Many ports

Jeff snapped this photo of me aboard the Balclutha in San Francisco,  during one of the riskiest seasons of my life.  November 2003

Jeff snapped this photo of me aboard the Balclutha in San Francisco,
during one of the riskiest seasons of my life. November 2003

“There are ships sailing to many ports, but not a single one goes where life is not painful.” Fernando Pessoa

Sea voyages make good metaphors for life, because they encompass the adventure, daring, uncertainty, beauty and danger that are part of living.  It might be easy to dream of a journey as a means of escape, but in reality, trouble is everywhere and risk abounds, even for those who try to escape calamity by staying home.

As Pessoa points out, pain will be inevitable even with a smooth voyage and safe arrival.  Though we may not set sail for the same ports, we have sorrow in common.  We also have joy, hope, compassion and the excitement of discovery.  Let’s continue to help each other in faith that what unites us is greater than what divides us.  All of us face challenges, known and unknown, and we need each other.


One year ago today:

Fishermen know


  1. Victoria Copp

    Dear Julia,

    Today, I will pray for you and Matt.

    Peace, Vicky Copp

    • Thanks so much Vicky, we feel so grateful to have your prayers!

  2. sf

    Wow, that’s a big ship! Great photo!

    • Yes, it did seem really big, especially considering how old it is. I’m glad you like the picture – I took a lot of photos the day we toured it. 🙂

  3. raynard

    Julia my first on a ship was a fishing boat over in Turkey follwed by a ride on the Staten Island ferry. A joke I use to tell about being over in Turkey, I dont own a boat and that was “too much water for me to drink”.. I remember a training excerise while in the Reserves. We have to convoy trucks down to the Port of Baltimore and load them on the 2 massive military cargo ships. One in which is named the Cape Washington. BTY both are still sitting down there now” next to the cruise ship which leaves from there.. Sorry for not commenting on last 2 blogs and thank you for the lovely Easter Card. You and the family are in our prayers even more so as you dealing with the health challenges in your family. be blessed.

    • Thank you Raynard, you don’t need to apologize — we all stay very busy and I am just happy to hear from people whenever they have time to drop by. I used to watch the cargo ships sailing through the Golden Gate and they always amazed me. Sometimes I would look at the shipping crates on board (most of which I think probably came from Asia) and try to guess what was inside them – appliances? toys? clothes? all of the above? One day maybe Jeff and I can take a cruise that sails out of Baltimore. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!

  4. singleseatfighterpilot

    Shiver me Timbers! (FedEx truck at townhouse by 4:00 tomorrow – must sign.)

    • Thank you Eric, that is very sweet of you!

  5. Julia, just a note to say I’m praying with you and Matt, during his difficult surgery. For you and Jeff to have courage and strength during the long waiting hours. Do keep us posted…

    • Thank you Merry, I really appreciate your being with us during this stressful week. We will update people as we have time but I am telling everyone not to get anxious, since we expect it to be probably 12 hours or so, maybe more, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to the computer. So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, please don’t get anxious – just picture me catching a nap or having a cup of tea (depending on whether I need to sleep or stay awake). 🙂 Thanks again for your prayers for us. They are a tremendous help.

      • You’re in my prayers now for a strength and courage…
        blessings 🙂

        • Thank you Merry. So far your prayers are being answered. I can feel the pre-op adrenaline kicking in. Or maybe that was the coffee I had in the waiting room a few minute ago! 🙂 (Just pre-op testing today.)

  6. Sheila

    Julia, all day I have been thinking of y’all. I sensed that you were facing challenges today and this week that could be overwhelming. Please know that we are sharing this journey with you, Jeff, and Matt. Love, Sheila

    • Sheila, today was long and difficult but it was mostly because of horrible TRAFFIC (what else is new?) – but we hope to rest well tonight. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. I can feel the good wishes and support, and it is very encouraging. Love and cyber hugs!

  7. sam

    May God be with each of Matt’s medical team members, hospital staff, and for each family member ,including all immediate and extended ,throughout these days as you await Matt’s surgery. May each of you feel God’s presence, strength, as well as the prayers of the multitude of prayers being offered on behalf of Matt. We ask for God’s provision for each and every need, and we thank Him for hearing and answering the host of prayers and for the witness to countless lives of to whom you have lived the example of how to face and defeat despair. God’s peace to each of you and may you feel the love and appreciation of all of us so blessed each day by your faithfulness.

    • Sam, thank you so much for these lovely words. They are truly touching and inspiring to me at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have the good wishes, prayers and support of so many people I have never met, who feel like true friends to us. We really appreciate your prayers for us and your sharing and concern!

  8. LB

    Julia, there is so much truth here. Life is full of beauty and joy, and suffering and sadness, whether we stay at home or seek adventure. Thankfully we have friends and family right there with us through it all.
    Great message!

    • Thanks LB, I am so happy for your courage and resilience – you are a great example for us all!

  9. Amy

    I like the idea of ships but I am always sick. NO FUN!! I have got where I can handle it and on our last cruise I had the doc give me a patch. It went behind the ear and worked like a charm. I do like the safety of the port though. Keeping you in thought and prayer. Love, A

    • Amy, Jeff is much more like you in that regard. He’s OK with a huge cruise ship, but smaller boats are not his cup of tea. I love everything from canoes to ocean liners, but I’m not a good swimmer, so I wear a life vest in little boats. Matt loved his books. He was in hysterics after reading a few of the jokes. They are right up his alley! I imagine a lot of the 2nd floor staff will be hearing those jokes in a week or so. Thanks so much for being with us through this.

  10. Michael

    Prayers for you and family today. Norah had fun at her first easter egg hunt at Alpharetta.

    • Michael, I love picturing Norah hunting eggs! I bet she was adorable. Thanks for your prayers.

  11. Michael

    There are pictures on facebook under by daughter in law’s name- Jen B. Hopefully, next Easter we will be a little closer.
    What about Virginia Beach area? Looks like a nice place to retire- but maybe crowded?
    I am sure you are familiar with the site, which some folks use at the hospital?

    • Virginia Beach is lovely but it is more crowded than the upper peninsula. There are advantages and disadvantages to each area. I think it would certainly be worth taking some time to explore all of Southeastern Virginia (from Williamsburg on down) and then North and South Carolina as well. All are delightful and we think all would make good places to retire. I am familiar with Caringbridge – our dear friend Ben was on that site during the 6 months he fought cancer – but I would rather just blog and focus other things at this point in time and not make everything about illness and hospitals. Life for us has gone on remarkably normally in the times between hospital visits and stays (although admittedly those times of remission have been few and far between the past year). Caringbridge is a great site but it’s better for people who don’t use other online communication, in my opinion. I’m too scattered to stay on one subject so blogging is better for me – because I DIGRESS! Hee-hee.

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