Memoir, Real Life, Seasons and Holidays

Why my Grandpa Loved Halloween|A Life Well Lived #centenarian #Halloween


On October 31, 1916, at age five, my grandfather, Ernest Hedges almost died. You see, he was all dressed up for Halloween. Ready to go to the annual Halloween party at the one-room schoolhouse, but a fever landed him in bed.

His mother and eight siblings, all except his big sister Pearl left without him.

Grandpa Ernie
Eunice, Ernie, and big sister, Grace

He gradually grew worse. His skin turned as orange as a pumpkin and his fever spiked way beyond an acceptable level. Papa Hedges rushed him by carriage to the nearest hospital in town.

The ER doctor knew right away the problem. A ruptured appendix. By the grace of God, Grandpa Ernie received life-saving surgery. He recovered in the hospital for a month.

Missing Halloween had a huge impact on Grandpa. Even in his elder years he still loved to dress up.



Grandpa lived through the World War I, The Depression, and World War II, in which he was finally drafted.

In Italy, he met his beautiful wife, Cina.


IMG_20181030_214938064 (2)

After they both returned to the states, they built a home and a life. My father, Jonathan was the youngest of four children.


When my father was five years old, they moved from Madison Wisconsin to Melbourne, Florida. Grandpa was a baker and opened Hedges Bakery in Downtown Melbourne. Grandpa Ernie did the baking and Nona Cina decorated the cakes beautifully.


Grandpa and Nona’s family grew.


And grew.


But Nona developed a cough that wouldn’t go away. Doctors confirmed she had lung cancer, though she never smoked a day in her life.

Six weeks after her diagnosis, she was gone.


In her memory, Grandpa Ernie wrote, Flowers for Cina, his life story, at the age of 92.


Many birthdays later, at the age of 105, Grandpa celebrated with his children, grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.

14712655_10207684589618203_6078819561547140862_o1 (2)

Only a week later, on Halloween, October 31, 2016, exactly 100 years after he almost died as a child, Grandpa Ernie got a cold, which turned into pneumonia.

At the blessed age of 105 years old, Grandpa passed into the loving arms of Jesus.

14711612_10209503849864382_6003714076105366937_o (2)

Halloween was a special day for Grandpa. It’s a day he was spared and given an extra 100 years to live. To share the love of Jesus, inspire his family and friends, and mentor his many adopted “grandkids.”

I will always remember Halloween as a special day for a very wonderful grandpa.


Blog, Seasons and Holidays, Uncategorized

The Most Important Thing in Your Child’s Education


With all the options in educating children, it’s got me thinking…what is the most important thing in a child’s education?

What is the one thing that a child needs in any educational setting?

What will help them know they are loved no matter their performance?

What will encourage them when they are struggling academically, socially, and emotionally? Read more here.

Continue reading “The Most Important Thing in Your Child’s Education”

Blog, Seasons and Holidays, Uncategorized

School’s Out: {5 Ways to Curb the Summer Slide}

With school out, wouldn’t it be nice to just let our kids have fun this summer?

No more being cooped up in a dusty building and confined to a desk. Let’s open our front doors and allow our kids to run free. Get some summer sun. Check out some cool parks, our city has to offer.

Wait a minute. During the 2-3 months with no school, our kids might forget everything they’ve learned, right? They could experience the “summer slide,” falling back in the reading skills and knowledge they’ve attained. Read more here.


Blog, Seasons and Holidays

10 Gardening Books for Growing Kids With Green Thumbs


“Mom, this is actually fun.” My teenager dug into the soft earth with her shovel. In Florida, the dirt is extra sandy, so the earth must be tilled and compost added.

Tired of watching from the sidelines, my nine-year-old piped up. “Can I have a turn?”

Even my youngest wanted to stick her hands in the dirt, adding an enjoyable sensory experience to her day. And, then my sensory-sensitive middle son, helped making holes to plant the seeds with an unsharpened pencil.

With a “Team Griese” effort, all of us worked together to make our garden grow. Now, all it needed was rain (or watering with the sprinkler every other day) and sunshine. My the grace of God, in about 100 days, beans, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, and a few  others we wanted to try will be ready to eat!

048Gardening can be hard work but with proper planning, the right tools, and plenty of seeds children will be eager to help create a little sanctuary in your backyard.

Good for the body, mind, and soul, gardening strengthens muscles, relieves stress, and helps children focus.


Books are the perfect way to prepare children for making a garden of their own. Excitement builds as they picture the tiny seeds bursting into life under the ground.

Here are ten gardening books for growing kids with green thumbs.

  1. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

    For our smallest gardeners, Carle tells the tale of the life cycle of a flower. With paper mosaics of bright, bold colors and simple, yet rhythmic prose, this one is sure to be read again and again.


  2. A Fairy Went A-Marketing by Rose Fyleman, with pictures by Jamichael Henterly.

    A lovely, lovely book about a wee fairy going to the farmer’s market and with each purchase, she has a change of heart. A story of kindness, compassion, and love.

  3. Eating the Alphabet.

    Lois Elhert presents a wonderful introduction to fruits and veggies for our younger children with each letter of the alphabet. Not only will they learn the names, but they’ll develop an appreciation for their beauty and a desire to try them all.111

  4. From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.

    I love every book Gibbons has authored and illustrated for preschoolers on up. Her simple line drawings filled with eye-catching colors, brings clarity to what’s going on underneath the ground in your garden.097

  5. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston.

    Don’t let the picture-book style of this book fool you. The gorgeous drawings coupled with free verse poetry, will captivate both toddlers and teens and all ages between. Before the first page of poetry, the outer pages are filled with an assortment of seeds which are labeled for children who wish to learn their different names.

  6. National Geographic’s Seed to Plant

    With mesmerizing pictures and short, attention grabbing explanations, even the youngest child will love to gaze at the vivid photography in this easy-to-follow book.gardenbooks

  7. Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World by Julia Rothman

    Like six or more books rolled into one: conservationism, botany, art, earth science, anatomy, zoology, … every detail in the drawings are labeled for children’s growing vocabulary. Even an element of art can be added if children wish to trace or copy whatever strikes their interest.

  8. Vegetables in the Garden

    A Scholastic First Discovery Book, colorful, layered pictures show the different parts of vegetables growing from the plant above the soil to the roots beneath the earth. A favorite series of mine (my kids love The Egg), kids delight in lifting the next page to see the surprise

  9. Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy.

    For creative gardeners, Lovejoy gives brilliant ways to add flair to the average garden and make it extraordinary.


  10. Gardening Wizardry for Kids by L. Patricia Kite.

    This unique book shares the history behind our veggies along with how to grow many of them in your own home. An element of science is added when children experiement with different seeds.

After planting these seeds of knowledge in your children’s minds and hearts, you’ll have the know-how and confidence to go outside and start growing your own backyard paradise.

Blog, Seasons and Holidays

5 Thoughtful Books to Give for Easter


What do you put in your children’s Easter baskets? Eggs? Chocolate? Books, I hope!

Here are five beautiful books to enrich your children’s hearts and minds this Easter.


1. The Bunny Side of Easter by Linda W. Rooks, pictures by Marilee Harrald-Pilz

Not only are this book’s pictures absolutely adorable, it’s not your typical Easter Bunny story. The allegory’s lively characters and richer meanings will lead you into deeper discussions of faith and sacrifice with your child.

“beautiful job of capturing the heart of what it means to sacrifice for others; a tough concept for all of us, but especially for children. The book led us to a great talk about Jesus’ sacrifice making Him the greatest hero of all.” ~review on by Becky Hunter, wife of Senior Pastor Joel C. Hunter, Northland a Church Distributed, Longwood, Florida


2. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Yago

“Every story whispers His name.”

Have you ever read a children’s picture book that contains truth for all ages? The Jesus Storybook Bible takes you through many beloved stories of the Old Testament, including Noah and Joseph, showing how they point us to Christ. In the New Testament stories, Jesus is portrayed as healer, hypocrisy-revealer, and Savior.


3. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Tim Jonke

Even children struggle with significance and this allegory shows how God has a greater plan than we could ever think or imagine. With connections to both Christmas and Easter, it can be read year-round.

4. What is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams, illustrated by Amy Wummer

For our littlest readers, What is Easter? is a sturdy board book that takes children step-by-step through the meaning behind the holiday. Starting our children young on explaining the life, death, and resurrection of Christ prepares their hearts for hearing and believing when they are old enough to understand.

5. Personalized Holy Bible

Whether your children like soccer, football, cupcakes, or flowers there is a Bible cover to match their interests. Most Christian bookstores can add your child’s name to the front of their Bibles in gold or silver lettering. I am forever grateful for the Easter present of my beloved Bible when I was a child (thanks, Mom) with my name on front, written in gold. This precious gift was a love letter from God. It’s words sparked the fire of faith that has burned brighter and brighter the more I have come to know and love Christ.
This Easter, consider adding an inspirational book or personalized Bible to your child’s basket. Books that speak to the soul are the ones we always cherish.