Author Archive: Julia

Still, flowers bloom

“this life has been a landscape of pain and still, flowers bloom in it.”      ― Sanober Khan Just when it seemed the heat was becoming unbearable, it broke. On Friday my sister and I walked outside and simultaneously burst into exclamations of delight at the wonderfully cool air. When I arrived back in York …

Continue reading

Patience and perseverance

Dear Readers, As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, I find myself sorely in need of both patience and perseverance. This week has been filled with endless paperwork, logistical tangles and other oppressive tasks, and it feels increasingly difficult to muster the energy and enthusiasm to keep going. Here I am, once again re-blogging a …

Continue reading

Perhaps the greater

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien Let’s just say it had been one of those days. Following one of those weeks. …

Continue reading

How important you are

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” ― Fred Rogers “Mister Rogers wasn’t a relic of a simpler time; he …

Continue reading

A wayside sacrament

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”  —Charles Kingsley Dear readers, I’m sitting here in the wee hours of …

Continue reading

Such beautiful lessons

Another morning and I wake with thirst  for the goodness I do not have. I walk  out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,  I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your …

Continue reading

Though they sleep

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:   Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” — Minot J. Savage Dear readers, though I don’t typically re-blog earlier posts, today I wanted to share this one again. Arlington National Cemetery is very much on my mind for so many reasons. May this Memorial Day …

Continue reading

Count on flowers

“No matter how uncertain our world sometimes seems, we can count on flowers to appear each spring.” – Barbara Milo Ohrbach Longtime members of the Defeat Despair community will be familiar with Susan, whom I first met here and whose previous visits have inspired earlier posts. She spent some time with Matt and me this …

Continue reading

The jangled soul can flee

‘Tis fitting in these days of noise, Here in these thunder years of steam, The soul should keep its equipoise And think its thoughts and dream its dream. We scar the placid vales with mills, We scoop the seas and shear the hills: ‘Tis well that to these temples of the mind The jangled soul …

Continue reading

Nothing but the thread

“I have gathered a posy of other men’s flowers and nothing but the thread that binds them is mine own.”― John Bartlett In a recent post, we talked about the fondness for quotes that many of us share. Probably no name has been more associated with quotations than John Bartlett, whose classic collection has continued …

Continue reading

To share our pain

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.” — Henri Nouwen “…losing love Is like a …

Continue reading

Conversation partners

“The borders between reading and writing and living are fluid. I do not take time out from life to write, nor do I take time out from life to read. When I quote somebody, I’m not hiding. I’m introducing you to one of my conversation partners.” — Patrick Henry (no, not that one, this one) …

Continue reading

No endings

“There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.” ― Hilary Mantel “…life is eternal And love is immortal And death is only a horizon Life is eternal As we move into the light And a horizon is nothing Save the limit of our …

Continue reading

Inverse correlation

“There are things money can’t buy. I don’t think standard of living equates with cost of living beyond a certain point. Good housing, good health, good food, good transport. There’s a point you start getting inverse correlation between wealth and quality of life… I have everything I need to have, and I don’t need any …

Continue reading

But one has seen

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is …

Continue reading

Hard to imagine

“Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude. To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into …

Continue reading

Mostly standing still

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.  — Mary Oliver Bereavement, grief and aging are slicing through much of what once seemed inviolable …

Continue reading

Bringing people together

“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” — Clare Ansberry As a context for visiting with neighbors, I think gardening is second only to walking a dog. Whenever I’m out working in the yard or the flowerbeds, I always end up having friendly chats with neighbors who …

Continue reading

The fog of the future

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.” – Elisabeth Elliot I’ve heard it said that anger is really fear in disguise, and I’ve seen …

Continue reading

One day

“I have wandered far upon the desert plain, but in my heart a bird keeps singing, and the daffodils beckon and blow, — and one day I shall wander back.” — Muriel Strode Last week was a good one for me, but it began on a gloomy note. I spent most of the week at …

Continue reading

Neatly-arranged and well-provisioned

“Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly-arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne I certainly agree with Hawthorne. Perhaps the beautifully bountiful breakfast was as special in his age as it is in ours; likely even more so. I’m sure the time to enjoy a leisurely morning meal was a luxury for his generation, …

Continue reading

Hopes rise blooming

Our sweetest hopes rise blooming And then again are gone, They bloom and fade alternate, And so it goes rolling on. I know it, and it troubles My life, my love, my rest, My heart is wise and witty, And it bleeds within my breast. — Heinrich Heine Recently, several of you asked me to …

Continue reading

Bursting the bounds

Because today’s quote is long, I’m going to save it for the end and try to keep my comments relatively short. I found myself unable to find any part of the passage that could be cut out into a short sentence or two. In addition to sharing a birthday with each other, Jeff and I …

Continue reading

Singularly moved

I, singularly moved To love the lovely that are not beloved, Of all the seasons most Love winter. – Coventry Patmore If you read the comments section, you may recall that I mentioned this verse to Marlene when she said she loved winter. This is the post I told her I would write for her. …

Continue reading

My state of general wonder

“Not until years later would I realize that my state of general wonder throughout this process, peppered though it was with fear and doubt, would help preserve my sanity through the events that followed.” — Hilary Tindle Sometimes I will hear or read a sentence that rings so true in my own experience that I …

Continue reading