I will be posting a more formal page here in the future, but for now I'm including a fun story that I used to introduce myself to
readers of my blog at www.homeschoolenrichment.com last April. I call it The Bucket Story. Enjoy!
Good morning! Marcia Washburn here, writing from the High Plains of Northeastern Colorado. Our elevation here on the flat side
of Colorado (did you know Colorado had a flat side?) is 4231 ft. above sea level, higher than most of the mountain peaks in New
England. We moved to an acreage out here when our family’s population of boys maxed out the city lot where our former house
stood. In my blog, I plan to share “The Rest of the Story” about feeding, changing, dressing, training, teaching, and loving five
sons and one husband (well, just feeding and loving my husband!).
Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking when He put this little girl from the suburbs on a farm with six guys and a hundred
hogs. At times I felt like “A Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch,” as the old song goes. I think God is homeschooling me and
He chose the farm for my learning lab. I’ll admit it has given me the motivation to develop many of the principles and strategies
that I share in my “Management for Life” column in Home School Enrichment. I am reminded of one incident in particular.
My hubby and teenage sons were constructing a large metal building to house the classic cars they enjoy restoring. We dubbed it
The Stable, because most of the vehicles were Mustangs waiting to be restored.
As I arrived home that afternoon, I noticed that my husband, Kieth (yes, it’s really spelled that way), and four of our sons were
still busily at work. What they lacked in equipment, they made up for in ingenuity. Kieth stood atop a borrowed scaffold and John
used a forty-foot ladder. In typical country-boy fashion, they were employing the bucket on the tractor’s front-end loader to
elevate men and materials to work on the roof. Nathanael stood in the bucket with 12-year-old Timothy at the controls. Josiah
alternated with the others and worked as a runner.
“Come on over, Mom—we’ll give you a ride in the bucket,” they invited.
“Sorry, Guys—I’ve got too much to do right now. It sure is looking great though.”
I had 250 pages of agendas to personalize and collate before the next day’s homeschool conference, not to mention packing. And,
of course, the guys would be hungry for supper soon. I really didn’t have time for tractor rides right then.
They continued to coax me aboard. Then my Divine Homeschool Teacher whispered, “You are speaking at the conference this
Saturday about setting priorities. Which comes first—your family or your conference ministry?” I gave in.
Soon I found myself on a white-knuckle ride twenty-five feet up in the air. When I didn’t seem scared enough, Nathanael, riding
along with me, wiggled the bucket some more. I obliged by letting out appropriate squeals of “fright.”
We had reached full extension and were enjoying the view when the tractor engine suddenly cut out.
Timothy: “Uh, sorry, Mom—I think we’re out of gas.”
“Oh, great,” I thought, “more delays.”
John: “I’ll run into town for more gas.”
At this point, as the precious minutes ticked away, I was praying for self-control. It would take John at least 20 minutes to drive
into town, buy gas, and return home. Kieth attempted to “help” by offering to hold my hand while I stepped four and one-half feet
from the bucket to his scaffold. Judging the distance, comparing it to the lower width of my skirt and my own short legs, and
considering my own complete lack of athletic ability, I decided to wait it out.
About his time, John returned, empty-handed.
“Sorry, Mom. I forgot the money for the gas.”
You know, God really does work miracles, even today. He gave me grace to quietly tell him where to find my purse. Meanwhile,
I was sure it would be a burning-the-midnight-oil evening.
Timothy, quiet until now at the tractor controls, said, “I think I’ll just try it once and see what happens.
“Va-room!” The tractor roared to life.
Kieth and the boys burst into laughter and I realized that I had been had—in the biggest way. The tractor was never out of gas at
all! And, they told me through their laughter, they could have lowered the bucket even when the engine wasn’t running. This city
girl had a lot to learn.
When you live with a houseful of guys, every day is April Fool’s Day. And my Heavenly Homeschool Teacher had found another
creative way to test my priorities—the bucket of an old tractor. What’s your Bucket Story?
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established." Proverbs 24:3 (NIV)