Saturday, December 26, 2015

Morning Notes Top Five Blogs

What a marvelous time of the year.  I can’t remember a more enjoyable Christmas season.

This week I’m kicking back and recharging my brain.  That gives you the chance to review some of my best and most popular posts. 


See you on the other side of the new year.

P Michael Biggs

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Dawn of Redeeming Grace

I love the word “grace”.  This word has taken mine and Carolyn’s hearts for the last couple of years as we’ve read and studied and prayed and lived out our lives.

In the Christmas carol Silent Night, we find this simple phrase tucked near the end.

“With the dawn of redeeming grace”

The dawn of redeeming grace – just rest your eyes on that thought for a moment.

The birth of this infant in a manger in Bethlehem long ago brought forth this thing called grace.  Grace, simply defined, is unmerited favor.  To extend that further, we can add the words kindness, favor, mercy, mercifulness, clemency, and leniency.

We saw the beginnings of mercifulness and leniency with the birth of Jesus in that manger so long ago.

Have you ever needed a dose of lenience, or mercy, or grace?  I have, and I’ll spare you the litany of those moments in my life.

Now, add the word “redeeming” in front of the word “grace” and we are really onto something. 

Redeeming Grace.

Not just clemency, or benevolence or mercy, but redemption.  I like redemption.  I like being liberated, or released, or emancipated or saved.

You see, Jesus the Christ came into our world to liberate us from the traps and lures of the world.

God knows all about the human race, and that includes, Americans, Australians, and people from Poland, Russia, Spain, Iraq and Indonesia.

He knows we are prone to selfishness and that we like to follow our own whims, even when those whims will do us great damage.

And along comes redeeming grace – found in a manger in Bethlehem.

This baby, this infant about whom we sing and celebrate, grew up to become our savior – our redeemer.  He is offering each of us grace and redemption for now and for eternity.

And His grace reaches out to you and to me through the slats in the manger, through the mud and muck of our lives, through the selfishness and stubbornness that we often like to cling to, and through the closed-mindedness of our thoughts and ideas.  He reaches to us, longing to become our safe place, our grace place.  He offers us redemption.  He offers us a helping hand and a forgiving heart.

And He offers us hope – hope for our world, hope for our future, and hope for our eternity.

Jesus the Christ, once the Baby in the Manger, IS our Dawn of Redeeming Grace.

Merry Christmas!

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

See the Man

See the man lying there on the small pallet of straw?  He is tired.  Perhaps tired is not a good description.  He is worn out. 


It has been a long week.  First the trip was exhausting, seeing as he walked most of the way.  And then he had no bed on which to rest except for this old and scratchy straw.

Before that, he proved skillful in helping deliver a baby – His baby, sort of. 

And now the good wife is asleep, for the child is asleep, and that means for a few minutes, perhaps a few hours, he too can sleep.

And so he sleeps, for he has been faithful to his calling this night.

His calling?

Yes, you might call it his “calling”.  You see, the baby really isn’t his.  He was pledged to marry the mother, but the baby was a surprise.  Boy what a surprise that one was.  Yet he was asked to keep his vow of marriage, and to accept this child as his earthly charge, raise Him up to become a man, teach him his craft, and school Him in the ways of growing up.

And so he will. 

And the baby sleeps on.  And the Father looks on and smiles and whispers …

“Joseph, you have done well.  You will raise our Son well, for I will be with you and Mary wherever you go.”

You will teach Him his first words.
You will bath Him, dress Him and feed Him.
You will teach Him your skill of carpentry.
You will teach Him the ways of the world and the ways of His God.
You will model for Him what a man is all about.

I watched you from the beginning, and you are as chosen of me as was Mary, and Bethlehem, and His name.

Sleep well Joseph. 

Sleep very well indeed.


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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

God Dances among the Common

God invites the common to a dance.  Consider it this way.

