The Truth Behind Holiday Traditions

Dear Reader:

Monday, StoryWorth, asked me to remember some of my family’s Christmas traditions. I started out my response by defining traditions as “heirlooms” comprised of sweet memories passed down from one generation to the next.

Initially we might consider an “heirloom” (as defined in dictionaries) as a  valuable object passed down from one generation to the next. If we define “valuable” in terms of money or expense this definition doesn’t work in my family but if “valuable” means a personal prized possession… then my family has many traditions.

Let me share some with you since this year we will be altering some of these traditions due to Covid.

The annual family traditions I most prize are centered around family and friends who started a tradition for my family out of the generosity of their beings. The best “heirlooms” of all.

*Honey’s Apple Tree– Every year Honey arrives with everything needed to put my table centerpiece together…from the time it is put up…the most luscious aroma invades the house. It has become part of a tradition I look most forward to each year.

* Marcia Temple’s “fake snowballs” and the ensuing snowball fight. In 2016 Marcia started this tradition when she sent fake snowballs to my house in time for Christmas Eve…the fight took place in my house since we were meeting after the Christmas Eve Service…it was wild, crazy, and started a new tradition.

*Joan Turner’s exquisite whimsical original Christmas cards have become another wonderful tradition that I look forward to each year. My collection of all of them now brings me much joy any time of the year.

*Five stockings now hang by the ‘chimney with care’…but this year I will need to take the stockings to Walsh and Mollie’s home since the family won’t be coming to Summerville (for the first time for Christmas Eve and the service) and the snowball fight will need to be held there too.

Ruthie, the rag doll, from the children’s Christmas story, “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree” always sits on top of my tree year after year after year. These days, however, I can no longer send the photo to the author, Gloria Houston, because of her untimely death from a rare cancer several Christmases ago.

Homespun Santa.…When I worked on weekends at the old Cauthens Building years ago…for the artist, Sammy Ravenel Gaillard, I put this homespun Santa on lay-away  and paid some each month until I finally had bought it from People, Places, and Quilts for Christmas one year. Having to save for so long…it means so much to me to see it under the tree each year.

Many of my tree decorations are special too…after experiencing an elevator relationship with a little red cardinal…I named Sammy…I got lots of red cardinal Christmas decor…especially tree ornaments…I got this little plump cardinal from my neighbor Vickie one Christmas. So cute! All…a wonderful tradition!!

 

When Honey shared her mysterious but intriguing true story behind the kiln creation of the clay manger scene…I wrote a poem to accompany it…and it still adds mystique to the holiest day of all.

…But the longest Christmas Eve tradition for me…is telling the annual Christmas Eve story at the children’s service. This year that will be somewhat altered too…as I will be taped on an earlier recording for that night.

It is especially hard to alter this tradition this year, even a little, since this year marks my 30th year telling a Christmas Eve story.

So this year  will be a look-back of all the types of stories told over three decades… highlighting bits from the special stories. Christmas Memories...

So until tomorrow…Traditions may change but love and generosity remain the same…people make traditions from the heart.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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Thanksgiving, Traditions, and Tigger

Dear Reader:

I have to admit that the initial excitement about the ride up to Lake Toxaway last Wednesday, for the holidays, was diminished by Tigger’s passing just hours before we left. I kept my sunglasses on for more than one reason…my eyes were puffy from crying.

I told Mandy I saw Tigger everywhere and said a prayer at the third waterfall…blew him kisses into the blue skies over the North Carolina mountains…he was everywhere in my mind…reflecting off the lake, rising above the fog gathering each morning…even at the weddings held near Tommy and Kaitlyn’s room. Tigger was there.

I knew Tigger when…he was just a little puff ball that could fit in the palm of Walsh’s hand…which he did one time soon after John and Mandy adopted him. They left on their honeymoon and Walsh kept him while they were away.

 Tigger was the oldest Turner sibling…and so excited when Eva Cate was born…he wore his “Big Bro” shirt and like the verse  said..”He remained “faithful” to the end.”

