INSIGHTS
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Ann Frailey

Ann Frailey is a wife and homeschooling mother of eight children who lives in rural Illinois.

Posted 4/13/14 at 2:51 PM | Ann Frailey

Christian Authors - Onward and Upward

I have been blessed with the opportunity of reviewing several Christian authors' new books lately and though they may not all be literary geniuses I must say they all bring something to the table that is sorely lacking in today's culture - a passion for God. But the funny things is that even though they may be pouring their hearts out in stories, poetry, plays, and blogs they seem to get the cold shoulder from those who should have a vested interest in keeping their hope alive. If a Christian really believes that Christ's mission is lived out today in the minds, hearts and souls of those who love Him then wouldn't we want to do what we can to keep that faith and hope alive? But sadly, what I see happening is very similar to what happened to the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings. Everone is so busy telling everyone else how to defeat the enemy, how to use the weapons at hand, how to destroy the evil in our midst - that we end up focusing so much on the enemy we forget the whole point of Christianity, the whole point of Good Friday, the whole point of a Redeemer- to love our enemies. Simple. But hard.

Anyway, I have found, through painful suffering that Christ was right. If you love anyone - it has to be with the same love that loves our enemies. If we love to hate - if we love to correct and tell everyone what is wrong with the world and everyone else in it - we may well be missing the hope that makes love real. People can do evil things (we frequently do) but we are still worth loving. At least - God thinks so. FULL POST

Posted 4/7/14 at 5:34 PM | Ann Frailey

Captain America and Trust Issues?

Photo: Flickr/BagoGames - Creative Commons

My kids and I don’t often go to see movies but this was the second in two weeks and will be our last for awhile. It wasn’t that Noah was bad, though it sure stirred a lot of controversy in our family, or that Captain America wasn’t thrilling, though it too stirred some serious thoughts, but in both cases I found myself struggling against a momentous sense that humanity is terribly afraid.

The comics aren’t what they used to be, and as the preview of Sleeping Beauty showed, even fairy tales aren’t for little children anymore. Everything is imbued with heavy realism, even when that “realism” includes people jumping out of planes and landing on their feet, and witches being portrayed as troubled souls. Captain America was incredibly well acted – they get us to believe the most impossible things and that’s no small feat. And the startling, fast action sequences and techno-toys, (car chases, wrecks of every kind, computer wizardry) leave you rather breathless, wondering who in the world will survive this most recent version of Armageddon. The moral themes in the story were also good: though you may find yourself surrounded by traitors, there is always someone you can trust, that security at all costs can cost you everything you wanted to secure, and that loving someone, really loving them, can even mean getting beat up by them. I am sure there were others. FULL POST

Posted 3/31/14 at 10:10 AM | Ann Frailey

A New Christian Romance Story - A Subtle Grace

There are a lot of books to choose from out there and what I have been discovering as an author is that we really do impact the world around us – not only by what we write, but by what we read. We fill our minds and hearts with imagery that either takes us far from the God who made us, or we attempt to see his face in the myriad of reflections offered to us through relationships, experiences, and ideas often found in books. A Subtle Grace is written by Ellen Gable and I will let her work speak for itself – though my Amazon review is there at the end of this blog, but what I want to share with you is the reality of who the author is. I don’t know all the authors I read (very few) but I have had the privilege of getting to know some. Ellen is a passionate writer who cares about her audience. She has a message that matters and she writes with the hope that you, the reader, will get something of value from her work. She is not in it for the money (though I must say – I wish I was doing as well as she is) but she writes because words can change the world for the better. And when all is said and done at the end of the day, or at the end of a life time, isn’t making the world a little better place worth all our efforts? A Subtle Grace strives to help us to understand and to care a bit more. It is a Subtle Grace indeed.Title: A Subtle Grace FULL POST

Posted 3/30/14 at 9:22 AM | Ann Frailey

Noah Takes Off

I was ready to be disappointed and thoroughly dislike Noah based on some of the early reviews I read and as it began I thought my worst fears were coming true. But as soon as the actual story started then it was like a bird taking off into the sky. It went places I never dreamed, but you saw things from a new perspective.One our way home my older sons and I had quite the discussion about the movie. One loved it and one disliked it based on scriptural discrepancies and other issues. I found myself wanting to go home and pray. I wasn’t in need of prayer to fix a problem, but rather I felt strongly reminded of the presence of God and how perhaps I have ignored him too long lately – putting other things ahead of him. If that is the fruit of this movie then I would say it was a good movie.

