Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's All about People Top 5 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. 

Enjoy.

See you on the other side of the new year.


P Michael Biggs









Monday, December 21, 2015

The Trip to Bethlehem

What actually happened between the time of the decree to go and register and Mary and Joseph finally arriving in Bethlehem is only speculation.  Perhaps it was like this.

Here is my version of this story.  Settle in, grab a hot java or warm eggnog, snuggle up with your favorite person and read this one out loud.

Galilee was buzzing with the news.  Every one – every person was required by law to go to their place of origin and register for the nationwide census. 

Plans were made.  Belongings were packed.  Food was properly cured, stored, wrapped and preserved for the trip, and perhaps lists were made of all of the caravans that would be coming through Galilee and on which days so that those who wanted could join up.

Joseph made their trip arrangements while Mary took care of their provisions.  He selected Zek’s caravan.  He knew him from the village and had made a few benches and trunks for Zek’s wagons.  At least they would be in the company of friends and trusted travelers for their eighty-mile trek. 

The average man could walk about 20 miles a day, so this journey was a journey of four days.

The day came and the journey began.  There was a lot of joviality and excited conversations as they began.  The countryside slowly eased past as they trudged along. 

Mary had to make a few more stops than the average woman, due to her condition, and after the first night Zek pulled Joseph aside and told him the unfortunate news. 

“Tomorrow, we’ve gonna have to go ahead.  You and Mary are holding us up.  I’m sorry.”

Mary tried to bear up bravely, but the journey, the donkey and her pregnancy was no match for the rapid pace the caravan took.

True to his word, on the second morning Zek moved on ahead leaving Mary and Joseph in the dust of their trail.

Now alone, Joseph looked worried.  How will we make it?  What will I do if some bad sorts of men come along?  Maybe we can join another caravan.  I think I see some dust stirring behind us.

Other caravans came and went, and they all left Mary and Joseph eating the dust of their tracks.

Mary, however, was not perplexed.  She had a promise.  She had hope.  The direct message from the angel was this:  “the power of the most high will overshadow you.” 

Yes, that message was for the miracle of the birth of her baby, and it was for the journey leading them to His birth. 

In other words, as God often has said to others, “Be not afraid nor dismayed, for I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

They missed the fun around the campfires of the caravan.  They missed the shared meals; they missed Elisabeth’s special way with the standing rib roast, and the special sauté of onions, leeks, garlic, with roasted potatoes, and they missed the stories and laughter at night.

But they showed up in plenty of time and they were kept safe.

They had a rendezvous with destiny, and God got them there on time.



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



Monday, December 14, 2015

The Gift of Presence

The great gift to give to those around you this season … the gift of presence.

Be present in conversations.  Look into the eyes of the one to whom you are speaking.  Nod acknowledgement without rehearsing what your next words may be.

Take your hands off the computer keyboard as you engage in conversation.  Let your family and friends know you are very present in that moment in time.

Put away the electronic devices when others are around.  Go through the meal time without glancing at or using your device.  What a gift that could be.

Most people simply want to be validated, to be recognized.  We do that best by being present in all of our interactions. 

Give the gift of eye contact.
Give the gift of a listening ear and an inviting conversation.
Give full attention.  That is a game-changing gift.

And wait for the response.

You’ll create a sense of being wanted, being listened to and being appreciated. 

And it will flow back to you in ripples and waves.

Merry Christmas.



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


Monday, December 7, 2015

Give Love This Christmas

If you are running out of ideas for things to do this Christmas, consider this.

Last night we had four of our grand-kids over for dinner.  After feasting on Carolyn’s homemade meat loaf, we did a simple craft time of everyone water-coloring their own picture, and then moved in by the fireplace.  A nice blaze was warming the room.

I read a few Christmas stories and then went around the room and gave each one present a few words of esteem.  I brought out character traits I see, positive growth and maturity, beauty, kindness expressed toward others.  You get the idea.

For two or three minutes each person in the room was the focus of attention and received the gift of hearing what they are good at doing and a forecasting of what I hoped for each one.

