My Sweet Sarah in Oxford amongst all of the books.
Dreaming out-loud with our children from the time they were tiny was something we practiced regularly as parents. We would say,
"God is such an artist and He has made you with a very special personality, skills, interests, with your own story. I can't wait to see how He will use you to change your world. You are so very special."
And yet, we had no idea of how our children would take to our training, our words, encouragement and love. God is so good to take our fish and loaves and make them into a miracle.
Watching the seeds grow, the seeds that we had so faithfully planted in the lives of our children, has been one of the most exciting and fulfilling accomplishments of our lives.
Recently, Sarah's life has been greatly in bloom.
From the first moment of Sarah's birth, I adored her. At 31, I was so happy to finally be able to hold my sweet little one and it seems from the very first, we were kindred spirits. We always have been.
One thing that marked Sarah from the time she was small was her love for words, her penchant to read, her hunger to learn, her love of writing. She is a natural student, but when she graduated from high school at 16, she was offered a book contract by a Christian publisher. She wrote and published her first book, and set her on a path of writing, travel with us in the ministry, and a time of adventuring all over the world.
I love how our hearts and souls have been shaped together in the past years. Books shared, cups of tea, friends known, international travel; I literally could not have made it through these years without her friendship and companionship. We are kindred spirits through and through. She is a delightful friend of my soul.
But she has always been an academic at heart. Along the way, a publisher heard her speak on literature and children's authors and immediately gave her a contract for a guide to children's literature. She continued to travel and speak, to master the art of writing, and always, she continued to read. Her ability to weave words into heart-touching beauty is truly a gift.
Last year, one of her dreams finally came true. She was able to be a student in Oxford for a semester, and she came alive in a culture where others read and thought and discussed ideas with a relish equal to her own. When she returned, she had a new dream and a strong determination in her soul.
With fortitude, she began to look for the best way to finish her undergraduate degree. Now, she is beginning that path, as you will see below. And I know she hopes to continue on to a Masters degree, and maybe even a Ph.D if that is the story and road God takes her on.
As a mom, I can see how perfectly God has worked to bring her to this point. I am so very happy for her to be able to pursue more of her dreams, so glad that she will be able to encourage and influence even more people with the life-changing writing and ideas God has begun to develop in her life.
So I thought you might want to hear from her own heart just what is happening. I know so many of you have heard Sarah speak over the years, so I wanted to share with you what is unfolding in this "new era" of her life. I will miss my kindred spirit-traveling companion, but love seeing the doors of her life opening wide with opportunity. Here is what Sarah shared yesterday on her blog: Thoroughlyalive.com:
My New Era
“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” -Henry David Thoreau
New eras begin with new ideas, as Thoreau well knew. He spent a lifetime writing the kinds of books that might arrest a man mid-step, shake him to the core of his soul and set a new road at his feet. Sometimes, you can read something so powerful, so exactly sating to the hunger or hope of your particular soul that it sets a new path at your feet and changes the course of your journey. Thoreau knew it and these days, so do I.
Friends, I’m about to start a new era. The time has come and the choice is made. At 29 years of age, I’m finally heading off to college. I’ve been accepted to Wheaton College (near Chicago) and I’ll begin my studies in English and Philosophy this fall. Wish me grace as I go?
The book that prompted this change? Well, it wasn’t really just one. I suppose you could say it was the Bodleian itself and every stack of books I ordered for every essay and all the old libraries in Oxford that instigated this decision. But the books that really sparked it all were the ones I read through my C.S. Lewis tutorial, books that explored the “truth-bearing faculty” of imagination (as Malcolm Guite says). When I read Lewis’ Surprised by Joy one rainy day, and understood that we may know what is Real through observation and reason, but also and equally through imagination and experience, through a beauty that speaks in a “language without words,” I sat up straight in my library chair and knew that heightened air of a newborn era.
You see, I’ve spent most of my life trying to understand the truth that came to me through imagination. In the stories I have read, the music I have heard, through the hours I have spent in creation, I have known something true about God that has been the foundation of my faith. Beauty has spoken to me of spiritual reality since childhood, and I knew it was truth even though the knowing came through a language without words. The stories I read deeply shaped my interior world, widening my capacity to enter the story of God. But I never felt quite able to argue for the power of the imagination as equal to that of logic and reason.
As I studied in Oxford, I finally began to realize that in Western culture, we generally place the highest value on what we know through Reason, on the truths that are quantifiable, easily counted and observed. We tend to denigrate the knowledge of imagination and experience because it is something received, a presence that is subjective, interior, known only from within. Because of this, we think of beauty and the arts as peripheral to the spiritual, a by-product of holiness, rather than something that powerfully communicates it to us. But Lewis explained to me that this is a lop-sided view. Language is simply another set of symbols pointing back, along with imagination and creation, to what is ultimately Real.
Read the rest of her story here and be sure to cast dreams in the heart of your children!
And don't forget! Today is the last day to enter the giveaway!
If you have been wanting to start a book club or group in your church using Desperate, now would be a great time to get the books! If you buy five *paperback* copies of Desperate this week (through Friday) you can get the Desperate DVD for FREE! And if you're one of the first 50 to purchase five books, you also get these lovely Redeemed - Everything Beautiful Earrings!
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Also, here is a peek at what the videos are like: