I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Truth Trumps Fiction, or in Honor of Honest Abe

Delores E. Topliff 
Fiction often draws from  historical peoples’ lives for character development. Except some life patterns are so amazing, they’re not believable. I remember talking with a Zondervan editor sharing a poignant true event of my mother’s life I’d included in a book I was writing when she responded, “Not plausible, that couldn’t happen." Except it had.

Nine days from now we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Abe knew people worked hard to earn money and as a young Illinois store clerk, walked three miles to return six pennies he’d accidentally overcharged a customer. Therefore, since his 100th birthday in 1909, his picture has appeared on the U.S. penny, our smallest coin, to honor his role model  honesty. In fact, that kind of integrity became part of the body of stories growing up him that were the best P.R. possible and eventually put him in presidential office, besides securing a place in our hearts.

Next consider Diogenes, the Cynic, who lived in ancient Greece. By choice he lived in a barrel walking around carrying a lantern searching for an honest person since he was convinced no truthful honest man or woman existed. Too eccentric for a hero or anti-hero? Probably, but unforgettable all the same.

Lincoln once said, “You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” In other words, not much should be able to do that. He may be paraphrasing Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

For my money, I’ll take Honest Abe, saluting his character every time I jingle his pennies in my pocket.

Old-timers  say, “Beauty is as beauty does.” Homely? Ungainly? Kind! His conduct was beautiful.

Therefore, in my books, Lincoln was the most handsome president we’ve had. I slip a Lincoln penny into the cake I bake on his birthday to serve grandkids while talking about his life and honesty.

Tell us how you celebrate him or another favorite person of your choice.


  1. Love your post, Delores. I have to agree, so often truth does trump fiction. I used to love reading about honest Abe when I was a child. Maybe I should try out your cake & penny tradition. I think my kids would love it!

  2. Didn't know that about Abe. He is my favorite president. Great post and love the idea of baking a cake on his birthday and putting a penny in it.

  3. Wow, Delores. You always give me lots to think about! It reminds me a little of my post last week about truth being stranger than fiction! I do greatly admire Abe Lincoln! Instead of bemoaning his humble start in life, he worked hard and became one of our most admired presidents! Young people today would do well to take a lesson from him!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this today, Dee. And what a great way to honor an honorable man. You always have the tastiest tidbits for us. Thanks Dee!

  5. Nice to hear from each of you. Thanks for your comments.