Ascertain: (v) to find something out for sure; to make certaindictionary with letter A

It’s about a fifty-fifty split–and I certainly hope I am not being generous with myself.

About half the time, I come to a solution for a difficult situation and am proud of how I handled the circumstances.

The other fifty percent of the time, I am reminded of mistakes I made, quick decisions and opportunity lost.

Obviously, my happiness is based on whether I celebrate my score, or commiserate with myself over my misdeeds.

But I will tell you–my grade card has improved over the years. When I was younger, I became angry with life because it was unwilling to understand my plan and make adequate adjustments. It took me many years to comprehend that life refuses to evolve in my direction, but instead, suggests that I do all the mutation of my plans.

I had to ascertain exactly what makes Planet Earth spin on its axis in the right direction. I will pass along my simple discoveries (which I’m sure you have already attained, so be patient with me.)

1. Very rarely does the predictable work.

Sometimes it seems that Mother Nature is quickly bored with solutions and retires them after one use.

Flexibility, ingenuity and patience are the trio that normally possess the next great idea.

2. A bad attitude is the common way to lose all your altitude.

You’re never going to fly as long as you’re held to the ground by the burden of grouchiness. Life just doesn’t care that you’re upset, so get over it, imitate joy and try to promote a consciousness of good cheer.

3. Listen.

Obviously, you are not the first person who has been through this trial. Find those who have gone before you and most importantly, learn their mistakes. Honestly, there isn’t always an obvious answer made available through listening, but you can certainly eliminate a lot of crap.

If you want to ascertain what will solve your next dilemma, I can recommend these three steps. I will not tell you that people with horrible personalities don’t occasionally stumble into blessing, but I can tell you … blessing avoids them like the plague.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Ascension: (n) the ascent of Christ into heaven on the fortieth day after the Resurrection.dictionary with letter A

As a young father, I remember planning my first trip to take my two little sons, both under five years of age, to the zoo. Nothing went right.

  • I started out with a flat tire.
  • One of the kids woke up with a runny nose and a weepy eye.
  • I had set aside some money for the zoo trip but could only find half of it.
  • And suddenly, nobody wanted to go to the zoo.,

It was at this point that I decided that we were going to go to the zoo, and we were going to have a good time–or die trying.

I pushed through it.

I bring this up in relation to the fact that I must confess to each and every one of you that I do believe in God. Even though I have many friends who would prefer I didn’t or think it’s a sign of my mental or emotional weakness, I decided a long time ago to go with God, and even though my spiritual tires have flattened at times, my children have gotten sick, my prayers were not answered and I’ve ended up with about half the money I needed, I am still on the path to believing.

Some folks stop along the way. They want to believe in the idea of brotherhood, spirituality or kindness, but want to remove a heavenly Father from the masthead of the family business.

Other individuals believe more deeply about God but draw the line at miracles, Satan, heaven, hell and angels.

Some of them believe in Jesus but they don’t believe he rose from the dead, which would make it completely unnecessary for an ascension to heaven.

But here’s my problem: if I drove to the North Pole and found a factory made out of ice and inside was a red velvet suit with white piping, I might have to reconsider my rejection of Santa Claus.

Likewise, I see too much of God’s love, blessing, presence and concern for me to deny it in favor of surrendering to my doubts.

So I guess I’m in this for the long haul.

I guess I will be just as surprised if heaven is really neat as I will be if there is nothing but the grave.

So I have taught myself, in light of this fact, just to enjoy being surprised.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Ascendant: (adj) rising in power or influencedictionary with letter A

I sit patiently watching.

I am not given to the frantic profile of becoming too encouraged by any particular fleeting moment, or discouraged by threatening trends.

I have an abiding truth deep within my soul. I know for a fact that “love your neighbor as yourself” is not an inspiration, nor is it an aspiration, but actually the respiration for human life.

So from my position of review, I wait until I see anything that comes along which confirms the value of including others’ feelings and success in the quest for our own. Whenever I see it, I interrupt my solitude by bursting into applause.

Yet if a new book, song, movie or pundit comes out proposing that we shut others out, or only think about our own well-being, I simply disagree, step into the shadows and await the downfall of such idiocy.

There is only one principle which is ascendant to human life. When we fail to follow it, everything begins to fall apart. To a certain degree, it is the confirmation of the paradigm which states, “If a butterfly dies in the rain forest of Brazil, it snows in Minnesota.”

Even though this idea seems a bit abstract, whenever we take the time to consider the feelings of others as much as we consider our own, that mercy trickles down to nature … and even the longevity of the butterfly controlling the snowfall in Minneapolis.

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Ascend: (v) to go up or climb or rise through the air.dictionary with letter A

There are really three definitions, aren’t there? And by the way, quite different.

For after all, if I go up the stairs, it means that somebody has already constructed a passage, built the system and may even have taken the precaution of providing a handrail.

If I climb, it means that no such provision has been made for me, and I am taking my brute force to grab onto whatever is stationary to pull myself up.

And if I rise, then some tide of energy has come beneath me and lifted me without requiring my effort or even stepping up the stairs.

But the end result is the same. I ascend.

Some people are enamored by the process of controlling all the factors and formulating a plan to provide a solution to what seems to be an “insurmountable problem.”

Other people enjoy the sheer gut determination of using only their own prowess to place them in a higher position.

And then there are those who are completely infatuated with the supernatural and want to believe that without the help of some divine energy, little is accomplished.

Call me strange. I am very willing to stop and allow God to be God. But on those occasions when God is not available or for some reason has chosen to refrain from using His magic wand, I will make use of the stairs provided to get me to the next level. And certainly, if it’s important enough and I feel motivated and called to do so, I will climb against the grain to achieve a bird’s-eye view.

  • All three are important.
  • All three transform us.
  • And in my mind, all three should be included and given their due respect as we admit to one another that to remain in a lower position simply out of pride or fear is to fail to attain the heights of glory.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Asbestos: (n) an insulator which has been implicated for causing certain cancers.dictionary with letter A

It has taken me many years to balance my life by realizing that there are two questions which have to be answered in the pursuit of success. I will not mislead you by saying that I am always comfortable in balancing the pair, but I do know that to be truly successful and leave behind a worthy legacy, I have to please both Mother Nature and Father God.

Mother Nature wants me to find out what works.

That’s really it. Mother Nature is not terribly concerned about other things, just about whether I honor history, I accept what’s provided and I submit to common sense. The question is:

“Does it work?”

Now, some people stop there. This would be the folks that came up with asbestos.

They found a material which was very effective at insulating against heat and at preventing objects from catching on fire. When it was discovered, I am sure there was a shout of victory from those who felt they had taken on the universe and won the battle.

But they failed to ask the second question–the one that Father God expects us to consider before proceeding on:

“Does it hurt people?”

There are many things that seem to work, but they hurt people.

My dear friend, war often seems like a good idea until we start running out of body bags.

Some business practices which trim the budget by cutting the work force have the smell of fiscal propriety, but later on down the road when the commerce picks up a bit and the economy improves, the companies who followed the path look short-sighted and dastardly.

If the people who manufactured asbestos had taken the time to consider its effect on the human lungs, they wouldn’t have created the mess–in this case, mesothelioma.

Would we have been delayed a trifle in our progress? Perhaps.

But I have more faith in the ingenious abilities of our inventors than I do in the accountants making sure to stay cheap–and sometimes deadly.

It takes two questions:

  • Does it work?
  • Will it hurt people?

Until we have a world that understands this concept, we will continue to sacrifice humanity in the name of progress.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Asap: (adj) promply, as soon as possibledictionary with letter A

In a world of painful indecision, deadlines seem abusive.

Matter of fact, we begin to adjust our entire mental outlook on life by the amount of encouragement we receive from others instead of the extent of success we have in our endeavors.

It is the equivalent of swallowing four aspirin for sore muscles instead of taking the time to massage the ache away.

It is the euphoria of excuses instead of the stringency of effort.

Every time somebody tells me they need something done “asap,” the first thing I have to do is overcome my American instinct to respond, “Drop dead.”

Maybe their pushiness is distasteful to me, but I must understand that I live in a world where things do have to get done quickly. The reason they call it “the luxury of time” is because none of us can afford to waste it.

So how can I get balance? Yes, where is the common ground, where I am adequately edifying the people around me while simultaneously exhorting them to excellence? For truly, a world without edification is a grouchy one indeed, and a planet without exhortation is lazy and bitchy.

My answer to this is fairly simple: I am convinced that when somebody wants me to achieve a task, rather than hearing the intonation of their voice, I should consider the nature and importance of the request.

If I am asked to go get a glass of water “asap,” unless it is because someone’s face is on fire, I think I will allow myself a more leisurely approach.

But when it comes to things like civil rights, human feelings, personal need and general welfare, I will step it up for the cause–but not due to the barker’s orders.

We need to learn that without speed, often the window of opportunity closes … before the blessing can slide through the sill.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


Aryan: (adj) a member of ancient Aryan people who speak an Indo-European language and who invaded northern India in the 2nd millennium BC.dictionary with letter A

If you will allow me, may I introduce you to the Practix Scale? It is my own concoction, device and perhaps to some, over-simplification.

It is a meter I use to evaluate the quality, value, intelligence and spirituality of human beings.

Although some people insist the white race is supreme and others plug into “black power,” there are also those who favor Native Americans, Asians and Hispanics.

Quietly, we are taking culture and using it as a club–to thud our neighbors with our own importance.

I’m not so sure we learned very much from Adolph Hitler, who was completely enthralled with the Aryan race and decided to declare war on any other genetic order.

In today’s society, we have exchanged the words “superior race” with “culture appreciation.” After all, why would I want to learn your language or blend with you in a melting pot if I can maintain the beauty of my obviously enlightened ancestry?

So the Practix Scale is a historical look at what nations, peoples, races and even religions have done throughout the unfolding of time to promote or avoid killing, stealing or destroying.

I give them a number between 1 and 100 as the percentage of time that they have decided to devastate instead of build.

I humbly offer my concepts, realizing that yours are probably much better, or at least more merciful:

  • Rome: 75 (Yes, 75% of the time, the Roman Empire killed, stole and destroyed instead of enhanced.)
  • Greeks: 42
  • Jews: 71
  • Muslims: 77
  • England: 53
  • Germany: 70
  • France: 48
  • The United States: 62

Well, I could go on and on.

But as you can see, pandering to pander to certain cultures to make them feel important is not nearly as valuable as Mother Nature determining the death toll.

Even though I come from a Germanic background and would have easily fallen into the category of Aryan, quite frankly, I don’t give a damn.

Because the color of my skin, the cut of my jib and the shape of my chromosome makes little difference to someone when I’m killing them.


Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix