To The Mentees And The Mothers – An Open Letter

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If I could have, I would have hand written this note to all of  you with a fine writer and had it posted to your house. Here’s the next best thing.

Dear ones,

Thank you for believing that my journey is worth something, thank you for believing that by taking pieces of my story, it will help yours. Some of the pieces that glisten now were once broken and dull; Jesus has taken them into his wondrous workshop and spent time on them. You’re welcome to those too.

I want to remind you that you’re doing an incredible job, your children play, laugh, come to you for comfort and delight in the joy they bring you. I saw how you smiled at your son and your heart brimmed with love afresh; I know that look, I’ve felt it too. I love how you hold your 6 month old close, wrapped into your body – but I know you cry because some things aren’t perfect.

I’ve loved watching your journey, listened to you talk about the books you’ve read, the people who inspire you, the patterns you want to follow. I cried when I’ve heard of your pain, the loss of  a promise into the ‘old-familiar’ of a hospital where they see it everyday, but to you (and I) it was your baby and you have to wait for heavens hallelujah to embrace that child again. I remember seeing your face, being brave, but swirling inside. I know that feeling. I’ve felt it.

I know you feel you haven’t made the best choices, the right turns or danced to the same beat as your peers. But God. His redemption is now. His mercies are new today. Your strength is renewed in this moment. He is the God of fresh starts, I thank Him for that everyday.

And I hold your baby, giggle with your toddler, tease your teen because they are an extension of you and that is a sign and a wonder. I see the power of your prayers and the torment of the tears you have sown into this week and I praise God for the fruit of your toil, your labour and your longing. The years don’t go so fast when you live them fully. When we’re present in our children’s lives we live every moment.

That can be exhausting. That can be exhilarating.

I know you feel lonely at times. Sometimes even I miss that look amongst the crowd of masked faces. I like it when you take yours off and tell me. And we cry messy tears and make plans to make it better.

There are many inspired moments and methods and ways to do this and that, but I have to show you Jesus, He is the WAY.

There are many stories and successes and picture of grace and beauty; but I have to teach you through His Word. He is the TRUTH.

There are many elaborate celebrations, well-timed snapshots of light, life and creative callings, but life is the stuff we live between the clicking of the camera. Life is what I want to show you. He is the LIFE.

If my journey ever shows you the way, leads you into truth or draws life from your bones, it’s all because of Jesus.

There’s no such thing as super mum.

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways Charlotte Mason Has Impacted My Life #themasoneffect

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We should always have something worthwhile to think about, that we may not let our minds dwell upon unworthy matters – Charlotte Mason

My interest in the life and works of Charlotte Mason stems from early on in my research before embarking on actually teaching our children at home.

I often still feel in the early stages of discovery but have now been implementing her methods in our homeschooling days for 8 years. My interest isn’t purely to aid my ‘teaching’, I am fascinated by a woman who influenced the face of education in a time where children were ‘seen and not heard’, were physically punished for poor spelling and did not have the freedom to express their informed opinions or feelings about a particular text or subject. Charlotte’s work and life was ‘for the children’s sake’; she believed and fought for the plain fact that ‘children are born persons’ and wanted to give them all an opportunity to create a life long love for learning,  enjoy good ‘living’ books and an appreciation of God’s creation.

In 2012 I took a bit of a pilgrimage up to the Lake District (Ambleside) to visit her old stomping ground (she was actually nearly fifty when she moved to Ambleside, in 1891 and formed the House of Education, a training school for governesses and others working with young children) and her gravestone; I was saddened to see the buildings unloved and more or less abandoned over the years but glad they remained standing to tell some of the tale of her life and work. Her incredible legacy has and continues to impact so many of us across the globe.

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‘Scale How’ – Charlotte Mason’s ‘House of Education’ from 1894

My learning about her life and implementing her educational methods in my home have made a huge impact on many area’s of my life; here are 5 for starters!

Reignited my love of books

Let their books be living books, the best that can be found in liberal supply and variety – Charlotte Mason

I’ve always been a reader, albeit a bit of a lazy one, but I’ve always loved and thrived on self-education (I wasn’t home educated). Over the past few years my love of reading, learning and getting lost in real, ‘living’ books has been rekindled and has enriched my life incredibly. I’m a true believer in modeling for our children what we’re labouring to implement in their lives; if you want readers, be a reader!

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The plaque on the front of Scale How

Habits are worth the work

“Let children alone… the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions – a running fire of Do and Don’t ; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way and grow to fruitful purpose.”
― Charlotte M. Mason

Don’t skip this bit! I know habit-forming can be laborious, tedious and time-consuming but it is SO worth it. It’s incredible how doing the same thing every day, learning a simple skill (i.e. attention) can massively impact your family life and your personal life.

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A building known as ‘the beehive’ used for Miss Mason’s students to practice teaching in!

Every day nature study – brought it to life

Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life – Charlotte Mason

My childhood was full of nature walks and adventures in the Yorkshire countryside; my foraging mother would collect treasures, smell trees, point out flowers and admire God’s beauty like no one I’ve ever seen before. I’m so thankful for that heritage but it didn’t come to life in me until I started home educating my children and brought nature study into our regular rhythm. I have now become my mother (smile), only ten times ‘worse’ – and I love it!

I’ve learnt to trust the learning ability of a child

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature.”
― Charlotte M. Mason

This is a whole blog post in itself (I will do it), I never fully realised the full learning potential of a child if you just give them room to grow, discover, observe and breathe in this big beautiful world that we live in. With each child I have been ‘braver’ to not have every moment scheduled and schooled, to allow plenty of room and trust the ways of a child and Charlotte’s method. I’ve had incredible ‘results’ from my brave ways (wink) and thriving children who I thank God for everyday!

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The front door of Scale How – the beginnings of a great adventure for many young wannabe educators

Mother culture – exploring my own learning and creativity

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!”
― Charlotte M. Mason

With the combination of Charlotte Mason, Brene Brown and now Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m finally loving my creative self, believing in her and leaning into her. So much of motherhood is time given over to those in our households; loving, nurturing, feeding, nursing and guiding but I’ve learnt to realise that I am at my best from a place of rest! I need to renergise, read, write, walk, gaze at beauty and fill my soul in order for me to pour into the people in my life.

So mama’s – let’s go out to play!

How has the life and works of Charlotte Mason impacted your life?

5 No-Brainer Beauty Boosters!

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For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone. Audrey Hepburn

So I’m no expert here, merely sharing a few of my favourite products and practices that I’ve adopted over the past 5 years or so but since doing these consistently my skin is clearer,  I’ve massively reduced the amount of makeup I ‘need’ to wear (no foundation, just a bit of concealer under my eyes) and my nails are super strong (just a few of the benefits).

I haven’t mentioned water in this post; but we all know hydration is vital for our health, wellbeing and ‘beauty’ – I’ll let you research that one further!

So here goes; my 5 no-brainer beauty boosters!

  1. Coconut Oil

Oh my, I love coconut oil; the stuff is incredible inside and out; not only does it heal, restore and fuel your body it’s antibacterial, antifungal, can protect your hair and moisturise your skin! I have a large jar in the kitchen and a large jar in the bathroom. I will do another post on my top 10 ways to use coconut oil but for now check out the Wellness Mama, she has a great list!

I cook with it, stir it into my coffee, melt it into a baked sweet potato, moisturise with it, oil pull, use it as shaving lotion, body cream, hair serum…just to name a few. When I told my (almost) 13-year-old daughter the title of this blog post her response was ‘Mum, you might as well put coconut oil for all 5 points’! SO true – that’s my girl!

