Monday, February 8, 2016

The LifeGiving Home Give-away


       I have spent a week trying to wax poetic, to compose passionate words compelling you to purchase Sally Clarkson's newest book, The LifeGiving Home, a book I believe in with all of my heart.    Poetic verse has yet to occur but memories have flooded my mind in some strongly emotional ways as I have pondered what a LifeGiving home is and how I  have experienced one.  Sally's children share wonderful memories of  Sunday afternoon Tea Time.  As I heard these stories at MomHeart conferences then read them in this book visions of Downton Abby flooded my mind.  It all seemed so perfect, so beautiful ~ fancy china and petite fours.    On rare occasions I have experienced an event such as this but it certainly has not been a regular occurrence in my life. 
 TEA TIME in my life looked a bit different but left an indelible mark of love on my heart.
     I grew up in northern Maine, about a mile from the Canadian border.  This resulted in a strong English influence on my life.    My Grandmother, a hard-working, faithful, gentle potato farmer's wife, interrupted the labors of each afternoon with a pot of brewed tea and a sweet treat.  My brother and I  share a common bond of drinking strong tea diluted with canned evaporated milk just the way Grammie used to make it for us.  We are both serious sugar addicts as well since each Tea Time included some form of home-baked goodie, brownies, cookies, date squares or the ever present donuts, freshly made donuts, often still warm from the fryer.   Uncle and Grampie would come in from the fields, cracking a joke (or muttering a curse, depending on the cooperation of the farm machinery) knowing there would be delicious treats to energize them for the remaining day's labors. 
     In The LifeGiving Home, Sarah Clarkson answers the question of what her parents did to make her believe in God,
     " 'I think it was French toast on Saturday mornings and coffee and Celtic music and discussions and candlelight in the evenings...'   Because in those moments I tasted and saw the goodness of God in a way I couldn't ignore."
      I, too, saw God's goodness in a way I couldn't ignore when I drank tea and ate yummy donuts with my Grammie, when she donned her white sun hat while we  picked berries  for delicious pies, or when I observed her reading her Bible and finishing  her Sunday School lesson on Saturday night for our time together in church on Sunday morning.  God's love shone through her love and it was GOOD!
       Each time I brew a pot of tea this memory wraps around me like a child's tattered, cherished blanket warming me with the assurance that I was and am loved.  Though Grammie is gone, her love remains true in the memories.  As a child I had no idea of the sacrifice required for her to fry donuts every week, to furnish a well-stocked pantry of brownies and cookies, or to cook each meal from scratch, often after working all day in the potato house or standing for hours in the cold, fall air on a potato harvester.   All  I knew was that the goodness of the food I tasted echoed the goodness of my grandmother's love.

      The feasts I created for my children were a bit different.  Warm chocolate chip cookies on a snowy day, "McMom's" ~ chicken nuggets and french fries served in a recycled McDonald's Happy Meal box, and birthday dinners of made from scratch  chicken pot pie all conveyed the same message, You Are Loved.

    In The LifeGiving Home Sally and Sarah Clarkson share a Mother-Daughter perspective on the safety and refuge of HOME, the place to belong and to become all that God created you to become.   Home will look different for each one of us, whether it be a tiny house or a grand mansion,  but the practical ideas of building faith, family and friendship cross all boundaries. 

       I believe so heartily in the truth of The LifeGiving Home I will be giving away one book set, The LifeGiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming with The LifeGiving Home Experience: a 12-month Guided Journey.  I will also be giving away a CD of Joel Clarkson's original compositions, Music for the LifeGiving Home. 

 Simply share a comment, a memory of home or a family story below to be entered in this drawing.  Winners will be chosen Wednesday, February 10.


Slimming Down in Texas with Plexus said...

Such sweet memories. I remember Sat morning breakfast at my grandmas. I want to make sweet memories for my kiddos as well!

Rebecca Nadeau said...

Recently I have been having talks with some dear homeschooling friends and the way we win our children's hearts in a lasting way has been a frequent topic of discussion. We have all come to agreement that just going to church is not enough. Homeschooling isn't enough. Sheltering them isn't enough. Perhaps it's these pleasures of home like good stories, laughter, delicious food, & joyful memories that will make the biggest impact on our precious children.

Jane Rattray said...

Thank you for your comment, Rebecca. I think you are so right. Certainly in my faith journey the ways I observed my parents and grandparents living out their faith has stuck with me more than hundreds of sermons. In homeschooling circles we love the Deuteronomy 6:5-7 passage and this passage beautifully illustrates a life giving home where God's commands are lived out together, as a family, in the rhythm of life. I love seeing your Facebook pics of your kiddos. Your family loves well.

Sara Dearborn said...

Jane, I too cherish memories spent with my family at my grandparents' hime. For us, it was always Sunday evening after church. Grammy always had gingersnaps or chocolate chip cookies or another sweet treat waiting for us. Sweet memories that I am still experiencing with my grandparents and I am thankful my daughter has had the opportunity to experience them as well.

Jane Rattray said...

Sara, I love how church was followed up with family time and deliciousness. You definitely inherited your Grandmother's ability to make delicious food. Thank you for sharing your comment. I was praying for you guys this morning. Hope to see you soon.

Jane Rattray said...

Slimming down in Texas, Isn't it fun to go down Memory Lane and relive those special times with grandparents? Sally's book has inspired me to intentionally create those memories for my grandson. Sally is a pro at inspiring Moms with her stories yet wrapping that inspiration in the freedom to create celebrations that best fit the dynamic of our individual families.

Liz Dewsnap said...

Thanks for the lovely memories, Jane!

Jane Rattray said...


Simming Down in Texas, You WON the Life Giving Home book and accompanying LifeGiving Home Experience journal - Please email me your address at so I can get these prizes in the mail to you.

Rebecca - You WON Joel Clarkson's CD of music composed to accompany the LifeGiving Home experience. Email me your address at and I will mail these your way.

I hope you both enjoy these books as much as I have. Would love to hear what you think.