Chasten: (v) to reprove

There are things that work and there are things that don’t.

Perhaps one of the most misleading ideas promoted in our society is the notion that a thousand paths lead to the same singular destination.
This has caused us to believe that we can ignore the wisdom of time and forge our own thoroughfare–and as long as we get “somewhere near it,” we’ve done a good thing by being independent.

Independence is over-rated. More often than not, it’s permission to fail instead of succeed–because leaving the sanctity of good counsel to prove your autonomy usually comes with a bundle of extra problems which have to be explained away later, as you cautiously tout your victory.

But let’s make three things clear:

1. Complaining is not chastening.

Human beings should not have to endure the incessant repetition of a grouchy spirit hounding them over their actions.

2. Assuming is not chastening.

Trying to take on the profile of “the gentle soul” who innocently assumes everyone knows the truth of the matter is often useless and can be vindictive if the silence causes another soul pain.

3. Prejudice is not chastening.

Asking a black man to hold his tongue because he’s “the son of Cain” and therefore not as worthy as white people is not a rebuke granting growth, but instead, instilling inferiority and fear.

Chastening is understanding what needs to be done–seeing that someone has taken a faulty turn and correcting him or her before the misstep turns into a tumble.

It must always be done in love, it must always be done quickly, and it must always be drenched in mercy and grace.


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Cessation: (n) the process of ending

“All good things come to an end.”

Unfortunately, all bad things don’t.

For some reason we get bored with good things and decide to either evolve them or abandon them. But bad things seem to be granted social
tenure. They get to hang around even if they do stupid stuff.

Why? Because bad things are grouchy and good things smile.

It’s a lot easier to ask someone who’s smiling to go to the back of the bus than it is to approach a grouchy person with such a request.

Yes, it’s true. As long as the black man smiled back at the white bigot, not much happened–which brings me to one of the things that demands cessation in our country:


Truthfully it will not leave until we stop talking about the beauty of cultures and the glories of separate ethnic practices. Even though we insist that everybody is different and that it’s a good thing, we work like hell to try to find common conversation and similar ground. Otherwise, parties would just be drinking in silence.

Another thing that demands cessation is genderism.

There are those who think it’s cute to point out the difference between men and women, and in doing so, keep women in a position of scrounging for crumbs of praise, while denied the cake.

And if you don’t mind, I’ll close by saying that we need a cessation on the idea of being tough.

I don’t know how that works. If everyone is tough, isn’t that just a world filled with cranky people instead of toughness?

Someone has to be kind–otherwise, nothing happens.

Nothing breaks.

Nothing changes.

Cessation will occur when we stop being afraid of grouchy people–because we decide we enjoy smiling ones.


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Burden: (n) a load, especially a heavy one.

Being able to define what a burden truly is may be a step toward maturity and a leap in humanity.

We are quick to complain of simple cumbersome circumstances. They are often temporary but we still lodge our formal objection.

Sometimes I don’t understand myself. I am fully aware that the universe does not favor me, yet somehow I anticipate front row seats, flowers at the backstage door and standing ovations for simple tasks.

Vanity is not merely propping up our better features. Vanity is when we believe our features should be sufficient without propping.

What is a burden? Because once we define it, then we certainly know, in the realm of the spirit, our mission is to make it as light as possible.

The burden should be light.

But until we conclude what burdens us, we are apt to invent new definitions for the condition based upon the color of our mood.

For instance, watching the grandchildren one week may be a treasure, but on the following Tuesday may seem to be a burden.

There are times that shopping for a new pair of shoes has the sniff of adventure, and on other occasions, just stinks.

We keep moving the poles, changing the dimensions and re-negotiating our grouchiness.

The true definition of a burden is something which is unexpected but proven to be necessary and therefore needs to be taken in stride as much as possible–so we don’t lose our good cheer.

Yet if we stubbornly insist that life should never sneak up on us, we will constantly be jumping out of our skin at the slightest inkling of evolution.


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Dictionary BBegan: past tense of begin

If you acknowledge the source, you can avoid remorse.

Even though it’s very popular to talk about how to begin, the celebration is much more powerful if we first commemorate how we got to where we are now.

Yes, our “begin” is much more efficient if we laud our “began.” May I explain?

I began several years ago to stop being so fussy about trying to get my personal avenue in life. Yes, I have preferences. No one cares. Lamenting their apathy only makes me aggravated and grouchy. So I began to take care of myself and not require that others do it for me.

A decade ago, I began to be self-critical about my projects instead of waiting for the criticism of others. I would much rather be overly analytical of my personal affairs rather than having to recoil from critique.

