Wooden Clothespins

by Beth Stevenson Gwinn

January 9, 2019


Many will remember Dr. Howie Stevenson who served as our Minister of Music for years spanning the pastorates of both Chuck Swindoll and Dale Burke. The following was posted on Howie Stevenson’s CaringBridge page December 19, 2018 by his daughter Beth. Used by permission.

[My brother] Bruce, [my sister] Suzie and I have marveled these past few months at Dad’s affinity for wooden clothespins. He’s asked for them on numerous occasions, using them to clip certain papers together. Why not paper clips, you ask? We did, too!

As I’m organizing and de-cluttering in his room a bit this morning, I came across a clothes-pinned stack of papers that include quotes about “Wisdom . . . Growing Older . . . Success.” Maybe you’ve heard him use some of these over the years:

  • The higher the predictability, the lower the impact.
  • If you have more memories than dreams, then life is over!
  • When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines (Samuel Rutherford, 1600-1664).
  • Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig!
  • This one is called “Inner Strength”
    • If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
    • If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
    • If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
    • If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
    • If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
    • If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
    • If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
    • If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
    • If you can conquer tensions without medical help,
    • If you can relax without liquor,
    • If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
    • If you can do all these things,
    • Then you are probably the FAMILY DOG!!!
  •  TODAY—you are as old as you have ever been, and you are as young as you will ever be!
  • Do not regret growing older—it is a privilege denied to many!
  • Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply, Speak Kindly, Leave the Rest to God.
  • Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.
  • Jesus has heard Kum Ba Yah over 1,275,867 times and has not destroyed the earth. This, in a nutshell, is what grace is all about.
  • I watched them tearing a building down, a gang of men in a busy town. With a ho, heave, ho and a lusty yell, they swung a beam and a wall fell. I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled, like the men you’d hire if you had to build?” He laughed as he replied, “No, indeed. Just common labor is all I need. I can easily wreck in a day or two what builders have taken years to do.” I asked myself as I went away, which of these roles have I tried to play? Am I a builder who works with care, measuring life by rule and square? Or am I a wrecker who walks the town, content with the labor of tearing down?

This last one is one of my favorites; I’ve not only heard Dad use it, but have used it myself: “Shared Joy = double joy; shared sorrow = half a sorrow.”

These 15 or so pages clothes-pinned together give me a beautiful window into what matters to Dad. So, instead of being sad today, I’m striving to CELEBRATE the depth of his character, his sense of humor, his understanding of worship, his love of knowledge, and his desire to live a life that honors the Lord and cares deeply about others.

I invite you to share in my JOY today.


Howie went Home Christmas morning. The memorial service for Howie Stevenson will be held on January 18 at 2:00pm. The service will be held at Skyline Community Church in La Mesa, CA. For those interested in traveling to the service via Fullerton Free bus, please contact Patty Mullen. Fullerton Free will host a “live stream” of the service in the Chapel at 2:00pm. 

1 Comment

  1. Larry Petersen on 08/09/2020 at 8:40 am

    Praise our Great and loving Lord. Your article; a blessing of memories for me today.

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