“If You Don’t Learn Something New Every day or Have a Good Laugh…Then Get Back up…Your Day’s Not Over!”

Dear Reader:

If you take time to think about it….more days than not…most people hear themselves say, something along the lines of, “Really? I didn’t know that?”

I found myself thinking it yesterday while watching a garden show on PBS. The guest host was telling the audience if you want fresh flowers from an open flower market to last longer…stick with pastels…lighter colors live longer than dark, primary ones in vases of water. “I didn’t know that?” (* I, personally, prefer primary oranges, yellows, etc. but now I know to mix them with more pastels to keep the bouquet, as a whole, blooming longer.)

For just a second…it took me back to my grandparents’ cotton fields where lots of quips and daily ‘truths’ were learned doing this backbreaking farming for a living. Since Granddaddy Charlie died, within months of my own father, when I was five…I have more impressions of him than actual memories.

It was only through grandmother’s memories that I felt like I got to know him somewhat. Apparently the title quote today was one of his favorites ” If you don’t learn something new every day or share a good laugh…then get back up…your day’s not over.”

 

 

This is so true. I love learning new and “novel” little tidbits about any subject that I didn’t know before…I think we teachers became teachers because were curious children always asking “why?” We were always ‘life-time learners‘ before it became a popular ‘catch-phrase.’

I find myself, still today, jotting down quotes I hear that I like about life, new words I don’t know, trivia truths, and new perspectives on old topics. There’s always something new under the sun to learn.

As far as sharing a laugh…I still love Jake’s little T-ball buddy asking me if  “Jake was my grandmother.”  Later, after the game, I was sitting on the sofa between Eva Cate and Jake watching “Scooby-Doo” (their favorite cartoon show.)

Suddenly Jake looked at me and then at the characters again and announced loudly “Boo Boo…your hair looks just like Shaggy’s!” I broke out giggling… but not before I could hear John practically falling off the computer chair where he was working in the next room. 🙂

***As far as learning a new story, Lynn Gamache sent me a story with a similar metaphor as the blog post earlier this week on God being the co-pilot in a plane helping us steer through life.

*Instead of a plane…Lynn shared a story about a tandem bike... with Jesus helping us pedal.

A Tandem Ride With God 

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn’t know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!” I was worried and anxious and asked,Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared”, He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says… “Pedal.”

(Author unknown)

So until tomorrow…When times get tough…just pedal! 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Actually yesterday was a pretty great day! Anyone with a garden or lawn in the area wants rain…lots of it. And we finally got some…but even more importantly we got a cloudy, dark day with some spots of showers…perfect reading day…exactly what I had been wishing for…and wanting. “Thank you God”!

Hopefully…this will continue with Isaias, pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs. *If, like me, you have been wondering where in the heck that name came from…I will tell you since I got curious and looked it up.

It is the Spanish-Latin derivative of the Hebrew name Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament tied to both Jewish and Christian religions. Ironically (with a little twist of humor) it also means      (according to popular name origin websites) “God is my salvation.

Only time will tell ….but in the lowcountry we are just hoping a nice long rainmaker arrives.…though no doubt we will ‘pay the price’ picking up pine cones, needles, and sprays…they are already falling down. Hopefully, along with a few branches, that will be it…no larger falling debris like trees or buildings. Everyone take care!

We have to always look at something pretty each day too.

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It’s the Short Stories that Define Us…Not the Life Novel

Dear Reader:

Like so many writers before me…there comes a time in one’s life when thoughts turn to writing that great American novel. Realistically…those are far and few between….but I once had a writer tell me that storytelling was just as important….just remember to let oral stories be your legacy…your gift that you hand down.

After I retired (before I was diagnosed with breast cancer) I was still doing a lot of storytelling around the state and loving it. I never thought twice about giving out copies of the stories to teachers so they could share them with their students. The best teachers are the best storytellers.

So hopefully, perhaps, some of these stories are still being shared and passed down to generations of students…I will never know…but that is okay…as long as they still bring pleasure to future decades of learners.

I think if I were a teacher now, in these anxious times…I would tell story after story after story…to my students…imaginative stories to help them forget the challenges of daily life and the changes that affect so many families. And I would tell them true stories of heroes and heroines, young and old, who made a difference in their lifetimes…during their own personal “troubled” times.

It wasn’t until I discovered the blog and the daily opportunities it gave me to share stories from my own teaching days, creative stories, children’s stories, faith stories, true stories of my life with all its up’s and down’s…that I knew I had found my venue.

