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Are words important?

picture of word hug

We live in a world of words. Words have such power, both to build up or to tear down. Anyone who has been one of my readers for any length of time knows that I am a word person. I love words! Many events in recent days have reminded me of words. First of all was our recent visit with our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and grandson Drew in Michigan. (A few more details at the end of this post....) Since we last saw our grandson three months ago, his vocabulary has absolutely exploded! We can hardly believe all the words he uses now.

This past Sunday we visited a church out of state where the message of the morning was from Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." It was an excellent message on the power of words to encourage, to speak for the Lord and to the Lord, and even to share humor with others! (Imagine my delight!) :-D One theme in the message was that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) Those words that come out of our mouths are merely an indication of what is in our hearts. That principle is repeated often in the Bible.

Words have also been a topic in the political scene this week in one way or another. The other day TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) — the machine that feeds words to POTUS (President of the United States) when he speaks in almost any public setting — broke, leaving him literally at a loss for words! A Google search for TOTUS just brought up over two million results, and much has been said about the many inaccurate things Mr. Obama has said (even personal facts about himself and his family), simply because he was reading the words on his teleprompter. I will not go into all of that in this post, other than to mention the preceding in connection to words.

One major event this week is the Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor. Not only are the hearings the usual war of words, but Ms. Sotomayor is finding out personally that the words we speak have a way of coming back to haunt us. One quotation of hers that has received much attention this week and in the weeks leading up to the hearings is "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." I've been trying to imagine what would be happening to a white male if he had said "I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life." She's fortunate, though, to belong to one of the groups of people incapable of racism. The trouble is that her statement was not a one-time "misspeak" (whatever a misspeak is!). It was given in basically the same format several different times over several years. (Out of the abundance of the heart,...)

Another statement of hers that is getting attention is that "the court of appeals is where policy is made." (I thought the Constitution assigns that duty to the legislative branch and that it is the duty of the judicial branch to interpret the law. Silly me!?) You can view her saying that at this link on YouTube. For those of you who cannot get to YouTube, I'm posting the clip below. Those of you reading this post in a blog reader may have to go to my blog post to view the clip.

It's been interesting to hear her and others try to explain away her words in order to convince the Senate that she is not a judicial activist with a racist agenda.

I relate those things about Ms. Sotomayor, not to grind a political axe, but to point out that words have consequences, or at least they do for most of us. She has said what she has said, and no one is putting words into her mouth. (Remember, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.)

As a teacher and as a blogger, I speak and write a lot of words. It is a sobering to ponder the responsibility that is mine for the impact of my words on my students and on my readers. Once your words have left your mouth or your computer, you cannot recall them. And try as you may, you can never completely change their impact. A verse that often comes to my mind in connection to this is Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." It's important to weigh our words and to leave some of them unsaid or unwritten rather than to offend.

That said, on to this week's iv — several jokes about how and how much some people use words.


A man was giving a speech at a meeting. He got a bit carried away and talked for three hours.

Finally, he realized what he was doing and said, "I'm sorry I talked so long. I left my watch at home."

A voice from the back of the room shouted, "There's a calendar behind you!"


A husband, trying to prove to his wife that women talk more than men, showed her a study which indicated that men use on the average only 15,000 words a day, whereas women use 30,000 words a day.

She thought about this for a while and then told her husband, "Women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say." To which he replied, "What?"


In a monastery a new monk took a vow of silence. He agreed to abide by the tradition in this particular monastery of saying only two words every ten years.

After the first ten years had gone by, the monk was summoned into the abbot's office. The abbot nodded, and the monk said, "Food bad," turned, and went back to his room.

After twenty years, the scene was repeated, except this time the monk said, "Bed hard," turned, and went back to his room.

At the thirty year mark, the monk frowned and said to the abbot, "I quit."

The abbot looked at him and said, "Well, it's about time. You've been here for thirty years and have done nothing but complain!"


Once upon a time, there was a prince who for some reason was under a curse. The curse was that the prince could speak only one word each year. However, he could save up the words so that if he did not speak at the end of a year, the following year he was allowed to speak two words. (This was apparently before the time of letter writing or sign language.) One day, he met a beautiful princess - ruby lips, golden hair, sapphire eyes - and fell madly in love with her. With the greatest difficulty, he refrained from speaking for 2 whole years so that he could look at her and say, "My darling." But at the end of these 2 years, he wished to tell her that he loved her rather than waste the opportunity on just those 2 words. So he went 3 more years without speaking, bringing the total number of silent years to 5.

At the end of these 5 years, he realized that he also wanted to ask her to marry him. So he went another 4 years without speaking. Finally, as the 9th year of silence ended, his joy knew no bounds. Leading the lovely princess to the most secluded and romantic place in the beautiful royal garden, the prince heaped a hundred red roses on her lap, knelt before her, and taking her hand in his, said, "My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?" And the princess tucked a strand of golden hair behind her dainty ear, opened her sapphire eyes in wonder, parted her ruby lips, and said, "Pardon?"


