Autumn…All Too Brief and Never Enough

Dear Reader:

Autumn is universally voted as the world’s favorite season…not just a favorite season for one country or even region…but a global attraction that never lasts long enough for most of us.

In the low country of South Carolina we have to wait a long time to visually “see” fall. In fact many of our prettiest fall photos come closer to Thanksgiving than Halloween. Still, even in a semi-tropical location…we can sense fall in all the best ways.

Sight…Finally the humidity begins to lower producing the bluest skies we  see all year…so perfectly crystal clear…no longer misty, murky, or opaque. Shadows get longer… making us grow taller.

Scent and Smell…Burning leaves, cook-outs, camp fires, pumpkin candles, pies, lattes, cookies (pumpkin everything)…deliciously tart apples, cinnamon apple candles, smell of jack o’lanterns lit at night.

Sound: Whenever I go out to cross the street to get my mail these days…all I can hear is “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.” One would think a little boy was running up and down the street with his “pop-gun” but no…it is acorns, seed shells, pine cones, and cone husks falling from the trees…hitting the roofs and bouncing off onto the sidewalks, driveways, and streets.

Taste and Touch…The always  gooky guts of the pumpkin being removed to make jack o’ lanterns (amid children’s screams of fake horror and pure joy) apple cider, pumpkin drinks of every type…hot and cold, spider webs, real and fake, Halloween candy…Halloween is definitely a tactile experience… starting in childhood.

After Mollie and I left the cute boutique stores Friday…I drove Mollie through some of the most beautiful old areas in Summerville…large old mansion-size homes dating back a century or more, many turned into inns, and even cozier…renovations of old cottages and new structures reflecting the charm of yesterday and its historic past.

Usually when any of the family comes for a visit…we rarely get to leave the house… much less have leisure time to just ride around. I remember my grandmother used to call this unexpected escape from the everyday routine to a delightful outing. …as a “whiling.”

Even though we hardly ever see this word used in its old noun form..If you are from the south…you might remember expressions like this: “Mollie and I decided to “while away the ride home” looking at quaint, adorable homes and cottages…an unplanned but lovely diversion.”

So while we can decorate with mums and other fall flowers…the rest of the foliage here in the low country….like tree leaves turning colors…has to patiently wait…it will come later….sometimes as late as between gobble gobble gobble and ho ho ho.

It is hard to believe that last year (at this exact time) I was in Maine with Anne. We were trying to chase down the remains of fall in all its beautiful foliage before it left for the season…going from lighthouse to lighthouse.

 

So until tomorrow…I think I will “while away the rest of the  afternoon” finishing a novel I am reading and wishing/hoping/praying my Clemson Tigers play well against Miami. But no matter what…I always love my Tigers.

 

I think it was the Dingle boys, brothers and all… the Dingle dogs, and yes…Eloise who decided watching Clemson football was fine as long as the treats kept coming….lots of good luck charms around. Way to go Tigers and Dingles! 🙂

*Marcia Temple, Mollie’s mom, always finds the cutest things on-line… that get even funnier. Apparently a mother  sent her married daughter an Autumn decorated mailbox cover that read WELCOME TO THE NUT HOUSE….decorated with squirrels and ghosts dashing all around.

The daughter, not to be outdone, played around with a smartphone picture of it on her mailbox… adding words and her personal photo that replied: GEE THANKS FOR THE GIFT  MOM!

 

 

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Ready to ‘Steal’ Yourself Away

Dear Reader:

I always loved singing the old African-American spirituals at church camps each summer. Then later, as an American History teacher, I loved playing the songs for the students when I taught them about the Underground Railroad…Harriett Tubman, and the brave slaves plight and flight to freedom. One of my favorites has always been ‘Steal Away.’

Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home, I hain’t got long to stay here.

Songs such as “Steal Away to Jesus“, ‘Swing, Low, Sweet Chariot”, “Wade in the Water” and the “Gospel Train” were songs with hidden codes, not only about having faith in God, but containing hidden messages for slaves to run away on their own, or with the Underground Railroad.

“Steal Away” was composed by Wallace Willis, a slave of a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory, sometime before 1862.

