God is Our Personal Cheerleader!

Dear Reader:

Richard Rohr ( “Yes and”… Daily Meditations) observes that the basic question, put before Jesus in the temptation scenes, was ” Is God to be trusted?” That is the great question the human race is still asking at the most basic level. Jesus’ resounding response is” Yes! God is on your side. Yes! God is more for you than you are for yourself.”

In other words… God is our greatest cheerleader. Now take a moment… and think of the cheerleaders you have experienced in your life… Perhaps…grandparents, parents, relatives, siblings, spouses, teachers, coaches, neighbors, and/or close friends.

I can’t help but think back on Eloise’s last dance recital… she was excited but also nervous… all of us told her when her class came out to dance she might not be able to see us in the packed crowds with the light on her… but listen closely. Walsh said he would yell her name loud enough for her to hear. That brought a big smile to her face.

When it was finally time for her class to perform Eloise was on the end nearest us but the clapping was really loud… and Eloise was concentrating on her steps… when it was over… and the class started out… amid more applause… she hesitated and searched the dark theater… Walsh timed it perfectly.. his lone voice with her brothers chiming in yelled: ” Way to go Eloise.” Her face lit up.. and she remained a few seconds behind the retreating class dancers… as she turned towards the sound, her face completely lit up… waving in our direction and blowing kisses as the audience chuckled. Promise kept… a special boost of love.

God wants us to be cheerleaders for all His children … as He has been and is still there for us!

We all need people in our lives that believe in us… so if we do… everyone does and ” We” need to replace “Me.” It’s our turn to repay back those wonderful people who boosted our lives by being a cheerleader for others.

We need to cross the bridge from selfish to selfless in promoting others creative endeavors and helping the next generation find their path of ” passion.”

When people talk about wanting to be remembered… it won’t be for their talents alone but more for how they used their talents to coach and encourage others… becoming a cheerleader for those around them.

I don’t want to embarrass Honey … but I am… as talented as she is with her kiln and clay… to me she has just not been a cheerleader for me… but she has ” sculpted ” so many people’s lives through her generosity of time and benevolence. She never stops helping others… never. She lives to serve. Amazing!

So until tomorrow…

Cheerleading is not a sport! It is a lifestyle!

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

I FINALLY got Ben to his heart specialist appointment-third try a charm! Now time to party! Edisto!!!*** Ben has on his Wellmore t-shirt he was given for helping the staff with his putt putt idea and book readings. They took him out to lunch to celebrate! πŸ’—πŸ‘
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Love is Our Greatest Possession

Dear Reader:

What many Floridians are discovering in the grief and overwhelming sense of loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian… is that …if all their loved ones survived the monster hurricane… and the damage and destruction involved only man made possessions-buildings, property, vehicles, etc- these possessions can be replaced, rebuilt-loss of life can’t…

And hopefully what many Floridians are also experiencing is hope in the form of neighbors helping each other, electricians and builders from all across America pulling into Florida in caravans, along with many church food supplies and thousands of helping hands. Love.

Sarah Ban Breathnach ( Simple Abundance) retells an historical tragedy that I taught while teaching the Westward Movement. Behind the horror of the famous Donner Party tragedy lies lessons in courage, perseverance and yes…love.

” In July 1846 Margaret Reed reluctantly left her beloved home in Springfield, Illinois, with her husband James, their four children, and her ailing mother and set off for California. Margaret had stubbornly resisted the idea for months, begging him not to abandon their charmed life of comfort and culture. But James sought even more wealth ( wealthy furniture manufacturer), and adventure-he prevailed.”

He did keep his promise to her to build the most luxurious covered wagon ever made ( two stories high, sleeping loft, spring seats, iron stove, velvet curtains, and her cherished organ… along with all her prized personal possessions.) It was stocked with six months of the best food and wine money could buy.

Twenty-five hundred miles from home and only two days from safety-thirty-one men, women, and children were stranded for an entire winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by a succession of the worst blizzards on record. The wagon was too big and heavy for the mountains and had to be abandoned along the way.

