Thursday, May 9, 2013


I just finished the book Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter (don't let her name throw you off... it's a woman's name). I had to return it to the library so I didn't have time to write down my favorite passages like I usually do. Maybe I will get a new old book for Christmas like I did last year...

I loved the things I learned from this book. Family life on a country farm in the 1850's.

This book spelled out all the things I said back here about the home being a place to cultivate souls. Wow, there were so many great things about how they taught their children and valued education. The mother herself was uneducated, and taught by the father before the children came. So interesting! This book is based on Gene's own childhood.

This family builds their life from scratch. It sounds absolutely beautiful. Orchards, gardens, chickens, geese, barns, streams, woods, country roads, the whole bit. So many dreamy passages of  a beautiful world.

One thing really struck me. When one of the daughters was about to get married, she bursts into tears and says she wants to get married in their home, because it has such significance to her. The parents just look at each other with tears in their eyes, "We have succeeded. She loves this place that we have built." She didn't meaning the building, she meant the culture, the feeling of home. It really gave me a second to pause. I want to create that home where our family is so connected, so much a part of each other's lives, that the very structure we live in gives this feeling of peace and comfort, of love and warmth, of community and dependence on your family.

The mother also talks about how she trains her daughters to leave the house. She teaches them every homemaking skill she knows, sewing, cooking, cleaning, mending, until they themselves are experts at it. And then, when they seem ready, she leaves for a month and puts them in charge of the household! I love this old way of doing things. Where home was seen as a preparation for your future home. It's a combination of these two things, home education and the joy of work, that I've written about before.

I even learned quite a bit about prayer. Oh how I love old books! It's so easy to find God in them. The little girl telling the story has quite the relationship with God and her childlike faith is so inspiring. Great miracles come about because of her prayers and her sincere belief in God, and earnest love and effort to help others.

Dependence on neighbors also comes to mind with this book. It is so telling when the girl is making a wedding guest list, since they are having in the home she decides to invite "only close friends and family." As she goes through each person in the community, she gives a reason why she must invite them, some reason they've helped the family in the past, or even how an invite to the wedding dinner could help their hungry family, and ends up inviting everyone! How we are missing this in our world today! We can be great cyber friends with people halfway across the globe, but yet not have time to help our neighbor across the street. A great lesson I want to think more about.

Gene Stratton Porter has written more books that I am excited to check out. If they are worth reading, I will be sure to document them here!

1 comment:

  1. Ashley! I love this. Seriously, this just inspired me and I want to read this book now. You are awesome:)