Letting Go of the Sadness

Dear Reader:

How many time when attending a live theater performance have we seen these two masks…representing comedy and tragedy…yet never given the origin of them a second thought? It stems back to Greek mythology and early Greek theater performances.

Masks were originally thought to be the purveyance of Dionysus, Greek god of wine. His sphere of influence lent him a sense of duality: both the joy of drunken revelry and the darker emotions which wine can evoke. The specific comedy and tragedy masks were also associated with the Muses: nine goddesses who held sway over creative expression. The muse of tragedy, Melpomene, wore the sad mask, and the muse of comedy, Thalia, wore the happy mask.

On a practical note….the masks were used as instruments to help the audience interpret emotions during a play.

 Masks helped audience members identify the emotions onstage. The mouths were enlarged in order to allow the actors to speak more easily, and the facial expressions were exaggerated so that those in the cheap seats could still understand what was going on.

Like entertainment today…playwrights, who were able to connect comical and tragic feelings from the audience simultaneously, were highly esteemed in ancient theater. Audiences wanted (and still do) to feel a range of emotions while attending a play or movie or reading a book.

Yet…even though we like to experience a wide range of emotions in fiction, the reality is we mortals fixate on sadness and tragedy more than we do laughter and comedy. (Not so much so in fiction back in ancient times…)

The twin genres represented by the masks were both intended to serve as a form of catharsis. Comedy acts to deflate our preconceived notions and remind us how foolish we truly are, while tragedy permits us to grapple with dark realities such as death and failure in a safe context. Though tragedy is today considered the more “artistic” genre, the Greeks actually revered comedy more highly. The symbolic linking of the two with the masks emphasizes both their common roots as drama and the complex depth of human experience.

Source: Classroom: “What is the Meaning of Comedy/Tragedy Masks?”

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The other day I came across a very short spiritual anecdote that made me completely stop what I was doing and take in the truth of the story. Here it is: “The Wise Man”

Once upon a time people used to visit a wise man complaining about the same problems over and over again. So one day, he decided to tell the crowd, gathered around him,  a joke, instead of advice. Everyone  roared with laughter.

After a few minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.

Then he told the same joke a third time, but no one laughed or smiled anymore.

However, the wise man. himself, now smiled and said: “You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………How powerful is that…and sadly so true!

“Knock knock” jokes are making a come-back in the elementary grades. Eva Cate is really into them and Libby told me her youngest granddaughter, Rebecca, is too. I love it! Who knew “Knock Knock” jokes would be considered “cool” again at school?

 

 

Of course Eva Cate usually gets excited and gives the punch line away before the end…but we still laugh and laugh like it is the funniest joke we ever heard. (Even when we have heard it a lot…we are more polite than the wise man’s crowd of folks!)

Still the truth of the “Wise Man” story hits home. When something funny is repeated too many times we no longer think it is funny and stop laughing. Yet when something sad happens we, ourselves, keep re-living and re-telling it over and over again…continuing to moan and weep. If we stop and think about it…that is a strange trait in we humans. Animals can be sad… after something happens… but they eventually move on with their lives…not so, always, their masters.

So until tomorrow…Father, help us smile and laugh more, while letting go of sadness and sorrow. We know you and our loved ones would want us to experience life to the fullest for as long as we can.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

What helps me release sadness and welcome happiness, daily, is watching my garden smile through its new blooms. The Confederate Jasmine is blooming with its sweet fragrance, the day lilies decided to all pop out in formation yesterday, flower bowls and baskets are brimming with new life again….how can I stay sad with so much joy around me?  Bliss was certainly happy to see the first day lily surrounding her pop yesterday. The Japanese Maples are all taking off..

 

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Even Pizza Can Tell A Story!

Dear Reader:

Sometimes the best stories start with the simplest acts of kindness…resulting in uncovering something new.

I discovered a new pizza restaurant when Tommy emailed me Sunday and told me he “had a pizza for me.” He had participated in a “Find the Little D” contest sponsored by Charleston Coffee News. 

It was a 10 inch pepperoni pizza from Donatos. He had to pick it up there and since it turned out to be in Azalea Square in Summerville he realized that wouldn’t work for him…but it would for me.

Monday I had a meeting with my insurance agent so it didn’t suit to get the pizza but yesterday was wide open. I decided to go early before the lunch crowd since this was a “freebie” and might need identification or something. It took me a little while to find this pizza location in Azalea Square…(right behind Moe’s Grill…across the parking lot.)

