Last Updated on June 28, 2012

My daughter Rebecca and I have been working for two months on a book about her daughter’s life.  Molly was born last summer in June and lived only seven days.  It was a profoundly difficult time then and it continues to be, as grieving is now a part of the daily lives of Rebecca and her husband, Jake. But she and I are both extremely grateful for the opportunity to tell the story of God’s amazing love and kindness that was so evident in June and in the months since.  The book is in the final stages of edits and will be available in mid-June on the anniversary of her life and homegoing to Jesus.

While searching for a quote for the book, I re-engaged with an author that I had not read in twenty years.  Her book was one of a dozen or so about which I can say, “I raised my kids on that book.” I am sure it is out of print, but for those moms who are interested, I’m guessing it can still be found in the used books category at any online store.  Because it was so pivotal for me and because there is such confusion today about the definition of family, I wanted to share the brilliantly descriptive chapter titles.  The title of the book, What Is a Family?, by Edith Schaeffer, is answered by these chapters:

The Birthplace of Creativity

A Formation Center for Human Relationships

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

A Perpetual Relay of Truth

An Economic Unit

An Educational Control

A Museum of Memories

These seven descriptive titles (out of the eleven) provide a beautiful description of what a family is and does.  These statements elevate the value of what can so often feel like drudgery to the level of the infinitely important.  And these seven provide worthy goals for all moms, including us empty nesters, who easily lose sight of the end result.

I hope this intrigues some of you to go on a search to find this gem of a book. And for those of you who love to scrapbook, Edith was the original scrapbooker!  She talks about the importance of creating and preserving memories in a family.  And even though this book was published in 1975, the year my second child was born, most of what she shares is timeless because family is timeless.  God created family and the values He desires our earthly families to reflect are those of His heavenly family.  The circumstances in which families live will vary widely but the essence of its purpose will never change.

May some of you discover in her book, as I did, a wise woman worth emulating.  And I’d love to hear from those of you who go on this quest!

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  1. Here is a suggestion on where to find Edith Schaeffer's book, "What is a Family?" – check out your church library if you have one. I found this book there and enjoyed the beginning of it (I had to return it before I finished!).
    Just an idea to help others search for this book!

  2. Ann Gemmel says:

    Barbara, Thanks for your direction. Nothing better than searching for a book! And as a legacy partner – I am so anxious to read your book with Rebecca about Molly! Watching and praying for your family as you have walked through this dark valley – and with the recent loss of Micah – has been a great living example of perseverance and endurance and has strengthened my faith. Know that your faithfulness is a great example to many!!! I have been praying for you and your family with this new recent loss – but am so grateful for your transparency and vulnerability in sharing your journey!
    As for the Schaeffer book – I raced to ebay and was able to get a used copy from there.
    So enjoy your blog especially – we met and spoke briefly at True Woman last October in Chicago after your seminar with Susan Yates. My children are 22, 20, 19 and soon to be 16 and 14. Your words are a great encouragement for me!! You are my "mentor" from afar!
    Blessings to you and Dennis!