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Week 1- phase Week 2- disown Week 3- ostracize Week 4- consume


Perhaps it is most appropriate that we start 2014 with the ‘word’ phase. Many times we experience a change or new approach to life experiences. These changes come to us in phases. Everything being equal, these phases will bring new challenges and new directions for us to travel and experience. If possible, our new year’s resolution should include the examination of what phases lay before us. Watch your phases and anticipate change!


Our word ‘phase’ is one of those simple sounding words that illustrates how just five letters can be crammed with much meaning. Phase has five definitions, but we will only examine a couple of them. First, phase is a particular appearance of state in a regularly recurring cycle of changes. The phase of the moon is a good example. The second definition is in two parts: “a distinguishable part in a course, development, or cycle; also an aspect or part (as of a problem) under consideration.” Cycle, change and aspect are key thoughts in the meaning of phase. Know your cycles and coming changes to avoid surprises!


The child is in the final phase of treatment now. In this example sentence, we see phase used as the direct object. One of its definitions gives us a sign or symptom of how it is used. Part of the meaning of phase is to indicate parts or steps in a process. The moon goes through phases. Children go through phases as they grow and mature. Phase can be a condition, stage, element or component as part of a process. Life itself is a process and we encounter many elements within our life cycle. Know your phase in your life cycle!


In the early phases of his career, the heavy work load helped him to advance. In this sentence, we see the impact of a “heavy work load” upon this person’s career. It helped him to advance. Any phase or section of a series of related events will have a stamped effect upon the object of that action whether it is a person or machine. Phase development must produce some anticipated end result. As the moon goes through phases, so do we as people. Therefore, we should look for and understand the impact of each phase upon us. However, do be cautious of those “full moon” phases and what they bring!


She stoically suffered as her relationship with Bob went through phases like the waxing and waning of the Moon. Yes, that is part of any relationship. There will be times when both parties will not be in perfect harmony. Some doubt will creep in and the relationship will experience strain as a result. Effective communication is a key ingredient to keep a relationship stable during the ups and downs of its many cycles. Patience with one another is also another key factor to keep the relationship moving forward with strength. As relationships go through cycles or phases, so do we as people. Unwanted stress will add its burden to any relationship. Check your stress factors before it ruins your relationship!

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Starting your week with a negative is not a good thing. Disown is one of those negative words you hope never to use. In a sense, disown is to put distance between oneself and someone or some action that has occurred. There are times when we say bad things and we would like to disown the fact we said it, however, we can never lose that ownership. Remember; just disown those things that you can control!


“He was disowned for bringing shame to the family name.” Here we see a common usage for disown. Two definitions are prominent. The first is to refuse to acknowledge as one’s own. The second has two variations depending upon the intended use: a. “to repudiate any connection or identification with,” and b. “to deny the validity or authority of.” To repudiate shows us an action direction when disown is used. To deny validity or authority with disown, means you are trying to remove an effect. For example, to say “he tried to disown his country of birth” is to deny its authority. Use care when you disown someone or something because it may backfire!


“The professor rejected the student’s paper.” One of the symptoms of disown is to reject or to disavow something. The use of disown promotes a very negative environment. It forces the subject (the one being disowned) into a state of dereliction or inhospitable surroundings. It brings the one who is “disowned” under a cloud of suspicion or distrust. To be disowned creates a very harsh environment for the one who is rejected. Use great care before you disown someone close to you!


The impact of being disowned can be far-reaching as the following sentence suggests. “Accused of being a traitor, he was disowned by his country.” In American history, there is a story of such a person. Tried for treason, he was disowned and forbidden to enter the country again. His punishment was to live on a ship, but never allowed to leave it no matter where that ship made port. His judgment by the court was that he lost his right to citizenship and recognition because of his crime. The consequences of being disowned can have a very bad impact!


One sure way to destroy a relationship is to disown the other party. To disown someone means to never forgive the other for the act that caused the rejection. That is harshness to an extreme. It means that you have renounced any connection or identification with the other party—forever. It means that any threads that might have connected the relationship are severed and never to be remembered. To disown someone means that you have become their judge, jury and executioner for their offensive action. To disown someone you know is to lock them out of your life without reprieve!

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This week, we will look at another word with negative connotations. For instance, “My brother returned home to find that he was ostracized from the family.” In such a case, the person ostracized may be guilty or not guilty, but has been excluded because he has broken some family rule. There can be other circumstances that bring about the same result by an unpopular activity the person does. Deliberate actions that bring about one being ostracized can be unintended because of the person’s lack of good judgment. Think through your actions that can be taken as unpopular!


To define ostracize is both simple and an enigma. In simplicity; ostracize is defined as to exile by an act of ostracism. The enigma is it is a definition by circular reasoning. More accurately “ostracize” is defined as—to exclude from a group by common consent. Another part of the enigma is that ‘to ostracize’ is a group action against an individual. It is peer pressure that has gone berserk to enforce group thinking upon a peer. For example; “she was ostracized from the scientific community for many years because of her radical political beliefs.” To ostracize is to give up our freedom as individuals. This kind of action negates basic constitutional freedoms!


“Even in our modern times, lepers have been ostracized from their families at a time when they are most vulnerable.” Part of our understanding and use of ‘ostracize’ is that it is an action by a group against one or more individuals for a common reason. Sometimes fear is the motivating force as in the case of the leper. At other times is can be an aversion to an individual who thinks or acts differently than what the group accepts. Narrow-minded thinking is normally a common symptom of a peer group or segment of a society who uses excluding action such as ‘ostracism’ to bring about unity. Peer pressure can force individuals to conform against their will!


The most common trait of a group that will resort to ostracism of an individual is fear. Fear becomes the driving force that a group will use to exclude someone. For instance: he was ostracized from polite society. The group ‘polite society’ feared that this one person would pollute the most important characteristic they shared, because he was impolite. We see the impact of the action ‘to ostracize’ as one of judgment against the person who does not conform to what the group considers to be a common thread. It is a trial against the one accused who has not been given an opportunity to defend his action or thinking. This shows us group paranoia at its worst!


Ostracize and relationship are normally not compatible. The exception might be where two people are drawn together because of the same kind of aversion or mental abnormality. It is to banish a person because of a common dislike for how that person acts or thinks. It is to withhold acceptance of the intruder on their relationship. To ostracize is an objection to tolerance of others who are different. The result of ostracizing is to inhibit creativity!

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This week’s word points us in the direction of how do we use our time and energy. For most of us, we will consume air, water and food to keep our bodies functioning. We will also consume (as in use) much of our time doing our work or favorite activities. Consume is a transitive verb that shows action of doing something or using something. The media these days consumes much air-time talking about the U.S. trend toward socialized medicine. To consume is to put much effort into depleting or destroying something. Don’t consume what you do not need!


To consume is a common activity for many in our society today. We should know then, what it means and understand its use. In most dictionaries, it will have three common meanings. The first is to eat or drink something. Secondly is to use something such as fuel, time or resources. The third is to destroy as with fire. We have seen recent news where a building, home or some resource is destroyed by fire or some calamity as flood or earthquake. The recent disastrous typhoon in the Philippines’ is a good example. A good question for us is “we consume much, but how much do we replace?” Let’s use our resources with care!


We are consumers. Want proof? Watch the Super Bowl ads. Watch any program and count the number of commercials that want you to buy. Rarely do they run advertising in the media that does not want you to buy something, have something or do something that will ‘improve’ your life in some way. You will spend money, but it will be worthwhile to whom? To the advertisers. The symptoms of consumerism are rampant in media. Brand identification is all consuming and the buying public must know your brand and identify with it. Who saves money anymore? Consumerism in the U.S. is over the top!


“When the city library burned, the fire consumed thousands of books.” This example sentence gives us some idea of the impact and result of consume. It can be destructive. However, our bodies must have fuel to operate efficiently and the calories we consume (burn) must be constantly replenished. To offset the impact of what we consume, we must constantly find fuel sources to replenish the resources we use. This use and resupply is part of the cycle of life. We must each do our part to keep it balanced!


A good relationship should enhance your life but not consume you. Any good relationship should be mutually beneficial to both parties. When a relationship reaches a point of consuming someone, it can become destructive. Life is not a focus upon just one thing, but upon a variety of activities. When a relationship becomes the center of all that a person does, it becomes a smothering blanket to both parties. It becomes a negative climate that hinders growth of the relationship. Let goodness and mercy be the focus of your relationships and your all-consuming passion will produce much fruit!

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