Acquiring the Art of Anticipation

Dread has always come more easily for me than anticipation. But I’m discovering there’s a better way to live.

This afternoon, I noticed a change in our black-eyed Susans. Yesterday their pedals were perky and sunshine-yellow, but today they look tired and droopy.

My very first thought–

Uh-oh. Fall’s just around the corner, and I haven’t accomplished everything on my summer to-do list. 

I’ve lived most of my life this way. 

When signs of the new seasons charged toward me–Christmas lights, Easter baskets, or fall leaves–my heart lurched. I went into panic mode.

It was a nagging feeling of–

You should be working. You have a job to do. Get busy, you slacker.

My list became more important than the people in my life. 

Sometimes, accomplishing my goals–which were good, noble things–became more important to me than God. 

Sad, isn’t it?

Being so busy with my TTD list, I let moments pass by without praising My Father. Sometimes, I’d just go through the motions of our porch parties–there in body, but not in spirit.

I thought if I hadn’t accomplished everything on my list, I couldn’t relax and enjoy the moment because God wouldn’t be pleased with me.

So yesterday, after noticing the black-eyed Susans the New Julie took over.

I kicked the A/C down, turned on some music, and tried a new fall recipe–Roasted Cauliflower Soup from Paleo Leap. I danced while I cut up my cauliflower.

Y’all, I had fun–even though every item on my list hadn’t been checked off. And even though I haven’t solved every problem in my life. 

I mixed the cauliflower with olive oil and spices–rich scents of home and contentment filling the air.

Then I roasted the cauliflower until it was slightly crispy.

I added coconut milk and ta-day–it became soup. Before making this recipe, I’d never heard of coconut milk!

On a whim, I put crumbled  bacon and cheese on top and made cinnamon applies. 🙂 How’s this for anticipating fall and celebrating the moment?

My new recipe for life is even more delicious than my cauliflower soup. Click to tweet. 

In acquiring the art anticipation, let go of all regrets and find something–anything–to celebrate. Click to tweet.

Life is full of surprises when you stop trying to control it and live in the moment! Click to tweet. 

What are you celebrating today?

Are you like me? Have you ever struggled with living in the moment?







  1. Julie Gilleand says:

    Oh Julie Julie you hit it right on the nose for me today! In so many ways! I’ve been eyeing my depressing to-do list too and feeling the nudge to revamp it. I did this once before, adding in a few things to it that were not chores and that were things equally important such as listening to music, reading, writing, etc. But lately I’ve felt it needed another touch-up. I feel I’ve been reading so many different things that I’m not really getting the full impact of a devotional or article or story. I mean come on — reading 3 books all at once with about 10 others I started and then put on hold? I’m 4 months behind on my GP magazines and a friend just sent me a box of 60 Angels on Earth back issues that had belonged to her mom (which I am loving, btw!). But the backlog of it all and the fragments of things I’ve read are making me feel in fragments, too! So I need to pare down and just keep hold of what is most important to me — as far as my to-do list. All others can either fall by the wayside or be like a treat from time to time instead of a “to-do”. Writing, also, has become like that. I must have better than 50 story starts that just got forgotten or shoved aside. One day I’d like to discipline myself to writing nothing else but finishing each one. It’s a nice idea anyway! My journaling is getting squeezed into the cracks so that I leave off mid-sentence or mid-paragraph sometimes and never get back to it. I really have to do something about all this! Or it makes no sense to do these things at all.

    Trouble living in the moment is the next thing. Bingo! My husband and I just bought new cars and although it’s very exciting and fun to have a new vehicle, I dread dread dread heading into so many years of debt. I woke up early with that feeling of dread all over me about it and to overcome my dread with faith that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he already owns these cars of ours, and the bank we will be paying! I want to be able to rest in knowing that. I’m not there yet, but praying I will! I’d like to just rejoice in the fact that we have good dependable cars now and especially as we are heading into winter — not too far down the road!

    And last — your fall picture! Now you KNOW I loved that! All the leaves. This is what I’m waiting for — before winter gets its chance. FALL!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for the loveliness of that picture and all it inspires and invokes in a leafy person such as myself — and I know I”m not the only one!

