Looking for An Inspirational Quotation

So I had this drywall situation.

When we bought our place there was a small propane fridge in the kitchen. We didn’t like it, it made bad smells and then we realized that it was venting on the inside and that periodically propane fridges have bad consequences for people who use them. So we bought a secondhand small electric fridge, which was the most efficient fridge you could buy for an off-grid application 15 years ago (other than special ordering a SunFrost.)

There was a wooden cabinet built in over top of this small fridge.

Thanks to California pushing energy efficiency limits we were eventually able to buy a full sized fridge that uses less energy than the small one. We had to remove the cabinet to get it to fit, but of course it didn’t fill up the entire area, leaving a big ugly gap.

I’ve been meaning to fix it for years but I got distracted. Finally I just stuck a piece of drywall in the gap but I still hadn’t bothered to properly tape and finish it off. I can do a lot of things but dry wall is not one of them. Finally this Christmas I vowed to fix the situation before the New Year. I decided to just cover up the whole mess. So I grabbed a big chunk of 100+-year-old pine from an old train station and I slapped it up on the wall over top of the fridge.

I did it before Michelle could object and I said, “Let’s come up with some great philosophical, motivating, inspirational quote to engrave into the wood!” I wasn’t looking for anything food-related; just something that we could look at every day that would have meaning to us.


Well, that was 2-1/2 months ago and the big hunk of wood is still a blank canvas. The other day Michelle said “I know the perfect prayer for you” and she sent me this;

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Michelle suggested that I spend too much of my time getting annoyed/angry about things that I have no control over. She says that I would be a much happier person if I accepted the things that I cannot change. I think she was referring to some of the small annoyances in my life right now, like the fact that the drought killed our lawn last summer and so now as the snow melts it’s turning into a muddy mess that Jasper (the dog) can’t help but track into the house. I can put old hay down on his pathways but she’s right, I just need to accept that we’re going to get some mud tracked in.

It’s an interesting concept because the question becomes “well, what can’t I actually change?” Obviously I’m kind of concerned about the whole climate change thing right now. Well, that’s one of the things that keep me up at night. That and the torrential spring rain that threatened to flood the guesthouse two nights ago. I was out every couple of hours digging trenches to divert the water. And of course the rain had to come during the middle of the night – not during daylight hours. Ah … country living!

I just watched a great video on Grist with David Robert giving the lowdown on carbon numbers. He suggests that with the political mood in the US Congress we’re stuck between the impossible and the unthinkable. Now everyone in the audience must make the impossible, possible. (http://grist.org/climate-energy/my-tedx-talk-on-climate-pimped-out/ or http://grist.org/climate-change/climate-change-is-simple-we-do-something-or-were-screwed/)

And so that is where I am at right now. It’s a monumental task to get a price on carbon. Perhaps I should accept that this is something “I cannot change.” But my instinct is to keep doing what I’ve been doing for decades, trying to get my carbon footprint as low as possible, and trying to share those techniques and motivation with others.

So then I think maybe I should try another quote.

“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes


“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin


“You’re happiest while you’re making the greatest contribution.” – Robert F. Kennedy

I’d like to believe that last one, but sometimes this battle can be pretty dam depressing.

So I’m still wrestling with finding the perfect profound, inspirational message to put on the wood over the fridge.

Have you got a gem to share? I would love your feedback because I know many of you share my beliefs and challenges.

On some blogs you can enter to win great prizes. For this promotion if your inspirational quote is selected you’ll win “My infinite gratitude!” Even if you don’t win, I will be grateful for your contribution!

In the words of my wise father-in-law Lorne, “Thanks, ever so much!

* * * * * * *

Blog Notes from Michelle – We apologize for the lack of posts lately. Cam has been busy writing the new book, “The Sensible Prepper” and when he isn’t busy writing he’s out hauling in the last of the firewood on sleds before we lose all of our snow.

Just a reminder that our next workshop here at Sunflower Farm will be held on Saturday, May 4. Go here for details and let us know if you’d like us to reserve a spot for you!

26 Responses to “Looking for An Inspirational Quotation”

  • Jennifer:

    Some of my favorites:

    “Keep Moving Forward”
    “Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”
    “It’s a good day to have a good day”
    “Strive for progress not perfection”
    “We cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love”

  • “One hears a lot about the rules of good husbandry; there is only one — leave the land far better than you found it.”

