A Book That Brings Beauty- Beatrix Potter and Her Animal Friends

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What book do you think of when you desire to look at something beautiful? What stories come to mind when you want to read something wholesome and satisfying to your children? We’ve all heard of them, and a lot of us have read most if not all of them, but Beatrix Potter’s animal stories are some of the most treasured and classic of tales, beloved by children near and far.

Not only are these stories a delight to children, but they have been and still are a delight to adults as well. It has been said that even C.S. Lewis himself was captivated by the likes of Squirrel Nutkin. So why is this? What causes these stories to stand the test of time?

Maybe it is because what is conveyed through these stories is not bound by years or decades. What is gleaned in Potter’s pages is timeless because stories of value and substance, that lend direction and offer a moral compass, are as much needed today as they were in the early nineteen hundreds. From The Tale of Peter Rabbit to The Roly-Poly Pudding, children are reminded of the importance of obedience and honesty, and that there are very real consequences for the decisions one makes.

So many other great things can be awakened in a child as a result of delving into these classic tales: A love for animals, a desire to experiment with watercolor paints, sketching the natural world, or writing creative narratives about the creatures one comes across on a nature walk.

To help aid you in your rediscovery of Potter’s Complete Tales, I want to introduce you to a quaint and beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Beatrix Potter, written by Alexandra Wallner, simply titled Beatrix Potter.

 

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Her childhood becomes very real and relatable as this book portrays her time spent drawing, painting flowers, and secretly keeping pet rabbits, frogs, lizards, salamanders, and snakes.

 

Beatrix kept a diary written in her own code. The sights and sounds of the woods were like magic to her.”

Children are invited into the pages of this little gem to discover that things were not always easy for Beatrix. She often battled loneliness and was plagued with bronchitis and rheumatic fever which left her with a heart condition. These things, however, did not keep her from finding comfort in the natural world around her and recreating God’s creatures on paper with pencil and paint.

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If I have done anything – even a little to help small children on the road to enjoy and appreciate honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.

If you would like to delve even deeper after reading this charming picture book biography, , I recommend picking up Beatrix Potter: A Journal,published by Penguin Books. It is made to look like Beatrix’s own scrapbook with black and white photos of her and her family, journal cards, and original sketches and paintings.

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Delve into these wonderful books with your children and let the love of nature take root and blossom in a bounty of creativity and wonder. And go out and enjoy God’s creation with your children!

Imagination ~ Something to Think About

Fritz von Uhde, The Children’s Room

Read for the Heart 11292009Growing up, my siblings and I were almost constantly in the throes of some imagined story — shipwrecked travelers, desperate orphans, disguised royalty, westward pioneers. After our obligatory hour of reading, our afternoons were often spent outdoors in worlds available only through the creative power of our minds — worlds often introduced through the stories we had read…
In the past few years I have come to the conclusion that those hours of imagination gave me far more than just good memories. As I have begun writing my first books and done a bit of speaking all over the United States, numerous people have asked me what gave me the ability to dream, what drove my desires and shaped my goals. How did my brother become a composer? My other brother a writer? What was the secret to our upbringing? The answer is simple: God, family, and … imagination.

Imagination is too often described as a ‘childish’ thing — attributed only to the young, the very creative, or the ‘artsy’ and impractical. But in reality, imagination is a transformative force that is common to all people who dream deeply enough to accomplish something of worth with their lives. At its core, imagination is the ability to envision the future we desire, the force enabling us to pursue a dream whose reality is radically different from the present. We cannot set out on a road of great hopes and determination if we have no concept of what it is we are journeying toward. Imagination drives inspired action.”
~ Sarah Clarkson in Read for the Heart pp. 147-148

When my children were younger, we had an hour of quiet time every afternoon. They each had their own basket of books, carefully selected by mom, and a treat of some type. This was an hour I truly appreciated! Mommies need a break from the go, go, go of mothering. This hour also blessed my children. They read books about history, science, Christian history, and fiction of all sorts.

These books helped stir my children’s imaginations. They could be bold heroes or delicate princesses. Every era of history could be acted out! One of our favorites was Roxaboxen, which directed hours of pretend. This sweet book is about children playing outdoors and creating their own town, Roxaboxen.

Old clothes from Goodwill and garage sales and hand sewn capes became the wardrobe for my budding actors and actresses. They made props out of anything and everything.

Children are creative, given the opportunity. If they have been given a solid diet of TV and video games, they might struggle a bit with using their minds to amuse themselves. Our culture encourages conformity, not individuality. Our Creator God gave us minds that can imagine. Schedule time this week for your children to play, indoors or outdoors and give them resources for play (dress up clothes and props)  and use their imaginations!

Here are some great children’s fiction that Sarah recommends:
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
A Little Maid series by Alice Turner Curtis
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

These are books that make wonderful read alouds as a family, or they can be given to older children to read on their own. What book are you reading to your children this season? May the Lord bless you as you stoke the fires of your children’s imaginations! Pick up Sarah’s book with 384 inspiring pages!

Christmas ~ A Time to Enjoy Reading Aloud!

Sarah’s Book on Books ~ a great Christmas gift idea!

On a storm-blown Sunday afternoon in a creaky old manor house in England, I rediscovered the timeless delight of classic children’s books. It took me by surprise. I was one of about thirty international students studying and living in England for the summer, and this was our first British teatime all together. A shy, awkward silence had fallen about us as we tried our best to balance philosophy, sophistication, and hot mugs of tea, when one of our tutors said something that sent us all staring.
“Let’s read Winnie-the-Pooh.”
A swift current of suppressed mirth ran the length of the room, but we were up for some fun, and the tutor assigned each person a part in the story. Pooh’s expedition to the North Pole was the story of choice, and before we knew what was happening we were immersed in the comical, compact world of the Hundred Acre Woods. The story had all of us — tutors, college students, post-graduates, old, and young — laughing until our sides literally ached.”
Read for the Heart pp. 113-114

Reading together as a family is a Clarkson tradition. Hours of memories have been made around good books. During the holiday season, busyness can rob you of precious time spent together as a family. Since all children should sleep at night, should being the key word, start the bedtime routine a little bit earlier and pull out a favorite book to read. If Pooh is a bit daunting by its size, try some holiday picture books or some shorter chapter books. Two that are recommended by Whole Hearted children are The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Cosmic Christmas. Enjoy their reviews!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a book I like each Christmas because it is a funny, family-friendly story.  It has inspired me to look at Christmas differently and a little more realistically.  For example, what if Jesus had colic?  The only thing about this book is that it has some questionable language so is better if Mom or Dad reads it aloud and edits as they read.
~ Reviewed by 10 year old young lady

Cosmic Christmas by Max Lucado ( also recently published as The Angel Story) opens a unique porthole into the uncommonly written realm of angels.    It is written from Gabriel’s perspective on his mission to give Mary the seed of Christ as Satan is desperately trying to stop him.   While it is written from a biblical Christian perspective, this soul stirring book provides a new look on the ” all is calm , all is bright”  normal theme of Christmas.

This book is a must read in our home each year.
~ Reviewed  by 13 year old boy

What books are you reading to your children this holiday season? May the Lord bless the time you spend together!

Pray and see what God does! You tube!

Thanks for everyone who has sent emails or commented or who is praying. I will do the  24 Family Ways giveaway later on Monday, but until then, please let me hear from you and let’s join in prayer together.

As I mentioned earlier in the summer, I was on a quest to refresh my soul this summer, as I am constantly giving out. One of my friends suggested I read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I so enjoyed this book and it began a desire in my heart to call out women to begin prayer chains, groups, pray with their children, pray in families, pray in groups.

Seems we have seen a lot of impotence in the lives of believers. We have allowed immorality to take over, we have not sought God or lived Holy lives. I know that many go to church and many give sacrificially. But so many wonderful women in my life seem to feel discouraged, overwhelmed and burdened. I know it is a fallen world and we will have lots of difficulty as this is the fallen place.

But I believe God wants to do a great work in our time. I have seen that when people pray and read the word and worship intentionally, the Holy Spirit seems to sweep across the lands and brings about major revival.

What if we could see amazing things happen all over the world because of a wave of women joining to hold fast in prayer, engaging their hearts in God’s word, and stepping out boldly in faith. I have seen the Lord do so much more in my lifetime than I would ever have thought possible. He is looking to strongly support that heart that is enthusiastically responding to His word and love in the private, unseen room in their home or apartment. Right where you are, where no one else can see, God can see you and is committed to responding to your faith and love for Him.

God wants to respond and He wants to bless. He delights in doing supernatural works through normal people like you and me–the little boy with the fish and loaves; David and the giant; Joshua and the trumpets; Gideon against the Mideonites and so many more stories. I really want to be one of those who said, “In my lifetime, use me Lord to bring as many thousands as you would allow, to commit their lives to you, to love you, to live boldly for your kingdom. Please fan the flames in my children’s lives to live boldly for you, that they may be your warriors for your kingdom in this time of history. Let them be faithful until they see you face to face.

Will you join me in praying and asking God to pour out His spirit and grace. And then will you boldly step out in faith, right where you are–to share with others, to be God’s hands and voice and love to those He brings your way?

Lets have big hearts for a wonderful God and bring His light and life and kingdom to bear on our lives and in the lives of others. May He bless you today.

Turning Pages

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Marissa. I have been very good about sticking to my 50 book challenge for this spring and summer. Where did I get all the book ideas? I looked them up in Sarah Clarkson’s book Read for the Heart. This book was a great reference when I needed book ideas that would be fun to read during my challenge. 

The book I just finished was titled 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. This particular book I did not find in Sarah Clarkson’s book, this book my mom found for me in World News Magazine. This Christian author made an adventure that was hard to put down. From sunrise to sunset I was looking forward to reading where I had left off. Henry York gets sent to his aunt and uncles house in Henry, Kansas when his parents are sent to a foreign country and don’t return. Henry gets the guest bedroom located in the attic and soon discovers a wall full of magic cupboards. Henry and his cousin Henrietta take many wonderful, and scary, adventures through this wall of magic cupboards. I recommend this book for older children since this book can be scary in some sections. 

So, how many books have you completed so far? Have you taken on a 50 book challenge as well? If you have any good reads that you recommend I would love to know! One of your books may end up on my list. The next book I will be working on will be Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson. It is the second book in the 100 Cupboards trilogy. Keep on turning those pages!

To order Sarah Clarkson’s Read for the Heart click HERE.