Count It All Joy Quotes

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Love is a wonderful gift. It's a present so precious words can barely begin to describe it. Love is a feeling, the deepest and sweetest of all. It's incredibly strong and amazingly gentle at the very same time. It is a blessing that should be counted every day. It is nourishment for the soul. It is devotion, constantly letting each person know how supportive it's certainty can be. Love is a heart filled with affection for the most important person in your life. Love is looking at the special someone who makes your world go around and absolutely loving what you see. Love gives meaning to one's world and magic to a million hopes and dreams. It makes the morning shine more brightly and each season seem like it's the nicest one anyone ever had. Love is an invaluable bond that enriches every good thing in life. It gives each hug a tenderness, each heart a happiness, each spirit a steady lift. Love is an invisible connection that is exquisitely felt by those who know the joy, feel the warmth, share the sweetness, and celebrate the gift!
Douglas Pagels
sweet spring is your time is my time is our time for springtime is lovetime and viva sweet love (all the merry little birds are flying in the floating in the very spirits singing in are winging in the blossoming) lovers go and lovers come awandering awondering but any two are perfectly alone there's nobody else alive (such a sky and such a sun i never knew and neither did you and everybody never breathed quite so many kinds of yes) not a tree can count his leaves each herself by opening but shining who by thousands mean only one amazing thing (secretly adoring shyly tiny winging darting floating merry in the blossoming always joyful selves are singing) sweet spring is your time is my time is our time for springtime is lovetime and viva sweet love
E.E. Cummings
For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.
Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold...The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien (On Fairy-Stories)
I was delighted to see you again, and forgot for the moment that all happiness is fleeting.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
I bear my testimony that there is no joy to be found in all this world like that of sweet communion with Christ. I would barter all else there is of heaven for that. Indeed, that is heaven. As for the harps of gold and the streets like clear glass and the songs of seraphs and the shouts of the redeemed, one could very well give all these up, counting them as a drop in a bucket, if we might forever live in fellowship and communion with Jesus.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Do you believe you can change your destiny?' he (Sajhë) said, seeking an answer. Alice found herself nodding. 'Otherwise, what's the point? If we are simply walking a path preordained, then all the experiences that make us who we are - love, grief, joy, learning, changing - would count for nothing.
Kate Mosse (Labyrinth (Languedoc, #1))
Sweetheart, happily ever after does exist, it’s just not what you think,” he said. “Happily ever after isn’t a solution to life’s problems or a guarantee that life will be easy; it’s a promise we make ourselves to always live our best lives, despite whatever circumstance comes our way. When we focus on joy in times of heartbreak, when we choose to laugh on the days it’s hard to smile, and when we count our blessings over our losses—that’s what a true happily ever after is all about. You don’t get there by being perfect; on the contrary, it’s our humanity that guides us. And that’s what fairy tales have been trying to teach us all along.
Chris Colfer (Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories, #6))
We cannot count on God to arrange what happens in our lives in ways that will make us feel good.We can, however, count on God to patiently remove all the obstacles to our enjoyment of Him. He is committed to our joy, and we can depend on Him to give us enough of a taste of that joy and enough hope that the best is still ahead to keep us going in spite of how much pain continues to plague our hearts.
Larry Crabb
However, the love you gave wasn’t in vain; it helped you to become a better person. The loss opened your eyes to see that you deserve so much better. It is alright to cry. You are finding your strength and you are beginning to find the voice within. You are special. You are unique. You are loved. There’s no need to be afraid. Life is a journey! You will make it. It’s okay to let go of the loss and count it all pure joy!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue, came youthful shapes, boys upon one hand, and girls upon the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done. I cannot now remember whether she was naked or clothed. If she were naked, then it must have been the almost visible penumbra of her courtesy and joy which produces in my memory the illusion of a great and shining train that followed her across the happy grass. If she were clothed, then the illusion of nakedness is doubtless due to the clarity with which her inmost spirit shone through the clothes. For clothes in that country are not a disguise: the spiritual body lives along each thread and turns them into living organs. A robe or a crown is there as much one of the wearer's features as a lip or an eye. But I have forgotten. And only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face. “Is it?...is it?” I whispered to my guide. “Not at all,” said he. “It's someone ye'll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.” “She seems to be...well, a person of particular importance?” “Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.” “And who are these gigantic people...look! They're like emeralds...who are dancing and throwing flowers before here?” “Haven't ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.” “And who are all these young men and women on each side?” “They are her sons and daughters.” “She must have had a very large family, Sir.” “Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.” “Isn't that a bit hard on their own parents?” “No. There are those that steal other people's children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.” “And how...but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat-two cats-dozens of cats. And all those dogs...why, I can't count them. And the birds. And the horses.” “They are her beasts.” “Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.” “Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.” I looked at my Teacher in amazement. “Yes,” he said. “It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough int the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.
C.S. Lewis (The Great Divorce)
Suddenly the full long wail of a ship's horn surged through the open window and flooded the dim room - a cry of boundless, dark, demanding grief; pitch-black and glabrous as a whale's back and burdened with all the passions of the tides, the memory of voyages beyond counting, the joys, the humiliations: the sea was screaming. Full of the glitter and the frenzy of night, the horn thundered in, conveying from the distant offing, from the dead center of the sea, a thirst for the dark nectar in the little room.
Yukio Mishima (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea)
Parents don't care anything but their children. They are the centre of the universe; they are all that really counts. Nobody else is important, no one else's suffering or joy matters, none of it is real.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
My dearest friend Abigail, These probably could be the last words I write to you and I may not live long enough to see your response but I truly have lived long enough to live forever in the hearts of my friends. I thought a lot about what I should write to you. I thought of giving you blessings and wishes for things of great value to happen to you in future; I thought of appreciating you for being the way you are; I thought to give sweet and lovely compliments for everything about you; I thought to write something in praise of your poems and prose; and I thought of extending my gratitude for being one of the very few sincerest friends I have ever had. But that is what all friends do and they only qualify to remain as a part of the bunch of our loosely connected memories and that's not what I can choose to be, I cannot choose to be lost somewhere in your memories. So I thought of something through which I hope you will remember me for a very long time. I decided to share some part of my story, of what led me here, the part we both have had in common. A past, which changed us and our perception of the world. A past, which shaped our future into an unknown yet exciting opportunity to revisit the lost thoughts and to break free from the libido of our lost dreams. A past, which questioned our whole past. My dear, when the moment of my past struck me, in its highest demonised form, I felt dead, like a dead-man walking in flesh without a soul, who had no reason to live any more. I no longer saw any meaning of life but then I saw no reason to die as well. I travelled to far away lands, running away from friends, family and everyone else and I confined myself to my thoughts, to my feelings and to myself. Hours, days, weeks and months passed and I waited for a moment of magic to happen, a turn of destiny, but nothing happened, nothing ever happens. I waited and I counted each moment of it, thinking about every moment of my life, the good and the bad ones. I then saw how powerful yet weak, bright yet dark, beautiful yet ugly, joyous yet grievous; is a one single moment. One moment makes the difference. Just a one moment. Such appears to be the extreme and undisputed power of a single moment. We live in a world of appearance, Abigail, where the reality lies beyond the appearances, and this is also only what appears to be such powerful when in actuality it is not. I realised that the power of the moment is not in the moment itself. The power, actually, is in us. Every single one of us has the power to make and shape our own moments. It is us who by feeling joyful, celebrate for a moment of success; and it is also us who by feeling saddened, cry and mourn over our losses. I, with all my heart and mind, now embrace this power which lies within us. I wish life offers you more time to make use of this power. Remember, we are our own griefs, my dear, we are our own happinesses and we are our own remedies. Take care! Love, Francis. Title: Letter to Abigail Scene: "Death-bed" Chapter: The Road To Awe
Huseyn Raza
Listening is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot listen to the word another is speaking if you are preoccupied with your appearance or impressing the other, or if you are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or if you are debating about whether the word being spoken is true or relevant or agreeable. Such matters may have their place, but only after listening to the word as the word is being uttered. Listening, in other words, is a primitive act of love, in which a person gives self to another’s word, making self accessible and vulnerable to that word.
William Stringfellow (Count It All Joy)
Each day you wake up, you wake up with billions around the world but when the sun sets, not all retire. It is a joyful privilege to note that you are a unique person among billions of people who wake up each day to walk on the surface of the earth. It is a noble responsibility to note that you have to use this privilege effectively.
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
It's the centuries, Scarlett darling. All the life lived there, all the joy and all the sorrow, all the feasts and battles, they're in the air around and the land beneath you. It's time, years beyond our counting weighing without weight on the earth. You cannot see it or smell it or hear it or touch it, but you feel it brushing your skin and speaking without sound. Time. And mystery.
Alexandra Ripley (Scarlett)
Two kisses in one kiss was all it took, a comfort, a warmth, perhaps temporary, perhaps false, but reassuring nonetheless, and mine, and theirs, ours, all three of us giggling, insane giggles and laughter with still more kisses on the way, and I remember a brief instant then, out of the blue, when I suddenly glimpsed my own father, a rare but oddly peaceful recollection, as if he actually approved of my play in the way he himself had always laughed and played, great updrafts of light, burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage, throwing him up like an angel, high above the red earth, deep into the sparkling blank, the tender sky that never once let him down, preserving his attachment to youth, propriety and kindness, his plane almost, but never quite, outracing his whoops of joy, trailing him in his sudden turn to the wind, followed then by a near vertical climb up to the angles of the sun, and I was barely eight and still with him and yes, that was the thought that flickered madly through me, a brief instant of communion, possessing me with warmth and ageless ease, causing me to smile again and relax as if memory alone could lift the heart like the wind lifts a wing, and so I renewed my kisses with even greater enthusiasm, caressing and in turn devouring their dark lips, dark with wine and fleeting love, an ancient memory love had promised but finally never gave, until there were too many kisses to count or remember, and the memory of love proved not love at all and needed a replacement, which our bodies found, and then the giggles subsided, and the laughter dimmed, and darkness enfolded all of us and we gave away our childhood for nothing and we died and condoms littered the floor and Christina threw up in the sink and Amber chuckled a little and kissed me a little more, but in a way that told me it was time to leave.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
People called me tough. And capable. And they said I was someone they could count on. Those are all nice things. Kind of. But they’re not the same as loving, or kind, or joyful. I was not those things. I
Shauna Niequist (Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living)
In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self—which is absorbed in the moment—your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter. Yet we also recognize that the experiencing self should not be ignored. The peak and the ending are not the only things that count. In favoring the moment of intense joy over steady happiness, the remembering self is hardly always wise. “An inconsistency is built into the design of our minds,” Kahneman observes. “We have strong preferences about the duration of our experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But our memory … has evolved to represent the most intense moment of an episode of pain or pleasure (the peak) and the feelings when the episode was at its end. A memory that neglects duration will not serve our preference for long pleasure and short pains.” When our time is limited and we are uncertain about how best to serve our priorities, we are forced to deal with the fact that both the experiencing self and the remembering self matter. We do not want to endure long pain and short pleasure. Yet certain pleasures can make enduring suffering worthwhile. The peaks are important, and so is the ending.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
...this counting blessings was the unlocking of the mystery of joy, joy, "the gigantic secret of the Christian," joy hiding in gratitude ... God had used the dare to give me this; led me all he way to give me this, live fully, fully live. Page 83
Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are)
Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4
Anonymous (James (Bible #59), ESV)
Quoyle experienced moments in all colors, uttered brilliancies, paid attention to the rich sound of waves counting stones, he laughed and wept, noticed sunsets, heard music in rain, said I do.
Annie Proulx
Parents don't care about anything but their children. They are the centre of the universe; they are all that really counts. Nobody else is important, no one else's suffering or joy matters, none of it is real.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
How strange, extraordinary, and joyful it was to her to think that her son - the little son, whose tiny limbs had faintly stirred within her twenty years ago, for whose sake she had so often quarreled with the count, who would spoil him, the little son, who had first learnt to say grusha, and then had learnt to say baba - that that son was now in a foreign land, in strange surroundings, a manly warrior, alone without help or guidance, doing there his proper manly work. All the world-wide experience of ages, proving that children do imperceptibly from the cradle grow up into men, did not exist for the countess. The growth of her son had been for her at every strage of his growth just as extraordinary as though millions of millions of men had not grown up in the same way. Just as, twenty years before, she could not believe that the little creature that was lying somewhere under her heart, would one day cry and learn to talk, now she could not believe that the same little creature could be that strong, brave man, that paragon of sons and of men that, judging by this letter, he was now.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
I shook my head at all the things that can happen to break a man as he grows up and away from the pure potential of infancy, all the things that had fractured inside me. And I prayed silently that this infant, born into chaos, might meet with kindness, experience joy and find passion in life. Every one of us ought to be able to count on that much. (308)
Keith Ablow (Projection (Frank Clevenger, #2))
If you thought you wanted something and it didn't work out, count it all joy. God was protecting you even if you don't realize it.
Germany Kent
Give gratitude today for wherever you are in the process. Celebrate everything, not just the harvest. Count it all as joy!
Angela Howell (Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness)
As a woman, you walk into all kinds of unknown situations that cause you to fall in love, put someone else’s needs before your own, and make unbelievable sacrifices. As time goes by, falling in love has its consequences. You fall in love with your mate, children, family, and job. However, you do not receive a fraction of what you have given in return. Sadly, nobody sees you are beyond exhausted. They want you to go, go and go without complaining. If they carefully pay attention and think about it; when was the last time they saw you smile, truly smile? When was the last time they saw you happy, truly happy? When was the last time they offered to help you, as opposed to asking could you do this or that? When was the last time they gave you a moment to breathe? As you work so hard and give so much of yourself, you think things will finally line up. However, that is not the case. Once you set someone up to help them prosper, things in your life start to crumble, and slowly but surely you begin to feel violated. Your hard work is soon forgotten as they drop you where you stand. Life isn’t fair and it is hard. It’s even harder when you love so hard and lose so much. You are not perfect. You have your flaws, and most definitely you have your moments. However, you have a good heart and you try to treat others how you want to be treated. Time and time again you give people all of your heart by trying to be loving and understanding. You’ve learned that when it comes to some people, nothing would ever be good enough. You have to be willing to accept that you loved them to the best of your ability, and only lost someone who caused you to lose more of yourself. Those people aren’t worth saving because the question is, who will save you? However, the love you gave wasn’t in vain; it helped you to become a better person. The loss opened your eyes to see that you deserve so much better. It is alright to cry. You are finding your strength and you are beginning to find the voice within. You are special. You are unique. You are loved. There’s no need to be afraid. Life is a journey! You will make it. It’s okay to let go of the loss and count it all pure joy!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Oh, Lord, sometimes I know how David feels. Where are You when I need You? Why do You seem so far away? Why are You so silent? I can count my blessings from morning to night. I can remember all the things You’ve done for me from the time I was a little child. I remember and I cry out to You, and You’re nowhere to be found. I have lost my joy.
Francine Rivers (The Atonement Child)
[Fall, 1951] To me Acapulco is the detoxicating cure for all the evils of the city: ambition, vanity, quest for success in money, the continuous contagious presence of power-driven, obsessed individuals who want to become known, to be in the limelight, noticed, as if life among millions gave you a desperate illness, a need of rising above the crowd, being noticed, existing individually, singled out from a mass of ants and sheep. It has something to do with the presence of millions of anonymous faces, anonymous people, and the desperate ways of achieving distinction. Here, all this is nonsense. You exist by your smile and your presence. You exist for your joys and your relaxations. You exist in nature. You are part of the glittering sea, and part of the luscious, well-nourished plants, you are wedded to the sun, you are immersed in timelessness, only the present counts, and from the present you extract all the essences which can nourish the senses, and so the nerves are still, the mind is quiet, the nights are lullabies, the days are like gentle ovens in which infinitely wise sculptor’s hands re-form the lost contours, the lost sensations of the body. The body comes to life. Quests, pursuits of concrete securities of one kind or another lose all their importance. As you swim, you are washed of all the excrescences of so-called civilization, which includes the incapacity to be happy under any circumstances.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5: 1947-1955)
We drove down Corydon avenue towards my mother's apartment. How are you doing, she asked me? Fine, fine, I said. I wanted to tell her that I felt I was dying from rage and that I felt guilty about everything and that when I was a kid I woke up every morning singing, that I couldn't wait to leap out of bed and rush out of the house into the magical kingdom that was my world, that dust made visible in sunbeams gave me real authentic joy, that my sparkly golden banana-seated bike with the very high sissy bar took my breath away, the majesty of it, that it was mine, that there was no freer soul in the world than me at age nine, and that now I wake up every morning reminding myself that control is an illusion, taking deep breaths and counting to ten trying to ward off panic attacks and hoping that my own hands hadn't managed to strangle me while I slept.
Miriam Toews (All My Puny Sorrows)
Count it all joy, my brothers, [2] when you meet trials  fof various kinds, 3for you know that  gthe testing of your faith  hproduces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be  iperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version)
Hush!’ said the Cabby. They all listened. In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it… ‘Gawd!’ said the Cabby. ‘Ain’t it lovely?’ Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it , as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing. ‘Glory be!’ said the Cabby. ‘I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.’ …Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing…The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose. Digory had never seen such a sun…You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travellers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else. It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6))
Abstractions do us much harm by impelling us to the quest of the absolute in all things. Joy does not exist, but there are joys: and these joys may not be folly felt unless they are detached from neutral or even painful conditions. The idea of continuity is almost self-negating. Nature makes no leaps; but life makes only bounds. It is measured by our heartbeats & these may be counted. That there should be, amid the number of deep pulsations that scan the line of our existence, some grievous ones, does not permit the affirmation that life is therefore evil. Moreover, neither a continuous joy would be perceived by consciousness.
Remy de Gourmont (Philosophic Nights in Paris,: Being Selections from Promenades Philosophiques)
...kids are the best teachers of life's most profound spiritual lessons: that pain and suffering are as much a part of life as happiness and joy; that change and impermanence are all we can count on for sure; that we don't really run the show; and that if we can't find the maturity to surrender to these difficult truths, we'll always be unhappy that our lives—and our children's— aren't turning out the way we expected or planned. Life doesn't go the way we expect or plan, and nobody's perfect, not ourselves or our children...The miracle is that your children will love you with all your imperfections if you can do the same for them.
