May your Sunday be blessed!

February 28, 2010


Content copyright protected.

A product’s label is just decoration, right?

February 27, 2010


Oh, wait a minute, no it’s not.  It supplies all kinds of  information to help you make wise purchasing decisions!

Of course, first and foremost, the label is the ultimate “branding” for a company.  They want you to strongly associate their name and label with that product in hopes that you will develop the habit of looking for it first when you’re buying that product.  And that pretty much works on me.  If there is a product that has proved itself with me over the years, that is the brand I immediately look for.

Ah, but what about all that other “stuff” on the label?  Much of that information is required by law.  But I have a confession to make — for most of my life I have ignored it.

But, better late than never — a few years ago I started actually reading labels!   I now look at the ingredients, especially to see what ingredient is listed first, because that’s what there is the most of in the product.  Not a good thing when sugar/fructose, or whatever name they use for sugar, is first!  And if a product has a long list of additives with long names I don’t recognize, I tend to steer away from those!

And Weight Watchers has convinced me to look at the calories, plus the percentage of fat and fiber.  I’ve been doing that long enough now that even without a points calculator, I can look at those three amounts and tell whether it is a food that is going to aid or sabotage my diet.

But now I’ve read on another blog that there is another label fact I should be reading — where the product is produced!  The blogger said that you would be surprised at the very well-known brands that come from outside America.

I’m not saying that we should only buy American, because I honestly doubt that that is an achievable goal, but I am saying that I am going to start looking at that, and comparing brands, and let that be a factor in which product I buy. 

Bottom Line:  Who knew that labels could be such interesting reading — and you don’t even need a library card!

Content copyright protected.

Would you eat off the bottom of your purse?

February 26, 2010


Working at the Jail for four years gave me a much greater sense of awareness when it comes to germs.  The maintenance crew at that facility did an admirable job of trying to keep the place clean, but it was still a building that housed 600 to 700 inmates at any given time who were not particularly inclined to care about keeping a place clean that they didn’t want to be in anyway.  They had lots more compelling things on their minds, like how they got there and how they could get out!

So, one of the “cleanliness” lessons I took away from that experience was about the transferance of germs, and how easily that can occur.  Just one example, we had plastic document folders that we received from each block containing inmates’ orders for commissary, and after repeatedly receiving order sheets that were damp (I didn’t even let my mind wonder what they were damp from!), I had to notify the cell blocks that we would not fill any orders that came to us damp!  (Before working there, I could never have invisioned thinking much less saying some of the things I had to tell inmates.)  You know that way you will lick your finger so that you can flip through a stack of papers?  We NEVER did that at the Jail!

Anyway, I came away from that time much more aware of germs.  And made some rules for myself in that regard.

One is that I wash my hands many times a day, especially while preparing food. 

Also, I am very careful about what clothes I mix together in my laundry loads, i.e., kitchen towels are always washed separately and in the hottest water possible.  Ditto, the other towels and also underwear — each, separate with hot water.

And another “rule”,  and the subject of this post, is that I always try to be aware of where I set my purse.  Have you thought about where your purse spends its time?   When you go to a restaurant, do you put your purse on the floor beside you?  Even if you put it on the seat next to you, think about it — what’s been on that seat before — some unknown person’s bottom (maybe a toddler with a stinky diaper?), that’s what!  When you go to a theater,do you put your purse under your seat?  I would like to think that the floor in restaurants and under theater seats is thoroughly scrubbed frequently, but especially in theaters, I’m guessing that’s not the case.  And, have you ever set your purse on the floor in a restroom stall?  Just one word, “yuck”.

So, my reminder to you today is don’t ever set that well-traveled  purse on a surface that is in any way involved with food — like kitchen counters or tables (the ones at your house or someone elses, or even on a restaurant table).

One final note:  I have always had a bad habit of resting my face on my hand when I am sitting at a table.  I haven’t totally succeed yet, but I continually try to remember to keep my hands away from my face.  Even with frequent washing, hands are great carriers of germs too.

I hope that every one of you has already thought of this and are diligent about it.  But, if there is just one of you who hadn’t already thought of it, this post is for you!

I don’t know about you, but when I think about it, I’m realllly not interested in eating off the bottom of my purse!

Content copyright protected.

I’ve always loved a good curl!

February 25, 2010


Yes, I’ve always liked curling — but it was always my hair! 

