A Life Well Loved

Dear Reader:

When all is said and done…can there be anything nicer said about a person in an eulogy than they lead a “Life well loved?” (Photo/Pinterest)

Any time I grow sad over the state of affairs today…I cheer myself up with each incident I witness, read, or hear about that involves love. Even when we are at our most broken…feeling visibly cracked beyond repair…love has a way of  filling in the cracks and restoring us to shine once again.

Brooke always makes me laugh when she shares her philosophy about embarrassing medical visits that require the little blue and white checkered medical gown (with the tie in the back) type examination. (Especially when you are told to reverse the gown and have the open area in front leaving it untied…panic!)

Brooke reassures herself with the thought…that the doctor has likely seen better… but has also seen worse.  To this day I giggle to myself when I think about Brooke’s ‘wise words.’

This philosophy also applies to the world in which we live. It has seen better, it has seen worse….and the only scenario in which I couldn’t live in a particular environment….would be a world without love. That is too terrible to contemplate…because that would be a world without God. God is love.

In Magnolia Journal...one column was dedicated to the practice of kintsugi (a noun meaning “golden repair.”) 

“Kintsugi refocuses our attention from what should have been toward creating something infinitely more beautiful with what remains, and perhaps far more honoring of who we were to be all along.

It provides a lens to see an object’s  broken crevices or scars as being a part of its original grand design, and it offers us the opportunity to do the same…to see our lives as rare works of art.

Gold dust and resin  is used to re-attach the broken pieces. Strength and beauty is found in imperfection.”  

So until tomorrow….Everyone has a story to tell…and scars are our badges of honor.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

From out of the storm nature heals us … with visions of beauty that used the storm’s rainfall to bloom.

Monday was my monthly visit with my oncologist and I received good news…my white-cell count, for the first time in months, was “normal,” as well as my liver enzymes looked good and some reduction of my tumor. So relieved….I could breathe again after the rather negative report form the month before. I think we have finally hit the magic number on the amount of dosage needed for the daily oral chemo pills!! 🙂

Pam Stewart and her husband, Kirk, have recently moved and they had some planters’ pots… and unique copper Dutch shoes plant containers with a copper window ledge they wanted to give me. Can hardly wait to get the back deck cleared and clean…to add some new plant ideas. Thanks Pam and Kirk!

While in the waiting room of the Charleston Oncology Center…awaiting my lab work,  I opened August’s Skirt Magazine and did a double -take. There was an article on five women who represent the five senses of Charleston. The first picture captured was Sound...and as I stared at it…I saw Vikki…my nephew Lee’s wife…and showed everybody in the office her picture. Just gorgeous! So proud of you Vikki for the selection! What an honor!

Vikki Matsis: Singer/ Founder/Owner/Ohm radio

*Sis Kinney had her second exploratory surgery, like Ann earlier, and will get the results back within the next few days. Please keep Sis in your prayers until she hears back…it can be very lonely waiting for results. We pray she has the same positive results as Ann Graves. (Ann G. is now waiting to see what procedures her oncologist thinks it best at this stage of the ‘game.’

 

 

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Laughing at Life’s Unexpected Twists

Dear Reader:

Aren’t we humans a mess? We add so much unnecessary stress to our daily lives.. trying to live up to some imaginary scenario about how we should appear in public, weigh, keep house, parent, and work. We base this “ideal” on self- perception  (as dictated by societal “norms”)… rather than the finality of truth.

The fall edition of Magnolia Journal centers around a popular term these days…wholeness. The title reads “In Pursuit of Happiness////Wholeness.

Joanna said she picked up immediately from her team when they talked about “wholeness” that somehow we have gotten the wrong idea that being “whole” is reaching utopia or perfection. Not so…according to editor Joanna Gaines.

Joanna believes it is all the parts of our individual stories that make us “complete/whole”…the sad, sorrowful, broken, hard times deserve just as much time in our stories as the good, happy, and successful times. We need to be accepting of ourselves as all that we already are….a continuous work in progress…not just what we aim to be. We are “whole” every day.

Next time you make a daily To-Do list….title it EVERYTHING I’M SUPPOSED TO DO TODAY. (the unrealistic societal list) and then at the end of the day  reflect on what you actually did that day. Be ready to laugh and have fun again laughing at ourselves and enjoying life to the fullest. Many times things do get done…just not the way we thought! 🙂

 

And now the heading: WHAT I ACTUALLY DID TODAY!

EAT A BALANCED BREAKFAST  

CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE

GOT MY CARDIO IN

WASHED MY HAIR

SHARED A MEAL AS A FAMILY- NO DISHES REQUIRED

DIDN’T MAKE IT TO BED..BUT GOT A FULL FOUR HOURS

“When we’re willing to loosen our grip on the to-do list and laugh at life’s unexpected twists, suddenly the day becomes a little more do-able and a lot more interesting….no longer a failure but fulfilling.”

So until tomorrow….Smile and just keep smiling…life is worth each one.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday morning when I went to my “office” and sat on the sofa in the early morning hours…I was lost in thought about an idea for this blog post. Suddenly the sun shot in and lightened my round rocking chair rug with lights and shadows. So pretty!

As tempting as it is in life sometimes to just sit and rock while watching our round world turn over and over between night and day, brightness and darkness, light and shadows ….we will never be remembered for a life of sedentary  rocking…unless we “rock” to the beat of our own drum leading us along our path to fulfillment.

*I miss seeing Eloise for three weeks and the child gets me back for growing up behind my back…I am coming Eloise…just stop growing! Please! Love, Boo Boo

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Invisible Struggles

Dear Reader:

I came across a wonderful true story dealing with the fragile emotions associated with a new school year…especially fears surrounding loss, acceptance and friendship. They are the same fears we continue to have throughout our lives… as we move from stage to stage in it with changes throughout…forcing us to put ourselves ‘out there’ in new situations… to be accepted or not.

Connor Crites (left) has autism and it causes over-stimulation when he finds himself in unknown, challenging situations. He had wandered away from his aide and started crying.

Christian Moore heard him and glanced at him. Suddenly he reached over and took his hand quietly without saying anything.

Connor’s mother later said, “Instead of overlooking him like most kids would have, Christian reached over, grabbed his hand and made my son’s day better.”

Christian’s mom, Courtney, happened to see this spontaneous act of kindness and snapped the photo as her son walked Connor into Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas.

Later that day when Connor came home he told his mom he had a great day. He liked his new friends and his teacher. He never mentioned the earlier incident…he had forgotten all about it.

Now Christian and Connor sit together at lunch and recess. They have even started spending time together outside of school. April, Connor’s mom concluded that it is important to “remember that everyone is struggling with something that may be invisible to those around them. We each have the choice to change someone’s day…even their life.”

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How true that last statement is…don’t we all have invisible struggles going on in our lives?…Struggles we keep to ourselves…invisible to most… but not all? Don’t we all sooner or later  meet a “Christian” (friend or stranger) who sees through us and recognizes our particular struggle. Not only do they recognize it…they accept it. And that is all it takes…seeing and accepting the broken cracks in each of us.

I just recently learned about a beautiful metaphor concerning the American bison/buffalo. “Where cattle will turn their tails at a storm, bison face toward it- right into the gale. It’s as if they have this instinct that if they meet the tempest head-on instead of denying, running, or hiding from it, they’ll get through it- more quickly and on their terms.”  ( Clint Gresham)

In other words…don’t run from the storm, your fears and struggles…meet them head on! Native-Americans revered the buffalo for this trait of courage and called the bison “Faces the Storm.” Bison were observed turning and walking into snowstorms in order to get through them faster.

 

So until tomorrow….”Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Bekah and Ady came to visit me yesterday during the Clemson game and brought good luck to the Tigers who started off slowly but ended up winning and beating Texas A&M…thank you girls. Enjoyed your visit so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Being Still…Doing Nothing…are Two Different Things”

Dear Reader:

It is over. Dorian has come and gone. Was there a lesson in it all? I think so…straight from the words of our beloved Armand Gamache’s mouth…“There is a difference between being still and doing nothing.”

