Custom

Custom: (n) a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.

I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life.

I’ve spent more time with strangers than family.

That’s why I learned to never know a stranger—to make all humans part of my family.

But I thought I would stop in today and tell you seven of my favorite customs I encountered during my journeys:

  1. Smiling when you first meet a new person.
  2. Walking away from a stewing pot of gossip.
  3. Eating what is set before you and discussing it later.
  4. Believing that women and men are basically just human.
  5. Not listening to accents—just noticing what people accent in their lives.
  6. Loving your neighbor as yourself.
  7. Asking twice as much as you think you should and saying thank you three times more.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Coated

Coated: (n) a layer of covering

I, for one, appreciate and enjoy the candy coating on my aspirin.

I know it’s just a brief whiz-by of sweetness, but it keeps me from tasting any of that aspirin flavor that sticks in the back of your throat and makes you cough.

It’s just damned considerate.

This crossed my mind about twenty years ago, but I didn’t really do anything about it until last year. (Sometimes it takes nineteen years to work up the gumption to follow through on one of your own pieces of brilliance.)

But twenty years ago, I thought to myself, the problem with human relationships is that they aren’t candy-coated.

We walk around with some adult, grown-up notion that things should be nasty, and the more bitter they are the better it is–because we’ll end up with such a great, complaining story.

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that this applied to me. I was waiting for somebody else to put it into practice. But then I sat down one afternoon and realized that I am sometimes hard to swallow:

I can be bitter

I can be nasty

I can be sour.

And the truth of the matter is, my responsibilities require that I use candor and truthfulness to get the job done. After all, can there be anything worse than a writer who’s a liar–which may force him to write more lies later?

Yet there are human ingredients of sweetness that can be added to truth, so that we can feel love as we embrace reality.

May we never lose kindness.

May we never forget the power of being gentle.

May we always take into consideration a sense of humor.

And certainly, may our daily lives be blessed by the power of apology and the simplicity of a thank you.

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Classless

Classless: (adj) having no class

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then kindness may only dwell in the mind of God.

We seem to have an excuse for every occasion when we resort to crude behavior. At least I do. (Forgive me for speaking for you.)

Being rude is usually a by-product of a reaction which comes quickly. We just don’t train ourselves enough before going out in public.

Oh, yes–we must practice our humanity. It is needful for us to envision scenarios when we are offended, shut out of the moment, so we can have some idea what is going to pour forth from our personality.

We should be saying “I’m sorry” a whole lot less because we have taken into consideration the possibility of affrontation.

For after all, some of our fellow-travelers do not feel powerful unless we are weakened.

They don’t sense their value unless everyone around them has been put in the bargain bin.

And they don’t wish to be nice because they view it as a definable weakness.

If you don’t practice class, you will be classless. If you hang around with folks who insist that you don’t need to say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate that,” it’s only because they plan on starving you from that warmth coming from them.

My family often thinks I am silly, because in the process of any given evening, I may say, “thank you” a hundred and twenty times. As you consider how excessive that may be, I am musing over how I could do it more.

When I do something good, I make sure I enjoy it thoroughly, because stumbling around waiting for others to express their admiration is a formula for deep depression.

We are a classless society simply because we are waiting for someone else to start it up, and no one has taken the time to put the fuel in their engine to accelerate toward tenderness.

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Broke

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broke: (v) past tense of break

“If it ain’t broke…”

Almost everyone in America, down to the youngest lad or lass, could probably finish that idiom.Dictionary B

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It’s one of those statements which was hatched decades ago–probably by a lazy husband arguing with his wife over a repair that seemed unnecessary because there were no dangling wires, frayed cords or very much chipped paint.

Truth is, we fix things all the time that aren’t “broke.”

We take precautions when we see wear and tear.

We provide general maintenance on vehicles and appliances.

And if we see a little spot on our clothing that’s beginning to pull a seam or two, we retrieve the needle and thread so as not to be caught in the middle of a social situation with an unsightly rip.

But this particular axiom about “broken and fixing” has permeated our thinking so much that we leave many things undone that could sure use some tender, loving care.

We know what’s involved in carrying on a relationship between a man and a woman, but because no one complains, we ignore kindness and consideration in favor of seeking our own will or avoiding feeling silly.

We know to say “thank you,” but we’d rather insist we already did.

We know to say “I’m sorry,” but are convinced that people would feel awkward if we offered such a trivial piece of consideration.

We certainly are aware that “I love you” makes the world go around, but are equally willing to stop the globe to keep from uttering it.

