“Little” Matters…

img-thing   Dear Reader:

I just experienced a great lesson in mis-communication. It took me back to all the discussions we used to have in our eighth grade social studies class (before studying American history each year) regarding the number of wars our country has been involved in and the reasons for them. We all agreed that two things in life propel people into war….greed and mis-communication.

The title of the blog was supposed to read “Little Things Matter.” But just as I was about to start typing …I heard a hugh BOOM! And yesterday afternoon’s thunderstorm began. I was afraid the lightning might hit the computer…so I quickly typed the title – “Little Matters” and turned it off.

After the storm turned into a wonderful slow rainy afternoon (raindrops are a gardener’s favorite musical notes) I turned the computer back on  and without giving the title a second glance… started in on my thoughts about the importance of  small things in life and the big role they play in helping each other through life.

Once I realized the mistake…I decided to leave the title just the way it was originally. It represents the antithesis of everything I believe but we do learn from a wide exposure in life to people and philosophies that differ from our own.

Quote honestly, however…(personally)…the “It doesn’t matter” people are the most challenging people to be around. I just want to shake them!

You know them too…they are the “shruggers” (when you ask how their day was or what they would like to eat… they reply “It doesn’t matter” or they simply “grunt” and send out a dismissive wave to any questions directed at them for a response.

I have never understood how people can go through life with the “It doesn’t matter perpetual teenage” attitudeTheir indifference to life makes me angry…personally I take it as an “affront” to everyone who is fighting everyday for life…for beautiful, mind-boggling life!

“What do you mean it doesn’t matter?”….of course it does! Everything in life that happens MATTERS!!!

I was going to add the word “IDIOT” but my anger (that just came out of left field) is over. The quiet, peaceful drops of rain are lulling me back into a very good place again. I think some of this repressed anger goes back to those students, who at thirteen, had already become a “It doesn’t matter” human being. I would go home each night feeling deflated over those handful of students that I just couldn’t seem to reach…no matter what I tried.

How in the world did these young people get to such an apathetic state so early in life? It broke my heart then and still breaks it today.

However, with a few extra bits and pieces of wisdom that I have managed to pick up in my later life… I would now pull them aside and tell them that they might not think they are making a difference in the world…but some of them have already changed people’s lives without even knowing it. And I would tell them a story that goes like this…

download (3) Source: GodWink Stories: Squire Rushnell…A Devotional

Kimberly’s Story: “A Man Named Fred”

In 1992, accompanied by fourteen friends, I rode my bike from Seattle to Atlantic City, New Jersey…to benefit the American Lung Association. One day in Idaho, I decided to ride alone. My friends and the van were far ahead of me. 

My life was off-kilter and I needed time to be alone and think…I needed direction in my life and I hoped that this bike trip might give me the opportunity to find out who I was and how I could make a difference in the world.  

I was enjoying the day and the ride when without warning my bike broke down. Upon inspection I realized that the the problem was the tiniest and most essential screw that holds the derailleur together…it was gone. Without it to shift through the gears, I could not ride my bike. 

 I looked around but all I could see was a small town on a distant hill. I got off my bike and began pushing it uphill…angry, scared, and confused. Would anybody out here in the wilderness be able to help me? 

I passed a sign identifying a town and I finally located a car repair shop. After explaining who I was and my situation…the mechanic interrupted me and asked where I was from. I told him “New Jersey” and he slowly shook his head. 

“Wait until I tell Fred…he will be so glad to know you are here.” 

What a strange statement…who was Fred and what had I gotten myself into?” I felt very uneasy. 

The mechanic decided that the best place to find a screw as tiny as I needed was the sewing machine shop. As soon as we entered I explained my situation again while the mechanic went to tell Fred that I had arrived. 

After going through twenty or more boxes we found the screw that fit. The nice owner ( a lady) walked me back over to the car repair shop explaining that in a town the size of this one word of a new arrival traveled fast. 

Sure enough, as we left the shop, three people walked by…with one shouting,”Oh! you must be Kimberly! Fred will be so glad to see you!”

It crossed my mind that maybe I had entered a science-fiction world, some sort of twilight zone where I would end up with some strange alien creature ….named Fred. 

The mechanic got the sewing machine screw back on and it worked! I used the shop phone to call my friends and waited for them to pick me up. 

Moments later, a van pulled up and a frail, elderly man carrying two brown bags of vegetables got out. He walked in to the shop and looked at me with wide eyes and a kind smile…”You must be Kimberly!”

“I can’t believe you are actually here,” he added.

It turned out we were both from neighboring small towns in New Jersey and knew a lot of the same people. Without going into detail Fred said that he had left his town twelve years ago because of something hurtful that happened. He could not bring himself to return…but he had been praying for forgiveness.”

Choked with emotion he concluded: “I prayed that if someone came to this small town in the middle of Idaho (who was from my whereabouts in New Jersey) it would be a miracle and a sign that I had been forgiven.”  Fred went over and hugged Kimberly for being his (at long last) guardian angel for a day.

 (Kimberly concluded: “I left  that little town a different person than I entered. I know now that God has a purpose for all of us and is using us every day in ways that we may never even know.”


images (1)The tiny piece that went missing from Kimberly’s bike was essential to making it work…but the most important missing piece was the discovery for Kimberly that she was the missing piece in Fred’s puzzle of life. Her detour was a divinely aligned time and place to release Fred from his earlier inability to forgive himself.

“In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 NIV

Yes…I would have told those students that they have stepped in and out of other people’s lives, without even realizing it, and, as such, have made a difference in the world through one gesture of kindness.

So until tomorrow, Father, keep reminding all of us, on the good days and bad…that we are important, we are loved, and we are a child of God…loved beyond description. (No shrugs or grunts needed or desired.)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



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Life in Low Gear…

1107-Dingle-Connor-Pass-Brandon_connor  Dear Reader:

Anne and I (on a whim) decided to take the quite mountainous Connor Pass out of Dingle to head towards Ballyvaughn while on our Irish adventure back in June. You might remember we had a rental car that was ‘stick shift’…(not automatic)… Anne assured me, however, that she had grown up on stick shift…no problem.

