Tuesday, November 25, 2014


                           my daughter a year ago on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich

COURAGE, n. [L., the heart.] Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.
Courage that grows from constitution, often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty, acts in a uniform manner.
Be strong and of good courage. Deuteronomy 31.
( 1828 Dictionary)

This daughter , the one at the bottom of 4 older brothers, has much courage these days as a Senior. She is writing essays for Honors Colleges at state universities, applying for a full scholarship to a school in NYC, and presenting this speech next week at the school. My stomach turns.
I am praying it does not come down to bottom line but she is called to a place. I pray she knows. 

Charlotte Mason wroteWe all have Courage.––The word courage comes to us from the time when Norman French was the language of the court and when chivalry was the law of noble living. The Normans perceived that Courage was of the heart, as the word shows; Courage was the whole of character to a man...

She lists these areas: 
Courage of Attack, Endurance,  Serenity, of Our Affairs, of our Opinions, of Reprove, Confession,  of Frankness and of Capacity. 

Then there is what we may call the Courage of our Capacity––the courage which assures us that we can do the particular work which comes in our way, and will not lend an ear to the craven fear which reminds us of failures in the past and unfitness in the present.

       September in Plymouth , Mass. wearing heart sunglasses from my nephew's wedding

Sunday, November 23, 2014

grey sabbath

Rain and Sabbath rest hold hands. 


Will-lessly the leaves fall,
are blown, coming at last
to the ground and to their rest.
Among them in their coming down
purposely the birds pass,
of all the unnumbered ways
choosing one, until
they like the leaves will
will-lessly fall. Thus freed
by gravity, every one
enters the soil, conformed
to the craft and wisdom, the behest
of God’s appointed vicar,
our mother and judge, who binds
us each to each, the largest
to the least, in the family of all
the creatures: great Nature
by whom all are changed, none
are wasted, none are lost.
Supreme artist of this
our present world, her works
live and move, love
their places and their lives in them.
And this is praise to the highest
knowledge by the most low.
by Wendell Berry
 ( underline all the words that give God glory!)

Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Silence of God

Essay prompt for my students from the last chapters in Caring for Words:

Read the last two chapters on Prayer and Silence . 

In your journal: Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote "Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain."

Write an essay using the quote and the chapters.

( from Hopkin's poem in the reading)

Here are some snippets from the students:

Boredom can't listen.
Silence is rejuvenating.
It is food for the soul. 

Prayer doesn't always weed words and prayer is not graded.

Debussy: Music is the silence between the notes. 

One  student also referenced this song : The Silence of God by Andrew Peterson

the science of relationships: Charlotte Mason Carnival Blog 

Monday, November 17, 2014

busy week and stopping to do what this says

( from The Murmuring Cottage)

See ahead to this pre-Thanksgiving week and it is full.
You know how that happens , don't you!
For me, many wonderful "can't say no to" and planned a long 
time ago are this week. 

Book Club.
 Author coming to speak to my class
 Author speaking on Stories to parents.
 Writing Seminar by this author.
 Daughter's choir performance.
 Bible Study on Romans.

Leading a discussion tonight on Chapters 14 - 16 of School Education
by Charlotte Mason. 

It is raining cats and dogs. (Wouldn't that be lov-er-ly!)

Needing these words:

Psalm 108

My heart is ready , O God,
for song and melody.
Awake my soul! awake , my lute and lyre?
Let me awake the dawn.

Sandra McCracken's beautiful song : Can't Help Myself
( from Psalm 121)
and here is the video that I can't get ON THIS BLOG 

and a live performance. SO beautiful for this Monday.
Words below...

I confess the things I am afraid of: thorns and danger just around the bend
I pray for tongues of fire and bands of angels to come and circle 'round me like a fence
I lift my eyes to the hills, where comes my help?
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself; no, I can't help myself

My enemies surround me like an army--within, without, the battle's raging on
I pray the Spirit will be strong and mighty for courage through the night until the dawn
I lift my eyes to the hills, where comes my help?
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself; no, I can't help myself

Oh, oh................

