Madison Reads

And when she learned to read,
a whole new world opened before her eyes.

Long before Madison was old enough to go to school,
she was wishing and longing and waiting to go.
Her number one priority in life
was to learn to read, books were waiting,
stories hidden on the pages, anticipated.

Kindergarten was so exciting.
She would come home in the afternoon
and chatter until bedtime about everything she had learned.
She told of numbers and letters, what Jenson did,
what Delanie said, and what Carolyn had told them to do.
She was going to learn to read.

First grade was all she ever wished for.
Miss Lois kept everyone entertained.
There were object lessons, recess, green eggs and ham,
eggs to hatch, and chickens to carry home.
Best of all, she finally learned to read.

She read little books and big books,
skinny books, fat books, funny books,
and books that were over her head.
She read to her siblings
and told long drawn out book stories to her parents.
She read inside, curled up on the chair,
and outside on the swing.
She sneakily read while she folded laundry,
and of course, late at night in bed.
She had learned to read
and a whole new world had opened up before her.

Leaving Miss Lois’ room was cause for tears.
She was sure there would never be a teacher
she loved as much or could teach so well.
But Miss Brit swept in and taught with passion
and Madison fell in love again.

Those years of school flew by,
full of fun, good memories, and laughter.
There were creative writing lessons
that lit a fire in Madison.
She poured her all into her stories,
spinning tales for her teacher’s pleasure.
A substitute teacher was long remembered
for his mud ball fights and a water hose.
Once upon a time, she tangled with a cousin
in a sprawling, scrapping fistfight.
There were art classes, long walks in the fall,
and a painted paper dragon to walk around.
Many times, Miss Brit took Madison under her wing,
listened, consoled, and guided her.

All the while, Madison read on.
She read everything in the school library,
asking for books on shelves for older kids.
She lapped up everything from the public library,
soaking in the words, pouring over them,
reading and rereading the best.
When engrossed in a book,
nothing phased her, nothing was seen or heard,
she was completely oblivious to the world around.

In 6th grade Madison moved on to Alan’s room,
merely quaking at the thought.
She remembered times from years past
when she sneakily traded jobs to avoid
having to go into his room.
And now, here she was,
about to spend the rest of her school years
under his tutorage, sure that none
could match so great a teacher as Miss Britt.
Words from older and wiser ones
told her Alan’s teaching could not be compared.
In no time at all, he had put her fears at ease,
and once again, she was sure she was
being taught by the best.

Social life was her favorite pastime,
all her spare minutes were wrapped up with friends.
Sleepovers with Audrey and the girls,
paired in groups for a Science Fair,
or battling it out in a water fight.
School plays each year were a highlight,
practice days always led to good times.
She loved Talktionary in the mornings
or a softball game at recess,
and slowly she improved in volleyball.
There were Honor rolls and field trips,
bus rides, and squashed into vans,
laughing, talking, and having a good time.

Along with reading,
she took up a baking hobby.
There were cakes, muffins, cookies,
and pastries of the likes her family could not name.
There were fails and flops,
but she persevered and soon turned things
into delectable desserts.
When it was too much to eat at home,
she carried it along to school
to feed her classmates.
If there was food involved in a Science Fair,
Madison was usually volunteering.
Food from Israel, an Ohio State cookie,
and even a cake like a heart.

High school brought new challenges,
always something new to learn.
Algebra was a test of her good spirit,
the dreaded math equations seemed to best her every time.
Biology was a favorite with many good times in class.
Instead of digging right into cellular structure,
they started with a joke from each of the three,
waiting to see who would laugh first.
Class time often involved iced coffees
and lots of snacks to power through.
Chemistry stretched her brain
and tried her smarts, but she prevailed
and enjoyed her time in that book.

Since reading was such a key factor in her life,
it surely meant others liked to read just as well.
Books and more books were stuffed into her bag
and toted along to school.
“Have you read this one? You should read that one.”
was her encouraging way of passing on her love of words.
Soon her locker library held nothing but books.
She would wheel and deal,
passing out new ones and collecting the returned.
She acquired a small bookshelf from a cousin,
built just to fit her locker,
to help run her budding librarian career.

When it seemed all books were exhausted, still she read on.
She gathered information, stored it in her brain,
spewed knowledge to her family’s bewilderment,
while still reading and learning more.
She studied medical textbooks,
read fiction, biographies, poems,
and retained copious amounts of knowledge.
She read her Bible, dug in and studied,
changed, grew, and loved Jesus more.
Her soft spirit portrayed what she read
was abiding in her heart.

Life took a turn for Madison
and her last year of school was not
all she had dreamed of.
Plagued with health issues,
she missed a lot of activities,
spent most of her hours sleeping or studying ,
while still trying to make the most
of her time left in school.

In the Spring she waved good-bye to classmates,
excited for plans of Spring break,
never knowing she was leaving school for the last time.
Plans disrupted, schedules changed,
quarantined at home, and home school with Mom,
the schoolroom was left behind, quiet and empty.
She was disappointed, there was so much missed,
yet through it all, her cheerful attitude prevailed,
and still she smiled.
She bent to her task, read and studied,
and pulled up her grades,
never giving in to the challenges before her.

