Does anyone reading remember the film Signs (released August 2002, directed by M. Night Shyamalan)? The central thesis of the film argues that fate governs our lives and that all details have significance. Should this frighten us or comfort us?

Are we in a narrative of our own making, or are we characters walking through a book already written for us?

I cannot say with any certainty what we’re doing. Can you? Goodness knows, I’ve pondered this question many a night. I’m not sure what I would wish for in this regard. In any case, most of us agree that we walk around the majority of the time believing we are free agents and acting as if we were.

The natural world and the universe we’re in quite often amaze and thrill my every nerve. My passions rise up at the smallest beauty just as they do under the grandest awe. In Jungian typology, I am the Mystic—the rarest of types (resource 1, resource 2, resource 3) supposedly, which (if that’s true and if we can put stock into types at all) would give me no end of pleasure. The world is poetry, and we Jungian mystics often dedicate our deepest enthusiasm to decoding signs, although just as often as not this takes place at an intuitive level.

Every once in awhile, I experience a sequence of events that not only grips my mind in both strong hands but also shakes the deepest parts of my intuition. This happened, in fact, just tonight.

Those wholly, or even partially, familiar with the ongoing Kindergarten curriculum saga know:

1) Our River Springs liaison is amazing. She answers every question almost immediately and came to our house on her day off to sort out our misconfigured order (not her fault, as evidence shows the order was put in correctly). Credentialed in elementary through high school, she is fabulous colleague. We love her.

2) New curriculum was shipped on Monday and arrived last night. When I opened it, we did finally have the right math books…along with an ELA parcel identical to one we had just sent back and still possibly incomplete based on what we could see should normally be in it…along with fifteen pounds of duplicate texts that we already had and that were correct in the original box. (Keep track of what I say about the ELA parcel—it’s important to this story).

3) Our liaison picked up all of our duplicates this morning at our house, and then set about asking her curriculum directory for the complete K ELA set. She was given something…(more on that to come in a minute).

4) I liked the original ELA set, as we all know. It was a first grade set, but it looks right (a touch easy in the first book of two) for what Katie already can do…which is read hundreds of words. She worked through most of my K readers last year. She tracks on her own when I read chapter books, and points out where we are on a page full of text. She can read some books to her brother at night. Since the claim that she can already read sounds outlandish (and goodness knows, she is still working on phonics), my choice has been to play it cool, not make many assertions, get the curriculum, and prove what she knows. Claims about ability, lacking evidence, are perilous. My plan has been to show what she can do within the system we’re given and then move forward, which, I feel, shows everyone respect. Nonetheless, I wanted to keep the first grade ELA pack.

So… Now onward to tonight.

I was just sitting at the kitchen table looking again at the language arts (ELA) materials that we do have. This time, I read the forward in the teacher’s manual and the prefaces in the practice books.


It turns out: these very books are made to be used in—wait for it—Amish schools, first grade.


(We all know my growing obsession with my Amish heritage. How did I not see this when I first previewed the books? Naughty me, skipping over the introduction)!

Not only that, they ship to River Springs from…..INDIANA!

(Indiana is the site of the original Yoder farm (near Goshen) and the site of our Yoder family reunion next summer. Lineage: My mom is Rebecca Matics (nee Yoder); her dad is Ervin Yoder, Jr.; his parents are Ervin Yoder, Sr. and Hannah Reed; Ervin Yoder, Sr.’s parents are Moses Yoder and Katie Hostetler). My daughter Katie June takes her name from her great-great-great grandmother and the nickname of my mom’s mother. My son Eric William shares his name with my mom’s brother Eric Yoder (who passed in 2007) and my husband. It has been a desire of mine to see the farm for quite some time)!

Sitting at my kitchen table, I started thinking it must be fate that we have those books.

I was just sitting down upstairs to write when our liaison e-mailed to say she  had just dropped off at 9:15 PM tonight.

I ran downstairs. I opened the door… I unwrapped the new parcel…


I now have received THREE identical sets of the Amish first grade ELA books. Three times, this set of Amish language arts books from Indiana has landed on my doorstep.

Obviously, we’re meant to have them. (My colleague did confirm later that this set is indeed the set we’re using).

It’s clear that now I am rambling a bit. What is the message in this blog? Sometimes life seems to give us a series of signs. How do we interpret these signs? Random coincidences? Or a deep connection at work?

More personally, perhaps the message I need to remember is this: so much stress over this, yet it all turns out the way it has to. Truly when I opened up that third parcel, I actually started laughing out loud. The universe is nothing if not persistent in giving us the lessons we need most to grow. Or maybe that’s just the way I choose to look at it.