Saturday, April 16, 2011

Not Less a Miracle

Not Less a Miracle

In Pocketful of Pinecones Carol writes:

"The robins are back. I awoke to their twitterings and the sound of the soft spring rain. You can’t keep a robin down. His sings in the rain and is always cheerful. If only I could be more like that."

Carol’s sentiments matched mine exactly these last two weeks. Life brings trials. A mother can have a heavy heart. But listening to the birds is a reminder to rejoice in the Lord. How I’ve been anticipating their enthusiastic notes all winter long. Now with my bedroom window open I awake to their twitterings and the sound of April raindrops just as Carol did. 

Did you know that Pocketful of Pinecones is published in the South Korean language? Home teachers in South Korea are keen on Charlotte Mason’s method of education. I like what they did with the cover although the color choices are curious, aren’t they?


The ornamental tree blossoms are so pretty in town. I’ve also been keeping an eye on the wild woodland trees outside of town, too. The maples have tiny red flowers at the tips of their branches like the ones drawn in Yolanda’s nature journal in 1999. Click to read her entries if you like.

While driving past the post office I checked the color of the tree flowers of an age old shade tree that I remember seeing all ablaze in autumn. My suspicions were correct. Its flowers are spring green – a clue that it could be a sugar maple. That explains why it flaunts New England orange while the modest maples that dot the woods do not.  

Now and again I like to share with you a paragraph from Miss Mason’s books. The middle of page 148 of my Philosophy of Education is boxed in yellow pencil. Miss Mason is so congenial and matter-of-fact on some pages that the profundity of her statements can be overlooked with too swift a reading. Therefore I am always happy to hear that highlighting, underlining, and the general marking up of passages, is being done by C.M. readers. 

“Children should be brought up to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle’s eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them. No doubt so did the people of Jerusalem when our Lord performed many miracles in their streets.”

When I was indoors reading up on trees during our April showers, I stumbled upon one of our old picture books. It has so thin a spin that tucked between its shelved neighbors it is easily lost. I covered it with clear contact paper years back, something I used to do when a book was repeatedly enjoyed. A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry stayed parked next to the rocking chair in Nigel’s room. I read it aloud to him at bedtime for a string of evenings when he was two-years-old. This month my baby is twenty-two. My, where do the years go? A Tree Is Nice won the Caldecott Medal in 1956 and so I’m guessing it can be found in most libraries. It is a simple introduction to the appreciation of trees in all seasons. I placed the book just outside our front door during one of our April showers to photograph it. 

Old hymns sometimes use the word “tree” referring to the cross of Christ. This thought occurred to me this week with my mind on trees. I ended up humming the tune of the following chorus (adagio) while doing the housework.
Lift high the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred name.

Near the end of the afternoon I overheard Dean singing it as I passed by his office. It’s catchy. The tree is in verse three:

O Lord, once lifted on this glorious Tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw men unto Thee. 

(John 12:32)

Thank you for visiting.
Karen Andreola 


  1. Isn't it wonderful around here these past few weeks?

    We went to Longwood on Thursday afternoon - I saw several trees with green flowers so we looked at their tags and they said, "Norway Maple." They are lovely to look at!
    My maples in the front yard have red buds like in Yoli's nature study book.

    I love Spring - Happy Birthday to Nigel.


  2. Karen,
    Many congratulations to you on the South Korean publication of Pocketful of Pinecones! It's one of my favorites.


  3. How I've loved reading A Tree is Nice to our children. Our poor little library sale copy has served us well. Our son (age 4) still enjoys it.

    Karen, I searched my Philosophy of Education to reread the quote you mentioned. I found it on page 148--perhaps because I have a newer copy?

    Thank you for a lovely springtime post.

  4. Wonderful that such a lovely book is making it’s way around the World! This book was a baby shower gift I received with my first baby. I have loved it steadily ever since!



  5. Leigh,
    I checked. The quote is on page 148 in my book, too. Thanks. I changed it. How fun to hear that your son enjoys "A Tree is Nice" as well. I wonder if libraries ever replace some of their discards. I remember buying an armload of picture books with science topics that had to be long out-of-print.

    Norway Maple is what I wanted to know. The the wisteria and azalea at Longwood Gardens are two of my favorites - due to be blooming soon.

    Thank you.
    "A Charlotte Mason Companion" was published first. A Korean Christian group there decided to put it in hardcover and give it a ribbon book mark. I was so pleased.

    I'm glad to hear that you enjoy your shower gift of "Pinecones." The gift giver had foresight.

  6. Like you Karen, I also await the cheerful, happy song of the robin.

    Every Spring, its lovely sound lets me know that winter is finally saying goodbye.

    Thank you for this has been enjoyable to read and to visit you again.

    Mrs. M.

  7. I feel like I got the best gift I could have today. I found your blog. I am a friend of Mrs. M and saw your comment. I am trying to get my bearings of the CM method again. I wandered away for a bit and am trying to get back to where we belong. I was just praying that I need some help and for Him to lead me. I got on the internet for a quick peek and I was so blessed by finding you here. I am tickled pink and can't wait to explore your blog. Plus I look forward to many posts in the future. Your book The Charlotte Mason Companion got me started on my homeschool journey 16 years ago and I look forward to the 8 more I still have to go with my younger boys. This post really blessed me today, thank you.

    Blessings in Him<><

  8. Mary,
    Perhaps you will find some ideas here that will enhance your continuing adventure in home educating your boys.
    I only recently figured out that there is a feature to these blog spots called "Labels." My readers are patient with me. I like that I can put Charlotte Mason's topics at easier access for curious readers.
    Karen A.

  9. On our walk this morning, my husband and I started musing about how fun it would be to study Things that Measure: pedometer, altimeter, depth guage, speed radar gun thingie (my husband would be horrified to know that I don't know the proper name for the technology), sensors that are used in manufacturing processes, motion detectors, smoke detectors, etc.. Then, we realized, once again, that our youngest is heading to college in the fall. Maybe we need some more children around here?

    This seemingly random thought was prodded by the other comments about homeschooling and Charlotte Mason.

    Looking forward to grandchildren...


  10. The "small" miracles, once perceived, do sustain us through our days. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Such a timely reminder to pause a bit in my Springtime To Do lists and enjoy the sheer beauty of this season.

    Blessings upon you and yours!

  11. This is my first visit to your blog, and what a delightful quote to have stumbled upon! How many miracles occur before our very eyes day after day, and we are guilty of taking them for granted...

    Thank you so much for bringing some of my 'everydays' to mind - as miracles to praise God for.

    Love, Anne (on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, so not exactly on your doorstep, but feeling like she's had a lovely visit!)

  12. Hi Mrs. Karen,

    I just wanted to comment on this particular post because I was so happy to see that your book was published in Korean. My older brother has lived in S. Korea for the past two years and just recently married a lovely Korean lady whom we all love dearly. I have been studying Korean because I recently been very interested in the country and so that I may speak with my new sisters parents. I should get Pocketful of Pinecones in Korean for my sister. :) Thank you for writing.

    Nicole Zellner