Clutter

Clutter: (n) untidy

It’s all about square footage.

If you’re a person that grew up in a large house with plenty of room to spare, you probably believe that where you place things is not terribly important. After all, there’s always more expanse.

But if you grew up in a house where the walls always seemed to be creeping inward, you quickly understood that you could clutter the room by taking off your coat and laying it on the couch instead of hanging it up.

Perhaps this is why rich people have maids and housekeepers. Having additional living space to clutter, they require assistance about placement and cleanliness.

For many years, I traveled on the road. This required a motel room. You learn very quickly in that space that two towels placed in the wrong location and a pair of shoes discarded in the path, could make the room look a mess and have you tripping and falling flat on your face.

So I do not know whether it’s possible to teach someone who thinks there are unlimited regions for collecting junk that placing things in order simplifies life.

But we all must be honest and admit that we would like to know that we are cluttered–before someone else has to tell us to “straighten up.”

 

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Caution

Caution: (n) care taken to avoid danger or mistakes

“Casting caution to the wind…”

Pretty good advice if you’re discussing farting.

Other than that, it is a piece of vanity without any sanity. Yet the statement has merit because cautious people are painfully picky.

What is the right amount of caution?

Most of us spend a lot of time figuring out how we’re going to do things, where, or even when.

The better part of caution is the question why. Because just because I can, or because it’s available does not mean it is advisable. “Why” welcomes the spirit of prudence, bringing about the inner conversation that introduces common sense to the event.

Stop asking yourself if you can. Cease to make everything in life an attempt to prove your prowess.

Why?

I would never ask God to give me superhuman strength unless I needed to lift a car off of someone pinned in an accident. But at that moment, the request would be well-founded. No need for caution would be required.

But to win the privilege of a couple of beers over a bet is not worthy of pulling your back.

Simply stated, caution is when the need is so great that we must go ahead and do what seems to be impossible–because otherwise a greater tragedy may occur.

 

 

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Bunch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bunch: (n) a number of things, typically of the same kind, growing or fastened together.

There is a three-step process, and you will be happier if you understand that only two of them usually work.

We frustrate ourselves by thinking that gaining approval has much of a chance of coming our way. Here is life in a nutshell (though I don’t know why you’d want to place it in there):

  1. “I like it.”
  2. “I enjoy it.”
  3. “It is accepted.”

Too often we make our decisions based on whether something will be accepted. For instance:

If you’re a writer, you may try to pen the perfect American novel, suited to the present taste of the populace.

If you’re a musician, you may choose to chase down the current beat and sounds that are rattling the charts.

And if you’re just an average person who has something you like to do, you may find yourself tempering it to gain favor with the general population.

Since acceptance comes from humans and they are totally fickle, trying to gear your life to gain their “happy face” is frustrating, if not hopeless.

So why not go for the first two? Do I like it and do I enjoy it?

If you’re waiting for a bunch of people to come along and confirm your sanity, your value, your talent, your good looks or even your race, you will probably spend a lot of time at the bus stop, reading novels. 

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Bought

Bought: (v) obtained in exchange for payment

181 miles.Dictionary B

It’s how far I drove to regain my sanity.

A gentleman I met in Dothan, Alabama, who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder (back in the time when such contraptions were ‘reel’ important) offered to sell me his wonderful machine for $150.

I didn’t have 150 anything.

But because he trusted me, he let me take it, asking that I commit to send him five dollars a week via the mail. I was moved by his generosity and openness, and immediately agreed to the terms.

I was faithful for ten weeks. I paid $50 on the tape recorder debt with integrity and sensitivity to the calendar.

Then I just pooped out.

Sometimes I convinced myself I did not have the $5 to send. Other times it was the inconvenience of trying to find a stamp.

I avoided his calls and stayed away from Dothan, Alabama.

One night a gentleman, in an act of extreme benevolence, gave me a hundred-dollar bill. I started thinking about all the ways I wanted to spend that money.

Then it occurred to me that I was in Alabama–181 miles away from the gentleman who had afforded me the tape recorder, which I now used in assisting me to make my living.

I had a choice. After all, the tape recorder really wasn’t bought yet, was it? It was borrowed, and seemed to snarl at me every time I looked at it, whispering, “Dead beat.”

It was two o’clock in the morning.

I climbed in my car and drove 181 miles down to Dothan and was sitting outside the door of my friend’s house when he emerged after his breakfast to begin his day.

I handed him the hundred dollars and said, “I’m sorry. I was an asshole.”

He cried.

I cried, too.

It was time to cry.

 

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Bless

Bless: (v) to invoke divine favor

Dictionary B

Somewhere in the jostling and bouncing between challenging and encouraging, we actually learn to bless people.

We rarely feel divine kindness merely by being challenged to achieve a code which lacks human sensitivity.

Nor are we truly blessed by only being encouraged to accept mediocre accomplishments as excellent.

I am human.

I need those around me to challenge me–and encourage me.

To do so, they must know my heart’s desire–what I really believe is valuable when I am completely stable and sane instead of drunken on my own excesses, or fearful within the boundaries of my insecurities.

God, Himself, cannot bless human beings without challenging and encouraging them. Yet the danger is that we will ping-pong our emotions between condemnation and adulation.

In the midst of every good deed, there’s a slip-up.

And also, in the presence of every disaster, there are pieces of truth which can be retained.

We become powerful when we learn how to bless.

To do so demands the juggling of challenge and encouragement.

 

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Bite

Bite: (v) to use the teeth to cut into something

For the solace, comfort and sanity of all humankind, it is very important that we understand that no one is naturally good at parenting.Dictionary B

There are no books you can read which will add any permanent sense of well-being to the practice, but instead, offer divergent theories which may work for a time, and then fall into piles of ridiculous.

I had children. (I still have them–they’re just not quite as childish as they used to be.)

I remember when my two oldest were at their youngest, and only a year-and-a-half apart. The older one decided he liked to bite his little brother.

We explained to him that this was not good etiquette.

We shared how much his bites were painful to his little brother.

With his four-year-old face, he listened intently, only to turn around ten minutes later and go on a “chomp fit.”

I was at a loss.

Finally one day, immediately after he had inflicted a fresh wound on his sibling, I leaned over, grabbed his chubby leg, and bit into his fatty tissue.

He screamed out in pain and continued to holler for about ten more minutes.

After he calmed down, I came very close to his face with mine, and said, “That’s what it feels like when you bite someone.”

Even though for a season he was a little afraid to be around me for fear that I had taken up full-fledged cannibalism, he never bit his brother again.

You see, there was a time in our country when we evaluated the power of a solution by whether it worked. Now we consider if such actions are proper, appropriate, bullying or will leave a lasting neurosis.

Too bad.

Because my solution for having a son who liked to bite was convincing him, through my actions, that he had bitten off more than he could chew.

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Arcade

dictionary with letter A

Arcade: (n) short for video arcade

In 1985, the average babysitter cost about two dollars an hour. Usually an additional dollar was added for each child you encumbered upon the hapless watcher.

So I had three children, and that meant I would be paying four dollars an hour to have them observed by a stranger for a certain length of time so that I could escape and regain my sanity.

What I discovered was that it became much cheaper to drop the three of them off at the new, popular video arcades with a roll of quarters, tell them to spend it wisely and that I would be back in three hours.

The arcade was a tremendous babysitter–sometimes literally a hundred machines captivating the interest of the youngsters, with no sharp edges, tobacco or alcohol temptation or any danger that they might pursue mischief instead of destroying asteroids.

It was truly amazing.

I will grant you that they would come back from this experience in more or less a catatonic state of wonderment over when the next time would arrive, when they would be allowed to enter the mystical world of imaginary enemies and victories.

But it was quite pleasant due to the fact that it was a place your offspring could go which was separate from your home, and then they would depart and you could gradually nurse them back to consciousness of eating, chores and bathing.

When these systems became portable and could be planted in your house, the whole procedure changed. Once a child was addicted to video games, all conversation ceased, meals were ignored and the idea of cleaning one’s room was eschewed in the pursuit of killing Gargons.

 

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