It's time to bring back this quote from Joel Salatin.

On every side, our paternalistic culture is tightening the noose around those of us who just want to opt out of the system. And it is the freedom to opt out that differentiates tyrannical and free societies. How a culture deals with its misfits reveals its strength. The stronger a culture, the less it fears the radical fringe. The more paranoid and precarious a culture, the less tolerance it offers. When faith in our freedom gives way to fear of our freedom, silencing the minority view becomes the operative protocol.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Edit
Permalink | Read 38 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous]

This observation needs reviving again, from John Caldwell Holt.

One of the saddest things I've learned in my life, one of the things I least wanted to believe and resisted believing for as long as I could, was that people in chains don't want to get them off, but want to get them on everyone else. Where are your chains? they want to know. How come you're not wearing chains? Do you think you are too good to wear them? What makes you think you're so special?

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Edit
Permalink | Read 47 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [newest]

Contempt is the sulfuric acid of love.

This observation by John Gottman—from "The Calculus of Love", Science News, Vol 165, No. 9, 28 Feb 2004, p. 142—is what leapt to my mind when I read Michael Hyatt's essay, Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important. It's a short article, in which he briefly fleshes out the following points:

  • You Get More of What You Affirm
  • Affirmation Shifts Your Attitude
  • Affirmation Strengthens Your Spouse’s Best Qualities
  • Affirmation Wards off Temptation
  • Affirmation Provides a Model to Those You Lead

Simple, powerful, difficult, and important in much more than the marital relationship. With our children, on the job, with our neighbors, in politics, on social media. Contempt is the sulfuric acid of love.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 11:25 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 137 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

From The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien:

Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 7:50 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 120 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

From The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien:

Works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see, are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for ever do they pass into song.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 6:14 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 126 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

More from The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien:

He that sows lies in the end shall not lack of a harvest, and soon he may rest from toil indeed while others reap and sow in his stead.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 21, 2017 at 5:50 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 179 times | Comments (2)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

From The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien:

Those who will defend authority against rebellion must not themselves rebel.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 8:43 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 115 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Words of wisdom for parents—and children—from S. D. Smith, author of the beautiful Green Ember series. (My reviews are here: The Green Ember and The Black Star of Kingston; and here: Ember Falls.)

Your family is the most potent art you'll ever be a part of creating.

(With humble gratitude to our children and their families for art that makes my heart sing.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 7:14 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 291 times | Comments (1)
Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Children & Family Issues: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

A long, long time ago, in a world even my siblings don't remember,  my Girl Scout leader taught us this little song, always sung as a round: 

Make new friends, but keep the old;
One is silver, and the other gold.

Since my time, additional words have been added, definitely not an improvement. I do hope today's Girl Scouts aren't learning it this way; the skin of my mind crawls just reading it. The original two lines are profound and pithy; the addition, simply ... well, here's a verse for you to judge:

Silver is precious, 
Gold is too.
I am precious,
And so are you.

Take that, Gollum.

Which brings me around to the point of this post.

Books are my friends. New books can be silver, but there's true gold in wonderful old books read again and again.

I haven't read The Hobbit since 2014, and I was shocked to discover that the last time I read The Lord of the Rings books was at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. Incredible. My other Tolkien reading goes back to before I started keeping track! As part of my next edition (not yet established) of the 95 by 65 project, I'm including a Tolkien spree, beginning with The Hobbit.

That's where I found these words of wisdom from Gandalf, perfect for those of us who waste valuable sleeping hours fretting about the future.

alt

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, July 10, 2017 at 10:06 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 178 times | Comments (1)
Category Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

I have been neglecting my Inspiration category. It's time to step back and take a deep breath. As with my previous post, this quote is from George MacDonald's Lilith A. It could be clearer, but as I haven't been able to find the equivalent in the version of the book that was eventually published, it will have to stand.

The general courses of nature were much the same with [the alien beings] as with us, else communication would not after all have been so satisfactory, for all intercourse is founded on sameness with the differences of sameness and not of difference.

 — George MacDonald
Lilith A

Doesn't this nail what's wrong with discourse these days? We talk, but we don't communicate because we don't recognize the sameness between us. We see our disagreements as arising from differences so fundamental that we share no humanity to build upon.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, November 14, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Edit
Permalink | Read 416 times | Comments (0)
Category Inspiration: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

They [meet together] to sing out their thoughts.  They would hurt them if they didn't.  They're so strong and burn so.  With only one throat each they can't make music enough to let it out in private; but what one hasn't another has, and so they gather to help each other's love and thanks out by singing, because everyone then feels that what they all sing he sings and everyone sings, with one mighty voice, and on the great torrent of that voice their big thoughts float out of every heart like great ships out of the harbour to cross the eternal seas.

 — George MacDonald
Lilith A

One of my favorite books is George MacDonald's Lilith.  The Johannesen edition we have also includes what they call Lilith A, a transcription of MacDonald's unpublished first draft.  It has been amazing to read them back to back, to see both what an imaginative and technically able writer he was, and how the story was fleshed out into something magnificent through the rewriting and editing process.

Here is how the above paragraph looks in the published version:

They need help from each other to get their thinking done, and their feelings hatched, so they talk and sing together; and then, they say, the big thought floats out of their hearts like a great ship out of the river at high water.

The final version is more succinct, but I love the original because it speaks more specifically to what it's like to sing in choir.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 9:02 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 332 times | Comments (1)
Category Inspiration: [first] [next] [newest]

I’ve created a new category, “Inspiration,” for collecting quotations. I’ll be gleaning from many sources, but at the start it will be mostly from George MacDonald, a consequence of my 95 by 65 goal of reading all of his books.

Can I say that I appreciate my Kindle more and more?  I know that I hesitated to get an e-reader, because there’s nothing like the feel (and often the scent) of reading a physical book. I still believe that. And some of MadDonald’s books I’m reading from the delightful Johannesen complete set my father gave to me. MacDonald's book on Hamlet, for example, is much easier to read in physical form, with the text on the left page and his commentary on the right.

But the Kindle lets me bookmark, highlight, and take notes. Even when reading the physical book, I have the Kindle version nearby (easy, because of the phone app) so that I can do that. And then I can copy the quotations instead of transcribing them. It’s so much nicer than the sticky-note-type-it-all routine.

So on with this post’s quotation. The context is the process of restoring to health a severely ill young man. MacDonald wrote in the 19th century, when folks had to get well—if they ever did—without the help of antibiotics and other treatments we take for granted. Often recovery involved long stretches—weeks or months—in bed or with severely restricted activity. As unimaginable to most of us as that is, I think these exercises might still have educational value.

[Mr. Wingfold] began to set [Arthur] certain tasks; and as he was an invalid, the first was what he called "The task of twelve o'clock;"—which was, for a quarter of an hour from every noon during a month, to write down what he then saw going on in the world.

The first day he had nothing to show: he had seen nothing!

"What were the clouds doing?" Mr. Wingfold asked. "What were the horses in the fields doing?—What were the birds you saw doing?—What were the ducks and hens doing?—Put down whatever you see any creature about."

The next evening, he went to him again, and asked him for his paper. Arthur handed him a folded sheet.

"Now," said Mr. Wingfold, "I am not going to look at this for the present. I am going to lay it in one of my drawers, and you must write another for me to-morrow. If you are able, bring it over to me; if not, lay it by, and do not look at it, but write another, and another—one every day, and give them all to me the next time I come, which will be soon. We shall go on that way for a month, and then we shall see something!"

At the end of the month, Mr. Wingfold took all the papers, and fastened them together in their proper order. Then they read them together, and did indeed see something! The growth of Arthur's observation both in extent and quality, also the growth of his faculty for narrating what he saw, were remarkable both to himself and his instructor. The number of things and circumstances he was able to see by the end of the month, compared with the number he had seen in the beginning of it, was wonderful; while the mode of his record had changed from that of a child to that almost of a man.

Mr. Wingfold next, as by that time the weather was quite warm, set him "The task of six o'clock in the evening," when the things that presented themselves to his notice would be very different. After a fortnight, he changed again the hour of his observation, and went on changing it. So that at length the youth who had, twice every day, walked along Cheapside almost without seeing that one face differed from another, knew most of the birds and many of the insects, and could in general tell what they were about, while the domestic animals were his familiar friends. He delighted in the grass and the wild flowers, the sky and the clouds and the stars, and knew, after a real, vital fashion, the world in which he lived. He entered into the life that was going on about him, and so in the house of God became one of the family. He had ten times his former consciousness; his life was ten times the size it was before. As was natural, his health had improved marvellously. There is nothing like interest in life to quicken the vital forces—the secret of which is, that they are left freer to work.

 — George MacDonald
There and Back

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 369 times | Comments (1)
Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Inspiration: [next] [newest]
Go to page: