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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

English Springtime.......................

I miss my home the most in the Springtime. The beautiful English lanes just budding into a perfect green, the scent of Bluebells in the air. To see them at a distance as one drives the country roads the brilliant blue of the sky echoes in the woodlands below, with that hint of green just awakening in the trees. Along the hedgerows Primroses and Daffodils bloom in perfect yellows. Mrs Wren will be nesting there in the ivy below and the Rabbits have babies in the undergrowth. In the fields are lambs frolicking as only they can. That is Spring time to me.
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There is nothing on earth quite like the Bluebells. I see them in movies and it always fills my heart, children running through woodlands with the blue all around them, a bubbling stream maybe and the expectation of magic somehow, a fairy flitting among the branches watching the earthy children. It brings to mind that movie about the children that took the pictures of fairies that became such a sensation. How did they do it? was it fake? So many people were intrigued by a picture taken by a child. It seemed to be real and yet? I loved that movie. It was up there for me with the Secret Garden. I think I must watch both of those again.
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There is nothing quite like the English hedgerow. So ancient and so wonderfully made. I have spoken often before about them. They give shelter to so many creatures, large and small and the wildflowers, the Dog Roses, Cow Parsley, Holly, Blackberries, so many things that as a child we would collect. Picking is no longer allowed, but still most of my generation have the memories and this generation are most likely too busy with cell phones and things electronic to want to wander through the lanes and footpaths like we did.
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I have been saddened to see the way the Foxes have been treated in England, a country known for animal lovers to kill Foxes as vermin is unbelievable to me. They kill chickens, I understand that. Take care of your chickens then. If a Fox gets into your chickens it is your fault. The Fox is doing what Foxes do. You are responsible for the chickens and their safety. I would be angry too if my chickens were killed, but I would not blame the Fox.
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It's the same here with Coyotes, they will kill baby animals, it's how they live. You are the caretaker. Get a dog to watch your animals then, that's what smart people do.
In the English hedgerows dwell any number of creatures. Badgers, Hedgehogs and a huge variety of birds.
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Beautiful creatures that would most likely die out without that protection.
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I feel so fortunate to have been raised where I was, in the countryside. I lived in Bedfordshire home to the Green Lanes and the Dunstable Downs close by. Ivinghoe Beacon and the Ashridge Estate. My childhood was spent wandering the fields and playing down on my friend Margaret's farm. A country girl I was and always will be.
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My love of the outdoors and wild life, wild flowers, gardens and all animals have been a huge blessing to me. Being able to see these things and to have had the heart to appreciate them, I am forever grateful.
"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven—
All's right with the world!"

~Robert Browning, 'The Year's at the Spring.'

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Compassion...................

This is not a political post even though that comes into it. I was born and raised in England, when I was young we had a Socialist Government. My Dad was into politics, he enjoyed the debate (much to my mums disgust) and wanted to do what he could in his work and living situations. So he was a member of the Labour Party. From what I can see, its not the same party now, much the same as here in the States, traditional values have changed. He was a union man. In his day the unions brought very necessary change to the lives of factory workers. Safety for machines that had often left people maimed due to lack of guards when they were needed. Accidents that could be prevented. No one though of suing back then, they fought to change things and make them better. Most of us started work at 14 or 15 years old but the old child labour laws had changed, so that children did not have to work in factories any longer. Going back to my genealogy children of 4 years old helped their parents to work from home. The women in my area were "plaiters" they plaited straw for the hat industry. A lot of women in my parents day did "Homework".......I know mum did several jobs from home. One I recall was putting birthday cards into the plastic sleeves or something like that, putting a card with an envelope and they got paid by the amount that they did. My Aunt Sally made hats. Putting feathers on them. Back then everyone wore hats.
Under the Labour Party many things were run by the government. That would never be popular here in the States. However, there were some advantages. The BBC ran the airwaves and one had a licence to own a TV or Radio. No big deal, a small fee. The electricity and Gas were controlled as were public transportation and so in my mind (I was a kid) everything ran smoothly. One put a coin in the meter and got a certain amount of electricity. I remember when someone forgot to put money in and there would be this clunking noise as the lights went out. You would have to search for a coin in the dark or go next door to ask for one. However, everyone had the necessary means to live. Trains and buses went everywhere one did not need a car. Coal and things like that used for fires. All went smoothly. People grew vegetables in their gardens or had an allotment.
When this changed and things were privatized so much happened, strikes for more money left us over the winters usually using candles and cooking over a coal fire in the living room. We learned to survive. God help us if the coal man went on strike.
The big thing in England was the National Health Care system. A wonderful piece of (?) legislation. Public schools that taught everything imaginable. (even though they had little success in teaching me math or spelling it was not their fault haha.)
Now..........to me, a country is not civilized if it does not give it's people health care from cradle to grave. Yes one pays higher taxes but few do not get back more than they pay in. You can opt out and pay insurance for private care always. People who live there complain. People always complain. You don't have to die because you cant go to the doctors though and throughout Europe you will see that most all countries have some form of health care far superior to the USA. I could go on. Doctors who made house calls. Midwives. Free dental and optical. If you could not pay, then free burial. The schools are free and superior to any here. Higher education as well.
So now.............here we are with a president who is taking away the most basic human rights for us living in the USA that is supposed to be the leader in the free world. What a joke that is. To increase his military budget he is taking away things like free school lunches, when sometimes that is the only good meal the child gets. Meals on wheels for the elderly. It will be a step back for us. The public schools are in a mess now and the teachers are beside themselves. Please read this