Out of provisions entirely…some members resulted to cannibalism. But Margaret, all alone, prevailed. (Husband James had left with a search party to get to California to get help.) Margaret kept her children alive on snow, bark, and leather broth. ” But the REAL possessions that saved Margaret and those she loved were of Spirither wits, her faith, and her courage.”

Donner Memorial Park and Donner Lake Today

It was said when the Reeds did build a home Margaret surrounded herself with only objects she loved.. she had learned what she could live without and loved the feeling of lightness. Even the possessions she kept were eyed differently-with a certain detachment. If gone tomorrow… so be it. She had her family.

So until tomorrow… May we be remembered as being … by love possessed.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

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Thriving in Pink

Dear Reader:

I can’t let October go any farther before stopping today to share my thoughts on the significance of October-Breast Cancer Month.

Some days it is hard to remember a time when I didn’t have breast cancer. And as strange as it sounds… breast cancer became a catalyst for change that opened my world up to new possibilities that I had previously been hesitant and insecure about opening.

Breast cancer forced me to finally start telling my story… the illusion of ” Some day I will…” was gone-it was now or never. To my surprise life suddenly became personally deeper and more meaningful… relationships were no longer taken for granted and each sunrise became a gift of love.

I have been blessed with wonderful doctors -each there for a particular stage of treatment that, no doubt, God planned. Some have come( and literally gone) sadly over the fourteen years to date of treatments.

My rarer version of breast cancer was deemed ” treatable but not curable.” To date that is still true… but modern medicine keeps stepping in with “Hope” bottled up in new oral chemo and hormone treatments that have kept progression restricted and allowed me to live a ” normal” life.

This is a day to thank, not only my doctors, nurses, and other medical staff…but also my immediate and extended family for their show of support throughout the entire fifteen year experience. ( When officially diagnosed in 2008-my surgeon believed I had had breast cancer for probably about a year prior to my medical diagnosis.)

As my grandchildren grow older… I hope one day they will not only come to believe in miracles but understand that their ” Boo Boo” was and is a live walking one.

One act I really miss… is our family gathering for the annual Race for the Cure -it started in 2009 with Tommy asking me to participate-the next year Doodle, Carrie, and Lassie joined in with John and Mandy… and from there it grew exponentially over a ten year run ( or walk for some of us)

The last year-( 2018) We were Winners of the Fundraisers-Go Legally Pink! Who took us over the top were YOU READERS! Your generous donations out funded other Charleston businesses! YOU ROCKED!
Collage Kaitlyn made for all of us!!!
Big Shout-out for the Hostesses with the Mostesses- always had a delicious brunch for family and friends after the race!
Jake joined us along the way with Lachlan too!
**And those ” races” would not have been complete without meeting Brenda and Harriett for the Survivors Ceremony each year. How happy we were to reunite each October!

**Looking at the picture of Harriett this year makes me sad … but Harriett’s positive outlook , fight, and determination will remain with me the rest of my life. Harriett was a ” thriver” until her last breath. Miss you Harriett!

So until tomorrow…

So until tomorrow… The expression ” Pretty in Pink” will always take on a new meaning for me because of all the love and friendship shared each ” Pink” October.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

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Let’s Be Human Together

Dear Reader:

Being human is a given but keeping our humanity is a choice. Humanity is defined as compassionate, sympathetic, or generous in behavior or disposition.

There is only one race-the human race and everyone in that race, deep down, wants and needs the same things. We want to be heard and understood and above all loved. We come closer to acceptance of others when we remember we share these same basic similarities-much more so than differences.

Once we all admit out loud that living is hard sometimes, it’s okay not to be okay and we are perfectly imperfect… we can sense and feel our commonality. It is not only okay to ask for help but it’s okay to also help someone else. We are not alone, we are not burdens. We are humans-so let’s be humans together.

Anne Peterson sent this beautiful message she read from Father Pope Francis a couple years back and I wrote it down… finding it yesterday… that I take as a God Wink (that it was time to re-read it.)

