This is going to be subjective, at best. I haven’t the continuing education to prove my theories, test them or even live long enough to see the outcomes.

My hypothesis is that STUDENTS CAN AND WILL LEARN by SIMPLE LANGUAGE, EXPLANATION, DEMONSTRATION AND REPETITION.  It is how we start them on the path to language as babies and unless there is a medical reason, all babies learn to talk, therefor, all children who can talk, can learn. [Of course, those who cannot talk, can also learn, with the right approach.] [Have you ever heard of Marva Collins, a most successful educator? Find and read her books.] I believe learning begets thinking.

Learning hasn’t changed.  Teaching has regressed.

Taking into account that “oldsters, like myself” have an innate sense of what works and what doesn’t and right and wrong and the good-old-days, I surmise that great teachers and good education may have begun and ended, on the prairie during the days of hardships, homesteading, pioneers and nation building.  People struggled to build a homestead and a family and to include a church and a school in their future. For the most part, schooling their youngsters was such a priority that parents took on the care of the teacher to facilitate the futures of their children. Kids in those days studied Math, Penmanship, Geography, History, Latin, English, Reading, and Science, among other subjects. Their Reading included the classics, something today’s college students may or may not encounter. School hardly lasted past 8th grade and teachers were students with another year or two of education.

Some two hundred years later, my schooling included all of the above, as well as office subjects and Home Ec or Ag [can you imagine those pioneer kids hearing about a class in “hard work”]. We did not have much reading of the classics, we missed ancient history details and many other basics,  but I feel that our education was comparable to the education received today in 4 years of college.

We have dumbed down our kids by not expecting more of them. Those pioneer families did not subsist on 18 years of childhood for each kid. Everyone who reached school age had become accustomed to contributing. They had chores, they had responsibilities, they had to help with survival and they were taught at home and then at school about the value and expectations of learning. By the time of my schooling, kids were still a bit self­-sufficient, contributors and we knew that school was necessary. College was becoming recognized as an opportunity for a better life or career.

Today’s kids are still kids at 18 or 19 or beyond. They expect catering. They expect rescue and special treatment. There is no accountability or contributions to the family unit. In that regard, today’s college is mandatory to finish what was started and NOT accomplished in 13 years of schooling.

If you have to go to college to finish a basic education and you can leave with a bachelor’s degree to teach, you are, in point of fact, teaching with our 12K education. That leaves new teachers under  qualified to teach in today’s marketplace of education.

Would that it were a marketplace! [Off course, but if today’s education system were a marketplace, parents would be able to choose where their children would best be served and maybe even by whom. Good schooling, even great schooling would flourish. Good and great teachers would be sought after. Students would succeed and education standards would be served on a platter. Kids [and parents] who did not recognize their opportunities would be dismissed to find other educational options. [It might be amazing to see how things progress if a child was denied an education because of behavior or parental ineptitude. Lack of funds would always find a way for determined families, but families with children who have no incentives to learn or try, in our current situations, have bred more of the same. Kids and parents need accountability and consequences!]

Kids going to college would be prepared for advance learning and colleges would serve the same standards. You wouldn’t go to college to play sports and slide through the education.  Colleges wouldn’t be teaching remedial courses. College professors would be hired for teaching, not tenure.  I propose that tenured professors, or some like them, have denigrated our system from the top down. When you focus on research and your subject has been researched to death, you start fomenting ideas that are far left field and hardly beneficial, so then you dress them up in terminology to confuse and obfuscate to promote your superiority and you find changelings willing to drink your Kool-Aid, thereby justifying your ideas as post-modern and futuristic and innovative and as the Ferris wheel turns, more questionables join the ride and soon enough your ideas overtake common sense and simplicity. What are we left with? Today’s attempt to educate beyond the trusted values of SIMPLE LANGUAGE, EXPLANATION, DEMONSTRATION AND REPETITION.]

I am one of those people with just enough time to read, just enough, to formulate an opinion that aligns with my own theories and a blog to throw it out there. It is easy to criticize from my perspective. I don’t have any school age kids and my grandkids are in the system with or without parental involvement – I do not know.  I recently read the book THE FACULTY LOUNGES and Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For by Naomi Schaefer Riley. I also read a blog post from BlnNews, a blog on the governmental workings of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. This post included a pdf file of the ‘Unit 5’s Task Force Guide 2019-2020’ regarding Standards Based Learning and Grading.

