Friday, June 8, 2012

Recent Reading

The past few months the garden, animals, processing produce, and more has occupied many of the hours of my days leaving little time for reading. But I always manage to find at least some spare moments to read, and by doing so, have been able to enjoy several different books over the past month or two . . .

Mrs. Solomon Smith Looking On

This is another of Isabella Alden's books and while it is a bit slower than her other books and has a less distinct storyline, it is still one of my favorites! Each time I read this book, I find my heart convicted and my mind filled with new ideas and inspiration as to my own spiritual life and how I communicate and live out my faith to others. The main character, Mrs. Solomon Smith, is an older woman (in her 60's I believe) who is a simple, country woman, uncultured in her ways. But she has a deep and sincere love for the Lord and His Word. She studies it and lives it. And because her heart is so full with Scripture and "heavenly things", and because "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks", her conversations with clerks at the store, the person sitting next to her on the train, her niece, friends, all are gently turned to spiritual things whether it be an encouraging word, a question as to where they will spend eternity, or simply speaking of the Lord and His goodness . . . yet it is all done so naturally. Even though she is a fictional character, she is a wonderful example!

The Natural Soap Book

Any guesses what I would like to learn how to do next? :) After hearing of my desire to learn how to make soap, a soap making friend recommended this book to me, and I am so glad that she did! It has been very helpful, and I have a much better understanding of soap itself, the ingredients used, and the soap making process. I haven't quite finished the book yet, but am already looking forward to making that first batch of soap! 

Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal  
(I don't have a photo of this book as I do not have my own copy yet . . . until then, I am reading it online.)

This book is another one that had been recommended to me, and I have so been enjoying reading it! Frances Havergal's book Kept for the Master's Use was perhaps the most spiritual encouraging and convicting book I have read (outside of the Bible, of course!), and reading her biography which was written/compiled by her sister (and which includes very many letters, personal writings, etc. of Frances's) has been so encouraging as well. As I have read its pages, I have been struck with how similar many of her personal struggles and triumphs have been to mine and how well I can relate to much of what she shares . . . and I have also been convicted by her deep spiritual life and her great love for the Lord and her desire to grow in Him. It is a very good book, and one that I know I will be reading again!

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning

It probably seems a little strange for someone who isn't even married to be interested in reading about various homeschooling methods, but I am. :) And I have been curious about the Charlotte Mason method after hearing about it many times and seeing it mentioned quite often online. So when I saw this book at a garage sale, I picked it up. I have to say, I was disappointed with the book . . . it wasn't quite what I was expecting. While I appreciate some of the concepts of the Charlotte Mason method and I could see using a number of different things (I love the nature study/notebook idea!), I disagree with much of the philosophy that is presented in this book. I guess when I picture homeschooling, what I see is the Lord and His Word being the foundation and the central focus - the heart of the homeschool. Then the learning about the world around us . . . history, science, etc. . . . all would be built upon that foundation and learned about and viewed through a Biblical worldview. This book, however, seemed to present the opposite . . . first learning about the world, people, etc. from a cultural and moral perspective and then having God, the Bible and faith kind of sprinkled in here and there.

Here is just a little example of one tiny aspect of that . . . in this book, it is said that children should have heroes . . . so they are encouraged to read Greek Mythology (I could write a lot about my disagreement with that!) and about great artists or composers, etc. The children are then encouraged to look up to and admire these individuals as their heroes . . . they are encouraged, by their admiration of them, to desire to be like them, to emulate them. Learning about the latter individuals, their work, character, etc. as a part of learning about history, I would agree with . . . but if I were to encourage my children to have 'heroes', it would not be the 'worldly heroes' and based upon their physical achievements, but it would be the heroes of the faith . . . those that we read about in Scripture (i.e. David, Abraham, Ruth, etc.), missionaries (Gladys Aylward, George Meuller, etc.), or other great men and women of God.

To put it simply, the focus of this book seems more upon raising and educating children with good culture and high ideals and morals with really no mention of what is by far the most important . . . upon being  godly men and women who are well-equipped by their education to serve and minister to others in the ways and means that the Lord may call them to. Anyway, those are my thoughts about this book in a tiny, little nutshell!


