Coming Alive in the New Year

(Kelly Rae Roberts)

Dear Reader:

Isn’t that an interesting question? There is a lot of debate about who actually said the original quote…but it goes like this: “Ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that…because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman…maybe?)

As the old year wanes and 2018 draws nearer I think this is a question we all need to be able to answer…because we all need to know where our inner passion lies…what makes us feel more like the real us than at any other time.

My two passions are storytelling and writing. Every time I tell a story…I feel myself ‘coming alive.’ I get excited about the gift of a story I am able to give. Or on a day when the blog just comes together…the right words spew out at the right time…or the right story or quote appears to cement the message…I am on quite a high.

When I used to present social studies and/or storytelling workshops for the district and later state department (traveling to just about every county in the state)…I left each workshop feeling good about what I had done to help social studies teachers discover the connection of stories to history. When my Berkeley co-hort Carol Poole was with me, which was most of the time, we would both be in such a high after a presentation that we would chatter and laugh all the way home from wherever we had gone.

It is the gift of giving back, using whatever God-given talents we have received, that makes us feel that our lives are important and that we have been given a role to play. We have a sense of fulfillment that we don’t have otherwise…the ultimate “high”… with no artificial drugs needed.

And now these days… being a grandmother…the role of simply being able to love unconditionally again is fulfilling my cup of life to the brim.

I didn’t mention this in an earlier blog but something so sweet happened at the Christmas Eve Service.

When John, Mandy, Eva Cate, and Jakie arrived at church…they ended up sitting on the front row, like the rest of us, but one aisle across. Jakie wanted to sit with me on my lap and did so until it came time for me to tell my story and then John picked him up to hold him.

Jakie held his arms out to me as I left to go tell the story. When I got back John continued to hold him but Jakie stretched out his arm and hand as I stretched out mine. We held hands for probably six or seven minutes… never letting go once across the aisle. It was such a sweet gesture that I found myself not wanting to let go and neither would Jakie…a Christmas carol finally broke the bond when we all stood up to sing…but it is one of the sweetest memories of Christmas 2017.

During those few magical minutes we held hands across the aisle….as a grandmother… I felt so connected to this child who was supposed to be born in October but decided to choose my birthday (9/24) to arrive…There is just something extra special there.

I found this picture of us together for Jakie’s first Christmas (3 years ago)….my hand was  wrapped due to lymphedema and the physical therapy treatments that I was undergoing three times a week at St. Francis Bon Secours at that time.


 As our year ends together again…I am taken back to my special word for 2017…it was “listen.” Do you remember yours…and has anyone had an interesting situation arise from your chosen word that you would be willing to share with us from this past year? If so, I would love to hear the personal experience/story surrounding your “chosen word.” What have you learned?

From my word “Listen” I now better understand the analogy and connection between listening and learning…we can’t learn if we can’t listen…it is just that simple. I can write a new blog everyday from simply stopping and listening to the thoughts of others as I go through my daily life.  

My year of listening is best summed up with this Christmas song…one of my favorites. “Do you hear what I hear?”

*If you have never thought much about the lyrics …listen closely this time as Johnny Mathis sings this beautiful Christmas song. It teaches us the importance of listening because if anyone in the chain of events (in the song) that first Christmas had not been listening…the Word would not have scattered to the corners of the earth.

First the Night Wind tells the Little Lamb to see what it sees…a star with a tail as big as a kite. 

Then the Little Lamb tells the Shepherd Boy to hear what it hears…a song with voices as big as a sea

The Shepherd Boy goes to the Mighty King….to let him know what he knows in his warm palace that night…that there is a Child shivering in the cold…and the King should go take him silver and gold. 

The King then asks the people everywhere to listen to what he says…to pray for peace everywhere and that the Child sleeping that night will bring everyone goodness and light. 

Johnny Mathis – Do You Hear What I Hear – YouTube

A beautiful way to start or end the day…

So until tomorrow…Let us always remember to pause and listen to others and our Creator for therein lies the clues (goodness and light) to our path back home.

“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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2 Responses to Coming Alive in the New Year

  1. bcparkison says:

    Being a Grandmother is the most special thing ever. When my grands ,even the young just past 1 year old , come running waving their hands and calling” Bebe,Bebe “it is just music to my ears.Now …my parents ,both turning 95 this next year are very hard at hearing and I get so tired of repeating every thing I say.(More than once). But now I feel this same condition is creeping in on me. Oh dear. we need to listen while we can.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      That we do…so important to hear …really hear…what someone else is saying…and that does take time and patience…and humor.


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