Common Shepherds
He could have danced among the elite.  He could have invited those in the ivory palaces and palatial homes to witness the birth of his son.  Yet he chose common men of the field.  They wore coarse clothing; sometimes it was ragged and torn.  Sometimes, more often than not, they smelled of the fields, and of the sheep, and for lack of proper bathing opportunities.  Yet God wanted to dance with them, and it was so.

Common Sheep and Cows, Donkeys and Goats – oh my!
These were the witnesses to the birth of God’s son.  God gave them a ring-side seat.  What a dance that must have been.

Common Peasant Woman
The princess of the ball was a common peasant woman named Mary.  She was perhaps fourteen.  She wasn’t royalty.  She wasn’t rich.  She wasn’t experienced in the ways of the world.

She was available.
She was willing.

And that is all God wanted and needed for this dance.

Common Carpenter
What?  A carpenter to be the earthly role model for the Son of God?  That is surely how we would think.  What was God thinking?

He was thinking – I need a man who can follow orders, one who is stable, reliable, responsible, tender, wise, and will love the mother of my Son and will love and nurture my Son and raise him in proper ways.  And so God danced with Joseph.

Common Bethlehem
Bethlehem wasn’t much as a city.  It was okay for its day, but it was no New York City.  We are speaking of “O little town of Bethlehem” you know.  Small Bethlehem.  A middle of the road village that just happened to be significant because of its lineage dating back to King David. 

And Bethlehem is the town in which God wanted His most important dance to take place.

You see, God used common people and common places and animals to welcome His most important presentation.

It is an uncommon story of love.
It is an uncommon story of redemption.
He was an uncommon Savior, come to save the world.  

And He invites us to this dance, a dance that will last for eternity. 

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Where God Shows Up

If God had first gone to some theologians, they would have wanted to consult their theology books.  They, perhaps, would have had some heated conversations over fine points of His plan, and argued over the location selected, and the people who were to play the key roles. 

If He had knocked on the doors of Congress, they may have put him off to a more convenient time.  They are, after all, busy men and women of power.  And let’s be politically correct here; is there a proper slant on this fantastical event that will not offend others, and will it appeal to the masses?  After all, we have to keep a balance of power in mind.  And maybe they would have delayed the vote until after Christmas break, and then would have missed the entire event.

If He had gone on stage at Carnegie Hall, He perhaps would have been rejected for lack of proper dress.  After all, His tux might have been a bit out of style; and sandals with tux – no way.

The networks would perhaps have rejected him for lack of a newsworthy appeal.  They could never sell advertising to the birth of a common baby boy.

Where did God show up?
He appeared to shepherds on a hillside, near Bethlehem, a mundane little village. 

He led three wise men who willingly followed a new star, and they came prepared with gifts for this yet unseen King.

God showed up to a peasant girl of fourteen who was quick to say “Let it be done to me as you have said.” 

And to a carpenter, who was to serve as a father figure and roll model for His Son.  

God showed up in welcoming spaces and places.  He walked into open and receptive hearts and minds.  He inhabited thoughts and ideas that were willing to embrace him and make room for him.

The important question is this – Are we open and accepting to His fantastical story of redemption?

Are we willing?

P Michael Biggs
Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Choices

For 2015 I choose to give thanks.

I choose the one I love, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to cherish my step-children and grandchildren, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to appreciate, love and respect my siblings, and for that I am thankful.

I choose my thoughts and actions, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to eat with great mindfulness, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to worship God and hold my own spiritual thoughts, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to read good, wholesome and enriching material, and for that I am thankful.

I choose respect and show great tolerance of others, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to be a responsible citizen in my homeland, and for that I am thankful.

I choose responsibility, and for that I am thankful.

I choose to have a grateful heart for abundance, for grace, for peace, and for amazing love, and for that I am very thankful.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Don't Let Fear Drive

I believe in fear.  It can help us from time to time.  For instance, I fear being hit by an automobile and that is why I don’t walk into traffic.  I fear falling off a tall building and that is why I don’t peer over the side of a skyscraper.

But I can’t let fear drive my life.  If I allowed fear to drive, I would never have tried for half of the jobs I’ve held.  I would never have sung my first solo nor gone for a job interview on my 65th birthday, which I landed. 

Fear almost derailed my early writing career.  Every time it came time to press “Publish” I panicked.  “What if nobody reads this?  What if it is lousy writing?  What if they laugh at me?”

If I had listened to fear after my first public drum solo on ‘Wipeout”, I would have quit drumming right on the spot.  It was awful and I was embarrassed. 

Fear can be a good thing if kept in check, but fear is a lousy driver.  It runs off the road.  Fear stops in mid sentence.  Fear keeps an otherwise great police officer from going on duty because he/she never knows what they will face on any given day.  And Fear has derailed many a good great enterprise.

Fear can’t drive because it first wants to see around every curve, up every hill and behind every wall and through ever doorway.  And there are some amazing discoveries on the other side of fear. 

I’m going to do the driving, thank you very much.  I’m going to continue trying some things, spreading my wings, stepping out into new adventures, even in spite of my fears. 

I believe in my ideas.  I believe in my abilities to accomplish and become better.  I believe in my sense of right and wrong and in my ability to make some great choices.  And I believe in my hopes and dreams.

Life does not come with a guarantee. 

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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Do Something Wonderful

Last week I wrote a blog titled “DO”.  This week we go the next step with the words “Do something wonderful.”

I love the whole idea of that thought.  It
speaks of the power of choice, focus, and dedication, forethought, planning, and dreaming.


If I were speaking to your group right now, I’d be raising my voice; and perhaps getting a bit excited and would probably thunder out DO SOMETHING WONDERFUL.

And the amazing thing is that your “wonderful” doesn’t have to move the world off its axis.  It can be the small acts, done with attention and forethought and LOVE.  What is your best work?  Then go and do it with wonder and amazement.

My friend Alene in Centralia, WA makes the best coconut cream pie you have ever tasted.  It is simply wonderful.

My friend Chuck has an amazing bookstore in Spartanburg, SC called Christian Supply.  He knows how to provide for needs you have today and will have in the future, and with an amazing staff to boot.

My friend Harold Ivan Smith is one amazing writer and speaker.  I have often said that Harold can take an idea, a few words, and so arrange them into a masterpiece of logic.  The man simply has a way with words.

My friend Bob is an amazing audio engineer in Nashville, TN.  He has honed his craft for a bunch of years now and is known for quality and excellence in what he does.  His string of projects would wow and impress you.  They impress me.

What do you do that is wonderful?

Perhaps it is something as simple as raising children into responsible adults.  You do know that one of the greatest contributions you can make to a society is to produce future leaders and give them roots and wings.
Bottom line; let’s go do something wonderful - in word, in thought, in deed. 

My aim is to give you words that inspire, enlighten, and encourage.  And along the way, perhaps they are wonderful too 

Have a great week.

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

Friday, November 6, 2015


We’ve stumbled over this word long enough.  We all know how to say “do” and we know how to spell it.

But do we DO it?

Break it down for a moment.
DO - to perform, accomplish, act, carry out, complete, make, execute, or get something done.

You know – DO!

Sometimes we need a push in order to go DO.  I did for my serious writing streak.  

My step-son, J Paul, casually mentioned that if I really wanted to do some free-lance writing then I should consider starting a blog and prove that I have something to say and the stick-to-it-iveness to do so.  A cleaner word for that is pertinacity. 

And so I began.

And so, today, I DO!

What do you want to DO?

I talked about being a writer for thirty-plus years.  And I dabbled in it in some jobs I held. 

Now, today, I actually embrace the label “WRITER” for my life.

It is in the doing of something that the living it out happens. 

I want to win the lottery, but I never buy a lottery ticket.  Do you think that has anything to do with me never winning the lottery? 

What do you want to DO?

Take the action steps to begin the process. 

You don’t need anybody’s permission, or a validation stamp, or even an endorsement from Oprah or Ellen. 

Just DO!

And write and tell me how that is working out.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Your Signature Strength

My friend Elbert can take my Ford Taurus apart and put it back together and make it run better than before.  He did that two years ago.

Carolyn plays piano with consummate skill, yet her great signature strength is in loving and nurturing her parents and students.  She has an amazing relationship and loyalty with her “piano” families.

I’ve had nine different careers in my lifetime, yet the one signature strength that seems to rise above them all lies in my ability to encourage people. 

I have two musical giants in my life - Ronn Huff and David T. Clydesdale.  They both are amazing pianists, composers, musical producers and conductors. Yet, for both of them, their signature strength lies in their ability to take a common song and arrange it for choir and orchestra which allows the heart of the song to come to the front like never before.  I’ve experienced this multiple times in my years as a musician. 

What is your signature strength?  We all have one.

Oh, it may be hiding behind a guitar, or a blueprint, or perhaps you use pen and ink and make images come to life.  My friend Brian is an amazing computer geek.  He can take my slow and sluggish computer and resurrect once-lost files and slow, seemingly dead hard drives.

My word for you:  Just shows up and sign in.

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Do We Give a Damn?

Just for the record, I know that I just raised an eyebrow or two from some of my conservative readers simply by using the term “damn”.  Frankly, I did it to grab your attention – anybody’s attention, for the principle we will talk about for a few minutes is important.

Let’s talk about giving a damn.

In my Kindle book collection you’ll find a book by Bernadette Jiwi entitled Make Your Idea Matter.  At location 431 she writes a chapter titled “Giving a Damn Is Seriously Underrated.” 

The story in condensed form:  Meet Luna, a sick rat.  He costs $12 and has about another year to live, if he recovers from his current ailment.  They took Luna to the vet, got some antibiotics, had his heart listened to and were sent home.

At ten the next morning the vet nurse called to check on Luna.  Was she breathing easier, had her appetite returned, and were they able to get her meds into her?  Remember now, we’re talking about a $12 rat who is going to die in a year regardless. 

That, my friends, is ‘giving a damn.”

Okay.  I’ll back off the “damn” thing and begin using the word “care.”

One of my tasks lately at the bank is to call our customers whose accounts show up on the insufficient funds report each morning.  It is a courtesy call, for I don’t want to see anyone get a $37 overdraft fee, especially for a $5.37 overage.  I care about that kind of thing.

My customer friend Owen is 67 years old.  He has cancer and has talked with me about wanting to take advantage of the assisted suicide opportunities.  That hurts my heart.  I call him on occasion just because I want him to know there is at least one person, his banker, who cares.  Yes, I give a damn.

My friend Diane sells choral music for a bookstore in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  She is the epitome of one who cares.  She doesn’t make a commission on her sales.  She talks and sells and laughs and cares for her customers.  She knows the names of their spouses, how many choir members they have, when their last ache and pain was, and how they are getting along with troublesome deacons and board members in their churches. 

She gives a care. 

Remember that time when your son had a biopsy removed from his neck to check on cancer?  Did anyone call you up and ask how he was doing, or how you were doing?

Did you get a call from the big box store the last time you bought and had to return a defective item?  Yes, they made it good with a replacement, but did they show “care” after the fact?

I’m going to borrow a John Kennedy quote and then expand on it.

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future.  And we are all mortal.”

We are human beings, with feelings, desires, and in great need of recognition and validation.  Sometimes, we just want someone to acknowledge that we exist, and that we are more than a voice on the other end of the phone spending money, or a small bank account number making our meager $324 deposit twice a month.  We are connected in large ways.  We depend on each other.  I hope we care for each other.

Do we care?

Get ready for it – I have to say it again.

I hope so.  I truly hope so.

