When You Can’t Sleep…Think of Something Funny…

Dear Reader:

The other night I had ‘one of those nights’ when I couldn’t  fall sleep. There really wasn’t anything pressing on my mind… still I felt physically tired but unfortunately mentally alert. All kinds of crazy images  floating through my mind.

So I started my old trick of punching pillows…first this one, then the next one…and so on. I tossed and turned like a ship at sea during a violent storm…rocking back and forth.

Finally I remembered an old adage my grandmother told me:

Remember, when you’re having bad dreams, turn your pillow over. The good dreams are on the other side.

So I flipped all the pillows over and tried to remember any funny incidents of late (or even farther back) to settle my scurrying mind down. And then it came to me and I chuckled to myself.

 It was the night of the double rainbow. Walsh, Mollie, the boys and I had gone over to the house one evening to look around but the code on the keypad didn’t work and we never got in. It was Rutledge who pointed out the rainbow to all of us…so while Walsh and Mollie kept trying different doors….I stayed near the end of the driveway with Rutledge talking about the beauty of the rainbow.

Suddenly a car slowed down and an elderly couple rolled down the window to ask if we were going to be their new neighbors. I told her (and her husband) that I wasn’t but my son, daughter-in-law, two grandsons and soon-to-be little sister would.

They had been driving around following the rainbow…I introduced Rutledge who had come running over…he was very friendly and said “Hello” to the couple. The woman started oohing and aahing over him while Rutledge beamed. I, then, asked their names. She told me they were the Fosters…and pointed out where they lived farther down the road.

We chatted a few more minutes and then they started slowly leaving…with the windows still down. “Good-bye Fosters” I called out loudly. Rutledge was enthusiastically waving good-bye and yelled out even louder…”Good-bye Fossils!”

The smile on my face froze…”What did you just say Rutledge?” “I told the Fossils good-bye” he replied happily not picking up any cues that what he said and I said didn’t match. (I came to find out later that his class had been studying about fossils with their dinosaur unit.)

I can only pray the window went up in time to block the final good-bye greeting from Rutledge…but still…it worked…I smiled at the image , flipped my pillow and fell sound asleep.

So here is one more funny image to remember the next time you have trouble sleeping.

Peach Brandy

 A Baptist preacher went to see a member of the community and invited him to come to Church on Sunday morning. The man was a producer of fine peach brandy and told the preacher he would love to attend his Church… IF… the Pastor would drink some of his brandy and admit doing so in front of the congregation. The preacher agreed and drank up.
 

Sunday morning came and the man showed up at church. The preacher recognized him from the pulpit and said: “I see Mr. Johnson is here with us this morning. I want to thank him publicly for his hospitality this week and especially for the peaches he gave me and the spirit in which they were given.”– Author Unknown –

 So until tomorrow…

 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

Happy Birthday Lassie! All us September gals have got to stick together! A beautiful month for a birthday!

*When I went over to drop Lassie’s birthday mums off yesterday before I headed to Mt. Pleasant…who was there but Lassie herself and our favorite mail lady…Mary! What an early birthday surprise…Mary started the rabbit ears trick and I tried but only got one “ear” in…so much fun to see Mary again…we still miss her so much in our neighborhood.
 
*I also have some sad news…Susan Cadwell’s mother, Nancy, passed away unexpectedly Sunday…her son Keith found her…today is her funeral. Even though Susan had her mom a long time…when it comes to moms…never long enough. Please keep Susan, Bekah, Ady, Lee, Vikki, and Rhodes in your prayers…as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother is remembered. *Nancy was always so sweet to write letters of encouragement to me right after the diagnosis and early treatments…so nice!
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Still Pursuing the “Pursuit of Happiness”?

Dear Reader:

Friday, on the blog post, when we talked about going back to “Old School” when it comes to technology…several of you nodded your agreement to this wishful concept. Jo Dufford said:

“Your blog today about “Slowing Life Down” and the way technology seems often to absorb so much time were “spot on”. (I got that expression from a television judge of talent. It makes me feel “With it”.) Whatever expression you choose, I am still glad that I am of the generation which still knows the feeling of holding a real book, reading and sitting in my swing with no dings, toots or whistles to announce, “You’ve got a text”. (Very often it is from someone I don’t even know.”)

