On this blog page, author Mary C. Woolling posts an ongoing series of her essays showcasing the positives of life.

New essays are added often. You are cordially invited to become a regular reader. Also, please feel free to share this site with your family and friends via the “Tell a Friend” link, located in the right-hand column below.

Comments on Mary's essays are most welcome. Simply click on the “Post Comments” link appearing at the end of each essay, and share your thoughts.

If you'd like to contact Mary, you may do so at mary@herestolife.us

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Growing Signs That All is Well

How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.

~Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria

Nature is constantly assuring us that all is well in our world. This encouraging message is conveyed through countless comforting signs all around us. Case in point: an evergreen hedge.

My cousin, Joegil, just sent me a photo of her son and daughter-in-law’s front yard, where a new hedge of eye-catching English boxwoods is being planted. A deep trench has been dug along the front of the property. The soil has been cultivated with peat moss, gypsum, and other fortifying materials to improve water retention and provide necessary nutrients for the new plants. The boxwoods are being placed into this optimum milieu.

Ahhhhh. I can see it all now – a clean, neat row of thriving greenery, softening the appearance of the home and yard, while also lending an appealing formal air to the scene. The evergreen hedge will serve, for years to come, as a natural fence as well as a protective screen from wind and noise.

Don’t you just love the sight and aroma of freshly-tilled earth? That soft, dark, rich-looking soil with its pleasant earthy fragrance. And the heartening view of healthy, green plants carefully set out in it, in hope of good things to come.

The happy image of a garden spot never fails to give me a welcome sense of peace. Regardless of our uncertain times, there will always be protecting shrubs and sheltering trees and cheering flowers for us to enjoy. Life in all of its splendor goes on.

No matter what else is happening in our lives, we can still go out and till our gardens with strong assurance in our hearts of good and beautiful things ahead. We can confidently sow seeds of friendly daisies, fragrant lilies, and smiling pansies. We can boldly dig deep in the lush ground and set in place sturdy cedars, hardy oaks, and flowering dogwoods. It’s money in the bank that, with a little rain and a little sunshine and a little love, all will take root, develop, and flourish.

Ever growing. Ever new. Evermore. What a glorious world of hope God has given us. Aren’t we blessed to live in it and to witness its reassuring signs?

Here’s to Life!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What’s Your Story?

In our fast-paced world with its ever-advancing computer technology, it appears that print media is succumbing to the seemingly more desirable mode of transmission of information at breakneck speed via the Internet. Quick bytes, just a snippet of the day’s happenings, the majority in visual representations, are all we need. We get the picture and move on. We “talk” to each other through abbreviations and acronyms in instant, text, and Twitter messages and in emails, most of which are deleted and lost forever as quickly as they are received. More’s the pity, for there is much to be gained through permanent written communications, which provide the reader not only with opportunity for full consideration and analysis of issues but also repeated, ad libitum retrieval and leisurely study, digestion, and review.

In spite of the emphasis on virtual expression, more people are discovering the value of handwritten, diary-like recordings of their personal lives and perspectives through journaling. Perhaps this is because they realize that our spans of existence are very short, and what we have to say may never be heard or remembered unless we document it in writing.

Everybody has a story to tell. Each narrative provides an essential, unique and fascinating part of the tapestry of life. Journaling is an excellent way to capture our stories. We simply jot down our thoughts and reactions to events as they occur, day by day, or we chronicle special happenings or defining moments in our lives or memories of long ago.

The type of book in which these records are made varies widely from a simple steno pad to fancy volumes with special covers, binders, and designs, others with personalized artwork and custom logos, some even boasting of acid-free, long-lasting paper. So numerous are one’s options that there are entire stores specifically devoted to journals and related supplies.

By expressing our thoughts through the discipline of writing, we gain a greater understanding of ourselves, each other and life in general. Through the books and letters of our ancestors, their actual words, we are able to connect with those of past generations, come to know them personally, and comprehend their times. Through our tales, we speak to those in the future who someday will be searching for a glimpse of us and what life was like in the early 21st century.

If instant knowledge of the state of our world is needed, a quick consultation online can give us the pertinent facts, but there is so much more to the story. When all is said and done, will there be any lasting record of what has really transpired here? Let us never forget the importance of ensuring that these days and times and our thoughts about them will be fully preserved in writing long after we sign-off.

Here’s to Journaling!



Dear Readers: This morning, as I was going through a stack of old newspapers, clearing out some of my pileage of “stuff,” I happened to spy this letter that had appeared in a South Bend Tribune’s “Annie’s Mailbox” column.

“Annie’s Mailbox” was almost always filled with correspondence from people asking columnists Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar for advice on how to handle ongoing squabbles with relatives, co-workers, and/or friends. The letters were often filled with critical, nitpicky, unkind, even vicious words about the individuals involved. Everybody seemed to be very angry with everyone else, not unlike our country these days.

That’s why this particular letter presenting happy, uplifting thoughts really caught my eye. Also, having struggled with health issues of my own, this author’s words struck home with me.

As many of you know from your own personal experiences, when you, or someone you love, is facing a serious health issue, your perspective on life — on what really matters — can change in an instant. Certain things that beforehand seemed to be of tremendous importance all at once are seen as being of little or no consequence, while other things that you’ve taken for granted up until that time are suddenly recognized as more precious than gold. You come to appreciate more fully all the many blessings you have. A re-set of priorities. A very good re-set. And why should we be surprised? God makes something good out of every situation.

Hope you enjoy this gentleman’s heartfelt words as much as I did.

Here’s to Life!

Dear Annie:
Two years ago, my wife developed breast cancer. The cancer was removed, and we’ve been told she will be fine. We have been married for 41 years, and I am hoping for another 41. I love my wife more than words can say.

Since her brush with cancer, I have noticed that things that once might have incited a “discussion” no longer seem to matter. And I have discovered a number of maladies of my own.

I have, for instance, become “deaf” to certain things in our marriage. For instance, she used to say “you know” a lot. You know? Now I am just thrilled to hear her voice. Blindness has also invaded our house. Neither of us notices the petty annoyances that used to bug us. Our marriage is better now that we don’t see so well.

We both have lost our ability to talk, as well. Once in a while, certain words – hurtful words – used to be thrown around carelessly. But now, neither one of us has the ability to say such things anymore. And I had no idea that cancer could make a person forgetful. I can no longer recall any of my wife’s faults.

One thing that has not been affected, though, is my heart. It still races when I see her. It still flutters when I hear her voice. And it still skips a beat when we kiss. Why must we wait until it is almost too late to appreciate what we have – and could have lost?
A Little Wiser

South Bend Tribune, “Annie’s Mailbox,” Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, Saturday, February 2, 2013, B7.

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