Sally is the author of numerous books, some about homeschooling and some about mothering and child-rearing with spiritual vision.
My favourite of all was Educating the Wholehearted Child, which she co-authored with her husband, Clay, but that's a really hard decision to make because I also love Seasons of a Mother's Heart, Mission of Motherhood, and their devotional guide called Our 24 Family Ways.
She has a new book coming out in January called Own Your Own Way, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
So, what does one do when one meets a hero? First, you meet them at the train station and make them walk a mile up a steep hill. It's in the bright sunshine on a crisp and glorious autumn day, so that's all right!
Then, you place in her hands a steaming mug of Yorkshire Gold tea, served in a Blenheim Palace mug. Next, you chat about her children's endeavors and admire how far they've come in nine years since you first met her at a conference, and you giggle as your children keep popping into the room with little gifts for her, mostly pieces of paper with hearts drawn in different sizes.
The big moment comes when we give her a present we found at a National Trust property two weeks ago: a CD of Tea-time songs (Sally writes a lot about having a quiet cuppa when things get a bit too much, or when she needs to re-connect with God).
Another family arrives and we have a slap-up meal, courtesy of Ocado's delivery service earlier in the day. Various savoury pies, cheese, crackers, olives, and my homemade hedgerow jam, homemade raspberry preserves, and homemade bread and butter pickles. (Since everything else is pre-prepared, I want to show that I can put SOME effort in the culinary arts).
The teenage girls then take their turns at telling funny stories, sharing their reading experiences, describing trips to places like Exmoor and Stratford, and then Sally inspires us all with stories of her own children's successes via the narrow way, and encourages us to keep growing in God, keeping our eyes on his vision for us, and making sure that academics are of high quality without being of too high a priority.
After all, my 14-year-old has already read the entire book of Paradise Lost, published 9 books on Kindle, and run successful micro-businesses. Soon, it will be time to cut her loose of the drudgery of high school style studies and let her spread her wings in the real world. When I say soon, I don't mean at 18 or 22, but, according to Sally, at 16, when it's time to take on projects that matter, meet people who are experts in their fields, and grasp her own destiny with both hands while her father and I provide the safe foundation from which to jump.
This is what Sally has done, and now sees her children studying at Oxford, breaking into the Hollywood film industry, and composing musical scores to be performed in the Vatican.
And do you know what she puts it all down to? Keeping a tight hold on God's vision for each child, and inspiring them in conversation over the dinner table.
All the more reason to turn off the tv at night, eh?
So, I look forward to reading Sally's latest book in the new year, but more than that, I can't wait to pull up to the "school table" in the morning and inspire, empower, and enkindle my children to become their very best.
|Me, with the person I want to be when I grow up!|