Garlands, a Grandson and Grace

November 13, 2013 | My Jottings

Last Saturday one of our grandchildren, Mr. McBoy, spent the night with us. He’s always such good company and I enjoy having him here. He’s eleven years old now and in the sixth grade, but he’s so tall and composed I think people could easily mistake him for a teen. Not that I know many teens who are composed, but you get my meaning — he seems older than he is.

We did what we usually do. We played Farkle, a couple of hands of Gin, we read some good books aloud, talked a lot, and gave each other hand massages. Then we did something we don’t usually do — we went to visit my friend Pat’s beautiful black horse Doc. Pat brought Doc out of his corral so we could pet him, feed him a bit, brush him, and watch as she cleaned his feet. Mr. McBoy loved it. He was able to feed Doc a handful of green grass and that simple act made him so happy. I think visiting Pat and Doc might have been the highlight of Mr. McBoy’s visit. When I drove him home on Sunday afternoon, we took turns recounting all the things we had done while he was with us. “We had sausage and eggs for breakfast.” “You whooped me at several games of Gin.” “You read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to me while I took a bath.” “You helped me do my first Christmas garland.” “I got to see Pat’s horse.” And so on. It sounds simple perhaps, but it feels lovely and right to me when each time I spend with a grandchild ends with such recounting of blessings and gifts.

As mentioned above, another thing we did while Mr. McBoy was here was work on some paper Christmas garlands to hang from our dining room mantel. He worked on the cardinal garland, and the next day when Carolyn came over I enlisted her help so I could finish the Merry Christmas garland.

I have two Thanksgiving garlands planned too. I’m not sure why I jumped the gun and completed the Christmas ones first, but things are sometimes a little confusing around here, so I guess I’ve just joined that club. I usually don’t decorate for Christmas until at least the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll post pictures of the Thanksgiving garlands when I’m done with those.


Mr. McBoy punched holes in a deck of cardinal cards, and I strung them together with some rough twine. The upper garland took a little more time. Carolyn cut out the plaid paper squares and the smaller white squares for me, and I drew the letters with a green Sharpie and outlined them in black. The twisted metallic cording is red, green and gold, and there are a few little white glittery snowflakes too. You can click to enlarge the photos if you like.


I was able to go to Community Bible Study yesterday and was so grateful for that. Michael was walking well enough in the morning that I felt okay about leaving him for those two hours. I know things might not always be this way, but on the days when this is possible I will seize the opportunities. Today he and I will go out to lunch, and then later in the afternoon we have our first in-home assessment with a health care agency. I have no idea what to expect or what we’ll be eligible for, but I know this is the next step in our journey with Michael’s Parkinson’s.

I feel like my life is getting so small that I don’t have much to share that’s interesting for this little blog anymore, not that the things I’ve shared in the past were that interesting. I do know that in God’s economy nothing is wasted, and just because someone’s life becomes more reclusive and focused doesn’t necessarily mean that huge things aren’t happening. I do have that sense, that while things on the outside might look and sometimes seem confined, whatever is happening in the spiritual realm has great purpose and is very precious to God. That knowledge is beauty and grace enough for me.

Thank you for stopping by here today…I pray this very minute that God will bless and keep you all today,


  1. Diane says:

    Oh, Julie, your blog posts are always beautiful, thought-and-prayer-provoking, and deeply engrossing. Thank you for making time to share your life this way. God blesses your readers through this ministry!

    And I love the garlands!

  2. Just Julie says:

    And you have always had the powerful ministry of loving acceptance and encouragement, Diane. Thanking you today…. xoxo

  3. Shari C. says:

    Hi Julie! I really enjoyed your post! Loved hearing about your time with your grandson…how fun! Fun that the horses name is like your dad’s 🙂 Pretty garlands, too! Your last big paragraph reminds me of the quote by Mother Teresa, that talks about not aspiring to do great things, but rather do small things with great love. The love that you give to your family is a beautiful thing, Julie! xoxo

  4. Kay in Cornwall says:

    Julie, you may feel that your life is feeling small but you have a large, loving heart with an inspiring faith and a wonderful personality. Your posts always make me feel like I’ve just sat down and had a lovely chat with you over a cup of tea. I don’t think you realise how much your jottings mean to so many people.
    I hope some good came out of your in-home assessment. Good to read that you were able to get out to CBS today: it’s very important for you to have time to do things that nourish your soul.
    Sending love and hugs xxoo

  5. Just Julie says:

    Shari and Kay, Ahhhh…you both brought a smile and a prayer of thanks for friends like you two. I wish we three could sit down and have tea together — I know you would love each other. My love and hugs to you both, and thank you for reading! xoxo

  6. Linda says:

    Ohhhh Julie…It is because you are “Just Julie” that I have come to look forward to your posts….Do you remember Wayne Watson’s song Water Color Ponies? (old!)
    There is a lyric in that song I think of often….
    “And the vision can get so narrow as you view through your tiny world. And little victories can go by with no applause”.
    Oh God help us never to miss the “little victories”! The simple joys of family and friends you write of… the empathy and compassion we glean from sorrows and hardships that propel us to seek His face every day. What a beautiful example of celebrating the “little victories” when you wrap-up your happy events of time spent with a grandchild! Thanking God for the gift He has poured into you to share “just life” with us .. thank you… you…..

  7. Just Julie says:

    Hi Linda, I had never heard the song by Wayne Watson but listened to it online right away. What appropriate words…thank you so much for sharing this with me. Your outlook and kindness are such a blessing, dear friend. xoxo

  8. Ember says:

    Small and boring are not the same things. I love your blog xx

  9. Just Julie says:

    Thank you, kind Ember… Blessings to you and yours today. xo

  10. Pat says:

    I love your blogs – they are never boring. I always feel inspired after reading them and am very thankful there are people like you in this world. So glad McBoy enjoyed his time with Doc. I very much enjoyed my time with McBoy. What an incredible young man he is! You are very blessed…

  11. Pat says:

    Love the garlands, by the way. They look amazing.

  12. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Pat. I’m always tickled and humbled that you read. 🙂 And I think Mr. McBoy and I will talk about Doc many times in the future. Hopefully we will see Doc again in the future…maybe even sooner than we all think? xoxo

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