And If All You Hear is a Whisper of Leaves…

There are times when you read a book that is so wonderful, so wise, so profound that you just sit, contemplate it, maybe reread some passages, smile, and ultimately find a special place on your book shelf for it knowing that you will come back to it again.  Maybe you review it on Goodreads.  If anyone asks or you have book pals, you tell them about it the next time you’re talking books. I’ve been lucky enough to have felt that love for a few shelves worth of books that are loving placed in my bedroom bookcases. 

Once in a blue moon you find one that surpasses that.  Instead of sitting and contemplating and smiling when you finish it, you want to jump up and tell someone about it.  You want to call friends, tell people about it, and run to the bookstore for copies to share because they aren’t getting this one!  I’ve felt that way about less than a handful of books so far.  Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is one of these books! 

I read the book in one sitting.  That isn’t a big deal even for someone who reads as slowly as I do.  It’s short.  It has lots of white space.  And, above all, I couldn’t put it down.  This is an unlikely book to elicit this response.  It is a children’s book.  But I’ve felt this way about a children’s book before.  The main character is a tree.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s what makes it an unusual book for me to love.  I don’t even like talking animals let alone talking trees!  But, dang it, it works!

This is a book that will speak to all ages.  It is a story of our time and a story for all time.  In our time of hatred and division, this is a story of coming together.  A story of overcoming differences, of lions lying down with lambs (no, not literally), and of hope.  I signed off of Facebook last night by saying I need to step away from all of the things that have been getting into my soul and sapping my hope for our world.  I don’t think it is an accident that this is the book that I picked up to read today.  I bought it earlier this week after seeing raves on Goodreads from two of my favorite writers, reviewers, and book women – but I had a bunch of books on my TBR pile that had been awaiting my attention.  Yet it was this one that called to me.  This is the one that I was meant to read right today.  I needed this book right now.  I think lots of people do.  You do.  I’m sure of it!  Get a copy, borrow one from the library, borrow one from me…but you’re going to want your own copy and another to lend. 

If you have read this post, if you have read this book, if you have something to add or to respond to this post, please do it here.  As I said, I’m on a FB fast for the time being.  This will share automatically there, but I won’t see any comments you make unless you do it here.  Let me know what you think too!

Seasoned to be Interesting

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No rocking chairs here (unless the grandbaby is visiting and needs one).  The people in my life who have a few years behind them are living vital, interesting, active lives with friends and family.  They would certainly make some interesting characters for a book!

 

I have reached an age where there are lots more people younger than me than there are older than me.  That’s okay.  I love being around people of all ages.  But not too long ago I realized that everyone I was reading about was younger.  Everyone. 

Part of that comes becauseI love children’s books and young adult literature.  If you have read any of my blog before, you already know that.  But even when I read books written for an adult audience, I am finding that so many of the characters are in their twenties or thirties.  And they are interesting.  But so are so many other characters who are older.

Many classic works of literature feature older characters:  The Odyssey, Les Misérables, Silas Marner, Don Quixote, A Christmas Carol and others.   (Many lists will include Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, but I can’t put that on my list as a recommendation – I really don’t like that book.)  If you’re up for reading plays, there are many more.  Shakespeare certainly features them.   Driving Miss Daisy and On Golden Pond, are plays featuring older characters, but you probably saw the movies – and it is much more fun seeing a play than reading one.

My list of books below have only one thing in common.  They all have older characters who are integral to the story.  At times they are the main characters.  There are a couple books on the list where the main character is a child, but the people in that child’s life are older.  These “seasoned” characters are like the people I have experienced in my life.  Some are feisty, some grumpy, wise, caring, multi-dimensional, living life to its fullest, experiencing end of life, and everything else within the spectrum of life.  There are series.  Some books are older (I couldn’t leave Miss Marple out) and some are as new as this month.  I guess there is one other characteristic I think they share…they are enjoyable reading.

