Friday, April 25, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

Mama didn't finish school—she only made it through the sixth grade—and yet she was a pretty smart cookie. She never did have much money, but she lived through the Great Depression and had learned to make the most of whatever she had. She was a woman who knew how to live frugally. Recycling was nothing new to her. Stretching food That woman could take a can of pork and beans, a little onion, and a potato and turn it into a feast. A bowl of her Pork and Bean Soup and a biscuit made a filling supper. I guess you could have just as easily called it Depression Soup, for that’s when she learned to make it to feed her hungry family. Recycling foil Another habit I attribute to surviving the depression era:after using aluminum foil, she would painstakingly smooth it out, wash it with hot soapy water, rinse it, and hang it up to dry. When it was dry, she folded it up and stored it use again. Each piece was used several times before it was tossed into the trash. Making flour sack clothes When I was a little girl, I had many dresses Mama made from recycled flour sacks. Producers used to bag the flour in cotton sacks with pretty patterns printed on them. Mama would wash the bags and turn them into dresses for me and shirts for my brothers. She had learned to be quite an accomplished seamstress. I seldom had any store-bought clothes until I was in high school and earning my own money. Unique rolling pin Mama’s rolling pin was an old round whiskey bottle she’d had for years. It worked very well. The long neck made a good handle and left one hand free to apply pressure to the lower part of the bottle which served as the actual rolling pin. I have borrowed her idea lately as we are living in an RV with very limited storage in the kitchen. We usually have a bottle of wine in the fridge, so I’ll wrap plastic wrap around the wine bottle and use it as my rolling pin. Then I can just remove the plastic and place it back in the fridge. An added bonus: my “rolling pin” is chilled and makes the dough easier to handle. Disposable dishes? Not! One habit of Mama’s that I haven’t adopted is washing and reusing disposable dishes. After I was married and would visit Mama, she would often cook a big meal and invite several family members over to eat. I’d buy disposable plastic plates and cups to save time washing dishes. Her frugality won out again—she would insist we wash the plates and cups and save them to use again—in spite of my insistence that the plastic items were disposable. So much for getting out of washing dishes! Mama learned a lot during the Great Depression about recycling and reusing items as well as making things stretch to their limits. It stayed with her all her life. I guess that old saying really is true: Old habits die hard.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Day to Celebrate!

Ol' Blue Eyes (aka Hubby) celebrated another birthday on April 1. Yes, on April Fool's Day! His mom used to say, "Well, he didn't fool us." We had much to celebrate--good health, some great memories of things we've done in the past year, and many other blessings. The day started out with a surprise phone call from our daughter who had her class sing "Happy Birthday" to her dad. That made his day! Then we drove over to Palm Springs to see Our Savior's Church which Hubby helped build last year. It was a pleasure to see the finished product. There were several subcontracted jobs to be completed when the Laborers for Christ responsibilities were done and we left for another project in North Idaho. It all turned out beautifully. This congregation has a wonderful site to use in ministering to the community. After our tour, we went to Chen Ling (a favorite Chinese restaurant in Palm Springs) for lunch. As has been our previous experience, the food was delicious. Following lunch, we dropped by "Wally World" for a little shopping. The first item on the list was a birthday gift for Ol' Blue Eyes--a pair of shorts. With the weather in SoCal getting quite warm these days, he can make good use of a good pair of shorts for spiffing up a little. Of course, we also shopped for some groceries including angel food cake, strawberries, and ice cream to make a nice birthday treat at supper time. As celebrations go, most people would think it was rather quiet; but, it was special to us. How blessed we are to still enjoy each other's company after so many years together. Thank you, God!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


