Ten Pieces of Inspiration #18

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well.

1. The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
I spent part of this week assembling a handmade book of poetry to read to our children in the evenings and on road trips, so this inspiration list will include several of these. I’ll share the first stanza of each

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding, riding, riding,
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes tells the tale of a dashing thief on the run. It’s perhaps the most enjoyable poem I’ve ever run across for reading aloud, as it just magically flows off your tongue.

2. Sarah
My wife is my tag team partner in every aspect of life.


When I sit down and think about the week just past, I’m often stunned when I realize how often the two of us are simply in sync on all kinds of things.

3. Pioneers! O Pioneers! by Walt Whitman

Come my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!

For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O you youths, Western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

This poem makes me reflect on the power of the human spirit and what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it.

4. The Art Institute of Chicago
Once a year, we go to Chicago to visit family. During that trip, we try to do something in the Chicago area that we can’t really do around here.

Over the past few months, our two oldest children have really taken an interest in art, particularly impressionist and post-impressionist painting.

Lo and behold, The Art Institute of Chicago has an amazing gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist works. Looks like we’ve got something on our schedule for this summer.

(Yes, I have a three year old girl who sat on my lap as we looked at thumbnails of impressionist art for the time it took to get through the whole online gallery. I think she’ll do just fine at the museum.)

5. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

More than any other poem, Where the Sidewalk Ends makes me want to go explore.

6. A walk in the woods
We spent much of last weekend walking in the woods. We found several mushrooms, but more importantly, we found wonderful forests alive with the new growth of spring.

7. There is another sky by Emily Dickinson

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

Where is our private place? Where can we go where we can feel some separation from the world, some deep solace?

8. Max
The faithful companion of two of my closest friends passed away this week. He was a wonderful dog. I’ll miss him.

9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Make your life something worth living for. What mark are you putting on this world?

10. Hurt
This song makes me think of some of the people I’ve lost in my life. I would give anything to take back some of the mistakes I’ve made.

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