” Rivers do not drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruit-the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves.

… Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other . No matter how different it is -life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.”

So until tomorrow…”We are all cells in the same body of humanity.”

Today IS my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

The ” growl” did take the ” howl.” πŸ‘Š
The morning glories are loving the cooler temperatures!
There’s no ” Going back to Jackson” because our beloved Jackson is here.” She has ” Carolina on her mind.” ( In three days the Ya’s will be reuniting at Edisto… but until then she is staying with Libby in Columbia catching up on visits from old friends!) We can hardly wait!!!!
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Out of Disasters… Amazing Discoveries

Dear Reader:

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I started examining the debris left behind by Hurricane Ian … and discovered that rain, torrential at times like it was… perked up many of my late summer flowers, like Black-eyed Susie’s. All the flowers appeared to be pretty much intact and enjoying the cooler weather along with long cool drinks!

The porch is back up with all the flower containers and the side garden survived admirably… the back yard got the brunt of flying branches and broken limbs … but just needs a few wheel barrow excursions. So lucky… and so grateful! Everyone in the family fared well overall.

This past year has certainly been a wake-up call that we, as stewards of God’s gift of our earthly home -planet Earth, have failed it! Our planet has finally had enough of man’s greed for more natural resources-polluting and destroying them in the bargain.

Italy complains it can’t send half as many cars out for export ( at one time) because the weight on the barges and freighters are too much for the canals, streams and rivers that have dried up so badly the cargo ships are getting stuck or even scrapping bottom.

We have all witnessed our own rivers and lakes in this country suffering the same fate from man-made induced climate change. ( Baby… it’s hot outside!”)

This is a serious problem that affects our economy, health, nutrition, and potential survival outcome for life …as we have come to know and expect it.

But… for historians, archaeologists, geologists, scientists, and curious retired history teachers… the dried up river ravines are bringing ancient artifacts back to us millions of years after they lived-fossilized!

This new era will probably be remembered as the New Age of Ancient History Revival! Here are some examples!

Fossilized Footprints-a set of 113 Million year old dinosaur tracks exposed after a river dried up due to extreme drought in Washington State.
Intact Roman Gladiator Arena from 1800 years ago-discovered in Turkey
College of Charleston geology department -discovery of a new kind of prehistoric marine reptile -Serpentisuchhops. ( more than 23 feet long) This sea beast swam the ancient oceans while dinosaurs walked the earth 70 million years ago. Nicknamed-” Snakey Crocodile Face” – found in the dried up badlands of Wyoming.
Nazi ships from WWII surface in dried up area of Danube River recently

One of the saddest scenes from the wake of Hurricane Ian was seeing a big chunk of the historic Pawleys Island Pier break off from the rest of the pier and float out to sea.

This old pier, though private now, was always a mainstay and landmark for evening walks on Pawleys Island and still a great pier to canoe or kayak around. Hurricane Ian hit the Georgetown area-just south of Pawleys especially hard.

Ann Graves texted me and wondered if the famous Gray Man ghost had appeared to warn residents of Pawleys Island to leave. I replied I hoped he warned the residents and tourists not to go near the pier!

Actually when I googled more information on the latest Gray Man ghost sighting one source stated ” Last reported sighting was Hurricane Ian-this past Friday… just a few days after the 200th anniversary of the first sighting on September 27, 1822!! ( Pretty cool but no specific details)

So until tomorrow.. May we be filled with gratitude for loved ones who stayed safe and secure while extending helping, generous, open hands to those who were not so fortunate!

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh… because my hero, Sam Clark came over and put in a new smoke detector and left me with no more chirping sounds! Hallelujah! Love you Clark’s-best back door neighbors EVER!!! Continue healing Donna from your gall bladder surgery!!! 😍πŸ₯°πŸ˜˜

Look what Mike and Honey saw as Hurricane Ian left the NC mountains?

An almost vertical rainbow!

