No. 512



A while back I had a small building project at our home and had to make a trip to the lumberyard to get some lumber. In this case I was able to drive my truck down to the bins where the lumber was kept and was allowed to sort through the boards and pick out the ones I wanted. If you have ever done this, you know that every once in a while you will run across a board that is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. This is mostly because the sun has warped the board so much that it's almost worthless and you sure would not want to pay good money for a board like that. This is a process called "culling" and means "something picked or sorted out, especially something rejected as inferior," and this same process goes on daily in many areas of our lives.

Another good example is when we take a trip to the grocery store, especially the produce section. How many times have we all stood in front of the lettuce, the bananas, the apples, the carrots, the tomatoes, the squash and all manner of other fruits and vegetables and tried to pick out the best of what was left? Usually what is left after everything has been picked over is a pretty sad sight. As I said, this "culling" process goes on all the time in many different areas of our lives, and in most cases we are simply trying to find the best for our money or what we are going to have to live with for a long time to come.

While "culling" is a normal everyday process, there is another area of our lives that most people may not think about, but is far more important than picking out the best apples or bananas. What I am talking about are the ideas we run across and either use, reject or ignore. They can make a tremendous difference in our lifestyle, income, health and personal relationships. A few days ago a friend sent me something titled "An Old Farmer's Advice" and I would like to share it with you here. Rather than just reading the words, please slow down and read each thought or statement and think about how it could impact your life in a positive way.

Since you are probably not a farmer, you may not relate to many of these, but there are some you will and this is the process of "culling" that I have been talking about.

Here they are: * Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong * Keep skunks and lawyers at a distance * Life is simpler when you plow around the stump * A bumblebee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor * Words that soak into your ears are whispered - not yelled * Meanness doesn't just happen overnight * Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads * Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge * You cannot unsay a cruel word * Every path has a few puddles * When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty * The best sermons are lived, not preached * Most of the stuff people worry about will never happen anyway * Don't judge folks by their relatives * Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer * Live a good honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time * Don't interfere with something that is not bothering you none * Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging * Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got * The biggest troublemaker you will probably have to deal with watches you from the mirror every morning * Always drink upstream from the herd * Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment * Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in * If you get to thinking you are a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around * Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Well, that's the end of the Old Farmer's Advice, and without a doubt, there is a lot of truth here that could help any thinking person. To be honest, there were some of these ideas that I related to and some I did not, but that's the idea behind being able to "cull" and keep only the best and most helpful. Here are a few that hit me where I live. You cannot unsay a cruel word. Do not judge folks by their relatives. When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty. Words that soak into your ears are whispered - not yelled. The best sermons are lived, not preached.

In the future, I hope you will think about what I've been saying here and learn to "cull" the ideas that come along and keep and use only the best ones. The quality of our lives very much depends on the quality of the ideas that we permit to enter the marvelous mind that God has given to each of us.

(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)