Illumination comes to our rescue

Blick aus dem entree (View from the entrance) by Henrik Nordenberg, Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Blick aus dem Entrée (View from the entrance) by Henrik Nordenberg,
Public domain image — cropped detail, via Wikimedia Commons

“But sometimes illumination comes to our rescue at the very moment when all seems lost; we have knocked at every door and they open on nothing until, at last, we stumble unconsciously against the only one through which we can enter the kingdom we have sought in vain a hundred years – and it opens.”Marcel Proust

Yesterday’s post was about saving memories, and I have an abundance of them to save here at this blog.  The great thing about blogging is that it’s automatically stored; all the posts and photos, as well as the comments that make it an interactive experience.  There is so much to treasure here, and I thank everyone who has been a part of it, through reading, commenting, leaving your Gravatar in the “likes” section, and generally encouraging me during two of the most stressful years of our lives.

This blog was begun at a time that seemed filled with despair.  Our family, along with many others I knew, faced trials and obstacles that seemed impossible to endure.  Some who read this blog have been through stormy seas as well.  Now, two years later, on the day of my 730th daily post, we can look back and see that we survived, and sometimes even thrived, in between the days of chaos or doubt or agony.

For most of us, life will never be easy or carefree.  But each day we can go on defeating despair.  Some days we’ll do it by celebrating simple joys, or laughing at the endless comedy taking place all around us, or looking back in gratitude at the blessings we’ve enjoyed.  Some days we’ll do it simply by putting one foot in front of the other and getting through until another night of rest.  But we WILL do it!

Beginning tomorrow, the blog schedule here will change.  I’ll no longer be blogging daily, because our lives have reached the point where I can’t keep making the time.  Besides, it’s an awful lot for readers to keep up with!  (A special thanks to those readers who have been with me almost every day; you deserve some sort of medal, if I could only think of what to call it.)

It’s my intent now to blog twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays.  Posts will be scheduled in advance, as usual.  A lot of these may be short posts, even just a photo and/or quote, but I don’t want to lose touch with any of you, and I think twice weekly is enough to maintain contact.

In between, I’ll be checking comments at least every day or two.  For anyone who wants or needs an encouraging word on any day I’m not posting, please search the archives of 730 posts (and counting!) by topic, to find something that might be helpful.  Or just pick a date at random, or read that particular date’s post from 2013 or 2014.  From time to time, I may re-blog a post I like from another blog, but these will not be according to any schedule; they’ll just be fun surprises (and I will try to be restrained enough not to overdo it; I’m sure my own time constraints will help keep it at bay).

SO, I hope you will join me tomorrow for the second anniversary celebration, which will be my first Monday post of my third blog year.  I hope you will pick a charity and leave a comment requesting a donation to be made by our anonymous donor, to your choice of the ones listed in the post linked above– just click on CELEBRATE (AGAIN) to read more about it– and let’s help defeat despair all over the world!  I’ll bring you a summary of the results on Thursday.

Thanks again for being part of the illumination that has come to my rescue!

One year ago today:

A fork in the road



  1. HarryS

    Lord fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff,
    and stop me when I’ve said enough! 🙂

    • Harry, I think it’s far too late for that! 😀 But maybe better late than never.

      • Ann

        I love Harry’s comment. I may use it as part of our Thanksgiving blessing!

        • Ann, I hope Harry reads your comment. I’m glad you liked it too. We get so many good comments here; I really enjoy hearing from people.

  2. Sheila

    Julia, your daily gift of “Defeat Despair” has been just that. We’ve gotten through so many days together that I’ve lost count. I treasure our friendship that has evolved. When I count my blessings I count you twice! I respect and admire your decision for your schedule change. My love and prayers continue for you and your family! 🙏 Sheila

    • Sheila, thank you so much. I feel the same about you. Your presence here has been a continual joy and I know we will stay in touch. Thanks so much for being here, for your friendship, prayers and understanding. Sending you many cyber hugs full of love! ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. bobmielke

    You’re one of 5 blogs I follow on a daily basis. I do relate to your busy schedule as I find it difficult to come up with new photos and stories on a daily basis. It’s my own fault actually because I’m seldom satisfied with just one post a day. I get so excited seeing some of my captures come to life I just half to share them all on the same day. Talk about putting demands on your time! My friends suggest I put just one post with a few pictures a day. I fear that’s not me. There’s a big old world out there in need of a little cheer, a little hope that tomorrow will be better. Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us.

    • Bob, thanks so much for following this blog. I am honored, because your blog was one of the first I discovered and your photos were (and are) a real inspiration for me. You can write lots of posts in one day and just schedule them to publish if you want (as I did sometimes) but I think it’s also OK to do as you see fit, because the great thing about blogs is, we can always go back to them. I often go back and read posts for the first time that are weeks or even months old at your blog, Boomdee’s, Alys, and so many others that I follow. It’s like a treasure chest that always has old and new surprises in store. I hope to be doing a lot of catch up in the weeks to come, as I am able. YES our world needs cheer and hope, and I am glad you are helping to give us all something to smile about! Thanks so much for being here.

  4. Rene

    I am going to go ahead & comment today—tomorrow is my second day of parent-teacher conferences and the vast majority of parents scheduled actually confirmed. I don’t expect to even remember that there is a blog I want to visit. That said, CONGRATULATIONS!!! on completing your second year of Defeating Despair! You are an inspiration & have earned your rest, I hope you will enjoy (re)discovering all that you enjoy & take comfort in. You have been blessing in my life and I hope you will one day be able to take advantage of my standing invitation to visit any of the places in my area that we have discussed (The Ramona Pageant for instance).

    As for the donation, I would like to select the USO. Two weeks ago, I performed as Phyllis Diller in a mock-USO show that was an Elks benefit for a local homeless Vets organization (I also got to be a go-go dancer behind “Nancy Sinatra”). I was hoping to be able to post a photo today, but it will have to wait. It was a great experience, despite the feeling that I was living at the lodge for awhile. Thank you, anonymous donor! Thank you, Julia! Happy Birthday, Defeat Despair!

    • Rene, thanks so much! I SO TOTALLY hope to take you up on your very kind standing invitation – especially for the Ramona Pageant. Since my Grandfather was an actor and some of his family lived in California, it’s quite possible that he knew about the production, which started during his days in the theater – fun to think about. I wish I could have seen you do Phyllis Diller! I LOVE her! I still quote from her sometimes. Also I was a big fan of Nancy Sinatra during her “Boots” days – I especially loved this duet with Lee Hazelwood. Wow, thanks for the stroll down memory lane! BTW the Elks have a fond place in my heart. While we lived in Texas, they sponsored a camp for kids with disabilities, and it was a great camp! One of the best Matt ever went to. And they charged NOTHING (most camps cost 500-600 for five days, back during that time). Matt absolutely loved it and has his Elks Camp t-shirts to this day. So I’m glad you are helping them out! 😀 Bravo! I am so happy you are here with us! Good luck with your conferences!

  5. Julia,
    It is difficult to maintain a daily schdule in writing. One needs to make time for attention to family, friends and self. Yet whether every day or twice a week your insight is worth the wait.

    I find, myself, that between my commitment to the Contagious Optimism blog and my own Crossroads blog that it would be all consuming to keep up even a weekly pace. So, rather, I wait for an inspiring thought to come from without, and from there I produce an essay. Which may amount to two or three essays a month between both blogs.

    However, one commitment that is a must each day, is my hour with God. For He is my purpose, reason and inspiration.

    • Alan, thanks so much for your understanding, and also for your reminder of our central priorities. While the discipline of a daily post has been good for me, there are just too many other things that have fallen behind and/or need more attention right now. Including reading the writing of other people! I hope to have at least a bit more time for visiting your blogs and so many others. As you say, the treasures I gain from reading other people’s thoughts are worth the wait, even when I am too busy to visit as often as I’d like. Thanks so much for your encouragement, and for being part of our community here!

  6. Brian

    Julia congratulations on your second year of daily posts! I found you through the Upper Room chapel at a time when I was in despair and searching for peace. The first step was returning to The Lord, in doing so He led me here and your posts have been a consistent source of comfort. I know your reasons for this blog are many, but I thank you for sharing with us, and bless you for making a difference in my life. Peace be with you and your family.

    • Brian, I so appreciate your words of encouragement. I am honored to know that you have been reading and finding something of value here. I hope that will continue. I think most of us really long to make a difference in this world, and it is always wonderful when someone tells us we have done so. Thanks so much for your faith and determination to turn from despair to peace. I pray that you will continue to be showered with blessings that light your way and fill your life with joy.

  7. Julia, I am so very proud of you for blogging twice a week. Good for you! I’m in a similar season of life with boundaries and priorities know that my boys are in full time school. It seems that since people in my various communities think I have more free time, I can give, give, give. Stepping back, praying and taking a broad look as been key to keeping my sanity. Even if I have to tell people ‘no’ during this season. And I have such peace, which is such blessing and comfort 🙂 Congratulations to all you’ve done here!

    • Jenelle, thanks so much. I have so enjoyed your presence here. Did I tell you I went back and found our original exchange at Steve Laube’s site? WOW, so long ago and yet such a short time too, at least it seems so. It was fun, definitely worth saving! I appreciate your words of understanding regarding the dilemma all of us face, and particularly those of us who feel such a drive to write. I will remember your example of “stepping back, praying and taking a broad look” as I need all the keys to sanity I can get! 😀 And that’s nothing new – it’s always been that way, even before the challenges that have come along in the past 30 years. I am so glad you have been part of this journey and I hope we will stay in touch.

  8. Bobby

    What a mile stone! You have been such an example of how to survive tough times. Continued prayers and positive thoughts for all of you. Joyfully and lovingly yours.

    • Thank you Bobby, you and Randall have been shining examples to us and we so appreciate your friendship, prayers and support! Love to you both.

  9. LB

    Good for you!! We talked about this during out last Skype session and I think you made a great decision!

    • Thank you LB! Your words of wisdom during our conversation have been quite helpful to me. I know we will stay in touch and I am so looking forward to April!

  10. Julia, Happy Birthday Wishes and congratulations on your second anniversary blog, Defeat Despair . 🙂
    I read your devotional in the UR and your blog, Defeat Despair. It has indeed been an inspiration to me. Thank you for your joy and encouragement.
    I plan to be with you November 10, but it looks to be a busy day. Physical therapy for me and Gerald.
    I’m recovering from a broken hip, my husband Gerald is down with his back. But we plan to be back up and going soon! ~:/
    Blessings to you and Jeff (who looks like David, my SIL) 🙂

    • Merry, thanks for making the time to be with us despite your busy day – I appreciate your presence and encouragement. I’m happy you have such a good-looking SIL! 😀

  11. Julia, this sounds like a wonderful schedule going forward. It’s good to reevaluate and make changes as needed. I applaud you.

    Sending hugs your way for all you’ve been through. xoxox

    • ❤ Thank you, Alys. I appreciate your continual encouragement and support. Love those cyber hugs too! 😀

  12. Michael

    Thanks for your faithful Blog I think this is the first Blog I have actually followed- not counting the UR on line family. Lets touch base o n our next visit to Atlanta- perhaps we can have coffee at Macs.

    • Michael, that sounds great. I hope as Jeff nears retirement we will be able to spend more time in Atlanta. I appreciate your following my blog! I have enjoyed your comments and learned quite a lot from chasing all these rabbits here (or as Raynard would say, I DIGRESS!) 😀

  13. Raynard

    Juila your last line” come to my rescue, sounded like a old skit the late Andy Koftman did on Sat. Night LIve. He was lip sinking the theme song to the old Mighty mouse cartoon as it played a” a record player and drinking a glass of water. lol be blessed

  14. Michael

    I have an obsession with that digression. Andy Kaufmann is a personal favorite.

    • Raynard reminds me of so many oldies but goodies! I can’t claim that Andy Kaufmann is a favorite of mine, but after watching those videos on YouTube, I might re-think it. He was truly inspired to come up with such characters, and his delivery was flawless. It makes me sad that he died so young, as did Gilda Radner. I hate cancer.

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