“Willing” the Spirits…

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Dear Reader:

This is the view we all shared the first night we spent with Mike and Honey Burrell. There was a light mist in the distance as the sun went down from our view on the deck. This picture (as pretty as it is) doesn’t do the “real” scene justice…but it is the closest we can come to imitating the breathtaking beauty of God’s world.

Since today is Halloween….the night when spirits are most popular…I thought I would talk about spirits…but in a different connotation.

FullSizeRender (5)  An “aha” moment occurred on the drive over to Trust, North Carolina last Tuesday…to our beloved chapel of hope. Honey was telling us about a woman she met who worked with a company that made and distributed clay. On one of her trips to pick up more clay for her kiln Honey and the sales clerk began talking. The young woman had a tough life and was worried that she might lose her job because the company was cutting back on employees.

From that first conversation…Honey began bringing her casseroles and different household items to help her….Each time Honey went…she said she uttered a prayer to God that this young woman would still be there. On one trip she discovered that not only was her friend there…but she had been promoted. The young woman was so happy to see Honey because she had been wanting to share the good news. She hugged and hugged her.

She, then, told Honey, ” I have been “willing” you to come.“And now here you are!”

I immediately pulled out my notebook and wrote the sentence down…”I have been “willing” you to come.

Haven’t we all done that…starting in childhood? We have prayed to God that someone or something we want to see badly arrives or happens to us.

That is what I feel each time I make the pilgrimage back to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope. I feel this strange magnetism pulling at me…telling me that it is time to return…it really is as if the little chapel is “willing” me back. And each time something new speaks to me.

I usually start feeling a sense of homesickness months before my actual arrival…so by the time we round the last bend in the road (before the little chapel appears)…my heart is pounding and I feel like a child on Christmas Day.

This time…we were all laughing as we got out of the car because Brooke and I were wearing the same jackets which we bought in a little boutique in Landrum called Sissy’s on the way up Monday.

Brooke pulled this jacket from a hanger and told me this looked just like me and insisted that I needed to get it. The owner started adding to the temptation by saying he would take a certain percentage off for me.

When I tried it on…I really did like it…and was still debating about it when Brooke showed up in the dressing room with the same jacket on…she thought she would get one too. We burst out laughing…we used to do stuff like that all the time at Erskine…the Bobbsy Twins. Then Jackson double-dared us to both wear our jackets and get a picture taken in front of the chapel…so we did!

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As you saw in the blog yesterday…it ended up with Jackson and Honey in blue and Brooke and I in pink/red….we were patriotic if nothing else.

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For some reason this time…it was the “miracle” rock  (that saved the chapel when the stream overflowed its banks back in 2003) that kept drawing me. The name of the little creek is Spring Creek. I can’t help but feel it springs hope for me and all those I love.

It really is a small rock….not big enough to make a difference against flood waters….yet today it still remains located between the creek and the chapel…which was not only…not carried off in the flood, but the floors weren’t even flooded. A true miracle. I needed to see it again with my own eyes…miracles are around us everywhere if we just look for them.

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Every time we look at the stained glass of St. Jude helping a fellowman (behind the altar) we see something different….this time, as we all sat on the bench…it was the rock that resembled our little “miracle”rock that caught our attention. (lower purple rock just above my head)

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Wouldn’t you know when we looked down on the altar table filled with items left behind behind by other pilgrims…it was our loved ones whose faces reappeared in faded photos…some even lying within pages of scripture.

1) The original picture I left from July 2010…after Eva Cate was born… with this verse on the back:

“Love is the child who shares our breath; Love is the child who scatters death.”

2) Last year I made a photo copy of the “chicken” family done from the famous Chicken Man artist in Columbia (Ernest Lee) and on the back side

I added a photo of Rutledge since he was just a “bump” in the chicken sketch.

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photo  The top picture of mother and Aunt Eva…bottom picture of me, Mama Mia, Brooke, and Jackson was lying in the Bible…Honey checked to see what the scripture read behind their pictures and it was the story of Jesus turning water into wine.

It was only later that the significance of this scripture hit me. The scripture was about Jesus’s first “miracle” dealing with “living water” and the miracle of its power and His power. From Hope Falls to Spring Creek…we have seen miracles of love and hope right before our very eyes on this trip. (We even took turns blessing each other with water from the healing bottle of water from Lourdes…a special moment in our friendship!)

There are still more stories to tell…but I will stop here and share some photos taken from everyone showing the beauty of the little chapel and, of course, friendship is always the most beautiful of all.

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photo The reason behind the “pig” being left in the chapel will be told in a future blog…there should always be a little mystery left after a story…

To my three amigos who follow my whims and dreams without questioning…friends to the end….I love you girls!

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So until tomorrow….Remind us Father to look around us and find the daily miracles happening right in front of us and “will” you to become a guiding factor in our lives.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* In Landrum I picked up  ” The Great Pumpkin Patch” sign (just watched Charlie Brown for the umpteenth time again last night) and a jack o’ lantern pail which I filled with mums….the last of my Halloween decorating….because today is Halloween!

* I will be spending the night at John and Mandy’s following the grandchildren’s trick or treating since they don’t want me on the road tonight…I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

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Hope Falls

photo  Dear Reader:

I wanted to get a few pictures off to you this evening so you can see what an amazing time we are having!

100_2774When we arrived at Mike and Honey’s mountain home  (Dancing Leaves) Monday afternoon they both were wearing the biggest grins! Even Gabby, their dog seemed to be smiling!

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Excitedly Honey told us to drop everything and follow her and Mike…she took us to their balcony overlooking Pinnacle Mountain (and Hendersonville far below) … I immediately heard something new before I was able to peek over…the soothing sound of water trickling over rocks. And that was exactly what it was……!!!

The workmen had just finished landscaping hours before we arrived…this had been a long-awaited gift of love from Mike to Honey for their 40th anniversary (next year.) Mike jokingly said it would take until next year to finish paying for it. Seriously they were both just beaming with love and joy! A rock water fall for Honey’s anniversary present!

I scrambled down to be closer to the “living waters“….I just had to put my hand in those beautiful water falls cascading over layers of rock…the sound soothed me like no other sound I had heard all day.

Honey yelled down, “Do you know what I named this rock water falls?” I shook my head….”Hope Falls.”

“I love it (I replied)….because sometimes hope does “fall” …but just like your falls here….you just have to “pump” yourself back up to the top and start over.”

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While sitting there listening to the water flowing down over the rocks it dawned on me why the words “living” and “water” are synonymous. It was like new life, a new peaceful presence, had entered Mike and Honey’s mountain home….Before it had been an absolutely lovely mountain home (a feast for the eyes) with a view to die for….but now with the sound of the water falls….it had suddenly come alive with joy, happiness, and peace. The sense of sound is so powerful to our well-being.

Can you think of a more thoughtful, lovely gift than the sound of cascading water to bring peace and serenity into the person’s life you love most? The Ya’s were all emotionally touched by Mike’s devotion to Honey!

I happened upon an article connecting sounds to healing and found it fascinating…here is a short excerpt…

Sound can set a mood. The soundtrack in aerobics class gets us moving, for example, while the one in yoga promotes quiet concentration. Sound also has a powerful effect on how we feel throughout the day. Our bodies and minds react differently to the unrelenting noise of a jackhammer than to a trickle of water in a creek.

In other words, some sounds simply make us feel better than others. Whether our conscious minds are paying attention or not, our bodies take their cues from these sounds and rhythms, knowing when to get energized and when to slow down.

Now, a growing body of research suggests that when used in a directed way, sound can also help us reduce stress, create a deep sense of well-being and even promote healing. From playing Bach in the nursery to yogic chanting in the oncologist’s office, sound therapy is gaining popularity as both a preventative medicine and as a complement to more-traditional treatments. Good for both the mind and the body, it has been shown to help lift depression, clear sinuses and help cancer patients recover more quickly from chemotherapy.

The author then went on to explain that all living organisms have their own set of natural vibrations…unique only to them. Vibrational Music Therapy offers ways to help patients fighting all kinds of illness use resonances (our personal vibrations) to help get us back in sync.

Using the human voice and objects that resonate to stimulate healing (think tuning forks and singing bowls), sound therapy is one of a growing number of subtle-energy therapies that make up the field of Vibrational Musical therapy.. According to the law of physics, everything vibrates: the chair you’re sitting in, the food you eat, the rocks and trees.

“Whether or not we hear it, everything has a sound, a vibration all its own,” writes Joshua Leeds in The Power of Sound(Healing Arts Press, 2001).

That sound is called resonance, the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates. Each part of our bodies has its own natural resonance, and vibrational medicine is based on the idea that disease is a result of those natural resonances getting out of tune – whether due to stress, illness or environmental factors.

As opposed to the highly focused and fast vibrations used in ultrasound (a technology already employed in hospitals to break up kidney stones and check on the health of fetuses, for example), sound therapy works more gently – but just as powerfully – to return the body’s own vibrations to their natural states.

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All I know is that (for the first time) all of us found it hard to tear ourselves away from the balcony and the rock water falls below. We could just feel the stress pouring out of us as we rocked and laughed and enjoyed nature at its most healing.

The timing for us arriving this year was spectacular (and not just because of the fall foliage)….As night descended we got to share (with Mike and Honey…and Gabby) the first night lighting of the rock water falls below. We toasted and shouted with glee as Mike hit the switch….so beautiful!

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For supper Monday night…Honey had prepared a “Thanksgiving” dinner because she said she was so thankful that we could come and share in this special occasion with them. *Honey is a gourmet cook… I won’t even list all the casseroles, vegetables, rolls, and gravy (beside the baked turkey) that circled the table several times…it would be too cruel for you readers…do I hear someone’s stomach growling?

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We decided the next day to have a special ceremony to celebrate Hope Falls….we would each make a wish and then throw a stone into one of the cascading pools…there is no doubt that our dreams will come true.

* Before we started the “ceremony” I noticed an oak leaf that was caught on a rock…the water was pushing it from behind…and it was resonating to is own unique vibrations…the “dancing leaf” for Honey’s passion…her “Dancing Leaves” pottery!

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So until tomorrow….

To all my beloved friends….my wish is for all of us is to stay happy and heal in whatever place in our lives need healing….heart, body, and soul!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

* Tuesday we headed to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and it was just as amazing as we knew it would be….come join us tomorrow for all the adventures! If you think you are seeing double pink….with Brooke’s and my jacket….wait on the story!

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A Sock Garden…

sock-spider-fence  Dear Reader:

As I mentioned yesterday I am ending my last garden story for you today… for awhile. I have been to St. Jude’s and Pinnacle Mountain..and now heading home to the lowcountry.