It was just a little after 11 in the morning when I walked in. The nicest young cashier was working at the desk. I showed her the voucher and email on my IPhone. She never questioned anything but just smiled and said she would get it ready.

Since we were the only two people in the pizza parlor we started chatting. I told her the little bit I knew about the contest and how my son had given the voucher to me. I then asked how long they had been open (about a year) and if there were other Donatos in the area. (not our area but in Ohio)

She went and got a Summerville local news pamphlet that had a cover photo of a young family on it who are the owners and the nicest people she knows. They moved here from Ohio and had a big Ohio fan base for these pizzas, subs, salads and wide variety of beers. She said their number one goal, however, was making a commitment to the local community to help out as much as they could. The article on the family mentioned:

The first-ever Charleston-area Donatos opened in the summer of 2016. Aiming to be a great community partner right out of the gates, this Donatos donated to Shriner Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House of Charleston, and the Alzheimer Association—all before they served their first pizza!

Last December when Summerville got hit with the first major snow/ice storm in decades, the cashier said that the Kopniskys kept the pizza parlor up and running…delivering to homes without electricity to help get meals in dark, cold houses.

And they did it with a sense of humor!

With roots in Columbus, Ohio, owners Dane and Jaclyn Kopnisky particularly love serving those who have a passion for community service, (OSU) football fans, and foodies alike. They’re appreciative of the amazing support they’ve received from the surrounding Summerville community, which is known for being family-friendly and very supportive of local entrepreneurship.

Whether you’re in need of your Donatos fix or want to try something a little different, come visit Dane, Jaclyn and their whole gang—they’ll make you feel right at home!

While waiting on my pizza I took a picture of some chalk artwork on the wall. The cashier’s daughter had drawn it for the restaurant to help out. It is such a close, warm, supportive feeling inside this pizza parlor that I know I will return and support this young couple in their dreams because they understand the basics of ‘give and take’...and started off giving. A shout-out to the Kopinskys and welcome to Summerville! May your dreams come true!

 

The surprise from this pizza came when I got home! It is a lesson in reading the small print and subtle hint on the menu…the restaurants’s “mantra.” “Every piece is important.”

As I went to separate and  lift a ‘slice’ of pizza from the pie…I just came up with a small triangular bite-sized piece of pizza. My first thought was I had accidentally torn the pizza dough….but no…when I tried it again…I had a small size rectangular piece of pizza. Because “every piece is important” the pie is made up of different cut shapes of pizza – just big enough to pop in your mouth!

After my initial surprise…I loved it! It was like eating popcorn but instead pizza pops…just enough for a good bite. It was so easy to eat and I didn’t spill any toppings on me like I usually do while trying to lift a whole slice to my mouth, especially when the dough folds on you  just as it gets close to your face…

A great life lesson reminder…take one step at a time, and one bite of pizza at a time. It makes big problems shrink to manageable sized solutions!

Thanks Tommy! I shared the pizza with my neighbors and they all thank you too! (Everyone loved the bite sized idea for the pizza!)

So until tomorrow…Life is so much sweeter when we look for possibilities of new discoveries each and every day. We never know when we are going to make new friends, try out new places, and discover new ways to eat pizza!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

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The Latest Tale in the Story Garden

Dear Reader:

Each morning when I check the garden…I half-expect to see a book by each plant…because every flower, plant, and tree has its own story to tell.

Every time a day lily pops up…I remember Anne and myself planting those bulbs in the fall that first year…they all belonged to Harriett Edwards who was a great crusader, floral philanthropist, and supplier of the initial story garden. I think of you Harriett every spring as the day lilies shine their magic. Yesterday the first day lily opened its eyes and smiled…the lilies are still growing strong…the most beautiful scenery is soon to be spread throughout the garden.

For every plant or flower I have planted…others of YOU have planted one too….my rose bush ladies, hanging basket ladies, and floral pot ladies throughout the garden. Then there is the YaYa bench by the fountain, solar lights, pottery plaques by Honey, all kinds of ornaments and decorations from so many of you!

In reality this isn’t Boo’s Garden at all…it really is the Story Garden…because so many people have contributed and authored each story from  its creation until present time.  Your names are written in the blooms and decor year after year after year.

