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Week 1- Earthly Week 2- Ideal Week 3- Idle Week 4- Cajole


Someone who is on a spaceship is not on this earth. He may be of the earth, as in born on earth, but his position is not earthly or on earth. The characteristic of how we use “earthly” is normally tied in with being of the earth or actively doing something on earth. Our word is intensely tied with life on this orb that we call earth. An earthly brick is made of materials found on earth. An air breathing earthly entity resides upon this world and is composed of earth-bound materials. Earthly also means being composed of common or ordinary substance. We sometimes say “of what earthly use is it?” Its use is questioned, and we should always be wary of how we are being used!


Our definition of earthly is somewhat short and sweet. Two thoughts in the first part of the definition run side by side. First is the characteristic of or belonging to this earth and then how does it relate to the human race’s actual life on this earth. The second definition expresses that which is possible as in the question “of what earthly use is it?” To better understand these definitions, some synonyms are carnal, earthborn, fleshly, mundane and temporal. Our word earthly is an adjective that is always used before a noun. Let us not be carnal and mundane, but aspire to the best possible earthly example we can be!


Many of us have heard the phrase “he or she is of no earthly use.” When we hear that phrase used about a person it normally reflects the mental state of someone as being dreamers or spiritually focused. Earthly has some similar words that help explain what we mean when we use it. Such descriptive words as carnal, fleshly, mundane, temporal and worldly help us to grasp the intended meaning of earthly. These words show us signs or symptoms of the “earthly” person. How so? Keep your feet on solid ground and you will never be accused of being a dreamer!


We experience earthly pleasure and joy and that is what we look for as humans. However, that means that we look for just mundane and sensual activities in everyday life. That is a well-defined impact and many times leaves us looking for something that we cannot find or experience. We have a spiritual and intellectual side that also needs to be fed. To focus only upon material things stifles the imaginative and creative processes that we were born with. Mankind’s ability to look for the unknown and make it real is what has helped us to advance. We need to balance the earthly with the creative and spiritual to be satisfied with life. Don’t be just earthly, but willing to explore brave new worlds!


An earthly relationship is very likely to be sensual and materialistic in nature. That is characteristic of many relationships. Most are centered on the pleasure that one desires from the relationship. However, our desire should be toward the spiritual and not the earthly. We tend toward the earthly, but we need both!

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Reading, writing and arithmetic used to be the ideal basics for learning. That phrase is no longer the relevant ideal learning plan. For today’s learner, the computer is the new way to learn how to read, write and do math. Many children today with new learning techniques have achieved basic learning skills by the time they enter kindergarten. With our new and sophisticated machine skills, ideals have changed. The past ideal is gone and the new ideals are in place for better or worse!


Of its definitions, our word ideal has four. The third definition is the one we are most likely to use and understand. That is, of or relating to ideal. It is in conformance to an ideal, law or standard in that it is perfect. We also see this word used as it relates to philosophical idealism. The ideal exists as a mental image or perfect concept in much of the way we think of things. It also exists as an archetypal idea. Why settle for second best when you can patiently wait for the ideal!


If we try to marry an ideal with reality, it can be most frustrating. Why? Let’s see if we can find an explanation. An “ideal” person or concept is something in its most perfect form. Because we are human and we live in an imperfect world, we seldom see anything in its perfection. We can think in terms of the ideal, but we must be aware that it is seldom achievable. The multitude of human influence creates copious concepts of what the perfect form might be. Case in point, each religion has its concept of what the ideal belief is, or a government form is crafted by powers of the people who will be governed by it. Seldom do we find perfect agreement in either church or state. Ideals are fine when they are filtered by the lens of reality!


One of the definitions for our word ideal is “lacking practicality.” To understand the impact of this thought, let us look at a couple of phrases. “She is an ideal candidate for the job.” This phrase suggests the lack of flaws. However, this is seldom true. Things can be buried without being evident. “He is an idealist.” The impact of both statements is to classify people as conforming to perfection. Seldom are humans perfect. Therefore, an ideal is that which is of a mental image of something or someone. Seldom does the “ideal” meet reality. See someone who is perfect; take them with plenty of salt!


