A “Lantana” Friendship


Dear Reader:

Starting with Libby’s birthday earlier this month… the Ya’s decided that we would take time to tell each other what we really feel about our special friendship (that have persevered over a span of almost five decades.)

The special birthday Ya would receive a card from the other Ya’s revealing the strengths we each attribute to her… and a list of  adjectives that readily come to mind when we think of that friend.

As I was watering the garden (yesterday) and watching certain plants wilting under the seemingly endless, hot, acrid conditions…I glanced over at my lantana and it seemed to be smiling back at me….looking serene, cool, and comfortable in this hot weather.

The lantana have been subjected to the same challenging conditions as the other plants but, obviously, something set it apart from the rest..it can persevere while other plants wither and fall.

It was this “Eureka” moment that made me realize that the one strong connective “thread” that the Ya’s  all share…is perseverance. We are all survivors…when the going gets tough…we dig in and get tougher. We are “Lantana Ladies!

Part of that “digging in” includes revealing our innermost thoughts and feelings, usually reserved for only ourselves.

Anne emailed me yesterday and said that she and some of her family had gone to see the latest Disney Pixar movie….Inside Out and loved it! She told me I would really like it too and it would give me a lot of material to think about on the blog. She thought she could even use some ideas for the Sunday School class.

The premise of the movie centers around the notion of what would happen if our inner feelings got out and took control of our lives. If we could no longer mask our deepest feelings but reveal them for all to see. If we could only live in the moment…in our short-term memory…without a long-term memory…how would our lives change?

For many of us….we would have to let our deepest thoughts emerge under the heading of  “I Thought it was just Me.” We would have to reveal those secret “terrible thoughts” that scare us in their bizarre intensity.

MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Here is a clip from the movie showing the fight of inner feelings to get out. “Inside Out”

nside Out Official Trailer #2 (2015) – Disney Pixar Movie HD




As humans we manage to turn our own worlds upside down because we don’t think we deserve happiness and fulfillment. Now be honest…hasn’t someone out there gone through a period of bliss where everything just seems to be coming together…clicking in perfect harmony?

But…instead of rejoicing in this abundant period of happiness…we sabotage these wonderful moments by downplaying our feelings…sticking them into neutral?

Why? Because we are afraid that (based on life experiences) the pendulum will swing as low as the earlier high….and we don’t want to subject ourselves to that sharp descent from happiness to despair.

We would rather settle for a life of mediocrity….a mediocrity of goals, ambitions, and dreams. We would rather follow the path most traveled than to branch out and pursue the small voice inside us…begging us…to make the most of our lives here on earth.

Brene Brown, Ph.D (The Gifts of Imperfection)  gathered her courage (before five hundred participants in a parenting seminar she was presenting at)… and gave this personal revelation:

“I gave an example of standing over my daughter, watching her sleep, feeling totally engulfed in gratitude, then being ripped out of that joy and gratitude by images of something bad happening to her.”

Brown continued the story by saying that when she finished revealing this most personal, secret feeling…you could hear a pin drop. She thought “Oh, God, I’m crazy and now they are all sitting there like…”She’s a nut…How do we get out of here and can we get our money back?”

Suddenly the deadly silence was broken by a woman sitting in the back row…sobbing…loudly…and then a shout from another parent demanding “Oh my God, why do we do that? What does it mean?” The auditorium erupted in some kind of crazy parent revival. As I had suspected, I was not alone in my feelings.

Fear and joy…why do they seem to go hand in hand? Brown summed it up saying:

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.

So until tomorrow….Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* I had a wonderful “aha” moment yesterday. Mollie and the boys stopped by the house while Tommy and Kaitlyn were over visiting. Kaitlyn and I offered to keep the kids to give Mollie time to run to the store and pick up some steaks to cook for Walsh when he got off work this evening.

Rutledge was so excited to be at Boo Boo’s…immediately he asked for the dolphin rocker. Tommy brought it over from the other side and Rutledge happily rocked back and forth.

Kaitlyn and I took some pictures of him rocking…then Kaitlyn videoed him giving the name of the dolphin.

IMG_5811She asked “Who are you riding Rutledge?” and he replied “HOPE” over and over. She played the short video back and suddenly the moment became memorable… hearing that sweet little voice saying “hope.

Here was my two year old grandson….repeatedly stating that he was riding HOPE…and all I could think of was that my wish for Rutledge would be that he would always ride HOPE through life.

image1 (2)Later he grew tired and climbed up in my lap and fell asleep…I didn’t realize how big he had gotten until then…the days of curling up with Boo in the rocker are coming to an end…childhood is so (sadly) short.


Yesterday at 10:00 our congregation gathered outside the sanctuary with children’s handbells…Jeff, our pastor, read scripture and Dorothy, our associate pastor, made remarks about the tragic shooting at Emanuel AME. Then, in a circle, we rang the bells, one person at a time.

Suddenly…the lyrics to the old Peter, Paul, and Mary song “If I had a Hammer“) rang out in my mind….especially the second stanza…it certainly summed up this poignant moment.

If I had a bell,
I’d ring it in the morning,
I’d ring it in the evening,
All over this land

I’d ring out danger,
I’d ring out a warning
I’d ring out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

* Doodle, Harvey, and Catherine stood by me in the circle…it is nice to be with family on these type of life occasions, isn’t it? 








* Take a moment and listen to this powerful folk song from our past…still appropo today.

Peter, Paul & Mary – If I Had A Hammer – 1963 … – YouTube

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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