Doesn't this picture give pause for reflection?
As we approach the end of the year, everyone soon will be (if they are not already) talking about New Year's resolutions. Don't worry, this is not a post about that, though one might be forthcoming. We shall see, I am as yet unresolved... ;)
However, I have resolved to keep with tradition this year and give away an ART calendar from Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love these things. You know, this summer I was a hop, skip and a jump away from the actual museum in NYC? Yep, and some of my bestest buddies from around the world were actually there right at that very same moment. Can you even believe it didn't work out for us to meet up there? I'm actually still mourning about it. My only experience of the Metropolitan Museum of Art remains the ART calendar. Something for which I can be and am thankful.
This is our happy calendar sitting front and center upon our school table.
These calendars are GREAT for art exposure. I love mine; every day a different piece of art. I'm so thankful to Jimmie for introducing me to the idea some years back. Though I don't officially incorporate it into our Art/Artist Study, potentially you probably could. Especially useful would be the old calendars as you could cut up or paste favorite art prints into notebooks, sort and save them by artist or other some such. On an amazon review I read today, someone said that there is a lot of repeat of art between years. I've never noticed that. After all, there are 365 unique prints at least. We've displayed the annual for the last 3 years (and have 2014 waiting under the tree) and I've never noticed undue repetition.
Anyway, how would you like to have a 2014 ART calendar for your very own?? Well, you can buy one, just click right here. OR, you might receive one from yours truly. Here's how that'd work:
You reflect on your past year, write them down* and link up here or leave me a comment (non-bloggers, see note below). Of course, in keeping with the spirit of the thing, you shouldn't be reflecting just for an entry; you should really reflect. But, yep... It's that easy. I'll do a drawing and send out the calendar to one of you! If you're interested, keep reading.
You'll notice the *reflections* of the palm tree in the glass... :)
Recently, I just got to thinking, wouldn't it be helpful if we could make and take the time to reflect upon and to write some observations on living the past year? Perhaps we could learn some things about ourselves and our families? Perhaps this exercise could help us to make useful decisions regarding the coming New Year? It should ever be our goal to become more fit for life and service. By reflecting on past success and failures, perhaps we might continue ever upward in our pursuit of that goal?
How has this year gone for you in your family, in life, in your homeschool? What have you accomplished this year that you are proud of? Which things have you had to put aside because plans up and changed? What circumstances have made you stronger? In which areas do you see need for improvement?
The necessity of reflection is emphasized by Charlotte Mason all throughout Ourselves (that being somewhat the point of the volume) the fourth of her Homeschooling Series. “There are so many interesting things in the world to discuss that it is a waste of time to talk about ourselves. All the same, it is well to be up to the ways of those tiresome selves, and that is why you are invited to read these chapters.” (v4 p130)
Consider also this persuasion for reflection:
Living means more than the happenings of one day after another. We must understand in order to will. "How is it that ye will not understand?" said our Lord to the Jews, who would only see that which was obvious, and would not reflect or try to interpret the signs of the times; and that is the way with most of us, we will not understand. We think that in youth there is no particular matter to exercise our Will about, but that we shall certainly will when we get older and go into the world. But the same thing repeats itself: great occasions do not come to us at any time of our lives; or, if they do, they come in the guise of little matters of every day. Let us be aware of this. The 'great' sphere for our Will is in ourselves. Our concern with life is to be fit, and according to our fitness come the occasions and the uses we shall be put to. To preserve Mansoul from waste, to keep every province in order––that, and not efforts in the outside world, is the business of Will.
May I quote CM once again to remind us of why we would reflect and take the trouble to make sure we are bettering not only our children and families, but ourselves?
We are inclined to wait upon circumstances and upon opportunities, but it is not necessary, nor, indeed, does it answer, for the person who waits for his opportunity is not ready for it when it comes. The great decision open to us all, the great will act of a life, is whether we shall make our particular Mansoul available for service by means of knowledge, love, and endeavour. Then, the opportunities that come are not our affair, any more than it is the affair of the soldier whether he has sentry duty or is called to the attack.
Again, it is easy to get comfortable and even bored with living, instead we might reflect how to be and teach our children to be useful. Then, it's just a matter of willing ourselves to DO something about it... :)
Child or man, we spend half our time in being bored; and we are bored because our thoughts wander from the thing in hand––we are inattentive. When for a moment we do brace ourselves to an act of attention, the invigorating effect of such act is surprising. We are alive; and it is so good to be alive that we seek the fitful stimulus of excitement––to be the more listless after than before, because we have been stimulated and not invigorated. Being bored becomes a habit; we secretly look forward with longing to the end of every occupation or amusement, and are ready to take up with any 'crank' that promises distraction and fuller living, for however short a time. When we have used up that interest, another may occur.
'Hell is paved with good intentions' is a dreadful saying with which we are all familiar. I suppose it means that nothing is so easy to form as a good intention, and nothing so easy to break, and that lost and ruined souls have, no doubt, formed many good intentions. Therefore we must face the fact that the intention to be of use is not enough. We
must get the habit, the trick, of usefulness.
*Obviously, many reflections might not be suitable for publication. That's okay, you don't have to publish ALL of your reflections. You might reflect upon having reflected, for example, and share the things that are suitable. You decide. OR, if you don't have a blog, or you'd rather share your reflections privately, that'd be fine too. Just comment that you'll send me an e-mail. If you do decide to blog your reflections on the past year, enter your post in the linky below. I'll consider each entry, as outlined eligible above, to receive one entry in the drawing for a free 2014 Art Calendar!
I'll close it off
EDITED: Let's make it December 31st at 11:59pm!!
I'd like to extend the deadline, because quite frankly, I haven't been able to get my own Reflections posted!! It makes more sense anyway. I chose the original date thinking it'd be fun to get the calendar as close to New Years' day as possible, but with Prime shipping, it'll be practically the same this way! :)
P.S. Speaking of amazon.com, don't forget that linking through my blog when doing your online Christmas shopping at amazon sends us a little kickback. That's a REALLY cool way, I think, to support missionaries! Just sayin'. :) To all of you who do click through here... a BIG, gigantic, humongous THANK you! We'll be getting a gift card very soon for $21.16 for purchases made last month! That's awesome! I am so thankful!
Here are a few links that might be of particular interest at this time of year (they're of particular interest to me, anyway, and we should always recommend or buy gifts that we wouldn't mind receiving ourselves, right? Oh, and no, none of that was meant as a hint, either, btw.):