Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ideals

Ideals
Our maples are making many seed "helicopters." 

Are you new here?   Welcome.

The assortment of articles you will find here are a compliment to my books: Mother Culture - for a Happy Homeschool, and A Charlotte Mason Companion.   


FOND FAREWELL
This next paragraph is difficult to write.

I am keeping this blog-spot online (with small updates here and there) but I am saying farewell.

For various reasons I am closing a chapter of my life as I did years ago with Parents' Review 1991-96.

Karen and Dean Andreola, Maine 2005
One wall of the kitchen.
You are welcome to post a comment anytime - and - to reach me anytime through my personal email (typing it) karenjandreola(at)gmail(dot)com.

I’ve enjoyed preparing these blog posts for you these 9 years. Thank you for doing me the honor of reading them.

What a pleasure it has been getting to know those of you that have been in touch with me in the blog neighborhood. I hope to pop by your place now and again.

Parting Message 
Hold onto your ideals - - - even if by a string. An ideal is like a helium balloon. It hovers above your head quietly. As it hovers, it inspires you to effort. By contemplating and reaching for an ideal we are guided and grow.

Like a balloon attached by a string to a child’s wrist, we can be attached to an ideal and look up to it. It is high. But it doesn’t matter that it is hanging by a thread, it is nearby. Because it is high what we actually accomplish is somewhere below it, usually. Faced with our limitations and inadequacies we live with the realistic, and yet, meanwhile, we seek to be content with what we can accomplish at present, so that our eyes are open to the blessings those hovering ideals bestow.

Let us value small daily accomplishments. Many small steps bring large return.

Keep faithfully plodding, my friends.

Climbing the stairs to the second floor.
Yes, we live with the realistic. But on our good days we recognize moments of the idealistic. We say, “Ah! Isn’t that nice? I like to see my children playing together in harmony.”
Or.
“Wow. It's wonderful to hear that beautiful spiritual insight brought forth in my student’s Bible narration.”
Or.
“The reading-seeds I’ve sown are sprouting. Hey Honey, your son is in the middle of his first chapter book. He's immersed. Yeah.”
Or.
“What a delight to finally open that novel I picked out for myself six years ago for my Mother Culture. I love the characters and am glad I blew the dust off my shelf of Mother-Culture-Books.”
Or.
“Weren’t we hearing our daughter practice Charlie-Brown-and-Snoopy on violin not long ago (four years)? How is it that today she’s playing hymns for Sunday worship?”

Although faced with our limitations and life's interruptions, we can be humbly grateful amid the realistic. When we are greeted with the idealistic, these sparkling moments surprise and warm a parent’s heart, like little else can.

Sophia &Yolanda at a wedding, 2006. Both are married and mothers today.
Isn't this a wonderful truth spoken by the apostle Paul? “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6) Oh, that one day we may hear our Lord Christ say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”(Matt 25:21) when we meet Him face-to-face.

Our lilacs once bloomed but are now nibbled by a growing populations of deer.

I found this poem about ideals by Adelaide A. Procter (1825-1864)

Have we not all, amid life’s petty strife,
Some pure ideal of a noble life
That once seemed possible? Did we not ear
The flutter of its wings and feel it near,
And just within our reach? It was. And yet
We lost it in this daily jar and fret.
But still our place is kept and it will wait,
Ready for us to fill it, soon or late.
No star is ever lost we once have seen:
We always may be what we might have been.

Sophia's Nature Notebook from days gone by. 
Charlotte Mason says, “The parent who would educate his children, in any large sense of the word, must lay himself out for high thinking and lowly living; the highest thinking indeed possible to the human mind, and the simplest, directest living.” (Parents & Children p.170)

Illustration by Nigel Andreola for Blackberry Inn
There are no higher ideals than are found in the Word of God. There is no greater help than by His Holy Spirit.