Apparently she was right as our travels went quite smoothly… until we got to Connor Pass (a narrow mountain pass filled with ravines hovering by the road)….As you can tell from the photo above…the roads were so narrow that at every curve you expected to be “mowed” down by a mammoth tourist bus or large truck filled with bales of flying hay.

I kept hearing Anne say….“C’om….get in second….darn it….get in second.” She would shift the stick this way and that way.

Finally I would feel the car shift and slow down to begin grinding its way around the winding passages towards the bottom of the ravine.By the time we came off Connor Pass Anne and I pulled over and  both began peeling ourselves out of the car to take a much needed “Thank You Jesus” moment of meditation…accompanied by a hugh gulp of fresh air…

The memory of this incident got me thinking the other day. Don’t all of us in our rat race lives need to learn how to “downshift” life… so as not to miss it in our pursuit of busyness?

Did you know that Thoreau, the role model for simplistic living, didn’t start out to initiate a “back to basics” movement?…He was just fed up! He had gotten a job as a highway surveyor to supplement his meager wages as a young writer… and from all the research (I read) did quite an exemplary job.

However, town officials (Concord, MA) declined to pay him a salary for his hard work. So he packed up his writing materials, borrowed an axe from a friend, and headed to Walden Pond…leaving his earlier would be municipal employee dreams behind. …And the rest, as they say, is history.

download (1)  In the early nineties, business writer, Amy Saltzman, decided to “thoreau” away the fast track of her co-horts’ dreams and instead try to discover peace, substance, and balance back into her personal life.

She began to imagine a type of workplace “utopia” where workplace trendsetters were no longer willing to let their careers run “roughshod” over their personal lives. These professionals would make the conscious choice not to run the race with their fast-track peers…but simply to walk it…reaching their goals, perhaps, a little later than their hyperactive cohorts…but enjoying the race along the way.

By setting career perimeters and limits….these innovative workplace trendsetters became the keeper of their own time clock…devoting more time and creative energy to their families, friends, and communities.


Saltzman, herself, jumped head-first into the “downshifting “of her career as she came to realize that the fast-trackers (in all fields of work careers) found it incomprehensible that she would turn down a promotion because it would take more time away from her family and life. For them…lack of moving ahead, climbing the corporate ladder, pretending to look busy and in constant motion, meant the fellow work peer was lazy and boring…even labeled a “loser.”

Instead of cowing into their expectations… Saltzman dismissed their ideas of a “successful” life and pursued her personal dream of taking things more slowly. When she did…”life felt fuller, more interesting, and more worthwhile than I could ever imagine.


So until tomorrow…there are times in our lives when we need to stop and pause. To reflect on our definition of a life well spent…and then downsize societal expectations/requirements until we can build a symbiotic relationship that meets the needs and desires of a meaningful life for ourselves.

Not to do so…leaves us feeling frustrated and empty at the end of each day …and guess what? No one guarantees us another shot at life…another day of life…It is up to us to have the courage to find meaning and peace in the remote area of daily life called “Make Your Dreams Come True…”


(For Anne and her niece)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

images* Today is the first day of the month…say “Rabbit”! Good Luck!

download (2) One month from today (exactly-October 1) a little “blue” bunny will be here named Jake and BOY…will things at Eva Cate’s home start hopping then!

* And here are our lovely newlyweds….Congratulations one and all! Go Ambika…our darling of Dubai!!!


Tommy and Kaitlyn have been in Amelia Island (FL) for a friend of Kaitlyn’s family wedding…she said the weather is beautiful and they are having a great time….Kaitlyn’s parents are there too ….to make it even more special. (Kaitlyn with Tommy and Susan -her beautiful mom!)


*Anne said the weather has been great in Paris too….latest picture.


images (1) * And last….HAPPY LABOR DAY!  Now go enjoy it… by not laboring…downsize work  today and go play!

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The Importance of “Quotes” in our Lives…

betterworldkidsclubs-quotes   Dear Reader:

The older I get the more drawn I am to quotes. Being a history teacher I have always had a fondness of them for teaching different ideas and attitudes in the classroom…from people of the past and present. Quotes demonstrate that man has and is always searching for meaning in this world.

But it has only been in recent years that the importance of quotes in regard to my own personal life has grown in a magnitude of acquired interest. Like so many people before me… I find myself cutting quotes out of magazines or writing them down in a notebook or on a stickie to remember for a later time or blog.

In fact as I am typing this post…I see several quotes on slips of paper taped to the sides of my computer desk cabinets. These are quotes that I want to surround myself with each day of my life.

Earlier today I had pulled up one of my favorite spiritual writers on the internet, Marianne Williamson, to check and see if she had new materials and/or a recent book out. One of the websites I came across was titled: Favorite Quotes of Marianne Williamson.  I found myself drawn to this site and the very first quote at the top of the page spoke volumes to me.

Marianne Williamson Quotes: images

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


That quote inspires me every time I hear it….because so many of our generation (and I hate to add “southern women” to the description…but it’s true) grew up being taught not to appear “uppity.” We were instructed to “know our place” and stay there. The only problem for me was I never was sure where that “place” was supposed to be…so I went out and found another one.

I have thought about a personal quote quite a bit….something like a saying or advice on life that might stick around for my grandchildren to remember after I am gone…. Less is best in this case so I narrowed my philosophy of life down to two  words Don’t settle.

(Life is yours to make of it as you will….if you just “don’t settle for less than God intended you to be!)

With my thoughts now on southern women and quotes that inspire us to be bigger and better than expectations surrounding us… a picture of the Ya’s favorite mother (Miriam Jackson, a.k.a “Mama Mia”)…has come quickly to mind.

So I decided to pick up the phone and call Jackson…telling her about the “theme” of the blog today and how Miriam’s face popped into my consciousness.

Jackson had once told me how her mother loved quotes more than anyone she knew. Though-out her life she was forever circling quotes she had read, or re-writing them in her own handwriting on slips of paper that fell out of devotionals, novels, the Bible, poetry, and other writings regarding Christian literature, etc.

