Pick One: Gratitude or Ingratitude: They Don’t Co-Exist Together in Your Life!


Dear Reader:

I caught part of a discussion going on about gratitude and ingratitude within a discussion panel on one of the Hallmark Channels. A young woman was re-telling a story her granddaddy told her…a metaphor about these two types of people who go through life together… with very different conclusions.

There were two old acquaintances who went fishing every month together. One fisherman was filled with gratitude throughout each fishing adventure while the other complained continuously about the weather, the waves, the sun (or lack of) the temperature….the sandwiches….you name it he was never grateful for simply sharing one of moment’s pleasures with an old colleague.

On this particular trip…they were both in the fishing boat but also duck hunting. The fisherman, who was grateful for everything in his life, saw a duck soar overhead, he pulled out his rifle and shot it in mid-air. Screaming with delight he kept asking his gloomy friend if he had just witnessed that spectacular shot… but with no response.

The happy fisherman told his dog to retrieve the duck and bring it back to the boat. The dog obediently stepped out on the water and ran across it, grabbed the duck, ran back across the water and dumped it in the bottom of the boat. There was dead silence until awed pandemonium broke out….“It was a miracle…did you just see that…did you see what MY dog did?”

“See what?” the grumbling, ungrateful fisherman said rudely, “Just our luck…your stupid dog can’t even swim!”


There are some things in life that really are, as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “truths that are self-evident.” And the longer I live…I realize these simple truths are also paradoxes within themselves.

For example…one of the purest and simplest of all: “YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.” There is no getting around the truth of this “self-evident” statement. We see it every day in our passing lives…people who think about other people and helping them end up being helped themselves….”What goes around…does come around.” Send out good/caring and it returns in abundance back at you; send out bad/indifference and unfortunately it does the same…in abundance.

Ingrates live in narrow spaces…they don’t venture out much farther than their nose. They are always the victim when things goes wrong, someone else is always the blame….they never see themselves as their own perpetrator in the ill-fated conclusion to a series of poor personal choices. If they weren’t so darn irritating…they would be downright pathetic.

I have gotten to a place in my life where I can not afford to live life one moment without surrounding myself with joy, gratitude, and love. My main two compounds (that do go together every day for me) are my heart and soul. They both yearn for the same thing…life lived to the fullest for as long as I can love and then love some more. No “party poopers” for me…life is too short. “Give me the simple life.”

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in life is that we can not let the “ungratefuls” suck the marrow out of our own bones. Like Libby says, “Don’t let anybody ever steal your joy.” Somehow we always think we can change them, show them what grateful living looks like and what happiness it brings…but sadly, like the old disgruntled fisherman, they wouldn’t see a daily “miracle” if it bit them on….well…any part of their body.

If we are truly grateful for 1) waking up 2) thanking God for the day and 3) looking and listening for His Voice and His Signs to guide us… then we are living the life God wanted us to live…not trying to co-exist with a compound that is simply not “compoundable?” (is that a word????)

In James 3: 11 the question is asked:” Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” 

imagesSo until tomorrow…Simple answer: No…not with the same results in the end. Each will only poison the effectiveness of the other. They are not co-habitable…let one go and choose the other…the right one…the grateful one for life. The one who tells God: “Thank You for my life every single day!”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*John sent me this precious collection of Eva Cate photos taken at random and put together on one of the new photo electronic opportunities. As usual…I did “tear” up….grandchildren’s memories are too precious for dry eyes.


(Auto-generated photos on Google Photos)


After watching the video…I just wanted to hold Eva Cate’s hand and watch her sleep. The oldest grandchild sets the perimeter of time for all the other grandchildren who follow, while we grandparents secretly wish we could keep them all in a tiny little corner of our heart in their tiny little bodies forever.



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Falling in Love with Fall All Over Again


Dear Reader:

Have you ever just been going along in life…living it pretty normally and then suddenly you are filled with such happiness and peace that it is momentarily overwhelming? This doesn’t happen often to me, so that is probably why it is so special…I think it is just a taste of what our arrival in heaven will feel like one day…total immersion in unconditional love that flows through us like water falling from great rocky mountains.

It happened to me early yesterday morning. I was talking to Vickie, my across- the- street neighbor. We always talk lawns, plants, flowers….house upkeep, etc. We love puttering around in our homes and gardens. Our main subject, yesterday, was our shared rose bush at the end of  my driveway. (It got so waterlogged after Matthew that it uprooted (half-way) looking like the leaning Tower of Pisa.) Vickie got it anchored back in and we were talking about how amazing it was…still blooming in spite of all the craziness done to it lately.

The sun was flickering through the trees onto my front lawn and porch…Vickie said that I needed to get a photo of it with the light just right…so I did. In the corner was the beautiful rose bush and the rest of the house was peacefully sedate and happy-looking at the same time.

Suddenly I was filled with such a feeling of love for my home it caught me off-guard. I started walking all over the front, back yards and garden snapping photos….as if seeing everything for the first time again. I was falling in love again…with fall…with home !

Somewhere, in all my hidden delights, lay the thought that I was suddenly aware of a huge benchmark in life… one nearing the end of my personal dreams. Everything I was seeing before me was no accident, but the direct result of something I had planted or done to or for the house and yard earlier in my life.

Whether it was money spent on home renovations, planting seeds, starting a garden or simply watering plants…everything catching my rapt delights had been planned and executed towards this goal of my “dream home” over a lifetime. And now here it was before me.

Come with me and see what I saw yesterday that kept putting smiles all over my face.














Ernie and Lance came yesterday and we cleaned out the fountain, trimmed bushes, they did a lot of weed-eating….Ernie helped me changed light bulbs….These two are my handy men and I really count on them to help me keep my home going. They never disappoint.

img_3844Ernie put in the new lights for the deck a few weeks ago…don’t you love them…much more subtle with the downward light but still magical?

13537622_817438561689994_1897355807065887856_nPlease stop by Marigolds if you haven’t since they moved a few weeks ago or even more lately…I went yesterday and they have such beautiful things in the store and a 60% Fall Sale going on outside the entrance. Look at my new candy cat bowl….filled with candy (that mysteriously disappears each evening…those darn ghosts!)


I reflected on this crazy love that was consuming me yesterday and thought that perhaps it was the universe’s way of paying me back for a rather disappointing start to my favorite season of Fall….(with unexpected medical procedures, diagnoses,  waiting for life-altering results =considerable stress.) Or perhaps it was an epiphany, an insight into everything I had done over many years to bring the house to where it is today. Whatever it was…thank you God…I needed an “Universal Hug” and I got it yesterday.

So until tomorrow:


“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* I might have just discovered another epiphany that happened yesterday….since starting Chapel of Hope Stories Part Two…returning on November 23 two years ago (2014)…I just wrote my 700th blog entry with 70, 700 views and 730 daily subscribers/followers (not counting FACEBOOK followers)…I think the stars were aligning yesterday in preparation and I was given the guest of honor seat for a few short hours of observation…perhaps seven?

img_4098*A shout-out to Pat (McTeer) Jackson who headed up a local Palmetto team relay breast cancer team last week in Columbia. Their team raised $1200! Way to go Pat!


thumbnail_fullsizerender4The Race for the Cure (Legally Pink) donation period ends next Monday on Halloween…the last day of October. Our team is ten dollars shy of our new goal of $1500 this year….confident we will make the leap here on the last hurdle…and thanks for all the donations…and thanks for keeping them coming this past week. What a lovely surprise!

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Free Will and God’s “Suggestions”



Dear Reader:

Every day I get to see the “Legend of the Confederate Rose” replayed, like in an outdoor drama, for a private audience…me!

You might remember the story (in a nutshell it went like this):

Once the Confederate Rose was pure white. During the Civil War, a soldier was fatally wounded in battle. He fell upon the rose as he lay dying. During the course of the two days he took to die, he bled more and more on the flower, till at last bloom was covered with his blood. When he died, the flower died with him. Thereafter, the Confederate Rose (or Cotton Rose), opens white, and over the course of the two days the bloom lasts, they turn gradually from white to pink to almost red, when the flower finally falls from the bush.

There is so much symbolism with this flower….two days of changing colors, one day of a pure purple/reddish color and then the bloom dies late on the third day.

I have never had anything quite so lovely touch me like this bush….I can hardly wait to rise each morning and check out the pure white blooms and then watch them (over the next two days) change to rose-colored petals. It is a great lesson in change…nothing stays the same…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as wonderful.

I think one of the hardest dilemmas mankind faces, within the restriction of understanding the universe –  God’s Bold, Beautiful Playground of Life, is knowing when to give up our free will in exchange for God’ Guidance? How long do we struggle to force a new change, only to find the doors and windows locked in that direction? It is only later we know God was trying to re-direct our efforts in another way.

When I came across this story…it made me feel better than I am not alone in struggling with these type answers.

“Destiny is Within Us”

I remember walking to the bus stop one day. Sweat was dripping down my chin, while I gazed upon the faded metal bus-stop sign a block away. I saw an unorganized huddle of bodies. A few sat on the wooden bench, staring through the hazy Plexiglas of the awning. I checked my watch and noticed that I was running ahead of schedule. The bus wouldn’t be coming for at least five more minutes.

In that instant, I heard big tires rolling up behind me, the punched-in sound of a clutch cranking into the floor, the shaking of windows as the tires dipped into a small pothole. I quickly turned my head and saw the bus. There was no traffic to slow it down. I was about a block away and stuck between two fateful options.

The first option was to stand there and surrender my fate to the universe. I could repeat to myself, “Oh, well. I guess the universe didn’t want me to catch the bus today,” and regurgitate that famous cliché, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to happen.”

The second option before me was to take my bag, hold on to it a bit tighter, and start running up the block. This option didn’t guarantee that I would catch the bus, but it engaged my free will so that it did not have to breathe in the exhaust of resignation.

Contemplation on choice is sometimes the toughest part of any day. The universe definitely provided some context that made it a bit harder for me to catch the bus, yet still, I could act to change the situation. Sure, that bus came ahead of schedule, but my reaction was what was in my control and what my yoga practice has taught me. My reaction could have been to blame it on the universe, to fall into the trap of “I guess it wasn’t meant to happen.” Or to pick up my heels and start running.

Each moment of life, we set into motion a series of succeeding moments that will ultimately shape our future. It is my choice to either leave my destiny up to the universe or choose to shift my awareness and embrace the knowledge that I am the universe. When this happens, what we previously blame on an outside entity, or “destiny,” is actually something we understand as within us.
The choice is mine. The choice is yours. The choice is ours. 

About the Author: Excerpted from “Your Path to Destiny” by Hawah Kasat.
From personal experience I have discovered that if we try a different path in life and give it all we have…but it just won’t seem to work , no matter how hard we try…it is then that it is time to ask “Am I forcing this? Is God trying to re-direct my life differently?”
 I remember when I was pregnant with Mandy, we were looking at a new home in Corey Woods, that was under construction at the time, to move into before Mandy arrived.  We had put a bid on it. Unfortunately there were some financial problems going on in the company and all work stopped. That whole summer before she arrived on Labor Day (pretty good timing) I would ride over and see my dream of a new home fading away with no workers and no additional construction taking place. I cried myself to sleep each night…so disappointed in my dashed dreams of a new home and a new baby and a new life.
Later, we realized it would have been a terrible financial disaster to have gone ahead with this home and by the time Walsh arrived a couple of years later we had found a most beautiful home in Briarwood… that was far superior to the earlier home. It worked out just the way it should have.
So now I am a big believer in doing my part to follow new paths BUT stopping continuously to listen to God’s directions also.
 So until tomorrow…Take time to make room for God’s Voice to be heard when we embark upon a new direction in our lives. He can see farther down the road of life than we can.
“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh
 *When I was visiting Bruce, Marcia, and the boys Sunday…little Lachlan was given a wonderful surprise from big brother…Rutledge…who decided, not only to let him drive his most precious possession of all…his firetruck…but actually went and got the whole outfit for Lachlan to put on. Lachlan was beyond surprised at this “change” in his destiny for sure. A blessing from heaven!
img_3814-11) Lachlan looks a little “befuddled” and slightly “fearful” (at first) as Rutledge allows him to stay on the firetruck when he is caught climbing on big bro’s truck.
2) And then, to his amazement Rutledge reappears with the entire outfit from boots to fire hats. Destiny at its best!
“I did it”…I rode Rutledge’s truck!”
“A day that will live in infamy!”
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Monday Meanderings and Musings on Mosquitoes, Mystery, and Magic


