Home for the holidays

Jeff and Pasha enjoy being home for the holidays, Christmas Eve 2006.

Jeff and Pasha enjoy being home for the holidays, Christmas Eve 2006.

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays…” Al Stillman

As of last night, we are HOME.  Though we are exhausted, I can’t remember a time when we’ve been happier to be here!  Thanks for being here with us!

One year ago today

Like of each thing


  1. Larry

    The butterfly heard the good news and thanked God then broke down in tears. Welcome Home!

    • Thank you, Larry!

  2. “And the congregation says, AMEN!!” So happy to read today’s post. Enjoy a restful and very merry time. We love you all.

    • Thank you Amy. Your wonderful gift was just what I needed this morning amid the chaos of so much to do. Bless you for being such a generous and steadfast friend!

      • Thank you for the phone call in the middle of what was otherwise a very busy and dull day!!! Glad you liked it. As I said I fully expect something beautiful!!

        • Jeff wondered if I should call you at work. I said “she is such a great employee they’d never fire her” 🙂 Hope you are having a livelier day today (in a good way, of course…if the past year has taught me anything, it’s taught me that boring can be beautiful!)

  3. Nancy

    The most wonderful gift of all!! Peace and joy, Jeff and Julia.

    • Thank you Nancy. Give our love to your sons. I meant to get some advent calendars in the mail to them, but as with everything else, it got away from me. Hard to believe Jeff checked into the hospital four days before THANKSGIVING! Thanks for being with us in spirit – hope it is not too much longer before we can all be together in person!

      • Nancy

        They surely won’t lack for sweets, Jules…you continue to focus on Jeff and Matt AND yourself. Hope you got our card…sent it to Yorktown address. Love and Prayers…

        • Nancy, we have not yet been through our mail (there’s almost a month’s worth in a reusable grocery bag FULL to go through) but I’m sure it’s in there. We will enjoy reading them over the holidays. Love to you and your family.

  4. merry

    Julia and Jeff, Welcome Home!
    May you enjoy every minute of being back in familiar surroundings!…nothing like your own bed!
    Christmas Blessings to you!

    • Merry, there surely is NOTHING to match being back in our own bed. Jeff said this morning how nice it was. Thanks for sharing our joy – and hope your days are Merry and bright this week and always!

  5. Jim Beavers

    So glad to hear that you all are home! I will be praying for you, Jeff, and Matt.

    • Thank you Jim! We appreciate so much your being part of our online family, and especially your prayers for us. So many of our traditions went by the wayside in the fallout of cancer diagnosis and treatment last year and this year, but this Christmas is different – in the worlds of the wonderful song from Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, this year we’ll have “a Christmas far more glorious than grand.” Blessings to you and your loved ones – thanks for sharing our joy!

  6. Judy from Pennsylvania

    So happy for you and I love this old photo of your dear husband and that beautiful tree!
    Wishing you both a day of peaceful pleasures in the comforting and comfortable surroundings of Home. Returning to the coziness of your own bed and the familiar feeling of how your favorite chair molds to your body, and being able to use your own kitchen for even little things like fixing a cup of morning tea — well, those are the simple joys that make Home the best place in the world, especially after having been away for a while. And particularly after a hospital stay, that’s for sure.

    Keeping Jeff in prayer for continued and complete healing, and for the two of you to have many precious moments together and with your family over Christmas time. Having baby Grady in the family this Christmas has to be one of the best gifts ever. Babies and Christmas just go together so perfectly and give us such hope for the future. Hmm, there must be a quote about that somewhere. Maybe a librarian could find one……. 🙂

    • Hi Judy! Something tells me you may be thinking of this quote from Dickens (in A Christmas Carol): “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” Yes, we are very excited about seeing Grady for Christmas. 🙂 You have described perfectly some of the wonderful everyday joys of home that we can easily take for granted until we don’t have them. We appreciate so much your being here with us, sharing this joy and giving us the wonderful gift of your prayers and good wishes!

  7. Jack

    Brilliant. May the peace of the season wash over you all, the joy overwhelm you. O come let us adore Him!

    • Yes, “joyful and triumphant” regardless of our temporary circumstances, but especially thankful when happiness is so abundant. Thanks for being here with us!

  8. Bill Allen

    In 22 years in the Navy, on 6 different ships, through 8 extended deployments, I never missed a Christmas at home with my family. In 1984, that required special leave, two separate train trips (and sleeping in the train station in Rome), a plane trip, and a bus trip, but I was home on Christmas Eve. A lot of things had to work out for me to make it, but all the people I loved were there. There really is no place like home for the holidays.

