Our Job

Librarians must be on the forefront with community and early childhood agencies to make reading and literacy an essential and pleasing experience embedded within each family’s daily lifestyle by providing guidance, encouragement, enthusiasm, and inspiration — in other words, by taking on the role of a coach in regular family reading initiatives.

— Rita Soltan, Solving the Reading Riddle, p. 68

Being Who We Are

It is not what we do but how we do whatever we are doing that makes a difference. When we know ourselves we are able to make choices to do those things that, given our individual preferences and personalities, make it easier for us to be who we are — compassionate and openhearted and present. We are able to choose to do what we know we love.

— Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance, p. 140

Giving Up

Sometimes people are afraid that it is weak to forgive, that they are giving up a battle they must continue to fight. But when we forgive, we are not giving up our value systems, our points of view about an injustice, or our right to dislike someone. We are giving up a rigid attachment to thinking that things could have or should have gone differently. We are giving up the pain from our disappointed expectations. We are giving up the hope for a better past, therefore giving ourselves the gift of a richer present.

— Mary Hayes Grieco, Unconditional Forgiveness, p. 23

All the More Sweet

You can’t go back. You can’t go forward. You can’t stay here or stay put. When fire and brimstone are falling down upon your head, you can’t take the time to figure out anything, especially where it all went wrong.

As Milton foretold, what happened is “all hell broke loose.” But Reader, trust me: This experience is essential. It will make our new life all the more sweet when we find our way back. And we will find our way back.

— Sarah Ban Breathnach, Peace and Plenty, p. 19

Recipients of God’s Good

As we pray affirmatively, our faith strengthens. By declaring ourselves the recipients of God’s good, we are able to allow ourselves to actually receive God’s good. “He has made everything suitable for its time,” we are told by Ecclesiastes 3:11. This assures us that nothing is too good to be true. If something good is coming to pass, it is because it is right and appropriate for it to come to pass. It is a time of harvest. It is a time to celebrate God’s blessings. We can pray, “I accept the abundant blessings of God.” We can pray, “I accept God’s timing in the unfolding of my good.”

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 157-158

Letting Go of “Should”

People often substitute “I should” for “I want.” I call this the beginning of internal civil war. The minute you say, “I should,” you have created division within yourself. “I should” always comes from others. Parents, rules, religious teachings, and cultural norms give us our shoulds. Not that this is necessarily bad. We do need to learn how to function in society in a helpful way. At some point along the road to adulthood, though, we need to internalize those ideas or discard them for good. If you say “I should,” it means some part of you doesn’t want to. Honor those parts! They have precious information for you. Let them speak to you fully, like a good council. Hear everyone’s opinion, and then make your singular decision.

If you can say “I want,” then you are coming from a more integrated place inside yourself. Try it for a moment: “I should clean the kitchen.” Doesn’t that just tighten your stomach and make you feel as though you don’t want to? Now say “I want to clean the kitchen!” How does that feel different? When we say “I want to,” we are taking complete ownership of our situation. No excuses, no resistance, no blame.

— Susan Pease Banitt, The Trauma Toolkit, p. 8-9

Learning to Fail

It turns out the Christian story is a good story in which to learn to fail. As the ethicist Samuel Wells has written, some stories feature heroes and some stories feature saints and the difference between them matters: “Stories . . . told with . . . heroes at the centre of them . . . are told to laud the virtues of the heroes — for if the hero failed, all would be lost. By contrast, a saint can fail in a way that the hero can’t, because the failure of the saint reveals the forgiveness and the new possibilities made in God, and the saint is just a small character in a story that’s always fundamentally about God.”

I am not a saint. I am, however, beginning to learn that I am a small character in a story that is always fundamentally about God.

— Lauren F. Winner, Still, p. 193-194

Learning As We Go

The notion that we can become all that we’re meant to be, all at the same time, all instantly, all at once, without bungling along as we go, is pure fantasy. Or to put it another way, the notion that we can make great life decisions once and for all without learning as we go is pure naiveté. Life is not a paint-by-numbers game.

— Joan Chittister, Following the Path, p. 86


The world shifts, and lives change. Without warning or reason, someone who was healthy becomes sick and dies. An onslaught of sorrow, regret, anger, and fear buries those of us left behind. Hopelessness and helplessness follow. But then the world shifts again — rolling on as it does — and with it, lives change again. A new day comes, offering all kinds of possibilities. Even with the experience of pain and sorrow set deep within me and never to be forgotten, I recognize the potent offerings of my unknown future. I live in a “weird world,” shifting and unpredictable, but also bountiful and surprising. There is joy in acknowledging that both the weirdness and the world roll on, but even more, there is resilience.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 60