bible · Book Review · christianity · Uncategorized · writer, homemaking, homeschooling, farm, ranch, christian, Bible, lifestyle

All The Pretty Things Review

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Edie Wadsworth has written her memoirs. She’s a survivor, I’ll tell ya. (I would know) If you don’t know who Edie is, she’s  blogger, speaker, writer, and former medical doctor who left that life to raise her children and focus on her family and writing. Which sounds impressive enough, even before you get a picture of her upbringing in the deep poverty of the Appalachian culture in the South in a family that could have it’s very own Jerry Springer show.

To be honest, it took me awhile to get through this book, because in the beginning stories of her childhood I so related that it stirred my own memories and emotions up. I had to take a break and sort through some things of my own again before I could resume the stories of Edie’s weekends with her daddy. I read the stories and related with being hungry. With handling drunks and adults fighting, dangerous car rides with someone too drunk to be walking, let alone driving-with children in the car. Only for me it wasn’t just my weekends. There was no safe mom to come back to during the week. There was no daddy at all, just an endless stream of men, and most of them drunk. So…I had a hard time reading this book initially. However, once I came to grips with the feelings it stirred up I couldn’t stop reading, because Edie is so honest, such a mesmerizing storyteller. Besides, I was so proud of her, and by the time she reached her early teens I no longer related to her at all, because she was such a driven girl growing up. You would have to be to become a doctor, while in the throes of having your first babies. Her teenaged years of achievement in sports and with with grades in school were admirable although not at all relatable to me. I’m smiling here. It was around this point that our stories began to diverge.

In one place in the book early on, Edie describes her first encounter with school. Her Kindergarden teacher was kind, there were hot and bountiful meals served, and crayons and books read aloud- oh the delights! She fell in love with learning and her experiences were so positive, it made me realize how many other children must see their school days as a safe harbor and maybe a world of enchantment besides. It wasn’t that for me. I was so fearful and anxious as a child that it was torture. I lived purely in survival mode and didn’t enjoy anything about it except meals of course, and Mrs. Naylor, who I was blessed enough to have for not only 1st grade but also 2nd. She let me stay in from recess to be alone in class and draw, paint, and color to my heart’s content. Then she made books out of my artwork which astounded me. Her kindness helped me more than she could have ever known. I can still picture her face.

I remember bedtime stories. I sat in my young aunt’s lap and read them to her. She was illiterate. She went to school herself only sporadically and was married off at the ripe old age of 13. I’m sure my mother missed her, as she was the housekeeper, cook, and nanny while my mother was at the bar, on one side of the counter or the other. She worked there and at the end of her shifts she took off her apron and hopped to the other side of the bar.

I remember going to school with my aunt before she was married. And holding her hand, hitchhiking, going to make drug deals and meeting up with her friends with alcohol to sit around in abandoned buildings drinking and laughing and crying and acting like fools. Nobody was taking care of those kids- and they were the ones taking care of me. So, yes, I relate with the early on stories in All The Pretty Things. I suppose at first it felt like too much but then I was glad I picked it up again. Once I was brave enough to start reading it once more, it became a source of reminders of my own journey and that is very often healing. I laughed as I recalled stories of driving cars way too young because the owners of them were too drunk to fit the key in the ignition. I drove pick-up trucks with rowdy drunks next to me long before I went to the driver’s education classes at school. I examined some of my own painful and hilarious stories and thanked Jesus for keeping me and my younger sister alive and for saving me from my own self.

For people like us, the author and people like me, on the other end of all that white trash nonsense we grew up with, meeting Jesus was the literal saving grace that redeemed us and recycled all that garbage. Edie goes on to write about her marriages, and mistakes. Her navigation of life with a broken internal compass is relatable. Anyone who grew up with any amount of neglect and or abuse is going to have some core beliefs about themselves that are not one bit helpful. The fact that she is who she is today is beauty in action. I read her story, and I say “Jesus did that”. I should know. Edie’s honesty about her infatuation with church kept her somewhat on the straight and narrow while growing up, even while it put distance between her and her family. I related to that too, and just as vividly related to finding no lasting help there and then finally finding Jesus.

All The Pretty Things is a story of true redemption. I loved the book, even if I didn’t always love the memories it stirred up for me. The evidence of the grace of Christ is all over Edie’s memoirs and that’s worth reading. And remembering.

Jesus saves ya’ll.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to write an unbiased written review of it.

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artisan cheesemaking · country living · farm and ranch · flocks and herds · Uncategorized

I’m a Shepherdess!

I haven’t had sheep for years, but I finally do again! I fell in love with some dairy and fleece sheep at a farm about 30 minutes away, and well…I have some new critters to love and research to do- which I also love, especially in winter.

  Have you tried sheep’s milk? Probably not, but you may have had sheep’s milk cheese. It’s luscious. My teenaged son tried some yesterday- reluctantly. He drank it down with raised eyebrows and declared it was the best he had ever had in his life. Marvelous! Now with another family member on board with my newest project I’m full-steam ahead!

I’ve been blessed to drink my morning cappuccino with raw sheep milk this week and I have to be honest and say it’s better than goat milk. I feel like I’ve betrayed my herd of dairy goats, but I have, for a long time, wanted to try making cheese as well as soap with sheep milk. Mixed milk cheeses can be outstanding.

Yesterday my two new ewes were delivered by the breeders. Both are bred for March lambs. Freia is a Finn sheep, the black with white, and Gisela is the light chocolate colored Icelandic, which I’m thrilled to have. Icelandics are a tri-purpose sheep, for meat, fleece, and milk. There are three main breeds of dairy sheep available here in the U.S.A. The East Freisian, Lacaune, and the Icelandic. I’ve reserved an East Freisan ewe lamb for next year to add to my little flock. They are the most prolific milkers, and they are super personable. I received a whole lot of affection from the East Freisian flock at the farm where I bought my two girls.

I’ve been making some gorgeous soap lately with a new mold. It’s intricate details of honey bees and hive make this soap a stunner. I’m loving it and selling them as whole loaves. It’s also that time of year where I must have pumpkin spice bars available before Thanksgiving, as well as the cinnamon apple bars. My home is fragrant and cozy with all of those scents wafting around will the soap cures.

I am a farm-a-holic. Anything to do with animals and farms gives me a thrill, so I am in farm girl heaven right now. Next summer when I’m in milk flow season again making soaps and cheeses I’ll be even happier, but for now I’m busy making nice nice with my new ladies and watching YouTube videos on goat and sheep milk cheese making. I also have a stack of reading material and lots of learning to do so I can take care of the fleeces properly. I’m not a fiber artist by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t knit or crotchet but I would love to learn to spin and make some lovely yarns for other people to use.

I found  great blog post today on Icelandic sheep. The author did a great job covering the basics.  If your’e at all interested of knowledgeable feel free to leave comments with useful links please.

🙂

 

bible · Book Review · christianity · country living · Devotions

Earth Psalms Review

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Earth Psalms  

Reflections on how God speaks through nature

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I have long been a fan of Francine Rivers. She has written some of the most moving and inspiring novels and I’m not alone in my admiration of her work. She is an author of numerous awards. Well-deserved.

Earth Psalms isn’t a novel. It’s a beautiful book for devotional reading. Every one of us is no doubt reminded by nature of the power and creativity of our Creator. This book is Mrs. River’s act of  worship, I think. Published by TBN, who kindly gave me a complimentary copy of this book in order to give an unbiased review.

There are lovely photos- I mean absolutely gorgeous. For fellow nature lovers like myself, It’s a treat to turn to each of the 52 sections and see what’s next. I believe the book is set up for one a week, to last the year. Section 21 is entitled Following The Good Shepherd: Sheep, for instance. It starts out with small portion of scripture noted from John 10:27-28 and the narrative by Francine Rivers covers a few pages where text is only half the page and vivid photos of sheep the rest. Interspersed are inspiring quotes and hymns. The portion ends with something to reflect on, questions. Then an idea to apply what you have read, and then a prayer, entitled: Connect With God. It ends with another verse and a short paragraph of information about a domestic goat pictured at the bottom.
For agriculture crazy girls like me, who also love nature in general and scripture, this is the perfect book for devotions.
Here are a few examples of other pages:
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The book is co-written with Karin Stock Buursma who helped with the hymns, quotes, reflections, and applications for connecting with God. I love that Mrs. Rivers, after all her acclaim in the literary world, is still humble enough to have someone work on this project with her. They compliment each other, obviously, because this book is well done.
I keep mine on the coffee table, where I might pick it up in the middle of a hectic day, or a friend visiting might see it and spend a little time in it.
In such crazy busy times, it’s healthy for our bodies, minds, and souls to slow down. Do some deep contemplating, and meditating on the glories of God as reflected in His creation. I’m a believer in slow food, earthing, and living according to seasons and cycles, so this book helps me to appreciate my surroundings more. Living on a ranch bursting with life can be busy, being reminded to sit and take it all in is welcomed.
For those living in cities and suburbs, I would think this book would be especially rich.
In a crazy fast world, this book helps me get quiet, grounded, serene and sane. I am sure you would also enjoy it.
Check out Mrs. River’s website for more details, as well as take a peek into what else she has written. (as if you didn’t know!)
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Biography

“New York Times” best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote “Redeeming Love” as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA’s top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade. Since “Redeeming Love,” Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.