“Heaven is Under Our Feet, As well as, Over Our Heads”


Dear Reader:

I love today’s title quote by Thoreau…How observant of him to realize that heaven just isn’t above us….but, like God, all around us.

Every time I go to my garden…I feel like I see another slice of heaven in each new bloom or each new plant or flower addition to the garden…I am witness to seeds of life  being created, then planted, and growing taller… more every day. I get to feel (for a few precious seconds)…what God experiences daily…life abounding throughout the universe. Mind-boggling!

It hit full force one day while sitting in the garden swing… that the reason the blog and garden mean so much to me is that they are dependent on me. Nothing grows unless I plant it…and a post doesn’t write itself. *

And don’t we all need someone or something that depends on us for its very existence?

“The “empty nest” syndrome is very real…once our children, who once depended on us for everything leave the house…there is a void.  We try and tell ourselves how wonderful it is now to clean the house and have it stay clean…and it is…to a certain extent. But even clean houses lose their charm … when silence prevails too long.

For years, children of all ages depended on me…as a parent and a teacher…Later one day my mother started  depending on me the last years of her life…and then that was over too.

Of course the grandchildren love me and they are the light of my life..but they don’t really depend on me on a daily basis in their lives. They have their parents for that…

But Once Upon a Time the garden and blog entered my life and once again I felt needed. Don’t we all need to feel needed in life?


Yesterday was such a wonderful day! Fin and Virginia Smith came for a visit…their son, Jared, and my son Tommy were roommates, while at Clemson for the whole four years, and both ended up in the low country after graduation.



Jared’s parents retired and moved down too…to be close to both their sons and Virginia’s mother who is at Presbyterian Village. They lived at Isle of Palms for awhile and most recently in Mt. Pleasant. Then their son Jared and his wife made a career move to Augusta this summer with their one-year-old son, Bennett. Nothing is sadder for a first-time grandparent!

Fin and Virginia decided to look for a house in Summerville to rent to be nearer Virginia’s mother and as it turned out…there was a house to rent in my neighborhood. We are still keeping our fingers crossed  that things work out for the long term,  but, in the meantime short term, it gave us an opportunity to meet again, after many years.

I went to Swanks Bakery and got some more mack-ah- rohns for a treat to share…if you haven’t been to this Summerville bakery…please do…so many different types of desserts that melt in your mouth.

Lorraine White (the music teacher at Alston Middle School where I taught my whole career) and I, for several years, traveled around to different schools, historical sites, and state parks to tell stories, with Lorraine adding music to the agenda…What a voice God gave this friend of mine!


Fin Smith, was a principal and P.E. teacher, at the most wonderful little rural elementary school, around the Clemson/Anderson area … while the boys were still at Clemson. He found out about Lorraine and me doing these performances through Tommy and hired us to come do presentations with his teachers.

He told me yesterday he still remembers the “Tate” story Lorraine told…it is a familiar old folksey (tongue in cheek) story that makes you burst out laughing.

Lorraine used the “Tate” story to describe different students that teachers might meet in their classroom… which had all the teachers dying laughing because they could relate to them all…but you can easily see how you can use the “Tate family” members and put them in any situation… school, an office, any workplace ….and make the laughter roll.

It works well for describing the different folks one might find in church too…and this is the one I re-discovered concerning a congregation. Too cute…enjoy!

(*I just selected some of the “Tate” family members from the story because it could go on and on…and that is the fun part…finding new Tate family members for your version of the story!)

Here’s a humorous look at the “Tate” family members that may go to your church:

There’s old man Dic Tate. He wants to run everything.

Mrs. Irri Tate tends to annoy people in Sunday school with her mannerisms and way of speaking.

Uncle Ro Tate tries to change everything regarding the church. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is not one of his favorite proverbs!

Sister Agi Tate is always stirring up trouble!

Even a 5% chance of rain makes Uncle Precipi Tate carry his umbrella to church.

Commen Tate has an opinion on everything… even things she knows nothing about.

Whenever someone proposes a new project or event, it’s impossible to get Hesi Tate or his wife, Vege Tate, interested. They always want to wait at least until next year.

Regurgi Tate always wants to bring something up again for a new vote.

There’s Aunt Imi Tate who thinks her pastor ought to preach like her favorite TV preacher. She’d also like for the music to be like that at a church she visited.

Devas Tate provides the voice of doom. He thinks he has the gift of prophecy

Ampu Tate. He has completely cut himself off from the church because of some relatively minor (in terms of Kingdom values) dispute.

But not all is lost…Lets look at these wonderful members….

Rehabili Tate helps run the church’s activities.

Fortunately, there’s Brother Facili Tate who is always helpful.

One happy, delightful member is Miss Felici Tate.

While cousins Cogi Tate and Medi Tate always need to think things over; they are sure to lend helpful, steady hands in the end.

And Finally….

Resusci Tate breathes new life into the church.

Anybody sound familiar? 🙂 🙂 🙂


A Shout-out to Ann Graves and a big thank you for the surcie you left me yesterday on the front porch…it was a solar mason jar with lights. I immediately thought of one spot in the garden where it is especially dark at night and hung it up…normally solar mason jars take a full day of sun before they come on at night….but when I peeked out (while locking up last evening)…I shook my head in surprise and amazement.

It wasn’t the usual white lights but delicate pastel colors reflecting back from the jar….so unexpected and so pretty! Thank you Ann…another light to help me find my way out of the darkness.



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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