    George Henderson, The Farming Ladder

  • queen of string:

    “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” Seems apt for your situation.

  • “You cannot believe in honor until you have achieved it, better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world” ~George Bernard Shaw

    “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.” ~George Bernard Shaw

    There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. ~ Rumer Godden in A House with Four Rooms

    “Be something you love and understand.” ~ Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Simple Man”

    “The story so far:
    In the beginning the Universe was created.
    This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” ~ Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  • Brian Copping:

    As a prelude to the ‘Serenity Prayer’ offered by Michelle…

    ‘In the moment of my chronic dissatisfaction I can know I am living a lie’

  • Jeff:

    “As a gardener, I believe what goes down must come up.” This to me is what best embodies a small farmer’s quote, and one that truly describes sustainability. Hope it helps!

  • Lu Anne:

    How about “Don’t worry, Be happy now” Bobby McFerrin

  • Steve Martyn:

    “The Sensible Prepper” is a great title to appeal to people like me, who are concerned about how the world is unfolding and want take some action, but don’t think we will be manning the barricades.

  • Robert Hamond:

    “Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you!”
    ~ Butch Cassidy to the Sundance Kid.

    No, it isn’t Churchill but for me it never fails to put a bad situation in perspective.

  • Amber:

    “Pick up a grain a day and add to your heap. You will soon learn, by happy experience, the power of littles as applied to intellectual processes and gains.” John S. Hart

    “If any man seeks greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both.” Horace Mann

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    ― Margaret Mead

    You are only one person Cam. You are doing your part or to quote a line from Moody Blues “Keep on thinking free”

  • Brian:

    You might need a wall to handle all those inspiring quotes, but for the time being how about one made by Winston Churchill to a class of Oxford Universtiy students, “Do not give up. Do not give up”

  • Wow, some great quotes there – lots of inspiration! I’d vote for the “Be the change you wish to see.” (Gandhi) A great daily motivator!

  • Blanche Hauch:

    Love Lives Here

  • SteveR:

    One more time, with corrections…
    “Be the change you wish to see.” – Gandhi

  • Paul:

    My Job is to make the Impossible… Possible

    Sounds good to me…

    All you ever need is Persistence.

  • SteveR:

    Btw, a carbon tax is like putting lipstick on a pig. Trying to fix the current system with an economic solution based on an economic system which is fundamentally flawed with ridiculous assumptions( endless growth is possible, limitless resources, all humans make rational choices, all economic decisions are motivated by profit maximizing)is pointless.

    Stop worrying about these solutions. The system will collapse anyway. Focus on what’s beyond that and be prepared to rush into the vacuum when it happens with something constructive.

    “Be the change you want wish to see.” – Gandhi

  • Heidi:

    Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you.

    (A Maori Proverb)

  • SteveR:

    “Planet Earth is blue. And there’s nothing I can do” – David Bowie from Space Oddity

  • Treetalker:

    The greatest happiness in life is the conscious pursuit of a great purpose ~ Greek Proverb

  • Neil B. (Orleans):

    Jaeson’s saying is excellent!

    At the beginning of each year I like to set my goals. Part of my goal setting is to come up with a theme or personal mission statement. Something to concentrate on for the year. In fact, I too use to get upset with situations that I had no control over. So below are some of my personal mission statements or themes for each year since 2009…
    2009 – “Trust and Relax”.
    2010 – “Rise Above the Anger”
    2011 – “The Year of Release”
    2012 – “Preparedness”
    2013 – “Community”

    Although no great Albert Einstein saying since it was personal to me, perhaps you could create a centre piece that could be changed yearly. Just a thought.
    Good luck with your quest, Cam and Michelle!

  • My favorite is by Thoreau as well

    “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach me, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
    But that is kind of long for your fridge board. Maybe
    “Not all who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

    Good luck Cam and Michelle.

  • Gerrit:

    Here’s my favourite quote:

    The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
    but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.
    Masanobu Fukuoka

  • Diana Eignor:

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

  • “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” -Thoreau

    Pretty well describes your life!

  • This helps me keep my eye on the what I provide when the reward seems to far off to excite me.

    Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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