Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Can of Beans

I attended a church dinner and tasted the best salad I had ever eaten.  I could have eaten it with a spoon and just ignored whatever else was on the table.  It was a bean salad, and I had to meet with the woman who put it together.

“It’s a combination of various beans,” the young mother told me.  “It is very easy, and the recipe is on the back of the can of beans.”  I made a mental note to buy the specific can of beans.

A week later the young woman stopped me at church and presented me with a can of beans.  I thanked her and left with the most wonderful feeling about her.

Two or so months later I heard that through an accident the young woman had broken her pelvic bone and was bedridden.  With a husband and two pre-teen children I knew life would be difficult for her.  So I prepared a complete meal, and I added a big stack of homemade flour tortillas.  A week later I took her another stack of flour tortillas and cookies.  I also told her that I favored the tortillas because it was so easy to make a meal by just placing something like a scrambled egg or sausage or just about anything in the tortilla and folding it.  Presto, a meal.  She said they had come to realize that and were so grateful to me.

Isn’t it amazing how far a can of beans can take you?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Failures versus Successes

Several years ago I picked up my husband's instruction book on taking pictures.  I read the most amazing statement.  It said something like this: "As you begin taking pictures do not be discouraged when you see the professional work of some photographers.  They have discarded their bad pictures and just publish their good ones.  Just keep on working on your skill."

Of course...I said to myself;  that makes sense.  I began to generalize that information into other settings.  I love to sew, but I would not show you my failures.  Those I place in a bag and get rid of.  Then I show my good work.
I've had people tell are really good at this.  I always reassure them that anyone could do what I do.  It requires a love of the skill and an investment of time.

To take this to another level...I try not to dwell on my failures in any area.  Those I try to learn from and then put aside.  Instead I seek to improve in the areas I work.  I hope I always show you my good work.  I try.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Fastest Gunslinger


We used to watch matinee movies every Saturday afternoon.  After doing a few chores my mother allowed my older sister, two older brothers, and me to go to the movie theater.  Usually, we saw westerns: Hopalong Cassidy, the Cisco Kid, Gene Autry, Wild Bill Elliot, Johnny Mack Brown, etc.

The themes were all similar  with small changes, but we didn’t know any different.  We clapped and laughed at the same time as everyone else.  One story line used often was about a gunslinger.  He was fast, accurate, slim, and good-looking.  The role was played by a good guy wearing a white hat one week and a bad guy wearing a black hat the next week. 

One thing was always certain: lurking in the background or in the near future of the story was a FASTER GUNSLINGER.  The last gunslinger, the winner, was a good cowboy.

I learned this to be a fact of life: there is always a faster gunslinger.  A smarter person.  A more beautiful girl.  A handsomer guy.  A better quarterback.  Etc.  So before we start preening, or boasting we need to remember there is always someone who is ready to challenge the existing standard, to topple you off the pedestal.  And that is a good lesson for us all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Keep on Believing in Yourself

Because of my son's high scores on a test a college wrote us and suggested our twelve year old boy might be invited to study in a special advanced program for three weeks in the summer.  I was very excited and immediately called his counselor.
She responded by telling me not to expect him to be invited.  "Only very sophisticated children can leave home and study in a college far away from home.  etc. etc. etc."  I knew she was wrong but I just let her continue with her negative stance.
I knew my son and knew he could do it.  Sure enough he scored high enough on another test that qualified him to attend the college.  I never considered her opinion.  Nice lady that she was, I had better information about my son in my possession than she would ever have.
And I believed in him and knew he would succeed.  And he did.
So I suggest...if you know you can do something don't let anyone dissuade you.  Good luck.


I had a friend who seemed to always be happy, always smiling and was pleasant to everyone. Hmmm I thought...doesn't she ever have any problems? Doesn't anything ever make her unhappy?

Then one day I knew of something that came into her life which was not pleasant. And yet, when I saw her she was smiling and pleasant as ever. It came to me then, the answer to my question.

It was not that she didn't have problems. She knew how to deal with them and then continue with her life. Her happiness came from within, not from without. It was a good philosopy.

Since that time I have read other accounts that stated the following: It is not what happens to you that determines your happiness; it is how you deal with what happens to you.

So I choose to be happy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


When my grandson was a toddler and answered questions with a positive answer he would say, “Nes”.  We laughed about it as it seemed a combination of no and yes.  After dwelling on it I started thinking…perhaps he is saying maybe.  I couldn’t be sure.  Eventually he learned to say yes in a manner that left no doubt as to what he meant.

Since then I’ve decided “nes” is not a bad idea.  When you want to say yes, but you have your doubts perhaps “nes” is the answer you really would like to utilize.  I think I shall keep that idea in my pocket and one day when I am asked a question and I am not sure how to answer I may just say, “nes”.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stumbling, Fumbling and Bungling

 Stumbling, Fumbling, and Bungling Through Life…that is what my son told me I was doing with my life.  He felt that I planned nothing and attained nothing because of my lack of planning.  He’s an engineer and every facet of his life is planned. 

So I drew a chart and on one end I wrote extreme planner with characteristics of an obsessive compulsive personality.  On the other end of the continuum I wrote non-planner.  In the middle with varying degrees of both extremes I wrote such words as plans some, plans much and plans but appears not to be planning.  In other words, no visible signs of stress.  I pointed to this line of the continuum and said, “That is where I am.  It appears that I don’t plan, but I do and am flexible so that if it rains on the day of the scheduled picnic, I don’t go to pieces.  And I appear to be perfectly relaxed.  Find yourself on this scale,” I challenged him.