Posts Tagged ‘Quotes’

…. you spend the last forty-five minutes of a decidedly long and arguably boring six-hour nursing meeting passing notes with the most feared and formidable teacher in the nursing program.

Yeah—for those of you who know Mrs. Harris, pathophysiology and acute medical-surgical professor extraordinaire, that’s who I’m talking about. The whole time I was waiting either for my alarm to go off and wake me out of a very strange dream or for the earth to split open and half of us to fall into hell and the rest of us to drift up through the ceiling.

(Though that sounds kind of bad, like I’m implying something about the moral status of our nursing students. It’s just an illustration, guys.)

This morning I actually got up and exercised, if riding your bike for 40 minutes can be called exercise, which in my book definitely is. (As opposed to sleeping another hour, anyways, which is what I wanted to do.) I’m pretty pumped to have a bike, because in my mind’s eye it looks like losing the seven pesky pounds that have rather stubbornly attached themselves to my personage since I started college. We’ll see.

Also, as I was walking across campus today in a rather hungry, sleepy, dizzy daze of having just sat through too many hours of presentations and inductions and other nursing what-not, I spotted my friend Meagan walking towards me. No one else was around, which becomes important in the story. So I waved really big and said, “Heee-eeey!” in that extremely too-many-syllables Southern way. But instead of responding, she just stared at me. At which point, of course, I realized that the girl I’d accosted was, ah-hem, not Meagan at all, and I didn’t know her from Adam.

I’m pretty sure she was a freshman, too, because she had that totally freaked out, why-didn’t-I-just-go-to-the-state-school-with-all-of-my-high-school-friends look. Oops.

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“Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.”

—Friedrich Schiller


Six strings

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Uncategorized
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For the past several days, I have been attempting to come up with something to blog about, to no avail. So today I resorted to that old favorite of scribblers like me experiencing writers’ block—typing “writing prompts” into Google and seeing what comes out.

I found one I rather liked, and so I shall try it out.

Hold your hands out in front of you, palms down. Imagine that you have a total of six strings tied around your fingers. Write about the objects that are dangling from the strings.

Object #1: A baseball card for Bryan McCann, because the Braves are on the television right now, as they are wont to be during baseball season in the Tate household, and because he looks like a hobbit.

Object #2: A huge clump of Merlin hair because I brushed him yesterday, and an entire second Merlin came off of him, and if I had kept brushing him, two more probably would have followed. We now have a make-your-own-Australian-shepherd kit in our trash can.

Object #3: An extremely worn-out, three-books-in-one paperback copy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m rereading it right now. Pages are falling out of it, the binding is so destroyed that it’s held together with Spell-O-Tape Scotch tape, and all the pages are crinkled and curled up and bent every which-way.

Object #4: A detailed topographical map of Arizona—I’ve always wanted to go there.

Object #5: A blank check, representing the fact of what-the-crap-what-do-you-mean-my-textbooks-are-going-to-cost-this-much-and-I-have-to-buy-a-PDA-to-boot? I don’t even want to talk about it.

Object #6: A pink fluffy chair, because in my letter from her Lisa talked about a pink chair that she bought for her dorm next semester, and because I thought it might be interesting to include in this list something that totally does not represent me.

School officially starts in eleven days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes. I do not remember a time since elementary school that I have been so incredibly excited for school. I honestly cannot wait to go to class, get homework assignments, do homework assignments, study to the brink of insanity for my three really hard classes (microbiology, pathophysiology, and nursing skills, all in one semester), get up for my eight o’clocks and go until three or four every day.

Someone needs to get me a brain transplant.

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Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn!  You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak!  Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.

—George Bernard Shaw

Although I am not exactly sure when this idea began to form, for quite some time I have imagined Christians as windows set into the towering walls of an enormous, unfathomably ancient cathedral of unparalleled beauty. However, the interior of this cathedral has absolutely no lighting whatsoever, and the masterful frescos and alcoves and chapels and woodwork on the pews and flying buttresses and statuary and altarpieces all lie within murky, smoky shadow from candles that never light but are constantly just past the point of guttering out. But the windows—the windows let light into the cathedral from the all-surrounding, all-permeating sunlight bathing the as-yet unreachable out-of-doors, and logically, the cleaner the windows become, the more light is let into the cathedral, and the more wonderful it becomes, and the more the encroaching, menacing darkness is held at bay.

