My New Mantra



      Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
      and remember what peace there may be in silence.
      As far as possible without surrender
      be on good terms with all persons.
      Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
      and listen to others,
      even the dull and the ignorant;
      they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.



Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Perhaps I was born with an old woman’s soul.

This is my next creative project, a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.

I’m already in love with it.


The Boat I Missed?

I think that perhaps if you should ever find yourself reading one of your old textbooks for pleasure it might be a sign.

My most favorite class ever was an Intro to Philosophy class I took at UNT.  I’m re-reading one of the books, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, for the third or fourth time.  Just fascinating.

Could there be a better job than moral philosopher?


Is it too much to ask that we collectively live an examined life?  Seriously?



There is no escaping grief.  Nor should we try.  To be human is to feel grief.

We live with the double-edged sword of awareness.  Awareness that we shall pass, that what we love shall pass, that it all will pass, and that time will continue none the more wearied or worried for our great grief.  We know that eternity endures and we do not.

And yet, we can only live our direct line of experience.  We can only fathom our current moment because every other moment has vaporized into the mist of nonexistent probability.  We can only see the parents we have because they are the only parents we could possibly have.  We can only see the children we have because they are the only children we could have in this very moment.  We live this moment because it is the only moment we could possibly live at this moment.

And because this moment is the only moment possible we forget the astronomical odds against our very existence – the chain of events that had to happen right from the very beginning of the universe for us to exist – any one of which with a different outcome would have resulted in our not being.

The future may be malleable but this moment is set in stone.

Because this moment is the only moment possible we forget how very lucky we are to have even met our parents, our children, our lovers, ourselves.  Out of the infinite possibilities in the universe, our possibility came true.

And so we grieve our losses because they are losses of magnitude.

We grieve because grief is the price of love.

We grieve because our hearts work.

Don’t ask for a universe with no grief, it would be a terrible place indeed.

Intentional Slacking

A few days ago I stood in an aisle way at work and thought to myself, “I don’t know how much longer I can work here.”  It’s a thought that is probably shared by a majority of working people at one time or another in their working lives.  A point you reach where the stress is no longer outweighed by the benefit of a continued relationship with your employer.  Sometimes things change and the relationship can be salvaged, sometimes things don’t change and change is all that’s left.

My moment was compounded by the fact that we had just discovered an impediment on a property on which we had just made an offer.  We’d found a small house on five acres with a well and code-approved septic (no small thing we are discovering) for what is a reasonable price around here.  It had the beginnings of a barn, small outbuildings, fences already in place and tons, just tons of opportunity.  We looked at it and saw a small orchard and large market garden.  Off to the sides we’d tuck away a chicken house, a rabbit hutch, and possibly have enough room left over for a couple of miniature cows.  We offered a little above asking price just to improve our odds.  Our offer was accepted.

The property is about 45 minutes south of where I currently work.  Buying it and living there would require me staying at my less than fulfilling place of employment.  It was a trade-off I was willing to live with.

Then some deep research revealed a wetland buffer zone that encroached on about one third of the property.  Wetlands are ubiquitous up here in the great state of Washington.  They’re necessary for the management of the tremendous amount rain we receive and they are part of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  I applaud and support their management and preservation.  But in this case, our dreamed of mini-farm suddenly became a house with a very large yard.

It was no longer a trade-off I was willing to live with.  We are in the process of withdrawing our offer.

Anyway, for the last few days, with no agricultural dreams to distract me I have been frantically searching for a graduate program to attend.  Until this morning.  This morning I realized that there is and has been something pathological about my need to move.  I’ve advanced in a job I don’t like just for advancement’s sake.  I’ve achieved a degree that will make no material difference in my life just to achieve it.  And now, I am desperately searching for something else to fill my time.  It must stop.

So I’ve made a decision to consciously make no decisions for a while.  I’m not going to look for a graduate program.  I’m not going to obsess about my work performance.  I’m not going to look for another property to rehabilitate.

For the foreseeable future I am going to do the bare minimum it takes to survive and just exist.  Whatever comes out of this time, if anything, will be the path I follow.

I might even post more regularly on this blog.

Hey There Friend

Don’t think I’ve forgotten you because I am silent.  I am almost done with a life goal and it consumes me for just a small while longer.


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