Oh trust the Lord--my soul and all that is in me--oh trust the light to show your darkest parts
With wounds of truth and love, a friend who has known me; a fool would keep his secrets in his heart
I lift my eyes to the hills; here comes my help
I lift my hands--empty hands--I can't help myself
I can't help myself, can't help myself

Can't help myself; no, I can't help myself; I can't help myself

Friday, November 14, 2014

good words to put your thoughts to


" What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven
to our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position 
and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the 
position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which
obedience and work flow."

Martin Luther


many books in the stack

                    This lovely book is to review , thanks to Melissa for sending me the information
                                                             to do this...

Cold here. 
How about where you are?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

beautiful artwork

My sister and I pass blogs back and forth to look at beauty.
She sent me this one yesterday:


Watercolor and ink-
Wedding certificates-
Loving fonts and calligraphy-

Makes me want to take up my pen!

She has an Etsy shop here. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

shhhh.... silence

.." the great silence behind speech ,
 the ways in which all language acts
emerge from and return 
to silence that is full,
not empty,
and persists in creative tension
with the breeches of utterance. 
The language of prayer , 
in particular, 
enters into this silence 
as into a sacred space ,
seeking not to break the silence."

Caring for Word in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

( almost done reading this excellent book with my students)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

student storytelling

Post-Halloween: Edgar Allan Poe Short Stories

I assigned to retell in a dramatic storytelling one of Edgar Allan Poe's 
short stories. Today we did half of the class and ALL , yes all, dazzled
and frightened us and bursts of laughter erupted.  Poe's writing is macabre 
and horror reigned. I am most impressed with resourcefulness, imaginations, 
and creativity. Fabulous dialects, costumes ( just putting on a cloak 
changes everything) , and props ( even an ipad showing different animals)---

 My daughter and another student ( the one in the post below)
did the same story:  THE BLACK CAT. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

student writing

What delight when a teacher gives a short essay test and several 
students say  "thank you" and " that was fun." This happened to me yesterday 
and I nodded in my thoughts: "Charlotte Mason was right."
 ( from In  Memoriam:  At the end of every term we used to go up to say "Good-bye" to her, and she would ask us whether we had liked the exams, and if we thought we had done well, and what we were going to do in the holidays, and many other such questions.)

  I took this PNEU question for Jane Austen and turned to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter:

PNEU exam question: Mention any biographical touches in Emma, and show wherein the
                                      strength, b) the weakness of character of the heroine.

 My Exam: Describe each character, then show wherein lay the strength and weakness of

                  a) Hester Prynne
                  b) Arthur Dimmesdale
                  c) Roger Chillingworth
                  d) Pearl

( from the Murmuring Cottage)

Then  , one of my student's journal writing grabbed  hold of me and made 
me laugh and be tickled. She loves CATS. She loves people too and has 
never met a stranger as the saying goes. Here is a taste of her writing ( she is 16):

" I know that being still and silent is important for the soul. I know that at times 
it is very necessary to be quiet , still and simply wait. And that challenges me."

About one of her favorite books ( from a chapter in Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre) : " When I think about Peter and the Starcatchers , I feel 
as if my soul is floating. When I think back to the book, I am there. I can see flying camels,
feel the rocking of the ship, and hear the squeaking of rats, and fat women saying 
'Pardon my French.'I feel the misty London air at midnight and I can see Tinkerbell
flying over the dusty grey chimneys." 

From the chapter on Translations in Caring for Words: " In Zambia , I meet 
a woman named " Gracious " and a woman named " Memory."

For the chapter from Caring for Words on Good Conversations , she wrote what a good conversation would  sound like by asking herself questions and here are some of her answers:

1. Who are you? 
2. What is it like living your particular life? (It is very odd. I am often as jubilant as a 
hummingbird appears to be, but I also get very sad for long periods of time for almost
no reason..... I realize that life and time are moving slowly, and that it is very rare, so 
boring moments are to be appreciated.) 
3 .How do you cope with suffering ?
4. How do you feel about the challenges you encounter in the world you are 
5. Why have you made the particular choices you have made so far?
6. What delights you? ( Kittens. Puppies that are asleep and therefore do not move. Lemon tarts....Thinking back to a good book. Talking to old friends as if you never stopped.
Knowing all the words to a fast song. )
7. What makes you afraid? ( being alone in a crowd of people I don't know)
8. What may we offer one another at this stage of our journey? ( to someone younger, 
wisdom and to someone older, listen and  respect. )


