I have this weird habit of writing down quotes from books or famous people or random not famous people and then sticking them up on walls, to the refrigerator, my computer at work, inside of books, and anywhere else that I can stick tape to. I believe in the power of words, and I like to read and re-read the things that have touched me. So instead of sharing my accomplishments from 2013 or my resolutions for 2014, I’m going to share some of the notes that I scribbled to myself this year.
“Now, my faith goes beyond theology and religion and requires considerable work and effort. My faith demands–this is not optional–my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can, with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
“I will not forget you, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world”
On colored Christmas lights:
“It’s fun. It’s festive. It says go ahead, have too many cups of spiked hot chocolate and wear that Santa hat, we’re all friends here.”
“Just remember, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?”
-It’s a Wonderful Life
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“There are friends who pretend to be friends, and then there are friends who stick closer than a brother.”
-Proverbs 18:24 (I have a Bible that my grandmother’s best friend gave to her, and on the inside cover, she wrote “To Sue, Love Connie. Proverbs 18:24”)
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
-Theodore Roosevelt, via Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly
“If you are careful,’ Garp wrote, ‘if you use good ingredients, and you don’t take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.”
-John Irving, The World According to Garp
“May you grow up to be righteous/
May you grow up to be true/
May you always know the truth/
And see the lights surrounding you/
May you always be courageous/
Stand upright and be strong/
May you stay forever young”
-Bob Dylan, Forever Young
“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “Well, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
“She stood in the storm, and when it did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”
Now, go out to the store and buy some collards and black-eyed peas so that you can eat them on New Year’s Day. It’s good luck!
Here’s a recipe (of sorts)
2 bunches collards
Dry or fresh black-eyed peas
Some kind of fatty pork product (I use bacon because it doesn’t gross me out.)
1 medium onion, diced
2 32-oz boxes of chicken or vegetable broth (or one recipe of “Homemade” Stock)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cooked brown rice enough for everyone
If your beans are dry, soak them tonight so that they’re ready tomorrow morning. If they’re fresh, don’t do anything!
To prep the collards, wash, wash, wash them (they’re gritty), remove the ribs in the middle of each leaf, and tear them into 1-2 inch pieces.
In 2 large, heavy bottomed pots, brown the bacon or other porky-product (fatback, etc.) If you have a ham hock, skip this step and just put it in with the broth later. When the bacon is browned in the first pot, add the collards and 1 box of broth. Add more water to cover the leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. Taste the liquid after about a half hour and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain to serve.
In the second pot, add the diced onion and sautee until translucent. Add the black-eyed peas, broth and water as needed. Bring to a boil, season to taste, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are soft.
Serve black-eyed peas and collards over rice and with chow-chow if you have any. The folded collard leaves are supposed to look like money!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and meaningful 2014!