red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?


St Augustine

Sunshine, Lollypops and Sunscreen

The summer of 68 I took on a terrible sunburn. I was still a couple of years away from being a decade old, my skin still tender. Up until then, I had never blistered from the sun. I had been born with a complexion slightly tanned, so sunburns were never a worry. I don’t think we knew about sunscreen.

My family had journeyed to St. Augustine in early June, for our yearly family vacation. On the first day of the trip, I spent all morning and early afternoon on the beach. After lunch, I went to the pool. I remember playing Marco Polo with some other kids; reluctant to leave when my mom said it was time for dinner.

I remember waking during the night. My skin hot and raw, the crisp cotton sheets felt like sandpaper on my arms. I was miserable. And I remained miserable all week.

Last month I visited a dermatologist for the first time in my life. I had what I thought was a stubborn clogged pore on my face. Rodan + Fields has a fantastic mask that works wonders on such things. So I used the RF mask, but the pore was still clogged. After applying the mask three days in a row without a hint of success, I knew I needed to see a physician. Because the RF product works.

The dermatologist performed a biopsy and a few days later he called with the results: Basal Cell Carcinoma. Non-malignant skin cancer. He said it was probably from a sunburn I had as a kid. Next month I will have surgery to remove the cancer. And depending on how deep and wide the roots have spread, there could be follow-up, reconstructive surgery. I’m praying this isn’t the case.

So…moms, dads, grandparents….apply the sunscreen to the kiddos. Rodan + Fields has a great, waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen that doesn’t have to be reapplied every ten minutes. Insist on hats and caps. The children may fuss now, but they’ll thank you when they’re in their fifties.

The photo here was taken the day of the biopsy…after the biopsy. I didn’t want to show the blood and gore, but I wanted you to have an idea of where the spot is located. Prior to the cutting away of skin, the spot really looked like a bug bite or small pimple. Nothing to worry about. But it was. If you have a recurring pimple or red spot that never completely goes away, don’t ignore it. See a physician.


Little Refuge

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Every now and then, we all need a little refuge from the hectic pace of life. We need a quiet place we can go to, a place where our busy minds can take a little rest.

Several months ago, a friend took me to his special place, a place he goes when, he said, he needs to think things through, or pray. Fittingly, the place is called Little Refuge. It is a little country church, nestled in the Georgia foothills, and it really is not very far from my parents Waleska home; the place where I spent the last years of my youth. I had never been to Little Refuge. But it was there all along, this simple and beautiful place of sanctuary. My friend had been there many times. It was the place of worship for his former wife’s family…his family in another life; yet the place still called to him when his mind needed a rest. So he shares it with a few others. I was thankful he shared it with me. And I wondered if I would ever be ready to leave.

The old wooden pews, time-worn floors, old windows and plank walls. Tattered Hymnals, a well read Bible. Soft light filtering in through ancient glass. Everything about the space was simple and beautiful and peaceful. And spiritual. We were the only souls in the building, but I felt the need to show reverence, to whisper; I didn't want to do anything to disrupt the peacefulness of the sanctuary. And when we left, although reluctantly, I felt renewed.

When my busy brain needs a quick respite, I let it go there, to Little Refuge. I wander around that little building, even if only in my mind. I remember the peace I felt there. I don't have to go there physically to talk with God, He is everyplace I am. I go there to pour a balm of peace over my harried mind.

There are other places I go, even when my body is sitting in Cartersville, to rest my mind: I sit on the beaches of Hawaii; I roam the wood-paneled halls of the old Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, I sit cross-legged on the cool,tiled floors of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; I wade along the shores of Lake Allatoona. While I'm there, I reflect on the people I love, the goodness in my life, the mercy and grace I've been given.

So, I encourage you to find time each day to take a little vacation, intentionally seek out a little refuge from the crazy pace of life. It’ll do you some good.

Rest easy.

Much love,

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