The Difference Between Bold and Stupid

During church this week I asked each of our church’s children if they could tell me the definition of bold and additionally the word stupid. I got some funny responses but I also received some intuitive ones. For the word bold they responded with brave and courage. With the word stupid they said, foolish and crazy. Each of their definitions were true and insightful but they were missing one key element.

Years ago at the tender age of six, I was visiting my grandparents at their home. My sister had locked my brother and me out of the house and that had made me angry. To add insult to injury, she stood behind the storm door window and laughed and mocked me. To this day I can’t remember why I did it, but I tied a towel around my neck. In my mind I had instantly become Superman. I could now right the injustices of the world, and at that moment that included opening a locked door with a single bound. Running with my arm outstretched in front of me, I ran directly for the locked storm door. As quickly as I had begun racing toward my objective, the mission was over. With the sound of crashing glass, I had promptly placed my fist through the storm window. The door could now be unlocked.

My sister came running as did my grandfather. As shocked as they were to see the broken glass, they were more shocked that I had nary a scratch on my arm. While I suffered no injury to my hand, I can tell you however that another part of my body smarted the rest of the afternoon.

The point of my story is boldness and stupidity is separated by one thing; and that is God. History records many individuals who have claimed to have had God on their side but the results of their efforts proved otherwise.

George Washington’s private secretary was named Robert Lewis. During the first years of Washington’s presidency, he witnessed his boss’s private devotions first hand. He said they occurred both in the morning and in the evening. Seeing the President kneeling before an open Bible in the Mount Vernon library, Lewis said the President would get up each morning at 4 am to devote time in prayer.

I dare say our very nation would not have seen such early success and won key battles for it’s independence, without such a brave and principled man devoting time in seeking God’s guidance. If this formula worked so well for President Washington in forming our nation, would it not still today? I hear a lot of people say what this country needs is “bold and decisive leadership.” But if it doesn’t include God, wouldn’t that be defined as stupid?

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My Observation on the Border Crisis

Growing up as a twin, birthday celebrations always included going out the day of my birthday and inviting all the kids from my neighborhood over for an impromptu cake and ice cream social. My mother never wanted to plan a party because that meant with a tight budget, we’d have to buy gifts for all the other kids when their birthdays came around. It was a frugal choice but the correct one; you can’t buy gifts and feed everyone.

This summer the tsunami of illegal immigrants crossing our borders has in essence, popped the collective balloons of the nation’s party. U.S. Officials have learned quickly that citizen ‘parents’ don’t want to pay for this party where the guest list far outstrips the proverbial cake and ice cream.

Ask anyone who has purchased a meal for a homeless person or placed them in a hotel for a night, we want to do it because in reality most people have a heart. But Americans draw the line when that same homeless person muscles their way into the house, doesn’t want to leave, and forces everyone to call him Uncle Bob. Most people like to give gifts, but when that person no longer says thank you and “expects” it, our generosity wanes.

Jesus tells us in the Good Book that the “poor will always be among us.” That means no matter what we do collectively or legislatively, we will NEVER end the world’s sufferings. I see politicians decrying the public backlash against this onslaught of wannabe Americans. They criticize protesters as “heartless, and un-American, but what I don’t see is any of those same legislators taking these same young illegal immigrants into their own homes or towns. They just want us to do all the sacrificing.

When I think of the current immigration crisis I recall a story of the American West. An Indian guide and cowboy were commissioned to scout out an area for possible homesteaders. Due to warring Indian tribes and wild animals, the course they were to take was dangerous. The Indian who knew the area better, promised to take the lead as scout while the cowboy would lag behind to watch for hostile enemies and danger.

It was late afternoon on the second day when the cowboy finally caught up with the Indian. On a crooked path prostrate, the Indian lay with his ear to the ground. The cowboy walking slowly up to him, then heard the Indian saying haltingly with many pauses, “Big Wagon Train, 12 horses, 8 men, 6 women, 3 dogs, 2 cows, and one burro.” Stunned the cowboy exclaimed, “You can tell ALL that by just listening to the ground?” To which the Indian replied, “No, it ran over me an hour ago!”

America, I believe we’ve been run over!

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The Talk

I recall the day I had to call on all my reserves to make ‘THE’ phone call. It’s the one most men have had to make at least one time in their life. It was in February 1984 and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was going to ask a man who I’d only met once to marry his daughter. My father-in-law was not a big man, in fact he was short in stature. It didn’t matter because as I dialed the number with a shaky finger, he might as well have been King Kong.

The conversation was short and to the point. I was calling to ask if I could marry his youngest daughter. Since he had been robbed of a son by having two girls, my wife was his tomboy. When he wanted to take his motorcycle out for a spin, or take a flight in his Cessna, it was his ‘little girl’ who always accompanied him. If he was under a car working, it was she who stood above and handed him the requested tool. She was the quintessential ‘daddy’s girl’ and I knew it. As we began to talk, he asked me questions along the lines of my present job, my future plans, etc. He finished the conversation by telling me he wasn’t surprised that I asked for her hand in marriage. I mean who wouldn’t want a beautiful blond girl with curls who loved pick up trucks and country music?

Fast forward 27 years and I had this same conversation with my daughters suitor. The exception to his approach as opposed to mine was he used less words. I think he knew it was a formality of a foregone conclusion. The similarities were striking. He no doubt had the same trembling dialing finger, and he also married a pickup loving country girl.

One day a husband and wife were sharing their feelings about their daughter. Their child had been spending far too much time with a ‘less than ideal’ boyfriend. In fact their fear was the relationship was getting too serious. The daughter had called the night before and had told them they were coming over the next day to talk with them about something important. This bit of news alarmed them as they sat up talking into the wee hours of the morning running through the scenarios. Marriage was the only plausible reason for their visit and it made them shudder. Despite their daughters affections for the lad, he appeared to be lazy, undisciplined and rudderless.

Before their arrival the mother said, “Do whatever you can to talk some sense into this boy. I don’t want him marrying our daughter. When they arrived the father invited the young man into his study for a personal conversation. The mother kept their daughter distracted in the kitchen.

Uncomfortable from the start, the Dad started to ply the boy with questions. “It appears you’re here because you’d like to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage, is that correct?” The young man nodded. The father then asked, Do you have a career? To which the young man said, “Yes, I work for Wendy’s as a janitor.” Trying to maintain his calm the father said, “That’s not much of a salary to support my daughter!” To which the boy responded, “Don’t worry, God will provide.” The questions now came in rapid fire, “Your car is very old, how will you buy another? What happens if their daughter got pregnant and she had to leave the workforce, could they make it? Each and every time the patent answer was the same, the boy would say “God will provide.”

After twenty minutes of getting nowhere, he dismissed the young man. The mother immediately entered the room. Anxious to know whether he’d been successful at talking the boy out of marriage, she blurted out, “Did you talk any sense into him? Is he going to marry our daughter?” to which the husband responded, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is he’s marrying our daughter.” Instantly she said, “then what can possibly be the good news?” To which he responded, “He thinks I’m God.”

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The Perpetual High School

With age comes less peer pressure; or at least it should. It doesn’t matter if everyone in your neighborhood has a pool, your desire to acquire one evaporates when you look at your self in the mirror wearing a bathing suit. At my age there is less emphasis placed on being hip. Besides I’m closer in age to hip replacement than hip anyway.

When Facebook first came out, it was all the rage. Everyone it seemed wanted to attach themselves to a medium that allowed you to attend (via computer) your high school reunion in your bathrobe. The craze got bigger. Soon we found ourselves bombarded with game requests, advertising, friend requests, selfies, and group invitations. The onslaught of more and more information made me long for a mountain cabin retreat off the grid.

As I logged in each day, I read posts from friends telling me everything and I mean everything. I’ve learned individuals bathroom habits, daily food intakes, dog maladies, and vacations I’ll never afford. My computer screen has become a modern wall of graffiti and half of it I don’t even understand. Despite being out of high school for thirty years, I recognize sadly that a handful of acquaintances still hold onto latent jealousies and insecurities I thought had been left in the sandbox of childhood. Besides for me, getting whacked by a little sandbox shovel and pail still smarts.

My life has been quite the journey. However one thing is sure, I am always going to choose to travel the happier route. I love this quote from an unknown source, “If it wasn’t for the optimist, the pessimist would never know how happy he wasn’t.”

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

The unknown author of this story never mentioned Facebook, so I assume he’d label it part of the small stuff. Because of this, I am retiring from Facebook and will follow his advice.

If you would like to remain in touch, please visit or follow me at my website:
It will here that I will announce the completion of my long awaited book sometime later this the year.

God Bless you my friends and remember, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

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