Friday, October 12, 2018

A Weighty Tip

A Weighty Tip
Today I’m sharing a tip. It’s more than helpful in bringing up children. It’s vital. You're probably already making good use of it in your house, in which case, my message will be affirmation for you.

Sophia's photo taken at Colonial Williamsburg. She knows I like yellow.
As a young mother I remember pondering the idea of a peaceful home atmosphere of authority. Whatever this was, I wanted it.

I asked myself, “How do I set the gears of authority to good working-order without harshness in the air, so that my authority is understood and gently felt by the children?” I knew that a booming voice, nagging, bribes, or bigger and bigger punishments were broken gears. I wanted to discipline my children by shepherding them in a spirit of gentleness? (1 Corinthians 4:21, Galatians 6:1)

Taken 1994 during our visit to Amish country. Yolanda, Nigel, Sophia
In the Kitchen
It had been a busy day of home-learning. I was in the middle of cooking double, so I could bring a meal to a family and simultaneously take care of our own supper. Most of the meal was completed. One thing more was left to do. But I stopped abruptly. Leaving steaming hot potatoes in the pot (awaiting salt, butter, cream cheese and mashing) I stood there with my arms crossed, as if crossing my arms would root my determination. I was fortifying myself that I wasn’t going to change my mind about something I had just calmly said “No” to. I kept myself from adding, “And I mean it.” The apostle James tells us to let our yes be yes, and our no be no.
I enjoyed hand-quilted these bow ties. Swirls in the border are by machine. I'm teaching myself free-motion quilting.
“And I mean it,” is superfluous. By being true to her word a mother is trustworthy. She earns a child’s trust by keeping her word.

All civil societies work well only when its people speak truth, do not bear false witness, and keep their word. In early America, to shake hands on an agreement was binding. “I gave my word,” was a big deal then.

Because Jesus our Lord is true to His Word and His promises, His followers seek to be trustworthy, too.

Colonial Williamsburg. 
Tell the Truth
A young child will turn a deaf ear (or drowsily drag his feet) when he has gotten used to hearing another empty threat where Mommy and Daddy do not follow through with a consequence swiftly, or when a privilege or promised treat, never comes. When a mother’s words are weighty, when she can be trusted, when her yes is yes, and her no is no, the child is disciplined fairly. He knows it is fair and will accept the consequence and admit his shortcoming more readily than if discipline is haphazard.
A moment of correction will often come at an inconvenient time (such as in the middle of making mashed potatoes). It is best to stop, breathe, and discipline calmly, anyway.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale 
For my Mother Culture I’m reading Florence Nightingale by Jeannette Nolan (pub.1946). I like its bright writing style and that Jeannette Nolan unashamedly reveals what was born in Miss Nightingale’s young heart. Her motivation to be of service to others, sprang forth from a knowledge and love of the God of the Bible. This religious motivation (in this case, Anglican) would hardly be given a nod in a modern publication (if it were slotted for the school library shelf). But Miss Nightingale’s Christian faith is relevant. A person doesn't live a virtuous life at a whim.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, 
All other ground is sinking sand.       
                                                                            (lyrics, Edward Mote)

My copy has a thick, sturdy library binding that, in its heyday, had held up to repeated handling. Its well-worn its pages tell me it must have been read by hundreds of children long ago (who would be age 85-90 today.)

But I digress. The point I wish to make is this. Miss Nightingale knew she needed to be trusted for her authority to be respected. When she had become head of a group of nurses, having just arrived at the Barrack (transformed inadequately into a hospital) it was a scene of much suffering.

The story reads,

Soon, whenever she had an hour, she must write out some rules for the nurses. She intended that they must be strictly disciplined, for without discipline the best results could not be attained. The nurses must recognize and defer to her authority. She was their leader and she would be obeyed. But to enforce discipline, she would have to retain their affection and respect. They trusted her now; she must never do anything to lose their trust.

Isn’t this the position a young mother finds herself in when surrounded by little children needing her daily guidance and care?

Catching some rays on camera. Sunshine has been a rarity here for months.
On a Domestic Note
I’ve been roasting locally grown vegetables. One of my daughters made soup incorporating her leftover roasted veggies. She told me how happy she was with at how it turned out. “It’s delicious, if I do say so myself,” she said.

Harvest vegetable soup with roasted veggies. 
“What a good idea,” I told her. I took out the little plastic containers of several days of leftover roasted veggies and did some impromptu food combining with corn I sliced off the cob. The roasted eggplant gave the soup a savory flavor. The corn was crunchy. Yum.

To the Cider Mill by Danna York
Coloring with Grandma
One of the things my grandchildren know I’m happy to do side by side with them, is color with crayons. An uncommonly cute coloring book is one created by Danna York, a Christian home teacher and artist. To the Cider Mill reflects one of her favorite memories of an outing she took with her children during their home-teaching years. It is apropos to the season.

