Jill’s Diaries

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I was gathering up some things for the site the other day and came across one of my old diaries. I read a couple of things to Tawra and she got a good laugh. We thought you might get a kick out of them too.

Here are some entries from the diaries of a poor (literally), crazy (it’s just a matter of how you look at things) housewife (assembly worker, cleaning woman, dog groomer, Brownie cookie sales person, plant doctor, furniture mover, etc…).

This first diary entry is dedicated to all of you young moms out there who work long hours to get your house sparkling clean, turn to answer the phone and discover when you turn back around that it looks like a Kansas tornado has torn through your house only to realize that it was just the kids coming in from outside.

To set the stage. At this point in my life, I had a large white kitchen floor I had to clean by getting down on my hands and knees. (I know– That was my first mistake. Who has a white kitchen floor with kids?) To make it more fun I had a mud driveway with the door leading directly into the kitchen and that was the door everyone used to come in the house.

January 1, 1980

I gave the house an extra good cleaning including going through the kids’ drawers, mopping the kitchen floor, etc. I finished putting away the Christmas decorations. Did two loads of laundry. Got everything all finished and the neighborhood kids and my kids came running through the kitchen tracking mud everywhere.

When I tracked them down (following the muddy foot prints), they were all having a free for all jumping on the beds. I could have choked them all. I made Tawra sweep up the mud she had tracked in and David sweep off the porch. After supper, I went through my new cookbook and did some sewing.


This next one is dedicated to young wives and moms so you will know that it takes years of practice to get organized (but don’t plan on being totally organized until your last child leaves home!).

Feb. 19, 1980

Was talking to mama on the phone and the men arrived to put in my new carpet. I was still in my p.j.s and we hadn’t moved any of the furniture out of the living room yet. Boy was I flustered. It was like grand Central Station. Delivery guys kept coming to the door, the phone kept ringing at the same time and to top it off I was babysitting Jason. David was really sick with a temperature of a 104 so he was home from school and I was worried about him. Tawra came home with all of her Brownie cookies to sell. It was a mess all day with 10 different things going on at once but my new carpet sure does look nice.

(Now you know how I learned it is best to always get dressed first thing in the morning.)

This next diary entry is dedicated to my sweet daughter that I love so much. I am always trying to encourage new moms to not give up on your children– that if you keep training them they will finally get it. Hmm. Sometimes I lie???? As you read this, keep in mind that BJ (Tawra’s oldest) called me a few days ago and said, “Guess what Nan? Mom caught the stove on fire again.” This is a weekly occurrence at their house. That is why they started having family fire drills when the kids turned two. :) :) :)

(Note from Tawra: “It’s not weekly mother…maybe monthly, but not weekly!” :-)

 Dec. 28, 1990

Put away Christmas decorations. Tawra and I both are feeling a little better today. Tawra tried frying egg rolls and started the stove on fire while I was talking on the phone to Jack (my brother) and had to hang up on him.

Last, but not least, this is dedicated to all of those of you who are deep in debt and live in fear daily. God does take care of us and I had faith He would. Take note how I wasn’t the least bit worried about things in this next entry and you don’t need to be either. Get up, keep going and do the best you can.

To set the stage. This was a summer when we kept having record breaking high temperatures. Even to this day, many of our record temperatures were set that summer.

July 20, 1984

Hot again. Was up early and got quite a bit done. Worked on parts (piano parts) really hard all day. Out of money again. Down to $2. Sorted through recipes and coupons. Trimmed the dog.

 The Next Day

Woke up early but have a nice case of the stomach flu. Got a lot done anyway. Cleaned really good, doctored my plants, and worked on piano parts. So hot again. I had to finally break down and turn on the a/c because it was extra hot and, being so sick, I couldn’t quite take the heat as well.

(I ended up getting enough money to pay for using the a/c that day.)



  1. Anonymous says

    I loved reading those entries from your diary…. it made me laugh imaging you doing all of the those things. My mom was like that to, just as lots of other moms. You do a little of just about everything. God is good and he continues to bless. Have a great day!

  2. says

    I remember when my husband was in the Navy and we had just purchased our first new house. He was at sea and things always got a little tight then moneywise. The only way to be sure to keep a lid on spending was to not turn on the A/C. The two kids and I would sleep in one room infront of the window with the fan blowing the cool night air over us (if that’s possible in Charleston, SC in the summer). It was some of the best times we ever had. We would laugh and giggle over the silliest of things, tickling each other and having fun. Never did tell their dad about it though until years later.

  3. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Carol H: I remember the story of a tot telling his Dad loudly as the ship came in: GUESS WHOSE BEEN SLEEPING IN MOM’S BED?!”

