Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DC Vacation 2012

Monday Night, Nov 5,
We found the most pleasant DC cab driver named Hank.  We called him for four trips all over DC, and tonight after dinner we asked him to just take us on a night tour of DC so we could take some photos.  Enjoy them.
 The Lincoln Memorial in the far distance, framed by the WWII Memorial.

The Washington Monument

The US Capitol

Monday, Nov 5
We spent a good bit of time in the Holocaust Museum.  Sobering hardly captures the experience here.  What a sad story this museum represents.  The only picture I can post is of an exterior shot, photos were prohibited inside.

If you visit DC, this is a must-see.

And then the Air and Space Museum.  Lots to see here-somewhat mind boggling.

Sunday, Nov 4
Today was museum day.  We began at the National Archives Museum where the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Magna Carta are housed.

Unfortunately we couldn't snap pics inside, but here is an outside view of this massive museum.

In the Museum of Natural History we saw this little gem - The Hope Diamond.  Impressive.

Saturday, Nov 3

Today was a kick back day-recovery day.  We visited Arlington National Cemetery and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Very impressive.  Row after row of markers reminds me of those men and women who have sacrificed so much down through the years to preserve and protect the very freedoms I enjoy today.  Sobering and reflective moment.

Enjoyed a wonderful Mexican meal in Georgetown-name ??-but yummy.
DC has a bus system called the Circulator-cost $1 to ride every time you board.  Great price-convenient.  We also stopped at a famous cupcake shop-Georgetown Cupcakes-and brought four back to our room.  The wait in line was 25 minutes-was worth it we think.  

Tomorrow we do museums-going to see the Declaration of Independence and other famous stuff from the founding of our country.  More info tomorrow. 

Friday, Nov 2
Today we visited the US Capital Building where the Senators and Representatives hang out. Very opulent.  So much marble and lovely hardwood paneled walls and doors everywhere.  

The rotunda was impressive.  There are some wonderful statues of both marble and  bronze-wanted to share a few photos-but later.  

The tour is a worthy tour-we were guided by a staff person from Senator Murray's office.  

A word to the wise-wear comfortable shoes and do a bit of physical conditioning before coming to DC.  You will walk a few miles.

Thurs. Nov 1
Our day  began innocently enough with a ride on the DC Metro Subway system.  Finally figured out the ticketing system, boarded and we are on our way. 
First stop-White House Tour:
Saw The Green Room, The Blue Room, The Red Room, The Bath Room (oops, sorry-not correct-did you know there are 35 br's in the WH?)
Impressive little cottage.  

You must take a Segway tour the next time you do DC.  What a  blast.  

Absolutely loved Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Korean War Memorial

WWII Memorial.

And so many others. 

Fri will be museum day.  

Wed. Oct. 31
Travel day, left Seattle at 6AM.

Arrive Baltimore at 320PM

Met our hosts at their home and took them to dinner, and then drove downtown Baltimore just to see the sights.

Drove by and around Johns Hopkins Hospital and University.  Impressive
Tomorrow-tour the White House, rent Segway's and tour Washington Mall area see what other adventures we can have.

Michael  Biggs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Loving and Being Loved

To love and be loved is enough.

What an amazing thought. 

Have you ever had enough? 
Have you ever felt you were enough?

What this statement says to me is this …
-My life is not about awards
   -Or money
      -Or houses
         -Or positions and titles

-It’s not about where I've been
   -Or whom I've met
      -Or what cloths I wear

Life is about love – connection – relationships.

Hillary Clinton made a remarkable statement at a town hall meeting in Seoul, South Korea.  The large crowd of 2,000 people, plus millions more watching on South Korean television, seemed to hang onto every word she said.  She sounded more like an advice columnist than a Secretary of State for the United States of America.  Here are two gems from her talk.

“Personal relationships are really what’s important in life.”

And then she related this short quote from a scientist friend of hers (un-named unfortunately)

“I have loved and been loved.  All the rest is background music.”

When it comes down to the essentials in life, it becomes about love and relating and relationships. 

I think that is a pretty grand way to live one’s life.

How do we extrapolate this into today’s lifestyle?

We find ways of relating and accepting each other as creatures that have a life, a voice, an opinion and thought processes.  We may look different, speak a different language and dress differently, yet we are individuals and we have a voice and our voices matter.

And we come back to the essentials. 

To love and be loved

Could the world’s ills be cured by this one simple fact?

I wonder.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When Gremlins Speak

Some of us have heard Gremlin voices a thousand times, and the words are killing us inside.

They sound like this …
“You’re not good enough. “
“I know things that happened to you growing up.”
“I saw what you did in 3rd grade, or during your senior year, or on that job site at the lake, or-or-or.”

“You just think you’re somebody.  Well let me tell you …”
“Who do you think you are?”
“You’re nothing special.”

What are these voices doing?  They are trying to shame us.

Sometimes I give voice to the gremlins.  I become the critic and shame myself.
“I’ll never be good enough.”
“Oh I don’t deserve that.”
“Oh I could never do that.”
“Who do I think I am?”
“I can’t pull that off.”

