Contrite

Contrite: (adj) filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent

The times in my life when I was truly sorry, I’ve been so contrite that I could barely speak.

I was afraid to utter a word. It might fail to communicate the depth of my anguish.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I simply sat, looking at the offended person and attempted to use my eyes to communicate the pain I felt inside. I had no desire to be glib and did not want to explain my position, and I certainly didn’t want to post it as a public statement on the Internet.

So great was my sadness over my actions that my contrite heart choked my words, leaving me with nothing more than gestures and tears.

Contrition is a magnificent experience in our journey. It is where we confirm that we’ve actually succeeded in graduating from being a baby, survived adolescence—becoming a full-fledged human being.

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Butterscotch

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Butterscotch: (n) a flavor created by combining melted butter with brown sugar.

I was greatly disappointed to discover that there were no butterscotch trees–not even a bush. A vine would have been nice. I enjoy the flavor, and would certainly have been willing to go to some farm and pick my own.

What a treat–stopping every few minutes from placing my butterscotch sprouts into my pail to eat a few. Did I mention that I like butterscotch?

And now I know why. It’s a combination of butter and brown sugar–similar to taking the winner of the male decathlon and the female winner of the broad jump in the Olympics and mating them to have a child. Pretty good chance it’s going to turn out okay.

But then I am swept away by the realization brought about by pure candor. Since butter is not good for me and brown sugar is not good for me, their baby will probably be a brat, too.

Nevertheless, every once in a while a piece of butterscotch in your mouth is an excellent way to get rid of the bad taste of bitterness.

 

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Breastfeed

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Breastfeed: (v) to feed a baby with milk from a woman’s breast

A simple standard of maturity is when we stop giggling and laughing at somebody who’s picking his nose. If we find ourselves still chortling, then we’re probably stuck somewhere in the second semester of the fourth grade.Dictionary B

The adult solution to such a quandary, to avoid becoming a giggling fool, is to turn away and not look.

Truth of the matter is, picking one’s nose is common to us all. Though some people will probably insist that they never do such a thing, the reality is that most of us, at one time or another, do a little mining for nasal gold.

Likewise, I become a bit confused when people are affronted, concerned or put off by a woman baring her breast and feeding her young one. Since we all have spent some time on the teat, it might be good to recognize that a sign of maturity is accepting this as common human effort and behavior instead of frowning or gossiping to the “teacher.”

Just look away.

Breast-feeding is here to stay–just like picking your nose.

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Bedwetting

Bedwetting: (n) involuntary urination during sleep.Dictionary B

Let me see.

We have Traffic Court. It is used very effectively for handling traffic cases.

Then there’s Divorce Court–for those who want to split the sheets in a legal way.

Family Court, which is more or less an oxymoron, since usually those who attend are having great difficulty being a family.

We have the Court of Appeals, which is obviously desperate for attention.

Yet over the years, we have gradually eroded the power and importance of the “Kid Court.”

This is the jurisdiction and judgments levied by children upon each other, creating the natural peer pressure which promotes general civility.

Let’s make something clear: refusing to pee in your bed is not a natural conclusion.

We are born urinating everywhere. We don’t care–take the diaper off too quickly and the baby will do it right in your face.

So somewhere along the line, we develop an aversion to the idea of peeing ourselves.

This has to come through some sort of instruction or protocol which forces us to fall in line and urinate in porcelain instead of linen.

I contend that every time we try to find a reason for bedwetting–other than the fact that the kid has not yet figured out to get up from a sleepy condition and void–we become overwrought, over-analytical and refuse to let “Kid Court” take care of the matter.

I occasionally peed the bed until the time I went to kindergarten. I thought everybody did.

So one day at recess, when someone complimented my pants, I explained that they were my second choice, since I had pissed on the others.

There was a silence that fell over the crowd that day near the merry-go-round. All my fellow students stared at me in disbelief. They had already made the journey away from bedwetting.

They did not bully me.

They did not ridicule me.

But it was made clear that until I learned how to use my “pee-pee’er” at the right time, I could not be “one of the gang.”

It put a crease in my brain so deep that it remains to this day.

I will tell you that nothing my mother or father could have said would have been more effective than the reaction of my chums, who found my conduct to be Neanderthal.

Taking away all peer pressure, which allows for kids to work out many foibles and weird inclinations, is a huge mistake. The best thing we can do is stand back and monitor it–and pull them apart just short of bloody noses.

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Baby

Baby: (n) a very young child, especially one newly or recently born.

I am personally co-responsible for the arrival of four babies onto Planet Earth.Dictionary B

So even though I would not consider myself an authority, I do walk with a bit more gravitas than the average twenty-something postulating on daytime talk shows.

Let me tell you some misconceptions about babies, and then I will tell you what I find to be a few abiding truths.

