Monday, September 29, 2008

Beauties of Utah

Early fall on Nebo Loop. Love the mountains!

Devil's Kitchen-enjoying the red rocks of Utah

We are all different

Caryn and I laughed about the different sizes of eggs she gets from her free roaming chickens. I think it applies also to how different we each are from one another-in looks, personalities, talents, etc. Yet we share many qualities-desire to nurture, listen and respond to one another. 

Many times we wonder why men aren't like us but they aren't. There was an excellent article on the other day about how men don't like to talk about problems but want to do something about them. A suggestion that we be quiet and do something with them rather than try to talk about our feelings. We women friends can talk together. I found this very helpful as my hubby is very quiet but available. If one approach doesn't work, try another.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn in Utah's Mountains

What could be lovelier 
a warm sunny day,
enjoying nature's art.

Leaves brushed with 
orange and reds bright
against evergreen trees.

I love Utah's autumns,
breathing deeply of
fresh mountain air,
walking on dried leaves.

Nothing else compares.
Can we capture this day
for cold gray wintertimes?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fun Saturday

Finally got together with my dear friend Caryn at her place in the mountains of Utah. Enjoyed a fabulous breakfast eaten outside on the patio and took a tour of her wonderful gardens and lawns. Our husbands enjoyed talking while we had time to do a little visiting and catching up. We even came home with fresh picked zucchini, yellow squash and eggs laid by their chickens. Fun day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grab the moment!

We are visiting grandkids in Utah Valley. See them in the photo above that my son just took in the mountains of Utah. I have a little two year old boy (in orange t-shirt) who doesn't want much to do with me so I've just kind of ignored him in the past. He wouldn't sit on my lap or let me hug him. Now he's coming around as he sees his brother and sisters call out grandma, he also is saying bam-ma help me. So tonight he sat on my lap as we played a game with his 5 year old brother Nathan. Then Nathan wanted me to read him a book before bedtime and I told him I had read to him last time so it was probably his sister's turn--but then little two year James says bam-ma read to me. So I did. He is really smart and can repeat just about any word you teach him. He also goes to preschool for a few hours during the week and loves nursery at church. Children can be a delight-if you grab the moment and cherish it. We are here for grandparents day at school on friday. Both myself and grandpa will be going to visit their classrooms.

Tell us about a moment you've grabbed and cherished lately.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Article #23 The Circus is Coming

When colorful posters of wild animals performing appeared in the store windows on Eureka’s Main Street, we knew the circus was coming to our rural mining town. Soon the elephants guided by their trainers would be putting up a huge tent outside the city limits while the town’s youth gathered around to watch their every move. Everything about this event was exciting. Wild animals trained to jump through fiery hoops, trapeze artists flying through the air––leaping to another swing without falling, and clowns in bright costumes with funny painted faces acting crazy were wonders that I remember seeing as a child.

When it was time for the show to begin, the nicely dressed ringmaster would shout into a megaphone… Let the show begin! First, came the parade of all the performers around the ring, the wild animals in cages or led by their trainers, agile bareback horse riders, skilled trapeze artists, and the funny clowns juggling were always crowd pleasers. Families, seated closely together on risers under the big top, loved eating popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy while watching the show.

After the circus, carnival rides could be enjoyed. I loved to ride the carousel with its wooden carved horses that went up and down and around. How fun to pretend I was riding a real horse. Going round and round, listening to the piped organ music it was easy to imagine being in another world. Then there was the exciting ferris wheel which I always had to ride with an adult because it was scary to be so high off the ground. Coming down it was fun to let hold of the safety bar and pretend to be flying as you descended. Those were memorable family times.

The circus had many gypsies who worked the sideshows, and carnival rides. You could get your fortune told or see a two headed cow or the fat man, win a kewpie doll or stuffed animal by knocking down some stacked wooden milk bottles or throwing darts at balloons, but the most exciting event was the main show. Then, as quickly as the circus had come to town, it left. Sometimes a few adventurous town youths went along, hired to be helpers. Running away from their rural roots into the exciting world of the circus, it would only take a few months of this lifestyle before they would return-grateful to be back home again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How do answers come?

