Author Archive: Julia

The greater part

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our …

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Sowing a seed

You never can tell when you do an act Just what the result will be; But with every deed you are sowing a seed, Though the harvest you may not see. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox It’s not surprising that several research studies document the benefits of volunteering to help others, whether formally or informally.  While …

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Enter this wild wood

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs No school of long experience, that the world Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood And view the haunts of nature…  — William Cullen Bryant The poem from …

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It all depends

“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?” “I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.” “Depends on what?” “On whether I’m on …

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For this I was born

“I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!” — Joan of Arc “If Joan of Arc could turn the …

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Do not cease to play

“We do not cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play.” — George Bernard Shaw Everybody who needs more fun time, raise your hands.  OK, that’s settled…we need to make more time  for play! Of course, when I say “play” I’m not talking about watching TV, or even playing “Angry …

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The perturbing mystery

“The butterfly’s attractiveness derives not only from colors and symmetry:  deeper motives contribute to it.  We would not think them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter …

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Estimating our limits

“How many ships didn’t sail because of the belief that the earth was flat? How much progress was impeded because man wasn’t supposed to breathe underwater, fly through the air, or venture into outer space? Historically, we’ve done a remarkably poor job of estimating our limits.” — Gary Keller Okay, so the skeptical cynic in …

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The greatness of a nation

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” —  Mahatma Gandhi While Matt was at Ride a Wave in Santa Cruz, a fascinating drama was unfolding on the beach nearby, where a stranded seal pup was being rescued.  I watched as workers carefully manipulated the net …

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No such thing

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.”  — Robert Brault One of the great blessings to come from this blog has been the ongoing task of reading many wise and inspiring words from all sorts of people, all over the world, from the earliest recorded eras up …

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The most powerful drug

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ― Rudyard Kipling I don’t remember when I first realized that not everyone was as fascinated by words as I am, but it’s something that I still don’t fully understand.  I have always been so drawn to words; their meaning, their rhythms and sounds, the …

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Higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay. Though some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim is higher ground.  –Johnson Oatman, Jr. Growing up in a church where a cappella singing was a vital part of every worship, I was exposed early and often to verses that …

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Bringing light

“Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” — Sydney J. Harris It’s so easy to be reactive; to allow outside influences to determine our moods, our deeds …

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Awareness of an audience

“Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.” — Eric Hoffer While I’m not sure Hoffer’s assertion is 100% correct (and it may depend upon how “glory” is defined), he definitely has a point.  Certainly many types of glory for which people strive are closely …

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An art of balance

“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of  troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the  mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”  — Henri Matisse I understand and agree that art is meant to do a variety of things.  …

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A virtue in itself

“A good disposition is a virtue in itself, and it is lasting; the burden of the years cannot depress it, and love that is founded on it endures to the end.” — Ovid I can’t think of anyone with a better disposition than my Aunt Peggy.  She has endured more than a few experiences that …

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Exactly like me

“Nobody can be exactly like me.  Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” ― Tallulah Bankhead Some of us are more reserved than others, but almost all of us don a figurative mask occasionally, or maybe even often.  We feel vulnerable and a bit intimidated about being ourselves, since we harbor a vast inner archive of …

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Waiting to be enjoyed

“…no matter where you live, the woods and parks, the trees, sky and sun are free and only waiting to be enjoyed.  You never know what you’ll learn from a walk in the park.” — Tammy Strobel Whenever the weather is nice — not too hot or cold, sunny with maybe a light breeze, or …

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Alchemy in sorrow

“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.” — Pearl S. Buck I believe that true optimism must include comprehension of the role sorrow plays in all our lives.  A positive outlook is not a form …

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The answer to a great many things

“I have a feeling that in the end, probably, that training is the answer to a great many things. You can do a lot if you are properly trained, and I hope I have been.” — Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom With characteristic reserve, Queen Elizabeth II summed up her secret …

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What we enjoy

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment…” — C. S. Lewis Tea. Books. Friends. Flowers. Animals. Family. I hope nobody is getting sick of seeing these and other topics here, over and over, because I have so much fun writing about what I enjoy — including anything …

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Clarity from stillness

“If water derives clarity from stillness, how much more so does the mind!” — Zhuangzi In a recent post, I discussed the fascination of watching moving waters.  But still waters are captivating as well, particularly when they mirror beautiful scenery. Stillness is a trait that doesn’t come naturally to me.  Even when my body is not …

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The incredible gift

“The incredible gift of the ordinary!  Glory comes streaming from the table of daily life.” — Macrina Wiederkehar One of the hardest things about the past year has been the need to cancel no fewer than three scheduled visits to see my parents.  It’s good that our grandson happened to be born in Atlanta, so I finally …

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Jump in the lake

“The writer is only free when he can tell the reader to go jump in the lake. You want, of course, to get what you have to show across to him, but whether he likes it or not is no concern of the writer.” — Flannery O’Connor I admire Flannery O’Connor, but I was somewhat taken …

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Waiting

“Waiting is one of the great arts.” — Margery Allingham It’s fitting that this quote came from an author of detective stories, because the seemingly glamorous life of a private eye requires a great deal of tedious waiting. For Jeff and me, it seems as if the past year has held well more than its …

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