My Word, it’s 2016!

Have you started a diet? Renewed your gym membership or decided to walk more? Maybe you have resolved to cut down on Facebook time this year . . .

Along with such New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends each year choose a guide word to help navigate the unknown paths of the next twelve months. Last year I began my own tradition with the word Advance. You can read about why I chose it here.

My Special Word

This year my word is Whole-hearted!

A few months ago I heard Brené Brown’s TEDx talk on expressing vulnerability. Though I’m generally not a fan of  self-help books, her presentation piqued my interest enough to read The Gifts of Imperfection, her short book (130 pages) labeled “Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life.”

Credit: Goodreads
Credit: Goodreads

 

On the first page appears her definition for such a life:

“Wholehearted living . . . means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Dr. Brene Brown, author/researcher/professor, has collected thousands of stories in the course of her qualitative study on authenticity and wholehearted living, which she describes as an act of faith that “requires believing without seeing.” (91)

This description sounds very much like my definition of faith, fueled by grace and joy, a faith I tasted first as a child hearing the blessed words of an old hymn at Bossler Mennonite Church: True-hearted, Whole-hearted, in which the men and women in the chorus belted out antiphonally: “Peal out the watchword, silence it never / Song of our Spirit, Rejoicing and Free . . . King of my life, my Savior will be.”

 

Quotes on Wholeheartedness

Maybe stories are just data with a soul. ~ Brené Brown

Never shy away from opportunity and wholehearted living. Never be fearful of putting yourself out there. The courageous may encounter many disappointments, experience profound disillusionment, gather many wounds; but cherish your scars for they are the proud emblems of a truly phenomenal life. The fearful, cautious, cynical and self-repressed do not live at all. And that is simply no way to be in this world.”
Anthon St. Maarten

Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby.    ~ Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.     Deuteronomy 6:5, King James Version

 

A Look in the Mirror

Last year, my good friend Sandra Cornelius gave me a mirror for my birthday. A survivor of many serious health challenges, Sandra took up the practice of placing mirrors in various rooms of her home during her recuperation, declaring with an inscription that she is beautiful even though she may have felt otherwise at the time.

With this object, granddaughter Jenna is learning the concept of self-acceptance, which is vastly different from pride or self-importance. Just as Aibileen, the maid, praised Elizabeth’s young daughter Mae in the novel The Help, Jenna is also hearing that she is kind, smart, and important.

JennMirror2

In the month of January, named for the ancient Roman god Janus, we look two ways, with gratitude and perhaps a sense of relief for having survived 2015, and with anticipation and hope for the new year ahead.

Thank you for being my companion this year. I hope 2016 will be your best ever.

Happy New Year!

Have you made a resolution or chosen a special guide word for 2016? Looking back, what are you particularly thankful for this past year?

Coming next: Moments of Discovery, Keys to a Riddle

Kids, Oaks, and Quotes: Purple Passages for August 2015

A Short Story

Once upon a time seven children from three different states came to visit their family in Pennsylvania. Some came from far away in a car, plane or train so they could see each other and get to know their grandparents and great-grandparents, who lived in the lush farmlands and wooded meadows of western Lancaster County.

The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 3
The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 3

 

The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 4
Hearing bird sounds and reading stories: Great Grandma Longenecker with Crista, age 4

They liked too when Great Grandma would bring them warm strawberries from her patch in the spring time, and in the summer some ripe, pink-cheeked Bartlett pears from the tree planted near a gently flowing brook. Grandma loved trees and sometimes sat in the shade of a Japanese cherry tree as she rocked on the porch. She smelled the wisteria that twisted around a trellis close by and enjoyed the morning-glories climbing upon harp-like strings by the kitchen door.

One sad June day in 1980, their great grand-mother died, so all seven young children ages 1 1/2 – 11 gathered near the small village of Rheems to say “goodbye” to their Great Grandmother Fannie Longenecker, who was 89 years old. Some of the children called her Grandmother-of-the-Birds because she loved hearing birds chirp and gave them seeds to eat in the winter-time.

Great Grandma’s daughter, their Great Aunt Ruthie, loved trees too and when her mother died, she decided to plant an oak tree as a remembrance. All the children helped to plant the tree. Even the littlest one put some soil around the tree so the roots would be covered up tightly.

OakTreeGrandchildren

A Tall Tale

The tree grew and grew for thirty-five years. Now it is very, very tall. Cardinals, robins, and nuthatches hop around in its branches at various seasons of the year. In the summer squirrels enjoy the shade it sheds over the lawn.

Thirty-five-year-old oak tree in Grandma Longenecker's back yard 1980 - 2015
Thirty-five-year-old oak tree planted in 1980 in Grandma Longenecker’s back yard   2015 photo

The children visit Great Grandma’s house still, but they don’t often come at the same time now because they have grown up and have families of their own. When they do come, though, they can see how tall the tree has grown and imagine how deep the roots have spread out since they planted that tiny tree so many, many years ago.

Like birds, they have flown away on strong wings . . .

Like trees, they have memories deeply rooted in the Pennsylvania soil

 * * *

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.     ~  Warren Buffett

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.      ~  Marcus Garvey

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.     ~ Martin Luther

Friendship is a sheltering tree.    ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.    ~ Willa Cather, 1913

Trees are your best antiques.   ~ Alexander McCall Smith

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.
~ Ogden Nash, “Song of the Open Road,” 1933   (parody of a Joyce Kilmer poem)

* * *

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:3  KJV


Is there a tree of significance to your family? Where is it planted? What other images did you recall as you read this post?

Purple Passages in Rainbow Colors

Calm Thoughts, Relax Here

Where we relaxed at the home place, counting cars on a Saturday night, swinging on the porch and eating watermelon!

PorchSwing

*  *  *

Sunset, Chincoteague Island, VA
Sunset, Chincoteague Island, VA

Be grateful for calm skies . . .

Forever is composed of nows.
(# 690)

 Emily Dickinson

 * * *

I’m going to enjoy every second, and I’m going to know I’m enjoying it while I’m enjoying it. Most people don’t live; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lost sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it doesn’t make any difference whether they’ve reach the goal or not.

Jean Webster, quoted in GoodReads

*  *  *

It’s bed time, don’t over do the studying business – take time to live.

Excerpt: Letter from Grandma Fannie Longenecker to me at college, dated May 10, 1962

 

Art and Love

The truly great artist has the eyes of a child and the vision of a sage.  Pablo Casals, cellist

 

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning for life and art. It is the color of Love.

Marc Chagall

Chagall’s stained glass windows are displayed in Fraümunster Church in Zurich, Switzerland. His images often seem to tumble, but always stay airborne. Floaty and flexible.

Floaty and flexible. Try that feeling on for size right now . . .

Tnachari – Google Images
Tnachari – Google Images

* * *

Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.

Robert Heinlein in Goodreads

Cliff Beaman photo
Cliff Beaman photo

 

We love words. Here’s where to share a relaxing thought, a quote, a suggestion.

Up next: Remembrances of Mother: A Year Later

Purple Passages with the Bard of Avon

Spring cleaning!

I have thrown out (read that, recycled) piles of files during the past two weeks. One I kept, though, was a Shakespeare file.

FolderTeaching

I take my discovery of this file as an invitation to play teacher once more. Actually, another good reason is that tomorrow, April 23, is reputedly Shakespeare’ s birthday as well as his day of death (1564-1616), and he gets all the “Purple Passage” space for notable quotes today. But first a verse, and then a quiz. (Fret not, answers provided on next post, April 25)

ShakesBirthdayCrown

PUzzleVerse_mod

Reputedly, Shakespeare invented words by changing verbs to adjectives, adding syllables or even coining new words. Here is a short list. Add vowels only!

1. b__mp

2. __m__z__m__nt

3. __nch__vy

4. __ss__ss__n__t__ __n

5. c__ __rtsh__p

6. dw__ndl__

7. f__pp__sh

8. h__ __dw__nk__d

9. l__ __pfr__g

10. z__ny                (Okay, so this was easy!)


Shakespeare’s plays contain so many memorable lines that many familiar with them may not know their origin. I am sure you have heard some of these, which need to be completed with one word:

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be _____________.        Romeo and Juliet

The course of true love never did run_________.     A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The devil can cite Scripture for his _________.   A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The better part of valour is __________.          King Henry IV, Part I

Sweet are the uses of adversity:

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in ________, and good in every thing.         As You Like It

Something is rotten in the state of _________.          Hamlet

There is nothing either good or bad, but __________ makes it so.       Hamlet

The play’s the thing / Wherein I’ll catch the _________ of the king.        Hamlet

When sorrows come, they come not single _________,  But in battalions.      Hamlet

O brave new _________, / That has such people in ‘t!      The Tempest

Want more Shakespeare? Last April I write about Shakespeare’s birthday in my classroom. Find the other link here.