I began to realize that financial responsibility is not optional.

I began to give independence to my children, so they could have a life separate from their allegiance to my fatherhood.

I began to talk less and think more.

I began to celebrate that intervention by problems is the only way to coax innovation.

I began to begin.

And in beginning … I can now celebrate what I began.

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Barbecue: (v) to cook meat, fish, or other food on a barbecue.Dictionary B


What is the definition of annoying? Annoying is anything that makes me grouchy instead of allowing me to enjoy the pleasure that was intended for the moment.

  • Barbecues are annoying.
  • Barbecuing, even more annoying.
  • Those who barbecue–annoying most of all.

Am I the only person who wants somebody to fix me a steak, put it on a plate and let me eat it instead of having to listen to the evolution of the whole process or hear the cook explain the tedious measures necessary to garner just the right sauce and tenderness for the meat?

There is more discussion of food at a barbecue than there is unabated joy in devouring it.

And God forbid that you should find yourself standing at the grill next to the Master Chef. By the time you get done listening to a recitation of recipes, mystery ingredients and correct temperatures for the best flavor, you will want to run from the premises and go out and eat a salad.

That’s how serious it is.

Everybody thinks they are an expert on almost everything–but most people eventually admit some weakness.

But not barbecuers.

They are the best, or nothing at all.

That’s why they make silly hats and aprons for the process, as a uniform to go along with the insanity.

So when I find myself invited to one of these escapades, I sit at the furthest table until I am sure that the food is thoroughly cooked, and then, when most people are being bored by the giver of the feast with a lecture on charcoal, I slip in, steal my portion from the platters, and run into the woods to eat … like a scalded bear.


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Aspect: (n) a particular part or feature of something. dictionary with letter A

Singers should be happy.

Even though I am fully aware there are sad songs, at the end of performing such a dirge, there should be a return to hopeful joy and happiness. It is an aspect of their character which must be manifested in order for them to be of value to the human tribe.

In like manner:

Accountants should be good with numbers. It would be nice if they weren’t grouchy. But since I don’t want to number crunch all the time, the aspect of their character that I am most interested in is accuracy.

We have become too complacent in accepting mediocre ideas simply because we’ve given up on the possibility of things being right.

Politicians should be forthcoming. Just because they aren’t does not mean that we shouldn’t continue to expect that aspect.

Preachers should be non-judgmental and full of the gospel of hope. Honestly, damn them if they’re any other way.

Mothers and fathers should instill confidence in their children instead of forcing them to rebel out of too much worry and interference.

Christmas should be celebrated with joy instead of beleaguered with droll souls who want to point out how “it can really be a sad time of the year.”

There are certain aspects of our journey which need to remain faithful to the common cause of sanity. Otherwise we will begin to accept the banal as the normal.

I am a writer. It is my job to inspire.  To hell with the notion that I’m presenting a dark reality which is the underbelly of society.

It is time for us to enlighten one another instead of extinguishing the fires of hope … pretending it is an action of intellectual maturity.


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dictionary with letter A

Anal: (n) a stage in Freudian psychosis denoting infantile psychosis as seen by a preoccupation with the anus. 2. Anal-retentive: obsessively preoccupied with details.

Perusing this particular definition, I was struck with a notion.

Even though words do have specific meanings, they gradually assimilate into the culture based upon whether we choose to view a thought as positive or negative.

Freud, with his usual obsession for body parts, was quick to point out that “anal,” from his perspective, had something to do with the ass.

Yet in our society, when we refer to somebody as anal, we are connoting an attention to detail–or if we find that attitude unacceptable, we make reference to someone being “picky.”

But I think if you blend the definitions, it’s quite fun, isn’t it?

Because after all, people who don’t take care of their own bum, cleaning it and maintaining its hygiene, will eventually be considered nasty.

Likewise, without a little bit of fussiness about maintaining order and the dignity of things, we will disappoint those around us and convince them quite quickly by exposing the hole in our ass.

  • What is too much attention to detail?
  • What is being picky?

I think three things are necessary to be considered solvent and of sound mind:

1. I don’t make my problems your problems.

Even though we like to help one another through difficulty, the specific dilemma needs to be complex enough to warrant intervention.

2. Generally speaking, I am a person of good cheer.

After all, to be around efficiency which is grouchy makes you soon forget the quality of the work and only remember the cranky.

3. I’m improving.

In other words, we can get by with being inefficient once or twice, but after that, it becomes an annoying vice.

So there is a certain amount of attention to the caboose necessary to maintain a good train.

And as human beings, without being obnoxious … we can still strive toward adequacy.



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