Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Five Books that Changed Who I Am

My blogging friend Meredith tagged me in a meme "Five Books that Changed Who I Am." What fun it has been to reflect on which books, more than others, have changed who I am. (Meredith's list is here.)

Because the Bible is hands-down the most influential and life-changing book I've ever read, I'm going to put it in a category all by itself, off the list.

Desiring God by John Piper. Christian hedonism was a completely life-changing idea for me. I've long been committed to the Gospel and a believer in Jesus, but it wasn't until I read this book by John Piper and heard several of his sermons, that I began to see that the source of happiness and soul-satisfaction is not in being holy, having faith, or gaining eternal life, but it is in Christ Himself. Piper's book prompted a paradigm-shift in the way I understood what it was to be a Christian and to live for the glory of God. If you haven't read this book, I challenge you to check it out. Click the book title for a link to read the book online for free. Or, download the pdf here. Or purchase the actual book here.

When a book changes you, it often becomes a gateway toward reading other books in a similar vein. Following  Desiring God I read books such as This Momentary Marriage (Piper), God's Passion for His Glory (Piper, with the essay "The End for Which God Created the World" by Jonathan Edwards), The Sovereignty of God (Pink), The Pursuit of Holiness (Bridges), The Pursuit of God (Tozer), and For the Love of God (Carson) and The Weight of Glory (Lewis).

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.  Eight years ago our twin daughters were three and our son was a baby. Mothering was simple and my days were filled with playtime, naps, and outings. I spent a lot of time reading in those days. Curious about homeschooling and impressed with the children of some homeschooling families I knew, I decided to read up on the subject. Providentially, I came across this book in the library. The Well-Trained Mind proved paradigm-shifting to me. Classical education, the trivium, studying history (not social studies) and doing it chronologically are key themes of this book that have come to characterize our homeschool and, in some ways, our lifestyle. In the ensuing years homeschool literature has abounded, but The Well-Trained Mind remains a standard.

After discovering The Well-Trained Mind, I went on to read Dorothy Sayers' essay "The Lost Tools of Learning," Climbing Parnassus (Simmons), Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctly Christian Education (Wilson and Olasky), and Norms and Nobility (Hicks). I continue to read books and articles about education, most recently reading Charlotte Mason's books.

Anne of Green Gables and all the Anne books by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I read and re-read the entire series of Anne books, beginning as a child but continuing through adulthood. I can see in my mind's eye the pages of my beloved hardback trilogy that I received as a young girl, in which I discovered the first and best Anne book, as well as Anne of Avonlea and Anne's House of Dreams. I went on to read the others and found Anne of the Island to be one of my favorites. Anne books don't seem very high-minded for a list such as this one, but it just isn't possible to pretend that reading these books and holding them as dear as I did for so long didn't change me.

Anne books are a bridge from children's books to so-called "adult fiction." When I think of the novels that captivated me as a young girl I immediately remember Dawn's Early Light (Thane), Gone with the Wind (Mitchell), Rebecca (Du Maurier), Mrs. Mike (Freedman), Madam, Will You Talk? and other books by Mary Stewart, The Count of Monte Christo (Dumas) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy).

The Complete Works of Francis Shaeffer by Francis Shaeffer (especially The God Who is There, Escape from Reason, and How Should We Then Live?). After opting to take Business Ethics in college because I feared the unknown subject of philosophy, I've been spending the years since trying to right this wrong! Francis Shaeffer's books opened the door to philosophy for me, which is why I include it as a book that changed who I am.

After dipping into philosophy with Shaeffer, I've read other books related to philosophy, faith, and apologetics, such as Total Truth (Pearcey), The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Noll),  and What's So Great About Christianity (D'Souza).

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. This slim volume took me beyond the wonderful world of Narnia to the greater world of C. S. Lewis. I first read Mere Christianity as a junior in high school and the little book made a deep impression in my mind. I sought out other Lewis books, such as his science fiction trilogy, and developed a life-long affection for C. S. Lewis and his writings.

I cheated considerably by listing off much more than five books, but when a book really changes who you are, it inevitably leads to further reading or study.

Back to the meme.  Here are the rules.
  • Tag between 3 and 5 people
  • link back to this post
  • call the post ’5 books that changed who I am’
  • enjoy
I tag Laura, Chris, Alicia and Kellie. Even if I didn't formally tag you, do join in and leave a comment with your blog's link.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Reading Update

I finally updated our sidebars with some fresh reading selections.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


From The Pursuit of God*:
What do I mean by reality? I mean that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mind anywhere to entertain a thought of it.
...The great Reality is God who is the Author of that lower and dependent reality which makes up the sum of created things, including ourselves. God has objective existence independent of and apart from any notions what we may have concerning Him. The worshipping heart does not create its Object. It finds Him here when it wakes from its moral slumber in the morning of its regeneration.
...He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His Presence. On our part there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work it is to show us the Father and the Son. If we co-operate with Him in loving obedience God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.
..The approach of God to the soul or of the soul to God is not to be thought of in spatial terms at all. There is no idea of physical distance involved in the concept. It is not a matter of miles but of experience.
Why do some persons "find" God in a way that others do not? Why does God manifest His Presence to some and let multitudes of others struggle along in the half-light of imperfect Christian experience? Of course the will of God is the same for all. He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us.
"Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace." 
Psalm 86:6

*A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pages 52, 55, 64, 65, 66

Monday, June 6, 2011

Big Catch

Lane went fishing with his buddies in the neighborhood lake today. When he told me there was a two-foot carp in the lake that he planned to catch, I didn't believe it. When he managed to do it, he surprised everyone.

The giant fish sadly didn't survive all the time spent getting bragging-rights photos taken in between catch and release, but the boys did their best to throw him back quickly.

Here's a snap of Toby, asleep on the window sill at 5:00 in the evening. We weren't sure where he was, but found him in this unlikely place!

These Summers

One of our favorite books is Aliki's Those Summers, a picture book about a big family that annually gathers at the shore in the summertime. The mothers and cousins escape the hot city for the summer and the working fathers join their family on the weekends after toiling all week in the city. Those were the days, right?

Not being from the east coast, this lovely experience just isn't in our family's history. Too bad.

But we're doing the next best thing: relocating to a lakeside location for four days. We do what we can.

(Hope and Sydney are pictured two years ago at a local lake that we enjoy visiting.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mothers and Memories

 This past Mother's Day Mr. Edwards snapped a picture of the four mothers in our gathering: Mrs. Edwards (my dear mother-in-law), me, my sister, and my own mother.

We took a similar picture six years ago. We haven't changed that much, have we?

Speaking of old pictures, we had fun looking at old pictures that relatives had loaded onto their Facebook pages.

Speech Ferapy Update

Nearly a year ago I posted about Toby's mispronunciation of the "th" sound, using a "d" or "f" in its place. These days, he's doing very well getting his tongue to his front teeth and making that "th" sound. It is something that he has been carefully working on and is proud of his improvement.

So I was careful not to laugh when he walked into the dining room the other morning and carefully asked,

"What's for break-THast?"

There is just so much to keep straight when you're five.  

In the picture above, Toby is reciting the poem "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Cecil Francis Alexander at our end-of-the-year school celebration night.
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