Stars in My Eyes

When I was a little girl, I was motivated by stars. I loved earning them in elementary school and by memorizing Bible verses in Sunday school. When I’d acquired a certain number of stars, they equated a larger prize.

When our son was little, he too was motivated by stars. He loved nothing more than the adrenaline rush of licking and sticking a star on the errand chart affixed to his bedroom door. An avid reader, once he’d earned a certain number of stars, they translated into a trip to the bookstore to select a book of his choice.

Imagine my delight when my mother-in-law made this star quilt for us!  I love the colors that she chose, and I can’t even begin to imagine the number of painstaking hours it took to complete this gift.

This coming Friday I leave for Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas where I’m hosting a writing retreat. Each of us will be inspired and motivated by the turquoise water during the day, competing with a star-studded Bahamian night sky to write, Write, WRITE!

What motivates you?


70 thoughts on “Stars in My Eyes

  1. Hi Laurie,

    That is such a profound question, one I have given many hours of deep thinking time over the last few weeks and months, mainly through an ongoing discussion on Trick Slattery’s site about the nature of free will.
    He claims it is illusion, and I can see how, from the perspective he takes, it must seem to be such.

    As someone who has been fascinated by the systems of life for well over 50 years, it appears very different to me. It seems to me that we have free will to the degree that we claim it; and of course reality to be commanded must first be obeyed – it has rules we cannot break without consequence.

    I can see that we are so complex, that there are aspects of our own internal machinery that must be forever mysterious to us.
    I see in myself a tendency to rationalise what I do, rather than to act rationally, and I accept that as a necessary part of living in the real world and responding to things in reasonable time frames – full rationality is far too slow for most real situations.

    But that leads into a far deeper investigation of the many levels of valence and motivation within us, and the many levels of synergy, conflict, and arbitrage that happens between them.

    I’m really not all that confident about what exactly what motivates me in any particular context, and there are a few lead contenders that are usually well up there in contribution rankings:
    a sense of justice (and injustice);
    a desire to make a difference;
    a delight in discovering new things;
    a profound joy in building coherent understandings of complex issues;
    an appreciation for the beauty and complexity present in natural systems;
    a love of people, and their power to overcome adversity and maintain cooperation;
    making things work – building machines and systems that work as I imagined they might;
    explaining complex concepts to others in ways that work;
    being responsible in ways that contribute to the ecological and social contexts I exist in – aiming to achieve universal abundance.

    I can get joy from splitting a log for the fire (provided I don’t hit my thumb with the sledgehammer), or from watching birds, dolphins, whales, etc, or watching the water in a babbling brook.

    • Ted — I resonate with the wisdom in your words, “… we have free will to the degree that we claim it.”

      And while I don’t enjoy splitting a log for the fire (that’s Len’s job), I adore sitting and enjoying the flames.

  2. Love the quilt. I think I’ve been motivated by different things and people over time but the wish to delight and encourage people to enjoy the simple things is probably where I am at now. I hope you have a great retreat, Laurie.

  3. We didn’t have motivation stars at our school when I was growing up, but my son did and he too found it a great incentive as 10 stars equalled a small Lego set, which he was mad about. As a teacher I gave all Kinds of stickers and credits, which were exchanged for money at the school where I used to work. Children in general respond very well to rewards of any ėkind, far better than the stick!
    Enjoy your retreat; it sounds absolutely fabulous.

    • Fatima — My son would have gone BONKERS if he’d known about the Lego sets!

      And you’re absolutely right, “Children in general respond very well to rewards of any kind, far better than the stick!” 🙂

  4. I think the biggest motivator in my life is love – love for family, husband, friends, creating. I think your mother in law may be motivated by the same thing looking at that beautiful gift. Wishing you a wonderful retreat and safe travels.

  5. I love your question and all the answers above. I too am most motivated by love, but it can take many forms, and has evolved over time. I loved stars as a kid, too. (That reminds me that we might make a star chart for our 7- and 5-year old grandchildren when they come to visit. I hope I can find gold stars in little flat boxes like the ones I remember.)

    Have a wonderful retreat, Laurie.

  6. I am wondering at the simplicity and profound beauty of your thoughts Laurie…just like the wonder called stars! I play with my grandkids who have a bug that shines and produces stars in a dark room and rejoice at them, catching them! 🙂

  7. The quilt is beautiful. I’d never have the patience to do something like that. Yet I write. What motivates me? The story and character ideas that won’t go away until I write them down.

  8. What motivates me? Wanting something badly enough to find a way to get/do/accomplish it. Having an idea and corralling it/thinking it through/actually following through with it. Or something I read, or see, or imagine. Then there is the satisfaction of a conclusion/completion/job done despite the fact that I resisted as long as I could. And rewards? Stars – in the sky, reflecting in a window, shining on water – any large body of water that emits the smell, the sight, the sound of comfort.

  9. When I was five I also loved stars. My ballet/tap teacher would give me a gold star if I’d done my best in class. She had me put it on my right foot so I’d remember which one was my right. Later my piano teacher stuck different colored stars in my songbook as I learned new pieces. And now when I really want to treat myself I go out to the mountains and look up at the sky.

