Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Prairie Girl's Faith- Review

The beloved author of the Little House books was not only one of America’s great pioneer storytellers but a woman of vibrant faith.

A Prairie Girl’s Faith provides the first extended, in depth discussion of the Christian faith of one of America’s most beloved pioneer women–Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the faith of the Ingalls’ family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura’s faith have never been fully explored. It took extraordinary pluck for anyone to survive the harshness of frontier life–from the heartbreak of sudden crop losses to murderous storms to unrelenting loneliness. This book reveals how in surviving, the brave Laura drew not just on her character, but found encouragement, strength, and hope in her relationship with God.


A Prairie Girl's Faith by Stephen W. Hines is a beautiful look into the legacy of faith the Ingalls family instilled not only into their family, but their community. Ever since I was a child and my mom read aloud "Little House in the Big Woods" I have been a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I saw this book I was fascinated and eager to learn more about this amazing lady's faith.

Mr. Hines did a great job of collecting what information he could on the topic of Mrs. Wilder's faith, but honestly there was not quite as much in depth information as I had expected. At the beginning of chapter seven Mr. Hines writes: "The reality is that Laura Ingalls Wilder was not a person who thought it necessary or appropriate to reveal her private thoughts on topics or people to the outside world. She certainly extended this attitude to her spirituality, which she definitely considered one of her most private of matters." With that said there truly wasn't as much information about Laura Ingalls Wilder's beliefs as I thought there would be. However this book was interesting and informative in many ways that I had not expected.

One chapter explores the songs mentioned in the "Little House" series and how those songs may have impacted the pioneers of that era. I was interested to learn favorite hymns of different members of the Ingalls family. In an earlier chapter the author recounts how the Ingalls family lived a great distance from town and that Sundays were spent in quiet worship at home. At that time Caroline Ingalls instructed her daughters in Scripture memorization. Throughout her life Laura always read her Bible and it was not far from her at the time of her death.

Another interesting topic covered in this books was the relationship and collaborative efforts of Laura and her daughter Rose. I had no idea that Rose had such an impact on her mother's writing career. The author also compared and contrasted the two women who shared so much in common, but were often extremely different in beliefs.

A chapter entitled "The Church Potluck" discussed the growth of the church the Ingalls were involved in starting and the tradition of potluck dinners. This chapter is filled with recipes from an old community cookbook. The recipes were submitted by notable "Little House" characters including Caroline Ingalls.

I appreciated the peek into Laura Ingalls Wilder's thoughts that her articles for "The Missouri Ruralist" provided. Excerpts from many of her articles are sprinkled throughout this book giving us a unique glimpse of her perspective on many relevant topics of her day.  

Overall A Prairie Girl's Faith was not exactly what I had expected, but a very enjoyable and informative book. The author is very knowledgeable and presents the information in a conversational manner which makes it an easy, fun read. For those who have enjoyed the "Little House" series and are interested in learning a little bit more about the woman behind the series I would definitely recommend A Prairie Girl's Faith.

*I was given a copy of A Prairie Girl's Faith by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Little House Shawl

Earlier this week I finished knitting a "Little House" shawl for my daughter. A couple of months ago I discovered this pattern and the name instantly caught my attention. As I have mentioned before Jemimah and I love "Little House".
Jemimah has been requesting a pink shawl for quite some time now. Pink is her favorite color, followed by purple. I asked her to choose the yarn from a few I found on-line and this yarn was her favorite. When the yarn arrived in the mail she was very pleased, as it is not only pink but has subtle lavender undertones.
This was my first attempt at knitting a rounded shawl. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The only tedious part of the project was casting on. Instead of casting on a few stitches at the top, as I am used to, you cast on a couple hundred stitches which forms the bottom edge. I found that casting on 50 stitches at a time and then placing a stitch marker after each group of 50 stitches helped make the process easier. I was able to count in multiples of 50 until I reached my goal.
The old shale lace edging is what makes this design special! It adds just the perfect old-fashioned touch.
I finished this shawl none too soon, as we have had our fair share of snow and cold temperatures lately. Jemimah told me that her new shawl is "comfy and cozy" which truly made my day. : )

Monday, January 1, 2018

My First Socks

Last New Year's I made a list of skills I would like to learn in the year ahead. One of the projects I had hoped to tackle was learning to knit socks. I looked at a few sock patterns and was somewhat intimidated by the idea of creating a heel. To me it was a mystery how a heel could be knitted so neatly and comfortably.

In October I entered a contest hosted by Emily of Emmy Couture, she generously offered two skeins of her hand dyed sock weight yarn to the winner. I was thrilled when I found out I was the winner! When the yarn arrived I felt more inspired than ever to knit my first pair of socks. Adam was also quite pleased with the skein of Forest yarn and suggested that it was the perfect yarn for him. : )

I decided I would try to knit a pair of socks for Adam as a special Christmas surprise. Usually I knit in the evenings after dinner, but since this was meant to be a surprise I worked on the socks only during the day while Adam was at work. It was often difficult to find time during the day and progress was slow.
One day leading up to Christmas Jemimah and I had spent an especially fun day together baking cookies and then watching the 1940's "Little Women" while I knitted. That evening Jemimah decided to pray over our meal. Her sweet prayer outlined all that she was grateful for that day, "Thank you Lord that mama and I made cookies, thank you that we watched "Little Women" and thank you that mama is knitting socks for papa.". Adam and I both looked at each other, and then began to laugh! The secret was out, so I decided to show him my progress and test the fit. It was actually a blessing to have some extra time to finish the socks and know that they would fit after all of my work.
Adam is quite pleased with his new socks. The yarn is so soft and was a pleasure to knit. The color variation is subtle, but beautiful! The second skein of yarn from Emily is a lovely combination of purples and gray. I am hoping to use that yarn to knit socks for myself.
At times the knitting process was a little challenging, but not nearly as difficult as I had feared. The pattern I selected was free and very easy to follow. The pattern also featured different variations of the design to assist the beginner. I also watched this video twice. It was extremely helpful in learning how to knit the heel. The second sock went much faster than the first, however both socks have their fair share of mistakes. Overall they are cozy and Adam doesn't seem to notice the mistakes, so I am happy to have added socks to my list of knitting accomplishments. : )

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!" Isaiah 52:7