Learning At The Potter's Wheel is a collection of articles on home, family, marriage, parenting, natural medicine and herbs. . . along with a few other items of interest. Have fun sorting through my junk drawer of assorted thoughts and ramblings.


The Potter has persisted in giving me treasures I don't always understand or appreciate. Patiently, He is teaching me to trust that all I really need to know is that I am in HIS hands. . .


The Creator of the Universe is so wise and wonderful. I cannot express what His grace has meant to me.

There was a time when I was certain that HE could never really care for ME. I am so glad to know now that I was wrong. This is not something brought about by any merit of my own. Rather, it is a testament to His steadfast love that would not let me go.

It is easy to imagine that a person filled with joy is a person that cannot understand or comprehend the difficulties you’ve seen. ‘How dare that person rejoice?! Don’t they know there are people hurting?! How cruel to smile while others weep! What a flippant thing to suggest that FAITH alone could solve THIS!’

At one time, I believed joyful people were happy because they had never known pain. I assumed they were immune to the depth of hurt I had known.

That was before I came to understand what Solomon wrote: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9.

There really is NOTHING new under the sun – not even the kind of pain I’ve known. My history isn’t really all that unique. For what it’s worth, here’s a small portion of where He brought me from:

Dealing with emotionally broken people is not enjoyable for me. It isn't because I don't know how to handle myself. Rather, it's because these situations have a cold familiarity. I know too well what it is like to be at the mercy of those that love explosive conflict, drama, faultfinding and gossip.

Much of my childhood was a bewildering adventure where I tried to reconcile actual events to the interpretations of adults that were convinced every difference must mean war.

I felt more secure at school, but even there I often heard young teachers swapping stories and laughing about other students, their parents, and each other. So, though I was thankful for the predictability of graded approval, it was a relative security.

I learned it was in my interest to NOT cause adults embarrassment by revealing the truth I knew. There were MANY topics we weren't allowed to mention, lots of secrets. It became a matter of survival to learn how to read the faces of the adults in my world. I was always searching for the meaning behind the words, because in my world, words hid coded messages.

I only recall once or twice when I attempted to describe these things to a trusted adult. The people in my day-too-day circle weren't interested in what a child thought, and fewer wanted to hear it. My uncertain efforts met with well-meaning lectures on how I should try harder to be a good girl that didn't disappoint.

Much of my time was spent trying to figure out how to best position myself to stay out of trouble. I often wore a look of concentrated puzzlement. My facial expression meant that photographers were always a little frustrated that I had to be told to smile. I met that frustration with a quizzical stare, wondering why I would smile when I wasn’t happy. I don’t know of any childhood pictures where I wear an un-posed smile.

One day, quite by accident, I discovered a valuable key to navigating this confusing time. I was watching my mother and another woman go through a bag of clothes that were not appealing to me. The colors were faded earth tones, and the reds looked orangey-rusty. There weren't any play clothes in the bunch. For a small girl that liked to climb trees, there wasn’t much there to like.

The women were ooohing and aaahing over all of it as though these items were lovely. Taking a cue, I ventured, “That’s a pretty dress.” Honestly, I did not like the color or the fact that it was a dress, but the cut was nice and it had a ruffle around the hem that made it tolerable.

The change in the room was electric. Suddenly, I was drawn into their circle. They began to include me in the conversation. Their faces lit up, and they asked my opinion on many items. I saw that they only held up things THEY liked and were only looking for an appreciative audience. So, for my mother and her friend, I became a reflection of what they wanted. I offered them encouragement, and it actually tipped things in my favor. It’s still a vivid memory to me -- the day I complimented an ugly dress and FINALLY received approval.

It was a valuable lesson to learn. It served me well, but it made me somewhat cynical of individual motives. I still have to occasionally remind myself that spotlight seekers aren’t always oblivious to the needs of those around them. I’ve often been brought to the place where I had to choose to offer grace to those who enjoy sniping and backbiting – even when my instincts tell me to use the skills I learned surviving treatment by those who were MUCH more intimidating. Yes, HE is a very patient Teacher to His children.

