Books that wish they were apps.

Perhaps there are too many kids growing up with books that are digital. They don’t know how to appreciate a book that doesn’t move or make noise.

Here is a list of books that think they are apps. They don’t beep or wiggle, but they are interactive, nonetheless. They are all picture books.

“Mix it Up!” by Herve Tullet

“Press Here” by Herve Tullet

“Tap the Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson

“Touch the Brightest Star” by Christie Matheson

“Shake to Assemble” by Calliope Glass

“Look” by Edouard Manceau

The hidden stress on female caregivers.

So many people are embarrassed to admit that being a caregiver is not part of who they are. That makes the whole experience that much harder. They labor along under the expectations of society, meanwhile taking care of someone who is very ill.

Women are expected to selflessly drop everything to take care of a sick relative, regardless of ability, interest, or skill. Simply being female doesn’t mean that you are also a cook, a nurse, a counselor. These are skills that must be learned. You don’t suddenly know how to care for someone who is terminally ill. Nor do you suddenly have the desire to, just because it is expected of you.

What about your income in the meantime? You don’t still get to take in a paycheck when you quit your job to care for a relative. There is the Family Leave Act – but that only ensures that your job can’t fire you for going on leave. They have to give you a job back. It may not be the job that you had, however. It also does not mean that you will get paid in the meantime. It is leave without pay.

The caregiver’s closeness to their relative is irrelevant. The mother is abusive? Father raped her? Brother stole, lied to her? Mother and father in law are dismissive and treat her like she is stupid? Doesn’t matter – your duty is to tend them, because you are a woman.

This is unreasonable.

There is a reason that my “Death Guilt” post always gets a lot of hits. People don’t talk about this stuff. We should.

When a man is well enough to go home from the hospital but not well enough to take care of himself, he’s sent home if he has a wife there. When the same thing happens with a woman, she’s sent to a nursing home to recuperate. It is assumed that the wife will know how – and be able to (mentally and emotionally) take care of him. It is assumed that a man will not. This is insulting to both sexes.

I’ve heard from people who work in nursing homes that they judge a family that doesn’t visit. They think they are selfish. They don’t know the history of the relationship. They have no way of knowing how abusive (mentally, emotionally, physically, psychologically) the person was to their family members. The effects of this abuse remain even when (if) the abuse stops. They may never go away.

Sometimes the abuse stops because the person is no longer able to be abusive – not because they don’t want to. It is far harder to hit someone when you have Parkinson’s disease. It is far harder to insult your children when you have dementia and can’t even remember that they ARE your children.

Being a caregiver should be a gift, not a demand. It should be because you want to, not because it is expected.

Just because your parents gave you life does not mean that you have to take them into your home and care for them when they get old. They chose to have you. You did not choose to have them. This is an unequal relationship.

When you marry, you marry that person – not their family. You make a legal statement that you will stay with them regardless of their health. You do not make the same promises to their parents. There is nothing about the marriage vows that obligates you to sacrifice yourself to take care of them. This is an unspoken assumption that is damaging and must be called out.

Invisible street

This is a place that doesn’t exist. It could, and perhaps it was supposed to, but it doesn’t yet – exist. This is in Old Hickory – a suburb of Nashville, TN.

I first noticed it while on a walk. At the intersection of Jones and 9th, the road stops and there is nothing. Not a house, not a permanent structure. There’s a large fence, and you can see a garage top.  It is a gap.  It is not an empty lot.  Looking to the North-West.

o2

Here’s the end of the road seen from here, turning to your right if you were facing North. Looking East.

o3

So I looked online. It is amazing what patterns appear when you look at things from a different perspective.

Here’s Google maps – Street

map1

And Earth.

map2

Notice that there isn’t a single house between the “ends” of 9th. There are garages. The road could be continued.  Here’s a closer view –

map3

Notice that there is space behind the houses.  There are fences, but there is space between the fences, going vertically. The yards don’t butt up next to each other.  This creates an alleyway of sorts. This is true on all three vertical neighborhood blocks that you can see in the Earth picture. You can notice it somewhat on the Street picture, but it isn’t as pronounced.

Here is the end of the alleyway from 10th.  Looking North.

o1

And here it is from 8th.  Looking South.

o4

And here is the other side of the gap from Cleves, looking East.

o5

I wonder if neighborhood children see this empty space and take advantage of it to cut through behind the houses without being seen.  I also wonder if I’d get in trouble exploring here.  Probably.  So I explore virtually.

Latkes

Makes about 14 latkes – serves 4 to 6.

– Ingredients –
4 medium potatoes – organic if possible
1 medium onion
2 eggs
2 pieces of matzo (or ½ cup flour)
1 Tsp. salt
¼ Tsp. pepper
Olive oil to coat the pan

– Method –
Wash and peel the potatoes. Grate them on the medium side of the grater (by hand- don’t use a food processor). Put the results into a colander and rinse well to get out the starch. Place colander over a large bowl. Press down on the grated potatoes to remove moisture. Leave the colander sitting over the bowl to drain out more moisture while you do the rest.

Peel off the outer layer of the onion. Slice off the top and bottom. Cut into four wedges and place into a food processor. Mince the onion in the food processor. Set aside in a separate colander over a bowl to drain.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add the salt and pepper.

