Consolation brought me joy

Grady meets Father Christmas at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, November 29, 2013

Grady meets Father Christmas at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, November 29, 2013

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”Psalm 94:19

Here in the northern hemisphere, December is the month of consolation, when the cold and decay of nature’s landscape are offset by the joys of celebration and gratitude.  Today we thank you for the cheer and solace of your kind thoughts, prayers and visits here.  We wish you a month of happiness, filled with “tidings of comfort and joy,” in festive gatherings, or quiet contemplation, or both.

One year ago today:

A great revolution


  1. merry

    Ahh…what a sweet,sweet picture of Grady and Santa!

    • Yes, I just loved it. Is that the real Mr. Claus or what?!!!!!

  2. What a beautiful photo!!! When we came back to DC from CO a few weeks ago Santa was on our flight. I spoke with him about what a busy season this is and told him what I want this year. I had not realized he was also on his way to Atlanta but clearly he made it there to visit and I am so glad Grady was able to see him. 🙂

    • Wow, how neat to be on a flight with Mr. C. I guess he was giving the reindeer a night off. He may have taken the sleigh to Atlanta to avoid the ATC at ATL!

  3. Carolyn

    I love Grady’s picture with Santa Claus. He is so sweet. You all have a great week and I’ll keep the prayers going for Jeff to get well soon. Love and Hugs to all.

    • Thanks Carolyn, we hope to be able to give Grady a hug soon. Drew said they set up their Christmas tree tonight and Grady apparently enjoyed the show! Take care of yourself; we will keep you in our prayers as well.

  4. Ty informed me that Santa is not real. I think Grady would disagree. What a precious picture!

    • Ty just hasn’t met Santa yet, I guess. After seeing this photo, I BELIEVE!

  5. loolamay

    Grady and such a Santa are a great consolation indeed!

    • Yes, it’s hard to look at that photo without smiling! You have a similar photo made with “the real Santa” when you and Ryan were little, I think…

  6. Jenelle

    That picture made me smile so wide and go awww. Grady, is precious! Julia, I agree that is SO Mr. Claus indeed. Tidings, comfort and joy sound good to me 🙂 We sang O Come O Come Immanuel at church this morning and I was getting emotional already. Pure joy fills the crisp air this time of year. My family is getting so giddy with love.

    • I just love that song. One of many I listen to again and again at this time of year. Have you been to the Dickens Christmas Fair? It’s one of the things I miss most about living in northern California. If you go, tell Mr. Dickens I said hello! And be sure to catch one of his readings at the Green Man Inn. It’s wonderful, and on the way there you just might run into Scrooge, one of the ghosts, or even other Victorian characters such as Sherlock Holmes or Florence Nightengale or Lewis Carroll — all of whom will be happy to chat with you. Then you can dance the night away at Fezziwig’s party – really! — and enjoy the live music. Victorian dress optional. I have a CD of that group and it has become one of my Christmas favorites. Joy to the world!

  7. Such a charming photo.
    Be of good cheer, my friend.

    • Thank you, Tony! I hope Father Christmas is very good to you this year.

  8. MaryAnn

    What a joyful look on Grady’s face! He is a charmer…

    • Drew says he’s been very jolly lately. We can’t wait to see them in a few weeks. Hope you are doing well and getting into the holiday spirit!

  9. Sheila

    Oh, Julia, what a beautiful picture to treasure forever. I’m sure that Drew and Megan are enjoying these days before Christmas with Grady in a special way, never imagined! Of course, it’s made even better that Jeff is doing so well, too. Just precious! Thinking of you and Jeff, as you rest and recover…. Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila. I wanted to tell you, I have been enjoying the magazines you sent me. As I read these stories, I keep thinking “I need to send them a story about Sheila and me” – the “grand strand” needs to hear about it! 🙂 We can’t wait to see Grady at Christmas time. I was thinking a few weeks back that he might be too young to enjoy Christmas, but looking at this photo, maybe not! 🙂

      • Sheila

        That would be quite a “Grand Story”…. just ask us! 😍 Do I see a glimmer of reddish strawberry blond in Grady’s hair? He is too sweet!

        • Yes, we all agree that Grady looks SO MUCH like Megan, and that would include the hair color. I thought at first that he might have her pleasant, easy-going disposition, but when we saw him in September, I fancied I saw a few flashes of Drew’s Celtic temper. Time will tell, but his Meme believes he will have the best of both of them!

  10. That’s such a sweet picture. Both Santa and the baby look so pleasant and content to be with each other. God bless you with happiness and peace!

    • Thank you Bindu, God is definitely blessing us with happiness right now and peace as well. I’m glad Grady was able to enjoy Santa rather than being terrified of him. Drew says Grady has been very jolly lately; perhaps he is not too little to be getting into the Christmas spirit!

  11. Michael

    Not sure I will be doing much sight seeing in Atlanta during January. But would like to see the botanical garden again. My grandaughter Norah went to the “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween thing. Norah was one on September 23rd, so similar age to Grady?
    Of course my favorite spot in Atlanta is the Varsity drive in, where my daughter in law refuses to dine. Rents seem pretty reasonable there-Atlanta.
    Heard a sermon yesterday with the line, “religion is the hope that grows out of despair.” That fits with your title verse-“In this world.”

    • Hi Mike, I join your daughter-in-law in refusing to “dine” (if it could be called that) at the Varsity. I still have waking nightmares over ordering a grilled cheese sandwich there over 40 years ago and biting into it only to find that it was made with MAYONNAISE!! Gag. Mayonnaise has always been to me what kryptonite was to Superman. Yes, the cost of living is quite reasonable in Atlanta compared to many other places. It was a great place to grow up and I still think it’s a great place to live. It has the advantages of the big city (including nonstop flights to everywhere) but also a friendly, small-town Southern feel to it, despite being far more sophisticated than some people might imagine. Next time you are there, go to Mary Mac’s Tea Room for some real Southern cooking and atmosphere – and remember, in the south, a tea room is NOT just for tea!

  12. Michael

    Not even the Varsity double chili cheese dogs? Mary Mac’s sounds a little more appealing and will try and check it out.

    • You have a point, Mike…maybe I just made a poor menu choice. I love hot dogs, but I don’t allow myself to buy them to fix at home. That double chili cheese dog does sound pretty good. I might give them a second chance sometime.

  13. Larry

    We believe too! Sadie will meet Santa for the first time this year also. Can’t wait to see if she is all smiles also.

    • This Christmas will be extra-happy for all of us! 🙂

  14. Oh my gosh, little Grady and Father Christmas in a garden, it’s the trifecta of happiness. He looks as happy as a clam in Santa’s arms too, what a cute photo. Some little ones have panic attacks and cry Santa’s ears off, obviously Grady is a sociable little pumpkin 😀

    • I love that, “trifecta of happiness” – what a perfect description. Yes, Grady seems quite jolly. He was a bit more sensitive when he was a very young infant (he was only 5 weeks old last time we saw him) – very aware of everything and not quite sure what to think of it, but still lots of fun. We can’t wait to see him again. I’ll have a hard time focusing on anything else. 🙂

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