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Week 1 – Facet Week 2 – Abase Week 3 – Gamble Week 4 – Ebb Week 5 – Obviate

Facet 070113 Monday

Our word this week, “facet” is a spinoff from the concept of face. It is the idea that someone or something has an identity; a feature or features that bring to a person or object a unique look. Those features impart distinguishing characteristics to the face of what we are looking at. It is a “facet” of their or the object’s sole identity. The imperfections in our character are a facet of our identity!

Facet 070213 Tuesday

You girls will recognize this little jewel; “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Most women understand that any gem that has value also has “facets.” That is probably the best known definition of our word, but do you also know its other meanings? Each of us has facets (or sides) to our personalities. There are three more very interesting, but not commonly used meanings; such as in anatomy it is any small, smooth surface on a bone, or with buildings, flutes on a column and in zoology it is the outer surface of a compound eye found in many insects and crustaceans. Girls, I know diamonds are important, but “facet” does mean more than just jewels!

Facet 070313 Wednesday

For our word today, instead of looking for signs or symptoms we will study its aspects or sides. Facet is a word with personality. Not only does it mean the small, polished plane surfaces that we see in a cut gem, but it also has its use in anatomy, architecture and zoology. Each bone in a human body has its hard, smooth surfaces. Any medical person has had to learn each facet of the human anatomy. Likewise, in zoology, the outer surface of an insect’s or crustacean’s compound eye is referred to as a facet. In each of these cases, we see facet to be an indicator of a plane or surface of some kind. Even with any person, we can see a facet or side of their personality. So, let’s take care with what facet of our personality others may see!

Facet 070413 Thursday

Another way to understand facet is by its similar meanings, such as aspect, side or phase. Our personalities have aspects and we go through phases. The moon also goes through phases as it goes through its monthly cycle around the earth. The earth goes through phases as it goes from winter to spring, spring to summer and so on. Each of these phases are an facet of what we are observing and each of these phases or facets have an impact upon what we understand about them. If we are very observant, we will understand not only what we see, but also what impact it has upon us and what we are looking at. Facets are for real, and we need to understand them!

Facet 070513 Friday

Anyone in a relationship understands that they go through phases. Study your relationships carefully. In your study, try to determine what facet of your relationship is founded upon solid principles. Those facets that are not sound, you need to decide how important it is to the relationship and how it will affect both parties. Failure to do this will bring chaos and confusion. Attention to the important facets of your relationships will bring understanding and strength. Remember, in good relationships, iron sharpens iron (even if the sparks fly)!

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This week’s word is simple in meaning, but heavy in what it implies. In today’s society, pride, ego and position are the cornerstone concepts of advertising and contradictory to what abase evokes in our minds. Not so long ago, it was common to acknowledge a person of superior intelligence, position or rank. However, today equality has become the focus of empty talk from politics and advertisements. The concept of lowering oneself before another has become totally unacceptable, but does equality bring advancement or destruction? Humility has its positives!


One synonym for abase is degrade. That synonym carries with it both a negative thought and a stigma. Disintegration is part of the negative thought carried in the word degrade, but abase does not convey that same meaning. The stigma of degrade is that of a constant characteristic of tearing down or falling apart. The definitions for abase do not infer any such meaning. Abase means simply to humble or humiliate. Normally it is used in the sense of being in the presence of someone in authority. An older or archaic definition for abase was to lower or cast down. That usage is declining, and we now use it in the negative sense as in what is done to us without our consent. Beware, pride is dangerous, humility is not!


Bullying is a sign or symptom of a person who is being degraded or abased. This subject has been in the news and the focus of recent major ad campaigns on TV. There are two streams of activity in play with bullying. One is the recipient who receives the degrading abuse and two, the one who commits the action of degrading another. It is a criminal act to abase someone without their permission. It removes their right to make a choice. The bully who commits the act is guilty of misguided aggression and an unbalanced mental understanding of social norms. To bully or abase another is a violation of the golden rule!


