The very best kind of garden

The best kind of soil is soft and pliable through tilling the hard ground of insensitivity and free of the weeds of cares and sin.

The best kind of seed is God’s Word.

The best kind of nourishment for the seed is faith.

The best kind of light is Jesus.

The very best kind of garden is the one in my child’s heart.


No need to dress up

Room to mess up

Strength to fess up

Home is where grace lives.

More corny jokes

Laughter evokes

Fun, happy folks

Home is where joy lives.

No secrets to keep

Enjoying sweet sleep

Drink it in deep

Home is where peace lives.

Forgiving a wrong

Heart ties are strong

Where I belong

Home is where love lives.

©2020 Anna-Marie Durham all rights reserved


Rise and fall.

The tune is slow and regular.

Memory’s shadow


on a steady breath

of salty spray.

Mister moon

is the conductor

of this melody—

frothy tones mingled with starlight.

Briny echoes

of happier times—

ripples of love’s tender ease—

found lapping

at your mind’s shore

each time

you close your eyes

and hold its iridescent home

to your ear.

©2011 Anna-Marie Durham

Mother’s Day cinquain

For my mom’s Mother’s Day gift this year I went the handmade route. I made her a cute little hanging plaque with a poem I wrote just for her. Unfortunately I forgot to scan it before I gave it (sorry!). In case you don’t know, a cinquain is a 5 line poem that goes like this:

  • one word (noun)
  • two adjectives about the noun
  • three verbs about the noun
  • a four-word phrase about the noun
  • another word for the noun

Mine went like this:


artistic, kind

listening, accepting, loving

always there for me


I love cinquains because you can easily write a wonderful poem by following this simple “recipe.”

Hope you bless a mom in your life with something happily handmade.

When He cometh

And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3:17

When He Cometh

When He cometh, when He cometh

To make up His jewels,

All His jewels, precious jewels,

His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,

Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gather

The gems for His kingdom:

All the pure ones, all the bright ones,

His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children,

Who love their Redeemer,

Are the jewels, precious jewels,

His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

Words by William O. Cushing

Music by George F. Root

9/11 tribute: Max Hammond

On September 11, 2001, 2,996 bright lights were extinguished. This is one candle’s story.

Image result for carl max hammond 2996 project
Carl Max Hammond

Max Hammond was a guy much like one of your friends. He loved NASCAR and WWF and life. He had just moved to Derry, NH, with his MITRE defense job earlier in the year and bought a house. I believe he was also engaged to be married. Co-workers and friends recall how he bought gifts for their children each holiday.

He was on Flt. 175 that crashed into Tower 2 of the WTC. No one will hear his booming voice or receive a card with his signature. No one will benefit from his Ford Mustang expertise or the fun activities he planned. No one will hear him tell a funny joke or check the cars with him on the raceway. Because aside from the hole where the WTC used to be there are 2,996 little holes where loved ones once were as well.

Image result for carl max hammond 2996 project

Max is remembered by those who knew him best, his family, as a funny guy with varied interests, like fixing up cars and writing poetry. I wanted to include the beautiful poems he wrote here because they really show us his heart. Thanks to his father, Carl,  for sharing them:

Below are four poems written by Max. Hope was published in 1979 (Max’s Freshman year).in the Grissom High School, Huntsville, AL publication SEED. Midwinter Morning and Master Craftsman were published in the SEED in 1982 (Max’s senior year). Sunrise was written when he was twelve years old on a chalkboard to his sister’s dorm room the day we moved her in for her freshman year of college. Max started writing poetry and short stories as a child. The poem HOPE is surprisingly descriptive of his death and the renewed patriotism and spirit of cooperation among diverse groups. Max had a very strong belief that individuals should be judged by the quality of the person and not by external appearance or position.

The earth erupts in savage fury
The land and oceans tremble
Man~{!/~}s buildings, his creations,
his world
all are gone.
His ultimate dream is filled
for he is dead.
But among the crumpled buildings and
sweeping fires
Among the utter destruction, the horrible
In the night
A child is crying.

Midwinter Morning
The water of the pond,
stained brown from the soil of the earth
laps gently at cattails
beckoning them to play.
Beyond, Silhouetted against the cold gray sky,
bare branches wave good-bye
to the silent birds above
making their way gracefully toward the newborn sun.
From a twisted walnut tree,
a gray furball of a squirrel darts up
eagerly eying the view,
He leaps and joins the morning. 

Master Craftsman
The controlled rhythm of his hammer
provides the backbeat for the music of his trade.
The crackles and sizzles of forming metal
make staccato runs through the score.
His sanding provides a consistent melody
as his saw shrieks and screams and rips through the scale.
Hammering, forming, sanding, make the music.
Blood and sweat are the conductors
to the Master Craftsman’s symphony.

Life may get tough at times
But you must always look forward
Never toward the setting sun
for it is only a depressant
But toward the rising sun
for sunrise holds tomorrow

The more I read about him the more I thought he could have been one of my friends–smart and funny, easy-going and kind. He was willing to help people who needed it. I think I would have liked him a lot. And I’m sorry I never got the chance. My prayers go to his family on this difficult anniversary. May you know God’s peace in a new way this year. One quote from a friend sums it up well

I see the life of Max as heavier than Tai Mountain,

for I know his spirit will never disappear. 

He is in heaven now, watching over us.

Image result for carl max hammond 2996 project

You can read more about him from those who loved him here. If you are family or friends of max, please leave a comment and share more with us. We would all love to know more.

To see other tributes, please visit the 2,996 project.

Thanksgiving poetry

I have posted a lot of poetry lately. Well, here are some more beautiful poems for the holiday. Enjoy!

At Thanksgiving

For the wealth of pathless forests,

Whereon no axe may fall;

For the winds that haunt the branches;

The young bird’s timid call;

For the red leaves dropped like rubies

Upon the dark green sod;

For the weaving of the forests,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the sound of water gushing

In bubbling beads of light;

For the fleets of snow white lilies

Firm anchored out of sight;

For the reeds among the eddies;

The crystal on the clod;

For the flowing of the rivers,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the rosebud’s break of beauty

Along the toiler’s way;

For the violet’s eye that opens

To bless the new born day;

For the bare twigs that in summer

Bloom like the prophet’s rod;

For the blossoming of flowers,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the lifting up of mountains,

In brightness and in dread;

For the peaks where snow and sunshine

Alone have dared to tread;

For the dark of silent gorges,

Whence mighty cedars nod;

For the majesty of mountains,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the splendor of the sunsets,

Vast mirrored on the sea;

For the gold fringed clouds that curtain

Heaven’s inner mystery;

For the molten bars of twilight,

Where thought leans glad yet awed;

For the glory of the sunsets,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the earth and all its beauty;

The sky and all its light;

For the dim and soothing shadows,

That rest the dazzled sight;

For unfading fields and prairies,

Where sebse in vain has trod;

For the world’s exhaustless beauty,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For an eye of inward seeing;

A soul to know and love;

For these common aspirations,

That our high heirship prove;

For the hearts that bless each other

Beneath Thy smile, Thy rod;

For the amaranth saved from Eden,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the hidden scroll, o’erwritten

With one dear name adored;

For the Heavenly in the human,

The spirit in the Word;

For the tokens of Thy presence

Within, above, abroad;

For Thine own great gift of Being

I thank Thee, O my God!

Boys and girls Thanksgiving of 1892

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Never since the race was started,

Had a boy in any clime,

Cause to be so thankful-hearted,

As the boys of present time.

Not a girl in old times living–

Let the world talk as it may–

Found such reasons for Thanksgiving,

As the girls who live to-day!

Grandmas, in their corners sitting,

Toiling till the day grew late,

What knew they with endless knitting,

Of the jolly roller-skate?

Grandpas sitting by the fender,

Reading by the fagGots’ blaze,

What knew they of modern splendor

Found in incandescent rays?

Where they toiled in bitter weather,

Braving rain and snow and sleet,

Gathering sticks of wood together,

We have radiators’ heat.

But these fruits of modern science

They first planted seed by seed,

In their strength and self-reliance

We may find a noble creed.

With the dawn of great inventions,

Came the anti-warring days.

Men are sick of armed contentions,

God be thanked with heart-felt praise.

Once a boy was trained for fighting,

Now the world is better taught,

‘Tis an age when wrongs are righting

By the force of common thought.

Once a girl was trained for sewing,

Spinning, knitting, nothing more.

She must never think of knowing

Aught of things outside her door.

