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There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

– William Stafford (1914-1993)

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

by: Dorothy Law Nolte


I have a small grain of hope—
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment
to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source—
clumsy and earth-covered—
of grace.

–Denise Levertov

What we do not nourish
within ourselves
cannot exist in the world around us
because we are its microcosm.

We cannot moan the loss
of quality in our world
and not ourselves
seed the beautiful in our wake.

We cannot decry the loss of the spiritual
and continue ourselves to function
only on the level of the vulgar.

We cannot hope for fullness of life
without nurturing fullness of soul.
We must seek beauty, study beauty
surround ourselves with beauty.

To be contemplative
we must remove the clutter of our lives,
surround ourselves with beauty,
and consciously, relentlessly,
persistently give it away
until the tiny world
for which we are responsible
begins to reflect
the raw beauty that is God.

–Joan Chittister

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