We Just Need to Do the Best We Can…

Dear Reader:

Isn’t one of the hardest things we have to learn in this life is to withhold passing judgment on others? (I certainly plead guilty on this charge.) Maybe for a few minutes it makes us feel superior and better than someone else but we forget that this person or persons is coming at a situation from another place and perspective. We each have our own paths to walk through in this life.

Matthew says: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

In other words…we need to pass compassion, not judgment onto others in difficult dilemmas…whether we agree or disagree with them. We need to remind ourselves that if we did “walk a mile in their shoes” we would have a clearer understanding of their unique make-up and what circumstances have lead them to a certain point.

It’s important to remember that people are always doing the best they can, including ourselves.” (Louise Hay) We’re all doing the best we can given whatever tools and resources we have, and the circumstances and situations we’re experiencing.

In a Huffington Post Article “We’re All Doing the Best We Can” (Mike Robbins) cites five ways we need to approach others in lieu of critical judgment. In synopsis they are:

Give people the benefit of the doubt- The majority of people really do have good intentions and few people want to deliberately do harm to themselves or others, most people just want a good, healthy, secure life.

*Don’t take things personally- “When we stop taking things so personally, we liberate ourselves from needless worry, defensiveness and conflict.” Robbin’s favorite saying is: “We wouldn’t worry about what other people think about us so much if we realized how little they actually did.”

*Look for the good- In every human being there is both garbage and gold, it’s up to us to choose what we pay attention to.”(Werner Erhard) Looking for the good in others (as well as in life and in ourselves), is one of the best ways to find things to appreciate and be grateful for and again remember that not everything is about us all the time.”

*Seek first to understand- “Being curious, understanding and even empathetic of another person and their perspective or feelings doesn’t mean being in agreement with them, it simply allows us to get into their world and see where they’re coming from — which is essential to letting go of judgment, connecting with them and ultimately resolving the conflict.”

*Be gentle with others and ourselves-  “We don’t see people as they are, we see them as we are.” As we alter how we relate to ourselves, how we relate to everyone else, and to the world around us, our perspective is altered in a fundamental way.”

So until tomorrow: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” (Dalai Lama) Remember most people are doing the best they can with the resources and experiences they have. Let understanding come before judgment.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*More SURCIES! I opened the door yesterday morning and surprise…a beautiful plant was sitting on my front porch. It is a Thryallis with beautiful little yellow blooms and it loves the sun…good thing since we get a lot of sun around here most of the time, especially in summer!

The plant was from Vickie, my neighbor, for checking her mail and watering her plants while she was away….she shouldn’t have done it since she does it for me when I go off on Ya retreats…but I sure do love it. She even came over and planted it for me. Service with a smile. Thank you so much Vickie…I am so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!

Look at my latest funny kitchen attire….linen cloth

 *Isn’t it  a strange feeling when you go to check out (like me at Bi-Lo) yesterday and the total amount (from several odd smaller purchases) “sums” out at ten dollars even? How many times does that happen? Makes you feel like a ‘lucky-ducky.’ And I am!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Make Today Ridiculously Amazing!”

Dear Reader:

I have discovered that sometimes when we go to tell a story, another story decides to tell us. This is what happened recently.

The compilation of stories that wanted to open their covers for the blog readers today had to do with fairly recent shops and stores opening in Summerville that each bring their own unique story with them.

Welcome to The Bead Hunters Restore (Beaded Jewelry Repair, Restoration and Redesign.)

Angela Forbush runs this charming little shop (It opened last November) It really brought back memories of the 60’s for me…lots and lots of beads, pearl knotting, costume jewelry repair, clip-on earring conversion/design…and so much more. She also does Custom Design Work!

She told me if I wanted to bring Eva Cate back with me…she would help her design a beaded piece of jewelry…so sweet! She’s located across from the Post Office…and her number is 302-897-9537.

Angela also told me some Summerville history which made my day…her shop and the other little homes on N.Gum were built to house the railroad workers when they laid the tracks through Summerville in the early 1800’s. So many trees were cut down for the laying of the tracks that one of Summerville’s first ordinances was a penalty for cutting down pine trees of a certain size…it is still in the books today.

