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, July 19, 2016

Why We Write

A dear friend asked me two weeks ago to help two young homeschool girls with their composition. They had written a thank you note to my friend, and she panicked when she saw a sample of their writing. It matters because she loves their family.

In seeking to prepare a class, I wondered how to impress upon them the importance of this part of their education. I asked them, "Why do we write?" I wanted them to consider the possibilities in life when they might need to this skill.

Perhaps all of us need to consider it. In this season of elections, we might need to convince our friends how important certain issues are. (I promise not to make our blog political by giving my opinion, but I confess--I'm tempted!)

Consider this. Many folks go from week to week, seldom hearing from a friend. Why not make their day by penning a letter? Or maybe we need to persuade a discouraged relative to read the Bible or go to church. A little consolation in difficult times can go a long way. Spread a little encouragement around your sphere of acquaintances--by writing!

Someday you may need to request an item from a company. Or you might want to inform some folks about a great opportunity. What about letters or articles for a newspaper?  We all know the cliche how the pen triumphs over the sword! Who knows? You could be the person to make a difference in your community.

Then the rest of us turn up. We can't not write. Ok, I know that's a double negative. But in this case, nothing else says it. I think God put an urge to write into our DNA! We write something--all the time. Stories swirl in our heads, and we cannot make them go away! Nor should we.

What have I left out? Why do you write? Why should our kids learn to write? What are you working on right now?


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What's In A Name?

Delores E. Topliff

Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name will smell as sweet.” But will it?
Names are designating words by which we know and identify people, places, and things. John the son of John becomes John Johnson (I had an uncle by marriage named that). Names can indicate professions, like Carpenter, Baker, Smith, or Shepherd.

Some places are named for famous people, like the real towns of George, Washington, or Astoria, Oregon, for famous German-American founding entrepreneur, John Jacob Astor.

Since Norman French times in England My last name, Topliff, indicated a family living at the top of a Yorkshire cliff. I tease that it’s spelled more simply now because there erosion made the “c” fall over the edge.

Alexander the Great named thirteen cities for himself, though the one we know best today is Alexandria, Egypt.

Companies can be named for inventors, like the Ford Motor Company, or Smith and Wesson. Ships are sometimes named to honor people like the Queen Elizabeth the II, or the Santa Maria.

We may buy real estate and christen it Happy Acres or Retirement Bliss. People get inventive with pleasure craft names like Lazy Days, or Our Children’s Inheritance.

It’s a travesty that the name of Bethlehem Hospital in London long ago got contracted to “Bedlam” and now stands for the mentally ill people treated there. Similarly the word “gossip” came from “Gospel,” meaning “Good news,” though that's seldom the case now.

There are real towns with names I’d love to explore, like Nowthen or Embarrass, MN, Coffee, MS, Chicken, AK, and many more. It’s a privilege to choose perfect names for children or pets. It’s even fun inventing names for characters and places in stories or books we write.

A friend once overhauled my car and warned me not to drive far because he couldn’t vouch for its reliability. It safely drive a thousand miles each way to a church convention and back, but I pranked him by phoning and saying I’d broken down in fictional, “Houndstooth, Kentucky.”

The names of people dearest to us often end up being our favorite names of all. Rose? Maybe no contest. Thorn? Probably a far different association.

Which names mean the most to you? What would you name your future vacation getaway or retirement haven?


“A rose by any other name will smell as sweet” . . . but I’m not sure it always 
does.