a year in books, 2017

Books That Compelled and Marked Seismic Shifts in My Life
March 2017: (I moved out, one mile from home, with my brother!) 
Houses That Change the World, by Wolfgang Simson
July 2017: (I sent a letter to someone I barely knew, knowing it meant he would become my future husband)
A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken

Top Five Favorite Mystics
1) Organic Church, by Neil Cole
2) The Power of Proximity, by Michelle Ferrigno Warren
3) Primal Fire, by Neil Cole 
4) Transformed, by Caesar Kalinowski 
5) Family on Mission, by Mike Breen

Favorite Re-Reads
The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
That Hideous Strength, by CS Lewis
Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers

Favorite Sibling Read-Aloud
Boy: Tales of Childhood, by Roald Dahl

Favorite Read-Aloud with the Girls I Nanny
The Saturdays, by Elizabeth Enright

Looking Forward to in 2018
Images of Faith: Reflections Inspired by Lilias Trotter, by Miriam Huffman Rockness 
One Thing, by Neil Cole
The Descent of the Dove, by Charles Williams
The Penderwicks at Last, by Jeanne Birdsall

How Would Charlotte Mason Teach the Bible Today?

For a while now, I've researched the way Charlotte Mason taught the Bible. Charlotte was a British reformer and pioneer in the field of education in the 1800s. I found a lot of ideas, and a few helpful resources. However, most of the blogs I read lacked practical examples of how to discuss and apply God's Word. Most of the printed study resources I found were designed for grades 7-12.

I know that people who love Charlotte Mason's style of teaching also love the fact that special, expensive purchases are not necessary. So I'm very excited to share a practical Bible study resource for all ages that applies Charlotte's ideas, without requiring any special purchases. The resource is called Simply the Story.

Simply the Story

Simply the Story is an oral study method, which means it is appropriate for all ages, countries and cultures. Literacy is not a requirement; everyone takes part in deep discussion and discovers treasures in God's Word. Simply the Story gives teachers the opportunity to put away their pens and teach the way Jesus taught, through stories, questions and discussion.

STS champions direct contact with Scripture. Participants build relations with each other as they study and share the Bible, using open-ended questions, listening and responding. The teacher is a guide, and not the fountainhead of knowledge--that role is given to God's Word and His Spirit.

Participants also build relations with the real people who lived in Bible times, as they consider: what might we learn about this person's character from the words they speak? From their actions? From the choices they make? Could they have made a different choice? And yet they made this choice. What might that tell us about this person spiritually? Do we see any results of words, actions, choices... Was anyone impacted? Where do we see God in this story?

Does it measure up to Charlotte's standards?

Every requirement that Sonya Shafer (of Simply Charlotte Mason) wrote about in her blog post about CM-style Bible studies is included in Simply the Story: participants hear and then narrate an accurate Bible story (an "episode" in CM language), putting the story into their own words to strengthen comprehension. Discussion is central to STS, as is slow, careful observation, and each study ends with personal application made by the participants themselves. The joy of self-discovery is prized, and sermonizing is strongly discouraged. There are no crutches--the Bible is the only resource needed/utilized. It's exciting to watch the Bible become a living book again!

How can I learn more?

Here is a link to Simply the Story's free PDF handbook, where you will learn everything you need to know about how to tell stories and engage your children in deep discussions.

Simply the Story Handbook

May Truth not become a tool that we hold in our hands, but remain the living Word Who changes us.

my year in books


Favorite New Discoveries from Authors I Love
The Man Born to be King, by Dorothy Sayers
That Hideous Strength, by CS Lewis

Favorite Mystics
Beautiful Outlaw, by John Eldridge 
The Insanity of Obedience, by Nik Ripken 
Honor and Shame, by Roland Muller
In the Arena, by Isobel Kuhn

Most Appropriately Atmospheric Re-Reads
Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers, read in St Andrews, Scotland
Celia's House, by DE Stevenson, read in the Scottish Highlands 

Favorite Sibling Read-Aloud
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

Favorite Biography
No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Greenby Melody Green

Looking Forward To In 2017
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, by Melina Marchetta
The Jeweler's Shop, by by Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)
The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Lifeby Ann Voskamp

reading during lent...

Dorothy Sayers' radio drama / play-cycle "The Man Born to Be King."

Why can't the BBC Radio archives be available?

words received for 2016

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

"'It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait.' I never saw, till recently, how that word 'both' exactly strikes the balance so needed... Some of us rush ahead with our hopes and are downhearted when they crumble, having never learned to quietly wait. Others go on quietly waiting for a lifetime, without much of the spring of hope anywhere; both hope and wait... in quietness and confidence; that is the answer." 

--Lilias Trotter

"Good books are friendly things to own"--Edgar Guest

Books in 2015...

Best New Life-Changing Discoveries 
Parables of the Cross, by Lilias Trotter
Simply the Story handbook, by Dorothy Miller

Favorite (Albeit Only) Classic
The Faerie Queen, by Edmund Spenser 

Favorite MG Novel
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford

Favorite Mystic
The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitall Smith

Favorite Binge Read-Overs
12 Lord Peter books by Dorothy Sayers. Yes, 12.
The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery (the perfect way to spend my 29th birthday)

Favorite Sibling Read-Aloud
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham

Favorite Biography
Until the Day Breaks: The Life and Work of Lilias Trotter, by Patricia St. John

Looking Forward To In 2016
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, by Melina Marchetta (September! October!)
The Man Born to be King, by Dorothy Sayers
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle, by N.D. Wilson