Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday Spotlight Series #2: Rules for Life

How to Live Life

Throughout the ages, pearls of wisdom have been passed down from generation to generation in the form of clever and memorable sayings.  

This week my spotlight shines upon ...

... a past US President whose words of advice have been shared for almost 200 years; and a blogger who has put her own spin on some well-known clichés. While one is serious and the other humorous, what they have in common are some well thought-out opinions of how life should be lived.

A Visit to Monticello

Many years ago, I was visiting a friend in Charlottesville, VA, and she was kind enough to take me to Monticello, the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson.  Practically every visitor to Charlottesville wants to see this historic property, and my friend had already been through the buildings so many times she could have replaced the tour guide. It really was good of her to go with me!

Thomas Jefferson - a Man of Many Accomplishments

Most people know that Thomas Jefferson was a past president of the United States, and the author of the Declaration of Independence, but he was influential in many other ways as well. Jefferson apparently had a lot of advice for his family and friends.  He had some strong opinions about proper personal conduct, and even went as far as to make lists of his thoughts.  He included one such list in a letter he wrote in 1825, and  titled it “canons for observation in practical life.”  

Thomas Jefferson's Advice for Proper Personal Conduct

After our tour, I came across a poster of Jefferson's “canons for observation” in the Monticello gift shop. Since it seemed like good advice even in modern times, I purchased the poster.  I have hung it up in every house I have lived in since then. Though rather faded and wrinkled, it is now displayed in my laundry room, where I still read it frequently.

Modern Day Advice: A Letter From a Mother to Her Sons

Now back to my spotlighted blogger, Karen.  Karen's blog, Baking in a Tornado is full of wonderful storytelling, humor, recipes, and photos of food.  Recently, in her post The Whole Truthshe published a letter she had written to her college-aged sons.  She laments how quickly they have grown, and tells them it is time that they learn the real truth about the proverbs she has always used to guide them in their formation of moral and values.  Karen provides a list of her new and wisely witty advice.  For example:
“An apple a day makes you a good friend of the apple growers.Won’t hurt but don’t expect any miracles either.”

Have Our Cake and Eat It Too - Because Karen Provides the Recipe!

I love the spin Karen has put on more than two-dozen often-used clichés. This sentimental farewell to her offspring’s childhood would have made me sob, if it hadn't been as equally funny as it is touching.  But, we can all have our cake, and eat it too, because Karen’s post includes a really yummy looking recipe!

After reading this post by Karen, I am looking at my poster of Thomas Jefferson’s quotes with new vision. I wonder if Karen would make any changes to this list?

Do you have a favorite proverb or cliché?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


  1. I liked most of Thomas Jefferson's rules, but the sixth shows (very clearly) that he had never known want. And the fifth is arguable for the same reason.

    1. Which is most likely true of the life Jefferson lived. Monticello is stunning!

  2. I really love this series, and Karen is an excellent choice. I loved her post to her sons too. Number 8 on Jefferson's list is something I should pay attention to when I'm anxious! I've always wanted to visit Monticello, and how nice that you had such a knowledgeable friend to take you!

    1. Number 8 is a good one for me to remember as well! If you ever get the chance to visit Monticello, you really should Lana. It is a history lesson of the finest kind!

  3. No, I don't think I'm up to arguing with Thomas Jefferson!
    Thank you so much for the lovely feature. I'm honored.

    1. I don't know Karen - you did a great job with the other clichés! Thank you - for deciding to publish your letter to your sons.


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