It was a magical evening.  I left there with a warm glow in my heart for having shared in the lives of those special people.

Those around you need to hear that too, Mom and Dad.  Pause long enough occasionally to let those nearest and dearest know just how much they mean to you and what wonderful traits you see and sense in each one.

Merry Christmas.



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


Monday, November 30, 2015

What Child Indeed

It is interesting to ponder the baby who became a King.  He was brought into the world into such humble settings.  His place of birth was less than wonderful.  His first swaddling left much to be desired.  His first visitors were farm animals, and then came shepherds fresh from the fields. 

Not a very exciting way to welcome THE KING, was it? 

His birth surprised the establishment of the day as well.  They were looking for a deliverer. 

          Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a warrior to overcome their oppressors. 

          Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a hero.

          Instead they got a baby.


But most of all they got love.


Ponder the child in the manger. 


Love expressed in the most wholesome, beautiful way.

Love expressed in innocence.

Love expressed in cries in the night, just like the sounds any normal baby would offer.

Love expressed through a lifestyle of peace, compassion, caring, passion. 

Never before had the world seen
such a life, nor would we ever see it
again in such a pure state.


This baby, this little one named Jesus grew to become …

Well, what do you need this Christ Child to be in your world?

Do you need …
A friend?                          He is.
A healer?                          He is.
A savior?                          He is.
A comforter?                    He is.
A model of integrity?       He is.
A pathfinder?                    He is.
A protector?                      He is.

 What child is this?

Indeed, what child is this!


P Michael Biggs
Offering Words of Hope
At Christmas


Monday, November 23, 2015

Show Up and Be Seen

You have too much good in you to allow your spark of creativity to be hidden.  This post is meant purely to push you out into the light so that you can become visible for once in your life.  And maybe more than once.  Now wouldn’t that be something?

Sooner or later you must show up and be seen. 

Brene Brown is having a huge impact on us in these days.  I love her vulnerability prayer.


In another passage from her book Daring Greatly, Brene tells a story of her daughter attending a swim meet that she really didn’t want to participate in. 

Brene’s words to Ellen were:

“Just get wet!”

And Ellen did just that.  She didn’t win that day, except in the most profound ways of all.  She showed up.  She got wet.  She entered the water.

Sometimes effort is enough and it speaks volumes.

When we show up we are becoming vulnerable.  We are putting it out there for all to see.  And we survive the experience. 

A personal story:  I often felt vulnerable in the early days of blogging.  Every time before pressing “PUBLISH” I felt a moment of fear.  I suddenly didn’t want to be seen.  I would rather have gone and hidden than press publish.

But I pressed it.  I showed up.  I became visible.  And it got easier.  Now, it happens automatically.  
   I write
         I edit 
            I “PUBLISH”

It was not easy, but it was necessary.

Another story:  Before I published my first book I was nothing but a wanna-be author.  The act of publishing my first book was a tremendous boost to my self-esteem and my core feelings about myself.  You see, I had talked of being a writer for thirty years, but I kept cancelling the “show up” part. 

And after releasing my book, the feeling of accomplishment was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  It was a euphoria and a self-satisfaction that was indescribable. 

You’ll never fully appreciate what I am speaking of until you take a chance on YOU and show up and allow yourself to be seen.

Otherwise you’ll simply remain as a wanna-be, and that would be a great waste of your talent, now wouldn’t it?

Come on out.  I’ll stand beside you, hold your hand if you like, and whisper some encouraging words into your ear.

Words like
     ~You can do this.
          ~You are worthy of this honor.
               ~You deserve to be seen.

Be Seen!


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


Monday, November 16, 2015

Permission to DO Anyway

I am going to make a bold and empowering statement to you.  You might want to sit down for this one.

Your ideas are unique to you.  Who cares if
your idea has been done before?  It has not been done by you.  Therefore – go!  Do!  Be!  Become!

When I started blogging six years ago there were thousands of bloggers who were writing the same kinds of thoughts I write, but they weren’t me.  They didn’t have my take on life, my insights and my individualistic writing style and thought processes. 

And six years later I still write, and people around the world still read my stuff.  Amazing!

Some are better writers than I.  Some are more well-known, more handsome or beautiful, skinnier or more rotund – but none of them think exactly as I think. 

And it is so for you.

Do you want to build something?  DO!
Want to start a company?  DO!

Want to invent a new widget?  DO!

You have permission to go and DO!

You are unique.  You are qualified to do what you want to do. 

Need learning?     Go get it.
Need money?        Go find it.
Need inspiration?  Read my stuff, and others.
Need time?  Find it within the 24/7 you already own.

It would be a tragedy if you hid your talent and allowed it to be snuffed out.

That would be a serious tragedy indeed.


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


Monday, November 9, 2015

Are You Gonna Get Better

A quick story:  Earl Weaver, former coach of the Baltimore Orioles, was famous for running out to the umpire and complaining about the calls he disagreed with. 

One day he stormed out and said, “Is this as good as it’s going to be or are you gonna get any better?”

I don’t know about you but I’m all about getting better.  That is why I read from a variety of authors and on different subjects.

That is why I like alone time.  I often need to go within and analyze where I am, what I’m thinking and where I want to go.  And I want to be a better writer and observe other writers at their finest.

That is why I like listening to other’s opinions and views.  A person can learn a lot if we listen with critical ears.  That doesn’t mean we agree, but it does help us sharpen our thinking skills.

I want to get better; therefore, I am willing to invest in my education after my degree.

Let’s get better. 

There is still time.



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


Monday, November 2, 2015

Just Go Make Stuff

(Just for the record, this post is purely and simply a motivational and inspirational post.  After reading this I want you to take some kind of action or make some kind of commitment to yourself and go make something.)

Okay, let’s start.

You do not need permission to live the creative life.  You do not need to wait on a sign, or have the ‘right’ person come to you and invite you into the creative process.  You just need to do that thing you’ve longed to do. 

Who cares if people like it, buy it, read it, listen to it or praise it?  All that matters is you give life to some creative spark inside of you that needs expression.

I have six blogs that I write weekly.  One of them, A Time for Rhyme (Click this link), is a short, sometimes humorous, often silly muse that expresses some insight from the comical and offbeat side of my mind.  When I promote this site on social media I often make fun of these poems with some kind of snide remark about “don’t laugh too much”, “don’t take this too seriously” etc.

When I started, I wanted to make sure those who would venture to this poem site knew and understand that this was a bunch of nonsense.  Most people got that, yet I still got a few comments about ‘don’t give up your day job’. 

The point is this – this site pleases me.  It allows creativity in a new direction from anything I’ve ever attempted.  I like what is going on here and honestly, that is all that matters.  What is amazing is that this site often out-performs my other sites on some days, and that is simply confirmation that I am following my creative heart.

My word for you - Just go make stuff.
Create.
Live the creative life. 

You don’t need a reason and you don’t need permission.

If you do need permission, I am officially giving you permission to go and create something just for the heck of it.

The end beginning!



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


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Servant or Pioneer

Seth Godin observed:  “We are either servants or pioneers.” 

Which way do you want to play that one?

Seth’s full quote is this:  “You are either a
servant to a sovereign authority or you are a pioneer blazing your own trail.”

I like that later.  And you?

If I could empower you, I would say to you – reason things out for yourself. You have a voice. Use it.

You could be one of the best trail blazers this world has ever seen.  There is no one else quite like you.  Your voice is unique, as is your finger print, your DNA and your eye print.  Declare your uniqueness.  Declare your own brand of whatever it is you do best. 

I love the TV show Shark Tank for that very reason.  Week after week a handful of individuals and partners show up with their idea, their brand, their dreams and the hopes.  They have one chance to say their piece and attract the attention of at least one shark.  In those brief moments, they possess the spirit of a trail blazer.  They show their stuff as a pioneer and they simply want to blaze a trail for other like-minded souls to follow.

