My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II




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On the Banks of Plum Creek- a timely book review for Christmas in a recession

Rush Limbaugh was laughing today on his radio program about some letters that had been written by parents, wondering if they should "spare" their children the truths about this economy and hard times or if they should let them know the reality. Rush isn't a dad, but he thought it was a silly idea to try to spoil and shield children children from what would be the realities of adult life in short order.

And he's right! I say that as a mom with a kid with one foot outside of our home, about to embark on his life as a young adult, and as a mom with a toddler and four other kids in between! I don't think you can ever over prepare your kids for adulthood.



If there are any parents out there struggling with this issue, may I suggest reading On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House) aloud with your family. I just finished it with two of my sons, ages 13 and 10, and they found it to be fascinating. I found it to be very relevant to the current times.

Laura Ingalls and her family move to Minnesota so that dad can buy a farm, plant a wheat crop and then have a little prosperity and financial security. Everyone is certainly willing to do a little sacrifice for this dream. For a few months the family live in an earthen dugout while Pa Ingalls clears the field and plants what he hopes will be an abundant wheat crop. Ma makes their dirt hole into a tidy home and the girls learn to love it and the nearby creek which quickly becomes their favorite place to play.

The next chapters deal with regular daily life on the prairie as Laura and her sister Mary deal with their chores, making friends in school, and being "country girls." ( There are a few tussles with the infamous Nellie Olsen and her sister in this book.) Pa starts buying things on credit too, like the wood for a real house, and a big new shiny stove - all on the hopes that a big wheat crop will pay for all of that and everything else they can dream of.

But it doesn't work out that way. A swarm of grasshoppers (locusts) destroy the crop in a few days taking their hopes and dreams with it. With no crop and no work, Pa must walk hundreds of miles away from home to find work as a harvester. The next year isn't much better when the baby grasshoppers hatch from eggs laid deep in the earth from the season before, and once again Pa must leave the family.

What's striking in the book to the modern eye is that the Ingalls family continues to work and struggle through their situation. They don't wait for the government to come up and hand them a check, and they don't spend a lot of time wailing about what might have been. They take the situation before them and work with it.

But this particular book might be just the thing for this difficult Christmas. In the last few chapters Pa returns from town with a few modest Christmas presents but gets lost and stranded alone and outside  in a terrible blizzard. While Ma and the girls continue about their schedule, Pa's safety is always on their minds. A few lucky buys sustain Pa for three or four days until he can arrive safely back at home, but the Christmas presents are gone and all that is left is one container of Oyster Stew. Yet it's the best Christmas for them ever. The book ends with Pa safe and sound playing sweetly on his fiddle, commenting on how beautiful Laura's eyes shone. What made it a good Christmas was that no matter what, they were together, safe and healthy. And really what else matters?

It seems to me that any family dealing with kids that are just a little too materialistic, particularly over the holidays, might benefit from a Laura Ingalls' reality check. My boys were on the edge of their seats and then were very anxious to discuss the ironies in the last few chapters. I'm surprised this one isn't on more Christmas "must read" lists!







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