– Bumper sticker of the week: Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

– Quotes of the week: "Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep." Carl Sandburg

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

– Neighborhoods: There is nothing inherently magical or good about a neighborhood. It denotes a geographical area within a city. Neighbors are those individuals living around you. Collectively, you make up a neighborhood. A neighborhood is basically what its members make of it. That can range from nothing, with no one knowing or interacting with one another, to a vibrant, giving, teaching, and nurturing environment. The choice is ours. I'm assuming that most people would prefer the latter. It would seem more beneficial and helpful for everyone to know one another, interact on a regular basis, and work towards both a safe and livable neighborhood. What do you think a neighborhood should be? Or do? How is your neighborhood? What is going on? Is your neighborhood working towards any goals? In the spirit of nurturing neighborhoods, a group of us are going to get together to discuss neighborhood, what is happening, what needs to happen, and what we can do to help. Watch for the date at bruce@thepeopleingalesburg.org. Hope to see you there.

– Life: Every two years I have to do a stress test and echo-cardiogram. And it never fails, I get to thinking about life and death and the meaning of it all. I suppose that is normal, particularly when you are so intently focused on you and your present state of health. Probably another factor in my current searching is the fact that it has been nine years since my brush with death due to a staph infection after heart surgery. Couple that with several friends who are now struggling with their health, and my mind seems to have turned to life and death issues. We hardly ever want to die, although I am certain there are times when that might be best. We search for life, hoping that good health will follow us all of our days. But it seldom does. In the ever flowing circle of life, death takes its place in the circle. Neither life nor death stand to be judged. They just are. We make of them what we will. Some people who are alive are already dead, and some of the dead continue to have as much life as you or I. Ends up it all seems to be in the daily living. The how. I've always thought a life well lived really never comes to an end. Sure, our body gives out. We run out of time. But a lot lives on. This is our shot at immortality. The memories, the stories, pictures, ideas, accomplishments, career, the family we leave behind. You wonder what people will say about you. In the end, I never come up with a whole lot. I would be satisfied with, "He was a good guy." While that's not compellingly overwhelming, it would do.

– Speaking of living. A few tips:

• Don't marry someone thinking you can change them. It won't work. You'll be miserable, and you will make the other person miserable. They may not want to change.

• Don't think that drinking and drugs will improve your life. They won't.

• Take care of yourself and your business. Let others do what they will.

• Going to church and saying that you believe in Christ will not help you in your quest to enter heaven. Selfless acts of charity and kindness will be rewarded, if not by heaven, by happiness and contentment here on Earth, which might very well end up being the heaven you were looking for.

• If you don't know your neighbor, you better reevaluate your faith.

• You may not be known by many, or rich, or famous, or you may think you are less important than others, but if you are doing your best, if you are giving life your all, you are a King, or Queen, and in the end, you will be able to hold your head up high and say: There, it was a life well led. Amen.