Sanctified bull doggedness

This stag was a bit more determined than his peers. Chital Stag in Nagarhole National Park, by Yathin S.  Krishnappa [CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chital stag in Nagarhole National Park, by Yathin S. Krishnappa
  [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

“Your success does not depend upon the brilliance and the impetuosity with which you take hold, but upon the ever lasting and sanctified bull doggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold.”Dr. A. B. Meldrum

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, tenacity is a virtue that sometimes becomes a disadvantage.  There’s such a thing as being too stubborn and too persistent when facing obstacles, whether tangible, conversational or imaginary.  People with autism are often described as engaging in perseveration, but I’ve known more than a few so-called normal people (myself among them) who just can’t seem to find the “off” switch and don’t know when to move on.

Still, if given the choice between too much tenacity and too little, I’d go for too much every time.  History is full of stories that demonstrate how important it is not to give up easily.  Since Jeff shares this trait of tenacity with me, I have seen first hand how it can literally be a lifesaving tendency.  His refusal to give up in the face of agonizing pain and long odds has been an inspiration to me.

It’s a fine line to walk, knowing when to give up and when to keep trying.  On which side do you tend to err?  Are there areas of your life that you need to let go of?  Are there others that might be resolved with sustained effort and patience?

74 Comments

  1. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. The photo above really captures determination, too. I noticed the deer in the distance observing. I wonder if he tried to achieve the same? I personally am inspired and encouraged by others as they strive to overcome various obstacles. Thank you, my friend! 😍 I wish I could be a little more adventurous and less afraid of even slightly risky endeavors. While in Houston, Bill’s brother had made reservations for the six of us to go on a six mile Segway tour of the downtown parks,etc. I was very anxious, although I did actually try to maneuver the little two wheel “thing”. Tom’s wife suggested the two of us could do something else for two hours. Thank you, Kitty! 😊 Whew….but would I have enjoyed it? I’ll never know. 😟

    • Sheila, I too noticed that deer, and in my mind, it was thinking, “What in the blue blazes is he DOING?” or maybe “Hey, I didn’t notice anything in that tree when I was over there…” I’m adventurous in some ways, but not so in others. I’d rather take a Segway tour (or even a parachute jump) than eat snails, though I won’t likely be jumping out of a plane anytime soon. My personal phobia has to do with fast cars. I am terrified of auto accidents, perhaps because I nearly lost my family in one when I was young. You and I can just sit and sip on our Verandah and watch the world zoom by. 😀

      • Sheila

        Zoom is right! Does it seem like everyone is hurrying and rushing and zooming from one thing or place to another? This busyness is everywhere….. in traffic, the grocery store, restaurants, etc., and where are they all rushing to? I’ll pull up that chair by you, anytime! ☺️ Have a very good weekend, my friend!

        • Sheila, maybe the motto of Club Verandah should be “What’s your rush?” Yesterday I drew a line between two points on a piece of paper and asked Jeff to imagine it as a symbol of each life, however long or short it turns out to be. Then I drew a very fast line across between points, and another slow, winding, meandering line between points. I asked him whether he wants to rush toward the end point or meander. He laughed although he argued with my assertion that this is one example of the relativity of time. I told him I was thinking of buying him a T-shirt that says “MEANDER NOW!!” Hee-hee. The kettle’s always on at Club Verandah – let’s have a relaxing, productive week!

    • Speaking of segways, the subject of deer behavior was abandoned too quickly! Granted that the stag in the photo is not a species iindigenous to North America; if they are like our deer he (or she – yes females of that species can have antlers) is not “hanging on” but simply biting the green foliage. Another similar activity is known as “the licking branch” system – that is the deer form of social media. Each animal leaves an individualized sample of pheromes on an overhanging branch.

