Category Archives: Vicissitudes of Life

A Handmade, No-Spend Christmas

That’s my goal. We’ve been hit hard with car repairs and other expenses, as well as runaway inflation, so our plan is to either make all our presents by hand, trade, maybe use a few low-balance gift cards we have and just generally make this a different kind of Christmas. When I mentioned this to some of the family, I included that Dollar Tree gifts or gift baskets could be done, but I don’t expect to do them myself. It’s just an option if anyone wants to.

Josie, on her Cedar Creek Homestead youtube channel is talking this week about having a simpler Christmas. She tells a wonderful story about a Christmas during her childhood when all she wanted was a rocking chair, but knew there was no money for one and didn’t expect to get it. But out in the barn was an old rocker that had belonged to her grandpa. It was in rough shape.

But unbeknownst to Josie, her parents had plans for that chair. While she was at school during the day, her mother had been going out and sanding, repairing and staining the chair. On Christmas morning, there it was waiting for her. She was so surprised and pleased. Josie had a love for old things, so it was a double blessing.

This story reminds me of a couple of things. One was the story in Mark 14:3-9 about the woman who anointed Jesus with the ointment. She was criticized but He defended her saying “She hath done what she could.” What marvelous praise!

Another thing Josie’s story reminded me of was something my mother used to say: “It’s what you do with what you have that counts.” I’m not responsible for what’s impossible, but what I’m able to do.

My parents were a young married couple during World War II. This was before toys were mostly made from plastic, and metal was being used in the war effort, so new toys were scarce, and tricycles even scarcer. Daddy found a used one, and like Josie’s mother, cleaned it up and gave it a new coat of paint. And that was what my brother got for Christmas that year. Strangely enough, it was the start of his life long love of everything on wheels; everything from bicycles to motorcycles to race cars. I even saw him ride a unicycle once.

So, I plan on looking around at my assets and take stock of what I can do this December. I don’t have the talent of my sister to knit and crochet, or my friend Abby to bead or do paper engineering, but I can sew a little, bake and do a few other crafts.

Our home is full of books and magazines with projects and ideas.

One thing I tried this past year was making my own potpourri. We had a lot of oranges that needed to be used, but were past the eating stage. I sliced the nicest looking ones, put them on a cookie sheet and set it under our wood stove to dry them. I couldn’t believe how nicely that worked. For the others, I scooped out the pulp and dried the peels on the window sill on brown paper bags. Our back pasture is full of wildflowers, which my husband picked and brought to me later in the year, along with some berries (I have no idea what kind they are, and it didn’t matter since they weren’t for eating). After drying the flowers, I mixed it all together with the orange peel. No, it doesn’t smell as lovely as the store-bought kind, but essential oils or cinnamon oil can fix that.

I really like the chunky kind of potpourri, and was able to have some for free. True, it wasn’t nice enough to give for a gift, but it’s in the Making Do category.

I hope to do what I can, with what I have.


Filed under Christmas, Christmas, Crafts - Cheap, Free, Holidays, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Vicissitudes of Life, Wildflowers

The Truth Matters


It takes a special movie to separate us from the $20-40 it costs now.  When I saw the preview for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, it grabbed my attention.


“This is the true story of six men who had the courage to fight back.”


“This is the true story you were never told.”


My husband and I saw it yesterday, and it’s difficult for me to think about anything else.  Now I want to read the book, watch the interviews with the survivors and research the lies that Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Susan Rice told with straight faces to the American people.


Because those four didn’t simply lie about the cause of the attack, they are now lying about lying.  They couldn’t be more Orwellian if they were literally characters in Nineteen Eighty-Four.


In the presence of the 4 flag-draped coffins on the tarmac, Hillary Clinton lied to the families.


Now, she’s lying about lying.


Because of his lies to the American people and attempts to cover-up the Watergate break-in, Richard Nixon faced certain impeachment and therefore resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974.


Now, when those in the highest offices in Washington, D.C. lie and cover-up, they fly around on Air Force One and golf in exotic locations on the hard earned money of the American taxpayer.


Or they run for president.


After September 11, it was a common tool of the left to throw down the gauntlet of “Are you questioning my patriotism?!” when challenged on virtually any political point.  The weenies on the right would slink off with their tails between their legs, losing every time.


