Salve for Souls

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grammatical Crimes I Have Committed


That one click of my computer’s mouse almost spelled disaster.  I was putting the final touches on my inspirational thriller, The Face Behind the Veil, and about to e-mail it to my publisher, when I decided to change a character’s name from Joseph to Stanley. 
           
 It only took an instant to do this "globally"  throughout the 600 page, three-part document, which traces the legend of the birth veil through three generations.
            
 That was the only alteration I made after the book was edited.  Confident it was error-free, I clicked "send" and off it went.   It wasn’t long before I received the galley proof for me to approve, so the printing process could begin.
             
Weary of the seven-year project, I almost didn’t review the galley.  But something in me couldn’t let it go until I did.  That must have been Providential.  Imagine my shock when I discovered how the name change I made affected a scene where the Christmas story is told.  In horror, I read the following.
                      
 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Stanley, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Stanley her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Stanley, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost . . .. Then Stanley being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife."
(Matthew 1:18-20, 24)

After getting over my initial shock, I made the necessary changes.  However, rather than globally, I did this the old fashioned way, one at a time.



Think that dream  you had might mean something? Flora's devotional explores the many expressions of God's voice. 
http://shop.myhelpinghandspress.com/Where-Your-Heart-Meets-God-Flora-Reigada-97885167.htm?categoryId=-1 
         

A PICTURE OF HEAVEN



 In a car with no heater, I shivered all the way to the hospital that cold January day.  But I was also trembling with fear.  Suspicious lumps had been discovered and I was scheduled for tests that would determine if they were malignant.

If you let me have my life, God . . . I bargained

God did let me have my life, as the lumps were benign.  However, being confronted with my own mortality made me yearn to know more about immortality—and heaven.  Does the Bible paint a picture of heaven that I can understand?  I believe it does.  For me, it paints a picture of home.

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven," said the late Sir John Bowring.

Warm memories of growing up in a secure Victorian home with my mother, grandparents and aunt, help me to appreciate Sir Bowring's words.  Even though my family members were not believers, they treated me with great kindness.

Recently, my eighty-year-old mother and I cracked open an old family photo album, to recall those bygone days.  Most of the black and white photos were taken in that elegant home, which my grandfather had restored from ruin. 

In rural Staten Island, New York, it was sheltered by trees and across the street from peaceful woods.  With a grand stairway, polished hardwood floors, spacious rooms with beamed ceilings and crackling fireplaces, the house was like a mansion to me.

But when my grandparents died and the house was sold, the door to that "mansion" forever closed. The sorrow these losses etched into my heart makes me grateful for the promise of a heavenly home—beyond the reach of death or time.

"In my Father's house are many mansions" Jesus assures his disciples and all who believe (John 14:2, KJV).  "I go to prepare a place for you."

Although my finite mind could never capture the wonders of such a place, my family photo album offers hints. My mother pointed out an old snapshot.  It showed me at two years of age, beneath the boughs of our family's majestic Christmas tree.  Just as he did every year, my grandfather had purchased the large spruce, then set it up beside our grand stairway.  Antique ornaments would shimmer while the fragrance of evergreen mingled with home-cooked food wafted through our home.  I looked overjoyed among toys that my folks had lovingly chosen. 

Only after my grandparents were departed, did I realize how blessed I was to have experienced such personalized attention.  But God lavishes His personal love on each Christian--as if there were no other.  Every one is "the apple of his eye" (Deuteronomy 32:10, NIV).  That is but one reason why I believe our mansions will be tailor made. 

"I go to prepare a place for you" (emphasis mine) Jesus reassures His own in John 14:2. Those words tell us that heaven's mansions aren't cookie-cutter sprawl.  He, who created humanity in such a beautiful tapestry of sizes, shapes and colors, has to enjoy variety.  Our Creator, who worked as a carpenter, must be preparing mansions as unique as our DNA—each according to a personalized blueprint.  Because Jesus cares about our every heartache, individual touches might involve situations and desires that earth left unfulfilled. 

What disappointments have we suffered?  What prayers have gone unanswered?  In heaven's glittering mansions, I believe we will find the fulfillment of lost dreams and desires.  We will also find earth's heartaches understood in heaven's light.

My grandparents might have spent a month preparing the Christmas gifts.  Compare this to the 2000 years Jesus has so far spent preparing our heavenly homes.  Imagine the wonderful surprises He is tenderly tucking away in heaven's mansions.  "More than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20, NIV) awaits God's dear children.

Another picture my mother pointed out was taken in my grandparents’ dining room, during the 1940's.  Beneath the beamed ceiling and crystal chandelier, the Chippendale, "claw foot" table was spread with silver platters of sumptuous food.  The juicy roast beef, buttery vegetables and fresh bread were for a wedding reception, held in the home.  Surrounding the table, were the happy bride and groom, along with other family members.  All wore the glamorous styles of the day—women in dresses of silk, satin and velvet, men in military uniforms or tweed suits.

Looking at that picture, I could almost smell the food.  The laughter of my loved ones seemed to echo down the corridors of time.  And God will not let that laughter forever fade away.  I look forward to joining my heavenly family of believers, at the "wedding supper" of heaven's King (see Revelation 19:9).  Even now, I get a preview of this great day by gathering with fellow Christians for communion.

I was reminded of this by yet another picture in the old album.  Also at the wedding reception, my entire family had assembled in the massive entrance hall.  Almost everyone I knew and loved still smiles at me from that photo.  Without any of those dear ones, the picture would have been incomplete.

 I'm amazed to think Jesus feels the same about each of us.  Our individual faces make up His portrait of family and home.  From time immemorial, He has carried us in the locket of His heart.  I don't doubt He "opened" that locket while He purchased our salvation on Calvary.  For just one of us He would have left heaven's mansions for a manger and a cross.

And there is always room in God's family picture (and in His heart) for one more.  Empty seats remain at His banquet table.  The good news is that reservations can still be made.  Christ asks those who believe, to carry this invitation to others through the presentation of the gospel.  In Luke 14:23 we are instructed to, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full" (NIV).

However, as my mother looked up from our family album I saw tears in her eyes. "They're all gone," she wept of the loved ones to whom we had bid sad farewells, "all gone."

A trip my mother and I took to our old neighborhood was likewise disheartening.  Abandoned and deteriorating, the house had again fallen into ruin.  Gone were the peaceful woods across the street.  In their place were tall buildings that overshadowed my former home.  My mother and I walked into the yard, now overgrown and strewn with trash.  Peeking through the faded windows, we saw only decaying clutter. 

The old house was just a shell without my family members.  I regret that most of them were gone before I knew Christ, and I had nothing eternal to offer them.  However, a solitary, purple iris poking out from the weeds in the yard, rekindled my hope. Like that flower, my maiden aunt remained after the others had passed away.  I told her of my new found faith, which she accepted as her own. "I'll see you in heaven!" I exclaimed, overjoyed with her decision.

Not long after, a shocking phone call came.  My beloved aunt had suffered a heart attack and died.  Today, I still see her in those old pictures.  And I know we will meet again.  She waits with our heavenly family of believers, who will die no more.  Because Christ conquered death and the grave (see 1 Corinthians 15: 54-57) death casts no pall in heaven's light.  Therefore, sad farewells have no place in a picture of heaven.  Nor do aging bodies, decaying buildings or altered landscapes.

But, what does belong in a picture of heaven?  One more photo in my family album helps bring this into focus.  The picture is of my maiden aunt, smiling from the front steps of our home.  Her hand is on the knob, as if she is about to open the door and bid me welcome. 

If  I could re-enter those secure, old doors I would be greeted by the waiting embraces of loved ones.  I would be enveloped by the beauty of elegant rooms, warm with firelight and the glow of love.  I would also find a place at the dining room table, prepared just for me.

So much more awaits the Christian, when Heaven's gates of pearl (see Revelation 21:21) open to welcome us home.  Earth's dearest delights are but fleeting shadows compared to the wonders God is preparing for those who love Him.
As Robert Browning wrote in his poem, Rabbi Ben Ezra; "The best is yet to be."


Flora is a novelist and journalist. She invites you to check out her devotional book, that explores the many ways God whispers our name. https://www.amazon.com/Where-Your-Heart-Meets-Gods/dp/1622085868
Devotional also available in "sample" kindle edition, just 99 cents. https://www.amazon.com/Where-Your-Heart-Meets-Gods-ebook/dp/B00X1LCFXK
Flora also invites you to fly away on a dream Florida vacation in her "Castle in the Sun" romance/suspense series. Book I is "Love's Sweetest Revenge."
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BLKMLRC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
The saga continues in Book II, "Love and Obsession."
https://www.amazon.com/Love-Obsession-Castle-Sun-Book-ebook/dp/B01M1O6HC4
Meet WWII's "Greatest Generation" and explore the secrets of the mysterious birth veil in Flora's historical novel, "The Face Behind the Veil."
http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000386300/The-Face-Behind-the-Veil.aspx

Homonyms, Homophones and Horror-nyms




Homonyms are words that share the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings, while homophones are words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.


These are often misspelled, misused and confused.  I know because I have done it—and I call them all horror-nyms.


Examples of errors, my own and otherwise, will be followed by a list of homophones, with a homonym or two.

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Observed: She was quick as a march (no capitalization) hair.

Observed: The king sat on his thrown.

Committed: I enjoyed the lethargic dancers instead of the liturgical dancers.

Committed: We traveled to the British Aisles.

Committed: I once referenced the cannon of scripture, instead on canon.

Committed: She was messaging my feet, instead of massaging.

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Ad/add
Addition/edition
Affect/effect
Aid/aide
Ail/ale
Aisle/isle
Altar/alter
Antidote/anecdote Arc/ark
Awful/offal
Ball/ball (dance)/bawl
Beet/beat
Bear/bare
Bells/belles
Birth/berth
Blue/blew
Boar/bore
Board/bored
Bolder/boulder
Border as in edge/boarder as in tenant
Bow to bend forward/bow on a ship/bough of a tree/bow [pronounced "bo"] (decorative)
Bow/bough
Break/brake
Breach/breech
Breath/breadth
Cannon/canon
Cant/can't
Capital/capitol (building)
Chaste/chased
Complement/compliment
Cord/chord
Counsel/council
Count (title)/count (verb)
Course/coarse
Cow as in bovine/cow (v.) as to intimidate
Crane (machine)/crane (bird)/crane (verb)
Dairy/diary
Dam/damn
Date as in day/date as in a day out/date as in fruit
Dear/deer
Deign/Dane
Dessert/desert
Die/dye
Do as in a note/dough for bread/doe (deer)
Do/dew/due
Dove (bird)/dove (past tense of dive)
Draw as if in pull/draw as if drawing a picture
Drop (fall)/drop (liquid)
Eight/ate
Fair/fare
Fawn/faun
Feat/feet
Flea/flee
Flower/flour
Fly (like a bird)/fly (insect)
Fore/four
Fowl/foul
Fuse/fuze
Gate/gait
Gene/jeans (pants) Gene/Jean (names)
Genes/jeans/Jean (woman's name)Great/grate
Hail/hale
Hair/hare
Hall/haul
Handy work/handiwork (I saw this written on facebook.)
Hay/hey
Hear/here
Heard/herd
Heart/hart
Hew/Hugh/hue
Holy/wholly
Hole/whole
Horse/hoarse
Hose/hoes
Hour/our
Idle/idol/idyll
Its/it's
Knew/new/gnu
Knight/night
Know/no
Led/lead (past tense)/lead(metal)
Letter (correspondence)/letter (of alphabet)
Liken/lichen
Loose/lose
Lure/lore
Lure (verb)/lure (noun)
Maid/made
Main/mane/Maine (i.e. Spanish Main)
Mail/male
Manner/Manor, as in house
March as in a month/march as in a parade
Meet/meat/mete
Message/massage
Metal/mettle/medal
Mite/might
Mole as in animal/mole as in blemish
Moon/moon (verb)
Morning/mourning
Mould/mold
Nap/nape
Need/knead
Oar/or/o'er
Pair/pear/pare
Pain/pane
Palate/pallet
Pall/Paul
Past/passed
Paws/pause
Peace/piece
Peek/peak/pique
Peer/pier
Picture/pitcher
Pine/pine (verb)
Plain/plane
Please/pleas
Poker/polka
Pole/poll
Pour/pore
Presents/presence
Prey/pray
Principal/principle
Profit/prophet
Prostate/prostrate
Queue/cue
Rap/wrap
Reign/rain
Right/rite
Road/rode
Row/roe
Rye/wry
Scent/sent
See/sea
Seed/cede
Seem/seam
Shoe/shoo
Shutter/shudder
Site/cite/sight
Sew/so/sow (seeds) /sow (female pig)
Shear/sheer
Soul/sole
Stare/stair
Steak/stake
Steal/steel
Stern (strict)/stern on a ship
Style/stile
Sun/son
Some/sum
Tail/tale
Tear (from eye)/ tier
Tear (rip)/tare
Tea/tee
Tenants/tenets
There/their/they’re
Throne/thrown
Toad/towed/toed
Too/two/to
Trip (journey)/trip (stumble)
Vain/vane
Veil/vale
Vile/vial
Vise/vice
Waste/waist
Way/weigh/whey
Week/weak
Wet/whet
Whale/wail
Where/wear/ware
Whether/weather
Whore/hoar
Width/with
Writing/riding
You/ewe
You’re/your/yore

Monday, February 23, 2015

Superstore Hero

            The aisle in the store was packed with last minute Christmas shoppers and crammed with carts. I was among the shoppers and we had all claimed our space to pore over items on the shelves. I felt pressured and hurried, as I had other items to buy and when I got home, supper to cook.
            I didn't think even a fly could fit into that aisle until an elderly man seated in a motorized cart, managed to squeeze his way in.  Then he just parked there, only to sit and take up precious space.
            Everyone pushed around him as if he were invisible.  I tried to as well, but hemmed-in between his motorized cart and a display, I was trapped.
            Letting out an annoyed sigh, I briefly took notice of the man who had hindered my shopping.  He appeared somewhat disheveled, with his pants pulled down too low, revealing what appeared to be an adult diaper.
            Before I could turn away, he began talking.
            "You know, I've lived a charmed life …."
            My mind screamed.  "I don't have time to listen to this man's life story.  I've got so many things to do."
            Despite the shopping mayhem around us, he continued talking as if we were taking a leisurely stroll down a country path.
            "When I was serving in the South Pacific, I took a walk along the shore and picked up a small object from the sand.  Something about it didn't seem right, so I threw it in the ocean."
            At this point, I began to think of this man as more than an interruption.  He was likely a World War II veteran, part of the "Greatest Generation," who had served in the Pacific Theater.  I tried to imagine him a young warrior, storming the shores of Iwo Jima.  Now here he was, wearing an adult diaper, sitting almost helplessly in a motorized shopping cart.
            He continued with his story.
            "That night, I remembered a training film our troops were shown about dangers in the South Pacific.  One of them was that object I had picked up from the beach.  If it was held for more than a minute, it would release a poison that could kill a man."
            The elderly gentleman went on to tell me a couple of other ways in which his life was spared.
            "Someone's been watching out for you," I told him.
            He nodded.  "Like I said, I've lived a charmed life."
            After we parted, I was glad I had paused to listen.  I remembered the times I had felt like a ghost trying to break through from another realm, as others spoke.  So often, I just want to be heard, as did the man in the store.  Only God knows how many stories and adventures are locked up inside this hero.
            In Luke 6:31, we read the words of Jesus.  "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (NIV).
            I haven't always succeeded at this, but maybe a part of it, is giving that one lonely person the gift of a listening ear.
World War II's Greatest Generation is featured in "The Face Behind the Veil" by Flora Reigada