Saturday, May 30, 2015


It is still Thursday, May 29 when I write this – my birthday.  All day long – ALL DAY LONG my cell phone has been in my hand almost constantly because of my many friends.  I’ve received a wealth of esteeming notes, greetings, reminiscences, and encouraging words from friends new and friends of long ago.

Friends have always been an important element in my life, for I am a relational person.  I love making friends and keeping them.  I’ve lived in some pretty diverse quadrants of the US:  Tennessee, Orlando, Albuquerque, Seattle, Spartanburg SC, Anderson IN, Dallas and Waco, Centralia WA and back to Seattle.  Along the way I’ve collected friendships like some people collect baseball cards.

My friendships are pretty amazing and special to me.  And then along comes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email and US mail.  And my friendship list has grown.  I have a great host of friendships on social media sites and though we’ve never met face to face I feel some kind of connection to many of those individuals.  You see, I follow their lives daily.  I see their joys, their trials, sometimes their tears and heartbreaks, their foolishness, their pictures of kids, grand-kids, and pets and of days gone by.  We are friends.

We are in each other’s lives.  We track with each other.  We care, we follow, we laugh, we hurt when there is pain and we cheer for the victories.

We are friends.

What better thing is there to say than that? 

And then there are those with whom I’ve connected in
person.  I can recount story after story of my friendships with you.  I have a memory that seems to be very alive and well, for I can remember many shared experiences with you.  Church musicals, choir trips, college days, donut runs, Halloween dress-up times, eating pecan pie in the closet, dropped drum sticks, choir rehearsals, and the list goes on. 

It’s friendship!  
   Making memories  
      Celebrating life
         Sometimes enduring life together

I’ve shared in the birth of your child, I’ve become a God-parent to some of your children, I’ve held your children and grandchildren in my arms, and I’ve held some of you as you struggled in life.

And you have done the same for me.  Some of you have seen me on top, and some have seen me in tears.  You have laughed with me, cried with me, done crazy things with me, played ping pong with me, played and sang in church choirs and orchestras, acted in dramas and so much more.

And what do we have to show for it? 


Friendship in all of its guts and glory.

I’m big on FRIENDSHIP.

You have extended your hand and heart to me.  I only hope I have returned this gesture of love.

Thank you – My Friend!

Thank you very much!

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hold Onto Your Essentials

When I was in the seventh grade, our high school band allowed the seventh graders to join with them and march at the football half-time show. I played drums and the drum assigned to me the first two years was the tenor drum.

When I went into my freshman year I graduated to the snare drum and was given an old Slingerland snare drum. I played it and loved it.

During my first half-time show, as a new snare drummer, we lined up on the end zone line and the majorette blew the whistle for us to begin.

Between the end-zone line and the goal-line I dropped one drum stick. I had to throw off the snares and help keep the beat with one stick, like I used to do with the tenor drum.

Between the goal-line and the ten-yard line I dropped the other stick. UNBELIEVABLE! I had to march 90 more yards and not play one single beat on my snare drum during this, my first half-time show in my career as a snare drummer. You see, I dropped my essentials.

When I reflect back on this, here is what I take away from it.

Hold Onto Your Essentials!
What am I talking about?

There are certain essential skills, character traits, morals and guiding principles that everyone aligns with at some point in life, and these markers become essentials by which one uses to govern his or her life.
Allow me to suggest a few for consideration.

The Power of Choice
The greatest power you and I possess is the power of choice. We exercise it every day of our lives, from the time we awaken until we turn the light out at bedtime. We choose the clothes we wear, the foods we eat and how much, the kind of entertainment we enjoy, the books we read, the TV shows we watch and the beat goes one. We even get to choose whether to text and drive or not.

We in America will be voting on a new president in 18 short months. We get to vote for the candidates of our choosing. Will they be the best one to guide us for the next few years?

This one important essential has such ramifications for us both now and in our future. I would say that our power of choice is one of our essentials in life. May you and I CHOOSE WISELY!

Truth and Integrity
This is a BIG one. What is truth? What is integrity? And do you and I possess these traits? Do we even know what they look like?

