Inspirational Quotes from Authors and Everyone Else

You never know when and where you’re going to find helpful words from others. These sayings are primarily from authors, but I threw in others I also like to recall from time to time:

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

“Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.” (This plaque was a late birthday and early Christmas gift from my aunt one year that I kept in every cubicle I worked in. It’s now on the wall in my home office.)

Let those that love us, love us.

For those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts. And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles,

So we’ll know them by their limping.


Please do not feel totally, completely, and utterly responsible for everything. That’s my job. — Love, God

For true piece of mind, resign as master of the universe. (Unknown)

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.

~ Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)

Pobody’s Nerfect — From a bookmark I used to have…

“…every hour misspent is lost forever” and that “future years cannot compensate for lost days at this point in your life.”

George Washington, counseling a young college student

“Light reading (by this I mean books of little importance) may amuse for the moment, but leave nothing solid behind.”

George Washington, to his adopted grandson entering college

Both quotes are from Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

Seen on a bookmark at Barnes & Noble: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  –George Eliot

H. G. Wells: “The strongest passion in human beings is not love and is not hate; it is one person’s desire to change another’s copy.”

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Albert Einstein

“I love the place; the magnificent books; I require books as I require air.”   ~ Sholem Asch

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” ~ Carl Sandburg ~

Time takes its own course. – From the mom of a MetroAccess driver we met on January 1, 2011.

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. — G.K. Chesterton, quoted in the January 2nd comic strip “Lio”

Hope is a risk that must be run. Georges Bernanos, Last Essays

Grace is everywhere.” — Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos; quoted in Father Greg and the Homeboys

Since Sunday, January 15, 2010 was the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday, here are two of his quotes, published in The Writer’s Almanac the same day:

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive. Therefore, I am not yet discouraged about the future. Granted that the easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible. Granted that those who pioneer in the struggle for peace and freedom will still face uncomfortable jail terms, painful threats of death; they will still be battered by the storms of persecution, leading them to the nagging feeling that they can no longer bear such a heavy burden, and the temptation of wanting to retreat to a more quiet and serene life. Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.”

When I became an adult I put away childish things, including the fear of seeming childish and the desire to be very grown-up.” — C. S. Lewis

“In hard times, libraries are more important than ever. Human beings need what books give them better than any other medium … They are quite simply another kind of food. We imagine, and then we live.” – Pete Hamill

Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this. ~ Toni Morrison

“If knowledge is power, what is all this other stuff?” – Maggie Secara

“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson

From the March 18th issue of A Prairie Home Companion newsletter:  “Do not criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes…. then you can criticize them because you’re a mile away… and you’ve got their shoes.”

This joke was submitted by Eric Todd from Charlotte, NC.  Thanks!

Where there is great love there is always miracles.  — Willa Cather

Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working. ~Pablo Picasso

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. — Soren Kierkegaard

When I watched the Hallmark movie Time After Time, it ended with this Kierkegaard quote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

And also from SK (He was a smart guy, apparently) — “Don’t forget to love yourself.” and “Be that self which one truly is.”

Dayenu – “It would have been enough.

Love must be learned, and learned again; there is no end to it. — Katherine Anne Porter

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face….You must do the thing which you think you cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Only a fool wishes for a rainstorm in the sunshine. (This is a paraphrase from a line in a recent episode of Blue Bloods.)

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” –Henry David Thoreau

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
– John Wooden

“Do not stop dreaming. Without dreams, sleep would get awfully boring.” — From a Hoang’s fortune cookie.

“Don’t worry if the mule goes blind; just load the wagon.” — A friend’s wisdom.

“Mountains can never meet, but people can meet again.” — Swahili proverb (In a March 8, 2012 article on Tanzania in Washington Post magazine)

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Rise up and attack the day with enthusiasm.

Don’t judge people. You never know what kind of battle they are fighting.  — (A friend shared these two previous items on his Facebook page.)

Nan Russell is a Montana-based HR professional and author. These quotes are from her newsletter for the new year:

All we can control are our choices. ~ Maya Angelou

  • “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~  Maria Robinson
  • “Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror”  ~  Byrd Baggett
  • “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
    ~ Walt Disney
  • “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” ~ Albert Einstein

“We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” — Roger Ebert

“Never give up. Go over, go under, go around, or go through–but never give up.” — Sign in the physical therapy room of a local rehab hospital.

“Aim for the moon. But just in case you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.”  — Comedian Steve Harvey, quoting his father

“Life itself is the proper binge.” — Julia Child

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

—  All by Groucho Marx

“Celebrate today, cherish yesterday, Dream tomorrow.

Dream. The future belongs to those who dream.”

–Sign at Mount Vernon Hospital

“No struggle, no progress.”

–Colleen, server at Paddy Barry’s

Organized people are too lazy to look for things.

–From a library display on organizing and de-cluttering

“I cannot live without books.” — Thomas Jefferson

–Banner at Tysons Pimmit Regional Library

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

–Albert Einstein

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

–C.S. Lewis, from a Novel Teas tea bag

“There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness, no better cure than busyness.”

–Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

“It doesn’t matter.” (Indonesian proverb about letting go of small things)

On aging: “Don’t worry. You haven’t gone that many miles yet on the roadway of life.”

–George, my wheelchair guy

“Worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening. It just keeps you from enjoying the good.”

–From a Peanuts cartoon a friend sent me.

“Be happy. Work hard. Be kind.”  –Seen on Facebook

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?”
Gabrielle Roth

“I do yoga. I drink green tea. I burn candles. And I still want to smack somebody!”

(From a catalog. I laughed so hard I shared with others–who also got big laughs out of it.)

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.  — C. S. Lewis

“If you don’t jump, you’ll never know how high you can soar.: — Steve Harvey

“Reading is pure life.”–Costa Rican saying

“Doing nothing is doing something.” –Anna Quindlen

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”–Mark Twain

“The person who doesn’t change his mind is a fool.:” Ghanian saying

Coffee shop signs seen in passing:




“Drink coffee!  Do stupid things faster with more energy!”

“No, we don’t have wi-fi. Please talk to each other.” (On blackboard behind counter.)


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop (The Lion and the Mouse)


“Do all the good that you can

In all the ways that you can

In all the places you can

At all the times you can

To all the people you can

As long as ever you can.”

—John Wesley


“I’m not much on nostalgia, but I do look back with love. It’s OK to look back, as long as you don’t stare.”

–Tom Paxton, singer/songwriter–at The Birchmere with John McCutcheon an Robin Bullock, Oct. 29, 2016


“If you don’t want someone to drive off a cliff, DON’T hand them the car keys.”

–Steve Harvey, on his talk show

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”

~Sarah Caldwell

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” 

~Mary Anne Radmacher

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” 

~Marjorie Hinckley

Four things you can’t recover: 1) The stone after the throw. 2) The word after it’s said. 3) The occasion after it’s missed. 4) The time after it’s gone.

–Seen in a catalog.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” ~ Epictetus

“Love’s a crazy thing. It takes you by surprise.”

–Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

“Different people change the world. Normal people never did a crapping thing.”

–Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry 

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

–Jane Austen

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

–Seen on a placque for sale in a drugstore

When in doubt, go to the library.

–Seen on a T shirt









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