Afternoon cross stitching is a relaxing hobby.
Post Script
Jenny, on Inconvenient Family, wrote a review of my book Mother Culture ®. I was honored by it and found it touching. Thank you, Jenny.  I worked hard on my book so that it might be the ministering-kind that would be shared friend-to-friend.

It's been a pleasure over the years to be a guest writer on Charlotte Mason PoetrySage ParnassusSimply Charlotte Mason, and Charlotte Mason Soiree. What an enormous array of help is given to home teachers these days. My prayer is always that more and more parents will place their trust in Christian home-style learning. 

Turning 60 this year. 
Amazon Reviews
Dean noticed a brand new book on Amazon - with hundreds of reviews posted the same day.  Astonished he said, "How can this be?" I told him what I’d heard. Big publishers have big-funded launch programs. A great many book-bloggers regularly receive free copies of manuscripts pre-publication. The agreement is that they post a review on Amazon - because - the number of reviews is one criteria Amazon uses for keeping a book in stock and promoting it. 
 
We are teeny-tiny. And Madison-Avenue programs are beyond our scope. That’s okay. It isn’t our style, anyway. I told Dean, "I greatly appreciate every sincere review that trickles in the natural way." Thank you, friends, for your kind support.



NEW COVER
Nigel finished a new cover for Lessons for Blackberry Inn (sequel to Pocketful of Pinecones) at my request. Do you see the Queen Ann's lace? His blackberries look edible.

One of Nigel Andreola's favorite graphic arts services is doing book covers. He would be happy to create an attractive book cover for you. He does all his work with a Wacom tablet turning his Wacom pen into a variety of electronic paint brushes.You can reach him here: https://starrynightmedia.com/graphics/

Nigel's 7th birthday 1996. (He recently turned 30.) 
Facebook
I post on my Author’s Page, on a Monday or Saturday, stirring up ideas that I think will encourage. I hope one day we will meet in person.

Here is my book page on Amazon. Thank you for your purchases over the years, my friends.


I hope you will always set aside moments for your Mother Culture.
Yours,
Karen Andreola 
PO Box 296
Quarryville, PA 17566 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Color my Life - a Writing Tip and Book Review

Color My Life - A Writing Tip and Book Review
I thought I’d share a trade secret. It is a tiny tip from (and for) a student of writing. (I’ll always be a student of writing.)
I made a curtain valance for over the kitchen sink. The morning sun shines brightly through the leafless trees.
Since this tip is briefly mentioned in general writing-helps – if mentioned at all – I’m highlighting it here.  It’s one of those little things in life, easily overlooked, so it's given less credit than it deserves.

If writing is an exercise in black and white, how do we convey what we want to say in black and white and appeal to the imagination? The most direct way of doing this is to add color-words. Color-words are the simplest of all the sensory languages. I find color-words to be a natural, easy-going way to engage imagination. Color is part of our beauty-sense. 

Make a quilt using colorful scraps from former quilt projects - was the challenge I took up over winter.
A writer has a pool of experience. Drawing upon her sense-experience she describes what she has seen, felt, smelled and tasted. Color-words find a happy home in fiction and non-fiction alike.

In Mother Culture (a collection of essays) I seek to bring intangible ideas to life by drawing upon my sense-experience. It occurred to me, only recently, that Mother Culture uses color-words freely. In fact, when I went back and flipped through the pages – with a mind to share this tip with you today – I found every color in the rainbow. These colors are straightforward; not fancy oil painting colors (although I do like the names of these).

This is what I like about color-words. They engage the imagination of the reader without detracting from the main ideas of the essay. This isn’t any hard-n-fast rule. It’s just my idiosyncratic opinion. I know some of you enjoy writing a blog and might welcome the occasional tip, while your own special writing-style is developing to your liking.

Here is a sampling of some of the simple colors in Mother Culture. (Scroll below for the book review.)

