A trade deadline slam-bang on the tail of the All-Star Game is cruel. Baseball in July forces us to sift through the current best while simultaneously looking to what a team might look like in the next two, five, ten seasons. These are all-organization, all-fan tasks.


This July finds me deep-purging my to-be-scrapbooked folders. It’s a process that forces me to dig through what’s already happened in order to organize a story now which will hopefully make sense in the future.

There’s a lot of guessing and frustration with past decisions.

These are moments of deciding what to keep, what to let go of, and what will serve well down the line.

Here is one box of the folders I’ve carried through at least eight moves.

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I am a little behind.

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It is the curse of the history minor; we tend to keep it all, each piece of each part of us we love, even when it topples over the top of us, even when it hurts.IMG_2301

Occasionally I saved nearly everything related to a moment which I was sure was world-altering, but as time passed, it just…. wasn’t.

It’s been so long since I last properly tended to this July business that the capturing, measuring, and keeping process itself has drastically changed.

In some cases, what was once essential to hold on to is now available elsewhere, so what is saved is only what was personal then and might be interesting later on.

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From time to time, I catch sight of someone I assumed would be part of my story for the rest of the story, and then just…. wasn’t.



We were merely passing through one another’s stories on the way to someone, something, somewhere else.

Every now and then, what everyone assumed would be a disaster wasn’t worth getting worked up about at all.


And sometimes what we thought was a fluke turned out to be a wonderful, rather long-term surprise.


When it comes to interpreting history and speaking to the years ahead, we must decide how the pieces fit.


Every now and then, the decision is made for us…


…but then again, maybe it isn’t quite as permanent as we may have thought.

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Some elements of life, however, are unchanging and ever vital.



In a lot of ways, there’s nothing new about the way July winds its way to August. It’s always a measure of new beginnings in the midst of current questions and struggles. That’s all history is, anyway–the answer to the question of how life is going to turn out.

And it’s a chronicle of hope. Always hope…

…sometimes exactly when hope is hardest to find.



I’ve found the best way to manage all this is to simply concentrate on what matters the most.


We’ll know the answer to it all eventually.

We just need to figure out where we are, guess for the best at where we’re going, and enjoy the reality as well as the possibilities…

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…every day of every month.


8 Responses

  1. Scott Carter

    Very well done and great perspective. Nothing is permanent (except maybe Joey Votto being the best hitter in baseball) and life itself is truly a blessing when we focus on the things (people) who are important.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’m glad we can agree on Joey Votto’s similarities to the Grand Canyon.

  2. msanmoore

    “I’ve found the best way to manage all this is to simply concentrate on what matters the most.”

    That’s the perfect answer to a long July with looming trade questions and who-knows-what for an All-Star Game.

    Thanks again, MBE, for some much-needed perspective.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’m a sunshine fan. July can last as long as it wants.

  3. Jim Walker

    About a decade ago, my mother was going through the motions and emotions of trying to downsize a bit following the passing of my dad. She kept instructing my brother, sister and I to take all the old photos of ourselves and our family we wanted because she had set aside the few she wanted to keep; and; otherwise the remaining items would be discarded. We kept saying we had everything we wanted. She kept saying look through things more to be sure.

    But she ultimately got the last word. The following Christmas each of us was presented with our own personalized life/ family history scrapbook which contained all the pictures she apparently thought we should have taken.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Now THAT is a woman who’s purging.

      • Jim Walker

        Took one of those car and half garage sized storage units, nearly full, down to the smallest closet sized over that summer. She’d have us help load her van on the weekend then take stuff to local charities during the week. I heard a rumor that one of the charities may have started hanging out a “Closed” sign if they saw a van like hers in the area.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        They pretty much know us by name at Salvation Army.