When the power went off early Thursday morning…semi-darkness descended in the house…heavy dark clouds, bursts of torrential rains and banshee winds whose screams sounded eerily human surrounded “Boo’s Blessings.”

I wrapped up in “pinkie”… feeling completely immobile. All that could be done had been done…it was Mother Nature’s time to show us her “stuff” and it was frankly pretty spectacular.

As I sat in the darkening “Happy Room” with only the sounds of wind and rain pounding against the windows…I found myself mesmerized at the sights and sounds of Dorian. “Being still” as just an observer of life and nature is such a rarity but also quite magical. I crowded more serene feelings into Thursday amid the tropical storm …until I  finally understood the difference in stillness over nothingness.

There is a definite reason why scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It doesn’t say “Do nothing and know that I am God.”

Strangely I felt little fear overall…(but must admit to jumping every time a branch or especially a pine cone hit the roof…it sounded like a grenade or especially an acorn hitting the top of one’s car. (POW!)

As darkness descended I fell asleep quite easily and very early for me…by 9:oo. I  finished “A Better Man” with the book in one hand and the flashlight in the other. *Gamache made me feel very protected the ‘night of Dorian.’

The storm’s intensity was strangely more potent farther from the coast, in some circumstances, than closer…such was the case with Summerville’s relationship to the storm.

All three of my children live in the Mt. Pleasant area of Charleston… closest to the beaches and none of them lost power…even more family… who live on Isle of Palms… fared remarkably well. Much of Summerville lost its power and down trees were visible all over town.

This was the problem on our street… my next-door-neighbor’s tree fell across Rainbow Road taking out a transformer and crashing into other trees and electric lines…wrapping itself up in one big tangle “cat” ball. Our street was without power about a day and a half. Very lucky!

The problem took three crews of men/trucks to sort it all out. But happily it got done. With temps returning to the 90’s this week…the sound of the air-conditioner clicking back on yesterday afternoon was the sweetest sound of all. (Oops…did I forget the fridge too?)

Remember how it was only the day before the storm that I showed you a picture of the Rainbow street sign…what a difference a day makes.

The best thing about the storm was the gathering of neighbors…outside on the streets to talk and share stories of the storm as we waited on the power to return. In our daily lives many of us speak as we pass each other in the car but now we really talked and swapped pictures…I hate to think it takes a storm and freedom from electric power to run our televisions, computers, and gadgets to communicate …but it really does.

Julie Hucks, my neighbor whose house would have been split in two if the tall pine tree had swayed a little more right, said the same thing to me when she sent me some pictures…about the fun of the neighborhood gathering and all the excitement watching the Dominion workers take on this big project just for us…


 
All the excitement ends with us having air condition. (Julie)

“Overall I had a pretty good time through out all this, which I hate to say because this storm brought so much devastation elsewhere! We were blessed to only have some trees come down. The camaraderie made up for it,  Life is good.” (Julie)

So until tomorrow…For me…as soon as I put up my “Boo’s Blessing” sign…even before returning the plants to the porch…I felt such an abundance of gratitude fill me…My home was still intact and  more loved than ever!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Upon reflection Sammy the Cardinal and I share a lot of similar problems…including this problem with his hair or lack of…maybe he has had too many chemo pills too…he was the first to return yesterday after I put the filled suet bird feeder back up. Missed you Sammy….glad you made it through the storm safely…(though he did look skinny…think he was really hungry.)

H O P E survived…but then we knew it would didn’t we? A beautiful moon decorated the night sky last evening…life is wonderful!

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The True Story Behind the “She Shed” Commercial

Dear Reader:

Figured this was just a good leisurely day (very little rain/overcast and relatively cool) to have some fun with this commercial…that has become a popular icon already with the question being asked “Who burned down Cheryl’s “she-shed?”

America is having fun with this question with all kinds of opinions coming in…one funny idea was shared by my friend Harriett Edwards on Facebook….indicating it was not lightning as the husband initially declared…

Some think it is Buddy… the bad elf!

The actress, Nicole Butler, who won the audition for playing Cheryl …re-calls how it all started…a call for an audition about a burned down “she-shed.” The actress said she didn’t even know what a “she-shed” was so she looked it up. She later wrote….

“What the heck is a she shed? I wondered.

A quick internet search revealed that a “she shed” is the female equivalent of a “man cave,” only instead of being inside the house, it resides in the backyard.

Cool, I thought as I scrolled through Pinterest, nodding my approval at the array of brightly colored, creatively decorated sheds. Moments before, I hadn’t even known that she sheds were a thing and now, to my artsy eye, they’d become #goals.”

Nicole got a second call back and then was selected…they shot some of the scene with props in the Rose Bowl Stadium and the back yard of a nearby home. The fire was watched closely and a lot of Hollywood magical lighting effects went into making the lights on their faces look like reflections of the fire. It was a fun commercial to make.

Nicole had no way of knowing that this commercial would attract such an audience for State Farm insurance. These days people stop, point, and yell “She Shed” at Nicole…she takes it in stride and laughs along with them.

*The majority of people think  the culprit is her husband, Victor, who hates the ‘she shed’ …. but doesn’t want anybody checking for arson…so he tries to convince Cheryl that lightning struck it. To his dismay Cheryl is deciding to build an even bigger she-shed.

 

Since this commercial went viral… sales of ‘she-sheds’ have dramatically risen…. someone came out smelling like a rose.

*What about you? Who or what do you think burned down Cheryl’s “she-shed”…a fun question for another long waiting day for Dorian!

So until tomorrow…“Laughter is the best medicine but it still doesn’t replace chocolate! “

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

More pretties in the garden…waiting too to see what happens….

The Mexican sunflowers are now at their happiest. A variety of colors…

*I got all my running around done earlier yesterday morning and by noon it was time to tuck “Surcie” in for the duration of the storm. Tommy and Kaitlyn helped clear the garage to make room for Surcie…”Take advantage of the storm Surcie and rest…you know how Boo loves to drive you around the lowcountry each and every day!”

As of late afternoon yesterday when I finished this blog we had very little rainfall…a quick shower now and then but mostly it remained cool, cloudy, and overcast…almost fall weather…quite delightful actually. Closer to the coast I think it was pretty much a rainy day all day from the outer bands of Hurricane Dorian…s l o w l y approaching.

Summerville should feel more of the impending storm during the night and early morning hours…with the bulk of the storm descending early afternoon…but then all that is subject to change…this is one very unpredictable massive storm.

But the weather made for a cozy, readable day…just wondering and waiting…but being in my Happy Room always comforts me. Luke and Chelsey came over and we had cookies from Azalea Magazine recipes and Luke helped me get all my flashlights working…though I do believe I have enough candles to light the Vatican! 🙂

Beautiful ending…to another day in waiting….

Today is D-Day....Dorian Day...will fill you in as it transpires! *But if there isn’t a post tomorrow…it is because of power shortage….my neighborhood electricity has a reputation for going off with one big puff.

 

 

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Who Knows What Today May Bring…for that matter…Tomorrow Either?

Dear Reader:

Tuesday was a busy one….I had to go to my Charleston Oncology Center to get a refill on my medicine…it was busy in there. They plan to be closed the next couple of days and probably Friday…so was glad I got there in time for them to get a special smaller packet of my medicine called in, sent to them, and on to me in less than an hour. Thanks to the staff at the Charleston Oncology Center for going the extra mile! 🙂

Then I made the mistake of stopping by the post office to mail my letter to Judy, Kaitlyn’s grandmother, only to find the outside mailboxes “Bubbled up” with heavy plastic…the doors on the Post Office locked….no mail coming in or going out.

I left there to pick up another prescription at our 24/7 CVS who was also locked up and closed. Okay…no real problem…didn’t need that particular prescription anyway…have plenty.

On the way home I stopped at our new park in town…Hutchinson Square and took the title photo…absolutely beautiful day, like Labor Day…blue skies and sunny conditions…figured I might as well enjoy these beautiful days while all remains calm.

When I drove in and checked my garden…I was met with a surprise…two blooming morning glories and a Mexican Petunia blooming…those periwinkle colors still dominating….

Upon arriving home…there was a bag from Vickie of extra Azalea Magazines from the club…I love our local magazine…while I browsed through it I found something that I knew I had to address to the editor…it was too cute and funny.

SUMMERVILLE!     LOCATION IS EVERYTHING!

The azaleas are amazing, the shrimp are scrumptious, and Rainbow Row is real. Come see it all from historic Summerville-the center of your Lowcountry experience.

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My first thought was “Isn’t Savannah called Charleston’s ‘Little Sister’?

“Does that make Charleston’s ‘younger sister’ (Summerville) another sibling in the family?”

I decided to email Will Rizzo, the wonderful editor of Azalea Magazine and tell him that we don’t have a Rainbow Row precisely but Summerville does have a Rainbow Road. 

I then sent him a picture of the road and street sign for evidence… concluding that even though we might not have bright colorful houses on our ‘road’ like Rainbow Row…our wonderful colorful neighbors more than make up for the paint…a much better trade-off! Just a cozy tucked-away little road with an owner who never tires of writing her address from her own cozy home… with rainbow colors inside her Happy Room….100 Rainbow Road.

As if to prove the point I heard a ping…it was Vickie’s text telling me that the cookies on the latest edition of Azalea Magazine looked too good not to try…so there was a bag of the almond cookies on my front porch with the word (storm) “Provisions” on it. *This is what I mean about neighbors and kindness always take precedence over material settings and locations.

So until tomorrow…As I took a nap yesterday afternoon Dorian turned slightly more west- It was Jackson, just back from Princeton visiting Matthew and Jhasmany that updated me on the phone when she returned to Columbia…thus potentially putting the storm closer to land. (So we will see how it all shakes out…no matter what…God knows…and He is with us.)

The only thing I purposefully left on the empty deck:

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Be safe everyone….love you!

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“Famtember”

Dear Reader:

We call September “Famtember” in our family because it is filled with different family members’ birthdays….from the start of  September to the middle to the end of the month…our family has it covered.

September 3…Today: Mandy’s official birthday!!!

Mandy became our Labor Day baby… being born on Labor Day weekend…with mom having to work pretty hard herself that day…but more than worth it. 🙂

What an amazing young woman my daughter has turned into….so proud of you and Happy Birthday today Mandy! Love you forever!

 

September 23:  My great-nephew Rhodes’ third birthday!!!! 3???

So adorable and already musically talented…how could he not be with his two parents! We love you Rhodie!

September 24: Double Trouble: Jake and Boo Boo share this birthday!

Jake’s original due birth date was in October but that sweet thing decided he wanted to come on Boo’s birthday…my birthday has never been the same…just doubly wonderful! 🙂

Jake came into the world with a wink at me…and he has been an adorable trickster ever since…

And Boo Boo? She’s just ecstatic to be celebrating her birthday again!

September 30: John’s birthday

John finishes out the family birthday month…what a wonderful asset he has been to the family…always the man behind the scenes..grilling out for the family…. wonderful husband and father…how blessed I am with him in the family.

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  Okay…while we are still looking at numbers…here comes a wonderful benchmark celebration surprise…I knew it was coming but not exactly when….at 9:15 a.m. yesterday  the total number of “Hits” on my Chapel of Hope Stories blog went to 200,000. Actually it went to 200, 006….as I waited and wondered…

9:05:

9:15:

In the big picture of blogging… numbers like these are minuscule in comparison to celebrity and big business million dollar number bloggers… but for  me…I am just happy that I have people checking in and actually coming along for the ride…sharing life’s observations through life. Thank you dear loyal readers! All of you are worth millions to me!

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

My Garden’s latest Garnishments….

Tommy and Kaitlyn came over and helped me secure and place Big Red and all the other plants in safe places from potential wind and rain….leaving room for Surcie to fit in the garage. Thanks so much you two…appreciate it so much!

I treated them out to the new Taco Boy across the interstate..it is beautiful…huge, festive, and  delicious! Had wanted to try it out!

 

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