(under construction)

Week 1- sample Week 2- traverse Week 3- umpire Week 4- vague Week 5- yoke


“I tasted a sample of a new snack food at Costco.” One of my favorite things to do when we shop at Costco is try the samples of food products. Many times it is a way to try new combinations of common foods. A lot of these samples are interesting ways of putting food items together. It is a time when I can give my taste buds a work out to see if I like new things. It is also a way to get a cheap meal!


“Five of the 20 schools sampled did not meet the standards.” In this statement, we see this meaning: “A finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole.” Statistical sampling done properly saves a lot of time, effort and expense. A small sample of a product tells prospective buyers what they can expect. That is a second meaning of sample. A third meaning is a small segment of a musical recording for listeners to hear. A little bit of something that tells a lot about the whole is a sample. Use samples wisely and you can learn a lot!


“A random sample of people filled out the survey.” In this statement, we see sample used to research a subject and report the findings. The sample size would help determine the accuracy of the subject researched. The larger the sample group, the greater the accuracy of the end result. In politics, such surveys are used to make predictions of voters’ choices about issues. Such random samples are useful tools for politicians!


“We would like to see a sample of your work.” Every artist, writer, photographer, or actress knows these words. The sample that you provide will give the observer an idea what your work is like and if it fits their intent. Knowing how to put together a good sample is the key to moving forward in your creative endeavors. A good sample requires a lot of thought and effort to give the person receiving it the right information to properly judge the work. A good sample will tell a story, so make it worthwhile to the observer!


“The sample included 96 women over the age of 40.” Most of the women in the sample had a positive attitude about their relationships. To have a good relationship, you must work at it. It requires thought, time and effort for most relationships to be positive. Leaving a relationship to chance is risky and dangerous because of the unknown factors. Be smart and work hard on your relationships and they will bring success!

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“Mountain ranges traverse the United States both in the east and west parts of the nation.” The Appalachians cross several states in the eastern U.S. The Rocky Mountains do the same across many of the western states. These are identifiable geological features that are familiar to most Americans. These mountains played an important in the exploration history of America. ‘Purple mountains majesty’ is a well-worn phrase familiar to most U.S. citizens!


“My nephew (the skier) traversed the ski trail with a long, zig zag slalom down the slope.” With this sentence, we see the use of traverse in its most used meaning. Traverse is something that crosses or lies across some object or plane. Traverse in a legal sense is a “formal denial of a matter of fact alleged by the opposing party in a legal pleading.” A less used meaning is “a compartment or recess formed by a partition, curtain or screen.” Surveyors also use traverse to mean “a line surveyed across a plot of ground.” Traverse usually means to cross something. Be careful when you traverse unknown territory!


“The ship’s machine gun fired at the moving target as it traversed from one side of its mount to the other.” In this example use of the word ‘traverse’ we see it applied to a mechanical movement within the gun mount. In this case, it is “the lateral movement of a gun about a pivot or on a carriage to change direction of fire.” This is a military use of traverse in a mechanical application. Here you need to be sure to traverse correctly to hit the target!


“Sail boats traverse a zig zag course when sailing into the wind.” The use of traverse in this case shows that it can even produce results in an unusual circumstance. Since a sail boat uses wind power to make headway, the zig zag traverse into the direction of the wind allows it to make slow progress in that direction. The traverse pattern allows the vessel to go in a direction that would not otherwise be possible. It can produce results of moving in the needed direction although at a much slower speed. Results can be produced even with a negative traverse!


“She has traversed the full range of emotions in her relationship with Bud.” As in any relationship, there are ups and downs. However, in this instance, the full range of emotions tells us that this lady experienced more than just ‘ups and downs.’ Within each emotional state there are highs and lows. As each emotional state is displayed, it traverses a constant course of peaks and valleys. That produces a ‘whipsaw’ of constantly changing emotional experiences. Such a zigzag course is stressful and exhausting. Do your best to control your traverse of good and bad emotions!

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“The company and its labor union chose an unbiased umpire to help them negotiate a settlement to the labor dispute.” This week’s word ‘umpire’ is more normally associated with sports events. However, an umpire is one who makes final decisions and settles questions that come from disagreements. In one sense, he is the judge who determines if the rules have been violated and if penalties need to be assessed. Get a good umpire to help settle your disagreements!


“The umpire called the runner out at first base.” The ‘umpire’ is “an official in a sport who rules on plays. This is one of the most often used meanings for umpire. In a legal sense, the umpire is “one having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties.” Also in a legal sense, he is “one appointed to decide between arbitrators who have disagreed.” The military uses ‘umpire’ in a little bit difference sense as in “a military officer who evaluates maneuvers.” Umpires are very important especially in sports venues!


