Monday, February 29, 2016


When I first was introduced to recycling in the home it was presented by the government as something that all Americans had to do to save the planet. I did not want to be the one responsible for destroying the earth so I dutifully attempted to fill my green bin and my blue bin. The bins were exchanged to one big trash can which should make recycling easier.
As easy as recycling became it seemed that the members of my household were not as enthusiastic as I was to separate trash. Every week recyclable items was found in the trash can.
And then I made it my personal responsibility to separate the recyclables from the un-recyclables. I came up with clever ways to get my family to place the empty drinking containers in the designated blue trash can which I kept in the house and then transferred the contents to the big green bin the government issued.  After about 2 months I was amazed at how often I had to take the full trash can to the recycling trash can outside.

We were drinking to many sodas!

Now I am learning how to re-purpose things. There are some things I re-purpose (a fancy word for recycle) for my projects or general use. This is a brief list:

  • Coffee cups from McDonald I use for my craft projects: melting soy for candles, mixing paint.   When finished it goes in the recycle bin.
  • My favorite mugs then are chipped or otherwise unusable become pencil holders (I cut a water bottle to line the cup)
  • Old water bottles are used as plant containers- seed starters and such
  • Card board sheets (found in paper stock and other places) become   dividers for notebooks 
  • And of course paper become note pads
  • I no longer buy wrapping paper for gifts but use gift bags which can be re-purposed.
I am sure there are other things that I re-purpose, this is just the list I developed from glancing around my office.

My attitude towards recycling has changed because I now see the benefits of doing so. I was watching an episode of “The Vanilla Ice Project”  (on the DIY Network) he and his “Ninjas” were installing this beautiful bathroom sink that was attached to a top made of recycled bottles.  I have seen people who have taken old tires and made beautiful gardens. Artist use one man’s trash to make beautiful and expensive treasures. For me it is just another way to not only save money but another way to challenge the mind.

The biggest benefit I received from taking recycling seriously: I discovered how unhealthy I was eating and made the necessary corrections.

Friday, February 26, 2016


I was lookin’ at pictures of myself the other day, I just sat there staring for quite a while. (I would say for hours but that would be an exaggeration!)It was like I never saw me before.
I suddenly noticed how the laugh lines mixed with worry lines in my face which seemed rounder. I may have noticed my double chin but now I noticed the extra skin under my chin. Like most women I was conscious about my hair line but at that moment I accepted the fact that my hairline had receded. After giving it some thought I decided: I am OK with who I am.

I look at me and see a person who has come a long way. As a child I did not fit in with the crowd, as I got older I found a crowd to fit in, then the crowd began fitting in with me and now I avoid the crowd. I don’t know when it happened but I stopped being a people pleaser and I am OK with that.

Once upon a time I went out of my way to comply with the standards of my environment, they call that fitting in. I never was the most in-style dresser but I did not look way out of style. I knew the latest songs, movies, and places to eat. I prided myself in being able to be social in any type of crowd regardless of race, culture or gender. I did what my family, friends and church expected of me. No matter how good at being part of a group I was I knew I did not fit.

What is amazing is I still do pretty much everything I used to do. I am still there for family, friends, and church. I do not know what the latest songs are, Christian or otherwise; I don’t go to movies and I don’t buy a lot of clothes. But,, I do enjoy listening to music from time to time; I do watch movies in the comfort of my home; and I do get a new outfit when needed. I do not socialize as much as I use to, funny they all seem to come to me now! I must say, I really do like my life!

When I look in the mirror I can get past the receding hairline the double chin and miscellaneous and see me. I take supplements to supplement my diet not pills to counter the problems of poor health. I come and go as I please without concern of cost or who I am going to stay with- I can afford my lifestyle. My “No” means “No” and I do not give explanations when people ask me to do something I don’t want to do. It took me a little over fifty years to get free of other peoples opinions and just be myself but I plan on living the next fifty years doing just that.

I have two questions for you:
    Are you willing to grow old with the person you see in the mirror?
    Do you even know what you look like?

And that is the world according to NETTIE xxx Short Stories and essays by Marsha L F Randolph

Monday, February 22, 2016


I was a longtime TIDE user but now I make my own. It is cost effective and my clothes are clean.
Some people add scent beads to their formula (Unstopoable)s I do not. I add dryer sheets that I purchase from the dollar store, because my family likes the smell.


I use 2 bars of Fels Naptha or Zote soap, I like to use Zote if I can get it in pink because it looks pretty. I do not own a food processor but I don't want my soap to be powdery anyway- I just like the visual.

