The Sunsets in Our Lives

Dear Reader:

After the amazing Fall Harvest full moon Wednesday came the most beautiful sunset Thursday evening! It truly left me breathless-the oranges and yellows were almost blindly bewitching!

Sunsets bring back long-lost memories like a sunset I remember after a day trip with a young man I had a crush on at Erskine. I still remember a beautiful sunset ending a memorable day in my life.

Recently our class at Erskine had a big reunion but it coincided too close to our YaYa reunion-still memories of Erskine and the adorable little town of Due West linger within me.

Due West, SC

In the Fall Azalea magazine-Ellen Hyatt-a local gifted poet, writes a poem called Autumn Sunset. I love this phrase from it…

…Colors in the sky wow and awe. Yellow, bright but not blinding, patches of orange, wisps of pink, fevered red-sailors delight; a quiet layer of violet drifted in like a memory or a sigh.

So until tomorrow… don’t we all wonder at some point in our lives how many sunsets we will see before we start our last journey around the sun. It will never be enough.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

And speaking of beauty and shades of pink… encore azaleas, roses and sasanquas beyond beautiful-they must know it is pink breast cancer month.

***Mandy and the children had no school Friday so they came to enjoy the Scarecrows in the Square and a chance to pick out a pumpkin πŸŽƒ to decorate-fun day …pictures coming soon!

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Fabulous Fall

Jake’s Japanese Maple Tree

Dear Reader:

All the grandchildren’s Japanese Maples are turning beautifully this year-Jake’s is just a little farther along.

In the Fall edition of Azalea Magazine, Summerville’s wonderful read … thanks to Will Rizzo-Editor-in-Chief, he included a field guide with interesting tidbits on this popular season! Some included:

Americans typically refer to this time of year as ” Fall,” while our British ” Brethren” use the word ” Autumn.”

Fall is caused by the Earth’s tilt, not our distance from the sun. Fall colors are caused by the amount of sugar in the leaves.

Arctic Tern

Birds spend most of the fall migrating. The Arctic Tern travels 44,000 miles, from the North Pole to the South Pole! Wow! Unbelievable! They must have to check their wings a lot during this amazing journey!

Fall … Pumpkin spice, colorful leaves, cooler weather, and college 🏈 football!

Interesting study-According to the University of Chicago, children born in the fall are statistically better students and live longer. ( I will take the ” live longer” stat and run with it. )

Historically, fall was called “harvest” because of the ” harvest moon” that occurs close to the autumn equinox. It is also called the ” hunters'” moon because it coincides with the start of hunting season.

Full moon seen over South Carolina-October 20, 2021

Jake, the fisherman hunter fished for over an hour Wednesday after school -waiting patiently and it paid off! He caught both a big and small mouth bass! It must have been the magical pull of the Hunter moon -but Jake was deliriously happy! ( excuse the pun-but he was over the moon!!!)

Small mouth bass
Big mouth bass!

So until tomorrow… Even though we are told to give thanks in all circumstances-being grateful for fall comes quite easily-a perfect season!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Fresh garden flowers and silver pumpkins-Life is good!
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Who’s Knocking on Your Door?

” Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.”

Dear Reader:

This recent church message touched many congregational members… including my good friend, Dee Lesko. Haven’t we, as followers of God, been ” guilty of not hearing God’s knock on the door to our hearts?”

Haven’t we become too preoccupied with our own dreams, ambitions, opportunities and personal agendas… to such an extent that our ears are closed to the sound of God’s voice through his knock!

These thoughts immediately made me think of the old African-American spiritual “Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door.” I remembering loving singing all the different verses-Can’t you hear him? Answer Jesus. Jesus calls you. Can’t you trust him? O sinner, why don’t you answer? Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door.

I remember in an old romantic comedy called New in Town starring Rene Zellwegger and Harry McConnick, Jr-there was a funny one-liner in the movie when the rural farm scrapbooking women asked the sophisticated Rene character if she had found Jesus? Rene promptly reponds ” I didn’t know he was lost.”

A funny one- liner but more serious when we realize that God is never lost-He knows where we are too, at any given moment-but we have to let him in to find ourselves.

So until tomorrow Matthew: 7 -” Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened.”

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

I lucked up and found all three stages of the Confederate Rose today-first the pure white bloom, then the pale pink and then the last rose/ red depicting the last withered drops of blood from the soldier

” Amanda Rose”

Happy children-birthday mommy is home!

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Simple Ideas on Giving…Create Bountiful Blessing Boxes

Dear Reader:

Mandy came over yesterday to pick up a packet of lesson plans to teach a special Halloween lesson …at a request from her former school.

After getting them packed up we headed out to run some errands and grab lunch at Five Loaves. Mandy and I both ordered the half sandwich and soup. It was still a little chilly but the soup Mandy chose-a new soup-mushroom and Parmesan creamy soup was unbelievably good!

On the way there Mandy suddenly slowed down and pulled over-there was a Blessing Box adjacent to the Summerville Baptist Church -Mandy grabbed some cans and toiletries to put in it.

I live in Summerville and had never seen it before-I dropped books off in the street ” library” cabinets but was now interested in the story behind it.

No one seems to know how it started but geographically it appeared first in western states and moved eastward.

Especially during Covid with more unemployment blessing boxes took off with community charity organizations building ” cupboards to place free non perishable foods and personal hygiene products in.”

During Covid it seems like people had ideas about helping others…but stopped short actually following through. Blessing Boxes kept giving and receiving simple -and became an immediate success!!!

I am so glad I know where one is -I already am starting to fill a small cardboard box as I type.

Then we were off to Doodle’s to drop a dress up costume for Carrie to wear at her school before Halloween weekend.

Both Harvey and Doodle were busy in the backyard-their garden is magical-I feel like I am in a secret garden whenever I see it!

So until tomorrow… Thank you God for cool evenings and mornings… and fall azaleas that attract all the brightly colored winged insects enjoying brunch!

Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

I had a little lizard play a trick on me-I sat down to start the blog and turned to look out the window at the thriving side garden. One lizard had climbed the window screen-I jumped and screamed seeing my unexpected visitor just inches away from my face! Halloween is obviously drawing closer!!!

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When it Doesn’t Work… But Then It Does

Dear Reader:

How many times have we looked back on situations that initially disappointed us-perhaps a job interview that went wrong or a missed opportunity that passed us by-only later to discover there was a better job waiting for us in the near future and/ or an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity just lying around the next bend.

These are the memories that make us call out ” WHEW! That was a narrow escape -almost took the wrong career path or went looking for love in all the wrong places. It was not meant to be.

My initial accusatory prayers asking God why He didn’t give me what I most wanted-always have turned to a humbled prayer for forgiveness and gratitude-promise not to second-guess God again.

The best life lessons that I have received along the theme of trusting God’s intuitions over our own, have come from my flower gardens.

Take the picture of the two huge beautiful blooms I discovered on my Confederate Rose. Last year it didn’t bloom-and the branches appeared to be dying. I was so distraught-it was over 20 feet tall!

One day last year I took a leap of faith and cut all the branches back to three feet of bare limbs. Nothing happened… until spring when large green leaves started sprouting but still no buds.

When I left for the beach-the branches had grown taller but no buds-yesterday something caught my eye-a pink and white bloom! A miracle! Upon closer inspection the buds were appearing like popcorn popping.

Once again the legend of the Confederate Rose was coming true-from initially just a white blossom tree-the story of a Confederate soldier bleeding to death on a fallen white bloom that changed color in a two day interval …including pink and then a dark Rose color as he took his last breath. Tomorrow I will take the picture of the Rose-colored bloom before it too falls off and dies at the foot of the Confederate Rose!

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

Walsh and Mollie were returning home yesterday and Marcia-with help from Eloise, began decorating the front lawn to surprise Mollie with her benchmark birthday.

Happy Birthday Mollie!

And now TODAY is my pretty niece Bekah’s birthday-October is a popular family birthday month!

This past year has been a catalyst for change and I hope more good changes continue to come your way Bekah! Love you!

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Even ” Wacky Wabbits” Can Show Us The Direction of the Problem

Dear Reader:

It might seem a stretch going from Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny to John Travolta in Phenomenon but both teach us lessons about the source of our problems and why we have trouble solving them.

In both cases Fudd and Travolta are looking in the wrong direction when it comes to solving rabbit problems. This is very obvious in the Disney cartoons with Fudd aiming at everything everywhere with no luck capturing the wiley escape artist-Bugs Bunny.

Travolta’s character is also looking in all the wrong places-as the scene unfolds…

Travolta’s character has done everything he can think of to keep a pesky rabbit out of his garden. His fencing goes three feet underground and still each morning all the plants are nibbled through.

One night Travolta awakens and realizes his mistake-he has been going about this problem all wrong. In the moonlight he opens the gate and waits. To his shock and surprise the rabbit scurries out. The rabbit had been trapped IN the garden and he had been inadvertently keeping it locked in!

So until tomorrow-how many times do we fence in and lock up our troubled feelings and personal problems -letting them eat at our roots-when we need to open the gate and let them out-turn them over to God.

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Today we have two wonderful birthdays in the family-Kaitlyn’s beautiful mother, Susan, and gorgeous Mollie-my daughter in law and love! ❀️

Happy Birthday Susan… and many more!!!

Welcome Home Mollie-Hope your birthday weekend was everything you imagined… and more! A ” benchmark weekend!”

***Tommy and Kaitlyn’s new entertainment/ sports 🏈 center in the backyard! Looking good!

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When Home IS Family

Big Red Welcoming Me Home

Dear Reader:

As difficult as it was to leave Edisto Island and the Ya’s… I never fail to breathe a sigh of relief when I pull in my driveway and see ” Big Red” my thirteen year old geranium smiling at me with new buds blossoming -showing off with pride. I am home!

Mollie is celebrating a benchmark birthday with Walsh and close friends at Nantucket over a long weekend. When I texted Walsh to see if they had arrived safely he said it had been a long day of cars, boats, trains and planes… ferries with no tarries, etc. No direct way to get there but well worth it …once you did !

Mollie’s parents Bruce and Marcia…are babysitting and yesterday we brought in reinforcements for all the sports activities! Thanks Uncle Tommy!

From the Dingles I went to the Turners to see JohnMandy, Eva Cate and Jake-like the Dingles, the Turners have been busy decorating for Halloween! Jake prefers fishing!

Trying to find either house these days is hard-construction at Walsh and Mollie’s community entry and new neighborhood signs and sidewalks at John and Mandy’s….

Like my house it is always a relief to arrive amid constant changes of life.

I had an “aha” moment when I re-read a quote from Mark Nepo that is more timely now than ever! It deals with a realization that must be re- introduced again. As Nepo says-” We must get this right.”

What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our time.

So until tomorrow…From God’s eye, there are no countries, no policies, no visas. There is only one earth softened by one sweet water.

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

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When Needs and Wants Intertwine… Seek Beauty

Dear Reader:

The hardest thing yesterday was leaving Rest in Peace’s front porch. I do believe that if warring politicians would just rock for awhile on Brooke’s porch… peace and unity would prevail.

We Ya’s have solved so many world problems on that front porch and even helped each other out with our own personal ones. We all leave saddened but also lighter than we arrived.

Libby made the astute observation that the older we get, the more intertwined our needs and wants become. Materially we need less and less with each passing year and our wants are no longer excessive either-we simply want to maintain a status quo that we recognize can dissipate quickly with one stroke or serious diagnosis. Such is life.

When I came across this story it helped open my eyes to another layer of life we must include in our carry-on bag!

Once a Japanese emperor had an absolutely magnificent vase that was ancient and intricately beautiful. One day it fell, while being polished and broke into thousands of fragments… which were all gathered up to await the best potter’s hands in the land. When he couldn’t reassemble it-he was executed and the next potter was called. But no one could fix it.

Finally an old Zen monk was called. He brought his young apprentice to help him gather all the fragments snd take them back to their cave in the mountains.

For weeks he worked on it until it was complete-then the old monk and his apprentice returned it to the palace. The emperor was so overjoyed he gave the monk a handsome reward.

Then one day the apprentice unexpectedly came upon the fragments of the vase. He ran to his master crying out ” Look Master! You never assembled all the fragments from the vase!… How did you make it so beautiful?”

The old monk replied ” If you live the life you do with a loving heart using your unique talents-then you will always be able to restore and even make something more beautiful than before.”

How true! So until tomorrow life is never stagnant-we must change with the times-BUT if we look for beauty in every new situation we will find it!

May your day never burden, May evening find you gracious and fulfilled-May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected-May your soul calm, console, and renew you. ( Anam Cara)

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Good-bye until we meet again

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The World We Shape is the World We Touch

Dear Reader:

I am writing this blog Thursday evening as the sun sets on our last day together. Already we had to drop Jackson off to start her first step towards her return home to New Jersey.

It was almost beyond painful to tell her good-bye … but we all prayed for our health to continue until we meet again-Brooke and I sang Happy Trails to her as we used to do when she would leave the dorm on a date-out the window to tease her.

Our discussions centered around leaving our spirits behind ( not the drinking kind🀣) in the form of our words, actions, and dreams.

Sometimes, it seems, we ask too much. Sometimes we forget that small graces are enough. The miracle of this gathering was just that…a miracle! And though it is never long enough, it is enough to sustain our hearts until we meet again.

So until tomorrow…thank you Father for the gift of time and a special place to gather!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

” If we should be so lucky as to touch the lives of many, so be it. But if our lot is no more than the setting of a table, or the tending of a garden, or showing a child a path in the woods, our lives are no less worthy.” ( Nerburn)

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Sunrise at Edisto

Dear Reader:

Tuesday I rose at 6:30 and decided that I must see the sun rise-it was the same feeling I had in 2008 when I experienced the dolphin sighting at the jetties.

By the time I dressed and arrived the sun had just risen over the dunes and the lowest sun’s ray seemed to land at my feet. A hint of a God Wink to come,

I decided I would try to find an early morning walker to grab a snapshot of me since I now understood the brevity of time and how sacred time spent with the Ya’s was and nothing should be taken for granted. I wanted a memory.

It turned out to be my guardian angel-Christina ( Tina) Moore from Myrtle Beach. A grandmother who gave of herself twice a week to be a grandmother to toddlers who lived far away from their grandmothers and wanted one. She took my picture and told me she was spending time with her granddaughter-a freshman at Clemson-a most giving person!

After thanking her I found myself pointing to the jetties and telling her about the dolphin incident ( 13 years earlier that changed my outlook on life and the right path to follow. )

I had turned then to leave and felt a hand on my shoulder-it was Tina praying for me. The most beautiful prayer I had ever heard. She prayed that I would be held in the hand of God and sent forth out into the world each day to share a ray of the sun’s light to everyone I encountered.

I remembered telling this story about the Dakota children -how they learned to walk in silence to a lake or stream , splash water on their faces, then offer up a prayer toward the sun.

Tina had not wanted to walk Tuesday but something told her she should… my guardian angel-no doubt!

So until tomorrow… there is nothing more beautiful than a sunrise at dawn on a special beach with special friends. God Winks just waiting behind the dunes and by the jetties!

Today is my favorite day! Winnie the Pooh

Brooke and I went to the fire department to get a special beach gchair for Jackson to get her on the beach! So many helpful people came running to assist us and take Ya Ya photos-it restored our faith in humanity!

The Sunflower Seed Queen
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