    Thanks Julie for your inspiration this morning. And I almost got all the way through typing this comment with not more than, mmmm, maybe 5 interruptions, lol, but seeing that I’m at work, I guess that’s okay 🙂

    God bless! Oh and I’m going to try your soup recipe, looks wonderful!


    • marci says:

      Oh, Leafy, as I read your writing, — I sure saw myself. How many different journals had I started? Theme books? How many books to read, started then set aside. I have been working on going back and finishing things I started,. finishing journals, finishing books with the goal of limiting my project I guess we just think of so many things we want to do? With a love for books and a love for writing.. well. You know. It can be like a kid in a candy store. My challenge is to not get too many irons in the fire.. I am working on that. Yes, Julie hit it right on the nose. Glad I am not alone in my struggles. Also understand about the new car. Praying that there will always be funds enough, and that your new car will bring you protection, serve you well, and be a blessing and joy to you. God Bless!

      • Love your thoughts to Leafy, Marci’a! — The new car being a source of service and protection and even a blessing!!

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Thanks Marci’a for your prayers and understanding. I know you know! God bless 🙂

    • Leafy, I do believe we’re twinses. I identify with you so deeply. I believe’s God’s teaching us the same thing at the same time. I know He’s talking to you. Sounds like your heart is so very tender towards Him, too, and you’re listening.

      The car debt….We bought my very first new car almost five years ago. Being married to a mechanic who owns his own business, he always found older cars for me, but this time, he wanted me to have something new. I didn’t sleep the night before. Woke up with the dread of debt the morning. Somehow, we paid it off a little early this year.

      Remember the Truths we know…One day at a time, and God’s in control. I’m praying this sense of dread lifts off your shoulders today! And fall’s coming!


      • Julie Gilleand says:

        I’m so glad you got to have a nice new car! It IS a source of protection and blessing to the family. I’ve normally only had cars that were at least 10 years old before. The car I just traded in was a ’93 and I bought it in ’03. It was the first car I ever bought on time and I remember my hand shaking as I signed the papers! What if’s flooded my mind. But that car was the best, most dependable car I ever had and I never missed a payment until she was completely paid off three years later. I drove her for more than 10 more years before this past week and I cried giving her up. The Black Pearl was her name. Pearl, for short! So named by my kids. My new car has a name too — Silverbell and I will be paying for her for the next 4 years. My husband just bought a new car for himself to, a 2015, so we will have 2 car payments! But God is able. One day at a time — yes. As for fall — oh yes! And I’m ready!

        God bless!


        • Such power in your words, Leafy.

          God is able. I can literally feel His Strength in your comment. And I love that you name your cars.

          The air in GA has felt a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit cooler the past few mornings. We’ll have to post pics of the first leaf of fall on FB.


  2. Anna Haney says:

    Oh sweet Julie. Like you, I used to stick closely to a to do list, so much so that I have been known to add something to it that wasn’t originally on the list just for the satisfaction of getting to cross it off because it was completed!
    This year, however, I have learned to let lists go. My word was “change,” remember? Back in May and June, when chemo had me flat on my back and I would lay on the couch or sit in the recliner, all I saw was the fine layer of dust on the hardwood floor as the morning or afternoon sun hit it. “I need to clean that,” I said to myself. The one day I tried, I was in worse shape the next. Around Mothers Day I had a melt down because I (1) didn’t have a present for Momma and (2) I had only sent cards (thanks for my blessing of a husband) to her and my mother in law. I usually send Mothers Day cards to aunts and ladies who are like mothers to me. I called Momma to cry (that got added to my to do list this year) and she said it would be okay–the ladies would understand. And they did. I emailed those who had email and sent notes (when I felt up to it) to the others. If a birthday card was late, I still sent it and most of the time I got a message that the recipient was amazed that with what I was dealing with, I still sent a card.
    Chemo and the surgery are done and I’m in radiation now. And while it’s nowhere near as bad as they were (I can work an entire day), I still have to let stuff go undone. I still haven’t organized my closet for summer, haven’t put on the new bedspread I got on sale. But I am trying instead to savor each day. I celebrate the fact that I am able to drive myself to radiation. I stare in awe at the blue summer skies as I drive and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the minds that created this treatment and the family doctor who sent me for a mammogram that saved my life.
    University of Tennessee plays its first football game tomorrow night (odd, I know) and rather than dread the fact that my husband will take over the TV on weekends, I am looking forward to seeing the crowds, the crisp air (later in the season), and the fans “checkerboarding” the stadium in orange and white.
    Granted, my floors are not as clean as I would like and there is still clutter in my house, but I am savoring the blessings.
    Love you

    • Anna, oh, how I love you.