But now I have learned a little more about the sport of curling, because I watched a match between Switzerland and Canada this afternoon.  It was actually fun to watch a game about which I know absolutely nothing (although it did remind me a little of bocce ball).  And to see a huge auditorium full of cheering people all very intent on the game, and all of them apparently knowing the rules!

The women who were playing it particularly impressed me that they were agile enough to get down close enough to the ice that it looked like their foot was attached to their chest, and they still looked graceful!

I found it surprisingly enjoyable.

I give credit to Suldog, a recently acquired blogging friend, for whetting my appetite for the game of curling when he talked about it on his blog last week.  The very interesting (and he’s always witty) post was entitled I’d Rather Be Curling and you can read it here

Suldog, I’ll tell you all about the game of Euchre sometime in repayment of the favor!  (And you don’t have to be nearly as agile for it as for curling!)

Content copyright protected.

Mama Remembered: The Lady who “walked with God”

February 24, 2010


There are some remarkable stories that I remember Mama telling.  And several of them were about a woman who lived next door to Mama’s family when she was little.

Take this story for what it’s worth.  Of course, there is no way of proving any of it.  But I do know that Mama believed it.

In her book, I Remember Mama wrote:

When I was about six years old we lived next door to a widow lady who I truly believe walked with God.  So many things happened to prove this to me.

I am not sure of her name but I believe it was Mrs. Fitzgerald.  She lived with her son who was only a few years older than me and her teenage daughter, Francis.  I can’t remember the boy’s name.

Mrs. Fitzgerald had visions and said things came to her.

Mom’s younger sister was Aunt Ellen.  Aunt Ellen’s baby was very ill and Mom wanted to go to their house to sit up with him, but in those days the streets were not very well lighted and Mom was afraid to walk the three or four blocks to Aunt Ellen’s.  She said I could go with her but she didn’t want to take Ivy (Mama’s younger sister), so she asked Dad if he would stay with Ivy and she went next door to ask Mrs. Fitzgerald if she would walk with us. 

The baby was very ill.  I think he must have had pneumonia.  You could hear him breathe across the room.  The poor little fellow was burning up with fever.  The doctor had been there but there seemed to be nothing he could do.

About midnight the baby died.  I had fallen asleep by that time but I later heard Mom tell Dad what happened.

At about the same time the baby died, Mrs. Fitzgerald said to Mom, “Did you see that?”  Mom said she didn’t see anything and Mrs. Fitzgerald said, “The baby is safe.  Your father and the angels have come for him.  They are in this room.”

About four o’clock in the morning, we walked home down the middle of the street because we thought it would be safer.  As we walked along, Mrs. Fitzgerald said, “Do you see that spot of light on the pavement in front of us?”  Mom said no, she couldn’t see anything.  I was too scared to say anything.  Mrs. Fitzgerald said, “Don’t be afraid.  Jesus is walking with us.  See his light go before us?  He won’t let any harm come to us.”  It may have been my imagination, but I swear I saw a light going before us.  I believe that night we had a light from Jesus to walk by.

This lady worked at the packing house and had to be at work at 7:00 a.m.  In the winter it was still dark when she left home.  She always took a short cut through some vacant lots and across a bridge over a little creek.  This one morning she started along the path through the vacant lots and heard a kitten meow.  The second meow seemed to come from behind her.  She turned and looked but could see nothing.  Then she heard the sound again, further away.  She followed the sound, thinking she would find a little lost kitten.  When she didn’t find one, she got to thinking.  “Maybe the Lord doesn’t want me to go that way this morning.”  So she turned and took the long way around.

During the morning she heard that a man had been knocked out and robbed at the bridge across the creek at about the time she would have been there, had she gone her usual way.  She said the Lord had sent that warning  so she would not cross the bridge.

One time  Mom was sick and had been in bed all day.  When our neighbor came home from work, she stopped at our house before she went home to see how Mom was.  Mom said, “How did you know I was sick?”  She answered, “The Lord told me.”  Then she put her hands on Mom and prayed.  The next morning Mom was much better.

By the time our brother, Ira Lee, was born on January 15, 1914 we no longer lived next door to this great lady.  Ira was born with a large wen (a brown air pocket) on his forehead and Mom and Dad were worried sick about it.  In those days they didn’t take such things off by surgery and some people went through life with a wen on their face.  Anyway, when he was three days old, this good lady came to see him.  No one had told her he was born.  She just knew.  When she came in she said, “I feel that you have a problem with the baby and are worried.”  Dad said yes and took her to see Mom and the baby.  (In those days most babies were born at home.)  She sat down by the bed, took Ira in her arms, rubbed her fingers gently over the wen and said, “Don’t worry.  It will be gone by tomorrow.”  It was.  It just went away and the skin where it had been turned back to pink.