Harriet Lerner
Life arises naturally; where life is, death is, joy is, pain is. Where joy and pain are, ecstacy and horror are, all part of the pattern. They occur as night and day occur on a whirling planet. They are not individually willed into being and shot at persons like arrows. Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day’s receipts…
Sheri S. Tepper (The Visitor)
Not to waste the spring I threw down everything, And ran into the open world To sing what I could sing... To dance what I could dance! And join with everyone! I wandered with a reckless heart beneath the newborn sun. First stepping through the blushing dawn, I crossed beneath a garden bower, counting every hermit thrush, counting every hour. When morning's light was ripe at last, I stumbled on with reckless feet; and found two nymphs engaged in play, approaching them stirred no retreat. With naked skin, their weaving hands, in form akin to Calliope's maids, shook winter currents from their hair to weave within them vernal braids. I grabbed the first, who seemed the stronger by her soft and dewy leg, and swore blind eyes, Lest I find I, before Diana, a hunted stag. But the nymphs they laughed, and shook their heads. and begged I drop beseeching hands. For one was no goddess, the other no huntress, merely two girls at play in the early day. "Please come to us, with unblinded eyes, and raise your ready lips. We will wash your mouth with watery sighs, weave you springtime with our fingertips." So the nymphs they spoke, we kissed and laid, by noontime's hour, our love was made, Like braided chains of crocus stems, We lay entwined, I laid with them, Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea, Our bodies draping wearily. We slept, I slept so lucidly, with hopes to stay this memory. I woke in dusty afternoon, Alone, the nymphs had left too soon, I searched where perched upon my knees Heard only larks' songs in the trees. "Be you, the larks, my far-flung maids? With lilac feet and branchlike braids... Who sing sweet odes to my elation, in your larking exaltation!" With these, my clumsy, carefree words, The birds they stirred and flew away, "Be I, poor Actaeon," I cried, "Be dead… Before they, like Hippodamia, be gone astray!" Yet these words, too late, remained unheard, By lark, that parting, morning bird. I looked upon its parting flight, and smelled the coming of the night; desirous, I gazed upon its jaunt, as Leander gazes Hellespont. Now the hour was ripe and dark, sensuous memories of sunlight past, I stood alone in garden bowers and asked the value of my hours. Time was spent or time was tossed, Life was loved and life was lost. I kissed the flesh of tender girls, I heard the songs of vernal birds. I gazed upon the blushing light, aware of day before the night. So let me ask and hear a thought: Did I live the spring I’d sought? It's true in joy, I walked along, took part in dance, and sang the song. and never tried to bind an hour to my borrowed garden bower; nor did I once entreat a day to slumber at my feet. Yet days aren't lulled by lyric song, like morning birds they pass along, o'er crests of trees, to none belong; o'er crests of trees of drying dew, their larking flight, my hands, eschew Thus I'll say it once and true… From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
Man often counts his troubles without counting his joys. If we only counted our joys as we should, we would see that we have enough happiness to outweigh all our troubles.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
My Last Duchess That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said “Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not Her husband’s presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, —E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master’s known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!
Robert Browning (My Last Duchess and Other Poems)
I suddenly saw how each life's joy and pain were made just exactly right for that life so that they fit that life perfectly like its own skin. And so no other body could possibly get in and try it on for itself because every other body had its own perfect skin too. And the more you could stand the more you'd be given, so you were always filled right up to your own personal limit where one more drop, which you could count on, would push it over the edge. And so you would somehow have to find the way to contain it too, that one drop too many, and maybe just to see how much you could actually bear. And whether your capacity be a thimbleful or the whole damn ocean, the well of your precious collected humor be it tears today or your life's blood tomorrow will surely drown the fragile flame of your existence given the addition of that inevitable next drop. Unless you grow. Unless you become big enough to still hold it all. And so like it or not, you would learn what you were given the breath of life to learn. You would learn what you unknowingly came here to learn. And your sorrow and grief and your joys and pleasures too would teach you your lessons in a curriculum devised just precisely for you.
Joe Henry (Lime Creek)
Until a humility that rests in nothing less than the end and death of self, and which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did to seek the honor that comes from God alone (which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing) that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted—until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a faith that will conquer the world.
Andrew Murray (Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness)
Whatever you will complete or not today, rest in the only work that will never need to be done again. Rest in the fact that Jesus has done the most impossible job in the world, done it perfectly, and made it available. Take it. Enjoy it. Build your life on it. Let it change your whole view of your life and work. Use His work to put your work into perspective. Believe His work is counted as yours. Despite all that you fear and dread about the next ten hours—a critical boss, a vicious competitor, a looming deadline, a complaining customer, an impossible sales target, unrelenting children, monotonous drudge—you have Christ’s perfect work credited to your account.
David P. Murray (The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World)
Here is a man who was resigned to his fate, who was walking to the scaffold and about to die like a coward, that's true, but at least he was about to die without resisting and without recriminations. Do you know what gave him that much strength? Do you know what consoled him? It was the fact that another man was to die like him, that another man was to die before him! Put two sheep in the slaughter-house or two oxen in the abattoir and let one of them realize that his companion will not die, and the sheep will bleat with joy, the ox low with pleasure. But man, man whom God made in His image, man to whom God gave this first, this sole, this supreme law, that he should love his neighbour, man to whom God gave a voice to express his thoughts - what is man's first cry when he learns that his neighbour is saved? A curse. All honour to man, the masterpiece of nature, the lord of creation!
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
The Land of Fairy Story is wide and deep and high … its seas are shoreless and its stars uncounted, its beauty an enchantment and its peril ever-present; both joy and sorrow are poignant as a sword. In that land a man may (perhaps) count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very mystery and wealth make dumb the traveller who would report. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates be shut and the keys be lost. The fairy gold (too often) turns to withered leaves when it is brought away. All that I can ask its that you, knowing all these things, will receive my withered leaves, as a token at least that my hand once held a little of the gold.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans. If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.
Robert F. Kennedy
life is a great adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living. There are many forms of success, many forms of triumph. But there is no other success that in any shape or way approaches that which is open to most of the many, many men and women who have the right ideals. These are the men and the women who see that it is the intimate and homely things that count most. They are the men and women who have the courage to strive for the happiness which comes only with labor and effort and self-sacrifice, and only to those whose joy in life springs in part from power of work and sense of duty.
Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography)
We can find comfort in the midst of mourning because God can use our sufferings to teach us and make us better people. Sometimes it takes suffering to make us realize the brevity of life, and the importance of living for Christ. Often God uses suffering to accomplish things in our lives that would otherwise never be achieved. The Bible puts it succinctly: “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4 RSV).
Billy Graham (Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional)
The years of disillusion, the long debate of who-belongs-to-who, gathered at the mighty feet of the Bangladesh Liberation War like flood waters rising, gathering thick weeds and crusty dirt and pulling it all in one direction. At times, when the body count was high and the air tasted like bloody ash, the way mass graves smell, Sariyah had wondered what progress was supposed to taste like. Often it tasted like unanswered questions, stuck in the teeth. Bangladesh had given her the true answer, though: progress at its best is home-grown. It should taste like joy – pure, unhindered joy. Like the freshest sun-ripened mango on a tree, a little sunrise in her palm.
Katherine Russell (Without Shame)
Paul says, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Phil. 3:8–9). All the persecution, all the suffering, all the pain, all the daily dying to self, and all the wasting away in the flesh is worth it compared to the joy of knowing Jesus, being with Jesus, and becoming like Jesus.
Matt Chandler (To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain)
We can, simply by a sincere aspiration, open a sealed door in us and find... that Something which will change the whole significance of life, reply to all our questions, solve all our problems and lead us to the perfection we aspire for without knowing it, to that Reality which alone can satisfy us and give us lasting joy, equilibrium, strength, life. All have heard it - Oh! there are even some here who are so used to it that for them it seems to be the same thing as drinking a glass of water or opening a window to let in the sunlight.... We have tried a little, but now we are going to try seriously! The starting-point: to want it, truly want it, to need it. The next step: to think, above all, of that. A day comes, very quickly, when one is unable to think of anything else. That is the one thing which counts. And then... One formulates one’s aspiration, lets the true prayer spring up from one’s heart, the prayer which expresses the sincerity of the need. And then... well, one will see what happens. Something will happen. Surely something will happen. For each one it will take a different form.
The Mother (Questions and Answers 1957-1958)
Jack's marketing books had been a part of her life for so long that she had ceased to register their presence, simply moving them from the couch to the coffee table, from the bed to the nightstand. How to Sell Everything to Anybody. Eight Great Habits of CEOs. They all seemed to involve numbers, as if you could simply count yourself to riches, like following sheep to sleep.
Erica Bauermeister (Joy for Beginners)
Never believe it, Hal. Never believe your own lies. Because superstition was a trap—that was what she had learned, in the years of plying her trade on the pier. Touching wood, crossing fingers, counting magpies—they were lies, all of them. False promises, designed to give the illusion of control and meaning in a world in which the only destiny came from yourself. You can’t predict the future, Hal, her mother had reminded her, time and time again. You can’t influence fate, or change what’s out of your control. But you can choose what you yourself do with the cards you’re dealt. That was the truth, Hal knew. The painful, uncompromising truth. It was what she wanted to shout at clients, at the ones who came back again and again looking for answers that she could not give. There is no higher meaning. Sometimes things happen for no reason. Fate is cruel, and arbitrary. Touching wood, lucky charms, none of it will help you see the car you never saw coming, or avoid the tumor you didn’t realize you had. Quite the opposite, in fact. For in that moment that you turn your head to look for the second magpie, in the hope of changing your fortune from sorrow to joy—that’s when you take your attention away from the things you can change, the crossing light, the speeding car, the moment you should have turned back. The people who came to her booth were seeking meaning and control—but they were looking in the wrong place. When they gave themselves over to superstition, they were giving up on shaping their own destiny.
Ruth Ware (The Death of Mrs. Westaway)
Hitler’s particular joy was preaching to his opponents and tormentors. Other politicians, he noticed, “made speeches to people who were already in agreement with them. But that missed the point: all that counted was using propaganda and enlightenment to convince people who… came from a different point of view.” Hitler already understood the importance of wooing the independents. The
Peter Ross Range (1924: The Year That Made Hitler)
And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold. Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur's heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells. But the hosts of Mordor were seized with bewilderment, and a great wizardry it seemed to them that their own ships should be filled with their foes; and a black dread fell on them, knowing that the tides of fate had turned against them and their doom was at hand.
J.R.R. Tolkien
Happily ever after isn’t a solution to life’s problems or a guarantee that life will be easy; it’s a promise we make ourselves to always live our best lives, despite whatever circumstance comes our way. When we focus on joy in times of heartbreak, when we choose to laugh on the days it’s hard to smile, and when we count our blessings over our losses—that’s what a true happily ever after is all about.
Chris Colfer (Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories #6))
But the young Count insisted on the Beauty selecting a flower for him. He was waiting impatiently for her second present, the promised kiss — her first kiss. The Beauty looked at the flowers. Once again her face was darkened by a delicate shade of sadness. Suddenly, as if prompted by some strange will, she quickly stretched out a hand, so exquisite in its naked whiteness, and plucked a many-petaled flower. Her hand hesitated, and she bowed her head, and finally with an expression of shy indecision she approached the Count and placed the flower in a buttonhole of his cloak. The powerful and pungent scent wafted into the young Count's face, which grew pale as his head reeled in languid impotence. Indifference and tedium overcame him. He was scarcely aware of himself, he hardly noticed that the Beauty took him by the arm and led him into the house, away from the fragrances of the wondrous Garden. In one of the rooms of the house where all was bright, white and rosy, the Count came to himself. A youthful vitality returned to his face, his black eyes were aflame with passion once again, and he felt the joy of life and the surge of desire anew. But already the inescapable lay in wait for him. A white hand, bare, slender, lay on his neck; and the fragrant kiss of the Beauty was tender, sweet, long. The two blue lightnings of her eyes flashed close to his eyes and were masked with the subtle mystery of her long eyelashes. The sinister fires of some sweet pain swirled like a whirlwind about the heart of the young Count. He raised his arms to embrace the Beauty — but with a soft cry she stepped away and softly, quietly, ran away, leaving him alone. ("The Poison Garden")
Valery Bryusov (The Silver Age of Russian Culture: An Anthology)
What passed in the mind of this man at the supreme moment of his agony cannot be told in words. He was still comparatively young, he was surrounded by the loving care of a devoted family, but he had convinced himself by a course of reasoning, illogical perhaps, yet certainly plausible, that he must separate himself from all he held dear in the world, even life itself. To form the slightest idea of his feelings, one must have seen his face with its expression of enforced resignation and its tear-moistened eyes raised to heaven. The minute hand moved on. The pistols were loaded; he stretched forth his hand, took one up, and murmured his daughter's name. Then he laid it down seized his pen, and wrote a few words. It seemed to him as if he had not taken a sufficient farewell of his beloved daughter. Then he turned again to the clock, counting time now not by minutes, but by seconds. He took up the deadly weapon again, his lips parted and his eyes fixed on the clock, and then shuddered at the click of the trigger as he cocked the pistol. At this moment of mortal anguish the cold sweat came forth upon his brow, a pang stronger than death clutched at his heart-strings. He heard the door of the staircase creak on its hinges—the clock gave its warning to strike eleven—the door of his study opened; Morrel did not turn round—he expected these words of Cocles, "The agent of Thomson & French." He placed the muzzle of the pistol between his teeth. Suddenly he heard a cry—it was his daughter's voice. He turned and saw Julie. The pistol fell from his hands. "My father!" cried the young girl, out of breath, and half dead with joy—"saved, you are saved!" And she threw herself into his arms, holding in her extended hand a red, netted silk purse.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
Never believe it, Hal. Never believe your own lies. Because superstition was a trap—that was what she had learned, in the years of plying her trade on the pier. Touching wood, crossing fingers, counting magpies—they were lies, all of them. False promises, designed to give the illusion of control and meaning in a world in which the only destiny came from yourself. You can’t predict the future, Hal, her mother had reminded her, time and time again. You can’t influence fate, or change what’s out of your control. But you can choose what you yourself do with the cards you’re dealt. That was the truth, Hal knew. The painful, uncompromising truth. It was what she wanted to shout at clients, at the ones who came back again and again looking for answers that she could not give. There is no higher meaning. Sometimes things happen for no reason. Fate is cruel, and arbitrary. Touching wood, lucky charms, none of it will help you see the car you never saw coming, or avoid the tumor you didn’t realize you had. Quite the opposite, in fact. For in that moment that you turn your head to look for the second magpie, in the hope of changing your fortune from sorrow to joy—that’s when you take your attention away from the things you can change, the crossing light, the speeding car, the moment you should have turned back. The people who came to her booth were seeking meaning and control—but they were looking in the wrong place. When they
Ruth Ware (The Death of Mrs. Westaway)
What we feel and how we feel is far more important than what we think and how we think. Feeling is the stuff of which our consciousness is made, the atmosphere in which all our thinking and all our conduct is bathed. All the motives which govern and drive our lives are emotional. Love and hate, anger and fear, curiosity and joy are the springs of all that is most noble and most detestable in the history of men and nations. The opening sentence of a sermon is an opportunity. A good introduction arrests me. It handcuffs me and drags me before the sermon, where I stand and hear a Word that makes me both tremble and rejoice. The best sermon introductions also engage the listener immediately. It’s a rare sermon, however, that suffers because of a good introduction. Mysteries beg for answers. People’s natural curiosity will entice them to stay tuned until the puzzle is solved. Any sentence that points out incongruity, contradiction, paradox, or irony will do. Talk about what people care about. Begin writing an introduction by asking, “Will my listeners care about this?” (Not, “Why should they care about this?”) Stepping into the pulpit calmly and scanning the congregation to the count of five can have a remarkable effect on preacher and congregation alike. It is as if you are saying, “I’m about to preach the Word of God. I want all of you settled. I’m not going to begin, in fact, until I have your complete attention.” No sermon is ready for preaching, not ready for writing out, until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as crystal. The getting of that sentence is the hardest, most exacting, and most fruitful labor of study. We tend to use generalities for compelling reasons. Specifics often take research and extra thought, precious commodities to a pastor. Generalities are safe. We can’t help but use generalities when we can’t remember details of a story or when we want anonymity for someone. Still, the more specific their language, the better speakers communicate. I used to balk at spending a large amount of time on a story, because I wanted to get to the point. Now I realize the story gets the point across better than my declarative statements. Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. Limits—that is, form—challenge the mind, forcing creativity. Needless words weaken our offense. Listening to some speakers, you have to sift hundreds of gallons of water to get one speck of gold. If the sermon is so complicated that it needs a summary, its problems run deeper than the conclusion. The last sentence of a sermon already has authority; when the last sentence is Scripture, this is even more true. No matter what our tone or approach, we are wise to craft the conclusion carefully. In fact, given the crisis and opportunity that the conclusion presents—remember, it will likely be people’s lasting memory of the message—it’s probably a good practice to write out the conclusion, regardless of how much of the rest of the sermon is written. It is you who preaches Christ. And you will preach Christ a little differently than any other preacher. Not to do so is to deny your God-given uniqueness. Aim for clarity first. Beauty and eloquence should be added to make things even more clear, not more impressive. I’ll have not praise nor time for those who suppose that writing comes by some divine gift, some madness, some overflow of feeling. I’m especially grim on Christians who enter the field blithely unprepared and literarily innocent of any hard work—as though the substance of their message forgives the failure of its form.
Mark Galli (Preaching That Connects: Using Techniques of Journalists to Add Impact)
Sure, there are good things, lots, sure, blow jobs, chocolate mousse, winning streaks, the warm fire in your enemy’s house, good book, hunk of cheese, flagon of ale, office raise, championship ring, the misfortunes of others, sure, good things, beyond count, queens, kings, old clocks, comfy clothes, lots, innumerable items in stock, baseball cards and bingo buttons, pot-au-feu, listen, we could go on and on like a long speech, sure it’s a great world, sights to see, canyons full of canyon, corn on the cob, the eroded great pyramids, contaminated towns, eroded hillsides, deleafed trees, those whitened limbs stark and noble in the evening light, geeeez, what gobs of good things, no shit, service elevators, what would we do without, and all the inventions of man, Krazy Glue and food fights, girls wrestling amid mounds of Jell-O, drafts of dark beer, no end of blue sea, formerly full of fish, eroded hopes, eruptions of joy, because we’re winning, have won, won, won what? the . . . the Title.