These days…it is my ‘steal away’ time each evening with God (in the garden) that keeps my own spirits boistered. I am really having to walk the talk and leave the frightening events assaulting our nation daily…in God’s Hands. This problem is bigger than I can handle…or anyone else. I pray God hears our prayers for unity and stability again.

But some times we need more than a spiritual time-out from the craziness around us…we need a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 🙂

Wouldn’t it be great if every year when we had our annual physical the doctor would reward each of his/her patients with a written prescription to play hooky for one day in the upcoming year?

The excuse prescription would have everything filled in except for the date…that … to be filled in by the patient…when life has just become too much for him or her to handle.

The doctor’s prescription note would be rigorously convincing that ‘playing hooky is absolutely necessary for the good of their patients’s health: physical and psychological.’

Don’t we all wish there was someone to write a note for us excusing us from the job, the marriage, caring for children and/or mom, or driving a car pool?

Playing “hooky” must not be confused with “sitting one out.” (that is only sleeping all day and waking up confused and feeling guilty.)

‘Playing hooky” requires some creative energy…eight hours that just belong to you. So make it fun! Be frivolous, self-indulgent, perhaps a sauna, or pretend to be a tourist and take in local attractions you have never gone to…go to the movies, out to lunch, or rent Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 🙂

Read that novel you haven’t had time for…with a bowl of chocolates or bag of chips. Don’t answer your phone, text, or email. When your day is over..you’ve accomplished a ‘body wrap’ for your soul.

So until tomorrow….take this Saturday today and surprise yourself or those around you by not spending it doing chores…but some fun and unexpected adventure…something that will release laughter among the group.

As British writer Jerome K. Jerome once said….”There’s no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do…Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet…must be stolen.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

After finally returning to the land of the living from the ‘crud’ and feeling brand spanking new again… Mollie came over yesterday to check out a new store in town …The French Mercantile.…so pretty ….smelled of lavender and the french countryside…made me want to return to Provence.

Right across the street was another adorable store called Cotton Down South. I caved when I saw this cute polka dot pumpkin…had to add it to my pumpkin patch!

Honey sent me this photo of her leaving my name as a “thriver” of breast cancer to date…She went over to Black Mountain yesterday and saw teams of pink setting up concrete objects for people to sign. It is nice to see this and have my name left…many of the walks and runs for Breast Cancer this year are being held virtually because of the COVID virus. So special of you to think of me Honey!

BIG GAME TONIGHT! CLEMSON VS MIAMI

 

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Living Our Legacy instead of Leaving It

 

Dear Reader:

What if your legacy isn’t what you leave behind, but something you create, every day of your life? What if you started acting the way you want to be remembered–right now–and shared your unique gifts with the world?

The author, Cody Shewan, of Everyday Legacy, has been a funeral director for a great portion of his life…and as such, has dealt with humanity in their most reflective moments.

From many of these ‘storied’ heartfelt regrets… coming too little, too late, Shewan came to realize that the legacy we hope to be remembered for…is not something that will automatically appear at a funeral…unless the now deceased have “lived their legacy” instead of just leaving their perception of themselves up to other’s interpretation.

One story this author told, on a recent talk show, quickly caught my attention. It is the story of Alfred Nobel.

Today we remember him for the coveted Nobel Prize awards given out in association to making the world a better place…a peaceful place. Originally, however, Alfred Nobel was remembered for doing just the opposite…his legacy was built on destruction and death.

Alfred, along with his family and brothers, acquired immense wealth in explosives…Alfred became known as the “Father of Dynamite.” At the time of his invention many lives were lost using nitroglycerin, a highly unstable explosive…  going off at wrong times killing many people around setting an explosion.

Alfred thought dynamite would help in the construction of canals, bridges, buildings with a safer explosive….but many countries had different ideas on how to use his invention…for war. Thousands of lives were lost in  European and American wars using dynamite as the main explosive to kill the enemy.

Few of us will ever get to hear, much less read, our own obituary, but, through a reporter’s error, Alfred was able to do just this. It changed his life.

In 1888, Alfred’s brother, Ludvig, died while visiting Cannes, and a Paris newspaper mistakenly published Alfred’s obituary. The article announced that “The Merchant Of Death is dead.”

