The CMP Review — Week of May 15

The CMP Review — Week of May 15

May 15, 2023

“So let us not be depressed and rudderless. Let the young mothers take fresh courage, knowing that as they sow so will they reap, and that no personal sacrifice is too great to ensure the friendships of our daughters. It is laid in the foundation of the earliest education, and the home atmosphere is the most important factor. And I would exhort those who know the precious gift of friendships to help other mothers and daughters to draw nearer to each other. Let us take for our motto: ‘We must all help each other in this world because it is a debt we owe each other.’” (Steinthal, “Friendship Between Mothers and Daughters”, PR16, p. 417)


May 16, 2023

Only eternity will reveal how many lives were changed, hearts inspired, and works completed because of the motto of Charlotte Mason. Four powerful verbs — I am, I can, I ought, I will — recited, contemplated, and implemented for generations. But what is the origin of this remarkable motto? Did Miss Mason make it up? Did she change it? And was it further developed and expanded in her lifetime and beyond?

These are some of the questions I answer in “Ask Art #5 — The Motto.” Join us as Mariana Mastracchio and I discuss the fascinating and intricate origin, history, and development of the motto, and touch on its wide and varied impact. No dry and dusty account, this is a living story of four powerful verbs, along with suggestions for how to apply them in your own life and in the lives of those you hold dear. Find it here.


May 17, 2023

Our job as mothers is not to pour knowledge into our children, but to give opportunity, stimulus, and a little guidance for relationships to develop. Sometimes that means finding an artisan who’s willing to be that guide.

Read about my teen’s blacksmithing experience in Forging Relations, part of this month’s PASTIME bundle from (by subscription) with gritty images by @aolander

Shout out to @yallhallaforge for being a mentor and friend to my son.


May 18, 2023

Today is Ascension Day, when the church in the West remembers the day that Jesus “was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of … sight” (Acts 1:9). It is a day to celebrate the glory of our Lord, but is also for some a bittersweet reminder. Christ ascended to the realm where there is no sin, but we remain in a place where we are reminded of sin every day.

In 1850, the great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his “The Ladder of St. Augustine” which opened with these words:

Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame
A ladder, if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame!

In an original footnote, the poet himself wrote, “The words of St. Augustine are, ‘De vitiis nostris scalam nobis facimus, si vitia ipsa calcamus.’ Sermon III. De Ascensione.” A translation of the Latin would be, “We make a ladder for ourselves of our vices, if we trample those same vices underfoot.”

It’s an offer of hope from Augustine on Ascension Day: we can follow after our Lord: we can turn our vices into steps in a ladder, if we trample them underfoot!

But don’t expect to find this sermon in any modern edition. In 1865, J. P. Migne decisively classified it among the inauthentic or “suppositious” sermons: “based on assumption rather than fact.” It is how many of us have approached the Parents’ Union School motto. Listen here to penetrate the assumptions and find the facts behind “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”


May 19, 2023

We have a precious little not-quite 10-year-old friend and neighbour who I like to think of as our “bird girl”. It is quite amazing to see the knowledge and love she has for all things avian.

She recognizes the birds, knows all about their mates, knows about their personalities, their colouring, compares them to other birds in shape or habits or plumage, and recognizes them from their song.

(And she is a pretty awesome person!)

Very often, we adults will seek her help and advice and thoughts when observing birds. We’ve all (children and adults alike) learned so much from her!

Just the other day, I was standing near where she was playing with Serafina and a gaggle of neighbourhood children when I heard a different bird song from a stand of trees on our street. Sort of a short fluttery tune followed by one long trilled note. And I asked her if she knew who it was I had just heard. Without missing a beat she told me it was a male red-winged blackbird; she spotted it in the tree and pointed him out to me; she told me about his red and yellow shoulder badges; and she told me that the female has the colouring of a mallard duck. Then she went back to her play.

Get yourself a bird girl, if you can. She is bound to bring you much joy!

📷: @heidigosselin


May 20, 2023

Apple blossoms just starting…

So full of promise…

And here we go!


May 21, 2023

“But where can wisdom be found?” asked Job, “And where is the place of understanding? … It cannot be purchased for gold, Nor can silver be weighed for its price.”

If wisdom could be purchased, then the knowledge of God would be the reward of the rich. If wisdom could be created, then the knowledge of God would be the reward of the strong. But “think of what you were when you were called,” wrote the Apostle Paul. “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”

It is to these that the Spirit called in Isaiah: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

Wisdom — it can’t be purchased for gold, but it can be accepted for free. Commenting on the letter to the Corinthians, Alex R. G. Deasley writes that “once again, Paul grounds the knowledge of salvation in the moral, not the intellectual, realm.”

In today’s poem, Charlotte Mason paraphrases the words of Christ to the strong and powerful:

I know ye can believe, and will ye now,
At the last hour, believe, that I may save?

Just like Paul, Miss Mason locates the knowledge of salvation in the moral, not the intellectual, realm. Read or listen to Mason describe “a door of escape” for whoever “*will* see the truth.” Find it here.


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