      • You mean that word isn’t pronounced “Say-gyoo?” 😀 I figured the deer was not hanging on (no light branch could hold the weight of a stag such as that one) but I did think he (or she) showed remarkable determination and pluck (no pun intended). The photographer referred to it as a stag, but I do think that’s a female in the background wondering what he is up to — again, no pun intended! Licking branches must be to deer what fire hydrants are to dogs. I once read that the fire hydrant is the canine newspaper. “Pasha was here.” 🙂 ❤

  2. Julia, hello this beautiful morning. I am definitely a bulldog!!! Like you said it can be a blessing as well as a curse. I drive Ron crazy at times, but he has always said my dogged attitude is one of the reason for his attraction to me. He feels he can always depend on me to not give up on him. I think that is a good thing. I keep you ,Jeff and Matt in my prayers. Have a beautiful day!!! I miss your pictures each day, but understand the reason to slow down and “be” with Jeff and Matt. I love you. Cherie.

    My nickname in grade school was Bulldog!!!!!!!! Ha ha

    • Cherie, I love that – “Bulldog” – a great nickname to have, I think. I am more of a yammering crow or nervous feisty terrier, yapping away until whatever is bothering me is addressed. But I totally agree with you that certain people are drawn to our tenacity even as they may find it irritating. Many a battle has been won, and endless wrongs have been made closer to right, by people who would not give up. Thanks so much for your prayers and kind thoughts! I too miss being here daily, but the extra time I have been taking with Jeff, Matt and our home has been needed and enriching as well. I keep you ever in my heart and prayers.

  3. Unfortunately, when I feel discouraged or feel as if I am not getting anywhere with my art and writing, I feel strongly tempted to give up on LIFE! I have never attempted suicide, and I don’t think I ever will, but I HATE it when I get that down! So I definitely err on the side of giving up, but eventually, I get back up and keep trying. 🙂

    • I think we are kindred spirits in that respect. Many years ago, I came close enough to suicide that it scared me permanently into NOT letting myself ever get into that situation again. Sometimes it takes a drastic wake-up call to force us to attend to our own needs, especially the emotional ones. I think creative people are acutely subject to such melancholy. So many of the people I know who work successfully at other careers are, in addition, writers, poets, artists, musicians and other creative types, and often life has “blocked” these impulses to the point that we are left in frustration and despair. One reason I am so excited that affordable publication and dissemination of art, music, writing, crafts etc. are increasingly available to ALL, is knowing the satisfaction that comes with creativity and expression. The vast majority of us are not in it for the money, but for sanity and delight. Thanks so much for being here and for sharing with us the determination to keep on keeping on!

      • Those are some great insights you have there. The holidays are especially hard for me since both of my parents died and I am not in touch with my brothers. I have read about many of the greatest writers and artists who were melancholy and even suicidal at times. I just wish I understood why it is so much more so in creative people! That darn right brain!

        I am also thankful for all of the many ways we can get our stuff out to others! I am working on a few writing projects, mostly in the thinking stages right now, but also doing research and have started writing, but I’m trying to learn how to do it slowly and enjoy myself! It is much harder than art to me.

        I love your blog! I will be back to visit. 🙂

        • Have you read The Midnight Disease by Alice Flaherty? I found it very helpful. I also find Julia Cameron’s works therapeutic when I feel frustrated and afraid to “waste” time on creative pursuits. I think creativity is linked to mood disorders partly because it is so intangible in many ways; quite abstract in a world that often rewards and expects the concrete result. Also, methodical physical labor has a way of stabilizing us and “anchoring” us, even though it can also be boring and mind-numbing. I notice that when I combine listening to a good unabridged audiobook with a manual chore such as weeding or cleaning house, I can achieve a very optimal mood; having fun while accomplishing something that shows obvious progress. With creative pursuits, as with many other endeavors (such as teaching a child with disabilities) it sometimes takes a long time for results to show up in any appreciable form.

          I’m so happy you like the blog! I’m always glad to hear from you.

          • I have not heard of that book, but I couldn’t believe it when I read the name of the author! I went to high school with a girl with that name, although, I’m pretty sure it isn’t the same Alica Flaherty. I think I would have heard if she had a book out, plus, I don’t think she is a writer. Anyway, that’s funny.

            I know for sure that exercise makes a huge difference in my moods. I miss the walking every day that I used to be able to do! I can still ride a stationary bike, but I am having a hard time finding a replacement for mine, because they are making them bigger now, and I only have a small space to put one.

            I am always happy to hear from you as well. 🙂

            • That is odd, since it seems to be a fairly unusual name. I too can tell a BIG difference in my moods when I exercise. Perhaps creative types stay indoors ruminating more than others? In any case, I’ve been unable to walk much lately and I REALLY miss it. I think my sleep is much better when I get exercise, and perhaps that alone makes a difference in everything else. Hope you’re having a nice holiday season. It’s a great time of year to be creative – so many dazzling visual treats!

              • I definitely can tell a difference! The lack of exercise effects me in so many ways! I plan to figure out where I can put a bigger stationary bike if I can’t find one the same size as the one I have. I probably will look around next week. I hate to pull money out of the savings for one, but I may have to.

                Our holiday season has been hard this year as we’ve been watching our dog’s health deteriorate and may have to put her to rest after Christmas. It’s going to hurt a whole lot since she is the only family dog we’ve ever had and the kids are almost 16 and 18. Brownie was going to be 14 in April, but I don’t think she’s going to make it until then. So this is hard.

                I miss walking so much! Sometimes I think I am just going to start doing it again anyway and find the healthiest options for controlling the arthritis pain as I can. I don’t want to take a drug for pain. I am already on a couple of medications for depression and anxiety. Sometimes I wonder if I should try a different alternative for those! Hope your holiday season is nice! 🙂

                • I am so sorry to hear about Brownie. That’s a terribly hard thing to face. With Pasha (whom I had hoped would reach 17, but didn’t make it) I had prayed not to have to make that decision, and about the time I told Jeff “it’s time, we have to take him to the vet NOW” he passed away on his own, almost as if he had heard me. I am praying for you, Brownie and your family, that her final days may be free of pain and that you will be comforted whenever the final “goodbye” arrives. Sheila, Boomdee, Alys, Eric, Kathy Gloria and many other blog readers here can sympathize with you because we’ve all been there since I started writing this blog. Our grief for our four-legged friends is outweighed by our gratitude for having them in our lives.

                  Re: arthritis, it’s a real challenge. I too wanted to avoid prescription drugs, though the doctor gave me some Mobic that I ended up never taking. I was taking a lot of Motrin, which helps greatly but hurts my stomach if I take it too often. I had some problems with internal bleeding that meant I had to cut back on it. My sister told me about Curamin having helped her with it, and I started taking it, along with the Glucosamine/Condroitin/MSM supplements Jeff had recommended. It took a few weeks, but eventually my pain all but disappeared, kept at bay with only 200 mg of Motrin per day. I did switch to the extra-strength version of Curamin but I started on the regular strength to see how it would affect me. Your mileage may vary, and I’m not sure what did the trick for me, but I hope you are able to get some relief soon. I do wonder whether cutting back from 5 miles per day walking to 2 miles per day might have been helpful too. In my case, 5 miles per day may have been too much of a good thing. I cut back at first because I was having problems with plantar fasciitis, but now that my arthritis has improved so much, I wonder if the excessive walking was part of the problem. Good luck!

                  • I can verify that 5 miles was probably too much walking. I was only walking a little over 2 miles a day and all this developed. There’s nothing but pavement here. So I switched to a stationary bike which has been great. But now I need to replace it because someone tried to “fix” it but made it only have two speeds, one too easy, and one a little too hard. I’ve still been using it, but it isn’t the same.

