Charming

Charming: (adj) pleasant or attractive.

Mr. Webster, please make up your mind.

Is it pleasant, or attractive? Truthfully, the two rarely run races together.

Those who are attractive don’t necessarily feel the need to be pleasant. The absence of pimples and the presence of dimples grants them
license to be just as snooty as they deem necessary.

And those who are not attractive often don the apparel of “pleasant,” to clothe themselves in a righteousness that should be suitable for the runway of life.

So which is it?

I suppose there might be a tiny handful of humans who are attractive and pleasant–which enables them to go into a bar and get a date without buying her a drink.

So I disagree that charming has anything to do with pleasant or attractive. Charming is just damn smart. It’s the realization that not everyone will find you attractive, no matter how much you primp, and being pleasant may be suspicious rather than advantageous.

My definition for charming is finding a way to be sensitive to the moment.

Weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing. And stop thinking that God has voted you to be in charge of all moods.

If you are able to sensitize yourself to the situations around you, granting a bit of grace to the emotions that crop up, you will bear fruit in the human family.

 

 

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Antithesis

dictionary with letter A

Antithesis: (n) something or someone who is the direct opposite of something or someone else. i.e. Selfishiness is the antithesis of love.

It’s all about the word “as.”

Even though I may be criticized for arguing with Webster’s Dictionary, since it is considered to be the ultimate authority on wording and meaning, I must tell you that calling selfishness the antithesis of love is a bit old-fashioned, uninspired and lacks practical application.

Sometimes we just say stuff because we think it sounds noble. Things like, “selfishness is the antithesis of love.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I suppose if people were diagramming that sentence or looking for focus words they would choose love, neighbor or yourself, but actually, the key word is “as.” For after all, we actually do love other people in complete proportion to how we view and embrace “us.”

  • If we are plagued by too much insecurity, we tend to be suspicious of others.
  • If we’re too boastful and self-indulgent, we make the dangerous assumption that other people are the same as us, so we end up suspicious.

What truly is the antithesis of love is fear–and the worst fear in the world is to be afraid to honestly accept who we are.

Until fear is addressed, love is a theory.

Until anxiety is ministered to, we will have a tendency to fret and fume, allowing opportunity to slip away.

So if you take the big three–faith, hope and love–and look for the antithesis to each, I believe you will end up with a trio of human “nasties” which plague us all.

For I would say the antithesis of faith is presumption–people who assume that everything will be taken care of because they are special.

And the antithesis of hope is lying. Yes, nothing is more frustrating to our hope than when we are lied to by those who feel they can manipulate us.

And as I have already said, I believe the antithesis of love is fear.

What would happen if we just took one week of our lives and addressed the presumption, lying and fear which haunt our efforts, and reveal them for the charlatans they truly are?

At the very least … we might just begin to believe in faith, hope and love again.

 

 

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Amass

dictionary with letter A

Amass: (v.) to gather together or accumulate a large amount or number

Oh, cautious soul that I truly am, I am always suspicious of the majority.

When human beings amass in large quantities, stuffing themselves into arenas, large sanctuaries or convention halls, I become a bit disconcerted.

Because to gain applause you have to get the approval of many people at the same time. Already that connotes a great degree of compromise. It also encourages demagogues, who espouse the present popular stumping, screaming from the podium until the listeners become frenzied.

Every time I become concerned about my level of popularity or fame I go on the Internet and watch a news reel of Adolph Hitler circa 1932 in Germany. No one could have had more charisma. If you read his speeches in English, they are filled with nationalism, pride and a great sense of “Yay us.” So of course, people amassed behind such encouraging themes.

But here is the startling fact: human beings are just better when we’re not kissing our own ass (or nearby asses).

Certainly we require a certain amount of appreciation, but mingled in with that should be adequate doses of challenges, questioning and even the occasional on-the-spot review.

Although I realize that I am in the minority in my lack of acceptance for the majority, I will tell you that the best decisions I have made in my life, the most amazing transitions and the most valuable conclusions arrived at in my soul, were accomplished in moments of reflection, and punctuated by seasons of repentance.

  • So those who amass wealth are prodded in their spirits to give it away. If they aren’t, we call them “stingy butt-holes.”
  • Those who amass friends are in need of sharing that friendship with the entire world instead of swallowing it whole. Otherwise we think of them as glory-hounds, flitting from one party to another.
  • And those who amass respect are obligated to share it with “the least of the brethren” around them, so as not to convince the gathered horde that superiority has been achieved, and therefore the inferior ones should be trekked to the gas chamber.

I don’t believe in a lonely life. But I do believe that the “road less traveled” is not only quieter, but gives you a chance to look deep inside and discover the need for improvement.

 

Aloof

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aloof: (adj.) not friendly or forthcoming

Stupidity always attempts to be clever, but lacks either the pedigree or the intelligence to pull off the act.

