A big contribution

A quiet corner in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, August 2005

A quiet corner in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, August 2005

“In all your relationships, you’re never too small to make a big contribution, and never too big to make a small one.”Mardy Grothe

Thanks to everyone here who visits here!  You have given to us in big and small ways over the past year.  I thought all of us could use a mental image of something beautiful today, so I chose a photo from one of my favorite gardens in one of my favorite cities.  Happy Thursday!

One year ago today:

A cathedral in mind


  1. raynard

    Julia hope this finds you well. My next picture project( I was in the “Grandpa Munster Lab last night)will be getting all my Flower show and maybe( a bonus) pictures together. I think my wife might be putting Christmas cards in the mail this week. I wanted to add you & Jeff’s name to our list. If you like and feel comfortable, you can send us via my email address what we need to “keep the U.S Postal Service stopping by your way..It was and still is truely a blessing and a honor to have met you and your family via U.R and this blog.( No I won’t get “misty& teary eyed and make “Oprah jealous & Dr Phil ask me”How’s that working out for you”?( Thought for today I think “The Grinch, “Crevilla De Ville & My 6th grade teacher all sat in the same ‘Charm School Class and “flunked out” lol. be blessed

    • Hey Raynard, thanks for the reminder, I meant to email you later with the info but life has been way too distracting lately. RE: the charm school dropouts, I think I was in that same class. Miss Viola Swamp is my alter ego! During the years I worked as a substitute teacher in the Hawaii Public Schools, I referred to myself as Attila the Sub. And I actually bear a fairly close resemblance to the Grinch when I put my hair on top of my head. Just ask Eric, he is the one who first pointed it out. 🙂

      • Hey, I had forgotten all about the “Grinch resemblance”; and I send a Christmas wish that you will too.

        • Are you kidding? I actually call my night-time updo “my Grinch hair” and have for years! I love it! No chance I’ll forget about it. 🙂

      • Rene

        That reminds me of a school librarian in my district, who sat for her yearly school picture dressed as the librarian from “The Library Dragon.”

        • Yes, being a children’s librarian was great fun! I have a t-shirt with Miss Viola Swamp on it that says “Miss Viola Swamp IS NOT AMUSED.” I got it from a library company. 🙂 The world of children’s literature is truly an enchanted kingdom.

  2. Ann

    Thank you for the beautiful photo. I’ve been to those gardens several times but can’t place that particular spot.

    Hope for a tranquil and peaceful day for you and yours.


    • Thanks Ann, if you do an image search of Luxembourg Gardens, you’ll find several photos of that spot from different angles. It’s really lovely and I hope to be back there someday! Thanks for being here with us. This afternoon is relatively tranquil and peaceful for all three of us.

  3. The place looks so serene and fresh. I am grateful that our cameras can store beautiful scenes and our brains can preserve sweet memories which we can retrieve during ‘drought’ days. Get rejuvenated!

    • Yes, I find that my camera remembers far, far more than my brain does, and remembers it more accurately! I also love the ability to focus in on and frame what is pretty while leaving out the less attractive things. Sort of like my friend Ellis described in her book. It’s great to have a mental AND photographic archive of instant rejuvenation! Digital photography is an amazing bit of progress.

      • Julia, here is a quote from our Dad: “Nothing is ever as wonderful or as horrible as I remember it.” I am perhaps unusual to remember some scenes as being “more magical” than the camera lens will reflect.

        • Oh, I agree. And the most magical moments I remember, have no photograph at all to document them. Case in point: my all-time favorite Christmas gift, the lovely dollhouse Daddy and Mama made for me one year, complete with fabric curtains and upholstered furniture inside! Or the many holiday dinners we shared with the Alexanders. “Magical” is a word that I associate with many of my childhood memories.

  4. That is a lovely spot. I have not been there but your photo will take me there in my mind many times I am sure. Praying for you and yours. I love you.

    • Love you too, hope to be having an extra-long tea time soon. 🙂

  5. John M.

    My sister’s 20 year old son tragically died last weekend, his service was conducted yesterday afternoon. The pastor said something I thought so helpful, that you can fake care and concern, but you can’t fake presence. I must try to remember this over the coming days and weeks in my sister and her husbands’ great time of need. I don’t have any words that can console, but I can easily walk the 30 or so steps across the street to where they live to comfort and be comforted by being present.

    • John, I am so sorry to hear of your family’s tragedy. I can’t think of anything more devastating than the unexpected loss of a child, especially an adult child (I’ve often thought that the longer we have our children here to love, the harder it is to let them go). I really agree with what your pastor said about presence. I’ve always found it significant that we like to criticize Job’s friends, but at least they sat with him an entire week without saying anything until his suffering made them so uncomfortable they opened their mouths and stuck their feet in. I think one of the worst mistake we can make is to do nothing out of the fear of doing the wrong thing. We’re all guilty of that at times. It’s helpful for me to ask myself: if I were in those circumstances, what might I need? While this isn’t foolproof — everyone has different personalities and needs — it is never inappropriate to just keep them in thought and prayer, and let them know you are doing that. And yes, nothing replaces showing up. Several folks from our Newport News church showed up to sit with us on the day of Jeff’s surgery. They ended up battling the pre-Thanksgiving traffic for 8 hours getting home that night after midnight, instead of the usual 3 hour drive, and that’s a sacrifice of their time that we will always remember and appreciate. Not surprisingly, none of these folks were “spring chickens” but when you get to a certain age, you paradoxically find the energy for things younger people don’t always prioritize. I hope everyone who visits here and reads your comment will keep your sister and your entire family in our prayers. Thanks for giving us your presence here, sharing with us in joy and sorrow.

      • Jack

        The response of the community has been humbling and very comfort-giving, so many sincere gestures of help. One of my close friends that knows we have a new dog took it upon himself to simply show up yesterday to walk the dog….chief council at a large corporation in Birmingham out walking my dog at lunch yesterday 🙂

        Julia, I loved what you said about what you might need if you were in those circumstances. I’m hoping that I will remember that the next time someone close to me is in need.

        • Jack, I am so glad your family has experienced the support of the community. I love the idea of the executive out walking the dog! Sometimes it can be so hard for people to stop and think “How would I feel? what would I want and need?” but it seems to me the surest way to begin, when we feel at a loss for what to do.

      • Praying for John M., his sister and family. btw – is Jack the same person?

        • I would imagine so. At first I thought I had just written the wrong name in my reply – I’m going on about 4 hours of sleep today. But, it appears John M. just signed his name as Jack in the second comment.

  6. Jack

    Yes, sorry, Jack nickname for John. From here forward, I’m jack

    • Thank you Jack! We are keeping you and your family in prayers.

      • Yes, we are, Jack.

  7. I’m so sad we missed it the garden, we must go back. I’ve pinned your photo it’s just jaw dropping there. I fear I’d get there and never want to leave, HA. There’s something beautiful at ever vantage point.

    I love this quote because it reminds us that not everything has to be grande and showy, even small contributions count. Like, I love it when Mr B leaves me a tiny note near the toaster knowing that I’ll start my day with a smile. Little gestures mean so much.

    • Aw, how sweet that he leaves you little notes! Jeff doesn’t leave many little notes but he likes to leave little surprises for me (often involving chocolate :-)), which are also fun. Just as the little irritations can be the most wearing and discouraging, so the small pleasures and joys can make life beautiful.

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