Dear Reader:

Love… it really must make the world go round…. in conversation, literature, and quotes… the word ” LOVE” takes first place in usage around our earthly home. Even in these disturbing times… we say ” I love you” a lot more than we say ” I hate you.”

” Love Actually ” does affect every component of life… and Richard Rohr gives us an example of how taking love away from ” virtue” changes our lives from sunny to gray.

A dictionary defines ” virtue” as behavior showing high moral standards. Richard Rohr shows us what happens when love is not at the center of living a virtuous life.

If lOVE is the soul of Christian existence , it must be at the HEART of every other Christian virtue.

For example… Justice without love is Legalism.

Faith without love is ideology.

Hope without love is self- centeredness

Forgiveness without love is self- abasement

Fortitude without love is recklessness

Generosity without love is extravagance

Care without love is mere duty

Fidelity without love is servitude

Every virtue is an expression of love and no virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated by love.

Aristotle took a practical approach… his ideas of defining ethics were based on what someone did for others and how this then impacted another’s actions and so on and so on. Aristotle’s ” Passing of Love.”

He based this linkage on the philosophy of ” Moderation in All Things.” Humans should enjoy their existence but… not be selfish . For every good fortune that comes one’s way… share it with others… bring happiness to their lives. Share your talents with others.

So until tomorrow… This Christmas spread the love by sharing yourself with a smile.

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Now fresh flowers will help me feel Christmas coming…
A beautiful November Day… with sunbeams playing hide and seek on window panes
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Sometimes It Ends Up Different… and it is Better that Way…

Dear Reader:

Edison’s Early Lightbulb

As much as failure is not something we would willingly seek or select… especially over success… if you take a minute to reflect back on the successes and failures in your own life… we humans fail more than succeed because… we’re mortal and one trait of being human is our inbred desire to learn new things… even when they hurt in the process.

Eva Cate learned failure frequently when learning how to ride a bike! (Bless her heart!)

None of us are born completely programmed to know how to walk, run, swim, jump, write, read, calculate, memorize,etc. -the list could go on and on. Our success in accomplishing each of these personal benchmarks depends on adult or older sibling mentors to demonstrate each process for us …to first emulate and then later differentiate with our own individual approach to learning … followed by re-creating.

I think Thomas Edison would be the first inventor to appreciate the modern expression… ” Learn how to fail smarter.” Isn’t that what Edison demonstrated repeatedly throughout his life… mistakes are just stepping stones leading us to the final correct solution or conclusion to a problem.

Edison understood how each failed attempt at creating a new invention got him one step closer to his/her final goal by simple elimination of the wrong ” detours ” …thus forcing the inventor back on the right path. In the end the final product was better than the original idea because so much had been learned from the process of eliminating mistakes.

This learning process can be applied to any situation in life… corporate ladder climbing, career changes, relationship quandaries, and yes… competitive sports. More and more we understand how physical prowess alone is not enough to be completely successful. Athletes must be mentally sharp, emotionally strong, and learn how to ” fail smarter” – by eliminating repeated costly mistakes.

Saturday… after the game… I felt sadness for the Clemson seniors ( of whom one was Coach Dabo’s own son-personal heartache) … and for Coach Dabo , himself, since I know he was frustrated and disappointed.

As I listened to Coach Dabo on his weekly Sunday show… I knew how difficult this particular show would be … and it was. He looked tired and his voice was strong but soft-spoken… his usual exuberance was missing.

He took the loss on his shoulders, apologizing to the fans and congratulating South Carolina’s coaching staff for a job well done. Dabo is always a class act and with one more game to play… he knows he has to pull his team spirits up while simultaneously trying to correct the turn over problems that have plagued this team throughout the season.

A tough job and no doubt made even tougher by decisions on potential changes in game play and positions. Prayers for our beloved Tigers and coaching staff as they prepare for their last game of the season against UNC.