So . . . what books have you been reading?


  1. AnonymousJune 08, 2012

    Hi Sarah,
    I've been keeping an eye open for Alden's books at flea markets ~ our library doesn't have any. I didn't realize that she is Grace Livingston Hill's aunt. There are some of Hill's books, collection 7 & 8, I think, that have novels by Alden included in them. I'll have to check those out; they do sound good. :-)
    The Natural Soap Book is a good one. I haven't made soap in a while.
    Wonderful insight into A Companion. I agree with your comments. I did like the info on Nature Study and doing a nature notebook. It's something I did with my children, and we all learned quite a lot. I still love to take nature walks and educate myself on new things I find. :-) Being farmers, the weather is always a topic around the house. Many times someone will say, "Go get Mom's Nature Journal and see when it started to snow in 1996!" or something like that. I kept track of all that in my journal.:-)
    We also read lots of biographies of missionaries and leaders of the faith. The Sower Series, by Mott Media, was a good set of biographies. It's so important to give our children a Biblical world view.
    Enjoy your weekend!
    God bless,

  2. I havr often seen Charolette Mason homeschooling mentioned often online. I have not read the book, but from what I have read here and there we seem to have similar opinions of it. I don't really use any 'method', but I think that everything we learn should be to further learn about God. Of course my actions don't always SHOW that, but that I how I feel about it...

    As far as what I've been reading... hmm if I must say, the last book I read (other than our daily reading from the Bible) was a western......WHAT? I like history.. :)

  3. The girls and I enjoy the same books you do. The last good book I read was about the German Russian Mennonites (our background.) Also been pouring over gardening books to learn this or that. I always figure you can tell the character of a person by the books they read, so, keep reading good books!

  4. AnonymousJune 08, 2012

    Hi Sarah,
    I recently bought the book "Bonhoeffer: pastor, martyr, prophet, spy" It is a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. I've only read the first few pages so far. I'm looking forward to reading more!

  5. Oh your books look very interesting! :o) I am wanting to make soap as well! :oD Maybe before our little blessing is here I can try my hand at it if the smells aren't to bad! ;o) I have found anything by Frances Ridley Havergal to be so pure and convicting. I have one of the quotes you shared written out and posted above my sink so when my eyes wish to linger they can read and be encouraged. :o) I was also encouraged to find a few of her books to use as devotionals with my children! I'm looking forward to trying to find some now! ;o) Although I haven't read the book about Charlotte Mason I do have to agree with what you wrote! :o) And how wonderful that we are able to balance and create our schooling individually to our families needs! What a true blessing!

    I have been reading - Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. I highly recommend this book. Although I may not agree with everything I appreciate being able to read with an open mind and still gain a blessing where I feel God is trying to speak to me from her written words.

    I also started reading - Created For Work by Bob Schultz. I haven't gotten very far into it yet but have really appreciated everything that I have read so far. As this book is more geared for older boys I figure it's never to early to start training my mind in ways to help train my sons. :o)

    I also have been reading through a few small books on Motherhood from back in the 70's (that I found for a few cents at a thrift store) and it's interesting to note the drastic differences in how people care for and cherish their calling as mothers just in these few short years that have past.

    Sorry I wrote a small book ;o) But I do love reading ;o)

  6. Ps...oh forgot to add I just started - Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald and so far really enjoying that too! ;o) Ok...I'll stop now! ;o) <3

  7. Sarah, thanks so much for sharing what you've been reading, and also your thoughts about each book.

    Isabella Alden is Elyse's favorite author. This book sounds like one I would enjoy. I love the description you gave of her character.

    I also have "The Natural Soap Book!" I haven't actually read the whole thing, but from what I've heard, it is one of the best books on soap making available.

    I still need to read "Kept for the Master's Use!" Every time you mention it I think I'll add it to my "to read" list. And then I forget about it. I'm going to make more of an effort to read it, hopefully soon.

