Favorite #134: Bathtime

Bath time is lots of fun for everyone.

Bath time is fun for everyone.

A Little Boy and a Dirty Dog

Several weeks ago, I shared my children’s books with an Early Childhood Language and Literacy Experiences class at Mitchell Community College in Mooresville, NC. That night, I read my first book, Tired of My Bath. A few days later, one of the students in the class, Decota Rasnick, sent me an email explaining what happened when she got home later that night. I was so touched by her email; I asked permission to share.


First and foremost, thank you for coming to speak (and read) to our class last night at Mitchell Community College! It was so nice learning about you and your books!

You truly are an inspiration to others! I thought I would share a little story about what happened after class, and hearing you speak.

Last night, after I finally got home from work and school (Tuesdays are my “bad” day. I work all day, and then go to school, and usually do not get home until around 8:15 or so, which means my kids are either already in bed, or cranky and waiting on me to put them down) my son and I let our dog (a pitbull) outside one last time before bedtime. Link, our dog, is not a “digger.” He only digs on very rare occasions, and when he does spend the time digging (or the few times that he has in the past couple of years), he usually surfaces, very proudly, with some sort of prize.

Being late, and as muddy as it was last night, as soon as we realized he was digging we made him stop and come back inside; however, it was not soon enough to prevent having to put him into the bath tub and give him a bath. There was mud everywhere! Fortunately, our dog does well in the bath. Link sits very still and rarely tries to escape. Between attempting to get my dog clean, and having to work around my son, Rylan, (who is four now, and clearly in that stage of wanting, and thinking he can do everything that any adult does, on his own, without any help) I managed to snap a picture.

Although I am not sure how I even found the energy, or the time, last night to scroll through my Facebook, I ended up posting the picture of my son and his dog in the bath. Not anything too surprising, except for the tiny little poem I posted to caption the picture. It read:

“…Because when your dog decides its time to dig to China, it might be late at night, and you might [just might] have to bathe him, much against his delight…”

Although posting the picture was not out of character for me, taking the time, or even subconsciously thinking about posting the tiny little poem was out of character, and something I quite frankly, just do not usually take the time to do. The normal description would have been something like, “Bath Time.”

You, and your discussion with our class inspired this, and I just wanted to thank you. When I go back and read the poem I wrote last night, the memories are much more clear. The imagery and scenes in my head are much clearer, and I can remember so much more about the entire situation, because I chose to change the perspective in which I was looking at the situation.

I found it entirely coincidental that we just happened to have read your book, Tired of My Bath.  At 10 pm last night, I was faced with a very dirty dog, and a very independent four year old (who at the time was really just “getting in my way”). Very quickly, I started thinking about the book, and the lesson…. this is life, and this is my life. While I was drained, and “tired” of the day in general, thinking about your talk, your books, and your lessons made me (at 23 years old) rethink the situation, and ended up very happy and smiling at the memories we made (even at 10 pm on my “bad” night). I could have looked at the situation in a negative way, but didn’t. I mean, really who wants to give their (very large) dog a bath at 10 pm after they have been at work/school for well over 12 hours?

Again, thank you so much for your time! I am looking forward to reading your books to my children (I have two boys, ages 4 and 1), and following you on Facebook, as well as your blog.

Decota, thank you for your email and for making my day. Writing a book is only the beginning. Hearing stories like yours is what makes being an author so rewarding.

Thanks again,




Favorite #133: Honors Chorus

Music teachers performing with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Honors Chorus.

Music teachers having great fun at the Fifth Grade Honors Chorus Festival.

Fifth Grade Honors Chorus under the direction of Sally Albrecht.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Fifth-Grade Honors Chorus under the direction of Sally Albrecht.


Making Music and Memories 

Congratulations to the Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Fifth-Grade Honors Chorus for a fabulous performance during their recent festival at West Rowan High School in Mt Ulla, NC. Approximately 200 fifth-grade students filled the auditorium on March 14th with melodies that made friends and family proud.

Twelve years ago, music teachers, Beth Yelvington and Lucy Shue had the vision for a county-wide fifth-grade Honors Chorus. Taking the initiative to write a grant for necessary funding for music, transportation, food, and a clinician, they applied for a Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation grant. After receiving the grant and with a successful festival that first year, they reapplied, continuing the tradition for a total of eleven festivals.

Students who want to be a member of the fifth-grade Honors Chorus must first audition at their individual schools. When chosen they are given a selection of music to memorize and learn. Music teachers practice with their students, usually after school, on technique and musicality. The first practice with the entire Honors Chorus is from noon to 5:00 the Friday before the Saturday performance. Held at a local high school under the direction of a professional clinician, students learn phrasing, blending voices, harmony, and choreography. Although tired from a Friday practice, students arrive Saturday morning, excited and ready for a full day, knowing the concert performance is that afternoon. The progress they make in just two days is amazing. It’s almost like a transformation of individuals joining together as one for a performance of a lifetime.

Sally Albrecht, an internationally known choral composer, conductor, and clinician was   chosen as the clinician for the first festival because of her knowledge and expertise working with this age group. Achieving high expectations of musicality in a way children can understand and yet have fun in the process, Sally set the standard so high that first year she has been the clinician of choice for the majority of the festivals since then.

When asking Beth what her favorite part of the process has been through the years, she said seeing the enthusiasm of the students. Pausing for a minute, she then said, “Although tired from practicing five hours on the first day, students still are willing to get up the next morning and give it their all. The performance is just the icing on the cake.”

Having had the opportunity to be a part of the Honors Chorus in previous years as a music teacher for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, I know what Beth is talking about. The look in each child’s eyes as they perform on stage for family and friends is pure joy. Even though it is hard work, the effort is so worth it. Students never forget that one shining moment, and who knows, that could be the catalyst for a future career in music and the dream lives on.

Were you a member of a chorus or band? What are your favorite memories? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com





Favorite #132: Early Childhood Educators

A night of sharing books and fun at Mitchell Community College/Mooresville Campus.

A night of sharing books and fun at Mitchell Community College/Mooresville Campus.

Language and Literacy

Donna Hogue is an Early Childhood instructor at Mitchell Community College in Statesville, NC. Recently, I and another children’s author, Lydia Steele Richmond, had the opportunity to visit and share our books in Donna’s EDU 280 Language and Literacy Experiences class at Mitchell’s Mooresville campus.

Donna explained since her students had just completed a chapter about reading and storytelling, she thought asking us to read would be a great opportunity for them to observe firsthand some of the elements in reading to children. These include how to gain and keep attention, hand gestures and voice inflection.

Lydia shared first, explaining how she liked to incorporate real-life situations in her book and stories. Living in Germany as a child, Lydia said she had great memories of childhood play and friendships. Pulling from those memories in developing the characters and relationships in her book, A Day to Remember, she even used names of real friends for the characters in her story.

After gaining everyone’s attention by explaining the backstory first, Lydia then began to read, slowing down and using emphasis at important points in the story. While the death of a loved one may be hard for a child to understand, Lydia’s book deals with that kind of loss in a way children can understand and accept. In this story, the loved one who passed was an elderly neighbor lady. After much discussion by the BFF’s, it was decided the best way to honor the neighbor’s memory was to care for her beloved grapevine. Although the friend was gone, her memory would live on through actions of love and caring.

Donna’s students loved the story, asking questions not only about plot and character development, but also about the writing process. Lydia shared she’s thinking of writing a second book, using the friendships developed in A Day to Remember as the catalyst. She said the theme for the next book will probably be the hot topic of bullying.

After Lydia’s presentation, it was my turn to share. While Lydia’s book is in narrative form, my books are written in rhythm and rhyme. Deciding to read my first book, Tired of My Bath, with that story having funny twists, I couldn’t wait to watch the faces and hear the laughter in all the right places. Each of my five books have a moral lesson and in Tired of My Bath, the lesson is listen to your mom.

The hour-and-a-half class passed quickly, with the night ending with questions, a few photos and some students even purchasing books. It was obvious by comments during and after class that the students were passionate about their chosen field, eager to learn and be the best they could be. Donna said early childhood educators are always passionate about their chosen field. I totally agree. There’s just something special about people who work with young children. God bless everyone of them.

Next week I plan to share a letter from one of the students in the EDU class who sent me an email about an experience she had later that night after hearing, Tired of My Bath. Be sure to check out next week’s blog. Thanks Donna for the invitation to read to your class. I can’t wait until next time.

Do you know someone who is an Early Childhood Educator? Have you volunteered in their classroom, or helped their program in someway? What was that experience like? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com





Favorite #131: Playing in the Snow

What could be more fun than playing in the snow with Dad?

What could be more fun than playing in the snow with Dad?

               Childlike Wonder

Have you ever seen a better snowball?

“Here, have a snowball.”






After seeing all the pictures of kids playing in the snow over the last few days an obvious choice for my favorite thing this week had to be playing in the snow. In the above photo my neighbor’s two-year old son, Brayden, seems to be saying, “Here, have a snowball.”

Brayden’s mom, Darcy, said he didn’t like the snow at all last year, but loved it this year and had a ball. After hours of play, Brayden cried when he had to come inside, even though almost frozen. Darcy said not only did he enjoy being pulled around on a sled, but he also enjoyed creative play in the snow with his beach toys. What a novel idea.

My two grandsons, Carson and Garrett are close to Brayden’s age and they, too, had a ball in the snow this year. I think their dad enjoyed pulling them around on the four-wheeler as much as they enjoyed being pulled. Bailey, their 6 month-old chocolate lab, wanting to be part of the fun, followed them everywhere making paw prints in the snow.

Carson at four-years old is the oldest of my three grandchildren and as long as I can remember he has always asked the question, “Why?” After a morning of fun, Carson and Garrett went inside to take a nap. When Carson woke up, he looked out the window only to be disappointed and concerned. Puzzled about the disappearing snow, he asked his mom where it had gone and why.

In terms a child could understand, his mom, Kristin explained that snow falls from the sky as frozen crystals and after the sun comes out the snow begins to melt, turning into water. Kristin said when Carson heard that snow turns into water, his eyes grew really big. Of course, the next question was, “Why?”

Wouldn’t it be great if adults had that same since of wonder and amazement? Perhaps that’s why Jesus said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. He knew children are willing to open their hearts to the world and people around them with a childlike trust and faith.

But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14, KJV)

Besides playing in the snow what have you done lately to rekindle a childlike sense of wonder and amazement? Are you willing to open your heart to those around you? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com










Favorite #130: Nascar

Enjoying family day recently with Brad Keselowski at Penske Racing.

Enjoying family night recently with Brad Keselowski at Team Penske Racing.

Fun and Excitement

During the month of February, excitement builds as Nascar fans wait for the first race of the season, the Daytona 500. Before the glory days of Nascar, the race at Daytona took place on the sandy beach. Names such as Lee Petty and Fireball Roberts were associated with that no-holds barred kind of driving spectators lined the beach to see. Although looking back it’s obvious that kind of driving was dangerous, it was also what made it fun, fast and furious.

My husband, Michael, grew up learning about drivers such as Junior Johnson, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. from his dad, Roger McCullough. Living close to smaller tracks like Hickory and North Wilksboro and not too far from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Roger developed a love and a passion for the sport he passed on to his family.

To show you how much of a fan he was, when Richard Petty changed from Chrysler to Ford in the late ’60′s, Roger became so upset he wrote a personal note to Petty telling him he was making a mistake. Perhaps knowing that letter would be an heirloom someday, Petty signed it and sent it back.

Even though in recent years Michael became disappointed with the direction Nascar was taking, he always loved a good race. That meant on Sundays after church he was glued to the television until the race was over. While it’s true he was a Chevy man through and through, having a son-in-law employed at Team Penske, Michael conceded if a Chevrolet driver couldn’t win, he was happy to see Penske drivers such as Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano in the winner’s circle. He would have loved family night this past November and the opportunity to meet them.

