Miracles Can Happen Anywhere…Anytime

Dear Reader:

Yesterday the universe just seemed to be blinking and winking throughout the day. I credit this phenomenon … to it being my friend Harriett Edwards ‘ celebration of life day! .

As I walked towards the church sanctuary for the memorial service I bumped into a friend, fellow educator, I hadn’t seen in years. We discovered we were sharing some of the same familiar paths through life and we agreed at the end of the service … it had been an unexpected encounter… and a happy ” treat !”

There were two banners against the back walls of the stage/podium that seemed to echo everything Harriett’s daughter, Becca, said in her moving tribute to her mother, followed up by Brooks Moore, her one-time principal. The banners read: Bless the Rest.

The one common denominator or theme that flowed throughout the celebration was that Harriett always put others needs ahead of her own -she simply put others first. She continuously was on the look out for a problem and then did something about it. Harriett was a ” doer” -She spent her life “blessing the rest”… for those people fortunate enough to be in her presence.

After the service I picked up some medicine and then got in the car line at a fast-food restaurant -the line was bumper to bumper. As I got closer to the car in front of me (feeling wedged in between it and the car behind me) I noticed a decal on the back of a car that read:

I had to laugh-especially since in this case we were all ” doing the snail crawl” around the parking lot. Since I had some time on my hands I thought ” That decal is right-but maybe not the way the driver intended. ”

Harriett intuitively understood that when a student physically nudged him or herself closer to her, it was because they needed more attention…and love-so she automatically slowed down to accommodate each individual need.

After wolfing down my hamburger on the way home… I realized that another thunderstorm was building. I still had my mobile phone and car keys in my hand when I noticed there were some branches and leaves that I wanted to drop off on the side of the road for a later pick-up.

After a few hauls… the bottom fell out of the sky-torrential rains. I had done it! As I gloated in my achievement, back inside, I went searching for my mobile phone! It should have been on the end table with the car keys since they were the only two things in my hands.

I tore the house apart-I couldn’t call my neighbors to call me so the ring would hopefully help me locate it since I had no phone… and by now the thunder and lightning were scary. I could feel panic mode starting to spread ( concerning the lost phone-not the thunderstorm) I ran back out to the car and looked in between cushions-under seats-but I remembered having the keys and phone together.

Then… a horrible thought started growing… What If… I accidentally threw the dark phone away with the branches and twigs-by now the water pouring down the sides of the road looked like a creek. I was soaked already so I ran back out again and began taking layers of debris off the pile and there was my little phone submerged but blinking a notice I had texts!

I was screaming in excitement… this couldn’t be true! I was ready to throw it in a bowl of rice but instead it was charged and blinking and winking at me! At least half an hour buried under debris and rushing water -yet here it ( ” took a licking and kept on ticking.” another sign. *** I think the incident meant that all is right with the world and all is right with Harriett!

So until tomorrow… When Hope appears to have disappeared… that is the time Faith steps in… with one giant footprint left behind.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

This would be me… if I tried to return to teaching! 👍😍😅

PS…. I received some of the kindest comments from you wonderful readers concerning our joy at sharing our trip on earth with others and each other. Johnny Johnson, like Jo Dufford once said, reiterated he doesn’t consider what I do as ” blogging ” -he said it is ” writings ” and he sees a big difference between the two. So Johnny-from now on … I will be creating ” writings” and just hope I can live up to the symbol! 👍

Here’s to the last days of school-less summer, thunderstorms, waning heat, and miracles buried beneath debris and water.

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Where Did It Go?

Dear Reader:

On the way out of Wakendaw Lakes yesterday… their exit sign read: Warning: Slow Down! Police Have Already Arrested Summer for Speeding! ( I tried to take a picture of the real sign ( cuter) but an impatient car behind me prevented the photo opportunity.)

Still the truth remains… don’t summers tend to go faster each year when you have family involved in education? As a teacher I felt the same bewilderment as my students. ” It’s time for school again ??? NO WAY! Summer just started! ”

From the ” get-go”Jake hasn’t been school/oriented. Having kindergarten and first grade under his belt… he declared to me yesterday ” I like staying at home better”

I found a two-sided Hulk and ( quite honestly don’t know what other creature is on the back) cloth ” doll” at Walgreens and came up with an idea. I explained to Jake that via mom… I was going to be checking in on his attitude towards school this year.

