When going through some of my mother’s treasures recently, I came across one of my grandmother’s bibles. It is small in size, published in 1902 by University Press, Oxford, England. This bible was a gift to my grandmother, Sara, from her brother who signed it, To Sissy from John, 9/5/09.

My grandmother Sara was an educated woman and quite a reader of 19th century poets and novelists such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Jane Austen. I was not surprised to find a quote from a theologian as I opened the bible. Words by pastor, writer, and philosopher, William Henry Channing (1810-1884) had been clipped from a newspaper and taped to the first inside page.

Though these words were penned in the mid 1800s, they are just as applicable today. Good food for thought…

My Symphony

by William Henry Channing


To live content with small means,

to seek elegance, rather than luxury,

and refinement rather than fashion;

to be worthy, not respectable,

and wealthy, not rich;

to listen to stars and birds,

to babes and songs, with open heart;

to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,

await occasions,

hurry never,

–in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious

grow up through the common.

–This is to be my symphony.