Getting on the Right List

Dear Reader:

Doesn’t life sometimes seem like a pile of lists that we have to check off to get through it?

From the time we are little we all learn about lists…the list who shows which teacher we got for the year or the list that shows our class schedule or the list that tells us if we made the “cut” in a particular sport …it might even be a list that shows if we made the acceptance list to a college or university we want to attend. We grow up becoming quite familiar with lists.

The problem with “to-do” lists is that they are never ending. As soon you  complete one…you find yourself making  another one. At some point in life, don’t we all stop and wonder….is this all there is to life…to-do lists?

In THE TO-BE LIST book by Latesha Randall with Sebastian Walter…they felt the same way. Isn’t life supposed to be more than doing…shouldn’t there be time provided for simply being?

(Excerpts from The To-Be List)

“Sometimes you just want someone to give you a little perspective and remind you that life isn’t all about doing- it’s about the beautiful journey of being.

We live in a busy, fast-paced world where we can easily place a higher priority on achieving goals than on enjoying each day. But at some point in life don’t we all have an epiphany that even though our days are filled with things to do, we are missing out on life?

Doing is a short-term undertaking, being is a lifelong endeavor. When you focus on who you could become instead of what you can produce, you wind up  getting even more done. Hopefully this book will help you unlock the potential you already possess to be perseverant, selfless, adventurous, and even slow. It will give you a new perspective on what it means to really live. In the end you will come away with a deeper understanding about how fulfilling life is when you can just be.”

So until tomorrow….Hamlet contemplated the age old question of doing over being and the futility of “listing” rather than “living”…he, too, wanted to know “To be or not to be?”  That really is the question, isn’t it…life is only fulfilled with being…doing’s come and go leaving little memory of their existence.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Will keep you updated on Brooke and Ted as I hear…left for Mount Pleasant yesterday afternoon to keep Eva Cate and Jake over night and get them ready for pre-school and day camp this morning. John and Mandy are at a business conference in John’s field of work in Florida.

Katie, the babysitter is coming on duty until I return at the end of the week. We all have to find time to squeeze being in don’t we? But let’s “be” prayerful for others, like Brooke, going through tough times.

The flowers I left behind yesterday….

Urgent: Ambika, our dear loyal blog reader, texted me yesterday in response to the blog post about the metaphor of rain to plants and God’s love pouring on us. The area of India where Ambika lives is going through a drastic drought….not an “inconvenience” like the off and on one in the lowcountry but a three month drought leaving livestock and people literally dying of thirst.

Read Ambika’s message below and then let’s all pray urgently for God’s love and rain for India and Ambika and her loved ones!

ambikasur says:

Hi Becky… Yeah I know it’s been a long time since I wrote to you😁.. Today’s blog has driven me home… I need all of ur special prayers for God’s love here in my hometown as well (chennai, India)..

We have been experiencing extreme drought of rain since almost 3 months now and the climate is getting extremely hot down here… To be honest, we r facing water scarcity and gradually famine is on the rise… People living especially in the rural areas are praying crying to God for rain

… Life hasn’t been easy for us too… Many of them are dying thirsty… I don’t mean to upset you Becky, by God’s grace we are absolutely fine… But I’m sure you get the point… We need ur prayers and God’s love has to reach us too….
Hope you all are doing well… Loads of love n prayers….

*Hot-line prayers for you Ambika, your loved ones, and all of India affected by this terrible drought.

*Before I left for Mt. Pleasant yesterday…Luke and Chelsey returned from their canoe trip along the Ashley River. I heard some squeals in the front yard and ran outside…a little bird, on its first attempt to fly, had landed in the water near their canoes, earlier in the day and was drowning…they put it in the canoe and brought it home.

It got away and tried to fly but was still having problems…it was clinging to the brick on the side of my house….quivering with fright…Luke rescued it again…I got some bird seed and gave them and they were going to try to feed it and get it stronger before the next attempt to fly.

