Volume One of The adventurous life of an Alaskan homestead family on the Kenai Peninsula, which began with the marriage of Joe B. McGaughey and Lillian Hunt in Whitehorse City, Yukon Territory in the summer of 1948, when Lillian was just 18 years old. From there they staked a claim in Alaska, and built a warm house. In that beautiful setting they also raised seven children. These stories will make you smile, renew your youth as wings of eagles, and make you feel happy, just breathing the air. It is the story of two remarkable parents, their faith and their humor as they live on the frontier. It is a must-have read for anyone teaching children; also a good lesson for anyone studying human behavior in the natural setting that attracts both artists and anglers.
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By Rab Reidyird
Oct 9, 2010
Lydia's Book Review This is a book I found fascinating. The people and the place transported me to a different world. Here was a family who sometimes struggled against the elements and adversity but always managed to overcome these. It is hard for mere words to express the inspiration and encouragement I got from reading this book. Sometimes it seems as if you are in a winter wonderland but then at other times the harsh reality of life in Alaska reaches you but above it all is the determination and courage of the McGaughey family to keep going. Not only to keep going but also to come out with a smile. I believe a part of this and probably the main part was their Christian faith. Lillian still seen to it that this remained an important part of their life amid all the tough times. Overall I was left with a feeling of joy,of being lifted to a higher plain . Thank you Joe and Lillian for sharing your life with us and thank you Lydia for bringing it to us.
"A Most Delightful Tale~" In the lovely book entitled ‘Just Breathing The Air’ Lydia Sherman invites the reader into the charming world of her enchanted childhood, and shares a glimpse of an old-fashioned homestead lifestyle that still serves to delight and inspire us today. Filled with a host of heartwarming tales of a family’s journey through the Alaskan wilderness, this captivating book allows those with a true pioneer spirit to share in the joys and adventures experienced by Joe and Lillian McGaughey, who were determined to carve out a self-sustained lifestyle and to forge a life for themselves and their seven children in the serenity of the beautiful frontier. For those who wish to recall a simpler time when family was the center of one’s world, this book is a sheer delight, and will prove to be one of your family’s favorites! Mrs. Kari Wisdom, Author of 'The Riches and Treasures of Home'
"Just breathing the air" This book is a series of small vignettes taken from the author's childhood on a homestead in Alaska. Touching and heartwarming stories about the simple life, but the point that connects the stories seems to be the layout of the homestead and its surroundings, rather than the chronology of the family's stay there. There seems to be a story or two about each geographical feature, but the reader is left wondering about the details... Why the author's parents chose to do this (other than a sense of adventure), how long they lived there, things like medical care--were the younger children born at home?--and most importantly, why they left and where they went. The building of the family home is discussed at some length, but the author skips from every day home life to an account of what the homestead looks like today (overgrown). Beautiful full color pictures! But more in-depth captioning, especially of people, would have been nice.
"Living Free -- What a Story!" I can't count how many times I sat up with a well-worn copy of Little House in the Big Woods, churning butter with Ma or playing tea party with Laura and her rag doll, Charlotte. Living in a cozy cabin with wild animals and snow drifts outside sounded like the greatest adventure to me. I still love snuggling up with my children to tell them about the families who have gone before us and the difficulties and dangers they faced for our sakes. Picking up Just Breathing the Air transported me back to my favorite childhood books but with a new twist: full-color photos and reminiscences from pioneers who lived adventurously only fifty years ago in the Alaskan wilds. I devoured the book in a single afternoon, then shared it with my little ones, all of whom loved seeing children playing and working on a homestead built by their parents. "Why can't we do that?" asked my oldest son. "I could help make a cabin like that!" (Hmmm...... More > We'll just have to keep that thinking cap on!) When Joe and Lillian McGaughey (mc-GOY) married in 1949, Lillian was just 19 years old, but she was ready for an unusual life. "We were game for anything," she wrote. "We just wanted to do something different." And that's exactly what they did! Lydia Sherman has created a book that makes her parents and siblings come alive and dance across the pages with their vitality, energy, and can-do attitude. She says, "Our happy, carefree childhood was made sweeter by parents who guarded their seven children while sharing their amazing adventure." Homesteading 160 acres on the Kenai Peninsula began in 1953. Joe and Lillian marked out their L-shaped land on foot to stake their claim, then put down roots by building a tiny cabin of poles and boards. They used a tent for the roof and heated the one-room home with an iron cook stove and kerosene heater. Into the cabin moved Joe and Lillian with three children under the age of 2 1/2. The adventure had begun. Throughout the book, the reader is struck time and again by the sheer pluck and ingenuity of Joe and Lillian, who didn't seem to have the word "can't" in their vocabulary. From adding a modern bathroom to the cabin to smoking salmon caught in the nearby lake, these pioneers knew how to carve a home and a good life out of the wilderness. In this environment, the McGaughey children learned first-hand about real inventiveness and thrift--not from "dos and don'ts" but from the daily realities of pioneer life. The lessons continued over the years, as the children learned how to tend the garden, fish in the lake, care for animals, make jams and jellies, and so much more. Lillian wrote, "These days were the best in my life, with my husband and my children and all that wilderness; the loons in the lake and the beavers in the swamp." As you turn each page, you feel you are right there in the midst of this busy, happy household, going to church in "the car that did not work very well," rowing on the lake in the Li'l Kathy, playing Daniel Boone, and making mud pies and grass salad. I encourage you to get your own copy of this inspiring and downright fun book. It's one to read with your children. It's one to pore over and think about. It's a delight from cover to cover!< Less
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