Grandpaw and Button

One of my favorite pics of Grandpaw and Button

It was one of the many differences between us.  Maybe it was generational. Maybe it had more to do with personality. I don’t know.  To me it was silly at best, annoying it worst.

Corny, that’s it.  It was corny.

But my dad did it without apology, and routinely yucked about it.

“This is so-and-so,” he would say, “but I call him [insert nickname here].”

To know him well enough to banter at all – which for him meant more than one conversation – usually earned you some sort of nickname.

The manager of the local bank:  “I call her Cuz.”

A friend and pastor’s wife:  “Here comes Trouble.”

His and Dean’s friend Dolores got a play on the pronunciation, for no apparent reason:  “Doh-loh-reez.” [click to continue…]


I was going to write something about America or the lost art of Independence or something like that today.  Then I heard that Andy Griffith died.  What – or who – could be more quintessentially American than that?

Andy and his neighbors in Mayberry came into our home weekly when I was a kid – and daily through syndication for years after that.  And there was a reason.  Yes, he served as a reminder of a simpler time.  After all, can you imagine anybody but Opie having a secret password – much less a dozen of them?  But he also reminded us of the values and wisdom we’re capable of, even today.

Nobody ever actually lived in Mayberry.  Yet vicariously millions of us have.  There wisdom wasn’t reserved for ivory tower elitists or political think tanks.  Lifetime lessons were readily available from places like the Sheriff’s office, Floyd’s Barber Shop, or Gomer and Goober’s Service Station.  The cast of characters, always good for a laugh at ourselves, also reminded us of somebody we knew.

Everything I ever needed to know, I could have learned in Mayberry.  So could you.  Here’s just a sampling… [click to continue…]


(Subtitle 1:  Nine signs of an integrated life)

(Subtitle 2:  Nine things to look for in a prospective leader)

(Subtitle 3:  Why you love your representative but hate Congress)

Year in and year out, it’s the number one answer to what people want in their leaders, regardless of the arena.  It’s more important than technical competence, talent, or even being nice.  “It” is integrity.

In election years integrity is rolled out as the reason you should hire Candidate A over Candidate B.  And yet who hasn’t shuddered at the extremes to which people in the high-profile political, business or ministry realm are examined for any cracks in their moral foundation or skeletons in their closets?

Hardly a season passes where we aren’t wagging our heads at another icon of power being exposed; Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino is the latest, but hardly the last.  Soon we’ll be hearing some new cautionary tale about how someone laden with talent and brains lost their moral compass in the magnetic field of leadership power.

Hey, I get it.  Both sides of it.  I understand why integrity is so vital from a follower’s perspective, and so elusive from a leader’s perspective.  I’ve also learned the hard way how difficult it can be to restore once you’ve lost it.

But it’s important to go beyond buzzwords and stop crowing about hypocrisy.  When we’re talking about integrity, what, exactly, are we looking for?  When you are about to select a leader in the making, what evidence are you looking for that he or she is a person of integrity?  Or when your integrity has, um, “hit the ditch” (sorry, Coach), where do you start rebuilding it?

Here’s a place to start.  Here are nine signs of an integrated life. No one lives this perfectly.  But people who value integrity in their lives and leadership will be pointed in this direction: [click to continue…]


I know what you’re thinking right now.

You’re thinking, “No you don’t!”

I know… scary isn’t it?

Know what’s even scarier?  Anybody who knows you at all can follow you around for a week and know what you’ve been thinking for the past year.  That’s based, of course, on the biblical principle, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).

Your life today is the result of your thinking.  It may not always affect your circumstances, but it always affects your character.  Your disposition.  Your emotions.  Your perceptions.  Yes, your faith.

If you have any intention of designing a compelling future, it’s time to accept responsibility for the role your thoughts play in creating it.  After all, your thoughts have produced the person you are right now.

That’s why the Bible gives such attention to your thoughts.  Jesus said to love God with all your mind.  Paul talks about renewing your mind, and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, but thinking soberly.

Recently I reread a familiar old verse and it rocked my world a little. [click to continue…]

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The Gift of Honor

by Andy Wood on February 19, 2010

in 100 Words, Esteem, Life Currency

To celebrate in another that which makes him gloriously unique… 

To raise her to a position of influence or respect – even if in your heart alone…

To turn to him in need, confident that he’s faithful and capable of meeting it…

To admit your failings, trusting that her grace is greater…

To forgive his offenses of motive or action…

To find in her the safety that only the strong arms of love can deliver…

To remind them of who they are and what they possess…

This is the gift of honor… the finest offering and most God-like language you have.