Friday, January 31, 2014

Eliot's Visit

Eliot came for a visit on Tuesday.  He is four.  He loves my scrambled eggs and bacon and Nanny’s pancakes without blueberries. 

He is entering his artistic stage in life.  If you give my grandson a stack of paper and some color markers he is a happy little boy.

He showed us his first picture and explained in great detail what we were seeing.  We marveled at his abilities.

He’s only four.

And before he left, we put his masterpiece up on our refrigerator. 

Know what?  God has your artwork plastered all over his refrigerator.  In my human eye I can imagine that some of my work found there might look rather bleak in retrospect, but not to God.

Know why?

Because I did my best.


That's what Eliot did. 

That is God’s criteria. 

“Oops.  I colored outside the lines.”

And God says, “It’s beautiful anyway.  Keep painting my son.”

“Aw.  I tore the paper and it is in shreds.”

And God says, “That’s okay.  Bring it to me and let’s put it back together.”

“But look, some of the lines are crooked, and the house is leaning to the right.”

And God says, “I can straighten out those lines and repair the house.”

“Oh man.  I got my colors all wrong again.

And God says, “Come, draw near.  I can fix that.  I can make a mosaic of those colors.”

Do you get the metaphoric picture here?

God cares more about a willing heart than he cares about perfection.  He takes our presentation and makes something beautiful out of it.

Reminds me of Bill and Gloria’s great song.

If there ever were dreams
that were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start

And the hopes for life’s best
were the hopes that I harbored
Down deep in my heart

But my dreams turned to ashes
My castles all crumbled
My fortunes turned to loss

So I wrapped them all
in the rags of my life
And laid them at the cross.

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him
was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful
out of my life
~Bill Gaither

What is your best?  Is it tattered and torn?  Are the corners frayed? 

Bring it on down.  Give your best to God and watch what He does with it.

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fill a Few Buckets

Do you want to be a great leader?  Fill a few buckets.

Do you want to get more productivity out of a group of employees?  Feel a few buckets.

Do you want a healthier marriage/relationship?  Do a lot of bucket filling.

“What do you mean by ‘fill a few buckets?’” you ask.

It means give a lot more praise than criticism.
Appreciate a person more than you depreciate them.

Tom Peters wrote a book called In Search of Excellence.  In it he promoted the management concept of ‘catch people doing something right and shout it out.”

Catch People doing Something Right

That is the way to fill someone’s bucket.  Anyone can point out a hundred things we do wrong on any given day – however, tell them what they did “right” and watch what happens.

A boss who regularly fills his/her employee’s buckets could decrease the risk of a stroke in those employees by 33%.  (How Full is Your Bucket – Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.)

Here are some sad statistics pointed out in this great book – How Full Is Your Bucket.

“The number one reason people leave their jobs is because they do not feel appreciated.”

And another …

“65% of Americans received no recognition in the workplace last year.”

Tom and Dr. Don continue.  “Bucket filling is an extraordinarily powerful leadership strategy.”

Let me see …

Criticize my team and watch productivity go down.
Praise them and we all win.  Hmmmm.

Verbally put people in their place and have a continual revolving door of new employees that continually need costly training.
Esteem my employees, appreciate them and keep them longer, lower my training costs, increase efficiency and the overall health of my employees. 

I’m all about filling a few buckets as I go along in this life. 

Will you join me?

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Life's a Party

A thought … a hope … an encouragement

Many of us ask the question – why am I here?  What is my purpose?  What is my destiny?

The answers might lie in the following quote.  Read slowly – awareness ahead.

“The grace of God means something like:  Here is your life.  You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.”
~Frederick Beuchner

We wonder why we were born.
We wonder if we are making any kind of significant impact.
We wonder about life and its meaning and our role on this planet.

And in the middle of it all, we have to relent to the ONE who started it all – God in heaven.  You are!  Therefore you have a role to play and the party can’t go on without you. 

Do you remember the movie It’s a Wonderful Life?  George Bailey wished he’d never been born and was granted the privilege of seeing the world without his influence.  It was a different world.  He left holes that no one else could fill.  He influenced lives that only he could influence.

His life reached out and touched countless others.  The world was in need of a George Bailey and only George could work in those circumstances and in the personal drama of the lives of the good citizens of Bedford Falls.

And here comes God, sweeping each of us up in his arms, holding us tightly and whispering,
  You are my finest creation. 
  I have a plan for you. 
  I have a destiny with you in mind. 
  I have honored you with a special gift and I want you to go out and spread your specialness to those along your pathway. 
  Just be the ‘real you’ that I had in mind from the beginning.

I think of individuals who have crossed my path.  Some have left significant imprints as guides, inspiring role models, teachers and influencers.  I am different.  I am better for having had their marks on my life.  And so are you.

The party is still going on.  We’re not too late to get in on the fun. 

If we don’t bring our specialty to the party, THEY won’t know what they missed, and it could be something very special indeed.

And often, during the party, the host - God himself - will walk up to each of us and whisper … “I’m glad you are here.  I’m glad you are you.  The party just wouldn't be the same without you.”

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scared and Afraid

When I started blogging four years ago, I experienced sheer terror when the moment came to push “Publish” on my blogs.  “What am I about to do?” 

I was releasing into the world my thoughts and ideas. 
 ~Would they be accepted or ridiculed? 
  ~Would people think more or less of me? 
   ~Would I be laughed out of town?
    ~Would anyone read these words?

Somehow, from somewhere within, I found the courage to press the button and launch each weekly blog. 

And I was scared.  This lasted for two or three months with every blog released. 

Remember the first time you faced the pitcher in fast-pitch baseball or softball? 

Remember going for that interview you desperately wanted, knowing the churning that was going on inside?

How many meetings or conversations have you sat through with closed mouth, yet wanting to stand up and right a wrong?

Fear can keep us from doing a lot of things, yet on the other side of fear, what might we find? 

On the other side of fear … that is a great thought.

Seth Godin, Neil Gaiman and other writers have given us a nudge here.

Seth says:  “You don’t have to reach the whole world with your art.  You just have to reach those who like it and will buy into your art.”

Neil says:  “Make good art.”  He doesn’t say make great art.  Just make good art.

So what are you afraid of? 

Do it anyway.

Just stick out your toe, test the water, and then step deeper until you are knee deep, waist deep, neck deep even. 

And to your surprise you don’t drown, people still come around you and love you, respect you, and some want more of what you just did.

Isn't that amazing!  We are loved for what we offer. 

The resolve comes in the doing of the deed, the singing of the song, the writing of the novel, the building of the enterprise, and the baking of the new recipe. 

It is called by another name – COURAGE!

I like courage – after the fact. 

Don’t we all? 

And the path to courage – do it anyway!

Face your fears. 
  Screw your courage to the sticking place. 
    Tighten your belt. 
      Set your cap on straight.

Grab the golden ring and pull with all your might.

Turn your fears into faith on the other side of afraid.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Arthur Ashe, professional tennis champ, has given us the seeds for this three-part thought today. 

Start Where You Are
My ideal writing room is already designed.  I simply have to have the money to build it.  Want to know more?  It is a two-story structure with a magnificent ocean view and a full bank of windows looking out upon the water. 

For now, I settle for any place where I can plop down my computer.  I am choosing to start where I am.  I've written in dingy tire stores, Jiffy-Lube waiting rooms, hospital cafeterias, libraries, coffee shops, and a dozen other places.  It is called “taking advantage of the time” and living out this bit of philosophy of “start where you are.”

Where are you?

Use What You Have
What is that in your hand?  Then perhaps one had best learn to use what is at hand first.  The ideal tool may never come along, or it may be a long way off. 

I think I have to have the latest and greatest computer on which to write, and then I’m reminded of Charles Dickens who wrote thirty or more books plus essays, and he wrote them by long hand.  That is the epitome of “using what you have”.

If you haven’t read Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell perhaps now is a good time.  It addresses this very emphasis in such an insightful way.

Do What You Can
There is a lot of stuff you and I will never accomplish; ah, but what can we accomplish?  Until we have both feet in the grave, perhaps we can still find something worthwhile to contribute to our corner of the world. 

Make things
Build buildings
Bake and cook
Unlock for others

And if you are simply unable to move without difficulty, perhaps …

Write a letter/card
Make a phone call

Find a way to do something worthwhile that in some way impacts your corner of the world.

Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.

Three great action orders for the day.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Burlap Buddy

I noticed a man yesterday in downtown Seattle.  He was toting a large burlap bag.  What it contained we have no idea, but tote it he did.  I watched him for about an hour off and on.  He first came to my attention on 1st and Pike Street.  Forty-five minutes later I saw him on 1st and University. 

As he walked slowly he continually shifted his bag from shoulder to shoulder every few minutes.  Onward he trudged, carrying his burlap buddy.

