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Sweet were the days when our children, John, Bethany, and Mary Evelyn, gathered on the couch in the basement of our little house in Illinois, to listen to their own Ma read aloud about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. My husband Ray read the books as a child, but the books were as new to me as they were to our children. Day after day the children and I learned about the Ingalls’ simple lives, and I tried to take to heart the mama lessons I was learning from Ma.

Our little house in the prairie

Laura and her family lived in many little houses. They spent a great deal of time at home with only one another for companions. Laura once said, “Home is the nicest word there is.”

Jesus certainly enjoyed His time at the home of his friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village;
and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Luke 10:38

Because God loves us, He has given us instruction on how to live in our homes. In Exodus 20:12, God told children how to treat their parents.

Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged
in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Exodus 20:12

In Deuteronomy 11:18-19, God told parents when and where to train their children.

You shall therefore impress
these words of mine on your heart and on your soul . . .
You shall teach them to your sons,
talking of them when you sit in your house
and when you walk along the road
and when you lie down
and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

The sitting and the lying down and the rising up happen at home. How blessed is every child who has a home with loving parents, devoted to their well-being. One of the many advantages homeschooled children have is their opportunity to be at home. Many wonderful—as well as good and mediocre and sometimes even questionable—opportunities can pull homeschooling families away from home. Wise parents decide which opportunities to choose based on this teaching from the book of Romans.

Therefore I urge you, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, 
acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1

Don’t doubt what a blessing home is in the life of a child. It’s one of the many precious gifts you give to your children.

As I told you last week, we are hosting a 155th birthday party for Laura Ingalls Wilder this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Central Time. Register to get access to the live event or watch the replay at your convenience. The program, “The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Story and Song,” which our son, John, plans to present at the party is one he worked on for several years. It is simply fantastic. This is John’s description:

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) left a lasting impact on American literature with her Little House series of books. In this presentation, John Notgrass takes you on a virtual tour of the places Laura lived, shares stories that didn’t make it into her books, and performs songs that the Ingalls family enjoyed.

The party today begins our 11-day celebration of Laura. I plan to put a new link in each day’s post, beginning tomorrow. The first video, “Laura’s First Little House,” takes you to the Ingalls family’s little house in the big woods near Pepin, Wisconsin.

Home Sweet Home. As mamas we each have the priceless opportunity to build a home sweet home. Jesus is getting an eternal home ready for all who belong to Him. He comforted His disciples with these promises:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; 
believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many rooms;
if that were not so, I would have told you,
because I am going there to prepare a place for you.  
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I am coming again and will take you to Myself,
so that where I am, there you also will be.”
John 14:1-3







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  1. The show was excellent and my children and I really enjoyed it! We love history and I really appreciated what was said that we must look back at history, the good and the bad, not try to eliminate parts that aren’t the prettiest… (Paraphrasing here) but it’s really true. There is much to be learned from history and we must endevour to preserve it in it’s fullness and truth not hide away or twist it to fit an agenda.
    We’re very blessed by your families history books! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Kelsey. This makes me very happy. And I so agree with your wisdom about history. I am very grateful, too, that you feel blessed by our books. Thank you for the encouragement.

  2. Years ago we had a pastor that used to say, “Some of my greatest mentors have been dead over a hundred years!” I could totally relate, as Ma Ingalls was truly one of my best mentors and models of godly wifehood and motherhood! I would have loved to meet her in person.

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