Not only did they save this bird…but a baby squirrel fell out of a tree into their canoe also…they put it on the paddle and got it back on a branch of the tree over leaning the river. A busy day for nature’s heroes. Does anybody recognize what type bird this is?

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“Love is to People What Water is to Plants”

Dear Reader:

Yesterday morning we had an unexpected thunder shower that hit in the wee pre-dawn hours. The lightning and thunder woke me up. I was doubly surprised since it had not even been forecast. I vaguely remember smiling to myself, as I turned over in my sleep, knowing I wouldn’t need to water  and how happy the plants must be with this precious, unexpected, gift from God.

The pouring out of love God showers us all with…is a metaphor for the rain that falls on nature….both are acts of love.

I feel sure when the rain begins falling the plants feel the love of God, their Creator in the refreshing and replenishing raindrops. (*They would need it…it got up in the high nineties yesterday (with the heat thermometer in the 100’s)…hot and sticky!)

Doesn’t God prepare us, too, for challenging “hot times”  with unexpected examples of His love for us? His love is like armor…it wraps around us and protects us from the difficult challenges that lay ahead of us… unexpectedly. (at least to us)

It is obvious to see the results of a garden that is going through a drought…the leaves start withering, turning yellow and then brown. Many stems simply fall before a bloom has time to finish forming. But then if the rains do come…the garden is a luscious green, and the blooms begin popping out all over…a breathtaking Garden of Eden effect. Rain and sunshine must always be in balance for nature to survive and succeed.

Have you ever thought how much love (percentage-wise) you have received in your life…and has it been enough? Don’t we question the amount of love we give and receive in different stages of our lives?

One of the most down-to-earth, touching, and powerful lines in the movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood takes place between the character (SiddaLee Walker) Sandra Bullock and her father, Shep (played by James Garner.)

After being “kidnapped” by her mothers’ friends (The Ya Ya sisters) and brought back home to Louisiana…her father comes to see her.

She adores him, yet feels sorry for everything he has had to endure from her mother who married him on a rebound after her first love was killed in WWII. (* Sidda remembers over-hearing (from the Ya Ya’s) that her poor daddy knew going into the marriage that his wife wasn’t over Jack’s death…but Shep thought he had enough love for the both of them.)

After hugging each other tightly…Sidda looks deep into her father’s eyes and asks him “Did you get loved enough, daddy?” There is a long pause before he stares back in her eyes and honestly responds ” What’s enough?”

Good question…Do we ever feel like we have been loved enough… upon reflection of our life here on earth? Most love is temporal….friends, parents, relatives, family, pets, spouses…come and go.

I think the day we finally fully understand that it is only God’s love for us that withstands the length of time…and the only love we can count on for every single breath of time we spend here…is the “a-ha” day we know we have been loved enough. God’s love is the strongest force on earth. We just have to know how to accept it.

 

After the rain I went out and sat on my new bench…I looked up at the magnolia tree and saw the most beautiful bloom hanging down… as if smiling at me.

When enough love (rain) is given, don’t we all bloom and blossom …showing the world the best we can be?

 

So until tomorrow…

Let us remember to be grateful for all the love we receive and be generous in all the love we give…like sunshine and rain…it is the balance of blessings that provides all the love we need. 

I definitely got more than my share of blessings yesterday from Gin-g, Jo, and Honey. Honey sent a package (that when opened) was a ‘bluebird of happiness AND healing” necklace…I told Honey I would be wearing it (for good luck) next week at my physical.

Gin-g sent a wonderful patriotic ‘Thinking of You’ card that will be perfect to put out on display for the Fourth of July! (*And we have all been thinking of you Gin-g ….so glad your ordeal is closing in to the finish line. You look terrific!)

Jo sent an adorable friendship/encouragement card for all of us to remember....”Don’t hide your light…let it shine on others instead.” You do this, Jo,  and so many more of you readers and friends….Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” It makes me so happy to feel so loved.

***Just got this upsetting text from Brooke earlier this morning. Her husband, Ted, fell and broke his hip. They have been up in the mountains (Saluda) at their mountain cabin visiting with some family of Brooke’s….not sure when all this happened.

Ted is now in the Hendersonville Hospital and will have surgery tomorrow to mend his hip. We definitely need lots of prayers for this situation. Thank you ahead of time for them….I know Brooke appreciates all the uplifting she can get.   Thank you!!!!

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Welcome Summer 2019!

Dear Reader:

Officially summer arrived yesterday morning at 11:54 a.m.- right before lunch. Under “Proud to be a Southerner” one southern attribute lets us know when summer starts in the south without having to wait on any ole’ summer solstice to tell us.

“I am proud to be from the South-where tea is sweet and accents are sweeter; *summer starts in April; front porches are wide and words are long; macaroni and cheese is a vegetable; pecan pie is a staple; Y’all is the only proper pronoun; chicken is fried and biscuits come w/ gravy; everything is darling and someone is always getting their heart blessed. Have a good day y’all!”

To this day I still can’t go anywhere in Summerville (or even Charleston) without someone recognizing my voice…due to my mixture of upcountry twang mollified slightly by four decades of low country living.

My former students, now with their families, literally turn around in a grocery line and call up “Is that you Ms. Dingle?” I’d know your voice anywhere.” 

I used to be offended somewhat but these days “I’m as proud as punch” to be from the south…down or up…high or low. The low country linguistics are slowly intermixing with a national and international culture… as more people move south to avoid the long northern winters…and we are starting to get more “strangers” from foreign countries due to new industries and technology.

Charleston, also, has the dubious distinction of winning the most popular vacation destination annually…. so people come to see for themselves and unfortunately stay. We are outgrowing ourselves continuously these days.

Sadly…at some point…(at the rate we are going)…the southern accent will just be a memory….no longer a reality. Now that I have been gone a long time from the upper South Carolina and North Carolina short vowels’ twang country…I notice it even more with my remaining family there.

If a niece or nephew calls…I am always Aunt “Backy” ….the southern short vowel twang is alive and well in the rural areas of upper South Carolina and eastern North Carolina…my original childhood dwellings.

This year *summer didn’t start in April…in fact April was downright delightful…even with Easter arriving almost at the end of it…Easter Sunday was cool and comfortable. We should have known it was too good to be true to last long.

May arrived…hot and dry…there were no more, literally no more, April showers and the poor May flowers started burning up in the gardens. I have never watered the garden as much as I did in May.

Local meteorologists watched as temperatures rose above 100 degrees for four days in a row in late May breaking all kinds of records….while also recording the on-going makings of a serious drought… that we are still in at present.

These days the talk in lines waiting to check out in grocery or department store  is usually about the weather….everyone wants fall to come earlier and earlier….instead it seems to arrive later and later. We might as well face reality…our southern summers are becoming the longest season of the year.

So until tomorrow…we might as well dust up on our southern “hot” expressions because it looks like summer is here to stay…for a long time. If I was a fashion designer…I would get my company to start making southern clothes for hot weather year round.

“It’s hotter’n blue blazes. Is it hot enough for ya? Man, it’s hot as all get-out! It must be 90 in the shade. This one’s gonna be a scorcher. You could fry an egg on the sidewalk.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The refreshing rain (in the form of a summer thunderstorm late yesterday afternoon)  perked up all the plants and flowers.

*Remember how I mentioned if you took close-up photos of blooms you had a great chance of discovering life within the bloom. Now let’s play a form of “Where’s Waldo…Flower Style.” Who can find the insect in  one of the following blooms and what is the insect? 🙂

*Click on the photos to enlarge them if you need in your search! 🙂

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Coming Full Circle…a Bench Warmer Again!

Dear Reader:

Didn’t I tell you that the garden bench would appear when it was supposed to appear? Yesterday was the day. I rose early to get my blood work done for my primary doctor since I have my yearly physical next week.

By the time I left the office and got back home… I was hungry…so I fixed some toast with grilled cheese and then went to ACE Hardware to get some more bird seed. Just as I was getting ready to walk in…there it was…like the ‘memorable’ scene in Chevy Chase’s (Christmas Vacation) discovery of the Griswold Christmas tree…as if a light from above was shining straight down on it.