. . . pink and tan dress . . . p 37
. . . he knows something more about it than just its yellow color. p 57 (referring to a dandelion).
. . . the bright purple lupine by the roadside, . . . p 57
. . . leafy green forest . . . p 60
. . . juicy red watermelon . . . p 74
. . . expressive brown eyes . . . p 170
. . . flimsy black cape . . . p 181
. . . making patterns on the white tablecloth; . . . (from a passage on picnics by Charlotte Mason)
. . . the sky turned peachy . . . p 212
. . . a size two blue mitten . . . p 222
. . . orange flowers that seemed to match her personality. P 278

Book Review – For Mother Culture 
This winter I read The Lighted Heart (1960) by Elizabeth Yates (1905-2001).  I happily found it to be a story of rare sweetness.

I savored its peacefulness in the face of its frightening disappointment. After ten years of doing business in the city of London, an American couple, Bill and Elizabeth (in chapter one) move to rural New England. They find the antique house and farm of their dreams, near a country village. They have no children, but they do have some companionable dogs and friends. Elizabeth tells the story. It takes place over a handful of years and follows nature’s four seasons. Then the frightening disappointment befalls them. Bill loses his eyesight. They meet this tragedy with courage. Because of a diagnosis he was given in earlier years Bill and Elizabeth knew it was an eventuality.

While this couple adjusts to their new life together, Elizabeth tends a large vegetable garden. Humorously, she explores different ways to cook squash. She also takes up writing so they can butter their bread. As Bill learns necessary skills, his wife reads everything she can find in the local library about living with a blind person.

Some philosophizing pops up in between scenes. The wife (who wishes to keep gladness a quality of their lives) recalls a Chinese proverb: “If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.” She describes scenes for us and as she describes them for Bill. She describes the rosy sunset, the green forest trees, chirping birds at the feeder, the orange glow of firelight, how the table is set, Christmas decorations, the face of friends. One day Bill says something like: “I’m glad you tell me the color of things, because it’s color that soonest fades from memory, and what needs the most reminding.” This communiqué tugged at my sympathy – as Bill says it incidentally, not out of self-pity. He never moans, “Why me?” Rather, he is a remarkably patient gentleman with a "lighted heart.”

An incident proves Bill is a follower of: “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” After the incident (which comes as a big surprise to his wife) he says: “Listen, Elizabeth . . . you can’t say ‘I’m only one, there’s nothing I can do,’ . . . What you should say is, ‘Because I am one there is something I can do.’”

The value of this easy-to-read tale is the warm relationship shared between husband and wife. Theirs is an enduring love. “How do they do it?” I asked as I closed the book. In answer to this, an ideal I’ve found to be a very high ideal indeed, from the Word of God, entered my mind. Here we have two people who give the other precedence. Each, in humility, counts the other more significant than himself/herself. (Philippians 2:3) Isn’t this what true love is?
 
God is named as being the Source of life, love, and Christmas - although in a later novel the author clearly holds the opinion of a Unitarian where all religions are one. (This is not my view of Christianity and misses the truth of the the gospel of Christ.) Pen drawings accompany each chapter. The story is somewhat auto-biographical. Those fond of Gladys Taber’s non-fiction would surely warm up to The Lighted Heart, too. Dear Amy, I’m thinking especially of you.)

Post Script
Dear Cheryl, you can see how I’ve been using your gift to me of a green basket. Could you ever have guessed such a use?

Dear Mrs. Sharon White, uplifting and gentle Christian homemaking advice embodies your writings. I feel honored that you featured Mother Culture on your blog: The Legacy of Home. Your testimony of the positive influence of a wife, mother, homemaker, is encouraging. I feel myself rising out of a domestic slump when there. Therefore, I can invite my blog friends with confidence to visit you in the blog neighborhood. Your offerings are generous and inspiring.

Many thanks, dear Brenda, for including Mother Culture among your on-going book reviews. I am impressed with your fondness for books and am amazed at how quickly you devour them. Your bog friends can never be in want of suggestions at Coffee Tea Books and Me. 
   
