Monday, October 10, 2016

A Purposeful Life

When I was working, I spent my professional life dedicated to working with students. I loved my job. having a great sense of pride that I was a teacher. I always considered my job a honor and a privilege to work with young people, helping them to grow and move forward in life. As minuscule as my contribution was, I always felt it a privilege to teach.

Then I retired. I was tired physical and mentally. Six months after my retirement a during regular yearly exam my blood pressure was sky high. Panicking I went to the next MD who put me on more blood pressure medication. After the first of the year, I decided to join Weight Watchers, which helped me lose 25 pounds. I feel much better and I continue to work on weight loss.

I realized, too, that laong with seeking good health in retirement, I needed to lead a purposeful life.  Only in the last few weeks have I actually set the goal of leading a purposeful life, and when I note to my friends and family that I am seeking to do something purposeful each day, they look puzzled and ask me what I mean.

Retirement often for some who have lived their entire life working is a very daunting life change that some just cannot handle. Some choose to go back to work. Some just sit in front of the TV or computer. Some just fade away when they could have had a greater purpose, a fulfilling life beyond the job they were dedicated to.

Nor does the adjustment to that change occur over night. LatelyI have determined to do something purposeful every day whether it be a load of laundry or pulling weeds, or visiting with a friend or nurturing family.  The point is that I do something that moves me forward in life each day rather than just sitting and watching TV or even working on my hobbies--not that they don't serve a purpose; I need to get something accomplished and sometimes that is very hard to do when the job is no longer a driving force of life.

Thus today's mosaic reflects my purposeful project for yesterday. I had Robert Frost's poem "After Apple Picking" in mind as the Head Gardener and I picked the remaining apples--well, most of them. Each tim I drove up the garage I saw those unpicked apples going to waste, so after the HG graded the horse corral with the tractor, I enlisted his help in apple picking.

I bought a food dehydrater fro Bed Bath and Beyond on Thursday, so anxious to use it I used my handy dandy Kitchen Aid peeler/slicer/corer to prepare the apples. I can't say how many I processed, but as you can see the four trays yielded 3 small baggies of dried apples that are, by the way, packed with flavor. 

And so Frost states perfectly my feelings toward apples: 

For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking; I am overtired 
Of the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, 
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall

Once the dehydrator was humming away, I peeled and sliced more apples to can. I wanted to can apple pie filling, but ended up just canning blanched slices. It will be to season them later. I put them  pints, too. A lot of work for little yield. I followed directions from the website Pick Your, making this task very simple: blanch sliced apples for 5 minutes, pack in sterilized jars, use the blanching water to cover the apples in the jars, place sterilized lids on, then process for 30 minutes in canner--30 minutes at our high altitude. 

Living a purposeful life, however, is certainly not all work and not play. Last week company arrived from Texas. They always love the drive to Estes Park. So do we, and it generally takes company to get us up there. The town for the most part will shut down this winter because the main highway will be under construction to repair damage from the 2013 flood. Year round residences will have passes to travel the road twice a day during restricted hours. The businesses will board up for the winter.


The day was warm, but cool with a  bit of breeze, making a stroll up and down main street pleasant and enjoyable.


The bull elk are in rut; this handsome one has his harem of cows just outside of side. He always draws such attention, stops traffic. What grand creature.

We don't drive to the top of Trail Ridge, which will be closing soon. While the sun was shining in town, up the mountain the clouds moved in bring bits of snow and rain. Our Texas friends were excite to see a bit of snow. The fall colors were in full glory, too.

It was a purposeful day.

Now I must spend considerable time catching up what all of you have been doing the last two weeks, a most purposeful way to spend time. I though of Diane in Florida, Lavender Dreams,  wondering how she and her husband survived the Mathew. (Quick check of you blog shows you did).

Later in the day will be updating Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. Stop by this week.

Thank you stopping by. I've missed you.

Linking with Maggie for Mosaic Monday at Normandy Life.


