Thursday Thirteen

January 2, 2014 | My Jottings

1.  It’s minus nineteen degrees (minus twenty-eight Celsius) on our front deck this morning. But it was minus forty-seven in two of Minnesota’s coldest cities this morning: Babbitt and Embarrass. Yes, these are apt names for cities that get this cold.

2.  I made delicious creamy chicken, vegetable and wild rice soup for dinner last night, and we have enough left over to have it again tonight. Salad, crusty bread and hot soup. I could live on those three things.

3.  Against my better judgment, I gave Mildred and Edith a piece of cooked chicken as I was making the soup yesterday. Edith doesn’t always tolerate different foods and throws up easily in her old age.

4.  I was cleaning dog puke from deep shag bedroom carpet early this morning while it was still dark outside, and minus nineteen degrees.

5.  I have now cleaned a Schnauzer butt two times this morning and it’s only just 8:00 a.m. Edith has diarrhea. I am not ashamed to say that even though it’s probably my fault she’s sick, I stood at the kitchen sink washing my hands after I scrubbed her and said in a whiny voice, “Please Lord. Please.”

6.  I have this candle burning right now and our house smells like what I am certain heaven could smell like.

7.  Michael and I started a read-through-the-Bible-in-two-years plan yesterday. If you’d like to try it yourself, click here. (the link for the PDF plan is at the end of the post.)

8.  I have been doing some mindless and unfruitful things lately, like watching Seasons 1 and 2 of “Grey’s Anatomy” (which I’ve never watched before and sometimes wonder why I’m watching now) and eating Oreo peanut butter cookies.

9. Michael is confused a lot of the time these days, especially in the middle of the night, and I now get to be the bossy woman who tells him every single thing he ever needs to do for the rest of his life. “Your autopilot has up and flown, Michael,” is what the Occupational Therapist told him gently, and of course we knew this is what Parkinson’s does to the brain. He can’t do the next obvious thing. So here’s how I sound every night, all the time, when I sense him stirring next to me. (And these phrases are said quietly with long pauses in between each, over the course of about five minutes, and only when needed.) “Do you have to go to the bathroom? Okay, stand up. Turn this way. We’re going to walk toward that door. Wait. Take big steps. No, bigger. Hold on. Try again. Okay, through that door. A little closer. Closer to the toilet. Stand on the rug, a little closer. I’ll hold your cane. No, don’t close the lid, lift it up. It’s okay. You can go. No, you didn’t go yet, try again. Michael, please try to go. Okay, you’re going! Thank you Lord, thank you. Try to go some more, that was just a tiny bit. Okay, now turn toward me, take some bigger steps. This way, toward the door. Wait. I’ll help you so you don’t fall. You can trust me. Yes, here’s the cane. Toward the bed now. Ooops, bigger steps. No, this way. Okay. Now let’s put your cane down on the floor, not in the bed. I’ll help you move over. Put your head on the pillow. No, the pillow, right here. Good. Okay here are your covers. We don’t have to get up for two more hours, so try to go to sleep. It’s still dark out.” And so on. You wouldn’t speak to a young child in this way because a young child’s autonomic nervous system is working and they know all the steps they need to do when you say, “It’s time for bed” or “let’s go potty.” All the unspoken things our amazing brains do? They need to be spoken out for Michael now.

10.  Eight of my nine female offspring and I went to a gorgeous Jacobean mansion recently to take a self-guided tour. We live very close to this beautiful home and it was fun to see it decorated for Christmas, and to hear the little girls say which bedroom they would choose if one of the many rooms could be their own. Little Louisa did not attend because at eighteen months she isn’t interested in Jacobean mansions yet.


Above, from left: Vivienne, Sara, Mrs. Nisky, Clara, Li’l Gleegirl, Sharon, Audrey and Carolyn. My heart almost explodes when I look at this picture. I have no idea how to come close to expressing the depth of love and emotion and prayers I have for these young women. It gets stronger day by day. I know all you mothers understand exactly what I’m talking about.

11.  We had our roof shoveled yesterday. The snow was piling up so high and I started hearing occasional scary cracks and pops above me, so I knew it was time to call a crew. It took four men three hours to clear the roof of snow and then shovel it all off the deck and driveway where they’d thrown it.

12.  Our new mandated health care will not be a good thing for us. The websites have been messed up, we will pay a lot more money for less coverage and higher (triple) deductibles, and I am having trouble deciding which company to choose. I have yet to talk with one person who likes or is better off by the changes.

13. As I mentioned previously, my word for the year is “gentle.” Here’s a quote I found to be jarring, but likely:

“I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.”  Unknown

And here’s my mandate from my heavenly Father for 2014, with my name inserted to remind me that He really is speaking to us through His Word…

Julie, rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all, Julie.
The Lord is near.
Julie, do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

What is your Thursday Thirteen? Or your Thursday Three?