The idea of planting Moon flowers definitely was created by and with Anne’s help since I wasn’t even familiar with them…*I loved the year they bloomed around the magic garden moon gate.

The most recent tale from the story garden left me with a tear and a smile on my face. I got home from Rutledge’s soccer game Saturday afternoon and there were at least six pots of transferred Stokes Asters sitting on the porch.They looked thirsty and as I was watering them I first noticed a white envelope in the door.

Sam and Donna left me a story in a letter with memories connecting our families through their gift of the Stokes Asters. I will never look at these plants without remembering Sam and Donna …and the story.

Here is just an excerpt…because part of it I just want to keep in my memory lock box for those rainy days that come.

Becky,

These are for your garden should you choose to use them. (Are Sam and  Donna kidding…of course I am going to use them, talk to them, and love them.) They are Stokesia or Stokes Asters. 

I was given a few of them by a friend who has since passed on. He gave them to me in the Spring before Mandy and Dana graduated from high school. On the afternoon of their graduation the flowers were in full bloom for a “graduation get together” that our family had at the house. Since that time I have preferred to think of them as “Graduation Day Flowers.”

(In the last part of the story Sam and Donna reminded me the asters  bloom in May (around graduation time.) They are “prolific and hardy” so they spread easily. Their last hope is that the daisy blooms remind me of my former students, now adults… a symbolism of the relationships, once formed, that last a lifetime. There is more but I can’t get through it without a tissue). Again…this special letter is a  keepsake for all times.

Sam and Donna’s oldest daughter, Dana and my oldest child, Mandy were in the same class and remained friends throughout their school years…ending up at Sam and Donna’s home for their graduation party.

As luck would have it…Mandy was at my house this past Saturday afternoon before we met Doodle and Carrie at Five Loaves...to eat supper before the play. I was able to show her the letter.Mandy smiled remembering that wonderful night after graduation…all the fun their little group had…even while the reality of approaching separation in their lives took form in their minds…and hearts.

Today Sam and Donna are my back door neighbors but they will always be my front door friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart you two!

So until tomorrow…Sometimes the best storytellers have a stem and a bloom and live in a garden.

Here are some more additions popping up in the garden and yard…

*I literally ran into the house following church Sunday (to change clothes) so I could get the Stokes Asters planted before the rains came. My guardian angel, J.D., friend of my neighbor Luke, was hard at work repairing and rebuilding the steps and deck to the apartment over the garage. He is amazing…and I am so grateful he can help me catch up on some much needed, overdue, construction repairs. *Thus my safe aerial view of the garden yesterday!:)

*The strong winds we have endured for the past few days literally took the old fence propped up by the garage (with  the state flower- yellow jessamine- growing on it)…out and down. It was ripped away by the force of nature and left lying in the dirt. Powerful gusts!

 

But then there are other kinds of “air” breezes….like love being in the air…go Tigger!

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When the Real Story Begins…

Dear Reader:

The real story of our lives begins after the ‘happily-ever-after’ ending which is never the ending…it is the beginning of our own personalized true stories.

It took me a long time to realize this. Like most little girls we think we will grow up, marry our Prince Charming and live happily ever after. More times than not…it doesn’t play out in real life like what it did in our minds and imaginations growing up. BUT (and this is a big but) that doesn’t mean that our lives can’t be just as adventuresome and fulfilling as hoped for in our early lives.

(*To date I have taught school in Copenhagen, Denmark, traveled to Prague and Berlin with the Goethe Institute, toured London, attended an International Creativity Workshop in Provence (saw Paris while there) seen Dingle, the Cliffs of Moher (and so much more) in Ireland,  traveled to about a third of our country’s states, and taken three cruises to the Caribbean.)

I have mentioned several times in past blogs that my life started again after my diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008…and it started over for the better. I wouldn’t want to return to my former self before breast cancer.

It’s not that there was anything particularly bad about that life and who I was at the time…but I was living a spiritually shallow, daily survival life that blinded me to the gifts God was surrounding with me during difficult stages of that period in my story.

Several times the Ya’s have discussed this and how we only came back together when our children  left home to go to college and/or enter the work force. When we finally all came up for air.

Sadly, when we really needed each other…when the children were younger, relationships dissolving, or health issues pending…we were locked into a daily struggle to ‘fit everything in’ to the extreme that we didn’t feel we had time to even reach out for help from old friends.

