Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.


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Changeable: (adj) able to change or be changed.

It had all the appearance of being an official meeting.

Everyone was sitting around the table acting adult, and we were following Parliamentary procedure, which made us feel like “big kids.”

A gentleman spoke up and said, “Of course, no one likes change.”

Nearly everyone in the room nodded in agreement. Well, actually everybody but me.

You see, here’s what I have learned. If you work on an asparagus farm, it’s a good idea not to complain about the asparagus. And if you’re going to live on Planet Earth, which is in a constant flux of change, it’s a really good mental health move to stop bitching about transition.

Change is not inevitable–change is essential.

Change is the possibility of carrying the garbage out the door.

Change is being forced to consider the bottom line instead of just falling on your ass.

Change is when the Mother Nature, God, common sense, chaos and love meet together and agree, by some miracle, what direction to head.

Trying to appear “set in your ways” only beckons the concrete removers to come and chisel you out of your opinion.

What should our attitude be? What does it mean to be changeable?

Changeable is knowing that things will change–and if we get ahead of the process, we might actually have the privilege of determining some of the outcome.




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Buddhism: (n) a religion, originated in India by Buddha

Everybody’s got a different idea on the subject.

Some people think religion is like comparing various incarnations of cola. In other words, a handful of people Dictionary Bknow the difference–but most folks would just say “it’s a Coke.”

Continuing in the food theme, there are those who differentiate religions as bread, milk, meat and fruit. But I think all that’s ridiculous.

I think the most intelligent thing to do in assessing religion is to take a moment of your time to figure out what really works with humans on Planet Earth.

There are three things:

  1. People are people and they aren’t going to stop being people.
  2. We all care about ourselves.
  3. So it’s essential to find a way to care about yourself without ignoring everybody else.

This trio of ideas is immutable. It never goes away.

So a Jewish religion which believes that those who have trimmed penises are the “chosen people” might find themselves struggling in the social arena with that assertion.

Likewise, the Muslims, who feel it is their job to take over the world and insert Muslim principles into the heart of every human being, will probably suffer the slings and arrows of those who love a good barbecue pork sandwich.

And in the case of Buddha and his world-renowned Buddhism, trying to convince people that ignoring their desires and emotions is the path to Nirvana, seems to me to be futile.

Christianity, on the other hand, which has decided to bunk with Judaism, fails to deliver the best tenets of its organization as put forth by Jesus, who thoroughly confirmed our three steps by saying that once you find out how you love yourself, just apply that same measure to others.

There is an old saying, which translated, reads, “The only pure religion that is undefiled is to take care of women and children who don’t have resources and to keep yourself from being overthrown by worldly affairs.”

Buddhism suffers from too much introspection in a world which demands we consider seven billion options.


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Bootstrap: (v) to get oneself out of a situation using existing resources.

There are two distinct paths that lead to happy–one is pursuing success and the other is fostering contentment.Dictionary B

Both paths will get you there.

The only question is, which one of these situations is more common to Planet Earth?

For instance, there would be no need to call “success” by a different name than “life” unless it was somewhat uncommon. Otherwise, everyone would just say, “My life makes me happy.”

But actually, for most people, it is success that makes them happy. Anything short of that brings some sensation of disappointment.

On the other hand, if it is possible for us to cleverly derive energy from life–to bootstrap our way into contentment–well, I guess you could say that we can fool ourselves into being happy.

The man who demands twenty dollars will never be satisfied with ten. But the person who would love to have twenty dollars, who has already devised a plan to survive on five, will rejoice over ten.

Can it really be that simple?

Can we work for a higher goal while keeping our expectations more realistic?

Truth is, if we don’t, we’re going to bounce back and forth between discouragement and elation, leaving those around us never certain of who we are–and making us unable to ascertain the depth of our ingenuity and resilience.


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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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Atypical: (adj) not representative of a type, group, or class.

dictionary with letter A

  1. Think big
  2. Don’t let people push you around
  3. You are special
  4. Religion is a personal matter
  5. Follow your dreams
  6. We were all born a certain way

Any one of these statements spoken aloud in a gathering will get you immediate applause.

But I grew up with a little bird whispering in my ear, saying, “Does it work?” Not “is it popular, is it typical, is it in the flow of thinking,” but “does it work?”

Recently I wrote a book entitled “Within.” There are several things I wanted to accomplish with this book.

  • I wanted it to be human.
  • I wanted it to be easy to understand.
  • I wanted it to be short, to avoid boredom.
  • I wanted it to be logical–honoring history and forward thinking.

So the previous six statements immediately came to my mind, and as I considered the nature of human beings, our future on Planet Earth and how things have worked in the past, I realized that I was at odds with most of the contentions.

I am atypical.

Think big:

When it comes to thinking big, I realize that this often leads to an arrogance which is frustrated by the normal disappointment that comes when we are forced into a smaller role. Perhaps that is why a wise man once said that “faith is a tiny mustard seed.” When you begin small, growth is much more appreciated.

Don’t let people push you around.

It’s one of those statements that sound fabulous in your head until you realize that you are fostering the notion that “might makes right,” instead of “ingenious” having a chance of winning the day.

Truth is, people will push me around. But what happens next–how well I survive it–is contingent on my determination.

You are special.

This works if I think everybody is special.

Religion is a personal matter.

Actually, religion is useless, but my faith isn’t just personal. It’s intricate to my character and therefore, the supplier of my actions.

Follow your dreams.

Well, I guess it’s hard to argue with that one. But I like to celebrate every day instead of waiting for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

We are all born a certain way.

Honestly, I just don’t like feeling trapped by how I was born. The God I believe in gave me free will, and fully expects me to use it to better my circumstances.

When I finished writing “Within” and published it, it was atypical.

But now, as people are beginning to purchase it and read it, they are gaining the freedom to be human, instead of acting like they’re “little gods,” ruling a universe which is actually well beyond their comprehension.


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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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