons are useful.  Sometimes we need just the right amount of gray to finish off our drawing. 

Some have weird names.
I just found a web site that lists 133 different colors for crayons. 
Here are ten.

Atomic Tangerine            Banana Mania
Blue Green                      Burnt Sienna
Cerulean                          Cerise
Fuzzy Wuzzy                   Macaroni and Cheese
Razzmatazz                      Tickle Me Pink

Do you live in a different land?  Is your name different from mine?  That doesn’t make me better than you.  We’re just different.  My name is going to be strange to someone in Africa, or the Ukraine or a thousand other places.  You and I are unique individuals.  It’s okay to be “Razzmatazz” in a Banana Mania world, or whatever color your world is. 

The final point – They all live in the same box.
We are citizens of the world. 
     Everyone matters. 
          Everyone has an opinion. 
               Everyone deserves respect, kindness, and hope. 

We all live on the same planet.  I am responsible to my brothers and sisters in Iceland as much as I am for those in Iowa.  I must respect all, be considerate of all, and offer all citizens of this world a hand of friendship and kindness.  For we all have the same creator.

Every person has a purpose. 
Every person has value to our societies. 

You matter.
You belong.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Successful Failure

A Successful Failure
August 16, 2012

Apollo 13, the attempted landing on the moon was considered a Successful Failure.  What an anomaly.

Even though it did not land on the moon, it was a success in that the NASA team successfully brought our three astronauts home safely. 

Here are the problems they faced.
-A sharp bang and vibration
-Warning light accompanying the bang (main B-bus under volt)
-Warning lights indicating the loss of two of Apollo 13’s three fuel cells (primary source of electricity)
-One oxygen tank appeared to be completely empty,
-2nd oxygen tank was rapidly being depleted.
-Venting gas into space
-Crew attempted to close the hatch between the CM and the LM.
-Pressure in No. 1 oxygen tank continued to drift down, passing 300 psi
(Months later, after the accident investigation was complete, it was determined that when No. 2 tank blew, it either ruptured a line on the No. 1 tank or caused one of the valves to leak.  When the pressure reached 200 psi, the crew and ground controllers knew they would lose all oxygen, which meant that the last fuel cells would also die.

That is a whole passel of problems, wouldn’t you say?

But our story does not end there. 

NASA immediately moved into crises mode and began working the problems, and as we all know, they successfully brought our three astronauts home, ready to face other adventures.

It was a successful failure.

I’m amazed at how many successful failures we can recount.

Thomas Edison once joked, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that do not work”.  (He said that when trying to find all the elements needed in producing a successful light bulb.)

Michael Jordan did not make his high school basketball team.  Later, after he became THE MICHAEL JORDAN, he confessed, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted with the game-winning shot, and missed.  I have failed over and over again in my life.  That is why I succeeded.”

J.K. Rowling started writing her first Harry Potter book when she was a waitress.  She was living on public assistance, was divorced, and raising a child.  Her first manuscript was rejected twelve times.  She is now one of the 12th richest women in Great Britain.  She once said this, “Failure meant stripping away of the inessential.”

Henry Ford had problems.  He forgot to put a reverse gear in his first car, and the Edsel was famous for a hood that wouldn’t open, a horn that often got stuck, and doors that wouldn’t close.”

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and failed in his first business venture called Traf-O-Data, yet Microsoft became a household name and made him one of the richest men in the world.

Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade, had a horrible stuttering problem and lisp, and a long list of political failures prior to becoming Prime Minister at age 62. 

Vincent Van Gogh was not popular during his lifetime.  He only sold one painting while alive, and suffered with anxiety and mental illness.  Today he is credited with pioneering the Post Impressionism movement.  He painted over 900 well-known works, including seven that have fetched over $670 million each.suffered with anxiety and mental illness.  Today he is credited with pioneering the Post-Impressionism movement.  He painted over 900 well-known works, including seven that have fetched over $670 million each.

