Dingle the Owl…Ending to a Fantasy Trip

Dear Reader:

I almost blew a surprise for Kaitlyn for their last major stay in Ireland…a highlight at Ashford Castle. I didn’t realize that Tommy had signed Kaitlyn up (as well as himself) for the School of Falconry as a surprise for Kaitlyn…a chance to participate in this rare experience, as well as, finally meet Dingle, the Owl.

(I had made a picture of the owl for Tommy to take and told Kaitlyn, at a pre-wedding party, that I had left the picture in their car. Kaitlyn gave me a blank stare but thankfully (hopefully) it was lost in all the festivities.)

Ashford Castle is definitely a mind-blowing way to end the honeymoon.

Click on this link to see photos inside and out of this castle voted the best hotel in the world.

Ashford Castle in Ireland named best hotel in the world | Daily Mail …

Tommy did his “homework” while they were planning the itinerary and saw where this amazing hotel offered the opportunity to fly a Harris Hawk at the School of Falconry. (This school is the oldest of its kind in Ireland)

Then as he read on…he saw where they also had an Eurasian owl (one of the largest in the world) who was one of the oldest “chartered” members (a “founding father” one article quoted) named Dingle. So Tommy started emailing back and forth to see if he could fly Dingle.

meet Dingle the owl at Ashford Castle in Ireland – YouTube

The instructor, Tommy texted back and forth to…said that Dingle was getting kind of old and moody…some days he flew, others he didn’t…but they would definitely make sure Dingle got to meet the other Dingle. Yesterday Kaitlyn sent me this picture. It happened! In fact Dingle extended his hospitality to both Dingles!


* Dingle can be rented to be a “key” player in one’s wedding proposal…by delivering the key ring with the engagement ring attached.. (As much as I love Dingle the Owl…I am glad that little Rudy got that job for Tommy and Kaitlyn)

I think Tommy and Kaitlyn have felt like a king and queen for the past few days…exactly how everyone on a honeymoon should feel.


An adventure like this provides a lifetime of memories…their honeymoon to Ireland will always be a “Remember when” followed by a long sigh of contentment.

It makes mothers, like Susan and I, smile to know their “children” are having this opportunity of a lifetime. Life is good!

So until tomorrow….I read somewhere (once) that mothers’ prayers have a direct “hot-line” to God. I believe this to be so…because I have prayed (many years) for all my children to find the love of their life…and they did!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

 *Our favorite, most talented artist-in-residence (meaning she lives in Summerville) Anne Peterson is putting on the annual Spring Art Show and Sale this Saturday May 27, 2017 in the form of a drop-in-reception from 4-8. Three other talented artist friends will have their artworks displayed also.

*The exhibit takes place in Anne’s home: Walnut Farms:  131 Scalybark Road, Summerville, SC

Let’s all come out and support Anne and other local artists in our area!



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The ‘Bells of Ireland’ and the Luck of the Beach House

Dear Reader:

We were surrounded by flowers during our stay at ‘Rest in Peace’ this time. Brooke had gotten several flower bouquets for Mother’s Day and the one from Henry was filled with white lilies and ‘bells of Ireland.’

When I looked up the origin of the name…the connection is that these gorgeous green flowering stems share the same luscious green color of Ireland and they are supposed to bring Irish good luck to all who keep them inside their home. It must be true because we had a whole week of sunny skies, low humidity, and more beach time than we have enjoyed in years!!!

( Me standing-Brooke sitting)

We all also looked forward (each day)  for the next stop on Tommy and Kaitlyn’s itinerary so we could visit every town, city, castle, cathedral, and points of interest, vicariously, throughout their honeymoon of Ireland. Breathtaking pictures and scenery!

Right now they are at Ashford Castle…home of Rory Mcllroy’s  (pro golfer) marriage to Erica Stoll. It was a huge wedding with Stevie Wonder entertaining.





Here are a few photos since arriving at Ashford Castle from Tommy and Kaitlyn.







We had our ‘half and half’ birthday party for Brooke and Libby…giving them new pocketbooks…a bee for Brooke since she is “Bee” to her little grandson Caleb (Boogie Boy) and a pineapple for Libby because she is the essence of hospitality and generosity to one and all!

Jackson and I also treated Brooke and Libby out to dinner (delicious) and we talked about how ‘lucky’ we all are to still be together after all these years.

