Like the first time

I remember the first time she held my hand. We were riding on a church van on the way back from Colorado. We had been inseparable for that trip. We talked. We laughed. We enjoyed each other’s company. Then it happened. The van hit a bump and her hand has in mine.

It has been more than 24 years since that happened. A lot of life has happened between them and now. And yet, I am still amazed at the way her hand fits in mine. The softness of her skin. It is…so wonderful. I love having her hand in mine.

I never want to lose this perspective.

Words matter

The title of today’s post is true. Words matter very much. With the right words, we can lift people up. With the wrong words, we can tear people down. Words matter.

I gave a presentation today. I was speaking about how to give effective presentations. One of my key points revolved around the word rhetoric. I tried to give an adequate explanation of why it matters and the best way to use it.

What is rhetoric? I’m so glad you asked.

Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques. (many thanks to Siri for providing that definition.)

In short, rhetoric is the ability to use words to persuade the people you are addressing, whether through speech, or written word. Many people use it for good to persuade others to believe in themselves, or to achieve great things. Others have used it for very nefarious ends… Think Adolf Hitler.

Whether for good or bad, the people I described above realized the words matter. By constructing sentences, and delivering them in the right ways, the speaker could achieve the end goal they had set out to achieve.

There is also another definition for rhetoric that we must be mindful of:

Rhetoric is also language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content. (Thank you again Siri.)

How many times have you listened to someone speak and your first thought is, “Wow, that person’s full of it”? You know, instinctively I by the way they are talking and the words that use, they are up to no good. Their words fall flat, because their intentions and words are empty.

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about this that I love:

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. James 3:5 NLT

The words that we speak matter very much. We can make grand speeches with ill intent, and cause a great fire of turmoil and distrust. Or, our words can create hope and cause a spark that will help others burn with excellence.

I hope that my rhetoric has helped you see you have a great responsibility with the words that you use. You can do so much good. I encourage you to do it.

Words have power

I have a speaking engagement tomorrow. I will be teaching a room full of my peers how to speak better. It’s something I am excited about, and I am approaching it with a fair amount of respect. I want to do a good job. I want them to hear the core of my message. Words have power. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

It was January 12, 2018, I was lying on my office floor in the most pain I’ve ever been. I didn’t know what to do. I got up from the floor with one thought in mind, make it home. I made it out to my car and out onto the highway. Home wasn’t an option. Thank God for Siri and directions to the emergency room.

I had no idea what was wrong. I just knew I was hurting in my lower left back. They took me back for a CT scan. I can still remember clearly the doctor walking in to give me the news… There was a 13 cm tumor in between my kidney and my bladder.

Fast forward a month, I was in the oncologist office. He was examining the test results from my latest blood test. My tumor marker which normally was under six, was at 11,500. He told me I had to begin treatment immediately. I would be staying in the hospital for one week stints several times over the next few months

In retrospect, it all happened so fast I almost didn’t know what to do. I prayed. I asked God to heal me. He answered my prayer through the dedicated care of my doctor and other doctors and nurses. For that I am eternally grateful. After four weeklong chemo therapy sessions , and several radiation sessions, I was cancer free.

It’s by the grace of God I’m here. It is also because of the dedication of a few highly trained and very specialized doctors. They used their vast knowledge and treated me with cutting edge treatments. They looked after me at my lowest points and took care of me. I am so thankful for the doctors and nurses that helped me survive 2018.

I can almost guarantee you there is a situation in your life where you were the doctor that I just described. Your excellence and your commitment to what you do ensures the health of those around you and to the endeavors you undertake. You are needed. You are valuable. If you are reading this, please know that God has a divine purpose for your life. He wants to use you to do good for His sake and for others.

Words have power. If you’ve read these words, I hope you understand that you have power too. You have power to do good, and be the influence for good, and for God in this world. Just like my doctors helped me, you have people you can help today to make a better future.

Love them

I don’t have many words today. Just a thought I would like to leave with you.

Love on the people you are close to. Remind them what they mean to you. Never take a moment for granted.

A coworker lost his wife yesterday. They had just had a baby a few months back. My heart is torn for him and his family. I am praying for his heart and for the days ahead.

I am going to stop writing and hug my wife now.

It’s a Great Day

We did something the other day that we haven’t done in years. We went bowling. It was a good time. I haven’t been bowling since they started keeping score digitally. That was pretty cool. I remember having to keep score back in the day with a golf pencil. I like this better.

While we were at the alley, we listened to a mixture of country and oldies tunes. Most of what was playing was country from the 90s. That is the good stuff. I grew up listening to Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black and all the others. I knew most of the words to the songs that were playing. I was having a great time.

A few songs in my boy announces to me that all country singers sound the same. I will admit, I have had that thought about a lot of new country. Most of the things I have heard on the radio has a very similar sound. It is that way now because that is what sells. Back in the day, I would have never said that Clint Black and Alan Jackson sounded anything like one another. Unheard of.

One of my favorites back in the day was Travis Tritt. From Country Club to TROUBLE, I loved it every time his music came on the radio. It was down home and singable. I still sing along 30 years later.

One song he sang stands out more than the others: It’s a Great Day to Be Alive. The line that stood out to me said, “The suns still shining when I close my eyes.” I have found that most of my days are like this if I focus on the important things in my life: my faith, my family, my friends. It is only when I take my eyes off of these things that the sky starts to cloud up.

God has given us today to live and to do good. I believe that with everything that I am. So, I choose to do the good He would have me do. It is a great day.