Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Family

I just have to share some recent pictures of my beautiful family.

(Moses wasn't too happy in this picture)

Okay, not that recent, but here's some pictures of Grace at a stream with Grandma this summer.Grace and Grandma Sue

Moses likes to climb into the pantry to scrounge for food. I do feed him, honest.Isn't that cloth diaper so cute?!Grace playing her favorite game with Moses: Starving Orphans. Click on the picture to get a close up of her sign. Notice she doesn't want food or money, only "household things" so that she can furnish her hovel.

My awesome babywearing hubby. "Yeah, I'm crunchy."

Waiting for Papa to come home from work

The first picture of our newest member. Another button-nosed Mailly baby! What do you think, boy or girl? We decided to wait until birth to find out.

They love to read together.

My special candle lit for Matthias on October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Playing outside on a clear autumn day.

His new favorite thing - looking at airplanes.

Grace trying really hard to get Moses in his swing.

Richard and I were talking this morning about the blessing of children and how really rich we are. It's so true. These pictures remind me of my true wealth.
"A new born babe brings
Light to the cottage,
Warmth to the hearth,
And joy to the soul,
For wealth is family
And family is wealth."
~Irish Proverb

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Photo Contest Winner!

Simply Charlotte Mason, a website "dedicated to helping you homeschool your children using the Charlotte Mason method and wonderful philosophy of education", recently held their 2007 photo contest. There were several categories, all having to do with homeschooling in the Charlotte Mason method.

For those of you not familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of education, I'll give an overview. Charlotte Mason (1842–1923) was a British educator who invested her life in improving the quality of children’s education. She developed a philosophy of education that has been adapted to modern homeschooling by many parents. From the SCM website:

You can summarize Charlotte’s approach to education in three words. Charlotte believed that “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” By “atmosphere,” Charlotte spoke of the environment our children grow up in. She knew that the ideas that rule our lives, as parents, will have a profound impact on our children. “The child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives” (Vol. 2, p. 247).

By “discipline,” Charlotte emphasized the importance of training our children in good habits—habits that will serve them well as they grow. In fact, she likened good habits to railroad tracks that parents lay down and upon which the child may travel with ease into his adult life. Good habits are a powerful influence on our children and must play an important part in their education. “It rests with [the parent] to consider well the tracks over which the child should travel with profit and pleasure” (Vol. 1, p. 109).

By “life,” Charlotte wanted to remind us that “all the thought we offer to our children shall be living thought; no mere dry summaries of facts will do” (Vol. 2, p. 277). And the methods that Charlotte used presented each subject’s material as living ideas. Here is where the reading, writing, and arithmetic come in, along with all the other school subjects. But notice two important points: first, they are presented as living thoughts; and second, those school subjects occupy only one-third of the big picture of education.

Some of the key methods include using "living books" as opposed to dry, factual textbooks. Living books are usually written in a narrative style and really make the subject “come alive.”

(having a child tell back to you something he has just read, seen or heard) is also a core component to a Charlotte Mason education. The thinking process involved in putting
something into his own words is much more complex than simply having him fill in the blank on a test.

Charlotte also advocated short lessons for younger children to help train them in the habit of attention. Along with this should come a variety of subjects, alternating the quieter, concentration-intense subjects with the louder, less-concentration-intense subjects and those that allow for physical movement and exercise.

is the method Charlotte used to give practice in handwriting skills and to help a child absorb proper grammar and language usage. The child who copies short poems, scripture passages, hymns and segments of classic literature is at the same exposed to English literature at its finest.

Charlotte spent one afternoon per week with her students outside in the fields, meadows, and woodlands. This outdoor time is the setting for nature study. Children look carefully at the viariety of nature around them and write and draw what they observe in their own nature notebooks.

So there's a very brief primer on the Charlotte Mason method. There's really so much more to it! While I don't use CM exclusively, it certainly is a main component in our own homeschooling. So when Simply Charlotte Mason announced their photo contest, I eagerly submitted a few pictures of Grace. And wonder of wonders, one was chosen as the winner to the "Child with Book or Writing" category! Here it is:

I think it really is a great picture of how homeschooling is meant to be, and I'm very pleased to have had it chosen. I got a great free ebook out of the deal, too! So to see all the outstanding photos, go to the SCM Photo Contest. And while you're there, read more about the Charlotte Mason method if you're at all interested in homeschooling. It's great.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Snippets of Gratitude

"Nothing taken for granted;
everything received with gratitude;
everything passed on with grace."

~ G.K. Chesterton

1. New mercies every morning

2. Enough grace for today

3. Morning hugs from my husband and children

4. Walks with the kids on crisp autumn mornings

5. Seeing my little boy learning to love and enjoy books

6. Daily Light

7. Setting the clocks back and getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning

8. Kids eating cereal together and being silly and laughing

9. Grace giving up her stool for Moses to sit on

10. Cuddling and nursing Moses in the early morning

11. Sweet open-mouthed baby kisses

12. My unborn child, alive and moving inside me right now

13. Hot coffee in my favorite mug

14. The kids playing with balloons together

15. Grace playing "archaeologist" with cans of food, proving she is listening during school and even finds it interesting!

16. Flowers from my husband

17. Spending an afternoon with my mom and brothers

18. Rubbing feet with my husband in bed

19. Rocking my "baby" to sleep for his nap

20. A little voice calling out, "Mama, Mama".

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Thousand Gifts

I found this concept at Holy Experience. A list of gifts, written down one-by-one, each day, until I reach 1000. One thousand gifts that have been given to me. A way to open my own eyes to the amazing, incredible, everyday gifts that my Lord showers upon me moment by moment. A way to stir my heart in gratitude toward a Father who loves to give good gifts.

From Ann's post:
"As the moments slip down the hour glass of time, I am scratching down the gifts---just as they happen, as they arrive, as they are unwrapped---that He has given that make my life grace, the daily graces that He gives in an infinite number of ways, that stir me.

I am seeing things I have never seen before, attuned and aware of this constant, endless stream of gifts from His hand. I am one waking from slumber....from the stupor of indifference and ignorance. I have sight, fresh and keen---the world is new and full of His gifts."

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best...when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things." -George MacDonald

This is the season for lists. Consider beginning a list of a Thousand Gifts. It has changed me and changed how I look at each day. It has awakened me in new ways to how good God is. I am so, so thankful that He knows me and is a God who delights in giving unique, simple, beautiful, extravagant gifts just for me. How can He love me like that?

Lord, I am so grateful. Make me more so.