New Updates from My Past… Bringing Adventuresome Opportunities

(Scene from Isle of Man...one of my latest ancestral discoveries)

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I heard from Ancestry telling me that they had the latest updates on my personal genealogy. I was so excited when I got it. Overall the big picture resembled rather closely the earlier findings… but more specific ‘area origins’ within the countries came to light.

For example…I still have 9% Scandinavian blood in me…but this time they narrowed it down to Norway. How lovely…I loved Denmark when I taught there for a week…would like to return one day and now visit Norway. This whimsical painting of the Winter Solstice marking the beginning of more light by a Norwegian fairy… lured me to it.

Here are my latest stats from my past…My roots crossing into Belgium, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales….I discovered that my roots also extend to the channel islands outside England and the greatest discovery of all…Isle of Man! (Located in the Irish Sea between Ireland and England…just south of Scotland)

Ferries run from Dublin to Isle of Man and when I pulled pictures of the island I felt a strange affinity to it..but on a more practical note…hummm….Tommy and Kaitlyn…since y’all fly in and out of Dublin and this is where you can take the ferry that crosses the Irish Sea to get to Isle of Man…wouldn’t you like to go over and spend a night or two on this enchanting little island? Boo Boo’s ancestors are there and who knows where they have been passed down?

At the top of the highest summit (Snow mountain)…you can see Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England…and also some of the channel islands off the coast of England.

Just keep this latest revelation  in mind next summer when you are planning your Dingle excursion to Ireland! 🙂 🙂 🙂

***Interesting tidbit about the Isle of Man-Home of the Bee Gee’s!

The Bee Gees’ family home on the Isle of Man is set to get a plaque.

The property in St Catherine’s Drive will be recognized with a plaque and the ‘Childhood Home of the Bee Gees’ will be added to the street sign.

It was home to all three Gibb brothers before the family moved to Manchester in the 1950s.

The Gibb brothers were born in the Isle of Man but later moved to Keppel Road in Chorlton before emigrating to Australia in 1958.

St Catherine’s Drive is also the title of an album, recorded by the late Robin Gibb, due to be released later this year.

The Bee Gees went on to become the fifth biggest-selling pop act of all time, producing 28 albums and shifting 110 million records in a career that spanned four decades.

Barry Gibb is the last surviving Gibb brother.

Maurice Gibb died aged 53 after suffering a heart attack during intestinal surgery at a hospital in Miami and Robin died in May last year after a prolonged struggle with cancer.

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Happiness arrived yesterday…the sun finally returned…later than hoped and predicted this week but finally here…I was so excited I took a picture of the first rays of sunshine in days hitting the sofa in the Happy Room…half in shadows, half in light. It stayed like that until after lunch when the full sun finally emerged! Hallelujah!

So until tomorrow…As the days grow darker…let us copy our animal friends’ habits around us…as well as…our garden flowers and bushes…it is time to rest and store up energy for spring…humans, too, need to continue blooming within the soul…but leave all the constant busyness alone and take the nearing winter solstice as a sign to live in the shadows with more time to rest and contemplate new life when it re-emerges with the light.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The grandchildren’s maple trees are turning such beautiful colors…the chilly weather has definitely hastened the process.

Susan Cadwell reminded me that I have  another health o’meter besides Big Red…Pink Cactus. I gave this cactus to Susan for her birthday nearly twenty years ago…she has cut and divided it several times over the years and yet here it is…still full of blooms…it loves Susan but not me…I can’t keep cacti alive for some reason. I certainly gave it to the right person!

 

A Big Shout-Out to Kaitlyn, my lovely daughter-in-law, who is celebrating her birthday today! There are lots of exciting changes happening for Tommy and Kaitlyn these days….a new year that holds lots of promise and opportunities! Have a great year Kaitlyn!

 

 

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Remembering to Keep Our “Personal Clocks” Wound

Dear Reader:

Today we think of Lewis Carroll as the wonderful author of Alice In Wonderland, as well as, a storyteller and artist. One recurring theme in  Alice in Wonderland...is  time and how it is best spent…perhaps at a tea party?

As a mathematician and artist Carroll understood the brevity of life and the importance of using time wisely.

In order to teach a lesson on time to others he tells a story about a talented clock maker whose death leaves a town in timeless confusion until they understand the importance of remembering.

In a small village lived an old clock maker and repairer. When anything was wrong with any of the clocks or watches in the village he was able to fix them, to get them running properly again.

When he died, leaving no children or apprentice, there was no one left who could fix clocks. Soon various clocks and watches began to break down. Those which continued to run often lost or gained time, so they were of little use. A clock might strike midnight at three in the afternoon. Many of the villagers abandoned their timepieces. 

One day a renowned clock maker and repairer came through the village, and the people crowded around him and begged him to fix their broken clocks and watches. He spent many hours looking at all the faulty timepieces, and at last announced that he could repair only those whose owners had kept them wound, because they were the only ones which would be able to remember how to keep time. 

Madeleine L’Engle concludes the story lesson by correlating it to our everyday lives.

“So we must daily keep things wound: that is, we must pray when prayer seems dry as dust; we must write when we are physically tired, when our hearts are heavy, when our bodies are in pain. 

We may not always be able to make our own personal “clock” run correctly, but at least we can keep it wound so that we will not forget.”

So until tomorrow….Amen Madeleine!

Walsh has planned a three-generational early family Christmas gift for his dad, brother Tommy, and son Rutledge to attend the Clemson-Carolina game. They have tickets but no parking space. (*Libby has tried so hard to help  but all of her family has decided to attend the game too. Thanks again Libby for all your efforts.)

So here’s a shout-out…if anyone knows of anybody who has an available parking space for the game Walsh and Tommy would love to hear from you and hopefully work something out. It would mean a lot to the family.

Walsh’s email address:  walshdingle13@gmail.com

Tommy’s email address: thomas.dingle@gmail.com

*Or simply let me know and I can connect you to one of the boys for further communication. Thank you everyone ahead of time…perhaps a little Christmas magic will kick in :)!

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I would be amiss as a history teacher if I didn’t remind everyone that 156 years ago today, November 19, 1863…Lincoln taught us a lesson on the importance of time…particularly the importance of brevity and getting to the main point of a commemoration with less rambling….”Fourscore and seven years ago”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lowcountry Falls are More Subtle than New England but Just as Amazing!

Dear Reader:

When I turned into the neighborhood late yesterday afternoon I caught the magnificence of the waning sun hitting the trees… turning their leaves a subtle but shimmering beauty behind the palm tree’s fronds. (The sheer vision of the startling image looked like an illustration out of a fairy book-*title photo.)

Fall in the lowcountry obviously gets started much later than in Maine and other New England states and the changing of our trees’ colors are not as bright and vivid as the trees and woods I saw throughout Maine. But this doesn’t make fall any less desired or appreciated…just a bit more subtle but still a relatively long-lasting vacuum of beauty.

Thank goodness I hit a lot of red lights in and around town so I could catch several fall sightings with my iPhone before anyone beeped… I found myself smiling as I caught each alluring scene over and over throughout Summerville. Here we go!

This year a new fall attraction at Magnolia Plantation will certainly be luring huge crowds to see the famous sasanqua camellias…but even more than that …for the first time the plantation and grounds will be lit up at night.

(*The collection contains more than 20,000 camellias, including 6,500 sasanquas, the country’s largest heirloom camellia collection and a hybrid collection of reticulates and other hybrids. They are on display from Mid-November to April. Camellia Sasanqua blooms in November and December.)

*Chinese lanterns will glow for four months beginning November 15th at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, illuminating America’s oldest garden at night for the first time in its history!

For Kaitlyn’s upcoming birthday this week…she asked Tommy to take her to this special event next Saturday evening…can hardly wait to hear what they think. The previews look magical!

Tommy and I had brunch yesterday at the Ruby Drum –delicious! I was finally able to see the other side of the (once) duplex that is now being turned into an Air B&B. Tommy, Kaitlyn, and her decorating friend, Bristol, are doing a lot of the work themselves…slowly getting the ‘behind the scenes’ updates done. Soon the fun decorating part will start. (Decided to take some “Before” photos)

It is sitting on a perfect lot off Coleman…close to shops, restaurants, Sullivan’s Island, Shem Creek….I think it will be a popular Air B&B when all the electrical/plumbing is finished…and the decorating begins.

With Kaitlyn gone this weekend and the rainy weather…the dogs hadn’t gotten out much …Tommy and I decided to take the dogs on an excursion …so we  loaded up the four little dogs and went over to Mandy and John’s for a short visit…good to see them…been awhile.

 

 

The children love when their canine cousins appear…they are all so cute.

 

So until tomorrow…Magic really is everywhere if we just take time to open our eyes and look around. Mother Nature never disappoints.

 

 

 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

Ever since writing the short story “Arrie and the Friendship Train” I have remembered Betsy (Libby’s daughter) birthday. November 18 was a pivotal day in the true story for sending food to war-torn countries following WWII and also Betsy’s birthday…so Happy Birthday Betsy…our Jr. Ya in training! 🙂

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Cold, Wet, and Thoroughly Snuggly Lovely

Dear Reader:

Since Luke came to help me Tuesday evening get all the plants inside before the first freeze… we have had cold, wet, windy weather…the kind that chills you down to the marrow of the bone if you stay out in it too long. *Very unusual for this early in November.

