Decongestant

Decongestant: (n) a substance that relieves mucus congestion of the upper respiratory tract.

I hate colds.

I am not alone in this, but they are a hazard for my profession.

I have spent my life using my voice in various capacities, and having that altered is at least annoying, if not costly.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the sooner I treat a cold, the better off I am.

This discovery was birthed during a particularly nasty head cold I had when I was a junior in high school. Being that particular age, I took no medications and certainly would never carry Kleenex in my pocket.

So one very cold day, when the study hall at school was overly warm, my nose began to run. I had nothing at all to stop the flow.

I had not taken a decongestant to dry me out.

Kleenex was for girls.

And unfortunately, the only thing available was the fuzzy sweater my brother had loaned to me, which had big, bushy sleeves.

I resisted for a long time.

I tried to breathe in deeply, sucking the nose flow back into my head.

I did a quick reach-up with my finger to push back the lava.

But it just kept coming.

Finally, in a complete breakdown, I lifted my sweater sleeve and quickly rubbed it across my nose, allowing all the furriness to absorb the “ick.”

I immediately reached down and tried to redistribute the human glue throughout the sweater so it wouldn’t be noticeable—and fortunately for me, the bell rang. I was able to run to the bathroom to blow my nose.

Being a teenager, I forgot all about the incident until a week later, when my brother put on the sweater and asked me what the deal was with the sleeve.

I could not tell him the truth.

It would not be healthy for his heart. (I don’t think he had a heart condition, but he could develop one.)

Being an adolescent and not quick-thinking on my feet, I replied, “Wear and tear?”

My brother looked at me, perplexed, then down at his clumpy, sticky sleeve. I don’t think he really wanted to know, so he accepted my explanation.

I have since learned that the power of a decongestant is that it dries you up so much that you don’t have to do embarrassing things to your clothing.

 

Covet

Covet: (v) to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others

I don’t think I would ever earn a dollar if I didn’t covet money.

I certainly would never go on a diet if I didn’t covet the physique of someone boldly handsome.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I would never practice my music if I didn’t covet the style, grace and ease of those who have mastered instrument and voice.

I don’t know whether I would be interested in my spiritual life if I didn’t covet something beyond the mundane drivel of thoughts my brain often considers to be adequately enlightening.

I don’t think I would mow my grass if my neighbor didn’t make me covet a manicured lawn.

I’m not so sure I would do much of anything in my life if I didn’t covet a more gleaming path.

We must remember that the removal of evil is certainly a high-minded—and high-handed—pursuit. Because if you take away the lust, the coveting, the curiosity and the yearning of the human being, you might end up with a self-righteous, religious fanatic who is completely intolerant about why anyone would covet anything, since life is so sinful and unfulfilling.

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Chromatic

Chromatic: (adj) a musical scale including all existing pitches

I have sung for decades.

This doesn’t mean I’m a good singer–and I’m not trying to be humble. Singing is similar to chasing a butterfly–because you may be able to
see what you want to capture, but it can quickly flit away.

Sometimes your voice is not in good shape. Humidity can affect it–and stubbornly insisting you are on pitch is the best way to be out of tune.

So one of the best exercises for singing is practicing the chromatic scales up and down. Moving your voice only a half-step teaches you precision–and exposes those occasions when you might find yourself rubbing up against the correct tone but not actually owning it.

Now, if you’ve never sung, this may not mean anything to you. If you’re a singer, some of this may not mean anything to you.

But the reason I continue to sing is because it’s a wonderfully humbling chamber for the human ego, because there are three obvious realizations:

1. You’re at the mercy of your voice

2. There is no excuse for bad tone or bad pitch

3. There is always someone who will sing better than you.

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Birthright

Birthright: (n) a particular right of possession or privilege one has from birth

I hate idealism.Dictionary B

It is an idea that we have relegated to the realm of impossibility which we voice anyway, even though we’ve lined up all the excuses in our minds as to why it won’t work.

Tom Jefferson said that “all men are created equal.”

A lovely piece of belligerent idealism–belligerent because our arrogance will not allow us to accept others as our equals without some sort of struggle or cynicism.

Ironically, Mr. Jefferson was probably being served tea and crumpets by one of his slaves as he penned these words about equality. Thus the damn hypocrisy of honoring principles without first finding a way to live them out.

Americans are obsessed with birthright.

We believe in our “manifest destiny” to occupy, control and manipulate. Sometimes we forget that other human souls, also created in the likeness of God, are tempted to feel the same way.

Sooner or later, it is necessary for the human race to surrender to the obvious conclusion that we are barely out of the jungle … and nowhere near Mount Olympus.

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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Antakya

dictionary with letter A

Antakya: Turkish name for Antioch.

Antioch.

The Good Book tells us that Antioch was the first city where people were referred to as Christians.

The fledgling movement that continued to adhere to the teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was struggling to find an identity.

Rejected by Judaism, much too simplistic for the Greek philosophers and comically peaceful for the raging Romans, these followers of the Nazarene were literally a people with no country.

So when they were ridiculed in Antioch for having no personal identity or unique awareness of themselves, but instead being “little christs,” rather than taking hubris to the accusation, they decided to adopt it as the namesake of their cause.

It has endured for two thousand years.

And even though nowadays the term “Christian” doesn’t mean much, it still lets us know that Jesus is in there somewhere.

Although I would welcome a new term and have adopted the word “Jesonian” to represent my appreciation for the universal concepts of the Carpenter-turned-community-organizer, I am still in awe of how these simple, gentle folk in Antioch decided to embrace a criticism and make it their own instead of bristling and demanding equal rights and respect.

Yes, the name itself is really the personification of the enduring belief. And that belief is this:

If you love yourself and you love people, eventually, after all the insanity has quieted down, you will have a voice.

 

 

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