Diligence and labor

Jeff and Mom, working in the yard of my parents' lakefront cabin, 2007

Jeff and Mom, working in the yard of my parents’ lakefront cabin, April 2007

“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by  diligence and labor.” — Menander

People often say that women marry their fathers, but in most ways I think I married my mother.  My husband is so like her, especially when it comes to enjoying work.  I like to joke that if there is not any work available to do, Jeff will make some to keep himself occupied.  Until I met him I had never met anyone who stayed busier with various types of labor than my mother.  I consider with awe all that each of them has been able to accomplish in life, and I’m grateful to be a primary beneficiary of their industrious personalities.

I don’t share this enthusiasm for work.  I’m a lounger and a goof-off by nature.  I could sit and chat over tea for hours, something that would drive my husband or my mother crazy. I must admit, though, that I almost always enjoy work once I get going.  There is something about physical activity that is an antidote for my tendency to over-think everything.  Perhaps this is why I love crafts, gardening (including the weeding) and walking. I even like to do the dishes.  Maybe I’m more like Jeff and Mom than I think I am.

In any case, I have been grateful that Jeff has managed to keep up with his normal tasks at the clinic and here at home, despite the rigors of undergoing an aggressive chemotherapy regimen.  I started to say I have been amazed, but in a sense I am not surprised at all.  Everyone who knows Jeff well understands that he will work as long as he is able, and will draw strength from what he accomplishes.  May we all be encouraged by the example of those who are happy to work diligently.


  1. Thank You, Julia. Although i have never had the pleasure of meeting Jeff, to picture [when praying for him and your family] his resolve to ‘press forward’ at this time definitely is a picture that ‘defeats despair’. And an Encouragement to ‘press forward’ no matter the circumstances. agape Love and Abundant Joy seeking to you & yours this day of Lord.

    • Thank you, Kate. Jeff’s stamina and resolve are indeed an amazing blessing (in fact as I write this, he is singing “Brightly beams our father’s mercy” to himself as he goes about morning tasks). He is truly one in a million and I thank you for praying with us that we will have him here for a long time. Your faith is a daily encouragement to me!

      • The blessing of ‘ two or more together ‘ … to keep passing it on > prayers & encourage for they always come back to you and me 7 fold.’ Tell Jeff, that ..”.our Father’s mercy” [new every day] is a song i would gladly sing with him; if i could sing > not one of my gifs.. Yet, i always laugh and say God did that on purpose > the devil can’t stand my ‘tune’ so he flees.

        • Kate, I will tell Jeff your joke about singing and he will get a kick out of it because he would probably say the same about himself, but I love to hear him sing. I guess there is a reason the KJV said “make a joyful noise!” 🙂 Thanks so much for the prayers. We will keep praying for your family.

  2. I am like you and married into a family who is like your Jeff. Funny how we are all different! Let me know when you want a partner to goof off with ~ I’m there! 🙂

    • Sounds great to me! As goof-offs we are blessed to be married to industrious types, aren’t we? But perhaps (as I have long suspected) they get vicarious relaxation from living with us.

  3. merry

    What a beautiful photo. I think I may be a mixture of the busy/lounger. !:} On winter days I can sit and read, specially cold/rainy days but the warm sunny days I’m up and about. Enjoy your day…

    • Thank you, I am glad you like the photo. Sunshine does have an energizing effect, doesn’t it? I hope there will be enough sun today to get me going; lots to do. Thanks for being here!

  4. You are really lucky to have such enthusiasts with you. And so nice of you to appreciate this quality of your husband and mother. This attitude will help him a lot.
    Idling makes me feel guilty while my husband is just the opposite. He is such a happy, contented, kind person, though.

    • As much as I like to lounge, I do feel guilty when I am idle for too long. I always have so many projects going and they call out to me when I am not doing anything useful. Another difficulty for me is deciding which tasks to prioritize, and sometimes I think the decision is another way of procrastinating! I do feel lucky to have the efficient, hard working types in this world – people such as my husband, my mother and apparently you too!

  5. Carlyle

    Your mother often reminds me that my father said that I was the laziest man he ever met.

    • That’s funny, Daddy! It just tells me that your Dad must not have known you very well 🙂 and actually, any man who made his living as an actor has no room to talk! I’m sure your Dad was just being dramatic as I’m told he often was, offstage as well as on. Besides, I think you are one of the hardest-working people I ever knew. What tended to camouflage your diligence is that you were blessed beyond measure with a career you loved deeply. And because pilots do their work when others are home eating or sleeping, it would be easy for people to assume you didn’t work much. But even when you were home, Mom definitely kept you busy with unlimited projects. You’re the only man I know personally who ever built a bathroom onto his home (including laying the tile) and I well remember helping you clean the used bricks you bought to add a closet onto your bedroom. Lazy schmazy.

  6. MaryAnn

    How lovely! It fills my heart to “hear” your praise of our Heavenly Father thru your words! I love you & pray for you & the family…MaryAnn

    • Thank you Mary Ann! Keep the prayers coming, we really need them and they are helping us survive. So nice to have you visit us here.

