Several months ago, I wrote a blog to share Gail’s wisdom—Gail-isms.  I wrote too, that I would feature Suzanne’s wisdom in a later post.  It is now time for her wisdom, so let I her know that I would need her to summarize her wisest offerings for the next blog. 

It didn’t take her long.  Very simply, she gave me one word:


And she meant it.  Suzanne, ever the minimalist.  Even with words.  

In the sense that whatever will be, will be; that simply accepting things as they are and moving forward, doing your best to make the best of good and bad things encountered along the way, her single word of wisdom is perfect.  It does sum up her approach to life.

And it’s working for her.  

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:  I need to look up to Suzanne more.

So that leaves the rest of this post for more wisdom not from Suzanne, but my best offerings of what I see as wise words.   I will try to fill in the blank pages as well as Gail and Suzanne did.

I read a lot.  I read books, magazines, newspapers, song lyrics, plaques, magnets, labels, T-shirts and signs.  And, every day, I read my daily calendars—five of them.  You know, the kind where you tear off a page every day.  I am an annual repeat buyer of my favorite ones, and I save the pages—just like our mom did.  I even save some of them in the same box she used, the box I pictured in Gail-isms.


I rely on wisdom from any source I can find; my brain is hungry for it.  Unlike Suzanne, who needs very little in possessions and words, I am very needy.  Unlike Gail, who has her own brand, her original quotes, I need to rely on other people’s words of wisdom.

So, I do.

I have gathered some of my favorites to share with you, in hopes that they may affect you as positively as they have for me.  I continue to look for new ones, because I am a collector of the written word.

Last night, I read an interview with one of my favorite authors.  She said she never feels inspired to write.  Ever.  So, she simply sits down and starts writing, and then the inspiration comes.  This made me feel very relieved and very normal, as I struggle in the same way.  Once I sit down to write, however, the words come.  Which brings me to one of my all-time favorites:

“Inspiration comes from doing, not from waiting.”  The corollary, then, would be another one of my favorites:  “Action begets action.”  I don’t know who is credited for these; I could find no source. 

In keeping with the idea that I simply need to get busy, this magnet speaks to me every day when I look at it in my room:


Some of the quotes I share are credited to the source, some are not because there was none.  I will attempt to give credit where it is due.

On worrying:

I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”—Mark Twain

“If you are going to worry, then why pray?  If you are going to pray, then why worry?”

“Worry and prayer cancel each other out.”

“Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.”


This simple, yet profound statement is the essence of Bob Marley’s hit, “Three Little Birds.”

On gratitude:

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”  –Marcus Aurelius

Gratitude can turn common days into Thanksgivings.”  Wm. Arthur Ward

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero


On courage:


She didn’t know it couldn’t be done, so she went ahead and did it.” –Bridget O’Donnell

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”  —Seth Godin


On being good to yourself:

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” 

“Forgiving isn’t about being nice to them, it’s about being nice to yourself.”

“Live and be happy, and make others so.”  —Mary Shelly

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  The Dalai Lama

By all means, break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately, and well.”  — Robert Bringhurst

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time.”  —Mary Oliver

On awareness:

Your dreams must be more powerful than your drama.”

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”  –Dr. Seuss

If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?”  — lyrics from  Cheryl Crow


On relationships:

“In any relationship, the one who cares the least has the most power.”

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold them down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”  –Marian Anderson

The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours.”  –Elizabeth Kubler Ross


(This next one my paraphrasing, because it is a blend of several quotes that mean the same thing.  The idea is so powerful for me, and I wanted to share it with you.)

The things that bother you in other people may very well be the things that bother you about yourself, because they are so familiar to you, yet you don’t realize it.   Look a little closer at yourself when you find yourself irritated by someone else’s behavior.”


Gail framed this gem for me from a daily calendar.  I love it, but so does Suzanne, because of the mermaid.  I can’t part with it, even for her, because the words are so profound.  We’re working on finding another one like it for her. 


A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words.  In my profession, sometimes a word, a word spoken by someone who is regaining their speech, is worth a thousand pictures.  Sometimes, as in the case of the pictured quotes above, pictures and words give each other power.

Sometimes, when a woman is so fortunate and lucky to have sisters like mine, there are no truer words than these:


Thank you Gail and Suzanne, for sharing your wisdom, and for being my best friends.  











Our mom had a penchant for collecting quotes, sayings, quips, cartoons and words of wisdom on paper, and she saved them in this box:


I have frequently referred to them throughout my blogs, and, for us, they never fail to inspire.

Dad has his own wisdom as well, and I have shared that with you in many posts.

If you are a regular reader, you are likely aware that Gail, too, has her own wisdom.  So does Suzanne.  I sometimes try to disguise my input as wisdom; I hope I have given you some small bits worth your read.

This post, however, focuses on Gail’s words of wisdom.  She has much to share, and she has agreed to do just that today.   Suzanne has agreed to share hers another time.


Gail and her daughter Lydia stopped by my house this afternoon on their way home west after spending the weekend east in Kansas City.  Gail’s son Wyatt was there playing volleyball for his state university’s men’s club volleyball team.


He’s one of the best blockers on the block.

Because Gail had spent the weekend in a gymnasium with multiple volleyball games going on, she was in a competition state of mind.  Her first offering was this:

“Winning or losing, play your best until the end of the game.”

And whatever “best” means, remember this: “Always give 100%, but not everyone’s 100% is the same.  Don’t compare yours to someone else’s.”

I talked to her while driving home, and she offered this:

“Drive defensively, but be courteous.  Two or three car lengths won’t make a difference to your destination.  This, of course, works the same way in life.  Be kind.  And don’t rush all the time.  It doesn’t help.”

After an enjoyable weekend with three of her four children—her oldest daughter joined them—reflections on fun were appropriate:

“Don’t be afraid to have fun.  The more you have, the more you can share.”

Someone close to her recently quit smoking, a task they simply decided to do.  Gail believes in the power of mind over matter.

Make the choice to control bad habits that are controlling you.”

And for those who have had bad habits, or made regretful mistakes in the past (that would likely be most of us), she offers this:

“You can’t change the past, but you have the power to cultivate a present and future that doesn’t reflect your past.”

If only we could edit out the bad parts like I did with this blog just before I posted it, or crop out the unfavorable parts like I did with the pictures, life would be so much easier.

As we sometimes do, Gail and I spent a while discussing the books we are currently absorbed in.

“As Dr. Seuss says, ‘The more you read, the more you’ll know.’”

I am currently re-reading a fabulous memoir written by a Kansas farm girl much like us, but with struggles we never experienced.   She has made a name for herself on the bestseller list, and rightfully so.   She will be speaking just 45 minutes down the road from my small city next week, and I will be there.

Always have something to look forward to,” is timeless wisdom from our mother.  I am anticipating a great evening.

And speaking of our mother, it has always been a priority for us to live a life of peace and harmony in our family, not just to honor Mom’s message at their funeral, but because it is important to us.  We have all lived long enough, however, to know that some families can be sticky creatures, and keeping peace within them may not be an easy task.  To that end, Gail offers this:

“Families can be made or chosen.  Either way, living in peace with them should always be a priority.  It’s worth the work.”


Suzanne stopped by my home while Gail was here, and we had a great visit, as always.

The words of wisdom that resound most frequently with me from both Suzanne and Gail involve the weather.  It’s a big no-brainer that complaining about the weather does absolutely no good, but Gail and Suzanne seem to have a better handle on this than I do.  They love the wind; I loathe it.  They accept the wind and the cold; I complain about it.

Notwithstanding the return of the winter-like temperatures predicted for mid-week next week, it appears that spring is indeed springing.

Yellow is one of my favorite colors, and it seems to be nature’s first harbinger of the warmer temperatures soon to come:


The forsythia blooms are always a brilliant yellow


Some people call them weeds…


Daffodils never disappoint


I feel my spirits lifting; the sun and the heat revitalize me, and make me love Kansas once again.  It was a long and difficult winter for our area; the cold, gray, wind and ice relented just enough after each storm to herald yet another round.  My soul began to feel drained and weary.

The late winter weeks dealt me several cruel blows, as I lost a handful of beloved patients that, in my fairy tale mind, really weren’t going to die.  Ever.  But they did.  I am no stranger to death taking people from me, but these losses wrought me and hollowed out my already-weary soul.  I couldn’t have done anything to help them in the end, much like hundreds of other patients I have lost.

Somehow, though, these few have stuck with me.

“Grief is for the living,” a wise friend told me years ago, and that, too, has stuck with me.   I know in my heart of hearts that their suffering is over and they have no desire to come back here, so I must let them go in my heart, just as I did with Mom and Dad.

Gail has no fear, not even of death.  She embraces it as a certain eventuality, having no control over its ultimate arrival.  I like to say I don’t either, but I can’t put myself on par with her.

“Like the weather, death is a fact of life and it’s going to come. It does no good to get upset about either one,” Gail said.

If Heaven is indeed a place of happiness and joy beyond our wildest imaginations, then hopefully, I’m in.  Paraphrased from the wise words of a country singer, “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to go right now.”

If Heaven is like a theater, I’m pretty sure my parents have front-row seats.  I’ll take a seat in the nosebleed section, if that means I made it.  Gail and Suzanne will likely have floor seats, probably somewhere in the middle.   It will be a gigantic theater, but I’m sure it will be easy to find the people you want to see.

Like my patients.  And, of course, Mom and Dad.


Happy Spring from The Sister Lode