Monday, June 28, 2010

Lessons For A Good Life

1.  Do not complain about your life.
2.  Do not blame others for things that you have brought upon yourself.
3.  Be content with who you are and where you are.
4.  Do whatever you can to bring to others such contentment, joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So Many Books, So Little Time

I've not posted in about two weeks.  Last week I was fighting some virus/cold/nasty thing. Week before that I was in the midst of a mid-life crisis; more on that later.  Maybe.  

I finished the book So Many Books, So Little Time-A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson.  It was a fun read and introduced me to books I would never pick up in the first place.  My reading list grew by about fifteen books.

Here's what she says about not finishing a book.  "So I did something I have only in my maturity learned how to do:  I stopped reading.  Right there, on page 71, right after the hero, a brain-damaged soldier, encounters the little boy who will change his life.  I might pick it up again, I told myself.  And I might.  But I doubt it.  Allowing yourself to stop reading a book-at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end-is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment  at which you look at yourself and announce:  Today I am an adult.  I can make my own decisions."

I remember when I decided not to finish a book; something I had never done before.  I was reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez .  I was on the next to the last page and became so frustrated that I threw the book across the room shouting, "This is stupid!"  I never finished it.  

Thinking back on it, I have a hard time imagining being that frustrated by a book one page away from the ending.  But I was.  Since then I've had no trouble not finishing a book if I'm not really into it by about fifty pages or so.  That's three negatives in one sentence.  Is that allowable?

My new motto is "Life's Too Short to Read a Book That Doesn't Capture My Interest."

Here's something funny she said about trying to get interested in different books and failing.  "I'm like an animal off its feed.  I can't get into a novel to save my life.  Biographies bore me.  I've left so many open books belly down, on the green bedroom rug that the whole place is starting to look like an aerial view of a town full of Swiss chalets."  I think that's hilarious!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something To Think About

Do your work...and step back.
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening a knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

I don't know where I read this, but I recognized the truth in it. How many times do we overwork something to the point of ruining it? Westerners want more, more, more instead of being satisfied with enough or even less.

And as a Christian, I don't believe that the only path to serenity is to do your work and step away from it. But the poem makes a good point, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Know How She Feels

Excerpt from Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. Sue says, "At times like this, I feel the small curse of my introspective nature and its obstinate demands, how it wants to be allowed, wants my unhurried and undivided attention, how the moments of life insist on being metabolized and given expression. As usual, having failed to stop and tend to this unmitigated part of myself, it has stopped me."

Quote of the Day

"We write to taste life twice," Anais Nin wrote, "in the moment and in retrospection."

Memorial Day 2010

Here are a few photos of my son, Garrett, who is serving in Iraq. These were taken in March when he came home for a two week leave. He surprised his nephew, my oldest grandchild Caed, with a visit to his first grade classroom. It was a very emotional reunion. The teacher asked Garrett to lead the class in the singing of our national anthem. Here he is fresh off the plane getting a hug from his dad. And stealing a kiss from his youngest nephew, Wilder. And him acting up with his grandma. We're so proud of you, Garrett. Hurry home!