Commitment

Commitment: (n) the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

Religion gets in the way of my faith.

Politics robs me of my freedom.

Budgets take the joy out of money.

Discussing morals makes me too weak to enjoy sin.

Every time a committee gets together and decides something, a little piece of me ends up dying.

So I have become a rebel with a cause. The cause is to maintain the integrity of my sanity. So here are my commitments:

  1. I will pursue good cheer all the days of my life to avoid being obnoxious.
  2. I will notice when people do good and blind myself to stupidity.
  3. I will create something every day.
  4. I will appreciate the efforts of others, and linger for a moment to celebrate with them.
  5. I will stop talking about God and try to impersonate Him.
  6. I will continue to think of life as a comedy club instead of a prison.
  7. I will not put anything in my body that struggles to come out.
  8. I will laugh more than I cry, and all my crying shall end in laughter.
  9. I will avoid becoming adult because only children can truly lead us.
  10. I will honor these commitments and commit myself to pursuing not to be committed.

 

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Caftan

Caftan: (n) a long, full robe with wide sleeves

A budget is either an open door to an adventure in thrift or a perfectly good excuse to begin to bitch. The choice is really ours.

Back in my early days, when fifty cents caught in a couch cushion was considered a treasure, I was traveling with a music group and we
found the need to purchase stage clothing. Stage clothing is best defined as something you wouldn’t wear to the mall, but still short of circus attire.

I was touring with two lovely young ladies who certainly deserved to be dressed in better fashion than we were able to afford. So we went to a local glorified thrift store, and found some colorfully-designed caftans.

Truthfully, they were not caftans. They were actually nightgowns for aging, heavy-set women. But after about five minutes, we were able to convince ourselves that the manufacturers were short-sighted, and did not see how glorious these billowing dresses could become.

The ladies tried them on and immediately found that the material was too thin, and over-exposed some of their more womanly virtues. But one of them, having an industrious mind, suggested we buy some cheap cotton material and line the garments so they would have a bit more–shall we say?–heft.

As it turned out, each caftan cost $3.28 and the lining set us back another two dollars. So for less than ten dollars, my band mates got an outfit that we not only wore all over the country, but was even displayed on the cover of our premiere album.

Now I know this doesn’t make much difference in your world, and you may have considered this story to be a bit of a yawn fest, but it reminds me of the fact that appreciation and gratitude, mingled with some creativity, go a long way to making a dollar bill seem like a miracle.

 

 

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Budget

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Budget: (n) an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.

Sometimes I think the word “budget” was created so that the word “over” can be used more often.

Over budget.

I don’t exactly know why we’re so obsessed with budgets. I mean, I understand the practicality of them, but itDictionary B often resembles the little ant talking to the rubber tree plant.

In other words, we can account for many things as human beings:

  • We can tally.
  • We can work.
  • We can place things in envelopes.

But none of us are prepared for the surprises. Usually, those unplanned happenings are negative and not positive.

For instance, your car never tells you that it grew another transmission. That would be nice.

This is why, when we play Monopoly, and we pick the card that says “Bank error in your favor. Collect $100,” we almost feel like crying.

What is the value of a budget? The greatest purpose for a budget is to confirm that we have the possibility for solvency in the first place. Without such a consideration, we can launch a ship and run out of supplies in the middle of the ocean.

It’s called “counting the cost.”

And even though it doesn’t solve all problems, it at least informs us that if the wind blows just right, the figures we put on paper have half a chance of covering the need.

 

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Basilica

Basilica: (n) a building similar to a Roman basilica, used as a Christian church.Dictionary B

The battle will always rage.

It is the confrontation introduced by Judas to Jesus when he felt that the Master was foolishly spending money on unnecessary expenses instead of giving alms to the poor.

Honestly, as ridiculous as it is to spend a lot of funds on appearances, it is equally annoying to stand on the corner and lament the choices of others.

Here’s an easy rule I use in my life when deciding if I need a “basilica”–in other words, some edifice or evidence of my success and prowess. I ask this question all the time, and find it most beneficial. I use it for small things and for large decisions, and I find that if I’m candid, I always come up with the right answer, which enables me to avoid unnecessary financial loss, and usually dodge criticism from those who are ready to dole it out free of charge.

Here’s the question: Is this really necessary?

  • I do it with my time.
  • I do it with my family.
  • I do it with my underwear drawer.
  • I do it with my socks.
  • I do it with my car.

When you stop and simply ask yourself if the latest whim to build a basilica is actually going to adv ance your cause, or just burden it with debt, you’ll be astounded at how quickly your common sense will leap forward, attempting to take back control.

Even though I have many opinions on how money is misspent or how it should be given out in larger portions, ultimately it is up to the holder of the treasure … to decide what measure. 

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Appraise

dictionary with letter A

Ap·praise:(v)assess the value or quality of.

I was nineteen years old and I had a great idea–at least, I thought it was a great idea.

My mother and father ran a loan company in our little town and in the basement of the structure, there were slabs of marble used for flooring and trimming. Apparently they were left over from when the building was constructed and placed down there because no one knew what to do with them.

The marble was beautiful, but terribly heavy.

My wife and I decided to bring up five huge pieces–because we knew they had to be worth a lot of money. As a matter of fact, we confirmed this by calling a local store which dealt in such commodities and asking what these units were worth.

Our minds were boggled by how expensive marble was, so we figured we would bring up five slabs, and probably take care of our budget for the next six months. Who knows? Maybe a year.

We didn’t think of getting them appraised before making the arduous journey of carrying them upstairs. So much to our chagrin, even though the marble pieces were very expensive at one time, somebody had determined that this particular design was outdated.

We even carried one of them across town to an actual dealer, who agreed that it was quite lovely, but that he had no use for it. When I complained, stating that the marble was just as valuable as it once was, he replied, “It’s not what the marble’s worth. It’s what people will pay for it.”

I never forgot that.

Without becoming too philosophical, let me say that we live in an age when we appraise human value, human life and even human interaction as priceless.

Yet when it comes right down to it, what are we really willing to pay to see other people secure, content, safe and happy?

It’s all too cheap.

And I would like to be part of a movement that reappraises human beings from conception to death with a more realistic price tag, which could actually be followed up with legitimate concern.

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Any

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?

Yes.

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

 

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Annual

dictionary with letter A

Annual: (adj,) occurring once every year: an annual conference

My first personal encounter with the word “annual” was in relation to a book in high school, filled with pictures of friends, which were frozen and sealed in the volume, precious and everlasting in the moment, yet eventually merely a source of taunting as age betrayed the visuals.

Yes, that’s the problem with the word “annual.”

I am somewhat convinced that the best way to destroy a human being is to introduce two words into their lives: next year.

Once we become convinced that we are the masters of our fate, and put things off into a new calendar, we have given ourselves permission to be distracted and defeated by the circumstances which stand in the way of such distant planning.

Matter of fact, I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who told me he was writing a book. When I asked him what he planned to do when he finished, he replied, “I don’t really know. But it’ll be a year or so before that happens.”

It’s amazing how 365 days can give us both solace and also thrust us into a perpetual hell of procrastination.

Can you imagine if Jesus had said, “Give us this year our budget and quotas…” instead of proffering the notion that twenty-four hours is the preferable span for achievement?

In fact, He suggests that thinking about tomorrow merely t

For after all, there’s nothing more sad than running across a poster for the “First Annual” something or other, only to realize that the “Second Annual” never happened.

I try to love everybody.

Those I am not capable of loving to the full degree necessary, I benefit by staying out of their way.

The only people I truly avoid are those who are confident … that next year will be better.

 

 

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