Reflecting on my real story…there have been certain benchmarks in it that became catalysts for change…even if I didn’t recognize it at the time. I think the end of Life Part 1 for me was the disintegration of my marriage. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding it…there is always a sense of failure associated with the disillusionment.

However, once I got over the temporary shock of it all…I began learning more about life and myself than I had ever experienced . Being a single parent made me stronger than I ever would have been if I could have chosen otherwise. And there was and is a sense of pride that (with a lot of help from family and friends) three children were raised with a faith in God for a foundation and are “good people” …my pride and joy.

The next benchmark, Life Part 2, was my diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008…two weeks following my daughter Mandy’s wedding to the wonderful John Turner.

(Last name Turner is right and Rutledge wrong…twice this engagement photo went to our local paper and twice the name came out wrong…but we love the Rutledge name…it works too!)

I think Sarah Addison Allen sums it up best when she remarks at the back of one of her novels…“My life before and my  life after (breast cancer diagnosis) are so vastly different that sometimes I think they were lived by two separate people.” *I understand this comment precisely…it is like someone gives you magical glasses that change everything about how you look at the world and you can never return to the mundane everyday life you lived before… because the surreal has turned into reality…thank goodness!

And like the title quote message states: “A day will come when the story inside you will want to breathe on its own. That’s when you will start writing.”

And that is exactly how it happened. Chapel of Hope Stories began after my first discovery of this beautiful, tucked away little chapel in Trust, North Carolina. (Thanks to Mike and Honey Burrell) In wanting to tell its story and the magnetic pull it had on me when I first entered it…my writing began. The first article: “Keeping Cancer at Bay One Story At a Time.” (To date that is exactly what has transpired.)

So until tomorrow…Along with the same appreciation of author Sarah Addison Allen….thank you. “Many of you have been with me on the journey from the beginning, many joined me in the middle, and many have come in after. To all of you, I want to say a special thanks for being a part of my life-before, after, and everywhere in between.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*So many very special things happened over the weekend concerning new additions to my garden and new additions to my garage apartment. They are both mind-blowing to me. Their story needs to be told separately…so until tomorrow…let me give you one hint from these aerial view photos of my yard. It is the first time in years I have been able to get an aerial view safely…there’s  a reason for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have a “Nice Cream” Day!

Dear Reader:

In some families there are famous recipes handed down from generation to generation, even sometimes recipes from the ‘old country.’ That is not particularly true in my family. If there is one dessert that means more to my family than any other, in terms of nostalgic memories …it is the famous Shoneys Hot Fudge cake.

I remember in high school and college it was such a treat to go to Greenville (closest place to Laurens that had one)  to visit Aunt Eva because our favorite place to go eat was Shoneys (Big Boy.) We would get the half pound ground round and for dessert…Shoney’s Hot Fudge Cake. BUT…the only time we got to go was when a member of the family had won some sort of recognition, usually at school and/or birthdays. A hot fudge cake meant honor, recognition, perhaps graduation and especially it meant making mother proud.

I carried this ‘legacy’ to the next generation with my children. We were fortunate to ‘hit’ Shoneys a lot in May…always going after an honors program, ceremony recognition, sports banquet, or graduation. (And birthday children always got to pick where they wanted to eat… 99% of the time it was Shoneys.)

After mother came to live with us…she never missed going to an honors ceremony for one of her grandchildren and she always insisted on buying the Shoneys fudge cakes for everyone. It was her special gift to all of us. (I must admit during some of those l-0-n-g ceremonies, the only thing that kept us in our seats was the thought of getting to get eat a Shoneys Hot Fudge Cake.

I think it was Tommy who started calling the dessert “Nice Cream” when he was little. He was right…the hot fudge cake over vanilla ice cream was nice…because the memory of  family gathered to honor another member of the family was an especially nice and welcomed gesture.

I remember when I won district teacher of the year and told mother…she quietly picked up her purse and said, “Let’s go…my treat…Shoneys and a hot fudge cake!” The children, who by then were elementary, middle, and high school age miraculously appeared out of nowhere and jumped in the car with us.

Isn’t the first person you want to share good news with… your mother (perhaps a father)? It is on the happy occasions, not sad, that I miss mother the most. About two years ago I had done some storytelling for an educational group and received such  a warm reception that I felt like I wanted to share it with someone…and if not someone…somewhere. Shoneys.

I pulled in around 4:00 in the afternoon and ordered a hot fudge cake on vanilla ice cream. A young waitress brought it and I told her how much I loved this dessert but that I hadn’t been in Shoneys since all my children left home for college. I took a big bite and a smile spread across my face.

The waitress smiled too and asked me “Is it as good as you remember?” “Better” I replied. Today was a “Nice Cream” day…it doesn’t get any better than this! (Hope I made you proud mom!)

So until tomorrow…do something ‘refreshingly nice’ for someone else and then wish them a “Nice Cream” day!”

*Yesterday was a “Nice Cream” day for me…I went to Rutledge’s soccer game and helped Walsh with the children while Mollie was at a meeting. Being back on the sidelines, encouraging Rutledge with cheers, brought back so many memories of doing the same thing for his dad, uncle, and aunt. Time passes as quickly as melting ice cream…so enjoy the moment.

*Walsh and I holding “Princess Chunkie Monkey” Eloise. Rutledge took my picture and somehow I got ‘beheaded’…which I think worked out quite nicely. It set the tone for our mother-daughter night out at Summerville’s Little Theater…presenting Sweeney Todd. *I didn’t know how that play could be adapted to a small stage but they not only pulled it off…it was amazing! Filled with such talent and performed with a delightful wicked sense of humor. Doodle, Carrie, Mandy and I had such a good time. Thanks Doodle!

Sis Kinney sent me this video on how Irish music affects cows…it is so funny. (Remember family…pack your accordion before leaving!)

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What a Great ‘Friday the 13th’ It Was!

Dear Reader:

Yesterday really was a terrific day! Nothing bad or frustrating or weird about it…just a beautiful, gorgeous day to be alive! …And it was definitely filled with blessings!

I planted orange (what else) zinnias in the front yard barrel, along with lantana, and then added some left-over plants in between the ivy growing in the side front yard. I can hardly wait to watch them grow.

I went to breakfast with friends and my neighbor Luke sent his buddy, J.D., over to look at some home improvements I have needed help with… ‘improving’… and he is ready to go…such a nice guy!

The Friday the 13th strange coincidence actually arrived early in the morning (around 6:30) in the form of an email from WordPress letting me know that someone liked the blog “My Life is Based on a True Story” and I should check their blog out too. (I always try to thank anyone who sends a comment or WordPress notification that they liked a blog I wrote…it is the courteous thing to do and I truly appreciate the person taking time to respond. It always makes my day!)

So now I am going to share the message I wrote Liam Cross back, the person who sent the nice notification, because in it I shared the strangely wonderful coincidence that happened…on Friday the 13th!

Dear Liam

My name is Rebecca Dingle (just call me Becky) and I write the blog ‘Chapelofhopestories.’ Yesterday morning, early around 6:30, WordPress sent me an email that you liked Friday’s blog story “My Life is Based on a True Story.” 

I always like to thank anyone for a nice comment or kind gesture so I pulled your website and started reading your ‘bio’ and then about fell off my chair. Friday the 13th was playing a prank on me…the universe was throwing some strange ‘curve’ connections my way. 

Let me explain. Recently I have been working on my family tree…my father’s side of the family and my maiden name- Barbour. Thursday I made a research discovery that cleared up some of my puzzled results I received back from the ‘ancestry.com’kit.  

Barbour is Scottish and I have pictures of my father and uncle dressed in kilts during WWII when they met in Scotland for a photo. (However, the results from the ancestry kit only mentioned “British” (England) as my highest percentage of lineage…not Scotland.) 

So when I found this research article Thursday night it said:

“The Chronicles of Scottish history reveal that the first people to use the surname ‘Barbour’ were the Strathclyde Britons who resided near the river Clyde. The first documented recording of the name ‘Barbour’ was found in Northumberland and Cumberland where the Barbours held a family seat from ancient times. Barbours were Scottish border clans and lived on both sides of the boundaries separating the two countries-Northern England and Scotland.”

*Thursday night I made a connection between Cumberland and my birth certificate. I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina which is in Cumberland County. So the Scottish name followed my descendants to America through Virginia and especially North Carolina where many of my ancestors settled.

Still there was one more surprise waiting for me on Friday the 13th. You can only imagine my excitement and delight when I started reading your bio yesterday and discovered you lived (right now, in the present day)  in Northumberland, England! I had to laugh out loud…of course you did! How else could this universal prank play out any other way on Friday the 13th. 