“Alfred Nobel,” the obituary reported, “who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Nobel was stung by this criticism because, however unlikely it may seem, he had pacifist leanings.

On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

After taxes and bequests to individuals, Nobel’s will allocated 94% of his total assets to establish the five Nobel Prizes.

“The whole of my remaining realizable estate…shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”

The interest earned for the five prizes would be apportioned equally between physics, chemistry,  medicine, literature, and peace.

Shewan suggests that we use the time given us from Covid19’s “Global Pause” to write our own legacy…how we would like to be remembered by others…and then start living our legacy to the fullest every single day.

Brooke sent me this verse she saw on Facebook yesterday because she knew intuitively I would be drawn to it… I was…and I am.

So until tomorrow…If we live life like this verse (below) endorses…I don’t think we need worry about our legacy.

“The beautiful thing about life is, that we will never reach an age where there is nothing left to learn, see or be; it’s magical really.”…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Haircuts for Jake and Eva Cate…it got so hot yesterday that Jake had his hair taken off and his shirt! 🙂 Eva Cate decided to go on the ‘wild side’ and get crazy green glitter with her hair-cut…Halloween can’t be far away! 🙂

And speaking of Halloween I can not agree more with this cartoon in our local paper Wednesday…It has gotten almost too scary and crazy to even turn on the television any more. ???????????????????????

Still…my garden brings me hope for a better tomorrow…my trusting conversations with God. God be with us one and all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Garden Surprises Lead to Amazing Stories

Dear Reader:

Since Tuesday was a rainy day…with soft drops falling like a heavy mist… settling in around the plants, flowers, and trees…I decided to lug all the mums and fall flowers off the front porch down to the sidewalk so they could drink up and bathe in the natural showers of water from the skies.

Yesterday the sun was back out and the temps climbing again…such is fall in the low country…we bounce back and forth between summer and fall weather. It was much harder lugging the rain-laden pots back up the stairs to be placed again in their rightful spots to be seen by drivers going by and bike riders…including the decorative water pitcher planter.

After catching my breath from all the lugging…I started my morning walk around the yard and garden. I always have to smile at this time of year…the flowers get really confused…regular azaleas (not Encore) start blooming again…and even the lily patches left behind look like they would love to try another bloom…just one more time before fall.

I love it when seasonal flowers decide to bloom in un-seasonal weather. By the time I got to the remains of the lily patches…a story was slowly being retrieved from my memory…a true story about lilies.

I decided right then to plant white lily bulbs this fall (in a few weeks when the cooler weather becomes more constant)…I am going to plant them near the perimeter that runs along  the back woods…how pretty they will be in June. A new project always gets me excited!

And now here is the true story of a WWI hero and the lilies he left behind.

“The Day the Lilies Bloomed”

His name was Frank Luke, Jr. and today his statue stands tall in front of the old capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona. Luke was a fighter pilot during World War I  and in less than a month he downed eighteen enemy aircraft…becoming one of only four fighter pilots awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWI.

In the old family Bible an unusual event has been recorded for posterity…far away from the skies above France.

At age 20, Frank enlisted in the army…fascinated by the new flying machines just invented. He was accepted into flight training and commissioned a second lieutenant…Before departing for France he was given a 14 day leave to be with his family… one last time before heading off to war.

One day, Tilly, his mother, asked Frank if he would mind “terribly” planting some lily bulbs for her…the weather was perfect for the job. Frank adored his mother and gladly consented. 

Frank’s tour of duty was fairly uneventful until September of 1918…when he became known as the “Balloon Buster” shooting down three planes and two balloons in less than ten minutes. The press dubbed him America’s “ace of aces.”

Back home his mother carefully cut out every article about her son that was written in the newspapers. Then, one day, on September 29, Tilly walked outside and discovered that all the bulbs Frank had planted were blooming away….but it was not the right season. Even stranger…the lilies formed the cross-like shape of a World War I airplane.

She called all the family together and everyone commented that the lilies should have bloomed in June, not the end of September. Word spread and photographers swarmed the yard taking pictures for the Sunday edition of the paper.

Amid the wonder, Tilly’s heart was heavy…she felt that something was wrong with Frank…but she kept brushing her tears away so no one else suspected.

On November 25, two weeks after the Armistice ended WWI… Tillie’s fears were realized. The Red Cross informed them that Frank was missing in action.

They learned later that Frank was wounded, after shooting down three German observation balloons on his last mission. He managed to land without crashing but his wounds were so severe he died later that day.

Frank Luke, Jr. had made his final heroic flight on September 29…the day the lilies bloomed.

So until tomorrow….

“Consider The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:– We are as they; Like them we fade away, As doth a leaf.” (Christian Rossetti)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Doodle and I gave Lassie flowering plants for her fall birthday…yesterday she sent us both a picture of the flowers in full bloom… cascading down her steps….love it Lassie! Cozy, cute, and beautiful all in one!

 

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“The Deeds You Do May Be the Only Sermon Some Persons Hear Today”

Dear Reader:

After running some errands yesterday I got back home…plopped all the bags down and then plopped myself down too. I turned on the television and listened as a young author was being interviewed about his bestseller book titled: Deep Kindness.

Kraft, the author, was asking his interviewers if they considered kindness an important attribute in people…both interviewers nodded…he then asked if they thought kindness was free...once again the two interviewers nodded.

Kraft persisted…”Free in the sense that you can decide when to give kindness to someone or free to dig a little deeper and give kindness when it is not convenient for you?”

Most people consider the word Kindness as one of those nice abstract picture words that doesn’t need a definition…it is more of a feeling type word.

“Practicing kindness is an essential step in helping to repair a world that has grown to be more divisive, lonely, and anxious than ever. But with quotes like, “Just be kind” or, “Throw kindness around like confetti,” we’ve oversimplified what it takes to actually demonstrate kindness in a world crying out for it. “

At one seminar where Kraft was speaking ….a woman came up to him afterwards and told him her story about kindness…or lack of its depth when it wasn’t convenient to be kind. She was on a plane heading home to earlier sudden news that her father was dying and wanted to see her…by the time her plane landed…she could feel herself slowly falling apart.

She had a two hour lay-over before the next plane…while sitting there she got the call she had dreaded…her father had just passed. She began sobbing uncontrollably sitting on a bench in a crowded airport watching thousands of people walk by her.

Most looked uncomfortable when they saw or heard her weeping…some purposefully looked away….but out of those thousands rushing past her to get to their next plane or location…no one stopped to ask about her or comfort her or even hand her a tissue.

This took Houston Kraft back to his purpose in writing the book…we all like to think we are kind people…when it is convenient to be so…but what about those times when being kind means sacrificing your missing a plane or connection…what is the true depth of our kindness?

It starts with modeling kindness for our children. Just small changes can bring about different perspectives on kindness in our own family rituals. For example:

Instead of asking the family at supper…”How was everyone’s day?” ….what if the daily question was ” What did you do to be kind and help someone else today?”

Kraft shared the story of the woman at the airport with a later audience and ended with the St. Francis of Assisi title quote:

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons hear today.”

Think about it…if just one person had slowed down long enough to ask the woman if she needed help or would like someone to talk to…or even give her tissue….her story could have been about the true goodness in people.

How the person who stopped to listen to her plight…had also asked about her father, gotten her to share a funny story about him…what a difference the word kindness would have meant to her from that point on. Then, hopefully, she would have paid it forward to someone else who needed a kind soul to listen.

Don’t we always hope our children understand the importance of being kind…but unless we are explicit in our own expectations of kindness as a priority it probably falls short.

Kraft gave this example:

A group of parents were asked if given the following three choices…which would be the top priority they would want their children to take with them into the world.

Being successful, being kind, being happy.

Most parents answered with being kind and happy….but later when their older children were asked which of these priorities they thought their parents chose for them…all answered “being successful.”

In other words…there is a lack of communication in prioritizing the important qualities in life between parents and their children. What we model, ourselves, is what they will model one day…not our words..but our actions.

To show the greatest depth in kindness…is to be mis-treated but then turn around and be kind to someone else the way you wished you had been.

So until tomorrow….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Whenever I go to plant something new in my garden…I must remember it is an act of kindness…sharing beauty with the world.

 

 

 

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Always Wear Your Invisible Crown

Dear Reader:

When my second question today popped up from StoryWorth it asked...”What was my dad like when I was a child?”

I contemplated switching the question (which you can do) to something else..since I had already told the little I remember of dad with the first question “What is one of your earliest childhood memories?”

However…I decided to leave the question as is because I do have stories told to me about my daddy from relatives… that I locked in my treasure chest of memories….remembrances more precious than gold.

I, also remembered that Anne told me a funny incident about her neighbor who gave his 96 year old mother…StoryWorth as a gift. Anne commented:

Al’s mother, age 96, received one of those Story Works projects for Christmas last year. She was excited to begin and eagerly anticipated her first question – the first of 52! The question asked her to write about a memory of her mother. She spent the next SEVEN MONTHS filling page after page of memories of her mother! Talk about a blessing! Shirley said she didn’t answer any additional questions but that first question had more than served it’s purpose

After reading about this cute incident I decided I needed to give more information about my father through stories and anecdotes told to me by his siblings, cousins, parents, and other relatives.

Nothing made me happier as a child and youth than having a relative come up to me and say “Let me tell you a sweet or funny story about your daddy and how much he loved his little girl.”

I would get most excited when relatives would tell me that I had the same outgoing personality as my daddy had…he loved people and they loved him in return.

Daddy grew up in Smithfield, North Carolina…the land of tobacco and cotton. His full name was Curtis Benjamin Barbour…known to friends and family as Curt.

There was never much money to be had in this farm family…but coming from Scotch origin…the family was thrifty and everyone worked in the tobacco fields…especially daddy and his older brother…when they had to quit school at 16 to work full time in the fields making ends meet.

But World War II changed all that and daddy returned to Fayetteville North Carolina to marry mom in October of 1945…mere weeks after being discharged at the rank of sergeant.

Christmas card from daddy to mother in 1944…

 

 

It was sometime during or right after the war that J.D. (dad’s older brother) and daddy were able to meet in Edinburgh, Scotland to get an authentic picture of themselves dressed to ‘the kilts.’ They were both very proud to come from the ancestral “Border Clans” who originated in the area around Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

Daddy was a natural go-getter and he was successful in several ventures until Uncle Max asked him to go in as a partner at the Wilson Lumber Company. They both were required to take physicals for insurance purposes. The family was worried about Uncle Max passing the physical at age 65 but he passed with flying colors. Unfortunately it was daddy at 30 who didn’t…it was then they discovered serious kidney problems …he died at Duke Hospital at 31.

Less than a year later mother lost her left arm to bone cancer and our world as we had known it up to then…vanished forever. My older brother Ben was seven, I was five, and David was two.

Two stories I remember relatives telling me about daddy were…

Ava Gardener, the beautiful Hollywood actress of the 40’s and 5o’s… grew up in the same farming community as daddy and sat right in front of him in grade school…daddy loved to tease her by pulling her pigtail braids…which she didn’t find amusing. Apparently daddy told everyone it was worth the glare and slap sometimes…because then he got her attention for a full 30 seconds. Apparently Ava was a beautiful little girl before becoming a glamorous actress.

Ben and I actually stopped by Smithfield a few years ago and went in the Ava Gardner Museum in downtown Smithfield.

 

 

We decided that daddy found his real “Ava Gardener” when he met and fell in love with another beautiful farm girl…mother.

 

 

Many “Barbours” settled in and around Smithfield North Carolina…today there is a Barbour church there and Barbour cemetery.

Brooke and I have talked about the problem of little girls losing their daddies…their knights in shining armor…too early. The tragedy lies in the fact that we, also, lose our “princess” tiaras and status. Something we never get  back. We never get to be Daddy’s little “princess” ever again. (Brooke lost her father when she was six.)

Unconsciously we find ourselves looking for daddy replacements, for that feeling of unconditional love, for knights in shining armor, protecting the “princess” of the castle.

It takes us “abandoned princesses” a little longer perhaps to finally realize that we have to find that “tiara” again on our own… it can’t come from anyone else…it must come from within us.

