It Takes a Baby…

Dear Reader:

When Mollie texted me Friday night about bringing the boys and Eloise to come visit me…(Eloise’s first look at Boo Boo’s home…and visit to Summerville) I was so delighted! Immediately I thought of family who had been dying to see her but the flu bug and cold weather had been on-going deterrents… who would now have their chance.

As it turned out Doodle, Lassie, and Carrie were going to be together in Summerville so everything fell into place. Eloise’s first debut to her extended, adoring family.

After everyone left Saturday afternoon…the thought came to me that God, in all His wisdom, purposefully decided to have His son enter the world as a baby too for all the same reasons Eloise’s arrival was so successful.

There is something so magnetic, pure, and innocent about a newborn baby’s entrance into the world and into the family. Everyone understands, at different levels, that life, as it has been known, is forever changed. You can’t return to how it was before the infant arrived…nor would you want to.

Only a few days into a little baby’s appearance, everyone attached to the child, in whatever relationship, can’t remember a time when the child wasn’t part of this family on earth.

Jesus’s arrival  would change so many different relationships between Him, his Father, and His fellowman that, the world, would never be the same…just better than the empty vacuum Jesus entered as a newborn. One little baby can draw family and friends back together again like no other event can achieve. A newborn restores our faith in hope, in life, and in our eternal existence.

Thank you Eloise for bringing family together again yesterday…to see you and delight in the person you will one day become…a change-agent for good in a wearied world in desperate need of renewed hope for mankind’s future.

*My across the street neighbor, Vickie, was able to walk over and meet our newest addition to the family before Eloise had to return home.

Eloise really took to Doodle….a little extra twinkle in her eyes…like she is thinking “Wait a minute…I know you from somewhere!”

Haven’t you heard that when a baby looks over your shoulder she is giggling at the angels behind us?


The boys would check in periodically to see what Eloise was up to…but mainly they just enjoyed being little boys…eating cupcakes and playing with scooters, swings, and things that move.

This little window that separates the bedroom hall from the den has been a favorite “peek-a-boo” spot from the time we bought this house…in the early eighties… when I was expecting Tommy.

Oh…the time is flying too fast and now I know how even more precious these first months are with a a new baby in the family..because you can never  get back those moments of pure entrancement and love as you stare back into a tiny one’s soul…

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Sprucing up the deck for the coming of spring. It will come!

*Another God Wink…the day the blog post on the Friendship Train came out Jackson found some boxes of photos that didn’t get destroyed completely in the flood and lo and behold there was a picture taken in 1949 of her grandfather at a gathering of WWI veterans to honor the French Gratitude (Merci) state boxcar in Greenville. (Jackson’s grandfather (Robert Nyle) is the second from the right at the bottom of the picture.

*Beverly Parkison had a God Wink experience with a hummingbird too…

Love both little stories. I have never seen up close a nest of hummers but I did witness a mother humming bird pick up her baby , by the head, and direct it to a flower. One of those once in a life time things. Enjoy your weekend.

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Life’s Extras…Grace of Light and the Elegance of Nature

Dear Reader:

Yesterday the shutters were thrown back, the windows were raised, and the sunshine warmed up my usually chilly sunken den. To hit 80 degrees in February is really pushing it…but after the cold, cold, weather of January…I felt like singing for joy. (Thank goodness I didn’t succumb to this aspiration since my windows were up and any unfortunate walker, passing by, would reap the dismal “benefits” of my monotone voice.)

What is it about opening up our space to light that instills such a sense of freedom and beauty…a true example of the gift of a “Life Extra.”



I came across one passage from Archibald Rutledge’s book (Life’s Extras) and I found it so charming…the perfect passage for the perfect day of opened windows, warmth within, and God’s extra gifts to us.


(Excerpt from Life’s Extras.…Archibald Rutledge…Poet Laureate)

…”I remember walking early one July morning down a thickety path. Trees completely overarched it; but far ahead light gleamed. The path and long and straight, and terminated in a wide meadow. 