Now…after her mother’s death… Jackson tells me that she continues to find slips of paper from her mother’s most cherished reading materials. She also agreed to  take some pictures of her mother’s quotes and thoughts to share with the blog today. (Thank you Jackson…a special day-Sunday- to remember Miriam.)

photo 3 (4)  Jackson told me that even to this day friends will tell her how wonderful her mother was about writing cards/notes…quite the talented writer! She always had a special message and “quote” included in the note. It meant so much to the recipients and has been saved in her friends’ treasure boxes of past memories.

Miriam’s love of quotes and her collection of them stemmed straight from her own mother. Jackson found these mementos from her grandmother’s  devotional book…with quotes and special thoughts added by her mother.

photo 2 (9)photo 1 (10)

(In case you can’t read it….Miriam wrote….)

This book was my mother’s  (Nettie Williams)

Miriam Jackson- (“This devotional book has meant so much to me and has been a great comfort-I think of my sweet Christian mother and my “sweet Nyle” – God has walked with me. “)

Doesn’t it bring comfort to us to know that our loved ones (who have gone before)…felt such comfort themselves from the loved ones who had gone before them and so on and so on and so on? Quotes and special notes bring our loved ones back to us…if only for a short time.

Jackson wrote:

“You have given me sweet thoughts of Mom today- thank you dear friend! Love you – Jackson”

With all the cleaning out I have done lately…especially my closets…there are three items in it that I can’t part with…even though I have worn one item only to a wedding and two other items once or twice a season….they are: Dee Dee’s black P-Coat, Mom’s black and white winter coat, and one of Miriam Jackson’s wedding outfits that I wore to Walsh and Mollie’s wedding. The memories of the strong Christian women who once wore these pieces of clothing…prevent me from parting with them.


So until tomorrow…Thank you Father for the importance of the written Word …it is through words and thoughts that we maintain the love of family and friends… now departed…bringing them back home to us for a little while to visit now and then.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

images (1)* August 31.…in my family this meant three wonderful birthdays…My late (great)  Aunt Eva, my cousins Charles and his sister Marilyn (three years apart but born on the same date….cool, huh?) Happy Birthday cousins…Charles and Marilyn….and love you forever Aunt Eva!

* Yesterday…I went on the other side apartment and started hanging the two beautiful prints I just had framed…..Thank you again, Joan! They make the dining room sparkle!img_2109img_2108


It was while I was standing on a chair making sure the two pictures were even….that I turned around and saw a beautiful sight. I had left the door open to the B&B porch side and when I looked in the large mirror behind Anne’s sofa it picked up the reflection of the flowers on the front porch…a wonderful God’s Wink of beauty. (I took this photo aiming the lenses at the mirror….so cool!)


Yesterday the potted zinnias on my porch (that had been pink, yellow, red, etc.) all turned different shades of orange.  I thought maybe this is a good sign for the Tigers…it was…but unfortunately only until the half ( Then we needed a big big bottle of Wite-Out for all the mistakes in the second half)….but tomorrow is another day and next Saturday is another game…Besides….no matter what… Walsh, Rutledge, and Monkey are still the most adorable Tiger fans of all!

10626533_10152624590991001_6833220241865023893_n (1)


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“Right Out” Our Mistakes…

whiteout.500.500.sDear Reader:

One has to be a certain age to even recognize, much less appreciate this life-saving (correction fluid) product…because it was used only with typewriters. (The computer was just coming into its own when I was finishing up my Masters at CSU in the mid-1990’s.)

I was one of the last “students” still typing her papers long into the night (after teaching all day and going to class all evening) “Wite-Out” was my best friend (and, admittedly, sometimes just a quick “sniff” woke me up long enough to keep on typing.)

images *Some of us have a hard time leaving the kindergarten “glue” attraction behind in childhood.

Of course…everyone else in the Masters program was “deleting” while I “wited” out. They obviously had cleaner, crisper papers to turn in…but still, I always found a sense of satisfaction in being able to put a dab of “wite-out” on the mistake….blow softly on the area until it was dry and then continue typing… minus the earlier (glaring) grammatical error.

I remember pondering many times (while using this product) that it would be nice if in real life we could carry “wite out” with us and dab it on every mistake we have made in our life journey…on a daily basis.

None of us like to be called down on the personal mistakes we make. So I have learned (the hard way) that it is much easier and better if we draw attention to our own mistakes first (own up to them )…and an added  sense of humor always helps with our disclosures.

Case-in-point with the following story:

images (1)

“The Freedom of Mistakes and Choices”

Just days after mailing some documents to a client, Donald noticed a few typos in the letter. He wondered what to do. If he was lucky, the client might skim right over the misspelled words-hardly noticing them. But soon Donald learned from his colleagues that Mr. Luke was one of the firm’s longest-standing clients and a real stickler for details. Donald groaned inwardly. 

After weighing his options, Donald decided to courier Mr. Luke a note of apology… along with the corrected (re-typed) papers. 

A short time after that, Donald received a phone call. “Donald, this is Mr. Luke. I want to speak with you about those documents you sent over.”

Donald froze. “Yes?” (his voice quavered)

“Most people wouldn’t have bothered to do what you did. That shows confidence and character.” Mr. Luke said. “It also shows me that you are concerned with the quality of the work you do. I like that and hope that I will learn to like more things about you as you now handle all my affairs …personally.”

Thank you sir,” Donald stuttered…stunned by the implication.

No, thank you,” said Mr. Luke. “It’s always refreshing to know that there are still people out there willing to own up to their mistakes.”


Mr. Luke is right, isn’t he? It is refreshing to hear someone own up to a mistake rather than hem-hawing around or passing the buck on to someone else.


I experienced a similar incident a couple of months ago. I went to pick up my (most important cancer drug I am now on) at the drug store only to discover (with a change in store personnel) that the order had fallen between the cracks (never been ordered) and I wouldn’t be able to get it until after the Fourth of July holiday…which meant five days with no medication.

I was encouraged to call the special drug medication department (for the drug store chain) which was located in Pennsylvania to see if they could ship it overnight directly to me. This was the Thursday afternoon before the Fourth of July arrived the next day…on a Friday. It was almost four o’ clock by then.

