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Week 1 Extravagant Week 2 Gentle Week 3 Ideal Week 4 Change


Your viewpoint on what extravagant means tells a lot about your personality. What comes to your mind when you think of extravagant? Does it mean lavish, without moderation, showy or flamboyant? Commonly people will think of “excess” or “spendthrift” when they hear the word extravagant. It also conjures up a picture of excessive or wanton activity. However, when it comes to loving others and especially those around us shouldn’t we be extravagant? Work on it today!


The primary definition of this word is most interesting. Webster’s first definition (now obsolete) is a “straying beyond bounds; wandering.” It does give us a signpost for how we now use it. In most cases, we now use it as “going beyond reasonable limits” in the sense of excessive or unrestrained. To most of us, it means costing or spending too much as in wasteful. Is that realistic these days? Show me the money!


These days, we might have a problem recognizing the symptoms of extravagance. To see the symptoms, you need a baseline in order to make comparisons. What do we use? Eighty years ago, the depression brought us to recognition of what necessity is. The basics of existence (water, food, shelter) were hard to come by for many. Are we now living an extravagant lifestyle? It depends upon what you consider to be a necessity. What would we do as a nation if we did not have electricity for 24 hours? No cell phone service? Absurd!


Being extravagant will impact your life. Let’s look at a couple of descriptive words that will tell us why. These words are lavish, immoderate, wild, exaggerated, extreme and flamboyant. Each of these words gives the sense of going beyond limits. Let me illustrate. If you make $50,000 a year and you spend $75,000 a year, you are exceeding your income limit. Your lifestyle may be “extravagant” for a while, but a day will come when the “excess” spending will need to be paid. The end result can be hard. Reasonable limits have a purpose. Living extravagantly will become a tough taskmaster. Be showy, be broke!


An extravagant relationship may be showy, outrageous, flamboyant and fun but will it last? Any good relationship will be grounded upon sound principles. To illustrate, how many Hollywood relationships have any lasting soundness to them? Tabloids are built and sustained upon the makeup and breakup of extravagant filmdom relationships. Extravagant relationships may be fun, attention-getting and ego pleasing but they seldom last. Pride becomes the focal motivation. Pride and arrogance come before a hard fall. It’s the sudden stop at the end that kills you! Extravagance in small and infrequent doses is all one needs.

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Our word this week will most definitely have two sides. It is remarkably appropriately for most of the ladies. Few of the male species will be seen as gentle and refined. However, for both male and female, a better understanding of what gentle really is will increase our awareness. In the turbulent times of our present era, it is difficult to see how being of gentle behavior can accomplish our goals. Gentleness, however, does not necessarily mean softness of character.


A gentle touch or gentle spirit comes easy with some people. For others of us, we need to work at understanding the “what” and “how” of being “gentle.” In most cases, “mild, moderate, tender, soothing,” are words that come to mind. For many these words bring memories that remind us of mothers and motherhood. However, this word also means to be noble or chivalrous as in knighthood. To many that remember frontier America, it also means to tame or train a horse to be ridden. Girls, you need to find ways to teach your guy how to be gentle. It is true that a “gentle spirit turns away wrath.”


The symptoms we might look for in this word might vary because of how we sense the word is used. It gives us the feeling of politeness or nobility of character. Gentle people we think of as kind and not harsh or violent. They are pleasant people to be around. My father-in-law was just such a person as this. He had a very soothing manner about him. He was humble, tactful, patient and carried an air of tranquility even at the point of his death. The sense we get from the word gentle is that of a soothing quality. The saying “gentle is as gentle does” carries influence. Our world would be much different if we heeded its affect.


This word “gentle” should paint a picture in our minds. A tropical paradise produces a balmy and calm surrounding. It should also conjure up a tranquil setting where we can relax and refresh from the torrid pace many of us live in these times. Such thoughts of paradise should renew in us the ability to be patient with others and with stressful situations. There are those who appear to be overly reserved, however, that may be pushing the envelope for many of us. In our day and time, to be reserved as a characteristic of gentleness may be a lost art. The impact of being “gentle” is to produce a calm and soothing personality. We need to heed its impact in our busy lives today to reduce our stress levels. Chill out, dudes and relax.


Glen Campbell, on one of his albums, has a song titled “Gentle on my Mind.” The lyrics of his song give us an interesting look at what gentle might mean. The thought is to give great care and attention to the other person in the relationship. A good relationship brings pleasant thoughts and fond memories to mind. A good relationship is not like trying to train a wild stallion. The idea is not to be harsh or rough with the partner but to encourage and help improve interactions in the relationship. When we do this, our memories will be “gentle on my mind.” Remember guys, “sweet words attract like honey.”

