APPLES AND PEOPLE

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Apples and People. Or is it People and Apples? Is it true that both of them have a lot in common with each other?  I’ve been thinking about that this week and here is what I have come up with.

We all know that there are a lot of different kinds of apples, hundreds of varieties to be exact. When we were growing fruit on our farm we had 25 different kinds, and Bob could sprout off every one of them when someone asked him. There were green, red, yellow ones, some were a mixture, and then there were sweet ones, sour ones, pie apples, applesauce ones.  At some time they even became cider ones when they became very ripe.  But they all were an apple, they all had seeds and they all had a core upon which they grew. In their lifetime they gave a lot of pleasure to anyone lucky enough to be given one.

Now you take people.  There certainly are a lot of different kinds of people, aren’t they? As many different colors as anyone can imagine, and they have as many different uses as we can even count. Each one of us can give great pleasure to all who are a part of our life. But we too are all a person, we all have the seeds of life, and we all have a core, the core or the spirit of life.

As a child we sang, “Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight.” Surely we can remember that all living things whether it is apples or it is people, we all have a core, a spirit, and we can recognize each others sameness together.

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THINKING ABOUT AGE!

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Rising this morning I was saddened but not surprised to hear that President George HW Bush had left this earth, leaving behind a vast history of service to his country and to his family for many years. Pouring my coffee, I curled into my chair and watched the television coverage of his life and his many accomplishments.  The many news clips seemed to be a reflection of my own experiences in life and I became engrossed in the old films. They brought back many memories of my own during a very tumultuous time in the history of our country. I had been living in the mountains of Colorado when he was the vice president of the United States.

But that was a long time ago and I don’t normally look back for very long, because I do believe that all we have is right now. I was about to change the channel when I saw a film clip of the President made after he had just successfully jumped from an airplane at the advanced age of 85. He was smiling at the joy of it, and encouraging anyone watching him to get out of their chair and do whatever would make them happy. Later on at the age of 90 years he did it again.

Suddenly it struck me that he was only one year older than I when he made this statement. Anyone of my age usually realizes that we are getting older but we put a polite face on it when we are thinking of ourselves. At that very moment of my own age I had my own special realization that I too was at that advanced age. And if there is something that makes me happy that I haven’t done yet, it is time to get started.

And yet, I can not think of anything that I really yearned to do but missed out on, that is that important to me right now. I wish it were as easy to travel now as it once was, but there are so many memories. The pictures on the screensaver bring back all of the fun times, the exploring times, and I hope that they are never taken away from me. Pictures of all of our family are everywhere, news of their exploits fill my Ipad daily, and I wake up each morning looking forward to a new experience but still enjoying the ones I remember from the past.

So as you see the pictures on television this week, I hope you will take to your heart the words that President Bush had for us all. “Forget your age, do what makes you happy, and you will be filled with joy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAINS THAT I REMEMBER

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One of the things that I always associate with when I return to Florida is the sound of trains, calling across our city, letting us know that they are working their way to a distant destination. In Michigan I live out in the country, and it is very rare for me to see or to hear a train anywhere.  Highways full of semi trucks are the main mode of transportation that we notice as we travel about. The picture that you see here is an old fashioned narrow gauge train, parked in Silverton, Colorado, waiting for delighted tourists to climb aboard on their way to Durango.  I took that train quite a few times.  Whenever we had company from the East they always wanted to see the train.  It was an all day trip and always a great pleasure to its passengers.

But as a child I lived only a block from the railroad tracks that brought 100 boxcar length trains in and out of our city of Muskegon, Michigan.  It was during and after the second World War and every afternoon the long trains would come slowly down the tracks. There was a very deep ditch on each side, with a bank covered with shrubs of oak and sassafrass. My friends and I dug a deep hole into the side of the bank, deep enough for a fort, and then we covered the roof with branches and leaves. We knew when the train was due so we would climb into the fort, and wait for the huge train, which passed us by about eight feet away. The sounds of the squealing brakes, the grinding of the wheels on the track, the sheer terror of the monster as it lumbered on past us, these sounds reverberate in my mind, even to this day. Once you were in the fort, and the train started to pass by, you just hunkered down and waited. The trains were so long because they were filled with supplies for the war.  I don’t think that my mother ever realized just what we were doing because we sure didn’t tell her.  We would play out doors for hours at a time, mostly unsupervised, so we would get away with it.

