About Lift Up Your Hearts!

Lift Up Your Hearts! is meant to be a forum for spirited—but polite—discussion and the exchange of ideas; a source of information for family and friends; and an outlet for one who fits Thomas Mann's description of a writer: A person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Why "Lift Up Your Hearts!"? It began when we made the choice to become a homeschooling family. At that time, it was considered prudent to name your school, so your children would have an answer when asked, "Where do you go to school?" We chose to be Sursum Corda Academy, because "lift up your hearts" captured the enthusiasm, joy, and purpose of our educational adventures. The phrase comes from the Sursum Corda in a liturgical Christian worship service:

  • The Lord be with you.
  • And also with you.
  • Lift up your hearts.
  • We lift them to the Lord.
  • Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
  • It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Homeschooling soon became so popular that we never needed to call ourselves a school, but we liked the name, so we kept it. "SursumCorda" has found its way into the title of many of our publications—on paper and online. When I turned to blogging, "SursumCorda" was a natural title, but that is the name of at least one existing blog, and I didn't want to cause confusion. Hence the translation.

Why Blog? Lift Up Your Hearts! can most charitably be called "eclectic."  Some blogs are political, some personal journals, some accumulate interesting articles and news stories, some keep far-flung families in contact, some are formed around a specific cause or issue.  I aim to be jack-of-all-trades, and if that means being master of none, I see nothing wrong with that. It depends on your audience.  Five-star restaurants require highly-trained and gifted chefs, but I'd take my mother's home cooking and the family dinner table any day.  Fine.  But why?  Why do I put so much time and effort into blogging?  What do I hope to accomplish?

I post first of all because I can't stop my mind from writing, and it's helpful to give concrete expression to the phrases, paragraphs, and essays that are constantly churning within my brain.  The blog is a particularly satisfactory way of getting my thoughts into print:  the primary audience may be small, but they're loyal readers, and occasionally people stop by from all over the world and find something useful.  I can write what I want, when I want, with no pesky editors, stockholders or advertisers to interfere.

Because I write primarily for family members and friends who actually enjoy hearing about the details of our lives, there are a number of posts that are personal and of no interest to the general public, whoever that may be.  I make no apology.  You don't like it?  Don't read it.  This is not high school English class.  There will be no homework grade and no final exam.

Then there are the random posts of odd bits of news, posts from other blogs, and anything else good or ill that has struck me as worth sharing.  There's a lot of data out there, with a very poor signal-to-noise ratio.  If I find something good, important, or thought-provoking, I want to increase its visibility.

It is obvious to me that most of the best ideas I've had, and the good decisions I've made, especially in the areas of childrearing and education, came because someone else was willing to share them.  I take some credit for implementing and expanding ideas, and for having a few of my own, but I'm keenly aware that most of what I've done right I owe to someone's book, someone's conversation, someone's example.  What's more, there have been many, many ideas about which I've thought, "Why didn't I know this years ago, before it was too late?  Why didn't someone tell me?"  For this reason I have not hesitated to pass on good ideas when I think the recipient might be receptive, or at least interested.  I love to give books that I've found helpful, though I almost always add the caveat that I don't necessarily approve of everything the author has to say.  Sometimes there's much I don't like, but always there's at least something I find so valuable I want to share it.  Do I expect everyone to appreciate what I find valuable?  Of course not.  Am I offended if they ignore what I find important?  No.  Do I direct certain books or articles at specific people because I think they "need" them?  Believe it or not, I don't.  I share what I find good, useful, enlightening, or helpful.  I want to make information available, in hopes that fewer people will look back and say, "I wish someone had told me about that before."

Blogging provides many more opportunities than giving away a few books, and that's another reason I write.  This is the one area where I think of a wider audience; someone, somewhere out there may care about what I have learned about xylitol, or epidurals, or math curricula.  Again, I don't apologize for writing what some may not find interesting; if you don't like it, skip it.  But if you find something valuable in it, and especially if you have something to add to the discussion, I greatly appreciate comments. Let them, however be polite. While I don't hesitate to publish comments I disagree with, I also don't hesitate to delete comments I deem offensive; I am the sole judge of "polite" for this blog.

One thing all my posts have in common is commentary.  You get my opinion on politics, education, and health; on books and movies; on bike trails and genealogy.  More often you get my opinion-in-progress, as writing is as much my way of forming thoughts as of expressing them.  What you won't get is something directed as a weapon against you—certain public persons excepted, although even then I prefer to challenge ideas, not people.  I write from my own accumulated knowledge and experience; whether you agree or disagree, your own experiences are more than welcome.  My best work still comes from those who are willing to share.

Disclaimers and Disclosures
I'm a grandmother, not a doctor, lawyer, certified teacher, or other expert. I offer my experiences and opinions, not professional advice. Check with your own advisors, do your own research, and use your own common sense.

My writings are intended to provoke discussion but never offense, and I ask your patience and pardon if I slip over to the wrong side of that line. Please let me know so I can clarify and/or apologize. In the words of Joseph Joubert, The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.

From time to time I will mention and possibly endorse certain organizations, companies, or products. In case it matters to you, be aware that Salem's Attic is our own company, and Lime Daley is that of our daughter and son-in-law. The latter also feeds our grandchildren, but don't let that influence you unduly. Our son-in-law is also part of the LifeType project.

Another disclosure, thanks to FTC regulations taking effect 1 December 2009: I have no idea what others should expect from anything I review or comment on. I'm one person, not a research laboratory. You may love a book I find objectionable; you may dislike the recipe I say is fabulous. Such is life. Sometimes I get books for free, from publishers, which I'll acknowledge in the review, but no small tip is going to make me say I liked a book when I didn't. I also get incalculable return from Lime Daley, but I like to think that's because of my familial relationship with the owners, not because of any endorsements I make on this blog.

Our blog is hosted by Lime Daley and Salem's Attic, and run by LifeType. The primary template is based on one designed by Jon Daley. Jon is our Chief Technical Advisor, and without him this blog would be floundering in a peat bog somewhere.