Tag Archives: gifts

Sparkling colors

“…let’s stay in the loop and pursue the momentous flow of daily little wonders, since life kindly tenders us gorgeous bouquets of sparkling colors, telling signs and rousing episodes.” —  Erik Pevernagie So when I was putting this post together, I kept thinking maybe I should call this blog “Defeat Despair with Flowers.” But then …

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Downright goodness

“It is, without doubt, the gifts we get from our excursions into differences—the people we come to know whom we could never have met otherwise, the wisdom we see in those we consider to be simpler than ourselves, the downright goodness of those we fear because we do not know them—that make us bigger of …

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The bigger, more beautiful picture

“When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life.  We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can’t always see from where we are.”– Shauna Niequist Okay, so imagine you are traveling across several states to northern Virginia, …

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A happy thought

“It was a happy thought to bring  To the dark season’s frost and rime  This painted memory of spring,  This dream of summertime.” – John Greenleaf Whittier Last Thursday, the evening before Jeff’s burial ceremony at Arlington, I opened our front door to family arriving from out of town and found a package on my doorstep. It …

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The gift not yet opened, 2016

Hello everyone. Since I won’t be doing a Christmas tree this year, I thought I’d feature a photo of one from past years. If you have decorated a tree this year, feel free to send a photo to defeatdespair@verizon.net, and I’ll post it here. I hope you are finding some moments to enjoy this festive season. …

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Wonderful, magical and more

“This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.” — Thomas Carlyle One of the surest ways to defeat despair is to stop and experience something totally amazing. A star-studded sky at night or a sparkling sunlit ocean are obvious choices, but …

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Plotting

“I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” ― J.D. Salinger I’ve often identified with this quote, and never more than in the past three and a half years, since starting this blog.  Some of the world’s nicest people have landed on this page, and it’s a …

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Gifts of time and love

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” — Peg Bracken I love Christmas!  But it can be exhausting and stressful, particularly when invitations, intentions and demands are far greater than the time (and maybe also the money) to fulfill them.  In recent years I have reminded myself to focus on the basic …

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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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The power of celebration

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, …

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Goats in the pipeline

Hi everyone, I just received a scanned copy of the letter to our donor with the CRF donations confirmed.  Some of you will recognize your names here, and some will recognize the gifts you chose, with you mentioned only as “anonymous readers of Julia’s blog.” Just thought some of you might like to see this.  …

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Defiance of the contemporary

“A hobby is a defiance of the contemporary. It is an assertion of those permanent values which the momentary eddies of social evolution have contravened or overlooked. If this is true, then we may also say that every hobbyist is inherently a radical, and that his tribe is inherently a minority.” – Aldo Leopold This …

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We more than gain

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” ― Samuel Butler Happy first day of fall!  I hope this season is full of delightful gifts for you.  What do you most look forward to at this time of year?  Feel free to share some of your …

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The indispensable ingredient

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for.  He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire.  Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient.  But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.”  …

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Stand ajar

“The Soul should always stand ajar That if the Heaven inquire He will not be obliged to wait…”  — Emily Dickinson There has been much conjecture about Dickinson’s relatively minimal social contact, which was unusual for a woman from a prominent family.  She has been labeled a “hermit” or a “recluse,” but perhaps she was …

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Your own kind of music

“You’ve gotta make your own kind of music Sing your own special song Make your own kind of music Even if nobody else sings along.” — Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil This 1969 hit is a favorite of mine, as recorded by one of my all-time favorite vocalists, Mama Cass Elliot.  I play this song …

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Let us remember

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms …

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A state of mind

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” ― Calvin Coolidge Now that Jeff is home, my days and hours are engulfed in happy busyness.  I can’t seem to let a day …

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Unintentionally

“Small kindnesses often, unintentionally, produce the biggest payoffs.” ― Richard Paul Evans Sometimes people give us gifts that they don’t even realize they are giving us.  Here’s my memory of one such gift, an intangible expression of an all-too-unusual kind of love. Because my father has always been a good sport about being teased, all …

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Bless you abundantly

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things …

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A big contribution

“In all your relationships, you’re never too small to make a big contribution, and never too big to make a small one.” — Mardy Grothe Thanks to everyone here who visits here!  You have given to us in big and small ways over the past year.  I thought all of us could use a mental …

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The most glorious messes

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ― Andy Rooney I don’t know whether they should get credit or blame, but Mama and Daddy made all their kids into adults who love Christmas. I guess there’s …

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If I do nothing else

“If I do nothing else in my lifetime but leave the world a good tree, I’ve done something.” — Ray Bracken George Washington did far more than leave the world a good tree.  He left an entire estate of trees, shrubs, flowers and innovative building techniques that can be seen to this day at Mount Vernon, …

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What the world gives you

“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, …

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Expect nothing

“Expect nothing.  Live frugally On surprise.” — Alice Walker It may seem contradictory for a self-proclaimed optimist to quote Walker’s counsel to expect nothing, but there is very real difference between expectation and optimism. Admittedly, optimism involves some expectation, but it is mostly of a general sort. We expect that joy lies ahead if we …

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