Though the patterns are repetitive, lives remain complex, intricate and unique. This Orbit Trap-21 fractal is from the Fractal Generator at

Though the patterns are repetitive, each life remains complex, intricate and unique.
This Orbit Trap-21 fractal is from the Fractal Generator at

“Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.”Wallace Stevens

I’ve noticed that advertising and publishing increasingly use variations on the word “simple” to promote their content.  Everyone, it seems, yearns for simplicity amid the overwhelming density of challenges our brains must deal with every day.  Neutral colors, sparse decoration, minimal sound and dim or shaded light become more appealing as our exhausted souls seek refuge.

While I am among those crying out for lower stimulation as a route to sanity, I must pause to say that I love the complexity of life.  I delight in the overabundance of choices, the dazzling array of affordable food and clothing, even the techno toys that grow more amazing each year.

I love it that people are so different from one another; that each friendship brings unique gifts and insights; that family members I have known for decades continue to grow and surprise me with the new dimensions to their personalities.

So, even as I fly to the calm of my solitary retreats from diverse forms of wealth I could scarcely have imagined in childhood, I remain thankful to have such a rich existence to necessitate the times of respite.  How very beautiful the world can be, and how blessed we are to be here!

This example of a Julia fractal is from

This example of a Julia fractal is from


  1. Julia, very true that nothing of value comes easily. In achieving an idea that becomes a goal there is much effort in learning, trial and error. But, once the goal is met and one is elated at its being, all the struggle that came before seems minor.
    From the vastness of the universe to the complexities of a single human cell, one has to be awed by the fact that a single thought of God could provide us with a world free from boredom.

    • Alan, it is “awesome” in the true sense of the word. We hear that adjective applied to everything so much nowadays that it has largely lost its original meaning, but thoughtful contemplation of nature is sobering and almost overwhelming. It’s true that our efforts do feel worthwhile when we eventually meet with success. For me, the really tough test of character is how I react when I put forth weeks, months or years of effort, to achieve only failure or very limited success. I suppose that is a good time to step back and re-evaluate whether the goal was misguided, or whether — perhaps — “success” needs to be re-defined. I try to see everything as a learning experience.

  2. Ann

    Julia, I completely agree with you and love the way you have expressed your (our) feelings.

    Your writing, while always good, continues to improve.


    • Ann, thank you! That’s such a nice thing to say. I really appreciate it.

  3. MaryAnn

    Julia, Your words have such descriptive power! They paint a place I want to be: the complex and the simple. The colorful scarf design fills my senses. I want to wear ALL those bright, beautiful colors. I believe the abundance of which you speak is a Gift from God. I am thankful for His bounty & for you sharing another “piece” of it.

    • Mary Ann, your personality is made of bright and beautiful colors! I too thank God for the abundance that surrounds us, even in the toughest times. Thanks for being with us on this journey! Do you realize it’s now been well over 10 years since the last time I saw you in person? Hmmm, I need to start trying to talk Jeff into our taking a trip back there…with Matt, of course. 😀

      • MaryAnn

        Julia: Today, I was telling my brother how much I treasure you, your family & your blog. I told him we are very connected even though you are on the other side of our USA! And that it has been “ages” since we have seen each other, but we continue to feel the love.

        • Thank you, Mary Ann! Today was a long, tough day for both Jeff and me (medical, traffic and home maintenance issues) and I really appreciate seeing your sweet comment tonight! We will always be close even when we are far apart. 🙂

  4. Julia, hello. A snowy day in Oklahoma as well in other parts of the country. Stay warm and safe.
    Colorful and beautiful! Simple is good but so is complex, makes for an interesting life.

    • Hi Merry, I hope this finds you doing well. Winter seems determined to go out with a bang, doesn’t it? I keep saying “this will probably be the last snow/freezing spell/weather delay of the year…” and I keep getting it wrong. I can’t really complain though, since I seldom have to get out in it. Even the weather seems complicated lately! Time for a cup of tea…

      • Rene

        Just when I thought winter was over here in CA, we have been hit with several days of cold (for us) & rain. This morning, the wood chips in my front yard are covered in frost!

        • Frost in southern California must be more rare than snow in the deep south. I think it only got down to freezing once or twice during all the 8.5 years we lived in CA, even though we were considerably north of where you are. I do remember fondly that winter was the rainy season. When we first moved to Virginia, I had to get used to the fact that rain could come any time of year. I hope this weather won’t ruin the citrus crops or any other of the produce.

