Rejoicing that I’m still here

Daddy on his 80th birthday with his lifelong friend and fellow pilot,my beloved "Uncle Tuffy" April 2008

Daddy on his 80th birthday with his lifelong friend and fellow pilot,
my beloved “Uncle Tuffy” April 2008

“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with an opportunity to begin again and be better.” 
Oprah Winfrey

A long life is a decidedly mixed blessing.  Those of us who make it to our eighth and ninth decades will do so enduring many losses: of our physical strength, of many of the people we love best, and of the world as it was for most of our lives.  Still, I appreciate Winfrey’s take on getting older, and I think it can apply to all of us, no matter our age.

What a gift it is to be alive and start a new day!  I have never seen this gift with more clarity than I do after the past six months.  I hope you will join me in resolving to regard life as the blessing it is, regardless of the pains that come along with it.  Today is a precious opportunity, one I am determined not to squander.


  1. Life is a gift and blessing from God to be cherished. If we are not careful we will forget that in times of distress and upheaval.

    • Yes, I have learned to tell myself that when things become unbearably painful, JUST HOLD ON and it won’t last forever. Thanks for helping me remember that!

  2. Harbin77

    Happy birthday to you dad and I know first hand what you or he means about the gift of another day. Praise the Lord. Jim

    • Amen to that PTL, we are all blessed to have another day. Thanks for being here!

  3. Sheila

    Good morning! What a lovely blog with such a beautiful message. You have your daddy’s wonderful smile.
    “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm118:24)
    Enjoy….. Sheila

    • Sheila, I think that’s my mother’s favorite verse. She has said it in so many circumstances, even at times in an almost angry tone of voice, as if defying anyone to get negative in her presence :-). Thanks for being here with us!

  4. Such beautiful sentiments. My Aunt Alys lived through the war, the loss of her husband, only brother and both parents before passing at 95. But she went out smiling and beautiful and happy. Life is worth living. It’s not always easy, but with each loss we endure, we also celebrate the wins. My hat is off to you, Julia.

    • Alys, how wonderful that you were named for such an inspiring lady! You are carrying on her legacy. YES we always have so much to celebrate even when times are dark. Thanks for bringing light and ORDER to the blogosphere! I appreciate your visits here and your comments!

  5. How wonderful it is to be alive and have the chance to enjoy yet another day or decade! More than the cake and the candles it is his smile that makes the picture so cheerful. You are all blessed with the same charming smile, I feel. 🙂 Wish him good health and happiness.

    • Thanks Bindu, he’s 85 now and we feel so lucky to have him and Mama still with us. Yes, it’s a blessing to be alive! I appreciate your kind words and your visits here!

  6. I love that you’ve chosen to share a photo of your Dad with his friend. Sharing a friendship is a great privilege in itself and what can help make life bearable when it is not. I don’t imagine there is anyone who will travel thru it unscathed, not even Oprah. I guess it’s the dark times that make the good times shine brighter.

    • Yes, I think Oprah had a fairly difficult start in life, from what little I know about her. Daddy and “Tuffy” have been friends since they were school age. They learned to fly together and their careers have taken pretty much the same paths. Our family spent many more holidays with their family than with our actual relatives. I think a friendship of nearly 80 years is a pretty rare thing, and as you say, a great privilege. Thanks for being here!

  7. Carolyn

    Yes it is a blessing to be alive today. Your dad looks great. My love to all of you, give Jeff a hug and Matt if he wants one. Be sure to keep us up to date on the baby watch. I just read one of your blogs and I see that your dad is 85 now. A blessing to still have him with you and your mom.

    • Yes, is really is great to have Mom and Dad still here. I’ll let you know when we are officially grandparents – I think the actual due date is July 19 but you know how that goes! Hope you are doing well – thanks so much for being here!

  8. Makes me feel silly for crying about all the sunspots I am getting!

    • Not silly at all – or else that makes two of us! 🙂 I often stress about all the damage the sun has done to my skin over all these years in the sun, but I’m not sure I would do anything differently! I do wear lots of sunscreen now though!

      • I wear lots now too, I hope its not too late. If only i knew then what I know now. 🙂

        • So true! But I will always be grateful for my memories of times in the sunshine; on balance I suppose it did me more psychological good than physical harm!

  9. Dear Julia, I was led to read this blog this morning. It still surprises me to discover how many of your postings I’ve missed over the years. This particular post describes in a calm, peaceful, gentle way, what I’ve been missing in my nearly-maniacal attempt to squeeze everything possible in, all at the same time, as though I have to finish everything today.
    From the photo above, I can see that your daddy and Tuffy have clearly “chosen the better thing,” time with a friend, and it cannot be taken away from them. What a thing of beauty!

    • Yes, sometimes the value of friendship is easier to understand if seen from the outside. I think from the inside we are often unaware of so much. Kind of like when you stop seeing something you post on a wall or store in the fridge or something. The “nearly-maniacal attempt to squeeze everything possible in” seems to be a modern malady that affects most of us who are beneficiaries of the over-abundance in our world and our society. There are simply too many things to enjoy– food, books, blogs, conversation, travels, crafts, hobbies, to say nothing of the ever-increasing availability of video entertainment in all its multiplying forms. One good-and-bad thing about aging is that one is forced to GIVE UP ALREADY on the illusion that someday we will be able to do ten times the amount of stuff that we have managed to do in the first 3/4 of our life span– and that’s if we live a long life, for which nobody has any guarantees. (For more details, see the appendix of Julia’s Exhaustive Encyclopedia of Good Intentions; it’s a “floating” insert that is tucked into whatever happens to be the final volume– currently Volume 379– since more volumes continue to be added on.) Seriously, I get tired so much more easily now that simply resting is soaring to the top of my list of favorite activities. That’s not as bad a thing as it sounds. I’m still in the “flatline” stage of what would normally be called depression– in my case I think it’s complex, protracted grief– therefore, not much of anything has the appeal for me that it used to have. But as with extreme hunger, which can make almost any food palatable, being exhausted makes a nap or a night of sleep feel like luxury!


  1. Age has no reality | Defeat Despair
  2. Much is taken, much abides | Defeat Despair
  3. Like a handprint on my heart | Defeat Despair

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