The best way

I've never walked this path, so I have no idea where it goes. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, photographed November 2004

I’ve never walked this particular path, so I have no idea where it goes.
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, photographed November 2004

He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—
Leastways for me…

…Bless you, of course, you’re keeping me from work,
But the thing of it is, I need to be kept.
There’s work enough to do—there’s always that;
But behind’s behind. The worst that you can do
Is set me back a little more behind.
I sha’n’t catch up in this world, anyway.
I’d rather you’d not go unless you must.

Robert Frost

Today’s post is dedicated, with sincere appreciation and gratitude, to all who read this blog and share this uncertain path with us.  Your presence, comments, prayers and good wishes are a continual source of encouragement.

One year ago today:

Obstacles or gateways?



  1. Susan

    Good morning, Julia.I really like this photo. I like to take photos of roads, paths, gateways, and stairways. The intrigue of moving towards new possibilities gets me, I guess. My very favorite are stairways that lead upwards.

    • Susan, as you have probably guessed by the photos on this blog, I have the same fascination with doorways, gates, roads, etc. I too love stairways, especially the spiral kind! I used to love taking shots of railroad tracks from ground level, so that they lead away into the infinite horizon. All hint to me of something unseen just beyond the eye. As a kid I loved reading about Alice in Through the Looking Glass, and used to think that the world inside the mirror looked just different enough from what it was reflecting to be a different place – I always felt that what lay beyond what I could see of a doorway or mirror might have been totally different from my real home. Silly, perhaps, but lots of fun!

  2. Larry

    Mom and I are sitting here this morning hoping you all had a good night in the CICU. Today willl be a day of accomplishments for Matt. We will continue to lift up prayers today that you all have peace of mind and strength today. Love from all here in TN.

    • Hi Larry, Matt has indeed accomplished a lot today, including showing his irrepressible spirit to many of the medical folks who have dropped by! He is off the ventilator and taking some ice chips; he has been begging for something to drink, and hopefully the doctors will give the OK soon. Thanks for the prayers; please keep them coming!

  3. I will stay and together we will walk through. Just take my hand. :o)

    • Thank you Patricia — could you feel me squeezing tightly once or twice today? 😀 I am so thankful for your presence here, and for your kind words.

  4. raynard

    Julia what was the name of that Tom Hanks movie/ I think it was Castaway. At the end when he went back to his old job and something about”a fork in the road..I went to see that movie by myself.The last of my cake baking along with a wedding and college graduation is where most of my time will be in the next 4 weeks.( if they let me squeeze in a early vacation this year maybe around memorial day) going to try to spend it with family and friends. Will keep you posted on that. Praying all is well and you are getting much need( as I call it”Mental Health Days) be blessed

    • Raynard, I have never seen Castaway but I still want to see it. I definitely plan to take a good many Mental Health Days in the coming weeks! Good luck with the cakes, festivities and all the everyday stuff that somehow has to get done in between. Your prayers are being answered; “all is calm, all is bright” in the CICU this evening. Thanks for being here.

  5. Julia you and Matt and Jeff are in my prayers. I am praying for Matt. Hoping his surgery went well.

    • Thank you Cherie! Your prayers are being answered. Matt’s surgery did go well and he seems to be recovering smoothly. We appreciate your being here with us, and letting us know you care!

  6. Rene

    Today’s UR devotional told of a canoe guide with cataracts who said that he had learned to go as far as he could see “…and when I get there, I can see that much farther.” It seemed appropriate for all who are facing uncertain paths, as I am.

    I would love to wander down the path in your photo. Peace & Love to you all!

    • That’s a very good way of thinking about it; as we travel along, the horizon keeps moving with us and we see a bit more each day. I will pray for your way to be made clear for you, and blessed with abundance and joy! Thanks for being here.

    • Rene

      I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make that post about me…I was really thinking of you & your family!

      • No need to apologize – these hospital “sleeping” arrangements are something one could never fully explain to anyone who hasn’t been there! It’s a comfort to know you understand. Having said that, we have been pleasantly surprised at the accommodations here. Thank the Lord for such mercies, which might seem minor, but over the course of days and weeks, make a huge difference.

  7. Beverley

    Dear Julia, You have dedicated this post to “us”– Thank you! But as I have read the numerous comments on your blog; it is you with God’s strength upholding you who has been a great encouragement to others. Thinking and praying for you daily even though I am far away and can’t imagine the depth of emotions you must experience everyday.

    • Thank you so much, Beverley – I appreciate your kind words and prayers. I have been greatly strengthened and encouraged by the presence of you and so many others here! We feel very grateful to have your support.

  8. Julia, so thankful to learn that Matt’s recovery is going smoothly. He’s a remarkable guy. Please tell him I love him.

