Tools Trump Toys!

A few weeks ago, my then-ten-year-old son sent me this email:

(I purposely did not correct his grammar and punctuation errors so that you could know it is authentic. We can work on those later.)

Hi, how are you doing? I am doing good. I want a bird (chickadee) cake for my birthday and strawberry ice cream. I  want to go swimming and roast hot dogs on the fire and have watermelon for lunch on my birthday.

Here is a list of present’s:
Drill bits
Garden tools
Love, AJ

Well, my heart smiled, and I immediately sent it to Grandma so that she could share my enjoyment, as well as have a list of birthday suggestions. Then, I studied the list more and began to wonder, “Are these gifts normal?” Do most soon-to-be-11-year-olds wish for clippers, drills, and garden tools?

We have boys. Pretty much from the time they were able to recognize a saw, they used sticks to make pretend ones. You know how it goes: a simple stick can transform into a chainsaw, a sword, or a violin bow, just as quick as the imagination changes gears. I don’t say that this is unique to boys; they are just what I have to observe. I’ve known little girls to turn a cell phone into a pretend ultrasound probe and scan their daddy’s belly. Kids just make up pretend tools according to what they are exposed to, because they want to do “real things.” In fact, if you stop to watch little people, many of their games are attempts to copy what their adults do frequently.It’s no wonder, then, that in our family, when our oldest boy turned nine (a few years ago), he scrimped and saved his dollars to purchase a used lawnmower, so that he could be just like his daddy, who ran a lawn service. Sure, he liked playing with Legos like most boys, but he mostly saved those for the winter months, when he had to be cooped up inside anyway. He always had a desire to do something useful — build something, make something, or try to figure out how something worked. He led the way in the “Tools over Toys” philosophy that we have preferred since we began our family.

We have never been opposed to toys, but as children grow and multiply, so do their toys! I began to inwardly groan whenever holidays and birthdays rolled around, because really, children don’t need as many toys as they generally have. They are hard to keep organized, and easy to lose. Thankfully, our extended family has been very respectful in the types of toys shared. As time has gone on, and especially since we are gearing up for a move into smaller living quarters, I have seen our boys begin to evaluate more closely their possessions. Suddenly, we all have to prioritize, and only the most important items get to go along with us! I’ve seen many toys go out, and we have shifted to the new era of Big Boy Toys.

Big Boy Toys are those that men and boys alike appreciate: power tools, ratchet sets, etc. Once every three weeks or so, my boys will convince me to take them to Harbor Freight Tool Store. I’m afraid I go into that store like my husband would enter a Hobby Lobby — dragging my feet and groaning to myself. I set a timer; otherwise, we’d stay for hours! One reason I go is the very reason I hate to go — I know that a good percentage of what’s sold, or given away for free, in that store is going to be a disappointment. I hate to see good money used up on trifles, but once I’ve stated my opinion of the necessity of some of the freebies, I hold my tongue. Time does teach lessons here — those “free batteries” let you down just when you are getting ready to take that great shot of the eclipse; the “free” headlight really doesn’t provide enough light for your trail; and you can only use so many amazing grabbers! So, the lessons learned by purchasing or acquiring cheap stuff is a good one, better taught by experience than by parental advice. Our sons are slowly learning that there is quality to be found, but they may have to wait, pay more, or both, in order to find it.

Transitioning to real tools instead of toys will likely happen naturally, if the conditions in the home provide opportunities to learn to use them. A girl won’t desire her own rolling pin and apron if she never gets a chance to try out making cookies or looking through cookbooks. Boys who never get to see under a hood of a car will learn to assume someone else should fix the car instead of jumping right in there to see what’s wrong. But, I was very glad last week with my just-turned-11-year old! We were in town, and my father asked us to drive a homeless man to my parent’s house where we would eat together. Dad and our other son jumped into Dad’s truck and took off! Well, my car would not start, and the man in our car was elderly and had crippled hands, so I knew he was dependent on us. Our youngest hopped out, flipped open the hood, and proceeded to tap the battery; then when that didn’t work, he dug out the jumper cables from the trunk and helped the other man who stopped to help us. I felt very proud that our sons had learned some basic lessons (informally) under the hood. It’s because Daddy has allowed them to watch and help that they feel confident to at least try some basic repairs.