If she soared above her spinning,

If she sought a life more broad,

She was looked upon as sinning

‘Gainst the laws of man and God.

Now a girl is taught she’s human,

Brain and body, soul and heart–

All are needed by the woman

Who to-day would play her part.

Swift and sure the world advances,

Let the critic carp who may.

God be praised for all the chances

Boys and girls enjoy to-day.

Lucy Larcom

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell

Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;

But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know

A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,

When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,

With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,

The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,

With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I’m old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day

We’re too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;

Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;

It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.

It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;

There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,

Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,

Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad

To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;

The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,

And whether living far or near they all came trooping in

With shouts of “Hello, daddy!” as they fairly stormed the place

And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face

Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,

Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;

From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;

All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,

The struggles we were making and the hardships we’d gone through;

We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly–

It seemed before we’d settled down ’twas time to say good-bye.

Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew

When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

Edgar Albert Guest

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,

For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,

For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,

For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,

For the cunning and strength of the workingman’s hand,

For the good that our artists and poets have taught,

For the friendship that hope and affection have brought –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,

For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,

For our country extending from sea unto sea;

The land that is known as the “Land of the Free” –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!



The year has turned its circle, The seasons come and go.

The harvest all is gathered in And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures, The fields, their yellow grain,

So open wide the doorway – Thanksgiving comes again!


An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving a short story by Louisa May Alcott

Last week’s lessons Nov 14-18

As I said a couple of posts back, I’m back to creating my own plans, which I really enjoy. Here’s what went on at our house in the way of lessons.


Principle: Law of Love

Leading idea: theme from JBC in Ex. 20:1-2

We read the account of giving the Ten Commandments. That was interesting, and we painted “word pictures” to really set the tone. We talked about how the Children of Israel must have felt, knowing God was physically coming to the mountain in three days. How would that make us feel? How are things different now that we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in our hearts? How does that affect our “law”? (law moved from the outward ten commandments to the inward Christian self-government). She did a great job reasoning these things and we talked quite informally over the week about it. Then we read the commandments and talked about what each of them meant. We will continue next week.


Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character

Leading idea: Pilgrims had a strong work ethic

We read from “Of Plimoth Plantation,” reading some and paraphrasing some. We talked about the leading idea and gave examples from the story. I love reading the account from William Bradford. I recommend using primary sources as much a possible. Don’t take a writer’s word that something happened the way they say. Find out for yourself. So the more we read from it each year the more familiar we will become. I highlight different things each year. We rehearse the basic account and then I focus on one particular trait of the Pilgrims. This year it is diligence and hard work. Nothing for the notebook, just reading and discussing. Notebook will be next week. Geography has been with history this week, looking at Holland, England and Cape Cod.


Principle: God’s creation communicates His Truth and love to man.

Leading idea: God made flowers for us to enjoy

I cannot believe how much I love our science text, The Child’s Book of Nature, by Dr. Worthington Hooker. If you are struggling with this subject and you have kids in the elementary ages, you should at least get a copy and see it for yourself. He’s a Christian scientist who wrote these books in the late 1800’s and they are gentle, godly and terribly educational. I will write more about this in another post. The chapter we read this week was the first chapter on why we love flowers. We created a botany cover page and we also made a violet with tissue paper for our notebooks. They had fun with the paper and glue. She reasoned several things: why nature can teach us about God, how flowers teach us and how she would feel about a plant that taught her things.


Principle: God uses the concept of measurement to express His plans for man. (Jer. 33:22, Gen 14:16)

Leading idea: measurement is an expression of the mathematics language

We are still working on her multiplication tables to 12. She’s doing great. Also we are talking about how math is a language and that we must express it precisely or we will communicate the wrong idea (answer).


Principle: God is the source of all good work

Leading idea: work is good and we need to do it

Now my 7dd is interested in money and how the economy works, so each Wednesday we take time in math to discuss economic principles. This week was work. If you have Mr. Rose’s Guide, I took it straight from there. We discussed the importance or work, defined it, and discussed “producing”. We are all producers, even if we don’t work outside the home. We also read the poem “Work” by Angela Morgan(we printed the first and last stanzas and she drew pictures of tools around it). I include a paragraph about John Smith and Jamestown because it ties in so beautifully (from this web page).

When Captain John Smith was made the leader of the colonialists at Jamestown, Virginia, he discouraged the get rich quick seekers of gold by announcing flatly “He who will not work shall not eat”. This rule made Jamestown the first permanent English settlement in the new world, but work does more than lead to success; it gives an outlet from sorrow, restrains wild desires, ripens and refines character, enables human beings to cooperate with God, and when well done, brings to life it’s consummate satisfaction. Every man is a prince of possibilities, but by work alone can he become into his kingship.

Work! Thank God for the might of it,

The ardor, the urge, the delight of it.

Work that springs from the heart’s desire,

Setting the brain and the soul on fire,

Oh what is so good as the heat of it,

And what is so glad as the beat of it!

And what is so kind as the stern command,

Challenging brain and heart and hand.

Work!Thank God for the pride of it,

For the beautiful conquering tide of it,

Sweeping the life in it’s furious flood,

Thrilling the arteries, cleansing the blood,

Mastering stupor and dull despair,

Moving the dreamer to do and dare,

Oh, what is so good as the urge of it,

And what is so glad as the surge of it,

And what is so strong as the summons deep,

Rousing the torpid soul from sleep!

Work!Thank God for the pace of it,

For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;

Fiery steeds in full control,

Nostrils a-quiver to greet the goal.

Work, the power that drives behind,

Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,

Holding the runaway wishes back,

Reining the will to one steady track.

Speeding the energies faster, faster,

Triumphing over disaster.

Oh, what is so good as the pain of it,

And what is so great as the gain of it?

And what is so kind as the cruel goad,

Forcing us on through the rugged road?

Work! Thank God for the swing of it,

For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,

Passion and labor daily hurled,

On the mighty anvils of the world.

Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it?

And what is so huge as the aim of it?

Thundering on through dearth and doubt,

Calling the plan of the maker out.

Work, the Titan; work, the friend,

Shaping the earth to a glorious end,

Draining the swamps and blasting the hills,

Doing whatever the spirit wills-

Rending a continent apart,

To answer the dream of the master heart.

Thank God for a world where none may shirk.

Thank God for the splendor of work!

Princess G enjoyed the poem and drawing the tools. She reasoned that the tool is dictated by the job. And that the right tool makes the work easier. That’s a good thing to know!


Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character

Leading idea: God prepared people in America to help the settlers

We read the D’Aulaire’s Pocahontas. Their illustrations are great and the story is nice. (They don’t tell the kids that she dies in England.) We were impressed by her story and how she conducted herself in England, being a girl raised in America in the woods and not in a palace. In England they were all very impressed by her. We were too. Princess G reasoned the leading idea and we discussed the principle from that.

English was thrown in among the other lessons, with definitions, Daily Grams, and review of the basic parts of speech using text we were reading.

If you are still reading this, I’m impressed. I can’t believe how I’ve gone on and on and on… God is good and we are learning so much. I cannot wait to tell you about Dr. Hooker’s book…and the importance of original sources…and more Thanksgiving fun stuff…so much to blog, so little time!

God the Artist

When I was working on my lessons for the week I was copying a poem by the poet Angela Morgan (which I will share here soon as well). This is another of her poems that is so wonderful I thought I would share it with you. I hope your children enjoy it as well. We try to read all the fine literature we can, especially when it so beautifully glorifies our Creator.

God the Artist

God, when you thought of a pine tree,

How did you think of a star?

How did you dream of the Milky Way

To guide us from afar.

How did you think of a clean brown pool

Where flecks of shadows are?

God, when you thought of a cobweb,

How did you think of dew?

How did you know a spider’s house

Had shingles bright and new?

How did you know the human folk

Would love them like they do?

God, when you patterned a bird song,

Flung on a silver string,

How did you know the ecstasy

That crystal call would bring?

How did you think of a bubbling throat

And a darling speckled wing?

God, when you chiseled a raindrop,

How did you think of a stem,

Bearing a lovely satin leaf

To hold the tiny gem?

How did you know a million drops

Would deck the morning’s hem?

Why did you mate the moonlit night

With the honeysuckle vines?

How did you know Madeira bloom

Distilled ecstatic wines?

How did you weave the velvet disk

Where tangled perfumes are?

God, when you thought of a pine tree,

How did you think of a star?

Angela Morgan