      I felt His Sweet Spirit cover me in Holy Goosebumps as I read your words.

      My friend, do you see the New You?????????? You’ve been totally remade!!!!! I so wish you were sitting here in Starbucks with me!!! I’d be giving you the biggest hug and buying you the biggest cup of whatever you want.

      Thank You, Lord.

      Anna, it’s been such a joy to walk a little of this journey with you–and I don’t just mean the cancer. I mean, your spiritual renovation.

      I love you. I love you. I love you.

      • Anna Haney says:

        Oh, Julie. I am tearing up as I read your sweet words. My heart is lightened knowing you felt “His Sweet Spirit” cover you in “Holy Goosebumps.” I don’t think anyone has ever paid me such a spiritual compliment. Wow. Thank you.
        Love you. too!

  3. Julie … I’ve just stepped off into another world. My oldest left today, this morning, for her second day of college. Only a 35 minute drive from home, but still. I’m left with just my youngest and me to home school on Mon, Wed, Fri. It’s a new world. I’m having to slowly let go of my oldest and cling to these two years with my youngest. And I want it to be memorable and lovely and joyful … take hold of the time, not let it take hold of me. xoxoxo (I think I needed to say that. lol)

    • Shelli–how beautifully you said it.

      “To take hold of time, not let it take hold of me.” Blog post. Life lesson. For sure.

      I’ve been there—oh, how I remember that feeling of saying goodbye when they leave for college——but you know what? There’s something so precious about daughters. They call you! A lot!

      My heart is connecting with yours this morning. I hope you can feel it.

      I understand. I care.

  4. Mary Wilkins says:

    Spot on for me, too! When I was younger, I enjoyed looking forward to special events. Now, I dread them. Right now, a family wedding is coming up, along with a HS reunion and a visit from out of town folks. Trying not to panic. Doing something fun on a daily basis. Remembering to “just breathe” when dread lurks. The complication of hearing loss and the frustration it brings in social settings has made matters so much worse. A friend I’ve not seen since graduation has written twice begging me to attend our get-together. I believe I’m going to give myself permission to say “no” gently as I have to keep my frustration level as low as possible in order to attend the wedding which follows a week later. And I have also turned down an invitation for dinner the night before the wedding in order to preserve my sanity for the ceremony, reception, and brunch the next day. Prayers appreciated!!!

    • Mary, I’m there. I understand.

      Yesterday, I talked to a dear friend for a long time. She called and this very thing was what we talked about–how God has made us to be quieter people. We’re both introverts who’ve learned to fake being an extrovert. Sounds like you’re a lot like us.

      Something I’m learning to do is to….Take care of myself. And I do need my quiet time. My down time. I think you do too.

      I’m so proud of you for listening to your heart and for doing what’s RIGHT FOR YOU.

      Yes, I’m praying. Please, please let us know how it goes.

      You know what just hit me? When I go to a party, I find one or two people and am so happy sitting in the corner and listening. I’d much rather listen than talk. And I’m finally beginning to understand–that’s okay. That’s how we’re made.


  5. Oh, yes I have, Julie! And, more than once. I struggle with this every day. I am always thinking of the things I need to get done. I look at the dust collecting here or the carpet looks like it needs vacuuming and there goes any relaxing I thought I might do. And, as autumn nears, like you, I start thinking of all this season means and all I need to start doing.

    So, I am going to take your advice, Julie, and try to live in the moment. In fact, I think I’ll keep your post close by so that when I start to get into panic mode, I will read your words over again.

    This quote is so true and reminds me of you trying out a new Fall recipe. “Good food and a warm kitchen are what make a house a home”.

    Love and hugs!

    • Eileen, I LOVE your quote…so much that I want to type it and feel the words rise through me.

      “Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a home.”

      You’ll never know what this one sentence means to me. My prayer has always been than our home would be “a place of peace and healing for all who enter.” I’ve been talking to God about how He’d like to use this very thing in my life, and telling Him I’m willing.

      So much love–from your twin sister in Georgia~~~~~

  6. What am I celebrating today? Peace. I’m not spinning out of control with too much to do. It feels weird. Like I should be busy, busy, busy…but I’m loving the laid-back restoration time of soft peace from God. I have a feeling I’ll get into a busy season again, but not right now. And it feels wonderfully good.

    • Absolutely beautiful, B.J. I’m working at Starbucks this morning because Clyde is getting a bath.

      When I read your words, I took a minute and leaned back, sipped my coffee, and watched the wind blow through the trees.

      Been talking to you in my heart since I got home. Soon….


  7. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Simple pleasures and treasures delight me!

    Today, I celebrate yesterday’s joys of playing with our grandson and chatting with his mama.

    I celebrate the completion of a deep-cleaning task I started over a week ago and had to let sit when a horrid late-summer cold hit and sapped all my energy.

    I celebrate the ability to still write daily letters and mail them to my aunt, to help her through this season of cancer, which has lasted over a year and still no relief in sight.

    I celebrate the Holy Spirit whispering in my heart as I surveyed the devastation to the forest next to us and moaned about how awful it looks and how I’m so unhappy to have someone building there…His whisper: “But think how excited those people must be feeling?”

    I celebrate the thrill when I remembered it was the right Wednesday to have your blog to “anticipate” reading!

    And I celebrate the fact that as soon as I post this, I’m allowing myself the unusual happening of a nap! 🙂

    Blessings, Julie! Keep anticipating the simple things; God rejoices in serendipitous giving!

    • Cathy. Cathy. Cathy.

      Your beautiful list just blew me away–not to mention your precious grandson. He’s absolutely adorable!!

      Little tears came when I read that you anticipate my Wednesday blogs… Because it’s His love pouring through me. It’s what I love doing–putting my heart into words, and to know that this touches your heart sure does bless mine.

      Sending you the biggest hug from Georgia this morning~~~ And thanks for being my friend. xoxoxo

  8. Check marks on my “To-Do” list makes me happy too. A list that has check marks down the whole page makes for a happy dance at the end of the day.

    However, there are the days that God gets hold of my list and nothing get marked off. Those days most often turn out to be the most meaning of days. It’s a people day usually. God brings people before me to serve in some way to serve. I’ve learned to see those days as God’s “To-Do” for me. God is making the check marks when I obey His call and lay down my project “To-Do” list. When I get back to my list, it seem like God increases my time to get the jobs done with less effort.

    The greatest lesson I’ve learned over the years is to pause in Christ’s uplifting presence at the beginning of the day over a cup of tea. The drink may grow cold but our conversation is warm and full of direction in getting the check list for the day, the week, the month or year done.

    Julie, thank you for sharing your soup recipe. I’ll be trying it. I love the pictures. I saw Modern Julie using her iPad instead of a cookbook. The seasons will change and lists will change, our Helper never will. He’ll just change us with grace…grace…grace.

    Shine on!

    • Yes, yes, Carolyn….Grace, Grace, Grace.

      Oh, the joys of the moment when we stop looking at our lists and instead, seek His face.

      You’ll never believe what I started doing after CCC. I’m learning to love hot tea. And it’s so much more than tea, isn’t it? I’m taking a little afternoon tea time. I bought Chai (spelling?) and camamille. (sp?) I need to google Women’s Liberty Tea.

      There is much wisdom in your words. Life-changing wisdom.

      Let me know if you try the soup. I think you’ll love it.

      Hugging you from here~~~

      • Jan Olson says:

        Chai–right! Chamomile!

      • The Roasted Cauliflower Soup is tasty and easy to make. My husband and I enjoyed. Since there was more than we could eat after second helpings, I’ve frozen the rest. It’s an experiment. Having soups in the freezer are my favorite backups for busy days.