So until tomorrow… if done right… one day in the future we can all look back and remember the moment we took a leap of faith, took a different direction, and lo and behold, life ended up better that way!

Today is my favorite day – Winnie the Pooh

My pear tree is finally starting to change colors and drop just a few leaves to date-very late!
Look at my neighbor Vickie’s ” Tree of Gold.”
Yesterday was an overcast day… perfect for relaxing, reading, and watching nature’s leaf painting results!
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Life is Only As Good as the People You Share It With…

Dear Reader:

Never have truer words been spoken. What happiness it brought this grandmother yesterday… the first time all the family has been together in a long time… coming in from Alabama and Fripp but everyone made it.

Our gourmet chef, Tommy, grilled out ( best hot dogs and hamburgers around town) and it was a perfect day to be outside!

We all know the ending of this happy reunion had one teeny tiny glitch- Clemson lost. Disappointing but congratulations to Carolina… in every competition there has to be a winner-loser category. The game had all the elements of a good novel… suspense, applause, sighs, frustration, exhilaration and a minute count down ending.

But as we also know …like with any good novel… another one is already being written… and who knows how it will end? Only time will tell.

So until tomorrow… there is no real ending… it is just a place where you stop the story. And then wait for the next one… and if you love football like my family… anticipation is half the fun!

Good-bye to my sweet ” home” this last Wednesday–Saturday- I felt like I was staying in a five star hotel! I got so spoiled

Today is my favorite day/Winnie the Pooh

New baby brother George prefers cowboy hats
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Dear Reader:

Traditions date back to the earliest human civilizations… actually since the dawn of time. They fulfill four criteria for achieving the ” Four B’s”- Being, Belonging, Believing, and Benevolence.

Since traditional gatherings outlive generation after generation… they make us feel connected to the ones who came before us and those who will follow. The human being might be mortal but through generational ancestors we can all live forever… remembered for being part of a living tradition.

Traditions show us that we don’t live in a vacuum-but that this period of time we live in…is connected to all time… the time that preceded us and the time that will follow us-we become part of something larger than ourselves, part of the eternal mystery taking place in ” the fabric of life.”

We have just finished celebrating Thanksgiving with Christmas racing towards us at breakneck speed… to be followed just as quickly by the next holiday. The largest component of family storytelling centers around family holidays. ” Do you remember that Thanksgiving long ago when Bobby…? ”

The old adage in this part of the country is ” In the South… first comes Faith,then family and then football! ” And so it does… and today all the families are descending on Tommy and Kaitlyn’s home to watch the Clemson-Carolina game… a tradition ” older than dirt” one announcer once commented. ( Well almost 1896!)

Clemson’s First Football Team

For a grandmother… no matter the occasion … holiday or football game…just happy to see all the family together at one time. It gets harder and harder to pull these gatherings off anymore with 100% participation!

I love the Tiger Paw surrounded by birds/I was awakened Friday morning by the sound of flocks of birds landing… when I looked out the B&B side… I thought for a moment it had snowed… white seabirds had flown in and were eating away in front of the house. Tommy and Kaitlyn had not seen them before! A ” Black Friday” white-feathered God Wink !

So until tomorrow… May blessings protect both team’s players today and keep them safe from injury… and may they, in return, realize just how blessed they are to live in this country … the country of the free and the brave… remembering those who sacrificed everything for them to enjoy the thrill of sports and competition at home!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh!

❤️❤️❤️ GO TIGERS!!!❤️❤️❤️
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Learning From the Graces

Dear Reader:

The Graces were the Greek Goddesses who represented beauty, grace, and gratitude. The sculpture was just not seen as a monument but a conscious ” stumbling block” prompting man to slow down and look around… before chasing the next alluring siren of adventure…. to pay homage to the present gift of life… pure and simple gratitude.

And isn’t that what Thanksgiving does? It provides a ” speed bump” between us and the escalated frenzy of holiday commercialism. Time for a deep breath on the real meaning of Christmas and priorities set accordingly.

Yesterday for me… Thanksgiving did just that… Tommy, Kaitlyn and I picked up Ben and went to Kaitlyn’s parents ( Butch and Susan Swicegood’s) home … and had the most delicious meal with great conversation and laughter… and lots of barks!

After Thanksgiving lunch Ben and Tommy went putting at the golf course… the rains held off… a perfect Thanksgiving day!

A little birdie, local television weather forecaster, Rob Fowler, told me Wednesday night the weather would hold for Thanksgiving and it did! Such a nice guy!
The Dingles spent Thanksgiving with Mollie’s aunt and uncle at Fripp Island! Fun for all!

I want to take a moment this Thanksgiving and thank all of You Chapel of Hope readers for your continued support, comments, and encouraging texts and emails.

It is you who makes me slow down for the next speed bump and instead of then speeding up…share a moment …a God Wink with you!!! For all of that … Thank you! Such touching Thanksgiving messages … meant so much to me.

So until tomorrow …

Thanksgiving is also Turkey Birthday Month… my nieces Carrie and Catherine and sister-in-law Susan Cadwell… take turns with their birthdays falling on Thanksgiving… literally… every year or the day before or after. SO Happy Birthday everyone! All of you are so giving! And the rest of us are so thankful for each one of you!


Today is my favorite day! Winnie the Pooh

Susan Swicegood gave me this green succulent pumpkin yesterday to dress up for Christmas!!! Can hardly wait!!!
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A Thanksgiving ” Manifesto”

Thanksgiving ” Thank You” bouquet

Dear Reader:

Like most holidays… Thanksgiving stares back at us all month through the ” coming up” date marked on our November calendar. And then ” suddenly” it appears and then disappears as quickly as a sunbeam.

It is up to us… to pause amid the food and clatter to look around and ” feel” Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I will share some of those moments with you that I discovered and put to memory.

But today-Thanksgiving Day-I want to share a ” Manifesto” with you… not just any manifesto but one I felt such an affinity to after the first time I read it. As a lifelong history teacher most manifestos seem more political than an expression of personal values but the definition of a manifesto simply means … a written statement of an individual or group’s beliefs and aims.

Magnolia Magazine’s (Joanna Gaines) Magnolia Manifesto is so profoundly written that I find myself checking off each belief every time I read it in acknowledgment of our shared values ( and wish our ‘house and senate’ had similar goals and aims for our country. )


We believe in home, that it should restore us from today and ready us for tomorrow.We believe in friendship, because friends who feel like family are the best kind of friends, and that nothing matters more than family.

We believe in seeking the balance between hustle and rest and learning to find contentment in both. We believe everyone deserves a seat at the table and everyone has a story worth telling.

We believe in human kindness , knowing we are made better when we all work together. We believe in courage, in cartwheeling past our comfort zones and trying something a little bit scary every day.

We believe that failure needn’t be a negative thing; rather, we learn from our mistakes and fail smarter next time. We believe in doing good work that matters and, in choosing that, nudging others toward doing the same.

We believe that newer isn’t always better and that it’s time for the pendulum of trend to swing back to the basics. We believe in unearthing beauty, however hidden or subtle it might be.

We believe that each day is a gift and that every day miracles are scattered about if only we have eyes to see. And of all heroic pursuits large or small. We believe there may be none greater than a life well loved.

So until tomorrow…

Eloise colored her turkey platter and then explained to her pre-school teacher how to cook a turkey. Hope everyone got the directions straight! 😂👍

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

Look at my beautiful neighborhood hawk who sat right on the fence and posed for me Tuesday. Happy Thanksgiving to all God’s creatures!
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“Whatcha” Gonna Do with a Boy and his Turkey?

Tad Lincoln

Dear Reader:

In 1863 a live turkey was sent to the White House for the Lincoln family to feast on for the Christmas meal. Tad Lincoln, 10, youngest son of the Lincoln’s, quickly befriended the bird, named him ” Jack” and taught Jack to follow him as he walked around the White House grounds. Tad fed and cared for him faithfully .

