These four words

Grady and Matt are a mutual admiration society. Dam Neck,  Virginia, June 2014

Grady and Matt are a mutual admiration society. Dam Neck, Virginia, June 2014

“I bring you the gift of these four words: I believe in you.”Blaise Pascal

I might never have met you face to face.  In fact, I may not even know who you are, or that you are reading this blog at all.  But I still believe in you.

I believe in you because I believe each and every person is created in the image of God, and capable of beautiful deeds.  I believe that everybody can play an important role in this world, no matter what their past has been like.  I believe it is never too late to come back from defeat, discouragement or despair. I believe that there are others who believe in you too, people who are more immediately present in your life, though you may not recognize or know about them.

All of us need the comfort and encouragement that can only come from people who believe in us.  If you feel bereft of this important support, I urge you to seek, pray and be open to it.  It may not come from the sources where you wish to find it.  But if you seek with faith, you will discover it.  I really believe that.

One year ago today:

Do not wait


  1. Thank you Julia for this encouraging blog. I really need someone to believe in me.

    • Cherie, I do believe in you! We have something major in common, after all you have been through with your husband’s illness. It is encouraging to know that others are able to keep on keeping on in the face of devastating situations. I am so glad you are here. You are often in my prayers.

  2. singleseatfighterpilot

    Julia, you have jabbed at me for my liking certain old songs by “The First Edition”. And though plastic surgeons have made Kenny Rogers look like he may be in the witness protection program; his song, “She Believes in Me”, has wonderful sentiment.

    • Yes, I must admit that the music of Kenny Rogers has never appealed to me. But I liked some of the earlier stuff best; in fact, I really like the song Just Dropped In. I think I know which older song you are referring to, though…I had my own parody of it, in which I substituted the word “dinner” for the word “love.” 😀 I realize most people will disagree with me about Rogers, but the great thing about music is that there’s enough variety to please every ear!

  3. MaryAnn

    Julia! I WANT TO BE THERE WITH MATT & GRADY! What an absolute joy bubbles up at the sight of these 2 loving each other! Plus adding ocean, sand, sky and my wonderful Denton family; makes it the place for me!
    “I believe in you” is a tremendously powerful statement. Thank you for your encouragement to me & all your readers.

    • Aw, thanks Mary Ann, I wish you had been there with us. It was a lovely week. I appreciate your steadfast encouragement!

  4. I remember seeing this photo and thinking, “what a perfect moment to capture on film”. Frozen forever, a moment of love. Grady’s little hair do is so hip with the flip up front, HA. Since he’s so clean, I will assume that he’s either a very gifted child or this is early in the day. HA. Or maybe I was just a disaster kid, usually covered in food stains from the picnic we brought or sand from the holes we’d dig. Interesting name for a beach, they have a great sense of humour there.

    I feel extremely lucky to feel loads of love and encouragement daily from home, my extended friendships here and at work too. Maybe I’m making the world unbalanced by soaking up more than my share? It’s like being offered desert everyday 😀 Life is sweet! xoK

    • Kelly, I think this was the beginning of the late afternoon session, after the morning was spent under the sunshade and then a nap and lunch before waiting till the sun went down a bit. So he was still pretty fresh when the photo was taken. YES we are lucky to be surrounded by so much love and blessing. I honestly hope and believe everyone can find that place of belonging and happiness, though it might be more challenging for some than for others. But I don’t think it’s possible for you to soak up more than your share, because it doesn’t stay, it flows through you on to others. Wonderful, the way it works out like that! 😀 ❤

      • Thanks Julia,
        Appreciate your vote of confidence.
        p.s. commenting here because my comments to your blog seem to be not getting through.

        • Alan, I’m so glad you kept trying! Tonight I just checked my spam filter for the first time in a long time, and there were ALL your recent comments! I have no idea why, as they have never gone to the spam filter before. This is why I’m afraid to just auto-delete the spam – once in a while a comment or two will end up there, but I’ve never had so many comments end up in spam from a person who posted before. Very strange! Hopefully it is fixed now but I will be extra careful to check in the coming days. I’m so sorry you have not been getting through. I was missing you and wondering if all was well. I never dreamed the spam filter would be catching all your comments.

