January beckons

Scene from our porch in Alexandria 2011

I took this photo at 8:20 p.m. from the front porch of our Alexandria home, January 2011

“January, the month of new beginnings and cherished memories, beckons.  Come, let winter weave her wondrous spell: cold, crisp, woolen-muffler days, long dark evenings of savory suppers, lively conversations, or solitary joys.  Outside the temperature drops as the snow falls softly.  All of nature is at peace.  We should be, too.  Draw hearthside.  This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within.” 
Sarah Ban Breathnach

For  some of us — perhaps many of us — it would be easy to fear the coming year.  Reeling from unforseen sorrows, or carrying on valiantly through months and years of hardship, we may want to avoid thinking about the future.  Yet January also offers the promise of “the New Year full of things that have never been,” in Rilke‘s oft-quoted words.  Whatever else we resolve today, let’s promise ourselves that we will pay attention to the good, the beautiful, the blessed and the eternal.  My hope is that my photographs and words, and the words of others, will encourage all who join us here to choose joy each day.  Philippians 4:4-9


  1. They do, Julia. Be assured, they do.

    • Thanks Eric, I appreciate your presence and comments here.

        • Believe it or not I had to look up the meaning of that 🙂 – but thank you!

  2. What beautiful sentiments to start the year! Do not fear, dear sister and family… “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow!” (Zig Ziglar)
    Wishing us all a blessed new year!

  3. What beautiful sentiments to start the new year! Thank you. Do not fear, dear sister and family…..”We do not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow” (Zig Ziglar)
    Wishing all of us a blessed new year!

    • Thank you Carla! I hope that one year from now, we will be sharing our gratitude for the blessings of 2013!

      • I promise you, dear sister and family, there will be plenty of blessings to be grateful for in 2013, though sometimes they wear clever disguises! “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow” (Zig Ziglar)

        • Thank you Carla. I look forward to sharing 2013 with you

  4. Every year i declare this is the “MESSYEST YEAR” & i truly feel that way 4 much abuse, sickness, death in our lives – then i kneel in the Garden of Gethsemane & i look at the blood tears rolling down His cheek as Teacher prays : “Forgive, They do not know”; Forgive me i forgot. THANK YOU, FOREVERFAITHFULFATHER 4 the BEST YEAR with YOU! praying w/o ceasing 4 U & YOURS in God’s Abundant, Amazing LOVE & GRACE ❤

    • Yes, I try to remind myself that no matter the circumstances, we have so much for which to give thanks. Having said that, may we be here one year from today looking back in astonished joy at the amazing blessings that came our way in 2013! Thanks for joining us here.

  5. A New Year’s Wish ~
    >What, oh friend, shall be the blessing
    >I tonight must wish for thee,
    >All my deepest love expressing
    >In the year that is to be?
    >Shall I wish thee golden treasure
    >Laughter, mirth and sunny days,
    >Earthly joy in lavish measure
    >Flowering in its hidden ways?
    >Nay, I pray that it may offer
    >Wide and worthy work to thee,
    >That each coming day may proffer
    >Greater opportunity.
    >Fondly do I wish thee ever
    >Courage to its fullness grown,
    >Strength renewed for new endeaver
    >Higher than the past has known.
    >Thus, oh friend, the year will bring thee
    >Royal gifts to cheer and bless,
    >And the busy days will sing thee,
    >Many a song of happiness.
    >~ L. M. Montgomery ~ 9 January 1909 ~
    I know it’s long, I hope you don’t mind. I just love L.M. and this poem holds lots of love and hope. Hoping your new year is blessed. Thank you for all the lovely photo’s. I love you.

    • Amy, how beautiful! Thanks so much for posting that here. I hope that many others will read it. I don’t remember ever having read it before and it is such a lovely and generous wish for the new year. I will only add, I hope that we get together for tea many times this year, even if HM can’t be there!

  6. Judy Wilson Holley

    One of my most favorite passages. And yes, Julia, your uplifting words and beautiful photographs are a daily encouragement and spot of brightness.

    • Thank you Judy! I am so happy to have you visit with us here!

  7. Fran Kettren

    Beautiful picture, words, and thoughts! Thank you Julia!

    • Fran Kettren

      Happy New Year! Love and prayers.

      • Thanks especially for the prayers. We have never needed them more.

    • Thank you Fran! It’s great to hear from you. Blessings to you and all your family for a wonderful 2013!

  8. Carlyle

    It was a pleasure to read all the loving and hopeful comments on your New Years Blog. We add our love, Hope and prayers.
    mom and dad

    • Thank you Daddy. For the past several months I have given thanks continually for the blessing of having you and Mama still here with us during this difficult time – truly the support that comes from loving parents is like no other consolation on earth.

  9. MaryAnn

    Oh! My Dear Julia…your words & photos offer such illumination to The Light!
    My goal is joy & gratitude everyday; in doing God’s Will…your messages are a constant help in that! Thank you!
    Love & prayers, MaryAnn
    BIG HUGS for Matt!

    • Mary Ann, your example has been a constant help to me 🙂 and I thank God for your friendship, and especially for the abiding love you share with Matt. Happy 2013!

  10. I actually started packing our Christmas decorations yesterday in anticipation of a new year. The promises of God are for ‘whosoever will’ and I believe God, so I know 2013 will be a great year. New promises, new goals, new obstacles, whatever comes my way I have just asked God to show me the way to handle it all! Thank you for posting these comments everyday. You are an excellent writer!!

    • Renee, thanks so much for the compliment, and also (especially) for the encouragement. I too ask God for the grace to handle whatever comes. It helps to know we will be there for each other no matter what! 🙂

  11. Very nice. You’ve inspired me to check out more of Rilke’s poetry.

    • Good! I should do the same; I mostly see Rilke’s work in the form of short passages and quotes in various places. Happy New Year and thanks for visiting us here!

  12. Nelda Huie

    Julia, your words, pictures and thoughts are truely beautiful and inspirational. God bless you and your precious family in this new year and always.

    • Thanks so much, Nelda – it is wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for visiting us here and for keeping in touch!


  1. Voices at the door | Defeat Despair

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