After using this product for a year I now double the recipe so that I don't have to make as much for my own use.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


   I attended Old Man Woodard's’ funeral yesterday, it was held at the historic Spirit Filled Branches Church in our community. The funeral was well attended as expected, not by people who personally knew Amos but by those who knew of him and were curious to see how his wife, an outsider, would bury him.
   I always say funerals are for the living the deceased are either having a great time with Jesus or regretting his earthly actions in hell. It was clear that Meeka Woodard understood the art of having a respectable ceremony without going overboard. It was also amazing to see her children protect their mother from the opinions of people who thought bringing an Asian woman into a Black neighborhood was wrong.
    Meeka, never disrespected our community and supported her husbands efforts to maintain it’s rich history. (Someday there will be a book written about Eldersville South Carolina.) Her children were raised to appreciate all cultures yet live their lives according to their God given purpose and they were well aware of their fathers anonymous philanthropic activities done via Spirit Filled Branches Church.

   After the service the widow the members of Spirit Filled Branches Church to her home so that she could demonstrate her appreciate for their words of comfort with food. She had a lovely array of fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of cheese and crackers; to drink there was a variety of juices, water and wine. Folks were mad! They came to feast on fried chicken, fried fish, collard greens, potato salad and a host of deserts and they did not see it. A few people had brought the undesired dishes which Meeka respectfully turned away at the door! She would not let the food in her house.

   “My husband died because he waited to take care of himself, he kept putting off doing the right things. I will not contribute to the unhealthy lifestyle of another human being. Though I appreciate the effort you put in preparing this dish, I cannot accept it. Thank you.” Meeka told each guest who tried to present her with foods that were delicious but not according to her healthy examples of what an afternoon gathering could provide.

   I was not surprised at the number of people who left even though they said they came to pay their respects. Of course Sharon Sertim stayed.

   “Meeka,” Sharon started “You know when African Americans die we have what is called a reeeepasssst.” Sharon spoke loudly to Meeka as if she was dimwitted. “At the reeeepasssst African American’s traditionally serve things like col-lurd greenzzz, and friiiiiied chick-en. Now I know your people eat different things but you did marry a man of color and his people expect you to acknowledge his culture even though this is your period of bereavement. And you can’t turn down the help people give you, that is ruuuuuuud-da!”
   I sat there waiting to shut Sharon up if I thought Meeka had had enough but she just sat there attentively listening to Sharon. “Now Mrs. Woodid” whenever you need information on my culture I will be glad to help you. You have children that are half black; they are Amos’ children aren’t they?”
“Sharon!” I had to stop her there. “What kind of question is that? Of course those are Amos children! Why would you ask Meeka such a question when she just put her husband in the grave not even two hours ago. Are you that ignorant?”
   “Nettie, they look Chinese not Black and people have been talking. We might as well get this stuff out in the air now!”
“People aren’t talking Sharon, you are!”
“It’s all right Nettie, I know what kind of person Sister Sharon is, Amos spoke of her often.” Meeka said, her composure unchanged.
Sharon perked up knowing that someone had acknowledged her existence. “He did?” She inquired.
“Yes, Mrs. Sertim; Amos often warned me to disregard the opinions of people in this world who thought they were more knowledgeable than God and he always used you as an example.”
  If you want to know what it looks like when a person’s countenance falls it was the look on Sharon’s face as she got up and stormed out of the door! Meeka, whose posture did not change,  looked up to see a group of people standing snickering as they watched Sharon leave. Turning to her guest she stood and spoke:

“I understand the tradition of repast, I am well aware of the foods the Black culture serve in their homes and at various events. Every group you can name has one tradition or other. You know Jesus said something about making the word of God of no effect because of tradition, some traditions will kill you even though you are praying for healing.
   Poor eating habits and lack of exercise led to the premature death of my husband. There is nothing wrong with eating foods you like just as long as you eat them in moderation which includes proper portions. I have spoken to many of you and I am well aware of the pills you take for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and even hormone imbalance.

My desire, my prayer, is that each of you live a long healthy life. The food I have prepared for you is an act of love not cultural disrespect. Most of you my husband has known from childhood. If you continue to live the way you are living now you will be joining him sooner rather than later.”
  The guest that stayed enjoyed a pleasant afternoon of conversation and left full.
Meeka, Madeline Freedman and myself stood on the front porch as the last guest left. Despite driving off in luxury cars including: Mercedes, Lexus, BMWs, a few Porches and Jaguars,  way to beautiful homes but they all had health issues.
  Why do people think living right has more to do with the amount of things one can buy than with quality of life?  Amos Woodard died a very wealthy man, yet his life was cut short because of the many things he put off doing despite his wife’s attempts at encouraging him to do otherwise.