Uncommonly Cute
If you are interested in making this book a gift for a child, Danna York would be happy to hear from you. By typing out her email we prevent spam. Yorkdanna(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wool pumpkins (purchased) for a window sill need arranging somehow.
Sophia’s family visited Colonial Williamsburg over a week-end in September. She said it was quiet and that they were almost the only visitors.
Until next time, 
Karen Andreola  


  1. I remember fondly reading a very old copy of Florence Nightingale during my elementary years. Back then one had to sign their copy out by getting a card stamped with the return date that slipped into a little pocket in the back of the book. I checked out that book so many times! I was the only one to check it out since the 1930's if I remember correctly. I would love to have that copy in my library now. Enjoying your writing dear Karen:-)

    1. What a lovely remembrance of you have of making a special book friend in your girlhood, Suzanne. Precious.

  2. The pumpkin on the chair made me smile for some reason. Autumn is really my favorite time of year, probably because of the outdoorsy decor of leaves and gourds and "conkers," and the comfort food cooking. Your soup of "leftovers" looks very gourmet. I made (less attractive) split pea soup and some crusty bread today and I was grateful. We had a burst of "Indian summer" on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures in the low 80s, but last night it was very cold and today is a good day for soup and bread. Michigan falls can leave you guessing.

    Karen, I am taking your tip to heart. My boys are fine young men but do not always simply do what they're told without some preliminary "discussion." I will take it all to prayer. You are a faithful friend to your blog audience. "A word fitly spoken."

    God bless you Karen! Have a wonderful weekend.

  3. Your gentle advice in being firm in our "no" and "yes" is excellent and much needed. I have never read about Florence Nightingale. Your words always make me want to read one of your book recommendations.
    The pictures are lovely and peaceful as always.

  4. Thank you for this post! It reminded me of a Grace Livingston Hill biography I read this summer. She was quick to follow through on her words of discipline, even when it was difficult. Her daughter's never forgot her calm but definite discipline.

    All of the pictures you have shared are beautiful. I love the fabrics you choose for your quilts.

    I will have to look for the Florence Nightingale biography. I think I would enjoy it.

  5. This is a timely post, Karen, as we've been talking (in my CM bookgroup) a little bit about how Miss Mason makes the assumption that proper authority is in place BEFORE one starts working on habits. Thank you so much for this reminder!

  6. Excellent words of advice! Loved seeing a bit of your life in this post, friend. I've missed you.

  7. I went to my bookshelf and found the Florence Nightingale book! It'll be next on my list to read. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks!
    Sue R.

  8. Great advice, Karen. I gave the same advice to my daughter this summer when she was at her wits end with her three girls. Things just work better when children know their boundaries and they are enforced. I enjoyed your fall pictures and your quilt. The roasted veggie soup looks like something I'd like to eat right now. It's cold where I live and there are squalls of snow coming on and off. Thanks for sharing, Karen. I still enjoy reading your words!

  9. Hello, Karen. Happy October to you and yours. I enjoyed seeing the photo of your new granddaughter in your last post.

    We too tried to make our answers yes or no. I am continually amazed by how much determination that takes. We also tried only say, "maybe," when we really meant that we weren't sure. Growing up I heard kids sigh dejectedly and say, "That means No," after their parents responded with a maybe. We were quite certain that we never wanted to hear our children say that in response to us.

    I remember one very frustrating day that still stands out in all our memories. I was flustered and angry. The children were frustrated and angry too. Suddenly, I found myself spurting out, "I don't know, but if you don't, it's gonna be really bad!" There was this moment of stunned silence all around. Then we all burst out laughing. Tempers were soothed a bit, and some semblance of peace was restored. It was still a difficult day, but the ridiculousness of it all had become obvious.


  10. So good to hear from you, Ladies. Determination is right. I remember saying "yes - adding - "first things first." Sometimes the stipulation was, "after the dryer stops" or "after dishes are washed." Still today I turn off the dryer when I leave the house even for a Nature Walk. It is one of my idiosyncrasies.

  11. I don't always get a chance to comment but I always love what you have to say! Not to mention pictures of your home... and that soup.

  12. Wise words. I wish I'd done many things differently. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

  13. Karen, I am nodding my head all the while I am reading this. I totally agree with your premise that truth is vital in raising children. If we are not completely truthful, how will they discern what is truth and what is not. How will they trust what we tell them about Jesus?

  14. Karen, as always your writings are soothing to my spirit and encouraging to my soul. Our life has been super chaotic these past nearly 2 years since our house burned. We've added a new baby to our family of (now) 9 and we've converted my husbands shop into a home so that we could move back to our farm. I've been trying desperately to get back to a Charlotte Mason way of schooling since we've moved in and I found myself struggling with a lot of frustration. Reading your words is like talking to an old friend/mentor. It awakens in me the truth if what I'm doing wrong and how to steer a new course. I'm grateful for wisdom that you share...

  15. I'm loving those verses about gentle authority! Lord, please do this in me! I saved them in my phone to re-read throughout my day! I also listened to your audio CD on "Mother Culture" just this morning, on an unexpected drive by myself! I enjoyed it very much! It made me look forward all the more to your upcoming book! Any estimated date of availability? Thank you for all you do for us homeschool mamas! <3