Conservation

Conservation: (n) the action of conserving something

There are many noble causes, but each is ill-served by advocates who are bratty and self-righteous.

I am more than willing to listen to anyone explain the importance of a rain forest or even why it is good to keep the glaciers frozen. What I will funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
not tolerate is an individual who thinks I am ignorant because I don’t already know it, or judges my reaction as being insufficient to the need.

It is actually quite possible to plant more trees without hugging the existing ones.

It is certainly powerful to enjoy Christmas without insisting that everyone react to it and celebrate it exactly the same way you do.

Conservation always puts our eyes too much on the affairs and lifestyle of others. We begin to believe that our cause is so significant that anyone who might suggest we are a trifle overwrought is an enemy of life or God.

Perspective.

Here is the perspective, and order of importance, for Planet Earth:

  • People
  • Animals
  • Trees
  • And video games (I’m just trying to gear this to the Millennials.)

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Circulate

Circulate: (v) to pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person.

I have recently been accused of being anti-social.

The diagnosis was offered because I failed to attend a party. It was assumed that anyone who didn’t want to come to this social adventure
had to be out of his or her mind.

I was supposed to come and circulate among people whom I have known for years, and read about ever-too-frequently on my Facebook page. As a matter of fact, I know so much about these folks that I could probably write personal bios for them.

But they were convinced that I had sunk into some sort of despair because I wasn’t going to come and hear the same old stories while partaking of a dip with only subtle new inclusions.

I do need to circulate–but I need to do it among people who are not necessarily related to me or benefit from me personally or financially.

A great man once said that if you only love those who love you, what in the hell is so special about that?

For instance, I just came back from the grocery store. I encountered at least twenty-five people I have never met before.

I circulated.

I conversed.

I opened up my heart to the possibility that these were good folks and I would benefit from the exchanges. I suspect about half of them thought I was crazy for being so talkative. But the other half took a risk, jumped in and, well…circulated.

We do not circulate when we only hang around those who resemble us or are friends because we buy presents for them on birthdays or Christmas.

We circulate when we allow the blood of human relationship to mingle among castes, races, genders and ideologies.

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Chanukkah

Chanukkah: (n) a lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days

America is apparently doped up, and the drug of choice is freedom. Yes, it is possible to have so much freedom that there is no restraint.

We need to learn the difference between giving respect and giving attention.

For instance, anyone who is struggling with gender identification should be given the respect and space to make that journey. But when such
a group of people is less than one percent of our country, giving them too much attention is flat-out ridiculous.

The same thing is true with Christmas and Chanukkah. At last count, there were eight million Jews in the world. God bless them. (Or Jehovah bless them, depending on which one is more appropriate.) They have a celebration which falls near Christmas. It should be given respect.

But it cannot be given equal attention to Christmas.

It is absolutely ludicrous. You do not make things fair by making everything equally as important. Chanukkah is a holiday for fewer than eight million people. Christmas, on the other hand, is celebrated by three-and-a-half billion.

Numbers do make a difference. Otherwise, we don’t have Democracy. The more votes a candidate gets, the better chance they have of being elected.

So in my opinion, it’s “Merry Christmas to one and all,” and to our Jewish friends, “Happy Chanukkah.” It is NOT “Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah.”

They are not equivalent and it is an irrational idea to presume that both should be given equal attention.

I’m glad I live in a country that gives respect to all participants, but I do not want to live in a comical environment, where we attempt to achieve equal attention.

 

 

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Browse

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Browse: (v) to survey goods for sale in a leisurely and casual way.

Several years back, when I had just released a new book, my dear daughter-in-law set me up with a booth at a book-sellers convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Dictionary B

I was excited about my new writings, so I leaped at the chance to go and share with others the stories I had put together, which in this particular case, had a Christmas theme.

I had never been at a book sellers convention before. So I was a little taken aback when I was just one of several hundred tables set up in rows, where people could amble by, peer at my book cover and then at me, to determine if they had any level of interest.

Yes. They referred to it as browsing.

I quickly learned that there were three different kinds of browsers:

There were a few souls who came to the convention legitimately interested in books–even possibly to the point of purchasing one.

There were many more authors, who came by my table to try to talk to me about their book, hoping that I would abandon my foolish cause of self-promotion and become enamored with their endeavor.

And then there were the professional browsers. These were people who hung around for a while. They picked up my book. They scanned it for a few minutes. Sometimes they even giggled, connoting that they had enjoyed something.

I foolishly tried to interject my feelings to engage them in conversation.

It was at that point that I realized they were hoping I would solicit their opinion, so they could calmly set my book down, smile at me, turn on their heel and walk away.

I fell for this about ten times, until I realized it was a game.

After that, when people came up to my table, unless they were determined to get my attention, I sat very still…acting like I was recovering from a stroke.

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Bout

Bout: (n) a short period of intense activity of a specified kind

Everything can’t be a struggle.Dictionary B

There are certain people I’m acquainted with who spend most of their time sighing or frowning over the simple task set before them.

They know these responsibilities are coming.

They are familiar with them.

But for some reason or another, they think it makes them more adult to be cranky.

But somewhere along the line, we have to produce some joy–otherwise we have no strength. The absence of strength is the introduction of anemic effort.

Not everything is a “bout:”

  • You don’t have a bout of doing the laundry.
  • It is not a bout of cooking dinner.
  • Buying Christmas presents should not be a bout.

But we can probably agree that calling it a bout with cancer is in order.

Maybe even a bout with insomnia.

I will give you a bout with diarrhea.

The actual way that we show our maturity is by proving that the journey we’ve been on has given us some skill to approach our difficulties … without a grimace.

 

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Bated

Bated: (n) in great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly.Dictionary B

When asked recently what would make the world a better place, without delay I replied, “Excitement.”

Feeling we are too mature to wiggle and squirm in anticipation, the average adult plows through a day’s activities without much emotion.

We call it control.

We insist it’s grown-up.

We fear the appearance of childishness, and in the process, lose the better parts of being childlike.

  • So we declare that “Christmas is for the children.”
  • The roller coaster was exciting, but well within the scope of our coping.
  • And romance and its pleasures are a matter of well-timed course.

Excitement is what allows us to believe that things can get better. If we are fully aware of all the possibilities, then we are no longer able to be surprised. And any creature who is incapable of being astonished at the beauty of creation soon loses the true significance of living.

I like to be excited.

Sometimes I like to excite myself, just to make sure it’s not broken.

But mostly, I feel the need to let my breath be bated by the beauty of something unknown. 

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Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

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