Michelle Charland

I can't help but have tears in my eyes and pain in my stomach. I've loved and taught too many children over the past 20 years to stand back and watch our education system get torn apart!!
Please call your Representative and tell them to vote No on House Bill 10. Our children deserve better than this!!!!!!
"To those of you not in the education field, you may not understand a lot of the educational jargon and the foundation of the American education system. Having a school voucher system (proposed by Trump's Education secretary Betsy DeVos) doesn't just mean you can choose any school you want your kid to go to. It also means the public education program will be dismantled. Let me explain...
If your child has an IEP, frame it. Then kiss it good-bye.
If you have a job in special-education, meaning if you're a: special education teacher, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, a para, or a teacher's aid, you're in the same boat.
If you are in ESL teacher, you'll go first.
House Bill 610 makes some large changes.
Inform yourselves.
This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17 and starts the defunding process of public schools.
The bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation's educational law that provides equal opportunity in education.
ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, advanced and gifted kids in AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance, and Federal Accountability Programs. Yes, there are all of these programs happening in our education system, in addition to just academics.
The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.
The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting Special Needs kids, no mention of IDEA, and FAPE.
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities:
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning.
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on House Bill 610

I was not going to get political but here we are.
The situation with health care could leave millions without insurance and those who have pre-existing conditions or in the middle of treatments. What are people supposed to do? Just die? Is that what Trump wants.
Sure Obama care may not be perfect. It has helped a lot, but others are paying way more than they can afford. So fix it.............don't do away with it. Face the problems and fix them. Or here's a thought. Universal Health and dental care. Who can afford a dentist. I sure can't.
It is a mess...............the greed is overwhelming. Where is the compassion for those less fortunate, yes including immigrants.
I know that in England (and Europe) the immigration problem is desperate. They flow in and are welcomed by the government who give them access to health care that they have not worked for or paid in to the system. True. What's the alternative? Let them die? No...........fix the laws that are flawed. Be sure some kind of work is found for them to earn their care. Educate them and move them forwards into society. In America, what happened to bring me your sick and dying, we have become a country of "I got mine, fuck you" (sorry)
What is the answer? Free enterprise is great. Becoming wealthy is great. You cant legislate compassion but people can shame them into paying a fair share in taxes with no offshore accounts, no loopholes and instilling into people the fact that the more you have the more is expected of you. Its all about power and possessions. How much money can a person use. Some great men like Bill Gates understands it, he remembers where he came from and there are many many like him, but not enough. This while people like Trump use the laws and loopholes to avoid paying taxes and yet earn billions ever year and are proud that they avoided taxes that go into the national budget to help those less fortunate. That is morally and ethically wrong to me.
When some have billions that they will never ever spend, nor will their kids or grandkids, and refuse to give up anything to help the homeless. Shame one them. It does not matter if anyone "deserves" to be helped, it's not something that one should judge. You don't know their story. That brings me to this, mental health. When the State Hospitals were closed nothing replaced them. Now people are out there (with guns) and no help because they cant afford the health care. Yet, the laws change so that even the mentally ill can purchase a gun or at least that is what it is coming to. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE IN IT?
This president is also at war with the environment, destruction of the planet is fine by him. All that has been done to protect the public lands and animals, all in danger of being undone by one man who is the epitome of greed. Worse yet are the people who follow him.
Sorry, no nice pictures in this post. I could go on but will leave it at that.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March Adventures...............................

