In Memory of Mahlon Eash, Jr.

Life took a crazy sudden turn again. Sentences spoken in passing now are precious last words. Moments that were the daily norm, now can only be called memories. No words can be spoken that will ease the pain. Nothing can be given that eases the ache. Along with this fresh hurt and pain comes all the past memories of going through this before. A feeling of deja vu infiltrates within us as we all deal with the shock and grief in our own way. Some bury the feelings deep, never letting anyone know they’re even there. Some continue on but with a hint of fixated sorrow on their face. Some grieve by solitude. Solitude that gives you a chance to cry without anyone seeing. Solitude that gives you a chance to try to sort your feelings out and yet, somehow, they still feel like a jumbled mess. Some cling to each other, letting tears flow, and just craving that one thing that is still stable in their lives, a family member, a friend, someone who has always been there and you know is a constant. And, just when you think all the tears have been cried, somehow, a few more squeak out and run down your cheek. Some work it off–staying busy is the key and keeping active numbs the pain–if only for a little while.

Our body craves normality. When normal is ripped away, we yearn to fill it with something that seems even halfway right. And yet, every forced laugh at some stupid punny joke brings up a shred of guilt because of what someone else is going through. But laughter is also healing, and you begin to wonder what is even proper and decent in this time? Every hour you spend at work reminds you of all that might never get done. You begin to realize that you never want to live with regrets, because…….What if??

Slowly, but surely, you begin to find your place. Slowly, but surely, life seems to return to a halfway decent place. Nothing will ever be the same, nothing will ever seem to go the way it was before, some days you may wonder if you can even go on. Days will come when we celebrate, and we gather together as a family, but, only with a missing piece. Each person you know adds a piece to this puzzle called life, and when the piece is missing, the picture just isn’t quite right.

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Mahlon Eash Jr. (Jr. as I knew him), you had a determination in you that took you far in life. As a young boy, you were one of the smaller ones in stature, but as stated by one of your brothers, what you lacked in size, you made up for in determination.

You had a goofy side about you, a sense of humor. Cracking jokes and wanting to make people laugh.

You loved your family so much. You were SO proud of them all. Your grandchildren were the apple of your eye, and you would do most anything for your family. One memory I have— was often (or what seemed often 🙂 ), while going about my duties, I’d see your truck at the Martinsburg Dairy Isle, eating lunch with Erma. Those, I’m sure, are special times for her, and memories that will not soon be forgotten. Not every man would want to spend all his work hours working with his wife, but you did, and those are precious moments that will never be regretted!

You had a legacy that you wanted to pass on to your family. The business that had been in the Eash family for years and years….you took it upon yourself to keep it up and running, and you were proud to bear the name of Foundations Plus. That legacy of hard work and determination can be passed on through your family. Yes, there will be hard days, and there will be moments of discouragement. But you taught them to be strong, they WILL get through it.

So, yes, you will be missed. Days will not always be easy. Grief may come and go. But, know your family is strong. And on days it seems to them that they can’t keep going, they can be lifted up on the wings of prayer.

 

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December Busyness

Ok, really, this could’ve been named 2017 Summer and Fall busyness, but nah, I’ll leave it the way it is. 🙂 This will be a random conglomeration of pictures with some random details. You’re brave if you follow along, and if you make it to the end, you have an amazing resilient brain that can keep up with the most random ramblings. 🙂

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I had another niece born to me. Well, to our family, but she’s still mine 🙂 Kari Rebecca surprised us all when she entered this world almost 2 weeks early. I’m not complaining! 😀

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One day this summer/fall, we got a lot of rain. Our small creek flooded. By the end of the day, it was down to a more normal size again. We didn’t float away. The End.

Who knew you could change the look of a wallet this much. It’s not perfect, and I don’t claim to be a perfectionist, or a DIY-er, but the updated version suits me SO. MUCH. BETTER!!

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Pills, pills, pills. Find more of the updated health journey here. If I’d never have to see another one of these orange bottles, it would be pretty amazing! 🙂 Seriously, though, you’d think they could at least get some ‘pleasing to the eye’ colors!

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One day, we baked lots of cookies. Well, I kinda held the baby and drove to and from the office to take care of random office things that people needed, with just a slight hand in the cookie dough. The others did great, though, don’t you think!? 🙂

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If you’ve never had an ice cream party, I highly encourage you to get a group of besties together and dig in!! I won’t tell you how much was left by the time we were done.

