Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.


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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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Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acupuncture: (n.) a system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles, used to alleviate pain or treat various physical, mental and emotional conditions. Originating in ancient China, it is now a widely-accepted practice all over the world. 

“Widely accepted practice.” What does that mean?

Sometimes I think books like the dictionary or magazines—or even newscasts—want to appear hip and cool by portraying that oddities are actually not quite as odd as we might first think.

Recently I watched a report on television about how over half the world considers eating grasshoppers to be a great source of nutrition. Grasshoppers, they reported, have even more protein than steak. I must be candid. I had absolutely no inkling to go out, fire up the grill and barbecue myself twelve ounces of locusts.

It’s the same way I feel about acupuncture. I realize that I risk coming across ignorant—maybe inflexible.

About three years ago my daughter-in-law suggested that I go to one of those locations where they perform acupuncture, to alleviate some of the pain in my knee. She had a coupon.

That’s the first thing that struck me as humorous. How does one acquire an acupuncture coupon? But I digress…

She explained that really normal people have begun to have needles stuck into their skin at very intricate places, so as to stimulate healing and relief of pain. Here’s what I think: I think one of the most uncomfortable things in the world is anxiety, and the idea of having someone from China putting needles in my skin makes me a bit anxious. So through my fits of terror, how would I know if I was any better??

Now, I realize this is not a very enlightened view, and I’m sure as time goes on, we will discover that acupuncture has great benefit.

But in the barnyard of life, I would rather cower in the stables or chicken out in the coop than be one of the initial guinea pigs.

See what I mean? I’m going to wait for all the recommendations to come in, and probably for them to come up with an ACME Home Acupuncture kit before I participate.

I think I hurt my daughter-in-law’s feelings. She probably thinks I’m a stubborn old man. But make that a stubborn old man MINUS needles in his skin.