Here’s the point:
We occasionally do bad things.
That does not mean we are bad people.

Quiet the voice that says “Loser.”
Stop the song of “I’m a horrible person.”

Guilt can be dealt with.  I can admit my faults.  They can be improved upon.
But shame … silence the voice of shame forever.

Brené Brown, shame researcher and author of Daring Greatly, talks candidly about this topic. 

She says this:
“Shame is not guilt.”
“Guilt is a focus on behavior.”
“Shame is a focus on self.”

“Shame is ‘I am bad’.”
“Guilt is I did something bad.”

“Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, eating disorders, and suicide.”

“Shame for women is a web of unattainable, conflicting, competing expectations of who we should be.”

“For men, shame is ‘don’t be perceived as weak’.”

We need to find our way back to each other.  The road to take is “empathy.”

Brené continues:  Two powerful empathy words are “Me too.”

Me too makes us human.  It puts us in the boat without the shame.

Brené says “if you put empathy in a Petri dish with shame, shame cannot grow.”

The “me too” expression adds the human factor and helps eliminate the isolation that accompanies shame.

I've taken this topic as far as I dare.  Now, I must turn you over to Brené’s book if you are interested in reading more. 

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Idea of a Possibility

The Idea of a Possibility

What is possible?

Now that is an open –ended question, isn’t it? 

Think about this …
-Computers were once just a hope and a dream.

-Smart phones, the iPad, the Kindle Fire, and text messaging were once futuristic gadgets that might become available someday.

-Man once dreamed of flying, now we make regular trips to the International Space Station.

What do you dream?
What might be possible?

Hope is found in possibilities

I rub elbows with individuals who work in bio-med laboratories.  I can’t imagine some of the work that goes on in those labs, but I do know they are working on great possibilities – life-changing and life-enhancing possibilities. 

Everyone dreams.


Set your imagination free.  Picture the possible.  And then give the possible feet and wings.

The possible truly is possible.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
One Word at a Time

P.S I’ve just completed three full years of blogging.  What an amazing journey.  Thank you, readers, for your constant support, and your notes of encouragement.  It is amazing to me that these words are being read in over 80 countries.  I would love to hear from some of you – what is your daily life like?  What are your struggles?  How might I write a more targeted blog to encourage you?  Thanks for reading.  Contact me at Michael@up-words.net

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Never Out of Mercy

I doubt many of us use the term “Mercy” on a daily basis.  It’s just not a popular word and perhaps is a bit misunderstood.

So, what is mercy and why should I care?

The synonyms for mercy are these: 
Compassion           Pity
Clemency               Forgiveness
Kindness                Sympathy
Understanding       Leniency

Strong words
                     Action words 

Someone on the giving end of mercy is reaching, stretching, offering some pretty amazing “stuff” to the receiver.

I could use a whole bucket of those attributes from time to time.  Could you?

There is a verse from the Bible, in an ancient book called Daniel that talks about mercy.  Daniel is talking to God and says this:

“We do not make requests of you
because we are righteous,
but because of your great mercy.”
(Daniel 9:18)

He knows a bit about God to be able to say something this profound, for he gives God the compliment of “your great mercy.”

We all need some of that great mercy from time to time.

We are reminded of another example of the mercies of God found in the Biblical book of Lamentations.  It says this …

“…because of the Lord’s mercy
and loving-kindness
we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning.
Great and abundant
is your stability and faithfulness.”
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

In other words, God cannot run out of mercy.  He never gets tired of helping you. 

Every morning …

EVERY MORNING, when you awaken, God has a fresh batch of mercy waiting just for you. 


And the invitation comes like this …

“… Come boldly
to the throne of grace (God) that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help
in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16.)

That is Amazing Grace and Amazing Mercy all wrapped into one package.

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Could-Be Words

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to come along side of you and whisper just the right words to you.  Those words, few though they may be, could mean the difference between success or failure, despair or determination, because of their timing.

What if this is the moment and this blog became the carrier of those words?

What if indeed.

Somewhere below, those words might be awaiting your discovery.  Read on, my friend.  Read on.

Words of Could Be
You could be a great one
   You have what it takes
      You are a Becomer

You are a great one
   You can go far
      You can do it

You have great potential
   I support you
      I believe in you

We will make it
   We will walk through this together
      I love you

Perhaps you simply need to repeat some words to yourself and own them.

Words like …

I can
I will
I am unbeatable

Could-be words are powerful weapons!

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
One Word at a Time

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Than a Label

We love to assign labels to things. 
   Sweet pickles
   Blue socks
   Last year’s sweaters
   Last year’s income tax
   Christmas cards 2009

Sometimes we label people.

Don’t you hate that?  I do.  What I want to say when someone begins labeling me is this:  “I’m a human being.  I may be different from you, but I’m not a label.  I am a person with my own mind, my own history, and my own way of thinking things through.  

Here is what we are ... we are fellow human beings.  We want respect, attention, acceptance and validation, just like everyone else. 

I could never imagine God putting a label on us or separating us into categories. 
Let’s see …
The smart ones go here.
The left-wingers over here.
The slightly stooped on this side.
You deaf and dumb, go stand over by that rock.


Carolyn and I just finished reading Philip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing about Grace.  Philip says this, “for Jesus, we are more important than any label.”

What a refreshing thought.  We’re not a label to God.

What we are is this …
-We are created in God’s image
-He calls us by name.
-He has a future with hope mapped out for each of us.

God can take any label mankind has placed on us and remove the stigma, clean us up, put us back on our feet and set us in a new direction.

I like a God like that.

I am more than a label.
And so are you!

That is an empowering thought.

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Wind in My Sails

The Wind in My Sails

Living in the northwest, we are very aware of sailboats and their beauty.  But a sailboat is practically useless without the wind in its sails. 

And so it is with us.  Sometimes we need nothing more than for someone to come along and blow into our sails at the right moment with just the right touch.  When that happens, it becomes a magical moment.

Just last night, Carolyn was the wind in my sails. I had a frustrating day. 
I had to unload. 
She listened. 

I needed to express frustrations. 
She empathized. 

She blew into my sails last night. 

When we run out of steam, when the hard places get harder, or when we just need to vent, may someone come along and be the wind in our sails.

The other side of this coin is this: Do we dare become the wind in someone else’s sails when they need us most?

Are we willing to inflate rather than deflate someone’s sails? 
Will we dare to blow great words of encouragement and uplifting thoughts to push them further toward their destiny?

Dare indeed.

My wish for you is two-fold.

1.     I hope someone comes into your life at the precise moment you are most in need.  What a blessing those people are to us.
2.    I hope we can be the puff of wind for someone else when they need us the most.

-Sometimes it is a simple word
-Sometimes a note in the mail or by email
-Sometimes a cup of coffee and gentle conversation

-Sometimes it’s being present and allowing one to grieve, express, explode, rant, or rave.  Your job is to simply sit, listen, empathize, and be a world-class friend in that moment.

Be the wind in someone’s sails.

Love them. 
Listen to them. 
Let them

(Sailboats photo courtesy of Ken Sjodin, Ken's Photography)

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Music Is Within

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a great Italian violinist by the name of Nicolo Paganini.  Some considered him the greatest of his day.  He enjoyed an illustrious career during his ninety-eight years of living.  (1742-1840)

One evening, he was about to perform before an opera house full of eager fans.  As he walked onto the stage, he suddenly realized that he was holding a strange violin in his hands - not his own treasured instrument made by the master violin maker Guarneri.

He was panic stricken, but realized that he had no other choice but to continue walking to his appointed spot on stage.

He paused, looked down for a brief moment as if to gather his thoughts, and then raised the violin and began playing.  And play he did. 

He gave the performance of a lifetime, and the audience rewarded him with a gracious and long-standing ovation.

In his dressing room after the concert, he confided to a close friend, “Tonight I learned the most important lesson of my entire career. Before tonight I thought the music was in the violin. Now I learned that the music is in me."

What a great story.  “The music is in me.”  I like that.

So often we can so easily place the blame or the credit for our endeavors on anything handy.  Rather, we should look within and see what extra measure of ourselves we can add that just might make all the difference in the world. 

Our fortunes in life aren't the result of the gifts at birth, a lucky rabbit’s foot, the alignment of the planets, or being a Gemini.  The human factor is always the deciding ingredient.  The attitude with which we attack any endeavor in life is critical.  

How much did we prepare?
How much did we dare to be great?
How much of ourselves did we throw into the thing at hand?

I suspect that the music is in us much more than we can imagine, and when we discover it, we will play with a new intensity.  We just might become a great one.

The music really is within.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Do's and Don'ts

If I could give you two lists, they would be as follows.

Things to never worry over …

Don’t worry about …
Dust on your trophies.  They’ll soon be put away.
Winning.  It will soon be forgotten.
Losing.  It will soon be forgotten.

Don’t worry about …
The past.  It is past.
Popular opinion.  It changes daily.
Getting cut off on the freeway.

Don’t worry about …
Losing your hair
Not having tan lines

Don’t worry about …
Losing your eyesight. Just keep your insight.
Always being right.  Always be kind instead.

Don’t worry about …
The weather.  It will change soon.
Labels.  They don’t become true unless you believe them.
People getting ahead of you at work

Instead ... Think about these ...

Think about …
Leaving good footprints large and direct for others to follow
Leaving a good legacy
Relationships and their importance

Think about …
How to show more love
The words you speak and their impact on others

Think about …
How to make things better
Becoming a citizen of the world-focus outward
Making someone’s day brighter

Think about …
Calling your parent, grandparents, or siblings
Sending a note of appreciation

Think about …
Being kind to a retail sales person
Picking up a piece of trash without being asked

Think about …
Telling your grandchildren stories of your childhood
Showing up on time
Rubbing your mates back

Now that's enough advice to last us a lifetime

In closing, I’ll add this.

As Garrison Keillor is fond of saying on Farmer’s Almanac

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”

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