October 18th, 2008

At the lunch table yesterday Seth (out of the blue, of course) announced that “This is Veronique’s Cafe! And Jerome is an eater, Ian’s an eater, Daddy’s an eater, and Seth is an eater, and Mommy is the cooker!”

He makes me smile!

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October 14th, 2008

 Jerome’s new dress-up from Grandma! That’s his new pose. :-) Those fatigues are the perfect color for his green eyes! attention! Ian braved the blustery wind to be with his brothers. They were clearing the driveway. Our neighbors got two baby turtles this week! That one really liked to crawl off his hand…or try to. This one didn’t have a chance of escape! Beautiful markings! Do turtles ever look happy? he doesn’t. But I hope he has a good life. As we were doing our school work smoke clouds billowed over from the next valley. The smell of smoke was only faint where we were as the wind carried it far and fast. Jerome was afraid the fire would come burn our house. We had the opportunity to pray for those who did lose their homes, and thank God for His faithful protection.

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October 12th, 2008

 My thanks to my dear friend Charlene Partridge for introducing me to Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education and her inspiring writings! I just finished the first volume of CM’s original works. It took me much of this year to read through, bit by bit, soaking up the wisdom and chewing on ideas, but the direction was needed and well timed as we are beginning the formal education of our children. This is part of the last chapter in her first volume. If I could, I would post all the pieces that spoke to me, but I’m afraid that would be rather fragmented, and those nuggets made such a wonderful impression because of the framework and thought proccesses Charlotte went to such pains to set down in her book. So here’s a link to the entire series online where you can read more if you are inclined to.

III. The Divine Life In The Child

“The very Pulse of the Machine.”––It is evident we have not yet reached “the very pulse of the machine”.

Habits, feeling, reason, conscience––we have followed these into the inmost recesses of the child’s life; each acts upon the other, but what acts upon the last: what acts upon them all? “It is,” says a writer who has searched into the deep things of God––”it is a King that our spirits cry for, to guide them, discipline them, unite them to each other; to give them a victory over themselves, a victory over the world. It is a Priest that our spirits cry out for, to lift them above themselves to their God and Father,––to make them partakers of his nature, fellow-workers in one authentic testimony that He is both the Priest and King of Men.” [Maurice, Sermons on Sacrifice.]

Parents have some Power to Enthrone the King.––Conscience, we have seen, is effective only as it is moved from within, from that innermost chamber of Mansoul, that Holy of Holies, the secrets of which are only known to the High-Priest, who “needed not that any man should tell Him, for He knew what was in man.” It is necessary, however, that we should gather up crumbs of fact and inference and set in order such knowledge as we have; for the keys even of this innermost chamber are placed in the hands of parents, and it is a great deal in their power to enthrone the King, to induct the Priest, that every human cries for.

The Functions and Life of the Soul.––We take it for granted in common speech that every soul is a ‘living soul,’ a fully developed, full-grown soul; but the language of the Bible and that of general experience seem to point to startling conclusions. It has been said of a great poet––with how much justice is not the question here––that if we could suppose any human being to be made without a soul, he was such an abortive attempt; for while he had reason, imagination, passions, all the appetites and desires of an intelligent being, he appeared to exercise not one of the functions of the soul. Now, what are these functions, the suspension of which calls the very existence of a man’s soul in question? We must go back to the axiom of Augustine––”The soul of man is for God, as God is for the soul.” The soul has one appetite, for the things of God; breathes one air, the breath, the Spirit of God; has one desire, for the knowledge of God; one only joy, in the face of God. “I want to live in the Light of a Countenance which never ceases to smile upon me,” [Christmas Day, and other Sermons] is the language of the soul. The direct action of the soul is all Godward, with a reflex action towards men. The speech of the soul is prayer and praise, the right hand of the soul is faith, the light of the soul is love, the love of God shed abroad upon it. Observe, these are the functions, this, the life of the soul, the only functions, the only life it can have: if it have not these, it has no power to turn aside and find the “life of its hand” elsewhere. …

What is the Life of the Soul?––This life of the soul, what is it? Communicated life, as when one lights a torch at the fire? Perhaps; but it is something more intimate, more unspeakable: “I am the Life”; “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”; “Abide in Me and I in you.” The truth is too ineffable to be uttered in any words but those given to us. But it means this, at least, that the living soul does not abide alone in its place; that place becomes the temple of the living God. “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. How dreadful is this place!”

