Always more mystery

A close-up of one of the flowers in the picture I posted last week.
No matter how often I see them, they fill me with wonder.

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”Anais Nin

One of my favorite people in this blog community frequently wishes me “a wonder-filled week.” I love it! The word wonderful is used so often that we tend to miss its root meaning, so I find her revision of the term an apposite way to wish someone the best. I think one of the nicest things we can wish each other is a wonder-filled week, or year, or life.

Nin is right; no matter how much we know, there are always more mysteries to wonder about. The daffodils that have been my lifelong favorite flower are a familiar sight, as I’ve planted so many of them over the years. But I never cease to be amazed at their delicate structure and sunny colors. Botanists can tell us all sorts of details of taxonomy, propagation and genetic modification, but those words never capture the pure delight of seeing these blooms appear every spring.

In a totally different corner of my world, I’m amazed by the advances in cardiology since Matt was born. Nearly 34 years ago, he was diagnosed with a complex heart defect that he likely would not have survived if he had been born a decade or so earlier. Through five open heart surgeries and counting, I’ve been stunned at what the doctors are able to do. Their procedures continue to evolve, rising to the challenge of Matt’s formidable cardiac anomalies in ways that are fascinating and encouraging.

This amazing wireless home monitor sends data from Matt’s pacemaker to his doctors, giving them a minute-by-minute account of how his heart has been doing.

Yet beyond all the scientific sophistication of their equipment and methodology, there is the abiding mystery of how they, and Matt himself, can remain so indefatigable and compassionate in the face of very difficult circumstances. In the midst of sorrow at all he has suffered, and the stress of wondering what lies ahead, there is the consoling experience of being filled with wonder at the divine blessings that come to us through the hands and hearts of people who know what to do, and more importantly, who genuinely care for him– and me.

All of us live in a wonder-filled world of manifold mystery. What are some of your favorite everyday wonders?


  1. Mickey Champagne

    Just opening my eyes every morning and remembering where I am, who I am with, and all the fantastic world around me !

    • Mickey, that’s a wonderful attitude to have, and one to which we should all aspire. Thanks for sharing that awareness with us!

  2. Susan

    Julia, what a great picture of Matt! Thank God for the medical advances. I am regularly awestruck by friends who have survived and even thrived after serious illnesses and accidents.

    I also love daffodils, but my favorites are lilacs and roses. I LOVE gardening catalogs but have trouble because I want to plant so many more things than my small yard will hold. Right now I’m delighted every time I go out the front door or garage and see the hyacinths heading toward full bloom (three different colors).

    Wishing us both a colorful spring!

    • Susan, I bought a lilac bush to plant (actually a very small seedling) but I’m not sure where to put it. I really hope it will one day be healthy and fragrant. I love hyacinths and used to have some in my front yard in Kingstowne. I had only blue, though. Three colors would be wonderful. Yes, we will hope for a colorful, wonder-filled spring! Thanks for being here.

      • Susan

        Lilacs and roses are my favorites. I finally have some lilacs that have survived our weather and have produced a few blooms in the past couple of years. They seem to take a while but will be worth it in a few more years, I hope.

        • Susan, I will be inspired by your success with lilacs! I bet the scent is heavenly.

  3. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    Nice picture of Matt!
    This is very fascinating. I’m always amazed by a “lack of amazement” on the part of many people! To many, things just are. And to me, things are because… I believe there is still the child in most of us that can be astonished at the simplest things, to even the most complex issues or events. Awareness is a keen sense that some have more than others. Awareness is the start of inquisitiveness, which begets the “wonder-filled” world you described. And, I think a child-like faith enables us to see and experience the wonder throughout the journey of life.
    How can one not be filled with wonder and excitement when you consider the transformative periods in human evolution. The most recent 30 years, which have brought about the 3rd industrial revolution (the digital age), are precisely what you’ve described in medical technology. Lastly, even though we sometimes are so amazed, that we can’t fathom what could be next, there will be a next! Wow, just thinking about it is so wonder-filled! 😀
    Here’s a link to the industrial revolutionary periods:
    Have a great week!

    • Hi Chris, glad you liked the picture of Matt. He is pretty patient with my attempts to photograph him but like Jeff, he is not especially eager to pose. Yes, we live in amazing times. The speed of progress seems exponential. I enjoyed the article you linked and I like imagining about what seems impossible now. Like being able to be beamed up here or there. I like to imagine a day when travel by airplane or especially by automobile, will seem as primitive to us as covered wagons do now. I don’t think it’s impossible or even improbable. When I first started library school just 25 years ago, the internet was all text based, and when my professors described the soon-to-be-common graphical interfaces that would have everyone doing pretty much everything online with full color images and video, it seemed like a space-age dream to me. Yet here we are.