        Thanks for sharing this recipe. It’s a keeper. Serve on!

        • Carolyn, I meant to ask you the other day if you tried it. So happy it worked for you! Thanks for letting everyone know it’s a winner. Whew!!! Hope your experiment works too.


  9. Oh, Julie, sure wish I could be there for your cauliflower soup! Sounds yummy, but not the kind of thing Gary would eat. 🙁

    It’s exciting to hear about the new you…but I love the old one, too! 🙂 God blessed me when He introduced us!
    Hugs from SC…

    • Yep, Vonda. My husband was very cautious about tasting the soup. I think the color scared him. 🙂

      Still smiling from CCC.

      So very grateful to you. I said yes this time and came because you’re my friend.

  10. marci says:

    Oh, dear Julie, you timing with this lesson – it seems it touched many of us here in this lilttle group. To be in the now. Labor Day. Fall. I like Fall, but was thinking, ‘ I am not ready for summer to be gone. There are things I still want to do.’ Just as you said.
    Reading your writing, it came to me.. I needed to shorten my TDL.. The Lord has been working on me recently to be more in the moment. Not look at the big picture too much. Reading DGP, it opens to 10-11-16, and it jump out at me. Nick Saban’s advice. “Dont worry abut the winning. Just focus on doing your job at the highest level every single play, and the wins will follow.” He also didn’t want his players to look a the score board during the game.. (maybe he is onto something there? might I spend too much time keeping score on myself?) This advice from a coach with National Championships at 2 Universities. Lesson: Live in each moment the best I can. Breath the air of each season. And as I see from your writings, how the Lord gives us beauty to enjoy in each day, each season of the year and our lives. I love how your new Julie made the pot of soup! I need to take that lesson for the New Marci’a ! Always a joy to see the lessons in life you share.
    Yes, the Art of Anticipation. instead of regret. Something I will be working on.

    • Marci’a, we are Soul Sisters!!

      Love the truths you found in the DGP. Truths that speak to my heart.

      I know–the soup–I can’t tell you what joy came from forgetting my list and doing what I love to do. DANCING and COOKING. God seemed to say, “It’s okay, Julie. This is a way to praise Me. I love it when you live this way.”

      Thank you for being my friend, Marci’a!!!

    • Julie Gilleand says:

      Marci’a — you are so right about living in the moment — We hear that all the time but it is so hard to do. Looking at the big picture, sometimes, makes it hard to focus on the details, one by one, that will affect that big picture. We try and do it all and it is too overwhelming! Sometimes I need my to-do list to keep me on track, but sometimes I trash the list and go with what’s on my heart and am never sorry that I did. Enjoy breathing the air of autumn as it comes down the pike. Blessings to you, Marci’a 🙂

      • Marci’a and Leafy, I love, love love it when we all make friends here. 🙂

        Makes me soooo happy! We have so much to offer each other ~~

  11. Kim says:

    Julie, my favorite flower in the bunch you picked is the one with the browned petals. My eye is drawn to it. I love that you included it in the bouquet and that is holds a prominent position. You didn’t toss it or bury it beneath the pretty ones.

    I often feel like that flower, a bit worn, limp and slightly toasted. But I am still beautiful in Christ, useful to the Body. Thank you for the visual reminder.

    • Kim, Tears.

      You’ll never believe it, but I saw that brown flower. And I knew she wanted to be included with her friends. In my heart, I told her she belonged, and it was okay that she didn’t look like everybody else.


      I can’t believe you saw her–the little brown, droopy flower, who is just as important to God as her perky sisters.

      So much love, my friend.

      Big hugs. Wow. Wow.

      • Kim says:

        Oh Julie,

        Now it is my turn for the tears. “She wanted to be included, she belonged, and it is ok that she didn’t look like everyone else.” Oh, so true of us too. I am, we all are, just as important.
        Thank you!

        • I learned this Truth over the past few days at a conference. I’ll probably blog about it one day, Kim.


      • Jan Olson says:

        Had to laugh at this bit–been feeling like the brown droopy flower in a bunch of perkys. Included, though, and loved, and seen. Tears!

