"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Refresh: to make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind, spirits, etc.).


Yesterday I had the pleasure of running into someone that I've admired and liked for years. She is a wonderful person and her family has many of the qualities that makes a family special; they are close-knit, caring and loving. Now before you begin to think that I'm attempting to paint a picture of the modern day Huxtable's I want to assure you I'm not. I'm sure every day isn't perfect in their home and that they don't offer warm cookies and milk to their family and friends on a daily basis. But what I do know is that I've been around the family up close and have viewed them from a distance for over fifth-teen years and I know them to be quality people that value education, kindness and doing what is right.

After reflecting on our conversation last night at my sons football game I felt the need to send a little note via facebook and share my thoughts about last night's encounter. While I was writing the note I once again realized the power of our words and the profound effect they can have on another human being. I don't make that statement because I was the one writing the letter, I make that statement because words carry weight and wonder when they are expressed with sincerity, authenticity and genuine heartfelt beliefs.

This isn't just my opinion, it is the truth.

The letters my mother sent me while I was in college still motivate and encourage me when I reread them today and the hand written letter I received from Mrs. Jackie (Rachel) Robinson earlier this year is one of my most prized possessions.

c. 1665-1666
Painting by Johannes Vermeer

Letters have been around since cave men were writing on cave walls, and have been delivered with great effort by horses and humans alike. Letters have been written on everything from clay and papyrus to bamboo in 1500 BC China. Letter writing itself can be traced to the invention of the printing press, the availability of books, changes in religious views and rising literacy rates. As early as the 18th century many European countries had literacy rates of 100% after the Lutheran Church ordered everyone to read the bible. Pastors and priests had always been admonished to read, and know, God's word, but it was the Lutherans that commanded the general population to be able to read the bible.

Letter writing was a vital and integral part of a child's education and was critical childhood instruction in England and America in the 1800's. In 1860, the post office was invented, igniting a letter writing movement in the United States. The type writer followed the creation of the post office and was invented in 1868. In 1873 the first Remington type writers were made available to the consumer, with the most famous purchaser of the early typewriter being Mark Twain in 1874.

Twain became the first author to submit a typed manuscript.

The original "QWERTY" keyboard.
(...look at the top of your smartphone keyboard: Q-W-E-R-T-Y)

As interesting as the history of the hand written letter is, how they have been delivered over time is just as interesting. In ancient civilizations, letters were delivered through messengers that risked life and limb to deliver words transcribed on paper. For many centuries letters delivered by mail was the only communication tool at the disposal of governments, militaries and kings. In the 6th century BC, the Persian Empire (now Iran) developed a relay system that went up to 100 miles a day by using horses to deliver their important correspondences. An interesting side-note concerning the horses is that as each horse became tired they were traded in for fresh horses to maintain continuity and momentum in their quest to deliver their letters.

Unlike their predecessors, the Greeks employed athlete runners to deliver their mail. Alexander the Great employed Philondies, a courier and surveyor, to run from Sicyon to Elis, which was 148 miles in distance. Alexander required Philondies to travel that distance by foot in a day. To give you some idea of what 148 miles looks like, that would be the distance from New York City to Lebanon, Pennsylvania (Columbus, Oh. to Napoleon. Oh). In a car that would be about a 2 1/2 hour drive.

(Britannica Online: Art Media/Heritage Images)

You better pack a lunch for that little jaunt.

As time passed history has revealed to us that the Arabs used pigeons and Caesar used humans and horses, but after the fall of the Roman Empire the mail network collapsed too, and with it was the end of organized communication throughout Europe.

As we see, letters can, and do, travel many miles and kilometers, and span over many periods of civilization, but the letter's true destination is another's heart. Letters often journey on a path that leads to the depths of the human heart and deep into the regions of our minds.

Our words are powerful; our letters more so.

Two of the best movies I've seen about letter writing in past 15 years are the movie Notebook and the 19th century time period movie entitled Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet.

Quills is a 19th century time period movie about the Marquis de Sade and his incarceration in an insane asylum during a time of brutal violence after the French Revolution simply referred to as the Reign of Terror (5 September 1793, to 28 July 1794). During this time "the Marquis" writes sordid letters and stories about the libidinous Mademoiselle Renard, an aristocrat who meets the preeminent sadist in her executioner. These writings eventually lead to the Marquis de Sade having his tongue removed and him committing suicide.

It is a great holiday "feel-good" type of movie.

But again, the movie is a great example of the power the words we choose to speak, and choose to write, have on another human being.