 

In time the “tiara” must be replaced by an invisible crown…we must own up to the role we are destined to play in life and then share our reign with others…creating our own happy kingdom surrounded by people who become assets to our lives in the merry kingdom of give and take, love, and kindness.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Discovering the first red leaf of fall on the first tree in the yard…sorta like the passing of the seasonal torch…so cool!

The last of the summer flowers are putting up a ferocious fight to keep blooming and looking their best…it is appreciated greatly! 🙂

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It’s Always Something

Dear Reader:

How many times have I caught myself saying this expression “It’s always something”…when life finally seems to moving along smoothly and then suddenly my world is turned upside down.

At the time I received my breast cancer diagnosis I had just retired from teaching and administration…and was feeling rather lost after a few months of freedom. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to picture my retirement years…I knew more things that I didn’t want to do anymore… than what I did.

No more meetings, no more deadlines, no guilty feelings for saying “no” to committees and organizations that seemed to love to meet just for the sake of meeting. I was “meeted” out!

Last year Gilda Radner’s book about her experiences fighting ovarian cancer called “It’s Always Something” came out as a 20th anniversary edition. It’s hard to believe it has been twenty years since we lost this Saturday Night comedian who kept us laughing as the endearing character Roseann Rosannadanna …who ended each comedic routine with her father’s favorite saying on life, “It’s Always Something.”

I found myself laughing and crying over the book…she was completely honest in expressing all the emotions she was feeling going down a path she never wanted to go. She had met the love of her life, Gene Wilder, was anxious to start a family, had started another book on learning housekeeping for the first time, which was hilarious, when her world came crashing down around her.

She discovered something that I had to somberly realize also while going through extended treatments, tests, and surgeries:

“The only security you have is what’s inside you.” 

Until we receive a life-threatening diagnosis I don’t think we understand what real life is…I was deluded into believing that marrying, working, raising children, renovating a part of the house, balancing activities and responsibilities daily…was real life. Wrong.

Cancer is real life. None of that other stuff should define our time on earth. We shouldn’t have to come down with a potentially fatal disease to ransom back our life. True…in life “It’s always something” but everything doesn’t have to have our name on it.”

Since pivoting and picturing my retirement through creativity…both writing and gardening..I have never squandered another precious day…because I am finally conversing with God and letting Him lead me…instead of running around helter-skelter… meeting myself coming and going.

My appreciation from “little c” is valid…because I, admittedly, would not probably have discovered the value of just being me…without it.

I miss our Race for the Cure team (Legally Pink- to honor Tommy and Kaitlyn passing the Bar) each October when Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around. We participated from 2009-2017. I still have wonderful memories doing a community service together as a family.

But suddenly the entire venue changed in location and name… this coincided with us reaching our apex of donations from all you wonderful blog readers…and being recognized as one of the top five contributors that year…we were awarded a tent with our name…at the time it just felt like an appropriate ending as the children were growing up and starting to participate in other weekend activities.

Still I love October…it will always be a wonderful month, filled with memories of  shared hope and love.

On one of the daily morning shows last week they had a breast cancer surgeon talking about new options for cancer patients who have undergone a bi-lateral mastectomy. The surgeon was going over some new choices for reconstruction breast surgery.

She ended with….”Or a woman can just decide to be “flat and fabulous” and that is perfectly marvelous too!

I had to smile…since I have never been cancer-free I have never had an option to have reconstructive breast surgery…and really I am glad I didn’t have to decide…because admittedly being able to wear t-shirts or any blouse without a cumbersome bra is one of the greatest sensations of freedom…never will I ever have to jerk up a bra strap over my shoulder again. 🙂 A hidden “perk”!

I decided to order this t-shirt to celebrate my “freedom.”

So until tomorrow…

“What you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The autumn sun setting on the patio…cascading fall colors across it.

 

 

 

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Blessings on Your Next Trip Around the Sun

Dear Reader:

I mentioned the other day (on one of the earlier blog posts) that a friend (Ginga Cuthbert Wilder) had wished me a Happy Birthday greeting on Facebook and added this line:

“Blessings on Your Next Trip Around the Sun”

This birthday greeting really caught my imagination…I could picture myself floating in space staring down at our blue planet from every angle… as I encircled it day by day for 365 days… until my next natal day arrived…another year of life.

