Pursuing what is good

Growing up I think I had this perception of heaven as the perfecting of all things.  God would somehow smooth over all wrongs done. We would forget about any pain we had experienced, and we ourselves would instantaneously, miraculously be perfected, no longer with struggles or any of our former shortcomings.  Now, I am not so sure that this is the case.


Last time on this blog I shared my thoughts on why I am thankful I don’t feel a complete sense of belonging in any one location.  If this is true, I pray it is because my true home, my eternal home, is still not fully realized.  If I want to recognize it as home it may be that I need to have more than hope in God magically transforming me, but also in a focused plan to hope in the fact that he is transforming me even now.  If I am disciplining my heart to think and feel with the heart of God, then it may be that eternity will be as recognizable and comfortable to me when I arrive as if I truly do belong.  In a sense our change will occur in “the twinkling of an eye,” (I Corinthians 15:52) but its beginnings are here in the midst of the mundane here on earth.  Our steps toward wholeness or perfection begin now, incrementally.

Therefore I….urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

Eternity starts now.  Let’s get ready.  I am preparing my heart for it now so it will not seem foreign to me then.

See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.

Rejoice always!

Pray constantly.

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:15-18

Where I Belong


Although I was predominantly raised in Arizona, I have lived in six states and five other countries.  It creates awkward pauses and half-truthful answers when someone poses the question, “Where are you from?”  To make matters worse, everyone seems to think my husband has a foreign accent.  Their guess is usually German or Russian.  Really, he speaks with a standard American accent, albeit in deep tones.  My response may be based on whether I suspect they are wanting to know the origin of my birth, the greatest number of years lived in one place consecutively, where my extended family currently live, or even more complicated, where my heart longs for when I hear the call for “home.”

A true sense of belonging is something that has not been with me for years now.  Yet I don’t say this full of self-pity, but with a better understanding about myself.  I don’t expect to ever feel that I am of any one location.  There are several “homes” in me.  Several places I long for until I may be there again, and then a different “home” may arise in my thoughts.

I have lived in the Midwest longer than in any one place, yet as much as I love that my family and I are here, it is not “home” in the sense that most people think.  For this reason I find it unusual that the classic novels I am particularly drawn to feature characters who possess an almost fierce loyalty to geography.  If I cannot share with them their love of country, soil, property and culture, where does my delight come from with these masterpieces?  Although their attachment to land and soil may seem unlike anything I have known, they appeal to me deeply in resonant tones.


The following are examples of some of my all-time favorite classics.  As foreign as the idea of genuine belonging may be to me, it is not difficult to appreciate the loyalty and passion with which these people meet the world and create a sense of “home” and belonging.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  While most readers are more familiar with the title character’s story thread, I gravitate more toward the story of Levin.  Written from the author’s own heart, Levin is an awkward aristocrat, sensitive, questioning, and more connected to his property and peasants than the parlor.  It is a beautiful scene Tolstoy paints with his words as the scythe moves  rhythmically, determinedly.

He thought of nothing, desired nothing, except not to lag behind and to do the best job he could.  He heard only the clang of scythes and ahead of him saw Titus’s erect figure moving on, the curved semicircle of the mowed space, grass and flower-heads bending down slowly and wavily about the blade of his scythe, and ahead of him the end of the swath, where rest would come…Levin lost all awareness of time and had no idea whether it was late or early.  A change now began to take place in his world which gave him enormous pleasure.  In the midst of his work moments came to him when he forgot what he was doing and began to feel light, and in those moments his swath came out as even and good as Titus’s.




O Pioneers! by Willa Cather details the struggle, loneliness and victories of a Swedish immigrant family in Nebraska, particularly of the headstrong and reliable daughter Alexandra Bergson.

When the road began to climb the first long swells of the Divide, Alexandra hummed an old Swedish hymn, and Emil wondered why his sister looked so happy.  Her face was so radiant that he felt shy about asking her.  For the first time, perhaps since that land emerged from the water of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning…The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.

p. 37

They went into the house together, leaving the Divide behind them, under the evening star.  Fortunate country, that is one day to receive hearts like Alexandra’s into its bosom, to give them out again in the yellow wheat, in the rustling corn, in the shining eyes of youth!

p. 173


The Good Earth by Pearl Buck recounts the life of poor farmer Wang Lung in pre-revolutionary China.  It follows Wang Lung from the morning of his modest marriage day through gut-wrenching personal and political events as he and his family are swept along as victims.  Wang Lung, however, refuses to give up what he has slaved so desperately for; he will not lose his land.  Here, the soil, a plot of ground, is as much a character, a driving impetus for story arc and plot, as are Wang Lung, or O-lan or Ching.

The weakness of surrender in him melted into an anger such as he had never known in his life before.  He sprang up and at the men as a dog springs at an enemy.

“I shall never sell the land!” he shrieked at them.  “Bit by bit I will dig up the fields and feed the earth itself to the children and when they die I will bury them in the land, and I and my wife and my old father, even he, we will die on the land that has given us birth!”

Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric.  There is no other book on this list, nor arguably in literature that presents an inanimate object, an architectural structure, a man-made piece of the country as the main character throughout the novel.  Spanning centuries, the bridge emerges.  It is a part of the country, as is the Nobel Prize winner, Ivo Andric.

Hiding their emotion, they bent over the map which showed the future partition of the Balkan Peninsula.  They looked at the paper and saw nothing in those curving lines, but they knew and understood everything, for their geography was in their blood and they felt biologically their picture of the world.

p. 229

Everything appeared as an exciting new game on that ancient bridge, which shone in the moonlight those July nights, clean, young and unalterable, strong and lovely in its perfection, stronger than all that time might bring and men imagine or do.

p. 234


As momentous and thriling as these novels are, the sentiment behind them eludes me.  Yet not the desire.  Even though I will never labor over land, I see the beauty of these novels to be in their metaphors.  They are, for me, metaphors of a true home.  I feel blessed NOT to feel attached to any one place alone here on earth, because I have hope even more certainly in a place that has been promised to me.  Over there, far away.  There I will one day be “home.” For such a home the geography pulses within me because of His blood, and with His eyes I can feel the landscape of that world.

By faith [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country….he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one…

Hebrews 11:9a, 10, 16a

But our citizenship is in heaven…

Philippians 3:20a


BUZZWORDS: Purdue Space Day

This past weekend I accompanied my nearly twelve-year-old S to Purdue Space Day at Purdue University.  I still cannot believe the event is free!  Purdue has a a beautiful campus, full of trees and red brick buildings, and, gratefully, we were its guests at the peak of fall foliage.  Surprisingly, after living in Indiana twelve years now, this was my first time on the campus.


While there may be more culturally diverse and thrilling places to live, I feel blessed to be where we are.  The Midwest, and particularly Indianapolis, is a great place to raise a family.  People are considerate.  We have four seasons.  Nature parks are plentiful.  The nation’s largest (and best) children’s museum is located here downtown.  And this weekend my son and I received the spectacular honor of hearing Dr. Buzz Aldrin speak.  By the way, if you want to see a twelve-year old  get embarrassed really quickly, walk around a university campus, and repeatedly and inadvertently refer to the esteemed astronaut as “Buzz Lightyear.”  Come on!  I still have a five-year old at home.

An easy hour from the Indy suburb where we live, my son was able to reach the venue where the “second man on the moon” told of his lunar experiences.  He also participated in three rocket-related activities with his age group.  Hearing the iconic astronaut speak, however, was the highlight.

Doesn't S look big here walking around campus? No? As his mom, I see the glimpses of the young man he has almost become.
Doesn’t S look big here walking around campus? No? As his mom, I see the glimpses of the young man he has almost become.

While the announcer introduced Buzz Aldrin, she made much of the fact that his maternal grandmother’s name was Marion Moon.  Destiny?  Aldrin also recounted the familiar story of how he acquired his nickname from his older sister Faye, who was still a toddler.  Not knowing what to call him in the early months after his birth, big sister fell upon “brother,” which came out sounding like “buzzer.”  However, in humorous alliteration, Aldrin warned his audience, “Prior planning prevents poor performance.”

We heard stories from his M.I.T. days.  “Winston,” the valedictorian the year Buzz ranked third in his class, signed his yearbook. In 1947, beneath Winston’s own picture was printed his classmates predictions of him.  “M.I.T. graduate.  Rockets to the moon.”  Winston had added for Buzz, “I’ll build them.  You fly them.”  Prophetic?

