New year, new look for my blog. Felt like time for a change.
I have four resolutions and I’m feeling pretty good about them, but I don’t want to jinx myself by uttering them aloud. I’ll just post four updates throughout the year as I fail each one; it’s more efficient that way.
And now here is my Second Annual List of Inspirational Notes and Quotes For the New Year. Long ago I had the idea of beginning each new blog post with a relevant quote, but then I realized it was way easier to cram all of the literary bits and snippets I collect into one big pile right at the beginning of each year, when people are more in the mood for that sort of thing.
Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.
We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than submit to the desolation of an empty abundance.
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.
My life can be so arranged that I can live on whatever I have. If I cannot live as I have lived in the past, I shall live differently, and living differently does not mean living with less attention to the things that make life gracious and pleasant or with less enjoyment of things of the mind.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
“When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, There is always the garden.”– Minnie Aumonier
When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us…. What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth’s ability to produce.
I see humanity now as one vast plant, needing for its highest fulfillment only love, the natural blessings of the great outdoors, and intelligent crossing and selection. In the span of my own lifetime I have observed such wondrous progress in plant evolution that I look forward optimistically to a healthy, happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational living. We must return to nature and nature’s God.
Learning to produce our own food is essential if we are to ever truly take control of our own lives. It liberates us from the role of passive consumer, remote from real decisions, alienated from nature.
Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
I am led to reflect how much more delightful to an undebauched mind, is the task of making improvements on the earth, than all the vain glory which can be acquired from ravaging it, by the most uninterrupted career of conquests.
– George Washington
“I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.” –John Erskine
“God almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.”
— Francis Bacon
The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity.
– Henry Ford
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
– Mahatma Gandhi
The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee
On Living Well:
This is maturity: To be able to stick with a job until it’s finished; to do one’s duty without being supervised; to be able to carry money without spending it; and to be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
–Abigail Van Buren
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in stranger’s gardens.
–Douglas William Jerrold
One of the best ways of enslaving a people is to keep them from education… The second way of enslaving a people is to suppress the sources of information, not only by burning books but by controlling all the other ways in which ideas are transmitted.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
A person is just about as big as the things that make him angry.
One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.
“I cannot wander about being wise and brilliant all of the time, it certainly isn’t expected of me. However, I have discovered an ingenious system for being discovered should I become lost. Here’s how it works.The moment you discover you are lost, simply remain calm and don’t panic. Just sit down and remove your pocket knife from your pocket and begin to sharpen it. Within minutes, some know-it-all will come along and inform you that you are incorrectly sharpening your knife.”