Achieved, not bestowed

The FDR Memorial in Washington D.C. includes statues of his wife Eleanor and his dog Fala. December 2004

The FDR Memorial in Washington D.C. includes statues of his wife Eleanor and his dog Fala.
December 2004 (Click on Fala to read more about him!)

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

We often speak of freedom being granted, as if it is something given.  While it’s appropriate to view our freedom as a gift, it is also a quality that has to come from within.  We can become the willing slaves of fashion, wealth, popularity or any other craving or addiction.  Or we can allow fear, ignorance and indifference to confine our minds and spirits.  If we confuse freedom with reckless disregard for rules, we’re missing the point and merely swapping one master for another that is potentially more menacing.

On this weekend when we celebrate freedom in America, I wish you a day that is free from all that is detrimental to you, body and soul.  Let’s resolve to make the most of our freedom to learn, grow, and help one another be the best we can be.


  1. Ann

    Julia, thank you for another wonderful blog and for your faithfulness in posting something everyday! I start each moring with The upper Room and Defeat Despair.

    Sincere condolences on the loss of Pasha. If you haven’t read the prose poem TheRainbow Bridge in awhile, try reading it again. I loved the link on Fala! Our canine friends add so much to our lives…..


    • Thanks, Ann. I will have to read Rainbow Bridge; I can’t remember having read it, so thanks for the suggestion. I thought it was so neat that Fala was included in the FDR memorial, especially given that he played such a public role. I can imagine he lifted many people’s spirits during those difficult years. I appreciate your visiting my blog every day; I am always so happy to learn people like it. Thanks again!

  2. Sheila

    Good Saturday morning, Julia. I hope that your days will be better, as you make the adjustment in your home and the intense sadness of the first few days without Pasha.
    I am so sorry for the loss that y’all are going through. As I read your words today, I recalled a phrase that I read many years ago and that I have strived to do, “Be yourself, but be your best self.” Celebrating America! Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, each day seems to get a little bit easier. I do OK as long as I keep myself distracted with tasks. The first few nights I walked without Pasha I took a different route than I used to walk with him; of course there were questions from neighbors who know us and we would share stories about losing a beloved pet. One thing that is so great about dogs is that they bring us closer to other people, especially dog lovers. Most of the neighbors I know, I met from seeing them out walking their dogs as I walked mine. I like the quote you shared, as it’s a great reminder that individuality and courtesy are not mutually exclusive. Thanks for being here!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I read the poem,”May I Go Now?” in the weeks when Salty was so sick. Have you read it? It’s sad but comforting at the same time. Sheila

        • No, I hadn’t heard of it, but I found it here and I agree with you that it is comforting. Thanks for telling me about it!

  3. I really like this blog today. You know John Adams said that a democracy will fail. Even though he wanted a free country he knew that people will abuse it to its death. I think that America is on a self destruct course if something is not done to reign it in. I best go before the soap box collapses. 🙂 Thinking of you daily my friend. Love you.

    • Amy, if your soap box collapses, I have an entire collection you can borrow, guaranteed to stand up to hours and hours of use! 🙂 Seriously, it is sobering to reflect on the inherent dangers in allowing people to govern themselves. What bothers me most is the sense of futility that most people seem to have, and not without reason. Politics as we endure the game today involves obscene amounts of spending and the necessity of celebrity status to be able to wield any power. At least it seems so at time. Still, I think those who don’t get involved, at least by voting, cannot really complain about the results. OK, now my current soap box is about to break down too! Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers. I really do hope we can get together soon!

  4. Carlyle

    The one hope for our recovery from the distructive slide we are presently on is the FREEDOM which is our God given blessing. Freedom has been the root of all positive human achievement.

    • Daddy, I agree! And the whole reason the world is not perfect is because we were given free will, which is a risky but astoundingly valuable gift. Some have more freedoms than others, and some are better able to use freedom more wisely than others, but all people everywhere, even those living with fewer political freedoms, can still be free in heart and mind. Thanks for reading, and for your comment!

    • Amen!!!

      • Thank you Amy, for your kind words and for your friendship. If not for you I would never have been in Cologne to take that photo! 🙂

  5. Ann

    Here is the link to The Rainbow bridge..

    • Thanks for the link – I just made a quick visit and it looks like a beautiful website! It’s a virtual re-creation of real places such as this one in northern California, which we visited while we lived nearby. It’s a comfort to know so many people understand the grief that comes when we lose our four-legged family members! I appreciate your visits here.

  6. merry

    Julia…thanks for an encouraging blog. I’m sorry of your lost of your family pet. I like Sheila’s quote “be yourself, but be your best self.” Its’ similar to what I’ve always believed…don’t fret about your age, look your best whatever your age.

    • Thanks Merry, I appreciate your encouraging words. I think each age and stage has beauty of its own. I see so many women who are 10, 20 and even 30 years older than me (I’m 56) who look their age, beautifully! It’s a great example to aspire to. Thanks for being here!


  1. Press forward | Defeat Despair

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