Honoring Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. A talented pianist with a powerful voice, Ms. Franklin is considered one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. She achieved commercial acclaim and success with such songs as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Spanish Harlem.”

The recipient of many accolades—among them 18 Grammy Awards and 112 charted hits—she also earned the “Queen of Soul” title and stood as a symbol of black empowerment during the Civil Rights Movement.

One of the truly amazing voices of our time!

My favorite quotations from Aretha Franklin:

I sing to the realists. People who accept it like it is.

Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, it’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.

Never take the music for granted…whether you have a hit or not.

Sometimes, what you’re looking for is already there.

People really don’t have to give you anything, so appreciate what people give you.

It really is an honor if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person. It means I’ve done my job.

My faith always has been and always will be important to me.

Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift.

Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.

Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.

My favorite song …


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Honoring Amelia Earhart

Born this day in 1897, author and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. For this flight record, she received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross.

Ms. Earhart continued to set record after record demonstrating that women could aspire to the same heights as men. And even more amazing she was able to transform her hobby into a career going on to become an author, lecturer, poet, and airline industry vice-president.

A powerful role model, she continues to inspire girls and women of all ages.

My favorite quotations from Amelia Earhart:

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?

Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.

Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.

There’s more to life than being a passenger.

Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do.

Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.

Happy National Amelia Earhart Day!


Happy Birthday Dalai Lama!

Today, the Dalai Lama celebrates his 83rd birthday. The recipient of numerous awards, among them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, he continues to inspire us with messages of non-violence and universal compassion.

dalailama2

Here are ten of my favorite quotes from His Holiness…

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.

Someone else’s action should not determine your response.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.

Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.

I always say that people should not rush to change religions. There is real value in finding the spiritual resources you need in your home religion.


Happy Summer!

summer-solstice-clipartLonger days and shorter nights…Today marks the start of the summer solstice.

The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). The sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days. The rest of the year, the Earth’s tilt on its axis—roughly 23.5 degrees—causes the sun’s path in the sky to rise and fall from one day to the next.


Here are ten of my favorite “summer” quotations:

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date. ~ William Shakespeare

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.
~ Jenny Han

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime! ~ Kenny Chesney

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. ~ Regina Brett

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen

Summertime is always the best of what might be. ~ Charles Bowden

I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.
~ Kellie Elmore

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~ Celia Thaxter

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~ Wallace Stevens

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Honoring Barbara Bush

Earlier this evening, Barbara Bush passed away at the age of ninety-two. An extraordinary woman of great faith and strength, she served as the 37th First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

She was one of only two First Ladies who was also the mother of a president, a distinction she shared with John Adams’ wife Abigail, the mother of John Quincy Adams.

Mrs. Bush devoted her life—during and beyond the White House years—to the cause of universal literacy. She authored two children’s books, C. Fred’s Story and the best-selling Millie’s Book, both of which have benefited literacy through proceeds from sales.

My Favorite Quotations from Barbara Bush…

Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.

You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.

You just don’t luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it’s friendships or opportunities.

Believe in something larger than yourself… get involved in the big ideas of your time.

Your success as a family… our success as a nation… depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.

Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.

When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.

And who knows? Somewhere out there in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. I wish him well!

I have enjoyed reading her books and listening to her interviews. An inspiring and entertaining speaker, Mrs. Bush delivered the Wellesley commencement address in 1990. It was listed as #45 in American Rhetoric’s Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century.


Happy Spring!

This past winter has been has been a challenging one with record-breaking low temperatures and snowfalls, unrelenting winds and Nor’Easters, floods and cancellations. Today marks a new beginning, a season of rebirth, reinvention, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

Here are ten of my favorite “spring” quotes:

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world. Virgil A. Kraft

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda

Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment. Ellis Peters

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is the time of plans and projects. Leo Tolstoy

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! Mark Twain

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ Robin Williams

The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently. Gary Zukav

Do you have a favorite “spring” quote?


In Praise of Absurdity

Today is National Absurdity Day, a day created to celebrate ridiculous historical events, have fun, or let all the silliness out. Whatever you decide will be fine since you are celebrating a day devoted to absurdity.

But if you’re struggling with this concept or needing inspiration…

Here are 10 quotes extolling absurdity:

Some stories have to be written because no one would believe the absurdity of it all. Shannon L. Alder

Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. Albert Camus

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.
Miguel de Cervantes

Be not afraid of absurdity; do not shrink from the fantastic. Within each dilemma, choose the most unheard-of, the most dangerous solution. Be brave, be brave.
Isak Dinesen

The world stands on absurdities, and without them perhaps nothing at all would happen. Fyodor Dostoevsky

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. Albert Einstein

My turn of mind is so given to taking things in the absurd point of view, that it breaks out in spite of me every now and then. Lord Byron

Never underestimate the healing power of silliness and absurdity. Steve Maraboli

A prophet or an achiever must never mind an occasional absurdity. It is an occupational risk. Oswald Morley

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another. Adlai E. Stevenson