04 March 2017

Playing the cards we are given

It’s become such a long road, the road of life I’m on. Some say we can’t help the cards we are dealt in our youth, I ascribe to that mentality. But, I also know after decades of living that we can change the deck. 

My deck has changed a few times, with one constant. I’ve been given the joker and the ace, doesn’t matter which design the deck is I keep those same two cards. There have been segments of life where I may have thought I had a beat up deck, a few when my cards were old and earmarked, and times when they were so new and pristine they were slippery or stuck together. I’ve had designer cards, series cards, I’ve had themed cards and now it seems I have extra large print. It’s no small joke either that I’ve the personality of one a few cards short of a full deck, but I snicker at that one a lot considering it’s just the joker making his presence known.

The ace gets laid once I’ve succeeded where before I had failed, learned something new; recognized I had grown - enjoyed the experience, or had the opportunity to share laughter with my children. I reach for these moments constantly but the ace is lost in the deck of life so quickly, we all tend to shuffle a bit too much it seems instead of just playing the cards we’ve been given.

14 June 2016


Desperation includes having a purpose, the purpose being to do whatever it takes to get out of the desperate situation you’re in.
Egypt, slavery, people were desperate, the enemy was close behind, knowing if they were caught surely it was a death sentence. They were desperate and became willing to do what they were told to do. Consider the fact that hundreds of thousands of people made up what the bible describes as the Israelites. People at all different levels of their faith, those who believed, some who after years of oppression maybe weren’t so sure; there were even some who were just told to pack up and follow the crowd, they were allowed to leave, they were now free. All of them joined in one mission, to get out, to survive the journey, to know freedom for the first time. And then after miles of traveling on foot, lugging whatever they chose to take. Or if able, helping the mother with child, holding the reins for cattle; one foot in front of the other in faith, with a purpose one mile at a time. From one hard situation into yet another, one direction that took work, effort, patience and endurance. Eventually the people just got tired, tired of walking, tired of moving from one place to another, tired of Mannah, tired and impatient.
  In the time after Moses there was Joshua, a man to lead them into the Promised Land. They had gotten used to living wherever they happened to be, pitching their tents here and there, the time of desperation was over, Egypt was far behind. They began to grumble amongst themselves, the fight to live was not the same as their ancestors. In today’s terms many became complacent. And just as Joshua began to rally them into action once more, just when there was a moment to debate if finishing the journey was really necessary; they came upon a river.
Joshua 3:5-15 + 17
5And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
6And Joshua spoke unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
7And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
8And you shall command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When you are come to the edge of the water of Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.
9And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.
10And Joshua said, By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passes over before you into the Jordan.
12Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bore the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand in a heap.
14And it came to pass, when the people set out from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15And as they that bore the ark were come unto the Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water, (for Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest,)
17And the priests that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed completely over Jordan.
 You shall stand still in the Jordan. Stand still, carrying the ark of the covenant, does anyone know what would have happened if the ark were to touch the ground? Does anyone know what were to happen if they chose to move, and not stand still? Does anyone know how long it took to let the people of Israel pass by them, holding the ark?
Holding up the ark of the covenant for hundreds of thousands is quite a heavy responsibility. If they did not hold up the ark the waters would return to normal. They sweat,  certainly fell while others pushed them back up, passed out from over exertion, lost feeling in their arms, their legs but they knew their purpose and the ark stayed above the Levites head’s, in the dry river bed of the Jordan. Mean while the people days later still kept crossing. They were the first in, and the last out.
Why do you think the desperation is over? Just because one situation has passed does not mean others are not just around the corner. Desperation today  may be the ache to be sure that the road ahead is solid ground, that the world around you has proven dangerous, full of pain, full of mistakes still yet to be made. Desperate to grasp how fearfully and wonderfully through all the outside turmoil, you were perfectly made; made for a purpose.  The truth is set.

 Desperation to know no matter what river life puts in your way, there is a promise that there will be a covenant in front of you making the path secure. There is no room for doubt, there is only a certainty that life will still bring work, moments meant for endurance, times when the goal is ahead covered in sweat, shaky legs or swollen feet. There is an assurance that others will support you when your arms feel like lead or your feet appear to be slipping. Stand still and know, in the stillness there is a need for desperation.  It is a need to meet the goal without fear, with or without losses, the time to rise up, to find your purpose is now. What you’ve been given is within your eyesight if you but step out in faith and praise your God for all He has done, all He will do and what He is about to do. Those who are able to hear, will listen when the spirit speaks in the quiet, that to stand, to stand firm and know you have a purpose is a gift from God. The battles ahead are sure to be won, stay desperate and know you are loved.

11 July 2015

Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know

a posteriori
from the latter -- knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence
a priori
from what comes before -- knowledge or justification is independent of experience
faber est suae quisque fortunae
every man is the artisan of his own fortune --
quote by Appius Claudius Caecus
acta non verba
deeds, not words
ad hoc
to this -- improvised or made up
ad hominem
to the man -- below-the-belt personal attack rather than a reasoned argument
ad honorem
for honor
ad infinitum
to infinity
ad nauseam
used to describe an argument that has been taking place to the point of nausea
ad victoriam
to victory -- more commonly translated into "for victory," this was a battle cry of the Romans

alea iacta est
the die has been cast
at another time -- an assumed name or pseudonym
alma mater
nourishing mother -- used to denote one's college/university
amor patriae
love of one's country
amor vincit omnia
love conquers all

annuit cœptis
He (God) nods at things being begun -- or "he approves our undertakings," motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the United States one-dollar bill

ante bellum
before the war -- commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War

ante meridiem
before noon -- A.M., used in timekeeping
aqua vitae
water of life -- used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, and brandy (eau de vie) in France
arte et marte
by skill and valour 

astra inclinant, sed non obligant
the stars incline us, they do not bind us -- refers to the strength of free will over astrological determinism

audemus jura nostra defendere
we dare to defend our rights -- state motto of Alabama
audere est facere
to dare is to do

I hear
aurea mediocritas
golden mean -- refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes

auribus teneo lupum
I hold a wolf by the ears -- a common ancient proverb; indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly; a modern version is, "to have a tiger by the tail"

aut cum scuto aut in scuto
either with shield or on shield -- do or die, "no retreat"; said by Spartan mothers to their sons as they departed for battle
aut neca aut necare
either kill or be killed
aut viam inveniam aut faciam
I will either find a way or make one -- said by Hannibal, the great ancient military commander
barba non facit philosophum
a beard doesn't make one a philosopher
bellum omnium contra omnes
war of all against all
bis dat qui cito dat
he gives twice, who gives promptly -- a gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts

bona fide
good faith
bono malum superate
overcome evil with good
carpe diem
seize the day
caveat emptor
let the buyer beware -- the purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need
around, or approximately
citius altius fortius
faster, higher, stronger -- modern Olympics motto
cogito ergo sum
"I think therefore I am" -- famous quote by Rene Descartes
contemptus mundi/saeculi
scorn for the world/times -- despising the secular world, the monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values

corpus christi
body of Christ
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges
when the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous -- said by Tacitus 
creatio ex nihilo
creation out of nothing -- a concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context
cura te ipsum
take care of your own self -- an exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others

curriculum vitae
the course of one's life -- in business, a lengthened resume
de facto
from the fact -- distinguishing what's supposed to be from what is reality
deo volente
God willing
deus ex machina
God out of a machine -- a term meaning a conflict is resolved in improbable or implausible ways
dictum factum
what is said is done 

disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus
learn as if you're always going to live; live as if tomorrow you're going to die
discendo discimus
while teaching we learn
docendo disco, scribendo cogito
I learn by teaching, think by writing
ductus exemplo
leadership by example
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt
the fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling -- attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca

dulce bellum inexpertis
war is sweet to the inexperienced
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
it is sweet and fitting to die for your country
dulcius ex asperis
sweeter after difficulties 

e pluribus unum
out of many, one -- on the U.S. seal, and was once the country's de facto motto
veteran -- retired from office
et alii
and others -- abbreviated et al.
et cetera
and the others
et tu, Brute?
last words of Caesar after being murdered by friend Brutus in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," used today to convey utter betrayal
ex animo
from the heart -- thus, "sincerely"

ex libris
from the library of -- to mark books from a library
ex nihilo
out of nothing
ex post facto
from a thing done afterward -- said of a law with retroactive effect

fac fortia et patere
do brave deeds and endure
fac simile
make alike -- origin of the word "fax"
flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo
if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell -- Virgil's Aeneid

fortes fortuna adiuvat
fortune favors the bold 

fortis in arduis
strong in difficulties
gloria in excelsis Deo
glory to God in the highest
habeas corpus
you should have the body -- a legal term from the 14th century or earlier; commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to challenge the legality of their detention

habemus papam
we have a pope -- used after a Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope

historia vitae magistra
history, the teacher of life -- from Cicero; also "history is the mistress of life"

hoc est bellum
this is war 
homo unius libri (timeo)
(I fear) a man of one book -- attributed to Thomas Aquinas

honor virtutis praemium
esteem is the reward of virtue
hostis humani generis
enemy of the human race -- Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general

humilitas occidit superbiam
humility conquers pride
igne natura renovatur integra
through fire, nature is reborn whole 

ignis aurum probat
fire tests gold -- a phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances

in absentia
in the absence
in aqua sanitas
in water there is health
in flagrante delicto
in flaming crime -- caught red-handed, or in the act
in memoriam
into the memory -- more commonly "in memory of"
in omnia paratus
ready for anything 

in situ

in position -- something that exists in an original or natural state

in toto
in all or entirely
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimus
then we will fight in the shade -- made famous by Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae and by the movie 300
in utero
in the womb
in vitro
in glass -- biological process that occurs in the lab
incepto ne desistam
may I not shrink from my purpose
intelligenti pauca
few words suffice for he who understands
invictus maneo
I remain unvanquished
ipso facto
by the fact itself -- something is true by its very nature
labor omnia vincit
hard work conquers all

laborare pugnare parati sumus
to work, (or) to fight; we are ready
labore et honore
by labor and honor
leges sine moribus vanae
laws without morals [are] vain
lex parsimoniae
law of succinctness -- also known as Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one

lex talionis
the law of retaliation
magna cum laude
with great praise

magna est vis consuetudinis
great is the power of habit
magnum opus
great work -- said of someone's masterpiece

mala fide
in bad faith -- said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone; opposite of bona fide

malum in se
wrong in itself -- a legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong 

malum prohibitum
wrong due to being prohibited -- a legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law
mea culpa
my fault
better things -- carrying the connotation of "always better"

memento mori
remember that [you will] die -- was whispered by a servant into the ear of a victorious Roman general to check his pride as he paraded through cheering crowds after a victory; a genre of art meant to remind the viewer of the reality of his death
memento vivere
remember to live
memores acti prudentes futuri
mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be
modus operandi 
method of operating -- abbreviated M.O.
montani semper liberi
mountaineers [are] always free -- state motto of West Virginia
morior invictus
death before defeat
morituri te salutant
those who are about to die salute you -- popularized as a standard salute from gladiators to the emperor, but only recorded once in Roman history
morte magis metuenda senectus
old age should rather be feared than death
mulgere hircum
to milk a male goat -- to attempt the impossible 
multa paucis
say much in few words

nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants -- commonly known by the letters of Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
nec aspera terrent
they don't terrify the rough ones -- frightened by no difficulties, less literally "difficulties be damned" 
nec temere nec timide
neither reckless nor timid
nil volentibus arduum
nothing [is] arduous for the willing
nolo contendere
I do not wish to contend -- that is, "no contest"; a plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states that the accused doesn't admit guilt, but will accept punishment for a crime
non ducor, duco
I am not led; I lead
non loqui sed facere
not talk but action
non progredi est regredi
to not go forward is to go backward
non scholae, sed vitae discimus
we learn not for school, but for life -- from Seneca
non sequitur
it does not follow -- in general, a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor
non sum qualis eram
I am not such as I was -- or "I am not the kind of person I once was"

