The Tough Trade-Offs in Life

Dear Reader:

As children didn’t we always love finding hidden alcoves or closets in grandparents’ or great-aunts’ attics…any small space in which to hide became a favorite childhood haunt.

There was something so alluring about the possibility of a novel entrance into a new world…conjured up in the magical wonder and imagination of a child’s mind.

John Muir, the great naturalist and journeyman, never outgrew his awe and wonder at nature and the hidden jewels and pathways within.

However…upon seeing this title poster…my thoughts went in a different direction. Summed up in two words the two pines represented different types of doorways…risk and regret.

As each of us follow our own unique paths through life we have some tough choices to make… based on a precarious balancing act of scales….one weighing in as risk…the other regret.

We have all heard pastors, motivational speakers, older relatives express similar sentiments about the precarious crossings in life in which we are asked to take a risk or live to regret lost opportunities.

The sage advice always ends with the conclusion that is better to risk and fail than regret never taking a chance at a life-altering opportunity. Moral of the lesson: Don’t die with lots of regrets.

Easier said than done…right? It we could just live our lives, in hindsight, wouldn’t it make our decision-making skills so much easier…to already know the foregone conclusion based on which choice we chose.

But that is not how life works….life is beautiful but it is also messy, confusing, and downright crazy.

Author David Nurse defined the two terms in this fashion:

” Regret is like a present wrapped beautifully that you are opening on Christmas Day…only to open the box and find there is nothing in it. So much promise, leads to so much let down. 

Risk, even with pain of potential failure, fills that box and ensures that it is never empty when you go down to open up the gift You have produced five years from now, three years from now…shoot..one year from now.”

If you do nothing…the gift will always be empty.

As I have reflected on my own risk-taking skills in life…I realize now that they evolved in me over an extended period of time.

It is easier to be a risk-taker when you are the only one involved…but I remember thinking my risk-taking days were over when I found myself a single parent with three children…praying to stretch the budget through another month…there was little room financially to spare…to take risks.

But I was lucky…God wasn’t letting me off that easy. He sent guardian angels from Charleston Southern University to “talk some sense in me” that it was imperative that I get my Masters. The instructors reminded me that children grow up and move out…what then?

Economically…if I had my Masters I could supplement my income with teaching undergraduate courses, summer seminars, special programs, etc. I was told bluntly I couldn’t afford “not” to get my Masters.

In those days each course ran about $500 dollars I remember…I got ADK scholarships each year, used my tax refunds to set aside for one more course…family guardian angels went in together and gave me a “course” for my birthday or holiday.

It took awhile but I graduated the night after my oldest child, Mandy, graduated from Georgia Southern. Nothing is impossible when God sets you on His course! God doesn’t like seeing His children carry regrets with them instead of hope and success. He always find a way…if we let Him lead.

So until tomorrow…

Let us remember that the purpose of pain vs. the feeling of regret is part of our life’s journey…only we, with God’s help, can decide if the pain is worthier than the final regret. Prayers are needed in times like this…and even more so…staying open to the response.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Speaking of prayers…thank you for your prayers and well-wishes for the Clarkson family…Betsy…the family appreciated your spiritual contributions so much…They met with a cardiologist that mother/daughter both liked very much…and the doctor thinks there is an underlying cause for the high heart rate and subsequent residual side effects.

The cardiologist has a plan and Betsy will be meeting and undergoing some exploratory procedures to narrow down the diagnosis and future treatments throughout the month of March.

Another beautiful day in the lowcountry…..Honey and Mike went to Asheville for her birthday and out for dinner at their favorite restaurant… Hope y’all had you a wonderful time!

In the lowcountry…this was my daily viewing….

  1.  Neighbors walking dogs or riding bikes are pulling up in my yard to ask where I got that beautiful planter….thank you Honey…historical Pine Forest Inn.

2) Little “Bliss” my favorite statue is so happy to be surrounded by blooming flowers again.

3) How I love my white camellias…they take my breath away.

4) My English daisies love their new home and showing off for the walkers and strollers on Rainbow Road

*I had to laugh….Tommy said that Pip, his assistant helper at work, is literally falling down on the job…sleeping through it.

“This is his new thing now. He forces me to put him on top of my desk on a pillow. Otherwise he wants to sit in my lap or next to me in my chair.” 

I stopped by Susan’s today and she excitedly told me she found a place for a Christmas succulent I gave her…she couldn’t find it a happy place where it would thrive and then remembered this adorable window she has at the top of one of the bathroom walls … it is doing beautifully now…Location, location, location!

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“God’s Poetry” in Nature and Solitude

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I told you my day would be spent in the garden… remembering my younger brother and the 21 years of life he was given on this earth. Not enough for those who loved his gentle, loving nature. I miss David every day of my life.

As I took this title picture mid-morning…I noticed the morning sun had formed the shadow of a cross right at the entrance to the garden…a God Wink or reaffirmation to spend the day in reverie…in harmony with nature in my garden.

Then I had the sweetest surprise …Anne had driven by and left a bag on the back deck table, apparently very early in the morning…Anne is a morning person…she texted to let me know to check on it before the day got too warm.

There was a novel by a popular author we are switching off reading…banana nut bread, and a copy of a devotional Anne had read and thought  would be appreciated  on this anniversary of my brother’s departure.

The devotional was titled  “The Poem of God” and it had a statement in it that Anne thought would be of comfort to me and help me understand the “Why?” questions that plague us following a loved one’s death…especially one at such an early age.

(Resource: The Book of Mysteries  – Jonathan Cahn)

The conversation starts off between a student and a teacher on a rock by a campfire…a poem is being read and the teacher asks if the student recognizes it…it is called the “Poem of God.”

The student replies he didn’t know God wrote poetry.

The teacher replies it is written in the scriptures…and the poem tells us that we are all God’s “Workmanship.”

The student shakes his head and mutters he doesn’t get it.

The teacher responds:

“You wouldn’t in English…but in the original Greek it says we are His “poiema” which means that which is made, something fashioned, crafted together, someone’s workmanship, as in a masterpiece.

“From poiema comes the word poem.”

The “Poem of God is “You”…it is “Me.” If you become His work.

You see, you can either live trying to make your life your own work, or you can let your life become His workmanship. A poem can not write itself or lead itself. 

So to become the Poem of God, you must let your life emanate from the Author of your life. You must let it flow out of the heart of God.

You must follow His will above your own, and His plan above your own. You must let His Spirit move you and His love become the impulse of all you do. Then your life will flow as it was meant to flow, with rhyme and beauty, and you’ll become His masterwork…the Poem of God. 

So until tomorrow…

Let your life this day be led and written by God. Move at the impulse of the Author and in His flow. Live as the Poem of God.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Anne added a note at the bottom of the copy…“Perhaps God’s Workmanship in David was complete.”

I also received the sweetest messages from many of you and Brooke called so we could remember David together…she was like another big sister to him and we three had many fun adventures together…David adored Brooke. It was so fun remembering the happy times together.

Lynn Gamach sent a very healthy hug from Canada and sweet  remembrance….thank you Lynn…thank you all.

As I stared at the early morning breezes blowing the blossoms on the flowers and the vines and stems from the plants…there was an almost harmonic, rhythm… like a tune or prose being played out right in the garden.

While yesterday I still mourned the loss of time for my brother… I should have realized he had already accomplished everything he was put on earth to accomplish..through his kind, loving presence that brought out the best in everyone he met.

When I later located this John O’Donohue (my favorite Irish poet) poem…I knew I was on the right track of thinking and remembering my brother’s gift of life.

Two different authors…the same conclusion. A beautiful God Wink.

Here is what I saw yesterday as the beauty unfolded while I continued planting, transferring pots and plants, watering, and finding my own soul’s rhythm of delight.

***A Very Big Shout-Out to Our Beloved “Mountain Mama” – Honey Burrell who supplies us with pictures of snow for us lowlanders to marvel at and spectacular mountain views for our hearts and souls.

Happy Birthday Honey! And many more…. There is no doubt that one day if we look up the words…kind, loving, or generosity in the dictionary …there will only be a two-word definition by each term-Honey Burrell!

 

* Now I need the Chapelofhopestories/blog readers to say a prayer for Betsy Clarkson (Crick) ….our ‘little” (next generation) Ya Ya….daughter of Libby who is going through an over-abundance of tests/procedures right now to try and balance out many of her vital  stat numbers…due to the removal of her thyroid and parathyroids- rare malignancy…a few years back

She has since been on artificial drug treatments to simulate what was removed…but lately this balancing act has faltered and the family could sure use your prayers that the medical staff can find the right proportions to get her body regulated again. Everything is a domino effect right now.

Thank you so much….her family thanks you from the bottom of their hearts.

 

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Keeping One’s Stay Short in the Home of the Bewildered

Dear Reader:

All day yesterday I had my mind on a special friend’s birthday coming up Thursday…I was wrapping and packaging and getting the birthday gift ready to send. I was just waiting for it to stop raining before running to the car…it was very cool, chilly morning.

By afternoon the skies were brightening…I grabbed my jacket and the package and headed out the door. I have discovered that Ace’s Hardware store is the place to mail packages…the line isn’t so long and you can get in and out in a flash.

By the time I got home the late afternoon sun was really out…the sun’s rays reflecting off pools of water throughout the yard and garden. It was a little cool but just drop-dead gorgeous… the entrance to my garden was calling me.

I checked the extended forecast…a few chilly nights but sunny days and no rain…Hallelujah…I took the sofa pillows, chairs, and decorative flags back out in the garden to put up.

Today is supposed to be near 70 so if anyone stops by…just walk around to the back yard and garden…that is where I will be…for several reasons… besides planting.

Today I need to be somewhere special to have some quiet reflective time. It is the anniversary of my brother David’s death when he was only 21. I think how gracious God has been to me, even with tricky health problems…extending my life while David’s was cut so short…actually over before it got started.

Don’t we all have lists of questions ….those profound “why” questions ready to discuss with God when it is our turn to leave?…David’s early death is certainly high up on the list…right beside daddy’s early demise and mother’s loss of her hand after losing her husband. Why God? Why?

Author Barbara Johnson calls this visiting the Home of Bewilderment. She observes:

” When you’re in pain because of a loss or because someone is driving you into the Home for the Bewildered, you think you will never be normal again.

A heavy mantle of grief may enclose you in the thick  fog of despair, but tears, talking, and time will work wonders. 

One morning you will wake up and realize suddenly you’re not thinking about your pain. You will actually be able to hear the birds sing or see a fluffy white cloud drift across the sky. 

On that day you will have a glimmer of hope and begin to realize there is something more to life than your specific problem…as terrible as it is to you. 

To put it another way, the night of grief will end and as Psalm 30:5 promises:

JOY COMES IN THE MORNING

The intense pain will ease up. flatten out, and not be so encompassing. Scar tissue may remain from the hurt you suffer, but your deep wounds will heal.

So until tomorrow…

When someone says, “Life is hard,” ask him, “Compared with what?”

Reflection Moment:

Today is not just the anniversary (March 4) of when our family lost David…but my daughter-in-law Kaitlyn and her family lost her older sister Amanda on the same date.

Kaitlyn and I both lost our siblings…gone before their time…or perhaps more correctly…gone before our time to let them go.

I am sure, Kaitlyn, like me….has her list of questions too that she would love answered…those incredibly tough questions that always start with “Why God…Why?”

I hope both of us today can focus on the good times we spent with our siblings, not just the tough ones, and also be thankful for the time we had and the gift we were given.

Amanda and her two precious daughters… and the Swicegood family.

So until tomorrow…

This old slave spiritual still speaks to us when it asks….

” Lord, How Come Me Here?”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

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Live Love Local

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I was on a Tuesday Trek to Find Local Culinary Talents! (Actually one specific and very special cuisine for me…pimento cheese!)

It started almost two years ago. Mollie invited me to attend an outside local produce “fair” on an empty lot near a deli the family frequented often on Clements Ferry Road…They were supposed to have a wide variety of vendors…ranging from local cuisine to native flowers and plants. I was so excited!

Mother Nature let us down…it started ‘raining cats and dogs’ just as we arrived. It must have been some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas because they had all kinds of props for visitors to put on and get family photos on the front porch of the eatery.

Due to the inclement weather…many vendors bowed out…but a few brave souls showed up …one of them being Angie Leopard…cook, creator, and owner of Coachman’s Pimento Cheese. 

Now I hate to say that I am a pimento cheese snob…but truthfully I am. Even Jackson always brought me a certain kind of pimento cheese that only could be bought at one of the fresh markets in Columbia. Jackson would bring it every time the Ya’s had a beach gathering. (She always brought just one special separate container for me…love that Jackson!)