Dr. Aldrin left us with more quips:


Aldrin described this iconic shot above as “the first selfie in space.”  He continued, “You never know what you may be pioneering.”

Remember the famous photograph of Aldrin standing in full suit on the moon?  It is often mistaken as Neil Armstrong, but is actually Aldrin.  Armstrong had the camera.  A spontaneous shot, with apparently little to no planning, it has become a definite symbol of humanity’s accomplishments in space.  Aldrin explained that the media once asked him why he thought this particular photograph known as the “visor photo” was so significant.  He replied, “Location!  Location!  Location!”

A picture I took of S's group with Dr. Aldrin. I cropped everyone else out, so as not to post unknown people without their permission. We weren't able to talk with him one on one, but it was amazing experience to be able to stand close to him.
A picture I took of S’s group with Dr. Aldrin. I cropped everyone else out, so as not to post unknown people without their permission. We weren’t able to talk with him one on one, but it was an amazing experience to be able to stand close to him.

Apparently, the first time Buzz Aldrin met his famous colleague, Neil Armstrong, it was at his friend Ed White’s house back in 1963 or ’64.  Aldrin remembers seeing Armstrong making circles around the driveway on his roller skates.  Somehow, this is not immediately the image we conjure when thinking of these two impressive American figures, one late, one still living.

But for a twelve-year-old listening in, it might be what may capture his imagination and inspire him as he reads about Mars and other potential future exploits.

S wishes he had brought his longboard to campus.

By covered wagon

G and I are still  reading through Little House on the Prairie.  Today we decided to make use of our little historical figures, mostly from those ubiquitous Toobs, and our markable map from Sonlight.
 Yes, this edition is the very copy I read at G’s age, and years afterward.  Look up in the far left-hand corner.  Can you believe it only cost $1.75?


They had come in the covered wagon all the long way from the Big Woods of Wisconsin, across Minnesota and Iowa and Missouri.  All that long way, Jack had trotted under the wagon.  Now they set out to go across Kansas.

p. 13

And everywhere were little brown-striped gophers.

These little creature looked soft as velvet.  They had bright round eyes and crinkling noses and wee paws.  They popped out of their holes in the ground and stood up to look at Mary and Laura….

Mary and Laura wanted to catch one to take home to Ma.

pp. 43-44


So Laura chewed and swallowed, and she said, “I want to see a papoose.”

p. 46

Indians came riding on the path that passed so close to the house.  They went by as though it were not there.

They were thin and brown and bare.  They rode their little ponies without saddle or bridle.

They sat up straight on the naked ponies and did not look to right or left.  But their black eyes glittered.

Laura and Mary backed against the house and looked up at them.  And they saw red-brown skin bright against the blue sky…


After a bit of map work and reading one more chapter, G made his own snug, log cabin.  They were cut at the ends of the logs just like Pa had cut theirs with his ax.

There was no door and there were no windows.  There was no floor except the ground and no roof except the canvas.  But that house had good stout walls, and it would stay where it was.  It was not like the wagon, that every morning went on to some other place.

“We’re going to do well here, Caroline,” Pa said.  “This is a great country.  This is a country I’ll be contented to stay in the rest of my life.”

p. 74

Take care, little ones: a book review

I love October!


There is something magnificent about the season as its sunlight filters through the golden and fiery leaves.  There is something breathtaking in the blueness of sky and the earthiness of the russets and bark and dirt and hay.  I know it is not like this everywhere.  I grew up in the Southwest in the desert where you have to measure time and seasons by a different rhythm.  For this reason, I love autumn in the Midwest even more.


My boys are getting older, and with the privilege of being able to stay home alone, also comes the rarer opportunities for all of my people to be out in nature at once.

While at the library the other day, G found this sweet book.  Although it touches on each of the seasons, it seems to be a great one to read during the fall.


Miss Maple is a tiny woman who collects lost seeds and matures them into the trees and plants they were intended to be.  She mourns their lost state, plans her action and sees them through their potential.  Wow.  Did you hear that?  This little picture book by Eliza Wheeler works on two main levels.  With its bright illustrations it teaches G about the seasons and the seeds with which he is becoming familiar.  And for me?  It focuses me on my delightful responsibility as a teacher and mom to help my precious child realize his potential.  I even suspect G was able to hear the words of encouragement Miss Maple had for him.

Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.

G laughed the first time he noticed how Miss Maple transported her seeds:  a boat made from a leaf.  She protects her lost seeds from the elements, cares for them against the weeds, and even tucks them in their cozy beds while she “reads flower tales by firefly light.”  While G talks and jumps almost incessantly, and more often than not, is engaged in tales of light saber battles, there was something about this fairy-like story which held his attention.


As each season passes, there is a new way in which Miss Maple becomes a care giver.  “Don’t be afraid – raindrops help us grow.”  She tenderly reminds  her charges in the spring.  In this way, I was able gently to remind G of those past fears which brought him to where he is today.  Riding his bicycle.  Visiting a new class.  Introducing himself to someone new.

As we read through this book, it may reinforce G’s knowledge of trees and plants.  We can use the beautifully illustrated seeds to help us match them up with the leaves we encounter as we go out on our October walks.  We may spot different seeds, different ways in which the world is big and we are small.


Until, finally, one day, Miss Maple sends her seeds out into the world for them to take root.  Sigh.  And this is what G will one day be doing.  In his mind, however, it is an eternity away.  In my mind, I wish it were so.



Excerpts from Nouwen

For several months now, I have felt the need to be more grounded.  I have felt scattered, frayed at the tips of my being.  So, the other day I picked up a book at the library by the late Dutch Christian psychologist Henri Nouwen.  Even before I opened the cover  of this quiet book, I knew what needed to be done.  I always know.  And before you read the following words, you know. Why is it often so difficult to do those simple things – prioritize a morning quiet time, carve out a time for intentional exercise, retreat for a reflective moment in the afternoon.  I do none of them consistently.  It seems nearly impossible.  Is it any wonder I am not focused?

Fatigue, busyness, and preoccupation often serve as arguments for not praying.  Yet without this one hour a day for God, my life loses its coherence, and I start experiencing my days as a series of random incidents and accidents rather than divine appointments and encounters.

from Discernment by Henri Nouwen, pp. 113-114


Yes!  Divine appointments and encounters.  How much more pressing do the trivialities of my day seem when recognizing they are really moments designed by God?  How much better prepared do I wish to be when I am able to slow down and see that the monotony (or stress) of the day is actually opportunity after opportunity to show Christ’s love?

Who knows but that placing my phone back in my purse is all my son needed to open up and talk?  If I have not been grounded in my day, focused on Him in my spirit, I may not have sensed the need to speak to the woman in the grocery store line.  I may not have been able to discern the gentle stirring within me-   the conversation with my boys in the car as we wait in heavy traffic,  a “coincidental” meeting of someone in need, an opportunity to pray with someone or for someone… These are not “random incidents and accidents.”  How do I know?

God cannot be caught once and for all or contained for all time in a system of titles, names, nature, and events. But God lets himself be suspected!  Therefore, when we pray to God or search for God in silence, we learn to recognize him in the many little ideas, meetings, happenings, signs, and wonders along the way.

p. 93

Only through daily practice, confirms Nouwen, can we begin to hear and discern the voice of God within us.  Christ says this too.  Not only in his parables on prayer, but also through the parable of his life.  He leads our days.


Learning Math with Laura

Sometimes Ma let Laura and Mary go across the road and down the hill to see Mrs. Peterson….She was a Swede, and she let Laura and Mary look at the pretty things she had brought from Sweden….   Mrs. Peterson talked Swedish to them, and they talked English to her, and they understood each other perfectly.  She always gave them each a cookie when they left, and they nibbled the cookies very slowly while they walked home.  

Laura nibbled away exactly half of hers, and Mary nibbled exactly half of hers, and the other halves they saved for Baby Carrie.  Then when they got home, Carrie had two half-cookies, and that was a whole cookie.

