Feathers, Feathers Everywhere…

Dear Reader:

Something strange is going on with me and feathers lately. Suddenly they are turning up everywhere…stepping out of my car and (bing!) there is one on the driveway when I step down, or hiding behind some books on a book shelf I am cleaning, or finding a Christmas ornament that apparently disappeared at Christmas and now has reappeared as a clear glass ornament with a beautiful white feather within.

What is going on? I looked up the meaning behind finding feathers and this is what I learned.

“Feathers appear when angels are near.” This line seems to be the most consistent interpretation in my on-going research. My feather-finding experiences, of late, started when I began walking with Vickie and Maggie most afternoons.. I would bend down to pat Maggie or untangle her lease and close by would be a feather…mostly white or ones with blue or gray stripes.

Then Monday night, actually early Tuesday morning, I woke up around 4:00 and was wide awake. So lying there in the dark I made up my mind that this was the day to start cleaning out the computer room with hundreds of books, packed to the hilt, on the shelves. (The last big room from this past summer’s major clean-out.)

Here are some of the bags and boxes I am giving Dr. Linda Karges-Bone at CSU to help her students entering the educational field.

It was while I was dusting and cleaning off shelves that suddenly a little feather would come floating down from the shelf. At first, I didn’t think much about it…but then it started happening over and over. (The only feathers I remember ever having while doing workshops were some I wore in an ”Indian Rain Dance’ I did with children in their social studies classes.) The falling feathers were a mystery to me.

And then I found this Christmas ornament with the feather inside on a book shelf. I dusted off my memory, as well as, the shelf and remembered receiving this ornament that contained a message with it.

The guardian angel feather symbolizes God’s care for his people through the presence of angels. It is written in Psalm 91:11 “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

I have cleaned and cleared out two book cabinets and the computer desk…seven bags and two boxes of stuff removed, a few replaced, dusted and cleaned. The biggest chore is left…the closet of shelves where the vast majority of my books lie….Wish me luck! This project will take two to three days minimum.

*These two book cases were crammed with books and now…after…

My desk computer table and surrounding area had so many books stacked up that I was slowly getting swallowed up by them.

One of the most moving scenes in the movie  Forrest Gump is the beginning and the ending of the movie…when the feather circles Gump implying something new is about to happen in his life and in the closing the feather returns to heaven….the cycle has gone full circle. The Forrest Gump theme song is actually called the Feather Theme or the Feather Song...simple title to a most beautiful song.

Forrest Gump – Feather ending – YouTube

(*Forrest Gump opens and closes with the image of a white feather floating through the air. In the opening, it comes to rest in Forrest’s suitcase. At the end, it flies back up into the air, helping to symbolize the cycle that has now been completed—specifically, the cycle of life and death, and one of new beginnings.)

 Don’t we all love the thought that angels are around us looking after us and some are special ones. guardian angels, assigned to us for important occasions? My brother, Ben, wrote about this in his personal story about his Vietnam experience. He felt their presence on several occasions.

During one battle, he heard a voice telling him to leave the foxhole he was in immediately…(excerpt)

“In the midst of all this, something happened. Suddenly everything around ceased being so loud. I became very calm and felt a ‘presence’ close by. Everything going on around me looked as if it was in slow motion. I ‘heard’ a voice tell me to leave my current position immediately! The tone of the “voice’ was quiet but insistent.

(Seconds later his bomb crater exploded…destroyed by a round of mortars.)

That night Ben, once again, reflected on the “voice” he heard and commented:

“I spent the night thinking about what had transpired during the fight. Recalling the ‘Presence’ gave me a feeling of calmness. I remembered the Voice; it had no distinction. It was neither male nor female and as odd as this will read, the Voice was not “heard” in the usual sense. Instead, I felt the Voice rather than heard it. Was this the nearness of an angel?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

So until tomorrow…May we all have “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Mollie called me about her friend, Amy, who goes in the hospital next week to start four days of intensive chemo. She asked me about socks, or a knit cap or what did I like. I told her all those ideas were great but our church makes “Prayer Shawls” (Susan Cadwell made and gave me one which I still treasure) and I told her I thought that would be really special.

So I went and picked out a purple one for Mollie since she had mentioned that lymphoma cancer (Amy’s type of cancer) is symbolized by purple. I hope it brings Amy comfort and fast healing to return to her family, husband, and two little adorable tykes.

*Anne and I went to lunch yesterday after meeting at the church to select a prayer shawl. We discussed how each of us have a problem that is going to take an “angel” to help us out.

My problem centered around the commode on the B&B side that has been overflowing when flushed…there was a lot of talk about having to replace the whole thing and rebuild the floor, etc. etc. etc. All I could think was “Not now…not right before the holidays.” But we managed to postpone the major renovation and fix the commode so it flushes properly…now I have to pray it lasts for quite awhile in order to save up for long-term renovations. But still…Whew…thanks Angel!

Then I received this email from Anne…and she had found an angel too at Advanced Auto Parts! Here is her dilemma and solution.

Well, I met yet another angel at Advanced Auto Parts at the end of Bacon’s Bridge Rd.  This angel’s name is Nikki and she showed me where I needed to disconnect the wires serving the lock on the gasoline door.

I cranked the knob and out popped the connection and I was able to open the gas tank door.  I showed her the gas cap and said it wasn’t fitting properly- could she possibly have a replacement? She said it wasn’t likely for a 1999 Mercedes station wagon but she’d check.

She looked it up on the computer and said she hadn’t EVER seen anything like that on the shelf but the computer indicated there was a match. She brought it out and said, “Go ahead and see if it fits, but it isn’t likely.”  It fit perfectly! $12.95, thank God! And I made it to the gas station ⛽️ before I ran out of gas!

Loving those angels!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Teaching is Remembering

Dear Reader:

Even if I didn’t teach history…I think I would have figured out, along the way, that teaching students is simply a lesson in helping them remember what they already know.

The quote “History has its eyes on you” comes from lyrics of the 19th song in the block-buster  musical, Hamilton. It speaks volumes about life lessons and how our actions trigger other people’s perceptions about us at each moment in our own personal history of life.

Just remember from here on in history has its eyes on you. 

In the lyrics from this song the actor portraying George Washington is remembering his first fiasco as a commander… as he watched his men get slaughtered and he wonders how those people who knew him then and  witnessed this debacle would perceive him… so matter where the rest of history took him.

Alexander Hamilton has begged Washington for a chance to command men in the American Revolution and finally Washington relents and gives him the leadership post, but somberly warns him that “History has its eyes on him.” 

HAMILTON*** – “History Has Its Eyes on You”, with lyrics – YouTube

If I were teaching a lesson on an historical figure…I would, usually, see bored faces staring down or around the room until I told a story about something that had happened in the historical figure’s life that the students could relate to…that they could remember themselves…sharing the same feelings in a similar situation.

For example: I would tell the students how close George Washington was to his half-brother, Lawrence, fourteen years older than himself. When Lawrence contracted tuberculosis his physician urged him to go to a dry tropical climate to heal his lungs. Since sea travel was hard on its passengers back then Lawrence asked his younger brother George to accompany him leaving behind his wife and young infant daughter.

Unfortunately Lawrence was not cured, instead George Washington developed smallpox which left physical scars on his face. Lawrence only lived about a year more following the trip. But two twists of fate interceded to put Washington where he was destined to be…Mount Vernon’s (Lawrence’s home) went to George Washington, in his will,  since Lawrence’s children/heirs/ all died young. Secondly, George Washington survived the ravages of smallpox epidemics that killed more soldiers than bullets in the upcoming American Revolution. (Since Washington already had the disease previously, he was  immune from it.)

I would stop and ask the students to write down a similar example of when something that started out badly ended up being, surprisingly, the best thing that ever happened to them.

These lessons made the students remember shared feelings and feelings trigger our memory neurons for long-term retention…the students had now built a personal relationship with an historical figure.

From her book Glimpses of Grace (Madeleine ‘ Engle) reminds us that “Plato talks of all learning as remembering.”

“The chief job of the teacher is to help us to remember all that we have forgotten….One of the great sorrows which came to human beings when Adam and Eve left the Garden was the loss of memory, memory of all that God’s children are meant to be.”

“In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace.”

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

As I was leaving Publix yesterday there was a woman with a dog and a crowd had formed around her….the dog was huge! It was a Newfoundland…all black. The sweetest dog… she had named it “Chewie” for Stars Wars Chewbacca! She told us what you need to know before you adopt one of these dogs is the fact that your electricity bill will double since they have to keep the air-conditioner on most of the year. (The dog was still a puppy…under two years and weighed in at 130 pounds…will be around 200 as a grown adult.Forget electricity…how do you afford to feed “Chewie?”)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saying “Good Morning” and “Good Night” by Opening and Closing Window Shutters

Dear Reader:

I decided, yesterday, to check in on another one of my favorite author’s Laura Bradbury (author of the “Grape series“) whom I discovered by “accident” a few summers ago. There are  four books in her series…each story is a  true incident of falling in love with France and a certain Frenchman, whom she later married. (Then renovating four old French chateau’s while raising three children.)

Sadly, five years ago Laura was diagnosed with a rare liver disease PSC ( Primary Sclerosing Cholargitis.) There was no cure…only a liver transplant to save her life. Finally last March a donor that matched her liver came forward and she had the surgery.

Today Laura is working on her fifth book in the “Grape Series: called “My Grape Paris.” She had hoped for it to be in publication by this past September but to date nothing has appeared. I am praying this doesn’t have anything to do with her health. Her writings are honest, contemplative, and filled with humor…even when fighting for her own life in real life.

Periodically, on her blog, she writes about short, fascinating glimpses of life/culture in France (she is Canadian by birth.) In one of these posts…she included the title picture (on this blog) while telling about the beautiful tradition of opening and closing shutters to welcome in each day and then bid it “good night.” ( The title picture is of one of her renovated rental homes in Burgundy…La Maison des Chaumes.)

Laura describes the tradition of opening and shutting exterior shutters in France this way:

“One of the things I love most about our slower days in France is the routine of opening up the shutters at La Maison des Chaumes in the morning and shutting them again in the evening. 

It gives me a chance to welcome the new day in the morning and to open the windows to fill the house up with crisp, fresh morning air. 

In the evening, closing and locking the shutters refocuses my attention inwards towards my family and our beds. There is nothing like closed shutters that make me feel all snug with Franck and our baby chicks inside our Burgundian nest. 

When our french family and friends come to visit us in Canada they are astounded at how the houses in North America have no shutters. “Don’t you feel unsafe?” they ask. “Don’t you feel exposed?”

I don’t, really, because I grew up without shutters. However, I do suspect this makes me more appreciative of them than the average french person.” 

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

I only have shutters on my two front windows in my “Happy Room”...a big reason it is happy. They are only interior, not exterior, but they are wonderful!  (I got one of the last Pre-made plantation shutters from Lowe’s before they did away with their store stock …now plantation shutters have to be special ordered. *Years ago, Paul Sanders came over, installed them, and made them work…since they were a fraction of an inch off. I just love Paul Sanders…so gifted in woodwork!)

I know what Laura Bradbury feels about the ritual of throwing open the shutters to welcome a new day in, to receive the rays of glorious sunshine…thanking God for another day of life. Yesterday was beautiful…warm (80’s) but with a cool breeze and just perfect for flinging open all the windows…letting the fresh air drift in!

And then at night I close the windows, pull the shutters together and feel secure too… turning inward to all that is warm and cozy in my “Happy Room”… taking time to thank God for the beautiful day I just lived.

Jackson and I talked on the phone yesterday and I was telling her about the blog today…she told me that her mother (our beloved Mama Mia) always got up, got dressed, with her earrings on and make-up on before she ever opened any blinds, shades, or shutters.

She said her mother  told her that the only person who can decide how much light or darkness, sunshine or clouds,  will be  allowed into his/her day…is you! It is a choice you must make each and every day. You should never be influenced by anything outside your home…especially the weather. Happiness rests within your heart…no umbrella or coat ever needed.

Mama Mia raised the bedroom blinds first after she dressed to the hilt, then went to the kitchen and raised the shades there… regardless of the weather or season she was dressed for any occasion or opportunity that came her way.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*My favorite flowers this past summer have been my morning glories…They are not content to just bloom in the morning, but every afternoon and evening…I am finding blooms on the back side of the fence and mixed in with all sorts of other flowers. They have given me beauty with no time restrictions applied…all summer and fall.

And Vickie’s and my ‘co-op’ rose bush is covered in blooms….

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

My Own “Three Pines” Sanctuary

Dear Reader:

Isn’t it funny how we can live somewhere for a lengthy period of our lives and not see something right in front of us? That happened to me yesterday morning…when my eyes were finally opened.

