Another Way of Looking at Saving….Share, Save, Spend

Dear Reader:

At the beginning of the New Year there are usually three topics on our minds that we want to address differently in the New Year…maintaining a healthy weight, eating/exercising healthier, and financially saving more.

A financial analyst was on a talk show the other day and mentioned the established three-prong savings concept in financial circles…(Give) Share, Save, and Spend.  I even found a thrice-divided savings bank for children to encourage this way of financial thinking (title picture.) We need to be able to break our earnings up into these three components.

Remember this Yearly Savings Plan from last year. You will be proud of me…I not only got to $1000 by the end of December but actually by the end of November. I was thrilled!

…And then (Jaws music) I had to replace all the components to my commode/ flooring plus “resurrect” my car from certain death (becoming scavenger metal debris) …the total of these two “incidents” in late November and early December: $923. 76.

As I stared down at what was left…76.24 cents…I couldn’t help but think of The Gift of the Magi. Christmas was here and that was all of my  “extra” savings for this holiday?

Of course one side of my brain was complimenting me for having the savings to pay for these two expensive unexpected “downfalls”…but the other side of my brain was pouting like a disappointed child…this was not what I had dreamed about all those months while saving up to do something really special for the family this past Christmas and use the rest for a surprise adventure, perhaps of my own.

I wasn’t the only one who used this chart and was equally successful…in fact doubly so…because she doubled the amount she put in on each step of the savings ladder….Mary Lee, a friend from my church. She was saving for a very special gift for a loved one at Christmas. I will have to ask her how it went when I see her next.

The more I thought about the three components of how our earnings should be used…the more I saw the wisdom in sharing, saving, and spending. I had a lot of time to watch talk shows while snowed in…and on one show Suze Orman stated that, surprisingly, the majority of people whose checking and savings accounts become unbalanced in their personal financial situations….stem from over-giving to those we love and care about… It is not a selfish over-spending…just a longing to do more for those we love.

I thought back to my days as a single mom with three children and realize that most times this actually was the correct case scenario…trying to squeeze out more money for something the children really wanted or wanted to participate in that just wasn’t in the budget…and I didn’t want them feeling left out.

So this year…I have made out a list of top financial priorities I want to address…so as I plan my monthly budget…I am mentally divvying up my total monthly earnings into the three headings…sharing, saving, and spending. It isn’t easy when we are retired and living on a base-set budget…but I am going to try and make it work. Will let you know next year how this goes.

This little book is adorable….I am going to read it to the two oldest grandchildren and get them a three-holed piggy bank. In the story the three little pigs set up a brick construction site to help all their neighbors build new brick homes after having their straw and wooden homes blown away by the Big Bad wolf. The brick company grows rapidly and is quite successful…so now the pigs have to decide what to do with their profits. Great teaching tool.

I, also, realize however that time spent consumed with financial affairs should be limited too…because there is something far more precious out there…time.

I love this anecdote from the book Honey just recently sent me…101 Ways to Be Young at Any Age ( Bob and Fran German)…the title is ” 86,400.”

“What if we had a bank that automatically deposited $86,400 in our account every morning? However, what was left in the account after our withdrawals did not carry over to the next day. So, naturally, we would want to withdraw the entire amount each day!

Actually, we all have a bank like this. It’s our “Time Bank.” Each morning we receive 86,400 seconds. Each night it writes off whatever we don’t use wisely. So any wasted time does not carry over to the next day. we can’t borrow time or use another person’s time. The time for that day is simply gone.

…So we must ask ourselves each morning…how do we want to spend our time each day? We can waste it or we can use it wisely. The choice is ours.”

Bob and Fran’s three-fold time plan is: Feel Good, Look Good, and Do Good.

So until tomorrow…Time is life…we can spend it but we cannot keep it…so what results do we want left behind when our time runs out?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh




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“No Longer Timed by Bells…”

( Enquirer News)

Dear Reader:

I discovered (while putting all the Christmas decorations up Wednesday) another basket with books in it. At first I thought “Oh no… not still more” but then when I saw what the books were…I thought “Oh thank you Lord…for helping me find these.” They were Mark Nepo books, Madeleine L’Engle books…and Libby’s mother-in-law’s book (an original 1941 copy of Home By the River by Archibald Rutledge)… once poet laureate of South Carolina and one of my favorite storytellers and poets.)

The cover is so old…it is even hard to read the title…you can tell it has been a well-loved book and read several times by different members of the Clarkson family.

Some of you might remember that Libby’s mother-in-law received a copy of a letter a friend’s husband, Charles Thomas, had written about the funeral of Archibald Rutledge in September of 1973 that he attended. Later she re-wrote the whole letter in the back of this book…covering four pages.

What a priceless treasure and one I am putting in your hands at our late winter/early spring Ya retreat Libby! Thank you for letting me ingest all the rich history and first hand accounts from it.

I didn’t make any New Year resolutions but now I am making one…2018 will not fade away before I  step back in Hampton Plantation…it has been too long! There is more SC history associated with

this plantation than other from my point of view. (President Washington visited here and saved the old oak tree at the front of the driveway, SC heroines lived here and fought here….Eliza Lucas Pinckney, Francis Marion…”Swamp Fox”…the famous governors Rutledges and Horrys lived here -for whom Horry County is named- and so on and so on.)

I started skimming back through this beautiful book and as I got to the last page…I suddenly stopped…because I recognized so many similar feelings Archibald Rutledge did after returning home to his old plantation to live out his last years and begin restoring it to its original beauty. It is the last story about his return to a more natural rhythm in life…one not controlled by clocks and bells and meetings.

…”For the first time, almost, in my life I am not timed by bells. I awake to the drowsy calls of the plantation bird. I am close at last, after nearly half a century in a highly civilized society, to the elemental things I love. To the deep wildwoods all about me; to the river and its eternal tides; to the sharecroppers whose philosophy is recognizing that life was given to us for enjoyment and fulfillment. 

The days at Hampton are full of friends, of work, of hope. All about is a sense of calm, of joyous relaxation. There is here a gentleness that suggests what life can be; that in the realm of the heart, inglorious is the victory of might.

There is something that persuades one to accept quietly life’s stillness and its song. Only by such reconcilment can we find an answer to life’s longing. Here in this deep harbor of eternal dreams, the spirit finds sanctuary and is able, untormented by life’s badgerings, to meditate on the mystery all about us. The calm of the natural world must be the peace of God.” 

(In a dream Archibald Rutledge once dreamt…he described seeing Judith Serree, a “far ancestress” whose father built Hampton and inscribing for her in his book… “Judith, her book, Hampton, 1730. I realize that I, too, am but a visitor here in this stately home. I am, therefore, trying to be a considerate guest.”)


We are back to elevator weather again…the high’s yesterday and today are predicted to be in the mid to high seventies before the fifties come clamoring back over the weekend. My skin feels so dry and I keep adding more and more lotion to my arms, legs, face, and neck. I am beginning to think that an ocean of oil wouldn’t get the job done…Speaking of lotion and oil…

I went to breakfast yesterday at Alex’s with friends. One of the regulars at Eva’s was in there and seated next to us. Before leaving he started sharing some hilarious anecdotes and he said to be sure and share them…

A little boy watched his grandmother one night put lotion on her face and neck…suddenly  asking what she was putting on and why. “Oil of Olay responded his grandmother…it helps me look younger.”At school later that week one of the little boy’s spelling words was delay. The little boy was called on to give an example of the word in a sentence and he said. “My grandmother puts on “Oil of Delay” every night to look younger.”  ( Great example!)

Before Christmas an elementary teacher asked her first graders to draw Christmas pictures to put up on the wall. One little boy drew the manger scene with Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, the angel, the three wise men, and animals. He also drew a round little figure staring down at the baby by the crib.

The teacher asked him if he had put Santa Claus in the drawing and was told no…that was “Round John Virgin.” 

So until tomorrow….“Let us all sleep in heavenly peace” like Eloise!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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“Return to Normalcy”

Dear Reader:

Well, I did it….it wasn’t easy but I persevered. Once you start a major project like this you just want to see it through to the end so by nightfall everything is back to normal again….Christmas is gone.

But I realize, also, that items are never precisely returned the same way…I either forget how the arrangement went or decide another location is better for a picture or vase or whatever. For example…with the tree gone…I rearranged the tables…putting the white one against the back wall and Poppy’s table against the side wall.

Is it just me or does the reflection of the chandelier on the Provence painting on the back wall look like a white Tiger Paw? Interesting.

I thought of the term “Return to Normalcy” because of a seventh grade assignment I had long ago. Our teacher, Mrs. McBride, had each of us come up and select a President’s name out of a glass jar. I remember being really excited about it.

I had never heard of our 29th President, Warren G. Harding, so I excitedly read the name of the President I had chosen out loud to the class. Before my turn…Mrs. McBride was oohing and aahing over everyone’s selection….but she didn’t say a word when I read the name. Her expression said it all…she looked like she smelled something bad.

I was puzzled but excited to get started. Mother took me to the library to get some books on this President and wisely didn’t say anything about him except he was a very nice looking President and the first one women had been able to vote on.

At the age of twelve I didn’t see anything handsome about him…he just looked old like all the other Presidents.

I do remember asking mother what the word “scandal” meant since I saw it a lot in my research….and I do remember thinking  the “Teapot Dome” scandal sounded like fun…did he spill tea on someone in the Oval Office…that would have been funny.

Mother patiently explained that a scandal was worse than just an accident or a wrong-doing…it was devious and crooked. I don’t think I ever fully understood the negative implications of his scandalous administration. But one article did place him at the bottom of the Presidential rankings so I figured I had gotten a dud.

I remember even Mrs. McBride hiding a smile as I gave my report… I said that his interests included playing golf, playing poker, and entertaining a special friend. (Mother made me cross out the word mistress which didn’t register anything with me anyway…and replace the term with  special friend.)

Harding thought America should go back to the good old days- thus his slogan (“Return to Normalcy”) before World War I. The problem is he discovered that there is no going back in history…only forward motion.

And isn’t that true of life? All of us, at one time or another, have wished for an easier, less complicated world or time-period to live in, and we think we remember or have read about such a time. The truth is every period of history has it good and bad….some periods tougher…in the case of war….but never as good as we think we remember.

It was Hurricane Hugo that brought this realization to me….after the storm that September of 1989…it was hot, sticky and foul-smelling in everyone’s homes. I knew then that, for me, there were no good times before electricity. I was miserable….food gone bad, toilets that wouldn’t flush, flies and mosquitoes in the house. It made me appreciate fully the time period God put me in… to live out my life.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


It is hard to believe that Eloise’s due date was January 9…she came early on December 31…ten days early….and even in that short time…it is hard to remember when she wasn’t always here…time is funny that way.



Brookie’s newest grandchild…Beautiful little Emma Grey is home now with big brother Caleb…or “Boogie Boy” as Brookie calls him…he doesn’t seem quite sure about this latest addition and Brooke is realizing that ….the fun is just starting…and it really is! (with a few more challenges)



Guess what I saw yesterday…the most beautiful hawk sitting on the fence by the vacant lot next to me. I was putting out the garbage and he never flinched as I pulled my IPhone out and tip-toed closer to him…he seemed downright happy to get his picture made and posed for me in several directions. Does anybody know what type of hawk it is?


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My “E” Granddaughters and Other Musings…

Dear Reader:

Since I was heading back home yesterday and Charleston County called off school again for students (Giving teachers another work day)…Eva Cate went with her granddad over to Walsh and Mollie’s home so the guys could get Eloise’s crib put together for her room.

While there Mollie took the girl cousins’ pictures…This was the first time Eva Cate has seen her new cousin….due to hospital restrictions, then a snowstorm with ice preventing safe passage, and finally a stomach bug that hit her and little brother Jakie. But now the granddaughters have officially met.

My hope is that it will be a relationship that will follow them through every stage of growing up, as well as, adulthood and another generational motherhood. Eva Cate and Eloise…my “E” granddaughters! Hugs and kisses my pink princesses.

(Now don’t get me wrong…I adore my three grandsons…but to be truthful…after three of these cuties in a row…it will be nice to get a break from car, truck sounds and especially crash noises…Are little boys just born knowing how to make these sounds…it sure appears that way to me?)

Before leaving for Eloise’s home Eva Cate was busy drawing…a picture for Eloise, little brother Jakie, and a cookie girl for me…since Mandy and I hit the last tin of Christmas cookies hard and fast during the snowstorm! Eva Cate also made Eloise a little bracelet.

I had a terrible scare Monday afternoon as I was preparing to leave yesterday morning. John cleaned off (and started up) my car to give it a test drive… the engine started smoking…then the engine light came on and John was worried that something had cracked or frozen.

I had a sick feeling in my stomach…I had just paid all that money last month to get my old car fixed and now this? Thankfully John and I took it around the neighborhood…the smoke immediately disappeared…and I realized the light that I was so used to seeing on was the engine light…my old car has some sensory wiring problem with that light and it stays on all the time…even after having a thorough check-up……so it drove fine and got me home without a single hitch yesterday. God is good! Whew!

At home…the heat was on…the faucets all worked and nothing was running or leaking…Hallelujah! When everything you own is old…one can’t help but worry if old parts of heaters or plumbing pipes can take another extreme frigid cold snap. But they all came through for me.

Now my biggest challenge is taking down Christmas…today is the day…I am showing these pictures again…so on tomorrow’s blog I can show you a return to normalcy scene. (I need to put some motivational pressure on myself to get it done)

You know the snow is over when…(as I was walking out to my car yesterday morning I passed the spot where the children’s snowman was located) This is all that is left…a dirty patch of ice, a carrot and a strawberry (the other two strawberries forming the “mouth” had rolled down the hill)

Both Tommy and Walsh put their Clemson birthday surfboard snowmen out during the snow…I can’t locate Tommy’s picture of his birthday gift at this moment…but here is Walsh’s he just sent me…

Donna Clark left me this note and ornament to remind all of us Clemson fans that the Tigers had a terrific season… and through all the up’s and down’s …Clemson fans are in! (Thank you Donna…I did miss our annual National College Football Championship game viewing together…but the oranges noses are ready to honk at any time. We are ready!)




I am not going to wait until next year…but hang the souvenir on my bedroom lamp post to remind me that loyalty to (not just a team but people you care about)… through good times and bad, is the most important thing! Thank you Donna for this reminder gift…love it.

Look what welcomed me home…when I arrived. Lasagna from Gin-g (De-Leesh!)…the “All In” trinket from Sam and Donna and a book from Honey on 101 ways to stay young with thought-provoking anecdotes….What a wonderful way to be greeted. Thank you all…dear friends!

Summerville really did get a lot of snow and it was still on Vickie’s roof when I drove up…almost a week after the snowstorm.

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I think all little girls should wear bows, not just in their hair, but on their cute little bottoms too….maybe Eloise will start the new fad!







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Home is calling

Dear Reader:

I am finally heading home today- I will be so relieved when I pull in my driveway- safe and sound!

What an adventure it has been and as Helen Keller once said ” Life is either an adventure or it is nothing at all.”

My relief hierarchy includes several items.

*Car gets me home ( story behind this comment- share later)

Heat still working on both sides of house

No pipes broken/ no plumbing problems

Un- decorating the Christmas Tree

Throwing the tree out

Taking down the wreaths and table decorations

Going to the store!


Whew! Tuesday is going to be a long day! And I will miss all the family- it will take some time to acclimate again – but I will and life will go on!

Please realize that creating a blog on an IPhone is quite challenging- so if I have not responded lately I hope to get back in the groove with my old trusty desk computer! I have missed ” Oldie Goldie!”

So until tomorrow…There’s no place like home.

“Today is my favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh

I sent Brooke both these pictures and said the girls are already taking charge – hands and mouth in motion. Big brothers don’ t stand a chance talking anymore- ” Chatty Cathie’s.”

Whew! I am

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A Strange Time Warp!

Dear Reader:

I really feel that I have been in some kind of time warp this past week. It was a week ago yesterday that I stopped by to check on Mollie and left with everything calm and cool.

Three hours later the family got the text saying it was time to head to the hospital and it has been a roller coaster ride ever since! Then add a snow/ice storm that doesn’t melt, sleepovers. another stomach bug- there hasn’t been a dull moment!

So when Donna and Sam sent me these photos of home the alluring scene of serenity is calling me back home. Thank you Vickie, Luke, Donna and Sam for taking the photos.

But how lucky I have been to be in Mt Pleasant and been treated to 5 Star accommodations- fantastic meals and a personal bed heater in the form of Eva Cate, ( Of course the stomach bug hit both children but such is life!)

Yesterday Ya Brooke texted to let us know her granddaughter had arrived- exactly one week after Eloise! We are so excited about he girls getting together as they grow.

Welcome to the world Emma Grey!

So you see the happy surprises continue! I am finally keeping Eva Cate today while Mandy returns to school- a scenario that was supposed to take place last Wednesday!

I will be glad to wear some different clothes for sure when I get home tomorrow.

So until tomorrow Thank you Father for family- I would hate to go through life without it!

…And for what this “time warp” brought! Happy One Week Birthday Eloise!

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Neighborhood Igloo and snowmen

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The longest Beauty

Dear Reader:

Tommy sent me this link a friend sent him and it is so beautiful it took my breath you discover when you click it on.

It is a video showing the snow falling ever so beautifully on the relics of the original entrance to the famous Pine Forest Inn….now President’s Circle in Summerville.

This snow will also go down as the longest lasting one … at least in my memory. The lake outside John and Mandy’s home is still frozen. It has become a popular place to throw snowballs. Even little Jakie has gotten into it.

We tell each other ‘ Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ but with this rare snow one would be hard pressed not to see how exquisite it is and how fragile. It is the fragility of it all that creates the ever- lasting memory!

The sun was just starting to set when I took this picture of the old oak tree with the hanging Spanish moss dangling with ice and frost. For the beauty of the world.

It appears big brother Rutledge has the magic touch getting his little sissy Eloise to sleep.

Day 4 and you see why roads here are still scary!

So until tomorrow … the snow is slowly but steadily leaving- take time to memorize the sheer moments of beauty.

“”Today is my favorite day! Winnie the Pooh

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