“The judge appointed an umpire to arbitrate in that workplace dispute.” The courts can at times appoint an impartial third party to help settle civil disputes. This is done to assure that both sides will be able to give fair and reasonable input into the area that is causing the dispute. The umpire must be especially gifted in word use and meaning. He must also be the referee to make sure emotions are reasonably tempered. His challenge is to bring both sides to agreement of the settlement terms and conditions. His authority should be recognized and respected by both parties. It is important to choose your umpires wisely!


“Most of our family disputes are umpired by Dad especially the TV shows we watch.” Within the family, it is common for the father to be the referee in disagreements. The ideal is that the family member with the most authority should be the one to settle problems. That is the function of the umpire. The impact should be to give a family group the sense of fair and equitable solutions to unsettled issues. Without this solution a family group can disintegrate into chaos and splinter!


“Relationships that need an umpire are in serious trouble.” Why is this statement true? An umpire should be an impartial third party. An umpire would have authority to decide a controversy or to decide if a rule has been properly applied. Thus, the use of an umpire gives indication of deep-seated issues that are impacting a relationship. Whether it is a marriage, friendship or business relationship, the need for an umpire gives indication of grave problems that need to be resolved. Weigh the consequences before you get an umpire to resolve relationship issues!

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“The judicial review panel determined that the law was too vague to be fairly enforced.” Our word for this week is ‘vague.’ In this example, the panel determined that the law was not clear in its meaning. The use of words should be clear and precise. It is in this way that we can grasp the intended thought or action clearly. Failure to be clear in meaning produces confusion. Work to produce clarity not confusion, in what your say!


“The news media said that he was only guilty of vague accusations.” One of the definitions of vague is to state something in indefinite terms. That meaning plus using expressions that are not clearly defined, grasped, or understood gives greater depth to the use of vague. Another meaning is that of an expression not clearly felt or sensed. Another way vague is used is to indicate ‘hazy’ or not sharply outlined. Be specific, don’t use vague expressions!


“During the examination, the doctor saw that he was vague about dates and places.” The doctor detected some symptoms of dementia in his examination of this patient. The inability to express one’s thoughts clearly and precisely could be an indication of a medical condition. Thus, such vagueness of thinking could be a warning sign of a mental state that needs to be monitored. Always try to express your thinking as clear and precise as possible!


“His vague stare hinted at much deeper problems.” In this example, we see vague used to indicate a ‘lack of expression.’ The indication in this use is that of an indefinite mental state. The apparent lack of expression gives one the feeling of this man’s unthinking or vague behavior. This condition could be harmful to him or others. Vague behavior patterns do not produce good results!


“Vague emotion about spending time with friends is not a productive way to think.” Relationships with family and friends should not be hazy. As you spend time with those close to you, remember it is the memories you make during a holiday like Christmas that will stay with you for a long time. Do not be vague in your relationships. They are one of the most precious things that you can have!

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“As a frontiersman, he knew how to yoke two oxen together and plow the field.” This week’s word ‘yoke’ is an old word. It was used before the 12th century in English. The concept is older than that as it was used by various cultures during the time of the Old Testament. The concept of putting together two like things to accomplish an end result is not a new and novel idea. It has been used throughout history to increase work effort!


“He took the yoke of both oppression and despair laid upon him by the king for his rebellion.” The simple meaning of ‘yoke’ is to link or tie two things together. It can be a frame that joins two animals together to pull a load. It can be an airplane control that operates both the elevators and ailerons. Yoke can also mean two people linked together in marriage. Yoke is two things working together to produce some end result. To be unequally yoked produces a most difficult result!


“The insolvent debtor was withdrawn from the yoke of his creditor.” In this use of ‘yoke’ we see it represent the yoke of debt by the creditor. The creditor in this instance is the oppressive agency. The debtor is in bondage to the note holder and must pay off the debt amount. When the debt is paid off, then the debtor is released from the creditor’s oppressive yoke. Beware the chains of being a debtor!


“The church bell’s yoke was badly damaged by the earthquake.” This ‘yoke’ is a part of the bell’s frame from which the bell is hung and allows it to swing freely. The yoke is a key piece in the bell’s frame as it gives it freedom to move. Therefore, if the yoke is damaged, the bell’s usefulness is hindered. To properly operate, the bell’s yoke must be inspected frequently. Ring the bell hard but don’t damage the yoke!


“The yoke of relationship can be a good thing if you keep a positive attitude.” This kind of yoke puts two people together but has no physical frame or device as evidence of being joined. It is two people who have mutually consented to a relationship. With a husband and wife, the bond of relationship is much stronger as both have consented to being joined together, for better or worse, as long as both shall live. The evidence of their relationship is a ceremony and a license which legally joins them together. Let’s face this new year with a positive attitude in our relationships!

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