The Biggest Moat of All

Basically, the story goes…

Once upon a time, a construction company paid a lot of money to take down a bunch of trees and employ some gigantic machinery to make the means for an incredible night of play for neighboring children.

These three children loved being able to watch the land take shape for what they hoped to be new pathways to wander, new people to befriend and maybe even a POOL to swim in someday!  The construction workers fondly waved their greetings whenever the children were present to watch the drama unfold, as the grater would often get stuck and enlist the help of the bulldozer to get him up the hill.

On an evening in October, said neighboring children, accompanied by their already exhausted mother who secretly hoped that this activity would blow off some pent up energy, set off on an adventure to plumb the depths of the property after hours and find which trench dug for underground pipes had the greatest potential for toe massage and well, squishiness.  They had deemed each section a “moat” based upon their knowledge of ditches with water in them from their beloved storybooks.

The children frolicked and laughed as they progressed further and further into the muddy canyon until, around the corner, one called, out, “LOOK!”

They all stood agape at the giant mass of water and redness that sat before them. The biggest moat of all! It called to them, and oh, how their screams of joy peeled once they put their tentative toes on the porous and shifting foundation.  They quickly discovered how miry the clay was and that it truly did behave as their memory recalled that the Slough of Despond had to beloved Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, sinking them deeper and deeper with each trudging step.

So many games were played, mud became caked in every imaginable place, and yet, the fun continued.  They dared not venture into the water at their mother’s behest, but once the faithful father, the chronicler, showed up after a long day of work, they simply HAD to show him their newest discovery.

Dinner was a wash, as in they almost didn’t have dinner because there was so much to be cleaned up, but in the end, the photographs were epic enough to negate the memory of the three loads of wash and fussing that it took to even get halfway cleansed. Kudos to talented chronicler for these photos.  Go hire him 🙂

In the following days, they begged their mother to return to the biggest moat of all, and knowing the cost, their mother would simply think, “Aren’t the pictures good enough for the memory?” And would heave a sigh in denying them.  The moat will remain in their memories forever and on.


The End.
















Tell me: would you be willing to brave the dirt and let your own little mud pies roam?  I think I’m just wanting to not feel crazy…

Wisdom – Black & Gold



Black Beauty, the long-loved classic by Anna Sewell about a well-bred horse who chronicles his life through various circumstances and sensitibilties, has been our chapter book of choice during our evening reading sessions.


All the while, my kids have been singing a song from their Wednesday nights at church that has been ringing in my ears.



“Nuggets of gold. Nuggets of gold.  Nuggets of gold.”

Continue reading “Wisdom – Black & Gold”

First day of school

First day of school.  August 28, 2017.


Joel is 2, Faye is 3 and Ellie is 4, going on 5.


Three preschoolers?  Check.


Attempting to structure days at home?  Check, surprisingly!


A month of school plans? Check,  I can say that it almost had me throwing up and crying with anxiety within five minutes of starting.


Funny that I write this at the very END of the first full month of school.  But hey, looking back is startlingly wonderful!


Here’s what I’ve gleaned from our progress:


We journeyed through Austria, Germany, Italy and most of the United States as we turned pages.  If I could provide any advice, ask your librarian about geographical reference books for kids.  They know their stuff.  The Austria book had us speaking German, wishing for the Alps, and greatly desiring .


A few serendipitous things happened as well, such as the first exposure to one of my favorites, The Sound of Music. The kids really did fall in love with it, just as I had hope, and they have come to be obsessed with it.  “Mommy, my name isn’t Ellie.  Call me Maria!” the oft repeated request.  Gotta say; that movie night rocked.  Pizza and from-scratch apfelstruedel.  Part of me hopes that they will remember the smell of strudel in the oven while watching it.  Sigh.

Our heads and house were filled with the sounds of Rhapsody in Blue the week that Mommy goofed and thought that John Phillip Sousa would SURELY be included in this amazing book I had planned to read.  Definitely wasn’t.  BUT George Gershwin WAS.  So of course, the letter of the week was a big fat G.  I did overhear a conversation into which Ellie interjected, “Well, I would pick Brahm’s. Brahms is MY favorite.”  I LOVE that I get to saturate the airwaves with such elegant and amazing music while we read!

We sang the tar out of This Old Man.  Faye really liked the “seven” line that says the aged coot played his foolishness “up to heaven”, and subsequently sang that connected to every letter she was assigned.




We memorized the entirety of the hymn O Word of God Incarnate during morning “hymn time”.  This has been the biggest test of patience because somehow, the musical impulses also fire all of the movement impulses (can’t imagine why…oh, neuroscience, sigh.), and hence, not a lot of sitting.  They really know the words better than I do.  Deep truths getting planted deeper.

We studied, drew and built cathedrals during our Vivaldi week.  That was this book.  At the dinner table tonight, Faye, in a cloak and dagger way, narrated back to me the structure of a cathedral, complete with columns, labyrinth flooring and possibly flying buttresses. Wow, do they absorb.




It does bring so much joy, knowing that the reading that we have been doing up to this point, and even just the habit of all sitting down together would still be the foundation of education!  We were already doing that which comes natural to us!  Hearing our subject matter woven into their conversation, curling up together at appointed times with books and drinking in the richness of our Savior’s world is what school looks like.  Sure isn’t easy, keeping attention, teaching habits and fighting attitudes, but it is rewarding.


And I get to flagship it all? An honor indeed. A big, scary responsibility, but education is life right now. And life is good, by God’s grace.  Charlotte nails it:



If nothing else else had happened, life would have gone on, the world would still turn and we wouldn’t be the worse for it.  But this is sweet.  And they are smart.

week 25

This week has presented so many little joys, and I’d love to share some things that I’m currently loving.

June has been an incredible month, filled with ups and downs.  Being social media-free has been quite liberating, and the FOMO I have only really relates to those to which I am closest.  However, if I’m close…I’ll know.  Funny how that works!


Just a few of the things that I’m grateful from this week, in explanations and photos:




Have to brag on this lady.   Continue reading “week 25”

the refiner’s fire, part 1

July 3rd, 2016

Two days after J’s first birthday party bash, things started to be a little weird.  We were in the process of starting potty training for F, and she must have run a fever or been pulling at her ear.  The recollection is foggy. I didn’t call the doctor, and just rode it out.

Life carried on as per usual, we celebrated J’s birthday together as a family with my mom, dad and sister at Chick-Fil-A, and kept on at the crazy Continue reading “the refiner’s fire, part 1”