                    Actually, I stopped by the vet yesterday and the doctor who prescribed the medicines and food for Brownie told me to adjust some things. I think she is fine. She was just getting so backed up and not “going” for almost a day and a half, that she became listless and inactive, not eating at all. I guess we assumed if this kept happening, maybe it’s “time.” But apparently not, thank God! 🙂 Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I appreciate them so much!

                    • I am so happy that Brownie is doing better! When our pets get older, they often give us several “scares” before we have that final goodbye. I will pray for you some more and hope that Brownie is able to live many more years with you. As with people, we just never know how long we have, so enjoy every day!

                      Re: the exercise – my Mom got a contraption similar to this one and though she doesn’t use it much (as far as I know) I found it intriguing to say the least. I wonder whether I would use one if I had it? It looks interesting and would seem to be less stressful on the joints than pounding the pavement.

                    • Thank you for your prayers for Brownie. She has been doing fine, and I pray we have a few more good years left, too. She will be 14 in March. 🙂

                      I have one of those exercising contraptions in my garage. It didn’t work for me. I can get it to stand still and there is no resistance. It might not be exactly the same, but that is what mine looks like.

                    • I am so happy Brownie is doing better!!! Thanks for keeping me posted. I wondered whether that pedal machine would work. Mom doesn’t use hers but she has a lot of that type of thing that she doesn’t use; maybe she had the same problem with hers. I need to try hers out sometime to see if I can use it. I doubt I would do it, though. I just can’t enjoy exercise that feels like contrived exercise; I have to be doing something else like walking, raking leaves, lifting and carrying stuff, etc. — anything to distract me from the fact that I’m exercising!

                    • I understand! Just thinking about exercising can make me want to do something else! 🙂 But I always feel better if I bite the bullet and do it anyway.

                    • Isn’t it great how it works that way? So many things get easier if we just GET STARTED. The feeling of satisfaction after we exercise or clean the house or do some other “dreaded” chore is an extra reward for making an effort.

                    • Yes, this is so true! 🙂

                    • 🙂

  4. Jack

    As my dad said (far too much for my 23 year old persona at the time), “success is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration”. Truer words never spoken, but embracing took a few years.

    • Jack, I so identify! In fact, I am still in the process of embracing that truth. I do OK with the hard work, but I complain about it far too much. I need to recognize what Jeff and my mother have apparently always known: the ability to work is a tremendous blessing and privilege.

  5. “Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”-John Greenleaf Whittier
    -Alan

    • Alan, how true that is. Years ago I heard someone say that our greatest regrets in life will be mostly about the good we didn’t do, rather than about whatever bad we did do. A sort of guiding principle for me has been the need to know I’ve done all that I could to address a troubling or sad situation. This enables me to let go and move on.

  6. MaryAnn

    Julia, this went from tenacity to “risk-taking? You know I was a drag racers back in the day, won many races & received a trophy. I had a jetski until 2010. It was also very fast on the water. I fall in the “caution to the wind” category AND I am tenacious in protecting my friends, family & my faith! What a jumble, but those who know me, expect a different approach on life. When we ride the motorcycle, one of our greatest pleasures is watching deer.
    Thank you sharing your journey w/ us, teaching coping skills, encouraging us & adding joy to our lives through your words!

    • Mary Ann, you are full of surprises! No, I never knew you were a drag racer, but it makes sense. It does fit perfectly with your no-hold-barred zest for life and devotion to God. All who come to know you are surely blessed by your example. Thanks for being here!

