This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Monday, December 21, 2009

Life Lessons

One day, a group of older, wise and well-experienced men and women from around the world, who had met and conquered many challenges of life, came together to review and explain what they had learned during their lifetimes. Between them all, they had experienced just about every imaginable situation in life - difficulties, challenges, sorrows, happiness, fulfillment, and excitement - that can be had in this life.

When they came to the end of the day, these people who have already been there and done that, identified many lessons that could benefit those of us still making our way through life. Here's a sampling of their advice:

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Your job won't take care of you when you're sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

Make peace with your past so it won't mess up your present.

It's OK to let your children see you cry.

Don't compare your life to others. You do not understand what their journey is all about.

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry, God never blinks.

Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

Over prepare, then go with the flow.

No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words, "In five years, will this matter?"

Always choose life.

Forgive everyone everything.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

However bad or good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Believe in miracles.

God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

Your children get only one childhood.

Get outside everyday. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

No matter how you feel, get, dress up and show up.

The best is yet to come.

All that truly matters in the end is that you are loved.

Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

My Mountain

I wrote this several years ago, but thought it fit well with the last post:

(photo by Ken R. Young)

My heavy eyelids
do not need coaxing to close.
The heaviness weighing upon my mind,
caused by a steady stream of struggles and burdens,
has created a forceful desire
for a cerebral pause,
an emotional relief.
The trials of life have left me exhausted.
I can no longer deal with
the incessant stings and jabs
that have afflicted my recent days.
I must depart this consciousness.

Within a few moments
sleep overcomes and blesses my mind
with much needed escape.
Floating, I drift off
through a canvass of billowy clouds
which slowly dissipates
to reveal a stunning view.
Before me lies the awesome magnificence
of a high mountain scene -
peaks capped with snow,
lakes shimmering with reflected sunlight,
and evergreens, aspen and wildflowers
providing a tapestry of strength and beauty
across the landscape.

The sounds of nesting birds,
fluttering leaves, cricking bugs and a gurgling stream,
accentuate the living reality
of my sub-conscious experience.
All the senses are enlivened
as they soak up the joy,
the peace and the power
of this paradisiacal setting.
Is this heaven?
My soul rejoices that I am here!
I reach out to embrace it all,
to consume it
and make it a part of me.

And then it strikes me -
I am basking in the glories of earth.
This earth, which is my home,
my life, my reality.
I realize with surging conviction,
that I love my home,
I love my life and
I love my reality - complete with its struggles and burdens.
For this mountain of beauty
is a symbol of everything that is good
and right in my life.
The love of family and friends,
and the multi-colored palette of earthly blessings
which has painted my life
are represented here.

My inner strength is restored.
Newfound vigor races from the heart
and forces open my eyes.
I look around
and begin recognizing the true sources
of joy in my life.
One by one,
the details of my mountain vision
are re-created in the realities of my life.
The emerging scene is beautiful and breathtaking.
I now see that my life,
colored with love and joy,
as well as tears and trial,
is a marvelous, extraordinary experience.
It is an exciting challenge
to live, to love, to find joy
and embrace it.

by Ken R. Young

For more inspiration on mountains, see also:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Climbing Mountains

(photo by Ken R. Young)

I've often thought of life and it's struggles and journey as climbing a high mountain. I've had the chance to climb several mountains in my life and am still, as everyone, trying to reach the summit of my own life's mountain. There are many crags and steep slopes, potential dangerous spots to avoid along the trail. But there are also beautiful plants, flowers and trees, wonderful vistas, occasional intriguing wildlife, refreshing streams and waterfalls, places of shade and resting, and many opportunities for using and stretching muscles.

Getting to the top can be an exhilarating experience, both because of the achievement and the great views. Knowing your hard work has paid off is very fulfilling. But sometimes it can be tempting to give up before you reach the top and head back down. I have done that, too.

My friend Steven Kapp Perry offered his thoughts on climbing mountains:

"I recently spent most of a week climbing King's Peak with the scouts--including two of my own sons. It's the highest peak in Utah and a grueling climb, and somewhere about half-way up the nearly vertical rock slide, I found myself wondering, 'Why are we doing this? Is it'

As I looked ahead and saw everyone above me giving their all in the climb, I don't think anyone would have used the word "fun" at that moment.

So why do we climb mountains with these boys? I think it's so they know that they can do hard things. In fact, it's also so we grownups know we can do hard things.

The hard parts of our lives are rarely ever 'fun,' but when we look back on them with perspective, we see how the Lord used them to help us stretch and grow and become better (i.e. more broken and humble and dependent on him) than we were. And they give us confidence that he'll help us through the next challenge.

'Fun' may not be the exact word, but it is worth climbing mountains."

I agree.

Miley Cyrus recently released the song "The Climb", the lyrics from which I think go very well with this topic:

The Climb

I can almost see it
that dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb!

So, we must keep climbing...

Here's a picture of me and my two sons on top of Mt. Timpanogos.

For more good stuff on mountains, see also:

The Frog Race

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began.

Honestly, no one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as: "Oh, way too difficult!", "They will never make it to the top." or, "Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one, except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher.

The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult! No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But one continued higher and higher and higher. This one wouldn't give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower, except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top! Then all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?

It turned out that the winner was deaf!

The wisdom of this story is:
Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you - the ones you have in your heart!

Always think of the power words have. “There's life and death in the power of the tongue”(Proverbs 18:21). Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!

We Are Responsible For Our Happiness

So often we stand in our world of darkness waiting for someone to come along and pull the cord, to open the drapes and let the light in. But since we are free agents we can reach up and pull the curtains apart ourselves - we have control - we are responsible for our happiness - not someone else.

Someone can come along and pull the cord and change the scene, or the feeling, from darkness to light and it makes us happy, but if we always wait for someone else to come along we are dependent on them for our happiness, and they may not come along, or may not come soon enough, or may spend a lot of time searching for the right cord.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

1. A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

2. A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

3. A penny saved is a penny earned.

4. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

5. Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.

6. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.

7. Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

8. Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.

9. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

10. Diligence is the mother of good luck.

11. Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

12. Energy and persistence conquer all things.

13. God helps those who help themselves.

14. Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

15. He that can have patience can have what he will.

16. He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.

17. He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees.

18. Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?

19. Honesty is the best policy.

20. I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.

21. I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.

22. If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.

23. If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.

24. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.

25. In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

26. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner. Liberty is a well armed sheep.

27. It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness...there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.

28. It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.

29. It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.

30. Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

31. Marriage is the most natural state of man, and... the state in which you will find solid happiness.

32. Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

33. One today is worth two tomorrows.

34. Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.

35. Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.

36. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

37. The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.

38. The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

39. There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means - either may do - the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.

40. When you're finished changing, you're finished.

41. Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.

42. Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.

See also: Benjamin Frankilin and the Thirteen Virtues