Madison, as you graduate
and leave your school years behind,
keep your smiling, cheerful attitude,
and continue fighting for the underdog.
Don’t quit reading, studying, and learning,
always strive to grow and mature, especially in Jesus.
Never give up, cultivate your soft heart,
reach out to Jesus, lean on his strength,
and no matter what life brings your way,
with Him, you will prevail.

And Then There was 2020

Is it Tuesday? Or Wednesday? 24th? 26th?
Who would know? The days have all run together in a big, long, heap of a week.
Friday?! Praise Jesus.

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It wasn’t long ago I was wishing for time to slow down.
It wasn’t long ago I was wishing to stay home more.
It wasn’t long ago I bemoaned all the running to and fro.
And lo, it hath happened!

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Yes, we are staying at home, but no I don’t feel like I have any extra time. I am now Mom and school teacher, plus all the usual, and I have been made aware of how very much I love school teachers. God bless you people!

One thing I have figured out though, at the end of a stressful day of teaching, a teacher gets to send the students home to the parents.
What does a home school mom do with them when a stressful day of school is over?
Just switch from Mom-teaching to original “Mooooommm-ing.”

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But we will survive.
And not just survive, but live and thrive and use this time for good.
Who am I if I cannot bring glory to God in everything?

We are prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings on sand.
Charles Spurgeon.

Prior to quarantine, we spent our time…

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Deep in the throes of remodeling.
If you haven’t remodeled any part of your house, just sit still and quietly trust me that it is no picnic. It.never.ends. The end.

We added a room to the back of the house that is now the living room, the old living room was then turned into the dining room and next, we proceeded to rip out the kitchen and move it to the garage while a new kitchen is being installed, all the while, none of these rooms are completely finished, but we live in them all. Wow, that sounds nice and simple written in one long run-on sentence. Divide that into days and weeks and months and it will be about right.

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Oh, and we are also finishing three rooms above the garage.
I thought I would be painting for years. Stiiiiiiiiiiillllllllll not done.

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But once again, there are worse things.
I have all the luxuries, except a dishwasher, and for that inconvenience, I have children. (insert mucho laughter here)
They have always been spoiled with a dishwasher so this is actually very good for all of us. It brings back many memories of washing dishes when I was a kid.
Mom, I’m sorry I made this process so painful for you.

Other things that happened…

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For a boy, having the kitchen in the garage is almost a dream come true. You grab food, back the car out, shoot some hoops, bike a circle around the island for an orange, and then rollerblade right over past the cookie box. Next, you bribe your sister into a round of 4-square, then race her on the scooter, all the while you are still in the garage where Mom liked to send you for her peace of mind, but now she has to be out here with you!

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One little girl turned seven.
Tell me how?
(Here you may insert all the sappy Mom thoughts
about her baby growing up so quickly)
She was almost sick on her birthday and then home from school sick the two days following.

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Madison whipped up some macrons one day.
They had caramel in the middle.
I won’t ever tell how many I ate.

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She made a birthday cake for a fish-loving little boy.
All the fish were chocolate and quite edible.

She has been battling Lyme and a few other autoimmune diseases and hasn’t been baking as much she would like this winter.

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Reagan and her team won 2nd place in their division at Ohio Valley Bible Quizzing.
She worked long and hard for it and now knows 7 chapters in John.

— — — — — —
We took a week and celebrated Spring Break in FL.
Only to come home and be on permanent break from school.

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It was a good week.
The kids love to go feed Aunt Sandy’s neighbor Donkey.

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We played Frisbee at the beach one night, or some of us did and some of us just watched. A lady watching offered to take our photo. Okay, so maybe it was after she watched this mom’s feeble attempts to take a family selfie.

I am enjoying this stage of life. They are all still at home, all able to fend for themselves, and we have so much fun together.

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When you are seven this is called having the world by the tail.

— — — — — —
And in the middle of all of this, Eric and I celebrate 20 years of being married.
The day we got married, 20 years seemed a long, long way off into the future.
I’m not sure how it got here so fast, but it sure didn’t seem like 20 years.

Indeed, I have much to be grateful for.


Since when is it legal for your baby to go to Kindergarten?
I mean, she is almost 6, but still!
Well, today that very thing happened.

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She was waffling back and forth between excited and quite nervous.

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A quiet house around here is a luxury, but sending the last child off to school… that has a bit of a different feel. No, I didn’t cry, if you wondered.

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Teaching her a little bit of pre-kindergarten taught me that it is a good thing she has someone else for her teacher.

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All of my children were privileged to have Carolyn for their teacher.
Carolyn has spent ten years perfecting this skill we would be happy to have her teach another ten!

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I went and dug up all of their Kindergarten photos.
Who are these babies?
Ten years ago we took a relaxing vacation and spent a few weeks in FL before we became school parents.
Madison was so excited about school and I remember the morning she went Reagan cried into her cereal because she couldn’t go along. Three years later Reagan was as happy as a lark to be going off to school and leaving the rest behind. Dakota was a bit more timid about going, but none were so worried about it as Kennedy. I’m quite sure she’ll survive the day.