My young neighbor, Luke, across the street, made this fun antique home address marker, which inspired me to do the same. Mine isn’t finished yet but it will be done on a piece of slate with the numbers of my home address on it…then I will place it in front of the barrel of lantana out front. Here is Luke’s…

For our street to be such a short one…UPS and pizza deliverers end up going up and down, up and down, our small street because the mail boxes don’t match the house numbers in a logical sequential order. Hopefully now between my soon-to-be house address and Luke’s we won’t hear pizza cars screeching their brakes as much.

The slab of slate and numbers can be found at Vintage South- The Warehouse 406 N. Gum Street.

This is a fun place to walk around ..it makes me want to start completely re-decorating my home.

 

 

After discovering all these wonderful new places (to me) I started thinking about what I wanted to pick up for lunch and remembered Carrie had told me the tea room “Time Well Spent” was open and Sandy, the cook, was still making her famous walnut chicken salad, tomato pies, quiches, and most importantly those magnificent pop-overs with strawberry butter….I could just taste it.

So I went in and put an order in for the chicken salad, fruit, and pop-overs…it was just as good as I remembered and their delicious tea was a mixture of several berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc.) Beyond good!

Here I was so afraid we were going to lose the Tea Room and it is back…as wonderful as ever, with new selections. Nicole Paul and Taylor Stanley are the new owners and couldn’t be nicer. Nicole and I chatted while my order was being fixed..she said they were hoping to start serving Sunday brunch August 1.

*Their husbands are working on cleaning up and out the back yard so wedding receptions, etc. can be held here in the near future. Lots of new ideas and excitement…a lesson for us all…change is scary but it can also be fabulous!

As I walked in the door of Tuesday Morning yesterday…there it was… my new sofa pillow for the den…it was calling out my name and just had to come home with me!!!

Later yesterday afternoon my earlier feelings that yesterday was going to be a “ridiculously amazing” day were cemented by the doorbell ringing announcing Jo and her Colby…my favorite grandmother/granddaughter twosome!

They came bringing me (and the Ya’s) a  book called Devotions for the Beach….It is for all of us! Thank you so much Jo and Colby! I can hardly wait to get started! Will take it to the beach the next time we go.

Then Colby showed me a decorated little rock with this message on the back….Colby told me that it was a new trend now and the idea was to take it, put a picture of it on Facebook, and then leave it somewhere else for another recipient.

*Colby found her decorated rock in the bathroom at Chilli’s in Oakbrook. I love the idea of sending fun things out into the universe to see where they land, how many people they put a smile on their faces, and the stories they can tell.

So until tomorrow…I think the soul needs story to make sense of this old world.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Jo and Colby helped me try to solve the Ginger Shell’s Mysterious Light mystery…but none of us can find anything logical to explain the pulsating glow. I am going to look for it tonight when it gets dark.* (It is 10:30 and I peeked out the window before turning off the lights in my “office”….at first I saw nothing and then I spotted it again…a pulsating little white light.) The mystery continues.

 

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…”What Are We Busy About?”

Dear Reader:

Last Wednesday, July 12, marked the 200th birthday of the naturalist/philosopher Henry David Thoreau. As part of the celebration remembrance, tours to his home and other places in his life are free to tourists. Most of us, from high school English classes, remember him for his written thoughts of the time he spent at a small cabin in the woods near Walden Pond.

Minimalists, obviously, adore him for what has become a popular mantra…”Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.” For me this means cleaning out a lifetime of clutter day by day and drawer by drawer…my mission this summer. I keep a wooden plaque near “Big Red” so I can keep cheering myself on to  victory (every time I water I see the sign)… goal: a house filled with organized drawers and closets. Get rid of too much “STUFF!” By de-cluttering my house I hope to de-clutter my mind, heart, and soul. I want more one-on-one time with God… free from distractions.

Of course, Thoreau said it a tad more eloquently:

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” 

I remember, as a child, overhearing mother talking to friends or family on the phone and when asked about work…she always responded with her favorite phrase: “Oh we are just as busy as a bee.”

What Thoreau wanted us to consider was…Does our busyness contribute anything to our fellow man outside our own paycheck? Are we staying busy for the right reasons…or just being busy for the sake of being busy?

Don’t we all know people who make a profession out of staying busy? Every time we talk to them they constantly remind us how busy they are…as if they deserve a medal or something for their constant busy lives. When we think that surely their lives have settled down after meeting some major deadlines, professionally or personally, we discover that they have already filled up any “free” leisure time with more busy work. These type people thrive on staying busy and are only happy when they can complain about how busy they are. They will be “busy bees” until the day they drop dead. It is just who they are. They haven’t discovered that they are turning their busyness inward instead of reaching out to God to lead them on the right path and balance their lives.

One can’t help but wonder if these people fill their lives with so much busyness so they never have time to reflect or mediate on their true purposes in life and/or the direction they wish to go. This, I believe, is what Thoreau was telling us.

When we stay so busy and a sudden crisis develops, we first want to know how to ‘work this crisis’ into our busy lives. We feel this “need to know” so we can plan ahead. We become spiritually frazzled by this desire to know the conclusion of the crisis…and while waiting we become anxious and stressed.

This is an universal and normal reaction but what we must realize is…life doesn’t like to ruin the ending by telling us upfront how it will all go down. The success of our responses to crises in our lives depend on the positive attitudes we maintain while waiting for the clarity that always follows any calamity.

In other words…it does all come back to the basic three spiritual elements…the gifts (as cited in yesterday’s novel/scripture) faith, hope, and love. These are God’s gifts that will get us through each crisis we meet. Faith in God, hope during the process, and love for everyone helping us through the crisis…most importantly God.

So until tomorrow…Let us always look to God and His GodWinks, His miracles when we face the inevitable obstacles that will appear in our lives.

I remember hearing my family (mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles) say at different times in my life something along the line of “God will never give us more than we can handle.” Well, hello, many of us face potential  life-threatening crises that are definitely (at least speaking for myself) more than I can handle…but definitely not more than God can handle.

Overwhelming suffering comes because we live in a broken world with broken people. And we don’t have what it takes when these crises come along…but I do know one thing for sure…I might not have it all together but I do know that God will never leave my side and no problem is bigger than God and His power to overcome it.

We just have to remember, like the psalmist asked, “Where does my help come from?“with the response. “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2  

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*When we aren’t totally absorbed in the business of busyness …we can see some wonderful natural mysteries unveil right before our eyes… for me it was one glance out my “office” window.

It was 8:30 last night and as I glanced out the window…my Ginger Shell plant had a light shining from it. I thought it must be a lightning bug and was so excited! I grabbed my Iphone and headed outside in the light, dripping remnants of the soft afternoon rain here in Summerville.

When I got to the plant there was no lightning bug but there was a tiny light…like something coming from a teeny flashlight. It had to be reflecting off something I surmised…but there is only dense foliage between me and my side neighbor and he had no lights on in his yard nor do I have flood light on that side of the house.

Still it glowed eerily with no explanation. Don’t you love it when nature can still surprise us at a moment’s notice…when logic goes out the window because logic doesn’t apply to the situation.

I cast my ballot for it being a tiny rain fairy perched on the leaf to enjoy the gentle rain. That’s our story and we are sticking to it…right Eva Cate?

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Rejoicing over the Dawning of a New Day

Dear Reader:

Have you ever been reading a novel, suddenly stopped, put the book down, and then taken a few minutes to think about what you just read? This happened to me a couple of weeks ago…actually on July 4 before I headed over to John and Mandy’s for the July Fourth family celebration and the ‘revealing’ of Walsh and Mollie’s latest addition.

One thing about this humid, hot, oppressive July is that it has kept me inside more than usual and I have spent that time reading, reading, reading. You might remember I shared this book with you (at the beginning of the summer) that Jackson selected to open their first book club meeting with this fall.

She, also, suggested it to me to read and I ordered it from Amazon.com… but while waiting I  started another book. So it took a few days before I was finished with the first novel and was ready to start this one.

When I got to one section of the book, I stood up and then sat back down to absorb it mentally and emotionally…I called Jackson to tell her what I was experiencing and she warned me to just wait…there were more “miracles” to come. I have concluded that like GodWinks miracles don’t just belong to one person…they affect a circle of people whose lives revolve around the initial miracle recipient.

I am going to try really hard not to give anything definitive away in a blurb I am going to share with you but I just could not…not share it in case you never read the book.

Let’s just say that a terrible tragedy has hit a well-respected and popular pastor’s family in a small town in Minnesota. The pastor has decided to go ahead, however, and preach the sermon that following Sunday…only days after this personal horrific catastrophe.

The story is being told through the eyes and memories of Frank (the oldest son -13- at the time of the tragedy) forty years later. He remembers his mother and little brother could not emotionally attend the church service that Sunday. He, himself,  doesn’t know how his father, with deep dark circles under his eyes, looking like he has aged two decades in  a lapse of days, is going to get through the service.

Perhaps that is why ( as Frank remembered) that he attended that Sunday or perhaps it was because his father promised him that somehow, someway something good would come of all this…a miracle of sorts.

The church was packed to the hilt…probably due to more curiosity than anything, though certainly mixed with empathy for the likable pastor. Frank was surprised when his father stood in front of the congregation with no notes or papers…only his voice to guide him through the sermon.

Shaky at first with long moments of struggling to control his emotions, Frank’s father suddenly stops and takes a big gulp of air as if trying to find enough air to keep him alive. Frank is terrified his father isn’t going to make it through the sermon and stares down at the floor.

But then…the words begin to flow into sentences, which in turn flowed into paragraphs that somehow transcended time that long-ago summer morning. Frank witnessed the miracle his father had promised.

(Here is one small excerpt from this sermon/service)

…”When we feel abandoned, alone, and lost, what’s left to us? What do I have, what do you have, what do any of us have left except the overpowering temptation to rail against God and to blame him for the dark night into which he’s led us, to blame him for our misery, to blame him and cry out against him for not caring? What’s left to us when that which we love most has been taken.”

” I will tell you what’s left, three profound blessings…Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: Faith, Hope, and Love. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he’s given us complete control over them. Even in the darkest night, it’s still within our power to hold to faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may ourselves feel unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who choose to discard them.”

“In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith. to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way.”

“And whether you believe in miracles or not…I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you’re prayed for. God probably won’t undo what’s been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day…”

…”I invite you, my brothers and sisters, to rejoice with me in the divine grace of the Lord and in the beauty of this morning, which he has given us.”

My father’s eyes swept over the congregants who filled the pews silent as dandelions with upturned faces. He smiled and said “Amen.”

“I left the church that morning feeling, as I do to this day, that I had experienced a miracle, the one promised by my father who had spoken a truth profound and simple.

…………………………..

(But as Jackson warned me…the best is yet to come..another miracle is brewing that changes the family forever. This is a book you won’t forget easily.)

So until tomorrow…Frank’s father’s sermon reminds us that courage and bravery often come in the form of a small, whispered voice in the deep darkness of night, that asks us to remember to say and act upon… “I will try again tomorrow.” It is a new day with a clean slate and new possibilities.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I once heard a counselor say that an important sign in healing over the loss of a loved one comes in the form of renewed appreciation and fascination for the beauty of a new day…a sunrise of colors beyond the imagination. When we can, once again, give thanks for the beauty of the earth… soulful peace returns.

And speaking of a new day…Mandy called and asked me over to have supper at their house last evening…W.T. and Joan (John’s parents) were in town from Huntsville, Alabama. It was so great to see them again…it had been a couple of years and was so much fun catching up.

As I walked by a side table in the den…there was a frame with this saying…a GodWink.

Jakie loves his granddaddy…and Eva Cate loved doing all kinds of girl things with Joan (BeBe) Their visit is too short but so glad I got to be a part of it.

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Day by Day

Dear Reader:

Many of you recognize these lyrics from the musical Godspell. One of the reasons that I loved this song was that this stanza was repeated over and over in the song….getting louder or changing soloists…but the same refrain made it easy to remember the words.

Now, I realize just how powerful the lyrics truly are. The refrain was/is worth repeating over and over until it becomes embedded in our memories…day by day.

Day by Day

Day by Day

Oh Dear Lord

Three Things I Pray

To See Thee More Clearly

Love Thee More Dearly

Follow Thee More  Nearly

Day by Day

……………………………………

It wasn’t seeing the musical Godspell that imprinted this verse and tune in my memory…it was the person singing it.

I had gone to New Orleans for an educational conference in January one year and the weather was bitter…I remember being colder there than any other time or place in my life. I think the cold weather broke all kinds of records…the year was probably around 1976 or 77.

Roosevelt Way Exterior

A flyer of all the entertainment available during our stay had been left on my bed and one page announced the famous duo of *Billy Davis, Jr. and Marilyn McCoo performing at the Roosevelt/Fairmont hotel just blocks from where we were staying.  (*Husband and wife…Billy and Marilyn had both just left their group Five Dimension and started out on their own promotional tour.)

It was the most wonderful performance by this famous duo…and it was there that Marilyn McCoo ended the night with “Day by Day.” I have never forgotten it. Everyone in the audience began to sing with her and we all started holding hands with the table next to us. A memorable moment. Billy Davis, Jr. would walk around to each table with the microphone in his hand for everyone to sing one line of the song.

When we left the hotel there was a mixture of snow and sleet coming down (very unusual for New Orleans) and it was so beautiful watching it walking back to the hotel under the street lights. What a night!

When I went to look for this song with McCoo as soloist on u-tube I could only find it with the Fifth Dimension…still she is the lead singer and what a beautiful voice she had and still has.

Day by Day by the Fifth Dimension – YouTube

(* I birdwalk here…but if you just listened to Marilyn and Billy sing this song and watched old photos of the Fifth Dimension...is it just me or does Marilyn McCoo look remarkably like Julia Roberts?)

To tell you the truth…I didn’t just wake up from a dream about this song or that special night yesterday morning…it appeared in a different way. God is very creative with His GodWinks!

I was flipping through the on-going popular book of daily devotions –  Jesus Calling and found July 15. I decided to take a peek and see what would be “cooking” the next day…. now actually today.

“Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestion, but a command. I divided time into days and nights, so that you would have manageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you, but its sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of trouble onto your flimsy frame. You stagger under this heavy load, which I never intended you to carry.

Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross in your brain, but trusting Me brings you directly into My Presence. As you thus affirm your faith, shackles of worry fall off instantly. Enjoy My Presence continually by trusting Me at all times.”

  • This is a lesson that God knows I need drilled into my head ‘day by day’ and if a song can accomplish that…I am sure He is all for it. (Some of us are spiritual slow-learners…meaning me!)

 So until tomorrow….I think God would grin and  agree with Old Brer Rabbit’s take on this philosophy: “Don’t go lookin’ for trouble; it’ll find you soon enough.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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Shadows, Shade and the Light Behind Them

 

Dear Reader:

Yesterday morning I woke up early and by 6:30 was up and at’em. I have been watering my neighbor Vickie’s grass and checking her mail since she went home to Wisconsin last week… so with the sun and heat rising and the afternoon thunder storms waning… I decided to water early.

By the time I got to my garden the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, casting shadows across the back yard, which in turn, provided delicious shade for me. Droplets of water were hanging from the Japanese Maples, plants, bushes, and flowers where I had just watered.

Suddenly one small sliver of light, from the rising sun, hit Rutledge’s red Japanese Maple, making its beauty glisten in the early morning light. I just barely had time to grab my IPhone and take the snapshot before the sliver of the sun’s rays began moving across the the back yard…  ‘hitting’  the zinnias and lantana that I had just watered by the fence.

I felt like a child again or maybe Peter Pan chasing his shadow…as I followed the sun’s rays and took photos of all the different foliage ‘coming into’ the  first rays of the sun…a new day being born.

 

*The gazing ball (Joan Turner gave me for Christmas one year) lit up like a firecracker when the early morning rays bounced off of it… with a round, bright light glowing back from within and all different shades of blue forming under the  sun’s beams of light. Breath-taking!

As I turned around to the entrance to the garden…the gate and surrounding entry points were now all in the shade…but the shade can be beautiful too.

Later…as I pulled the two words….shade and shadow... on the internet… initially the only thing that popped up was an advertisement for new “Window Shadow Eye Make-up Palettes.” The product promotion continued with sale pitches like “Window Shadows and Contours of Shade Make Eye-Aging Factors Fade.

I searched on and found a discussion with people (on one website) asking what the difference was between shade and shadows. The conclusion was that there were times they could be used interchangeably but normally…there was a difference:

A shadow is the silhouette cast by an object that blocks a source of light. You can see your shadow on the ground or a wall or whatever you are blocking from the light source. You can make shadow puppets with your hands. A shadow can be cast by any light source such as a candle, a flashlight, an overhead light, a spotlight, or the sun.

Shade is the “darkness” created by a shadow and only really applies to shadows created outside by the sun. Underneath a tree on a sunny day would be “in the shade.” Inside a building would be “out of the sun” but not “in the shade.”

So from a scientific perspective that distinction works… yet both of these words evoke strong emotional feelings/reactions (one,more positive/the other somewhat negative) and as such….change the meanings of both…by a “shade” of difference. (Sorry I just couldn’t help myself.) For example:

Both words have emotional connotations. To those of us who live in hot climates, shade has pleasant and soothing associations. Shadow is evocative of something mysterious or threatening, especially in the plural. Stalkers lurk in the shadows. As the sun sets, evening shadows fall, concealing what was formerly visible and making the ordinary strange.

My mind immediately jumped to a story I shared with you (some years back) that has changed the way I think about one particular line in the 23rd Psalm.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

“The Valley of the Shadow of Death”

A very imaginative little girl, since first hearing the 23rd Psalm in Sunday School… was terrified of it. She had nightmares about walking through a valley filled with menacing monster shadows leaping out and dragging her off to kill her…in the ‘valley of the shadow of death.’

Her mother thought she would get over this fear as she grew older, but it never happened. Then, when the girl was about twelve she entered the church confirmation class with her peers. One of the assignments was to learn/memorize the 23rd Psalm. The nightmares started again.

The mother finally called the pastor, explained what was going on and asked if perhaps he could talk to her daughter about the situation. The pastor agreed…so late one afternoon, after school, her mother dropped her off at the church and told her she would return in half an hour.

The pastor listened quietly and gently as the young girl explained her dilemma…somewhat embarrassed but still anxious. When she  finished, the pastor said nothing except…“It’s is such a beautiful afternoon…let’s go outside and get a breath of fresh air.”

They walked over to the church parking lot that was surrounded by beautiful tall pine trees. The pastor glanced up at the sun and then lead the girl to a particular spot on the sidewalk beside the near- empty parking lot. The late afternoon waning sun cast shadows of their figures on the pavement. Both their figures were extremely elongated and funny-looking.

The pastor pointed our their shadows to the girl and then told her to pretend  she was a monster making big circular motions with her hands and growling…the pastor mimicked the same gestures. Soon they were both laughing at their shadows.

The pastor then turned the girl around and asked quietly:” Tell me what you see in the sky that is causing our shadows to form.”

“It is the sun…the light that causes the shadows” replied the girl.

The pastor asked: “If we didn’t have the sun or light would we be  able to form  and/or see other shadows?”

The girl thought a minutes and slowly replied “No. We would be in total darkness.”

The pastor looked deeply into the young girl’s eyes and said, “Don’t you see…David is telling us, in his psalm, that God will never desert us…He will always be there for us…even in death…even in dying…because there would be no shadows in the Valley of Death if there wasn’t light to form them…and that light is God. You are never alone.”

…………………………………….

So until tomorrow…Let us remember that shadows and shade are not possible without light…the “Light of the World.”

All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”  Leo Tolstoy  (And yes…he said this!)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

It does seem like a GodWink that my cousin Bob sent me some photos of my parents’ grave sites (Laurens, SC)) and my younger brother, David’s grave too yesterday. Tolstoy was right….life is composed of light and shadows. In my mind, heart, and faith daddy, mother, and my brother are living life in the most beautiful place of all…the land of eternal sheer, ethereal  light. No more shadows. *Thank you Bob for your thoughtfulness in doing this for me.

 

 

 

 

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Who said What?

Dear Reader:

I love quotes. Particularly when one thought just matches recent ideas flickering through my mind or just seem to appear at the right time like a newspaper horoscope or something…or perhaps a quotable GodWink.

But lately I have realized that so many quotes cite several different individuals as the originator of the same expression on-line. This is what happened yesterday with the title quote: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” William Shakespeare. Wrong. Another originator cited for this same quote is Pablo Picasso. Wrong.

When I started checking my sources a website popped up called: Quote Investigator. The history behind the origin is a little murky but one individual rises from the pack. 

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence linking this expression to William Shakespeare or Pablo Picasso. The earliest strong match located by QI appeared in a 1993 book by the radio personality David S. Viscott. This citation is detailed further below.

An interesting thematically related statement was included in an 1843 essay titled “Gifts” by the prominent lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson who argued that a gift is only worthwhile if it is integrally related to the gift-giver 1

Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.

In 1993 the volume “Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times: A Book of Meditations” by David Viscott was published. The author was a psychiatrist who hosted a pioneering radio talk show in the 1980s and 1990s during which he provided counseling to callers. Viscott’s statement was composed of three parts instead of two: 2

The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.

The connection to David Viscott was not forgotten. In 1997 an article in the “Chattanooga Times Free Press” of Tennessee placed the adage at the beginning of an article about a successful painter: 6

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the work of life is to develop it; and the meaning of life is to give your gift away.” — David Viscott.

The article went on to cite other public speakers who took credit for the quote but after much research this website believes that David Viscott was and is probably the authentic author.

That is not to say that he might not have gotten an idea concept about his quote from Emerson…but he was the one who created it as it is now…but with the extra line…which personally I like better.

I am not a quote snob…it doesn’t  matter to me if someone (historically famous or a celebrity) actually creates a quote. In fact, just the opposite, I appreciate the quote even more when it comes from a “Tom, Dick, or Harry” among the common people. But I do want to give credit where credit is due…to the right person.

I read once that Abraham Lincoln gets credit for more quotes incorrectly than any other President. (Advertisers or publishers must think if they give him credit for a quote, people will believe it more or something.)

* One such mistake was done deliberately by a screenwriter for the 1960 (Hayley Mills) movie-Pollyanna (one of my most favorite movies as a child.) Apparently the screenwriter put a quote (he just made up) in a locket Pollyanna’s father supposedly gives her before his death… which is attributed to Lincoln in the movie.

“If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.” — Abraham Lincoln

Probably no one would even have questioned it but Roy Disney thought it would be a good promotional idea for the movie to sell the lockets in all the gift stores in Disney Land. When the screenwriter found out about it…he had to confess to Disney and they had them all pulled.

The same thing goes for theologian, C.S. Lewis (who I adore)…he has more incorrect quotes attached to his name than any other theologian. The sad thing about this is that he had enough of his own quotes worth repeating without people tabbing him with others un-be-known to him.

This all leads me to an essay I found (yes…still cleaning out drawers) in the den. I read it and re-read it and thought to myself that the message in the essay is as appropriate now for the times we live in as when it was written over a decade or more earlier.

For some strange reason…the essay got penned to the comedian George Carlin. (Who, by the way denied writing it several times (“Come on, you must know that isn’t my style of writing , much less being serious and not funny.“)

When I looked up the title: “The Paradox of Life” I discovered it was a pastor who wrote it. Here is the story behind the story and the essay.

The true author of the piece isn’t George Carlin, Jeff Dickson, or the Dalai Lama, nor is he anonymous. Credit belongs to Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church (who retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post).

This essay appeared under the title “The Paradox of Our Age” in Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts:

“The Paradox of Our Age”

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things; we’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we make faster planes, but longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. Indeed, these are the times!

…………………………………..

*( There even was a story behind the essay saying an anonymous teenager who witnessed the aftermath of Columbine (Littleton) wrote the essay and people liked this idea so much that it became a popular misnomer.) *Source: Snopes: Barbara Mikkelson)

( Painting: Kelly Rae Roberts)

So until tomorrow: Let’s all remember the grammatical index we were taught in English classes. as cited below using the word today kind. 

“Let’s be positive in being kind...kinder that necessary and kindest of all to those who need it the most.” (Quote: Becky Dingle (: )

Positive        Comparative      Superlative

kind                 kinder                      kindest

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

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