Surprised by Joy

Dear Reader:

I am close to the ending of The Madness of Crowds ( Louise Penny) and I am falling back on my usual unique reading habit -slowing down and only allowing myself so many chapters a day! I don’t want the mystery to end… and to have to say goodbye to Gamache and all my friends for another year. Yet… I really want to know if my guess at ” who dunnit” is right! Sweet agony!

In Penny’s first mystery novel –Still Life-she wrote ” In the bedroom Clara picked up the well-worn book beside Jane’s bed, C. S Lewis’ s Surprised by Joy. It smelled of Floris.”

Originally the phrase first came from a sonnet ” Surprised by Joy-Impatient as the Wind” written by William Wordsworth in the wake of his three-year-old daughter’s death.”

At face value, a strange comparison -joy and death-but the world of Three Pines, as summed up by both readers and reviewers alike, is just that, a place where light contrasts dark, goodness exists with evil, innocence engages experience, and hope flourishes with fear.

Louise Penny admits that she was ” surprised by joy” with a miracle-sobriety.

…”To find happiness and the freedom that comes from not having to drink every day and finding friends, and finding myself, and finding real joy.”

Louise also had a bench made and adorned with a ” Surprised by Joy” in 2007 for her husband Michael’s birthday. ” When I met and fell in love with him I was, indeed, surprised with joy. He was the most joyous person I’d ever met.”

Sadly Michael passed away a few years back. Penny had a rendition of the plaque made to be placed on a bench in New York’s Central Park. The bench sits on an idyllic hill and faces Louise’s apartment.

…And the love of my life! (Penny )

So until tomorrow …shouldn’t we all surround ourselves with friends and beauty that bring us joy… even surprise us with it!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Surprised by all the beauty in my September garden

Kaitlyn is temporarily keeping a precious little dog named Chicken. She was abandoned in Columbia with a KFC note tied to her that she like to eat chicken.

Kaitlyn says she likes all food, potty trained, loves children and other pets! She needs and deserves a loving home. If interested in knowing more… Email [email protected]

Eva Cate holding ” Chicken”
My family is home from Mexico! ❤️

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Surprised by Joy

  1. Hey Becky! Wow I love this blog entry… You’ve got me intrigued about the mystery novels from Louis Penny! I am definitely going to pick one up! Which one should I start with?

    I realized that same thought that life which includes parallel tracks of good things and bad things that happen in your life simultaneously … and you have to have a foundation of joy to get through the hard times… There’s a great book that highlights this concept called Choose joy because happiness is not enough by Kay Warren.

  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Thank you for your sweet note. I love reading your blog. So thankful Mandy and crew gad a safe and good trip to Mexico. We are in the mts for a few days.

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