    When I read your review of "A Charlotte Mason Companion," I felt kind of bad, because I know I have that book on my list of recommended homeschool books. I think I may have shared with you before some thoughts about this book, and how I was drawn to some of Charlotte Mason's ideas (such as nature study), but others I didn't agree with (including the ones you mentioned, and others).

    We bought Karen's book when Elyse was just 2 years old (11 years ago!) at a homeschool convention. I just saw it on a shelf, and I was drawn to the cover and the old-fashioned illustrations inside. After I read it, I knew there were ideas there that I wouldn't use, but others inspired me. So, I kept it, and I've referred to it off and on throughout the years.

    I think the Charlotte Mason way of home educating children is attractive to a lot of homeschool moms because it is so different than the way most of us were taught. As someone who attended a public school and a couple of private schools, I was never exposed to anything beautiful, whether art, music, poetry, nature, or books. It wasn't until I left school to educate myself (at the age of 16, after becoming a Christian), that I discovered that I loved classical music, old books (good ones), and beautiful artwork (like the ones I often use on my blog--inspiring pictures of mothers, children, families, and nature, depicted in a beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing manner). I had never been exposed to anything really beautiful in any of the schools I attended.

    In the Charlotte Mason ideal, I saw a focus on beauty that I had missed growing up. And I also love Charlotte's perspective on children. She believed that "children are born persons." What this means, is that they are not ours to do with as we wish. As parents, we lead them, nurture them, and guide them in the ways of the Lord. But we are to see them as individuals, created by God for His glory. He has a special plan for each one. And we need to keep that in mind as we guide them through this life. So many Christians are focusing on behaviorism today (that would include the Pearls' teachings on child training). Our children are not dogs, nor are they horses (and Michael Pearl has used such analogies in his child training teachings). Charlotte taught that we should have sympathy for the child. We should study each child as an individual, and pray about how to train each one (and I prefer Henry Clay Trumbull's "Hints on Child Training," and J.C. Ryle's "The Duties of Parents," to anything by the Pearls, for child training help).

    (This is so long that I'll continue in another comment!)

  8. So, yes, there is much that I disagree with in Karen's book (we don't study Shakespeare, Dickens, fairy stories, or Greek mythology). For a hero focus, we tell them about great Christians, both in the Bible, and more contemporary ones, as you mentioned. For whole books, we use Lamplighters and many of the books Keepers of the Faith sells, missionary biographies and autobiographies, and other edifying books.

    As the parents, my husband and I supply the spiritual training. It is our walk with the Lord and how we live out each day that will impact our children for Christ. Starting and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer, memorizing Scripture together, reading good books about Christian missionaries and other exemplary Christians--all of this passes on our Christian worldview.

    I have gotten to know Karen Andreola just a little bit through our blogs. We have also emailed back and forth a few times. She inspires me in many ways. I appreciate the contribution she has made to the modern homeschool world (and we also share a love of sewing, knitting, and artful homemaking).

    I have found that there isn't really anyone that I can agree with 100% on matters of home education, lifestyle, convictions, and faith. But if there is something that I find helpful, I just take that and toss the rest. There are some books that I find so offensive that I can't even find any good...others just have a few minor points that I wish were presented differently or not there at all.

    I would say that this book is about 75% and 25%. 75% is useful to me, and the other 25% I just pass by. Perhaps that isn't enough to make it worth recommending. I don't know. We are all coming from such a different place. For me, I am inspired by Karen's creative education ideas, her nature study ideas, and most especially her chapter on Mother Culture. Perhaps one has to be a mother to appreciate the extreme beauty of "mother culture." For me, it is a beautiful and needful thing. :)

    So, those are my thoughts (in two very rambling comments) about "A Charlotte Mason Companion!"

    As far as what I've been reading lately, I've got several books going right now. I'm still reading "Sweet Journey," by Teri Maxewell, "Love Your Husband, Love Yourself," by Jennifer Flanders, and "Lessons at Blackberry Inn," by Karen Andreola. :) All are being immensely enjoyed, when I have a few moments here and there.

