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Warming up before their classmates came in to watch.

 Evelyn came home a few weeks ago with the news that she’d been selected to participate in a school spelling bee. She made it abundantly clear she did not want to participate. After all, the thought of competition, especially competition in front of people (gasp!) is not her idea of fun. At her age, I would have done the same thing, so naturally, I encouraged her to reconsider. And by reconsider, I mean I practically forced her to participate. She might as well get over her fears while she’s still young!


The big day arrived and I assured her that we’d come and cheer her on. After a practice round, making sure everyone understood the rules, the 3rd and 4th-grade classmates came in to watch. Several of the kids got out pretty quickly because they spelled a word correctly, but not for the definition (think too, two, and to). So, when Evelyn, all quivery and sweaty-palmed, stepped up to the front and was given the word grins, she politely asked for a definition.

Then, just to be really sure that she understood the word, she asked for it to be used in a sentence.

Can’t say that I can think of any other legitimate ways to spell grins but her cautious and thoughtful approach saw her through all her words, like cape, nearly, gate, and on and on until she was the last third grader AND last girl standing. That made her particularly proud.


One thing I love about Evelyn is even though she’s proud of herself, she’s incredibly humble about it, especially in the moment. She gives the smallest reserved smile and shyly accepts praise. When it’s all said and done and she’s at home, the realization of her achievement comes gushing out.


It was the word rinse that ultimately did her in (why does C and S have to sound the same?!). In the end, she made it to 3rd place out of 20 kids–not bad for someone with horrible stage fright!

Way to go Evelyn!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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