Friday, October 31, 2008

Where Were The Kids?

Well, Halloween is over for this year.....

Jim and I went out to lunch and ran errands in the afternoon. On the way home around 4:00, it started to pour rain! I thought we would probably have a lonely Halloween evening. But to our surprise it only rained for an hour or so!!

Lots of candy was ready in a bowl on the table and a warm fire was ablaze in our big brick fireplace. Jim and I were ready for the doorbell to ring and hear happy voices calling out "trick or treat." Seven o'clock kids. Seven-thirty came...still no kids! Eight o'clock the doorbell rang...two little girls. Eight-thirty...two more little kids. Nine o'clock it's all over!! Four children in all. What's happening with Halloween?

Is it the scare of harm to children, is it the economy? Whatever the cause......things have certainly changed since my children were little. Back then the neighborhoods were teaming with "trick or treaters" and the doorbell was constantly ringing.

I talked to several friends tonight and all of them mentioned they had few or no visits.

***What was your experience with Halloween this year?

Don't forget to enter The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway for a new pashmina shawl/scarf. Contest ends on Thanksgiving weekend:
1. Your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers" in the right hand column.
2. Once you have become a "Follower" I will enter your name into the drawing box, then each time you leave a comment, your name will go into the box again. But remember, your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers."
3. If your name is drawn you will have 48 hours to send me your address. If I don't hear from you within that time, a second name will be drawn.
NOTE: If you are already one of my "Followers" please know that your name has gone into the drawing box.

Spooky Things

It's Halloween and time to think about "spooky" things. I'm listing 12 things that really creep me out.

1. Spiders

2. Snakes

3. Creaky houses

4. Slimy things

5. "Chainsaw" movies

6. Wild animal sounds in the night

7. Ghosts stories

8. A black cat crossing my path

9. A broken mirror

10. Warts

11. Bats

12. Spider webs

***Can you add to this list? Happy Halloween!!

Don't forget to enter The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway for a new pashmina shawl/scarf. Contest ends on Thanksgiving weekend:
1. Your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers" in the right hand column.
2. Once you have become a "Follower" I will enter your name into the drawing box, then each time you leave a comment, your name will go into the box again. But remember, your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers."
3. If your name is drawn you will have 48 hours to send me your address. If I don't hear from you within that time, a second name will be drawn.
NOTE: If you are already one of my "Followers" please know that your name has gone into the drawing box.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The winner of the Fall Festival Giveaway has received her prize and sent a message. Here's what she had to say:

"Just wanted to let you know I got the beautiful scarf. It is such a pretty color of pink. It is so soft too. Thank you again for such a wonderful giveaway."

***Question: Which color do you find yourself buying most often?

Don't forget to enter The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway (details below).

1. Your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers" in the right hand column.
2. Once you have become a "Follower" I will enter your name into the drawing box, then each time you leave a comment, your name will go into the box again. But remember, your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers."
3. If your name is drawn you will have 48 hours to send me your address. If I don't hear from you within that time, a second name will be drawn.
NOTE: If you are already one of my "Followers" please know that your name has gone into the drawing box.

Rainbow Colors

When I was a child, we lived "just up the road" from a country store. Once a week my mother would give me a nickle to spend, there, on candy. I loved looking at the various confections which lined the long, oak and glass candy display counter--several types of chocolate candy bars, Sugar Daddy (which could last all day), taffy, gum drops, jaw-breakers, bubble gum, marshmellows, and colorful stick candy. Pressing my nose to the cool glass, I would finally point to the one I wanted to purchase, and Mrs. Fielden, the store's owner, would hand the candy to me.

One of my favorites was a foil roll of multi-colored Life Savor candy. My favorite color was red and I would eat all of those first and then go on to the others; yellow being my last choice.

Several years later, the Life Savor company came out with rolls that were entirely red. I loved any red, cherry flavored candy, including "Smith Bros." cherry flavored "cough drops". That was a long time ago, but those are good memories and it is still my preferred color and flavor today.

***What's your favorite Life Savor flavor?

Don't forget to enter The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway (details below).

