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Need to buy a dictionary?

Recently, I needed to buy a dictionary.  And quickly.  At Sunday morning worship service, our pastor made the congregation aware of an opportunity to replace some school supplies that were destroyed in the recent flooding in West Virginia.  Loving these kind of projects that particularly bless teachers and kids, I looked over the requested items.  Crayons, notebooks, markers…A DICTIONARY!  I’ll get that and return it by the deadline later in the week.  This provided a great reason to head to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet for a book (or two or three).  I did find a couple of dictionaries there, but they were paperback and didn’t seem very child friendly.  Great prices weren’t enough.  This kind of heartfelt goal propelled me to the full-priced book store in our mall.  The clerk directed me to the dictionaries, and there were lots to choose from.  I needed a way to differentiate.

Leafing through the books, I was drawing a blank on what words to look up.  Then, noticing that the proper names of people were included, I chose to find the publishers’ definitions of “Jesus”.  Some said simply “the founder of Christianity” – like “the founder of Facebook”.  Not enough.  Then I spotted the MacMillan Dictionary for Children.  Look!  There are dinosaurs on the front!

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As I opened this substantial volume and thumbed through for the  J pages, which, by the way, has an advantage for children over typing in a word and having a definition pop up on a screen, I was visually pleased by the abundance of colorful illustrations.  Ah, here it is:

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In my mind’s eye, I could see a kid looking this up and wondering, “Why would people think that this man was the son of God?”  What a great question!  Perhaps more research would follow.  The $20 price seemed reasonable for a book that could interest kids, inform them, and develop curiosity and a love of learning.  I wish that I had looked up the dinosaurs before hurrying the dictionary to the school supply deposit at my church, but I did randomly open up to the butterfly definition and found this beautiful graphic illustration.

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Here is the description of the MacMillan Children’s Dictionary that I found at on-line booksellers’ sites.

Product Description

The #1 children’s dictionary in America is now completely revised with a stunning design! With more than 3,000 images and 35,000 up-to-date entries, the most trusted name in children’s reference is easy to navigate and fun to peruse. Authoritative, accurate, and current, the Macmillan Dictionary for Children is the ideal resource for beginning readers and spellers. Recommended for ages 8 to 12, grades 3 to 6.
It’s a great resource for kids.  On-line reviewers testify to kids carrying it around with them and reading it for fun.   But I think I would edit the description to include ages up to 99.  I’m tempted to get a copy for myself, and no doubt would pick it up before using my “adult dictionary”.   Here are a couple of sites where you can find The MacMillan Children’s Dictionary for less than $20.
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Yikes! It’s National Book Lovers Day!

On Facebook this morning, I saw a post about National Book Lovers Day and suddenly found myself under a DEADLINE. As a new blogger, I’ve set a goal of writing every week. But it’s only Tuesday, and I have people coming over this afternoon to study a book together. Guests coming or not, I put the cleaning off and began this post. After all, they’re readers. They’ll understand. A post about the books I have read this summer was already on my to-do list, and today has to be the day.

I’m an advocate of reading books, teaching lessons to 1st graders called “Read, Read, Read” and “Books Build Brains”.  Most of the books I read are nonfiction. They just seem more useful to me. I read physical books, not digital, and I usually buy them. They become a sort of reference library, and I love having a copy that I can hand to someone else.

 Books that I started and finished this summer:

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I grabbed my neighbor’s copy of this one last summer when she brought it over to sell in our garage sale. Enough other women had referred to it that I thought I ought to read it. Now I’ve turned into one of the women who refer to this practical and fun marriage help book. The author has determined that people show love in five distinct ways and that each of us responds to one or more of these more strongly than to the others. The couples’ stories Chapman shares are  insightful and encouraging. I highly recommend The 5 Love Languages to anyone who desires to develop a lasting marriage after the infatuation wears off.

This is Your Captain Speaking by Gavin MacLeod
I stumbled upon this one at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, where I buy lots of books for under $5. The cover photo of the smiling captain of The Love Boat caught my attention, and the subtitle, “My Fantastic Voyage Through HOLLYWOOD, FAITH & LIFE”, sealed the deal. MacLeod has written this autobiography in his 80s with a humble and endearing style. When I gave a copy to my mom, I told her, “Parts of it will make you laugh and parts will make you cry, but that’s the way a life is!”

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
This is the first of two books written by Harper Lee, preceding To Kill A Mockingbird, but published 55 years later. I read Mockingbird for the first time last summer and was enchanted by it. Go Set a Watchman was my vacation read (fictional) and one that I found thought-provoking and relevant for the times. I recommend reading Mockingbird first and not expecting Watchman to be much like it.

What I’m reading now:

Mother & Son: The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD
I am a fan of Eggerichs’ “Love & Respect Ministries” resources.  This is the latest, published in spring 2016. The title hints at an important element in a successful male/female relationship that I missed in Chapman’s book about love languages. If you are the mother of a son of any age or someone who teaches or supervises young men, you can gain understanding about what motivates them and skill in speaking so they will listen from this book.

What I read on most days:

I begin nearly every day with my favorite book. It is actually a collection of 66 books written by 40 inspired authors over a 1,500 year time period. It is autobiographical, and allows the reader to interact with The Author as she reads. “According to Guinness World Records, the BIBLE is the best-selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed” (quoted from Wikipedia).

And the book that my friends and I will be talking about in just a couple of hours? The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury, also purchased at Ollie’s and containing a great blend of history and fiction.

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Happy Book Lovers Day!

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Who am I? And why am I starting this blog?

In the winter of 1990, a man who I was paying to help me through some depression challenged me to tell him who I am without telling him what I do.  I use the word “challenged” instead of “asked” because I found it to be a very difficult thing to do.   Apparently, I had never really considered who I was.   We worked through a few things; he identified me as a perfectionist with a little postpartum depression; and he sent me on my way with a little encouragement and a pretty serious warning.  Perhaps I’ll tell you about the warning at another time.

As a new blogger, I recognize that you might also want to know who I am and why I’m putting my thoughts out here for you to consider.  So here goes.  Without using any descriptive words, I can say that I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, a wife, a mother, a homemaker, a neighbor, an American, a friend, a Christian, a volunteer, a crocheter (spell check doesn’t like this one, but I stand by it), a flutist, a creative (it’s not just an adjective anymore), an introvert, a student, a leader, and a follower.

I resisted the adjectives because they would more than likely take me into the “what I do” realm.    I do recognize that nouns that end in “er” possibly fall into that realm as well, but I include some because they feel like a legitimate part of my identity.  At least 8 of these define who I was at birth.  The rest I have become.

Now that wasn’t so hard.  Moving on to “Why am I starting this blog?”  Like everything else that I do, I suppose I am responding to who I am.  As a 21st Century woman who is a relative, a friend, a mentor, and an introverted creative, I am interested in sharing my “collected thoughts” through on-line written word.

A few years ago, as a student in a wise teacher’s class, I was challenged to “know what you believe”.  Well, that can be even more difficult that stating who I am!  This blog is, first of all, a tool for me to collect my thoughts, determine where they’ve come from, decide whether they’re based in truth, and give them a place to live.  My hope is that the discipline that is required to do this will produce something useful to me and possibly to you.

I will likely permit myself to venture into the realm of what I do and why I do it in the weeks and months ahead.  Possibly years.   I also look forward to sharing with you, and preserving for myself, some writings from others that I find valuable.  At this early stage as a blogger (a new part of my identity?), I am excited about actually writing things down instead of wanting to, but not taking the time to do it.

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