For my sixteenth birthday, one of my best high school friends got me this little pink polka-dotted journal, and since then, I’ve written my favorite poems and quotations in it. When I read something in a book or magazine that speaks to me, I copy it down. When a friend or family member says something that I want to remember, I record it. When I see a quotation inscribed on a memorial, or floating around on the internet, or in a church program, I snap a picture to then later transcribe into my book.
I filled up my pink journal a decade after receiving it, and around the same time I found an old journal of my moms that had been used for the same purpose, with only a few pages filled. I started a new “quote book” in it. I return to these books time and again when I am in need of motivation, inspiration, comfort or hope.
Over my holiday vacation, I spent several hours reading through the entire collection, and I picked out a generous handful of quotes to guide my year. (Can you tell that I’m into New Years? I’ve got words, I’ve got goals, I’ve got quotes! It’s very orienting for me. And interestingly, though I didn’t intend this, I realize that they can roughly be categorized within my words for the year…plus one more category: perseverance).
To use a quotation itself to explain my inclination towards quotations at guides: “One is pat to think of moral failure as due to weakness of character: more often it is due to an inadequate ideal.” I agree with Richard Winn Livingstone’s sentiment, and for me, quotes serve as an ideal — a model, an example — to work towards.
“For there is only trying. The rest is not our business.” —T. S. Eliot
“Life is hard but love wins.” – Glennon Doyle Melton
“And now the you don’t have to be perfect you can just be good” – John Steinbeck
“Be joyful thought you have considered all the facts” – Wendell Berry
“Energy creates energy. It is by spending myself that I became rich.” – Sarah Bernhardt
“At the best moments a great humility fused with a great ambition: to be only what I was, but to the utmost of what I was” – Stephen Spender
“Prayer uncovers the truth that sets us free (John 8:32)” – Henri Nouwen
“Grace is the assistance God gives us to do hat is good, true, noble and right.” — Matthew Kelly
“All moments are key moments, and life itself is grace” – Frederich Buechner
“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings” – Mary Baker Edy
“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.” – Eudora Welty
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” – Mary Oliver
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.” – Kurt Vonnegut
“The most congenial social occasions are those ruled by cheerful deference for all” – Goethe
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance” — Brene Brown
“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” – Joan of Arc
“Everything is hard before it gets easy.” -Goethe
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is really tenacity” — Amelia Earhart