This comment prompted Cindy Ashley to share another article she found on Denmark’s Happiest Country and its comparison to American attitudes towards what makes much of our society happy.

Cindy also dropped this book off (that this article is based on) last week when we exchanged Louise Penny books…taking some time to read some chapters from it each day. Learning the secret of happiness is a pretty good mystery turn-pager too!

Five Reason Why Danes Are Happier than the Rest of us…

David Roos

 

1. Danes Trust Each Other

“In surveys, 79 percent of Danes say they trust most people. I don’t trust 79 percent of my immediate family,” jokes Russell, who moved from London to Denmark in 2013 when her husband got a job — where else? — at LEGO!

Where does this sense of trust come from? Denmark’s small population (fewer than 6 million) and cultural homogeneity have something to do with it, but the Danish sense of trust is far-reaching, from neighbors to government. Russell says most Danes don’t lock their car doors or front doors. She’s gotten used to delivery men just appearing in her front hall with a package.

Trust isn’t an innate Danish trait, Russell admits. It’s taught in schools and learned through everyday interactions with trustworthy and responsive institutions. In “The Year of Living Danishly,” Russell spoke to political scientist Peter Thisted Dinesen from Copenhagen University, who found that even immigrants from “low-trust” countries who are educated in Denmark quickly take on Danish levels of trust. “This idea of trust is crucial,” says Russell. “You have the head space to be happy if you’re not anxious all the time.”

2. The Danish Welfare State Works

Danes pay some of the highest income tax rates in the world — 45 percent for an average Danish annual income of $43,000 and 52 percent for those who earn more than $67,000. But in exchange for forking over half their earnings, every Dane gets free health care, free K-college education (students are actually paid $900 a month), highly subsidized child care and generous unemployment benefits. In surveys, nine out of 10 Danes say they gladly pay their exorbitant taxes.

“The reason behind the high level of support for the welfare state in Denmark is the awareness of the fact that the welfare model turns our collective wealth into well-being,” writesMeik Wiking, chief executive officer of Denmark’s Happiness Research Institute. “We are not paying taxes. We are investing in our society. We are purchasing quality of life.”

If you lose a job in Denmark, it’s not necessarily a big deal. In fact, unemploymentis built into the system. Thanks to something called the “flexicurity model,” employers in Denmark have a lot more freedom to fire employees because there are government programs to retrain workers and better position them for the job market. Russell says that strong unions also provide a guaranteed safety net, giving unemployment benefits for up to two years.

Denmark also has one of the most generous retirement systems in the world, providing for the 65-plus population through a combination of a state-funded pension and private, employer-funded pension programs. Again, when you’re not constantly worried about how you’re going to afford your retirement, you’re going to feel less anxious and more secure. In other words, happier.

*** (Work less, love more)

Family having a healthy meal, in victorian style greenhouse

3. Danes Work Less and Spend More Time with Their Families

“Work-life balance” in Denmark isn’t just an HR buzzword, it’s a way of life. Danish workers put in the second-fewest hours of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries at 1,412 hours a year. If Danes worked all 52 weeks a year, that would average out to only 27 hours a week, but since most Danish employers offer at least five weeks of paid vacation, Russell says that the real number is closer to 33 hours a week. Still, 33 hours a week?

“As a family, we are mildly outraged if my husband doesn’t get home until 5:30 p.m.,” says Russell, who is on maternity leave with twin 3-month-olds. “In London, we barely saw each other.”

On the topic of parental leave, Denmark again has one of the most generous policies in the world. The government requires all employers to offer up to 52 weeks of leave — for either mother or father — and the state provides monetary support for up to 32 weeks.

For all of the time off that Danish workers take, economic productivity doesn’t seem to suffer. According to OCED calculations of labor productivity (GDP per hour worked), Denmark ranks well above bigger economies like Germany, Japan and the United States. Russell credits a different workplace culture.

“There’s this idea that you work hard, get the work done and then go home. Danes don’t waste time at the office on Facebook,” Russell says. “You’re also trusted by your boss to do a good job, so you have total flexibility to work from home or choose your own schedule.”

4. Danes Don’t Boast

There’s an unwritten law in Danish culture called Janteloven or “Jante’s law,” based on a popular satirical novel from the 1930s. The spirit ofJanteloven is “don’t act like you’re better, smarter or richer than anyone else.”

Although Janteloven has lost some of its grip in cosmopolitan Copenhagen, Russell says, it’s still very much lived by average Danes (you might even argue that being “average” is the goal).

“Don’t show off. No one is better than anyone else. Everyone is equal,” says Russell, adding that you don’t see even wealthy Danes driving fancy cars or living in ostentatious houses. “People also dress quite informal; I haven’t seen a tie in years.”

Not only are there fewer outward signs of success or struggle, but failure in Denmark isn’t a four-letter word, Russell says. Because Danes are afforded such a strong safety net, there isn’t as much financial risk in failure, so people feel free to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, no big loss.

5. Danes Live Hygge-ly

To really understand what makes Danes tick and why they’re so darn happy, you have to understand hygge. Pronounced “hyoo-geh,” it’s the near-religious Danish belief in living simply and “cozily” surrounded by family and friends. Russell says that hygge is more than just crackling wood fires and full-body pajamas, it’s anything that brings you deep, soul-warming pleasure. That could be sharing a meal with friends, reading the Sunday paper, or yes, playing with LEGOs.

Russell says that Danes are “staggered and bemused” that hygge has become a trendy self-help fad. A quick search on Amazon shows more than a dozen hygge-themed books promising to reveal the Danish secret to happiness. Sounds like the perfect read for that roaring fire

………………………

As our small world gets smaller and smaller…I believe we can learn from other cultures about finding the right criteria to live a life of fulfillment and happiness. We are such a work-oriented society…that I believe many of us reach a point when we look in the mirror…and simply say “Enough.

We must each find that balance in life that provides the answer to the yearning for a fulfilled life that we all desire.

Lincoln once said: “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

So until tomorrow…If liberty and happiness are linked then we must each find our own happiness within each of our hearts…the freedom to love and be loved.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

***I will be over in Mt. Pleasant (John and Mandy’s) a lot this week helping with the grandchildren…so if there isn’t a blog post a day or two…it is just me being a grandmother. 

 

 

 

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The Dingles are Home…

Dear Reader:

Moving Day! Strikes terror in the most courageous hearts! We all keep memories of past moving days pushed back (as far as we can) into the deepest recesses of our own personal recollections.

The last two days have been no exception for Walsh and Mollie. The closing went smoothly with one exception…all the last minute painting and detail “stuff” in the house still needed doing… the movers came with no where to unload the merchandise except in the garage Friday.

So yesterday the family arrived…armed and ready to get as much in as possible…The goal: Get the beds in and set up for Walsh and Mollie’s first night in the house. (The painters finished up after a couple of hours.) Thank goodness for all the help…because of it… everyone was in the house last night for their first spend-the-night-over.

While all this was going on…Kaitlyn and I took over the challenge of keeping the boys out of the way for the furniture going in….two on two…we bravely went where few dare to go…a day with four year-old and two year old little boys.

The secret is to keep them busy…easy for the little boys, not so hard for young Kaitlyn…a “vertical” challenge for Boo Boo! But we did it…park, lunch, movie, shopping, ice cream parlor and two sleeping boys returned…the best gift of all. (kept the air conditioner running in the car!)

First-Park: (I could have sworn they started down in separate slides…how in the world did it end like this?)

 

Boo Boo needs all the pushing she can get…my poor horse, I think, was playing ‘dead’ so I would get off.

We picked up lunch and headed back to Tommy and Kaitlyn’s hoping for a nap for Lachlan while we put a movie on…but with no results…Kaitlyn and I ended up in tears over the sweet animated children’s movie while the boys just tussled on the floor.

Then we bravely went shopping for candles for mom to light on her first night in the house. We left Marshalls Home Goods intact with no broken objects…quite a success story!

We finished up in the ice cream parlor…all four of us were gulping our ice cream and shakes down…tasted so good and deliciously cold on a very warm summer, early fall day.

Kaitlyn and I returned the boys a little ‘scrungier’ than we received them…but happy and blessedly sound asleep. What more can you ask for? High five Kaitlyn!

 

 

 

 

After I left the gang at Walsh and Mollie’s I headed over to see John, Mandy and the children…they were heading out for an early supper and invited me to jump in the car…so I did. Yummy supper and lots of catching up later…I was back in the car and heading home as the sun was setting brilliantly in the sky around 8.

I came home…wrote the blog…put battery tea candles in my sconces… laid down on the sofa…watched the lights flickering away while my eyelids did the same. Tired but happy…a good feeling to be needed…to be of help.

So until tomorrow…Mollie and Walsh…light your candle tonight…it brings good luck for the first night in a new home…casting out shadows from the past and bringing light to the future.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

*Thank everyone who has contributed thus far to the Race for the Cure. Bless you!

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Slowing Life Down…

Dear Reader:

It has taken me a lifetime to realize that the time period we live in on earth has its own unique clock. The pace is set by the life styles of people living within different cultures at the same time…some are slower-paced than other cultures…but the overall global pace of time changes… based on the latest inventions that promise more time for people…but somehow end up taking more time away from self-discovery and the meaning of life. It is an age-old dilemma for man-kind.

It really comes down to choices. If you feel your life is spent, these days, sending and receiving messages and/or reading Facebook entries leaving little down time for yourself…perhaps it is time to choose to put electronic devices down and pick up time better spent in nature, a good book, an adventure, meditation, or building a cozy cocoon around your home…inviting to all within and all who visit.

One of my favorite whimsical artists and founder of the Possibilitarian Movement, Kelly rae Roberts, decided to make a change in her busy professional life. (The title page art work is a sample of Roberts’ unique talents.)

In her latest newsletter Roberts shared these thoughts with her readers.

“I recently went old school and subscribed to a few of my favorite decor magazines. Pinterest will always be a better source of inspiration and ideas, but there is something about the ritual of sitting down with a cup of tea and an actual magazine of the non-digital variety. If I see something I love or an idea I want to try, I’ll take a photo of the magazine page and place it in an album on my phone. This feels like a nice compromise of slow living mixed in with a bit of tech. Love it.

I am slowly working to un-digitize my life outside of my work/offerings. I want to live a bit more slowly, less tech. More porch reading sessions with an actual book or magazine. More reading in bed vs surfing the net on my phone. More phone calls vs texting. More people watching in all of those brief moments throughout the day vs picking up my phone for entertainment. You know, old school. “

I think there is a part of all of us who are ready for a sabbatical away from ‘tech stress.’ Some mornings when I turn on my mail page…and see more entries than can fit on one page…I feel myself getting stressed just trying to figure out time to respond…and even if I have the time…is this how I really want to spend the precious hours of my day?

It takes me so long to text…can email faster because of the keyboard but Iphone textings drive me batty…I keep hitting those teeny tiny numbers and letters incorrectly…and then being a teacher…I won’t send it until I correct it….so much easier to pick up the phone or email.

These past three weeks I have been setting aside time to correspond  (snail-mail) with friends who are sick or going through tough times in their lives…it is so much more meaningful than a one-line text.

I feel like too many people today use technology as a barrier not to have to deal with writing cards or having a meaningful conversation between yourself and someone you know…someone who needs your presence and encouragement…not a text… you.

So until tomorrow…Let’s all start practicing laying our tech communications down…let them take a long well-deserved nap…and then face the world with nothing between you and the new day dawning…full of endless possibilities.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Now that the scare of Hurricane Irma has subsided…I am turning my attention back to the Race for the Cure. I am a walking miracle example of the importance of new research and its affect on millions of patients world-wide. Two times during my time spent with breast cancer…it has been a new drug that just came on the market that has rescued me from the pivotal “going south” movement. I know the importance of money spent on research and how it is keeping so many of us alive and living with cancer at the same time….living with cancer.

Thank you in advance for helping our little team (Legally Pink) out again this year. Don’t want to annoy anyone but I know if you are like me…you want to have the information handy when you are ready to send a donation so once a week I will add this info at the bottom of the blog…so you know the information is there to help you when you are ready.

***Link: http://www.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/CHS_SouthCarolinaAffiliate?pg=entry&fr_id=6930

Just go to donate button and select either “participant” or “team”. Then type in either Becky Dingle, or any other team member, as a “participant” or Legally Pink as “team”.
If you prefer to mail a check….

Make the check out to Komen Lowcountry. On the check memo line write the name of the participant or team you wish to donate to and mail it to:

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure S.C.

50 Folly Road Blvd.

Charleston, SC 29407

……………………….

I heard from Honey yesterday… some of you readers already know the connection between Honey and praying mantises…but not all… so let me summarize it for you.

Years ago when Honey went to buy her first kiln, far out in the ‘wilds of the mountains’ (from an ad in a paper with a man’s name and address on the ad)… she discovered the wife, a potter like herself, had just recently died. Her husband wanted to sell the kiln to someone, like his wife, who passionately loved clay and all its endless possibilities. At the end of the conversation he mentioned that pray mantises seemed to be attracted to his wife while she worked on the kiln…she saw them as her guardian angels.

Later that day when Honey got home she discovered a praying mantis had hitched a ride with her. She let it loose only to discover it at her kitchen window where it stayed for days on end. Yesterday she sent this update:

Good morning!
As I was filling my bird feeder this morning I looked and to my surprise there was a Praying Mantis. I haven’t seen one this year so I am elated. I told the story to a group visiting on Wed. So, I believe Kathy Skye’s spirit is here. Strangely enough this is the anniversary of when I went to Kathy’s house and learned about her connection with the Praying Mantis. Had to share this with you😄

 

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Summer’s Putting Up a Good Fight…

Dear Reader:

It is hard to believe that we are now in the middle of September. Fall fell early for the lowcountry…a week or more of wonderful low humidity, fall weather….before and during Hurricane Irma. I raised my windows, turned off the air,  and soaked up the cool breezes each morning and evening.

And now…summer has returned with a vengeance..it’s hot again! I finally gave up and turned the air conditioner back on  yesterday. You can’t fight humidity and win comfortably…not in our ‘neck of the woods.’

 We aren’t getting fallen autumn leaves yet waving goodbye…just the yellow summer leaves  falling off the moon flower vines, and the clerodendrum.

Fall doesn’t officially arrive for another few days but summer is not going to go down without a fight. It won’t be a knock-out but it will keep punching to the last round no doubt! The lowcountry is semi-tropical which gives summer a definite advantage over prolonging the arrival of autumn.

But in the end fall will win…autumn will reign king of the boxing match…but only until winter returns to take back the throne. Such is life.

Since I had moved decorations, planters, and all kinds of paraphernalia into the garage in lieu of the arrival of Hurricane Irma…I thought it was a good time to go on and replace all the summer decor with fall decor.

So yesterday was a fun day….dragging out all my fall and Halloween decorations…it might be a little early…but then I will get to enjoy the decor longer this year…this autumn season. ( *And because I had cleaned out and thrown out a lot of old decorations this summer in my massive clean-up campaign…it didn’t take half the time it usually does to decorate like it used to… running around both sides of the house trying to remember where I stuck “stuff.”)

I will be changing decor, no doubt, as the season progresses…but here is yesterday’s first do-over for fall! I love “BOO” season!

What fun I had today…I am living out my dreams!

So until tomorrow….Thank you Father for allowing me my little special space in life…how I do adore it!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Today Winnie the Pooh must share his favorite day with Walsh and Mollie….they are CLOSING on their new home this morning at 10:30. Fingers crossed, prayers said that everything goes smoothly…if so they plan to start moving a few items in this weekend…(Like the Velveteen Rabbit…it is becoming REAL! )

 

 

*This is too funny….while eating lunch out yesterday I overheard a woman in the booth behind me say two important words “Three Pines.” Without even thinking or hesitating…I said…”You must be reading the Louise Penny detective novels with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache!”

She squealed and said “Yes” Don’t you love it? I was telling my husband that I wanted to go there…at least to her hometown in Canada and just see it.” (I noticed out of the corner of my eye that her husband didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic about that idea…excused himself to go pay the bill…while we kept discussing the books! I think from now on…Louise Penny readers/fans need to say  “Three Pines” as our secret code ensuring that we are among friends…or equally crazy people!

*So good to see you yesterday Cindy….another “Three Pines” crazy club member…we just can’t get enough.

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The Importance of Not Skipping to the End…

Dear Reader:

Anne and I are averaging swapping out our Louise Penny detective series stories about every other week. Because of the hurricane Anne had time (and electricity) to finish one whole book in the series. Tuesday she got back to painting, yoga, fiddling, and her many other interests in life…but it still wasn’t enough.

Last night we talked on the phone and she confessed she was starting to have withdrawal symptoms without the next Louise Penny book in the series…and the beloved main character-Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

I told her the same thing was happening to me….I literally started getting stressed when I got within a few chapters to the end of  the number book I’ve been reading….concerned that I was going through these novels way too fast…like eating a bag of  “potato chips.”… It is impossible to just stop at one or two or three. The real fear is one day, not too far away, there will only be an empty bag of chips with crumbles of memories left.

The true talent in a gifted writer is the ability to pull people into a fictional place and time…drawn to characters so easily identifiable with ourselves and others we know…that the reader feels like they grew up with each of them and have become their closest friends.

I must plead guilty to skipping to the end of a story with books that I feel only a slight interest in…or on rare occasions…skipping to the end because I might be under a ‘time gun’ to return a book…but I must say that in a series like these books…I wouldn’t dare skip to the end because I know I would be denying myself the thrill of the momentum of the story…That is where the spell-binding stage of reading takes place.

For example in the latest book (in the detective series) I just finished…I was grabbing a tissue and then I turned the page and let out a scream at 11:00 at night reading in bed….but I am not telling if it was a scream of dismay or delight! You must read the books.

There are so many lessons in life taught in this series that we can all relate to in many different areas of life. One scene (in Book 10)  that I just finished…touched me like no other. As readers, we are given more and more personal background into the residents of Three Pines…thus discovering that Chief Inspector Armand Gamache lost his parents in a car accident while still a child.

This incident has played a major influence into making him the person he is…tough but vulnerable, a loner but also a social creature whose deep brown eyes stay filled with compassion and kindness. The night his parents died…he remembers climbing into their bed for security… believing that all would be right the next day…he would wake up to their laughter and good-natured teasing about him sleeping with them.

That night he finds a small book entitled Balm in Gilead his father was reading at the time of the accident (on the bedside table.) It still has a book mark in it. He holds onto it tightly because it smells like his father did to him… a rugged masculine sandlewood scent.

Now decades later he pulls the book out each morning while sitting on a bench and he reads the words up to the book mark but can not continue past it. It is obvious that Gamache is still having difficulty reading beyond the last words his father ever read…feeling he is unworthy of his extended gift of life. Try as hard as he can…he finds himself stopping every morning at the book mark…knowing, somehow however,  the day will come when he can read past it…but not that day.

On the bench someone has recently engraved the words Surprised by Joy…we just have to wait to see if our beloved character will experience this with the little book one day.

The idea, in real life,  for the phrase Surprised by Joy comes from the author, Louise Penny’s AA medallion on which she engraved Surprised by Joy on it. An alcoholic for years, Penny was ready for her life to end at 35 years of age. She finally got up enough courage to attend one AA meeting and a miracle occurred…she left and never drank again. (January 2, 2002)

This excerpt is taken from Penny’s  blog-as life began to change for her.

Now, 15 years to the day later, I look at my life and marvel. At the love I’m given and the love I give. At the friends, the family. At the people who helped me. At Michael who I met 14 years ago. At the puppies. At our home. At the books I get to write and the people I get to meet.

But mostly I marvel at the inner landscape. At the island that became a mainland, that became a continent, that became a lovely, kind, caring world. Inside.

At 2 years sober we’re given a medallion by our sponsors and asked what phrase we’d like engraved on it. I thought about that and chose – Surprised by Joy. A phrase I used deliberately, with gratitude, in two books in the series. I keep that medallion with me always. To remember.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to an AA meeting – making coffee beforehand, setting up chairs. Someone will give me a 15 year cake. And I’ll have the great honour of giving Janet, a woman I sponsor (mentor) a cake celebrating her 10 years of sobriety.

