Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Merry October!

UPDATE – scroll down for photos of Halloween fun in our Alexandria neighborhood! “October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins…. Merry October!” — Rainbow Rowell I can’t remember what year it was when I carved the jack-o-lantern pictured above, but it’s probably representative of what they …

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Something haunting

“There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.” — Joseph Conrad The children out trick-or-treating for Halloween this year won’t enjoy the light of a full moon, but perhaps it will shine in their imaginations.  Of all the …

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A graveyard can teach you

“Spending time in a graveyard can teach you a lot about living. When I stopped at each grave I swear I could almost hear the silent stories of perfect strangers. Their tombs like silent philosophies of all the ways a life can be lived.” — Simone Nacerima Graveyards are a common motif at this time …

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Costumes tell a story

“Clothes make a statement.  Costumes tell a story.” — Mason Cooley I mentioned a couple of days ago that my siblings and I much preferred making our own Halloween costumes over buying them in a store.  Perhaps it’s because the store-bought costumes in those days were cheesy little plastic masks coupled with cheap apron-like printed …

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Of courtesy

Of Courtesy, it is much less Than Courage of Heart or Holiness, Yet in my Walks it seems to me That the Grace of God is in Courtesy.  – Hilaire Beloc On a beautiful September day not long ago, Jeff and I enjoyed a few hours on the boardwalk at Virginia Beach.  As we strolled …

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A child in every one

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight make me a child again just for to-night! ~ Elizabeth Akers Allen There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.— Robert Brault Perhaps no holiday brings back more childhood memories than Halloween.  The festivities of …

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Stimulating loneliness

“The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject. It’s stimulating loneliness.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh I connected immediately with Lindbergh’s words in the quote.  I’m seldom if ever at the sea all alone, but it always wraps me in a calming sense of …

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History that teaches

“The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It …

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All gates

“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson One of the best ways to defeat despair that I know of, is to see the opportunity that lies in almost every situation.  When I am able to view a difficult time as a gateway to something …

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Any tea

We had a kettle; we let it leak: Our not repairing made it worse. We haven’t had any tea for a week… The bottom is out of the Universe. — Rudyard Kipling …and speaking of reasons I love to be in England, I think the top three would be tea, tea and tea.  Of course, …

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The maxim of the British

“The maxim of the British people is ‘Business as usual.’” — Winston Churchill This quote, and the photo posted above, capture one reason why I love being in England.  I must not be the only one, because the now-ubiquitous, quintessentially British wartime quote “Keep Calm and Carry On” has been revived and printed on all …

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Let us love

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” — John, apostle of Jesus (I John 4:7-8, NIV) In a chapter that opens with ominous warnings about false teachers, John …

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Drinking in the surroundings

“I was drinking in the surroundings: air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow.” ― Wendy Delsol I had never heard of Wendy Delsol until I came across this quote, but she described exactly what I was doing the …

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So many stupid remarks

“Surely nothing has to listen to so many stupid remarks as a painting in a museum.” — Edmond & Jules de Goncourt When I read this quote, I laughed.  Then I wanted to talk back to it.  “Oh yeah? Try being a parent at an IEP meeting.”  But I realize that’s a fairly esoteric thing …

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Not just a noun

“All the other colors are just colors, but purple seems to have a soul. Purple is not just a noun and an adjective but also a verb – when you look at it, it’s looking back at you.” — Uniek Swain* I’m tempted to begin with Alice Walker’s well known quote about the color purple, …

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We must free ourselves

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest.  We must learn to sail in high winds.” — Aristotle Onassis Whatever else might be said of Aristotle Onassis, he certainly learned to make the most of adverse circumstances.  His family’s experiences could have led him into poverty.  Instead he became one …

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Eyes turned skyward

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” — Leonardo da Vinci I’ve written here before about having grown up in an airline family, surrounded by relatives and friends who were pilots, and …

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All the beasts

“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit…” — attributed to Chief Seattle The oft-quoted words above were purportedly from a letter written by Chief Seattle to President Franklin Pierce. At least one historian has researched and dismissed the authenticity of this claim, and his arguments against its supposed …

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A daybreak that’s wondrously clear

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. — Maya Angelou I join millions in saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Maya …

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Bright and intense and beautiful

“Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.” ― Siobhan Vivian That’s what I do on my walks; stockpile the colors and images and cool, smoke-scented …

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Thy medicine

“Let food be thy medicine…” — Hippocrates You really don’t want to get me started on this topic, so I’ll try to keep it relatively brief.  I think one of the best ways to keep our minds and bodies fit and healthy is to take care what we feed them.  This applies to thoughts and images, of …

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The inspiring force

“I was carried beyond myself by the inspiring force of urgent necessity.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry If you’ve been through anything especially difficult, harrowing or protracted and exhausting, chances are you’ve heard well-meaning people say “I don’t know how you do it” or “I could never do what you are doing.” It’s natural for them to feel that …

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The simplest toy

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” — Sam Levenson There are colorful toys, singing toys, funny toys, educational toys, old-fashioned toys, and toys that wear out quickly.  Grandparents are all of the above.  Every child should have at least one or two – hopefully more!  If your child …

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Let us begin

“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days . . .nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”― John F. Kennedy One thing that bothers me most about contemporary culture is our collective impatience to …

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If you look

“If you look at an illuminated manuscript, even today, it just blows your mind.  For them, without all the clutter and inputs that we have, it must have been even more extraordinary.”  — Geraldine Brooks I started reading aloud to our sons when they were babies, and kept it up nightly until they were in …

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