Archive for the ‘Inspirational Quotes’ Category

One of Japan’s most read and best-loved authors, Kenji Miyazawa, once said: “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” I am unfamiliar with many of Miyazawa’s works, but his quote resonates in my soul, and I am sure many of you will remark its relevance in your own lives. Each one of us is fighting our own battles – at war with people, ideals, thoughts, diseases, our own minds, etc. At any one moment, we are working to overcome various adversities in our lives so we can hopefully discover, at the very least, contentment, and at the very most, pure and utter happiness.

To say that the road to happiness is “difficult” is an understatement. It is full of perils, unexpected obstacles, and, sometimes, lessons you were hoping you never had to learn. But what is a journey without all of these obstacles? Well, I would argue, it’s not a “journey” at all. Yes, in the literal sense, a journey is an “act of traveling from one place to another” (thank you Merriam-Webster), but in the mental, physical, and emotional sense, a journey isn’t just another word for “trip.” The dictionary forgets to mention the hard work, perseverance, despair, heartache, sadness, accomplishment, and every other emotion in the realm of possibilities when it belittles the word to its simple one-to-two-line(s) definition. Getting from the defined “one place to another” isn’t easy, and we have to come to terms with all of the physical and emotional roadblocks along the way. But as painful as the journey can be, if we embrace the pain and we use it for fuel, we can keep on going – keep on chugging along no matter the pace.

We are constantly journeying through life in an effort to follow our dreams; at times along the way, we’ll take two steps back, and other times, we will have leaped ahead three. What’s important is remembering that the journey is where we find out who we are – where we realize the fight we have within us and the will to never give up. What kind of life is worth living if you are always walking through the raindrops? What sense of accomplishment do you glean from being handed your goal – from never having to work to achieve your dreams? Embrace the individual rain that pours down on each of you – the rain that drenches your perfectly planned life journey – and just get wet once in a while. See the adversity. Relish in the disappointment. Really feel the heartache. Envelop yourself in the pain. Then try and overcome it – burn it as fuel – the victory will taste that much sweeter, and the journey will mean that much more.

In the end, the destination is not really the reward…


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Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day – marking 65 years since Auschwitz, the abhorrent death camp where more than 1 million people were slaughtered, was liberated by Soviet troops. More than 6 million Jews and millions of others were tortured, enslaved, starved, beaten, and mercilessly killed during the Holocaust; and today, we honor all those persons who lost their lives as well as those persons who were fortunate enough to survive the horror. I am of Russian decent on my father’s side of the family and come from a long line of strong and courageous Jewish men and women. I have distant relatives who died during the Holocaust, and every time I look at the intricate family tree that my great aunt created for my father and see “dec. Holocaust” next to the names of some of my family members, I observe a moment of silence and pray to God for the peace, acceptance, and understanding this world needs so badly.

Since I was a little girl, I have so admired Anne Frank and her positive attitude and sunny disposition despite the circumstances she was forced to live in. At the young age of 13, Anne and her family hid in a secret annex attached to her father’s office in order to escape deportation to Nazi death camps. Two years after going into hiding, Anne’s family was discovered, and all the persons in the annex were eventually shipped to concentration camps. At age 15, Anne lost her life from Typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp only a few weeks prior to its liberation by British troops. Long after her death, Anne will always be remembered, because the world has been so blessed with the chance to read her diary – a chance to experience her strength and optimism during the worst time in her life. Anne Frank is a true inspiration to all of us, and today, I want to share with you some of my favorite quotes from her diary. The beyond-her-years wisdom she had as a young teenager will never be forgotten.

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

“We all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same.”

“I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time. In my diary I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.”

“And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.”

Today, in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, please take a moment to remember all those persons who were killed and those that survived during this disgusting atrocity on one group of people by another group of people. We all can use a reminder of what happens when racism, prejudice, and hatred run rampant – and often go unnoticed.

Anne Frank: 1929 - 1945

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Let’s not kid ourselves…I’m a cat person – always have been, always will be. For some reason, my interest in these furry felines has made for numerous jokes (many that I often make at my own expense) and a growing collection of cat-related memorabilia that people have given me over the years (cat push-pins, magnets, calendars, stuffed animals, books, and the list goes on and on). I love animals in general, but I just LOVE cats and have had three (two currently – shout-out to Odie and Rudy!) in my past 26 years. So when I came across a story about a missing cat that hobbled his way back to his home on two badly broken legs, it both broke my heart and inspired me.

One year-old Giggle Blizzard was on a routine play-date with his siblings in Spring Hill, FLA when he got separated from them and was hit by a car, unbeknown to his owner, Tracie Steger. That evening, when Steger called for her cats, all returned home – except for Blizzard. Steger searched all over the neighborhood and put a posting on CraigsList, but all leads to Blizzard’s whereabouts proved inconclusive. Eleven days later, on Thanksgiving evening, Steger found one more thing to be thankful for – Blizzard returned.  Steger had been spending time with family and friends when she heard meowing coming from outside. Much to her surprise, and extreme excitement, Blizzard was at the door. According to Steger, “he was meowing and he pulled himself into the house. He put his two front legs forward and his back legs kind of zig-zagged and skittled forward to catch up.” Poor little Blizzard’s hind legs were badly broken, but Orthopedic veterinary surgeon, Dr. Michael Kern, was able to save them. Now, Blizzard is catching up on some much-deserved R and R until he gets his casts removed in a month’s time.

Giggle Blizzard’s happy ending reminds me of an inspirational quote that we should all keep with us when we are ready to throw in the towel:

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

We can all learn a thing or two  about persistence and perseverance from Blizzard and his willingness to never give up on his journey back home – even with two broken legs and very little food and water. Whatever your journey may be, keep at it – remember, you may not be there yet, but you are closer than you were yesterday.

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Stanley Dudek gets the award for “Outstanding Citizen of the Week.” I have instituted this award, so, unfortunately, he doesn’t receive an actual prize; but if I was personally acquainted with Stanley, I would bake him a fresh banana bread (my goody of the week) – he deserves it. Stanley, 75 years young, was rummaging through a collection of items that belonged to his mother who had died 10 years prior when he came upon an old book entitled Facts I Ought To Know About The Government Of My Country by William H. Bartlett. As it turned out, the book didn’t actually belong to Stanley’s mother; it belonged to the New Bedford Public Library in Massachusetts and was, oh, about 36, 000 days overdue. Yes, the book was due back to the local library on May 10, 1910. Stanley felt that returning the book to the library was the right thing to do and he offered to pay the $361.35 fine (which the library ended up waiving).

Stanley’s gesture reminds us that it is never too late to do the right thing. No matter how big or small, it’s never too late to wrong a right, address a grievance, or admit fault. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Stanley Dudek – I salute your integrity.

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We all know that work, no matter what kind of work you are involved in, can often be tough, draining, and burdensome. There are some days that you just want to throw in the towel and head home to enjoy a long bath and a glass (sometimes a bottle) of wine and look to tomorrow as a fresh start. But even if you are up to your ears in emails, client requests, and deadlines, there are always those bright spots at work to look out for. Eventually, all your hard work will pay off, even if it feels like you sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

This morning, I came into work and found a bright spot sitting right in my inbox. Smushed in between my daily Ad Age and a few other client emails was an email from Audrey – a graphic designer who is employed by one of my agency’s clients that I had recently started corresponding with. Audrey had taken her personal time to send me an inspirational, encouraging, and thoughtful email that further proves how hard work and a good attitude can really reward you in the end. Although Audrey’s email was only a few short paragraphs, her kind words (and I think we all know by now what a big fan I am of kind words!) warmed my heart and pushed me to not only continue to work hard, but to keep being nice to all those I come in contact with. A smile directed towards the grocery store checkout boy, a “Have a great day!” to a telephone customer service rep, a friendly email to a SEO Specialist you’ve never met but occasionally work with – this is the small stuff that not only brightens up other people’s day, but also your own day. The wise romantic poet, William Wordsworth, got it right when he said, “The best portion of a good man’s life – his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”

Audrey’s kind words 🙂 :

Thank you, Courtney, for your expertise and recommendations for this part of <insert client> – leaving out for privacy purposes>. There is so much (logical) sense to this technology and it’s so helpful to have your guidance.

The reason I’m writing directly to you and not the group is that I appreciate that you are a very dedicated person who clearly has enthusiasm for your work, and that’s a rare thing to come across these days! You are informed and bright, but also go further by corresponding in a friendly and thorough way that truly helps. A positive tone in a sometimes stressful world!

Have a nice Thanksgiving Day and will stay in touch again when <client contact> weighs in as we proceed with the project.


Thank you Audrey for helping me savor the small stuff and bringing sunshine to my day on this lovely Thanksgiving eve!

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I am often reminded of the age-old adage: “Actions speak louder than words” – I seem to come across the saying either quilted on a pillow, painted on a canvas, or adhered to a magnet while thumbing through those inspirational gift catalogs most us receive in the mail (but have never really figured out how we landed on their mailing lists in the first place). Although I do believe that actions are pertinent to showing one another how much we care, I also believe that words can be extremely impactful; thus, why we should always choose them wisely. Unkind words can sting to the core, but kind words can replenish the soul. When someone offers you kind words, and you can see the honest intentions in his or her eyes and/or hear the sincere meaning in her voice, those words can forever stay etched in your mind. A true compliment can last a lifetime.

The Redskins lost to the Falcons this past Sunday (I promise this bit of information does tie into the intention of my post). My father is an NFL trivia and fact machine – I think at least 1/4 of his brain is dedicated to storing football-related information (another 1/4 is dedicated to storing information surrounding the circumstances of the JFK assassination). Luckily, he is a very smart man with a rather large brain, so he has enough free space for this type of information. As a Washington D.C. native, Big Dave (my dad’s nickname) ingrained Redskins football in mine and my sisters’ heads at a very young age. We were well aware that a bad Redskins play could cause irreversible damage to the remote control as well as my dad’s vocal chords, so we often stayed away from the den on Sunday afternoons. I quickly adopted my dad’s loyalty to the Skins, and to this day, I always root for them (we Redskins fans are not fair-weather fans) while adorned in one of the many Redskins t-shirts my dad has bought me over the years.

So, needless to say, when the Redskins lost yet another game this past Sunday, I called my dad to “rap” (my mother and sisters may be the only persons able to comprehend that reference 😉 ) football and discuss the logistics of the game. We discussed the ins and outs of the quarters, previous games, player stats, etc. (once you mention the Redskins to my dad, you have to be mentally prepared to discuss the team for at LEAST 15 minutes). Our conversation eventually shifted to our life’s happenings. I talked about my blog, upcoming holiday plans, my social life, etc., and my dad recounted what he and his wife, Vanessa, had been up to and his immediate plans to hit the gym pending the end of our conversation. Before we hung up, my dad told me that I was the “greatest” and he couldn’t “ask for a better daughter.” He just kind of randomly said it, at his leisure, but  I knew he was speaking from the heart and meant every word he said. These are the kinds of words that can replenish the soul; these are the types of words that give “Actions speak louder than words” a run for its money. What I think it all comes down to is that both positive words AND positive actions are imperative human expressions that can mean the world to someone else when directed towards him or her. My dad’s quick 10 seconds of expressive love mean so much to me and are just an example of the love and support my parents, sisters, family, and friends bestow upon me. They brighten my world one word at a time.

Today, I challenge you to take a few seconds out of your day to let someone know how much he or she means to you – to not only show her, but to tell her. Your kind words could alter the course of her day for the better – they could add that much-needed color to her currently bleak day. As Dale Carnegie says, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient my cherish them over a lifetime.” Remember those words as you express kind words of your own.

You rock - you rule!

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My niece, Emma, just had her birthday yesterday, and although she only turned eight, she is wise beyond her years. She has a Facebook profile so she can talk to my sister and me (her aunts) online and pass along “flair” to her 12 friends (my best friends and her mom’s best friends 🙂 ). She is a regular Curious George (just much smarter) and has figured out on her own how to update her profile, upload pictures, write on walls, make comments, etc. I noticed that she updated her profile the other day with the following quote (written exactly as it appears on her profile):

“Don’t ever judge people by there looks. Judge them by the indside.”

I was so impressed with her words and wanted to share her insight with you – I did say she is wise beyond her years, didn’t I!? I have learned, over the years, that if we open our ears, eyes, and our hearts to children, we will listen to and receive some of the best advice we will ever get. Children are innocent and are untouched by the stresses of everyday, adult life. They see every situation in life exactly as it is, without any bias or preconceived notions. If we, adults, applied that same type of thinking into our thoughts and decisions, we would probably live much happier lives. My niece has inadvertently reminded me to never judge a book by its cover and to hold my inordinate judgments to myself. Judging someone before getting to know him or her may cause us to miss out on gaining a new friend and soaking in all the knowledge that person has to share. In the end, our fixed judgment only punishes ourselves. As my extremely wise mother has always taught my sisters and me, “Pretty is as pretty does.” So taking the advice of two beautiful and inspirational women in my life (my niece and my mother), I am going to remember to always “act pretty” by only “judging the inside and not the outside.” I hope you’ll do the same 🙂


Emma Grace - Age 8!

Emma and Jack

So persnickety... 😉

Emma's Art

An Example of Emma's Exceptional Art!

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