First Stories, First Pennies…

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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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“Sunshine, Freedom, and a Little Flower…”

226c5798d0e22c5940ac54f09f00b665  Dear Reader:

This is a favorite quote… remembered by many Hans Christian Anderson fans from their youth…spoken by the butterfly in Hans Christian Anderson’s classic short story… The Butterfly.

9a159201f1adf63145d21bd228b314ac  If you happen to have forgotten this story….here is a quick synopsis:

A butterfly wants to find a bride among the beautiful freshly bloomed spring flowers…but he is too picky…he always seems to find fault with some characteristic on each type of flower….soon summer comes and goes and finally autumn arrives.

The butterfly suddenly realizes that the flowers are no longer fresh or young and sadly he is told by the flowers that neither is he…he has turned into an old butterfly…too old for marriage…perhaps just companionship. Heart-broken he finds a niche for the impending winter winds where he can stay warm…but it is not enough anymore just to be alive.

And then he sadly recognizes his mistakes and says: “Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly. “One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Life without love is empty.

Yesterday I went to lunch with Gin-g ….always a treat!…and came home to a beautiful sunny, warm autumn day. I, too, wanted to feel the sunshine on my back with the freedom of time to spend “piddling” in the garden tending to my little flowers…whom I adore and love individually. And I felt whole…I felt completely in love with the universe.

I took my camera to take some pictures of my little flowers as I wandered the garden path…Come join me!

“However big or small your garden is, if you allow nature to touch your spirit, gardening will bring returns of peace, satisfaction, and well-being for as long as you continue to wander the garden path.” (Norman Hansen)

1) Looking down on my garden from the deck…

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2) The moon gate sign will soon be visible again as the moon flower season is dying out quickly…one side is already gone….but each season brings it own beauty

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3) I knelt down and took a photo shot through the magic moon gate so you could see the path we will follow…

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4) Don’t you love yellow/gold and lavender together…reminds me of Provence…another wonderful trip of a lifetime…

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5) Look at this hugh circle of mums…the plant got so heavy the branches all spread outward… so the plant looks more like a volcano now…just gorgeous!

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6) Not nearly as large but still beautiful this little mum plant is still fresh and young…its small buds just starting to open…

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7) The zinnias are still going strong…growing taller….pretty in pink.

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8) But my favorite new discovery is how the sweet potato vine that I planted originally has taken off this fall and is starting to outline the garden path along the exterior and interior….so pretty! Here are three pictures I took following the path they are making for themselves.

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9) Since “pink” is and might always be a part of my life…it deserves its place in the garden too… I will never let it define me…but it reminds me to acknowledge its presence occasionally. I added a pink bow to Mr. Bunny and he got promoted from the deck to my magical moon garden.

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10) As the path widens…. a sign prepares you to get ready to make a wish, then a yellow bench with a peace sign awaits you… and at the end of the path… (beside my Ya bench) lies my beloved Fountain of Joy…Hope does spring eternal…there is nothing like the sound of water to refresh the soul and fill your heart with HOPE!

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So until tomorrow…Find your sanctuary…the ocean, the mountains, a hobby, or your own backyard….a place you can get away and let your soul catch up with you.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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To Be a “Question Mark” Forever…

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Yesterday, at church, the children conducted our service and did a wonderful job! In keeping with Children’s Sunday our minister talked about the importance of remaining child-like in our enthusiasm of life…staying curious, questioning, and trusting…all the way into adulthood.

He then gave a quote from a teacher who defined school/education as children who enter with a question mark and leave with a period. It made me very sad. There is never a single “period” in life…particularly at the end of our classroom education or even at the end of our biological life…if we trust and believe in God then we must use three consecutive periods (…) as a continuance for the new life we are about to enter…never just oneThere is no finality…no end of the metaphorical “sentence” of life.

My quote concerning school would read…”A place where children enter as a question mark and leave with a BIGGER QUESTION MARK!”  Now that would be a successful school system!

I feel sure my last words on earth will be in the form of a question….”God…Will You hold my hand?” I feel pretty confident that He will since it was His own suggestion the night of May 27, 2008…the night before my first surgery… when I heard His voice telling me to “Hold My Hand.”

It felt like a parent’s touch expressed into feelings… that everything would be all right. Isn’t it God’s embrace and nod of approval that we yearn for…thirst for…throughout our turbulent journey on earth?

One of the great metaphors of life is that the more we know…the more we know that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew.

ビジネスイメージ―answer and question  The greatest minds in history never worried about finding the right answer…their concern lay in the realm of asking the right question…finding the missing question in the puzzle.

Don’t we all love to be around others who stimulate our thinking and make us pause and look at a situation from someone else’s perspective? Learning in its purest form!

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So until tomorrow…what if the “tests” students took didn’t demand answers but wanted questions to the subject they had been studying with an explanation why they think their question is important to the topic?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* I GOT BOO’ED!  Some “body” or ghoulie (?) used my own idea on me!!!!! Isn’t that so cool??????

When I got home from the Race for the Cure Saturday afternoon I saw something up against my door…this garden flag was hanging from the door handle with a small typed Boo message “You’ve been booed” and that was all…No Name!

Thank YOU….Boo Person…I LOVE LOVE LOVE my garden flag…and you even personalized it?….Hum…mm…I must start the “questioning” in my own mind…pull some Sherlock Holmes deductive reasoning out of the closet and dust it off.

 

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I am just loving all these “Boo Mysteries” at Halloween! Do you see now why I love Halloween so much? Too much fun…I get to let my “inner child” out!

I also brought home (from the race) another pink marker for my garden from Suzy’s Tulip/ Palmetto Garden.  It has always contained wooden tulips before that you could purchase and add someone’s name that you wanted to remember in memory of their sojourn with cancer…For the past two years one of the people I remember is Thad Barnes’ dad who died of cancer…Charlie Barnes.

This year the markers went from pink tulips to pink palmettos….I brought the marker home and put it in my garden with the rest of my “pink” for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Thad…next time you get to the lowcountry…let me know so I can give you your Dad’s marker. I will keep it safe and secure for you!

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Robin Bowers informed me that some pictures of our section of survivors from the ceremony were on Anchorman Dean Stephens Facebook….Here are a couple of them…

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Then I started getting calls that friends had seen me dancing to the “Eye of the Tiger” on the Channel 4 Evening News….here you go…front row (on the left with the crazy pink glasses!) After you click on this website scroll down until you see the picture of we “Pink Survivors” all lined up and then click on the video.

Runners pack Daniel Island for Komen race day – ABC N

* Another God’s Wink has just unfolded….my new friend who I talked about in yesterday’s blog (standing beside me in the Survivor’s Ceremony) is Brenda…a friend of Gin-g’s.

Gin-g had told her about me when she was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer and then Gin-g mentioned her friend from Sunday school to me… unknowingly we became “dancing partners” …it would never have gone any farther but Gin-g read Sunday’s blog and saw us both standing together and knew the “stranger turned friend” was Brenda! God wanted us to meet!

celebrate-each-day-ii* We just passed a landmark of sorts and it was perfect timing with the Race for the Cure…the number of views turned over (around 10:00 this morning) to 275,000 views! For many of you…you remember when we celebrated 100,000…it seems like only a blink of time ago…and look at us today. Thank you dear readers…you did it!

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A Most “Pinkalicious” Day!

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Dear Reader:

The Sixth Annual Dingle Family/Friends Race for the Cure (Legally Pink) has come and gone…leaving us with a renewed sense of commitment to each other and, also, to others who share the same struggle… and the shared dream… keeping loved ones alive and healthy.

If all the energy from this special event could be bottled up and given to each patient fighting this disease…there is no way that breast cancer couldn’t be eradicated… once and for all.

b29c8c2b821a125878705ef484287ae9  Just one spoonful a day and all the sorrows associated with breast cancer disappear away. For now it is only still a dream…a day that exists on the fringe of reality…so  we continue walking and running in memory of those who no longer can. We walk and run simply because we still can.

And that is what we did…Come enjoy all the sights with us….listen to the music booming through speakers, laughter, excited voices as participants recognize friends from the last race and the cries of encouragement from hundreds of volunteers, including Daniel Island residents cheering us on from their front porches!

photo What would I do each year without my two “sisters”…Lassie courageously drives, Doodle helps with directions, and I sit back and relax…dreaming of the day ahead!

photo  Ya’s…do you see my birthday tiara I am wearing…I was so glad I had it on so I could “hang” with the other princesses like….cute baby princess and Elsa and Annie….Frozen.

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As “nasty” as breast cancer can be…the people and their loved ones fighting it are just the opposite….cute and full of fun!

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And then it was time for the Survivor’s Ceremony…I always stop and say a prayer thanking God for being allowed to be present again to participate. This year Katie Perry’s “Eye of the Tiger” got all of us dancing with Channel Four’s Dean Stephens leading the way. Each year I stand by a “stranger” who becomes a friend within seconds!

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On the way to meet up with the rest of this year’s team…we stopped to pay homage to another kind of little princess. And then there was Tommy and cousin Lee (who surprised me…what a wonderful surprise Lee Lee)…it’s going to be a very good day!

