Fall 2017 Mother Culture

So I’m finally getting around to posting again, and joining MacKenzie’s Mason for Me link-up. πŸ™‚ I’ve decided to use the categories referred to in the PNEU “Mother Culture” article – a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel – to share some of my recent reading.

Stiff Book

John Calvin’s Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life may be short, but it’s pretty stiff! One or two short sections at a time is about the right pace, with much to ponder in each. Here is one of the quotes marked (I’ve jumped on the book dart bandwagon) to put in my commonplace book:


…it is no small profit to be robbed of our blind self-love so that we become fully aware of our weakness; to have such an understanding of our weakness that we distrust ourselves; to distrust ourselves to such an extent that we put all our trust in God; to depend with such boundless confidence on God that we rely entirely on his help, so that we may victoriously persevere to the end; to continue in his grace that we may know he is true and faithful in his promises; and to experience the certainty of his promises so that our hope may become firmer.

The funny thing is that this book has sat on our shelf for years, and I always assumed that it was just a collection of Calvin’s quotes or something. Then I read this post on the Circe Institute blog, was motivated to research further, and realized it was actually part of his Institutes. Hubby highly recommended it and I wanted something to fill the time before I start a new devotional at Advent, so I finally was induced to read it.

Moderately Easy Book

I bought Dorothy Sayers’Β Are Women Human? after Miss A read her aunt’s copy and raved about it. It’s a short read, and while I didn’t agree with everything, it was entertaining and thought-provoking. The most profound insight for me was actually from Mary McDermott Shideler’s introduction:

It may appear that the category of work, of function, is even more impersonal than the categories of sex and color. “I am a housewife. You are a teacher. She is a businesswoman.” Yet where the worker is fitted by ability and training for the work, and has chosen or happily embraced it, such classifications reveal with a lovely precision how that individual human being is participating in the world, and therefore what kind of person she (or he) really is.

Not having either attended college or being employed besides looking after kids in various settings (sometimes with and sometimes without pay – it’s a long story), I have often felt annoyed and insecure when asked my “occupation”. This quote made me rethink my reaction and my occupation (“stay-at-home, homeschooling mom”) in a new light.


I have watched two or three movie versions of Jane Eyre, which may explain why I’ve had a hard time getting into the actual book. But I recently decided to buckle down and do it, and now I’m over two-thirds through the audiobook and quite enthralled. I’ve got a thing for first-person narrations – getting into someone else’s head, as it were – maybe it comes with being an INFP? And having just finished Home Education, I’m seeing connections between Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of the will and conscience, and Jane Eyre’s struggle against temptation:

Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?

I also saw some correlations with Sayers’ arguments inΒ Are Women Human?:

Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

Beyond Books

Hubby and I, along with the two older boys, were able to attend our local symphony orchestra’s concert last month (Miss A chose to babysit the younger boys). Rachmanioff’s 2nd Piano Concerto has long been a favorite of mine, so it was wonderful to hear it played lived. And we were in the perfect spot in the balcony to get the full effect of the brass in the finale of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

Miss A and I got a little mother-daughter time in on Saturday, with lunch at Chipotle (good, but a little spicy for our tastes) and the new movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas. We both enjoyed it, although I think the title is rather exaggerated – “revived” would have been more accurate than “invented”. πŸ˜‰ Miss A thought the portrayal of Dickens’ struggle to write A Christmas Carol quite well done (she can identify with writer’s block!).

While walking around a neighborhood park the other day, I was intrigued by what appeared to be a deciduous conifer. Sure enough, when I got home and looked it up in our tree ID book, it turned out to be a bald cypress. I painted a branch of it in my nature journal – more of an impression than an accurate rendition because I’m a novice with watercolors and I wasn’t patient enough to do all those little needles. πŸ˜›

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One Response to Fall 2017 Mother Culture

  1. Glad to have you join in. I liked Jane Eyre the first time I read it back in high school. Then I LOVED it when I re-read it a few years ago. Now I’m almost scared to read it again for fear it will lose its charm. But I need to.

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