Author Archive: Julia

Flowerbeds with edibles

“Creating your own urban farm is as simple as planting your flowerbeds with edibles.” — Greg Peterson Given my failures at trying to keep the squirrels out of our tomatoes, I tend to doubt that it’s as simple as Peterson makes it sound.  Still, I find the idea intriguing.  I don’t want to give up my …

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We are all storytellers

“We are all storytellers, photojournalists of lives that are rich with tears, bruises, tenderness, strangeness and humor.  There’s nothing wrong with shooting smiles and holidays and rituals, but life isn’t a marketing campaign.  More interesting stuff is going on.  That’s your job as a photographer – to shoot the world as it is.  Remember that …

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The years teach us

“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.” ― Elizabeth Taylor (the novelist) One of the great blessings of having parents who live a long time is the ability to learn from them about how to handle what lies ahead.  As my siblings and …

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My garden of thoughts and dreams

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” — Abram L. Urban This year, the Yorktown Garden Stroll was scheduled a month early, in April instead of May. …

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The best baby-sitters

“The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.” ― Dave Barry OK, you can blame this post on Jeff.  I preempted the post I had originally scheduled for this date, because Jeff told me …

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By the seeds

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”― Robert Louis Stevenson Spring is a time of anticipation and reward, but it also can be a time of impatience, when the weather is moody and unpredictable, and some of our plants don’t bloom as quickly as we wish …

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Poetry and fine sentiment

“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson I agree with Emerson.  Beyond the delicious taste and health benefits, tea provides a pleasant daily ritual that requires pausing for at least a moment or two in preparation, and hopefully a few more minutes of pure enjoyment, …

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Deep roots

“The old that is strong does not wither.  Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien I quoted from this poem in an earlier post, but recently its timeless words have been on my mind again.  I was reminded of these particular lines by the daffodils in my yard. Daffodils …

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By the window

What life can compare to this? Sitting quietly by the window, I watch the leaves fall and the flowers bloom, As the seasons come and go.     — Hsueh-Tou Don’t you love sitting quietly by a window?  I don’t make enough time for it.  I always find it calming; the combination of sunlight (or moonlight) and …

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Blooming most recklessly

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” — Rainer Maria Rilke I probably say this every year, but I can’t remember when I was more eager for spring. Because I was expecting visitors in late March and early April, …

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Questions of faith and love

“…although the historical arguments for Jesus’s bodily resurrection are truly strong, we must never suppose that they will do more than bring people to the questions faced by Thomas and Peter, the questions of faith and love. We cannot use a supposedly objective historical epistemology as the ultimate ground for the truth of Easter.  To …

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Contentment and aspiration

“We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to raise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment.” — Henry Ward Beecher I think I understand what Beecher was …

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The most exciting play

“The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them.”  — Hank Aaron In typical fashion, Aaron turns the spotlight away from himself to voice an opinion I was relieved to read.  I thought I was the only one …

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The right mental attitude

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” — author unknown, often falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson Just the other day, Jeff sent me this quote because he knew I would like it; I knew, too, that …

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The power of celebration

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, …

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Sweet remembrancers

…Thus in each flower and simple bell, That in our path untrodden lie, Are sweet remembrancers who tell How fast the winged moments fly. Time will steal on with ceaseless pace, Yet lose we not the fleeting hours, Who still their fairy footsteps trace, As light they dance among the flowers. — Charlotte Turner Smith …

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To serve the public

“The Smithsonian is a great museum that annually attracts more than 20 million visitors, every single one of whom was there when we arrived…my suggestion for the Smithsonian is: If you really want to serve the public, you should put in an exhibit called: A Big Dark Room Filled With Mattresses.” — Dave Barry Even …

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Showing off

“I’m lying in my room listening to the birds outside. I used to think they sang because they were happy. But then I learned on a nature show they’re really showing off.” — Jo Knowles So much for our romantic anthropomorphism.  But for a bird, maybe showing off is a cheerful sort of thing to …

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Endless, incredible loot

“The richest person in the world – in fact, all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. You can measure the awareness, the breadth and the wisdom of a civilization, a nation, a people by the priority given to preserving these …

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Much more the same

“As different as we are from one another, as unique as each one of us is, we are much more the same than we are different.” — Fred Rogers Perhaps Mr. Rogers touched so many hearts because he understood this truth.  All of us have fears, sorrows, flaws and deficits.  Each of us has hopes, dreams, …

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Faith Shines

            No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:               I see Heaven’s glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.                                   …

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Silent devoted companionship

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.” — Doris Day If you’ve ever had a canine friend, you know what Day meant.  There is something about the friendship between humans and dogs that defies …

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Filling the dark trees

Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.    ― Mary Oliver I saw more snow last week than I’ve seen any week since we lived in Ohio, and maybe more than any week ever in March.  It was hard to think of …

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Fascinating to watch

“The common animals, birds and insects that are found in a little yard in the city are as fascinating to watch, and as fruitful in affording the careful observer a glimpse into some of the mysteries of nature, as are the rare and uncommon creatures of some far-off land.” – Leonard Dubkin While our tour …

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Dressed in snow

“It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it has pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice..” ― Markus Zusak Just when I thought we were in for a fairly mild winter, …

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