Today Laura and I took off on one of our adventures. First we went to breakfast, I was hungry so we did that before we left town, just as well we did. I forgot my camera and my phone. The very reason we were going out. To take pictures. Anyway I had two eggs and cheese hashbrown casserol. IT was OK but I would have prefered regular hashbrowns but the toast and marmalade made up for that. So, we stopped by the house on the way back and picked up the cameras gave the poodles some more treats and left heading for Point Betsie. Did I say it was cold? It was bloody freezing. 28 degrees and windy, but at least not as windy as the last few days.
Laura took this picture. I didn't get that angle and I like it.
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Here are a couple of mine.
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I was hoping to get the ice pictures but the ice was almost gone, still I did take a couple of pretty ones. Walking was easy because the sand is frozen.
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We have seen some great pictures by brave souls who went there mid winter and got wonderful shots. From there we went down into Frankfort hoping for some great wave pictures but alas, no waves so I didn't even get out. Still trying the thaw out from the beach. The sun came out and it went up to 30degrees. Wow, the sun was warm if you stood out of the wind. It was lovely and refreshing. Cleared out the lungs.
So not even stopping at Frankfort beach we headed for the Platte River. I remembered that I never did take Laura there. So we set back on the trail home. We passed these cute guys, Mersangers I think.
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Saw a couple of deer but missed that shot. We got to the Platte River and turned down the road, we were lucky and there was no one there. Laura really liked that area and will be taking visitors there this summer as well as Robert and the kids. It is as beautiful as the Outer Banks in the Carolina's, in summer especially. Today we had it to ourselves. We stood on the beach and saw two Bald Eagles fly off.
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The Platte River runs into Lake Michigan. It is among pretty dunes and woodlands.
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If it had not been so cold we would have gone over to the sand bar but no way without getting very wet. That would have really frozen our toes.
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The winds have brought down quite a few trees, and a lot of people are without power. Fortunately not us, but we saw the signs all around of trees down on trails and back roads.
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Laura took us a selfie and a picture of me wearing Tristens hat. I need to get my knitting needles out and make us both our own hats.
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We walked back along the ridge among the trees out of the wind. The wind must have cleared out all the snow, just a few patches here and there.
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Look at this.......strawberry leaves
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and a blue blue sky
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After we left Platte River we were going to see if we could see any more deer, we have gone down to Esche Road beach but didn't get out we were still warming up. So we took off down the dirt road but didn't get far.
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So after stopping to get a snack we went to Port Oneida to check out our usual stomping grounds. Laura was very brave and we went up into the hills on the dirt tracks. No snow in the woods and it was not muddy so we did well. Still warming up, but got out to take pictures. Found a heart somewhere
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Turning into Port Oneida we saw these two having a chat.
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No deer though. We saw a few Hawks. Loads of Crows in big flocks (Murders) but normally around here we only see them in family groups. This guy was rather big but too far away for a good picture. We saw a juvenile Bald Eagle in a tree. He didn't cooperate.
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Still we saw them and were happy for that much. We wonder WHY don't we ever see bear. I mean they are waking up, they are all around here yet we never see them. Laura said it's because the Lord is keeping them away from us because we would want to pet them. Sigh..............probably right. Sheesh!!!!!!! Guess we have to be content with the regular suspects but it was so nice to see a Fox and the Bobcat, we don't ask for much. Just a picture.
Linking up with Skywatch Friday

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Poems of England................


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Jerusalem ["And did those feet in ancient time"]
BY WILLIAM BLAKE
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.