My hands were shaking and unfortunately the first representative I talked to (sounded like a very young man) seemed impatient and ready to leave for the holiday…he apologized on behalf of the drug store but he said it was too late to get all the information in to have it sent over the holidays…the soonest he could get it to me would be the following Tuesday. Five days with no medication….my heart was pounding. What would happen to me being off medication that long…I had never missed a day in a year and a half? This medication was my serious Linus blanket…I couldn’t go a day without it.

Something or Someone made me pick up the phone and try one more time (in sheer desperation)….This time another young man picked up, listened to my situation, and told me not to worry….I might have to stay on the phone for quite awhile…but he would not let me leave without that important medication being shipped overnight to arrive on Saturday July 5.

Between him and his supervisor they got all the information from me they needed and kept reassuring me that they would stay on the line as long as it took to get the medication ready for shipment. They apologized for the local drug store’s mistake and said it was up to them to make it right. A patient’s health hung in the balance.

Two hours later…the three of us were joking and having a good time while we waited to see if the limited medication was in stock and if UPS ran on a Saturday in Summerville…when everything checked out …the supervisor excitedly came back on line and told me, “We have lift-off!”  “We are on GO!”

Tears of happiness and sheer exhaustion followed that conversation and first thing Saturday morning, UPS arrived. Someone knocked on my door….and the nicest young man told me he was not to leave until (1) He saw me smile (2) He put the packet of medicine in my hands personally… (3) He reiterated the supervisor’s apology for all the anxiety and stress this situation had caused me.

Oh… and (4) Have a great rest of the Fourth of July weekend!

Now that my friends… is what grandmother called “Owning up to your mistakes.” It is also called kindness of the highest nature.

So until tomorrow… It has been my observation that I have learned more from my mistakes than any other device along my journey. Or as George Bernard Shaw said:

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The_Giver_poster * (In reference to the blog on the creation of colors) Jackson reminded me that the new movie (just out) The Giver is also about living in a black and white world where memories are contained and selectively dispersed by only one person…The Giver. I had forgotten this popular book that the middle school students read each year by Lois Lowry…the literature “guru” of middle school novels.

getattachment-72 Jackson also gave the answer to the last clue about the shoes off the statue in Boston…they belonged to a Kennedy…(so I was half right)…but not John…Joe (his father.)

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The Creation of Color…


Dear Reader:

I took this photo of Anne’s colorful daisies before we left to go to the airport yesterday morning…this time I was just a chauffeur…not a fellow traveler…but I told her I felt like the daisies would bring her good luck… with no unwanted detours like our last experience to Ireland.

She laughed and asked if I would take a picture of that “parallel” life she always wanted to live… with a similar “parallel” skirt from the trip to France a decade ago (a decade????) and I did. Anne is definitely living her “parallel” life now….Bring on Paris…Anne is ready!



When we arrived at the airport I got a nice lady to take our picture so I could pretend, at least, for a few minutes that I was going too…


A quick photo and then I had to bid Anne adieu….I told her to go stand by the “infamous” detour sign where Tim took our picture before dropping us off  back in June for a “delayed” Ireland vacation ….Anne was a little leery but said she felt like any detours would be good ones this time….quite prophetic words…as it turns out.


She emailed later in the day to explain something wonderful that happened…and yes it deals with a detour….

When checking in for my Paris flight, I was asked if my plans were flexible.  So I’m on a flight to Frankfurt in 1st class (!) with a $900 voucher in my pocket.  I’ll get to Paris at 9:30 am instead of 6am – I’ll try to deal w this the best I can!

Love to all,  Anne

P…lease  first class!…private television and all…the “Luck of the Irish” showed up on the German/French trip…those gremlins are sneaky! Seriously…so happy for you…enjoy!


After dropping Anne I went to North Charleston to run several errands and by the time I got back…it was hot and I was hotter. I checked my email and had two emails from our beloved Jo Dufford. A friend had sent several items she thought I would enjoy. One was funny (will save it for later) and one was peaceful and beautiful…just what I needed as I fanned myself looking at the gorgeous pictures and listening to the music.

It got me to thinking….what would our world be like if there were no color? It is so hard to imagine or even contemplate? I started looking back over the Genesis Creation Story…and light plays a hugh part in it (obviously)… but no mention of color.

Yet…In my mind…I can so vividly see the red apple, the lush green foliage of the first garden, the disappearance of total darkness and seas…replaced by land, skies,  creatures of all kind, mountains, valleys, rivers, seas, deserts, rocks, flowers, and then man.

The first hint, however, of color comes much later with  Noah and the Flood Story…It comes in the form of God’s rainbow covenant with mankind.download (3)

I think we all “assume” color accompanied “light” (since we must first have light to make color) from the beginning of creation. But it is an interesting thought to contemplate….

Psychologists once told us that we all dream in color….today, however, they admit that 80% of the time we do so. In fact if you ever dream in black and white…it will stay with you longer because it is a fairly rare incident.

Now let’s just “suppose” something. What if color was outlawed from our world…police, like the Gestapo, would make certain of it….and check every citizen to make sure they were complying with the black and white rules of the new regime.

The most creative commercial I have seen in a long long time (coming out of the U.K.) this past year-March 2014…uses this concept to advertise their paint company…Delux. The producers of this amazingly creative concept….describe the backdrop behind it.

Imagine a world where it would be illegal to use colour in any way – where you would not be allowed to wear colourful clothes, decorate your home etc … Although we do happen to know a couple of people who would prefer living in a grey monochrome universe, for the rest of us, a life without colour is simply unimaginable. This necessity of colour and its emotional impact on our everyday lives is the main theme of the latest advertising campaign from UK consumer paints manufacturer Dulux, which has been launched on 02 March 2014 together with the release of its new commercial.

Drawing its inspiration from Prohibition-Era USA, the video takes place in an imaginary world where colour has been banned, and is a ‘mini-epic’, complete with gangster car-chases, a budding romance and realistic computer-generated visuals. The main heroine is Amy, a young red-haired woman living in a colourless city who wants to change her life. One day, she comes across an illegal tin of wall paint and decides to transform her apartment with the bright teal colour it contains. This in turn opens her eyes to the secret love of a young writer living across the street. It opens up a whole new world to brave young lovers everywhere!