This coming Sunday morning I am scheduled to be interviewed on one of our local TV stations WYFF in a segment called Sound Off South! I've been told that the interview will be on the Sound Off South! site later that day. You locals can watch it live between 7:00 and 8:00 this Sunday morning on channel 4. The rest of you can catch it on the site.

We recently took a long road trip to see family in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. While spending this past week at Meg and Jim's house, an activity I enjoyed with my grandson Drew was to stroll down the street several mornings to Tim Horton's for coffee and "Timbits," their version of donut holes. Here's a picture from my cell phone of Drew enjoying a Timbit.

picture of Drew with a Timbit

This post already has so many words that I'll stop for now. My wife will be sharing various aspects of our trip on her blog and has just posted about the first leg of our trip.

I look forward to your comments on what I've said about words.


"The ultimate choice you must make concerning sin is that either your sin must go or God must go." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.

Church Bulletin Bloopers

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Have you noticed that nothing jogs the memory like hitting the Send button on an e-mail? You think, "Too late! I meant to say this, attach that, etc." With things in print, nothing makes a typo or poor wording stick out quite like publication. In my summers as a proofreader at the university press, I saw errors in published materials stand out as if in neon lights, after many of us had read and reread them before publication, completely missing those errors.

Today's "instant vacation" is a list of unfortunate errors in church bulletins. My heart goes out to the poor church secretaries who had these bloopers pointed out to them.

WARNING: Do not read further unless you are free to laugh out loud! :-D

In our church the music pastor works diligently to select music that goes with the Bible text and the subject of our pastor's message. As you'll see below, more churches need to consider doing the same.

The sermon this morning: WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
The closing song: RISE UP, O MEN OF GOD

The sermon this morning: GOSSIP ... THE SPEAKING OF EVIL
The closing song: I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY

The sermon this morning: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES #3 ... EUTHANASIA
The closing song: TAKE MY LIFE

I noticed in the bulletin of one church I visited that two of the songs listed for the service, one right after the other, were "Stand By Me" and "Nothing Between." It was hard not to chuckle during that service.

Now on to some general bloopers....

A worm welcome to all who have come today.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

A cookbook is being compiled by the ladies of the church. Please submit your favorite recipe, along with a brief antidote.

The senior pastor will be away for two weeks. The staff members during his absence you will find pinned to the church notice board.

Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the costs of redecorating the sanctuary. Anyone wanting to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 pm. Please use the back door.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK ... If you are going to be hospitalized for an operation, contact the pastor. Special prayer also for those who are seriously sick by request.

Usher will eat latecomers.

This evening's service will be a Sinspiration.

Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Bilingual Chicken Dinner this Sunday at noon.

The music for today's service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

The maintenance of the church graveyard is becoming increasingly costly. It would be a great help if parishioners would do their best to tend their own graves.

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement noon Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister's daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

Twenty-two members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.

(a most unfortunate blooper during the pastor's ilness:)
GOD IS GOOD! Dr. Hargreaves is better!

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit

Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor's sermons.

The 'Over 60s Choir' will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

Announcement in a church bulletin for a National Prayer & Fasting Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting & Prayer conference includes meals."

Missionary from Africa, Bertha Belch, speaking at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa."

Volunteers are needed to spit up food for distribution following the Restaurant Supply Show at the Expo Center.

If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.

Women's Luncheon: Each member bring a sandwich. Polly Phillips will give the medication.

Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

There is a sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to be baptized on the table in the foyer.

Newsletters are not being sent to absentees because of their weight.

Sermon Outline: I. Delineate your fear II. Disown your fear III. Displace your rear.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget all His benefits.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peach to men.

The lovers in the exhaust fan are not working.

Don't forget that elections for Head Deacon and Dead Deaconess will be held at next month's business meeting.

We pray that our people will jumble themselves.

Child care provided with reservations.

Mr. Bradford was elected and has accepted the office of head deacon. We could not get a better man.

Tonight, Pastor will preach on "Diving Healing."

Janet Smith has volunteered to strip and refinish the communion table in the sanctuary.

If you need to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

Mark your calendars not to attend the church retreat.

Please come ... you will be gald you did.

The Honeymooners are now having Bile studies each Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

We are always happy to have you sue our facility.

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall be live.

Palm Sunday: Our regular service will be gin at 11:00 a.m.

Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

Lift up our Messianic brothers and sisters in Israel who are suffering during our prayer time.

Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.

(For the group of ladies called Moms Who Care and pray for the children in school). When their meeting was cancelled one week: "There will be no Moms Who Care this week."

When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.


Some other church bulletin bloopers not in this list are in an earlier blog post called Bloopers. If you have any bulletin bloopers you've seen, please add them to the comments.


"Sin mars, but Christ restores." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Help stamp out, delete, and eradicate repetitive and superfluous redundancy again and again!

Ironic Funny Signs

It's a well-worn cliché, but often a picture really is worth a thousands words. I've heard from many of my readers that the funny sign pictures rank among their favorite posts on my blog. And readers help keep me supplied with pictures of the funny signs they see. Today's post is a mixture of signs I've received from readers and signs I've collected myself. I'll start off with a few spotted outside the USA.

A reader in Albania shared the picture of the name of a real town in his country.

picture of funny sign

I wonder if it's pronounced Poo-kay. I also wonder if there's a lot of upheaval there.

This sign shows what a difference a single letter can make! (and I'm not talking about the misspelling of the French word omelette, where they doubled the wrong letter)

picture of funny sign

Personally I would much rather have a breakfast treat!

Some businesses offer a variety of services, ... or maybe not?

picture of funny sign

A reader hiking in the great outdoors in the Canadian Rockies spotted this sign, with no restroom in sight ... other than the great outdoors....

picture of funny sign

Here's another restroom sign where you have to look carefully to identify which door is yours.

picture of funny sign

I wonder how many matches have been made as people spend time together trying to figure out which door to use.

This sign is from Hendersonville, TN, not another country.

picture of funny sign

Getting an alignment in this shop wouldn't inspire my confidence.

picture of funny sign

I don't know where this sign is located, but it seems like a poor way of making up for shoddy engineering.

picture of funny sign

In case you couldn't tell what warning the sign was giving, here's a closer shot.

picture of funny sign

I guess it's much easier to put up a warning sign than it is to move whatever it is that's going to bonk people on the head if they don't duck!

I hope the proprietors of this business can clean clothes better than they can install signs.

picture of funny sign

Readers traveling in the Florida Keys spotted this sign.

picture of funny sign

A reader found this ironic sign a number of years ago.

picture of funny sign

I wonder what the restaurant serves if not food or drink.

A reader saw some irony in the sign below.

picture of funny sign

I don't know where this picture was taken, but maybe it doesn't matter?

picture of funny sign

Here's another "maybe" ... maybe I'll feel reassured or maybe I'll feel threatened? Or maybe the sign should read "may be?"

picture of funny sign

I don't pick up hitchhikers, but if I ever did, it would certainly not be here!

picture of funny sign

Do you have a favorite among these signs? Maybe you have an explanation for some of the ironies in these signs. As always, if you spot a sign that strikes you funny, please send it my way!


"It is ironic that anyone who appeals to religious values today runs the risk of being called 'divisive' or attacked as an enemy of pluralism." - William J. Bennett

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Advice is usually what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.

Indicators That the Economy Really Is Bad

Did you hear that Michael Jackson has died?! :shock: I've had some fun lately asking friends and family that question, acting as if I had just heard the shocking news for the first time myself. With the almost non-stop news coverage about him and his family, you'd have to be living in a cave not to know that MJ has passed away! I have seen the comic strip below online attributed to John Campbell and also unattributed several places and hope you'll enjoy it.

picture of news coverage

That sums up fairly well 95% of the news updates we hear after the death this world's "heros."

Did you hear that our economy is struggling?! :shock: As you well know, the news is full of stories of bankruptcies, layoffs, and gloomy forecasts, all the while struggling to make it look as if Obama is delivering the hope and change he promised instead of making things worse. But if you've been hit hard personally by the economy, you don't need news coverage to tell you so. Because many people have been affected personally or have loved ones affected, I have not been asking people in jest whether they've heard that heard that the economy is in trouble, as I do with the death of Michael Jackson. That said, though, I did have to chuckle at a list of indicators I received recently from an ivman reader who teaches business at my university.

You know the economy is really bad when....

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

You got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

You went to buy a toaster oven and they gave you a bank.

Even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren't paying their taxes.

Officials from the Obama administration meet with small businesses — GE, Pfizer, Chrysler, Citigroup, and GM — to discuss the Stimulus Package.

Mothers in China are telling their children to clean their plates because children are starving in America.

McDonald's is selling the Quarter-Ouncer.

People in Beverly Hills have fired their nannies and are learning the names of their own children.

The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

Motel Six won't leave the light on for you.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

The bank returns your check marked as "Insufficient Funds" and you call them to ask if they meant you or themselves.


What are you or those close to you doing differently because of the current economy? I'm sure your personal belt-tightening is more serious than the list above. :-)


"Self-interest is not necessarily selfishness." - Dr. Marty Marriott

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Things have gotten so bad that gold diggers are now marrying for love.

Has Technology Improved Our Lives?

It's undeniable that technology brings with it many wonderful conveniences and opportunities. But has technology really improved our lives? This is a question we discuss in some of my French classes when we read francophone literature that bemoans the changes to traditionally simple lifestyles where Western civilization enters and becomes dominant.

When I think about how different my life is now from when I was a child and recognize how dependent I've become on technology, it's almost startling. And if you had ever told me that I would one day work summers as a PC tech, I would have thought they were crazy!

Below are some cartoons in my files about the impact of technology on us.

picture of technology

picture of technology

picture of technology

picture of technology

picture of technology

picture of technology

picture of technology

Is your life better because of technology? How has technology improved or diminished your quality of life? Do you have more stress or less stress because of all the gadgets and appliances in your life?


"Scripture leaves no room for spiritual neutrality." - Jeremy McMorris

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A computer's attention span is as long as its power cord or its battery life.