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Yesterday, I turned fifty. It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. I’ve been told that 50 is the new 30. Not quite sure what that means. I am certain it doesn’t mean I have the body of a thirty-year old. Perhaps it implies that I will live longer. That would be okay. But if it means that I have the mental maturity of a thirty-year old, I think I’ll pass. I only wish I knew at thirty what I know now. Still, I often feel the older I get, the less I know.

I haven’t posted to this blog in a while, and I wish I kept up with it more, but I thought in honor of this milestone, I would post fifty things I have learned thus far in life. Some of the things listed are original, some are paraphrased, and others are borrowed. They are loosely ordered, but all of them reflect the man I am at this point in my life.

I have learned  . . .

  1. I am made in God’s image.
  2. My aim is to know myself and be true to who I am.
  3. I should trust my heart, gut, and intuition, in spite of popular opinion.
  4. I must be the man I am, not the man others expect me to be. That is true integrity. Anything less is a lie.
  5. Honesty is the best and only policy.
  6. True love is unconditional.
  7. Everyone wants, needs, and deserves to be loved.
  8. True love is a rare and precious treasure, yet oh so hard to find.
  9. It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not.
  10. Human chemistry is elusive, undefinable, and irreplaceable.
  11. People give you gifts they want.
  12. Many blessings are disguised.
  13. Travel cures myopia.
  14. Karma is a witch. (my paraphrase)
  15. There are some things you will never understand until they happen to you.
  16. An open mind is a terrible thing not to have.
  17. Big boys don’t cry, but men do. (Thanks, Dr. Phil!)
  18. The most important things in life aren’t things.
  19. Less is more.
  20. Change only comes when courageous people take a stand. If no one speaks out, nothing changes.
  21. First impressions are often dead wrong.
  22. I no longer tell it like it is. I tell it the way I see it.
  23. Speak the truth in love.
  24. Two people can view the same thing and see something totally different. Perception is not reality.
  25. The right to be angry gives you no right to be cruel.
  26. Forgiveness brings freedom.
  27. The older I get, the more liberal I become.
  28. Diversity makes the world a beautiful place.
  29. Tolerance means we put up with diversity. Acceptance means we embrace it.
  30. Apathy kills. Empathy heals.
  31. Grace is truly amazing.
  32. When people show you who they are, believe them! (Thanks, Maya!)
  33. If they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you. (Dr. Phil, again.)
  34. Every word that comes across a pulpit is not gospel. (I learned this one the hard way.)
  35. God did not create religion. Man did.
  36. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
  37. Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
  38. Nobody can pray for me like my mama and daddy.
  39. There is no place like my Mama’s table.
  40. Being Nathan’s uncle is my greatest joy.
  41. Family is where I belong. Friends are my family, too.
  42. My colleagues are my heroes. My students are my angels.
  43. I cannot live without books and music.
  44. Autumn in the mountains is one step away from Heaven.
  45. Paraguay is a wonderful place with no reasons why.
  46. To Kill a Mockingbird is the best book ever written and the best movie ever made.
  47. Dogs are really angels in disguise.
  48. Fear not. Do not be afraid. Let not your heart be troubled.
  49. This life ain’t all there is.
  50. Jesus loves me, this I know!

There is so much I don’t understand, and so much I have yet to learn. I hope I never stop learning, and never stop being a seeker of truth.  I know there are some things I will have to take on faith. By default, faith indicates there will be unanswered questions. At fifty, I don’t know it all, but I’m grateful for what I’ve learned.

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Less is More

Clips, Notes & Quotes is my third blog. I know. My cousin Rhoda who was the inspiration for my first blog asked me today how I was going to keep up with three blogs when one is enough to keep you very busy. I explained to her that my plan is to do the same amount of blogging, but assign each post to the most appropriate of the three different sites. I hope I’m right. I’m really pumped right now, and I hope I can keep the momentum going when school starts. Yes, I remember how exhausted I am in the afternoons. Time will tell.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Less is More.” I use it in the classroom often, especially when teaching my students about concise writing. Of course there are many applications for the quote, and I will explore its meaning further in the future. For now let me say that this will be a site with two purposes: 1) to post short, meaningful pieces of writing such as poems, anecdotes, and quotes. 2) to share writing ideas, resources, and tips.

Let’s see if I can keep it short.

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