This really is an amazing commercial…if we had more like this…I could tolerate them much better!

Director’s cut – Prohibition ad

Didn’t you like that creative concept….even for just selling paint?

Now let’s slow it down and take a moment to relax today…like I did yesterday. Another creative endeavor at looking at the world in black and white and then seeing it transformed before us into color…isn’t this gift from God mind-boggling? Enjoy!

Gods Color Book – GreatDanePro

So until tomorrow…thank you God for Your coloring book…creation. It is hard for us mere mortals to grasp the magnitude of your love for us.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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The Lengthening Shadows of Approaching Fall..



Dear Reader:

Have you suddenly noticed shadows where there were none…even just a few days ago? I sure have and several other people have commented on it too…

The other day I picked up a friend to take to lunch and she commented that she couldn’t ever remember her front porch and driveway being bathed in shadows at high noon…in any season…but particularly the “dog days” of August.

It really did look strange to me too…since her driveway (by the porch) is always flooded in light and heat, especially in the smack dab middle of the day… during almost every season.

The shadows are definitely lengthening….a sure sign that seasonal change is approaching. I don’t remember a whole lot about all the scientific causes behind the tip of the earth’s axis and the sun’s rays slanting away from earth…etc. but I did find a fellow blogger (who lives on a farm) who explains it quite well.

Musings from the Fraker Farm and a ‘good ole’ country gal’ ( as she describes herself….Paula Fraker…thanks Paula!)

A sure sign for me that Fall is on it’s way is the decrease in our hours of daily sunlight … the sunrises are getting later and sunsets are getting earlier.  I seem to notice this now more than ever- when I worked outside the home and off the farm my day was ruled by a clock, but now my life ruled by the sun- time to rise and get busy is just before daybreak, when the animals are also awakening and starting to stir.

Time to call it a day and head inside for the evening is when the last rays of light peek over the tops of the trees behind the barn. One thing that has always fascinated me about this time of year is the phenomenon known as autumnal equinox, where the earth tilts to a different angle in it’s orbit, moving our Northern Hemisphere away from the sun and causing the sun to appear to be in a little off-center in the sky… making the shadows lengthen and become more noticeable than in the summertime when the sun always seems to be right overhead.


As I am typing this post I can hear the special sports report on the local teams for this year and the background cheering for the different schools competing in the lowcountry. Football, long dark shadows, cooler evenings…Yes, Fall is turning the corner.

I decided to use the last of the sun’s rays before it set last evening…pursuing some of the new shadows appearing longer and deeper on the deck. Here is what I found…


We are told in scripture that:

“From the rising of the Sun unto the going down of the same, the LORD’s name is to be praised.” — Psalm 113:3

When I walk outside in the cool mornings now and then return to my garden in the cool evenings…I do praise God’s name for so many blessings…including the change of seasons. What a wonderful gift the change of seasons is! I feel sure that people who move or live in areas around the world where there is not a distinct change of seasons must miss it…if they ever once had it in their lives.

Again…I think it is God’s way of continuously opening us up to change by demonstrating constantly the importance of change in  our lives.

Genesis 8:22While the earth remaineth … seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Don’t you find comfort and a certain amount of security in that line of scripture? I sure do.

There is a definite reason why God has created patterns for all life to follow…both earth and heaven…. land and  sky. There will be constant changes within the pattern…but the pattern perimeter remains secure for us under God’s well planned creation.

 And look on the bright side (a personal bonus)….if you take a picture of your shadow now….you can be r.e.a.l.l.y tall with the lengthening shadows….and I have always wanted to be taller. Yeah!


So until tomorrow…Let us thank God for changing seasons ….because we do have a “season for everything under the sun” until the lengthening of our own days cease. Until then…let’s get out there and enjoy life!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


I received this beautiful card from Anne yesterday with an even more beautiful message of friendship inside….thank you Anne! The outside of the card reads:

May the African sun that dried this t-bag shine on you always.

I asked here where in the world she got this unique card with the hand-colored/made t-bag…and she said:

I got that card five years ago at the PCUSA General Assembly in Alabama!

I am dropping Anne off at the airport this morning for her to fly to Paris and meet her adorable niece who has been given an European trip (for her college graduation) by her parents. She is connecting with Aunt Anne in Paris for the girls to do it up right… I am sure it will be a trip for the family memories for many years to come. Have fun girls! Safe travels!

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We Look! We See!

download (1) Dear Reader:

Did you know that the number one most used word in the old Dick and Jane sight reading series was SEE? Followed by LOOK.

Having grown up on these books I can now smile and realize just how important it was and still is to SEE SEE SEE! (and) LOOK LOOK LOOK!

Little did I know when I was learning to recognize and read these basic picture words that I would be seeing and looking for me the rest of my life.

A couple of days ago I came across an interesting Indian story that had a great punch to it at the end…a kind of pause and reflect type of multi-cultural narrative. It definitely makes us think…

“Look Inside or See Outside”

A famous Sufi mystic, Rabiya, was searching for something on the street outside her small hut. The sun was setting and darkness was descending, as a few people gathered around her. “What have you lost? What are you searching for?  Perhaps we can help,” they said to Rabiya.

Rabiya said, “I have lost my needle.”

One amongst the people said, “Well, the sun is setting now and it will be very difficult to find the needle.  Where has it fallen?  That’ll help us narrow down the area on this big road.  If we know the exact place, it will be easier to find it.”

Rabiya told them, “It is better not to ask me that question — because, actually, it has not fallen on the road at all.  It has fallen inside my house.”

Everyone started giggling as if she was joking.  Then a skeptic said out loud, “We always knew that you were a little crazy! Why are you searching for it on the road then?”

“For a very simple reason: inside the house there is no light and on the outside a little light is still here,” Rabiya replied.

The people laughed and started leaving shaking their heads in disbelief at the mystic’s strange behavior. But Rabiya called them back and said, “Listen! Don’t you see the lesson here is in yourselves?

This is exactly what you are doing: I was just following your example. You go on seeking happiness and meaning in the outside world without asking the most fundamental question: “Where exactly have I lost it?”

After a pause, she continued, “You have lost it inside, and yet you keep looking for it on the outside for the very same reason — your senses are outward bound, your ears hear sounds on the outside, your hands touch things on the outside.  That’s the reason why you are searching outside.”

“For a very long time, I was also just searching on the outside.  But the day I searched inward, I was surprised.  That is where I lost it, that is where I had lost me, that is where I lost happiness and meaning to life… and that is the only place where it can be found. Inside!”


Didn’t Sgt. Shriver in yesterday’s blog tell his own adult children the same thing when he remarked: ”Remember…we all have to go internal before we can go eternal” …?

So until tomorrow…Help us Father realize that there is a difference in seeing the outside world and looking inward at our relationship with You. Help us know how and where to look for meaning in our lives and turn not to the confusing and troubling paradoxes of the world… but deeper into ourselves where the divine spark is waiting to ignite the world.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Walsh sent some pictures of Rutledge at “Daddy Daycare School.” Even Poogan is allowed at this school with Rutledge and daddy.

photo 1 (9)photo 2 (8)photo 3 (3)photo 4 (3)

 (I love the second picture with the Tonka yellow dump truck…Walsh had one (just like it) at this age and actually learned to run (before walking) pushing it up and down the neighborhood sidewalks.)

*Sis did come through with the last two clues….she had narrowed it down…..and Jackson admitted she might have thrown people off with the Peace Corps addendum….and the Magna Carta is in the Boston Museum on a visit from Great Britain.

From Sis:

Okay, I figured it out quickly. The picture on the left – is of the “new” state capitol building in Boston, MA!! I was just there in July on a 10-day “history trip” with my son, daughter-in-law, and 3 small grandchildren (ages 9, 6, and 9 mos.). We spent 4 days in Boston and I recognize the capitol from our trek along the Freedom Trail.

Don’t know about the “big feet” though. Maybe it’s from a statue of one of the Minutemen, or Sam Adams, Paul Revere, or another famous Patriot from long ago. So, my guess is: Boston, MA!

This would lead me to believe that the previous day’s clue must be from a city in the Pioneer Valley of MA – perhaps Amherst? Springfield? Or, since I understood that Jackson and her son were in Brattleboro – right? – *(You got it Sis!) that maybe it might be Keene, NH? Logic would tell me that if they were travelling from Brattleboro to Boston, and they were along the CT River, those are logical cities they might have visited. Still totally stumped on that one! Have to do some more research!


Okay Jackson…all your clues were solved…smart group of blog readers…deductive reasoning at its best…BUT we all want to know who the shoes belong to.

(I was able to figure out Boston for the last clue because I knew Jackson was flying out of there yesterday heading back to Columbia. So sleep in today Jackson and order a pizza…you did good girl and we all had fun traveling vicariously with you!)

***images (4) My nephew Lee’s amazing wife, Vikki, has been involved in the most interesting project for the past three years (supported/endorsed also by Lee) and now it has the opportunity to come to fruition with the help of Charleston citizens.

Please take a minute and watch our movie star Vikki explain a wonderful opportunity for our beloved Charleston to have a “people” owned radio station (not answerable to big corporations) who can promote local talent and events. OHM Radio 96.3 FM…Community radio at its best. (A Prairie Home (like) Companion here in Charleston) Please take a minute and watch the exciting information on this possibility for a new avenue of radio freedom in our area.

download (2)  * Lee provides the background music for this video information clip

126_3610343*The family got to see the latest ultrasound pictures of little Jake and watch out girls…he’s a looker…big eyes, big feet, and big lips…pucker up girls…he’s coming soon to your nearest hospital …East Cooper! Play your cards right and you might end up right next to his bassinet…October 1!

* I invited Vickie, my across the street neighbor, to come see the moon gate last night covered in moon flowers….she scurried across the street in her nightgown and couldn’t believe her eyes….she insisted that I (try) to bend down inside the gate so she could get a picture of me and magical moon gate with the gigantic moon flower blooms….a memory of dreams come true.



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” I am a part of all I have read”

e81adea74d8cc2388ec1be5eeefb81a9   Dear Reader:

When we stop and think about this (title) quote from John Kieran…it really is quite powerful. Everything we read does become embedded in us…for better or worse, doesn’t it?

In a sense this statement is true of all media that provides opinions and expressions….television, movies, theater, plays, and even internet resources and emails.

But I think the main difference between this quote on reading and other communication channels is choice. To me reading (outside of required reading for school, of course) is a very personal option…because it means that we are making a commitment of time (the most precious commodity we humans have on earth) to this book…this story.

I can honestly say that right now (as I am typing this post) I have three unfinished books lying around…because I still think I will come back to them and give it one more shot. (Deep down I know this won’t be the case because any more if a book doesn’t grab me in the first few chapters…if I can’t relate to a character by chapters three or four…I am outta’ there.)

My time is too cherished to give it away to a book that I, intuitively, know will not only (not) leave an indelible impression on me, but actually darken my mood and thoughts with negative images.


This doesn’t mean that every book I read is particularly of high quality or considered a classic, in any definition of the word…because I actually enjoy my summer romances (historical or contemporary) ‘Who dunnit’ mysteries, and lighthearted comedies.

But we do have to be careful, don’t we with our very personal choices dealing with reading? There are dangerous books filled with propaganda, as there has been since Gutenberg’s printing press was invented.

I think of the number of young people, vulnerable to political upheaval and radical changes… becoming isolated from family, friends, and community through dark books of terrorism and anti-establishment. We see the end results of these young people on the news weekly…if not daily.

As a grandparent now…I have to admit that I am glad the computer age came along as my children were graduating high school and college because the enormous responsibility and pressures parents are under now to “patrol” what their children are watching, seeing, and reading is frightening to me. It is a different world out there in many ways…but the same in other ways.

It has been this blog that has changed my reading choices tremendously…and even more importantly…it has been you readers with your suggestions, stories, and even gifts of books that have changed me through different genres of literature than before the blog.

Writers who are now a part of my life…I knew little or nothing of pre-blog years. Wow! How did I get along without the amazing ideas and thoughts of writers like Madeleine L’Engle, John O’Donohue, Mark Nepo, Marianne Williamson or Anne Lamott….along with too many others to even begin to list at this time.