It had not been there any time before…apparently they had found it in a back warehouse where they were cleaning up summer flowers and there it was in a back corner. And yesterday was senior 10% off day…the price was right….a young boy put it in my car and I was happily heading home in about ten minutes!

I was so excited placing the bench on the rock rectangle gravel… then adding some flowers….happiness is! The sun’s rays were still floating down upon it…you can see them if you look carefully!

 

 

 

Then K.C. and I went to the early afternoon movies to see Late Night…a typically witty fast-paced dialogue show…as seen in most British films…it really was adorable and touching too. A fun summer flick!

 

 

 

Vickie had just come over to see my bench…and was leaving when Gin-g pulled in the driveway… out for one of her first outings since her surgery …she got to try out the new bench also.

We were quickly trying to catch up on news when suddenly the wind picked up, the skies grew dark, and the thunder storm (we had been warned about all afternoon) finally arrived. It was a doozy! But at least we got rain…beautiful, lovely rain!

I had just gathered the lantern solar lights to bring inside when my house lights went off and the solar lights all came on inside…good timing!

The trees were swaying as the gusts of rain pounded down…but at least we didn’t have any hail like other areas. And speaking of other areas…Anne lucked out with thunderstorms and Philly again. *You might remember several years ago when we went to Ireland…we were supposed to fly to Philly and then board the international flight that same evening for Ireland.

Wrong…our flight to Philly was cancelled due to thunderstorms so we had to fly to Charlotte, stay in a roach motel, fly to Philly the next day and then fly out the next night to Ireland…we lost one whole day of vacation to summer storms.

Anne texted me while our storm was raging…and said she got to Philly okay but then the flight out of Philly to Maine was cancelled, rescheduled, then cancelled again…she has no luggage and her only flight option (she was told) was to fly to Bangor on SATURDAY!

She booked a motel and now is taking a flight to Portland, Oregon tomorrow where she will rent a car and drive to a friend’s house where she was supposed to be staying last night. Her last words: “I will NEVER book a summer afternoon flight ANYWHERE again.” Bummer!

Let’s keep Anne in our thoughts and prayers that she gets where she needs to be tomorrow!!! I told her to go grovel at the motel desk for toiletries…and pray her luggage will be waiting on her.

*I hope once she gets to camp….everything will settle down and she can concentrate on fiddling music and not fiddling around with airlines and flight schedules.

After the dark, ferocious thunder storm yesterday afternoon…suddenly the sun broke through around 8:30 p.m….(after all today is the longest day of the year…the summer solstice.) The sun lit up the trees and the later sunset took one’s breath away.

1. What does “Solstice” mean anyway?

Solstice means “sun-stopping” in Latin describing the way the sun looks on this day. Historically, the solstice was an important date that helped farmers know when to plant, grow and harvest crops.

2. What happens during a Solstice?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and occurs when the northern hemisphere is tilted more toward the sun. The heat of summer comes from the tilt of Earth’s axis, not from how far away it is from the sun.

3. How long has this been celebrated?

Historically, many people have gathered to celebrate the summer solstice. This day has long been recognized by different ancient cultures. In fact, the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built according to the summer solstice as the sun stays directly in between the two pyramids when looking from the Sphinx. Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has also been associated with the solstices for more than 5,000 years!

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

My freshman year in high school (after we moved to Laurens) I tried out for JV Girls Basketball…you can only imagine…tiny, short and deplorably bad. But I did learn a lot watching other team members play while I warmed the bench that year….in fact since I was the ‘new kid on the block’ I met many of my closest friends cheering others on to victory.

So until tomorrow…This time around…I get to ‘warm the bench’ again…but on my own volition. I am thrilled to be able to sit and watch nature (birds and flowers) at her best…and hopefully have friends join me for some moon flower unfurling this late summer and fall. Nothing to prove any more except gratitude for the opportunity to live long enough to enjoy my bench! Come join me.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

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We’re Never the Same

Dear Reader:

Yesterday afternoon I went to my mailbox and there were two envelopes inside from two wonderful friends….’How thoughtful!’ I thought to myself…since both were note card sizes with handwritten addresses on them that I immediately recognized.

