SIMPLE PLEASURES

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img_0365A great new subject for our class this week! Simple pleasures in my life! Thoughts come rushing thru my mind in a hurry on this one. And the first one to land right in front of me is the one that anyone who knows me is that I am an avid reader. Anything that is in print has always been my constant companion. Reading under the covers at night with a flashlight, or the glow of the corner streetlight at my bedroom window is one of my most vivid memories. As a child no one had to ask twice what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday. Luckily most of my cousins were just the same way so we did a lot of trading with each other. And fortunately my mother made sure that I got to the public library each week. So books or cereal boxes or newspapers, whatever came in front of me, I devoured. That has never changed.
Which brings me to the next big thing. Fortunately, they are both connected to each other. You might have guessed I am talking about my Ipad. I know I must have existed without it at some time, but I prefer not to look back to the Dark Ages before it. With the Ipad I can and do anything I want to, reading, studying, investing, puzzling, writing articles for my blog, working on my checkbook, paying bills: nothing much I can’t do. Whenever I get the urge for the latest one Bob is the fortunate one who inherits his next reader. He has finally found time in his life to become a great reader too. Retirement can be a wonderful thing.
But there still is another pleasure that I have indulged in this morning. For years I was the pie maker, I took great pride in my pie crust and with four growing boys, never made less than three at a time. This was just my thing and whenever we went to a potluck or picnic my pies were what I took.
But time went on, boys grew up, got married, and their wives became good pie makers. Gradually, little by little, my pie making took a different direction. Now I make one for Bob and I, slice it in 8 pieces, and it lasts for a long time. Occasionally I still take one to a sons house but it is different. Now the grandchildren are doing their share also. But this morning, I decided to make an apple pie for us. Peeling apples, adding sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, making a big (A)on the top crust, I felt a little nostalgic about it all. As the added touch I sprinkled a little milk, sugar and cinnamon on the top crust and I thought of all the hundreds, probably thousands of pies I had made over so many years, and here I am, down to one pie, it is so simple. When I went to take it out of the oven, the house smelled so wonderful that I wished I could bottle that smell and keep it forever. Such a simple thing, the smell of a freshly baked apple pie, the juices bubbling, and yet I can still remember all of the good times when I was making three pies, and they were being devoured.
My simple pleasures are the ones that bring back the most memories and I am really grateful for all of them.

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.

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.

CONNECTED

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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.

INSPIRATION

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Thinking about a new word today – inspiration. A long word for a sizable subject, you might say.
To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative.
Most of us can look back at our own lives and find someone or something that inspired us in a positive way. In the early years it may have been a parent or a special teacher in our grade schools.
As we grew up our horizons became broadened. We listened to speeches or we read books that were very significant to us. We had special authors that inspired us to look at many new and unknown subjects. It might have been a musician or a sports figure that we followed their every word. We wanted to be just like they were, or maybe even better.
I submit to you that as adults, and also as creative writers we all have the ability to inspire the generations coming up behind us. We have the innate ability to show them that each of them is capable of bringing joy into their lives by the way they choose to live, and the choices that they make. We know that what we put into our minds will be reflected all around us and it is up to us to inspire our families and friends by living a life that they will wish to emulate.
Words, either written or spoken can inspire others and we want only the best for the people who listen to us or read our words. So it is our pleasure to remember that someday we may be the ones that are the inspiration for young lives just as our heroes and heroines were for us. It is an awesome responsibility, and one we shouldn’t take too lightly.

THE DREAM

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img_0055Early this morning I had a dream. Not just an ordinary dream, destined to enter my sleep, erupt my thought patterns and leave just as swiftly as it had come.
No, this was a full-fledged dream, and as I awoke, I remembered the warmth and the glorious feeling of it all surrounding me in my warm bed. You see, in my dream I had a brand new baby, she was mine, and I held her and felt the incredible miracle of how a brand new baby feels, the cuddling and the softness of her skin, and the delight of being a mother. I marveled at how big she was and remembered that all of my babies, all boys, had been so big. But this was a girl and I was overcome with joy! I realized that we must give her a name and at first I thought of Elizabeth, my favorite name as a teenager. But then I thought of my mother, and the name became Leona, in my mind. My mothers middle name had been Leone. That was it. I hugged her and said “my sweet Leona”, and knew the joy of being a parent again as I held her and caressed her. I felt the certainty of it all and never realized I was dreaming.
But then I began to wake up. Remembering how vivid this experience had been to me, I began to wonder. Was it a dream or was it an experience? As I sit right here writing I can still know that something amazing happened to me, and in my mind I can still feel and see it. Who is to say what really happened? I know that dreams usually fade away, but I also know that writing this down will keep it fresh in my memory. In this strange and mysterious world of ours how are we to know what is real and what is imaginary? Years from now the scientists may tell us for sure that dreams fortell our experiences, either past or future. Maybe I was remembering an event of long ago in another lifetime.
What triggers a dream? Could it be all of the pictures of babies I see every day on Facebook, being held by granddaughters or grandsons or nieces? I don’t know.
All I know is, it felt so vivid and so real that now I know I must keep watch wherever I go in my daily life. Maybe this warm and beautiful little girl exists somewhere watching over us and I was lucky enough to hold her in my arms for a little while. But I will be sure to remember my sweet Leona, wherever she may be.

GRATITUDE 

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Today is a day for me to give some special thanks and gratitude to two very special women in my life. Yesterday I had my annual physical here in Michigan and it really pleased both my doctor and me. Better blood pressure, chlorestrol, and a good feeling that I am feeling much better and stronger. For several years Tammy Jager had been encouraging me to get a walker or some such thing because I was having trouble taking long walks. I resisted her mightily for a long time due to my pride and foolishness. But this winter another voice joined the chorus, Debra Rider, and I began to realize that they only had my best interests at heart. So I broke down, bought a red Rollerator, started walking each day, and now I walk 25 minutes at a time.  I met new friends while I was in Florida, and found that there are lots of us who can use a little help.  And I love it because it has brought me freedom. I don’t need it at home, thank goodness.  I heap praise upon my husband, Bob Rider, who always tags along with me.

But it gives me great pleasure to give kudos to Debra and Tammy whom I love, especially because they didn’t give up on me.  I owe them for many special things in my life, but this one deserves a special thank you.