Ruffled Feathers

ruffled feathers

You know that it is easy to be an angel when nobody ruffles your feathers. But it seems that feather rufflers will always be around.

We’re told that 19th Century German statesman Prince Otto von Bismarck’s feathers were so ruffled by the criticism of a professor acquaintance of his, that he challenged the man to a duel. Protocol had it that the one challenged was to choose which kind of weapon was to be used in the duel.

The professor made a thoughtful choice… he proposed they duel with sausages. He sent word to Bismarck, along with a pair of sausages, that one sausage was safe to eat. The other had been poisoned with trichinae, which would cause a slow and lingering death, or at least long invalidism. He informed the prince that he should pick which sausage to eat and said he’d eat the other one.

Bismarck reasoned that a man might die with some sort of honor on a dueling field, but never by food poisoning. He sent the message back, “His Highness has destroyed the sausages and asks that you be his guest at dinner this evening. After due consideration he feels he may have been slightly in error. He believes an agreement can be reached.”

It’s said that one of the most important trips a person ever takes is “to meet someone halfway.” Bismarck met his adversary halfway and neither man was poisoned that day.

When others ruffle our feathers, we always have a choice. We can meet them on the equivalent of a dueling field and slug it out with words, or worse. But escalating conflict almost always means there will be a winner and a loser.

Or we can take that trip to meet them halfway and iron out a compromise. It is rarely an easy trip to make, but it’s worth it once we get there. And who knows, we might even find a solution to the conflict where both sides feel they are coming out ahead.

It’s your choice. And the choice you make will make all the difference.

Grace and Peace



A Real Apology Takes Action

cat LOL

Listen to this letter of apology:

  “Dear Dog,
I am so sorry about you being sent to the dog pound for the broken lamp which you did not break; the fish you did not spill; and the carpet that you did not wet; or the wall that you did not dirty with red paint…

  Things here at the house are calmer now, and just to show you that I have no hard feelings towards you, I am sending you a picture, so you will always remember me.

  Best regards,
The Cat”

The Old French root of the word “repent” is “repentir,” which actually means to be sorry. The cat may have said he was sorry, but there is no sorrow here.

It reminds of me of the story of a woman with fourteen children, ages one through fourteen, who decided to sue her husband for divorce on grounds of desertion. “When did he desert you?” the judge asked. “Thirteen years ago,” she replied. “He left 13 years ago. Where did all the children come from?” The woman looked sheepish. “He kept coming back to say he was sorry.”

Again, no sorrow here, for if he’d been truly sorry, he would have stayed. Sincere repentance always leads to change. I know a story where a man wrecked his daughters’ car and said: “It’s my fault, I’ll help make up for what I did.” But he never did anything. There was no real apology… only words.

We need to learn how to make a GOOD APOLOGY — one that is sincere and honest. One that gets the job done. Offering a good apology is not something many people do well. But we can learn.

It is well said that a good apology has three parts: I am sorry; it is my fault; what can I do to make it right?

I am sorry. Three short words that, when they are heart-felt, can be most difficult to say. But when uttered, they can change lives.

It is my fault. No excuses. No blame. Psychologist Carl Jung insightfully said, “The only person I cannot help is one who blames others.” When we accept fault, we have the power to do something about it. When we pass the blame, we are helpless to keep it from happening again.

What can I do to make it right? Unless we change something, nothing changes. A good apology is followed by action. Otherwise, it is only words.

If you are going to apologize, apologize well. Never ruin your apology with an excuse and back it up with action.

Learning how to make a good apology is too important to neglect. It’s part of maintaining whole and healthy relationships. And it’s something we can practice today.

Grace and Peace


Hi Guys,

Just in case you have heard about it… I wanted to share the news with you. The wild look guy on the right has just published a revised book (on the left) about some of what happen with the old Phoenix Project of the Vietnam 60’s rising from the ashes in today’s world. All of this is fiction, but not unrealistic in the crazy world we live in today. It is set in 2024 but I hope it never happens even in 3024.

You can purchase this book from amazon simply by clicking on it’s image on the right of your screen (if you have gone to my blog page). If not there just type in the title in amazon’s search bar. I really appreciate your support in this endeavor.

It is just an ordinary book, using ordinary language, telling a simple story of intrigue, courage and betrayal. By the way, your kids and grandkids can read it. No language used that is inappropriate for them to read. I didn’t want my grandkids asking me why I used foul language in my book.

I had to stay true to my inner self.



