Monday, December 28, 2009

End-of-December mood

Sometimes I just want to write and write until everything gets sorted out. A jumble of thoughts, memories, feelings, impulses, resolutions. Being focused toward the future. Making changes. Doing things differently. Becoming a NEW PERSON. Wanting to write and write. But also wanting to do, see things change.

So, I have three large bins of wool and knitting projects lined up in the living room. Formerly, they were all stashed in open cubes in the hallway so I would have easy access to them. But it has been so long since I worked on them. Feel compelled to finish the many projects in all states of doneness, one by one. Like the baby blanket for a "baby" who is now about 24 years old....

Rearrange my house. Box up more books to sell. The small satisfaction of moving a large stacks of books from the floor onto just-emptied bookcase shelves. "Eliminate and concentrate." But so many other things to finish. Scrambling to order the unorderly in order to MOVE ON--while there is yet time....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mediocrity trumps pride

Once again, Carol at Magistra Mater posted some quotes that got my attention and led me to borrow the book from the library. I found another, must-copy-down quote. This one is from Katherine Paterson, a writer of children's books (that I've never read) and a missionary kid (China).

When a professor suggested Mrs. Paterson consider becoming a writer, she brushed off the suggestion thinking that she
wouldn't want to add another mediocre writer to this world. Being a glorious failure didn't scare me at all, but being just mediocre did.

What I heard [the professor] say was, If you're not willing to be mediocre, you'll never be anything at all. I think that's a very important lesson to learn, because people always want a guarantee that they're going to be wonderful. But there's no way of knowing you're good, if you don't dare to be mediocre.
The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists, edited by Diane Olsen, p. 159.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chronicle of Gratitude

"It's never too late to start a chronicle of gratitude." A word of wisdom from A Circle of Quiet.

As was firmly, lovingly pointed out to me (again) today, I most certainly need to change how I experience life and the world:
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~John Milton~
1. People who care enough to speak to me the truth in love.
Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.
From the introduction to the Encyclical Letter "Caritas in Veritate" from Pope Benedict XVI.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Chesterton and Dervaes

From "Food Frenzy," by Roy F. Moore in the March 2009 issue of Gilbert Magazine, a magazine devoted to the work and legacy of G. K. Chesterton. This essay applies Chesterton's economic principle of distributism.

Chesterton said in Orthodoxy: "We must hate the world enough to want to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing." Among the things that make the world go 'round, the most important is food. How we grow it, sell it, and ship it is more vital than ever before. [...]

Thanks to the domination of global food exchanges by modern agribusiness, ownership and control of food production is shrinking into even fewer and fewer hands. Despite their allies in big government, family farms and food cooperatives are being squeezed out of existence on purpose. [...]

But there are those who set shining examples of resistance to the dark vision of these self-proclaimed elites. One particular family of five is leading the way in a unique manner.

The Dervaes family of Pasadena, California, has redefined the name of "small farm," or rather they have revolutionized the concept of "urban homestead." On a plot no larger than a quarter of an acre, this family of five are able to produce six thousand pounds of produce per year. They're aiming for a goal of ten tons [edit: ten thousand pounds or five tons] from the tenth-of-an-acre. Their Dervaes Institute Web site ( is a cornucopia of information for admirers and imitators worldwide.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Never quitting

This applies to so many aspects of life:
One of the biggest challenges in this or any age is to stick with the necessary changes we need to make and hold fast to the end. As important as beginnings are, the real test is in reaching the finish line, which requires perseverance for the long haul. Because we tend to turn things over to others--experts--we lose the opportunity to develop true self-sufficiency. [...] Going forward, we have to be willing to get past the idea stage and individually sweat the details, adjusting to unforeseen difficulties, and, above all, never quitting.
Jules Dervaes