What you now have

The computer camera snapped this photo of Grady and me on December 23, 2013.

The computer camera snapped this photo of Grady and me on December 23, 2013.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”Epicurus

It’s so easy to get caught up in looking ahead to the next goal or aspiration.  There’s nothing wrong with anticipation; it makes life more fun. But it’s also important to stop and realize how many things we have that we didn’t have ten, twenty or thirty years ago.  Or in some cases, even one year or one week ago.

I invite you to join me today in feeling happy and thankful about the new(er) things in your life.  What are some relatively recent blessings that hold promise for 2014?  What do you have now that you once only hoped for?

One year ago today

Hope beyond measure


  1. sarvjit

    Fulfillment of desires is like putting more fuel in the bonfire. The fire keeps on burning and burns your soul. One way of extinguishing that fire is through internal peace and control.

    • Yes, I realized some years ago that “more” is never “enough.” The realization that we already have more than enough is a great comfort, and does bring a peace that more wealth could never bring.

  2. Julia…good morning. What an adorable picture of you and Grady!
    Peace and contentment are two things I have now that I didn’t have when younger…I worried about my family, and life in general.
    At last count, I have ten pair of red shoes(my weakness). 🙂

    • Merry, I agree that the years do so much to alleviate the worries that nag at us when we are younger. It has taken me a long time to be content with certain aspects of life; the day-to-day uncertainty of Matt’s situation being the foremost. However, I am FINALLY learning that I don’t need to worry about it. I understand your love of red shoes! I have only one pair, but I no longer have anything that goes with them…yet still can’t part with them! Hmmm, wonder whether I need to get something new, or take them to Goodwill! They are in good shape so I bet they would find a new home 🙂 Do you read the Alexander McCall Smith books set in Botswana? If so, you will know that we have a lot in common with Mma. Makutsi!

      • Rene

        I love red shoes! I need a pair, must go shopping…

        • 🙂 Have fun!

      • Red is a basic color, goes with everything! Gives you a pop of color.~/ I have red heels, flats, loafers and sandals…goes with everything. 🙂
        I haven’t read the books but thanks for telling me I will, sounds interesting.

        • Mma. Makutsi loves shoes (she even talks to her shoes sometimes 🙂 and her shoes talk back) but her favorites are blue. If you read the books, start with the first one in the series and read in order, since the characters are developed over time. I highly recommend the audio version with Lisette Lecat doing the reading. She is a real pro at the African accents and creating characters through her voice. The audiobooks are available through many public libraries.

  3. Often we are thankless and cannot appreciate the worth of what we now have. One blessing that I always thank God for is my family and the good health we enjoy. Health is wealth is a saying that has become so trite. But there will be a day in everybody’s life when we would start thinking of this greatest wealth.
    Grady looks so sweet and curious. God bless you both!

    • Thank you, Bindu! Grady is definitely very curious and pays close attention to everything. Just today he sat on my lap closely examining a spoon for several minutes, as if it was an object of great wonder. I have only seen him 5 times now but each time I see him he changes a great deal in between visits; they grow so fast at this age. One of the silver linings to the dark cloud of having a loved one with serious illness, is that we appreciate health so much more after having watched what life is like without it. I said years ago that I would never again take for granted the normal health and growth of any baby; it’s truly a wonder how the body operates, and how “normal” growth and learning takes place. Matt’s therapists have taught me much over the years about what a complex process goes into learning the skills we all take for granted. I am sure you have come to be familiar with this as a teacher, also. I’m so happy that you can be thankful for your family and their good health! It is wealth in the truest sense of the word.

  4. raynard

    Julia, that is a nice picture. All 13 of my grandkids live in N.C. Sadly the only close relationship is with the one in prison for being at the wrong place with the wrong people.My way of encouraging him”differs” from his parents.If you only knew how many times God used others”to show me a reflection of myself”, no matter how”good I thought I was or”cleaned up from”laying in the pig pen of life”..2014 to”renew my relationship with God and prayer he renew my relationship with others by not what I said but my actions towards others.He’s “taking his giant pry bar’ and opening up a large steel box full of forgiveness”(There was only one Houdini”). Keeping the simple simple, simply put. Last year , we had a traveling bookmobile.( a large tractor trailer that goes around the country)website http://digitialbookmobile.com. Have to go to work early today. be blessed and have a great day..

    • Raynard, thanks so much for that link – how exciting to know there is a digital bookmobile out there! Overdrive is my favorite digital book platform, too – I find it to be the easiest to work with, and they have a fabulous selection. Guess what, I went to the link and found out next week the digital bookmobile will be in our former hometown on the central coast of California! Just reading the names of those little central coast towns made me homesick. That is a beautiful part of the country.

      Sometimes God does have to use a “pry bar” to open our eyes, minds and hearts but as you are experiencing, he certainly is able to do that. I also find that it’s easier to see my own faults more clearly when I see other people doing the same things I do. I think to myself, “Hmmm, that’s what I look like to other people??!!” I pray that you will get closer to your other grandchildren while remaining a support to your grandchild who is incarcerated. Taking a small part in the jail ministry at church helped me see how easy it would be to fall into that situation, and how hard it is to get out of it even when one is released. So many doors are closed. Just keep praying and remember God is able to do anything! Stay warm this week…

  5. Carolyn

    Now that is a great picture!! You all have a great week.

    • You too Carolyn! Thanks for being here! 🙂

  6. Ryan

    I love this photo! It makes me think of the second verse of “Because He Lives”.

    • Hi Ryan, those “uncertain days” can be scary to parents and grandparents, but we do have assurance that the most important things will NEVER change. Thanks for being here!

  7. Michael

    That is a good exercise and I now realize I have everything I have ever wanted as far as material possessions. In some ways my cup has run over, though much of my wealth is not solvent. But having now two precious grandchildren- I could never have hoped for such riches.
    I am working on downloading Overdrive to my computer. It is like an app right?

    • Michael, Overdrive is the software used by public libraries to allow access to their digital collections. Are you downloading it from a library site? That’s the only one I’m familiar with, although I am sure they also have an app to be used on mobile devices. I just download to my computer and then transfer to my Nook, Kindle or MP3 player (depending on whether it’s an audiobook or e-book). I would check out the collection(s) of your local public libraries; not all use Overdrive (though a great many do) and some have better collections than others. Some use OneClick and it’s good too, but I like OverDrive better. Good luck! And yes, grandchildren are more wonderful than anything money could buy! 🙂

  8. Sheila

    This picture conveys happiness and wonder. I snapped a photo once of Bill holding two of our toddler grandchildren during computer time. Now, Hewitt is 18 and Grayson is 20. I’m glad to have the photo and the memories! 🙂 Enjoy!

    • Sheila, isn’t it incredible that computers have been with us that long? It’s hard to remember life without them. I am so glad you have photos to enjoy. There are so many things I would have forgotten about without the photos that bring back sweet memories. I agree with Jeff, you don’t look old enough to have grandchildren that old! 🙂 Keep up whatever you’re doing, it’s working!

      • Sheila

        Thank you both! I really feel that we can age without becoming OLD! I do strieve to be positive, show kindness, smile, be supportive of others, care, and laugh. I laugh often, even at myself. My life has had its share of darkness and sadness. But I didn’t want to stay there. Happiness starts within! Well, we closed our office early, and came home to await the snow and sleet. By the window, Sheila

        • You, Bill and Walter stay warm and keep us updated! Thanks for being here with us on this chilly day, warming it with your spirit.

  9. Rene

    How sweet to have a baby in your life again! I’m not ready to confess to wanting to be a grandma yet, but last week I did offer to babysit “anytime” for someone I barely know.

    I was finally able to apply for my teaching credential last week (I’m waiting for notification that I can pay for it) and I started a month-long sub job yesterday. It might not sound like a blessing to those who remember torturing their subs (as I did, once or twice), but it really is.

    Have a fabulous day!

    • Rene, I used to love subbing. My favorite age to sub for was middle school, and I could always get plenty of jobs because so many would refuse to sub for that age. I used to jokingly call myself “Attila the Sub” because I was quite strict, but oddly the kids would respond well to that as long as I kept a good sense of humor. I found it to be great fun because I could help the kids without getting bogged down in the tremendous and ever-increasing burdens that teachers have to deal with nowadays – paperwork, lesson planning, conferences, meetings, etc. I also liked it that each student was able to start fresh with me and neither of us had to worry about any preconceived notions or baggage from past difficulties or failures.

      I hope you are able to get your credential without too much trouble. I think they should standardize the credentialing process some way to expedite it. I know so many military wives who are great teachers, but many would not work because of the time and expense of getting a credential when they knew they would likely be moving in 2-3 years. With critical shortages of teachers in many areas, it seems like they should streamline things some way to keep from putting obstacles in front of educators who could give so much to a system that badly needs them! OK, I’m on a soapbox now, better move on…

  10. MaryAnn

    What a great photo! I see the joy & anticipation on both faces. He is eager to learn more about his loving family, as he encounters new things about each of you!
    Yes, children & grandchildren are a blessing from God that are PRICELESS!

    • MaryAnn

      Julia: Sorry, I am a bit behind…

      • Mary Ann, I am so far behind that you seem early in comparison! When I finally grab a minute or two to try to catch up on my favorite blogs, I find myself commenting on WAY old posts and wondering if they think I just woke up from some hundred-year’s nap like Rip Van Winkle! Some bloggers close comments after a certain period of time, but I figure better late than never – and I don’t think you are late at all!

    • Thank you Mary Ann! I hope someday you will be able to see Grady in person. I appreciate your visits here, and your kind words!

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