My taste for only the best pimento cheese, however, began with Dee Dee (my mother-in-law)…she made homemade pimento cheese…weekly I think. It was always in a green bowl with a plastic covering in the fridge…(the one thing I looked for…every time I went to her house.)

Once you have eaten homemade pimento cheese…it is tough to eat the store bought…even the ‘wanna’ be, almost brands…are still not close enough.

So two years ago when I tasted Angie’s I wanted to cry with joy…it was smooth and creamy like Dee Dee’s…Angie roasts her pimentos first…and adds some crucial substitutions that make her pimento cheese so ‘creamy’ it melts in your mouth.

I bought some from her that rainy day long ago…and then she and the cheese just seemed to disappear. During Covid I tried to track her down again…but the phone was out of order.

…But then a God Wink appeared last week.

I was going through my business cards straightening them out and throwing away old ones or duplicates when Angie’s Coachman’s Pimento Cheese business card popped up…I googled it and this time a name of a place appeared on-line where one could buy her pimento cheese.

3025 Ashley Phosphate Road-Charleston, SC

My mouth was watering all night in anticipation of buying and then eating her smooth, delicious pimento cheese. I was not disappointed!

I found it, without any trouble, and was welcomed into this little market that sponsors local culinary talent from spreads, to pimento cheese, to barbecue rubs and sauces for cook-outs…all homemade with old family recipes…besides some talented woodcraft objects-especially for kitchens and home decor.

Christina is co-owner, along with her partner, Megan…they run The Compass Market together. Megan wasn’t there…but Christina was so sweet and gave me a sample of each kind of three different type of the Coachman’s Pimento Cheese…all delicious. I ended up purchasing containers of everything pimento.

Everything inside had a fun rustic trading center feel to it….the painting (below) was done by a relative when the young ladies opened up their first business endeavor…The Compass Market. 

The Compass Market advertises food and goods from near and far…but it is the near that people, like me, want.

Isn’t this true of life? Don’t we all get caught up in the game of the ‘grass is greener‘ syndrome during some stage in our lives? We start to think the best things in life must be just a little farther down the road…or just around the next bend in it.

Instead some of the best things in life are right in front of us…made, cooked, created, built by people we know and love… or in some cases…even by ourselves.

So until tomorrow….

When looking for compasses…always look for the one that points you home.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Here comes the state flower…The Yellow Jessamine…it is our SC golden trumpet flowering vine announcing spring is on its way.

Them there is the ‘fairy-like’ delicacy of light pinkish tinged camellias!

And speaking of fairies…Mollie sent me the most precious video of Eloise setting up her first fairy garden yesterday. Her little fairies were adorable and she was completely absorbed in the task at hand. Mollie made a photo from one clip of the video though I wish you could hear Eloise explaining her fairies to me and introducing them…too precious!

It is moments like this that you pray will last forever in your memories…a little three-year-old who does believe in fairies and imagination and love…may it stay with you for ever Eloise!

 

“I believe” ...in things one can not see but feel…one day these feelings will turn to faith. Little fairies become God in all His Majesty…if we learn to believe in the possibility of the presence of the Divine in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

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March…The Symbol for Life’s Transitions

Dear Reader:

Well yesterday must have decided to pose or model for this blog post…because it was  a “transitional” day in every way defined.

We were supposed to have another near 80’s day…and for a few minutes we might have gotten close… It started out cool, then excessively cloudy, then bright sun but accompanied with sudden gales of wind knocking off planters on the deck and porch…and if that wasn’t enough “unsettled” weather…these strange sudden downpours from nowhere would pop up and just as quickly disappear. There was something for everyone.

March didn’t start out like a lamb or a lion…it started out as a very confused giraffe, I think, who didn’t know whether to run, stand still, duck its head under its legs or keep stretching its neck to see what the next strange weather front was getting ready to do. Bizarre is the only word for yesterday’s weather here.

Most of the time seasonal transitions aren’t quite so dramatic…yet when we reflect back on our lives…aren’t their stages in it when we seemed to get hit by too many changes happening too quickly to adjust to our new lives comfortably?

We might still shudder at the memories.

It could have been a time of tragedy…losing a parent or parents and undergoing huge living transitions, a health issue that affected our lives either temporarily or chronically, the loss of any loved one whose lives had intertwined with ours, a physical move to another location in the country or even to a foreign country. The list could go on and on.

Even if we have been fortunate enough not to get hit with any of these prior scenarios…growth transitions can be pretty dramatic to each individual’s way of thinking and life time perception of themselves…Growing up is hard…no doubt about it.

We think we are too tall, too small, too freckly, too pale, too dark, too shy, too buck-teethed, too skinny, too fat and unfortunately all is takes is one mean comment at school and it takes years to get over an unkind and untrue statement about ourselves.

The term “finding ourselves” which is usually a life-time quest… has nothing to do with a geographical setting or place…it is more about finding our surroundings where we feel accepted and loved for who we are…not what we do or don’t do for a living.

At the stage of life I am in now…I have finally come to understand that the most powerful personal transitions are usually the least obvious in other’s eyes…because our changes are deeply embedded within us.

It has taken me a lifetime to accept me for me…no longer trying to please the world…but learning to accept my weaknesses as strengths, such as they keep me humble in the presence of the only “Person” I want or need to please…my Creator.

So until tomorrow…

My other “Ah-Ha” moment has been a hidden truth about all of our daily lives…and that belief is….

At some point one becomes their surroundings. So be careful who you surround yourself with and where you place yourself. Each year I am becoming more one with my garden…with the secret world of the beauty and kindness within.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I am slowly adding beauty to the area Jeff cleaned out for me outside my “office” window where Sammy the Cardinal and I meet each day.

I went to put two cards in the mail box to get off before our mail carrier arrived…When I first opened the box I thought I was too late…she had already come. But as I glanced again…it was a loaf of homemade bread by Dr. Linda Karges-Bone…my once student, then co-teacher, spiritual guidance counselor for me and always friend. Plus she makes the best homemade bread!

What a delightful surcie to find in my mailbox! Thank you Linda…Thank you “Dolphin Lady.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Time “Marches” On

Dear Reader:

I decided to flip-flop the order sequence of the reminder that this is the first day of March and we post readers laugh and try to remember each time to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” first thing on this initial kick-off day to the new month…It is an old custom that is supposed to bring good luck and harmony to one throughout the month.

It first appeared in a piece of fiction in 1922…with a man in a brown hat explaining the ritual.

“Why,” the man in the brown hat laughed at him, “I thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.”

I discovered where I must have learned the tradition…it originated from one of my favorite reading series when I was a child…besides Nancy Drew. The Trixie Belden series.

Chapter 1 of the Trixie Belden story The Mystery of the Emeralds (1965) is titled “Rabbit! Rabbit!” and discusses the tradition:

Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, “Rabbit! Rabbit!” She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. “I’ve finally done it!” she cried […] “Well, ever since I was Bobby’s age I’ve been trying to remember to say ‘Rabbit! Rabbit!’ and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you’ve said another word, your wish comes true.” Trixie laughed.”

I will let everyone off the hook who is just reading about this superstition today for the first time …just get a “rabbit, rabbit” spoken sometime today before the sun sets. No pressure! 🙂

Rabbits or not…isn’t there a big difference in our psyche when it comes to saying February versus March. February conjures up cold, dismal, winter…with a “heart” thrown in for good measure. March, however, conjures up spring, flowers, warmth, and above all… hope…daylight savings time will kick in this month and the official start of spring begins.

I must admit I am rather proud of my ole’ self today for my garden endeavors yesterday…I got every new spring flower planted…I was down in the back last evening…but just looking at the results takes the pain away.

As the sun went down yesterday…the new garden flowers were standing proudly forming the first part of the garden path.

I also pulled up dead stems to make room for the flowers reappearing on their own initiative…or intuition. 🙂

On my way to the post office late yesterday afternoon…to drop the new month’s bills in the mail… I noticed a Japanese Magnolia with Spanish moss hanging over its branches…only in the lowlands do you see this….Now that I think about it…”Maybe the call out first thing on the first day of the month…should be “Bills Bills” …just a little reminder to pay’em! 🙂 (Though admittedly it doesn’t carry the same charm! )

At the end of my street (Rainbow Road) my neighbor has planted daffodils at the Stop sign…a reminder to stop and gaze at spring unfolding before us.

So until tomorrow….

“Rabbit, Rabbit” my friends…I wish for one and all… a prosperous and joyous month!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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A ‘Wanna’ Be Summer Safari

Dear Reader:

When I woke up yesterday it was already in the sixties and the weatherman was telling me it would hit the low eighties inland. My mind started spinning…so many things to do, places to go… where to start?

When I saw this cute title message…the wishbone was definitely winning out as my first “Bone to pick”…because when I checked my on-line banking account…my state tax refund had come in….Celebrate, Celebrate…Dance to the Music!

I got dressed in a flash and took off for Lowe’s on Dorchester Road…they have the most beautiful outdoor nursery…and I was not alone in my desire to see all their latest spring plants coming in.

The parking lot was full…but the plant lovers were ushered in and told where and how to spread out….we were off and running… grabbing plants like we were in one of HGTV’s  Guy’s Grocery Games!

Look what I returned with….in my cart!

I brought out the potting soil and started filling the wooden basket on the porch with English Daisies….the wooden container had been empty long enough! I had to pull my second bone out to get this job done…my “back bone.” It was heavy lifting it on the chair.

Another cloned branch from “Big Red” had survived the winter…but the other plants in with it had not…so I added “creeping Jenny” to fill in.

By now, for the first time in a long time, I was HOT! Perspiring profusely hot. It was time to stop the re-planting and wait until the morning coolness later in the weekend.

Speaking of coolness…look what Honey woke up to yesterday morning…certainly not low eighties weather predictions…but the serene scene of a late winter mountain morning with clouds and blue skies providing the amazing backdrop. God’s beauty knows no limits.

On the way home I stopped by my favorite tea room and had so much fun cutting up with Sherry when she brought me my wonderful chicken salad plate. We were both laughing at different jokes…so my “funny bone” got pulled.

An extra entrance has been added to the outside of the tea room and the yellow jessamine vine was starting to cover it…so pretty…had to get out of my car and go take a picture of it. It is our state flower, after all!

After I came in to cool off and eat my salad…I decided to cook the rest of the spaghetti and drop some off for Anne and Susan.

At both places…I ended up staying to catch up… on  Anne’s front porch and Susan’s back deck…conversing with friends…the perfect day for doing so.

 

Anne showed me what she had just completed. A wildflower pattern on her quilt….It looked just like my dream of a wildflower “field” around my garden.

 

 

 

Soon I was off to Susan’s with another plate of spaghetti and found myself sipping peach tea she brought me- delicious, listening to the orchestra of birds Susan has in her back yard. They must know she is a talented musician and loves listening to friends of flight.

Before I left Susan showed me two beautiful pieces of nature that only God could place for Susan to enjoy its beauty while on the deck.

Drop-dead gorgeous camellias and a Star Magnolia…kin to the pink Japanese magnolias…just starting to pop open.

So until tomorrow….

At Tuesday Morning Friday afternoon I found the sweetest dragonfly outdoor light…Last evening, just as it was growing dark I placed it on the garden gate and said a silent prayer of gratitude…these days are filled with so much happiness, beauty, and friendship!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

 

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The Confusing Half-Spirituality Size

Dear Reader:

I broke down and went in Belk yesterday (with a double mask for good luck) because I was desperate for some pants that fit me again.

Somehow during this pandemic…I have managed to lose some weight and I am stuck between pant sizes…one is too loose and I am constantly pulling my pants up…like the little girl on Dee Lesko’s adorable card she sent me…and then to make it worse…I am a little tall for short length pants and not tall enough for average  pants. What’s a gal to do?

I managed to find a pair of jeans and one pairs of slacks…right now they fit but who knows what the future will bring?

It got me thinking about the spiritual dilemmas we find ourselves in when we get spiritually stuck between two sizes also. I am sure God intends One Size to fit all His children equally lovingly…but then when we start holding back on some practices and beliefs in our spirituality or adding personal judgments to others and their beliefs and life styles…we get stuck in half sizes again.

My shoe size is a six…but my chemo regime causes my feet to swell during intervals on occasion and  neuropathy is a frequent visitor too…so from day to day I can wear a six or a six and a half or even a seven. I just have learned to adjust to daily dressing by picking out which shoe fits first and then outfit accordingly.

*Though if I am being completely honest…the sign below sums up my attire on many a day….anybody else get in this predicament occasionally?