With the exception of a few medical appointments I have been able to stay inside reading, napping, watching old movies on television and eating lots of different soups beside my fireplace. Nothing is more comforting than a warm home while listening to the rain fall and the wind blow. It fills one with such thankfulness and gratitude for home and haven.

One book I have re-visited is Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water.

She searches for connections between faith and art in this reading…finding many diversified examples of God’s gift of art to mankind and its positive effects on all of us.

 

 

One passage, particularly, examined the correlation of healing pain with stories….a fascinating research project discovered in many medical centers.

At one conference Madeleine attended, a storyteller (librarian from Philadelphia) had the audience in laughter and tears as she demonstrated her art of storytelling.

One day she told the group about visiting the pediatric wards of hospitals and telling stories to the children, many of whom were in severe (burns) pain. But while the children were listening to the stories, they did not feel the pain.

Madeleine L’Engle was ready to add her own personal family episode to the discussion to confirm the storyteller’s pediatric experiences.

She recalls telling the gathering….

I remembered my elder granddaughter’s ninth summer, most of which was spent on the pediatric floor of a city hospital after she had been hit by a truck on her way home from swimming. She could not be given any painkillers because of the head injury and she was in great pain.

As she returned to consciousness, she said to her parents and grandparents, “I love you,” and then “Read to me.” So we read to her, hour on hour. When our voices would tire and we would slow down, we would immediately hear, “Keep on reading…it makes the pain go away” and so we kept on. 

From this experience this granddaughter became an avid reader and thinker.

Story was painkiller, quite literally. When the brain was focused on story, then it was not on the pain center. Story was a more effective painkiller than any chemical medication. 

Researchers have discovered that the younger the child the more imaginative the story should be…if the hero or heroine in the story is not restricted to the laws of gravity and can fly wherever they wish to explore…young patients can fly also in their imaginations away from pain to fantasy utopias where all the characters brim with good health and pain is an unknown anomaly.

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Today when we watch the numerous commercials on the overuse of opioids…treatment centers have discovered that if they can get a patient or recovering addict caught up in a book series, suited to their interests, they stand a better chance of total recovery than patients who just walk the halls or watch television aimlessly.

Most of us have experienced seeking escape from the everyday problems of life through stories. It is one of the reasons why reading is so important in a person’s life…it offers secret get-aways as needed during personal problematic episodes in life.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday’s game between Wake Forest and Clemson was charged with high emotion….seniors day…their last game playing at home. Several times at the start and end of the game I found myself tearing up…such a warm family feeling for the Clemson players, parents, fans, and friends.

 

How lucky we all are to have a “Dabo” leading young men into adulthood…such a wonderful example of childish fun and adult work habits…so much more than winning a game is taught to these young men…it just makes us all  glad to be a small part of it.

 

 

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Surrendering Life…in Order to Live It!

Dear Reader:

In my dreams I still visualize the world of my childhood. It always consisted of a big yellow sun, stars, mountains, birds, trees, seas, rainbows and flowers…always flowers everywhere. I should have known then that the creation of my garden was destined to rarify my later years within the sacredness of a spiritual sanctuary.

It is within that sanctuary that I have come to see some of the most important ethereal  lessons from God that the child in me couldn’t process. Basically what we ask for and what we receive from God might seem initially… opposites. But if we live long enough to reflect back on our lives we understand we got just what we needed… when we needed it.

The following piece of prose always makes me smile and nod in consensual agreement with many others. It is listed as having been written by an anonymous author…but I feel an epiphany each time I come across it. *I think it written for all of us from divine guidance.

“I Asked…”

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve-

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey

 

I asked for health, that I might do greater things –

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

 

I asked for riches, that I might be happy – 

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

 

I asked for power, that I might have the promise of men – 

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

 

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life – 

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

 

I got nothing that I asked for – 

but everything I had hoped for.

 

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

-anonymous

So until tomorrow…’Tis the season of Thanksgiving…If we leave cynical ‘adulting’ behind and once again see the world through the innocent eyes of our childhoods…then we see the world as God created it to be.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

 

Big Shout-Out to Jackson…today is officially her  Ya benchmark birthday! Now the Ya’s are all on board…a new decade with more adventures of friendship calling!

 

 

Mollie’s youngest sister, Whitney, gave birth  three days ago to little Finn…cute name to go along with a precious little boy. Congratulations Temple family!