And then most importantly…Holy Scripture has entered my life.

I grew up with the children’s Bible and knew the main stories throughout the Old and New Testament. I, even, remember acting them out in skits for the finale of Bible School each summer.

But as an adult…I let the scriptures dissipate from my daily life…blaming the departure on the “survival mode” years of being a single mom raising three children. At the very time I needed God’s words in my life more than ever…I pushed them away.

Oh…I prayed…a lot…but would fall asleep at night grading papers or helping one of the children with a project. Many a school morning…either Walsh or Tommy and I would be asleep on the den floor with construction paper stuck to our faces.

When the Ya’s got together six years ago…(because finally we found ourselves with some breathing time of our own)….most of our children were out of school and working or finishing up college. As we discussed the problems and perils of raising our children alone or with mixed families…we realized that we needed each other back then  more than ever…but we couldn’t come up for air long enough to pick up a phone and call for help.

It has been through a special group of women in our Sunday School class and a wonderful young minister in our church that the realization of the importance of the Word of God has manifested itself. The answers we search for are there…if we take time to find them.

I love this quote from Abraham Lincoln about the importance of God’s Word during His Presidency…during his life.


“Take all that you can of this book upon reason, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier man. (When a skeptic expressed surprise to see him reading a Bible)”Abraham Lincoln

And what does scripture tell us of the importance of reading God’s Word?


Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

So until tomorrow: If  “I am a part of all I have read” (and I believe that I am) then I want God’s Words to be a part of me…simple but true.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Jackson… I think you threw everyone off with the pictures and then asking where the Center for the Peace Corps is located. As far as the center…isn’t it UMBC….University of Maryland, Baltimore County? I know Sgt. Shriver lived in Maryland ( the Bethesda and Silver Springs area)…and grew up (as a boy) in Union Mills outside Gettysburg in Maryland. I know I am circling…anywhere close? Sis…where are you…help me!

But I will have to thank you, Jackson, for bringing Sgt. Shriver’s name into the clue because I ended up watching a CBS interview with his four grown children on the internet (following his death) and my admiration for him grew exponentially ….not just for all his amazing programs….like The Peace Corps, The War on Poverty, Head Start and on and on…but his last comment to his children in a lucid moment as Alzheimer’s spread its insidious shadow over him…is what made me want to stand up and applaud this amazing man.

He turned to his children and assured them that it was all right….”Remember…we all have to go internal before we can go eternal” and that I can still do.Good-bye.

And now readers…our last clue:

GetAttachment (4)GetAttachment (7)

There are big feet to fill in this beautiful
state capital. The Magna Carta is here on loan from the UK-what a fitting place for it to be.

(Curious about the feet…Kennedy…Adams?)

* Today Anne returned and we worked on the church bazaar project…we are up to 15 complete “Take You What You Need”

img_2077 Stopped at 14 and then I found a way to make one more quite easily…already had the frame. 15!!!img_2079

When I went out last evening to feed Lucy…I gasped at the moon gate and ran around it counting blooms…15! A wonderful God’s Wink. I need a stepladder now to climb up on to take a photo because the blooms are on both side of the fence!


* And “Big Red” (the germanium) is just amazing…


“Big Red” is up and down and all around….

img_2075For the first time yesterday morning…the morning glories( that have been planted by the fence all summer and done absolutely nothing)…decided to bloom and bloom and bloom and climb and climb and climb!

Flowers, as well as, humans are loving the cooler weather and thriving abundantly in it. Thank you God for this soothing and stimulating weather at the same time!



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Feeling Special…Still…

Dear Reader:

Today we are going back in time (in a special blog time capsule) to August 25, 2010. The blog had just started that month and this particular post was about feeling special…and now here I am five years later…still feeling special and humbled that God has seen fit to keep me alive for His reasons…that only He understands.

So before we head back in time…God..let me take a moment to thank you in a quite southern way….with “A pint of thanks and a quart of gratitude.” I love You!


Dear Reader:

I  had a special feeling all day yesterday that something exceptional would take place at St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope when Honey, Pat, and Winnie arrived . I could tell from Honey’s excited telephone message left late yesterday afternoon… that my inexplicable feeling of excitement had revealed itself accurately. When we finally connected… all I could do was smile… for each of the women encountered something powerful and personal.

Honey said that “It was one of those days that you will always remember as being “meant to be.” All the stars were aligned and the women returned home… hours later… with much more than they left with… their individual and collective experiences at the chapel of hope exceeded their own expectations.

But…this is their story… to be told by them in their words…so get ready….for a wondrous “feel-good” tale of hope…..

Brooke came to see me (from Walterboro) yesterday and we did what we do best…talk…and eat! It was a special day for that too…but we also “grabbed” (besides lunch) a quick movie called “Switched.” We figured it would just be a light “chick flick” comedy and we both felt the need for just this type of movie.

We were not disappointed…in fact the picture exceeded our expectations…it was sweet…a really “feel-good” show about “not recognizing that what you think you want has been right in front of you…the whole time.”

I think that is what I felt when I went to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope a few weeks ago… the peace and inner voice that I was always searching for…sometimes with more success than others…again…was in me and was, not only present, but magnified in that chapel.

It was just a matter of realizing and recognizing that the “real me” had been hidden under years and layers of “surface” living…living my life according to societal expectations… lost in daily “busyness” …and not the whole me.

It took cancer (lower case c)  for me to dig down far enough to begin releasing the person that I had held captive and was supposed to be the whole time. St. Jude’s also gave me the direction that I had been seeking… the challenge to take its story to as many people as possible. To spread hope to as many people as we can reach. It is the reason why we are all coming together and making new friends…because a little chapel told me so…

Brooke told me that she had received an email stating some unusual facts about August 2010. “August 2010 is an interesting month. It has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays, 5 Tuesdays… all in one month. This phenomenon happens once in 823 years. I don’t think any of us will see it happen again.” (Me neither…you can only take hope so far!)

…And to think that it was on the 4th Tuesday of this strange 5th Tuesday month that three women went to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and each had her own “cosmic” moment.