I opened the first one, read the sweet card message on the outside and the personal note inside. I then opened the second envelope. It took me a second to register it was the exact same card with the same inscribed words and message on the outside. And even though the personal message ran along a similar track of thoughts as the first…two different personalities shone through…both kind and caring.

I smiled at the coincidence until I realized it was another ‘God Wink.’ Even though both cards looked the same upon first glance…there was a subtle difference in the appearance. The card to the left was a lighter shade of pink with the replica card on the right …a darker pink. Close…but different upon a second glance of study.

There it was…my observation for today’s post… (Thanks God)… nothing in life is really the same…at least not the same upon closer scrutiny. In a world where billions of life forms, both plant and animal, break down into similar species or categories…each individual animal or plant is always just a little different… if we take the time to study it.

God purposefully  made each of us unique. There is no one else like us in this world…no matter how similar we might think we are in physical appearance or personality or even spirituality to someone else…we each bring something distinctive to the table that no one, on earth, can bring … but us.

There is a reason for that…we are all miracles and as such have magical powers that no one can ever take from us. We are already enough, no matter what stage of life we are in. We came fully constructed…built according to God’s design. Any flaws that we perceive are all in our minds…not in God’s. To Him we have been perfect since we first were created…when we were a little more than a “butter bean.”

Janet and Pam…I think God purposefully had both of you send me closely resembled cards because He must think I need a double dose of the message on the card…to sink into my thick head. The cards read:

“Get lots of rest, keep your spirits high…hope you feel better as each day goes by.”

And with a double dose of that wisdom…I do.

Now here’s a funny thought…Three days ago I sent Libby a different get-well card (love the turtle drinking a Pina Colada) with a similar message about taking time to rest and recover from her recent surgery.

What if Libby gets another card from another friend…just like mine? Stranger things have happened. Let us know Libby if you do!

“Take it easy, Things will wait. Relax, Renew, Recuperate.”

*I imagine we have all probably gotten the same/similar Happy Birthday, or Get-Well, or Sympathy cards over an extended period of time….but getting two get-well cards that end up sitting on top of each other in a mailbox, on the same exact day, is quite phenomenal.

*Do share with us…if this has happened to any of you?

So until tomorrow…Remember… YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. There is not another you in the universe…so be at peace with yourself.

*”Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Anne sent me this similar greeting for a new day that she likes too…not quite the same as Winnie but similar in thought and feeling. (Maya Angelou words)

*

Safe travels Anne…she is flying up to Maine…to a “fiddler” camp so she can enjoy other fiddlers’ company and learn from each other. Have fun!

Thank you Kaitlyn for the stone, crystal and homemade slate of Fungi…the Dingle Dolphin …made from natural slate and locally sourced beach pebbles. (Dingle, Ireland)

 

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Draw Near

Dear Reader:

How many times did I hear my grandmother remind me to “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you…”? (James 4:8) I think “Nigh” was my first “Biblical” word that I understood to mean near…just from Grandmother’s repeated admonishment to me when I stayed with her.

Now I understand that when we draw “nigh” to any of God’s creations… the closer and nearer we come…the more revealing is His Word  and His miraculous ways.

Anne and I, indirectly, were taught this in the international creativity class we took in Provence….our assignment was to use cameras to learn how to take close-up pictures of life…so they turn from pretty objects (so-so photos) into breathing miracles of life.

Now that I have a garden I see it every day…and depending on my distance from the flowers when I take a picture I can change the whole feel of my garden from a pretty little garden to an amazing display of God at work through nature.

Below are some examples of an okay photo I took (on the left) versus an amazing example of the beauty of life as I grow nigh to God. (The closer one gets while taking a nature picture…the more life we see within it…perhaps a bumblebee or drops or rain…an ant…there is always life within life.)

