tilt shift photography of cherry blossoms

Photo by Skitterphoto on

The next time you are feeling a little blue I want you to remember my little story today.
It is Sunday morning in Michigan, and a spring morning at that. Words can hardly describe how beautiful it was when I decided to take my Rollerator out for a walk to the mailbox on our rural country road. 66 degrees sounded wonderful to me after a weeks session of colder and wetter weather. The trees are beginning their leafy season, the grass is very green, and I can see the forsythia is a fantastic bright yellow.
After checking the box I crossed back on my side of the road and started pushing the cart again. Suddenly I heard a car coming up behind me and immediately I became very cautious, knowing that usually the cars come barreling over a small hill 60 miles an hour or better. This is a narrow country road and walking on it is not for the faint hearted. Especially when you are pushing a four wheeled cart.
But no! The car was slowing way down. I looked over my shoulder and there was an older car stopped, the window rolled down, and a young man smiled, and said “Where are you going?”
“Right over there, “ I said, pointing to our distant drive. “Good,” he said. “We just thought you might need a ride.” An older lady was driving, probably his mother. They both smiled at me, I thanked them profusely, and they went on their way, leaving me with such a profound sense of gratitude for the lesson I had just been given.
Sometimes it is the people with the least amount of material goods that are the quickest to share what they do have with people who might be in need. I need to remember that in my own personal life.



photo of man sitting on a cave

Photo by Marius Venter on

Almost time to go! It’s Saturday morning, the 30th of March, it’s warm and beautiful, and I know that an inner yearning is stirring for us to get on the road again. In my minds eye, and on my FB photo pages, the familiar scenes of Michigan, our number one abode, are beginning to slide past my everyday vision. The sights, sounds, and even odors of life in another atmosphere are invading my mind, reminding me of another place, one that I love, that I haven’t seen for months. To be sure, I really haven’t thought about it very much this past winter, other than to commiserate with my northern neighbors in their hour of need. I know that they had a rough time of it this past year, but the snow is finally melting. Now the days are a combination of rain, snow, ice, wind, sun, and mud. The county has put weight limits on, and everyone tries to avoid the gravel and dirt roads. I remember the many times when we couldn’t even get in and out of our road unless you had a four wheeled truck. March and April often still look like that. And the mud tracked into the house by all of the little feet no matter how much you scolded, I also remember.
After all of this reminiscing I am losing my sense of readiness to go North so quickly. I see that the sun has started shining occasionally tho, and what a welcome sight it is! By the time we get there the grass will be starting to green up, the crocuses and daffodils will bring smiles, and life will look pretty darned good!
Of course there is usually at least one more snowstorm after we get there, and we grumble and say we will wait longer next year, but the cycle continues without any encouragement from us at all. We look at the lawn full of leaves, the flower beds, the grape vines waiting to be trimmed, and we rejoice to be home again.
It is a time of adjustment tho. Different stores, different tv channels, new numbers, faster life style, and it usually takes a few days to get back in the old routine. When I walk into the gas station or post office maybe someone will notice we have come back, but then again, maybe no one will. Life continues at a rapid pace, no matter where we are. Everyone is busy and that is just the way it is. I will miss my southern home, and most of all I will miss my writing class. Bob will miss his pinochle games and his long walks here in the park.
We will enjoy Michigan immensely and the time will fly by with lots of yard work and long rides about the countryside. We’ll visit Lake Michigan and watch all of the fruit trees go thru their cycles of growing and producing the best apples, peaches, plums and apricots to be found anywhere. As I write this I am regaining my sense of “it’s almost time to go again!”
Wishing you all The Best of Two Worlds in your retirement years.