    I hope your evening is blessed, Sarah!


  9. Sarah...the "Mrs. Solomon Smith" book looks intriguing. I've never read anything by this author--and truth be told, I don't read much fiction anymore, due to lack of time--but I went online and read a few pages of this book. It looks like something I would really enjoy. Her style, the dialogue, and just the overall tone of the story reminds me of various 19th century literature classics that I read and enjoyed long ago. So perhaps it will make my pleasure reading list someday!

    From what I know about the Charlotte Mason approach, our own homeschooling style probably follows a number of her methods. For instance, I remember that she was credited with advising mothers not to allow their children to read "twaddle." In our home, we try to discourage reading things that are pointless, frivolous, titillating, or merely amusing, in favor of books that are inspiring, educational, God-honoring, and morally beneficial.

    In everything we read, we strive to measure the content against our Biblical worldview. If we do run across material in a book that contradicts those standards, we will either use it as a teachable moment to compare and contrast it to the Bible's teaching, or we may set the book aside altogether. So a book that teaches evolution may have much other material that is valuable for we will point out the Biblical error, but may continue using the book. It's somewhat like your method of "whiting out" things in a book that you find offensive, while still keeping the rest of the book.:-)

    As we have gone through our homeschooling journey, and met many other homeschooling families, I've learned that different styles work for different people. While I might not choose to read mythologies as a rule, I know many delightful Christian families that do use them as tools to teach their children how to read critically and with discernment. I believe that God leads each family according to His specific plan for them.

    As for what I'm reading...I tend to have a menu of books that I read simultaneously.:-) I've been enjoying "2020 Vision" by Bill & Amy Stearns, which chronicles the amazing stories of what God is doing around the world through missions. Each day, I also read a chapter in "Accelerated Distance Learning" by Brad Voeller, which has wonderful information about non-traditional ways to continue higher education after high school. At bedtime, I read "The Little Boy Down the Road: Short Stories & Essays on the Beauty of Family Life" by Douglas Phillips. Wonderful book! And as part of my devotions, I am working through "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace.

    One last thing...Karen Andreola has written a revised version of "Beautiful Girlhood," which we have used as a discipling tool with all of our daughters. We sometimes run across ideas here that we don't agree with, so we contrast these with our own beliefs. But by and large, the book has been a wonderful blessing for us, and I have seen great spiritual maturity in all of my girls upon completing this book together.

    ~ Betsy

  10. When it comes to books, I could ramble on forever and ever! :-) I appreciate your reviews on these books. Currently I am reading through a book called "The Naked Communist." The title sounds a bit strange, but the book exposes communism and its consequences. It gives a very thorough history of communism from Marx through the 1970's (when the book was published.) It has been a very fascinating book so far!

    I recently finished reading a trilogy by Douglas Bond called "The Crown and Covenant" series. It's about the Scottish Covenanters who lived during the 1600's. The books were well written and helped me remember a lot of events for my middle ages history exam.

    I am also half way through an un-abridged version of "Ben-Hur," reading "How to Be a Lady" by Harvey Newcomb as a study with Mom, and reading "A Young Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George as part of my morning devotions.

    I have an extensive list of books I would love to complete this summer! Some of the titles are "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, "Bonhoeffer" by Eric Metaxes, and "Accelerated Distance Learning" by Brad Voeller. That should be enough to keep me busy for awhile! :-)


  11. I've never read any of the books you mentioned in this post, so it was interesting to read about your evaluation of them. Thank you for sharing!

    As for books I have been reading...I have always been interested in books and resources that discuss and uphold the Biblical account of Creation. We have a book called "The Genesis Flood" by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris that I just started reading through a little bit. Since it was published in 1960, its scientific data and way of dealing with common thoughts and questions by those who don't believe in Creation is a bit outdated. I'm finding it very interesting nonetheless!

    I just finished reading a book called "A Change of Allegiance" by Dean Taylor. It was a very interesting and inspirational look at Jesus' teachings of non-resistance using Scripture, history, and his personal testimony.