A stack of blue quilt squares and a stack of red (Courthouse Steps) yet to be sewn together to top a dresser. 
 The Lighted Heart, on Amazon.

Mother Culture, on Amazon.

Thank you for visiting here today. Comments are Welcome.
Karen Andreola 




Saturday, March 9, 2019

A Walk Down "Mother Culture" Lane by Karen Andreola

A Walk Down Mother Culture® Lane

Early Days of Speaking
Whenever I come across a mom who is ministering the ideas of Mother Culture online, my heart is warmed. I’m happy to see the ideas welcomed.

We home teachers have weighty cares. Endurance is needed for our long hours of service. But moments of Mother Culture are refreshment along the way. A glass of ice tea, ten minutes with an embroidery needle or paint brush, a few lines written in a journal, a stroll in the garden, a prayer while folding the towels or making a bed, are calming interludes.

Every once in a while, I’m sent a link to the rumor: “Mother Culture" was a term coined and popularized by Charlotte Mason . . . ” I say “rumor” because the term Mother Culture hasn’t been spotted in any of Miss Mason’s writings, to date. Yet, this misunderstanding has been circulating for years. Therefore, the Man-of-the-House said, “You should tell your origin-story.”

Early Days of Writing

The Mother Culture Origin-Story   
Mother Culture bubbled over in my magazine 1993.
An obscure article lay dormant in a hardbound Parents’ Review. One day, while my children were having a quiet time, I was slowly turning the pages of this hardbound volume (one of 77 on special loan from England.)

“Hmmm, this looks interesting,” I thought. It was the article “Mother Culture,” an article that had been buried in the archives for a century, used for the first and last time in 1892 in reference to parenting . . . until the day it caught my eye. It gives me goosebumps to think of it.

I remember how little my children were.

I remember which house we were renting.

I remember how impressed I was by this anonymously written article. Even the title struck a chord in my heart.

While standing at the sink washing dishes, I began considering how its message might be relevant to my own life and to my fellow home teachers. Consequently, my thoughts on Mother Culture bubbled-over onto the back cover of my homespun magazine in 1993 (pictured in purple, above.)
Nigel, the baby of the family, turns age 30 this April. Oh, my.
Over the next 26 years I would continue to revive, expand, and introduce Mother Culture to a new generation.
Dean spoke on Charlotte Mason as early as 1993,.

Greatly sympathizing with my fellow home teachers, I put effort into promoting Mother Culture wherever I was asked to speak. I was a nervous and shy speaker. (I still am.) My soft voice doesn’t project well or record well. But because I sensed Providence had given me something important to say, I rose to the challenge.
I spoke at retreats, to small groups at public libraries, in churches, private homes, my own living room, even on the radio, gladly, without honorarium.

Eventually, Dean and I were invited to introduce the ideas of Charlotte Mason across America as professional keynote speakers.
We have fond memories of sharing supper with Chris Klicka several times.
When we did, I also gave a talk on Mother Culture. Audiences at these state conferences grew bigger and bigger.

Really a homebody, I remember telling Dean, in Florida, when I peeked into an auditorium filled with thousands of people, “Where am I? What am I doing here?” With trembling fingers, I held tightly onto my notes.

1998 was a busy year. Our children enjoyed the Sandy Cove family conference at they did other family HS retreats.
Mary Pride, editor of Practical Homeschooling Magazine, invited me to be a columnist. My column was dedicated to the Charlotte Mason Method. (We advertised and sold Miss Mason’s “pink” books through the magazine). Here you see the first page of one of two articles I wrote on the advantages of Mother Culture.

The time was ripe for a book. Endeavoring to paint a picture of what home education can look like, A Charlotte Mason Companion was born (1998). I found Mother Culture a good remedy for preventing burn-out so I decided to turn it into a chapter, too. Blogs, websites, podcasts and tutorials were not widely in use, so a book was still the best way to share a collection of ideas.