nosce te ipsum
know thyself -- from Cicero

novus ordo seclorum
new order of the ages -- from Virgil; motto on the Great Seal of the United States
nulla tenaci invia est via
for the tenacious, no road is impassable
obliti privatorum, publica curate
forget private affairs, take care of public ones -- Roman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State

panem et circenses
bread and circuses -- originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob; today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters

para bellum
prepare for war -- if you want peace, prepare for war—if a country is ready for war, its enemies are less likely to attack
parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus
when you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things -- sometimes translated as, "once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely"

pater familias
father of the family -- the eldest male in a family 
pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina
if you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don't, money is your master
per angusta ad augusta
through difficulties to greatness
per annum
by the year
per capita
by the person
per diem
by the day
per se
through itself
persona non grata
person not pleasing -- an unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person
pollice verso
with a turned thumb -- used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator
post meridiem
after noon -- P.M., used in timekeeping
post mortem
after death
thing having been written afterward -- in writing, abbreviated P.S.
praemonitus praemunitus
forewarned is forearmed
praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes
lead in order to serve, not in order to rule
primus inter pares
first among equals -- a title of the Roman Emperors 

pro bono
for the good -- in business, refers to services rendered at no charge
pro rata
for the rate
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu
it is how well you live that matters, not how long -- from Seneca 
as if or as though
qui totum vult totum perdit
he who wants everything loses everything -- attributed to Seneca 
quid agis
what's going on? -- what's up, what's happening, etc. 
quid pro quo
this for that -- an exchange of value
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
whatever has been said in Latin seems deep -- or "anything said in Latin sounds profound"; a recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or "educated"
quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
who will guard the guards themselves? -- commonly associated with Plato
of whom -- the number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional

requiescat in pace
let him rest in peace -- abbreviated R.I.P.
rigor mortis
stiffness of death
scientia ac labore
knowledge through hard work
scientia ipsa potentia est
knowledge itself is power
semper anticus
always forward
semper fidelis
always faithful -- U.S. Marines motto
semper fortis
always brave
semper paratus
always prepared
semper virilis
always virile
si vales, valeo
when you are strong, I am strong
si vis pacem, para bellum
if you want peace, prepare for war
sic parvis magna
greatness from small beginnings -- motto of Sir Frances Drake
sic semper tyrannis
thus always to tyrants -- attributed to Brutus at the time of Julius Caesar's assassination, and to John Wilkes Booth at the time of Abraham Lincoln's assassination; whether it was actually said at either of these events is disputed
sic vita est
thus is life -- the ancient version of "it is what it is" 
sola fide
by faith alone
sola nobilitat virtus
virtue alone ennobles
solvitur ambulando
spes bona
good hope
statim (stat)
immediately -- medical shorthand 
status quo
the situation in which or current condition
under penalty
sum quod eris
I am what you will be -- a gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death
summa cum laude
with highest praise
summum bonum
the supreme good
suum cuique
to each his own
tabula rasa
scraped tablet -- "blank slate"; John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge
tempora heroica
Heroic Age
tempus edax rerum
time, devourer of all things
tempus fugit
time flees -- commonly mistranslated "time flies" 
terra firma
firm ground
terra incognita
unknown land -- used on old maps to show unexplored areas
vae victis
woe to the conquered
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas
vanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity -- from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1)
veni vidi vici
I came, I saw, I conquered -- famously said by Julius Caesar
repeat exactly
veritas et aequitas
truth and equity
I forbid
vice versa
to change or turn around
vincit qui patitur
he conquers who endures
vincit qui se vincit
he conquers who conquers himself
vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
[a] wise man does not urinate [up] against the wind
virile agitur
the manly thing is being done
viriliter agite
act in a manly way
viriliter agite estote fortes
quit ye like men, be strong
virtus tentamine gaudet
strength rejoices in the challenge
virtute et armis
by virtue and arms -- or "by manhood and weapons"; state motto of Mississippi

vive memor leti
live remembering death
vivere est vincere
to live is to conquer -- Captain John Smith's personal motto

vivere militare est
to live is to fight
vox populi
voice of the people