  1. Thanks for thinking of me, girlfriend! Yes, we are having beautiful weather now. We had high winds but very little rain and it was over in less than a day. I know many areas were hard hit though and my heart goes out to them. Love this post. My husband and I retired but found ways to contribute in our community. It keeps us active and busy and feeling good about how we spend our time. So nice to have time to play too though! Sweet hugs, Diane

  2. It has been a long time since I have been to Estes Park, beautiful it was back in the 1980's before it was so popular! Glad your are figuring out your retirement. I can not wait being tired too, but I wonder will I make the most of when it comes. I also pray I make it TO retire, and am well enough for Mr and I to enjoy it. In the mean time every morning I tell myself "your blessed to have a job to go to and well enough To go to it!" Congrats on the 25 pound wt loss too!

  3. Great post, Ann! I love doing all the little things there are to do in a home. I also love the blissful interruptions of family. That's why I retired a bit early (early because I was a late bloomer).
    Your apple work is impressive!
    We need to figure out when we can get together again!

  4. A good post Ann with thought to doing something of purpose every day. That is my goal too and although I've done a lot of volunteer work since I retired in 2003 I've cut back on it and offer myself to various opportunities rather than one specific thing. (i.e. gardening committees and boards)
    I decided this year would be the one to meet new people through travel, classes and workshops etc. which I have been doing.
    Looks like fun with your new dehydrator, guess you'll be looking around for foods to put in it.

  5. When you are retired you have to have a reason to get up in the morning - it could be so easy to let life pass you by until you're ready for the grave. Winter is the hardest time I think when you are cooped up for most of the day - it does help if you have plenty of interests and try to keep active - personally I find that there aren't enough hours in the day and I too get behind with the blogging circuit. Keeping a positive attitude is important don't you think.

  6. I've been retired since 1998, and my life is full. I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize that I'm not dreaming. '-) I, too, was a teacher, so I know how busy your days were. I find that filling my days with activity is sheer pleasure. I love not having a schedule with a commitment to be at work at 7:15 every day. Good luck with your retirement and congratulations on the success at weight watchers. All the best!

  7. Great post, Ann. Yes, it's important to move forward in life and not stagnate. For now, I'm glad to be working part time, although with teaching, it could just as easily be full time, as I'm sure you know.
    Wonderful apple harvest. Frost's poem is one of my daughter's very favorites.

  8. I sure hear you on the purposeful life. Some days I feel at loose ends, puttering about aimlessly. And other days, I'm a whirlwind of activity. The joy is to have that option, because even though some days aren't as productive, at least I'm still reading a book or editing my photos. Plus I am busy with my church's music ministry, singing at mass regularly. It's a good life.

  9. Your post really made we want to applaud you, Ann...if you could only hear! We reach a point in life sometimes where we don't know exactly where we are needed nor what we really WANT to do. I have felt so much like you it's as if we have spoken with each other. Every night I would ask myself if I had had a productive day (odd how we both use that word), and I would tick off everything I thought I had done to make me happy, move forward, get tasks done...just move. It was really soul satisfying and it works for me now as well. You have a huge amount of time behind you where you fulfilled goals and dreams and enabled kids to follow their dreams and find their own. That sort of satisfaction would give me a lot of peace. I hope it does you.

    I think it's great that you joined WW. I keep telling myself I will find the perfect plan to drop the weight, even a bit at a time. Ha---too busy. Silly me.

    Your pics are lovely. Tell me how this KitchenAid peeler works. I had a simple model to help me make pies and it was so clumsy and useless.


  10. Dear Ann, a wonderful post that has us all nodding our heads in agreement. Your apples will give you pleasure in the months ahead not just for the taste but also for the memory of a purposeful day. Thank you for being a part of Mosaic Monday.

  11. Ann, Sounds like you have found a good balance in life. Thanks for sharing your photos. The apples look great and it is good to have preserved them. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  12. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post, Ann! I think that a day without a good deed committed is a day wasted. (And this of course doesn't mean I manage to do something purposeful every day!) Moving forward in life, trying to improve oneself, trying to make the world a little bit better... this kind of things make you sleep peacefully at night. :)
    Your apple project looks lovely.
    Wishing you good health and a happy weekend!


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