Are You Ok?

Elsa and Joy – my little charge and my dog. I’ve been Elsa’s nanny / tutor since she was two-years-old, almost seven years now. Joy has always watched over Elsa.  What we pass on to a child  – that’s what matters. One of the things I’m most proud about is helping Elsa learn to serve others. Over the years we have made and distributed get well cards, valentines, thinking of you pictures…letting people know they are cared about and loved.

I’ve also shared my love of books and of nature and walking with Elsa. Loving living in the mountains is something we share with most of the people who live here. Living here is not for most people – just a handful of us unusual folks.


I have so many blessings. I am often amazed at my good fortune and yet it is not uncommon for me to wake up with that butterfly feeling of nervousness in the pit of my stomach any given day. I work at being happy. As maybe most of the United States population did, grew up in a  dysfunctional family and it left its mark. Then I married into one that would have referred to its self as ‘perfect.’  It always amazes me that still, some people are so concerned with looking like they have the perfect family and home. The more someone insist on such a appearance – the more likely I’m thinking they are closer to dysfunctional than the nonexistent perfection they are working so hard at conveying.

Some days are better than others but I am doing pretty darn good. ***I REALLY do appreciate my blessings.

I LOVE my imperfect husband – I LOVE imperfect US. We are going to celebrate the 48th anniversary of our 1st date this week. I was 17 and had just graduated high school. He was 20 and had just finished his second year of college, first year at Rice University. We were both in pivotal positions in our lives. It’s telling that we celebrate this day every year. I’ve always loved that we have FUN together! It doesn’t matter if we are on a big fancy date or a simple one – as long as we are together.


This weekend while we enjoyed walking with our dogs in the mountains – something we do together regularly, we also had tasty dinners of big salads and homemade pizza and soft tacos with ground plant protein instead of ground meat while watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy and Downton Abbey movie. Downton Abbey was a good reminder that life goes on even with death. My husband’s Uncle Charles and his wife Darlene are the only people I have ever seen who really did seem calmly accepting of death.


This weekend Bruce and I also made reservations for travels.  We know we won’t be able to go / see/ do forever – NOW is the time to do what we want. We’ve raised our kids. We gave them the tools they would need to take care of themselves and they do a good job of that.


We’ve been preparing for their visits this summer. Our daughter and family are coming in July and our son and family are coming in August.  I struggle with clutter – I greatly dislike it, but I struggle with it. Going through stuff is a melancholy activity for me – like: here’s a life in a box. Our lives aren’t our stuff.  Our stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is not how things look but how are they.


Are people kind. Accepting of differences. Flexible.



It’s ok not to be happy all the time and not to feel like we have to act happy. Too much is just not ok. Serving others, helping others, being kind to others is the best feeling – do it. That’s what matters.



I have to say while our visitors might not be glad with our cool, rainy days we locals are delighted and appreciative.


   There’s a lot going on that’s just not ok. How are you doing? What are you doing to take care of yourself?


“The most precious gift we can give one another is letting them know they matter.”  Julie A R Stephens

Living in the Mountains

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2 thoughts on “Are You Ok?”

  1. Julie,
    Loved the pictures of Joy and Elsa. A lot of philosophy. I agree with your basic assumption that we need to work at being happy -count our blessings. And helping and working with others as you do is so important and contributes much be happy.

    1. Hi Fred – The children and dogs are easy to be with – it’s many of the adults who are hard to listen to or be around, understand, believe and often, especially lately it is just hard to be happy. Yet it is harder still to stay in angry / sad mode…so we carry on and keep working at it and often just sit and be.

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