Aren’t we the luckiest people in the world…to get to enjoy the ocean and mountains …within a 250 mile span?  (Tomorrow many stories of our adventures will be revealed…)

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The other day (you might remember) we were talking about the importance of curiosity in a child…Eleanor Roosevelt felt it would be the greatest gift a god faerie could leave a newborn. I agree.

However, to be really blessed with a happy childhood.. a key ingredient is to have a parent(s) blessed with the gift of enthusiasm!

In this adorable story a daughter remembers one incident in her childhood which reveals the gift of enthusiasm her father embellishes.

“The Sock Garden”

Some people grow corn. Some people grow roses. But whoever heard of growing socks? 

I guess you have to be a special kind of gardener-and a special kind of dad.

One day many falls ago, Dad said, “Go get your oldest, rattiest wool socks?”

My sister, brother, and I thought this sounded weird. But it was better than sitting around until mom got back from the store.

When we all met outside with our old socks, I asked “What are we doing?”

Making a sock garden, of course!” Dad said with a smile.

We carried our socks and hiked down the road, finally stopping at an old field. Dad looked out the dead, gray weeds. “Remember how this field was full of flowers this summer? asked Dad. We all nodded. “Good,” he added, “Now pull your socks over your shoes and follow me.”

Feeling kind of silly we did what he asked as we watched Dad start pulling seed pods off  plants…they snapped just like a bean…some seem to explode. We started following suit and soon there were all kinds of seeds floating in the air like little parachutes. 

Dad made up a dance he called the “Woodchuck Waddle” and all we kids started making up more dances…twirling in the air like the free seeds floating past us.

By this time we were sagging in our socks so Dad concluded that we were done. We took off our socks and carried them home. Dad collected them all and then showed us all the prickly seeds attached to them.

Suddenly the light bulb came on in our eyes…our socks had been collecting seeds while we played and danced.  Dad explained that animals caught seeds in their fur just like we caught them in our socks. When they fell off the fur, they grew in a new place. 

Late that afternoon we buried out seedy socks in the yard. “Let’s keep it a secret!’ cried Sara. So we all agreed not to tell mom about the “game.

When summer arrived, we had flowers growing in funny, sock-shaped clumps. They were so pretty. Mom spent the summer putting them in mason jars with water and even in her hair on Sundays. 

Finally one day…she asked dad where they came from.

“I reckon the wind or rain must have brought them” Dad replied with a straight face.

We kids hid our faces behind pillows to smother the giggles but mother caught on…and the secret of the sock garden was revealed.

Some people grow corn. Some people grow roses. But my dad grew sock gardens and an abundance of love, joy, and enthusiasm.

-April Pulley Sayre 

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So until tomorrow…Let us love life with all the enthusiasm of a small child…and then pay it forward!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* See if you can guess the meaning/story behind this pig I left behind at St. Judes…the answer…tomorrow.

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 Rutledge is practicing for his pirate debut…Pirates on Parade!

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Gardening Gets in the Blood

Whitehall-Products-Cast-Aluminum-Come-into-the-Garden___-in-Green-and-Gold  Dear Reader:

Today while you read this post I will be in Trust, North Carolina at the little chapel of hope. My heart is already beating faster… anticipating the long awaited return. There is no doubt that after the visit I will return renewed and ready to continue living life to the fullest.

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For today and tomorrow…I decided to choose two stories from my new book from Jo and Colby…the first “story” is actually in the form a poem which I related to instantly. I know there will come a time when I will debate whether I can continue keeping up the garden…but I also know what the answer will be.

I could not stay in my home and give up my dream…my garden…I love it too much…it is in my blood. I took this picture last evening as the sun began to go down…and fell in love all over again with our magical moon gate garden of sanctuary.

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“Gardening in Our Blood”

When autumn time arrived last year,

I said, “I’ve really had it, dear!

I’ve raked and hoed and picked and canned;

Just see that callus on my hand!

You know what I’ve thinking, dear?

Let’s let our garden go next year.”

We’ll buy all those things in the store-

They wouldn’t cost us too much more.

When summer comes I’ll sleep til ten,

Get up and clean the house… and then

I’ll make a glass of lemonade

and go and sit beneath the shade.

When you come home at night from work,

I’ll put the coffee on to perk,

Then we’ll sit down and talk or read

And never think of garden seed.

Remember how you smiled and said,

“I think you’ve really used your head

To save us all this work next year.

I’m sick of gardening, too, my dear.”

But then one day, the sky was blue,

The sun was warm, the tulips grew.

The April days grew long and free,

The ground lay waiting patiently.

The sleeping grass awoke to green,

And then in every magazine

Were ads for bulbs and plants and seed-

In fact, for all your gardening needs.

One day you picked me up downtown.

With bundles I was loaded down.

No need to try and hide the facts

With “Burpee Seeds” stamped on the sacks!

Remember how your face got red

And how you turned away and said,

“When we’ve unloaded all that junk,

I have a few things in the trunk.

I’ll need some help, for it is hot

And seed potatoes weigh a lot.”

So now we stand here, hand in hand

And gaze at our productive land.

The berry beds are weeded clean,

The vegetables are tall and green.

We love our land in drought

or mud, 

For we have gardening in our blood!

-Jean Little-

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So until tomorrow…my new gardening quote is: While dirt is getting under our fingernails…the love of gardening is getting in our blood.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

While the Clemson Tigers are getting a much needed rest… “Wildcat” Rutledge has graciously offered to help promote the UVM Catamounts….while receiving nourishment from his “quacker” of course…endorsements are hard work.

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Gardens of Whimsy and Imagination…

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Dear Reader:

My bookshelves, that were starting to have vacant spots in them from all the books being hauled out to churches, colleges, donations, and Goodwill, (over the summer) are slowly starting to fill up again. The culprit…mainly me! (Though some of you wonderful friends have helped in the “load” I am accumulating again.)

Books on Gardens…some funny, some filled with quotes, some beautiful and formal, some small and cozy…and my favorite… whimsical and imaginative! Gardens, gardens, gardens….

So today you are in for a whimsical, imaginative journey through twelve of my top selections…my favorite ideas for gardens. The first secret…containers. One can make a plant container out of almost anything imaginable and they have. Come see!

1) c106e92bffe32205019ba329fb73a016  An old desk, bright paint, and beautiful greenery!

2)b33c67533236c95e84d9fdde758b4c22  Some old, outgrown rainboots…

3)a285975f17dc4da09fc4dd190e5e5d01  A wash basin with old stacked galvanized buckets in it.

4)101906612.jpg.rendition.largest Beautiful plants in old copper watering cans and pots

5)backyard_bugs_cupcake_pansA break from nature…want to have a creative “buggy” tea party for the little ones and big ones too…go to Costco …the containers, materials, and directions all come in one package…called (cupcake) “Backyard Bugs”

6) 8dd708d75e4c93a832e5ba6e07cbfdf0 Again…the art of stacking different wooden shapes together to use as planters…

7)6ac9fbb733fc04591fe3864cecc5cc7e  A new use for birdhouses….

*Here are  some pictures of just how adding different objects to your garden enhances the fun and whimsy of it in a special, enticing way…

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I could go on and on…but that is exactly what I am doing today while you are looking at these creative pictures….going on and on…to the mountains! Brooke and I spent the night with Jackson in Columbia… which is always a treat in itself….and now we are going to slowly head towards Pinnacle Mountain…taking side detours of little towns we have never seen…and plan to arrive at Honey and Mike’s around mid-afternoon.

Tomorrow is our trip to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope…just the ride over there and back will be so beautiful and peaceful that my heart and soul will be soothed along the way…”All is well with my soul.”

Wednesday we will rise…go eat breakfast in our favorite diner in Saluda and then slowly head home…again…no one is in a hurry so we can just enjoy the ride!

And hopefully Thursday, if the creek don’t rise, I will be able to start sharing the stories and fun of our latest adventure.

So until tomorrow…take one object and do something fun with it….it will put a smile on your face!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Talking about Whimsy and Imagination….Mandy called and said that she and Eva Cate worked on carving pumpkins over the weekend….Wow! That castle is amazing! The Dynamic Duo!

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Tommy is at the whimsy of starting a new law practice….and he is realizing how important creativity is in promoting himself and his new business.

Tommy loved Tommy Cuthbert who helped him with his golf while playing on the SHS team with Jess many years ago. So he and his friend, Haynes, played Sunday in honor of June and Tommy Cuthbert. He even managed to save up a few pennies to promote his fledgling firm. Very proud of him to help in this hometown fundraiser…Looking for opportunities to give back to the people who helped you along the way…always important. Remember: Legal problem hit you like a bomb? Call Tom! (Out with the old…in with the shingle..Help arrives in the form of Dingle!)

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Overcoming the Stains of the Past…

5d36be2926db8a6f49b3735eb2b7d4bc  Dear Reader:

Last week I had another home project going on…..you might remember it has been a little over a year since my deck was built. The significance of that piece of construction can not be over-emphasized…because it was only when I could stand high and look down on the backyard that suddenly I could visualize the garden and the direction it should start to take.

When Jerry Houston stopped by with Sherri a couple of weeks ago…he told me the same thing….it was important to build the deck first …because it provided the insight (and oversight) to visualize the the potential possibilities that the (then) empty backyard held hidden within its perimeter.

Jeremy, the original deck builder, had told me to wait at least a year to let the wood “settle” before staining it. He had, however, found some stain on sale for half price…so we had gone ahead, chosen a tint, and put the cans up until needed.

Tim, now, said he would stain the deck for me….he didn’t think it would take but a morning or afternoon to do it…he also had a helper. We should all know by now that home projects always take more time and money than originally planned…Murphy’s law. After seven hours I could see the frustration on his face….he called me to point out the problem. The original wood was just soaking up (or as Tim exclaimed in frustration) eating up the stain in large gulps.

He had already put two coats on and it still looked streaked…they would have to come back and finish up the next morning after it had “settled” and see then what needed to be done.

I would have laughed if Tim hadn’t looked so worn out….because I loved it with the streaks…sorta two toned. I dislike “perfection” immensely…”shabby chic” is my order on the menu of life. The deck had a slight beige tint with some darker streaks emerging occasionally through from the wood….”Cool” I thought!

“Tim…this is a deck (I assured him)…it is outdoors and mother nature will eventually have the last laugh as time passes…but for now…the wood is protected and coated and I love it…by tomorrow this will all be the past and we all have “stains” from the past that we would like to leave in the past. Now we can…I love these “old” stains and streaks.”