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Richard 11.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

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England, My England

WHAT have I done for you,
England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
England, my own?
With your glorious eyes austere,
As the Lord were walking near,
Whispering terrible things and dear
As the song on your bugles blown,
England -
Round the world on your bugles blown.

Where shall the watchful sun,
England, my England,
Match the master-work you've done,
England, my own?
When shall he rejoice agen
Such a breed of mighty men
As come forward, one to ten,
To the Song on your bugles blown,
England -
Down the years on your bugles blown?

Ever the faith endures,
England, my England:-
'Take and break us: we are yours,
England, my own!
Life is good, and joy runs high
Between English earth and sky:
Death is death; but we shall die
To the song on your bugles blown,
England -
To the stars on your bugles blown!'

They shall call you proud and hard,
England, my England:
You with worlds to watch and ward,
England, my own!
You whose mail'd hand keeps the keys
Of such teeming destinies,
You could not know nor dread nor ease
Were the song on your bugles blown,
England,
Round the Pit on your bugles blown!

Mother of ships whose might,
England, my England,
Is the fierce old Sea's delight,
England, my own,
Chose daughter of the Lord,
Spouse-in-chief of the ancient Sword,
There's the menace of the Word
In the Song on your bugles blown,
England -
Out of heaven on your bugles blown!

By William Ernest Henley (1849 - 1903)

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I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

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The English Country Lane

There is no path I'd rather roam,
than these narrow lanes about my home,
to leave my troubles far behind,
as I follow its track to places kind.

Past verges green and crops of gold,
up gentle hill, along valley fold.
past flower meadow, over silver stream,
as I lose my thoughts to natures dream.

Perhaps this is the path my ancestors walked,
where a lonely shepherd dreamt, where lovers talked,
I feel their spirits wander by,
as we journey unseen together, beneath summer sky.

A distant church spire, tall and grand,
beneath which villagers pray, for health of their land.
I join with them in a silent prayer,
for the beauty around me I see, I solemnly swear.

For along your path there is no wrong
just pretty flower, and bird of song
Natures beauty all around,
to fill my sight, to fill my sound.

Past English oak, through pastures new,
wherever you lead i shall follow you,
for you are my England, you are my home
and along your country lanes, my soul shall forever roam.

By Chris Plows ©

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Memories of Winter on a Dorset Moor

O! To stroll again on Dorset's rugged moor
Of tranquil memories, vivid and so pure
Where endless precious hours were often spent
And not one isolated moment did I lament
Those momentary things inconsequential
But with each minute, view God's beauty - quintessential.
To feel the crisp of frost-covered heather beneath my sole
And heed the greens and purple where 'ere I stroll.
I felt not, bare-leg'd skin when rent by prickl'd gorse
Though ne'er once did I feel anger or remorse
At mother nature's loving, playful ways
That she bestowed upon me in my bygone days
O! To watch again grey smoke billow from the stack
Of toy-like engines with carriages, red and black
Chugging forward busily on tracks of steel
Creating visions haunting and surreal
Over restful, matted heath and moor-land stream
Onwards, towards their journeys into nowhere, it would seem
Cutting swathes across the isolated heath
Their vented steam a-rising from beneath
And country folk who ne'er the fare could pay
Yet with their eyes enjoy their regal splendour
Majestic as an artist's eye would render.
They, to pace the hour-long walk along the track
From their humble cottages and back
To hear the mournful voices of the plover
Exchanging anxious calls to one another
When the wat'ry moon begins to slowly wane
And icy patterns form upon the window-pane
The skaters' frolics cease upon the frozen pond
As Jack Frost puts aside his wintry, magic wand
And hoary mists lay still upon the ground
He disappears into the night without a sound
When the time arrived for all to cease their roaming
I would depart for the warmth of home amid the gloaming

By Harry E Wheeler ©

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Auntie Annie...........................

