Unfailing love

We are surrounded by evidence of unfailing love. Laguna Beach, July 2004

We are surrounded by evidence of unfailing love. Laguna Beach, CA,  July 2004

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”
Psalm 33:5

One year ago today,  I wrote of my joy in seeing Dr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, and having a new grandson, and all the ways we had been blessed with gifts of comfort and consolation amid all the sorrows.  Now, one year later, the challenges remain, but the blessings continue to abound.

Matt is now on the other side of a risky and difficult surgery we had been dreading for five years, and he is doing well.  Jeff fights on in his war with cancer, with the emphasis having shifted to the metastatic tumors in the lungs, but he feels reasonably well most of the time, and so far is able to maintain a mostly normal life.  Grady grows more delightful by the day, and we already have been granted unforgettable times of laughter and happiness with him.

Other family members have survived scary or difficult medical crises, and we feel thankful that they all are still part of our lives.  And Al reports that Dr. Rodriguez spent some time in the hospital recently and now has a pacemaker, but at 95, that’s not so bad!  Al says Mrs. Rodriguez remains the steady, encouraging presence we have always admired.  The lives of our friends and loved ones underscore the truth that God’s mercies are new every morning.

I’m sure almost anyone reading this has had a mixture of trials and blessings for the past year.  Even if the challenges have outweighed the joys, I hope you will be given abundant reminders that we are surrounded with unfailing love.  Though righteousness and justice may sometimes appear to be in short supply, they will always reappear just when we need them most.  That’s a promise.

One year ago today:

Because we are so loved






  1. HarryS

    Even though my life continues to be one of joy and happiness along with lots of aches and pains I know it is full and complete and it’s exactly as intended.

    I spoke to my cousin OC a couple of days ago and arrangement has been made to see him and my brother and uncle who I am fortunate to still have in my life of advancing age. I haven’t seen OC in at least a couple of years and since that time he has been and is going through the sudden loss of his wife in a tragic automobile accident. He tells me that the grief is unbelievable and inexpressible but now after nearly a year and a half he joyfully tells me that he’s getting better. We are looking forward to this foursome to meet and probably go to the Red Rooster for lunch.

    I just don’t think it could get any better than this!

    There is a remarkable mystery which is repeatedly stated about God that he is with us in our grief, that when we weep he weeps.
    He is the author and finisher of the effort of compassion.

    • Harry, I am so glad that you will have this opportunity, and also glad that OC is beginning to heal somewhat from his grief. Joyce Carol Oates’ book about her own experience with losing a spouse was a real eye-opener for me in terms of how difficult this is, even for people who are decades older than I am. I hope and pray I never have to find out. I remember reading someplace that many people are offended by the idea of a supposedly omnipotent God who would choose not only to let people suffer, but to suffer right along with them. But I think even those who find this notion offensively illogical will eventually come to understand that logic only gets us so far in this world. Mystery is part of existence, including the consolation of knowing that God weeps with us when we are permitted to suffer, even though he does not miraculously intervene to stop it. I hope you will have a wonderful reunion with your relatives!

  2. Hooray for Matt! Hooray for Jeff! Hooray for Dr. Rodriguez!
    Hooray for God!

    • I couldn’t have said it better, Susan – and Hooray for you, too! ❤

  3. raynard

    Julia, yesterday for me was the most stressful day in about a week..We had to” change our Sunday routine and go to NJ to deal with my wife’s aunt’s tenant.We have her” word ” that she will be moved out by the end of this month. My wife’s uncle in now in rehab. Getting his wife” out of her hermit/recluse state of mind to go see him” was like having a less than 30 days dental student do a root canal”.. I digress. So glad to be blessed with” my little apartment my corner of the world were I have peace. Church picnic is this week. I think I will go with the trifle( Ginger Snap one to ” be different and creative) Buying my stuff to make on Friday.When I get through what I just mentioned and ” overdue cakes to bake” going to take another” Cannonball Run possibly down your way. Will keep you posted. you, Matt and Jeff are in my family’s prayers. ( Now if I can stop singing” the theme song to that TV show” Golden Girls” lol Be blessed, keep your head up and have a great day…

    • Hi Raynard, it sounds as if you had a rough weekend too. I hate that you had to go through all that, but the good part about such stuff is that it does make us very grateful for our “normal” life (or maybe I should say our typical life since some of us will never be “normal” hee-hee). I hope you have great weather for your church picnic. Thanks so much for keeping us in your prayers – we are hanging in there. Thanks for being here!

  4. bobmielke

    I need to stop and recount my many blessings often as I grow older. I believe I’ve turned into an ogre at times, losing patience with people who make poor decisions with their only goal being the bottom line, money. I get beat down by the crime, the violence and the inept political leadership in the world allowing it to all occur, over and over again.

    As I write this the United States has 318,000,000 people and we can’t find one decent human being to run for office and care for our nation. I get to the point of despair and just want to give of hope for this nation.

    • Bob, I had to give up actively following politics, and most of the news, when Jeff got diagnosed, because I knew I could stand only so much despair and frustration. I’m not joking about that; I used to be fairly active politically and paid a lot of attention to the news. But it’s all very corrupt now and far too many political decisions are bought, one way or another, sold to the highest bidder. It helps me when I remember that we are still very, very blessed in this country and that Jesus himself lived and worked in a world that was far more corrupt and decadent than ours. Every time feel as if everything is going to hell in hand-basket I remind myself that Matt is still alive (if he had been born 20 years earlier he would not be), was allowed to go to public schools (my childhood friend with Down Syndrome was not) and has been the beneficiary of some very important changes that were first produced by legislation and court decisions here in the USA. Then it also helps when I read the Christian Chronicle, as I did tonight, and read other types of news stories such as this one and this one and I realize that there are a lot of good and caring people in this world making sacrifices to help others. I feel so much better when I pay attention to the good news. It’s still out there, though the ratings-hungry broadcast media want to keep us scared and worried and glued to the TV set.

  5. singleseatfighterpilot

    Ecclesiastes 9: 10-13

    • And also Ecclesiastes 11:8…and the entire book of Philippians too!

  6. MaryAnn

    The “promise” you state is TRUE! What we must remember is to be alert for them & acknowledge them. Praising God that Matt & Jeff are so much better! Grady Denton: a source of joy & love!!!
    Thank you, Julia, for the encouragement & for sharing your life w/ us!

    • Thanks so much for being here, Mary Ann. I have some great photos and videos of Grady to post, if I ever get around to it. Megan sent Jeff one today to cheer him up after his rough day at the hospital. We have so much to be thankful for. I don’t always feel it, but I always know it.

  7. Wonderful post Julia. In the midst of life’s ups and downs, we must be reminded that the good Lord always provides balance. For the trials, sorrows and sufferings are countered by courage, endurance and perseverance. With His promise, that in the end, we will win the crown of life.

    • Yes, sometimes we do need the reminders. No matter how many ups and downs we endure, it always surprises me how permanent and irrevocable the “downs” seem when we are facing them. At such times I have to tell myself “we have been here before” and trust that things will turn around and we will be blessed in ways that we can’t imagine right now. Thanks for your encouragement!

  8. Julia, good morning…early morning 🙂 God comforts us all through the Bible…but I like this…
    “He quiets you with His love, He sings over you.” …Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
    and it is used in a beautiful song, “He Sings Over You.”
    Zephaniah is a small book in the OT, two pages…

    • Hi Merry, thank you for sharing that lovely verse. I have never heard that song, and I was unable to find it in a quick search. The verse brings to mind the idea of a parent singing to comfort a child, a wonderful image to hold when we feel agitated and afraid. Thanks so much for being here!

  9. Carolyn

    Just a hello and hope you all are having a good week. I have next eye check up this Thursday,hoping for a good report. Our plans are just about finished for Wiliamsburg and I will send them to you soon. The day is starting out so nice , so I’m ready for coffee and the porch. Hugs to all.

    • Hi Carolyn, here’s hoping and praying for a good report from the eye doctor. Are you seeing better now? Let us know your plans so we can cook up some fun for while you are here (figuratively speaking, since my cooking might not be much fun 😀 ) Love to you and Terry.

  10. Sheila

    Julia and family, when I count my blessings I count you twice! 🙏😍

    • Thanks Sheila, I feel the same way about you! ❤

  11. Carlyle

    Julia. You are somewhat familiar with my late-life physical trials. I just would like you, and especially Jeff, to know what an inspiration his courage and tenacity have been to me when I have a particularly difficult day, I will never measure up to his example but am thankful that he has shown me the way.

    • Thank you so much Daddy. I am sure Jeff will appreciate your words, and he (like me) will respond that your example in this and in many other ways (especially generosity) has been a shining light for us. We love you and Mama, and keep you in our hearts and prayers.

  12. I’m glad you are all in a state of better health, Julia. I think of you every day. Boomdee and I are talking about our plans to see you early next year. I can’t wait to give you a real hug. For now…xoxox

    • Thank you Alys! I am looking forward to some springtime fun with you! Til then I appreciate the cyber hugs. 🙂

  13. LB

    I have to admit to reading the post about remembering those who teach us even though they have no formal education, and while doing so, read your response to someone about an update on the health of Matt and your husband. So back I came to read this one.
    I’m sorry to have missed the posts in between. I know you understand how hard it is to keep up with each post on every blog that you follow.
    But this one, this on was important! I’m so glad that Matt and Jeff are doing as well as they are.
    And you? How are YOU holding up?

    • Hi LB, I am holding up OK although being far behind on so many things (including reading everyone’s blogs) is starting to get to me. I want to be able to catch up on your travels as soon as I can. Matt continues to do well, though he is bored and sorely in need of a job and/or vocational program. Jeff seems to be improving from the horrible side effects he had after the most recent chemo treatment. He says “no more chemo.” We have to hope the tumors got hit as hard as the rest of his body did.

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