With all of this Nascar nostalgia, I suppose it would be fitting for me to include a memory of my own. While I’ve listened to many Nascar races on the radio with my dad and watched many on tv with Michael, the truth is I’ve only seen one in person. That race was Darlington, Labor Day weekend, 1983. With it being a two-hour drive, Michael and I drove down the day before, spending the night close by so we could get to the race track early. I don’t even know who won the race, but I’ll never forget Darlington because nine months later Kristin was born.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Nascar race or memory? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com





Favorite #129: Tar Heels and Dean Smith

Pawpaw Mike, showing  off his love for the Tar Heels at a family get-together this past summer.

Pawpaw Mike, showing off his love for the Tar Heels this summer at a family get-together.

The Love of the Game

Growing up as a kid in North Carolina the winter months for me meant watching Tar Heel basketball with my dad. In his eyes, Dean Smith could do no wrong and as far as basketball goes, he was right. Well, as far as life goes, Dad was right, too, because just by example and interaction with players and fans, you knew Coach Smith was a man of integrity.

After I married my husband, Michael, it didn’t take long until I realized I would be spending many Saturday afternoons watching Tar Heel basketball with him just like I had with my dad. He, too, loved Tar Heel basketball and thought Dean Smith could do no wrong. The only difference between Michael and my dad was if the Tar Heels were losing, which didn’t happen often, Michael sometimes showed his emotions a little more than Dad.

While reading tributes to Coach Dean Smith this week, I saw several posts by friends sharing their thoughts. Children’s author, Marty Hartman made a comment about something he read that touched his heart, while Pastor Mack Jarvis shared a chance encounter. Both Marty and Mack gave permission to reprint their comments.

Mack Jarvis: When I was a freshman at Carolina in 1980, I had a lab that ran long and was late for an intramural softball game. I took what I thought looked like a short cut around the back side of Carmichael Auditorium. When I rounded a corner, there sat a Cadillac, with Dean Smith getting out of the driver’s seat. We were 10 feet apart, and I instinctively held out my hand and started making my  way towards him. I said, ‘Coach, it’s a honor to meet you.’ I told him my name and where I was from, and he said, ‘Thank you. It’s quite a treat to meet you as well.’ Seeing the glove in my hand, he said, ‘Good luck in your game.’ Gotta say, at 19, it was surreal. What a great man in so many ways. It’s only fitting that the sky today was that familiar color of blue.

For Mack to recall every detail of that chance encounter this many years later speaks volumes about Dean Smith not only as a coach, but as a role model to so many. Marty’s following comments stem from an account he read of Dean Smith inviting one of his future players to church with him.

Marty Hartman: Growing up in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s and being a Wake Forest fan, I will admit to never having much use for the UNC-Tarheels. I will also confess to the fact that as a teenager and a young adult Dean Smith was a coach that I loved to hate. That being said I was always aware of his vast basketball knowledge. I was even more aware of the integrity of Coach Smith that was larger than the man himself. It is in his passing and the many stories and specials that have been shared about him that I find myself very convicted and challenged by the life he lived. One such story that has particularly convicted and challenged me was a story that Charlie Scott shared about his official visit to the UNC campus while being recruited by Coach Smith to play basketball for the Tarheels.

For those of you that don’t know who Charlie Scott is, he was the first black scholarship athlete at UNC. In reminiscing on that official visit Charlie Scott shared a conversation he had with Coach Smith that weekend where the coach asked Charlie if he would like to attend church with him on Sunday. Why is that important and why has that particular statement impacted me in such a powerful way you might ask?

From someone that was very young but very much alive during this time period let me share a bit of history lesson with you. Charlie Scott attended UNC from 1967-70. This was a time in our history that integration was a new concept, especially for the south. This was a very influential white basketball coach of a major university located in a small town in the south asking a young black athlete to attend Sunday services while visiting the university that weekend. Seeing that integration was a fairly new concept to public schools and even the universities during this time period, I feel it safe to say that the congregation at Coach Smith’s church was not integrated at this time.

Think about all that Coach Smith risked being willing to take a young black athlete to church with him because that is where he felt he needed to be and he wanted the young man to join him. It has bothered me for some time that even some 45-50 years later that 11am on Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated hours during our week. Why is that? What am I doing to change that? Am I part of the solution or am I still part of the problem? What has to change in me before I can look past the color of a person’s skin, the way they are dressed, or where they live and see the need inside of them. The need to feel accepted for who they are no matter where they are. What is it going to take for me to treat everyone no matter who they are with the respect they deserve just like Coach Smith did? Whatever it takes to do it I’m there.

As you can see, Coach Smith is still affecting others today by prompting them to examine the purpose and moral fiber of their own lives. He taught the lesson well that it matters not how many wins or loses, but how you play the game. Coach Smith played the game both off and on the court with dignity and an integrity that will never be forgotten. If only there were more like him.

What are your memories of Coach Dean Smith? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicyms@yahoo.com





Favorite #128: Teachers

Elementary school teacher, Carrie Carter, preparing for the next day.

Elementary school teacher, Carrie Carter, preparing for the next day.

The Love of Teaching

Seeing this photo not long ago of elementary school teacher, Carrie Carter, working on lesson plans at home, inspired me to write this blog. In my opinion, this photo represents the dedication  teachers have in preparing for their students, even if it means sacrificing time at home. This was taken of Carrie during the Christmas holidays.

Retiring as an elementary music teacher eight years ago, I know firsthand the amount of time and energy that goes into preparing to teach. Now as a substitute, I see how much more preparation is required in today’s world because of individualized lesson plans and ever-changing computer programs. After posting a question on Facebook a few weeks ago asking teachers to share why they went into teaching and what their concerns are, I eagerly waited for the responses. Some responded saying they grew up wanting to teach because of a family member who had inspired them. Others went into a little more depth, expressing not only their love of teaching, but also concerns. Here are a few of those …

Kindergarten teacher, Sarah Stepp: I definitely enjoy teaching but my fear is we’re so worried about test scores we’re losing the actual “magical” teaching and learning aspect of education. As a kindergarten teacher, I have to worry so much with testing time frames and what’s on the test, I wonder if the children are going to remember these concepts later, or just remember me as always having to call them over to test. Making a difference in their lives academically, socially, and emotionally is extremely important to me and that’s why I got in this profession. At the end of the day, the children are what’s important and the other stuff is just something we must deal with and integrate the best we can.

Second grade teacher, Dawn Gilland: I enjoy making a difference in a child’s life and feeling like I’ve made an effort to improve the quality of life for future generations is what makes me happy. At times it can be stressful trying to keep up with the “tech craze” because so much emphasis is placed on using technology in the classroom today. Although technology should be taught and used, we shouldn’t be solely dependent upon it. It’s a little frightening— what happens when technology stops working???? Will our children, the future adults, know how to survive without it???

Fourth grade teacher, Stephanie Smith: My favorite teacher was my fourth grade teacher. (Maybe that explains why I’m a a fourth grade teacher now. Hmm…). She knew how to have fun and cared about each of us. At the same time, she knew how to keep us in check when it was time to get down to business. I loved that balance. Now that I’m a teacher, I try to follow her example.

Fourth grade teacher, Kourtney Clark, I always wanted to teach because I’ve always enjoyed working with children. Even though my family moved around alot, my teachers made me feel welcome and accepted. By leaving a positive and lasting inpact, they made such a difference in my life, now that I’m a teacher I want to do the same for my students. As an educator in today’s climate I’m concerned the skills students need to survive in the real world such as perseverance and accountability are skills we can’t test. Are we setting our students up for failure later?

After reading the comments above there’s no doubt teachers care deeply about their students and want them to succeed. To accomplish this goal, however, they need everyone’s support and help, including administration, parents, students and the community. The bottom line is not only is the future of education at stake, but our children and grandchildren’s future as well.

What are you doing to support your child’s teacher or school? Do you ever volunteer to listen to a child read, or help with a project in some way? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook, or email dicysm@yahoo.com.










Favorite #127: Compost Bin Made with Love

Loving my new compost bin.

Loving my new compost bin.

                Another Surprise

Last week I blogged about my son-in-law, Brian Saine, surprising me with a wooden bench he made in memory of my husband, Michael. Knowing Michael loved all things Chevrolet, Brian used a Chevrolet tailgate for the back of the bench. In that blog, I also mentioned my other son-in-law, Ben Key, and that he, too, had made something special. As you can see, it’s a compost bin. Although you may not think a compost bin is special, once you read the rest of the story you might change your mind.

Through the years as I’ve come to understand the importance of recycling, it’s become almost like a game to see how much I can cut down on my garbage each week. I became really excited a few years ago when discovering a local business, Think Green Recycling, in Cleveland, NC, not only picks up recycling for a small fee, but will separate it, too. What a blessing not to have to sort recycling into a million different buckets or tubs.

Diligent about recycling cardboard, paper, plastic and cans, etc., I’m equally diligent about keeping food out of my garbage as well. Not having a garbage disposal, but living in the country, I find it convenient to throw scraps at the edge of my backyard near the woods. I learned that habit from my mom during the days before landfills, recycling or compost bins.

Recently, when Ben was at my house and noticed some of my scraps, although he didn’t say anything at the time, later during a conversation, said he wondered about it. Appreciative of my efforts to reduce garbage, Ben understood. It was during that conversation I mentioned I had always wanted a compost bin.

A few weeks later I noticed Ben throwing sticks, mulch and leaves into a wooden container near my garage. My daughter, Kelly said when Ben learned I had always wanted a compost bin, he decided to surprise me. Once getting everything set up, Ben explained I should let the materials sit for a week or two before adding food.

To learn more about this process, I began reading different online sources for information. For the most part, I learned fruits and vegetables are okay to add, but not dairy, meat or citrus. I also learned tea bags and eggs shells are good because they have nutrients the soil needs, which means I eventually can use this compost as fertilizer for my garden, lawn or flowers.

I suppose I’m at the age now where I don’t worry so much if people laugh at my eccentric ways as long as I’m helping somebody or something. In this case, I felt by reducing waste I’m leaving a better world for my grandchildren. If interested in learning more about this subject, Pinterest has great boards on how to compost or build your own compost bin. These ideas would also make wonderful science lessons for children. Since I’m still learning, no pun intended, I’ve only scratched the surface.

How about you? Do you recycle? Do you have a compost bin? What other ways do you cut down on waste? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com






Favorite #126: Chevy Tailgate and Love

Enjoying the new bench made from Pawpaw Mike's Chevrolet tailgate.

Enjoying the new bench made from Pawpaw Mike’s Chevrolet tailgate.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

What a blessing to have two son-in-laws who not only care about my daughters, Kristin and Kelly, but also care about me. From all the mother-in-law jokes that circulate around, I know I’m a lucky lady.

During the last four months as I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions from the death of my husband, Michael, it’s been a great comfort to have my family close, including my son-in-laws, Brian and Ben, willing to help in any way they can. Kristin’s husband, Brian, recently surprised both Kristin and I with a little project he had been working on in her dad’s memory.

Knowing Michael loved all things Chevrolet, one day while walking around our back yard, I noticed Michael had a few tailgates stacked together near the woods. Mentioning to Kristin and Brian I had seen a wooden bench on Pinterest using a Chevy tailgate for the back, I said that would make a great project someday. I forgot about the bench. Brian didn’t.

A few months passed until a couple of weeks ago when Kristin called saying Brian was on his way over to get something. She explained he was making something for me and wanting it to be a surprise, made me promise not to look. Thinking he was going to get something out of the garage, I figured that wouldn’t be too hard, so I promised. Little did I realize what he needed was in the back yard.

After I saw Brian drive in, I waited a little while before looking outside again. Thinking the coast was clear, I was wrong because just as I looked out the door, Brian was picking up one of the tailgates. I pretended I didn’t see, but it was too late because right at that moment Brian turned and saw me standing at the door. I could tell by the look on his face, he knew I knew.

Having spoiled the surprise, later that day when I went to Brian and Kristin’s for an evening meal, Brian took me to the garage to show me the bench he had already made. Explaining this one was for Kristin, he said he was planning to make two more, one for me and one for Kelly for Mother’s Day. Jokingly, he said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” We all laughed.

In the above photo sitting on Kristin’s bench is Brian, my grandson, Carson, and their new puppy, Bailey. Kristin posted this photo on Facebook with the following message …

My husband is an amazing man. He has been my strength these past four months after losing my dad. I couldn’t have made it without him. He surprised me, my mom and my sis with benches made from dad’s old tailgates. I’m in tears writing this. Even though it’s not possible for Dad to be with us, a part of him will always be with us through our benches. Brian couldn’t have made a more priceless gift. Although I don’t go an hour without thinking of Dad and our future without him, having a husband who cares about me and my family means the world.

Since I started this blog about both of my son-in-laws, it wouldn’t be fair not to share what Kelly’s husband, Ben, made as well. If you want to find out what it is, you’ll have to wait until next week.

What treasure has someone made for you in memory of a loved one? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Love it. Can't wait to get mine.

Love it. Can’t wait to get mine.





Favorite #125: Boy Scout Adventures

A group photo in front of the American flag on the Yorktown.

A group photo in front of the flag on the Yorktown. Thomas is fifth from the right in the front row.

Trip to Patriots Point

My nephew, Thomas McCullough has been a Boy Scout since he was seven years old. Now in 7th grade, he recently shared info about a trip his Scout Troop #173 took in December.The destination was Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum-Charleston Harbor, SC.

I was particularly interested in this trip because my husband, Michael, and I made a visit to Patriots Point ten years ago. A tour of the aircraft carrier the USS Yorktown was especially meaningful to Michael because his dad, Roger McCullough, served on a similar ship during the Korean War. When discovering photos of his dad’s ship, the Essex CV-9 along with the names of the men who served, Michael was especially happy.

When Thomas shared what he had learned and seen on the trip, he was so excited I had trouble keeping up with his enthusiasm. Explaining how the scouts spent the night on the ship in the officers’ quarters, he said a highlight was exploring the flight deck. It was during that exploration the scouts discovered a group doing astronomy. Thrilled when invited to look through the telescopes, Thomas said the scouts thought the lights of Charleston was really beautiful.

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, the troop was energized, ready to tour the USS Laffey submarine. Amazed at how narrow and tight everything was inside, Thomas was especially amazed at the lack of space in the bathroom. He said there was barely enough room for the toilet.

A mid-morning tour of the USS Laffey was then followed by a tour of the battleship USS Clamagore. During that tour the troop learned even though at one time the battleship could have been called into active duty while at Patriots Point, since the hull is now rusted out that is no longer true.

Following the tour of the battleship, knowing the weekend was coming to a close, as the scouts took a few last minute photos they said their good-byes to the crew, thanking them for a wonderful time. Although a little tired, Scout Troop #173 left Patriots Point not only with fond memories, but a better appreciation for the price of freedom.

In addition to learning about history and the world around them, the scouts are encouraged to participate in service-oriented projects in the community as well as work on personal goals for growth and development. These goals and achievements often are reflected in the badges they earn. Scout leader, John Crawford says he enjoys working with the young men in Troop #173 and is looking forward to new membership next year. Sponsored by Fair View United Methodist Church and Centre Presbyterian Church of Mt Mourne, NC, to learn more about Troop #173 contact the Chartered Organization Leader, Bill Hicks at 704-528-3288 or check out the following link.

Were you a member of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts of America? If so, what were some of your favorite activities? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com