When Life Gives You Scraps

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Oct 19, 2021

As I skimmed the paper this week, watched TV, listened to the radio, and even attended the first Saints game in New Orleans (wearing masks), nothing  seemed to diminish the ongoing problems in America and worldwide. Headlines and bylines read "COVID Virus Spreading like Wildfire," "Crash at Kabul airport kills 7," "Tennessee: 22 dead, many missing after 17 inches of rain." Also prominent were headlines about a declining economy, economic stimulus projects, and saddest of all, a declining faith in God in America. And then, as I prayed, I was encouraged by reflecting on my life and lessons learned over the years.  Strangely, the first words that "popped into my head" were from an old-time entertainer on the Grand Ole Opry named Minnie Pearl that our family listened to every week on the radio when I was a kid.  Despite all that was going on in the world then, Minnie Pearl would always say, "I'm just so glad to be here!" AND from there my list began to grow:  


1. Have a good day! You won't get it back.  This was one of the beliefs on which Lofton Staffing was founded that I hope, despite recent hurricanes, etc., is still posted in all our offices.


2. When life gives you scraps, make a quilt.  Tommy and I both had the good fortune of being born to parents and grandparents who had lived through the depression and who taught us that although we cannot always change our circumstances, we can change our attitude toward them. As I have written about before, my mom's dad died when she was only five leaving behind four girls from ages 7 to 3 months.  My grandmother literally made quilts from scraps, and the quilts were used to keep the family warm in a house with no electricity, no running water, and only a fireplace and wood stove for heat. I have some of those quilts along with the sheets Grandma made from feed sacks as a reminder of that "can do" spirit handed down to me.      

For me that spirit is captured in one of my favorite children's books called Amigo (Schweitzer, 1963) which tells the story of a young boy. "When he asked for a dog... Francisco's mother turned with a sigh.  Francisco's father looked off at the sky.  ‘No, Francisco. It's all we can do just trying to feed your brothers and you.’ Francisco seldom thought about the things he had to do without...Because he thought about the things he had.  In his mind he tried to add them up...So many brothers.  So many jokes. So many miles of desert all around.  So many cactuses.  So many mountains--so many places where caves can be found.  And--plenty of wishes to wish on a star.  Plenty of songs in that guitar, but not enough money in his father's pocket...That's the way things are.” When Francisco's mom suggests he tame a wild creature, he chooses a prairie dog, and in the end, Francisco thinks, "I've tamed me a prairie dog.  He's my greatest joy.”  And Amigo (the prairie dog) thought, "Mine is the best pet.  I've tamed me a boy."


3. Waste not.  Want not.  This old adage was also adhered to by our families.  Even until her death at 91, my mother kept a pail full of left-over pieces of soap she dissolved to make her own soft soap. But...my most memorable example came from Tommy's mother, Addie.  Sadly, Addie's mother died during the birth of her seventh child, and when her father also died soon after Addie was married, she and her sister took in the younger children.  Being frugal became a way of life for her and was reinforced when Tommy's daddy died unexpectedly at the age of 52--a few months after Tommy finished high school. Addie, in that "waste-not" mode, could darn a pair of socks so that you never felt the stiches, but our son, Bret Lofton, was the recipient of one of her greatest accomplishments--designer shorts.  When Bret grew too tall for his jeans, she cut them off and made shorts.  When the shorts got too small in the waist, she inserted colorful insets down the side.  Before men and boys' clothing became so fashionable, he was the envy of all his friends!


4. Develop your business first before building your house.  I was surprised to learn that this quote comes from the Bible, the "book of wisdom" called Proverbs.  When Tommy made the decision to start Lofton Staffing Services, he used the money from the house we had recently sold--the money we had planned to use to build a new house.  This meant we lived off my income as a teacher for four years and lived in an older, smaller house which needed renovation, with Tommy's mom sleeping in the living room. When the business began to make a small profit, I wanted to build our house, but he said, "Not yet!" I wanted to argue but...the next Sunday our preacher read Proverbs 24:27. (The Living Bible, Paraphrased), and it said: "Develop your business first before building your house!" Even before the COVID virus, priorities in life were important.  Sadly, many Americans today grew up in an age of instant gratification, enticing commercials, and "plastic money."  It's easy, as my Grandma used to say, for your "eyes to be bigger than your stomach...and your pocketbook."  When I told Tommy about an article I read listing priorities in spending and budgeting, he said, "I can make it simpler than that: Stay out of debt--period!!!  When you are in debt, you are in bondage.  You have put someone else in charge of your life, and it's not God!!!"  And that triggered one more thought from me, in regard to the virus and current world events, and it's also from the book of Proverbs…


5.  In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success (Proverbs 3:6).


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today


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We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.