    • Bill, thanks for sharing that with us – I know many Navy families could not say the same. We had friends in Hawaii who spent every Thanksgiving with us because their husband/father was always at sea then. I’m so glad you were able to be there with your family each year. I remember one Christmas when our Daddy was on a flight and it just wasn’t Christmas without him. The next year, he was on reserve (still a very junior Captain at Eastern Air Lines) and had told us that he expected to be called out on Christmas Eve. We were all amazed and thankful when he was not…until we discovered the disconnected telephone that my little brother Al had hidden under the blankets all night!! 🙂 He got a stern lecture from Daddy (“I could get fired for that!”) who nonetheless could not hide his amusement and affection. I just know your family will always be grateful for the trouble you went to so that you could be there with them for all those years. Thanks for your service; it seems to me that Navy families endure more separation than any other branch of the military. This Air Force family is grateful to you and all your fellow sailors!

      • Bill

        The post was the first thing I saw when I got up this morning and I was overjoyed to hear that you and Jeff are back at your home.

        • Thank you, Bill – I feel the same way! So glad you are here with us in spirit.

  9. Joy Joy Joy!!!!! I keep you in my prayers. Hoping for Jeff a complete recovery. Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year.

    • Thank you Cherie! We really do appreciate your sharing this joy with us, and especially your gifts of prayer and good wishes. Hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful holiday season.

  10. I just learned a protocol. When this blog entry, “Home for the holidays” did not appear normally, I scrolled to the offer of “previous” and “next”. By clicking “next”, I was able to see it. Prayers of thanksgiving and supplication continue.

    • Glad you found it. Did you not get an email this morning? I checked and it appears that they did go out.

  11. Janette Roberts

    Home is where the heart is. So happy you and Jeff are home. I have prayed you would be home for Christmas.

    • Thank you Janette! Now we can all give thanks that our prayers were answered! So wonderful to be here even with the piles of undone tasks all around – “busy and happy” as our old college president used to say.

  12. Michael

    Prayers and blessings that you all may have a tranquil time for recuperation and maybe watch a few Dickens movies.

    • Yes Michael, we will have to make it a point to see at least one version. I have been running around like Scrooge in the final stave, overwhelmed with joy.

  13. Rene


    • Thank you Rene!

  14. So glad to hear this! Merry Christmas, Precious Lady! Love ya much

    • Thank you Barb! I loved the video clip you posted on my FB page. Thanks so much for being with us, and for your thoughts and prayers.

  15. Carolyn

    I am so thankful that Jeff and you are home. I know that it has been a long ,rough time for Jeff. I hope that you all will have a wonderful time together and you have to be so excited that Grady will be with you. You know that you can spoil him! We will be staying close to home this year. Jennifer and family can’t make it home and I don’t feel up to a trip. I still have shingles but they are better and hope they will be gone soon. My pray for the rest of the year is to have no more health problems. Once again, glad you are home. Hugs and love to all.

    • Carolyn, thanks so much for thinking of us and keeping us in your prayers. I wish you didn’t have shingles, what a bummer. I’ll pray with you that there are no more problems this year or next. Just think, less than four years to our celebration! Hope you have a wonderful and peaceful holiday. Love to you and Terry.

  16. Cliff Shiblom

    May God’s blessings be with you and your family this year.

    • Thank you Cliff! We appreciate your being with us here, and wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday!

  17. MaryAnn

    How wonderful to read the words “cancer-free”! How marvelous it must be for you & your family! Indeed, it is the BEST Christmas gift! Praising our Lord right there w/ you!
    Much love & continued prayers. Please rest Mrs. Incredible Care-giver….

    • Mary Ann, as always you are more generous with me than I deserve! I would not call myself an incredible care-giver. More of an incredible pesky loudmouth I mean advocate. But I guess stubborn refusal to quit, and stamina, could be called incredible after a certain point – I just hope they don’t wear me and everyone else out! Yesterday Dr. M was shaking our hands and when he shook mine he said “you email me if you need me.” I laughed aloud and said “you know I will!” because I bugged that poor man to death whenever we didn’t hear back from a test or a phone message as quickly as we thought we should. Since he made the mistake of giving me his contact info he was the one I ran to with my tattle-tales on staff who didn’t return phone calls 🙂 . YES we are very thankful to God and to all the people through whom God works – including you and others who have been so supportive!

