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.

Homeschool Coop Prep


Decided to get the Anatomy textbook out this morning.  Will be with the students again in one week, so I am in preparation mode.  There are five students studying the subject at the Coop.  It is an interesting subject.  It is a detailed and demanding subject to learn.  We are reminded often in the study that we are “wonderfully and fearfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) and we are reminded to praise God for creating us.

Enjoying a Sunset


Enjoyed sharing the sunset with the grandkids recently.  We, also watched some geese slide in for a landing on the frozen lake.  It was a special moment.  The kids are growing up so rapidly.  I know that is the way of things.  I cherish the age they are now.  Doesn’t keep me from missing their younger selves, though.



Advent is the season of expectant waiting and preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth and His coming again.  It has been several Sundays since I was in a worship service because of illness.  It was wonderful to be able to attend this past Sunday (Dec. 1, 2019) and see the Advent Wreath and candles.

I was reminded of all the years of serving in congregations where Advent was observed.  For me, it is an inspirational time of remembrance of the coming of Jesus in the way we all come into the world as a helpless baby.  It also inspires me to look forward to Jesus coming again as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel…

For The Kingdom Homeschool Coop


Since late August I  have had the privilege of working with homeschool students in FTK Homeschool Coop on Mondays.  I have enjoyed being with the students.  I have two classes of Book Club (grades 2/3 and 4/5) and one high school class of Anatomy.  In book club we read books and the 4/5 kids do some writing as well.  It is fun to hear their creative stories.

I read some of my unpublished books and now am reading Matthew Hartmann and the Pony Express to the 4/5 kids.  I read Nelson’s Pond and now Year of the Hawk Rescue to the 2/3 kids.  I wrote these books thinking of homeschoolers and now I’m getting to read them to that audience.  Such a blessing!

Family Fun

The blessing of family is what I am grateful for today.  We are coming up to the season when we remind ourselves to be thankful to God for the blessings he bestows.  One who knows God as the source of blessing is thankful every day.

The Lord blesses me with the husband he gave me, the daughter he gave us, the son-in-law he brought into our lives and the precious and lively grandchildren we get to watch grow up.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family.

Fall Comes to the Cabin

Fall comes to Minnesota before it comes to Missouri.  The cabin build is on hold until we get back to it in November.  By then the leaves will be off the trees and we will see about snow on the ground.

Meanwhile, home in Missouri, most leaves are still green on the trees, but as of today the cool temperatures tell us Fall has arrived.  For climates that have distinct seasons it is undeniable there is beauty in the fall colors.  I appreciate Fall, I do, but there is something sad about it.  It is the end of summer adventures.  The plants and some animals go dormant.  It leads to the cold of winter.

All seasons have their advantages and disadvantages, their beauty and their challenges, I guess.  I wait for spring when the plants and flowers and birds come again fresh and new.