Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Small Stuff

Lap top is in the shop, and I didn't know I could only access this part of blog from this screen name. Sigh. I want my lap top back. At least I figured it out today.

It’s interesting to think of the small ways others have touched our lives. They teach us lifelong habits. A few of mine are below. As you can tell, my brother Bob taught me a lot. The important, serious things I’ve learned along the way belong on a different post.

Bob taught me: The correct way to eat an apple is to circle around the middle first, then eat the top and bottom parts. When you butter toast, be sure to cover every crumb to the crust. The best way to get every bit of corn on the cob is to lift the kernels out one row at a time with your bottom teeth. (I don’t do that anymore because it takes too much time.) I didn’t realize until this year when we visited him I also learned how to eat a sandwich—crust first. That gets rid of the crust then you can eat what he calls “dessert” or the middle with all of the goodness and without the crust.

This isn’t just about my brother; I learned habits from others as well:
I remember having lunch with some high school friends when they insisted I try ketchup on my French fries.
I learned to be cynical about commercials from a high school friend.
I now only use ½ of a can of water when warming up canned condensed soup (more flavor). I learned that when going to junior college at institute of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I won’t bore you with any more. I’ll bet you can think of people who have influenced you in small ways.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Food

Sorry I'm a day late, but my computer is having hiccups. 

Food: We all eat. Most of us want to lose weight. We know we need to eat healthy. What to do, what to do?

Let’s see what the “experts” say:

High carb
Low carb
High protein
Meat is the best source for protein
Gluten free
Wheat is the staff of life
Drink milk
Avoid dairy
Avoid 5 fruits that make you fat
Sugar is poison or a drug
The list goes on and on …

In my biology class I learned sugar does not turn into starch then fat. Why would doctors test for sugar levels by handing you an empty container if it’s stored as fat and not eliminated? Sugar and fat combo is a problem—burn sugar, store fat. Studies using sugar and placebo prove sugar does not make children hyper. (How do they react when they get a toy they’ve wanted?) Sugar does cause cavities, and replaces nutritious food, so sparingly is in order.

My mom drank so much carrot juice her skin, especially the palms of her hands, turned orange.

Moderation is in order.

Sure there are special diets for certain ailments, and stay away from foods you are allergic to.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I try to follow the Word of Wisdom which is found in the 89th section of the Doctrine & Covenants some basics:
Abstain from tobacco, alcoholic beverages (also included by modern day leaders: illegal drugs, yes that means marijuana), tea, & coffee. Consume: wholesome herbs, fruits, meat sparingly, & grain.

I use this as my guide when looking at special diets. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Update on My Writing

My writing is coming along. I’m waiting for the edit of Hidden Heritage. Escape from Fire is finished and sitting on the back burner simmering for a couple of weeks. Car Crash is started, and waiting for me to work on when I get the other 2 re-edited. So I think today I’m going to go back to my semi-autobiography that I dabble in occasionally. It’s about growing up in the 50’s. It’s my life, but it’s amazing how much research I need to do. For now, I’m using real names, but I’ll have to change the names and enough things readers won’t know who I’m writing about because there is no way to get friends and foes permission. Current events seep in as part of the story. The first election I remember knowing about was when Eisenhower became president. See what I mean about needing to do research? I remember reading about Univac, the first computer in a pamphlet at school. I think it was called Junior Scholastic. What year did those and other things happen? I’ll also be mentioning music, movies and such.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--General Conference

After such an inspiring General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel the need to mention a few things that inspired me: Just random thoughts without designating who said what because I’m not good at that. I need to redouble my efforts in reading the scriptures daily. I’ve been doing fairly well, but I need to do it every day, even if it means going to bed a few minutes later if I haven’t made time earlier. Same for getting my physical health the best it can be. (One example, if I really don’t have time to go for a walk, a couple of 15 or 20 minutes of walking around the house is better than doing nothing.) Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as Jesus walked. Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the 1st and 2nd great commandments. It’s hard to pinpoint one, but a few talks reminded me about the importance of taking the sacrament. I plan to make changes in my thoughts at that sacred time. So much more, but I know my readers don’t want a long dialogue. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Household Hints

Just a couple of quick household hints:

When making homemade ice cream: Stir the left overs (if any) to keep it softer for use later. I start by stirring every hour. After about 3 hours, I shorten it to every half hour until bed time.

In order to use up lotion after it won’t pump any more, I melt it in the microwave for a few seconds then pour into a partially empty container. It may not seem like much, but over the years it adds up.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Must See Movie

Friday we went to an outstanding movie, When the Game Stands Tall. The message therein is dynamic, and one we need to take into our own lives. I won’t spoil the movie, but want to express how the lessons portrayed therein have been in effect in my own life.

One thing that comes to mind is something I heard years ago from a basketball coach. “I’d rather have a team of mediocre players rather than a group of stars.” That’s not the exact message of the movie, but it’s related.

An example is from my life: When I was in high school, I was on the drill team. Our band and drill team had won trophies in parades and such for years. They were one of the last bands to have a standing invitation to play in the Rose Parade. (The year I joined the drill team that came to a halt for reasons not related to this post.)

We did well my junior year, but my senior year that winning streak came to a screeching halt and didn’t recover. I know why. Up to that time, the drill team had pulled together. That year some of us weren’t accepted socially. Also, there was in-fighting among the leaders.

We have differences, but if we work together, look for each others strengths instead of weaknesses, and work toward a common goal we can accomplish whatever we set out to do. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Darren's Amazing Map

Sorry I’m late this week. Perhaps I should have written about something else, but I already had a plan:

It took longer than expected to finish staining and applying polyurethane to the frame around this amazing map of our 2012 trip to visit all 71 (at the time) temples in the contenental USA and Canada. (If you want to see more, go back on my blog. I’m deleting the posts between Monday Morning Grandma and the trip, so it shouldn’t take too long.) We only visited a couple of them under construction or renovation that were in the area we were visiting. I have a picture of each temple we visited under the Temple page of this blog.

Already there are several new temples finished. To answer the question we usually get, “No, we aren’t going to go back and see them.” It would be nice, but one magnificent trip like that is enough for a lifetime. The orange flags are where the Latter-day Saint temples are.  

One more big thank you to our son Darren for making this map. You can see the detail in the close ups.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--My Writing

This blog is mostly about my writing, or will be once I get published, so I thought I’d bring my readers up to date on what I’m doing in that vein.

I finished the first draft of Escape from Fire (temporary title). I’m re-editing Hidden Heritage while I let EFF rest. I plan to submit HH again in the next few months. I’ve started one I’m calling Car Crash for lack of a better title. Then there’s Divine Love, my first novel, and the second one called Diane’s Story (centered on the heroine of DL’s roommate). I need to decide whether DL is strong enough, or if I should drop it, and write DS after I finish the Car Crash story. On-going is my life story that I’m going to write as a semi-autobiography about growing up in the 50’s because there is no way I could get permission from my childhood classmates to use them. There are a few other bits and pieces hanging out on my computer, but those are the main ones. Everything BC (before computer) has been lost or thrown away. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Alaska

Today I thought I’d post some pictures from our trip to Alaska:

Our ship the Norwegian Jewel

My husband, me, our son-in-law, our daughter

Whale watching in Juneau

Lumberjack show in Ketchikan

Sawyer Glacier

Skagway train ride--Dead Horse Trail from gold rush of '98: White Pass 

Sunset in Victoria, British Columbia

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Washy Washy

I was right about not having Internet access--$.75 per minute. I’m home now. I know it isn’t Monday, but we got in late last night. Today’s post is about doing something special with something simple. The job of spraying hands with sanitizer at the entrance to the dining room on a ship may seem like a mundane boring job, but Rowen brightens everyone’s day with his “Washy Washy” song. That is called going the extra mile. In the video clip, he is probably on a tropical cruise. Ours was to Alaska, thus the more formal white shirt. If you want to see him in action, go to the youtube link below, or on the U Tube web site type in "washy washy" he was the second one when I went there. 


If we all put that type of extra effort into whatever we do not only to enhance our own life, we can touch and cheer other people. I’m going to try and follow his example. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Watch that Middle Name

Today’s posting is short and sweet. My schedule has been hectic.

I was reading a friend’s book today, and I read something to make me pause to think. Since I don’t have time to ask for permission, I’m going to change the first name.

Be careful what middle name you give your daughters, you never know who they might marry. Take the middle name May. It’s a pretty name, I like it. However, when Diane May got married, it sounded ominous. Diane May Dye. Maybe she’s about to change her hair color or something, but I’m glad it wasn’t me.