Tim started laughing and shaking his head. You can tell from his expression that he thinks I am nuts…but we came to a (silent) mutual agreement a long time ago that “imperfection” makes me happy and some of the “mistakes” in re-modeling both sides of the house are now my happiest memories.

Since it is a light tint…I am not sure how much you can tell from these pictures…just know that I am very happy with the outcome.

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Soon there will be tricycles being ridden on the deck with skid marks, chalk art, spilled drinks and food from “tea parties”….ah the beauty of it all…life!

(Maybe even some adult “stains” from perhaps a little wine?) Who wants a perfectly stained deck that no one is allowed on for fear of “staining” it?)

Isn’t this true of our own personal stains from the past? In the Bible the word stain first appears in connection to the “stain of original sin.” Perhaps because of this idea planted in our minds…. the word “stain” has a negative connotation.

I did like the discussion from one church group (C1) on this topic I found on the internet under the heading: “Getting Past Your Past.”

Sometimes what holds us back from our past is our own
failures or stains in life. Whether it’s something we’ve done that was bad, something we should have done but didn’t, or just not
living up to the standards placed upon us—our failures can
feel final if we let them…like a stain that has ruined a new outfit.

By looking at the life of Paul the Apostle, we will see that
everyone has a past full of failures. But our failures don’t have
to define us because God’s grace is bigger than our biggest
sins. We can find our identity in Jesus Christ and who we are
in Him—a child of God that God can use, even in spite of our
darkest past, to do some amazing things for Him! He loves us…stains and all!

BIG IDEA: Every saint has a past—ever sinner has a future.

220I try to remember to carry “Tide to Go” stain remover in my pocketbook….metaphorically it is kinda like carrying God in my pocketbook. Only He can remove the stains from our past through grace…and spoof! instantly…they are gone!

Philippians 3:4-8. This verse explains that our identity is not based
upon what we have done, but rather whom God says we are.

“If you let your successes define you, then you will also allow your failures to define you. The only person who can define you is God.”
—Francis Chan

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So until tomorrow…Help us Father turn our stains over to you through prayer and submission for cleansing…while learning how to get past the stains of our past through your Grace.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

* Dogs and “stains” go together (especially on carpet/sofas)….but we certainly don’t love our pets any less for these unfortunate incidents either….

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* Talk about two-toned and beautiful…while watering the garden yesterday the sun was just gleaming off the Japanese maple planted last Fall….oranges, yellows, and green “stains”…so beautiful it takes my breath away…

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“I’m a Little Teapot”….Nah…More like a Watering Can!

teapot2Dear Reader:

While switching cable channels the other day I heard a child reciting and pantomining the “I’m a little teapot” ditty on a PBS children’s program.

I stopped and thought to myself….”It’s been a long time since I have heard that…did Eva Cate ever recite it?” I couldn’t remember…if so…obviously not for very long.

When I looked up the story behind its original concept …it was quite interesting.

41Pnbw7+VfL._BO1,204,203,200_  Apparently it was created for the sole purpose of teaching dance to young children. Because the little ditty lends itself to pantomime…it could teach basics like pointing toes, graceful bends, and some furious tapping at the end…while acting out the highly active teapot.

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(Unfortunately I found myself humming that little song the whole day…I drive myself crazy when I do that….)

I must confess that on those “puffy” days (that all we women can relate to… when we just feel plain fat)….I do feel like the little teapot…short and stout!

PotteryBarnWateringCanImage_opt At this stage of my life, with my new passion and love of gardening, I feel like I can relate more to watering cans….I love them…the more rustic…the better.

I do have all kinds…big green plastic ones, a little metalic pink one (for Eva Cate…it is the first thing she runs to get…of course she likes to fill it up with water and pour it in the fountain…not on flowers.)

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I read a passage a few months back that has stuck with me….it tells the metaphor of a watering can being representative of God and His nurturing gift of life…water…special water for the soul.

Title: God’s Watering Can- Scripture: Isaiah 44: 3

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground.

“There are times when the land is a metaphor for how we feel: thirsty and drying up; fearful, doomed, vulnerable, losing hope, unsure and shaken.

Whatever circumstance has led us to feeling this parched, it is not beyond the reach of the spout of God’s watering can.  If God is faithful to pour out the water on the thirsty land, how much more he will refresh, renew, and restore us, his people.

After all he is a gardener, having a water can is a “must.’ Surely God has his basics down! He will know down to the last detail whether we need a nozzle with an “even, coarse, or fine spray.”

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I love being around gardeners now…listening to their every word…especially enthusiastic gardeners with a flair for the whimsy and imagination created in gardens.

So when Anne sent me this poster…I loved it.

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I love this cartoon…remember how just a few weeks ago I was bragging on the numbers of morning glories blooming each day while the moon flowers began fading away? Guess what?

So are the morning glories…the vines have all turned brown and crinkly…no watering can give them what they need…it is simply their time to depart. Here is my last photo of this season’s morning glory…a sad farewell…it is time to pull the broken brown vines down.

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So until tomorrow….Isn’t it comforting to know that God will always be there with His watering can to quench our thirst for life?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Yesterday morning Gin-g called me excitedly on her way to Fort Dorchester Elementary…she told me to go look at the sky…she was surrounded by the most beautiful pink and immediately thought of me.

I did and here is the picture…because of the trees and other houses…I only got a glimpse of the pink streaks but I know what Gin-g was talking about….the aura surrounding me on the deck was pink…the whole world felt pink… I even had a pink glow…it was definitely a “pinkaliscious” day!

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…But wait…there’s more. As I was skimming down some Facebook pictures later in the morning Sis Kinney had two pictures of this gorgeous pink morning where she lives in the North Carolina mountains….this strange pink aura was spreading far and wide! A great God’s Wink!

Well, I guess we’re in for another chilly day here in the NC mountains! The sun rising over the mountains makes it appear that they are on fire! Of course, my simple little smart phone doesn’t capture the intensity of it all, but WOW! Simply an intensely gorgeous sunrise!  (Sis Kinney)

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(Two different people in different locations experiencing the same pink morning and sharing it with others!)

*The newest little pumpkin growing in the pumpkin patch…..

“Mollie, Mollie, without Folly

How does your garden grow?

With pumpkins shells; large hay bales

And a precious boy in tow!”

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Birth and the Two Veils…

Veil-1_724x314  Dear Reader:

For the past couple of weeks a birthday date has been “toying” with me…there is someone in the family who has a birthday soon after Mollie…another October birthday! At first I thought it was Kaitlyn but Tommy assured me that her birthday was in November. Who…o…o…?….I kept thinking…like some old demented owl.

The mystery was solved when John and Mandy brought precious baby Jake to see his Boo Boo yesterday. We ended up at Continental Corner and while in conversation that today (the 24th) marks Jake’s first month birthday… John and Mandy mentioned that it was Joan’s birthday. That was it….thank you Lord…mystery solved! Happy Birthday Joan!!!!

The fall months do seem to be jam-packed with birthdays and when I read an article on birth distribution throughout the year…I am not wrong in this assumption.

Is There a Season for Births?

by Beth Skwarecki

September is a banner month for birthdays. When the New York Times published a birthday month frequency list, it went viral when Matt Stile visualized it as a heat map.* As you can see from the visualization, September’s a big month for births. My two boys are in good company. How does your birthday rate?

As you can see from the graph below…Jake and I are in the top top popular day/month to be born. (From there on the article got a little complicated with having children in the past to help with the harvest season, evolution and modern medicine…even personality traits for different birth seasons….)

It is just enough (for me) to say we are all glad to have a birthday…no matter the season or day…or popularity.

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 Then another article popped up about famous Biblical women and the importance of the children they bore. It was pretty interesting…especially the Garden of Eden perspective and the idea of the two veils…which I had never heard…the author thought we should be grateful to Eve…the “mother of all living” for if she had not eaten of the apple and persuaded Adam to do so also…we wouldn’t be here.

...Adam hearkened first to Eve’s divine mission and now, as Adam and Eve progress through their probationary time (Genesis 3: 22, 24), it is Eve’s turn to hearken to Adam. God has designed a beautiful partnership in which Adam helps Eve fulfill her mission to bring God’s children into the world; after which it is Eve’s turn to hearken and help Adam fulfill his mission to bring those children unto Christ, the tree of life, and back into God’s presence.

I don’t think that it is any coincidence that God placed two people, male and female, in the garden and also planted two trees in the garden… two people, two trees, two divine responsibilities.

The idea that it was Eve’s mission to bear children and Adam’s mission to prepare these children to return to God’s presence that brings in the idea of the two veils.

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“The Two Veils”

While the trees which God planted in the Garden of Eden have multiple levels of meaning one way in which they may be interpreted is as representing the two veils that all mankind must pass through on their journey towards exaltation.

The first veil that all mankind passes through is the veil of birth in which man is born into the world by water, blood and the spirit. Women have a stewardship over this first veil. When Eve partook of the tree of knowledge she became more like God, knowing good from evil and gaining the capacity to bear children. Eve’s transgression “opened the matrix”, as it says inExodus 34:19, the womb, the gateway through which the souls of all mankind would pass through into the mortal world. The only possible way to enter this mortal world is through the body of a woman and by the shedding of her blood… there is no other way.

The second veil is the veil we must pass through in order to re-enter the presence of God and continue on our eternal journey. Men have a stewardship over this second veil. Just like Adam, righteous men hold the priesthood keys and administer the ordinances which cleanse us from our sins and enable us to come back into the presence of God. Just like the first veil, the second veil requires a sacrifice of blood, water and spirit. Through His Atonement Jesus Christ performed this great and last sacrifice for all mankind. Just as women are the only gateways into the mortal world, Christ is the gateway into the eternal world… to His Father’s world.

…………………………

Interesting concept…I always love reading new thoughts about old concepts…I really like the idea that it is the mission or duty of both mother and father to care for the children physically (first) and spiritually) throughout their lives to prepare them to return to their real Father’s home from whence they came.

So until tomorrow….Father help us all set good examples for our children, nephew, nieces and complete strangers who look to us for guidance. Help us take time to be there spiritually for our fellowman along their sojourn on earth. Let us not put a “veil” on that separates us from reaching out to those in need.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* One month old today…Happy Birthday Jake!

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 photophoto* (Maybe he will be in the choir…Jake looks like he is working on the Allelujah Chorus)

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When Eva Cate got home from school she wanted to wish Jake a Happy Birthday too…with a little loving.

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My bonding time for this week…it will have to hold me for awhile since Jackson, Brooke, and I are heading to Honey’s next week for a couple of days… to return to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope…what a perfect time to see the little chapel again..in the beautiful fall!

Mollie emailed a few photos she had received from Sarah (that photographer is fast!)…here are just a few to show you just how good Sarah, their friend/photographer is… Here is, also, some information that will enable you to contact Sarah if you are interested in her services. (She works part-time as a nurse at MUSC)

SarahLizPhotography (Sarah. Kassoul) Number: 919-621-9398)

IMG_2622IMG_2591-M This second photo to me is a miracle shot…everyone is looking at the camera…including the dog…Sarah’s good!… folks!

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IMG_2671-M  A future President…”Speak softly and carry a big stick.” (TRoosevelt)

…Eva Cate’s class was invited to trick and treat in the dorms of some of the future teachers/education major students…who put on a costume party for them as well… at the College of Charleston….she saw her friend Mollie there and all was great! They went trick or treating in the dorms/ had free face painting. A cowgirl for now…Halloween night…she will emerge as a pirate princess…while Rutledge is her protector pirate!

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(* However her sweetest outfit to me was the one she wore to the Race for the Cure….thank you sweetheart for getting up so early on a Saturday morning!)

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I added a Happy Birthday “shout out” after lunch to yesterday’s blog … telling Joan that her birthday… ending up on a blog about smiles… was perfect…because to me Joan has the sweetest, most beautiful smile.

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Behind the Smile…

download (1)  Dear Reader:

I order so many books, especially children’s books, off amazon.com, that they are always “suggesting” new ones for me. Recently I did fall in love with the little clown that bounces off the circus train and is cared for by an old wheat farmer. There are no words in the story and there doesn’t need to be…the expressions on the little clown and the old farmer’s faces tell the story.

I was able to find a few “free” illustrations from the book…which I will share with you. I am planning on giving this book to Rutledge since I am babysitting this evening (last evening for you readers) while Walsh takes Mollie out for her birthday dinner. I hope he likes it!

download (2)  One day an old farmer is working out in his wheat field when he hears the sound of a train approaching…to his surprise it is a circus train!

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Suddenly, however, he notices that something has fallen out of the back of the train…quickly he hurries over to check it out. It is a little clown who has fallen out…Startled the old farmer grabs the little clown’s hand and takes him home with him.

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Under the disguise of the paint on the little clown’s face the old farmer assumes the little clown is very happy with all his antics…

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download (3)…until he washes his face.

photo Then he discovers the truth…under the mask of false paint lies a small child who is scared, sad, and homesick.

* (This is where I stopped looking at the pictures and had a “a-ha” moment. Isn’t this so true in life? We never really see people as they  are until we befriend them and watch their “mask” slowly peel off? It does take going the extra mile to help scrub off the paint to find the real inner self inside.

That picture revealing the little boy’s real face touched my heart…and apparently the old farmer’s too….who now wanted to protect the child and make him smile again…for real.)

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The next morning the old farmer entertains the little boy with stories and games until late afternoon when they both hear the sound of a train and off in the distance they see the circus train coming around the bend. They take off running as fast as they can!

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Thanks to the old farmer the “lost little sheep” has been reunited with his family…the old farmer starts to walk off…but then…

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…the “little clown” returns to thank and hug his friend…the old farmer. Do you see what happens in the fourth illustration…the little clown gives the old farmer his hat to remember him.

In the last scene the old farmer slowly turns away to walk back to his farmhouse that seems kind of lonely now…but unknown to him a circus monkey is following him home. Someone else needs him.

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There is so much to learn of life through children’s books… that is why I love them so much! For everyone we help…there is someone else calling out for our help too…we never have to be alone if we are willing to reach out and touch somebody’s hand.

So until tomorrow…my inscription to Rutledge in his new book:

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“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Two thumbs up: Rutledge loved the story:

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Walsh had set up a photo shot location for the family…a friend of Mollie’s named Sarah was coming to take some Family Fall pictures with the new “bump” included…..they are going to be wonderful…Sarah is a professional photographer and terrific….I took my little camera and grabbed some homespun ones too.

photo  Walsh explained it to me…Papa and Mama Pumpkin, Rutledge Pumpkin and “Bump” Pumpkin!

The boys dressed in lavender and purple….royalty I suppose!

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After Mollie and Walsh left…Rutledge finished supper…he had spaghetti and Mollie just went on and took off his purple shirt…but he actually got through dinner with just a loose noodle or two hanging down…it was the yogurt that did us in.

At school the children are learning to teach themselves how to eat…and yogurt with a spoon is a challenge. (I skipped right over the washcloths and went straight for the hand towel….Bounty would have been too rough!)

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 images (2)  Happy Birthday to Joan…my wonderful friend-in-love.

Joan….since you are the talented artist…leaving the rest of us at the kindergarten stage (like in the birthday poster)…I thought it was fitting….you moved on…we didn’t…at least artistically! Happy birthday girl! The story about the smile is fitting because you have such a beautiful sweet smile!

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First Stories, First Pennies…

download  Dear Reader:

This is a picture of a Mr. Lincoln rose…it stands tall and stately…producing the most intoxicating fragrance imaginable. I think “Old Abe” would be proud to have his name associated with such beauty. This hybrid rose appeared in 1964 and was immediately referred to as an heirloom.