The power of the pen & paper is tremendous.

The movie and music industry know this truth better than anyone, but this fact has been communicated and recognized since the beginning of time and can be found in God's word.
Isaiah 52:7 states:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Proverbs 11:25 explains:

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

And finally Proverbs 11:25 shares with the reader this: "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

Letters refresh and challenge the reader, and the writer. Our words, in the form of a letter, have the ability to encourage and inspire the reader, they also have the potential to steal another person's peace and damage their spirit. Letters refresh us because when we take the time to focus on someone else we grow, and when we grow there is a sense of newness and feeling of refreshment in our lives. We, as the reader, can also be challenged by our words. The challenge for the reader can simply be stated within the context of the letter, the challenge for the writer is to live up to what they espouse in the letter; both tasks can be very difficult and humbling. 

Finally, below is the note I sent on FB as a private message to the person I talked with last night (If you can't write a note or letter then FB messaging is the best because it will rarely be dismissed like an email and it has a more letter looking style as a private message on facebook). The name is irrelevant and private, but what is important is to recognize the power that good conversation, good communication and heartfelt letter can have.

The power of a letter is tremendous; for the reader, as well as, the writer.

One last thing; write a letter of encouragement and thanks this week to a family member and a friend. Both parties will deeply appreciate it.

 Letter writing is more art than science.


It was great seeing you last night and to finally meet your son. He is an impressive young man with a bright future. I wanted to pass onto you a couple of pieces I've written over the past year. There are quite a few of pieces on my site so with that being said I will provide the links to a few of them that resonated with more than a few readers.

Also, I wanted to pass on a note to your son...


It was a pleasure meeting you last night. I have watched you from a far since your freshman year when Hartley played at Columbus Academy. And with that being said, I was more impressed with you in person last night than I was watching you on the football field. Your engaging personality and your ability to make "eye contact" while meeting a person (an adult no less) for the first time speaks to your confidence and character. Both of those qualities will take you farther than football could ever dream. I stated early in this note to your mother that you have a very bright future. That bright future has nothing to do with football. You are very blessed to have the parents that you have. The kind of parents that have provided "support" in every area of your life and the type of parents that have displayed on a daily basis how valuable and important their children are to them. When I graduated from Wittenberg University in 1987 my Dad, who is an ex-marine and a man of very few words, stated to me after I received my diploma; "Congratulations, now give your children more than we gave you." I have carried that statement with me for over 25 years. There have been times that I've struggled with that statement because there were times that I failed my own children and I didn't live up to my father's request that he gave me on that hot summer day in 1987. have a chance to be great... to be a King and I'm not refereeing to your stature on the football field. Your parents have laid the foundation for you and your siblings to experience life on a level that sadly most kids don't get a chance to experience. They have displayed to you how valuable you are to them and how your success and happiness is tightly woven to their success and happiness. We as parents are as happy as our saddest child; that is a truth that you will become more familiar with as you grow older. Remember, your parents have given you more than their parents gave them and they've provided a family unit, a secure and safe atmosphere if you will, that you will carry with you the rest of your life. 

Your parents are special. You are blessed because of that.

Finally, I realize how difficult being a freshman can be. I played basketball in college, and though I didn't play on the level you (My first 2 points in college was at Centennial Hall at Toledo my freshman year in front of about 10,000 people... very cool) and your father played on I still recognize the difficulty that is college sports. My freshman year was the toughest mentally, emotionally and physically that I experienced while at Witt. It was flat out tough, but the good news I grew from it and the sun always came up the next day... the same will happen for you, if and only if, you realize that your situation at UT is a process that will be filled with valley experiences and mountaintop highs. Remain optimistic, calm, humble and thankful for each of those opposite experiences you will surely encounter over the next four to five years... and during the rest of your life. If you do this you will gain one of the most important things in life; perspective.

I would wish you good luck, but luck is for those that don't have a plan for success and vision of what they want that is based on short and long term goals. Envision and plan what you want to accomplish at UT and in life. Remember, it takes courage to have goals and dreams... if you choose this high quality of thinking for your life you will become "bold" and empowered in all that you do... and we all know if we "dare" to be bold that mighty forces will come to our aid.

I believe in God, and his forgiveness, grace and victorious power, and because of this truth I will be praying for you "on and off" the field. God has a plan for you, now it is up to you discover it and develop it. Hint: God will help with both of those tasks... just ask Him.

I will be praying for you,

Bryce's Dad

sbb 3.9.11

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