About 15 years ago I started keeping a commonplace book, copying favorite
poems, quotes, sentences, phrases, and words into a journal, making a
personal anthology of my reading life.
Here are selections from a few of my journals, a slice of delight.
More 55 lists here.
1. Love is friendship set to music.
2. Encourage one another.
— Donna Boucher
3. Be always coming home.
— Ursula Le Guin
4. You can’t get a cup of tea big enough
or a book long enough to suit me.
— C. S. Lewis
5. Fair is where you take the hogs in August.
6. When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable.
There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
— Victor Hugo
7. If you can walk, you can dance.
If you can talk, you can sing.
— Zimbabwe proverb
8. The idle man does not know what it is
to enjoy rest.
— Albert Einstein
9. God will not guide us into an intolerable scramble
of panting feverishness.
— Thomas Kelly
10. The other reason that I make music is to celebrate
the certainty of the Lord, since there is no other way
I can understand the contradictions and confusions
that surround me.
— Septimus Harding in The Warden, by Anthony Trollope
11. Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them, is the true measure
of our thanksgivings.
— W. T. Purkiser
12. History is a vast early warning system.
— Norman Cousins
13. Invest yourself in everything you do.
There’s fun being serious.
— Wynton Marsalis
14. Calm sinning leads to catastrophic suffering.
— Terry Tollefson
15. If you try to make something idiot-proof,
the world comes up with a better idiot.
— Jack Van Deventer
16. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances
we know to be desperate.
— G. K. Chesterton
17. We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
18. I am practicing the art of grabbing minutes,
perhaps the single most important art the
homeschooling mom can develop.
— Cindy Rollins
19. The most wasted of all days
is one without laughter.
— e.e. cumings
20. Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal
hanging on of an uncompleted task.
— William James
21. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now on and make a brand new ending.
— Carl Bard
22. Never get into a rut. You cannot afford to do a thing poorly.
You are more injured in shirking your work or half-doing a job
than the person for whom you are working.
— Booker T. Washington
23. Your absence has gone through me
like a thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
— W. S. Merwin
24. Never, never, never give up.
— Winston Churchill
25. Sit loosely in the saddle of life.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
26. There’s nothing remarkable about it.
All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time
and the instrument plays itself.
— J. S. Bach
27. Plan as if you will live a short time
and live as if you will be here another twenty or thirty years.
— Ken Weddle
28. Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a
friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
— Oscar Wilde
29. A good theology will invariably produce a good meal.
30. Every load of laundry starts with a choice.
You can make it a chore, approaching it with dread,
performing it grudgingly. Or you can choose to
take pleasure in the act of caring for yourself and your family.
— Monica Nassif
31. We labor under the tyranny of perfect heroes.
— Gary Barber
32. Eating has always been important to me,
because the focal point of the day is the dinner table,
a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.
The dinner hour is a sacramental time for me,
a time for gratitude for whoever is gathered
around the table, for the food, for our being
part of the greater story of creation.
— Madeline L’Engle
33. For a second, the woman’s heart quailed before the
fresh difficulties, but she forgot self at the look in her
husband’s face. Her quiet reply, “We will wait, for God
is in the waiting,” filled him with courage again.
— Eric P. Kelly
34. I have always known that happiness is a gift, not a right.
— P. D. James
35. A perfect day should be recorded.
It can’t be relived except in memory but it can
be celebrated and remembered with gratitude.
— P. D. James
36. Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.
— Pearl Buck
37. Life itself is the proper binge.
— Julia Child
38. A phone call to say I’m thinking of you yields benefits
all out of proportion to the time investment.
— Andree Seu
39. Maybe I’m a Luddite because I feel sorry for children
who read “Goodnight Moon” on a phone.
— Dan Newman
40. Give me a man who sings at his work.
— Thomas Carlyle
41. A mother’s happiness is like a beacon,
lighting up the future but reflected also on the past
in the guise of fond memories.
— Honore De Balzac
42. To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born
is to remain always a child.
43. Children are durable
and don’t necessarily wilt under adversity,
just as our children don’t necessarily
thrive under luxury and comfort.
— Garrison Keillor
44. Get off your attitude.
— Terry Tollefson
45. Only by God’s grace is a promise sure.
— heard at a wedding
46. A small daily task, if it be really daily,
will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.
— Anthony Trollope
47. Good prose is economical.
— PSAT prep book
48. Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with
a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
— Jeremy Taylor
49. A man who does a good job is OK by me.
— Abraham Lincoln
50. He who would not be frustrate of his hope
to write well ought himself to be a true poem.
— John Milton
51. Really cool things happen on the brink of disaster.
— Bob Jensen, local potter
52. Putting other people before our own tidy plans
is a reality that needs to be observed by the next generation.
— Edith Schaeffer
53. Good humor makes all things tolerable.
— Henry Ward Beecher
54. Never think because you cannot write a letter easily,
that it is better not to write at all. The most awkward
not imaginable is better than none.
— Emily Post
55. What people truly crave is appreciation.
— William James