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Then the rest of the team arrived, including Eva Cate (thanks Carrie for bringing her) and Rutledge …so the fun really began.

photo  The highlight of the day…Rutledge came right up to me saying “Boo Boo” twice! Once at the race and once at the birthday brunch afterwards…I still remember the day Eva Cate called me “Boo Boo”…I kept it for years on my old “flip” phone voice mail… until just recently when I got the new Iphone and it was gone forever….still mourning that precious “I ouv ooh Boo Boo.”

Eva Cate tried to corral Rutledge and mother him…but found it hard going…she is slowly learning how tough it is to be a mother!

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Then Jay, Lindsey and Brawley arrived…friends of Walsh and Mollie… but our whole family claims them…they have been so loyal to come walk/run every race for years now….Thank you …we love you!

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Then Rutledge saw his girlfriend…the little red-haired girl…they kiss each morning when they see each others at pre-school…(Charlie Brown would be jealous!)

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A couple of more “peeks” at some “pinkalicious” moments… and then we were off!

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Once we got past the the initial crowd we actually set a pretty brisk pace….I think it was knowing that the birthday brunch John and Mandy were putting on would be waiting for us after the walk…good motivation! Eva Cate ran in for the finish…a true champion!

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Rutledge had done all his running before the race.

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And now our reward….brunch…and even more special ….a birthday brunch for Mollie….Let the good times roll!

Baby Jake was playing it cool…a sly peek at us…he knew he was about to make the rounds with all the cousins, uncles, and aunties…

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Now it was birthday time…for Miss Mollie…I told Mollie I was glad she had an orange/purple scarf….as you can see why. * Mollie….I think that must be the lucky hat…helped Clemson squeak by again!

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Mollie had a lot of help opening her presents…

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Happy Birthday Mollie. We love you!

While Carrie and I took turns with Jake… Mandy and Mollie got some bread to feed the turtles with Rutledge and Eva Cate…a perfect symbolic way to end a wonderful day…sharing bread with all God’s creatures…producing caring citizens for the next generation.

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 John got us all together for a group shot…the team who met their goal in more ways than one…the team who means the whole world to me!

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So until tomorrow….Thank you Father for opportunities to be together with loved ones while helping other people’s loved ones…a win-win situation.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh *It really was!!!!!!!!

* October is filling up with family birthdays…tomorrow my wonderful nephew and niece….Brad Young and Bekah Barbour celebrate their birthdays…They both share a wonderful trait… they are loving, caring parents.  Happy Birthday Brad! (I bet that Clemson win helped your birthday weekend!) Happy Birthday Bekah!

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*John sent me this picture he took before Eva Cate and Jake went down for the night…I emailed back it melted my heart completely….two more reasons to keep walking.

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I’m So Happy!

photo  Dear Reader:

“Big Red,” my almost seven – year old red geranium, (that I received following my first surgery in May of 2008) has been my “go-to health o’meter” for the duration of my “little c” fight to date. It never gives up…(for seven years it has kept on blooming with no help from me but water)… and neither will I.

And look how beautiful and healthy “Big Red” is for this year’s Race for the Cure! A good sign! Overall, I feel better this year for the race than I have in a long time…no nerve pain, no sciatica, no muscle pains or overall tiredness…there are still some side effects going on…but I simply put them under the category of “small annoyances” and move on…not worthy of any publicity.

For many of my faithful family members….this year’s walk marks their 5th anniversary…so I thought the team gifts should be “anted up” accordingly. I found some drinking mason jars with the pink ribbon emblem engraved on the side and then filled them up with some candy and fun items.

Both Lassie and Doodle were gone so I left their jars on their porches…I remembered to take a picture of Doodle’s porch before I left…and check out the wreath!

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Look at Doodle’s creative wreath!

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photo  …And look what our rain (a few days ago) did with the mum blooms on my “cat”….purrfect timing!

But now….drum roll please…coming up is a perfect example of why I am so happy! A mystery has been brewing this year in connection to the donors’ list for the Race for the Cure.

A few weeks ago…a very generous donation showed up…and as the donor list circled round…I noticed the names… Mike and Mary Fennemore. I assumed this couple must be friends of John and Mandy or Walsh and Mollie or Tommy and Kaitlyn.

Yesterday, however, when Tommy came to Summerville and dropped off the shirts/bibs…we went to eat at Eva’s and started talking about the race and birthday brunch for Mollie afterwards. (Isn’t that the nicest thing…participating in the Race for the Cure on your birthday?….Loving on ya Mollie!)

I mentioned Mike and Mary’s names and asked Tommy if they were friends of his or Kaitlyn….and he said “no” but as captain he could pull some more information for me if I liked. He discovered this couple lives in Delaware and help run a really cool looking farm….the website for it is attached: (Blows you away)

 http://www.fiferorchards.com/ He also got me Mary’s email address:

So yesterday…I emailed Mary…told her about the mystery…and asked her if she could solve it for us. What or who on the team was the connection. Here is her response….now you know why I stay so happy, especially this year entering the race! A mystery solved!

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Hi Becky!!

 I’m a faithful fan of your wonderfully inspiring blog because of Chris Frazier who used to live in Summerville and at one time, apparently taught in the same School District with you.  Last September when Chris & Jerry and Mike &  I were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, Chris told me a little about your history and how talented you were with writing and storytelling.  She offered to send me your blog and I eagerly accepted!

 From the first “episode” I was hooked!!  Since I’m up early every morning (except Sunday) to pick up the Amish girls to make our apple cider doughnuts, I’m in my office to hear the little tone go off on my computer  at 6am. HOORAY!  Immediately, I stop what I’m doing and enjoy all the wonderful “God Winks” you share, the great photos of your terrific family and lovely garden that you post, and my soul is fed with the wonderful messages that God has given you to express in your beautiful and meaningful way.

 I am indebted to Chris for telling me about YOU and have thanked her often but I also need to thank you for following God’s calling.  You just don’t know how many times I’ve started to reply to your blog but I wasn’t confident of how to do it.  Your personal email has given me the opportunity to respond…one on one!  You have been a BLESSING to me and my gratitude abounds!

Chris and Jerry have built a new home very close to the Chapel of Hope.  Sometime this winter, when I’m not so busy at the farm, we have plans to go visit the Fraziers and also make a trip to see the little Chapel that was a life changer for you.  Just seeing the verse that’s on the sign, I know it will be a special place for me too because that’s one of my favorite verses!

Good luck tomorrow….I’ll definitely be praying for you!  Legally Pink will rock, for sure!

 God bless you and keep you in His Care!

Love,

Mary

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Here is a link with information on Mary’s contributions to her community (she is one amazing woman) that Tommy sent me also (thanks Tom-Bo)…unbelievable. Now I am thinking “road trip…road trip”! (Especially to get some of those Amish apple cider donuts…are you kidding me? That in itself would be worth the trip!)

 http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2014/nov/extension-awards-110613.html 

 Now do you see why I am so so happy entering the race this year…because of people like Mary and Mike. A fantastic Godwink for the race!

So until tomorrow….thank you Father for allowing us to meet the people along our paths that we are destined to meet to share our lives for a part of the journey!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

shopping  Happy Birthday Mollie…thank you for sharing it with the Race for the Cure….my sweet daughter-in love! (And for giving me the gift that keeps on giving…Rutledge!)

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It’s Always a Good Time…

images (1)  Dear Reader:

Haven’t we all been guilty of lamenting (on more than one occasion) that “It (trip, concert, game, party, camp-out, etc.) sure would have been fun, or special, or one for the memory book…BUT it just wasn’t a good time!”

This statement is always followed up by a tirade of excuses about how busy we are…’If it had just been the week before or the week after…it would have been so lovely.’

Have we ever stopped to think how much of our life…especially family memories are lost because “it just wasn’t a good time.”

Life is passing whether we deem it a good time or a bad time…it waits for no man, woman, or child…it just keeps passing.

In one sentence…I can tell you why I walk each year…because it offers up the rare opportunity for our family and friends to have time to walk and catch up with each other, share fellowship, and as an unit…do something for our fellowman. Believe me…pulling off one day a year when everything stops for this commitment is not easy…but somehow we pull it off each October. And it means the world to me. The Race for the Cure is the best memory from each year and I treasure our time together.

As I reflect on the past six years my overall stamina has waxed and waned according to which treatments I was on…but no matter…I will be found on race day walking or limping or whatever…I will not use the excuse…”It just wasn’t a good time“…I will make it a good time for this one day.

The same was true last night. We decided with Jake’s arrival and Eva Cate’s world changing…we would have a girls night out…and last night was it. We took Eva Cate to the Disney (Treasure Trove) on Ice. There was a lot going on this week and it would have been easy to cancel the idea when we realized that it was the same weekend as the Race for the Cure…but when we realized the first show was on a Thursday we, also, knew we could pull it off.

Nothing would deter me from this commitment…because I remember when I saw my first ice capades….I was mesmerized with the magic of it all. I wanted to see the same expression on Eva Cate’s face. I was not disappointed.

Mandy had already left to pick up Eva Cate from school when I arrived…so Jake and I got some extra bonding time squeezed in. Still we had to leave the boys behind…it was our extra special “girls night out.”

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Eva Cate was beyond excited…BeBe (Joan) had given her an Ariel the Mermaid gown and she loves it…Mandy got her hair up and we were ready to go… but keeping Eva Cate contained while Mom got dressed wasn’t easy but she showed me “her” pumpkin that Mom had helped her make. Lucky girl…having a mom as an art teacher.