William H. Gass (Tests of Time)
My mission is to live with integrity and to make a difference in the lives of others. To fulfill this mission: I have charity: I seek out and love the one—each one—regardless of his situation. I sacrifice: I devote my time, talents, and resources to my mission. I inspire: I teach by example that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that every Goliath can be overcome. I am impactful: What I do makes a difference in the lives of others. These roles take priority in achieving my mission: Husband—my partner is the most important person in my life. Together we contribute the fruits of harmony, industry, charity, and thrift. Father—I help my children experience progressively greater joy in their lives. Son/Brother—I am frequently “there” for support and love. Christian—God can count on me to keep my covenants and to serve his other children. Neighbor—The love of Christ is visible through my actions toward others. Change Agent—I am a catalyst for developing high performance in large organizations. Scholar—I learn important new things every day.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
We can, simply by a sincere aspiration, open a sealed door in us and find... that Something which will change the whole significance of life, reply to all our questions, solve all our problems and lead us to the perfection we aspire for without knowing it, to that Reality which alone can satisfy us and give us lasting joy, equilibrium, strength, life. All have heard it - Oh! there are even some here who are so used to it that for them it seems to be the same thing as drinking a glass of water or opening a window to let in the sunlight.... We have tried a little, but now we are going to try seriously! The starting-point: to want it, truly want it, to need it. The next step: to think, above all, of that. A day comes, very quickly, when one is unable to think of anything else. That is the one thing which counts. And then... One formulates one’s aspiration, lets the true prayer spring up from one’s heart, the prayer which expresses the sincerity of the need. And then... well, one will see what happens. Something will happen. Surely something will happen. For each one it will take a different form.
The Mother (Questions and Answers 1957-1958)
eCount it all joy, my brothers, [2] when you meet trials  fof various kinds, 3for you know that  gthe testing of your faith  hproduces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be  iperfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 jIf any of you lacks wisdom,  klet him ask God,  lwho gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But  mlet him ask in faith,  nwith no doubting, for the one who doubts is like  oa wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 phe is a double-minded man,  qunstable in all his ways. 9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and  rthe rich in his humiliation, because  slike a flower of the grass [3] he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and  twithers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 uBlessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive  vthe crown of life,  wwhich God has promised to those who love him.
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version)
Yes, indeed, I have often thought with a bitter joy that these riches, which would make the wealth of a dozen families, will be forever lost to those men who persecute me. This idea was one of vengeance to me, and I tasted it slowly in the night of my dungeon and the despair of my captivity. But now I have forgiven the world for the love of you; now that I see you, young and with a promising future, — now that I think of all that may result to you in the good fortune of such a disclosure, I shudder at any delay, and tremble lest I should not assure to one as worthy as yourself the possession of so vast an amount of hidden wealth.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
The Sun burned down in a warm contrasting world of white and black, of white Sun against black sky and white rolling ground mottled with black shadow. The bright sweet smell of the Sun on every exposed square centimeter of metal contrasting with the creeping death-of-aroma on the other side. He lifted his hand and stared at it, counting the fingers. Hot-hot-hot-turning, putting each finger, one by one, into the shadow of the others and the hot slowly dying in a change in tactility that made him feel the clean, comfortable vacuum. Yet not entirely vacuum. He straightened and lifted both arms over his head, stretching them out, and the sensitive spots on either wrist felt the vapors- the thin, faint touch of tin and lead rolling through the cloy of mercury. The thicker taste rose from his feet; the silicates of each variety, marked by the clear separate-and-together touch and tang of each metal ion. He moved one foot slowly through the crunchy, caked dust, and felt the changes like a soft, not quite random symphony. And over all the Sun. He looked up at it, large and fat and bright and hot, and heard its joy. He watched the slow rise of prominences around its rim and listened to the crackling sound of each; and to the other happy noises over the broad face. When he dimmed the background light, the red of the rising wisps of hydrogen showed in bursts of mellow contralto, and the deep bass of the spots amid the muted whistling of the wispy, moving faculae, and the occasional thin keening of a flare, the ping-pong ticking of gamma rays and cosmic particles, and over all in every direction the soft, fainting, and ever-renewed sigh of the Sun's substance rising and retreating forever in a cosmic wind which reached out and bathed him in glory. He jumped, and rose slowly in the air with a freedom he had never felt, and jumped again when he landed, and ran, and jumped, and ran again, with a body that responded perfectly to this glorious world, this paradise in which he found himself.
Isaac Asimov (The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories)
Shortly after the Gulf War in 1992 I happened to visit a July Fourth worship service at a certain megachurch. At center stage in this auditorium stood a large cross next to an equally large American flag. The congregation sang some praise choruses mixed with such patriotic hymns as “God Bless America.” The climax of the service centered on a video of a well-known Christian military general giving a patriotic speech about how God has blessed America and blessed its military troops, as evidenced by the speedy and almost “casualty-free” victory “he gave us” in the Gulf War (Iraqi deaths apparently weren’t counted as “casualties” worthy of notice). Triumphant military music played in the background as he spoke. The video closed with a scene of a silhouette of three crosses on a hill with an American flag waving in the background. Majestic, patriotic music now thundered. Suddenly, four fighter jets appeared on the horizon, flew over the crosses, and then split apart. As they roared over the camera, the words “God Bless America” appeared on the screen in front of the crosses. The congregation responded with roaring applause, catcalls, and a standing ovation. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes. Indeed, as I remained frozen in my seat, I grew teary-eyed as well - but for entirely different reasons. I was struck with horrified grief. Thoughts raced through my mind: How could the cross and the sword have been so thoroughly fused without anyone seeming to notice? How could Jesus’ self-sacrificial death be linked with flying killing machines? How could Calvary be associated with bombs and missiles? How could Jesus’ people applaud tragic violence, regardless of why it happened and regardless of how they might benefit from its outcome? How could the kingdom of God be reduced to this sort of violent, nationalistic tribalism? Has the church progressed at all since the Crusades? Indeed, I wondered how this tribalistic, militaristic, religious celebration was any different from the one I had recently witnessed on television carried out by Taliban Muslims raising their guns as they joyfully praised Allah for the victories they believed “he had given them” in Afghanistan?
Gregory A. Boyd (The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church)
In the afterlife you relive all your experiences, but this time with the events reshuffled into a new order: all the moments that share a quality are grouped together. You spend two months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex. You sleep for thirty years without opening your eyes. For five months straight you flip through magazines while sitting on a toilet. You take all your pain at once, all twenty-seven intense hours of it. Bones break, cars crash, skin is cut, babies are born. Once you make it through, it’s agony-free for the rest of your afterlife. But that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant. You spend six days clipping your nails. Fifteen months looking for lost items. Eighteen months waiting in line. Two years of boredom: staring out a bus window, sitting in an airport terminal. One year reading books. Your eyes hurt, and you itch, because you can’t take a shower until it’s your time to take your marathon two-hundred-day shower. Two weeks wondering what happens when you die. One minute realizing your body is falling. Seventy-seven hours of confusion. One hour realizing you’ve forgotten someone’s name. Three weeks realizing you are wrong. Two days lying. Six weeks waiting for a green light. Seven hours vomiting. Fourteen minutes experiencing pure joy. Three months doing laundry. Fifteen hours writing your signature. Two days tying shoelaces. Sixty-seven days of heartbreak. Five weeks driving lost. Three days calculating restaurant tips. Fifty-one days deciding what to wear. Nine days pretending you know what is being talked about. Two weeks counting money. Eighteen days staring into the refrigerator.
David Eagleman (Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives)
Though all the brilliant intellects of the ages were to concentrate upon this one theme, never could they adequately express their wonder at this dense darkness of the human mind. Men do not suffer anyone to seize their estates, and they rush to stones and arms if there is even the slightest dispute about the limit of their lands, yet they allow others to trespass upon their life—nay, they themselves even lead in those who will eventually possess it. No one is to be found who is willing to distribute his money, yet among how many does each one of us distribute his life! In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal. And so I should like to lay hold upon someone from the company of older men and say: "I see that you have reached the farthest limit of human life, you are pressing hard upon your hundredth year, or are even beyond it; come now, recall your life and make a reckoning. Consider how much of your time was taken up with a moneylender, how much with a mistress, how much with a patron, how much with a client, how much in wrangling with your wife, how much in punishing your slaves, how much in rushing about the city on social duties. Add the diseases which we have caused by our own acts, add, too, the time that has lain idle and unused; you will see that you have fewer years to your credit than you count. Look back in memory and consider when you ever had a fixed plan, how few days have passed as you had intended, when you were ever at your own disposal, when your face ever wore its natural expression, when your mind was ever unperturbed, what work you have achieved in so long a life, how many have robbed you of life when you were not aware of what you were losing, how much was taken up in useless sorrow, in foolish joy, in greedy desire, in the allurements of society, how little of yourself was left to you; you will perceive that you are dying before your season!"7 What, then, is the reason of this? You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last. You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals. You will hear many men saying: "After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties." And what guarantee, pray, have you that your life will last longer? Who will suffer your course to be just as you plan it? Are you not ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnant of life, and to set apart for wisdom only that time which cannot be devoted to any business? How late it is to begin to live just when we must cease to live! What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained!
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Look, look,’ the count continued, grasping each of the two young men by the hand. ‘Look, because I swear to you, this is worthy of your curiosity. Here is a man who was resigned to his fate, who was walking to the scaffold and about to die like a coward, that’s true, but at least he was about to die without resisting and without recriminations. Do you know what gave him that much strength? Do you know what consoled him? Do you know what resigned him to his fate? It was the fact that another man would share his anguish, that another man was to die like him, that another man was to die before him! Put two sheep in the slaughter-house or two oxen in the abattoir and let one of them realize that his companion will not die, and the sheep will bleat with joy, the ox low with pleasure. But man, man whom God made in His image, man to whom God gave this first, this sole, this supreme law, that he should love his neighbour, man to whom God gave a voice to express his thoughts – what is man’s first cry when he learns that his neighbour is saved? A curse. All honour to man, the masterpiece of nature, the lord of creation!’ He
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Christian peace comes not from thinking less but from thinking more, and more intensely, about the big issues of life. Paul gives a specific example of this in Romans 8:18, where he uses the same word, logizdomai, and speaks directly to sufferers. He says, “I reckon that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed in us.” To “reckon” is to count up accurately, not to whistle in the dark. It is not to get peace by jogging or shopping. It means “Think it out! Think about the glory coming until the joy begins to break in on you.” Someone reading this might say, “You are talking about doctrine but what I really need is comfort.” But think! Is Jesus really the Son of God? Did he really come to earth, die for you, rise again, and pass through the heavens to the right hand of God? Did he endure infinite suffering for you, so that someday he could take you to himself and wipe away every tear from your eyes? If so, then there is all the comfort in the world. If not—if none of these things are true—then we may be stuck here living for seventy or eighty years until we perish, and the only happiness we will ever know is in this life. And if some trouble or suffering takes that happiness away, you have lost it forever. Either Jesus is on the throne ruling all things for you or this is as good as it gets. See what Paul is doing? He is saying that if you are a Christian today and you have little or no peace, it may be because you are not thinking. Peace comes from a disciplined thinking out of the implications of what you believe. It comes from an intentional occupation of a vantage point. There is nothing more thrilling than climbing up to some high point on a mountain and then turning around and viewing from there all the terrain you have just traversed. Suddenly, you see the relationships—you see the creek you crossed, the foothills, the town from which you have journeyed. Your high vantage point gives you perspective, clarity, and a sense of beauty. Now this is what Paul is calling us to do. Think big and high. Realize who God is, what he has done, who you are in Christ, where history is going. Put your troubles in perspective by remembering Christ’s troubles on your behalf, and all his promises to you, and what he is accomplishing. Let
Timothy J. Keller (Walking with God through Pain and Suffering)
We stopped talking about Zampanô then. She paged her friend Christina who took less than twenty minutes to come over. There were no introductions. We just sat down on the floor and snorted lines of coke off a CD case, gulped down a bottle of wine and then used it to play spin the bottle. They kissed each other first, then they both kissed me, and then we forgot about the bottle, and I even managed to forget about Zampanô, about this, and about how much that attack in the tattoo shop had put me on edge. Two kisses in one kiss was all it took, a comfort, a warmth, perhaps temporary, perhaps false, but reassuring nonetheless, and mine, and theirs, ours, all three of us giggling, insane giggles and laughter with still more kisses on the way, and I remember a brief instant then, out of the blue, when I suddenly glimpsed my own father, a rare but oddly peaceful recollection, as if he actually approved of my play in the way he himself had always laughed and played, always laughing, surrendering to its ease, especially when he soared in great updrafts of light, burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage, throwing him up like an angel, high above the red earth, deep into the sparkling blank, the tender sky that never once let him down, preserving his attachment to youth, propriety and kindness, his plane almost, but never quite, outracing his whoops of joy, trailing him in his sudden turn to the wind, followed then by a near vertical climb up to the angles of the sun, and I was barely eight and still with him and yes, that the thought that flickered madly through me, a brief instant of communion, possessing me with warmth and ageless ease, causing me to smile again and relax as if memory alone could lift the heart like the wind lifts a wing, and so I renewed my kisses with even greater enthusiasm, caressing and in turn devouring their dark lips, dark with wine and fleeting love, an ancient memory love had promised but finally never gave, until there were too many kisses to count or remember, and the memory of love proved not love at all and needed a replacement, which our bodies found, and then the giggles subsided, and the laughter dimmed, and darkness enfolded all of us and we gave away our childhood for nothing and we died and condoms littered the floor and Christina threw up in the sink and Amber chuckled a little and kissed me a little more, but in a way that told me it was time to leave.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that O feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord. Alas for Gimli son of Gloin! Nay said Legolas. Alas for us all! And for all that walk the world in these after-days, For such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those whose boat is on the running stream. But I count you blessed, Gimli son of Gloin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. But you have not forsaken your companions, and the least reward that you shall have is that the memory of Lothlorien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart, and shall neither fade nor grow stale. Maybe, said Gimli; and I thank you for your words. True words doubtless; yet all such comfort is cold. Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror, be it clear as Kheled-zaram. Or so says the heart of Gimli.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
SHOUT FOR JOY Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:1-2 HCSB The 100th Psalm reminds us that the entire earth should “Shout for joy to the Lord.” As God’s children, we are blessed beyond measure, but sometimes, as busy women living in a demanding world, we are slow to count our gifts and even slower to give thanks to the Giver. Our blessings include life and health, family and friends, freedom and possessions—for starters. And, the gifts we receive from God are multiplied when we share them. May we always give thanks to God for His blessings, and may we always demonstrate our gratitude by sharing our gifts with others. The 118th Psalm reminds us that, “This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (v. 24, NASB). May we celebrate this day and the One who created it. If you can forgive the person you were, accept the person you are, and believe in the person you will become, you are headed for joy. So celebrate your life. Barbara Johnson God knows everything. He can manage everything, and He loves us. Surely this is enough for a fullness of joy that is beyond words. Hannah Whitall Smith A TIMELY TIP Every day should be a cause for celebration. By celebrating the gift of life, you protect your heart from the dangers of pessimism, regret, hopelessness, and bitterness.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday ... For A Woman of Grace)
Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task; it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion a year, but that Gross National Product … counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
Nic Marks (The Happiness Manifesto)
Look, look," cried the count, seizing the young men's hands - "look, for on my soul it is curious. Here is a man who had resigned himself to his fate, who was going to the scaffold to die - like a coward, it is true, but he was about to die without resistance. Do you know what gave him strength? - do you know what consoled him? It was, that another partook of his punishment - that another partook of his anguish - that another was to die before him. Lead two sheep to the butcher's, two oxen to the slaughterhouse, and make one of them understand that his companion will not die; the sheep will bleat for pleasure, the ox will bellow with joy. But man - man, whom God created in his own image - man, upon whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbor - man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts - what is his first cry when he hears his fellow man is saved? A blasphemy. Honor to man, this masterpiece, this masterpiece of nature, this king of the creation! The people all took part against Andrea, and twenty thousand voices cried, "Put him to death! put him to death!" Franz sprang back, but the count seized his arm, and held him before the window. "What are you doing?" said he. "Do you pity him? If you heard the cry of 'Mad dog!' you would take your gun - you would unhesitatingly shoot the poor beast, who, after all, was only guilty of having been bitten by another dog. And yet you pity a man who, without being bitten by one of his race, has yet murdered his benefactor; and who, now unable to kill any one, because his hands are bound, wishes to see his companion in captivity perish. No, no - look, look!
Alexandre Dumas
HAPPINESS: "Flourishing is a fact, not a feeling. We flourish when we grow and thrive. We flourish when we exercise our powers. We flourish when we become what we are capable of becoming...Flourishing is rooted in action..."happiness is a kind of working of the soul in the way of perfect excellence"...a flourishing life is a life lived along lines of excellence...Flourishing is a condition that is created by the choices we make in the world we live in...Flourishing is not a virtue, but a condition; not a character trait, but a result. We need virtue to flourish, but virtue isn't enough. To create a flourishing life, we need both virtue and the conditions in which virtue can flourish...Resilience is a virtue required for flourishing, bur being resilient will not guarantee that we will flourish. Unfairness, injustice, and bad fortune will snuff our promising lives. Unasked-for pain will still come our way...We can build resilience and shape the world we live in. We can't rebuild the world...three primary kinds of happiness: the happiness of pleasure, the happiness of grace, and happiness of excellence...people who are flourishing usually have all three kinds of happiness in their lives...Aristotle understood: pushing ourselves to grow, to get better, to dive deeper is at the heart of happiness...This is the happiness that goes hand in hand with excellence, with pursuing worthy goals, with growing mastery...It is about the exercise of powers. The most common mistake people make in thinking about the happiness of excellence is to focus on moments of achievement. They imagine the mountain climber on the summit. That's part of the happiness of excellence, and a very real part. What counts more, though, is not the happiness of being there, but the happiness of getting there. A mountain climber heads for the summit, and joy meets her along the way. You head for the bottom of the ocean, and joy meets you on the way down...you create joy along the way...the concept of flow, the kind of happiness that comes when we lose ourselves through complete absorption in a rewarding task...the idea of flow..."Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times...The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limit in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."...Joy, like sweat, is usually a byproduct of your activity, not your aim...A focus on happiness will not lead to excellence. A focus on excellence will, over time, lead to happiness. The pursuit of excellence leads to growth, mastery, and achievement. None of these are sufficient for happiness, yet all of them are necessary...the pull of purpose, the desire to feel "needed in this world" - however we fulfill that desire - is a very powerful force in a human life...recognize that the drive to live well and purposefully isn't some grim, ugly, teeth-gritting duty. On the contrary: "it's a very good feeling." It is really is happiness...Pleasures can never make up for an absence of purposeful work and meaningful relationships. Pleasures will never make you whole...Real happiness comes from working together, hurting together, fighting together, surviving together, mourning together. It is the essence of the happiness of excellence...The happiness of pleasure can't provide purpose; it can't substitute for the happiness of excellence. The challenge for the veteran - and for anyone suddenly deprived of purpose - is not simple to overcome trauma, but to rebuild meaning. The only way out is through suffering to strength. Through hardship to healing. And the longer we wait, the less life we have to live...We are meant to have worthy work to do. If we aren't allowed to struggle for something worthwhile, we'll never grow in resilience, and we'll never experience complete happiness.
