Bushel: (n) a measure of capacity

The Good Book was written in ancient Mesopotamia, translated in Merry Old England when men wore powdered wigs, and is now trying to be understood by a Smart Phone generation.


One of the examples that immediately jumps to mind is that Jesus suggested that we should not hide our aspirations, talent and insight “under a bushel.”

That was the King James translation.

Dare I say that most of the people in this country under the age of thirty have probably never seen a bushel of anything.

Most of them would think the word “bushel” is a mispronunciation of our 43rd President.

Yet truth leaps over generational gaps and maintains its integrity. Therefore we should take obscure terms and translate to make them comprehensible. (And by the way, the more emotionally charged we can make that presentation, to give it lasting quality in the human spirit, the better.)

Therefore, what was once translated from the Good Book writers as a “bushel” really is a prison cell–a place where we lock ourselves up and cease growing because the fear of failure, inadequacy, and even the apprehension over accidentally doing something evil has left us lying on our bunk, biding time.

We’re still alive, we’re still breathing, we’re still consuming three square meals a day and every once in a while we stroll through the court yard. But we desperately try to avoid confrontations and we shower in fear.

A bushel is where you gather an abundance.

There is so much fruit that you can’t put it in a bag.

A little box won’t contain it.

It needs a bushel basket.

If we don’t believe that God has called us to be fruitful, we will arrive with a tiny teacup instead of showing up with a gallon jug.


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Bucket: (n) a roughly cylindrical open container

I set my mind in a twirl this morning thinking about drinking fountains.

If you pause to consider this apparatus, it’s really quite comical. If you’re really thirsty, a drinkingDictionary B fountain is nearly meaningless–plus the fact that they don’t have a napkin dispenser nearby, so you stroll away wiping your mouth on your sleeve.

There’s just enough water that comes out of a drinking fountain to wet your whistle (though I’m sure nobody says “wet your whistle” anymore).

That’s why we invented the bottle–for those occasions when we want more water. Also available is a gallon container if you’ve just done an episode of a Western and have been working in the desert.

And then there’s the bucket.

It is that wonderful container to transfer large quantities of liquid–usually water–very quickly.

It’s the reason that when a house catches fire, nobody requests a Dixie cup brigade. How many Dixie cups of water does it take to put out a fire? No one knows, because no one uses Dixie cups for that purpose. (Once again, I’m not sure anybody still uses Dixie cups…)

I like buckets.

When I see someone walk in carrying a bucket, I know they’re going to do some serious stuff. Otherwise they wouldn’t need a bucket.

They could use a teaspoon.

Or a little bowl.

The presence of a bucket tells me there’s going to be an abundance.

I like abundance … especially when it appears to be coming my way.


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Bonsai: (n) an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot

Once upon a time, in a kingdom where bank accounts were not depleted, I had some extra money burning a hole deep in my right pocket of selfishness.Dictionary B

It was scary.

I went over the bills three or four times just to make sure I hadn’t missed something, but at the end of my calculation, I discovered that I was temporarily endowed with abundance.

I wanted to do something lavishly weird–and not just lavish, like buying several cans of whipped cream, but weird. Something that would give others pause, but then they would feel foolish for questioning the wealthy fellow and his eccentric choices.

I hunted, I searched and I found a gentleman who sold bonsai trees.

I knew nothing about them. But I felt like owning one was a symbol of prosperity. So I bought two. Double the potency.

The fellow tried to explain to me the care of these plants and I listened with the attention span of a three-year-old who has to pee but also wants to ride the roller coaster.

When I got home with my bonsai trees, I realized that I had completely forgotten everything he said, and had left the literature behind, trusting my memory.

Then came that great, ridiculous American assertion: how hard can it be?

  • So I watered them
  • I trimmed their little branches (having remembered this being part of the process)
  • And every day when I returned, they looked a little worse

It was like watching your Grandma die of old age. I was concerned but totally helpless.

Then inexplicably, they developed tiny insects which started eating away at the bark.

It took about five weeks, while I heroically tried to give CPR to these dying new friends, but eventually they turned brown–and for some reason, started to stink.

I threw them both into a big garbage bag, took them out to the curb and said good-bye.

I can’t swear to it, but I thought I heard one of them, from within the bag, gasp, “Murderer.”


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dictionary with letter A

Any: (adj & pron) word used to refer to one or some of a thing or number of things, no matter how much or many (e.g.: I don’t have any choice)

One of the greatest fights that can be taken on if you want to be considered intelligent or have foresight is to keep the words of your mouth trending toward the bright side of life instead of the dark.