  4. Cherie

    Julia, my every day wonder is my prayer walk! I have a little animal farm close by and lots of wild animals too! Nature is definitely my wonder filled love! So glad Matt is doing good. I keep you both in my thoughts and prayers! 🙏💓🙏. Love and Light!🌞🌞🌞

    • Cherie, that sounds like a perfect way celebrate wonder. I’m so happy you have animal friends nearby to greet you each day. Nature, animals and prayers are perfectly suited to experience together. When I watch animals I see so much divine love made manifest. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers, as you are ever in ours! ❤

  5. I agree – there is always more mystery. While humanity strives for certainty in our lives, we are at our best when we face ambiguity. For when times are uncertain, we learn to rely on our family, friends, community and relationship with our creator.

    • I love what you said — “we are at our best when we face ambiguity.” People who are aware of their own limitations, and open to lifelong discovery, are so much more interesting and fun to be with. Certainty is, in at least some respects, vastly over-rated. 🙂

      • I agree wholeheartedly!💛💛💛

        • Great minds think alike. 🙂 At least sometimes, anyway!

  6. Tea (obviously) but also chocolate. The latter especially when I’m feeling bummed out by yet another rejection.

    • Tea and chocolate, a combination that is unbeatable! Don’t be too discouraged by the rejections — all great writers and artists have had tons of them. I once heard Phyllis Reynolds Naylor speak, and she told how she had saved every single one of her rejections – it was an unbelievable number, well over 10,000 – this from a woman who has won major awards and published over 145 books.

  7. Linda Blackford

    Your son has a beautiful soul. I can see it in his eyes, though I don’t even know him. I love the idea of a wonder-filled day, week, month, life!

    • Thank you Linda. Matt does have a beautiful soul, I’m glad you can see it. He’s one of the great wonders in my wonder-filled life! ❤

  8. Good morning, Julia!
    Well, you know me; I was equally wonder-filled by the photo of Matt as I was by the photo of the daffodil. They’re both so amazing!
    The sunrise is literally an “every day” wonder. Yes, sometimes I miss it by either sleeping in, or being beneath a thick layer of clouds (physically or metaphorically). Last night I went through some photos from last week and was mesmerized – and grateful to the camera – by what I had half-seen in person. I guess I should send you photos! 🙂
    Blessings on your day!

    • Yes, do send the photos! Especially since I am a lazy sort who almost always sleeps through the sunrise! 😀 On those rare mornings when insomnia or a very early flight has me awake much earlier than usual, I always end up thinking “I should get up early more often!” Yes, I too am grateful to the camera, which captures so much that I miss with just my two eyes.

  9. MaryAnn Clontz

    What a marvelous photo of our gentleman: Matt! He fills my heart with joy, his outlook has always been seeing good all around him! He is a WONDER to me!
    You know of my all encompassing adoration of God’s Creation to be enjoyed each day!

    Side story for one of your words. In my senior year of high school, my English teacher taught me a plethora of splendid words. One I will never forget is the way she presented it! She would slap her rather rotund tummy & state: “Hit the fat, when pronouncing indefatigable!”
    I loved all my English & English classes.

    • Mary Ann, what a funny and creative teacher! I wonder if she realized that many, many years later, one of her students would be telling us this story, keeping her humor alive. I also bet you never forgot how to pronounce that word! 🙂 I loved English too. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have majored in that. HEY- we are getting close to April!! I will be sending you some planning emails. Let the excitement begin!!! ❤

      • MaryAnn Clontz

        P.S. I meant to state : English & English Lit.

        • That was one of my two favorite subjects in high school. Maybe my very favorite.

  10. Harry Sims

    To know who I am and to know who’s I am.


    • Both very important…and for some of us, inextricably tied together.

  11. Sheila

    Good Saturday morning, dear friend! I hope you’re having a “wonder-filled” week as Spring and our beloved April is ever closer! You’ve combined daffodils and Matt in a most unique way, both sweet wonders and special. I see daffodils and enjoy the brightness, the beauty and the signal of the approaching season. I saw several (way too soon) and wanted to push them back into the ground for protection and hopefully to emerge at a more opportune time. But the Lord makes that call and “Father Knows Best”! ♥️ Give my love to Matt! 🙏🏻

    • Sheila, I so enjoyed reading these thoughts this morning. I identified with your urge to protect the early-blooming daffodils, and thought how like such an impulse is, to how we often feel with our children! At 62, I still can’t shake the feeling of wanting to protect BOTH my sons! But as you say, “Father knows best.” A blessing that sometimes feels like a curse. 🙂 Come to think of it, I guess that’s true of many such blessings (weather, emotions, objects, you name it). Hope you have a lovely weekend. We are having some really NICE, no-coat-needed weather and I’m loving it!

  12. Hello Julia. It’s nice seeing a recent photo of Matt and to hear that the experts keep improving techniques that help him, and others, stay alive and thrive. I’m also a fan of Daffodils. They are inherently sunny and uplifting. I hope you’re planning a new garden this spring, and that you’ll delight in all you plant.

    • I’m hoping to do some planting once they get the grading on my lot corrected. It’s been too chilly to be out much so far this year, but I hope that will change soon. The sweet pea seeds I planted a few weeks ago never sprouted, but I haven’t thrown out the soil yet…maybe they will eventually come up. 🙂 I can always hope. I have a lot of practice in hoping.

  13. Amen, Julia and Matt.

    • 🙂

      • Julia, I sent you an email about the lotus candle. Well we used it for my brother’s birthday. All were impressed with its performance. Added a something special to the celebration as well as the Happy Birthday song. No mishaps!
        thanks again,

        • Alan, thanks for the reminder about the email – I was tickled pink to hear that the candle worked for you, especially after it arrived to my home looking so damaged in shipment. I think I will order some more of them, but not before sending the vendor a photo of what they looked like when they got here. 😀 I don’t mind the proverbial “slow boat” shipping time, but they need to use smash-proof packaging! But all’s well that ends well, I suppose– I’m glad it worked safely!!

  14. Mike B.

    Interesting article by Kelsey Grammer in AARP magazine. Did now know he had been through so much deep water, including the brutal murder of his sister at 18. He quotes the line from poem Atlantis- “I stumble on joyfully.” Something like that.
    Lets see what is new in the garden? Flowering quince. Bunch of these around. Also some flags are to be seen- Purple Iris, and on our last walk some Native Violets.

    • I didn’t know that about him, either. I’m not familiar with flowering quince, but I looked it up and it looks beautiful. I wonder if I should plant one myself. I put my mandevillas outside recently but so far they don’t even have leaves, let alone flowers. Some of the shrubs are starting to come to life, though, including a few that I thought must be dead.

  15. Mike B.

    Also the snowball viburnums. I especially like the lime green ones.

    • I always mistook those for hydrangeas, but I guess they are two different plants. I wonder whether they are related?

  16. Mike B.

    L don’t know ,but I did the same thing with the one I saw at the UGA garden in Canton. I also thought it was a tree as it is huge.
    Do you remember Lois Reitzes on WABE with her “City Lights” program? She has such a distinctive voice.

    • Mike, I don’t think I ever knew about her. She must have come after I moved away. Except for summers, holidays and visits, I have not lived there since 1974! But I still think of Atlanta as home.

  17. Mike B.

    I guess the Rinehard college up in Waleska–Did i say that right?, has a nice arboretum walk which I plan to check out soon. Not far from Canton.

    • This is certainly the best time of year to enjoy that sort of place, before it gets too hot. As I’ve said before, you already have seen more of Georgia than I did all those years I lived there!

  18. Mike B.

    Yesterday 4.5 inches of rain in Atlanta metro. I think I mentioned that I have not seen rain like this before. In Seattle there is just a persistent mist but rarely over an inch in 24 hours, which seems rather unprecedented.

    • Yes, weather in the south can be extreme. Although it’s often inconvenient, many of us love the cozy feeling of a big thunderstorm…providing we are able to enjoy it from indoors! 😀

  19. Mike B.

    In 74? So you left for college?

    • Yes, I started college in September 1974, at David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University) in Nashville, TN. It was a lovely four-hour drive from Atlanta, but because I had free airline passes and several nonstops daily between BNA and ATL, I usually flew home.

  20. Mike B.

    There is a Rumi quote that might fit along the lines that ,”when our knowledge of a subject is complete then we can begin the sensing of it.” Something like that.

    • Thanks for sharing that quote; I had not heard it before. That’s an interesting concept, and based on my own experience of watching education play out in reality, I think it must be true. Perhaps it has something to do with learning “finding a home” in a real-life context.

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