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When I was a little girl, my mom cooked all the time. We rarely ever had anything that was not ‘from scratch’. Pretty much every morsel was homemade. Somewhere around age eight when I discovered canned chicken noodle soup (which I loved), I was in heaven. I don’t know how I missed it the first few years of life, but I did. I more
Officials charged with safekeeping and maintaining order at Times Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve must have been sweating, even if the weather outside was frightful. The mass of humanity--estimated to number in excess of one million people--surely could have been forgiven had they chosen to celebrate indoors. But, when the role was called up yonder in the “Big Apple,” they were “there.” Critics contend, however, that all were NOT accounted for, nor did they wish to be. more
vSnow days. Whether you love them or hate them is usually dependent upon whether or not you have to work in them. Several years ago, when my children were younger and I worked as a substitute teacher, we had snow. Of course, it didn’t start falling until after the school day had begun and I was in a room full of kindergartners. Five-year-olds that aren’t allowed to go outside because the weather is too cold can be a handful. more
Once upon a time, I had three babies in a short span of four and a half years. They were all little at once. At the time, I was tired twenty four hours a day. I always had a diaper to change, a bottle to feed, a fight to break up. The kids were beautiful, wonderful, and amazing, but they were also frustrating, annoying, and constant. There were days when I wondered if I would survive those early years with my sanity intact. I showered about once every two or three days when someone could be there to watch the kids so I could take a break for half an hour. My sleep was disrupted most nights. Potty training was a fun little hobby for quite a while as the kids all grew out of diapers. Then there were the early school days. I felt like I lived at the elementary school for several years between all the kids’ class parties, field trips and volunteer opportunities. Somewhere along the way, those challenges of parenthood slipped from bottles and diapers to scholarship applications and part time jobs. And eventually one of our little chickens flew the coop to live over two hours away. It was inevitable. It’s what we planned from day one. We raise children to become independent and responsible citizens, and she is all of that and more. But last week, another inevitable thing happened: she got the flu. I suppose it’s a good thing that it’s taken her a solid eighteen months to get sick for the first time. It means that her immune system is strong and for that, I am grateful. But to be so far from Mama and feel so yucky means that Mama is a sad Mother Hen. Fortunately, she lives next to the campus where she goes to school and they have a clinic she can visit (for free!) anytime she is sick. And the campus pharmacy can fill prescriptions for much less than CVS or Walgreens. So for the first time since she moved there, she used that resource and found out she had the flu. Through texts and a few phone calls, her Dad and I instructed her on which medicines to get, foods she might be able to stomach, ways to stay hydrated and reminders to sleep as much as possible. Fortunately, by day four, she was feeling remarkably better. We are grateful that she caught it super early, had medicine to help her get well and that she was able to take a few days off work to recover. Since it happened the week before school began, she didn’t have to miss any classes. There are lots of positive aspects to all this, but goodness, this Mama still felt terrible to be so far away from my sick baby. I guess it’s just part of parenting. Our babies grow up and move on. They will experience heartbreak, flat tires, clogged toilets, weird roommates, hurricanes and yes, the flu, on their own. It’s part of growing from a child into an adult, being able to handle hard things on your own (even if it includes lots of texts to and from mom or dad to figure it out.) I have found that, in the last few years, there are lots of things my kids have been through that left me wondering why I wished away those early years so much. I would love to go back to diapers and bottles these days. That was NOTHING compared to the hard stuff that comes with having older kids. Every stage of parenting is hard. Each phase of life brings its own new challenges. I’ve enjoyed some stages more than others. But one thing I’m certain of: I’ve been so richly blessed to live through each one. There are so many people who dream and desire to have a child, but are never given the chance. And there are those who had a child but lost them along the way to tragedy or disease. I am so grateful to have had my kids at all, and to still have them all here with me nearly twenty-two years into this parenthood gig. (But I hope no one else in my crew has to face the flu this year. Can we be done with being sick for a while?) more
At their wedding 52 years ago in their hometown of Bangs, TX, Virginia and Lowell Bishop repeated “old school” vows. When she murmured the “whither thou goest” commitment, however, she gave little thought to the “whither thou stoppeth” milestone. more
We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I have heard and even thought the saying was teaching us not to let the little things bother us. Unfortunately, it is precisely the “little things” that tend to frustrate us. Or is it that they just frustrate me? While we might be aware that the “small stuff” shouldn’t bother us, how do we keep from letting it do so? There is a principle taught in scripture. Bad habits should be replaced with good ones. more
Every week, I sit down on Thursday evening and make a menu and grocery list for the upcoming week. Every week I try to come up with new recipes, new things to cook, new things to serve my family and nourish their bellies. Of course, I am also doing this all on a budget, so sometimes creativity takes a hit and cost is the motivating factor for a meal. I create the menu and hang it on the front of the refrigerator and those are the meals we eat the following week. It solves a lot of things. Not only does it give me a plan for cooking every evening so that I can come home from work and not have to sit and wonder, but it also keeps my family from asking a dozen times “What’s for dinner?” Plus, it saves us a lot of money! more
Childhood illnesses in the mid-20th Century were rarely treated by physicians who practiced medicine. Instead, mothers practiced home remedies with abandon. Many among us can remember times when the treatment was worse than the illness, as well as accompanying psychological damage that won’t let go. Youngsters cringed at hearing parental diagnoses. What now is regularly called an “upper respiratory infection” was then a chest cold, “crud,” croup, or sometimes “epizootis.” Perhaps what moms depended upon most often was castor oil (or black draught) for tummy disorders and Vicks VapoRub for what we called “bad colds.”… ***** more
If you are anything like I am, then you spent your New Year’s Day holiday getting your house back in order after the holidays. I took down the Christmas tree and carefully packed the ornaments. I put away most of my nativities, though I always keep a few out on display throughout the year. I put my furniture back in place since it had to be moved to make room for the tree. Of course, I had to vacuum both before and after due to all the pine needles left behind. more
Six years ago this month, I was given the opportunity to pick up my pen and share with you a few thoughts each week in this column. I followed the lovely Lisa Pierce who wrote a column similar to mine in this same space on page two. After a job transfer moved her family away from Whitehouse, she asked me if I would like to sacpeak to the editor and take over for her. Since writing is one of my greatest joys in life, it only took me about five seconds to ponder it and squeal “Yes!” more
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