Thankfully, these things are my history. They haven’t robbed me of the present or my future.

My parents have actually turned into ideal grandparents. I love them dearly. Forgiveness brought healing, and I came to understand that their own childhoods were the things of nightmares. I learned that the world isn't such a frightening place when you are held by the hands of the ONE that spoke creation into existence.

Managing associations and friendships with people one on one and in large numbers has been largely uneventful. Knowing God has helped me to re-focus my thinking to what pleases Him and how He sees me rather than what ugly human imaginations can dream up. However, few people ever get very close to me. I don’t have much appreciation for feigned familiarity.

There are, a few friends that are happy exceptions to this. Along the way, I have been blessed with friends that DO value me as a person. These same friends trust my fidelity and goodwill. They rejoice when good comes my way and weep with me when I grieve. These are friends that pray for me regularly even when I’m not aware of it -- whether or not I ask for it. These are friends I may not see for years at a time, but it’s like we’ve never been apart when we come together. I call them my heart-friends.

When my heart-friends ask my opinion they are genuinely interested in an honest response. They want to know how I see the world, and they delight in and value my perspective – whether or not they agree with it. They aren't so self-absorbed or insecure as to think opinions and points of view must always line up perfectly. They don't assume that my words have hidden meaning or are born of manipulations. They don't demand that I hide myself in order to make them feel better about themselves. When you know who you are in Christ, you don't NEED to hold others hostage to your emotions. You are free to just enjoy each other -- differences and all.

. . . . And, if you ask me today what I think about THAT . . . I’ll smile a wide smile that makes the corners of my eyes crinkle and tell you from the depths of my soul that I think that’s just BEAUTIFUL!!



I've certainly neglected my blog for some time!

My last post was nearly a year ago. . . .WOW -- That's a long time.
So, I think I'll start off with some excerpts from messages by Michael Pearl. This entire series has been a great encouragement to us because it reminded us of the many ways God has transformed our lives.

These particular quotes have to do with gossiping, telling tales, whispering, backbiting, etc. Why would THAT be an encouragement? If you've ever held a position of responsibility that required discretion while making decisions that affect others, you'll understand completely. It's no fun to be the subject of speculation by strangers (or by 'friends' that suppose they have all the details). It's not pleasant to be accused of maliciousness when the opposite is true. Then again, there's the old saying that if you aren't encountering opposition, then you aren't doing much.

So, if you're finding yourself on the receiving end of suspicion, accusations and those that enjoy strife and conflict, you may find this an encouragement as well. If you'd like to listen to the entire series, you can find a copy here:
50 SINS by Michael Pearl

[. . .]Now the 34th sin.

Sin is whispering about someone. That's one of the sins listed in the scripture. Whispering it's called. That's the sin of whispering. Now, there's nothing wrong with whispering when you're in church and you have to tell your wife to go ahead take the kid out because the diaper's messed up and you can smell it. You need to whisper that. But this whispering is when you are saying something to someone about someone else and you're not saying it where everyone can hear, just this person, or a very small circle. You'll see people do it like this – just two of them. They know they're saying something they shouldn't. They put their hand over their mouth and start talking low.

Telling something JUICY, BAD . . . Oh, so sad!

Oh, we need to pray about SOMEBODY ELSE and what they did.'

Now, dirty news is always interesting – especially if it's somebody that's been haughty, and we'd like to see them brought down – or somebody that's brought us down in the past – and now they're getting their comeuppance.

So if it's bad news about them, we remember to be serious and sober about it and shake our heads and say, 'Oh, how sad!' When maybe we're thinking,'How glad I am they finally got exposed for what they did.'

Man, that's ugly. Do you know how ugly that is?

Now, what do you think the heart of God feels like when we have that kind of attitude?
How does God feel?

And how do YOU feel when somebody's talking about YOU?
When they're acting that way about you – saying something about you – how does that make you feel?

Sin is whispering
Psalm 41:7
"All that hate me whisper together against me:"[/color] David said, [color=purple]"against me do they devise my hurt."

Proverbs 16:28
"A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends."

A lot of times people are lonely and insecure and feel like they're not liked. So they will pick out a person that they want to be their friend and they will tell every dirty thing they know about their friends, so that it just leaves the two of them together to buddy up.

They will tear down the other friends of this individual so that 'I will be the only one they like and trust.'

I want to tell you that works in the reverse. That only works with fourteen year old girls. You know fourteen year old girls that do that. And they'll draw together, and they'll form their clique. And they will run everybody else down, but it won't last long.

Relationships built on that kind of whispering never last, because somebody who becomes a whisperer will one day whisper about you too. And you'll get tired of it, and they will no longer be your friend.

Romans 1:28[-30]
"...even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, . . ." so forth

II Corinthians 12:20
"For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, [b]whisperings,[/b] swellings, [and] tumults"

Paul— coming to the church at Corinth – said I'm ... 'I fear that when I come to you, I will find you engaged in whispering.' There was a sin taking place there in the church. And he said, 'Rather than dealing with the sin, you are puffed up, don't mourn, and you're in danger of just whispering about it.'

Watch out for somebody just whispering sin to you. When somebody starts whispering someone else's sin to you, just start right there and say,'Now wait a minute. Hold up. Why are you telling me this?'[/i] Or, [i]'I don't want to hear it.' Or say, 'It's none of my concern.' Or just say, 'Okay, let's pray right now for the person. You lead off.' *laughs*

That's real difficult, you know?

You got it all up in your heart. You got this evil up there. You got this malice toward them and you start whispering. Somebody says, 'Okay, let's pray. YOU lead off.'
Boy, that's a kick in the face.

Believers response to teaching on sin.
You know when you hear these things mentioned, it's not like you say, 'Okay, I've got to remember that and not do that.' That's not the way God works. And that's not the way this will work in you.

What happens is when you hear teaching like this and it exposes sin in your own heart, there's an automatic cleansing process and purging that takes place. If you're a Christian and your heart's honest, then a repentance occurs at the very idea of hearing it. It's so embarrassing, SO humiliating, so disgusting to see ourselves suddenly that we just – you'll repent the moment you hear it. You'll say, 'Boy, I did that. I'm sorry for that. God I don't want to do that anymore.'

And you don't have to formally do that, but in your heart that takes place and with that there's a shaking loose of that sin in your own life.

So the next time the opportunity or the situation arises where that sin would pop up, you laugh at it then. You laugh at yourself. You look at it and you'll say, 'No. No way. Not THIS time.' And you do, you make a conscious effort that 'I'll not speak’ or ’I'll not listen' or 'I reject that thought.' And you're purged of it. You're delivered of it.

It's not like you've got to go out and try, 'Boy, I'd really like to say something bad about that person, but I'm just going to hold my tongue.' It's not that way.

When God really gets to the root of the sin in your heart, the source of it, then you don't have the desire to talk about that person any more. You don't have the need to tear them down to build yourself up. You don't have the need to be recognized and honored and praised. You don't have the need to try to appear humble any more.

You're just content to let God sift it all out in the end,

An inferior attitude is not true humility.
28th sin is taking an inferior attitude towards those of wealth and position.
Now, this is a reversal. This is not about pride and self-exaltation. This is about thinking of yourself in a mousy way – being humble about yourself. Feeling inadequate in the presence of people of more skill, more education, better looking, in a higher circle than you.

This is about putting your head down and being quiet and kind of getting in a corner because you don't feel adequate in this crowd.

That's sin too.

See? When you know you're God's creature, and you don't judge other people by those outward measures, you're not going to let them judge you by those measures either. It's only when in your own heart, you think there's some great virtue in education, wealth, being able to speak correctly, being dressed correctly, uh . . . knowing the right people, and so forth.

When you think that that really is to be admired then you'll be ashamed and embarrassed when you can't exhibit that in the presence of those that that are capable and able. But when you . . . When you realize that that's not the measure of a person – that people are measured by their heart, by who they are, by the light that's in their eyes, by the lilt that's in their voice . . . When you realize that and you’re in the presence of people that normally others would be awed by, you can be totally relaxed – neither condemning, judging, faultfinding, nor feeling inferior in any way.

Just totally relaxed.

Now, I have seen so many people that have that retiring presence when in the presence of people they think are so much more than they are. And they would NEVER think that is sin. They'd think that was humility, but it is sin.

Come out of your shell. Come out of your hiding.

When you walk with the Lord and you walk in joy and you walk in peace, a filthy rich person – you know, BILLIONS – can sit in your presence and you won't feel any different than you do sitting in front of a pot smoking farmer down here in Perry County.

You won't. You won't feel inferior...
read more “STARTING UP MY BLOG AGAIN . . . 50 SINS”


My husband is the king of kidders. When we married, every prank and tease he had been saving up because he missed living at home with his brothers and sisters came back to him. It's been interesting, to say the least.

His humor has meant that I have sons that love to joke and tease as well. They've seen me bubble over with laughter at their dad's antics, and they love to contribute to the fun.

The other thing my husband passed on to his sons is an EXTREME honesty. This means, that sometimes when silence might serve your interests better, you just burst forth with whatever pops into your head . . . Like the time Duke asked a friend (with a new haircut) if she had walked into a buzz saw. Thankfully, she appreciated his humor and thought it was hilarious. :roll: - revised -

I am hoping that my middle child will gain the social graces and skills necessary to not scare of all future prospects for a spouse. . . I may need to shift those prayers to more in the area of protection after this past week. . .

We went to run errands. All of us piled into the car and had a good time walking through the store. We look a lot. Shopping Cart Revamp :smile:

As we went through the checkout, I opened my bag to pull out my wallet. Duke stopped me, and said he wanted to break a $100. I knew he needed a haircut, but it struck me as humorous when the young girl took the bill and held it up to the light, squinting at it. I couldn't help myself. I burst into laughter.

Next in line was the middle son. He handed her his $20 which received NO extra checking.

This tickled me even more and had me laughing as we walked out to the car.

In the parking lot, the child in question said, "Hey Mom."
"What?" I asked as I stopped and turned in his direction.
"Look," he was gesturing at his legs (he was wearing long shorts). "You know, with this breeze, it sorta tickles my legs."
I looked at the very thin legs extending below the bony knees. "Really?"
"Yeah," he continued. "That's because of the hair."
I squinted to see.
Soot sprite try
"You see," he explained, "That's what happens when you get to be a man. I'm getting hair on my legs."

Now you try walking to the car without laughing and not hurt yourself after that statement.

Next, we pulled into the gas station to fill the tank. This meant that Duke was doing some creative maneuvering around the other cars and pumps. While he was in the store paying for the gas, I slipped into the drivers' seat, buckled the belt and adjusted the mirrors.

When Duke returned, he asked what I was doing in HIS seat.
"I know it's not as exciting when I drive," I smiled sweetly up at him, "But you deserve a rest. I'll wake you when we get to the next stop."

Trying to help, the middle son interjected:

"Yeah, Dad, your driving is more . . . . ADVENTURESOME!" :convertable:

Duke growled, muttered something I couldn’t quite make out, and climbed into the passenger seat.

Yeah, I need to pray more for that boy. Talk. Ear. See


I'm a mix of emotions as I post this entry. . . . and that's fitting as parenting is just that, a mixture of so many things.

I'm excited for my youngest, Z-man. He's been potty-trained now for two years, but the nights haven't all been dry. Yet, in the last couple of weeks, the dry nights have moved into the majority. My writing brought me a few pennies, so the last time we were out running errands, we stopped into one of those box stores.

This was during the tax-free weekend, so all kinds of stuff was placed for prominent display. One of those items were the draw-string twin sheet sets that you buy for kids going to camp or college. They were on sale. We didn't NEED any sheets, mind you. The ones we have are fine, but they are old.

I looked down at Z-man and told him how proud I was of him that he wasn't wetting the bed any more (mostly) and that I thought he deserved to have brand new sheets. He was thrilled and picked out a bright apple-green color to have on his bed.

That night, we put his sheets on and tossed the others in the wash. His brother had also gotten a set. They were both quite proud of their selections and couldn't wait to hop into bed.

Would you believe it? Those sheets are worth their weight in gold. Z-man has something HE chose, HE picked out and HE wants to keep nicely on HIS bed. So far, the magic sheets have done their work nicely. All dry nights . . . One accident happened en route to the restroom, but the green sheets? Dry as a bone. Thank you very much!

So, why the mix of emotions?

Because tonight, there is a family making arrangements to have their their son released from the hospital to come home. There aren't any magic sheets for this young man. The cancer has done its worst, and the end looms. Hospice has been called, and prayers are being said. They've taken their last vacation.

These parents who have kissed the boo-boos and soothed the hurts are now facing an unimaginable loss, but there is no time to process all of that. For now, they must keep track of pain meds, care schedules and the endless telephone calls. They will not sleep much during the next while. Someone will always need to be awake. The one that should be resting likely won't be able to. They will make arrangements that no parent ever dreams of making.

They aren't just running out of time, they are losing time they thought they had. . . The holidays yet to come . . . The milestones not yet met. In an almost cruel twist, weddings, births, deaths, graduations, and new friendships will all continue to occur . . . time will march on . . . oblivious to this crushing blow.

For now, I live in a world where green sheets can work magic. But I have also known the sorrow that comes when nothing I could do would fix it. I know what it is to go on living when one I love did not . . . and I grieve for this mother and this father and the task that is before them.

Tonight, I'll tuck Z-man into his still-new green sheets, and I'll pray for this family as they settle in for the night. I'll be thankful that when these times come I know there IS comfort and peace because the Potter holds me firmly within His skilled hands.

Isaiah 49:21-23

Then shalt thou say in thine heart,
Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children,
and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro?
and who hath brought up these?
Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?
Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles,
and set up my standard to the people:
and they shall bring thy sons in their arms,
and thy daughters shall be carried upon
their shoulders.
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers:
they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth,
and lick up the dust of thy feet;

and thou shalt know that I am the LORD:
for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.


This morning before breakfast, I had one of those moments that just leave me a bit awestruck.

I know that boys need men to teach them how to be men. I understand that. So, it should have come as no surprise to me that my efforts to teach manners were not always well received. In reality, a female demonstrating to a boy how he should conduct himself in public is . . . well . . . a FEMALE telling a boy how to be a MALE. At best, such an endeavor would result in a facsimile of maleness. My boys weren't interested.

The difficulty for me was that I grew up in a home that emphasized manners. Both of my parents taught manners from before I could speak. It is part of my DNA somehow. It was just something I endeavored to teach my boys as a matter of course.

From time to time I've been called upon to attend some formal events (not often, and long ago). So, you can imagine how I'd look at my children and sometimes think , "If you do that in front of dignitaries one day, I'll just faint!"

My boys would just respond with giggles and laughter.

Before I tell you what happened at breakfast, I have to backtrack a bit. We've been going over events that led up to the founding of our country. In that process, we've started learning about the challenges presented to the defenders of the colonies when they decided to revolt against England. Forces of nature were brought into play such that men that should have been decimated lived to fight and win another day.

Learning about the circumstances under which George Washington found himself leading troops (well, eventually, they were troops) was like experiencing an episode of some survival reality television show, and whatever other action-adventure program you can think of all wrapped up into one. Knowing the outcome didn't make it any less amazing. . . . But that was watching it through my adult eyes.

My little guys, on the other hand, were mesmerized. Their grandfather was named after this man. This guy was starting to tower above Davy Crockett and Lewis and Clark -- and that's saying a lot in this house. Not only did this man manage to be successful in war, he was a LEADER of MEN. My guys were more than impressed.

That brings us to this morning.

"Mom, can I read to you?"
"Sure," I replied expecting to see the latest dinosaur book from the library.

Instead, he pulled out a small red volume. One of the books I had collected long ago thinking that ONE day, SOME day, I would share it with my kids. None of them seemed interested, so it had sat on the shelf for years.

That's the book he pulled out.

George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation

I was stunned and listened as he began to read over President Washington's list. This was a list made by a man that was humbled by the office of the presidency and the weight of the responsibility of the men and the nation he led. This was a man concerned with not causing unnecessary offense. He knew war. He knew how to fight. He seemed keenly aware of the scrutiny he was under and sought to not cause embarrassment or discomfort. He could have swaggered and preened. Instead, he maintained a humble dignity. This was not a man without passions. This was not a man unfamiliar with hardship. This was a man with considered priorities, and he determined to discipline himself first.

THAT appealed to my young son.

So, I listened as he read from George Washington's book. He read the same things my parents had taught me. He read the same things I had tried to tell him before. But THIS time, it came from a MAN that was a LEADER -- A man of integrity and honor and faith. It wasn't just mama saying not to scratch in public. This was the father of our country saying:

"When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body, not usually discovered."

Thanks George, I couldn't have said it better myself!

I am thankful that the Lord of my heart knew how much this would mean to me and allowed me the privilege to witness it. God is SOOOOOOOO GOOD!


Note: If you are interested in using any of these materials I've mentioned, feel free to use the link I've provided in my Recommended Reads widget below. THANKS!


Okay. It seems that cheap peanut butter and the old standby for rodent control proved to be just the right blend to get rid of our house guest.

Duke rose to the occasion and emptied the trap when he left for work early. He woke up my little hero to show him the results of a rodent encounter with a spring-loaded trap. (ugh!)

The boy was so impressed, that he couldn't wait to describe it to me before breakfast.Yuck.

I agree that those who abuse or torment animals should be stopped. When it comes to having my home invaded, however, I'm happy to bring these fellows to a quick and certain end. He didn't live long enough to be abused . . . although his last meal wasn't organic. . . I don't think it made any difference in his overall health.:wink:

Meanwhile, I think I'll leave the traps out for a bit to be sure he didn't leave a forwarding address for his friends.:smile:


Well, it's official. We have an uninvited and unwanted guest. He or she didn't even have the decency to knock and had the audacity to leave little calling cards in the dog's dish.

That's right. A mouse is in my house.

No, I'm not a squeamish woman. I enjoy watching films of surgery, and watching Duke get stitches (which he seems to do at least once a year) is an intriguing pastime. If you've read about some of our spec-poop-ular times, you know I've got that covered also. I'm not afraid to squish a bug or two in the name of domestic tranquility. At one time, I begged my parents for a snake.

But rodents are another matter. They defecate where they eat. . . and where I eat; they carry plagues and disease, and they destroy property.

I looked up from my work and out of the corner of my eye saw a fuzzy blur dash across my kitchen floor. I'm old enough that it could have been just a spot or something with my vision, so I got up and checked behind the trash can. Nothing.

I got back to work and looked up just in time to see varmint poke his nose out from underneath the fridge.

That was enough to prompt a telephone call to Duke at work -- not something I do often. (And yes, I KNOW that isn't what I would look like in a chair! LOL) I told him about our interloper and offered to remove myself from the premises if he had no other solution. He was sure there was another answer.

My middle son saw an occasion to play the hero. He went and donned his camouflage jacket, his plastic gun, his plastic knife, and an assortment of sticks. Also he put on his shoes and then assured me that this mouse was toast. He armed his brother with a fly swatter and then (it's sad that THIS part is my legacy to him) he made a list of mouse weapons and had each of us sign the list as he provided us with munitions. I told him I would be fine, thank you.

It was all I could do not to laugh when he went and got a plastic piece of corn and placed it before the refrigerator. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was trying to lure the mouse out into the open. This was after he started placing some crumbs around. I put a stop to that as I didn't really want to FEED the mouse.

We ran errands after Duke got home. On the way back to the house, we stopped to get some traps and cheap p-nut butter. What? I'm not givin' him the GOOD stuff!

So, I dabbed the cheap p-nut butter onto the traps, set the trigger and placed them strategically. To Duke I said, "I'll load them, but I don't unload them."

Duke grinned.

That's okay. I know who my real friends are. That's the little guy that organized a mouse posse and got out all of his best weapons to take care of his mama. When it comes to taking care of me, my boys are loaded for BEAR! That boy gets the BIG piece of chicken tonight.
read more “LOADED FOR BEAR”