Do You Judge My Southern Accent?

Accent Judging

Jeff and I flew from Alabama to California last week. He was attending a work seminar hosted by German presenters.

After a conversation, one of his German co-workers asked him, “I haven’t heard an accent like yours. Are you not from America?”

We got a good laugh out of it.

As a southerner, we frequently hear jokes about our accents.

And the connection between our accents and lack of intelligence.

Just like we judge people based on their looks/weight/clothes/toys, we also can judge people based on their speech.

And not just accents. We also judge people by their grammar.

Grammar Snobs

As a child, my father wouldn’t allow us to use words like “ain’t.” He wanted us to speak proper English at all times, much to our dismay.

When my own girls were teenagers, I cringed at their use of “like” to talk about talking (“I was like, ‘No way am I going.’ And she was like, ‘Oh yes you are.’”). I pleaded in vain for them to break the habit (btw, they didn’t).

My current pet peeve is the ever-growing usage of “I” as the object of a preposition instead of “me” (incorrect: “Come ride with Jeff and I”; correct: “Come ride with Jeff and me).

Remember the Bible story of “shibboleth” in the book of Judges 12?

To distinguish outsiders from locals, the Gileadites asked each person wanting to cross the Jordan River to pronounce “shibboleth.” If they pronounced it “sibboleth” instead, they were killed.

ShibbolethCartoon

Maybe we aren’t that extreme in our judgments, but we do often disregard what someone is saying because of how they say it.

And even worse, disregard who they are, inappropriately classifying them as “other” instead of “us.” We miss out when we judge.

Words on the Move

Below is an excerpt I read from Words on the Move: Why English Won’t—and Can’t—Sit Still (Like, Literally).

I hope my southern accent won’t deter from the importance of the book.

(And in case you don’t know what a quotative is, because I didn’t before reading the book, it’s a word used to introduce a quotation, like, “said” or “replied.”)

[Click here if you can’t see the video]

Words on the Move is an enlightening work (I loved it!) by linguist John McWhorter, not only about grammar and all things word-related, but also about releasing our judgments on what is proper and improper speech instead of simply alternative speech. (For grammar snobs, this can be painful, but, oh, so good for us to hear.)

words-on-the-move

Drop the Prejudice

Because we often judge a book by its cover, or a person by their speech, without even thinking about it, how can we change?

First, we have to wake up. Pay attention to your internal response when someone speaks differently than you.

  • Do you judge them as poor if they use “uneducated” grammar?
  • Do you judge them as gangster if they are street talkers?
  • Do you judge them as smart if they have a British accent (or is that just me)?

Language refuses to sit still. Words change. Accents migrate. Don’t get hung up on a word or voice and miss the person.

Once aware of our biases, we can then look deeper. Listen harder.

And thus love more.

More from John McWhorter:

“However, none of us is pretending that a society of human beings could function in which all spoke or wrote however they wanted to and yet had equal chances at success in life.

The linguist’s point is that there are no scientific grounds for considering any way of speaking erroneous in some structural or logical sense. To understand this is not to give up on learning to communicate appropriately to context.

To understand this is, rather, to shed the contempt: the acrid disgust so many seem to harbor for people who use the forms we have been taught are ‘bad.’

See Everything; Judge Little; Forgive Much

My newest motto is an adaption from Richard Rohr’s words:

“See everything; judge little; forgive much.”

(He adapted it from Pope John XXIII’s words, “See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little.”)

By stripping away stereotypes we frame around people, we can actually get to know them.

We can be blessed by their stories, and perhaps can bless them with ours.

We can see them as another of God’s unique creations, special because they are fashioned in God’s multi-faceted image, not ours.

Last week in California, Jeff and I visited the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time.

At the north side of the bridge were visitors from all nations, speaking many different languages. I couldn’t understand any of them (thanks for nothing, Tower of Babel).

But I could understand the laughter, the smiles, the excitement.

That’s the same in every language.

* * *

Do stereotypes pop up when you hear different accents? How do you shake them? Please share in the comments.

Related:

hidden-brain-podcast-john-mcwhorter

Young people have always used language in new and different ways, and it has pretty much always driven older people crazy.
Image by Renee Klahr

  • And finally, if you’re from the south, you’ll probably understand this southern-style GPS. For better or worse, I get it.

if-GPS-navigation-was-southern


How Do You Know If It’s Fake News?

is-this-fake-news

What is fake news? What is real? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

But what about when fake news is about us?
Who will be a witness for the truth?

Read the rest, “Is This Fake News? I Need a Witness”

* * *

We’re looking at 3 ways to disprove fake news with the Spirit’s witness. It is Do Not Depart’s new series, #WhoIsTheHolySpirit. Will you join me there?


Are You a Complainer or an Encourager?

be-an-encourager

While we shouldn’t categorize people too rigidly, at times I do.

Mark Batterson does it, too, in In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

He uses these two categories for our relationships with God: Complainers and Worshipers.

But for horizontal relationships, I often use Complainers and Encouragers.

I notice the difference the most when I need encouragement myself. In those times, I’m often surprised by who excels at giving encouragement. And who doesn’t.

So now whenever I’m most aware of needing encouragement, I know who I need to hang around for positive, spiritual encouragement. And who to avoid. It makes a difference.

But in which category do I place myself? Both. Ugh. I don’t want to be a complainer, but I know sometimes I am. It’s ugly. A bitter edge is never attractive.

Perhaps the best way to succeed in becoming an encourager to others is to also become more of a worshiper of God. Success in one flows down to success in the other.

Worshiping and encouraging are both beautiful ways to live.

* * *

Are you more of a complainer or an encourager? Who encourages you most in your life? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives


This Is Not Fair

The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places.

My app tells me we’re in for thunderstorms. It’s mid-60s now, but it’ll be 34 degrees by morning.

I’ll have to crank up my electric blanket tonight. I don’t like cold weather. I may even have to turn up my heat.

I ask the two young men in my car if they keep up with the temperatures. “Oh, yes,” they say. “It’ll be 34 tomorrow.”

I don’t know how they know.

They’re homeless.

But they know.

I’d been talking to one of the boys earlier that night (I’ll call him Sean here), asking how he was doing, how his week has been.

“Not too good,” he says, “things haven’t been going well.”

I never know quite how to respond.

So I mainly just ask more questions. I listen harder.

I ask Sean if he has somewhere warm to stay tonight.

I already had heard that the sally (the Salvation Army) fills up fast. A mom we’d talked to earlier in the day was telling us that. Her grown homeless son was visiting her but he wasn’t allowed to spend the night. It’s against the rules in the public housing apartment where she lives. She asked us to come inside and pray over him. Night and cold and storms are coming.

Sean answers that he isn’t sure where he’ll stay tonight. I’m concerned.

So he asks if I could possibly drive him and his friend to the Rescue Mission.

Oh.

Well, it is on my way home. My car is warm. My tank is full of gas.

I run it by Jeff to get his okay. We both have known Sean for awhile. Sean used to be a volunteer at Manna House before he was homeless. He’d ride his bicycle there from where he lived with his dying mother.

His mother has since passed and Sean is on his own. He and his brother and girlfriend stayed at an apartment for awhile, but it didn’t work out and they were evicted.

Sean lays his backpack in the back of my SUV. His friend sits in the back seat with the loaf of bread he got from Manna House.

It’s all he has.

I ask them about the best places to stay around town, how the Mission compares to Breaking Free or the sally. They fill me in on things I’d never know on my own, about the food they like (or don’t), about the time dinner is served, etc.

I ask how long it would have taken them to walk to the Mission. The friend says an hour and a half, but Sean says longer for him because he walks slow.

We get near the Mission and they say they’ll get out at the stop sign and walk the rest of the way. Sean grabs his backpack. Both guys thank me (I’ve been “Yes, Ma’amed” all night, they are southern boys, after all). They wish me a really good night. Same back to them.

I drive home, a little colder now in my middle-class guilt.

But I roll down the windows anyway. I need to change the smell.

I pull in my garage and unload my own backpack with my Mac computer and one of my many warm jackets and my uncracked iPhone.

But what is on the floorboard of the back seat?

The friend’s loaf of bread.

That does it.

I cry.

It was all he had on him, and now it’s here in my car instead of in his belly.

This is not fair.

I hear the storms rolling in. I turn up my electric blanket a little bit higher.

Not fair at all.

* * *

How does life seem unfair to you? Please share in the comments.