Always buy the raw, organic coconut oil, not the cheaper processed version. I often buy the large tub from Costco but these two are also my favourite brands; Neal’s Yard and Lucy Bee.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

My daily ritual, without fail is to come downstairs to the kitchen, stick the kettle on, fill a small mug or glass half with cold water, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar then top it up with boiling water from the kettle. I then stick a straw in it and down it knowing excitedly that I can have coffee once I’m ‘done’!

Its wide-ranging benefits include everything from curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, and some people have turned to apple cider vinegar to help fight diabetes, cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, and weight issues.

I drink it to alkalise my body, boost my energy before I start my day and to aid digestion and blood sugar levels. I also often use it on my hair as the last rinse, and it makes a great toner on the skin.

Again, make sure you buy organic apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’ in it, my favourite brand is Biona, I buy a huge one and it lasts me 6 months.

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3. Wild Rose Beauty Balm

I can’t even to begin to tell you how amazing this product it – you HAVE to try it friend! So, apart from coconut oil I don’t use anything on my skin – and then came the beauty balm. This is love in a pot and can be used on hair, body and face; use it as a mask, a moisturiser or even a lip balm, it.is.brilliant!

Nurtures and revitalises all skin types.  Our award-winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm can be used as a rich cleanser, gentle exfoliant or deeply nourishing balm – to quench areas of dry or dehydrated skin. The exceptionally high levels of wild rosehip oil – a potent antioxidant proven to help repair, firm and smooth the skin – are combined with geranium, starflower, hemp and rosemary oil, to help decongest and enrich the skin, restoring its natural radiance.

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The essential oils in the balm smell so good some days I just rub in on my pulse points ( I don’t use perfume) and away I go! I love it on the ends of my hair after I’ve dried it and sometimes dab a bit on my cheekbones to use as a highlighter, the possibilities are endless!

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I’m offering 15% off the beauty balm for my blog readers (UK only, sorry!) – drop me a line via my contact form with ‘Beauty Balm’ in the title and I’ll be in touch!

4. Sleep

If you’re interested in having your skin look younger and more healthy, then getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night is one of the best things you can do –  Michael Breus, PhD

Now I’m a bit of a slow starter with this one but hitting 40 this year has truly brought it home! I’m naturally a morning gal but I can happily burn the candle at both ends if there’s work to be done (and there always it right?); and mama’s with newborns young children, before you proverbially smack me in the face and unfollow me I KNOW! Sleep…what’s that? I’ve been there honey and know it well, I breastfed my youngest for 30 months and she finally slept through when the milk bar closed! Sienna is almost 5, yes my younger children still climb into our bed in the early hours, have growing pains at 2am and (like today) wake up really early, but I’m no longer sleep deprived; have hope, it does get better!

I’m learning to discipline myself to get to bed earlier, create a new habit, set myself a ‘go to bed’ alarm and when possible I take a nap at the weekend to top up!

A good sleep pattern and routine helps your stress levels, improves your skin/dark circles and boosts your emotional/mental health; what did you Mum always say when you were feeling ill or run down, ‘bath and early to bed’, fixes everything!

Sleep is REALLY important – be kind to yourself and get some!

5. Juicing

Juicing is new habit that we’ve incorporated into our daily routines and family life this year. I’m not particularly into juice fasting or using juice to supplement meals (unless I’m needing a meal on the run) but I love getting all those nutrients into my body first thing in the morning. I routinely have anything up to a pint of juice every morning made up from apples, celery, carrots, spinach/kale, ginger, lemon/lime, cucumber or whatever else we have in the fridge.

These foods nourish every cell in the body, help prevent disease, flush the system of waste and contain more vitamins and minerals than you can rattle a plum at – Jason Vale

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We love Jason Vale’s juicer and it seemed like the best one on the market within our budget (do your research before you buy); we use it 1 – 2 times a day, yes it’s MORE washing up but so worth it.

So, do you have any of these things in your daily routine? How have you found it has impacted your health and wellness?