In case this metaphor is a little murky to you—it’s okay, I’ve gone back and read some of my old, more abstract writing and been completely lost in the allegories and symbolism—here is a quick break-down:

  • The cathedral is the world. You only have to look west down Market Street at sunset, or into the just-opened eyes of a newborn child, or through the winding valleys of the High Tatras Mountains to know that the world is beautiful; many of us believe that it is the creation of a force outside what science dictates and defines, and some of us believe the untold beauty of our world to be the loving gift of a Father to his beloved children.
  • The darkness in the cathedral is the pain, suffering, ignorance, and sin that corrupts our world. The savannas of Africa are incredibly gorgeous, but as you stand looking at the green expanse poured out beneath the brilliantly cerulean sky, just behind you is a crowd of starving children, sniffing glue to stay high enough that they don’t feel the edge of their hunger. People kill, people hurt, people lie, people steal, people betray. Earthquakes wreck nations, tsunamis envelop cities, disease spreads swathes of death like a tornado through the plains of Kansas. Brokenness underlies every human relationship and every human action. The darkness pervades.
  • The windows, as I first stated, are the Christians. While I definitely will not say that without our help God does not light candles, so to speak, within the cathedral, the main light into the cathedral comes from the windows. The cleaner we become by the blood of Christ, the more light pours into the cathedral, purges the darkness, and reveals the inherent beauty of the Master’s, well, masterpiece.
  • Finally, the light is God—the love of God, the mercy of God, the grace of God, the beauty of God, the might of God, the majesty of God—all of it, pouring into the cathedral where we as Christians allow ourselves to admit his holy Light. I’ve always loved the title of God as the “Father of Lights,” and in this sense, we as his children are also Children of Light.

Today, I had a further insight into this favorite of personal metaphors for the relationship between God, Christians, and the world. I rediscovered a quote that Michael Wright shared with us a million years ago, it seems like, in Communications and Critical Thinking:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Until I read this, I have never really thought much about the actual nature of the windows, just imagining them as normal panes of glass in varying states of cleanliness. But… I realized something. We are not just windows, but we are stained glass windows. God made each of us, every last single one of us, from the fat lady blocking the aisle in Wal-Mart to the movie star flashing his teeth in a celebrity gossip magazine to the little girl with red pigtails waving at you from behind the playground fence, and each of us is as different as snowflakes, even more different than snowflakes, a thousand times more differentiated than the most utterly bewilderingly different snowflakes. And each of us has something unique to give to the world, each of us set with shards of glass in a myriad of scintillating, vibrant shades of color, throwing light on a separate part of the cathedral in a way that absolutely no other window could do.

We do not just reveal the beauty of creation. We add to it a hundredfold, a thousandfold, when we allow the brilliant, all-consuming fiery light of Christ to mix with the shades and tones with which God gifted each of us, when we give ourselves to God and to the world in all of the immeasurable power that comes when the divine flows through the humble, penitent, and receptive heart of mankind.

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Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.

—Kahlil Gibran

At the moment, my morale is beginning to bottom out. I would say it is “somewhat” bottoming out, simply because I like the way sentences sound when you use the word “somehow,” except it’s not true, because it is pretty much inching along the bottom of the Mariana Trench like a tiny, blind, pale white glow-worm. (Metaphorical hyperbole at its finest, folks.)

However, today I saw an illustrated quote on my dear Quotizzle that made me feel better somewhat better. I am borrowing the picture from the immensely talented Charlie and Emily for all of your benefit as well.

Today while I was babysitting the Daggett children (Mariah is two and Dylan is three), I saw ten dark-eyed junco birds in a single tree that was beginning to put out fuzzy red flowers on the tips of its branches. When I pointed them out to Mariah, she held her hands up to me, and I swung her up to sit on top of my head so she could see more closely. She laughed and laughed, in the way little kids do, because something is wonderful, not just because it is funny.

This past summer, one afternoon I was in the backyard of the villa in Scandicci, dozing in one of the hammocks strung between olive trees, strung myself between wakefulness and sleep in the blazing sunshine and lovely heat, all full up of golden light so that it permeated every pore of my skin down to my bone marrow, so that I was rocking in a cocoon shot through with gold, so that my arteries and veins were running with gold, and my pupils were pooling with gold, and rivers of gold were pouring through my fingers and toes. I felt like I was sitting on the head of God, where he kindly placed me for just a few beautiful minutes so that I could see more closely the tiny, glowing fibers weaving the universe together, the pulsating drifts of energy between the planets and the galaxies, see the radioactive ionic grit riding the solar wind, envision the meteors skimming the boundary between earth and space, skipping in great luminescent arches across the earth’s atmosphere like giant rocks on a cosmic pond.