Eric Greitens (Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life)
And one of the things that has most obstructed the path of discipleship in our Christian culture today is this idea that it will be a terribly difficult thing that will certainly ruin your life. A typical and often-told story in Christian circles is of those who have refused to surrender their lives to God for fear he would “send them to Africa as missionaries.” And here is the whole point of the much misunderstood teachings of Luke 14. There Jesus famously says one must “hate” all their family members and their own life also, must take their cross, and must forsake all they own, or they “cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26–27, 33). The entire point of this passage is that as long as one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus in his kingdom, one cannot learn from him. People who have not gotten the basic facts about their life straight will therefore not do the things that make learning from Jesus possible and will never be able to understand the basic points in the lessons to be learned. It is like a mathematics teacher in high school who might say to a student, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except thou canst do decimals and fractions, thou canst in no wise do algebra.” It is not that the teacher will not allow you to do algebra because you are a bad person; you just won’t be able to do basic algebra if you are not in command of decimals and fractions. So this counting of the cost is not a moaning and groaning session. “Oh how terrible it is that I have to value all of my ‘wonderful’ things (which are probably making life miserable and hopeless anyway) less than I do living in the kingdom! How terrible that I must be prepared to actually surrender them should that be called for!” The counting of the cost is to bring us to the point of clarity and decisiveness. It is to help us to see. Counting the cost is precisely what the man with the pearl and the hidden treasure did. Out of it came their decisiveness and joy. It is decisiveness and joy that are the outcomes of the counting.
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
You need to make sure you always have a reserve of willpower available for the on-the-fly decision making and controlling your reactions. If you run your willpower tank too low, you’ll end up making poor choices or exploding at people. The following are some ways of making more willpower available to you: --Reduce the number of tasks you attempt to get done each day to a very small number. Always identify what your most important task is, and make sure you get that single task done. You can group together your trivial tasks, like replying to emails or paying bills online, and count those as just one item. --Refresh your available willpower by doing tasks slowly. My friend Toni Bernhard, author of How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow, recommends doing a task 25% slower than your usual speed. I’m not saying you need to do this all the time, just when you feel scattered or overwhelmed. Slowing down in this way is considered a form of mindfulness practice. --Another way to refresh your willpower is by taking some slow breaths or doing any of the mindfulness practices from Chapter 5. Think of using mindfulness as running a cleanup on background processes that haven’t shut down correctly. By using mindfulness to do a cognitive cleanup, you’re not leaking mental energy to background worries and rumination. --Reduce decision making. For many people, especially those in management positions or raising kids, life involves constant decision making. Decision making leeches willpower. Find whatever ways you can to reduce decision making without it feeling like a sacrifice. Set up routines (like which meals you cook on particular nights of the week) that prevent you from needing to remake the same decisions over and over. Alternatively, outsource decision making to someone else whenever possible. Let other people make decisions to take them off your plate. --Reduce excess sensory stimulation. For example, close the door or put on some dorky giant headphones to block out noise. This will mean your mental processing power isn’t getting used up by having to filter out excess stimulation. This tip is especially important if you are a highly sensitive person.
Alice Boyes (The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points)
The birds had multiplied. She'd installed rows upon rows of floating melamine shelves above shoulder height to accommodate the expression of her once humble collection. Though she'd had bird figurines all over the apartment, the bulk of her prized collection was confined to her bedroom because it had given her joy to wake up to them every morning. Before I'd left, I had a tradition of gifting her with bird figurines. It began with a storm petrel, a Wakamba carving of ebony wood from Kenya I had picked up at the museum gift shop from a sixth-grade school field trip. She'd adored the unexpected birthday present, and I had hunted for them since. Clusters of ceramic birds were perched on every shelf. Her obsession had brought her happiness, so I'd fed it. The tiki bird from French Polynesia nested beside a delft bluebird from the Netherlands. One of my favorites was a glass rainbow macaw from an Argentinian artist that mimicked the vibrant barrios of Buenos Aires. Since the sixth grade, I'd given her one every year until I'd left: eight birds in total. As I lifted each member of her extensive bird collection, I imagined Ma-ma was with me, telling a story about each one. There were no signs of dust anywhere; cleanliness had been her religion. I counted eighty-eight birds in total. Ma-ma had been busy collecting while I was gone. I couldn't deny that every time I saw a beautiful feathered creature in figurine form, I thought of my mother. If only I'd sent her one, even a single bird, from my travels, it could have been the precursor to establishing communication once more. Ma-ma had spoken to her birds often, especially when she cleaned them every Saturday morning. I had imagined she was some fairy-tale princess in the Black Forest holding court over an avian kingdom. I was tempted to speak to them now, but I didn't want to be the one to convey the loss of their queen. Suddenly, however, Ma-ma's collection stirred. It began as a single chirp, a mournful cry swelling into a chorus. The figurines burst into song, tiny beaks opening, chests puffed, to release a somber tribute to their departed beloved. The tune was unfamiliar, yet its melancholy was palpable, rising, surging until the final trill when every bird bowed their heads toward the empty bed, frozen as if they hadn't sung seconds before. I thanked them for the happiness they'd bestowed on Ma-ma.
Roselle Lim (Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune)
J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous essay, “On Fairy-Stories,” in Tree and Leaf (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), pp. 1–82. The consolation . . . the joy of the happy ending . . . the sudden joyous ‘turn’ . . . this joy which . . . stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially ‘escapist’ nor ‘fugitive.’ . . . It is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure. Indeed, the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. Rather, it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat, and thus is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief. It is the mark of a good story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give . . . when the ‘turn’ comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality. In . . . the ‘turn’ . . . we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart’s desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through.” Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” pp. 68–69. Later Tolkien argues that the ultimate story—the gospel—is the essence of all other stories with the joy-giving happy ending. “This ‘joy’ . . . merits more consideration. The peculiar quality of the ‘joy’ in a successful Fantasy can . . . be explained as a sudden glimpse of an underlying . . . Reality. . . . The Gospels contain . . . a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain . . . the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered history and the primary world. . . . The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story ends in joy. . . . There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath. . . . [T]his story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused.” Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories,” pp. 71–73.
Timothy J. Keller (Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism)
What would be the natural thing? A man goes to college. He works as he wants to work, he plays as he wants to play, he exercises for the fun of the game, he makes friends where he wants to make them, he is held in by no fear of criticism above, for the class ahead of him has nothing to do with his standing in his own class. Everything he does has the one vital quality: it is spontaneous. That is the flame of youth itself. Now, what really exists?" "...I say our colleges to-day are business colleges—Yale more so, perhaps, because it is more sensitively American. Let's take up any side of our life here. Begin with athletics. What has become of the natural, spontaneous joy of contest? Instead you have one of the most perfectly organized business systems for achieving a required result—success. Football is driving, slavish work; there isn't one man in twenty who gets any real pleasure out of it. Professional baseball is not more rigorously disciplined and driven than our 'amateur' teams. Add the crew and the track. Play, the fun of the thing itself, doesn't exist; and why? Because we have made a business out of it all, and the college is scoured for material, just as drummers are sent out to bring in business. "Take another case. A man has a knack at the banjo or guitar, or has a good voice. What is the spontaneous thing? To meet with other kindred spirits in informal gatherings in one another's rooms or at the fence, according to the whim of the moment. Instead what happens? You have our university musical clubs, thoroughly professional organizations. If you are material, you must get out and begin to work for them—coach with a professional coach, make the Apollo clubs, and, working on, some day in junior year reach the varsity organization and go out on a professional tour. Again an organization conceived on business lines. "The same is true with the competition for our papers: the struggle for existence outside in a business world is not one whit more intense than the struggle to win out in the News or Lit competition. We are like a beef trust, with every by-product organized, down to the last possibility. You come to Yale—what is said to you? 'Be natural, be spontaneous, revel in a certain freedom, enjoy a leisure you'll never get again, browse around, give your imagination a chance, see every one, rub wits with every one, get to know yourself.' "Is that what's said? No. What are you told, instead? 'Here are twenty great machines that need new bolts and wheels. Get out and work. Work harder than the next man, who is going to try to outwork you. And, in order to succeed, work at only one thing. You don't count—everything for the college.' Regan says the colleges don't represent the nation; I say they don't even represent the individual.
Owen Johnson (Stover at Yale)
The Manifestation Manifesto Meditation” "Right now, I find a quiet and comfortable space where I can easily concentrate on these words as I gently read them aloud. "With the sound of my voice I soothe my nervous system … calm my entire body and relax my thoughts. I speak slowly … with a gentle but resonant tone. And as I do, I start to relax now. "I keep my eyes open and let them blink naturally when they want to … and they might start to feel slightly heavy and droopy … as they would feel when I read a book before going to sleep. “I use my imagination so that with every word I become more relaxed and drowsier. (Imagine feeling drowsy.). I keep my eyes open just enough to take in the following words. "I turn my attention to my breathing, and use this opportunity to relax my mind and body more deeply. "As I count my exhalations backwards from five to one, I let each number represent a gradually deeper level of relaxation and heightened focus. (Draw a breath before reading each number, and count as you exhale.) "Five … I double my relaxation and increase my concentration. "Four … With every number and every breath, I relax. "Three … I count slowly as I meditate deeper … deeper still. "Two … I use my imagination to double this meditative state. "One … My body is relaxed as my mind remains focused. (Pause for five seconds and breathe normally.) "At this level of meditation, people experience different things. Some notice interesting body sensations … such as a warmth or tingling in their fingers. I might also have that experience. (Pause five seconds.) "Some people feel a floating sensation … with a dreamy quality. I may experience that. (Pause five seconds.) "Whatever sensations I experience are exactly right for me at this moment. Whether I feel something unusual now or at some other time, I let that process happen on its own as I focus on the following manifesto. “I allow my subconscious to absorb the manifesto as I read each affirmation with purpose and conviction. (Pause for five seconds.) “The power to manifest is fully mine, here and now. “I acknowledge and embrace my power to manifest. “All human beings have this power, yet I choose to use it consciously and purposefully. “From the unlimited energy of the Universe, I attract all that I need to experience joy and abundance. “I recognize and consider the consequences of all that I manifest. I take full responsibility. “With awareness and intention, I apply my power for my highest good and for the welfare of others. “All of my manifestations reflect my inner state of being. Therefore, I ever seek to grow in wisdom and to become a better person. “With relaxed confidence, I employ the powers of Thought, Emotion and Vital Energy to manifest my desires.  “I let go of beliefs and ideas that suppress or encumber me and I cultivate those which empower me. “I accept what I manifest with appreciation and satisfaction. I am thankful. “I go forth with great enthusiasm with the realization that I manifest my life and circumstances. “I am ready to take charge of my manifestations from this moment onward.” “Day by day, I grow in awareness of my power to manifest my desires with speed and accuracy.” RECOMMENDED READING * Mastering Manifestation: A Practical System for Rapidly Creating Your Dream Reality - Adam James * Banned Manifestation Secrets - Richard Dotts * Manifesting: The Secret behind the Law of Attraction - Alexander Janzer * The Secret Science Behind Miracles - Max Freedom Long * The Kybalion - Three Initiates
Forbes Robbins Blair (The Manifestation Manifesto: Amazing Techniques and Strategies to Attract the Life You Want - No Visualization Required (Amazing Manifestation Strategies to Attract the Life You Want Book 1))
mission is not like a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results.
Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel)
Now that we are left with very few days in this year, it is a perfect time to count all the beautiful things, people & blessings that you have in your life & just focus on them today. Darling listen – I want you to remind yourself of how rich your life is in all the ways that matter. Let you get rid of all the unnecessary toxic thoughts, negative emotions & lower energies so that you can attract better things, events, people & loving experiences in the year ahead. I also want you to resolve to spend more time & energy on your priorities & your life’s real missions rather than on anything else. I wish & pray God to always surround you, your loved ones, home & possessions with His powerful divine protecting light. Let the seasonal magic in the air flood your heart with joy & happiness. Blessings!
Rajesh Goyal
Whatever we think or do become part of our past right next second...and nothing can be changed. Key is to learn and do what is important...feel joy in what you did and what you are about to do...never feel guilty to be who you really are...and never stop yourself from doing things your way or for yourself...one life is all we have...so make it count...love, dream, chase, eat, travel, conquer your goals.
Guru Z.S. Gill
Celebrating Small Victories" No matter what you've aspired to birth along this journey either great or small it will take time to manifest. There are many things that transpire throughout life that knocks us off course. At times we give in to frustration & fruitless thoughts of doubt fully defeating ourselves at the brink of a important turn or breakthrough. We tend to think we'll never accomplish that specific goal, its too big or feel as though we dont have what it takes. Rather its a Certification, Degree, Home Purchase, Business, Dream Job, Ministry, Optimal Health, Vacation, Financial security or a better you all things are possible if you believe. However we must learn to be grateful for the small things that we've accomplished along the way. Keep in mind that every thing counts and works more so for you then against you. Therefore hold on, stay grounded, focus on the bigger picture & count it all joy. Every good seed (vision, dream, goal, wish, desire) needs proper management & perfect timing in order to come to fruition or fulfilment. As long as your still visualising it, keeping it in your frontel, remain hungry & it shall surely be. Here are a few nuggets to chew on as reminders to remain positive for each step towards your perceived goals. *Be kind to yourself, no negative self talk *Be appreciative of any progress you've made great or small. *Find a trustworthy accountability partner. *Make realistic efforts to stay on track, don't set yourself up for failure by loading the cart with unnecessary things (distraction or unrealistic solutions) causing wasted time & delay *Build a local support system by surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals or have already accomplished goals. *Be your biggest cheerleader, share positive energy & encourage others as your working towards your goals. **Regardless of what occurred in your yesterday all you have is today. The time on your clock or watch is a borrowed moment when still breathing. My question to you is; What can you do rite now that will cause progression today for a better tomorrow? What actions can you take towards your dream, vision or goal rite now? What skills/tools do you have in your possession to utilize & accomplish these desires? Keep in mind only you are responsible to keep your dream alive. ***Do not be shaken by the sound of great winds. Get in the frequency of the waves & ride until you get to your destination. Hold on to the greater picture within. With due diligence & perseverance you will endure & see the fruits there of. Remember you owe it to your future self.
Kimberly Hammond
In addition, sometimes publicly counting our blessings can cause inadvertent pain to others. We no more deserve our blessings than others deserve their pain. In a recent essay on Motherwell, Liz Becker writes: When we say we are blessed, when we refer to our marriages or pregnancies or children in this way, we say, whether intentionally or not, that we have been arbitrarily chosen for joy, and that all of the suffering in the world has been chosen as well. Every hashtag, every smiling angel emoji, is another tiny arrow aimed at the person who does not have these things, the couple who just failed a third round of IVF, the woman going through her fifth miscarriage, the single man or woman who has struggled through yet another breakup, the parents who have buried a child.
Phoebe Farag Mikhail (Putting Joy Into Practice: Seven Ways to Lift Your Spirit from the Early Church)
Today, I counted the money I had earned all these years from my pen. It was quite a great deal of fortunes. Unfortunately, money does not buy happiness.
L.M. Montgomery
Trials are good, because God uses them for our spiritual benefit. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul says, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” No matter how much tribulation we encounter, we can count it all joy, because God will use it for His good and His glory. 
Clark Van Wick (The Good News of Grace: A Commentary on the Book of Romans)
Our challenges today come into perspective when we consider the plight of those who experience greater suffering. Allow your thoughts to go to such a soul, and count your precious blessings all day long.
Mary Davis (Every Day Spirit: A Daybook of Wisdom, Joy and Peace)
Drill to stay on as class teacher to this year’s Form Four. We are trying hard to find a new gym mistress for later in the term, so Form Four can count themselves lucky that Miss Drill will be able to keep them fit and healthy until gym classes are up and running again.” Maud and Enid glanced sideways at Mildred, who was looking desperate. “During the holidays,” said Miss Hardbroom, “there have been exciting improvements in all the bedrooms. Glass has been fitted in every pupil’s window.” There were whoops of joy from the entire school, except the bewildered first-years, who had no idea that their bedrooms would not have had proper windows in the first place; but there was great rejoicing from all the old hands as they imagined snuggling up in a cosy bed, without rain and wind blowing onto their pillows. In particularly bad weather, they had all had to move their beds away from the open stone windows. “Settle down now, girls!” barked Miss Hardbroom. “What is it, Mildred?
Jill Murphy (The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star)
Love has three dimensions. One is animal-like; it is only lust, a physical phenomenon. The other is manlike; it is higher than lust, than sexuality, than sensuality. It is not just exploitation of the other as a means. The first is only an exploitation; the other is used as a means in the first. In the second the other is not used as a means, the other is equal to you. The other is as much an end unto herself or himself as you are, and love is not an exploitation but a mutual sharing of your being, of your joys, of your music, of your pure poetry of life. It is sharing and mutual. The first is possessive, the second is nonpossessive. The first creates a bondage, the second gives freedom. And the third dimension of love is godly, godlike: when there is no object to love, when love is not a relationship at all, when love becomes a state of your being. You are simply loving—not in love with somebody in particular, but simply a state of love, so whatsoever you do, you do it lovingly; whomsoever you meet, you meet lovingly. Even if you touch a rock, you touch the rock as if you are touching your beloved; even if you look at the trees, your eyes are full of love. The first uses the other as a means; in the second, the other is no longer a means; in the third the other has completely disappeared. The first creates bondage, the second gives freedom, the third goes beyond both; it is transcendence of all duality. There is no lover and no beloved, there is only love. That’s the ultimate state of love, and that’s the goal of life to be attained. The majority of people remain confined to the first. Only very rare people enter into the second, and rarest is the phenomenon I am calling the third. Only a Buddha, a Jesus . . . There are a few people here and there, they can be counted on one’s fingers, who have entered the third dimension of love. But if you keep your eyes fixed on the faraway star, it is possible. And when it becomes possible, you are fulfilled. Then life lacks nothing, and in that fulfillment is joy, eternal joy. Even death cannot destroy it.
Osho (Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships)
It was a joyful last mile," she said in her book Paula: My Story So Far, about the real-life race, and she surely earned that joy. She had talked herself through near-exhaustion by counting to 100, by aiming at landmarks, and by thoughts like, "No matter how exhausted I might feel, a half-an-hour run is one I can manage." She pushed all the way, under 5 minutes for the last mile, never tempted to save anything for another day.
Paula Radcliffe
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DONQIOTE
Third, we assume that whenever shame is dealt with properly, all interested parties will be happy about it. Our story from John 9 reminds us that this is not always the case. Naming and despising shame, while liberating, will also necessarily reveal all who are actively responsible for propagating it. It would not be hard to imagine, for instance, that when Jesus heals the man, creating space for God’s works to be revealed in him (v. 3), he necessarily confronts a community that has understood this man’s life in terms of something that was wrong with him. There was no evidence of people rushing up to Jesus, urgently asking him to come and heal their blind friend. Healing did not bring comfort and joy to the neighbors. Rather, it brought distress. And whenever genuine acts of goodness evoke responses of distress, you can count on shame being at work, accusing those very neighbors, albeit unconsciously, of their complicity.
Curt Thompson (The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves)
Life is pretty short yet magnanimous if we know just how to live right. It isn't that easy, it takes a lot of our soul, sometimes too many broken pieces to finally come together in binding a masterpiece that smiles like a solitary star forever gazing around at the music of an eternal cosmos. The most brutal yet beautiful truth about Life is that It is marked, marked with Time where every moment takes us closer to death, it doesn't have to sound or feel bad or scary because death is the most inevitable truth in this mortal world. While the knowledge of death jolts our mind with the uncertainty of Life, clutches us in the emotion of fear to think of pain or the loss of bonds, when we acknowledge that as a part of our souls' journey and take every moment as our precious gift, a blessing to experience this Life with its beautiful garden of emotions blossoming with wonderful smiles that we can paint on others, then we make our Life magnanimous, then we make even the very face of death as that of an angel coming to take us to a different voyage, soaked in a lot of memories and experiences beautifully binding our soul. I have realised that when we live each day as if it's the last day of our life, we become more loving and gentle to everyone around and especially to our own selves. We forgive and love more openly, we grace and embrace every opportunity we get to be kind, to stay in touch with everything that truly matters. I have realised that when we rise every morning with gratitude knowing that the breath of air still passes through our body, just in the mere understanding that we have one more day to experience Life once again, we stay more compassionate towards everything and everyone around and invest more of our selves into everything and everyone that truly connect and resonate with our soul. I have realised that when we consciously try to be good and kind, no matter however bad or suffocating a situation is we always end up taking everything at its best holding on to the firm grip of goodness, accepting everything as a part of our souls' lesson or just a turn of Time or Fate and that shapes into our strength and roots our core with the truest understanding of Life, the simple act of going on and letting go. Letting go of anything and everything that chains our Soul while going on with a Heart open to Love and a Soul ready to absorb all that falls along the pathway of this adventure called Life. I have realised that when we are kind and do anything good for another person, that gives us the most special happiness, something so pure that even our hearts don't know how deep that joy permeates inside our soul. I have realised that at the end of the day we do good not because of others but because of our own selves, for if tomorrow death comes to grace me I hope to smile and say I have Lived, loved unconditionally and embraced forgiveness, kindness and goodness and all the other colours of Love with every breath I caught, I have lived a Life magnanimous. So each time someone's unkind towards you, hold back and smile, and try to give your warmth to that person. Because Kindness is not a declaration of who deserves it, it's a statement of who you are. So each time some pieces of your heart lay scattered, hold them up and embrace everyone of them with Love. Because Love is not a magic potion that is spilled from a hollow space, it's a breath of eternity that flows through the tunnel of your soul. So each time Life puts up a question of your Happiness, answer back with a Smile of Peace. Because Happiness is not what you look for in others, it's what you create in every passing moment, with the power of Life, that is pretty short when we see how counted it stands in days but actually turns out absolutely incredibly magnanimous when loved and lived in moments.
Debatrayee Banerjee
I wonder who "they" are for him. Most of us have a "they" in the audience, even though nobody is really watching, at least not how we think they are. The people who are watching us - the people who really see us- don’t care about the false self, about the show we are putting on. I wonder who those people are for John?" "I thought about how many people avoid trying for things they really want in life because its more painful to get close to the goal but not achieve it than not to have taken the chance in the first place." "Every hour counts for all of us and I want to be fully present in the fully hour we spend with each one." "You will inevitably hurt your partner, your parents, your children, your closest friends - and they will hurt you- because if you sign up for intimacy, getting hurt is part of the deal." "The more you welcome your vulnerability the less afraid you'll feel" "We all use defense mechanisms to deal with anxiety, frustration, or unacceptable impulses, but what’s fascinating about them is that we aren't aware of them in the moment. A familiar examples is denial- some, rationalization." "Generally when the therapy is coming to an end, the work moves toward its final stage, which is saying goodbye. in those sessions, the patient and I consolidate the changes made by talking about the "progress and process". What was helpful in getting to where the person is today? What wasn't? What has she learned about herself -her strengths, her challenges, her internal scripts and narratives- and what coping strategies and healthier ways of being can she can take with her when she leaves? Underlying all this, of course, is how do we say goodbye?" "Just like your physiological immune system helps your body recover from physical attack, your brain helps you recover from psychological attack." "But many people come to therapy seeking closure. Help me not to feel. What they eventually discover is that you can't mute one emotion without muting others. You want to mute the pain? You will also mute joy.
Lori Gottlieb (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone)
January 30, 1944 I stood at the top of the stairs while German planes flew back and forth, and I knew I was on my own, that I couldn't count on others for support. My fear vanished. I looked up at the sky and trusted in God. ... Who knows, perhaps a day will come when I'm left alone more than I'd like! February 3, 1944 I've reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can't do anything to change events anyway. I'll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end. February 12, 1944 (entire entry) February 23, 1944 The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature's beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be a solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer. ... This morning, when I was sitting in front of the window and taking a long, deep look outside at God and nature, I was happy, just plain happy. Peter, as long as people feel that kind of happiness within themselves, the joy of nature, health and much more besides, they'll always be able to recapture that happiness. Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But the happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again. Whenever you're feeling lonely or sad, try going to the loft on a beautiful day and looking outside. Not at the houses and the rooftops, but at the sky. As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you are pure within and will find happiness once more.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Bring a nice blanket, something soft and cozy that feels like the inside of an Ugg boot or a Care Bear’s vagina. Hospital bedding does not spark joy. The sheets have a thread count of three and there’s always some sort of plastic lining underneath to protect the mattress from all the new moms leaking juice everywhere.
Ali Wong (Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life)
When you devote yourself to being known as the most responsible person anyone knows, more and more people call on you to be that highly responsible person. That’s how it works. So the armload of things I was carrying became higher and higher, heavier and heavier, more and more precarious. At the same time, I was more and more aware that I was miserable. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes, in those rare moments when I let myself really feel honestly instead of filling in the right answers, I realized with great surprise that this way of living was not making me happy at all. People called me tough. And capable. And they said I was someone they could count on. Those are all nice things. Kind of. But they’re not the same as loving, or kind, or joyful. I was not those things. I believed that work would save me, make me happy, solve my problems; that if I absolutely wore myself out, happiness would be waiting for me on the other
Shauna Niequist (Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living)
A great Shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
There’s a way of triumphant accomplishment that comes from lowering dead or unwanted trees. (Not to say the joys of yelling, But that feeling fades pretty quickly once you look down and see unsightly—and very stubborn—Stump milling. If you hire a landscaper or arborist to chop down the trees, they typically leave the stumps behind, unless you pay a further fee. Stump-removal prices vary widely across the country and are supported by the diameter of the stump, but it typically costs between $100 and $200 to get rid of a stump that’s 24 inches in diameter or smaller. And that’s a good price if you’ve only got one stump to get rid of . But, if you've got two or more stumps, you'll save a substantial amount of cash by renting a stump grinder. A gas-powered stump grinder rents for about $100 per day, counting on the dimensions of the machine. And if you share the rental expense with one or two stump-plagued neighbors, renting is certainly the more economical thanks to going. you will need a vehicle with a trailer hitch to tow the machine, which weighs about 1,000 pounds. Or, for a nominal fee, most rental dealers will drop off and devour the grinder. To remove the 30-in.-dia. scarlet maple stump, I rented a Vermeer Model SC252 stump grinder. it's a strong 25-hp engine and 16-in.-dia. cutting wheel that's studded with 16 forged-steel teeth. this is often a loud, powerful machine with a classy mechanism , but it's surprisingly simple to work . But, before you crank up the motor and begin grinding away, it’s important to prep the world for the stumpectomy. Start by ensuring all kids and pets are indoors, or if they’re outdoors, keep them well faraway from the world and under constant adult supervision. Then, use a round-point shovel or garden mattock to get rid of any rocks from round the base of the stump [1]. this is often important because if the spinning cutting wheel hits a rock, it can shoot out sort of a missile and cause serious injury. Plus, rocks can dull or damage the teeth on the cutting wheel, which are expensive to exchange. Next, check the peak of the stump. If it’s protruding out of the bottom quite 6 inches approximately, use a sequence saw to trim it as on the brink of the bottom as possible [2]. While this step isn’t absolutely necessary, it'll prevent quite little bit of time because removing 6 inches of the Stump grinding with a chainsaw is far quicker than using the grinder. After donning the acceptable safety gear, start the grinder and drive it to within 3 feet of the stump. Use the hydraulic lever to boost the cutting wheel until it’s a couple of inches above the stump. Slowly drive the machine forward to position the wheel directly over the stump's front edge [3]. Engage the facility lever to start out the wheel spinning, then slowly lower it about 3 in. in to the stump grinding. Next, use the hydraulic lever to slowly swing the wheel from side to side to filter out all the wood within the cutting range. Then, raise the wheel, advance the machine forward a couple of inches, and repeat the method. While operating the machine, always stand at the instrument panel, which is found near the rear of the machine and well faraway from the cutting wheel. Little by little, continue grinding and advancing your way through to the opposite side of the stump. Raise the cutting wheel, shift into reverse, and return to the starting spot. Repeat the grinding process until the surface of the Stump removal is a minimum of 4 in. below the extent of the encompassing ground. At now, you'll drive the grinder off to at least one side, far away from the excavated hole. Now, discover all the wood chips and fill the crater with screened topsoil [4]. (The wood chips are often used as mulch in flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs.) Lightly rake the soil, opened up a good layer of grass seed, then rake the seeds into the soil [5]. Water the world and canopy the seeds with mulch hay.
Stump Grinding
JAMES 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James Riddle (Complete Personalized Promise Bible on Financial Increase)
We’re living in an acquisitive capitalist society that is fundamentally anti-family and fundamentally uncomfortable with just enjoying being human. We’d rather shop than live, acquire than love and stare into a screen than hold each other. The pressure parents put on teenage kids to get into the “right schools” is stressful and cruel. So please forgive me while I preach a little about the joy of children and grandchildren, because plenty of sensible people will tell you to do anything but commit to love first and to career, money and possessions second. And this isn’t only about heterosexual love. Everything I’m ranting about here is just as true for gay men and lesbian women who are in love and who want children and who like me also want to put their relationships ahead of stuff, prestige and ego. So I have news for us all: it’s the entire cycle of life that counts. And that cycle is the only real “biological clock” that matters. Everything else is just a footnote.
Frank Schaeffer (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace)
Paul prays in Ephesians 3:19 that we may “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” And he says in Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the sur- passing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” This knowing is no mere intellectual knowledge. The devils have such knowledge and trem- ble (Jas. 2:19). This knowing “surpasses knowledge.” This knowing includes tasting and seeing. It is the knowledge of honey that you have only when you put it on your tongue and taste that it is sweet. Therefore, knowing Christ in this way means seeing him for who he really is and enjoying him above all things.
John Piper (When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For Joy: Study Guide)
God of Wonder Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how right! The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back to Israel. He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! Psalm 147:1-5 I loved seeing my little grandson Noah as he watched snowflakes twirling from the sky, patted our dog’s black, furry coat, and later folded his hands and bowed his red head to say thank you to God for his peanut butter sandwich. He is aware and alive, and his wonder was contagious. Kids are full of wonder, amazement, and awe. Many of us adults, however, have lost our sense of wonder and awe. So God gives us psalms such as this one. They draw us from our ho-hum existence that takes such things as rainbows, snowflakes, and sunrises for granted back to a childlike wonder of our great God who fills the sky with clouds, sends the snow like white wool, and hurls hail like stones. He created everything and possesses all power yet cares for the weak and brokenhearted. He calls the stars by name yet supports the humble. He reigns over all creation yet delights in the simple, heartfelt devotion of those who trust him. His understanding is beyond human comprehension. Surely a God like this can inspire our wonder and awe! Meditate today on the amazing greatness of God, and find your own words to sing his praise.   GOD OF WONDER, I am in awe of your creation, your power, and your compassion. I sing out my praise to you. Your understanding is beyond comprehension! Your power is absolute! How good it is to sing praises to my God! How delightful and how right! Praise the Lord!   RECEIVE EVERY DAY AS A RESURRECTION FROM DEATH, AS A NEW ENJOYMENT OF LIFE. . . . LET YOUR JOYFUL HEART PRAISE AND MAGNIFY SO GOOD AND GLORIOUS A CREATOR. William Law (1686-1761)
Cheri Fuller (The One Year Praying through the Bible (One Year Bible))
Life’s simplest pleasures are life’s greatest joys. Most people don’t discover what’s most important in life until they are too old to do anything about it. They spend many of their best years pursuing things that matter little in the end. While society invites us to fill our lives with material objects, the best part of us knows that the more basic pleasures are the ones that enrich and sustain us. No matter how easy or hard our current conditions, we all have a wealth of simple blessings around us—waiting to be counted. As we do, our happiness grows. Our gratitude expands. And each day becomes a breathtaking gift.
Anonymous
He led them forth by the right way." Psalm 107:7 Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to inquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold, trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm; I shall never be moved. Lord, thou dost hide thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; today my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday, I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith--they are waves that wash you further upon the rock--they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "So he bringeth them to their desired haven." By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." "O let my trembling soul be still, And wait thy wise, thy holy will! I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see, Yet all is well since ruled by thee.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Christian Classics: Six books by Charles Spurgeon in a single collection, with active table of contents)
Photos Cherish who you are now If you have been sorting and discarding things in the order I recommend, you have likely stumbled across photographs in many different places, perhaps stuck between books on a shelf, lying in a desk drawer, or hidden in a box of odds and ends. While many may already have been in albums, I’m sure you found the odd photo or two enclosed with a letter or still encased in the envelope from the photo shop. (I don’t know why so many people leave photos in these envelopes.) Because photos tend to emerge from the most unexpected places when we are sorting other categories, it is much more efficient to put them in a designated spot every time you find one and deal with them all at the very end. There is a good reason to leave photos for last. If you start sorting photos before you have honed your intuitive sense of what brings you joy, the whole process will spin out of control and come to a halt. In contrast, once you have followed the correct order for tidying (i.e., clothes, books, papers, komono, sentimental items), sorting will proceed smoothly, and you will be amazed by your capacity to choose on the basis of what gives you pleasure. There is only one way to sort photos, and you should keep in mind that it takes a little time. The correct method is to remove all your photos from their albums and look at them one by one. Those who protest that this is far too much work are people who have never truly sorted photos. Photographs exist only to show a specific event or time. For this reason, they must be looked at one by one. When you do this, you will be surprised at how clearly you can tell the difference between those that touch your heart and those that don’t. As always, only keep the ones that inspire joy. With this method, you will keep only about five per day of a special trip, but this will be so representative of that time that they bring back the rest vividly. Really important things are not that great in number. Unexciting photos of scenery that you can’t even place belong in the garbage. The meaning of a photo lies in the excitement and joy you feel when taking it. In many cases, the prints developed afterward have already outlived their purpose. Sometimes people keep a mass of photos in a big box with the intention of enjoying them someday in their old age. I can tell you now that “someday” never comes. I can’t count how many boxes of unsorted photographs I have seen that were left by someone who has passed away. A typical conversation with my clients goes something like this: “What’s in that box?” “Photos.” “Then you can leave them to sort at the end.” “Oh, but they aren’t mine. They belonged to my grandfather.” Every time I have this conversation it makes me sad. I can’t help thinking that the lives of the deceased would have been that much richer if the space occupied by that box had been free when the person was alive. Besides, we shouldn’t still be sorting photos when we reach old age. If you, too, are leaving this task for when you grow old, don’t wait. Do it now. You will enjoy the photos far more when you are old if they are already in an album than if you have to move and sort through a heavy boxful of them.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. – James 1:2–3
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
So, James is exhorting us to count it all joy even when it is not all joy, not because it is joyous to be involved in pain and suffering, but because God can bring good through that pain and suffering. He is working in even the difficult situations for our sanctification.
R.C. Sproul (Can I Have Joy In My Life? (Crucial Questions, #12))
Yet in the very act of countenancing destruction and massacre, war in all its disruptive spontaneity temporarily overcame the built-in limitations of the megamachine. Hence the sense of joyful release that so often has accompanied the outbreak of war, when the daily chains were removed and teh maimed and dead to come were still to be counted. In the conquest of a country, or the taking of a city, the orderly virtues of civilization were turned upside down. Respect for property gave way to wanton destruction and robbery: sexual repression to officially encouraged rape: popular hatred for the ruling classes was cleverly diverted into a happy occasion to mutilate or kill foreign enemies.
