Author Archive: Julia

Odd but true

“It’s odd but true that there really is consolation from sad poems, and it’s hard to know how that happens. There is the pleasure of the thing itself, the pleasure of the poem, and somehow it works against sadness.” – Carol Shields When I first read this quote, I thought about the song  “Fast Car” …

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Love at the board

For hearts that are kindly, with virtue and peace, and not seeking blindly a hoard to increase; for those who are grieving o’er life’s sordid plan; for souls still believing in heaven and man; for homes that are lowly with love at the board; for things that are holy, I thank thee, O Lord! — Walt …

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Poetic memory

“The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” — Milan Kundera Memory, we are told, is highly selective and not always accurate.  We may remember a time or a place as being so full of …

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The quiet of power

…slow things are beautiful: The closing of day, The pause of the wave That curves downward to spray, The ember that crumbles, The opening flower, And the ox that moves on In the quiet of power.    – Elizabeth Coatsworth Recently I read a book that discussed the pervasive effects of technology on how we …

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A fine autumnal day

“It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts …

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The transporting wonder

“Those of us who know the transporting wonder of a reading life know that…when we read, we are always inside, sheltered in that interior room, that clean, well-lighted, timeless place that is the written word.” – Alice McDermott All of my life, reading has been a shelter for me, and never more so than in …

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Learn to look passionately

“…it is even more urgent that we learn to look passionately and technically at stories, if only to protect ourselves from the false and manipulative ones being circulated among us.” ― George Saunders Tomorrow is the third anniversary of this blog.  For the past year, I’ve published posts only twice weekly, instead of the daily posts that …

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Be one of the rare few

“Never despise the mundane.  Embrace it. Unwrap it like a gift. And be one of the rare few who looks deeper than just the surface.  See something more in the everyday. It’s there.” – Lysa TerKeurst I’m a practical person in most respects, so I tend to give gifts that are useful or inexpensive modestly …

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Power to gather

…he is happiest who hath power To gather wisdom from a flower…              — Mary Howitt What is your favorite flower?  That’s a tough question to answer; I tend to be fondest of whatever I happen to be seeing at the moment.  But if I had to choose, the delightful …

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A festival season

Just after the death of the flowers, And before they are buried in snow, There comes a festival season, When nature is all aglow— Aglow with a mystical splendour That rivals the brightness of spring, Aglow with a beauty more tender Than aught which fair summer could bring…. (attributed to Emeline B. Smith, about whom …

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To be wronged

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”― Confucius Gardening teaches me many lessons.  I love the way nurturing the flowers and pulling the weeds can make such a difference in how beautiful a small spot of ground may be.  Left alone, the weeds can choke out the flowers in no time.  But …

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A riot to the senses

“October proved a riot a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween.” ― Keith Donohue Blogs are a wonderful way to connect to people all over the world, and today’s photo is one example of the fun that can result.  As I write this, we aren’t yet having riots of color …

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That’s when you start

“…when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is.” — Shauna Niequist Let me guess: your life is fantastic, a …

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Just too used to it

“I think life is staggering and we’re just too used to it.  We are all like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given – it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.”  — Donald Miller Do you ever read the …

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In the slanted light

All the feathery grasses shine in the slanted light. It’s time to bring in the lawn chairs and wind chimes, time to draw the drapes against the wind, time to hunker down. Summer’s fruits are preserved in syrup, but nothing can stopper time. — from the poem “And Now it’s October” by Barbara Crooker Just when we …

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Look closely

“Look closely. The beautiful may be small.” – Immanuel Kant Sometimes I choose the photo, and find a quote to go with it.  Sometimes I choose the quote and look for a photo.  This is one of the times I chose the photo first.  It wasn’t easy to choose the quote for it. When I …

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So glad

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — L. M. Montgomery As I write this, I’m feeling sad and very tired.  I’ve not been sleeping well lately, and it feels as if everything in my life is currently a source of some sort of worry.  This evening, despite having many …

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The land comes alive

“The land comes alive through its wild creatures.”  — Charles Fergus When I was employed by the Tennessee Department of Conservation, one of the foresters with whom I worked heard me say my fiancé was from Hickman County.  “Hickman County?” he said. “They got more deer there than people!” I had to agree with that. …

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Invariably imagined

“…it is not surprising that paradise is invariably imagined as a garden.” — Mac Griswold Autumn is upon us, with all its promise of splendor, but it’s not too late to bid a fond farewell to the green grass and vivid blooms of summer.  I hope you are able to spend a few minutes this …

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Many worlds

“Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists…” — Marcel Proust How are you feeling today?  I hope it’s a happy day for you, with agreeable weather and time to enjoy a few …

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Our heart is not always able

“…our heart is not always able to say what it wants to say, and frequently has to content itself with less.” — Alexander McCall Smith In spite of my ceaseless flow of words, McCall Smith’s statement quoted above (as expressed in the thoughts of the winsome Mma. Ramotswe) is more true for me now than ever. …

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The noise is democracy

“Our political institutions work remarkably well. They are designed to clang against each other. The noise is democracy at work.” — Michael Novak When I first read that quote by Novak, I couldn’t help wondering when he said it, and whether he still feels that way.  Everywhere I turn, I hear people complaining about the government. …

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To produce some good

“I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.” – Abraham Lincoln To borrow some famous words of Yogi Berra, Lincoln really didn’t say everything he said, but apparently he really said this.  And WOW, what a quote.  Just think how much better the world …

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There are no words

2022 update: When I first decided to re-post everything I had written for the past seven years, I dreaded the heartache that would come when I had to re-live the most difficult times. This post marked the first of the great sorrows that changed me forever. Yet watching the video, I also feel blessed beyond …

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I learn by going

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.    I learn by going where I have to go. —  Theodore Roethke I’ve never been fond of awakening from a nice dreamy sleep, and getting up (especially on cold, dark mornings) is not something I do well. I envy and wonder at Jeff’s ability to get up very early, usually …

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