I Can Hardly Remember When…And Now the Blog’s Turned Ten!

Chapel of Hope Stories. Com

Dear Reader:

I stopped and pinched myself before I started typing this particular post for today’s benchmark celebration…Ten years ago, on Saturday August 7, 2010, I wrote my first blog post. Little did I know my life was about to change with that initial writing!

Family Prologue: 2010

The immediate family, at the time of the first post consisted of…John, Mandy and three month old Eva Cate (they had married in 2008 and Eva Cate arrived in April 2010, Walsh…single but seriously dating Mollie Temple, and Tommy who was still “Single Dingle” at the time- had finished Clemson but not started Charleston Law School…(therefore he had not met Kaitlyn Swicegood yet…a law student colleague and soon the love of his life.)

*First photos of me and Eva Cate in 2010…as well as her with Mandy and Poppy (Mr. Dingle) her adored great-grandfather. (* I was two years into chemo fighting breast cancer with an initial prognosis of  an approximate three-year-life span.

And now? 🙂 August 2019

Let’s just say this has been a productive and ‘reproductive‘ decade for the family! 🙂 From left to right…Mollie, Eloise, Walsh, Tommy, Kaitlyn, Jake, me, Eva Cate, John, Mandy with Rutledge and Lachlan in front. Five grandchildren and six adorable grand-dogs… the family is complete (…as of this writing?)! Isn’t life full of wonderful surprises? *I’m eternally grateful to God that I didn’t miss out on this incredible future that lay ahead of “little c.”

Ten Lessons I Have Learned This Past Decade

  1. Gratitude and Appreciation: 

Special thanks to Mike Burwell …who first discovered St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope on his motorbike, Honey for physically taking me to Trust, NC to see St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope, Mandy for explaining a blog to me, John for setting up the original post template…plus fixing every technical “oops” I made those first few months…until present 🙂 Anne for always bouncing ideas off with me and so graciously giving of her artistic talents for the post…including the one today…(title painting) with one day’s notice.

*A special ‘thank you’ to Bill and Beverly Barutio...creators of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope. The little chapel in the woods that has helped so many people find their way home again.

2. Taking Risks: 

I was absolutely terrified ten years ago to the day…’What had I gotten myself into…what was I going to write about?’ And then I felt a sense of peace engulf me.. I knew, intuitively, that no matter how this new episode turned out…I was meant to do it. It has been the greatest adventure of my life.

3. Recognizing God’s Winks:

The initial blog emphasized God’s Winks in our daily lives. Even though I don’t use the term as much as I initially did…I am still a true believer. In fact yesterday I was driving on I-526 and suddenly realized that a transport truck in front of me had some writing on the back of the cab. When I got close enough to read what it said…I smiled. God is still holding my hand and reminding me that He is never far from me…no matter where I am.

He has changed my life for the better…sometimes pulling me kicking and screaming…but always ending up in a better place from where I started.

4. Keeping the Faith

With now twelve years of on-going treatments for breast cancer “above my belt” 🙂 I am one of countless numbers of people living with cancer today…thanks to modern medicine. Every time my cancer has come rushing back…a new treatment/medication has appeared (eerily) on the market… without fail. When I think about what I would have missed…if three years had been my check-out time…I shake my head in disbelief…never to have met each new, amazing member of the family, including all the precious dogs…God has given me the greatest gift of time to be a presence in my grandchildren’s lives…in the future! What joy!

5. Giving and Receiving

I, sometimes feel like a ‘pretender,’ when friends and blog readers thank me for this daily post…because it is me who benefits so much from this on-going creative outlet. I need to thank all of you!

I need this blog as much as any human being needs air…to live and soar. It has kept my mind occupied while going through more treatments and surgeries…and as of March 2020 and the arrival of Covid19…it has kept me intact thinking out loud about all the craziness in the world now and gives each day “substance.”

It has also kept me on a schedule which is important in my life. No matter what else happens daily…I  write the blog. (Unless the computer gremlins come during the night 🙂

6. New Perspectives

Chapel of Hope Stories has made me research topics for a better understanding of both sides of conflicts and the truth behind idle rhetoric. God challenges  us to quit worrying about the ‘world turned upside down’ …instead to return to basic morality lessons we all learned as children. When things get more than we can handle we must remember Mr. Rogers’ mother had it right all along….

