Author Archive: Julia

No ordinary people

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” — C. S. Lewis My favorite author C. S. Lewis wrote many passages that touch my heart and open my mind, but none is more sobering and remarkable to me than the text that includes the quote above.  Think about it: every …

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Pretty, yes pretty!

“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.” ― Pierre-Auguste Renoir With that view of art, no wonder Renoir left us so many gorgeous works to enjoy.  I realize there is a …

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Expressing it

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ― William Arthur Ward We all feel happy when someone appreciates us, but did you know there is an even better way to feel happier instantly? Take a look at the video below. I’d like to introduce you to Misifusa’s …

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Serenity is contagious

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious.” — Satchidananda Saraswati Serenity has never been my strong suit, but maybe that’s why I …

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Places in our hearts

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”  — Gertrude S. Wister When we first moved to Virginia, I was delighted that the home we bought featured several camellias along the back fence.  They’ve grown impressively large, and since they bloom in winter, …

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Beautiful discovery

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” — Elisabeth Foley One year ago today, I quoted from a wonderful book written by my friend Ellis Anderson, whom I met at college nearly 40 years ago.  Ellis and I were different in many ways, but we also …

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We need quiet

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.” ― Ester Buchholz Of all the seasons, winter seems most linked with quiet; short days, long nights, the silence of snowfall and the calming blank canvas of …

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In your house

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris  When one of my graduate school professors asked me to do a paper on William Morris, I wasn’t thrilled about accepting, but it turned out to be one of the most fascinating studies I …

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Never too old to begin

“You’re never too old to begin a journey, if you don’t insist on completing it.” — Ashleigh Brilliant No matter what age, nobody has any guarantees of success or even survival when they embark on a journey.  If physical or financial limitations do not stand in your way, why should chronological age?  Besides, one destination …

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Embrace chaos

“I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.” ― Susan Elizabeth Phillips My name is Julia and I have too much stuff.  Most of the …

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Nothing is

“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”— Thomas Szasz I found it interesting that this quote contrasts boredom with serenity.  I would not think of the two as opposites.  I would tend to think of anxiety as more the opposite of serenity, although boredom undoubtedly makes everything …

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One spectacle grander

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” ― Victor Hugo Jeff and I love to travel, and cruising has become our favorite kind of vacation.  Needless to say, we haven’t been able to take a …

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Language of the imagination

“ ‘They are all beasts of burden in a sense,’ Thoreau once remarked of animals, ‘made to carry some portion of our thoughts.’ Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech.” ― Rebecca Solnit I’m not sure I understand …

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In the morning

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.” –Elbert Hubbard When I first read this quote, I thought, “I really need to take that advice to heart, and try to do that.”  The next thing I thought was, “Hey, one way to do that …

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Service is joy

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” ― Kahlil Gibran One of the great things about any sort of volunteer work is meeting people who care about other people and the world in …

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Time and culture

“You’ve got to marinate your head, in that time and culture. You’ve got to become them.” ― David McCullough I think one of the best and quickest ways to defeat despair is to read a bit of history and contemplate what life used to be like.  I’ve found that nonfiction often seems best for this, …

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Your own kind of music

“You’ve gotta make your own kind of music Sing your own special song Make your own kind of music Even if nobody else sings along.” — Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil This 1969 hit is a favorite of mine, as recorded by one of my all-time favorite vocalists, Mama Cass Elliot.  I play this song …

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I challenge you to a dare

“Can I challenge you to a dare?  Today, stop praying for anything other than the life you have!…before we begin the year, with a sense of adventure, give thanks for your most “ordinary” life.  This is how the miracle begins, as we embark with a sense of adventure seeking the splendid in the simple gift …

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A white quilt

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ― Lewis Carroll Snow can seem brutal when we have to shovel it, …

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Actually see

“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.” ― Orhan Pamuk There’s a double blessing in opening our eyes to the world around us.  Not only are we …

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Voices at the door

“I sit beside the fire and think Of all that I have seen Of meadow flowers and butterflies In summers that have been Of yellow leaves and gossamer In autumns that there were With morning mist and silver sun And wind upon my hair I sit beside the fire and think Of how the world …

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So late so soon

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss My sister Carla has been teaching children for nearly 40 years, and she shares my love for Dr. …

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Divine pleasures

“Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.” ― Thomas De Quincey Before Jeff’s surgery in November, when he was disappointed …

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See all the good

“Maybe all my days are filled with little miracles, but I’m too distracted by what I think is my life to notice them. Sometimes bad news is the best way to see all the good quickly and clearly.” — Glennon Doyle Melton When trouble hits, whether it’s catastrophic or just a series of mind-numbing irritations, …

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Success is stumbling

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ― Winston Churchill One of my favorite places in California is the haunting Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee.  It’s beautiful country, but there’s an eerie stillness that lingers in memory of the tragic history of the Donner Party, for whom the park …

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