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. . .


I’m what my husband calls a cheap date. He grins and winks when he says that, so I’ll take it as a compliment.

The reality is that I LOVE spending time creating something or having fun without spending a lot of money. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like paying the price of admission or having a meal out every now and then. It just means that I REALLY enjoy a picnic, a potluck, repairing things, painting, hammering, etc. I like to fly when I need to get somewhere fast, but I thrill to the adventure of a car trip.

Staying in a hotel room is nice. I like to see the new features, like the time I stayed in a hotel that had a television screen built into the bathroom mirror. (Somehow it was appropriate that the Beverly Hillbillies was being broadcast.) Of course, at some point I begin to wonder about who stayed there last and used those sheets, etc. (I know, I know, the sheets were laundered and the staff works hard to ensure that everything is clean. . . . . ) BUT, I LOVE the night air as I fall asleep under the stars and awake to the sound of birds chirping.

It’s not my fault, really. I grew up in a large family and Dad insisted we camp. He trained us to be frugal and love a bargain. For Mom, it was splurging to go to the discount store and (gasp) buy something without telling Dad first. So, blame them. *smiling*

My husband had some days off recently, and we didn’t need to spend the money on a road trip to some memorable place. I must admit that I wondered if our time together would turn into a stretch of forced confinement.

I shouldn’t have doubted the creativity of my family.

The boys, with dad in tow, took several trips together while I took care of some items around the house. They enjoyed the library, the local hardware/building supply store, went to see the chicken lady about eggs and ran other assorted errands. The boys were fine with this even though it entailed looking at the back of Daddy’s head as he drove them from place to place. They were his happy escorts.

Once hubby wore himself out running, he attacked the wood pile and worked up a good sweat splitting firewood. One of his favorite things to do there is get a log too big for to handle (there didn’t used to be any of those). He will give it a good try and then call our oldest son over (he’s over 6 ft and likes to show off his muscles). It’s always a thrill to watch that boy man cut through stuff like butter.

The ‘iron man’ competition came to a halt when the rain started. It lasted long enough that hubby found things to do indoors. After he replaced the burnt out light bulbs, he decided that we would create our own seminar and outreach project.

He pulled out a DVD set on a subject he wanted to research. We started going through the series and taking notes together.

What’s fun is that my husband doesn’t necessarily agree with everything the speaker says. This means that we have an extra session at the kitchen table the next morning to hear hubby’s take on things and what his thoughts are on the matter. There’s nothing as interesting to me as getting to see how that man’s mind works.

The outreach project involves the coupon section of the newspaper. Because we don’t stock processed foods, we never use those coupons. At the local library, the boys noticed that people are exchanging coupons. So, dad & boys spend about 15 minutes each day, looking for and cutting out coupons to contribute the next time we go. It’s a learning experience as they see how very little actual food can be purchased with coupons. (We call real food something that came from the farm, without a lot of processing.)

When the rains let up, the boys moved outside where our resident 9-yr-old ‘Park Ranger’ decided to set up his own ‘National Park.’ He got this idea as he has been logging onto this site to become an online park ranger. Our grill and bench table became the ‘picnic area.’ The end of the driveway became the ‘visitor parking.’ The house is the ‘ranger station’ and the bedrooms are ‘cabins.’ The tent was set up and became the ‘camping area.’ The swing is now labeled the ‘playground.’ The woods behind the house are the ‘nature trail.’ All of this (of course) is identified by several cardboard, hand-lettered signs secured with (what else?) duct tape.

I think they even have plans to utilize the stimulus package if it ever trickles down.

This led to a backyard overnight camping trip. I declined the invitation because I am a pretty good judge of where little boys in a tent always end up. I smiled knowingly when my husband came inside the next morning telling me about whose foot ended up where and how many
times he was awakened.

Meanwhile, I had a quiet night IN.

The tent remained up and I asked hubby if we could have it to ourselves, just the two of us. He seemed pleased with the idea, but a day or two went by where he seemed to forget.

I reminded him of my request. Hubby said he wasn’t going to spend the night in the tent because it was going to rain. I can blame this one on my parents also. Every time I sleep in a tent, it rains. It would be strange for me to camp when it DIDN’T rain.

I knew the tent would be packed away soon, so I put the boys to bed one evening and kissed hubby goodnight. I said I’d see him in the morning and smiled widely. Then, I went outside to make myself comfortable.

As an aside, you shouldn’t tell little boys when you are going to sleep in the tent outside. Put them to bed and just go. If they know where you are, they WILL find you . . .

I wasn’t surprised when hubby joined me with extra pillows.

It was a WONDERFUL time. We lay there and listened to the night sounds, talked about our children, our life together, our future and held hands as a misting rain splattered on the tent. This morning, we awoke naturally to the sounds of birds greeting the day (instead of the tap-tap-tapping at our door and the little voice saying, ‘Mama?’). If you didn’t know any better, you’d think we were a couple!

My sweet husband slipped into the house and returned to our little hiding place with coffee. It’s good for old folks to sneak off together every now and then.

It’s been a WONDERFUL vacation!
read more “VA-STAY-TION”


If one of my family members were to become ill, I know that I (or someone I know) would have some ideas about things I could try with promising results. I wouldn’t be dependent upon whichever course the doctor I could afford to see might offer. I would have options. It’s reassuring to have this information.

Having options though isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes.

I was in another city attending a conference. The name of the conference wasn’t specific. We were learning about laws affecting natural and alternative health care. I was in the lobby one morning and noticed that several people had paid a fee to get into the center. They were wandering from one booth to another, looking for someone – anyone – that might know what they could try because the doctors done all they could.

They thought that at THIS conference, SOMEONE might have a single dose of SOMETHING that would be the answer they needed.

Some had money. Others were just looking for hope. All of them wanted to live. We tried to point them to the right resources, knowing that they may have waited too long . . .

For the last few weeks we have been praying for a relative in a medical crisis. Only now, we discovered that she had been living with secret knowledge that something was dreadfully wrong. She had been doing this for two years. She thought that her only option was to go to a doctor or suffer.

I don’t know what going to a doctor meant for her. I don’t know if she thought she would have been embarrassed, incapacitated, shamed, or if it just meant that she would lose control. Maybe she was just tired and wanted some privacy. Whatever the reason, she didn’t go. Because she didn’t tell anyone, she didn’t know that she had options. She didn’t ask. And so she got worse.

When the pain got bad enough, she went to the doctor. The surgeon assured her that he could do his part and have her on the mend.

She went into the hospital, offering words of instruction and love – trying to say goodbye in her own way. Everyone told her there was no need to worry.

We repeated ourselves when she was out of surgery and doing well.

Plans were made for physical therapy and an aid to help her with her recovery. Everything was going according to schedule.
After a few days, the diarrhea and the fever came. Then the breathing became difficult.

And she was gone.

Maybe it was the way she wanted it to be. I don’t know. For two years she hurt. She avoided the doctors. There were options, but she didn’t know them. We didn't know she was suffering.

I don’t know that her life would have been any longer with natural medicine. I know she could have had a measure of comfort and control. Who knows? She might even have recovered.

But those are things we can never know. She’s gone and it’s too late.

Why do I tell you this? I tell you because there are some things more important than knowing just the right herb or remedy. I think we have to learn how to cultivate the kinds of relationships that garner us the trust of those we love most. It isn’t about being right in the end. It’s about whether or not they will let you hold their hand and offer some measure of comfort.

Families are funny. We think that because someone is related to us that he or she should just understand and accept us at our worst. We subject them to our highs and our lows and think that a relationship so abused will be able to draw us together in tragedy . . . But we are wrong.

When the choice is life or death, you discover who a person truly trusts, who they will go to for counsel. When the minutes become moments, how a person spends them becomes very telling indeed.

I write this for a few reasons. If you are one of those who is excited about all that you are learning and people are hiding items in their pantry from you to avoid the lecture they know will come . . . You would do well to step back and rethink your approach. You may mean well, but they don’t trust your motives. They feel judged and humiliated and your input isn’t welcomed. Try investing in that PERSON. Tie some strings to their heart and develop a relationship. With time, you may find that they will ask you for your input, but you’ll have to earn it.

If you are one of those that thinks your dear ones will just have to learn to accept you for who you are and they need to accommodate your emotions, it’s time to put that aside. There truly ARE things more important than our little feelings. Don’t wait for the circumstances of life to convince you of that. The time is shorter than you think.

Finally, if you’d like to preserve your health but can’t afford the latest alternative health guru that flew into town, keep learning. There is information – good information – out there, but it takes time and study. The time to study is NOW. . . BEFORE a health crisis. Knowing stuff gives you options. Researching these things tells you who else is out there learning.

Something you learn could give you the time you need to make a difference. You won’t regret trying.

Sorry for the soapbox moment. *blush* Maybe this will do some good before it's too late for someone you love.