Family / Friends {Celebrations} a little late

July 14, 2014

Wes.ElizSaturday came and I gathered my pictures to upload. My computer waited patiently for me to type. My two oldest children served as counselors at a camp for underprivileged kids. Saturday, they returned and their stories began. The house was full of reenactments, laughter, and sibling banter. Suitcases and sleeping bags, fans and pillows littered the living room floor. Hugs embraced me and thankfulness touched my ears. My kids were home and they were wiser.

The campers connected with Wes and Elizabeth. Their stories were shared and my kids listened. “Mom,” Wes said. “One senior asked why I listened. I told him I cared.” The campers were returning the next week as well and begged for my kids to return. Wes made arrangements and I began on the laundry. Thirty hours later, Wes headed back for this week.

My heart celebrates in their moments, and I’m fine with being late.

While my kids were away, I played. :)

While Tim went to basketball open gym, I visited the library and wrote. I could spend hours there.

While Tim went to basketball open gym, I visited the library and wrote. I could spend hours there.


I loved having my mom along on this adventure. We only saw two areas and have more to visit on another day.

I loved having my mom along on this adventure. We saw seven flower beds, two quilt shops, and have more to visit on another day.

During AllWrite!!! Elsie and Kim asked about the quilted flower gardens in northern Indiana. I hadn’t heard about them, but after seeing their pictures, I planned to go. My mom loves quilts and flowers. This was a perfect match. We asked my cousin and my sister-in-law to come as well and fun together on Wed.

barnpink flowers

My Assistant {SOL}

July 1, 2014
Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

For the past three summers, my youngest son has been my assistant during summer school. Tim doesn’t have any extra training; he’s just a young man who is willing to help. His first year of helping, I modeled how to catch the kids acting appropriately. I remember hearing him stop mid-sentence, “Tom, stop ta…. I notice how Sam is standing quietly with his voice off. I notice Sally with her eyes on me.” After class that day, Tim said, “Hey, catching them being good really works.”

I finished teaching kindergarten two weeks ago and wouldn’t have survived without Tim. My hat is off to kindergarten teachers. These kids are inquisitive, attention-seeking, and energetic. During a read a loud, the kids would be captivated, participated, and definitely cheered for more. We had fun.

The kids loved having Tim's full attention.

The kids loved having Tim’s full attention.

During small group instruction, Tim would circulate among the students who were reading independently from their book bags. He doesn’t know any specific strategy except for listening. Tim would ask them questions and encourage each on a job well done. He also helped keep the kids focused. I loved capturing him one morning listening in. I wish I had Tim during the school year, to be a live audience and respond positively to the efforts each kid makes. Does he plan to be a teacher some day? Maybe not the professional kind, but he’s definitely learning the life lesson of assisting others.

Did I mention…? {SOL}

February 18, 2014

Did I mention my children to you lately?
Did I mention how my thoughts are on them so much these days?
Did I mention that the years, months, days now seem like hours left to share?

Did I mention how I do Wesley’s laundry so I can see a glimpse of him each week?
Did I mention he is a junior in college according to credits, is playing baseball, mastered the 6 minute mile at 5:48, is learning to throw a new pitch and looks promising to be on the varsity lineup?
Did I mention I text him just to say I am thinking and praying for him to receive a delightful, meaningful response in thanks?

Did I mention Tim is playing basketball and is a team vocal leader?
Did I mention his timid personality is changing into a confident, quiet young man, who is trusting the words of his parents and Lord?
Did I mention he loves helping the little kids during the mid-week youth activities and is learning to be responsible, trying to be gentle through play and gracious with words?

Did I mention Elizabeth loves helping people?
Did I mention she likes volunteering at the blood drive, loving on her preschool mid-week kids, teaching and admonishing them?
Did I mention the wrestling coach relies on her to take charge of the stats, equipment, and even his keys (which he continually seems to misplace)?

Did I mention my kids decide to talk to me in the middle of an activity and how I am listening?
Did I mention how time has passed too quickly for this mother of teenagers?
Did I mention how I love my children, grab hold of the moments, and tuck them into my memory?

Did I mention … these fleeting thoughts on a cold, snowy morning are just a glimpse into my heart?

