If You Don’t Like Something, Change It; If you Can’t Change it, Change Your Attitude.”

 

If-you-dont-likeDear Reader:

In a surprisingly good read, The Night Garden, from an author I was not familiar with, Lisa van Allen, I found myself stopping and marking passages as I read farther and farther into the book.

20587874Olivia, a beautiful young woman, has undergone a bizarre life altercation that has changed her life into one of seclusion and isolation. From an accidental overdose from a close encounter/ proximity to some  poisonous plants, she has become an “untouchable”….Anyone who tries to do so…breaks out in a terrible rash that takes weeks to overcome.

Her father keeps trying to find a “cure” so his daughter can live a normal life outside their farm filled with different gardens of promise and a maze that helps one find direction for their future….everyone, except Olivia, who spends her life caring for the gardens, farm and her father.

When she first understood what the poisonous plants had done to her and her future she admitted that she threw a temper tantrum that lasted a whole year…from the age of 20 to 21. She went into mourning, gained weight, grew mean-spirited, and sulked.

But then, one wintry day she realized that her prolonged temper tantrum was just that, a voice of self-centered protest. “Why Me?” was like “throwing herself at the feet of the Almighty and screaming, “Make it stop.

She sat down on a bench and viewed the beautiful snowy hills and valleys surrounding the family farm in upper New York state. Suddenly her life took on new clarity as thoughts and visions filled her mind.

“Lilies of the field did not threaten to uproot themselves if they didn’t like where they were planted. On the slopes of the mountains, saplings struggled to grow in the shallowest puddles of soil that collected on bald rocks. Along the side of the valley’s single road, chicory and yellow trefoil had learned to thrive in waste spaces, where passing cars blew exhaust against them all day long. Like Olivia, they had no say over where their seeds took hold: When they could not change their surroundings, they themselves had to change.”

When I got to this passage I marked it, re-read it, and realized what an important thought and message was contained in the paragraph. Nothing new exactly, but a reminder when I needed one.

I see this in my garden every day…annuals that continue to reappear each spring (no one told them they weren’t invited to the next spring season’s kick-off) and a variety of trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers that bloom in spite of the challenging conditions surrounding them. Bloom where you are planted.

Some days I, too, am guilty of wishing I had something I want that would make my daily life easier, but then I realize that my life is about as good as it gets, just the way it is. It is up to me to find happiness, peace, and contentment within it. Conditions are never going to be perfect, according to our desires and wants, but we can learn to be happy within, sometimes, uncontrollable situations.

So until tomorrow…Let’s find happiness within ourselves…it’s portable and easy to carry wherever we go.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

FullSizeRenderWhile finishing  the last few pages of the novel Monday night…I had a sweet tooth attack and found one “lonely” little Dove chocolate. The message inside read: “Happy UnBirthday!”

How funny I thought and smiled…where had I heard that before? When you think about it any day can be made special with a “Happy UnBirthday!” *Too late to even send a belated birthday card?….Send a “Happy UnBirthday!

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Have you ever “un-birthdayed” anyone? Start now. If you don’t know a colleague’s birthday and don’t want to be embarrassed about sending a card at the wrong time….start sending out “Unbirthday” cards to your fellow workers. You turn  their day into something extra special…regardless of when their birthday actually is.

Unbirthday*The idea comes from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland where all the guests “unbirthdayed” each other.

It provides an unexpected surprise and makes the recipient’s day just a little brighter!

Since I don’t know all my readers’ birthdays and don’t go on Facebook daily….here is to all of you! Happy Un-Birthday!

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A Very Merry Unbirthday to You – YouTube

“Buffalo girls, won’t you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon(flowers)?”

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The Dingle brothers in action! While mom works in providing healthy ways to stay beautiful and confident…the boys provide “natural” ways to keep their “earth tone” appearance.

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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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