From my uneducated guess, someone somewhere had way toooooo much time on their hands and no performance based job to attend to, so they have wasted hours and hours on a subjective proposition of no merit whatsoever, andddddd, sold it to some other inept time-wasting interloper who should NOT be in any position to influence education procedures.

This 47 page pdf, which I believe is a power point presentation, which I read word for word through a dozen pages before becoming mind-numbingly disinterested, included words like “summative [a ruse for the word accumulative] and rubrics [ another ruse for directions printed in red]” professes to preach an alternative system of determining student success or failure other than conventional grading. Hey, until you can TEACH, how is it that you can interpret? AND if you have teachers who aren’t capable of interpreting their teaching results among their students, maybe teaching isn’t their forte?

I would suggest that all this political mumbo-jumbo is someone’s attempt to interrupt actual teaching/learning while not having to get their own job as a school janitor.

Well learned doctrines still pertinent:

You reap what you sow!

Common sense isn’t common anymore!

Don’t get above your raising!

There is no I in teamwork!

The big picture is no selfie! [That one is mine]


THUMP – me getting off my high horse….for now.





Here are some firsts today.  First year of my 70+ on this earth.  First year with no more regrets. First year with no resolutions and no intention of missing them.  First year of no plans ahead and no plans left behind.  First year of writing just truths, ideas, and opinions as they come to me.

I have no more interest in politics – I may vote – I may not vote.  Let those who will suffer or salute the future of America cast their own determining mark. I will leave the news and discord and confusion to John – I don’t think he will absolve his interest.

I have a deadline ahead of me – it has always been there, but it is certainly closer and I am markedly aware now.  I might have 10 years [so much for Eli, not so much for me], or just five or just tomorrow?  It isn’t such a matter anymore. I don’t know if that makes me wise or resigned. I don’t feel either. I think it makes me honest.  My Dad only got 47 years. My Mom, 72, Donald 91. My Grandmother lived to 77, my Grandfather to 92.  John’s Dad lived to 58 and his Mom to almost 90.  Once upon a time, those were big numbers, even the 47 and the 58. Now they are the days that were always numbered for them from their first breath. Mine are numbered also and I am content with that and sometimes even excited at the prospect ahead.

We don’t know what’s to come, but we have the abiding faith that it will be wonderful. I think life isn’t better than death. Life is just different from death. We are trusting what we know and trading for what is promised. And we never need to go alone – our paths are simply to follow in the footsteps already taken.

I marvel at the continuity of nature and revel in the simplicity and complexity, both on equal footing.

I want to see more of nature, more art, more talent. I want to taste new things, learn to cook more adventurously. I want to throw it out if it tastes bad and make it a dozen times in a row if it’s wonderful.

I want to laugh and laugh and laugh. Lord, Give me sunny days, momentous storms, loving thoughts, and smiles and laughs every day. Remind me Lord, each day, of the things I can do for you and the blessings you have placed before me.

Thank You to the followers who read my blog.

PS:  I am excited to announce that our Grandson, Jacob, will be a spokesman against suicide, and is joining Steve Fugate from Florida on his 9th walk across America. If you haven’t heard of Steve, please look him up on FB and read his book LOVE LIFE WALK. Steve has walked 43,000 miles across America after losing both of his precious children. I have sent my amulet with some of Jacob’s ashes to Steve and we hope Jacob will be a message for someone else. It’s a fine thing for Jacob to be a part of. I told Steve that if he should lose Jacob during their journey, not to be alarmed. It is just where Jacob decided he belonged. Their journey begins on Valentines Day, so appropriate for all the Love they will carry.


JANUARY 1, 2020


  1. That’s a big number, and a familiar number.

2020 – Perfect vision

2020 – John Deere tractor model

2020 – TV news program

2020 – An election year

2020 – Mars Rover spacecraft

2020 – 364 Days ahead; 25, 577 days behind.

25,577 days I have lived and wasted.  In the big picture, I haven’t served a great purpose.  I haven’t made great strides. I haven’t been a good and guiding person.   I haven’t loved enough.  I haven’t learned enough.  I haven’t given enough. I haven’t prayed enough.  I haven’t laughed enough.  I haven’t even cried enough.

What I really have is just today. One single day.

Today is my gift received.  My heart is grateful.





Christmas Eve, all my growing up life, was a feast full of family at my Grandma and Grandpa Young’s. Their tiny four room house  filled with Grandparents,  Aunts and Uncles,  cousins of every age and extended members who just belonged to us.