You are now handed the torch.  Wave it high.  Show us what you can do and mark your trail with a burning blaze so that we can follow and be inspired by your story.



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


Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Don't Like Bullies

I don’t like bullies.  They remind me of
dictators.  They demand that the world be ordered according to their selfish agenda, whims and wishes.

Bullies forget that I have a mind, a will and a sense of right and wrong, good and bad.  In other words – I can make really great choices for my life.

I don't like bullies.

I like marching to the sound of my own drummer.  I like making my own way.  I like the way my mind reasons things out. 

I have a voice.  I can use it for my own good and hopefully for the good of the tiny space over which I have some control.

I don’t like bullies.

But I do like the way I am capable of governing my life.


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


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fear and Creativity

Are you a creative type?  Would you like to wear the label “Creative”?  Then you have an ugly twin who follows you everywhere you go.

Elizabeth Gilbert says this about that:  “Fear and creativity are conjoined twins.”

Especially during the early days of being a writer and blogger, I felt great panic every time it came time for me to press PUBLISH.  My thoughts were these: 
  What if this is crap?
  What if nobody reads this?
  What if I’ve got ten misspelled words?
  What if it is boring?
   What if people laugh?
   What if the literary cops come and put me in jail for subject/verb abuse?

Most creative types I know and read about face this dilemma in pursuing their craft.  Every dancer wants to be perfect, every singer wants to wow their audience, and every speaker wants to astound their listeners with an amazingly glib delivery.

And along comes fear.

Fear rides on the shoulder of every attempt to be creative or every attempt to do something new. 

AND WE DO IT ANYWAY!


We create, we write, and sing, dance, build tall buildings, create movie scripts; we deliver sermons and speeches, we run for office and a thousand other pursuits, and all the while we thumb our nose at fear.  We say ‘Fear, get out of the way.  I’ve got stuff to produce the likes of which this world has yet to see.  Step aside.  My creative self is coming through.”

We face our fears and we create something of nothing.

Got fear? 

Who doesn’t?

A question for you:  Who’s going to drive your bus - Fear or Creativity?



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


Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Tremendous Thing

This is about as wise as it gets for this blog post.  Would you like to go down in history as having done a few tremendous things?

Consider this.

Be a friend.

BE A FRIEND!

E.B. White says it best in the children’s classic Charlotte’s Webb.


I have a friend who confessed to me recently that he was contemplating suicide because he is at the end of his life and has a serious cancer attacking his body and there is nothing more the medical world can do for him. 

I called him just to say “Hi Roger.  I’m your friend and I care for you.”

I helped another man from Algeria get his computer up and running and saved him some money from a potential web scam.  He called me his ‘best friend.”

What is the value you have in your friend’s list?

Count them as gold.

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


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

~Good days come and go.  And we keep swimming.

~We have good hair days and bad hair days.  Keep swimming.

~Some days we lose weight and some days we
gain.  Keep swimming toward your goal.

~Some days we are creative and some days we are boring.  Keep swimming.

Persistence is the key. 
   If it is a worthy goal
      If it matters to us
         If it is something we have a burning 
         desire to attain

… Then by all means keep swimming.

We continue striving.  We continue the climb.  We work at our craft.

And one fine day we awaken to discover that our dream is in sharper focus, and closer than ever before.

All because we kept swimming.


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


Saturday, September 19, 2015

It's Still Free

In a world that puts a price on almost everything, there is still one piece of life that is free.

Want to know what that is?

Your Power of Choice!

How about that?  You can do anything you choose. 
You can sit on your bottom.
You can dream.
You can draw
Or you an scheme

You can think, or cry or sigh
You can write or sing, oh my.

You can lean, discern and love
You can walk, talk, and wear a glove

You, yes I do mean YOU, get to choose your actions, activities and life course.

You can offer a hand or offer a fist.
You can walk in the rain or enjoy the mist

You can protect someone’s back
Or live with great lack

You get to choose, my friend.

Choose Wisely!


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


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Anything Can Be

It’s about time for a bit of Shel Silverstein philosophy, don’t you think?  Read this.





Ain’t it so.  Ain’t it so. 

There will be nay-sayers in this world.  There will be those who pooh-pooh every idea, thought, creation, or hint of something that might work.

AND WE DO IT ANYWAY!  We do it because sometimes it needs doing, and perhaps we are the only one with the vision to do the thing.

If it is good, if it is honest, if it is profitable for mankind, if it is an idea worthy of its time, then by all means do it.

You may go back to building your dream now.



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


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Do or Do Not



Have you ever seen a more succinct quote?  It boils down to this every time, doesn’t it?

I’m listening to the audio biography of the Wright brother.  Again this quote is in play. 

I am on a new quest for my health.  For me it is a matter of "Do.  By all means do.”

I could choose to “do not” but I want to live a bunch more years.  For me this choice is easy. 

What can you decide to “DO” right now? 

It is your choice, after all.

Your normal life will resume in 3 – 2 – 1!


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


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oxygen

OXYGEN!

What a necessity for life. 

And when we are without, we can only last a few seconds up to 4 minutes. 

A barely flickering flame needs oxygen.  Sometimes we call it nurturing the flame.

People need oxygen too, and not just in the air we breathe.  We need it in the form of a word of esteem and a word of hope.

And you and I hold that oxygen in our hands every day.  With every person we meet, we can either say words of hope and encouragement, or words of ill will. 

Your next wait person at the restaurant needs oxygen-like words of appreciation and kindness.  So does your mailman, your grocery clerk, and your minister/priest/rabbi.

Even your spouse and kids, especially your spouse and kids need to hear those life-giving words for which they thirst

Will you bring life to someone nearby today?

I hope so.

And may you receive in like manner in which you give

Be well today.



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


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Final Conversations

This post is not meant to be morbid nor depressing.  Hopefully, you will gain some insights about the last conversations you may ever have with a spouse, parent, sibling or someone very close to you.  These thoughts are based on the book – The Four Things that Matter Most by Ira Byock, M.D.

When someone you cherish is facing their last days on this earth, it is doubtful you’ll have conversations about the weather or the recent Mariner’s or Seahawk’s game.  You probably won’t brag about the new Lexus you just purchased either.  I hope you go much deeper than all of that. 

If you are like a lot of people, you want your last breath, and the breath of your loved one, done right.  You want to say the right words at the right time.  Usually, those words fit into four neat phrases. 

     “Please forgive me.”
       “I forgive you.”
         “Thank you.”
           “I love you.”

I hope you seek to fill those final conversations full of loving and esteeming relationship restoration moments.  Make magical memories for those who will be left behind.

Dr. Byock tells a touching story of a man named Ira and his father’s last days.  The short version of the story is this:  The father had always been a man of stern disposition.  He never showed emotion and never expressed the “I love you” words. 

During the last month of life his father asked Ira to give him a shave during one of his morning visits.  Ira was taken aback at this request, but quickly consented and got the shaving tools needed. 

He placed a hot towel on his father’s face, and they began talking softly all during the process.  Ira used the soap cup and brush his father had used his whole life, which happened to be the same soap, cup and razor his father used when teaching Ira to shave as a teenager.  After he finished, his father asked him if he would come and do that again. 

Ira consented, and soon realized that his dad didn’t need his son to shave him.  The hospice team had been doing that.  His father simply wanted Ira to touch him.  Touch is one of the most powerful forms of communication when words fail us. 

Ira reflected after his father’s death:  “It was something he needed, and it was obviously something I needed as well.  Touching my father was magical.  We communicated more love to each other during those times than we ever had in all our lives.”

My wife Carolyn tells a similar story of her father’s wish for her to shave him during his last days.  Though they had a good and healthy relationship, this simple act of touch and gentle conversations had an impact that was magical, esteeming and memorable.  

We all will have those final crucial conversations.  I hope they become rich memories and restorative moments in your relationships.



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