The last few days we’ve been staying in an RV resort that is situated in a canyon east of San Diego. We have very limited access to internet/e-mail as well as very spotty cell phone service due to the resort location. Pack it up When we want to get on the internet, we have to pack up the laptop and go over to the gate house or club house to have access. Then the access time is limited to 15 minutes a session and one is only to do e-mail, not surf the web. Find a signal When we want to use the cell phone, we have to go to the parking lot near the clubhouse or go into town where we can get a decent signal. We cannot get a signal at our camp site and in many parts of the resort. Life is rather quiet without the ring of the phone several times a day. Is this withdrawal? Here I sit feeling like I’m in withdrawal or maybe being deprived of a basic right. But wait! The fact is that I am doing fine. I am not suffering any physical distress and the earth has not fallen apart because I don’t have easy access to the internet and the numerous forwarded stories that fill my inbox most days. (I know this because we can get satellite TV at our camp site and the national news reports activities of life are proceeding about the same as they were two weeks ago when I had easy internet and cell phone access.) E-mail solution We seldom get urgent e-mails anyway, so if I check e-mail every two to three days, I’ll be able to pull out the ones that require response and handle them in a timely way. The forwarded stories can wait until we move to another resort where service is easier to access. Phone solution Walking over to the club house a couple of times each day to check voice mail and respond to calls provides some good exercise. That is something I need anyway, so what’s the big deal in that? We’re spoiled How spoiled we’ve become with our unlimited access to technology in the last few years! We’ve allowed ourselves to become rather dependent on surfing the web for hours at a time and on having a cell phone glued to our ears no matter where we are. While technology is certainly useful for keeping in touch with family and friends and for gathering all sorts of information, life proceeds very well without the constant access to these two modes of communication. Shucks! I think I’ll just relax and enjoy the resort --and maybe a good book.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Friends! What would life be without them? I've read that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Isn't that a great way to think of friendship? We don't have a choice about the family into which we were born and at times we’d just as soon not claim some of our kinfolks. However, friends are chosen to be a part of our life because of the bond that grows as we get to know one another. As I think of friendship, I realize there are varying degrees of friendship that we experience in our interactions with others. We enjoy visiting with some people and consider them friends in the general sense, but we do not seem to develop a deep level of interaction. But, sometimes we meet a person with whom we just hit it off and soon find we have many things in common. Little by little a seed of conversation develops into a deep friendship that enriches both our lives. These are very special friendships that span a long time—and they are a special blessing from God. (See "What is a Friend? A friend named May… Many years ago Hubby and I moved to Idaho. We had been foster parents in Oakland and we applied to be foster parents in Idaho. Soon after we applied, the foster care coordinator invited me to a monthly meeting of foster parents. She even arranged for another foster parent to pick me up for the meeting. I can’t remember what happened at the meeting, but I remember that May and I really clicked. We sat in her car in the driveway and talked for a long time when she stopped to drop me off at home after the meeting. That was the start of a very special friendship with many wonderful memories. May was twenty years older than me, but we became fast friends. I learned a lot about working with children from her and I always knew she would give me good advice to help solve any problem that arose with foster children. She was an amazing woman who had a great love for children. She and her husband became honorary grandparents for our children when we adopted. A few weeks ago when I was in Idaho, I visited May in the memory care center where she now resides. She has dementia and often doesn’t remember who people are. Though we used to joke about how she could “talk a blue streak,” she no longer can carry on a conversation. I was prepared for her not to recognize who I was, but she seemed to know. She even told one of the caregivers “This is my best friend.” I only wish I had told her more often how much I value our friendship when she was able to understand it. A friend who understands... Some years later through our adoption worker, I met Jo. She was also an adoptive mother and we became dear friends as we worked through many difficult times with our adopted children and their emotional baggage. There were times when our friendship helped us keep our sanity amid the multifaceted problems that came along with older children whom we adopted. We have discussed many problems over a cup of coffee. What balm it is to one’s spirit to know someone truly understands what you are going through! Though our children are now grown and out on their own, our friendship continues unhindered by time and distance, thanks to e-mail and cell phones. These are only two examples from several special friendships I’ve experienced in my lifetime. One of the joys of such friendships is that time and distance do not nullify these relationships. Whenever we get together in person, by e-mail, or on the phone, that special bond is there and it is still strong. We understand each other and we relate easily. Act now If there is one thing about friendship to remember, I’d say it is to tell your friends you appreciate their friendship and that you value having them in your life. Have you ever told your friends you value their friendship? Well, what are you waiting for? There are no guarantees that your friend will be alive tomorrow for you to tell them. People die of heart attacks and accidents every day, you know. NOW is a good time to acknowledge to special friends how much you treasure their friendships. NOW is a good time to thank God for these special friends and to pray for their needs. How is your life enriched by special friendships?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I think I’ve entered Geezerhood We sat down in the booth at Reb’s Café and Coffee Shop where we had stopped to get a bite of breakfast after church--or lunch if it suited one’s whim at 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning. I had barely settled into my spot on the bench when it leapt out at me--Geezerhood. That was the name of a little book in the rack on the table. It stood there innocently enough, but my curiosity was peaked. I didn’t even wait for the waitress to take my order before I grabbed the book and started flipping through it, stopping briefly to give my order when she returned with the cups of coffee, the glasses of water, and her order pad. By the time the waitress placed food in front of me, I had scanned several pages in the book.

