“Even Small Steps Will Get You Where You’re Going”

Dear Reader:

When I received this note card from Gin-g the other day….I thought to myself…’How true.’ If there is one thing I have learned from this latest medical experience, it is that healing takes time.

Even now, while still in the midst of the bi-weekly procedures I can see a little difference each time in the wound….but it still is just a ‘little.’ What I have to keep reassuring myself is that a bunch of “little” improvements equate eventually to a total recovery.

The best thing is that I am not doing it alone. Friends and family are transporting me back and forth each week while other neighbors, friends, and family are dropping off food supplies on a continuous basis. The inside message of Gin-g’s card sums it up perfectly…

Recovery takes time.

Just know you’re not

on the journey alone.

Take care.

This experience is definitely a metaphor for life. It doesn’t matter if we take large, giant steps as we follow our journey or small, baby ones…we are all going to get to our individual destinations exactly where and when we are supposed to…

In the article, 7 Powerful Ways to Change Your Life, (Elyse Santilli) cites this powerful sixth step… based on the importance of taking small steps.

Take small steps daily

“Making a huge life transformation or going after a major dream is hard – but taking one step in the right direction each day is easy, and before you know it, you will end up where you are aiming to be.

You don’t need to know every step of the journey in advance before going after your goals and dreams. In fact, it’s impossible – you simply cannot predict all of the twists, turns, opportunities, circumstances and ideas that will come into your life along the way.

You just need to have your vision in mind, and commit to taking small steps in the general direction of that vision on a daily basis.

There is a proverb that says: “Within each step, you will find the next step”.

It means that when you take a small step forward, then you will be in a better position to see what to do next. With each step forward, you will learn what needs to happen next.”

Steve Jobs explained the idea with this example:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

This is where God comes in…only He can show us the pattern  within the dots in our lives…and He does this through small steps. 

So until tomorrow…We shouldn’t overwhelm ourselves with big transformations that scare us away from doing anything new…we just have to take the next step…therein lies the direction for the following step and so on and so on and so on.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Today is (Linda) Jackson’s Birthday. She was rather hesitant about turning this number since the rest of the three of us have all had some unforeseen medical problems crop up….but we are going to keep the bad mojo away from our Jackson…with two knee replacement surgeries behind her…she’s had enough. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACKSON…THE BEST IS YET TO BE!

The Ya’s are coming tomorrow to my house so we can all celebrate Jackson’s birthday here together. Can hardly wait!

 

 

 

 

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Remembering “The Three Sisters” at Thanksgiving

Dear Reader:

When I think of Thanksgiving meals my thoughts always turn to vegetables…like corn, squash, and beans. Our love for these dishes (served plain and by themselves or as part of a casserole or pie) originates back to the Native-Americans who taught the early colonists how to plant certain crops together to get the most surplus from them following the planting.

I always loved doing the lesson of “The Three Sisters” when I taught South Carolina History because of the legend that grew out of this “Three Sisters” unique planting style….an idea that, also, taught a good life lesson. There are a couple of different variations of the legend…depending on which tribe did the storytelling…here is one.

A long time ago, three sisters lived together in a field. These sisters were quite different from one another in their height and in the way they carried themselves.

The little sister was so young and round that she could only crawl at first,and she was dressed in green. 

The second sister wore a bright, sunshine yellow dress, and she would spend many an hour reading by herself, sitting in the sun with the soft wind blowing against her face.

 The third was the eldest sister, standing always very straight and tall above the other sisters, looking for danger and warning her sisters. She wore a pale green shawl and had long, dirty-yellow hair.

There was one way the sisters were all alike, though. They loved each other dearly, and they always stayed together. This made them very strong. One day a strange bird came to the field: a crow. He talked to the horses and other animals, and this caught the attention of the sisters.

Later that summer, the youngest and smallest sister disappeared. Her sisters were sad. Again the crow came to the field to gather reeds at the water’s edge. The sisters who were left watched his trail as he was leaving, and that night the second sister, the one in the yellow dress, disappeared.

Now the eldest sister was the only one left. She continued to stand tall. When the crow saw how she missed her sisters, he brought them all back together, and they became stronger together again. The elder sister stands tall looking out for the crow to this day.

To my delight I discovered a few days ago that some farmers are returning to the Native-American habit of planting corn, beans, and squash together because of the bonus surplus this arrangement produces. Here is what one  modern Native-American planter has to say: (Robin Kimmerer- excerpt)

“I live in the lush green farm country of upstate New York, in a town that likely has more cows than people. Most everyone I know grows something: apples, hops, grapes, potatoes, berries, and lots of corn.

As I carry my seeds to the garden, [I remember that it was] a gift from heritage seed savers, my friends at the Onondaga Nation farm, a few hills away. This variety is so old that it accompanied our Potawatomi people on the great migration from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Holding the seeds in the palm of my hand, I feel the memory of trust in the seed to care for the people, if we care for the seed.

These kernels are a tangible link to history and identity and cultural continuity in the face of all the forces that sought to erase them. I sing to them before putting them into the soil and offer a prayer. The women who gave me these seeds make it a practice that every single seed in their care is touched by human hands. In harvesting, shelling, sorting, each one feels the tender regard of its partner, the human.”

As the author watches her neighbors’s singular crop of corn grow…seed by high-tech production that must be replanted each year, she thinks these corn fields look sad and lonely, isolated…they are not connected to anything….unlike her “Three Sisters” method.

“My garden looks different. The word “symmetry” has no use here, where mounds of earth are shoveled up in patches. I’m planting the way I was taught, using a brilliant innovation generated by indigenous science: the Three Sisters polyculture. I plant each mound with three species, corn, beans, and squash—not willy-nilly, but just the right varieties at just the right time.

This marvel of agricultural engineering yields more nutrition and more food from the same area as monocropping with less labor, which my tired shoulders appreciate. Unlike my neighbor’s monoculture, Three Sisters planting takes advantage of their complementary natures, so they don’t compete but instead cooperate.

The corn provides a leafy ladder for the bean to climb, gaining access to more light and pollinators. In return, the bean fixes nitrogen, which feeds the demanding corn. The squash with its big leaves shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist while also suppressing weeds. This is a system that produces superior yield and nutrition and requires no herbicides, no added fertilizers, and no pesticides—and yet it is called primitive technology. I’ll take it.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When I discover new ideas, like this, based on past ideas…for a minute I want to be back in that classroom demonstrating to students how old ideas from the past are still surviving today…in a high tech society. We can and do learn from the past the skills we need today in our modern world…the past is never far behind us.

So until tomorrow…Doesn’t mankind always accomplish more when we cooperate and work together, instead of competing against each other? At Thanksgiving let’s give thanks for all those people in our lives who demonstrate the power of cooperation over competition.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

   

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The Story of the Seahorse

Dear Reader:

This is a drawing of a seahorse that Rutledge did recently in kindergarten…I love it! He has a web page on Artsonia...a site that offers children and grandchildren’s art work at school open for positive comments and encouraging remarks from family and friends.

The site also turns paintings into Christmas cards, trinkets, and tree decorations for sell. It is a cute way to let your little one know his/her family thinks their art work is fabulous!

So a couple of days ago …when I came across the following devotion that talked of ‘Awe and Wonder‘…(devotions aimed at children and faith) I turned to the story of the seahorse (with Rutledge’s drawing on my mind.)

What we learn from all the animal story devotions is that God provides every living creature with the three basic needs to survive…food, clothing, and shelter. No living creature is created without a way to instinctively survive….from one-celled amoebas to human beings.

Excerpt from See the Seahorse -Louie Gigilio

The seahorse (or Hippocampus, if you want to be scientific!) is a tiny fish that lives in the oceans.

It’s called a seahorse because its head looks like the head of — you guessed it — a tiny horse. This unusual creature often swims with another seahorse, and they link their tails to stay together. It also swims “standing up” and tries to blend in with nearby plants so it doesn’t get eaten.

Because of its body shape, the seahorse isn’t a very good swimmer. So rather than go out hunting for food, seahorses use their tails like anchors, holding on to a piece of sea grass or coral. They then wait for food — plankton and tiny crustaceans — to drift by so they can suck it up with their long snouts.

With its poor swimming and its tendency to stay in one spot, the seahorse isn’t going to win any races. But God has given it everything it needs: a way to get food, someone to swim through life with, and something to hold on to. God promises the same to you. The Bible says,

God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need.
— Philippians 4:19

God provides you with food and shelter, Jesus to swim through life with, and the promises of His Word to hold on to. Like the seahorse, you may sometimes have to hold on and wait for God to deliver His promises — but He always will, and at just the perfect time.

Help me, Lord, to wait for Your perfect timing. And while I wait, teach me to live the way You want me to. I will follow You!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Wow… What a God Wink…I need to plaster that verse on my forehead….”Help me, Lord, to wait for Your perfect timing.”

Walsh took me, again, to my Comprehensive Wound treatment yesterday…another foggy, dreary day but we managed to arrive and depart dry…missing the rain showers.

Dr. Edwards really cleaned out the wound thoroughly…so I knew it was going to be a rough afternoon of pain…and it was…still I finally got a better grasp of the time-line and expectations I had been waiting to hear. He thinks we might be ready to build the bridge or cover over the wound within the next week or two.

A synthetic skin material will cover the wound allowing the real skin to use it as a base to re-cover it with my real blood cells forming new skin. Like the tortoise…slowly but surely we are getting there…and I remind myself to be patient…there is a reason for the wait and God has the time down to the second.

So until tomorrow…Somehow I feel that my latest medical challenge will make for a very magical, special Christmas…but I must be patient and wait.

In the meantime…I have shelter, clothes on my back, and plenty to eat. In fact as Walsh and I arrived back home (after Walsh picked up groceries for me)….my friends Scotty and her husband Skip had sent a beautiful basket filled with fruit and chocolates….I will certainly not starve during this on-going healing process.  Thank you both!!!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Little Red now is Big Red”….Look how it came ‘charging’ out of the soil for the first time….building a long, long stem to hold the first red bloom…Little Red is a  “chip off the old block.” Good genes!

*Hopefully it is a metaphor for my own healing…it might take time to grow a long stem to hold the bloom of a well foot again…but it is worth the time to build the stem.

Another beautiful picture from my neighbor Vickie

 

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“Oh Dear…Where’s Fall around Here?”

Dear Reader:

Just a couple of weeks ago…as October ended….many of you readers consoled me with your reports that fall still hadn’t come to the lowcountry yet and even other areas of the country… so I had not missed out on the leaves and trees turning with all my medical appointments and recliner “incarceration.”

Now we are in the second full week of November and still waiting on those leaves to change and the trees to show off their finest attire. There is a lot of discussion about what has caused this “tardiness” this year….The two main culprits appear to be the drought and the heat wave that stayed on far past its normal seasonal time limit.

Apparently this week is the peak for the mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina….hopefully this means the other areas of the state should be coming into its fall glory… region by region. Vickie and I are still hopeful that Thanksgiving and the last week of November will bring fall beauty to our lowcountry.

Vickie went and found some photos and the dates they were taken from fall 2016 and 2017….the dates ranged from the middle of November to the end….Since we have had a lot of showers these past couple of weeks…hopefully the rain will prove to be the catalyst to set the trees afire with fall beauty.

Look at these exquisite photos from the past two falls…it just makes me want fall to do ‘its thing’ more than ever…I miss seeing these colors. (Several of these pictures come from Vickie’s back yard…gorgeous!)

