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The Thing About a Good Quote

Handwriting, hand writes with a pen in a notebook

I’ve been collecting quotes for most of my life. I collect quotes wildly and frantically. I read with a pen in my hand, because if there’s one on the page, I need it to capture it. (Need.)

I’ve been writing them on the insides of book covers, on 3×5 notecards, on the pages of my journals, in the margins of love letters. I’ve stopped just short of writing them on my body or on the wall of a bathroom stall, but that’s only because I can’t decide on the font for my body and I don’t have a pen with me in the bathroom.

The first quote I remember loving are the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I read her words when I was probably eleven, and I found the power to be who I would become.  That’s somehow all it took. That, and a lot of trial and error and good parenting and great books.

I love this one that’s more than two hundred years old: “If I could not have both, I would rather have a pretty face at fifty than at twenty-five. The one at twenty-five might marry me, but the one at fifty would show I was worth marrying.” (Ladies Home Journal, 1892)

I just caught this one this week, straight from the newest pages of Jen Hatmaker, which I am noting and flagging like a wild woman. “Creators create. It is one of their main characteristics, as a point of fact. Makers don’t wait for someone else to tell them they should or can. They already know they should and can.”

My college roommate and I decorated an entire wall of our apartment with our favorite quotes. That was my “I’m-here-to-get-a-degree-and-not-a-husband, and I’m-also-sort-of-a-feminist” phase, so the wall said things like, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” (from Gloria Steinem, but actually Iria Dunn)

During my years as a mom of a very strong-willed toddler, when this was on my refrigerator: “I am the lord, your mother. I do not change.”

I’m currently in love with a coffee mug quote, which doubles as one of my life mottos: “Live imperfectly and with great delight.”

And presently on my refrigerator is a quote from one of my favorite pastors and communicators: “God is at work in my tomorrow, so I will not give up today.” (Steve Garcia)

There is this one, which carries me through the bumpy days of writing: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” (Shannon Hale)

Cheryl Strayed said, “Quotes, at their core, almost always shout Yes!

She’s right. They do. Because that might be because I pretty much do too. I may not shout, but I’ll nod my head in the thoughtful way that is my silent shout of agreement. “Yes. That.”

When we identify with what someone else has said, we find our voice in their own. We become more of who we are, because they said so.

Donald Miller, Scary Close

Please tell me your favorite quotes.

Share so I can nod in knowing affirmation and add them to my collection.

I need your words. (Need.)

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

    “You should be kissed, and often… and by someone who knows how!” Clark Gable as Rhett Butler (My favorite quote when my then 12 year old self first watched “Gone with the Wind”).

  2. Tricia. First off, let me tell you that I am moving in approximately a week, and my need to share the following passage with you was such that I tore open several boxes of books until I found the one for which I was looking. This is love, my friend.

    (I hope you’re reading this from your hammock.)

    “People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. FOR IN THE BOOKS THEY WRITE, THEY CONTINUE TO EXIST. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”
    ——–The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield


    “…love–especially that of a child–is the most necessary weight you can endure in life, even if it hurts, even if it tugs bags under the skin of your eyes.”
    ——–The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

    Have a wonderful day xoxox

  3. “Life is eternal, love is immortal, death is only a horizon and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” I don’t know where I read it, but man, I love it!

  4. I love collecting quotes as well, they speak to us when they are needed. “This too shall pass, it might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.” – Unknown; “Let Go or Be Dragged” – Zen Proverb. “Or if you are learning to walk again, and if you need to be reminded that walking is enough,That you don’t always have to rush yourself to healing. Healing is growing. You can’t rush it any more effectively than you can make a flower bloom.” – Tricia Lott Williford

  5. I love this one “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
    My mom put this saying on her wall just after losing my dad 11 years ago. 🙂

  6. You know I LOVE a good quote!!!!!

    “It is a mystery why adults expect perfection from children. Few adults can get through an entire day without making a mistake.” Anonymous

  7. A few… “Don’t ask what the world needs more of, ask what makes you come alive, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman.

    “The best part of teaching is that it matters. The worst part of teaching is that every moment matters every day.” Todd Whitaker

    My fridge magnets…
    “I don’t want to brag , but I’m pretty mediocre at housekeeping.” Anne Taintor

    “When life becomes a roller coaster climb into the front seat, throw your arms into the air, and enjoy the ride! Suzy Toronto (love her stuff)

    Newest favorite
    “Funny thing about joy, is that you only really find it when you are too busy having fun to go looking for it ” Leigh (curly girl designs)

    • “All who wander are not lost.”

      “You are the only person you will ever know and that takes a long time”. From the show Sensitive Skin.

  8. I love this! I have lots of favorite quotes, but this one pretty much sums up my world right now: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon

  9. Miss Tricia! I have just stumbled upon your blog today and I think I love you already. What a dear friend you seem to be as I read your words. (And you like Lauren Graham, so I know we can be friends.)
    The quote I will leave with you is this: “May we always choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
    Looking forward to reading more from you!

  10. I have always loved collecting quotes too, I rewrite them, print them, post them and pin them. One of my favorite quotes is “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” This became my favorite almost 5 years ago, when we almost lost my then 17 year old son to a head injury. I also love “when life gets too hard to stand, kneel”.

  11. “Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.” President George W. Bush

    “The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace…We must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings, or passions to seduce us into self-rejection. ” -Henri Nouwen

    I have a whole section of quotes on my fb under About Me –Details about you. I kinda want to post them all!

  12. “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” Walt Disney (from the America Pavilion at WDW)

  13. I love a good quote! One of my favorites: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” ~Victor Hugo
    I learned this from Sara Frankl (Choose Joy), who had some pretty good quotes of her own.

    • Oh Nancy, I needed that quote so much! Thank you for sharing it!

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