Abase as a voluntary act is a sign of humility. However, when the voluntary action is removed, the impact is very negative. For example, for a person to be humiliated without his consent is to remove his ability to choose. He, then, has no freedom to make a choice. Freedom to choose is the focal point of how abase becomes positive or negative. The use of force to intimidate or coerce someone into making choices against their will is the focus of what a bully wants. The involuntary action of being abased is for someone else to be intent upon committing a crime of abuse. To be bullied is to know “abase” at its worst. Let’s stand united against the negative impact of being abased!


In our relationships, there is a fine line between the positive and negative effect of abase. In relationships, there should always be mutual respect. To keep this in balance is one of the finer arts of how we relate to others. For instance, we should always respect the office of POTUS (president of US). He has the position of highest authority in our country. We should always abase ourselves (read be humble) to respect his office. Seldom does that apply to our other relationships: maybe to our boss at work and always to God and his messengers in the church. In personal relationships with family and friends, to lower oneself will seldom cause a problem. Don’t humiliate yourself, but do try to be humble!

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Risk taking: there are times when it is necessary and others when it not the best of choices. Gamble, our word this week, is one that always involves risk. To gamble is the word that gives us expressions like “flip of the coin” and “shot in the dark.” It is an action that has an uncertain outcome and certainly does not create stability. There may be instances when we have to make decisions when we do not know all of the factors involved. For a stable person, those should be minimized. Don’t gamble when you do not know what reward will come!


Have you ever made reckless or hazardous decisions? Many of us remember some decision we made that was not wise and the results hurtful. Gamble has three main definitions as a verb and two as a noun. To bet on an uncertain outcome or play a game of chance for money is gambling. That is the meaning that we are most accustomed to but it also means risk taking in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit. It also means to engage in reckless or hazardous behavior. For instance: “you are gambling with your health by continuing to smoke (or drink). Don’t be guilty of taking an action with an uncertain outcome!


There are some people who have a fear of going outside their home. That fear is called agoraphobia. For them to go outside, the risk is far too great. They seldom gamble with the chance that nothing will happen. All of us have a tolerance for risk: some greater and some lessor. Most of us do not suffer from agoraphobia, but we suffer from the consequence of risk taking, either too much or too little. Some things we do, we think nothing of the risk even when it is unreasonable, yet there are other activities we will not do because we think the odds are too high for bad results. Do a review your risk tolerance, for it could make you or break you!


All risk has an impact. 21 days ago, 19 firefighters were engaged in a contest with a wildfire fed by uncertain weather, vicious summer heat and extreme terrain. They took the risk to save lives and properties; however, that risk which they had taken many times before proved to have an unexpected outcome. Uncommon weather conditions, high temperatures and unruly winds proved to be a game changer. They had gambled their lives in a dangerous rescue mission to save others. Their gamble cost them their lives. May we always remember the risk they took and why!


To gamble with or in a relationship is like pouring gasoline on a fire. The back-flash can cause some serious injury. There may be times and places that you take a risk with a relationship, when you need to act and don’t have solid information; but, that risk is a calculated factor in the action. Undue and unreasonable risk should not be part of a relationship. Interactions between individuals, even those in intimate partnerships, runs the hazard of miscommunication. To insert with that a “shot in the dark” risk is to invite trouble. Be cool, patient and sensitive with others!

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In today’s society, we see a strong movement in reaction to the Zimmermann trial. As it is with all movements, there is a strong ebb and flow of such sentiment. However, with such reactionary movements, there will also be ebbing of the present protest that has erupted. This thought introduces us to this week’s word. Ebb is a small word without a complicated set of meanings, but it is an important concept. As with the tides, what goes out will come in and vice versa. Be sure that you know the direction of your tide!


After a period of declining membership, the ebb tide of the church had stopped. We see in this sentence a good use of “ebb” as a noun. It is may be used as both a noun or a verb. The fervor of the church had ebbed. In this sentence we see “ebb” used as a verb. The general meaning of ebb is to decline or move away from. Most of the time, we will see ebb used as an indicator of water movement such as the tide flow of the oceans. Ebb normally is an indicator of movement either with the physical receding of water or the decline of some human activity. For example: “The tide was on the ebb.” or “Her love of chocolate was at ebb tide!”


