Give Peace A Chance

Dear Reader:

When I hear so many of the old Beatles songs, including John Lennon’s beautiful “Give Peace a Chance” I remember a wonderful reunion with my high school friends.

I had been away at college for a couple of years when this song hit the airways and immediately was heard everywhere…over the campus, on our radios, in the car…and no matter how badly I sang (and it was pretty badly) I had to start singing the refrain every time it got to that part of the song…with the windows down in the car and feeling completely free, young, and happy.

Some of my closest high school friends planned a class reunion that summer for all of us who had gone to different colleges and were scattered all over the state and country.

A group of parents (from our graduating class) rented out the country club (outside town) and we all dressed in our best sixties “mod” outfits…bright colors, mini-skirts, tie-dye shirts, tank tops, or bellowing blouses with large sleeves, hair apparel – caftans and tie-dye ribbons…Reflecting back on it I am sure we looked hysterically funny but at the time we thought we had it “going on”!!

For the last song of the evening… John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” began playing quite loudly…but then it became faint as all the names of the boys in our graduating class who were fighting in Vietnam, injured, or deceased… were read out over a loud microphone while we hummed “Give Peace a Chance.”

We were all in a circle holding onto each other swaying back and forth…feeling that we could change the world that night…that love was all that was needed.I don’t think there was a dry eye in that whole crowd.

It is one of my fondest memories from the sixties.

And who know what? I still feel that way. Even now…after years of watching wars and conflicts continue and loved ones suffer from its effects…there is that same nineteen-year-old girl still inside me…who believes that one day love will win out over hate, intolerance, and indifference.

I think that hot summer night in 1969 created the ideology in me…the “girl” that still believes in new possibilities and ways of looking at things differently.

I had never heard the word “possibilitarian” until I read a paragraph from one of Norman Vincent Peale’s books that stated….

Norman Vincent Peale said, “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.” 

So until tomorrow…

Let’s give “peace a chance” and “people a chance“…everything and everyone deserves, at the least, a chance. Open minds open the doors of possibilities.

And speaking of opening doors….Kaitlyn gave me these “Welcome Beads” for Christmas. They are an old southern tradition symbolizing hospitality. One can hang them on a door-knob or wall hook…they welcome family, friends, and guests…hoping everyone will leave uplifted from the gathering of surrounding love.

What a lovely thought….may our country continue to welcome guests and show them how loving and accepting Americans truly are. Welcome “Y’all”…come in and sit a spell! 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Happy One Week Anniversary Winnie! She’s checking out Eva Cate’s new bed in her bedroom and helping re-decorate for her. She even took a ride in Barbie’s pink cadillac!

Can you remember when you didn’t have Winnie…Eva Cate? Since the monsoons hit yesterday I got an extra day with my “bestest” Christmas tree…still gorgeous without her “make-up!”

 

 

 

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The Sun Came Up Today

Dear Reader:

Haven’t most of us experienced an alien feeling or thought… upon losing a loved one… that the world should stop turning on its axis at that precise moment in time… or that life, as we once knew it, would never be the same again?

I remember experiencing this strange sensation (for the first time) as a 14 year-old… the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember school was called off that Monday morning…following the Friday assassination…and I remained glued to the television over the entire weekend… but especially during the funeral procession and ceremony.

Earlier when I awoke that Monday morning of the funeral…I asked mother if the sun had come up. I remember she looked at me strangely and replied “Yes”…it was up and shining brightly. “Why?” she asked.

I mumbled “No reason” but secretly I truly believed if somebody as important as a President died…and particularly in such a terrible, heart-breaking way…surely the world stopped.

I felt the same way a few years later…when my younger brother died…way too young…days from college graduation with his whole life still ahead of him. “Why didn’t the world stop to recognize this?”

Since that time, like everyone else, I have experienced more losses and I now know that the world never stops turning and life never stops “living”… no matter the magnitude of the disaster or calamity… person or circumstance.

Life goes on. The sun sets and the sun rises again. God’s promise never falters…the one true “Compass” in our lives.

As for the future…I think Archibald Rutledge sums this up most beautifully in his remembrance of Hampton Plantation following a very destructive storm that caused havoc inside and outside his tedious, back-breaking renovations on his ancestral home.

A month after the tragedy and destruction from the storm Rutledge surveyed his land…his “nature home”…and realized that hints of re-growth were already starting to show. With life and nature… ruin is transient. Resurrection of beauty and goodness are eternal.

