TO WRITE OR NOT TO WRITE

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To write or not to write, now that is the question. It being Saturday afternoon and Monday morning writing class looming on the horizon, little bits and pieces of quotations are floating thru my mind. It also being the last time we meet until the fall months, there are two ways of looking at writing. Either I can work hard, write splendidly, and go out with a bang, or I can sigh, think, everyone is leaving and so it really doesn’t matter anyhow. I can just look thru my old inventory, so to speak, and skim by with no problem. It wouldn’t be the first time, or the last either, so what’s the big deal?
Actually, this seems to be a pretty good synopsis of our lives, I think. Most of us seem to be a combination of these two pathways in life. Sometime we are going forth gung ho, looking forward on a trail towards success and happiness no matter what we must do to achieve it. And at other times we seem to cross over to the easier trail, taking each day as it comes, accepting whatever comes our way, and thinking, No big deal, anyhow. And there are a lot of reasons for our uncertainty because success and happiness usually takes a lot longer to accomplish than we want it to. Particularly since patience is a quality that I myself find hard to find all too often.
At some time in our lives most of us learn the word acceptance for ourselves at least, and forget that once we were the younger go getters, intent on making our way in the world. We marvel at the younger generations and how busy they are, how intent upon making their path successfully and forget our own past efforts. Each group has to learn their own way, and we can watch them doing it, and remember what it was like to feel pushed.
And we can help them in the small everyday ways by showing our encouragement and love for them and their efforts. For me, writing seems to be the way for me to remind them that we all are on the path, in different positions to be sure, but with the same goals of happiness and success for them and their families.

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TURMOIL

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Definition: a state of great commotion, disturbance, confusion or uncertainty.
also: tumult, agitation, disquiet, mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions.
I have found that each week as I prepare myself to start thinking about what I will write for my class and my blog, it has become increasingly difficult to concentrate upon the subjects we are given. There is nothing wrong with the subjects, which are felt to be of general interest to everyone in the group.
No, it is me, and the constant awareness of the turmoil going on all about us, in our homes, our schools, the constant communication we bombard ourselves with wherever we go.
The turmoil that we feel in our lives when we are faced with the decision of accepting the new way of looking at the world when inside myself I still remember how I was brought up to think about the other persons feelings as well as my own. I was taught to show respect for my elders, and for people of authority. If I didn’t agree with them and often I didn’t, I avoided or ignored the situation as best I could.
I would never use the word “turmoil” as a constant in that long ago world because I was taught and shown that there could be a better way of accomplishing our goals. Now I look back in praise at my parents who never let me feel the turmoil that did exist in the world at that time. Because of course, there was turmoil, plenty of it. But the heros and heroines that I admired were the people that could talk eloquently about problems and inspire us to try to fix them.
Familiarity breeds contempt. With the advent of constant communication we now know way too much about the people who we used to admire from afar. We are left with the constant feeling that there is no one left that is truly honest, or careful or compassionate.
The Golden Rule, which is the ultimate law of decency, has been left by the wayside. No one has ever been able to live only by its law of love, but at least it was a goal.
According to the dictionary there are different kinds of turmoil: emotional, economic, and physical. Right now our country seems to be going thru them all at one time. Turmoil is not good for us, and not good for our children either.
And it is not good for me. I feel like I am writing of a long ago time thru the lens of today. And ignoring todays turmoil becomes extremely difficult. You probably wonder why I don’t just ignore it all at my advanced age. I can go on writing about peace and love and sunshine, and nothing is going to change anyhow.
That is the turmoil, the longing for our children to have heroes and heroines to look up to and admire for their stalwart character. I can’t change my life or my misdeeds such as they may have been, but I can tell the children “there has to be a better way than this.”
“Turmoil” is a word that describes our world right now. So what do I do about it? Retreat from the world? Ignore the commotion? Hide my head in the sand? I don’t know. I only know that the Golden Rule still works. My problem seems to be that it is difficult to find enough people who are willing to follow it. And it is still harder to write about olden times when today we are all being besieged by “turmoil”.

Google Photos

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IMG_0128.jpg What a wonderful surprise this morning! I just downloaded the latest upgrade to my IPad and a notice popped up that I now have Google Photos the app. As I have been writing this blog for almost four years now I have struggled with trying to insert some of my favorite pictures. It just hasn’t been an easy experience on WordPress and so I have resorted to using the same pictures over and over.
Enter now Google Photos. I can use anything I want to from them. Just another little hassle that has been solved in my life. Thank you, thank you! And thanks Al and Tammy for the photo.

I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND

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I can’t make up my mind. Every time I look in the mirror I am reminded. I have a dilemma. It probably doesn’t seem like much to anyone else, but it sure does to me!
I have a problem. My hair is finally turning very gray. For years I have faced this problem with great courage and called up my hairdresser and enlisted her help with my decision to continue being a woman with light brown hair. Each time my hair started to get pretty long I would start the debate with myself as to whether the time had finally come to give in to Mother Nature and let the gray take over. After all, look at all of the money I would save by doing it. I have reached the age where most of my peers are either gray headed or have beautiful shining white hair. They don’t seem to be bothered by it any more. But there is something in my mind that has just refused to let the change occur naturally. I have accepted the fact that my body really is getting older, but when it comes to my hair that is another whole ballgame. I can still do something about it.
So it is off to my hairdresser. I voice my anxiety to her, and she knows just what to do. An hour later and now I am a lighter shade of blondish brown hair. I smile in the mirror. I have put off the gray, at least for a few more months, and I can relax, at least until the next time it starts to peek its head out. It is true that I can’t fight Mother Nature forever, but I have overcome the battle for now.

WHEREVER I GO

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Wherever I go I am looking for you.
The crowded sidewalks at a local shopping center,
The children playing at Hop Scotch on the playground,
The baseball fans excitedly waving at our school playing field, and
Even when I am sitting in church listening to the choir,
I am watching to see if you will appear.
I know that you are out there somewhere.
I know that you know something is missing from your life.
Could it be that you are looking for something too?
Could it be that we are both looking for the same thing?
Could it be that someday, somewhere, we will find it?
What is it that we feel we must find?
I just don’t know. I sigh as the days continue to go by.
But I never give up looking. I hope that you won’t either.

THE SUBJECT IS MOUNTAINS

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Mountains! Of all the things in life that I dream about, “Mountains” has to be close to the top of the list. Whenever I think of the experiences that I have had in my lifetime it seems like mountains always played a definite role. It brings back memories of places and people and things that wound thru my life as I yearned always to go where the shining mountains were.
My first experience was Colorado. For years my father had wanted to go to the West to visit. He had a dream of how it would be seeing the mountains, he talked about it enough that he made me yearn to see it for myself. And in about 1950 he found a way to make it happen. My grandpa Hillyer, and Aunt Elsie, drove one car, a 1948 or so Studebaker, and my father and mother drove their old car, a 1940 Ford I think. I had a brother and two sisters so each car had 2 children in the back seat. Today I had to call my brother, Larry Strong, to check on what kind of cars. We stayed in little cabins on the way and cooked our meals on picnic tables as much as possible. When we drove thru Skull Creek, Colorado the roads were so steep that our old car had a lot of trouble. The water kept boiling over, and then we would stop and let the car cool off. We carried a jug of water wherever we went. It was a wonderful trip, but on the way home I still remember how tired everyone was. There were no superhighways at that time. The detours were set up so that you had to drive miles and miles out of your way. You couldn’t set up your cabin ahead of time so often you had to drive later at night while trying to find housing for eight people. But we had seen our mountains and for my dad and me it stirred us to continue to dream of them.
Next big deal. My husband Preston Jager, was drafted into the army in 1953 and eventually we ended up based in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson where our first son was born. We roamed the mountains of Colorado and surrounding states for about 15 months before returning to Michigan. My love for the mountains was deep and sure but it was only a dream then.
The next experience was when in 1966 my husband and I took our four boys aged 6 thru 12, in an old car and two tents, and drove across Canada to British Columbia. We camped all the way, cooked on picnic tables, put the tents up every night, took them down every morning for 2 1/2 weeks. It cost $1 a night to camp in Canadian parks at that time, and we were really on a budget. We came back to Yellowstone and the boys went fishing and hiking also. Six people in a car was quite an experience, but I had seen the mountains and now the boys had too.
Next big deal. 1977. Moved to Colorado with my husband, Gary Bosley, and altho originally a mechanic soon he became a logger, and with a camper we started spending our Monday thru Fridays living in the San Juan Mountains. Home to Pagosa Springs on the weekends to get ready to go back to the mountains to cut right of way for Forest Service roads. Now I lived right in the mountains, walked its many paths and climbed ever higher for the next road to be cut. Wildlife abounded wherever we parked, and my camera was busy most of the time.
But time has a way of changing things and the logging was shut off by the government. So we joined three of our sons working in the oil fields at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was estatic to live in that beautiful place. We spent a lot of our time driving all over the mountains just as we had done in Colorado. Later on we also worked in Oklahoma, meeting new friends there.
Eventually we returned to Colorado. My husband became ill, and now living in Colorado no longer was an option for me. He was buried in Pagosa Springs, a few miles from where he had climbed those shining mountains, and I returned to Michigan where we started from.
But there is a happy ending to all of this. In 1992 I married my farmer, my husband, Bob Rider, and started introducing him to the pleasures of traveling to the West whenever we could. We visited those places I had lived, plus many more, and there were lots of mountains mixed in with them. I made sure of that. And the pictures of them are now enshrined on my screensavers, so that I can remember all of the shining mountains. I can take them with me no matter wherever I go and remember just how much fun it all was. Mountains are for inspiring. I can look up to the sky and know that all is well.

HUMAN ERROR

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Imagine that you are someone who takes pride in how you manage your financial life. You have set up most of your bills to be paid online out of your checking account or a credit card. You have solved the problem of worrying about whether your bills get sent to your winter home on time. Things have usually worked out the way they are supposed to. This is important to you to keep your credit history in good shape.
And then one day you walk to your mailbox in Florida and there are three letters from your longtime car insurance company of over 25 years. The first one demands an overdue payment because your bank said your account was closed. If not paid the insurance will be cancelled. The second one says there is a large fee because you had not paid the bill. The third one says you now have a new policy, price revised sharply upward because you no longer have an extended payment transfer set up. And you are 1300 miles away from home.
This happened to me last Thursday! I erupted with a flash. Especially after I checked with the bank and they had indeed taken the payment out of our account right on time. Over the phone they assured me they done it right and I could see that online. They definitely had taken the money out.
So I called our insurance agent, venting my anger. It seemed worse to me because the local agent had received a notice that the account was closed and no one bothered to check with us. After talking to me they assured me that they would find out what had happened and repair the damage. Later that day they called, very apologetic, and said it would be fixed. But since it wouldn’t be done in time for the March payment electronically I needed to send them a check immediately for that.
I accepted their apology but I was still very angry that no one noticed anything was wrong. The next day I sent a check for March. You can bet I’ll be watching for another revised policy soon.
I guess it had been quite a while since I had been so upset, and I started to think about why that was. As you get older it isn’t always so easy to do your everyday chores like bill paying quite as smoothly as you once did. Somehow this time it felt harder for me to cope with the problem. But by nightfall another phrase had come to me.
“Human Error”. It had been human error that made the mistake and once I accepted that the anger faded away and I could sleep peacefully again. Another lesson learned for me, we are all in the learning and accepting business. Hopefully I won’t have to put my emotions thru this one again. But…I will be watching and make sure they take care of the problems they gave us.