Dear Reader:

Now this is what I get for cleaning out old suitcases a couple of weeks ago…emptying out chewing gum wrappers and tissue paper. I must have opened the suitcase I took to Ireland two summers ago….and presto...magic! The leprechaun fairy greeted me at the fence yesterday while I was watering some plants. He did scare me initially but he seems like a happy little chap and and to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) “Conor…I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


Hilda showed back up while cleaning out the garage from Matthew and she was ready to be put back up on the deck in time for Halloween. Now I see why she picked that corner…she has a broom and there is a toadie frog right above her…don’t think it will be there long. A toadie frog for her magical bog. Frankly, Hilda scares me….this witch is missing a screw…literally… that holds in the battery…she is supposed to turn on when motion is felt near her…but with her hanging battery you never know when you walk by if she is going to start cackling at you with her lit-up eyes or not. A heart stopper.


And then there is the “Old Man in the Tree”.…I don’t know if he has come ‘a-courtin” or what? Can’t ever figure out which way he is looking…he is a little creepy but then again at a certain age…I reckon we can’t be too picky. I figure I will let him hang around as long as he stays on the tree and not in the house with me. Mystery, Magic…nah…just really really strange!


Even my calendar “rabbit” (in the mums barrel out front) has gotten into the “spirit.” We know “Halloween’s Coming” ( like Rutledge says many many times a day now) because magic and mystery are paramount.

images-2And now…the mosquitoes! For years they have left me alone (think they are smarter than we give them credit for….not gonna bite someone with cancer) but they obviously are not as picky any more about their victims.

images-2The past few days I can’t get farther than the deck, much less inside the garden, before they are buzzing me. Thought the cooler air over the weekend would do it…but no, no no…I got buzzed last evening running from the car to the house. Think this little poem runs true:


Note: If you are not a resident of SOUTH CAROLINA or never have lived in the hot, humid South, you may not understand the weight of this blessing!

Bless this house, oh Lord, we cry.
Please keep it cool in mid-July.

Bless the walls where termites dine,
While ants and roaches march in time.

Bless our yard where spiders pass
Fire ant castles in the grass.

Bless the garage, a home to please
Carpenter bees, ticks and fleas.

Bless the love bugs, two by two,
The gnats and mosquitoes that feed on you.

Millions of creatures that fly or crawl,
In Carolina, Lord, you’ve put them all!

But this is home, and here we’ll stay,
So thank you Lord, for insect spray.


But oh how I love home and the low country…wouldn’t trade it for the world! Stopped by to see Bruce and Marcia (while they are in the low country watching Rutledge and Lachlan  until Walsh and Mollie get back this evening from their trip)…and they are “Being Brave” as reminded by Rutledge. It was so good to see them…I am sure when they get home they will sleep for a week….grandparents always do. SHHH!!!!!











Those two little boys are so fortunate to have Nana (Marcia) and Papa (Bruce) in their lives…they went to the pumpkin patch, played games, made crafts….and are loved loved loved!

After I left visiting with the Temples/Dingles I headed over to see part two of the family-the Turner/Dingles….Eva Cate and Jakie….we played and made something special for mommy….mothers always deserve a little surprise along the way….just for mommy.


I love to observe quiet moments when Jakie and Eva Cate are mesmerized together at something going on in nature and they quietly watch it together for moments of pure silence and then shared laughter.







So until tomorrow…Thank you for family and fun and shared moments of mystery and magic….let imagination live forever.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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We Are Everything We Experience… so Choose Wisely!


Dear Reader:

When I come across a whimsical, fantasy of a place in a painting that captures my imagination I really desire to crawl into it and like Alice Through  The Looking Glass  follow the path to see where it goes. The idea of climbing the book steps in this enticing painting and finding new adventures in each novel really excites me.

It is the same feeling I get when I start a new book and instantly bond with the character in it becoming a part of that world until the last page when I reluctantly leave that time and space to return back to reality. All art affects me that way…paintings, readings, sculptures, architect and music, ah music, now that really does fill my soul with happiness.

When I came across this unknown author quote…I thought to myself I don’t know who you are and never will but we are the same. Isn’t that the essence of great writing…touching the soul and connecting it with others?