One hour until game time… it’s going to be a tough one-have on my new lucky Clemson birthday sweatshirt and Clemson pumpkin in place! My motto for the game tonight! ” Let the GROWL be stronger than the ” Howl!” πŸ₯°πŸ˜

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It was a Dark and Stormy Morning, Afternoon, and Night…

Dear Reader:

This will be a short post. It is just after 1:00 on Friday afternoon/and Hurricane πŸŒ€ Ian is certainly letting himself be known. We are under emergency hurricane alert until 4:00 and Mother Nature is getting 🧐 serious with the amounts of wind and rain…

Lost power right after noon… but found a box of unused white battery tea candles/have put them all around the kitchen and den. It looks like I am in a chapel. Actually quite soothing inside now… but that was not the case early this morning.

I was awakened, not by the weather, but this strange beep sound. After rousing up enough to get my senses collected… I tracked the source of the noise and it was the smoke alarm in the hallway. The battery was dying.

I climbed on a stool and kept messing with it. About the same time/my back door neighbor/Donna Clark-texted me to let me know they were home if I needed anything-but after fiddling I got the lid off the battery and both fell on the floor. I sure didn’t want Sam or anyone getting out in the storm for a beeping noise!

For a few minutes I had a break from that dying canary ( irritating) beep sound… but it soon returned. Really! No battery and still chirping every minute! What would turn it off-I soon discovered what? ( Didn’t have another battery to replace it)

A couple of hours later… the lights flickered.. and ( this time) power never came back on. Guess what? The ” dying canary peep/ beep” died with the loss of electricity ! ( Be careful what you wish for… it might come true!) I traded sight and light for silence. Not sure about that trade as I am bundled in blankets inside-real fall weather here-quite bizarre weather for a Lowcountry storm this time of year.

My internet is off too… so if this post doesn’t arrive at 6:00 am Saturday morning you will now know why… but I am fine-will be happy to tell Ian good bye and am keeping the truly devastated parts of Florida in my prayers!

*** Anne texted and shared a quote and some books/ readings that had caught her interest recently -will close with it.

So … Until tomorrow…

” Of all the gifts that people can give to one another, the most meaningful and long lasting are strong but simple love and the gift of story.” -Clarissa Estes

” Today is my favorite day” – Winnie the Pooh-… ” to say goodbye to!” πŸ₯° Bye Bye Ian!

And don’t forget to say ” Rabbit! Rabbit! … on this October 1st-we certainly could all use some good luck this month!!! πŸ€—

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Waiting for the Storm

Dear Reader:

It is Thursday, a little after three, and I am waiting on the storm to come. (And quite honestly… I don’t feel like dancing.) Thus far… the wind hasn’t been too bad and the rains haven’t arrived yet… but are predicted to start pretty soon and continue through Friday… the worst day of the storm.

Living in inland Summerville… I feel pretty secure-since this storm is basically affecting the coastal areas. It is my family living in the Mt Pleasant area that I am concerned most about-…

As I am typing… my son-in-law John is valiantly trying to get home to his family by nightfall… leaving a conference early in Florida. ..we are anxious and praying he makes it in before darkness – he has been fighting the elements all day trying to get home to Mandy and the children. John ‘s birthday is Friday and we are all just hoping he gets to celebrate it surrounded by his family.

Walsh and Mollie are still working on their patio-trying to secure and protect it and Walsh has been cleaning out all the ditches surrounding the house so it will drain and not flood … potentially destroying much of the work that has just been done.

Tommy and Kaitlyn got stuck waiting at work in N Charleston …apparently on some closings-wanting to leave and secure their home entrances with sandbags , etc since their lot is low and goodness they have been through so much on their house recently. Very frustrating situation!

Ya Jackson is supposed to fly into Columbia Sunday… to stay with Libby… and visit many of her teaching buddies before we all meet next Thursday at Edisto for our Ya week retreat! Praying for no cancellations and also that Edisto doesn’t get hit too hard either…. !!!!!)

So by now… you can see why, as the ocean is churning (as Ian draws closer)… I am too!!! For family and friends… I want everyone together and secure. Once a mother… always a mother! Once I know loved ones got through this storm… then I will dance!!! Yes… even in the rain!!!πŸ˜‚

*** Later update: Tommy and Kaitlyn got home and John got in about 7:30-so relieved and happy-let the celebrations begin!! ( And still no dancing in the rain because still no rain at 8:00 PM.

So until tomorrow…

Jo Dufford gave me these words of wisdom on this wooden plaque years ago after I underwent another surgery… and it still holds true today-especially today!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

*** ( Okay… maybe not my most favorite day… but now these days I don’t lecture myself any more- when I worry or am apprehensive about situations involving people I care about… thinking I am guilty of a lack of faith…deep down I still have a strong faith or I wouldn’t turn to prayer first… now would I? ) πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ’—

A Happy Birthday Shout-out to my favorite son-law! ( and only one! πŸ˜‚)

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I Was Here…

Dear Reader:

If you visit the WWII Memorial in Washington DC … and take time to walk around and study it… you will find hidden within different portions of the monument display- the American morale booster that came to symbolize a show of pride for American GI’s. Kilroy was here!

When storming a beach, taking over an objective point, or liberating a town, seeing ” Kilroy was here” and its accompanying cartoon known as ” Mr.Chad” or ” Chad” for short, showed the Americans and their Allies they could win the war and conquer everything.

The origin of who ” Kilroy ” was remains clouded in hearsay mixed with urban legend. One thought is that it started with a James Kilroy who worked on the Liberty ships being sent out to war-he always found a hidden place to leave his mark upon completion … scrawling” Kilroy was here” in yellow crayon.

There was even a widely circulated rumor that in the closing months of the war Hitler, riddled with paranoia, was searching desperately for the ” Kilroy” soldier who appeared to be a one man army … and who kept popping up following one victory after another.

Famous author, William Faulkner, even commented on Kilroy when he wrote: ” What matters at the end of life, when you’re about to pass into oblivion, is that , at least, you scratched ” Kilroy was here” on the last wall of the universe.”

Today this expression transcends battlefields and is an encouraging sign of overcoming adversity while finding the lighter side of life… no matter how tough things get.

Deep down inside… don’t we all want to leave our mark behind to let future generations know we once lived… not just existed but gave back to our home planet Earth while we breathed and lived and loved?

Didn’t God give each of us our unique talents to share with others for that exact reason? We live through the people we touched while on Earth.

So until tomorrow… ” The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” William James

Another flag for my garden John and Mandy gave me

For my birthday Tommy and Kaitlyn gave me this beautiful crystal pendant, hand crafted from clear quartz in Dingle, Ireland.

As you can read on the card… Tiam-means ” I am.” It is an affirmation of existence for the wearer. It is engraved on the chain.

The clear quartz is considered a ” master healer” It amplifies energy by absorbing it daily – it helps stimulate the immune system and balance out your entire body.

( As you can imagine I haven’t taken it off since last Friday evening upon receiving itπŸ‘ŠπŸ˜)

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday evening I made a run to the post office and on the way home I practically ran off the road staring at the sheer beauty of the sunset-absolutely gorgeous.

Yet… in spite of our weather here-of course we can’t help but pray for the residents around Tampa as Ian blows in today. Anybody who has ever experienced a large hurricane never forgets it. Never! Our prayers are with you. πŸ™πŸ»

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Perfection is Not Necessarily Goodness… on Earth

Dear Reader:

Aren’t there some lines we read that make us pause and excitedly realize that someone else thinks along the same line as us in a particular outlook?

This happened to me yesterday while reading daily meditations by Richard Rhor. The topic dealt with perfection versus goodness and the statement went like this: ” We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.”

I immediately felt lighter… like all the air had gone out of a balloon and the pressure and stress of demanding perfection in our lives was actually a dead-end to our individual pursuits of happiness.

Rohr adds this strong addendum ( to the opening line) … ” That might just be the central message of how spiritual growth happens, yet nothing in us wants to believe it.”

Rohr explains that if there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfections we meet… ( that is everywhere) especially our own.

If we were playing hide and seek with God… we would have to look at all the imperfections to find holiness hidden there – because our clever God knows only the ” humble and earnest” will find it.

A so- called perfect person is one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than the one who thinks he or she is totally above and beyond imperfections… the arrogant, haughty individual who never admits mistakes but instead blames everyone else for his or her failures.

Perfection is a divine concept: goodness is a beautiful human concept that includes us all! People whom we call ” good” are always people who have learned how to admit mistakes and then clarify the lesson learned for their own and others betterment… even at the risk of their own proper self-image or their social standing.

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

I have read, re-read every wonderful birthday card I got-it brings me such joy-going back over my birthday mail! Thank you friends!!!
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An Old Friend Returns on My Birthday… Sammy!


Dear Reader:

When I returned home late Saturday afternoon… I checked on my gardens immediately. As I walked the alley between the side garden and the back garden a bit of red caught my peripheral vision-I looked across a large expanse of yard and there was a red cardinal ( Sammy) sitting perfectly still on a bamboo branch… staring straight at me … I quickly grabbed my phone and took a quick photo… but I was so far away I knew I had to risk slowly moving in closer!

I kept moving in as Sammy calmly watched me and when I got just a few feet away I took the title photo shot… so close! Sammy tiled one wing as if waving at me-a long lost friend and then flew a way. After over a year… Sammy came back to see me!

For many of you new readers… you don’t know the love-hate relationship Sammy and I experienced for about a two year period. It started with Sammy attacking both side door mirrors on the then ” Big Green” -my old Saturn Vue-that got stolen twice before being crashed by a young car thief.

Sammy had pecked the side mirrors unusable-probably what caused the final crash as police chased the young car kidnapper.

It was my fault, indirectly, that Sammy and his family disappeared about a year ago-I got so tired of banging and yelling at the squirrels for getting in the bird cages in the side garden and destroying the plants and flowers that I took the bird cages down.

But now Sammy had returned…another great gift on my birthday! We both had missed each other!

Love this resolution!

Artist Kelly Rae Roberts took a peek back in her art journal, recently , and saw the artwork ( above) that she had created a long time earlier. Suddenly she remembered the message behind the painting that she sent out… Her question was: How do you finish the prompt, “From this day forward…”?

We are creatures of habit and equate the term ” resolution ” with New Year’s Eve… but what if we all stopped scurrying around long to come up for air, look around and take time to re-assess a change we want to make in our lives right now? In other words ” From this day forward” what is a significant yet subtle change that would warrant ” more ” in our lives- more love, peace, or flowers please.

As much as I love flowers …right now I would choose love… letting my family know more often how much their love means to me and how appreciative and filled with gratitude their love lifts me.

The thought started when Tommy thanked everyone for their sincere, heartfelt sorrow and caring over the loss of their little Khaleesi. Suddenly everyone was expressing love and complimenting Tommy and Kaitlyn for their generosity of giving older dogs (who had been mistreated) a chance to have a forever home… the pets would not die without experiencing what real love is. What an amazing gift.

I realized we shouldn’t have to wait until a tragedy befalls one of us to let each other know how much we care for each other. A quick text or email that reads ” The sun is out today and I just thought of you… have a great day!” Love you!

So until tomorrow… if you have a response to ” From this day forward…”- please feel free to share your resolution with our readers.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday really was a favorite day…. Gingi picked me up and we went to Middleton Plantation for long walks and scrumptious desserts. So beautiful! What an amazing birthday adventure! Thank you from the bottom of my heart Gin-g!

The camellia bushes were filled with buds … just about to burst open… but try as hard as we could-we couldn’t find one bloom.

Until… I got home and walked into my backyard….one gorgeous bloom had popped open while I was at Middleton- it would not be out-done by a formal garden camellia bloom! Way to go ” Cammy!”

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