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Be Bad Before Good

I have eight grand-kids.  None of them could walk on the day they were born.  They were bad walkers.

I watched an eight year old compete in a violin competition.  She was bad. 

The NASA space shuttle in 1986 was bad.  It exploded on national TV and killed all of the astronauts on board.  It was doubly bad.

And so life goes on.  We are all bad in the beginning.  Some of us may have a moment or two of luck or brilliance early on in our skill development, but it is in the improving of that skill that matters in the long haul. 

People who are good in the long haul fail a lot.  They try and fail and try again.  They learn from their efforts.  They tweak, they rebuild, they practice some more and they learn from the best in their field.

Failure is a part of the deal.  Being bad is actually good for you.  We don’t like it, but believe it or not, bad is a great role model.  A person can learn a lot from failure.

Have you ever failed in business, or in a marriage, or lost a job you really liked?  Good for you.  You are probably better now in business or marriage or in your current job.

Bad always comes before good.  And if you try to cheat, it will catch up with you.

I’ll never forget a time when I was in the 9th grade and got to play drums for our pep band at a half-time football game.  Someone shouted out the song “Wipeout” which was high on the charts at that time.  The leader turned to me and asked if I could play it.  I assured him I could.

It was a disaster.  I was BAD.  My sticks got tangled, I dropped the beat a time or two and I fatigued quickly and ended in a heap of smoke.  I shuffled off the field with my snare drum banging against my knee and my bruised ego riding shotgun on my shoulder whispering “You wiped out.  You wiped out.”

Every rejection, every failure is a gift.  It is a chance to learn and to do better next time.  Rejection teaches you that you can bounce and not break. 

People who become good in the long run have failed a lot.  Failure is a part of the deal.  It’s in the contract you sign.  Want to be good in the long run?  Pay the price along the way.  Be really bad before you ever think of being really good.

Opportunities abound at the feet of being bad.  Don’t let them go to waste.

(This post idea is based on an excerpt from Seth Godin’s book What to do When It’s Your Turn.)

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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ancient Words-Fresh Hope

Sometimes as a writer I never fully understand how this inspiration thing works as it relates to what I choose to write.  Tonight is such a time.

My thoughts are so simple and so familiar, therefore I submit them to you.  Allow your own heart and mind to receive them in whatever dimension you may need these words.

Here goes:

My words are taken from what originally was considered a children’s Sunday school song, but I’ve had the privilege of using it with adults in some powerfully healing moments in a church service.

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so

~We live in troublesome times. 
~We live in uncertain times.
~We live with questions about the future of
   the human race.
~We live in fear.

And perhaps some would throw in the fear of feeling abandoned by God himself.

Where is he?
What is he doing?
Does he care?

And we come back to our premise. 

If we are loved by Christ, God’s son, and we are told in God’s word that this is so, then what?

I take great comfort in the idea of the love of God flowing over me.  I rest in His promises found in the scriptures and I rest in the nature of a good and just God as I understand him to be.

Rest your eyes on this verse for a while.

And this one

God reminds us again and again of his steadfast love and care.

I do believe that He really does love us.

I hope you are opening your heart and mind to receive this strong love of God.

Thanks be to God.

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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Befriending Your True Self

A confession:  I sometimes think that I spent a good portion of my early years moving in and out of a love-hate relationship with myself.  I had moments when I felt I had some pretty remarkable qualities and good points.  And then there were the dark and depressing days when I compared myself to those around me and almost always came up lacking in some way.

I had a difficult time befriending my true self.  Can you relate?

This is a painful thing for me to admit.  And then we consider God.  Where was God during those days?  I was a person in search of himself.  I was trying to live like a good Christian young man on a roller coaster ride. God stood nearby watching my life unfold, watching me try my hand at a multitude of careers and interests, and all the while I don’t know if I ever fully received myself.

What a dynamic thought that is … a person who never fully received self.

Can you relate?

Psychologist would tell us that this is perhaps a more common occurrence today that we might want to admit.  Many people suffer with a lack of self-acceptance. 

And along with this self-acceptance comes a whole passel of loneliness and deep need.

I recently read Henry  J. Nouwen’s book The Inner Voice of Love, which was written during a dark period in his life.  He wrote this book mostly as a private diary, which ultimately got published.

Here is what Henry adds to this thought:  “God does not want your loneliness; God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need.”

He continued:  “Jesus dwells in your fearful, never fully received self.  When you befriend your true self and discover that it is good and beautiful, you will see Jesus there.  Where you
are most human, most yourself, weakest, there Jesus lives.  Bringing your fearful self home is bringing Jesus home.”

My goodness.  This is great stuff.  It is needed stuff.  I encounter a lot of people who live in fear of their true self.  They have not made many attempts to being their true self home for a reconciling relationship with their creator.

Those of us who suffer from this malady will often measure ourselves by the standards and successes we see others achieve.  We may identify with their choice of clothes and try to emulate that, or even use certain phrases and ideologies we pick up from others, just because it sounds right.

Perhaps, God through Christ stands nearby and simply wants to come alongside each of us simply to receive us as we are.  He made you and me with our proclivities, our talent pool, our potentiality and our body type and He loves everything He has put within us.

He knows my hairy back and loves every hair.  He knows my propensity for left-handedness.  He knows I love the drums, and Diana Krall, Beethoven’s Fifth and The Ventures (they were a 50’s & 60’s rock band).

Christ simply wants to embrace everything there is about me and accept me with the whole bundle of my life as I am.  I come bringing it all to Him.

And you can too. 

God does not ask us to dress up, clean up, or shape up before coming to Him for help.  He welcomes the bedraggled, the burnt out, the low self-esteem thinkers, the butt-draggers, the foggy minded and the sincere weakling.  God wants to befriend you and me in whatever state we find ourselves. 

He wants to do the work of redemption on us and put us in a right frame of mind.

Are we willing to be changed?

The invitation is a simple one: 

“Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened down with all kinds of issues.  I will give you rest.  Take my ways upon you; learn about me, for I am gentle and easy to be with, and you will find rest for your weary soul.”
~Matthew 11-28-30

Come on home.  Bring your fearful self home to God.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

Words Have Great Power

My company is called Up-Words.  My motto is:  “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time.”

This quote hit me between the eyes tonight. 

My step-daughter, Paula, gave me a framed picture.  Here it is.

I believe that, you know.  I’ve had words said to me that have been transformative.  In most cases, the speaker of those words was oblivious to my mental/spiritual/emotional state at that particular moment in time; nevertheless, his/her words reached me on a deep level and changed me.

That is what I intend to spend the rest of my life doing – using words to heal, restore, encourage and inspire.

Because my reading audience is diverse, I am going to split this post into two sections.

Section One will offer words of inspiration, hope and insight for common man/common woman.

Section Two will be for my readers who also appreciate words from the great book – the Bible.  Be encouraged today, my friend.

Actually I woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to feel like this anymore, or ever again, so I changed.  Just like that.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

After a while you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.

Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.

Be brave.  Remember that bravery is not the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.

Big shots are only little shots who kept shooting.
~Christopher Morley

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
~Charles H Spurgeon

Do or do not.  There is no try.
~Yoda from Star Wars

And now, a few hope-filled words based on words from the Bible.

Be not afraid nor dismayed, for I your God will be with you wherever you may go.
~Joshua 1:9

Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord your God.  I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  For I will give you a future with hope.
~Jeremiah 29:11

Even in the darkest valley I will hear no evil.
~Psalm 23:4

God is the one who leads, even in the dark.

I have called you by name.  You are mine.
~Isaiah 43:1

I promise to never leave you nor forsake you.
~Hebrews 13:5

To Jesus we are more important than any label.
~Philip Yancey – What’s So Amazing about Grace

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