      • You are adorable and wise J, I’m going to cherish your message. I never thought of happiness as being fluid and flowing thru me. To see the ones I care about and love feeling happy, is a great motivator for me. xK

        • Thank you, K – I think it’s that way with all the graces, what Christians call fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, kindness, and so on – they come to us from above, directly and through others, and flow through us to others, bringing blessings wherever they flow. I read where Maya Angelou said you cannot use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have. I think it’s the same with all these wonderful gifts. Even with material things, I have found that the more we give, the more comes back to us. How wonderful for us! ❤

  5. Julia,
    Appeciate your vote of confidence.

    • Thank you, Alan! I’m so sorry your comments got delayed. I’m glad you are OK, I was wondering if all was well!

      • Yes, I am. And hope for you and family as well. Hope the problem has been corrected.

        • Yes, we’re doing pretty well. Entangled in complicated home remodeling issues, but those types of problems seem minor now. 😀 Speaking of which, your comments are NOT going in the spam filter anymore — Hooray!

  6. Sheila

    “Seek with faith” is not only a courageous way to approach each new day but seems a reflection of you. We have shared thousands of words here, and so much more. Knowing that someone believes in you really does give strength of enormous proportions. Thank you so much! I love the photo of those two cute Denton guys!

    • Thank you so much Sheila! I am glad the thousands of words have not worn you out. 😀 Also I have been meaning to tell you how nice it is to have the Kitty-Cat with us on the Verandah this month! Thanks for believing in me. ❤

      • Julia, thanks for mentioning the Kitty-Cat. I’m afraid that I would have sat on it! I was so into the decor and book excerpt that I overlooked it! 🙂

        • That’s the fun thing about cats– they can be so pleasantly unobtrusive. Or maybe the description of how like people they can be, caused you not to notice the pretty little furry “toy” in the rocker. 😉

  7. Wonderful picture! 🙂

    • Thank you, Merry! Megan took it.

  8. …and we believe in you, Julia, which is why we keep coming back for your wonderful encouragement and good energy, whenever we are able!

    • Thank you, Susan – that is so nice to hear! 😀

  9. Michael

    How about the song, “If you believe in magic.?”
    I saw a great documentary on ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro- Life on four Strings. It was on Netflix and he is from Honolulu. Maybe you have heard of him? I heard some of his material on the radio but never got to see him live. And it is ukulele with a soft u -as in chew- not UUUkulele as you probably know. I could never say it correctly.

    • Yes, I like that song, though the group was not among my favorites of the era – not that I dislike them, they just weren’t on my playlist, to use an anachronistic term to describe the 60’s and 70’s. Jake Shimabukuro is legendary, and with the ukelele enjoying a recent surge in popularity, he will probably be getting more and more famous. Our Hawaiian friend Robert plays the ukelele and has even played with the Makaha Sons (just for fun, not as part of the group). You are right, it is pronounced oookelele, not Yewkelele – though nobody in Hawaii gets uptight if you mispronounce it. As you know, for the most part, nobody in Hawaii gets uptight about minor stuff like that, occasional acrimonious Haole jokes notwithstanding.

  10. Michael

    Thanks for jogging my memory about the group-“Lovin Spoonfull.” Watching the song on U tube with the lead player strumming a small harpsichord; well, it did seem a little dated.
    I did get to see the Makaha sons one time in Honolulu or a “spin off” of the same. Did you ever see Willie K? He comes to Seattle once a year.
    One interesting part of the J.S. documentary were his comment about the limited range of the Ukelele- only two octaves from middle C up two octaves. But he has never seen this as a limitation only as a challenge and an incentive to creativity. Talk about creativity, and I think there is a story about the famous Cellist Casal who broke a string-but continued in the concert and played the same material but was able to somehow transcompose. Some lives are like that- living fully with fewer strings and a more limited range of notes than others. But they still play on with beauty and expression. I think there is a message in there somewhere.

    • Wow, I never thought about that message as it relates to Hawaiian language, culture and character, but how appropriate an analogy for them, especially now that almost all their ʻāina has been taken over by non-Hawaiians. Still they create magnificent resonance on their limited but rich strings, with the help of those gorgeous mellow voices. Most of what little I know about Hawaiian music I heard from Robert, but I remember the incomparable Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and my favorite local artist, Keali’i Reichel. To this day, I cannot listen to this beautiful song (especially with the photos on the accompanying video) without feeling the tears coming up. Our time in Hawaii was a strange combination of deep happiness permeated by profound sadness. That, too, is appropriate for Hawaii, a land of great beauty and sorrow.

  11. Michael

    OK -so what was the Kenny Roger’s song you did the parody of? ” You were always on my mind.”?

    • No, it was the First Edition’s “Something’s Burning” — which is, in my mind, one of the most disgustingly schmaltzy songs of all time. It’s pretty bad when a song manages to be schmaltzy and vulgar at the same time.

  12. Michael

    Beautiful song from Keali-i.” I think I saw a documentary on Israel whose life was cut lamentably so short. Missing Oahu.

    • Yes, there was a television show that was made in remembrance of him. I remember seeing in the film, a flag someone was flying that said simply “Iz Lives.”

  13. raynard

    Julia our client who I work for always have words of encouragement for me. I told him yesterday that I have to stay humble. It’s not about me but” he who is in me” be blessed

    • Raynard, I’m glad you have someone at work who recognizes you and gives you appreciation and encouragement. We all need it sometimes and he probably knows you will stay humble. Just pass it on to others and you won’t have a thing to worry about.

  14. Michael

    Hawaii a land of great beauty and great sorrow? Were you thinking of the Queen’s story? Yes very sad and made into a B movie I think. There is also the sadness of leaving such a place of beauty never to return like Mark Twain who had one final chance to visit but could not because the island was under quarantine due to Small pox. So he viewed from afar in his steamship and never got to visit again.
    I have read some of his stories about Hawaii. And also some of the Jack London material. In one of the Twain stories they are riding horses across a beach and unearth an indigenous burial site- then they play with the bones throwing them around like horseshoes- horrifying!!

    • Queen Lili’uokalani’s story is one of many sad ones in Hawaii’s history. Think of Father Damian and the people with leprosy on Molokai, or Princess Ka’iulani who died so young. But mostly I am thinking about how few well-paying jobs are available for locals, many of whom can barely afford to live there. Most of the friends I went to school with became teachers — one of a relatively few professional jobs available since the majority of local jobs are in tourism — but they would have to live with their parents and save up for a long time to buy homes. The cost of living is very high in Hawaii, but unlike California or New York City, the pay is not commensurate. I never heard about the Twain story you mention, but superstition is strong about the bad luck of removing volcanic rocks, so I would think the bones from a burial site would be even worse.

  15. Michael

    Yes I think the movie made was about the Princess Ka’iulani. I was surprised too about the wages and would have thought the opposite. Yes- few well paying jobs and who could ever buy a house there when a shack in Kailua was about $850,000. I have also heard from folks who live in Seattle and grew up there- they can’t afford to live back there. Yet they do have some nice senior housing out at Eva beach- but the waiting list is long. Perhaps that is why it is not on AARP’s top ten list of places to retire. I think New Hampshire is number one.
    My wife’s cousin is a pharmacist from Seattle. He bought a condo on the Big Island and rented out his nice Seattle house. He is doing pretty well. He also has a 43 foot sailboat that he sailed over there from Seattle- quite the sportsman.
    I am overjoyed today as I made it to the store on the first Tuesday of the month and they asked me if I was eligible for the senior discount- over 55. ” Absolutely,” I replied and took my huge discount of all items I bought. This is the first time I made it on the first Tuesday. What a joy.

    • Michael, which store gives a huge discount? I was very excited several years ago when I became eligible for my senior discount, but in reality, I have never gotten more than 10% off and that’s not enough to get me in there on Tuesday unless I just happen to remember it. Wow, what moxie your cousin has, to sail from Seattle to Hawaii! I’m not sure I would try that, even in a 43 foot sailboat. Of course, Kenichi Horie sailed from Japan to SFO in that tiny little motorless boat all those years ago, so I guess some people are just gifted at seafaring. My friend Peggy and her husband have a condo in Wainae where the prices were a bit less — not far from Ewa Beach — but they live most of the year on the Mississippi gulf coast. They have talked about selling the condo for years, but can’t seem to give it up. Who can blame them? Peggy lived there for so many years (and retired as a teacher there) so she is a true kama’aina.

  16. Michael

    Yea I think it may have been 10%- truth be told. I just watched a documentary about L. Dekker from Holland who sailed around the world at age 14- youngest person to do so. It is called “Maiden Voyage.” It took her almost two years. Brave little girl. I have been watching a bunch of videos while Verie is gone in Atlanta.

    • Ten percent is not a bad discount, but sales tax eats up most of it. I didn’t realize there was a 14 year old who sailed around the world. I heard about the American girl who had to be rescued, though. Did the girl from Holland go it alone? I don’t think I could ever let my child do something like that at such a young age.

  17. Michael

    Another nominee for a schmaltzy song that was a former number one hit. “Patches” by Ronnie Slate from Muscle Shoals studio in Muscle Shoals -Alabama – another good video. When you nominate these songs there is always the possibility of offending someone, but I never really liked Kenny Rogers either. I think Patches is right up there- ” Patches I’m depending on you son to see the family through.”

    • Michael, it is so bizarre you mentioned the song “Patches” which I have always loved. Just recently I learned that my mother’s cousin, Rick Hall, produced that song for Clarence Carter at his recording company, Fame Studios, in Muscle Shoals. I never realized this song came from FAME, or that Rick talked Carter into singing it. Here’s a quote from :

      “Carter recorded this song at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The previous year, four of the FAME musicians who played on Carter’s previous work left to form Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, so Carter did this song with their replacements, which included Junior Lowe on guitar, Jesse Boyce on bass, and Freeman Brown on drums. While many Soul classics by Carter, Wilson Pickett and Etta James came out of FAME around this time, their biggest hit of the era was “One Bad Apple” by The Osmonds.

      “Clarence Carter, known to his fans as Dr. CC, had a difficult childhood. He was blinded at a young age, and attended the Alabama School for the Blind at Talladega. He taught himself to play the guitar by listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins records. Carter had three hits that went gold in the States: “Slip Away,” “Too Weak To Fight” and “Patches.”

      “It was FAME Studios owner Rick Hall who asked Carter to record this song. Carter didn’t want to do it, but Hall convinced him. According to Carter, when he recorded it, he didn’t even know the lyrics, so some stood behind him and whispered them to him when he did his vocal. When the song became a hit, Carter was hoping he could record more Chairmen Of The Board material, but Rick Hall didn’t like recording songs written outside of the FAME stable, as they were far less profitable.” (end of quote)

      There’s a lot of confusion between FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound studio, which was started by Rick’s studio musicians when they left FAME not long after a dispute between Rick and Jerry Wexler. Most of the rock groups who recorded in Muscle Shoals worked at Muscle Shoals Sound, but Rick had a lot of the country and soul music. BTW he’s still alive and doing very well, and FAME is still in business. The entire story is told in the recent movie Muscle Shoals which was on PBS during their pledge drive recently. It’s a really good movie, I highly recommend it.

  18. Megan

    This is one of my favorite pictures of all time!

    • And you took it! I should have given you a byline for that photo, or put something in the caption about your having taken it. Grady is so easy to take great photos of, though! Hard to go wrong with such a cute subject.

  19. Michael

    Wow- that is the video I just saw Net flix. Your mom’s cousin? Wow. The story about Aretha Franklin was pretty interesting too. She had been dropped by Columbia and came to Fame as a last resort where she recorded ” RESPECT.” And as I play drums the background about drummer Roger Hawkins was also good. Who knew it was an all white rhythm section that drove these folks to fame- Aretha, Dr.CC, Percy Sledge -etc. Yes-Patches became a number one hit.
    Keep my son Mike in your prayers. He has been moved to a fire new department in Atlanta and there is some adjustment. Music is such a subjective concern. For some reason the song, “Buttery kisses” also seems a little manipulative?

    • Michael, I know job re-locations can be quite an adjustment even when the job itself doesn’t change that much, which is what Jeff’s situation has been all these years. Every place is different and the office chemistry (for lack of a better phrase) has to be learned on an unwritten level. That can be tough for men who are not into playing games and schmoozing. I’m praying that Mike is able to settle in quickly and will come to enjoy his new station.

      Re: the song “Butterfly Kisses” – if that is what you were referring to? I know it’s a great favorite, but at the risk of making a lot of people mad, I’ll just say it’s never been one I liked. I’d better leave it at that.

      I’m glad you saw Muscle Shoals — I thought it was very well made. Here is a recent photo of Rick with my Aunt Peggy at her 80th birthday party. I’ve written about Peggy a couple of times before. She and my Mama both think Rick looks better now than he did in the movie. He and his wife Linda (who has been with him since before he started the FAME studios) both look great for their age, I think. Believe it or not I have never met either Rick or Linda, because I don’t get to Alabama that often, and the one family reunion I have ever been to, they weren’t there. Peggy and Rick played together as little kids at my great-aunt Lizzie’s house. If you saw the film you know that Rick has had a very tough life but has kept going through lots of hard times. I think his story is inspiring. What amazes me most is that he managed to bring black and white talents together in a place that was supposedly racist and a time when racism was more overt than it is now. It seems to me that one of Rick’s gifts is knowing talent when he sees it, and refusing to give up easily. I hope I get to meet him someday. Peggy had planned to take me over to the FAME studios last month but as mentioned in today’s post, I decided to get back on the Trace before dark!

  20. Michael

    I think in the documentary he says the song -Patches – is about his Dad and his experience after his mom left the family.

    • He clearly knew how to put the heart and soul into the song, even if his own biographical details were different. I don’t think of that song as overly-sentimental because it just tells the factual details without waxing sappy about the father. “My papa was a great old man, I can see him with a shovel in his hand” is about as close as it gets to effusive praise. Dr. C.C. was the perfect voice for the song.

  21. Michael

    OK- I guess I won’t mention that other song for now. Rick sounds like a very polished producer. Candi Staton said it,” was a joy to work with him and also a pain.” He would do the songs over and over till he got exactly what he wanted sometimes to the point of exasperation. He has had a tough life indeed.

    • I saw a clip of an interview with him online somewhere (I forget whose show it was) and they asked him how he dealt with the big egos in the music business. He answered honestly that his ego was as big as theirs. I think most people in the arts tend to be perfectionists.

  22. Michael

    Rick also wrote Patches- correct? Someone told him it would never be a hit.

    • No, it was first written and recorded by General Johnson and Ronald Dunbar of Chairmen of the Board, but their record company didn’t want to release it as a single, thinking it would not be a hit. Rick Hall talked Clarence Carter into recording it and it became a huge hit. I think Rick said in the movie that he didn’t write it but it did have some similarities to his own story. Both he and Carter were in a position to understand the trials of a childhood that was far from carefree. BTW the song won the Grammy for Johnson and Dunbar in 1970, as best Rhythm & Blues Song. Very doubtful that would have happened without Rick Hall and Clarence Carter.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: