“And Now in Age…I Bud Again”

Dear Reader:

The quote in the title comes from George Herbert (1633)…an amazingly insightful poet, who metaphorically saw his aging life through a beautiful bud on an old flower that looked like it was dead… more than once..but now had returned…not just beautiful…but having arrived in its”Golden Age.” (“The Flower” – George Herbert)

*This is what happened to this gorgeous white camellia…it was left in a pot hidden halfway under the deck and forgotten…but after years of neglect it got just enough sun to emerge this past year as the most beautiful camellia of all. Queen for the Season! Sometimes it just takes some of us a little longer to bloom…and that’s okay too. Today it has taken its rightful place in the back yard with the rest of the camellia family!

Isn’t that our dream…that we continue to grow and love deeper and delight in the new perspectives on life that come with age…it radiates us far more than any cosmetic surgery!

“Tesha” Randall, in her book The To-Be List found herself in a quandary one day when she suddenly had an epiphany about some short-comings that would lessen her total fulfillment in life.

Author Latesha Randall lived for checking off items on her to-do lists until one day she had an epiphany: even though her days were filled with things to do, she was missing out on life. So she stopped writing down everything she needed to accomplish and started a new list of ideals and behaviors to adopt things like… Be present, Be engaged, Be authentic, and many other practices that focus on being rather than doing.

Like George Herbert, she too has realized that with age and maturity there comes a moment when letting others run your life is no longer acceptable and instead it is time to get self “selectable.

One of her chapters on being rather than doing is called “Be Selective.”

She remembers, in the past, saying “yes” to everything and running around in circles trying to please everyone….this included staying late at work to make sure her boss and clients were happy…it was a “recipe for exhaustion.”

So she became more selective...with friends, events, and clients…recognizing the people in her life who drain her energy and who aren’t in line with her values in life.

She concludes by observing that being selective has brought her “more calm, more enjoyment, and a deeper connection“to whom she really is and what she really wants to do.

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So until tomorrow….We only get one chance at this thing called life…so let’s remember to surround ourselves with people who share many of the same values on life we do…instead of allowing ourselves to be  “tiptoeing” around consistently cantankerous individuals who bring us down….not up… to appreciate and feel the fulfillment of the individual, unique life we all deserve.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Is there anything more gorgeous than early spring snap dragons…they are such happy flowers…especially when they all hang out together!

 

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“A Love of Reading”

Dear Reader:

As a teacher, when I came across this story, and the desire this young boy, Matthew, had to read anything he could get his hands on…I was touched. ( *And the generosity of the American people, as well as, people all around the world never ceases to make me proud.)

No Junk Reading

Last year, Mathew Flores, a 12-year-old from Sandy, Utah, approached postal worker Ron Lynch and asked if he had any extra advertisements or random newsletters. The boy explained that he loved to read but couldn’t afford books or even the bus fare to the library, so he would take anything the mailman had. Lynch was floored.

“He didn’t want electronics; he didn’t want to sit in front of the TV playing games all day. The kid just wanted to read,” Lynch told deseretnews.com. Lynch asked his Facebook friends for reading material. Soon, Flores was getting books from all over the world—the United States, England, and even India. For his part, Flores said that he plans to read all the books, then share them with other book-starved kids.

The astounding thing is that Matthew already understood the power of books and knowledge that opened him up to other worlds, cultures, and new understandings/perspectives unavailable to him in his present environment. Stories change lives.

So until tomorrow….“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Kipling

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Resource: “Extraordinary Stories of Giving from People”– Reader’s Digest

Sammy popped by Monday morning to tell me good-bye. I caught the screen wrong with my picture shooting… so the photo looks abstract…but Sammy and I just stared at each other like two old souls.  (*I put out some extra food for him and the “Mrs.”)

Late last Sunday afternoon when I was returning to Summerville from the American Girl Performance I had a text from Luke saying that Chelsy had transplanted “Little Big Red” into his new, larger planter home. He texted a photo. I was so excited I squealed out loud at the next redlight! “Little Big Red” now has room to grow!

 

 

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Small Acts of Kindness Really Can be Just Small

Dear Reader:

When it comes to thinking of a small act of kindness to do on any day that comes along…a small act can go a long way. When I read this little short idea…I thought to myself how simple it was but also so profound in bringing a moment of joy to a child.

“Little Gifts” (KindSprings) Alisamom

“Today at the grocery store I gave my daughter two quarters and told her to put it in a random gum machine to make some kid happy. She added two of her own quarters and loaded up the most expensive dispenser machines there!”

Can you only imagine some child’s excitement to spot the gum or toy dispenser already filled with quarters…just waiting to be turned? A small act…but with such excited benefits.

I have to laugh thinking about leaving quarters in a gum machine…because many of you like me…still remember the penny, nickel, and dime machines. It wasn’t until the Super Gumball machines were created that the price “skyrocketed” to a quarter.

I started reading about the history of gum machines and it was really interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

HISTORY OF GUMBALL MACHINE/VENDING MACHINES

Did you know that holy water was once vended? The first known vending operation started way back in Egypt in 215BC. It is thought the Greek mathematician Hero invented a machine to vend holy water in Egyptian Temples. Since then there have been many different variations on the vending machine.

During the early 1880’s the first commercial coin operated vending machines were introduced in Europe to sell postcards and books. Vending machines started to become universal selling everything from stamps, postcards, books, cigars, candy and gum. There was even a coin operated restaurant in Philadelphia, “Horn & Hardart”.

1 cent Gumball machines first became popular in the United States in the early 1900’s. The machines at the time dispensed gumballs or peanuts. At around this same time vending machines were gaining popularity. In 1871 Thomas Adams patented the vending machine in the U.S. to dispense gum. In 1888 he put the vending machines on the New York City train platforms which dispensed his chicle chew stick gum. Newer vending machines have taken an old idea and made it new again by offering everything from ice cream, sandwiches, candy and pop.

So until tomorrow…there will always be a certain excitement about getting a pleasurable item out of a vending machine…a childhood pleasure that continues throughout adulthood. Shouldn’t life be that way too? We never know on any single day what might pop out at us…but it is all part of life…sometimes good, sometimes not as good.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Don’t forget that tonight is Brooks Moore’s “Book Talk” concerning his book Chalk Talk… 30 short stories remembering special moments in teaching. It will be held this evening at Miler Country Club at 7:00 P.M.  80% of the proceeds go to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Since both Brooks and I are cancer survivors…this is a charity near and dear to both our hearts. Please take a few minutes this evening to laugh, chuckle, and maybe wipe away a tear or two.

 

 

 

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A Little Nudge Towards a Big Risk and Total Fulfillment

Dear Reader:

Today I am leaving to stay over at the Turners to help out with the grandchildren while John is gone…so I thought that an example of a random act of kindness might be just the thing to leave for each day I am away.

Like in today’s story (GuidePost) sometimes all it takes is a little nudge or encouragement to guide someone towards their purpose and passion in life…that is the case in this story.

(Courtesy Avi Loren Fox)

We all need that little nudge to take a big risk, and for Avi Loren Fox, the now-founder of clothing line Wild Mantle that push came from a well-intended friend.

“A few years ago, I was in a coffee shop with some friends talking about how I really wanted a hooded scarf. I had seen a few around but could never find one to buy in stores. We all mused about how you could totally make the shape by cutting up and sewing together some old sweaters. I guess I kept going on about it, because after a while one of my friends was like ‘Come on, let’s go!’ and marched me to a thrift store down the street and bought me a bag of cashmere and wool sweaters.

I went home that night and made a hooded-scarf. It turned out really well, and when I wore it out into the world, people noticed and said, ‘What is that? I want one!’ I started making and selling them, and now two kickstarter campaigns and a Tory Burch Foundation loan later, that first hooded scarf  turned into the company that is now my passion and work: Wild Mantle. I still think back to how that random act of kindness changed everything, and without it, Wild Mantle probably never would have happened. Thank you, Roni!”

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So until tomorrow…Encouragement is so important in life…just having someone who believes in you can turn your life completely around. We must, also, always be ‘encouragers’ to others and accept encouragement when given to us…it just might possibly change a life…including yours.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday I accompanied Mandy and Eva Cate for the long-awaited American Girl Performance at Gaillard Auditorium downtown Charleston. I have never seen so many little girls with their dolls in one place all my life. Absolutely adorable. Eva Cate took Gracie, her doll, all decked out like she was…in her fifties-looking dress Mandy found several weeks ago. The show was adorable and all about “Girl Power”…about being true to yourself and never giving up.

Eva Cate was so excited about going before we left and she was in utter blissful reverie following the performance.

The ceiling inside the auditorium is breath-taking….and the happy grin on Jakie’s face is equally adorable…but just this time…no boys allowed! 🙂

Mollie sent these precious picture of Eloise…before I blink it will be time for Eloise to go see American Girl…it happens too quickly!

***Extra Extra! Brooks Moore is the author of the book Chalk Talk ….(which contains the very popular Christmas story I put on the blog post around the holidays ….(Christmas and the Magic Pencil-December 20)

Brooks is having a Book Talk tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 P.M. -Miler Country Club.) 80% of the proceeds will go to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. 

Brooks just finished fighting a very tenuous battle with cancer himself and it is what prompted him to write his book Chalk Talk...telling stories of his teaching days in the classroom.

I am just sorry I will be in Mt. Pleasant but please come out for this great cause and be thoroughly entertained with Brooks humor and nostalgic look at his personal teaching experiences You will be thoroughly entertained!

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A Lifetime Story in a Single Night

Dear Reader:

You might remember, several years ago,  I started a personal contest with Scheherazade to tell one more story than her famous 1001 Arabian Nights… through blog posting…to write a post each day for 1002 days beating her 1001 nights of tales. I did it….and suddenly an apparent observation was made… I was still breathing… so I  decided that very day to just keep on ‘keeping on’ writing.

But what if the challenge was to tell your life story…in a single night?

I came across this novel quite by accident but when I saw it had been endorsed by Louise Penny (my favorite mystery writer) I was immediately fascinated. Penny wrote on the top cover of the novel:

Beautiful. Intimate. Aching and lyrical. So simply and beautifully told.” 

The whole concept of choosing five people,whose lives most affected you in your own lifetime, and then re-telling each story in a single night… in a bar through five toasts… is a quick lure.

Goodreads gives this synopsis:

“If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, “When all is said and done?”

This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.

Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.”

My book just arrived Friday afternoon so I will take it to Mandy and John’s house next week to read…I will be helping Mandy out with the children while John is at a meeting in Orlando. I can hardly wait to start.

Books like these always make me stop and think…If I chose five people who had the most influence on my life…who would they be?” Definitely food for thought. Most importantly…if we made a toast to them…what would we say? And then what could we learn about ourselves, “When all is said?”

The inside cover gives us this enticing bit of intrigue…”At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits eighty-four-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual-though tonight is any thing but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

So until tomorrow…What about us? Are we ready to tell our story…the story of a lifetime…our lifetime? And if not now…when?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Luke and Chelsey’s little nephew, Ryker, came for a visit yesterday and he was put to work helping Luke and Chelsey dig a hole for my redbud tree. He was so proud…I gave him a toy and he showed me all the work he had done…I am sure the Redbud will bloom and live forever with little Ryker’s assistance.

 

Way to go Ryker!!! You are taking after your Uncle Luke…always helping people!

 

 

 

 

I left yesterday and met Brooke and Libby in Walterboro and then we all went to Beaufort for a wonderful luncheon at Wren’s for Lacy…Brooke’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law. We had such fun!

Brooke & Lacy…her beautiful daughter-in-law! Such a fun crowd…we had a ball! Beaufort and family outdid themselves!

 

 

 

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Digging Deep Inside Our Pockets…and Finding Happiness

Dear Reader:

If this all-purpose weather coat could talk it would have some tales to tell…some of you long-time readers know this was the “coat”…the one Mandy and John gave me for my Ireland trip with Anne back in 2014. Has it really been that long?

It was perfect for the weather and almost every single picture of me throughout the 10 days I was there has me in this coat. But the thing I loved most about it was the pockets!

I am a “pocket” girl…What is it about having a place to put your wallet, cards, cash and ID quickly out of sight without dragging a heavy pocket-book or purse around?  Since Anne did the driving…I could stuff everything I needed for the day in those pockets.

But it isn’t just using pockets for I.D. traveling purposes…there is also a certain inner emotional sense of comfort in having pockets  on oneself…whether with pants or a coat…a sense of security unveils in having a place to simply rest your hands.

As I went to hang up this coat to take a picture of it…I felt myself feeling around the pockets and lo and behold…there were two old Luden Cherry Cough drops in one pocket (You know how much I love them) and a crinkled five dollar bill in another pocket!) Happiness is finding money in an old pocket…crinkled or not!

 I texted Anne to ask if she still had some of the Ireland pictures around since Chapel of Hope Stories Part II started in November and the Ireland trip pictures were before that…in June. She did and we had to laugh…not a day went by without the jacket. I told Anne we should have written an Irish story about “Traveling Rain Coat.”

In the latest edition of Kelly Rae Robert’s newsletter she announced that the family was in a rental house for six weeks while their house is being completed…snow has definitely slowed down the process. Kelly said their family was completely in awe of the amounts of snow in Three Sisters, Oregon. Her son, of course, loves it and his new school. Kelly admitted to having a bawling session after dropping her son off the first day…but still she knows that this was the right move…as tough as it has been. She knows she must listen to those whispers within her as she takes this new path in her and her family’s lives.

“This move is reminding me that following our whispers isn’t always the easiest of soul work. It takes courage to tune in, and listen to all that is calling us. And then it takes more courage and work to make changes (sometimes small and sometimes BIG) toward the lives that are waiting for us and our families.”

Sometimes, this journey feels exhausting. Sometimes exciting. Either way, I’m, digging deep into my optimism pockets and practicing Trust along the way.”

Now that is another reason why we need pockets…so when we are down we can ‘dig deeper’ into our pockets and find the happiness and optimism we need to continue our journey!

(Kelly Rae Roberts art work)

 

So until tomorrow…let us take time to stop and listen to those whispers calling from within guiding us gently through the next bend along our path. Keep those whispers in your pockets always…ready to grab at a moment’s notice.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Eloise got to visit Rutledge at school and she loves it…she will want to go to school with him everyday now!

* Looks very promising that something wonderful might happen at my next foot appointment on Friday March 15th…getting excited!

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It Always Comes Back to the Hug

Dear Reader:

As I was thinking about Bob Williams’ closing remarks yesterday concerning the best thing he receives, in exchange, for his Hershey candy bar giveaways…getting a hug and that at 94 it was the best gift of all…it made me pause and reflect on that statement.

It really is true, isn’t it?  For most of us the older we get the less we want material items…instead what we crave is physical closeness in the form of hugs from grandchildren, our children, nieces, nephews- up to our peers, new friends or even strangers. It is that moment of physical contact that makes us still feel connected to the rest of humanity.

I have come to realize that the last several Steve Hartman ‘the ‘On the Road’ stories on CBS have been mostly about just that…hugs. A few months ago it was the little girl that grabbed an elderly gentleman’s hand and befriended him in a grocery store…initiating an on-going beautiful relationship. Sunday it was Bob Williams and his “Hershey Hugs” and then some of you might seen the story of eleven-year-old Ruby and her amazing presence in an adult convalescent home.

Source: CBS Evening News (“On the Road”) Steve Hartman

Harrison, Ark. — At a nursing home in northwest Arkansas, we found a gem named Ruby. At 11-years-old, Ruby Chitsey likes to go to work with her mom.

Amanda is a nurse who travels to several nursing homes in the area. And it was on one of those visits, that Ruby started going up to residents with her notepad, asking them if they could have any three things, what would they be.

When asked what was Ruby’s initial intention…her mother replied.

“I don’t think she had an intention, really,” Amanda said.

Ruby said she was mostly just curious what they’d say.

“I was very surprised. I thought people would say money, houses, a Lamborghini,” Ruby said.

But, instead, here’s what she got: electric razor, new shoes, Vienna sausage, for some reason a lot of people asked for Vienna sausage and other really basic items. 

Like, that’s all they wanted. And I really decided that I needed to do something,” Ruby said.

So she started a charity called, “Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents.”

Now, while her mom is caring for patients, Ruby goes room-to-room, jots down wishes and then sets out to grant those wishes. Ruby has a GoFundMe to cover costs, but again, no one is asking for a sports car here. Her expenses are minimal, especially compared to the rewards.

“It really lifts you, it really does,” Ruby said.

On this day, she came back with a wheelchair full of sausages and other grocery items. But make no mistake, this isn’t about food.

Whether she knows it or not, Ruby is satisfying some much more basic human needs here, to be remembered, to be cherished  especially by a child. That is what our seniors are truly hungry for. That is what Ruby brings every time she sets foot in a nursing home.

Who needs a Lamborghini when you’ve got home delivery of all the happy you can handle?

*Don’t you just love Steve Hartman’s human interest stories? Here is the video shown on CBS Sunday Morning Show in case you haven’t seen it.

https://www.facebook.com/CBSSundayMorning/videos/steve-hartman-three-wishes/617043965407289/

So until tomorrow…The next time you can’t think how to start or end a note… try something like… “Much love and even more hugs.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The red-headed woodpecker’s favorite place to roost now is the little chapel bird house feeder….I am going to have to move my car “Surcie” to the other driveway to get it away from the trees, falling leaves, and pollen…but mainly to open up the wide view of the driveway for  all the birds visiting the “little chapel.”

 

 

*It pays to wake up early…to see the sun come up….I was at the computer a few minutes before seven this morning…and a tiny splash of light caught my peripheral vision…30 seconds later the sun burst through. I think it is going to be a great day. Off to Mt. P to the foot doctor….prayers said…fingers crossed!

 

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