The Gift of Friendship

Dear Reader:

I just returned home late yesterday afternoon after spending the night in Walterboro with Brooke. I called her Tuesday after Mandy called me while babysitting the boys at Mollie’s … that she had tested positive for Covid. Brooke didn’t pause for a second… teasing me that I wasn’t getting out of her invitation that easily… she was ready for me to ” come on… so ” come on.”

We had a ball! Went out to eat at the old country club restaurant that has just recently reopened-went early and we made up one of two tables of people-we had it to ourselves… had a delicious dinner and fun with the staff!

We love watching old movies together… and found time to watch one Wednesday night and one yesterday after lunch as torrential downpours continued throughout intervals of time. It gave me an excuse to stay long enough for one more show.

But before that Brooke had found the ripest juiciest tomatoes ( grown on Wadmalaw Island… I am ruined for the rest of the summer) and served them at lunch… thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Life just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Haven’t we all heard people say things like ” Why can’t we make movies more like real life?” I think the more pertinent question is” Why can’t real life be more like the movies?”

For our last shared movie… Brooke and I went back to 2003 ( can’t be twenty years?) and put on the romantic comedy ” Something’s Gotta Give” -Jack Nicholson and Dianne Keaton.

Now certainly romantic comedies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea… ( but after hours of watching Rutledge and Lachlan play video games Wednesday … it made me so happy!!!!!)

I truly believe that nothing in our lives is too insignificant… not to be a source of inspiration! Because underneath the laughter of a romantic comedy- love gone humorously array… there exists deeper feelings of love desperate to be returned by someone who has opened his/her heart to another. To love and be loved takes one of the greatest acts of courage we will ever commit.

Movies have always cemented Brooke’s and my friendship… still remember (while at Erskine) we drove to Greenville to watch Love Story… we bawled through the first showing-then hid out in the theater so we could watch it again… we furiously drove back to the college and just barely got back before the final curfew.

Everyday, more and more… I realize that if I pause long enough to reflect back on the day-it has taught me a lesson-bad, good, happy, sad… the perspective changes upon the thoughts attached to it. Still… a lesson is a lesson.

So until tomorrow… ” We do not write to be understood, we write in order to understand.”

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Brooke is slowly fixing up and renovating parts of the house-I love the new ceiling color!!

Busy Bee… Brooke has planted rows of hibiscus and hydrangeas! Gorgeous!

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Becoming the Velveteen Rabbit

Dear Reader:

While keeping Rutledge and Lachlan Wednesday I had a ” Velveteen Rabbit” moment.

After watching the boys play a few video games I walked back downstairs and decided to go out on the porch and watch the latest thunderstorm roll in… doesn’t the rain smell so fresh and good during these times?

I had only been outside a few minutes when Lachlan joined me with a big sigh. ” Boo Boo… Rutledge still hasn’t given me a turn yet… he keeps promising but it doesn’t happen.”

” Don’t worry… big brothers are like that… we will get him and he will give you a turn… promise… that is what a Boo Boo is for…But for a few more minutes let’s enjoy watching the storm roll in and the beautiful blooms popping open with the rain falling.”

Lachlan nodded and for a full minute we sat quietly watching and listening to the rain crescendo stronger and louder. Suddenly Lachlan said, ” Boo Boo… don’t you have any eyebrows?”

” No… the medicine I take to fight my cancer has taken all my hair away. ” Lachlan stared at me again… and then responded ” … and you don’t have any eyelashes either?”

” That’s right and I really really miss my eyelashes because they protect our eyes from the sun’s rays… it is why my eyes water so much and I have to wear sunglasses everywhere.”

” Oh gotcha “… Lachlan smiled as if he had just solved a great mystery. By the time I had gotten Lachlan restored to the “player” video position… I had experienced some epiphanies of my own.

I am becoming the Velveteen Rabbit. I have lost parts of me that I won’t get back in this lifetime… but it is okay… they don’t matter anyway… not in the important way…. because I am real.

Skin Horse best explains it: ” It does not happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are Real most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

So until tomorrow… Don’t we all need a Skin Horse in our lives who reminds us what life’s most important priorities are: ” To love and be loved?”

Lachlan will definitely be the one to find new worlds and seek new possibilities-he is my explorer.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

It is also ” Rabbit Rabbit Day” -the first day of the month ( July) Remember to call it out first thing today for another month full of surprises and possibilities.

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻. … And please call out prayers for my friend Harriett Edwards who is in the hospital fighting hard against ” little c” ( cancer) … daily I thank God for unforgettable moments, shared memories, and friendship. We love you Harriett! 💗💗

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The New ” Swings” in Our Daily Lives

Dear Reader:

Do you think we had fun yesterday? Never a dull moment! It was a stormy ( weather-wise) day so I was introduced to a whole new world out there. Video Games… where I found myself drawn into a new world of imagination… the objective-getting points for ridding the world of bad guys before they can go after you. ( Now that I think about it… I guess it was actually pretty realistic in today’s world. )

I do miss my tried and true superheroes in flying capes, double identities, and phone booths. Every time I was about to let Rutledge and Lachlan know about a superhero I loved as a child of the fifties… I stopped myself in the nick of time. ( Don’t do it… kids aren’t interested in your outdated memories… I remembered how I sighed when hearing about famous personalities from the silent film era and how a few pennies could get you in a theater?)

It took an hour and half of congested afternoon traffic, in pouring rain, to get home …so thank goodness for frozen dinners. ( A frozen drink would have been nice too… but no time to plan ahead.) 😉

The damper on the day, besides the thunderstorms, which we need in these drought conditions, was when Mandy tested positive for Covid-( thought she had drainage from allergies and because she was going to a primary doctor the next day she took a home test yesterday and boom) It seems like everyone is testing positive these days doesn’t it. Because for most the symptoms mimic summer colds, allergies… most probably will never know they had it.

The timing is bad…. John and Mandy were planning a large July 4 celebration for family… which looks doubtful…but this is a case of letting go and letting God’s chips fall as may. Health is the most important issue!

So until tomorrow… our days are filled with highs and lows, just like a swing, the main goal is to grab the exhilaration of the moment and the scenery of all we love!

As long as we have family… we have love

Leaving Wakendaw… always another home

Picture Walsh took of another view of Maine… a softer scene

Today is my favorite day/Winnie the Pooh

Winnie’s favorite stuffed animal -Tigger-who else?
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When Mind, Body and Soul Meet

Dear Reader:

Every few years I come back across the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Breathnach, written in 1995, and I marvel at the new connections and realizations we share… even after all the years of separation in our writings and feelings.

What we both came to realize is that epiphanies occur every day, the sacred can always be found in the ordinary and the mystical in the most mundane of situations. I admit I never really got the “authentic “life idea for a long time. I was just me… was I missing something? Yes… an awareness that everything in life is connected and we are part of this magical web of throbbing life-a life to be cherished in all its intricate design.

Under the ordinary lies the extraordinary if we are open to it. This I witness daily in my garden meditations, surprises and delights! When we start thinking of everyday life as our prayer… a sense of the mind, body, and soul emerging into one … then ” self” is fully revealed. * As Breathnach explains it…” True Self is the soul made visible.

So until tomorrow…Abundance and lack are parallel realities… only we can make the daily choice which one to inhabit… Margaret young said it best;

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday I was at Lucy Beckham High school to see all the art ” campers” projects that they just completed after three weeks of selected art entries-Eva Cate chose textiles to concentrate on.

Today I am switching grandkids -watching the boys while Mollie works with children learning English as their second language. Can hardly wait to hear all the Maine adventures.

Home tonight…I will be tired but the good kind of tired!

The largest hibiscus bloom … EVER! ( dwarfed the bush) So proud of another ” Big Red!”

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A Wish List to the Universe-Your Own Treasure Map

For where Your Treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

Dear Reader:

This year for Rutledge’s birthday I thought I would give him a compass that came down from his great-grandfather, my father to my mother, when they married two months after Dad being honorably discharged at the end of WWII. Rutledge is my history buff and I think he will appreciate the token and symbolism.