 

Kaitlyn flew home this weekend to put on a baby shower for her best friend growing up… so Tommy is holding down the fort with all the canine “kids” who got haircuts yesterday….Cute!

 

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The “Quiet Teachers” of Nature

Dear Reader:

I read in an article that two hours of being out in nature (a week) does wonders for our bodies, minds, and hearts. I do try to get outside in the garden most days and actually use my deck (to enjoy the garden) more in late fall and winter than the hot summers here in the lowcountry.

Getting twenty minutes of sunshine each day is compatible with being out in nature two hours a week. The study suggests that one doesn’t even have to be physically active outside…just simply make time for self- reflection…especially observations of nature that use all the senses  found in the spectacular diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms.

To date my greatest nature “Quiet” teachers have been a red cardinal named Sammy who taught me patience and then compassion, followed by a smiling dolphin assuring me that my life is playing out just the way it should…all is right with the world. Just keep keeping on and all will fall into place. And both lessons taught have come true!

On cold rainy days (like what we presently are experiencing ) ….having lots of greenery inside can tide us over physically/emotionally until we can return outside again to the benefits of sunshine on our faces.

I have lots of green foliage resting in pots and planters throughout my ‘Happy Room” and dining area. There really is something to be said for the positive effects of greenery inside. It lifts one spirits…no matter the weather conditions.

Because we are freestanding and able to move around we miss the most important lesson in the universe… that we are as tied to the soil as trees, shrubs, and plants. The teachers in the classroom we experienced taught us with words…but our spiritual lessons must come from nature…the “quiet teachers” (God Winks) who lead and guide us along our path.

At least a few times a week now Sammy stops while eating and looks up at my window where I am typing…it only lasts a few seconds but the connection between us has grown stronger with time…Sammy is one of my best quiet “teachers”! (*The screen makes the photo fuzzy-Sammy shakes the suet cage so the food drops and then eats it on the ground…while stopping to pause and look up at me …staring intently!)

So until tomorrow…Let us remember that there are “quiet teachers” in nature who continue to guide us long after we leave the classroom…welcome their companionship and guidance…nature won’t steer us wrong. God Winks workbest in natural settings.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Libby’s sister Linda is going through some hard times now…with her heart…she has been put through the ringer with several uncomfortable procedures…but in the meantime she continues to experience pain and shortness of breath. Please pray for her as the doctors wind down their tests today…that they can provide some concrete answers for her and her loved ones… a clear summation diagnosis and a plan for recovery.

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Discovering that Destinations Are Usually Just Starting Points

Dear Reader:

A novel I recently finished told about an American girl who planned to visit France and see all the big tourist attractions but soon discovered that it wasn’t Paris with all its famous “must-see’s” or other cultural cities permeated with elaborate architectural designs that enveloped her in  joy and excitement…but the personal side detours she took along the way.

She slowly began to realize something important about life on the trip as she concluded her adventure with this quote from Megan Schibner:

“I’m only lost if I’m going someplace in particular.” 

It was only when she was scheduled to arrive at a certain place at a certain time that she felt “off course” …astray from her heart’s true desire.

Her words made me pause and think back on Anne’s and my Maine adventure. I realized the same thing happened to us over and over. We would head towards a famous light house only to discover that the butterflies/bumblebees in the wildflowers around it were more enticing than the lighthouse or the sounds of children’s voices going through a corn maze delighted us more than a tour of a city.

The most beautiful scenery we discovered in Maine (by accident on a back road) was on the way to Doyle’s pumpkin and apple farm…It took one’s breath away…the reflection of fall colors from the quiet waters adjacent to the woods far surpassed whatever the farm had to offer.

 

At the Pemaquid Lighthouse Park…it was the sun hitting the waters that transformed the ocean into glittering light, butterflies, bumblebees and wild flowers, lone fir trees and majestic rocky coasts that outshone the lighthouse by far.

Destinations are just starting points…they point to the unknown beauties around them and lead us to back roads of unexplored ‘frontiers’- woods, wildflowers, native animals, sunsets, thousands of islands filled with virgin foliage- the real Maine inside the brochures.

(Not including the natives themselves who love ending as many words as possible…with softer “ah’s” by replacing sharper “er’s.“) Bah Habah! 🙂

So until tomorrow…The more we are open to new possibilities and change… the more moments we experience that hold unforeseen treasures we are supposed to find… beautiful multi-colored fall leaves growing out of rocks in Maine or an exquisite scarlet leaf in a tree in my front yard.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Due to the impending freeze Luke came over Tuesday evening and we moved everything off the front porch and “parked” them temporarily on the B&B side. When I went over yesterday I had to laugh…it looks like I have an inside nursery/florist shop…though admittedly a pretty one!

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