A story is told that the famous theologian, C. S. Lewis,  walked into a room filled with religious leaders of all faiths. An heated discussion was taking place concerning the debate over significant differences between Christianity and the other religions. As C.S. Lewis reached for a book in the library and started out…he said, “I know what the difference is…Grace.” And with that comment, he closed the door.

Amazing Grace…God’s gift of salvation to us when…by human standards… it goes undeserved. If you think about it…what other religion teaches that you can have salvation without earning it through a series of required rituals or steps? Yes, Grace is amazing. It is a mother’s unconditional love manifested beyond our grasp to comprehend.

I remember when I was sitting in the pew at the chapel of hope, looking at the trinkets left on the altar, and listening to Honey read the articles…the song “Amazing Grace” kept popping up in my head. I might have even hummed a stanza of it.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares…We have already come…T’was Grace that brought us safe this far and Grace will lead us home. “

I think Honey, Pat, and Winnie, along with the other countless visitors to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope would say…”When you get to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope…you feel like you have come home.

…And like the South African tribe of nomads…you realize that this is the place to “Stop, Rest, and Reflect“…(just like the welcome sign says)…in order for your soul to catch up with you!

But one more important ingredient that everyone must take to the chapel…it is found on a small plaque beside the door…which says: “It is OPEN every day…and one must go there “open” to  re-newed hope, faith, and new directions.

images (3)  Until tomorrow….Feel special…because you are!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Jackson’s latest clues….Put your thinking caps on…we can do it girls.

GetAttachment (2)GetAttachment (3)

Sargent Shriver asked not what his country could do for him but instead created a “peace” ful organization in this idyllic location along the Connecticut River. What city? What state


This is probably the last picture of the family minus Jake.img_2069img_2071 img_2072


Fred and Gin-g Edwards got to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope a few weeks ago…was glad to hear they loved it too and felt the sense of the special place it is.


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“Bits and Pieces”…

3c7648cf0ae5dacafd22bd41b42ae9ff  Dear Reader:

I have come to the conclusion, as I am cleaning and straightening on a typical Saturday morning, that it is a “Bits and Pieces” kind of day.

I remember when my own children were little…I was always admonishing them to pick up after playing…”Come on now…pick up all those ‘bits and pieces.”  Back then…with Mandy it was bits of tea party paraphernalia and with the boys… it was always pieces of plastic soldiers or superheroes… guns, army equipment, and other accessories.

The other week when I kept Eva Cate and Rutledge…we ended up with lots of “bits and pieces” of all kinds of toys they had played with during the day. As I went to put Rutledge down for his afternoon nap (figuring I could get things straightened up before John and Mandy got home) I told Eva Cate we needed to pick up all the “bits and pieces.”



What? What “bits and pieces?” …and she started giggling at the words…I started pointing out all the toy parts scattered on the floor…I then put one toy in Rutledge’s hands and told Eva Cate that Rutledge was putting up this “bit” of a toy….I then got a little sugar under his neck which made him laugh….and I said “I love you to bits Rutledge.”

I then handed Eva Cate another toy and told her to follow us to her room to put up her “piece” of toy  while I put Rutledge down in Jake’s crib. As she followed… holding the “piece” of toy…I hugged her and said, “And I love you to pieces.” Then I would smooch each grandchild…calling out “Bits and Pieces….I love you to bits and pieces.”


On my way home from keeping Eva Cate and Rutledge last Tuesday I remembered the “bits and pieces” incident and started smiling to myself…another life lesson learned. And isn’t that how we learn about life and our place in it…by “bits and pieces?”

When I examine my journey of faith to date…I understand now that it didn’t just appear to me one day in a big clunk…instead I have been collecting bits and pieces along the way…in the form of memorable “aha” moments. Learning the shorter catechism as a child, watching mother as a role model whose faith never faltered…who knew that somehow God would help her raise three small children as a widow with one arm and survive the sudden loss of her youngest child (David) months prior to his college graduation.

I also learned faith through friends, adult mentors, and even my students in my classroom. Every day God has given me the opportunity to grow in faith…in “bits and pieces.”

Today these “bits and pieces” come in the form of my garden, my blog, storytelling, friends, and miscellaneous opportunities to travel and converse with strangers from different cultures. And…always the children...they are the greatest role models in faith.

Bit by bit and piece by piece my spiritual puzzle is slowly coming together…and one day I will be able to see the final product.

Didn’t Jesus teach and show us in the (fishes/loaves parable) that it only takes “bits and pieces” of faith to continuously feed the soul?

So until tomorrow…Teach us Father that every day we can learn to add a little “bit” more faith to our insatiable appetite for our understanding of You…through “pieces” of your daily tools to grow and nourish our soul.


“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

(And every day spent with you dear readers….really is my favorite day!)

* The “Dynamic Duo”  clue yesterday was:

This author based one of his books on a battle fought during the French and Indian War near Lake George, NY. One of my favorite books and movies. The actor in the movie also portrayed Abraham Lincoln.  Who is the author of the aforementioned book?

Sis was the first to respond again (Go girl!) and here is her correct response: (I knew the book was “The Last of the Mohicans” and the author was Cooper but couldn’t remember the rest of his name)

Good morning, Becky!
My guess for today’s clue (I LOVE a good challenge!) would be James Fennimore Cooper – author of “Last of the Mohicans,” in which Daniel Day Lewis starred; he also played Lincoln in the latest movie “Lincoln.” Loved both movies!
And, did you know that “Last of the Mohicans” was filmed partially in these NC mountains – with some of the scenes being filmed down at beautiful Chimney Rock?

(That’s interesting about the location of the filming…Jackson was telling me about it when she called…great minds think alike…you and Jackson)

To Jackson and Matthew…this poster is for y’all!


* And the best”est” bits and pieces of all…..Look what I found in the mail ….I am beyond thrilled! Two prints of Joan’s latest paintings….pansies and hydrangeas.



I am getting them matted and framed and put on my new gray walls in the dining area of the B&B….will show you the results as soon as the frames are ready!

* We all keep hoping for some rain to help the poor little flowers and bushes…I have a feeling that Aunt Sharon’s adorable truck rain jacket (for Rutledge) might do the trick!


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