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