It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.

— Lemony Snicket, Horseradish:  Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid, p. 16

A Boomerang

Cursing is a boomerang.  If I will evil towards someone else, that evil becomes visible in me.  It is an extreme way of being forensic, toward myself, as well as toward whoever outrages me.  To avoid contaminating myself and everybody around me, I must work through the anger and the hurt feelings and the demands for absolute justice to a desire for healing.  Healing for myself, and my anger, first, because until I am at least in the process of healing, I cannot heal; and then healing for those who have hurt or betrayed me, and those I have hurt and betrayed.

— Madeleine L’Engle, A Stone for a Pillow, quoted in Glimpses of Grace, compiled by Carole F. Chase

Realistic Books

Neither my mother nor my dog dies in this book.  I’m rather tired of those types of stories.  In my opinion, such fantastical, unrealistic books — books in which boys live on mountains, families work on farms, or anyone has anything to do with the Great Depression — have a tendency to rot the brain.  To combat such silliness, I’ve written the volume you now hold — a solid, true account.  Hopefully, it will help anchor you in reality.

So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them that you don’t read “fantasy,” because you prefer stories that are real.  Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson, p. 50


Psychologists and various social scientists often talk about the theoretical concept of separation, and the need for adolescents to separate from their parents and families and establish their independence.  Adolescence is thought of as a time when teenagers venture out on their own to discover themselves, so that they can come back to their families as fully individuated adults.  Fat chance.  The simplistic notion of independence versus dependence in the context of separation is outdated and inaccurate — if indeed it ever was a reflection of reality — and it needlessly pits parents and teenagers against one another.  Connection is the foundation of a healthy parent-teenager relationship — a connection that is based on interdependence.

Therefore, you need to erase the idea of separation from your mind and replace it with the concept of extension.  That is, during adolescence teenagers need to extend away from their parents, all the while staying connected to their parents.  Their job is to extend; your job is to connect.

Staying Connected To Your Teenager:  How To Keep Them Talking To You and How To Hear What They’re Really Saying, by Michael Riera, PhD, p. 4

The Message of Macbeth

“Shakespeare did not write for your ease of reading,” she said.

No kidding, I thought.

“He wrote to express something about what it means to be a human being in words more beautiful than had ever yet been written.”

“So in Macbeth, when he wasn’t trying to find names that sound alike, what did he want to express in words more beautiful than had ever yet been written?”

Mrs. Baker looked at me for a long moment.  Then she went and sat back down at her desk.  “That we are made for more than power,” she said softly.  “That we are made for more than our desires.   That pride combined with stubbornness can be disaster.  And that compared with love, malice is a small and petty thing.”

— Gary D. Schmidt, The Wednesday Wars

Letting Go of Control

To be intimate or close, we have to let go, for the moment, of our need to control.  Controlling and caretaking prevent intimacy and closeness.  They are substitutes for, and barricades to, closeness.  We can’t be close if we’re trying to control or caretake.  Controlling and caretaking are ways to connect with people.  They’re not as satisfying as closeness and intimacy, but for some of us, those are the only ways we learned how to connect with others.

— Melody Beattie, Beyond Codependency, p. 185

The Child Inside

For that delightful, exuberant, lovable child in us to come out and play and show his or her beautiful face in moments of intimacy and closeness, that child first has to be found.  Secondly, that child must know that if he or she comes out to play he or she will be protected, valued, cherished, and cared for.  That the child in us must feel this way isn’t optional:  it’s essential and a prerequisite to intimacy.

— Melody Beattie, Beyond Codependency, p. 185

Our Inner Child Recognizes Truth

If we limit ourselves to the possible and provable, as I saw these people doing, we render ourselves incapable of change and growth, and that is something that should never end.  If we limit ourselves to the age that we are, and forget all the ages that we have been, we diminish our truth.

Perhaps it is the child within us who is able to recognize the truth of story — the mysterious, the numinous, the unexplainable — and the grown-up within us who accepts these qualities with joy but understands that we also have responsibilities, that a promise is to be kept, homework is to be done, that we owe other people courtesy and consideration, and that we need to help care for our planet because it’s the only one we’ve got.

I never want to lose the story-loving child within me, or the adolescent, or the young woman, or the middle-aged one, because all together they help me to be fully alive on this journey, and show me that I must be willing to go where it takes me, even through the valley of the shadow.

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher, quoted in Glimpses of Grace, collected by Carole F. Chase, February 21 entry