I remember Uncle Herschel telling me one time: “There are two ways to be rich, Becky….earn more or want less.” Uncle Herschel was a very wise man.
I spent most of my working life living from paycheck to paycheck and always wanted (not to be rich) but to have just enough to be able to pay the bills, have some money tucked away for the “rainy days” and, most importantly, safeguard a small, secret “stash” for spontaneous adventures that make one’s soul grow and and body/mind feel completely uplifted.
That dream is closer now than it ever was previously. Who would have “thunk it?” Living off social security and state retirement….more money comes in now than when I was teaching or working as an administrator. Several occurrences followed suit to bring about this joyous phenomenon.
First…..I must thank Pat Bower and the rest of the educational staff at CSU for sitting me down and explaining why it was so important for me to get my Masters (which ended up as a Masters + 30 for all the renewal credits I had earned over so many years.) A real financial “leap of faith” that paid off, big time, in retirement dividends.
Second… I left the classroom the last four years of my career and took a 10 month administrative job that paid more for more time.
Third….As a retired state employee I got (and get) the best health plan in the world. Believe me…I know because the medicines keeping me keeping on are in the thousands of dollars monthly. I pay only a very small fraction…..perhaps a nice blouse or pair of pants amount.
Fourth: “Little c” came along and eventually provided me with a disability social security pension that was higher than what I would have ever gotten normally. I figured the prognosis the team of doctors wrote back to them must have looked pretty dim because I got my first check six weeks after applying….no fanfare or lawyers or anything…just a check appeared in the mail.
SS must have “assumed” from the prognosis that they wouldn’t be out much money for very long. (I think God smiles with me each month when my social security check arrives!)
In retrospect…every time it looked like a financial disaster was about to crash down on my head….something or Someone always happened along to prevent this from occurring. God was holding my hand back then too…I just didn’t know it. He helped me sidestep every possible, hidden explosive on the field of life’s possibilities.
So today “less is best.” A jelly jar of flowers from my garden brings on the same smile that a bouquet of flowers used to cost me at the store or florist.
Speaking of finding beauty in jelly jars and garden flowers, (including wildflowers) …I discovered a wonderful article. I read about a young lady who is changing the look of floral arrangements…a “natural woman” I believe.
Her name is Clover Chadwick, which fits perfectly for the theme of her arrangements….she uses everything in nature, including wildflowers. The name of her shop defines her love of natural, organic, free-form arrangements: Dandelion Ranch.
As a little girl she remembered sitting in the back seat of the car and marveling at the beauty of wildflowers growing along the road and in the meadows….always tilting towards the sun. Later…she became a collector of bottles left by the road, or wooden crates, broken pots, tire wheels, and yes… jelly jars. Today these are her containers for her floral arrangements.
Here are some pictures from the magazine Living where I, first, caught an article on her and have since researched and discovered how serenely beautiful her style of arranging is to the eye. Her containers bring back memories of yesteryear.
I thought my daughter Mandy’s wedding was one of the most beautiful in its simplicity….Joanne King and Ann Baggett did a wonderful job with the flowers! They had simple little galvanized pails filled with blue hydrangeas and one white rose attached to each row of chairs set up outside over-looking the marsh and creek. So serene! Lesson learned from these two talented ladies: Never compete with the beauty of nature outside…instead use it to enhance a celebration!
*My first hydrangea just bloomed in my garden and it is blue….that is what brought back memories of Mandy and John’s wedding. When I went to take the picture darkness was descending so I took one and the flash came on and then turned off the flash for the next photo…..the beauty of light and darkness and how it changes objects never ceases to amaze me. (L to R) Flash, no flash
So until tomorrow: What a difference the quality of our lives takes….when we finally realize that giving up “stuff” is the best feeling of freedom in the world. Suddenly we feel light as a feather….completely unburdened by the gravity of too much!
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh