A random sample of your happy plotting-- see me grinning?

A random sample of your happy plotting– see me grinning?

“I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.”
J.D. Salinger

I’ve often identified with this quote, and never more than in the past three and a half years, since starting this blog.  Some of the world’s nicest people have landed on this page, and it’s a wonder to me.

See all those fun things in the collage above? They are just a random sample of the delightful surprises I’ve received in the mail from blog readers.  If you’ve been part of the Defeat Despair family for very long, you know how much I believe in the power of kindness to help us survive “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Your warmth, good wishes and presence here have helped me more than you know!

Some of you send me unique, handmade treasures or tiny gifts chosen just for me.  Some send photos of places I’ve wanted to see but never been able to visit in person, giving me a personalized virtual tour of what I might otherwise miss.  (Thanks, Raynard, for letting me see the Philadelphia Flower Show for several years in a row now– not to mention more virtual cakes than I could ever have eaten in person.  Most of the fun, none of the calories!)

Some of you send me kind thoughts and reminders that we are in your prayers, a form of support that we need and cherish.  Some of you leave your Gravatars in the “like” section of the blog so I know you were here, which is a gift that keeps on giving.  Some send encouraging comments and personal stories that keep me and other readers focused on happy and inspiring things.  Some of you send me handwritten notes via postal mail, a tradition I love to keep alive, which always brightens my day.

However you show your friendship and good will, rest assured that you make a difference in my life, as I know you must in all the lives that you touch.  Isn’t it fun to engage in happy plotting, finding ways to shower blessings on those who are greatly in need of them? Keep up the good work and let’s continue in this congenial conspiracy to make the world a better place.


  1. Amy

    This is very sweet. I just finished six months as a Secret sister and I loved it. It is always fun to send a note of encouragement or a little gift and find you helped someone along the road of life. Thanks for all the little encouragement you give me. Including this blog. Love you. Keeping you and all your family in my prayers.

    • Thanks Amy! You have been so thoughtful to us all these years. You have a true gift for giving. We need and appreciate your love, friendship and prayers!

  2. Awww! I see something I sent in there. And is that cup a pig or a cat?

    • I’m not surprised, since you have sent me SO MANY wonderful things over the years! I could make several collages just of the gifts you have sent. 🙂 The cup is a pig. Not sure whether the spoon is a pig or a cat, but either way it’s a cute face to see in the morning.

  3. Lovely post, Julia! So warm and wonderful and inclusive.

    • Thank you Alys! You must have inspired me while I was writing it. 🙂

  4. Julia,
    I don’t think that there is a congenial conspiracy at play. It is simply that random thoughts or acts of kindness seem drawn to you.

    • Alan, that’s a wonderful thought indeed. I’ve often felt that I was a sort of magnet for less appealing things, so drawing these lovely acts of generosity is quite a blessing.

  5. Carolyn

    I can’t write much right now. We are taking a few days away from home . We are down at Orange Beach , can’t way to hear the sounds of the waves. I plan to plant myself in a chair and just watch the waves and enjoy the warm sun. I will be careful!!! Hugs and love to all.

    • Carolyn, I’m so happy you are enjoying some much-deserved time off! Stay planted in that chair and enjoy it extra-specially on my behalf. Thanks for the reassurance that you will be careful. Love and best wishes for a jolly holiday.

  6. Sheila

    My friend, Julia! When I count my blessings,I count you twice. You have been my sunshine, smiles, southern sister, Verandah buddy, and strength so many times over these years. Little did I know that you were treading water, often more so than I. I know how it feels to win the lottery…. Your friendship! 💛

    • Awwww, what a sweet thing to say. I feel the same way– blessed to have been brought together here and through all the many ways we have connected. In my imagination I’ve looked out your window at the ocean more times than I could count. Knowing someone who lives by the sea is almost as good as living there myself– maybe better in some ways, as I don’t have to put up with the crowded season. 😀 But no matter where you lived, I’m quite sure we would see eye-to-eye on so many things! Thanks for your presence here, a continual source of joy and strength to me!

  7. We hear so much about internet trolls – it’s a shame that the media don’t report on the tsunami of kindness that pervades our corner of the web!

    • So true! It seems that the misbehavior always gets the spotlight, but that’s all the more reason to stay focused on how beautiful and wonderful and funny and fabulous people can be. Thanks for being here online and sharing the joy!

  8. HarryS

    Sometimes I post then it doesn’t get posted?

    • Harry, to keep spam off, I moderate the comments. I check the spam filter closely in case a “real” comment somehow gets caught in there, but maybe I have missed one of yours that way? If so, please re-send it so I can post it. Same goes for anyone else who might not see their comments showing up. One thing I have sometimes done on other blogs is send a comment that for some reason or other didn’t go through; usually, I will get back a message that says “your comment is awaiting moderation” but if you don’t get that message, you can try sending it again. If it’s a long comment, copy before sending so you won’t have to re-type it 😀 I HATE it when I write a long comment and then it mysteriously “disappears” before I send it. I have never figured out what makes that happen, but it has happened to me many times. Keep trying, and thanks for your persistence! And please re-send anything you sent that did not get through.

  9. Isn’t is wonderful to know you are loved! The pig mug with the cat inside is too cute. Obviously everyone knows you like fine teas. 🙂

    • Marlene, I’ve certainly made no secret of my love for tea! Sometimes I think I should change the name of this blog to “OpTEAmism” or “Finding FeliciTEA” or some other pun. I certainly haven’t intentionally been dropping hints, but it has been delightful to find others who share my love of this healthy, happy beverage. And yes, even more wonderful to feel loved. Sometimes I think that blogging is like a big friendly neighborhood where everyone who actually likes all sorts of other people can FINALLY discover kindred spirits! I will always believe that there is more good will in the world than malevolence, though being nice is too humble to demand the spotlight.

      • I love “OpTEAmism” !!!! What a great name. Still a coffee drinker though. 😦

        • Marlene, I’ve been drinking as much coffee as tea the past few days…they are both great beverages and “some of my best friends are coffee drinkers.” 😀

          • I’m switching to tea these days. :))

            • A little role reversal is good for all of us! But after several days of more coffee than tea (mainly due to availability) I am back to almost 100% tea in the past 24 hours.

  10. Happiness is as happiness does. It’s true, sharing happiness does just as much for the giver as it does for the recipient. I’ve relished the time spent here and together, what a wonder it’s been to stumble into peoples hearts via WordPress. Really, mystifying at times how kizmit works. I see all your little treasures and know how you feel to receive happy mail. There’s that Aqua church, snicker. Probably not very typical of a church but I just had to do it. I like to set all my little christmas houses into drifts of sparkly snow. I will send you some next christmas 😀 xo k

    • I just love that little Aqua church. I have nicknamed it the Chapel of Perpetual Joy. And yes, if everyone knew the secret of how much fun it is to spread the happy around, this world would lose a great deal of its gloom instantly. “Keep shining, my bright and shining star of a friend.” ❤

      • This little light of mine is shining for you all this week. Fingers are crossed for your up-coming trip too. I’m glad the Aqua church came without dents. xox k

        Here’s a wee tip too: The battery’s are cheaper if you buy a giant package of fake tea-lights at the dollar store and just remove all the batteries for use. Seems wasteful but you’ll get a whole lot of batteries for the fraction of the cost of a package of Everyready.

        • K, this keeps getting funnier…did you know, until this comment, I had completely MISSED that there was a light inside? As soon as I opened it up I perched it on my bookcase shelf for display…then, even when I went to photograph it on top of the tissue paper, I STILL didn’t look underneath to see your sweet note and the light switch! When I pray, I often ask God to make things VERY VERY VERY clear to me because I’m so slow on the uptake — I need to warn my friends of the same thing! However, in this case, it worked out…finding out about the light now is almost as good as getting another surprise in the mail. I switched it on last night and enjoyed the beautiful effects of it filtering through the amber “windows.” Thanks too for the battery tip…isn’t the world of commerce strange sometimes? Love and appreciation to you!!! ❤

          • LOL, Surprise !? You’re too cute. Hey! BTW, your little aqua church was featured on the Urban Blog, swing by for a giggle:


            Hallelujah, pass the pea’s, when I die send me to heaven please. (That was my go-to saying grace when I was a kid, ha) xoxo

            • Oh my, I feel famous!!! I loved the “nothing to see here” part — fortunately I was so hopelessly snowed under, I never wandered over to the Urban blog– I probably would have cheated and read on, hee-hee. Thanks for giving us an even better close-up look at one of your countless gorgeous creations.

  11. Lydia

    Your blog is always a source of inspiration, continuing joy, and fountain of faith. Thanks.

    • Lydia, thank you so much! Those words are such an encouragement to me right now. It has been a tough week (that’s why I’m so late answering) but I am so happy to have you with us here.

  12. raynard

    Julia did you get the last picture I sent. It was a red velvet cake cream cheese frosting and covered with red velvet oreos. Now I’m weening myself off the new oreos. Next weeks potluck well I have to do a test run sampling. Strawberry cake with Watermelon flavored frosting( from the can I found it at Wally World err Walmart.. lol Be blessed and it wa sok about the picture..

    • Raynard, my email box is snowed under right now– by now you know why– but I will go hunting for that red velvet cake. I could use a huge spoonful of cream cheese frosting right now. I have never heard of red velvet oreos. I’d better stay away from the cookie aisle next time I go to the grocery store. Watermelon flavored frosting is also a new one on me! I’m glad you didn’t mind my using your photo from the Philadelphia Flower Show. I hope someday (like maybe next year) Jeff and I will be there taking photos of our own right along with you. Give my best to Mary and Ms. Ella!

  13. Bwaa ha ha haaaa! You’re right, Julia, I have been plotting again! And yesterday, I purchased more envelopes, heh heh heh ….
    But surely there must be an actual word for reverse paranoia? Not like “Pollyanna;” that’s used when making lemonade from lemons. Something that captures the sneakiness of spirit involved (sneakiness in a good way, of course)?
    Aionarap is just too difficult to say (and even looks a little harsh, to me). 😀

    • This is how dense I am: I actually googled “aionarap” and believe it or not, instantly the secret of where you got that word was revealed. Bwaa ha ha haaa indeed! I think the closest phrase for reverse paranoia I can think of may be “Lucky Me(-liorism)” but if you’ve got other ideas, I’m wide open. 😀

      • Oops, I probably should have Googled it, too! It was unlikely that I’d be the first person to try to spell “paranoia” backwards! 🙂

        • I just thought it was so funny that I didn’t even figure it out on my own. 🙂

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: