We Are Never Alone

Dear Reader:

Yesterday was a busy church service….it was the Sunday to recognize the conclusion of many achievements from members of the congregation….things like recognizing our teachers, high school and college graduates…even pre-school graduates…yes, you little Andrew.

It was also confirmation Sunday and it touched my heart to see these amazing young people, including my mentored recipient, Sara Limehouse, becoming an official member of the church by her own volition. I had forgotten how much I loved this age and teaching my eighth graders….Sara was wise beyond her years and a joy to mentor.

In fact as each confirmand read their statement of faith to the session yesterday, I couldn’t help but think, that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us…to pause occasionally, and think about what our own statement of faith would look like now, as we near the back end of our path, instead of the beginning. Interesting thought.

One thing that stood out to me as I reflected on the time spent with my confirmand over the past last few months…is that I hope Sara realizes now that she will never be alone. By accepting God as her Creator and the One who will lead her down her own personal path…she is admitting that she alone can’t make the journey but she also recognizes and now understands that she will never be alone on it. What a huge relief!

Sarah Addison Allen, one of my favorite “magical realist” authors, whom I have talked about  on the blog a few times, also keeps up a blog and while helping her mother through a long illness, as well as, finishing up her latest novel…she writes short stories in it… based on phrases or pictures she comes across.

This type of creative writing…building a story around a picture, reminds me of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. (I loved writing creative stories around those mysterious illustrations!)

This is the picture Sarah found to build her short story around.

Cara was raised by her Gran, and Gran loved Cara fiercely from the moment the four-year-old was delivered to her doorstep, which had surprised everyone who’d known this infamously ornery old woman. It was a love demonstrated with sausage balls every Christmas and chocolate cake made with coffee every birthday, and quick, dry kisses on the cheek before school, and sometimes even a hard whack on the leg with a wooden spoon if Cara gave her too much sass.

Cara spent her whole life trying to dodge those kisses, and giving heavy sighs when made to sit down to a meal with Gran. But on her birthday — her twenty-second — just weeks after her Gran had died, when no birthday call came, and no tiny, creaky voice demanded that she come by to pick up a lopsided cake decorated with candles recycled from several previous cakes, Cara sat down at her desk in her solitary home office and cried all day. Cried because she knew she would never be loved like that again, cried because she was no longer the most important person in anyone’s life. That kind of sadness reaches like tentacles to grab onto thoughts of why friends hadn’t emailed lately to ask how she was doing, even when she knew they were happily posting on Facebook. She felt alone, drifting, when everyone else around her seemed anchored to support systems she no longer had.

When Cara finally lifted her head from her desk, it was late afternoon, and the setting sun was casting shadows around her office. She was about to stand when her puffy eyes traveled to the wall before her.

There were words there that had not been there before.

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN ANYTHING.”

Those were the exact words her Gran had said to her when Cara had shown up on her doorstep with the social worker after her parents had died.

The trick, Cara realized, is not waiting for someone to come to you, but to show up to them. To knock on their door carrying all your sadness and loneliness with you like a suitcase, and to know that they will open the door and let you in.

With a deep breath, she reached for her phone.

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Sarah leaves the story open-ended on purpose for any one of her readers to finish it… if they so desire….to use their own creative ending.

For me Cara is learning that hard lesson in life…that in order to have friends…one must first be a friend. Sometimes just reaching out for help is the best thing one can do…a knock on the door can change all the possibilities that lie beyond it.

So until tomorrow….None of us is ever alone. We are all connected to the universe, and as such, we are all an important piece of the puzzle of life. We should never forget that…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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What a “Humdinger” of a Wedding!

 

Dear Reader:

For once in my life…I actually timed watching the royal wedding perfectly…accidentally. Nature called around 6:30 Saturday morning…waking me up…and just as I was about to fall back in bed some sleepy neuron remembered the royal wedding.

I grabbed pinkie (robe) and my big white pillow as I plopped on the sofa and turned on the television. Perfect timing! The cars were heading to St. George Chapel and Meghan was getting out before I could barely get my eyes focused. For the next four hours I lay there glued to the television…taking in all the pomp and pageantry.

Don’t royal weddings bring out the little ‘wanna be’ princess still inside us from our childhoods…even though our adult minds are thinking about all the challenges that go with that life style and societal expectations?

I thought the most beautiful scene of Meghan was as she entered the chapel (on her own) followed in suit by the adorable children…the light from outside shone on her and by walking half the distance to the alter alone…the beauty of that moment was only intensified.

If anyone hadn’t felt the love before the wedding message was delivered by Bishop Michael Bruce Curry (The Power of Love)…they sure did afterwards. I doubt if that old chapel had felt that much passion in a long time. Everything uttered in this soul-stirring message was about love…the power of it, unconditional love, and the mandate by God to live that love.

*(Bishop Michael Bruce Curry had already made history before the wedding -he was previously from the Diocese of North Carolina…before Chicago-and the first African-American to serve as the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.)

I really ‘felt the love’ when he quoted lines from my favorite African-American spiritual…”There is a Balm in Gilead.” *I remember I asked Carrie to sing it at mother’s graveside service a cappella. It was mother’s favorite song of all. She loved hearing Carrie sing it that day I have no doubt! We used to talk about it and its haunting melody that seeps into one’s heart and soul while listening to it.

The real connection between the lyrics from There is a Balm in Gilead and Prince Harry and Meghan’s union is their united interest in making a difference in the world…by trying to improve living conditions through medical and food supplies, as well as, education. They appear to really want to provide a “balm in Gilead” to this old world…desperate for it.

Since the term “humdinger” can apply to a remarkable person, place, action or thing…as applied to the royal wedding… it covered every aspect of it. Bishop Michael Bruce Curry was a passionate humdinger, who delivered a humdinger of a message on love, and the actions from this humdinger of a delivery will live on in the memory of all who heard it for a long time. He and the message he brought were (as we in the South would say)The Real Humdinger!

So until tomorrow…I hope all the celebrations, yesterday, continued to go as smoothly as the wedding and that Queen Elizabeth and later, her son, Charles, ‘put on the dog’ for their grandson/son and his beautiful wife. This is that rare time when “putting on the dog” is an accepted and expected “over the top”once in a blue moon” occasion!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Musically…The rendition of “Stand by Me” was the humdinger of the wedding.

In full: Moving rendition of Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’ at royal wedding …

My last observation…as I watched people from all around the world stopping in  their everyday lives to excitedly share in this expression of love…I couldn’t help but think how badly the world needs and wants love…and how we are drawn to it like moths to light. Now if there was just some way humanity could find a way to hold on to this most powerful force in the world….Ah! What a wonderful world this would be!

*Dionne Warwick was right….“What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love”

What The World Needs Now Is Love / Dionne Warwick – YouTube

*I know I am a little bias on floral arrangements (prefer simple)….but if I could pour out the contents of my front yard barrel into a beautiful huge gorgeous planter…it would be the orange zinnias, yellow lantana, and creeping jenny that would bring about an ooh or aah….with a dragonfly on top for good luck! Think about it next time royal family!:)

 

 

 

 

 

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When We Make a “Perfect” Mistake

Dear Reader:

When we look back over past mistakes and recognize, in hindsight, that a particular mistake was definitely a personal, teachable lesson…we are satisfied with the knowledge. But, sometimes a mistake can be a “perfect” mistake…I know it sounds completely like an oxymoron statement but God Winks filter through our daily mistakes also.

The following true story is a prime example of this….

“A Perfect Mistake”

My mother’s father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was really upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.”

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather’s small church in Chicago.

The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. “But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses wedged between two blankets.

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that.”

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

Source: From Functions of Providence

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This story reminded me of someone I met accidentally when I returned the day after the Easter Service to see if my sunglasses were in the lost and found bin. I was so absorbed in hanging onto Jakie during the service…(we all left quickly following the last song) that I walked right out of church without them.

I had to wear my bunny sunglasses all day Easter since I didn’t have my regular sunglasses.

I still remember when I bought these sunglasses from a gift shop that went out of business soon after (almost a decade ago)…I thought the clerk told me the glasses were a one-digit price…until she reached for my card and said the amount…an 0 was on the right side of the number. I almost fainted.

I had and never have ever paid that much for a pair of sunglasses. I was so befuddled and embarrassed I went on with the transaction chastising myself silently over and over. But you know what? I still have those sunglasses whereas before…I bought the Dollar General ones by the gross and lost them by the gross. I have never held on to anything in my life as long as I have these sunglasses.

(Walsh always teases me that they look like Elton John glasses with the bling decorations on the side…but every now and then a young person will give me a puzzled look and say “Cool glasses lady”…the highest compliment from a teenager or young adult.)

So every time you have seen me in sunglasses in photos…which is a lot… you will recognize the same glasses. Rarely I might change out for a day or two but then I always go back to them.

Monday morning I went to the church office to check…but everyone was gone…as I started to walk out another young man stopped me and asked if he could help me. I explained that I had left my sunglasses under my seat at the Easter Service the day before. He had a key to the sanctuary and said he knew where they would be placed temporarily in the foyer. Sure enough…they were sitting on a table by the back wall. I thanked him again for all the trouble and he assured me it was nothing and he was happy to do it.

I asked him what happened to lost and found items that were never claimed? He said they were given to charities/shelters in the hopes that someone might just need that exact item…and he concluded,“It is strange, but you know, it usually works out just that way. “A personal need is met.”

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So until tomorrow…Always look for “perfect” mistakes…it is just a guardian angel ‘taking from Peter to pay Paul.’ 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday I talked about the simple beauty of a white daisy in a clear plain vase…well guess what Sam and Donna. One of the Stokes Aster Daisies (pure white) is starting to bloom with all the recent showers we have had. It is gorgeous!

The most beautiful pale yellow day lily has popped up and a couple of new additions to the garden to continue diversifying sizes, colors, and styles. Another Stokes Aster is just about to pop….will see if it is white or a different color. ( I love waiting for buds to bloom to find out a color…it is like listening to “Pop Goes the Weasel” while winding the Jack in the Box!)

Happy Wedding Day Prince Harry and Meghan! May 19, 2018

 

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A Royal Prediction…in the form of a God Wink!

 

Dear Reader:

There are few people, around the globe, that haven’t heard of Prince Harry and his soon-to-be American bride Meghan. There has been much fanfare leading up to the royal wedding tomorrow…for some maybe too much fanfare. (In fact some of you might be lamenting right now….“No…not here on Chapelofhopestories.com.’ Come on Becky!”)

What can I say? I am a hopeless romantic at heart and you certainly know I am a huge reader, lover, and supporter of fairy tales. This romance definitely has all the ingredients needed for one. It started out as a “Once Upon a Time”  chance meeting (blind date)… and we all hope it will end up “Happily Ever After.” This old war-weary world can certainly use a little more romance and a lot more love.

However, this story, I discovered from GuidePost, isn’t about Harry and Meghan…but it is about the Queen (Elizabeth) and a prediction that comes true after much time has passed…with many twists and turns along the way . Curious? Start reading!

Source: GuidePost/Mysterious Ways (“Mum Knows Best”) – author” Sheila Brady

Mum called me into the kitchen the minute I got home from school.

“Sit down, Sheila,” she said. “I want to tell you something.”

She was so stern that I sat up straight in my chair. I was 16 at the time. Maybe she was about to impart some special life wisdom now that I was almost an adult. Ev­eryone knew my mother gave the best advice. All the kids in our neigh­borhood came to see her whenever they had a problem.

Mum fiddled with the pearls at her neck and smoothed the wrinkles in her plaid skirt. Finally she spoke.

“Sheila, I want to prepare you,” she said, “for when you meet the Queen.”

The Queen? I almost burst out laughing. Was this some kind of joke? But Mum wasn’t smiling.

“The Queen of England?” I asked. There was no other queen it could be. Mum was an Anglophile—she loved nothing more than a good cup of English breakfast tea and a feath­ered wedding hat. My brother had even taken to calling her Mum. The name stuck. But we were as far re­moved from royalty as you could get. We lived in upstate New York. Dad was a refrigerator repairman. I was the youngest of 11 kids in a big Catholic family. Why would I need to know how to meet a queen?

You’ll need to be dressed proper­ly, of course,” Mum continued, obliv­ious to my shock. “Go to Harrods department store in London. Tell them you’re going to meet the Queen. They have people on duty there who can help you shop for just that occasion.”

Mum went through more particu­lars. She sounded as smart and practical as always. How in the world had this crazy notion gotten into her? She was a totally down-to-earth person! Before I could question her, she got up and started supper.

We never mentioned the conversation again. She never brought up meeting the Queen to any of my siblings. After that, she simply went back to giving me advice I could actually use.

I’d long forgotten about the whole thing by the time I moved to New York City after college and became a marketing consultant for a publishing company. Eventually, I started my own business. I couldn’t have done it without Mum. Although she’d never been in business herself, she knew all the keys to success.

Even after Mum passed away, I re­lied on her wisdom. I even passed it on to others. Like Sarah, a young English girl about 20 years younger than me, whom I met through work. She’d lost her mother while still in college, and I tried to help her the way Mum had always helped me. Sarah married a young man named Alistair, who worked for the British Foreign Office, and she asked me to give her away at the wedding. She moved to England, but we stayed in touch.

Sarah had been married for 10 years when I got a call from her. “Alistair’s been appointed British ambassador to Zambia!” she told me.

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” I said. “Congratulations!”

“Don’t congratulate me yet,” she said. “We’ve been invited to a private meeting with the Queen. I have absolutely no idea what to wear.…”

Mum’s face rose before me, as calm and serious as it had been that day in the kitchen. Somehow Mum had known. The advice hadn’t been for me.… It was for Sarah!

“Sheila? Sheila, are you still there?” Sarah said.

“Yes, sorry, I’m here,” I said. “Here’s what you need to do. First, go to Harrods.…”

Sarah called me back the next week and told me all about her private meeting with the Queen. “It was just as you said,” Sarah said. I couldn’t help but feel as if Mum had been listening in on our conversation, no longer stern but smiling.

Years later, I got an e-mail from Sarah. Alistair had been promoted to Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps. “One of his duties is organizing royal garden parties,” Sarah wrote. How Mum would have loved that! I read the next line of Sarah’s e-mail, though, and almost fell off my chair. I had to read it twice, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

“Sheila, how would you like to be our guest at the next party?” Sarah wrote. “What do you say…would you like to meet the Queen?”

That’s how I wound up at Buckingham Palace in London one sunny afternoon in June. Dressed to perfection in a black dress with a polka-dot jacket and matching hat. And the string of pearls that had once be­longed to Mum. I took a deep breath as Alistair approached me in the Royal Tea Tent, a petite woman by his side. I tried to remember everything I’d been taught all those years ago.

“This is Sheila Brady,” Alistair said. “My guest from New York. Her  Majesty took my hand in her own. “How lovely,” she said.

Lovely indeed. Just as Mum had always known it would be.

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So until tomorrow….I love it when the Universe winks at us and opens our eyes to all the surprises still left to come.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*What fun Anne’s “groupies” had (that’s us) last night at the The Little Cottage Community Cafe listening to the Old Tickers’ Band.Wonderful, fun music that brought back a lot of nostalgia among all of us. When I got there my two all-time favorite couples from church already had a table and I hopped right in.

Bob and Joan Semle, Dee and Mike Lesko…so happy y’all were there! Fun band, music, refreshments, and friendship…it doesn’t get much better than this!

Look what I pulled up next to when I parked at the cafe…what a beauty from the past! And speaking of simple beauty…is there anything more beautiful than a daisy in a clear vase of water…simplicity at its best!

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Always Holding Our Boarding Pass…Not Knowing When the Flight Will Leave

Dear Reader:

I recently read a short reading from Awakin.org called “Death Connects Us to Life” (Somik Raha) which made me think about the connection between the beginning and ending of our lives as a perfect circle…we don’t have one without the other. One is a first birth to join the family of humanity on earth, the second birth is to return Home from whence we came…both celebrations. The author shares these thoughts…

Growing up with monastic teachings around the impermanence of life, I got the opportunity to apply them when my grandmother passed on, followed by my grandfather in quick succession. I told myself that it was only the body that had died. Their souls were eternal and therefore, there was nothing to grieve for.

Only years later would I realize that I had short-circuited my feelings of love toward my grandparents. That I had to allow those feelings to find their expression in an authentic way. By not giving myself that space, I had numbed myself to my own feelings.

It would take many years of heavy lifting for me to realize that death connects us to life. Our own life. It is an opportunity not just to remember the impermanence of our lives and reflect on our purpose of living. It is also an opportunity to feel the well-spring of love and gratitude in its fullness through the process of grieving.

Perhaps it is for this reason that ancient cultures prescribed a cessation of normal work for a period of time that was proportional to the depth of the relationship with the departed one. During this time, they would receive the full support of their communities in creating a space where they could safely connect to the fullness of their feelings. They were thus allowed an opportunity to get to true acceptance, and not just intellectual acceptance of the transition of  a loved one.

A sign of the kind of acceptance we have arrived at is whether we are feeling wholeness or fragmentation by the loss. Wholeness comes from true acceptance of every feeling that emerges within us in relation to the one who is no longer with us. Fragmentation is what results when we are afraid to feel the sadness that has resulted from the departure. Fragmentation traps us into searching for that love in every space except where it can be truly found — in our own hearts.

Wholeness, on the other hand, allows us to absorb the essence of the love we felt for the departed one and make it a permanent part of our being. That absorption frees us from fearing our feelings and roots us in joy and gratitude for having been touched, however briefly, by another life.

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Death was certainly understood by our “ancients” (set aside time for bereavement) who came before us much better than modern man today  who has a tendency to shorten the funeral time/bereavement as much as possible…in the anxiousness to return to work, a ‘normal’ routine, and try to put the loss behind as quickly as possible.

(Or as the author commented….we only allow ourselves a ‘fragmented’ slice of sorrow….not committing ourselves to the ‘wholeness’ of feeling the grief of the loss of the physical presence of our beloved in its entire depth.)

Yet haven’t most of us experienced what happens when we don’t fully grieve for a loved one that goes before us. We go along our regular lives saying things like “It was a truly a blessing when she passed” and other similar axioms about terminal illnesses…only to fall apart, months or even years later,  when someone happens to orally phrase a familiar expression of that loved one….Suddenly we find ourselves sobbing like a child. Grief can not be compartmentalized….it must be felt wholly.

I think when grandparents were still a part of the family… to the extent that the children and grandchildren all were involved in the last days of caring for a loved one…death did seem more natural than dying in care facilities or hospitals somewhere else. The unknown is more frightening to a child than the reality of the natural process of birth and death.

I loved this one response/comment to the reading by a reader, Sheetal, who described his own family togetherness during his mother-in-law’s last days.

“We witnessed a very celebrated death of my mother-in-law  recently. She was diagnosed with a  sudden cancer and she decided on no treatment. She said we would do prayer circles at home and she would love to see her loved ones once again.