Mother told me that when fighting overseas dad always looked at the compass as pointing back home to my mother, his treasure and their soon-to-be life together. So the compass became a treasure memory of their love.

I decided to order a box to keep it in… it looked like a little trunk … but to my surprise when I opened it-it had a treasure map and fake pirate coins in it… will save those for another play day. with the grandkids.

Sarah Breathnach , in her book, Simple Abundance, talks about taking time to create our own treasure map -a map filled with all our wishes and dreams. Then make a collage treasure map-think fun, like a child, because before we can manifest dreams into reality we must listen to our deepest wishes… which are whispers of our true selves.

Our treasures might involve relationships, professions, a family, children, creative endeavors-travel -whatever our heart desires!

So until tomorrow… ” The greatest secret to living a happy and fulfilled life is the realization that everything is created in our minds before it manifests itself in the outer world. We must believe it before we can see it. You have to know what you’re digging for, before X can mark the spot! “

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Eloise in her new lobster dress
Anne’s first moonflower of the season-What a beauty!
I will just have to settle on enjoying my big hibiscus blooms until I see if any potential moonflowers survived the deer encounter earlier this season
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” Shh… There, there…”

Dear Reader:

Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,

That is the finest of suppers, I think;

When I’m grown up and can have what I please

I think I shall always insist upon these.

– Christopher Morley

Saturday was my “Shh… There. there” day! By the end of the day I was in my flannel pj’s , my heavy night robe Kaitlyn gave me last Christmas and heavy socks bundled up on the sofa! I had gotten my second Covid booster and was experiencing the same flu-like symptoms as on the prior three earlier Moderna vaccinations.

Pride must come before the fall… because I got my shot a little after 9am at Publix ( and thank goodness had picked up a can of Chicken Noodle soup , yogurt, and bananas) …but until 5pm that afternoon I felt terrific, worked in the garden and ran errands. But when it hit… it hit like a sledge hammer… the same reaction as the other three. ( I comforted myself remembering a doctor say the more reaction one has to the shot… the better the protection… sure hope so! )

Aren’t nursery foods the most beloved recipes from our childhood? They conjure up those happy innocent moments when all was right with the world because we knew our place in it. Those were the times when dressed in flannel pajamas, as we sat down to supper before a story and bed. ( And I had found the story behind the story of Winnie the Pooh Saturday which made me so happy! )

Every time I went to visit Miss Polly growing up… the other sisters brought us a bowl of rice pudding, covered with warm cream and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg for our tea party… one of my favorite childhood memories .

So until tomorrow... The kitchen’s the coziest place I know; The kettle is singing, the stove’s aglow, And there in the twilight, how jolly to see… The cocoa and animals are waiting for me

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Winnie went with me to water the garden in my new garden hat yesterday and to pick some hydrangeas for the kitchen table ( Stephanie Ballard gave me this garden Winnie from Epoct! )

Plaque erected to Winnie in White River
Winnie the Pooh -bear cub statue
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When Harry Met Winnie

Dear Reader:

Isn’t life exciting when we learn something new on an ordinary day? And this ” new” just makes your day! This happened to me yesterday.

I was taking a picture of a very popular Winnie the Pooh nursery wallpaper ad to end another post idea I had in mine… when suddenly Google shot out the story of Harry and Winnie… yes… our Winnie the Pooh! ” Harry? What happened to Christopher?” I had to solve the mystery!

White River train station in Ontario… Harry Colebourn will soon be joining fellow Canadians to fight in WWI. But outside the station a little bear cub is being sold-Harry falls immediately in love… he pays twenty dollars for the cub and names it after his hometown-Winnipeg-where he grew up! He then gives the cub a nickname ” Winnie” -after all the cub is a “she.” As the train leaves the station… the cub goes too!

Winnie becomes the mascot for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade! She is adored by the brigade!

Unfortunately orders come for the brigade to be sent to the front lines of fighting in France. Winnie can not go. However arrangements are made for Winnie to go on loan to the London Zoo until Harry’s tenure is over. Though Harry survives he makes the painful decision after the war to let Winnie stay. She is the most popular attraction at the zoo and loved by all … but especially children.

