Author Archive: Julia

Talk of mysteries!

“Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world!” — Henry David Thoreau I hope nobody’s getting tired of my going on about nature, but the natural world is a marvel …

Continue reading

The ordinary arts

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” — Thomas Moore There are small details– inexpensive or free– that make our homes a more nurturing environment.  For me, some of the minimal efforts that have maximum impact include making the bed daily, keeping things tidied …

Continue reading

An island in itself

“The most fascinating island you’ll ever visit on a big ship is the ship itself.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Count me among the people who are hooked on cruising with their first voyage. Beyond the allure of waking up in new surroundings each morning, or the convenience of unpacking and checking in only one time, there is the …

Continue reading

An authentic style

“People with an authentic style know what they are, but even more important, they know what they are not.  They don’t care about labels.  They care about personal expression.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach I have always admired women who know how to use accessories to create beautiful outfits.  Usually, a woman whose style I admire …

Continue reading

Everybody can be great

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”— Martin Luther King, Jr. These beautiful words are being quoted more frequently …

Continue reading

All sorts of folks

“I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take …

Continue reading

Infinitely healing

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature– the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”  — Rachel Carson Among the things I miss most about living in northern California is being able to see the beautiful green hills on a daily basis — but only for a …

Continue reading

Mad with joy

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”  — Iris Murdoch Go a little mad with joy today.  Visit a florist  or plant nursery, or just the floral department of a grocery store, and take a few minutes to see– …

Continue reading

Perfect Picture

“I’d started playing another game, one I kept a secret…I called it the Perfect Picture game.  The goal was to find snapshot-sized scenes in my town that showed absolutely no sign of Katrina.  The game had been especially challenging right after the storm.  Broken limbs, torn streets, and mangled houses relentlessly assaulted the eyes.  With the …

Continue reading

Permit yourself the luxury

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” —  Stanley Crawford Each year, I enter January with delusions about how much I will get done — I will clean out my closets, sort through old …

Continue reading

Practicality with pleasure

“He has gained every point who has mixed practicality with pleasure…” — Horace Treat yourself today to some wholesome indulgence.  Whether it’s a cup of tea, a piece of fruit or an afternoon nap, savor the enjoyment of things that are delightful as well as beneficial.  If the weather is gloomy, browse in a bookstore or library; …

Continue reading

Every exit

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” — Tom Stoppard Sometimes a painful change can be eased by choosing to have faith that good things may lie ahead.  Perhaps we can re-frame a forced or unwanted exit — from a job, a relationship or any phase of life — as the beginning of a new direction.  If we focus on the discovery of hidden …

Continue reading

Primitive purity

Originally posted on Defeat Despair:
A cozy cabin room at a northern California bed and breakfast inn, 2003 “How has it come about that we use the highly emotive word ‘stagnation,’ with all its malodorous and malarial overtones, for what other ages would have called ‘permanence?’ Why does the word ‘primitive’ at once suggest to…

Continue reading

Its own measure

“A journey implies a destination, so many miles to be consumed, while a walk is its own measure, complete at every point along the way. There are things we will never see, unless we walk to them.”  – Thomas A. Clark On the last Sunday of October, it was an amazing 80 degrees outside at …

Continue reading

The moment’s impermanence

“What solidity of sentiment it takes not to let an awareness of the moment’s impermanence dilute its richness, its sweetness, but purify it and saturate it with the utmost ‘fullness of being’.”― Maria Popova There’s a brief interval each year when many of the flowers, though fading, are still in bloom, and the weather is …

Continue reading

Reading opened the world

“Books were once my refuge…To read was to disappear, become enrobed in something beyond my own jittery ego. To read was to shutter myself and, in so doing, discover a larger experience. I do think old, book-oriented styles of reading opened the world to me – by closing it. And new, screen-oriented styles of reading …

Continue reading

Time-machine powers

“Books have always been time machines, in a sense. Today, their time-machine powers are even more obvious – and even more inspiring. They can transport us to a pre-internet frame of mind.” – Michael Harris It’s really a bit frightening how quickly the widespread use of the internet, for everything from business to education to …

Continue reading

Any wonderful unexpected thing

“After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with mellow warmth…The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. Everywhere she walked the …

Continue reading

Practices that sustain life

“After a day of too much information about almost everything, there is such a blessed relief in the weight of wet clothes, causing the wicker basket to creak as I carry it out to the clothesline.  Every time I bend down to shake loose a piece of laundry, I smell the grass. I smell the …

Continue reading

But you knew

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.”― …

Continue reading

Like fragments of heaven

“It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent…They look like fragments of heaven.” – George Eliot I’ve always marveled at how some scents can bypass the conscious mind and go straight to memories we didn’t even know were there. Until I read this quote (from one of my all-time most admired …

Continue reading

The dew of little things

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”― Kahlil Gibran I have always appreciated this particular passage from Gibran’s work, because it has proven true in my own life for as long as I can remember. …

Continue reading

Wonders of everyday life

“Remember, looking at bad news doesn’t mean good news isn’t happening. It’s happening everywhere. It’s happening right now. Around the world. In hospitals, at weddings, in schools and offices and maternity wards, at airport arrival gates, in bedrooms, in inboxes, out in the street, in the kind smile of a stranger. A billion unseen wonders …

Continue reading

As often as not

“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” ― Carson McCullers The older I get, the harder travel seems to become. I don’t know if that’s due to changes in the industry …

Continue reading

Tiny, beautiful surprises

“For me, the first part of celebration is noticing.  I find that it’s easy for me to get stuck in what’s broken or wrong with a situation, instead of seeing the beautiful parts of it, too, or that I move so fast I don’t see anything at all.  These days I’m trying to notice everything, …

Continue reading