If he arrived at the breakfast table dressed and ready to eat breakfast, with a good attitude he would bring the Green Hulk side to the table-he stood for determination-he was going to ” own” the day and be ” on” top of math, reading, writing, and behavior!!!

However if he arrived unprepared and grumbling to the breakfast table-he had to flip the ” doll” to the pouty side. Too many of those… then no ” surcies” or treats from Boo Boo when she visited!

As a mother and teacher I know what ” they” say about using bribery to motivate behavior… but grandmothers get special privileges… and come on … we all know it works! 😅

Yesterday was Eva Cate’s and my annual back to school shopping day … to pick up this year’s paraphernalia that included decorating lockers! She is more excited about that than middle school. All I can say is that is if they have a sixth grade Moultrie Middle School decorating contest… we have a contender!

We have a ” duzy” of a thunderstorm building-the trees are bent almost to the ground-just moved my car away from the trees and by the house for protection. Lights are on and off so I am going to sign off too!

It’s not hail…. just gigantic sized raindrops! Weird!!!!

So until tomorrow… Please say a prayer that this new school year provides security for both teachers and students alike so that this generation of children will have memories of friendships and ” Aha” ” Eureka” moments of new ideas of learning…to look back upon one day.

Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Sweet Memories of Early Love
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The Gift of Sharing Life at the Same Time

Dear Reader:

How many times have you stopped and watched a moving performance and thought how lucky you were to be watching this artist/celebrity or sports champion or political leader… a stand-out in any field of life… at that very moment.

Then your thoughts grew universally broader and you thanked the celestial beings for allowing you this gift of time on earth that aligns itself with people you admire from afar .

Until one day you realize how fortunate you are to be sharing your life-span on earth with people you admire upclose and personal…. family, close friends and community leaders.

One of my favorite projects I had my eighth graders research in American history was finding famous historical figures who lived at the same time and knew each other. Even becoming friends.

The first to pop up in my mind was the friendship between Mark Twain and U.S. Grant.

Grant’s home in Galena, Illinois/Eva Cate shares the same birthday as Grant ( April 27)

As good as US Grant was a general… the Presidency proved to be a more challenging struggle for him than the war itself. His two administrations were marred by scandals -of which none were of his direct making but from poor choice selections for key leadership roles in his administration.

” Grant once admitted that he trusted in men long after others ceased to do so ( but by the end of his life) he sadly noted… ” I will never trust another man again”

He had been swindled out of his life savings and discovered he had lung cancer and not long to live. He didn’t want to leave his family in poverty and then help arrived in the form of Mark Twain/an ardent admirer of Grant. He convinced him to write a book of memoirs from his personal perspective of the Civll War. Grant died only days after completion… having fought his greatest personal war against weakness, accelerating pain and loss of his vocal chords- his greatest victory!

Twain took over the costs of publishing it-a monumental best-seller that brought in close to a half million dollars ( over 10 million in today’s market) and saved the Grant family from complete bankruptcy. ………………………………………………………

Then there was the amazing story of Joe Louis ( ” The Brown Bomber”) and German Max Schmeling… advertised as the boxing match where America was fighting Nazism in the ring. But as far as the two fighters went-they were friends and corresponded after WWII. Many years later… when Joe fell on tough times… Max helped pay his debts and financed his funeral

And then the final amazing friendship that took place between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who bought her freedom and became a famous seamstress in Washington. Mary ,so delighted in her styles, hired Elizabeth to be her personal dressmaker. But she also became Mary’s best friend, traveling companion and especially confidante. Elizabeth was the only one who could calm Mary’s frayed nerves. ( Mary suffered from several forms of mental illness.)

So until tomorrow… Stop and think of the people, living on earth, during your earthly sojourn. who have become close friends to you and made your visit to this planet so much the better! Let them know what a difference to you they have made by sharing the ride!

Today is my favorite day – Winnie the Pooh

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The Fastest Way to Add Magic to Our Lives

Dear Reader:

I saw where Tuesday was Happy National Book Lovers’ Day and since I am an ardent lover of books… I felt the need to take time to pay tribute to them today.

