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Dearest Apple Dumplings,

If it’s true that you are what you eat, then it should also be true that you are what you do!

What I have learned is that the less active a person is, the more lazy she will become. Her body and mind will get used to idleness, preferring it to business. Time passes by but the person has not accomplished anything she can be proud of.

Then when the time that calls for strength and fortitude –either physical or mental– arrives she will not be able to respond adequately. And this will greatly annoy those who are expecting her to do what she is fully capable of.

Allowing ourselves to indulge in shiftlessness is counterproductive.

Dear, you may not have heard this story from me before, but my parents once had a neighbor. A nearly 80-year-old widow who looked like she barely weighed 100 pounds.

Nelly was busy. Always busy. And with physically demanding tasks too. She once dug up a tree that was growing in her front yard. By herself. With nothing but a shovel.

Our entire family was utterly amazed. I felt scared.

Father and my brothers offered to help. Nelly refused. She said she didn’t need any help.

And she didn’t.

Each day the hole surrounding that tree became deeper and deeper.

Soon Nelly could no longer be seen standing in that what was once a shallow indentation. She had dug so far down she disappeared. The only thing that could be seen were the clobs of dirt she tossed over her petite shoulders and out of that pit!

Nelly endured. She eventually prevailed in her battle with the tree.

The point here is that Nelly was used to hard work. She told us so. She had helped her husband farm. And without her daily dose of effort, she felt diminished. That’s why she uprooted the tree. That, and she just didn’t like it.

Nelly planted another tree in place of the one she removed. It was beautiful. With large cream-colored blossoms that arrive each the spring.

The result of Nelly’s hard work is still here. More than 20+ years later. Every time I see that tree I think of how it got there. And about how productive Nelly was.

What projects have you toiled at that will outlive you? What will you leave behind for others to enjoy? Will you be active or leisurely today?