    • Thank you Aunt Carla! We are in a room very much like the one you were in with us back in October, on the very same floor. So naturally we are remembering with gratitude, both your being with us then, and your offer to be with us this time! Matt knows you love him but he will never tire of hearing you say so. 🙂

  9. Oh, I’m glad to read that Matt’s surgery went well and that his recovery is going smoothly. I have a card to send and wonder to which address I should send it? I love your poem today. “The worst that you can do Is set me back a little more behind. I sha’n’t catch up in this world, anyway.” Those words resounded with me as I’ve been harried lately, trying to catch up with all sorts of nonsense, when I need to pause and take note of our beautiful springtime. Love to you all.

    • Hi Kathy, I am not surprised that poem struck a few chords with you. I am guessing many of us understand at least a bit how Frost must have felt when he penned those lines. We get all our mail at our Alexandria address, as it has a locking mailbox. I hope you are able to enjoy the spring weather! Jeff just advised me to try to take a few minutes to walk around outside since our weather is good here today. Thanks for being with us here.

  10. Julia, I’m so pleased that Matt made it through his surgery and in CICU. May you and Jeff be blessed strength and courage for the coming days. 🙂

    • Thank you, Merry! If you know anybody who has Facebook, I have just posted a couple of pictures at

      • Rene

        Thank you for including the pictures! It was great to see your older son by his brother’s bedside. I had been praying for peace for him, as I had assumed he would be prevented by his other obligations from being with you. What a blessing that they have that bond!

        • Rene, it really is a blessing to all of us. Drew is only 16 months older than Matt, and neither of them can remember life without the other one. They have always been very close. I’m glad you like the pictures!

  11. Sheila

    Julia, a hug for my “Marvelous Hero”, Matt. 🙂 Everytime I’ve thought of y’all, I see the SMILE that so many speak of….and then I smile. I am so happy that everything seems to be going so well. Although the path is often uncertain, we always come out somewhere and somehow, don’t we, my friend? “Hi” to Jeff!

    • Thank you Sheila! Drew brought Matt his calendar and put a big Spiderman sticker on yesterday’s date. 😀 We are all hanging in there and as you say, somehow we will get through the next few days. I am so grateful you are here with us!

  12. Amy

    I never read the other comments but today I did so I am very glad to see that Matt is doing well. YAY, YAY, YAY!!! I love the part about I shan’t catch up in the world anyway!!! HAHAHA that is sooo me. Problem is because I think that way I just don’t bother trying. Please stay and visit with me then I have an excuse anyway!! Well I will come and you I shall walk down that road just to see where it goes. Give my love to those boys of yours. I will catch up with you soon. I love you. A

    • Thank you Amy. We brought the joke book for Matt to have whenever he feels like it. The pain is really starting to hit him now, but he is being brave and doesn’t complain. Please keep those prayers coming!

      • Amy

        Yes I will. Continual prayers.

  13. I was so happy to see your photos on fb this morning – I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this must be for you and all your family – I applaud your quiet strength. xoxo

    • Thanks so much Pauline! We appreciate your kind thoughts. Your lovely photos of the New Zealand bush and Orlando in his dashing hat brought smiles to my face tonight. ❤

  14. We are so grateful that Matt is doing as well as he is. Hope you and Jeff have been able to get some rest. We love all of you. Tell Matt he is in our prayers. Janice

    • Thank you Janice, you would be so proud of Matt. He obviously has his father’s strength for endurance. We are resting reasonably well. The chair/beds here are the best of any hospital we have stayed in – and we’ve stayed in many of them by now! 🙂 I didn’t even need to use the foam topper I could never have slept without at Walter Reed. Please keep the prayers coming!

      • Rene

        “The chair/beds here are the best of any hospital we have stayed in…” that’s so funny, having spent a night (or a few hours of it anyway) on a hospital couch in the chapel myself, I totally appreciate the irony!

        • It does sound as if I’m being ironic, but the funny thing is, I really mean it in this case. Those hospital chairs or chair/beds or whatever usually seemed to have been designed with two things in mind: 1. to be as difficult to figure out and handle in terms of HOW to make them into beds, and 2. to be as uncomfortable as possible. Add all that to the lights, sounds etc. and it’s amazing anyone ever sleeps in a hospital! While Jeff was in ICU after his liver resection, I actually went into the chapel to sleep too, since someone had the sofa in the waiting room, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the ICU there, but I had to pull several chairs together and sort of sleep in an s-shape. Here where Matt is, BOTH parents are allowed to sleep in the CICU, thank goodness). And this futon-style sofa bed actually feels like a real mattress, or close enough. Feels like luxury!