The blog suits my writing style best…because it keeps me on my toes listening for comments on programs to spark an idea for a post or lyrics in a song, or a faded memory from my past, a piece of conversation, or sharing a hope for my future.

Sometimes I feel like my blog posts are humorously  similar to Jerry Seinfield’s comedy show about “nothing.” A little retired school teacher writing about “nothing”…just sharing her daily observations and thoughts on life.

Yet, as we talked about earlier this week…out of “nothing’ comes sometimes, the greatest “somethings.” It is so reassuring to me when I throw a crazy thought out there in cyberspace…one of you will respond by telling me you once shared a similar experience or thought the same thing. (I’m not so crazy after all????)

But perhaps the greatest book I ever “assembled” was my mother’s “Memory” book after dementia starting robbing mother’s memory (at an alarming rate) while at the Presbyterian Village. The occupational therapist suggested I compile a book of pictures and descriptions/of family and their connection to mother. So I made a pictorial time-line with photos of all of us growing up…plus mother’s parents and siblings…cousins, etc.

I started it off with the anecdote on “The Bumblebee Can Not Fly.”

Underneath I wrote an inscription for mother that read:

“Thanks mom, for beating the odds and raising three small children as a single parent with a single hand…who never thought she couldn’t and flew anyway.” Pioneer Stock! 🙂

From the time I gave the Memory Book to her… it never left her sight…the nurses told me it was the only time she got visibly upset …if it wasn’t by her bedside at night or in her wheelchair each day. She looked at it continuously. When I came in after school…even after she had started grappling with my name…she held it up and pointed to a picture of me and smiled.

It was the greatest gift I ever gave her…besides loving her completely and wholly.

I caught a five minute excerpt from the old television program- The Waltons…Friday afternoon. John Boy was in New York City for the first time in his life…presenting his first novel to a publishing company…the editor was asking him to reflect on what brought him to this moment…this prompted his re-telling (from flashbacks) of all the writing struggles that had preceded… until that very moment in time.

The greatest obstacle had been when he had finished his first novel a couple of years earlier and then tragedy struck…the farm house caught fire and his manuscript went up in flames. He felt completely defeated and ready to give up. As hard as he tried he couldn’t remember how to re-write his “masterpiece.”

It was his father who sat him down….and said, “Son…you know how hard it has been for me trying to rebuild the old homestead…harder than I ever thought possible. Why? I was trying to precisely duplicate the original home and I kept failing. When I finally conceded that it was time to make changes and go forward with a different look…everything fell into place.”

“You can’t go back and re-write the same novel you did before the fire because, son, you aren’t the same person you were before the fire. Life experiences change us…you must start over with a new novel written by the man you are becoming at the age you are now.” 

When I look back at earlier posts I wrote ten years ago…I realize the same thing…I am not completely that person anymore…like a puzzle… more layers and pieces have been added to my life and my writings reflect these experiences. We should never grow stagnant…but change with life itself.

So until tomorrow…

Little glimpses into our daily lives present a person’s character more visibly than any novel of a lifetime can. We are our moments.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

AUGUST 1

Yep…it’s time for our “Rabbit, Rabbit‘ good luck monthly refrain on the first day of the month…the ‘dog days’ of August are upon us…but to be perfectly honest…July has been so “doggie” I don’t think August can give us any more or less than we have already experienced this hot, hot, humid summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God Lives in an Unrestricted Time Zone

Dear Reader:

When I came across this title banner…I had to laugh to myself. I might be in the cockpit as time is flying but there is definitely another pilot beside me watching me drive the plane while He looks out for obstacles ahead…obstacles that I can’t even see with my mortal eyes.

I really would hate to think that I would have to fly “solo” through this world without any help from my Creator who made me. Jesus’ first words following his baptism from his cousin, John, pretty much sums it up….”The time is now”…spread the good news…the Gospel. 

Jesus tried to explain to us that we aren’t put on earth to just circle the globe, “killing” time until we can get to Heaven…we are responsible for righting wrongs we see in everyday life, speaking out for justice when we witness injustice, and remembering we are here to help our fellowman during our temporary stay. Jesus reaffirms this with the Lord’s Prayer….

...”Our kingdom come, Your will be done, on EARTH, as it is in heaven.”  Life on earth is not a waiting line….it is a doing line. We have a chance daily to do something to help this world so when we leave it…it will be just a little better than before we entered it.

So every time we have an opportunity to  perform an act of kindness, whether random or planned, we are spreading the good news. The good news that mankind, at its best, is a remarkable creature…capable of as much good in this world as destruction. Each of us has to make that decision…using our inner-built moral compasses….do right or choose chaos and power over right or wrong.

Time can be on our side” if we use time the way God instructs  and mentors for us.

So until tomorrow…..

If we have ever felt deserted by God in our worst crisis…we know faith is being tested…and if we pass then the God of mercy, faith, hope and love appears. “The One none can really imagine in our wildest dreams, and the One none of us have a corner on. The One who stays, no matter what we do, hurts when we hurt, and loves us beyond belief. The One that is for us all.”  ( Excerpt: ” The Courage to Be” by Paul Tillich)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Ben was  able to get to Summerville for a belated birthday…we ordered out from Oscars, our favorite restaurant, and had Bekah and Ady join us for dinner and dessert here at the house…and a Happy Birthday celebration.

Oh…how I love my red English petunias…always so delightful….they are in their fourth season and just as pretty as ever…like “Big Red” on his white bench… they never leave their home on the green chair on the porch. I think the front porch must has “magical” flower power! 🙂

 

 

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What Makes It Hard…Your Life Mattered!

Dear Reader:

In a story I was reading earlier in the week the main character had recently lost her mother in a tragic accident. She kept waiting for time to heal….but, unexpectedly, a memory of her mother would reappear out of nowhere and she would achingly realize…’I will never get over my mother not being here.’ 

It’s so hard (she would pray to her mother silently) but then, I guess, that means you mattered so much to me. It shouldn’t be easy.”

Truer words were never spoken…if the passing of a loved one, particularly someone who had a large influence over our lives through many growing stages, is lost to us…it shouldn’t be easy to forget them.

Particularly parents and grandparents…I realized a long time ago, after my own mother’s passing, that I would still momentarily forget that I couldn’t call her up any more for advice, or sharing laughter or even sorrow.

At first I thought that I would miss sharing a “bad day” with her more than a happy occasion. I, however, acclimated to handling troubles on my own faster ….surprisingly to me…it was the joyous occasions when I missed calling mother the most. I wanted her to be happy, proud, or excited with me over some good fortune that had come my way.

I felt the same way when my beloved mother-in-law, Dee-Dee passed too…she was such a huge influence in the grandchildren’s lives that I knew she would want to be part of all the ‘happy occasions‘ that befell  her grandchildren too.

I wonder, sometimes, as I now have reached ‘grandmother’ status’, exactly when does an individual’s thoughts turn to making memories out of moments?

Do we just wake up one day and realize how precious time is and how important it is to share it with family? To make memories, not for just us, but more importantly for the adult children, and grandchildren to take with them into their future lives!

Jake has participated (the past few weeks) in a coronavirus modified t-ball schedule. Everything else he had planned to play this summer was cancelled….so this first-time athletic game has become his greatest joy!

He got right with the program…wearing his shark tooth good luck charm, putting his sunglasses on over his baseball cap (thought that looked cool) hitting the bat on the ground three times before hitting the ball off the T and later (as I got to witness Tuesday evening) hitting his first pitches from the coaches…helping the little ones start making the transition into baseball…just a little.

I had promised Jake (when the season began) I would make a game and the season was down to the wire…Suddenly the rains came right before the game Tuesday at 6…and we were  afraid the game would be cancelled. At the last possible moment, however,…the thunderstorm cloud departed, a nice breeze picked up and the game was back on. I could keep my promise to Jake.

Of course I was the grandmother yelling and running around taking photos…Jake would come over from the dugout where John, Mandy, Eva Cate with her umbrella and I were spread out on our folding chairs and come talk to me. After one such occasion…the cutest little fella sitting beside Jake walked over (after Jake went to hit) stared at me and said, “Hey lady…is Jake your grandmother?”

I was trying so hard not to laugh and hurt the little fella’s feelings…that I think I was snorting! I just nodded and smiled and he waved good-bye. When Jake was on third …closest to where we were sitting…he stopped and waved to me each time. Nothing…but nothing can top these moments. It was well worth the trip!

Eva Cate is into Tick Tock and was surprised that (being old) I even knew what it was….I have to admit watching her perform in the Tick Tock music videos was a lot of fun. Eva Cate is really into drama more than ever…hope she can get in an art or performing school, even camp, at some point growing up. She loves dressing up and entertaining.

I was so glad I got to help out…Mandy went to get her hair done for the first time since the virus…and returned feeling like a new woman…so pretty…Eva Cate and Jake thought so too.

Tigger’s surgery is healing and soon he will have fur again covering his “boo boo owie” on his head….he’s come a long way. We “oldsters” have to hang strong Tigger…proud of you!