Motivated {Celebrating}

February 8, 2014

I am joining in celebrating big and little accomplishments throughout the week at Ruth Ayres Writes.


I am using a new notebook to help organize my to do lists. I LOVE placing a line through accomplished tasks. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my heros, so the cover was quite fitting!


Yesterday I wrote that I conquered my writing monster this week. I have a two page outline for a presentation March 1 on finding craft in the books you love. I just needed to get over the blank page. I am really excited now! When one snow day turns into three, I choose to be proactive and positive!


First Win:
Basketball has been a stretching experience for our freshman, Tim. The team has lost every game. Varsity has only won one. Tough season. Tim had originally planned to help out his friend to have a freshman team. Only 13 boys decided to commit to the team- total for varsity and JV. I have driven many miles to get him to practice, even on snow days. Their dedication paid off! They won last night! An exciting game for a proud mom!



Grandma Kessler {Slice of Life}

December 17, 2013

The conversation began through a picture memory my cousin posted on Facebook of her mom, who passed away a year ago. Cousins across the country began commenting, missing her smile, love, and joy she shared.


Thoughts turned to our yearly gathering at Grandma Kessler’s house for Christmas. This holiday was about Love, belonging, and sharing stories.Grandma had ten children and with grandpa passing early in life, she held the family together. We lived the farthest away and being an only child, I was thrilled belonging to a large, lively family. I was home there at Grandma’s, spending a month in the summer with her, visiting the uncles and aunts at the farms.


The comments began and my cousin Brett brought in the laughter to our comments. You see by the time I married, we had close to 100 people in Grandma’s house. We laughed. We were loud. We shared. Then, we opened presents. The secret name we drew back in September, known only by Grandma. We started with the youngest and circled around the room finding the next person. We would open the present, announce the gift, thank the gifter and then the gift from Grandma.

I am thankful for family and memories and connections today. We have a legacy passed on to us that we pass on to our family and others around us.


Stranded {Slice of Life}

November 12, 2013

Last night, our first snow graced the barren, brown earth. The whiteness beautified our surroundings. The crisp blanket delighted my heart.

Two weeks ago, my daughter successfully earned her driver’s license. Giddy would describe her spirits. Immediately she wanted to drive to school. Realizing Tim’s basketball practice was going late, I agreed to let her drive yesterday.

As the temperatures dropped and the “dusting” snow was coming down like rain, my thoughts turned to concern as darkness settled in. Would the roads be slick? Would the deer stay away? I was thankful her brother, Tim, was riding with her and the snow wasn’t sticking heavily. I texted to go slow on the main road.

Tim’s reply: “Ok. We are going sl-ow-er than you can imagine.” I chuckled. Glad she was taking it slow.

Twenty minutes later, Tim called our home phone. My heart skipped a beat. “Hi Mom. Um, we are okay but we are stranded. Well, we aren’t stranded anymore. A man stopped to jump-start our car. Don’t know what happened but the car just died while Elizabeth was driving. We are getting ready to leave so we will see you soon.”

When they arrived home, Elizabeth said, “I don’t want to ever drive again!” I stared at her waiting for the story. “Okay, but not in the snow. Do you know how scary it is to be stranded on the side of the road and it is dark and freezing out?” Breathless, she continued. “We prayed. I didn’t know what to do. We prayed hard and then, almost immediately, a man in a truck stopped. He said he was headed to the farm. He jumped the car and then followed us into town to make sure we made it home. I was so thankful!”

I am thankful too. Thankful an angel dressed in jeans and drove a truck stopped to help. Thankful Tim was there. Thankful they made it home.


P.S. “I didn’t know what to do so I prayed” rung in my ears. Dear God, than you for taking care of my children. She didn’t even call us first; she prayed. Sharing this account with a friend and wondering why they didn’t call us first, my friend said, “You think prayer might be better than you?” She’s right.

I had prayed for God to keep them safe driving home. He did just that, answered my prayer without me doing a thing. Keeping His promise of caring, protecting, guiding. I don’t know why the car died. I do know the situation produced more faith in my children. They prayed first. God divinely intervened. My heart rejoices.

I did nothing. God did everything. Faith grew!

