Category Archives: Informative


Hawaii is beautiful.

Gorgeous when explored by land, sea, or air, it is one of God’s many masterpieces.

Wealthy people have homes (estates) here. Yesterday we saw a house owned by Julia Roberts.

Hawaiian sites were used in the filming of many well-known movies: Pirates of the Caribbean; Six Days, Seven Nights; Donovan’s Reef; Jurassic Park; The Descendants, and too many more to name. 

Things are expensive here. A glass of iced tea, had I chosen to drink one at a restaurant tonight, would have cost us $4.50.

Dan’s mediocre side salad cost $12.99.

Soft drinks and snack foods are about twice the price of the same items at home.

Gas prices hover around $4 a gallon.

All those things you probably already knew.

But you may be blind to lesser known facts about Hawaii. Allow this blonde to lead you through some of these.

  • You will need only casual clothes unless you’re going to a formal ceremony.
  • Leave early for every destination. Parking spaces (narrow) are hard to find.
  • Expect restaurants to offer outdoor seating only. Don’t count on air conditioning.
  • Wear “reef-safe, coral-friendly” sunscreen if you plan to swim in the ocean.
  • Don’t be surprised if events you booked months ago are cancelled after you arrive.
  • Keep your phones charged. Internet signal comes and goes as you drive.
  • Plan on getting wet. It once rained 59 inches in three hours here on Kauai.
  • Island stores offer few items. You may search for Crest but settle for Colgate.
  • Speed bumps abound.
  • Chickens roam everywhere, giving “free range” a whole new meaning.
  • It’s all about ecology here. Walmart provides no “free” bags. Think Aldi.

Visitors tend to be treated well because tourism drives Hawaii’s economy.

But there are exceptions to every rule.

Our restaurant hostess tonight had the personality of a Styrofoam cup.



All of us goof up.

I likely will blunder as many times today as I did yesterday. But I need not repeat the same missteps. If I am smart, I’ll learn the first time I goof-up not to do it again.

Here are common ways people goof up.

  • They goof up when they presume to pat or rub the baby bump of a woman they have never met.

  • They goof up when they violate someone else’s personal space, perhaps by standing too near in an uncrowded elevator. (People prefer a personal space of about 1.5 to 4 feet in all directions.)


  • Clerks goof up when they address adults over the age of 50 with terms like dearie, sweetie and honey.


  • Medical staff goof up when they ask a patient, “How are we feeling today?” Likewise, restaurant servers goof up by asking a patron, “What are we having today?”


  • A friend told me yesterday she once said happily to a woman, “Oh, Darla! I didn’t know you were pregnant!” Darla explained she was NOT pregnant, and my friend prayed to sink through the floor.

You may have goofed up when you told a parent he had a beautiful baby boy when the sweet little baldie was a girl. Avoid this goof-up by saying, “You have a beautiful baby!” Full stop.

Some people make a habit of goofing up (slightly different from goofing off) at work.

I stood in line at the customer service department in a big, we-have-everything store. The man in front of me asked the service clerk how to fix a problem he had with his TV.

The young female clerk never changed her expression.

“No idea,” she said.

The man elaborated.

“No idea,” the clerk said.

When my turn came, I too asked a question about an electronics purchase, and I received the same two-word response.

Was that the extent of her professional vocabulary?

The sign on the wall behind the girl read Customer Service Department. A misnomer, perhaps?

The goof-ups committed by people using their phones are numberless.

  • talking on the phone while transacting business
  • blocking a store aisle while talking or texting
  • playing Candy Crush while stopped at red lights
  • ignoring children and adults who need their attention

I have goofed up in embarrassing ways.

  • When I was a church secretary, I published an announcement that one of the church’s elderly members had died. She had not died. How do you construct a retraction to that goof-up?


  • A few weeks ago, I started out to take a walk. I took with me a bottle of icy water. I stuck my water bottle into a sock belonging to our six-year-old grandson, so my hand wouldn’t freeze. When I got home, Dan asked about the water bottle in the sock and I explained. He reached into a kitchen cabinet and pulled out an insulated cover for cans and bottles. “Why didn’t you just use one of these?” he asked. Why, indeed.


  • I have left buildings wearing someone else’s coat or carrying someone else’s purse. I have gotten into the wrong car in a parking lot. (I have yet to commit all three goof-ups in a single outing.)