In a month’s time she passed away, the whole month we celebrated each and every day. There was so much joy! And when we would discuss death with her and say “Mom we will miss you” she would reply saying ” You are still attached to the body…but I am leaving it…soon…soon my children.”

We cried and laughed together before she passed away. No mourning after that. We lived each feeling fully with her. I think that’s what taught us to deal with her passing with ease and peace.

“We learned that no death is “untimely” since we think in linear time. But its nature’s way, God’s time when we leave this earth. In this life we are all sitting with a boarding pass, not knowing when the flight will take off.”

So until tomorrow…I love that last statement…what a wonderful metaphor! We each hold our life passport tightly, clenched in our fists, until one day…when we are told it is time to board our last flight.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I was so sad that due to all the heavy traffic congestion in Charleston (stemming from the closed Wando Bridge) that I couldn’t attend Jakie’s end of the year performance in downtown Charleston. I was all ready to drive over until one ‘snap cable’ changed my plans, along with thousands of other motorists’ daily schedules and lives…which according to the news report yesterday afternoon will last 3o more days. Patience is definitely being tested with many end of the year events being challenged by the obstacles to get there.

John sent me a video however and I had to laugh. Last year Jakie got stage fright (in the two year old class) and put his hands over his face peeping out between his fingers…for the entire performance.

But glance at Master Jakie (in his yellow shirt this year) he was loving the attention and applause…quite comfortable in the limelight surrounded by all his adoring girlfriends (just two boys in the whole class.) What a difference a year makes!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZLBR2nZ0gLpBWXkk2

 

 

 

 

 

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Spontaneous Acts of Kindness

Dear Reader:

Today we hear the term “Random Acts of Kindness” so much that, perhaps at some point, we forget kindness is more than just a random act; it can be a spontaneous thought turned into immediate action. All hesitations disappear concerning ‘Should I’ pauses and are replaced by “I must do this‘ actions.

Anne is my most spontaneous friend….for awhile we got really good at spontaneous suppers, lunches, and day adventures together. A lunch or supper invitation would arrive half an hour before the meal or, perhaps, a trip somewhere in the lowcountry we both wanted to see.

One is always taking a chance at ‘last-minute’ invitations…obviously they don’t always work out…but when they do…they are always more fun and memorable. There is an aura of anticipation about doing something unexpected and un-planned that adds an extra layer of excitement.

This holds true with acts of kindness also. Some of you might have already seen this endearing act of kindness on one of the CBS News channels or Facebook but I just discovered it through an email by a kindness website (KindSpring.org) I am a member of…and it really touched me.

Random Math Teacher Turns NYC Subway into Classroom for Struggling Dad

This photo of two subway passengers sharing a moment of compassion is going viral for all the right reasons.

Corey Simmons had been taking advantage of his lengthy New York City train ride to study up on mathematics. His son, who is in the third grade, was having trouble with fractions- so Simmons took it upon himself to relearn the formulas.

But considering it has been almost 30 years since Simmons had to do elementary school math, he was having trouble with some of the problems. As he was studying on the subway, however, a man sat next to him and asked what he was doing?

Simmons explained how he was trying to relearn fractions so he could help his son in school. The other man then said that he used to be a math teacher and he would be more than happy to help Simmons.

A nearby subway passenger named, Denise Wilson, overheard the exchange, snapped a photo of the two men and posted it to Facebook.

“Simmons asked the guy to quiz him and everything he got wrong or was confused about, he broke it down and corrected him,” says Wilson. “By the end of the train ride, Simmons had a better understanding.”

Though the math teacher left before anyone could catch his name, Wilson was struck by how inspiring the interaction had been.

“I started tearing up, Wilson told CBS. “It was just one person helping another, and I thought that was beautiful.”

This spontaneous act of kindness touched me on two different levels…that Simmons demonstrated that the stereotype of African-American fathers living in the projects is wrong. There are caring fathers there…just like everywhere else in America.