I say:  anyone who would vote for Lying Hillary Clinton does not love this country.


Cheers for Michael Bay and the stunningly courageous men who defended the compound in Benghazi!


America is not lost as long as we still have people like those brave men who will fight against all odds.


The truth matters.






Filed under America, History, Military, Politics, Vicissitudes of Life

Visiting bookshelves


I’ve seen a quotation on Pinterest, something to the effect of: Before we become friends, I’d like to take a peek at your Pinterest boards.

They’re like a mini-resume of a personal nature.

Likewise, whenever I go to a person’s home, I always find myself looking at their books’ titles.

Once in a while I see something familiar, and occasionally even spot ones that are on my own shelves. What are the odds of that when you consider just how many books there are in the world?

I’ve spent a lifetime with books; reading them, collecting them, reading reviews. Even reading books about books because I love them so.

Unfortunately, sometimes I see books in homes that give me more informations about their interests or lives than I’d care to have. For instance, once when we were overseas, we were invited to a couple’s home. There were large bookshelves in their dining room, and right out in the open, the husband had books about certain problems with wives (of an intimate nature). Very embarrassing.

And no, I didn’t pick them up and browse through them. The very title was descriptive. Maybe that’s why the wife spent most of our visit drinking whiskey in the kitchen by herself.

Thankfully, that kind of experience is rare.

Our home is small, and even though we have books in every room in the house (except for the littlest room), most of our volumes reside in the living room. Several years ago, one of our sons mildly chastised me for having political books right out in the open.

He’d had some friends over, and they didn’t like my choices; neither in politics nor reading material.

They were offended by my books about President Reagan and by William F. Buckley.

People are funny that way.

*Note: The quotation on my photograph is a paraphrased one. I can’t remember the original but if I knew the author, I’d credit them.

If anyone knows the original source, please leave a message and I’ll give the correct notation.


Filed under Books, Quotes, Vicissitudes of Life

Subterfuge at McDonald’s

Today after church we met our pastor and one of his daughters at McDonald’s for lunch. We sat talking for quite awhile after we finished eating.

A young woman (maybe 19 or 20 years old) was walking around the restaurant, stopping at various tables for a minute or so. She approached our table with her cell phone held in front of her and asked our pastor’s daughter (hereafter referred to as P.D.) if she would participate in a … I can’t remember what she called it …. it wasn’t a public service announcement, but something like that.

She wanted two words repeated, which she would record with her cellphone camera, and said that the recordings of several people would be spliced together to make the video. We’ve all seen these things on television or the internet; it looks like a patchwork statement.

P. D. is a young adult and can make her own decisions and she agreed and did it.

Next, the girl turned to our pastor and asked him. He replied by asking what her t-shirt said. (It was some kind of leftist nonsense.)

Then he asked her what was the goal of the video she was making. She replied that it had to do with nutrition.

At that point, I joined the conversation and asked if it was an anti-McDonald’s video. She looked a little sheepish and said yes.

I told her that we wouldn’t assist her because we love McDonald’s, to which she said “I’m sorry.” I said she didn’t have to be sorry about it because we were happy to eat there.

So she left our table and kept going around to other tables looking for unsuspecting tools for her propaganda.

Now that made me mad. If she wanted to ask students at her campus (she looked like a high school or college student) to participate but informing them first what her goals were, that’s one thing.

But to play upon the generosity of strangers and then make them look like fools is something entirely different. It’s dishonest and cruel.

Just what I’d expect from the Left.

So, please be aware that there are wolves among the sheep, and if an innocent-looking young person or innocent looking old person or anyone else asks you to participate in something – ask questions before you agree.

Or you’re likely to see yourself on a video, seemingly saying something that you never said.

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Filed under Cafes/Restaurants, Current Events, Food, Politics, Vicissitudes of Life

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass

Usually the library is one of my favorite places to go and the first place I head for is the Used Books area. No set prices, just make a donation of whatever one thinks they’re worth.

So, today I was browsing through, finding several wonderful volumes when I saw a boy of about 13 approach his dad, who was also looking over the shelves. He’d found something he was really interested in, took it to him and read a couple of sentences aloud.

At first I thought I’d heard the man incorrectly. It sounded like “Oh, good. You can read.” But I thought surely not. I must’ve heard wrong.

The boy walked away and I continued to browse.

About 5 minutes later he was back, when I heard his father say: “Go away. You smell.”


The boy’s reply: “I don’t smell”.

The man said it twice more, making no attempt to lower his voice.

Crushing, humiliating, public riducule.

Bullying – plain and simple.

I wanted so badly to do something.


All I could think of was to smile at the boy just before he turned to walk away again.

I don’t think it would’ve gone well had I said something to the man, but I’d briefly considered it. That idea was rejected because it probably would’ve led to a scene.

But it really bothered me and I asked the Lord for help.

About that time a nice looking woman came and spoke to them; the man and boy went out to the foyer, she went over to the self-checkout.

I took a deep breath and walked over to her and asked if she was the boy’s mother. She said yes.

Then I asked her to be gentle with him because his father had just been rude to him in front of me, and I thought he might be feeling hurt.

Her face fell and she immediately said something to the effect of “my husband has issues”.

We talked for no more than a minute.

She seemed like a kind, gentle person. Approachable.

Her husband on the other hand clearly wasn’t approachable even to his son who so desperately wanted his dad to share his interests.

Now, most of the stories about this kind of thing usually feature Wal-Mart shoppers. Not these people. We were in an affluent town and they looked quite prosperous. In fact, he had the look of a professional man. Maybe an attorney. He certainly had the demeanor of some I’ve met in court.

May God bless and protect the woman and her children. Help her children to be strong and not dwarfed by meanness, to know their worth to their Heavenly Father, who loves them dearly.

And bring that man to the end of himself.


Filed under Children, Vicissitudes of Life

Black Armband Day

Armband:: a band worn around the arm; especially : a band worn around the arm for identification or in mourning.

Chief Justice John Roberts put a nail in the coffin of America on Thursday.

If I had a black armband, I’d wear it.

Bought this book because it’s just so timely and appropriate.

However, I still have some Hope that there will be a Change in the White House and Senate when the polls close on November 6, 2012.


Filed under America, Current Events, Vicissitudes of Life


God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I Corinthians 1:9


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Filed under Clouds, Faith, Scripture, Vicissitudes of Life

Observations After a Class Reunion

1. I’m glad I went. I think.

2. I’m glad that the God of my salvation does not judge me as mere mortals see me. That my worth to Him is not appearance based, or on what kind of house I live in or my education or job or social standing.

Because all those things are not in quite as good shape as they were 40 years ago when I graduated from high school.

The group photo proves that.


One of my few regrets from the party is that I allowed Gayla to drag me over for the portrait.

Bit a of reality check for me.

3. A mild correction of an old problem.

Remember the kid who sat alone in the cafeteria? Much of the time, that was me.

What I’ve regretted about that, was not that the others didn’t include me in their group, but that I didn’t use the opportunity to keep someone else from being alone.

What was so great about me that I couldn’t have been the one to reach out?

So, on Saturday night when one of the guys who used to have the same problem came up and started chatting, I chatted back. He made the first attempt (which I thought very brave because we’d never known each other), and I responded. And, then, I tried to overcome my nervousness and started a few conversations, too.

4. There were a few people who’d been popular (and though not enemies, weren’t friends either) who are now friendly and welcoming and that always pleases, but shocks me.

5. And there were some who’d never spoken to me in school,and who wouldn’t even crack a smile for me on Saturday night.

Stupid, stupid, stupid that it still stings. Time to grow up, girl.

Norma Davis, me, Richard Crawford, Nicole Wright

6. How valuable kindness is. Thank you, Gayla and Shirley and Carolyn and Kathy and Don and Jim and Joanna and Ray and Mike and Alan.

7. I’m glad I went.


Filed under 1970s, Faith, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Vicissitudes of Life

Exalting Women

After dropping my husband at his office on Tuesday, I went to a local coffee shop/bakery to read, enjoy a bagel and sip coffee.

The coffee was good, the book (“Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War”) was riveting, the atmosphere, pleasant. Until The Couple arrived.

It was early and I was the first occupant in that particular dining room, and so of course, I looked up when they came in. The first thing that I noticed was that she was a rare specimen: most women my age (including me) no longer have the svelte profiles of our youth, but she did. Not anorexic, but just right, and I admired that. They were both dressed in jeans and t-shirts.

They didn’t have the body language of a married couple, so I assumed he was her boy friend, about the same age, and seemed pleasant enough.

About 2 minutes after they sat down with their food, she started raising her voice, swearing and berating him. She accused him of saying something insensitive, and maybe he had. I wasn’t listening to them until she started drawing attention.

This went on for a few minutes with him mildly trying to defend himself, but she wasn’t having any of it. After a bit, he asked if they could talk about something else. She stood up and left the room but was back in a couple of minutes, at which time she started in again.

Once more, he asked if they could talk about something else.

No change.

And so on, until they left.

Here’s why I don’t think they were married: most husbands that I know, would’ve left and gone to the car if they were treated that way in public.

Never in my life have I heard a man swearing and denigrating a woman publicly like that. I can just imagine that if the roles had been reversed, someone would’ve stepped in and said or done something to defend her.

That incident was on Tuesday.

The day before, Joe and I were eating lunch at a Thai restaurant and were seated next to a table where a woman was sitting alone, obviously waiting for someone before ordering. Very nicely dressed (we were in a very affluent area) and conspicuously irritated.

Shortly, a man arrived in…golf shorts? Very tanned. Very affluent looking. Very quiet. Maybe late.

She was much more in control of herself than the coffee shop woman but plainly peeved. Both she and the man kept their voices low, but let me tell you, it was embarrassing to be in that close a proximity to someone so unhappy.

My husband is a fairly unobservant person (unless science, mathematics or music is involved) but even he noticed what was going on. She was in a bad mood and her fellow was the pincushion, although she did eventually calm down and even tried to be pleasant later.

He had the demeanor of someone who’s been through this before, and also of one who isn’t going to keep going through it.

Divorce was written all over that atmosphere. I really hope I’m wrong.
~Oh, Lord, please wake them up and heal that situation, especially if there are children involved. ~

Maybe both men were cretins.

Both women behaved badly. Why did they seem to think they were entitled to act any way they pleased? If the men had done something wrong (and they very well might have done), why compound the situation? Most men will not tolerate public abuse forever.

Trouble between men and women is nothing new, but the approach to it in this modern world is.

If you watch television or movies, listen to NPR or read magazines, chances are strong that you’ve learned the lesson well:

Men are idiots. Women are smart.

Men are helpless. Women are invincible.

When we went to see The Avengers, I fully expected Scarlett Johansen to Save the World instead of the superheroes. (SPOILER: she doesn’t.)

That’s what I’ve come to expect in everything from CNN to commercials.

Facebook postings and Pinterest pins are rife with it.

“The slightly neurotic hot mess is merely the admission price to the amusement park that is me” has been repinned 81 times.

“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Marilyn Monroe.

173 repins.

A lot of women seem to be proud of acting petulant, selfish and abusive.

During the sermon Sunday morning, the pastor related a question his brother had asked him: “When did women become so exalted that …” and I won’t finish the quote with his words because they’re a little different from the direction I’m heading, but they still fit in with this train of thought because they dealt with bad behavior.

When did women become so exalted that:

They can’t be criticized? About anything.

That if they actually do something that’s really bad and can’t be denied – it’s a man’s fault?

They pretend to be equally suited for something that’s traditionally male – but don’t care that the standards are lowered so they can meet them?

Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I heard

“Just keep answering like that and we’ll get along.”

plenty of jokes putting down women. Especially women drivers. Some were funny. Lots of them weren’t. If it was so wrong (and I think it was) for women to often be fair game as the butt of jokes, why don’t modern women take the moral high ground and not do as they’ve been done to?

And it’s not merely words. It’s actions, too that have changed.

In my youth, domestic violence only touched my world a few times (a neighbor, a friend’s mother and a friend’s dad), but my understanding is that until just a few years ago, it was considered a private issue and generally not something to call the cops for.

Now it’s a crime to abuse a woman (and absolutely rightly so), but for some kind of Twilight Zone reason, it’s okay for her to abuse the man.

I know of several situations in which the woman is physically abusive to the man. The men won’t call the cops, but oh! how I wish they would! The men say they won’t be believed. That the deck is stacked against them. That they’d be the ones who’d leave in handcuffs- even though they didn’t fight back.

An added insult to the injury is when the female lies and turns the tables and falsely accuses her male victim. Once I was a witness to an incident and the girl lied and lied and lied about it and eventually lied in court.

Some of the men are so whipped or brainwashed or I just don’t know what, that they seem to lose touch with reality.

One woman I know, literally said that “women are entitled to hysteria”. She gets so violent that her husband has to temporarily move out of the house. Her idiot husband said to me once, that “it’s never okay for a man to put his hands on a woman”. He didn’t say “domestic violence is always wrong” or “it’s never right for someone to hit someone else”.

Guess how that woman’s daughter behaves? You got it. She became an abuser and brags that she always knows what she’s doing and is in control of herself, even when it appears that she isn’t. She said that she chooses her behavior.

Why not?

Our current debased society says that she’s a princess. That she can have it all: bad behavior and unjustified sympathy to boot.

She doesn’t have to compete on a level playing field.

Her actions won’t be judged by the same standards as the men she habitually abuses.

What hath feminism wrought? Not simple equality. No, rather it’s about an imbalance of power.

Injustice, entitlement and unreality.

Of course this mess doesn’t apply to every female.

But from all indications, it’s becoming increasingly and disgustingly common.

As a woman, I’m embarrassed that so many women are just fine with this ugly mess and see no need to change.

*5-25-12: Excellent comment on the male perspective left by Joe. I recommend it.


Filed under Current Events, Vicissitudes of Life


bum steer : False or misleading information; poor advice. For example, Gene felt his doctor had given him a bum steer, as he hadn’t lost any weight on the diet. [Slang; c. 1920]

My friend, Geneva, introduced me to Pinterest a few months ago and for goodness’ sake, I’ve certainly spent a huge amount of time there ever since.

You can click on the new sidebar button Follow Me on Pinterest and see where I’ve been spending my time instead of using it for blogging. It’s just under the Search box on the right.

One person referred to it as magazines to look at every day. For free. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them.

Here’s a short run-down on how it works:
1. If you’re interested in flowers or altered books or old barns or England or any of a zillion other things, just go to and type in your subject in the search bar. It will bring up photographs of whatever you typed.

2. You do not have to join in order to just view the photographs. If you want to save favorite photos that you find, then click on the red bar that says “Request an Invite”. They’ll send you an email with a confirmation and instructions on how to get started.

They give you the option of signing in with Facebook; I don’t because I think that Facebook is already far too intrusive and nosy.

3. When you find a photo that piques your interest, you click on their name to visit their Boards. Perhaps you’ll find even more common interests. Click “Follow” if you want to automatically see their new pins whenever you sign in.

4. Let’s say you’ve joined and set up your own boards and want to keep a photograph – you do this by clicking “Repin” and selecting one of your Boards to pin it to.

Here’s where the Bum Steer comes in.

I try to be very, very careful about what I Repin because there’s some bad stuff out there on the internet and it frightens me to think I might be steering someone into any of it.

That can happen because the pinned photos link back their origin.

For instance, go here to my Hats are a must! board. Then click on the photo that looks like this one:

It will take you to my blog post where the photo originated.

And most of the time, that’s okay.

However, I don’t want to steer someone to a site which will cause them to stumble; someplace that has pornography or Mormonism, or anti-Semitism or communism, or even self-destructive philosophy.

Beware: there are lots of pins that look Christian, but are not. Spiritual seduction is what they are.

When I first started, I wasn’t so careful. Then I began to consider how I’ll explain to Jesus how I’ve been the source of something which caused someone to fall into sin.

My goal isn’t to be totally bland and innocuous. I agree the Winston Churchill quote:

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

There are people who hate me (and read this blog) because of the stand I’ve taken for protection of the innocent. They are definitely not innocent themselves and have chosen their own path. If they consider themselves to be my enemy, that’s their choice.

That’s another kind of offense entirely.


Filed under Faith, Internet links, Vicissitudes of Life, Winston Churchill