I could go on and on…but I think you ‘get the picture’….it is faith that draws us closer and closer to God through His creations to see His purpose for us unfold and display the magnificence of His love for us.

So until tomorrow…Let us all ‘draw nigh’ to God through all His creations…the closer we get to each other…the closer we come to God.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

We had a wonderful family birthday party for Rutledge late yesterday afternoon and evening. Walsh and Mollie gave everyone the best present ever with the jump room/water slide rental….the children never left it except to eat pizza and watch Rutledge blow out the candles on his cake…then it was back to the water slide.

Walsh spent as much time in it (with Eloise) than the rest of the children …Walsh is always a kid at heart and Eloise loved the water slide…pointing her finger to do it again and again and again. Throw in some watermelon and dance music and we had a fabulous summer birthday!

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The Endless Possibilities of Following the Path of a “Phrase Finder”

 

Dear Reader:

Every day as I look out my window (each morning) while pulling up my blog post  to  see if it popped up bright and early at 6:00 a.m. on schedule…I find myself mesmerized at the beauty beside me.

The birds are eating breakfast at the suet cage and chattering away… as if asking each other how they slept and what a beautiful morning it is. The flowering plants are bright, colorful, and alert from the drinks of water I gave them at bed time. Like a tennis match…I find myself turning my attention to the blog post and then back out the window to nature at her finest and then back at the screen.

When Lachlan was at the computer Saturday he, too, was looking out the window…and consistently called out to me “Boo Boo…look at this pretty birdie eating…what kind is he?”

Sometimes while writing the post it is easy to detour away and get lost in my perfectly imperfect life.. As a ‘phrase-finder” I see this phrase a lot because of the truth of the oxymoron…can life really be perfect and imperfect at the same time? For me…the answer is a resounding “Yes” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If we take time to reflect on our own individual lives…it has been the “imperfect” moments that have brought us the most happiness, joy, laughter and sorrow…but in hindsight imperfections make life worth living.

I was thinking the other day that I would like to create some road signs for life….like one that reads: “SLOW DOWN….LIFE IN PROGRESS.” It would be fun to create my own phrases.

Creative artist, Kelly Rae Roberts, has numerous phrases that make me pause and smile or nod my head in agreement….many of these are found in her note cards (Now being carried by Leaning Tree)

I love the idea of taking a descriptive adjective and turning it into a personification of a human characteristic.

(Example in this note card by Kelly)

*It makes the phrase unique and memorable.

 

The simpler a phrase is…the more powerful it becomes…another example from Roberts.

I made a personal observation the other day that cheered me up…I do believe I am finally on the down side of “Whew!” I was never aware how many times I said this word….and truthfully…I didn’t say it…I thought it…and then made the sound that we all associate with it….(You know the one…We take a deep breath, release it s l -o-w-l-y making a “woo” swoosh sound.

When I was working full time, raising children, and running from point A to B and back again…I made that train sound a lot…Was I going to make the green light before it turned red so I could pick up one of the children on time from baseball practice? Or sometimes it was expressed in relief at finding something…like lost car keys just in the nick of time to get to my school in time for bus duty.

We are all quite familiar with the  “Whew” part of life…and when the “Whew’s” stop coming so rapidly and life begins to finally slow down…we have reached a huge “Whew” Benchmark in life.

So until tomorrow….I must remind myself that God is giving me the luxury of ‘down time’ now (in fact He is insisting on it) and I should be thanking Him rather than complaining …and use the time to create another road sign for life.

GO!         STOP!     WHEW!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*And I wouldn’t be a very good “phrase finder” if I didn’t add this phrase today….Happy Birthday Rutledge!

Six Years old today….and six years ago it was Father’s Day…the best Father’s Day present ever for Walsh….18... is and will always be a very special number…it was Walsh’s football jersey number…..after Dan Marino…the Dolphin quarterback…always his lucky number…especially after little Rut Rut was born!

Happy Birthday Rutledge…Loved you yesterday, love you still…always have…always will!

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