day eight: mrs. dana

Welcome!  If you’re wondering what all the 31 hubbub is about.  Read this.


31 days wide



Her name is Dana Louise Hoopingarner but no one calls her by that name.  I’m certain that everyone under the age of 7 thinks her first name is Mrs. and her second name is Dana.

Mrs. Dana says no whining.

Mrs. Dana says I need to try.

Mrs. Dana likes to laugh.

Mrs. Dana says to write it like this.

Mrs. Dana likes to sing.

Mrs. Dana says I need to share with my new friends.

Do you think Mrs. Dana likes Mario?

Do you think Mrs. Dana likes Hello Kitty?

Do you think Mrs. Dana likes Batman?

Do you think Mrs. Dana will like my new backpack?

Do you think Mrs. Dana will notice my pretty shoes?

Do you think Mrs. Dana will be there today? (we were heading to the grocery store.)

All three of my children have had Mrs. Dana as their preschool teacher and I’m not sure if you’re catching on…but they ADORE her.  And, really, how could they not?  She is passionate about raising a generation of children up to love Jesus.  And you don’t have to take my word for it, if you talk to her for more than 30 seconds, you will soon find out how in love with Him she is.

dana quote

Dana grew up in Zanesville, went to Norwell High School, married her high school sweetheart (they kissed in 4th grade on a dare, started dating when she was a freshman and now have been married 31 years!) and has lived in Bluffton ever since.  She has three children, four grandchildren and three on the way (yay!).  She has been a teacher for 25 years and, if you saw her talking to those 3, 4, 5 and 6-year-old kiddos, you’d think she just got out of college.  She is just that passionate.

All three of my children have been blessed to have her as their teacher.  My oldest started out not saying five words during school and ended the year by leading the pledge of allegiance at graduation.  My second child is being challenged every day and he loves to do homework.  My third child is smart but is not as emotionally mature.  Mrs. Dana is so patient with her and she is growing in that area.  I can already see a difference after one month.  All three of my children wake up in the morning Excited to go to school and I honestly believe that Mrs. Dana is one of the main reasons why.

So Dana thank you so much for all that you do for the little children and especially for my kids.

Thank you for nudging Ben out of his shell.

Thank you for loving Alex and his goofiness but seeing that he can be challenged.

Thank you for loving Emily’s spunk and having patience with her as she grows each day.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I sat with Dana a few days ago and talked with her…well, mostly listened 🙂  She has great stories!

Have you ever taken a personality test?  “no, are you going to have me take one?”  haha! no (I should start doing that!).  “I am a middle child and have two sisters.  and I will say if I could be any animal, I’d be a lion.  And if I was in the ocean I’d want to be the starfish.”  Why’s that?  “because everyone looks for the starfish.”  (I didn’t tell her this, but since we’re talking about animals, I’d be a seahorse.  They’re the only animals that the males have the babies.)

Tell me something interesting about the last movie you watched.  “It was The Butler.  I loved the honor system they portrayed.  Even when he didn’t agree with the presidents he was serving, he still honored the office of the presidency.”  I Really want to see this movie.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  “a social worker.  I wanted to rescue kids that were, well at the time, I called them scratched.”

Where were you 10 years ago?  “working at Lancaster in the preschool child development program.  Living in the same house I do now.  I had one kid at home and two in college.”

What’s been your favorite vacation?  “going to the Florida coast especially when the kids were younger, we would go 2-3 times a year.  And I love ‘vacationing with the Lord’ when I praise and worship Him.”

What vacation has exceeded your expectations?  “I hurt my hamstring in a skiing accident about 10 years ago.  I couldn’t walk and my husband threw me in a friend’s van, drove me to florida and literally dragged me to the beach.  I love laying on the beach, reading, watching people, worshipping the Lord.  My husband had left on a walk and the waves were starting to come in and I couldn’t move because of my leg.  I was praying and a wave crashed over me and, at the same time, I heard God tell me that my pursuit for people has changed.  The Lord surprised me and grabbed a hold of my heart on that trip.”  I love how this was an example of both of her favorite types of vacations–one natural and one spiritual.  I mentioned that to her and she was surprised and said you’re right!  Very neat 🙂

What is your current hobby?  “writing children’s books”  She has a book coming out soon called Stinky Feet.  I can’t wait to read it to my kids!

What book are you reading right now?  “The Bible, specifically Acts and Proverbs.  I’m spending a lot of my time writing.”

What’s your favorite song right now?  “Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace”

What’s been your most life changing moment?  “When I was in 8th grade, my dad accepted Christ and it changed my life.  The main guy in my life lined up with The Main Guy in my life.”  She told me the awesome story of her dad.  He was an alcoholic and didn’t want to go to the weekend church services they were having.  But his truck wouldn’t start and he ended up going with the family.  The kids were in the basement and they were around an empty chair and the teacher told them to think of someone, put him or her in the chair and they’d pray.  Well Dana put her dad in the chair.  Right after they were done praying, a little 5-year-old boy (she called him the church crier…like the town crier) came running down the stairs saying that Tom Sadler (her dad) had given his heart to Jesus. —-It is no wonder that Dana believes so much in the faith of our little children.

Finish this sentence.  Before I die, I want to “leave my mark….leave seeds or impressions of Christ-like character that will last for generations.”


I am so thankful that Mrs. Dana was my kids’ first teacher.  She has been such a blessing.  Do you remember your preschool teacher?

Tomorrow another special lady in my life—my second mom.  I mean mum.  🙂


2 thoughts on “day eight: mrs. dana

  1. I too, along with my 3 boys, LOVE Mrs. Dana. Her joyful, loving spirit and heart for the Lord are contagious. I’m so thankful I’ve been able to know her and especially that my kiddos have had the chance to know her. Lots of love to her!!

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