The Gift of Community



Dear Reader:

Christmas Eve 2016 has arrived…the family will be coming and meeting at the church for the 5:00 Christmas Eve Service. This year Ady, Rutledge and Eva Cate will help me perform some magic tricks before my story begins….entitled: Christmas Candy Magic…the legend and story behind the power of the Candy Cane… changing lives at Christmas through the Christmas story and the Good News.

It was the story I told at the MS luncheon based on a sweet little story that Elizabeth Peterson gave me to use for their candy cane theme this year. Of course I always tweak and adapt the story to varying situations…but the main focus always stays in place. Tomorrow I will give you the link to the story and hope you enjoy it.

As much as, sometimes, I would like to forget that there is cancer still inside me, these past few months has brought this reality check back to to front burner. “Little c” is still part of me..and my hope is that the new drugs can help it go dormant again for the winter, like many animals, but unlike animals, I hope it will stabilize for all the other seasons too…spring, summer, and fall. Only time will tell.

It is this reality I live with that makes holidays and special family gatherings even more special. Life is not taken for granted and the community of medical staff (doctors, surgeons, nurses) my pastor, friends and family are not taken for granted either. The choice I make in living with cancer is simply not allowing it to define me.

I am not a cancer victim…I just happen to be someone who has this disease and is living her life as fully as possible …Like Grandma Moses (artist) explained quite simply: 

3-quote-about-life-is-what-you-make-of-it-always-has-been-a-image-black-background It is your web of hope and encouragement…that is completely responsible for me celebrating this eighth holiday since my initial diagnosis. And who says there are no Christmas miracles? All I have to do is go look in the mirror to find one.


Here are some excerpts from an article called A Christmas Cancer Story. The main focal point is encouraging  all of us to focus more on community during the holidays and not ourselves and just our families. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article that I liked.

THIS CHRISTMAS WILL BE disheartening for many of us. Our unstable economy, dwindling financial security, home foreclosures, and job losses will not pause for the holiday season. Add health issues to that equation and the result is few, if any, gifts beneath the Christmas Tree. However, there is a bright star in our dark night: community support.

We are bigger than the sum of our problems.

We belong to the community of mankind. Fellowship and help networks filled with resources and hope are available to everyone. So are sympathetic shoulders on which to cry.

I overheard an interesting conversation while standing in a grocery store check-out line one day.

One lady with a cart full of groceries complained about her financial problems to a second woman who responded with, “If you want to change the way your problems appear, change the way you peer at them.” What a remarkable answer! It reminded me of the movie Dead Poets Society, in which the late Robin Williams played an English Professor who encouraged his students to stand on top of their desks to gain a different perspective on life.

Another helpful way to achieve this change is by not looking at your problems alone.

Like the students in the movie, sometimes we need a guide to help us process challenges differently. A second set of eyes may not be distracted by the smoldering smoke of crisis.

Christmas is a message of hope, joy, love and survival against all odds, in the form of a new beginning based on faith; a homeless infant born in a barn during an extreme life threatening crisis who has only a manager for a crib and barn animals for physical warmth. His parents have little more than the clothes on their back. However, they are all blessed with the cloak of faith that hides them in plain sight, keeps them toasty on cold nights, and embraces them with credence. Their needs are met.

Christ did not receive piles of expensive gifts like X-box or the latest I-phone. He received a roof over his head, and one small heartfelt gift from each of three wise men. No one kept count of the number of presents…just the number of blessings received from the ‘heavenly hosts’ announcing the Prince of Peace. 

Source: Breast Cancer Authority   ………………………………………..

So until tomorrow…Enjoy each moment this Christmas Eve and Day…spreading good cheer to one and all…a smile of encouragement can take a stranger a long way.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh




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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1 Response to The Gift of Community

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Amen…and all is well …all is,well..Love you…hope you saw the picture I put on FB of the girls with the candy cane glasses….Love you

    On Dec 24, 2016 6:00 AM, “Chapel of Hope Stories” wrote:

    Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: Christmas Eve 2016 has arrived…the family will be coming and meeting at the church for the 5:00 Christmas Eve Service. This year Ady, Rutledge and Eva Cate will help me perform some magic tricks before my story begins….en”


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