Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’ve been reading “A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael” for months and months. It keeps getting put aside for other things (moving, adoption, homeschool planning, etc), however I keep picking it back up and pressing on through it. I am so moved by this woman and so much about her, and then there are moments where I just grin all the way across my face at her brilliance in the practical things ~ including the education of the children in her care. I’ve been struck by many of the principles of education she referred to in small things and particularly grateful for one bigger thing…

Her insight, wisdom, and care are clear in that:

*In referring to keeping lessons short, she says…

“the human soul should not be drawn out

like a piece of elastic and held so for too long at a stretch”


*On the habits of chores/work, she insists the internal

take precedence over the external…

“The great reward was to be trusted with harder, more responsible work.”


*Scripture and hymn memorization were a priority.


*The Indian children in her care grew food and flowers

and sold them at the market and learned much about generosity.


*Elisabeth Elliot writes of her,

“No toy, no picture book reached the hands of her children without prior scrutiny.”


*The children sang, played and listened to music.


While she was a tremendous spiritual pilgrim and warrior, she was also very perceptive regarding children and education.

I love this woman. She’s become a dear friend and mentor to me!

As a matter of fact, I was reading on Sunday and I beckoned {aka ‘hollered at”} my husband to swim down to the end of the pool where I was so I could read something to him that Amy had said years and years ago.

{Yes, I am annoying when I am involved in a book that grips me like this one does :)}

I had to share with him what she had said about “roots”. She had put into words so simply something I have tried to communicate to others for quite some time!

{You see, there are many reasons we homeschool our boys. They are our reasons, and while some people seem to share them, we do not expect anyone to adopt any of them as their own. All families are different :)}

She wrote this, “In other words, till the life of the child has had time to root, it should not be exposed to various winds (confused or conflicting examples and ideals, different ways of making t’s). After it has rooted, let the winds blow as they will. Then they will only cause the roots to take a firmer grip.”

Anyone who knows much at all about growing plants, vegetables, or farming, can get a great visual of the principle she is explaining.

This is one of the aspirations we have for our children as we educate at home. Of course, we provide variety for our children, and of course, things come about that are confusing and/or conflicting. However, we are right there, caring tenderly and consistently to our “young’us” in this early stage of growth, doing our best to help them get “rooted”.

I’m thankful to Amy for countless things. Her life and struggles and victories have taught me more than I can put into words.

Also, I am grateful for her practical wisdom in teaching, training, and educating her children.

I think she, like me, prayed for and eagerly awaited the day when her little ones became “like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8


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My grandmother tells me I’ve been known as the storyteller in our family since I was about four-years-old. A few years ago I began taking workshops and classes for my personal enjoyment at the Eric Carle Museum on a range of topics that consider the art of the story. This past Sunday I found myself entertaining even deeper thoughts on storytelling while attending a local performance of The Nutcracker ballet.   We had progressed to Act II where candies from around the world entertain the young heroine, Clara, by performing traditional dances from their countries.

Imagine if you will, the famous Russian dance known as the Trepak – which tells it’s own political story since it is more factually Central Ukrainian via Zaporozhian Cossacks – being performed as part of a larger story which is told both through performance dance and Tchaikovsky’s most famous composition.   Better yet, the ballet is based on an adaptation by Alexandre Dumas — yes, of Three Musketeers fame —  of E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Add to that the recollection of a conversation I’d had years earlier with a friend who believes Hoffman’s work is an allegory of the Book of Revelation – though I would argue the symbolism goes even further.

Whew… can see why my head was spinning like a pirouette?

What is this fascination with stories?  I imagine you share the same fascination as an educating mother and lover of living books.   Two years ago I decided to really push myself and give oral storytelling a go.  I’ve now performed a handful of times, including at a Native-American Pow Wow and a Kabbalat Shabbat.    These experiences are positively scary but also exhilarating and, as the audience sits listening with wide-eyed attentiveness, I wonder if I’m being given a glimpse of what some of those story-tellers of old might have experienced.

Bible stories are my favorite to tell – heroic and romantic adventures that are even better because they are true.  The influence of story is evident, though in a subtler manner,  in the first chapter of Luke.   After Mary receives Elizabeth’s blessing which recognizes the deity of the child to be born to her, Mary exults in God and magnifies the Lord. Mary’s poetic praise is so full of quotations from the Old Testament, we can assume that as a child many were the occasions Mary also sat in wide-eyed attention as the stories of God’s merciful and faithful doings were told to her.

This Thursday I am to give a storytelling at a local women’s ministry, and I’m thinking of one along the lines of Song of Solomon, which recounts how the king disguised himself as a country man in order to woo a Shulammite girl.  You see, I’m wondering if they have ever met the Word from eternity past that stepped out of the Godhead and clothed Himself in humanity in order to gain a bride.  They may have heard that God is called the author of our life and the author of our faith, but I would like to introduce them to the Hero and their own part in the story.   Now that’s a romance even the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier’s Pas de Deux can’t hold a candle to.

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will YE go lassie go?

“If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense”.

Charlotte Mason

(courage emphasis…mine)

that Charlotte was one smart cookie!

..i do believe ‘tense’ would be an understatement for the current conditions in our household (a story for another post, another day)…i could certainly have thought of (and did think of) a gazillion things that i could/should be doing…however, it was time for a break…past time…

i cannot take credit for the idea…Irish music is my fella’s love, not mine…although i  do like to tease him that i am way more Irish than he is! i didn’t expect to like the music…or even the time ‘away from it all’…but I DID!

i love hearing the blend of instruments that wouldn’t ordinarily grace my ears: the fiddle, flute, accordion, mandolin, dulcimer…it feels like my brain pays more attention when these ‘guests’ show up!

some things i’m noticing about Irish music…the storytelling alone draws you in for a chuckle or even a good belly laugh…it finds you slapping your knee, or in the middle of a jolly guffaw…or it can leave you deeply contemplative… really, there’s the opportunity to experience a gamut of emotions and thoughts…either way, it seems to whisk me away right into Ireland…i feel like i get a glimpse into their very distinct culture and the personality of the people within that culture…

Will Ye Go Lassie Go

Oh the summertime is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

And we'll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

I will build my love a tower
Near yon' pure crystal fountain
And on it I will build
All the flowers of the mountain
Will ye go, Lassie go?

If my true love she were gone
I would surely find another
Where wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

Jed Marum

While we mainly went to hear Jed’s Irish music…he also writes songs that tell stories about the Civil War…and plays some Scottish music with a bluegrass flavor!


the time away, enjoying lovely, lively, unique music (and eating some good food to boot) was really quite perfect…although it didn’t come easy this time around…letting everything go…if this “lassie” hadn’t gone and taken some much needed time out to play …who knows what her Irish roots would’ve conjured up! i’m betting it wouldn’t have been pretty!


There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.

George Eliot

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