  10. Stars are a great motivator which is why when I get a 4 or 5-star review for one of my books, I am motivated to write some more. That quilt is amazing and you are so fortunate to own it. Have a fab time at the writer’s retreat. I look forward to hearing all about it. (not a bad location either)

  11. Your quilt is beautiful, Laurie. And your mother-in-law clearly loves you very much to undertake such a labour of love.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your retreat. Enjoy it.

  12. I love stars! 🌟💫 So many unknown mysteries hidden in the sky!.
    The kilt is wonderful, dear Laurie. Good luck in your trip. Sounds like an amazing place!. Love & best wishes ❤

  13. I love the quilt and stars. My father was in the Canadian Navy during WWII and he made sure every Canadian lad earned a high school diploma while serving in the war. He taught Star Navigation skills, and knot tying as part of the course work and that translated into sharing those things on our many camping trips and when he was teaching at Universities across the USA for summer schools. He used the heavens and knots in teaching critical thinking skills to every child he encountered – especially special needs kids. I believe taking a first step in the right direction motivates me – that first step is sometimes a real doozie! Have a wonderful and productive time

    • Patricia — Your father sounds like an incredible man. My hat is off to him!

      I love what motivates you: “Taking the first step in the right direction.”

      And I agree with you wholehearted that the first step can be a real doozie! 🙂

  14. At each stage of life, I’ve had different motivators. Curiosity was an early motivator. Achievement and recognition in my early school years. Common threads over many decades have been a deep desire to learn, a strong drive to call out injustice and work for it’s resolution, and love. Then again, I can in the short term, be motivated to get through today’s “to do’s” list by the promise of desert, perhaps a bowl of ice cream or a piece chocolate cake. Have a productive and enjoyable retreat.

    • Audrey — I can oh-so-relate with YOU (especially the 🍰 part).

      And I can hardly wait to read in detail about some of these motivators—and where they led you—in your up-and-coming memoir.

  15. For one, trying to keep up with you! 😉

    Other than that, (and it sounds corny), I try to make my world a better place today than it was yesterday. It might only be the fact I made my wife laugh, or I was polite and smiled at a store clerk or cashier, or picked up a piece of litter in my yard that a driver/passenger had thrown from his/her car. But each of those little things counts, and they all start to add up over the decades, especially when combined with the big things one does, like donating time or money to a charity, conserving energy and resources, being self-sufficient and a responsible, law-abiding, peace-encouraging citizen.

    If everyone just did what they could do . . . Strength in numbers, folks.


    • Chris — yes, Yes, YES! There’s tremendous strength in numbers. And if like you said, we all just did what we can — big or small — each day, it would make a tremendously positive impact on our planet 🌎

  16. I love stars as well and bloggers who address their blogger friends as sisSTAR! Your energy is palpable as you contemplate turquoise waters by day and indigo, star-studded nights in the Caribbean.

    Like other readers, I am motivated by love and its sister, kindness. Thaks for such a twinkly post, Laurie!

    • Marian — I have been to this island paradise before so I know the real treat that awaits.

      And you know what siSTAR? Your blog posts always hit the spot with me becaus they never (ever!) fail to be positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. Thank you for being one of the bright and shining stars in this world ⭐

  17. Laurie, the act of Creation takes on many facets, each turn reveals new faces yet to be seen. Creation starts within me, begins to fidget and squirm and in general, make things uncomfortable until it has been released, freed to take on the shape of it’s being, whether it’s a cake, a painting, or garden patch. Formulating and incubating an idea is a process of growth and once that growth has become too big for the inside of my head, it manifests itself in the material world and relieves me of the burden of carrying it around in my head. That’s enough motivation for me. If you stop in Atlanta on your way out to the Island, grab some fries and a Frozen Orange at the Varsity stand at Hartsfield/Jackson Airport. It will help put you in “Island Time and Island Mind”. I know you want to write, write, write! Take time to play, play, play!!!

    • Sandi — Be it in the garden, in the kitchen, or on a canvas, your inspiration (input) followed by your output (creation) has always amazed me! And on top of that, there’s your knitting. I’m wearing my comfy red slippers right now! 🙂

      • I’m very glad to hear you are. Our LA weather forecaster said the cool weather we are experiencing came straight from Idaho so I know it’s nippy there!

  18. What a very beautiful quilt! And, have a wonderful writing retreat ! How beautiful it will be there! Enjoy the starry nights⭐️

  19. What a beautiful quilt! Enjoy your retreat and the starry nights! What a wonderful place to retreat to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  20. As a lover and maker of quilts, I can see that you have been gifted a true treasure! At the age of six, my parents started piano lessons for me. My instructor gave gold stars for a “job well done.” I remember working so hard to earn her approval and a gold star. Today I am motivated by love–love of family, friends, nature, animals including our kitties, and so much more. And I am motivated by you!

  21. The quilt is gorgeous and wow! A trip to the Bahamas! I hope the writing retreat is exceptional, Laurie. I’m confident you will be a gift to those who attend. And I hope you enjoy the beautiful setting. 🙂

  22. Lovely quilt and post. I enjoy stars too. Wishing you all the best with your upcoming book! Enjoy the journey.

  23. First off Laurie, I trust you had one of the most memorable vacations in the Bahamas! Much enjoyed your subsequent posts here on that wonderful time! What motivates me? In the best sense passion for my various artistically-inspired hobbies, in the worst sense capitulation to the wild and wonderful world of obsessive-compulsive disorder!! 🙂

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