For once you have developed a bad attitude, you begin to take words that were meant to be positive and twist them to more bleak interpretations.

I find that to be true with the word “any.”

  • I don’t have any options.
  • Is there anybody out there who loves me?
  • There doesn’t seem to be any possibility of making my budget.

Poor “any.”

It had such great aspirations when it was growing up–when it was a little “a,” waiting to go through puberty and get its “n-y.”

It dreamed of blessing people:

  • Is there anything I can do?
  • Is there any way I can help?
  • Is there any chance that life could get better, considering how wonderful it is?

But people came along and took the little fella down to the Bowery and turned him into a junkie for evil.

Of course, I am jesting. But I am often reminded of the great quotation, “By our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned.”

And since it’s out of the abundance of our hearts that our mouths speak, we should give our words a break and take some time ministering to our own emotions before we go blabbing away.

  • Is there any way that I can become a more enlightened person?


By taking my thoughts, adding some good cheer and cleaning them up … before I allow spillage from my lips.


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAggravate: (v) 1. to make a problem injury, offense or situation worse 2. to annoy or exasperate

It takes two sticks rubbed together to create a fire.

At least, that’s what I hear. Having never actually used that method to generate the friction, I’m not certain it’s true, but I have no reason to question it.

I do get aggravated. When I calm myself down and think about what caused my aggravation, I realize it’s always one stick that I brought and another stick brought by somebody else.

The main stick I bring to create aggravation is always insecurity. It would be difficult for me to notice when I was being mistreated unless there’s a part of me that’s looking for it.

The people who aggravate me are individuals who bring their own insecurity my direction, and I begin to rub my stick of inferiority against them, resulting in fiery disagreement.

Why am I insecure? Here are three reasons:

1. I need too much. I have plenty, but rather than reveling in my abundance, I look over the shoulder of my benefactor to see if there’s more coming. What an idiot.

2. Part of me is not happy unless others have less. It hurts me to even write these words down–but there is a childish little boy inside me, who sometimes hopes that I end up with one more than my friends.

3. I believe in a God I don’t always trust. My prayers of politeness are not stimulated from my soul of belief. I am not always convinced that my “Father which art in Heaven” is willing to get off His throne and come to my house.

You put these three together and you have a stick up your rear that’s ready to be rubbed against somebody else’s inconsistency to create aggravation. And aggravation is the siphon that sucks all the fuel and potential out of human talent.

How can I stop feeling insecure? There is an old hymn which affords us an answer:

Count your blessings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Name them one by one…”

Every time I do this, I am nearly embarrassed by the bounty provided for me–by God, life, my friends and my own abilities. It chases away my insecurity.

At that point, it is very difficult for me to become aggravated because I have no stick to rub.

May I remind myself of this today … and begin the count.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abundance: (n.) 1. a very large quantity of something. 2. the state of having a copious quantity: vines and figs grew in abundance

Is abundance too much? Or is abundance just enough to satisfy our human need for greed? Or perhaps it an adequacy which we have finally determined is acceptable for our well-being.

I once met a man in a park who was homeless. I don’t particularly like the term “homeless” because I think it connotes irresponsibility, but for lack of a better phrasing, we’ll just say the man had no permanent address for mail delivery.

After a five-minute conversation, in which we talked about everything in the world, including a bit of politics and religion, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him. He smiled at me and said, “No. I have an abundance.”

I glanced at his shopping cart, which contained all the possessions he had in the world. Noting my countenance of disbelief, he laughed. He said, “You see, the problem with owning things is that’s there’s always something bigger and better of the same thing you have, which chides you until you chase it down. I have abundance because I’ve decided not to yearn anymore.”

I walked away that day interested in his words, but certainly not convinced. After all, I’m an American. I measure my success by gain, not pain. I determine my stature by opening up my computer and looking at a bank account to confirm that I’m not only solvent, but may be able to pick up lunch at Red Lobster tomorrow. I’m not even especially enamored by the words of a poet in a park, who tries to make possessions seem meaningless.

But I do have one variation on the typical American theme of prosperity. I think the greatest joy in abundance is knowing that there is a certain box of goodness and blessing that you can tuck away and save for an opportunity to give to others without trepidation.

Yes, the power of having abundance is to free your mind of the anxiety of need in order to step in and assist others, adding to your own abundance with a warm heart and the tingly sensation that some goodness has been achieved.

A great man once said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

I think that’s true. If we would look on our abundance as a means of expressing ourselves instead of proving ourselves, then the amount we have would not taunt our souls with selfishness, but instead, would provide an opportunity to be magnanimous.