Knitting, a Miracle Worker

What non-knitters are missing is the personality-enhancing qualities of knitting.  Knitting is a miracle worker.  With knitting, people can suddenly do things they couldn’t do before.  They can wait in line without becoming impatient.  They can sit through a grade-school concert with a smile.  They can handle long meetings and lectures, all without bothering other people or pacing around like lunatics.

— Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Knitting Rules, p. 11

He is Present

And yet, paradoxically, during those years of struggle, not believing in him, not seeing him, having no faith at all, I nevertheless felt him there.  He was present in my anger.  Present in my loneliness.  Present in my world’s refusal to be what I wanted it to be, and present in his own denial of anything I wanted to make him into.  Present.  With me.  Patiently waiting for me to turn and see him.  And still I struggled.

— Patty Kirk, Confessions of an Amateur Believer, p. 67

So Different

If you’ve got someone who seems opposite to you in almost every respect, you’ve got the right person.  In a sense, your partner is the repository of your rejected strengths.  Forgive your partner and, together, you become whole.

— Hugh Prather, Spiritual Notes to Myself, p. 43

Knitting Isn’t Clutter

Knitting and yarn appeal to the senses.  A project in the works smells good, feels good, looks good.  Never feel bad about wanting it hanging around.  Knitting is too beautiful to be clutter.  A half-finished shawl left on the coffee table isn’t a mess:  It’s an objet d’art.

— Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Knitting Rules, p. 11

A Noble Profession

With the firestorm and controversy out of which The Higher Power of Lucky emerged unscathed, I am more than ever confirmed in my belief that librarianship is a noble profession, essential to free speech and free access for children.  It is crucial to children’s ability to make sense of this fragile, battered world — the world we’re handing over to them.  I’m grateful to have spent thirty-five years promoting children’s books.  It’s work you can look back on and know you made a difference in people’s lives, and as cliched as that sounds, I believe it profoundly.

— Susan Patron, Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech, June 24, 2007.

Good Books; Good Questions

All books leave readers with questions; a good book leaves us with good questions.  Asking ourselves if Dumbledore ever found love (or what might have happened if Stanley Yelnats had not found the sneakers, or whether Harriet M. Welsch ever found culinary pleasures beyond tomato sandwiches) is how we give a book life within our imaginations, make it our own.  Like Philip Pullman’s subtle knife, those questions open the fabric between the writer’s universe and our own.

Pullman has been facing some questions of his own….  Pullman’s His Dark Materials presents a magnificent panoply of inquiries — about God, “Dust,” and the human imagination.  Is the trilogy a challenge to the Church?  Absolutely.  But mostly it is a challenge to any readers or pundits who expect a book — or its author — to do their thinking for them….  It’s not a writer’s privilege or responsibility to tell you how to read her or his book.  Talk is cheap, but print, still, is more or less forever.

— Roger Sutton, Editorial, The Horn Book Magazine, January/February 2008


Feeling badly about making a mistake is natural, but punishing yourself forever is never appropriate.

I urge you to fully examine your beliefs about mistakes and forgiveness.  Most people cannot answer this simple question:  “How much penance is appropriate to expunge your mistake?”  I have seen countless people who are continually punishing themselves in an infinite variety of ways because of a perceived transgression in the past.  Holding yourself to a so-called higher standard (others could be forgiven for this, but not me) does not make you a better person.  It only makes you a more miserable person….

It is a choice if you focus on the worst parts of you, rather than the good.  If you are having difficulty, then focus on helping someone in need, rather than wasting your time and effort on chastising yourself.  Do something positive.  Choose to ask for help — from God, your spiritual advisor, or your friends.  Be honest and admit that you are in charge of how you treat yourself, and start treating yourself the way you would a friend.

— Christel Nani, Sacred Choices, p. 230-232

Miraculous Present Moments

Whenever we do anything well, when we do our best, embracing an activity wholeheartedly, we are satisfied and energized.  Tucking a child into bed and saying a prayer after reading a story is a small act of grace with lasting benefits.  Rituals can never be rushed or be skipped.  The joy is in our instantaneous recognition of miraculous present moments.

Don’t plan it.  Live it.

— Alexandra Stoddard, Choosing Happiness, p. 16