Archive for May, 2013

Lending Books

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Lending books to others is merely a shrewd form of housecleaning.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p. 19

This Is It

Friday, May 10th, 2013

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets — this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.

I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.

I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 16-17

Using Books

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The delight I derive from writing in my books is one reason I do not own an e-book reader. To me books are talismans and memento mori, yes, but they are also toys. I like to play with my books, to mark them up, to give them a lived-in look. I like to stack them up on the shelf and move them about and rearrange them according to new parameters — height, color, thickness, provenance, publisher, author’s nationality, subject matter, likelihood that I will ever read them. Then I put them back the way they were. I love to pull my books down off the shelf and read striking passages to baffled dimwits who have turned up at my house. From the moment I own a book, even before I open it to the first page, I feel that it has in some way changed my life. I treat my books the same way I treat my clothes or my shoes or my records: I use them. You cannot do any of this with a Kindle.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p. 15

Choose to Celebrate

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Today, humble Today, presents itself to us with all the ceremony and bling of a glittering diamond ring. Wear me, it says. Wear me out. Love me, dive into me, discover me, it pleads with us….

To choose to celebrate in the world we live in right now might seem irresponsible. It might seem frivolous, like cotton candy and charm bracelets. But I believe it is a serious undertaking, and one that has the potential to return us to our best selves, to deliver us back to the men and women God created us to be, people who choose to see the best, believe the best, yearn for the best. Through that longing to be our best selves, we are changed and inspired and ennobled, able to see the handwriting of a holy God where another person just sees the same old tired streets and sidewalks.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 10-11