Author Archive: Julia

Make them carry you

“If the winds of fortune are temporarily blowing against you, remember that you can harness them and make them carry you toward your definite purpose, through the use of your imagination.” — Napoleon Hill Windmills are a visually appealing reminder that forces beyond our control can be turned to good purpose.  Wind-driven machines have been …

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Daylight in the mind

“Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” —  Joseph Addison Have you ever had one of those days when you felt angry at the world?  Maybe even for no particular reason?  It’s awful to be caught in that cycle of negativity that seems …

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The incubator of the spirit

“The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit.” — Marya Mannes I relish solitude, but loneliness is one of the most …

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Joy untroubled

“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky I don’t know of anything that can lighten the mood as much as a cute or playful animal.  I realize many situations make it impossible to have a pet in the home, but I hope everyone has the …

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Flowers are the music

“Flowers are the music of the ground…” — Edwin Curran For many Americans my age or older, it’s almost impossible to visit the Bavarian Alps without remembering the opening scenes from the movie The Sound of Music.  So Curran’s quote seemed appropriate for this photo of a garden in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  If you’ve ever been to …

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The cure for anything

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” —Isak Dinesen The more I think about Dinesen’s quote, the more true it seems.  Not that I’m fond of sweat or tears, but I have lived long enough to know that both are usually beneficial, no matter how unwelcome.  But the sea?  Now that’s my …

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A walk will do more good

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”  —   Paul Dudley White My own experience bears out the truth of Dr. White’s observation.  I can’t say enough about how much walking helps me.  It clears my over-stimulated brain, lifts my …

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More than logical

“If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope…” — Jacques Yves Cousteau I’m a great fan of logic.  My highest scores on the GRE and other standardized tests were always in the “analytical thinking” category.  …

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Their courage

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:   Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” — Minot J. Savage In April 2012, I planned to take some visiting relatives to Washington DC, where they would spend the day sightseeing.  I decided that, after dropping them off in town,  I would stop by Arlington National …

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The promise of the city

“…in New York I am always wondering, ‘Who are you?’ and it is the promise of the city with its many stories that keeps me coming back like an avid reader dazzled by the library shelves.”  — Julia Cameron I have always loved New York, even back in the 70’s when it wasn’t doing so …

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But then you read

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”  — James Baldwin Although …

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An honor to live

“I am grateful for my daily life; it is an honor to live it.  My day-to-day routine holds many mysteries, even though it has become ordinary and comfortable to me.”  — Steve Deger No matter where we travel, Jeff and I always try to get off the tourist path for at least a few hours, …

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The sense of the beautiful

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe In the centuries since Goethe penned this sound …

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Expect nothing

“Expect nothing.  Live frugally On surprise.” — Alice Walker It may seem contradictory for a self-proclaimed optimist to quote Walker’s counsel to expect nothing, but there is very real difference between expectation and optimism. Admittedly, optimism involves some expectation, but it is mostly of a general sort. We expect that joy lies ahead if we …

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Mind and soul

“Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the …

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The ultimate sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo Da Vinci Though I’ve confessed to my love of ornamentation, I also admire artists who can produce memorable works with clean lines and few details.  Often this type of art has to grow on me over time, as with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, commonly known as “The Wall.”  But sometimes, …

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Here to change the world

“We are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner Everyone loves to see results.  There’s nothing more satisfying than completing a major project or putting the final touches on something we’ve labored over for weeks.  But in reality, …

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Security or opportunity?

“There is no security on this earth.  Only opportunity.”  — General Douglas MacArthur “Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity; they seem more afraid of life than of death.” — James F. Byrnes There’s nothing like watching or reading the news to create feelings of insecurity.  Violence erupts all over the globe, …

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Nature’s way

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”  — Robin Williams Surely by now, warm spring weather has started to arrive in even the chilliest parts of the northern hemisphere.  Better late than never! What can we do to celebrate springtime this week?   Take a walk, plan a picnic, visit a park.  Make some lemonade, bake some …

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The unexpected

“Look how often the unexpected happens – and yet we still never expect it!” — Ashleigh Brilliant There’s never a shortage of surprises in California, and that’s part of why it was so much fun to live there. One sunny day in Santa Cruz, we were waiting in line at a four-way intersection, assuming the …

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A vast early warning

“A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia.” — David McCullough “History is a vast early warning system.” — Norman Cousins Living in the “historic triangle” of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown has only sharpened my already considerable interest in history.  I’ve never understood how anyone could find history boring.  Its …

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When you finally see

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” — …

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You should ramble

“To enjoy scenery you should ramble amidst it; let the feelings to which it gives rise mingle with other thoughts; look round upon it in intervals of reading; and not go to it as one goes to see the lions fed at a fair. The beautiful is not to be stared at, but to be …

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The world would kick the beam

“If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam.”  — Henry Bickersteth, Lord Langdale Even after I became a mother, I have never liked Mother’s Day.  It seems to me an artificially contrived and ultimately inadequate invention designed primarily to sell cards and …

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Read them fairy tales

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — attributed to Albert Einstein I could not verify that the quote above actually came from Einstein, but countless sources verify his more famous statement that “imagination is more important …

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