  • I once argued with a player, telling her she needed five checkers in a row to win a game of Connect Four.

We all goof up when we speak and when we write.

A woman met her doctor in the grocery store. She had seen him dressed only in scrubs and blurted out, “Oh. I almost didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.”

A therapist noted in her patient’s chart: “The leg continued to improve daily, and by the end of the week, it was entirely gone.”

In the report of a car accident, the driver of the car wrote, “The old man wouldn’t stay in one place. I had to swerve all over the road before I finally hit him.”

Avoid using incorrect words and phrases like these:

  • For all intensive purposes (For all intents and purposes)
  • Nip it in the butt (Nip it in the bud)
  • Irregardless (Regardless)
  • A doggy-dog world (A dog-eat-dog world)
  • I could care less (I couldn’t care less)
  • Should of (Should have)
  • Less than 140 characters (Fewer than 140 characters)

Preachers and politicians goof up by talking longer than audiences will listen. And, alas, writers goof up by composing blog posts too long for their followers to read.



Communication is as important to our lives as food and air. Every day you exchange ideas with other people. Sometimes the exchanges are spoken. At other times, they are written.

This information is important to you and/or to someone else.

But miscommunication is all too common.

Have you arrived at a doctor’s office and been told you have no appointment scheduled on that day?

Have you opened a package from Amazon expecting to find a size medium dress and finding instead a size small?

In both examples, someone miscommunicated.

We can avoid much miscommunication by following these rules.

  1. Know what it is you want to say.

As a speaker, you want to communicate clearly, politely and accurately.

Evaluate these sentences for clarity, politeness and accuracy.

  1. Charles said Tom left his book in the science lab.


  1. Your repairperson visited my office last week and spilled black toner on the carpet. What are you going to do about it?


  1. The Bible says cleanliness is next to godliness.


  • Sentence number one cannot be clearly understood. Whose book was left in the science lab? Was it Charles’s book or Tom’s book?


  • Sentence number two fails to meet the goal of being polite. It may be true that a repairperson created a stain on your carpet. But your tone is accusatory and offensive.


Your goal here should be to communicate a problem and request a solution. Consider this structure instead: After your repairperson left my office last week, I noticed some  spilled toner on the carpet. Will you please arrange to have the spot removed?


  • Sentence number three violates the most important rule of all. It is not accurate. Nowhere in the Bible will you read that cleanliness is next to godliness.


  1. Compose your sentence in your mind before you speak it or write it.

Have you begun a sentence and then stopped midway through it, suspecting you are about to make a grammar error?

This is embarrassing and can happen to anyone. Think before speaking.


  • Should you say, “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than me,” or “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than I?”


That depends upon the comparison you are making.

If you want to indicate your mom loves both you and Aunt Sara, but she loves Aunt Sara more, you will say, “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than me.” (more than she loves me)

If you want to indicate both you and your mom love Aunt Sara, but your mom’s love for Aunt Sara is greater than your love for her, you will say: “Mom loves Aunt Sarah more than I.” (more than I love her)


  • Which one of these sentence structures is correct? “Alex and myself cleaned the whiteboard,” or “Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard,” or “Me and Alex cleaned the whiteboard”?

The correct structure is, “Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard.”

You can master this rule by omitting the other person’s name and reading the sentence as if you are the only person involved.

Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard.”

You would say, “I cleaned the whiteboard.” The addition of another person’s name does not affect the pronoun you use to refer to yourself.

Here is another similar sentence. Would you say, “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and I,” or “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and me”?

Again, omit the other person’s name and read the sentence as if only you are involved. “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and me.”

You would say, “The teacher gave a world map to me.”

  1. Remember you can dodge difficult issues.

If you question the correct structure of a sentence, reword the sentence in another way more comfortable for you.

  • If you are uncertain about this sentence, “Rebecca and (I or me) are going to the concert,” choose to relay the information in a different way, one you know is correct.

I am going to the concert. Rebecca is also going.”

  • If you are uncertain about this sentence, “We are meeting at the (Jones’ or Jonses’) house,” say instead:

“We are meeting at the house where Mr. and Mrs. Jones live.”

Using the English language correctly is difficult. No one wants to be embarrassed by using it incorrectly. You can become more comfortable with our language by learning a few rules at a time.

If you determine what it is you want to say, compose your sentence in your mind before you say it, and remember you can dodge iffy situations, you will have made steps toward becoming more fluent in our English language.


I received my first love letter when I was 12.

Mom handed me the envelope as I ironed a blouse.

The letter was from Ronnie, who lived a state away and was a year older than I was.

I opened the envelope, skimmed the letter, and then tore it into pieces and put the pieces in the trash.

The letter ran along this line: I like you. Do you like me? You have pretty hair, etc.

I wish I had that letter now, but I don’t.

It didn’t go out with that day’s trash though because I dug out the paper pieces and taped them together.

In my early teen years, I had crushes on movie stars like Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare) and Michael Landon (Little Joe Cartwright).

Then my love shifted to Glen Campbell, whom I was certain I would marry. I wrote Mr. and Mrs. Glen Campbell inside hearts on all my school notebooks.

The first boy I had a crush on was a teenager who helped the man who delivered milk to our store. Through the front window of my house, I watched him load gallons of milk onto a dolly and roll it into the store.

I would have died a thousand deaths before I told him I liked him.

The worst thing a girl could do was tell a boy she liked him before he told her he liked her.

The first boy I went out with more than one or two times ditched me for a girl who performed I Gave My Love a Cherry at a school program. I mean that night, after the program, he ditched me for her.

Early dating is always clumsy.

Each partner wonders:


She: Will he hold my hand?

He: I wonder if she would let me hold her hand.


She: Will he kiss me?

He: I wonder if she would let me kiss her.


She: Will he ask me out a second time?

He: I wonder if she would go out with me a second time.

With every relationship, I made blunders.

I rejected one boy’s request for a date with these words: “I can’t go out with you. I’m taller than you are.”

Have I mentioned early dating is clumsy?

I didn’t buy a boutonniere for a boy who took me to a school social because no one told me I should do that. Few people noticed his lack of a flower though because they were looking at his cowboy boots.

Though classmates dropped out of school and got married because they were pregnant, I knew little about the sex those couples engaged in.

On the first night in my college dorm, after lights out, my roommate (a girl I had met for the first time that day) asked me, “So, how far have you gone with a boy?”

She wouldn’t have surprised me more if she had asked how many times I had been arrested.

I don’t remember how I answered, but I remember what she said next.

“I’ve been to second base with a boy a few times.”

Holey Moley!

Feeling in over my head, I kept a safe distance between my dates and me.

Boys nicknamed me “the girl who polishes the passenger side car door.”

But I wanted a real boyfriend, someone who chose me, someone who made me feel special.

The pregnant girls who dropped out of school were like me. They wanted love and acceptance.

Most of the time, that was not what their boyfriends wanted.

Guys use love to get sex and girls use sex to get love.

I will step onto my soapbox for a minute.

Moms, don’t let your daughters grow up unprepared to handle situations they are certain to face.

Dads, tell your daughters often they are beautiful, real treasues, just the daughters you want. Don’t make them wait to get affirmation from boyfriends, whose motives are not as unselfish as yours are.

I recommend this article about teenage sexuality. Check it out.

In the past, I liked/loved several boys. But I have loved only one man, the man to whom I said  I do.


Wikipedia defines a writer as one who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas.

Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash

Earth’s first writers did not use pigments (ink). They chiseled figures and symbols into hard surfaces.

Babylonians drew on wet clay tablets and then baked them. The Chinese chiseled messages on empty turtle shells.

These surfaces were durable but did not allow corrections. Plus, the turtle shells were awkward to stack, and the clay tablets were real backbreakers in the kids’ backpacks.

Later, Romans wrote on wax tablets. These offered writers the convenience of being able to make corrections, but the wax was not heat resistant.

Imagine a young Roman student telling his teacher, “Honestly, I did my homework, but it melted.”

The scribes of Egypt used pigments and sharp reeds to write on papyrus until reeds gave way to quills. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating back to 100 BC, were written with quills.

Pens followed, first those with a split metal nib that held a small quantity of ink, and later ball-point pens, markers and highlighters. Now we have the choice of rollerball pens and pens with liquid gel ink in innumerable colors. The most modern writing instrument is a stylus for use on touch screens.

Today’s writing instruments and surfaces are many and varied. People write with pencils, pens, crayons, markers, lipsticks and chalk on paper, blackboards, whiteboards and cardboard.

And, as sophisticated as we are, we still write with our fingers on dirty cars, dusty countertops and steamed mirrors.