  5. Sheila

    Julia, your last paragraph is as beautiful and meaningful to me, as any written words I’ve ever read. 👏 I’ve wondered recently about life becoming so complicated and how it could be so subtle, really unnoticeable, until the moment it’s overwhelming. A friend laughed today when I used the term “zillion thread count sheets” but it’s the truth! ☺️ I am thankful for simplicity but that I can appreciate splendid! 🌅

    • Thank you, Sheila! I smiled when I read about your zillion thread count sheets! Like you, I am thankful for simplicity, though it seems an elusive goal to my overactive mind. Jeff is always asking me for short “bulleted” statements and short answers to questions that seem to me to be far too complex for brevity. I think it would be easier for me if I wasn’t naturally inclined to examine every facet of topics that interest me…and almost ALL topics interest me to some extent. I find it invigorating to try to think of things from different angles. I love hearing about diverse viewpoints and re-thinking conclusions. I have come to realize that’s simply a personality trait, not evidence of an inferior or superior mind. As with so many personality traits, it can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how one copes with it. No wonder “I digress” so often!! Hope you are having a lovely week.

      • Rene

        I think we’re working it all out in our own mind when we tell long stories. My husband does the same to me…he just doesn’t get the need for context!

        • Thank you, Rene! I’m glad you understand. I think Jeff’s taciturn “bulleted” comments are as hard for me to deal with as my overly-long explanations and backstory are to him. It’s a good thing opposites attract! 😀

        • Thank you, Rene! I’m glad you understand. I think Jeff’s taciturn “bulleted” comments are as hard for me to deal with as my overly-long explanations and backstory are to him. It’s a good thing opposites attract! 😀

  6. raynard

    Was that Louie Armstrong that sang What a wonderful world and may I add the theme music to the original Star Trek T.V series. Getting lotsa lotsa snow today. Moving in our new apartment Saturday. Try to clean up and do new baking list and Cannonball Runs for 2015 Be blessed you and the family

    • Yes, it was Louie and later, Israel K. from Hawaii. How much snow did you end up getting? We got about 8 inches in the DC area. Congratulations on your new apartment; I will be thinking of you tomorrow and praying all goes well with your move. Hope your new home is blessed with health and happiness for all 3 of you! I can’t remember how many you had. Thanks for being here!

  7. Blessed indeed Julia. If there were no challenges in my life, I’d probably get extremely lazy. The human spirit needs something to strive for to give value to the day. Even if it’s just ironing the many things piling up to dizzying heights, ha Can’t wait to Skype together, I’ve been crazy busy but will send a Private Message xoxox

    • Hey there K, I’ll look forward to your message. Ironing, what’s that? 😀 😀 😀 Seriously, I’ve never been very good at it. Once I do get something perfectly ironed, it makes me want to avoid wearing it because I know it will come out of the washer all wrinkled again. Luckily, I have enough other challenges that I enjoy that I can usually have an excuse to avoid it completely, hee-hee. One great thing about having lots to do, it gives you a lot to choose from! Hope you have a lovely week. Is your snow starting to melt yet?

      • Our snow is indeed melting in a big way. Yesterday was 10C or 52F. I’m having a Bridal Shower at my home on Saturday and then I’m home free. ❤ Get this, I even Iron my pillow cases, LOL. Yes, I'm certifiable insane 😀

        • WOW, your weather is as warm as ours right now! That’s wonderful to hear. I admire you for being a good housekeeper; that is rapidly becoming a lost art (or so I tell myself, hee-hee). I don’t think it’s insane at all. I hope you won’t be disappointed that I don’t iron my linens – though they will be clean. Hopefully you will find things comfy here, if a bit wrinkled. 😀 I can’t wait!

          • I’m so looking forward to arriving and probably won’t sleep until everyone has arrived safely and all our hugs and squeals have settled down. To spend time with lovely friends is always comfortable J, no need to be as crazy as me AT all, LOL. In fact, I discourage it. xoxoxox K

            • Anybody who advises me not to be crazy is TOO LATE!! 😀 That’s one reason it’s so great that people are different from each other. We are all sane in different ways, so luckily we tend to keep each other in check. Fun times ahead!

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