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, September 25, 2018

Danger Zone or Unwise Questions


Delores E. Topliff
Who has not accidentally asked unwise awkward questions you immediately wished you could retract? We vocalize questions in light, rising tones, but if offensive, the answers may fly back in heavy, angry tones.

Here are danger zone examples. Unless you’re sure someone is pregnant, a question to avoid if you see a friend gaining weight is, “When is your baby due?”

A risky parallel is, “What did you pay for that item of clothing?” (Your voice tone indicates how poor a choice you think it is).

Hair care and appearance present other minefields. A young woman styling my hair once commented, “You’ve got a really tight perm.” (My hair is naturally curly). Another woman cutting my curly hair asked, “Have you considered having your hair straightened?”

When one student showed up sporting a new and unusual hair style, a beloved teacher asked with a smile, “Who cut your hair? People can be sued for that.” (Because of his always-present smile, his comments were well-received.)

My sister six years younger than I enhances her hair color, but I do not. At her son’s wedding, a friend greeted her and welcomed me by saying, “How nice that your mother could be here with you.” My sister enjoyed that too much.

Now that my hair is gray, someone asked, “What color did your hair used to be?”

A student from long ago who is now in renewed contact asked, “How are you enjoying retirement? (I don’t feel that old, hope I don’t look my age, usually don’t act it, and still enjoy productive fulltime work).

Safe warning reminders might be, “Curiosity killed the cat”, or “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

I wish I could say I have never asked any of the above questions, but I’d be lying.

What war-zone question have you asked that landed you in trouble, and how did you (hopefully) recover the situation?

For more blog posts and news updates, check my website, delorestopliff.com



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Lest We Forget"


Delores E. Topliff
“Lest we forget” is a phrase often used in Remembrance Day services in English-speaking countries, but it also applies to other dates. September 11, 2001 is one such day the world remembers. Its events were four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States. It is believed that Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Mohammed Atef plotted them after a 1999 meeting and chose the date to match 911, the phone number used for U.S. emergencies.

Regarding that and other stand-out events, most of us know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard  major news. On 9/11, I taught college evenings but worked days in a Minneapolis hospital. That morning, I stepped into the basement employee elevator and heard co-workers discussing a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. After reaching my floor, I told my work supervisor, but he had his radio on and told me a second plane had struck the Twin Towers and brought that structure down with the greatest loss of American lives since Pearl Harbor. They were not accidental attacks. Strangers encouraged one another. Churches filled.

For Americans and the world, November 22, 1963, was another unforgettable day day when at 12:30 p.m. Texas time, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I had begun undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, Canada and was amazed at how many students knew I was American and went out of their way to express their condolences. I was more surprised at how many Canadian homes and offices managed to display U.S. flags in sympathy. On one of the saddest days in American life, my personal take-away remains gift-wrapped by so many warm expressions of support that I will never forget.

Major events stick in our minds and hearts to pinpoint such moments forever and make us lay hold again of the the things that strengthen us most.

What days in history live in your mind? Where were you and what were you doing? Recalling them makes time fall away as if we are there again with the events and players crystal clear. Hopefully, such specifics make the memories live to not be repeated—“Lest we forget”.

For more blog posts and news updates, check my website, delorestopliff.com