Create Beauty…Restore Your Soul

photo                                                                                                                Dear Reader:

Alice Walker once said: “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”

This delicate-looking houseplant in the pretty vase has been with me the same amount of time as “Big Red” my geranium…they both arrived at the end of May from two different givers after my first surgery for breast cancer in 2008.

Lea Anne, a friend and bridesmaid in my daughter Mandy’s wedding-three weeks prior to my surgery-sent this indoor plant from Washington, D.C. the day I arrived home from the hospital. And look at it now…after six years…with just an occasional watering…beautiful and glowing…my back-up healing plant for “Big Red.”

And this “under study” has had to take on the role, hopefully temporarily…as “Big Red” got taken down during one of those cold cold nights a couple of weeks ago. It had gotten too big and cumbersome for me to attempt to move it.

So I put a sheet and light quilt around it and tucked it in for the cold night…unfortunately the wind was also strong that night and blew the covers off…I had to remove six major stems…leaving only two in the center…protected by the outside stems who sacrificed to keep the center stem alive.

photoIt is really “touch and go” for Big Red…I can only hope and pray that this stoic, loyal plant can pull through once again…my vintage, foliage health o’meter… who gave me hope when I was fighting to pull through in the past…time will tell.

My Awakin Weekly popped up on my screen Tuesday and this week’s article seemed to reach out to me…hopefully it will do the same for you. (Here are some excerpts from the article)

“Working with the Soil, Attending to the Soul”

Gunilla Norris

... For me gardening is a process that invites me to be fully engaged. It is also a constant exercise in letting go since so much happens that is not in my control. Strangely this duality seems to cultivate a joy that embraces impermanence and finds refuge in the invisible.

“Gardening brings food and flowers to the table and sustenance to the soul. I am not talking about having a perfect garden. Ours certainly isn’t! Weeds are as happy here as are flowers. Bushes get bushier and need trimming. What may start out as an elegant garden plan becomes more haphazard over time. With the years our garden has turned out to be a bit of this and that and always too big to really tend properly.

“From the start this is not the garden I designed. Someone else did, and before that there was a yard of sorts. Coming here to live I have inherited what already was, just as I inherited my parents, my siblings, and my particular time in history. We work with what we are given. That’s the real garden. I can’t claim anything here. I can only ‘be’ in the garden, tend it, and further it. Isn’t that what we all do, what life asks us to do? 

“In my garden while I am digging I am also tilling inner soil. My garden is a place of commitment and of neglect, of arrogance and humility. It is a place of taking stock and of deep silence — a place of contemplation. And so for me over time it has become a place of grace.”

I love that last sentence…don’t you? The Garden of Grace…the place I can go to…when I need to fill loved completely and unconditionally…we all need such a place in our lives, don’t we?

So until tomorrow…Let us all grow into the role of becoming a steward for one small piece of God’s gift to us…wrapped in grace.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Create Beauty…Restore Your Soul

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    Oh, Becky, I’m sorry about big red as she has become a part of all of us too. However, I believe SHE WILL COME BACK this spring. Because she, apparently, has required so little time and was our “everyready bunny” which just kept going, maybe she just wanted a little more TLC. We have a lady in our church like that, She is so independent, always a leader in the church, seems to do everything for everyone and never seems to need anything, but perhaps she, every once in a while, would like something, unexpected, that shows a little extra love just for her. (Thanks for reminding me that everyone could use a little TLC from time to time. Maybe I’ll send her a “surcie” today.)


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