Axe

Axe: (n) a hand tool with one side of its head forged and sharpened to a cutting edge

It has been my discovery that trying to tell stories about my physical prowess always leaves the hearers a little suspicious.dictionary with letter A

Even though this tends to offend me, I have to be honest and say that when I hear others explain to me how strong they are or how powerful they perceive themselves to be, I am torn between laughing out loud and finding a quick way to exit.

Such was my experience with the axe.

When I was a kid, my dad grew some pine trees which we eventually used as Christmas trees for our house, since there weren’t enough of them to ever constitute a good cord of wood.

So it fell my lot one season to go out and chop down the Christmas tree and bring it back to the house.

I was thrilled (as most fools are on the way to the errand).

I had never wielded an axe. Matter of fact, I was quite pleased that I knew using an axe involved wielding.

So when I arrived next to the pine I had selected, I looked at it and noticed that the trunk was really only about five or six inches across. How hard could this be?

Now, I do not know whether the bottom of my pine was made of steel, or if my axe was not made of actual metal–but I must have hacked at that thing for a good twenty-five minutes, never succeeding in hitting the same place twice.

So when it finally tumbled over (glory be to God) the trunk looked like a pencil that a beaver had chewed up.

I carried it back to the car and into the house, found some way to get it into the tree stand, feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

But I can tell you–for the next week and a half, I could not move my arm nor my shoulder, to such an extent that I missed a day of school, to lay in my bed commiserating over my axe fiasco.

So looking for an adequate summary for this tale, I will borrow a bit of wisdom from my African-American brothers and sisters:

I will never again “axe” for an axe.

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Awry

Awry: (adj & adv) away from the planned or expected course; amiss.

What we all are trying to avoid in our journey is the sensation of disappointment.dictionary with letter A

We can survive tragedy, mayhem, struggle, poverty and anything that falls from the sky as long as we did not have great expectation that it would ever happen.

Even though I know it is popular to have big dreams, huge goals, and make presumptuous statements about the success of our lives, nothing could be any more detrimental to us than to look at what has happened to us, assume that everything went totally awry, and for us to sit in a huge puddle of muddy disappointment.

So what’s the key? How can we avoid disappointment, which cripples our faith?

  1. Don’t have a goal–have a direction.

As you head off in that direction, goals will pop up which you can pursue. But when you assume that your goal has to be achieved, Mother Nature will be more than happy to pour water on your fire.

  1. Have at least three plans.

In other words, if this works, I can do this. But if I get this opportunity, then I can achieve this level. And if it all comes in, by the grace of God, we get the whole enchilada with cheese sauce.

  1. Keep in mind, mankind is watching.

More opportunities will come your way if you’re a good loser. Even though we insist that we admire the winner, we spend a lot of time watching the “trailers,” and what they do next.

  1. And finally, be grateful.

I know it sounds silly to be grateful for a fiasco or when your plans go awry, but most of the things in our lives which we now possess did not come to us as a whole.

They arrived in pieces and we puzzled them together.

Life by its very purpose is intended to create a situation where “the greatest laid plans of mice and men” go awry.

Mice run and hide in embarrassment.

But intelligent humans look for a way to use the surprises to create new dreams.

 

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Awoke

Awoke: (v) past of awake.dictionary with letter A

Just like the next guy sittin’ around waiting for a bus, I love a good story, especially if it’s sprinkled with a little mysticism and the possibility that there might actually be a God somewhere who gives a damn.

Because to be quite blunt with you, I do get tired of believing in things that don’t occasionally offer a dividend. If God wants my life, my repentance and sometimes my money, every once in a while He ought to show up and do a little two-step, letting me know that He’s still involved in the choreography.

I know that to some people, this may sound irreverent, but true irreverence is to continue to worship the irrelevant and insist that it’s meaningful.

So as a writer, I have, on occasion, felt divinely inspired to pen some thoughts which I felt came from a genesis other than my own heart, soul, mind and strength.

Yes, there have been those opportunities when I awoke from a dead sleep with a clarity of mind that could only be described as celestial, to grab pen and paper and write down a thought, a poem, a lyric or a paragraph which was flowing out of me like heavenly milk and honey instead of reluctant glue.

Now I will be honest. Sometimes, when I awoke again in the morning to arise from my bed, and I looked at the scribblings, they had the sentence structure of the Rubik’s Cube.

But there are those precious moments when the original inspiration is still so fresh on the paper that I fear the ink might smear.

So if I find our there is no God, I still feel I am better off by believing that every once in a while, when I awaken in the middle of the night to scrawl a thought or two… it was because God had become my alarm clock.

 

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Awning

Awning: (n) material stretched on a frame and used to keep the sun or rain off a storefront, window, doorway, or deck.

Years ago I bought a very large house.dictionary with letter A

I did so because I could–probably the worst reason for becoming a land baron.

The home I purchased was a gorgeous castle sitting high on a hill, snubbing its doorway to its lesser-constructed neighbors.

One of the features on the outside, above the windows were awnings–colorful, contrasting, and made of canvas.

The first time I saw them I thought they were a little bizarre. But the realtor convinced me they were quite the conversation piece and would someday assist in the resale of the house.

About a year after my purchase, these awnings became dreary and dull in color from the heat of the sun and elements pounding on them. It became obvious to everyone that they needed to be replaced.

I didn’t even question it.

I felt that my great revelation in the matter was that this time I would buy material for the awnings that matched the coloration of the house instead of contrasting.

God, I thought I was smart. Matter of fact, for a full two weeks I walked around bragging about my wisdom.

In pursuing these new awnings, I discovered they were very expensive. It didn’t matter–I was going to enact my interpretation of great awning display.

So after many weeks, many delays and many overages in cost, the new awnings were on my home.

As the man was fitting the last awning onto the final window, he explained that this particular material would only last about three years.

I nodded my head, portraying myself to be well-versed in the lifespan of the typical awning.

He said to me, “At that point, you can get new awnings and I will guarantee you the same price.”

I interrupted him by expressing my appreciation for his generosity.

And then he concluded: “Of course, the truth is, this house doesn’t really need awnings on it, does it?”

At this point I looked at my house with new eyes.

As it turns out, I had followed the wishes of the previous owner–to place awnings on the house for decoration–only feeling superior because my choice of color was more insightful.

I could have saved thousands of dollars if I had gone with an “awningless” home.

For after all, the only thing those awnings ever did was add a little bit of spruce… while they taunted me with their ever-evident depreciation.

 

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Awkward

Awkward: (adj) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.dictionary with letter A

I suppose I could take the popular position and insist that “I was born this way.” I would receive empathy and maybe even support from those who would agree with my assertion or share my dilemma.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not fat.

Yet I have to tell you that taking personal responsibility for it and realizing that even if my body has a predilection towards obesity, that I can discourage its wishes, is powerful.

The truth is, being fat is not only unhealthy, it’s a constant burden placed on your torso, lending itself to many an awkward situation.

  • As a child I ran and played but not without wheezing.
  • I wasn’t fast enough to get to first base on a hit called a single. For me to get to first base, I had to hit a double.
  • I’ve never been comfortable with my clothes off.
  • Generally speaking, I made sure that every place I was seated would be wide enough or hold my weight.
  • When rejected by a girl, I needed to question whether it was because of my blabber or my blubber.
  • Until I was twenty-five years old I never wore a pair of shorts in public. Much too awkward.
  • Until I was forty years old, I refused to get into a swimming pool until everybody around had turned their heads and were involved in some other activity.
  • And today, because I have led an active life, my knees are worn out, causing me to use a wheelchair to handle long distances.

It’s awkward.

I’ve never been able to sustain myself on my visuals only, but have had to rely on my emotions, spirit and mind to compensate for my body.

Now, before you go to weeping or preparing a lecture about my eating habits, let me tell you that I’ve already cried enough tears and pursued enough diets.

Now I try to eat as healthy as I possibly can, exercise to my capability and realize that awkward does not need to be a nasty situation.

Actually, awkward gives us enough vulnerability that people understand our humanity instead of resenting our perfection.

 

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Awhile

Awhile: (adv) for a short time.dictionary with letter A

“It’s been awhile.”

Yes, it’s been awhile since:

  • People said please and thank-you without being threatened.
  • It was a foregone conclusion that we would let our neighbor into the flow of traffic.
  • A casserole was delivered to the sick friend instead of just a get-well card.
  • A compliment was provided without fear of losing one’s own status.

Yes, it’s been awhile since:

  • A Republican and a Democrat found that they were both American.
  • Church was a fueling station for our heart and soul instead of an exaggerated platform for spiritual superiority.

It’s been awhile since:

  • Men and women have counted the cost and realized how valuable they are to one another.
  • The death of a human being was considered the tragedy that God views it to be.

It’s been awhile since:

  • We’ve lifted our noses out of our electronics to find a human connection of equal power.
  • We’ve come together as a nation to believe that we are both blessed and needing to be more responsible.

It’s been awhile.

But the great hope in my heart is that what seems to have become outdated is often forgotten and later rediscovered, as if a new generation invented the idea.

 

 

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Awe

Awe: (n) a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.dictionary with letter A

I was trying to figure out if there are two words that are more diametrically opposed to one another while still possessing the same root as “awesome” and “awful.”

How could they both have the word “awe” in them? I guess it’s because things that are worthy of awe are not always pleasant.

I remember the first time I ever saw the simulation of a nuclear explosion. It certainly generated awe. Matter of fact, it was full of it. Thus, awful.

And then, on occasion, sometimes a beautiful experience will dribble across my path and pause my busy mind with a stilled sense of awe. Sometimes awe–therefore, awesome.

Whatever the conclusion, it is important for each and every one of us to maintain enough childlike quality that we can be impressed. Perhaps one of my greatest pet peeves is when I find myself in the presence of something that requires a sense of awe and someone next to me explains that “it’s nothing special; they’ve seen it a hundred times before.”

This is why I know that well-read people are not necessarily more intelligent–unless they’re affected by what the books say.

Well traveled people are not more open-minded unless they’ve learned to include others.

And experienced individuals don’t carry a sense of greatness unless they can come into the presence of something truly beautiful… and still be in awe.

 

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