This wasn’t right.  All they wanted to do was to divide the cookies fairly with Carrie….They didn’t know what do.  So each saved half, and gave it to Baby Carrie.  But they always felt that somehow that wasn’t quite fair. 
-Laura Ingalls Wilder in “Summertime” from Little House in the Big Woods

Can you believe Laura Ingalls Wilder  included a simple math lesson right there in her narrative? How convenient.  Imbedded in this brief text of a visit to a nearby neighbor, there is much more than a fraction riddle.  There is the lesson of sisterly selflessness, the lesson of developing relationships with those around us, the lesson of appreciating others and allowing them to be who they are regardless of differences.  All those will need to be explored internally or at a later time.  Now, we have to evenly divide those cookies.

G and I have just finished the first volume of Ms. Wilder’s series.  Honestly, he wasn’t thrilled about my read aloud choice until I told him there was a panther in it, and Pa cleans his rifle.  He was surprised, however, that he enjoyed listening to how Pa played the fiddle about Yankee Doodle and Ol’ Grimes, and how to make cheese and maple syrup.

After we read the above excerpt, I asked G if he could think of a way to break 2 cookies into 3 even pieces.  His immediate answer was to break it in lots of little pieces.   Hmmmm… Not a bad initial thought.  

The next day we decided to trace some circles and pretend they were Mrs. Peterson’s cookies.  G made them chocolate chip.

By cutting out two more circles and cutting them into halves I demonstrated how two halves is the same as one whole.  If you look carefully at Mary’s cookie in the picture you can see how G was dividing the cookie into little tiny triangular-like wedges.  Whew.  That would have been hard work for a walk home.  As he divided, he counted Mary- Laura-Carrie-Mary-Laura-Carrie-Mary-Laura-…Then he realized that was an ABC pattern.  Good for you, G.

The cookie on the right is my attempt at showing him how you could make one-third wedges out of cookies.

This all didn’t take very long, because he really needed to get back to more important things.  I mean, those pictures of Spider-Man defeating Doctor Octopus are not going to draw themselves.

FORTY-FOUR (or how Scripture can help my children)

IMG_3719His head was bent down and I could tell he was thinking because his eyelids fluttered a few seconds.  Someone had hurt his feelings, and he was trying to gain control of his emotions, and perhaps acquire a bit of understanding.  He had been wounded, and even worse, it was by one of his own.  A brother.

“I didn’t like when he told me that.”  He was playing with his fingers.  “That made me sad.”

Words not particularly profound, yet descriptive and emotionally mature from a five-year old.  His self-awareness impressed me.

I opened my mouth to comfort him, to impart words of solace, or at least empathy.  But once again, my little G spoke first.  Holding out four fingers horizontally toward me, he proffered a wan but encouraging smile.

“Forty-four, Mama.”

“Forty-four,”  I repeated smiling toward him, and I could tell he had already begun the process of healing.  In just two words he uttered greater wisdom than I would ever have given at that moment.

Well, let me explain.

For the last few years my boys have been attending a Tuesday morning gym class for homeschoolers in our area.  The gym teacher is a mom of three public school teens who developed this ministry for her church and community.  Not only does she lead a gym class weekly free of charge, but she infuses the lessons with biblical truth, friendship and Scripture memorization.  Each year she chooses a new theme verse.  In the past some themes have been “Fly like an eagle” from Isaiah 40:31, “Be still [and know that I am God] from Psalm 46:10, and “Apply your heart to instruction” from Proverbs 23:12.  At the close of each class, all the students gather together in a huddle with their hands in the middle and chant loudly the year’s theme as if it were a winning cheer.  It is cute, especially when the three to six-year olds participate.  And yet, watching G hold out his “four” I am aware of how powerful Scripture is even to the mind of a five-year old.  This year’s verse is “Rejoice in the LORD!”  Sometimes we have bad days, sometimes we do not do our best, but always there is a deep reason for rejoicing.  “Rejoice in the LORD!”  Philippians 4:4.

And there you have it.  Four, four.  Forty-four.

“Forty-four, Mama.”

The truth is this isn’t the first time G has made use of this nugget of truth, not the first time he has laid claim to this promise of treasure.  I have been reproved previously during a bad day, when I was displaying less patience and empathy than I should.  His short fingers in the shape of a four brought me right back to where I needed to be.

This, however, was the first time he had turned it on himself.  Applying Scripture to his own heart at five – I couldn’t be prouder.  Or more grateful.

Forty-four to each one of you.