People write on trees, park benches, train cars and bathroom walls. They write MARRY ME in the sky to dazzle girlfriends and HELP! on beaches when they are stranded.

They write on glass, fabric and skin.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

The great humorist, Erma Bombeck, claimed she once grabbed a coloring crayon and ripped off a strip of loose wallpaper to compose a note to her son’s teacher.

When I was a senior in college, engaged to marry Dan after graduation, my roommates used a black marker and numbered the squares on a roll of toilet paper so I could tear off one strip a day and count down the days to my wedding.

This writer appreciates inexpensive, 8.5 x 11-inch, 20 pound, erasable white paper. Being a pen snob, I insist upon using my EnerGel liquid gel ink pen from Pentel, with blue ink and a 0.7 mm point.

The Irish story writer and poet, James Joyce, wrote in large red letters on big slabs of cardboard because he was nearly blind. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, admits to jotting story ideas on empty airplane sickness bags.

Ernest Hemingway once bet his literary friends he could write a story with a beginning, middle and end in just six words. On a table napkin he scrawled For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn. His buddies paid up, and Hemingway left with the winnings.

 Photo by Marcos Gabarda on Unsplash

I scrutinize all my writing projects, searching for errors. Even so, if an error exists, I don’t see it until it leaps out at me from a published document.

This thorough proofreading is unnecessary. Research from the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of Cambridge University shows that readers are amazingly astute.

You can prove that fact by reading the paragraph below.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.



Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

I read many books and articles aimed at making me a better writer. Most of them say to me, “write about things you know.” But I recently came across a different suggestion: Write about things you don’t understand.

That sounds counterintuitive, but I was challenged, so I chose a topic I do not understand.

What is the difference between the soul and the spirit, as those terms are used in the Bible?

Why didn’t I choose to write about how the Internet works, another thing I don’t understand? It too is a very complex subject, but it is a benign topic. Most of my readers don’t care how the Internet works. They just care that it works.

But writing about the difference between one’s soul and one’s spirit (if there is a difference) is a spiritual issue. My readers do care about this topic.

I am no expert on this subject. But, like my readers, I am interested in it. Therefore, I have studied both what the Bible reveals about it and what Biblical scholars have written about it.

Since everyone agrees  that we have a mortal nature, the body, that topic will not be discussed.

INTRODUCTION: Some theologians believe humans have a three-part nature: body, soul and spirit. Other theologians believe we have only a two-part nature: body and soul/spirit, with the words soul and spirit being interchangeable words meaning the same thing.

According to my count on, the words spirit and Spirit in all their forms appear in the NIV version of the Bible over 400 times. The words soul and Soul in all their forms appear just under 100 times in the NIV. Are those numbers significant?

Does this mean that soul and spirit are two different entities, and the Bible has much more to say about the spirit than it does about the soul? Or could the words be interchangeable, and whatever is said of the soul is also said of the spirit?


In the Old Testament: The word soul first appears in Genesis 2:7: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (KJV)

In many of the Old Testament (NIV) verses that use the word soul, the word appears within this phrase: with all your heart and with all your soul.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the Hebrew word nephesh, which is often translated as soul, means: one who breathes. The word appears over 700 times in various English versions of the Old Testament and is not always translated soul.

 This word (nephesh/soul) is at times translated as life. Look at the following example.

1 Kings 17 records the account of Elijah raising to life the son of the widow of Zarephath. Verse 22 reads: The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life (nephesh/soul) returned to him, and he lived.

The same Hebrew word is sometimes translated as person(s), as in this example.

All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons (nepheshes/souls) (Genesis 46:26 KJV).

The King James Version uses over 20 different English words to represent the original Hebrew term. We have looked at only three of them.

In addition to soul, person and life, the word is sometimes used to represent the seat of the appetites, emotions and passions; and others.

To review, the Hebrew word nephesh means one who breathes. In English, the word is translated as soul, as life, as person(s), and as other words.

In the New Testament. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Hebrew word nephesh corresponds to the Greek words psuche or psyche.

The Greek word psyche or psuche is often translated as the English word, soul. It refers to a living, breathing, conscious body.

Like the Hebrew word, nephesh, the Greek word, psyche, is sometimes translated in the English language as breath, life and that which has life.

To recap, both the English Old Testament and English New Testament use words translated as soul to mean life, breath, and those having breath (people).


