Depth Perception in our Lives

Dear Reader:

When it came time to select lenses for my eyes before my cataract surgery a few years back…a choice for my particular visual situation was to place one eye lens for nearness-upclose and personal activities like writing my blog post – in one eye and a far-sighted lens in the other eye-it would keep me from having to ever wear reading glasses again. ( which I lost by the gross!)

It has worked well EXCEPT in one type of situation- when either mounting or descending steps in a dark space… I lose my depth perception ability. And that brings us to my fall from dignity Saturday afternoon leaving the auditorium following the dance recital.

Walsh ran out as quickly as possible to get the car to bring around while we decided to leave early too to get Eloise before the crowd descended.

So the auditorium was still dark when we jumped up to mount the steps-I was about two steps from the exit when I splattered -thank goodness the floor was covered in carpet.

I tripped on the edge of the last step and my knees caught the brunt of it! Everybody, it seemed, was trying to help me up to my sheer embarrassment!

I jumped up and wobbled off … both knees were stinging but more from carpet burn than anything else. I was lucky-yesterday my knees were sore and a little pink but not blue with bruises. I know how lucky I was/ am … still it burned in my memory as an indignity to the reality of growing older.

Sometime yesterday I started thinking about spiritual in-depth perception. The miracle of having two eyes to provide us with two perceptions is easily obtained when we close one eye and then switch to the other-objects appear to move. If we keep one eye closed for long… things start to appear flat.

The wonder of ” stereo-scopic vision” ( seeing through two eyes) lies within our brain. By the brain combining them in such a way … a new picture emerges-a perception of depth.

Spiritually we have two ” eyes” -our mind and heart. If we use our minds too much-our vision lacks depth. We fail to see beauty, the importance of moments and most importantly the wonder of close relationships.

It is only through the heart that we can find our soul which allows us to see the world as God created it …and the hand of God everywhere in our daily lives.

Oh Lord how marvelous are Thy Works!

So until tomorrow… Make each day a good day with lots of thankfulness in it!

” Today is my favorite day!”Winnie the Pooh

Oh happy days-we have gotten rain, rain, and more rain over the weekend ! Filling up all my big pots!

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Love Yourself… Then love the World

Dear Reader:

It has taken me a good chunk of my life to love myself but I am finally there. I can finally look in a mirror that once represented all my vulnerabilities for far too long … and now greet my best friend each morning with a smile… me, myself and I.

I don’t know how many times I was told, starting with my mother, that we must first love ourselves before we can love another. Easier said than done…right?

So much of my youth was spent hating so much about myself- I wanted long straight thick hair, I got thin wavy hair, I wanted a pretty smile but got buck teeth ( until I had almost graduated from high school) I wanted to be tall… I was short and skinny. I wanted to be anyone but me.

Time is the great healer in youth… braces bring pretty smiles, curlers added thickness and smoothness to wavy hair, and gawky skinny female kids slowly change into petite figures.

But what it took me another decade or so to discover… was that these external factors were not the real me and couldn’t be corrected with braces but only self-acceptance of the person inside me.

I also came to realize that when I showed compassion to others… I felt a tremendous sense of meaning, purpose, and joy in my life. Teaching taught me this!

I love the poet, Mary Oliver. She says in poetry what the rest of us struggle with in word definitions.

( ” To Begin with the Sweetgrass)

… ” And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope. I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is. I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned, I have become younger. And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know? Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.”

So until tomorrow…As you meet each moment, ask yourself ” What is the kindest thing I can do right now?” Follow the path of compassion ( Kate Wolfe-Jenson)

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

And my favorite day yesterday brought the family together to watch Eloise dance in her first dance recital inside the Galliard Auditorium. ( Actually she hopped a lot-they were frogs but still she was the best hopper out there! )

She loved the flowers Boo gave her and before it was over …she was surrounded by beautiful flowers the family members gave her!

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Adding ” Life Lifters” to Your Day

Dear Reader:

” Life Lifters” are exactly what they sound like-moments of human bonding through funny or sweet little anecdotes that leave people smiling.

I love to be able to share a witty quip or joke with my doctors, medical technicians, surgeons or those in authority outside the medical field like bankers, realtors or even tax accountants. I have discovered that a few witty remarks and/ or sincere compliments start any exchange off on a better foot.

Even something as simple as ” You have made my day” leaves both you and the other person satisfied at the conclusion of a check-up or business meeting or even medical procedure.

