Monthly Archives: January, 2013

A happy talent

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson Sometimes we confuse recreational activities with play, but the two are not always linked.  It’s possible to turn recreation– especially organized and scheduled pursuits– into just another task on our to-do list.  It’s also possible to play while engaged in duties that  most people …

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Observing the effects

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” — Bertrand Russell What we see and experience changes us forever.  This is one reason it’s so important to feed our minds and senses with a healthy …

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God’s medicine

“Mirth is God’s medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it.”  — Henry Ward Beecher As Norman Cousins famously demonstrated, laughter really is the best medicine.  It can break through the gloom and lift the heart more quickly than any other remedy.  Years ago while we lived in Ohio, we were coping with the worrisome heart defects …

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Winter lives

The “dead” of winter — Or so they say. But winter lives In her own way. She leaves her tracks, She shows us signs: Not brilliant blooms, But webs of lines. — Douglas Florian As I write this, there is snow on the ground outside and I have my space heater running near my feet.  …

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Hope beyond measure

“Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen; Bright skies will soon be o’er me, where the dark clouds have been. My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free, My Savior has my treasure, and He will walk with me.” — Anna Laetitia Waring On a recent Sunday at …

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A delightful society

“Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books – even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.”  ―    William Ewart Gladstone From the most magnificent libraries to the humblest bookshelves, I feel at home wherever there are books.  …

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Hidden inside

“Sometimes what you want is hidden inside what you don’t want.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Just as the prickly cactus produces beautiful blooms, so harsh circumstances can result in positive change and growth.  This does not negate the pain of grief and loss, but it does provide a way through darkness.  Christians believe “in all things …

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Talk of mysteries!

“Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world!” — Henry David Thoreau I hope nobody’s getting tired of my going on about nature, but the natural world is a marvel …

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The ordinary arts

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” — Thomas Moore There are small details– inexpensive or free– that make our homes a more nurturing environment.  For me, some of the minimal efforts that have maximum impact include making the bed daily, keeping things tidied …

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An island in itself

“The most fascinating island you’ll ever visit on a big ship is the ship itself.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Count me among the people who are hooked on cruising with their first voyage. Beyond the allure of waking up in new surroundings each morning, or the convenience of unpacking and checking in only one time, there is the …

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Everybody can be great

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. These beautiful words are being quoted more …

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An authentic style

“People with an authentic style know what they are, but even more important, they know what they are not.  They don’t care about labels.  They care about personal expression.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach I have always admired women who know how to use accessories to create beautiful outfits.  Usually, a woman whose style I admire …

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All sorts of folks

“I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take …

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Infinitely healing

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature– the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”  — Rachel Carson Among the things I miss most about living in northern California is being able to see the beautiful green hills on a daily basis — but only for a relatively …

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Mad with joy

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”  — Iris Murdoch Go a little mad with joy today.  Visit a florist  or plant nursery, or just the floral department of a grocery store, and take a few minutes to see– …

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Perfect pictures

“I’d started playing another game, one I kept a secret…I called it the Perfect Picture game.  The goal was to find snapshot-sized scenes in my town that showed absolutely no sign of Katrina.  The game had been especially challenging right after the storm.  Broken limbs, torn streets, and mangled houses relentlessly assaulted the eyes.  With the …

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Permit yourself the luxury

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” —  Stanley Crawford Each year, I enter January with delusions about how much I will get done — I will clean out my closets, sort through old …

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Practical pleasures

“He has gained every point who has mixed practicality with pleasure…” — Horace Treat yourself today to some wholesome indulgence.  Whether it’s a cup of tea, a piece of fruit or an afternoon nap, savor the enjoyment of things that are delightful as well as beneficial.  If the weather is gloomy, browse in a bookstore or library; …

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Every exit

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” — Tom Stoppard Sometimes a painful change can be eased by choosing to have faith that good things may lie ahead.  Perhaps we can re-frame a forced or unwanted exit — from a job, a relationship or any phase of life — as the beginning of a new direction.  If we focus on the discovery of hidden …

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Primitive purity

“How has it come about that we use the highly emotive word ‘stagnation,’ with all its malodorous and malarial overtones, for what other ages would have called ‘permanence?’ Why does the word ‘primitive’ at once suggest to us clumsiness, inefficiency, barbarity? When our ancestors talked of the primitive church or the primitive purity of our …

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Free to go very slow

“There’s absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go very slow.” — Robert Frost A box turtle couple has lived in the wooded lot behind our yard for all the years we have been there. We have never seen them together, but the brightly colored male or his mate …

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Lose sight of the shore

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” — André Gide To live a life of faith, we must be willing to relinquish the illusion of control.  This does not imply being imprudent or foolhardy, but it does suggest that our vision is limited …

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Another step toward simplicity

“Still another step toward simplicity is to refuse to live beyond our means emotionally.  In a culture where whirl is king, we must understand our emotional limits.” — Richard J. Foster Even positive emotions can become overwhelming.  Solitude, meditation or prayer are powerful allies in our struggle to remain balanced amid the tumult of stirring events that …

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Strangely enough

“Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.” — Ashleigh Brilliant The older I get, the easier it is to romanticize the past.  Of course, some memories are rightly cherished, and today we have difficulties (many of which are technology-related) that past generations did not have to worry about.  …

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Faithfulness to a small task

“We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people.  But we each have our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world…we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.”  — Henri Nouwen …

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