The Price of a Day


Dear Reader:

The nicest thing about looking for a certain book or a piece of jewelry or whatever it is…is that, more often than not, we get detoured by another “find.”

That is what happened to bring about the idea for this post. I was looking for one thing and found another…a message that a mother wrote to her son on high school graduation day. The son kept it in his wallet until the day his wife found it following his sudden heart attack and death.

Apparently the advice on the message took him far as he lead a quite successful life, both personally and professionally. It did make me pause and re-think my day yesterday….I hope it does the same for you today.

This is the beginning of a new day

I have been given this day to use as I will

I can waste it or use it for good. 

What I do today is importnat

Because I’m exchanging a

day of my life for it. 

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone

forever leaving in it’s place whatever I have traded

it for. 

I pledge to myself that it shall be:

Gain not loss; Good not evil

Kindness not impatience; Love not fear

in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for this day.


Annie Dillard, in her New York Times Bestseller…created the quote used for the theme of the blog. In her book she makes several interesting observations between living good days and/or a good life.

There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life. 

Isn’t this always the dilemma in life…the balancing act Dr. Seuss always talked about? “Life is a balancing act.” How do we maintain enough stability through routine and regiment…while still allowing our wings to fly in discovering our own creativity.

Thomas Jefferson, who was definitely a Renaissance Man…by any and all standards…maintained a disciplined daily routine and still was able to create, write, and design his own life.

I always remember one comment made by the tour guide on my last trip to Monticello a few years ago with a group of teachers…

A typical day for Jefferson started early, because, in his own words, “Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.” He told of a fifty-year period in which the sun had never caught him in bed; he rose as soon as he could read the hands of the clock kept directly opposite his bed.

Jefferson’s idea of a “vacation” day would have been to read all day without looking up. He was an avid reader and hated waiting on late dinner guests so he always kept a book on his mantle…most of the time guests would walk into his dining room  to find him completely immersed in a book.

From morning to night he kept his rigorous schedule of writing…taking notes on weather, migration patterns of birds, and flowers…then later…notes on new inventions he created, correspondence letters (which, like most us, he gritted his teeth to get through each day) or drawing new architectural designs.

He left time for exercise in walking around the grounds of his beautiful home examining plants and vegetables of every experimentation.

download (1)Each morning he built his own fire and soaked his feet in cold water…he believed this lead to good health and for eighty plus years it must have worked.

As we study famous people who accomplished much in their lives…we come to see that many of these, like Jefferson, designed their own balance between routine and creative happiness.

So until tomorrow…may we, too, design our lives so we never “regret the price we paid for this day.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Like Jefferson my daily morning walk through the garden starts my day off right by soothing my soul in my sanctuary with God.

Yesterday this beautiful morning glory stole my heart!


*Nancy, Anne’s sister has just started chemo and prayers are welcomed and appreciated that her tolerance for the drugs will be good and that she will continue to manage some normalcy in her life while going through them.

*Rudy has his doctor’s visit this morning (vet was sick last week and appointment was cancelled)…Please pray for the family to maintain our strong faith in God whose love for all His creatures is abiding and everlasting…and to remember that a lifetime of memories can be lived in a single moment!



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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