Mom’s Blue Bags

Do you ever find that you’ve learned a lesson from something small or something you thought to be insignificant? We’ve all heard the saying, You’re never too old to learn something new. I for one find this to be very true. As a writer, I observe so much of what is going on around me while searching for the lesson to be learning. Just recently, I learned a few valuable lessons in my mom’s blue bags.

I opened the freezer door only to find blue plastic bags crammed in piles.FullSizeRender-28

Growing up, my mom was famous for washing out her plastic bags and drying them out over the kitchen faucet. She used them until the plastic film would start ripping. Now living with my mom again, I knew some things would not change and reusing plastic bags was one of them. However, she has now taken it to a whole new level.


I recently opened the freezer only to find a bunch of royal blue plastic bags containing made-up burgers and individually wrapped chicken. “Okay ma,” I said. “Where did the blue bags come from?” “I just collect them.” She replied, walking away from the question. It wasn’t until it finally dawned on me that she was re-using the blue newspaper bags to freeze her meats.

Let me explain something about my mother.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

She is a loving, caring and intelligent woman who really doesn’t need to be frugal with her money. She worked hard her whole life and should enjoy the fruits of her labor.  I find it so ironic that my mom will go out and purchase a brand new car but will use duck tape on her ironing board cover. She’ll buy some nice L.L. Bean clothes but wrap her food in blue newspaper bags.

I don’t waste much either. I re-heat left overs. I wash out butter tubs to re-use for left overs . I cut  fabric sheets in half and I used vinegar and water for cleaning solutions. I guess I am frugal as well but what can I learn from this?


“Okay ma, you’re busted,” I said. “I have finally figured out where the blue bags are coming from. But why ma? Why do you use them when you can afford freezer zip lock bags?” I asked. Her reply, “I don’t want to waste them. I grew up during a time where you just didn’t waste anything and I figured, why not re-use them?” I let the conversation go for a few days but not without pondering the meaning behind her saying, “You don’t waste a thing.” How can we apply that statement to our own lives? No, I’m not asking you to re-use newspaper bags. How can we not waste any experiences?

God doesn’t want us to waste anything He has given us!

Every day we are given plenty of opportunities to do good things for others. But there are only a handful of us that actually act on them.

We should not waste our opportunities: We don’t have to wait for some sort of huge thing to happen in order to do something nice for someone. We have small opportunities floating around our space all day long.

Here are just a few simple things that we can do on a daily basis:

We can smile at someone having a bad day.
We can pay for a coffee just because.
We can watch a friend’s child so she can get some much needed quality time.
We can bring a meal to a friend that may be too sick to cook.
We can carry grocery bags for an elderly person.

We should not waste our talents: We should use the talent that God has given us.
Don’t waste the opportunity to join a choir if God has given you the gift of singing.
Don’t waste your gift of hosting a party if God has given you the gift of hospitality.
Don’t waste the opportunity to work in the nursery at church if God has given you a true love to be with babies.

Is there an opportunity to help in your church? Are you able to donate some of your talents volunteering for something in your community?

We should not waste our time: Time is passing faster and faster. We should not waste our time on things that serve no purpose. I can easily waste time in front of the television rather than getting out for a walk and praying. I can easily waste my time just lying around rather than working on an article I need to finish. We can easily waste our time building up our collections, only to find we have no more room. We can easily waste our time being angry with someone dear to us only to find they may be very sick and are in need of hearing our kind words. What are you doing with your time?

Through all of my joking with my mom and her desire to collect blue bags, we were able to come to an understanding. I asked, “How about we not use the dirty newspaper bags but I’ll wash out the old zip lock bags and re-use them?” Good compromise; however, we should not waste any opportunity that God has given us. We should not compromise for Him.

What valuable lessons have you recently learned? How did you learn them? Were they simple things that just jumped out at you or did you have to ponder a bit? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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