Category Archives: Life Lessons

Lesson 1363 – A Year of Nothing New

Kristin Skarie is a friend of mine whom I met through my son when she did workshops at his college. Like me, she also loves to do life experiments and one of her finest was going a year without buying anything new. It can be done,  she’s even written a book about it! Here’s Kristin to tell you about what she learned when she didn’t buy anything new.


Hello and thank you Wendy! In 2010, I made a decision to buy nothing new for a year. A friend had shared her recent nothing new experiment so I decided on the spot to give it a go – no preparation, no stocking up, no plans. In many ways this was an answered prayer to remedy a BAD 2009 (don’t ask!) and it gave me a welcome distraction – an active, positive focus on the pending adventure. Continue reading


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Lesson 1358 – Grandma had it right

King Arthur

King Arthur

A few of my friends and I joined a Facebook group where we “buy nothing new for the month of January.” This was started because one friend had read an article about a woman who went for some time (I don’t know how long) without buying *anything* new. (Groceries and staples were obviously allowed.)

I joined the group and didn’t think I’d have a tough time doing this. Trust me when you have 6 kids, you figure out, as my grandmother would say, how to :use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It was years and years before my youngest saw a new winter coat (and then only because it was on sale and I had a coupon.) That’s what you get for being at the end of the line of 6 kids. Continue reading

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Lesson 1353 – Today’s Big Takeaway

This weekend I had what I thought was a small pebble in my slipper. I’m one of those people that occasionally walk outside in my slippers so I wasn’t too concerned. I tried shaking the pebble out and it was still there after I put my slipper back on. I tried brushing the bottom of my sock thinking it had been caught in its fibers, but after I put my sock on I could still feel the pebble when I walked

It must be on the inside of my sock (not that unusual, I’ve had it happen before) I took my slipper off and turned my sock inside out. There was a tiny hole in the foot area *exactly* where I felt the pebble in my slipper. Darn, those are my good Columbia wool socks. Continue reading

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Lesson 1308 – Why you’ve got to go

Between getting kids ready to go to college, high school sports starting, coyote attacks on our chickens, and oh yeah, the Presidential Selfie Girls (who still need to get 4 more candidates) it’s been a busy, busy summer.

Yesterday Jeb Bush was in our neck of the woods and because we hadn’t gone to one of his events (the girls got his selfie at a parade) those of us who were at home decided to go.

This is what we learned:


If you’ve ever wondered why we go see candidates in New Hampshire, here’s some insight.

Although we had seen Jeb Bush on the debate (and I have to say I wasn’t impressed with his performance – it lacked passion and authority) we didn’t know that much about his platform. In fact our opinion was that he didn’t want to be President and that the Republican party was probably forcing him to run based on his name.

When we heard he was going to be speaking locally, four of the kids (yes, the girls got another selfie with him) and I went and listened to what Jeb had to say.

Completely different impression. He seemed like a nice guy who knew his facts, had clear plans, experience, a sense of humor, defended his platform and who (in one of my kids’ opinion) seemed like he genuinely wanted to be President.

That’s why it’s so important to find out about these candidates, one of them is going to be the next president. *Your* next president. You should take the time to listen to them.

On the ride home, we discussed what we had heard There were a few issues we didn’t agree with but surprisingly we found ourselves agreeing with some of the points raised. Jeb got us thinking. Finally one of my sons asked me that all important election question:

“Okay mom, so he changed your impression of him, but would you have a beer with him?”

You know what? I think I would.


Continue reading

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Lesson 1295 – Presidential selfie “chicks”

Do you remember how I wrote about my two little chicks trying to get a selfie with every Presidential candidate (real potential candidates, no loons)? It’s their non-partisan summer project and it has our full support. (Are you kidding? They’re getting such an education about the primary process in NH!)

Well on Tuesday the girls waited in line for 2 hours (it was hot, hot, hot!)


We were finally seated and this is what we saw: Continue reading


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Lesson 1267 – The beaches of New Hampshire

On Memorial Day we took the kids up to Odiorne Point, which is a NH State park located on our tiny coast (and yes, contrary to popular belief, New Hampshire, the White Mountain and Granite state does have some beaches.) As someone who grew up near the ocean (Long Island Sound) I’ve always been able to breathe better and just expand when I’m at the shore. That salt water lives in my blood and it calls to me if I’ve been away for too long.

Simply put, we had a great time.

New Hampshire’s coast line is only 18 miles long and much of it is rocky, but hey, we’ll take what we can get. And of course, when you are faced with a bunch of rocks, you make do with what you have. Instead of sandcastles, you’ll find rock cairns like this one all over the place.


Even at the shore though, we are reminded that we are never really far from our fine NH woods. Continue reading

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Lesson 1262 – Don’t forget

This weekend, the official start of summer, I found Zelda roosting in a rather unusual spot.

zelda bbq

Surely, with a bar-b-Que being planned for the family, she could have found a better place to roost (roast?)

But then that’s Zelda – a bird with a mind of her own.

Everyone is off from work. We’re going to spend the day at the shore (what little shore NH has) and then it’s off to eat our first lobster rolls of the season. It feels like a celebration.

Which is why I want to remind everyone to not forget that *this* is the true reason for Memorial Day.


My eternal thanks to the men and women who have given their lives to defend the United States of America.

Bless you all.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at

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