Citizen: (n) a legal personage of a country

He loves his country but not to the exclusion of others.

She salutes the flag but well knows the weaknesses of her government.

He is offended but doesn’t become offensive by dishonoring the nation.

She works very hard to overcome her prejudiced training, to welcome those from all colors and walks of life.

He learns from the past, to bless the present, to set in motion a better future.

She weeps over those who have been wounded by history and joins them hand-in-hand to make sure it never happens that way again.

He doesn’t demand that everybody do things his way, but instead, tries to understand their journey, their perspective and their patriotism.

She stops complaining about inequality and every day proves through her life that she is equal to the challenge.

He freely admits where his homeland has failed.

She celebrates the times when common sense overcame political patronage.

They joined together to believe in a country that has heart and soul, and not just mind and strength.

They are citizens.

They make us great.

They make our country possible.

They are the currency of this nation’s wealth.


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Circumspect: (adj) wary and unwilling to take risks.

I have decided that the best way to protect our country from terrorists is to let moms and dads examine the bags at airports.

Think about it.

Your mother and father could always find a reason that anything you planned to do would either a) hurt you; b) make your grades drop; c)
keep you from God or the church; d) kill you.

If we put these moms and dads in charge at the airport, it would only take about two weeks before frequent flyers would grow weary of bringing along anything
that might be questionable. For after all, not only would it be rejected, but also you would have to listen to the lecture on why it was stupid to consider bringing it in the first place.

Mommys and Daddys are circumspect–careful to a fault.

In the process they possibly spare their children some potential danger, but also plant seeds of suspicion and “Mommy-and-Daddyism” inside them, until such an hour that these children are in charge of their own little offspring, who likewise need to be ferociously protected.

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Church: (n) a building used for public Christian worship.

Sometimes I need to laugh. I require a place for that.

Tears are often demanded. Once again, having a location where I can share them with others would be beneficial.

I need to go somewhere and know that I’m not the most important thing in the world. Where’s the address?

I like good music. I’m a little bit country; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

I need to see that I’m not alone. Difficult to do if you don’t gather somewhere.

Over and over and over again, I must be reminded to “love my neighbor as myself.” There should be some sort of joint that advertises that.

I know my money is to cover bills, but every once in a while, I need to think about the “Bill” that’s on the street. Any group of people willing to teach that?

I need to find agreement in the midst of a disagreeable world. Let the conversation begin.

In my moments of clarity, I do understand that I’m lost–in need of a Savior. Any candidates?

Even if I find out after I die that there is no heaven and no hell, I need to live my life as if heaven is available.

We sure could use church if church were what it’s supposed to be. If it’s merely an overblown expression of appreciation for some particular definition of God, then basically, it’s more of an annoyance than a bounty.

Let’s find the church.

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Chickpea: (n) a round yellowish seed, used widely as food.

Imagine my shock when I discovered that garbanzo beans were also known as chickpeas.

For years, when I traveled with my friends, had brief attempts at weight loss and hovered over salad bars, I wondered if the garbanzo beans
were calorically low enough to be included in my pile of greenery and anemic salad dressing.

One day I asked the waitress at the local Ruby Tuesday’s in Alabama if they had garbanzo beans. She stared at me as if I were a Yankee who had come to ransack her plantation.

“What’s that?” she said in utter disgust.

So I described it, as much as one can manage wording to verbally recreate a non-descript object.

She replied, “You mean chickpeas?”

At this point, I was trying to be patient. I am fully aware that people from the Southern part of our great nation often have different names for things–usually with a country tinge to them.

“Chickpeas?” I questioned. “I’ve never heard them called that.”

As we were conversing, a lovely woman, gracious and well-spoken, came up and added, “Both names are correct.”

She had an English accent.

I was aggravated. I thought I had a young southern girl trapped in a language faux pas–and then this agent straight from the throne of the King’s English steps over to thwart my enthusiasm.

“See, I told ya’,” drawled the girl, strolling away.

I glanced over at the dignified Englishwoman and said, with great conviction, “I will always be a garbanzo man.”


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dictionary with letter A

Ambassador: (n) 1. an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country 2. a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specific activity

I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

Word has it that many of the people standing in line, waiting their turn to become ambassadors for the United States, have proven themselves to be less than experts on the nations they are going to visit and “diplomat.”

What’s the big deal?

Is there a real advantage in showing up in a country acting like you know everything about it? I mean, can you imagine them taking you on a guided tour and you keep interrupting their spiel, spouting off your own knowledge on the subject?

There’s a great balance if you’re going to do something important in your life: know enough to get yourself started and be willing to learn enough to make yourself appear to be growing.

Yet I think anyone who is going to be the ambassador to Norway should know how to spell it. Also it might be good if he or she could locate it on a map before the confirmation hearings.

But I think there’s something absolutely adorable, powerful and human-loving about showing up to work wondering what you’re going to learn today.

I guess for many years, I have been an ambassador of common sense–and the wonderful thing about my subject matter is that you never stop discovering new batches of it. Because just about the time you think you’re smart enough to know what you’re talking about, common sense runs away and if you’re sharp, you’ll end up chasing it.

There are so many nations in the world that it would be very difficult to know something about all of them, and if you tried, you’d probably end up looking like a walking Wikipedia instead of an actual fount of knowledge.

Yes, I think the most important thing you could do if you want to be an ambassador for anything, any place or anyone is to be thrilled about what you’ve already learned … and thirsty to get more.


Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgog: (adj) very eager or curious to hear or see something: e.g. the tourists were all agog to see New York

I told her she did good work.

She replied flatly, “It’s just my job.”

She was my waitress at the restaurant, and she had done exceptional service to us, worthy of praise and a good tip. She just didn’t realize how valuable and rare she was.

As I finish Tour 2013 across this country, may I share with you a recurring reality? Something has died.

The carcass doesn’t stink enough yet for people to be aware, but it won’t be long. We have gone from being a nation which at least occasionally would be “agog” about our lives to being bored individuals who look at everything as “agig.”

We have lost the spontaneity, the humor, the adventure of solving problems and just the sheer joy of surviving a little bit of hassle in order to manufacture a victory which we can proudly initial.

I’m not exactly sure what we want.

  • Movies are bigger and more expensive than ever, but don’t have legs. People just don’t talk about them.
  • Music is over-produced, over-discussed and overwrought, yet does not create the simple stirring caused by a single Dylan guitar.
  • Government is more prevalent, but certainly less proficient..
  • Churches have become transfixed with the notion of “mega,” while simultaneously settling for a “mini” cultural influence.

We saw it coming. For after all, about fifteen or twenty years ago we decided to stop being impressed with anything. We called it “sophisticated.” “Laid-back.” We referred to it as “maturity.” We thought we were extraordinarily cool when we said, “I’ve seen that before.”

So on my part, I have made a conscious effort to avoid looking at anything as “agig,” but instead looking at it as “agog.”

Staying in motel rooms, I have learned to cook with only a microwave oven, making elaborate casseroles and meals. I am impressed with both the results and myself.

I am agog that people are still willing to come out from their homes and experience something new–something they’re not even sure they understand or will appreciate.

If we’re going to arrive at the full fruits of freedom, we must never cease to be in awe of the idea. For the only true way to ever lose your independence is to take it for granted.

And the only way you will ever be devoid of joy … is to stop looking for happy.


Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advocate: (n) a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy

I shudder. Honestly, this definition scares me.

  • Publicly supports.
  • Recommends.
  • Cause.

I just look back in history and realize that the vast majority of people who have lived on this planet called Earth have, at least for a season, been advocates of immoral and ridiculous ignorance.

It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon and begin to play out of tune. Why do we DO it?

Maybe a better question is, are there ideas or standards that need to be defended, or, if they really are good ideas and standards, are they going to survive a little critique and analysis without me bullying people into following them?

I don’t know if I’ve met an advocate who I think is actually contributing to the common good.

For instance, I certainly believe we should treat animals with respect and honor their space, but I find those involved in the cause of animal rights to be overwrought and obnoxious.

I also believe in God and the loving mercy He wishes to bestow upon His children, but I find the tedium of religion to be tiresome, burdensome and even vicious in its intent.

I absolutely love my country, but those who are advocates of a political party and beat the drum for votes are not only aggravating, but at whim can shut down the very government they promised to serve.

Maybe our goal should not be to become an advocate, but rather, a billboard–to quietly pursue our dreams and beliefs, demonstrating them through our successes and personalities. Perhaps mankind did not evolve from the monkey, but I will tell you this–like the ape, we are much better at mimicking than we are at taking orders.

We seem to more enjoy looking around and finding things that appeal to us and are beneficial, adding them into our own lifestyle, than we do having someone preach it, teach it or advocate for it.

What would I be willing to publicly state as truth? What would I believe is still going to be around a hundred years after I’m dead, maintaining its validity? Doesn’t that narrow it down?

The only one I’ve come up with is: NoOne is better than anyone else.

I guess if you were pushing me, I would have to say of that assertion and statement that I am an advocate.