Words to Live By

I have been collecting quotes and sayings for a while now in the hopes that some day I will pair each quote with a photograph that I have taken and put them together in a little book for my coffee table.  Today on The View Michael J Fox was discussing how he handles having Parkinson’s Disease.  As soon as the words came out of his mouth I *knew* I would add it to my collection.

“I didn’t have a choice about whether or not I had Parkinson’s.  That was a non-choice.  But surrounding that non-choice are infinite choices about how I will react to it.”

Those few words speak volumes as to who he is and how he lives his life.

I have to agree that attitude is everything.  I will freely admit that I employed the victim mentality for many years.  I believed that awful things happened to me and I was at the mercy of the universe.  As I have matured I have realized that things happen to *everyone*.  We all have our trials and tribulations.  We all experience things in life that are unfair, unjust, and that just plain suck.  And I think it’s OK to acknowledge that sometimes it really isn’t fair.  But the key is to not dwell in that place for long.   Don’t let those events define your life.  We have all made mistakes and have regrets.  We have all been hurt and have hurt others.  But in order to be happy and enjoy our time on earth we need to fix what we can fix and let the rest go.   We need to find the good in everything, even if it means digging to the core of our soul and examining what role we might have played.  We need to be able to forgive the unforgivable.  We need to accept that some things are out of our control but one thing that is always ours is the choice in how we will view it and how we will weave it into the fabric of our life. 

Sometimes joy is a decision & not an emotion.

Here are the quotes I have gathered so far.  I would love it if you would share a quote that has inspired you in the comments!

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

George Elliot:  It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

Felix Gonzales-Torres: Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.

Dawna Markova: I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.

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 study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
William Henry Channing

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.
David Carradine

Souza : For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This persective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.

Anna Quindlen: ..but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. (Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).

Theodore Roosevelt:  Do what you can,  with what you have,  where you are.

Lao Tzu : Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

George Santayana:  To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

Melodie Beattie : Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Jer29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Marilyn Thomsen : And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…

And a couple of thoughts I have on the subject:

Michelle Johnson:  It is so much easier to accept who you are rather than to try and be who you are  not.

Michelle Johnson:  You will never be anything to anyone until you are something to yourself.

And because this is a photography blog I figured I had better include a photo.  I took up crocheting & knitting again a couple of weeks ago and have been buying yarn left and right.

Have I mentioned that I have a wee bit of an addictive personality?  I am loving yarn right now.  Can’t get enough of it.

Don’t forget to leave your favorite inspirational quote in the comments!



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9 responses to “Words to Live By

  1. Rachael

    Beautiful shot of all that pretty yarn! As for a quote, I’m not sure who said these and they are both pretty well known. My favorite inspirational quotes are “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” and “Even when it’s dark, you can still see the stars.”

  2. Lauren (MichyM)

    What a lovely post!

    Also, I totally get the yarn thing. I took up beading a few months ago, and while fighting it tooth and nail have accumulated a bit of a stash. I too have an addictive personality.

  3. What a great post – and I love the collection of quotes. One of my favorite quotes is listed in the sidebar of my personal blog, with the same heading as your post – Words to Live By:
    “Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
    –Robert Fulghum

    Oh, and such pretty yarn! I wish I had the patience for the knitting and crocheting.

  4. I love all of those yarns! The colors pop!

  5. Beth

    Great yarn. And great quotes. I am watching that very show with my DH right now!

  6. Ahh, you have no idea how I needed these quotes today Michelle. Thank you for that. I love your cheerfully colored yarn, I am so jealous of those of you who can knit- I must have two left hands or something, LOL. Here’s my fave inspirational quote (for the moment, at least):

    “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. ” ~Mother Theresa

    I also have always loved this one:

    “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ” ~Mother Theresa

  7. Beautiful yarn shot!

  8. Christin

    digging through your old blog posts, and really liked this one as I too am enamoured with MJF. Another thing he said in his special is “I focus not on doing the next thing right, but doing the next right thing”. Love that.

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