Chapter 46 of A Charlotte Mason Companion, 1998.
In 1999 Dean and I were contacted by CBD to write freelance reviews for their printed catalog.

That year I suggested a special feature devoted to Mother Culture. CBD liked the idea. I set to work arranging it, picking out books and writing up the reviews for what I had found helpful in keeping up my own Mother Culture. The catalog was read far and wide. It would reach more readers than A Charlotte Mason Companion.


Years later, my son would do the graphics for my CD. This live conference talk on Mother Culture® (2004) is now accessible FREE on YouTube.

So you can see, for quite some time, I’ve been busy popularizing Mother Culture publicly through: articles, books, speaking engagements, catalog product reviews, 10 years of blogging - and lately - mini-articles on Facebook. Phew.

Letters
Privately, I’ve answered hundreds of letters over the years from moms who have questions or wish to connect with a kindred spirit.

Here’s a flash back. I remember sitting in a lounge chair, on green grass, under a shade tree, while my little ones were splashing in the puddle pool and digging in the sandbox. On such a summer afternoon, I might have a large plastic zip-lock bag of letters to answer. (I had learned from experience the necessity of a zip-lock bag during outdoor playtime, he, he.) With pen in my hand, a prayer on my heart, I attempted to confide and encourage.

In time, paper letters dwindled. Emails took their place. Today questions mostly come through Facebook messenger. I wish I could have a chat in person with these conscientious mothers.  Understanding their apprehension and stress, I pray the Lord uses what little I am able to convey by FB messenger. It can only be a small help in light of the weighty cares that are carried on feminine shoulders. If I link to an applicable article, I make sure to link just one. I discern internet-information-overload and the “not-enough syndrome.” These steal away peace. With carefully chosen words, I address apprehensions in my new book, Mother Culture. 


At Dean's suggestion to write, “A Walk Down Mother Culture® Lane,” he rummaged through his big metal filing cabinet in the office. Then, he brought up a dusty box from the basement. (The office is across the hall from the sunny parlor where I receive guests, photograph books, and do my needlework.)

Stuff was piled on the parlor sofa, floor, and chairs. To my chagrin the little room took on the clutter of catalogs (Dean saved at least one of each issue that featured our reviews), old brochures, and paper correspondence.

He has kept all this paper not because he is a pack-rat (although he does tend to collect) but moreover because in business you are required to show evidence of your brand.

Mother Culture® became so entwined with my work and ministry that I filed for the trademark in the year 2000. That’s why you see the “R” next to it – like so many items at the grocery store. This does not prohibit people from using the term Mother Culture in conversation. We hope it sparks enthusiastic discussion within lively forums, study groups, and blogs. The business trademark simply reserves Mother Culture® as a title and exclusive brand-name for goods, books, services, websites, ebooks, lectures, etc.




My writing represents my life. It is part of our livelihood and pays my high medical insurance/expenses, tax, food, etc. Thank you for your patronage. It’s been an honor to serve you.

Dean says:

The original Mother Culture article (1892 Parents’ Review) is commonly linked by bloggers as an online reference without mention or knowledge of Karen’s origin-story. Yet, had it not been for Karen Andreola - Mother Culture as we know it today - might have gone undiscovered for perhaps another 100 years.

Thank you, Dean.

Pears ripening in the sun. Getting the parlor tidy again.
Amazon placed an order for Mother Culture.® Therefore, it is in stock. It is also sold at ChristianBook (CBD), Simply Charlotte Mason, Grace & Truth Books. In Canada: Maple Tree Publications, The Learning House, and Heritage Resources. In South Africa: Cubits Kids Edu.

I wish you well-being and well-doing,
Karen Andreola

Saturday, February 9, 2019

E. P. Roe, A Forgotten Author

E. P. Roe, A Forgotten Author 
My sachets have batting but are flat enough to mail in a padded envelope to friends.
I like this quote by Virginia Woolf.  Can you relate to her hyperbole?

