Beautiful heart; beautiful mind


Today our oldest baby turns 11! More amazing than the lightning fast passing of time is watching Cate grow into such a remarkable person. She is without doubt the kindest, most thoughtful person I know. She never has a harsh word to say about anyone. And her sense of social justice? Let’s just say she has strong opinions about how things should be in this imperfect world. And I think she will do her part to set wrongs right.

Did I mention that she’s scary smart? She’s a homeschooling parent’s dream – she loves to learn, she proactively sources curriculum (not just for herself, but her siblings too), and she actually worries if she doesn’t think she’s done enough work. Really!

As if that wasn’t enough, she’s a talented writer and is currently working on a novel set during the civil rights movement in the US. (See above re: acute sense of social justice.)

I can’t think of any more fitting tribute to our girl than sharing some of her writing with the world. Below is the intro paragraph to her novel, and further below is a short piece she wrote last school year for a writing class. The assignment was to write a story based on a famous work of art. She chose Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Now I know I’m biased, but pretty amazing for a 10-year old, no??

On that note, Happy Birthday Catie Bella … we love you so very much!


By Cate

Chapter 1

Spring was my favorite season as a child. It still is. It might be because I was named after a flower. Dandelion. Or maybe because my birthday is in May. Or maybe because spring was when I finally was allowed to go out and have little tea parties with my hand-sewn dolls in the blooming meadow just outside that bent piece of wire my mother called a fence. But the real reason I adore spring is because I met Hope that very season, and she was my best friend. Up until she died. She has been deceased for almost seventy years now, and it still pains me to think of her, because I am always reminded of her death. But let me tell you the story of how she inspired me.

Starry Night Art Story

By Cate


“Mama, mama, look! Look at the sky! The sky is swirly!” The annoyingly high-pitched voice rang from outside my bedroom window.

I didn’t know who said it or why (swirls in the sky?), but I could tell, based on the squeaky voice, it was a three or four year-old girl who clearly liked to play make believe. I had been reading a book in the comfort of my warm bedroom, when that annoying little toddler distracted me from the deadly battle occurring within my book. I was whisked out of a world where castles dotted the landscape and courageous knights vanquished evil, six-legged creatures, all the while wearing impressive suits made of metal.

I muttered under my breath. Swirls in the sky? There were no swirls in the sky! Anyone who was anyone knew there were no swirls in the sky.

Okay, I admit it, I was a little curious. And for some strange reason, I couldn’t suppress my longing to know why the girl was saying what she was. So, I tiptoed quietly to my bedroom window, pushed aside the ugly sludge-colored drapes (my mother referred to them as beige-brown), and peered out into the night. The moon shed a pale, dusky light on the cobble-stoned streets. Outside, the little girl who had distracted me from my book and her mother were staring up at the night sky, awed. A few other people were gathered round the centre of the street, gazing at the stars. And then I realized what was so amazing.

There were swirls in the sky! Curling, looping, twisting, glittering swirls! The shapes were displayed across the horizon, glowing, moonbeams dancing around them. White, gold and silver swirls swam through the indigo sky. Some of the swirls dipped so low that they could almost touch the tops of houses. A group of swirls, all blended together in a sheet, wrapped round the cross that teetered on the edge of the roof of a little church. Some swirls were so high up in the sky, they appeared to be level with the glowing moon. I gasped.

“Mother, mother, come here!” I exclaimed. My mother came rushing into my room.

“Are you okay?” she asked frantically. “Are you hurt?” Then she noticed the look on my face.

“Eric, are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” I said, “and the reason I called you is because you NEED to see this.”

“Eric,” my mother complained, “I have to finish cleaning. I can’t be bothered to look at…..” She stopped talking abruptly when she noticed the enchanting swirls in the sky.

“Oh my!” she gasped. “Those are…… spectacular.”

I smiled at her. “I guess I must thank that little girl over there because I never would’ve looked out my window otherwise!” I laughed. And laughed. And soon my mother was laughing. And then we were both laughing. It was definitely a night worth remembering.

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Beautiful heart; beautiful mind

  1. Dear Cate, wishing you the happiest birthday from us all at Dodges Ferry xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Patty Maynard

    Happy Birthday sweet Cate. I concur with your mother. You are one of the sweetest and brightest “kids” I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot over the years. May you have safe travels, and many blessings in the year to come. I look forward to reading your book. Hi to your family. Miss you all.

    • grandma

      Cate – 11 we can hardly believe it! -you were our first grandchild and you will always have a very special place in our hearts. We marvel at your achievements and we are so very proud of you. We love you so very very much.
      Grandma and Grandpa xxxx

  3. Mason Brown

    Happy Birthday Cate!!!

  4. Happy Birthday Cate! I have to agree completely with your mother. It’s been wonderful getting to know you at Wildwood. I’m impressed with your writing and the maturity of your insight into the characters. When you return, let me know if you’re interested in a “Young Writers” class and I’ll create one. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Enjoy the rest of your big world adventure!
    p.s. Passport to the World ended last week and next week we’re doing Outreach. Have you ever taken that course? I think the social justice focus would be right up your alley!

  5. Abbie

    Happy Birthday Cate! I feel blessed to know you and be inspired by your strength, determination, and ease of being! You are indeed ‘one smart cookie’ who has a gift with words! Thank you for sharing your essence with me! Abbie

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