Back to School

There was a great deal of complaining last year.  Math was too difficult.  We had too much work.  The dreaded ‘B’ word was bandied about.  You know, as in, This is (gasp) boring.  

After addressing each subject separately, I began to gain some clarity: the problem did not lie with the challenging subject matter, nor the words my kids – one of them in particular, let’s be honest- chose to use.  It didn’t even primarily pertain to the unwanted behaviors.  It was a deeper, yet simpler problem.  A problem of the heart.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:34

I have often wondered why David mentions his words before his thoughts.  Jesus calls out his would-be followers, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks,” and “where your treasure is, there the heart will be also.”


My children needed to change their thinking.  Controlling my heart, my tongue, and my thoughts are not easy for me as an adult.  How much more difficult will it be for my children? They need to see me model a desire to do so, however.

Our first week of school has passed slowly, with low expectations, incrementally adding topics and subjects.  We have read, journaled, watched the news, completed some map work, and generally re-introduced the habit of sitting down to work again (as well as introduced what it will look like in our new house.  We moved in less than two weeks ago.)

Charlotte Mason’s motto has helped us in approaching this new school year with positive guidelines.

I am.. I can… I ought… I will…

I am hoping to instill in my children a proprietary sense of their education and spiritual life. You can read here for more information about Charlotte Mason’s motto and educational philosophy.

Each day we have added to our understanding of the motto with the Bible verses suggested here.


I am….a child of God.  I am a person of great value because God made me.

Ephesians 2:8-10  “…For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I can…do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I am capable of accomplishing all I need to do.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I ought…. to obey God, my parents and all those who are in authority over me.

Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”

I will…decide to keep watch over my thoughts and tongue and choose what is right even if it is not what I want.

Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.”

We have discussed the significance of each of these points and used the verses as copywork.  We are slowly incorporating them as memory work as well.  The heavy responsibilities and expectations of the school year lighten when we are reminded how loved we are, along with an encouraging reminder that we are, indeed, capable.

Stress and Gentleness and Intellectual Grappling

It has been a summer of stress and upheaval.  Sure, we have chased lightning bugs, played in the back yard, went to the neighborhood pool, visited parks, and traveled to Arizona to see family.  But traveling brings its own stress, and this trip was poorly planned, just as our house of ten years sold surprisingly within six days of being on the market.  On top of all the moving mania, my husband and I are struggling with how to help our son with Asperger’s deal with his toxic levels of anger and frustration.  We are nearly worn out.

Even my summer reading has decreased.  Whereas I typically devour book after book in my spare time, this summer has only allowed me to complete four or five books.  Rather, I should say I have only given priority to four or five.  One book I have enjoyed, however, has been Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School.  It has been a tremendous refresher as I not only get ready for the upcoming school year, but also refocus myself as a parent.

The author is basically explaining the educational and parenting approach set forth by Charlotte Mason in Victorian England to the twenty-first century parent.  She is to the United Kingdom and the United States what Maria Montessori was to Italy, promoting children’s rights and championing the respect for each person.

Among Charlotte Mason’s basic tenets are the belief that children are born as their own persons, an emphasis on nature studies and time spent outdoors, following the child’s own, genuine interests, and the practice of narration through “living books” as a means of creativity, mastery and sharing.  Her educational philosophy is deeply spiritual, tied inextricably to a relationship with God, and the family, as a springboard to him.

Her motto -I am, I can , I ought, I will- resonates profoundly with me and I will certainly share how we start this upcoming school year making great use of it.  Here are some of Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on educating our children as spiritual thinkers.

“Put earnest, intellectual works into their hands.  Let them feel the necessity of bracing up every power of mind they have to gain comprehension of the breadth and the depth of the truths they are called to believe.  Let them not grow up with the notion that Christan literature consists of emotional appeals, but that intellect, mind, is on the other side.  Supply them with books of calibre to give the intellect something to grapple with – an important consideration, for the danger is, that young people in whom the spiritual life is not yet awakened should feel themselves superior to the vaunted simplicity of Christianity.”

– from Studies in the Formation of Character

I want to remember the gentleness of Charlotte Mason this year, the year my boys are 13, 11 and 5 years old, even amidst the trying times.  One of my goals for this year is for them to emerge as thinkers, Jesus followers and responsible young men.  It is certainly a process.  I pray we are on our way.