Friday, March 7, 2014

The Great Gift of Parenthood

"Children are their parens' guests.  they come into the space that has been created for them, stay for a while--fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years--and leave again to create their own space.  Although parents speak about "our son" and "our daughter," their children are not their property.  In many ways children are strangers.  Parents have to come to know them, discover their strengths and their weaknesses, and guide them to maturity allowing them to make their own decisions.  
 The greateast gift parents can give their children is their love for each other.  Through that love they create an anxiety-free place for their children to grow, encouraging them to develop confidence in themselves and find the freedom to choose their own ways in life."
 --Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey

Saturday, January 18, 2014


"The idea was that when faced with abundance one should consume abundantly--an idea that has survived to become the basis of our present economy.  It is neither natural nor civilized, and even from a "practical" point of view it is to the last degree brutalizing and stupid."
-Wendell Berry, "A Native Hill"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Keep it"

"Most of the most important laws of conduct of human life probably are religious in origin--laws such as these: Be merciful, be forgiving, love your neighbors, be hospitable to strangers, be kind to other creatures, take care of the helpless, love your enemies. We must, in short, love and care for one another and the other creatures.  We are allowed to make no exceptions.  Every person's obligation toward the Creation is summed up in two words from Genesis 2:15: 'Keep it.'"
Wendell Berry, "The Citizenship Papers" (103)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Writing advice

"If people show up in one of my classes and want to learn to write, or to write better, I can tell them everything that has helped me along the way and what it is like for me on a daily basis.  I can teach them little things that may not be in any of the great books on writing.  For instance, I'm not sure anyone else has mentioned that December is traditionally a bad month for writing.  It is a month of Mondays.  Mondays are not good writing days.  One has had all that freedom over the weekend, all that authenticity, all those dreamy dreams, and then your angry mute Slavic Uncle Monday arrives, and it is time to sit down at your desk.  So I would simply recommend to the people in my workshops that they never start a large writing project on any Monday in December. Why set yourself up for failure?"
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (xxvii)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Big Bang

While attending the annual convocation of cause theorists and bigbangists at the local provincial research university, the mad farmer intercedes from the back row...

"Chance" is a poor word among
the mazes of causes and effects, the last
stand of these all-explainers who,
backed up to the first and final Why,
reply, "By chance, of course!" As if
that tied up ignorance with a ribbon.
In the beginning something by chance
existed that would bang and by chance
it banged, obedient to the by-chance
previously existing laws of existence
and banging, from which the rest proceeds
by logic of cause and effect also
previously existing by chance? Well,
when all that happened who was there?
Did the chance that made the bang then make
the Bomb, and there was no choice, no help? 
Prove to me that chance did ever
make a sycamore tree, a yellow-
throated warbler nesting and singing
high up among the white limbs
and the golden leaf-light, and a man
to love the tree, the bird, the song
his life long, and by his love to save
them, so far, from all the machines.
By chance? Prove it, then, and I
by chance will kiss your ass.

Wendell Berry, "While Attending the Annual Convocation of Cause Theorists and Bigbangists at the Local Provincial Research University, the Mad Farmer Intercedes from the Back Row"

Friday, January 3, 2014


"Evil, in most great fiction, lies in the inability to 'see' others, hence to empathize with them.  What is frightening is that this blindness can exist in the best of us. . . as well as the worst."
-Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran


“Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”

-Thomas Merton