During the Lincolns’ stay in the White House…the garden looked like a southern garden with peach trees, strawberry vines, and roses…which President Lincoln would occasionally pick for Mary to wear in her hair.

Today a list of everything named for the 16th President would be quite lengthy…They include a memorial, a state capital, counties, parks, theaters, museums (our own Lincolnville, SC) and of course…pennies!

* I love this idea of what to do with the copper pennies:

(In fact, I think it would be very fitting if our government would find a way to plant this rose around the Lincoln Memorial…maybe even in copper pots made from recycled pennies!)

Yesterday I met with Rebecca Moore from our church for dessert and coffee/tea. She asked me if I had a set time to write the blog and how did I keep coming up with ideas. I told her in my mind I set time aside (2-3 hours) each day…but the timing varies depending on the day’s activities. It only took a remark, a picture, a quote, or song to stir up a story.

Yesterday I am so glad I held off writing the blog because today’s story was just about to be delivered right in my arm.!

After eating a hugh slice of pie…my eyes kept closing when I returned home so I finally gave in and closed them for a quick catnap. Sometime later there was  soft knock at the door…Jo Dufford and her adorable granddaughter Colby walked in bearing a gift.

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I was so excited when I received this book… I was ready for a good story and I had no doubt that there were 101 stories ready “to nurture the spirit” of this gardener!

Jo’s computer has been acting up (could sympathize with her) and none of the pictures from the blog were showing up…so she had come to see the garden for herself. After she and Colby left I decided to play a little game…I was going to randomly select a story from the book and that would be today’s story.

I think I did good…I love this uplifting little story….hope you do too!

“First Penny”

My husband and I had birthdays six days apart. We always celebrated on a day in between by giving ourselves a joint present. One year we decided to buy a rosebush. So on a cold, blustery January day, we set off eagerly for the nursery to make our selection. After much thought, we chose a gorgeous, velvety, deep burgundy rose named “Mr. Lincoln.” With tall, straight stems, it’s as stately as our 16th president. It was sure to do well in our Northern California climate. And since my husband’s name was Abe, we thought it a good match.

We followed the planting directions and by early July, the “Mr. Lincoln” bush was loaded with lush burgundy blooms. I cut bouquets for most of July and well into August. 

Years earlier, my husband and I had started a tradition. We loved to take early morning walks together. On our walks, the first one to spot a penny could keep the coin for the day’s good luck. At the end of the day, the “First Penny” was deposited in a small crystal dish. When there were enough pennies in the dish, we’d go out for an ice cream treat for two. 

Years passed, happy years when the rose bloomed and the copper coffer grew. 

Then it was over. On July 2, when “Mr. Lincoln” was in full bloom, my own Abe died. There would be no more walks, no more talks, and no more “First Penny” contests. I went to the garden that day, cut a bountiful bouquet of the roses and tearfully closed a chapter of my life.

Or so I thought.

A decade passed and on another July 2nd, I set out on my solitary walk. As I passed our rose garden, I thrilled to the bounty of blossoms on the “Mr. Lincoln” bush. My walk took me to a nearby park, and, as I came up behind the bandstand, there on the path, shining in the morning sunlight, was a bright copper penny! When I got home, I took the long-unused crystal dish our of the cupboard and put my First Penny in it.

Each morning in July after that day, I took a walk and found a First Penny-sometimes shiny bright and sometimes tarnished-but always there. I began to look for it eagerly. I sensed that a countdown was underway, though I didn’t know to what. One penny, two pennies, three pennies-more. At the end of July, thirty copper coins were in the crystal dish.

August first brought me the shining realization that the pennies were counting the days till our wedding anniversary on the 18th. If I found one every day between the anniversary fo Abe’s passing on July 2nd and our wedding anniversary on August 18th, I would have 48 pennies.

Suddenly I had a thought. Could it be? I counted out the years. Yes, it was true. This would be our 48th wedding anniversary!

I’m not a superstitious person, but I got hooked. The small ritual became a consuming passion. Eighteen days until our anniversary! I scarcely slept at night waiting for the dawn and the “First Penny.” I found the penny on the path in the park, in front of the convenience store, in the parking lot at the mall, and in front of the grocery store. Not a day was missed.

August 18th arrived. There were forty-seven pennies in the crystal dish. Would there be that last 48th?

On the afternoon of our anniversary, I drove to the supermarket to pick up some groceries. On the way back to my car, I looked down and there it was: “First Penny”, shimmering brightly in the late morning sun!

But there was more. When I returned to my car, there, on the hood, lay a single, long-stemmed “Mr. Lincoln” rose!

I picked it up reverently and pressed it to my lips, allowing the tears to flow unashamedly. How could this be? How had he done this? As I stared at the lovely flower in amazement, a young man closed the trunk of the neighboring car and walked up to me. 

“Oh,” he said. “Sorry! That’s for my wife. It’s our anniversary.”

“That’s quite all right,” I said, smiling at him through my tears. “Thank you. Thank you so very much.” I handed him the rose and he smiled at me.

“You must be thinking of someone special,” he said gently. 

“Yes,” I replied, “and he was thinking of me.”

………………………………………………….( Bernice Bywater)

86e5a5b2815d2c4b8c5860f80282e5b6  So until tomorrow…Thank you Father for your perfectly timed “Godwinks”…they restore our broken faith and trust in our Creator and fellow man.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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