Adding “Life’s Extras” to the Manger

Dear Reader:

I know it is the ‘gardener’ in me…but I happen to be of the mind that anything looks better with greenery complementing it…it just adds another dimension of ‘comfort and joy.’

So yesterday…as I began displaying the various mangers I have received as Christmas presents over the years…I started looking around for different types of greenery to add to the creches.

In the title picture …the five separate art components depicting the manger scene are enveloped by one of my indoor hanging green plants…

I have a feeling that if Joseph and Mary could have chosen their son’s birth place… they would have loved at least some “desert” succulents to  afford them a little more privacy…perhaps even succulents in green barrels?



Some historians think the “manger'” was actually more of a cave…if that is true…At the entrance Joseph and Mary could have seen a diversity of mosses, ferns…and inside the cave stalagnites. The “decor”possibilities could go on and on…

I added some different greenery behind the oyster shell manger that Mollie gave me for Christmas last year…love it! Though now that I think about it…I need to find some miniature palms or at least palm fronds to add to this low country beach manger background! 🙂 Coming soon to a manger near you! 🙂

As I busily cleaned out one of my shelves in the “Happy Room” for “Big Red” the painting by Anne…I went for the Christmas garland look with red berries…”Big Red”- the geranium- is getting ready to have four big red blooms on it…my natural porch Christmas decor.

But to tell you the truth…my favorite look at Christmas is a bright white light candle surrounded by ivy. There is just something so pure and peaceful about that particular “look.”

I lucked up when I went to the garage yesterday looking for a certain wreath and instead found an old metallic outline of a tree with a star that contained a candle holder in the center of the structure. Perfect…especially this year…with the exciting viewing of the “Christmas Star” and the close proximity of Jupiter and Neptune. I am so excited about it!!

I placed it on the green chair on the porch…and then went and found some ivy sprigs growing  by the bottle tree in the front yard. My favorite decoration yet!

Don’t we all deserve something special in our lives…especially after this year…perhaps our own dream “greenery” …something that just makes us smile in appreciation of its beauty?

Remember Archibald Rutledge called these items “Life’s Extras“and wrote a marvelous book by that name.

“All spiritual qualities appear to me to be extras; generosity, aspiration, courage, beyond the call of duty, and the love that outlasts the years. These things did not just happen; they could not appear in an accidental world. They were so ordered by the Hand Divine which made our spirits what they are and tenderly ministers to their needs.”

So until tomorrow…

“Faith is one of life’s extras. We do not need it to live; but it is essential to the development of our spirits. It is the covenant which, if kept with God, will keep our pathway clear and our feet from falling. Life is instinct with mystery; but that very fact makes faith both rich and necessary.”

“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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5 Responses to Adding “Life’s Extras” to the Manger

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Becky….your decorations are beautiful and I agree that greenery adds so much to any floral arrangement or display…will have to drop by before Christmas to see…


  2. Joanna King says:

    Becky, I have a copy of “Life’s Extras” by Archibald Rutledge, given to my family for Christmas when I was growing up in High Point, NC. Allan and I took Mama to his plantation years ago and she was amazed that we could find where he lived. I still talk weekly to the lady who gave it to us, Lib Whitesides, who will celebrate her 99th birthday soon! She is my true Life’s Extra! Hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful Christmas!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      What a lovely story…I love that little proves that the old saying is right…’the best things do come in small packages.” Henry Ford loved this book so much he ordered a copy for all his workers.


      • Becky Dingle says:

        Joanna…I wanted to add that I wish you and the girls a wonderful Christmas also…where exactly are you living now? I really miss seeing you…it was so much fun at Tommy and Kaitlyn’s wedding to have you there and a chance to catch up.


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