Celery

Celery: (n) a cultivated plant of the parsley family

An ounce of consecration yields a pound of cure.

As human beings we spend an awful lot of time complaining about how much effort it takes to get results. Nothing is further from the truth.

Every once in a while, I build up such consecration to lose weight. There are two actions that tell me I’m serious about the endeavor:

  • I start quoting the calories in the food set before me, and
  • I develop an almost mystical interest in celery

Yes, I literally hypnotize myself into believing it makes a great snack, and since it really has no calories, it is able to trick my body into thinking that we are dining without actually plumping.

I think my record is four days.

Yes–four glorious days when I consumed celery, acting as if it were potato chips. Then came Day 5.

It was a very simple fall from grace. It began with a statement: “You know what would be good with this celery?”

At first I showed great restraint. I merely dipped my green stalk into some low-calorie ranch dressing. But that was a little too watery and didn’t cling well. So I switched to regular ranch dressing, trying to be careful about how much I used.

After about two days, I grew tired of the taste of ranch and discovered that cheese whip was delicious on the celery. Now, I was cautious not to put too much of the goo into the provided groove. (After all, if the celery did not want me to have a condiment with it, why did it make that slot?)

By Day 10, I discovered that the most excellent filler was peanut butter.

Peanut butter and celery.

My God, I felt righteous! I had the “no calories” of celery mingled with the protein of peanut butter, which would certainly counteract all the fat included.

Imagine how discouraged I was, after a week, to realize that I had gained weight on celery and peanut butter.

Celery is a trickster. It offers great promise, but has no ability to fulfill unless it brings along its blubbery friends.

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Celerity

Celerity: (n) swiftness of movement.

I will risk being considered ignorant or out of touch by telling you that I had absolutely no idea what this word meant when it popped up on my screen. But fortunately for me, the definition was very straight-forward: swift movement.

I admire those who are fleet of foot, due mostly to the ever-lightness of their being. I’ve always been a heavy-set chap (which is what I will
write in this article to escape calling myself “fat,” making you think I have diminished self-esteem).

During my brief stint of playing football, the coach ordered us to do windsprints. For me, it was more “wind” than “sprint.” I was always gasping for air as my lighter brothers glided by me as if propelled by the wings of Mercury.

The advantage of being swift is being able to get a lot of things done, as they say, lickety-split.

So since I do not have celerity, it falls my duty to take my brain and teach it to be “celeritous.” (Perhaps not a word, but willing to adapt.)

I developed a swift mind.

I learned how to abandon bad ideas quickly so they wouldn’t clutter my path.

I tried to rid myself of forlorn, discouraged and upset feelings, which only slow down progress.

I developed a sense of good cheer–which is an understanding that expecting help is the doorway to making sure that nothing gets done.

I found out what I could do, how to do it, and to make it fun–and then did it with celerity.

I have never run fast in my life. I have never won a swimming race in a pool (except against my little three-year-old son, who was wearing water wings).

And now, as I am aging and my legs are seeking a condo for retirement, I realize that metering my movements with a great sense of timing and knowing when to rest, can fool the masses into thinking that I’m really, really swift.

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Celebrity

Celebrity: (n) a famous person.

I remember the first time it happened.

I was sharing at a book conference about my latest release, and the announcer, in an attempt to beef up my credentials, told the splatter of
humans attending that I was “a celebrity.”

His exact wording was, “We are so pleased to have our next guest, who has achieved celebrity status.”

The oddness of his phrasing was further punctuated by a pitiful smattering of applause.

The introduction bothered me.

Since we live in a social structure which insists on honoring a social structure, ranging from famous people all the way down to “nobodies,” it seems difficult to breathe in a sense of self-esteem unless we are constantly touting our self-worth.

After all, we don’t want fifteen minutes of fame because we desire to be famous. Rather, we want to make sure we don’t end up being the guy or gal who never got it.

So at the end of my little lecture that morning, I opened the floor to questions, and a young boy about nine years of age raised his hand. I have learned over the years that allowing such a lad to offer a question can open the door to, “Does anybody really like your book?” or “How’d you get so fat?”

But I took the risk, acknowledged the kid, let him take the microphone and offer his inquiry. He was a pretty nice little guy. The only thing he wanted to know was, “Are you really famous? Because if you are, I want your autograph.”

There was a giggle in the room. I don’t know if they were giggling because he was so cute, or wondering why in the hell somebody would want my autograph.

So I asked my young friend, “Have you ever heard of me before?”

He frowned and shook his head.

I laughed and said, “Well, then I guess I’m not famous. I guess, like everybody else, I’m just a celebrity in my own mind.”

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Celebrate

Celebrate: (v) to acknowledge a significant or happy day or event with a social gathering

The reason needs to be larger than the plan.

I have often attended celebrations where the actual organization of the event overshadowed the purpose for us gathering.

I sometimes feel that way when I go to church. We forget that the real significance of clumping is to strengthen one another, build up our
confidence and share a common testimony of faith. Yet by the time we get done with candles, musicians, sound systems, bulletins, announcements and special music, the beauty of the conclave seems to get swallowed up.

What is it I’m celebrating?

I would agree with Kool and the Gang that I can celebrate good times.

Celebrate another day of living.

I love to celebrate that evil viciously appears to be dominant until it’s suddenly snuffed by its own greed.

I like to celebrate that something can be non-existent and because I’m alive, the creativity I’ve been granted can make freshness appear.

What are we celebrating?

Some of the holidays that hang around baffle me. I’m certainly grateful for the Armed Forces, but how many times are we going to salute them every year? And does every celebration in America have to be accompanied with a protracted exercise in gluttony?

I celebrate that even as I write this, all across the world there are people I will never know who read it–and out of their English grammar propriety, feel completely licensed to rip it apart.

What a wonderful world.

That’s what we can celebrate–with all its madness, diversity and pending doom and gloom, life still manages to give us a daily clean canvas, available for beautiful painting.

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Ceiling

Ceiling: (n) the upper interior surface of a room

I offer no criticism nor judgment to those who pursue owning their own domicile where they can roam the halls as Lord or Lady of the
Manor. For about eleven years, I did it myself.

I was intrigued. I was told by those who owned homes that it was ridiculous to pay rent and have no revenue being laid up for the future.

I bought into it.

For a while it went along real well. I especially was fascinated with adding small improvements that would show my flair and style.

And then the house turned against me. It felt very personal.

I do not know what I did to offend my four walls and a roof, but one after another, grievances, complaints and near-disaster lined up to offer a rebellious tantrum.

One night it all came to a head as I was sitting in my bedroom and the ceiling began to leak.

No–that word is too passive. It actually poured water down on me and the floor below.

It didn’t stop. There was no explanation. And I will always remember my first inclination:

“Damn, somebody outghta DO something about this.”

It took me a moment, but I did eventually realize that “somebody,” in this case, was me.

The explanation for my outpouring was pretty simple. The hot water heater had exploded, pouring out all of its contents–ruining carpets, warping floors and making the house smell like a high school locker room.

After eleven years, I got rid of my home. I will never own another one.

I do not begrudge those who disagree with my assessment, but for me, when the ceiling begins to pour forth water, I want to call a landlord instead of tapping my own resources.

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Cede

Cede: (v) to give up power or territory

The fear of insignificance generates the arrogance of self-destruction.

Somewhere inside each of us is a terror that if we cede our ego or talents over to a common pot or competition, we will dissipate like a ghost
in the mist.

It’s the mixed message given by our educational system, which simultaneously insists that “hard work will produce a payday” but “self-promotion is better.”

It’s so easy to get confused. It’s very possible to lose sight of one’s soul in pursuit of gaining the whole world.

What can I afford to give up without feeling like I’m vanquished?

  1. I don’t have to be well-known if I’m known for doing well.
  2. It is much more important for me to be happy for what I do instead of being lauded for it.
  3. I am convinced that my meter of measuring my progress is much more sensitive than that of society–so as long as I am clicking my own goals, I do not need to be applauded by the masses.
  4. And finally, I can’t give up something I don’t really have. The delusion that we possess certain amounts of respect, power or position causes us to battle against forces that are not really fighting against us.

A great man once said that “he that would gain his life must lose it.” Even though initially this seems counter-intuitive, a second looks tells us that chasing a dream which is never meant to be is the certain way to destroy the beauty of heart’s desire.

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Ceaseless

Ceaseless: (adj) constant and unending

I will leave it to the damn theologians to scour the Holy Book, to find reasons for God to be angry with me. It seems to be what they do the best.

They are so determined to establish my sinful nature so I can be redeemed that they fail to remember that the ceaseless truth of salvation
begins with the statement “for God so loved…”

There is a balance that should never be achieved. It is better left unbalanced.

I am better off believing that God loves me without having the addendum of a series of examples where that affection can be snatched away.

I don’t know if my love for my children is ceaseless–but I do realize that they need to believe it is.

I don’t know if my vein of creativity is limitless, but I certainly don’t benefit by doubting it.

And I don’t have any assurance whatsoever that the world will continue to revolve and not explode, implode or disassemble.

Yet believing in the ceaseless love of God and the tender attention of Mother Nature does my soul good.

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