Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Letter to His Son" by Lord Chesterfield

"Talk often, but never long: in that case, if you do not please, at least you are sure not to tire your hearers.  Tell stories very seldom, and absolutely never but where they are very apt and very short.  Omit every circumstance that is not material, and beware of digressions.  To have frequent recourse to narrative betrays a great want of imagination. 

Never hold anybody by the button, or the hand, in order to be heard out; for if people are not willing to hear you, you had much better hold your tongue than them. 

Avoid as much as you can, in mixed companies, argumentative conversations. But if the conversation grows warm and noisy, endeavor to put an end to it, by some genteel levity or joke.  

Above all things, and upon all occasions, avoid speaking of yourself, if it be possible.  Such is the natural pride and vanity of our hearts that it perpetually breaks out, even in people of the best parts.  

Alway slook people in the face when you speak to them: not doing so is thought to imply conscious guilt; besides that you lose the advantage of observing by their countenances what impressions your discourse makes upon them.  In order to know people's real sentiments, I trust much more to my eyes than to my ears: for they can say whatever they have a mind I should hear; but they can seldom help looking what they have no intention I should know. 

Never give nor receive scandal willingly; for though the defamation of others may for the present gratify the malignity of the pride of our hearts, cool reflection will draw very disadvantageous conclusions from such a disposition; and in the case of scandal, as that of robbery, the receiver is always thought as bad as the thief. 

But to conclude this long letter: all the above mentioned rules, however carefully you may observe them, will lose half their effect if unaccompanied by kindness and the Graces.  Whatever you say, if you say it with a supercilious, cynical face, or an embarrassed countenance, or a silly, disconcerted grin, will be ill received.  If, into the bargain, you mutter it, or utter it, indistinctly and ungracefully, it will be still worse received.  If your air and address are vulgar, awkward and gauche, you may be esteemed indeed, if you have great intrinsic merit; but you will never please; and without pleasing, you will rise but heavily.  Venus, among the ancients, was synonymous with the Graces, who were always supposed to accompany her; and Horaces tells us that even Mercury, the God of Arts and Eloquence, would not do without the Graces."

Such a good reminder for me today! :) From EveryDay Graces, by Karen Santorum.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tapestry: Year 2 Week 24 - Dissenters in America and the Age of Reason

We had a fantastic week this week!  We're getting into the early years of American history.  We've been studying the thirteen colonies, how they each were started, and unique thigns in their histories.  Mom has learned a lot! :)  This week, we focused on Pennsylvania and it's founder, William Penn.

We also started reading The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh this week.  It's been a fun book, especially for Kiryn.  I have a Memoria Press Lit. Guide that goes with it, so we've just been working through the questions out loud together after each chapter.  It's been a lot of fun!

We get to read such great books with Tapestry each week! 

Levi and Meryn have to stay entertained somehow....

Luke is such a big helper... 

Kiryn is loving this book!

One of our activities this week was to plant a garden like colonialists.  Since we don't have a yard, we improvised...  

We planted sunflowers, morning glories, three kinds of lettuce, and basil. 

All our pots, ready to grow! I hope something happens!

Our next activity this week was to make copybooks.  We do a lot of copywork, so i thought this was a fun idea.  In colonial times, kids would make a special cover for their copybooks.  

I know, I'm crazy, I let them do this on the carpet! : ) 

Luke's finished copybook.

We added Pennsylvania and Delaware to our map of the colonies this week.

Our last project was to make an almanac. An Almanac is a special calendar.  In colonial days, people would make their own almanacs and sell them with funny jokes, witticisms, and other things included.  One of the most famous almanacs was Poor Richard's Almanac.  Luke and Kiryn made their own Poor Luke's and Poor Kiryn's Almanacs. 

We had a lot of fun with Tapestry this week.  And of course, we're continuing on with grammar, math, Bible, and all those other fun things! : ) 

Sunday Afternoons...

This is what my kitchen table looks like every Sunday afternoon as I plan meals, grocery lists and school for the week!  Here's to a great week at House of Preedy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One of THOSE days....

I know we all have them from time to time. The kind of days that make us wish we had a different life. Fewer kids. An easier existence.  I''m being brutally honest here. It's been a not-so-very-good-week.  I feel like I can't quite do anything well.  The kids are constant.  "Mom, I need water. Mom, I need help with math. Mom, I'm hungry. Can we go outside? Can I play the Wii? Can we go to McDonalds?"  And then Meryn is just screaming.  Always screaming.  Because she's happy.  Because she's frustrated.  Because she is tired, or hungry, or for any other number of unknown reasons.

Sometimes, it's all just too much.  The kids are up before my alarm goes off most days.  I really have NO idea when they get up, because I'm usually up by 6:15 or 6:30.  So from the moment my feet hit the floor until about 9 or 9:30 at night, it's kid time.  I never have enough patience.  I never have enough creativity.  I'm constantly losing opportunities to point my kids to Jesus, and just trying to survive by stopping the bickering in whatever way I can, just to get some peace.

This week, I've been dreaming of a time in the not-so-distant future where every child in my home can articulate their thoughts clearly to me.  A time when there are no more diapers to rinse and wash and change.  A time when there are no more every-meal-water spills, glue on the couch, or cracker crumbs everywhere.  A time when we can read more than 30 seconds without being interrupted by a toddler or baby screaming.  A time when we can all sit around the school table and talk to each other and discuss what we're learning together.

I know that when we get there, I will have days where I think, "I just wish I could have little ones again.  They're so much easier than these big ones."  So I just wanted to write about this day... or this week, rather, that feels completely out of control... completely chaotic. So that when I am having one of THOSE days five years from now, I can look back and say, it really wasn't easier.  Just a different kind of hard.

In the midst of all this, I am trying daily, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, to enjoy now.  Enjoy this present season.  Enjoy it for everything it's worth.  To see Jesus in every little task, and work as if it's Him I'm working for, wiping up after, serving water to.  So my kids will see that love and service in an attitude of joy.  Lord, please give me JOY in my daily tasks, in my children, in YOU! :) 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Auntie Bimla

Since we returned to South Asia in February, we have been blessed to have Bimla living with us and helping me around the house.  She has the sweetest spirit.  She loves the kids.  She's a fantastic cook.  She helps.  She serves.  With joy.  She is a gift from the Lord.  I don't know what I would do without her.

God has been so good to me.  She has such a pure, kind heart.  She senses what I need and just does it. When Meryn is screaming and being demanding and I'm trying to teach, Bimla swoops in and picks her up and goes off to play, dropping whatever she was doing before.  When it's time for lunch, she never asks me, "What should I make today?" She simply goes in the kitchen and figures something out with what we have, because she can tell I'm already overloaded with interruptions and we're trying to finish math.

When she has something on her mind or heart, she talks to me.  We have the greatest conversations.  A few weeks after she got here, she shared with me that when she was a child, she was in a circus and performed on the tight rope and trapeze, as well as in a 10-hoola-hoop act.  I made her promise her mother would bring pictures of this when she comes in April. :)

Today, we had another one of those heart to heart conversations.

There is a beautiful, large home across the street from our flat.  Since we're on the second floor, we have a really good view of people's lives below us.  This house has a big lush, green yard, lined with gorgeous potted plants.  A long driveway where children ride their bikes in safety.  A four member family that look incredibly happy, content and full of love.  I often look over at that home and admire how comfortable it seems, how happy it looks, how well it is kept.  Often when we visit people who have a nice home, I marvel at how clean the floors are... I think to myself, they must have trained their helpers really well to have floors this clean all the time.... I wish my floors were this clean...

But today, Bimla shared with me that she met the house keeper from the house across the street yesterday.  They're both from Nepal, so had an instant bond and began sharing.  Bimla said this lady began telling her how awful things were in that beautiful house.  How she works from early in the morning till late at night, and is yelled at all day long.  No one appreciates her work.  The family is full of strife.  There is constant yelling.  The children are wild and disrespectful to everyone.  She is miserable.  How my heart breaks for her...

Bimla shared with her about how much love we share in our little humble home, how we treat each other with respect, and it's all because of Jesus.  Oh, how thankful I am for Jesus' example on that Maundy Thursday of washing his disciples feet.  Of his words of instructions... "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them..."(matthew 7:12).  I think of that verse on a daily basis with Bimla.  If I don't want to do it, I don't ask her to do it.  If I'm feeling tired, I tell her to go get some cold water and take a rest.  I tell her thank you often every day, because I am so grateful for her help.  Thank you, Jesus, for being the difference in our home, for teaching us the way to value each other, your precious sons and daughters...

Just yesterday, I was watching the car pull into the driveway across the street, I noticed how the guard who opened the gate seemed to not exist to the driver.  And I wondered, do those workers ever hear "Thank you"?  I asked Bimla this, and she almost spit out her food.  Of course they don't.  And it all the sudden dawned on me,... I would much rather have a helper like Bimla, with a few dust bunnies in the corners, because we were sitting and talking over a cup of chai, than have spotless floors that I yelled my way into having...

Lord, help me to see everyone with your eyes, not to ever take anyone for granted.  Let our family be a light in a dark place, that is shining of your love for all those around us!  Thank you for the gift of Bimla, the friend that she is to me, the auntie that she is to my children, and the help that she is to our home.  You are so good, Father!