    • Carol says

      Once when my sailor husband was gone to sea I took our 3 year old to have his portrait done by an young artist who was just starting out. As my son sat in the chair he spotted a young man in his Navy summer whites in the audience who had gathered to watch the artist do his work. When my son say this sailor he yells out at the top of his lungs “Daddy”. That young many looked around to see who my 3 year old was talking to. If you could have seen the look on his face when he realized my son was calling him “Daddy”. It was hilarious.

  4. says

    That’s hilarious! And really could be my diary! When we bought our house it had a white kitchen floor, too. I said to my husband, “who puts a white floor in a kitchen of a family house?” I spent 13 years with that floor, mopping several times a week. Finally when we got a new floor, I picked a mottled looking dark-ish pattern. I can go weeks without mopping, but still have to sweep. Any ideas on getting out of sweeping?
    And the getting dressed first thing is a priority! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “surprised” in the morning by the doorbell, with me still in my robe!

    • says

      Actually I did finally figure out how to get out of sweeping the kitchen floor – I bought me a Roomba. Best thing I have bought to make my life easier ever. : ) I know not everyone can get one but boy do I love mine. Now if I can find something to clean my toilet and bathroom I will be all set. (Hummmm. I guess that would be called a maid) (I can always dream) : ) : )

  5. luna says

    when we got new carpet in our old house to prepare for selling it;I told the salesman I wanted it the color of dirt..3 cats and a grand kid Oh yeah

  6. says

    Oh, I really could relate to that very last diary entry where you were down to your last $2. I’ve been there so many times, it’s scary…and yet here I am and God is still taking care of me ) :) :) :) I’m really working hard to be completely debt free one day!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  7. Maggie says

    It’s funny that you mentioned a journal today. I found a Journal (of sorts) in my nightstand drawer last night and opened it to see that I had been making notes in it since 1997. It was my Gratitude journal and I was listing 5 (sometimes a few more) things to be thankful for on the day of the entry. I listed the year in the inside front cover so had some idea of when the entry was made. I did enjoy reading the items and could almost recall the feeling I had when I wrote it. Of course, I added something from yesterday. I always intend to do it every day but life gets in the way and I don’t take the time. At least, I kept it so I could add to it, still.
    Recently, I also found a copy of the book – Women Who Do Too Much – daily devotionals for busy women. My sister gave me this back in the mid-90’s and as I read it, over the years, I commented on certain ones and dated the comments. I could see important events depicted on some of the pages. Like when both my mom and dad died even though they died 7 years apart. Then when I was waiting for my transplant, some of the devotionals were pertinent to me at that time. Jill, it really is very good to see where you were in the hard days and where you have gotten to. I never thought my transplant would last 15 years, yet here I am and still going strong. Thanks for the opportunity to share this with you and your readers.

  8. rose says

    jill .. i just found this on the site .. thank u for sharing ur diary with us .. i thoroughly enjoyed reading it ..
    i know u must be getting ready to start getting prepared for you big baking of the gingerbread men/women orders u do every year ..
    i thnk i ask u this ?? every year, but do you also sell ur baked goods online too? .. just curious .. 😀 ..
    hope all is well with u and the family ..
    we are fine .. as u know, we moved into the apt .. and yes, i am going thru the decluttering phaze (sorry spelling) again.. in fact, my son has caught onto the “bug” of decluttering too .. he just went thru all of his dvd’s and games, and is at the pawn shop right now selling them .. these are old dvd’s/games that he bought over the years and we never look at them again ..
    and even tho we didnt bring much here to the apt, when we moved from the house, i still have stuff that i am going to be getting rid of ..
    hubby just asked me where have i been hiding all this stuff since moving in and i told him i had them in my closet (no wonder i had to be careful opening and closing that closet door!) .. but its time again to start thinning things out .. and keep only the necessary items .. stuff that only matters ..
    keep posting the reminders of organizing and decluttering … it helped me many times .. i could not have done it without the constant positive help i received from you, tawra and the rest of the readers .. its easy to keep collecting things .. but with this much smaller space we now live in, it is becoming alot easier to not have the “wants” of what we feel we need (at the time) …
    thank u again jill and tawra for all u do for us .. 😀

    • says

      Yes Rose it is that time of year again. As a matter of fact I just bought the ingredients and will mix up the dough next week. I am getting a little bit of a later start this year. No I don’t usually sell them over the internet. First I have a hard time keeping up with all the orders I have that I get from here but mainly it is a problem because the postage to ship them usually is 3-4 times what the price of the cookies are and I have to spend more time packaging them up for shipping then I do making them which I don’t charge for so I almost loose money when I ship.

      So glad you are still keeping up with your decluttering. It is an endless job but like dishes it still needs to be done I’m afraid. :)

  9. Julie says

    LOVE these entries! Thank you so much for sharing. That’s my favorite thing about you, Jill and Tawra. You are the REAL DEAL!!! Thank you for all you do!

    I’ve got lots of your books and your cookbook, and they are worth every penny!!!

  10. says

    Oh man, I am so glad I’m not the only mother who wants to occasionally choke her children. (jokingly, of course) What a cool post! Thanks for for sharing.

  11. grizzly bear mom says

    Jill, I greatly appreciate your documenting your career history-demonstrating that you paid your bills and didn’t mooch off of others as we see so commonly today.

    Carol H. I salute your oh Navy Wife! for NOT telling your husband how tight the bills were and sleeping with the kids under one fan to save money. Our men and women in uniform don’t need to be worrying about us when they are at sea and at the front.

    Blessings to our military!

  12. Stephanie says

    Jill, Tawra,

    I appreciate you two so much. I have read your newsletter for many years–I learned about it from Dr. Laura’s website many, many years ago. I have plugged you to so many of my friends over the years and now, I have posted on FB how much of a “fan” I am. Other than that you are real “rock stars” when it comes to the advice you dispense, I was so grateful to you many years ago, when you personally responded to my email wondering about mine and my family’s debt situation and my wanting to find a job and not be discouraged. You were so encouraging and gave great advice and I was so impressed at the “personal” time you gave me to respond to my email. I emailed you because I valued your advice and hoped you’d reply, not really expecting that you would. Thank you so much for your cool website and your even “cooler” selves. You two are really angels.

    • says

      Thank you so much Stephanie for your sweet comment. I really do enjoy talking to our readers. I sometimes worry that because I don’t know all the details to each situation that my advice may not fit perfectly so am so glad to hear from you to know we helped. I am like you and hesitate to e mail people figuring it will get lost in cyber space or just never get noticed but guess I should try it sometime. So I hope no one hesitates to e mail us (nice e mails of course :) and I try my very best to answer them all. E mails like yours make my day and all the work worth it.

  13. naturelover says

    I am 61 and have been retired 6 years. We have enough money coming in each month, but we are doing a poor job of managing it. I swore I would never find myself back in credit card debt, but here I am again. Some of the mismanagement I can lay at my husband’s doorstep because dementia has encroached insidiously, but a large part I must take responsibility for. I buy too much stuff, don’t cook meals eating out instead, and would rather shop to avoid facing the facts.
    I know that I have to put my nose to the grindstone and do the things I did years ago when I had kids and was struggling to get out of credit card debt. It will be easier to get out this time, but at a time in my life when I should know better I feel like such an idiot. I sure would like to kick myself all over the place but that won’t get me out of debt.
    Now we are facing increasing medical costs with my husband who has just been diagnosed, finally, with dementia. We do have good insurance but no long term care insurance. We saved some when we were working and younger, but not enough according to the experts around. We are in much better shape than most our age, but we must “circle the wagons”.

    When you are young, you are at your earning years. You can’t spend it all when you are young and expect to have anything left for retirement and the issues declining health brings. You can also be disabled and unable to work or lose your job when you are young. You must plan, financially, for those contingencies. It is crucial that people begin to think about old age NOW–don’t delay another minute. Plan what you will need and save toward that goal. Look into and purchase long term care insurance when you are young. Do you really need it? I don’t think my husband can get long term care insurance at all now. I probably can, but it will cost more at this age. Plan for how you will pay for added medical expenses and things you will have to hire done because you literally can’t go out and do them yourself.

  14. Mandee says

    Thanks for letting God use you! Just before I read the last entry I stared at the past due bills beside my laptop and then the phone rang being a bill collector, I said a little prayer, Lord please help, and a few seconds later He reminded me through your post He’s taking care of it all!Thanks, God Bless!

    • says

      There is an old hymn called Trust and Obey. I always loved that hymn because it sums up all God wants from us. Not great works or sacrifice just to trust and obey Him. It amazes me each day how much He loves me and what He is forever doing for me in even the little things. If we are obeying and being wise stewards of our money and trust Him He will always provide.
      My life is one continual example of Him doing that and He still is doing it today and I mean literally. I had forgotten what I had written so had to go back and reread the post when I read your comment. I couldn’t help but laugh. My a/c died this week. It has been so hot and humid and I hated to spend the money to get it fixed because I had to spend a huge amount on dental work last week so it was going to be tight. I was once again feeling sick and then the a/c when out. I broke down and called a repair man. He came to fix it and when he got ready to leave he said no charge because a couple of months ago they had come to fix the same thing on my heater and it didn’t get fixed right so there would be no charge. Then I get your comment this morning and read the post. Too weird-30 years later I am still dealing with the same thing and God is still fixing it for me. : )

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