dictionary with letter A

Armada: (n) a fleet of warships.

Certainly when I see the word “armada,” my mind immediately pops off to think of the Spanish one.

The Spanish Armada was dubbed the greatest naval force that ever existed on Planet Earth. Because of that it was deemed invincible.

Matter of fact, the English, the French and even the pirates would avoid interfacing with this formidable fleet out of fear of being decimated by the sheer, brute force of its power.

But the Spanish Armada learned a valuable lesson, which is transferable into our times. Once you develop a reputation, you have two choices:

1. You can continue to work on getting better, using only your own standards as the criteria for excellence rather than comparing yourself to the surrounding, meager competition; or

2. You can continue to promote and advertise your status as supreme, hoping there will be no challenges to your claims,continuing to be all-powerful via publicity.

Can you guess which one is popular in the human race?

So while the Spanish Armada promoted itself, striking fear in the hearts of lesser navigators, the English, under the command of Sir Francis Drake, decided to improve its own boats–and eventually defeated them.

It’s not just that pride goes before a fall–it’s more that pride is the stumbling block that trips us up in our inadequacy, producing the tumble.


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dictionary with letter A

Anoxia: (n.) an absence of oxygen.

I felt like crap, if by saying that, you mean a discarded pile of useless waste lying in the corner, needing disposal.

I didn’t know why.

I knew I was sick. That doesn’t help very much. Being aware of illness only makes you clamor for a quick solution to get back to normalcy.

Sometimes that’s possible. A good night’s sleep is often the perfect elixir. But I had several opportunities to sleep and felt no better.

So I went to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital, and the first thing they did was put oxygen into my nostrils.

I felt very stupid having tubes coming out of my nose.

They explained that my oxygen level was not sufficient for me to get the air I needed to recover from my physical ailment. I tried to argue, but after a while felt silly objecting to something as simple as a breathing mechanism.

It was astounding.

Within an hour, just having oxygen put into my body and having the levels rise, made me feel so much better. It gave me the will to want to get well again instead of commiserating over a gloom of pending doom.

It was just oxygen–yet I needed it. I wasn’t getting it from the air. My lungs apparently had decided they were part-time labor.

But the introduction of the good stuff set in motion “good stuff” for my healing.

It got me thinking.

We’re so critical of people who are depressed, angry, poor or unmotivated.

  • We never consider that there’s a certain emotional oxygen required, the ability to tell the truth without fear.
  • How about spiritual oxygen? God is our God so we can find out how to be better people.
  • Certainly there’s a mental oxygen, which clears out the cobwebs in our brain, allowing fresh ideas to seep through.
  • And the simple physical oxygen of breathing, exercising and eating well can make us feel invincible.

I’m no longer afraid to be in need–because discovering the better things I can breathe in empowers me … to be made whole.

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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAchilles: a hero of the Trojan War. During his infancy his mother plunged him into the Styx, making his body invulnerable except for the heel by which she held him. During the Trojan War, Achilles killed Hector but was later wounded in the heel by an arrow shot by Paris, and died.

Since I saw the movie, Troy, Achilles will always be Brad Pitt to me. Or maybe it’s that Brad Pitt will always be Achilles. Whichever floats your boat. And speaking of floating your boat … Supposedly Helen of Troy had an affair with Paris, which started a war and launched a thousand ships.

If you watch the movie, you see the portrayal of a very arrogant, self-sufficient, mean-spirited, dark, quizzical and I suppose to the average woman between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five, sexy Achilles.

He liked killing people.

That should be one of the classic turn-offs, but it seemed to be very exciting to his fellow-fighters and all the women who met him. He was rather ruthless, which the Greeks, who touted themselves to be such a scholarly bunch, still extolled as noble. He considered himself to be invincible, which lends itself to a bit of foolishness and certainly makes one obnoxious.

What did I learn about Achilles? I relearned the very valuable lesson that half of what I believe about myself is only true because it hasn’t been tested, and the other half, that has been tested, I do not believe, for some reason or another, to be sufficient to my needs.

We are all foolish when we think that because we haven’t yet met an enemy who can take us down, that we are beyond conquering. And we’re also quite silly when we downplay the TRUE virtues of our soul and talent, deeming them insignificant.

If Achilles had just been a good soldier, treated people better, and had not run into battle believing he was made of titanium, he probably could have lived to a ripe old age, had children and been deeply respected by the world around him. Instead, he let his ego drive his mission rather than using common sense and restraint.

It’s doubtful that dipping him in the River Styx actually achieved the purpose of making him supernatural. It sure did give him a lot of confidence, though–that is, until somebody shot an arrow in just the right place.

Interesting. Since we talk about Achilles, I wonder if that’s where we got the phrase, “that person’s a real heel.”