Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little bits of inspiration

This is a page I ripped out of a recent New Yorker. It's a sketch of a Callery-pear tree that stands in the center of the plaza of the 9/11 memorial site, surrounded by 400 hundred swamp white oaks. Rescue workers discovered the burned stump after the attack; staffers at a nursery in the Bronx helped restore its health.

I've been resting this page on the computer keyboard at work when I leave, so it's there to greet me in the morning. I'm awed by the resiliency of that tree.

My other bit of computer inspiration is on a wrinkly post-it stuck to my home laptop. On it, a couple of years ago, I wrote down something I read in The Happiness Project book, by Gretchen Rubin: "The days are long, the years are short." It reminds me to really savor the kids, as hectic as life may get, because all too soon they'll be grown.

What photos or phrases inspire you?


  1. Hi Ellen

    headline in today's paper (my translation): "Those who limit themselves to useful courses at university will loose out in the long run"

    PS: Thanks for reminding me to renew my New Yorker subscription :)

  2. Ellen,
    I have one I have always loved and used to be my tagline on email:
    Gandhi: You must be the change you wish to see in this world.

    I was making tea this morning and got this from my tea bag:
    Be kind and compassionate and the whole world will be your friend.

    Nice sentiment though that one is hard when there are haters to deal with at times!

    love the posts,


  3. It's nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.

  4. I have this quote hanging by my computer. It's from Amy Eldridge, the founder of the charity Love Without Boundaries: "What a wonderful world it would be if every adult took the hand of a child in need and didn't let go."

  5. Hi, Ellen:

    Thanks for this post. I have two big bits of inspiration:

    When I was undergoing cancer treatments, I placed on my bedside table a framed photo of my brother's dog Tazzy, an adorable, huge yellow Lab mix, sleeping on the couch. I dubbed him my guardian angel. Eleven years later, I'm still here (knock on wood) and Tazzy is in doggie heaven, my guardian angel forevermore.

    And then there's the quote so great it made it onto a magnet. Cheesy, I suppose, but my sister-in-law gave it to me during a period of much upheaval and I've taken it to heart:

    "It's never too late to be what you might have been." (George Eliot)

    As I forge ahead, I see just how true that is.

  6. My Dad always sends me his inspiring phrase every few years when he feels I need it, the gist of it is Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to what happens to you.

    Julie Lewin

  7. I like Haley's as well!

  8. Actually, your blog I find to be inspiring to me every day Ellen! I am a person who can't speak or write eloquently and I love how you can get your point across and put things in just the right perspective.

  9. I am so inspired by all of this--what a rush to read! And Amy, thank you so much for the kind words. Especially today. I am mildly grouchy.

  10. Hi Ellen! That sketch is really fantastic - I can see why it inspires you.

    Next to my computer I have an index card (I used to have it on a Post-it) that says "You are an f-ing good writer." Words of wisdom from one of my best friends who is also a fellow writer and the one who always manages to talk me down out of a funk. Whenever I tell him I'm thinking of quitting writing, he reminds me what a great writer he thinks I am - and it always works!

  11. Sometimes you sail with the wind and sometimes against it; but sail you must and not drift nor sit at anchor.

  12. on bad days i always have running through my head Joni Mitchell's "don't know what you've got till it's gone...." and i remember to appreciate it all.


Thanks for sharing!

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