 

 

 

 

We watched baby turtles swimming across the pond near the Turners and admiring the scenery. When I got home…it rained “cats and dogs” just long enough to grab some buckets to collect rainwater…it was over in about ten minutes…not too much rain in the buckets…another ‘fast hit’ and move out summer shower. Still..I will take whatever we get.

So until tomorrow…Let’s all strive to make it “hard” not to be remembered by our actions and love here on earth.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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Common Sense Camp

Dear Reader:

I love reading about different ideas in “Spotlight on Kindness” that pops up on my iPhone every week. They have such wonderful stories and ideas…it restores my faith in humanity. I loved this true story of one family coping with a summer without camps due to the COVID19 virus. So what did they do…create their own camp.

Common Sense Camp: The best kind of camp! 🙂

Editor’s Note: In the next 20-30 years, kids in elementary school today will likely be running significant parts of the world. While they will no doubt learn skills required to survive through education, how do they learn to have basic ethical values that serve them and others? This week’s stories highlight creative paths that parents and kids are experimenting with to create a kinder world. –Guri

Camp Common Sense: Due to the cancellation of summer camps and activities, parents Oona Hanson and Paul decided to create a ‘Common Sense Camp’ to teach their two kids much needed life lessons and abilities to take with them into adulthood. The camp is eight weeks long and features a variety of different weekly themes, such as “Kitchen Confidence” and “Anti-Racism”.

Oona and Paul hope that the things they learn this summer will help their kids in the future when faced with different encounters, such as responding to an insensitive comment or making breakfast for their roommates.

With sleep-away and day camps canceled, Los Angeles-based parenting coach and educator Oona Hanson and her husband Paul found themselves facing a long summer sheltering in place with their daughter, Gwendolyn, 17, and son, Harris, 12.

The Hansons had joked for years that their kids could use a good old “Common Sense Camp“to learn some of life’s more basic but necessary skills. So they decided to make it a DIY reality.

The family planned eight themed weeks… each one focusing on a different set of life skills. Themes include “Kitchen Confidence,”Safety and Emergency Preparedness,” “Laundry and Cleaning,” and less physical lessons like “Anti-Racism” and “Social Skills.”

“How to Be a Person” became the guiding manual because it uses short, step-by-step, illustrated instructions to teach everything from how to sort laundry to how to plunge a toilet or how to make an apology.

“I chose to use this book as a guideline because it’s written and illustrated with charm and joy and infused with humor and empathy,” said Hanson. “It’s not an adult talking down to kids; it’s an adult inviting kids into the world and explaining how you function in daily life.”

At first, her children were a little wary of the concept, said Hanson. “I think they were afraid it would be just more school.” The family structured Common Sense Camp so there was time for an activity in the morning, then another in the afternoon or evening.

For the week focused on “Kitchen Confidence,” for example, Hanson asked her son to find the chapter in the book that covered cooking and to read through it first before they discussed what he wanted to learn. “He’s excited to learn how to boil the perfect egg now,” she said.

Her husband, a “terrific cook,” has taken over most of the week’s lessons, Hanson said. “Today they were discussing knife skills and learning the difference between a mince, a dice, and a chop.”

“It always seems like we’re going to get around to teaching them these things ‘someday,‘” she said. “There’s that fantasy that before they go to college, they’re going to learn these thousand skills that actually take time to learn and practice. Right now, we have the time it never seems we have to do it.”

When they’re not learning how to boil an egg or read a map, the Hansons kids had a chance to engage in typical camp fun like making s’mores and friendship bracelets.

They even made camp T-shirts.

But though she is excited for her kids to confidently make their own meals and do their own laundry, Hanson said the benefits of Common Sense Camp go far beyond domestic skills.

And though they are physically distanced from their friends and family right now, Hanson said the meaning and future joy of what her children are learning this summer will last a lifetime.

“‘We are telling them, ‘You might be the person in your shared apartment who knows how to make everyone breakfast. You might be the person who, when you hear a questionable joke, speaks up and says to another colleague, ‘I am not comfortable with that. Why did you say that?'” she said.

“I’m OK if the kids are rolling their eyes at us now …if later they can look back and say, ‘I’m so glad I know how to make pancakes for 12 people.’ That will bring them so much joy and connection.”

So until tomorrow….Don’t you know parents right now…are screaming…”Where can we sign up?”  

Think about it…basic life skills were always taught at home for generations…how to sew, cook, clean, act in “proper” society…(Shoot…by the time I was  in college our freshman year (late sixties)…we were still required to take an orientation class on what else…“Lady Manners!” (And we were tested on it too!) 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Jeff showed up with digging instruments and cement to save two sections of a falling fence between me and my neighbor…he will have to wait and come back in a couple days (after it has hardened) to finish the job…but so excited…knowing that section of the fence won’t fall now… taking the rest of it with it.