1. Your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers" in the right hand column.

2. Once you have become a "Follower" I will enter your name into the drawing box, then each time you leave a comment, your name will go into the box again. But remember, your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers."

3. If your name is drawn you will have 48 hours to send me your address. If I don't hear from you within that time, a second name will be drawn.

NOTE: If you are already one of my "Followers" please know that your name has gone into the drawing box.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

She Whistled

She was willowy and elegant and tanned--exotic. I thought she looked like a Paris model, and unlike the women in my family, she whistled.

I was a little girl and I watched her from a distance, as she moved gracefully around her yard, hanging clothes on the line or gardening. She didn't know I was there.... well, I wasn't actually there next to her; I was playing in my own yard, but I could see and hear her whistling and humming her show tunes.

I picked up one of my old books last week and there in the margin was a note to myself, "Dorothy taught me how to whistle." I hadn't thought of it in years, but the inscription instantly brought back the childhood memory of a mesmerized child and the dream of learning to produce the same magical, musical notes from my own lips.

One day, long ago, she took me aside and patiently taught me to produce those delightful bird-like sounds. From that day forward, I became a whistler just like her. It's brightened many dark days and added music where there may have been none.

The memory reminds me that we may never know who's watching us and the difference we have made, good or bad, in the lives we touch.

***Has someone "special" touched your life and made a difference?

Note: Become a "Follower" and enter The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway + make a comment for a 2nd chance (see details below).

My Ten Point Quiz

Give yourself 1 point if today you--

1. Kissed your special someone "good-morning"

2. Drank a cup of coffee

3. Hugged a kid

4. Smiled at yourself in the mirror

5. Whistled a happy tune

6. Put on your lipstick

7. Read a chapter in your new book

8. Took your vitamins

9. Called a friend

10. Said a prayer

What was your score? I hope it was a perfect "10".....

***What would you add to the list?

Note: Become a "Follower" to be entered into The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway + make a comment for a 2nd chance (see details below).

Monday, October 27, 2008


Since my Fall Festival Blog Giveaway was so much fun, I've decided to start another one immediately.

This one will be called The Thankful Turkey Day Giveaway. The prize will be another scarf (retails for $99.99 and up in major department stores) and the drawing will take place on Thanksgiving weekend.

The rules are a little different this time. Here they are:

1. Your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers" in the right hand column.

2. Once you have become a "Follower" I will enter your name into the drawing box, then each time you leave a comment, your name will go into the box again. But remember, your blog MUST appear in my community of "Followers."

3. If your name is drawn you will have 48 hours to send me your address. If I don't hear from you within that time, a second name will be drawn.

NOTE: If you are already one of my "Followers" please know that your name has gone into the drawing box.


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Congratulations to KKJD1. You are the winner of the pashmina scarf.

Please send your address and your first three choices of color to:

Thanks to all who entered. I'll have another giveaway soon, so please keep watching.

Last Day For My Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter my Fall Festival Giveaway (details in past postings below). The contest will end at 6:00 PM this evening. I can hardly wait to draw the name of the winner!!

***Please comment.....What is your favorite color?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Super Easy Recipe

I just discovered this super easy cookie recipe. I haven't tried it, but I'm making it very soon!!!

Lemon Angel Bar Cookies

1 can lemon pie filling
1 box of 1 step Angel food cake mix
1/2 cup water

Mix together and bake in a jelly roll pan (ungreased) at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool, then drizzle with a thin icing of your choice. Cut in small bars.

***Do you have a super easy cookie recipe?

Don't forget to leave your comment. Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Fall Festival Giveaway for the new pashmina shawl.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's Your Blog?

When I created my blog, over six months ago, I thought it would be a somewhat isolated place where I would publish some of my thoughts and practice my writing. Over time it has evolved into many things, not the least of which is a virtual magazine of women's issues and interests. Some of my posts are a bit serious and some are trivial and fun, but all are designed to elicit thought and conversation.

Whatever this blog has developed into, I have taken enormous pleasure in producing something that, I hope, holds the interest of my readers. Whether it is my own creative personal writing, book reviews, family happenings, news items, movie reviews, or contests, it is fun to open the blog each morning and see the friendly and engaging comments from all of you.