In other words… I was fearful or nervous coming in… but you did a great job and left me feeling relieved and happy at the conclusion.

I read a true story last week about a lady who faced surgery for breast cancer-in her own unique creative way.

Before she was wheeled into the operating room she donned a propeller beanie on her head and a large, colorful sign on her chest that said GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT!

In the operating room a nurse saw the sign and asked her what it meant. She replied ” Well, when that surgeon cuts on me today I just want him to be in a REAL GOOD MOOD! ”

In the title photo there is a bottle of homemade white wine by my friends Ed and Roz Van Alstyne! ( Philosophie Chardonnay) Roz and I taught social studies at Alston Middle until she and her husband Ed moved to Indiana.

But thank goodness they return annually for a beach vacation and we always meet at Oscars for lunch! They followed me home to see the garden and believe me seeing them again definitely ” made my day”-along with the wine! 😘

You might have also noticed a box of a dozen mini-Bundt cakes in the title photo…but true confession… not only is the box not a baker’s dozen -there are only 11 little cakes left! I had a serious sweet tooth attack yesterday!

In medieval times… if a baker gyped a customer by shortchanging the size and amount of bread they could be flogged-so bakers started adding an extra wheat item -even two sometimes-13 or 14 so as not to be surprised by law enforcement and a flogging.

* I have decided to give all the mini-Bundt cakes to the grandchildren first-so the count gets lost in the joy of wolfing them down!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Sadly if it looks like a storm, blows like a storm, lights up the sky like a storm … doesn’t mean it will rain like a storm! Maybe I need to tell the storm a joke?

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Collecting ” Enjoyables” … things that make you smile

Dear Reader:

Every time I see this little plastic frog it brings back bittersweet memories. A friend and teaching colleague of mine, Theresa Winders, was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time I was.

And when I started my blog she became my ” editor” -checking my early ones for grammatical errors-she was kept busy!

She gave me one of dozens of plastic frogs that she carried with her everywhere… giving them to surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other patients. She would tell each receiver that the acronym for F. R. O. G. was ” Fully Rely on God.”

Today Theresa lives with God but her frog reminds me Whom to turn to in troubled times… plus it just makes me smile.

I have two boxes that always lift my spirits when I am feeling low. The first one contains notes, letters ( some from you readers) quotes, inspirational anecdotes, grandchildren’s pictures and cards…. plaques and pictures.

The whole idea of keeping happy collectibles for “rainy” days ( though it is finally raining today and I am ecstatic… Hallelujah-) is a terrific one!

It started when that adorable Colby and grandmother Jo made me a Winnie the Pooh box and filled it with all kinds of fun things…along with this note.

” This is your happy box”

” Whenever you feel down, open up your box for instant joy. When you receive a note or an object that brings you joy, add it to your box. It is up to you what you add. This is your happy box. Fill it with love, hope, laughs, joy, beliefs, prayers, and encouragement. Enjoy Your Box! With love, Colby and Grandma

So until tomorrow… Happiness is homemade so make a box ( es) for all your uplifting keepsakes for those days when you need a reminder how precious life is!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

And oh what a terrific day! Honey was in town and we had time to eat lunch and hang out together! Ashley called and after some more procedures things are finally turning around- she is free of tubes! Hallelujah! Honey was heading back up to the mountains and could hardly wait to stop by the hospital again for encouraging news!

Just having Honey around made me happy and she brought me a pink flamingo for my garden! Lots of smiles!

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A “Twister” in June

Dear Reader:

As I first read the description in the ” Chirp” message I felt like a school child again…. waiting for that last bell to ring and let summer vacation begin! June is here!

The nice thing about being a teacher all my life was getting to experience that same sense of joy on the last day of school-in fact I got to lead the class each year in the final count-down from 10!

(The best kept secret about teachers is that they are probably the most excited ” kid” in the class-no matter the age-on the last day of instruction! Welcome June with time to read all those novels waiting till now!)

So this year…June started off on a fun light note for me… but as we all know the seasons in life present their own personal challenges-and sometimes even when you don’t get a direct hit-you start to feel frustration and sadness over your” target” friends who did!

This is what I am experiencing this month-hoping, wishing, and praying for several friends who are experiencing medical dilemmas, relationship quandaries, moving problems and just overwhelming life/ death conundrums. How to help outside of prayers and talk?.

Then I thought that maybe there should be a faith exchange during trying times. By combining our faith -your faith will help me and my faith will help you.

At a recent conference a discussion began concerning helping ourselves and others when our balance in life falters! One of the leaders, Matt Chambers, said he used to view balance as a tightrope or see-saw but he no longer considered them good metaphors in life …because so much of real life is

beyond our control ! We have no idea what is coming towards us. Matt decided that the game Twister is a much better metaphor.

Balance in life isn’t about just trying to keep things even … it’s about not falling down.

Each of the colored circles represent things that May trip you up and cause you to fall. The key is that we need people in our lives who will cover each space to keep us from falling. People who can carry us through, who can cover the spaces we can’t-and at least break our fall is we do.

So until tomorrow… we can begin reaching out to others by sharing a smile, an encouraging word, a chance to laugh.

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

…And my favorite day to shout out Happy Birthday to Ya Libby! I know you have had a full plate lately friend but today that plate is only allowed to be fully covered with birthday πŸŽ‚ cake!

I picked flowers from my garden to make you a birthday bouquet!

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A New Look at Going the Extra Mile

Dear Reader:

All of us know that “going the extra mile” means being willing to make a special effort to do or achieve something.

54% of bosses seek out future employees willing to go the extra mile. This expectation works better when management sets the the bar high by first putting in extra effort themselves and becoming mentors for their teams to emulate.

Jesus, however, had a different take on the reason behind going the extra mile.

Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5:41 … ” Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”

When Jesus spoke about going the extra mile, he wasn’t referring to customer service but to a Roman law imposed on the people. The law stated that Roman soldiers could order any citizen to carry their weapons or equipment for a distance of up to one mile.

No matter what you were doing, the law required that you drop everything and obey. You can guess how people felt about that! So when Jesus said ” Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two, ” even if it goes unacknowledged… citizens shook their heads in bewilderment!

Don’t go the extra mile for material motives-expecting a raise or promotion-do it because you want to be a positive witness for Christ… for the glory of God!

In other words the gesture should come from the heart-not expected rewards from a calculating mind.

Today if we wish to show our true character and live a lifestyle of kindness to others beyond the norm… then we must ask ourselves if we are willing to go the extra mile as a witness to our beliefs. The world is always surprised when someone does.

So until tomorrow… ” You know what the nicest thing is about going the extra mile? It’s never crowded!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

* Prayers please for Gingi’s sister Suzy… time is drawing nigh after battling pancreatic cancer! Suzy is tired. πŸ™πŸ»

It is time to replace some flowers and plants with others who can better acclimate to Lowcountry summers-cone flowers, blanket flowers, dahlias and portulaca!

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Sacred Ordinariness

Dear Reader:

Anne invited several friends, including me, to attend our church’s early service … held in our beautiful wooded area behind the sanctuary-an alternative worship site since COVID-19 hit. Weather permitting this service is held outdoors with worshippers bringing their own lawn chairs.

It was and is exactly the kind of worship service I am drawn to these days-simple but powerful-with nature providing the natural rhythms of music with the wind, the leaves, the birds and trees talking among themselves.

It was if our bodies and spirits found holiness in simply breathing, in simply being. This type of service reminds us just how precious the act of breathing is… until we can no longer draw another…

After my initial breast cancer prognosis was given to me… I remember that my memories took me back to the most ordinary days of my life-made memorable by a conversation, a tear, communicating with another through laughter, a hug or kiss, a loved one or friend … these became the moments of holy hallowed ordinariness!

It wasn’t all my adventures though I was profusely thankful I took each opportunity to travel and see more of this beautiful planet we all call home. Instead it was the ordinary incidents of life that surpassed the extraordinary! As long as our lives are enriched and personally fulfilling… we have lead a ” extraordinary ” life… no matter the circumstances or surroundings!

So until tomorrow… ” May we always trust the journey… knowing we are right on time, exactly where we are supposed to be.” (Kelly Rae Roberts)

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

🀞Don’t forget! Today is the first day of June! Remember to say ” Rabbit, Rabbit” and have a jubilant June!

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Memorial Day-Do It for Others

Dear Reader:

A few weeks ago my brother Ben called and said he had an epiphany. He was very excited about it.

In Ben’s story he describes what can only be deemed as Divine Intervention episodes that took place throughout his 1968 tour of duty in Vietnam. Yet he, himself, personally questioned why he seemed chosen to receive these life-altering warnings that saved his life numerous times in the jungle terrain.

“Why me Lord?” he questioned God repeatedly with no concrete response. And then recently he realized that God knew in the all-too immediate future David, his younger brother would be taken from our family… if he died in Vietnam followed by David’s sudden death four years later… poor mother, who had lost her husband at 31, her hand to cancer soon after …would be faced with the loss of two sons?

Ben said he thought he was saved, not just for himself but also for mother and our family. It got me thinking…

Don’t we all see and hear public service announcements that remind us to wear masks or buckle up when we drive… if not for us… for our loved ones?

And isn’t a mother’s prayer one of the strongest prayer links in humanity-the most unselfish-praying for their children’s lives-gladly willing to substitute their life for their child’s?

Shortly after arriving in Vietnam Ben’s unit was almost completely wiped out and mother received notification her son was missing in action. It was Mother’s Day.

It was the saddest Mother’s Day ever… no matter how hard David and I tried… mother was inconsolable. I just remember David and I hugging her as she wept and prayed.

But then three weeks later on Memorial Day 1968 word came that Ben had been picked up by a patrol boat along with a handful of other survivors and he was being treated for wounds deemed non life threatening!

That Memorial Day was filled with prayers of relief and thankfulness! Mother even found a tablecloth that said ” Blessings” on it where we gathered to eat, laugh and rejoice in life that special holiday!

Ben would return home with two Purple Hearts-one was buried with David and the other with mother.

So until tomorrow… ” If not for us… for others” … God’s loving directive for us to make good decisions that enhance not only our own lives… but others!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Let’s all begin today considering the consequences of our decisions and choices on the feelings and lives of those we care about…

Ashley had to return to the hospital with more medical complications including infection! Please Please keep the prayers coming!!!

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Dear Reader:

As I was watering yesterday the card tag fell off the planter-written on the yellow petunias card was Proven Winner-” Lickety-Split.”

I started smiling to myself … I hadn’t heard that expression in a long time-though it was a favorite of mother’s trying to get all three of us children ready for school each day.

The expression dates back to the mid-1800’s… the origin includes a popular item of the time known as a ” licket rag.” Before the invention of paper towels … licket rags would clean up a spill with one ” lick” in a ” split ” second… as fast as ” Lickety-split. ”

I feel sure I used the same expression on my own children growing up-but these days I am free to do more ” moseying” than ” Lickety-splitting!” Deadlines are at a precious minimum, meetings pretty much non-existent which leaves me in the loveliest period of my life to date-my Just Being stage of life!

And right now my being is heading to John and Mandy’s with Doodle and Harvey for a Memorial Day barbecue! Life is fun again!

So until tomorrow… May we all find that special time in our lives when ” dead-ends” turn into ” life-ends.”

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Happy news-Ashley got home a couple of days ago in time for the holiday weekend! Thank all of you for the prayers!

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Lucy Locket isn’t the only gal looking for a Pocket!

Dear Reader:

Every morning when I rise to water the garden… I start looking for a blouse or shirt or pair of pants with at least one pocket big enough for my mobile iPhone. ( …And I still have one of the oldie goldie smaller phones)

But to no avail… and the option to wear a gardening jacket or apron is not realistic in a Lowcountry climate where we have been in the mid-90’s all week already!

Lately I have looked for blouses and tunics on-line with large pockets … and I believe I would have better luck finding a dinosaur than a pocket on a woman’s shirt or pair of pants!

I realized I was not alone in my quest when I came across an articles titled ” What do women want? Pockets!”

Some study was done on the reason people, especially women, walk around holding their phones? Two obvious reasons jump out-no pockets and women don’t want to scramble through their bags ( where the phone is lost in a forest of parafernalia hunting for it! )

Author, Jen Doll, did her own research and discovered, what she already suspected, there is an universal cry from women for POCKETS!

More and better pockets… good pockets, big pockets, man size pockets! So Julie Sygiel, an entrepreneur, has started The Pockets Project. It aims to bring attention to pocket inequality-she has a new line of dresses with deep pockets that can hold everything from our most prized possessions to a gal’s must have -lip gloss!

One new discovery was that the largest women’s pockets were still smaller than the smallest pockets in men’s garments. Women’s pants , dresses and jackets can easily contain deeper pockets that securely protect a mobile phone from falling out!

It would be so nice not to have to wear the only two shirts I have with pockets and my now faded jeans every morning to water so if a new sparkling flower begs me to take a photo I am ready and then I don’t have to change clothes after each watering each morning!

So until tomorrow… We should all create pockets of joy to sustain ourselves and others and my garden still accomplishes that!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

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