  • Albom, Mitch – Tuesdays With Morrie
  • Anaya, Rudolfo – Bless Me, Ultima
  • Backman, Fredrik – A Man Called Ove
  • Barbery, Muriel – The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • Bauermeister, Erica – The School of Essential Ingredients & The Lost Art of Mixing
  • Christie, Agatha – Miss Marple mysteries
  • Conroy, Pat – The Prince of Tides
  • Fishman, Zoe – Inheriting Edith
  • Flagg, Fannie – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Fleischer, Leonore – Shadowlands: Novel
  • Friedman, Daniel – Don’t Ever Get Old
  • Genova, Lisa – Still Alice
  • George, Nina – The Little Paris Bookshop
  • Glass, Julia – The Widower’s Tale
  • Gruen, Sara – Water for Elephants
  • Hanff, Helene – 84, Chapin Cross Road
  • Hillerman, Tony – The Joe Leaphorn Mysteries and the Leaphorn & Chee mysteries
  • Hoffman, Beth – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Jonasson, Jonas – The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
  • Joyce, Rachel – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
  • Karon, Jan – The Mitford series
  • Magorian, Michelle – Good Night, Mr. Tom
  • McMurtry, Larry – Lonesome Dove
  • Patrick, Phaedra – The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
  • Pratchett, Terry – Reaper Man, The Last Hero, Thief of Time, & others
  • Ross, Ann B. – Miss Julia series
  • Schine, Cathleen – They May Not Mean To, But They Do
  • Simonson, Helen – Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Stegner, Wallace – Angle of Repose
  • Strout, Elizabeth – Olive Kitteridge
  • Sundberg, Catharina – The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
  • Zevin, Gabrielle – The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry

Ahhhh, Hygee

 

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“Nina really loved wet and cold . . . days; she liked to sit with her back to the radiator, Screenshot 2017-09-02 17.38.32listening to the rain hurl itself against the windowpanes as if it could breach them; she liked knowing she had nothing to do that afternoon, that there was bread to toast and cream cheese to spread and gentle music playing, and she could curl up cozy and warm and lose herself in Victorian London, or a zombie-laden future, or wherever else she felt like.  For most of her life, the outdoors had simply been something to shelter from while she got on with her reading.”  (from The Bookshop on the Corner, p. 36)

We are a mere second day into September – Labor Day Weekend, in fact.  Summer still has 20 days until it is officially off the calendar.  But today the sun has hidden itself behind rain clouds and isn’t warming up the world around me.  The temperatures haven’t climbed out of the fifties all day, and WTForecast says, “It’s fifty shades of grey outside, but not in the sexy-time way.  It’s in the friggin’ depressing way.”  But that isn’t quite the way I’m viewing this day. 

This morning my granddaughter Alyanna, who had spent the night, pulled on a pair of jeans, a denim jacket, and her favorite boots.  I copied her in the first two and followed up with my favorite scarf and a pair of knit Toms that are so comfortable they feel like slippers.  We had oatmeal and hot drinks for breakfast and headed out.  Did we go to the outdoor activity originally planned?  Nah.  That plan got cancelled – not the day for it.  We went and played with my granddaughter Lily for a while and then hit a book store. 

We are back at home now and have no one pressuring us to do anything or go anywhere.  Alyanna is curled up under a blanket in front of the fire place that I switched on to take the dampness out (yeah, I know that is cheating but it sure is convenient).  We have our books and comfy warm places.  Like Nina in the passage above from The Bookshop on the Corner, we are fully content right now. 

We are comfortable and enjoying the simple pleasures of the day.  We are appreciating each other, well-written words, some things that make us giggle, hot chocolate and pumpkin latte.  We are practicing the Danish art of “hygee.” 

Hygee is a new word to me, but not a new concept.  Finding this word has given me the way to describe what I have always wanted my home to be.  What I have always aspired to have my life be. 

Autumn is my favorite season and I think that is because fall invites hygee – outside and inside.  I will love this time as the weeks go on and we have more color in our trees, as we walk through a wooded path to the crunch of leaves, as we take a hay ride, or watch a football game.  I will sigh and relax wearing the sweatshirts and jeans that I love, tossing a blanket over me, and grabbing a cup of tea and a book.  And the best part of the season will be when I put on that big pot of soup and call my friends to gather around my table together.  Not much makes me happier and more content.  Not much leaves me more comfortable and filled with gratitude.  Hygee.  My wish for you, for me, for us all.

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Whose Little Purple Chair Will You Sit in Tonight?

A friend of mine shared this post on Facebook.  I was quite inspired by it and very impressed by what she does and her wisdom.  So, I asked permission to share it. 

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IMAGINE IF YOU WILL:

*Being a first grader lucky enough to have a teacher who cares about you and loves you this much.  She wants these children to learn, grow, succeed, be well, and be happy.  That experience would set you off on a learning adventure that provides the best foundation for your future that is possible.  It would put you into an environment where it was okay to try new things, because there would be a loving teacher there to catch you if you fail at your try (or even your second and third and…) and tell you that you’re still good! 

I have seen the smiles of her children when they came to the library where she also worked and found her.  They adore her because she adores them and lets them know how special they are.

*If all of us had the sincere desire to devote ourselves to the well-being of others like she does. If we were all devoted enough to the others in our lives to put ourselves in their places, to see things from their point of view, and to pray for them, how could there be hatred?  How could there be violence?  How could there be riots?  If we concerned ourselves with the fears and insecurities that those in our lives might be facing, we would be much more gentle in our encounters.  If we took the time to realize that others are surrounded by new faces, new circumstances, and new adventures, we might be more willing to reach out and lend a hand.

*If we lived with others who showed us patience, compassion and empathy each day as we try our best to be the people we should be.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be treated that way by everyone?  So how about treating everyone that way? 

I recognized the thoughts and hopes and compassion for those little ones.  I believe Deanne is an extraordinary teacher but not alone.  I know that most teachers are in their chosen profession because they were called to be there for children, because they truly love children, and because they want to make a difference.  While I don’t think I have ever expressed my thoughts as beautifully as she did, I know that my feelings for the children were much like hers. 

As I read the second half of her post, well, that’s where I was blown away by her wisdom and compassion.  While this beautiful, young woman makes a huge difference in the lives of the children who come through her classroom, the others who work with her, and those of us who are lucky enough to know her, I’ll be counting the days until she can run for President!  Wouldn’t we be lucky to have leaders at all levels with this kind of insight!

Great Expectations

C. S. Lewis once said, “We read to know that we are not alone.”  Once in awhile I read something and know he was right.  I started a book today, and reading the very first paragraph was one of those moments.  I haven’t even read enough of the book to know what it’s really about or if I’ll like it, but these few sentences resonated with me.

So here’s the paragraph:

“It was a long drive and Eve cried most of the way home, because the big day hadn’t gone the way she’d hoped, not that big days ever did.  Birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations, funerals — they were all too loaded with expectations, and the important people in her life rarely acted the way they were supposed to.  Most of them didn’t even seem to be working from the same script as she was, though maybe that said more about the important people in her life than it did about big days in general.”  (Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta)

Do you find yourself nodding and agreeing?  I know I did.  Although I have to add that it also says more about the false expectations I often have than about the big days in general. 

We have these movie and television, magazine and Norman Rockwell images of holidays that are perfect.  You know the ones.  The whole family – several generations of them – gathered for Thanksgiving, dressed perfectly, every hair in place, make up done, everyone smiling – and Dad is getting ready to carve a great big Thanksgiving turkey.  Or maybe it’s Christmas morning with the whole family gathered around the beautifully decorated and ideally shaped tree as someone is opening the perfect present.  It’s the sunny day family picnic in July, everyone smiling and filling a pew on Easter Sunday, or the lovely hug as a thank you for the best birthday present ever. 