Fall is very delicate here…it falls softly on Japanese maples and Ginko trees…. this photo takes my breath away…..it makes one feel they are walking on sacred ground…just being near the tree.

In the title photo my  Bradford Pear has only two or three red leaves to date this fall… but its greatest beauty is when it is completely covered in red leaves….as it was last year…photo dated November 29. That is about two and a half weeks away…maybe the old tree will come through again and bring beauty after Thanksgiving.

 I think I am so anxious this year, more than ever, to see the trees turn colors because my limited visionary access to the outdoors only allows me the opportunity to see beauty through my large den windows…and for the last two weeks…the view has been gray, foggy, and the sight of only a green leaf tree with no color.

So until tomorrow…Hopefully the rain ..will be the miracle worker to help the trees’s leaves turn color. Patience…patience…for me to heal and the trees to reveal…the beauty of the earth in God’s timing…not ours.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*The nice thing about gloomy days at home is having bright fresh flowers…to brighten up the day. Thanks Mandy and Eva Cate for this latest bouquet and for all the other flowers given throughout my on-going internment.

*Misery loves company…if your region of the country is also experiencing a delayed fall…do share that with us….makes everyone still waiting feel better.

 

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Chief Plenty Coos and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Dear Reader:

I have been to the (now-renamed) Tomb of the Unknowns several times. It has usually been in the summer when it can be incredibly hot…as a teacher or guide for American History grants including students and/or teachers seeking renewal courses. Carol Poole and I co-taught many of these historical excursions.

It doesn’t really matter about the weather or temperature, however….as we watch silently the changing of the guard… because it never fails to happen… chills always run down my back. The never-ending vigilance of the unknown soldiers from several wars dating back to World War I is impressive and humbling.

The last few times I have gone to Arlington cemetery different organizations had brought WWII soldiers  to greet the buses of visitors coming in….the idea is for us to have an opportunity to shake these aging veterans’  hands, hear their stories, and give many a long over due “thank you.”

Of all the stories I associate with this sacred place…the story of Chief Plenty Coos (Coups) always take precedence in my memory. It made such an impression upon me the first time I heard it that the story pops up every Veterans Day.

When Chief Plenty Coos was born on the great plains of Montana his grandfather had a vision which helped him name, initially, his grandson…Alaxchiiahush...someone who would experience “Many or Plenty Achievements.” This was later shortened to “Plenty Coos or Plenty Coups”…a man who exemplified courage… through “coups” or acts of bravery.

At the age of eleven, Plenty Coos, as was tribal custom, left the village to “find himself” and look for clues about who he was destined to become. It was written in one biography that…

“After fasting and spending several days in the Crazy Mountains he had a vision in which he saw many buffalo coming out of a hole. They spread over the plains, then disappeared. Surreal buffalo with weird tails, different colors (even spots), and odd bellows then came out of the hole and covered the plains.

He saw himself as an old man, living near a cold spring in the foothills of the Arrowhead Mountains. He also saw a forest; strong winds blew down the trees in the forest until only one tree was left standing. In it was the home of the chickadee.”

He realized at this tender age that his nation of Crow would be overtaken by the white man and if he had any hope of keeping his people intact and together as a tribe he must work with the white man…the Crow tribe (consisted of three groups) must blend as one ….to be together…the “home of the chickadee.

His vision came true as he became the last great chief on the Plains to be elected by other chiefs as their sole leader….the Chief of the Crow Nation. Unlike his tribal enemies, the Sioux and Cheyenne, he sided with the white man during the war for the west. He intuitively understood that his hope to keep his Crow people intact with their customs and spiritual beliefs depended on his relationship with the white man.

It worked…as he lead his people peacefully into the 20th century. There would be many later pictures of him in Washington…always providing a voice for his people and their reservations.