We must end our week with a question about “ideal” and relationships. Does such thing as an “ideal relationship” exist? From this writer’ perspective, only one such relationship can possibly exist. That relationship is the one with the sovereign Lord of our universe, Jesus Christ. Any other relationship among or between humans will be imperfect. The inner nature of humans is flawed. Therefore, any relationship will have areas that cause friction. If two people are flexible and allow for some differences, then the relationship may come close to the ideal. Don’t be an idealist in what you want in a relationship; just be flexible and allow for individual uniqueness!

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Idle 052013 Monday

Our word this week can be a good word, but we normally use it in the negative sense. When an engine is at idle, it is ready to roar into use. A runner between races needs some idle time to catch his breath for the next race. However, when idle becomes the physical state of a person that usually is not a good thing. To be productive is to be “anti-idle.” Don’t be idle in the wrong way, but be idle as in ready to roar!

Idle 052113 Tuesday

As an adjective, idle has five meanings. It is also used as a verb and an adverb. The primary definition is to have no value or significance. Idle can also mean baseless or unfounded as in “idle rumors.” To be inactive or not in immediate use is also part of its meaning. To set an engine’s idling speed also points to a car’s fuel system. To waste or squander is also hinted at by its use as a verb. To spend time unprofitable or to be unemployed and inactive is a negative use of idle. Don’t be wandering aimlessly, make good use of your idle time!

Idle 052213 Wednesday

From our definitions, there are several suggested phrases on how to use idle: perhaps something pointless as “idle wish” or unfounded as in “idle rumors,” and again as in inactivity of “idle hours.” We see from these phrases, some common thoughts. As we look at these phrases, we can identify some of the symptoms or signs of idleness. To waste, squander or be inactive are some sure signs. When you see such symptoms, beware of the possible consequences. Don’t be aimless; be ready to spring into action!

Idle 052313 Thursday

Perhaps the saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” has more meaning than we give it. As intelligent beings, our minds work best when they are working on positive actions. If someone’s mind is inactive or drifting, they can be open to ideas that could have a bad impact. Dawdle, do nothing and fooling around have been known to get people into trouble. When you squander time, it is gone and cannot be redeemed. Don’t just burn time, use it wisely and for a good purpose!

Idle 052413 Friday

Gas and water do not mix well; neither does being idle in a relationship. Relationships require attention and an idle relationship will stagnate and eventually disappear because it is not designed to work with idleness. If you have a lazy attitude about relationships, you will have constant problems with keeping up connections with loved ones, including family and friends. Work is the opposite of idle. Good relationships require work and idle relationships will die!

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Cajole 052713 Monday

Do we often have to “persuade” someone to do something? We find that we sometimes have to coax a friend or one of our children into doing something that they are reluctant to do. To do that is what the word cajole means. When we use a simple command that is many times the opposite of cajole. In a sense, it means to cage up or corner a person. It takes an effort to get an action completed. Let’s not be cajolers, but doers!

Cajole 052813 Tuesday

We can then define cajole as to coax with flattery or insincere talk. I had to “wheedle” the truth out of him. This word originally meant to chatter like a jay in a cage. It is a combination of old French as in cage plus the added word jaole, or to jail. The definition gives the sense of getting something corralled or cornered. When someone uses flattery and flowery words, beware of your being coaxed or pushed into doing something!

Cajole 052913 Wednesday

How do we know that we are “cajoling” someone? If you ask a person to do something and you see resistance, you will probably “cajole” him or her into action. The act of using words that urge or coax is an indicator or sign that you are cajoling a person into some action. To cajole normally requires much more than a simple request or command to act. If you say, “you are sick and need to go to the doctor,” and there is no immediate response, then you must resort to cajoling them to do what is needed. A sure sign of using “cajole” is when you use many words of pleading or even threats of action to get a desired end result!

Cajole 053013 Thursday

Cajole can have an impact on your actions. If you have to use flattery and coaxing to get your kids or an employee to do something, then cajole is having an impact upon what you do. Is that impact positive or negative? That will depend upon your approach. If you use your influence in some way to produce a positive result, that can be positive, but if you use insincere talk, that can be negative. Watch your words when you have to cajole another person!

Cajole 053113 Friday

One of the meanings of cajole is to coax with flattery or insincere talk. A healthy relationship should rarely see the use of cajole. Occasional flattery may be a good thing, but insincere talk is never acceptable to a healthy relationship. Insincerity breeds and builds an inherent weakness in any association. Relationships are hard enough with daily actions and reactions without adding the additional stress of insincerity to it. Life has trouble enough without adding the stress of cajoling to bring action!

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