On the inside of the title card Dee sent me…she had placed a gold sticker because I was teasing her about a comment she made on an earlier blog post this week. She gave me an A+ on the post for research and information…I thanked her profusely and teasingly asked ...”But where is my gold star then?” 

Dee’s note card came yesterday…she was out of stars but wondered if the large gold sticker would suffice? It did…and does…and Dee always gets the last laugh in…in all sizes…big, small, and in-between.

Yesterday I got caught in “Please Lord don’t let me bump into anybody I know at the grocery store”…as I tentatively crept out of my car, ran across the parking lot and went through Publix in record-breaking time-even without my grocery list I had left in the car- a miracle…and no I didn’t see a soul I knew. God is SO good! No half-sizes from Him…He gives it all…all the time!

So until tomorrow….

Father, Help me stop pulling back from full commitments to do God’s work but instead give me the right size shoe to make the trip to help others.

Another amazingly late spring weather  pop-up day….I worked on beautifying my deck surroundings.

 

 

 

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The Last Sound…The Last Kind of Wonderful

Dear Reader:

I mentioned in the post yesterday that one of my lucky signs, a God Wink, came in the form of Louie Armstrong’s hit “It’s a Wonderful World” that I listened to on my way to my oncology appointment. Absolutely adore this song.

I immediately felt my apprehension easing out of my tense shoulders and the world just seemed brighter and happier from listening to this beautiful melody.

Sound...one of the most important senses we have. And the last one to leave us.

I never realized this important fact until mother was dying and one of the sweet nurses pulled me aside and said mother’s breathing had changed…she was just minutes away now from “crossing over.” So take these moments and think about what I wanted to tell her…because it would be the last thing she heard…and don’t forget to tell her… it was okay to go.

I remember hearing your whole life flashes in front of you when you are the one departing…but in that moment…it was scenes of my life with mother that suddenly flooded my brain and memory. When the nurse nodded at me I went over, bent down and just began thanking mother for all she did for me, Ben, and David…I told her how amazing I thought she was and how happy I was that she was getting ready to see daddy and David again after such a long separation.

I then reassured her that we were fine here, we would miss her, but that this was her time of happiness- she had certainly earned it…and in a blink of a eye we would join her one day…until then “I love you Mom!”

We often read in books and on tombstones beautiful verses of prose or funny remarks on the death bed…but have you ever thought about what the last thing you will hear on earth will be?

In Barbara Johnson’s Daily Splashes of Joy that Jo gave me there is a “daily gem of wisdom to sparkle each day.” I decided yesterday to look up February 25, 2021 and found an interesting anecdote.

A friend wrote a note to the author sharing this true-life episode. She wrote that her uncle went with his wife to a Hardee’s Drivethrough and ordered breakfast. The couple ate there often, she said, and the boy who took the order recognized her uncle’s voice and said teasingly….

” Come on up partner…we’re waiting for you.”

Just then the uncle grabbed his chest and said to his wife, “I’ll see you in heaven!” And he was gone.

The woman wrote:

” At my uncle’s funeral the minister said, “The voice over the speaker may have been the order-taker’s but it was a message straight from God. “Come on up partner…we’re waiting for you.”

The daily devotional ended with this question.

If you thought your words would be the last earthly thing someone heard, would it make a difference in what you said and how you said it? Or what would you like to hear for the last time before passing, a loved one’s voice, your favorite song….?

I thought about it…and I want to hear the sound of children playing and laughing in the distance….such a beautiful sound of hope.

I remember Grandmother Wilson sharing this story when Grandpa Charlie was slowly dying from a heart complications one afternoon. The field hands were collecting cotton that day and one field hand yelled out as loud as he could so Grandpa could hear through the open bedroom window….”The best cotton we’ve seen in a long time Mr. Charlie..the cotton is as fine as fluffy white clouds in heaven.”

A contented smile settled on Grandpa and he left this earth assured of a “good crop.”

Anne and I shared lunch on my back deck since she, too, had some scans this week, along with other medical procedures…we both received great “report cards”…so it was time to celebrate in the basking sun yesterday…a time to unwind and thank God again for His support and love.

Then I headed over to Mt. Pleasant to get some clothing articles to Jake and Eva Cate that had finally come in, back order, from Amazon…I am sure because of the weather. Jake also wanted a little stuffed puffin he saw me with one day…and was thrilled to have a new sleeping partner.

Winnie the winsome toy poodle personality did a good job of keeping up as we all walked through a part of the neighborhood yesterday afternoon…I so enjoyed the exercise and company!

We had Mexican for supper…food and drink…delightful!

These days just get better and better.

 

 

 

 

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DECIDE…

 

Dear Reader:

Every morning when we arise…the first decision of the day lies in wait until our full consciousness is awakened. We have one decision to make, as a contributing member of the human race, what kind of attitude are we taking with us into the next 24 hours?

Are we upbeat or downtrodden?

Most of us forget about this most important decision as we allow ourselves to get swept along, like a fast current, into the day by events that happen along the way. We play the “wait and see” game as the day unfolds…but by doing this we are turning our personal steering wheel over to circumstances instead of taking charge of our own life and destiny.

Yesterday, as soon as my eyes opened, I know immediately what day it was…it was a day for medical results beyond my control…whether my Cat-Scan would show my tumors had enlarged or worse metastasized in my chest, abdomen, or pelvis.

It was one of the those situations we discuss a lot on the blog post…the out-of-our-control situations …the ones we have to turn over to a Bigger Power than ourselves.

My silent prayer was ….”God You have been with me along my long journey and given me time and life beyond anything I could have expected…and through it all You have held my Hand…I pray for positive reports today but regardless…my main concern is just that You continue to lead me in Your Path and never stop holding my Hand. Your will be done.”

Everything seemed to be clicking in a positive direction even before I got to the Charleston Oncology Center. When I checked my on-line banking account…it was up and working again (had been down for five days for some “maintenance” issue)…and to my delight my federal tax return was already in my account! 🙂

*I had been warned that the IRS was running behind this year so it could be closer to a month before I saw my federal refund…it was exactly one week yesterday when I signed off on all the tax forms.

I found myself humming a little tune…there was very little traffic,  a beautiful, gorgeous morning and my favorite song of songs…Louie Armstrong’s “It’s a Beautiful World” played while I happily sang the lyrics.

The difference in the waiting room line between Monday and Wednesday was like night and day. I felt like I had the room to myself.

There was a standing joke going on between me and the staff member who was taking temperatures before being allowed to enter the waiting room.

For some weird reason…(she thought the thermometer machine was broken) my temperature this past Monday was 94.4. She kept staring at it…I thought I was running a fever the way she was still shaking her head…she took it three times with the same results.

I told her not to worry about it…I always ran lower than normal temps (usually not that low but still low) so I told her to just call me “Miss Cucumber”….as in ‘cool as a cucumber.’ 

When she took my temperature yesterday she stated….‘You’re not Miss Cucumber” today…you are up to 97.4…you’re downright hot today!” and she started chuckling.

I didn’t wait even 10 minutes until I was called back for my visit..I had my vitals checked and Dr. Jeter entered with a smile…the biggest conclusion from the scan was ” No evidence of metastatic breast cancer within chest, abdomen, and pelvis.”

I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath until she read the findings and suddenly my breath came rushing out from under my mask. Whew! I felt like the little child inside me again who moved just in time not to get hit with the dodge ball. Double Whew!

Living with “little c” can be nerve-wracking at times…but on days like yesterday…HOPE is still alive and well.

Thank all of you for your well-wishes and prayers…I went in yesterday in full armor…prepared for whatever lay ahead of me.

I treated myself to some more flowers for the garden, a delicious barbecue sandwich for lunch and sharing the happy news with family and friends.

And to  add “icing to the cake” I got my Spectrum Cable Bill… there was a note stating there had been a “readjustment” to the monthly bill…(I was already growling when I blinked)…it was a $17.03  decrease off my current bill.

I broke out laughing….”Now God… You are just showing off!” :)

So until tomorrow….

When I got home there was a box filled with flowers, candies, and garden items….It was from Harriett Edwards on the very day I got the results. I think you have a sixth sense Harriett….you made my day!

I really love the poem on the plaque!

“When events of the day cause your poor heart to harden….always remember there is a garden…”

I rearranged flowers and had the happiest time doing so yesterday…the results are below.

Thank you dear readers for your prayers…I felt them and quite honestly…I really felt like I was pretty “cool as a cucumber” ….for me! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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