Let us begin with the misconceptions:

  1. Babies are cute.

The best way for me to dispel this myth is for me to say they are not meant to be cute because they aren’t ripe yet. A misshapen head, a funny curled lip, lack of eyebrows, and the fact that they insist on having you clean up their buttocks does take away a little bit from their overall beauty. (Not to mention that creepy spot on their head that moves back and forth when they breathe…)

  1. Babies are hard to take care of.

If you are one of those kinds of people who allow things to pile up on you, or only deals with things in your face, a baby can be a horror. But if you understand that this little kid has come into your world, and therefore needs to learn your system, it becomes much easier to handle their initial moods.

  1. Babies like it quiet.

Please don’t make your house quiet. A baby will adjust to whatever sound level is in the room, because all babies are human and therefore require sleep. Turn up the stereo and get them used to the din of life.

  1. Babies are born “a certain way.”

It is probably one of the more unfair things we do–to cast personality, talent and even intelligence on a creature that is still drooling.

  1. My baby loves me.

Not yet. Your baby still thinks it’s in the womb, where it sucked from everything in sight without ever offering one tittle of gratitude.

Now, how about some truths?

  1. You have a human being.
  2. This human being will pretty much become exactly what you want he or she to be.
  3. The child has not yet formed either virtue or prejudice.
  4. Do not allow your relatives to spoil the little tot because you will be the one dealing with the backlash.
  5. Keep them warm, loved, well-fed, changed and stop worrying about anything else.
  6. It’s a baby. You did not find the cure for cancer. Adding too much pride to the birth of your child is the dictionary definition of obnoxious.

I like babies.

Their simplicity, innocence and vulnerability remind me that God has not given up on the human race.

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Appliance

dictionary with letter A

Appliance: (n) a piece of equipment designed to do a specific task, typically a domestic one.

I have often thought it would be a very intelligent maneuver to set my mind to becoming more of a handy man.

I have a very firm conviction (though many of you would consider it a superstition): I think my appliances know that I’m ignorant.

I think secretly they hide out in the kitchen, the bathroom or the office and plot ways to make me nervous by pretending to pull up lame at the most inopportune times so they can view me fidgeting nervously, wondering how to accomplish my task without them.

If you think about it, this is the only self-worth an appliance has. No one pops the bread in the toaster, has it cook to a golden brown and then pats the chrome while saying, “Thank you, toaster for doing your job.”

The only time we actually acknowledge the toaster, or any number of appliances, is when they decide to go on the fritz or become intermittent in some disgusting pattern. It is only then that we appreciate the value they bring to the household.

Is it too far out for me to believe that these appliances might have some sort of agreement among each other, to seek approval by refusing to operate?

So I think becoming a little more handy with tools, threatening to break them open and play with their innards, might be enough to rein them into submission.

Of course, the times I’ve hung around such skillful laborers, I have quickly deterred from my passion to pursue their abilities, because within moments, their explanations and terminology leave me totally baffled. (For instance, a friend of mine talked a good ten minutes about various types of screws before I realized he wasn’t being lascivious.)

So since I’m pathetic with the implements which might be able to fix my appliances, I’ve decided to be very polite, gentle and appreciative to them. Landing somewhere between encouraging a baby to walk and a dog to retrieve a frisbee, I have developed lingo for each and every one of them to let them know how much I value their service.

  • So the dishwasher is “dear.”
  • The toaster is “cool, man.”
  • And the blender is “wow.”

I hope by using these little bursts of encouragement, I can keep them operating in tip-top shape…so they don’t feel the need to threaten me with the silent treatment or their shut-down mode.

 

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Advent

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advent: (n) the first season of the church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four prior Sundays.

Even with the introduction of an Easter bunny bringing candy, we are not able to market the crucifixion and resurrection nearly as easily as the birth of the Prince of Peace.

I suppose that makes some people fussy. They would be the same people who insist that “Christmas is too commercial” or that manger scenes should be mandatory everywhere in spite of civil liberties.

Actually, I take this little piece of information as a harkening. Isn’t that a great word? “Harkening.” A harkening is a quiet shout, informing us of something truly important.

Much as we may need salvation, we are still doing our time on earth before we’re paroled to heaven. Like some people in prison, we can use that sentence to become worse criminals, mean and even turn into killers–OR we can go to the library, study and get more education, find new life and emerge from the experience overjoyed because we have redeemed the time.

I think that’s what happens at Advent.

For about thirty-two days, we allow ourselves to wonder if it might be possible that a baby changed the world–and more importantly, caused us to loosen our purse strings, buy a present for someone else and think about abstract ideas like “peace on earth” and “goodwill toward men.”

If heaven is better than earth, then earth is a place where we’re supposed to learn how to become heavenly, don’t you think?

So merely saving people from their sin does not cause them to learn to win.

  • That takes the Advent.
  • This demands Christmas.

It is a season when we actually believe that a child born of peasants can stir the heavens, beckoning both shepherds and kings.