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GREETINGS FROM THE CRUCIBLE

BLOG #8, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

GREETINGS FROM THE CRUCIBLE

February 21, 2018

Connie and I often say about our ministry of stories and books:

“We work hard, and we play hard.”

Currently, we are working hard: the manuscript for Christmas in My Heart 27 is in its final stages: illustrations and copyright permissions; and the manuscript for My Favorite Integrity Stories is midway, as it’s due April 1. Our 100th and 101st books—a continuing miracle from the Lord.

When Contemporary Authors editors wrote about me some years ago, they dubbed me a “story archeologist,” someone who is struggling to save priceless story artifacts before they crumble out of existence forever.

As we work on these, our 84th and 85th story anthologies, we often feel as if we are somehow outside of contemporary time. I certainly feel that way now, surrounded as I am by century-old magazines (both loose and bound) that are full of names the average person would pass over without even a flicker of recognition. But not so for us: As I turn a page in an old bound-volume of Youth’s Companion stories I stop with a smile of recognition: “Aha! Here’s a story by _____ I’ve never heard of before.” It might be penned by any number of authors those who love our books would fondly recognize because by now they’ve come to love them, too.

Three great magazines hold central stage in our archives: St. Nicholas, Youth’s Companion, and Youth’s Instructor. St. Nicholas was born in 1872 and died in 1939; Youth’s Companion, born in 1827, lasted over a hundred years; Youth’s Instructor was born in 1852, and also lasted over a hundred years. St. Nicholas was a monthly, the other two came out once every week. Of course, these three magazines are merely the highest peaks of our archives; many, many other great magazines also grace our archives.

All three were windows to the world for children and teenagers who lived in a world ruled over by print (books and magazines) rather than omnipresent, intrusive in-your-face electronics such as is true today. A complete run of St. Nicholas adds up to over 72,000 pages; a complete run of Youth’s Companion appears almost impossible to ever put together; same for Youth’s Instructor.

We mine these Golden Age (1850’s through 1950’s) magazines because they celebrated the values so many families are desperately searching for today. Mostly in vain. Reason being: Today, Judeo-Christian families, more and more, feel abandoned by a society that devalues them as it continues to distance itself from the values that once made America great.

So here we are. I’ve been putting in 12 to 14-hour days, searching for stories that could change the life-course of a child, a teen, an adult, years from now–even, perhaps centuries from now, if time should last that long.

For we too, Connie and I, are racing against the clock–determined to wear out rather than rust out, as long as God grants us time, strength, health and awareness.

Pray for us.