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What you don’t see is the kitchen mess from cooking, the kids shoving and pushing, the person who opens the present you so carefully bought and wrapped saying, “Oh. Thanks.”  You don’t see everyone on their phones, watching the television, or taking off and leaving that mess in the kitchen. 

Sometimes I have a vision of how ordinary days should go when gathered with family or with friends.  And sometimes those days don’t quite go the way I hoped.  When we build up expectations, we just set ourselves up to be disappointed.  If it happened last Monday or this Wednesday, you can be sure it has happened on the big days.   And it will continue to happen.

I allow myself to build up my expectations.  I see those glossy pictures in the magazines, I watch too many Hallmark movies, and I want to be part of the Waltons.  Maybe as summer wanes and we move into fall, I would do well to keep myself away from these unrealistic tableaus and keep my expectations real.  I wonder where all those pretty people and perfect families live…or if there they are indeed just fictional characters I made up.

Stories Color Our Lives, Learning, and Links to Others

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Human beings love stories.  We are entertained by them.  We learn from them.  We pass on faith, culture, history, and character through them.  Story telling is as old as mankind.  The earliest forms of history were oral traditions passed from one generation to the next.  We see story telling in the ancient hieroglyphics as people yearned for a way to put down their ideas and experiences to remember them, as a record for posterity, for others to see and read and know.   

Modern humans love stories no less than our ancestors did.  Certainly we have different avenues for sharing them.  From way back, people bought books.  Eventually they shared those books through libraries.  And today we have e-books.  From Sophocles to Lin-Manuel Miranda the theater has told stories of kings and heroes, of lovers, murderers, and political leaders, of salesmen, conmen, and immigrants in Washington Heights. Screenshot 2017-07-15 22.42.10 We have stories in songs.  You know about the Piano Man who tells us “John at the bar is a friend of mine.  He gets me my drinks for free and he’s quick with a joke or a light up your smoke but there’s someplace that he’d rather be.”  And Harry Chapin told us the whole life story of a father and son within the lyrics of “Cat’s in the Cradle.”  We hear the story of a people even in the lyrics of a song.  Look at the snippets, lines and words that Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda sing in “Love Make the World Go Round” which tells a story:

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Jesus taught the way humans learn easiest and best.  He taught in stories, in parables.  He taught the value of being a neighbor as he wove the tale of the Good Samaritan.  He taught of the love God has for his people in the Parable of the Lost Sheep,the value of forgiveness in the story of the two debtors, the value of living right in the Parable of the Sower, and about forgiveness and redemption in the story of the Prodigal Son.

Some of the lessons and teachers I remember most used story to make things come alive.  Mr. Horpel taught us of the all-too human people and brought history alive for me by having us find the lives behind the dates and accomplishments of the founding fathers of our country.  Mrs. Sampson told us stories that made us think beyond the pages of the literature we were reading.  She had us question and reason and make a case.  She had the audacity to tell teenagers how she maintained the Jewish sabbath and followed the rules agains work.  She did no work and used no machines during the sabbath.  This meant no cooking, no driving, no turning on lights, no answering doorbells, and (oh the horror) not answering the phone!  She taught us debate and argumentation as we tried futilely to convince her of the error of her ways. 

I have always loved stories from my earliest memories.  I was a television junkie at an early age.  I camped out on Saturday morning with a dozen or so stuffed animals lined up on the sofa to keep me company as Johnny Weissmuller flew from vine to vine, as the cartoon heroes of my day were chased by and then foiled their enemies.  On a good Screenshot 2017-07-15 22.34.37Saturday, I could slip past my mother’s notice to take to the air with Sky King and hisniece Penny as they solved crimes.  And I went to movies.  Every Saturday that there was a new movie at the Coyle or the State theater that looked interesting, there I was. 

Books?  I know you wonder what about my books.  Surprisingly, given my love of them now, books played a small part in my childhood.  I remember only one in my home.  It was an anthology – old, brittle, disintegrating, and browned with age – that lived in our attic.  Given its condition I was discouraged from handling it but I loved every chance I got to get my hands on it.  I have no idea what the book was, why Mom kept it, or what happened to it.  But it was the first book I loved.  I spent a little time in our tiny public library where you were allowed two books each time you visited.  But it wasn’t until we moved to a new city and I knew no one that I found the stories in books that I grew to love.  In the new library, I could have all the books I could carry! 

Having stories shared with me was a joy.  But eventually I learned the joy of sharing stories.  My drama class in high school put me on the other end of the equation.  We could share stories with our audience, delight them, entertain them, inform them.  I went on to major in drama in college (with majors in English and education as safety nets).  I never sought to work in theater, but took my “show” into the classroom.  Unfortunately, drama was the first of the arts to disappear from public education.  So it was a good thing I had that English background. 

It is odd to me that it is only in retrospect that I realize how vital a role story telling played in my classroom.  As I taught concepts of grammar, logic, literary criticism, and speech, I used story to make my point.  I told of former students, neighbors, classmates, friends, and family.  I told self-deprecating stories under the philosophy of “if you can’t be a good example, at least be a terrible warning.” 

And it’s no accident that in one of my first blog posts I shared Pat Conroy’s “Great Teacher Theory” since I lived by that advice.  And I shared the stories of others.  Of course I assigned and recommended books all the time.  But more importantly, I read aloud to my high school juniors.  I read the stories and poems we discussed in class.  I read essays and magazine articles.  I read picture books – lots of them.  And I read books – entire books – aloud.  Screenshot 2017-07-15 22.34.26We cried at the loss of Morrie Schwartz as Mitch Albom recounted his days with his college professor in Tuesdays With Morrie.  We giggled and grew outraged for Melinda in Speak. We empathized with George and Lennie as their best laid plans fell apart in Of Mice and Men. 

At the end of school years, my students told me that their favorite stories were those I read aloud to them.  As I think back to those days I realize that those were my favorites as well.

How could it be that it wasn’t until after I retired from teaching and took a part-time job in a library that I became aware of how much I loved and thrived on sharing stories?  About four years ago Mary Alice Spiegel and Megan Leeds told me “You can do it!” and “Don’t worry.  It’s fun” and shoved me into a two-year-old’s story time.  Megan had planned it so all I had to do was show up and jump in.  And they were right.  Fun! 

Not long after that, I inherited a Picture Book Story Time of 4-6-year-olds.  What a blast!  I was having a ball and getting paid to tell stories, sing songs, and make preschoolers laugh.  Eventually I added a Baby and Me time for under twos.  And I loved that too! 

I’ve joked at times.  Do you know what the difference is between those preschoolers and my high schoolers?  Height.  But in some ways it wasn’t such a joke.  We all love stories, and as C. S. Lewis once said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity.  Last week an old friend from before I was a teacher or a mom contacted me and asked me to be the story teller on the Steam Into History Story Time Train.  This session was different than any I had ever done because the “children” ranged in age from about eight weeks to eighty years.  We read stories and they loved The Book With No Pictures and I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More. Some were reunited with and others introduced to Elephant and Piggy.  Young and old alike made train noises and played along with “Baby Shark.”  Sure there were a few of those kids who were of the age where they couldn’t do motions to silly songs, but I watched their eyes.  They still loved stories. 

Now that I’ve realized at this ripe old age that I need to be able to tell stories, that I want to read and entertain, that watching the faces of people being transported through story needs to be part of my life…  Well, I have a hole to fill.  I need to find a way to make this more a part of my life.  I thrive on it, and if I can take the word of my little boys I called George, of Stella, of Laila and Charlie, of Ruthie, of Kian and others, I think I’m pretty good at it.  Want me to read you a story, stop by any time!

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What I Wish I Had Learned

There are lessons that everyone learns early in life.  Some of us are taught things that we shouldn’t ever have to learn.  Death and dying, bullying, cruelty, pain, and harm.  I don’t need to expound on those. 

Then there is the teaching that is positive and beneficial for an individual, the family, the community, and the world.  People who love us and mean well give us instruction that digs deep into our souls and become part of who we are.  Wash your hands before you eat.  Flush and then wash your hands.  Say please and thank you.  Do unto others as you want them to do to you.  Robert Fulghum wrote about these things in Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and John McCutcheon took some of those wonderful ideas and set them to music.  And the world would be wonderful if everyone adhered to these things all the time

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Click on the picture to hear John sing!

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But there are also things that those same loving people teach us that do more harm than good.  They are some seemingly benign exhortations that we really shouldn’t learn. Some of these are so wide-spread that they have become adages in our language.  Things like

  • Don’t rock the boat.
  • What will the neighbors say.
  • We don’t talk about ___________.
  • Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.

Instead of these things, we need to teach our children some things that will make them stronger and more able to make decisions for themselves, that will protect them from the demands of peer pressure, gossip and bullies, that will let them know that they can be individuals.  I have been mulling this over, and here are some things I wish I had been taught early in my life.  Had I had these ideas as a fundamental part of who I am, life would have been quite different for me.  

Imagine what the impact would have been if you had these people whispering this one piece of wisdom in your ear or imbuing a plethora of ideas into your core being.  I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to retrain my thinking.  As you think of what you are saying to the young people in your life, remember first the words of Frederick Douglass (as long as I’m relying so much on quotes here), “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”

  1. “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.  Dr. Phil
  2. “You alone are enough.  You have nothing to prove to anybody.  Maya Angelou”
  3. “Is fat really the worst thing a human can be?  Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil, or cruel?  Not to me.”  J. K. Rowling
  4. “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”  Mother Teresa
  5. “Find out who you are and be that person.  That’s what your soul was put on this earth to be.  Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.”  Ellen DeGeneres
  6. “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”  Maya Angelou
  7. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill
  8. “Let your greatness bloom.” Nelson Mandela
  9. “I follow three rules:  Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” Lou Holtz
  10. “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”  Barbara Bush
  11. “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.  It’s necessary.”  Mandy Hale
  12. “Always be the Leading Lady of your own life.” Audrey Hepburn
  13. “Leadership is not about popularity, it is about doing what is right.” Laura Bush
  14. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  Desmond Tutu
  15. “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others on how you demand to be treated.  Don’t settle for anything other than respect.”  Dr. Phil
  16. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”  Audrey Hepburn
  17. “If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.”  Paul Newman
  18. “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”  Robert Brault
  19. “A public opinion pole is not substitute for thought.”  Warren Buffett
  20. “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”  Winston Churchill
  21. “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as if everything is a miracle.”  Albert Einstein
  22. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.  Mother Teresa
  23. “If your success is not on your own terms, it it looks good to the world. but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.  Anna Quindlen
  24. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Steve Jobs
  25. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  Steve Jobs
  26. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.  Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”  Steve Jobs
  27. “My favorite things in life don’t cost money.  It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”  Steve Jobs
  28. “God does not demand that I be successful.  God demands that I be faithful.  When facing God, results are not important.  Faithfulness is important.”  Mother Teresa
  29. “If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” Lou Holtz
  30. “I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.” Lou Holtz
  31. “There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
  32. “We can change the world.  It is in your hands to make a difference.” Nelson Mandela
  33. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela
  34. “I will not be abused.  I will not be misused, not willingly.  But I will be of use.  Anybody who is not of use is useless.”  Maya Angelou
  35. “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.  Maya Angelou
  36. “It’s true.  I can do anything and do it well because God loves me.” Maya Angelou
  37. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”  Maya Angelou
  38. “The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor and style.”  Maya Angelou
  39. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”  Maya Angelou
  40. “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”  Maya Angelou