Secondly, that a stranger picked up on the cues for help from another stranger and without hesitating… offered it spontaneously…no fanfare or motive, other than that of genuine kindness.

So until tomorrow….These examples we see and read about of everyday kindnesses should be lead-ins for the daily national news…not squeezed in the last two or three minutes of the program. These are down-to earth, root examples of how people should behave…much better examples for our children than what they regularly see and hear… sadly.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Isn’t it amazing what just one day of scattered showers can do for a plant? Remember yesterday I had planted my lavender plant and watered it…but it still looked pretty droopy. At 7:00 last evening…this was the same plant after Mother Nature had watered it.

I remember Lisa (HollowTree Nursery) telling me that this (picture below) was called a “Swamp” Maple…I got it, along with, the Japanese Maples, but planted it behind the garage apartment ….where hardly anyone goes but now with the tree house complete hopefully more activity will occur and more people will see it.

It has struggled somewhat with this drought…since I forget about it too…back there in the farthest corner of my back yard. But when I walked there last evening…I noticed this pinkish color starting to form on the leaves…not red, much lighter. Could it be…did I get that lucky? Swamp Maple….perhaps something else…only time will tell…and if , I am so lucky, that it is something else….I will shout it out to you! Stay tuned!

 

 

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Living in Joy

Dear Reader:

I remember that benchmark moment in my life, when I realized intuitively, that anything said about me and/or my life should include the word JOY after I am gone. Over the years sometimes I have even made a note to myself to remember a particular line of scripture about joy from a sermon or talk.

I don’t feel that I am being an unrealistic “Pollyanna” or naive in doing so. I have certainly had my fair share of loss concerning loved ones, physical, mental, and emotional obstacles, moments of sadness and despair…but none of these components of life to date have changed who I am internally…and it is because of one essential truth revealed to me.

That eternal understanding unveiled itself before my first breast cancer surgery… I should hold God’s Hand and use His strength to see me through my health challenges…and that strength was JOY. I should never lose my joy.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10

In Daily Devotionals‘special Mother’s Day message Sunday…several lines of scripture dealing with joy was the theme. So many of us have been blessed with mothers who sacrificed so much to ‘make us happy’ but even more importantly teach us how to live in joy…no matter the circumstance.

Gin-g has talked about the difference in the two words several times to me when we have been together and we both agree that happiness is a short-term circumstance, whereas joy is imbedded in us and is long-term…a joy that lasts a life time.

Daily Devotionals added this insight between the two words:

Joy is more than happiness. The word happiness comes from the root hap, which means “chance.” Where happiness is circumstantial, joy is not.

Joy is an unshakeable confidence in the truths of God despite circumstances.

When our children see absolute certainty in the life of one who knows God personally, they are impressed and drawn to know Him themselves.

If we want folks,like our children,to believe in God we’ll need more than a pasted-on smile of chance happiness. We’ll need to model the life of a person living in joy.

So until tomorrow…I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. — 3 John 4. 

We hear parents, including ourselves, saying popular refrains like “We only want our children to be happy.” I think what we want is for our children to feel a peace, a joy that God is leading their lives and they only have to keep the faith to follow.

Yesterday was the perfect time to plant the lavender plant the Turners gave me…just in time for a predicted lengthy week of showers. Now that weather prediction does fill me with joy!

Rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. — Joel 2:23

Jay and Walsh surprised their wives with breakfast under the cabana Sunday morning for Mother’s Day! It was also Walsh and Mollie’s sixth anniversary…they got married on a Sunday, May 13 on Mother’s Day. Both Marcia and I couldn’t think of a better present for that occasion! We were filled with joy!

 

Mollie sent some more shots from Fripp Island / Mother’s Day/anniversary

There’s a shingdig going on this Thursday and our gal Anne will be one of the fiddlers ‘shingdigging’ along. So if you live in the Summerville area…come on out and have some fun.

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