So late so soon

Carla with clocks Dec 2002

Carla with a wall full of clocks at a bed and breakfast inn
in Placerville, California, December 2002.

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

My sister Carla has been teaching children for nearly 40 years, and she shares my love for Dr. Seuss and all his wonderful, eminently sensible nonsense.  With deceptive simplicity, his rhymes capture some fairly deep concepts along with more mundane sentiments all of us feel, such as the one above.

You are probably wondering, as I am, how on earth the past year has slipped away so quickly.  For us it’s all the more amazing considering the trauma (foreseen and unforeseen) that came our way in 2013.  It would seem that such agonies would be remembered as dragging on, lasting forever, but we passed from crisis to crisis so quickly that we could hardly catch a breath in between. The nearly two months of 2013 that were passed in hospital settings were like some sort of alternate universe, where time vanished rapidly as we scarcely noticed.

We can say with certainty that this is one year we will end with no regrets at its passing, even with all the blessings it held.  Still, the joys of the year — the birth of our grandson, our quick getaways together, our amazed relief at all that Jeff has survived, and our gratitude for the friends and family, here and elsewhere, who kept us going — were rich indeed.

I hope that you, too, will end the year today with a sense of thankfulness (and maybe relief), as well as a feeling of optimism for 2014.  Your presence here this year has been a gift, one that will be remembered fondly as long as we live.

The clocks are ticking…the end of 2013 approaches.
Click here for a HAPPY NEW YEAR wish!

One year ago today

Ring out the false, ring in the true


  1. Wish you a prosperous New Year, Julia! Loved that quote. 2013 will be unforgettable for me. We don’t know what awaits us next year. But there is no point in living in fear like a coward, facing ‘death’ everyday. This is my wish – let be a normal one.

    • Thank you Bindu, I appreciate your courageous attitude. I too wish for a “normal” life. Until one loses normalcy, its value is not so apparent. I will pray that your family and ours are blessed with the beautiful gift of an UNeventful year! 🙂 Thanks for being with us here.

  2. Ann


    What a wonderful animated greeting. You are the one who deserves thanks for being here all year.

    2014 will be a year of joy-filled happenings!


    • Thank you Ann! I join you in your optimism for 2014. Blessings to you and your loved ones!

    • Rene

      Agreed about Julia deserving the thanks, and about the greeting. The ending reminded me of the fireworks around the world for new Year’s 2000.

      • Thanks so much, Rene – I’m happy you liked the card! I love Jacque Lawson’s art.

  3. Beautifully put Julia. I wish you and yours all the best in the New Year. Your blog has been an inspiration for me many times this past year. I am a three time cancer survivor. The last bout they took part of my right lung. Each I read the following poem by William Ernest Hindley, it reminds me of who I am, and to appreciate every moment.

    Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever Gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winked or cried aloud, under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed. beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul

    I wish a beautiful and Happy New Year for you and your family.
    Thank you for the wish card, it made my heart smile.

    • Thank you Patricia, it is nice to hear from you. I appreciate your courage and determination. Over the past year, it has been such an encouragement to us to hear from cancer survivors, but you are the only one who is a three time survivor! I’m so happy you are willing to share this journey with us. God bless you with continued health and happiness in 2014!

  4. Julia, good morning. Hope you’re enjoying a blessed New Year’s Eve.
    I’m remembering 1962 and feeling as if I was pregnant all year…my youngest daughter arrived 5:20 pm New Years’ Day, 1963…she is a blessing and has always been.

    • Wow, what a beautiful way to start the New Year! An easy birthday to remember, too. 1963 was an eventful year, though I remember very little of it except that November. I hope you have a wonderful year in 2014! Thanks for being here.

  5. Mary Ellen

    Happy New Year, Julia. I’ve really enjoyed your blog. I’m glad you’ve been able to continue it. I love the photos and the insight of your literary pieces and your thoughts. I check in every day. May you and your family receive peace and continuing improved health this year, as well as some respite from the traumas. Prayer is awesomely powerful as you know first-hand. Keep on keeping on! And thank you! MaryEllen

    • Thank you Mary Ellen, I guess the power of habit has been on my side when it comes to blogging. And the power of prayer has definitely sustained us! Thanks so much for being here with us. I’m so happy you like the blog!

  6. Michael

    Thanks for the reminder of the joy of grandchildren. I share your sentiment that 2013 is a year in which,” I have no regrets in it’s passing.” I wrote an end of the year letter that my wife said was too depressing to share. It was truly- a “best of times and the worst of times” year. Was not that a Dicken’s quote? It all goes back to Dickens. Thank God for grandchildren. Leave tomorrow for Atlanta. It seems the more flying I do-the less I seem to enjoy it. Suggestions?

    • Hi Mike, sorry to take so long getting back to this – I got interrupted hours ago while answering comments, and wanted to take some time to respond to your questions. Yes, that’s Dickens; the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities which I’ve mentioned previously as my favorite of his novels (not counting A Christmas Carol which is in a class all by itself). I hope you have a wonderful time in my hometown and as for your final question, how much time have you got? My best advice is to say that even my own Daddy probably wouldn’t enjoy flying as an airline passenger nowadays, but if you can somehow get past the distractions of the hassles, complaints, ungrateful and ungracious people, and cumbersome homeland defense policies, you might be able to re-capture some of what still remains of the magic. Here’s a pilot training video that was made at Laredo AFB around the time Eric was in T-38 training there. Most of it is pilot stuff that wouldn’t interest others, but start about 4:30 into the video for some amazing footage that will remind you that flying is really a privilege that many past generations would have longed to enjoy. Not just for the time-saving ability to go places that would otherwise be beyond reach, which is significant, but for the sheer magic of sailing along above the clouds. Admittedly, flying in formation in a supersonic jet like the T-38 is a far cry from riding as a passenger in a 737, but it’s all a tremendous blessing that we tend to take for granted entirely too much. I honestly and truly believe that the men in my family were changed by their hours and years of flight; that the time they spent in the sky made them different people on the ground. That legacy affected my entire life, so I can never see flying in a totally bad light.

  7. Bobby

    Thank you, for allowing us to walk with you through this last year. You have encouraged and inspired me with your thoughts, pictures, and quotes. I am keeping you and Jeff and the boys in my prayers, and I know those prayers are being answered. May 2014 be a little easier but equally blessed.

    • Thank you Bobby, it has been so wonderful to be in touch with you here. Love to you and Randall, and all the best to you in 2014! Hope to see you sometime during the year – be sure to let us know if you come our way.

  8. Carolyn

    Happy New Year to you all. Yes, this year is close to the end. I have one year under my belt and it hasn’t been all bad, just ending with the shingles. I am better but still have some pain and my nights aren’t great, but I can see an ending. I do pray that 2014 will be a great year for Jeff and myself. My 3 month check is coming up soon. and I still have my vision problem that will be dealt with soon. I have enjoyed our time spent with your blogs. You all take care and please keep in touch. HugLove and hugs to all. I can’t see what I’m typing so I hope it comes out okay. Love to all,

    • Carolyn, everything came out fine, and I appreciate your taking the time to write to us here. It’s been a joy to be back in touch with you despite the trials you and Jeff have faced and are facing. I pray 2014 will be easier for all of us! Be sure to let us know what you find out at your next check up. Jeff should be re-starting chemo soon (as soon as he heals enough to get some stamina back). Hopefully Matt’s surgery will get done before he starts to feel too tired. Much love to you and Terry, along with wishes for a wonderful 2014!

  9. 🙂

    • Happy New Year, my steadfast and encouraging friend! I hope 2014 is full of blessings for you and your family.

  10. MaryAnn

    Wonderful display of clocks in photo w/ Carla & in the Happy New Year card! Paul has so many antique clocks, there is not enough space to have them all on exhibition. Thank you for a thoughtful year of encouragement & showing us a great example of the strength that comes from trusting our Heavenly Father!
    Love to My Dentons!

    • Wow Mary Ann, I didn’t realize Paul collected antique clocks. Jeff’s mother likes clocks too, and I used to love hearing her clocks ticking and chiming when the house was quiet. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! Thanks for being here with us!

  11. raynard

    Julia as my lemon cake bakes in the oven, I’ll be on my way to church( where’s the 5 hour energy drink to make it to midnight). As I was thinking about (for some strange reason ‘The second Matrix Movie I digress) Thank to your and your family for allowing me to “be a part of your reality and it wasn’t “like those shows on MTV.( remember when they use to show videos ? I digress. I think my first 3 road trips for 2014( are we there yet?) Happy New Year to you, Jeff and the family and may you always be in the prayers of our family. be blessed

    • Raynard, even if I had some “reality videos” of our family, I probably wouldn’t post them here – one advantage of running a blog is that I get to censor anything silly or unflattering! 🙂 But if I didn’t it might not be too different from some reality TV shows. I can smell that lemon cake baking – and I think we would need an energy drink to make it to our church gathering tonight even if Jeff wasn’t still too sick to go! I just told him “this might be the first New Year’s Eve on record that I didn’t stay up til midnight.” For a night owl such as I, that would be a true sign of exhaustion. Hope you have a wonderful year in 2014, full of many blessings.

  12. Sheila

    Julia, all of the above applies. We had to go THROUGH this year to get to 2014. In every day there was enough good that far outweighed the bad. Granted, somedays in the midst of Bill’s chemo or Jeff’s hospital stays, we had to dig a little deeper! There really are no words to express my feelings of gratitude for our many shared comments, and our friendship that has grown here. I really believe, through the Upper Room, God placed us in each others lives. I’m blessed! 🙂 Sheila

    • Sheila, I agree totally! If we had seen a road map of 2013 we might have decided to turn back 🙂 but there were no detours for us, were there? (I can just see us standing in front of one of those trail maps in some park, frowning and saying “Hmmm, maybe not…”) Since the only way out was through, it was great to have traveling companions, especially when it was VERY rough going! I do think that God has used online sites such as our Upper Room chapel to bring people together from all over the world. I have read so many inspiring stories there and have met some of the nicest people – including YOU! So even though a lot of bad stuff happens on the internet, we can’t let the naysayers have the last word. It can also be a real blessing, as it has been for us. Thanks so much for being with us through thick and thin! I hope one year from now we are here saying “Wow, THAT was certainly easier than the year before!”

      • Sheila

        Thank you, too, for the fantastic card. I loved it and shared it with Bill and then played it for Walter-Bird (since he loves ticking clocks). Happy New Year to you, Julia, Jeff, and Matt. 🙂

        • Aw, I love it! Just thinking of Walter seeing and hearing that card makes me smile! Thanks for telling me about it. (Send us a photo of him sometime to post here! I ought to have a “pet photo day” where readers can send in photos of their animal family members!)

  13. Sheila

    Did I tell you that Walter started making a new sound, that I realized was “ticking” after I wound an antique clock that had set silent for way too long? I will send a photo! He is quite the colorful guy ….in more ways than one! 🙂

    • Sheila, that is hilarious! I wonder if he can do doorbells and ringing phones? Wouldn’t it be great to make a ring tone of him talking? “Someone is calling you!” 🙂

  14. Julia, I have gotten quite negligent in commenting here…but I read it everyday. I always appreciate your words of encouragement.
    The pic brings back many happy memories for me! Wasn’t that a fun time?!
    Wishing all of you a great New Year!

    • Yes, Carla, that was a magical time for sure. I will remember it most as the time when it dawned on me how much I had missed having “girl time” (after years of living with four males 24/7). It was so delightful to visit the shops and B&B’s with someone who shared my enthusiasm for all the little treasures. I love the guys, but in such settings I often felt as if I was dragging them around, or on borrowed time (“Can we go now?” 🙂 ) I’m so happy you were able to visit us in the beautiful NorCal Republic, and wish you could have come to see us in Hawaii…that’s on our list for later! Happy New Year!

  15. Michael

    Thx for flying advice. That helps. I plan to try the Mud bugs at Mary Mac’s. It is my mission- besides getting a job there.

    • Mike, this is so funny – when I read the phrase “besides getting a job there” I had a sudden mental image of an apron-wearing you (though I don’t even have any idea what you look like), pouring tea at Mary Mac’s genteel tea room. Then I realized that you probably meant “getting a job in Atlanta.” 🙂 Re: your flying experiences, I hope you are able to be among those who have touched the sky, even briefly. For me, it has been a life-changing blessing.

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