Curveball: (n) a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin

If I tell you it was his favorite phrase, I do not want you to assume he said it all the time.

But whenever he found himself in a predicament, an unusual situation or a circumstance not to his liking, he would utter:

“You threw me a real curveball.”

He was the minister of my hometown church—normally h just an average fellow. Occasionally, in the pulpit he became verbose, excitable and perhaps even profound. But once he took the few steps down from the Holy Desk, he was just a typical sort.

Except for the fact that he absolutely hated any form of transition.

Even when that change was for the better.

Once we were getting ready to go on a church picnic, and one of the ladies arrived late to line up her car in the caravan to the park. Pastor Fussy became distraught. When she explained that she was delayed because the owner of the IGA Grocery heard the church was having a picnic and offered a free ten-pound slicing ham for the festivities, the shepherd of our flock still grumbled, “Well, it would have been nice if he had done it yesterday.”

We must understand why the curveball came to be.

It is a pitch, if executed correctly, that causes the batter to reach for the ball before swinging. It doesn’t always strike him out—but if he does make contact with the ball, normally the hit will be a grounder and easily retrieved for an out.

I suppose at this point that I should tell you that life is full of curveballs. You might anticipate that I’ll make an analogy about how we should all be ready for the curveballs, and not swing and miss or get grounded out.

But actually, curveballs are unusual.

They’re not easy to throw.

They rarely stay in the strike zone.

So a good pitcher saves them up for the right moment.

I will say the same thing about our lives. We don’t spend our time preparing for curveballs—that would make anybody grouchy.

Matter of fact, I heard one batter say, “A curveball is so rare and hard to hit that when it comes my way, I step back to see what it does instead of messing with it.”

Here, here. May we all learn from that.

Preparing for disasters may be the easiest way to welcome one.


funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Commiserate: (v) to express or feel sympathy or pity; sympathize.

It’s almost like the human being runs on two gas tanks. (Perhaps it’s foolish to try to compare our species to a combustible engine, but if you will forgive my simplicity, I will make the analogy.)

We have one gas tank that fuels us to achieve, and we have another tank that helps us putter along in self-pity.

Obviously, following this comparison through to a conclusion, the tank we fill up more often determines much of our happiness, success and value.

The problem comes when deciding where to place our feelings and attitudes when assisting others. Should we challenge, or should we commiserate?

And if we decide to encourage, which tank are we filling? Are we being sympathetic, which makes our friends believe they are victims? Or are we attempting to be uplifting, stirring them out of their doldrums?

It may sound tender-hearted to commiserate, but honestly, very little is achieved by filling up the self-pity tank of someone you love.

That engine has no power to do anything but sustain idle–not rocket them into the stars.


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dictionary with letter A

Analogy: (n) a comparison between things, typically for the purpose of clarification.

It’s like this.

Even though there are probably a small handful of human beings who welcome complexity and over-explanation to allow them a sense of importance and extraordinary intellectual acumen, most of us mortals welcome a simplification of ideas which somehow or another ties in with what we already understand.

It’s why I know that people are completely out of whack in religion when they begin to adhere to bizarre practices or memorize huge chunks of holy script.

This is probably why I call myself Jesonian–a follower of Jesus.

Much to the chagrin of the hierarchy of his day, he took very deep concepts and broke them down into everyday life experiences–analogies.

He called them parables.

It isn’t that we are admitting stupidity or denseness by wishing for this, but rather, looking for needful shortcuts.

And there are so many difficult concepts, relationships and beliefs for us to navigate that explaining them with different vessels makes the journey on the sea of life much less turmoiled.

Yes, I look for analogies in everything. Do I occasionally miss out on a deeper point that would enhance the comprehension? Sure.

But even if I sat around and tried to figure out the deeper point, I am just not convinced that the further revelation would bring me any great benefit.


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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acephalous: (adj.) 1. no longer having a head: e.g. an acephalous skeleton 2. having no leader or chief: e.g. an acephalous society.

Sometimes the ancient philosophers put together some really interesting ideas. For instance, the notion that human emotions are located in the heart is kind of perfect. Because after all, the emotions are often caught between the head–where the brain is–and the body and genitals, where we live only a physical existence.

I think it’s also significant that the spirit of man is a breath. That’s what the Bible says–that God breathed into man the breath of life. So I guess spirituality is like our lungs.

So you can see what happens if you have a mindless society. People who are unwilling to think things through, and the emotions not having any breath from the lungs of spirituality, pump blood directly from the heart down to the genitals. After all, there’s no path north. Why not go south?

Of course, I realize this is all speculation and none of it is actual physiology, but the human heart is where we live. It is where we keep our treasure. Yet that brain sitting up there is where we make new decisions based on renewed concepts to use our bodies more effectively.

So if the heart doesn’t get breath from the lungs, sending that oxygen up to the brain to fill it with greater promise, then the body and genitals pretty much run the show on their whim. This is why we are ridiculously more upset with “sins of the flesh” than we are with “sins of the heart.”  Yet every sin of the flesh found its beginning in the human emotions.

We are a mindless society–headless, if you will–because we refuse to deal with our emotions and do not pump them through the breath of our spirituality to give some fresh air to our brains. So often we end up dictating the decisions of our lives based on regions below.

Unfortunately, attempts to use JUST the brain without accessing the heart and lungs make us light-headed and we pass out. (You can see, the analogy seems to keep going on and on, and you can probably find greater examples than I have in this small essay.)

Do not extol the value of education if you refuse to deal with the human emotions, and if you do deal with emotions, you should allow for the breath of spirit. Otherwise, we will be walking around as a self-fulfilling prophesy, with the little head ruling from below … and the big head completely decapitated.