I don’t often talk about this. It’s called ‘Anonymous’ for a reason. But once a year I talk about it in case there’s someone out there who believes their life is at an end. In case there’s someone reading this who feels on that island, yearning for the mainland. In case there’s someone staggered by loneliness.

I want you to know, you’re not alone.

………………………………………..

But we can’t skip to the end or the surprise won’t fill us with joy or any  other emotion. In real life we can’t speed up our story, our lives, (thank goodness) to skip over parts we don’t want to re-live to get to the end. If we knew the ending to our own life story…I don’t believe we would be able to live it moment to moment like God wants us to do….letting tomorrow’s worries be tomorrow’s.

So until tomorrow…We must remember that every incident, good or bad, happy or sad, has been placed in our own unique story for a reason…in order for us to become the person God intended us to be.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Look how much my morning glory vines have grown this year….one picture frame is almost completely covered up…can you find the two “secret” fairies in yesterday’s photo? (the second photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Miracles!

Dear Reader:

When I woke up yesterday morning the rain had finally ceased. There were no wind gusts..all was quiet. The forecast was for partly cloudy skies with warmer temperatures around 80. (That was a big jump from 70 (as a high) the day of the storm Monday.)

I jumped in my jeans and shirt anxious to see what had really happened…and the miracle was…not what had happened…but what hadn’t!

There were lots of pine cones, limbs, and a few larger branches all around… but that was it. All my flowers were smiling back…none of them were beaten down or drowning under mud puddles.  I got my trusty wheelbarrow and set out on my mission to play adult “Pick-up Sticks” in the front, side, back yard and garden.

Boy…am I out of shape! After an hour and a half (and two wheelbarrows filled with debris) I was huffing and puffing… I certainly didn’t have enough wind left in me to blow anybody’s house down.

What really put me to shame was seeing my wonderful neighbor, Vickie, who has a little age on me on top of her roof with a large blower taking pine cone sprays, branches, and heaps of pine straw off the roof. I was terrified for her…but Vickie was calm as a cucumber! She is my “muse”, “mentor”….She puts new meaning into the expression “Pioneer spirit!”

Kate Wolfe-Jenson wrote about ordinary, every day sacred places and their importance in our lives in her last blog several days before the storm. She included this quote by Joseph Campbell:

“You must have room or a
certain hour of the day or so where you do
not know what is in the morning paper. A place
where you can simply experience and bring forth
what you are or might be.

At first you might think nothing is happening.
But,if you have a sacred space and take advantage
of it and use it everyday, something will happen.
Where to begin? The word “sacred,” evokes a
feeling of something holy, serene, worthy of
reverence.  Any space can be a sacred space, prepare
yourself as you stand on holy ground!”

Jenson suggested putting stickies or small signs by everyday objects we see or taste or smell…so, for example, while we are drinking that first cup of coffee in the morning…we can give thanks to the coffee makers, agricultural field hands, and transporters who make the coffee a wonderful and miraculous gift to us each morning.

As I read this…I thought to myself that my garden is still my sacred place where I go to talk to God, usually in the evenings right before darkness falls, beside the fountain so I hear the ‘living waters‘ and be soothed. It will always be my special sanctuary.

But after reading Jenson’s example of regarding that first cup of coffee as a miracle in her daily life…I realized that my daily habit had changed too…I still turn my Dingle Dell teacup over at night and then set it right side up in the morning…symbolically, for the simple reason that I woke up…I am alive and that this is my first miracle each morning!

So I made a card to remind myself of the gift of life…

 

So until tomorrow: Remind us Father that every day when we look in the mirror we are looking at your greatest miracle and blessing bestowed on us.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Hurricane Irma brought so many daily miracles to so many…but for our family (who were all worried about Walsh and Mollie’s new home)…They checked it first thing yesterday morning….and pronounced it “All good.” Everyone of us came through the storm without injury or serious damage to our homes….what a miracle that in itself was…and is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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