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    I love the beautiful Black eyed the susans in your pic. Sorry I could not post the other day, but I am worn out from writing a scholarly paper each week. The flowers remind me of the Christian path–some days there are beautiful things going on in life like the yellow petals, and sometimes there are hard, busy things going on like the black center of the flowers. How is Katie? How is your novel? I was feeling worn out and then I read a story from Chicken Soup for the Christmas Soul about your brother Jeremy and your mom–that story and your post made my week. (; Sending you hug hugs! Love the look of that soup by the way, is it low carb? xoxo

    • Hey Patricia,

      Today I wrote you back, snail mail. Thank you—

      Now, to this comment. Katie’s doing well. She and her hubby went to Savannah, GA for the weekend. Novel–I’ve been working on devotionals for Daily Guideposts 2018 this week, so I’ve slid my novel aside for a days days. But it’s always moving around in my heart.

      I hope Mother reads your comment! Sometimes she can figure out how to read comments on my post. Once, she even commented!

      Low Carb….I’m not sure. The only thing that would be a problem is the coconut milk. Maybe it’s low carb?

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend. Take a break from anything that has to do with school!

  13. I’m so sad when my favorite season- summer- starts to wane. It was 8 pm last night when the sun was setting- sniff, sniff. But somehow I must have had the same nudge as you! I put some sunflowers in a red pot on my front step and put a harvest sign up on the door. It is still hot outside, and school hasn’t started, but I’m getting in the spirit too! That soup looks so yummy and I’m craving apple crisp right now- I need to just take this welcome to fall approach one step further!!

    • Vicky, fall’s my favorite season. In GA, it can be October before the weather finally starts to change. And then summer will creep back in, bringing the humidity.

      I can just picture your sunflowers on your front porch. Bet they look beautiful.

      Hope you made your apple crisp!

      So much love~~~~and thank you for stopping by. Now…to read your latest post!

    • Jan Olson says:

      The soup DOES look yummy, and apple crisp! Hooray for Fall. It has been such a long hot summer here, I am very ready for and loving cooler days and cool evenings–maybe missing the fan sound at night, but not too much. Plus read two novels and reading a non-fiction book that had droughts, heat, humidity–made it feel like living three or four hot summers in the time of one! Now I’m thinking about cooking –amazing!

      • I really think you’ll love the soup, Jan. It just tastes so…..nurturing. If that makes sense. 🙂

        Let’s you and me enjoy our fall. It was a tad cooler in GA this morning. Not quite so humid and I’ve seen a few yellow leaves.

  14. From someone who’s always dreading something quite recently, I appreciate this post so much.
    I think it’s a stage, don’t you? We dread and then we grow from it and be better. Like you did, Julie!

    Thanks for this encouraging and uplifting post. Always a great time to drop by here.

  15. Jan Olson says:

    Was feeling bad this morning because I didn’t make more of an effort to get to the funeral of a friend’s husband (he became a friend too) 8 hours away. Told her I’d try, but later realized that my tires would need replacing, and later still wound up with a couple of commitments I could have said no to had I made work of looking for tires, which I didn’t, in part because of having a sister in town who doesn’t come but once a year, or every other. So the funeral starts in five minutes, but have given up the self-blaming, the feeling/thinking myself unworthy of even calling myself a friend of theirs, the guilt. I looked up his obituary, and found myself smiling and remembering, and wrote a brief comment that I hope my friend will see sometime. And will head off shortly into the rest of the day, following my list so I don’t forget something vital, something someone is depending on me for. With peace, and joy, and love, and maybe tears, but it will be OK.

    • Ohhhhh, Jan. You have such a tender, tender, spirit. And your heart is full of love. I can feel it.

      I see so much wisdom in your words….”I’ve given up the self-blaming.” Sometimes that takes us a lifetime, doesn’t it?

      And I’m coming to understand that God doesn’t want us to live under this self-condemnation.

      God is leading you. Keep following Him.

      So much love, and saying a prayer for you right now. And yes, tears are okay–God invented them, maybe to help us heal. Be gentle with yourself.


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