“What’s on your board?”

This is my work space, where I spend several hours each day. I resisted the urge to tidy up before I took the photo, and show you the real deal. This is about how it usually looks, with messy papers scattered about and clothes thrown over the back of my chair.

I love my office, even though it is teeny tiny. My husband helped me paint it a gorgeous golden color that makes me happy, and when we moved into this house I splurged and bought this desk set-up from Pottery Barn that I had been ogling for years, a page of the catalog worn to shreds from my sweaty little hands. I also love the sunshine coming in the window, which faces east so I get a lot of morning light.

About five years ago I put up that giant bulletin board and it’s filled with things that inspire me and make me happy. There are notes from my husband, notes to myself about my goals for the year and what to eat to prevent Alzheimer’s, photos of happy times, pages torn from magazines of places I want to visit, Investor Business Daily’s 10 secrets for success, a photo of the Obamas and Bidens on Inauguration Day, a particularly nice hand-written rejection letter from a literary journal, and various quotes.

I’m not really a “quote” type of person. I love a good quote, but I don’t tend to memorize them or pepper my conversations with them. But when I saw this Oprah quote on Facebook this week, it made me realize how much the particular quotes I choose to have around me every day have made a difference in how I life my life.

The Oprah quote:

“Here’s what my love affair with quotations has taught me: the more you focus on words that uplift you, the more you embody the ideas contained in those words.”

I don’t know what impulse made me stop and write down and put on my bulletin board these particular quotes out of all the quotes I’ve heard and loved in my life, but I thought I’d share them with you. Here’s what’s on my board…

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” – MLK Jr.

“We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” – Paul Newman

A card I received from a Career Day event at my friend’s elementary school with this unattributed quote/message: Making a Difference: An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. “Why do you bother?” the old man scoffed. “You’re not saving enough to make a difference.” The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. “Made a difference to that one,” he said. – You make a difference, every day.

Another MLK: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Tikkun Olam” – A Hebrew phrase that means, “Repair the world. Fix what you can.”

“Have fun while you’re young.” -my 93-year-old grandfather

Those are the quotes I have chosen to surround myself with, and I agree with Oprah that the words are having an effect on me. I think the quotes we respond to are expressions of our higher selves, of who we want to be, and focusing on them can guide us toward becoming that person.

What are some of your favorite quotes, the ones you’ve chosen to write down in a journal, post on Facebook, share with others, etch onto a card or memento? What’s on your board? Please share in the Comments section.

Comments

  1. Trish says

    ‘everything’s funny till it happens to you’ – I like to trot that quote out when I’ve done something that causes people to laugh at me. another quote comes from Queen Elizabeth, and for me, a struggling equestrian at 46 with much less courage than I had even 10 yrs ago, it is very meaningful- ‘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 you think you cannot do.’

    • Angela says

      Trish- Great quotes, thanks for sharing! And I love the idea of using quotes to strengthen our resolve. It’s certainly true for me that I’m a lot less brave than I was even in my 30s.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. says

    I love quotes. Oprah is right . . . we tend to internalize and live the words over time.

    Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

    • Angela says

      Bravo, Nancy. Well said. Not many things feel worse than living a life that doesn’t feel authentic to who you are.

      Thanks, as always, for commenting.

  3. savingfortravel says

    Oh, it won’t paste…just pop over:

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE, DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO IT OFTEN.
    IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING, CHANGE IT!…..
    START DOING WHAT YOU LOVE…LIFE IS SHORT…LIVE YOUR DREAM AND SHARE YOUR PASSION!

    Sft

    p.s I love the idea of your board.

    • Angela says

      Saving for Travel- That says it all, doesn’t it! Although I’m not religious, I have always liked the saying about God grant me the serenity to change the things I can, accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference. I try to live by that, although it’s not always easy to accept things I can’t change.

      Thanks so much for sharing that!

  4. Marie-Jos/e says

    Angela, thanks so much for the peek into your office – it is a gorgeous golden yellow! I don’t have an office in my home at the moment. Our university attending son is using up two bedrooms, one of which is large, with big windows facing south that he uses as his study. I’m looking forward to re-claiming that space when he leaves home.It will be converted into a lovely, sunny mediation room where I plan to grow microgreens as well. I don’t quote quote’s and I don’t print or put them up in our bulletin board, which is on a wall between the kitchen and living room, almost in front of the main door. I like reading them, though and they inspire me. Our board is filled with take-out menu’s, paper clippings of restaurant recommendations, mail for our daughter who no longer lives at home, schedules and concert or event tickets that are coming up.

    • Angela says

      Marie- Josee,
      My, your son is certainly lucky to have two beautiful rooms. You might have to nudge him out of your house after graduation since he’s got such a great deal. Your room converstion sounds wonderful. I love a room with lots of sunlight.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Marie-Josée says

        Sam is actually talking about moving in with his friends soon, perhaps next autumn and it breaks my heart. He is our baby and our home will feel so empty with both our children gone from the nest. I will start meditating on this!

  5. jill chapman says

    I don’t have an office or bulletin board but I have been using our refrigerator to put quotes, articles and sayings for years. I thought it was the best place to get a teenagers attention. My kids have made fun of me for doing this but I know they also read them. My favorites are What are you waiting for? Lope de Vega, What would you attempt to do if you could not fail? Unknown and We seldom repent of having eaten too little. Thomas Jefferson

    • Angela says

      Jill, I like the idea of putting quotes on the refrigerator to capture your teenagers’ attention. And I love those quotes! Funny to put the Thomas Jefferson one on the refrigerator. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Lilypad says

    I’ve been collecting quotations for about 30 years. In the old days, I wrote them by hand in various spiral bound notebooks. Nowadays, I save the ones that mean the most to me in a computer file. I’ve always been moved by words of wisdom relating to self-confidence (a quality I’m still working on at age 44, sigh). This is a recent one I came across:

    “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
    Kurt Cobain

    Since I became a mother 10 years ago and my son deals with two neurological disorders that sometimes make life miserable for him, I’ve become interested in words about children. This is the last one I saved:

    ” It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
    Frederick Douglass

    And things like this help me get through my days.
    Thanks for the post, Angela.

    • Angela says

      Lilypad,

      Thanks so much for sharing those quotes. I love both of them. Kurt Cobain was such a talent and I still listen to some of his songs which are like poetry. And Douglass’ autobiography is mesmerizing. What an amazing and insightful quote.

      I’m so sorry that life is so difficult for your son. That is heartbreaking. Thank goodness he has an understanding mother. Along with hugs, that is what I think we all crave most in life – being understood.

      Thank you so much for commenting. I’m glad you liked the post.

  7. Mary Ann Cauthen says

    Love the picture of your desk, color of the room & your board. I am a quote collector- keep them in a notebook. One favorite is (I don’t know the source) “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”. This helps me live in the moment & not keep putting off things I enjoy. Mary Ann

    • Angela says

      Mary Ann, I grew up with that quote- it was my dad’s favorite! And he really lives that way. My parents actually had a poster with that quote on it on the wall in the house I grew up in.

      thanks for commenting!
      Have a great “first day!”
      Angela

  8. Annie B says

    This is my favorite quote that I read every day and attempt to live by. It is by Walt Whitman. “This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people….and your very flesh shall be a great poem.”

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