He concludes his observation with one of my favorite quotes from him.

“Hope is stronger than fear; love is greater than grief; life is mightier than death; disaster is simply an incident of time. The shadows and rain of today will nourish the blossoms of tomorrow.”

So until tomorrow….”The blossoms of tomorrow” are still in bud…but tomorrow looks brighter as new life and perspectives unfurl for this beloved country.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I plopped my foremost New Year’s Resolution up against my desk top computer screen so I wouldn’t forget the message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A New Year…A New Idea

Dear Reader:

I had a new idea yesterday and it filled me with happiness. In fact it made me recognize that I needed to stop and simply take the time to think about what incidents in my personal life make me the happiest.

How many of us have ever stopped long enough to make a list of what makes us truly happy? Not me.

It doesn’t have to be a Yahoo! Vertical Leap kind of happiness (though it might)…It can, also, be an unexpected quiet moment of satisfaction that grow immeasurably larger as the moment progresses… until self-awareness jumps in and we realize we are truly happy in that one time spectrum.

I am certainly not the first person to realize that if we want more happiness in the new year, in 2021, than we had last year we need to know ourselves better and consciously acknowledge a deep understanding on what uniquely makes us happy…and then seek inner awareness when “happy” comes to visit.

Have you ever noticed that people tend to avoid the word “happy” when asked if they are? People will pause and then respond with something along the lines of “I am content…and that is good enough.” 

Really? At the end of our lives…we settled for a contented life. We let security and complacency replace adventure, new beginnings, meeting new people, travel, sharing thoughts, sharing interests, loving friends and family… daring ourselves to take a risk, and helping others?

We usually associate happiness with specific incidents whereas we can feel a joy for life even when times are tough. It sounds strange to say I felt “joyful” last year during the pandemic…but I honestly did most of the time.

I felt God’s presence and His support more closely than ever…I might have lost patience but never hope that the 2020 situation would get better.

…And I intuitively knew that joy was just under the skin, beating in my heart, for the simple pleasure of being alive…watching my family grow amid laughter even with all the challenges that accompanied the pandemic and volatile political atmosphere.

When one lives with metastatic breast cancer…or any other chronic life-threatening disease you never take a single day for granted…but see it for what it really is…the greatest gift God bestowed on us.

Take a moment today and think back on the past few days and mentally make a list of what made you smile…feel happy. It might have been a phone call, text, or email from a friend or loved one…discovering something pretty still growing in my garden in the dead of winter, discovering my neighbor’s cat Fuzz peeking through my window, looking at the latest pictures of Winnie the toy poodle, or Eva Cate’s new “girlie” bed….she was ready to get rid of her bunk bed.

So until tomorrow…

Happiness doesn’t have to be anything big…just simple delights of daily life that are uniquely ours….once we recognize our happy triggers…we need to pull them more often and let the confetti of happiness fill our lives more.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

As I walked around my sleeping garden yesterday…there were still plenty of subtle life to be seen…tiny buds starting to grow..camellias in their full beauty…”Big Red” the geranium is producing red buds opening into blooms as fast as it can…it is so happy to be back out on the porch.

I remember a saying about a garden that went:

“Adopt the pace of nature…her secret is patience.” I need to remember that attribute this year in all endeavors.

 

 

…Four hours later: 7:00 p.m.

I am not happy.  Be still! Listen quietly!

Do you hear it above the chaos and confusion of the day…the soft tears of Lady Freedom (Statue of Freedom)… falling upon the gold dome atop the Capitol Building? It is the sound of her tears …while witnessing democracy attacked from within.

 

 

 

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A Post of Thoughts…

Dear Reader:

I had such lovely responses to yesterday’s post and I want to thank you for your comments. It is  wonderful to receive positive affirmations about certain topics…particularly thoughts about ourselves and our place in this shrinking world.

Questions we ask ourselves…like Why now? Is there a reason I was meant to be here during this particular historical time period…and if so …what?

Jo Dufford made a comment that made me pause and re-think a term…blog. In this excerpt from Jo yesterday she mentioned….

(“Somehow, message is better than the word, blog, which I just don’t care for the way it sounds… This entire message was so thought-provoking. I believe everyone who reads this will be blessed by the part of it that speaks to him or her.”)

Jo…you are right…the term blog sounds like something big, or heavy…some strange obstacle with no shape or form… that is just in the way….nothing special…just “BLAH!”

I never set out intentionally to “preach” or send some direct “message” …but as I have said on earlier occasions…sometimes my fingers start typing and I just ‘hang on for the ride.

In my mind…this “post” is simply about sharing daily thoughts that pop into my head…mostly randomly…an overheard conversational comment, a script line from a show…even a commercial…a lyric from a song or a passage from a book. I never plan something far ahead for the simple reason that life is so much more fun…if we just daily ‘go with the flow.’

Three thoughts buzzed around my head yesterday…like a bee looking for nectar.

*

By last evening…all my decorations in my “happy room” were down and packed away for another year…except… for the Christmas tree. I began taking all the ornaments off… but at the last minute…I left the lights on and one ornament…the star my pastor, Jeff Kackley, gave me this year. Why? Well that leads to my second thought.

**

Today is the Christian celebration known as the Epiphany. It is celebrated on January 6th and commemorates the blessings of the three wise men bestowed upon the Holy Child… who will change the world through pure love, kindness, compassion and self-sacrifice .

Today my prayers are that only wise men are present as we bring conclusion to a long waiting period in our country’s history…It is time to unite and celebrate the greatness of our country…our democracy. In God we trust.

***

Ann Graves called and said she had a gift for me…and was going to drop it off Monday ….that didn’t pan out but I stopped by her home yesterday. When she showed me the “surcie” she wanted to get to me (before I packed up all the Christmas memorabilia)… I had to laugh at the God Wink.

Ann has had a Christmas book she loves… that was published almost twenty-five years ago, 1996…it is called “A North Carolina Christmas.” She told she has savored reading and re-reading every page for its traditions, ceremonies, and cultural history. This year when she pulled it out at Christmas time…it was like the cover revealed itself for the first time.

See for yourself! 🙂 My St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope is on the cover…my post title chapel… that changed my life. Unbelievable!

Ann also marked references to my departed friend and author of The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree...Gloria Houston…that really touched me. ( the page was referencing famous North Carolina Christmas story authors…Houston and O. Henry…The Gift of the Magi in the right photo) 

Ann had also tabbed written remarks by Gloria Houston in the book such as….

“Since 1988, having time to trim a tree is a special event for me! When I do, my tree has only white lights and angels-gifts from more than two hundred readers.” Gloria Houston

These days Gloria is now an angel surrounded by white lights in her heavenly home. Merry Christmas Gloria…Ruthie the rag doll angel and heroine of your adorable Christmas story still looks down from the top of my Christmas tree…and I feel sure she can see you.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

“Ruthie” appears relieved to just be a rag doll again and no longer an angel on the tip top of the Christmas Tree…Welcome down Ruthie! 🙂

I love this poem written during WWII…one of my favorites for the day of Epiphany!

KID STUFF  

The wise guys

tell me

that Christmas

is Kid Stuff…

Maybe they’ve got

something there.

Two thousand years ago

three wise guys

chased a star

across a continent

to bring

frankincense and myrrh

to a Kid

born in a manger 

with an idea in his head.

And as the bombs

crash

all over the world

today

the real wise guys

know

that we’ve all

got to go chasing stars

again

in the hope

that we can get back

some of that

Kid Stuff

born two thousand years ago—-

Frank Horne (December 1942)

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Missing Ourselves… A Piece of Our Puzzle

Dear Reader:

Haven’t we all experienced a time when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in a store front window or even the rear view mirror of our car… and for a moment don’t  recognize our own reflection?

It is a pretty sobering moment. Especially when we later have a minute to reflect on the incident and suddenly realize that it is not the physical reflection that threw us… but the missing “soulful” being within and beyond facial recognition.

What has happened to  the person we were supposed to be? Throughout our lives we play different roles….son, father, husband,  breadwinner, job identification, coach, grandfather…or daughter, mother, wife, breadwinner, job identification, teacher, and /or grandmother.

We have certainly been busy…but in our busyness somehow we lost our “forever selves”…the spirit of the person we were destined to be. We forgot to get off the main, crowded highway to  detour  the back roads of life…where living slows down long enough to find the real us underneath all the role-playing.

Psychologists  call this phenomenon a “displacement of self.” It usually occurs during times of great stress and we can certainly  concur 2020 provided enough stress for everyone to go around.

In her latest book Unresolved… Glennon Doyle has this quote that hit home to a lot of readers, including me.