Another time, Mrs. Fitzgerald went out of town for the day, leaving her young son in the care of his 16 year old sister, Francis.

During those days spinal meningitis was spreading over the country.  The little boy complained that his neck hurt and his sister noticed his head seemed to be drawing backward.  She panicked.  Her mother was out of town and she knew it was up to her to do something.

She soaked a cloth in turpentine and laid it on his spine.  Then she heated the iron and held it above the soaked cloth.  It began to make blisters but he was in so much pain he didn’t notice.

Mrs. Fitzgerald returned that evening and called the doctor who came to the house.  He said Francis had stopped the meningitis.  The boy had a sore back and they had to doctor the blisters, but he didn’t have spinal meningitis after that.

Such different times than now.  I’m sure storytelling was a much larger part of communication back then.  And of course, like my own stories about my childhood memories, it is hard to tell what is actually remembered and what might have come from a story being passed around and told repeatedly.

But I remember being fascinated when Mama would tell me stories like this when I was growing up.

Content copyright protected.

Is that success I smell? Or is it dust!

February 23, 2010


   The first album is done!

    As I went, I found that the pictures were loosely grouped by when they were taken.  But if Mama had put them directly into albums as the pictures were developed, I would think they would have been very specifically grouped.  So, I’m guessing that Mama collected her photos in a box or drawer (as I have done!) for possibly years before she started putting them in albums.  So, I did try to rearrange them a little and group them as I went.  And I did some random labeling with a white pen when I thought it was appropriate.

There is one page I am a little worried about because I did a little editorializing with my white pen.

   Rusty was my sister Jean Marie’s first husband and the father of her two oldest children.  And there was this group of photos of them with a group of friends when they were dating.   But there were several pictures of Jean Marie with another guy in the group too — so I speculated that she might have dated both Rusty and him! 

   (Of course, it’s pretty obvious that Rusty would have won out in any competition for Jean Marie’s affections anyway, if nothing else because of his cool new car!)

However, I have since talked to my sister Betty Rose and she said the other guy was just another member of the group (which included her and her boyfriend/future husband too).  So I may have to go back and put another picture of something over my speculation.

Anyway, it’s done.  And I did my best.  I hope future generations enjoy looking at these photos half as much as I enjoyed looking at them as I put them on their new pages!

   Now, on to the next one!  Ahhh-choo!  (I sneeze alot while I’m doing this.  I don’t really notice any dust, but I suppose the old, crumbling pages do create some.)

Content copyright protected.

Wisdom isn’t about age!

February 22, 2010


After I joined the blogging world in the fall of 2007, at Christmastime I went to a blog that had a virtual “Christmas walk” which linked to hundreds of bloggers’ homes decorated for the holidays.  It was fun to look at so many beautifully decorated homes (although I only actually got through about 30 of the tours), but one of the bloggers on the list was a young mother who said she and her husband and four children lived in a mobile home!  That description really caught my attention and I visited Kingdom Twindom for the first time.

Long story short, I immediately added Kingdom Twindom to my blog roll and it’s still there.  Since I found her, Sarah has blessed me many times with her words.  She has written some things that I just sit back and say, “Wow” after I’ve read them.  An example is the post she wrote last year on Valentine’s Day.  You can read Cause I Still Want to be “In Love” here.

I don’t visit Kingdom Twindom (a name which, by the way, refers to her two sets of twins, but a fifth little one has since been added!) every day, but I am so often rewarded when I DO visit with a post like this one I read today.  It is named, Just shut up. I want to be angry

If you don’t have time to go over and read the whole post right now, let me just share this excerpt from it about anger and the forgiveness that can release us from it:

 … God has continually released me from my anger by, ever so gently, reminding me that I do not want to be presented with my bill. He whispers that He knows what it’s like to forgive the unpayable. He reminds me that I know what it is to be forgiven that debt. No matter what anyone owes me, no matter what mankind does to me, the debt (even when enormous) pales in comparison to what I owe Him. And I simply do not have the right to not forgive.

I know some very old people who have never been wise.  But I also now know a very young woman who is full of wisdom and who shares it regularly with her readers. 

p.s.  She also tells very funny stories about and post pictures of her handsome husband and adorable children.

Content copyright protected.

Ashes to Ashes

February 21, 2010


From the introduction in our church bulletin at the Ash Wednesday service this week:

The first day of Lent has been called “Ash Wednesday” since the beginning of its observance in the seventh century.  The name refers to the practice of placing ashes on the forehead as a sign of sorrow and repentance. 

The sign of the cross is made with the ashes, along with the recitation of the words, “Dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).  Those words are part of the curse given to Adam and Eve following their fall into sin and keep us mindful of our mortality, sin, and need for a Savior. 

The placing of the ashes on my forehead is a seemingly simple outward action that causes a sometimes surprisingly deep reaction within me.  Along with the words, “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” they are a tangible reminder of my own mortality and my sin which condemns me to hell.

It is important for me to understand what a “poor miserabale sinner”  I am because in order to truly want and value the salvation Christ gives, I must first be aware that I am a sinful human being who needs saving.

The ashes on Ash Wednesday are a visual reminder of that sin and, therefore, that need.

Content copyright protected.

Terry and the Geeks

February 20, 2010


Yesterday was a “geeky” day, but I mean that in a good way.  By the end of the day there were things in our home which were noticeably better than when the day started because of “geeks”.

In the morning, the computer Geek Squad (Bryan) came and worked on my computer because I have had to “delete cookies and temporary files” almost every day for the last year.  Tiresome to say the least.  I finally got tired enough that I called for help.  So, because of Bryan’s expertise, my computer now runs great and is no longer needing daily attention to keep it from bogging down.  Thank you, Bryan.

btw, I didn’t have the virus I feared.  Instead, the problem was a weather notification thingy I had added on that had brought with it an additional add-on which confused my computer.  All unnecessary add-ons were deleted, including the weather program and its “side-kick” add-on, and my problem was solved.

Then in the afternoon, Dean and Dwayne from the home theater Geek Squad came and reconnected all the “stuff” that goes with the TV in our living room.  We had recently made some updates and additions to the “stuff” and it was making that corner of the living room look very messy.  So, we had a cabinet added to hide them.  But, of course, that necessitated disconnecting everything so that the cabinet could be installed.  So, Dean and Dwayne came to reconnect all of it and, while they were at it, they tweeked some connections on the TV in the bedroom too.  Great guys. 

Bryan, Dean and Dwayne are all great “ambassadors” for the Geek Squad.

And, by the way, I have to show you the TV cabinet I mentioned that is the handiwork of a great carpenter we know, Terry.

   Before …


That corner is a very tight space and we had always known (thought) that it was just too tight to put doors on that cabinet, but the genius carpenter, Terry, who had installed a TV cabinet in our bedroom a fews years ago that I just love, came here about a month ago, looked at this spot and said he could make  doors work!  And a few days ago he did just what he said he would do.  He installed doors (really it’s a whole cabinet that replaces the bottom shelves) in a verrry tight spot that make that corner look much nicer.

We don’t have a techno-saavy son who lives in town, like some of our friends do, who could have helped with our computer and with reconnecting all the technology that goes with the TV.  So we are thankful that there are those kind of helpers available, like the Geek Squad.

And Hubby has done some beautiful woodworking over the years, but he no longer has a workshop set up where he would even think about tackling something like this corner cabinet, so we are glad we have gotten to know Terry who does beautiful work.

We are thankful for Terry and the Geeks who added to our lives with their talents and service.

Content copyright protected.

Winter is still winter … and still has its own beauty

February 18, 2010


As I sat in the sun room yesterday working on Mama’s album, I enjoyed occasionally stopping and just looking outside at all the snow, the frozen lake and, of course, the geese coming and going.

I was working on a page from January, 1948, and it struck me that while lots of things have changed since then, our fascination with the beauty of winter hasn’t.   Mama obviously enjoyed taking pictures of snowy weather, just like I do.

   Traditional roles back then probably dictated that Jimmy, the only boy in the family, did the majority of the shoveling!

   There may have been school buses in town, but not in our neighborhood.  You walked to school, no matter what the weather.

    Little kids love to think they’re “helping”.

    And, just like now, it was fun to see how much snow we got by how deep it was on the lawn furniture!

Enjoy winter.  Summer’s coming!

Content copyright protected.