In our homeschools, one goal is to graduate our children with the knowledge they will need to do practical work once they leave our supervision. So, practical training is vital to their success in life. There are many recommendations in the Spirit of Prophecy about practical training. We have been reading through the book Education, and the chapter on “Manual Training” is very useful for this topic. A few nuggets that I dug up are these:

“When children reach a suitable age, they should be provided with tools. If their work is made interesting, they will be found apt pupils in the use of tools. If the father is a carpenter, he should give his boys lessons in house building, ever bringing into his instruction lessons from the Bible, the words of Scripture in which the Lord compares human beings to His building,” Child Guidance, p. 356.

“Your means could not be used to better advantage than in providing a workshop furnished with tools for your boys, and equal facilities for your girls. They can be taught to love labor,” Healthful Living, p.137.1.

“While attending school the youth should have an opportunity for learning the use of tools. Under the guidance of experienced workmen, carpenters who are apt to teach, patient, and kind, the students themselves should erect buildings on the school grounds and make needed improvements, thus by practical lessons learning how to build economically. The students should also be trained to manage all the different kinds of work connected with printing, such as typesetting, presswork, and book binding, together with tentmaking and other useful lines of work. Small fruits should be planted, and vegetables and flowers cultivated, and this work the lady students may be called out of doors to do. Thus, while exercising brain, bone, and muscle, they will also be gaining a knowledge of practical life,” 6 Testimonies, p.176.

This sentiment is voiced from several individuals that have experience in educating children. One is Dr. Raymond Moore. He recommends a balanced approach to education, with three areas comprising most of the student’s education: work, service, and study, in equal proportions. Here is his counsel on what will help a child to learn practical skills:

“Instead of toys, give them tools (kitchen, shop, yard or desk), encyclopedias, magazines; use libraries, etc. Don’t be shocked at their interests, even if they are guns or motorcycles! From these they can learn chemistry and physics (internal combustion motors), economics, math, history, geography, languages, cultures, and manual skills (at local repair shops or in home businesses). Girls are usually a year or so ahead of boys, at least until late teens.

“The ‘antennae’ sprouting from the brains of most students are blocked by mass-education’s cookie-cutter substitutes for life that destroy creativity. Kids come out uniform-sized cookies, or sausages.”

You may read more about this tried and true approach to education at the Moore Foundation.

As I was gathering my thoughts about this post, I stumbled across an excellent article here (No Greater Joy).  It has been years since I have read any of the material from No Greater Joy, but in this article, Michael Pearl shares his perspective on why many young people, boys in particular, drift away to an aimless life. He believes that, “Boys have a greater need to explore, invent, achieve something objective, conquer, and compete. They have a need to be meaningfully engaged in pursuits that yield objective results, like rebuilding automobiles, painting a house, cutting firewood, building something that others will admire. They are little kings looking to build a kingdom and furnish it. Idleness (including entertainment) breeds self-loathing and wanderlust.” And also, “The child who is not needed as part of the team will gravitate toward loyalties outside the family.” In other words, our children absolutely need to not just feel needed, they need to know they are needed! It reminds me of another page from Child Guidance that says we need to “let children feel that they are part of the family firm” (p. 126).

A couple of years ago now, my husband did a mulch job for some neighbors. The boys sometimes go along to help out, but this time they didn’t. But, for some reason the gentleman gave my husband a little extra money, designated for the boys, so that they could each purchase a little something. The funny thing was that, when we trekked out to Wal-Mart to buy their gift, they each chose a garden tool! I drove them by the neighbor’s house for them to show him what they had chosen with their money, and imagine his surprise when three young boys marched up to the front door with rake and shovels! He exclaimed, “What’s this? Are you coming to dig a hole?” They simply told him that the tools were what they had chosen with his money. He really did scratch his head over that one, but several years later, when he needed someone to cover his lawn for a few weeks, he gave the job to the boys with the garden tools!

So…we can encourage our kids in the areas that they have an interest, and if we help them to build up their stash of tools appropriate for the task, they will not only be better equipped, but they will also sense that they have our support.

For (not just) boys, the list is almost endless:

  • Garden tools
  • Saws, clippers, and pruners, pocket knives
  • Toolbox tools: hammers,wrenches, screwdrivers, tape measures, drills
  • Power tools
  • Photography equipment
  • Science tools: microscopes, telescopes, magnifying glasses, ID books
  • Rock tumblers, gold pans, metal detectors
  • Knot trying and climbing books, rope
  • Bike fixing supplies: tubes, wrenches, tire tools

For (not just) girls, all of the above, plus:

  • Kitchen essentials: small baking pans, smaller sized oven mitts, aprons, kid cookbooks
  • Knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn (Knitting looms are fun and an easy way to make hats and scarves.)
  • Sewing machine and fabric, simple patterns (Boys like this too! My husband always wanted a sewing machine until someone told him they were for girls. But…what about tailors?)
  • Hair cutting supplies
  • Books on wild edibles, compass

The list really could go on and on! I think the point is to get ourselves and our children into a mindset of learning useful skills, and to provide equipment and training so that they gain the confidence to pursue their interests.

Happy learning, and go find some tools!

p.s. The Lord tested me on this on the very next day after I wrote this article. We planned our “first day of school” for that day, only to find that my husband needed help on a project. I struggled, but realized we could be inside “doing school” with him needing help, or I could let the boys go help. I chose the latter, and what a blessing it was to see them working alongside Daddy — with their own tools! We can still maintain the balance of work/study/service. Some days are almost all books, and some are more heavy on the service or work. But, I would not trade the experience that they had working with Daddy — it’s real life, and he really did need them!


  1. White, E.G. (1954) Child Guidance. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald.
  2. White, E.G. (1897) Healthful Living. Battle Creek, MI: Medical Missionary Board.
  3. White, E.G. (1901) Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press.

Source: Tools Trump Toys! – SDA Homeschool Families

note—I wrote this blog 1 1/2 yrs ago, and all of the images I put in this post I collected from royalty free sites. Images 1-7 & 9 are from stock pictures, but I am not able to track down the original sites to give photo credit. I don’t claim them as my own. Photos 8, 10, and the header are my original photos.


Homeschool Apprenticeship

I am reblogging this in its entirety here, because I am having difficulties with my self-hosted site.  When I get it up and running again, this post will appear there.

Have you considered an apprenticeship in your Homeschool plan?

I am excited to share some experiences that I believe will turn your home education journey into a memorable and enriching time–using homeschool apprenticeship!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use my link, I will receive a small percentage, and you don’t pay any more!

This is the core of my homeschooling philosophy: apprenticeship

Homeschool Apprenticeship is learning at its best–whole-body, hands-on, fully engaged!  This is what our family has been involved in this year, and is total immersion learning.

I wrote this article for our homeschooling blog site, and found that it resonated with many families. Especially with boys, this kind of learning is key to getting the whole child involved and engaged.


First wall going up!

Homeschool Apprenticeship — what is it?

Why would a homeschooling parent want to find out, and how could it help your child to prepare for his adult life? I hope to answer some of these questions, as well as give a peek into a homeschool apprenticeship experience our boys have been enjoying recently.

This post will especially focus on our young men, but if you have young ladies, take the principles and adapt them to their unique situations and skills.

Consider this statement by John Taylor Gatto, former public school teacher, and now an advocate for a different way of educating.

“Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships — the one-day variety or longer — these are all powerful, cheap, and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force open the idea of ‘school’ to include family as the main engine of education,” John Taylor GattoDumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.

Definition of Apprenticeship

1a position as an apprentice an arrangement in which someone learns an art, trade, or job under another 

  • He obtained an apprenticeship with a carpenter.

So, apprenticeship is just a word that means “learning under someone else,” and is usually thought of as a period of time in which someone with a talent/skill helps to communicate that skill to another. In former days, this was a primary way of obtaining a means of employment, since a higher education was out of the reach of many. You will remember that many famous men served as apprentices — Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Jesus.

I think of apprenticeships as opportunities for our youth to get their hands into a skill that they are interested in, which can help them to see if they’d be interested in doing that for their life work. I also see them as a neat way to experience a new interest in order to gain a talent, which would broaden their horizons. Also, an apprenticeship could be a way to see what a talented craftsman or artist does, and decide whether they would want to pursue it or not, but in a more active way, since they’d be helping, not just observing.

Present-day Apprenticeships

Now, while it’s true that in former years, apprentices served an average of seven years, this is not the type of apprenticeship I am suggesting, as an active homeschooler. Rather, I am thinking of shorter-term home school apprenticeships in order to help our youth to get a feel for something they’re interested in, or to learn a useful skill that could help them provide for themselves, whether or not that’s what they ultimately do for a career. These experiences could take place over the whole school year, many years, or just a few days or weeks, depending on your needs. But, long or short, I believe that these experiences will serve an important role in your young person’s educational experience.

“When children reach a suitable age, they should be provided with tools. If their work is made interesting, they will be found apt pupils in the use of tools. If the father is a carpenter, he should give his boys lessons in house building, ever bringing into his instruction lessons from the Bible, the words of Scripture in which the Lord compares human beings to His building,” Child Guidance 355.4.

In our homeschool…

With that in mind, here’s how our current homeschool apprenticeship is happening. Much of this has been happening over the summer months, but as we begin our school year, we will continue it, just working it into our school routine. I’ll be honest — it may take over our school day sometimes, which will mean squeezing more hours in with the books on the off days. But, we believe in hands-on learning, so some of the apprenticeship hours will count for electives in high school, and the work/service aspect of our lower-graders.

We chose carpentry as our current area to explore. Actually, it chose us, or fell into our laps. It’s natural to choose what is close and accessible. We’re in a building project (workshop/future house), so what better opportunity than the one in our own backyard? Think about your circumstances when you choose your homeschool apprenticeship.

Here’s what we are doing.

The Procedure:

  • Make up class outline, based for the building experience off the Pathfinder honor in carpentry. (me)
  • Record number of hours worked each week, and have supervisor sign off, and fill out a work experience log report (with space for suggestions for improvement). I made up a sheet that we are using, but am probably going to switch to the one off the NARHS page since it has a grade. (Work Experience Log NARHS one)
  • Record skills learned as they go, on the work experience log.
  • Print pictures for a portfolio. (me)

To wrap it up

At the end (we haven’t gotten there yet), I plan to have the boy(s) write up a paper on what they learned. Since we are not technically in school yet (summer break), I’m not adding this in yet, but for each major section or skill, I will have them type up a summary of how it was done. For instance, framing the walls, building stairs, roofing, making the floors/ceilings, etc.

By the time we are done with the project, our boys will have witnessed and participated in every aspect of taking a standing tree, helping in the felling of it, observing it getting cut and milled into lumber, and helping in the sorting and drying process, and will have seen (plus helped) that same lumber get utilized in the construction of a building. Pretty awesome to be a part of that process, in my opinion! It’s a true homeschool apprenticeship!

via Edit Post ‹ Lessons…and lessons — WordPress

Hats for Everyone! – SDA Homeschool Families – Lessons…and lessons

Learn to knit a hat, when you can’t even knit!

Friendly for all ages and skills–I promise!

This post contains an affiliate link, meaning that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, but you won’t pay anything more.


homeschool craft, knitting

Here’s a fun article I wrote for my other homeschool site.

In case you wonder what types of crafts you could incorporate into your homeschool, that almost EVERYONE can do, check it out!

*Since I am currently having trouble with my self-hosted site, linked here at the bottom, I am just posting the entire article here, so you don’t have to go over to the other site to see it.  When I get the other site fixed, it will be back over there!  


As promised, I am slowly bringing some of my blog posts from other sites where I blog.  Why not?

Here is a fun one, and maybe will inspire one of your kiddos to pick up an easy hobby–or maybe you, yourself! Hey–I did it, so why not you?

Learn to knit a hat…if you can’t knit!


I never learned to knit! I always thought it would be neat, but for some reason, I have a knitter’s block. I can crochet, and enjoy it immensely. So, when our church hosted a “Learn to Knit a Slouchy Hat in Two Hours” class a couple of years ago, I eagerly showed up with my beautiful brown yarn and my knitting needles. Let me just say that WAY before the two hours arrived, I could see that I would not be heading home with a slouchy hat to wear. I was, at the one-hour mark, still trying desperately to figure out the whole casting on process, and the knitting basics. While others around me chattered away about “pearl this one,” or was that “purl”…and “knit that one,” I felt completely incompetent. Tears streamed down my face and I just wondered how I could get out of there. Gone were my dreams of a cute hat. Gone was my money for supplies. I literally gave away my circle knitting needles to a couple of other knitters, along with some of the yarn I’d brought. I’d never be a knitter!

A friend noticed my dismay, and sidled up to me to show me the way knitting is done. Only, she was from another country, and had learned another way! So, while the little bit I thought I understood was swirling inside my head, she clucked out yet another method, which she promised was far superior to the way the teacher was instructing us. Talk about confused! That didn’t actually help me, because then I felt in conflict over which way to choose. Another good friend, ironically, from yet another country, came to sit with me and walk me through it. But her broken English and way of describing the process just got me so befuddled that I didn’t know which way to turn. Sigh! Knitting just didn’t click with me. “Oh, well,” I thought, “at least I enjoy crocheting!”

And that was that. No hat, no knitting.

I wish I could say that one day I just rose up out of my non-knitting ability and conquered it. But, that did not happen. I have come to terms with the fact that crocheting is my thing, and other people can knit away!

However, another thing happened, and I am OK with it. Some time later, at the same church, with some of the same people, another class was held. The lady instructing it assured me that even a child could make the knitted hats she would be teaching. She told me that anybody could do it, and that this project would be easy! Well…I have to admit that I was a little needle-shy by then, but a part of me really did want to learn to make a knitted hat. So, I bought a Loom kit, grabbed some old yarn that I had on hand, and took my middle son along with me, just to have someone to share in the misery this time, in case it turned out like the last class.

This class was very different, though. It was easy! My son picked it up right away, and I did too! Soon, we both could whip out a hat that actually did look like a hat, and we were off to experience a hobby that everyone could succeed at! Before long, my other sons had their looms wrapped in yarn and began to crank out hats for stuffed animals, Grandpa, Daddy, and just anyone with a head! What fun!

At some point, we were gifted with a scarf/blanket loom, so the boys tried their hands at that too! We found that this craft was a good step up from those potholder looms that we had so enjoyed until everyone we knew had plenty of potholders!

My point here is to show you a craft that just about every child (and adult) can succeed at. It doesn’t take all that long to make a complete project, so it gives a sense of accomplishment right away as you see your rows piling up.

Because any kind of craft project is kind of visual, I am going to show a few pictures of some of the hats and scarves my boys have made. We’ve given some away, and some were made by my friend’s boys, who are younger than 8.

Now that you’ve seen a few items you can make with the knitting looms, you can be assured that anyone who wants to can learn to knit on a loom! All of the hats and scarves were made by children and youth. It’s a really fun way to spend reading times —with some knitting or doing another craft, it gives hands work while the ears listen.