Caryn brought up a very interesting topic in her comment on my last post about prayer. She said, The interesting thing here is...that when we do pray, and when He does send answers, it is most often through the words and deeds of a friend. The friend can be old, or new...near, or far. I agree or sometimes answers come from something we read or hear. It also can be a strong feeling or inspiration to do something that we feel.

There is in our church a scripture that says when we have a question that we need an answer for that we study it out in our minds first and make a decision. Then take that decision in prayer to our Heavenly Father. If after prayer, the decision feels right or good then we are in accord with His will for us. But if we have a stupor of thought then we need to rethink our decision and return again in prayer with a new decision. 

I find it most helpful to pray in quiet places like my bedroom or nature settings or in the temple. We have there a special prayer roll where we can put friends, family or our own names on to be prayed for during temple sessions. I went to the St. George temple yesterday and put the names of two of my blogging friends on the temple roll as they have special needs at this time. There is power in prayer, if we have faith in God.

If we feel no answer but not confused, then whatever we decide is okay. Heavenly Father doesn't need to command us in all things. It's probably okay with Him, if we choose to move to California or Vermont, both would be good for us. Sometimes we just have to decide for ourselves. In following this process, it slows us down and forces us to meditate and consider more what we are doing. Putting our life in line with truth and the path our Father would have us follow.

It always helps me to make a list of positive and negative things about any decision I'm making. Sometimes if I find I am trying to choose between two good things, it's possible to do a little of both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Accessing help from above

Why is it that we think nothing of texting,
using our cell phones to call one another
but many of us don't think to pray.
It takes faith that someone is there,
then effort to speak our deepest desires,
to petition for Heaven's help and comfort.

He always answers quietly as any
Father would a pleading distraught child.
He loves us and will send guidance
in all things both great and small.

Where did I leave my car keys?
What do I say to my rebellious child?
He has many of them you know.
How can I forgive someone I love
who has disappointed, hurt me deeply?

How do I start over again?
Always there, always patient,
waiting and wanting to hear
our requests. He knows us well.
We have only to kneel and pray
then listen with an open heart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Become an Observer

(Photo of me as a single parent with my paternal grandmother.)

I think by writing your own story or just writing down your emotions about your life, it puts you in the role as an OBSERVER. A certain detachment comes as you look at your written words and feel their impact from a distance. A more rational outlook is possible as you consider yourself as the main character in your life's story. There are so many possibilities for reacting to any situations. As my widowed maternal grandmother always commented. if life gives you lemons make lemonade. Don't just stand there and something positive.

You can learn and grow from any situation, be it unfaithfulness of a companion, rebellion of a teenager or just everyday pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect. Life is an educational journey. As we interact with others, we learn so much about human nature and behavior. We learn more about ourselves and how we react and adjust to trials, temptations, and stumbling blocks that come in our way. For those who can draw on the strength of prayer, there is comforting influence that comes that can guide you in new paths and opportunities for happiness ahead. Never give up, never give up, never give up, said Churchill during WWII. You have not given up, if you keep trying to live each day despite the setbacks.

Then there are loving friends and family members who also have their own trials who will listen with understanding and care for us. We can extend that same acceptance and compassion to them as we each stumble along learning as we go. Hand in hand we journey together.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Everyone has a story

I'm just amazed as I get to know people better, the stories that make up the history of each person's life. Many remain untold because we don't think our life is that interesting, but it is to our family, friends and perhaps even the world. Here's a challenge, pick three major life shaking events that took place in your life. Write a little paragraph about how they shaped your life. In my life, if I could only pick three, it would be:

1. My father's death when I was only five years old and the change in lifestyle that created for my mother and me. As we moved from Utah to California for my mom's job, many new opportunities were opened to me as I took ballet lessons and danced professionally in the LA City Ballet Company then majored in Dance at BYU. That wouldn't have happened in rural Utah. Through dance I gained self confidence and the ability to express myself.

2. My first marriage which enabled me to become a mother, then a divorce 11 years later that helped me become a stronger person as I pressed on as a single mother. I've learned the importance of free agency, being true to your own values and not following someone else's lifestyle that isn't "YOU". To divorce was probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my life but it opened up new possibilities for happiness.

3. My pioneer heritage and membership in the LDS Church that has given me faith in prayers to a loving Heavenly Father who has guided me and brought me stability throughout my life. The resurrection gives me hope for a happy reunion one day with my deceased family and friends. It also brought me a new hobby genealogy as I started searching for my roots. It's a lifelong pursuit that continues even today as I teach others how to research and share their family history.

Now tell us about your life.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Article #22 Hairstyles and Fashions

The early permanent waves given in beauty shops used a contraption that looked like it was from outer space, a stand with multiple electric wires attached. It had clips on the ends of the wires that hooked onto the small rollers that held your hair tightly wound to heat them. Once attached, I always wondered what would happen if an earthquake came right in the middle of my perm. Would I be able to get away from the machine or be stuck in the beauty parlor forever looking like an alien who had just landed?

Talking about beauty shops: why was it if you had curly hair, you wanted your hair straightened; but if you had straight hair, you wanted a perm so you could have curls. My husband loves to ask…so, what is permanent about your perms?…especially when you go back every three months to get another one

Hairstyles have changed through the years, remember Shirley Temple? When I was young, ringlets were in style. This required my Mom to put my freshly shampooed and permed hair on small rollers or tie it up with rags. No electric curling irons existed then but my mom had used curling irons when younger that could be heated on the wood or coal stove to do her hair in Marcell waves. She had to be careful as she did her hair not to singe it. 

I remember when you wouldn’t think of going to church or town without a nice hat and fancy gloves. They were necessary fashion accessories. Easter Sunday was an occasion to buy a new bonnet that had to match your new dress. As I look back at my old photos, I have to laugh at how strange I look with my small hat, its attached flowers or feathers and veil. The only hat I wear these days is a large brimmed straw hat to keep the sun off my face while walking outside.

Clothing fashions have changed lots over the years. When I was in school, girls and women always wore dresses at home, school or work. Slacks or shorts, could only be worn at home. The only variation to dresses was the length of the skirts depending on the current style. Fashion still dictates what we wear and what hairstyles are popular. Today, it seems sloppy or casual is in style.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Summary of Comments

I appreciate all the great comments made on my last two posts and would like to post a summary of them here in case you don't reread all the comments. Bold and italics are added by me to give emphasis. Let's share our similarities and celebrate our differences.

Aliannetee (a stay at home mom) It's one thing to be a working mother when your children are older, in school or out of the home, but when they are small you have just left the rearing of your children to someone else. I also think a parent should be home when kids come home from school…lots of things can go wrong with teenage kids home alone :) I believe women have gotten the idea in their heads that being a full time stay at home mom is somehow below them. Only idiots do that I guess. I'm glad I get to stay home with my little ones...I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Jo (a retired teacher and working mom) Mommies can have outside jobs too. When everyone's home, that's when you take care of each other. You talk around the dinner table, help with homework, plan activities, share experiences. 

I don't think happy families are because Mommy was home all day dusting and vacuuming. They are made by the times you are together and the love and companionship you share. I think children need nurturing and attention, yet I hate to say that women cannot do what they are capable of doing simply because they are mothers.

Linda (another retired teacher and mom) There are no absolutes. There are always variables that color any situation, and this topic in no exception. Personality, payroll, proximity, communication, family support or reliable day care, off hours job stress and how you handle it. We always want to be validated, to have it affirmed that we made the right choices. But ultimately we must answer for ourselves - did I make the right choice for me? We lived month to month when our kids were little, on my husband's teacher salary, and I stayed home. I went back to work when they were in school, but even then I worked as a classified staff member until they were gone from home. I felt richly blessed to be able to be a full time mom. I was still able to fulfill my need to achieve. I guess my need to be a mother was greater.
 The wonderful thing is that we are not all alike, and we can all choose the way that is best for each of us.

Sandy (stay at home mom) I stayed home for the nine years. The world went on without me. We did not live large, but we lived. I work again (as a teacher), and leave it behind me when I come home. It's off my mind and I am mom again. I want my girl to know she's No. 1 and to know that she should always put her family first.

Caryn (stay at home mom?) I have a son who is raising his son on his own. No wife, no grandparents nearby... Is it hard? You bet! Does his son miss out on not having a mother's tender touch tucking him at night? I don't know that he does. Dustin reads to him, says prayers with him, pulls the covers over his shoulders, and kisses him on the forehead just the way I did when my children were young. My son never misses a football game, goes to most of his son's practices, his scout activities, makes sure they sit side by side in church, makes him breakfast every morning and a great dinner every night. He's one of the best "mommies" I know.

 My point here is that we short change men when we think they can't nurture as well as women can.

Michelle (working mom) I always felt my first and most important job was raising my daughter, but I did need to work after she was a year old.

Kay (working mom and retired teacher) I will say that when I went back to teaching my son was in the 2nd grade and my daughter was in 5th. My husband was very involved in their upbringing as well. And still, I remember my son saying at one point, "You love your students more than you do me." That was very painful.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can of Worms

Well, found out there some difference in opinions among my blogging friends after my last post about working women vs. stay at home mothers. (Hopefully some understanding and compassion for each other can be felt. It's not helpful to try to judge one another.) Here's the latest from Sarah Palin...Palin also took questions about her family and women's rights during the hourlong forum. Asked at one point how she would respond to people who say she can't be both a mother of five and vice president, she said, "Well, let's prove them wrong.

Well, I've been there done that-worked full time and tried to raise a family. Found out this about jobs, no matter how great the job was or how much of a contribution I thought I made as a teacher, librarian or community school coordinator, once the job was over--it was over. Returning years later to a job location, I could barely see the results of my work and efforts (including overtime not paid for). No one working then remembered me. At that point, I realized that a job is just that, a job. You can be fired, quit or just leave and it doesn't matter that much to anyone years later. 

But as a mother, you have job security and responsibility to train, nurture and guide your offspring. You can't be fired, quit or retire, and you won't be forgotten or replaced too often. Once a mother, you are always eternally a mother. When during wartime, young soldiers were wounded and dying in combat, they didn't call out for their superior officers for comfort but for their mothers. Same with 9/11, the last phone calls made were to family members-mothers, fathers, siblings or spouses. That to me shows the importance and eternal nature of family ties. Shouldn't we (and our husbands) give our first priority-best time and efforts to our family? Can you do that if you work full time?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mothering Jobs Open

(Photo of me and my last son Jeff twenty-five years ago.) With the addition of the latest candidate in the political scene Sarah Palin, guess I'll put in my two bits. There was an article in today's newspaper lamenting the lack of female applicants for the University of Utah's medical school.

It said...Males are in the majority at med school. The ratio of men to women attending the University of Utah medical school is almost 2-1 and is one of the most uneven in the country...where about 49% of medical students nationwide are women. Last year only 30% of the applicants were women...part of the reason is because most of the women come from within the state of Utah where many are influenced by the LDS church to be the primary caregivers at home and are less likely to focus on a career.

I don't know about you but when I consider Sarah Palin as a possible President in case of some mishap to John McCain, I feel uneasy about it. Not that I don't feel a women can have a career, but it's difficult for her family. Maybe her husband First Dude can take her place at home but can he do it as well? I believe women are different than men. Our church teaches that also... By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

Having been a single parent and working mom, I can attest that it is possible to work and raise children but I do admire those women who, although trained and educated for a job, are able to make the choice to stay at home and nurture their children. Our society has such high expectations for us to have the highest standard of living-new home, two cars, etc. Many times that necessitates both parents working. It can be done and children can be raised by extended family or care centers, but is it worth it?

I've worked full time, part time and stayed at home when possible and can testify that there is plenty of work to fill your days in being a homemaker and mother. Not that you shouldn't get an education and job experience to fall back on, but being a parent is a 24/7 job for both parents and one of them needs to be on duty at all times with the other one hopefully providing the income to support the family. Call me old fashioned or conservative.

So back to Sarah Palin with a special needs baby and a pregnant teenager, how in the world can she sacrifice their needs for a career as VP or maybe even President of the USA? Let's hear your comments....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Masquerading today

A couple of women in my Daughters of Utah Pioneers group asked me for some computer technical help today because someone I know who knows a lot about computers said I was an expert. HA HA HA HA HA! LOL! As my son Daniel says, You know just enough to be dangerous. He got me started in computers and has been my teacher-mentor every since. At any rate, I told my friend that I was not a computer expert but I'd take a look and see what I could do. She has Microsoft WORD and a PC computer. I have WORD and a mac computer! 

Well on the way over there, I said quite a few prayers and after about an hour of working on her computer mostly looking at help screens and being creative, I solved her WORD problem. She was so happy, and I was so happy AND relieved. So then I went over to another friend's house and helped her for two hours to install WORD on her mac and hook up her printer. Then of course she needed some lessons on how to use it! 

Guess it's payback time for all the free instruction I've received over the years from others. An exhausting day but exhilarating. Try doing something you don't know how to do sometime, it will make you stretch. And as my blogging friend Leona says...ASAP Always Say A Prayer (for help.)

Photo of my friends l-r Marilyn, me and Leah who went to the League of Utah Writer's conference with me. We had fun and learned lots. Marilyn won three awards for her poetry!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Want to write?

My blogging mentor Susi Q posted a comment that got me to thinking...maybe you oughta have an online blog to help us not-so-gifted writers but people with thoughts...on how to put them down and make them into stories. Okay-here goes. First step is just to write (Morning Pages) your thoughts down freely without thinking about grammar, spelling, etc you can fix that later. Write daily about anything or nothing just to loosen up.

Another technique is to cluster or web your thoughts. See diagram above in the large circle write your thought or topic you want to write about, then start clustering out from the main thought anything that comes to mind. These smaller circles can also be clustered or expanded. Keep doing this until some thoughts come to mind on what to write about. This is the first stage-writing freely, later you can go back and rewrite and edit but you need to have something to edit so WRITE. We are using these techniques in our Writer's WORDshop group I talked about in an earlier blog. Click to see the details,  Writing the Natural Way by Gabrielle Rico can be ordered online, used for about $10. The author also has a website with a great example of clustering. It's helped me to improve my writing.

Try Morning Pages or Clustering and tell me what happens. It also can help you find more topics to write about for blogging.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm away from home

Came to a writer's conference in Northern Utah on Friday, a long drive from my home but worth the effort to meet with other writers, share ideas, listen to talks and workshops and get filled with enthusiasm to go home and write more. We were all ages from teens of 14 to 80 year olds who love to write and organize our thoughts, stories and poems on a paper or computer to share with others. Talked till midnight with my roommate last night sharing our life stories. I was so impressed how each person's life and family are filled with drama-tragedies, triumphs and trials. There are so many stories waiting to be told. So many voices to be heard. 

How do you share your life story with others?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Article #21 Rural School Memories

While writing her life story, my mom described her school days in Silver City which is now a ghost town near Eureka, Utah. She lived with her widowed mom and four siblings in a small home next door to the new elementary school. All that remains of that building now are the cement steps. In its time, it was an impressive two story white masonry building with a bell inside a tower to signal the start of school. (In the photo below Mom is in the first row, fifth from the left.)

Recalling those days, my mom wrote, Every morning all the students and teachers would line up outside before school to watch the flag raise and say the Pledge of Allegiance. Then everyone marched in quietly to their classrooms as one of the teachers played lively music on a piano from inside the building. The school had a nice playground with swings, slides, teeter totters and monkey bars. The girls liked to play jacks and jump rope while the boys liked to shoot marbles. Everyone liked to play tag and chase each other around the school house. Most grades were combined 1st-2nd, 3rd- 4th, 5th-6th, 7th-8th but 9th grade was by itself. Upstairs was a very nice gym or auditorium.

In 1912, there was a new Junior/ High School built in Eureka which was five miles away for 7th graders on up. Students from Silver City and Mammoth were bused to school there. It was quite a transition to enter into a much larger school after 6 years in a small community where everyone was acquainted. Our new school Tintic High School had lockers, a lunch room and different teachers for each class. My subjects at school included Math, later Algebra, English Literature, Science, Chemistry, Typing, Shorthand, Home Economics-cooking and sewing, and Physical Education which consisted of exercises, volleyball and softball, but no football for the boys. 

Extra curricular activities included Drama Club, Glee Club, and Pep Club-I was a cheer leader for baseball and basketball games. My younger sister played in the band and got to travel to away games. Annual school activities included the Senior Hop and the Junior Prom with live orchestras from out of town. At the dances we had program cards that you filled out to dance with different partners during the evening. I was the first one in our family to graduate from high school. Seems like schools then are very different from our schools today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Patriot Day-fly your flag

September 11, 2001

A day of horror, shock filled the land of freedom
skies were slowly emptied of all airline traffic
foreign terrorists had cunningly crashed two planes
into the World Trade's twin towers in New York City
thousands of people were killed in the fiery explosions
disbelief sweep the land as we watched our fellowmen
jump to their death, fireman perished doing their duty 
trying to save others, crowds panicked, normal life stopped

We all waited silently for more surprise attacks
was this the end of the world, Armageddon
in our country, watching tv scenes filled
with violence and panic, our souls grieved as one,
prayers were offered for lives lost, loved ones missing
normal lives disrupted by hatred’s revenge
life as we knew it would not continue the same
fear ruled as terror blanketed our land of America

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SURPRISED, I'm published again

In Desert Saints Magazine somehow I never got the email that they were going to publish my article Filling Retirement Days and pay me for it. I was on vacation when this would have happened last month so imagine my surprise when a friend said congratulations on being published again. Shock-me? Wow, how does an email like that not get noticed-can't find it anywhere. Maybe they overlooked sending it? You get so much email and delete so much it's astounding. Any way read my article click on the link above.

Books are...

the quietest and most constant of friends, they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers––Charles W. Eliot

Q: What kinds of books do you read and why? What satisfactions do you get from reading?

A: I like to read non fiction books usually self help type-how to write better, build relationships, etc. I love to read church history books or biographies to understand why people lived as they did. Right now I am reading/studying some spiritual topics on related to my Mormon religion to find out more about the next life-the spirit world. It's fascinating to me and they have the scriptures online.

Now it's your turn:

Monday, September 8, 2008

A quote to remember...

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”~ Anne Frank

Let me add and the one thing that's easiest to improve or change is ourself not others.

Interestingly enough when we change ourselves, others change also. Ever notice that?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grandparents Day

is today, but my grandkids will celebrate it later this month at their school. I went last year and it was marvelous-they even sang a song about us being their heroes which was very touching. It's that way as we look back at our grandparents-they are our heroes-great examples and were always there for us. 

That's why I love to write their histories and collect the photos of all my grandparents who are also my ancestors. See my WEBSITE. This woman is my 3rd great grandmother Ada Winchell Clements who has quite a story to tell. I recently visited her grave site in Oxford, Idaho. Born in New York, she followed her husband to Kirkland, Ohio then to Missouri as part of Zion's Camp then onto Nauvoo with her family, then alone without her husband to Utah when he left the church. He later joined her many years later, and they were reunited. What a life!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Something fun to do

Help end world hunger
And you are learning and giving at the same time. Thanks Leona for the idea, I finally tried it and liked it. “Feeling guilty about wasting time on computer solitaire? Join the growing guilt-free multitude at, an online game with redeeming social value.”- USA Today

Think of something

to make you laugh...everyday we need a little lightness or humor in our lives. Many times I find this in reading the comics or in an article in the newspaper or in something my husband who has a dry sense of humor will say unexpectantly. 

We can be too SERIOUS and miss out on laughing and enjoying events in our daily lives. Rather than get angry how about laughing it off? Look for and create some humor in your life today. Any other suggestions?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Article #20 Frugality and Recycling

Even before recycling was popular, my grandparents practiced it. My widowed grandma (photo on left) saved everything, and I do mean everything. She made a string ball on which she rolled any extra pieces of twine she found. You never knew when you’d need a piece to wrap something. She reused the colorful patterned cotton bags that held flour bought from the store for dishcloths or aprons.

My mom continued this tradition of recycling everything. When we cleaned out her house after her death, we found many little bottles filled with used paper clips, rubber bands, and safety pins. More than she could ever use in her lifetime.

No need for a garbage disposal, extra leftovers or scraps from the table were saved to feed the dog, cat or the chickens. Worn out clothing was recycled as rags or cut into patterns to be pieced together to make a quilt top, clothes for younger family members or strips to weave a rug for the living room. I think my grandparents’ frugality came out of necessity after surviving the Great Depression, and because there was no welfare system or social security benefits available. 

Widowed with five young children to raise, my grandma had to work outside her home. Hard physical work was her lot in life as she only had a sixth grade education: taking in laundry, cooking for boarders, washing dishes, ironing, and assisting the local doctor on maternity cases. If she didn’t provide for her family, no one else would. Her oldest daughter Esther (photo on right), out of necessity, became the babysitter for the family while grandma worked.

My other grandparents always had a garden and some chickens. Grandpa hunted deer and other wildlife for food while grandma made their bread, bottled fruit, made jam, corned beef and sauerkraut, and filled their root cellar with garden produce stored for the winter. Able to sew their clothing and mend anything, they followed the pioneer adage: use it up, wear it out, make do or do without

Grandpa was frugal and careful about always saving a little for a rainy day. He saved his money in the local bank until he had enough to buy a new car or any other expensive purchase, then he paid cash. Can you imagine us doing that today? They didn’t have credit cards but lived frugally and recycled all they could. We would do well to follow their example.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Slow down...

There was an article in our local newspaper today about a new Slow Food movement...from San Franscisco where some 30,000 people gathered for Labor Day weekend to persuade Americans to reject fast, cheap food and embrace organic, local agriculture and a return to the kitchen. 

I agree, we have become a nation of fast food junkies and non-cooks. It takes time and energy to plan out menus, shop carefully and then cook nutritious meals. I remember one KFC commerical that says, we're having a home cooked meal, then the mom brings in the paper buckets of KFC chicken and side dishes. We are raising a generation of kids that don't know how to cook or what real home cooked meals look like.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Find a moment of tranquility within your day and savor it.

Tranquility, an elusive essence
God’s peace in our busy lives
Comes unannounced as we seek 
Quiet times in the midst of the tumult
That is our modern day life

Nature fills our soul with beauty
Innocence and joy all manifested
In a single flower opening or
Watching young wildlife frolic
Yet we spend all our time indoors

What brings tranquility to your life?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Been eating Dove dark chocolates-just one a day...I bought dark ones cause my husband likes them so much. I love the milk chocolates-lighter chocolates, but if I buy those ones I eat too many. Anyway, this saying was inside the one I ate....Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. That's an interesting statement, if you substitute the word mistakes are for failure is, it makes more sense. 

Isn't that how we learn? We do something and it doesn't work so we try a different approach. I know I did that lots in child rearing. So glad those days are over. I love to celebrate my successes in that area of my life and try to learn from my mistakes. Another saying that has helped me over the years comes from an LDS church leader Boyd K. Packer...if you keep trying you haven't failed. Life is a learning experience. That how we gain wisdom, the hard way...(photo of me as a young mother with my first son Frank who is now in his forties, married and raising a son.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Developing New Habits

Well, it's another new month September with unlimited possibilities and opportunities for being an influence for good in the world. By the way, check out Han's blog if you want to donate to his school project in Kenya and Nedret's Water for Ethiopia-I just gave to both through Pen Pal and it feels great. All you have to decide is just what to do, then DO IT. I love to make TO DO lists and cross off items when they are done but there needs to be a balance in our list and our life. It's easy to let one thing like work or blogging or hobbies or other commitments take too much time. 

The secret is PRIORITIZING our life. What is most important, probably #1 is our HEALTH not just physically but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Taking care of those needs first, so we can give to others-our family, friends, community, church or charitable projects. My goal for September is to continue the good things on my list and try to focus more on my spiritual growth through prayer and scripture study. 

What's on your mind/list in this new month?