My daughter's writing at the end of this blog on Poetry: here

Monday, November 3, 2014

good post over here today

A Mother’s Repentance

Rebecca Reynolds at The Rabbit Room
Here is a bit:

I determined to make every single decision based on what was best for him, it didn’t matter how difficult those choices were. From diet, to sleep schedules, to early education, I committed to hard, good things. I gave up money, relationships, rest hours, I bowed my dreams, my ambitions, my body down to this enormous task of maternity.
Sometimes I got so tired I didn’t think I could do any more, but whenever I was tempted to waver, I remembered that miscarriage. I remembered how fast it could all be over, and I recommitted to doing my part, even if it killed me. Besides, my son was a wonder. He was bright, funny, strong, deep, wise beyond his years. He shone like the sun. What could I want more than his good?
AND further down:
In my imagination, there is a room in some transcendent realm where mothers of teenagers pray. The walls are open through arches, and there are thin white curtains hanging down, and the breeze snaps them. A collection of tired mothers kneels together in this room, scared, tired, palms up, asking for what we finally realize that we don’t have. And the prayer we pray is also a sort of repentance, which is odd, after all we have worked to do that felt like goodness but was never quite.
That prayer goes something like this: “Oh, Lord. I see now. I see that all my work was small. I see now that I was proud to think my strength was enough on its own. My striving, my sustenance wasn’t ever what kept these children alive. You were here all along. You were chasing them. You were loving them even more than I did. My everything was too much like Eve’s everything, I was trying to be like You. At times, I was trying to even fight You for them. Forgive me. Forgive me for talking about faith while living in fear. Please heal any wounds this mistake has damaged. Show me how to take a few steps in faith. See how still I am now. Here is my resignation. As my children carry their questions now into the clash and clatter of the cities, please do what I could not for all I tried. Please meet them in their listening.”

Band on the Run

01_lh_McCartney 103113, slug.jpg

Last city on Paul McCartney's tour was added in the early summer : Greensboro, NC.
Three of my sons had seen him a few years ago here in Charlotte but we were at the beach. Actually , they were too, but drove back. We had hope McCartney   would come around again and he did last Thursday night! Here are some of my texts to and fro TO my sister who was also going but we did not sit together. We were sitting high up and  across for the show at  the Coliseum. I never saw her. We started texting early in the day and all day until it started. 

G= my sister
B= me

G: Yesterday, all my troubles were so far away..... excited about the concert!!

B: me too--- blackbird singing in the ...

G: Take these broken wings and learn to fly...

B: Do you want to know a secret--do, da, do..

G: Michelle ma belle

B: silly love songs...

G: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs... what's wrong with that? I need to know . SO here I go again....I love you...

B: She loves you , ya ya ya 

G: There are places I remember , in my life, though some have changed..

B: Getting ready to leave--- a hard's day's night coming up!

G: On our way... band on the run


G: Not quite to Asheboro... guess we can't eat together.... cuz... we all live in a yellow submarine..

B: Eating at Wendy's : all the lonely people

G: Oh my gosh... just passed Rocky Racoon by the side of the road!!

B: we did earlier--- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds ( wonder if he will end with Hey Jude)

G: The trees r gorgeous... Good Day Sunshine

B: HELP , I need somebody

G: Hope you don't  feel like you're BACK In the USSR!

later in the Coliseum:

G: Where r u? 

B: Row Y :  so near the top

G: almost. Row W . Guess who is sitting next to me? Eleonor Rigby!

B: We just saw Lovely Rita Meter Maid!

G: Good seats. Across the Universe!

B: hard to see you but IT's getting better all the time...

G: Video in hand ... but gotta admit it's getting better all the time!

B: I'm fixin' a hole where the rain gets in.


Here is the concert playlist: opening with Magical Mystery tour and ending
with THE END. ( 39 songs and two encores)

Live and Let Die was explosive! Literally: 

This is for John Lennon:

Good closeup at the END:

... and in the end , the love you take is equal to the love you make