NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW

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No matter what happens tomorrow

I know I will enjoy today.

Remembering all of the smiles that you have given me,

Remembering all of the encouragement that has come my way,

Thinking of all of the places that we have seen together,

Capturing the flavors and scents of lands that we enjoyed,

Picturing the towering mountains everywhere we journeyed,

The flowing rivers, the waterfalls that seemed to pour forth from the sky,

The sun baked deserts, the mountain trails, the red hot lava at our feet,

The glaciers, so wild and so beautiful it took our breath away,

The eagles soaring overhead, the wildlife putting on a show for us,

All is in our memories, and we will never forget them.

No matter what happens tomorrow

I know I will enjoy today.

Friends and family beckon, memories of the old days abound,

Pictures of our loved ones are always in our mind.

Children grow up and become parents such as us.

Grandchildren and even great grandchildren make their place in our hearts.

We marvel at how the whole world seems to work

As if there really is a pattern as to how we live our lives.

We watch and we love and we know why we are here,

No matter what happens tomorrow,

I know I will be happy today.

 

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IT IS JUST SO HANDY!

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It is a beautiful November day and I am smiling at all of the sunshine around me this morning.  We have arrived back in Florida for the winter from our home in Michigan and I am so happy to be here.  No matter where I look I see the familiar faces and scenes that are welcoming us back.

It is not that I was overjoyed to leave the north.  This year it has been blessed with a lot more sun and warm weather than is normal for a northern state in November. Living on a farm in the summertime is something for anyone to be grateful for. Altho we are retired there are still many obvious blessings when you live in a farming community.  The abundance of fresh produce, the orchards to walk thru, the lack of traffic on the highways near us, all of these things make summer a delightful place.

But! Yes, everything changes. We begin to feel a nip in the air, it is getting dark an awful lot earlier, and during one rain shower it actually turns to snow for a few minutes. And then we know it is time to start changing addresses, packing up our summer clothes, and heading for our home away from home.

This year we decided to take a different route, some back roads and highways we had never traveled before, and so it became an adventure with less traffic, more rural scenery, and a lot less trucks. We live in a beautiful country, folks, and we have just seen a lot of it. We avoided the big cities and I didn’t miss them a bit.  Next time we will explore even further.

But what I am noticing the most this year is how handy everything is here in Zephyrhills where we live.  Everything is so close, grocery stores that I like, libraries to enjoy only a mile away, doctors of all stripes near us, bread stores, tech stores, landscaping gardens, great restaurants, anything that we could need, all within ten minutes of our house.  When you live in the country as we do up north, we go 25 miles north, or 32 miles south to find the things we need.

So I have decided that in addition to the warm weather, our pleasure at being out of the winter storms, all of the things that I like about Florida, one of the very best things is how handy it is to be here, enjoying life, with the best of two worlds.

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5:56 AM

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Early to bed and early to rise,

Makes a man or woman healthy, wealthy and wise!

Where in the world did that come from?

A childhood of memorizing old sayings, dredged up from a distant past.  Memories of our local school where we repeated all of the familiar passages from our books until we knew them by heart.  No TV, no internet, no phones for us.  We relied on our reading and studying for everything we learned.

Now altho I have a big digital  clock shining its message in the early morning light I have a built in alarm clock in my head. No matter where I am, north or south, in my own bed or traveling somewhere, I wake up.  It’s Sunday morning here, the one day you would think I’d sleep in, but NO!  I’m awake and I’ve had enough sleep.  Seven hours this time because I stayed up, immersed in a great book, that I just had to finish.

Not only that but I am retired, I don’t have to get up. I could lie here as long as I’d like. No children calling out, no pets needing to be let outdoors, just me, knowing it is time for me to get out of bed. Looking out the window I see the orchard rows, and they are white! It’s May 15th, and we have snow on the ground. This is not good.  The orchards are in full blossom, and they definitely do not need the cold weather.

My mind leaps from one scattered idea to another. I must make the coffee, but I also must write down the words swirling in my head. I search for my notepad and pen, and ah, I am safe. Reassured, all is well.

