Rejoice in the way things are

Kathy rejoices at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, 2008

Kathy rejoices at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, 2008

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”

It sounds good, but it’s sometimes almost impossible to do. Life can be so difficult, and contentment so elusive even in relatively good times. We seem wired to want to improve, grow, acquire and discover.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with any of those aspirations, provided they don’t increase our frustration with reality.  When genuine hardship sets in, we may wonder how we ever felt unhappy before.  The “normal” state we once took for granted, maybe even disdained, suddenly becomes the most pressing goal for which we strive.

One year ago today my quote was about the creativity of contentment, and how it relates to my love of photography.  I chose a photo of my friend Kathy at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, partly because it’s such a beautiful setting, and partly because Kathy totally gets it about loving to capture life through photographs.  Here’s another one of her I took the same day.

It’s easier to be content when we make the time to enjoy such beautiful settings.  In all the ways that matter, the world is ours.  Amid sunshine or shadows, I hope we are able to keep a sanctified space inside our hearts where we can rejoice every single day.

One year ago today:

A real and active virtue

This post was first published seven years ago today. It takes on a whole new significance in the post-COVID world.

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. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia ☕️ That little space in our heart that’s reserved for JOY is sacred indeed. We have observed quarantine quidelines fir 12 days with much isolation for Bill, as he chose to stay in downstairs Sleepy Hollow to protect me. Last night, finally, he sat across from me in his recliner to watch a football game. It was marvelous! That little heart space really did rejoice! Enjoy something simple today and know y’all are loved♥️✝️

    • Thank you, Sheila. I’m enjoying December’s gorgeous Verandah View. Glad to hear that Bill is emerging from isolation. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention Sleepy Hollow before. 428 is full of surprises! Thanks for checking in with me this morning. It’s always a joy to hear from you. ❤

      • Sheila

        Sleepy Hollow was given that name many years ago, our two bedrooms and bath connected to upstairs by interior staircase. It’s ground level, with easy access through the garage. Think old beach house built in 1975 that is so quite and soundproof from the often loud, hectic, and busy tourists! Glad you’re out on the Verandah, our glorious porch ♥️

        • Sheila, that reminds me of the guest bedroom in the Alexandria townhouse we used to own. It was underground (the walkout portion of the basement was in the living room area) and Drew referred to it as “that womb of a room” because it was so dark and soundproof when the door was closed. “Sleepy Hollow” would have been a great name for it, too! My basement guest apartment in my northern Virginia home is, comparatively speaking, flooded with light…but at least it does offer a nice view of the sunrise over the (obscured by trees) Potomac River. In confinement such as we’ve faced with Covid, the Virtual Verandah looms large…

  2. Ann Weldon

    Julia, I had ‘lost’ you and so glad to find your posts again! Your words of encouragement are so important to me.

    • Ann, I’m sorry you were somehow disconnected, but so happy you found me again! Over the years, people have often told me that they suddenly quit getting my emails (if they had signed up to follow by email). I think what happens is that WordPress may periodically drop followers who have not been active or commented for awhile. I know that has happened to me with other blogs I follow. In any case, welcome back! I’m so glad you are here!

  3. Wise words from Laozi!

    • Yes, I was thinking I need to print them out and hang them up somewhere that I’ll see them daily.

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