Blogging. What a wonderful experience in social connection! It has taken me into an expansive world that, in the beginning, I did not expect.

***What is the mission of your blog?

Don't forget to comment on this post. Our Fall Festival Giveaway ends on Sunday. Your comment will automatically enter you into the giveaway. Good luck!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Favorite Movie

We've talked about a lot of things, but I don't think we've ever talked about our favorite movies.

A friend of mine emailed today, telling me about a couple of movies she had seen recently. Her observations reminded me of some I've attended in the last few months--some were very good and one was just terrible.

Her email also made me think of some of my favorites that I would definitely recommend. They are:

1. The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

2. Appaloosa

3. P.S. I Love You

***What is your favorite movie?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today was Jim's (my husband) birthday! Our oldest daughter, Lori, came into town from Spokane for an overnight visit and to wish her dad a Happy Birthday. We, three, went out to dinner tonight and enjoyed lots of good food and conversation.

Tomorrow (Thursday) night, Becka, Tony, Matt, and Tilenna will be here for a belated party and Sunday afternoon, Linda, Mike, Shiloh, and Coleman are coming into town for a birthday visit. Jim says this is the first time he has had a birthday that went on for almost a week!! He is DELIGHTED.

Our family is very grateful for Jim. He is a wonderful and devoted husband and father.

How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?

***Don't forget to leave a comment, so you can get another entry into the Fall Festival Giveaway!! (Details below.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kendyl Grace (Update)

Several of you have been following the progress of our little angel, Kendyl Grace and have ask for the latest information.

She is still in the hospital, but is doing well. Her mother is now allowed to diaper, dress, and bottle feed her. Amber stays with her several hours each day. Kendyl Grace is a true miracle and we continue to be so thankful for all of your prayers.

***Don't forget...when you leave a comment, your name will be entered, automatically, into my Fall Festival giveaway (see details below). Good luck to everyone!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yummy Cherry Cobbler

2 (20 ounce) cans cherry pie filling

1 package white cake mix

1 1/2 sticks margarine, melted

1 (4 ounce) package slivered almonds (optional)

1. Spread pie filling in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
2. Sprinkle cake mix over the cherries.
3. Drizzle melted margarine over top. Sprinkle almonds over the top.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with whipped topping. Enjoy!

This is one of my favorite desserts and I've made it many times over the last 40+ years. You may have made it, too. If you haven't, you might like to try it.

***Don't forget to leave a comment on this posting, so that your name can go into my Fall Festival Giveaway. (See post below for details.) If you've already left a comment on the last post, that's ok...leave another one here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Festival Blog Giveaway

I love pampering my friends, so today I'm starting another free give-away. The prize will be a brand new Pashmina scarf (see photo). The color will be chosen at random and will stay in keeping with Fall earth tones (brown, orange, green, yellow, red, etc).

Here's how the give-away works:

1. Starting today, each time you leave a "comment" here on my blog, your name will go into a drawing box. At the end of this week, one winner will be drawn from all the entries.

2. I will announce the winner's name, on my blog, next weekend.

3. This drawing is totally free of any charge to the winner.

Good luck to all.

Pamper Yourself

Five inexpensive ways to pamper yourself:

1. Give yourself a $10.00 bill and go shopping (treasure hunting) at the dollar store.

2. Spend the afternoon, alone, watching a romantic movie. Keep tissue handy.

3. Buy one piece of special chocolate candy and nibble all the way home.

4. Buy yourself one perfect red rose while shopping at the grocery store.

5. Buy a disposable camera, take a long walk--taking pictures along the way.

How do you pamper yourself ?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What's Your Favorite?

I've always been a reader. In fact, I've been obsessed with books all my life!! I think writers are like that. If we read, we are compelled to write and if we write, we read.

I remember reading "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin when I was in my mid-forties and how much I loved it. I connected, somehow, and it became my all-time favorite. Of course, there have been many others that have entertained and/or inspired me and I continue to buy and read several books each month.

At this moment, I'm looking at my coffee table and I see four books that I'm in the precess of finishing--each one will bring something very special to my life. Gotta go and start reading!!!

What is your favorite book of all-time? Or which book /books are you now reading?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back To Serenity

There hasn't been a lot of serenity, lately, at The Serenity Gate. News of a recession, the presidential race in full gallop on every TV channel, family illnesses, unstable weather, fall yard work, and a vicious bout of dermatitis on my face, have all worked together to cause me anxiety and writer's block.

Now that some issues seem to be under control, I hope to retrieve my composure, get back to writing, and read some of the books that have been piling up.

Yesterday, I replaced the dried carnations in my Serenity Room, with fresh red ones, and burned a fragrant vanilla candle in a glass container, on the shelf. Music is, again, playing softly in the background and the room motions for me to come in and sit down in the wicker chair.

It's been several days since I've given myself the luxury of escape and rest. Perhaps, sitting quietly by candlelight will calm my spirit and help me regain my creative voice.

How or where do you find your CREATIVE VOICE?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kendyl Grace (Good News)

Yesterday, Kendyl's doctors thought they had found an intestinal obstruction. This morning they did the same test and found there was NONE!! They said that whatever was there yesterday was not there today. They said there is no explanation for it. There will be no operation on Thursday. Very good news for such a tiny little girl and her family.

This has been like a roller-coaster ride. It is so typical of LIFE. Isn't it? We constantly hang on to the hand of God, trusting He will give us the courage we need to meet any circumstance.

Before the family left the hospital today, Kendyl had a BIG BM!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS AND INDICATES THE INTESTINES ARE WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!

We are relieved that Kendyl Grace will not face a serious operation tomorrow and we thank all of you for your prayers on this little one's behalf.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Favorite Orange Things

Yesterday, I talked about my favorite red Fall things. Today I'm thinking orange......

1. An orange cashmere scarf

2. University of Tennessee sweatshirt

3. Orange buttercream frosting

4. An orange sky

5. Pumpkins

Can you think of some other orange favorites?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Five Fall Favorites

I can think of many things I love about the Fall season. Since red is my favorite color, I'm listing five of my red Fall favorites.

1. Sweet Red Delicious apples

2. Red flames in the fireplace

3. Red Fall foliage

4. Red leather boots

5. A Red Fall sunset

What are your five Red Fall favorites?

October Chill

The weather is chilly now, especially the mornings. The low was 29 degrees last night. The days are getting shorter and the leaves are beginning to disappear from the big walnut tree. Summer was too short this year. Does anyone else feel it or is it just me? Perhaps, it's my age-- everything seems to pass quicker these days.

The heat of summer called for light salads, melons, corn on the cob, and meats cooked on the outdoor grill, but today I'm baking cornbread and there's beef stew in the crockpot. A change in the weather calls us back to dinners around the family table, warm and hearty home-cooked meals, and slow, easy conversation.

This week, I expect the woodcutter will deliver the cord of hardwood we ordered several days ago. I love the smell of fresh cut timber--it brings back memories of the days our family spent gathering wood when the children were young. Jim and our sons would make the trip in the truck, while the "ladies" followed along in the car. Woodcutting "makes a person hungry" so I cooked lots of food for the picnic we would enjoy at mid-afternoon.

Once my mother visited around this time of year and joined us in a day of wood-cutting. She was thrilled to go on an adventure she had not experienced before. I remember she offered to make her famous deviled eggs for our picnic lunch and they were delicious. My mother is in Heaven today, but I will always treasure that special day and the excitement on her face.

Now that we are older and the kids are grown, Jim and I take the convenient way out and order a cord or two for the cozy fires we build in our big brick fireplace.

Let the cold wind howl outside our door and the snow cover our rooftop; there will always be something warm on the stove and special memories stored in our hearts.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our Visit With Kendyl Grace

Jim and I traveled to Spokane yesterday for a visit with Kendyl Grace and her family. She's still in the hospital, so we spent most of our time there--even ate dinner in the hospital cafeteria.