Mev, we decided to adopt your’s and Jimmy’s lifetime mantra…“We’ve got this” as our new expression for 2017 because together we do. Bring on those old problems…you don’t stand a chance against four Erskine classmates who know each other better than anyone else and have unconditional love for each other…we can banish troubles with the power of unity.

  • I have returned home rested, relaxed, and ready to take on life’s challenges. It was the best shot of medicine… It worked wonders and it didn’t cost Medicare or Blue Cross a penny!

So until tomorrow…we are all learning to “create ourselves (and re-create ourselves) as we go.” Life is constantly changing and so should we…God doesn’t want us to remain stagnant, instead God wants us to get out and enjoy His Beautiful World!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*You might remember earlier in the week I did a blog on the role of sharing globally and its important part in life. I used Honey Burrell as my example. She responded with this sincere story I must share with you.

Good morning! Your blog was very touching for me today. 

I did have two great teachers as a young child. Miss Pauline was my preschool teacher- one of the sweetest and most loving people I have ever known. 

Miss Marion was my kindergarten teacher. She was great too and made sure we learned to share if we didn’t learn anything else. 

But my greatest teachers, focusing on sharing, were my parents. Mom always included someone when cooking special meals. We always took the food and delivered it before we would have our meal. This was pretty much a week and sometimes daily event.

Then there was Daddy. I don’t know what the amount of his social security check was, but when it came in the mail it was cashed into small bills. 

We, then, all got in the car and drove to out of the way areas where he would get out of the car and thank former workers for a job well done. Then he would hand them cash.

So I witnessed first hand about giving from the heart. When I look back I am reminded of Alex Haley’s quote I so appreciate: ” Find the good and praise it.” That’s what Daddy did…

What an example Honey’s parents gave her on sharing growing up!  (How fortunate, Honey, you were to have such amazing parents as mentors!)

*I left Edisto and made it to Oscars at high noon on the dot yesterday. What fun to see Ed and Roz Van Alstyne again…it has become our annual gathering place to catch up on old times.

*Sadly Clyde Wilson, Alston’s guidance counselor for many years recently died…but it brought Alston teachers and personnel into Oscars following the funeral and Roz got to see a lot of former teaching comrades…it made the get-to-gather even more special!


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“Keep Your Heart Brave and Your Imagination Wild


Dear Reader:

Last week…I stopped by Hallmark to pick up a Mother’s Day card and happened to glance at the bag they put the card in…the more I read the message on the front the more I liked it.

“Keep your heart Brave and your Imagination WILD!” It is just my kind of quote…combining the best of two traits as we go through life.

It never ceases to amaze me, how in hindsight, conditions that were less than optimal in our childhoods, contribute to the very qualities in ourselves that come to define us. It was my imagination and ability to live in storybooks when life got “too real” that lead to my creativity, intuitive connections to all things in the universe, and love of story.

If my life had been different…so would I. And to tell you the truth ‘Becky and myself’ have become friends in our later years. I can finally accept and live with my weaknesses and recognize my strengths when needed because of the role model provided me by an extraordinary mother and family.

God never left me, even in my most unlovable, rebellious days…in fact He held on tighter during those days. What a friend I do have in Jesus, in God. An unwavering friend whose love and loyalty is beyond measurement or comprehension.

Leaving Edisto and the Ya’s today is always bittersweet…but this time the mood is lightened because I am meeting a wonderful friend, Roz, and her husband Ed (Van Alstyne) at Oscars for lunch. We taught together, beside each other, across the hall from each other, for many years in the social studies department at Alston.

Then Ed and Roz moved to Indiana which made me very sad…but I must admit they have faithfully returned annually to the South Carolina beaches which has given us an opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives. Thanks Roz and Ed! (Talk about unwavering friends…that they are!)

So I am heading home and will be recollecting memories and photos to share tomorrow.

So until tomorrow….Imagine your life they way you want to live it…and then go live it!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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God Is not Finished with Me Yet

Dear Reader:

After several days at Edisto Beach with food, fun, and laughter with the Ya’s, I have slowly but surely come down from all the wedding excitement that kept me in a perpetual state of wonderful craziness.

It is hard to believe it has now been almost two weeks from the wedding…time is such an enigma. Some days it moves so slowly and every thing just pokes along and then bang…the race is on and we are jumping all over the place reacting to it.

So this beach retreat was perfect timing. I had a week between the wedding and the retreat to come down from the dizzying fast-pace of  prior wedding activities and getting packed for the beach. And in between all that was Mother’s Day with family squeezed in with children and grandchildren to remind us that all these events in life are connected…weddings, marriage, children, families, grandchildren….legacies. Such is life.

The retreat and walks on the beach gave me time to assimilate my feelings about all the recent happenings. The first thing that came to mind was simply the gratitude I feel for being here.

When I go back to 2008, there was wedding then too…little did I know it was the catalyst for so much to follow. Mandy and John got married, two weeks later I was diagnosed with an an “aggressive/invasive” breast cancer, immediately surgery followed with chemo treatments in the wake followed by more surgery, more radiation, and more chemo.

My breast cancer roller-coaster ride has definitely had its ups and downs these past several years…but I realize now that there is a reason why I am still here. Every time it appeared that “little c” was gaining momentum faster than the treatments to slow it down…something new hit the market and I was back in the game of life again.

God isn’t finished with me yet…and I am so happy for it! Originally I was just hoping to live long enough to see my first grandchild when she was born (Eva Cate in 2010) then Walsh and Mollie got married (2012) and then they had Rutledge (2013), my second grandchild, who was  followed by Jakie (2014) who arrived on my birthday…followed by Lachlan (2015)….then my last “baby’s”wedding (2017)….Tommy to Kaitlyn. (And who knows what event will follow suit with this… or elsewhere? 🙂 ?)

The same year Eva Cate was born (2010) I discovered St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope (Thanks Mike and Honey) in Trust, NC and this event turned my world upside down with the blog.

We just never know what is around the bend….good or not so good…but the one thing I have learned is that no matter what happens God is already around the bend waiting to help us through whatever appears on the horizon.

The blog has given me anchor, it has opened my eyes to God Winks and shown me a whole new world where there are no coincidences just everyday miracles. And I am still learning.

Thank goodness I am a slow learner because God isn’t finished with me yet…and I thank Him everyday for what He has given me.

So until tomorrow….when I return home bringing with me more tales and stories of the everyday miracles in my life I thank all of you readers for taking the journey of life with me…for holding my hand and pulling me along when I have needed it.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


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Pause Between Those 50,000 Thoughts Per Day


Dear Reader:

I was shocked when I read the average person has anywhere from 50 to 70 thousand thoughts going through him or her on any given day!! What? How many? No wonder the biggest problem in modern-day relationships is lack of communication…we are too busy thinking to talk…at least coherently and sincerely.

If all our thinking was positive and good…that would be crowded enough but add in our negative thoughts and we are back in college trying to stuff one more person in the telephone booth. (Now that remark really aged me! :))

In a nutshell…we need to stop talking and try “being”; just simply “being.”

(Source: The Blog: “There are 50,000 Thoughts Standing Between You and Your Partner Every Day!” ( Bruce Davis, Ph.D.)

“The answer is finding time for simply being, being in silence together. This can be an evening stroll, a visit to the ocean, making a retreat. Healing begins in any activity that is without the expectation of talking, with no demands to finish the unfinished conversation. When there are no expectations, we can enjoy the peace and quiet. The heart is free to soften and open. A quiet mind makes for an available heart. When one is not so overwhelmed with one’s self, there is room for some one else.”

Davis talks about the “joy of solitude.” Being silent isn’t just about not talking…it is revealing the true essence of who we are…the person we each fell in love with at some point.

…”Each person in our life has a unique quality of stillness, a unique presence of love. This is the part of us that is more than our thoughts, more than our words. It is our essence, our being, the abundance of life that radiates from us. The silent presence in each person is totally unique.”

So until tomorrow…Our “pause moment” at this moment is discovering once again our joy of silently shared solitude.” 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

So happy Tommy and Kaitlyn found Dingle as enchanting as Anne and I did! It is hard to describe its beauty.


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Share Everything…

Dear Reader:

In Robert Fulghum’s best-selling book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten he starts the list with the most important lesson:


If we had to choose just one word that sums up the cause behind the mess the world finds itself in today…economically, globally, militarily….it would be a simple 5 letter word!

G R E E D ! (Destroyed by Sharing!)

I don’t know who Honey Burrell’s kindergarten teacher was but she must have been an amazing teacher because there is no one else I know that shares like Honey. She will “literally” loan you the shirt off her back. There are no perimeters to her giving…it is endless and continuous!

And as much as the rest of us think we are pretty good at sharing…all it takes is having to make a tough choice between something we really want or spending the money on something or someone else to realize our deficiency in the category of sharing.

We grip about having to pay for broken appliances or other necessary but boring items but yet don’t skip a beat when it is something we want in a more fun category.

If we had all learned to share like Honey, putting everyone in front of our own needs…the world would be a different place. There would be no wars fighting over someone else’s land, country, product, or riches. Everyone in the world would have enough to eat…because everyone in the world shared.

I had forgotten about this little anecdote until I had almost finished reading it…and was so glad I re-read it again. The lesson in the anecdote is right on target… how we try to pretend to be good sharers until put to the true test.

A Bag of Cookies”

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be… grabbed a cookie or t

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… Oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief”

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Yesterday was the day on the itinerary when Tommy and Kaitlyn were slated to spend their one night and day in Dingle. Can hardly wait to see what they thought! I fell in love with it!


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Those Special Rays of Light Connecting Us to the Universe

Dear Reader:

Before Tommy and Kaitlyn left Dublin, their first stop, you might remember they went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Tommy left a note for Uncle Ben…(loved ones affected by war.)

Before they entered the cathedral they looked up and it appeared that Someone had lit a huge candle over the cathedral  spilling glorious rays of light all over the building and entrance. A special sign, no doubt! Or as I would imply…a God Wink!

* This cathedral brought back some special memories for Honey! She said: “Good morning friend! …In your blog today I was touched by the picture of St. Patricks. I remember visiting the beautiful church in 1972 with Moma. You see my Grand Mom was christened in that church many many years ago. The picture brought back so many memories. Love to you.”

When Joanna King (our wedding flower decorator, friend,  elementary art teacher to Tommy) saw this picture of the cathedral on Kaitlyn’s FACEBOOK she made this comment that made me pause.

“It’s not very often you can see rays of sunlight…I wonder how children always include them on their drawings? ” 

What a profound and acute observation from a retired art teacher! I started thinking back on my own children’s drawings and now my grandchildren’s works and she is right…little children automatically add rays to life… to stick people, flowers…bright yellow sunny rays accompany their first attempts at drawing.

Eva Cate even adds rays around her own self-portraits or pictures sometimes of others. She adds the rays to indicate the happiness she senses from herself or others. Here’s two recent examples:

Very young children (up to 5-7 years of age) see auras naturally. Infants frequently look ABOVE a person in front of them. When they don’t like the color of the aura above the head, or if this color is much different from their parent’s aura, they cry, no matter how much smiling the person does.

Children have much cleaner and stronger auras than most of adults, who are usually completely enslaved by the materialistic world and suppress their Nature by following superficial examples. Older children, when questioned about auras, remember seeing them but since no one else seemed to notice or care…they soon stopped caring too.  (Imaginative Children)

Adults, who are open to wider interpretations of nature and not restricted by their own peers, often speak of remembering seeing auras above their children, especially when they were small.

So is it any wonder that little children want to put rays of light on the sun and then add them to pictures in random fashion…because to them they appear naturally while they are happily involved in different artistic forms of self-expression.

So that is my “pause” for today. This is my first full day at Edisto and I decided before coming this time…that each of my days here would be open to the moment and not about deadlines…even with the blog post.

So I wrote down one “pause” moment for each day I am gone and that is all. When I return Saturday I will catch everyone up with memories of Edisto and Ireland! (I might be able to sneak in a few photos…if I can get a connection out.)

So until tomorrow…Enjoy this week! I plan to…!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Ard na Sidehe (Hill of Fairies) where Tommy and Kaitlyn have been located the last two days is going to be hard to beat for the magical quality of the place….but Dingle is calling…and I hope the sun too!

*I am excited that our new Dingle couple is heading to Dingle today…just an overnight stop but hope it will be memorable and fun…I loved it.

Hope you find a warm Irish pub with wonderful old Irish ballads and songs…it sure made Anne’s and my stay there memorable!


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