Here’s what you will need:

  • loom set. See my picture of the different types. The first set we got at Wal-Mart, and it worked — we didn’t know any better. But, if you have a chance, see if you can find the type that has the knobs like the blue one in the picture. The yarn slides off of these pegs way easier than the Boye loom, which has the pegs that grab the yarn and make you work to get it off! Knifty Knitter, Darice,, and many other brands have the smoother pegs, and it will just make it easier.  The sets usually come with four different sizes. The most useful sizes are the medium-large, unless you’re making for babies or toys.
  • Loom tool. This will come with your kit. You may need additional ones for multiple knitters.
  • Yarn! Here’s where you get to be creative! You’ll need two skeins to make the hat thick enough. Sometimes we even do 3 skeins for a really thick hat, or use bulky yarn, and even then, I’d use at least two strands. You won’t use the whole skeins, but have to have them to knit together during your project.
  • Scissors, yarn needle. You’ll need these at the end.

I decided that the best way to show you this project is to just link you to what helped me, rather than making a whole new video. I like to see someone doing the craft in person, but a good video is also quite helpful.

There are tons of good videos showing how to loom knit. I watched many before feeling confident, so just browse YouTube until you find one that clicks with your learning style. But, I would start out very basic — don’t try to add any stitches besides the plain knitting stitch until you’ve gotten the hang of it, and then you’ll feel like branching out maybe. This is pretty much what my first hat looked like (above video). I was proud because it really did look like a hat, and, in fact, was one! I added a cute pom pom to the top, and gave it as a gift! My dad wears it all over the place, so I feel like it was a success!

Now, after a little practice in their hat-making abilities, my boys have gotten to the point where they make hats as gifts themselves, and they’re getting to where the scarves are becoming easy as well! You can make a scarf on the same loom, by the way, just don’t go all the way around, and knit back and forth. I just found it easier to use the flat loom since I was given one.

Once you get the basics down, the sky’s the limit on what kind of hats you can make! You can make stripes, heathered patterns, brims or not, pom poms or not, and all kinds of other creative twists to the basic hat.

The take-away message of this post is to remind you of the fact that there will be skills that you and your children will pick right up and fly with, and there will be other skills that seem so much harder for you or your child than they “should” be. Maybe some can learn to knit, or draw, or carve, or whatever, in the traditional way, and have no trouble at all! And maybe others really want to learn skills that just don’t click, even though they are trying their best. Just remember the knitting loom and my flop at knitting, and remember that every person can find something that he or she is good at! Maybe it will involve knitting!  🙂

Source: Hats for Everyone! – SDA Homeschool Families

Hats for Everyone! – SDA Homeschool Families – Lessons…and lessons
— Read on


Lessons…and lessons Homeschool Apprenticeship: Have You Considered It? – SDA Homeschool Families

In our homeschool, we are incorporating apprenticeship as a way to fully involve our boys in the learning process.

This post is from my sister blog site,

Come on over and check it out!

Homeschool apprenticeship is a great way to learn, and I will share examples and reasons for a homeschool apprenticeship as well as provide examples..
— Read on

Blog changes

Under Construction, Job Site, Job, Work

Good Day!!

I am beginning the journey of starting a self-hosted blog!  This is an exciting and terrifying adventure, honestly!

I’ve already made more than my share of mistakes on the process, but it is coming along!

I want to invite you to come over to my new blog and be my follower!  I am literally building my site from scratch, but I believe that in the end, it will be worth it!

Currently, I am in the process of transferring my posts from this site to my new one.  I did the transfer, but only succeeded in transferring a portion of my posts, oddly enough.  So, over the next few weeks/days/however long it takes, I will be manually transferring them, and the site will begin to look more familiar, as far as posts.

If you have opted to follow my blog here, please don’t be surprised if you see that you’ve been directed to the new site.  On the new site, I will continue to share about our home educating journey, and the lessons we’ve learned, and are currently learning.

My new site is

For the time being, I will also be posting from my new site to this site via the Press This option.  That way, new posts will show up in my Reader, but eventually, I will close this one down.  But, I am following the advice I read about on another blog article, suggesting that I can better direct readers to my new blog in this way.  We shall see!

