Words that surround you

I loved Sarah’s post yesterday at Momalom about the words she surrounds herself with (literally, as in post-its on her computer and written on her desk). She asked people to share the words that they carry with them. She then tweeted them all day and I loved reading the words that comfort and inspire others.

I am surrounded by words myself. I joked to Sarah that asking me to pick the ones that were dearest to me was like asking me to choose my favorite child. But it was a thought-provoking exercise indeed. I sent Sarah a picture of the 5×7 print that is propped up on my desk. I look at it every single day:

Sarah’s post made me think of two separate things. One is the physical space that we spend our time in, and how that space is designed or ornamented. What do we literally look at all day long? For me it is that print, a photograph of Grace and Whit, and a memory board stuffed with pictures of my friends’ babies. I put the baby pictures that come with birth announcements up there, and I’m several layers thick at this point. I love glancing up to see children that I know well know as infants.

Sarah’s words also made me think, though, about the words that run in our heads. The quotations that make us think, make us feel safe, remind us what it’s all about. I answered her post quickly, giving her a couple of quotes that I think of at least several times a day. And then I ruminated on it all day long. And in fact I think there are two more that are more essential to me. These are the words that I wrap around myself when I feel confused or lost. These are the words that both shake me out of complacency and help me believe everything will be okay.

I will try to give thanks for gifts strangely, painfully, beautifully wrapped. – Rebecca Wells, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“Life gives us what we need when we need it,” she said. “Receiving what it gives us is a whole other thing.” – Pam Houston, In My Next Life

6 thoughts on “Words that surround you”

  1. Lindsey,

    First of all, I'm glad you enjoyed the post yesterday. I was buzzing from all of the day one comments and the level of participation from the readers over at our site. Jen and I had our morning chat on the way into work and were talking so fast and so passionately about this experiment of ours. I was supposed to have posted my post already. We decided it was necessary to get our posts up by 8 AM instead of our usual 8 PM (or later)…but I hadn't had my bright idea yet.

    So I sat back at my desk and just looked around. And there they were. The words that I have surrounding me. The ones I barely glance at, let alone digest, on a good day or a busy day. But I had paused and looked again in that moment. And there came the post. Easy. Simple. Profound. Because these words? They are so very very profound.

    Secondly, Yes! To receive the gifts that life gives. Yes! And also? To recognize those gifts. All so important. And poignant. And just YES!

  2. Oh I LOVE Pam Houston. I think you are my unsister sister, or something.
    Didn't you just love Sarah's request? And we received so many wonderful wonderful comments. I keep thinking about more of my own WORDS. On my computer at work is this: "Daddy, you're a rusty bolt," said by my son last year, when he was not yet 5. 🙂

  3. I too loved Sarah's post yesterday. And I love that you have continued the good conversation here. Words. It's all about words, isn't it? The ones we utter, the ones we think, the ones that fuel us, and scare us. Words are gifts.

    Gifts. What an apt metaphor this time of year. Gifts come in many packages and are not always easy to give, or to receive.

    I love these quotes and, as always, your words. How does it make you feel that your words, your wonderful words, are now supporting and strengthening others?

  4. I also loved Sarah's post – and your discussion of spaces, and looking at what we surround ourselves with.

    Despite my hurried heap of rambling at Momalom about what a disaster my house is (true), it is also overflowing with books and art (some, pretty wild). Some of the art was done by friends; some I've collected in more traditional ways (purchased). Some is by my son (gifted – and no, that's not "mom talk").

    There's also a great deal of color – an abundance of red, which I adore because for me it inspires optimism and hits me with a jolt of energy. What's not to love about that?

    I guess our space is a reflection of who we are as a family – a bit disheveled, quirky, opinionated, overflowing, cozy. So if mess goes along with it, I'm fine with that. It seems a small price, after all is said and done.

    (And I love love love that Whitman quote – thank you again for that!)

  5. I was in such a happy place yesterday too from all of the inspiring words that others wrote. It was so interesting to read what types of words inspire different people. I still stand by what I originally wrote as my "favorite" quote but honestly, the two words that I try to remember to say to myself each morning are "Live Passionately". It's not an easy thing to do, that's for sure, but if I try to find passion in at least ONE thing I do each day, then I've done good!

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