Nature’s Reach for Life

Dear Reader:

I love flowering vines…like the morning glories and the moon flowers because I am always in awe of the vines reaching out into nothing-ness…sheer air…as if somehow knowing there is a trellis or fence or some kind of support system for them to wrap their tendrils around and hang on for dear life. These vine plants definitely understand the meaning of the expression “taking a leap of faith.

Yesterday morning, for the first time, the moon flower leaves’ tendrils had reach up and out until it found the trellis….as I watched one tendril waving in the breeze…searching for something to wrap its tendril around…a strong breeze blew the tendril close enough to the trellis and immediately the tendril quickly wrapped itself tightly around the trellis fence. Miraculous to watch.

I had planned to add some string from the morning glory trellises to the top of the wooden fence to help the vines climb…but the tendrils from the morning glories had already made their ‘leap of faith’ too…and were climbing up the fence all by themselves.

So until tomorrow…If plants  have that much faith in their Creator that He will guide them by sheer touch and provide them the support they need to keep climbing through life…don’t you think God is doing the same thing for us…if only we keep the faith and take the leap?

* Mollie said that is how she felt when she signed up for the race several weeks ago and began working out every day to get the strength she needed to be successful and show her children the power of perseverance.

Walsh sent me a video of Rutledge and Lachlan running out to hold their mother’s hand and be with her to cross the finish line. I get choked up each time I see it….this picture is adorable…a moment for the memories and a teaching lesson from a mother to her children. Take risks in life and live it to the fullest.

We are in a wonderful weather pattern…we are getting thunderstorms at night with the sounds of rain falling throughout each evening… lulling one to sleep… and then staying dry mainly during the day. The plants love it. It has been almost five days since I have had to water…what a great “stay”cation! (Planting more lantana)

For the very first time my magnolia tree (that has always been squeezed in between my neighbor Bentley’s trees and my trees and azalea bushes never bloomed)…too much competition for the light…!…I found two blooms on it yesterday…so happy! All kinds of trees are popping up.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The gardenia bushes are in full bloom and smell heavenly…especially with the rain storms this past week. Honey, I put a gardenia in one of your cute pottery cup hang-ups...it looks adorable and smells wondrously.

*** Would appreciate lots of prayers going out for Libby whose surgery is tomorrow, June 11. Libby is having bone spurs in her neck removed that could potentially cause spinal problems down the road…this surgery has required a lot of pre-surgery tests, treatments, and discomfort… everyone will be very happy when it is over…especially Libby.

Here’s to great success tomorrow and the beginning of regaining your quality of  life back again Libby! We love you…lots of prayers coming your way that God guides the surgeon’s hands to restore good health and vitality!.

 

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…And the Story Continues…The Pride of Summerville

Dear Reader:

I should have known many of you readers remembered different tidbits about the original nursery that is still producing hundreds and hundreds of morning glory blooms along Highway 78.

Jo Dufford was able to supply most of the history with the help of Donna Rae Williams…Thanks gals for the clues!

Beverly Jo Dufford says:

I believe you are talking about the Segelken Nursery which Mr. George and Mrs. Evelyn Segelken ran for years. It may have been that location where Mr. George crossbred azaleas to come up with the Pride of Summerville azalea. He donated probably hundreds of these plants (actually 33,000) and others to help start the park in the middle of town.

Traveling south from town, the garden on the left is filled with that particular azalea, and just over a little bridge is a plaque dedicated to him.

The Nursery was later owned and run by his nephew, Carl H. Segelken. Carl is a member of our church and still lives with his family here. I may have some of my facts wrong, but Carl would be an outstanding source of information, and I’m sure he would have many stories to tell you.

Think I’m correct in saying both Mr. George and Carl were born in Germany. I consider Mr. George and Mrs. Evelyn two of our outstanding early citizens here, and she was a very special lady to me.

I tried in vain to find a picture of the plaque in dedication to George Segelken but was unable to do so…so when I found myself re-entering Summerville after an invitation for grilled hamburgers at John and Mandy’s house around 7:00…no rain and still light…my car turned itself down South Magnolia. I parked the car praying I was on the right side of the park and the plaque was nearby…I didn’t realize just how close I was.

I met another visitor, Carol Dunkin, and her dog staring down into the water looking for turtles over the bridge above. I asked her if she knew where the plaque I was seeking was located…she walked to the end of the bridge and pointed down…there it was! What a great God Wink!

 

Our wonderful town historian, Barbara Hill, has written several articles for our local newspaper about the history behind the creation of Azalea Park and the amazing contribution that George Segelken provided for it in the form of azaleas…one of which is the famous “Pride of Summerville.

 

 

*Resource: “The Flower that Trumpets Our Town” (Barbara Hill)

It took a century and a half before the azalea became our official flower, and the journey included civic minded ladies, a mayor with a dedicated floral background and a nurseryman with a great love of Summerville.

It was well over a century ago that our town held her first floral fair. According our official history book, “Summerville,” these began in the 1890s when local ladies displayed flowers in the Opera House section of the Town Hall that stood on the corner of Richardson and Main until the mid-1960s.

In 1941, Summerville proclaimed her “First Annual Flower Festival.” It was 77 April’s ago and offered a variety of activities for all ages. These included jitterbugging to an eight-piece orchestra, garden tours, pony carts, box lunches, a Marine band and marching children. There was also a parade of highway patrolmen, Boy Scouts, and cars carrying mayors of Summerville, Charleston, Moncks Corner and Walterboro as well as sheriffs from Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties. There were races, a reception at the Country Club and a closing Festival Ball at the Pine Forest Inn.

The Turners are off for Disney World Tuesday so I went over to tell the children good-bye …summer is here and vacation time has arrived. Great cook-out…thanks John!
Walsh, Mollie and the children are off to Fripp Island for a few days starting today….have fun little ones!
*On a much smaller scale my legacy of love and floral gifts are the Japanese maples for the grandchildren…praying they all survive and bear witness to wonderful citizens of the world.
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Walking in Wonder

Dear Reader:

Do you remember the day before yesterday when I was bragging on the number of morning glories blooming on one of my morning glory stalks… due to the recent rains…there were maybe five or six blooms? Well…check out the beauty of these morning glories that Anne showed me yesterday (title photo)…another Summerville history mystery unveiling with hidden treasures.

We had made plans earlier in the week to meet for lunch at Oscars Friday at noon. It was dark and overcast with sprinkles of rain falling intermittently throughout the morning and early afternoon when we arrived.

I had taken Anne an Azalea Summerville Magazine and a book written about our favorite Irish poet, John O’Donohue, by a friend (after his death) titled Walking in Wonder. Little did I know I would be ‘walking in wonder’ before the day was over. Another God Wink.

Anne asked me if I saw something quite wondrous, even magical, on the way to Oscars off Highway 78. I shook my head and told her ‘no’ I didn’t remember seeing anything out of the ordinary on the way to the restaurant.

Anne just grinned and told me I must follow her out of the restaurant parking lot when we left…she had something she must show me….so I did. I saw her turn into Daniel’s Orchard, a relatively new housing development that I love…lots of adorable homes, huge park and gazebo in the middle of the community.

She told me we would need to park and walk back out on the grass by the highway to see the surprise. We walked about fifty feet or so and suddenly there were gorgeous blue morning glories under my feet, around me, down a hill, and covering the tops of trees and telephone poles, and wires. Morning glories everywhere!

Looking down the hill you could tell there had once been a nursery there…the top of the wooden sign had broken off leaving only the words… Summerville Floral Nursery… but nothing else. Where the nursery was in proximity to Daniel’s Orchard…a fence was erected and locked off from the rest of the housing project.

Did the “orchard” in Daniel’s Orchard stem from the nearby nursery that once had shared this land before entering the new housing community?

If any of you Summerville readers know the answer to the mystery and/or the history behind this nursery that has left behind the most beautiful floral legacy to our town…I would love to know it!

What a fantastic adventure! I love it when adventures just literally ‘pop up’ in front of us and a regular day turns into something far more special.

So until tomorrow…”Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”– Helen Keller. How true, How true!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

She Tris Sprint Triathlon – I’on Club –

Distance: Swim 200 Yards, Bike 9 Miles, Run 2 Miles

 

This morning…quite early…Mollie is participating in this year’s women’s triathlon…we are all rooting for you Mollie! You go girl!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Holding Hands

Dear Reader:

Last Christmas Eve when Eva Cate and Rutledge helped me act out one part of the Christmas Eve story “When Christmas Stood Still”…they had to hold hands and repeat three times “Trust in love, Trust in love, Trust in love.”

