Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Make Good Art

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Life is sometimes hard.

Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong.

And when things get tough, this is what you should do…

Make good art.

— Neil Gaiman, Art Matters, “Make Good Art”

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 11, 2019

Make Art

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do, you have one thing that’s unique.

You have the ability to make art.

— Neil Gaiman, Art Matters, “Make Good Art”

Photo: Burg Lahneck, Germany, August 22, 2004

Am I Acting Like I Believe?

Monday, August 12th, 2019

So perhaps a better question than “Do I believe in miracles?” is “Am I acting like I do?” Am I including the people who are typically excluded? Am I feeding the hungry and caring for the sick? Am I holding the hands of the homeless and offering help to addicts? Am I working to break down religious and political barriers that marginalize ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities and people with disabilities? Am I behaving as though life is more than a meaningless, chaotic mess, that there is some order in the storm?

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 186

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 3, 2019

Doing the Impossible

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do.

And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.

— Neil Gaiman, Art Matters, “Make Good Art”

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, July 31, 2019

A Strong Aspiration

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

If you have a deep aspiration, a goal for your life, then your loving of others is part of this aspiration and not a distraction from it. If you and your partner both want to do things to relieve the suffering in this world, then your love for each other is connected to your love for others, and it expands exponentially to cover the whole world.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 74

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, July 31, 2019

Where Wonder Leads

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Do we have time to notice the baby-fingernail moon, a thick cape of morning mist, the diamond dew? Do we play anymore, step away from tasks, duties, and habits with curiosity? Tread carefully: if you are not vigilant, this may lead to wonder, which is joy, which every fear in you knows will lead to job failure and lost revenue.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 167-168

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, July 26, 2019

God’s Business

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

Are you, in the end, successful? Naturally, I find myself heartened by Mother Teresa’s take: “We are not called to be successful, but faithful.” This distinction is helpful for me as I barricade myself against the daily dread of setback. You need protection from the ebb and flow of three steps forward, five steps backward. You trip over disappointment and recalcitrance every day, and it all becomes a muddle. God intends it to be, I think. For once you choose to hang out with folks who carry more burden than they can bear, all bets seem to be off. Salivating for success keeps you from being faithful, keeps you from truly seeing whoever’s sitting in front of you. Embracing a strategy and an approach you can believe in is sometimes the best you can do on any given day. If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God’s business. I find it hard enough to just be faithful.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 167-168

Photo: Schloss Dhaun, Germany, July 2002

Blinders Off

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Reading and writing help us take the blinders off so we can look around and say “Wow,” so we can look at life and our lives with care, and curiosity, and attention to detail, which are what will make us happy and less afraid.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 99

Photo: After 2019 ALA Annual Conference

Joy in the Present Moment

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

If I’m trying to be happy today in the same way I was happy yesterday, I’ll fail. The manna of joy falls in limitless supply, but each day’s rations must be gathered afresh. Joy inhabits only the present moment; if I can’t embrace it now, it’s gone.

What keeps me from seizing joy in the moment? Sorrow, obviously; yet joy too, either remembered or anticipated, can alienate me from present reality. Great things have happened and will happen, but they cannot compare with what God does right now, that His power and glory may continually spring forth fresh.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 141

Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

Friday, April 26th, 2019

If you can accept your body, then you have a chance to see your body as your home. You can rest in your body, settle in, relax, and feel joy and ease. If you don’t accept your body and your mind, you can’t be at home with yourself. You have to accept yourself as you are. This is a very important practice. As you practice building a home in yourself, you become more and more beautiful.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 23

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 8, 2019