God’s Love; New Every Morning

Dear Reader:

When I saw these sticky notes from the Emily McDowell Studio…this one, in particular, jumped out at me. (I wonder why) I thought all it needed was a line underneath the Still Standing postscript that read Still Smiling. (Still Standing, Still Smiling)

And if there is someone who can make me smile through all this…in fact just plain laugh, it is my Erskine sister Brooke…who came all the way from Walterboro to take me to my appointment yesterday in Mt. Pleasant. A “fur” piece and significant sacrifice of time….but how we did enjoy each other’s company!

Bobbie, my wonderful nurse, was doing administrative work but popped in to say hello and meet Brooke and she brought her “sister”/ close friend, too, Lin to take over my care while she was out. My other friend, nurse Jim, was also there to help un-bandage and then re-bandage the wound again. It continues to look good and my doctor’s prophesy is that “I’ll be walking again normally by Christmas”….the best Christmas present ever.

Late yesterday afternoon…I had a card from Landrum, South Carolina (outside Spartanburg) and was curious as to whom the card was from. It was Barbara, my young neighbor, Luke’s mom. We have only met on a few brief occasions when she has visited Luke and Chelsey and I thought it was so sweet of her to send me a get well card…but it turned out to be much more than that… it was a God Wink with Barbara being chosen the messenger!

She started the card by telling me Luke had updated her on my recent foot surgery gone awry… along with the bigger picture of my on-going battle with breast cancer. She told me that I had been “heavy on her heart and she had no doubt that the Lord put me there.”

In recent sermons her pastor has been preaching  the importance of not only seeking God’s face but listening to what He is saying. She continued with….” He is speaking loudly to me and the subject is you.”

The verse of scripture she keeps hearing comes from Lamentations 3:22-23

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

She ended her note with: “What a mighty God we serve.” (Amen!)

I was overcome with her message and then remembered how the day had started…(checked a few early emails before Brooke arrived)

A message from Mary Fennemore of Delaware said:

“And THANK YOU Becky for your part in mine! Daily you give me inspiration and I cherish and appreciate you SO MUCH! Happy Fall! Happy Thanksgiving! With my love and prayers, Mary”

Honey Burrell:

“Thank you Becky! Yes, I well remember this story. I think of it quite often. Those simple words, thank you are so powerful. Love to you and many thanks for all you do each and every day to bring encouragement and joy to your readers and friends!❤️”

Beverly Parkinson:

Great story no matter how often it is told. ‘Thank You’ is a sentiment not used often enough.
The photo’s are worth a thousand words. Beautiful.

On top of the messages, emails, God Winks….the cards so many of you have sent are exquisite, filled with beauty, hope, promise, funny and satirical, spiritual and uplifting….a card to match the many moods of a long-term convalescence

My friend and former oncology nurse, Linda Carson,  placed a ‘get well angel’ and message on a coin inside the card which I took to my appointment yesterday. It, along with all your prayers, did the trick…progress continues and Christmas will have a special meaning this year. (“To help you heal and to wish you love, May an angel bless you from above.”)

So until tomorrow….Thank you readers for never letting me being alone; instead I can hear your footsteps walking beside me…and I enjoy the company!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

( I leave my happiness in the most important Someone Else’s Pocket…God’s!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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During this Month of Thanksgiving…Let’s Not Forget Thank You!

Dear Reader:

Can’t you just imagine sitting on this bench in this beautiful setting…a predetermined destination to meet a friend for a movie perhaps, or lunch or dinner, or simply to sit and talk….and maybe share a story?

I woke up yesterday afternoon in my recliner with the story intact…a true story I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I was half-awake and thinking how quickly Thanksgiving would be upon us…when it just popped up out of nowhere. I smiled… those are the best kind of stories to remember. I told it once before…years before on the blog…and here we go again!

Way back in 1991 and 1992 both Honey and I were selected as District Teacher of the Year (me-91′ Honey 92′) and ended up on an executive committee of 14 teachers around the state who planned different conferences for state teachers.

I think the story (I am about to share with you) was told to us from a conference we put on in Charleston, actually, but I could be wrong. One of the other 14 teachers on the committee was a young man who taught special needs children. He was amazing…so full of energy that Honey and I both wished we could cipher some from him!

One evening he told us a story that I have never forgotten and I doubt Honey has either. It is a perfect story for the month of Thanksgiving and gratitude.

Our young friend told us that one time he was presenting at a large conference out of state. It so happened that his presentation was the last one before the final speaker who closed the conference that year. Our friend was on a tight time restriction to get to the airport and fly out that same day…so he wasn’t planning on attending the last session.

He told us he went running out the front of the hotel looking for a cab to take him to the airport…there was not a one to be found. If he didn’t find one soon he would miss his flight. Suddenly this big black limo pulled up to him and asked if he needed a ride to the airport.

He was startled and said he certainly did…but he wasn’t the last presenter and he felt sure the limo was probably for him. The limo driver smiled and said he could easily drop him off and get back for the other speaker. All smiles… our friend chuckled at his good luck and climbed in the back of the limo….thanking the driver profusely for this kind act.

Soon things quieted down in the car and suddenly the limo driver asked about the theme of the conference. Our friend realized he still had a big button on his shirt that encouraged others to ask about the main topic of discussion.

With a grin and much enthusiasm our friend began telling the limo driver about this new learning initiative and he was pleasantly surprised to hear the limo driver responding back with much knowledge on the topic. When asked how he knew so much, the limo driver confessed that he had once been a school teacher, himself, for a few years.

When asked why he left and became a limo driver…the driver’s expression grew serious. He had loved teaching…was married and had three small children. Like most teachers…living on a teacher’s salary was hard but he quickly assured our friend that this was not the reason he left teaching…a part of him missed it every single day.

Frankly, he admitted, he could make more driving the limo than teaching but once again re-iterated that this was not the sole reason he stopped.

Puzzled our friend ask…”Then why?” The limo driver had just pulled over to the curb at the airport…he got out of the car, came around and opened the back door….automatically our friend said “Thank you.” The limo driver stopped and looked him in the eye…”That is why I left teaching.”

Every day every customer I drop off…never fails to say “Thank you” to me. I taught for eight years and I never once had anyone thank me for what I did.

Our friend re-told that story over and over throughout the years about the power of what one small “Thank you” can do for another.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Don’t we all need a “thank you” for what we do? We all want to feel appreciated and needed…we all want to feel that we are contributing something important (at whatever level) to this old world that just keeps spinning and spinning. If we never get that simple but powerful “Thank you” we soon wonder about our own existence and its importance in the scheme of life.

So until tomorrow…During this month of Thanksgiving…let’s start today giving out more thanks….recognizing the people whose jobs often go unnoticed and let them know we recognize the importance of their job to the welfare of others.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

P.S. Thank you dear blog readers for your steadfast support and love…you are my extended family…please never forget that.

 

 

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Life is Full of “Happenings”

Dear Reader:

Yesterday…“Suddenly it happened….I woke up to the happening.” If you remember this old (Diana Ross &The Supremes) song…you are my kind of “people.”  The music popped up on a commercial for an old album by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

I immediately hobbled to my feet and started “dancing” to the song. I mean, really, how can anyone sit still when “The Happening” is playing? I was snapping my fingers and doing the “lindy hop” on one foot. A sight to be seen…but that song makes me so happy!

After the infomercial went off….I pulled the tune again on my Iphone and sat rocking in the recliner as I listened to it over and over. After about the third time…I started paying more attention to the lyrics and realized that the theme of this song is getting caught off-guard when life hands us a “happening” that we weren’t prepared to deal with… It was my song of the moment!

Think about it…some of the different stanza lyrics go like this:

Hey! Life, look at me, I can see the reality,
‘Cause when you shook me, took me outta my world, I woke up.
Suddenly I just woke up to The Happening. 

The Happening.
One day you’re up, when you turn around,
You find your world is tumbling down.
It happened to me and it can happen to you.

The Happening.
Now I see life for what it is.
It’s not of dreams, it’s not of bliss.
It happened to me and it can happen to you

Is it real? Is it fake?
Is this game of life a mistake?
‘Cause when I lost the luck I thought was mine for certain,
Suddenly it starts hurtin’.
I saw the light too late with that fickle finger of fate.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Haven’t we all heard the old adage that it is the little things in life that get you? There is definitely some irony in the fact that I was given a clear bill of health from the Cat-Scan….nothing had metastasized and then a small seemingly insignificant “boo boo owie” on my foot takes me down a long, dark, and winding road of pain and fear…therein lay the cancer cells.

Through it all, however, God has never left my side or dropped my hand…He made sure I got to the right place and the right doctor in the nick of time to prevent a more serious health crisis from occurring. He is my healer and the doctors on earth His instruments.

Another great “happening” occurred today….”Little Red became Big Red” again and His first red bloom appeared! Now that is a “happening.!”

 

Ann Graves, a friend from church, came to visit today bringing all kinds of yummies and a digital photo frame filled with photos from the blog. She wanted me to have something to look at besides television. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift!

While we were chatting she said that a thought came to her about my situation. It deals with the familiar line of scripture that reads:

 

She said that God knew I was about to be put in a position where it was critical to rest and that God already knew that resting didn’t come naturally to me but it would be a necessity in overcoming this new health issue…so He took away the car, my independence…no driving escape…and instead made dependent on neighbors, friends, and family who supervised my rest…along with orders from doctors and nurses. Definitely a God Wink!

Now get ready to get happy again….I dare you not to snap your fingers and let’s see some hip action. When we survive the “Happening” it is time to celebrate!

After voting… with teachers and students off from school…yesterday was a good day to have a special mother-daughter day like Mandy and Eva Cate (got a new book bag) and for Libby to be with her “Fabulous Five!”

 

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Life is Subject to Change

Dear Reader:

Yesterday started off a little “iffy” but it changed into one of my best days yet since the first Mohs surgery for removal of squamous cell carcinomas… almost a month ago to the day.

Walsh wasn’t working and he said he wanted to take me to my appointment…it included leaving Mt. Pleasant to come to Summerville in early morning traffic, picking me up and returning to Mt. Pleasant for the comprehensive wound procedures that are done now twice a week. The forecast was for heavy rain and I worried that Walsh would get bogged down in traffic coming or returning ….but all my concerns were for no avail. Miraculously there was little traffic on the road.

It wasn’t raining when Walsh picked me up and we didn’t run into it until we started across the Cooper River Bridge…then it began pouring. I clicked this picture as we slowly climbed to the top of the bridge. I was hoping this wasn’t a bad sign for the day and it wasn’t…just a change in plans.

I never know when I will pick up a quote or saying or anecdote from a book I am reading or a movie I am watching. Sunday night one of the Hallmark movies contained a conversation in it that I had never considered…it dealt with the choices of the three wise men in the Christmas Story.

Most of us just know they saw a star and began following it…end of story. Yet…that is just part of the story. Before they saw the star they surely had other plans and places to go.

The event is recorded in Matthew 2:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.

The actual journey of these wise men could easily have taken a long time. It would appear from Matthew 2:7 that the star, which the wise men had seen, had appeared at the moment of Jesus’ birth. So the wise men  arrived after the birth.

If they saw the star at the moment of Jesus’ birth, then it would have taken at least a few months for the wise men to arrive…most theologians/historians put their arrival about two years later….unlike the shepherds who were actually there for the birth of Jesus.

The timing is relatively unimportant to the story….it is the wise men’s response to the star and their belief in the Christ Child that is central …they changed their plans, they changed their lives to worship the “new born king.”

What I am learning as I grow older is that none of our personal plans or predictions are cemented in life…they are always subject to change and it is  “wise men and women” who watch for and are open to these changes in life that alter their paths forever.

It was sunny inside the wound center…Walsh went back with me and soon we were all laughing and joking with the doctors and nurses…to the point that I even got through some scraping with little pain and a good report that the wound was looking healthier, and new tissue was filling in the gap. We just have to keep on keeping on and the foot will heal. What wonderful news!

There is no doubt it is your prayers that are healing this deep wound…since my white blood cell count still remains very low from my daily chemo regime…my little compromised immune system must be working overtime and I have your prayers to thank for this “miracle.”

I was feeling so good following the doctor visit that Walsh and I picked up Mollie and Eloise and we went to this delicious restaurant that serves truffle fries…the best thing you have ever put in your mouth. I ordered a sesame honey chicken sandwich and fries….happiness is…my appetite returned in full force.

*It is also nice to spend “alone” time with each of my adult children now and then to catch up on their lives, hopes, and dreams. Mothers always want to know their children are still following the star.

I didn’t mean to go all “Christmasey” on you today because today really was more about gratefulness and thanksgiving…but the discussion did remind me of one of my favorite Christmas poems… So if you will allow me a little lee-way in pushing the calendar a bit…I hope you like this poem as much as I do.

Kid Stuff

by Frank Horne

December, 1942

The wise guys
tell me
that Christmas
is Kid Stuff . . .
Maybe they’ve got
something there——
Two thousand years ago
three wise guys
chased a star
across a continent
to bring
frankincense and myrrh
to a Kid
born in a manger
with an idea in his head . . .
And as the bombs
crash
all over the world
today
the real wise guys
know
that we’ve all
got to go chasing stars
again
in the hope
that we can get back
some of that
Kid Stuff
born two thousand years ago—

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So until tomorrow…Let’s all keep chasing stars while keeping ourselves open to life’s changes…because it is in these changes that some of our greatest moments will be remembered.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

Honey sent this beautiful red maple photo taken at a golf course where Mike was playing  in Whittier North Carolina.

WOW!

Kaitlyn called me on her way home yesterday afternoon to ask about my doctor visit…and as we were talking she said she saw a rainbow. I walked out on the porch and didn’t see one….but a beautiful pink light infused the front yard….a wonderful ending to a wonderful day….I will sleep good tonight…relief and thankfulness…the best sleeping pills around.

 

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Looking for Fall in all the Right Places

Dear Reader:

If any of you were lucky enough to watch the CBS Sunday Morning Show yesterday and stayed for the segment on Jeff “Foliage”…you have already seen some of the most beautiful fall locations in the New England states.

*(The Ya’s have been talking about the possibility of this exact type (of fall trip) for next year…  a benchmark journey for all of us. I hope it comes to fruition because I have always dreamed of this particular glorious sight-seeing adventure in my mind.)

Jeff Folger goes by the name “Jeff Foliage,” and he REALLY loves fall colors. In New England, where tourists spend around $3 billion over the course of leaf peeping season, he heads off in his red SUV in search of the most beautiful yellows and oranges and shares them with the world!

At his own expense he usually travels over 5000 miles in search of the most perfect fall scenes throughout the New England states. He, then takes a photo, puts it on his website with directions….sharing the beauty of a New England fall with anyone interested. He has been retired for about fifteen years…and this is his gift to others. He admits that plant chlorophyll probably runs through his veins instead of blood.

For about ten minutes (or however long the program segment lasted) I sat spellbound in my chair yesterday watching him talk about fall colors, leaves, and showing us some of the most beautiful locations around for finding the perfect fall photo. He had a story for every photo….his passion was felt through the video lenses.

Here are some of his photos he has taken over the years. An amazing man who has found his passion….helping others experience a New England Fall at its ultimate! So I will pay it forward… sharing some of his photos with you!

How would you like to start down this Vermont road with me to start the trip…in my imagination…my foot is well again…and I am literally skipping down it!

Our next step involves playing in the leaves…so much fun being a child again!

A single solitary golden maple tree in a field is backlit by the morning sun. The glow of the sun filtering through the leaves leaves me speechless. So take you time as drive down that counrty road because a tree like this may be just around the corner.

Beaver pond with peak fall foliage reflecting in the surface of the pond. The lonely solitude of the fall foliage reflected in the surface of the pond gives a sense of seclusion. Where the viewer almost seems to be on the side of the pond by themselves. This is Kinsman Notch and is the westrn most of the major notches in New Hampshires White Mountains. Kinsman Notch lies directly along the route of the Appalachian trail as it winds it’s way from Mount Katahdin in Maine. To locate the spot read this article: http://www.jeff-foliage.com/2013/08/beaver-pond-at-kinsman-notch/

The early morning dawn colors broke for a moment. It was fairly grey and over cast but for a short period the skys opened up just enough to let the blue sky mix with some white clouds dancing in the sky. There wasn’t even a breath of wind so the Birch Pond was a mirrored reflection of the sky and the fall foliage that lined the shoreline.

Wherever I am on this Sunday…I want to be in this church…no more beautiful place to worship God.

In my imagination this old barn has been converted to a cozy restaurant where we stop for lunch.

This is our bed and breakfast…where each morning, after a big breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon…we can walk in any direction and find God smiling down on us.

*These are just a sampling of “Foliage’s” photos….but oh, wow! How can anyone not believe in a Creator when we hold one perfect leaf with symmetrical lines of color running through it….maybe we all have some chlorophyll running through our veins….after all…aren’t we all connected to the universe? I believe so.

*I hope this link will take you to the CBS Sunday Morning video on this segment…but if for any reason you have trouble seeing the video…do google CBS Sunday Morning, November 4 and scroll down until you find this segment…you should be able to pull it easily.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-england-fall-colors-photographer-jeff-folger-aka-jeff-foliage/

So until tomorrow…if you can’t find fall visually where you live…go visit it through the eyes of others and our own imagination.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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All is Calm…All is Bright!

Dear Reader:

Unlike modern-day Christmas advertising…I don’t like to jump from Halloween to Christmas. In fact Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Besides cooking the turkey…with help from guests’ side dishes….the central theme is more about gathering and re-uniting than anything else. No presents, no over-zealous expectations to try to live up to…just friends and family, hugs and kisses. It’s the best kind of holiday!

I do believe this Thanksgiving I will be more grateful than ever for being here and overcoming the health challenges that threatened to dampen the season. I might have to make some modifications but the act of gathering loved ones can never be changed. I think the word Gathering brings such warm feelings for just the memories the word construes. Home, security,  family, friends topped off by love. (And a little comfort food doesn’t hurt either!:)

I have so much to be grateful for…I took a sharp detour and got lost temporarily along my path but my loved ones’ search party found me and got me back on the right road again. For all of you I give thanks!

Yesterday wasn’t a “Silent Night” but it really was calm and bright. It was a beautiful sunny low 70’s fall day…the air was crisp and the sounds of football games, lawn cuttings, and children’s peals of laughter at play filled the day with nostalgia.

I woke up feeling better than I had in a long time…actually got a few home chores done early…and I loved that renewed sense of accomplishment after so much sitting, sitting, sitting.

Around noon Anne arrived with barbecue and vegetables from Dukes (one of our favorite haunts out in the country-Ridgeville)….it was delicious and we had the best time catching up with our lives.

 

Doodle and Carrie arrived as Anne was leaving….bringing me some warm bedroom booties to keep my toes warm while I was keeping them elevated in my chair. Always arriving with the right things at the right time….it was actually a little chilly in the room.

Around mid-afternoon what should I hear but the little footsteps of Stephanie, dear, with Laurel in the rear. If something is going on in Summerville, you can bet this mother-daughter team are there…and yesterday (finally) The Bundt Cake Store opened and guess what I got! (DELICIOUS!) They brought me a personal pumpkin spice cake and a chocolate, chocolate, chip cake. I died and went to heaven.

Vickie heated up some lasagna John and Mandy gave me in a casserole dish and brought over for supper….I mean can life possibly get any better?

A beautiful day….so bright….and so calm….just friends, laughter, and lots of delicious food!

Once again, for the third week….the Clemson Tigers played it so “bright” and the score was so lopsided (our way) that I could remain calm throughout the game and just enjoy it. Go Tigers!

Thanks for helping my recovery and blood pressure by taking the stress out of the game!

So until tomorrow…Saturday will be a day to remember when hope loomed larger than before… and I felt a return to normalcy or at least a lot closer to it than before. It was a good day for a good day. 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Some more of Lassie’s garden photos…

 

 

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A Little Encouragement Goes a L-O-N-G Way!

Dear Reader:

Okay readers…Let’s “talk turkey shall we?” ( Origin and meaning of “to talk turkey”)

(Speak plainly, get to the point, as in Don’t call me until you’re ready to talk turkey. This expression allegedly comes from a tale about an Indian and a white man who hunted together and divided the game. When the white man said, “I’ll take the turkey and you the buzzard, or you take the buzzard and I the turkey,” the Indian replied, “Talk turkey to me.” Whether or not this tale has a true basis, the term was recorded in its present meaning by about 1840.)

When I went to my doctor’s appointment today I was ready to “talk turkey” and get some turkey back in response. For the past few weeks I have felt like I have been playing a game of “Mother May I”  going two steps forward and four feet back. A truly discouraging state to be in.

This time I was ready for some straight forward answers to my straight forward questions….I could handle the “No pain no gain” approach if I just knew the “gain” was happening and I had something to show for the pain. I asked all my questions that had been troubling me….was the pain I was feeling normal, was the medical staff seeing some kind of improvement or progress in my foot, did the prognosis look good?

And I finally got the “encouraging words” I had so desperately been waiting to hear….everything I was feeling, both physically and emotionally, was right on track….the wound, after all the layers of bandages had been removed, looked like raw hamburger meat…exactly what they wanted to see. (Different strokes for different folks) Another doctor looked at the wound, was satisfied with the progress, pronounced it ready to be re-dressed and bandaged without any more scraping! My prayers the night before had been answered!

Thank you God, thank you readers, friends, and family for your prayers. The lines from Home on the Range ran through my head….Where seldom is heard a discouraging word…and the skies are not cloudy all day. This appointment visit was my “Home on the Range” even if the skies were cloudy all day….with little rain.

Lassie, Doodle, and I got a lot done in in a small amount of time….we got there early, Bobbie (my friend and nurse) took Doodle and me back early and everything went smoothly and clicked right along….no scraping! Happiness is….we went to John and Mandy’s where they loaded me up with casseroles, paper products and all kinds of goodies, then picked up my cancer medicine and finished off the day at Chick Filet. I was so relieved from not sleeping much the night before I promptly feel fast asleep when Doodle and Lassie left.

An excited Eva Cate called me in the afternoon to share her “coronation” as Queen of the Second Grade Class for her overall leadership role…and she had also been selected as “Terrific Kid” from her classroom for the first nine weeks. She was more excited than I have ever heard her! Congratulations to our Queen….only girl selected from the entire second grade for her leadership roll. I am so proud of you Eva Cate. Love you, Boo Boo

Encouraging words….I heard them today and so did Eva Cate. It made me realize even more how important it is to both give and receive encouragement throughout all the different stages of our lives. When we are going through uncertain, tough times….encouraging words can make the difference between success and failure. Let’s never be stingy on encouragement…we all need to hear it and give it throughout our lives.

So until tomorrow….“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Lassie took my garbage out for me and while, out back,  took some photos of my garden…still dry and thirsty but hanging in there. I will just put this one in today because my computer is acting up and is taking forever to pull a photo….I can’t stay at the computer long….have to have my foot up….so the rest of the pictures will be on tomorrow’s blog when hopefully the computer is in a better mood.

 

 

 

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