The tree took up a fourth of the living room and there were presents,  collected all year,  for everyone in attendance……somehow we kids seemed to get exactly what we had begged for.  As each family arrived,  the presents swelled with their additions and our anticipation rose exponentially.

Everyone brought their own offerings to the banquet.  The tiny kitchen had food literally everywhere.  My Mom would bring a fruit platter with dip and her cheese spread and crackers – she was the expert with party foods.  Aunt Sally was good at desserts.  My Grandmother had been cooking for days.  Everyone’s contribution was met with anticipation. We ate turkey and ham and noodles and sage dressing and oyster dressing  for Kent, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows,  green beans (my Grandma must have given her recipe to Cracker Barrel),  mashed potatoes and gravy and jello salads and relish trays and sweet rolls to die for,  and pies and cookies and divinity,  caramels, pralines, fudge and Carolers fudge my Aunt ‘Cile would make for me.  We did justice to all of it.  My Dad would pile his food, saying “it was all going the same place anyway”.  We ate in the kitchen,  in the living room,  in the bedroom and under the table.

As wonderful as the food was,  it was also “in the way” of some serious gift opening.  Sometimes we drew names.  We wanted to be picked to help pass out presents.  We wanted to watch every single person open their gifts, but we didn’t want to wait that long.  If I could watch now,  I’m sure it was bedlam and we loved it.  My grandparents had a time opening all the gifts they received and we were just as excited to give those gifts as we were to receive.

As things wound down,  more food was nibbled or packaged to take home. The pile of coats disassembled itself as Dads warmed up cars and hauled the gifts out.  Moms corralled kids into mittens and gloves,  with hugs and kisses passed out.  If you were slow to leave, there was plenty of paper and boxes to pick up for burning in the next few days.

It really was a night where Love was passed around, over and over, until we were sure everyone had gotten more than their usual share. We wish you such a wonderful Christmas Eve tonight,  if only in your heart!



If you already make this or something extremely close, just consider me late to the party.

In our family, Mom was the appetizer Queen, our hors d’oeuvre Diva. We had her famous cheese spread for every Christmas. Made with the finest [read that..common] ingredients, it always received rave reviews. Why we didn’t have it other times, I’ve no idea. I have made it “out of season”. It’s good, but the best during the holidays.

She would have liked this recipe I’m about to share, for the ease and taste.  It is “perfect” with regular old saltine crackers, in the same way her cheese spread is only “perfect” with club crackers.

My name for this fab concoction is Chicken Spread. It’s is like I imagine a pate’ to be, having never actually eaten a pate’.  It’s not really chicken salad, in my book, but my Mom might have labeled it so, in her book.

“The thing is” [a fav family saying], it’s just simple and delicious. I’m surprised I didn’t make it sooner.  Surely there are better perks to old age than figuring out something to put on a soup cracker? Maybe…but I didn’t figure this out til a year or so ago.

If you will give it one try, I think you’ll be hooked….for lunch, brunch, early afternoon or late night snack….I love it!


1 store bought rotisserie chicken [pic a store that does them well. Walmart, Kroger – NAY NAY.  Ingles or Publix – YES YES [I’m in the South, duh!]

Celery    Onion [any kind/green,red,white, yellow]     Salt    and   Mayo

Don’t forget the saltines!

Directions:  Debone your chicken – I only use the white meat since I have a dispensary for all the remainder of the pickings, name Mattie.  Using either a food chopper or your knife, chop chicken fine….as in minced. Put into mixing bowl.

Clean and mince [Rachel Zirn, read that as our handy Pampered processor] equal amounts of celery and onion, to equal 2 parts chicken to 1 part veggies.  Mix and salt generously.

Add mayo sparingly, just to barely hold together. It doesn’t take much.

DONE  [this freezes well in containers that will thaw quickly.]  It keeps for ….. well, I don’t really know how long it would keep ….. cause I’ve never been able to keep it!


Since I mentioned Mom’s cheese spread, it is only fitting to share that too.

Gilberta’s Superb Cheese Spread:

2 lb velvetta cheese block, room temp

2 –  8oz pkgs cream cheese (Mom used 1, but 2 spread easier and taste fine), room temp

2 Tablespoons garlic salt

1 cup chopped pecans

Equal parts chili powder and paprika (start with 1 Tablespoon each) mixed in a flat dish or pie pan.

Mix first four either by hand or paddle in stand mixer. Lightly grease your hands and shape. (Shape about 1 cup portion into a circle or log. I have shaped single serving size of about 2 T for potlucks. After all the shaping is done, roll each in the chili powder/paprika mix to coat. (Mix more if needed). Chill and serve with CLUB CRACKERS.

This is a great holiday gift. Freezes well. I have some in my freezer right now. Wrap your shapes in saran with a ribbon, for giving.

Almost forgot to mention, this stuff is addictive……beware!


I’ve wondered from time to time if we should have a sound track in our lives, music scored to the highs and lows, the events, our moods….the ‘Days of our Lives’….. Oh, I guess that sound track is taken.

In fact, I do have a sound track to my current life.  It is comforting, entertaining and almost magical. It is a fairy tale discovery that is wrapped into the fabric of this house.  It gurgles, trills and tinkles it’s way past my house, reminding me everyday of the gift and sanctuary that we have been blessed with.  It is our own personal sound track, an endless melody of background music. It makes me feel secure in a way that no house ever has before. It may be as simple as knowing my prayers were answered….before i least expected.  It is awesome.

I’ve lived in 15 houses as an adult and nested everyone. I could make any place into a home. The cleaner, decorator and project coordinator in me has gone to work on every house. I wanted to put on a good show for friends, family and public so they could see that we lived presentably.  No pig sty here. No wallow.  I can do ‘trailer trash’ into ‘home interior’ in a few weeks.

This house is so different. Maybe I’m so different. I certainly see that this house is the nicest gift ever bestowed on me, an answer to prayers that I hoped for in Heaven, but not yet earned on Earth.

I feel an obligation and joy in making this house shine as a tribute to the comfort and security I get in return.

One of our last projects was to install corrigated tin to the ceiling of our back deck.  It was a finish detail to the flooring, railings and gates but it’s actually the jewelry to a finely dressed sanctuary. I didn’t realize how necessary it was, till it was finished.

The stream, my sound track, glitters off the ceiling, the whole length of the deck. Sunlight reflects bright white and soft golds as if we had strung lights. There’s movement and sound, continuous and comforting.

The sound track of the stream is mixed with the buzz of hummer wings, distant crow calls and whispers of insects and swishing of squirrel tales with glittery silver edging. It is mixed with shades of green, bold and filtered, shapes moving, swaying against grass carpet and edgy bark trunks.

The air is almost still, willow leaves barely trembling as insects flitter.  Moments later, breezes ruffle through to showcase the glamour of a thousand movements of light and shades of green.

The music of the stream is constant, a background to the shimmers on the ceiling and the hummers landing bravely in a  never ending show of jewel tones and mock battles. Whatever I can do to protect and appreciate this haven is not too much.

This home for our family of 2 and 2 is truly a blessing of the highest magnitude. I’m humbled and grateful. I’m secure and sheltered. Home has never before been so comforting.  My prayers were answered before I believed I was deserving. I plan to care deeply and joyously for the gift.


I understand that Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest; the field harvest and the garden harvest.  It is a time to relax a bit.  Crops, good or bad, are finished till Spring.  Back in the day, butchering was at hand or done also.  Gardens were gleaned down to stems and turned under for the winter.  Cellars were full of rows of home canned jars of all the abundance.  Jars were tiny jelly jars and pints, quarts and half gallons, even crocks too.  Freezers, as they became common, were equally full of meat, produce, pies and casseroles.  There was no stopping a good farm wife when it came to harvest.

My Grandmother, Arnetta Young, my Dad’s Mom, was a good farm wife and the expert in our family, bar none, whose home was truly laden with everything needed to eat through Winter and most of Spring till the garden began to produce again.

She canned green beans with bacon in the jar, tomatoes [whole and juice] pickles of all kinds including pickled peaches.  Her cellar was filled with jars of apples, peaches, berries [red, black, goose, straw], and juices to make more jelly another day.  She put up peas, carrots, corn and cabbage frozen or into kraut.  Her freezer was an International, 6ft long, the only freezer she ever owned!  She never baked one pie, when she could do 6 and put 5 in the freezer, most often finished before she started breakfast.  She made noodles and cookies and breads and casseroles.  She canned pumpkin, stored potatoes and onions.  She froze rhubarb and asparagus, canned pickled beets and relish.  Name it and she had it on a shelf or in the freezer.

For many years, she cooked a monthly meal for the local Lions Club and I would get to help set up, serve and of course, clean up too.  Those guys ate with gusto and we hardly ever had leftovers for ourselves unless we dished them up ahead of time.

She never missed cooking in the basement kitchen of our Methodist church whenever there was a need.  She could pull pies and a casserole from her freezer to deliver when someone in the community lost a loved one.  She delivered dry mashed potatoes and chocolate pudding to my bedside when I was ready to eat again after childhood illness.

She made big pumpkin face cookies for Halloween with raisin faces….except for my cookies which had faces made with chocolate chips since I didn’t like raisins.

She made the best noodles in the world, the best ham loaf, the best potato salad, the best chocolate or blackberry pie. She made coconut and banana cream pies. She made scalloped cabbage, German kraut, scalloped potatoes and ham, creamed peas or limas, dinner rolls indescribably delicious.  She knew all our favorites and every family dinner there was a favorite food for each of us. Her fried chicken gravy was perfect.   Meatloaf? Perfect!  Chocolate cake? Perfect! Candy? At Christmas she whipped up homemade caramels, divinity, fudge and peppermint something?  We had home hand-churned ice cream in the summer in peach, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavors.

My grandmother was known to let us eat dessert first, since we knew if we waited till after the meal we would be too full to eat the sweets.  My dad piled the food on his plate at every celebration, saying it was all going in the same place.  I like my food separate.  My favs were always noodles, always dinner rolls, always potato salad, always her green beans, always German kraut and always her chicken casserole.

I think of it as Methodist Church chicken casserole.  I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

I am not a cook of her caliber.  I can cook green beans like hers and the German kraut and come pretty close on the potato salad. I’m good at spaghetti and wild rice. I make great oil n vinegar salad.  My corn chowder and chicken and dressing soup are both very good. I make trophy winning Texas chili – I placed 3rd out of 15 in a campground chili cook off and the big trophy was a tad on the overkill side, but fun to earn! Wish I was a good pie baker, but I’m not. It is definitely due to the lack of practice.  When I take a notion, I am good at making the real deal ‘sour dough starter’ and baking some righteous biscuits brushed on all sides with bacon grease and raised over boiling water before baking. The trouble with sour dough baking is the ‘baking often’ and the poundage that occurs as a result.  I need a good ‘notion’ to mix starter.

Oh, I’m also really good at making fried pork chops and pork chop gravy and egg salad and white potato salad, thanks to my first Mother-in-Law.  I’m very good at making chicken fried steak thanks to my second and last Mother-in-Law. I make a great salad of lettuce, sliced onion and sliced boiled eggs in a sweet mayo dressing, courtesy of my Mom.  I can make killer cheese spread like my Mom turned out.

My kids say I am fantabulous at chocolate dessert.  They never had birthday cakes or graduation cakes or hardly any cakes.  We celebrated EVERYTHING with chocolate dessert….and still do when I have a kid around.

Speaking of food…..and love, my Aunt ‘Cile (Dad’s sister) made chocolate frosted, chocolate cookies when i was a kid. It was back when she was a farm wife too. She never made polite rounded two-bite size cookies, she made cookies bigger than my hand, without nuts(you know kids and nuts).  She cooked noodles just as good as her Mom’s and she would make me Carolers Fudge at Christmas – it was a blonde, no chocolate candy. I may still have the recipe.  My Aunt Shirley (my Mom’s sister) always made us chocolate milkshakes at her house – just like you could get at a soda fountain. She had the real deal machine.  I used to make them for get togethers at our house and still make them evenings for us, never without thinking of hers.

One other thing I’m good at is that Methodist Church chicken casserole. You can be too.

Arnetta’s Chicken Casserole                Bake at 400 till bubbly.

2 cups diced chicken [or left over turkey]

1 can cream of chicken soup

½ cup slivered almonds

¾ cup of mayo

1 cup of cooked rice [NOT 1 cup of rice cooked??]

½ cup chicken broth

2 Tablespoons of minced onion

3 chopped hard boiled eggs

1 cup chopped celery

Potato chips, about 25 crushed into the casserole and the remainder crushed over the top.

Mix all.  Spread into 9 x 13 or divide into smaller pans [either to bake or freeze and bake later], sprinkle the crushed chips and bake.

Happy Thanksgiving.. Hope your tables are laden with memories and the familiar tastes of home.

In our family, my grandparents started each and every meal with:

Our heavenly Father, for thy loving care, for food and health, for all things that make this world so fair, we thank Thee oh Lord. Amen.