We have been reading The Yearling, written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in 1938. In this coming of age story, the Baxter family—Penny, Ora, and twelve-year-old Jody—live a hard life in the Florida scrub region at the turn of the century.
It is November, and the first frost has come to the scrub. The Baxters are in the “front room”, enjoying the first hearth-fire of the year, Penny smoking his pipe, Ora sewing, Jody lying on the floor in front of the fire, daydreaming.
Ma Baxter said, “Now throw a stick on the fire. I cain’t quite see to foller my seams.”
She had cut down a pair of Penny’s winter breeches for Jody.
She said, “Now take another notion to grow like you done this spring, and I’ll be cuttin’ down your breeches to fit your daddy.”
Jody laughed out loud and Penny pretended to be offended. Then his eyes twinkled in the firelight and his thin shoulders shook. Ma Baxter rocked complacently. They were all pleased whenever she made a joke. Her good nature made the same difference in the house as the hearth-fire had made in the chill of the evening.
There it was. That noble idea that inspired me. "Her good nature made the same difference in the house as the hearth-fire had made in the chill of the evening."
I am reminded that a woman's demeanor directly affects those who live in her home. I am reminded that a gentle spirit, encouraging words, an easy grace, a heart that is not easily offended, can warm the home and the hearts who live here. I need that reminder from time to time. I long to make my home a place of rest, a place of comfort, a place of peace, a place of light and warmth whenever possible.
So in another moment with living books, I am stirred.
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Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
(Proverbs 25:24 NIV)