Secondhand books are wild books, homeless books; they come together in vast flock of variegated feather and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.”

Have you ever found an author “in the wild?”

My 1876 copy of Near to Nature's Heart
I was visiting my married daughter, Sophia, for a week. One day we set out by ourselves to a secondhand book store. Dad was home with the children. The book store is a grand place. So grand, we didn’t have time to scour all its shelves. Instead, we sauntered a few narrow aisles, and zoned-out peacefully.

The shelves were packed to overflowing. They were dusty and a bit messy, which gave them a sad appearance. While browsing the homeless books in the sad aisles, I couldn’t resist tidying the shelves as I went. Then, my hand gingerly gasped an antique. It was handsomely bound and more than a hundred years old (here pictured.) I was surprised it was not behind glass, lock and key. I stood turning the yellowed pages in low light. The print was faded but legible, the sentences a treat.

A minute later Near to Nature’s Heart by Rev. E. P. Roe was being cradled it my arm like a newborn baby.

This was the beginning of a friendship. What was responsible for this meeting of a “complete stranger” - to use the words of Virginia Woolf? The title; it respects nature. The author; he respects God. The Christian viewpoint of Near to Nature’s Heart drew forth my deep sympathy. Rev. Edward Payson Roe (1838-1888) was an (old school) Presbyterian minister.

Near to Nature’s Heart
A main character, Saville, is an army officer in the Revolutionary War, 1776, fighting the red-coats. Published 1876, this story was a fitting resource to celebrate America’s Centennial. (George Washington and his Bible have parts to play in it.) Because the author was a chaplain in the Civil War, his skirmishes were probably written with first-hand knowledge. This gives the story a masculine-feel. But hang on.
I knit this jumper for Eloise in cotton silk.

The story has a feminine-feel, too. Vera is a young lady living with her mother, father and one servant, in a rustic log cabin in the woods of New York. Seclusion is a priority. Vera’s father is mysteriously and nervously in hiding. Vera was home taught on two books: the Bible and Shakespeare. But I will add a third book: Nature. She is a hunter/gatherer enjoying the beauty and peace of the outdoors. While sailing down the Hudson, Saville overhears Vera singing in a clear British accent. (You can read the first chapter free on Amazon.)

Saville crosses paths with the family as the cabin is not far from the military fort on the Hudson. He is concerned for their safety but keeps their whereabouts a secret. Saville is well-to-do and New-England-educated. Finishing his education in France, he was impressed with the ideas of secular humanism enough to become an atheist. If man is the center of all things than Christianity is superstition. Vera’s faith is strong. Her principles stand in contrast to Saville’s. I grew impatient as hardships intensified. But I am often impatient when a novel is compelling and conflict resolution seems uncomfortably far off. The happy ending, however, is worth the wait.

The pom-poms are an afterthought - needed to stop the scalloped hem from rolling. Eloise likes them. 
Admittedly, E. P. Roe created this novel to be lamppost for doing right. Those who strive to walk the narrow road of a Christian (serving the God of the Bible above self-gratification) will find encouragement here. Near to Nature’s Heart is quality for high school. I wish I knew about it when collecting books for my children back in the day.

(Cornwall-on-the-Hudson was his hometown.)

Over the winter I looked up other stories by E. P. Roe, putting 3 FREE on my Kindle. Near to Nature’s Heart was unavailable then. This week I see it is newly available (for a small price.) How wonderful that someone decided to preserve this “complete stranger” from obscurity.

Driven Back to Eden
This next story by E. P. Roe is easy reading. It’s darling. I gobbled it up. Originally, Driven Back to Eden was a fireside read for the whole family, I suspect, because it first appeared in the St. Nicholas Magazine, probably in serial form. (Its editor, Mary Maples Dodge, is best known for “Over the River and Through the Woods”). I live in Eden Township so this might have been why I took notice of the title.

She is rarely without a baby doll.
Why is this story darling? Why did I read it twice? Driven Back to Eden is told by the father of the story, in first person. He, his wife, and 4 children live in a crowded tenement in New York City in the 1880s (when written.) Basic bills are paid but Father finds his job dead-end. His children are no longer little ones, and the “flat” and the city street are suffocating them slowly-but-surely. The first chapter is amusing but telling. Father, just home from work, does a favor for Mother (whose complexion has become gray of late.) He looks for his children to call them in for supper. He finds 3 of the 4 in the middle of precarious situations involving peers.

Father’s eyes open. That evening he secretly and soberly appraises things. He is determined to make some sort of change for the better. But what? That very night Father’s mind is made up as Mother is willing to give her husband’s big “change” a try. Great. It’s settled then. He gets his children excited about moving to the country. Agricultural books are their Christmas presents.

Come spring the flat is sold and they inhabit an old farm house up the Hudson River. Almost immediately Mother, and the whole family, flourish in the fresh air of their new surroundings, although they certainly have their work cut out for them. The hours of farm chores the children must do would be controversial today, yet the work is light enough. (Growing raspberries is described in detail.) And the children enjoy playful afternoons and exploration in nature. When Mother’s plain country food is served, they lick the platters clean (figuratively). Color comes to cheeks. Eyes sparkle. 

Icicles over the kitchen door.
This story is joyous. (I hope you can tell.) The author had to have been magnanimous himself to write it. I like Father’s attitude, humility, courage, sense of humor, and, meticulous care for his family. Nothing is more important to him than their well-being. After most of the harvest is in, Mother bottles the surplus fruit and homeschools the children. Near the end of the story, in chapter 43, now with the hardest work behind him, Father writes: “November weather was occasionally so blustering and stormy that I turned schoolmaster, in part, to relieve my wife.” How cute is this? I find him uncommonly “with-it” and relational. (Warning: the 15 yr-old son hunts rabbits with a gun and a neighbor’s dog is put down, for those repelled by such things.)

Even if horticulture, with its fast-growing weeds, applications of manure, hoeing, haying, hewing, and plain food, isn’t normally your choice of subjects, something vibrant will touch you in Driven Back to Eden; that something will be love. 

He Fell in Love With His Wife
Also, free on Kindle is E. P. Roe’s He Fell in Love with His Wife. Although, right off the bat, the title is a give-away, the first chapters are gloomy. I thought, “This isn’t my cup of tea.” The main character is a 1880s farmer, depressed and numb. He isn’t a likable man, I thought. To add to this, conflict increases by characters who are lazy, dishonest, or given to drink. I almost closed the book in disgust. But a dawn of pity lighted the horizon, like the misty pink of a winter’s morning, so I kept reading.
Snow out our front door. 
Pity for a character (down in her luck) ushers in gentleness and gratitude. These qualities aren't static. They're alive. Pity is love in the bud. It blossoms into something bigger in the spiritual life of the soul when fed. We can sink in the mire or go numb when faced with relentless loneliness, darkness and difficulty. But we hang onto hope, carry hope on the wings of right living. Then, we trust God for the journey of flight.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13 :13)

And with these examples of realistic fiction from the 19th century Christian viewpoint, I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day.

NEWS:
Simply Charlotte Mason will absorb the cost of postage when 4 copies of Mother Culture are mailed to one (U.S.A.) address. A small group could take advantage of this FREE postage.

Will Mother Culture be on Amazon? Eventually, I hope. Will any of my books be on Kindle? Eventually, I hope. Business riga-ma-role is going on behind the scenes.
Links:
Near to Nature’s Heart  Kindle

Driven Back to Eden - Free on Kindle

He Fell in Love with His Wife - Free on Kindle

I withheld bits and bops about these stories so you will have some surprises. Often, I find the reviews on Amazon give all, or nearly all, the story away.  Yours, Karen Andreola

Sunday, January 13, 2019

6 Qualities of Kindness

6 Qualities of Kindness
“You are very kind,” I said to him at last, sounding to my own ears like a character out of an 18th century novel, but the words were not all politeness. They were sincere and what I truly thought of him."