Long before something is broken, it’s damaged–and if we’re able to catch it in its weakened state, it doesn’t need to break.

If we worked on teaching about marriage and saving relationships, we wouldn’t have such a god-awful custody system in this country, dividing children up with the “sword of visitation.”

If we understood that decisions will always be greeted with unexpected results, we would never choose up teams, wearing red and blue jerseys and thinking that the coloration empowers us.

Some people would say America’s “broke.”

I would say there’s some surface scratches and dents.

But if we don’t tend to it and take care of the little blemishes, in no time at all, we could end up not being what we’re cracked up to be.

 

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Bail

Bail: (n) the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, guaranteed by a sum of moneyDictionary B

Once upon a time in a delirium far away, I considered myself to be a crusader for good. Matter of fact, I made it known to those around me that I was out to make my community a better place, one human soul at a time.

God, I felt noble. I actually sensed I was infused with supernatural energy and purpose.

In the process of walking through this cloudy-mindedness, I became known in my community as someonoe who would assist those who found themselves in trouble with the law, or even temporarily jammed into a jail cell.

So when Carrie called me at two o’clock in the morning, explaining that she had been falsely arrested for shoplifting and she needed help, I arose from my bed, put on my pants, grabbed my car keys and drove down to the city jail.

They allowed me to talk to her and I discovered that she had been shopping. apparently forgot that she had tried on some garment and was headed out of the store and was detained by security and placed under arrest for stealing.

It’s not so much that I believed her story as the fact that being under the influence of this false bravado of mission, I felt it was wrong of me to be cynical.

Her bail was $75, so I decided to pay it and let her come back to our house, where I intended to help her rehabilitate herself and become a fine citizen of the country that Washington and Lincoln built.

I noticed on the drive back to my house that Carrie had transformed from a repentant, teary-eyed lass of misfortune into a rather mouthy, self-centered and cautious individual, who wasn’t so sure she wanted to stay in our home. Matter of fact, by the next morning, she got itchy after breakfast, went out the door and I didn’t see her again until two weeks later, when I showed up for her court date.

She once again had donned her damsel-in-distress profile and succeeded in getting off with only community service for pinching the garments. Shortly after that, she disappeared.

I learned something through the process: nothing has value to any of us if we don’t have memory of possessing it and losing it.

$75 didn’t mean anything to Carrie, and the fact that I paid her bail was irrelevant. It had been some time since she had seen $75 and she certainly had never paid the bail for someone else.

It’s not that poor people are pernicious assholes–it’s just that they have no point of reference of what you’re giving up to help them, so it’s easy for them to walk away…without a thank-you.

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Awhile

Awhile: (adv) for a short time.dictionary with letter A

“It’s been awhile.”

Yes, it’s been awhile since:

  • People said please and thank-you without being threatened.
  • It was a foregone conclusion that we would let our neighbor into the flow of traffic.
  • A casserole was delivered to the sick friend instead of just a get-well card.
  • A compliment was provided without fear of losing one’s own status.

Yes, it’s been awhile since:

  • A Republican and a Democrat found that they were both American.
  • Church was a fueling station for our heart and soul instead of an exaggerated platform for spiritual superiority.

It’s been awhile since:

  • Men and women have counted the cost and realized how valuable they are to one another.
  • The death of a human being was considered the tragedy that God views it to be.

It’s been awhile since:

  • We’ve lifted our noses out of our electronics to find a human connection of equal power.
  • We’ve come together as a nation to believe that we are both blessed and needing to be more responsible.

It’s been awhile.

But the great hope in my heart is that what seems to have become outdated is often forgotten and later rediscovered, as if a new generation invented the idea.

 

 

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Amiss

dictionary with letter A

Amiss: (adj.) not quite right, inappropriate or out of place

Something is amiss.

1. Calling arguing debate.

2. Believing our egos don’t need any adjustment.

3. Insisting that men and women are natural enemies.

4. A two-party system where nobody’s having a good time.

5. A religious grammar school playground that has nothing to do with spirituality.

6. Entertainment that thinks darkness is reality.

7. Trying to find new ways to intoxicate the already-dull public.

8. Being afraid to say “I’m sorry.”

9. Being likewise frightened of “thank you.”

10. Exalting culture over cooperation.

11. Pursuing the ridiculous while desiring to appear enlightened.

12. Failing to balance tears and laughter and forgetting when to use each.

I could go on. Something’s amiss.

But I’m certain of one truth: the only thing that can be done about it is happening inside me.

 

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