I may or may not have Internet access next week, but promise to have a good one in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Keep Busy

I heard of a few senior citizens that were complaining that life was boring. They play golf 3 or 4 days a week, and have nothing else to do. I can’t imagine that.

I know some of my readers with small families think that might sound great or that it’s so far off this post isn’t for them. They are wrong.

While young, develop an outside interest. You plan financially; do you plan on what you want to be doing? Long hours of doing nothing aren’t as fun as they sound. A few suggestions:
Begin a collection, whatever you are interested in.
Needlework, I hear you guys, but my uncle crocheted. I inherited the tablecloth he made for Mom during World War II.
Volunteer, there are opportunities all around, the library, church, hospital, local food bank, give parents a break and babysit for a couple of hours, care for an invalid to allow the parent/child some time for themselves,  Meals on Wheels, the senior patrol—the list goes on and on.

 Life is too short to sit around and whine there is nothing to do. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Birth of Our Nation

July 7, 2014

Three days ago, we celebrated the birth of our nation. Do we really appreciate what we have? I don't think so.

We take for granted the ability to attend any church we want without a monetary penalty, or at worst, threat of death.

We take for granted the ability to vote our conscious.

We take for granted the ability to move wherever our means will allow.

We take for granted the ability to have as many children as we choose.

We take for granted the ability to go anywhere in the country we have the means to do so.

We take for granted the ability to bear arms.

We take for granted the ability to ... I could go on and on.

For our Independence Day we went to a nearby park to watch fireworks. They had booths for food, but we brought our own sandwiches, potato salad and such.

What a great opportunity for young people to be able to perform in front of crowds.

We enjoyed a lovely sunset.

The highlight for me was the Marine Corps band playing stirring patriotic numbers.

Naturally, the evening ended with outstanding fireworks.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Someday Is Here

We all have things we plan to do, or places we plan on going to “someday.” For my husband and I, someday came last week. In 2009, a foot/bike ribbon bridge, the longest in the US, was built across Lake Hodges. 

The trail goes under the freeway.

 If you look near the foot of the mountain below, you can see the water line.

Okay, dear reader, I know this doesn’t look much like a lake, more like "Forrest Hodges," but we’ve been in a drought here in S. CA. It does fill up, and will with the next El Nino year. In fact it is said, this may be such a winter. But that’s beside the point of this post.

Since 2009 we have planned on hiking across it. We finally did it.

My challenge to you is to make this week “someday.” It doesn’t have to be a big “bucket list” item. This wasn’t, but I had a feeling of accomplishment besides a beautiful hike.

Make the time, you’ll never “have” it. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: I'm back!

Oh how much we rely on computers! At this moment, I’m specifically thinking of the Internet.

As I write this, my computer is working fine. The Internet? Not! Our modem went out. We knew it was going, and planned on making the “upgrade” our service provider told us was coming whether we wanted it or not. We waited as long as possible, and had planned on making the change a couple of weeks from now. We waited too long. That’s why I’m posting this on a Wednesday. We have been without Internet for almost 2 weeks.

I don’t have a smart phone, so I can’t check e-mail or Face Book. I have a stupid phone. I call it a stupid phone, but it’s really an amazing innovation that I take for granted. Today, for instance, I was at the grocery store, and needed to ask my husband his preference. All I had to do was call.

When I was growing up, we had a party line, and a 4 digit phone number 2228. We lived in the San Bernardino Mountains where they had such numbers into the early 1970’s. I had to call my sister, and when I gave the operator her 4 digit number and town, she kindly said the number had to have the 3 digit prefix. I told her to try it. She did, and was silent when my sister answered the phone. It wasn’t long after that they upgraded. Upgrades, constant upgrades. I’ll save that rant for another day.

Back to what I was saying before I went off on a tangent. If I wanted to look up anything, I had to go to the library when I grew up. Often I had to wait for books to come up from the main library in San Bernardino.

The library was in a garage about a half a block from the elementary school. A school library? I never heard of it.

Enough of my rambling thoughts. I’m back on-line. Please be patient if you have sent me an e-mail in the last couple of weeks. At this moment I hate to think of how full my in boxes are going to be. I’m going to post this before I even check.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Good Friends

Good friends are the best. Sorry I missed posting Monday. I was busy doing things with some dear friends we’ve known for 47 years. Well, I’ve known them that long. My husband has known his friend since junior high school.

