A Ragamuffin’s Regretful ‘If Only”s


‘Woulda’…’coulda’ …’shoulda’ … Life’s ‘if only’s that can block out the bright sunshine with dark stratocumulus clouds of regret. Intriguing that “if” resides smack dab in the middle of LIFE.

Regret is “If Only’s” synonym. The dictionary defines regret as, “To feel sorry, disappointed, distressed, or remorseful about. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.

Ever been there? . . . total bummer! . . . not where any of us wants to spend a lot of time. The good news . . . we don’t have to!

All regrets are all past tense. They may be useful to learn from, but not to focus and dwell on. One thing I’ve learned in struggling with regrets over the past eight decades is . . .

Regrets are a place of reference, not a place of residence

Without fail, choosing to focus on my blessings always scatters regret’s ‘if only’ ominous clouds, and life’s sunshine soon comes back out to bask in.

Sure wish I’d learned this a long time ago. My German grandmother was spot on whenever she observed me about to hatch yet another regret (regretfully a frequent occurrence 😊), and would sternly, but lovingly reprimand . . . “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart!” . . . I’m still working on the latter 😊

In her book The Top Five Regrets of The Dying palliative nurse Bonnie Ware poignantly lists the five most common regrets of ole duffers (some actually older than me😊) facing the imminent reality we all like to bury in the background, but will ultimately unearth and come face-to-face with one day . . . I’m actually gonna’ die!!!

Here’s the five terminal regrets Bonnie discovered folks at eternity’s threshold wrestle with:

  • I Wish I’d Lived a Life True to Myself, Not the Life Others Expected of Me
  • I Wish I Hadn’t Worked so Hard
  • I Wish I’d Had the Courage to Express My Feelings
  • I Wish I Had Stayed in Touch With My Friends
  • I Wish I Had Allowed Myself to Be Happier

In this New Year may we all turn these wishes into actions while we’re still blessed with the time to do so.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it .”

Psalm 118:24

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to come!

Water’s Frozen Physics


Physics 101 teaches that heat causes expansion, cold contraction. Thus, hot air is less dense than cold air and rises, while cold air sinks.

Not water . . . this indispensable renegade of physics possesses the unique property of being denser in liquid form than in solid, so ice floats . . . Good thing! . . . otherwise bodies of water would freeze from the bottom up eradicating the sport of ice fishing, and necessitating scuba gear to go ice skating 😊

But . . . why do hot water pipes freeze before cold water pipes?  . . . merely to aggravate homeowners and boost the respect, and income, of plumbers?

Physics 102 explains this frustrating wintertime phenomenon . . . the higher the temperature the more difficult it is for ice crystals to form, causing the water in hot water pipes to super-cool below 32 degrees and freeze faster than in cold water pipes.

Guess whose hot water pipes froze during the recent frigid blast? . . . Congratulations! . . . you just aced Clairvoyant 101 😊

The good news . . . opening doors under the sink; letting spigots drip; and a couple of strategically placed space heaters gratefully alleviated the problem . . . Hooray! . . . definitely preferable to being consigned to a regimen of ice-cold showers 😊

Here’s a ‘nice ice’ pic taken in the creek outside where it belongs and can freeze away! Stay warm, and

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Brrrrrrrrr!


50 Degree Rhododendron

Zero Degree Rhododendron

The Great Smoky Mountains has joined much of our nation’s pre-Christmas frigid cold snap . . . the coldest temperatures recorded here in a quarter century!

At our digs up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > over the ‘crick’, the temperature plummeted from near 50 degrees last evening to flirt with zero this morning . . . an ‘invigorating’ touch of the Last Frontier😊

Unlike her unhinged Alaskan hubby, my refined New Orleans spouse isn’t a ‘cool’ temp aficionado. I explained to her that there is really no such thing as cold weather, just improper clothing. She tacitly complied by layering herself in a decorous assortment of stockings, sweatpants and sweaters (pic strictly forbidden!)😊

Evidently, rhododendrons prefer warmer climes as well, and shrink from ‘cool’ temps as the pics indicate. BTW, don’t nibble on their leaves. They have high severity poison characteristics . . . that reminds me . . . I need to check my dinner salad tonight😊

May this Christmas find you surrounded by friends and family rejoicing together in His birth that conquered death. Smile😊. . . . and stay warm, happy, and healthy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!

Nature’s Soul Therapy


Sunlight shafts illuminating ethereal mists of a thundering mountain stream; a 6-point whitetail buck stealthily crouching in a thicket to avoid detection; me silently crouching to avoid detection as a black bear saunters by 😟 😟 😟 . . . Nature’s soul stirring wonders to embrace wandering through the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Psalm 118:23

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Thanksgiving Gratitude


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Two lives diverged along life’s journey and, in the time we walked together, you made a difference in mine . . . Thank You

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Wherever and with whomever this may find you together with this Thanksgiving, may you experience His richest blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

How Big is Little?


Today our world’s population reached 8 billion . . . Happy Birthday World!

It’s estimated 8 billion grains of sand would fill 8,000 cups and weigh 2 ½ tons. Recently, while I was counting sheep snuggled against my pillow, a group of obviously wide-awake researchers at the University of Hawaii estimated there are seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion (7.5 x 1018 ) grains of sand on earth . . . that’s Big!

but . . .

When you consider that all the grains of sand in the world are dwarfed by the number of stars in the universe . . . that’s astronomically Big!

but . . .

In his book Spectrums, science writer David Blatner states this mind-boggling number of ‘twinkle-twinkles’ in the universe is quickly matched by the number of molecules in just 10 drops of water . . . that’s unfathomably Small! . . . or . . . Big???

Blattner aptly states “…we can’t handle the biggitude…” This minuscule mortal can’t handle either the ‘biggitude’ or ‘smallitude’ of Creation,

but . . . I know who can . . .

The Architect of each grain of sand . . . ‘twinkle-twinkle’ . . . and molecule of water.

Soooooo . . . I contentedly fall asleep each night snuggled against my pillow counting sheep knowing, among the 8 billion people I share this planet with, this littlest one is His biggest favorite . . .

PS – so are you, and each one of the other, 7,999,000,000,000 souls He knows by name.

When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou are mindful of him, and the Son of man, that Thou hast visited him?

Psalm 8:3-4

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Harmony


Way back when I was a ‘wee’ one and dinosaurs roamed the earth😊, America was generally a ‘We’ society. Not perfect for sure, but an ambiance of respectful cooperation, collaborative resolution, and unified patriotism prevailed.

Sadly, today’s American finds itself embroiled in a polarized “I’m right! – You’re wrong!”, violently combative, angrily divided ‘Me’ society. I grieve for this divisive ‘legacy’ we’re passing on to our children to navigate.

Such were my gloomy thoughts this morning before going outside for some ‘forest bathing’ therapy in Nature’s peaceful solitude.

Today’s session was on Harmony, taught by four leaves serenely floating on the pond’s surface . . . they silently sang a refrain from a childhood Sunday School song from long ago . . .

“…red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight…”

I continue to pray America will return to peaceful harmony Nature portrays; the “…one nation, under God, indivisible…” our founding fathers envisioned for us to be; and God has promised . . . If . . .

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Came!

Halloween Visitor


We only had one Halloween visitor stop by yesterday up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > over the ‘crick’.

Great costume, but it got kinda’ spooky when got up close and insisted we look him in the eye and tell him we were really outta’ honey 😊

Forest Bathing


For the past several years the Great Smoky Mountains has been America’s most visited National Park. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg’s endless venue of entertainment attractions, and to explore one of Mother Nature’s premier wonders . . . next to Alaska of course 😊

Living here makes October my most labor-intensive month. Local residents, bedecked in vibrant colors, descend on our digs up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > over the ‘crick’ . . .

LEAVES! . . . lotsa’ and lotsa’ LEAVES! . . . zillions of billions of LEAVES!

My best Fall friend is only 3 feet tall. Each morning we meet up to remove the leaves that have smothered our 1/10th mile, 40-degree slope driveway since the day before. To neglect this chore would jeopardize us being able to drive up out of the ‘holler’ to the gravel road leading to civilization . . . I love my leaf blower! 😊

After reclaiming our driveway today, I took a  woods wander along the ‘crick’ for some shinrin-yoku . . . ‘forest bathing’. The Japanese coined this term to describe the practice of getting into the woods for body and mind renewal. I’m not Japanese, but it works for this ole ‘Kraut’!

Studies have shown just three days and two nights in a wooded place increase the immune system functions that boost feelings of well-being for up to seven days. This includes increased awe, greater relaxation, restored attention, and boosted vitality. Among the health benefits are enhanced immunity, reduced cardiovascular disease, fewer migraines, and lowered anxiety. The same three days in a built environment has no such effect.

Sooooooo . . . while leaf-blowing is not one of my favorite activities, I always look forward to my ‘forest baths’ from whence they came . . . and I don’t even have to get wet 😊. Here’s a shinrin-yoku ‘modern art’ pic from today.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sin for joy.”

Psalm 22:9

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!