Doesn’t that quote say it all? I love the sentence “You are every single day.”   The truth of that statement hits home to me every single day with my first conscious thought: “This is the day that the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I know my friends get concerned sometimes over my almost non-stop, whirl-wind life, especially when I am experiencing some health set-backs but deep inside me I just feel this exhilaration to get “out there” and meet new people (even if it is just talking in the grocery aisle) and watching and waiting for a God Wink which surrounds me constantly. I just don’t want to waste time doing nothing. Life is just too short.

mainFriday night, for three hours, I sat mesmerized watching The American Experience-Hamilton- (PBS) the story behind the creation of the wildly popular Broadway play. I figured, realistically, it was probably going to be as close as I would ever get to seeing it in person. True…only segments of the actual production were shown in sync with the re-telling of the creation behind each song in the play. Still I felt my blood running through my veins and felt so alive as I watched the first showing from 9-10:30 and then when it repeated it…I found myself still so drawn to it that I watched it again from 10:30 until midnight.


* If you missed it (due to its popularity)….PBS is showing it again this Thursday at 8:00. Please watch…you won’t be disappointed and by simply observing this genius creator behind the play…his amazing life will leave you in total awe and admiration for his boundless talents of creativity.

( Lin is the son of a Puerto Rican father who wanted to come to America and follow his dream…which turned out to be his astonishing son.) Let’s hear it for the immigrants who still follow their dreams… like our own ancestors did so many years ago. It is unfortunate that American history repeats itself in that the last group to come in always take the flak for all the problems in America…until the next group comes in.) REMEMBER: WE ARE ONE!

Earlier Announcement of the date for last night’s aired showing:

PBS’ behind-the-scenes special on the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton will premiere on Friday, Oct. 21 at 9/8c.

Hamilton’s America will be broadcast as part of PBS’ “Great Performances” series and will kick off the network’s Arts Fall Festival. The two-hour special will offer a glimpse at the Tony Award-winning musical, and unfortunately it’s probably the closest you’ll get to seeing it — several original cast members are leaving the show on July 9, and it’s sold out through 2017.

download-1I felt like this production (produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself…where does he find all the time to do what he does?) gave us, the audience, a glimpse into the mind of a genius. You will hear a renown musical producer declare him “The Shakespeare of Our Age,” explaining that Shakespeare took the common man’s words, turned them into lyrical prose, and then presented them to the audience. Lin takes the common man’s words and turns them into hip-hop, jazz and any other musical medium that touches people’s psyches. And through it all he is simply telling his story.

There are no commercials during the entire hour and a half presentation of the story behind the creation of Hamilton (quite refreshing)…so hit the restroom, grab a snack and be ready to be blown away with history, storytelling, dance and song, and the pure magic of one man’s ability to find common ground today with an historical figure of the past.

rolled american ten dollar notes

rolled american ten dollar notes

You will never look at Alexander Hamilton the same way again…in fact you will learn so much about this amazing man that it will no longer be just his image on the 10 dollar bill that reminds you of him.  ( In fact the Broadway Play saved Hamilton from being removed from the ten dollar bill…quite amazing story there too.)

If by now I have not completely put you to sleep in my zeal and zest for history…I hope that you follow your own personal passions and create time for experiences that lets the world know who you are through them.

So until tomorrow…Remember “You are every single day”…so make it a good one!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


Now “The Witch Is In” and the “Witch Is Out” on my mailbox. I have had this little witch for years and found her in a chest I hadn’t opened in a few years. She is happy to be spooking the mailman…maybe she will scare all the bills away.



Look at the beautiful monarch butterfly I found on my flowers on the steps going down…life is so beautiful!


I stopped by Anne’s house to drop off something yesterday and left it on the porch since she was gone…was getting in my car when I spotted her Encore Fall azaleas…so pretty!



Clemson, you know I love you and I am a devoted fan….but these close games have definitely added a little stress these past few weeks also…so I was glad for the break yesterday. Rest Tigers, and come roaring back…you will need it to end the season!

006bd551d1f615a791af5115e8cb38dd HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOAN!!!!




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Keep Exercising…Your “Personal Coach” is Watching!







Dear Reader:

Isn’t it wonderful when everyone has “his or her day” every now and then…a time for them to shine? Making the transition from kindergarten to public first grade has been a real challenge for little Eva Cate this year. As wonderful as her kindergarten experience was…(learning by touching, field trips, play and fun) she didn’t know how to work the computers to take the first tests and she definitely was behind in her reading and math skills according to public schools’ assessments.

Nothing that can’t be caught up with time…but you hate to watch her struggle trying to pick up what the other children learned in public kindergarten for preparation for first grade. In the perfect world all children would be allowed to learn by observation, field trips, nature, but sadly in today’s world technology reigns. For better or worse…it’s a new world out there today.

But yesterday…(Fun Run- James B. Edwards big fund-raiser for the school) Eva Cate was the first girl in her class to finish the 35 lap run! 35 laps….I doubt I could do three. Way to go…those teeny tiny legs just flew around those laps….how proud she was and daddy too! She discovered that she could do something better than all the other girls in her class and many of the boys…she could outrun them.

  • A special shout-out and thank you for all the family who participated in this fund-raiser for Eva Cate’s school….what am amazing family I am blessed to be a part of….and Pap….you are something else girl! We love you so!

God had a wink for me connecting Eva Cate’s award-winning run with a funny little message from “God” on how He tries to help seniors continue getting much needed exercise. Steve Downey, husband to classmate, cancer sustainer/survivor, and friend at Erskine, Carole, sent me this me funny little ditty. Enjoy!

God’s Plan for Aging

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach & stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it’s God’s will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath not-so nice words back at God!


Before we go any further, let me tell you something about Carole, my friend from Erskine. She, too, has been battling cancer for the past several years…a tough, aggressive cancer that pops in and out making it very difficult to contain. Carole was able to attend her only son’s wedding a couple of years back but she let us know earlier this year the cancer was back and aggressive.

She has been in and out of the hospital for all types of treatments…lately, mainly chemo, which recently had a terrible backlash on her health and sent her back to the hospital for another long stay. She has decided to stop chemo, to let go of this treatment, and live life the best she can for as long as she can. And May is her goal…her son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child, Carole’s first grandchild, and she is determined to be there.

I got a card off to Carole earlier this week and reminded her that “isn’t is wonderful that cancer can not invade the spirit” because Carole has more spirit than anyone I know and an unbelievable support system in her husband Steve, who never leaves her side.

img_0622This picture was taken a year ago at our Erskine reunion…since then Carole’s cancer returned and  she was unable to come this year. As a personal favor, I would greatly appreciate prayers for this amazing tower of strength that I am proud to call my friend. You have come through for me so many times…and believe me, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the only reason I am still here is because of the power of your prayers. Would you please spread that love to my friend now…We all want her to see and hold that baby so badly! Thank you.

So until tomorrow…The power of prayer is so amazing that it gives us a tiny glimpse into the power of our Creator.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday morning, with all the fog, my garden looked a little creepy itself and obviously, my friend, the spider, enjoyed the fog to help hide his/her big webs going up everywhere. Spooky! Here are some samples:


Those sneaky spiders had built webs in empty flower hangers, Rutledge’s beautiful red maple and lots of plants….so sneaky. img_3774




But there was also magic…the kind God makes. In the morning (in the fog) there were two white blooms on the confederate rose.


Look closely at the bottom white bloom in the above picture….three hours later I went out…and magically it was turning pink and ended in a rose color but sadly fell off before I got the photo this evening.


thumbnail_img_1547Look who just turned 10 months! Little Boogie Boy…Brooke’s adorable grandson, Caleb.

Halloween is drawing closer…and “The Witch Is In!” Do drop by….AHHHHH AHHH AHHA…you never know what you will find…perhaps a woman with the (oh no) dreaded SHINGLES!







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There’s Worse Things than Spiders Webs…Guess What?


Dear Reader:

What a difference a day makes…Wednesday I spent fleeing from spider webs and Thursday morning I got a diagnosis from Dr. Montoya (actually her student intern) that I was not expecting. *And no, I’m not pregnant!(:

But I am getting ahead of the story. Let’s go back in time just a bit.

Remember the other day when I told you how thankful the family was that both Rutledge (with his ear problems) and Jakie (with his skin allergies) made it through the Race for the Cure before medical assistance was needed? Now let’s add that old adage “All things come in three’s” because it came true… with yours truly making the “trio” complete.