  1. Ember says:

    What you say in No 13 about gentleness resonates with something I noticed recently. Our parish priest moved on to a new parish in the summer, and we are between priests at the moment. I miss him a lot. He understood about the crazy patchwork of my mental health and was always kind to me. Without exception, the people at our church are friendly and pleasant, good folk, but they don’t always see the need to be kind and encouraging. But I noticed that the retired bishop who is part of our church, and our churchwarden and her husband, and the other churchwarden, are always encouraging and kind. All these people have roles of power in the church (and beyond it, some of them). I realised that their kindness comes from their power – they recognise they have authority and that implies responsibility, which they use well. The other people don’t see the need to be kind because they see themselves as just part of the herd, like me, with no responsibility therefore to be especially kind. So in my longwinded and ruminative way I think I am agreeing that yes, gentleness and strength are often connected. And I can instantly think of an example from my acquaintance of someone who is often cruel, and it is helpful to have the reminder that it is a sign of weakness – frailty – someone who needs extra help and understanding. So; thank you!
    May God walk every step of 2014 right alongside you holding your hand. May there be many happy times, and moments of rest and refreshment. God bless you and Michael on this slow and difficult journey. xxx

  2. Just Julie says:

    Your example was beautifully put, Ember. Thank you. And also for your pronouncement of blessings on us each time you visit here. Love to you and Tony, and all your other beloveds… xoxo

  3. Kay in Cornwall says:

    My Thursday three:
    1. Alan is recovering from a haemophiliac bleed in his left foot. It started on New Year’s Eve. We are very grateful that this didn’t happen while we were away from home over Christmas.
    2. A new ‘toy’ has arrived for Alan today. He’s got a newer tv recorder/viewer. The old one will go into our bedroom which will be so useful when Alan is bed bound.
    3. Cornwall is on flood alert again tonight. Fortunately we live 450ft above sea-level in our little corner of the county.
    We’ll be battening down the hatches anyway!

  4. Just Julie says:

    I am so sorry to read of Alan’s new bleed, Kay. He’s blessed to have you as his caring wife. And stay warm and dry and as healthy as you can. Thinking of you both… xoxo

  5. Susan A. Reed says:

    Oh Julie, may God give you strength as you care for your Beloved Michael, makes me cry to think how the disease of Parkinsons can steal a life from those who love them. Shows that life continues to be unfair, but we know our God is fair, and kind and loving, and He has a plan! Praying for you! I am so glad you have those loving girls in your life!
    love to you my sister in Jesus~Susan

  6. Just Julie says:

    I am so happy when I see you’ve left a comment, Susan….thank you. Your love and compassion came through the screen today and I felt it. God bless you… xoxo

  7. Ganeida says:

    3 things:

    Our temps are in the 40sC ~ we have a heat wave.

    The island opposite us is burning fiercely & we are covered in smoke.

    John cleaned & organized his business area. So much nicer.

    Blessings on you & Michael for the new year.

  8. Just Julie says:

    I enjoyed reading your three things, Ganeida, even if two of them are concerning. 🙁 I hope no one is hurt. And John — way to go! xoxo

  9. Sharon says:

    Well, it’s Friday now, so here are four things:
    1. Chris has mentioned to me many times that he misses reading my blog. So I think I will get back into that with my winter downtime. This time on a new site.

    2. My six year old makes the best coffee in the family. Probably because she infuses it with her joy.

    3. I think we should buy a winter mansion in North Carolina to share. We can live there from January-March.

    4. My baby does not play with toys at all. I bought her some nice ones for Christmas, and she has no interest. Ball of yarn, yes. Expensive wooden European non toxic toy? No.

  10. Just Julie says:

    I think you should continue on your blog too. Can’t wait to see what you call it! And the North Carolina thing is sounding pretty good right about now. Louisa likes the toys we have for her here. 🙂 xoxo

  11. Shari C. says:

    Hi Julie…Just love the picture of all your girls! How wonderful they all are!! Hope your dogs are feeling better!
    Sending warm thoughts your way…thank you for sharing the quote about gentleness. I’ve realized over the years how hard it is to be gentle when I harbor anger and bitterness, much easier to be gentle when I have a heart is steadied by love, especially a love that is bigger and better than mine.
    Today is Saturday…so here is a Saturday Seven for you:
    1. Woke up to sunny blue sky – makes me smile.
    2. Daniel is here visiting – makes me smile more.
    3. Dog is anxiously pacing around – wanting to go outside and play frisbee…
    4. Had wild huckleberries to put on my oatmeal this morning – they were frozen, but when they thawed I tasted summer again…
    5. Our washing machine broke yesterday evening – looked up warranty – still under warranty, but business that sold it went out of business, so warranty not useable. Bruce doing his best to take it apart and fix it- thanks to YouTube video help.
    6. Thinking I should get some ground venison out of freezer to have as hamburgers for dinner – have an avocado and am craving guacamole burger 🙂
    7. Still have my Nativity Scene up …love looking at every morning…don’t want to take it down…wondering how long I will let it stay there 🙂
    Well better go now and throw some frisbees for Hank…love you, Julie! Hugs to you and Michael…prayers and blessings to you both for this day…hope Warmth finds you and wraps you in it’s loving arms!