  7. Sheila

    Julia, a little saying that comes to mind is “It’s only work if you’d rather be doing something else” so it seems Jeff is happy with being so busy. There are so many office jokes about my schedule. Bill says that if I worked more it would be a “job” and not a “hobby”! Thinking of you, Sheila

    • Sheila, anytime you can get paid for a hobby that’s a great gig! Seriously, it’s great if you can work a flexible schedule and just do the hours you want. I worked in reservations for Piedmont Airlines (later USAir) many years ago, and even though I only worked 20 hours per week, we were allowed to pay others to work our shifts for us AND could go home early if it wasn’t busy AND could read magazines, write letters, whatever, when it wasn’t busy. Unlimited free flights for me and my family and many weeks I only worked 12 hours or so. I will never have a better job as long as I live. It was a blast while it lasted. I later moved to the ticket counter and gate with USAir and it wasn’t nearly as much fun although most people would consider that a better position. Thanks for visiting here!

      • Sheila

        Oh, Julia, Piedmont Airlines…Winston Salem,NC…..hometown where Bill and I grew up. I just love connecting with people(sorta like Pink Pig at Lenox Square). Pardon my excitement but we do seem to have much in common. Restful night I hope.

        • Shelia, chances are I might have spoken with you on the phone or checked your bags or given you a seat assignment sometime during my 5 years with Piedmont/USAir! Isn’t life funny? I’m so happy to hear from someone who remembers Piedmont. I’m biased but Piedmont was one very well-run company with the true Carolina charm, and I fear we’ll not see one like it ever again. Hope you too have a restful night!

  8. I am always encouraged to hear that Jeff is still working. I pray for him daily. Stephen is a hard worker and can’t be idle long. I however love to be idle especially with tea and a good friend.

    • Amy, just name your time! Besides I want to take you out to lunch for your upcoming birthday. Call me when you get a chance to catch your breath. Thanks for being here.

  9. You are blessed to have a hard working husband. I pray he continues to maintain his strength and that you both move smoothly through recovery.

    • Thanks so much for your prayers for us! I am certainly very blessed and have often told people that Jeff’s presence in my life is all the proof of God that I need. I appreciate your visits here and absolutely loved your recent post with the Spam parodies. Easily the funniest thing I have read online lately. As that articulate genius with multiple names from Lista de email wrote to me today, “this will help me into understanding more about this subject.” (inside blogger joke)

  10. Seymour

    This blog seems like a good way to turn your “lounger” instincts into a task that also requires diligence and provides a sense of productivity and accomplishment. It’s like chatting over tea, but also like a job that you have to do every day. I think Jeff’s diligence and industriousness will serve him well during his illness, and I pray that your diligent efforts on this blog will also strengthen you with the daily sustenance that you need during these difficult days.

    • Thank you, Seymour! I think the tea analogy is quite apt. In fact, I was just talking with a couple of other readers (hi Carla and Sheila) about having a pretend tea party; younger people might call it “a virtual tea party.” You are also quite astute in pointing out that this is a great way to utilize my lack of ambition when it comes to hard physical labor :-). Thanks for visiting with us here.

  11. I don’t often find myself idle, but easily enjoy those moments when I do. We worked so hard when we lived at the lake, it’s kind of nice to take a break from that. It does feel great to end the day with a bevy of accomplishments under you belt, especially if you did them together with a loved one, that makes it all the more sweet. I’m glad to hear your hubby is enjoying these things, I’m sure it brings some relief to your heart and mind too and that’s awesome!

    • Thanks Boomdee, I am so thankful you have used your time so wisely to bless others with the beautiful things you create. I really enjoy your visits here!

  12. Beth

    It seems we both married men who enjoy their work, whatever it may be. My mom, like yours, can still work circles around everyone else. Both of them inspire me to get busy, but my true nature is to read a good book with a mug of Red Bush tea. 🙂

    • Beth, I think Mma. Ramotswe would enjoy a nice chat over Red Bush tea with both of us! She strikes just the right balance between work and relaxation, which is one reason I love to read her stories so much! Give your mom my love, and thanks for being here!

  13. Rene

    Speaking of industrious workers, it just barely stopped raining in my neighborhood, and somebody is already out mowing his lawn

    • Wow, just hearing about someone actually mowing gives me hope. I guess your rainy season is almost over now?

      • Rene

        The rainy season hasn’t actually arrived…it just keeps teasing us. I can only think of two rainy days so far this year, and the one on Wednesday was over so quickly, it shouldn’t really count.

        • WOW, when we lived in Northern California, it would start raining every December and pretty well keep it up (raining more days than not, it seemed) through February. I finally quit trying to do outdoor Christmas lights because the moisture would trip the breaker and they’d go out so often.


  1. A light joyousness | Defeat Despair
  2. The whole world, 2017 | Defeat Despair

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: