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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Quotes about Life

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know about my quote collection. I have thousands of quotations saved on 3 X 5 note cards. I started keeping quotations when I was a college student. They came in handy when I was teaching and now I use them when I’m leading retreats, giving talks, and writing. Today I have visited the hundreds of quotes I have filed under the word “Life.” (It’s the word with the most cards!) I have chosen twenty to share with you. I hope you find these thought-provoking and prayer-provoking…

1. Most of us have an idea of how we think our days should go. We want nights of undisturbed sleep, regular meals and calm homes with a certain amount of order. But in our quest to keep order, sometimes we overlook the fact that some of the most important moments in our lives are unplanned. Through the cracks in our days often come life and love and moments of connection. Mary Beth Danielson

2. In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these. Paul Harvey

3. It is easier to reject a hurting world than it is to embrace it with compassion. Eugene Kennedy

4. Seek not for fresher founts afar; just drop your bucket where you are. S. W. Foss

5. Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy. Abraham Heschel

6. Just pray for a tough hide and a tender heart. Ruth Graham

7. A character in the movie Postcards from the Edge, sends home a postcard that says, “Having a wonderful time. Wish I were here.”

8. When the pond dries up and the fish are lying on the parched earth, to moisten them with one’s breath or damp them with spittle is no substitute for flinging them back into the lake. Don’t enliven people with doctrines, throw them back into Reality. For the secret of life is to be found in life itself—not in doctrines about it. Anthony de Mello

9. I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy. Marie Curie

10. One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11. Most of this world’s useful work is done by people who are pressed for time, or are tired, or don’t feel well. Douglas Smithall Freeman

12. Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. Ralph Waldo Emerson

13. Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. The human individual lives usually far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. William James

14. Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward. Soren Kierkegaard

15. Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, Grow.” Talmud

16. The greatest sin is fear… The best day is today… The greatest mistake is giving up… The most expensive indulgence is hate… The most clever person is he who always does what he thinks is right… The best part of any religion is gentleness and cheerfulness… The best gift is forgiveness. Frank Crane

17. It is sad to grow old but nice to ripen. Brigitte Bardot

18. Life is precious not because it is unchangeable like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Henri Nouwen

19. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard

20. Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your life and be taught. Polly Berrien Berends

Did any of these quotes catch your attention? If so, which one(s)? Why?

Do any of the pictures give you pause? If so, which and why?

Do you have a quote on life that you’d like to share with us?

For today’s video, I chose Marty Haugen’s beautiful song, “Eye Has not Seen.” The lines that touched me today were these: “Come give us the mind of Jesus”…And “All our days are in your hands…” I hope this song and pictures speak to you wherever you may be at this time in your life.

Once again I invite you to respond to anything in this reflection.

18 Responses

  1. Quotations 5, 8, 10, 15, and 18 appeal to me most powerfully and immediately. Also 1, especially toward the end!

    Hope everyone’s well. Peace and light.

    1. Number 1. I’m a planner. When I can recognize God’s presence in the unexpected, I feel love and hope.

  2. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
    Good morning, all…

    The Emerson quote and the Annie Dillard quote resonate with me the most, but, really, they are all beautifully profound and worthy of rumination!

  3. Thanks again for the quotes. One of my first assignments each semester with my graduate nursing students is to have them post a quote that reflects their philosophy of nursing. Always very interesting to read.

  4. I love #15. I hope that from heaven I look like a blade of grass and that I take the angels message to heart. P.S. I look for guidance from “Give Us This Day” every morning and I’m especially happy when yours is the message for the day. I can often tell it’s you even before I look at the name of the author. Please keep up the great work.

  5. I love quotes and many of these I have not heard. I will share them with family and friends. So many speak to me. Thanks Sister!

  6. I love quotes also. They are life’s lessons in a nutshell. I especially like 1, 2, and 7. My husband liked #2 by Paul Harvey. (We always liked his 12:30pm daily podcast…..”And now, the rest of the story.” He is missed.😢
    We both liked the photo of the old woman. It shows a life well lived. We both like the song, “Eye Has Not Seen”. I often incorporate it into liturgy.
    My favorite quotes are: Don’t wish too hard for what you want. You might get it,” and “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”…My Dad, Bill Lentz.

  7. As a hiker,
    “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
    Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” John Muir

    and as I walk, I say, “Solvitur Ambulando”
    (It will be solved in the walking)

    1. No 14 stood out for me. At 73 I finally understand this! I have seen it before but now it makes sense.
      My personal favourite: life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.
      Also loved the song.

  8. I see the good in goodbye; I see the well in farewell- you see my mom passed away on July 21st- she was 100 years, 3 months, and 21 days old on that day- a good life, well spent! 🙏

  9. I loved #16 and #20. Both quotes show us a deeper meaning as to what life truly is. They are all beautiful and all have us pondering their words. Great way to start the day!

  10. Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark. Tagore

    I keep a journal of my favorite Bible verses and quotes. Enjoyed your quotes and recorded my favorites in my journal

  11. Melannie,

    I am a reader from way back keep up your sharing, great reflections on ‘Life’ Kierkegaard’s stood out for me. Like yourself I give the odd Retreat have one planned for November with Clergy. Also a Bishop is booked to give our Diocesan Retreat in September & now because of Covid we are looking at the possibilities of Zoom (Downunder).

    Kerry Crowley

  12. Oh what beautiful quotes. I love them all. I especially love the beautiful song which I used to sing with my church choir which was so very active before COVID and lockdowns,
    .Right now I am in the hospital recovering from a bad fall which broke my hip. I think I will be taken to rehab today for a long recovery, I am 86 so I don’t heal so fast. My husband is so lost without and doesn’t know what to do without my being there. We appreciate still in our own home which I love to take care of and do a good job with God’s help always. Please pray for me and my precious husband in this challenge. To God be the glory!

    1. Dear Joann, So sorry about your fall… Be sure we will all be praying for you and your “precious husband.” May your recovery be smooth… and may God put people into your life who will help you to face this current challenge. Sr. Melannie

  13. Melanie: Over 30 years ago, you shared with me the idea of collecting quotes the way you do it.
    So I bought two small index card boxes (I don’t recall why two, but you had purpose) and I started. But I confess I did not keep up. Instead, I do it the totally disorganized way of jotting on papers and in journals. But the other day I came across the two boxes and thought of you and your industrious way ion organizing quotes. I told myself to give it another try–and so I will
    You have to submit your boxes of someone in your last will. They are like recipe boxes families like to get hold of after the death of a matriarch of the family!
    Keep up your inspiring writing…Mary Ann Flannery, SC

    1. Thank you for responding, Mary Ann. You make a good point: about leaving my quote boxes to someone in my will… Maybe a young writer… READERS: Mary Ann is a Sister of Charity whom I have known since we were both young high school English teachers just starting out. She has a great blog “In All Things Charity” that comes out every Monday too. You might want to check it out! Sr. Melannie

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Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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