Like of each thing, 2016

This seems a most fitting post for me to re-blog, as I try to see through tear-dimmed eyes whatever gifts are there for me in this season of my life. Ann, the photo of Pasha is for you!  And Happy Birthday to my dear friend Nancy, whose home was always open to Jeff and me from the earliest days of our courtship, through every trip to Nashville we ever made over the years. Thanks to all of you for being here with me.

Pasha watching the snow fall at Christmas time, Alexandria, Virginia 2010

Pasha watching the snow fall at Christmas time, Alexandria, Virginia 2010

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.”
William Shakespeare

When we moved to Virginia from California, I missed having roses in December.  Yet I was happy to be living once again in a climate similar to that of my home town, where each season brings its familiar but ever-fresh charms.  Wherever you are living, whatever your weather, I hope you will be gladdened today by the natural adornments of the season.


  1. Ann

    Julia, when I saw the photo I immediately thought “a Pasha post!”. Then I read your comments, thanks for reposting this. You’ve brought a smile to my face. Aren’t dogs wonderful?! Have you considered adopting an adult dog? We’ve had three rescue dogs and each has been a joy.

    Wishes for comfort and joy for you and Matt.

    • Ann, yes, I would love to adopt an adult dog. Or a puppy for that matter. The problem is that right now I just don’t have the time to give an adoptee the attention he or she would deserve. When we first brought Pasha home, Jeff and I agreed that it was like having a toddler in the house. Drew was a very good helper and did almost all the walking, feeding, etc. for five years until he left for college. But even with that, it still took a lot of time– training and vet visits are pretty intensive in those early months. It was time that paid off, though, as Pasha became a (mostly) very well-behaved dog. I’m just not sure I could handle it by myself right now. I do hope to have another dog eventually, though.

  2. Christmas Blessings, my dear friend.

    • Thank you, Merry, and the same for you and your family!

  3. MaryAnn Clontz

    Sending much love to you & Matt! Praying for all “my” Dentons & envisioning you surrounded by grandbabies!

    • Thank you Mary Ann. We got your sweet package and love it– and you!! ❤

  4. Oh my dear Julia, there’s your sweet Pasha. Just now, I asked myself, “Are there any words of hope or comfort that I might share to help mend what is broken even for this moment?” I love you and you know what? I think YOU might be the gift in this season of your life. It’s the love you have for others. Your sense of humor, your generous heart, your writing of this blog and the gift of your friendship it’s brought to me.

    So now, just to make you smile…..and please know, I don’t make light, but ‘broken’ is the theme of my week. It began when I was Christmas shopping at a posh home decor store here in Edmonton called Chintz and Co. They stack things up into glorious displays of excess. It’s a maze of treasure, with rarely two things alike. So, I found myself at a rather tall etagere that held a whole bunch of pillows, all marked at a discount. I was pleasantly surprised, because they rarely have sales and all their things are a bit pricey. I pulled out a pillow, hemmed and hawed and then went to tuck it back onto the shelf. From behind the etagere came a giant, glass breaking, crash. OMgosh (heart pounding)! What expesive nic-nac have I demolished? As it happens, the etagere was open on all four sides and the pillow I stuffed in the front had gone straight out the back and knocked off a gilded pot from a credenza they had set up behind. I was mortified and offered to pay for it immediately (gads, I didn’t even know the cost). But the girl was very kind and acknowledge it wasn’t in a safe spot and won’t let me pay for it. How embarrasing, so I spend a lovely amount there to make up for it. Fast forward to Saturday. We met friends for a visit at a cute local coffee/gift shop (by now I should know better than to get near a gift shop). My friend Lori and I browsed around while the guys ordered lunch. I stepped over to the counter to confirm my Cappuccino order and spotted the cutest winter arrangement. I course I just had to use my lethal ‘point-it-out’ move so Jim would look. Again….smash, crash and glass breaking! I knocked over their glass vase they got tips in……GAH! Nothing like breaking glass on a deli counter where people pay for food. Their tips rolled here and there, some on the floor. Que more apologies! I made amends by leaving a generous tip and ordering a pastry. LOL, the pastry was more for me. Sorry this has gotten so wordy but the calamity that was my week, was extensive. Good grief….goodness me…..and good night my dearest xoxox K

    • Oh dear, this sounds like something I would have done. Just one more reason you should hang with me – you would NEVER be the klutziest one in the shop! 😀 Seriously, though, that open etagere was an accident waiting to happen. I’m sorry you had those mishaps but I don’t think anyone could get mad at you. Most of us have been there ourselves too many times to get nasty with someone who accidentally breaks something. I’m amazed I didn’t end up breaking Alyster when I was creating all those photo ops with him in DC. Fun memories and he made it back to Canada in one piece!

