Mere living

Indian Hunter by John Quincy Adams Ward, Central Park, New York City; May 2007

Indian Hunter by John Quincy Adams Ward, Central Park, New York City; May 2007

“How good is man’s life, the mere living!”Robert Browning

Can we really comprehend the meaning of the phrase “mere living?” If so, probably never as clearly as when we come face to face with the reality of our life’s inevitable end, whether soon or years from now.  I wish for you today a keen awareness of how good it is merely to be alive.  No matter what else is happening right now, regardless of the pains or sorrows we may be enduring, it’s a privilege to be here. I almost forgot that truth once, but I honestly believe I will never forget it again.

One year ago today:

An honor to live


  1. HarryS


  2. Ann

    Julia, I’m sitting on my back porch in the early morning cool, listening to the birds ‘talking’ to each other and watching my dogs. Life doesn’t have to be exciting to be wonderful. I wholeheartedly agree with you on having a keen awareness of how good it Is to be alive.

    You give me something to think about every day, even though I don’t comment often.and my first reaction when I go to your blog and see one of your beautiful photographs is WOW

    Thanks for all you do. Take a walk today before it gets too hot😀


    • Thanks Ann! Our townhome’s parking lot is being resurfaced, so I had an early morning walk to get the car this morning! 😀 Right now Matt and I are sitting in the x-ray department at his post-op check up. I’m so happy you enjoy the blog. I appreciate your kind words about my ideas and photos.

  3. raynard

    Julia the wisdom you share and the way words are articulated is a blessing of encouragement.( now if you need a good chuckle about the tractor trailer turnin gover in my state the other day? guess what was in the cargo? A load of bees and people where instructed to “keep their windows closed it was close to 2 million bees I guess they”went to find their cousin”the Honey Nut Cherios Bee”.. Bee Blessed..

    • Thank you Raynard. I missed the story about the bee truck. Two million bees sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I’d keep my windows up for sure. Nothing that exciting in the 90 minutes getting into DC this morning – just the usual fender benders and crawling traffic. BEE blessed!

  4. Well put Julia! Since Joseph’s near death experience two years ago he echoes your thoughts on a daily basis (as do I). With his advanced COPD mornings are especially rough for him; but after all the gasping and wheezing and struggling for a breath of air, his first words are usually thanks to God for another to be alive! Then at some point throughout the day, he spends time in the front porch swing soaking up the beauty of the sky, the trees, the flowers, the little animals and insects — and even the raindrops on a stormy day. Life is precious and beautiful!
    Thank you, Julia, for your daily posts of inspiration and reminders of all the wonderful blessings this life has to offer. You and Jeff and Matt have become a part of my daily life and my daily prayers.

    • Judy, thank you so much! It is wonderful to be with you here. I will be mindful of Joseph in my prayers – it sounds as if he is experiencing many of the same issues Daddy is. From what Mama tells me, there are “good days” and “bad days” but I am thankful for EVERY DAY they are with us! We so appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers. We will pray for you and Joseph as well. Love ❤

  5. Julia, good morning. Great photo and follow up comments.
    At times, we become overwhelmed with life’s problems, we forget it’s a blessing just to alive…
    hope you’re enjoying a blessed day.

    • Thanks Merry – it’s a beautiful day today and we made it through the DC traffic. Matt just got his blood drawn and is awaiting x-rays for his post-op check. We are hoping for good news today! We do feel blessed to be alive and I feel especially blessed to have Matt with me here today. Walking past the CICU was a good reminder. 🙂 I’m happy you like the post today!

  6. Dear Julia, It makes me feel good to read your blogs,you make me feel so worth while,in your comments.I also feel bless to have know you and worshiped with you and your family in the past,I keep Jeff,Matt and yourself in my prayers,knowing the many trials you face each day.I feel your closeness to God and know he is watching over you, stay strong, I love you Maxine P

    • Thank you Maxine! It is wonderful to see your smiling face here. Jeff and Matt and I miss all of you so much. We keep talking about coming back to California to see everyone. It would be such fun but also hard to leave! We hope we’ll be able to find a way to get there in a year or two if we are blessed with the health and opportunity. Meanwhile I’m so happy you like the blog! Thanks for being here. Love you!

  7. We do get caught up in the mayhem of society, racing around engaging in all of the endless pursuits that we seem to concoct to stop us from actually doing anything that really matters sometimes but if we can slow down, just look around ourselves at what is really going on outside societies endless bustle, to the world outside where eons of time just cycles on exponentially, we can start to get a picture of how very small our own personal patch is and how inconsequential our “MUST DO!” actions really are in the scheme of things. I find it incredibly sad that so many of us rush our lives away, running from place to place in an endless miasma of panic about what to do next when most of what we are actually doing isn’t important in the scheme of things. How much do we miss when we are “otherwise occupied”? I love a simple walk with the dog in the crisp cool early morning. I love it when the cold cuts through my thoughts and forces me to focus on the beauty all around me and the simple sensations in my body. You have had a serious reminder that life is so very fragile (like that Sting song) and that we are wisps who need to remember to live in the midst of all of that bustle. Thank you for reminding us to stop and focus today Julia. It is a most precious reminder 🙂

    • Thanks so much, I’m glad you like it! And I appreciate your thoughts here. It really is interesting how much of what we do does not seem important years later. I am already at a stage in life where I can see many things I worried about that were basically a waste of time and energy. At such times I just feel grateful to be here now and realize a bit of this truth — even if only just a bit — while there is still time to open my eyes and rejoice. I appreciate your visits here! Have a wonderful weekend.

      • You to Julia 🙂 I just saw that old Mark Twains quote “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe” on Pinterest this morning and how very true that is!

        • So true! And I wish I had truly understood that years ago. Better late than never, though!

          • Same here…better late than never 🙂

  8. Sheila

    Julia, I make a point to come from our bedroom every morning and greet the day and anyone listening, with a proclamation of how I intend to approach the day. “Good morning!”
    It’s just what I do. Life is good! 🙂

    • Sheila, that sounds like a practice I should adopt. Perhaps it would help me become more of a morning person. You know what they say — “fake it till you make it” — but seriously, I am grateful for the mornings once I get going. It’s that first few minutes that are so hard. Life IS good – thanks for being here to remind me of that!

  9. Reminded me of some famous lyrics in our language where the poet yearns to take birth on this very same planet once again. Even when we constantly whine there isn’t really anyone who likes to take his precious life. Those who did must have regretted.

    • Yes, I believe suicide is almost always a case of temporary insanity (or excruciating physical suffering). Even those aspects of life we think boring are often missed when they are gone. No matter what my frame of mind, I try always to remind myself what a gift it is to be alive, and thank God for each day that comes.

  10. You always make the words of these writers more clear and important for me. With any luck and good health planning, we’ll all be around for a good many more years. Even the most well laid out plans can go off course as you well know. Sometimes too, with all the drama whipped up about retirement and the demographics of an aging population, it’s daunting to financially plan for the best case scenario, ie. a long and healthy life 😀 With that challenge in mind, Mr B and I have mostly be frugal and diligent savers for many years. We’re just now beginning to feel like we can, ‘carpe diem’ and let our hair down a bit. Like planning a couple of vacations a year or shopping for nice new vehicle instead of used clunkers. Even dining out or enjoying theatres and events. We consider it a privilege to enjoy the life we want. I know there are many who are living the life of adventure, but for me, right now, I’m feeling very content. xK

    • I think ALL life is an adventure, and even many of us who appear to live a very calm existence are having a wonderfully rich, full life even if it’s not flashy or glamorous. Jeff and I have the same situation as far as spending money – we have lived frugally for so long that it’s part of who we ARE and we actually prefer a simple life. Having said that we are also beginning to enjoy the results of years of living relatively simply. For us that has meant freedom not to worry about how to afford things – being able to give, shop, eat as we choose and feeling very blessed not to have money woes right now. With everything else that has been going on, not a day passes that we are not grateful for having the medical care and not having to mortgage the house to get it. BTW we bought our first new car in 2010 and even then it was only because we could get it more cheaply than a late model used car! 😀 I think living frugally instills many other virtues and it’s one of the best pieces of advice I could give a young person just starting out. It’s so funny to even describe our life as frugal because in the great scheme of things, we and 99% of the people we know are incredibly RICH.

  11. Yes! Rich in spirit, heart, family, faith and friendships. That’s something money can’t buy. xo

  12. Michael

    That is a great” Twain quote, about worrying as paying for a debt you don’t owe. Yesterday I went to Half Price Books. I took six boxes down to them and got a rebate for $ seven-fifty. Wow. The only thing they would not take is my old stacks of National Geographic magazines- three boxes full. I could not part with the Harry Potter collection -so will have to hold on to these for a time.
    As far as living frugally-“Live simply so that others may simply live.” As my daughter in law is a vegan, I have tried to increase my vegetarian cooking skills and it is hard to beat Indian cuisine. Last summer I made vegetarian chili and some curry dishes from time to time.

    • Michael, it sounds as if you did a very good job – I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to give away that many books at one time! Of course there always will be those we want to keep.

      I am one of those people who doesn’t enjoy curry, but there are several dishes (most notably spaghetti) that I never use meat in anymore. Almost anything that has pasta and cheese is fine without meat, even according to Jeff, who likes meat far more than I do. I’d have a much harder time trying to give up eggs and cheese. Not to mention butter! 😀 There are some veggies that might be unbearable to me without butter.

  13. Michael

    Yea- I am not giving up the butter thing.

    • 😀 So happy you understand! 😀

  14. Always a delight to embrace! Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome – Thanks for being here!

  15. Michael

    Although I have not read that book -I am sure Suzuki is the author of that quote.

    • Yes, he is one of the Zen masters most quoted and known about. Thich Nhat Hanh is another one who has some interesting things to say.

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