Are you a successful failure?  Failures happen, but what do we do with our failures?  I hope we turn them into education.

Tom Watson, former chairman and CEO of IBM, once said, 

"Want to be a success?  
Double your failure rate."

Failures hurt.  They sometimes cost a lot.  So it's a pretty good idea to get something out of all that work.  

Smart People learn from their failures.  
     They replay.
          They analyze.
     They make better and smarter plans.

And then they try again.

I wish for you abundant energy to try and try again.

Failure is not final.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Weight of Words

The Weight of Words

I never get very far from  this …

“People may forget what you did,
but they will never forget 
how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

Words weigh. 

They can weigh a ton or they can be as light as a feather, but they weigh on our hearts and minds after being spoken to us and by us.

How many times have we said,
“I wish I wouldn’t have said that.”
          Or –
“I should have said …

Once spoken, words can’t be recalled.  They can’t be changed, or erased.  They exist for the rest of our lives sometimes.

Words have power.

Power to arouse, enlighten, encourage, elevate, inspire, restore, redeem, remove, resolve.

If I could have one wish for this world, it would be that we find those good and wholesome words that empower people.  Enough with the putdowns, the pundits, the pompous posturing, the profundities, and the poisonous proclamations. 

We need men and women who know the value of a well-placed and well-stated word that changes for the better their corner of the world. 

-Bosses don’t have to use some of the language they choose.    
-Politicians don’t have to constantly belittle their opponent to get the point across. 
-Parents, young ears are listening to you all of the time.  What you say and how you say it must be guarded constantly.  Remember, you are molding a life. 

So, my friend. 
Weigh your words carefully and always.
Use words that build up, correct and improve without destroying the person in the process.

Words have power. 
You have power through words.

Can we trust you with this power?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Letters for Life

Letters for Life

This is an open letter to Adia and Eliot, or whatever your child’s name may be, both now as they begin a school year, and later, as they enter the work place.

Dear Adia and Eliot:
You will be going to pre-school soon.  We’ve watched over you, guided you, and nurtured you as you have grown and matured to reach this moment in your life.  We are so proud of you.

As you go to school, here are some thoughts to help you make it in this new world you will be facing.

-Play fair. 
   -Take turns.
      -Say please and thank you.

-If someone acts in an irritating way, simply say “No thank you.”
   -Don’t hit.
      -Eat as much of your lunch as you can.

-Enjoy art.
   -Paint outside the lines if you want. 
      -Use vivid colors.

-Know that I’ll be thinking of you all day long. 
   -I’ll say little prayers for you throughout the day.

-When I come to pick you up at the end of your day, I’ll run to you, throw my arms around you, kiss you, hug you, and want to hear every detail of your first day in school. 

-I won’t be mad if you get a grape stain on your new clothes. 
-I won’t mind the fresh scuff on your shoes. 

And years later, when you face the work place, remember …

      -Play fair.
   -Take turns getting onto the freeway.
-Go the speed limit

      -Don’t text and drive.
   -Show up on time.
-Call home occasionally.

      -Express yourself clearly and with conviction.
   -Know your limits.

      -Seek a mate with good character traits
   -Be courteous to others.
-Respect the opinions of others when they differ from yours.

-Learn some basics of other cultures.  You will rub elbows with those who dress and speak differently from you.  They will also think differently from you.

-Learn to think your own thoughts.  Listening to others, reading and the media are good sources for information, but don’t swallow everything you are fed.  Make it make sense to you through your own filters.

-Pray to God.  Everyone needs a God who is big enough.  Understand what that means.

And always know this – You are loved with a fierce love.

Signed _____

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Art of Human Kindness

The Art of Human Kindness

Let me tell you a true story.  I don’t know who wrote this for it has circulated the web before today, but it is timely nevertheless.

~ ~ ~
“When I was a freshman in high school, I saw a guy from my class walking home.  His name was Kyle.  He was carrying all of his books.

I thought, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?  He must really be a nerd.'

I had a busy weekend planned (parties, a football game) so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I walked on by, a bunch of kids came running toward Kyle.  They knocked his books out of his arms and tripped him into the dirt.  His glasses landed ten feet away.

When he got back to his feet, my heart went out to him, so I jogged over to help him retrieve his glasses.  There were tears in his eyes.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.  That was really mean.’

He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!'

I helped him pick up his books and asked where he lived.  He lived near me, but I had never seen him before.  He said he went to a private school before enrolling in the high school.

We struck up a conversation as we walked to our homes, and I helped carry some of his books.  That was the beginnings of what turned out to be a great friendship.

On Monday, Kyle was walking to school with his huge stack of books.

I said, 'Boy, you are gonna build some serious muscles with that pile of books everyday!’   He just laughed and handed me some books.

When we were seniors we began thinking about college.  Kyle chose Georgetown and I chose Duke.  He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian for our class, and that meant he was to give a speech on graduation day.  He was nervous about his speech, so I gently nudged him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!'  He looked at me, smiled and said ‘Thanks.'

As he started his speech, he said, “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through the tough years; parents, teachers, siblings, and most of all your friends.’

‘I want to tell you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them, and here’s why.’

He began telling the story of the first day we met.  He had planned to kill himself over the weekend, and had cleaned out his locker.  That is why he was carrying his stuff home.

He looked at me and gave me a quick smile. 

‘Thankfully, I was saved.  My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'  A gasp went through the crowd as this now-popular boy told about his plans to go home and commit suicide on the day we first met. 

I did not realize until that moment the depth of what had happened four years earlier on that day when Kyle and I had first met.” 

~ ~ ~

Human kindness takes so little from us, yet pays such rich dividends and it is the gift that keeps on giving. 

We can never underestimate the power of our actions.  With one small gesture we can change a person's life for the better.

Something to think about in every encounter.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Letters from God

Letters from God

If God were to write you a letter, what would it say? 

I've just finished writing my first book.  It is still in the editorial process and will be for three more passes before anyone will see it; however, I want to share two letters from this book. 

These letters are encouragement in nature and reflect an approachable God who wants nothing more than for us to come to him with our disappointments and joys and all else and just be with him.

I can relate to that kind of God.


Dear Child:

Here are some things you need to know about me.
   My hand is not shortened.
      My patience is expansive.
         My grace is sufficient.

   My strength is immense.
      My shoulders are broad.
         My arms are wide open in welcoming you.

   My smile is evident at the very thought of you.
      My storehouse is full of good things with you in mind.
         My gates are always open.

   My lights are always on.
      My knowledge is vast.
         My eyesight does not dim over time.

   I don’t remember your past sins.
      I know you by name.
         I have a furious love for you.

   My word is eternal.
     My promises are unchangeable.
        My heart is large enough for the whole world.

Can you grasp just a wee bit of how much I think of you?

I do.  You are never out of my care.



And now, one more.


Dear Child:

Today I want to remind you that I am here, now.  I am in all things.  I see all things.  I AM.

         When the tsunami hit Japan, I was there.
      When the recession came rolling along, I was there.
   When your child stubs her toe, I am there.

         When marital strife mucks up your life, I am there.
      When financial woes worry you, I am there.
   When bliss abounds, I am there.

         When the winds blow favorably upon your sails, I am there.
      When the parking space opens near the door, I am there.
   When your auto breaks down during rush hour, I am there.

Do you see?  I am with you always.

I’ll never leave you.  I’ll never abandon you.

I don’t keep you from bad things. 
          I keep you in the middle of bad things.

That is a difficult concept for some to grasp.  Nevertheless, it is so. 

I’m not a magic elixir. 
I’m not a lucky rabbit’s foot.
I’m not a genie who appears out of a bottle.

I am God. 

I have a future filled with hope already planned for you.
I am with you.

Rest in me. 

I am here.

Be at peace. 

All is well.


I hope you enjoyed these samples. 

Have a great week.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time