Because Winnie had been tamed by Harry and his comrades she lets children ride on her back! And… top secret… Winnie doesn’t care much for honey but prefers corn syrup and condensed milk.

As time goes by there are two ( almost daily) frequent visitors to the zoo to see Winnie — Christopher Robin and his father.. AA Milne.

Christopher and Winnie

Christopher named his stuffed toy bear after Winnie and later combined it with the name of a friend’s pet swan named Pooh-now called Winnie the Pooh.

By now Christopher’s father had started the first book in the series of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and ” friends.” ( the friends were the names of other stuffed animals Christopher played with …Tigger” entering the gang in the second childrens’ book.)

Christopher, father and Winnie the Pooh

So until tomorrow… We never know when an idea will take seed and grow into the most beautiful life surprise of all!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Aunt Kaitlyn joined her niece Lily in Boston for her college orientation… I know they had fun just being together!
Little Big Red is out blooming ” Dad”
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If You Can Visualize It and Believe It, You CanMake It Happen

Dear Reader:

Looking backwards at the trail behind… it hit me how on target and true this title saying is. The first time it happened I was a junior in high school and wanted so badly to try out for basketball cheerleading but there were only four cheerleaders and one alternate cheerleader in basketball season so the chances of making the team weren’t favorable… many of the football cheerleaders tried out and they had volume and experience on their side.

But I practiced and tried out and held my breath as the principal called out the names of girls who had made it… I stared down at my desk averting my eyes… four names were called-no Becky-but then I heard my name as alternate. I had mixed feelings -the alternate had to attend each practice but only performed at games when someone couldn’t cheer.

I had dreamed about cheering in the high school gymnasium for weeks… I could visualize myself cheering in front of my family-so close-so close. Then to my surprise when I went to the first practice… the captain called me over -she had talked to the principal and he agreed that the basketball team could have five cheerleaders. I had done it!

Just realized the moths are winning the battle of my cheerleading sweater!

The second time I visualized and believed in something it was a National Impact II teachers conference-two teachers from each state. I had written and been awarded an Impact II grant and was eligible to apply. I didn’t get it and I was disappointed because it was held on top of Snowbird Mountain in Utah. Wow!!! I could just see myself there!

Still I kept the Hope-a week later I went to Columbia for a state teachers meeting and Jeannie Sink , SC’s State Teacher of the Year, came over to me and asked if I would take her place at the conference! It had come true and I met a lifetime friend, Rene Harris, We just hit it off and had a ball!

Snowbird Utah

Rene… a change agent and best friend-we would share many hilarious adventures!

I do believe that when we want something so badly that we take a risk outside our comfort zone to get it…. when we visualize, believe and trust… exponentially our chances greatly increase seeing our dream come true!

So until tomorrow…Before we can really live… we must leave our fears of self-doubt behind. ” Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Harriett sent this garden sign that I just got up-She updated me that she has not been able to start rehab yet because she has to build up her appetite and stamina first-please remember and send continued prayers to our warrior in pink!
That’s you Harriett!
This picture was taken with the Bush Compound behind them… Mollie said the wind in the mountain crevices was downright cold -it brought back memories when Anne and I went there-it was downright frigid and I had to stay in the truck the wind was so fierce!!!
My double bloom hibiscus remains active in spite of the heat!
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Fenced In, Fenced Out, or Stuck On the Fence

Dear Reader:

I am one happy camper! My neighbor next door has started securing and replacing every part of the ancient fence that separates the empty lot that his family owns… all the way to the back of my property going into the woods!

Not only has rotten planks been replaced but meshed wire stapled into the empty spaces that the ” X” design leaves open. He is about halfway through the project… and doing it all on his own! I have thanked him profusely… that rotting fence has been deteriorating for decades!

After whining about my old house and all its problems… this project is nothing short of a miracle… the fence looks so good… secured again and not half/falling down!

During the height of the corona virus… didn’t we all start feeling ” fenced in” at times? Wondering if we would ever return to a sense of ” normalcy”… being able to come and go as we please and do whatever we wanted with whomever we wanted?

I remember my mind and my heart started becoming antagonists… one trying to ” fence” the other in… this internal battle was being waged while I sat ” on the fence” pulled in two directions at the same time. Understanding and Frustration.

Fences, as a whole, get a pretty bad rap in poetry, literature and social interactions… I remember Granddaddy Charlie always lamented over a neighbor cotton farmer… proclaiming he ” would argue with a fence post.”

But then Babe Ruth came along and turned fences into something positive as the baseball spectators yelled at him to “Swing for the fences!”

During my junior high school years… I felt ” fenced out” at school watching the popular girls with their pretty straight teeth, long straight hair, Weejun loafers, round circle pins, Village skirts, blouses, and sweaters. Not a good feeling…

One of life’s lessons that we all must learn is how to ” mend fences” because no one gets through life without causing pain to others… we mere mortals will make mistakes and hurt others … the price of being human.

So until tomorrow…” A fence to wisdom is silence.”

Today is my favorite day/Winnie the Pooh

Just got a text from Walsh declaring happily that he and Mollie had left the kids with Mollie’s parents for a few days ( after a family gathering in Vermont) …and were now at the Cliff House-Maine -kids-less and so appreciative!

Vermont/Woodstock Bridge
Maine-At Last-No Kids and three days to enjoy the solitude and beautiful surroundings-The Cliff House

Enjoy Walsh and Mollie… you deserve the vacation time together!

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Re-creating Our Lives from New Meanings to Past Experiences

Dear Reader:

I am at the stage in life now that I understand completely the quote: ” Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” Soren Kirrkagaard

We all are our past experiences, good and bad, but the fulfillment of our lives depends on the meaning we create from our experiences that shape who we are. We, and we alone, have the choice to select the personal meaning that affects our future lives positively or negatively. It is all up to us.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer my surgeon surmised I had probably had it about a year prior to its medical discovery. Since that year was the excitement of planning my firstborn, Mandy’s wedding…I can understand it. To say I was “tunnel-visioned” would be an understatement. I daily lived and breathed that wedding!!!

Bridal Luncheon

Two weeks after the wedding I received the diagnosis and I was put on the fast treatment track… surgery two days from the surgeon office visit-I was anemic and had to gets lots of blood pumped into me the next day and then surgery followed the next day.

It was all a blur to me, my children, family, friends… and speaking of friends, Brooke was my rock throughout it all. My surgeon was talking about three years as an approximate time-line for my longevity… Brooke and I just stared in a daze. Too much to process so quickly.

I distinctly remember the day a few weeks later( after having some time to process what had just transpired) looking in the mirror and ” seeing” mother… feeling what she must have felt learning she had bone cancer and they had to amputate her left hand. Young widowed mother with three little children to raise. Good grief! If mother could pull that off… surely I could take ” little c” on and give it a fight to remember. My children were grown and I had just retired… my situation was a cake walk compared to mother’s experience! I could do this… I would do this… dammit… take that , my cold/hearted nemesis… I wanted to be there for more weddings and grandchildren… and here I am today … living with cancer but more importantly living!!! ( Three weddings and five grandchildren later)

I will be the first to admit that cancer has taught me invaluable lessons… like the importance of being present, choosing happiness, making and spending time with the ones you love… and ” turning wounds into wisdom.”

So until tomorrow… Recognize past difficult events and experiences in your life as something that happened to you, rather than becoming and being a part of you. Be thankful for everything that happens in your life… it’s all an experience. It’s all life!

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

Gingi stopped by and brought me a bag of memories from Harriett… she just gives and gives to everyone and everything she fights for… a soldier in pink. Gingi said Harriett will be going to the Presbyterian Village to regain her strength from the recent radiation and lung chemo treatments. Please say prayers for Harriett to regain her appetite so she can regain her strength! Thank you one and all!!!

On a light note Harriett also sent a kitchen towel with a perfect message on it. Even though Summerville has lost its ” small town” population… in many ways it still contains its small town charms like the message on the towel Harriett sent.

So True! Thank goodness!!!

I love my nooks and crannies… this is my favorite one in my bedroom!

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