P.S. Jeff took the “reading fairy’ with him to see what he can do to restore the light! 🙂 Jeff is a very good man! He can do it all! I am very blessed to keep getting, not only great lawn maintenance experts,but Mr. “Fix-It’s” in the bargain!

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Finding “Sacred” in the Ordinary

Dear Reader:

Sometimes the ‘sacred’ among the ordinary is such a fixture in our lives we forget just how beautiful it really is…

Case in point: When I first laid eyes on the ‘The old rugged (wooden) cross’ I instantly fell in love with it….Every morning when I wake up it is the first thing I see on the wall directly across from my bed ….along with a beautiful little angel reading.

I think I bought the angel from the tea room “Time Well Spent” many years ago. Originally she had batteries in her and a solar light panel so her book would light up at night…to help her read I presume.

I used to laugh when it looked initially like she had her eyes closed…I certainly could relate…since I fall asleep more often than not in my recliner while reading late at night.

But then I looked up at her from a different angle and her eyes are just little slits…almost closed but not…again…I could relate…I try to keep my pried eyes open as long as I can too.

The only thing missing on my beautiful angel now is her light. I remember leaving her in the garden during the day so her solar panel, along with the batteries, could soak in the suns’s rays. Then it would light up her book at night.

It was so pretty until one time when I forgot to bring her in at night and it poured…the batteries apparently got drenched and she has never ‘lit’ up again…to my sadness.

I called my neighbor elf, Vickie, to see if she could help me unscrew the two screws holding the (I imagine) rusty batteries in place. We managed to get one tiny screw out but the other one looks rusted in place. So close but yet so far away from victory.

You see there is a mystery going on…some scattered alphabet letters and some kind of faded image….in order to see it the light needs to come on underneath like it originally did.

* I just remembered Jeff comes this morning to do the yard…maybe- just maybe he can get the last screw undone and we can replace the batteries…and have light from the sun revealing the book’s contents. We will just have to wait and see.

And while we are searching for fairies and their “magical” parts…guess who showed up again…after about a year’s disappearance act…”Little Tink,” the Tinker Bell figurine that Anne’s sister, Lucy sent me years ago. Tinker Bell wanted to move south where it was warmer…Lucy wrote me… and have new adventures. *Her adventures are getting lost on a continuum basis.

She pulls this disappearing act every few months…she’s there and then shes’ not. She has been found under cement fixtures when they were moved, buried under pine straw…she once even showed up in a large serving spoon at Thanksgiving one year. You just never know.

I thought I outwitted “Little Tink” apparently (this last time) by keeping her in a little box-safe and sound…but then it was me who forgot where I put the box?????!!!! DUH!

While looking for double and triple batteries (can’t remember which ones will be needed…) yesterday for the reading fairy statue…”Little Tink” showed up…so I have decided to let her read whatever the story is… along with the reading fairy!

…I think she needs an older, wiser guardian angel to keep track of her. Maybe that has been the problem.

We can only hope Lucy! One thing I will say she makes adventures out of any place she finds herself in. (There’s a lot we can learn from little Tinker Bell!)

 

* I will keep you updated about what’s inside the two pages… if Jeff can get the batteries fixed and we have plenty of sunshine …which, most likely, we will have! 🙂

So until tomorrow…

Mystical and magical just seem to go together, don’t they? All we have to do in both cases is say “I BELIEVE!”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

My lucky charm continues…I went for my monthly oncology visit yesterday…taking my “happy face” annual blood report with me since they like to make copies of my yearly physicals and there are a few items that differ from each medical center’s blood test analysis.

My amazing PA was not to be outdone….she went and found a gold star to put on my shirt for having another ‘extra’ good blood work report!

A “Star” is born! Where are you Bradley Cooper? I want a serenade! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding That “Nothing” is Something

Dear Reader:

I was, admittedly, at one time the clutter queen. Everything around me was full of something…and most of those somethings were useless…just taking up space. I must have driven mother nuts…since she was just the opposite…she was a  minimalist long before the term came into vogue.

Like her, later however, I realized that raising three children alone takes every ounce of your strength… just to keep the daily routine of jobs and schools on track. I neither had the energy or desire to spend weekends playing “pick up sticks” clothes, toys, coats, jackets, and sports equipment.

Yelling at  my  children to do so wasn’t working either…I put up with enough conflict at school…to have any patience left at home.

It was only after Tommy went off to college that I slowly started reclaiming the house…and quite honestly it was only after my ‘little c’ diagnosis that suddenly cluster started suffocating me. I finally realized it also stunted my creativity….too many useless things hovering around me…smothering me in every facet of my life.

Another positive shout-out for the pandemic…I am saving lots of money not shopping….I haven’t bought an outfit…blouse or pants…in the last four months…a record for me. Before the pandemic…I would meet friends for lunch and then we would usually go to department stores, garden, or gift shops…and I never left without clothing, plants or decor.

Amazon. com is probably my biggest bill of the month…but it is basically just an accumulation of books and gifts for the grandchildren. When one isn’t going anywhere except around family…one doesn’t feel a need for any new clothing every month or so.

Thus…my closets are now pretty bare…having sent boxes of clothes/clutter to charity organizations all over town.

It’s true…if you haven’t worn  an article of clothing in a year…

SAYONARA!

And speaking of the Japanese…In their culture….their eyes are trained at an early age to see empty spaces in art, religion, design, business and life, not as  empty spaces… but as “spaces full of nothing.

Empty spaces are filled with possibility…shrouded by the unknown until the time is right to be revealed. Every time I change my mantel- for holidays or just a ‘new look’ …there is a gap or interval of time when the mantel is completely empty…

Each time I go through this transition…I admire more fervently the beauty of the empty mantel and all the possibilities my imagination conjures up…I enjoy the fullness of nothing. There is an uncluttered elegance to a bare mantel…a refreshing restraint in the room that seems, somehow inviting.

*(Mother…it took awhile…but your minimalist  genes are sprouting.)

So until tomorrow…What I have finally realized is when I go through my “purging” moods…that I have outgrown so many objects I once adored…because they halt my ability to see things in a new light.   Try this readers… remove a picture from a wall, clear off table tops, or remove a piece of furniture from a room. Suddenly…the room has grown larger…***Actually you have just made space for yourself to continue growing.

We have gotten a few hit and miss showers over the weekend…but more missed than hit and the ‘hits” are weak…lasting only precious minutes…still my prayer tree is answering my prayer for rain…a little at a time….caught this photo right after one spotty shower.

Another plant has a bloom on it and with Doodle’s help have identified it…..a little, tiny hydrangea bush…believe me the little bloom (enlarged for the photo) takes up most of the plant that is only about a foot or less across. I think this is an example of a bush being planted in the wrong location…not happy or growing. But still pretty! 🙂

 

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It’s Time for More “Moodling”!

Dear Reader:

Don’t we (or at least) we know of… people who spend so much of their lives…talking about how ‘one day they are going to do this or that’ or “change their life…if  they ever can find the time.’

Behind each similar familiar statement… that is some times simply shrugged off as a trivial thought or ‘another life’ dream….one recognizes a profound sense of loneliness and sadness. People seem to realize that their life is quickly passing them by…but they have yet to find the courage to change.

Enter Covid 19! To date is has more profoundly changed people’s lives than any other historical incident in quite some time. Yet with it…has, also, come unique opportunities of taking “the road less traveled” and finding that passion within all of us that has waited patiently …for the opportunity to present itself.

My two passions, that began post-retirement, starting the blog in 2010 and a garden in 2013, came about under different circumstances. The blog came together so quickly after discovering what  a “blog”was… that I never had time to second-guess my decision to start it… because it was started and now it was up to me to continue it….and to my own surprise I loved it and continue to do so….sharing my simple life with so many other exciting readers’s lives.

The garden idea took longer. In the days before all the teaching retirement paperwork was ‘signed, sealed, and delivered‘  friends were asking me what I would do. I didn’t know but I also knew for my health  (mental and physical) it was time for a change, to let go of ‘dead-lines.’ I remember in my own personal visualization of retirement,  I was planting a garden. The thought surprised even me. I knew absolutely nothing about how to even begin to create a garden..

It took me a few years, however, to finally completely release the rope I had been tethered to for years-the comfortable known area of my life-education…I became an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern, I continued to do workshops with my Berkeley friend, Carol Poole, since we always had so much fun on our ‘adventures’ together in bringing storytelling into the social studies curriculum.

And then came “little c” diagnosis in 2008..It turned my life completely around. I was no longer lost with what I would do with the rest of my life…instead I was enveloped with the feeling that I had so much I wanted to do…and I couldn’t let breast cancer deny me my recently realized dreams of a new life.

I never looked back from that point on…what I had been searching for was an appetite for life again...zest and exuberance! With my life in the balance suddenly it became so precious…Joi devivre...as the French would say…”the love of life.” I wanted it…before it was too late.

After reading an article by writer, Brenda Ueland, I realized I had to re-awaken my imagination. It needed “moodling-long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering… to flourish. The secret is to find your life aspiration…the things that fulfills your “being” and turn it all into play. That way you will never work again.

Life changed for me with a “harmonious lilt” that brings so much daily happiness. I was ‘lost but now I am found.” Thanks “little c.”

So until tomorrow….

 

Have a beautiful day today!

***A BIG SHOUT-OUT and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to  my Big Bro Ben! We grew close after losing our youngest brother, David at 21, to Marfan’s Syndrome… leaving just the two of us.

We have each had our health scares but that is what makes every birthday now even more special. Love you Ben…Happy Happy Birthday!

And a second SHOUT-OUT to my beautiful niece, Vikki, Lee’s wife and Rhode’s mom. They have “escaped quarantine” for a birthday trip to Florida to see Vikki’s family. Have fun everyone and Happy Happy Birthday Vikki!

Have a safe trip to Florida and enjoy the precious time away with family….

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A “Gilded Lily”…Not Necessary But So Appreciated!

Dear Reader:

I have heard the expression “Gilding the lily” but was never quite sure what it meant.

I decided to research the expression and discovered that the eytymology of the phrase… has been altered from its first original line in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

To adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful. The expression is a condensation of Shakespeare’s metaphor in King John: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily… is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” i.e., you wouldn’t need to add gold to a beautiful lily.

In the 19th century…the expression used was to “paint the lily” meaning a beautiful lily doesn’t needed a layer of gold on it or gold paint…it is already perfection…no elaborations needed.

Haven’t we all squirmed under too many gushy compliments at some time or another…even elaborated  thank you’s.…when all that was necessary was just one “Thank you.

Normally I feel that way too…if things get too mushy-gushy…where they start to cross the line… (appearing insincere rather than appreciated from the heart) we grow uncomfortable…too much “too much”..

Yesterday was my first physical in almost two years…I keep forgetting that I started the “quarantine” craze before it even became popular  two years ago?

(*I got to have a practice run on being quarantined when my foot surgery went astray…infection set in…I actually experienced more pain in that foot than I have from the accumulation of  twelve years of different cancer treatments. ) 🙂

Then while I was using the wound-vac and other medieval instruments of pain…my car was stolen…twice ….from the same teenager….so even when I was given the okay to drive again…I had no vehicle to drive.

It all worked out eventually…like it always does…but I did miss a lot of medical visits that had to be postponed, outside of my oncologist, for a few months.

I was a little concerned what the blood work numbers might show ..I have had acid reflux, (which I have never had since my last pregnancy- I think we can rule out I am pregnant, however! ) 🙂

On-going indigestion problems (added to the list) which are typical of Verzenio’s side effects…but mostly my concern lays with my complete lethargic self! No matter how much sleep at night or rest during the day I get…I just felt tired all the time and listless. That is not me…I can give “perky” a run for the money. What was causing it…my case of the “May-lay-Waste-A-ways?”

The farther Dr. Montoya got through going over the blood work outcome numbers with me…the most excited she became…not only were the numbers good…as Tony the Tiger would say…“They were GREAT!” I don’t know who was more excited and/or relieved…her or me! 🙂

Since returning home yesterday afternoon I have pondered this happy news while still shaking my head in disbelief. I think I must have just come down with a double-whammy of monotonous   “hot weather blues”  with a dash of  “quarantine” quandary.”  *The combination is not good! Avoid it if you can!

We were both giggling like school girls at the end of the reading… then suddenly Dr. Montoya gave me an A+ and then decided to “gild the lily” with another + AND a happy face…signed by her.

I can hardly wait to take it to my oncologist, Dr. Jeter, Monday morning…since I have to have blood work done again and an office visit…to show her my primary doctor’s reaction!

gild the lily. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful. to praise someone inordinately.

I must say I am still reeling with delight at the “inordinate amount of praise and congratulations” I got! In a situation like this…any doctor can “gild my lily” as often as they wish!!!!!! It made my day! Thank you and your staff, Dr. Montoya, for just being you!

 

So until tomorrow….

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Look What Came Yesterday? Perfect timing…My Prayer Tree Plaque! As I was digging the hole for the stake to go in….I thanked the tree for the good news yesterday! Now I need to find some heavy duty index cards that would fit in plastic covers to hang on the branches…in case we ever get any rain! )

***The Prayer Tree completed my first prayer….a prayer for rain…A little after 10 last night the rains fell…today I will finally have  a “Get Out of Jail” free pass…no watering today! 🙂

I can’t say good-bye without a beauty of two to share with you.

 

 

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“Don’t Worry…Be Happy!”

Dear Reader:

Only, we humans, have the ambiguous “luxury” of worrying. Animals know, instinctively, that there is no security in life and thus live it moment to moment… with little thought to the future. (unless “squirreling away nuts!) 🙂

Whereas humans spend enormous chunks of their time alive…worrying about everything under the sun.

In one article I read on worrying…the psychologist asked his client to answer a memory “test” question on worry and productivity.

“What was your biggest worry exactly one year ago today?”

Instead of a response most clients just shook their heads and some even offered a half-grin at the personal eye-opening truth behind the question. Who remembered or even cared now?

Like Winston Churchill once said in a famous anecdote –

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of troubles in his life, most of which  never happened.”

If anybody had our human permission to be allowed to worry…it should have been Jesus. Think about it…

He came into an unstable and unpredictable world. He lived in an agricultural society where one summer’s drought could wipe out crops for the winter. He hung out with fishermen, who might fish all night long and catch nothing to sell or bring home to family. And Jesus knew the human heart and the temptations presented by the cares of this life. So he gave his disciples some excellent instruction on worry in Matthew 6.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (25)

He follows up this advice with the next reassurance to mankind…

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (26)

And finally Jesus ‘hits’ his disciples with the crux of the problem of worrying through life and its futility concerning our short life spans on earth …..

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (27)

(Source: “Three Things Jesus tells Us About Worry” by Mark Altrogge)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Like me…I am sure a lot of you readers are thinking “Sure that all sounds good, Becky, but it’s not realistic…humans can’t help but worry.” Yet does anyone believe God purposefully inserted “worry” into our psyches …after all it is the antithesis of faith.

Let me tell you a true story about witnessing a young man who lived his philosophy in life…however short that was. He was the new music teacher at Oakbrook Elementary when my daughter, Mandy, was still teaching in Summerville.

He was right out of college, just married, and brimming with life….he just wasn’t a music teacher…but he was a breathing musical human “instrument” from God... who was always upbeat and happy.

I adored seeing him whenever I stopped by Mandy’s room to drop something off or tell a story to a class. After only a couple of years or so of teaching he was up for Dorchester Two’s Teacher of the Year. He was just that charismatic…you were drawn to him like a magnet and just wanted some of his enthusiasm and love of life to rub off on you.

I just so happened to be on the Teacher of the Year selection committee that year when he was representing Oakbrook Elementary. He entered the room with a huge smile on his face and shook each one’s hand vigorously.

He answered the questions directly…and we soon understood how he had beaten out so many experienced and talented teachers for this highly selective honor.

Near the end of the questions…one interviewer asked what she had asked the other candidates….How would he (in as few words as possible) sum up his philosophy on education?

No one expected his response….He suddenly jumped up on his chair and said since he was a music teacher it was only appropriate to answer that question with a song instead of a verbal response.

He started singing (pretending he had an ukulele) “Don’t Worry…Be Happy.”  

What I knew from my daughter (but he never mentioned) was that he suffered from a genetic heart problem all his young life…but he had never let it deter him from becoming a music teacher to children.

It was only about a year later that Mandy called me crying…he had gone to sleep one night and never awakened…leaving his recently wedded young wife, along with everyone who ever met him, in mourning over the loss of so much joy he gave the world.

He probably shortened his life by pursuing his teaching career but he could either lay around and watch life from a distance, perhaps extending it a little longer, or jump in headfirst and live life to the fullest for whatever time he had. He made his choice and lived life from moment to moment.

So until tomorrow….Life can be lived in joy and faith…not worrying about tomorrow…but making the most of today.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

***As I was writing this post early yesterday morning…my friend, a little rabbit who comes to visit me periodically (especially after sprinkling extra bird feed on the ground around the feeder) showed up. At first I didn’t see him since he blended right into the brown leaves under the feeder.

But then he seemed to look through my window by the computer and “smile” at me….he just sat there and stared before hopping off. I managed to get one photo of him but the screen outside the glass window always causes a barrier to a great photo shot from that angle.

Admittedly…there I was worrying about my little furry friend…wanting him to finish breakfast and scurry back into the woods again where it was safer…whereas the little rabbit was as happy as could be exploring new areas and new adventures. I am envious of the little rabbit…lesson learned.

I was out early in my garden yesterday morning…the automatic sprinkler had come on leaving the bushes and flowers with beautiful droplets on them…here are some pretty moments frozen in beauty.

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