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Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013)



I met Edith Schaeffer in Rochester at a L'Abri conference over 15 years ago. She was tiny and intense, with dark eyes that looked right into you.  It was the sort of  look that makes you feel like, even though there were hundreds of people in the room, she was here to talk to just you.  She was sitting down, autographing books with her signature and sketches in black thinline marker.  I handed her my copy of Christianity is Jewish.  She placed her 80-something hand on mine, looked up at me and said, "Do you homeschool?"  I replied, "Why, yes, I do."  Then she said, "Don't put that or your children above your husband.  Ever."  I remember thinking at the time, "Well, that was pretty direct of her!"

Of course, turns out  it was good advice.   And now I occasionally share the same wisdom to my younger friends.  Her books helped me to find a  type of Christianity that I could embrace wholeheartedly with a wide focus that was new to me and spoke to not only my soul, but my heart and mind, too.  And if it wasn't for Edith and her daughter, Susan, I doubt I would have learned about Charlotte Mason at all.

Human beings are very unbalanced and tend to go off on tangents.In every area of life - with too great emphasis on one thing, leaving out another important thing altogether.None of us will ever be perfectly balanced in our spiritual lives, our intellectual lives, our emotional lives, our family lives, in relationships with other human beings, or in our business lives.But we are challenged to try, with the help of God. We are meant to live in the scriptures. - Edith Schaeffer

Here are my favorite books by Edith Schaeffer:

Mei Fuh: Memories from China  - a favorite of my girls about Edith's childhood in China (contains the famed  Pilgrim's Progress story on the stairs)


L'Abri  - amazing story of how it all began in the Swiss Alps


The Hidden Art of Homemaking a classic on homemaking,  dated yet timeless

Christianity Is Jewish


One title I haven't read yet is Affliction.I have pulled that off my shelf to read now.  I bought this copy at a thrift store  Here is the inscription:

"January 1979 - To Beth and Paul, Yes you did see Francis Schaeffer on the street!  It is an amazing thing to us that I finished this book on Oct 2, 1977 and that Oct. 9, 1978 we arrived at Mayo Clinic to be told Fran has cancer. We feel sure God TIMED this book for us as well as for many other people.  With love to you, and your family.  Edith Schaeffer"

(Francis Schaeffer died of lymphoma in May of 1984.)

Her speeches and talks have enriched my life. She will be missed.

From joy to joy,
Nancy


10 comments:

  1. Wise words that go straight to the soul. I shed a tear and I'd never met her.

    Enjoy your read.
    x

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    1. Thanks, Richele. I'm looking forward to June!!

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  2. This was beautiful, and I just have to add my favorite Edith Schaeffer book and quote...
    Her book "What is a family?" is wonderful and here's the quote: "Say to yourselves, teach your children,"there are some things that are too costly to say, some things that are too great a luxury to use in sarcasm, some things that are too cleverly devastating to ever use in trying to get the better of someone. To win in the midst of saying that kind of thing is to lose entirely. What rare and marvelous thing am I losing in order to win what little victory?"
    This was one of my first commonplace book entries :) Thanks for being an inspiration.

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    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh, yes, that's a wonderful book, also! And fabulous quote - thank you so much for sharing that here.

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  3. Nancy, I do believe we were at the same conference. I had Emma with me as a 9 month old.
    Edith signed The Hidden Art of Homemaking to her , hoping her life would be full of creativity. Wonder if we met?

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    1. Bonnie,
      I wonder...how funny how our lives have connected in so many ways! Well, Emma certainly is benefiting from your reading of The Hidden Art as her life has been full of creativity!

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  4. nancy, you have the coolest things happen to you. and by being friends, i get to share in them, albeit secondhand. i love that. and you. ;)
    praying for you... i think i need to borrow the 'affliction' book when you're done... though if i were you, with that inscription, i don't think i'd let it get too far away. how special. i'll have to pick up a copy...
    missin' ya mucho.

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  5. Nancy,
    I knew she was in her upper 90's, so it was not as if I was surprised that Edith Schaeffer left this earth for her eternal home, yet it made me sigh deeply. She and Elisabeth Elliot were probably the two most influential women in my life as I traversed wifehood and motherhood over thirty years ago.

    I do not think there is a book of hers I have not liked. I am now re-reading Common Sense Christian Living. Another one of her books that you did not mention, A Life of Prayer, it is also excellent.

    I loved the advice she gave you. This is the sort of mentoring I desire to do for other younger women, it is only getting harder to be a voice even to Christian homeschoolers so it seems.

    Oh, by the way, I have some questions to ask you about the CM conference that is being held at Ferrum College in Virginia. Should I email you?

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  6. Dear Cathy,
    Yes, Elisabeth Elliot also. Thank you for mentioning those other titles. I have a few others I really like but didn't want this to get too long! A Way of Seeing is a wonderful morning read during devotions.

    Yes, please email me with any questions about the conference!

    From joy to joy,
    Nancy

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  7. Nancy,

    Though I don't normally recommend Frank Schaeffer for noble or praiseworthy reading, this article he wrote on his mom's passing is lovely: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/a-tribute-to-my-evangelic_b_2983906.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

    There are a few of Edith's books that I haven't read yet. I think I will add a couple to my summer reading list. She always adds beauty to my days with her wise and thoughtful words.

    Grace for the day,
    Kelli

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