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Week 1 – Gravitate Week 2 – Qualm Week 3 – Illuminate Week 4 – Estate


“The conversation of concerned voters will gravitate to politics.” Last year’s general election results have left distinct impressions on many voters. Media stories about rigged elections, immoral practices, voter fraud, and unethical pressure groups all weigh on voters’ minds. As loyal Americans, have we seen the best years of our democratic process? Are we now sliding into control by illicit and corrupt pressure groups who want to exert dictatorial powers over the voters? If the answer to these two questions is ‘yes’ then our days of being a free and sovereign nation will end soon. As Americans, we all have a responsibility to insist on truth in politics. Concerned voters will gravitate toward insisting on truthfulness and high ethical standards for those elected!


“Many young people now gravitate toward careers in the computer industry.” This seems to be the latest trend for young jobseekers today. This trend illustrates well the meaning of the intransitive verb ‘gravitate.’ One often used meaning is “to be drawn or attracted especially by natural inclination.” A slightly different definition of gravitate is “to move toward something.” According to author Rose Friedman “youngsters …gravitate toward a strong leader.” Somewhat like magnetism, gravitate is to move or be drawn toward someone or something. Our younger generations now gravitate to being part of the computer industry!


“Many of us gravitate to ‘mentor’ types – people we can learn from.” It is natural that we want to learn how to be better at something. To do that we normally will seek out those who have the experience of how to be better in what we want to learn and do. However, gravitate did not always meant to ‘move toward’ someone or something. “Gravitate” once meant “to apply weight or pressure,” but that use is now obsolete. In the late 17th century, it was recorded in the sense “to move under the effect of gravitation.” It then acquired a more general sense of “to move toward something” (as toward a specific location), and finally a metaphorical third sense of “to be attracted” (as toward a person or a vocation). In this last sense, it is natural for us to move toward that which can help us reach a goal. For us to gravitate to mentor types is quite normal!


“He naturally seemed to gravitate toward those who are good leaders.” This person illustrates the most often used definition of gravitate: That is “to be drawn or attracted especially by natural inclination.” The impact of this is that good leadership is attractive to those who are looking for a role model to follow. Since this tendency is very real, one must also give serious thought to the leader’s values. Failure to examine the leader’s values can send one in the wrong direction. Know the values you are seeking and make sure your leader shares the same values. Good values will help you to gravitate toward a good leader!


“A good relationship should naturally gravitate toward others who have a good relationship.” This drawing toward other good relationships happens by natural inclination. Like a magnet pulls and attracts iron, so is the attraction of other positive relationships. To do so is to move under the influence of gravitation toward things of like nature. Do not be surprised when your good relationship naturally gravitates toward others who have good relationships!

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“It was about an enduring secular world where people did unspeakable things, seemingly without qualm and without any grave consequences to themselves.” (Quote from a Jim Holt review)  He did not intend his quote to be a symbolic allegory for society today, but it is. From the sanctuary of the highest university to the average man on the street, they seem to have no thought to the damage and consequences they are doing to the very fabric of our nation. Their only thought seems to be “tear it up and burn it.” History repeats itself. God help us if we are headed again into another ‘Age of Darkness.’ People doing unspeakable things without a qualm will take us there!


“He accepted their offer without a qualm.” This man’s acceptance of the offer was an emotionless response. The meaning of ‘qualm’ usually implies some kind of emotion either good or bad. Webster’s first definition for qualm is “a feeling of uneasiness about a point especially of conscience or propriety.” The third definition implies a more physical meaning as in “a sudden attack of illness, faintness, or nausea. The second meaning is the more commonly used and understood use as in “a sudden feeling of usually disturbing emotion such as doubt or fear. A synonym often used interchangeable with qualm is misgiving. When offers are made to us we often have qualms (misgivings) about accepting them!


“The policeman was momentarily seized with a qualm of faintness.” In this example sentence, we see the third meaning in use, i.e., “a sudden attack of illness, faintness, or nausea.” Qualm was first used about 1530. “Originally, it referred to a sudden sick feeling… Soon after qualm entered the language, it came to designate not only sudden attacks of illness, but also sudden attacks of emotion or principle… Eventually, qualm took on the specific (and now most common) meaning of doubt or uneasiness, particularly in not following one’s conscience or better judgment.” (Webster’s) If you feel qualms about certain thoughts or actions, it is best if you do not follow through!


“He had no qualms about asking for their help.” One question immediately comes to mind: Does he have a conscience? Webster includes the following statement with their three definitions “Qualm implies an uneasy fear that one is not following one’s conscience or better judgment.” Having ‘no qualm’ implies that this person does seem to have an emotional detachment in asking for other’s help. Is that normal? One’s lack of emotion could be a symptom of unnatural character in a sick person. Most people have some kind of emotional response when asking for help from others!