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This week’s word is “ideal.” Ideals are important because they give us models by which we to things. The foundation of our country was built upon ideals: The freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the right to bear arms and the right to happiness. These are what our forefathers used to frame our constitution and our bill of rights. It is because of their vision that we have these rights and freedoms. These ideals given us are not to be taken lightly. We need to remember those who sacrificed, fought and died that our own ideals might flourish.


Ideally, a word definition will list the most used meaning first. As an adj. we see the first definition to be: existing as an idea, model or archetype, consisting of ideas. Now as a noun, we see it defined first as a conception of something in its most excellent or perfect form. In both cases, we see the 2nd definitions to be: thought of as perfect or as a perfect model; exactly as one would with or of a perfect kind (adj.) As a noun we it as a person or thing regarded as fulfilling this conception, perfect model. Usage now says the 2nd definition is how we use it.


A visionary is one who has a model or prototype of some concept or state of perfection that they envision as being the ideal. A person’s dream can also be an ideal. Each of us should set goals for ourselves to be achieved. All of the foregoing are characteristics of the ideal. We should set in our mind’s eye an image or vision that we see and want to achieve. This image or vision becomes the ideal that we strive to attain. Without a prototype, dream or model to strive for, we become stagnant and lack motivation. What drives or motivates you to move on? Just do it!


If you have no dream you will perish. Those who do not have motivation to accomplish something in life lack an ideal or driving virtue. An Old Testament proverb tells us that “a people without a vision will perish.” It is the archetype or ideal model that becomes the energizing force that moves us to accomplish our goals. It is that energizing force within us that moves us to get out of bed every day and work on our goals. It is the “ideal” that becomes the “energizer bunny” that helps us reach our goals. The ideal impacts our lives daily.


How many of us have difficulties when we think of the ideal relationship? I think a survey would say 99.5% of us experience stumbling blocks in our view of the ideal relationship. We need to keep in sight that the ideal we have is only in our mind. How we interpret that in the reality of daylight can be the source of what trips us up. Sometimes reality can be harsh. The ideal must be tempered with how life is. We can still look for our ideal relationship but it needs to be softened occasionally with a little compromise. Grace can be important!

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For our word this week, I am going to change something. If you have not already guessed, our word is “change.” This word has so many shades of meaning that we must begin by laying a framework of how it is used. The Webster’s dictionary gives us 18 different shades of meaning for change. We have neither time nor space to cover them all. Our focus will be how we most often use it or think about it. Change is not motionless; it is in a constant state of flux. Change happens! We need to learn how to flow with it.


Watch your change! Have you ever paid for something, received change and later discovered that you were short-changed? Yep! We all have. Exchanging a large bill for lesser denominations is one way we use this word change. Maybe it’s the most common. We also put or take something in place of another. We change jobs. We change clothes. We change our minds (like a new mind?). We also cause something to become different. We can also alter or transform something into a new variation. We can change trains or cars. We can also change what we do to avoid monotony; but change just for the sake of change can be bad. We need to change for the better! Let’s upgrade our thinking!


Adaption and progression are two good signs that change is occurring. One of life’s certainties is that change will happen along with death and taxes. How then do we adapt to or modify our circumstances to live with the changes we see. First, we need to identify what changes are happening near term. These are alterations that we need to adjust to and learn how to live with as we live our daily lives. Second, we need to recognize the slower pace of long-term changes. These may require some foresight and planning to harmonize the impact of such future transformations. Failure to plan for change can bring agonizing disorder. Bet on it!


How do you feel when change happens? The impact of change will present itself in different ways. It will alter the way we do things. We may have to modify our routine. The habitual things we do may have to be varied to accommodate the processes we use. Change will affect and/or transform the things we do. However, does it convert our actions to accept positive change or does it influence our actions in a negative way. We should accept change but try to channel it in positive directions. Onward Ho!


Rarely do you find a person who does not associate or connect with others. For most of us, relationships are a normal way of life. Our daily connections are important. Therefore we need to pay attention to how we interact with others. That interaction can be an exchange of new ideas or a refreshing of common bonds. What is important is that we understand that our relationships will change for better or worse. Because of change, we need to adjust to the variety of events that change will bring. With a positive and open attitude, we weather the changes that come in our relationships. Phases come and go but change will happen!

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