Love is the Greatest Adventure…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday readers…I left you re-telling and celebrating a good book ( Gentleman in Moscow) and raving about the new horizons of thought about life, in all its beauty and destruction, his writings gave me.

However (no spoiler alert) but yesterday Jackson and I talked ( she had read the novel a few years ago when it was newly published) about the ending. Like life… the ending combined a big sigh of satisfaction with one tiny puzzle piece named ” But then What?” seemingly missing.

In other words… the author was letting each reader draw his/her own conclusion about the ” But What If” unknown future of the main characters.

All morning my thoughts on the ” the rest of the story ” bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball. Until… at one red light the answer entered my thoughts with such clarity… that I felt like honking my horn just to celebrate … but I didn’t!


Think about our own lives… it is not the beginning or end of our lives that matter… it is what we did between the two that defines the outcome of our life’s journey… that defines who we are as human beings.

If love is missing … we devalue our lives… we can always give love to others ( most precious gift of all) and be open to the love sent our way through family, friends, and strangers alike. Because in the end it is the love given and received … the love adventure that matters… nothing else… it is always the journey… not the destination!

Case-in-point: Yesterday I decided to love myself enough to treat myself to my favorite go to and ( to go) chicken meal at Oscars!

I called and placed it around two. After doing so… I wished I had remembered to order a side salad with it… but their lunch hour was closing and I didn’t want to be a bother.

When I went to pick it up …Olive, my longtime restaurant friend, who takes most of the orders… handed me my bag and then whispered… “I remembered when I got your order today that a few months ago I forgot to add a salad to your order… and you never said a word. So today… you will find a salad with your ranch dressing in the bag.” She winked and held the door for me while shushing my thanks. My God Wink for the day!

A ” SURCIE” SALAD… unexpected random gift that makes one’s day!”

So until tomorrow… as long as we allow LOVE TO BE OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE… we will have experienced a life well lived… no matter the hardships and obstacles!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Last of the azaleas
Rutledge’s maple
Jake’s Maple -they are both leading the other maples with their leaves
Look at Susan’s adorable Easter Wreath!
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Becoming a Creature of God…

Dear Reader:

C.S. Lewis once wrote about the choices we each make in this life and how important the acceptance of ourselves being a creature of God is in relation to all God’s other creations. ” To be in harmony with all God’s creatures is heaven-bringing us joy, peace, and knowledge.”

I certainly experienced that with my dolphin encounter on Edisto Beach … in early October of 2008 …soon after my first mastectomy and chemo infusions on a solitary early morning foggy beach walk.

An encounter with a dolphin hovering over the top of you while sitting on the jetties would be startling enough but then the sense of telepathy reassuring me all would be well was beyond anything I have ever experienced before … or after this magical phenomenon! To date it has proven true!

In the latest book I have been reading …a mention about the the five-starred constellation name Delphinium ( the dolphin) arises in conversation. It is one of the most recognized constellations in the sky.

… and of course there is a story behind it.

Once there was a wealthy poet named Arian who, while returning from Sicily, was attacked by the ship’s crew to relieve him of his fortune. He was given the choice of killing himself or being thrown into the sea. As he weighed his options, he began to sing a sorrowful but yet beautiful melody… it attracted a pod of dolphins who gathered around the ship. When he finally leapt into the sea, one of the dolphins carried him safely to shore. As a reward Apollo placed the dolphin among the stars to shine for all eternity.

When I think back to that dolphin sighting moment in time ( now almost 15 years later) I remember that the only other people on the beach that morning was a young couple holding hands and running… the girl was laughing so spontaneously as if she had not a care in the world… I can’t help but wonder if the dolphin wasn’t just fishing among the jetties but also drawn to the spot by the lilting laughter from the happy couple?

I, have also discovered ( while researching this constellation) that Delphinium is best seen in late September and October… attracted to Libras born during this season-of which I am one! ( connections … connections! )

So until tomorrow… We should all be one with the universe…

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Middle School Dance… as a middle school teacher for three decades… have been there and done that… now Eva Cate is there!

Pretty in Pink!

Look who came to see me … my favorite twosome across the street neighbors once upon a time! Luke was also my adorable handyman … have missed them terribly!!!!! 💗❤️🙌 So Sweet!

Have been blown away by a book Anne recommended! Have Learned more from this book ( fresh perspectives on life) than any other novel in a long time!

In the 80’s yesterday!
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A ” Surcie” Kind of Day

Dear Reader:

I did it! After much agonizing mental indecision I did what I knew was financially sound – emotionally tough …but smart in the big picture.

I took my Uncle Sam tax refund and an insurance annual refund and wrote a check to the Bank of America … paying off my Hyundai Tucson – nicknamed ” Surcie.”

March 22, 2023 will go down in the annals of ” Boo” history as the day I didn’t wait another year for ownership but took the reins in my own hands.

I texted John, my son-in-law, who went with me to buy the car in January of 2019 and told him of my decision and that my final accumulative check was in the mail to Bank of America. He was so excited and kept reassuring me it was a very smart decision! He must have then told Mandy because she excitedly sent me this response!

Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the Music!

For many of you loyal long-time readers… you know the story behind the acquisition of this car. Theft, kidnapping, theft again on my Green Saturn View …while I was home bound recovering from a foot surgery gone completely array.. ( Mohs surgery to remove squamous cells) leaving me infected with agonizing pain, machines, and five months of experimental treatments at Wound Care. Some tough times while still fighting breast cancer. And no car….

Site where the thief hid my Saturn View… on September 27 2018 and then later broke in and stole it again October 7 -totaling the car. ( It turned out to be a teenager on drugs who hung out in the neighborhood)

Thanks to my outstanding insurance agent ( Stephanie Rankin) I received enough money to put down on another car… so in January ( I had been told I could drive again) John and I went to Enterprise and got a great deal on a Hyundai Tucson. I drove it home in a state of complete euphoria!!!

I decided to name my ” new” car “Surcie” because ( unknown to me) my amazing family had paid my first car payment in advance. What an amazing surcie!

Surcie is a word! Its origin can be traced back to Charleston… perhaps even the College of Charleston, because it was young girls who first started using it. Like Charleston, itself, it’s Scots-Irish derivative creates an unexpected gift that contains history, style, and charm like its place of creation.

” Surcieis predominantly a spoken tradition… a popular ” overheard ” word. It is a thoughtful and unexpected gift… a ” just because” surprise… which makes it even more special!

It has been said that if you give one … an angel earns its wings. ( no bell needed) If you ever get one… it will make your day decidedly better!

So until tomorrow… I think I gave myself a “surcie” when I drove to the post office and personally handed the postal clerk my letter and told him to take good care of it! He winked and congratulated me on becoming the soon-to-be ” lone” car owner since I had paid off the ” loan.”

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Two other SWAT ” surcies” (who helped investigate the crime) came in the form of Rutledge and Lachlan. So unexpected and so sweet!

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Feeling Old as Methuselah… Talk to a Tree

Sample of a tree in Methuselah Grove-home to the oldest trees in the world

Dear Reader:

If you ever find yourself in the mountains, valleys, or even swamps … look around … some of the trees staring down on you should make you feel like a ” spring” chicken… just in time for spring!!!

The tree in the title picture is found in the White Mountains of the Inyo Valley in eastern California. It is considered one of the magnificent ” ancients” that have survived over 4000 years! Aren’t you feeling younger already?

However the oldest tree to date is actually called the Methuselah Tree and and comes in at an awesome 4,850 years! Except for a few dendrologists ( tree scientists) the oldest tree named Methuselah and its location will never be revealed publicly for fear of it being cut down and/ or kidnapped.

It is mind blowing to think this grove of trees began germinating before the pyramids of Egypt were even built-they have survived all recorded human history!