Add some coined words I’ve missed, another Shakespearean quote, or even a thought about April and spring-cleaning. I love words. Share some of yours here!

Coming next: My Little Black Bookends Tell All

Purple Passages with a Pop of Pink, March 2015 edition

SPRING

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine . . .  ~  Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden

Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to bloom in Florida, early February
Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to hit full bloom in Florida, early February   ~  Sunshine, no rain in sight

[in Just-] a poem by e. e. cummings, (his name usually shown in lower case letters) who is known for odd spacing and made-up words like “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful” so evocative of the squooshiness that follows the winter thaw. This British poet clumped together some of the names and other words he uses, just like mud on your shoes in springtime. Remember all that? Here are the first nine lines.

spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

 

ENERGY

The only thing that keeps a man going is energy. And what is energy but liking life?   Louis Auchincloss, A World of Profit

MIRACLES

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

MITTENS

The wee Longenecker girls wore mittens because it was cold in Pennsylvania until near the end of March. These are the mittens I remember my sisters Janice wearing. Jean probably inherited them when her hands grew big enough. Somehow I recall a string of woven yarn attaching the mittens under the coat so the little girls wouldn’t lose their mittens. Mittens actually do keep little hands warmer than gloves would – body heat from all four fingers and thumb is trapped inside the glove just like this. . .

PinkMittens

. . . which reminds me of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the Three Little Kittens. You can probably hear the sing-song sound of the phrases as you read this tale.

KittenMittensScreenShot

In the verses which follow, the kittens put on their mittens, then get them dirty, are scolded by their mother, inducing them to wash their mittens, even hanging them out to dry. In the final verse, Mother Cat compliments her kitties while teaching them a lesson in scavenging for their dinner:

“What, washed your mittens, then you’re good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.”
“Meow, meow, meow,
We smell a rat close by.”

Your turn! This is a free-for-all post. Add your thoughts or quotes on spring, energy, miracles, mittens – or something else.
Coming next: Grandmother Kayaks Solo from Maine to Guatemala. Why?

Purple Passages with a Weather Forecast

To my friends both in the northern and southern hemisphere, some thoughts about the weather. All quotations from BrainyQuotes.

Sometimes I wish I was the weather, you’d bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I’d be the talk of the day.  —  John Mayer

 

I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.   — Noam Chomsky

 

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.    — Anthony J. D’Angelo

 

Scarves, mittens, and hats are a great way to express your personality in the cold weather.   — Brad Goreski

 

Where's my hat? Freezing temps on Chincoteague Island, VA
Where’s my hat? Freezing temps on Chincoteague Island, VA                              Chic Dumps? Best guess: Chicken and Dumplings

 

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

— Anton Chekhov

 

 

For there is no friend like a sister / In calm or stormy weather; / To cheer one on the tedious way, / To fetch one if one goes astray, / To lift one if one totters down,/ To strengthen whilst one stands.   –– Christina Rossetti

(from “Goblin Market”)

 

 

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.       — Pam Brown

 

 

The forecast: Spring will come!

Paperwhites

Paperwhites from the narcissus family, with their “delicate color and sweet, musky fragrance,” a forecast of spring to come.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.    Genesis 8:22  KJV

 


I’m guessing you agree with some quotes more than others. One or two you may completely disagree with. 

Can you add another one? We’ll be listening . . .

 

Coming next: Wanda: Boring in Beige or Beautiful in Blue?

Purple Passages: Rich Word$

On December 29, author/blogger Joan Rough published a post declaring her optimistic intentions for 2015 and pondering a single word to characterize this new year while contemplating words of wisdom used other years. Some choices she suggested: Believe, Dare, Trust, Patience, Forward. Even the word Intention would be a good star to steer by, she mused.

Other commenters suggested words like Flow and Connection. Thus, Purple Passages for January is constructed from 3 of these words: DareIntention, Flow

DARE

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”
E.Y. Harburg

INTENTION

Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.