Feel free to add ideas and comments.  Maybe I jumped the gun on my self-hosted site, but with the direction I’d like to go, I am going with the best information that I have.

In other words….STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES!!

Thanks a bunch!


A Blast from the Past

Just for fun, I decided to import my old blog into this one. Many years ago, I blogged about the Adventures of the Little A’s. How little they all looked, and how big they’ve become!  We now have two teens, and one fast on their heels!

As I looked back over the memories I had posted about, I decided I wanted them all in one place, and I will be working on making this blog what I’d like it to be!  I will also be adding some content from another blog that I write for related to homeschooling ( )

I want to share things that have helped me in our homeschooling journey, along with stories will surely entertain you as you laugh about our blunders.

Thanks for joining me on our journey, and hold on for the ride–it’s always been a crazy one with the Little A’s around!

The toys are bigger, and boys are taller, and the experiences are becoming more challenging!  The Adventure continues…




Now–helping Daddy with gravel


Now–creative ways of cutting tree!


Now–roof trusses


Now–helping set trusses

Awed by God’s Ways

He was sitting alone, eating a sandwich when we drove up. I wouldn’t have noticed him, except that I guess something about the little plastic tub of potato salad, pudding, or pimento cheese made me curious about what he was eating. So I took a longer look, while he eagerly sunk his teeth into his generous Reuben sandwich. Typical country person’s lunch—hearty sandwich, big bottle of Gatorade, and that container of mystery food. He looked like a working man, was 30-something, and he looked like he was enjoying his meal.

This took place at Yoder’s—a Mennonite store where we had placed our rescue jar for our mission project. We stop in every so often to collect the funds that have been contributed, and today was the day. Andrew was in charge of the collection today. Just dump the money from the jars inside the store into our collection canister—really just an oatmeal canister that we covered with flyers about our project. It looked like people had been generous these last few weeks, because the jars were full. What a blessing!

As we left the store, Adam didn’t see the hanging plant, and whacked his head on the underside of it. No harm, but I consciously had to avoid looking at that young man who sat there, because I knew he saw it, and might be embarrassed if I caught him chuckling at my boy’s misfortune. We were almost at the car when Andrew tripped and the contents of that collection canister went flying! I immediately assumed he’d been tossing it in the air, and a little reprimand was on my tongue, and I noticed that Austin also had a comment on his tongue, probably not unlike mine! So instead of the chiding I said a quick prayer, and suggested that we help get it picked up.


Money had spilled all around, under the car, behind the car, and beside it. The wind was picking up a few of the bills, so we had to crawl under the car for some, and chase other dollars. Once we’d retrieved all of the spilled money, the boys started putting it back into the container, and started loading up to leave.

Well…remember the sandwich guy? He’d been watching the whole thing. He called Andrew over and asked him what he was saving for. Andrew explained that we were collecting money to rescue girls out of trafficking in India. I was in the car and saw the man hand Andrew a dollar. I thought that was really neat that he wanted to contribute!

When Andrew got into the car, he said, “Mom! Look!” He opened the money that the man had handed him—not a dollar, but a twenty—no—five twenties all folded together!
We were stunned! Gratitude swelled up inside us as we saw the generosity of this stranger.

We immediately wanted to thank him properly, but how? My eyes fell on the one wooden scripture plaque that I’d picked up to give another donor. Our last one that the kids had made! (We’d held those plaques in the Jr room for about two months, and not touched them, but today, I’d picked one up, for “some reason”) I knew we had it for him! I told Andrew to go over and see if he’d accept it as a token of our thanks. He looked at it and did accept it. The verse said “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. When Andrew got into the car, we just prayed prayer of thankfulness—not even so much for the money itself, but the the spirit of giving that we had been shown, in so unexpected a way! We prayed that somehow in God’s way, that the message on that plaque would touch that man’s heart and speak to him in the way that only God can arrange.

Thank God for using our blunders for His glory!