Lewis Mumford (Technics and Human Development (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 1))
A Doorway Opens October 13 AT ITS HEART, I think, religion is mystical. Moses with his flocks in Midian, Buddha under the Bo tree, Jesus up to his knees in the waters of Jordan: each of them responds to something for which words like shalom, oneness, God even, are only pallid, alphabetic souvenirs. “I have seen things,” Aquinas told a friend, “that make all my writings seem like straw.” Religion as institution, as ethics, as dogma, as social action—all of this comes later and in the long run maybe counts for less. Religions start, as Frost said poems do, with a lump in the throat, to put it mildly, or with the bush going up in flames, the rain of flowers, the dove coming down out of the sky. As for the man in the street, any street, wherever his own religion is a matter of more than custom, it is likely to be because, however dimly, a doorway opened in the air once to him too, a word was spoken, and, however shakily, he responded. The debris of his life continues to accumulate, the Vesuvius of the years scatters its ashes deep and much gets buried alive, but even under many layers the tell-tale heart can go on beating still. Where it beats strong, there starts pulsing out from it a kind of life that is marked by, above all things perhaps, compassion: that sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside another’s skin and for knowing that there can never really be peace and joy for any until there is peace and joy finally for all. Where it stops beating altogether, little is left religiously speaking but a good man, not perhaps in Mark Twain’s “the worst sense of the word” but surely in the grayest and saddest: the good man whose goodness has become cheerless and finicky, a technique for working off his own guilts, a gift with no love in it which neither deceives nor benefits any for long.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar, homely ways, God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our days, and fill our eyes with light. He drops this added sweetness into His children's cup, and makes it to run over. The success we were not counting on, the blessing we were not trying after, the strain of music, in the midst of drudgery, the beautiful morning picture or sunset glory thrown in as we pass to or from our daily business, the unsought word of encouragement or expression of sympathy, the sentence that meant for us more than the writer or speaker thought,--these and a hundred others that every one's experience can supply are instances of what I mean. You may call it accident or chance--it often is; you may call it human goodness--it often is; but always, always call it God's love, for that is always in it. These are the overflowing riches of His grace, these are His free gifts. S. LONGFELLOW.
Mary W. Tileston (Daily Strength for Daily Needs)
Tonight she'll be with Jeremy, her lieutenant, but she wants to be with Roger. Except that, really, she doesn't. Does she? She can't remember being so confused. When she is with Roger it's all love, but at any distance- any at all, Jack- she finds that he depresses and even frightens her. Why? On top of him in the wild nights riding up and down his cock her axis, trying herself to stay rigid enough not to turn to cream taper-wax and fall away melting to the coverlet coming there's only room for Roger, Roger, oh love to the end of breath. But out of bed, walking talking, his bitterness, his darkness, run deeper than the War, the winter: he hates England so, hates "the System," gripes endlessly, says he'll emigrate when the War's over, stays inside his paper cynic's cave hating himself... and does she want to bring him out, really? Isn't it safer with Jeremy? She tried not to allow this question to often, but it's there. Three years with Jeremy. They might as well be married. Three years ought to count for something. Daily, small stitches and easings. She's worn old Beaver's bathrobes, brewed his tea and coffee, sought his eye across lorry-parks, day rooms and rainy mud fields when all the day's mean, dismal losses could be rescued in the one look- familiar, full of trust, in a season where the word is invoked for quaintness or a minor laugh. And to rip it all out? three years? for this erratic, self-centered- boy, really. Weepers, he supposed to be pas thirty, he's years older than she. He ought to've learned something, surely? A man of experience? /// If the rockets don't get her there's still her lieutenant. Damned Beaver/Jeremy IS the War, he is every assertion the fucking War has ever made- that we are meant work and government, for austerity: and these shall take priority over love, dreams, the spirit, the sense and the second-class trivia that are found among the idle and mindless hours of the day... Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane. Jeremy will take her like the Angel itself, in his joyless weasel-worded come-along, and Roger will be forgotten, an amusing maniac, but with no place in the rationalized power-ritual that will be the coming peace. She will take her husband's orders, she will become a domestic bureaucrat, a junior partner, and remember Roger, if at all, as a mistake thank God she did not make... Oh, he feels a raving fit coming on- how the bloody hell can he survive without her? She is the British warm that protects his stooping shoulders, and the wintering sparrow he holds inside his hands. She is his deepest innocence in spaces of bough and hay before wishes were given a separate name to warn they might not come true, and his lithe Parisian daughter of joy, beneath the eternal mirror, forswearing perfumes, capeskins to the armpits, all that is too easy, for his impoverishment and more worthy love. /// Jessica steps away from Roger to blow her nose. The sound is as familiar to him as a bird's song, ip-ip-ip-ip NGUNNGG as the hankerchief comes away..."Oh sooper dooper," she says, "think I'm catching a cold." You're catching the War. It's infecting you and I don't know how to keep it away. Oh, Jess. Jessica. Don't leave me,,,,
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
What is the school like? First, let me set the stage. The school enrolls students from the age of 4 up. No one is too old, although most of our students are 19 or younger. The people in the school, no matter what age they are, are each doing what they want to do. Usually that means that some people are doing things with others, who can be of the most various of ages, and some people are doing things alone. Usually it means that most people are doing things not done in most other schools, and some are doing things that are done in other schools with a very unusual intensity and concentration. It more often means that children are teaching adults than that adults are teaching children, but most often people are learning and unconscious that “learning” is taking place. Doing what they choose to do is the common theme; learning is the by-product. It is first and foremost a place where students are free to follow their inner dictates. They are free to do what we all do when we have the time to, and what we all find to be most satisfactory—they play. Play is the most serious pursuit at Sudbury Valley. Some people play at games, and some play at things we who have more traditional educations are more comfortable with—writing or art or mathematics or music. But we are quite clear at Sudbury Valley that it is doing what you want to that counts! We have no curriculum and place no value on one pursuit over another. The reason that we are secure in feeling this way is that we constantly see that people play more and more sophisticated “games,” explore more and more deeply, that they constantly expand their knowledge of the world, and their ability to handle themselves in it. Children who play constantly do not draw an artificial line between work and play. In fact, you could say that they are working constantly if you did not see the joy in the place, a joy most usually identified with the pursuit of avocations. I
Russell L. Ackoff (Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track)
Here Is All I’ve Counted Splendid Write it down, when I have perished: Here is everything I’ve cherished; That these walls should glow with beauty Spurred my lagging soul to duty; That there should be gladness here Kept me toiling, year by year… Every thought and every act Were to keep this home intact. —EDGAR A. GUEST
Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy)
How Much Money Can We Afford To Give To Charity? Knowing how much money you can safely give to charity is challenging for everyone. Who doesn’t want to give more to make the world a better place? On the other hand, no one wants to become a charity case as a result of giving too much to charity. On average, Americans who itemize their deductions donate about three or four percent of their income to charity. About 20% give more than 10% of their income to charity. Here are some tips to help you find the right level of donations for your family: You can probably give more than you think. Focus on one, two or maybe three causes rather than scattering money here and there. Volunteer your time toward your cause, too. The money you give shouldn’t be the money you’d save for college or retirement. You can organize your personal finances to empower you to give more. Eliminating debt will enable you to give much more. The interest you may be paying is eating into every good and noble thing you’d like to do. You can cut expenses significantly over time by driving your cars for a longer period of time; buying cars—the transaction itself—is expensive. Stay in your home longer. By staying in your home for a very long time, your mortgage payment will slowly shrink (in economic terms)with inflation, allowing you more flexibility over time to donate to charity. Make your donations a priority. If you only give what is left, you won’t be giving much. Make your donations first, then contribute to savings and, finally, spend what is left. Set a goal for contributing to charity, perhaps as a percentage of your income. Measure your financial progress in all areas, including giving to charity. Leverage your contributions by motivating others to give. Get the whole family involved in your cause. Let the kids donate their time and money, too. Get your extended family involved. Get the neighbors involved. You will have setbacks. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Think long term. Everything counts. One can of soup donated to a food bank may feed a hungry family. Little things add up. One can of soup every week for years will feed many hungry families. Don’t be ashamed to give a little. Everyone can do something. When you can’t give money, give time. Be patient. You are making a difference. Don’t give up on feeding hungry people because there will always be hungry people; the ones you feed will be glad you didn’t give up. Set your ego aside. You can do more when you’re not worried about who gets the credit. Giving money to charity is a deeply personal thing that brings joy both to the families who give and to the families who receive. Everyone has a chance to do both in life. There Are Opportunities To Volunteer Everywhere If you and your family would like to find ways to volunteer but aren’t sure where and how, the answer is just a Google search away. There may be no better family activity than serving others together. When you can’t volunteer as a team, remember you set an example for your children whenever you serve. Leverage your skills, talents and training to do the most good. Here are some ideas to get you started either as a family or individually: Teach seniors, the disabled, or children about your favorite family hobbies.
Devin D. Thorpe (925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire a Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World!)
So this is what all the fuss is about! Never knew love like this! Happiest day of my life! I thought about him writing that—knowing that I would see it, that I would read those words and they would kill me, and writing it anyway. He didn’t care. Parents don’t care about anything but their children. They are the centre of the universe; they are all that really counts. Nobody else is important, no one else’s suffering or joy matters, none of it is real.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
When we are in times of difficulty and distress, the important thing is not that we get out of it but what we get out of it. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work” (James 1:2–4). If
Warren W. Wiersbe (Prayer, Praise & Promises: A Daily Walk Through the Psalms)
Parents don’t care about anything but their children. They are the centre of the universe; they are all that really counts. Nobody else is important, no one else’s suffering or joy matters, none of it is real. I
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
As with all things in the physical plane, nothing is permanent, and the only thing we can truly count on is change. Things come and go, people are born and die and move in and out of our lives. The dreams and goals of today will one day either materialize or evolve into something different with time. If we become rigidly attached to any of this, we set ourselves up for the inevitable suffering that will ensue when the thing, person or idea flows out of our lives, or our desire for it shifts.
Dashama Konah Gordon (Journey to Joyful: Transform Your Life with Pranashama Yoga)
Why did you get me drunk?” I asked. “I’m no rival of yours.” She made a quick, sharp gesture of negation. A diamond on her finger sparkled like spilled tears, and I realized her fingers were trembling. “It’s true,” I said, watching her bury her hands in the folds of her skirts. “What little you know of me ought to make one thing plain: I don’t lie. That is, I don’t do it very well. I don’t fault you for ambition. That would be mighty two-faced when my brother and I plotted half our lives to take the crown from Galdran. Our reasons might be different, but who’s to fault that? Not me. I gave that over last year. As for Savona--” “Don’t,” she said. “Why?” I demanded. “Can’t you see he’s just flirting with me? I don’t know much of romance--well, nothing, if you only count experience--but I have noticed certain things, and one is that in a real courtship, the two people endeavor to get to know one another.” Again I had that sensation of something important hovering just out of my awareness, but when I paused, frowning--trying to perceive it--my thoughts just scattered. “I think,” she said, “you are being a trifle too disingenuous.” I sighed. “Humor me by pretending I am sincere. You know Savona. Can’t you see him making me popular just to…well, prove a point?” I faltered at the words pay you back for going after Shevraeth and a crown? Not that the meaning escaped her, for I saw its impact in the sudden color ridging her lovely cheeks. Her lips were pressed in a thin line. “I could…almost…believe you had I not had your name dinned in my ear through a succession of seasons. Your gallantry in facing Galdran before the Court. The Astiar bravery in taking on Galdran’s army with nothing but a rabble of half-trained villagers on behalf of the rest of the kingdom. Your running almost the length of the kingdom with a broken foot and successfully evading Debegri’s and Vidanric’s warriors. The duel-to-the-death with Galdran.” I had to laugh, which I saw at once was a mistake. But I couldn’t stop, not until I saw the common omission in all of this: my disastrous encounters with Shevraeth. Had he spoken about my defeats, surely this angry young lady would have nosed it all out--and it was apparent she’d have no compunction about flinging it in my teeth. No. For some incomprehensible reason, he hadn’t talked about any of it. This realization sobered me, and I gulped in a deep, shaky breath. Tamara’s grimness had given way to an odd expression, part anger, part puzzlement. “You will tell me that your heroism if all lies?” she asked. “No,” I said. “But it’s--well, different. Look, if you really want to hear my story, we can sit down and I’ll tell you everything, from how I ran about barefoot and illiterate in the mountains joyfully planning our easy takeover, right down to how Galdran knocked me clean out of my saddle after I warded a single blow and nearly lost my arm in doing it. I think he attacked me because I was the weakest--it’s the only reason that makes sense to me. As for the rest--” I shrugged. “Some of it was wrong decisions made for the right reasons, and a little of it was right decisions made for the wrong reasons; but most of what I did was wrong decisions for the wrong reasons. That’s the plain truth.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
ANODYNE If I were an Angel I would cast away my wings and halo, forever Just to spend one more moment near you, To touch the soft white milk of your skin, To count every freckle on your nose, To feel the silky smooth drift of your hair over my face, To feel your breath hot on my mouth. I would forget the music of every sunrise To just once more hear you sigh, I would laugh in absolute joy at the irony Of the angel who gave away his divinity, for all eternity, To fell the warm glow of an earth-bound love, If just for one single moment. J O’Barr
James O'Barr (The Crow: Special Edition)
Yet every writer worth a good-god damn knows this too, for it is graven into each of us: no one cares for beauty. Not in fiction. Not on its own, not pure, untroubled beauty; not in fiction. It’s what we crave in the real world, of course; beauty, and you know I mean that in its broadest sense: the sense of kindness and wisdom and peace and joy: all the things in the world that are beautiful, and all the things we crave in real life, but which are not sufficient to count, on their own, for anything in the world of stories.
Marcus Sedgwick (The Monsters We Deserve)
It didn’t take me long to realize that once you have the basic major and minor chords under your belt you’ve pretty much got 90 per cent of everything: the rest is all about your imagination, and you definitely can’t buy books on that. Once you’ve got those basic building blocks, you can go on to make something out of them. You don’t need to know how to play ‘Rock Around The Clock’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ to make your own music; just get a few chords together, make up a few scales of your own, and away you go. If it sounds good to you, that’s all that counts.
Bernard Sumner (Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Division and Me)
In the fringes of our yard, daffodils await their triumphant chorus. The golden bells have just opened on our forsythia, and clusters of hyacinth flowers await flourish in purple blooms. By aesthetic standards, any of these blossoms would have outshone the fistful of yellow spikes my little boy offered. In the coming months, dozens of its cousins, cast away as weeds, will meet an untimely end beneath the blades of a lawnmower. Their brazen head will be lopped off, their awkward petals demolished and scattered. They will be declared a nuisance, expendable. Yet when gripped within Pip's fingers, how perfect, how precious became this paltry bloom. He had put aside the torrent of irritability and overwhelm that trouble him hourly, and found grace in a spiral of petals. Through a humble weed, love had broken through. God works this way. He does great things with the meager, and beautiful things with the misshapen. He chooses the smallest, the humblest, the most broken as his servants. (1 Sam 16:10-12, Numbers 12:3, 1 Tim 1:15) He works for good through the greatest calamity. (Gen 50:20) With his most beloved broken and crushed, he reaches through the firmament, and in love makes things new. (Rev 21:5) Where we see weakness, he offers grace. (2 Cor 12:9) He shatters pride, so new blossoms can burst forth. I've spent the past few months wrestling with God. After Pip's evaluation, as we clumsily felt out life with special needs, the questions of why wrapped around my heart, infusing me with daily bitterness. Resentment broiled to the surface. I'd left medicine to follow God's call, but a large part of me, in shocking arrogance, wanted to comply on my terms. Over the past two years, God has compelled me to confront my idols. I thrived on productivity. But now I inevitably find grime in corners I have just cleaned. I prized efficiency. But it now takes 30 minutes of wrangling over potty... I'm an introvert, who needs alone time to rejuvenate. But is anyone less alone than a mom with young kids? A "save the world" mentality drives me. But my daily life fodder is now the mundane. I relish instant gratification. But this business of shepherding hearts is long, with few immediate rewards. I relished accolades... I consider God's graciousness to us, and in the stillness of a springtime morning, I struggle for breath. His mercy toward us in this season -- in the face of my arrogance, despite the brokenness to which I've so stalwartly clung -- is stunning. During all the years of my training and career, homeschooling was never the plan. God inexplicably placed the idea in my heart, like a shadow that deepened daily. But now, I see how perfect were his methods. I shudder to think of how our family would struggle if I was still barreling ahead at the hospital, subsumed with my own self importance, while Pip fought daily to deal with every crowd... Homeschooling was never the plan. . . but oh, what a plan! That he called us this way, was mercy manifest. That he has equipped us to continue, is the greatest gift. Even on the hard days, I count it all joy. On the days when Pip, after a week of handling things so well, has a meltdown in the grocery store, complete with screaming and a blow to my chin -- there is joy there. God can work even with our ugliness. Through Christ, God redeems even the most corrupt. He assembles the stray petals, the unseemly stems, and makes things new. He strips away the idolatry of a surgeon desperate to prove her own worth, and points her toward the fount of all worth -- Christ Jesus. There is a deep well of peace in serving God where he has placed you. There is a refining grace, in realizing his work even in the hard moments. There is a profound beauty in redemption -- in the love that breaks forth through brokenness -- if we can only put away our preoccupations, and embrace his will. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." -- 2 Cor 12:9
Kathryn L. Butler
Kaleidoscope Yoga: The universal heart and the individual self. We, as humanity, make up together a mosaic of beautiful colors and shapes that can harmoniously play together in endless combinations. We are an ever-changing play of shape and form. A kaleidoscope consists of a tube (or container), mirrors, pieces of glass (or beads or precious stones), sunlight, and someone to turn it and observe and enjoy the forms. Metaphorically, perhaps the sun represents the divine light, or spark of life, within all of us. The mirrors represent our ability to serve as mirrors for one another and each other’s alignment, reflecting sides of ourselves that we may not have been aware of. The tube (or container) is the practice of community yoga. We, as human beings, are the glass, the beads, the precious stones. The facilitator is the person turning the Kaleidoscope, initiating the changing patterns. And the resulting beauty of the shapes? Well, that’s for everyone to enjoy... Coming into a practice and an energy field of community yoga over and over, is a practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment, to the person in front of you, to the people around you, to your body, to others’ bodies, to your energy, to others’ energy, to your breath, to others’ breath. [...] community yoga practice can help us, in a very real, practical, grounded, felt, somatic way, to identify and be in harmony with all that is around us, which includes all of our fellow human beings.
 We are all multiple selves. We are all infinite. We are all universal selves. We are all unique expressions of the universal heart and universal energy. We are all the universal self. We are all one another. And we are all also unique specific individuals. And to the extent that we practice this, somatically, we become more and more comfortable and fluid with this larger, more cosmic, more inter-related reality. We see and feel and breathe ourselves, more and more, as the open movement of energy, as open somatic possibility. As energy and breath. This is one of the many benefits of a community yoga practice. Kaleidoscope shows us, in a very practical way, how to allow universal patterns of wisdom and interconnectedness to filter through us. [...] One of the most interesting paradoxes I have encountered during my involvement with the community yoga project (and it is one that I have felt again and again, too many times to count) is the paradox that many of the most infinite, universal forms have come to me in a place of absolute solitude, silence, deep aloneness or meditation. And, similarly, conversely and complimentarily, (best not to get stuck on the words) I have often found myself in the midst of a huge crowd or group of people of seamlessly flowing forms, and felt simultaneously, in addition to the group energy, the group shape, and the group awareness, myself as a very cleanly and clearly defined, very particular, individual self. These moments and discoveries and journeys of group awareness, in addition to the sense of cosmic expansion, have also clarified more strongly my sense of a very specific, rooted, personal self. The more deeply I dive into the universal heart, the more clearly I see my own place in it. And the more deeply I tune in and connect with my own true personal self, the more open and available I am to a larger, more universal self. We are both, universal heart and universal self. Individual heart and individual self. We are, or have the capacity for, or however you choose to put it, simultaneous layers of awareness. Learning to feel and navigate and mediate between these different kinds and layers of awareness is one of the great joys of Kaleidoscope Community Yoga, and of life in general. Come join us, and see what that feels like, in your body, again and again. From the Preface of Kaleidoscope Community Yoga: The Art of Connecting: The First 108 Poses
Lo Nathamundi (Kaleidoscope Community Yoga (The Art of Connecting Series) Book One: The First 108 poses)
Phillips Brooks, an Episcopalian pastor in Boston a hundred years ago, caught the spirit of Peter’s counsel to pastors: I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher’s success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. I mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its idea. No man to whom the details of his task are repulsive can do his task well constantly, however full he may be of its spirit. He may make one bold dash at it and carry it over all his disgusts, but he cannot work on at it year after year, day after day. Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them, in contact with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all. This is all true of preaching. Its highest joy is in the great ambition that is set before it, the glorifying of the Lord and saving of the souls of men. No other joy on earth compares with that. The ministry that does not feel that joy is dead. But in behind that highest joy, beating in humble unison with it, as the healthy body thrills in sympathy with the deep thoughts and pure desires of the mind and soul, the best ministers have always been conscious of another pleasure which belonged to the very doing of the work itself. As we read the lives of all the most effective preachers of the past, or as we meet the men who are powerful preachers of the Word today, we feel how certainly and how deeply the very exercise of their ministry delights them.8
John Piper (Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist)
Temptation is really a solicitation to evil arising from the devil or born in the carnal nature of man. Trial is testing. It is that which proves us, tests us, and makes us stronger and better when we submit to the trial and work together with God in it “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
E.M. Bounds (The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials," ( James 1:2)  
Val Waldeck (His Eye Is On The Sparrow. 365-Day Devotional (Christian Devotional Book 1))
A few years ago a corrective report announced that people had misinterpreted the first report. Humans needed a total of sixty-four ounces of liquid a day, but they did not have to drink that amount from a glass. It actually all could come from food. And coffee and tea counted. Studies showed that these caffeinated beverages didn’t deplete the body’s liquids after all. Why, in the midst of this epidemic of grown-ups toting and constantly nursing from water bottles decorated with various company logos, has no one asked how our mothers and fathers and our grandparents, and the entire human race for tens of thousands of years before, escaped mass annihilation by dehydration because high-impact polycarbonate plastic bottles filled with “spring water” hadn’t been invented yet? Our modern minds believed what putative “science” and old wives’ tales in magazines told us and overrode the wisdom of our bodies. WHEN
Jan Chozen Bays (Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food)
I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher’s success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. I mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its idea. No man to whom the details of his task are repulsive can do his task well constantly, however full he may be of its spirit. He may make one bold dash at it and carry it over all his disgusts, but he cannot work on at it year after year, day after day. Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them, in contact with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all. This is all true of preaching. Its highest joy is in the great ambition that is set before it, the glorifying of the Lord and saving of the souls of men. No other joy on earth compares with that. The ministry that does not feel that joy is dead. But in behind that highest joy, beating in humble unison with it, as the healthy body thrills in sympathy with the deep thoughts and pure desires of the mind and soul, the best ministers have always been conscious of another pleasure which belonged to the very doing of the work itself. As we read the lives of all the most effective preachers of the past, or as we meet the men who are powerful preachers of the Word today, we feel how certainly and how deeply the very exercise of their ministry delights them.
John Piper (Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist)
THIS IS HIS DAY This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 HCSB The 118th Psalm reminds us that today, like every other day, is a cause for celebration. God gives us this day; He fills it to the brim with possibilities, and He challenges us to use it for His purposes. The day is presented to us fresh and clean at midnight, free of charge, but we must beware: Today is a non-renewable resource—once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Our responsibility, of course, is to use this day in the service of God’s will and according to His commandments. Today, treasure the time that God has given you. Give Him the glory and the praise and the thanksgiving that He deserves. And search for the hidden possibilities that God has placed along your path. This day is a priceless gift from God, so use it joyfully and encourage others to do likewise. After all, this is the day the Lord has made . . . . If you can forgive the person you were, accept the person you are, and believe in the person you will become, you are headed for joy. So celebrate your life. Barbara Johnson The highest and most desirable state of the soul is to praise God in celebration for being alive. Luci Swindol A TIMELY TIP If you don’t feel like celebrating, start counting your blessings. Before long, you’ll realize that you have plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday ... For A Woman of Grace)
God calls us to rejoice always and in everything. Rejoicing in trials is a tremendous act of faith because, in so doing, you are proclaiming both that you believe God is good in everything He does and that He will save you from the situation. But that we should rejoice in every situation is evident. For it is written, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 And also, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2–4 Endure all things with joy, knowing that God intends not only to save you from suffering but also to bless you in your trials. God would never give you a trial or an unsurmountable mountain in life unless He intended to be your strength to overcome—and to give you something better in the end. That blessing may not be physical, however; it may be eternal wisdom gained from your circumstances.
Adam Houge (Slaying Your Giants: How to Have Massive Faith)
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Christian Classics: Six books by Charles Spurgeon in a single collection, with active table of contents)
Yet for Henriette, towards whom the curious and watchful looks of the family were directed on this occasion, as on every other in the twelve years of her life under their roof, the time of puzzles was past. Everything had become crystal clear. “The only mistake is life itself,” Rudolf had asserted. How right he had been! For when one understood life, as she believed she did, and knew it so well that she was no longer capable of any illusions, it was not worth living. Henriette could not forgive Franz. No matter if her reason told her a hundred times that he had had nothing at all to do with Rudolf's death, that his suicide on her wedding day had been a pure coincidence, still her feelings whispered to her a thousand times the opposite. In any case, he had murdered Count Traun out of hatred, out of jealousy for the tiny bit of happiness which at last had fallen to her lot. “Where the house, which thou inhabitest, knows no rejoicing except that which comes from duty, and no joy except that from grace,” the suffragan bishop had said in his first address. That much Christl could have had at Number 10 too. Number 10 Seilerstatte knew no rejoicing, and it murdered happiness. As her eyes rested on the girl who had renounced happiness, she knew that there was a connection between them. Some took the veil; others married men like Franz. Christl, too, had felt herself betrayed and bartered, and why? Because she simply could not forgive her, Henriette, the happiness she had sensed in her at the time of her own distress, when Hans had brought her from the ball to the colonel's deathbed. “I was frivolous enough to be happy at the wrong time,” Henriette thought. And during the “Veni, Creator Spiritus,” it occurred to her, How remarkable is the love human beings bear to one another! If Christl's love for me had been really great then must she not have said to herself: “I do not begrudge her this bit of rejoicing?” The tenderness she had felt for the novice since the Jarescu days was now submerged by her conviction that the ceremony before the high altar was nothing else than a demonstration against her. “I believed in you and you destroyed my faith in human beings!” the girl in her white veil kept crying to her. Oh, she heard it well!
Ernst Lothar (The Vienna Melody)
What is this that we feel, Tor?' said Tinidril. 'I don't know,' said the King. 'One day I will give it a name. This is not a day for making names.' 'It is like a fruit with a very thick shell,' said Tinidril. 'The joy of our meeting when we meet again in the Great Dance is the sweet of it. But the rind is thick—more years thick than I can count.' 'You see now,' said Tor, 'what that Evil One would have done to us. If we had listened to him we should now be trying to get at that sweet without biting through the shell.' 'And so it would not be "That sweet" at all, said Tinidril.
C.S. Lewis (Perelandra (The Space Trilogy, #2))
You may search the Word of God but you will never find peace first—it is always “grace and peace” never “peace and grace.” They are the Siamese twins of the Bible. You cannot have peace until you first have had grace. A man may search and seek until the end of his life, but until he receives grace through Christ, he can never have peace.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
The prisons of our lives can often become places of great opportunity and ministry.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
When Paul talked about his present situation, he did not discuss his personal discomfort. He was not occupied with the inconvenience that imprisonment had caused him. His concern was for the gospel and its advance.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
Like the many others who have suffered after him, Paul allowed his adversity to become a platform for the gospel. What the Enemy hoped would thwart the gospel actually advanced it. If for no other reason than this, we should think twice before we complain about our difficult situations. It just might be that God is up to something eternal!
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
Quite often the Lord uses the adversity in our lives as a lens through which He can be seen! In the process of it all, He is developing our character so that we can be worthy reflectors of His glory. Paul teaches us that character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trials and suffering can the soul be strengthened.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
Adversity promotes the progress of the gospel. 2. Adversity provides opportunities to witness. 3. Adversity produces courage in our fellow believers. 4. Adversity proves the character of our friendships. 5. Adversity provokes growth in our lives. 6. Adversity purifies our motives. 7. Adversity prepares us to see life and death in perspective.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
These are good." Rico popped an extra piece in his mouth. "As good as the ones they sold at your fiera livre?" As soon as she said it, they both froze. This was all on camera. At least she wasn't holding a knife. "No." Rico smiled at the camera. "Better." The skip of joy in her heart brought with it a shadow of fear, but she ignored it and grabbed square black platters and started to plate the bright white pancakes in delicate quarter folds to form a clover. She handed spoons to Rico and he poured doce de leite into them and placed them next to the pancakes. They were done a good two minutes before the rest of contestants, but they would still have to act like they were rushing at the end because it made for better television. "It looks a little plain," Rico said, taking in everyone else's workstations, where everything from empanadas to elephant ears and patajones (Danny, naturally) were being tossed up. "Should I cut up some strawberries? It could use some fruit, and maybe whipped cream?" He was right. It needed something. Plain would definitely get them hammered by the judges. But not strawberries and whipped cream. Not anything so predictable. Ashna raced to the pantry, picked up a mango, and tossed it at Rico. Then without waiting to see if he would catch it, she turned to grab some saffron and ran back to their station. "Can you dice the mango?" Before the question was even out of her mouth, he was slicing. DJ called out the one-minute warning. Ashna pinched out a fat clump of saffron into a metal spoon, mixed in a few drops of milk, and held it over the fire. The saffron dissolved into the milk, turning it orange, and despite the smells from all the workstations, the aroma of saffron permeated the air. DJ started to count down the last ten seconds. Ashna drizzled the saffron milk onto the four spoons of doce de leite just as Rico arranged the mango at the center of each plate.
Sonali Dev (Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes, #2))
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. James 1:2
Elizabeth George (Finding God's Path Through Your Trials: His Help for Every Difficulty You Face)
Count it all joy…when you fall into various trials (JAMES 1:2).
Elizabeth George (Finding God's Path Through Your Trials: His Help for Every Difficulty You Face)
He encourages us to decide to have a joyful attitude. James’ first rule for joyful living in unjoyful circumstances is to “count it all joy.
Elizabeth George (Finding God's Path Through Your Trials: His Help for Every Difficulty You Face)
But now that I'm older, I realize life isn't a fairy tale. And no matter how much work you put into it, happily ever after doesn't exist." Of all the things his daughter had said so far, this concerned John the most. He took Alex by the hands, sat her at the kitchen table, and had a seat beside her. "Sweetheart, happily ever after does exist, it's just not what you think," he said. "Happily ever after isn't a solution to life's problems or a guarantee that life will be easy; it's a promise we make ourselves to always live our best lives, despite whatever circumstance comes our way. When we focus on joy in times of heartbreak, when we choose to laugh on the days it's hard to smile, and when we count our blessings over our losses - that's what a true happily ever after is all about. You don't get there by being perfect; on the contrary, it's our humanity that guides us. And that's what fairy tales have been trying to teach us all along." "But what about death?" Conner asked. "How do you keep living a happily ever after when you lose someone you love?" "Now you're troubled over something you can't control," John said. "The only power we have over death is how we choose to define it. Personally, when someone dies, I don't believe they cease to exist. The people we love the most will always be alive, thanks to the stories we tell and the memories we share. As long as we keep our loved ones in our hearts, their pulse will continue to beat through our own.
Chris Colfer (Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories, #6))
Our attitudes are important! In fact, they are more important than our actions, because they are the foundation upon which our actions are built.
David Jeremiah (Count It All Joy: Discover a Happiness That Circumstances Cannot Change)
She’s survived a lifetime of these miracles, which trace back to Daddy emptying the bank account and leaving her with three girls and half an art education degree to pay the bills. There were the nervous breakdowns. Forty years of loneliness and untreated seizures. The miracle of antiepileptic drugs she won’t take because Moses didn’t think to bring them up in Deuteronomy. And now this stroke. If she could talk, I know she’d say, “Count it all joy.
Kelli Jo Ford (Crooked Hallelujah)
I wanted to tell her that I felt I was dying from rage and that I felt guilty about everything and that when I was a kid I woke up every morning singing, that I couldn't wait to leap out of bed and rush out of the house into the magical kingdom that was my world, that dust made visible in sunbeams gave me real authentic joy, that my sparkly golden banana-seated bike with the very high sissy bar took my breath away, the majesty of it, me at age nine, and that now I woke up every morning reminding myself that control is an illusion, taking deep breaths and counting to ten trying to ward off panic attacks and hoping that my own hands hadn't managed to strangle me while I slept.
Miriam Toews (All My Puny Sorrows)
You ought to write a book on wines, count," I said. "Mr. Barnes," answered the count, "All I want out of wine is to enjoy them.
Ernest Hemingway
With a quick glance into the room, noting the inquiring faces, Lydia reached out for Robert's waistcoat and slowly pulled him into the shadows. "There is one matter that counts above all else. Do you love me?" This time, there was no hesitation. "With all my heart, until the day I die, and beyond, if there is an afterlife." A flood of relief washed over Lydia, leaving her speechless... for all of a moment. "Then, I will marry you, if you will ask." Before he had a chance to say anything, Lydia leaned forward. She wrapped her arms around his neck and lifted her mouth to his. She could feel his heart pounding out a quick-time rhythm as he slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. When their lips met, she thought her insides would melt into a puddle of ecstasy. Filled with a delicious, undefined longing, Lydia leaned in closer, wishing that she could stay locked in his arms forever. But all too soon, Robert lifted his head, taking a ragged breath. "Lydia, my dove?" "Yes, Robert?" "I have just thoroughly compromised you." "Thoroughly...what ever shall we do?" "We will have to announce our intention this very evening -- before there is any hint of a scandal." "Excellent idea. What are our intentions?" Robert chuckled and leaner over to kiss her forehead, but Lydia lifted herself up on her toes, initiating another session of excellent compromising. "Lydia, my dove?" Robert said again eventually. "Yes, Robert." "Will you grant me the great privilege of your hand in marriage?" Lydia closed her eyes and savored his proposal---the offer of a union for life. Exquisite joy, overwhelming and eternal, filled her to the brim; the sensation was so marvelous that she forgot to breathe for a time. The air around them stilled, as did Robert. He was waiting. How could he not know her answer? She had encouraged the proposal. And still he waited. Lydia opened her eyes and grinned. "I would be honored." The relief on his face nearly brought tears to her eyes. She lifted her hand and cupped his chin. "I would be honored," she repeated. "I love you so very much." As her future husband lowered his head once again, Lydia sighed dreamily. "We should go in," she whispered, tightening her hold, preventing him from going anywhere. "Absolutely," he said, nibbling at her lower lip. All thoughts of ballrooms and inquisitive glances were instantly drowned by the flow of marvelous sensations coursing through her body and a sudden desire to drag Robert deeper into the shadows. They would go back into the ballroom soon...but not yet.
Cindy Anstey (Duels & Deception)
Do you know these days? These days when the alarm rings, and there's no energy left to get up because you think that today nothing will change and nothing good will happen anyway? I had that feeling when I woke up this morning. The dream I had dreamt passed into the next day without any transition, and I cried myself awake. The alarm rang. I felt horrible, and I didn't know where I was. My dreams have always been very vivid, very real – it can be a blessing and a curse. Today it had been a curse. Usually, you cry yourself to sleep – but on particular days, you cry yourself awake. Years ago, which I can count on the fingers of both of my hands, I would have felt very much at home in this feeling. I would have wallowed in it. Melancholy had been my very best friend for oh so many years. But it's not like that anymore. Life is radiant and colourful. Even though there are days that seem dull and grey. But even those days will pass. Joy is an active choice. Sometimes you have to even fight for it. But one day, you will be richly gifted. Then you will gain something that weighs more than all the loneliness, the guilt, the sadness: pure life. Some time ago, I consciously decided against surrendering to the grey within me. And I promised myself to leave my bed every day, even on the days that seemed dull and grey, and to throw myself into the day the same way I wanted to throw myself into life. Life is the only thing we can call our very own. And if the grey appears to be too grey, one has to show one's true colours. Inside and out. And that's why I wear red because a pop of colour can frighten away the grey.
Dahi Tamara Koch (Within the event horizon: poetry prose)
I frequently forward the message that our spirit people are quite all right where they are. They respond with eagerness when a guest recognizes them, and are happy to spend some time conversing back and forth, through me. Yet they also seem to know that this kind of communication is only temporary, so most are quick to point out before they leave that they will meet their physical friends one day in the future. A forty-ish woman came for an appointment one day with her friend. As I tuned in, I felt the presence of a young woman who’d passed before her time in a vehicle accident. My client acknowledged her daughter, who had died at the age of nineteen while traveling to a camping weekend with friends. The spirit conveyed her joy at her mother’s presence, and insistently repeated that she really was safe and happy. Her younger sister needed to hear this message in particular, and she urged her mother to pass it on. “Do you miss us?” the mother asked. “Do you think about us and miss us, are you counting the days till we can be together again, too?” With a feeling of frustration from the spirit, I had to translate, “I’m fine!” yet again. This spirit came across as being almost dismissive of her family’s grief. As her mother cried on my couch, the spirit came through very much like a teenaged girl, saying “Oh Mom, come on! I’m fine!” After we concluded, I spent some time in meditation asking for help. How could I translate a spirit’s genuine well-being, without sounding dismissive myself? How could I show my clients that the spirit people are so certain of meeting again, that they rarely spend much time trying to convince us?
Priscilla A. Keresey (It Will All Make Sense When You're Dead: Messages From Our Loved Ones in the Spirit World)
The Christmas Key The key hangs untouched For 364 days For the day after Christmas Is the day I put it away It’s getting on to the Yule Tide The one that comes every year Where smiling eyes are all around And hearts that count are here Each year is more of a struggle Still we reach the journeys end To find that we’re not just family We are also the best of friends The holiday gift is not a package No price tag to cut and hide It’s a celebration of a birthday Shared with loved ones by your side We remember the unforgettable Give thanks to all that’s new Once again, savor the innocence Of a child’s dream come true One more memory to add to the last Of love, warmth, and joy One more feeling of what was That still touches this little boy When the day is over The memories are locked away And the key put back in its place
Thomas K. Hunt
God is saying when you stay full of joy, when you learn to offer up the sacrifice of praise, God will turn things in your favor. He will reverse negative situations. He will return, or restore, what’s been stolen. But notice that restoration doesn’t come from complaining, being negative, or being sour. Restoration takes place when you have the voice of gladness, the voice of joy. That means you get up in the morning with a song in your heart. You go out each day with a smile on your face. Things may not always go your way, but you don’t become discouraged. You shake it off and count it all joy. When you live that way, you might as well get ready. God will be reversing and restoring. He will reverse finances that have been down. He will reverse a struggling business. He will reverse a legal situation in your favor. He will reverse a health issue to heal you. Not only that, God will restore what should have been yours. He will restore the years you lost because somebody did you wrong. He will restore a relationship that’s on the rocks. Restoration will occur because you have the voice of joy, the voice of gladness, and you keep offering up that sacrifice of praise. Learn to count it all joy. Don’t be determined to never have problems. Be determined to stay full of joy in the midst of your problems. Arrange your mind in the right direction. And no matter what comes your way, don’t lose your joy. Learn to offer up that sacrifice of praise. If you keep the voice of gladness, the voice of joy, you cannot stay down and defeated. God has promised He will reverse and restore. Not only that, but because you have joy, you will find the strength to outlast every attack, to overcome every obstacle, to defeat every enemy. You will become everything God created you to be, and you will have everything God intended for you to have.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
Suddenly the idea struck me that surely it was selfish to ask Heaven for anything; would it not be better to reflect on all that had already been given to me, and to offer up thanks? Scarcely had this thought entered my mind when a sort of overwhelming sense of unworthiness came over me. Had I ever been unhappy? I wondered. If so, why? I began to count up my blessings and compare them with my misfortunes. Exhausted pleasure-seekers may be surprised to hear that I proved the joys of my life to have far exceeded my sorrows. I found that I had sight, hearing, youth, sound limbs, an appreciation of the beautiful in art and nature, and an intense power of enjoyment
Marie Corelli (Delphi Collected Works of Marie Corelli (Illustrated) (Delphi Series Eight Book 22))
Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is felt so little, when the humility in which Christ found joy and brings it to us, is so rarely desired? Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our most important joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world. I
Andrew Murray (Humility: The Beauty of Holiness)
trust Him more deeply and to know Him more fully. So we actually can count our trials as joy.
Gwen Smith (I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact)
The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple — how narrow, even — it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
Human nature tends to turn negative in difficult times. But the Scripture tells us to do just the opposite: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2 NKJV). That doesn’t seem to make sense to some people. “You mean we’re supposed to be joyful and glad-hearted in the middle of tough times?” they ask. Yes, that’s right, because when you lose your joy, you lose your strength. You need your strength more than ever in the difficult times, and your strength is dependent on your joy. When you’re facing a financial crisis, dealing with an illness, going through a breakup in a relationship, or raising a rebellious child, you need your strength. If you go through those challenges feeling negative, bitter, and discouraged, you will not have the vitality to stand strong and fight the good fight of faith. You can keep your joy by knowing that on the other side of each test is promotion. On the other side of every setback is opportunity. On the other side of every offense is growth. The difficulties you face are not there to defeat you. They are there to increase you. Just keep reminding yourself, Even though this is hard, even though I don’t understand it, even though it’s not fair, I’ll keep a good attitude and stay full of joy, knowing that this is not setting me back. It is setting me up for God to bring me through to the other side of this in an even better position.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
If you complain, you will remain. You’ll stay right there. If you become negative and soured on life, you won’t pass the test. There was promotion available. There was opportunity for new growth, but because you didn’t count it all joy, you missed out. The good news is this: God will give you another opportunity. He can still take you where you need to be. For instance, when someone offends you, your attitude should be, I won’t be upset. I’ll count it all joy. I know this is simply a test, and on the other side of this challenge I’ll be promoted. When business is slow, instead of griping, count it all joy. Tell yourself, This, too, shall pass. I know God is supplying all of my needs. Or when you face a disappointment, your negative emotions will tell you to be down and discouraged. You’ll feel self-pity trying to set in. But instead of submitting to those negative emotions, encourage yourself: Get up. Be strong. There are good days up ahead. That’s how you pass the test. That’s how you count it all joy.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
Tonight she'll be with Jeremy, her lieutenant, but she wants to be with Roger. Except that, really, she doesn't. Does she? She can't remember being so confused. When she is with Roger it's all love, but at any distance- any at all, Jack- she finds that he depresses and even frightens her. Why? On top of him in the wild nights riding up and down his cock her axis, trying herself to stay rigid enough not to turn to cream taper-wax and fall away melting to the coverlet coming there's only room for Roger, Roger, oh love to the end of breath. But out of bed, walking talking, his bitterness, his darkness, run deeper than the War, the winter: he hates England so, hates "the System," gripes endlessly, says he'll emigrate when the War's over, stays inside his paper cynic's cave hating himself... and does she want to bring him out, really? Isn't it safer with Jeremy? She tried not to allow this question to often, but it's there. Three years with Jeremy. They might as well be married. Three years ought to count for something. Daily, small stitches and easings. She's worn old Beaver's bathrobes, brewed his tea and coffee, sought his eye across lorry-parks, day rooms and rainy mud fields when all the day's mean, dismal losses could be rescued in the one look- familiar, full of trust, in a season where the word is invoked for quaintness or a minor laugh. And to rip it all out? three years? for this erratic, self-centered- boy, really. Weepers, he supposed to be past thirty, he's years older than she. He ought to've learned something, surely? A man of experience? /// If the rockets don't get her there's still her lieutenant. Damned Beaver/Jeremy IS the War, he is every assertion the fucking War has ever made- that we are meant work and government, for austerity: and these shall take priority over love, dreams, the spirit, the senses and the second-class trivia that are found among the idle and mindless hours of the day... Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane. Jeremy will take her like the Angel itself, in his joyless weasel-worded come-along, and Roger will be forgotten, an amusing maniac, but with no place in the rationalized power-ritual that will be the coming peace. She will take her husband's orders, she will become a domestic bureaucrat, a junior partner, and remember Roger, if at all, as a mistake thank God she did not make... Oh, he feels a raving fit coming on- how the bloody hell can he survive without her? She is the British warm that protects his stooping shoulders, and the wintering sparrow he holds inside his hands. She is his deepest innocence in spaces of bough and hay before wishes were given a separate name to warn they might not come true, and his lithe Parisian daughter of joy, beneath the eternal mirror, forswearing perfumes, capeskins to the armpits, all that is too easy, for his impoverishment and more worthy love. /// Jessica steps away from Roger to blow her nose. The sound is as familiar to him as a bird's song, ip-ip-ip-ip NGUNNGG as the hankerchief comes away..."Oh sooper dooper," she says, "think I'm catching a cold." You're catching the War. It's infecting you and I don't know how to keep it away. Oh, Jess. Jessica. Don't leave me....
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
Until a humility that rests in nothing less than the end and death of self, and which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did to seek the honor that comes from God alone (which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing) that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted—until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a faith that will conquer the world. I
Andrew Murray (Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness)
Therefore they spent such time as I was housekeeping, eating or sleeping, alone in the greenhouse, and I had to manage as best I could when, after these intervals, I went back to them, not to be knocked over by their joyful welcome. Gradually, however, things settled down. The secret of peace with puppies, I discovered—up to then I had had only ready-made dogs (except Bijou, who doesn’t count), and had everything to learn,—is to give them a great deal of exercise, and a great deal of food. They should be gorged; regularly. Then they will sleep for hours—quite long enough, I found, in Ingo and Ivo’s case, for me to deal justly with Mr. Anstruther, against whom I had been feeling rather a grudge. This, then, was the line I took; and presently a new rug was able safely to be put in the greenhouse, and while they lay on it, stupefied by well-being, lost to the world, a relaxed heap of paws and ears and tails, with two tightly-filled bellies to point the moral, I got on, once again, with Fräulein Schmidt.
Elizabeth von Arnim (All The Dogs Of My Life)
You ever stop to think about the evil in this world?” Father Brennan chuckled. “Of course. The evil in this world can seem quite overwhelming sometimes, but we have a choice to give in to it or not. For example, you choose to see evil because you’re tasked with bringing murderers to justice. People who watch television see evil because that’s what sells, so that’s all the media shows them. Me, I choose to see life. I see the joy of a new mother holding her child for the first time. I hear the laughter of newlyweds as they walk down the church aisle together as husband and wife. I see the joy of a family getting together for the holidays. These are the things that give me hope. I’ve seen the dark side too. More times than I wish to count. But I balance it with the good. I suggest you do the same. Evil is part of this world, as it’s part of your job, and it will remain so until the end of days, I’m afraid. You need to counterbalance it with the good. Find the good.
Matthew Farrell (What Have You Done)
Praise Him and Thank Him Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! Colossians 1:3 MSG Sometimes, life can be complicated, demanding, and busy. When the demands of life leave us rushing from place to place with scarcely a moment to spare, we may fail to pause and say a word of thanks for all the good things we’ve received. But when we fail to count our blessings, we rob ourselves of the happiness, the peace, and the gratitude that should rightfully be ours. Today, even if you’re busily engaged in life, slow down long enough to start counting your blessings. You most certainly will not be able to count them all, but take a few moments to jot down as many blessings as you can. Then, give thanks to the Giver of all good things: God. His love for you is eternal, as are His gifts. And it’s never too soon—or too late—to offer Him thanks. The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy. Mother Teresa The act of thanksgiving is a demonstration of the fact that you are going to trust and believe God. Kay Arthur The game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what it was. You see, when you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind. Eleanor H. Porter God is worthy of our praise and is pleased when we come before Him with thanksgiving. Shirley Dobson God has promised that if we harvest well with the tools of thanksgiving, there will be seeds for planting in the spring. Gloria Gaither MORE FROM GOD’S WORD Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 HCSB Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and
Freeman Smith (Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God's Unlimited Gift)
FINDING FULFILLMENT For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined . . . we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:10–12 NKJV Everywhere we turn, or so it seems, the world promises fulfillment, contentment, and happiness. But the contentment that the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, the fulfillment that God offers is all encompassing and everlasting. Sometimes, amid the inevitable hustle and bustle of life-here-on-earth, we can forfeit—albeit temporarily—the joy of Christ as we wrestle with the challenges of daily living. Yet God’s Word is clear: fulfillment through Christ is available to all who seek it and claim it. Count yourself among that number. Seek first a personal, transforming relationship with Jesus, and then claim the joy, the fulfillment, and the spiritual abundance that the Shepherd offers His sheep. In serving we uncover the greatest fulfillment within and become a stellar example of a woman who knows and loves Jesus. Vonette Bright We are never more fulfilled than when our longing for God is met by His presence in our lives. Billy Graham A TIMELY TIP Want to increase your sense of fulfillment? Then strive to find God’s path for your life . . . and follow it.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday ... For A Woman of Grace)
February 25 The Destitution of Service Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 2 Corinthians 12:15 Natural love expects some return, but Paul says—“I do not care whether you love me or not, I am willing to destitute myself completely, not merely for your sakes, but that I may get you to God.” “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.” Paul’s idea of service is exactly along that line—“I do not care with what extravagance I spend myself, and I will do it gladly.” It was a joyful thing to Paul. The ecclesiastical idea of a servant of God is not Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of other men. Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His Kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant of all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men, but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions—“Suppose God wants me to go there—what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things.” All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. The apostle Paul had no reserve. Paul focuses Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint in his life, viz.: not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
March 5 Is He Really Lord? . . . so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus. Acts 20:24 Joy means the perfect fulfilment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had lay in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says—“As My Father hath sent Me, even so am I sending you.” Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry. Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say—“Well done, good and faithful servant”; to know that you have done what He sent you to do. We have all to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this we must have companied with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Saviour. “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My sake.” “Lovest thou Me?” Then—“Feed My sheep.” There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
Happiness is wealth, all who are happy are counted as rich.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our most important joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world. I
Andrew Murray (Humility: The Beauty of Holiness)
The ocean is a good metaphor for our interconnected life. With a regular meditation practice, we can learn to surf life’s waves, but chances are good that we will sometimes be overpowered by them for a while. A technique like following your breath is a great surfboard for riding these waves. But when the surf is up and you’re being submerged in wave after wave of fear, anger, and anxiety, you may need a more specialized surfboard, possibly adding counting your breath, repeating a mantra or phrase that is meaningful to you, or doing walking meditation rather than simply sitting still. Sometimes Jerry and I felt as if we were wasting our time trying to surf—we were just getting knocked over by one wave after another. Days and sometimes even weeks went by when we weren’t making any progress at all—very discouraging. Life can be like that, but with a regular meditation practice, you learn to experience each wave not as an obstacle to your real life but as your real life. Eventually you may learn to enjoy the surf directly, with no board at all, experiencing the joy of being fully immersed in the water, regardless of its turbulent energies. Each wave has its own unique nature. It also has the nature of the entire ocean, because a wave is not separate from the ocean. You learn to be patient when you’re riding the energy of the entire ocean. Jerry and I surfed on calm days and on stormy days. Surfing on stormy days isn’t easy, but the storm is never separate from the calmness down below. Even so, for every thrilling swell that lifts you upward toward the sky, there is a trough that can send you reeling into the darkest depths. Troughs are part of the ocean, too. When you’re in a deep trough, you can’t go forward and you can’t retreat. Nor can you predict what will come next, because you can’t see beyond the trough. In the troughs, you learn to trust, to have courage, and to be patient—qualities that come naturally if you’re committed to surfing the entire ocean.
Tim Burkett (Zen in the Age of Anxiety: Wisdom for Navigating Our Modern Lives)
Take the work involved in raising a child. Kahneman found that when counting moments of joy and moments of drudgery, bringing up a child turns out to be a rather unpleasant affair. It consists largely of changing nappies, washing dishes and dealing with temper tantrums, which nobody likes to do. Yet most parents declare that their children are their chief source of happiness. Does it mean that people don’t really know what’s good for them? That’s one option. Another is that the findings demonstrate that happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather, happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile. There is an important cognitive and ethical component to happiness. Our values make all the difference to whether we see ourselves as ‘miserable slaves to a baby dictator’ or as ‘lovingly nurturing a new life’.2 As Nietzsche put it, if you have a why to live, you can bear almost any how. A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The word joy has all but disappeared from our current Christian vocabulary. One of the reasons is that we have thought that joy and happiness were found in comfort, ease, and luxury. James did not say, “Count it all joy when you fall into an easy chair,” but he said, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2).
Billy Graham (Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional)
38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels[a] shouted for joy? 8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? 12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, 13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? 14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. 15 The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken. 16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. 19 “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? 20 Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, 26 to water a land where no one lives, an uninhabited desert, 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? 28 Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? 29 From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens 30 when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? 31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c] or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth? 34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[f] or gives the rooster understanding?[g] 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens 38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together? 39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions 40 when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? 41 Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
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For sadness, we can reach out for comfort or count our blessings. As we saw, sadness is an emotion that expresses our need for one another, and our sorrows are halved when shared. We can also recognize that while sadness may last longer than other emotions, it, too, will pass. All life, the sadness and sorrow included, is impermanent and will end. There are always going to be highs and lows in any life, in any year, in any day. So much of our mood comes from what we focus on. We can choose to focus on what is going well for us and for the people in our life. As the Archbishop said, we can count our blessings. By putting our attention on the things we are grateful for, we can shift how much time we spend in sadness and how quickly we return to joy. The Dalai Lama’s ability to focus on what has been enriching about life in exile rather than all that has been lost has allowed him to go beyond sadness, grief, and even despair.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World)
We followed him to a covered veranda. In America, we would call that a lemonade porch, however, in South Africa, they call it a stoep. A meeting place located outside the front of the home where friends and family can gather, and one can watch the rising or the setting of the sun in the cozy spot simply called a stoep. The stoep projected a natural ambience of peace and harmony, as a light breeze filled the space with its woodsy fragrance of pine and other natural fragrances inspired by the area’s shrubbery. It almost felt like it was hypnotizing one into a deeper state of tranquility, a state of existence that celebrated the quiet pockets of solitude where a richer from of living is housed. It made one slouch a little more meaningfully and relax the muscles of your body a little more conscientiously, as you let go of one’s innate need to think – to think to the point of hyper focusing on the meaningless details of life, for example, the incessant need to make every moment in life count… Yet, the stoep’s lesson of deeper living is simply the gift of becoming reacquainted with the joy of just being – open yet connected to now, without a higher purpose beyond that. Sometimes, the greatest gift that we can give ourselves is just to sit in the rawness of the moment without any outcome or intention in mind – except, to breathe in the life of the area around us. That is where my afternoon’s lesson ended, knowing that a stoep is a space where quality of human connection is made with or without the presence of any audience because it’s that space that celebrates the stillness of nothing and yet everything simultaneously, or in the words of Rumi: “In order to understand the dance, one must be still. And in order to truly understand the stillness, one must dance.” In South Africa that concept is lovingly called…Die Stoep, a space of possibility.
hlbalcomb