I want Angela to know that I still have the mini-journal she gave me in 2004. It's looking worn now, the cover edges frayed, the corners bent, and the binding lifting from years of being stuffed into assorted purses and bags. I never left home without it.
From its cover, however, the round, yellow faces are still smiling at me in sundry black and red expressions. The corners of some of the mouths turn up politely. Other faces sport a toothless grin and an obvious wink. Still others let loose in an open-mouthed guffaw so profound that they must close their eyes. The most daring wear black and white goggles.
More important than the hundreds of smiles, Angela's thoughtful gift spills over with expressions and quotations in French and English, so much that I have purchased a sister for it, an elegant, slightly larger journal in Grecian blue with white flowers in relief, complete with a protective elastic fastener.
Today, I am sharing some of its treasures with you. Interspersed with the glossary correspondences I want to integrate into my French vocabulary are wise, thought-provoking insights gleaned here and there over the years. They have been my inspiration and, sometimes, my equilibrium. I hope they resonate with you, too.
Everything you can imagine will happen to you, but nothing will ever happen the way you imagine.
(Doug Lennox, Now You Know More)
Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.
(Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
Throughout history, the most common, debilitating human condition has been cold feet.
(Sign in a principal's office)
Lost is a place, too.
(Christina Crawford, Survivor)
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
(Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie)
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
You should be able to give away your most cherished possession without your heart beating faster.
When you dream, do not be realistic and fit your dream to what exists and is possible. Fit your dream to what should exist and should be possible.
Tom Landry, whose football players were not allowed to celebrate in the end zone after a touchdown: I want them to act like they've been there before.
One of the jobs of a leader is to remind citizens of their most decent intentions.
(John Ralston Saul, My Fair Country)
Hope is what each one of us imagines as a good future.
Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that we know it. Teaching is reminding others that they already have the answers to their own questions.
(Richard Bach, Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)
To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.
(Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible)
A life that is planned is a life that is closed, my friend. It can be endured, perhaps, but it cannot be lived.
(The Inn of the Sixth Happiness--film)
She never knew what the real treasures were.
(Cynthia Voigt, Solitary Blue)
Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.
My real treasure . . . is your presence; it is those rays of intelligence you have elicited from my brain, the languages you have implanted in my memory, and which spring there with all their philological ramifications. These different sciences that you have made so easy to me by the depth of the knowledge you possess of them and the clearness of the principles to which you have reduced them--this is my treasure, . . . and with this you have made me rich and happy.
(Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo)