Bit of Happy #1: My Most Favorite Quote

14 Sep

I figured it would be most appropriate to begin with how it all started. It was my junior year in high school that I experienced the true power of a quote..

My English teacher, Mrs. Zegowitz (I think was her name) was a funny character – full of life and spirit. She always had us thinking, especially about the big picture in life. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’ she’d always say. But it was that one, early spring day that would change my life for the better without her ever knowing it.

A short-cut auburn bob frizzed around her face as she peeked through thick-lensed glasses at the bridge of her nose. She looked around at each and every one of our youthful faces, as hers was worn with gently defined wrinkles.

“I didn’t always know what I wanted in life,” she said softly, her eyes masked in a dreamy state of her past. “Many of you may not know either. But don’t worry. Life always has a way of working itself out. As long as you try hard and take time to appreciate the little things in life, you’ll be just fine.”

Before continuing, she moved from behind her desk and passed out a sloo of notecards – one for each of us.

“Now, when I was about your age, my teacher gave me the same quote. And ever since then, I have carried it with me. It reminds me to never give up, to respect others and find beauty in every moment you’re given. To you, it may be something different. That’s the beauty of a quote – you can take it into your life and your experiences and make it your own.”

When I was handed my note card, I read it carefully, slowly. With each word, I could feel the intensity she was speaking of. Encouraging. Powerful. Cheery. Honest. Reflective. I was in love with words. Very well placed words.

I read it again on the bus ride home, and then again before I went to sleep. I find myself looking back on this quote in times of hardship and in doubt throughout my life. To this day, of all of the quotes I have come across, this is by far my favorite one.

So, just as she shared this quote with me years ago, I will now share it with you. And perhaps you will find yourself holding onto it and making it your own, as well.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people; and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics; and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether it be by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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4 Responses to “Bit of Happy #1: My Most Favorite Quote”

  1. Nathan Marcello September 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    Emerson is always good for a quote.

    • Stephanie Frances September 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

      I completely agree! This quote in particular I can read over and over again and still find new inspiration to appreciate what I have in life, strive to be a great person and help others see in best in them as well. And if a quote can do that, it’s certainly a good one in my book.

      Thanks again for your comment! 🙂

  2. twotoned October 16, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Simply… amazing. Reading this inspired me and somehow you turned on a switch inside…. the switch of hope.

    In the midst of the grueling tides of change, the best thing I want right now is to read a blog that simply has so much optimism.

    • Stephanie Frances October 16, 2010 at 11:49 am #

      If you have hope – in my mind – you have everything in the world. It means so much to me that my blog, my quotes, my words can have the power to flip on the hope switch even if it’s just for one person. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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