Tag Archives: encouragement

Sparkling colors

“…let’s stay in the loop and pursue the momentous flow of daily little wonders, since life kindly tenders us gorgeous bouquets of sparkling colors, telling signs and rousing episodes.” —  Erik Pevernagie So when I was putting this post together, I kept thinking maybe I should call this blog “Defeat Despair with Flowers.” But then …

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Generous beyond all reason

“This is among the oldest, deepest, most primal truths: the facts of life may be, at times, unbearably painful. But the core, the bones of life are generous beyond all reason or belief. Those things that ought to kill us do not. This should be taken as encouragement to continue.” — Augusten Burroughs Perhaps the …

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To see wonders

Upon a bank I sat, a child made seer Of one small primrose flowering in my mind. Better than wealth it is, I said, to find One small page of Truth’s manuscript made clear… …The years that pass Like tired soldiers nevermore have given Moments to see wonders in the grass. — Patrick Kavanagh This post …

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A thing well done

“The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson Surviving trauma and loss requires learning how to ride the waves of sorrow that threaten to turn exhaustion into despair and resignation. Despite the ever-increasing use of antidepressants, the efficacy of which has been called into question in several …

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Count on flowers

“No matter how uncertain our world sometimes seems, we can count on flowers to appear each spring.” – Barbara Milo Ohrbach Longtime members of the Defeat Despair community will be familiar with Susan, whom I first met here and whose previous visits have inspired earlier posts. She spent some time with Matt and me this …

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We’re a parade

“Friends: we’re a parade – even by ourselves!” – Mary Anne Radmacher Pictured above are three people whose presence in my life is a tremendous blessing. Without going into the details, let’s just say that without friends and loved ones, life is unbearable. But with them, it can be a celebration, even in the midst …

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The bigger, more beautiful picture

“When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life.  We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can’t always see from where we are.”– Shauna Niequist Okay, so imagine you are traveling across several states to northern Virginia, …

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The stormy present

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” — Abraham Lincoln, in his Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862 In the years I’ve …

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Vitally appealing

“The emotional energy created by the critical illness of a child is unlike anything else in a family. The medical situation devours much of the family’s life and leaves its mark on everyone involved: parents and siblings, grandparents and friends. Passions are generated, enormous resources are called upon, any moment can suddenly turn into a …

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Hopeful signs

“I’m looking for some hopeful signs — and something keeps telling me to look in your direction.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Today is my 800th published post, not counting the special posts linked above.  That number becomes more amazing to me the more I think about it.  Not only have I been writing that much, but …

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What we give

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” ― Ben Carson “No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank WOW, thanks to everyone who participated in the second anniversary blog celebration on Monday.  I will go into all the details below, but the short version is that $2600 …

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These four words

“I bring you the gift of these four words: I believe in you.” — Blaise Pascal I might never have met you face to face.  In fact, I may not even know who you are, or that you are reading this blog at all.  But I still believe in you. I believe in you because …

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Incredible power

“Words have incredible power. They can make people’s hearts soar, and they can make people’s hearts sore.” – Mardy Grothe Never underestimate the effect words can have, for better or worse.  The Bible’s book of James (chapter 3) is one of many sources of wisdom that remind us of the importance of guarding what we …

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For others

“The dip of the light meant that the island itself was always left in darkness. A lighthouse is for others; powerless to illuminate the space closest to it.” ― M.L. Steadman I was surprised at the controversy that erupted when the private journals of Mother Teresa were made public, revealing that she suffered from depression …

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The enemy of the people

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life…” — Anne Lamott “I make mistakes; I’ll be the second to admit it.” — Jean Kerr Because I’ve known so many world-class perfectionists, it took me longer than it should have to realize …

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More enjoyable

“You seldom come across anything more enjoyable than a happy person.” — Frank A. Clark When I told Jeff I wanted to use this quote in a post, I asked him if he could think of any photos that would go with it.  He immediately responded, “Have you got one of Momba?” “Yes, I have …

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This bequest of wings

Quai d’Orléans Paris — Photo by Moonik (CC BY-SA 3.0) “He ate and drank the precious words, His spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, Nor that his frame was dust. He danced along the dingy days, And this bequest of wings Was but a book. What liberty A loosened spirit …

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The small daily differences

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” ― Marian Wright Edelman Years ago, during a baseball game when the opposing team kept making small, unexciting advances …

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Personal charm

“There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.”  — Henry Van Dyke I’ve written here before about my friend Maggie and her family, and the happy memories I have of them that go back forty years — it’s hard for me to believe we first met in 1974!  Obviously, …

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No ordinary people

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” — C. S. Lewis My favorite author C. S. Lewis wrote many passages that touch my heart and open my mind, but none is more sobering and remarkable to me than the text that includes the quote above.  Think about it: every …

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Beautiful discovery

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” — Elisabeth Foley One year ago today, I quoted from a wonderful book written by my friend Ellis Anderson, whom I met at college nearly 40 years ago.  Ellis and I were different in many ways, but we also …

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We must discover

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” — Marcel Proust As several readers have pointed out recently, we have many sources from which to seek wisdom. For people of faith, holy scriptures are primary; for all of us, other …

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The most powerful drug

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ― Rudyard Kipling I don’t remember when I first realized that not everyone was as fascinated by words as I am, but it’s something that I still don’t fully understand.  I have always been so drawn to words; their meaning, their rhythms and sounds, the …

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Higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay. Though some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim is higher ground.  –Johnson Oatman, Jr. Growing up in a church where a cappella singing was a vital part of every worship, I was exposed early and often to verses that …

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A light from within

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross I love stained glass, from tiny sun-catchers hanging in kitchen windows, to magnificent soaring panels in cathedrals.   Whenever I see …

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