Integrity speaks of … honesty, truthfulness, honor, reliability, uprightness. All are great words. All are commendable character traits. And do we hold onto these essentials? I hope so.

Honor speaks of … respect, admiration, credit, reputation.

Is this an essential you seek? Do you desire to be a respected, esteemed man or woman in your sphere of influence? What is your reputation at this moment and how do you improve it?

You knew this one was coming. The broader picture of love is, of course, love for mankind. Just how tolerant are we? How accepting are we? Can we agree to disagree? Can we allow each other space to hold our own thoughts? Can we tolerate a view that is different from the one we hold? We truly are a melting pot of cultures in most American cities. Are we choosing to get along?

I think a lot about the great John F. Kennedy quote.

“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.”

What was our topic in this section again? Something about “love”? Would you consider “love” to be an essential?

My goodness. I just opened up a can of worms. What is spirituality? I met a young man last week and in the course of our conversation we somehow got onto the subject of God and religion. He said “I’m not a religious person but I am a spiritual person.”

You and I have the wonderful privilege of working this one out for ourselves. I personally can’t see how this world got to where it is today without some supreme being with boundless powers, insights and instincts. And I can’t see how we will continue to survive as a universe without this same divine guidance.

My power of choice makes room for God the creator and God the present one. You get to choose your own playing field on that one.

Well, if I keep going this will turn into a book, and this is not the time or place for that book yet.

Above all, my prayer is that you discover the essentials for your own life and hold tenaciously to them.

In other words … Don’t drop your sticks

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Only Know Two Notes

When I lived in Waco, Texas I was asked to direct music for a Baptist Church in the community of China Spring. That church was full of wonderful, loving people and I made some good friends during my time there.

We had a lot of budding young musicians and some adults who were instrumentalists and they needed an outlet for their talents, so we formed a church orchestra in the fall of 1994. We planned, promoted, bought the music, and launched our church orchestra on a beautiful sunny September Sunday.

Twenty-two people showed up that first Sunday, and they sounded pretty good. The fun part of the story is what happened after that first rehearsal, and I've never forgotten it.

Carrie, an 8th grade trombone player came up to me after rehearsal. She looked so sad, and appeared on the verge of tears.

She said, “Mr. Biggs. I only know two notes.”

I looked at her, smiled and said, “That’s OK, Carrie. Every time those two notes show up on the page you play them to the best of your ability, and next week you’ll know three notes, then five, and pretty soon you’ll be able to play the whole song.”

Carrie hung in there. She learned more notes as time when on. She even played a trombone solo about a year later to our delight and her amazement.

I've never forgotten her words – “I only know two notes.”

How many notes do you know? I’m not talking about musical skill. I’m talking about life. When I graduated from high school I knew drums and was learning a small amount of music theory. Writing had not become a dream yet, nor had choral and orchestral directing, or business acumen, people skills, and a thousand other skills I have picked up along the way.

How many notes do you know? College graduation was not the end. It was a commencement! It was the beginning!

Carolyn and I went to a concert last Friday night called Ten Grands – ten grand pianos on one stage played by some of the finest pianist the northwest has to offer. Once upon a time, each of those performers only knew two notes.

I have an old cassette tape of Zig Ziglar giving a speech in the early 70’s. He was at about the four-note stage in his career then, and look what he went on to accomplish.

Tonight we went to our grandson’s band concert. Jacob has taken to the trumpet in an amazing way. He is now in the advanced band. My point is this – the beginning band played first, and then Jacob’s band. The sound and the difficulty of the pieces of music were as different as night and day.

The older students once only knew two notes. Now, they are on their way to greater skills, better tone and some nice music making.

If you think this is a music lesson, then read it again. We’re not talking music at all. We ARE talking about taking a raw skill and turning it into something better, expanding our reach, stretching our horizons and becoming a growing human being.

~What have you learned recently?
~What have you read that is useful?
~Have you listened to a new voice lately – one that can stretch your thinking in different, more expansive ways?
~Are your relationships fresh, or are they as stale as a one note samba?
How many notes do you know?

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Let me tell you a story – a true story.  It is about a friend of mine named Rod.  Though we've only been around each other a short amount of time, there exists a bond between us that is pretty remarkable.  We've traveled similar paths in life. 

He followed me a few years after I left a church music job in Albuquerque.
I stayed with his family one night when in San Diego for a conference.
He reads my blogs and often comments on their worth in his personal life.
We've read some of the same books.
And we are friends.

Rod is now facing retirement.  Here is what he said to me this week in an email.  It is most insightful.

“This is a step forward, not a stopping place!
It is a beginning, not an end.”

I love that.  “This is a step forward.”

Rod is saying, “Next?  What else is out there for me to do?”

In his short life-span, Rod has touched more than a few lives.  He’s been involved in music ministry for much of his life, and in recent years held an enviable post at a highly reputed college as chair of the music department in southern California.  His mark is made in significant ways in the lives of countless men and women who now have their own careers, both in music and out of music. 

What a marvelous attitude.  The next chapter of Rod’s life is yet another beginning. 

And what about you and me? 

I've had a few different careers in my lifetime.  Each one has been an adventure.  Honestly, the greatest adventure I've ever undertaken is that of a writer.  This craft that I practice gives me immense joy and fulfillment.  And when my readers respond – well, that is extra grape jelly on my bread. 

 ~Life happens. 
  ~Changes come to all of us. 
   ~We retire.
    ~We get tired.
     ~We get fired. 
      ~Sometimes our health forces other choices on us. 

And what do we do about that? 

We view it as a step forward – a new beginning.

Discover your own life. 

Follow the passages of life with confidence.  Reminds me of this great quote:

I think, really, this is a piece on ATTITUDE!

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How God Works

I am now going to solve the age old mystery of how God works.  Tighten your shoe laces and hang on. (Ha)

Once upon a time, I heard my Dad tell a story of how, in the beginning days of our family, they were short on funds and didn't have enough money to buy some needed groceries for his growing family.  Someone anonymously left a large sack of groceries on their front door stoop with enough eggs, milk and other necessities to get them by for time being. 

God was at work.

God has kept me from some career paths that might possibly have been a catastrophe.  I remember a few dating relationships before meeting Carolyn that definitely were headed south.

God was at work. 

I’m reminded today of this great scriptural text:  “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love and follow.”  (A loose paraphrase – See Romans 8:28)

Just yesterday I had the privilege of serving a trans-gender client.  He revealed this to me within two minutes of sitting down at my desk and asked if we serve individuals like him. 

My response:  “Yes we do.  You are a member of the human race, and I will accord you the same courtesy and expert services as I would offer anyone else.” 

We continued with the account opening process, chatted easily, and laughed a few times.  At one point I mentioned being a writer.  That led us into another round of conversations and allowed me to share some of my blog sites with him. 

One thing I know – this young man is loved by God as much as I am loved by God.  He has value and worth and God knows his name, just as He knows mine.

That is how God works.

The other day I called Carolyn in the middle of the day as we often do.  We soon found ourselves laughing out loud at something silly.  I believe God was in the middle of that conversation and laughing right along with us.  You see, He delights in His creation.

That is how God works.

I've personally experienced God at work through authors whom I read.  And they are not all “Christian” authors.  Of course Brennan Manning and Max Lucado are there.  And so are Frederick Beuchner, Philip Yancey, Brene Brown, Maxwell Maltz, Paulo Coelho, John C. Maxwell, Og Mandino and a few hundred others. 

God works through writers. 

I listened to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata recently.  I think God had a hand in that exquisite piece of music.

I know a man who was crushed under a two-ton bale of hay.  Today, Chad is one of the top motivational and inspirational speakers in the world.  God worked through the crushing and paralyzing times of Chad’s experience and made lemonade out of the lemons of that experience.

That is how God works.

I remember a Bible story of how God once used a harlot named Rahab.  (Read Joshua Chapter 2)

Do you see with more clarity how God works?  We can’t box Him in.  We can’t dictate as to how God should work, and to whom He should give grace and blessings, or whom God chooses to use in a grand adventure. 

All that matters is this:  God is at work in our world.  Largely 99% of His work is clandestine.  When He wants to show His hand, He usually uses someone who is available and willing. 

How might God want to use you and me today?

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