My eldest son was disturbed by the fallen angels which were depicted differently than Catholic doctrine teaches and he was concerned there might have been too heavy an emphasis on the value of animals while nearly all of humanity is wiped away. Still, as I reminded him, that is pretty much the Noah tale. I thought the movie did an outstanding job drawing out some of the highest themes of humanity's struggle with the will of God. If Noah is your ideal hero figure you might reject the presentation of a man trying desperately to do the will of God, but gets off track and nearly commits a great evil. I have read a lot about the saints and I just happen to have read a book about Thomas More recently and though the Church recognizes him as a man who loved God to the point of giving his life for Him, it was astounding to read that More helped to get heretics burned at the stake. In Thomas More’s understanding it was better for a few men to die than to see all of Christendom fall. Where have we heard that before? Yet, he loved God and he gave his live in service of God. FULL POST

Posted 3/28/14 at 5:51 PM | Ann Frailey

Words, Words, Words

Photo: Procsilas Moscas - Creative Commons

I know…I know…Words mean different things to different people, but can we agree on one thing? Words do bring images to mind. Whether I am talking about dogs and you imagine a French Poodle and your buddy pictures a Labrador, can we agree that generally we all got the idea of a four legged creature, man’s best friend, furry, often friendly with a wagging tail?

Ok – so words can bring up images. Now, if that is true, can you picture a young man…let’s name him Joe. Joe has been brought up far from the wild side, sheltered from the seamy side of life…ok, lets admit it, Joe was home-schooled. His parents are married and live together and have never even considered filing for divorce. Joe is smart, educated, nice looking and well spoken. Or so he thought. Until he spent some time in a large gathering of people his own age. Then the gloves came off and the words came out.

The problem wasn’t that Joe didn’t understand the humanity around him or that the populous thought he was a nerd because he didn’t use the words they did. They had no problem with his soft spoken, clean style. The problem, at least for Joe, was that words brought images to his mind. Think for a moment what the usual assortment of nasty words are and if you can list them without an image coming to your mind to disturb you then you might not pity Joe at all. In fact, you’ll undoubtedly wish to throw a few well chosen words at Joe’s parents for raising such a sheltered kid. What were they thinking? What right did they have to send him naked (verbally speaking) into the world? But, you see, he isn’t naked or ignorant. In fact, Joe has a much stronger connection to words than the average person in the crowd. He actually sees in his mind what the words mean. That is his problem. FULL POST

Posted 3/22/14 at 5:03 PM | Ann Frailey

Home Schooling - Teaching the Teacher

Photo: Flickr/Atmospheric Infrared Sounder - Creative Commons

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about homeschooling – is how much I learn every day! It is not just the constant review of reading, writing, math on every level from kindergarten to high school or the piano and violin practice or even the interesting questions I get asked every day (some of which I can actually answer) but it is the constant realization that everything is connected. I’ve come to realize on a deeper level that in history a single event effects the rest of the world, and possibly the future, in a myriad of ways – so you need to understand ancient history to really understand the present, you need to know world history to really comprehend your neighborhood. In science it works the same way. If you merely understand the water cycle you gain an understanding of the environment and the environment connects to our culture, which effects our politics, and thus our personal lives.

Every time we forget that we are a part of a living world, we get selfish and we throw our own lives, even our own bodies, out of balance because nature feeds us. There are a multitude of examples which, because I need to get back to teaching I can’t list, but I am sure you could think of some interesting ones. Home schooling is a wonderful teacher. Because we are all learning together, covering so many ages and interests as a family, we don’t get divided up into tight little chapters and discreet little boxes. Life is full and we enjoy the fullness. There is a lot to know in this world and one life time isn’t enough to comprehend it all, but home schooling sure has done me a world of good!

Posted 3/15/14 at 1:41 PM | Ann Frailey

Eyes to See With

As the seasons change I find myself filled with the hope that I will change too. I realize I am growing older with each day, but that can’t be the end of the story.

As the sun rises and brightens the fields, so I feel a renewal of my spirit as well. I have to ask myself: Why does God make it so that we sleep at night, the greater part of the natural world sleeps in winter, and we experience various seasons? The only answer I can surmise is the very sense of renewal I get from awakening from a goodnight’s sleep and the revitalization I receive from rest. Our lives ebb and flow. We are not God. We are forced to deal with both high and low tides when things can be frantically busy then stop with a sudden stillness. Both realities make up our existence and both are important to our fullness as human beings. FULL POST

Posted 3/8/14 at 3:40 PM | Ann Frailey

Why I Didn't Name My Kid Frankenstein...

or Potholder or any other eye grabber. Because it isn’t all about me. And because names make a difference. If you have a child with the ability to move their bodies to unknown destinations (that could be anywhere from 6 months to 60 years) you know how scary loving a child can be. Kids do the darndest things. They climb things never meant to be climbed, they attempt to fly without wings, they go out with friends who have just learned to drive, they learn to drive! and they live and breath and experience life in a dangerous world. If you are anything like me, you stuff your anxieties into your pockets and pray to God that your child will be safe and live long enough to learn how to spell their names and hopefully even know what their name means to you. It really helps to have a name that does, in fact, mean something. And I am not talking about that special camping trip you and your hubby took where you saw the full moon and thus you named your child Fullness. I mean a name that they can ponder and discover its depths. I am talking about a name with history. Why does everyone want to invent a new name? Yes, someone had to be the first Mary, Jane, Fred and Alexander – but I rather pity the poor soul who had to start out life with a completely new name that was just some nice sounding letters thrown together. FULL POST

Posted 1/25/14 at 12:01 PM | Ann Frailey

Loving - Beyond

As I work and ponder through my days, I cannot be ignorant of the fact that there are a lot of hurting people in the world. But at the same time, how people deal with hurt is as varied as the ever changing landscape through which we count our days.I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people who have responded with such love and care to the loss of my husband and my children’s father. What amazes me is that I know these people who have shared, prayed, and offered so much have done so even while dealing with their own concerns, problems, and sometimes difficulties worse than mine. As one friend stated: “Be glad that John died a faithful husband and father – not all do.” And I am….beyond words.

John’s suffering did more to draw us together in our last years than all the years preceding. Granted we had eight children together, but even with the challenges and joys of raising a large family, there is something uniquely binding about facing death together. The really amazing thing is that we all will die – and this treasure of understanding is offered to us all – we just have a habit of ignoring it.

What has caused me greater suffering recently is seeing the damaged and nearly destroyed marriages where the love and understanding, the spirit of sacrifice and joy of overcoming, have dwindled to a shred of their former selves or been battered to death. Sin kills what is best in us, while suffering has a tendency to force us to surrender to what is best in us. FULL POST

Posted 12/10/13 at 2:40 PM | Ann Frailey

ARAM - Something to Read After The Hobbit

I know many readers (including myself) are looking forward to The Hobbit movie coming out this week - but I also know that there will be the inevitable let down afterwards...One hates to say good bye to a great story. There are some other opportunities available for the reader who wants more than just an entertaining experience, but something that speaks to you as a person...stirs the soul so to speak...

ARAM is on kindle countdown this week starting at 99 cents today. Though there are a kazillion books out there to choose from I am hoping that a few of you brave souls will take a chance on this new author and see what kind of adventure ARAM has in store for you.

For a quick look at recent reviews take a look at these and see if they make the risk a little less intimidating. http://www.amazon.com/Aram-The-Deliverance-Trilogy-Volume/product-reviews/0989103544/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1 FULL POST

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