The children gave me this journal soon after I was diagnosed with “little c.” I wish I could say that I have been hard at it…researching ancestry, describing past personal experiences…but when my blog came along…it became my personal journal…containing memories and experiences from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
I have found myself “stuffing” this journal full of family genealogy notes and letters… given to me by aunts, uncles, and cousins…yet I have done little more than that….again using my time and the blog for my “voice” now.
It is still my intention to organize and add additional thoughts to this beautiful gift/ memory book…but while I am alive…I want to be going...living...experiencing life to the fullest…perhaps that is my legacy to leave behind…Mom lived…she didn’t just exist.
The only three sentences I have written in it deal with my own “truths” that I would like to pass down through the generations to my family. Simply Put:
1) Don’t Settle! (Life is too precious to be anyone but who God destines you to be…don’t sell yourself short!)
2) We are All Connected! ( Don’t forget that we are never alone. We are connected to everything living…down to the smallest single cell organism in our universe.
One day we will discover that our Creator is right in the center of the web of life that He created…patiently waiting to hear our “Story of a Lifetime.” So relish life to the fullest and make it a good one!
3) YOU ARE LOVED! More than you will ever know….by me, (“Moo Moo, then Boo Boo“) and God… with a love so strong it is incomprehensible to us mere mortals.
An “Aha” moment for me came when I realized that there is no such thing as a “single parent” as long as we share our lives with “the” Father… whose love and devotion never falter while He provides for us.
A little over a year ago…my favorite mentor/student/ teacher/”Dolphin Lady” (Dr. Linda Karges-Bone) asked me if I would write a short synopsis about the blog and my “little c” journey for her to submit to the National ADK Journal… along with a picture of my latest grandchild (at that time.)
* Update:(While waiting for publication…life didn’t stop…and of course, two more beautiful grandchildren arrived this past year…life is funny that way.)
I put some thoughts together and turned them into Linda. Last week (while at Edisto) Linda emailed me that the article had come out on the electronic version of the journal and sent the website to me.
As usual…Linda, the talented writer extraordinaire, captured the essence of the blog much better than I could ever explain in my own words…I would like to share it with you at this time and thank Linda (from the core of my heart/soul) for always being my supporter through the good and difficult times…with cards, letters, and her wonderful homemade bread! I love you Linda! I love you “Dolphin Lady!”
Weaving a Tapestry of Life-Affirming Stories
Becky Dingle with her grandson, Rutledge
By Linda Karges-Bone
South Carolina Alpha Tau Chapter
“And so the King kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of last night’s story. At the end of 1,001 nights, and 1,000 stories, Scheherazade told the king that she had no more tales to tell him. During these 1,001 nights, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade, and had three sons with her. So, having been made a wiser and kinder man by Scheherazade and her tales, he spared her life, and made her his queen.”
Rebecca “Becky” Dingle, a former member of South Carolina Alpha Tau, took some time off from her ordinary projects when she retired from the Dorchester School District II and thought she would tend to garden and family and pursue her writing habit. She did not anticipate writing to save her very life.
A diagnosis of an advanced, aggressive form of breast cancer triggered a cascade of feelings and decisions, described by the now widely read “blogger” in an interview below.
Becky Dingle’s therapies include a self-prescribed regimen of reflection, prayer, and writing that have resulted in what many consider a beautiful, intriguing daily story that combines the author’s life -long love affair with history, culture, and human nature.
To date, the blog has received more than 200,000 “hits” from across the globe, with many faithful, regular readers who consider the “Chapel of Hope” stories to be their daily devotion of choice.
In the interview below, Becky Dingle shares her journey and describes how becoming a famous “blogger,” a modern-day Scheherazade, feeds her soul and strength.
Question: How did the blog come about? What is the history of this story?
It was two years after being diagnosed with an advanced, aggressive ductal breast cancer that I started the blog. During those two years…I felt strongly that I wanted to give back somehow to my fellow man but just wasn’t sure which avenue to take.
Then in July of 2010 I was taken (by a close friend, Honey Burrell) to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in Trust, North Carolina (built by a fellow cancer survivor at the time) and I felt Beverly Barutio’s spirit strongly urging me to tell the story of this little chapel.
I returned home, not even knowing what a blog was, but with the help of my son-in-law John, I took a leap of faith and started the blog….Chapel of Hope Stories.
Question: Did you expect his kind of response to what you thought would be a personal quest?
Absolutely not! I was entering an electronic frontier, beyond my limited computer skills, to release a voice within me crying to get out.
I even took on the challenge of writing 1,002 stories, one each day, to beat the fictitious Scheherazade’s record of 1,001 Nights. At the time I had no idea I would live long enough to complete the competition…again a leap of faith.
But the day arrived and then followers and blog readers, who had become a part of my family, asked me to continue the blog…To date I have had more than 200,000 “hits”…. Readers ranging from Dubai to New Zealand…even several pastors comprising the loyal readers.
Question: Where do you find your topics and inspiration to keep writing so much and so fluidly?
When I made the decision to begin the blog I didn’t know if anybody was the least bit interested in my “voice”….my story. But, I figured, if I could just reach out to one person and make a difference…it was worth it. There are more stories surrounding us than atoms in the universe…so I am never at loss for a lack of stories.
I taught history through storytelling my whole career (34 years in the classroom eighth grade social studies, four years as the district social studies coordinator and an adjunct professor at College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University) …so my blog is comprised of history and children’s stories, as well as, my reflections on life as I live each day to the fullest.
Question: What does the future hold?
Only God knows… my job, my faith is to simply follow the path He is, continually laying out for me.
I call my cancer “little c” because it doesn’t deserve the respect of a capital letter. To date I have had three surgeries, 70 radiation treatments and months of chemo.
I am now on a new drug testing it for others who follow behind me. I have been given time to see two grandchildren (to date) enter my life… so I have much to live for….I thank God each day for each moment of my life…and more importantly… learning how to live in that moment!
*I have discovered that a lifetime can be lived in a moment.
Becky Dingle’s story continues to grow and attract more and more diverse readers. Men and women, old and young, educators and “civilians” seem drawn to the unique mix of whimsy and reflection, stories and spiritual renewal.
Her messages of hope and gift of providing pure entertainment make Becky the “Scheherazade of the Blog”.
To experience the “Chapel of Hope” stories for yourself, visit https://chapelofhopestories.com/author/rebeccadingle/
So until tomorrow…take time to think about the “truths” you have learned through experiences in your own life that should be shared with others.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
* Honey sent me this first picture…just goes to show you can always be surprised by a fairy….popping up on a ladder or showing up at any age.
* Kaitlyn’s “Bachelorette Yoga Class” on Saturdays! Looks fun!
* Hope Travels Well…..Marcia sent me a picture of her beautiful hanging basket of flowers and HOPE letters (she received while in Summerville) on her deck back home….HOPE is alive and well everywhere….even in N.H!!!
That’s great what Linda did publishing about you and your blog. I have been friends with Linda since the early 70s and her husband Gary. I learned some more about you from today’s blog and that just made me feel even more like part of your Family! And I am one of those daily readers that consider your blog my devotional because of the messages of love and hope and of our God and our Saviour! I pray each day you will be able to write your blog at least until you are 100! Now I know another friend is also a reader, Linda.
What a nice compliment Johnny….my day just got brighter!
Excellent article but not a surprise with the combination of Linda and you. God is so good and you are one of His many blessings….
Thank you Gin-g…Linda did a great job!
Out of town yesterday, so “a day late and dollar short” as the saying goes. Anyway, just could not let this go by without a comment. The article is great and thanks to Linda now all the ADK members will have an opportunity to know just how special and talented you are. For the benefit of readers who may not know, many years ago you were invited to be a member of ADK because you were considered by your peers and supervisors to be an outstanding educator. You touched so many lives in a positive way during your teaching years, and now, you are still touching so many people. What a beautiful tribute to a special lady! Thanks again, Linda.
Bless you Jo….when it comes to talking about educators…you,, my dear, are the real deal!
Becky, Linda wrote a beautful trubute to you … you are such an inspirational woman with such strong faith that you draw people to you like a magnet. Not to mention your talented “voice”. As far as I am concerned you would be a candidate for the twenty dollar bill!
What a hoot….I think Harriett Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt might not like that idea…but thanks for the vote of confidence!