It was fascination

By now you’ve figured out I was rather fascinated with this subject, haven’t you? I figured if anyone should find out a little about “Geezerhood,” it’s certainly someone who is standing on the edge of that classification like I am! In my short expedition into the pages of this delightful little book, I realized I am already over the line into Geezerhood instead of standing on the edge. You may be a geezer if… I deduced this from the chapter called “You may be a geezer if….” Here are the two symptoms that clarified it for me:

  • You may be a geezer if new wrinkles are covering your body at roughly the same rate that the rain forests are being depleted and you think the two are somehow connected.
  • You may be a geezer if your wrinkles are larger and more firm than your muscles.

Advantages of Geezerhood As the shock of this realization began to wear off, I happened upon the chapter that told the advantages of being a geezer. Whew! I think these advantages may help to balance the horror of learning I am already a geezer.

  • You now have an improved sense of humor. (Ha! Ha! Ha!)
  • You have an enhanced ability to out-annoy other annoying people. (Shush, Fatso, I’m trying to hear the program!)
  • Your need to spend money on fashion changes is reduced. (Great! I’ll buy more chocolate!)
  • You now have developed the wisdom of the aged. (Oh, yeah? Nobody has noticed.)

Well, now that I know I’m an old geezer, I can stop worrying about becoming one and start enjoying the advantages of my new state of existence. Watch out, world, here comes another geezer! You want a copy? By the way, if you’d like a copy of “Geezerhood” by Ben Goode, stop in at Reb’s Café and Coffee Shop in Benson, AZ. They have copies for sale at the cashier’s desk. Blessings, Sclew

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Try some Cowboy Poetry and Music

Never imagined... Five years ago I would have never imagined that today I would even own a motor home, much less be living in it full time. But, I am. God leads us in unexpected ways sometimes. Hubby and I are "flying" with the snowbirds who flock to the southwest in the winter. We’re visiting various RV resorts and exploring the points of interest. The resorts offer a variety of activities that give opportunities to meet others who are visiting the area. Last night we enjoyed a potluck dinner in the clubhouse followed by a great program of western music presented by Johnny Bencomo. What fun we had as he played his 18-string guitar and sang the old cowboy songs! Yes, I did say 18-strings. Johnny had it custom built. He said he is the only one he knows of who plays an 18-string guitar in the U.S. If you’d like to hear a sample of Johnny’s Music of the West, check his website. (Johnny Bencomo) Listening to Johnny brought back memories of the years Hubby and I attended the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. We’d heard about it for several years and one day Hubby said he thought we should go and find out what it was all about. So, we got tickets and hotel reservations and off we drove to Elko in late January for a weekend of adventure. "You went where?" When the word got around that we had gone to the Gathering, people dropped their jaws. “You went where?” they asked in disbelief. They just couldn’t imagine we’d want to go to anything like a cowboy poetry program. You see, Hubby loves classical music and has voice training in classical music. He has sung with some wonderful choral groups as well as sung many pieces in church. The idea that we might even think about cowboy music and poetry was foreign to our acquaintances; however, we had a wonderful time in Elko and decided to go back again. Since we first ventured int the world of cowboy poetry world, I’ve learned that there are numerous events around the country as well as the national meeting in Elko. If it sounds like something you want to explore, you can find more information on, There you’ll find an events calendar of Gatherings and Festivals around the country. You’ll likely find one not too far from where you live. Break out! Do you ever break out of your mold and try something different? Something that would surprise people who think they know you? If not, I would encourage you to stretch your wings a little. Sometimes we get so stuck in our narrow little ruts of living and we fail to open ourselves to learning about something new. I’m glad Hubby and I stretched our limits a little and ventured into cowboy poetry. We now have an added dimension of life to enjoy. Blessings, Sclew

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Welcome to my blog! Grab a cup of tea and sit a spell. We'll share ideas as we walk the pathway of life. We all cope with life's twists and turns. Sometimes we handle things well. And sometimes--well, we create a few more problems to solve. We've all been there and done that, as the saying goes. Now we can encourage each other and move forward to better times. I hope my posts give you encouragement as you deal with the ups and downs of living as well as giving you a little food for thought. Drop by from time to time for a visit and a cup of tea. Blessings, Sclew

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