  15. Debbie

    i have thought and prayed for all of you today, but as I was walking home from the store today I saw a big bed of tulips in front of someone’s house in the city which is unusual and it made me think of you and your beautiful pictures and reminded me to say another prayer for your family. Glad to hear things are going well.

    • Thank you Debbie! It makes me so happy that someone thought of me when they saw tulips, they are such gorgeous flowers and so cheerful, I think. We very much appreciate your prayers. The next couple of days likely will be harder for Matt as the pain sets in and the various drugs and supports are gradually faded. I will be so happy when he feels up to watching some TV or eating a little bit. I am grateful for your presence here and your thoughts and prayers.

  16. The perfect message and photograph today. I saw your news on FB. Just looking at all the intimidating equipment could bring you to your knees. Thinking of all of you with love xoK

    • Kelly, it’s funny about all that equipment; Drew and I were saying how excited Grady would be if he could see it – he is really fascinated with cords right now and to him it would look like the ultimate playground! But I did want to include all that stuff in the photo because it is slightly overwhelming to see. Today they have been gradually disconnecting him from this and that, but certain of the machines will stay on for some time. It’s good to see him sitting in a chair even if he is too exhausted to do much except sleep there. Thanks for your thoughts and visits here! Wish I had Petals or Blossum here to curl up on my lap for an instant relaxation tutorial.

  17. Michael

    “The long and winding road, that leads me to your door.” Mcartney/ Lennon. Interesting Wicikpedia note on this song that apparently was in part responsible for the break up of the Beatles. “McCartney liked to write sad songs so he could put his own stuff inside” It is easy to forget what genius we once knew. Kind of like Shakespeare or Frost.
    Actually, that path looks a little scary.
    Prayers for speedy recoveries and mild scarring.

    • WOW, I totally love that song and never knew the history behind it. That’s quite an interesting write-up on Wikipedia. I don’t think much of Phil Spector as a person but I love the “wall of sound” music (I’m a big fan of ELO, for example) and I love the version of LAWR Spector produced, love all that orchestration and chorus. I had always assumed that the Liverpool Concerto (a work I know nothing at all about and have never heard) was McCartney’s effort to get back to that orchestral sound. It was interesting to find out that it was McCartney who actually filed suit to break up the band, and to read the snarky comments about John’s bass playing. I didn’t know Lennon ever even played bass. I realize I will get lots of arguments but George Harrison was always my favorite of the Beatles. Reading about all that strife of the last years made me wonder whether the verse cut from “While my guitar gently weeps” was inspired by some of all that:

      I look from the wings at the play you are staging,
      While my guitar gently weeps.
      As I’m sitting here, doing nothing but ageing,
      Still, my guitar gently weeps.

      Thanks so much for your prayers! Matt seems stable although they are still trying to get his heart rhythms right, and are discussing possible medications to address the problems – hopefully temporarily until the Pacemaker can sync up with Matt’s heart.

  18. Michael

    We still have some tulips and the Clematis are budding.

    • I wish we could grow tulips. I have a few blooming in Alexandria but the voles eat them up at our York home. My clematis was just beginning to come back last time I was there, but no blooms yet. It has never gotten as full and thick as some of my neighbors’ have. Not sure why.

  19. Michael

    Actual weather report-“Some sunshine this afternoon. Some showers with the chance of isolated ice pellet showers and thundershowers. ”
    Isolated pellet showers- I can’t wait.

    • Isolated pellet showers? I’ve never heard that either. Does that mean one pellet falling here and there? Or lot of pellets falling in isolated places? 😀

  20. Thank goodness for childhood innocence. I guess it would all look intriguing too your little bundle of grandson. Those nurses would go gaga over him and they’d never get any work done, ha. The best distraction ever. So glad for Matt to be able to get out of bed so soon, that must be a good sign. Even if it’s just a change of venue for another nap. I bet he’s relieved to be over this surgery too. Petals and Blossum would certain welcome new attention. I fear they are bored of me because anyone who drops by gets a cat in their lap pretty quick, whether you’re ok with it or not. Our poor landlord and friend is allergic and they LOVE him, HA.

    • How wonderful that P & B are so friendly! Maybe they can be stowaways on the plane when you come to visit. I am always eager to visit with my friends’ kitties, but some of these felines are quite shy, and many are wary of anyone new. My brother’s cat Mr. Kitty is finally used to me so he tolerates my attention now. You’re right about Grady, he would be after all these wires in a heartbeat (no pun intended). Drew has sent us some adorable videos I hope to post eventually. Grady is into everything now, at that age where he must be watched continually. Today when Drew called to check on Matt, G got into the dirty clothes hamper and pulled out ALL the clothes, piece by piece! As a mother, I think having grandchildren is the best revenge! 😀

  21. ♥♥♥

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