You remember that my Ya friend, Libby, spent Saturday night at the B&B (to attend a high school reunion) and stayed over Sunday. We made lunch after I got back from my storytelling at church and then proceeded to the back deck where we literally stayed until five o’clock when Libby reluctantly left the quietude of the “sanctuary” we both felt throughout the day.

It was so pretty and sitting in the shade on the deck the temperature was perfect. The sky was sapphire blue and I remember staring up at it as we talked about our children, grandchildren, with dreams and hopes for both.

It was after Libby left and the darkness quickly closed in that the feeling of having forgotten something I needed to do crept in….the change in time making me feel a little off-kilter. (which I talked about in yesterday’s blog.)

I texted Libby a couple of hours after she left to make sure she made it home (Columbia) okay and she texted back “Made it home fine…but then just wanted to turn around and come back to the B&B for longer…exactly what I needed.” 

It was exactly what we both needed. The nice thing about being around old friends is that we don’t have to explain feelings or actions because our friend knows us probably better than we know ourselves. We can have lapses of a comfortable silence…not commonly found with other acquaintances in our daily lives because we have shared so much living history together.

I am creeping along with Book 13 of the Louise Penny series because I don’t want to finish it…not knowing when the next one will appear. It is kind of scary. I am already getting a bad case of: (my new word)

Angsticipation
When you finish the latest book in a series, it ends on a serious cliffhanger, and there isn’t even an estimated publication date for the next book in the series yet. (!!!)

Yesterday morning (Monday) I went back out on the deck where Libby and I had spent most of Sunday and looked up in the sky. I immediately sat up, stared, and then started laughing. Libby had made several comments throughout the day Sunday how peaceful my back yard and garden is…quiet, serene, and relaxing.

Sunday night when I read my (self-imposed two chapter allotment ) I underlined a wonderful comment Gamache made about his beloved village of Three Pines.

“Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines.”

I was re-thinking that passage yesterday morning on the deck…and how much I love my town of Summerville…it is the place I proudly call home and it, too, is the land of tall pines…a town where the pine is sacred.

I looked up into the sky and there smack dab in front of the deck were three of my tall pines clustered together. My “Three Pines” ….my state of mind…my sanctuary of peace and tranquility.

 

Yes…life will go on after I finish Book 13…because I have my own “Three Pines” too and many Armand Gamache friends who make my day with acts and thoughts of kindness. I don’t need to climb into the book…I just need to open my eyes and see  “Three Pines” in my own back yard.

So until tomorrow…Let us find our own “Three Pines” …that secret sanctuary of peace where we can  find serenity and  kindness.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

When Waiting Becomes An Advent before Advent

( Art by Chris Lawton)

Dear Reader:

Maybe it is all the retailers that started the scrunched-in feeling between Halloween and Christmas… because this time of the year feels “off” for me. It doesn’t help that Halloween has to share Christmas at department stores, retailers, drug stores, etc…while poor Thanksgiving is lucky to have a pilgrim or two around with maybe a turkey.

Then we throw daylight savings time into the mix and my biological clock is completely off-key. Yesterday as darkness descended a little before six I felt slightly like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland …that I was “late for a very important date.” The problem was there was no date…just an uneasy feeling that I was lagging behind some kind of schedule…but not sure what schedule that was?

It feels like some kind of purgatory Advent season before the official Advent season. (We are actually a month away from the start of this year’s season.) So what is throwing me off?

Yesterday our church had their special All Saints’ Day service. It is always a beautiful service. The theme this year was  ‘Angels’  so I pulled out my favorite angel “Gloria” (the klutzy little angel who never got anything right- but who ended up getting the most important message right as she announces the birth of Jesus.)

…And then a little God Wink for an extra prop this year for the story…Kaitlyn had brought me back an Irish fairy-angel from Dingle, Ireland and with just a little help she became Gloria from the book illustrator’s imagination…it is always a fun story to tell. *And thank you Kevin for allowing our own ‘heavenly’ choir to help tell the story…you are our Gabriel with “Angels We Have Heard on High!”

After church the congregation went outside to the Memorial Garden where Harry and his wife Susan Johnson  donated the most beautiful angel statue in memory of Harry’s sister. So moving.

I think it is the lack of rain that has slowed down the process of the colorful autumn leaves this year…but yesterday, for the first time, it did start to look more like fall. The grandchildren’s Japanese Maples are slowly starting to turn. Eva Cate, Rutledge, Jakie, and Lachlan.