*“If you are uncomfortable — in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused — you don’t have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”

Consider the truth in Doyle’s quote…I did.

For example…I remember as a child, a student, a teacher, a wife and  mother…..thinking that if I just tried harder, whether in school or my job or relationships…that life would get easier because I had learned to perfect all the obstacles in each category of life.

But I was wrong…quite wrong. Life wasn’t designed to be perfect…it is in the daily challenges, set-backs, and losses that the most beautiful moments of our lives are resurrected and we start living the life of the person we were destined to be.

This other following quote from Doye’s book really made me stop in my tracks…

What scares me more than feeling it all, is missing it all.”

As scattered as our feelings are these days on so many pressing topics… we should still feel  fortunate to be a part of life…even with all the mixed feelings that accompany it…much preferable to no longer having any feelings left in us because our “forever self” has gone missing and we never started living the life we were meant to live.

So until tomorrow…

“We can do hard things.”

And even though we women prefer stopping to ask directions in lieu of continued wandering…(“counter-intuitive” to our male counterparts :)…we too must remember…

“This life is ours alone. So we should stop asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”  (We each have our own separate places to discover and finally call home.)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

If we took time to create our own life map today…we would realize that certain daily incidents (that we never gave a second thought to while they were happening) were actually  map signs, being constantly created… pointing us in the right direction based on our individual interests, personality, and inner light.

As we age isn’t it easier, in hindsight, to recognize the destination benchmarks that turned us around and set us on new paths to find our “forever selves.” Now the question is…Did we follow these new paths or did we cave and follow the “herd” instead?

It’s never too late…your “forever you” still waits your arrival.

*Wanda is still weak and even just trying to eat throws her oxygen numbers off…so let’s keep those prayers coming.

*Also keep Suzy, Gin-g’s sister, in our continued prayers as she resumes with more tests to determine her individual plan for fighting her cancer. Thank you.

I am in the midst of starting to take Christmas down…(now that can be a real “downer”)… I am already starting to miss Santa’s Workshop...I am pretty tired after all the climbing and lugging…kinda like little Winnie! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”

Dear Reader:

Yoga Berra, the famous Yankees baseball icon and Hall of Famer, was known as much for his wit and wisdom as his prolific baseball skills…and that’s saying something. One reporter once called him the “Ben Franklin” of baseball for his creative quips that always seemed to be right on the mark…like his bat.

Such is the Yogi quote in today’s blog title. 🙂 If anything, Berra’s quotes seem even more applicable today than ever.

As we admittedly rejoice in tucking away the year 2020 in a box like our Christmas decorations…we tend to want to hide this particular year-box  in some far-away cob-web corner of the attic …to be forgotten forever.

I had to laugh at the number of “funeral” parties for 2020 that took place Christmas Eve in lieu of traditional New Year’s parties. One group was all wearing these t-shirts. 🙂

 

There is a lot of truth in Yogi Berra’s title quote “The future ain’t what it used to be.” As much as we are praying for a speedy anti-Covid virus vaccination process for 2021…we realize that only time will reveal how successful the vaccination strategy accomplishes this mammoth task this year. The way I look at it…prayers help…no matter the obstacle.

Our country believes enough to put our manta “In God We Trust” on our money (which sadly some people revere more than God.) I personally believe that the only option we have when it comes to the future of our personal or professional lives…as well as political…is to place our trust in God.

We must pray for peace and harmony to reunite this divided land and look for new ways this year to bring us all closer together.

Every year for the past five years I have chosen “Listen” as my word for my New Year…if anything I think it is more important now than ever before…if we can learn to calmly listen to others before making assumptions or reacting negatively…I think we will discover we have more in common than we have differences in regard to our futures together.. the vast number of Americans long for a place where our children feel secure, accepted , and equal to every other citizen…with the same opportunity to keep the American Dream alive and well.

Let us teach and model compassion and dignity to all those little eyes watching… so one day they will know how to keep our historical democracy a shining example to the world…a beacon still welcoming the dream-catchers of a better tomorrow.

So until tomorrow…

The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches met in Switzerland earlier in the fall to decide on the scriptural  mantra to guide us through faith in 2021.

They decided on the scripture (John 15:5-9) that states….”Abide in my love…You shall bear much fruit.” To abide in God’s love reminds us that we live in a community celebrating our gift of unity. The more the world sees itself as a community and not a separate entity…the closer our global, united goals of human brotherhood will draw nearer.

*Look at Big Red…the amazing geranium…somehow I gathered enough strength to pick that giant geranium pot up and place it back on the white bench. “Big Red” was sorely missing the sun and its favorite place on the porch.

I turned the container around so the backwards part would now get the sun and balance the amount of sun the large plant gets… so it wouldn’t get too top-heavy on one side.

I cut off many withered leaves…then I let it drink to its heart’s content…and bask in the warm sunshine we experienced yesterday…the future of “Big Red” provides me with a sense of security…that plant never lets me down…a model of fortitude and courage.

…And the Boo’s Blessings plaque above it…always reminds me how many blessings God has given me and will continue to do so.

Do take a moment to thank God for all His blessings as 2021 begins to settle in…

…and don’t forget…This year when we wrestle with indecision..remember Yogi Berra’s famous quote…

” When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”  🙂

Happy 2021 Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***I had a nice surprise yesterday…I ran out of paper cups so I went hunting for some “real” glasses…:) …and lo and behold there was an Erskine drinking glass that Libby had engraved with each of the Ya’s names on it as a memoir of our Erskine years…never would have found it again…if there was a paper cup around…meant to be.

 

…and as I start taking the decorations off the tree this week…I am going to save all the new 2020 ornaments for historical purposes..including this “original” given me by Honey…girl flower with a mask on. Love it Honey!

 

 

*** Update on Wanda, Susan’s sister…the last time I shared info with you after our collective prayer request things had really improved…unfortunately…this virus goes up and down more than a crazy elevator…Wanda’s oxygen levels are great one day and not so much the next…she is still in the hospital…and the family would really appreciate continued prayers until she hopefully stabilizes once and for all…and leaves the hospital. Will keep everyone updated. Thank you so much…as usual!!!

Look at this precious photo of Aunt Kaitlyn visiting  little Winnie…and “cousin” Atticus lying down beside her….so sweet!

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It’s the Little Things that Bring Us the Most Joy

Dear Reader:

After starting  the first day of the New Year on such a high note early Friday morning…actually a green note (stimulus check)… it was followed by an exciting request for baby sitting services the next day Saturday (yesterday) so John and Mandy could go pick up one of the “little things in life that bring us such joy“..Winnie– the adorable new addition to the family-(toy poodle)… all two pounds of her!

So I set my alarm excitedly for six yesterday morning…not knowing it would follow the saddest part of the first day of the New Year…the Clemson game. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep Friday night or early Saturday morning.

It’s hard to watch one’s  beloved team struggle so…and reap few benefits from all the efforts…but then as I crossed over the bridges to Mt. Pleasant around 7:00 a.m. yesterday…the morning sun burst through the fog and intermittent rain.

It took my breath away…one of life’s extras that never fails to mystify and justify God’s beauty while letting us know (through show)  just how good life is! Definitely a God Wink reminding me that all is right with the world and all is right with me, the Clemson Tigers… so smile and be joyful.

Clemson…I will love you forever…and what a year you had…more honors and awards than ever…while fighting a pandemic along with a grueling football schedule. You are an amazing team and never forget it. Your fans adore you!

As soon as I arrived at John and Mandy’s house they took off for the almost three hour one way drive to pick up Winnie. When they saw her they fell in love. (She had weaned early so we were a week earlier getting her than originally planned…and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.)

While John and Mandy were gone…. the kids and I were busily working  on posters welcoming Winnie to her forever home! We had a ball. I can’t think of any better way to forget Friday night’s sadness by welcoming new life and joy into the household Saturday.

Winnie went right to the children…and started playing…stopping to kiss them every few seconds…until she fell asleep next to them on the floor amid all the new toys the children had gotten her.

A awe-inspiring sunrise, a two pound little toy poodle…yes…the expression is true…”It really is the little things in life that bring us the most joy.”

So until tomorrow “Joy cometh in the morning” to remind us that life is bigger than daily life with all its ups and down…stop, take a deep breath and thank God for life in all its varied forms.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

 

 

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Prosperity…Then Hoppin’ Johns???

Dear Reader:

A quite surprising start to this New Year began about 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning. I woke up and moved to the sofa lugging my blankets and pillow with me…and snuggled back up…muting the television so I could watch but not hear.