      • Alyster is absolutely fine, and has had a lovely summer vacation. I have taken photo’s of his garden and have yet to post…gah! I can’t imagine you being any more klutzy than me? Perhaps we’d best not go to any china shops…teehee xo

        • Hey, that’s probably why we both adore papercrafts so much!!! Easy to replace and totally shatter-proof. 😀

    • ((((Boomdee))) You poor dear.

      • LOL, it even surprises me at times how I manage to break so much stuff! xo

        • I can say with firsthand knowledge that you mend and heal far more than you break!! 😀 ❤

        • As long as you don’t break heads or hearts, you are well ahead of the game. xo

  5. Ann

    I stopped by to see Pasha again❤️

    Your comments on seasons of life brought this section of Ecclesiastes to mind
    Ecclesiastes 3New International Version (NIV)

    A Time for Everything
    3 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    6 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    8 a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

    • Thanks, Ann. Isn’t that a beautiful passage? Even the rhythm of the words creates a feeling of peace and stability. Saying goodbye is so hard, but of course it’s universal. I have to remind myself, during the grief that follows loss of a loved one, that there would NEVER have been a time when it would be easy. In that sense, a long life is a mixed blessing indeed, as the longer we live, the more goodbyes we will have. But also, as with the seasons, the more hellos too. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. Amy

    Merry Christmas Julia. I would share with you these thoughts (which I first read from Shauna Niequest, an author you introduced me to). “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18. My prayer is that though your heart is broken this season you find that being surrounded by those you love and who love you will give you a light and help you find a way to be close to God. May the beauty of Christmas and the season fade a bit the heartache and darkness that surround you. I love you. I am praying for you. As Tiny Tim says, “God bless us everyone” Have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Thank you Amy. You have been a bright shining light in this darkness. Keep those prayers coming. Many years ago, our friend (and Jeff’s college roommate) Joseph gave me that very verse at a time when he happened to be visiting us in Hawaii at a time when I was feeling heartbroken. Matt had not been invited to a birthday party for a boy his own age, but they had invited Drew instead. These were nice people, friends of ours, and I couldn’t understand how they could do something so hurtful. Now of course that feels very minor, but at the time, when Matt was first getting old enough to be rejected by peers, it was truly traumatic for me emotionally. I will never forget that Joseph reminded me that God has always had a totally different way of seeing people than other people usually do, and truly has a heart for those in pain and sorrow. God often favors those who are rejected by others. I love that verse. I love you too! Merry Christmas, and we will look forward to seeing you soon.

      • The pain of rejection is hard enough when directed at us; rejection of our child is excruciating. My heart goes out to you. I remember those days, too. The pain fades, but we never forget. I’m so sorry, Julia.

        • Thank you, Alys. I think many parents understand, or will understand some day. These are the people who are best able to comfort us in such sorrows.

          • Isn’t that the truth, Julia. I think that’s why support groups of any stripe are so valuable. Whatever it is you are going through, it helps to share and explore that with others carrying the same challenges or burdens. Love to you.

            • Love to you, too, Alys! You know, the old saying “misery loves company” is not really accurate. What misery does need, is understanding. Unfortunately, understanding doesn’t come easily to most of us. Thank goodness understanding is a silver lining for most dark clouds. Thanks so much for being here with us.

              • Understanding would make a good “word of the year”, Julia. It’s in our human spirit to have hope. If everyone could also have understanding, we would all be better for it. xo

                • Alys, I agree it’s a great word for this year. I think people long to be understood almost as much as they want love. Maybe more, in some cases.

                  • That is so true, Julia. Love and understanding. xo

      • Amy

        Well that verse is certainly appropriate to that awful situation. I am sorry that happened. I too love that verse for the comfort it lends many times. What a lovely thought from your friend Joseph that God has a special heart for those rejected of men. I have to agree. Merry Christmas to you and your family. See you soon. Love you.

        • Thanks Amy, we will be so happy to see you again. Be sure to see my email which indicates that we may have to go to “Plan C” (whatever that turns out to be) as it seems “Plan A” and “Plan B” are both not available right now.

  7. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ To explain my recent haste BRIEFLY, Bill had a surgical procedure yesterday, a total knee replacement. He’ll be in the hospital a few days and then he’ll rehab at 428 for 6 weeks. Did I say WE? 😉 So my Christmas hustle has me taking deep breaths and happy to have a REASON if things don’t get done! I love the photo of Pasha! I remember the fun that we had when Pasha 🐾 and Salty 🐾 would correspond here at Defeat Despair! I’m thinking of you, Matt, Drew, Megan, and those precious little Denton guys. Please give love and hugs to Momma Sybil.

    • Oh, no, Sheila– I hope you will be home for Christmas! I loved Christmas 2013, when Jeff was recuperating at home from another major surgery. It was so relaxed and peaceful, because it had to be so. But it was a delightful gift. I hope you and Bill find it so, too. Yes, Salty and Pasha kept us smiling! Those are precious memories. I’m thinking of you too, with love and gratitude. Have a wonderful holiday season, though not at all a typical one. ❤

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