Tigger’s favorite stuffed animal was “Tiger”…Joan had to re-sew it back together again every time they visited…it was Tigger’s favorite fuzzy friend!

It was Thanksgiving afternoon, when we had finished eating that it hit me….how thankful we should all be to have had that adorable little bundle of love in our presence for 12 and a half years. He gave and gave and gave unconditional love and accepted everyone’s love back.

Sunday afternoon before Tigger got sick the next day…he was lying by the front door watching the children play…still guarding them from his normal stance…Tommy stopped by and had Atticus with him. When he took Atticus inside…he immediately ran over to “cousin” Tigger and began licking him all over (never had done that before)…like he was kissing him good-bye…Atticus seemed to know intuitively something was wrong. Animals’ intuitions are amazing.

As hard as it is thinking about Christmas without Tigger…we are all looking at new traditions this year for the first time in a long time. Part of me is very sad about the loss of some of the holiday traditions but I also understand that new traditions are important too…life changes and we must change with it. It is a great teaching lesson for those who are modeling what we do.

So I will remember precious Tigger with love and fondness forever…and thank God for our memorable “every holiday gift” we had for as long as we did. Tigger did make me laugh!

So until tomorrow…Tigger, you have left our lives…but you will never leave our hearts.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Don’t forget to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” (it’s the first day of December!)…we could use some good feelings dominating this month of Jesus’ birth. Let’s take this daunting year out on as high a note as possible.

*** Please keep the Kmetz family in your prayers today. Janet Kmetz was my social studies teaching buddy for many years at Alston Middle before transferring to the new (at that time) Oakbrook Middle School. Our loss was their gain. She was a fabulous teacher.

I told her husband Steve last night at the Visitation that I was sending him funny anecdotes about shared experiences Janet and I had while teaching together. Those years are some of my most memorable…made so by a special friend.

Janet died from complications of cancer that snowballed too quickly and didn’t give us enough time to let Janet know how much we will miss her…but somehow I think she already knew that…my love and prayers go to her husband and three wonderful sons (Michael, Steven, and Jimmy) and their families…Janet had finally gotten her wish… granddaughters….been waiting on a little girl for a long time. Now she had three!

Mandy and Michael Kmetz playing over at the house…fading photos but warm memories.

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A “Lodge” Holiday Getaway

Dear Reader:

When Tommy, Kaitlyn, and I left last Wednesday for Lake Toxaway for Thanksgiving we had no idea… that we would get a peek at Christmas too…two holidays for one!

It was a fabulous get-away…my eyes were full of awe and wonder…like this little surprise waterfall that pops out to remind drivers leaving…they will want to return again.

We will go ‘back to the present‘ today starting with Sunday and Saturday first. Both fun days…well maybe not Sunday except for our last fabulous Sunday brunch at Greystone…the traffic was packed and heavy all the way home with heavy rain showers!

We went into Brevard Saturday…such an adorable little mountain town …for me to look for grandchildren stocking stuffers and just ride around this lovely area of the mountains.

When we got back… the inn was in the process of transforming….from Thanksgiving to Christmas….the trees had arrived…and lights were being put on them.

 

***The whole family… delighting in the lights and wonderful outdoorsy smell of Christmas trees! 🙂

Several children were staying at the lodge with their parents…and they were beside themselves with excitement ….especially the first child who spotted the “Elf on the Shelf” high up on the antler chandelier!

 

***The children were also busy filling out their letters to Santa to put in the Greystone special express Santa mailbox!

*Notice the white squirrel…you won’t leave the area without hearing its legend… resulting in becoming Brevard’s mascot…will save it for another upcoming post. Cool tale.

 

***The moon was almost full while we were there and reflected off Lake Toxaway each evening…magical and enchanting.

The weather was perfect….40’s at night…low 60’s in the day….but snow is predicted for this week.

Earlier Saturday we went to the most famous toy store around  the area…O.P. Taylors...I went beserk filling my bag up with stocking stuffers….then we went to Bullwinkles Outdoor Store...where Pip rested on the big moose. Even the street lights have silhouettes of the white squirrel…mascot of Brevard.

SSSHHHH! Picked up a white squirrel for each grandchild’s stocking and one storybook of the White Squirrel and Christmas for each family.

Now let me give you a tour of the past few days and some of our adventures….Enjoy!

Friday Tommy and I (Atticus and Pip) went to Triple Falls in Dupont Park…I wasn’t sure I could handle it…to tell you the truth…between the higher altitude, masks, and elevation of the lodge…with the addition of never-ending precarious stone steps that seem to climb into heaven… leading to every building you went to…my respiratory system was working way over time.

 Triple Falls...I did have to stop and rest once we got there and started climbing in between levels… … but still I did it!!!! I reached the third waterfall! 🙂

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The best part of the Thanksgiving adventure was, not only seeing gorgeous views, but meeting new people at the lodge…we had a ball. Everyone fell in love with Pip and Atticus…soon we were famous for having the dogs.

 

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious…in fact every meal was…and every evening there were bonfires out front or playing games or just conversing with guests around the fireplaces…in fact that first night we arrived we were treated to complimentary champagne…I felt like royalty.

 

***The days were breathtakingly beautiful… walking the estate…and silently thanking this woman for building her dream.

This really was a fairy tale Thanksgiving. I felt like the ‘Princess and the Pea’ (without the pea!) I slept better there than I have in quite awhile. The bed was luxurious and I think I got the best room of all…it was at the tip top of the inn…so when I looked out…I could see tennis courts out one window, kayak landing out the other and the beautiful Lake Toxaway out the third window.

My room at the top!

Even climbing in-door landings to get to my room didn’t deter me…because I knew I would be in dream land when I arrived.

We did have one mystery…every good adventure needs at least one…the mysterious fog of Lake Toxaway. One morning we ate breakfast outside while the sun was pouring down on our welcoming faces…but before we could return to our rooms…this strange fog  started crawling in…. covering big chunks of the lake…strangely beautiful. It happened three different times.

So until tomorrow…I am most thankful for this wonderful adventure that got me out and seeing new things…I hope for one and all… you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we all counted our blessings for what we have.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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Past, Present, and Memories

Dear Reader:

Little did I know back on my birthday, in September, when Kaitlyn first mentioned returning to Lake Toxaway for Thanksgiving that this dream would actually come to fulfillment.

I knew nothing of the amazing history behind the Greystone Lodge…but I could have sat for hours, in front of the fireplace, reading stories of the famous families who once walked these same halls and resided in these same rooms.

Families like the Fords, Rockefellers, Firestones,  Vanderbilts and Duponts once stayed at the inn… then called Toxaway Inn.

It was in 1910 that Socialite Lucy Armstrong and her husband, George, a prominent Savannah businessman, began vacationing on Lake Toxaway. She fell in love with restoring the old inn and giving it the new name of Greystone Lodge.

It stayed in Lucy’s family until the middle 1980’s when Tim and his wife “Boo Boo” 🙂  Lovelace bought it and added several more luxury rooms to the inn.

American history is embedded in art, architecture, furniture, amenities, letters, photos and memoirs from the early 1900’s until today. (For a history teacher…I felt like I died and went to heaven! 🙂

On the way home yesterday I realized that the three tenses of time should be past, present, and memories…because as Grandmother Wilson taught me…we should all leave some time each day to reflect on our past memories since the future has yet to be experienced and it takes past and present building blocks to construct the future from earlier dreams.

So until tomorrow…hopefully…God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be able to start sharing some of the memories from my special Thanksgiving stay at the Greystone Lodge through photos and anecdotes in tomorrow’s blog post.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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The Hills Are Alive…With the Sound of Music

Dear Reader:

Every time I look out over the mountains each morning…I half expect to see Julie Andrews appearing at the top of the knoll… singing as loudly as I remember it the first time I saw the Sound of Music at the movies as a child.

“The hills are alive…with the sound of music…”

What is it about the connection between mountains and music? There is definitely a special bond…most music camps during the summer find niches among the mountains to host musical festivals…somehow it just seems right.

I love this lesson in singing and bonding with God’s other creatures in this devotional by Quinn Caldwell.

“Sing”

“…with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” – Colossians 3:12-17

There are about 5,400 animal species that make complex, intentional, repeatable, musical vocalizations.  That is, there are about 5,400 species that sing.  The majority live in the trees, a few live in the oceans, a very few live underground, but there is one—only one—singing species that lives on the ground: us.

Another thing: humans are the only singing species with a precise and shared sense of rhythm, which is what allows us to sing together.  Two birds might sing the same song, but they cannot sing it together.

Another thing: if a roomful of people sings at the same time, they start to breathe at the same time as well.  Some studies suggest that if the drumbeat or bass line is strong enough, their hearts will begin to beat together, too.  And if we’re singing together and breathing together and our hearts are beating together, then it’s like we’re one body.  And you know Whose body it is.

Another thing: all the other species stop singing when danger approaches.  But humans sing louder the closer the danger gets. We sing together, and we become large, and we do not back down.

So come racism, and “We Shall Overcome” you.

Come fear, for “It is Well With My Soul.”

Come war, for tonight is your “Silent Night.”

Come death, for “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”

Come, all ye faithful, and sing.

Prayer

Lord, I can’t read music and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  But I’m-a sing your praises anyway.  Amen.

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Kaitlyn has such a beautiful voice…maybe I can convince her to belt out a song for me backdropped by the mountains….a moment for the memories. Time will tell.

So until tomorrow….

“There is no complete spiritual life without music, for the human soul has regions which can be illuminated only by music. “

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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Kindness Should Always Be Our Legacy

Dear Reader:

If you are like me…this Thanksgiving has sent me down memory lane more times than I can remember. For one thing I have such mixed emotions. For some…Thanksgiving is staying about the same…but for many others…it has changed and there is probably sadness attached to the glitch in this family tradition we all hold so dear.

For still others…economic times are hard…and many families might be doing without any kind of traditional Thanksgiving meal which makes me sad about the state of everything lately.

Nicole Phillips’, blogger and author, sentiments match mine.

“I find myself rejoicing with those who rejoice and feeling the sadness so many others are carrying because I don’t want anyone to carry it alone. Maybe you’re right there with me.

But you know what exists even when everything is topsy-turvy? Kindess. Always Kindness!”

I know how fortunate my life is, especially this unique and beautiful Thanksgiving in the mountains…and I have thanked God continuously since arriving for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feast my eyes on the mountains again and all they symbolize in each of us.

My thoughts have turned to legacies while sitting in front of the huge fireplaces in several living areas. I don’t think we get to pick a legacy…because it is formed in other people’s minds from a lifetime of personal experiences.

My prayer is that somewhere in my legacy…kindness will be included…because I have been so blessed to be the recipient of great kindness throughout my lifetime… I hope it has come full circle to providing kindness in others.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Last pictures I took of the garden before heading out this past Wednesday…isn’t it wonderful that God provides beauty for all of us everywhere?

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Embellishing Stories Can Backfire

Dear Reader:

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has arrived safely today and no matter the circumstances… take time to give thanks for life and loved ones who make life worth living.

As a storyteller I am fond of embellishing stories I tell to groups…whether adults or children…tall tales get “taller” and funny episodes become hilarious…while serious situations become nail-biter cliff-hangers. It is all part of the ‘trade’ as we like to say.

Quinn Caldwell, theologian and author, finds embellishments with stories in scripture…that were later added to elevate the interest surrounding the story in question. He chuckles and admits that we humans love “add-on’s” to stories.

He writes….“Stories, especially the important ones, have a way of picking up embellishments and details over time.  I can think of at least two oft-told stories from my early childhood that I’m pretty certain can’t have actually happened the way my family tells them.  

…But they’ve been told and heard so many times that they’re definitely true even if they didn’t quite happen the way we tell them.  At its best, this process can make stories truer even while making them less factual.

However not all our embellishments are so harmless.  Hear your own story told enough times with embellishments like “goof-ball” or “stupid,” and you might start to believe them.  Tell your own story enough times with additions like “unworthy” or “failure,” and other people might start to believe them.”

Quinn Caldwell advises us to bring God into our writings and thoughts…because He is the only Publisher Who matters…because only God truly knows our “real” story and if told correctly…it is a best-seller… because God created us to be capable of becoming the very best we can be.

So until tomorrow…Let us pray…

“God, here’s my story.  Edit it, correct it, rewrite it until everyone, including me, tells it the way you do.  Amen. “

*I have to admit I don’t think I will need to embellish anything about this unique Thanksgiving experience…except to thank God, on this day of Thanksgiving, for offering me this once-in-a-lifetime experience with loved ones. Thank You!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Don’t want to end on a sad note…I put the news in yesterday’s blog around noon…but if you missed it…Tigger didn’t make it home…instead he returned home to his Creator. John and Mandy were able to be with him at the end…so he was surrounded with love….as you can imagine…a pretty tough Thanksgiving for the family…but also one filled with thankfulness and gratitude for this dog in all their lives…who brought them so much happiness.

When Eva Cate (Evie) was born…he was the “big bro” and wore his t-shirt to welcome her to the family.

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Angels on the Ground

Dear Reader:

For awhile now I have been wanting to add some statues to my garden…nothing huge or ultra expensive…yet something that will last and bring me serenity looking at it…I want an angel statue.

The little angel, from my garden, in the title photo is one of the oldest statues in it… I, also, had another little angel that sat on a fence post…but during a storm she fell and lost her wings…they were shattered.

I need an everyday angel who has come to earth to just be there for anyone walking through the garden who needs her.

It reminds me of a  story I recently read…..

“On the Ground”

Vince Amlin

The other day a colleague was walking by our building and saw me at the back of the sanctuary. He ducked his head in to say hi and commented on the beauty of the place.

I never know what to say when people compliment this space that I had no hand in creating and which is familiar enough now that I hardly notice it.

“Yeah,” I offered and let him take it in.

After a few minutes, he motioned to a spot at the front of the sanctuary. “What are those two carvings?”

I told him they were angels holding song books.

“That’s interesting,” he said. “Usually you see angels up high in a church. But yours are down on the ground. Do they have bodies?”

“I think they’re just torsos,” I told him, “heads, wings, and arms.”

Before he left, he offered a prayer. It began “God, we thank you that your messengers are on the ground. The messengers are on the ground…”

When he had gone, I took a closer look at the angels – two figures that I see often enough to completely ignore them. I studied them with renewed interest. I had been wrong.

They had bodies: robes that reached to the floor and maybe even the suggestion of toes peeking out underneath. Like they could have just been walking by, and ducked their heads in, and decided to stay.

Like they could just step down at any minute and join the stream of neighbors passing by all day. Could be any one of them at all.

Prayer
God, we thank you that your messengers are on the ground.

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

How many of us have told a friend or stranger…“Thank you for helping me…you were such an angel to take time to do so.” Can’t we all relate closer to these angels inside mortals than the heavenly angels from above?

So until tomorrow….

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. – Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV)

May the angels of every kind (on heaven and earth) be with us and our loved ones this Thanksgiving to protect us from harm that we can see and harm we can not see…May we, also, use this time to be an angel to someone else who needs it!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*This picture (below) that I found on-line of the lodge we are staying in… has been imprinted on my mind…but I will have to wait until I wake up tomorrow… Thanksgiving morning to see it….

Tommy and Kaitlyn were planning on us getting an early start today to head up to the mountains but business and builders had other plans…wanting to close on properties before the holidays….so we will actually be arriving in the dark….HOWEVER that will just make tomorrow… Thanksgiving morning more exciting…waking up to a little piece of heaven! 🙂

WE ARE COMING! The lodge at Lake Toxaway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Hopefully today will be wonderful too for the Turner family…if Tigger can get home for Thanksgiving…praying John and Mandy get the call to come pick him up today…it will take a week before all the test results are back in…but if he is eating and has more energy and strength he will be better off at home…over the holidays…love is always the best medicine.

*** Latest update today Wednesday November 25: Sad news…things went downhill last night and John and Mandy have left to tell Tigger good-bye. I know they would appreciate prayers today for the whole family…

***I love you my oldest grandson doggie…may the angels carry you to heaven to be with your Creator. Tell Poogie hey.

When I return next week…I will write a special memory tribute to Tigger. 

 

“Big Red” looks like he is waving good-bye as I am stacking luggage on the porch to be ready for pick-up… as well as the coleus protecting little clone “big red.” So much beauty left behind in the low country too.

 

Susan’s granddaughter Ady is helping her decorate for Christmas as part of her birthday present today….way to go Ady! Great birthday elf!

 

 

 

Something must be happening with all our granddaughter elves…as Eva Cate shared the same idea and  took charge of decorating their family Christmas tree this year…with number 1 dog-Tigger ornament on the top of the tree waiting for him to come home.

*Save some of that decorating time for Boo when I get home! 🙂

 

 

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Autumn’s Blessed Twilight Hours

Dear Reader:

Normally around this time of year you hear people complaining about the early sunsets and encroaching darkness by late afternoon. But…perhaps not as much this year… as Rachel Hackenberger, in this excerpt from her devotional, In the Wee Small Hours, points out.

“The sun is limiting its face time with the northern hemisphere these days. Dawn rises each morning with slow luxury. Noon casts long shadows. Dusk reddens the autumn leaves in late afternoon.

But even without the sun standing still, daily upheaval has quite an overwhelming intensity. As does election news. As does pandemic news. As does pretty much everything else. 

Meanwhile the moon is spending an increased amount of time whispering a different necessary truth: Here, for all, are the lengthening hours of the night, a gift for repentance and restoration. For quiet and calm. For dreaming and releasing.”

I found myself nodding as I read this devotional message…since I look forward, myself, to the early darkening skies….it makes me feel safe…like when I was a child pulling the covers over my head to block out any bogey man hiding in the closet.

These days I am writing my blog posts in the mornings and afternoons so by the time darkness descends I am fixing early suppers and then finding cable channels that show uplifting movies or comedies or reading…a way to relax and escape the on-going turbulence I find, as a history teacher, so bewildering, scary, and downright unbelievable.

Tomorrow I leave for the mountains with Tommy and Kaitlyn…I am beside myself with excitement. I find myself repeating the same phrase over and over in my mind….

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

We are going to Lake Toxaway, NC…the largest private lake in North Carolina.

There’s something magical about Lake Toxaway. Maybe it’s the pure, stream-fed waters that make it one of the cleanest lakes in the region. Or the picturesque, meandering shoreline that invites fisherman and nature lovers alike. Or perhaps it’s the backdrop of majestic
mountain ranges that serve as faithful sentries watching over the community. Whatever it is that connects with one’s mind and soul, visitors over the years have felt it.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

When I read this “promo” two phrases jumped out at me…it’s “magical” and “it connects one’s mind and soul” together. Bingo!

I so badly want that now….a “Calgon…Take me away” moment in time. My eyes are yearning to see something new, different, and soul inspiring…mountains and waterfalls should do it!

I mentioned in an earlier blog…  I desire a “Thoreau” get-away from the world to feast my eyes on nature. Move over Thoreau…I am following your advice….

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” I plan to immerse myself in God’s Handiwork and can hardly wait to discover what I “see.”

So until tomorrow….

For all of you traveling this Thanksgiving…put your safety in God’s hands (while you keep both hands on the steering wheel :).

Remember…Loved ones await…it will be a special Thanksgiving date.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Thank you Gin-g for the pumpkin bread to take up with us to the mountains…always a great way to start the day! Kindness starts and ends with Gin-g!

 

*** Update on Tigger. Some of you who read yesterday’s blog after lunch yesterday heard that Tigger got sick and ended up in ICU….ever since some of his teeth were pulled a week ago…he hasn’t been himself…weak, listless and unable to eat much.

Last evening he had a blood transfusion because his hemoglobin was very low. Tests were also run.

Mandy said they are supposed to get back to her and John  this morning on the results of the tests. Please say a little prayer for our first grand-dog…in the family. John and Mandy got Tigger weeks after their marriage in May of 2008….so the pictures above are his 12th birthday photos this past June.

The family would appreciate prayers as they await the results of the tests today…their plans to go to Alabama to John’s parents for Thanksgiving had to be cancelled yesterday sadly…not knowing what is going on with Tigger yet…a much beloved member of the family.

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The Scary Woods of the Pandemic

Dear Reader:

Anyone…child, youth, or adult who has ever watched the original Wizard of Oz.…recognizes this scene (from the movie) instantly…with the famous phrase…“Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!”

On their way to find the Wizard of Oz...Dorothy and her companions somehow leave the sunny yellow brick road behind when it turns into spooky dirt paths through dark scary woods…the group then hears a rustling sound coming from the foliage around them ….in each one’s imagination…they are seeing what scares them the most...”Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!”

Isn’t that what we feel too these days? We can’t see the enemy but the rustling warnings from television ads, the news, our doctors and scientists warn us this ‘formidable opponent’ is just as scary as ….lions, tigers, and bears. “Oh my.”

The difference in this scene and our situation is that we can’t hold hands to comfort each other through these scary times. It would be so much more comforting… if we could.

In Still Speaking Daily Devotionals...Molly Baskette addresses this problem as we seek to find God and safe haven before the cornavirus finds us. Here is an excerpt from her devotional.

“Draw Near”

Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. – James 4:8 (NRSV)

Social distancing is our new way of life. When people we don’t live with come closer than six feet these days, we might experience a frisson of fear. What a strange and alienating reality!

Humans are wired for connection and we do better – mentally and physically – with touch. Some sources say twelve hugs a day for optimal well-being. So what is a human to do when drawing near is both what we most need and, in an age of pandemic, what might end us?

*I was thinking the other day about this…when I talked about sensing God in my garden…in plants and trees and buds and blooms. I touch them and marvel at God’s essence in beauty. And I feel safe in this environment…with just me and God.

By touching every living thing… plant and animal…aren’t I touching God and isn’t it safe to reach for Him through life itself?

Sadly it is only humans who can’t touch other humans…who must keep their distance and protect themselves with masks…but with God…no social distancing is necessary or masks…because eternal love between our Maker and ourselves is not restricted to the laws of physics governing the world we live in.

So until tomorrow…Remember God IS Love and as such has endless ways to comfort us and draw nigh when we need Him the most…germ-free.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

This tip-top Confederate Rose bloom turned pink again…yesterday…the cycle is continuously amazing me…one bud and bloom…over and over again.

As I was driving over to Mt. Pleasant Sunday afternoon and entering Wakendaw Lakes…a whole group of people were starting to put Christmas lights on the entrance tree. By the time I left…this beautiful sight told me good-bye from the neighborhood.

A shout-out to Carrie, Catherine, and Susan…all family members with “Turkey” birthdays this week. When we think about it…it is a wonderful time of the year to  be “thankful” for life and the opportunity to start another ‘trip around the sun’ with new possibilities in waiting. Happy Birthday Everyone!

*** Just added this Monday afternoon. Tigger, John and Mandy’s little dog, is in ICU having a blood transfusion for low hemoglobin. He has struggled since his nine teeth were pulled…and became quite ill today.

We all love him so and want what is best for him so if he can be healed and his health restored…we would all be so thankful today for that….prayers please for a much loved little dog. Thank you. Boo

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