I was still semi-asleep. But a few minutes later I decided to check my bank account on my iPhone to see if any of the monthly bills I had written (checks for earlier) had cleared.

I noticed that a couple of bills had… yet I had more money in my account than the day before. Hum? I shook my head and sat up on the sofa and then recognized and solved the “mystery”….an additional $600 had been deposited in my account overnight.

Still somewhat ‘out of it’ it took me a moment longer to process the fact that it was the ‘Stimulus’ money sitting in my account!

Immediately (as only a southern woman would) I thought….Prosperity has come before I have even consumed my hoppin’ johns today for good luck and prosperity…Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? 🙂

So I have decided that 2021 is already off to a fun and prosperous start! Let’s hope it continues…defining prosperity, of course, as just not monetary gains…but giant strides in healing and health issues, wellness, well-being, security, and happiness.

When I went to the Piggly Wiggly store to pick up my plate of hoppin’ johns ( too much to cook for one person)…I told the clerk I wanted the rice and black-eyed peas…but no collard greens (one of few vegetables I don’t like)…I then added, with a wink, that I  already had my “greens” for the day and mentioned how I was surprised by the stimulus check deposited in  my account.

The clerk immediately put my plate of food down…pulled out his phone…to check… and then let out a scream you could have heard all over the store. It was so funny and everyone was so happy for him…Though I did notice… in the line behind me…suddenly everyone was checking their bank accounts…some grinning and nodding…some shrugging.

I added mac and cheese and my corn bread, of course, sweet tea, to my plate and I was one happy camper yesterday…chowing down!

 

 

 

 

I also had a lot of happy memories left-over from Eloise’s first family birthday party late Thursday afternoon and evening…her third birthday…with the theme of FROZEN.

A neighbor loaned Walsh an Olga the Snowman (character from the movie) costume to surprise Eloise…and was she ever surprised at this very tall snowman coming in the house!

 

When she realized it was her daddy…she put a party hat on him and gave him a big smooch….too sweet.

So until tomorrow…Let’s take time to think back on the good memories of 2020 and use them to rebuild our confidence, faith, and trust in the New Year! No matter how tough things get…Hope never deserts us. So here’s a toast to hope and love…Never forget that love always wins in the end.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*** Exciting news! Yesterday afternoon Mandy called me and asked if I could watch the kids while she and John go to Effingham, SC to pick up the family’s new addition….a toy poodle…they have named Winnie!!! Today!!!!!!

Originally it was suppose to go down January 10 …I already had it marked on my calendar…but the call came yesterday and of course the family is beyond excited!

So happy I will be there in the first moments Winnie comes home to witness it all. I met Tigger (before he even got home) after John and Mandy picked him up 12 years ago and they stopped by my house on their way home to show me that little ball of fur. So many nostalgic memories…

Kaitlyn has taken Tommy for his birthday to the Dewberry Hotel in downtown Charleston on Marion Square. It used to be an old federal building commissioned by JFK…now it is a beautiful hotel with a fantastic roof top view. Have fun you two!

 

 

 

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Following Our Moral Compasses- 2021

Dear Reader:

It has been a long time since so many people around the world have looked so forward to telling a year good-bye and turning towards the next one with such renewed hope and prayers for a better tomorrow.

Upon reflection…2020 is still hard to define or even absorb mentally or emotionally…because it just wasn’t a pandemic or Covid19 virus that threw the world completely off-balance…but a series of political and economical upheavals that pushed our country into some kind of a strange disjointed alien land that was hard to recognize as our own. Disturbing at its very core.

So when I thought about a title picture for the first day of the New Year, 2021, immediately a compass rose popped up. It is a symbol and metaphor for… not just a physical instrument to guide us… but a moral one to lead us.

We all have wise and loving hearts, even if they need some dusting off after this past year’s travels, and our heart is our compass. We need it to determine the latitude and longitude of our wonder and curiosity that keeps the adventure of life in our beings. It makes life worth living to see what is around the next bend in the road.

Blessings are our courage…and we still have so many in spite of everything 2020 did to deceive us into thinking we had none.

We need to pray our journey is a long one this year and savor the stops along the way. Especially the difficult stops…where doubt and faith collide…we must continue to walk taller with God…relying on His faith to guide us…while walking faster than doubt can keep up.

And now it is time to reach down…way down…to our individual moral compasses…pull them out…reach back to help another fellow man along their journey with one hand…while reaching forward with the other towards God’s everlasting grasp.

It is only then… when we know… we are never lost in His care…His staff is big enough to bring us all back into His loving embrace.

So until tomorrow…My wish for us all is a fresh new start with a fresh outlook and a love for our fellow man. Let basic decency embrace us filled with compassion, trust, and hope at the helm of this great country. Happy Happy New Year…my blog readers, my friends, my loves!!!

P.S. And don’t forget, of all times, to say “RABBIT RABBIT!” After all this first day of the month also starts the first day of a new year…one we have been praying about for a long time. So say it loud and clear…perhaps several times.

I loved the Christmas stamps this year…my two favorites being Sammy the Red Cardinal and the Winter Rabbit for the first day of January! Here’s a toast for blessings from Heaven for 2021!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The Dingles “own” December birthdays I think…hardly a day in the month goes by without one…and little Eloise finishes up this busy birthday month all by herself.

So yesterday we had one last December birthday party for our adorable three-year-old Eloise…Happy Birthday my youngest granddaughter! May this be your best year yet! The wonder of the world awaits you!

 

 

Big Game tonight…Big Big Game! Go Tigers…stay strong, stay safe, stay true to yourselves and play your hearts out! Love my Tigers!

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Take What You Need…Leave What You Can

Dear Reader:

These days…it is getting easier and easier to come across all forms and kinds of ‘blessing boxes.‘ They come in all shapes… pantry boxes, cabinets, large bins, homemade wooden structures, tiny shacks and mobile units with windows.

They all have one thing in common…they are never locked and there is a sign that basically instructs: “Take What You Need and Leave What You Can.”

Most blessing boxes contain canned goods, books, socks, mittens, crackers, toilet paper, bottle water, etc. The basics for physical nourishment and reading interests of every kind.

There is a blessing book box that I see when running errands in Summerville…and it always makes me smile. The idea behind each blessing box should be our global mantra….

Think about it…if everyone on this planet would “just take what we needed and leave what we could“…the world would be a different place, wouldn’t it? No longer the ‘haves’ and “have not’s” but only the ‘giving’ and the ‘leaving.”

As we all grow closer to this new year…2021… we pray fervently that the upcoming year will take us out of the pandemic and restore us physically, economically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We still might have to stand six feet apart to make a global circle…but we know deep inside we are holding invisible hands with our brothers and sisters in humanity.  We stand together to face the rising sun of hope for all of us living everywhere in the world.

Hope still arrives in the birth of a newborn and three years ago today…our family, amid a rare snowstorm, got our little Eloise late New Year’s Eve….just hours before midnight. And what joy she has brought us!

Walsh has always happily proclaimed that all his children were born on a special holiday….Rutledge on Father’s Day, Lachlan on St. Patrick’s Day so little Eloise was not to be out-done…she arrived on New Year’s Eve…just a couple of hours before midnight but she wisely decided to help dad out by being able to count a third deduction. Great present Eloise!

And then to add even a little more excitement…the rare but beautiful snowstorm of 2018 arrived while Eloise and Mollie were recuperating in the hospital. January 3 Walsh packed up the boys to go pick them up and found the roads impassable…they got as far as John and Mandy’s house (where I had already gotten snowed in) and that is where we all ended up camping out inside for the next couple of days.

It makes for a great story…and one that holds some of our most precious memories.

We all survived it quite comfortably…but we were also so relieved when Walsh announced that he had made it to the hospital to pick up Mollie and Eloise and everyone was home safe and sound. We all breathed a big sigh of relief.

All of these ‘going-on’s” meant nothing to Eloise who looked like a little snow angel…innocently just sleeping away.

Walsh and family arrived home safely and the next day so did I…God was good and took care of our entire family…just like we knew He would. Walsh’s house and my Summerville home.

 

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELOISE! You definitely made a grand entrance three years ago today little girl. And you are still making grand entrances galore!!!

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Thank you for your prayers…once again the power of prayer showed itself quite strongly….Wanda’s breathing is easier…her oxygen levels are much improved and she is getting round the clock care…she is now clear-minded about where she is and what is going on….she’s already thinking towards the future and the necessary changes in her life…always a good sign. Wanda’s family thanks you so much for taking time to include their loved one in your prayers….so do I. Bless you.

John and Mandy took advantage of some good weather in Huntsville Tuesday and took the kids to a nearby state park for some rock climbing. They will be flying back in later today. Safe travels everyone!

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