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The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit, till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.

—Annie Dillard

A single candle

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Today begins the first day of the rest of the semester.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Despite the rather foreboding feeling hanging about somewhere behind my cardiac region, I am determined to seize the moment as much as humanly possible. Yes, I am extremely tired of studying. Yes, the long absence of Wesley and Caleb across the Atlantic Ocean is bothersome to a degree that the word “bothersome” does not even begin to compute. Yes, the call of summer and everything that it offers—the blessed and glorious heat and sunshine, the prospect of eleven insanely busy and joyously fun months working as youth group intern at Homewood, the whoosh of airplane wings as they carry me and said youth group to Honduras for two weeks, the thought of going to sleep in my own bed (mostly) for the entire time and spending good, quality, quantity time with my family—all of these things make me want very much just to wish away every last second of the remainder of this school year….

But I will not. I will show my classes who is boss, I will endeavor in making new friendships, I will live beyond myself and give back to the world around me.

And when all else fails, I shall order a book and bury myself in it until I have energy to get up and face it again.

I read three and a half books over Spring Break, by the way. The last-out Wheel of Time book, and two-and-a-half Robin McKinleys. I love to read.

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Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.


To all of you overworked and out-studied college and high school students, I have wonderful news.

A way has been invented to avoid unnecessary overachieving.

The method is simple, funny, and bypasses the system effortlessly.

Its name? The Mango Test.

Here is how it works. For the first written assignment of the grading period, simply insert the word “mango,” “apple,” “peach,” “kumquat,” or any old fruit into the paper at some random point. I personally like to use “pomegranate.” For instance, see the example below:

This quotation, Hamlet’s first important soliloquy, occurs in Act I, scene ii (129–158). Hamlet speaks these lines after enduring the unpleasant scene at Claudius and Gertrude’s court, then being asked by his mother and stepfather not to return to his studies at Wittenberg but to remain in Denmark, presumably pomegranate against his wishes. Here, Hamlet thinks for the first time about suicide (desiring his flesh to “melt,” and wishing that God had not made “self-slaughter” a sin), saying that the world is “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” In other words, suicide seems like a desirable alternative to life in a painful world, but Hamlet feels that the option of suicide is closed to him because it is forbidden by religion.

See? Very, very sneaky.

How to interpret the results of the Mango Test: if your teacher finds it, circles it, asks you what in the name of Dante Alighieri you wrote the word “pineapple” for, then you know that they are actually reading your papers and it would probably be in your best interest to give at least 75% of your best effort. However, if they do not catch it and give you a 100 with a smiley-face, well, you can most likely get away with a little more BS.

(Unfortunately, I cannot accept ownership of this wonderful little device. It came to me from a friend, to whom it came from one of her friends, who undoubtedly found it out from someone else. But I just felt it was an important piece of information to pass along to the rest of you, so I am sharing.)

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“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

—Tom Bodett

Doing nothing

Posted: January 27, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Tonight after Bible study, Amber and Kathleen and I ended up all lying together up on Kathleen’s bed, talking and not talking, playing with each other’s hair and dozing off and waking back up again, being female and not minding, and just generally “doing nothing” in the Christopher Robin sense of the word.

“… but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, nothing,’ and then you go and do it.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

“This is a nothing sort of thing we’re doing now.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh again.

“It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.

Sometimes, Nothing is a very nice thing to do, even when there is a lot of Thing that you should be doing. Sometimes, it is nice just to curl up with friends, warm and comfortable and all togethery, and just talk about the things you dream that are big, and the things you dream that are little, and the things you dream that are common, and the things you dream that are common but still dear to your heart and your longing.

Somehow, doing that sort of Nothing gently washes you back into the stream of humanity instead of being hung up or snagged on the boulders and branches along the edges, with all that washed up debris of homework papers and bills and to-do lists and school payments, and for the time that you’re doing Nothing, you can feel the roots in the tree of yourself reaching back down to all those women washing their laundry at the banks of the stream and cooking around the communal fire or chatting in the marketplace or watching handsome men training horses or tending to the littlest children while the older ones are out working. Somewhere in all of that, you feel the struggle go out of your limbs and for a little while, you can float on your back, watching the alternating patches of blue sky and green trees as the current slowly tugs you onwards.

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“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

—John Lennon