Tag Archives: life

Two Trees…



I’ve been thinking lately about the following Bible verse:

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” -Matthew 12:33

When we look at a fruit tree, what do we see?  We see the trunk, we see the branches, we see the leaves and in certain seasons, we will see the fruit. But is that the entire tree? No!   We fail to see the most important part of the tree…the roots!

The roots of the tree not only provide stability for the tree within the surrounding soil, it also provides all the nutrition that will sustain the tree, the branches, the leaves and ultimately the fruit. The ultimate health of the roots (the overflow of nutrients) are what determines the overall health of the tree and everything it produces…or doesn’t…and we can’t even see them.

Back to the Bible for a second. The very next verse in Matthew states,

“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.…”

Meaning, that everything we say or do, (our fruit) comes from the overflow of whatever is in our heart. Like the roots of a tree, people can’t see what is in our hearts. But they can make a determination of the condition of our heart by what is evidenced in our lives.

So let’s look at two trees:


The “fruit” of this tree is all the bad stuff we see in our world. Things like pride, immorality, rage, drunkenness and overall discord are all the result of what we call sin. These sins seek to destroy everything it touches, and many times, the very tree itself!

But what is at the root of sin?  What is feeding it?

In every case, I believe the root cause (no pun intended) of all sin is Selfishness. Simply stated…it is putting “your” needs and wants ahead of everyone else’s.

Ok, now let’s look at another tree.

On this tree, the “fruit” we see are things like love, compassion, generosity, joy and unity. All of these fruits are blessings to others. They uplift and give life to others and in every case, they are “gifts” to the recipient and, as a result, the tree thrives.



But why?   What is at the root of a tree like this?

I believe what nourishes such a tree is Selflessness.   Selflessness is literally thinking of your “self” less.   It is putting “others” needs and wants ahead of your own.

Two very real trees with two very different types of fruit. Unfortunately, our lives are filled with both types and what is more disturbing is that at times…we too can exemplify the same.

So what do we do?

I like to simplify stuff…so here ya go…

Focus on the root.

Which are you? Which would you like to be?

Pick one, feed it daily with your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Nurture it and then let the fruit of your life speak for itself.

The Paradox of Our Time


img_2524photo by Jon Kregel


I recently was going through some old notes I have taken along the way and found this little nugget.   Many people have laid claim to its wisdom, from the Dalai Lama to George Carlin and others.  Regardless…I believe wisdom is wisdom…and whomever created it is irrelevant…

Our responsibility is simply to share it…so here ya go..

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more,but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space, but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air,but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more but learn less. We plan more but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less
and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer,
to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight …or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going
to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only
treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember to say, “I love you” to your partner as well as  your loved ones, but most of all mean it.   A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

…and another thing… why not trying to smile more while you’re at it!  🙂



My Grandfather Exercise…


I call this my “Grandfather Exercise.”   By that, I mean, picture yourself as a 90-year-old grandfather (or grandmother) sitting in a rocking chair.   Think about the “life wisdom” that your Grandfather-self would share with your current self if asked about those life lessons that should be known and incorporated into your life.  Think about the value of that wisdom…

This is what “my Grandfather self” would say…

1. Do what you say.

to others

to yourself

2. Surround yourself with the right people.

people that are doing stuff

people that have good values

3. Relationships rule.

all opportunities come from people

be the friend you would like to have

4. Be effective not necessarily efficient.

be more concerned with results

5. Be intentional.

have a target

know why you’re doing everything you do

6. Grow.

read, travel, turn off the TV

be better tomorrow than you were today

7. Be grateful.

open your eyes, your mind and your heart…in that order

spend time outside in nature

8. Eliminate “good enough.”

it usually isn’t

9. Write it down.

thoughts, to do’s, goals, dreams, things you’re grateful for, people to pray for, memories of your youth

your mind is not meant to be a file cabinet

10. Think like a Sushi chef.

finish what you start

clean up as you go

11. Look people in the eye.

that’s where connection begins

and trust resides

12. Listen more than you speak.

your words will be more valuable

13. If it’s not nice, don’t say it.

our words are meant to lift others up

not tear them down

14. Everyone is important.

that includes you

15. Guard what you see and listen to.

you are responsible for you

16. Use the computer as a tool, not as a place to “surf.”

your time is valuable

and limited

17. Smile more!

we all need it

18. Watch your pennies.

like the saying goes, “if you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves”

19. Give.

we were not put on this earth to be only consumers

20. Think long-term.

that which is best is rarely that which is easy


I know many people that may read this post have children.  I also know that you will have  limited opportunities to shape the future of your children by what you choose to talk about in the car, over the dinner table, or just hanging out together.   My hope is that you might use this time to begin a dialogue about “how to live.”   It may seem silly…but think about it…where else are they going to learn?

Ask them what their 90-year old grandfather or grandmother might share with them.  Heck…you might learn something!

Feel free to drop a comment to add to the list!   Heck…I might learn something!