The joyful simplicities

"Landscape with Apple Trees" by Levi Wells Prentice, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Landscape with Apple Trees” by Levi Wells Prentice, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more and more bewildering, and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.” — Woman’s Home Companion, 1935

“With just a little use of attention, good experiences are available to you throughout the day. They’re like low-hanging fruit that you only have to notice. As soon as you notice them, yum! They’re delicious…whenever you like, you can nibble on these experiences simply by noticing them, and letting them nourish you.”Rick Hanson

These two quotes are nearly 80 years apart in origin, but they definitely relate to each other.  We sometimes kid ourselves in thinking that past generations did not have the juggling act we do, or that they lived in a world mostly free of complexity.  Through their recorded words, they beg to differ.  Things were already growing “more and more bewildering” during our grandparents’ youth.

But Hanson’s quote reminds us that we still have, as always, rich resources from which to draw joy and strength.  Look around you and find the joyful simplicities; the “low hanging fruit” that is waiting to be noticed and savored.  What will nourish you today?

One year ago today:

Don’t pass it by


  1. bobmielke

    As a rule I don’t care to watch reality TV shows. I made an exception for a few that dealt with survival in Alaska. The hardships they face is a reminder how cozy we have it in our modern homes and shopping malls. Prior generations were stressed to provide shelter, medical care and just keep food on the table. We are truly a blessed people.

    • Bob, I would probably enjoy those shows too. We need to be reminded again and again just how easy our life today is, comparatively speaking. I am so grateful for warm, cozy homes, food and friends. When Drew was just a very young boy, he started saying a simple blessing at meals that we never knew where it came from, but he would say it every time at meals or bedtime: “Thank you for our homes and food, and thank you for the animals’ homes and food.” Still worth saying “thank-you” for.

  2. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. I’m so glad I read this early, before Bill even got out of bed. I took notice of HIM, more so than my usual and customary, “Good morning”, as he looked around for Jack, fixed his cup of coffee, and walked over to look out the kitchen window, hands clasped behind him. 🙏Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes and seeing this special man. Thank you, Julia, for this beautiful blog. ☺️

    • Sheila, I loved reading this. You will remember this picture of Bill always, I’m sure. Thanks for your presence here, and for your steadfast encouragement!

  3. raynard

    Julia thanksgiving this year will be simple. Eating out and enjoying some well deserved time off after ” all the Road Running” and not that many’Cannonball Runs”..Already been told of my job being phased out and with this moving out my wife’s aunt and us to a possible bigger place. Oh last time I tried to send you pics of my recent baked cakes, the email bounced back.If you’re not a Facebook, Twitter, Instragam person, I can” adapt, overcome and ‘ make up a plan as I go along” ( sounds like the Marines huh? Be blessed

    • Raynard, I am so sorry to hear about the phaseout. That has been happening to so many people we know in the past few years. I will be praying for new doors to open for you and for a smooth transition to the new home(s). I don’t know what is happening with the email but I think they are making the maximum allowed size of each mail smaller. I had some emails to my aunt bounce back and it said “file size too big.” If that is what your bounced email says, you can try sending the photos in separate emails and see if that goes through better. It worked for me with the photos I sent my aunt, but it was a lot more work. I might have to check out Instagram since a lot of people seem to be using that for photos these days. I don’t have an account there yet.

  4. Sheila

    Did you remember to “fall back”? ⏰⌚️😂 I couldn’t resist!

    • Sheila, I didn’t have to fall back…I was camped out way back already, drinking hot cocoa and waiting for the rest of you to fall behind with me. I eagerly await an extra hour of sleep each year! 😀

  5. MaryAnn

    Such a nice phrase: “low hanging fruit”. Last week, It was raining in the backyard. I noticed sunshine, also. So, as always, I went out to “find” my rainbow. It was NOT raining in the front yard. I found a partial rainbow in the sky. I watched as God made it brighter & brighter as it became a FULL ARCH. I told my daughter-in-law about “my” rainbow God put in the sky & she said, “You claimed it”. She never batted an eye that I thanked God for giving ME the rainbow! He provides this type “nourishment” each day. Thank you, Julia, for pointing out the innumerable joys to be “noticed and savored”.

    • Mary Ann, aren’t rainbows amazing? When I read your comment, it reminded me of this post I read long ago when I was first discovering the blog world. Sydney’s blog was always such a joy, and though his work has recently kept him from posting as often as he used to, I still love to read what he writes. I think you will connect with Sydney’s joy over the rainbow!

      • MaryAnn

        Thank you for this extra joy received from another rainbow lover, as he was even afraid to blink so as not to miss a second of the “show”! Totally can relate!

        • I just love that post and knew you would too!

  6. Michael

    Simplicities. Tis a gift to be simple .A soaker today in Seattle. But it is still almost 60 degrees out so it reminds me a little of Hawaii. Maybe not so much. A possible sun break later. Fixin to get a right fair amount of rain.

    • Oddly, it was warm and rainy here too, though it is supposed to be “a right smart” colder tomorrow. Be sure and take your umbrella or “you’ll catch your death in that rain” (is “you’ll catch your death” a southern phrase? Maybe not…David Bowie used it in the song “Diamond Dogs” and he’s not even American).

  7. Michael

    By the way- apparently Bowie did a Christmas album with Bing Crosby that was nominated for worst Christmas album ever. I am not familiar with this one.

  8. Michael

    I liked it too. 4.4 million hits on U tube also. He really does have a nice voice.

    • I hadn’t noticed how many hits it had. Evidently someone else must have liked it too.

  9. Michael

    Farrell and Riley duets was well done. Wasn’t Reilly in “Chicago” production on Broadway? He has the voice to back it up.
    Reading compilation that Jeff might like- Best Sports Writing of 2014. Has a funny-tragic story of Mani-Teo’s fake/real/ facebook girl friend Lenay from -you guessed it- Hawaii.

    • Reilly was in the film of Chicago, but I don’t know about Broadway. He is one of my favorite actors. His opening scenes in the movie Magnolia were Oscar-worthy, I think. I hope that Jeff will read more in retirement. I think he would probably enjoy the book you mention.

  10. Michael

    The author is Christopher McDougall.

    • Thanks. Isn’t that a series? It sounds like it. I like these books that contain essays and excerpts from other books. It’s nice to be able to sit down and read something in one sitting, especially if it’s a collection from various sources. I still love Reader’s Digest for that reason.

  11. Michael

    Now I have Bowie’s voice stuck in y head? Is he really 65?

    • I would say he’s at least that old, since I’m 58 this year and I remember him being a star when I was in the early years of high school. BTW, if you want to REALLY get his voice stuck in your head, listen to this amazing song, which remains one of my favorites of his. The ambiguity of the ending can be taken different ways — some insist it’s a suicide, but I think that’s a youthful interpretation, because young people tend to forget how dangerous space travel was and still is. Speaking of which, here’s a fabulous cover of that same song, filmed with a real astronaut singing it and real footage.

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