Getting Real with the Velveteen Rabbit at 2:00

The rabbit was real because the boy loved him.  Pondering that and  the chameleon tendencies of so many of us, I realized this:  The acceptance of God’s love is what makes us real.  The understanding, reaching for, TAKING of God’s love, indeed the very becoming of love, makes us real.

My thoughts wandered to antique cars, purple Cadillacs in particular.  Definitely real cars.  When we see such a car we exclaim, “Look at that!  Did you see that?”

Our hearts yearn for the real.  We are drawn to it.  Because real implies honesty, truth, reliability.  God’s love.

Join me today at 2:00 pm Mountain Time on the Home Front Radio Show for further exploration into becoming real.

And oh, so much more.

Go to 1360am.co

Click on “Live Radio

Thanks!

Skip to the Moms

I’m reading 100 CHRISTIAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE 20TH CENTURY by Helen Kooiman Hosier and I’ve skipped to the moms.  There are several categories into which the chosen women are divided:  speaking/writing; Bible study ministry/education; and categories including arts; missions, social change, etc.  The last category, and the one with the fewest women included is  Marriage/Motherhood.

I intend to read every category and no doubt be blessed and inspired by every woman’s story, but I began with the most important category and I was not disappointed.  I asked the question regarding these women, and indeed all women who do great things for God:  “Yes, but who was the mother?”  This book delivered.  Indeed, the first mother mentioned was Mary Lee Bright.  That’s right, the mother of Bill Bright (Vonette Bright is one of the women honored in this book).

We all know the saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” and we always think that is only his wife.  But it is also his mother, and if she does her job, she will be a key player in the success of his marriage, in the blessing and leading of his wife.  Naomi to Ruth is what we’re looking at here.

Skip to the mom.  Be the mom.  Bless the mom.   And then, whether or not you’re listed in a marvelous book such as 100 CHRISTIAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE 20TH CENTURY, you will nevertheless change the world.

Seriously! Me Read The Lord of the Rings?!!!

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I’ve stopped the lament about the dearth of edifying, smut-free, uplifting and thought-provoking books being published recently.  I’ve even taken a further step and am reading well-known classics (some are awful, by the way, and don’t deserve finishing) and lesser known but quite excellent books, such as Beverly of Graustark, and Elizabeth Goudge’s ever-so-marvelous Pilgrim’s Inn.

But today I have made up my mind to read books recommended by my family, books I’ve resisted for a number of years, throughout our home school journey.

hobbit-house

Experience says this is a good idea.  Case in point:  The HobbitSince high school when my girlfriend urged me repeatedly to read it, I have said, “It’s not my thing.  I know I won’t like it.”

My kids have also relentlessly pestered and badgered me to read The Hobbit, and finally, after years of resistance, I relented and read it.  And loved it!  And over the past three weekends, the three Hobbit movies have been our excellent viewing entertainment (greatly enhanced and understood because of first reading the book).

So where does all this go?  To the classic literature they have all read, the books they pity me in my ignorance of, and stubborn resistance about – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

girl-in-read-reading

There seems to be a sort of secret affinity and understanding, a club of higher thinkers if you will, that those of us who haven’t read The LOTR books simply cannot fathom.  Therefore, it would behoove me, methinks, to read these literary masterpieces and make everyone in my house believe there is hope after all, that miracles do indeed happen, and that Mom is redeemable – perhaps even interesting – now that she is learning the difference between an orc and a ring wraith, and can even speak a bit of Gollum.

Here’s the Challenge:  Read things you don’t think you’ll like, just to make someone else happy.  Who knows what could happen?  Maybe the next time I want them to read something marvelous about which they have reservations, they’ll just read it!

What a concept – reading something new and different just because it will make someone else happy, just because it’ll give you insights into their strange conversations, just because it’s the way into “The LOTR Club” of higher thinking individuals.  This sounds like a no-lose deal.

And who knows, I might even like it, orcs and all.

 

Do Try This at Home

english-cottage

I don’t usually say much about money, because I don’t have the II Corinthians 9:8 “enough for all my needs and an abundance to give to every good work” bank balance.  So, I figure I’m not really qualified to give financial advice.

