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 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.
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.
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.
Another word for us to ponder today, and this one should be on our top ten list!
Connected! What does it mean to you in the scheme of things? Are you connected with your family, your church, your job in a meaningful way? Is it important to you to know that no matter what happens you have people you can depend on to back you up?
This idea was brought home to me earlier this week on Messenger, the app on Facebook where we can text each other in a more private fashion than the normal way of doing things. The conversation was with a group of four people all giving voice to our opinions, and we definitely felt committed. We shared ideas and pictures and lots of little red hearts. Altho we were in four separate homes scattered about the United States we felt that we as a group were connected no matter the physical distance between us.
I can still remember living in Colorado Springs, 1300 miles away from home, and how much I missed my family. Phone calls were beyond our budget, and so we wrote letters and ran to the mail box every day hoping for answers. Now we as grandparents are connected by electronic devices that bring our friends and family into our presence just by pressing a few buttons. We see how easy it has become to keep in touch, daily if we choose to. The pictures of family life are saved so easily that we carry them with us wherever we go. We meet new friends or renew old acquaintances and it brings back the smiles to our faces.
There are many ways for us to feel connected to the world, but it is up to us to make the effort in order to reap the benefits of our closeness to one another. So think about the word “connected” the next time you meet or greet someone you love. Whether it is “online” or the physical reality, know that we are all connected, one with another. Your joy or pain is my joy or pain, and we can show that in our daily lives as we remain connected to each other.
Sometimes when we are rushing thru our daily lives, immersed in a major problem at work, or trying to catch up or keep up with the people that surround us, it is hard to know that we have chosen the right path to follow. Maybe it is that we have filled up every spare moment with tasks that have to be done whether we like it or not. The people that we take care of, our children, our parents or spouses, all depend upon us to keep things running smoothly. Even our bosses at work expect us to be an example of efficiency no matter what needs to be done.
And at the top of the list is our own inner voice, telling us what we are responsible for – clean houses, clean children, good balanced meals, and the ability to keep it all working properly.
Our inner voice can be our own worst enemy, commenting constantly as we work our way thru the day. And why should that be? After all, we chose this path, didn’t we? We looked at all of the choices available to us, the education or lack of it, the spouse or lack of one, the children that came into our lives, and all of the responsibilities that came with them.
As one of the seniors that is on the later side of life, I can look back in wonder at just how busy our lives were from the age of maturity when we first began to make all of the choices. I have to dig into my memory bank in order to remember just how crazy it all was. When I look at the lives of our grand children I am reminded of just how busy we really were. We didn’t have time to debate whether we were on the right path or not, we were just headed towards the future and did whatever had to be done. But eventually for most people, things begin to change, children grow up and away, and we start to question our busy lives. We look for what is most important, and while we are doing that we may notice that the younger generation is starting to take over, giving us some freedom from the constant push in our lives.
We take pride in their accomplishments as they mature. We see how busy they are and hope that they will find a way to stop and smell the roses along the way. They are on their own path too, following along behind ours. We have just gone on ahead of them to a new phase of our existence.
So as you think about your path and how far you have gone on it, remember that the example of your path may inspire those following you. Encouragement will go a long way towards helping others as they grow steadily in the direction they desire. And you can rest assured that you have advanced on your own path as you make your way thru life.
There is something about making lists that has always intrigued me. It looks so neat and so efficient on paper that it gives forth the impression that I have got everything under control. Making this particular list turned out to have a great effect on me and how I feel about my life. I didn’t list everything that I could have, it turned out that there are so many events that make me happy. And that is a fantastic feeling, knowing that all of the little things really do matter. So here it goes, here is what is making me happy at this stage of my life.
When I wake up in the morning and know I made it thru the night.
When I hear that one of my favorite authors has a new book out.
When I watch the stock market and see my screen turning green.
When I hear Bob tell me or others that he and I are partners.
When I see the Florida State line in November.
When I see the Michigan State line in April.
Whenever I see the Colorado State line, no matter when.
When I watch my screensaver and remember all of our wonderful trips.
When I open up FB and there is a picture of another new great grandchild.
When I feel the pride that comes from looking at all of our sons and daughters and knowing what wonderful adults they have become.
When I feel the strength that comes from knowing what connection I have with all of my sisters and brothers.
When I see our children enjoying the same activities I did so long ago.
When I read my articles in our Creative Writers and I see the smiles around me.
When I close my eyes and meditation becomes a way of bringing me peace.
When I know that I am right where I am supposed to be, and I can relax.
When I do what I can, and I love what I am doing.