This is what Carol, the main character of Lessons of Blackberry Inn, says to Mr. Fortesque after he confides in her with his startling words of appreciation.

Fireplace Screen - I admired. By a local Pennsylvania artist.
The word "kind" is rarely used in conversation today. It is not a word that normally comes to mind. "Nice" has replaced it.

In a day when virtue and manners were customary in polite society, such as in the days of Jane Austen, I'm guessing the word “kind” was not so rare.

Accidentally buying 2, Yolanda gave me this board book. 1 is for her baby.
"Nice" in Jane Austen's day, according to an 18th century dictionary, once meant "fastidious" or as Samuel Johnson put it: "superfluously exact." Although "nice" has changed, the meaning of "kindness" has not. Still; it simply isn't used much. Is the word too quaint?

Some of us have been attempting to bring it back because sometimes "nice" isn't a nice-enough.

Therefore I use "kind" whenever the situation calls for it in writing or conversation - even if it is within an email or an on-line comment. No matter how quaint or archaic it sounds, I like it.

What is kindness?

1. Kindness is born of love.
The ministry of kindness is to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable for others.

"Beauty is quietly woven through our ordinary days . . . Everywhere there is tenderness, care, and kindness, there is beauty." -John O'Donohue

2. A kind person (such as a protagonist described for us in a good novel) is often God-fearing.
He is:
. . courteous
. . thoughtful
. . obliging
. . considerate.
He shows kindness by refraining or speaking,
. . by his manner,
. . regard,
. . words,
. . acts.

3. Kindness does no bargaining.
There is no backward glance to see how an act of kindness is benefiting self (bolstering himself up to a higher position to ask – or expect - something he wants in return).

My Amish neighbor prefers outdoor chores to indoor ones, she tells me. 
4. Kindness is not show-off-y.
We never mention a kindness we have done, or advertise our good deeds. We seek a better reward – one waiting for us in heaven.

5. Kindness keeps no record of wrongs.
It doesn't balance the books. When we are truly being kind we don't even remind ourselves - “I've done this-and-that for so-and-so, and now see how little he thinks of doing for me?” Worse still, “Nobody cares. With all I do I'm not even recognized.”

Trying out some textures, but undecided about my next project. 
These pitfalls are all avoided simply. How you ask?

6. By being unaware that we are doing anything special. We don't even know we are being kind, it has become so much a part of our nature. To practice kind living we are - in the words of our Lord Jesus - to “Let not thy right hand know what thy left doeth.”

England's poet, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) tells us:

That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and love.

I Cor 13:4; Matt: 6:1; Matt 6:3
Charlotte Mason's book Ourselves helped me come up with my outline.

Kindness in an Old Novel

A story I enjoyed recently was the (1891) novel The Little Minister by J. M. Barre, free on Kindle. (J. M. Barre also wrote Peter Pan.) It is set in Scotland, 1840, with colloquial dialects of the locals. Among its sentimentality and dialog, weather conditions produce some startling action near the end of the story. Kindness is on these pages; kindness guided by the Christian worldview. It is the fruit that forms friendships and eventually draws two unlikely people together.

It was because the Man-of-the-House and I watched the old movie "The Little Minister" (1934) with Katherine Hepburn, and I found it curious and sweet, that I picked up the novel - and - because two old books I was reading at the time coincidentally and curiously mentioned the story. The movie condenses the novel yet captures the gist of the story well. The novel gives us more background to the characters than the movie, such as the minister's sweet mother, and several others who deeply care about the minister's well-being.

"Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than necessary?"   -J.M. Barre

Until next time,
Karen Andreola