A Teenager and a Commonplace Book

I love the surprises on this Charlotte Mason journey.

As my daughter and I were finishing a rather long conversation last week, our talk shifted to our various personal challenges. I briefly mentioned my desire to encourage others in their marriages. But I explained that it can be difficult at times to have a strong marriage, and how unpopular it can be to say challenging things about marriage to those who are truly struggling.

We left the room a minute later, and I thought she was off to do her schoolwork. But no, she had returned with a book! She mentioned that she had already put this quote in her commonplace book, and suggested that I do the same. (I had to chuckle at my words coming back at me out of her mouth. “This is a good quote, I’m going to put it in my commonplace book, maybe you will want to also!”)

As vital thought touches our minds, our ideas are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life.


-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

First she read me the quotes aloud…and of course I cried. She had gotten it! She knew from her own reading, and from her ideas gained through hearing Michael and I relate on this issue, just what would be encouraging to me at that moment.

This was her first quote…

People so often mistake what marriage is really all about. It’s not about getting. It’s laying down your life for the other.


-Michael Phillips

And then this:

Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition as so many modern thinkers would have us believe…each partner must give everything, expecting nothing in return, to make a marriage work.


The standard has got to be one hundred percent-zero percent from each person’s vantage point. The moment you say ‘I’ll only go ninety-nine percent of the way and I’ll expect the other to do his fair, one percent share’, the false and selfish expectations begin to creep in, and the whole marriage begins to be undermined.


That one percent you place on the other is the open door to every problem in every marriage. You’ve got to sacrifice, lay down, give, and love the full one hundred percent. God established marriage, and in His economy, that’s the only way it can work. Whenever man tries to make it work using a different formula, it can only end in self-centeredness, disappointment, and misery.


-Michael Phillips

This is the continuous surprise:  These dear people…the same people that you pour your life into for years…at some point begin to intentionally bless you right back. They begin to see words as gifts, to be given away lovingly. Giving a quote to someone who needs encouragement can be a precious and highly treasured gift.

Through the moments of our days…learning together, sharing quotes, arguing over math, trudging through difficult times, and giggling through good times…each of those moments matter. Together they become the joyful surprise of a bond of shared experience with a precious friend.

Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land.


And the little moments, humble though they may be, make the mighty ages of eternity.


Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, make our earth an Eden, like the heaven above.


-Julia Carney

5 thoughts on “A Teenager and a Commonplace Book

  1. This is such a lovely post, Mary. Thank you for sharing this. I am putting the Julia Carney post in my commonplace book.
    I somehow stumbled upon your blog and I am adding to my sidebar. 🙂


  2. What a lovely post. Your daughter is a testament to the power of Keeping–she is finding those special words and internalizing them. It must be so neat to watch that happening and to be blessed in turn!


    1. Thank you Celeste! I’m sorry for not seeing this, we’ve been out of the country and I am just now catching up on things!


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