Great things

I'm glad someone built the road that allowed me to photograph this sight.  June 2000.

I’m glad someone built the road that allowed me to photograph this sight. June 2000.

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
This is not done by jostling in the street.”
 — William Blake

I like these lines from Blake, because they remind me that obstacles need not be setbacks.  In a few well-chosen and memorable words, he acknowledges the stamina life requires of us, the potential for tremendous achievement, and the tendency for trivial distractions to become more formidable challenges than the mighty mountains themselves.

If you are facing a steep uphill climb in any aspect of your life, I hope these words of Blake will stick with you and inspire you.  Great things are accomplished when men and women focus on worthwhile goals, no matter how daunting, rather than allowing life to be consumed by minor details and annoyances that won’t matter much in the end.  Admittedly, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the urgent and the important, but it’s a skill worth developing.

What mountains are you facing?  What jostling do you need to ignore today?

One year ago today

Life of ceaseless variety


  1. Ann

    Another beautiful and thought provoking photograph ! Your comment on discerning the difference between the urgent and the important really hit home …something else to ponder.
    Thank you for the beauty you bring each morning and the insights which always stir a spark within me.


    • Ann, thanks so much for your kind words. I had no idea when I wrote this post how applicable it would be to the kind of day I’ve had today – lots of nagging little interruptions from frustrating details that don’t matter much. I’m trying to keep re-focusing on what important. I appreciate your stopping by today and leaving me an encouraging comment!

  2. Jack

    Those moments when I’m able to step back and actually look, if only so briefly, at the big picture usually bring me to my knees with gratitude. Not because there haven’t been troubles. Certainly not because everything I ever wanted I got (God forbid!). I guess my problems are of the normal and ordinary kind, health, personal pathologies, kid stuff, blah blah blah; but my blessings are extraordinary visitations of grace. I love and am loved. I know the Source of my blessings and have experienced abundant and overwhelming provision in time of need, far more than just sufficient to handle the “light and momentary troubles” that I believe were given to teach me. Mountains? Bumps in the road for such a God. May I never forget.

    • Thank you Jack, this is a wonderful reminder for me today. May none of us forget! I often tell people that dealing with Matt’s disabilities has taught us things we could have learned in no other way. Judging from our experiences the past 18 months with Jeff’s cancers, I guess we really do learn unique lessons from all our troubles. No matter how much Jeff and I grieve at various times, gratitude is never far from our minds. Thanks for helping me focus today on the “extraordinary visitations of grace” that fill my life to overflowing!

  3. sarvjit

    Passion to move mountains comes when faith & energy combine to form the most versatile alloy.

    • Thank you Sarvjit, faith and energy are indeed a formidable combination. I do pretty well with the faith most of the time, but I could use a bit more energy! Recently my niece commented that she thought I must get energized by my conversations with people here at this blog, and I think she is right. So thanks for helping me with the “energy” part of that equation!

      • sarvjit

        Thank you! Energy comes when you believe firmly in yourself. Best wishes!

        • 🙂 Thanks, I will keep that in mind.

  4. Beautiful photo Julia! Not unlike the views from the most beautiful parts of my own province.

    Regarding obstacles, sometimes I think I am my own worst enemy, LOL. I take on far too much and consequently nothing ever get’s finished in a timely manner. MUST start making a list.

    • Yes, you definitely live in one of the most beautiful regions of the world! I can’t imagine how many photos I would take if I was able to go back with a digital camera and no expense or limitations to stop me! 🙂 The mind boggles.

      I am definitely in the place you describe regarding taking on too much and never getting finished in a timely manner. However, I just recently wrote a post that will be coming up in less than two weeks, with a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh about her frustration at what a slow process is involved in creativity. When I tried to find a photo to go with it, I just naturally gravitated to one of the photos I took of a little surprise I got from Boomdeeville, because it’s the capital of making time for what is beautiful and uplifting. So it’s funny you should mention that dilemma in your quote today! I think most creative types tend to take on too much, from a sheer love of life and ecstatic appreciation of abundant beauty to celebrate. All things considered, it’s a nice problem to have! 🙂 But I agree, we need to make lists. And then I need to make sure not to lose the list (which often happens)!

      • LOL, ya “where’d I put that darn list?” so funny and true.
        Thank you for that wonder definition of being creative. I love that and it sounds positively awesome, so I’m going to go with it 😀 You’re right too, first world problems can be rather decadent. 😀

        • Sometimes it really does overwhelm me how many of us are surrounded with endless blessings and still are not happy, focusing only on what is not the way we think it should be. One reason I am so determined not to get dragged down by negativity and ugliness is that it feels so ungrateful. That’s a lesson that one learns again and again in the face of any sort of difficulty; how much we took something for granted until it changed or was lost. So, on with the celebration of all that we still have to be thankful for! That’s one list I hope I never lose.

  5. Sheila

    Julia, when I count my blessings I count you twice! Thank you so much for your words, the photographs, and your time spent here. I look forward to being here and also the various comments of others. It’s a tough realization that we’re dealing with now, ten days later. The hardest part is seeing Bill’s sadness. We’ll be ok….. God will see to it! I hope all is well there, after Jeff’s treatment today. 🙂 Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila, I am so happy to hear from you tonight! You and Bill have been in my thoughts and prayers. This is such a tough time, I imagine, when all the activity and busyness has passed and the reality really sets in. It’s so very hard to see our husbands sad, especially when they are typically fairly stoic.

      We are all OK here tonight. Jeff insisted that Matt and I NOT come with him to Bethesda today – he was afraid the hours would be too long and he was right; he was gone nearly TWELVE HOURS! He’s a bit discouraged that this new drug requires weekly trips in, not every two weeks as before. They taught him how to disconnect his IV drip from his port at home (without going in) since they expect snow on Thursday. Jeff is hoping they’ll let him keep doing that which will save him from having to make two trips in one week out there.

      We will keep each other in prayer, I know…I love your words “We’ll be OK…God will see to it!” I’ll keep reminding myself of that! Thanks so much for being here!

  6. raynard

    Julia, I have family that live in Colarado but only talked about”how long was their drive to the east coast( go figgure those young people) But on “my to do/bucket list I think is Grand Canyon .( no my “rock climbing days are over along with “stock in the “Acme Bandaid Company lol. Be blessed

    • Raynard, Grand Canyon is definitely worth the trip. In fact, I wish we could go back. I never did have any interest in rock climbing although I once thought I wanted to take a mule trip down into the canyon, but I probably would have chickened out even if we had the time to do it. I surely wouldn’t have the nerve for that nowadays. Not to worry, there are lots of safe and sane places to get wonderful views. I might be too scared to take that Skywalk, though! Heights really get to me although sometimes the view is worth it.

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