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Today with COVID19 it is the front-liners who are making all the difference in putting our lives back together again, by putting their lives on the line for us daily….doctors, nurses, food distributors, service people/maids/street cleaners,  transportation drivers, meals on wheels, nursing home caregivers and soon…teachers…plus so many more… too numerous to list.

God is showing us whom we should follow …the ones who drive the buses..not the ones throwing people under them.

7.  Patience

Patience is not my best suit, but then it isn’t most other people’s either. With the majority of people still “in house” quarantined in whatever limited capacity we find ourselves in … the delayed virus re-bound is preying on many people’s nerves. Every time I get to this point…I make myself get in the car and drive around. My objective: Looking for positives in these difficult times.

The first thing I notice is the huge difference in the number of cars at any given time…compared to what it once was. Summerville is a rapidly growing town with some definite ‘growing pains’…congested traffic being number one. Now I can get in and out of my neighborhood, as well as, drive through town, without putting the pedal to the metal pulling out of each street . Driving is less stressful…businesses are so friendly and  happy to see you if you call and go in to pick up something. They are lonely too.

***Special times with family (masks and all) a sign of the times… are bright spots in my life these days…

 

 

 

 

 

8. Beauty is Free and All Around Us

My garden looks better this year than it has since 2013 when it was first designed. I am taking advantage of this abundance of Coronavirus time to pull weeds, pick up tree debris (pine cones, sprays, broken branches and stems) cut back excess growth, spray for bugs, etc. It really is the little things that make such a difference.

I start my day in the garden and end it there too…As you know I constantly take photos and share my garden’s beauty with all of you because we understand God wants us to live in the most beautiful surroundings we can find while along our journey on earth.

9. Loyalty and Friendship

You readers have taught me more about loyalty and continued support than anyone else. You have been there for me through good times and bad….some of you I know personally from my youth and young adulthood, but most of you I don’t-you are a number that shows up each day with no name but a blessing still for me …and then there are the other ones of you who started corresponding through the blog and today I feel like you are part of my extended family.

We have texted, emailed and even snail-mailed back and forth…over months and years…until we now care about each others lives…no matter if they are on the other side of the world. We are connected.

It is this connection that draws me to the computer each day as I share a thought, an observation, or simply a passing moment. Thanks for listening…none of us are alone as long as we share our thoughts together.  It’s a small world, after all.

10. HOPE 

In reading the third and fourth stanzas of “Amazing Grace”…I have come to realize that hope, faith and grace are all interchangeable since they are all connected together.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

I could just as easily say….“Tis hope has brought me safe thus far…and hope will lead me home”…because the “Lord has promised good to me” and most certainly ” His word my hope secures.”

How could I end here without bringing in “Big Red” ….my amazing geranium  that appeared as a gift the day I left the hospital after my first breast cancer surgery. The special gift who stayed with me for over a decade before passing on… but not before sample root cuttings from the plant were saved and replanted by my neighbors…Vickie and Chelsey. Now cloned “Big Red” II has climbed to the highest elevation  of all…hoping its tip-top bud will open soon for all to see.

So until tomorrow…Let us always remind ourselves that God doesn’t promise we’ll never fail, just that our strength and hope will be renewed.

I feel renewed and ready to start with the next decade…how about you? I couldn’t take the journey without you!

“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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17 Responses to I Can Hardly Remember When…And Now the Blog’s Turned Ten!

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Oh dear Becky Boo! What an amazing gift you give to us, “your blog followers” each day.
    I am thankful that Mike found the little chapel in Trust. Little did we know you would take this experience and turn it into such an amazing journey for all of us. But of course you would! You have always been amazing in every endeavor.
    I thank you for always being there for me when I needed you more than you probably realized.I love you and admire you sooo much. As I close for now I am reminded of a time when we were at a state meeting. Governor Riley, at the time, Superintendent of Education, shook my hand and said, “Be strong in what you do!”So I leave you with that quote and lots of love and admiration❤️

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love that comment from Governor Riley…”Be strong in what you do”…I am so glad we have had each other to be strong with and for Honey. I never feel alone as long as I know you are in the world! We need many more Honeys in it!

      Like

  2. Carol Poole says:

    Good morning, Sunshine! Luke and I were just discussing your post today. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years. And what a learning, growing /becoming time it has been. Your blog today is so beautiful and meaningful. I stand/sit amazed at how you produce something so beautiful and touching every day. Of course, when you make a promise, it is a promise. Your list of the ten things that keep you going Is right on point, and so inspirational. I must be more mindful of them myself. I find myself being disappointed in me because I am not actively engaged in some activity all the time. And then Luke reminds me that I will be 76 (aghhhhhh) in 11 days and it may be ok to slow down a little. And then I think that Mondays I work with the church’s “to go” soup kitchen, and Wednesdays I am in charge of the food bank And Thursdays I have to do the paperwork and order for next week, and Saturdays we have a little “deck time” with four close friends/family. We have been gathering on the deck for about two hours almost every Saturday since the first part of April. We started doing it because my aunt, sister, and best friend, were feeling so lonely (all widows), and we included Ed Moore because he is living in the Elms now and is so much fun. We all look forward to that time together. My time is confined to the church activities and the deck. And then on Sundays we hold a Sunday School Class Zoom conference call. Did I say I was not doing much ? And that isn’t even all of it. No more thinking I waste my time. You taught me that today. Thank you.

    I love how you have stood up to your challenge and how you have bloomed and grown since that day “whose name must not be spoken.” That day that you decided you were not going to go quietly. Oh, my dear friend, you are an inspiration to all of us. Keep showing the rest of us how to do life well.

    I love you so much. Carol 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

    Sent from my iPad

    >>

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love you so much back!!!!!!! Some of life’s best memories center around you and our road trips together…laughter was always a priority. I always remember your birthday, August 18…because of the historical birthday games we used to play with the teachers…so much fun…I pray in retrospect they have used many of our ideas and activities and all are telling stories! 🙂 Thank you for your support always Carol! Love, Becky

      Like

  3. Rujuta says:

    Wish you a very happy bloggiversary!! 🙂 Your posts inspire me and are a dose of positivity for me! Hope to keep reading new exciting stuff in the coming decade!! 🙂

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love the new word! Bloggiversary….too cute! Thank you Rujuta for your continued support and comments…I look forward to reading them each time you correspond. Where are you living now…I feel like I don’t know much about you…and you are so sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rujuta says:

        🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m in India! Would be great if you could check out my posts as well. Currently a bit inactive.. But I love writing. Hope to get more time for blogging soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ambikasur says:

    Happy Anniversary Becky… Time flies indeed… God bless you and prosper you more… Always remain the inspiration that you are… Loads of love…

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you Ambika…what a long journeys both of us have taken us…me with grandchildren and you with your three adorable boys and loving family. Aren’t we so blessed?

      Like

  5. Harriett Edwards says:

    Thank you for sharing with us for ten years! Keep up the HOPE!!! ❤️

    Like

  6. Rachel Edwards says:

    Happy 10th Bday to the blog that brightens my day each morning…will never forget our visit to the Chapel…or saying Rabbit the 1st say of each month…God holding your hand for 12 yrs …all if the God’s wink and the times when we get together and we have to take turns talking because our thoughts stir up more conversation…so thankful and blessed for you and your blog…all in God’s timing…

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Isn’t it all these small but memorable happenstances that make life worth living? Aren’t we so blessed to be able to share it together.

      Like

  7. Beverly Dufford says:

    Happy Tenth anniversary! This was one of my most favorite blogs yet. First of all, thanks to you and all who had a part in getting this started ten years ago . Thank you, Becky, for inspiring and yes, teaching us every day with your words. “The Ten Lessons I Have Learned” message was perfect, and many of those lessens you have reminded us of along the way. I now often use the words, a God Wink, to describe things that happen along the way. I’d like to talk about each one, but you have done such a wonderful job, however, I have to say that I’ve never seen those words on a big truck, but that was great. And in remembering to enjoy God’s gifts of beauty all around us, I have to say Big Red and her offspring have offered us much. Watching your family and garden grow have been a blessing to me. So here’s to the next ten years of reading, being inspired and trying to remember the ten lessens you have taught us too. Thanks!
    t

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Jo…Like the solar light I gave you that you wrote and told me was still shining…your larger than life presence has lit up my life from the first day I met you. We shared a love of storytelling that instantly bonded us initially but then it grew into a deeper friendship of appreciation for each other’s existence. Wasn’t God so wise to plan the timing perfectly so our lives would intersect… providing each of us an opportunity to be a guardian angel to the other/ Here’s to 10 more Jo! Hang on for the ride! 🙂

      Like

  8. Pat McTeer jackson says:

    Just love Chapel of Hope and love ❤️ your articles! So very up lifting and educational!! I have really learned a Lot! Love 💕 you and your talent!

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Pat….Thank you , thank you, thank you! It means so much coming from you. Love you back and front and back again! 🙂

      Like

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