Little Things {Celebrations}

November 9, 2013

Today I am celebrating things that are really big things,

imageFirst, I am celebrating the fact my husband can breathe. After a cold turned sore throat turned to swollen tonsils and ear pain, my husband is laughing this evening. He couldn’t breathe this morning. Third trip to the doctor, two negative strep tests, one GIGANTIC  abscess removed, Rick is healing.  Breathe. It’s a big thing!

Second, I had an ice cream celebration with my writing group this past Thursday. Ice cream is great any time, but with close friends, it’s a bouquet of delight. Our laughter filled the room. We celebrated Ruth’s new book, Tammy’s drumming lessons, the other Ruth’s smile with this school year, and Tam being a grandma. Ice cream is a little thing but gathering to share stories is a big thing!

Third, I am writing down everyday joys. I have been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Learning to notice the little things every day and being thankful brings joy. I feel the difference fuel me and that is a big thing!

Join in the fun of celebrating the big and the small at

Join in the fun of celebrating the big and the small at


October 19, 2013

Celebrations bring joy in the ordinary and extraordinary. Share what you are celebrating at Ruth Ayres Writes. Notice the little things. See what delight you can find!

One: I am celebrating writing. Yes, real writing. I have been getting up in the mornings early enough to have devotions and write. Friday, as I was writing about my dog, an epiphany from the Lord overflowed my heart with so much joy my fingers flew on the written page. I love capturing the moment to reread and savor time and time again.


Two: I spent two and a half hours working with my principal in our schoolwide Title One plan during parent/teacher conferences. I can’t say the plan was thrilling, but sharing where our school has been was valuable. Reflecting with him on improvements needed and success to continue was enlightening. I still find it interesting that I had my new principal as a student when I first started teaching 20 years ago here in Indiana. Valuing each child is so important!

Three: Last week, Wes was home for fall break. I wrote my quick thoughts on notepaper in order to not lose the ideas (ever have this problem?). My picture documents my celebrations.


The Never-Ending Laundry

October 18, 2013

“Will the laundry ever end?” a young mother asked me once. I smiled and shook my head. Nope. Not ever.
I use to dread doing the laundry. I still can’t say it’s my favorite chore, but my attitude changed.

I posted about laundry once and a commenter’s wisdom made me think. She alluded to losing a loved one and how she misses doing the laundry. Having laundry means I have family.
Laundry means my son plays football and is active, healthy young man growing through the pain.
Laundry means my daughter is learning to find her beauty and being beautiful in sweatshirts as well as her blouses.
Laundry means I will see my college son and hear his stories of practice, mischievous moments, and just plain life.
Laundry means my husband has a job and cares enough to give a hand.
Laundry means love, family
And I am thankful I have it to do.


SOL: Compliments

October 15, 2013

“I have never had this happen in all my years of coaching,” the varsity coach began. “This year marks my 35th year teaching at Whitko. Many of those years I have been coaching.” Coach cleared his throat. He had begun his Coach’s Award speech for the golf team. His silence was honored with anticipating eyes. Did I sense a bit of emotionality there? A tear possibly?

“Never, ever have I had parents and grandparents come to me about a player of mine … with compliments. This year I had 3. At three separate matches, parents complimented this young lady. They stated their daughter enjoyed playing with her, appreciated her positive attitude and this player’s character. Three times this young lady was complimented.” Coach’s face looked intently at his audience, allowing his words to sink in.

The girls were looking at each other in anticipation. I noticed my HS junior point to a freshman and mouth, “That’s you.” Elizabeth has shared about how this new freshman smiles, is relaxed, and fun to be around. Elizabeth remembered being the new freshman and how a junior player took interest in her and showed her the course. Kennedy was her “freshman” who Elizabeth looked after.

The coach continued, “I am proud of this young lady. She’s a team leader. She doesn’t complain, is a positive influence, and encourages her teammates. This year’s recipient of the Coach’s Award goes to … Elizabeth Gensch.”

My daughter’s face was one of surprise turned into a smile. I clapped and whooped for her. Her dad whistled and both brothers applauded her. My heart swelled with happiness and pride. I was thankful the whole family was there to support and cheer her during this special compliment. Elizabeth is beautiful and I am thankful for her character.

Can you tell by her smile which is Elizabeth?


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