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Did you know guys can do dishes too? This was apparently not supposed to be posted online…oopsies! 🙂 I like starting most new traditions, but especially if they’re this kind! (Who knows if it’ll last?)

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Unfortunately, there was one girl missing when I took these pictures. Sunday school for a year with them is____________ (I’ll let you fill in the blank)

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Silly…

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and just (mostly) happy!

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Just look at the expressions on this girl! She was in the midst of intently saying something, and I wish I could remember what it was!! 🙂

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It’s been a year that Grandma left this earth. I’m so glad I have this beautiful handiwork of hers in my room. It’s amazing and took a skill I don’t think I have!

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Our youth had an ugly Christmas sweater party. The pictures say a lot. A lot more than I could! 🙂

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My office I work in got moved. New location is great! Nothing fell apart, and I still have a building to do work in. Thumbs up!

How was your summer/fall/winter 2017? Anything exciting happen? Share a picture and keep your favorite memories alive!

 

Tiny Treasures

The other day, week, or sometime in the past month or two, I cleaned my room. It was the good, “curiosity satisfying, going through old papers and stacks of things” cleaning. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who lets it get that bad, but either way, I found something I had written back in my school teaching days, and I thought I’d share it on here, along with some changes/add-ons to make it sound better. Follow along if you dare! 🙂

“With a heavy sigh, I sank in my chair wishing with all my might for more dedicated students. Another failed quiz here, more studying of spelling words there. You see, today was a rough day. One particular student had to be worked with continuously on keeping the work up to total ability and had to be prodded so laziness didn’t become habitual.

This student was one I pushed hard, especially today. I made this one find all the answers, write and correct them all, and then study again to make sure he/she grasped the concepts. This student was the one who sighed (loudly), but was taught to obey, and, knowing I was the authority at school, went and ‘did’.

Recess came and went, and I was discouraged. Discouraged with the day, with the student, with everything that went wrong that day. If I were completely honest, I would say I was discouraged with myself. Was I too harsh? Am I expecting too much or not enough? What is a way I could have handled it better? How can I prepare myself if and when it happens again?

Story-time was soon upon us, and I soon became lost in the story as I read it aloud. After story, the student I’d treated so ‘harshly’ came up to my desk, and with a sweet smile said, ‘This is for you, Katie’, shyly laying a note on my desk. Listening as the numerous, unrecognizable misspelled words were explained, (still need to work on that spelling!) it settled in what was happening. I was humbled. Oh, to have the resiliency of a child. The note was simple, but it’s meaning was clear. ‘Katie, you’re a good teacher, and you make us happy and you give us prizes and you give us candy and you’re a good teacher and you give crafts for us, and you give us ideas and you’re perfect.’ (run-on sentences, too 🙂 )

My worst fears were unfounded. I hadn’t estranged this student. If anything, it built our relationship stronger. At dismissal, she/he asked, ‘Did you like the note?’ And in all honesty, I could say, ‘Yes, I liked it!!’, when in truth, my heart was overflowing with love!

You see, God has given me 13 ‘tiny treasures’ to teach and instruct in more than knowledge of Math, English, and Reading. He gave me them to teach important life lessons. That day, I believe I learned more than they did. That day, one of my tiny treasures gave of themselves in complete honesty a part of who they are. This tiny treasure, a child and a note, puts a smile on my face, as I think about the time God said, ‘Katie let me teach you a thing or two about Tiny Treasures’.”

God still gives us Tiny Treasures daily. Are our eyes open to them? (And, yes, I still have a picture of that note) 🙂

 

Hard Work and Moving On

Last Saturday was the day. The day all the hard work came together and actually happened. The day that was a turning point for the Eash family. The day that was filled with probably some of the most mixed emotions ever.

It was the day when history as we’ve known it, and ‘the way it’s always been’ ended. It was the day that new beginnings began. It was a day filled with excitement and uncertainty. A day that, when it was all over, a sigh of relief could be heard throughout the small town of Martinsburg.

It was a day full of memories. Memories of Grandpa and Grandma and the life they had created for their family. It was a day of recollecting. Recollecting on days gone past. Days of cleaning flower-beds, crashing the golf-cart into stuff, playing with Grandma’s many dolls, and the many meals and gatherings we’ve had together on the farm.