    Some friends had lent us several books a while ago and I'm just getting around to reading them now. The one I am currently in is called "HeartBridge" by Johnny Miller. It is the story of his first year at the Nathaniel Christian Orphanage in Romania. An amazing and touching story of God's love for orphans!

    I recently got the book "Hidden Riches" by Romaine Stauffer and am looking forward to reading that next!

  12. I know that you would enjoy Isabella Alden’s books, Mrs. Anne! I’m not sure which one of her books is in the Grace Livingston Hill collection 7, but collection 8 has “The Randolphs”, I believe. It is one that I have read and enjoyed! It’s the sequel to another book titled “Household Puzzles” so the storyline might be a little confusing if you haven’t read the latter first. If you didn’t mind reading books online, I know that there are a bunch of hers on google books. Personally, though, I much prefer a hard copy. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the ones you mentioned and that you are able to find more of her books, too!

    That’s neat that you have made soap before! Too bad we don’t live closer as then I could come over and you could give me lessons. :) I’m a little nervous about making it the first time!

    I enjoyed reading about how you did nature study with your children! And I’m impressed with how well you kept up your nature journal. That would be really interesting to look up dates in years past and see what was happening in nature and weatherwise then. Like you, I, too, love nature walks and always enjoy learning more about all different aspects of God’s beautiful creation.

    Thank you for mentioning “The Sower Series”! I looked it up online and those look good. I will have to remember those!

    Yes, I would agree wholeheartedly about how important it is to give one's children a Biblical worldview . . . to help build a scripturally solid foundation underneath of them so as they study and learn, they will be able to compare all things back to God’s Word . . . and to have a discerning heart and mind. I am so thankful that this is what my parents sought to do with my brother, sister and I, and I know that if the Lord should bless me with my own children someday, I would definitely want to do the same!

  13. Thank you for your comment, Becky! I always enjoy when you stop by and leave one. :) And I really appreciated what you shared here: “I don't really use any 'method', but I think that everything we learn should be to further learn about God.” Very true! And yes, as you also shared, sometimes our actions don’t always show it :), but at least that is our goal and what we are working towards. And the Lord knows our hearts and will help us along the way as we grow more and more in Him!

    A western sounds like fun to read! I like history as well . . . and fiction books that are based in historical times are always enjoyable.

  14. That’s wonderful that you and your girls enjoy these books as well, K. family! They are such good ones. The book you are reading about German Russian Mennonites sounds like it would be interesting. And yes, gardening books are great ones to be reading this time of year! I have found myself pulling them out more and more as of late . . . no matter how long one has gardened, it seems there is always more to learn

    Thank you! And I intend to. :)

  15. Thank you for sharing what you have been reading, Shannah! I have heard of Bonhoeffer before, but don’t really know anything about him. But now I am curious, so I think I’ll have to do some looking and reading!

  16. I am glad you enjoyed reading about them, Nabila! And I am so glad that you, too, have been blessed by France Ridley Havergal’s writings! I didn’t realize that she had books for children . . . I would love to get some of those. Just as I have slowly been adding Isabella Alden books to my collection, I hope to do the same with Frances Havergal’s . . . as you shared, everything I have read from her has been so pure and convicting.

    It is wonderful that parents can balance and create their children's schooling to fit their own family's individual needs. That is the beauty of home education!

    Several years ago, I had read Created to be His Help Meet as well . . . I remember there being a number of things in it that I appreciated and was encouraged by. But as you shared, things that I didn’t agree with, too. Have you heard of the book On the Other Side of the Garden? I think that you would find it a blessing! It is directed towards married women and teaches regarding the different roles of men and women (men as the leaders and women as the help-meets), what a scriptural wife is, a heart of submission, and more. It is an excellent read and one that was very helpful for me. I also really appreciated the author’s sweet spirit and the gentle way in which she shared these beautiful and scriptural truths.

    I haven’t heard of Created for Work, but it sounds intriguing! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one.

    How nice that you found some older books on motherhood at a thrift store! It is indeed interesting to see the drastic differences from then to now. I have a number of magazines from the 50’s and 60’s and I can’t remember what they are called . . . something about being a homemaker, I believe. Anyway, it is really interesting to read them and to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of how things used to be!

    I didn’t mind your “small book.” :) I enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Thank you for sharing all that you did, Joy! I am so glad that Elyse has enjoyed Isabella Alden’s books so much . . . it’s wonderful that she is able to read books such as these at her age. I wish we had known about them when I was young!

    How interesting that you, too, have The Natural Soap Book! It is very helpful. I’m glad I didn’t attempt soap making before reading it!

    I am sorry for making you feel bad! I didn’t even remember that you had talked about the book A Charlotte Mason Companion or that you had recommended it . . . so this review was not at all directed at you!

    I can see why you found this method of home education attractive given your personal history! And what you shared about the beauty presented in this method is actually one of the concepts that I did appreciate (and it is much the way that I was homeschooled as well . . . so given that, I had read the book from a little different perspective than you would have. :) For me personally, though, it would be demonstrated and learned about in different ways than much of what is presented in the book.

    A lot of what you mentioned I would very much agree with and would see myself implementing as well . . .

    . . . old books (good ones), and beautiful artwork (like the ones I often use on my blog--inspiring pictures of mothers, children, families, and nature, depicted in a beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing manner) . . .

    “. . . we tell them about great Christians, both in the Bible, and more contemporary ones, as you mentioned. For whole books, we use Lamplighters and many of the books Keepers of the Faith sells, missionary biographies and autobiographies, and other edifying books . . .

    “. . . starting and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer, memorizing Scripture together, reading good books about Christian missionaries and other exemplary Christians--all of this passes on our Christian worldview.

    These are all excellent things/means to help teach ones’ children! Thank you for mentioning them. :) And what you shared here I appreciated as well . . .

    As parents, we lead them, nurture them, and guide them in the ways of the Lord. But we are to see them as individuals, created by God for His glory . . . So many Christians are focusing on behaviorism today (that would include the Pearls' teachings on child training). Our children are not dogs, nor are they horses (and Michael Pearl has used such analogies in his child training teachings) . . . We should study each child as an individual, and pray about how to train each one.

    Again, I would agree! Each child should be seen as a person, as an individual . . . we are not all mirror images of one another. And as a parent, one should be studying God’s word and praying about how to teach their children and raise them up in “the fear and admonition of the Lord.” One point in A Charlotte Mason Companion that stood out to me and that I did appreciate, read something like this “We are not to train good conduct, but good character.” Conduct is on the outside, character is on the inside . . . a parent should be seeking to reach the child’s heart. Yes, training ones’ children to have good conduct is important, but not at the expense of character. For “out of the abundance of the heart ones’ actions, words and thoughts come. Anyway, those are some thoughts from a rather inexperienced and unmarried young woman. :)

    continued below . . .

  18. I hadn’t heard of the books you mentioned by Trumbull or Ryle, but they sound intriguing and ones that I would be interested in reading. Personally, I have not appreciated overall what I have seen regarding child training from the Pearl’s either and from the bit I have seen, wouldn’t want to use their method.

    I know just what you mean about there not being really anyone that you can agree with 100% on! Sometimes I don’t even agree with myself. :) We are all at different walks of life, places of growth in our spiritual life, have different backgrounds, etc. . . . yet it’s wonderful that we can still learn from one another and encourage and build up one another in the Lord. And I love the fact that the closer we grow to Christ, the closer we grow to one another, too!

    As you shared, though, we need to be discerning and determine at what point a book (or anything for that matter) has enough ‘good’ to make it worth keeping and utilizing (or vice versa – to see if the ‘bad’ offsets the ‘good – or, if the book presents things that are unscriptural.) And while I found good in this book and inspiration, creative ideas, intriguing concepts, etc., when I compare it with Scripture, I found a lot of it, and especially the philosophy and how it is practiced, to be lacking. One thing that I didn’t mention in this review was that there was also some scriptural error in the book (and sometimes the error was what was used to support a certain teaching method/idea) such as this statement “Enthusiasm is truly the ‘favorite virtue of heaven,’ said a poet. Charlotte would have agreed wholeheartedly.” So for me personally, this isn’t a book that I could recommend . . . but again, I could still see myself doing and utilizing several of the concepts that are presented in it . . . just in a different way.

