” The South: Where Summer Starts in April”



The South
The place where…Tea is sweet… accents are sweeter
Summer starts in April
Macaroni and Cheese is a vegetable
Ya’ll is the only proper noun
Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy
Everyone is Darling’ and
Someone’s heart is always being blessed (unknown)


 Dear Reader:

I love this phrase defining the South and nothing denotes summer more than sunflowers! I couldn’t help myself Thursday when I was in Mt. Pleasant and stopped by Whole Foods… I just had to break down and buy these beautiful flowers and berries!

Why? Because it makes me happy and I have finally reached the stage in life when making me happy is getting a lot easier.

The subtle innuendos for permission to treat yourself to something for yourself (really hard for mothers) arrived in 1971 with the MacDonald marketing ad:

“You Deserve a Break Today”

Two years later came the famous advertising campaign from L’Oreal hair coloring…using the sexy voice of Cybill Shepherd saying “Sure it costs more…(dramatic pause) and I’m worth it.”

Actually the L’Oreal product just cost 10 cents more than their largest rival, Clairol’s Nice & Easy…but it was those three famous words “I’m worth it” that has made L’Oreal out-sell their competitors for over four decades.

In 1991…Cybill Shepherd re-appeared in another sexy commercial ….now saying:

Like a  lot of us, Preference just keeps getting better and better. And I’m worth it.”

While debating whether to buy this bouquet of beautiful flowers at Whole Foods…I really did justify the extra cost …because “I am worth it”…to myself and the people around me…to occasionally do things that make me happy and subsequently… a happy person to be around.

It has taken me decades to be able to do something like this… I proudly paid the cashier the money while we both oohed and aahed together over how pretty the flowers were…leaving the store with two sets of smiles…mine and the cashier’s…

Like the phrase …”Summer starts in April” (in the South) we, the residents of the South, know that, the reality is, it can be summer one day and winter the next. ( This weekend’s weather report in the last days of March…before “summer”… gives credence to this fact.)

Spring, here at home, is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs on the temperature gauge. The long process in accepting myself, with all my weaknesses and quirks (and more importantly liking myself) has been quite a roller coaster ride in itself.

I can now look back at some turbulent events in my childhood that took place…uncontrollable events that rocked my security … and see how it all pushed me down a “dead-end” detour for too much of my life. In hindsight I made some un-wise choices based on the need for security.

I didn’t realize that by letting God be my security and lessening my reins on earthly “uncontrollable events” and “fickle people”… the creative side of myself (that God bestowed upon me) was now free. I was finally ‘free to be me.’

Self-compassion is so important in our lives.

We think that by striving to be “perfect” we can avoid pain and suffering but it is the quest for perfection that brings anguish into our lives. Instead we need to actualize self-compassion.

” A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” ( Chris Germer)

To be one’s best is not the same thing as being perfect…there is no such thing as a perfect person. (with the exception of Jesus) The rest of us need to strive to encompass our God-given talents and then share them with our fellow man. Period!

For me…worrying about what other people thought was my other downfall.

I needed someone to pull me aside, as a youth or young adult, and say, “Becky, quit worrying about what someone might think of you. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to please someone else.The only person you need to please is God…If you put your priorities there, the rest will fall in place.” 

Since I never got that message during my youth I had to detour and travel the bumpy road in the quest for perfection and all its failures accompanying it…to find the truth myself.

This quote from Anna Quindlen pretty much sums it up:

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Isn’t it a wonderful feeling of release when we finally grasp the truth about “Imperfection”? …as expressed in this idea:

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty, strength, and imperfection go together wonderfully.

So until tomorrow…Help us Father learn to love ourselves as You love us…not as “perfectionists” (but as recovering perfectionists)  “good-enoughists” in Your Eyes.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

* In response to the play with words blog yesterday…Sis Kinney replied with:

I LOVE hearing about new words – sometimes they’re really corny, and other times they really do make sense! My mother always used to say, of a person who had done something particularly nice, kind, or thoughtful, “How thoughty of [her, him, them].” I find myself using the same word every now and again. (Don’t we all become our mothers?)

(“Thoughty” will be my new word now… (I love it!) and yes…we certainly are our “Mother’s daughters”….seeing it more and more every day of my life.)

* A “Shout-out” to Sarahliz Photography for taking pictures that melt a grandmother’s heart. Some of you might remember the photos Sarah (friend of Mollie and Walsh) took in the fall with the pumpkins of Walsh, Mollie, and Rutledge.

She has her website set up on FACEBOOK now and you can go on her site for information on how to contact her if you would like her to come take pictures. She is marvelous and so good with children.

SarahLiz Photography | Facebook

If you would like to look at her pictures of Lachlan and family…you may do so by clicking on this link.


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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4 Responses to ” The South: Where Summer Starts in April”

  1. Johnny Johnson says:

    I love the blog of course, but I went on the web site to see the pictures too. My goodness what a pretty baby Lachlan truly is! Keeping with the tradition of very handsome and very pretty Grandchildren is a definite with Lachlan! And the photography was fantastic! I just can’t get over how pretty he is! I know with boys you should say handsome but with little ones pretty works with both genders. Also he must have been really exercising for nine months he looks as though he is nearly ready to play football! You as well as his Mom and Dad should be very proud! One fine little fellow there Mrs. Dingle for sure! I found myself smiling really big with a few AHs in there too looking at the pictures.


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    How your words thrill a grandmother….we grandmothers all think we have the most beautiful perfect, yes perfect, grandchildren around…like you think of your little grandson….and that is the way it should always be!


  3. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Love the flowers and the pictures. ..beautiful


  4. Becky Dingle says:

    Love you girlfriend!


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