  7. raynard

    Julia as I sing that cold song Sweet Polly Purebred sang to Underdog, Change a few words,Oh where Oh Where has Julia gone Oh where Oh where can she be.. I digress Thank God I didn’t have a milk carton up to my mouth standing in a post office line looking for your pictures I digress.Do the little train that could fit somewhere in your blog? I don’t do anything extreme sports wise or dabble with rollercoasters.did u get your email fixed? If you have anything google try their gmail be blessed

    • Hi Raynard, I was just thinking the same thing about you! 😀 Seriously I was wondering how you were doing and whether things are going OK with your new circumstances. Did your wife’s aunt get moved in OK? My email is practically hopeless. Jeff keeps telling me to delete it all but I’m afraid of missing something important so I’m determined to wade through it eventually. I do have a gmail account but so far I don’t use it much, although I expect that to change soon. NEWS FLASH — I finally got a smart phone but I am still learning to use it in my “free” time. (AS IF!) The little engine that could is perfect for me. I too am a very anti-extreme sports type of person. The way I see it, life is hard enough without making it harder; the metaphorical rock walls and mountains I have to climb every day are plenty for me. Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for checking in. I’m alive and (mostly) well now!

      • iPhone or Android?

        • Android. I’m allergic to Apple products.

          • Guffaw! “Jobs” – what a dumb surname.

            • Dickens himself could not have come up with a better name for a character responsible for providing employment for so many. That’s one thing to be said for these Silicon Valley tycoons.

  8. I would definitely agree it is best to err on the side of tenacity than laxity. I fear I tend toward sluggishness when the going gets tough. It is my hope and prayer that in this winter season I might re-group spiritually, address what is lacking in my life and “hold on for dear life.”

    • Tony, I find that sluggish inertia is more and more of a problem as I get older (maybe we should call it “exhaustion?”) so I understand what you mean. Winter is a great time to re-charge the batteries, so to speak, since nature forces us to slow down, and a reasonable amount inactivity is appropriate for that season. One thing that has helped me is to become very aware of which activities tend to have an energizing effect on me, and prioritize working some of those into each day. Easier said than done, though. Thanks for checking in — I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  9. HarryS

    So much I would love to say but I fear being a proselytizer.

    “God help me to help you to help me” – Andrew S.

    • Not to worry, Harry…I wasn’t referring to you at all, nor to anyone else here on this blog. Rather, I was referring to the pressure, intimidation and even violence that have taken place over the centuries when zealous adherents to various faiths try to force their beliefs and practices on others. It is very important that we use the blessed freedom we have in this country to speak out about our faith, and as long as we do so in love, it is welcome here and I encourage it. It’s sad to realize that a few fanatics who have used intimidation and violence in the name of God (or Yahweh or Allah) have given faith a bad reputation among unbelievers. I hope those of us who survive and thrive in the love of God, and the fellowship of brothers and sisters in faith, will always feel free to speak out about our faith. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify here.

  10. Good morning, Julia! I like your title for this post. My first thought is “so that’s where giraffes come from!”
    I’m embarrassed to admit – I’m more of a quitter, I think. This mostly applies to relationships in the sense that if someone is negative toward me, I don’t often fight to change their attitude.
    I first read this post yesterday morning, and then at work I noticed a man that I’ve always perceived to be friendly with the other men but not the women. I dismissed him as a sexist jerk that resents seeing women in engineering. See? How dreadful of me! Thanks for helping me see the light. I’m going to greet him when I see him today.
    🙂

    • Susan, I thought it was a giraffe at first too! Those spots sort of threw me off. I think sometimes it’s good not to try to change people’s attitudes towards us, as that’s normally not a good indicator of whether we are on the right track anyway. AND as you point out, often what we perceive as a negative attitude is not about us or indeed about anyone else, but due to something we don’t know about that is going on in that person’s life. Good for you for greeting your co-worker. Many of the engineers I have known are ill at ease socially, or just naturally quiet types. I’m guessing many a “sexist jerk” (and there are lots of them, I admit, among women as well as men) is actually uncomfortable in what used to be called “mixed company.” I hope that you are able to establish a more cordial working relationship with him. He may actually feel timid around successful women and you could be helping him to correct that. But even if not, greeting him will give your day a cheerier tone no matter how he reacts.

      • Update: I said “good morning,” and he responded in kind.
        So far, so good!

        • Susan, good work! There may be some untouched cells in his brain beginning to activate even now. You know, the ones that say “hey, look, there’s another human being” even when it’s a woman.

