Finding our “Verve”!


Dear Reader:

Monday I had lunch with a friend at O’Charlies. We were seated in the bar area and I happened to look up and see this sign. “Come on back for Good Times.” I found myself automatically smiling. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us had a big sign in our front yard with this saying on it? Don’t we all want our homes to be the place where people like to gather and can expect a good time?

The other day I came across the word “verve” and looked it up because I couldn’t quite remember the exact definition of the word. Verve means: Vigor, Enthusiasm and spirit. I think it will be my new word of the week. I like it.

Sarah Breathnach (Simple Abundance) equates the term “verve” as the secret of personal style and taste. She named several famous women, like the late Princess Diana and Diane Keaton as examples of the definition …their spirit emerges through their living style.

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” Emily Dickinson 

An anecdote was attached to this quote about this favorite poet of mine that I liked a lot.

“Emily Dickinson showed verve by preferring to dress entirely in white, year-round, at a time when most Victorian women dressed in dark, somber colors. Perhaps, Miss Dickinson knew that expressing verve through her clothing could jump-start the ecstatic experience she so fervently sought and encouraged others to seek as well.

I must have at least 6 different orange colored blouses, tunics, and jackets. It has taken me a lifetime but I know what moves and excites me….oranges, yellows, tunic style blouses and shirts.

In my home I have been blessed doubly…because I can enjoy my bright yellows and oranges in my happy room and bedroom while on the other side (B&B)….soft gray pastels, with dark gray chalk-paint cabinets reign over the/kitchen. One bedroom continues with the gray pastel and a pastel green to finish it off…while the other bedroom and living room shout out reds to make a statement against the gray.


In my parallel life all my furniture would be “distressed” and termed shabby chic by some and just plain shabby by others. I love lived-in-looking furniture…nothing formal.  I want people to feel comfortable sitting on my furniture, not scared of spilling anything. A home should always be about people, memories, and good times.









The whole analogy of comparing people to onions becomes more credible the older I get. It has taken me a lifetime of peeling off layers to finally discover my “verve.” But now that I have….this is one happy gal!

Breathnach gives this great suggestion to discovering our verve….”Be constantly on the lookout for the ecstatic experience; what excites us or moves us to tears, what makes the blood rush to our head, our hearts skip a beat, our knee shaky, and our souls sigh….food for the eye is to be found everywhere. It is all about discovering you.”

Like my house and clothing…I am not about being matchy-matchy but mis-matched. I purposefully place odd pieces of furniture together and this holds true for the garden. I want lots and lots of diversity in my garden…azaleas next to gerber daisies next to marigolds, next to petunias, next to roses and so on….always adding an odd feature to catch one’s attention.,,like my fairy garden in the old wheelbarrow where the red petunias were planted last year and a few are starting to emerge again.







So until tomorrow….Have you found your “verve” yet…if not…open your eyes to the parts of life that make you the happiest…which colors, which homes, fences, gardens, furniture, flowers, shapes and sizes and then start slowly adding more of them to your life. No matter the size of your space…fill it with your personal happiness.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I believe Mollie’s “verve” is two little boys named Rutledge and Lachlan…looking mighty happy.


Lachlan is feeling better…we missed  him and Mollie this Easter- he caught a yucky virus going around the day care center. “Some bunny” is feeling better now.

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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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