I am up, it is early in the morning.  I feel the urge to write, and I know the snow will melt eventually. The deck is white now, but it will soon be brown again. I am ready for a new day.  It lies before me, I can do whatever I choose to do, and since I got up early I have plenty of time to do it.

Mornings are beautiful, especially in the country, and I don’t want to waste a single one of them. Come and join the early risers in your life, and you’ll be glad you did.

A SPECIAL DAY

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Our special day in Florida 2016

On a wonderful sunny day, March 10th, 2016, we are here to celebrate a very special occasion, the gathering of a strong family, the “Strong” family.  I know that we don’t all carry that name all of the time, but we all have one thing in common.  We love and support the spouses that were born with it.

Names may change but the love and connections that we have with each other are an enduring thing.  We all can remember our parents with great pride and respect. They were the mainspring of our lives from the time we were born.  No matter what was going on in their lives, we were the focus of their attention, our schools, our church, our friends, all of these were at the forefront of their lives every day, and that never changed no matter how old we got.

As a group our ages span the length of twelve years.  Nevertheless we basically have had the same experiences, seen the same family experiences as children, watched the world as it changed from a world at war in the 1940’s, and evolved into the world we live in today. Our lives have gone in many different directions, we have accomplished many things that we could never have even imagined as children, and now here we are.

We are sitting together, all eight of us, in the sunshine in Florida and that in itself is a wonderful and miraculous thing.  For a few months of each year we live within a few miles of each other, and we can get together to celebrate it.  All families are not so lucky, but we are, and we can appreciate it as we break bread together today.

So I salute you, the “Strong” family.  We have come a long way together. Our individual families will follow us with the knowledge that we love and appreciate them just as our parents did for us.

We are a lucky bunch, the “Strongs”, and we will be looking forward to our gathering next year.

THE JOURNEY

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Living in a pickup top camper parked in a mountain meadow at the elevation of about 9000-9500 feet can be a life changing experience.  Especially if you are living there five days a week, with no one around you except a hard working husband who just happens to be a logger in the Colorado Mountains.  The air is clear and beautiful, the aspen and pine trees are thick and surround you in every direction.  Looking out your window you can see for miles and miles to the New Mexico border.  Since there are only a few two track roads leading up through the trees to the top we have been hired to build the start of a road.  Clear cut all of the trees and brush in a 12 – 14 foot swath so that a new road may be built by the United States Forest Service.  The road will be used for loggers and Fire Prevention people, so you know you are doing an important job.

I say, WE, but the truth is I am the chief cook, bottle washer, housekeeper, and anything else that needs to be done. Gary is the man who cuts down the trees and brush, walks the miles needed, carries the saws, tools, gas, oil, water, lunch and anything else he might need.  The main thing you need to remember is that every day he walks a little further away, so it takes a little longer to get back.  There are no roads yet, of course, but there sure is a lot of brush and trees to stumble thru.  And the rocks, millions of rocks and boulders, are everywhere, and they are tremendous.

Since we are getting paid by the length of the road to be cut, whenever Gary comes to a section where there is a clearing, he is one happy camper to see even a few feet of it. By early afternoon the clouds are beginning to boil up and we can hear the rumble of the daily afternoon thunderstorm.  He doesn’t want to stand near the tallest trees that attract the lightning, but there really is no where else to go. There is a short deluge of rain pouring down, and sometimes it is even snow for a few exciting moments. I remember one storm on September 4th where we were snowed in, and there were very narrow tires on the pickup when we had to try to get out.

From late spring when the winter snow had finally evaporated we lived in the mountains. From Sunday night until late on Friday afternoon we stayed in our camper, worked every day, and watched the wildlife that was abundant all around us. Deer being curious often walked up to us checking out what we were doing.  We had campfires daily, but it didn’t seem to bother them at all. Gary would walk out to his cutting spot in the morning and when he returned often a bear would have left his calling card right in Gary’s footprints.

When I went walking each day I kept a close eye out for the bears, but altho Gary often saw them I was happy that I didn’t.

