Thanks for the Memories

I’m actually not very good with remembering things. I was listening to a podcast with Karen Glass, author of Know and Tell: The Art of Narration, and she mentioned that Charlotte Mason made a distinction between Memorization and Memory. Yep, memorization, that’s me. What I’ve been good with is deliberate memorizing of things — scripture, choir music, piano recital pieces, phone numbers, birthdays. I don’t remember lyrics to songs from just having heard or sung them a lot, or piano pieces from just playing them a lot. Those things I have to deliberately Continue reading

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I’m Jolly Well Going to Get Some of the Advantages, Too

I am the fourth of my parents’ five children. Our youngest sibling passed from this life at the age of 31 from cancer. That was an anomaly in our family longevity, except for our maternal grandmother who died at 36 from what I can never remember. My paternal grandmother died just before her 84th birthday; both my grandfathers were 73 at their deaths. My dad died in 2015, two months shy of his 98th birthday. Now that’s really something right there. My mom is currently 85 years young. As I tend to resemble my paternal grandmother and my dad in many ways, unless someone isn’t being careful on Hwy 212 one morning, I expect that I’ve got another Continue reading

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‘Times Were Much Simpler Then’

I’m listening to a wonderful interview (video at end of post) with historian David McCullough, whose most famous work is probably his John Adams biography. Don’t let the title fool you; in this hour-long interview he talks about much more than John Adams. So many wonderful things about knowing and appreciating people and events of the past, as well as how it ought to be taught. He also mourns the loss of skill with our own language, and thus the ability to communicate effectively and beautifully. (The beauty/art is what makes it effective, in my opinion.)

Somewhere around the half-way point he says he hates when people say, “Times were much simpler then.” He exclaims, “No they weren’t! Continue reading

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‘Only Human’

“Wow! that was very thoughtful of you!”

“Oh, it was nothing, I’m only Human.”

“Way to see the potential consequences of your actions and choose to act differently.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m purely Human.”

“You planned an awesome party for Joe’s retirement.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m entirely Human.”

“That was quick. Good job on consulting the map and checking that Facebook group for road conditions.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m essentially Human.”

“You’ve sure lost a lot of weight and gotten into shape. You’re really awesome to be that disciplined!”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m exclusively Human.”

“It never fails; you are always on time for work. You’re getting the employee of the year award.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m wholly Human.”

“Thank you for remembering my birthday. That was very kind.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I’m utterly Human.”

“It’s really something how you’ve been nearly 50 years playing piano and are now learning a whole new system with cello — new fingering, sustaining notes, bowing. It can’t be easy to retrain the mind and body at 56!”

“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m completely Human.”

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Those are some simple things that come to mind in a quick experiment with a twist on the usual usage of You’re/I’m ‘only human’, which is Continue reading

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To Be or not To Be

I am currently reading A Circle of Quiet, the first of Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journals. She uses and discusses the word ‘ontology’ a lot in these writings, and it’s really making me a little crazy because, although I’ve looked up the definition — just about every time she uses it, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the meaning and how she is using it each time. From Google’s dictionary:

noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies
  1. the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
  2. a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.

She also uses the word as an adjective and adverb — ontological, ontologically, which really makes me a little nutty. Ontology was actually her word for one summer, and the best I can make of it at this point is that she was trying to be and connect to her real human self (and to others, I assume) as best she could. Who am I really…deep down? What is the real essence Continue reading

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Celebrate, or Keep on the sunny side

With a little help from my friends, I chose Celebrate as my word for 2018. I don’t remember exactly how he put it (as I am wont to do), but Jack’s hope for me was to stop myself when I’m focusing on all that I get wrong, and to instead think about what I get right. Yes, I’m a pretty negative person. About myself. And about others.

But I am not alone in this defaulting to a negative perspective, it seems. One of my current reads is Continue reading

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She’s Back! What in the world was she thinking?

Here’s where I begin typing and as I go along, decide what exactly I want to do at this place after 4 years of silence. I was never great at the technical side of this having a blog, and now I’ve got to relearn it all. How to create a new post, how to format it, how to save it, how to tag it, how to categorize it, how to add a picture or a quote, etc. But I just have to dive back in.

Recently, I Continue reading

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James Dewey: The Legacy of a Name

My brother James Lester Davis was born just before my 5th birthday. He was named for a paternal great-grandfather, James Davis, and our paternal grandfather, Lester Davis. At some point in his growing up years our mother told him that she had wanted to name him James Dewey, Dewey being her father’s middle name, and the one by which he was mostly called. Sometime in the 80s or 90s my brother passed this information on to me, and having already decided for many years that if I ever had a son I wanted to name him for one or both of my brothers, I decided at that point I wanted to name my future son James Dewey. It would be Continue reading

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Might Makes Right

In pondering more about the Boston Tea Party this morning, I got to thinking about “the glory” in knowing that our eventual independence, acquired some nine (end of war) or eleven (signing of the Treaty) years  later, came about because we won the War by the surrendering of the other side.  The rightness and justice of our cause was not what brought the achievement of that goal, but that we were physically stronger in some way.

I wonder at the fact that we were in the “Age of Enlightenment,” and not some barbaric times of Attila or Genghis, but that it was not reason that brought us to freedom and nationhood, but rather physical brutality. How glorious really is that? How satisfying is it to know that someone set you free, not because they were convinced it was the right thing to do and they wanted to do the right thing, but because you bullied them into it?

I realize that there were efforts to reason with king and country, but I’m just wondering where is the glory and joy and pride in what was resorted to for the eventual liberty?

Why do we celebrate the acts of violence and destruction?

When the South declared their own independence, charging much the same economic oppression and tyranny of which the colonies had accused the King, the immediate response was physical violence. This is the way we decide rightness, it seems. The “winner,” the biggest baddest strongest decides what is right.

Where is the glory in this?

And so it continues today.

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The hypocrisy of glorifying what you won’t imitate

My little status update from Facebook this morning:

I think that most folks who honor and glory in the founders of this nation and their actions, would rather just do that, and not imitate those actions. We love those stories and want to make d***n (pardon my Francais on a Sunday morning, but I’m looking for a strong word to describe how I see some people react) sure that they don’t take those stories and opportunities for costumed plays out of our schools. But would you perform some of the physical acts of rebellion that you so admire from 200 + years ago? Would you be proud to see your child involved in this? The “funny thing” is, if you look at the reality of things, we are under greater economic tyranny today than those boys were that threw that tea out of the boat. What are you willing to NOT METAPHORICALLY go throw out or blow up today as a response to economic oppression? I’d imagine nothing.

James and I read Plutarch’s Lives, and biographies of scientists, and artists, and musicians, and explorers, and statesmen, and activists, etc. etc. and our US History books, and World History books, not just so he can know these people and events for trivia, or to pass some test, or to get puffed up about being an American, but rather for him to be inspired by whatever noble characteristics (hard work, tenacity, honesty, kindness, sacrifice, etc.) and actions that he reads about and to imitate that in his own life. And the stories of the bad guys and girls are worthy to read about too — to know what is out there, what people are capable of, and what he needs to NOT admire, and what he needs to fight against, and from what he needs to run like the wind.

 “The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” 
~Charlotte Mason

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