They’re going to be here 2 weeks: One week down and 1 more to go. People may wonder how we can spend that much time together. We just get along, and do things we did in the years when our husbands were students along with new adventures: Play Rook, go for a walk, cook and eat. 

We are also doing some tourist type of things like visiting the Mt. Soledad War Memorial, 

Midway museum, 

Mormon Battalion Visitor’s Center,

 and more. Tomorrow—Julian, CA. We read scriptures together and attended the San Diego temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There is nothing in the world like renewing old friendships. Gotta go—time for more fun.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Puzzle Fun

Today I’m going to demonstrate a cheap fun way to entertain children. Print out a picture he/she would like—one of themselves, or someone close like parents or grandparents.  Cut it into pieces to make a puzzle, if you have scrap booking scissors all the better. Naturally fit the size of pieces to the competency of the child.

For strength, apply to clear contact paper on both sides. This makes it harder to stay together (with the fancy scissors), so try it first, and know your child’s ability to deal with frustration. For the cost of a picture they will have fun playing, and maybe learn some fine motor skills.

There are places that will make puzzles out of pictures, but why bother spending that much money. Maybe for a special occasion, but I think they would have just as much fun with the homemade ones.

Since I have several grandchildren, I decided to use a picture of my husband, their grandfather. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. It’s time to think about our military men and women and their sacrifice to make/keep us free. I only know of 4 vets on my family tree, but I’m sure there are more.

James Hakes born 15 May 1754. He fought in the Revolutionary War in Capt. Martin’s Co., of Col. Sippitt’s Regt. which was raised Jan. 18, 1776 for one year. They were induced to continue 30 days longer, and were at Trenton and Princeton, NJ. Later in the war General George Washington visited his home in Renesselaer County, NY. (I know I get the “George Washington Slept here” comments you must be thinking.) He also fought in the War of 1812. My great-great grandfather was Weeden Vander Hakes James’ 13th child.

Mom had the sword her grandfather used in the Civil War, but I’m not sure which grandfather, or even which side he fought on. They lived in Missouri, and in that part of the state, it depended on who was coming through town that drafted the men. I couldn’t find anything specific when I looked. I haven’t checked for many years, so they probably have more information now. I wish I knew who has that sword now.

If my printer/scanner wasn’t so ancient, and not compatible with my old computer in spite of my son-in-law’s best efforts, I’d scan in a picture of my late Uncle Johnny, and one of my late brother-in-law Donald Venne.

Uncle Johnny fought in World War II from 1940-1945. He was an officer, but I don’t know what he did. I wish I had asked while he was alive. Mom probably would have known something about her brother’s service, but I didn’t ask her either. He must have spent some time sitting around because he crocheted. We had the tablecloth he made during the war for Mom. We used it for all special occasions from the time I can remember. I inherited it, and used it for a few years, but as cotton thread will, it eventually fell apart.

My sister had the audacity to marry my elementary school principal, Donald Leo Venne. I didn’t know until he passed away that he was a gunner in a B52 bomber during World War II. He flew a near record 40 + missions. His missions were not dropping bombs, but pamphlets, money, & food in Germany and elsewhere.

Come on people, ASK ABOUT YOUR ANCESTORS. I know I’m shouting again. I’ll try not to make it a habit, but how I wish I had more information on these brave men. My father was too young for World War I, and too old for World War II. He spent the war years (WW II) as a contractor for the US government, but that’s for another day.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I strongly dislike fires. Always have. When I was 8 or 9, my mother decided it was high time I struck a match. I sat crying by the fireplace for a long, long time afraid to light the fire in the fireplace. I liked to sit by the fire, didn’t want to strike that match. After that first one, I didn’t have problems the next time.

I grew up in the mountains where sirens meant fires. I never had to evacuate, but we were packed up a few times in the ‘50’s. For years after, I went through what I now recognize as mini-panic attacks until the sound faded. My heart raced. I wanted to run and freeze in place at the same time. That stopped when I moved to the big city where I heard sirens all the time. We’ve had some big ones in San Diego County in the last 9 years.

Skipping forward to those years: In 2003, we self-evacuated because we lived a couple of blocks south of the road everyone north of was to evacuate, and were about the same distance west of the street people east of were to evacuate. (Okay, I know that sentence is awkward.) Those two roads were the only way out due to a hill behind us.