Kendyl is a beautiful little 6 pounder now, but still has a long road ahead of her. She hasn't had a BM, so that's a big concern. If she hasn't had one by tomorrow (Monday), the doctors will do a series of x-rays. Bless her heart, she's a real little trooper! Please keep praying for her complete recovery.

There are some photos in the righthand column. Grandma Lori took them yesterday.

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and concern for Kendyl Grace and her family.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

12 Helpful Books

In keeping with the theme of getting ready for hard times, I'm listing 12 books I think you may find helpful. Many of them I have on my bookshelf and some of the others I plan to read this winter.

1. The Foxfire Series

2. The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery (Carla lives just a few miles up the road from me)

3. Stocking Up

4. Preserving Summer's Bounty

5. Putting Food By

6. Root Cellaring

7. When Technology Fails

8. Seed To Seed

9. Crisis Preparedness Handbook

10. When All Hell Breaks Loose

11. The Complete Tightwad Gazette

12. Old Ways Rediscovered

Wheat Pancakes

Yesterday, I published Wheat Master Mix. Today I'm posting a recipe for pancakes that are made from the mix. They are delicious and nutritious. I hope you'll try them.

Favorite Wheat Pancakes

1 egg, slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups water
2-1/4 cups Wheat Master Mix

Combine egg and water in a medium bowl. Stir in Wheat Mix until just moistened. Cook on a hot oiled griddle about 3 to 4 minutes, until browned on both sides. Makes about fifteen 4-inch pancakes.


Friday, October 10, 2008


Today I'm posting a recipe for Wheat Master Mix. With this wonderful mix you'll be able to make delicious wheat muffins and other treats for your family. It's as easy as "falling off a log" and your family will be impressed!!


6 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1- 1/2 cups instant nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup baking powder
2 cups vegetable shortening (like Crisco)

In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, dry milk, salt, sugar, wheat germ and baking powder. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed. Put in a large airtight container. Label. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 10 to 12 weeks. Makes about 14 cups of WHEAT MIX.

QUICK WHEAT MUFFINS (wholesome and so delicious)

3 cups Wheat Mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter muffin pans. In a medium bowl, combine Wheat Mix and sugar. Blend well. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened; batter should be lumpy. Fill prepared muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Homemade Sausage

This week I've posted several articles about the coming recession or depression. They say, "it's a recession when your neighbor doesn't have a job, but it's a depression when you don't have a job." So I'll leave it up to you to call it whatever you wish.

Anyway, I have some good recipes that I've used over the years when I was raising six children and our family always seemed to be in "a recession." I'm going to list one of them each day. You may want to leave your recipes or suggestion under "comments" just as Christina did this morning.

I also want to thank Pat's Place for mentioning my Getting Prepared lists twice in her blog.

Below is a recipe that make lots of homemade sausage with very little work. Just mix and roll up like "Jimmy Dean" does theirs and freeze.

Homemade Pork Sausage

9 lbs. pork, finely ground

3/4 tsp. ground red pepper

3 Tbsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. pepper

1 tsp. dried sage

Have your butcher grind the pork through his grinder on "fine blade."

Sprinkle seasonings over meat and mix well.

Divide into equal portions and roll in wax paper like the "Jimmy Dean" people roll theirs or form into patties and place between waxed paper. Store formed sausage in airtight containers and freeze.

Note: If you decide to roll the sausage, you can slice in rounds before frying. Partially thaw.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting Prepared (Part 2)

Life isn't always easy and our plans can be interrupted at any time. We have recently heard of "hard times ahead" on the economic scene. As I talk to people around the country, I hear that most are concerned about how all of this news will end. So with those concerns in mind, I've put together my 2nd list of suggestions (Part 1 can be found below), hoping that it will jump-start our imaginations, make our lives a little easier, and give some peace to our hearts.

1. Cook up a big pot of beans (cost very little and has lots of servings per pot).
2. Make a pot of brown rice and keep this around for a quick breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. It's very nutritious. Refrigerate.
3. Make a gallon of sun tea, Koolaide, or other powdered drink instead of buying pop or expensive coffee drinks.
4. Learn how to make your own delicious bread by hand. It's so much better than "store bought" and will give you an enormous sense of accomplishment.
5. Start making big bowls of popcorn for snacking, instead of buying chips, crackers, etc. Keep it on the kitchen counter for anyone who gets the munchies.
6. Clip coupons.
7. Keep a pad and pen handy on the kitchen counter and jot down needed items as you run out.
8. Shop with a list and stick to it.
9. Substitute dry milk for fresh milk in your cooking.
10. Plan uses for leftovers. Can you eat leftovers for lunch or the next day's dinner?
11. Buy cereals that will need cooking, instead of buying the sugary, boxed, quick-eating type.
12. Shop newspaper ads and buy with sales in mind.
13. Make a big pot of vegetable soup and eat it over a couple or more days. It's better on the 2nd day, anyway.
14. Boil a dozen eggs at one time and keep them in the refrigerator for meals and snacks.
15. Buy cheese in blocks. It's usually cheaper that way.
16. Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of buying fast-food burgers and nuggets.
17. You may want to invest in a dehydrator so you can take advantage of fresh fruit in season.
18. Think of having someone teach you to sew, if you don't know how already. Knowing how allows for all kinds of possibilities--from making your families clothes to creating holiday gifts. Sewing is a great creative outlet.
19. Consider raising a few chickens, if you have room on your property. Gathering fresh eggs can be fun for the entire family and they are so delicious.
20. Conserve gasoline by making a list of all your errands and drive in a circle around town instead of repeating your path (going back and forth).
21. Drive only when needed. Try car-pooling, take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.
22. Buy meat in bulk. Decide how many meals it will make and divide into plastic bags; freeze until needed.
23. Get back to meals around the dinner table with good food, home-cooked, by mom and dad.
24. Cut your own wood for winter fires. Make a day of it with the entire family; go into the forest with a picnic lunch and a cutting permit (if needed). You'll love the smell of the forest and the freshly cut timber. The kids will love it and they'll also learn something about becoming self-sufficient. Cut only dead trees.
25. Speaking of the forest....cut your own Christmas tree this year. Make it a family tradition. Watch the movie "Christmas Vacation" with your family.
26. Plant a garden and reap the benefits. If you don't have room for a garden, you can do container gardening on your patio.
27. Don't forget hand-me-downs for the kids, as long as the clothes are still in good condition.
28. Wash in cold water whenever possible.
29. Hang clothes out to dry on sunny days.
30. Save on your energy bill by turning off lights when you leave a room.
31. Consider an "old fashioned Christmas" this year. Make handmade gifts and bake a birthday cake for Jesus. Let the children blow out the candles. Also, encourage the children to make handmade ornaments for the Christmas tree. They'll love it and it'll make a wonderful memory.
32. Learn to say "no" to yourself and to your children.
33. When life is strained, gently share your concerns with your family and ask all members to "pull" together. Everyone loves to be needed.

I'll list more ideas later. This is only a partial list.

Share your own ideas under "comments." We love the interaction.


A Wish For My Grandchildren

Becka sent this to me this morning. I think it's so apropos for today's society and the things we've been talking about on this blog.

Paul Harvey Writes:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room,but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her.I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy\girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it.. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hannukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting Prepared

With the current economy crisis, comes thoughts of saving and storing for an emergency. Many wise people have made this a part of their lives for years, so I thought I'd start a list of things that might be useful to stock in our homes and may even help us save a few extra dollars.

A few years ago, as I worked with the Emergency Preparedness Director of our county, and some other informed individuals, we came up with these recommendations. This is only a partial listing.

1. Rice
2. Dried beans
3. Lentils
4. Wheat
5. Vitamins
6. Canned Foods
7. Powered Milk
8. Koolaid instead of pop
9. Tang instead of orange juice
10. Instant coffee
11. Dried pasta
12. Vegetable oil
13. Canned meats
14. Peanut Butter
15. Jelly
16. Sugar
17. Box of salt / Pepper / Flour / Baking powder, etc.
18. Bottled water or a water purifier
19. Aspirin and other over-the-counter meds
20. Toilet paper
21. Paper towels
22. Toothpaste, soap, etc.
23. A jar of yeast for baking (watch the date on the label).
24. Hard candy (a bit of sugar helps in any crisis).

Note: Be sure to rotate these items. Replace as you eat or use.

Some other ideas:
1. Keep chickens if you have the room. Even a couple of little hens in a backyard cage will do.
2. Keep at least a cord of wood if you have a wood-burning fireplace.
3. Keep enough cash on hand to see you through a short-term emergency.
4. Keep one 5 gallon "jerry can" of gasoline on hand at all times.
5. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
6. Buy a first-aid kit
7. Learn to make bread and other homemade staples.
8. Invest in a wheat grinder.
9. Invest in a chain saw for cutting wood.
10. Keep at least two propane bottles, filled at all times, for emergency outdoor cooking.
12. Pass this posting on to everyone you know.

Well, I hope you don't think I'm some kind of kook, but that I'm a prepared citizen with some common sense.

What does all of this have to do with Serenity? When I feel that I can weather the unexpected "storms" I have more Peace of Mind.

Let us know what you do to prepare for an emergency. We love hearing from you AND you can possibly help others.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Something She Wrote"-- Check It Out

A couple of days ago, Janna from "Something She Wrote" challenged her readers to suggest writing prompts and in turn she said would attempt to create short vignettes from the ideas she received. I was the first person to offer a suggestion. My idea was for her to write something about "You're Never Too Old For Koolaid." Today I was pleased to see she had written a very sweet short story on the subject.

I hope you will check out this talented lady's blog and stories. You won't be disappointed!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recession Or Depression?

We've all been on a roller-coaster ride for the last two weeks. Boarding the ride was a complete surprise to me. I expect it was for you, too. One minute I'm strolling casually through life and the next minute I hear the country is in the most serious financial crisis since THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

Along with most other residents of the USA, I became (overnight) consumed with whether or not my family was going to have the financial means to continue life as we know it.

For now, anyway, the crisis has been averted. The government seems to think we can go on with our lives without serious interruption, but the recent scare has taught me a couple of things and reminded me that it doesn't take extravagance to live a life of joy and gratitude.

When I was growing up, my family lived happily and frugally, buying whatever we needed with cash. My grandparents had known the heartache of losing their farm in The Great Depression, lived through it, and NEVER went into debt again. They paid cash for everything and saved the major portion of each weekly paycheck. By the time I graduated from high school, they had purchased three homes and furnishings--all with cash!

Thrifty living was common back in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, but somewhere along the way Americans became the most affluent people on the planet. We adopted wasteful and glutinous lifestyles, spending with reckless abandon and thought it would last forever. The past two weeks proves that life can change in a heartbeat and our best laid plans can be thrown into confusion and disarray.

In the future I'm going to make sure I buy only those items I truly need and save as much money as possible. I'm going to try to get back to the basics and values of an earlier time.

I would like to hear from you, too. Has the crisis given you a new perspective on how you'll live in the future?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Who's That In The Mirror?

Lately, I'm never satisfied with the way I look. I'm OK until I look in the mirror or see a photo of myself. It leaves me wondering, "Where did I go? That's not 'the me' I see in my mind's eye." I feel like a twenty-five year old, but the mirror and camera don't lie.

I hear this same complaint from many women as they age. Gravity begins to take it's toll, faces and bodies become distorted, beauty fades, and we become "the invisible people." A few months before my mother-in-law passed away, she held one of her arms up and said to me, "I wonder sometimes whose arm this is. I don't feel this old."

I'm somewhat of an introvert by nature--the "spiritual" has always been a big part of who I am, but as a woman, I'm afraid vanity has also played a starring role.

I'm being forced, now, to embrace change. I'll certainly not give up on looking as attractive as I possibly can, considering the obstacles-- but it's time to accept the person in the mirror and in the photos, concentrate on the value of the person within, count my blessings, and enjoy the peace and wisdom that comes with maturity.

What are your thoughts on aging? Let's discuss it.