At the threshold

Mama and Daddy at our wedding rehearsal dinner in Nashville,  June 1980

Mama and Daddy at our wedding rehearsal dinner in Nashville, June 1980

“The pressure of adversity is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. It’s as though everything you do is multiplied by 50 in order to surpass those with a head-start. I was never capable of slacking when at the threshold of failure.”
Criss Jami

One year ago, for Mother’s Day, I posted about my mother’s incredible determination to press on through some daunting physical challenges.  I’ve often joked about how like my mother Jeff is, but over the past 18 months, I’ve thought of that in a more serious context.

The photo above was taken less than five months after my mother’s craniotomy to repair a hemorrhaging aneurysm at the base of her brain.  If you look closely at the left side of her face, you can see the slight indentation of her skull at the temple, and a tiny bit of drooping of her left eye. I was thrilled to have her at our wedding in any condition, but was especially proud of how beautiful she was, wearing a gown she had made herself not long before the wedding.

Watching Jeff (and now Matt) survive circumstances most of us can be thankful we will never face, I have thought often about my mother and others I admire, whose courage and tenacity are a legacy of strength for all who know them.  My Aunt Peggy, my sister Carla, and my friend (Jeff’s Aunt) Gloria all come to mind when I think of those who have overcome.

I know there are readers of this blog who have prevailed, and are still fighting, through similar challenges; at least one of you is a three-time cancer survivor!  Recently Michael sent me a link to this wonderful video by an artist new to me, Mandisa. The song is set against inspiring video clips of Robin Roberts, Scott Hamilton (a performer I admire as a brother in the faith) and Gabby Giffords.  I hope seeing these amazing people will lift your spirits.  As you hear Mandisa’s encouraging words, think of all those whose perseverance has inspired you – including the person you see in your mirror!

One year ago on Mother’s Day:

The world would kick the beam

This post was first 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. Judy

    How beautiful your mother is in this photo! I think that you look a lot like her. She was a model of endurance and resilience. We owe much to our mothers in that way. If you get a chance, look at my FB page for Mother’s Day and see what was written in the news article photo. We do miss our moms.

    • Hi Judy, thank you for the compliments and also for the heads up about your Facebook post. I hardly ever go to Facebook anymore except when someone tells me about something specific they have posted there, so I’ll look forward to seeing your post when I have a few minutes to sign on. Yes, we never stop missing our parents, do we? I read recently that being a parent is the ultimate “pay it forward” investment– we benefit from the love of our parents (many of whom, like mine, expect little to nothing in return) and we invest that same time, care and love in our own children, sometimes getting little to nothing in return except the knowledge that we did the best we could. My parents were the only people in my life who gave me far, far more than I ever gave them. That love stays with us forever!

  2. Good morning, Julia! Thanks for the great video link. Even as I think that my greatest challenge at present may be my own complacency or bad attitude, this video showing real overcomers brings tears to my eyes.
    The monthly children’s bible study that Parenting with Purpose hosts for the kids of the families they serve is called “Overcomers,” too. It’s hard to imagine what a kid has to overcome, when one or both parents are incarcerated. True heros!
    Blessings on your day!

    • Thank you, Susan. Yes, unsung heroes are all around us. Hopefully we’ll keep our eyes open and encourage them as we are able.

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