“The Valley of Love and Delight”…



Dear Reader:

This picture of the valley and town of Hendersonville from Mt. Pinnacle….Honey and Mike’s home… is truly worthy of this line ” the valley of love and delight” …lyrics from the wonderful song… “Simple Gifts“/”Tis’ the Gift to Be Simple”/”Lord of the Dance”

Take a moment, before we go any further and read the original two stanzas written for the melody (in Shaker tradition) and then listen to Judy Collins sing the two stanzas…I can assure you that it will be the best two minutes spent today.

* Elder Joseph Brackett (Jr.), composer and lyricist/Traditional Shaker/folk spiritual (dance music)

Simple words for a simple song that defines the simple life.


‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Simple Gifts Judy Collins – YouTube

This article from the New York Times brought home, once again, that all the fears of financial “mobility” for retirement years can evaporate if one enjoys the “simple gifts.”

New York Times – “For Some, Tis A Gift to be Simple”- Ron Lieber

Last month, I spent a day in a library for the first time in over 20 years. I was there to work, but I appeared to be the only one doing so. Everyone else lolled about as the rain fell outside, helping themselves to the endless shelves of newspapers and magazines or browsing the newest fiction.

My work brings me joy. But as I looked around at the older patrons especially, I was overcome by a single emotion: jealousy. It had been too long since I’d sampled the simple but profound pleasure of losing myself in the stacks. I wanted to feel it again.

That craving stayed with me, and it helped me recognize how important some research from the June issue of The Journal of Consumer Research could be for helping many Americans find peace of mind as they contemplate their retirement savings.

The lead article reported that older people often draw as much happiness from ordinary experiences — like a day in the library — as they do from extraordinary ones.

…the article concluded by saying:

Plenty of people won’t have the money to go to faraway places or pay to jump out of airplanes. Low-cost extraordinary experiences may well be nearby, but there ought to be much comfort in the evidence that everyday things that cost little or nothing can deliver the same amount of joy.

A garden. The elaborate meal that emerges from it and the spare time to invent the recipes. A return to a neglected musical instrument. All-you-can-consume subscriptions to Netflix and Spotify, with watchlists and playlists that stretch on for years.

As for me, I’m merely middle-aged. But I’m almost positive that the first thing on my retirement wish list will be a brand-new library card.


So until tomorrow…if we are willing to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary to find peace and happiness within… then don’t sweat the “small stuff”…God will take care of “retirement.” And no matter where we dwell…we can all live in the “valley of love and delight.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* As I mentioned earlier I arrived at Walsh and Mollie’s around 11:00 yesterday to babysit Rutledge….Walsh was working and Mollie was being given a baby shower by her co-horts at work.

I took Rutledge a new (big boy size ) Big Brother t-shirt and a book about being a big brother. He is so into the baby right now…he pats Mollie’s stomach and kisses the baby. He is really interested in anything to do with the baby entering their lives.

Here are some pictures that show what I mean:

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photo 1photo 1                                                       Rutledge and I played “trucks” all afternoon after he woke from his nap….I don’t mean to be ‘braggin‘ but I can make just about any truck noise you want now…from cement trucks to dump trucks….I can make up a sound for any and all…and Rutledge can fill in with the others.

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photo 4photo 2

  Rutledge has suddenly decided he wants to potty on the potty…one minute he is dressed and the next he is pant-less. Likes the idea better than actually performing…the timing is not perfect but hey, if he’s interested…might turn out to be a good thing.

photo 2photo 1

*I left Rutledge dancing to Count Vampire “stomp” dance for the number 11. We had a good time, didn’t we Rutledge? Stomp, stomp, stomp!

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* Honey sent me this picture of “Boo” she saw in a vet’s office…too funny!


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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