Author Archive: Julia

More than a hundred

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” — George Herbert Watching someone fight bravely the battles Jeff has fought these past 9 months, it’s easy to get overly sentimental about him.  Yet I think I can say without exaggeration that I have never known a man more devoted to his wife and children than …

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One step at a time

“The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs…one step at a time.” —  Joe Girard Years ago when I wanted to lose about 5 pounds, I was able to accomplish that goal by making just one small change.  I worked on the third floor of a large building, and I …

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A place once visited

“Venice appeared to me as in a recurring dream, a place once visited and now fixed in memory like images on a photographer’s plates…” — Gary Inbinder Sometimes a place seems magical because of the circumstances of our time there, but some are inherently spellbinding.  Venice is certainly such a place, especially as the daylight …

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Delicate enjoyment

“Another novelty is the tea-party, an extraordinary meal in that, being offered to persons that have already dined well, it supposes neither appetite nor thirst, and has no object but distraction, no basis but delicate enjoyment.” — Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Whatever else can be said of contemporary culture, it seldom suggests “delicate enjoyment” or for that …

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A friend who cares

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen …

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God’s handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”  —Charles Kingsley Travel is one of my favorite ways of searching for …

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The celebration

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  The order varies for any given year.” — Paul Sweeney This month, Jeff and I celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary.  Without question the past year has been the most difficult and challenging time we have ever faced together, but the “together” part …

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Whatever we lose

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves that we find in the sea” —E. E. Cummings I can scarcely remember a time when I went to the beach without these words from Cummings’ lovely poem running through my head.  How simply and perfectly he captures the endless allure of the ocean! I feel …

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Rejoicing that I’m still here

“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with an opportunity to begin again and be better.”  — Oprah Winfrey A long life is a decidedly mixed blessing.  Those of us who make it to our eighth and ninth decades will do …

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Blinking once-sealed eyes

“I do not know what I am doing. But just like a baby bird, I am blinking once-sealed eyes and unfolding damp wings.” —Julie Gregory No matter how old we grow, life forces us to keep learning.  Sometimes it helps to re-frame even the most difficult experiences as opportunities to increase our competence, tenacity or …

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Produced in a garden

“For all things produced in a garden, whether of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none.” — J. C. Loudon We are now approaching the time of year when those of us just coming out of springtime will soon be able …

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The true traveler

“The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.” — Colette Of all the reasons I love walking, travel may be the most lasting.  I have done a good bit of traveling since I was a girl, and as far back as I can …

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A palace untouched

“A palace untouched by human hand, with its gardens of rock and water where living creatures play the part of flowers…” — Philippe Diole Reading descriptions of the form and function of the sea anemone brings to mind horror movies or frightful science fiction.  “Venom-filled tentacles…harpoon-like filament…paralyzing neurotoxin…helpless prey.” Really?  But look how beautiful they are.  …

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Irrevocably a reader

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.” — Alberto Manguel It’s never to late to have this magical instant happen in your life.  …

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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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