  12. Just Julie says:

    If I were to take a poll of my few loyal blog readers now and ask them to give their opinion if they think you should do a blog, I’ll bet all of them would say yes, and would read it, Shari. I know you have a photography blog that someone hacked and stole from you (booo!!) but you have a way with loving, honest, gracious words that the world needs. You should do a blog with the written word too. Thank you for sharing your Saturday Seven! Loved it. I hope your washing machine is up and running soon, and hope to eat a huckleberry someday! I just came home from grocery shopping and bought avocados too. 🙂 God bless you dear friend… xoxo

  13. Shari C. says:

    Awww…thanks, Julie. Your words are kind. You are so kind! It’s funny how things work…just this morning I was thinking that I miss writing and want to try to write more faithfully this year. Could sure use some prayers to do that…Thank You, my friend, for faithfully writing – and please know that you, and your blog, inspire me so much! …enjoy those avocados!! Do they make you think of California? They are always a California souvenir to my taste buds 🙂

  14. Just Julie says:

    Interesting timing Shari! I will pray, yes. I didn’t start liking avocados until I moved here, so they weren’t on my California “radar” back then. I love them now. And thank you for your encouragement once again. xoxo

  15. Linda says:

    1.. It’s not minus anything here & I’m not liking the single digit temps we’ve been getting and 3rd snowstorm since October! How are you surviving those temps?? Are you harpooning seals yet for their skins & blubber?
    2.. We’ve been existing on veggie beef cabbage barley potato “stone soup” (are you familiar with that children’s folk lore story?) ever since Christmas dinner and all the leftovers…anything but turkey ! Yesterday I used the Tyrannosaurus Rex size ham bone from our Christmas dinner to make 5 gallons of 16 bean (yes ..16!) ham & bean soup . That should last till spring….so I’m good.
    3. At my age I think I learned my lesson about giving animals people food ….cleaned my share of stained carpets and poopy pet butts…enjoy cleaning baby butts better…if you can believe that??? My grandson’s baby poop is from heaven… and it doesn’t even stink! 😉
    4. I feel your pain!
    5. Yes it is your fault Mildred had diarrhea …but I’m certain God has forgiven you…but glad you washed your hands real good! I washed my hands too after I had diarrhea…I think I got it after a week of eating left over turkey.
    6. I have been burning 2 candles every day since Christmas from BB&B called “Fresh Balsam” & I am certain heaven smells like this too… Guess God has lots of cat litter boxes and this really works on odor control.
    7. I’m planning to read the bible “too”…..two years is a better plan…or three…just keep reading …& I so appreciated the encouragement in the link you provided Julie which stated : “There will be some passages that you find boring and difficult. Remember 2 Timothy 3.16-17 as you read these passages: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.” Ask yourself why God breathed out this particular passage, and how it is profitable for you.”
    8. Must be a virus going around cause I’ve been engaging in mindless activities too!….like…I sit in front of the TV a lot ….with the sound muted and flicking the channels then realize I’ve eaten all the ribbon candy in the candy dish. Please don’t tell anyone…ok?
    9. I’ve been very sad after reading #9. I prayed and thanked God for you Julie….
    for not skipping over #9. How else would I/we know how to empathize with those who are caring for loved ones with such devastating illnesses. I know I need to be more caring & attentive to those who tell me of their sick loved ones….and pray more for them after reading “#9″……
    10. Unspeakable joy….my 7year old granddaughter read me a Dr. Seuss book via FaceTime today : “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut”….some very tough reading…for only 2nd grade! I think at that age I was reading “Dick & Jane saw Spot”…”Dick & Jane saw a cat”, “Dick & Jane went to bed”…The End!
    11. We had the leaves cleaned out of our gutters before Christmas…the only creaking we hear on our roof is from the squirrels cracking their nuts and dropping them on the roof! …My cat sat in the window watching the entertainment. If our roof ever needs shoveling I’m moving to Florida! (or maybe North Carolina if you move there too 🙂
    12. “Un”affordable Health Care Act for many seems to be a more appropriate name. In God we trust…….we must.
    13. I will ask Jesus to help me pray more in 2014 ….for …my loved ones and friends…& enemies..…for your Michael & your beautiful family…and especially for you …”Just Julie”…. who is more than “Just Julie” to so many of us who “tune in ” to your anointed posts here. I praise God for His gift of you to us….
    Love you across time & space……Linda
    (ps…is there a limit on blog responses?? cause I think I might have reached it! …if you “flag” me I’ll understand! XO)

  16. Kay in Cornwall says:

    Oh I’m glad Julie hasn’t put a limit on blog responses because I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone of these comments.
    Linda’s No. 7 comment really spoke to me – hello Linda and thank you! 🙂

  17. Just Julie says:

    What a delight to read your “thirteen” Linda, and so very encouraging too. I agree with Kay about your #7… So good and helpful! Linda, you would love Kay! Kay, you would love Linda! How can we all meet for tea someday…? I love details and what you shared made me smile and feel thankful to know you, dear Linda… xoxo And never a limit on responses Kay… 😉

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