Have you ever discovered, like me, that sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head? For the past few weeks I have experienced an annoyingly painful  “crick-in-the-neck.”It just wouldn’t go away, the muscles from my neck to my right shoulder felt like rocks and then some sort of pink welts started forming down my neck which felt like insect bites. I thought that maybe a spider had bitten me or “little c” had spread elsewhere. Obviously none of these thoughts were good.

I remember my neck hurting in Asheville so I am thinking it had started before we left to escape Matthew…the hurricane  (Though Jackson’s Matthew actually lives in Asheville…rather ironic?)

…But then isn’t life full of ironies? I think that is what makes it so intriguing and never dull? For example: It takes sadness to know what happiness is. Noise to appreciate silence or absence to value presence…and I can personally add one more-pain to appreciate health…and/or at least pain pills.

I persevered on my usual health train of thought….just keep on keeping on and it will go away. Unfortunately it followed me….to Asheville, the Race for the Cure, babysitting, yard working, etc. Dr. Montoya told me that I had one of the highest tolerances for pain that she knew. But then, after living with cancer for eight years and undergoing more treatments than I can count or even want to remember….believe me, a few welts and a crick-in-the-neck paled in comparison.

Finally yesterday, when I had the whole day to myself, the bee stings got old. I knew it was supposed to be a beautiful fall weekend here and I wanted to enjoy it. So I called Dr. Montoya’s office first thing yesterday and the sweet receptionist told me to just come on in. By 8:30 I was back in the examining room telling Dr. Montoya about my “crick-in-the-neck”… adding that it looked like some welts or something else was, also, down my neck. (Lumps and bumps make cancer patients very restless.)

She took one glance and then turned to her student intern and said, “I want you to make Mrs. Dingle’s diagnosis today.” The sweet intern put down her pad (she had been taking notes ) glanced at my neck and promptly said “Shingles.” In horror I glanced back at Dr. Montoya praying she would say, “Incorrect, spider bite” but that didn’t happen. “Correct” beamed Dr. Montoya at her intern proudly… “Very Good!

bradshawWait a minute,” I said…”This is not ‘very good’ ….I have seen the horror commercials with that goofy football announcer (Terry Bradshaw) and they were the scariest things I had ever seen.”

Dr. Montoya said that I was actually over the worst part…and on the back side of it by looking at the dried welts… I told her they never were “wet.” And it could have been worse… I could have gotten them on my face….I don’t even want to go there. Those are the scary commercials!!!! And my eyes…after just getting my new life-time (cataract removal) lens… now that would have been a nightmare. God is good!

Dr. Montoya said that shingles are usually associated or brought on by an unusual amount of stress in a short period of time…which would go back about a month probably. HUMM….A month ago I was in the midst of two cataract surgeries, an unexpected needle biopsy which proved cancerous and an even faster unexpected breast cancer exploratory surgery (looking for margins around the cancer)…which I had to wait two weeks before hearing they were clear….and then worrying about my last summer’s renovated home project (with Matthew coming closer) which cleaned out my savings….Yes, I thought to myself, I was a “poster child” for shingles.

So I have added steroids, pain pills, and something for the “welts” to my daily regime but already (since taking the four prescribed daily steroid pills from one bottle) the stings and itching have stopped. Thank you Lord for Dr. Montoya! Even though shingles is not a particularly great diagnosis…at least it wasn’t cancer on my neck…everything is relative!

*A shout-out to Anne who stopped by and left a Continental Corner goodie-bag consisting of turkey sandwiches, those famous Greek potatoes and their (will cure anything) lemon chicken and rice soup. I ate, then slept, then ate, then slept some more….a wonderful way to pass the day.

So I have to roll up my sleeves, make a strong fist and look upward for guidance…then “everything will be all right.” I told Dr. Montoya and her intern that “I am woman…hear me roar.” (which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.)


Jakie and Rutledge…I will be brave and make you proud of Boo Boo! Back at you Jakie and Rutledge!








So until tomorrow:


“Today is my favorite day”  (kinda, sorta, maybe?)  Winnie the Pooh


*Maybe I can add some more “moves” to a dance called the “Dingle Shingle’s”…..ah….a new project!


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