As I glanced upward, my eye caught sight of what I supposed to be a knot on the end of a dead limb that hung directly over the pathway; it was clearly silhouetted against the sky line ahead. In a moment something had darted over my head and had alighted on the knot. 

It was a hummingbird on its nest, which hung like a fairy bassinet in the lonely woodland. I looked at the nest and at the bird, with its elfin grace, its delicate sheen of brilliance, its jeweled throat. And I thought: This whole matter of grace, of elegance, of delicacy and felicity of beauty is a life extra. It is not necessary to have it so. But God has willed it so, because He loves us and knows our hungry hearts need this kind of beauty.

For many years, I had an idea that nature had for man an active sympathy; but now I have changed my opinion. There really seems a superb indifference about nature. It is what lies behind nature that really has sympathy. For example…the rose does not of itself bloom for us; but God has made it to bloom for us. 

Surely this beauty is not  a random affair; it is too authentically a sign and symbol of love. All we know about the highest form of affection we have learned directly from God’s affection for us. We not only “love Him because He first loved us” but we love one another because He teaches us how. We originate with Him; and our sublimist art is nothing but attempts to imitate the thing in nature that He has created.”


When I put thoughts “out there” in cyberspace…I just hope for the best and that perhaps (at least) one person can relate to something in the blog. Who knew that the “Scandinavian crossroads” of South Carolina would make one of our well-known readers stop, pause, affectionately remember, and finally wipe a tear from her eyes.

Jo who married a Joe (Dufford) sent me this God Wink yesterday and it was just too sweet not to share. Thanks Jo!

As I read your blog and saw the name of a town in SC named Norway, my eyes lit up, my heart skipped several beats and a tear came to my eye. About 84 years ago on Oct. 15th, a young lady who was expecting a baby in late Dec. was making her last visit for a while with her parents in Norway,SC. Of course, babies don’t read calendars and often follow their own whims, so a small 2 and half pound baby boy made his debut into this world in that small farm community. They didn’t have a lot of hope for him, but they named him after his father and called him Joe. Needless to say, he did make it and later married a girl called Jo, so even though your blog today is about ancestry, it woke other feelings in me. But I guess when you get down to it, since he would now have 2 children, 5 grand children and 2 great grands, it is about ancestry in a way. I, too. would love to visit the Danish towns in Iowa. There is so much history to be found in small towns scattered across America.

So until tomorrow…Thank you Father for Life’s Extras and special God Wink connections…reaffirming one more time that we and the universe are all connected  during our lifetime stay here in this beautiful world of light, sunshine, remembered loves, and hummingbird nests.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

John sent me this photo of the family at Epcot…At first I just thought they were jiving and clicking their fingers…and then suddenly I spotted the flying dragon with a paintbrush…the magic of Disney! (It is in the 80’s and feels like a summer day there.)

And lastly…I glimpsed the very last rays of light (last evening) before darkness descended…I sat on my front porch steps…scared to even blink or I would open my eyes to darkness…such is the beauty and gift of God’s light on our lives.

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Finding “My People” All Around Me…Choo! Choo!


Dear Reader:

Ever since learning (surprisingly) that I have 22% Scandinavian “blood” in my genes matching another 22% Irish, and 44% British…I have become more interested in pursuing this unknown part of my ancestry. Go Vikings go!

 When Benedikte Christiansen, my Danish exchange teacher, visited me in Summerville we drove the back roads home, one day,  from Orangeburg, South Carolina so we could let the Scandinavian teachers see our little communities (and I mean little) named for four Scandinavian countries.

They are: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. I assumed falsely that Scandinavian immigrants must have settled around there…Wrong!  Now I know the story behind the story.

*Information taken from a series of 50 historical tidbits about Bamberg/Denmark

BAMBERG-DENMARK 50 THINGS/DAY 33: Railroad officials responsible for Scandinavian names of crossroads, municipalities

Those traveling north on U.S. 321 into Bamberg County may suddenly think they’ve magically arrived in Scandinavia judging from the town and crossroad signs along the way.

About four miles north of Denmark on U.S. 321, a sign announces that motorists are in Sweden, which is actually a crossroads. Also at that crossroads is a sign indicating that Finland is about four miles to the right at County Road 49 and S.C. 70. Finland is another Bamberg County crossroads.

Another misleading indication that travelers are in Scandinavia, of course, is the town limit sign for Norway further north on U.S. 321 in Orangeburg County.

So, what’s the reason for so many Scandinavian crossroads and community names in this section of South Carolina?

Surprisingly, the nationality of the early settlers in the area had nothing to do with how the names were chosen. The credit goes entirely to railroad officials who were given the task of naming the places where the trains stopped.

Denmark and Norway, both on U.S. 321, got their names from railroad barons back in the late 1800s when towns were springing up along the iron rails.

Sweden, an unincorporated hamlet, was probably given its name because of its proximity to Denmark. Finland is believed to have gotten its name for the same reason.

Once called Boiling Springs, Sweden became Sweden with the erection of a homemade sign on the highway. Later, the State Highway Department sanctioned the name of Sweden by putting up one of its official signs.

In the 1960s, the Scandinavian theme was completed when the highway department placed a Finland sign on County Road 49 about three miles east of Sweden, officially designating the crossroads.

*Neither Sweden nor Finland is on the official South Carolina highway map.


*To show you just how small these crossroad communities are…this is what is located in Norway, South Carolina. Norway is made up of Gibson’s Garage, Family Dollar, and Shorty’s Horizon. (gas station)

 So, obviously, no home country ancestry to comment on here in these four “Scandinavian” crossroads…just railroad tracks and country roads.

But wait a minute…our state might not have Danish ancestry in “Denmark” but another place in our country certainly does…and guess who discovered it? Cindy and her husband Dennis Ashley. Here is the story she sent. (Scandinavian blood runs in their family!)

A storybook stop in Kimballton, one of Iowa’s Danish Villages

February 13, 2018…Iowa Adventurer

Kimballton in Audubon County and nearby Elk Horn in Shelby County are the two largest rural Danish settlements in the United States. Despite being relatively small communities (Kimballton with about 325 residents and Elk Horn with with about 665), they are doing a fantastic job of embracing their heritage and sharing it with others. 

 Dennis and Cindy went to Elk Horn where the Danish Museum is located and had a “Dane good time.” But then they ran out of time before getting to Kimballton, the second Danish settlement and they now want to return. (I think we all would.) Look at these pictures and see what this small town has done to promote their Danish ancestry. Amazing!

When one enters the little town of Kimballton…you immediately sense something different is going on here…they even have two flags flying proud and tall….the American flag and the Danish flag.

These Danish-Americans even have a “Little Mermaid” Park and several statues from the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. They are serious about keeping their culture alive. *See statues of the Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina below


Here is the link to this article which has some spectacular photos of this quaint Danish little town right in the middle of Iowa…you will love the pictures. I might have to add this to my ‘bucket list”…go to Iowa to see “my people.”

Google: A storybook stop in Kimballton, one of Iowa’s Danish Villages

February 13, 2018

Just think about it…a stay in this little town would surely bring Danish pastries to the breakfast table each morning, along with other delightful desserts.

*(The only “bad” thing I can say about the Danes is “legos.” When you are making a sneak trip to the fridge on a midnight run bare-foot and step on your children or grandchildren’s legos you come up with creative four-letter words….OUCH!!!!  or others! 🙂 Indescribable pain!)

So until tomorrow….Remember we are all citizens of the world…by now most of us are pretty much “zebras” of our planet…with a little of this and a little of that…and it is this diversity that makes us so “dane” unique and wonderful as God’s children.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Last night there was a great turn-out for A Heart for Art at The Little Cottage. Susan, Donna and Anne’s artworks are unique, exquisite, and all magnificent in their own domains. It was a win-win for our little furry friends, also…since 10% of the earnings was going to Dorchester Paws. It was wonderful getting to meet Natalie Hutt, President of Dorchester Paws, at the reception.


…And here are our girls in center stage…so talented and so generous with their passion for art!

I hope many of you made it…I went early and stayed for about an hour talking (my forte) and then had to leave but there were delicious appetizers and drinks…a whole lot of fun!

I loved this painting by Anne…this beautiful creature of the ponds and lakes…What is that old metaphor….most of us are like ducks:

We are seemingly calm on the surface, but paddling furiously underneath to stay afloat. 



If you haven’t made it to (The Little Cafe) yet, please do…wonderful selections of food and very reasonably priced. It is located at 106 Doty Avenue.






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Let’s Bring Back the Friendship Train

Dear Reader:

When Doodle called to let me know that there was an article in the Post and Courier (Sunday newspaper)  remembering the 1948 Abraham Lincoln Friendship train…it brought back memories of the fictional children’s story I wrote about this incident several years ago.

I named the two sisters (main characters) in the story, Arrie and Evie…for mother and my aunt Eva. I placed the setting in Ames, Iowa…one of the actual stops along the train route from Los Angeles to New York.

The research for this relatively unknown historical event was so much fun and the historical society in Ames gave me a lot of wonderful information.

*Maybe this newspaper article’s appearance is a God Wink for me to go back and work on the story some more, because world hunger is as bad now or worse, in other locations around the world, as it was in Europe following World War II.

In 1948 the food, accumulated in over 200 boxcars crossed the farming fields and “bread basket” of the nation until finally leaving New York City and heading to France and Italy…Later France sent back a Gratitude Train (sometimes called the Merci train) to thank our country for their help. Jackson let me know that the South Carolina boxcar (from that original train) was still on exhibit in Columbia. So one day all the Ya’s went and found it.  It was located in an American Legion parking lot…looking kind of forlorn and forgotten.

Since last June, 2017 the Gratitude/Merci train has been moved to Bishopville, SC and placed in the Cotton Museum there. It has finally found a home…after years of futile searching for one.

This recent newspaper article today titled World hungers for new Friendship Train  (by William Lambers…historian and author of “Ending World Hunger”) noted that last Monday’s (Lincoln’s birthday) also marked the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Friendship Train named for him.

Lincoln once said that the United States should “do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” That sums up the purpose of the United States Food for Peace and other aid programs. For peace and freedom cannot be founded on empty stomachs..

In 1948 Americans fully understood this, which led to Lincoln’s Friendship Train but also much more. President Harry Truman and the Secretary of State George Marshall were leading the way on a massive European Recovery program. The Marshall Plan, as it was called, was also signed in 1948 and helped rebuild Europe. Food aid was essential for this plan to succeed. 

As we search for ways to find world peace today… stepping up to the plate to increase U.S. food aid programs to assist in fighting this on-going massive world hunger crisis is an idea based on successful programs in the past. (This includes the “Food for Peace programs and the McGovern-Dole global school lunch program.)

Food can write the peace today as it did after World War II with Abraham Lincoln’s Friendship Train.


This article reminds us that peace can be achieved through kindness and humane outreach programs without always resorting to more weapons and destruction for humanity.

So until tomorrow... Isn’t it wonderful what man can do when we pull together for peace, not war?

Below is the summation of the success of the Abraham Lincoln Friendship Train of 1948 in aiding Europe following WWII by the National Chairman. Great message.

This amazing endeavor is a glimpse into the very heart of America – a record of what American men, women and children did in true friendship to give hope and strength to the famine-driven peoples of Europe. No pleas, no urging, no promptings rallied these people to meet the cry of need.

United by the common bond of human sympathy they responded with a mighty volume of food and a priceless cargo of good will. This is in thanks to the hundreds and thousands and millions who joined to make possible the Friendship Train…to all who gave to the free people of France, whose children gave us our Statue of Liberty, and to the free people of Italy, whose Columbus found our shores.

( Harry M. Warner, National Chairman, American Friendship Food Train Committee.)


“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



I did it…I went back to Tractor and Supply and got my Mister Lincoln red rose plant and planted it so I will always remember I planted it on Valentines Day preceding Presidents’ Day Weekend 2018.

My first pretty little delicate camellia bloom from Hollow Tree Nursery  planted a year ago…popped open yesterday. *And Harriett…thank you again for the day lilies…they are letting me know it is time to knock on the door above ground . “Bliss” is happy to see them again!

And finally here come my slow-growing daffodils…but they are coming.

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Making Broken Hearts Whole Again…For All of Us

Dear Reader:

I saw an article that touched my heart a couple of weeks ago…so I stored it up among my “favorites” to bring out on a special day…and Valentines is that special day…the day of hearts. The day of taking heart that we are all stronger than we think and more united than we believe. And on “heart day” it would be wonderful to see our core values shared together again.

Here is the article I saved for us all to read and contemplate and pray for a day of unification, not in some foreign country…but right here. Americans together forever…by asking ourselves one question…”What breaks your heart?”

“What Breaks Your Heart”

The other day, I had the chance to speak with Architect of Change, Dr. Tererai Trent, about her new book, “The Awakened Woman.” In addition to being an author, Tererai is an internationally renowned scholar and humanitarian whose voice and incredible life story have inspired millions, myself included.

After Tererai and I finished our Architects of Change interview, she turned to me and asked a very simple, but profound question.

“Maria,” she said, looking me dead in the eye. “What breaks your heart?”

I stared at her for a bit, knowing that this was a big question to be asked. I knew this was not a question for my mind to answer. This was one for my heart and soul.

“What does your heart ache for?” Tererai asked, expanding upon her initial question. “What do you envision for the world, and for yourself?”

Over the years, I have interviewed many Architects of Change. I was also raised by two formidable Architects of Change. All of these individuals, in their own way, have asked themselves this kind of question — a question that has led them to their life’s purpose. But, no one I’ve met has ever posed it to me quite the way that Tererai did.

What breaks your heart? What does your soul long for? And, how is that connected to how you are living your life now?

I love this question because it’s made me think about my passion and purpose in a whole new way. I wanted to share it with you today because I believe this is a question that applies to all of us. And, I also believe that the answer lies deep within each and every one of us.

I deeply believe that each of us is here to move humanity forward. I deeply believe that each and every one of us longs to be of service to others, and also to live our lives in a way that matters.

“What breaks your heart?” is about the best question I’ve ever heard to help you get closer to your soul’s longing and closer to your life’s passion and purpose. But, I think before you can even answer that question, you must first acknowledge that your heart is broken, or has been broken.

I think we often think heartbreak is the result of lost love. Of course, it can be, but heartbreak also happens when what you value isn’t valued by society, by your community, or by others.

For example, what broke my mother’s heart was the way that society treated those with intellectual disabilities, and so she created the Special Olympics. One of the things that broke my father’s heart was poverty — financial poverty and spiritual poverty — and so he created the War on Poverty. My daughter’s heart breaks when animals are abused and left by the side of the road, and so she wrote a book about it, “Maverick and Me.” My other daughter’s heart breaks when she witnesses how indifferent and insensitive people are to those struggling with mental health, and so she’s made it her work to write articles that promote understanding of these issues. And so it goes…

There are several things that break my heart today. It’s broken by the fact that we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s broken by the injustice so many of our fellow Americans face as they work so hard, yet still live paycheck to paycheck. It’s broken by the state of our criminal justice system and the way it treats many Americans. It’s broken listening to the young women of the USA gymnastics team speak out against the abuse they endured for far too long. (We honor them today as our Architects of Change of the Week for their bravery, their boldness, and their resolve to keep fighting.)

But, what really breaks my heart right now is how divided we are as a nation. How mean we are to one another. How critical we are of one another. How judgmental we are of each other and how angry we are at each other. Also, how lonely we all seem to be.

Yet, what moves me is the deep belief that we are all longing for the same things. We are all longing to be accepted, to be seen and understood, and to be invited into the space that unites us.

This space, I believe, is a big open field filled with dreamers and explorers. It’s filled with teachers and doctors, with mothers and fathers, and with the young and the old.

What breaks my heart is also what simultaneously fills and fuels my heart. It is a deep belief that we are more alike than we are different. It is the belief that we long to be more united than separate. It is the belief that we ache and break and want to put the pieces back together again, and that we want to do it together.

I’m not saying the anger that many of us feel today is not justified. But, let’s parlay our anger into action and allow it to fuel our purpose. I envision all of us with broken hearts coming together to heal and get to work, mending the crack in our divide. After all, the “United” part of America is what truly makes us great.

(Maria Shriver– Awakin Weekly)

So until tomorrow…Libby attended a Methodist church in Columbia last Sunday to hear her adorable little niece sing. She ended up getting a bonus by the minister finishing the sermon with a quote from Archibald Rutledge of Hampton Plantation. It is so beautiful and just… so “Archie.”

“I do not need some tremendous miracle to give me Faith in God; A violet would do, or a spire of goldenrod, or a daisy or two. But if I had to have a magic and wonder, to render any doubts asunder, To prove God true…It would be you.” (Now that’s a Valentine’s card!)



“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh




 Yesterday was a cold winter day again…so Eloise and I decided to just snuggle and stay warm inside…she was waiting on me with hearts on and a twinkle in her eyes. We are both at such compatible stages in life…we just want to eat, smile, rock and sleep during our winter hiatus. My kind of gal.

Here are four sample shots that Sarah Liz (professional photographer)……took and sent Mollie and Walsh as preliminaries to look over…she is an amazing photographer and such wonderful friends of Walsh and Mollie. If you are looking for someone to take pictures of your family…look no further.


*Open up the first photo ( Baby Eloise…on the website) and you can see more!

Ah….we know spring is coming when the redbud trees start blooming…Between Town Hall, the statue of long-time Mayor Berlin G. Myers, and some restaurants several rosebud trees were planted. They are just now getting tall enough to show off their pink glory. Just in time for Valentines Day. I hope you all  have a wonderful one!



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No Thing (Nothing) Will Stay the Same…Thankfully!

Dear Reader:

I believe the longer we live the greater our respect for time and change become. As much as we profess to dislike change… with all its uncertainties.. the more we realize that it is the changes in us, throughout our lives, that have made this life journey so fresh each day.

It is only when we recognize the impermanence of life that we are free to live. As wonderful as some memories are of my past…I would not have wanted to be stuck there forever….in order to have grandchildren…we must first have children. If I had never grown up…I would not have had children…if my children had never grown up… I wouldn’t now have grandchildren…and so on and so on and so on. How much I would have missed out on.

Even when we are just sitting or sleeping the cells in our bodies are ever-changing. Everything that comes into our lives, categorized seemingly good or bad, are there for a purpose. It is only later, upon reflection,  we realize that the polar opposites of good and bad turned out differently than we first assumed.

Bob and Fran German say the “meaning of life” is a life lived with meaning. Every day we have the opportunity to take a normal, daily routine and turn it into something meaningful…for ourelves and others.

Today we hear more and more terms about life-threatening diseases and the people who have them…as those “living” with cancer or whatever disease… when just years ago this term would have meant”terminal” patients with little life left. Changes. Good changes…but only if we use our “living” time wisely.

Some medical reports now cite that people aren’t living longer…they are dying longer. The quality of life is not matching the longer lifespans of life. What a sad commentary on modern life!

So how do we turn around the quality of life (within us) to match the quantity of life we are being given? Obviously taking time to eat, exercise, take care of our bodies (our physical shells) and live healthy is one..but it means even more than that…

It all comes down to how we wish to live our lives each and every day with a higher purpose and respect for life and everyone in it. Like the popular mantra says “ Die young…as late as possible.”

In Bob and Fran German’s book ( 101 Ways to Be Young at Any Age) one idea includes making a specific intention, each and every day, to touch the hearts of others. (And with Valentines coming tomorrow) what better time to start.

  1. Pay a compliment to three people you never interacted with before….”Nice shirt, great smile, thanks for helping out the community by giving used books to it.”
  2. Call someone to walk with you…have lunch…or just talk.
  3. Do something for someone else that you know will lift their spirits.

These acts of kindness not only lift their spirits and ‘make’ their day but ours too.

So until tomorrow (Valentines Day)…why don’t we all give away a little more of our heart this year…and let the “beat go on” for ourselves and others “in the most delightful way.”

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday’s neighborhood walk…”Happy Beauties”




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It’s Not the Sticks Around Us…

Dear Reader:

Guess whose birthday it is today? Why President Lincoln’s of course. I don’t do math for a profession but if my calculator is right…our Mr. Lincoln is 209 years old….being born February 12, 1809.

Last week I stopped by Tractor and Supply…they had their roses out and sure enough there were some Mister Lincolns among the potential purchases. I thought about it over the weekend and must return to get one. Today would be fitting. ( I mean really…what American history teacher with a garden…would dare be caught without one. Quite unpatriotic!)

I do have neighbors who have Mr. Lincolns...and besides being such a deep beautiful, visual red…they also smell luscious! (Two “senses in one.”)

The CBS Sunday Morning Show had a cute segment on a log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky that has claimed, for quite awhile, to be the actual cabin where Lincoln was born (209 years ago) on Knob Hill.

*Rumors, though, persisted that it was not the actual cabin…so some tree specialists were brought in to count the rings and figure out the age of the wooden planks in the cabin. 1861. Lincoln was President by then so it could not be the original cabin he was born in. (Today the label says the cottage is symbolic of the one Lincoln was born in.)

*”Honest” Abe would appreciate the truth….trees never lie about their age…just people.

At first the townspeople feared when this news leaked out it might cut down on  tourism that keeps the little town running. After all, just about everything in Hodgenville, KY is named for Lincoln…a national park memorial, a museum, a general store, a car dealership, and jamboree…to name a few.

But no fear. Cars still pull off the interstate to visit the birthplace of our 16th President. Like the National Park Ranger wisely commented..“People don’t stop to pay tribute to President Lincoln for the age of the wood that surrounded him at birth…it is the man and his story they want to hear and see.”

So much truth in that statement….people don’t care if we are from the “sticks” or come from straw, wood, or brick homes. It is the story we live for others, during out lifetime, that makes people want to pause, stop, and remember us.

So how do we  go about making changes in this world that will have ourselves remembered? Bob and Fran German ( 101 Ways to Be Young At Any Age) tell a story that they believe originally came from an unknown monk centuries ago (now modernized)…which answers that very question.

When I was a young person I wanted to change the world. This was impossible, so I tried to change my country. That didn’t work out so I decided to change my home state. No luck. Next, I attempted to change my community. Nada. So, as I aged I thought it wise to just change my family. Failed. 

So now, as an old person, I realize that I can only change myself. Oh, how I wish I understood this long ago as I could have made a positive impact on my family. Then my family and I could have made a difference in our community. Together our community could have made great changes in our state, and then our state could go on to impact our country and then…I could have said that I changed the world.”

So until tomorrow…”The next time you want to change something or someone, look in the mirror first.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Since this is Valentines Week…and it is starting out pretty dreary (weather-wise)…I decided to splurge and get some bright spring-looking flowers to fill  my vases…it is like adding sunshine to my “Happy Room.”

The neighborhood walks just get more beautiful every day…

…and what Valentines arrangement doesn’t need chocolates?



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