On Friday nights we would take the camper and also our car and go home to Pagosa Springs where we had a mobile home.  The weekends were spent grocery shopping, saws being repaired, supplies being gathered up, water jugs being filled up, and then late Sunday afternoon off we would go on our journey to the mountains again.  We worked at various places usually 50 to 70 miles from home. It was a very different life from what I had known, but a life filled with adventure.

We did this for a few years, and then the government cut back on building roads and the work became difficult to find. So we took the camper home, unpacked it all and then we headed for North Dakota and the oil fields. Three sons were working there, there was a lot of work if you were willing to work hard, and the years flew by.  That is another whole story for a different day.

But this camper would have a lot of stories to tell also.  Living in the mountains was a new way of looking at life, and a way of being one with nature and knowing what is important.  Our children occasionally came to visit us while there and it is fun to see the pictures yet today of them helping with the wood and having fun doing it.

Many years have gone by since we traveled in the camper, working our way thru the years, but the memories are still there and the love that developed in me for the mountains still remains, and I am the better person for it. Thank you, Colorado.

WHAT DOES MY IPAD MEAN TO ME?

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Yesterday was an exciting day for me. I went shopping on the Internet on my laptop. It seems like I have been spending a lot of time there lately, like a lot of other Americans. Such an easy way for my fingers to do the walking. Sales abounded everywhere for all of the fun things that cash or a credit card can manage. I knew just what I was looking for, having discussed it endlessly for months. I already was aware of all of the wonderful new features that awaited me. Lightness of weight, faster, newer applications, all of these abided on the new Ipad Air 2, and I was about to order one.
It was a big day for my husband also, since he was going to be the recipient of my “old” Ipad. This sounded just fine to him: he thought the “old” one was just great, light enough, fast enough, and had so many apps already he didn’t know what to do with all of them. So I clicked the shopping cart button, checked it all out, and I was the owner of the new Air 2. They said I could pick it up at the store in two hours, so off we went to Plant City.
It turned out to be astonishingly easy to set it up myself, everything that was stored in the Cloud downloaded itself to the new one. All I had to do was hunt up passwords for the applications. Altho I do not understand the Cloud, I do know that it works, and it is just like a miracle.
Having an Ipad is a wonderful thing for me. It has opened up so many new worlds that I never had access to. I now have friends everywhere that I have only seen in pictures, but the photos bring us all closer. Whenever anything good or not so good happens to someone I know, I am one of the first to hear it. Having my blog has brought friends from all over the world, and a different way of looking at things. Playing games with relatives or old acquaintances is a great way of connecting with each other. The ability to play my favorite slot machines without spending any money can’t be beat.
Puzzles are a great way of keeping my mind sharp. I keep in touch with relatives and friends from long ago even tho we aren’t physically in each others lives anymore.
My writing is one of the main blessings in my life, and the Ipad is a huge part of that. Being able to express myself freely is so much easier, with a great instrument. Putting articles together for our writing group is a very satisfying accomplishment for me.
With all of its ups and downs, I am connected to the stock market every day with my Ipad. I can make trades, study reports, read opinions, and realize anew just how much fun it is. Even if it is a down day, I am connected with the financial world where I can invest. And on a good day I can watch the figures on the screen and smile.
I am so happy that I have lived in this time frame and been able to partake of the pleasures of the electronic world. It was meant for me, I just know it. Someday, in the far off future I hope, my family and friends will be able to read what I have written and know me just a little bit better. In the meantime I will continue to write, play games, do my crossword puzzles on line, invest, and watch my husband as he also plays and studies with my old Ipad. He looks pretty happy to me too.

ELECTRONIC THANKFULNESS

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On the first day of winter, I am choosing to be thankful for all of the pictures on my Ipad and computer screensaver.
Over the years one of the mainstays of my life has been doing a lot of traveling. Some of it was going from one place to another in order to change my place of residence. Some of it was just pure pleasure, on a cruise ship or in our car. Even buses and airplanes had their day in the sun and one thing that tied them together was all of the pictures that I took along the way.
At first it was a pretty simple Kodak camera, and it took 20 pictures and plenty of them were not really worth saving. But we graduated to a better instrument as the years went by and I saved them for a while. Because I was living in so many different places all around the country I sent the majority of them to relatives to brag about all of the places in our American West. I am sure that lots of my children still have those old black and white pictures in their albums somewhere.
But now everything has changed. I take pictures with the Iphone or my Ipad, copy my friends pictures on Facebook, and put them into a screensaver on anything electronic. At any time I can sit and watch the pictures from all over the United States that I have actually visited, or smile at the children’s faces from long ago.
And when I look at an Alaskan landscape like a glacier, I can still bring forth the memories of standing on the deck of a cruise ship, can still feel the majesty and the awe that I experienced on that memorable day.
I can look at the picture of a great grandson only two hours old, and it is just like I was still there. Here in Florida I can look at our fruit trees in Michigan, loaded with blossoms, and remember how lucky I am to have lived on a farm. I can and do bring all of the faces of our children right in front of me, feeling the love and respect that we have for each other.
A screensaver is a wonderful thing, and I am so thankful for it. It is the reminder of all of the wonderful events in my life, always to be savored no matter where I am. Every picture is a reminder of how good life has been to me and so this is what I am most thankful for this Christmas.

THE FARMERS MARKET

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Is it really the “farmers” market
Or does it belong to the customer?
Standing behind the counter in our busy stall,
Sorting out apricots, golden and beckoning,
I watch the people walking by.

Young mothers with strollers, or their babies in back packs,
Older women with teenagers trailing behind them
Women in work suits or long dresses,
Hurrying thru their workaday lunch hour.
Always there are women with canes, or walkers,
Or clinging to the arm of a granddaughter.
Older couples, a little bent, and hair of gray or silver,
Men sent by their wives for a special item.
Single men learning to buy and cook for themselves,
Fathers, brought along to carry the many bags and baskets,
Young women asking for advice.
“How do I cook this, or which one is the best buy?”
Older women, buying varieties they remember from childhood,
The laughter, the smiles, the joyful greetings,
The questions of people who assume I know the answers.
The many customers who just want to talk to the “farmer”.
The pleasure of pleasing the friends stopping at our stall,
And the delight of working with our fellow co-workers.
The abundance, the vivid colors of the many fruits and vegetables.
The heavenly aroma of the bouquets of flowers blazing
Everywhere along the crowded aisle.
The courtesy, the kindnesses of the farmers for their customers.

This is truly “The People’s Market” to me.

WHEN?

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WHEN?

When will it get easier?
When will I always remember?
When will I look upon all beings with love?
When will I treat others with the golden rule?
When will I accept everything just the way it unfolds?
When will all paths be smoothed for me?
When?
When I relax
When I release
When I let go
When I stop insisting
When I stop controlling
When I remember I am an extension of God’s love,
Here on earth.

I MADE IT!!!!!

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hearts_sWords just don’t express all of the feelings that I have today, seeing all of the posts, comments, likes, presents, and joy that I am experiencing here on my 80th birthday.  Somehow I never was that sure that I would actually make this birthday a reality.  For 62 of those years I have been an adult, and just about everything that I ever really wanted to do, I have at least tried.  I have been married for 57 of those years, but it has taken three husbands to do it. Children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren have surrounded me most of my life.  I have lived in many different states, traveled whenever I had the opportunity, lived in mobile homes, apartments, houses, and even a camper during summer work in the Colorado mountains. My work usually took me to offices or banks or libraries, where I always enjoyed my work and the contacts with so many people.  For eight years I sold fruit at the Farmers Market with my husband, Bob, a lifelong farmer.  Now I am a writer, a poet,  a meditator, an avid reader, in love with my Ipad, and all of the wonderful things I can do with it, and the friends that I can meet. 

Having a major birthday is a great time to look around me, both to look back, and to look forward, and to see all of the blessings that surround me.  Thank you all my friends and family.  When I look at all of the names on the posts, I see all of the various stages of my life, and I wouldn’t get rid of any of them.  While there are always things that I could have done differently and much better, I am really happy to have arrived at this point, and know that all is well, no matter what.