IMG_0185.jpgfor the past few weeks I have been mulling over all of the sections that my life seems to have evolved into. The small baby that started out being cared for by parents who loved me and wanted only the best for me has long disappeared. There is no one who even remembers that long ago time. I was the oldest of four children so none of them remember me in that form. Both parents and grandparents have gone on to their own destinys and reside only in my memories. The first decade of my life was mostly about school, church, playing outdoors with neighborhood friends, and reading, reading. During the second decade junior and senior high school were added, boys, piano lessons, choir, baby sitting, and eventually my first jobs. During the third decade marriage, motherhood, four children, gardening, PTA, were added to the already full mix. By the fourth decade I was overwhelmed, but still working, both at home and in the workplace. During this time there were a lot of changes made in my personal life, but life and motherhood and work still went on. By the end of the decade I was living out West and devoting my time to a different lifestyle than I had ever done before. The fifth decade was filled with travel and work and it passed so quickly. Then life took on a different direction in the sixth decade and I had to return to my roots in Michigan. By the end of the sixth decade there was a terrific office job, a farmer in my life, and a residence on a fruit farm. New responsibilities abounded in my days, new interest in writing, a farmer’s market to go to, and best of all more children to become good friends with. The seventh and eighth decades seemed to fly by with more changes for all of us, but still immeshed in my life has been the same interests, family, writing, winters in a warm climate, and reading, reading.
So here we are in the ninth decade. Amazing, isn’t it? Family, old and new friends, music, books, writing, and I can’t leave out my iPad, can I? My spiritual life has never been stronger, my family life is of great comfort, and I am so thankful for all of the years that I have been blessed with.



img_0562Decisions! Decisions! Lately it seems like it takes forever in order to make up my mind about what I am going to do about my everyday choices. Some change comes creeping into my life and all of a sudden there it is. I am going to have to make a choice about whether I go off with the old or on with the new. For years I was known for jumping into the new, even tho it didn’t always work out as well as it should. I would look at a situation, think about how to fix it and then I would just go ahead and do it. Usually it worked out pretty well or least I could make do with the results.
But now! It’s like a dog with a bone. Last Monday my watch quit! That is to say that the battery finally died. I think that this is the third or fourth time this has happened with this particular watch. And each time I would head off to Walmart where an obliging clerk would replace it for me. I liked that! So I have had this watch for a few years now. I still like it, it runs well, has a clear and readable face, and will probably last as long as I will. But I had just been to Walmart so I decided to wait for a few days. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my wrist this week. Just couldn’t get out of the habit. But I just kept thinking that maybe it was time to get a new watch, a better one, or a prettier one, even tho there is absolutely nothing wrong with this one. Bob just said “Get a new one, you can afford it “. I knew that. It is just that maybe it was time for a change, so I decided to wait until today, Saturday, and look at the new ones. But I just kept on thinking about all of the pros and cons, driving myself crazy.
This morning I ended up at the jewelry counter, looked at the large display of watches, and deliberated in my mind. And guess what, I didn’t see any I liked better than my good old standby. “I need to have a new battery put in” I said to the clerk, and five minutes later it had been done. I had survived the debate in my head again and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I don’t have to think about that again for a while” I thought. Decisions, decisions, they can be hard on a gal!
And my grandmother used to always say, “Waste not, want not”.



IMG_0555. This picture pulled at my heartstrings when I first came upon it. Mountains, mountains! Somewhere in my faraway past there must have always been mountains to inspire me and give me the warm feeling of being in the right place at the right time. It brings back the memories of reading the book, “Heidi” when I first started going to the library each week. And later when there were movies about Heidi and her grandfather in the Swiss Alps I would sit enthralled in the movie theaters. Eventually I watched the beautiful scenes on my IPad and felt the closeness that always comes to me when mountains appear. Knowing that I always feel comforted by the magnificence of the world that we have been placed in I have taken every opportunity that I could to travel to the Shining Mountains. It has always been where I could go to my quiet place and know that we are never really alone. Why this is I truly do not know. It seems to be where I find my inner spirit, my knowing that all is well, there really is a plan for us, no matter how uncertain the future may be. But relaxing, closing my eyes, picturing the mountains as I last saw them, brings forth the feeling of contentment, the knowing that somehow things will work out, no matter what.
Life can be and usually is a challenge for all of us at one time or another. We lose friends or relatives and it is hard for us to know the reasoning why. Children are taken from us before we are ready to let them go, and we don’t want to relinquish our parents. But sometimes we have to, and when that happens we need to have something to hold on to. For me the Shining Mountains have been and continue to be the thoughts that I hold in my mind, that there is a better place for us, there is a plan and I can close my eyes and feel the warmth and the love of it.