In 2007, we were in Thailand and had sketchy information at best. That was harder. No matter what the natural disaster threat is, HAVE AN OUT OF STATE CONTACT PERSON. Yes, I’m shouting. Our son that lived in another state, gathered information and kept us updated on who was where. All were safe.

Last week, we once again self-evacuated. It turned out to be the smallest fire, only 1 acre, but every one of the 9, um, er, 10 fires (a new one started a day later) started out at 1 acre. One of our sons helped my husband pack up the RV because I was babysitting for one of our daughters. By the time I joined Dan at our eldest daughter’s house, the Coco’s Fire had just started a few miles from her house.

We watched it for awhile as it got bigger and closer then loaded up her vehicle, and went back to the house where I had just been. (The Santa Anna wind had blown the other daughter’s fence over the day before.)

By that time our fire was a non-issue so we left for home, but didn’t unpack until the next day.

It was a little disconcerting to see 6-8 fire trucks lined up on the main road to our house. I wondered if they knew about a new fire in the area. I didn’t see any smoke. Obviously that wasn’t the answer. I still don’t know.

Our eldest daughter returned to her home the next morning.

I think I’ll bake the fire fighters near our house a batch of peanut butter cookies or a loaf of bread today. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. We all heard the glowing stories about mothers. I decided to have a different random take on motherhood and that special day.

I won’t say much about my mother except to say I don’t know how she handled all she had to go through. She did her best, and who can ask for more? See the first post in January for some thoughts on my mother.

As mothers, we sacrifice for our children, but some mothers take that too far. You read that right. Christ taught us to sacrifice, but He didn’t teach us to allow others to tromp on us. He was humble, but never a rug under other’s feet. He knew who He was, the Son of God, the Savior our Redeemer. We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who deserve love, respect, and gifts.

He took time for Himself. How often in the New Testament did his followers look for him to find him in the mountains alone? He took time to rest. Remember when his disciples woke him up during the storm? He allowed the woman to use the expensive ointment on Him.

I’ve known women who wouldn’t allow their children to serve them. What blessings they take away from their children. How devastating it is for that child who wants to make their mother happy. When it’s time to receive their eternal reward will they tell the Lord they won’t accept it?

It doesn’t matter if we are mothers in the sense of bearing and raising children or not. All women can show kindness and aide to children. All can teach children whether in a formal setting like a classroom at church, school, or a craft event, or simply by listening to them, and treating them with kindness and respect.

There are those who would abolish Mother’s Day because it is painful for some. That is true. It is. Life has painful experiences we all go through. Be aware and sensitive, but to diminish mothers because some can’t have children, have lost children, or for whatever reason, doesn’t make their difficult situation go away.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Weaknesses Can Become Strengths

Weaknesses can become strengths. One example is my wild and wooly hair.

Not that hair is all that big of a deal in life, but it is important to appearance, and right or wrong we are judged on appearance.

This isn’t a post just about my hair, but the bigger picture. We all have weaknesses that can become strengths with the Lord’s help.

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin and had little formal education. He had deep faith in God. He educated himself, and eventually rose to be the president of the United States. It isn’t what we’re born with nor is it the hand we’re dealt, but through trial and error, hard work, and reliance on the Lord, we can overcome or work around obstacles.

Sometimes we need to quit fighting, and look for another way to accomplish goals. We have great athletes that need artificial limbs. People dance in wheelchairs. Some things we cannot do ourselves and we need to be humble and ask for help. I don’t remember the details, but one young woman that was wheelchair bound got to the top of a mountain with the help of her friends who carried her.

I could go on and on, but you don’t want a novel, just a blog post.

Back to my hair: Over the years I tried to control my hair into smooth hairstyles with curlers, hot rollers, curling irons, and hair spray. These methods would provide control for a few hours, but eventually my hair would look messy. My older brother hardly ever saw me, even as an adult, without saying, “Donna Bee, go comb your hair.”

Then, one day by following the advice of one of my daughters, I decided to work with my hair instead of fighting against it. By using the right product, I have a hairstyle that is muss free. I can lie down and take a nap walk through mild wind, even light rain doesn’t cause problems. Is it the style I would choose if I could go through a hairstyle book and pick anything I want? No. But it works for me.

By trying different a different path, I have gone from “Donna Bee go comb your hair.” To strangers stopping me on the street or in stores and saying, “You have beautiful hair.” 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Random Advice

Today I feel like giving random pieces of advice.

When you see a problem with another person’s grooming, I recommend Ann Landers rule on whether to tell them or not: If they can fix it, tell them, if not, keep your mouth shut and pretend not to notice. For example, if they have a tag hanging out at the back of the neck, or they have spinach on their teeth, a whispered reminder would be appreciated. A hole in their clothing, or a run in a woman’s stocking, ignore it.

Men: A comb-over hairstyle looks dorky. You aren’t fooling anyone. We know you’re bald under there.

Women: Exaggerated makeup doesn’t make you look younger or sophisticated. This is incremental, and is different for different women. Take a long look in the mirror and decide for yourself.

“I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer. You don’t have to know everything.

When offered food, never say, “I don’t care.” That isn’t polite, it makes you sound dorky. A simple, “yes please” or “no thank you” works.

If your child spills a bottle of vegetable oil, squirt dish soap into it. It breaks down the oil so it won’t be pushed around with your rag, and it will be absorbed. The same thing works for raw eggs.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Monday after Easter

A few thoughts today; the Monday after Easter: No matter how hard I try, I cannot fully comprehend what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ accomplished with his atonement. He paid the price for our sins. The beginning of my understanding came when I heard a story about a child wanting to buy a gift for his/her mother. I forget the details, but the man in line behind paid the difference between what the child had and the cost of the item. It’s so much more than that. Justice cannot be robbed, yet mercifully He paid the price as long as we repent, and turn from our sinful ways. That sounds so simplistic. I can’t come up with words that express the profound gratitude I feel. He lives, and so will we with Him forever if we but keep the commandments. We must love God above all else, and show that love by the way we treat those around us. We can be with our families. We will know our friends. He accomplished something that nobody else can. When a prophet dies, God chooses another to pick up the mantle. When a company president retires, someone else does the job. There was no secondary plan. Jesus Christ was chosen before we came to this earth. He had to do the job. It was hard, even for him, He asked for the cup to be taken from Him if possible, yet since it wasn’t He drank the bitter cup to the last dregs. I wonder if we will ever be able to comprehend it all. We need to be mindful also of our Heavenly Father, watching His son suffer. They both must love us more than we know to go through it all.

I know this is rambling, but I’m not going to go back and edit.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and our Redeemer. That he suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross for you and for me. Through Him and Him alone we will also be resurrected, and can live with Him forever. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: No Idea What to Title this odd ball entry.

Where did last week go? Time goes beyond flying by, now it’s disappearing on me. We only have one more week of Dan picking our oranges for fresh orange juice Sunday morning. He squeezes them Saturday. It looks like our limes are going to hold on this year. Last year we only got 3 for the whole season. They just dropped off before developing. These 2 trees are all we have in the way of growing our own food. It takes money and time I don’t have right now to fix a garden to grow vegetables. If I wanted to eat squirrel meat like the early settlers, I’d have all I could eat and then some. We even have plenty of rabbits, but I don’t want to eat those either. If food becomes scarce, and we are near starvation, perhaps I could think of those critters as food, but not until that happens.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Pizza

A dinner/snack idea today: I used to make these for dinner when our children were home. Buy the refrigerated biscuit dough (I waited for a coupon). After popping the container open, spread thinly on a baking sheet. Add spaghetti sauce, whatever toppings you want and add cheese. Children especially like these mini-pizzas.

Another thing I used to do was to make a double, triple, or even quadruple batch of pizza crust. Bake them in individual sized portions until they barely start to brown. Everyone made their own pizza for dinner, and I froze the rest. With sports and jobs, not all teenagers could sit down with the family for dinner. They would pull one out, top it and bake it for a quick meal later on. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Thoughts from My Mother

I ran across a few sayings Mom tucked away in the dresser I inherited. She wrote each on a card about the size of a business card, and thought I’d post them for you today. I don’t know where she got them, or why they are on the cards:

I love life and life loves me. I am happy as I can be.
Let all turmoil and anger cease. And make my home a home of peace
Increase your ability to think well of yourself. Only then can you help your neighbor.
If you make demands let them be made of yourself.
Get rid of the posessions (sic) that are posessing (sic) you.
Now let me arise and all shine. For each day is good for me and mine.

God has given me a work to do and all I need to see it through.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Movie The Help

My husband and I were at Target looking at movies. A man suggested The Help. We hadn’t ever heard of it. When we read the back, it sounded like one we would both want to watch (he likes adventure, and I like chic flicks). It was an amazing, thought provoking movie. It starts out slow, and you wonder where it’s going, but the characters are well done, and it draws you in. It gave this southern California girl insights into the way it was in the south in the 1960’s. You see both the sides: the ladies of white society, and their African American domestic help.

Being in California I never could understand different schools, sitting in the back of the bus, different drinking fountains, different counters in cafeterias and such. Even our military was segregated. I thought it was all stupid. I don’t want to give anything away, but I still can’t comprehend how any human being could have charitable societies to “help the poor starving people of Africa” and in the same breath treat their kindred in this country as sub-human. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--What is this for?

I couldn’t do what I had planned this week (demonstrate how to fix a pattern so you can use the sleeve of one pattern on a different, even a sleeveless different pattern). So I had to come up with something else.

Our daughter came home from her Young Single Adult Family Home Evening with this. She explained how they made it. They wrapped clear tape around the man with the sticky side up, then again with the sticky side down. They cut him out of it then taped it back together. They are going to use it soon. I have no idea how. Let your imagination go to work.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: Make time for yourself

Monday isn’t over yet. I’ve been busy. I organized my filing cabinet, figured out a way to make more time for writing, and finished the book I was reading. Last weekend I had a glorious time at Time Out for Writers. It was like drinking from a fire hose—so much useful information, so many good friends. Tomorrow I will attack Hidden Heritage with a new fervor and knowledge.

We all need to take time to replenish ourselves. It may not be going to a writing conference, or any conference for that matter. We don’t even have to leave home. Take a long hot bath or shower. Go for a nature walk. Sit by a lake, ocean, river, or in a forest whatever is near you. A library is another good place to take time to refresh yourself. You cannot fill the water glasses of those around you with an empty pitcher.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Grandchildren

February 10, 2014

As the name of this segment of my blog says, I’m a grandma. I have 17 grandchildren. I could write stories about all of them, but I'll be kind to you dear reader. If I mentioned them individually, this post would be too long. 

How time flies. The eldest will be graduating from high school in June.

One family with 5 lives in Washington state. We don’t see them very often, but love every minute of it. Four rambunctious boys and one of the most feminine girls you will ever meet still, that curly redhead holds her own with the boys.

Another family has 3 girls and 1 boy. At 11, he already has girls chasing after him, and has since a few little girls began to notice little boys. They only live forty-five minutes away: Most of the time we see them when we go to cross country meets, soccer games, baseball games and such. They are a very busy family.

The rest live in the next town. I love watching our “quadruplet cousins.” They are 5 this year, and will start kindergarten next fall. 3 of them were born within a week of each other October 2008, and the caboose in the first week of December. Whether there are 2, 3, or all 4 together, they have a blast. Have since they were infants, and could reach for each other. Naturally I love playing with them even if there is only one. Their siblings make up the rest.

I love being a grandmother. There is nothing like it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Grocery Shopping

I have found a few things that make shopping for groceries easier.

I make a table with 3 columns, and as many rows as fit on one page. One for a discount store, one for a grocery store, and the third for the place I buy fresh vegetables. I also have a separate page for a warehouse type of store.

I list the items we buy regularly in each column. I go through the store and number the items in order they are on the shelves. It cuts way back on running back and forth while shopping. Sure it takes time to set up and 2 or 3 tries before I get everything in order, but in the long run it saves a lot of time. When I’m smart, I also put the coupons in the same order.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma: How to Have a Long Marriage

Today is our 47th anniversary. People may ask how we have stayed together for so long. For every couple it’s different. Most important: STICK WITH IT.

I say that with a disclaimer: Abuse mental or physical. Infidelity. Other extreme things can happen, even those can be overcome sometimes, but be careful. Do not put yourself or your children in a dangerous situation.

Having said that, here are a few things on my mind:

You may have had “perfect” parents who always agreed on every detail of their lives. That isn’t real life, they just did a better job of talking behind closed doors than my husband and I did. It is best if children don’t see their parents argue; however, this can lead to a false sense that if you and your spouse disagree your marriage is broken.

Remember you are 2 different people with 2 different backgrounds. However strongly planted in your being, some things are neither right nor wrong, just different. Traditions (especially holidays like Christmas), for example. Discuss these before marriage. Take some of his, some of hers, and then create new ones of your own.

Live as far from both families you need to in order to prevent their interference. It might be next door, in the next state, or on the other side of the country. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife.” Mark 10:7 That goes for women too.

If you really need advice, go together, or go to your clergy, or a marriage counselor.

Do not have e-mail, social media, or any other electronic or telephone accounts your spouse doesn’t know about. Don’t snoop all the time into the other’s stuff either. If you run into an old flame say so. Generally speaking, if you don’t want your spouse to find out about it, don’t do it. I planned my husband’s surprise birthday party with our children from my individual account, so there are some good things to temporarily keep private. (I’m writing this Sunday evening, and I’m very curious where he’s taking me at 10:00 in the morning, but I can wait.)

I could say so very much more, but that’s a start. Maybe I’ll do this again next year with some other advice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Morning Grandma--Mom

I’ve been thinking about this posting for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it, but the idea kept swirling through my mind. Sorry dear readers, I should have simply posted something else while I pondered.

Mothers, we all have one. Below are some thoughts on mine. We always hear talks and read articles about the wonderful things mothers do, and they are true, but mothers just like everyone else have flaws. Here are some ways I tried to emulate my mother, and some ways I did not.

She always said, “If you’re going to steal, you just as well steal $1,000 as a dime. One is just as wrong as the other. Stealing is stealing.” That’s very true.

Even though my dad deserted the family, and left a huge gambling debt, the only thing she said about him was, “He was a little boy that never grew up.” The facts spoke for themselves. No need to bash him to us children. I have tried to apply that principle to all people around me.

When angry, she sometimes she yelled for an hour or two bringing up everything she could remember I had done wrong in the recent past. When she was little she had to go out and get her own willow switch for her parents to use. She made progress. Sorry to say, I used to yell at my children. It was the only way I knew to be firm. It took watching the patience of a neighbor when her little boy refused to put on his shoes to see there was a different way. With my yelling I stuck to the offense at hand, and didn’t rail on and on for a lengthy time. Each generation did better than the one before. As I watch my children, they do much better in this area than I did. That’s what life is for.

As a newlywed, I was determined not to use the same laundry soap she said was the best. For years I tried this and that, most of them are no longer on the market. One day I ran out, and borrowed some from a friend. It happened to be Mom’s brand. To my dismay, I saw a slight difference in a particular nightgown in favor of Mom’s brand (it wasn’t as dingy) among other items. I didn’t like the fact that she was right, but I still use her brand. Sometimes maturity means accepting that sometimes Mother was right. Other times, we can find a better way, and it’s better to move on and do things differently.

Mom always taught me to appreciate beauty around me. We lived in the mountains, she was always sure to point out how beautiful the lights below were while driving up or down at night for one example. I try to look for beauty around me.

She was always ready with a helping hand. She taught me to sew. Not always with patience, but she persevered, and I appreciate having that skill.

She insisted I take typing in high school so I could fall back on secretarial skills if I had to when I was an adult. Who knew back then how important being able to use a keyboard would be in this day and age.

Sometimes she isn’t right or wrong, we simply have different ideas. An example of that is with bubble bath. We used to get boxes with little packets that were meant for one use. She always insisted we only use half; therefore we didn’t have as many bubbles. I would have preferred using the whole thing in one bath then use plain water the next time. Both ways saved the same amount of money in a different way.

I could go on and on about her weird ideas, like the day in 1960 that I was supposed to keep my eye out for the flying saucers that were coming that day. I was to get on, because she was going to, and we could meet up later. (No, I didn’t make that up!)

When I do something that isn’t perfect, I say to myself, “That isn’t a Mom job.” That’s okay. I don’t make Halloween costumes as well as I do a formal or wedding dress. Both are made for one day use. I’m not a full blown believer in the adage: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Sometimes things are worth doing as well as they are worth doing. Time is a fleeting thing.

This is just a small sampling, I could go on and on, but you don’t want to read a novel on my blog.

You may think this is odd timing for a piece on my mother, but her birthday was January 1.