It may not of happened the way you thought it would, but in the long run it will work out as it should.
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It may not of happened the way you thought it would, but in the long run it will work out as it should.

-Chris Burkmenn

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Yes,' he said, 'a list. That way, I figure, we'll have a written record of what we've agreed upon as our goals for our relationship. So if problems arise, we'll be able to consult the lists, see which issue it corresponds to, and work out a solution from there.'I could still hear my sister talking, but her voice was fading as she led her group around the house. I said, 'But what if that doesn't work?'Jason blinked at me. Then he said, 'Why wouldn't it?' 'Because,' I said.He just looked at me. 'Because...''Because,' I repeated, as a breeze blew over us,' sometimes things just happen. That aren't expected. Or on the list.''Such as?' he asked.'I don't know,' I said, frustrated. 'That's the point. It would be out of the blue, taking us by surprise. Something we might not be prepared for.''But we will be prepared,' he said, confused. 'We'll have the list.' I rolled my eyes. 'Jason,' I said.'Macy, I'm sorry.' He stepped back, looking at me. 'I just don't understand what you're trying to say.'And then it hit me: he didn't. He had no idea. And this thought was so ludicrous, so completely unreal, that I knew it just had to be true. For Jason, there was no unexpected, no surprises. His whole life was outlined carefully, in lists and sublists, just like the ones I'd helped him go through all those weeks ago. 'It's just...' I said and stopped, shaking my head.'It's just what?' He was waiting, genuinely wanting to know. 'Explain it to me.'But I couldn't. I'd had to learn it my own way, and so had my mother. Jason would eventually, as well. No one could tell you: you just had to go through it on your own. If you were lucky, you came out on the other side and understood. If you didn't, you kept getting thrust back, retracing those steps, until you finally got it right.

-Sarah Dessen

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If you drive the turnpikes and main-traveled highways of America you may have seen them… How many times have you found yourself waiting behind a lumbering RV eating exhaust and waiting impatiently for your chance to pass? Creeping along at forty when you could have been doing a perfectly legal sixty-five or even seventy? And when there’s finally a hole in the fast lane and you pull out—holy God—you see a long line of those damn things: gas hogs driven at exactly ten miles an hour below the speed limit driven by bespectacled golden oldies who hunch over their steering wheels, gripping them like they’re going to fly away. Or maybe you’ve encountered them in the turnpike rest areas when you stopped to stretch your legs and maybe drop a few quarters into the vending machines. The entrance ramps to those rest areas always divide in two, don’t they? Cars in one parking lot, longhaul trucks and RVs in the other. Usually the lot for the big rigs and RVs is a little farther away. You might have seen the True’s rolling motor homes parked in that lot, all in a cluster. You might have seen their owners walking up to the main building, slow because some of them look old and a lot of them are pretty darned fat. Always in a group. Always keeping to themselves……They’re annoying as Hell when they descend en masse on a rest area and fill up all the toilets, but once their balky, road-stunned bowels finally work and you’re finally able to take a pew yourself you put them out of your mind, don’t you? They’re no more remarkable than a flock of birds on a telephone wire or a herd of cows grazing beside the road. Oh, you might wonder how they can afford to fill those fuel guzzling monstrosities, because they must be on comfy fixed incomes how else could they spend all their time driving around like they do? And you might puzzle over why anyone would want to spend their golden cruising all those endless American miles between hoot and holler, but beyond that you probably never spared them a thought. And if you happen to be one of those unfortunate people who’s ever lost a kid—nothing left but a bike in the vacant lot down the street or a little cap lying in the bushes at the edge of a nearby stream—you probably never thought of them. Why would you? No, it was probably just some hobo, or, worse to consider but horribly plausible, some sick fuck from your very own town. Maybe your very own neighborhood. Maybe even your very own street. Some sick killer pervo who’s very good at looking normal and will go on looking normal until someone finds a clatter of bones in his basement or buried in his backyard. You’d never think of the RV people…

