Darwin, Charles

Darwin, Charles: (n) a British naturalist of the nineteenth century, he developed the theory of evolution.

Did he?

I mean—did he develop the theory of evolution?

Undoubtedly, he did extensive study, which confirmed that such a transition happened in the formation of Earth.

Many of his precepts filled in gaps and enlightened us regarding the periods and pinnacles in the timeline of the birthing of the planet.

But amazingly enough, thousands of years ago, a shepherd sat and wrote his rendition of how the world began—and though it is not as specific and articulate as Charles’s discoveries, it certainly lands within the forum of an emerging Universe.

The Book of Genesis describes an Earth that appears without form, covered in darkness.

Then is the introduction of light, water and fish. A picture unfolds of all life coming from water, gradually gaining size and complexity, ending up with the revelation of man and woman.

Is it any different to divide this process among seven days—or seven ages?

I know we want to have a war between science and religion, but really, no conflict exists.

Whether you choose to believe that evolution was tipped off by the Big Bang or pushed forward by a Creator, it is foolishness to ignore the beauty of a possible benefactor just to extol the mastery of science.

I think Charles Darwin and Moses of Midian could sit down and enjoy a dinner of mutton and tea and find much in common.

Because if religion is true, then it must be filled with science.

And if science is to be completely believed, it just might be enhanced by a Creator.

 

Curveball

Curveball: (n) a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin

If I tell you it was his favorite phrase, I do not want you to assume he said it all the time.

But whenever he found himself in a predicament, an unusual situation or a circumstance not to his liking, he would utter:

“You threw me a real curveball.”

He was the minister of my hometown church—normally h just an average fellow. Occasionally, in the pulpit he became verbose, excitable and perhaps even profound. But once he took the few steps down from the Holy Desk, he was just a typical sort.

Except for the fact that he absolutely hated any form of transition.

Even when that change was for the better.

Once we were getting ready to go on a church picnic, and one of the ladies arrived late to line up her car in the caravan to the park. Pastor Fussy became distraught. When she explained that she was delayed because the owner of the IGA Grocery heard the church was having a picnic and offered a free ten-pound slicing ham for the festivities, the shepherd of our flock still grumbled, “Well, it would have been nice if he had done it yesterday.”

We must understand why the curveball came to be.

It is a pitch, if executed correctly, that causes the batter to reach for the ball before swinging. It doesn’t always strike him out—but if he does make contact with the ball, normally the hit will be a grounder and easily retrieved for an out.

I suppose at this point that I should tell you that life is full of curveballs. You might anticipate that I’ll make an analogy about how we should all be ready for the curveballs, and not swing and miss or get grounded out.

But actually, curveballs are unusual.

They’re not easy to throw.

They rarely stay in the strike zone.

So a good pitcher saves them up for the right moment.

I will say the same thing about our lives. We don’t spend our time preparing for curveballs—that would make anybody grouchy.

Matter of fact, I heard one batter say, “A curveball is so rare and hard to hit that when it comes my way, I step back to see what it does instead of messing with it.”

Here, here. May we all learn from that.

Preparing for disasters may be the easiest way to welcome one.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crêpe

Crêpe: (n) a thin, light delicate pancake

 Sitting here, pausing, mulling the idea and the essence of the crepe, it occurred to me that many of the transitions and outstanding moments in my life have been marked by the discovery and pursuit of some new food.

Maybe that’s why I’m overweight.

I’ve lived such a full life at the banquet table of experience.

I remember when I was about six years old and I ate pickle-pimento lunchmeat for the first time. It was so good. I liked it when it was sliced thin. I liked it when the butcher made it chunkier.

I liked pickle-pimento loaf so much that I asked for it on my twelfth birthday.

On that day, and throughout that night, I personally ate an entire pound of the stuff.

I never developed a dislike for it—just allowed it to graduate on to my next epiphany of treats.

There was a season when I discovered Chinese food. Having graduated from high school, I found myself driving my old car to downtown Columbus—that being the one in the state of Ohio—and walking around, taking in some theater, and visiting (and eventually frequenting) a little Chinese walk-in restaurant called La Toy.

I had never eaten such fare during my growing up years. I quickly developed a favorite. It was listed as Number 3 on the menu: Fried rice, Egg Foo Yung and Chicken Chow Mein.

So whether I was shopping, looking for a chance to play in a rock and roll band, trying to figure out how to flirt with a girl or going to the state theater to see the Broadway cast of Godspell, I always ended up afterwards at La Toy, munching my jaws on my favored three.

Then a few years later, when I was traveling on the road trying to scratch out a living (but actually not caring one way or the other if the electric company got their payment) I stopped in with a couple of friends at the International House of Pancakes, and posed the question:

What is a crêpe?

It was explained to me, and on a whim, I ordered some, with strawberries on top.

Crêpes are the best of pancakes. They aren’t so heavy and flour-filled. They also are the best of eggs because you don’t have to decide if you like the yolks or not. I became fond of crêpes and frequented I-Hop so often that I nearly went bankrupt from my less-than-wealthy purse.

But to this day, if I come upon a crêpe, I will order it.

Matter of fact, some day in the future, arriving in heaven, sitting before me at the Banquet Table of Life, will be pickle-pimento loaf, Number 3 from La Toy and a platter of crêpes.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

 

Anomymous

dictionary with letter A

Anonymous: (adj) a person not identified by name; unknown name.

Sometimes I stumble across an adage or poem that is particularly clever, insightful or even artistic, and at the bottom is the word “anonymous.”

Obviously, it’s not.

  • Somebody wrote it.
  • Somebody thought it.
  • Somebody did it.

Yet over the years, a strange transition has occurred.

Here’s my opinion on that process: some person without an agent or an ego came up with an idea which he or she shared freely among friends.

One of those people realizes how obscure their companion is and feels compelled, on a journey to a far-away city, to share the inspiration. They are surprised at how responsive everyone is to the piece, and initially give credit to the friend who spoke it.

But then they think to themselves that since this buddy is never going to actually be in this far-away city, what would be the harm in taking bows for the composition?

Likewise, someone else in the room, who travels even further, decides to repeat the same process, stealing the thunder from the thief.

After a while, at a huge party somewhere far away, three or four people hear these words, and attribute it to several different individuals, generating an atmosphere of confusion.

Since no one is certain any longer who actually came up with the idea, it is determined to call it a draw and attribute it to Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous.

It also occurs in our everyday life in America. We have a nation of laws, regulations and general compliance within the citizenry, and believe that this temperate climate is achieved by human effort, never giving any credit to the spiritual training and the moral grounding that has been infused over generations.

We choose instead to attribute to religion or politics, and everything good is a by-product of our thinking or the latest craze.

In case you didn’t know, loving your neighbor as yourself is not anonymous.

If you weren’t aware, telling the truth did not spring from nothing.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to trace back great notions to their source, and therefore sit at the feet of wisdom instead of crinkling your brow … and pretending that the power that makes life work springs from magical four-leaf clovers.

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anodyne

dictionary with letter A

Anodyne: (adj) a manner of communicating unlikely to provoke dissent or offense, deliberately uncontentious

I have never used this word before, nor have I heard it. But I certainly have encountered the spirit of it everywhere I go.

Even though I am often invited to speak and share my thoughts in front of audiences, at the very last moment the sponsor often approaches me in a kindly, smiling profile, trying to gently determine if I plan on being offensive or controversial.

Everyone on Earth knows that nothing is ever achieved by spreading the banquet table of the status quo and offering it for general consumption. The status quo has already had a season of being the status, and its quo is so well-known that there’s very little interest in it.

So the goal is to try to find something that has a bit of edge and transition in its nature, but at the same time, is edifying to the human soul.

The other option is to purposely startle people under the guise of entertainment, hiding behind the religion of the First Amendment, which allows for free speech, no matter how stupid and useless it may be.

So what are the guidelines? I can only speak for myself.

1. Don’t share anything you haven’t tried and found to be successful in your own life.

Fad philosophy is just like fad dieting–for a little while it seems to work and then when it falls apart, you end up weighted down worse than before.

