Wednesday, May 8, 2019


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.   

I am keeping this blog online (with updates here and there) but I am saying farewell to blogging.
Here's the good news. You can visit with me anytime on my active and ongoing Facebook and Instagram posts.
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.”
“Wow. It's wonderful to hear that beautiful spiritual insight brought forth in my student’s Bible narration.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.

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?" Evidently, big publishers have big-funded launch programs. Many bloggers receive free copies of manuscripts pre-publication. The agreement is that they post a review on Amazon. 
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.

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:

Nigel's 7th birthday 1996. (He recently turned 30.) 
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.
Karen Andreola 
PO Box 296
Quarryville, PA 17566 


  1. Thank you so much, Karen, for your investment in our lives. Your have just touched so many. May the Lord give you increase and show you His favor as you enter this new season.
    Peace and Joy be yours. ~Deb H

  2. I have so enjoyed your words and encouragement!! I am thankful to have your books! What a blessing you have been for so many and continue to be. Thank you!!!

  3. Your encouraging words in books and blog posts have helped me through the years. Thank you for taking time to write, for sharing your heart. I reread your books each summer as part of my rest between homeschool years.

  4. Oh where do I begin to tell you how greatly this blog will be missed. This is my absolute favorite blog. Through the years you have helped me raise my children. I love all of your books. They have such a perfectly worded gentleness and encouragement in them. Please keep writing. I would love to read a sequel to “Lessons at Blackberry Inn”. I still remember excitedly opening my mail box and finding a package of Parent Reviews in it. Your hand written note inside was so sweet that I felt like a friend had just given me a gift. Your books and newsletters will find their way into my daughters’s hope chests. You are a treasure to the home teaching community. I have read and reread your blog posts, because they are each a work of art and I glean something new each time I read them. Your efforts have born many fruits for many people. Thank you.

  5. Thank you, Karen.

    I only came across your work a few years ago (via the sidebar on Brenda Nuland's blog), long after my children were beyond school age, but your wisdom and gentleness of spirit, in an age of loud self-promotion, have felt soothing.

    I'm in my sixties, and though it is often spoken about in Christian circles, I have not often 'met' other mothers whose determination was simply to live in her family, and in the world, with genuine quietness and godliness, and to teach her children out of that 'core'. Your words, when I found them, felt like a benediction over my mothering.

    May God continue to bless others through the words you leave here in this space, through your books, and in the private place of personal conversations that you continue to have.

    I will miss you.

  6. I will miss you!!

  7. Thank you Karen for your encouraging words to all.You will be so missed here.Bless you in this new season of the journey.You had written me a note which I treasure about sometime when I was in Strasburg perhaps we could have tea.I never forgot that kind gesture.My dear husband and I were just there last weekend for an anniversary weekend,and I thought of you.Perhaps one day we will meet for tea,Lord willing. Blessings,Dawn E. Brown

    1. Yes, Dawn. Let's meet. I would enjoy that very much. Yolanda and Daniel just bought a house in Strasburg and will be moving in after a few renovations. This is closest to Dean and I they will be since they married years ago. I'll get to see them and the baby more often. Yeah.

  8. Dear Ladies, I am touched by your sweet notes to me. Thank you very much. We are Kindred Spirits. I will miss you, too. Karen A.

  9. Dear Karen,
    What a lot of love you have poured out on this page. I know I will come back to it again and again. I am so glad we have become friends. Please know how many of us support your decision while still knowing how much we will miss your regular updates here.
    God's peace be yours, Kristyn
    P.S. Nigel's cover is just beautiful!

  10. Thank you for passing the baton. It is an honor to share your ideas with the next generation. You were a mother to many daughters.

  11. Dear Karen,
    This news makes me feel very sad. I will miss your posts.
    I have always felt that you were my friend, and we had simply not met in person yet. I have loved getting your letters and eagerly opened them when they came. I always knew there would be lovely photography in them of flowers and your home. My favorites are always the little scenes you set up with books.
    I have also looked on your posts as a lovely example to me of how to behave as my life situation changes. I have struggled to adjust as my children grow up and leave, and you are just a little farther down that path than I, so I have appreciated you sharing your life with me.
    I love so many of the same things you do, tea, quilting, knitting, and reading, and I don't actually have any real life friends that do. I try to recommend your books to my younger home-school friends with young children, and talk to them about the idea of mother culture.
    Thank you for leaving all your beautiful posts up so that I may "visit" you from time to time and look back at all you have said. I have appreciated hearing all your thoughts and advice.
    Thank you, God bless and keep you.

  12. I will miss reading your blog. The encouragement given with gentleness.

  13. Dear Karen. I will miss your special thoughts, precious pictures. I've been touched by your encouraging words, your lovely pictures, and hearing of your deep love for your husband and children. It only takes a drop to create a ripple to bless so many. So many events have happened in my life as His child. Some similar to yours. I thank you for sharing your heart. Bless you and may you find His strength in all that you do.
    Birdie Onofreychuk (Saskatchewan), Christ blessed, wife, homeschool mom

  14. Sorry to hear you are closing this blog. You will be missed. Your posts always gave me a lift of joy and contentment. God Bless you and your family.

  15. Karen Thank You for all the beautiful and up lifting posts. You will be missed. I hope you will be staying on Facebook. You are an inspiration. I will be looking forward to hearing from you every once in a while.
    God Bless to you and yours.
    Marion,Marilyn and Joan

  16. I am so sad,I have been with you from the beginning, you blessed me so much as young homeschooling mom and became my long distant friends does not seem that long ago.God Bless you in the future, sharon

  17. Oh my goodness, I could just cry! I love your blog and your writing so much - I have always had it bookmarked as my favorite homeschooling spot ... I understand the need to change, but I must say, it will be lonely without your blog writings.
    Thank you for all your hard work and effort and your ministry through this most lovely blog. All the best to you as this chapter closes.

  18. Dear Karen,

    God has used you in such beautiful ways in the homeschooling community. Without a doubt, He brought me to your blog when I was a new mom and it was the very thing that encouraged me most in those early years and gave me the inspiration to home teach my sons. What a lovely legacy you have left! "May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you." Thank you for everything.

  19. My kids are young (4 & 7) so I just recently found you. I'm so sorry to see you stop blogging but I understand. I'll be following you on Facebook. Your observations are such a blessing. I hope you never stop sharing them.

  20. This has been a lovely spot to check in on and visit from time to time. I love your books and they have shaped me in a way that has blessed my children. I am forever grateful. May God bless you.

  21. Oh my. I will miss this blog. I love the words, pictures, the inspiration and you! It is a quiet spot that gives me an "ideal" to pursue as a disciple, wife, mom and teacher. Thank you for all the wisdom and for your example over the years. I have been influenced, inspired and encouraged to keep plodding on. God bless you in this new season of life.

  22. Dear Karen, I am oh-so-sorry to hear that you will not be writing here, but I thank you so much for all of the heart-stirring, mama-inspiring, faith-building words you have shared here over these past nine years! This blog is a treasure trove of grand and noble thoughts and I am delighted that it will remain.

    I will pray for you and your family as the Lord brings you to mind! God bless you!

  23. Dear Karen,
    You have indeed shared many ideals and ideas with us through the years. Without you, my homeschool, though never meeting my ideals, would have been very different. Your books, articles, and posts made the whole books and Charlotte Mason lifestyle real to me.
    Thank you very much for the investment that you've made into the lives of young women and mothers of all ages even though you finished homeschooling yourself years ago.
    I look forward to keeping our friendship. You've helped me through a couple of hard years since my breast cancer diagnosis. I've also enjoyed reading your blog from the beginning. You'll continue to hear from me.

    Be blessed and healed in Jesus' name!
    Your friend in Missouri,
    Laura Lane
    Harvest Lane Cottage

    P.S. We are buying a home this weekend. I'll send you the address.

    1. Yes, dear Laura. You know I like sending paper notes. - Karen A.

  24. Your kind comments have left me teary-eyed. It is good to know that my articles have been an encouragement to you. Thank you. I am doing some needful "looking after" within my family. I know you will understand. -Karen A.

  25. Dear Karen,
    Thank you so much for all your words of wisdom that you have shared through the years. I own and read all your books and read your blog faithfully. I will miss it so but understand the needs of family. Your books have encouraged me through the years. I started home schooling 22 years ago and was doing so much twaddle work that we were overwhelmed. I came across the “purple” book that blessed our lives. I had finally found the educational philosophy that fit us. I now have given this book to my daughter and daughter-in-law as they are starting their journey of homeschooling šŸ’•.
    Your gentleness of spirit and love for the Lord comes out in all your writings. I feel like You are a dear friend. May God bless you as you minister to your family.
    With a thankful heart, Debbie

  26. Thank you Karen for the blessings you have shared.
    There comes a time to leave all we have given in His hands and move in a new direction under His lead.

    You have been faithful to plant seeds that will produce good fruit in many lives.

    You effort is appreciated.

    God bless you as you journey along.


  27. You have been such a blessing in my life and our homeschool. Thank you for all your words of wisdom and inspiration.


  28. May God bless you in this change of seasons in life. I remember oh-so-many years ago how A Charlotte Mason Companion was the mommy-inspiration I needed. We lived in Ukraine and I had four little boys right in a row.

    Again, thank you.

  29. I just recently found your lovely blog and I am sad to see you go, but I am grateful you are leaving your blog up so I can continue to learn and grow as I continue my CM journey. Thank you for all the years you have poured into this blog and sharing all your knowledge with us. God Bless.

  30. Dear Karen, When you post reached my inbox I cried. It felt as if a dear friend was moving away. Your blog and books have been so sweet to me all these years (I first heard and met you at our first homeschool conference in FL at FPEA). You have so often put to words all that I was dreaming of and wanted our homeschool journey to be. Thank you. Thank you for pour out your heart into building me and others up. Thank you for cheering us all on and encouraging us to not grow weary in well doing. You are a treasure and a blessing. Thank you for giving me to courage to do this and do it will all my heart. with much love and prayer, Amy B.

  31. Dear Karen,
    I was an elementary school teacher raising five children when I first read your blog. I promptly bought your books, and soon after brought my last two children home to homeschool. It was the best decision our family made. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement over the years. Your books helped remind me of what was truly important in the life of my children, and your quilting projects inspired me to pick up needle and thread again. May God richly bless you for your faithfulness in serving Him.

  32. Karen, thank you so much for your years of service to the community! I have been so tremendously blessed by you! May God richly bless you!
    Your loving friend,

  33. Dear Karen,
    Your message about ideals is so lovely - thank you again for another beautiful and inspirational post. Yes, as the other ladies have commented, you will be greatly missed in the blogging world! But, thank you for keeping your blog open. It is such an encouragement. I plan to be a CM homescooling grandmother one day, and have been slowly reading through your archives, when I can, with a cup of tea.
    Karen, thank you again for all your encouragement, inspiration, and beautiful books throughout the years. May God bless you and your family always.

  34. Dearest Karen,
    You have been such an inspiration to me for many, many years. I believe we were homeschooling our children at the same time and nearly the same aged children. My youngest of five is 27. I will always, always fondly remember you and your encouragement to me through the Parents Review (I still have mine and share them with young moms) and through your books which I also recommend and share my copy with others. God used you in a very special way in my life and I will always be grateful to you. Thank you, Karen. From one Grandmother to another, God bless you and your family.