― Phylicia Rashad, the valiant wife in The Cosby Show

Artist Cliff's intention turning to action, recycling old technology
Artist Cliff’s intention turning to action, recycling old technology

FLOW

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
Louis L’Amour

“I am rooted, but I flow.”
Virginia Woolf

ADVANCE: My word for 2015

I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.          Henry David Thoreau, Walden

What do you think?

“Just go with the flow” is an expression offered sometimes as advice for tough times. How do you experience “flow” in your life now? How about daring, ― or intending?

Have you picked a guide word for 2015?

*  *  *
 A final word: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.      Proverbs 3:5

Coming next: Signs and a Wonder: St. Simons Island

Purple Passages, Time and Tiny Tim, December 2014

Christmas: Time to Feel the Spirit

Christmas Spirit Dale Evans

Christmas is not [just] a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.  – President Calvin Coolidge

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  – Dickens

*  *  *

Time to be Aware

Time back tracking: Hezekiah prays for a longer life, and the sun moves backward 10 degrees, for a sign of that promise fulfilled.

Isaiah 38:8b So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees [on the dial thereon] it was gone down.  KJV

Time standing still: Joshua asks God for the sun to stand still to ensure victory for Israel.

Joshua 10:13b  So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down a whole day.   KJV

Fretting over time: “But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near. . . “     — Andrew Marvell   “To His Coy Mistress”

According to a recent study cited by Jennie L. Phipps (top 20 weekday activities), many retirees spend most of their time sleeping and watching TV or movies.

Apparently, not everyone hears “Time’s winged chariot hurrying near!”

Mother's wristwatch
Mother’s wristwatch

Time, in Balance:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.    Ecclesiastes 3:1    KJV

*  *  *

Holy Curiosity: Time to Stay Alive

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.   – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.     – Eleanor Roosevelt

Time for Blessing

Tiny Time and Scrooge_Final_Shading_300

GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!     Tiny Tim


Your turn:  How does the passage of time affect you? What are you most curious about? How do you keep the spirit of Christmas (or Hanukkah) alive after the season passes?

Purple Passages and Fine China

READING

La Lectura es el viaje de los que no pueden tomar el tren.        – F. Croisset

(Reading is the journey of those who cannot take the train.)

Marian Reading_14mos._2x4_300

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested . . . .           Sir Francis Bacon  “Of Studies”

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.     Groucho Marx

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.    Oscar Wilde

LAUGHTER

When we laugh, a sort of temporary anesthesia is released within us that blocks the pain as our attention is diverted.      Chuck Swindoll in Five Meaningful Minutes a Day

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.    Audrey Hepburn

CHINA   

Friendship is delicate as [china], once broken it can be fixed but there will always be cracks.    Waqar Ahmed

Pitcher Broken

It’s a wise husband who will buy his wife such fine china that she won’t trust him to wash the dishes.    – Honoré de Balzac

ChinaFine

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and salmon sing in the street.      – W. H. Auden

We have a week and a half left of work and we are like delicate china speeding toward a brick wall. Sounds fun, huh?     – Jennifer Anniston

Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.     

                   Mary Manin Morrissey

A comment? Another quotation? Both are welcome here!

Purple Passages and a Teddy Bear

 LEAVES

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.   – Albert Camus

Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.   – Jim Bishop

Original Photo: Autumn in Pennsylvania
Original Photo: Autumn in Pennsylvania

Quotation, noun: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.      – Ambrose Bierce

(In September’s Purple Passages, I published one of Bierce’s quotes on photography. The one above was contributed later by photographer son Joel.)

 

CAREBEAR

A bear grows more alive with age. No one with one ounce of sensitivity could ever consign a bear to the dustbin.    – Johnnie Hague

Mom with sheepish look holding teddy bear   1992
Mom with sheepish look holding teddy bear   1992

 

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh.

 

The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.    – Margaret Heffernan

People go to the zoo and they like the lion because it’s scary. And the bear because it’s intense, but the monkey makes people laugh.    – Lorne Michaels

 

HUMOR

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.   – Henry Ward Beecher   (Contributed by blog reader Carolyn Stoner)

It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips.    – Fred Allen

*  *  *

Your opinion please: the quote about the teddy bear and cellphone.  A comment on something else? Obviously, I like to chat too.

Coming next: Train Lovers, Welcome Aboard