Mind the Language! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Hot DOGS and HAM burgers! Seriously? Of course not. There’s no ham (or pork of any kind) in a hamburger. And you can eat a hotdog in front of your pet dachshund without feeling guilty. But these food names are just two examples of our crazy, sometimes confusing, English language. In the kitchen, in particular, our loony lingo truly takes the cake.

It turns out a pig in a blanket is perfectly kosher — as long as you’re eating a Hebrew National frank. By the way, we’re confused. What’s the difference between a hotdog (also hot dog), a frankfurter and a wiener? Can we please reach a consensus on what to call these sausages? Why do hot dogs need a whole pack of names. Woof!  Oh, and does “spicy” mean flavorful from spices, or simply HOT — a quality derived from the addition of peppers? There’s no consensus on that one, either.

A Dutch oven isn’t an oven at all. It’s just a heavy, lidded POT — the kind you cook with, not what hippies and politicians used to smoke. French fries are not French; bread pudding is not the kind of pudding many think, it’s a dense gelatinous mass of flour and raisins; a grilled cheese sandwich isn’t really grilled; and is barbecue a cooking process, or a Southern dish of pulled pork?

What’s up with eggplant? Did it grow from an egg? Maybe it’s the offspring of chickweed. Ouch! Also, we hate for this to get out, but there’s no egg in an egg cream drink. Do you love pizza? We do, too. We also love our friends, family, and our Lord. Wonder how God feels when we apply the same term of devotion to Him as we do to a slab of dough smeared with tomato sauce? In other languages — Spanish, for instance — there are separate verbs for differing types and levels of “love.” Here, though, we can honestly say we love our spouse and the dog.

Adding to the confusion are regionalisms, (expressions that developed in certain areas of the country) and slang. “He’s a real piece of work” sounds good, but it ain’t. “She’s a space cadet.” Wouldn’t you need to be smart to go to Space Academy? “Let’s take a ride.” (No, we don’t want to bump you off.)

Love is a many splendored thing — literally.  We LOVE pizza!!  ♥♥♥

We’ll drive in the parkway, and then park in the driveway.  –Hey!! We’re about to run a stoplight! Or is it a “traffic light”? After all, it signals us to stop AND go.

We’ve read that the English language is one of the most difficult “second” languages to learn due to all it’s exceptions. Spelling?  “I” before “E” except after “C” — but only on the third Wednesday of every other month. Does grammar sometimes prey on your mind? Maybe you should pray about it? What’s the difference between “read” and “read”? Depends on whether you’re starting a book or finishing it.

We could go on. But we simply want to emphasize that mastering the English language — and therefore, verbal communication — isn’t a piece of cake. Nor is it easy as pie. Often, we have trouble saying what we mean, and we don’t actually mean what we say. HELP!!!

God admonishes us to take care in what we speak, and in how we speak it. For instance: “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NLT)

Furthermore, research states that 80% of all communication is non-verbal. Our eyes, hands, and even our posture speak volumes. And we all know that “Actions speak louder than words.” In fact, people pay more attention to what we DO than to what we say. “Seeing is believing”! Application? Don’t simply talk about the teachings of Christ, MODEL them! Saint Francis of Assissi wrote, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

“…Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22 NASB) “…Speak my Word in truth….” (Jeremiah 23:28 NLT)

In other other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.

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Sending Out an S.O.S. (Part 3) (Diet for Dreamers)

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Are your aspirations drowning in a sea of too many activities, interests and responsibilities? If your unfulfilled goals and neglected dreams could talk, would they be sending out an S.O.S.? The past couple of Mondays, we discussed the steps necessary to rescue your shipwrecked dreams. The initial step (the first letter in S.O.S.) is to simplify the key areas of your life: your schedule, finances, hobbies and interests, as well as your relationships and your focus. Too much “stuff,” too many “friends,” too many interests, too many directions — can leave you confused and dazed, with no time or energy for your goals.

Step 2: “O” is for Organize! Everything. Your home, kitchen, office, desk, or creative space. Clutter impedes creativity and the ability to think clearly. Organize your finances, your schedule, and your free time. Know what needs to be done — and when — and prioritize your responsibilities.

The last “S” in S.O.S. stands for Strategize! 

Face it, it’s not enough simply to set goals. Dreams usually don’t come true all by their lonesome. We have to constantly pursue them or they tend to get away. We have to map out what we want to accomplish in life, and then strategize how we’ll go about doing it. We need a plan of attack — a battle plan, so to speak! Being victorious in life is like being victorious in a war. Great wars are won with smaller victories won in battles. Your goals will be achieved in much the same way, through the small victories and accomplishments that move you closer to winning your bigger dreams.

Achieving any truly great dream is much like waging a war: to overcome the obstacles imposed by time, resources, circumstances, and even people who don’t want to see you succeed (for various reasons). Are you strategizing to win the small battles you encounter each day? Every day you should map out what you need to accomplish and what it will take to do it. Create a schedule. Maintain a list of “Things to do.” Prioritize your list. Work to achieve something worthwhile every day. Even little steps, when carefully planned each day, can take you far along the path to success.

Do you need special training to accomplish your goals? Do you need capital? Do you need a staff? Figure out what your requirements are and how you’ll go about meeting them. Strategize your short term goals, and decide how each piece fits into the bigger picture. Stay focused and use your time wisely. Stay on the right track and keep moving forward.

In other words, stop flying by the seat of your pants; you gotta have a plan! Even God had a plan — a loooong-term plan, with many intricate and interlocking elements and events:

“…God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1: 9 NLT)

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