The hurricane’s tidewaters ebbed slowly during the day after the storm. In this sentence, we see a sign of water movement. Subsiding movement is one of the characteristics included in the meaning of ebb. Whether the movement is of a fluid or a general condition of human activity, it is an indicator of receding or declining action of the whole. For example, “The power of the Romans was ebbing away after Hannibal’s attack.” Here we see ebb used to indicate a decline in strength of this once mighty empire. The ebb or decline was a sign of the nation’s weakness as a collective group. In the U.S. today, “The Republican Party’s political effectiveness is ebbing!”


“The ebb tide left behind all kinds of interesting castoffs, rubbish and litter.” This is an interesting event that happens when water recedes or activity wanes from the peak of human energy. An ebb tide leaves behind the tell-tail signs of any wreckage that occurs at the high water mark of such events. We see this not only in the physical refuse that is left behind at high tide, but also at and after the pinnacle of a nation’s rise to greatness. History tells us these things happen again and again. This being true, we need to be careful with the residue of the “high tide marks” in our life!


An interesting aspect of relationships is the type and kind of energy they have. If a relationship has matured you may see its intensity and color begin to ebb. This may not be a problem as most relationships will go through phases that grow and then rest before gaining strength again. Any relationship, like the ocean tides, will surge and recede. It is when the relationship ebbs and continues to lose vibrancy that it becomes a concern. There will come a point when one will have to make a decision to revive the connection or let it go completely. Like any good bookkeeper, check the pulse of your relationships and discard any deadwood!

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If today’s adults were highly skilled in the use of good English, it would obviate the need for our weekly WoW words. However, the complications and complexities of the English language require that we learn more about some terms that are less well known. Obviate is one of those expressions that we seldom hear, but should know how to use. The tone of obviate is somewhat negative in that it indicates a need to render some action or future activity unnecessary. Its more common modern usage is normally associated with a medical condition. “Her doctor’s knowledge of her medical history obviated (made unnecessary) the need for corrective surgery!”


Obviate is a word that is used in specific situations. Preventative action should be what we do routinely, however that is not what many of us do. The primary meaning of obviate is to anticipate and prevent situations or to make unnecessary an action of some kind. To some degree obviate requires looking ahead to some future action or anticipated situation that needs to be acted upon for a corrective decision. It is intended to be a measure that forestalls or averts some anticipated negative event. “The attorney used the new law to obviate the need for punitive action.” Fore thought can help us avoid bad results!


The origin of obviate is thought to be Latin. Its first known use was recorded about 1598. To give us a better understanding of this word, we will look at several synonyms, such as: forestall, prohibit, deter, forbid. Obviate is rarely used in everyday language. It is more normally used in formal presentations or sometimes in medical communications. The sense of obviate is to head off or stave off some near-term situation that would have a negative outcome. With action the following decision could prevent bankruptcy: “I will obviate (as in avert) a bad credit rating by paying my bills on time!”


Much of the grief we experience in life, we could obviate by seeking wise counsel before we make decisions. Therefore, the impact could be lessened or eliminated by looking for responses from close advisors. Do you contact a close friend or read scripture when you need input for a decision you are about to make? The core thought with using obviate is to render unnecessary some event or situation that is anticipated. To obviate something, it is necessary to diagnose what is about to happen and deter a negative result. To do this will require fore thought and some analysis as to what action is necessary how to avert an unwanted impact. Use trusted advisors and information sources to do this!


Relationships come in various types. Generally there are close relationships, such as with family or a significant other. Also, there are casual relationships that spring up for a while and then are gone. Business or work relationships are also another type. Now comes the pregnant question: “How do you obviate (make unnecessary) a relationship?” Casual relationships seldom present a problem because they will come and go. Intimate or family relationships present ongoing and sometimes difficult situations and we learn to live with them, but seldom do we have a choice to make them unnecessary except with a divorce. Work and business relationships should be arms-length associations. We can choose to obviate these if and when it makes sense!

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