    Anyway :) . . . thank you once again for sharing all that you did, Joy, as I appreciated it and enjoyed reading it!

    And I hope that you have a blessed evening as well!

  19. I think that you would enjoy Mrs. Solomon Smith Looking On, Betsy! I don’t read a great deal of fiction either . . . but when I do, these are the types of books that I reach for as they are always so encouraging and convicting.

    What you shared about discouraging reading books “that are pointless, frivolous, titillating, or merely amusing” but instead encouraging reading ones “that are inspiring, educational, God-honoring, and morally beneficial” is wonderful and something that my parents did as well during our schooling years.

    I would agree wholeheartedly with what you shared here . . .

    In everything we read, we strive to measure the content against our Biblical worldview. If we do run across material in a book that contradicts those standards, we will either use it as a teachable moment to compare and contrast it to the Bible's teaching, or we may set the book aside altogether. So a book that teaches evolution may have much other material that is valuable for we will point out the Biblical error, but may continue using the book.

    If we never read, saw, listened, etc. to those things that are contrary to Scripture, we would never learn true discernment. We would be living in an isolated ‘bubble’ and wouldn't be able to discern “the signs of the times” As you shared, those things should be used as teaching and training tools . . . and wisely and carefully with children so they will be trained to “discern good and evil” as the Scriptures teach. But one would have to be careful as to what and how often those types of things were read/used!

    Isn’t it wonderful how we are all different and not mirror images of one another? We all have different likes and dislikes, different learning styles, different methods of teaching, etc. It would certainly be a boring world if we were all the same. :) And yes, the Lord does lead each family differently . . . yet we do all have the same standard that all things are to be measured by: God’s Word. As believers in Christ, those tools that we use, whether it be books, music, videos, etc., all need to be measured against Scripture. As it says in Corinthians “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” And in keeping with that, whatever we do should be pleasing to the Lord and not be contrary to His Word.

    You are reading quite the variety of books! And ones that I am unfamiliar with, though they do sound interesting. :)

    My sister and I read Karen Andreola’s revised version of Beautiful Girlhood when we were younger, and it was so helpful to us! It is a wonderful book, and I know it helped me a great deal with my own spiritual life and character. I am glad that the book has been a blessing to your daughters as well!

  20. I know what you mean, Bianca! Books are wonderful things, aren’t they? The books that you are reading sound quite interesting! I had read How to be a Lady by Harvey Newcomb back when we were doing our girls group, and I really liked it. I don’t have my own copy yet, but it is one that I definitely want to add to my library!

    I have also read Elisabeth George’s book A Woman After God’s Own Heart . . . if the one for younger women is anything like this one, it must be good!

    Another blog reader is reading Bonhoeffer by Erix Metaxes, and when my Dad read through these comments (and my replies to them before I had finished posting them all), he was surprised that I didn’t know much about him! And encouraged me to read about him which I intend to do. :)

    Yes, your reading list should keep you busy for awhile! Enjoy!

  21. You’re welcome, Anna! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. :) And thank you for sharing about the books you are reading as I enjoyed hearing about them!

    That is wonderful that you have an interest in books and resources that teach regarding the Biblical account of Creation! We find them fascinating as well. I think we might even have the book The Genesis Flood though I have not read that particular one. Do you receive the Creation magazine from the Institute of Creation Research? We have been getting it for about a year now and always find it very interesting. I think you would like it!

    Many of the other books that you mention, I haven’t heard before . . . the one about the orphanage sounds like one that I would enjoy. And the title of Hidden Riches sounds intriguing . . . I’ll have to look it up online and see what it is about!

  22. No, we don't receive the Creation magazine. I have read some other materials from the Institute of Creation Research, though, and it does sound like it would be something I would enjoy! Another organization that I appreciate is "Answers in Genesis". We have their series of three "Answers" books, which I have enjoyed reading though here and there.