The Parent must present the idea of God to the Soul of the Child.––But this holy mystery, this union and communion of God and the soul, how may human parents presume to meddle with it? What can they do? How can they promote it? and is there not every risk that they may lay rude hands upon the ark? In the first place, it does not rest with the parent to choose whether he will or will not attempt to quicken and nourish this divine life in his child. To do so this is his bounden duty and service. If he neglect or fail in this, I am not sure how much it matters that he has fulfilled his duties in the physical, moral and mental culture of his child, except in so far as the child is the fitter for the divine service should the divine life be awakened in him. But what can the parent do? Just this, and no more: he can present the idea of God to the soul of the child. Here, as throughout his universe, Almighty God works by apparently inadequate means. Who would say that a bee can produce apple trees? Yet a bee flies from an apple tree laden with the pollen of its flowers: this it unwittingly deposits on the stigmas of the flowers of the next tree it comes to. The bee goes, but the pollen remains, but with all the length of the style between it and the immature ovule below. That does not matter; the ovule has no power to reach the pollen grain, but the latter sends forth a slender tube, within the tube of the style; the ovule is reached; behold, then, the fruit, with its seed, and, if you like, future apple trees! Accept the parable: the parent is little better in this matter than the witless bee; it is his part to deposit, so to speak, within reach of the soul of the child some fruitful idea of God; the immature soul makes no effort towards that idea, but the living Word reaches down, touches the soul,––and there is life ; growth and beauty, flower and fruit.

Must not make Blundering Efforts.––I venture to ask you to look, for once, at these divine mysteries from the same philosophical standpoint we have taken up in regarding all the capabilities and functions of the child, partly, because it is instructive to see how the mysteries of the religious life appear when it is looked at from without its own sphere; partly, because I wish to rise by unbroken steps to the supreme function of the parent in the education of his child. For here the similitude of the bee and the apple tree fails. The parent must not make blundering, witless efforts: as this is the highest duty imposed upon him, it is also the most delicate; and he will have infinite need of faith and prayer, tact and discretion, humility, gentleness, love, and sound judgement, if he would present his child to God, and the thought of God to the soul of his child.


The Indwelling of Christ is a thought particularly fit for the children, because their large faith does not stumble at the mystery, their imagination leaps readily to the marvel, that the King Himself should inhabit a little child’s heart. ‘How am I to know He is come, mother?’ ‘When you are quite gentle, sweet, and happy, it is because Christ is within,––

“And when He comes, He makes your face so fair,
Your friends are glad, and say, ‘The King is there.”

I will not attempt to indicate any more of the vital truths which the Christian mother will present to her child; having patience until they blossom and bear, and his soul is as a very fruitful garden which the Lord hath blessed. But, once more, “This kind cometh forth only by prayer.”

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October 10th, 2008

The boys are absolutely thrilled to be in AWANA again this year! They each have a buddy in class with them and that makes it all the more fun to look forward to!

First night pictures:

 Jerome is our Sparkie, strikin’ a pose! Seth is our Cubbie! He could hardly stand still for a photo! :-)

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October 10th, 2008

We called him Grandpa because he loved us that much. His heart was so big to fit another (large) family into his life and love them as his own. We had the honor of his love, the privilege of loving him and knowing him, and the chance to say goodbye. It is a sweet comfort knowing that he is with his Saviour Jesus Christ, and also his precious Margaret who went before him.

His children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are in our thoughts and prayers.

We miss you, Grandpa Charlie.

 Grandpa Charlie

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