-Stephen King

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I don’t want to read about them!” But really, how can a picture hurt you?Better that each serve as a Hallmark card that greets your fitful fevers with reason and uncurtains your valor. Then, so gospeled, you may see that defeating a disaster is as innocently easy as deciding to go out to dinner. Remove the dread that bars your doors of perception, and you will enjoy a banquet of treats that will make the difference between suffering and safety. You will enter a brave new world that will erase your panic, and release you from the grip of terror, and relieve you of the deadening effects of indifference —and you will find that switch of initiative that will energize your intelligence, empower your imagination, and rouse your sense of vigilance in ways that will tilt the odds of danger from being forever against you to being always in your favor. Indeed, just thinking about a disaster is one of the best things you can do —because it allows you to imagine how you would respond in a way that is free of pain and destruction.Another reason why disasters seem so scary is that many victims tend to see them as a whole rather than divide them into much smaller and more manageable problems. A disaster can seem overwhelming when confronted with everything at once —but if you dice it into its tiny parts and knock them off one at a time, the whole thing can seem as easy as eating a lavish dinner one bite at a time.In a disaster you must also plan for disruption as well as destruction. Death and damage may make the news, but in almost every disaster far more lives are disrupted than destroyed. Wit­ness the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011 and killed 158 people. The path of death and destruction was less than a mile wide and only 22 miles long —but within thirty miles 160,000 citizens whose property didn’t suffer a dime of damage were profoundly disrupted by the carnage, loss of power and water, suspension of civic services, and inability to buy food, gas, and other necessities. You may rightfully believe your chances of dying in a disaster in your lifetime may be nearly nil, but the chances of your life being disrupted by a disaster in the next decade is nearly a sure thing.Not only should you prepare for disasters, you should learn to premeditate them. Prepare concerns the body; premeditate concerns the mind. Everywhere you go, think what could happen and how you might/could/would/should respond. Use your imagination. Fill your brain with these visualizations —run mind-movies in your head —develop a repertoire —until when you walk into a building/room/situation you’ll automatically know what to do. If a disaster does ambush you —sure you’re apt to panic, but in seconds your memory will load the proper video into your mobile disk drive and you’ll feel like you’re watching a scary movie for the second time and you’ll know what to expect and how to react. That’s why this book is important: its manner of vivifying disasters kickstarts and streamlines your acquiring these premeditations, which lays the foundation for satisfying your needs when a disaster catches you by surprise.

-Robert Brown

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I took a little walk outside for a while. I was surprised that I wasn't feeling what I thought people were supposed to feel under the circumstances. May be I was fooling myself. I wasn't delighted, but I didn't feel terribly upset, perhaps because we had known for a long time that it was going to happen.It's hard to explain. If a Martian(who, we'll imagine never dies except by accident) came to Earth and saw this peculiar race of creatures-these humans who live about seventy or eighty years, knowing that death is going to come--it would look to hi like a terrible problem of psychology to live under those circumstances, knowing that life is only temporary Well, we humans somehow figure out how to live despite this problem: we laugh, we joke, we live.The only difference for me and Arlene was, instead of fifty years, it was five years. It was only a quantitative difference--the psychological problem was just the same. The only way it would have become any different is if we had said to ourselves, "But those other people have it better, because they might live fifty years." But that's crazy. Why make yourself miserable saying things like, "Why do we have such bad luck? What has God done to us? What have we done to deserve this?"--all of which, if you understand reality and take it completely into your heart, are irrelevant and unsolvable. They are just things that nobody can know. Your situation is just an accident of life..We had a hell of good time together...

-Richard Feynman

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For Someone Awakening To The Trauma of His or Her Past: For everything under the sun there is a time. This is the season of your awkward harvesting, When the pain takes you where you would rather not go, Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place you had forgotten you knew from the inside out; And a time when that bitter tree was planted that has grown always invisibly beside you and whose branches your awakened hands now long to disentangle from your heart. You are coming to see how your looking often darkened when you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love, how deep down your eyes were always owned by something that faced them through a dark fester of thorns, converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong; You could only see what touched you as already torn. Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning. And your memory is ready to show you everything, having waited all these years for you to return and know. Only you know where the casket of pain is interred. You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering and, according to your readiness, everything will open. May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide who can accompany you through the fear and grief until your heart has wept its way to your true self. As your tears fall over that wounded place, may they wash away your hurt and free your heart. May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound so that for the first time you can walk away from that place, reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed, and feel the clear, free air bless your new face.

-Main admin

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Asking a writer why they like to write {in the theoretical sense of the question} is like asking a person why they breathe. For me, writing is a natural reflex to the beauty, the events, and the people I see around me. As Anais Nin put it, "We write to taste life twice." I live and then I write. The one transfers to the other, for me, in a gentle, necessary way. As prosaic as it sounds, I believe I process by writing. Part of the way I deal with stressful situations, catty people, or great joy or great trials in my own life is by conjuring it onto paper in some way; a journal entry, a blog post, my writing notebook, or my latest story. While I am a fair conversationalist, my real forte is expressing myself in words on paper. If I leave it all chasing round my head like rabbits in a warren, I'm apt to become a bug-bear to live with and my family would not thank me. Some people need counselors. Some people need long, drawn-out phone-calls with a trusted friend. Some people need to go out for a run. I need to get away to a quiet, lonesome corner--preferably on the front steps at gloaming with the North Star trembling against the darkening blue. I need to set my pen fiercely against the page {for at such moments I must be writing--not typing.} and I need to convert the stress or excitement or happiness into something to be shared with another person.The beauty of the relationship between reading and writing is its give-and-take dynamic. For years I gathered and read every book in the near vicinity and absorbed tale upon tale, story upon story, adventures and sagas and dramas and classics. I fed my fancy, my tastes, and my ideas upon good books and thus those aspects of myself grew up to be none too shabby. When I began to employ my fancy, tastes, and ideas in writing my own books, the dawning of a strange and wonderful idea tinged the horizon of thought with blush-rose colors: If I persisted and worked hard and poured myself into the craft, I could create one of those books. One of the heart-books that foster a love of reading and even writing in another person somewhere. I could have a hand in forming another person's mind. A great responsibility and a great privilege that, and one I would love to be a party to. Books can change a person. I am a firm believer in that. I cannot tell you how many sentiments or noble ideas or parts of my own personality are woven from threads of things I've read over the years. I hoard quotations and shadows of quotations and general impressions of books like a tzar of Russia hoards his icy treasures. They make up a large part of who I am. I think it's worth saying again: books can change a person. For better or for worse. As a writer it's my two-edged gift to be able to slay or heal where I will. It's my responsibility to wield that weapon aright and do only good with my words. Or only purposeful cutting. I am not set against the surgeon's method of butchery--the nicking of a person's spirit, the rubbing in of a salty, stinging salve, and the ultimate healing-over of that wound that makes for a healthier person in the end. It's the bitter herbs that heal the best, so now and again you might be called upon to write something with more cayenne than honey about it. But the end must be good. We cannot let the Light fade from our words.

-Rachel Heffington

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My route, Sior Francis—and don't be surprised when you hear it—my route when I set out to find God... was... laziness. Yes, laziness. If I wasn't lazy I would have gone the way of respectable, upstanding people. Like everyone else I would have studied a trade—cabinet-maker, weaver, mason—and opened a shop; I would have worked all day long, and where then would I have found time to search for God? I might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack: that's what I would have said to myself. All my mind and thoughts would have been occupied with how to earn my living, feed my children, how to keep the upper hand over my wife. With such worries, curse them, how could I have the time, or inclination, or the pure heart needed to think about the Almighty?But by the grace of God I was born lazy. To work, get married, have children, and make problems for myself were all too much trouble. I simply sat in the sun during winter and in the shade during summer, while at night, stretched out on my back on the roof of my house, I watched the moon and the stars. And when you watch the moon and the stars how can you expect your mind not to dwell on God? I couldn't sleep any more. Who made all that? I asked myself. And why? Who made me, and why? Where can I find God so that I may ask Him? Piety requires laziness, you know. It requires leisure—and don't listen to what others say. The laborer who lives from hand to mouth returns home each night exhausted and famished. He assaults his dinner, bolts his food, then quarrels with his wife, beats his children without rhyme or reason simply because he's tired and irritated, and afterwards he clenches his fists and sleeps. Waking up for a moment he finds his wife at his side, couples with her, clenches his fists once more, and plunges back into sleep.... Where can he find time for God? But the man who is without work, children, and wife thinks about God, at first just out of curiosity, but later with anguish.

-Nikos Kazantzakis

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You stand alone upon a height," he said, dreamily, "like one in a dreary land. Behind you all is darkness, before you all is darkness; there is but one small space of light. In that one space is a day. They come, one at a time, from the night of To-morrow, and vanish into the night of Yesterday."I have thought of the days as men and women, for a woman's day is not at all like a man's. For you, I think, they first were children, with laughing eyes and little, dimpled hands. One at a time, they came out of the darkness, and disappeared into the darkness on the other side. Some brought you flowers or new toys and some brought you childish griefs, but none came empty-handed. Each day laid its gift at your feet and went on."Some brought their gifts wrapped up, that you might have the surprise of opening them. Many a gift in a bright-hued covering turned out to be far from what you expected when you were opening it. Some of the happiest gifts were hidden in dull coverings you took off slowly, dreading to see the contents. Some days brought many gifts, others only one."As the days grew older, some brought you laughter; some gave you light and love. Others came with music and pleasure--and some of them brought pain.""Yes," sighed Evelina, "some brought pain.""It is of that," went on the Piper, "that I wished to be speaking. It was one day, was it not, that brought you a long sorrow?""Yes.""Not more than one? Was it only one day?""Yes, only one day," "See," said The Piper, gently, "the day came with her gift. You would not let her lay it at your feet and pass on into the darkness of Yesterday. You held her by her grey garments and would not let her go. You kept searching her sad eyes to see whether she did not have further pain for you. Why keep her back from her appointed way? Why not let your days go by?""The other days," murmured Evelina, "have all been sad.""Yes, and why? You were holding fast to one day--the one that brought you pain. So, with downcast eyes they passed you, and carried their appointed gifts on into Yesterday, where you can never find them again. Even now, the one day you have been holding is struggling to free herself from the chains you have put upon her. You have no right to keep a day.""Should I not keep the gifts?" she asked. His fancy pleased her."The gifts, yes--even the gifts of tears, but never a day. You cannot hold a happy day, for it goes too quickly. This one sad day that marched so slowly by you is the one you chose to hold. Lady," he pleaded, "let her go!

-Myrtle Reed

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Did you know I always thought you were braver than me? Did you ever guess that that was why I was so afraid? It wasn't that I only loved some of you. But I wondered if you could ever love more than some of me. I knew I'd miss you. But the surprising thing is, you never leave me. I never forget a thing. Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn't happen twice. And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all. I know young people look at me and think my youth seems so far away, but it's all around me, and you're all around me. Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels magic. The lost boys all stood at our wedding. Does it seem odd to you that they could have stood at a wedding that wasn't yours and mine? It does to me. and I'm sorry for it, and for a lot, and I also wouldn't change it. It is so quiet here. Even with all the trains and the streets and the people. It's nothing like the jungle. The boys have grown. Everything has grown. Do you think you will ever grow? I hope not. I like to think that even if I change and fade away, some other people won't. I like to think that one day after I die, at least one small particle of me - of all the particles that will spread everywhere - will float all the way to Neverland, and be part of a flower or something like that, like that poet said, the one that your Tik Tok loved. I like to think that nothing's final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don't, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I'll see you sometime again, even if it's not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the way things go after all - that all things end happy. Even for you and Tik Tok. and for you and me.Always, Your PeterP.S. Please give my love to Tink. She was always such a funny little bug.