Together We Fill Gaps

I’ve joined a new small group. My daughter Jenna is co-leading a Freedom group through her church. For 13 weeks we’re meeting weekly with other ladies to live into our freedom in Christ.

Together.

As our country feels more separated than ever, I’m feeling the need for more togetherness.

We’ve All Got Gaps

Our Pastor Pat preached on it yesterday, “Building Community” (Acts 2:42-47). He referenced this scene from Rocky (1976).

Paulie: [talking about Adrian] You like her?

Rocky: Sure, I like her.

Paulie: What’s the attraction?

Rocky: I dunno… she fills gaps.

Paulie: What’s ‘gaps’?

Rocky: I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.

We’ve all got gaps.

[Click here if you can’t see the Rocky video, “What’s Gaps?]

Kill Them Together or Leave Them Alone

And there’s this story. Do you remember this event from December 2015?

More than 100 Muslim and Christian passengers were traveling on a bus in Kenya. They were attacked by al Shabaab militants who ordered the Muslims to separate themselves from the Christians so they could kill the Christians.

kenya-bus-attack-muslims-christians

Passengers are frisked before boarding a Makkah Express. Photo/Stephen Astariko

The Muslim women refused to separate. Instead, they gave their hijabs to Christian passengers so they could not be distinguished.

They told the gunmen, “If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here.”

Instead of widening the gaps, they filled them in.

The Shabaab eventually moved on.

Together We Fill Gaps

What God promised us is his presence. He is together with us, as he is together as Father, Son, and Spirit.

And he tells us to be together with each other.

11 “Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night.”
12 “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
Ecclesiastes 4:11-12

Tomorrow night I’ll meet again with my Freedom group. We’ll learn a little more about each others’ gaps. Our holes. Our empty places.

We’ll also learn how to let Christ fill them.

But not alone. Together.

Find someone with a gap this week and fill it. Let someone else fill in one of your gaps.

Together we fill gaps.

* * *

Can you listen to someone’s story this week? Tell someone yours? Please share in the comments.

My One Word 2017: Story

story-2017-lisanotes


Links, Books, and Other Things I Love – February 2017

Here are favorites from January and what I’m looking forward to in February. We share once a month at Leigh’s.

1 Second Everyday 

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

~ * ~ * ~

Around the Web

• 25 Words Turning 25 in 2017
by Erika Okrent of MentalFloss

“If you were born in 1992, not only are you as old as the Mall of America, the nicotine patch, and Super Mario Kart, you got to grow up with these words.”

words

~ * ~

• 25 ways to be politically active (whether you lean left or right)
By AJ Willingham, CNN

political-hats

~ * ~

• 7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life
by Joe Carter

“We should not overlook the ways that smartphones can be useful for spiritual formation.”

~ * ~

• Fight fake news

Where do you get your news? I try to stay near the center. I’d prefer it best if I could get only the facts, no spin either direction. But everything has a spin. Likely, even this graphic…. But it is a starting point.

fight-fake-news

On Reading

• 10 books that will change how you see the world

“Books can be our greatest mentor, of sorts, challenging us to become a more loving spouse, parent and leader.”

• A. N. Wilson recommends the best Christian books

“The British writer, A.N. Wilson, recommends books that have helped him understand what Christianity means and to truly believe.”

what-christianity-means-5-books

 

8 Books I Recommend
These are books I really liked from my January reading.

Books-I-Recommend-January-2017

• Currently Reading

  1. When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
  2. Idiot Brain
    What your Head Is Really Up To
    by Dean Burnett
  3. Letters to a Young Muslim
    by Omar Said Ghobash
  4. Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter
    When Challenges Dim Our Hope
    by Lynn L. Severance
  5. You Can’t Touch My Hair
    And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
    by Phoebe Robinson

~ * ~ * ~

Things I Love

New Tuesday Freedom Group

My daughter Jenna is co-leading a ladies’ small group through her church and invited me to join! I’m so excited to watch her in action and also become friends with sisters I didn’t know before.

Freedom-church-of-highlands 

Two Year Olds

One of our godsons turned 2-years-old in January. And the next day, one of our great nieces also turned 2.

godson-turns-2

Celebrating with Isaak

niece-2

Emme turns 2

Love My Siblings

Family birthday parties for kids are also fun times with the adults, too. Here we are with my youngest sister and brother and spouses.

