Survivors Club Review

Reading Survivors Club by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat.


Heart wrenching story about survival of a young prisoner of Auschwitz.  How could anyone question the reality of these death camps? How could anyone so young survive?  Prayers, hope, and belief that “this too shall pass!”  I’ve finished the first third of the book and plan to nestle down on this rainy day to read more. . .


I am thinking of two  of my favorite hymns. . .


Thus far the Lord has led me on;

Thus far His power prolongs my days;

And every evening shall make known,

Some fresh memorials of His grace.

Much of my time has run to waste,

And I, perhaps am near my home;

But He forgives my follies past;

He gives me strength for days to come.

I lay my body down to sleep

Peace is the pillow for my head,

While well appointed angels

Keep their watchful stations round my bed.
In vain the sons of earth or hell,

Tell me a thousand frightful things,

But God in safety makes me dwell

Beneath the shadow of His wings.. . .




. . . while blessed with a sense of His love,

A palace a toy would appear;

And prisons would palaces prove,

If Jesus would dwell with me there.
Jesus will always be with us!  He promised!  We can rest in peace knowing, believing that!


“I have planted. . . but God gave the increase” – I Corin 3:6

I love spring, yardwork, and flower beds!  Work I love. . . but can so easily get away from me. The garden starts immaculate, and rows are clean.  BUT by the end of summer, a mower is needed to go down the rows.  That doesn’t dampen my spirits. . . every year I have a renewed hope.  I feel so close to Mom in the garden. . she was the master gardener!  I think she found peace there that she didn’t find anywhere else.  In the Garden was the lullaby song she sang to my brother.  A beautiful place in the cool morning air, sun coming up, and seeing the “fruit” of her labor! Enjoy the chirping birds, and peace for the day!

In The Garden Lyrics


I come to the garden alone,

While the dew is still on the roses,

And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,

The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.


He speaks, and the sound of His voice,

Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,

And the melody that He gave to me,

Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him,

Tho’ the night around me be falling,

But He bids me go, thro’ the voice of woe,

His voice to me is calling.



Earth Day Thoughts

  Psalm 96:12 . . . Give unto the Lord glory and strength, Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. . . let the field be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.”


    Brother Eagle, Sister Sky — a message from Chief Seattle, paintings by Susan Jeffers, has touched my heart for many years. . . in 1850’s our government wanted to purchase his people’s land in the Northwest.  His speech in Washington, DC was powerful, “How can you buy the sky? How can you own the rain and the wind?. . . you must give to the rivers the kindness you give to any brother. . . The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. . . What befalls the earth befalls all the sons and daughters of the earth. . . we are merely a strand in the web of life!”  Chief Seattle’s words were wise— Susan Jeffers -”In our zeal to build and possess we may lose all that we have!”  Ponder that today!


Mentor Text: My Grandma and Me by P.K. Hallinan

I have learned so many things from my grandmas and my husband’s. I loved them all, and I have fond memories that keep them close to my heart. I only hope and pray that my two grandsons will feel the same way.

My Grandma Johnson and I . . . would love to look at the buttons in her box. . . sorting and resorting them for hours. She would tell such wonderful stories about the clothes that once held them. OR we would mix, bake, and eat the soft molasses cookies. . . Or I would sit beside her in church, and she would follow the hymns with her finger so I could follow along and learn to read. She made baby dolls out of handkerchieves to rock and keep my attention.

My Grandma Brown and I . . . we would play the piano and she would teach me how to play smoother with the correct timing. . . Beautiful Dreamer was a favorite.  She would call me to come and help with the farm hands. She needed me to help fix the food and serve the hot, hungry men. . . I thought I was big stuff.  She ALWAYS fixed too much bacon! It was magical, the best ever. . . or maybe it was just because Grandma made it.  She would have books from mom and her sisters and let me read them. . . I was in HEAVEN.  One day she said they were mine to take home. I felt so proud!

My  Great Grandma Cheeseman and I. . . we would sit at the kitchen table and talk and talk. We would eat slices of bread with butter and sugar for an after nap snack. . . or pickles. She always had a jar of pickles on the table. She lived in a little town and would let me walk downtown all by myself to get the mail. or we would walk downtown together and get a lemon phosphate at the drugstore, sitting on the swiveling seats at the counter.

My Great Grandma Brown and I . . . we would sit in the room by the coal stove and be warm as toast in the winter.  We would sit and talk, and I would look at all the “pretties” that she had in the corner cupboard.. . . little salt/pepper shakers, toothpick holders, and other glass do dads.  It was fun to get water on the back porch. . .just flip a light switch and the pump would go up and down until the water came out into the sink.  She loved to take lots and lots of pictures with her old Brownie camera with giant  bulbs.

My husband’s grandmothers and I. . . Grandma Dixon and I would sit and talk of the good old days . . .swinging on that wonderful porch swing with the high back. You could lay your head back and just enjoy the summer breeze.  She would always have the best tapioca pudding ready for a treat.  Grandma Clark and I would talk about gardening. She definitely had a green thumb.  Her advice was to make some manure tea to put on the plants.. . she had stories to tell about my father in law that would make us all laugh!


Grandmas are the best. . . what about yours!  What will your grandchildren remember about you.  Take time to spend with them. . . they need that more than they need THINGS.



By Mrs. Thacker

Mentor text by Leo Lionni–Dedicated to Joseph, my writing buddy.


Four field mice working

Hard every day.

Frederick seems off task,

No work done. . . EVER!  Why?


The four complained.

The four whined!

The four yelled.

They did not understand him!


. . . . Frederick

Continued doing his own thing.

Gathering the sun’s rays,

Gathering colors.

Gathering words!


Winter came— blowing in cold,

Freezing, and gray.


The little mice happily had

Corn, wheat, and nuts

For a few days.


When all that was gone,

FREDERICK! They called.

NOW, where is your supply?


Frederick, the poet had words

full of images and warmth.

They could almost feel

The summer sun. . .


Frederick’s job was different from the rest.

But all were important.

Life takes all of us

Working, together. . .

Doing all our jobs

The best that we can. . .

Giving a 100% !

. . . that will make a great family,

classroom, or country!


What Is Important

Important: by Margaret Wise Brown/mentor text


Friends are important!  You many only have a few good friends. . . ones that will stick with you through thick and thin . . . to help you through good times and bad times.  The important thing about friends is that they take you as you are.

The important thing about family is that they support you and love you.  They help you in difficult times and love you no matter what . . . they celebrate your successes and give hope during the failures.  The important thing about family is that they love you.

The important thing about writing is that it is powerful. Words can express your emotions, intelligence, your dreams, and desires.  Writing is like the breeze blowing . . . word flow along . . . filling your heart and soul.  There is such strength in the writing and reading connection.  The important thing about writing is that is powerful.

The important thing about love is that it grows only when you give it away.  Parents/teachers have enough love for all their children.  Love is warm and tender. Love is gentle and kind.  The important thing about love is that it grows and grows . . . even when you are apart.

The important thing about me is that I care about my family and friends.  I love doing things, working, creating, teaching, and sharing.  The important thing about me is that I love living and learning.


Mentor text: Courage by Bernard Waber

Some days in middle school go well. . . some days go right down the toilet. . . and you are crushed!  My best friends in elementary school suddenly turned on me like a avalanche racing down a mountain.  They wrote a note to me: Don’t talk to us. Don’t eat with us. We don’t want to be seen with you!!!

The note was signed by all five friends and passed to me on the way to lunch. I was crushed!  WHY? WHY? WHY?  I reached to the bathroom and I sobbed!  I stayed there all lunch period.  At home when I could think more clearly. . . I knew why.  I LOVED school. I wanted to be a teacher. . . I wanted to study. . . I wanted to learn all that I could.  They wanted to hang out at the corner and flirt with the high school boys, acting all silly and weird.

. . . so every day for two weeks, I went to the bathroom, locked in a stall. Folded my knees up so on one could see me, and I sobbed with a silent sadness that no one could really hear.  My heart was broken!

Then. . . I decided with some stored up courage from deep inside that five silly girls were not going to cripple me.  I walked to lunch that day with my head up. . . standing tall. I walked right past them, staring straight ahead.  I had to wait in line FOREVER!   . . . maybe I would change my mind and run back to my stall like prison cell. Breathe in and out. . . B R E A T H E!

Finally, with tray in hand, I sat down at a table by myself. . . a girl in my class named Judi came up and asked to sit down.  We ate. We talked.  We even laughed!  I don’t think she even knew of the drama. We became good friends. The other girls soon acted like nothing had ever happened. They didn’t know how much they hurt me.  I kept that note for some dumb reason. . . I burned it 25 years later when I told the story to my daughters.

It takes courage to do what you know is right. . . to be yourself and not try to please others. . . .it takes courage to change your group of friends to find out the ones that really believe and support you.