-Jodi Lynn

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Seven years ago tonight, every dream I ever had came true. That's not something too many men get to claim. I'm very lucky, blessed, whichever you believe. Probably a lot of both. Tonight marks the anniversay of my debut performance at Caesars Palace." On his cue, the crowd whipped into congratulatory rapture.Blindsided by his recollection, Isabel was motionless. That's what he recalls happening on this date? "Indulgent, lazy, self-centered ... jerk!" she said, grabbing her purse, thinking she'd climb over the seat. "I'm going home!" Before she could turn, hoisting herself over, a spotlight landed on her. In the darkened arena Aidan and Isabel were face-to-face. He stared. The same way he did years ago in his pickup truck, holding tight to her wrist, the same way he did on the dance floor at the gala. The same way he did the moment she left him."If you can believe it," he said, still staring, "something even more improtant happened that day. As dreams of fame and fortune go, this topped everything. I've always known that." Then, in a softer voice: "And I'm a fool because I should have never given up." Even from her vantage point, Isabel could see the gulp roll through his throat. "It's my great privilege this evening to introduce my wife, Isabel Royce." He gestured to the box. Isabel responded by sinking to her seat."What's he talking about?" she hissed to Mary Louise. "We're divorced!" From her right, Tanya nudged her. It was like being on a palace balcony, Isabel offering a deer-in-the-headlights wave to the subjects, a thoroughly baffled look at Aidan. In return, he smiled at her clear confusion."My wife ...""Why is he calling me that?"There was a mixed reaction, lots of gasps, some applause, and the disappointed groans of female fans. "She's done me the tremendous honor of making a rare appearance at one of my shows. Seven years ago, she agreed to marry me. At the time, my life was more trouble than promise. We were just two scared kids who had nothing but each other. Really, it was all I needed. We were married in true Vegas fashion." Hoots and hollers echoed, his glance dropping to the stage floor. Sharing this was making the performer uncomfortable. He pushed on. "While most women would have been satisfied with a ring ..." His long fingers fluttered over the snake. "This was Isabel's idea of a permanent bond." It drew a wave of subtle laughter, Isabel included "Do you remember how the story went?" he said, speaking only to Isabel in a crow of thousands. "As long as I had it, I'd never be without you. Turns out, it wasn't a story, it was the absolute truth. Lately though," he said, turning back to his public narrative, "circumstance, some serious, some calculated, has prevented me from getting my wife's attention. So tonight I resorted to an old performer's trick, a captive audience. I planned this moment, Isabel, knowing you'd be here. Regardless of anything you may believe, I meant what I said on our wedding night, in the moment I said it. I love you. I always have.

-Laura Spinella

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The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care.I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.'I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research.Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery.To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be.Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit.So, I believed.

-Lance Armstrong

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The Chinese ideograph for forbearance is a heart with a sword dangling over it, another instance of language's brilliant way of showing us something surprising and important fossilized inside the meaning of a word. Vulnerability is built into our hearts, which can be sliced open at any moment by some sudden shift in the arrangements, some pain, some horror, some hurt. We all know and instinctively fear this, so we protect our hearts by covering them against exposure. But this doesn't work. Covering the heart binds and suffocates it until, like a wound that has been kept dressed for too long, the heart starts to fester and becomes fetid. Eventually, without air, the heart is all but killed off, and there's no feeling, no experiencing at all.To practice forbearance is to appreciate and celebrate the heart's vulnerability, and to see that the slicing or piercing of the heart does not require defense; that the heart's vulnerability is a good thing, because wounds can make us more peaceful and more real—if, that is, we are willing to hang on to the leopard of our fear, the serpent of our grief, the boar of our shame without running away or being hurled off. Forbearance is simply holding on steadfastly with whatever it is that unexpectedly arises: not doing anything; not fixing anything (because doing and fixing can be a way to cover up the heart, to leap over the hurt and pain by occupying ourselves with schemes and plans to get rid of it.) Just holding on for hear life. Holding on with what comes is what makes life dear....Simply holding on this way may sound passive. Forbearance has a bad reputation in our culture, whose conventional wisdom tells us that we ought to solve problems, fix what's broken, grab what we want, speak out, shake things up, make things happen. And should none of this work out, then we are told we ought to move on, take a new tack, start something else. But this line of thinking only makes sense when we are attempting to gain external satisfaction. It doesn't take into account internal well-being; nor does it engage the deeper questions of who you really are and what makes you truly happy, questions that no one can ignore for long... Insofar as forbearance helps us to embrace transformative energy and allow its magic to work on us... forbearance isn't passive at all. It's a powerfully active spiritual force, (67-70).

-Norman Fischer

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