On November 11, 1921 the first unknown soldier from World War I was ready to lie in rest at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Warren G. Harding was President and at the ceremony representatives from all the Allied countries were there with symbolic medals of honor to place on the grave site. Famous military leaders from each country stood tall as Taps was played. Four inches of French soil were to be placed in the ground so that the unknown American soldier would forever lie on American soil and French soil where he died.

President Harding said a few words but everyone wondered who would be the main speaker…the last person to speak before the burial service. It had been kept a secret. Then to everyone’s surprise they saw an old Indian Chief slowly walk forward. Chief Plenty Coos was 73 years old that year.

He was dressed in full war regalia and carried a coup-stick in his hand…he represented the five Indian nations…many of whom had young men who had fought in the war themselves.  With gestures and chants…speaking in his native language…his tribal tongue…he spoke.

“For the Indians of America, I call upon the Great Spirit of the Red Man that the dead have not died in vain, that war might end, that peace be purchased by the blood of the Red Man and White.”

There was not a dry eye in the crowd that day. There was no one who didn’t see the obvious…one fallen warrior paying tribute to another fallen warrior by giving away his most valuable possessions that identified him and only him…now they would represent all American fallen warriors.

With hands shaking…he slowly removed his war bonnet and coup stick…laying them on the tomb. It was the perfect ending.

Before the body was sealed inside the tomb…all the medals and tributes were moved to the Memorial Display Room in the Memorial Amphitheater. This was true of Chief Plenty Coos’ war bonnet and coup stick.

So until tomorrow… the next time you visit Arlington Cemetery, take time to go to the museum and then remember the story….the lesson behind our national motto which we should never forget…”E pluribus unum”-Out of many…one.”  Our strength is in diversity and unity.

And this “one”…Miss Eloise… loves blueberries…can you tell? I told Mollie she should be the poster child for the blueberry state of Maine.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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We Need Fireplaces to “Home By”…

Dear Reader:

The truth (in the following Edna Ferber quote -below) really nails the reason for fireplaces in our homes today. We no longer need fires at the entrance of caves to ward off dangerous animals as our ancient ancestors did…nor do we need them in log cabins to ward off the cold as our pioneer predecessors did….Nope, with central heat and air today, a fireplace is a luxury for people, like me, who want it, who need it… to soothe the soul!

“We no longer build fireplaces for physical warmth. We build them for the warmth of the soul; we build them to dream by, to hope by, to home by.” Edna Ferber

“To home by”.…don’t you love that phrase? It is so true…a fireplace takes a house and turns it into a home…it does warm the soul, the heart… and we do build them to dream and hope by.

It has been a long time coming…weather cold enough to warrant building a fire. Brooke picked me up some fire logs  on the way home last Thursday from my appointment and Mandy added some more to the pile yesterday when she and Eva Cate came to visit.

The high yesterday was in the low sixties and last night’s drop in temperatures stayed barely above freezing. We are definitely getting a Canadian cold air blast. Warm pajamas, pinkie the robe, Doodle’s bedtime boots…it felt so good…finally I was feeling the same type of cold weather all the Christmas Hallmark channels show continuously….well, no snow…but still “Baby’s it’s cold outside.” 

Mother Nature is a fickle one….we have all heard it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind“…well after the endless summer…10 days into November Mother Nature decided to click her fingers and bring the cold to the lowcountry. With one exception, a prediction of one brief day returning to the 70’s….we are heading into the 50’s for highs most of this upcoming week with lows in 30’s and 40’s.

So until tomorrow…Let’s all get into something comfy…and just “chill” by the fire…for many of you it is a well-deserved respite from the crazy work week…. so just soothe your soul!

*I will be yelling for my Tigers tonight as they play Boston University in Boston…a chilly night but hopefully a “hot” performance from my Tigers. Go Clemson! *The ACC Championshp (Atlantic) hinges on this game.

 

*Well…it wasn’t exactly a “hot” performance….at least at first…more lukewarm….but the Tigers got the job done and won the ACC Atlantic Championship. It was worth staying up for the game with the exception of all those commercials…tries me batty. One play…commercial…one score…commercial. But still I love watching my Tigers play and win ….cause…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

K.C. came over yesterday bringing me books and a homemade vegetable pie and also spaghetti! While she was here Eva Cate and Mandy arrived…K.C. had brought a cute teapot with frogs that she thought Eva Cate might like…she loved it! After K.C. left we played tea party until she and Mandy headed back to Mt. Pleasant….the hit of the visit! What a great gift K.C.!

A “Pop” of color while practicing “pinkie” up British tea rules…after all you never when you might meet a British prince? We must be ready!

I have not forgotten this is Veterans Day- 11-11-11…always a special day…especially when I was teaching…am already at work on this year’s Veterans Day story for tomorrow. And it is even more memorable this year since it marks 100 years since the ending of WWI.

Happy Veterans Day to my brother Ben! Thank you and the thousands of other soldiers who gave more than even lives to their country….they gave part of themselves!

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The Importance of a Card

Dear Reader:

As visitors come to the house they never cease to comment on all the wonderful cards I have received…not even counting computer messages, texts, and emails. The colorful cards make me smile from my recliner…what a blessed woman I am indeed!

It is something very special about opening an envelope to read what is inside and even find memorable trinkets hidden in the note cards occasionally. It is those few seconds of “mystery” that appeal to all of us before reading what the message says.

My neighbor Vickie has become my mail carrier dropping off my mail right at the door…I am going to be so spoiled that when I do start walking to the mailbox again…it will feel like a forgotten art.

Maybe it was my happiness looking at the cards that brought back one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies….titled “The Christmas Card.”

*A soldier serving in Afghanistan is deeply touched by an anonymous Christmas card sent by a woman in California. Upon completion of his tour of duty, he returns to the United States to return the card to the widow of the soldier who originally received it but turned it over to him..since he had no family at Christmas.

Being a Hallmark movie….you know romance and happy endings will follow…but still the theme goes back to the importance of written kindness to friends and strangers alike…who need encouragement and a sense of belonging, not only at Christmas but every day.

I know it is too late to get Christmas cards overseas to soldiers spending Christmas away from home…but Operation Gratitude will still send them with notes hoping this or that soldier had a nice Christmas and thanking them for their sacrifice….the organization said that the soldiers who need them the most are new recruits, veterans, and first responders. 

Here I am sitting around with my leg up wondering how to pass the time and there it is….so today I will start ordering envelopes, cards, etc. to go to American soldiers abroad. And the idea came because of all of you sending me cards which mean so much to me each and every day.

Another God Wink: Just as I was re-reading the blog yesterday morning checking for errors….a woman and little boy arrived at my house…none other than Barbara (Luke’s mom) and his adorable little nephew-Ryker. She was picking up hr grandson to take him home for the weekend with her to Landrum. I told Barbara about the power of her card to me (I had received the day before) and showed her the post. The winks just keep coming.

Barbara arrived with these beautiful white orchards….and Ryker left with an oldie goldie Hess truck…which thrilled him. She also went to the Electic Chef and picked us up the most delicious chicken/apple wraps which we all shared for lunch. What a marvelous day….they even brought the sunshine out for a while!

Luke cleaned out my fireplace so I will be ready tonight for my first fire of the season….I am so excited! Thank you Luke!

A special thanks to Sue Anne….for the best pound cake I ever put in my mouth…I forgot to take a photo before digging in….and now, after sharing slices with my wonderful neighbors, family, and friends who have helped me so much during this challenging time… there is not a crumb left for a picture…and yes the “Dingle girls” did get their slices!

So until tomorrow…Taking time to write someone does take a little longer…but the power of the written word lasts so much longer to the lucky recipients.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*When I first saw this photo I thought it must be a painting…and actually I was right…a God “painting” that no mortal can duplicate.

 

 

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