God’s medicine

Our sons laugh it up in Victoria, British Columbia  1993

Our sons laugh it up in Victoria, British Columbia 1993

“Mirth is God’s medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it.”  — Henry Ward Beecher

As Norman Cousins famously demonstrated, laughter really is the best medicine.  It can break through the gloom and lift the heart more quickly than any other remedy.  Years ago while we lived in Ohio, we were coping with the worrisome heart defects of our newborn son, along with the normal stress of caring for an infant and his 16-months-older brother.  I remember coming in from work late at night (I worked an airline job) feeling tired, worried and discouraged.  My husband would leave a clipping on the kitchen table for me to read from the Dayton newspaper, by a then-little-known humor columnist named Dave Barry.  No matter how blue I was feeling, Barry’s writing would have me laughing aloud, and the effect was as cleansing to the spirit as a hot shower to a grimy body.  Over the years I’ve felt a deep appreciation for anyone who brings laugher into our lives.  Laugher is serious business.


  1. Laughter is the best medicine! It truly helps! Hope you find some giggles everyday!

    • Thanks, and the same to you!

  2. You are the testimony that our lives are not our own. The things we encounter, cherish, cry about..are things we share to help God’s people. I love the way the YOU is being shared to help others. You know I LOVE LAUGHTER it is great medicine!!

    • Renee you really do know how to laugh in all circumstances. I will never forget running you all around DC and almost making you late for your meeting just so I could get some crepes with my coupon – then we had to get a cab and traffic was so bad we could have walked there faster — anyone else would have been furious but you just LAUGHED about it! My kind of friend! 🙂

  3. Megan

    Drew & Matt — two guys that always give me some of life’s best ‘medicine’! 🙂 Also, love the PBSwap evangelistic statement (on the side)! I’m so glad you told me about them so many years ago. Have saved TONS of money on this site and I adore it!

    • Thanks Megan! I too have saved a ton of money on PBS – you have seen what I jokingly call my “$100 library” which came mostly from PBS!! Drew and Matt really do keep the laughs coming especially when they are together.

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    Dave Barry is kind of the Mark Twain of our generation. He has a new book out about Miami-“Insane City.” Heard his interview on NPR pretty funny.
    My older son is north of Atlanta and works in Marietta. A fireman there. We may move down there one of these days.
    If you look at the Kubota site. The first picture is a Camperdown Elm in winter with its twisted majesty. I always find it amazing that all the Camperdowns come from the same parent tree- the original Camperdown Elm- England?– and they are all grafts on a generic normal stock tree. The one at Kubota is 12 feet tall.

    • I grew up in Atlanta so I’m biased, but it’s a great place to live. I will have to look up that Elm on the Kubota site, sounds interesting.

  5. MaryAnn

    Look at your beautiful babies!…enjoying life & each other to the fullest!
    “My” Matthew’s face is lit up w/ JOY! I can bask in the wonder of this moment caught in time!
    THANK YOU, Mrs. Photo Bug!!!

    • Mary Ann, this was taken during the years when we lived on the Central Coast, when we knew Rosalie and her kids. (Back before I got SO OLD!) Matt has been grinning like that since he was a tiny infant. He has always been so excited about life. I’m glad you like the photo – it makes me smile.

  6. I am not sure I have laughed so hard as I do when recalling my friend trying to tell the french policeman that we had hit a deer!! Your french is pretty good and you couldn’t recall the word for deer and my german was and is awful and all I could think of was the word for rabbit. He must have thought we lost our minds. It was a fun day and in spite of the deer.

    • Amy, he looked at me like I was crazy when I put my fingers up on my head trying to mimic antlers. It dawned on me later that instead of saying “Rudolph!” to him you should have said “Bambi!” I bet he would have known Bambi. All I could think to say was “petit animaux, pas de chien!” It’s funny to laugh about it now but at the time it seemed deadly serious. I mean, it was dark and we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, someplace in Lorraine? or Alsace? Quel dommage!

  7. Sheila

    Julia,I’m glad that my earlier post was lost because by waiting I’ve enjoyed some fun posts.
    I often think of duplicate posts as “double dipping” so I waited just to make sure that it didn’t appear. When I read that Jeff would leave those Dave Barry articles for his weary wife coming home late,I knew immediately what a caring husband he is.Never doubted it for a minute! Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, what happened? I did not get an earlier post, I wonder if something got deleted accidentally? I checked the spam filter and it wasn’t there. Oh, well, I’m glad you checked back. Jeff often leaves me clippings of stuff he knows I will like or want to know about. I never seem to get through the newspapers myself (I let them pile up and tell myself I’ll get to them later – HA!) Once in awhile I’ll read a magazine or newspaper he doesn’t read and leave him clippings too, but he’s much more disciplined than I am about getting through reading material. If someone gives him a book, he’ll have it read within a few months. My “to be read” pile is a black hole!

  8. Sheila

    Julia…. Not to worry! It so never left my iPad I’m sure. Unless it shows up on The Upper Room. I better check .I laugh… therefore I am. With a smile,Sheila

    • At least I know I’m not the only one who does these things…:-)

  9. I’m at a loss for what to say that would add anything substantive here….except to say that the Bible teaches it and I know it to be true with all of my heart!!!

    • Carla, I hope the photo speaks more loudly than my words anyway! It’s hard for me to look at it without smiling. One thing we can be thankful for is that we grew up with lots and lots of laughter.

  10. Cute picture 🙂

    • Thanks, it brings back fond memories of when our sons were very young.

  11. Kathy Yaccino

    I love the photo! Yes, laughter needs to be prescribed to me on a regular basis, often through comedies & funny emails to offset some of the seriousness of my days…

    • I am trying to give Jeff a regular dose of laughter; he finally did read Norman Cousins’ book Anatomy of an Illness which I have been trying to get him to read for years. I believe it really is beneficial to health, even from a strictly biological standpoint.

  12. lephillou

    Very nicely put, and so very true.

    • Thank you! For some reason, this morning I keep hearing a few words from Jimmy Buffet playing in my head: “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!” Thanks for visiting us here.

  13. Cute picture and I enjoy Dave Barry a lot. Did you watch his sitcom when it was on? We laughed like crazy.

    • I vaguely remember the TV show; it seems like the guy from Night Court played Dave Barry? I still love to read him, especially his year-end reviews. I almost always end up laughing out loud when I read what he writes. He is really gifted at humor.

      • OH YAH, night court guy…good one Julia. Hey does anyone call you Jewels? My friend Lori’s daughter is also Julia and they call her Jules.

        • Yes, my good friend Nancy has always called me Jules and I have used that as a screen name at times. My grandmother’s name was Jewel and I sort of tell myself I was named after her, although I really wasn’t.

          • What a perfectly decadent name! Lucky her. Go ahead and continue to pay tribute to her, she’d probably be tickled,

            • Yes, both my grandmothers were really interesting. Jewel was my mother’s mother and she was generous to a fault (as my grandfather would have been the first to tell you :-)) She and my grandfather often ran these little country stores with gas pumps. At her funeral, a man I had never met told me “your grandmother fed me when I was out of work and could not pay my bills.” I was never given a middle name, so when I was a little girl she told me that I could have the same name as her (her middle name was Mae). So I started putting that on all my school records etc. and my mother had to explain to me that wasn’t really my middle name but Granny said it was so as far as I was concerned, it was! She and my PaPa called me “Julie Mae” till they died.

              • Love that! How endearing of them, Julie Mae is so charming and southern sounding. I’ll loan you my middle name too and you can be J.A.M…..yum! Sweet of your grandma to share that with you, even if it was for fun.

                • Yes, it will always be a special memory. What is your middle name? If you’ve told us, I forgot!

                  • Oh yah, it’s Anne…after my Grandma too. Those women that paved the way just keep on giving 🙂

                    • That is too cool, we were just having a conversation here about Anne of Green Gables. I love the name Anne. Yes, we owe a great deal to past generations. These women were phenomenal and they never knew many of the things that we take for granted now.

  14. Rene

    I’ve thought of commenting many times, but finally HAVE to: for many years, I bought a Dave Barry Page-A-Day calendar, specifically to get a dose of humor every day. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen one for many years and have had to make do with a Jeopardy! calendar. “Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys” actually made me laugh until I cried many times.

    • Hi Rene, I’m so happy you decided to comment! It would not be an exaggeration to say that Dave Barry is among the writers who have most contributed to my mental health for decades now. Laughing is one of the healthiest ways we can cope with whatever is bugging us, and he never fails to make me laugh, usually OUT LOUD even when I am alone. We had a Dave Barry Page-A-Day last year, and I ended up sending a great many of the pages to people I knew who would enjoy them as much as I did. I started reading him way back in the mid 80’s when I was a young working mother with two toddlers and badly needed the laughs! His online stuff is pretty good too. Thanks for your comment!


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