Family Tradition


Lily ponds and flowers were always a part of the landscaping wherever my folks lived.  It is a family tradition.  I have had flower gardens and water lilies where practical and now our daughter has a beautiful flower garden.  It was a happy site to see the first water lily of the season this morning.

Another Move


Five years ago, I drove up to this house and said, “This is the one.”  We had been house-hunting for months.  The real estate agent and I went into the house and it was confirmed.  I knew we could like this house.  It had bright green exterior paint.  It had many other cosmetic needs on the inside, but we knew it was all fixable with some hard work and good taste!  Over the years we accomplished all the house needed to look great.

Now we have sold the house.  We are rehabbing the apartment attached to our kids’ house and we will finish moving into it as soon as closing day comes.

It is a new season in our lives.  Another move…another change…but, that is life.  At least it is my life.



I watched my grandson pretend fish the other day.  He had a nice long stick and water running in the little creek.  He was using his imagination.  It is fun to see the grands playing in their yard pretending different scenarios.  Their imaginations are working and they are outside having fun.

It reminds me of my childhood.  As I recall we were outside most of the time when there was no school.   We climbed trees and pretended to be Tarzan.  We straddled a fence and pretended to be riding horses.  We rode bike in the summer and sled down the street in the winter.  A snow bank, a fallen tree or anything thing available was used as a “stage” for imaginary play.

I am thankful I still get to use my imagination in my writing.  Some things I write come from research, some from life experience and a whole lot from my imagination.

We Love Cabin Life


It was Eden’s turn to go to the cabin with us.  She got there saying “I’m a city girl.”  Before too long she was saying, “I’m a cabin girl!”

We went to plant spruce seedlings we ordered from Soil and Water Conservation.  Eden picked one to be her tree.  She named it “Phoebe” after the Eastern Phoebe that is nesting on the porch.  Walt cut a LOT of fire wood which Eden and I helped stack.

It was fun introducing Eden to off grid living, the Kettle River and life without technology.  Most days she said she didn’t want to leave, but the day we left she was ready to be home with her family.

Walt and I are eager to go back for the summer and fall.  Things to do on the home front first.

Book Club Hard at Work


For the Kingdom 4/5 Book Club hard at work making diorama scenes from RJ’s Journey.

I have been reading RJ’s Journey to the class.  In her journals she has been on the Oregon Trail for nearly six weeks and was recently on a several day break at Fort Kearney in Nebraska Territory.  The students are good listeners when I read.  I pause at some words to find out if they can define them.  I ask comprehension questions from time to time and am pleased to confirm they have been following the story.  They are making the dioramas and we have a huge map where we are marking her progress and thus studying geography at the same time.

Ardie’s Books will have a booth at the Midwest Parent Educator’s Conference again this year in KC the first weekend in April. The RJ series and all my other books will be for sale at the conference.

Book Club Project


In the 2/3 and 4/5 grade Book Clubs I am having the kids build covered wagons from a kit.  Thanks to Walt for his expertise and help! Also, Miss Melissa and Miss Margarita who are also helping.  When they get their models built they will make dioramas of a scene from RJ’s Journey which we are reading in class.

This is my version of a diorama (not exactly to scale) of RJ’s wagon train in the western part of Nebraska territory in 1858.  They are passing the landmarks of Jail Rock and Courthouse Rock on their way to Chimney Rock.

I have lots of curriculum ideas to go along with RJ’s Journey, but we won’t be able to do them all during Book Club.  We will do as many as we can while we are reading the book.  So far the students have been interested in the story and enjoying the project.

Review of RJ Series by Patti Pierce of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

The Journals of Rebecca Jemima Callaway Review by Patti Pierce

Ardie Nelson
Ardie’s Books

Ardie’s Books provides a selection of reading books including the historical fiction series about RJ – Rebecca Jemima Callaway and her experiences while going west with her family to Oregon and then about living in Oregon.  The books are geared for those ages nine to one hundred and nine. This series is the mainstay of Ardie’s writing. Ardie’s pen name is Ardith Nelson. The books are available in both paperback and Kindle formats.

The series includes three books:  RJ’s JourneyRJ’s Valley, and RJ’s Legacy.  The first two books focus primarily on RJ and her own life, while the last book focuses on RJ’s descendants.  The time and attention to detail show that much time and research was put into the story.

RJ’s Journey: The Journals of Rebecca Jemima Callaway begins the series chronicling RJ’s life as she and her family prepare and then journey from Missouri to Oregon Territory.  The story is written in the form of journal entries. So, the book clearly demonstrates what is important to RJ. For example, leaving much of her family behind obviously pained RJ.  At the same time, she recognized the adventure before her.

Another point in this story I really appreciated was how RJ recognized how many husbands bringing their families west made the decision alone.  While RJ’s father included her mother and the children in the discussion and planning for the trip. She realized it made things easier for her family.  As the book continued when they arrived in Oregon, it was clear how times were different back then. When RJ’s little sister is born, RJ provides much-needed help to her mother.  Then RJ at the age of 14 is allowed to leave home and move to the town to teach. She witnesses her sister get married, one of her brothers begin to court, and more. While the fact that life had its hardships, I appreciated how the writing focused more on the good things that happened.

RJ’s Valley is the second book in the series examines her life from Eighteen-sixty to Eighteen-sixty-two.  The journals continue to chronicle RJ’s experiences teaching as well as moving from being single to getting married and wanting to start a family.  Truly, this book shows how painful the loss of a child can be. This book also includes historical facts about the Civil War and how even those as far west as Oregon could feel the ramifications through their family and friends they left behind.

As Joshua and RJ marry, they face the struggles and blessings that come from having one to walk beside them through life. In this book, the entries are longer than the first book. I found the length to be perfect to convey the needed thoughts and ideas.  The way the author examines the day to day lives and activities of RJ and her family and friends pulls the reader into the story. I loved reading about how the families worked together to develop their part of Willamette Valley.

Finally, the series concludes with RJ’s Legacy that conveys the memories of RJ and Joshua’s descendants.  It illustrates the values and love that RJ instilled in her children. Memories from her children including Cassie, Eddie, George, Jake, and Grace along with RJ’s granddaughter Emma and RJ’s first cousin Booney round out this book. The memories from all these people illustrate the love and faith RJ, her husband Joshua, and their relatives instilled in the following generations.

Throughout the entire series, a strong value of faith and God comes through the pages. The use of Scriptural references comes at just the right points and at the right quantity to make the book feel real rather than preaching in tone.

This series reminds me in many ways of the Little House on the Prairie books.  I feel these books are suitable for all ages, especially if read aloud to younger children.  The attention to detail and historical details make these interesting to read. I recommend these books.


-Product review by Patti Pierce, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2020

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE device


RJ goes to Coop

Second semester of For the Kingdom Homeschool Coop has started.  In the Book Club classes we will be reading RJ’s Journey.  I have plans for the students to put together models of covered wagons and to create dioramas  of a scene of their choosing from RJ’s story.  We will likely think of other things to do as well to go along with the historical and geographical setting of the fictional story told by RJ in her journals.

While I was reading the first few entries in RJ’s journal on Monday one of the students was making this picture.  She gifted it to me at the end of class.  I think she did a great job.  I’m looking forward to sharing my friend RJ and her adventures with the students.