Monday I went to Wellmore to visit Ben -the residents’ first release day from their rooms since coronavirus showed up again among several home holders living there. When Ben can’t get outside to putt balls and interact with others he is miserable because it just leaves television for him and that gets old pretty quickly.

The “pre-stroke and pre-diagnosed cerebral vascular dementia” Ben -read constantly. As much as I read today… Ben out-read me in volumes. He loved espionage and spy books, war novels, and mystery novels-he has read the complete set of all the Sherlock Holmes books numerous times since he first read them at twelve.

And now he has stopped reading. I saw our mother ( who also had cerebral vascular dementia) go through the same heart-breaking transition. Even before mother was diagnosed… her reading began to slow down. Whereas I would check out two new books a week for her… she wasn’t even finishing one.

I remember asking her about it and she told me she couldn’t remember what she had just read so by the time she picked the book up again she had to go back and re-read what she had just read. Too frustrating… and no doubt.. also heart/breaking since books had always been her best friends and brought her so much pleasure.

*** I feel sure this is what is happening to Ben now because if he had been able to read books during the quarantine it would have been a much easier ” lock-in.”

As much as living with the up’s and down’s of cancer is no picnic… dementia is so much worse… watching a loved one leave you in bits and pieces and frustration. Ben describes people to me now… but try as hard as he can… he simply can’t pull a proper noun… a person’s name is becoming more elusive every day.

Most of us ” baby boomers” who spent our early childhoods growing up in the fifties-became ardent book readers out of necessity. When the polio epidemic hit one summer-public swimming pools were closed as well as recreational centers so the highlight for our family was going to the mobile library once a week-the library staff would roll the books onto the sidewalks every Saturday, separated by ages and reading levels for numbered off groups of children to select 2 books apiece.

I remember it was the only time we were up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to get at the front of the line to get the new books and the popular ones to re-read. The polio epidemic probably created more lifetime readers than given credit for back then.

I am so glad Ben wrote his book about his experiences in Vietnam when he did because he now seems more reluctant to do book talks on it to the residents -the book talks that have been very popular… because he is now struggling to remember parts of it enough to answer questions… and before … that was the one thing that excited him the most!

The magic in reading is when the words leave the page and the images in our minds create the characters in the story

So until tomorrow… Never take reading for granted… it is a gift worthy of life itself because it shows us how connected we all are in our thoughts and feelings as a human race in our quest for love and belonging.

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

Two beautiful moons last night!
Rutledge’s Japanese Maple-beautiful!
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Memory Beads of Love and Laughter…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday found me dusting off the tops of my Race for the Cure memory boxes… packed full of memorabilia that brought tears to my eyes.

My thoughts took me back to those early years and the first family gathering on Daniel Island. It was here I first experienced receiving my first pink beads. Each cancer survivor received one bead necklace for each year of life since the initial diagnosis and treatments.

Suddenly Harriett Edwards appeared out of the early morning darkness and placed the first beads around my neck. Harriett and I had known each other as educators for years, but now we shared a pink sisterhood that bonded us on a deeper level.

She had been participating in the Race for the Cure for at least two years prior to my entrance and it was Harriett who then introduced me to Brenda-from then on we met every year for a decade ( until the race was moved to N Charleston) -we were the ” Three Pink Warriors!”

We always ” Got Our Pink On!” Somehow… just being together and knowing we had circled the sun another year and were still here …put smiles on our faces!

We even joked that we all had accumulated so many beads… we could throw our own ” Pink Mardi Gras” celebration 🍾!!!

A ” God’s Wink” in Pink!

Time flies… in spite of good or not so good conditions… time never stops, slows down, or speeds up… it steadily and stealthily keeps moving forward. Saturday night earthly time ended for ” One Pink Warrior” -Harriett Edwards left us and joined God’s Warriors and I have no doubt she is passing out baked goods, flowers and ” surcies” of every description imaginable … because she never left my house without leaving a part of herself behind… generosity beyond measure!

I know Brenda will agree with me that Harriett was the strongest ” Pink Warrior” among us … as she tackled the formidable pink nemesis repeatedly and against all odds came out on top. She took on each challenge with a positive attitude and a strong determination! A role model for everyone fighting ” insidious ” diseases that keep uninviting themselves back into our lives!

The one time I remember Harriett missing a Race for the Cure… ( she had gone home to a family gathering near Andrews) Brenda and I felt her missing presence keenly… we kept looking around to hand her … her pink carnation. We missed her.

Two isn’t as fun as three!

So until tomorrow… My favorite treasure in my pink memory box was this adorable angel necklace Lassie gave me at or near the end of our last family gathering for the Race for the Cure. It looked like a Pippi Longstocking angel-so whimsical -it stole my heart ❤️ instantaneously!

Staring down at the adorable angel… Harriett immediately popped up in my thoughts…no doubt to reassure the warriors back on this side that one day, like her, we will be heading to a place where disease can not enter and the pink glowing in God’s Home… is abundant, radiant health and love.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Speaking for all Harriett’s friends… we can loudly proclaim ” What a friend we had in Harriett!”

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No Regrets… But Lessons Learned

Dear Reader:

How many times have we been warned through stories, movies, family advice, teachers, and sermons to live our lives fully so at the end of it we will have no regrets? The add-on conclusion is that the only regrets concern not following our dreams-we regret only what we didn’t try… not what we did.

As a history teacher my favorite ” regret ” revolutionary hero is, of course, Nathan Hale… shouting out the famous line ” I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” minutes before hanged by the British for spying. ( Before the war… Hale was a school teacher! ) ” Let’s hear it for the schools!”

I still ponder, however, about the times when we should show regret or remorse for something we did and ” regret it with sincerity.”… in other words ” own up to the mistake.”

Too many times haven’t we witnessed someone who feels temporarily guilty over something they did to hurt another… but that soon passes and they never truly regret the action-except for maybe getting caught -there is no action plan to try to rectify the hurt -just to put it in the past asap and forget it.

So I think the title for the post offers the best directive-don’t long-term mull over it or continue carrying past mistakes and regrets into the present… but certainly we should want to learn and grow from our past regrets… and even one up better… share our discoveries with those following behind.

So until tomorrow… ” The truth will set you free.”

I found my second moonflower bloom yesterday morning -however it had opened during the night and by 8 had already started to close-still I thank it for its effort and leap of faith!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Can you believe this beauty that I found on the way to my car yesterday -it fell early but ” no regrets” if this is what the fall season will try to emulate!

Regina, with Isaiah Ministries is having back surgery-Regina has been a long-time loyal reader to the Chapel of Hope… Let’s wish her a speedy and complete recovery so she can enjoy her well-deserved retirement! Prayers Regina!!! Keep us updated!

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Interesting Question to Ask Yourself at Night is ” What did I Really See Today?”

Dear Reader:

Maybe it is just me… but I am seeing and feeling more kindness among my fellow life travelers in recent weeks. The strained, stern, self-contained/centered isolated expressions are being exchanged for lighter tones, more door holdings, smiles, grins, jokes, as I run errands daily. ( along with surprise random acts of kindness.)

Even with inflation affecting just about everything, ( and many everyone’s) shootings continuing to steal the front newspapers and daily broadcasts, divisive court rulings, scary environmental disasters, and viruses that seem to keep pouring out of Pandora’s Box… there’s a subtle change , in the air., bigger than all these obstacles… that is bringing a sense of renewed energy, unity, and hope for the future.

As my favorite Irish poet, priest, and philosopher, John O’ Donohue, observed ” One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen and heard.”

Suddenly people are gathering to express their opinions on important decisions where once apathy and/ or resignation resided. Patriotism is awakening and ” We the people are deciding to become ” WE” again. Earlier divisive arguments are finding more common ground and areas of compromise-a word that was in fear of being dropped from the dictionary for lack of usage.

What got me started thinking about the title quote and John O’Donahue was this quote that popped up yesterday by him-” Music is what language would love to be …if it could.”

And no one writes more lyrically than this beautiful Irish poet whose life was cut short too soon. I remember Anne and I spent time at his cemetery while in Ireland eight years ago-eight years ago!!!!

It was raining the day we stopped in Fanmore where the O’Donohue pub is located outside the ancestral cemeteryCreggagh

In many of O’ Donohue ‘s writings he warns about slowing down to converse with our soul and to avoid the ” religion of rush.” I couldn’t help wonder if he felt his life might be shortened -actually dying in his sleep two days after his 52nd birthday.

I do remember Anne and I both taking time in Ireland to spend time alone to just think… something that seems harder to do in our country.

Peace and Harmony
I took advantage of the ” Golden Hour” each day looking out on the Bay of Galway

So until tomorrow…” May you experience each day as a sacred gift… woven around the heart of wonder.” ( O’ Donohue)

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

This last quote puts a smile on my face and I hope yours too… a good way to end!

” May your prayer for listening deepen enough to hear … in the depths… the Laughter of God”

While Walsh and Mollie were in Asheville this past week -they visited Robertson, a high school buddy of Walsh’s …and his family-the two couples are close/-they have a little girl … so the two daughters had fun playing together.

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Feeling Stuck… It Happens to All of Us!

Dear Reader:

Thursday I built up this wonderful story in my mind that Rhea’s arrival home ( from the hospital) was going to coincide with my first moonflower bloom of the season. Last year my one and only moonflower bloom came on Ben’s birthday which is now also Rhea’s and mommy’s. ( I felt like Lee’s earlier question to the universe … wondering if Rhea’s birthday would coincide on July 26 too or was it asking too much of the Cosmos?… applied to my moonflower bloom.

Unfortunately from the start… my poor little moonflower bud’s timing seemed off-it started opening in the morning instead of the late afternoon or early evening as its name signifies. No clouds in the sky-just the hot sun beating down on the struggling bud in sweltering temperatures.

It hung in there and even tried to unfurl the outer layer Thursday evening but all of its energy must have been zapped by the blazing sun. It just couldn’t open any further-it was stuck.

Haven’t we all been in similar situations in our lives… when no matter how hard we tried to attempt something new -the timing was off and we were stuck? But remember … don’t we all have to sometimes take a fall to find Wonderland?

An important lesson we must learn in life is that feeling lost and uncertain is all part of our path… we can’t avoid these obstacles so we must learn from our feelings and take the lessons to heart. Act on them and then move on.

So until tomorrow…

Don’t Confuse a Season for a Lifetime! Stuck is meant to be temporary-not permanent!

John’s marvelous parents are visiting and they were here to celebrate Eva Cate’s tennis camp trophy award for Best Sportsmanship! Congratulations Eva Cate!

The ” Girls” -Beautiful Bebe, Winnie, and Sophie!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

And sometimes we have to learn from the mistakes of others ( who got stuck) and time our journey differently! 👍🙌😍

My first successful Moonflower! 6:00 PM August 5
And what is a moonflower without its new garden counterpart-the Sunflower!
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It’s Time to Slow Down and Soak Up Our Lives…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I mentioned we finally got a long overdue thundershower …and as Goldilocks discovered , repeatedly, ” It was just right.”

It wasn’t violently windy, or tumultuously overpowering in its intensity… but a nice steady downfall that immediately soaked into the ground …quenching the thirst of all the plants, bushes, flowers, and trees so desperate for natural rain over limited garden hose waterings.

Yesterday morning blooms were popping that I haven’t seen in weeks due to the dry conditions. We also have a chance for more thundershowers this week so hope runs high the garden will revive and more colors return.

Isn’t life the same… when it comes to slowing ourselves down, not to just smell the roses, but to take a moment and look around. By ” looking around” … I mean using all the senses… when I went out in the garden early yesterday morning the smell of rain pervaded the gardens with raindrops still glistening on the bushes and plants as the sun rose and its rays made nature sparkle.

It was the freshness of the morning, however, that sent my sensory organs into overdrive-somehow I just felt completely renewed … like I had a whole new clean slate in front of me and could pick any direction to pursue… such a sense of freedom!

I feel such gratitude for having lived long enough to be able to enjoy a slower life style. To be able to pick and choose how my time is spent… this gift of time certainly isn’t found in teaching or single-parenting …while running and rushing to more events than the daytime allows -that was the norm then.

The first half of my life was spent ” reacting” to daily situations rather than planning for them. It was like I was in a wound-up swing and everyday it was let go… and I just went round and round until the day finally ” wound down.

So until tomorrow… Slowing down is more of a mindset than a physical action

******************************************And speaking of ” slowing down ” … guess who came home today… our little Rhea… with all systems on GO! The family is thankful to so many people for prayers, notes, cards, texts, emails, calls… along with the amazing staff at the MUSC NICU unit! It takes, not just a village, but a lot of love and compassion, and generosity to raise a child!

Happiness and Joy in grandmother Susan’s face… can’t put a price on that moment-the best example of a reason to ” slow down.”

Walsh and Mollie left Wednesday to head to Asheville and be there this morning to pick up the boys from camp today… didn’t the week fly by!!! They toured the Biltmore Estate and let Eloise have a little vacation too!!

Since we are on the subject of time… I got a Walmart application emailed to me yesterday… wanting me to ” join their team” -no doubt as a greeter! In other words… You know you are getting old when Walmart comes ‘ a’ calling.

Walmart Comes Calling! 😅

Will end with this picture Walsh sent last night-great photo of and ” For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

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Making Faith a Verb…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I happened upon an article on faith ( by Liz Helgeseh) …differentiating it from the term belief. A belief is man-made in nature, thus subject to varying interpretations that can cause separations among differing religious sectors…but faith is about our personal relationship with the Cosmos, Universe, and God. Faith is an on-going ” function, an active verb… and not an isolated noun.”

The author gave this example … One doesn’t go into a grocery store and order a pound of faith. ( Actually I visualized ordering two pounds… to cover those weak moments when I run out and don’t want to make a return trip.)

Instead faith can turn into the verb ” faith ing”.. making it active and on-going… an interactive relationship between man and God. The author defines it as something we say like this: ” I open myself up to the central intelligence of the universe, to its core, God, so that I might live for the purpose for which I was made. ” ( Wow! I love that last line)

Faith, as a verb, means to surrender… as in ” I’m letting go of how I would like the world to be… instead I’m asking God -“How do you want me to understand You! “( Exactly!)

This interactive dialogue of surrender to God’s plan for our lives enables us to turn to our fellowman and proclaim ” You love God, I love God… let’s sit down and talk.”

Scripture is not meant to be a slogan or bumper sticker… scripture is based on sacred teachings. But I did see one bumper sticker that made me smile…

I will be the first to admit that my mind, unlike God’s, doesn’t always have it together. I would sure hate to put all my thinking on public display. ( shivers down my back!) I am just a humble inchworm who is trying to absorb as much of God’s presence as I can and pass it along …where hopefully it might help someone along the way.

So until tomorrow… my faith and trust will always be served with just a sprinkle of magical pixie dust… because that’s just the way I was made… whimsically.

The best random act of kindness happened to me yesterday… I took my amazing nonagenarian friend and neighbor to breakfast and while cutting across the gas station to get to Eva’s Restaurant I bumped into a friend I haven’t seen in ages… Diane Frankenberger, owner of the widely acclaimed People, Places, and Quilts shop downtown.

I used to work summers and weekends (some years while teaching) for different merchants who rented rooms from her building and Diane,also, lived next to Poppy and DeeDee Dingle for years. We started swapping stories and she asked where we were headed… ” The best place for breakfast-Eva’s… ” I responded.

After being seated …one of my favorite waitresses came over and whispered to me… ” The breakfasts at this table is already paid for.” I looked around in surprise but saw no one I recognized. Then it hit me. Diane! It made my and Miss Janie’s day. Now do you see why I love my Summerville so much! A-Shout-out to Diane who represents everything good about our town’ Thank you for making my day!!!

Like her quilts… Diane is warm and comforting!!

So until tomorrow,,, Rhea continues being monitored… family is hoping her departure date is nearing but they also want to make sure her little system is all on GO! Nothing but green lights! We are all ” faithing” ( surrendering) that Reah is in God’s hands and we know His timing is impeccable!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Finally, after two weeks with obsessive heat and no rainfall… we finally got an afternoon thunder shower. Blessings from heaven!

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