Complement

Complement: (n) a thing that completes or brings to perfection.

The greatest complement to beauty is humility.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The greatest complement to talent is hard work.

Likewise:

Spirituality…simplicity

Leadership…awareness

Lover…sensitivity

Comedian…vulnerability

Joy…compassion

Education…application

Health…gratitude

Confidence…introspection

Strength…mercy

Speaking…listening

Faith…charity

Hope…endurance

Finding…seeking

And of course, the greatest complement to God is humanity.

 

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Complacent

Complacent: (adj) showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements

Sometimes we forget the Earth is still evolving.

Because it doesn’t go on television, shout and scream, nor advertise itself unashamedly on the Internet, we believe that the Earth did its Darwin thing and decided to settle down somewhere near Naples, Florida, for a good, well-deserved retirement.

But the truth of the matter is, the Earth may be old in years, but it is constantly going through its “terrible twos.” It is a demanding toddler, requiring our funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cattention–otherwise it starts breaking things.

So even though the word “complacent” is normally considered to represent a negative emotion, connoting that one does not care, a bit of complacency is in order so we don’t come across thinking we are in charge.

I, for one, am complacent on the weather.

I know how to buy gear for the various threats and precipitation, so rather than studying it, cursing it or attempting to pray it away, I allow my emotions and soul to develop a needful numbness with a twinge of gratitude.

I am complacent on race.

Since it doesn’t make any difference and it’s foolish to talk about it, I will play like I’m mentally challenged when it’s brough up in front of me, because I don’t want to accidentally pop off something from my erroneous training, nor foolishly present myself as Mr. Universal.

Other areas where I’m complacent:

  • Gay rights
  • Abortion
  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • Chauvinism
  • And rising prices at the grocery store

Since most of these things do not affect me–and if they do affect me, they are completely beyond my control–any fretting, opinions or stomping on my part will be useless.

There is a wonderful phrase which I often remind myself of whenever I’m tempted to be engaged: “Be still and know that I am God.”

If there is a Being named God, and He has created a Universe, my stirrings are comical at best, and at worst, aggravating.

 

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Chilblain

Chilblain: (n) a painful, itching swelling on the skin, typically on a hand or foot, caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold.

A series of the number 24:

I was 24 years old.

It was 24 miles.

It was 24 degrees.

And I had been up for 24 hours.

I was desperately trying to start a music group that possessed enough solvency that the aggravated adults around me would stop bitching about my lack of a job.

I was failing.

Every time I got twelve dollars at a coffeehouse gig, I had fifteen dollars of bills.

I also had begun a family–mainly because my wife and I had not yet figured out the intricacies of birth control. Delaying this education led to two very quick
pregnancies.

I had not been home for five days, and even though there was a blizzard going on, I decided to take my old beat-up 1958 Chevy, with bald tires, and drive the 24 miles from Westerville, Ohio, to Centerburg, my home.

As I drove north, the weather got worse and I couldn’t see the road, which had disappeared under a blanket of white-carpeting ice.

Suddenly I felt a pain in my chest, then in my head, an itching in my leg (could have been a chilblain, right?) and the deep abiding notion that I was in trouble. Yes, I was only 24 years old, but thought I was having a heart attack, a stroke and a physical collapse, all at the same moment.

There was no place to stop, no houses to drive up to, seeking help–just more road and more and more snow bullets bouncing off my windshield.

I was scared.

I didn’t want to die.

I felt I was conjuring many of the symptoms due to my fatigue, loneliness and apprehension. Still, that didn’t make them go away.

As if on cue, the heater in my car, which had been offering some comfort, stopped working. Now all it was doing was blowing cold air on my frigid body.

Was I going to succumb on the 3-C Highway somewhere between Westerville and Centerburg, to be discovered tomorrow by a snow plow driver?

At that point, I did something I have done thousands of time since. I talked to myself.

“Buck up. If you’re gonna die, make it overtake you. Don’t give into it. Keep your eyes on the road. Be grateful that nobody else is traveling, so you can swerve around a little bit. And get yourself home.”

When I finished my little speech–my soliloquy, if you will–I immediately felt better.

I had calmed the storm in my own soul.

I had rested my own anxieties by admitting I was scared shitless.

A half hour later I pulled up in front of our old apartment, cautiously inched my way up the stairs, took off my clothes and climbed into bed with my wife, who had not seem me for some time.

I was so grateful.

Even my chilblain was gone.

I was humbled.

I never want to forget that sensation.

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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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Bubbly

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bubbly: (adj) used to describe a person who is full of cheerful high spirits.

When you remove tenderness and compassion from everyday life because, you will very quickly end up with a society that denies kindness while Dictionary Bfearing tragedy.

It’s tricky business.

I know there are people who think there’s a master plan of evil to destroy the world, and sometimes what we see certainly seems to confirm that theory.

But we are all too intent on coming across cool. Because of that, we’re never hot nor cold. We’re so afraid of being light-hearted and bubbly that we accidentally cuddle up to darkness.

It amazes me what younger audiences consider to be corny.

  • They don’t like silly humor.
  • They don’t like sentimentality.
  • They don’t like to hear too much praise given to an idea.
  • They don’t wish to give tribute where it is due.
  • They believe in the power of the unsaid–the silence that is supposed to project appreciation, but actually lacks volume and intent.

Can bubbly be obnoxious? I suppose.

But the truly dangerous profile is the stoicism which considers appreciation to be overwrought and gratitude assumed.

 

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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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Apologetics

dictionary with letter A

Apologetics (n.): reasoned arguments defending a theory or belief.

Living in a world that wants to debate the power of argument and argue over the rules of debate, I find myself retreating in self-defense.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to make a stand, nor that I lack evidence of a personal nature on what I hold dear. It’s just that when I am limited to the power of mere articulation, I lose the majority of the beauty of my human emotion and faith.

We are not better people when we are convincing. For after all, Adolph Hitler was able to make a case for his Super Race.

What makes us viable and appealing is the stream of evidence which oozes from our pores as the proof of what lies within.

So a politician who is jaded and angry off-camera fails to convince me of his or her sincerity.

A corporation which revels in its slick advertising, capturing a market, is not nearly as appealing to me as one which takes responsibility for inferior products and sets in motion the research to improve.

And the religionist who mocks the simplicity of a child-like faith in favor of a theology with so many twists and turns that it produces a pretzel logic is not the mind of God to my weary ears.

Here’s what I want to know:

  • Can you tell me the truth?
  • Is it working for you?
  • What can you share with me that confirms that assertion?

Many centuries ago, a blind man who was healed by an itinerant preacher was mocked by the intellectuals of his day because the so-called miracle didn’t make any sense nor follow any acceptable form of religious practice.

His response was precious.

He said, “I don’t know about all your opinions and learned ways. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.”

Amen.

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