My Quote Journal

img_7757When I was a kid, I painstaking copied quotes and poems that spoke to me into a notebook. I wrote down any little snippets I loved, memorized them, and told others all about them.

Then I got older, and I abandoned the practice. Not for any particular reason, but just because that’s sometimes what happens when kids grow up.

I still occasionally jotted down a quote on a scrap of paper, or emailed it to myself. But the emails sat in my inbox, forgotten. And the scraps of paper got lost.

In 2013, I was working at a counseling center, and I met someone who loved quotes as much as I did. We’d exchange interesting quotes, and I started writing inspirational ones on a whiteboard in my office.

I’d been collecting upcycled journals for awhile. I just love them. But they’d been sitting on my shelf, unused. And then, one day, I realized that I could fill them with words, these wonderful quotes that I had collected. So that’s what I did.

Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I found this quote, it spoke to me, and I realized that’s what I’d been doing all this time. I’ve been collecting words and phrases that say something I can’t quite say, articulate something caught in my throat or burning in my heart.

When I’m having a rough day, I flip through my quote journal and read a random page or two. Without fail, one of the quotes on the page speaks directly to whatever’s going on with me that day, and makes me feel a little better.

Do you have any interesting practices from your childhood that you abandoned (or not) as an adult?

Z is for Zen Pencils

imagesWhen I was a kid, I was scornful of people who read comics.  Actually, I was scornful of lots of things.  Some might have called me a bit of a snob.  I prefer to acknowledge that I was a bit of a brat.

A few years ago, I friend got me interested in webcomics.  There are a few I read regularly, and they tell quite a good story.  Truthfully, I’ve always envied people who can draw, so to be able to tell a good story and draw is quite an accomplishment.

Anyway.

I love quotes.  I have a notebook full of them, where I write my favorites.  I have others printed and pinned up on my wall, and still others made into posters and framed.

Zen Pencils is a webcomic, where Gavin Aung Than takes quotes and turns them into comics.  He’s done a variety of them, and has also published two books.  His interpretation of some of the quotes has deepened my understanding of them, and also made me work harder to come up with my own interpretation.

I got to meet him at a book signing a few months back, and he’s a very nice guy.  He quit a job he didn’t like to work full time doing his comic.

While many of the quotes he’s illustrated speak to me, his story has also influenced me.  He worked hard, and kept working.  But ultimately, he made the leap, quit his job, and was able to do what he loves.  I find that combination of hard work and fearlessness to be inspirational.

I love to write, and think I’m a pretty good writer, but there are days when I’m tempted to delete everything I’ve ever written (not quite as dramatic as burning it, but these are the days of the computer).  And then I remember that it’s not the most talented people who succeed, but the ones who keep trying and aren’t afraid to work for success.

That’s a fitting end this month of blogging, don’t you think?

“So maybe what you’re doing right now isn’t ideally where you’d like to be, but perhaps it’s just practice for your dream job in the future. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.”

-Gavin Aung Than

Q is for Quotes

I have always loved quotes.  I found an old notebook where I wrote quotes as a kid, a practice that I’ve recently started back up.  I have a board on Pinterest especially for quotes.

Quotes combine two of the things I love the most: words and positivity.  The right quote can express a mood, set a tone, or sometimes just put hard to express feelings into words.  Sometimes a quote can help motivate me, or help me to motivate others.  They cheer me up when I’m having a tough day.  Here are a handful of ones I’ve enjoyed recently.

IMG_2466

“There’s nothing interesting about looking perfect — you lose the point. You want what you’re wearing to say something about you, about who you are.”

-Emma Watson

friedrich-nietzsche-framed-quote-made-on

“Look on every exit as an entrance somewhere else.”

-Tom Stoppard

IMG_0269 - Version 2

Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world. Don’t go through life creaking.

~ H.W. Byles

Do you have any favorite quotes, or any you like lately?

Embrace Challenges

On Motivational Mondays, I post something to set the tone for the week ahead.

Berry Springs Parks and Preserve, Texas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Berry Springs Parks and Preserve, Texas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I’ve loved this quote since the first time I saw it:

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”

-Bernice Johnson Reagon

If you come across a challenge this week, approach it from the point of view of what you can discover about yourself and how you can learn from it.

What I Learned in 2014

In Vancouver, Canada Photo Credit: Doree Weller

In Vancouver, Canada
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Odd numbered years tend to be better for me than even numbered years.  And while 2014 wasn’t awful, it wasn’t great either.  That being said, 2014 was full of learning experiences, and I have to be grateful for those.  Perhaps, like literary fiction, 2014 will be better in review than it was while living it.

I learned that I needed to remember how much I love poetry and quotes.  When I was a teenager, I kept a notebook where I dutifully copied poetry and quotes that I loved.  I still have that notebook somewhere.  As I got older, I started saving things I liked in folders in my email, and promptly forgot them.  For years, I’ve loved upcycled notebooks and bought them, but then didn’t write anything in them.  Well, I now have an awesome poetry and quotes book.  I copy things down and doodle in it.  Writing things I love in there is more immediate than saving them on my computer, and it feels more personal.

Journaling is fun and therapeutic.  I’ve been a sporadic journaler for a few years, and even when I was doing more of it, it was mostly stuff about what I did during the day; nothing exciting. Recently I turned my journal into a place where I jot down all my thoughts.  Things about stories, reflections on my day, positive things that people have said to me.  And you know what?  Just like that, not only do I enjoy journaling again, but I find that it’s a good way to process my day or my feelings on something.

Colored pens make everything better.  Okay, they don’t cure world hunger or addiction, but if I’m having a bad day, doodling in my journal in colored pens makes me smile.  It doesn’t matter if I can’t draw; as long as it’s in color, it looks great.

I learned that no matter how many friends I have, there’s always room for more.  I’m an introvert, so in my mind, I only need so many friends.  I mean, there’s only so much time in life.  Despite my intentions, I ended up making a new friend this year, someone who will undoubtedly be around for the rest of my life.

Books aren’t written; they’re rewritten.  I know this, but I still have to learn it over and over again.  I just have to keep editing until I get it right, and every time, it will be a little better than it was last time.  That’s okay.  The best things in life take time.

Criticism hurts, but it won’t kill me.  I joined a fantastic writer’s group, and got some feedback that really stung.  After I got over licking my wounds and eating 41 pints of ice cream, I took an objective look at the criticism I received.  Some of it, I still disagreed with, so I filed it away and decided not to edit anything based on that.  Other parts of the criticism were spot on, and I made some changes based on that.  Once I got over tripping on my own ego, I realized that I was presented with a unique opportunity to improve.

I strive to be a lifelong learner, and I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen in 2015.  What, if anything, did you learn in 2014?

 

Pay Attention!

“You can’t control the length of your life, but you can control its width and depth. You can’t control the contour of your face, but you can control its expression. You can’t control the weather, but you can control the atmosphere of your mind. Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” -Author Unknown

DSCN4305Someone brought this quote to me today, and it was absolutely perfect for what’s been going on with me.  I’ve been feeling a little out of control, a little overstressed, a little overwhelmed, and inadequate to dealing with it.  Sometimes life gets overwhelming and I feel like I don’t know how to manage it.

I firmly believe that the Universe tells me what I need to know, if I’m willing to listen, and this was no exception.  Out of the blue, this was given to me, and I’m reminded that the more I pay attention to the chaos, the more I feel out of control.  The more I center myself and remember what’s important, the more I feel as if things have meaning.

The fact is that I can’t control anything outside of myself, and anxiety comes from worrying about stuff I can’t control.  So I can waste my precious energy, or I can spend it on the things that matter.  Put that way, it’s not much of a choice, is it?

So, Universe, message received.  I feel better, calmer, and ready to go forward in the world again.

I’m Not Rusty

“It is better to rust out than wear out.”   -Edwin Markham

DSCN3684I often read quotes when I’m stuck for something to write. I love quotes! It’s like taking a bite of rich chocolate cake when you’re not in the mood for the whole thing. Most of the time, I can relate to quotes or find them to be profound in some way. I saw this quote, and thought, “No!”

Maybe I’m looking at this from the perspective of relative youth, but I don’t want to rust. To me, rusting sounds like you’re sitting around, trying to keep what’s there preserved. Rust is something that happens to you.

My husband loves cars, and gets excited by the elusive “garage queen,” which means that the car is low mileage, barely driven, and was kept in the garage. It was essentially preserved, and I wonder, “why?” Why get something for power and performance, and let it sit? Why not use it for what it was made for?

I’m not careless with my body. I’m a mostly-vegetarian who keeps my body and brain active. I’m getting age aches, and sometimes I’m stiff when I get up in the morning, but I can walk miles, love learning new things, and try to spend time with people and doing things I love.

I’m not trying to wear myself out. I try to take care of myself. But how can I reach my full potential if I’m “rusting?” If I’m sitting idle, waiting for things to happen TO me? I don’t believe I can. I believe that in order to succeed, I have to take risks, push myself. Sometimes that means I’m going to get bruises, both physically and emotionally, but that’s how I learn. I learn by doing, by succeeding, and by failing.

There’s nothing wrong with rusting, if you’re doing it mindfully, if that’s your choice, and that’s what you want to do. For me, I’m going to burn my decorative candles, drive my car, risk getting moisture rings on my good wooden furniture. And I’m going to wear myself out. One day, all I’ll have left could be memories of those times, and what is there to remember if I’ve sat around rusting?