I think sometimes Mother Nature gets confused too with the seasonal transitions…somehow she never gets the ‘office email’ telling her the dates of the upcoming holidays and how each holiday should look outside in her domain.

But the urgent feeling of waiting for something or Someone persists…and I if had to take a guess…I would guess God. I think I need to get Him back on my calendar and then everything else will fall into place. Somehow I think He got scrunched out too….stuck between the pilgrims and the turkey.

I am slowly realizing how important it was on Christmas Day that God “chose to dive into our daily lives with us and not leave us until the end…now that is worth waiting for…”  ( Quinn Caldwell)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One More Time…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday Kate Wolfe-Jenson’s monthly newsletter popped up and I had to laugh. We have been thinking along the same lines with November, Thanksgiving, and gratitude. Jenson always makes me more aware of the fact that her challenges are so difficult but she always keeps going…for example…the drawing above is one of her originals drawn with her mouth/teeth since she can no longer use her arms during to debilitating restrictions of MS.

Amazing. Her idea of gratitude paralleled mine but she used all of our “senses” to reinforce the gratitude we should feel doing the simplest things every day.

You are awash in blessings, but sometimes you forget to notice them. The trick, then, is to find ways to remember.

Painting snippetLet your eyes invite you into gratitude.
– – Look around you and find something orange. Today, may everything orange invite you to give thanks.
– – Look around you and notice something round. Tomorrow, may everything round beckon you toward gratitude.

Painting snippetLet your ears invite you into gratitude.
– – Listen for the roar of an engine. The day after tomorrow, may the noise of your car be an invocation.
– – Listen for the voice of someone you love. Three days from now, may your loved one call you to give thanks.

Let your nose invite you into gratitude.
– – Sniff the air. Four days from now, go outside, take a deep breath and sing praise.
– – Smell the aroma of your soap. Five days from now, may you wash your face in a pool of grace.

Let your mouth invite you into gratitude.
– – Taste your morning drink. Six days from now, let your coffee, tea, or juice trickle you into thanksgiving.
– – Taste your food. A week from now, may the flavors of your dinner remind you of all that is good.

Let your fingers invite you into gratitude.
– – Enjoy the smooth. Eight days from now, may dishes, countertops and computer mice call you to give thanks.
– – Enjoy the rough. Nine days from now, may the brushes, roads and bushes near you prickle you awake.

So until tomorrow….For the next ten days let sights, shapes, sounds, touch, and taste remind us of all the blessings that surround us 24/7.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Ya Libby came to spend the night…her high school St. George graduating class was having a reunion right at Miler Country Club…one street down from me. The B&B was so happy to have someone stay over there again. Looking good Libby…hoping you are shagging to all the Motown music!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Gratitude in November

Dear Reader:

I was thinking the other day about the difference between two words….gratitude and thankfulness. I love how the Oxford Dictionary distinguished the two. It said:

The Oxford Dictionary defines the work “grateful” as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” This where the difference lies; being thankful is a feeling. Being grateful is an action. … Gratitude is when we dwell on more than just the feeling of thankfulness.

I had never thought about the difference, yet it is two different perceptions.

Example: “Thankful is just a feeling” – We sure were thankful for all the help when we moved. (And the feeling and sentiment ends there)

Example: Gratitude is the act of demonstrating an appreciation of kindness.

We brought a meal over for you in gratitude for helping us move into this wonderful neighborhood.

This year I want November, the month of Thanksgiving, to have more gratitude involved than just good (thankful) thoughts.

If any of you have a printer and some card stock paper…here is a little surcie for you for this month of Thanksgiving. (I am going to read my last Louise Penny book using it. It is a potential book marker.)

It contains quotes dealing with thankfulness and gratitude  (not just in November) for life.  And I feel, especially thankful and grateful for all I have today while writing this blog… which is such a gift for me.


So until tomorrow… I like Max Lucado’s definition of gratitude:

“Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse God’s accomplishments is to discover his heart. To discover his heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up.” 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Nancyjean Nettles and I met for lunch at Oscars yesterday and it was so fun catching up in our lives. I taught some of Nancyjean’s children and now they have children….all beautiful and wonderful…life is amazing! * Here’s a life’s ‘little extra”– our waitress brought us an extra glass with ice and two spoons to make sure the utensils stayed cool while eating it. Now that’s service!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment