Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Self as the End and Centre

Karen Glass gets down to brass tacks in her chapter Choose You This Day, and the tacks fall right into place with what I considered about *revel* in February:
Charlotte Mason's conception of willing, or choosing, requires an object outside of self.  No effort of choice is necessary to serve self--this we do naturally, and choices made to indulge our natural desires do not require an act of will. When we will ourselves to act for others or for God, or for the sake of an ideal, we are behaving like men rather than animals. "There are but two services open to men--that which has self as the end and centre, and that which has God (and by consequence, man) for its object." (Ourselves, pg 172) Choosing to serve something other self is a fulfillment of Christ's command to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We already love self, and need no conscious willing to pursue ease, leisure, profit, and pleasure for ourselves. If our education seeks to give us character, it will teach us to choose to work for others, and inspire us by ordering our affections so that we desire to do so. (Consider This, pg 77, underlines mine, italics hers) 

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook for March 2, 2015


Outside my window... there is a great deal of snow.

I am thinking... about our next six weeks' term.

I am thankful... for a day all together yesterday.  If worship must be canceled, at least we could spend the day together.

I am wearing... exercise clothes; pilates to begin soon.

I am creating... lists.  I didn't get many of the things done last week that I had hoped to.

I am going... to *revel* in this last week of basketball.

I am wondering... what I'll learn in March.

I am reading... Joan Smith's ninth Berkeley Brigade book.

I am hoping... the second six weeks of this term go as well as the first six did.

I am looking forward to... Pancake Day! The last day of basketball for the year is Saturday.

I am learning... how living a quiet, peaceful life is rebellion against our culture and a way to *revel* in the life God has given me.

Around the house... we should have gotten more done last week.

I am pondering... Matthew 16:24, "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

A favorite quote for today... "a quiet and gentle spirit" ... a friend of mine said it doesn't mean quiet in the sense of not talking - she is a great extrovert - rather like a cup of water that doesn't get sloshed around when battered from the outside.

A few plans for the rest of the week... basketball, piano, organ, lessons.

A peek into my day... games and snow from yesterday.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Revel as Rebellion against the Culture

So I lost track of days in February, and my post is coming on this first day of March.  I generally try not to post on the Lord's Day, but our snow day today gave me the opportunity to spend some time contemplating what I learned about *reveling* in February.

Long-time readers here at ladydusk know that Carolyn Weber is one of my favorite authors and I love her writing.  Her books Surprised by Oxford and Holy is the Day were my favorite reads of 2012 and 2013 respectively.  She is publishing a book of poems this month (March 2015) and while poetry is not my strong suit, I suspect I will purchase it especially because the poem she published on Valentine's Day on her blog. The poem is about marriage, called 'Heartened,' and speaks so beautifully about love for and from her husband and her God.  Please do go read it.  It is fantastic!

I was incredibly thankful for Karen's guest post on Reveling in Marriage because it was so very good and complete. I'm thankful to have a wonderful marriage with Jason and that I could appreciate Karen's insights and the way she verbalized her 21 ways to Revel in Marriage.

I loved the way Karen tied the idea to *revel* into rebelling against mediocrity in marriage.  To really enjoying your spouse and your marriage.

Which lead me to consider that *revel* could be a way of rebelling against our culture.

I know that I have long enjoyed a sarcastic and cynical bent.  In college, I loved the MTV show Daria.  I enjoyed her her zingy comebacks and sarcastic response to almost everything. Politics, school, relationships, her cynicism knew no bounds.  While I was never quite as cynical as Daria, I have shared similar cynical thoughts about our government, culture, and society, occasionally about the church.  I've come to think of this cynicism as unhealthy.

But we are called to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34).  We are called upon to love his people.  We can *rebel* against our culture by *reveling* in the Lord's goodness.  We don't have to fit into our culture. We can still call our government officials into account. We can do so by behaving in a joyful way, in a way of reliance upon the goodness of our God.  Rebel against the culture by reveling in God's goodness.

We also rebel against our culture when we revel in our marriages. When we build up the idea of Christian marriage and love our spouses.  Our pastor has been preaching "A Series on Christian Behavior" and his most recent sermon was about submission showing it as an example of Christ (Phil 2:5-11) to follow in our relationships and ultimately in our marriages.  This example that Paul wrote of in Ephesians 5-6 was counter-cultural in his day.  It is counter cultural in our day to lay aside our own desires and to submit to another's wishes.  What if Christians reveled in our marriages in this way? What if we showed this love to one another? It certainly would be a rebellion against our culture.

A passage our pastor keeps referring to is Matthew 16:24, "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  What a summary of how we are to comport our lives! It starts with attending to Christ Jesus - "He told his disciples" - and follows with self-denial, cross bearing, and following him.  I've been thinking that this is how we revel in our God.  This is how we revel in our relationships with our family. This is how we revel in our vocation. We deny ourselves and look to the desires of others.  We carry the burdens Christ has set for us. We look to him and follow that path - looking ahead toward what he has for us.  I do think this could be the summary of what I want my children to learn in our homeschool.

Faith, Family, Vocation, all tied into one neat package.

Our Weekly Amble for February 23-27, 2015

Our off week was eventful. Sunday the children got to go sledding. Only Monday did we stay home very much which gave me a chance to blog about how our first half-term of AmblesideOnline went.  We had some big tents built.  M-girl both cooked dinner and blogged about it. We had doctor and dentist appointments; something went awry with the optometrist.  We had Art with Friends and music lessons and basketball.

N-boy, in gray, taking the tip.
 We made a stop at the library for the first time in a while:

St Patrick's Day coloring pages.

N-boy doesn't look so comfortable,but often reads in positions like this.
We had a play date with some local friends from soccer and choir.  We enjoyed a last trip to COSI before our membership expired.

One smart mouse scientist :)

Rocket simulator.
He loves the unicycle.  Rode at least three times this trip.

It was a fun week, but busy. I think we're ready to go back to lessons schedule so we can relax.  I wish I had gotten some snacks pre-made and food schedules planned. But we can continue to muddle along.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From the Mind of M-girl: A "Souper" Supper

M-girl has asked if on occasion she can write some posts for the blog.  Who am I to say no? (Oh, her mommy and the owner of ladydusk) I won't say no because I think it's a grand idea!

She's 10 years old, loves to read, is excited about cooking once a week, loves words and her friends.  She is a favorite with the toddler crowd at church, with many of them hanging all over her whenever they can.  This may be because she reads them stories and romps with them.  It is likely because she's fun and creative. She's also a favorite with many of the adults in our congregation, particularly one of our great-grandmothers who thinks M-girl is amazing and wonderful simply because she talks with her regularly.

And her mommy thinks she's great because she plays piano and sings hymns for her whenever asked. Well that's not the only reason, but since she's sitting here blushing as she reads over my shoulder, we'll let it go at that.  Self-conscious I think we call that.  She comes by it naturally.

Without further ado, here's M-girl:


Recently, I've been trying to cook dinner every Tuesday.

This week, Mommy asked me to use Mrs. Winckler's new cookbook, Simplified Dinners for New Cooks.  Mommy printed it out for me, and I was looking through it when I saw 'Cheesy Potato Soup.'  I thought that sounded good, and it was.

After I chose the soup, I had to make a grocery list. Since soup isn't enough for dinner at my house, I had to find something to go with it, too. So we bought garlic bread and salad stuff and had salad, soup, and bread for dinner.

I would suggest cutting your potatoes and onions before starting your soup. It was relatively easy to make, it just takes a little effort. It's a fun thing to do with your siblings.

Here, N-boy and I are cutting potatoes.

R-girl helped by washing potatoes, peeling the onion most of the way, as well as adding  ingredients to and stirring the soup.

It works even if you don't follow the directions and just throw everything in, like I did. It was cool that I could make it all on my own.

Next time I think I would like to try some blue cheese in place of cheddar, but it was really good anyway.

I'm hoping that I can try more recipes from this book, next week and the week after that.


Dawn here, I'm so excited she wanted to post about her adventures in cooking! I'm almost as excited about her writing a blog post as I was about her cooking on Tuesday night!  I was not feeling my tip-top, and she took control of the meal while I sat on the couch.  She asked a few questions, but was able to execute almost everything by herself ... or with her siblings (but not execute said siblings!) 

If you're interested in the cookbook, you should go over to Mystie's place or Candace's place and buy Simplified Dinners for New Cooks! She has a coupon code for the pdf file right now (and Candace has an even better coupon *and* a chance to win a copy!)  You can also buy it for Kindle, like I did for M-girl's perusal. Mystie generously gave me a copy to review with no expectations of a review.  The opinions expressed in this post are totally mine or M-girl's.  Our opinion is that this is a great resource and it was worth the purchase price for me to put it on M-girl's Kindle.

Edit to add: Mystie gave us our own coupon code: 'ladydusk' for 25℅ off when you order the pdf at her link! The coupon is good through March 7, 2015. But you can still enter Candace's giveaway too :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: A Drudgery Rather Than a Delight

Karen Glass, in Consider This, traces the idea of literature - of grammar - in the Classical Tradition from the ancient Greeks through the Victorian age. Originally, the idea of literature had meant the necessity of reading in the Classical Languages in Latin and Greek. She shows how the idea of grammar evolved and changed during that time and how,
"It is easier for us to follow the letter rather than the spirit of the law." (pg 53)
Oh,how tragically true.

Latin and Greek went from a necessity in order to read the best in literature to the reasons we hear today - training the mind, logic, mental discipline, etc.

Studying Latin and Greek for these reasons brings about tedium.  Glass condemns this result:

The tedium did not instill a lifelong love of learning. ... The pupils might read some of the same worthy classic books, but if the reading were a drudgery, rather than a delight, the results would not be the same. If we implement classical practices without the impetus of the classical ideals, we will never achieve those ideals. (pg 55)
The tragedy is that this drudgery denudes the classics of their souls.  Mason shows,in School Education (as quoted in Consider This, pg 55), how reading Homer was originally intended to inspire heroic ideas in its readers but had become a tool such that its life was ground out of it.  Then Glass concludes:
If we pause a moment to consider the difference between these two approaches to the sae book, we can see that reading for "heroic ideas" is a synthetic approach, which encourages the apprehension of the whole story and all that it has to offer.  ... The sense and beauty of the whole story would be lost in the analysis of details.
So much of this speaks to our experience over the last year, both the bad and the good.

I remember many years ago listening to Mars Hill Audio (maybe Vol 93?).  One of the guests was being interviewed and said something to the effect of, "... I knew my Calvin. In the original languages." I believe he went on to talk about the vast amount of literature still in Latin that has never been translated.   I have since had this vision for my children to learn Latin in order to read Latin and Greek in order to read the scriptures.  Glass' discussion to remember the reason those languages was studied rather than the law to study the helps me to implement our study in a fitting manner.

As an aside, I didn't simply select these passages because of the argument they make, but I love the balance and symmetry Glass' writing has - the vocabulary and alliteration. It makes her writing a joy to read!

Wordless Wednesday: Schoolroom is closed for tentbuilding