But then, I look at people who earn more money than we do in our single-income, many-membered home, and who live without many of the luxuries that for me definitely qualify as “needs.”  A fire in the fireplace in wintertime is a need and a luxury, and one I never intend to do without, so help me, God.  Making my own chemical-free skincare is a need (especially in the high and dry Rocky Mountains) and a luxury.  Having money to do a little traveling, and more importantly the time and presence of mind to enjoy it, is a need and luxury (N&L).

The list goes on:  green coffee beans for home roasting; homemade Dijon mustard and money to buy books such as The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook, wherein such recipes are found; and Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks. 

Melissa Gilbert’s My Prairie Cookbook was a gift, and having the time as well as the beautiful stamps and stationery at the ready to send a prompt and heartfelt thank-you note is, of course, both N&L.  And the time to peruse this book and suggest my daughter use it to bake sweet-tart apple muffins, to the delight of all participating parties, is the epitome of N&L.

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The time.  So often people say they don’t have time for such shenanigans as enjoying the making and partaking of muffins with their daughters.  They don’t have time for this or that.  For what are they working?

I’ve been there and done that – the endless, mindless, thankless grind, and the eating out and on the fly of non-food substances; the bounced checks and astronomical service charges because I didn’t have the presence of mind that “taking the time” gives us.

We all have the same 24 hours, and we can either use time as a tool, or it can be our enemy.  We deceive ourselves when we think we don’t have time to cook from scratch, to balance a checkbook, to write a friend a thank-you note.

mailboxes

Most people think the goal of time management is to get more done.  I say the goal of time management is freedom from enslavement to the clock.  Rather than getting more “things” done, how about getting more people loved and enjoyed?

And how does all this tie into money?  First of all, it leads to peace and satisfaction, something that we so often try to buy.  A great example is a breadmaker.  I used my breadmaker plenty until it went kaput, and now that I know the satisfaction of making the boule for artisan bread, now that I’ve tasted my child’s authentic French bread, I will never again clutter my kitchen counter with a breadmaker.

New tools are great for my husband’s shop (yes, I do have and love some kitchen tools, but there are limits).  My kitchen is a place where romance reigns, where money is saved and even made.  I am, in effect, making money, learning a new and fun skill, impressing other people (I’d like to say this isn’t important to me, but alas . . . ) and making an amazing treat when I make pear butter from the pears that have been too long in the window sill.  Said pear butter demands the making of super flaky biscuits for brunch, to which we invite the neighbors, adding eggs scrambled with cream cheese and a delicious homemade and homegrown turkey sausage (Christmas gift from same neighbors) and serving it all with a giant pot of delicious tea (giant and lovely teapot another gift which merited the sending of a thank-you note).

muffins

When I roast my own organic coffee beans nice and dark and aromatic, and convince my mostly non-coffee drinking family to share a small cup as we talk about what we’re writing, plotting, or planning, I am living in the rhythms of grace not often observed by today’s families.

coffee

I first heard of roasting green coffee beans at home from financial advice guru Mary Hunt, who convinced me there’s no comparison between brew-ready and home roasted coffees.  Mary Hunt also echoes wisdom I once received after praying about finances:  You can have anything you want if you stop eating out.

We are back to taking and making and managing time so that we can be creative and artisitic in the kitchen.  A functioning and active kitchen is at the top of the N&L list.  Let’s make a list, asking the question, “What do we gain when we cook and eat at home?”

  1.  Money!
  2. Skills
  3. Nutrition
  4. Joys of creativity
  5. Better tasting food (after a little learning in some cases)
  6. Family fun
  7. Self esteem
  8. Real mealtimes
  9. House that smells like a home
  10. __________________________________________ (your turn)

So here’s my money advice in a nutshell:  If at all possible, do it at home.  In many cases you will find what’s done in your kitchen is much more satisfactory than that made to exist on a shelf for six months, and often less expensive.

cash

But money management isn’t about what’s the least expensive, it’s about what satisfies the most, what’s really worth it, what is both N&L.  You may think chocolate covered peanuts are both N&L, but I say make them at home from quality ingredients (real butter for starters) and you’ll have more of your needs met (we NEED to create) with more luxury to boot.

Enjoy them over conversation with home roasted coffee, or perhaps while watching Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in Pride and Prejudice.  At home, where all good things begin and end, anyway.

english-cottage

P.S.  For more inspiration and ideas, join me Fridays at 2:00 Mountain Time, on 1360 AM radio, The Lion, in Johnstown, CO.

A Different Kind of January on the Home Front Radio Show

snow-picture

Tomorrow on the Home Front Show (1360 am radio in Johnstown, Colorado) I have about three hours of material to fit into one.

I’m going to share from The Founder’s Bible excerpts entitled Saturate Yourself in God’s Word and A Most Interesting Act of Kindness.  I’ll be discussing how the Bible doesn’t talk about New Year’s Resolutions – rather, we are shown by example to make New Day’s Resolutions.

Resolutions in January?  January, rather than being fit for get-up-and-go activities, is much more suited to hibernation, fireside chats, and thick socks and sweaters.  And even if you live where it’s 80 degrees, just think of January as a lovely time for recovering from the holidays, for thoughtfully and prayerfully and gently easing yourself into the new year.

But back to the Home Front Show (Friday, Jan 6 at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time):  I’m going to call on the written words of wise women tomorrow, regarding marriage and homemaking.  I’ll be sharing marriage thoughts from my own book, The Maker’s Marriage, as well as choice words from Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.  Time permitting Edith Schaeffer will be quoted, and I’m going to rock a few boats with thoughts from Bringing up Bebe.

As almost always there will be a plug for Home Schooling.  Bringing Up Bebe is actually a book I recommend for moms who can’t wait until their kids are old enough to send to school, and another author who probably never thought she’d be used for this purpose is Jane Brocket.  I’ll be suggesting that Jane’s books might be almost all you need for a fabulously fun and productive home school curriculum for girls.

The show will go on – to other topics, in particular that of personal identity, and protection from “identity theft.”  In December I started talking about identity theft in our society, but didn’t get very far due to time constraints.  So, January’s shows (every Friday at 2:00 p.m. MT) will all at least touch on this, with a special and eloquent speaker on the subject joining us for the final January show.

The Home Front Show is all about building your home through building your faith.  So, as I always say on the broadcast (or something to this effect), “Do you have a friend who could use a boost?  Call her or him and say,Tune in to the Home Front Show!'”

THE INESTIMABLE POWER OF GOOD BOOKS, AND SOME FAVORITES FOR ALL AGES

A child in the direst of circumstances, experiencing the darkest of childhood horrors, can learn of, and be programmed to seek, better worlds via the reading of good books.

But what is a good book?  One of sacrificial love, heroic acts, and a victorious ending.  One reflecting what and who we are – created in the very image of God to create new worlds, to overcome old evils, and most of all, to love forevermore.  Such a book, if we’re very lucky as adults, will be full of beautiful description, and if we’re children or reading along with children (yay!) will grant us the privilege of gazing upon anointed artwork.

Escape from “reality”?  Not so much as adventurous travel to a higher and more honest “reality.”  That’s because a good book, perhaps especially the most amazingly fantastical of them (think Tolkein, Lewis, Rowling) draws us into and takes us along with people becoming more than they ever dreamed or imagined they could be.  And that is what we really want in a book – humans being who we truly are, doing what we’re truly capable of doing.  More than conquerors.

Enough of such reading and a child will decide that the paltry, dingy, and the defeated is the fantasy, and that he/she is going to live on a higher plane, just like that hero and that heroine in that most excellent of gifts – a good book.

Toward the end of promoting your and your child’s literary delights, I have, with the assistance of my children (now more or less grown-ups) compiled an abbreviated list of excellent reading.  Many of these books are endorsed by not only all four of our (my and husband John’s) children, but by John and me as well.

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So, here goes, more or less ordered from early read-aloud picture books, to adult literature.

IF I HAD A LITTLE TRAIN by Larry DiFiori

GOODNIGHT GORILLA by Peggy Rathmann

BARNYARD DANCE by Sandra Boynton

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney

TIMOTHY TATTERCOAT by Maryel Cheney THIS IF ONE OF MY FAVORITE READALOUDS

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson

FROG AND TOAD (ALL OF THEM!) by Arnold Lobel ANOTHER FAVORITE READALOUD FOR MOM

LITTLE CRITTER (ALL OF THEM) JOHN’S FAVORITE READALOUDS

THE COMPLETE PETER RABBIT by Beatrix Potter

STELLA LUNA by Janell Canon

THE LADY AND THE LION by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Laurel Long (marvelous illustrator)

FIVE DOLLS AND THEIR FRIENDS by Helen Clare

THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge

BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren

MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE by Betty MacDonald

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo

MARY POPPINS by P. L. Travers

HANK THE COWDOG and all other books by John R. Erickson

BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C. S. Lewis

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain

A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, and THE LONG WINTER by Laura Ingalls Wilder

LITTLE WOMEN and LITTLE MEN by Louisa May Alcott

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L. M. Montgomery

KIDNAPPED and TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson

THE GOOSE GIRL TRILOGY by Shannon Hale

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES by Mary Mapes Dodge

THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS by Brittney Ryan and Laurel Long

THE BLACK STALLION by Walter Farley

UNDERSTOOD BETSY by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST by Richard Henry Dana

LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER by Deborah Wiles

THE NICKEL PLATED BEAUTY by Patricia Beatty

THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON by Johann David Wyss

PRINCE ACROSS THE WATER and THE ROGUES by Jane Yolen

THE PERILOUS GARD and THE SHERWOOD RING by Elizabeth Marie Pope

RASCAL by Sterling North

THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

CROWN DUEL by Sherwood Smith

THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Howard Pyle

CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White and Garth Williams

ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

OLD YELLER by Fred Gipson

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart

BEAUTY by Robin McKinley

BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON and anything else by Sid Fleischman

THE MUSHROOM PLANET SERIES by Eleanor Cameron

A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST and FRECKLES by Jean Stratton Porter

RIFLES FOR WATIE by Harold Keith

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O’dell

DRAGON CODEX SERIES by R. D. Henham

THE HARRY POTTER SERIES by J. K. Rowling

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

JUBAL SACKETT and THE LAST OF THE BREED by Louis L’Amour

THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY by J. R. R. Tolkein

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

DADDY LONGLEGS and DEAR ENEMY by Jean Webster – ALL TIME BEV FAVORITES

BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens

STRANGER AT WILDINGS by Madeleine Brent (ANYTHING BY MADELEINE BRENT!!!)

THE P. G. WODEHOUSE COLLECTION by P. G. Wodehouse

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL by James Herriot

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte

 

These are a few books that at least two of us agree to be exceptional books.  Obviously this list could be much, much longer and include more of your favorites as well.  But I hope that you find something there you’d forgotten about and want to read again, as well as something you always meant to read, and something you never even heard of, such as Daddy Longlegs, or By the Great Horn Spoon.  Happy Reading Adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

Is This Romance or a Colossal Waste of Time?

woman reading photo

So many books, so little time.  Why, then, am I reading the most forgettable of books?  Because I am trying to escape laziness by being lazy.  Say what?

I recently read two very different books.  The second one is so forgettable (by a very successful modern author) that I won’t bore you with its title.  The first book, however, sent me to Alibris.com to see what else I might find by the author.  I started this book during Thanksgiving week, so it took a while to finish.  But even as I was busy with other quite enthralling and enjoyable activities, I was thinking about the book, about the main character’s dilemma.  I was, as I explained to my family, “intensely involved’ in this story.

book on desk with glasses

Right.  The name of the book:  Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.  This book enhanced my thinking, revved up my mental engines.  Like another recently enjoyed excellent book, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Lady Audley’s Secret satisfied my heart’s desire for new insights and revelations, as well as reacquaintance with deep and almost forgotten heart’s truths.

So, why again do I pick up twaddle and use up precious hours of my life reading it, and then forgetting it as soon as possible?  It’s called “escape” and aptly so, but to where?  I escaped to intriguing worlds with Mary Elizabeth Braddon and with Elizabeth Gaskell, but with the author who must not be named I escaped to . . . I don’t remember.

 

beautiful library

So many bad (inane, intelligence insulting, smut-filled) books.  So many good books.  I choose good.

Oh, and one more thing!  Beware the “poignant” books.  This usually means the author’s life stinks and he/she wants yours to, also, via reading this tripe.  Try instead something whose very feel in your hands makes you say, “I wonder what’s in here.”

old books