Sunday, February 18, 2018

I am, I can, I ought, I will.

I am, I can, I ought, I will.

1989 - Tennessee. Sophia and Yolanda are still close today. 
The Motto
The motto of the P.N.E.U is for persons of any age and position.

In the middle of the school year it is good to be reminded of our motivations.

One of the benefits of home learning is that children look up to adults.

In an age-integrated environment, spiritual and intellectual meals are served family-style with discussion and narration part of the menu plan.

Students work independently with lovely focus too, keeping a record of their learning in notebooks and through projects.

The smallest segment of their learning is experienced within a group of  peers in a co-op, perhaps, within meaningful activities, these can include opportunities for ministering to others.

In his pamphlet, A Generation Which Knew Not the Lord, addressing why an alarming number of children raised in Christian homes are leaving the church, pastor Joseph P. Cammilleri says,

"The godliest young people that I have observed are those who spent the most time with their families; family dependence, so to speak, in contrast to peer dependence."

Yolanda and I made tea cozies for gifts one year. We made some in blue pots, too.
With family-style learning, even grandparents may get into-the-act. This year a mother shared with me how her retired father studied WWII with her son (for high-school credit). History was a favorite subject of Grandpa's. He is gone now but during those influential years he was esteemed for his teaching-love. What Grandpa left behind him, in the heart and mind of his grandson, is special and immeasurable.

In the philosophy of secular humanism (and hedonism) there exists no higher authority than man (or self). Yikes. We see what a mess this philosophy makes of a civil society and the lives of individuals. Yet, this is the religion of the government schools and Universities. It is also the religion of Hollywood.

Being brought-up in a Christian household a student is blessed by living with higher and purer ideals than what is presented in the government schools. His ideals steam from the Word of God. Let's look at a few ideals today, within the motto.

The first draft of my book is finished. I am contemplating pictures for it.
Ideals are way up high. We have to reach for them. Carl Shultz said,

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you [use] them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."

It stretches our personality while it develops our character, to reach for an ideal - although what we actually achieve will be somewhere lower. I am reminded of a song I used to sing in Sunday school - "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder." We reach-up to climb. The song had hand motions to go with it. When I think of Charlotte Mason's motto I think of climbing Jacob's Ladder. The first step of the ladder is:

This is the cover of one of my Victorian books. Isn't she sweet?
I am. 

If I am a Christian who am I? I am an ordinary person and have sin-nature, but if my faith is in Christ I am a new creation.*1 Through His Holy Spirit I am a partaker of the divine nature.*2 I am a person redeemed,*3 ransomed,*4 reconciled,*5 adopted.*6 I am of the elect*7 and accepted in the beloved.*8 etc.

Many beautiful old hymns were written in praise of who we are in Christ. Please feel free to share any favorites in the comments.

I can.

I can reach for an ideal. A series of failures may result in setbacks because I am an ordinary person. But each effort should bring me a little nearer to the goal. Christ chose ordinary men to be his disciples. To these ordinary men were left the important work of continuing what Christ began.

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"*9

A found a beautiful mother and child for a page in my new book. I have 40 chapters and hope to find 40 pictures.
I ought.

The word "ought" comes from the word "owe." What we ought to do is what we owe to our God, parents, and one another. We are to outdo one another with showing love and honor.*10 "I ought" is a twin with "I can" for what we ought to do we can do. "Duty" is old fashioned word. We rarely hear or use it today, which suggests there could be a cold association with it. But we can think of this step surrounded by a glowing halo. We would do better if we loved warmly what we ought to do.*11

We used zig-zag stitch to applique our cut-out pieces.  Piping in top seam.
I will. 

The last step involves our will. It should be prefaced with "by the grace of God."*12 We are often too inclined to depend on our own resources. "It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure."*13 I thought hardly anything about the will until I read Charlotte Mason's writings. The function of the will is to choose moment by moment. The more we consciously perform an act of will, the stronger that willpower becomes.

Here I am. Send me. 

With this motto each person can say, "I am only one, but I am one; I can't do everything, but I can do something. That which I do, I ought to do, and that which I ought to do, with God's help so I will do it."*14

May this motto greatly encourage my Christian friends mid-year.

Post Script
For those who asked, Sophia and Yolanda are doing well. I hope to share more soon.

Sophia needle-felted me this corgi. Compare it in size to the postage stamp.
I connected the points made (above) presented concisely, to truths in the Word of God as I understand them.

Comments are Welcome.
Karen Andreola

End Notes
*1 2nd Corinthians 5:17
*2 2nd Peter 1:4, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9
*3 Ephesians 1:7
*4 1st Peter 1:18
*5 2nd Corinthians 5:18
*6 Ephesians 1:5
*7 1st Peter 1:2
*8 Ephesians 1:6
I CAN *9 2nd Corinthians 12:9
I OUGHT *10 Romans 12:10, *11 Romans 12:1
I WILL *12 James 4:15, *13 Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13:21
SUMMARY *14 Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, February 1, 2018

From Doodles to Websites

From Doodles to Websites

First a Chat.

All January I was frazzle-busy. In between cooking and company I was writing and polishing my new book. Nigel is illustrating the cover. "Please give the mother a contented smile and make it a good-hair-day," I said. He is obliging me accordingly. I hope to tell you about the book soon. I am working to make it as ministering as I can.

I found this old photograph taken in Christmas 1990 (just before I started my Parents' Review). My red dress is a Laura Ashley, wool cotton. It is in my closet still today. That was the last year I kept my hair to my waist. I used to love holding a little one on my hip. In this picture it is Nigel hanging there. Yolanda is in green. Sophia is in red. She is now five years older than I was in this picture. Oh my. (I'm feeling nostalgic this winter. What fun those home-teaching years were.) I hope to have some happy news to tell you about Yolanda and Sophia in my next blog post. I have an old photo of Dean and Nigel to share, next time we meet.

Poor Dean has a bad cold and is in bed. It's a good thing we have homemade broth in the freezer (from the Thanksgiving turkey). My next blog post is in draft still so I decided to make this announcement in the meantime.
I am delighted to announce our new family business venture.

Starry Night Media, LLC.

My son built the website to showcase his abilities. Isn’t it handsome? He’s an award-winning web designer, graphic designer, and illustrator.

Starry Night Media provides quality websites, beautiful graphic designs, and artistic illustration services.  
With web design he can build you a brand-new website, spruce up your old one or aid your efforts to do it yourself. He built our website and makes sure his projects work on all popular devices. If you watch the hot-air balloon on our website you will see it is sailing on the breeze.

With a diverse range of art styles we can illustrate most anything you can imagine.

At present, Nigel has some book illustrations in-the-works and is happiest while painting and drawing.

He painted this spotlight of a grocery store shelf. It shows how useful a good illustration can be in making your product stand out. The exotic squirrel on "Gold Crisp" corn flakes is an example of an interesting cereal box. "Puffs" is bland in more ways than one. he, he. If you eat "Sugar Rush" you are at risk of glowing in the dark.

To fit the banner width of the website Nigel expanded Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. He matched the art style impeccably with his own composition. For example, the sparkling river in the painting is entirely his artwork and add-on.

He is often asked what drawing course he took as a boy. Just picking up a pencil and leisurely drawing what he felt like drawing, while listening to the Your Story Hour audio or a Jim Weiss audio, developed his skill. That's basically it. Time spent drawing. He doodled on his Saxon Math page to my dismay. "Can't you resist doodling on at least a few pages. I need to put some dignified-looking neat-n'-tidy doodle-free pages in your the portfolio," I pleaded. Years of Picture Study must have carried some weighty influence, too. We can never know to what measure "inspiration" plays a part in education. But we can be sure it does.

The only exercises that were of real practical help, he says, were the ones by Jon Gnagy. We followed the exercises in the age-old brown book. I see on Amazon that the brown book is sold expensively, being that it is probably out-of-print. My link is to a kit that is shown to be in color. I wonder how close it is to the old brown book.

Karen Andreola

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmastime, 3 Lesser-known Films, 1 Book

Christmastime, 3 Lesser-known Films, 1 Book
Landis Valley

Dean and I watched an old movie recently that I quickly warmed up to.

"Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" is so sweet I plan to share it with my grandchildren.

Acting extravagantly, I bought the DVD.

I photographed it surrounded by my tiny fabric yo-yo garland that I added more yo-yos to recently.

While I was standing in the kitchen over Thanksgiving holiday telling Sophia about it, ending with "I got the DVD," I heard a funny little echo emanating from the next room. It came from the munchkin mouth of 2-year-old Eloise. Learning to talk, she regularly repeats the word she hears at the tail end of a sentence. I thought I heard, "No DVD." I asked her mother, "Did you hear that?"
Sophia said,"Yes, I guess she was born in the computer age, the generation of no DVDs."

Landis Valley's roomy Yellow Barn where wedding receptions are held. 
Landis Valley, work horse
This film is a slice of Americana. It takes place during the course of one year, 1945, in a small farm community of Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin.

One farming couple (not too young) have one child, little Selma. We see the story through Selma's eyes.

Father-daughter heart-to-heart talks crop up. Selma has an inquiring mind. She isn't afraid to ask questions about her world. She trusts her father will never say, "I don't know. Go ask your mother, I'm busy."

He came up to Dean to have his photo taken. So Dean did.

He stops to answer Selma, recognizing her questions to be valuable teaching moments when he can sensitively impart truth to her.

Meanwhile our young men are going overseas to fight for freedom. At home, people are fighting for freedom and the American way-of-life in their own humble hard-working way.

Christmastime brings the community to church to worship Christ the newborn King.

Why am I smitten with this film? The loving kindness and generosity of the characters during a trying time, is very touching. 

One of the little books I in my Christmast stash is Let's Keep Christmas, illustrated by Barbara Cooney in 1952.This uplifting sermon by Peter Marshall takes five minutes to read and is a pleasant way to end an evening.
Landis Valley, Children making a snowman.Grandma watches while she sweeps the porch.
Dean's mother Esther, once told me about a new friend she made. This lady was in her nineties and quite frail. She told Esther that her pastor in years gone by, was Peter Marshall. But Esther hadn't heard of him. A week later this lady went to be with Jesus but had evidently (just prior) asked her daughter to send Esther the book, A Man Called Peter written by his wife Catherine Marshall, author of Christie. The daughter handed the book to Esther a day after her mother's decease. Both friends are with Jesus now. We never know who God will bring in our path, when, or where. One life, if it is a life of kindness, will always in some way touch another in an uplifting way.

My daughter Yolanda makes delicious treats at holiday time. She made us some ginger bread.

One of the fun fairy-tale-like Christmastime films I used to have on VHS is "The Snowman." The music is gorgeous. It is based on a picture book by Raymond Briggs. (The Snowman's nose is a tangerine.)

I told a young mother about this British film produced in the 1980s because she hadn't heard of it so I thought to recommend it here.

The snowman (like Frosty the Snowman) has magic powers that enable him to fly through the air and take the boy who built him to the North Pole. There the snowman introduces the boy to Father Christmas. What a delight! They join a merry party. Then they fly home. You can guess the end of the story because you know what happens to all snowmen.

It is a silent film with a dream-like quality (the boy wakes up from a dream) but the music in this pantomime blends-in well and enhances the plot. Your children will be riveted.   

Here's another film that is a slice of Americana. It claims to be true. The story was made public originally in a magazine article. "All Mine to Give" is filled with hope. A young immigrant couple from Scotland (with bonnie accents) carve out a life for themselves in the 19th century, among a community of God fearing people in the mid-west.

Dad makes sure Mom has a pump inside their log cabin - quite an innovation in those days. They love each other dearly but their relationship is humorously "real." Dad sees life through the wisdom of poet Robert Burns. Sickness eventually takes both hard-working parents and leaves their six children orphaned. What becomes of the children?

When Dean and I watched it before I knew what was happening my face became wet with tears. The children are so cute, especially on Christmas Day. You'll need a tissue box to take care of a whirlpool of different emotions in the final scene.

This is my take. Loving kindness is not possible without a degree of sympathy, courage, service, and generosity. You'll find all five virtues tucked inside this true story. Warner Brother's trailer of the film can be found on YouTube.

Landis Valley model of the yellow barn.
Although the world, through its easy acceptance of secular humanism, would like to believe we can be good without God, both films (to their credit) "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" and "All Mine to Give," drop clues for us to follow. In reality it is the life of Christ that trains the conscience and most deeply inspires the hearts of people, to do the work necessary for living unselfishly.

May we all aspire to be more like our Lord.

 End Notes
For easy access to read more about the resources above, I link them here.

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes

Lets Keep Christmas

The Snowman

All Mine to Give

A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall. This is the award-winning film based on the book.

Ginger cookies at Landis Valley 
Every Christmas Blessing Be Yours,
Karen Andreola