Skip to main content


It is 4:30 Saturday afternoon. We are going birthday shopping for Lauren and Faith. We drive a half hour to the "local" Walmart. We have six bikes but none are sized right for Faith. Stuart has been running alongside her for the past few weeks because she can neither start nor stop by herself on the behemoth she has been riding. Stuart and most of the crew head for the bike department to find an eighteen inch bike.

Lauren and I stop at the jewelry department. It's a big day for her. She just turned ten and because she has consistently shown true beauty this year she will be getting her ears pierced. Before we can proceed, we must purchase the earrings. I reach in my wallet. We locate Stuart in the bike department. He reaches in his wallet. We have gotten the children into such high excitement we must complete this mission today. We return home.

It is 7:30 Saturday afternoon. Dinner and baths are out of the way. We are going birthday shopping for Lauren and Faith. Lauren chooses her earrings. Stuart shows his ID and signs a consent form. Charlie and Faith climb the shelves and pull necklaces down upon their heads. Stuart herds the three little ones to the bike department. Stuart and I remain with Lauren for the ear piercing. John cannot believe that Lauren is willingly subjecting herself to a torture worse than shots. He has to see to believe.

Lauren sits in the chair and squeezes my hand. Ebony, the girl doing the piercing, squeezes the trigger. The first earring is through but the back won't attach to the post. Ebony discovers, after a few minutes of fiddling with it, that it is defective. She comes up with another pair and the back easily snaps on to the post that is already in Lauren's ear. The second ear is pierced without any difficulty.

It is dark when we get home so Faith's yellow bike is parked in the garage until tomorrow.

9:20 Sunday morning. Lauren leaves for church with her hair pulled back. The little aquamarine earrings twinkle in her ears. (This is not her birthstone, she just thought they were pretty.) She seems to have aged 5 years over night...walked right out of childhood and into supermodeldom.

2:30 Sunday afternoon. A bike train leaves the garage. The four older kids on their own bikes...not a training wheel in the bunch. Faith's were removed five minutes ago. Charlie rides like a king on the back of Stuart's bike. My eyes savor his littleness for a minute. I don't want to hold the clock back though. I like the friendship, humor, and growing maturity that I see developing. I like watching my children unfold.


Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:

And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…


My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …