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The year I turned 20, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and became so ill, he had to lean on me to walk.
But he insisted on our birthday lunch and gave me a silver bracelet with a single charm engraved with: "A bell is not a bell until you ring it / A song is not a song until you sing it / Love was not placed in your heart to stay / Love is not love until you give it away." He died later that year.
It's kept the memory of my father blossoming for more than a dozen years." —Barbara Brown Taylor, professor of religion and author, most recently, of Learning to Walk in the Dark "Blessings of simple human kindness have meant more to me than any other gift—my parents comforting me when my heart was broken; a stranger helping me when I got very ill in an airport; people who have told me when I was doing a good job, and those who have shown me mercy when I wasn't." —Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher and author, most recently, of A Year of Miracles Family Jewels "Sixteen years ago, my house was robbed.
The thieves took every piece of jewelry, including my engagement ring and my mother's wedding band.
My sister was there with her husband and 3-year-old son, and we were all in that fog you enter when you have small children.
I don't remember what we ate or who made it, just that my husband stood up and read a poem he'd written, called ' The Tao of My Wife on Her 38th Birthday,' about us and the girls and finding peace within the chaos of our lives.
Now I'm keeping a journal for my three boys, titled ' What I Know for Sure,' so that even when I'm not with them anymore, they'll always be able to hear me." —Reader Jill Lang, Salt Lake City The Push "Some time ago I lived as a Buddhist monk in a forest monastery in Thailand, where I learned from the master Ajahn Chah, a man of great wisdom who was very demanding.
We'd walk for miles in freezing weather to collect alms for food, then sit meditating all night. But one morning at 4 o'clock, at the very coldest moment, Chah smiled, winked at me, and said, ' You can do it.' And I knew then that I could." —Jack Kornfield, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and author, most recently, of Meditation for Beginners Ring It, Sing It "My dad and I had a tradition of eating at Trader Vic's on my birthday.
A friend who knew I was really stressed out came to pick me up for dinner, and he brought birdseed so we could stop at a park to feed the ducks.It was an outrageously beautiful necklace—tiny clusters of jewels shaped into flowers, little gold leaves—and cost something like ,000.She wrote, ' If I had all the money in the world, this is what I'd buy you.' I felt completely loved. I just wanted to look at it." —Ann Patchett, author, most recently, of the essay collection This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Illustration: Hye Jin Chung "Shortly after my father died, my neighbors gave me a sasanqua camellia bush.Illustration: Hye Jin Chung "When I was in my early 20s, I was working to put myself through college, and I was always broke.My sister Penny, in similar financial purgatory, spent the months before Christmas collecting department-store samples of perfumes I could never afford—Chanel No. Each little vial was wrapped in colored tissue, and they filled an entire shoe box.