Although I don’t know when I began collecting quotes, I do know that I learned about the power of words early in life. As a student at Trinity Lutheran School, I began memorizing Bible passages as soon as I entered first grade.

As I got older, I discovered that these words I’d committed to memory often came in handy when I was confused or frustrated. They also could be used to win arguments with my siblings.

When I was in my early teens, my widowed Aunt Marge advised me to memorize beautiful poems, “So you can recite them to yourself when you’re scrubbing the floor,” she explained.

That bit of advice both surprised and moved me. When I would see her working hard to care for her two daughters, I often wondered what lovely poem was on her mind.

More beautiful words entered my life when I chose English as my college major and, later, taught English to reluctant high school students. However, this was more of an exercise in appreciating fine writing than it was in taking those words to heart.

It wasn’t until I began my journey of self-discovery that I found myself startled, encouraged and inspired by the words of others. How did that author know I needed to hear those very words?

Were there universal truths that could be revisited over and over again and make an impact every time?

Was I the only one who needed frequent reminders?

I really didn’t care what the explanation was. It was enough to know that despite distances of time and geography, there were others who had thoughts that touched me and, frequently, lighted my path.

When I began writing myself, it seemed natural to include quotes from my growing collection.

I also noticed that although I never intentionally memorized these words, they often had lodged in my memory and would show up at appropriate times—providing answers or encouragement.

One day a quote-loving friend and I were talking about the power of words. I said, “I think a good quote is a seminar in a sentence.”  My friend agreed and the description stuck.

Two summers ago, I gathered some of my favorites in a little book called, of course, Seminar in a Sentence. I intended it as a handy guide to pull out whenever a quick seminar was needed.

The pocket-sized book has quotes organized by subject including Dreams and Dreaming, The Creative Spirit, Work and Love, Beginnings, Create Abundance, Small is Still Beautiful, Taking Risks, The Power of Ideas and several others.

You can add it to your library—or purse or pocket—by ordering it directly from me.

As Doris Saatchi reminds us, “Pure space, filled with thoughts rather than things, is good for the soul.”

And if you have a favorite quote, feel free to share it in the comment section below.


4 Responses to “Seminar in a Sentence”

  1. Kathryn Harwood

    I memorized the whole of “Ulysses” for a verse-speaking contest when I was in high school.
    The last line is “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield”

  2. susie

    “If you’re through hell, keep going.”
    Winston Churchill

    I’ve collected scads of quotes, for some reason this is one that sticks the most.

  3. Erica

    Oh I am the same way… every week it is a new fun favorite quote 🙂
    Here are two of my tried and true…

    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
    ― Rainer Maria Rilke

    “Let everything happen to you
    Beauty and terror
    Just keep going
    No feeling is final”
    ― Rainer Maria Rilke

  4. Sarah

    One of my favorites has always been the Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Not only do I see it all the time in my reading of history, but I’ve seen it quite often in my own life (for both good and ill.)

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