Brenda Cannon Henley's archive

In all these long years of writing, I have tried to be honest with those that follow my columns and news coverage in various media. I have taken the advice of a faithful teacher who first pointed me to this adventure of putting my words on paper. “Write what you know best,” said Erma Nowell in the classrooms of the old Clarkston High School in DeKalb County, Georgia.

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Words are powerful things, no matter what the quote books say. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply not true. I know this from first-hand experience.

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I learned a new word today — “gaslighting.” I admit I am fascinated by words and having used them for years to make my living, I am constantly amazed at new discoveries even at my age. My good friend, Rusty Cluck, is a wordsmith, though he won’t likely admit it to many. He comes up with some real winners from time to time, and I find myself looking for them in his writings. I wonder if Rusty has come across this word, which was new for me today.

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If someone asked you today, “Are you really happy?” what would your answer be? Think about it this very moment. Are you happy on the inside where it really counts? Or are you like so many, waiting for the next big thing to happen to make you happy? Guess what, chances are that when that next big thing happens, you won’t be happy then either.

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We tend to use terms all of the time in the English language that we really have little idea of what they mean. For instance, in a recent column, I quickly typed the word “scapegoat,” and then more slowly realized that I did not know for certain how the term originated or exactly what it meant.

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