Meeka Woodard was seven years older than her husband neither thought she would be burring him.

And that is the world according to NETTIE xxx Short Stories and essays by Marsha L F Randolph

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Sister Sharon came by my place, unannounced as always, to tell me that Old Man Woodid died. People called him Old Man Woodard but that Woodard was not last name, he just got tired of correcting people. Amos Woodard and I go way back, we have known each other since elementary school; he was called him Old Man Woodard back then.
The grown folks called him a peculiar child because of he never associated with the rest of the children, made excellent grades, and was always clean and dressed nice. He was raised by his grandparents who weren’t real strict but maintained high expectations, as a result he kept to himself until he entered high school.
Unfortunately, by that time the kids in the neighborhood started accusing him of being gay. He had a lot of female friends who assumed such but very few male friends. I on the other hand maintained my distance even though I knew he was not homosexual, I knew he wasn’t because I asked.
Anyway, Amos went away to college and when he returned he was married to an Asian girl he met on campus. This did not ingratiate him with the community but he was determined to care for his grandparents as long as they lived which he did. He and Meeka, his wife, had three children who were home-schooled. When his grandparents died the family moved to a community that was more appreciative of the couple and their lifestyle which included traveling around the world.
Amos, who had accomplished a lot and anonymously contributed quite a bit to the community he grew up in never achieved the respect he felt he deserved.
Sharon, Sister Sharon as she preferred to be called, came to see what I knew about his death. I stood in front of my door not letting her in and me not coming out. Sharon just came to gossip, she kept make general statements to get me to respond: “He never went to church, I wonder if he was saved;” “They say his wife left him and married the real father of the children;” “Somebody said he died of AIDS.” I refused to even respond to her words.
It took her a while but she finally got the message. I stood at my door and watched her leave. I use to be a gossip; once upon a time I made it might point to know everybody’s business and then I heard someone gossiping about me, it did not feel good.
The book of Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything even a time to speak, it took me some time but eventually I learned to shut up. The funny thing is, I know more people’s business now than I know what to do with. When I die a whole lot of secrets will go down in the ground with me.

Amos Woodard was a good man. He never had a problem with gossip and he knew a lot about the people in the community. He paid light bills of people who had lost their job, he even paid the mortgage of one of the people who used to tease him when he was in elementary school when that man got behind in his mortgage after loosing his job. It was all anonymous of course. Was he a Christian? When Meeka told me he had pancreatic cancer and the doctors did not give him much longer to live, I made a point of sharing the gospel to him, it took a while but after two weeks of gentle sharing both he and his wife made Jesus Lord of their lives.

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 New King James Version

He lived a year after making Jesus Lord of his life. In that time he was able to share the gospel with his children and he and his wife traveled a bit. On my last visit to the Woodard's home Amos told me he was tired, that was three days ago.

Amos and I are the same age, when someone your age or younger dies it makes you think about your own mortality. To many people don’t have the spiritual or financial house in order thankfully both Amos and I don’t have that problem. I am a child of God and I manage my finances well. In case of my death my family will not be burdened with outstanding debts or expenses they cannot afford.
And that is the world according to NETTIE xxx Short Stories and essays by Marsha L F Randolph

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Modesty has become a thing of the past, sexy has become a standard dress code regardless of the profession. Unfortunately, what one person believes is sexy is inappropriate and poor fitting clothing to others.
Recently, I was at a store and saw a young lady with very very short shorts that were fit closer than snug. Not only did this woman reveal all of her cellulite but the shirt also revealed her less than flat abdomen. Needless to say the young men looked at her with lust in their eyes, not respect.
It is not just the way people are dressing that bother me. Commercials today utilize  individuals in underwear, openly discuss and display feminine hygiene products, and encourage women and men to use products that will increase certain lifestyles without modesty.
Not only can you not judge a book by its cover it is getting so you cannot pick a Christian from a crowd.

And that is the world according to NETTIE xxx Short Stories and essays by Marsha L F Randolph

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Yea, I gotta go there, I thought to myself! I was sittin’ on my front porch today minding my business when  “The Mayor” came by to complain about something happening at the youth center.
“We African-Americans have to stick together Nettie. You know how the Hispanics and the White people are always trying to get over on us. That boy got suspended just because he called a white girl a bitch!”
“What do you mean African-Americans got to stick together. When we die is their an African-American section in hell and an African-American section in heaven?” I asked
“Come on Nettie you always ask that dumb question, you know what I mean. We gotta look out for one another. They always trying to kill us and keep us down.” He stated.
“Oh you mean like them putting abortion clinics in poor Black communities and making sure that Black women have access to places where they can kill their “African-American” babies. Or are you talking about how young Black men kill other young Black men in broad day light and not a single “African-American” saw what happened. Is this what you are talking about when African-Americans have to stick together Roger? They should not tell the truth about each other and ignore each others faults?” Roger is his real name.
“I am not trying to get political Nettie. I am just telling you what happened today. I just came by to say hey!”
“Oh, I see now. I am so sorry I misunderstood you Roger. You came by to tell me about how a young man was busy studying and just so happened to see a girl, who happened to be a different color than he was, and lovingly called her something other than her name and they suspended him.”
“It is not that simple.”
“I am sure it is not. I mean: How dare that white girl get near an African-American! I mean why are they even going to the same school.”
“You keep twisting my words!” he said angrily.
“I am not twisting anything,” I had enough so I cut him off and let him have it! “First of all if the boy was suspended it was probably for more than him calling the girl a name. Second, I am getting really tired of you and all these other so called African-Americans coming to my porch complaining about everybody but themselves. You spend more time gossiping and complaining than you do reading and helping.
“If you are so concerned about what is happening with these African-American boys why don’t you mentor them and get them to go to school and learn something. Why don’t you tell these African-American boys to stop calling females bitches period and to pull their pants up.
“If you are so concerned” I paused briefly to quickly read his body language, I knew he was about ready to bolt; I continued. “about what is happening in the African-American community and you seem to have soooooo much free time, why don’t you start teaching these parents about money and parenting; why don’t you go into these subsidized housing communities and get those people to start cleaning up their neighborhood and insisting that they be the ones to tell the police where the thugs live, even if they are related to them.
“The problem you and your African-American friends have, Mayor, is not that White people or Hispanics are not treating you fairly it is that you all don’t treat each other fairly. Before we became African-American, back when we were “colored” we respected our elders, valued education and parents whacked the backsides of disobedient children.”
“You act like you ashamed to be African-American.”
“No, I love who I am. I love my dark skin pigment, my nappy hair, my big behind, my lips, my nose and even the slang words that come out of my mouth from time to time. I am not ashamed of who I am but I am embarrassed by the way some people of color behave. I do get tired of people judging me because my Pastor is not Black and he teaches the word without shouting;  I can shout with the best of them Roger but that don’t make me anymore a Christian than the dirt I was made from. The difference with me is I love my God more than I love the external factors of my life.
“I know that their are prejudice people out there; I know that racism exist. I also know that ignorance comes in all shapes, sizes, income brackets, religions, skin pigment and it speaks in many different languages. Anger and retaliation never changed any of those factors.
“That young man is going to have to decide how he wants to live the remainder of his life. Someone needs to tell him and every other young person: in order to be successful you have to assume personal responsibility for your action.
“The Apostle Paul reminds us that we can do all things through our Lord and Savior Jesus (Philippians 4:13); has this young man made Jesus Lord of his life? When he dies is he going to tell Father God that it was the White man’s fault that he didn’t do what he could do? Or will he blame his lack of success on Hispanics? He needs to know the truth about life, someone better tell him his nasty attitude is going to determine his altitude and he will not get very far.
“I am not saying we have to be friends with people that hate us but it doesn’t make sense to shoot yourself to prove a point to your enemy. Go talk to that young man Roger and his parents too if they will listen. But spend these days that he is home talking to him about his life. Use what Satan meant for evil for good.”
I had said what was on my heart,, surprisingly Roger, the Mayor, did not leave. Roger and I sat on the front porch for a long while that evening, just appreciating the sun as it set. When I finally stood up to go inside I offered him dinner but he declined, apparently he and Sister Sharon had plans. It is good when you can be honest with people and they don’t become so offended that they don’t talk to you anymore.
What Roger had not told me but I knew, because people come by my house all day, the young man had an in-school suspension even though he had hit  his girlfriend.  Nor did Mr Mayor know that tomorrow the girls parents and I are going to the school to see if we can talk to the young people about domestic violence: I walk my talk.
And that is the world according to NETTIE xxx Short Stories and essays by Marsha L F Randolph