Sunday Dinner: Liberty

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“The moment you say that any idea system is sacred,

whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology,

the moment you declare a set of ideas

to be immune from criticism, satire,

derision, or contempt,

freedom of thought becomes impossible.”


Salman Rushdie


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“If there be time to expose through discussion

the falsehood and fallacies,

to avert the evil

by the processes of education,

the remedy to be applied is more speech,

not enforced silence.”


Louis D. Brandeis


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“They who can give up essential liberty

to obtain a little temporary safety

deserve neither liberty nor safety.”


Benjamin Franklin


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016


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“We are all like the bright moon,

we still have our darker side.”


Kahlil Gibran


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“Once again…welcome to my house.

Come freely. Go safely;

and leave something of the happiness you bring.”


Bram Stoker


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“There is no hospitality like understanding.”


Vanna Bonta


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“Create inclusion – with simple mindfulness

that others might have a different reality from your own.”


Patti Digh


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“It only takes one cat – or person –

to make another feel welcome and special.”


  Laura C. Monteiro


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“But still – that is our vocation:

to convert the hostis into a hospes,

the enemy into a guest

and to create the free and fearless space

where brotherhood and sisterhood

can be formed and fully experienced.”


  Henri J.M. Nouwen


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We are all strangers in this strange land; all but the natives who greeted us in 1607 and their children’s children who live among us now.

The genius, the energy, and the stubborness of “Americans” comes from our identity as immigrants, as newcomers.  Every new wave of immigrants brings some special something with them, which woven into the fabric of our culture keeps us ever new and relevant.

America remains in a constant state of rebellion against what is outdated and stale.  We welcome the fresh breezes from the sea to clear away the smog and offer us a view of the infinite blue sky.


Jamestown Island, July 4, 2015

Jamestown Island, July 4, 2015


Happy Independence Day! 

May our Nation be always blessed by love.


Jamestown Island still bears sweet fruits for those who stop to gather them.

Jamestown Island still bears sweet fruits for those who stop to gather them.


Woodland Gnome 2015


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Independence Day

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

Have you noticed that “Independence Day” has devolved into displays of shiny red, white, and blue Mylar decorations across much of our suburban landscape?

It is a time for car sales, summer vacations, huge picnics, and fireworks.

Please don’t misunderstand-  it is a great holiday!  I especially love watching fireworks on a summer sultry summer evening.

I’m just suggesting that it would be wise for us to contemplate the deeper meaning of “independence,” and what it means for us in 2014.


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What does “Independence” mean to us today? 

Just something to think about,  this weekend, as we put up our red, white, and blue bunting, hang our flags,  and prepare our picnic dinners.


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Here are a few thoughts from Americans who devoted their lives to building our nation.

They are words worth remembering, and perhaps offer an insight into where we go from here in our national journey towards our destiny as a free people.


“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


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“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.

Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

John F. Kennedy


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“America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision,

to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men.”

Woodrow Wilson


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“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.

You have to catch up with it yourself.”

Benjamin Franklin


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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,

signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,

those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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“I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature

and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping,

and like the grave, cries, ‘Give, give.’ ”

Abigail Adams

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“You are not here merely to make a living.

You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply,

with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.

You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Woodrow Wilson

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“I hope we shall crush in its birth

the aristocracy of our monied corporations

which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength,

and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Thomas Jefferson

I hope that you will have that picnic with loved ones, and that you’ll enjoy the fireworks display on Saturday evening if not Friday.  
It is good to remember exactly what it is we celebrate each July. 


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Our nation was founded on ideals and principles.  We keep them alive as we contemplate them, and share them with those who share our journey.
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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