Join in our chime

May 2015 bring you clearing skies and warming weather. Photo by Daniel Schwen via Magdeleine

May 2015 bring you clearing skies and warming weather.
Photo by Daniel Schwen via Magdeleine

And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury –
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.

                                                                             —   Thomas Hood

If anyone who reads this readily identifies with the poet’s words, my heart is with you.  Adversity’s blast has hit our family hard each year since 2012, and sometimes we wonder whether harsh news will ever stop coming.

Still, we continue to rejoice in all that is good, right, holy and beautiful, and we are ever hopeful that the year to come will bring lighter hearts and soothing respite from sorrow.

Though 2014 brought seemingly more than its share of trials, we are able to look back and see moments that sparkle and joys that glow even in the dark.  We hope you are able to do the same.  May 2015 bring showers of blessings to you and your loved ones!

Here’s a New Year’s card for you; read the details at the end to learn about the “first footing” custom.


  1. bobmielke

    There’s an old saying, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, yet few are willing to die to get there”! I tend to live by the meaning of that saying. When my time comes I will rejoice in its coming.Yet that time is the decision of my Lord & Savior as His timing is always perfect.

    • Bob, that’s an outlook to which we can all aspire. In fact, I have a post coming up about that soon; the idea that death, though often accompanied by pain and sorrow, is not to be feared or dreaded as much as we often think it is. Time will tell whether I can hang on to that conviction when it is actually put to the test in reality, but I have had the blessing of knowing enough people who have, that I know it is possible.

      • bobmielke

        There’s so much wisdom blended into that saying. Are they speaking of a spiritual death to sin or a physical death to our bodies? Are we dying to our sin nature or to our will in preference to God’s walk for us. It’s one of the more profound sayings I’ve come across and a great topic for a discussion or bible study.

        • I had never really thought about that saying in a metaphysical sense, but it really does have a lot of layers to it, doesn’t it? It calls to mind the sobering and paradoxical promise of Jesus in Matthew 16:24-25.

  2. Good morning, Julia. Happy New Year!!! You have been one of the joys I found last year and pray you and Jeff, Matt have a wonderful healthy year in 2015!!!!! The card was nice. Have a beautiful New Year’s Day!

    • Cherie, thank you so much! I feel the same about you. Let’s keep each other wrapped in prayers and kind thoughts for 2015. Thanks for being here!

  3. I haven’t yet checked out “first footing”, but I wanted to applaud the tenor of your resolve.

    • Thank you, Eric! I may not always live up to it, but it’s always the star in the sky that I choose “to stay my mind on,” as Robert Frost wrote in one of my personal favorite poems of his.

  4. Carolyn

    Happy New Year ! Praying that 2015 will be a great year for us all. Hugs and love to you all.

    • Thank you, Carolyn! We will keep those prayers going up, like the persistent widow. Love and best wishes to you and Terry for a wonderful year in 2015!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, isn’t it wonderful that we can go into 2015 with renewed hope and optimism that with this beginning comes better circumstances. 🙏 We had the traditional meal of pork, collards, and black eyed peas. I hope ya’ll are having a good day! Thank you for the New Year’s card, so cute. ☺️

    • Sheila, we had our version of the traditional meal: black eyed peas, skillet cornbread and spinach, since I don’t like most other types of greens. That is one of my favorite meals, and I’m going to finish up the leftovers later today. Skillet cornbread can’t be beat, especially when it’s made with cheese! Looking forward to many happy hours at Club Verandah in 2015!

  6. Julia, you inspire us all, and certainly me, with the way you keep putting one foot in front of the other. Gentle hugs dear one.

    • Alys, thank you so much. It’s nice to have people with me on the pathway. Helps me keep going.

      • Human connection is what it’s all about. xox

        • Yes! It seems we humans keep having to discover that over and over again in various ways over the centuries, with all the distractions present everywhere and “everywhen.” We’re lucky that most of us have primarily good or neutral distractions rather than daily survival issues, but the need for each other remains no matter how many (or how few) material blessings we have.

  7. Ann

    You’ve been an inspiration to me and others. Heartfelt prayers that the upcoming year will find ‘your cup overflowing with blessings’.


    • Ann, thank you so much. I have so appreciated your companionship on this journey. I pray 2015 will be full of blessings for you and your loved ones.

  8. And to you and your family, Julia. May 2015 be a blessed year for you.
    Happy New Year.

    • Thank you Merry! I hope this finds you doing well, and heading for a year of health and happiness. Happy New Year! And thanks so much for being here.

  9. Amen, Julia. And blessings for a wonderful 2015 for you and your family.

    • Thank you, Alan!

  10. Amy

    Happy new year. Hope we can get together soon. love you

    • Happy New Year! We are hoping for a couple of weeks of what passes for normal around here, so maybe we can get together sometime before too long. Just let me know your schedule. Love to you too!

  11. HarryS

    This morning I am thankful for a High Heart.
    This morning I pray for a High Heart.

    High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant clarion call of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break up the camp of ease, and start on some fresh march of faithful service. – James Martineau

    She got out of bed and padded over to her window. Outside, the crickets sang to one another, a frog burped down at the pond, the night sounds of the country were so gentle. She heard a whinny from the back meadow, the meadow where the rainbows fell. Without moonlight the night shrouded her, more mysterious than before, each pinprick of light a blaze of questions; each constellation a gathering of unknown forces. She was 46 years old and what did that mean? Time was teardrop in an inky sky. What was time to a star or the passing of a comet in it’s eternal rounds of the sun and her planets? Without a heartbeat that is no time.
    Instinctively she placed her hand over her heart. “Thank you, God, for my hardships and my blessings.” — High Hearts

    • Harry, those are beautiful quotes! Thanks for sharing them. I hope 2015 brings you day after day of blessings to go with the hardships.

  12. MaryAnn

    The “first footings” is new to me. I LIKE the new broom idea to have a clean house literally & metaphorically AND debts all paid. When Shane was in grade school, a friend of his owed him money. The family is German. The mother told me her son MUST pay Shane before they left on a trip because German people leave no debts behind. A good tradition to uphold, I think.
    I appreciate your ongoing encouragement to your readers. God blesses me through you.

    • Mary Ann, I agree that’s a great practice. It sort of reminds me of the Jubilee in the Old Testament times. We all need to hit a “reset” button sometimes and get things back to even. Thanks for YOUR encouragement to me! You have always been a blessing from the time I first met you (over 15 years ago now!!) 🙂 ❤

  13. LB

    Julia, as others have said … you inspire us all with how you continue to move forward with as positive an attitude as possible. I’ll hope that 2015 brings you even more sparkles and joy. You and your family surely deserve it!
    Loved the card! Blessings to you.

    • Thanks, LB! I hope 2015 is a wonderful year for all of us. I appreciate your presence here, and your encouragement!

  14. Rene

    The twelve months went by fasting than a speeding bullet (train?, car?, teenager driving a car?). I can take a little adversity if they would just slow down.

    Blessings to everyone in the New Year!

    • Rene, all of the above, though I like the teenager analogy best. I often have the same rattled anxiety about the passage of time that I would feel in the car with a teenage driver. For me, part of the answer must lie in just watching it go by and not always trying to keep up with it! 🙂 I seem to be getting too old for that. Happy New Year, and thanks for being here with us!

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