Finding Home

An idea that resides within: home.

Steve McCurry Curated

Home should be an oratorio of the memory, 
singing to all our after life melodies and
harmonies of 
old remembered joy.
– Henry Ward Beecher

Herat, Afghanistan

Home is the nicest word there is.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder

Jodhpur, India

Sahel, Africa

Home is where, when you cross its threshold,
you finally feel at peace.
–  Dennis Lehane

Cambodia

Baluchistan, Pakistan

A  home is one of the most sacred of places.
It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the
world’s perils and alarms.
It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary
retire to gather new strength for the
battle and toils of tomorrow.
It is the place where love learns its lessons,
where life is schooled into discipline and strength,
where character is molded.
– J.R. Miller

Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Home is where one starts from.
– T.S. Eliot

Baluchistan

Allendale, South Carolina, USA

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Home is a Cup of Tea

As I contemplate returning to the spot in the world where I was born and raised, the idea of home, where we build it, has particular resonance for me. I will be returning to this post and these ideas on my own time, for while tea is not the thread running through my existence, finding home is.

Longreads

Candace Rose Rardon | Longreads | July 2017 | 10 minutes (2,882 words)

Let’s play a game. It’s called, “Being You, Right Now.” Perhaps you’re reading this on your way to work, defending your corner of the train with a well-placed elbow. Or are you at home? If so, please, put the kettle on. Yes, right now. I’ll wait.

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Courage

As life poses new challenges, courage becomes all: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Nin’s quote equals truth.

Steve McCurry Curated

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela

Tibet

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Helsinki, Finland

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.” 

– Victor Hugo

Kolkata (Calcutta), India

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
– Honoré de Balzac

Peshawar, Pakistan

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Kampala, Uganda

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Kashmir

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
– Mark Twain

Los…

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Patricia Emerson’s Wonderful World of Learning

Max, you have made me see myself through your eyes, and it is a humbling reflection. THANK YOU from the bottom of my <3. (I wish you all the best, too, as you take your next steps.) Lucky us!

Patricia Emerson’s humility and work ethic stretches as far as her legacy in Brielle and throughout Monmouth County, and she has done her due diligence to instill the same values in the thousands of students that have walked through her classroom door.

A 1973 graduate of Swarthmore College and a northwestern Oregonian girl to her core, spending less than a minute with Ms. Emerson shows you that teachers are as invaluable to society as currency itself.

As Ms. Emerson prepares the next phase of her life, moving back to the Oregon coast, she is already looking passed the aura of retirement to a new venture; teaching the teachers.

“Working with teachers is what I see in my great future,” she said. “I have had the best career possible. I have gone to the Dominican Republic for social justice reform. I created a movie on it. I have been the luckiest…

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seriously, the guy has a point

How wonderful is it to read something that acknowledges the difficulties inherent in argument. In so many of them, both sides (or as many sides as there may be) have a case to be made. (It is also rare to find profanity and articulate writing in tandem.)

gregfallis.com

I got metaphorically spanked a couple of days ago. Folks have been talking about the Fearless Girl statue ever since it was dropped in Manhattan’s Financial District some five weeks ago.I have occasionally added a comment or two to some of the online discussions about the statue.

Recently most of the Fearless Girldiscussions have focused on the complaints by Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who createdCharging Bull. He wantsFearless Girl removed, and that boy is taking a metric ton of shit for saying that. Here’s what I said that got me spanked:

The guy has a point.

This happened in maybe three different discussions over the last week or so. In each case I explained briefly why I believe Di Modica has a point (and I’ll explain it again in a bit), and for the most part folks either accepted my comments or ignored them. Which…

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Ab Initio

Ab Initio

Ah, those Romans.  This adverb initiates from the Latin root meaning beginning, to commence a new year, a fresh start although as I was preparing the house, and refrigerator, for guests over the past couple of days, it struck me how so much of what I do rises from the actions of my mother before me.  A quote posted recently from The Five People You Meet in Heaven expressed this same sentiment.  Our lives emerge from those what have gone before, whether in acts of replication of acts of mindful rejection.  So when I am precise in the way I fold the top sheet down, pattern showing beneath the edges of the pillows, and my husband shakes his head at my insistence that this is the way it should be done, I feel the touch of my mother’s hand; she, who would never have been described as domineering, is the master of much that I do.  My fabric is woven with hers.  From the beginning, mom, I thank you.

To Find a Way

“If I can survive cancer, then you can survive flunking an algebra test,”  reads one of my seventh grade students.  He has asked to rehearse a speech he has to deliver in front of a crowd at the local high school tonight at an annual fundraiser for cancer victims during our Language Arts class.  His speech describes his fight to overcome this pernicious enemy, one that began stalking him in third grade, and after a retreat for more than a year, returned to assail him once again last year near Christmas.  He says that he would have surrendered, so weak and rotten has he felt, but without him, his brother and sister, would no longer be triplets.  They would have lost their third.  He is on what he calls, “maintenance chemo,” much of it administered at home, a happy change from the weekend stays at  CHoP, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.  Matter-of-factly he details what the future holds for him and is happy, if subdued, that he has been given another reprieve.

There is already so much to what he says, but there is more.  The high school where this fundraiser takes place has struggled with its reputation as a school with a suicide cluster.  In the past five years, seven students have killed themselves.  When this courageous young man speaks, he sends a message about cancer, but he also sends a message about resilience and the will to hold onto life and love in the face of daunting odds.

Our classroom is silent as he finishes, then loud with applause. On the wall behind him is the quote from Anne Frank: “Despite everything I believe that people are really good at heart.”  Resilient spirits.

Trembling (and I am!)

     First post, and trembling.  In memory, I write.    

     Jan Berenstain died last Friday, so my inbox tells me when I open a message from Reading Is Fundamental.  On that day, I was writing about her or about the dynamic Bear-creating duo, in response to one of my student’s entries about the disputed value of television.  (Does anyone else have to read some fairly uninspired persuasive entries?  When they write about why they should have an iPhone, they approach brilliance.  Perhaps that will show up this year on state testing in memory of Steve Jobs?)  I know I have never written about Jan Berenstain to anyone before while grading their eighth grade notebooks, but I did on the day she died.  What are the odds?  Do you ever feel that there are so many connections we deny? 

My son, hard to believe that he is now 23, used to love those Bears!  We would read Too Much Television and pose the question every now and then, “My habit or my choice?”  Bless you, Jan (and Stan).  You are a slice of my life.