However…I wasn’t alone in space …off in the distance other world citizens, who share my same birthday, were following my same orbit at the same pace…we were all ages, races, and nationalities.

There was something else, too, circling the sun with all of us “same day birthday humans” on our unique orbit…blessings! The blessings appeared as “memory grams”…individually delivered to the exact person who had experienced a special episode in their life..which in turn … morphed into a blessing memory.

The “memory grams” were highly selected benchmark memories filled with blessings we received on the last trip around the sun…even on some of the saddest days we had experienced in the past year. It was only now, as we started our new trip around the sun,  that we could finally recognize different events that happened to us…as blessings and not misfortunes.

If we are growing, each year, elevating ourselves to a higher level of understanding between ourselves and our Creator…then we must recognize the connection between events, causes, and blessings.

The major change-agent, in our developing perceptions of events in our lives, centers around the newly acquired ability to “pivot” or alter our orbit (just a little) each year…just enough to change our recognition of once ordinary events into extraordinary.

It is similar to a basketball player who pivots  just enough to elude his guard and get a better glimpse at his goal…the basket. In life it is our “pivots” that direct us in the right direction too…so we can meet the goal of being the person God intended us to be.

So this year we should all start our new 365-day journey around the sun…(following our birthday) with the acquisition of the birthday “gifts” we take with us from the generations who came before us…the passed down “pivots” of stories and experiences that help us recognize the difficult days ahead as blessings that humble us into restoring our trust and faith in God.

So until tomorrow….

At the end of one’s journey we should be thankful we found the courage to realize that blessings are always bigger than problems… if we just “pivot” enough to find that clear space guiding us to our life’s purpose.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Go Clemson! Once again I am having to use my ears to listen to the game…since it is being only carried by the ACC Network and not a national station….very disappointing to all of us fans who don’t have this network. We ‘po but proud’ “Basic Cable” Clemson fans want to watch too? Will just have to wait and watch highlights today…still GO TIGERS! Did you hear me? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conversations with My Creator

Dear Reader:

I have a close friend who has been going through some of the most trying times of her life…so, of course, friends and family are calling and offering prayers…but actually I love what my friend says about her personal “prayers” ….she just converses with God each day.

I can think of no better definition for prayer than a ‘conversation with God.’  The more I thought about it…the more I realized that this is what I do too….unconsciously but quite easily. 

I can see a new bloom on a plant in the garden and get all excited…I find myself  looking around for someone to share my joy with and then hear myself whispering, “Look at that God…Have you ever seen anything that beautiful?”

I pause and then laugh….“Of course You have…You’re God….You created it and gave it to me as a gift and what a gift….thank You!”

I love just talking to God about life in general…though I am sure He must have to harbor as much patience as possible with me…like a parent of a two or three year old….”But WHY God?”  I ask the “Why?” questions constantly. 🙂

Still just being “Together” is my favorite place to be. And the nicest thing about having God as one’s friend…is that there is no place I visit or travel…that He isn’t already there. Quite convenient and comforting!

Even more comforting is the realization that I can love God with reckless abandon because I don’t have to fear not being loved in return.

This idea reminded me of a story from British author Hannah Hurnard in her bestseller Hind’s Feet on High Places...”The Message of the Narcissus.”

One day Hannah took a walk down a rather slippery slope which lead to a wooded area and a valley far below. Covering all three terrains were multitudes and multitudes of Narcissus (daffodils and jonquils.)

When Hannah stopped and stood among the flowers she made a fascinating discovery. They all, without exception, faced down the hill as if straining to see the valleys far below. They all leaned forward in their desire to see something in the distance that made them eternally happy.

While standing among the hundreds of daffodils…Hannah saw only their shiny white backs…but if she turned and looked up the slopes she noticed, among the multitudes of daffodils….“little faces, each with a gold crown in their hearts.” 

The message that went straight to her soul was beautiful, but not one she ever expected. The Narcissus spoke to her “Abandon yourself to loving because love is life and eternal joy. Love is the only thing that matters. Dare to be happy.”

So until tomorrow…

None of us should “settle” for living life marginally. Life is meant to be lived “BIG” with as much zest and gusto in it as we can discover. Accepting anything less is living an unfulfilled life.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh 

Follow-up on the Harvest Moon….I must admit the moon last night didn’t seem to follow all the information written about it….Oh it was beautiful alright….but it took forever to show itself. 

I kept looking and looking….I thought it was supposed to appear early after the sunset so farmers could keep harvesting their crop by its light. Well last night…it would have been too dark to even find a pitchfork… much less use it. 

Around 8:00 I thought I caught a glimpse and followed it to the golf course…there in front of the pavilion, with an open area on the course minus trees,  it was slowly starting to rise. I tried taking shots with my iPhone but moons of this beauty are best remembered inside the head…not on an iPhone. As you can see in the grainy photo.

I was also a little disappointed that it was white and smaller than I thought it would be…wasn’t it supposed to  be huge with a yellowish tint…all paintings and some pictures of the Harvest Moon look golden…at least a little yellowish or orange-ish?

I was happy I saw it…but sometimes I would just rather climb into a beautiful painting or even my imagination with a huge yellow Harvest Moon in the background… and sit on a fence next to a red barn listening to cows moo their approval of the golden orb above them …and me. P.S.  Haystacks and pumpkins are delightful but optional! 🙂

Last evening should have been the Harvest Moon sighting…we had a beautiful sunset with red/orange tint, outlines of black scary looking trees, and the porch glowed as evening approached.

 

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If We Are Willing to Change…We Can All Have Our Moment in the Sun

Dear Reader:

One of my favorite quotes that I remind myself to recall when I’m getting down on myself about something…is the idea that each flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it…it just blooms.

What is it with us humans and competition? Why do we think we always have to better someone else to get ahead? Upon reflection…isn’t so much of our short time on earth wasted trying to out-shine or out-do someone else? Isn’t standing on our own merits enough…it sure will be… if we have given it our all!

If we could just learn to follow our own passion…that God-given gift that makes us unique….that makes us want to get up in the mornings and do something nice for the world…  not worrying if someone else is doing something better than us. After all “better” is very subjective…defined only by differing outlooks that have nothing to do with our inner energy and passion.

*I had an epiphany yesterday when I had gotten this far in the post….I looked out my window and I thought initially I saw a flicker of red in a tall tree near the bird feeder. It must be Sammy the Cardinal I thought excitedly…my favorite cardinal. So I decided to stop and go outside to try to take a picture of him before he flew away. *I haven’t seen much of Sammy lately.

But when I got outside it was the very first cluster of orange trumpets growing near the top of a tree that had  caught my vision. I love to see them return and this was the only sighting of the fall season thus far. It made my day!

I then had my second epiphany….What makes the orange trumpet vine clusters stand out are the beautiful green leaves framing the scene. I re-thought the title quote:

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower Albert Camus

In the spring… flower blooms take center stage… with leaves reduced to playing back-up for the grand spring floral production. But in the fall…the patiently awaiting leaves, once the back-ups… now get their time to shine in all the different colors of the rainbow…and more!

Look at these birch leaves I found on a blog called microscope….(gorgeous photography!) Now the leaves are the stars of fall like the flowers had been in spring and summer.

We have to trust in our Creator that our day in the sun will come…we must prepare for it so when it happens…we are not only ready…we are immersed in our “second spring in life”….a second peak time on one’s life. We must never think time has passed us by…there is always time to make a difference in someone else’s life.

We just have to always be willing to change…change isn’t risky…stagnant is.

So until tomorrow….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I made a change in decor a few days ago…I had originally placed the BOO hangings on each front door….but then found these gorgeous wreaths for the two front doors in a closet I was cleaning out. I hung the BOO hangings on the fence by the garden and moved the wreath to my front doors. Meant to be….

Oops…gotta go…the sun is slowly sinking and I must be ready to go watch the Harvest moon climb up, up, up into the October skies. I am so excited! Hope everyone remembered to go see this beautiful gift of autumn…and it is free for the viewing!

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