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JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Richard Branson & His Notebooks

From an interview in the Wall Street Journal, 5.24.21 —

What’s your most useful work habit?


If I have a meeting with people, I’ll take notes. If I’m traveling on a Virgin plane, I’ll take notes. I’ll listen to the staff, to the customers.

If you’re not taking notes, I think it’s offensive.

A staff member will give you an idea or tell you a frustration or make a suggestion for improvement, and they will know straight away that if you don’t write it down, you’re not going to deal with it. 

I’ve taken notes on all the fun things my grandchildren and children have said. Looking back on them, if you’ve got an 18th or a 21st birthday party for your children, it’s wonderful how one can embarrass them with some of the things they’ve said in the past. One of my favorites is, when Joan and I got married on Necker Island, when Sam was four and Holly was seven, friends of ours in front of Sam said that they were getting married. This was the day after the wedding, and Sam turned to them and said, “You can’t be getting married, you haven’t had children yet!”

If you don’t write it down, you’re not going to remember it.

BONUS BLOG: Father’s Day 2021

Happy Father’s Day this year?

Or is this a not-so-happy Father’s Day?

Or worse?

They happen.

Please join me in praying for all who experience this as a difficult day.

Each Day, Even Today

Picking up where we stopped yesterday —


God knows when we will die. God knows how we will die. God’s attitude toward physical death is not like ours. Therefore, God has an appointed time of our death. We do not know when this time is, but He wants us to live each day to its fullest because we do not know if today will be our last day upon the earth (Ephesians 5:15-16; James 4:13-15).

— If you’re anything close to a regular reader of my humble blog, you already know my favorite part of that paragraph.

Just to be clear: God “wants us to live each day to its fullest because we do not know if today will be our last day upon the earth (Ephesians 5:15-16; James 4:13-15).”

Somebody say Amen!

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Where Your Attention Goes

Where your attention goes,

your energy flows.

— Jack Canfield

You Are Worth More

“You are worth more than second shots and maybes.” — Iman

“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! You’re worth more than a million canaries.” — Christ Jesus, Matthew 10:29-31, The Message version

But how much do you say you’re worth?

And how much do your actions say you’re worth?


Attention is the beginning of devotion.

— Mary Oliver,

Upstream: Collected Essays, p. 8

Appointed Times and Seasons

After the same funeral I mentioned yesterday, a mourner stopped me with a great line —

We’re all like library books

with return dates,

we just don’t know

what they are.

— Don’t you love that image? So do I.

Where’s such a notion come from? Try this, where I found more to than I could chew on in one attempt: Do We Have An Appointed Time Of Death? Does God Know When We Will Die? (

As a Wesley-Arminian Christian, uhm….

I still love that image, though.

What do you think? RSVP, and I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Hybrid Meals

From the St. Louis Business Journal, on catering weddings etc —-

A hybrid model, in which people may choose to watch in-person events from their homes, will likely stick around.

The company offers to deliver meals to homes in that circumstance, greatly increasing the number of destinations. COCA, the Center of Creative Arts, recently held its COCAcabana using such a format with Butler’s.

In addition, people are entertaining more from home, with Butler’s offering planning, prep and delivery for food, drinks and other rentals.


All The Way from Yellowstone

It was recently my honor to co-officiate a funeral with The Rev. Kyle Reaka, a grandson of the family patriarch whose life we were celebrating. Kyle was able to participate in the service through the FaceTime app on his on cell phone, all the way from our Yellowstone National Park where he’s serving as a Chaplain.

There are moments you and I need to simply appreciate for what they are…and this was definitely one.

What’s a recent one for you?

I’d love to hear from you, any of the usual ways.

See you back here tomorrow!


“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

— E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

The Holy Catholic Church, part 4 of 4.

“Church” is often used to talk about a building.

As we’ve learned since March 2020 in our pandemic season, if that’s all the word means we’re in trouble.

“Church” comes to us from an understanding of original New Testament Greek meaning “the called out ones.”

As in “the ones called out of their contemporary cultures and loyalties and into the Body of Christ with its responsibilities.”

Whoa now.

That’s a lot.

And that’s good!

That’s why you might have heard me mention “the people who are the Whatever-Name United Methodist Church.”

As as old song says, “I am the church. You are the church. We are the church, together.”

Let’s live into that, agreed?