Auntie Annie was a part of my childhood, a part of my life until I was in my teens. She would visit us every Friday evening. She would bring sweets and give me six pence. My Mum liked her sweets too and she too would buy some to share. So Friday nights for me was something to look forwards to. Auntie and sweets and a sixpence to spend. The Photo below is Annie and Daisy.
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Annie was my Grandmother Jenny's sister. She never married. It was said that she was engaged once but lost her fiance in the Great War. She did not apparently get over that, but it is hear say. I don't really know. I know she was very close with Daisy Swann who lived next door to my Grandparents. Burt and Jenny Hines, my Dad's parents, lived at St Omere in Houghton Regis. My parents lived with them for a time right after the war. Mum and dad married before he went overseas and Mum lived at her parents house until the war was over. I was born in 1946 and I believe they lived at St Omere for a time before they moved to their soon to be permanent home on Bidwell Hill.
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The above picture is of Mum rushing me inside to "clean me up" no idea what was involved there but the stout lady in the black is Annie.
Daisy Swann was an adopted daughter. I have no idea if that was formal or she just lived with the Hines family, but when her mother died and her father and family went elsewhere to live, Daisy stayed behind (probably because she was a girl) and was raised by the Hines family.Her father probably thought it best for her. Life was very harsh then. So basically Annie and Daisy were like sisters.
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The above picture is of my great grandparents with Annie and Daisy the baby may be Jenny.I am not sure at this point as all my pictures are put away, I can correct this later.
Well anyway, Daisy and Annie had to be very close because Annie lived with her and her husband Bill Swann for the remainder of her life. They lived next door to St Omere at The Ferns. Notice so many English houses have names rather than numbers. I love that.
Well Annie was a member of the Baptist Church in Houghton Regis. My parents were Church of England but never went to church. Annie spend a good deal of time involved in church activities. When I was small she would come and get me and take me to tend the family graves. I loved that. I loved the cemeteries and that remained with me always. I was never uncomfortable there, I found it peaceful and pleasant. She showed me where everyone was and we would change the flowers on many graves during our days visit. Some I remember but mostly I just remember loving being with her.
Annie probably was a great influence on me. To all who knew her she was a true Christian lady. She was quiet and unassuming. I can see her still bending to pick lint off the living room carpet. Tidy and fussy. Like me.
She bought me a picture of Jesus on the cross that was in my bedroom above my bed growing up. I reluctantly got rid of that when I was older because I was told it was wrong to have images of our Lord. I regret that now.
Sometimes she would come and call for me and take me with her to visit old people who were shut ins. Sick people who needed groceries of something. I am not sure exactly what she was up to but she took me with her sometimes. I can remember at least two places we would visit. She was a kind lady. A giving lady and she gave of her time to those less fortunate. No one had money in those days, it was all about doing what you could for those who needed it.
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I didn't realize when I was young, that she worked but she did. A picture of her retirement above.
I would love to know more about her life but alas everyone is gone now. I do know that she took my cousins Brenda and Janet on some of the same missions as she took me and they remember her too with much love. She would take us to Harvest Festival at the chapel and I know that when I was older I would go with my friend Jean. I loved the Chapel and the way they looked after people. At Harvest festival the front of the church would be full of baskets of baked goods, vegetables and flowers. All given to the less fortunate in the village.
They told me I look like her. I think I can see it.
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Now if I can be as good of a person as she was, then I would be happy. I would like people to remember me as I remember her. I hope I can achieve that goal before my time is up.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ice Ice Baby...................................

So we went from 65 degrees at the beginning of the week to this. Today is Friday and we have a snow day. Schools are shut and roads are bad. Ice. Snow. Rain. Thunder. All this morning. We awoke to rain on top of the snow that came last night. This is Michigan.
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It looks so pretty, but causes so many problems when it is so heavy. The ploughs and sanders have been very busy. Just as well because the roads are ice with a layer of wet snow. This stuff does not last long though so there is some hope.
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Want to sit awhile? I thought not.
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The buds are frozen but will be OK. Better to stop them from popping now than have them freeze later.
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I put out bird food but I think they will wait till it has thawed a bit.
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No bird wants to sit on that stuff.
So I asked Brea if she wanted to go out. She wagged her tail but said no.
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Boots heard and said "I may want to go out"
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"Just kidding, I am not going out there today"
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I don't blame either one, although they all went out at some point but came right in to their heating pad and blankets.
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Stay safe out there.
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We sometimes get the worst storms in March. Hard to believe we were outside yesterday with no coats on. Yup. That's Michigan for ya. May get to try snow shoeing after all.