Edmund Schulman-pioneer of tree ring dating -did research on bristlecone pines in 1957 -his discovery lead to Methuselah -oldest living tree documented in the world. Sadly he died of a heart attack in 1958 but today there is a memorial to him in the desert mountains!
Methuselah-Oldest Man in Bible969 years-Grandfather of Noah-His name origin means ” man of sending forth” -a name referring to the global flood that would come with sudden force and destruction

Closer to home ( not as old as the California bristlecone pines) is Three Sisters Swamp on the Black River in North Carolina where tourists canoe to see our own Methuselah trees-they are living bald cypress-they once were saplings before Rome was an empire( three millennia)

So until tomorrow… the next time you feel ” ancient “… have a long conversation with a tree-you will learn about perseverance, courage, and the ” pursuit of life through determination.” It will make you happy!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday was exactly like a Dickens March Day!
Happy Birthday Spring and our beloved Ady! March 21… she got to bring in the first full day of Spring with all of her 14 beautiful years!
Smile Miss Spring! Happy Birthday from all the family!!!! We love ❤️ you!

A God Wink …a musician by the name of Charlton came to talk to the students at Philip Simmons school yesterday and during his discourse he must have mentioned musicians he played with and one was Lee Barbour-Rutledge proudly let him know Lee was his uncle. Then Susan said that Charlton had been at her school ( Spann Elementary) one year and they had become good friends. Small world… Charlton is still sharing his love of music with the future!

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Our Purpose is Known Only to God…

Dear Reader:

How many times throughout our life have we prayed to God to show us our own unique purpose on earth… the purpose, we have been told, cannot be accomplished by anyone else. In a sense it is ours and our only nomenclature… specifically devised for us by our Creator.

Yet for many of us, and I am one of the ” many”… we spend a good portion of our lives searching for this seemingly elusive purpose. And sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to show us our path to follow. As painful and scary as this can be… we discover how life changes when we change our path.

What got me thinking along these lines were some observational comments from my ” dear friend, traveling buddy, and teaching soulmate” Carol Poole in response to the blog post on St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope last week… and finding my purpose… to share stories for and from those who can no longer orally tell it themselves.

Carol wrote when she first received the news about my initial daunting diagnosis back in 2008 …she couldn’t understand the ” why” behind it until suddenly the blog post ( Chapel of Hope Stories) began appearing daily. She knew then, that no matter what happened chronically, I had found my purpose.

And then a God Wink confirmed this awareness through…what else? A story she discovered. It was the love of storytelling through Social Studies that had brought us together in the first place…. traveling around the state doing teacher workshops together.

Quick Overview: All the people of the forest stay amazed at the speed of the bird known as She Who Flies Swiftly. She is like a bright light among the forest green. Until… one day she is found floundering on the leafy ground with a broken wing.

As the people watch …the Creator arrives to hold her hand and bring comfort… but to their dismay… not heal her wing. Why did the Creator not heal her completely?

Left alone the lame bird begins to sing quietly at first. With time the song becomes more beautiful and if one listens carefully the song becomes a duet… with the soft accompaniment of the Creator himself.

At last the true purpose was clear… healing can come in many different ways releasing our true purpose in life… as the Creator intended.

Carol had found the perfect metaphor… it was time to share my story with God’s story… my true purpose unveiled. Carol wrote me and reiterated this same observation…I could reach more people through my new path now. No longer hurriedly rushing from presentation to presentation but thoughtfully taking time to release my ” voice ” … from my tiny speck in the universe.

So until tomorrow… ” We are not always repaired, instead we are re-created.” Ray Buckley

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

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” Here Comes the Sun” …and Spring!

Bobbi Forrester

Dear Reader:

One of the most popular shows on television is the CBS Sunday Morning Show. It is probably, also, the most taped ( to watch later.)

Have you ever wondered where all the striking creative sun artworks come from? I have and so decided to find out. The answer: ” We the people” and Sunday Morning Associate Director-Jessica Frank.

For over two decades she has been handpicking every ” shining” example of Sun artwork to appear after each individual story segment … besides the beginning and ending suns.

The idea and tradition started decades ago when the first unsolicited suns showed up in the ” Sunday Morning” mailbox. Some sun artworks might be used fairly quickly depending on the stories and best matches for it. Others she saves for a ” rainy” day -Frank always gets excited when a stored painting finally fits a story-perhaps years after being sent

The varied materials used in the creation of the personal sun artworks is astonishing! They truly are made from every material under the sun…. hubcaps, figs, vegetables, glass, sea shells, chili peppers, duct tape, Lego bricks and post/it-notes. … to name a few.

A birdseed sun and sun ” toast.”

Obviously some noted artists have joined in the fun too but still the majority seen on the show are from ” the people.”

This sun artwork seems appropriate today -the first day of Spring!

Bonnie Geiger

One of Jessica Frank’s favorite artworks was a decorated egg with the CBS Sun on one side and image of Charles Kuralt on the other.

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite Day-Winnie the Pooh

Got in a spring mood yesterday decorating to welcome the new season in! SPRING! FINALLY!
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Peace Like A River…

Dear Reader:

Amid all the fun craziness of ☘️ St. Patrick’s Day and Lachlan’s birthday, Honey sent me a picture of their state magazine’s cover for April and there, in all its charm and beauty, was ( another Saint close to me) St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope!

It all came under an article entitled…A Springtime Tour of 9 HISTORIC CHURCHES. ( But as you can see St Jude’s Chapel of Hope rose above all the others… making the front cover of the NC State magazine.)

The cover photo depicts the quaint little chapel from the angle across from Spring Creek- the perfect name with Spring arriving tomorrow! However it is the title of the article that brings us our story today … ” PEACE LIKE a RIVER…”

Ironically the creation of this favorite old gospel song…starts with a tragedy… a terrible tragedy! The author and creator of this favorite ageless song was Horatio Spafford-a Chicago lawyer and respected friend of the city’s most prominent evangelists

The Spaffords, even before their life-altering tragedy… had certainly had their share of life’s challenges. They had five children-four daughters and one son who died from pneumonia… the same year the Great Chicago Fire destroyed so much of Chicago and Horatio had to rebuild his career from the ” ashes up.”

Soon after …their family physician advised Horatio that a trip abroad might be good for his wife ‘s tenuous health. But right before he, his wife Anna and their four daughters were to leave …last minute business matters delayed Horatio’s departure. Still his wife and daughters sailed, as scheduled, on the SS Vi’ e du Havre in November 1873.

Midway a ship collided with the Stafford’s ship …sinking it in a small matter of time. Anna and her four daughters held hands and prayed together but it was only Anna, who was later discovered (by a lone sailor) floating on a piece of wreckage.

She sent her husband a telegraph message ” Saved Alone-What Shall I Do? ”

Later, a daughter ( Bertha) born after the tragedy told her father’s ” rest of the story.” He quickly sailed to join his wife… one day during the passage, midway across the Atlantic, the captain pulled Horatio up to the captain’s cabin and pointed around him -it was where his family’s ship went down.

Though still grieving her father experienced a moment right then when a ” supernatural” ” peace like a river” enveloped him.

In 1904 the traditional song was included in the Baptist Hymnal in Nashville Tennessee. ( adding the refrain ” It is well , it is well in my soul. )

Later three more children ( another died from pneumonia) blessed the Spafford family. . In 1881 they moved to Jerusalem where Horatio Spafford died.

So until tomorrow… ” And the peace of GOD which surpasses all understanding shall guard your hearts, your minds … through Jesus Christ. ” Philippians 4: 7

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

So glad St Patrick’s Day was bright and sunny Friday because yesterday was chilly and raining … luck of the Irish! But before I left Friday I took pictures of new life popping up!

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Bringing Ireland to Lachlan on His Birthday

Dear Reader:

Walsh and Mollie decided that this was the year they wanted to introduce and infuse Lachlan with his Irish heritage… customs, foods, music and stories. After all he’s the St Paddy’s Day baby… born on the 17th of March.

…But between the St. Patrick’s Day downtown parade and heavy traffic congestion we decided to skip Tommy Condons, most famous Irish pub in Charleston, (two blocks waiting line) and simply find a parking place and let fate take its course… and it did.

On the way to a parking garage that still had a vacancy sign… Walsh dropped all of us off at another Irish Pub-Bumpa’s . Little did we know the surprises inside.

By the time Walsh joined us we had worked our way inside and the lovely ” seater” found us the best table in the place. We could watch all the pedestrians in green walk by…

And the food… we ordered several plates and divided it up… so everyone got corn beef hash, mashed potatoes, cabbage, beef stew and all kinds of fun interesting appetizers!

It was such a festive atmosphere inside with a guitarist singing a mixture of old and new tunes. Then Rutledge told me to look out the window next to him and there was a bagpiper… and then two, three… so many I quit counting…they were playing upbeat ballads and military songs, along with drums and flutes! And then they entered the pub and just blew us away.

Gotta have a Green Guinness on this holiday!

A quick history lesson -We were so thrilled with the marching band but the bagpipes were throwing me off.. I think Scots with bagpipes, not Irish musicians -so when I got home I looked up marching bagpipers, drummers and flutists… and guess what music is the great unifier!

On the first St Patrick’s Day parade in Boston March 17, 1737, the Scots-Irish ( descendants of Ulster in Northern Ireland ) all gathered in their kilts, bagpipes, flutes. and drums to perform. From the start America’s ” Melting Pot” blended once sworn enemies into friends… diversity… the core behind American democracy.

After the performance one drummer came over to our table -after chatting with us and discovering it was Lachlan ‘a birthday-he returned with a ” fellow” bagpiper who played Happy Birthday to Lachlan on bagpipes! A memory for the ages!

The whole place erupted into applause and sang Happy Birthday to Lachlan!

So until tomorrow…

Birthday Child… I know with all the wisdom in my heart that YOU are worth all the celebrating in the world!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Eloise went to her pre-school since they were open yesterday… ( teacher workday for Rut and Lachlan’s teachers) so this St Patrick’s day was even more special!! No School!

Eloise had dressed for her pre-school’s St Patrick’s Day Party too!
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Is Dingle Losing Its Jingle to An Daingean…

Dear Reader:

In 2005 a decision was made in Dublin politics to restore the original Irish Gaelic language to areas where it was still being used more provincially…. like Dingle Peninsula and it’s harbor town Dingle. English out – on road signs and new symbols went up warning tourists to use the new maps being provided. They were entering Gaelic Irish country.

(THE LETTER ” G” ) Gaeltacht Indicator that Gaelic speaking Irish citizens live in the surrounding community

This road sign informs visitors they are entering an area of Ireland where there is a ” vibrant community of Gaelic Irish that is spoken. ( For over 2000 years)

As divided as our country is now you can only imagine how divisive this imposed decision by another city was . Dingle had been Dingle for over seven centuries. It was short and fun to say and ” captured the imagination producing a feeling of lightness and optimism!”

Tourism had become the number one ” industry ” ( especially in the summer months) in Dingle and the bulk of tourists spoke English. ***Visitors and tourists outnumber the approximate 1500 town population by 6 to 1!

So the independent Dingle citizens made sure that businesses were exempt from using just Gaelic Irish but that they could use English alone or together with Gaelic Irish. ( Still they feared tourists might get ” befuddled and confused “by the missing former English road signs. ) * By the time I was in Ireland I am pretty sure both languages were used on road and town signs.

So today the locals can call the town anything they want… including Fungie/the adopted dolphin ( if they wanted to) who became the beloved mascot of Dingle until 2020 when one day it never appeared again. ( I loved Fungie! )

… And actually when Anne and I went to Dingle in 2014 adult tourists and summer students were flocking to Dingle to learn Gaelic Irish-students took three week courses and lived with Dingle families during their stay.

My name in Gaelic Irish is Rebecca ( Riobhea) Dingle ( An Daingean) Daingean means a fortress. ***The full surname of DINGLE is Daingean Ui Chuis-the fortress of the Husseys. ( a Norman family who arrived after the invasion)

*** A little Irish humor today on St. Patrick’s Day… Riobhea An Daingean Ui Chius ( Rebecca Dingle) OR instead like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms …my name would be in Irish… Rebecca of the Fortress of Husseys! 😂

So until tomorrow…. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Gra no Chris thuI LOVE YOU! Thank you readers for all your support and continued encouragement! Have a wonderful day!
Saint Brigid’s day-February 1-First Day of Spring cross

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Saint Jude’s Chapel of Hope

Dear Reader:

Tomorrow is the day designated for St Patrick-the Patron Saint of Ireland, among many other countries! It is the day everyone wants to be Irish and attempts at Irish broques are downright laughable! ( especially as the day wears on)

” Saints Alive”, of course, is an expression that projects astonishment at something extraordinary … Grandmother Wilson always followed star gazing (with the grandchildren on summer nights) with that expression… followed by her personal addendum “How awesome is the handiwork of God.”

Even though the word ” saint” is used to describe someone-a friend, neighbor, mentor, etc. who continuously helps others during their personal struggles… the Catholic Church’s reference is to a heavenly being who, while alive on earth, performed at least two miracles . ( Before a ” Blessed” can be canonized the person must have been deceased for five years.)

Gin-g laughed and sent me a comment that she might be Baptist but every time she loses anything…she turns to Saint Anthony… the Patron Saint of lost objects. ( affectionately nicknamed… Saint ” Car Keys!” )

On a more serious note Saint Anthony helps us when WE are lost and need direction.

Looking back on my own revelations the first time Honey Burrell took me to St Jude’s Chapel of Hope … it was, no doubt, Saint Anthony who pushed me to accept Mike and Honey’s excited invitation to visit the chapel.

On the way there in July of 2010 I heard Bill and Beverly Barutio’s names for the first time. Once inside the chapel that warm July day… I knew I was home. Immediately an inner voice said softly ” Go where you feel most alive.” I was there! Beverly was there!

Beverly Barutio kept her promise to St Jude… when she prayed for restored health in 1981 …after advanced cancer had pervaded and spread throughout her body. (Saint Jude is the Saint of ” Improbable but not Impossible causes.” )

She thanked her doctors for all their efforts but no more chemo… she turned to faith for healing. And in exchange for more time with loved ones… she would build a chapel for all who sought refuge from life’s afflictions. It was finished exactly ten years later! St Jude’s Chapel of Hope.

Beverly always said that ” If just one person comes” it would all have been worth it. ” I knew then we were kindred spirits, not because of ” little c” or as she called her cancer ” an annoyance ” but because when I nervously started the blog post ” Chapel of Hope Stories” I told myself that if I just had one reader… it would have been worth it.” ( Beverly and I were both surprised and excited that this was not the case. )

Several years ( 2011) ago Honey and I met Bob Hurley, reporter from the Greenville Sun newspaper, who told me that Beverly and I would have been instant friends.. we were so much alike. It reinforced my initial feeling of camaraderie… two worlds joined together.

And throughout it all… there is Honey-the epitome of generosity and kindness… who always brightens my life with her everlasting friendship. To me… she should be crowned ” Miss Pineapple” every year for her southern hospitality… she is my saint!

So until tomorrow… ” Saints Alive!” Surround yourselves with the everyday saints in your life and the eternal ones too. There is no such thing as having too many saints in your life!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

The 13th this year! 10 + 3 ( Anne Peterson)
More dried flowers
( Joan Turner)
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