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We had told Eva Cate that she could have one item (food/drink/souvenir) but just one. Of course the first vendor who came by with a plastic Tinker Bell cup filled with an icee won out…the ice was so hard it could have sunk the Titanic by itself…we finally had to throw the koolaid ice ($15.00) disaster out… but only the ice…the cup is now a treasured memento of the night…Eva Cate fell asleep on the way home still clutching it.

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So until tomorrow…No way this magical night could ever have been “It just wasn’t a good time.” Eva Cate’s eyes were as big as saucers with that expression of total rapture and delight that we Americans spend millions on trying to re-capture on our loved ones’ faces each Christmas morning…it doesn’t happen much in life…but oh the wait is worth it!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Anne stopped by yesterday with the now complete t-shirt for the race…with all the letters ironed on….thank you so much Anne. …Tommy loved it! (Front and Back)

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img_2390 Practice round tomorrow to get ready….after I lace my shoes with my new pink ribbon shoe strings…thanks Cindy!

* For pets and little children…bath time is always a “not good time”…love this video clip.

8 Amusing Ways To Avoid Bath Time – MSN.com

 

 

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Knowing When to Drop Back and Punt…

punting  Dear Reader:

Haven’t we all gotten to a place or stage in life where we finally realized and (had to admit to ourselves)… that despite all our effort, enthusiasm, and planning…we just aren’t going to be able to make the “first down” in our dream of dreams?

We are going to have to “drop back and punt.”  This might mean changing the direction of our goal or simply admitting we aren’t as good as we need to be to pull off some project. Perhaps we overestimated our personal prowess and underestimated financial needs or time restrictions. Sometimes it is nothing we, personally, did wrong but a calamitous circumstance that dictated the death of one ending for a better another?

At the time it is hard not to feel like a failure…but in hindsight we understand that this set-back was necessary in our life to force us to look in another direction to find fulfillment.

Today I think it is time to stop…and drop back and punt…to share some of the wonderful, insightful comments  you readers have shared with me in the last few blogs. I hope I don’t embarrass anyone but they all made me thankful for all of you and your thoughts…

photo (90)  Before I do just that…. remember when I said I wished I had seen this cute phrase when I was doing my “Boo” blog earlier this week? Well…now I have an excuse to use it again.

Yesterday I went to Columbia with Brooke and met up with Libby to hang out together…it was so beautiful and we had such fun. I stopped by Anne’s on the way in and she graciously invited me to a delicious supper…so by the time I got home last night…it was dark… I was exhilarated and…exhausted!

photo After turning on the porch lights I noticed a small package by the door…when I opened it…it was another “Boo” card created from Toni (remember the artist whose daughter died from MS and she created “Little Blessings from the Heart”)…given to me by Honey.

But this time, besides this adorable “Boo” card…there was a present…when I opened it…it was a bracelet with a pink ribbon emblem on it. Honey shared the story:

“The gift is called “A Spoken For” bracelet as it is made from a bicycle spoke. When I went to pay for it Michelle said “No!”

So she is sending you this special bracelet with good wishes for the Race.”

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I feel so honored and will wear it with pride this Saturday for everyone to see!

And speaking of Pink Ribbon Week and the Race for the Cure….thank all of you for helping “Legally Pink” reach our goal and for me…my personal goal. We will definitely surpass last year’s total…and that was our secret goal…to do better than the year before…to keep growing and giving more for those who deserve more. Thanks to everyone we are doing just that! Bless you all!

Comments from our Readers:

Following the blog on Godwinks using license plates….Ambika had a spiritual experience concerning a worrisome medical report and a Godwink that arrived in a  rickshaw (in India)…not on the back of a license plate.

Ambika Murthy says:

Hi Becky! This blog is another Godwink for me because, as you mentioned, God does work in mysterious ways and assure us His Presence…. We do experience many desperate moments in our lives and literally ask God to speak to us His Words of Comfort….
Three days ago, I had to go to the hospital to collect a medical blood test report, in regard to an infectious growth i had developed on my lower leg…. Earlier the doctor had said that it could be a start of some health condition and I freaked out….

So here’s how God dealt with me… That morning I broke down and prayed for an assurance from Him… And while I was traveling in the Auto rickshaw (I am in India) to the hospital, there was a bible verse sticker inside the vehicle itself…. Two verses I needed, Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.; and Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper…
I was so happy and just as God promised me, my reports were all normal…. Praise be to His Holy Name….

On that same blog I had added a picture of the “Butterfly Nebula”…and Idelle Hamilton saw the awe-inspiring picture… but through a new pair of eyes….

h21_heic0910  Idelle saw a symbol of hope for breast cancer….in this excerpt she says:

...I am writing about the beautiful Hubble picture.  I looked at the picture and immediately saw two female breasts….like a mirror image, covered in pink for October.  It reminded me of a mammogram picture, but with pink blessings from the heavens above.  It has pink protecting the breasts, and I think it is so moving and beautiful.  After looking at the picture deep in thought for a few minutes, I read about the butterfly, which I can definitely see.  I think it is a beautiful picture and a God’s wink that he is sending protection to women and to men.  I just love the picture.

Have a Happy Halloween with your family! Take care, Idelle

On our blog yesterday…about not rushing into the day…Fran and Honey, both retired school teachers, said:

Fran: “You are so right about retirement, Becky; a “slow” morning is such a luxury! No more alarm clocks!! The harshest sound in the world is that alarm blasting the morning wide open. I love to lie in bed and listen to the school buses passing by.”

Honey:

honey burrell says:

I too love these later mornings! What a precious picture of Rutledge. He is our Master Fall. So precious. Have a beautiful Fall day!

A wish for a beautiful Fall day…a nice compliment on your grandson…what more can a Boo Boo want?

So until tomorrow…when you feel sad that your goal seems unattainable…turn around…God might be pointing in another direction. Drop back and punt!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* My true “drop back and punt” story happened yesterday….I almost filled up my car in Summerville (before leaving for Walterboro) but I was about five dollars short having enough money…Still the BP station said $2.99 a gallon and I got all happy about the price…I almost made it with my twenty….(car was half full) but I wanted to save some cash for our shopping extravaganza.

Later as I passed through Cottageville (very slowly) I noticed that the BP station there said $2.75 a gallon. $2.75...I almost had a wreck staring at the sign. And I thought $2.99 was good!

By the end of our shopping day in Columbia I had a five dollar bill and a few ones left over. As I passed the BP station on the return trip…I almost had a wreck again….look what the Cottageville BP sign said. I made a quick turn…put five dollars worth of gas in the car just so I could tell everyone how much it was a gallon! A great “drop back and punt” experience!

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Don’t Rush Into the Day…

purpleflowers  Dear Reader:

The nicest thing about retirement is the wondrous gift of being able to slowly welcome the morning. There is no longer the mad morning rush (getting ready for school) to find the children’s clothes….especially their shoes. We could always find one shoe….just not two. The kids and I would “air fluff” any article of clothing that we deemed clean enough to make it one more day without having to toss it into the dreaded washing machine…known for eating any and everything known to man.

These days I usually arise around 7: 30 to 8:00….check my blog to make sure computer gremlins didn’t mess with it overnight….get caught up on emails and correspondence….fix breakfast and (weather-permitting) go sit on the deck to eat and listen to the day awaken. For a non-morning person most of my life…it has suddenly become my favorite time of the day.

I can handle a little rushing around (if necessary) the rest of the day but my mornings have become sacred to me. Watching the day roll in sets the tone for the rest of the twenty-four hours ahead. To me every day without superficial commitments and dreaded deadlines is a faerie tale day.

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I found a poem that I like on this same topic….hope you do too!

“Don’t Rush Into This Day”

Friend,

Don’t rush into this day.

Let it reveal to you

what it longs to give you.  

Come, sit here a while,

Close your eyes.

Feel your life force

pulsing inside. 

Feel the beat of your heart

as your loyal compass.

Feel the earth beneath you,

longing to support you.

Drink each breath coming in

as the wind filling your wings. 

And, then, open your eyes,

and feel the vastness of the sky

… feel the vastness of the sky

inviting you to fly. 

(Author Tesa – Befriending Life )

………………………………

What I have discovered is that the price of rising a little earlier to have this special bonding with God each morning is well worth losing a few minutes of extra sleep.

And look what I would have missed this morning if I didn’t have time to stop and admire the abundance of morning glories trailing over my front porch…It was then that I discovered the most beautiful of all morning glories…not another one like it…

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This photo taken yesterday on my front porch reminds of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting (title flower)….these two quotes from her seem to reaffirm our thoughts on stopping to admire flowers…

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” (I would love to go climb into that morning glory and live a moment in its world)

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time.

So until tomorrow…Father, slow us down when we need to stop and see Your Handiworks to reassure us how magnificent Your Creation truly is.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* ….And it looks like it is Rutledge’s favorite day too! What a great Fall picture!

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Lucy didn’t want to be outdone…she has taken to sleeping beside the mums….”Mum’s the Meow” …our Fall Feline!

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The Best Wish? Pick Curiosity!

download  Dear Reader:

On GMA yesterday two lucky young college graduates landed a wonderful job. It had not come easy. Each young girl had to return home to live following graduation and both of them had been unemployed for two years while desperately working on resumes and applications day and night.