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It was a day we could feel the support and love through the community. A day that made us (or maybe it was just me) realize we had NO IDEA how many people would show up for the turning of a new era. It was a day of catching up with family and friends. In my mind’s view, I can still see Grandpa and how tickled pink he would’ve been to see all his friends show up for this. I can see how he would’ve been proudly showing off his tractors and toys for all to see. They really were his pride and joy, and there was not much he liked better than spending a day in the field sitting proudly on his ‘green machines.’ And I can see Grandma making sure everyone has enough food and is satisfied, making sure every detail goes exactly as she planned, while we just smile and wonder if she’ll ever calm down. 🙂

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It was a day filled with pride. Pride to be a part of this family. Pride to be able to carry on the legacy that Grandpa and Grandma Eash started. Pride to be able to have an ‘Eash Family Farm’ shirt in our possession. Yes, you can label us as ‘one of those’, but until you’ve been in that situation yourself, don’t judge! 🙂

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It was also a day that was exhausting!! I wonder how many grown-ups wished they could take a nap in the middle of it all! 🙂

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It was a day of laughter, stress, inward tears, and the over-powering sense of reality. For so long, this day was talked about and planned. Now, it’s finally happening!!

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Cousin time… How many more can the golf cart hold? 🙂

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All-in-all, it was a day to remember. Not only the day itself, but the memories that came flooding back as we reminisced throughout the whole ordeal. Cleaning out the house, the shops, the barns, made for lots of good stories, I’m sure.

To all you siblings….Make your mom and dad proud. Continue the legacy they started so long ago. The Eash’s are known for their hard-working and ‘go-get-em’ attitude. Keep it alive. Don’t let this turning of a page in your book be the last of the ‘Eash Family Chronicles’.  Continue it well with your children and grandchildren. Keep Christ first and live to make them proud!

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Your hard work paid off! Great job, you all!

*All photos (except the last one, I’m not sure where/who it came from) used with permission and credited to TyNicolePhotography. Head on over to her blog  and check out her work!

Field Trips and Things

When you take a field trip with kids, you wind up with a lot of fun, adventure, and random, fleeting moments of questioning whether your sanity will remain with you through to the end of the day.

This week, I had the delightful privilege of going along to Kentucky to the Ark Encounter with our school. Vanessa and I were given this group of girls into our charge and I can’t tell you how many times I counted…1-2-3-4-5-6-7, to make sure the heads were all there.

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Well-behaved to be sure, and old enough to kinda take care of themselves, we waded through the waves of the 156,659,123,678,257 people. Seriously, for the introvert like me, the crowds were exhausting!! It. Was. Overwhelming. We talked to one staff member who told us their record day they had about 9,000 people. Yeah, see what I mean? That’s why by the end of the day, I looked slightly bewildered and exhausted (or maybe even on the verge of going crazy)

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We walked and walked…..Over 6 football fields we were told, we took cool selfies, we had funny moments, we saw some pretty awesome things, we touched a scaly reptile, we traveled long distances and lived to tell about it, we corralled 40+ kids through a pizza buffet, we entered the gift shop, and most walked out with nothing!, we drank some fresh lemonade, and the pictures can tell the rest…….Enjoy!

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Crazy Girls…

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Do we look tired?? Cause I definitely was!! 🙂

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Resting and eating food after going through the Ark

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Bus rides can make us crazy…

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See what I mean?? 🙂

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He honestly wasn’t as grumpy as he looks 🙂

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Petting a skink is seriously going to be one of the coolest/weirdest things you will ever experience!!

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All-in-all, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience. From the moments of stomach-ache (thankfully, no throwing up!), to the giggles of a small one who told me the hand sanitizer fell in the bus bathroom toilet. (umm, yeah, not much I’m gonna do about that!), to the constant noise and chatter of little ones needing this or that. Filling our faces with pizza and then playing in the arcade game room afterward. Being ‘oh, so borrrreeeddd’ on the trip, and playing games with your friends. These are the moments we treasure and these are the memories we make. I’m so glad for the moments like this that I can share with these kiddos…I miss them more than I ever dreamed! (this got suddenly sentimental). A great day indeed!

Memories of my Grandma

Emma Eash, you were known and loved by many. People knew you as a mom, Grandma, sister, friend, mother-in-law, aunt, neighbor and great-grandma. You left us a little suddenly, and yet, we’re glad you didn’t have to fight long. And so, although we sorrow over our loss, we’re sorrowing for us, not for you…and through our sorrow, we remember….

We remember how you loved to talk on the phone. Whenever you were curious about something in the family or anywhere else, you’d pick up the phone, dial the number (mostly always by memory), and just simply ask or tell us some news you thought we’d like to know.

We remember how you loved visitors, especially after Grandpa died and you were all alone. Visitors made your day, whether they were young, old, middle-aged, or just the daily stop of the mailman or Schwans man. You especially loved when the new great-grandbabies would get brought over to visit.

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We remember how you loved to spoil your grandchildren. As granddaughters, we were lucky, because you never out-grew your love for dolls, and we had quite the luxury of options to play with at ‘grandma’s house.’ We were the recipients of things given by you for our own dolls as well.

We remember how one Christmas, you made each of the grandchildren a comforter of their very own, knotted, serged around the edges, and ready to keep us warm each winter.

We remember how you loved to be in the kitchen making things. Your love for cooking, and all the recipes you shared with others will be missed. The week before you passed on, you made your last noodles for the family. At a family gathering, it was just a given that ‘grandma’s noodles’ would be there, and we loved that about you.

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We also remember that another understood thing for family gatherings was ice cream. You never got the Eash’s together without having ice cream. And stocked in your garage freezer was a stash of Schwans’ ice cream treats. We wondered how you would ever eat them all.

We remember your sense of humor. Although it was a little more hidden than Grandpa’s, it was still there. We remember how one time we told you we got our sense of humor from you and Grandpa, and you replied, “No, you didn’t. We still have ours!”

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We remember how on Facebook we as your family had your ongoing support in everything. We would post something, and sure enough, soon you had ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ it, or commented on it.

We remember your love of family. Christmas, Thanksgiving Day, birthdays…You wanted to have the family home, and it was meaningful to you to plan these get-togethers so that all the family would come home again.

We remember how you loved to make things with your hands. When you couldn’t get around very well, you started sewing pot-holders, or crocheting doilies to help while the time away. Many of us were blessed with a pot-holder or doily or something to remember you by.

We remember your love of games. The Florida game and golf were 2 of your favorites, and when you played, you were good at what you did because your determination to win brought out your competitive edge. This determination and stubbornness is what brought you through the hard times in your life.

We remember you were a giver. Many of the ladies in church were recipients of a bag of candy, a set of pot-holders, some other small gift, or just a birthday card in the mailbox. We also remember every year on our birthdays, we’d get a birthday card from you.

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This picture is a favorite of mine..

We remember how you loved to garden. And even though it was heartbreaking to you when you couldn’t do a big garden, you had raised beds made for you, so you could still raise your tomatoes, onions, and sweet corn.

We remember how you were a political grandma. When you told us once that you were up late watching the presidential debate, our jaws invisibly dropped, and we were just a little surprised. (if not a little horrified)

We remember you loved to give advice. Although it was not always asked for, it was often something we could take to heart, and at the very least, it gave us something to think about.

We remember how your house was always open. No matter what, we could always stop by, and you would be welcoming. We remember when we’d sit to talk with you, you’d often tell interesting stories….whether something you read on the internet, something you saw on Facebook, or some old story that you were reminiscing about. You knew your stuff, and loved to share it with others.

Grandma, I don’t think I ever got a picture taken with you, and if I did, I don’t remember where it would be. I do remember the times I sat to visit with you, sitting in the office, just chatting about whatever…those times are precious to me now. I also remember the last night I saw you, I held your hand in the hospital, gently rubbing the wrinkled skin that had worked and labored so hard all these years. I didn’t know what to say or how my heart should be responding to this. I leaned down and said, “I love you.” You didn’t hear my emotional whisper, so I said it louder…You then replied, “I love you too.” I remember also as we left for the evening, not knowing it would be our last time seeing you, we went in your room to tell you good-bye for the evening… you raised your hand in a farewell wave. I wonder if you knew? We didn’t, but we thank God for all the years we did have with you.

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Grandma, we love you lots, and we’re going to miss you lots. We cherish your legacy of following Christ…. You are no longer here, but your legacy will live on in and through us.

**Thank-you all for your prayers and support these last few days. It seriously means so much! It’s only been 4 days and yet it seems like longer. The phone rings and in my mind I think, “It’s Grandma,” until my mind remembers…Dad is late coming home and I think, “Oh, he must have stopped to visit Grandma”, and then my mind remembers. That empty house will never be the same. Keep our family in your prayers…Sometimes we (or rather I) feel ok, and other times, the grief hits in waves.

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Discoveries of A *Once-Upon-A-Time* Teacher

First of all, let me begin by saying I know that the title above is longer than a title is supposed to be. I’m horrible at naming my posts, and being that this was the first thing that popped into my head, and it sounded remotely decent, you will just have to deal with the lengthy, out-of-breath type of title. (how’s that for a run-on sentence?)

It’s been well over a month now that school has been going on without me, and I’m still not exactly sure how to express how I feel about it. In the meantime though, I’ve discovered some things about myself and teaching that I thought I would try to share with you.

#1. You can take the teacher out of school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher. This is proven simply by how my thoughts are drawn almost daily to school at least once…..or twice…..or thrice. It is proven even more, knowing that if you ask me randomly at any time of the school day, I could give you a general idea of what is happening just by glancing at the clock.

#2. It is not the same, nor will it ever be. The relationships you had with those delightful kids–yes, they will still mostly be there, but not seeing them every day, and not knowing what is going on in their life, they will at times treat you like a total stranger–Just because, “It’s different.”

#3. Stress levels go WAY down when you don’t teach school. I’ll just leave it at that 😀

#4. School CAN go on without you. As hard as it is to accept sometimes, and even harder to admit to anyone, there ARE wonderful teachers out there who can do just as good or even better than you. Just get over yourself, and accept it.

#5. I honestly don’t believe I will ever find a job or career as rewarding as teaching. (I’m open right now for options though, if you want me to give it a chance! 😉 yes, this is me, searching for a more full-time job on my blog..any takers?? 🙂 …..) As much work that goes into it, and time and energy it zaps right out of you, the rewards it gives you are way worth the effort.

#6. My writing material literally is non-existent! If you remember, back in the days of the classroom, lots of my writing was based on what happened there….Funny stories, sobering moments, great times of learning, or art projects we did together. Now, if I’d write about my life-work, it would be something like this..”sliced meat and cheese today”, “opened 5 new emails, and deleted the spam”, “customer drove me literally batty”, “created new bills, and paid the old”, “made a mistake on payroll, now I have to fix it”….See? Told you it’d be boring!

#7. No matter how “OK” you think you’ll be with giving it up, there will always be a little tug at your heart when you hear “school talk” being discussed.

#8. No matter how “OK” you are with someone taking over “your” kids, secretly, deep down inside, you will always look at them as yours. (SHHHH, don’t tell anyone!)

#9. There are things you will NOT miss. The permanent tired, exhausted feeling, the stress, the schedule, tears of a child who has just ‘had it’ with school, the dread of failure, behavior problems….

#10. You get excited when asked to substitute, even when it’s not “your” kids, or “your” class. Just the thought of being in the school atmosphere is invigorating for you, and it feels good to be back, especially when someone comments that it looks so normal to see you here! (The sudden popularity you get doesn’t hurt either 😉 )

#11. You will see teacher memes from all over the web, and you will still feel like you can identify with them, even though it’s been a really long time since you were in the classroom.

#12. You will never, ever lose the ‘teacher look/glare’. I’m a bossy one (strong leadership skills 🙂 ?) to begin with (just ask my little/younger, not-so-little brother), so perfecting the ‘teacher look’ was something I had practiced my whole life! I have it down to a ‘T’ now, so why should I lose it?!

#13. You lose your avenue of family stories. No one to tell you updates on their families. Something funny that happened at their house or something scary….On my recent substituting adventure, I was told a story of a hero boy who saved his dad from burning a house down. 😀

#14. Nobody says it as bluntly as kids! (thank goodness they kinda grow out of that!)

#15. You will have some regrets about the way you did things. Looking back, you realize maybe you focused too much on insignificant things and not enough on what is really important, all the while knowing that you did what you did and at the time it was your very best!

#16. Life moves on, and if you don’t move with it, it will trample you. Keeping busy, hearing school stories, and showing up randomly at school are all things that help you move on. The things that happen, happen for a reason, whether you understand them or not, whether you agree with what’s happening or not. Trust, faith, and strong determination help keep you together. Tears are necessary for healing, as well as many substitute days! 😉

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