I have always loved inspiring quotes and photographs.
In college, I taped cards from Successories to the side of my dresser–photographs of mountains and paths through enchanting forests, of oceans and eagles soaring, all with quotes to remind me that the goal was somehow bigger than the Calculus problem I struggled to finish. Quotes seem to be a lifeline when I’m stuck with a busy schedule and easily forget the Bigger Goals, when I can hardly see the bigger picture and keep me focused ahead on what is most important…
… Especially in Changing Times
I’m currently working on rewriting my bio on my About page — life is changing for me. My family and I have now lived one whole year back in the US after our four years in Prague. My oldest son is almost finished with his first year of high school and in a week, I’ll have not one, but two teenagers in the house.
Everything is different about life in the US as opposed to life in Europe. One major difference is the intensity in which Americans seem to do all things.
Almost minute by minute, I need to remind myself that busyness does not equal excellence. Busyness leads to burnout. And so I find myself returning to images and quotes which help me to remember what inspires me, what moves me, and what makes me tick.
It seems strange, this passing of time. Laundry and packing lunches, restocking the refrigerator and shuttling my sons to and from their activities fill my days. The most important thing for me during this whirl called American family life is to keep it all in perspective. Too soon, my sons will be grown and the house will be too quiet. It’s important to be present for all the moments — for the basketball games and milestone birthdays, for quiet times of solitude and in loud times of celebration, laughter, and sharing — but it’s also important to remember who we are in the midst of the tangle of modern life.
I need anchors through this swirl of days to keep me close to what matters most — for me: family and friends, writing and reading, creating art and music, and the faith which underpins them all — these are the things I value most.
14 Favorite Quotes on Life and Laughter, Travel, and Daring Greatly
On Living Well:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
“There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.” -Max Lucado
On Laughter and Friendship:
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” – Dale Carnegie
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” -Audrey Hepburn
“[E]very day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. — Maya Angelou
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”― Anaïs Nin
On Daring Greatly:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States 1901 – 1909
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
“The winner’s edge is not in gifted birth, in a high IQ, or in talent. The winner’s edge is in the attitude, not aptitude.” -Denis Waitley
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
On Travel, Reading, and Beauty:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” ― George R.R. Martin
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” ― Helen Keller
Do you have a favorite quote you keep near when times are changing? I’d love to hear it … please leave it in the comments. Thank you!