Every now and then, I will hear or read a phrase that perfectly captures an idea, a feeling, a moment, an attitude, or a person. Sometimes I write the phrases down and sometimes they strike me with such profundity, they are burned in my mind like the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets.
The most obvious examples are scriptures. One of my recent favorites is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." The homeschool curriculum my son is using has a scripture built into each unit of study. The Philippians scripture is a part of the math unit he is working on now. He finds that particular scripture to be very appropriate and very inspirational in that context!
I am a lifelong music lover, so lyrics have been a source of quotes, too. A line from an Elvis Costello song always echos in my mind when I watch the news: "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused." Another favorite Elvis Costello line comes to mind, especially during election season. "It’s nobody’s fault, but we need somebody to burn." My favorite place at home is my front porch, where I sit in a rocking chair otherwise known as the seat of knowledge, since I do most of my deep thinking there. A line from Robert Earl Keen, Jr. and Lyle Lovett’s "Front Porch Song" expresses the mood on my front porch: "This old porch is just a long time of waiting and forgetting, remembering the coming back, not crying about the leaving." Any pair of people who would write an entire song about a front porch are geniuses in my book.
Words need not be eloquent to be memorable or meaningful. In fact, the simple, common-sense way of speaking ascribed to people of farm or ranch backgrounds is the most appealing of all to me. Dolly Parton has been the source of some of my favorite quotes. Dolly’s quote that comes to mind most often is "Bloom where you’re planted." One I heard a lot growing up and now use on my children is "Can’t never could." I’m sure it irritates them as much as it irritated me, but it is an entire motivational speech in one short phrase, if you think about it!
If my family would let me, I would have various phrases and quotes posted around my house to help direct my thinking. At one time, I had a poster with a picture of Albert Einstein and one of his quotes: "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." I had the poster hanging in my office where it was visible to anyone who walked in to harass me (it was that kind of place). I swear that poster sometimes shut people up before they even opened their mouths! They would walk in and draw a deep breath, look up at Albert, then exhale and head back out the door.
There are many family quotes that I will not share here, either because the background information is so involved, or because they are not suitable for public consumption. We all know what they mean, though, and they enrich our daily interactions. I am sure it is the same in your family. What are some of your favorite quotes and phrases? Share them with me at SpringCreekArtsGuild@gmail.com