      • Rene

        You will be amazed at the change you will bring by smiling at your coworker. I think I’ve written before about a woman I thought was unfriendly. My husband suggested that I should be friendly to her (duh!); I started making a point of saying hello when I’d see her at Elks’ functions, before I knew it, she was actually smiling when she saw me, smiling progressed to conversation, and I realized she was just a wife who was feeling a little uncomfortable in her husband’s world, like me.

        • Rene, thanks so much for sharing that. Most of us probably will be in such circumstances sometimes, and being willing to make the overture can make all the difference to us AND others. It sounds corny, but almost everybody I meet is likable in some way if given a chance. (I hope people will always be willing to give me a chance, because I’m frequently, shall we say, not easy to like.) If we can’t be with the people we like most, life will be easier and more fun if we can manage to like SOMETHING about the people we are with.

  11. In 2003, at the Amen Clinic, near the John Wayne Airport,in Orange County, CA, I asked a psychiatrist if she had any airline pilots as patients. She did not answer “yes” or “no”; but instead gave me a knowing smile as she stated laconically, “they tend to have cingulate gyrus problems.”
    I have since done considerable research into the area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate gyrus. You may appreciate such a study?

    • Oh dear, would I ever! But I’d get stuck on it and never get around to anything else, hee-hee. I always thought I had cingulate gyrus problems, but compared to Jeff, I’m laid back and even feckless. Speaking of which, I need to get off my big lazy Kardashian and get some “real” work done!! 😀

  12. LB

    I’m pretty sure that others would call me tenacious, but I see it as hardworking, getting the job done. That photo is absolutely perfect for leave no challenge unmet! Love it!
    Hope you’re finding time for quiet and peace in this busy time of year, Julia

    • Thanks, LB! I think your wonderful spirit while recovering from your accident has been a great example of tenacity as well as courage and strength, all related to each other. I feel busier than ever, though also happy and not stressed most of the time (except when maintenance people are working around the house, hee-hee). I’m looking forward to the holidays, and then a nice peaceful winter making plans for spring. ( 😀 !!! )

  13. Tenacity. Definitely tenacity.
    But, I’ve gotten better over the years at letting go, too. It’s the wisdom to know the difference.

    • That’s a wisdom I am actively seeking at this stage of life, but as the inspired writer said, “Seek, and you shall find.” I still fear making the wrong choice, and err on the side of “holding on,” but I’m getting much better at it now that I’m nearing 60. (Yes, 58 is nearing 60 in my book!)

  14. Michael

    Tenacity is a great attribute. But I do recall the motto of Kenny Rogers who said,” know when to fold them -know when to hold them.
    I was in a business venture where at one point it was said, ” we need to stop beating the dead horse.”
    The comment on physical exercise reminds me of something I am reading about the Japanese practice of “Kategori” (sp) where a simple physical exercise like throwing a pitch is practiced for a ridiculous number of time. In some case over 600 times. This somehow brings on a condition of mental euphoria where you push past the physical pain onto a higher plane. Think the lesson of Mr. Makori in Karate Kid- “Wax on- wax off.”

    • I am one who definitely needs to learn how to fold ’em when the time comes. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) life has a way of forcing that lesson on us if we don’t learn it naturally. Thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies. The theological implications of Daniel’s training run deep. “Not everything is as seems.” All I can reply is “speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:9)

  15. Michael

    When I first glanced at your picture I thought it was deer kill that was being hung up pre-butchering. I have a picture of my father in law doing the same thing with a deer he got in Eastern Washington.

    • It’s much more appealing to see the deer stretching itself out by choice, isn’t it?

  16. That is a stunning photo and is so well suited to your post on this day J. Nature has a way of showing us so many brilliant things, I love it.

    Surely Jeff’s challenges with Cancer and all that comes with treatment requires your constant bull doggedness to get to where you are today. Saddly, shear will power doesn’t seem to always persevere. I’m so happy and relieved for all of you.

