THE REMINDER

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Just got home from our weekly trip to the grocery store here in Florida, and I am beat! I didn’t think about the fact that the first week of the month the store is loaded with social security and food stamp recipients until I was already there. We had gone early hoping to find a half empty store – NO such luck.
Thankful for a cart to hang unto, and Bob to fill the moving counter with our many items, I stood in line behind an older woman who was doing it all alone because she had a husband with her who was riding a cart and couldn’t help. I was glad that Bob was so helpful and made it easier for me. But as I watched the woman doing it alone I was reminded of my mother. Almost twenty years ago when I was in my early sixties I had abruptly come to the realization that my own mother needed help going to the grocery store. My stepfather was unable to help anymore. Realizing that mother needed help and was too proud to ask for it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I just hadn’t noticed what was happening, and I felt such sadness that I hadn’t realized she needed me in a new way. From then on it seems like we grew a lot closer, as women learning to understand each other better.
So time has moved on, and I am so fortunate that I have a companion who helps with just about everything. But I am writing this to the people who are in their 50’s and 60’s, and who have friends and family who may be way too proud to ever ask for a helping hand. We all are going to get older and somewhat slower as time goes on, but sometimes it is hard to admit to others that the time has come when we need some help. We owe so much to our elders, who have helped to make us the people we are today. And a smile and a friendly arm can bring so much pleasure to both the giver and the receiver. Maybe even a shopping trip or some yard work would be helpful.
A friendly reminder from me now can keep you from ever being as unaware as I was with my own dear mother some 20 years ago. And the good feeling that you give yourself will last for a long time! Remember, our karma, our spirit, will follow us and smooth our own path throughout our eventful lives.

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OCTOBER 23

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My life shall touch a dozen lives
Before this day is done
Leave countless marks for good or ill
Ere sets the evening sun
This is the wish I always wish
The prayer I ever pray:
Lord, may my life help other lives
It touches by the way.

Unknown. Included in my mother’s Methodist affirmations

AH THE SWEET SMELL OF GRAPES!

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If only there were a way of putting the fragrance of a freshly cooked jar of grape jam on Facebook I would most surely do it.
Our house is filled with the aroma of grape jam made with the Concord grapes that you see in this picture. They are the sweetest ones that we have ever raised here and there is a reason for that. The taste is magnificent.
Bob has tended to them all year, carrying them numerous pails of water almost every day. They were trimmed many times whenever he discovered a branch they didn’t need. For the past ten days or so he has been bringing bowlfuls to be devoured.
And I have been making jam, tasting jam, skimming jam, and enjoying all of the wonderful odors that go with it. Ever heard of Juice in a Jar? Nothing but Concord grapes, water, and half a cup of sugar all sitting in a sterilized jar on the counter, working its magic of making juice over the next few months.
I don’t can as much as I used to, but this is fun.
So wiggle your nose! Could it be possible that the lovely aroma has just penetrated Facebook? One never knows when magic will appear!

REMEMBERING

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 A A bell is not a bell until you ring it,

A song is not a song until you sing it,

Love is not put into my heart to stay,

Love is not love until you give it away! 
I am blessed to have a daily turnover page of quotations that my mother and others did for the Wood Ave Methodist Church in Muskegon, Michigan, probably forty or more years ago.  No matter where I have lived I have looked at it every day, written birthdays and anniversaries on it, and been reminded that there really is a better way to live. The quotations come from many different views of authors and different religions. It is interesting to note that although these were chosen by Methodist women, they include spiritual ideas of many different countries. I have decided that I shall add some of them to my blog to show how I have been influenced by many good and thoughtful women. So relax and enjoy.   I will add specific authors when I have them. And thank you Mother, for choosing them for us. 

 

THOUGHTS ON A BRAND NEW BIRTHDAY!

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First of all, I made it! Another year chalked up and I am still here. Despite all of the ups and downs that have been a major part of my life, here I am, still rising up each morning, being thankful that I made it safely thru another night, and the world is still my oyster. Looking out the window I can still see that the sun is shining, our yard looks absolutely beautiful, the hollyhocks are holding on to their last blossoms, and there are roses in bloom. And the concord grapes are almost ripe.

September is probably my favorite month, and it’s not just because it’s my birthday month. When I was a child I was eager to go back to school, where books and friends abounded. I always did love the learning process and the competition that school provided. Now that the main word around here is “retirement” nothing has stopped as far as books and reading and learning has concerned. The blessing of having enough time and choices to do whatever appeals to me most is high on my priority list. It is easier for the average person to continue their own education at their own pace than it ever has been before. Computers, tablets, smartphones, they are all at our fingertips.

So on a day when I am sending prayers and wellbeing for the friends and family we have in Florida, I am still thankful for all of the blessings we have received. Life is an up and down procedure, but at least we are proceeding in a forward direction. I have a heart filled with immeasurable love for all of the friends that get up every morning and go about their lives even tho they don’t always know what is in store for them. I try to remember that everyone doesn’t have the same priorities as I do. Maybe theirs are more important than mine are right now. It is good for me to remember that the viewpoints of the other people are at different stages in their lives. They will find, just as my generation has, that everything and everyone changes, and so will theirs, in time.