Aren’t you glad? Otherwise, stupid ideas could slide into place under the guise of being cool and wise, and overtake our better sensibilities.

But be careful–stupidity will try.

That’s the case with the word “aloof.” Whenever I hear the word used, it is generally preceded by an additional word: remaining.

Yes, the advice you often receive is to “remain aloof.”

You see the trick? Stupidity is trying to step in and convince us that our best profile as human beings is to act like we don’t care–and on top of that, to select that posture as often as feasible.

Here’s the truth: human beings are not naturally aloof. We are taught to do that. We are practically browbeaten into being suspicious, worried and frantic.

Naturally, we are gregarious.

After all, there are only two kinds of kids on the playground: those who are feverishly playing, and those who feverishly want to play. There are no children who want to “remain aloof.”

“Aloof” is the ridiculous contention that by standing in the shadows or perching ourselves on the bench, we will be able to criticize the other players in life simply because we are better than they are–and after all, we didn’t even participate.

Aloof comes in many forms:

  • “Doing your own thing”
  • “I was just being myself”
  • “Our group has more opportunities”
  • “We don’t agree with those folks”
  • “They don’t seem to like us, so we ignore them”

But I will tell you–“aloof” is always the fire-starter for all bigotry. It tells us that we have the right to separate ourselves off from all the other human tribes and offer our opinion … without giving our support.


Allocate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Allocate: (v) to distribute duties or resources for a particular purpose.

I have discovered over the years that the best way for me to move forward in success and personal appeal is to extract as much fussiness from my ego and body language as humanly possible.

Even though we will occasionally tolerate a bit of sassiness in one another, we eventually grow weary in well-doing and begin to plot the social death of such aggravating creatures.

With that in mind, I cautiously present to you that one of my pet peeves is the word “allocate.”

I don’t like to be allocated.

Over the years I have acquired a toleration for the process because I live in a world where progress is ignored in favor of the worship of committees. Sometimes I feel it might be better if chaos, anarchy, or at least wild abandon permeated our species, and we spent more time correcting our mistakes than we do planning our indecision.

Just the action of “allocating” has an arrogance to it–as if we have asked God to step down from His throne and allow us to be Kings for a Day.

Let me be the first (or maybe the second) to shout aloud: “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

It isn’t that I lack experience, or that I’m less intelligent than you. It’s just that I’m fully aware that allocating love, finance, mission, mercy or direction to other people is well beyond my expertise.

I am extraordinarily suspicious of those who pull on a tie, sport a smug grin and in great detail explain why certain things can not happen because they can’t be “allocated in this environment.”

As I said, it is a bit of fussiness. And I am certainly not opposed to hearing good counsel or even being submissive to the powers that be.

But for God’s sake, can we say we really believe in a Divine Creator if we never ask Him to do anything that doesn’t add up on our human-held abacus?

  • If I don’t ask God to lift weights that are heavier than my allocation, what’s the purpose of prayer?
  • And if I don’t think you can do more than what I think you can, based upon the limitations I have placed upon you, what is the value of friendship?

I am sure the intentions of “allocate” are good–and I will try to be less growly on these subjects.

But for the time being, I will continue to leave “allocate” and all of his relatives off my Christmas card list.

Absquatulate

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Absquatulate: (v.) {HUMOROUS}to leave abruptly: the overthrown dictator absquatulated to the US.

Now we’re just getting silly.

I have certainly discovered in my lifetime that having a decent vocabulary can be advantageous in portraying some presence and bearing. But each and every one of us knows there is a fine line between knowing words and using words.

Matter of fact, I often have to revise the words I use in my books when I deliver public readings because the particular term, rather than being enlightening, stops the audience in mid-thought as they try to figure out exactly what that particular verb or noun might mean.

It’s just a waste of time.

And of course, both you and I are suspicious of it. If I’m watching a pundit on television and he suddenly releases some three-syllable word not of my acquaintance, I don’t think he is more intelligent than me. I just think he grabbed a thesaurus right before he went on TV and picked out the biggest word he could find, in order to come across superior.

Here’s what I know about the word absquatulate. If you ever used it, people would insist that you absquatulate from the room. They would first do this by turning their backs on you. If it was a party, they might become quite interested in the texture of the chip dip. But eventually, after escaping to the bathroom three or four times to gain some relief from being in your presence, they would remember a cat to feed at home.

Yes, I will say it aloud and say it proud: the best way to express intelligence is through your productive actions, not through your words or debating technique.

This is why Congress has a very low appreciation level among the American people. No one would doubt that this is an intelligent group of guys and gals. No one would ever insinuate that these alleged law-makers don’t know what absquatulate means.

It’s just that we’re all quietly and eagerly awaiting the next election, in order to permanently absquatulate them from office–a truly Capitol idea.