    I wish I had better willpower where some things are concerned. Maybe my brain hasn’t deemed them to have enough consequence. Should I ever have to face what your sweet Jeff has, I’m not sure I’d be able to hang in there. I just don’t know. I so admire you for staying here, with us, through it all.

    I know when I was left with a house, mortgage and property that required constant learning and maintenance, I ‘doggedly’ attacked every project with the intent of making my ex ‘eat his words’. When we were divorcing he didn’t think I should stay there. He wanted to sell. I think you’d call this, ‘I’ll so you!!’ more than anything else. Was I being vindictive? Ha, I don’t know. But it got me through it all and I did show him! For another 20 years!!! I’m nothing if not a brat…but only in the best possible way. xoxoxo k

    • I don’t think you were being vindictive, I think you were proving to yourself and to him that his mistreatment of you would not destroy you or your life. Hooray to you for taking a sad song and making it better. Given your having come through that, I imagine you would be able to face what Jeff and I are facing now. People really never know what they are capable of until the time comes. It’s like that poem by Marge Piercy that I love so much, and I sent it to some of you awhile back: “Strength is not in her, but she enacts it as the wind fills a sail.” Like the love and kindness that comes into our life and flows on, strength works the same way, it comes to us when needed and as long as we pass it along, it keeps flowing. Thanks for being with us through all of this. Your gifts have made the past two years so much brighter. ❤ ❤ ❤ And I'm not talking just about those amazing things that come from the Boom-Room when I say "your gifts!"

      • (( Julia )) I’m counting my blessings to have made a friend in you too. You make me laugh, then think about important things and then laugh again. We are both richer in spirit then. I also remember the words of Marge Piercy along the way and thanks for sharing again. I like that a lot.

        There doesn’t seem to be enough days on the calendar to do everything we ever dreamed of or even plan. So if we find something we’re good at, we should do it often. That includes being a loyal and supportive friend. That you are J. xoxoxo

        • Thank you so much K!! ❤ ❤ ❤

  17. Michael

    Yes more appealing. My in laws used to eat a fair amount of venison, which I never really liked that well, although I hear deer jerkey is a might tasty.
    I heard a North West figure of speech today which we say from time to time-” the mountain is out today.” That is Mt. Rainier-the mountain in question.

    • Hey, I love that! “The mountain is out today.” I guess that means it’s showing up unusually well?

  18. Michael

    Actually it means you can see it to a degree , or somewhat or at all as it is usually hidden for like 6 months here in the Northwest drizzle. People who move here in the winter often don’t see the Mountain till spring are are truly amazed at first sight.
    We Skyped today with Michael in Atlanta and they are doing the Elf on the shelf tradltion?
    This is southern -had not heard of this. The figure I saw looked a little like Pinocchio and it was hanging off the ceiling.

    • Michael, I have heard of the Elf on the Shelf, but don’t know what it is — I will have to look it up and read about it! I just love all these traditions. I enjoyed having some young friends explain to me a few years back what it means to be “booed” on Halloween. Now when I see the little “We’ve been BOOED!” signs all over our Alexandria neighborhood I know what it means! I think it’s great that people start and continue such traditions; there are always those I haven’t heard of. People can be so creative with the holidays.

      I didn’t realize that gorgeous mountain isn’t visible all year, but on reflection, it makes sense in a climate that is so famous for rainy days. It really is an amazing sight, one I hope we are able to see again someday.

  19. Michael

    Booed on Halloween?
    The Elf moves around the house and watches the children in the days before Xmas to make sure they are not being too wild and crazy.
    I last saw the mountain a week ago in one beautiful day with an absolutely cloudless sky. Another term that apparently came out of the Northwest vernacular is, cabin fever, which is a common occurrence in the Northwest winters.
    I have been corresponding with some folks who moved to Atlanta from Seattle and guess what-they love the weather there.

    • Michael, I think there is some sort of treat basket that gets passed around from house to house. You leave it on someone’s doorstep and ring the doorbell and run (or say boo or whatever) and then you keep the goodies and refill the basket with new ones and go boo someone else. You leave a sign that says “We’ve been BOOED!” on the door so nobody gets the treats twice. It’s really cute to watch the signs multiply before Halloween, and the kids have a blast with it.

      When I was a kid we too had “little elves” that watched us at Christmas time. Eric used to claim that he saw them whenever he was babysitting us and wanted us to behave. I always wished that I would see one. Sometimes I imagined that I saw traces of them. I was always into elves and fairies and such when I was little. Peter Pan was my hero.

      Cabin fever is a term we use too. In fact, probably it’s used a lot in the milder climates, where we are accustomed to long springs and falls with lots of glorious outdoor weather, and aren’t used to being stuck inside. Atlanta has great weather, I think. I’m not surprised your friends love it there. It’s so nice because it has everything any big city could offer, yet the vibe is friendly and very diverse, yet still somehow distinctly southern. Virginia is lovely but the DC area feels far less friendly than Atlanta. The Hampton Roads area (southeastern shore, where our York home is located) has more of that friendly southern atmosphere, or maybe it’s just a small-town type feeling since everything is so spread out and there is no real “downtown” to Newport News or Hampton or Yorktown or really even Williamsburg.

  20. Michael

    Well- I won’t be seeing the mountain today and they say it won’t be out for at least a week. It looks llke another drizzly XMas. I do remember a couple of white Christmas’s albeit rare one at my grandmother’s house on Christmas eve in Portland. That one was a classic.

    • Maybe you will be blessed with some rays of sunshine here and there. With a backdrop such as that mountain, it’s a shame it is hidden so much of the time, but I suppose that makes the views of it even more beautiful. We wish you a SUNNY Christmas and a cloud-free New Year!

  21. Michael

    Wasn’t it general Pickett who was at times chided for his aggression-i.e.” Picket’s charge”. He would charge at times to the disadvantage of those under him? Please enlighten.

    • Michael, I know practically nothing about Pickett’s Charge or the civil war in general, so Eric would be a better person to enlighten you there — but I think the better example of the tenacity I describe would be the great general “Stonewall” Jackson, who, like Robert E. Lee, is held in high honor to this day in the state of Virginia.

  22. Michael

    This morning I watched Dr.Stanley’s XMas service on “In Touch .” He had a choir on from Lee University. Very good and are they a religious institution?
    At this moment my wife is still at work and I am listening to the Christmas Music 24×7 station, which she hates. I think with family on the other coast and few family here we just want to get it over with. Isn’t that just terrible?
    Next year in Atlanta. God willing.

    • Michael, I am not familiar at all with Lee University – don’t know anything about it. Drew said there is one by that name somewhere in Tennessee but that might not be the one you saw. I have to admit, the 24/7 Christmas music that comes on our Verizon Fios is not exactly my taste either; maybe that’s why your wife hates it. I can only hear “Santa Baby” so many times without getting sick of it, but I never tire of the high church stuff, so I much prefer the public radio music selection. No, I don’t think it’s terrible to just want the season to be over. Many people feel that way, especially those who are missing loved ones who have died or moved far away. I do hope you can have a nice festive Christmas in Atlanta next year. Maybe you can even ride the Pink Pig for me!

  23. Lee University is a private, Christ-centered university in Cleveland, Tennessee. We are 2 hours from downtown Atlanta and the group singing for Dr. Stanley’s Christmas service was the Lee University Singers.

    • Thank you, Phil! I appreciate you stopping by here and letting us know about Lee University. Tennessee has a good many colleges, and though I went to a Christian college in Nashville (Lipscomb) I obviously haven’t heard of all of them. I never realized Cleveland, TN was so close to Atlanta.

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