As the time neared to begin preparation for the Christmas meal…and the cook ( executioner) weighed Jack to see how plump he was… Tad, in a panic, burst into one of his father’s cabinet meetings upset and crying. Stuttering he explained that he was told Jack was about to be killed and he needed a note from his father to stop the proceedings.

Sobbing…Tad cried out” Jack must not be killed! It is WICKED!” He’s a good turkey and I don’t want him killed!”

So Lincoln paused in the midst of the cabinet meeting and wrote an order of reprieve. Jack’s life was spared-Tad raced out to show the cook the note !

Historians report that Lincoln’s famous pardon probably stemmed back to an incident in his own youth. Apparently a flock of turkeys descended around the Lincoln’s log cabin in Indiana suddenly . Father, Tom Lincoln, was gone so Abraham felt obliged to shoot one for the family… which he did.

But later he saw the beauty of the bird whose life he ended and was so upset that ( in his own words) he never again ” pulled the trigger on any larger animal game.”

A year Later… On November 8, 1864-Lincoln was elected to a second term in office. A special polling place was set up on the White House grounds for soldiers to vote. Looking out his window Lincoln spotted Jack the turkey seemingly waiting in line to vote too.

Laughing he asked Tad if Jack was voting… to which Tad replied ” No, father… he’s under age.”

Today there is a sculpture of Jack the Pardoned Turkey in Hartford, Connecticut.

Jack… the Turkey

So until tomorrow… As we all begin preparations for Thanksgiving… let’s remember the preparation begins with the heart… being thankful for friends, family and blessed opportunities to gather together.

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

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” Look Me Straight in the Eyes” …

Dear Reader:

Did you know that eye contact is central to the human experience? Humans are the only primates with white eyes who are drawn to eye contact from infancy?

Infants follow parental eyes rather than head motions. They have been “seeing” since they were in the womb… vision is blurry but shapes and feelings draw little ones to love.

Eye contact is the most powerful way to make another person feel recognized, understood, and validated. Haven’t we seen and heard the sadness in troubled youth who admit that they never felt like anyone ever ” saw ” them… they were just invisible.

Looking someone in the eyes while conversing or addressing them deepens relationships and is perceived as a powerful character trait. Deeply rooted in our DNA … eye contact with our cavemen ancestors-making eye contact could mean the difference between life and death. They saw themselves through others’ eyes and that produced self-awareness … long before before mirrors did.

” Eye contact” was coined in the early 1960’s but was a term that came about from the West that signified this act as a meaningful and important sign of confidence and respect… eye contact and a handshake sealed many a business dealing… especially a loan on a promise of character.

In my family… we were taught as children to look adults in the eyes in conversations… it showed respect and good breeding. So mother had little tolerance for any adult who didn’t look you in the eyes during an introduction.

Ben got the backlash of this when the new young track coach in high school brought him home from practice to get mother to sign a permission slip for him to stay overnight in a hotel with the other competitors for the state track meet in Columbia.

Mother wouldn’t sign it until she met the coach and ” sized” him up. Apparently the young coach was nervous, mumbled through the introduction and never once looked mother in the eye while talking.

That was it… she didn’t sign it… the buses were leaving the next morning and all night Ben begged mother to let him go. He packed his bag-called the coach and explained the problem… one bus came by the house and the nervous coach managed to make eye contact with mother-she finally gave her permission and a very relieved coach and Ben left for Columbia-Ben placed second in one event and first in another.

Mother always re-told that story on the importance of looking people straight in the eyes to show good faith and most importantly character. The memory always ended with mother’s final comment…” I gave in because I figured that poor boy ( the coach) didn’t have a mama to teach this to him.”

So until tomorrow… Mother was a ” Shoulders back, look everyone in the eyes while talking” kind of mom. These two lessons have proved invaluable throughout my life. Thanks mom!

Dickens brought the turkey to the holidays in 1843 with the Christmas Carol. His Thanks giving message:

” Reflect upon your present blessings… of which every man has plenty… not on your misfortunes… of which all men have some.” ( Charles Dickens)

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

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A Simple Day

As I read the ” Great Pumpkin’s ” advice… I just re-thought my day yesterday and realized, with the exception of the sun ( it was overcast all day) and the only ” thick skin” I needed was for the chilly wind blowing… my day was ” pumpkin perfect.”

We celebrated Butch and Kaitlyn’s birthday yesterday with a delicious brunch at the ” Post House” in Old Village, Mt Pleasant. So much fun just being together.

Then we came back and let Kaitlyn open her presents!

I had stopped by Wellmore to hang out with Ben on the way to Mt Pleasant and he gave me a new tour of the floor above him … great view of beautiful Daniel Island.

Then I was off to Mandy and John’s to see the family before they fly out Tuesday for Alabama to visit John’s parents for Thanksgiving.

And of course I had to love on my grand-dogs Winnie and Pip
Eva Cate got back just in time for me to see her before leaving… she was with a friend and her mother watching the downtown Charleston decorating for Christmas!

Darkness is prevailing in the skies earlier and earlier every day. There was just one streak of rose colored sunlight leading me home.

So until tomorrow… Every day I try to learn something new… a fact or feeling … and I left Mt Pleasant feeling like the luckiest person in the world. Keep it simple and let love do the rest.

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

I added Rudy’s picture to the Memory Tree… Rudy was Kaitlyn’s dog from home who went to law school with her and whom Tommy met when he and Kaitlyn started dating… Rudy was the engagement ring bearer when Tommy proposed to Kaitlyn
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It’s Time for us to Get Ready to ” Winter”

Dear Reader:

While reading a recent article, the author ( Cydney Weiner) promoted the idea of ” wintering” … adding that all of us ” winter” – …usually several times in our lives. “Wintering” normally follows life-altering events that send us off on a new path along our earthly journey.

” Wintering” isn’t a sign we have failed or even slipped… it is simply a normal part of the life cycle and more importantly a gateway to the next phase of life. It is a time when we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable… cleaning out the clutter hidden within us and get a fresh start. It is critical to our well-being.

Weiner uses two different examples in nature to explain the purpose and benefits of ” wintering.” The first is the adorable dormouse.

These creatures’ lives are actually geared around ” wintering.” In the short months they are awake, they are busy layering on fat to be able to sustain and endure the long months when food is scarce. We, too, can use the prosperous times, the good times, to make sure we are ready for the ” winters” in our lives. We need to be mentally and emotionally prepared allowing time for us to practice contemplative moods… reflecting back on the year that has just passed, lessons learned, and preparing new plans for the next year.

By the time leaves are falling off trees in the fall… tiny buds are already forming on branches in protective armor of scales… tiny packages of potential- simple waiting on Mother Nature to give them the go ahead to start opening and blooming.

Trees described as ” dead” in winter sighting bare branches, actually hold tiny secrets on their branches… nothing dies… they are just in their planning stages.

So while ” wintering” this year, take advantage of the time to find small pleasures in the season- sleep late occasionally, eat some comfort foods, take hot baths and showers, and let dark moments teach us lessons in strength … using them as a compass to guide us back to light and spring.

So until tomorrow… wintering is how wisdom is created, when we grow in resilience and compassion, and deepen our capacity for joy!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Someone has a birthday today… our own compassionate loving Kaitlyn! The Grinch could have taken a part of Kaitlyn’s heart for his own and she still would have enough for several people! ( and dogs)

Picture taken at Dingle Peninsula
And dad, Butch, celebrated his birthday on the 18th/two days ago. Bet we can figure out what his best birthday present ever was … in the form of a beautiful bouncing baby girl!
I am ready….
and so were my Tigers! 🤗🏈🙌
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