The Important Things

handwritten dark writing school

Photo by cottonbro on

I recently read the story of someone where one of his best friends had been killed in a private plane crash. Something happened at the memorial service that he’ll never forget: At the memorial service, his friend’s wife walked to the podium to speak to the gathering. She said a friend had asked her the best memory she had of their life together. At the moment, she had been too grief-stricken to answer, but she thought about it since and wanted to answer the question.

They were in their late forties when he died, and she began talking about a time in their lives almost twenty years earlier. She had quit her job to obtain her master’s degree, and her husband never wavered in his support. He held down his own job and also did the cooking, cleaning, and other household chores while she studied for her degree. One time, they both stayed up all night. She was finishing her thesis and he was preparing for an important business meeting. That morning, she walked out on their loft, looked at him over the railing, and just thought about how much she loved him. She knew how important this meeting was to his career, and she was feeling guilty that she didn’t even have time to make his breakfast. He grabbed his briefcase and hurried out. She heard the garage door open and close, but much to her surprise, she heard it open again about thirty seconds later. From above, she watched her husband dash into the house and walk over to the neglected coffee table. Tracing his finger through the dust, he wrote the words “I love you.” Then he raced back to his car.

The new widow then looked out at her audience and said, “John and I had a wonderful life together. We have been around the world several times; we’ve had everything money can buy…but nothing comes close to that moment.” Our lives move with lightning speed. It feels like yesterday that I graduated from college…and now forty years have passed. Although I’m very proud of my business accomplishments, in the end, my life comes back to loving and being loved.

This story about a husband’s random act of love always reminds me that the smallest things can make the biggest difference to those around you. It reminds me to do little things for the people I love to show them how much they mean to me. I pray I always remember this story enough to remind me to do those little things with my family and friends. I hope this story also inspires you to love and be loved.

Grace and Peace

Hope you will take a look at my new (revised) book

just published on Amazon (July 4, 2021)

“Phoenix Rises Again.”

What do we do now?

I invite you to listen to my favorite preacher… July 4th sermon from Washington National Cathedral in Washing DC… The people’s church.

My Last Two Uncles


Joe & Guthrie

These two men were the coolest dudes when I was growing up… Joe, on the left, was the youngest of my uncles on the Melvin side.  WG Brown became my uncle when he married Joe’s sister. This picture was taken while both of them were in the Army at the time. Joe stayed in the Army… fighting in Korea and Vietnam. Matter of fact he volunteered to go back to Vietnam SIX times. I have never known anyone who was so gung ho. It was not that he loved war, just that he seemed to be energized by living on the edge war provided. He was an outstanding soldier. Congressman, Howard Coble, presented Joe with 55 medals from his time in service. He is now in the VA home in Asheville waiting for room at a VA facility nearer to Greensboro.

Guthrie Brown was just cool. When I was a young child Guthrie started work as a Park Ranger at Guilford Memorial Park. I always looked at him with great respect, especially because I thought he worked with Smokey the Bear… and to me that was a big, big deal. But as I grew I found there was much more to him than his famed friend.

WG, as he was known, was one of the biggest NASCAR fans around. Back in that day you pulled for the car. The big adversaries were Ford, Chevy, and Plymouth. WG was a FORD fan. Some would pick on him saying that FORD meant Fix Or Repair Daily. His come back was always First On Race Day.

He was a good man, cigar and all. He was always true to his word… one of those you can always count on, my kind of guy. When I was 16, I asked my Aunt Betty if I could borrow their car for a job interview. WG’s car was his baby… and you didn’t mess with his baby. I was very, very careful to drive safely and stay out of everyone’s way. His car was a gold colored Ford Galaxy… I mean… top of the line… sweet, cool ride. To be any cooler you would have to drive a T-Bird convertible.

He was our family’s James Dean or Steve McQueen. He didn’t try to be like them… he was just cool. Well, Guthrie stepped through Heaven’s Gate on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021. He was in his 90’s and it was just more difficult to struggle through… He was a good Christian man who made it to the finish line. I don’t know if he saw a checkered flag or not, but I am sure he saw Aunt Betty and felt the loving arms of God. Guthrie, you made it all the way… the car may have been a little wobbly and the ride unsteady… but you were welcomed at the finish line with a “Well done, my son, well done”.

We all will miss this man, his manner, his laugh, his smile, and a man who was as real and honest as they come.

I still think he worked with Smoky the Bear.

Grace and Peace

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