I just wanted to share this ‘God Wink’ with you and wish you a wonderful day!  

Becky Barbour Dingle

P.S. (I think Sarah Addison Allen’s writing style that she self-describes as “Southern fried magical realism” extends to this situation…don’t you?)

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What fun! Making connections with people all over the country and world is the true reward for writing a daily blog…there are new friends, acquaintances, and perhaps even cousins just waiting to connect.

*I did hear back from Liam after sending my message to him and he responded with…

Wow, Becky! That’s amazing.

It really is a small world!!

I wonder if we’re somehow related somewhere down the line – it’s probably likely!

Your blog is awesome by the way, keep doing what you’re doing, and keep working hard with it:-)

Kindest regards,
Liam J Cross

Owner of Liam-J-Cross Writing & Editing

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So until tomorrow…

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”– Dr. Seuss

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*One last strange event…as I went to put the blog to bed…the number of followers changed to 888….I never knew the universe was such a prankster!

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My Life is Based on a True Story

Dear Reader:

A couple of weeks ago I finished re-reading one of my all-time favorite novels First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. This book is a sequel to her first New York bestseller story called Garden Spells. 

It seems trite to call these novels “enchanting,” or “magical” or “charming” but they are both all that…and more. They aren’t dealing in any kind of fantasy…just simply exposing beautifully different talents found within the characters that make the reader want to be with them and root for them …long after you close the book on the last page. Allen calls her writings “Southern fried magical realism.”

The author is from Asheville, North Carolina and we share a similar challenge…breast cancer. Like me…her cancer is stable now and she has resumed her writings again, though at a slower pace since her mother has been seriously ill recently. A new book is expected out soon (hopefully 2018) but her mother’s health comes first. (That tells you a lot about this young author right off the bat!)

Similar to Garden Spells, First Frost picks up the story of the Waverly women, ten years later…still living in their rambling Queen Anne home with the wraparound porch. It once belonged to their grandmother Mary who raised the two sisters, Claire and Sydney, when their mother abandoned them.

It is a well-known fact in Bascom, North Carolina that the Waverly women have secret “gifts”  that no one else does. Claire’s talent is in her culinary skills, Sydney is an amazing hair-dresser who can change lives with hair-cuts and her daughter, Bay, knows exactly where everything and everyone belongs. A mischievous apple tree, with all of its strange pranks, completes this whimsical household…but then there is a distant Waverly cousin, named Evanelle Franklin, now eighty-nine and carrying a portable oxygen mask, who has the most intriguing gift of all.

At any time, day or night, Evanelle knows that she intuitively must deliver a certain object to a certain person within a specific time. She doesn’t know why…just simply that she must do it. This is her Waverly gift.

“There’d been times when Evanelle wished it had been different, that her special gift could have been more pretty, or at the very least she could have made a living by it. But she’d long ago accepted this was what she was supposed to do- she was supposed to give people she knew, and sometimes people she didn’t know, people she met on the street, a strange gift. She couldn’t change who she was, and she no longer wanted to, even if she could. She knew that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.”

What words of wisdom in one paragraph! Dr. Seuss is right “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” I think this is the greatest gift we can give our children…To keep reassuring them to be who they are and who God wants them to be…that is all that is needed, all that is required, all that will make them an amazing person!

Because all of our lives are based on a true story…this fact, alone, makes each of our stories magnificent, unique, and powerful. And the best part is…there’s still so much story to tell! In fact…the most exciting parts are still waiting for us to live them! What an exciting thought!

So until tomorrow…Let’s all remember Evanelle’s message: ”

…”Remember that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Eva Cate…you have an infatuated bee in your Japanese Maple tree…he let me get a few inches from him to take this photo. I am not sure what kind of “nectar” a bee gets from the leaves on a Japanese Maple…but whatever it was…he was loving it!

*April showers might bring May flowers…but for several of the Dingle family cousins…this year May means Ireland. A group of them are renting a cottage together the first week in May. Kaitlyn sent me this photo of Tommy’s latest “reads” preparing for the trip. I told Kaitlyn I hoped he finished before he left…they might add several more pounds to his luggage!

I am so enjoying my deck these past few days…I go out and catch the late afternoon sun…there really is something for getting our 20 minutes of sunshine each day…I feel stronger just sitting there soaking up the rays. As I was getting ready to go inside…I noticed how beautiful the waning rays were and took this picture. Love it!

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