  18. Sheila

    Julia, your happiness is contagious! Your blog for today is wonderful, both of them. I’m so
    thankful that Jeff’s prognosis is so much better now, as opposed to last year. It truly is a gift from God and I do believe that prayers are the most powerful medicine of all. I know that you miss Pasha, but surely he’s with Salty, hanging up their stockings! Take a break…. I know you’re busy. Have a cup of tea! Love, Sheila

    • Sheila, I am just imagining Pasha and Salty and Marlee and Austin and Buddy, all having a huge Boomdeeville South party complete with all the greasy bacon and ham they can eat (because in dog heaven it won’t kill them like it will here on earth) and squirrels that they can catch and let go over and over again. 🙂 . Seriously, I laughed when I read your comment because I had tea in my mouth when I read it! Thanks so much for sharing our joy.

      • Sheila

        Julia, ongoing joke is about my “antenna”. It must be a southern sense of the best kind! 😍

        • It’s something in that sweet tea! Works for me every time. Or maybe it’s the cornbread…

  19. Roger

    Home is truly a blessing wherever home may be, hopefully we will see you and the family here in Denbigh soon! Tell Matt that Keri and I wish him a very merry Christmas…and of course you and Jeff too.
    Numbers 6:24-26

    • Thank you Roger! You were with us through both surgeries (well, through several hours of the second one, anyway – plus 3 times that in the traffic!) and we so appreciate your kindness. Merry Christmas to you and all your family!

  20. Welcome Home! You must be floating on air, if in fact not just falling down tired. That is just the most glorious news. My heart skipped a beat when your photo popped up and then I noticed Pasha and the date, so I took a breath. But then I continued through the quote to your message and I got butterflies! LOL I’m so so happy for you guys. Have I read above that they have declared Jeff as ‘Cancer Free’? Wonderful Julia, absolutely wonderful. Wishing continued good health and heeling to your dear man, he must feel exhausted. Sending BIG Love x Kelly

    • We are both! But catching up on the rest here at home…Jeff says we’ve been hibernating but I have loved it. Both the liver and colorectal surgeons used the words “cancer free” to describe where Jeff is post-surgically, in those regions of the body; as Jeff reminded me, that does not cover the lung tumors, and the primary tumor was still actively malignant (though all the margins were clean, and the liver tumors they removed were 100% NON active – great news.) Because the primary was still active, they will want to start chemotherapy again in about a month – but the liver surgeon (a man of relatively few words) did say to Jeff, “I think you will have a lot of years.” WOW, I already have my Christmas gift – everything else will just be a bonus round!!! 🙂

  21. Sherry

    I am feeling pretty tearful today! And I thought I had outgrown my tearing up at “Kodak commercials”! Jeff`s wonderful news tops the list! Welcome home to all of you and Merriest of Christmases!!! I know this will be so healing for you, Jeff and Matt to be in your own beds. I am also glad you get to spend a little time with your “therapy baby”, Grady, during his First Christmas!!

    But, your description of all our doggies playing has me teary again. One of Austin’s favorite pastimes outdoors was to try to catch a squirrel (though he never did). We do miss him terribly still, but our, not quite two year old, Heath (bar) helps to ease the pain.

    Still Praying often,

    • Sherry, Pasha used to sit at our door and stare out the lower panes at the squirrels, often making tragic-sounding noises that must have meant “PPPLLEEEEEEESE let me go after those squirrels!” Sometimes he would sound so pathetic that we’d open the door and let him go for it (a risky thing for a Schipperke, even with a fence, since they are escape artists). I used to joke that our back door window was Pasha’s TV. We are very excited about having a baby around at Christmas! Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers.

  22. carole

    So happy to read Jeff is home. How great our God is. I’m part of the UR community and pray for you Jeff and Matt daily.

    • Carole, thanks so much for visiting here. I am planning to get back over to UR in the next few days and give everyone and update – and try to catch up on how everyone is doing. The prayers of the UR community have been with us for this entire 14 month (and counting) journey, and I don’t know how we would have survived without our online chapel! Thanks so much for your kind words and prayers.

      • Just an unofficial tally; but I believe going over 50 comment entries on one of Julia’s blogs is a record – if so, what a worthy subject!

        • Eric, I don’t know if that’s a record, but it’s at least close. I think it went over 100 at my blog party. Still, it’s nice to have so many warm wishes and happy thoughts!

  23. Roy

    I feel really glad to hear this. I am glad that you reached home well in time before Christmas. Praise be to the Lord!

    • Yes, Praise to the Lord indeed! I am so relieved to be back to something vaguely resembling “normal” life.

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