The English word Spirit first appears in Scripture in Genesis 1:2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (KJV)

The Hebrew term rûach elohim is the basis of the words translated in English as Spirit of God.

Rûach is translated as wind, breath and spirit. Some believe it can also represent man’s intelligence and will.

The Greek word pneuma, meaning breath or wind, is often translated spirit and can also be used to refer to a person (1 John 4:1) and to life (Mark 3:4). It is said to represent man’s vital spirit or the soul.


For those few who are still reading, I will state two theories regarding soul and spirit.

Because the meanings of these two words are so similar, many theologians today believe they are interchangeable terms. They would say that a person is made up of only two parts: a body and a soul/spirit. This view is called dichotomy.

Other theologians disagree. They believe a person is made up of three parts: a body, a soul and a spirit.

Man’s soul includes his intellect, emotions and will. All people have souls, and all can choose whether to serve God or serve sin.

The spirit, they say, is the part of us that worships God and prays to Him. The spirit is a “higher faculty” and comes alive when a person becomes a Christian. This view is called trichotomy.

Those who subscribe to this theory use Hebrews 4:12 to support it. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Proponents of the dichotomy theory, however, believe this verse simply puts a fine point to how completely God’s Word penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life.


If you are thinking: This woman, who reads neither Hebrew nor Greek, has no business writing about this subject, I agree that I have no business writing about it as one with authority.

I am not writing as one with authority. I am writing as a Christian woman who wanted to know more about the terms spirit and soul in the Bible. I studied the terms and am recapping for you my findings.

This much I know without question. There is a part of me that is destined for the grave. But there is also a part of me that death cannot touch.

For that part of me, be it spirit or soul/spirit, I hold to the promise found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 





When I was a child, my parents bought a set of World Book Encyclopedia and Childcraft, the 1964 edition. We had the information of the world at our fingertips.

Today, owning a set of reference books seems archaic. We have Google.

I Googled a few questions this week and will share my newfound knowledge for your benefit.

QUESTION: Why are actors and actresses filmed “drinking” from cups that are obviously empty?


Why do they do that? I wondered. If they can cut off Lieutenant Dan’s legs (Gary Sinese in Forrest Gump) and show him swinging legless on the ropes of a shrimp boat, surely, they can put coffee and tea in cups on a film set.

ANSWER: Spilled liquids can stain costumes or create messes that must be cleaned up, slowing filming. Plus, many scenes require several takes. If an actress begins drinking a glass of iced tea that is three-fourths full on the first take, someone must make certain the same amount of tea is in the glass on the second, third, fourth and seventeenth takes.

This empty cup question is asked often. TV critic, Myles McNutt, made a study of “fake drinking” scenes and created his now long-running  #EmptyCupAwards.

But I still say, if they can cut off Lieutenant Dan’s legs, putting liquids in cups and glasses surely isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.


QUESTION: Do humans have age-indicators like the growth rings on trees?

With age, our skin begins to sag, wrinkles and laugh lines form and our hair turns gray. But it’s hard to determine whether some people are in their late forties or early sixties. I wanted to know if an absolute method exists for determining age.

ANSWER: Just as the number of growth rings in a tree increase with time, revealing its age, degenerative changes in human bone also accumulate as an individual grows older. Trained doctors can measure these changes by observing hand radiographs. Using a scoring system referred to as an Osseographic Scoring System (OSS), they can determine an individual’s biological age. (


QUESTION. How can a spider move through the air and create a web from one tree branch to another?

I understand Spiderman’s web slinging techniques, but I wanted to know how spiders do it.

ANSWER: A spider transforms liquid silk in its glands into solid thread. It then pulls the thread through spinnerets and lifts its spinnerets into the breeze. Even the slightest wind can catch the lightweight thread and carry it onto another branch or even another tree. The spider can then “tightrope” walk across the web, usually hanging to the underside of the thread, to its new location.


QUESTION: What is the difference between epithet and epitaph?

This question is important to a word nerd like me.


An epithet is a nickname, often a negative one.

An epitaph is an inscription on a tombstone.

SAMPLE SENTENCE: One’s epithet may be included in his epitaph.

 CAUTION: Do not confuse either of these words with epaulet.


 QUESTION: What are the most commonly asked questions on Google?

ANSWER: The most commonly asked question on Google is What is my ip? Runners-up include: What time is it? How can I register to vote? and How do I tie a tie?