Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Words Fitly Spoken

Today I ordered four new books from They were “The Secret Life of France”, by Lucy Wadham (I gave away my copy to a friend I met while in France, and I wanted another on hand.), “The Secret of the Seven Pillars” by Daniel A. Biddle, P.H.D., “Stepping Heavenward”, by Elizabeth Prentiss and “Laddie” by Gene Stratton Porter.
Yes sir, it’s a red letter day when I get to order books. I love hitting the ye olde 1 click button Amazon offers and seeing the words “this item has been placed in your cart”. I love the day the books arrive and I get to hear the sound of the knife slicing through the packing tape to open the box. And BEST OF ALL, I love the time when I can draw the bath, sink in--ear deep in bubbles--to start a new adventure in my life. I can travel anywhere in the world right from my bathtub. Ahhhhhhhh, Calgon, take me away.
By the way, have I ever told you about my great and long love affair with books? It started at a very tender age, I must say. I was never much of a school student (true story, don’t tell my kids, I have ‘em fooled!!); but for whatever reason, I was a strong reader. Often, my elementary school teacher would call on me (hand and arm stretched to the ceiling and wiggling vigorously) to read something aloud, which gave me great pride. I discovered I had a talent and was actually good at something in school, even though the rest of my formal education passed in a jumbled,  fuzzy haze.
I did not love school, but I loved reading so much, I would regularly go up to my bedroom on the third floor of our semi-detached Lancaster County, Pennsylvania home to practice reading out loud the same book--over and over and over. I worked on inflection, enthusiasm and diction as I read happily away.
The book of choice that became worn out due to my repetitious readings? Ferdinand the Bull, by Munro Leaf. And you know what? It’s still one of my all-time favorite children’s stories. (Little did I know, at the time, the strong Pacifistic themes presented within those child-like innocent pages. But never mind that! Learning to DISCERN and understand themes came later, much later.)

Through the years my passion and fervor for reading has only increased. And, thankfully, I am better at understanding themes and the author’s purpose for writing a particular book nowadays. I don’t remember who suggested it or why, but I do remember being encouraged by some sage person to reach for the classics. This further fueled my desire to understand the underlying themes of the author. I became enthralled with reading these tomes and other good stuff from the written page. I am still on that quest and I long ago realized I would not have time to read all the quality literature, let alone the junk. So, I better not waste my time on trash.
As the years passed, and I became a young married woman and mom, I was lead to a very special book by my old college roommate and now cousin-in- law, Susan Peterson Barley. This one book helped me to begin the journey of discernment when reading quality literature to my children, and it helped me to instill a love of learning in them. Reading aloud was a daily ritual during our homeschool years and I believe it drew us closer and made us more cohesive as a family. Our shared interests in great books were the glue.

Not surprising, today I still come back to that book time and time again called Honey for a Child’s Heart, by Gladys Hunt, now in its 5th edition in paperback. It’s a volume that every Christian mother should have on her shelf. Between its pages I discovered books like Granfa Grig Had a Pig (note to self, buy that again for my grandchildren), Across Five Aprils, The Bronze Bow, The Secret Garden, The Borrowers, Charlotte’s Web, Adam of the Road and the list goes on and on...
Hunt taught me a zillion things but especially that: “words fitly spoken, characters memorable, a theme to challenge the heart—this is what we want for children.” And, it’s still what I want for my children and  grandchildren.
So, if you’re in need of a little reading inspiration-- young or old--just jump onto Amazon, type in “Honey for A Child’s Heart” and hit ye olde 1 click button as soon as possible! You won’t be sorry—promise!

My daughter, Christi, carrying on the legacy of homeschooling and the love of great books. 
 Here, she's pictured with Merideth.


  1. I often think about how you reading out loud to us was the best part of our morning!

    I sat down this morning and caught up on all of your blog posts....and home came RUSHING in.

    I love you, mom.

  2. Tell me about Put That in Writing that you have mentioned as a recent read on your sidebar. Is there really a good book that teaches excellent writing skills!?


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