They both thought they were  supposed to tell their story about the difficulty of finding a job today (right out of college) …particularly a job pertaining to anything remotely close to their interests, attributes, abilities, education, and training.

Instead both girls, who had interviewed at the same company, were given contracts on live television while both their mothers cried in disbelief…

The CEO told  GMA that what set these two girls apart from all the other hundreds of college hopefuls was their CURIOSITY.  Clips from each interview were shown with both girls asking many questions from technical questions to personnel questions to accountability questions, advancement opportunities, and the amount of freedom to seek new solutions to innovative problems.

In other words…both girls expressed a magnitude of curiosity about how everything worked (in the company) from the ground level up…including treatment and acceptance of new ways of thinking and even the level of tolerance for asking questions.

The CEO said that these girls were examples of what they were looking for….young people whose curiosity exceeded even the company’s performance expectations.

It was after this interview that I remembered this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt and looked it up. I loved it the first time I heard it and especially love it this time around again.

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Like imagination, curiosity is born in every child…but if it isn’t fostered or deemed important in the early grades of education…it will dry up like a withered bloom from lack of nourishment.

Yesterday…I returned for this week’s bonding date with Jake and even though it had only been five days since last week’s bonding …I could already tell a hugh difference in his strength. When I picked him up…his head bobbed continuously like he was trying to get in a position to see me. He could also rock himself upward from a half-sitting position. That little three week old baby is strong!

But it wasn’t just his new found strength that caught my attention but his curiosity in everything around him. If Tigger barked…he reacted and tried to move his head towards the sound. Like all small children and developing babies… his eyes stayed focused on the ceiling, especially watching the fans…one in the den and the other in the living room.

No matter what room he was in…his eyes immediately looked upward and searched for light and movement. If he was in his crib he watched his sea creature mobile as the animals floated by…completely fascinated. He was curious…three weeks and curious. He would even get in the most uncomfortable looking positions to be able to see the carousel or fans or light playing along the ceiling.

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Even Tigger still seems curious about the new “scent” in the house and follows Jake’s eyes…if he is looking at something…Tigger stops to look too.

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Later will come the “why’s“….( which will drive everyone nutty) but be thankful if your child goes through that phase…because it is the only way to learn from deductive reasoning…the more curious the child…the more “why’s”….many toddlers won’t be satisfied with some “pat” answer to “Why did the dinosaurs disappear”…they will want to know as many ideas as possible.

img_2449 What we all must pray for, as parents and grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and loved ones…is that the child never stops asking “Why?”

Victoria O’Toole in her article: Why Teaching Curiosity is the most Important Tool of All…concludes the important difference in on-going curious adults and non-curious adults:

Curiosity sets kids up for long-term success. 

Throughout history, it’s always the people who ask “Why?” or “How can I make this better?” or “What is the solution to this problem?” who make the biggest impacts on our world. (Think about individuals ranging from Leonardo da Vinci to Marie Curie to Steve Jobs.) On a smaller, but no less valuable scale, those who ask questions and refuse to accept the status quo transform companies, lead communities, live adventurous lives, and are most fulfilled personally.

“Of course, the opposite is true as well,” O’Toole warns. “Adults who aren’t curious may do well enough in the world, but they rarely influence it. They’re the people in your office who do what’s expected of them, but no more. They’re the couch potatoes who don’t seem to have any interest in meaningful hobbies. They’re not the people you want your children to grow up to be. Instead, you want your children to always wonder what life has to offer next, both personally and professionally, and go after it!”

          “The best news of all for parents is that you don’t have to create curiosity from scratch,” O’Toole concludes. “Remember, it’s something your children were born with. Your job is to learn how to foster and encourage your children’s natural impulses to ask questions and learn new things. You may be surprised by how much fun you have in the process!”

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So until tomorrow…Father help us to promote curiosity among the young and old…for as long as we are breathing…we should be curious about something.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* As I was leaving John and Mandy’s subdivision…I saw this community sign…and thought “where were you when I did my “Boo” blog?”….no mind…here it is now!

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And I think it is only fitting to end with an Eleanor Roosevelt quote…not made for Halloween but it sure fits in this season.

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* Lucky Rutledge has gotten to go to two pumpkin patches now!

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God’s Creative Ways to Reach Us

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Dear Reader:

Yesterday on the CBS Sunday Morning Show…Squire Rushnell, the author of Godwink Stories, was interviewed as a part of a program about the role of coincidence in our lives.

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Rushnell explained to the interviewer about his position on the term “coincidence” and how he saw it as a divine connection between us and God…”Little winks” that reassure us God is with us each step of our journey. He went on to give several true story examples from his book and also from recent readers (sharing their God Winks.)

Of course, the morning show had to have the science “professionals” give their view…which was that coincidences happen “coincidentally” more often than we sometimes recognize…it is all part of a random selection of experiences bouncing around until the “coincidence” and ourselves hit at the same time.

As usual…beliefs are personal…I, for one, just happen to believe that “coincidences” are sent from God at the exact moment we need to hear from Him… when we, most desperately, need reassurance and guidance. At least that is how it happens for me.

Lately, I find myself reading bumper stickers more than I used to…because I have received more smiles, chuckles, and “aha” moments through this mode of divine communication than many other ways. God does work in mysterious ways to reach out to us.

In one of Rushnell’s stories from his book (Godwink Stories) he talks about receiving a letter from a writer/producer concerning a major project he had been working on in the form of a Civil War mini-series.

He had run into all kinds of financial obstacles, along with numerous rejections calls and letters. Still determined, however, to keep his dream alive…he kept writing until he had the first draft (over 800 pages) completed.

That afternoon as he pulled out of his office…he almost bumped into a truck that was pulling out at the same time next to him. Both the truck driver and himself smiled apologetically and he motioned the truck driver to pull out first.

As he was waiting for his turn and daydreaming about whether this script would ever become reality…the writer noticed the license plate on the truck. It read: CIVILWAR. (A frame around it read, at the top…”Grandson of a” …and below, “Veteran.”

Suddenly the writer knew that the 800 pages of script he had just finished was not in vain…he would see his dream realized. And it did all come to fruition.

One day the writer found himself nervously driving to meet the actor who would play U.S. Grant. He was a highly regarded actor with many commitments on his plate but still he had agreed to do this part for practically nothing.

On the way to the meeting the writer suddenly noticed an out of state license plate on the car in front of him. It was a South Carolina vehicle with a vanity plate that read:

4AMO412

Only a Civil War enthusiast would know the “secret code“…4:30 a.m., April 12, 1861 – the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired by Confederate forces at Fort Sumter…in the state of South Carolina. *( He knew then the meeting would go well…and it did indeed…the mini-series went on to win many awards.)

When I saw a “Too Blessed to Be Stressed” license plate the other day (while driving through town) I jotted down the saying so I would remember it. Once again…it had come at a good time. Several little problems had popped up recently…none of them major, just “annoyances” and I needed to reminded that my blessings far out-numbered any petty problems.

Friday I ran some spaghetti by Ann Graves’ home (Ann is member of our church facing some recent unexpected health problems) and we got to talking about how we felt God sometimes used (initially) upsetting obstacles to slow us down and give us time to re-think more important issues at hand…like the many blessings we have been bestowed.

Ann later emailed me about a license plate that spoke to her a couple of weeks back… following an intimidating health diagnosis. She wrote:

One of the many things I forgot to tell you. Soon after I got my diagnosis I saw a bumper sticker.

“Are you going to Cowboy up, or lay there and bleed?” 

So that is my motto…no “why me.” But how am I going to deal with this? And staying positive is my way of Cowboying up!

…………………………….

Way to go Ann….God doesn’t promise us permanent smooth sailing but He does promise to help us steer the ship in stormy weather.

The sheep hear his voice,

and he calls his own sheep by name

and leads them out.

John 10:3 EVS 

So until tomorrow…Help us to remember always to “Reach out and Touch Somebody’s Hand…Make this world a better place if you can.” Remember to keep your eyes open…God is trying to find a way to hold your hand!

Diana Ross – Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* With the Race for the Cure looming closer and closer…I decided to do a little experiment. I took my camera to the deck and garden and took photos of the pinkest pink flowers and decorations in the backyard.

Everything was so “pretty in pink” I felt a pink glow just taking the pictures…of…pink geraniums, zinnias, roses, and hibiscus. Here are the results:

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Even though I love fall colors…I have also come to love my pink too…not only do they blend in with the season…they remind me of how blessed I am to be standing here taking pictures of my “pretty in pink” garden flowers. Now it is time to give back to all the people who have supported me these past few years…the “pretty in pink” people who keep me going. YOU! Thank you.

Update: The team-“Legally Pink” is 90% complete towards its goal and my personal goal is 95% there…I have no doubt that the goal will be reached by Saturday…I can feel God’s Winks already!

h21_heic0910  On Good Morning America earlier this morning….the Hubble showed the world this awe-inspiring photograph. God made our world so beautiful…it takes our breath away….the telescope discovered what the scientists are the “Butterfly Nebula”…it appears as if a black band is squeezing the dust of stars and creating a butterfly. This, truly, is our Father’s World!

Here is a link to look more at this extraordinary sight in space….

Images for new the universe…butterfly nebula

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