Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chain Free

I was struck by an online news article I read a week or so ago about mental health patients in Somalia. The Somalians have more than their share of mental health problems with the incredible level of unpeace and untranquility that exists there. And the main "treatment" is chaining the patients, to each other or to trees or big rocks or whatever.

This makes me sad.

What can I do? I am praying that Jesus will use His people to break their chains as He did for the chained man at the tombs . Anything else? I am thinking about how I can help promote health where I am. Anything else? I don't know. Let me know if you have ideas.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spinach and Baby Names

I must be on a real Looney Toons kick lately. Anyhow, Mr Music has been watching a lot of Popeye cartoons (and wanting to chew spinach leaves when he pitches). This leads to interesting discussions around our place.

Last night Mr Music was talking about Swee'Pea and Miss Dance was saying what sort of name is that, anyhow? I thought it was the best of all possible baby names and Mr Music said it will be completely ridiculous when he grows up. I pointed out that even my Dad liked watching Popeye and that in all this time, Swee'Pea has not grown up and so this name thing is no problem at all. 

Being the academic I am, I conducted further research by checking with wikipedia. Apparently in one 1933 strip Popeye renamed Swee'Pea "Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom."

So what do you think? Is Swee'Pea an appropriate name for a baby or not? (I reserve the right to discuss Olive Oyl in a future post.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Praying Our Geography

Teaching geography is one of those things that frustrates me in homeschool. I am not good at it. I believe in using maps to look things up and only know the barest outlines, which I consider in a constant state of flux, whether due to politics and war or earthquakes and other disasters shaking things up and making my hard-earned knowledge out-of-date.

But this year we hit on a simple system that I like. We have used the prayer calendar from Operation World at breakfast to give us the "country of the day" -- only actually, they each get three days, which is handy for weekends and days when we just don't get everything done. I am increasingly convinced of the importance of building in margin (not margarine, I use butter and olive oil, but margin). 

So, we look at the country of the day and mark it on an outline map in a little folder each Bananalet has. We also have a big world map hung in the dining room to help us out a bit. Then we read the corresponding entry in the Operation World book, summarizing where it gets a little dry. The big hit here is trying to guess what the per capita income in each country is when we get to that part in the entry. Miss Dance usually guesses low, Devastatingly Handsome just a bit high, Mr Music one dollar on one side of one of the two of them (so he often wins) and Miss Dog Lover looks over my shoulder to see if she can see it before guessing.  :-P

Then, we check these two wonderful books for entries on the country of the day or any of its people groups:

Window on the World


Material World

It has been a fun, relaxed approach to learning about the world, and has helped (at least me) to grow in gratitude for what God has given us here in Bananaland and to picture and pray for a wide variety of needs in other countries. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Balanced Diet, Unbalanced Memories


Sometimes I wonder. 

On the way home from church tonight Miss Dance and Mr Music were reading a book of Clean Jokes. Mr Music read the one about the man who said he was eating a balanced diet and had to go on to explain to his friend that the reason was because he is learning to be a tightrope walker. 

So, for no reasonable reason, I immediately thought of what would that mean? a burger in one hand and a shake in the other. And not just any burger and shake, I could actually taste the ones from Shelton's in Chicago. The place that was in the old movie Risky Business. A place I only ate at twice, and not for over 25 years.

Those burgers and shakes are really good.

And I also have loved two other burgers in my life - the ones at Steak'n'Shake when I was little and we would visit our grandparents who lived just outside Orlando and we would eat lying on our bellies in the back of their VW squareback which smelled very vinylly in the Florida heat (those burgers tasted better than the ones they sell now); and the ones the Red Barn used to make that were called Barnbusters. Their ad was, "When the hungries hit, hit the Red Barn." Love it.

I am feeling like Wimpy now: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


We have taken a cue from Ann Voskamp and started a journal counting our blessings. I wanted to share one pretty one that was a gift from Devastingly Handsome, number 5 as listed by Miss Language:

5. Small purple flowers clustered like unflung stars in a pot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nutshell Reports on Two of the Bananalets

Thus far today two of my crew have said things that just summarize their existence at this point in time.

Miss Dog Lover, after a visit to the endocrinologist to check on her thyroid, "So, what he said, is, I'm mostly normal." Uuuh, well. Reminds me of Earth's entry in the Hitchhiker's Guide.  :)

and Mr Music read aloud his cheesestick wrapper at lunch, which said, "Tigers can eat up to 90 pounds at a time" and immediately added, "Wow! I wish I could do that!" By which I'm pretty sure he means not that he was able to do that, but that he was permitted to do so, just judging by how much food we are ploughing through here as his teens creep up on us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By Request, Sort Of

Miss Dance gave me a lovely necklace this Sunday. Miss Language is not home but is gainfully employed in the Big World Beyond. She wants to see this necklace. So, you all get this post, which, btw, you probably would have, anyhow, because I have at thing or two to say about it.

First, the necklace itself:

Isn't it lovely?

Then, the story on why you almost didn't get this post at all. Strictly speaking, this should be the postscript, because the rest of the post was already written in my mind, but the post nearly did not come about so you get this story up front. Be glad.

Yesterday afternoon I went out for my daily Thistle Warfare session (50 per diem get yanked). And after I'd been in for a few minutes, noticed I no longer had the necklace around my neck.

I went out, along with Miss Dance, and searched the grasses and weeds for about 45 agonizing minutes till it was found! (yes, just like the woman who lost one of her coins and had her neighbors help search for it.) And then of course there was joy and rejoicing and I decided I had best get the photos and the post before I managed to do anything lame like lose the whole thing.

And now for the things I had planned in the first place to say about the necklace. 

The photo of course is not like the reality. It is one of those lovely bits of dicroic glass which transmit and reflect light in really amazing ways. I have a thing with light and color because, after all, I serve the One Who spoke light into being and is the Light of the World and sends me to be light

So this bit of glass makes me think of a lot of things. The shape makes me think of an arrowhead. I want to be shot out for God's battle. It has no light of its own but reflects back the light it receives in glorious ways. It divides the light into different colors just as different things at different points in life reflect back with different beauty and meaning. The colors shift around as you move it around in the light, although of course, the light itself is steady. It is shot through with a black streak where the light doesn't shine, and yet, because of the way the light reflects from the rest of the glass, we know the light is hitting that section, too. And now the whole thing was lost, and has been found, amongst rejoicing.  :)

And the back of the necklace:

Here we see solid black, on the side away from the light. And we have the maker's initials, just as we bear the image of God, our maker. 

Thank you, Miss Dance, for this beautiful gift of love.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Here we are around the calendar at Mothers Day again. I know sometimes it seems to be all about Hallmark or brunch in bed but I feel thankful and find myself with three groups I'd like to thank:

First, my own Mum and a few other women who have been moms to me. You are how I know people don't outgrow the need to be cared for. Thank you for the love and the lives that have pointed me to Christ.

Second, my children, who have allowed me the joy of being a mother.

And thirdly, in our situation, God was kind enough to let other women give birth to Miss Dance, Mr Gingersnap, Miss Dog Lover, and Mr Music. I am always grateful to them, but especially at Mothers Day I think of what they gave us and the children in choosing life for them and of what it must have cost them. I thank you more than I could ever say.

~ Psalm 113:9 ~He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!