I know her Mom will!
What is that sound I hear?
I hardly knew appliances made noise.

Of August

August, the month when we imagine everything will be hot and sticky.
Not so this year, the windows have been open most of the month.

August, the month when moms of all shapes and sizes flip flop back and forth in their brains on any given day, at any given moment.
They go from, “I can.not believe school is starting soon. I don’t want the schedule. I will miss my children!” All the while secretly thinking, “And who will help me work?”
Or at any other given moment, you might find them scrawling notes to the teacher saying, “Thank you thank you thank you for rescuing this child from my hands!!”

August is when you squeeze in one last day of swimming, one last trip to the park and think of all the things you were going to do but didn’t get done.

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August is when all the moms of toddlers think,
“It will be years before my kids are old enough for school.”
(insert loud buzzing noise here) 
Wrong. It will be tomorrow.

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In the photo above, Bryce is holding his ears because I believe in reading a book the way a book should be read. With all the noise and enthusiasm that is portrayed in a book.  He did not care for Bear’s loudness in the library!

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August is when you chop and dice everything in your garden, throw it in the pot and call it good. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, plus a whole lot more from the store!
It’s so pretty I actually wish I liked it.

August is for so many cherry tomatoes that in a fit of rage, you actually rip the plant out and toss it, much to your children’s horror. Hey, there are three more plants too many!

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August is for peaches. Combine angel food cake, a pudding mixture, a peach mixture and you have an amazing combo. Much better than the previous photo.

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August is for squeezing one last vacation in before school starts.

In the name of keeping all things honest and upright here,
no my children do not always appreciate having their photo taken.
Especially the little one.

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When August is as cool and cool can be, you sit by the fire and catch up.

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And when August pulls off a stunning solar eclipse, you tell the kids they will not miss this, they will go outside and take turns watching. And lo and behold, it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than they thought it might be.
Or maybe it was just cool to use the welding helmet.

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And of course, the number one thing August is known for, school!
All three were ready to go back whether they admit it or not. One may have been slightly more excited than the others and one was very sad to be left behind.
But she and I, we are really doing great.
That thing called silence is just ringing in my ears!

Miss You Tris

August brings back memories,
the last time I saw Tris,
the last time I waved goodbye
and watched him walk away.
If only I had known…

Quote of the day:
“Did you know my Bible said Jesus undied himself?”

And for that, I am very grateful.

May Craziness

Things are a bit wild right now with too much happening, as my neighbor likes to say, it is unbelievable. I would like to think it will slow to the speed of Herbert the Snail once June hits, but alas, one look at the calendar tells me it is not so.

We started school two weeks late last fall so it pushed us to the end of May this Spring. Tomorrow. Tomorrow it ends. I am so ready for this but sometimes I fear for my sanity. I told my tribe they have a few days to relax and then their Taskmaster Mother is going to emerge and the work will begin. For some reason, they didn’t seem too worried. We’ll see.


I still find time to snap a few photos here and there, mainly with my phone these days, so, a picture post it is. It’s been a work in progress over the last few weeks.

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As in years past, the animal loving teacher of the 1st and 2nd grade helped her students hatch a batch of chicks. Of course, these babies were the talk of the town and they just loved to play with them. All too soon there was a note saying the chicks need homes.

Well, remembering previous experiences around this farm woods, this Mother was a mean one and did not allow her son to bring his precious little chick along home. The chick was sold to the highest bidder, or rather they drew lots for his feathers, and I think Matt was the lucky winner. Or maybe it was Heidi. I can’t remember.

If you are wondering about previous experiences, go here and here for the Duck stories.

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We had a fundraiser breakfast at school one Saturday.
The sheer amount of sweets could have put someone into a sugar coma.
But they were so gooooood. All you Trim Healthy Mamas just close your eyes.

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The same day was a beautiful wedding!
These old doors! love!

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Mother’s Day happened and we had visitors from the south so lunch together was in order. These little girls were fascinated with little Miss rolly-pollie because our baby selection is rather slim in the fam.

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One day I got a text asking if I was home for the day… a few hours later lunch was dropped off for us.  A friend just wanted to let me know she had not forgotten my loss of Tris. It was a beautiful gesture and warmed my heart in ways she has no idea!
Thank you!

Do something for someone today to let them know you care.
Call. Text. Send a card.

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We stop right on the road for a good picture sometimes!

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This hair. every morning.
On Instagram I wrote:
When I hear ladies say they wish their hair had more volume, I’m assuming this is what they mean. 1980 called and wants its hair back.”

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We spent a day watching track and field at the school. I did none of the running/jumping activities but felt I could be sore just for watching them.

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Last night the kids performed a mid-century play and did a fabulous job!

The last time there was a school play a comment was overheard around here.
“I wonder if anyone has ever done a play about Adam and Eve?”
Minimal effort needed for the costumes with this idea.  😀

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When you stand in front of the paint chips too long she says,
“Mom, just paint the whole house pink!”

Now I am going to get back to kicking rolling my paint can around the kitchen in an effort to mix the paint. At some point, I actually need to apply the paint but for now mixing it well sounds like a good idea.