    And by the way, in case you didn't get time to look it up yet, the book "Hidden Riches" is a true story about a Christian family who made the journey from Germany to Pennsylvania in the 1700's to have religious freedom. I am always encouraged by accounts of faith and courage like that!

  23. We have quite a few of Answers in Genesis' materials as well, Anna! We especially appreciate their older materials (though we have a number of their newer DVD's that are very good, too.) It's wonderful that there is such a wealth of good solid teaching regarding Biblical creation and the errors in evolutionary thinking.

    Thank you for sharing more about "Hidden Riches"! It does sound good and like a book that I would enjoy. Thank you again for mentioning it!

  24. Some good choices Sarah:)

    I've had the book:
    Remarkable Trees of Virginia for some time now. It is written by a friend of ours daddy. I've read it before and am re-reading it with the plans to dive into a journey of visiting these trees for our nature study. Reading is a good thing to do on hot summer days when you can't get out!

  25. Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your gracious response to my comment! I enjoyed reading it, and was edified by your insights. The Lord has definitely given you wisdom beyond your years, and I agree with everything you wrote.

    I actually hadn't read much of the book we were discussing since years ago, and I was surprised to find that I had forgotten some of the things I originally found objectionable (such as the quote about enthusiasm that you shared). I think I would now add that book to a list titled, "books that have influenced the way I educate my children," rather than "recommended homeschool reading," since some of her educational ideas have been encouraging and inspiring to me. But I would hate for someone to think that I supported *all* of the ideas that are suggested there.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insights, Sarah! And the reason that I originally wrote that I felt "bad" after reading your review, was because I felt bad for recommending something that turned out to be not edifying or true to Scripture, not because of anything you wrote!

    I hope your weekend is blessed!

  26. Thank you for your comment, Amanda! The book you are reading about the trees of Virginia sounds interesting. And what a great idea to utilize if for your nature study! Learning about the beautiful world around us is always so fascinating. Enjoy!

  27. Your kind, encouraging and understanding comment really meant a lot to me, Joy. Thank you! Once again, I appreciated all that you shared, and I’m glad that anything that had been shared in this post/comments was a blessing to you. I think that is a great way to describe the book and to recommend it to others in that way. There are some encouraging and inspiring ideas in it!

    Thank you again, Joy! May your weekend be a blessed one as well!

  28. Hello Sarah!
    I would love to have your advice, if you have a moment, on the following Pansy titles. I am considering purchasing them.

    Are there any that are as good as our favorites which are An Endless Chain, Wise and Otherwise, Jessie Wells, Julia Ried, Aunt Hannah Martha and John....?

    The Sunset Gate
    The Hall in the Grove
    As in a Mirror
    Side by Side
    Yesterday Framed in Today

    Thank you so much for your time! If you could answer here, I will come back and see what you suggest!

  29. Another one who enjoys Pansy books! :) Some of the books you listed that you liked of hers are some of our favorites as well. Of the ones you were considering purchasing, we have only read a few . . . Hall in the Grove was a pretty good book, it just seemed a little slow and long. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as some other of her books that I have read! I haven’t read As in a Mirror, but my sister has and didn’t care for it, and its one she won't be reading it again. Yesterday Framed in Today is one that we have chosen not to read simply because it has Jesus come back as a modern day character (if I am understanding the description correctly.) Those are the only three I know anything about of the ones you mentioned, but the titles of the other ones sound intriguing! :)

    I am sorry that I can’t really recommend the ones you mentioned! I do have other favorites of hers, though, such as Ester Ried, Ester Ried Yet Speaking, Man of the House, Her Associate Members, and many, many more. Over all, I love her books, but there are just a few that I can’t recommend.

    Anyway, I hope that helps! :)

  30. Sarah,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question! You actually did help a lot. Now I know I won't be getting As In A Mirror or Yesterday Framed in Today!
    You were a help; thanks so much!

    Have a blessed weekend.

  31. I am glad that it was helpful, Marjo! And you're welcome!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)