This made me wonder.   Do I carry a burlap buddy?  Do you?

I imagine we both do.  What’s in mine? 

A lot of regret.  A lot of missed opportunities.  A whole bundle of wrong choices and missteps. 

And we carry this bundle with us … unless … unless we find a way to unpack our burlap buddy. 

I think that starts with a healthy dose of self-forgiveness, and sometimes that is only found with the help of a wise and trusted counselor. 

Often, our burlap buddy is made lighter by a strategically placed phone call and reconciling the past.  Maybe that means asking for forgiveness.  Perhaps it also means forgiving one who has slighted us.  Either way, the bag gets lighter with such phone calls.

Some find relief in a counselor’s office.  There are some very fine trusted individuals who know the workings of the human mind and can offer us tremendous help in lightening our load.

And then there is God.  He can take that burlap buddy and help you unpack some things.  All it takes is a call.  Here’s his number.  Matthew 11:28-30

He simply says “Come to me.”


The invitation is wide open.

The grace flows in abundance.

The invitation is always on the menu.

The lights are always on and He always answers His phone in person.

Bring your burlap buddy to a place of rest.  Leave it there.

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Eyes of Faith

Our eyes see the hungry lion.
Our faith sees the God who stops his mouth.

Our eyes see the storm that’s brewing.
Our faith sees Christ riding the waves and saying “Peace be still.”

Our eyes see giants in the land.
Our faith sees a land flowing with milk and honey.

Our eyes see a short, corrupt tax collector.
Our faith sees a man redeemed by the goodness of Christ.

Our eyes see a woman touching the edge of a man’s robe.
Our faith sees a woman seeking a touch from the divine.

Our eyes see a man building a big boat. 
Our faith sees God’s hand in the design of it all.

Our eyes see two beams of wood turned into a cross.
Our faith sees hope in the middle of misery.

Our eyes see an empty tomb.
Our faith sees the door to eternity.

“For faith is the assurance
of things hoped for, and the
promise of things yet to be seen.” 

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

Monday, January 6, 2014

You Still Can

Here is a philosophy, a life motto, a goal, and an aphorism.  If we could but get a handhold on this concept, it could be a game changer.  Read on.

“Life is not about what
you haven’t done so far.
It is about what you can still do.”

Some say …

~I haven’t written the great American novel yet, but I can still write weekly blogs that offer hope and encouragement.

~I haven’t found a cure for all cancer yet, but I can still find remedies for my patients and restore their quality of life to a better place.

~I can’t play Rhapsody in Blue perfectly yet, but I can play for my own enjoyment, and sometimes others stop me and say how I’ve brightened their life with my musical offering.

~I can’t build houses like Frank Lloyd Wright.  Perhaps not, but you can take a plate of cookies to the house next door and brighten someone’s life by your thoughtfulness.

By now you get the message.  

What can you still do?  Then, perhaps, it is time to set out on that quest, and inch closer to your dream every day.  You can still do that.

The age-old adage says …

Our thoughts take us in the direction of our dominant goals and dreams.  Think those important thoughts every day. 

And always remember this sage advice from Winston Churchill’s famous quote.

Never Give Up!

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

Friday, January 3, 2014

Make Mistakes

A quote:

“I hope this year,
you make mistakes.”
~Neil Gaiman

That is some pretty great advice.  Look what happens when one makes mistakes.

You make new things.
   You try new things.
      You learn new things.

You live in new directions.
   You push yourself
      You change your world.

In a word, you are going places you've never gone before.  You are doing something unique, bold, and exciting.

Consider this:
~The ice cream cone was invented when a waffle vendor, forced to sell ice cream, ran out of paper plates.

~The Post-it Note was a mistake in an envelope that didn’t have enough glue.

~The potato chip was created when a customer in a restaurant continually sent back his potatoes and asked that they be more fried and thinner.

~If a translator had not made a mistake in re-writing the Cinderella story, Cinderella would have worn a fur slipper instead of a glass slipper.

So, Make Mistakes.

Don’t settle for last year’s victories.
     Don’t freeze-frame last year’s successes.
          Never mind if it is good enough.

Stop seeking perfection. 

Even if you’re scared, do it
Even if you are afraid of ridicule, do it.
Dare to appear looking foolish, or silly, or uncoordinated.

Make mistakes. 
Skate on the edge of your universe. 
Even if others say “It’s not good enough”, make mistakes anyway.”

Be bold.  Live out loud.  You never know where your mistakes may lead you.

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