New possibilities

Jeff frolics with our sons in Maui, Hawaii, 1991

Jeff frolics with our sons in Maui, Hawaii, 1991

Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.”Stuart Brown, MD

If you have a favorite hobby, sport or other recreational activity, why not schedule some time for play this week? On the other hand, if you don’t play very often, or if you tend to default to the TV or newspaper whenever you have a few minutes, think about exploring something more creative and playful.  If you have children or grandchildren, it might be fun to play along with them at legos, puzzles, board games or other diversions they love. As the weather warms up, move outdoors for more active games, or check with your local Parks and Recreation department for their class offerings. Whatever our preferences and abilities, let’s all make time for play.  It’s not just for kids.

Added note: I have a devotional message today at The Upper Room, as well as a guest blog post; feel free to visit!


  1. There is a preacher from Tennessee who is very driven. Some would not recognize this characteristic in him as much as they would notice that his level of organization is extreme. If a casual lunch is suggested, he pulls out his schedule book, and after consultation, writes the luncheon date down. One Sunday, I suggested I might call him later in the week – maybe Thursday, to check on a project we were working on together. “What time, Thursday, do you think you might call?” (He wanted to make an entry, and try to leave some flexible work scheduled, so he could take my call.) Finally, a church lady complained: “Where is the spontaneity in your life? You need some spontaneity!” He pulled out his schedule book, flipped a few pages, and with his index finger pinpointed the spot for her to look at: “There – Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.” He had the word “SPONTANEITY” scheduled into that slot. I hope you are laughing (he was); but what I am suggesting is that one element of recreational play is that it is sometimes not scheduled in advance. Have fun!

    • Eric, this did make me laugh! It reminds me of the time Mom ORDERED you to “ENJOY YOUR VACATION!” (subtext: OR ELSE!) I totally agree that spontaneity is priceless and necessary, but some people experience true anxiety when they do not know exactly what to expect. Obviously, I’m not one of them. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this funny story.

  2. Great advice! Play frees us mentally, physically and emotionally! Adorable photo! Keep those happy times in your heart!

    • Yes, I am keeping these precious memories close during these uncertain days. No matter what comes, it helps us to remember that we have been greatly blessed with abundant joys.

  3. Carolyn

    The wind is blowing and it is a little on the cold side but my boy, Terry,and I are going out today for some shopping. You are right, no matter how old you are you need to have some fun. Just being together is wonderful and I feel like going out today. Love to all of you, Pray that Jeff is having a good day. Carolyn

    • Carolyn, I hope you have a lovely day out. We are having a “day in” today – snow falling hard (though not sticking much) and everything closed in the DC area. After making sure all work etc. was cancelled (about 5 am EST), we went back to bed and slept in – a rare treat! March is coming “in like a lion” around here, but the snow falling is so lovely it’s hard to complain. Thanks for visiting us here. We are praying for good health for you!

  4. what a beautiful photo this is! it captures a moment of joy, pure joy! z

    • Thanks, Z – that is exactly how I would describe it. A true “buffer zone” against harder times.

  5. Mike Bertoglio

    Julia is that you on the UR site? When I read the first sentence -I thought I think I know this person. Congratulations- wonderful meditation.
    The picture reminds me of times swimming the buoys at Kailua beach and kayaking out to the Mokes off Lanikia. Hope to return someday.

    • Yes, Mike, that’s my devotional at Upper Room today. I’ve had several devotionals published there and elsewhere over the years, but haven’t made time to write any lately. I think you can find some of the old ones by doing a search of my name at the UR site. I’m so happy that you have some of those wonderful Hawaiian memories, ohana enjoying the gorgeous beaches. I hope you do get to return someday. When we went back in 2002, the H3 was completed on Oahu, and now you can get to the north shore in only 15-20 minutes from Honolulu! No more long drives up the Likelike or Pali highways! Thanks for visiting here today!

  6. The pics looks fab 🙂

    • Thanks Harshit! If you have never been to Hawaii, I hope you can someday go there. It’s beautiful. We have friends in Chennai who were telling us about the lovely beaches in India – I hope that our family can go there someday too.

      • Yes, Indeed I would like to go over there 🙂
        and yes, we do have many beaches there, what all I can say is,” Come anytime and experience them”
        take care

        • Harshit, I will certainly keep India on my list of places to go, now I will include its beaches as well as the famous cities and sites like the Taj Mahal. Through another blog I was introduced to some photos of Kerala, a beautiful place! Thanks for visiting here.

          • ‘Kerala” certainly is a fab place to sojourn. It is infact in my wishlist too 🙂
            Do include ‘Rajasthan” in ur wishlist, My home state 🙂

            • Will do, Harshit! Thanks for the tip, and I hope you are having a great weekend!

  7. I’m fairly good at “scheduling” play times with other homeschool families. We (moms) say it’s for the children, but it’s actually for us! My play time entails interacting with other homeschool moms and laughing. I think that counts. 😉

    • Definitely! If it “re-creates” us, it’s recreation! And getting together with other families is a good way to teach your children the value of friendship for adults as well. Children tend to do what they’ve watched us do, more than what we tell them to do! That’s a blessing and a curse, isn’t it?

  8. Patricia

    Your devotional on UR today was wonderful. Thank you for you words of wisdom. This is an amazing blog. I like the idea of the photo, quote, and reflection. For many years I started my high school English classes that way, the quote always having some connection to the literature. The discussion that followed was generally the most fruitful part of the lesson. You are very wise to use your blog to help you through these times. You and yours will be in my prayers. I plan to follow your lead and have fun today.

    • Patricia, thanks so much for your kind words and for visiting us here! I always thought that if I taught school, high school English would probably be my chosen field. I guess becoming a librarian is pretty close to that. I hope and pray today’s students do not lose the connection to reading and literature. Through quotes, people from all over the world, and any point in history, can speak to us where we are. Thanks so much for your prayers — and I hope you have a FUN day! My dog and I just enjoyed a walk in the snow :-).

  9. J.D Maloy

    Julia, this is such a cool God connection and I must share, but you don’t have to post this. I’m the same J.D who wrote to you on Steve Laube’s blog a couple weeks ago that the Lord has put you and your writing time on my heart to pray for. Since following your blog I finally became bold enough to post a comment yesterday. The dock in Maine spoke to me 🙂 I’m inspired and encouraged by your words and pictures and what you’re doing is beautiful and needed for so many people on various levels, so thank you! Then I see that you’re a guest blogger on The Upper Room. My writing coach raves about that site so I check in from time to time and today there you were! Both postings you wrote were sincere and uplifting. Keep running the race, sister!

    • Thanks Jenelle, I hope you don’t mind my sharing this. I think it’s really remarkable that we connected through Steve Laube; I love his blog and his agency is my dream agency! (emphasis on the word DREAM! I don’t even have an agent :-)) It took me forever to get up the nerve to post comments, even though I had been active in online communities since 1994, when everything was text-based and I had to learn Unix to use the UH computer system while I was in library school. I’m generally a private person so it was a big step for me, but it was made easier by the fact that I’m also kind of a compulsive talker who is terribly hypergraphic, a term I learned from this very interesting book. Thanks so much for your comment, and I hope you will find as much inspiration, encouragement, friendship and practical information as I have always found online. Blessings to you, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

  10. I visited both links and as always enjoyed your message and your family photo there. I really admire you Julia for being able to bring your inspirational quotes and words to us here while and and your family struggle with such devastating challenges. I don’t know if I could do it, and certainly not with as much strength and grace that you have. I’m sure many have told you, but I will too, “you are an amazing woman” .

    • Thanks so much for your very kind words. I believe we all (or almost all, anyway) do what we have to do when the time comes. I do get a lot of strength and support from so many people who are offering kind thoughts, prayers and encouraging words right now. I’m grateful for everyone who is helping us keep going and, especially thankful that Jeff has been so strong and great about keeping things as normal as possible right now, going to work and maintaining our typical schedule on days when he is not taking treatments or diagnostics. Taking “one day at a time” is the best way to cope with such difficulties, I think.

  11. Reading this post I realized with shock that we don’t play any sort of games here. We are too occupied with our routine activities. Yes, really dull. This week our kids’ exams will be over and we must go for some board games in which the whole family can take part.
    Thank a lot for that reminder. What a lovely picture! All the best to the family.

    • Thanks, Bindu. It seems that most of us find it all too easy to let life slip away from us while we go through the necessary routines that make up most of life. It can be really hard to prioritize fun when so many urgent tasks are calling. It reminds me of a favorite saying from Ashleigh Brilliant: “If you only do what’s important, you’ll never have any fun…unless you consider having fun important.” Thanks so much for visiting here! Good luck to your kids with their exams, and I hope you have a wonderful and fun time when the tests are finished.


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