Look, Ma...No Glasses!

RAH said that shopping was so fun when you can read the signs and SEE.

With no glasses!

One eye down, the other to go.

But, what a miracle day and age we live in!


What I Have Learned.....

...in three weeks of being a missionary at the LDS Employment Center in St. George, Utah:

1.  Young people MUST learn a marketable skill!  

2.  Women are the most vulnerable; they have to be very careful in choosing a mate...men can be jerks, dweebs, louts.  (So sorry to all the good, honorable men out there.)  But, oh, the women and children suffer when men choose to follow a wandering path!

3.  We have to do a better job of teaching our children about finances and how to manage, save, and wisely spend money! 

4.  We must teach our young people to stay away from drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.  They are a cost-sucking habit that will forever affect a person's working career and financial situation.

In three weeks of being at the LDS Employment Center, we have seen:

a mother of six whose husband just walked out the door; she has not worked outside the home, and now, MUST find a job to survive.  (If I met her husband, I'd poke him in the nose!)

a 50ish woman whose husband won't work; she is the bread winner and she is tired of his mooching ways...she wants out of the marriage and needs an additional job just to stay afloat.  She is also the care-giver of a grandchild.

an 82 year old man, former bishop and senior missionary, who just lost his job.  He and his wife cannot exist on social security alone.  He is upside down in his mobile home, and his entire retirement savings of $400,000 was wiped out when the company went bankrupt.

an attractive young woman whose husband maxed out their credit cards and she now is responsible to clear all HIS debts.  She has no marketable skills; just a pretty face.

a young man with mental issues who WANTS and is willing to work, but can't find a job.

a 62 year old lady who comes in often to check out what is available, but doesn't really want a job; it's just a fun place to hang out.

a young man who wants a job, needs a job, but has no skills, and comes in on a daily basis hoping that something will turn up.

chronically unemployable people.

It's a challenge.  It's heartbreaking.  It's mind boggling.  It's an eyeopener.  It's also a constant reminder to follow the church's counsel to; get an education, get out of debt, keep the word of wisdom, and be a person of integrity.

I love Allen's attitude.  He comes home and studies, looks for jobs, finds out about certification for jobs, talks with people about things, researches, speaks with businesses about jobs, CARES.

I come home and fall on my knees with gratitude for a home, a pension, a loving family, a car, an honorable husband and other men in my life (sons, son-in-law, brothers, father, etc.), a church that tries to help people help themselves.

I come home, have a SEE's dark Chocolate and look forward to going back another day.


What's for Breakfast?

Fresh off the vine.

No artificial ingredients.

And, oh so healthy.

It's Pomegranate Time at the Hackworth's.

Thanks, Allen for watering, growing, pruning, planting, harvesting, squeezing.

Oh, yes, it's good stuff.

Thought For the Day...

"collecting people to love is a worthwhile hobby."

From Traveling Oma.



When Ethel came in looking for a job, I assumed that she wanted a job.

What she really wants is to be just looking for a job.

Getting a job isn't so fun.

But, looking for a job keeps her somewhat busy, allows her to come talk to the happy people at the LDS Employment Center, and helps her to feel - in her mind at least - that she is pursuing a job.

Ethel is not HUNGRY.

Both literally and figuratively.

Ethel still has her needs met.  She obviously has a source of income that will sustain her as long as she needs to be in the looking mode.

So, when she comes by, I won't panic, won't stress when she can't find a job.

I'll just relax, enjoy her visits, and wait until she gets really, really HUNGRY!


Being Grateful

A home.


A phone.

Family near by.



Support system.




These are just a few of things I realize are great blessings after seeing people who have little of the above.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.


Tears Upon the Cheeks

A tear slowly trickled down her cheek as we stood to leave.

She did not want to be where she was.  She did not want to be in the room she found herself in.  She felt locked into a situation that was totally out of her control.

It was not the life she had envisioned as a young girl.

She had always been optimistic, hopeful, positive, cheerful, but not now - not any longer.

So, the tear slowly flowing down the side of her cheek was understandable.

Little White Lies

I'd never heard this EVER said before from the pulpit (and I've been listening to talks from said pulpit for 68 years.)

It's also unlikely I will ever hear it again either.

But, the stake president said, (and here I'm not sure of his exact words, but the meaning was...)

"telling a little white lie to avoid hurting people is okay."

Yes, that's right, folks, that is what he said.

So, I'll just say this to you:

"that tattoo you have of the huge butterfly all across your chest looks very lovely indeed!"

The One Hundred Dollar Bill

As a prospective employer, if you heard Patricia over the phone, you would think, "What a pleasant sounding voice...."

And, you would invite her in for an interview.

But, as a prospective employer, you would not hire her after you met her.

Patricia probably weighs over 300 pounds.  She wants to be a library aide.

I've been a librarian.  It sounds cushy...just sitting at a desk checking patrons out.  But, truthfully, it requires lots of lifting, moving about, rolling heavy carts of books to be put away, and occasionally chasing after people who - either on purpose or accidentally - walk away with an unchecked book in hand.

So, I felt a sorrow for Patricia knowing the odds were stacked against her.

The lesson on DRESS FOR SUCCESS made me uncomfortable sitting in the same room with her.  She probably only has tee shirts and big sweat-type pants that even fit her.  How can she dress for success when she has no money and is the size she is?

I ached for her.  I wanted to just anonymously slip her a 100 dollar bill.

But, really, is that any solution for her?  Does that solve her long-term challenge of getting a JOB?  Of earning her own money?  Of feeling successful?  And, of course, it does not.

The whole scenario reminded me - once again - of why I am always so impressed with our church.

They don't want to just HAND people things.  They want the best for people; of any race, creed or religion.  The church wants to help Patricia and people like her by teaching classes, giving one-on-one instruction, holding effective career workshops, having mock interviews, job searching that is realistic.  The church knows and has known for years that just giving people money is not the answer.

I won't be able to give everyone who comes in with job challenges a one hundred dollar bill, but hopefully, I will be able to help them in some small way that will be permanent and effective.

And that is so much more significant than slipping them a one hundred dollar bill.


The Day the Japanese Came for a Visit:

Bill and Donna picked up some Japanese friends in Las Vegas; they stayed with us for a couple of nights.

It was sheer delight...

Yoshiko wanted to show me how to draw using a certain technique....she's the master, so it was tricky to follow her steps!

Her finished version:

My finished version:
You can easily see why she is the master and I the beginner; she did it so quickly and so effortlessly. Her brush strokes were so amazing.  It was a fun experience.

Then, after the art class, it was time to do some singing....

Thank you, Bill and Donna, for this marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We were so blessed to be a part of it.


Fact Checker

Washington County has the lowest wages in Utah.

Utah has some of the lowest wages in the country.

One in 7 families in Utah have food struggles.

It's all quite bleak.

Can I remain positive through the next year?

I do know this, I will be grateful for what I have.


Day ONE..

reminded me that there is a learning curve to almost anything that is new and different.

New Jargon,
New technology,
New computer programs,
New, New, New.

And, even worse....

Helping people to find jobs - when there are no jobs, or when the people have few marketable skills or a brief education.


But, we'll give it our best.


How Well Do You Know Your Spouse...

Apparently, we don't know each other very well at all!

We both bought gifts wanting to surprise our spouse for our 48th wedding anniversary.

We both returned the gifts; didn't need, didn't want, wouldn't use.

But, we laughed.

After 48 years, you'd think we could get it right.

However, in all fairness to RAH, he gave me the most priceless gift....

no returns,

no exchanges.

A treasure - pure gold - a keeper.

Thank you RAH, for the incredible song/video/tribute.

Made me cry.


A Tale of Two Cities

Both were founded by early Mormon Pioneer settlers.

Both have relatively small colleges in their midst.

While other towns may be decaying and slowly fading, both of these towns are thriving with an ever-expanding city waistline.

Both towns have friendly, good people.  (That is not to say, they don't have issues of crime or unemployment or other things, but in general, they are healthy towns.)

Both are clean.

Both are relatively small, so traffic delays are minor.

Both are beautiful in their own right.

Both have produced great men and women - not world famous, but who have made their marks in many fields.

And, most of all, I have lived 3/4 of my life in each of those towns.


What a blessing.

And,  I am grateful.


the SOUND of music

Mel is totally deaf in one ear.

Plus, he has limited hearing in the other ear, even when he uses a powerful hearing aid.

So, when the four of us went to listen to some music one night, I felt great sorrow for him.  There were smiles all around, toe-tapping, clapping, finger snapping, and ENJOYMENT.

But, Mel sat stoically - not hearing and certainly not enjoying.

I am so grateful for HEARING....

I love to crank up the music,
sing along,
belt it out,
shout it out,
join in.

MUSIC has brought great JOY to me in my lifetime.

I cannot imagine a life without it.

Why I LOVE Serving in the Primary

Oh, so adorable.

So noisy, disruptive, wiggly, challenging....all 150 of them.

But, here's why it's so fun.

The Bishop came to introduce the theme of "Following the Ten Commandments;" in the junior primary, the answers were - pay tithing and a few other things that sounded like they might be in the ball park.

The bishop said, "Well, those are all good things, but those aren't one of the 10 commandments, anything else you might think of?"

So, 4 year old Jackson blurted out this great answer:


What's not to love about Primary kids?

Now, it was Senior Primary.

Each week, we let a few kids tell about a Shining Moment in their lives.....something they have done to help around the home, something special in their lives that week...

I absolutely LOVED Preston's Shining Moment...speaking directly into the mike he said,

"This week at school, they ran out of food for the 5th graders, so they had to give us Hungry Howie's Pizza!"

I'm still smiling....


The Modern Way

RAH and I were shopping in the little bookstore.  We were looking for just the right gift for the neighbor girl on her birthday...finally Allen picked out a lovely necklace he thought the 8 year old would like.  We wrapped it up and gave it to her.


RAH decided he would fix up and give another neighbor girl his guitar along with the guitar book instruction book he wrote.  He restrung the guitar and took it to her home with the music book.


The new mother welcomed me into her home, and showed off her new little baby boy.  I gave her the gift I had thought was such a delightful outfit for a new baby.  She smiled, took the gift, and I left.


Now, we certainly don't give gifts to get thank yous.  But, it just seems like such a courtesy to write a note, or even say something....

So, it makes me wonder, is this the modern way....do we just GET and not say thanks?????  It's all so puzzling to me.  Really, how difficult is it for a person to say THANK YOU?

It's also humbling and serves as a reminder to me that I need to ALWAYS be grateful to my Heavenly Father for the many, many GIFTS HE has given MOI!

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...