So this is enough reminiscing for another year. Hope that next year we are not thinking of another hurricane, but who knows. Thanks for the fabulous wishes!20141025_181549000_iOS

TREE RIPENED FRUIT

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Have you ever bitten into a tree ripened bright orange apricot? The kind that melts in your mouth?

Have you tasted the juiciness of fruit so fresh and so ripe that you felt just like heaven on earth? Have you waited every year for the sweetness and ripeness of a plum, purple, red or yellow, that you knew had just come from a farmers orchard near you?

This week Bob and I stopped at a local farm market just three miles from our house, hoping that the softer fruits were coming on line for us to enjoy. For as long as we’ve been married (25 years) we had always eaten all of the wonderful fruit that we grew ourselves.

After the farm was sold some seven years ago it just wasn’t the same. Finding another farm where they let the fruit hang on the tree until actually ripe proved to be difficult. The farmers that sell for the main markets are encouraged to pick it early to avoid spoilage. Consequently the sugar never develops and the fruit never has quite the same quality.

So this week I got the urge for apricots until I couldn’t stand it anymore. One of my main jobs at the Muskegon Farmers Market where we had several stalls was sorting and boxing the small fruits, so I became very nostalgic about it. Off we went and there in Hart was a local market selling plums, peaches, and apricots. They had samples for people to try. It didn’t take me long to find an ultra ripe apricot! We loaded up on small boxes and headed for home, and have been enjoying them ever since.

But just this morning it hit me! I had grown accustomed to not going to market to work 3 times a week. I missed the people and I sure missed my fellow workers, but until I bit into that apricot I had forgotten that we really had it all. The Farmers Market was practically our whole life, selling fruit and pleasing people, and I really am thankful that we could do it for so long. It developed in me an appreciation for the lives of the farmers who give their all every day so that everyone else can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

When our customers raved about the sweetness of our fruit we smiled and we were happy they liked it.

But until I bit into the apricot this week I had put some of the memories off into the back of my mind. Now they are out in full force and cannot be denied.

We really did have it all, and for everyone that played a huge or even a small part in the life of our fruit we do thank you. We hope that you will look upon it as fondly as we do. Everyone that drove a tractor, or picked the fruit or stood at the counter we do thank you. and everyone that bought the sweetness of Michigan fruit from us, we do thank you. And we miss you.

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ONLINE WITH FACEBOOK

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Ever since I started up on Facebook, a long, long time ago now, I have noticed that there are several different kinds of people who actually write posts, as opposed to the ones who just check in to see their grandchildren and figure out what they are doing lately.  Often I run into people who say “Oh, I never use Facebook” in a manner that leaves me with the option of saying “I just do it for the grandkids”, knowing that is really not a true statement but a way of showing I am better than those people who do write all those silly things. But underneath I know that I really do enjoy FB, at least most of the time.

Where else can I find out how the people in my life really feel about anything? We are all so busy. When do we take time to sit down and talk about anything, let alone the more serious side of life. We all seem to be afraid to discuss certain subjects for fear that we will be shown as taking sides, or making someone else angry. So as a general rule in company we talk about the weather or friends, or what picnic we are going on, a safe subject, you know.

But we are smarter than that. As we are reading posts from people we know from all different stages of our lives, we are reminded that at some time in the past we may have felt completely different about certain subjects. And we can tell that we may have moved on to a different thought pattern from old friends of the past. And that is perfectly natural.  Lots of us still believe in the same things we were taught as children, at least partially.

But we also have newer friends who have gone on beyond us  and  we don’t always agree with them either. Reading FB is like taking a sample of what life is like, how others act or react, and there is usually a lesson to be learned. This is a big country with many paths that we can go down, and FB shows us that many new things are available to us.

Take games, for example. When I see the names of friends that play certain types of games, then I am given a small piece of their interest. I know that they at least have enough time in their life to take a few minutes for themselves. If they are retired then it can be a welcome addition to their day. We are told that it keeps our brains a little sharper. Time will tell about that one, tho.

Now that FB posts a lot of well-known magazine or newspaper articles, we can look at a variety of opinions and find out the ones that suit us. I started thinking about writing this after taking some of the many “tests” about what I think and what kind of person I am. If I believed it all I probably would go and sit in a corner like I did sometimes as a child. They can be pretty hard on the ego.

But I guess the best part is still that we keep in constant contact with friends that we haven’t physically seen for many years and we can see how they approach life and the challenges that come up. I love it when I see who “likes” the same things that I do, it gives me a warm feeling to know that I am not alone in this crazy world that we are privileged to reside in. I feel a closeness when I see that someone a whole lot younger than me has come up with the same conclusion about something I care a lot about. And when I disagree I can just keep on going, and know that everybody can’t be the same.

And when I see the birthday messages for one of my siblings or children, I can feel gratified over how many friends they have. Birthday greetings from FB telling me who is having one today are a wonderful idea, since I don’t always remember.

So this has been a post to say “Thank You” to Facebook.  You have brought a great deal of happiness to us over the years and many new friends to our lives. 495486-R1-15-22A_016