Obstacles or gateways?

Drew inside a redwood turned gateway in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, 1992

Drew inside a redwood turned gateway in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, 1992

“The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” 
Ralph Blum

If you’ve ever seen the arcade game called “Whack A Mole,”  you may feel as I do:  that it’s a pretty good visual representation of what life is like.  Troubles keep popping up all over, and as soon as you deal with one, two more appear.  I tend to think of myself as trying to clobber these little vermin with the big hammer, but maybe Blum’s analogy is a better one.

Some of our blessings come directly or indirectly from misfortune or unwanted change. But that’s often not obvious at the time, and maybe it will take years to look back and realize it.  If we can keep taking steps in the right direction in faith that better things lie ahead, we will be more able to recognize the gateway that may lie within the obstacle.


  1. Ann

    How is your husband. And how are YOU doing? Woke up thinking of you both.

    Thank you for your uplifting blog.

    • We are both feeling much better today! We hope to be coming home from the hospital soon and the surgeons have already set a date for the first of three surgeries that will be coming up this year; these surgeries will give Jeff the best chance for survival so we feel very blessed, and thankful for all the prayers which are being answered. I am so happy to know that others enjoy the blog; it has been very therapeutic for me to write it and search through my photos to find ones to feature. Many of us take lots of photos and then never take the time go back and look at them. So it’s been a blessing to me to post here, and it makes me very happy if it benefits others. Thanks for being here and for thinking of us!

  2. Thanks for this…I’m going through one of those misfortune/change times right now and I need to believe it is for the best!

    • Sue, sometimes it’s so hard to see how anything good can come out of some situations. But I try to keep reminding myself that time will give us some perspective that we don’t have right now. Here is another post that I wrote about this subject – obviously, it’s a challenge to me so I try to keep reminding myself to search for the blessings. If the things I write help someone else, I’m very happy! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. Julia, I just like to tell you, you are one of my favorite Blogger!
    Cheerful and inspire!
    Thank you, my friend! 🙂

    • Sydney, thanks so much, that is such a nice thing to say! You are one of my favorite bloggers too. Did you see the post about a week ago on the cherry blossom trees when the petals fell? It was called “Like Life” and that was the one I told you about when you asked how long the flowers would last. My husband is doing well and we come home from the hospital today, so I hope to be able to visit your blog again soon! Thanks for being here!

      • Carolyn

        I have enjoyed reading your blogs and so thankful to see that Jeff is going home. He is going to have a long time here with all of us. Give him a hug and tell him to hug you back for me. Stay strong our prayers are still going up to the father. Love you all.

        • Thank you Carolyn, lots of prayer for Jeff AND you! Sometime in the future we will all have to get together and remember the year we were hit with the “C” word! And give thanks for the blessings that never fail. Love to you and Terry!

      • Hey, you take care! And I’ll look for your post! Thx!

  4. I have often experienced it. It’s okay to miss certain chances. I missed my first chance to appear for the university entrance test as I was down with a really bad viral fever. In the next test I got through with a third position got my Master’s degree with a first rank in the university. We never know what’s in store for us. And I don’t mind waiting for the good things.
    Have heard a lot about the redwood trees. Long live those gigantic wonders!

    • Congratulations on your Master’s degree! Life is so much easier when we trust that good things can come out of what seems hard at the time. I love the redwoods; I have already posted photos from Muir Woods on this blog here and here, and will probably post more sometime in the future. A grove of redwood trees is like a natural cathedral.

      • Julia, that’s beautiful! My family and I have been there. We live in Redding, in Northern California! 🙂

        • I just love California; it’s’ my adopted second home and always will be. For awhile we thought we would retire there, but finally realized that probably will not be possible for us, even before Jeff got sick. But Jeff was just saying yesterday how much he wants to go back for a visit. I have a post coming up on May 8 about our first California home, where we moved in January 1990. Northern California is beautiful! I wish we had been able to spend more time in the area where you live.

  5. Sheila

    Julia and Jeff, I know today is a “gateway” for you, as you have completed this step, and look forward to better days. I hope you don’t mind if, once again, I share one of my favorite quotes: ” Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.” – Charles H. Spurgeon Thinking of you, Sheila

    • Sheila, what a beautiful quote, and how perfect for us right now! Thanks so much for sharing it. Of course I don’t mind you sharing! I encourage everyone to share positive and uplifting thoughts here. We all need to hear them! Thanks for being here!

