Diligence and labor

Jeff and Mom, working in the yard of my parents' lakefront cabin, 2007

Jeff and Mom, working in the yard of my parents’ lakefront cabin, April 2007

“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.” — Menander

People often say that women marry their fathers, but in most ways I think I married my mother.  My husband is so like her, especially when it comes to enjoying work.  I like to joke that if there is not any work available to do, Jeff will make some to keep himself occupied.  Until I met him I had never met anyone who stayed busier with various types of labor than my mother.  I consider with awe all that each of them has been able to accomplish in life, and I’m grateful to be a primary beneficiary of their industrious personalities.

I don’t share this enthusiasm for work.  I’m a lounger and a goof-off by nature.  I could sit and chat over tea for hours, something that would drive my husband or my mother crazy. I must admit, though, that I almost always enjoy work once I get going.  There is something about physical activity that is an antidote for my tendency to over-think everything.  Perhaps this is why I love crafts, gardening (including the weeding) and walking. I even like to do the dishes.  Maybe I’m more like Jeff and Mom than I think I am.

In any case, I have been grateful that Jeff has managed to keep up with his normal tasks at the clinic and here at home, despite the rigors of undergoing an aggressive chemotherapy regimen.  I started to say I have been amazed, but in a sense I am not surprised at all.  Everyone who knows Jeff well understands that he will work as long as he is able, and will draw strength from what he accomplishes.  May we all be encouraged by the example of those who are happy to work diligently.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! This is a great photo. Who is on the dock?
    I like this message today, too. There is gratification in a job well done, and satisfaction in earned accomplishment.
    I’m a Saturday’s Child, like my grandmother, and when I get down about never ending piles of work before me I draw energy from her example, feeling solidarity per that old poem, as “Saturday’s child works hard for a living.”
    My sister, the lucky duck, was born on the Sabbath Day (apparently the author of the poem was Christan, not Jewish)!

    • That’s Daddy on the deck. He, like you, was a Saturday’s Child. He was a hard worker, though he loved his job as a pilot so much that he often said “I don’t know what I’d do if I had to work for a living.” Mama made sure he worked doubly hard on his many days off, to make up for it. 😀 Fittingly, both Jeff and Mama were also Saturday’s Child(ren). I’m a Thursday’s Child. I supposed I have “gone far” though not in the sense that anyone would think of when they hear those words. I’ve always liked that little poem, because it seemed surprising to me how often its words fit the children described. Matt, for example, was born on Friday. And he is indeed “loving and giving.” Fun, isn’t it?

      • It is fun, to see if something fits. I suppose it’s similar to horoscopes or Chinese Year of the (whatever animal). At the same time, perhaps we believe these predictions a little, and feed into them, ourselves. I know that I’m a hard worker, for example. I’m fortunate to (mostly) love my job, too!

        • Yes, there is definitely such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve often wondered how much of a Sagittarian Fire Monkey I would really be, if I had never read anything about such nonsense. But it is fun as long as it’s not taken too seriously.

  2. I remember this about Jeff. I remember an afternoon visiting at your home. Jeff was busy in the yard, and the boys were playing outside. You mentioned to me on that day Jeff’s love for completing tasks. I can relate! Ladd tires of my never ending chore list at times; however, he is also grateful for an organized home. LOL! I always loved how you made me slow down when we would visit together. I think God placed each of us with the right guy. Miss our days at Vandenberg! So thankful God gave us those days. Love you friend!

    • Thank you, Fran, for this fun trip down memory lane. I guess I never realized I made you slow down, but I believe it! I agree that we both had husbands divinely chosen for us. And yes, those Vandenberg days were magical, unlike any before or since. When I went back into Jeff’s room at the hospital after he had sunk into his final unconscious state, I found that Drew had left him a card with the front consisting of the photo of them on the push trail, that is also featured on the blog post I just linked. Inside the card Drew had written, “Daddy, I’ll meet you there.”
      Love you, Franny!

  3. Carol hoyos

    Hi Julia,
    I was sorely disappointed when you started reprinting the texts. I have since become a fan anew. So far I don’t remember any of the posts. Obviously I wasn’t on board in the early days of Defeat Despair and therefore look forward to the post each day. I hope you’re doing well and are staying safe and healthy.
    BTW, I married my mom as well 😘

    • Hi Carol! I’m sorry to learn that I disappointed you, but hopefully you’re enjoying the re-runs. As I mentioned, I don’t even remember some of those posts myself, so I figured there would be at least a few longtime readers who wouldn’t mind re-visiting them. We are staying safe and healthy so far, and hope you are too. It’s nice to encounter someone else who married their Mom– do you supposed there is an element of “they will love me no matter what” in our choice? 🙂

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