img_0532It’s a warm and muggy day in Florida today, partly cloudy, actually hot if I put the right word to it. It’s all a matter of perspective depending upon where you are today, Feb 24, because if you are in Michigan or Maine or New York today, you are probably glad that it is Sunday afternoon and you can stay home. By my IPad I see that my northern home is engulfed in 29 to 32 MPH winds driving a slanted snowstorm. When I go online I see that my friends seem to have become rather immune to it because it has been a long hard winter. How long can you actually complain about it? Instead I see that several writers have begun to think about seeds, and planting, and a new variety of tomatoes they might try out! Maple syrup heralds a new season. The one thing that we can remember as we survive those long winters is that spring will eventually show up, the crocuses will thrust their little heads, and we will be digging and raking again.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my internet friends. It is surprising how many of them I have never met physically, yet I know what they look like. I can surmise very easily what they think about, how they spend their days, their opinions on life in general, and what is most important to them. Sometimes I notice that they seem to have some type of problem going on and I feel empathy from afar, remembering what it was like so many years ago, the push and shove of daily living. The urgency of trying to get everything done just right while still taking time to breathe.
Still, I feel a closeness to many of them and you may be one of the friends reading this. You will know that you are, because we are all united one with each other in our thoughts and our memories. Anyone that you have met in your lifetime no matter how long ago, resides somewhere in your mind even if you think that you have forgotten. How often do we see someone in a crowd and at first we are really reminded of someone from the past.
So, friends, enjoy your day today no matter where you are, and know that your friends are remembering you also, and wishing good thoughts for you.



img_0015it’s a warm, cloudy day here in Florida, a Saturday, and that means my weekly writing pen is itching to get started. The pen is, me, not so much. After a while it seems to get more difficult to get excited about what I am about to put on paper. Actually, I am not using a pen right now, my index finger is busily putting the letters on my IPad screen. Although I have always typed a lot, now I can go just about as accurately and fast with my finger. Who would have thought after all of the years of correcting mistakes with white correcting ink that now I do it with the same finger! Anyhow, here it goes!
We, my brother and sister in law, my two sisters plus brothers in law, My husband and I are all meeting for our annual luncheon at our home in Florida. Each couple takes their turn at it, and this time it’s ours. So we are counting our silverware, bringing out the paper plates and everyone is contributing some kind of food. We’ve had to rustle up eight chairs, two card tables, and hopefully the weather will continue to be beautiful. Tomorrow, Sunday, Bob will bake his famous baked beans and I will make a Cherry Dump cake. I’m looking around at what I need to put away so that everything looks neat and clean.
So you ask, what is the blessing? Families get together all the time. No big deal. But this luncheon is special for all of us. We are scattered about the country for most of the year. And the really big deal is that we are all in our 70’s and 80’s, but we, my brother Larry, sisters, Eileen and Janice, and me, Verlie, are the original four in our family, born of Truman and Marjorie Strong, and we are still all together. Larry and Betty, Eileen and Bob, Janice and Ray, all are still together with their original partners. Bob and Verlie have been married 26 years. Between us all we have so many children, grandchildren, and great grand children that we can hardly count them all. My father, Truman, died at 51. I often wonder what he would have thought of this huge congregation. He was so proud of his family.
We will sit and talk and bring everybody up to date on all the news. I am going to read this to all of them to show how happy we are together. We will bring out all of the IPhones, and click away. And on FB our families will read my article and smile, knowing that their parents are enjoying themselves in a warm and beautiful place. Now what could be more wonderful than this? Everyone of these eight people knows that they can count on each other, no matter what, and that has always been our strength.
So thank you, Mother and Dad, for giving us the foundation of a good and happy life. The blessing is also that we had you.