Mary Belle Edmondson Gaylord

That beautiful lady in the feature photo is Mary Belle Edmondson Gaylord. She was born on May 10, 1918, amid the deadly Spanish influenza pandemic that killed over 675,000 Americans. She died on my birthday, October 28, 2020, amid the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. She was 102 years old at the time of her death. The timing of her birth and death alone distinguish her as being among what has to be a very limited number of people.

But her life, what happened between 1918 and 2020 is what distinguishes her.

She was my second-grade teacher. And I loved her, as…

How happy are you with your life? Did you know that anything that isn’t making you jump for joy can be fixed or changed? The key, however, is that only YOU hold that power to make your life joyous. It’s not up to your spouse, kids, parents, or boss. You are the only one in complete control of your life, so you deserve to live the life of your dreams.

It has been one year since global lockdowns began. You would think that would seem like a tremendously long time for all we have been through. And for some of…

As Observed by His Totally Objective Grandmother

Photo by Bobby Davis Photography

One of the great joys of my life to this point has been watching my grandchildren participate and excel at sports.

This story includes some of my favorite memories watching my only grandson play sports from the age of four through high school. I guess you could call it bragging. But I’ve heard it said that bragging isn’t bragging if it’s true.

And this is the true story of exciting sports memories and the personal character one boy exemplified through sports. …

We all know that eating right is sometimes impossible. Our busy lifestyles don’t lend themselves to cooking our own healthy meals. Easy becomes our go-to choice, whether it is a conscious or unconscious decision. That drive-thru is so much easier at times.

And everyone indulges now and then with foods that would not be considered healthy. Doing this is not considered a problem. However, when people make poor food choices as part of their regular diet, that is problems emerge.

The foods you eat are based on your habits. It takes time to develop these habits and requires you to…

It’s something we’ve all been waiting for — the end of 2020. A new beginning — 2021! But is it? Exactly what did you expect to be different on January 1, 2021?

In 2020 the world changed, and we had no choice but to change. It was thrust upon us and there were lifestyle changes that we had to make to adapt to the new world around us. But did we thrive throughout this process? Or did we just survive?

What are your expectations for 2021? Something better? We need something to look forward to. We need to believe that…

You know that life isn’t fair. And not just because you’ve been told that but because you’ve experienced it for yourself to the extreme these past few months. Trying to deal with something that is not just unfair but even a complete injustice, can really play havoc with your happiness if you allow it.

To live through times like we’ve all been experiencing requires special attention to how we are coping and taking action to counteract the damaging effects of becoming a victim to circumstances.

Maybe one or more of these suggestions can help you deal with these unjust times…

Or Cheap Decorating Done Quickly for From-the-Road Impact!

Every Christmas season, friends and neighbors talk about the beauty of our home. As you can see from the above picture, our decorations are a simple and traditional Southern farmhouse style. They are also relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly and efficiently.

Our exterior decorating consists of garland around the front porch, wide ribbon and other touches of red, wreaths on the windows, a tree on the gazebo corner of the porch, Christmas topiaries by the front door and candles in the windows. …

I bet when you read that title, your mind conjures up an image, a rather stereotypical image. I’ll also bet your image and thoughts include some false assumptions.

Can my husband cook? Well, somewhat. He’s getting better the more he tries it. Can my husband sew? No — unequivocally — no. So, aren’t those the first things you think of when you think of a home economist?

Let me take you back to the start — all the way back to our college days. We were undergraduates in the late 1960s and early 1970s. …

Where all my dad’s gifts ended up

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Gift buying for my dad was an effort in futility. And I engaged in that effort every Christmas, Father’s Day and birthday.

Because no matter how much thought you put into finding something he would like and actually use, you were destined to fail.

There was always a lack of any kind of reaction from him when he opened a gift. You couldn’t tell if he liked it, hated it, or was just indifferent.

But there was one thing you could be sure of — your gift to my dad would end up in the “gift graveyard”.

The gift graveyard…

Good or bad, wanted or unwanted — our lives have changed. A major area of change is food preparation. My husband and I used to eat out a lot. We used to be at our grandchildren’s sporting events on weekday afternoons. No time to cook there; eating out was a must. Even when we were at home, we might look in the refrigerator and not see anything to cook. Another eating out opportunity!

But COVID-19 has changed all that. No excuses. I had to cook more. Fast food drive-thru eating can get boring quickly, not to mention how unhealthy that…

Vicki Peel

Is life peaceful & intentional? A retired educator & HGTV fan, I reimagined home economics for today’s world. Claim your Self-Care Hacks at

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