Phrases that have become so common that they are considered clichés have gotten a bad rap. I can't help but marvel at the creativity and variety of expressions that probably started out as out-of-the-box vagabonds. They travelled many roads, became dusty and even dreaded, and wore out their welcome. Now their use is discouraged in "good" writing.

Periodically I enjoy looking at common phrases and seeing if I can find a new spin for them. Here are some playful observations about some expressions all hailing from the energetic family of "take."

Take a Gander
This is a great image — a goose stretching its neck out to look at something. When we do that with attention and an openness to surprise, the whole world turns into a wonderland. The next time someone asks you what you were doing on your long walk, you might say, "I was taking a gander at the marvels of the Creation."

Take a Bath
Taking a bath in the stock market is neither soothing nor cathartic. And the worst of it: no cleansing takes place!

Take by Storm
This is the old term for "trending." As a film recommender, I have made sure over the years not to allow my responses to a movie to be influenced by box office receipts or the views of critics.

Take Heart
The uplifting spiritual process of nourishing even a little smidgen of hope to light our way into the scary future — that is a fine and courageous thing to do.

Take It on the Chin
In boxing, a hard blow to the chin sends the one who is hit falling to the canvas. But when we live a spiritual life, we can take it on the chin and still arise to go on another day.

Take the Bull by the Horns
Our willingness to square off against formidable challenges, problems. and follies is a good sign of our serious adherence to our commitments and responsibilities.

Take Under One's Wings
This phrase is a beautiful and gentle image of love, caring, and compassion.

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