2. It should be understandable.

I’m tired of people expressing superiority by complicating life. If you can’t make it easier for folks, shut your damn mouth.

3. The goal should be to edify and exhort other human beings, even if they choose not to receive the benefits.

  • My heart is more important to me than the conclusion.
  • My motivation is more essential than success.

I have no intention of saying things that are safe, because in the long run, our world becomes dangerous when either goodness doesn’t take evil seriously, or when evil can prove that goodness is way too serious.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Amateur

dictionary with letter A

Amateur: (n) a person who engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis.

It’s a pretty good definition that Webster came up with.

Yet I can tell you that in my lifetime, I have performed my share of professional service to neither acclaim or remuneration.

Yes, there’s another aspect of being amateur. It’s pretty simple: a true professional is in search of his or her weaknesses, to perfect them in order to avoid both critique and lack. An amateur, on the other hand, is in search of praise in order to acquire grace for a multitude of weaknesses, pretending they don’t exist.

This is why amateurs get worse with rehearsal and professionals get better. For after all, to continue to practice is an admission that things need to improve–and if you’re unwilling to admit your mistakes, then such a maneuver seems meaningless, and perhaps mean-spirited.

For instance, I wish we did have professional politicians–for actually, the little boogers are all amateurs.

A professional would understand that a certain amount of resolve is necessary to pave the way for the ultimate discussion which will lend itself to a treaty designed to progress the cause, to avoid looking inept.

Amateur politicians come in believing they are perfect in their present condition, needing no improvement, and only manifest resolve with no understanding of the divine need for agreement.

The end result is that we have a very amateur country with amateur participants, amateur results and therefore we receive the due payment for an amateur.

What do I work on in order to be professional?

  1. I compare myself with people who are better than I am, and work to imitate their excellence.
  2. I never settle for good when great still looms in the distance.
  3. I alleviate criticism by doing my own evaluation, which is much more intense than that of my audience.
  4. I keep a sense of good cheer about transition. It is not only inevitable, but also necessary.

I will agree with Webster that normally when you have enough passion to get better at what you do, it makes people believe you’re worthy of payment.

But to get there, you have to be an amateur without dough, still doing a great show.

Allowance

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Allowance: (n) a sum of money paid regularly to a person

I had to get out my educated pencil. (I am often glad that my writing tool sought higher education, since I didn’t.)

Having an educated instrument, I can take my meager abilities in mathematics and join with this smart pencil and come up with some fascinating figures.

Case in point: when I was eleven years old, my father reluctantly gave me twenty-five cents a week for allowance. Actually, he held a quarter out in front of me and always offered at least two or three regrets and four or five warnings about the value of money and how important it was to spend it wisely.

But you must realize, this was at a time when twenty-five cents would buy you five candy bars.

This was my allowance.

In comparison, when I lived in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with my children, I gave each one of them fifteen dollars a week. Making use of my magical pencil of intellect, I realize that this was very similar to the quarter I received when I was eleven. For now a decent candy bar at a convenience store can cost upwards to $1.50 to $2.00, and everything else is equally as inflated.

So which is better? To have a little bit of money with lots of possibilities, or have a lot of money with little possibility?

I also recall that by the time I reached my sixteenth birthday and wanted to go out on a date with a girl, my dad, who was now ailing from cancer, proudly handed me over a five-dollar bill for my first date. Similarly, when one of my young men in high school was going to be taking out a lady, it was necessary for me to give him three ten-dollar bills, which he still grumbled at, saying that he would have to really scrimp for dinner.

I know that the root word of “allowance” is “allow.” But even as a grown-up, I am learning that it is possible to simplify your finance even in the midst of raging increases. You don’t have to feel like you’re cheating yourself. Just “pass” on opportunities that don’t give you the payoff you desire.

For instance, when the alarming transition occurred and candy bars went from a nickel to a dime, I had to negotiate my purchases much more carefully, while waiting for the eventuality that my parents would catch on … and pop me up to fifty cents.