Author Archive: Julia

The maxim of the British

“The maxim of the British people is ‘Business as usual.’” — Winston Churchill This quote, and the photo posted above, capture one reason why I love being in England.  I must not be the only one, because the now-ubiquitous, quintessentially British wartime quote “Keep Calm and Carry On” has been revived and printed on all …

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Let us love

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” — John, apostle of Jesus (I John 4:7-8, NIV) In a chapter that opens with ominous warnings about false teachers, John …

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Drinking in the surroundings

“I was drinking in the surroundings: air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow.” ― Wendy Delsol I had never heard of Wendy Delsol until I came across this quote, but she described exactly what I was doing the …

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So many stupid remarks

“Surely nothing has to listen to so many stupid remarks as a painting in a museum.” — Edmond & Jules de Goncourt When I read this quote, I laughed.  Then I wanted to talk back to it.  “Oh yeah? Try being a parent at an IEP meeting.”  But I realize that’s a fairly esoteric thing …

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Not just a noun

“All the other colors are just colors, but purple seems to have a soul. Purple is not just a noun and an adjective but also a verb – when you look at it, it’s looking back at you.” — Uniek Swain* I’m tempted to begin with Alice Walker’s well known quote about the color purple, …

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We must free ourselves

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest.  We must learn to sail in high winds.” — Aristotle Onassis Whatever else might be said of Aristotle Onassis, he certainly learned to make the most of adverse circumstances.  His family’s experiences could have led him into poverty.  Instead he became one …

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Eyes turned skyward

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” — Leonardo da Vinci I’ve written here before about having grown up in an airline family, surrounded by relatives and friends who were pilots, and …

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All the beasts

“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit…” — attributed to Chief Seattle The oft-quoted words above were purportedly from a letter written by Chief Seattle to President Franklin Pierce. At least one historian has researched and dismissed the authenticity of this claim, and his arguments against its supposed …

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A daybreak that’s wondrously clear

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. — Maya Angelou I join millions in saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Maya …

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Bright and intense and beautiful

“Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.” ― Siobhan Vivian That’s what I do on my walks; stockpile the colors and images and cool, smoke-scented …

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Thy medicine

“Let food be thy medicine…” — Hippocrates You really don’t want to get me started on this topic, so I’ll try to keep it relatively brief.  I think one of the best ways to keep our minds and bodies fit and healthy is to take care what we feed them.  This applies to thoughts and images, of …

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The inspiring force

“I was carried beyond myself by the inspiring force of urgent necessity.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry If you’ve been through anything especially difficult, harrowing or protracted and exhausting, chances are you’ve heard well-meaning people say “I don’t know how you do it” or “I could never do what you are doing.” It’s natural for them to feel that …

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The simplest toy

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” — Sam Levenson There are colorful toys, singing toys, funny toys, educational toys, old-fashioned toys, and toys that wear out quickly.  Grandparents are all of the above.  Every child should have at least one or two – hopefully more!  If your child …

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Let us begin

“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days . . .nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” ― John F. Kennedy One thing that bothers me most about contemporary culture is our collective impatience …

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If you look

“If you look at an illuminated manuscript, even today, it just blows your mind.  For them, without all the clutter and inputs that we have, it must have been even more extraordinary.”  — Geraldine Brooks I started reading aloud to our sons when they were babies, and kept it up nightly until they were in …

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Your message

“If you want to get your message across, shut up.” — Mardy Grothe I don’t take this advice nearly as often as I ought to, but today, I get it.  I schedule these posts about two weeks in advance, so I have no idea how I’ll be feeling when this post is published.  But right …

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Wild with leaves

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” ― Humbert Wolfe The photo above was taken just a few months after we moved to Virginia, having lived in northern California for the past five years.  I was almost unbearably homesick for …

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Do not wait

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” — Mother Teresa If I’ve learned anything at all since Matt was born, I’ve learned this: no government or agency can match the power of one dedicated and compassionate person to improve the life of another. Agencies, laws and governments are necessary, but to …

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Not a child

“My dog is not a child substitute, according to its pediatrician.” — Rita Rudner On a recent weekend visit, Drew and Megan were laughing about their having unintentionally referred to Grady as “Pasha” a couple of times.  I laughed too, but before the weekend was over, I had done it myself.  It’s an easy mistake to …

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Alterations

“Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.”  —  Faith Baldwin I imagine most of you remember Scarlett O’Hara’s reinvention of her parlor curtains, as well as Carol Burnett’s hilarious parody of it.  I admired Scarlett’s ability to work with whatever she had, which often wasn’t very much.   In our era, when new clothing is relatively easy …

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Stories to tell

“With thousands of years of human habitation, this land surely has stories to tell.  The trees rustle with whispers of those who have come and gone.” — from a display at the Visitor’s Center at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Recently Jeff and I visited beautiful Roanoke Island, North Carolina, the site of the mysterious “Lost …

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Autumnal sunshine

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne “In autumn, don’t go to jewelers to see gold; go to the parks!” — Mehmet Murat ildan As our President would say, let me be clear.  Yesterday’s post was about rainy weather.  On a gloriously bright fall day, we simply MUST find …

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What to do

“Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” – Susan Ertz As the warm weather fades and the cold or rainy season moves in, we’ll all be indoors more, whether we like or not. I like it. I relish the chance to spend hours at home, puttering …

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A moveable feast

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  ― Ernest Hemingway I haven’t even been lucky enough to visit Paris more than twice, let alone live there, but for …

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Its own season

“Oh how we love pumpkin season.  You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right?  Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year.”  ~Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer Full disclosure: I don’t care for eating anything pumpkin-flavored.  I know many people who do, however, and I love the scents and sights related to this gorgeous gourd.  …

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