      • Sheila

        Julia, you have a “little something” coming to you today or tomorrow. If you will keep an eye out (USPS). Enjoy the day! Sheila

        • Oh Sheila, how sweet! I will look forward to it (I’m like a little kid that way)! Thanks so much!

    • Judy

      I love that quote!!!! Thanks so much for sharing it.

      • Thank you, I’m so glad you like it!

  6. Michael Bertoglio

    Came across this quote attributed to John Lennon- -” All will be well in the end.And if it is not well then it is not the end.”
    Do you have a connection with Washington State University-Wazzu? My sister and best friend went there back in the seventies?

    • Hey Mike I saw that quote not long ago, but it was attributed to someone I had never heard of (don’t remember the name); apparently it was in a movie recently so maybe it was the screenwriter? I have no connection whatsoever with WSU; do I look familiar to someone who went there? I must have a double because I’ve literally had people come up to me and start talking to me as if they knew me, only to realize they had the wrong person.

  7. Jenelle

    What a great reminder that we need to live (act) in faith. Seeing your son compared to the mighty redwood makes me all the more grateful that we are loved by the God of wonders who created those magnificent trees. BTW– how cool is it that we both thought of the line from Dawn Treader on Tamela’s post?! Haha, love it 🙂

    • Yes, I thought that was very neat about that line too. Just had to point it out, almost like talking in code! I have ALWAYS loved that sentence! Poor Eustace, he did almost deserve it but at least everything worked out for him in the end. Those redwood trees are awe-inspiring and do put me in a very reverent mood. Going to Muir Woods always put whatever was bothering me into perspective. I really miss being able to go there frequently.

  8. Such a neat picture, I’ve never been there. Is that tree still living? I would guess that you have a lot more skills than I to deal with multiple crisis at once. But I will admit, divorcing my first husband, while the whole ordeal almost did me in physically and emotionally was a gateway to happiness I know today. I think, when your intuition is wildly pointing in a new direction, follow there.

    • As far as I know, that particular tree is still there, but I heard there was one in Sequoia or King’s Canyon that eventually died and had to be cut down. I don’t think they do that to the trees anymore, but even the giant redwoods have a life span, although most of them live many hundreds of years. Re: difficult changes; so often we remain in situations that we KNOW are wrong, just because a big change is difficult and scary. I sometimes have to be brought to the point of realizing I have no choice but to make some major changes, usually because my health or someone else’s DEMANDS it.

      • My husband lived in King’s Canyon when he was on a backcountry crew with the California Conservation Corps. in the 80’s. 🙂

        • Wow, what an amazing experience that would have been. Everyone talks about Yosemite, but we found that not as many people realize how beautiful King’s Canyon is. California has the most incredible geography.

          • Yes, it does! The main reason my husband moved to California from Illinois was to see the mountains! 😉 I love the ocean the most myself.

            • I love both but I think the ocean has a slight edge with me. The great thing is that California has it all. Oceans, mountains, deserts, forests, cities, you name it – and fabulous fresh produce too!

              • That’s so true! The strawberries are great this time of year! 🙂 I love the ocean the most.

                • What I remember are the fabulous nectarines. When I bought my first ripe nectarine from a roadside stand, it was as if I had never eaten one before. It’s been my favorite fruit since, though the quality of the ones we get here is quite uneven.

                  • When we first moved to California, my parents’ house had a nectarine, peach, and cherry tree. Those were the best tasting nectarines I have ever had! 🙂

                    • While we lived in California I came to the conclusion that there is no fruit quite as good as a perfectly ripe nectarine. Not even a perfectly ripe watermelon, which comes very close. 😀

                    • 🙂

  9. Michael Bertoglio

    I saw the WSU LOGO on one of the blogger logo’s on your site.

    • Oh, maybe just a visitor I didn’t know about – I will have to look them up. I’ve been kind of snowed under with all of the goings-on lately. Now that Jeff is home from the hospital I will have to do some serious catching up before he goes in again in a few weeks, this time for a much longer time.

  10. Oh yeah this is just great!! Thanks so much for sharing it in this challenge!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you like it! I really enjoy your Fun Foto Challenge, it’s a great prompt!


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