Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facing a New Year

I’ve been reviewing old blogs, I’ve been thinking for some time now about this blog at the doorstep of 2012 and I want it to be memorable, yet not resort to the typical thoughts I’ve already been receiving in my inbox.

So, here is what is on my mind.

I will endeavor to travel these paths in 2012. 

-I will honor God in my living, in my thinking, in my acting.
-I will find ways to add value to my wife. 
-I will continue reading good and wholesome stuff – books, magazines, internet content
-I will model integrity in thought, word and deed.
-I will write to the best of my abilities.
-I will treat my fellow man with respect, cordiality and kindness.
-I will do a better job of honoring my body and bring balance and health to a higher level.

Do you notice that all of these center on making good choices? 


That’s it.  One word that now becomes the focus for my life this year.

I Choose – every day, every moment, every circumstance.

Will you join me in pursuit of good choices this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Wins Again

In Stanley Weintraub’s book Silent Night, I want to offer you an abridged version of the gist of this book.

On Christmas Eve, 1914, in the beginning days of WWI, a Christmas truce was called for.  At midnight on Christmas morning, all guns were to be silenced for one hour.

On this particular battle field, an entrenched squad of German soldiers faced an entrenched squad of French and Belgian soldiers. 

Moments before, each side had been shooting at anything that moved on the enemy’s side, but for this moment in time, all guns fell silent.

As midnight approached, the night became still.  Snow was softly falling. 

Listen to the stillness.  Take in the beauty of snow covering a barren landscape, and hiding all the ills of war.

As we listen, we hear … we hear …

Could it be?  It sounds like …


“Si…  Ho…”  I can’t quite make it out. 

Listen.  Did you hear that?

And then with clarity, one lone German voice sang out “Stille Nacht.” 

The melody lingered in the air, and soon, from the French side you could hear an echo. 

“Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Cautiously, slowly, one lone German soldier ventured out of his trench and made his way to common ground - the middle of the battle field.  And then a French soldier joined him at center point. 

Soon others came crawling out of their fox holes and trenches. 

For this moment in time, these men of the human race chose to put down their weapons and open up their hearts, all because of Christmas.

Before you could say “Jack Rabbit” some food was produced, and some drinks were passed around. 

And grown men, formerly sworn enemies, were enjoying a moment of friendship and celebration with fellow members of the human race. 

They were singing and making merry, offering hugs of acceptance and celebration, showing photos of loved ones back home, and communicating as best they could, all because of Christmas.

Rumor has it that the high command from both sides of this battle field did everything in their power to establish decorum of war-like conditions, but their commands and warnings went largely unheeded. 

Christmas broke out on a field of battle. 

Christmas and all it represents.

Peace on earth, good will to all men.
     Joy to the World!
          Hope has come.

On both sides, the conversations ran like this: 
“Wish we could go home.”
“Wish we weren't enemies.”
“Wish we could live in peace and harmony.”

As the cold Christmas day wore on, the soldiers moved back across their lines of battle, back to their lonely fox holes and muddy trenches, but with a warm glow of Christmas on their hearts and in their minds. 

It is said that later, on Christmas day, ranking officers on both sides continued issuing commands to resume fire, and the firing of weapons did eventually begin again.

But for a period of a few days, the bullets zoomed high above the heads of the enemies on the other side of the field.  High on purpose. 

For how could they fire upon someone they now considered “friend”?

You see, Christmas revealed itself to those soldiers that day on that particular battle field. 

Christmas came to war, and Christmas won.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hope Is Coming

Hope was promised in the ancient scriptures.  Isaiah 7:14 said it this way.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

And in Isaiah 9:6 we read:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

And then, then it happened.

Luke 2:1-20 “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What the Bells Say

 (This is the #2 in Our Christmas Blog Series)

Perhaps you need a word of hope this Christmas season.  If you do, keep reading.

From the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day we find this phrase:

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep”

Sit with that for a few minutes.

Some in our world might sing to us a doomsday song.

Some might paint a bleak picture.
Debt on every hand.
Dissonance at every turn.

However …

However, these words ring out loud and clear.


What a comfort.

What a hope. 

God is still on duty 24/7.  How about that?

Is the world going to hell in a hand-basket?
Not on His watch.

God is very much real, alive and in control.  He doesn’t even take Sunday afternoon naps.

Simple message?

You bet.

Take heart.

God is watching over you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Child Indeed

A Christmas Blog - Part One of Four
(Today we begin a four-week Christmas series in these blogs.  
Wishing you a season of hope, joy and wonder.)

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 lead the charge against their enemies and 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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Saw Thanksgiving Today
November 2011

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Carolyn and I made a trip to this great Whole Foods Store in the Roosevelt district of Seattle. 

There were throngs, gobs and myriads of people in there already at 9:45 A.M. 


Yet, in the traffic jam of grocery carts and shoppers, I saw, rather sensed Thanksgiving.  People were hurrying and scurrying to find just the right ingredients for some yet-to-be-baked dish, all with the thought of giving to family, loved ones, friends, in the spirit of thankfulness. 

I saw it in the smiles rather than the curses of hundreds of shoppers jammed into narrow aisles and being forced to allow others to take their time and stand a bit too long in front of that item they themselves were searching for. 

I narrowly avoided three cart crashes, and each time was greeted with a smile, a “sorry” and a “Have a great Thanksgiving.”

Not one – not one discouraging word was uttered. 
Not one – not one frown crept across the faces of any of the shoppers today. 

Instead I saw smiles, grins as big as the sun, Thanksgiving greetings, happy kids, kind and gentle parents. 

That, my friend is Thanksgiving. 

I am thankful –

     Thankful for peace
          Thankful for love from above
               Thankful for love here on earth
          Thankful for good things that have come our way
                  this year in abundance
     Thankful for guidance through the trials this year

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael and Carolyn Biggs

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Markers along the Road to Success

From a lifetime of reading, here are some markers I gathered that help all of us stick to the task at hand.  May one or two of these do that for you as well.

“You need two types of courage –
First, the courage to get started
Second, the courage to not quit.”  

“Act in spite of fear.”

“You must believe it 
before you can see it.”

“Never let mistakes define who you are.”

“Don’t quit five minutes 
before the miracle happens.”

“Many successful people have found 
opportunities in failure and adversity that they 
could not recognize in more favorable circumstances.”

“A quitter never wins 
and a winner never quits.”

“The most common cause 
of failure is quitting.”

“To succeed 
you must have stick-ability.” 

“Keep showing up.”

“Dream big, 
and never stop short 
of reaching the top.”

To the perseverance spirit 
that resides in each of us, 
I wish you progress on the journey 
toward your future. 

As Winston Churchill once said:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Is Failure?

Let me sing you a song.

Do you remember those famous men
Who had to fall to rise again
They pick themselves up
Dust themselves off
And start all over again.

If I could implant one key phrase into your heart and mind, it would be this phrase …

Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure.

John Maxwell says this: 
What you have to tell yourself is, “I’m not a failure.  I failed at doing something.”

-Mozart was told once his opera The Marriage of Figaro “had too many notes.”

-Van Gogh sold only on painting in his lifetime.

-Thomas Edison was considered un-teachable as a youngster.

-Albert Einstein was told by a Munich schoolmaster that he would “never amount to much.”

God give us a few more Einstein’s, Edison’s, and Mozart’s.

If I were judged on my failures, I would have buried my head in the sand long ages ago. 

Just because I failed at one thing, does not mean I am a failure at everything.

You only become a failure when you throw up your hands and quit on life. 

So, let us keep on working at our craft, our painting, our music, and our writing, or whatever it is you want to do with passion. 

Learn from the past.
Study for the future.
Become the best you that you can become.

It’s just your future that is waiting. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Names Matter

(I find this story so intriguing I am including it for this week’s blog.  I wish I knew the origin of this story.  If I ever find out, I’ll post it on a future blog.  Read this most important message.)

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz.  I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" 

Surely this was some kind of joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times.  She was tall, dark-haired and in her fifties, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.  Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely" said the professor.  "In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant.  They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." 

I've never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Make somebody feel important.  Remember their name.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I've had a thousand beginnings in my life.  I’ve started projects, books, repair jobs, and a dozen other enterprises; yet along the way I lost my focus. 

I stopped envisioning my objective.  I stopped seeking ways to continue the pursuit; to accomplish the dream.

             I lost my focus.

I discovered this insightful acrostic from Mari Smith’s Personal Strategies for the word “FOCUS”. 

It’s simple.

It’s easy to remember. 

Here it is:


It speaks of staying power, pertinacity. 

There are some epic examples in our land of those who have consistently demonstrated FOCUS.

Man on the Moon
Apple and Steve Jobs
Lance Armstrong
President Obama

What are your dreams?
What do you want to do, to be, to accomplish?

It’s all about F O C U S.

Follow One Course Until Successful.

For many years I dreamed of and talked about becoming a writer and speaker.  But for too many years it was simply talk, no action.  I awakened one day and realized that people were not going to beat my door down until I proved that I had what it takes to write and speak.

I looked at some stats today for my blogs.  They are being read in places like Canada, England, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.  I don’t reveal this to boast, but rather to make a very poignant point.

I am doing what is required so that I can accomplish my goals

I’m on my way to seeing my dreams become a reality because I have FOCUS.  I am following one course until successful. 

How is your FOCUS?

Map out your strategy.

Set your mind to the task.

Follow your course.

It will lead you to amazing places.

Happy Travels!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sapere Vedere

One of my treasured books for the past two years is Kevin Hall’s Aspire.   In this book Kevin introduces us to this wonderful word – Sapere Vedere (sah-PARE-ay veh-DARE-ay).

Sapere Vedere is knowing how to see.  Another way of saying this is “seeing beyond the clouds.”  What a useful skill that would be.

A part of this word’s meaning lies in the whole concept of “believing is seeing.

I love the plaque on my wall next to my desk.  It says: 

As Kevin says, “People with sapere vedere say ‘I’ll see that bridge before I cross it.’”

We people people are in great need of the essence of sapere vedere.  We see with our eyes, but vision is a function of one’s heart.

Vision expands the limitations of our eyes.  I love this line from Kevin.  “Never let your eyes determine what you heart believes”.

Think of it this way:
“Wisdom is knowing what we saw.
          “Vision is knowing what we see.
                    “Sapere vedere is knowing how to see.”

What shall you become one day?  Only your vision can tell you.

This thought kind of adds new light to Henry David Thoreau’s great comment.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are You Gonna Get Better?

John Maxwell tells this story:
Earl Weaver, coach of Baltimore Orioles once said to an umpire in a baseball game, “Is this as good as it’s gonna be or are you gonna get better?”

Turn that question inward and let’s see what comes out.

“Are we as good as we are gonna be, or are we going to get better?”

I’ve made a few mistakes in my life.  Allow me to list them for you.

Once upon a time I …

Never mind.  You get the point.

We have within our grasp so much information that there is absolutely no reason we can’t improve, whatever it is we want to improve.   Just look at our resources:  Colleges, Universities, Internet web browsing, magazines and books in abundance in libraries and bookstores. 

What needs improving in your life?  In my life?

A part of this process includes evaluating your past. 
Do you know yourself? 
     Your past? 
          Your weaknesses and strengths?

That’s a great place to start. 

The next step is learning from those weak areas and having the attitude of “next time I’ll do better.”

               Go toward your better understanding
               of whatever it is you want and need.

The world is waiting for your mark, your words, and your contribution.  Learn, get better, and go toward it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Nothing happens until courage steps up to the plate and swings the bat.

Karl Barth, a Swiss Theologian once said, 
          “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

Are you facing a tremendous decision? 
Ready to launch something new,
                        something bold and revolutionary? 

Are you afraid?


Eddie Rickenbacker said 
“There can be no courage unless you are scared. 
Courage is doing what you are afraid to do.”

John Maxwell says 
“Courage begins with an inward battle.  
Courage isn't an absence of fear.  
It’s doing what you are afraid to do.”  

Before I launched my weekly blogs and the commitment to stick with them, I was just a wannabe writer.  I had been published before, but that was in the past and no one remembers what I said back then. 

What about today?  I had to risk being rejected by readers, having people opt out of receiving my blogs, but mostly I had to commit to myself that I was going to be a writer no matter what.  I had to screw my courage to the sticking place. 

Courage is the willingness to take a risk – the one character trait shared by all great and effective men and women.

The death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, was just announced this week.  Talk about a man of courage. 

Steve was a visionary, an innovator, and a forward thinking individual.  I love his line “Let’s Go Invent Tomorrow.”  (See my Sept. 15, 2011 blog "Let's Go Invent Tomorrow" Blog)

Look at the tomorrows that Steve invented.  He changed our world for the good.  That took tremendous courage.  He had no assurance that people would respond to his ideas.  But he had courage.

Did Steve Jobs have fear?  Most likely he had it in buckets and truck loads.  But he faced his fears, gathered his courage closely around him and stepped up to the plate. 


He hit home runs

May you find your courage in buckets and truckloads and step up to the plate. 

You just might hear the roar of the crowds as you round third base headed for home.