Crush the matzo into tiny pieces – flour-like consistency. You can do this in a thick sandwich bag, using a rolling pin.

Gently mix the potatoes, onions, and egg mixture together in a large bowl. Fold in the matzo (or flour) Do not overmix – this will transform the grated potatoes into mashed potatoes, totally altering the texture.

Pour the oil into a pan and heat medium-high. When hot, use a tablespoon to scoop up the mixture. Flatten gently with the back of the spoon. Use two spatulas to turn, cooking the latkes golden brown on each side. You will likely need to add more oil to the pan as you cook the rest of the latkes.

Transfer the latkes to paper towels over newspaper to drain.

Keep them warm while you cook the rest by placing them on a cookie sheet covered with brown kitchen paper – placing them into the oven at 250 degrees.

Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce (traditional)

Little Red Riding Hood

red-riding2

This is not a simple fairy tale. This is a story designed to control young girls. The moral – stay on the path, or else you will get hurt. This is victim blaming at the core. It teaches that it is Little Red Riding Hood’s fault that she and her grandmother got eaten by the wolf.

The wolf is every single male she ever encounters in her life. The “being eaten” is everything from getting a lesser job to getting raped or killed. This story teaches girls – and only girls – that if we don’t stay in our defined roles then we deserve everything bad that happens to us.

Notice she isn’t even named. Her “name” is what she wears – exterior only. She isn’t even real, just a placeholder. She isn’t a person, but a thing. People look at her outside only.

Notice that it is a strong male who saves her – the hunter comes by and hears the grandmother snoring and decides to investigate. Why is snoring loudly seen as a sign that something is wrong? Do women not snore? Are we expected to maintain control over ourselves at all times – even while unconscious?

Notice that the townspeople don’t send the hunters into the forest to clear it of dangerous animals. They don’t make it safe for her or others.

red-riding

————————

Art made on a Strathmore art journal – mixed media paper, using various pens and painted using Distress Ink. Words are photocopied from a book about Little Red Riding Hood and then dyed/stamped/inked.

Poem – to wander

To wander is to go forth,
eyes and heart open
into the unknown.
It doesn’t have to be in the wilderness.
It can be in the library.
It can be anywhere you have not explored.
To wander is to find yourself
in the middle of nowhere,
not lost
but awake and aware and curious.
To wander is to take the time
to appreciate the journey
instead of just the destination.
To wander is to venture forth
in body or mind
or both
with no goal other than to truly see
what you find
while out there.
There is danger in this
for you might get lost.
There is salvation in this
for you might find yourself.

What are you?

It has finally happened. People in the Messianic Jewish congregation I’ve been fellowshipping with have finally started to ask me which direction I’m coming from. They want to know if I am Jewish or Gentile. I counter with “Why does it matter?” and they get sheepish. It shouldn’t matter to them, because it doesn’t matter to God.

When the angel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, the message was for “all people”

“10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” (Luke 2:10-11)  

The prophet Isaiah tells us that foreigners who follow the ways of God will be welcomed.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord minister to Him, love the name of Yahweh and become His servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold firmly to My covenant— I will bring them to My holy mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)     

Peter, the one upon whom Jesus built his church, noted with astonishment that the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and declaring the greatness of God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold water and prevent these people from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.  (Acts 10:44-48)

His viewpoint was that if God chose these people (the Gentiles), then who where they (the Jews who believed in Jesus) to refuse them the sacrament of baptism.

We are all one in Christ – there is no distinction.

Peter also says

34 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.  (Acts 10:34-35)

If God doesn’t show favoritism, neither should we.

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.  (Acts 15:7-9)

 

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians says –

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.  (Gal. 3:27-29)

Likewise, Paul says in his letter to the Colossians –

11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:11)

To the Ephesians he says –

The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Eph. 3:6)

Jesus says we are equal, like brothers – with nobody greater than another.

The disciples often argued about who was more important among them –

46 Then an argument started among them about who would be the greatest of them. 47 But Jesus, knowing the thoughts of their hearts, took a little child and had him stand next to Him. 48 He told them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. For whoever is least among you—this one is great.” (Luke 9:46-48)

And likewise, just after the first Lord’s Supper –

24 Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. 25 But He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles dominate them, and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’  26 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. 27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves. (Luke 22:24-27)

 

Jesus didn’t care if someone followed him in the way he taught.  What was important was that they do the work of God.  That was how you knew they were OK.

49 John responded, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us.” 50 “Don’t stop him,” Jesus told him, “because whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50)

Jesus tells the Jewish religious authorities that they aren’t guaranteed into the kingdom of heaven in the Parable of the Tenants.

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
       has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.   (Matthew 21:42-43   ESV)

In a similar concept –

John the Baptist gets angry with Pharisees in Matthew 3:7-10.

7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism,[b] he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.  9 And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!  10 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

He says that it doesn’t matter if you are related to Abraham.  God can do anything, and can make children of Abraham without the need for human involvement.  What matters most is that you produce fruit of the Spirit.  Blood doesn’t matter at all, but action.

 

(All translations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise noted)