Kaitlyn was quietly sneaking in some pictures from the front pews of the skit and this picture so touched my heart…neither grandchild has gotten too “big” to not want to hold hands with their cousin…I hope they never do. Holding hands is the most special kind of human connection that we have on earth.

The first time I ‘heard’ God’s Voice reaching out to me, in response to my night of pleading for advice and guidance before my first mastectomy… I got instead…His Hand with the voice/thought repeated several times…“Hold my hand.” 

(Source: The Science Behind the Profound Power of Holding Hands…Life) A touching tribute.

“There’s something special about holding hands with another human being. All of us are innately conscious of how this simple act can stir an instant intimacy, heighten our awareness and express a deep connection. This alchemy of two hands touching has so deeply captured our collective imagination, it’s been the subject of our highest artistic achievements, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to the poetry of Romeo and Juliette, to the lyrics of the Beatles.”

Human beings are hardwired to seek out each other’s touch before we are even born. If you’ve ever touched the palm of a newborn baby, then you’ve likely witnessed (and been treated to) one of the earliest instinctual responses to manifest in humans: the “grasping reflex.” Known to science as the palmar grasp reflex, the instinct makes a baby grab your finger and squeeze it tight.

Human fetuses have been observed displaying this behavior weeks before full-term. They will clutch their umbilical cord, place their hand in their mouth, or suck their thumb. Twin fetuses are known to hold hands, as poignantly captured in a Kansas family’s moving sonogram image  in which one twin is healthy and the other is critically ill. The healthy twin seems to sense the distress in the twin and holds on tightly to her sick brother. 

As psychologists Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence point out in the journal Neurosciences, “touch is the first of our senses to develop” and “our most fundamental means of contact with the external world.” It’s more than just a comforting sensation; touch is vital to human development and life.

The ‘Love Hormone’

Clearly, we humans live to touch. But how does it sustain us? What’s happening in our bodies and minds when what we touch is another person’s hand?

Multiple studies — including one conducted at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) — show that human touch triggers the release of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone,” in our brain. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that increases feelings of trust, generosity and compassion, and decreases feelings of fear and anxiety.

Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami/Miller School of Medicine, says that holding hands is one of the most powerful forms of touch in part because the skin is a sense organ and needs stimulation, just as the ears and the eyes do.

“When there’s pressure in the touch, the heart rate goes down, the blood pressure goes down, and you’re put in a relaxed state. When people interlace their fingers, they get more pressure stimulation than the regular way of holding hands.”

With so many good things about holding hands…isn’t it sad that in this ‘politically correct’ society holding hands is almost becoming  taboo and the cost is affecting all of us…but especially our teenagers.

One Touch Research Institute study suggests that American teenagers touch each other less than French teenagers do, and are more prone to aggressive verbal and physical behavior.Other data supports this claim that American youth is more violent and more prone to suicide than youth in other countries. Field’s hypothesis is that it has to do with ours being a “touch-phobic society.”

By the time we reach the end of our lives Hospice workers say that the most important thing to do when we are around a family member or friend who is dying is to hold their hand and talk to them quietly, gently, and softly. Touch and Sound are the last two senses to go.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

So until tomorrow...“I feel the healing hands of God touch my heart
and kiss my soul.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The on and off showers  we are receiving are bringing much needed happiness to the morning glories…the blooms are beginning to pop like popcorn and new plants are blooming for the first time. Hands down…my garden is loving this weather. We got it just in time as our drought has been upgraded to a ‘severe drought’ with a  9 inch deficit. Rain, baby, rain!

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Seventy-five Years Ago…the Triumphs, Tragedies, and Brilliant Trickeries of the Invasion of D-Day

An inflatable dummy tank modelled after the M4 Sherman during Operation Fortitude, Southern England, United Kingdom, 1944. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Dear Reader:

June 6, 1944, the 75th Anniversary of the famous D-Day Invasion of Normandy is today…the day (literally) the tide was turned …and from that point on …the Allies began gaining territories back from Germany, the Axis Powers…sealing the outcome of WWII by the United States and her courageous Allies… the victors.

As an American History teacher…I always saved the last week of school to show the movie The Longest Day (it was also the longest movie made to date at that time) and it literally took a week of classes to complete it. The students were spellbound…even in black and white while reading the German conversations with written sub-titles.

We  spent a lot of time on the significance of D-Day and all the planning that went into it under utmost secrecy.

The students knew Teddy Roosevelt, Jr’s ships would mistakenly  land on Utah Beach (due to the currents) and not Omaha as scheduled…with Roosevelt’s famous words…“Well..we will just start the war from here!” (Henry Fonda played the part of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in The Longest Day)

Roosevelt was assigned as assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division. In this role, he led the first wave of troops ashore at Utah Beach during the Normandy Landings in June 1944. He was the only general and the oldest (56) ….(also known as the toughest officer) to lead his men into battle on D-Day. He remained calm and directed his men into battle.

He died in France of a heart attack the following month; at the time of his death, he had been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross  to recognize his heroism at Normandy. The recommendation was subsequently upgraded, and Roosevelt was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. 

Roosevelt Jr. died of a heart attack on July 12, 1944, shortly after the D-Day invasion, and was buried next to his brother Quentin Roosevelt, who was shot down and killed during World War I.

 

We had also studied a lot about all the tricks that went into deceiving the Germans as to the actual site of the invasion…”The key objective of Operation Bodyguard was to convince the Germans that the invasion of northwest Europe would come later than planned but also convince the German high command to expect attacks in Norway, the Balkans, the Mediterranean coast off France or, most notably, the Pas de Calais region…the narrowest stretch of land between the bodies of water.” 

In order to pull off this most critical deception of the real invasion location… several prevarications were devised…one being Operation Fortitude.

“Fortitude was to suggest that a larger invasion would occur in Norway or Calais and that Normandy was really a decoy. The overall operation was broken down into two parts: Fortitude South and Fortitude North. South was intended to mislead the Germans that the Allies were building up for an invasion at Pas de Calais, the narrowest part of the English Channel; while North was designed to convince the Germans that the Allies would launch an invasion of Norway.”

“Because the Germans didn’t know where the real invasion was coming there weren’t a lot of soldiers actually at the beach, but they had a lot of troops inland.”  “Fortitude and its smaller operations helped convince the Germans not to move to Normandy immediately.”

A phantom army had to be built using fake tanks, fake landing crafter (“BigBobs”) and dummy paratroopers (“Ruperts.”)

(British Fake Tanks)

“Big Bobs”- display of dummy landing craft, which were made of wood and canvas and nicknamed “Bigbobs” as well as inflatable tanks.

I remember one scene in the movie “The Longest Day” showing the Germans’ surprised expressions when they went after  “Allied”paratroopers falling from the sky… only to discover they were dummy paratroopers…nicknamed “Ruperts.”

As each decoy Rupert was dropped from the planes…they were told to “Go get’em for God and country.”

Shoulder patch of the 135th Airborne Division, a non-existent “ghost” unit that was part of the First United States Army Group. (Collection of Peter Suciu)

So until tomorrow…We have talked so many times on the blog posts about how important creativity is …schools need to produce students who can think outside the box…the Invasion of Normandy is a prime example of the importance of creativity in critical situations and how it can literally change history.

Today we should remember the thousands of American and Allied soldiers who sacrificed their lives during this famous invasion so that we can live in freedom….let’s make sure that as “WE, the People” we are vigilant of this tremendous responsibility…let freedom continue to ring for all its citizens.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

It is amazing what a little natural rainfall can do that a hose can’t…after two afternoons of some scattered showers the plants and flowers are already starting to look better and healthier than I have seen them in weeks.

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“You’ve Don’t Know What You’ve Got…Til’ it’s Gone”

Dear Reader:

“Blessings from heaven” probably means different things to different people but for all of us, in the lowcountry, it means rain…and yesterday we got it! A nice, slow, steady rain…the kind we have been praying for over the past several weeks…months. The sound of rain…is there anything more wonderful?

Originally Joni Mitchell, then later the Counting Crows all sang  the lyrics from “Big Yellow Taxi”….”Don’t it always seem to go… That you don’t know what you’ve got Till it’s gone… They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.” 

Yesterday it was the rain that we had missed so desperately… forgetting what we had until it no longer rained again.  A few big drops fell on Rutledge and me in the park near his house…and we both danced the rain dance in happiness. By the time I got back home to Summerville it hadn’t started raining yet…but it was dark and overcast…I was so tired. Rutledge slept with me Monday night…laterally. What is it about small children and lateral sleeping?…They must like to play criss-cross applesauce in their sleep.

But how could I turn down Rutledge’s request…seriously…how many more times will Rutledge want to sleep his ole’ Boo…the days and nights are numbered.

All Rutledge wanted for his kindergarten graduation was for me to bring his dad’s old football trophies, letter jackets, football jerseys, scrapbooks, etc. I surprised him by getting Beth LaPrad to make him a Green Wave youth jersey (just for him) that matched his dad’s jersey when he played high school football.

It was too cute…I don’t know who was more excited…Walsh or Rutledge?

I told Walsh when Rutledge put on his Summerville jacket and Walsh’s Shrine Bowl jacket…that one day we will look back at these pictures of the jackets coming down below his knees and instead see a man with a jacket coming to the waist.

 

Memories…for special occasions…more important than any toy or expensive gift…Rutledge loves family history…and it is just a matter of time before he, too, will pass it down to his son or daughter.

 

 

Honey sent Eloise a precious bikini…I sent her a picture and let her know that Eloise got it just in the nick of time…it a tight fit…pretty snug…with the old stomach hanging out…welcome to a girl’s world Eloise…the dread of trying on swim suits.

The family was there to support Rutledge for his kindergarten graduation…he is now a big first-grader with his sixth birthday coming up on June 18. Congratulations Rutledge! So proud of you!

I gave Lachlan a shark pair of swim goggles and a water kick board for finishing his next pre-school grade level…he liked the goggles to much he wore them for Rutledge’s graduation.

So until tomorrow….Thank you Father for all Your blessings from heaven…rain, family, and memories.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

 

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A God Wink in the Early Morning Garden

 

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I woke up around 6:30… refreshed and ready to pounce on the day…I wanted to water early, go by the utilities (electric/water) buildings and pay this month’s bills…followed by the bank and always remember to pick up some lollipops for the boys…they love tootsie roll pops and bubble gum pops.

I also needed to throw some clothes in for my overnight stay with Walsh and Mollie…and take some graduation gifts …for Rutledge and Lachlan’s end of the year pre-school celebration.

Of course I also needed to write my blog post before I left which would be by 3:00…if any later I get caught in the bumper to bumper congestion on I-26 and 526.

It is as if God knows when I need to come up with a quick idea some days for the blog post when lots of other things are going on and time is limited… He always provides me with the message…sometimes in the form of a story line I am reading, or a quote, or a song, or a conversation, email, text…or sometimes He provides the magic while I am doing my daily “chores.”

This was the case yesterday. I threw on an old shirt, grabbed my empty milk gallon cartoons to water the plants that are too far from from hoses and started out in the early morning mist. I stopped to take some pictures of different pretties I came across…such as…my morning glories adorning the decorated fence window. The luscious smell of gardenias lured me over to their spot in the garden…I could  have sat there all morning…just taking in deep breaths of those beautiful aromas.

Just as I was finishing up the last section of the garden…the rising sun’s rays shot across the red bud sapling I was watering with the hose (*I have poured so much water on  the grandchildren’s Japanese Maples and little Rykker’s red bud tree he helped Uncle Luke plant for me.) Drought or no drought I refuse to lose these trees… no matter what it takes!)

Suddenly the garden felt like it had been cast under a magical spell…I could no longer see the red bud sapling for the sunlight pouring in…it was so amazing…but how could I take a picture on my iPhone with my right hand while still holding the hose with my left hand? Impossible? Nope, not likely…but also not impossible? I did it…I held the iPhone and with my index finger felt until I got to the circle and hit it more with my knuckle than anything…but the photo took.

Spraying with the hose in one hand and iPhone in another…what a God Wink. It is these types of incidences that remind me how abundant God’s love is for us…providing me with a mystical photograph and a story to tell on the blog. God is so good!

As I threw down the hose to see if the picture had taken…squealing in delight when I saw it had….I calmed down enough to take a picture of the red bud right after this awesome experience…and the serenity I felt that surrounded the little sapling was actually palpable.

I wasn’t Moses and this wasn’t the burning bush…but for me…it might as well have been…all I knew was that the ground around the sapling, to me, was sacred ground for those few moments of perfect peace and serenity that engulfed me. What a way to start the day!

So until tomorrow…

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you…”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Can hardly wait to share Rutledge’s graduation with you tomorrow…I did remember to pack lots of kleenex before I left…the wisest thing I remembered to do!

 

 

 

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