Antique or Classic? What makes the difference?

Delores E. Topliff The word antique, from the Latin antiquus meaning old or ancient, describes collectible items usually at least 100 years old. They are desirable because of age, beauty, rarity, condition, personal or emotional connection, and/or other unique features. Representing earlier times, they show high-quality craftsmanship or skilled attention to design, and are usually found in antique shops, estate sales,…

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There are fascinating origins behind most nursery rhymes.

Delores E. Topliff I love discovering the history and origins behind most common nursery rhymes that bring added details on the life and times of real people and events. Children may singsong these easily memorized words and tunes on playgrounds which adults could noy openly say then for fear of punishment. For example, some believe Rockabye…

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Funny Things Happen on our way to Written English – “Though the written word may stay you, the spoken word can slay you.”

Delores E. Topliff If the above words aren’t already a famous quotation, they should be, since correct word pronunciation often trips us up. I remember being a dreamy sixth grader who loved practicing new words. One morning as I looked at the sunrise through our classroom window, I described, “winter’s roseate dawn!” My longsuffering teacher…

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Southern Exposure

Delores E. Topliff Today I finish three months of great Southern living 860 miles south of Minnesota where when temperatures dropped to -26 northern Mississippi dipped to 23 above but rose to 71 in a few days. I used to be amused by people who became snowbirds but find now I am one. It’s been…

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It’s Almost Valentine’s Day – Finding A Perfect Life Mate, Part 2

Delores E. Topliff For Part 2 of finding a perfect life mate, I’ll introduce you to my Uncle Johnny. As a kid, I found him fascinating. He collected all kinds and shapes of polished agates, had countless records of bird songs, stacks of National Geographics, and a few statues of naked alabaster ladies. Everything he displayed…

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It’s Almost Valentine’s Day – Finding A Perfect Life Mate, Part 1

Delores E. Topliff With Valentine’s Day soon here, it’s time for practical advice on love and romance. In our day when TV reality shows like The Bachelor earn top ratings, and library shelves are overloaded with books on relationship building and successfully choosing life mates, everyone hopes to find gold at the end of our…

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Garde lieu—or vocabulary building can be dangerous.

Delores E. Topliff The most fun college class I’ve created and taught so far was when students including my oldest son asked me to put together a college vocabulary class so their skills could grow. I found a great book and we were off and running. Call me sentimental, but I still have a few…

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Merry Christmas leads to Easter

Delores E. Topliff That first Christmas at His wondrous birth in Bethlehem angels sang, “Peace on earth, good will to men.” More than ever this year I see that His birth and Galilee childhood and then His ministry’s completion in Jerusalem did purchase peace and good will for all who believe. On my first trip…

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Please tell me where that name came from again (Part 2)

Delores E. Topliff I love the historic origins behind many dining, fashion, and cultural statements. Crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD, Charlemagne, King of France, established a royal school for children, which he sometimes attended. He also improved etiquette. Unhappy with his soldiers stabbing meat with short daggers to gnaw meat off the bones, he…

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Tell me where that name came from (Part I)

Delores E. Topliff Researching and now writing historic novels, I love learning stories behind the words, rhymes, etc., that are now part of our everyday world. For example, the tongue twister, “She sells sea shells down by the seashore” comes from historic fact, but not about seashells. Mary Anning, born in 1799 in Dorset, England, was…

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