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Believe in Yourself
An elderly neighbor died. Soon after, large garbage bags appeared outside her home. Her family must have had the arduous task of cleaning out her possessions. It’s hard enough to deal with the loss of a loved one. Having to sort through everything from personal items to files of paperwork only adds to the misery. The memory of that heap of garbage bags made me resolve to begin a decluttering project. I’d start with my writing files. Gloom descended as I sorted through yellowed writing folders with page after page of no-thank-you letters. I tossed out a bulging folder with…
Start with a Story
My phone interview with Jerry Apps last week was not only enlightening, but emotional. The 87-year-old is the author of over 40 books. He’s also the amazing but humble star in many PBS documentaries about the land and farming in the 50s.  We share a publisher, and during a Zoom meeting he told a story—as only Jerry can—of a farmer’s wife who approached him after one of his presentations. She credited him with saving her husband’s life. She told Jerry that her husband had been severely depressed, possibly even suicidal, until he began reading Jerry’s books. “Farmers have a high…
Big Money
I was in a panic. I didn’t have an idea for a Thanksgiving column. I could share my long list of things I was grateful for, but nothing listed was especially unique and column-worthy. Then a woman stopped me after church. She mentioned that she still thought about a column I’d written several years ago that explained that I didn’t play the lottery because I did not want to win. I didn’t want my life disrupted, and I worried the winnings could ruin lives. I still feel this way.  Imagine giving a grandchild enough money to buy the car of…
Fellow Seniors, Let’s Get Going!
Fellow Seniors, Let’s Get Going! A Facebook friend recently posted results of an extensive 2018 U.S.A study showing that the most productive age in human life is between 60 to 70 years of age. She joked that she had better get going. The study intrigued me and I investigated further. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the second most productive stage for people is from 70 to 80 years of age. The third is from 50 to 60. November seems the ideal month to talk about productivity. Winter is closing in, and it’s the easiest time to knuckle…
Love Heals
Last week my husband and I walked into a family restaurant that caters to locals. Near our table sat an elderly man wearing a veteran’s cap. A medium-sized, black and white dog wearing a service vest lay under his table.The dog’s constant wagging tail made me smile.  “I see you like dogs,” the vet said.  I nodded. “And I think it’s great how they’re being used to help people.” I thought of a blind classmate of mine who was guided around the campus by his dog. I’d also recently read how dogs are helpful for children with autism, since they…
Travel Story Souvenirs
During my nine-day “Painted Canyons” tour of Utah’s parks, I refrained from accumulating national park stamps and souvenirs. Instead, I collected travel stories, some current and others dating back many years. Since we were with a bus group, I shared my experience while on a previous bus tour to Washington D.C. A pair of arrogant elderly women kept changing seat name tags so they got to sit in front all the time. Finally, the tour guide told them if they didn’t stop, she’d insist they leave the tour. Our Painted Canyons tour guide told an amazing story about a friend…
Hair-tingling Shivers
“Get away from that edge,” a woman warned my husband. He and I were part of a group living on the edge, touring Canyonlands, one of the five national parks we’d view in Utah over the next few days. The voice belonged to a woman in our group who admitted she had anxiety issues about heights. I’m not much better.  I cautiously take two steps and peer over the edge. If someone stumbled, they’d tumble down more than a 1,000 feet. I feel weak in the knees. Just one little misstep or a ledge that weakens and crumbles and a…
Get a Buzz On
As an author and columnist, I’m often asked how I get my ideas. I get them from daily life. Ideas can come from something I’ve experienced, read about, a reflection, a tug at the heart, or something that strikes me as funny. I’ve heard other authors mention that they know they’re on to something when they get goosebumps, feel a tingle in their scalp or a shiver. I get a buzz on—an awesome “high” feeling.  I felt “the buzz” a few days ago when I answered the phone in my hotel room. It was my ten-year-old grandson. “Grammy, did you…
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