“She accepted his offer without a qualm.” Trust is a key ingredient in any relationship. Evidently this lady has a lot of trust in the gentleman who is making her this offer. For her to have this kind of trust that she has no qualms means that she knows him and trusts him. She has no conscience uneasiness in relating to him probably because of some prior relationship experience. A ‘no qualm’ relationship is something that we should all strive for!

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“A crisis can illuminate how interdependent we all are.” Recent actions and the nuclear threat from North Korea is a good example. The NOKO leader is a prime example of a leader disconnected from reality that with one careless act could send the world into a nuclear inferno. Because of his arrogant pride and greed for power, he would destroy his country and most of the world to prove a point. Even if he would be able to survive, the after effects of nuclear war would mean that he would eventually die of radiation poisoning or starvation. That is the thinking of an irrational (insane?) leader. His irrational act could easily illuminate how interdependent we all are!


“That bright sliver is part of the moon first illuminated by the sun.” This example sentence gives us the most often used meaning of illuminate, as in, “to supply or brighten with light.” A similar use is “to make luminous or shining.” Another definition is “to make clear or elucidate.” In that same vein, illuminate can also mean “to enlighten spiritually or intellectually.” Some synonyms are bathe, beacon, and emblaze. Illuminate has both a physical effect as well as a more subtle mental application. The moon gives us light at night, as well as, illuminates those with mental tendencies of weirdness!


“A secure foundation will illuminate whether the need for change even exists.” If something is ‘perfect’ it has no need to change. However, human beings are never perfect so they think they are capable of changing things to make them perfect. So the real question is can that which is imperfect ever change things to make them perfect? The obvious answer is ‘no.’ Change implies process. Being perfect is a state of existence. It has always been what it is ‘perfect’ and has never experienced change. Change always implies that something exists in a state of imperfection and must change to become perfect. How something starts illuminates whether it needs to change or not!


“The internet helps to illuminate the far corners of the world.” Electronic devices, wireless transmissions, and the internet have made our world much smaller. A crisis or catastrophe can become known around the world in a matter of minutes because of the three items above. Even in the poorer countries of our world, the internet and electronic devices connect them and keeps them in contact with world events. Our world has shrunk because of the technology of instant electronic communication. Technology has helped to illuminate the far corners of our world today!


May good relationships illuminate our lives and our labor. One thing we should all strive for is good relationships. Good friends help us in time of need and encourage us when we need to be up lifted. Bad relationships do the opposite, add stress, and hinder what we want to achieve. They block light and darken our lives. Use good, sound practices when making new friends. Keep a sharp eye out for signs that will show if they can be trusted or not. Good friends should illuminate your life and help you to be better!

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“George Washington was a man of no small estate.” He was wealthy landowner in the 1700’s. Like many of his class, he owned slaves and servants to help him take care of the manual labor that his estate required. Despite his wealth, he felt highly motivated to protect his rights as a freeman and to fight for freedom of all men. Had the colonies lost the war for independence from Great Britain, he would have lost his estate to the greed of the British Empire. He fought for the right of all of the colonists to govern themselves and the property they owned. George Washington knew he had no choice but to fight and protect his estate!


“My good friend’s estate is worth millions of dollars.” In today’s example sentence, we see the most often used meaning for estate. Merriam-Webster gives us under 4a “the degree, quality, nature, and extent of one’s interest in land or other property.” Another often used definition is 4c “a landed property usually with a large house on it.” We are also perhaps used to the meaning “the assets and liabilities left by a person at death.” Whatever way that we use ‘estate’ it normally means wealth. Give some thought to your friends who claim they have a large estate!


“He inherited the estate from his parents.” Another definition from Merriam-Webster is that of “social standing or rank especially of a high order.” Today’s example sentence is a very nice example of another way to use ‘estate.’ It also illustrates the idea of assets and liabilities left by his parents upon their death. Wealthy Brits with English titles are also another source of such an estate being handed down to their children or close relatives. Many middle-class Americans are favored with receiving an inheritance from well-to-do parents. To inherit an estate from parents is a God-send and should be appreciated!


“He is a major force in the fourth estate.” The Fourth Estate (or fourth power) is a segment of society that wields an indirect but significant influence on society even though it is not a formally recognized part of the political system. The most commonly recognized part of the fourth estate is the news media, or press. Such power that impacts society should be morally correct. When the fourth estate becomes corrupt and perverted, it impacts society in a very destructive way. We have entered that era of time in the U.S. It is being proven time and again that fake news is being used to distort what the public believes. The media can no longer be trusted as the moral compass of the fourth estate!


“He helped her plan her estate.” This is a very close and helpful friend. In our variety of relationships, it is always good to have someone who can do those special jobs for us. Good advisors are always a treasured kind of relationship. We should put extra effort into those friendships that allows us to have good advice and insight. That can be reassuring for us to be headed in the right direction to achieve success. We should give special value to someone who can help us plan our estate!

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