Coates Siblings 2017-01

Brent, Liz, Bonnie, Lane, Lisa, Jeff

100 Days of School

Jenna let me and her cousin Danielle come to school last week to help her kids celebrate 100 days of school. It’s as much an accomplishment for teachers as for students.

100-days

Crown of 100

You, too?

well-informed-or-stay-sane

Credit: David Sipress, The New Yorker

~ * ~ * ~

On the Blog

Unfollow a Friend to Keep a Friend?
Have you ever unfollowed a friend on Facebook to keep a friend in real life?

Slow But Forward – 10 Minutes a Day
I’m taking 10 minutes a day to organize my digital pictures. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish this year, remember small steps in the right direction will add up.

Do We Talk about Suicide?
“Every forty seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide.” Can we afford not to talk about it?

When You’re a Book Person, You Do This
We learn a lot about a person by the books they choose. Who they are. And who they want to be.

* * *

What was one of your highlights from January? What are you looking forward to in February? Please share in the comments.

previous Links and Books


8 Books I Recommend – January 2017

Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s. Here are 6 non-fiction books and 2 novels that I recommend from what I finished in January.

Books-I-Recommend-January-2017

Nonfiction

1. Stalling for Time
My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
by Gary Noesner

stalling-for-time

A fascinating book! Noesner was an FBI hostage negotiator for years, and shares story after story of his cases. (The book is also very well-written, a huge plus for a memoir that’s not by a professional author.)

[my book review of Stalling for Time]

2. Reading Your Life’s Story
An Invitation to Spiritual Mentoring
by Keith R. Anderson

reading-your-lifes-story

While this book is about spiritual mentoring, it’s also about just learning how to have more spiritual conversations with each other, a “holy task with a sacred purpose.”

[my book review of Reading Your Life’s Story]

3. Fervent
A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer
by Priscilla Shirer

fervent

Don’t just talk about praying, pray. If you want to get more excited to pray, Priscilla Shirer will fire you up. Her real-life stories and Bible scriptures are motivating. She breaks up the book into different prayer strategies to guard against our weak spots.

4. Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
by Jamie Holmes

nonsense-the-power-of-not-knowing

Not only does it matter what we know, it also matters how we deal with what we do not know. Uncertainty makes us anxious, but our methods to counteract it (sticking with the first answer; making up stories in our minds; premature decision-making; etc.) often make things worse. This was a very interesting book about making peace with not having closure on everything.

“In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It’s how we deal with what we don’t understand.”

5. Wherever You Go, There You Are
by Jon Kabat-Zinn

wherever-you-go-there-you-are

This isn’t my favorite book on meditation, but it’s a good one (and it’s time-tested since 1994).

“People think of meditation as some kind of special activity, but this is not exactly correct. Meditation is simplicity itself. As a joke, we sometimes say, ‘Don’t just do something, sit there.’ But meditation is not just about sitting, either. It is about stopping and being present, that is all.”

6. The Organized Mind
Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

by Daniel J. Levitin

the-organized-mind

Another fascinating book! So far it’ll make my Top 10 Favorite Books list at the end of the year. We often feel overwhelmed with the increasing amount of information that floods us every day. Levitin uses the latest neuroscientific research to show us what works in managing our homes, time, and energy, including this principle:

“The most fundamental principle of organization, the one that is most critical to keeping us from forgetting or losing things, is this: Shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world.”

Fiction

7. Still Life
(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)
by Louise Penny

still-life

This is my first Louise Penny novel (also her first), and I’ll read more (there are twelve Gamache novels so far). This murder mystery was skimpy on violence (I have a low tolerance), yet heavy on motive and details.

I like what her author site says about her books:

“My books are about terror. That brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.

If you take only one thing away from any of my books I’d like it to be this:

Goodness exists.”

8. All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven

all-the-bright-places

I don’t know if this book would be good for teens with suicidal tendencies (it has triggering incidents), but I do think it would be good for their friends to read so they can better understand. It’s a young adult novel about teenagers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meeting on the ledge of a bell tower at school, and their blossoming friendship through tough times.

[Why I ended up recommending All the Bright Places]

Reading Now

  • The Lake House
    by Kate Morton
  • Idiot Brain
    What your Head Is Really Up To
    by Dean Burnett
  • Letters to a Young Muslim
    by Omar Said Ghobash
  • Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter
    When Challenges Dim Our Hope
    by Lynn L. Severance
  • Words on the Move
    Why English Won’t—and Can’t—Sit Still (Like, Literally)
    by John McWhorter

* * *

What’s a good book you’ve recently finished? Please share here.

Whats-on-Your-Nightstand-at-_5-minut

My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists


Do We Talk about Suicide?

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places

The Call You Don’t Want to Make

I pulled over to the side of the road. I would rather have waited another 45 minutes to make the call. I wanted to arrive at my destination first, unload my suitcase, gather my thoughts. Then make the call.

But life and death won’t wait.

We all have a few stories that we hold close. We only talk about them with those who are nearest to us.

The stories can be both sacred and scary. They sometimes need time as a buffer before they’re retold.

This is one of those stories for me. It happened awhile back.

That day in my car, temporarily halting my drive to Auburn to visit my teenage daughter, I nervously looked up the number for the Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-TALK). I saved it in my contacts.

One phone call earlier, I’d been listening to my daughter tell me about her friend who had been threatening suicide. Serious threats.

As the responsible adult now in-the-know, I felt like a little child myself. I didn’t know what to do either. Pray, pray, pray. But what did God want me to actually do?

Ask Someone Else

The good news is often when we don’t know what to do, someone else does.

I called the university’s counseling office for advice. They were caring and informative. They recommended actions we could take to help. I finished my drive.

After a harrowing few days and weeks, this crisis passed.

The story still lingers in my soul though.

Combined with other stories surrounding suicidal thoughts and events from those close to me, these subjects are often taboo for general conversation.

Suicide is a subject we’d rather avoid.

And understandably so.

But can we afford to avoid it?

Talk about Suicide

I finished a novel last Saturday. I wasn’t going to put it on my “Books I Recommend” list that I share on Tuesday. There were parts of the book I did not like. Parts that made me uncomfortable. Sad. Dark.

Yet by the time I reached the end, I knew I had to share it (although it’s still not a book for everybody).

Talking about suicide shouldn’t be avoided just because it’s distressing.

The book was All the Bright Places, a young adult novel from 2015 by Jennifer Niven. And it did include bright things. Happy scenes. Fun adventures.

all-the-bright-places

But it also included hard narratives about teens who suffer from mental/emotional disturbances, whether from life events or a mental illness.

After the story ends, the Author’s Note says:

Every forty seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide. Every forty seconds, someone is left behind to cope with the loss.”

Whether we choose to think about it or not.
It happens.

And this:

“Often, mental and emotional illnesses go undiagnosed because the person suffering symptoms is too ashamed to speak up, or because their loved ones either fail to or choose not to recognize the signs.”

May we each be brave enough to see, to hear, to talk.

And when we don’t know what to do next, to get help. Either for ourselves or for others. Help is out there.

God doesn’t intend us to walk this alone.

Scrolling through the contacts on my phone last week, I noticed the Suicide Hotline number is still there.

Even though the situation with my daughter’s friend has passed, I think I’ll leave the number there anyway. . . .

* * *

My condolences to the many of you who have lost loved ones to suicide. What resources would you recommend to further understand suicide and/or mental illness? Please share any thoughts in the comments.

See the book trailer here to All the Bright Places (it’s also being made into a movie?).

all-the-bright-places-book-trailer


If You Have to Negotiate

if-you-have-to-negotiate

Hopefully most of us have never been in a hostage situation, even though we’ve likely seen them on the news.

But we’ve all likely been stuck in a conflict that seems to have no ready resolution. Each party wants to hold their ground. Neither party wants to compromise.

Perhaps our political climate makes Stalling for Time even more relevant now than when it was published ten years ago.

stalling-for-time

The author Gary Noesner was once the head of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit.

But he is also an excellent storyteller. In his book he recounts stories about his years negotiating through some of the crises we watched unfold on TV (remember David Koresh and Waco in 1993?) and many that didn’t make the news, thankfully.

But while his stories are engaging (I never wanted to stop reading), his philosophy underneath the stories is even more important. And one that we all could follow.

“Whenever possible we should follow Martin Luther King Jr.’s advice to ‘pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.’ Force should always be viewed as the least desirable and last option.”

If we have to negotiate, and we all will from time to time, the values of listening, showing respect, and wanting the best possible outcomes for everybody are qualities we all need to practice.

Excerpts from Stalling for Time

Here are a few favorite passages.

“Fred taught us that the key to successful negotiation was to discern the subject’s motivation, goals, and emotional needs and to make use of that knowledge strategically. Once we understood the hostage taker’s real purpose, we had a better chance of convincing him that killing the hostages would not serve that purpose and would only make an already bad situation worse.”

~ * ~ * ~

“Few case studies so succinctly illustrate the value of the negotiation process: Contain. Open communications to deescalate tension. Stall for time. Lower expectations. Make him bargain for everything.”

~ * ~ * ~

“If I’ve gained any wisdom in my FBI career, it has come from recognizing the degree to which everyday life can mirror the dynamics of the destructive standoffs I faced in my FBI job. Each of us is called upon to negotiate stressful situations in business, social encounters, and family life time and again. From what I’ve observed, the happiest and most successful people tend to be those who are able to remain calm at these difficult times and put aside emotions such as pride or anger that stop them from finding common ground.

~ * ~ * ~

“We all need to be good listeners and learn to demonstrate our empathy and understanding of the problems, needs, and issues of others. Only then can we hope to influence their behavior in a positive way.”

~ * ~ * ~

You might even say that all of life is a negotiation.”

* * *

Have you ever been involved in a difficult negotiation? Please share in the comments.


When You’re a Book Person, You Do This

i-cannot-sleep-unless-surrounded-by-books

How to Spot a Book Person

It was a winter Saturday morning. But the weather was warm, no rain, no wind. A great day to sit outside and read a book.

But while waiting in a long line with other people?

Well, if you’re a book person, yes.

We readers spot other book people anywhere.

We are these people:

  •  A book is in our hands at the doctor’s office or post office line.
  • We don’t walk out the door without our eReader shoved in a purse or pocket.
  • A book is within arm’s reach of our bed or desk or nightstand.
  • We have many bookshelves, but not near enough.

I immediately spotted the lady in line with a book. I was drawn to her. We’d never met, but I knew I’d like her.

And because of her book, I knew I was about to learn much more about her.

Book Talk

I asked what she was reading, of course. It was Madame Bovary, a classic (and one I’ve never read).

I asked her if it was good.

She liked it so far. She was intentionally reading more classics this year. She had missed many while growing up. Lately she’d been sifting through book piles at thrift stores and yard sales and had gathered quite a collection of classic books.

cant-read-half-enough

She’d recently finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Great Expectations. We chatted about each (we both loved Uncle Tom’s Cabin but I’ve not yet braved Great Expectations).

Even though we had different life’s circumstances, we were learning how similar we were.

Read the Book, Read the Person

While we can’t always judge a person by her book’s cover, if we keep reading deep enough, we can learn a lot.

I am currently reading these books. . .

Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash 
The Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton 
Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally) by John McWhorter  
Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
• You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

I’m scared to ask . . . What does this say about me??? This for sure: I love my library because these are all library books.

We learn a lot about a person by their choice of books.

When I visit a home, I’m always drawn to the owner’s bookshelves. Without their speaking a word, I learn something about:

  • Who the person is by their books.
  • Or who they want to be.
  • How they like to escape.
  • What they want to engage.

Book selections explain things aside from their content.

Sometimes friends recommend a book for us. With this, we learn something about them, but we also gain a glimpse of how they see us.

I’ve been reading a Caroline Myss book with some relatives and friends this past year. By reading the same book, we align our thoughts and discuss questions when we gather and we grow in similar directions.

Thank a Book

When I finished my conversation with the woman in line, I asked her name. I wanted to be able to call her by name when we met again (likely while reading a book). We were kindred spirits.

Her name?
Lisa.

We both laughed when I told her I’m also Lisa, of course.

I’ve yet to see this Lisa again on Satuday mornings. But I always look. I trust our paths will likely cross again.

And again we can connect in person.

All thanks to a book.

lover-of-books

* * *

God can use anything to connect people. Are you a book person? Do you have another interest that draws you to others? Please share in the comments.

For more, here are 13 Signs You Know You’re a Book Person from the Huffington Post. #10 is definitely me.

13-Signs-Book-Person

I read as I fold the laundry, walk to the mailbox, brush my teeth…


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