I remember other trains coming into the city with all of the rides, animals, and equipment for the circus. My dad would take us to the train station where they were unloaded and we walked a mile or so to the open grounds where they were to be set up. This was a big deal for my brother and I. It was always on a Saturday morning, that I recall.

Along about that time there was a terrible accident where a pedestrian was killed by a train close to our street. The roads were blocked off and the whole city mourned. At this time it became more obvious to me just what a train could do to a body. We didn’t go to our fort so much after that.

Other trains that I remember were in Alaska, thru mountains that were filled with deep drop offs, on a narrow gauge track. Spectacular scenery, and a memory to be treasured always. Another trip was in centered in Canada, leaving Ste Saulte Marie, MI, for a day.

The sound of a train in the distance brings back memories of a long ago childhood, and a freer and more simple life. It is good for me to look back, but here I am,  still dreaming and knowing there is more future to come. We can’t remain in the past when we have love right here with us now to enjoy and pleasures to surround us.

 

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NOVEMBER 2018

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One of the pictures I found in Google this morning, signifying the season that has just passed us by, traveling from Michigan to Florida this year. We had a lot of rain this past fall and somehow the colors never seemed as bright as in past seasons. It took a long time for the brightly colored leaves to start falling, which means that we will find a yard full of them when we arrive back in the spring. Not that it really makes much difference, there are always the strays that show up later on, just waiting for the mower to pick them up.

My friends are already sending me pictures of a snow covered landscape at their own home, and lamenting the fact of winter arriving.  But the more avid deer hunters are rejoicing, and hoping for an early winter with lots of snow for tracking. In Michigan there are two main groups of people, people who hunt, and people who don’t. I have lived closely with both, over the years, and there is definitely a line there. Plus we must count all of the bow hunters who have already been searching for some time. Somehow it all works out.  We have lots of people whose meals consist more of venison than you can imagine.  At one time that was true of my household also, and I could cook it in a dozen varied ways. Now I am just reminiscing about bygone days, and remembering how good it tasted.

Florida is looking great.  A  little foggy this morning, but it will clear very quickly and the sun will appear again. It has been a little warmer than I like, hitting in the 80s and 90s but cooler today and a colder front will be showing up next week. As we were walking in the park after dark I could see that all of the snowbirds are not back yet and many homes are dark. But soon lots of our residents will return,  the streets will fill up, and the restaurants will become very busy. By next month we will see many retirees sitting on their front patios greeting us as we go walking by. There will be golf carts everywhere, and two and three wheeled bicycles carrying their owners all around the park.  We have many  flower gardens and ponds with swans and ducks to enjoy.

So there is a lot to look forward to.  I am looking forward to telling you of our adventures as we visit in the south, but still keep the north in our hearts. Living down here is a great experience for us, and I hope that someday all of you will find your place of enjoyment in your future.

STUMBLING BLOCKS OR STEPPING STONES?

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I’ve been thinking about this phrase for a couple of days ever since I saw it on my mother’s Methodist calendar. It does seem to apply to all that is going on in our lives right now, doesn’t it? Whenever I look at my Twitter feed or read about friends on Facebook, it is pretty hard to be sure just which one of them applies to the mixture that is facing us each day. Of course I can say that my friends and my family are immersed in whatever they are involved in at the present and the rest of it has nothing to do with me. Of course I can say that, but of course it isn’t exactly true. We are all connected one with each other, and what affects one will eventually affect us all.

So what I have decided is that it isn’t so much what is actually happening as it is how I decide to face up to any conflicts.  What I want to do is use the happenings as a stepping stone to a learning experience that will improve my life no matter what is going on elsewhere. Surely there are lessons to be learned by all of us no matter what. I can remember that my glass is more than half full just because we are connected in some mystical way that we can’t always understand.

Which one, the blocks or the stepping stones, is holding sway in your life right now? A good question for us to ponder as we go about our daily lives.

Verlie   August 25, 2018

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AUGUST 19th.

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img_0080A very special day for me to remember my past. August 19th.    My mother left this world on this day, and my mother in law and also a daughter in law claimed it as their birthdays. Each year I count my blessings that I was able to share their lives for a little while. ❤️

PROVERBS 3:3

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IMG_0185.jpgNever forget to be truthful and kind.

Hold these virtues tightly.

Write them deeply within your heart.

Proverbs  3:3

Found this on my mother’s Methodist calendar today, and it felt like she was speaking directly to me. A good reminder for us all.

We love and miss you, Mother!